The Relationship Riddle

The Relationship Riddle - Susan Paulson Clark

While I am not the biggest fan of the romance genre, this book did manage to hold my attention. I appreciated that each character was mature and well established in their own right. However, they each had similar things going on in life in that each of them were trying to overcome an obstacle brought about by someone misinterpreting feelings for them. One was a professor and one was social worker. I had difficulty accepting that both of them were going through a similar situation and yet were so unwilling to talk to each other about it (and also unwilling to believe that each misinterpretation was unrequited).  

Despite that, the writing is well done, and the characters are well developed. The plot is consistent and in the end, everyone is happy, which makes for a nice and contented ending. 


Some Bio Information

Susan Paulson Clark has been writing for fifteen years. She's an avid reader of women's fiction, mysteries, and non-fiction titles. Susan enjoys painting (acrylic and oil) and spending time with her husband. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with degrees in English and Education -- and she's an avid believer in writers' critique groups!


Q&A

1.    What inspired you to write this book?

I’m happily married now, but having had relationship problems in the past, I have a vivid recollection of being single “out there.” I enjoy writing about second chance romance. It’s important for me to encourage others – and I believe my book has a hopeful tone.

2.    Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I outline my story chapter by chapter. However, when I get to the actual writing, minor characters often become integral to the story. In this book, Coach Neely and Natalie the social worker went from being brief mentions to fully developed characters.

3.    Describe your favorite scene in this book. 

The very last scene … but describing it would be a spoiler!

4.    What does the perfect writing environment look like to you? 

Every Monday I meet with my writing partner who writes historical fiction. We alternate between Panera and Starbucks. Writing is so solitary, so it’s fun to be around others while writing. And having a standing meeting keeps you accountable. Otherwise I write just about anywhere except at a desk!

5.    How would you describe your writing style?

I combine dialogue, description, emotion, action and internal thoughts. I like adding twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

6.    What would you like readers to take away from your book? 

Love is more than a romp in the sack. Real love allows you to work through problems.

7.    What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

I would like to connect with readers through common experiences and encourage them to not give up in their search for a relationship

Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl

Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan: Diary of a Mad Club Girl - Iris Dorbian

There are times in life when you experience a time in your life when your body seems to make decisions without your heart or your head being involved - almost like an out of body experience. That's how reading Love, Loss, and Longing. . . felt to me. I felt as if I was experiencing everything the MC had, but was in no way in control of the choices I was making. 

I chalk that up to the excellent writing and detailed descriptions in this, well, almost coming of age, type story. I was looking for a little more of a conclusion or finale, but often life doesn't give us that. So it seems all too realistic. 

This book felt very real to me - leaving me with the feeling that I'd experience all the MC had, instead of simply reading about it. 

Very well written. Highly recommended. 


Some Bio Information

Iris Dorbian is a former actress turned business journalist/blogger. Her articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, DMNews, CFO.com, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News. From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions.

She is the author of Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater, which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Skirt!, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal and Gothesque Magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

 I had been wanting to write a fictionalized book inspired by my experiences attending college in New York City in the early 1980s for some time. It was an insane and chaotic time, very turbulent but also very exciting, at least for this sheltered girl from the ‘burbs.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

When I'm working on a long-form narrative, I will try to outline beforehand the beats I want to hit in the initial draft. At the same time, I don't want to impose too much structure or order for fear I might squelch a genuinely good idea in the making. Then after I'm through with the first draft, I'll go back and revise, revise and revise. What doesn't work, I'll cut; and what does work, I'll keep in, of course, and maybe expand upon. 

3. Describe your favorite scene in this book. 

If I had to reflect upon which part of the book was the most entertaining for me to write about, it would have to be the chapter devoted to Edie's job as a cocktail waitress at the downtown New York City rock club The Ritz (now known as Webster Hall). This section is completely inspired on my own experience working as a waitress at the club during my junior year in college while juggling a full-time course-load. But as fun as it was to write, it was also the most demanding and labor-intensive thanks to the the sheer volume of detail I tried to recall and evoke--from the club decor and music to the other waitresses and cast of characters who used to hang out at the club. 

Although I've never disguised the fact that this novel is a roman a clef, I've also never backed down from admitting that many of the conversations, characters and events depicted in Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan are fictionalized. For instance, I NEVER got accosted by a madam of a call girl agency in the bathroom at the club. That entire exchange never happened. But it was a lot of fun to write. 

4. What does the perfect writing environment look like to you?

Quiet, calm and well illuminated!  

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

Sardonic, methodical, observant and precise. 

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book? 

It's better to be honest with yourself and follow your heart rather than lose your soul by emulating a constricting or socially prescribed ideal of cool. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I'd like to write a best-seller. Why not?

The Autobiography of @

The Autobiography of @ - Jeff Abugov


This is a charming and entertaining short story about the symbol @. Who knew that so much personality could be in one little symbol that we use on a daily basis thanks to the email and Twitter/Instagram.

I had no trouble flying through this story and chuckled multiple times, all the while understanding that there was a lot more going on that what was written on the pages.

Extremely well written, with a surprisingly in depth plot. Lots of little twists that I wasn't necessarily expecting, but made for quite the enjoyable short read. 

I highly recommend it. 


Some Bio Information

Jeff Abugov graduated from Concordia University Film School in Montreal where his two student films won national awards at the Canadian Student Film Festival. He began his professional career writing for the NBC hit Cheers, for which he eventually became story editor. He served as executive story editor on The Golden Girls, then went on to write and produce such hit shows as Roseanne, Grace Under Fire, and Two and a Half Men, as well as writing and directing the feature film The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human, starring David Hyde Pierce and Carmen Electra. He has received a Golden Globe Award, a Peabody Award, and three People's Choice Awards, as well as being nominated for a Humanitas Prize, a Canadian Screen Award, and a second Golden Globe.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this short story?

At first, I was just zoning out while staring at my keyboard. I started to wonder why certain symbols had such prominent positions, and others less so. Then I started to wonder why certain symbols, such as ¢, weren’t even there at all. I began to think back to my early days as a fledgling writer on a typewriter, and wondered why @ was even included. Sure, it would be impossible to imagine a keyboard in this Internet age without @, but in the hundred or so years prior he would have been utterly pointless. The phrase “great American rags-to-riches story” laughingly occurred to me, and from then on I just played around with it in my head. It wasn’t until months later when I realized that it was actually an allegory of our own messed up socio-economic system that I realized I had to write it.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

It’s different from project to project, and different still whether a work-for-hire or on spec (“@” was on spec.) Typically, I write my first pass very fast, almost a stream of consciousness, and it usually sucks. Then I go over it in pain-staking detail, obsessively slowly, removing all the sucky parts entirely and polishing the rest into something fun and shiny. The advantage of spec work is that you know you can quit at any time if it’s not turning out the way you want, which makes the whole process more relaxed and more fun, which I think in turn makes the end product much better. The disadvantage, of course, is that you don’t get paid, and no one may ever know about it.

3. Do @ and * get to live happily ever after?

Lol, absolutely! They are perfect for each other in every possible way, and their love runs deep. That said, if I ever write a sequel, I’ll have to throw some marital problems their way. But, spoiler alert, their love will conquer all. I can’t imagine what a symbol divorce would be like. Then again… hmmm? On second thought, no promises. For their sake, I’d better not write a sequel.

4. How would you describe your writing style?

I’ll leave that one to the critics. It differs from project to project. In television, the gig is to write in the style of the show that hires you. In spec work, I prefer to just let the story flow so that the characters and events dictate the style, and I try not to analyze it. In fact, I’m almost afraid to analyze it because then I may start forcing it. As a result, most of my spec work seems to have different styles, although they all seem to have some element of humor – whether I want them to or not. That doesn’t really answer the question so, to repeat, I’ll let the critics figure out how to describe my style.

5. How long did it take you to write this short story?

Like I said, I played around with it in my head just for fun for several months before I even thought about writing it. The first pass took me less than a week, followed by four or five weeks of obsessively fixing it. But even after publishing it on Amazon, I made several more little changes and tweaks – one of the benefits (or curses) of electronic publication – and I still may make more someday. So, the question is… have I even finished it?

6. Describe the perfect writing environment.

For me, it’s my house, nobody else is home, there’s nothing good on TV, and there are no movies I want to Netflix. It’s either raining and dreary outside, or over a hundred degrees and smoggy so too uncomfortable to go out. All my friends are too busy with their own stuff to talk, text, Skype or Facebook with me. In other words, there is absolutely nothing else to do. I find boredom a very powerful motivator to get things accomplished. Of course, you rarely find that level of boredom-perfection so it usually takes some degree of discipline.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

To one day write something that truly changes the world for the better. In the meantime, I’ll settle for entertaining and inspiring my readers, making them think beyond their own lives, making them laugh, and giving them a brief respite from their day-to-day worries. Come to think of it, those last two alone would be an accomplishment to be proud of – but I’m still not ruling out changing the world.

Acting: From First Audition to Final Bow

Acting: From First Audition to Final Bow - Bruce Carroll


A fun introduction to the world of acting.

From preparing for auditions to learning about rehearsals and stage setup, this book includes everything you'll need to know for getting into the world of acting. It's presented in a clear and easy to read manner.

I think this would be a great piece for high schools to give to students who have decided to try out for the play/musical. 

I very much enjoyed reading it, although I haven't acted (or even thought about acting) since I was in high school. But this definitely would have helped me out back then!

An enjoyable and educational read. 


Some Bio Information

A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Bruce Carroll works as a professional magician. He performs at numerous private events and has been the official street magician at Six Flags Great America for two seasons. For him, writing is a way to get things out of his head.

Bruce currently lives in Burlington, Wisconsin with his wife Angie and their daughter Heather. Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBruceCarroll/.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

I directed a community theater production and was surprised at how many of the actors – even those who had been in several productions – didn’t have what I considered basic acting skills. I originally thought of offering an acting workshop as a way of getting all of the participants “on the same page” for future productions. My notes for that workshop quickly became a book. Some day maybe I’ll actually present the workshop.

2. Describe your writing style in 3 words.

Light. Informative. Improving.

3. Who did you write this book for?

Primarily for myself, although I also had the cast of the production I had directed in mind. Anyone who might be thinking of acting (either as a hobby or professionally) could benefit from the book.

4. Can you tell us a bit about your writing process?

My writing process is currently changing, which is part of the “improving” description above. For this book, I made it a point to write at least one sentence every day. Usually one sentence led to others, but I never let myself have an excuse for not writing. I could write, “I don’t know what to write today,” but I never let myself write nothing.

I am now working on a series of short stories (which may or may not become a novel) and I am interviewing the major characters, much like the Hot Seat exercise described in Acting. I am also focusing on one or two days per week devoted entirely to writing.

5. Was there a point in your life when you decided you wanted to write?

Yes, I realized I wanted to write when I realized I had enough notes for a book. Actually, that was when I realized I wanted to publish a book. I’ve been writing for quite some time. Mostly garbage.

6. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

To earn a modest income; enough so that I can retire from performing and not have to work for “the Man.”

7. If you could give just one piece of advice to aspiring actors, what would it be?

Read my book.

But seriously, I would say, don’t aspire, act!

I once worked as a shift manager in a family restaurant. One of the employees would go on and on about how she was going to be a famous Hollywood actor. But she could never bring herself to smile or even look like she wanted to be there.  Of course, that affected her job. But she also missed a golden opportunity to play a role five days a week.

So my advice to aspiring actors is act. Find opportunities. Make opportunities. Audition for your local community theater. Then audition for the next production, and the one after that. Get some friends together and prepare and perform a skit at a church, a library, or even your own back yard. Act, act, act. Once you’ve done ten thousand hours of performing (probably a lot less), you’ll have the skills you need

Show Me Colour

Show Me Colour - Rosalind Gibb

I cannot imagine what it would be like to lose someone you loved so early in life. Rosalind Gibb does an amazing job of chronicling this process of navigating grief and other emotions as she experiences them herself.

Whether completely factual or creative nonfiction, the emotions come through quite clearly in this work. It is well written and would definitely act as a great companion piece to someone who was going through a similar  situation. 

It's a difficult journey to navigate and therefore not the easiest book to read, but the process is one of healing and learning to continue on with life, taking what you can from the experience. That is a lesson that everyone can learn from. 


Some Bio Information

Born and bred in Scotland, Rosalind Gibb has lived and worked in Cumbria, London and Italy doing various jobs including feature writing for newspapers, silver service waitressing, and harvesting oranges. Now a freelance writer and editor, she is based in Edinburgh but is currently on a three month road trip in the USA, collecting material for her second book. Her website is www.rosalindgibb.com.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Show Me Colour: Notes on love, loss, grief and renewal is based on real-life events: the sudden death of my boyfriend in 2010 and, after a time, learning to live life again during a trip through Italy. At the time I was working as a journalist – a features writer – and it simply made sense to write about this life-changing event and to share my experience with others. I felt I had plenty of material for a book, particularly after the Italy trip, when the ‘renewal’ stage was so powerful. I was also interested in helping to start more conversations about bereavement and grief, and raising money through sales for a charity in the UK, Cruse Bereavement Care, which proved to be a lifeline for me.  

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

When it comes to creative writing I am not one for routine – I start typing or writing when the mood takes me! It might be at home, at a café, or while out for a walk. I take a notebook everywhere, just in case. Coffee or a glass of wine usually figure. I write for as long as possible, and worry about the editing stage later. This was my first book and I gave myself a deadline (by arranging the book launch, so there was no way out!).

I definitely need a deadline. 

3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 

It’s solitary and can be all-consuming. I don’t think I was much fun at social gatherings when I was in the final stages of the book; it’s all I had on my mind. The editing stage takes much longer than expected and can get frustrating.

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

Being in the moment, wherever that might be. 

5. What can readers expect from you in the future? 

I am currently travelling in the east USA, from New England to Key West, recording material for the next book. As with Show Me Colour, it will be narrative non-fiction.

6. How would you describe your writing style? 

First and foremost, it’s from the heart. Beyond that I think different readers will get different things from it.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

Apart from coming up with the next worldwide bestseller? Isn’t that every writer’s honest aim?! But seriously, getting feedback from people in different parts of the world, about how Show Me Colour has had an impact on them, or inspired them, has been hugely satisfying.

Secrets of an Over 50 Former Fat Man

Secrets of an Over 50 Former Fat Man - Scott Deuty

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This book is pretty straightforward. It details one man's account of how he improved his health and quality of life through diet and exercise.  

The overall message is positive and one of compromise -- find a system that works for you. Despite the title, there are lots of good pieces of information for anyone looking to make some changes. 

I had a little bit of trouble following along, but I'm not used to reading Fitness How To Guides. However, no matter who you are, there is something to take away from this book: determination  and positivity is key towards achieving your goals. 


Some Bio Information

I'm just a normal guy that looked in the mirror and didn't like my size so I did something about it. Along the way I documented my progress. I then wrote about the journey. Note that I'm trying to compete in a sea of books that are written by medical personnel, trainers, and supplement backed "entertainers". I did enjoy my journey and was rarely hungry. I also invoked a lifestyle changed instead of a temporary diet and regain cycle.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

My success in weight loss inspired me to write this book.  I lost the weight and have kept it off over two years.  It took several tries over three decades to finally achieve my goals.  I wanted to share my success with others so they could improve their happiness like I did.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

For a “how to” book, I record the data and images in outline form.  Powerpoint is good for this. Then I fill in the outline.  Finally, I tie it all together with words.  This method made me a successful Applications Engineer when writing application notes for new electronics products.

For fiction, I just tell the story as it flows from my brain.  I then go back and check the logical flow.  This is also a good time to edit it down for redundancy as well as flow and appeal.  Walk away from the work and come back when your mind is fresh to review it. 

3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

The excitement of capturing my creativity is the best part.  I like sharing my story.  I also like meeting other writers as they share your pain as well as the secrets to publishing.  Even though it’s a competition of sorts, most writers aren’t your direct competition and they are willing to help you.  The ecology is one of promoting each other’s work.  Great people!

4. What advice would you give to someone just starting out down the road to improved health and fitness?  

First and foremost you most convince yourself you want to change for the better.  Then create your goals and stick to them.  Don’t “cheat”.  Stay on schedule.  It gets easier.  You will have to convince yourself less and less as the change becomes a more permanent part of your daily life.

5. What would you like readers to take away from your book?  

If I can do it, anyone can.  I had a heart attack and am partially paralyzed.  I found a routine that worked for me.  There is a routine for everyone.  You just have to find it.  Also note that people will notice your changes and your happiness will greatly improve. 

6. How would you describe your writing style?  

My writing style is somewhat of a narrative as I began as a technical writer.  This was hard to get away from when I wrote my novel.  However, I was able to adapt.  That’s the key.  Be flexible and able to adapt to change. 

7. What’s your ultimate goal in all of this?  

I want people to realize that they can have the body they always wanted regardless of their age and limitation.  I workout 3-4 times a week.  I am human and procrastinate like the rest of us do.  However, I know that feeling I get from working out which is very euphoric and rewarding.  Anyone is capable of experiencing that feeling.  My goal is to provide them the initiative to pursue it.

A Secondhand Life

A Secondhand Life - Pamela Crane

As I noted in my previous book review, I struggle with psychological thrillers. 

But once again, great writing and an intense plot made for one heck of a book.

To begin with, the plot does have some disturbing attributes. Not only do you see a bit of the story through the eyes of the killer, but as a reader, we're given some insight into the killer's motives and emotions, which definitely made me squeamish and a little sick to my stomach. 

The writing is superb and the author does a fantastic job of building suspense and drawing out the plot. 

If you are of psychological thrillers, I'm confident you will not be disappointed with A Secondhand Life.


Some Bio Information

My name is Pamela Crane, and I am a professional juggler. Not the type of juggler who can toss flaming torches in the air, but a juggler of four kids, a writing addiction, a horse rescuer, and a book editor by trade. I live on the edge (ask my Arabian horse about that—he’ll tell you all about our wild adventures of me trying to train him!) and I write on the edge. My characters and plots are my escape from the real world of dirty diapers and cleaning horse stalls, and I thrive off of an entertaining tale. To pick up a copy of a FREE book, or find out more about my chaotic existence, visit my website at www.pamelacrane.com


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Nine years ago a traumatic experience propelled me to write my first book after I realized how therapeutic it can be. Since then, my darkest or most perplexing experiences have shaped each story, which led me to write A Secondhand Life. After receiving a heart transplant, the main character, Mia, experiences an actual scientific phenomenon called “organ memory” where she is plagued by a murder victim’s horrific memories and uses them to track the killer at large. Sound more like fiction than fact? I have proof it’s real. A friend of mine underwent a lung transplant and ended up having memories that weren’t his. The book is inspired by his real experiences with organ memory, which fascinated me enough to base my book on it. Though luckily his memories involved nice things like holiday dinners, not murder.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

When life hits me with a story I want to tell, my first step is to jot down the concept. After that, I let the story take me where it wants. I usually start off with a character profile—who among my friends and family will be my next protagonist? It could be you!—and a general story outline, but the details often lead me along tangents I don’t expect. It’s interesting to see how the story develops a life of its own this way—and it’s this lack of method that results in the twist endings that I’m generally known for having.  


3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 

Write a paragraph. Change a diaper. Write another paragraph. Nurse a newborn. Write another paragraph. Tend to a nightmare-riddled child. This is my least favorite part of writing—the ceaseless interruptions that hinder progress. But lo and behold, I do on occasion find a rare hour or two when everyone’s asleep, with clean diapers and full bellies, when I can get a lot of writing done. 

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

Have you ever seen the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? In the movie there’s this redneck cousin named Cousin Eddie, whose family lives in a decrepit, rusted-out, toxic RV. I happen to own the same one! As ancient and hideous as our RV is, it makes the perfect writing getaway and is right in my backyard (even though I often disown it when asked if it’s mine—it’s that ugly!). Something about being crammed in this tiny house on wheels feels…quaint. Plus it’s a free escape from the distractions inside my house (i.e., four needy kids and piles of laundry and dishes to clean). So when I need a writing retreat, I stock up on chai tea, salad, and junk food, bring my laptop and some soothing music, and type until my fingers bleed. Quite frankly, some of my most powerful prose has been inspired by such tight quarters, since no thought has room to flee.

5. What can readers expect from you in the future? 

My prequel to A Secondhand Life, titled A Secondhand Lie, is set to release this winter. It shares more about Landon’s personal journey, what put his father behind bars, and how those characters developed, since readers requested an encore to reveal more about their lives. I even shed some light on the alleged child predator found in A Secondhand Life, though his drama may have earned him an entire book of his own.

6. How would you describe your writing style? 

The best word I can use to describe my writing style is “honest,” because I write how I think. I love poetic prose, but I also love grit, so in my writing I try to achieve a balance of vivid literary style and raw realism. But to make the story really stick with readers, my writing always weaves in dark, creepy details to reveal just how gruesome—and beautiful—human nature can be…

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

My greatest goal with each book is to write what no one has written before. In an entertainment industry full of remakes (the original is almost always better) and overdone sequels (Rocky VI, anyone?), my passion is to deliver something innovative. Is it even possible? Since my experiences are unique to me, I sure hope so, but that’s my objective with every project: deliver something refreshingly entertaining (and a little disturbing too—insert evil laughter here!).

Pretty Maidens All In a Row

Pretty Maidens All In a Row - J.M. Brown

Psychological thrillers always seem to scare me more than paranormal thrillers or monster/creature based plots. I think part of the reasoning is that it saddens me to think of what humans are capable of doing to one another. 

That being said, those types of plots make for great suspenseful books. 

This fast paced and edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller kept me on my toes. I was anticipating the ending, but the author pulled off the twist well. JM Brown is a very skilled writer in dialogue and suspense building. 

While I struggled with the scenes from the killer's point of view (just because they make me squeamish) I though the heroine was wonderfully written and the ending was cathartic.


Some Bio Information

Lives in Newfoundland, Canada. Graduated from the Grace General Hospital School of Nursing in 1980 at nineteen years of age and went on the specialize in psychiatry / psychology. Characters in the novels are fictional but are created from experiences while counselling patients in psychiatric institutions. Started writing at a young age but didn't publish until February of 2015. Has a keen interest in the supernatural, from both a personal and professional level and has decided to weave stories based on real life experiences.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book? 

The inspiration for the book came from ideas that I jotted down while working as a psychiatric nurse. The patients that I counselled suffered from mild depression to psychotic paranoia. I took a lot of advanced courses to deal with them and I had patients that closely resemble some of the characters I wrote about. The story is loosely based on some events that resulted in the victim ending up in psyche ward, trying to deal with someone who was getting a little too "friendly" and did her some harm. 
 
2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I usually write in the seclusion of our cabin where it is very peaceful and I have a clear mind away from the stresses of everyday life. That's not the only place though because sometimes I get ideas that have to be written down immediately. This can happen in a grocery store when I see something that sparks a great notion to build on. I do write at home when I can find time. Life is very busy today. 
 
3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?  

The thing I hate the most is not in the writing process at all, except for the constant editing that's needed to try and make it flawless. It's the promoting and marketing, which is very overwhelming. There is too much competition out there today and the chances of getting noticed is hard to attain. 
 
4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

The perfect writing environment is somewhere that is very peaceful and relaxing as I mentioned in another question. I have a room in my home with a fireplace and looking into the crackling fire can inspire lots of ideas. 
 
5. What can readers expect from you in the future?  

I am working on a new novel that has a bit of paranormal mixed into the beginning but it will, for the most part, be another psychological thriller that will keep readers guessing until the end, as in my debut novel. All my novels will have a children's nursery rhyme theme but are definitely not for children. I have many story ideas that will surface in the future. I love to write. 
 
6. How would you describe your writing style? 

I set out to be a thriller writer but my experiences with patients at psychiatric facilities has turned my writing into a bit of a dark style, according to my reviews. Parts of my novels are a little graphic but other parts are quite romantic. I like to go along kind of normal and peaceful and then drop a bomb that makes the reader wonder what happened. It's my job to resolve one problem before the next tragedy happens. 
 
7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

I write for pleasure but like all new authors, I would love to have a huge following, waiting for the next book. That's very hard to achieve but I've learned quite a lot from my first novel experience and it will show in the next one. There is great satisfaction when a complete stranger recognizes me, tells me that the book was awesome, and wants to know when another one will be ready. 

You Guys Have it All Wrong About HomeSchooled Kids

Written & Illustrated by Cat Blount

I grew up in a small private Christian school. While my parents chose that over home schooling, I did have many cousins who were home schooled, and I knew they all loved it. 

Now that I have a son of my own, my husband and I have done a lot of research on the pros and cons of home schooling. There are many articles written on the benefits of choosing to go this route. 

Cat Blount does an excellent job of putting these arguments in story form. I see it as a great tool for home schooled children as they should embrace the idea that different is not weird or bad. Every child is different and learns in a different manner. Home schooled, public schooled, private schooled, we need to focus on teaching them that it's okay to learn in their own unique way regardless of the medium used. 

Colorful and fun illustrations, a great storyline, and a positive and upbeat attitude that I sincerely appreciate. Very much recommended for home schoolers and non home schoolers alike. 


Some Bio Information

Cat began writing stories at a very early age, but never was able to complete the stories she started. A beginning was as far as she could get. Then one day, many years and many, many crumpled papers later, while entertaining her small child and nephew, she wrote her first complete story from beginning to end in less than 18 minutes. That story became one of her first titles published and she has been writing complete stories ever since.

Cat is a stay-at-home mother of beautiful, amazing children and a loving wife to her loving husband of many years. She has an A.S. in Merchandising and a B.S. in Marketing. Her favorite season is summer, and she has always wanted to live on a farm. She still does. She also states to have the BEST imagination in the world


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Well, all of my stories come to me, beginning, middle, and end, all at once.  I am never really inspired to write a specific story.  My stories come to my mind naturally.  I could be mopping the kitchen floor, then BOOM, a story comes to my mind about an ant village.  I am certain, 100%, that God is just answering my prayer from years ago, that I become a children’s book author.  I believe, actually I know, he gives me my stories.

When this particular story came to my mind, I was like, “Woohoo!!!!!!!!,” because I knew that it was right up my alley.  My children are schooled from home, I HATE it when judgments are place on individuals, and groups of individuals as a whole [so annoying to me], and I love a good debate.  So, this story was perfect.

 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I sit down with a pen/pencil/marker, and I write without thinking.  I can churn out a story anywhere between 8 and 18 minutes.  If I start to think, I slow down.  If I just write, it’s a done deal.  Lately though, I have found that I can just type in the same way as well.  Just typing, not thinking.

3. What would you like readers to take away from your work? 

With this particular work, I am speaking to more than one type of audience.  I am speaking to the homeschooled family.  I would like for them to know how awesome an opportunity it is to go this route, and for them to know that the sky is the limit for what they teach, and how they teach it, and for what they learn.  I am speaking to those considering homeschooling.  I would like for them to see it from a different angle, and for them to ponder the possibilities.  I am also speaking to those who make blanket statements about all homeschooled families.  I want them to realize that they can’t base their opinions on what they have seen in other families, or heard from others, and conclude that all homeschooled parents and children are the same way. 

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment?

In a room, with a window, with the sun shining in, while hearing my family bustle about. 

5. What can readers expect from you in the future?

They can expect, hopefully, my craft to get better, and better, and better.  I am currently working on a book with three short stories that is a bit spooky, but with lessons, of course.  I am also bringing back the last of my stories that I removed from the market, as ebooks and paperbacks. 

6. How would you describe your writing style?

Organic.  I write from the inside, and how it comes out, it comes out. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

Well, as I mentioned, I already write fast.  If I can include illustrating, my goal is that I illustrate faster.  I also want to improve with every story I write and illustrate.

Frank Winston

Frank Winston - Jacob Power

What happens when an author combines a real life news article with a plot that fans of Grumpy Old Men would applaud?

Frank Winston by Jacob Power happens - that's what. 

This entertaining short story is a fun combination of humor and thrills as a couple of older ex-cons try to make some quick cash. 

Complete with plenty of face-palm moments, I found myself feeling quite bad for the two main characters as they have no idea what they're getting themselves into at the start of the day. 

Frank Winston was a great departure from my normal reading list. It was unique, enjoyable, and well written.


Some Bio Information

Jacob Power is a graphic designer, husband, father, and writer, but not necessarily in that order. He grew up in central Louisiana and graduated from the University of Louisiana at Monroe in journalism. To view more samples of his writing, or graphic design work, you can visit his website JPowerDesign.com, or follow him on Twitter @PowerJacobE.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this short story? 

A friend of mine sent me a news story where two older guys were arrested for driving around in what looked like a sniper van. One of the men had some sort of connection with the New Orleans mob, and both men were denying they had any idea of the silenced .22 rifle that was in the van. As soon as I finished reading the article the movie "Grumpy Old Men" came to mind and the idea of the story was born. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I have a full time job, wife, three kids, and two dogs. To say I'm busy is an understatement. However, I carve out time here and there where I can. Sometimes I write late at night, sometimes I write on my lunch break. The great thing about this story was that it was extremely fun to write. Plus, I knew it was going to be a short story so that allowed me to let the story be as long or short as it wanted to be. I liked writing these two old guys, and I loved the conversations they had. I was always eager to see what was going to happen next.

Right now, I'm doing the same thing for a novel I'm working on, some writing in the morning (when I can get out of bed early enough), at lunch, and at night once the kids are in bed. I used to never plan ahead when it came to writing, but I've found that having a loose outline to keep any ideas for what could happen in the story rewarding. As I'm writing I'll keep the outline in the back of my mind like it's directions to get from point A to point B, but the ride along the way can take me anywhere.  

3. Who is your favorite character?   

Though I liked Frank, I enjoyed Winston's character more. He seemed more of the realist of the two. He was a reluctant sidekick, but as conservative as he was he wanted to be there when the action happened.                                                                                                                                       

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

I would love to have my own writing hut/shed/whatever. The idea of having a dedicated space that's not directly connected to the house, like Chuck Wendig's "Mystery Shack," sounds like the perfect place to me. I would wake up, write for a couple of hours, take a break, then work on other material I completed. I did something like this while on a trip, and loved the routine of it. I wish I could incorporate more of that now.  

5. Do you have a favorite author?  

For the longest time I was a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, and I still am to some extent. I loved his writing style and sarcasm. Now, I tend to lean more toward Dennis Lehane, or Elmore Leonard. There are authors I wish had more material out there to read, I'm talking about you Donna Tartt.              

6. How would you describe your writing style?  

I'm not sure how I would describe my writing style. I'm not a minimalist, but I don't try to ramble on for pages about how a room looks either. I realize the reader should have an idea of what certain settings should look like. A friend described my style as "packed with content/meaning in relatively little space." 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?  

I would love to be a full time novelist with at least two to three book releases a year. For the longest time I wanted to be published traditionally. I would still love to be published traditionally, but  I'm continually exploring the self publishing/indie side of getting my work out there.

I currently have a novel I'm having beta read, and hopefully self published in the near future. I also have an outline for a sequel to that book, but I'm working on another project at this time. I know there is plenty of work to be done to get to that point. I've learned there is more to being an author than just writing. It's exciting and a little scary at the same time. Even if I don't become a full time novelist then I'll still want to get my work out there in one way or another.      

Dead Scary: The Ghost Who Refused to Leave

Dead Scary: The Ghost Who Refused to Leave - Sally Gould

I've always enjoyed books of the paranormal nature. While the focus in today's world seems to be more on vampires and werewolves, I enjoy a book that focuses on a good old fashioned ghost story. 

Sally Gould has written a wonderfully clever and charming young adult/children's book about a young boy and the ghost he is forced to interact with. I enjoyed the fresh approach she took with the genre and found myself chuckling on more than one occasion. 

The plot is well paced and I enjoyed each of the characters and their distinct personalities. The plot definitely took a few turns that I wasn't expecting and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Overall a fun and wonderful read for all ages. 


Some Bio Information

Sally Gould loved books from a young age, but never considered writing them. While she was busy getting up to the mischief that teenagers get up to, she forgot about books all together. Then total insanity took hold and she became a corporate lawyer. Fortunately, she had two sons and they inspired her to write stories for children. Of course, her oldest son is responsible, logical, studious, considerate, grateful and even makes his bed. The youngest one is only interested in having fun - lots of it. And, except for his teachers, he makes everyone laugh. Their antics have inspired many of Sally's stories. Sally lives in Melbourne, Australia with her family and two dogs - Pebbles, who is sensible, and Jade, who just wants to have fun.
Her website is at: www.sallygould.com.au


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

When my youngest son was little, he’d often wake screaming terrified of the ghost in his room. His experiences were so consistent and his terror so real that I did some research and realized that it’s a fairly modern idea that There is no such thing as ghosts (as I’d been told when I was little). I read a number of books about earthbound spirits and found Mary Ann Winkowski’s When Ghosts Speak to be an excellent resource. She was the consultant on the TV series Ghost Whisperer. So the idea of a boy learning to deal with ghosts on his own inspired me.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I like the idea of planning really well, so I don’t waste so much time rewriting. I write the backgrounds and motivations of the characters and I plan out each scene. But, of course, the planning rarely works out as I intend. The first version of this story was written in the viewpoint of the ghost and so there was a lot of rewriting involved.

3. Who is your favorite character in Dead Scary?

Isabel because of the prank she played at school.

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment?

An environment without dogs, kids and phones sounds ideal, however that will never happen in my home.

5. What can readers expect from you in the future?

I have two picture books that are being illustrated. The City Dog, which is about resilience and adapting to change, might be out next year. The Brave Knight is about imaginary play and won’t be released for a couple of years. I have another series for 9 – 12 year olds in the pipeline.

6. How would you describe your writing style?

Accessible. Since my eldest son was a reluctant reader, I know the importance of encouraging those children to read. So my writing style is about being easy to read with action and humor.

The Black Swan Company

The Black Swan Company - Luna DeMasi

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With so many paranormal books out there, I always get excited when I find one that takes off in a new direction that I haven't seen before. The Black Swan Company reminds me a little of The Omega Man by Richard Matheson. But there are more political implications and a lot of thrills as our heroine fights for survival, the truth, and in the end, love. 

There is a lot of dialogue in this book, but DeMasi makes it seem effortless. I had no trouble keeping up with the plot, the characters, or in believing the direction she took. Without giving away spoilers, I have to say that the biggest shock to me was that the main Sanguine character is not what I expected him to be. And it was a breath of fresh air. Absolutely lovely. 

I had a lot of fun reading this book and look forward to more in the series. 


Some Bio Information

Luna DeMasi was born in New York, but currently resides in southeast Michigan. She holds a B. S. in psychology, a master’s of library and information science, and loves scary stories.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Much like the way my other stories came to me: I had a very simple concept come to me that I was intrigued by, then built the story around it. In this case, it was a human being marooned in a world of monsters, and having to work with one to survive; my anxiety surrounding the current political climate in the United States found its way inside, and before I knew it, I had my plot for the book

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

It involves so much thinking; staring at walls, listening to music, and thinking. Then, obsessive writing!

3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

The editing. Oh, how I hate editing...I'm a perfectionist about that kind of stuff.

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

Perfect quiet with nothing else that needs to be done in the mundane world to distract me!

5. What can readers expect from you in the future? 

I'm trying to complete another project called 'Counting the Stars without You,' which is also in the paranormal genre, but as far as 'The Black Swan Company' series, I'm hoping for three more books

6. How would you describe your writing style? 

Lucid.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

To get all of my ideas for stories in book form!

Little Exits

Little Exits - Harry Posner

As the title and cover suggests, this book of short stories focuses on the topic of death and the variety of ways in which people find their lives ending. I was quite intrigued by the concept as I grew up in a religious home and death was often discussed. This book felt more like poetry or a work of art. I wasn't as concerned with the characters in each short story as I was with each individual tone and methods presented. 

The flow is seamless despite the change in perspective, setting, and plot with each new chapter. Trying out so many different styles of writing in one book takes a lot of effort and skill, but Posner pulls it off quite well. 

I recommend taking your time with this book. Don't rush through it as the author offers up so much with each segment. 


Some Bio Information

Harry Posner is a self-published poet and author from Caledon, Ontario, Canada, whose love of writing evolved in a natural progression from short stories to children’s picture books, to poetry, novels, and spoken word performance. He is a member of the spoken word/percussion duo known as The Rubber Brothers, and is a member of the Words Aloud Poetry Collective, as well as the Headwaters Writers Guild, Writers Ink Alton, and an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. As well as teaching creative writing, Harry is the author of two novels, a book of poetry, and a workbook for developing writers. In January 2015, he launched his newest book, a collection of flash fiction, entitled LITTLE EXITS, available at www.posnerbooks.com, and is about to release an audio poetry CD of his collected spoken word poems.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

When one is getting on in life, as I am, the question of the end of life starts to loom large. So, this book is my way of approaching the mystery of death via the unfettered imagination.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I gave myself the challenge of making each story unique unto itself, to adjust style, approach, lingo, or whatever, to suit the originality of the storyline and characters. To make no two stories alike in feel or ‘voice’. Which meant that each day and each story presented a brand new challenge. It was almost as if I had to write a brand new book (a short one!) every day.

3. What is your least favorite part of the writing process? 

Buckling down to the rewrites. Which is why I tend to wait longer to start the first drafts, to let the book or story sit inside of me and to really stew over the ideas and characters before beginning the writing process.

4. How would you describe the perfect writing environment? 

The green world close by, good light in the room, morning, steaming cup of Assam tea on the table.

5. What can readers expect from you in the future? 

Hard to say. I don’t even know what to expect of me in the future. I’ve always let my heart run the show, and it has led me in all kinds of crazy and wonderful directions. I’m very eclectic in my choice of medium, whether it be novels, short stories, or poetry. I’ve just released an audio poetry CD called IN THE EVENT OF TRUE HAPPINESS (available through www.posnerbooks.com), which is a collection of my spoken word poetry. So it’s hard to say where next my heart will lead me.

6. How would you describe your writing style? 

In LITTLE EXITS, it borders on experimental or metafictional, in which the reader is made to kind of hover over the story--in it, but not of it, so to speak. It’s hard to explain. You’ll need to read to book to understand it!

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

My ultimate goal is to create fiction or poetry that touches the soul, stimulates the mind, and otherwise inspires others to pick up the sword of creativity and hack away at the mindlessness of consensus reality

The Secret Life of Eddie Kitchens

The Secret Life of Eddie Kitchens - Will Gibson

Yet another book that completely caught off guard. I immediately fell in love with Eddie and found myself surprised again and again where this plot led me. Gibson does an amazing job at leading the reader to feel what Eddie is feeling rather than simply telling the story. 

The plot is rich with detail and description, and the characters are so well developed that I felt as though I knew them. 

I also appreciated being able to see the daughter's perspective as she realizes that her mother was not ONLY the person she knew her to be, but that she had also lived this incredible other life -- even if it was only for a short period of time. 

Thoroughly loved this book. I cannot recommend it enough. Great read. 

 


Some Bio Information

Author WILL GIBSON founded the American Black Book Writers Association as its first president and trade journal editor-in-chief. He served on the advisory board of the Black Authors: Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors, Gale Research. He is the author of many novels, including the following:

  • The Reverend Viola Flowers
  • The Bishop’s Granddaughters
  • The Daughters of Joe Stubbs
  • The Hidden Life of Eddie Kitchens
  • Lola & The World of Buddy Shortt
  • A Song For Terri Ross
  • Estella & Sylvia
  • Running With Mr. Bell
  • The Man With The Silver Tongue
  • Cedar Hill
  • Leaves Can’t Fly

Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write something that saluted the Black Press that with meager resources and often suffering scorn and ridicule from mainstream journalism almost singlehandedly provided the African American people with the information and coverage they needed to stay proud and strong as a race in their long struggle for Equal Rights. Being a novelist I needed a good story in which to express that homage, and along came Eddie Kitchens with her camera and adventures.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing style? 

I am a fan of Joyce Carol Oates who only writes stories that strike her fancy, and those stories are hard to pigeon-hole, whether about boxing or love.  I like to think the same is true of my novels, whether about formula one auto-racing or dancing. And also like Ms. Oates, my central characters usually end up being strong females.

3. Who is your favorite fictional character? 

My favorite fictional character has to be Spartacus in Howard Fast’s famous novel by the same name. That book showed me as a young boy the power a good novel has to change a reader’s life.

4. How would you describe your writing style? 

To me as an author of eleven novels, writing style is less important than getting my plot and characters right.

5. Describe the perfect writing environment. 

The perfect writing environment is to be alone in the comfort and quiet of my study with soft classical music in the background.

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book?

The pure pleasure of the story, plus the feeling that you are a bigger and better person for reading it.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

My ultimate writing goal is to write as many good stories as I can before my imagination dries up

Metro Diaries

Metro Diaries - Namrata

This is an enchanting series of blogs that have been put together in book form. They flow together smoothly, their common themes helping to connect them as you're reading. It reminded me of some of my own experiences. They are well written and a nice departure from reality. 

Every once in a while I find myself witnessing a situation out in public that makes me wonder what that person or people are going through in life. What are they experiencing? What emotions are flowing through them? What would it be like to live a day in their shoes? 

Metro Diaries gives us a chance to live a different life in each short story included. Some are happy and some are not, but they each give us a unique perspective, reminding us that everyone is going through something unique. 


Some Bio Information

Namrata heads the editorial and marketing team for Bloody Good Book Publishing House. She is a prolific blogger known by the name Privy Trifles in the blogosphere who romances life through her writings and aspires to make love the universal language. She dons various hats between that of a contributing author to 8 anthologies, a reviewer for leading publishing houses an editor to various books and a columnist. Apart from that she is also the editor for an online magazine called Writer's Ezine. Having mastered the nuances of finance till recently she also held the title of an investment banker closely to let it go to embrace her love for writing fully.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book? 

Metro Diaries is a series on my blog. It began when I started travelling frequently due to work. Everywhere I went I saw stories and this seemed to be the best way to capture them.

After almost a year and a half of it running on my blog some of the ardent readers suggested it takes the form of a book as they would love to have it as a keepsake. A reminder that love still exists around us waiting to be found. And that is how this book was born.

Their love and faith in me and my writing inspired me to write this book. 

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

I am usually a night person. Most of my stories are born in the darkness of the night. I like scribbling them in bits and pieces ... Mulling over them before finally giving them the shape of a story.

3. How long did it take you to write this book?

It took me  8 months to write this book. 

4. Do you think a person can truly appreciate love without having experience in understanding lost love? 

Like it is said in life to understand pain you need to know what joy is. Likewise losing love is a part of the process of understanding love better. We meet people for a reason and it is that reason which stays with us forever. 

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

I have a very easy going style of writing which connects with a reader instantly. I rely more on emotions than drastic twists in my story. 

6. What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I would like them to take away some hope and love. I want them to remember no bend is the end of the world and there is nothing that doesn't have a solution. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

I want to make a difference. I want to touch hearts. Leave a smile. Even if it's to just one person. But the fact that I did it would be enough for me. 

Past Life Strife

Past Life Strife - Christina McMullen

Many of the books that I enjoy reading are enjoyable because I'm on the outside looking in, like some sort of voyeuristic presence, watching over the people who go through troubles and out of this world drama. But occasionally, and I mean, only occasionally, I stumble across a book that makes me desperately wish I could hop within the pages and live within the plot for a few days or weeks. 

One of these rare books is Past Life Strife by Christina McMullen. She has created a world that is both thrilling and sarcastically fun with a very enjoyable dry sense of humor. 

The plot is not one that is known to me, so I found the idea of the Discordants very unique and entrancing. I'm anxious to learn more about this world. . .er. . .small town of Blackbird. 

What really entertained me, throughout the entire book, was the relationship and interactions between Desmond, Bogie, and Seth. There is such a high level of sarcasm and snarkiness that I couldn't help but fall in love with all three of them (combined). They're a trio of main characters that I sincerely hope will never be separated. 


Some Bio Information

Christina McMullen is a science fiction and fantasy author who dreams of flying cars and electric sheep. She currently resides in Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband and three dogs. When she isn't writing, Christina enjoys travel, vegan cooking, modern and classical art, and of course, reading.

For updates and information on future releases, promos, and giveaways, please follow her: 


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Growing up, I was a huge fan of Robert Asprin’s Myth series, which was a satirical take on the epic fantasy genre. I’ve always enjoyed humor and wondered if it was something that I could write. A while back, I was looking through some old notes and started to cobble together an idea that spiraled into several books.

2. Who’s your favorite character? (It’s Bogie, isn’t it? And, is that a fedora he’s wearing?)

Bogie is certainly one of my favorites. He’s definitely the most fun to write and he comes up with such interesting ways to mangle the English language. My other favorite would be Myrna. She doesn’t have a lot to do in the first book, but as the series progresses, we learn a lot about her (very colorful) past. 

3. Did you create this world as you wrote or did you already have an idea about how this world of Discordants worked? 

The entire series came out of a couple of very different ideas and drabbles I’d written many years ago (some dating back to the last century). Seth and Desmond were actually the stars of an atmospheric Gothic horror that served as the bones for Past Life Strife. It had a very different tone, especially in terms of religious views. It was more black & white, Heaven & Hell oriented. Unfortunately, I can’t find the original of that one. Another source story, which serves to set up the second book, Splitsville, was a more lighthearted and campy story about two teens who discover they are dead and are going to be guardian angels. As far as the rules of Order and Chaos go, they were mostly set when I started writing, but each book introduces a new aspect, so it’s always a challenge to introduce a new idea without contradicting myself.

4. How would you describe your writing style? 

Chaotic. I write what’s on my mind and stitch the pieces together later on. Unfortunately, this leads to pages and pages of unused words that I hoard away for potential use elsewhere. Sometimes they end up as bonus material on my blog and sometimes they end up incorporated into other stories, but mostly, the cut scenes are just boring bits that don’t work, so I really have no excuse for hanging on to them.

5. Is there a character within your book that particularly irritates you?

In this series, it has to be Seth. He started out simple enough. He was never meant to be the main character, just the catalyst for the events of the first book, but he keeps trying to worm his way into more scenes and he is TOUGH to write. Of course, he is part of a larger story arc that goes through the series, but this is an ensemble cast series, Seth, we can’t make it all about you!

6. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

Hmm… Do I have a writing process? I wake up, I turn the computer on, and I write. I definitely try to see a project through to completion. I don’t like to start new projects in the middle of a series, but every so often, an idea will pop into my head that is hard to ignore. If I don’t at least type out a synopsis, I might as well not bother working on anything because it will bug me until the idea is out of my head.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

Ultimately, I’d love to see all of the ideas floating around my head through to completion. Seemed like a pretty simple goal for a while, but these days, it seems the concepts come to me faster than I can type. 

8. How do you respond to the accusations that you like to dress up as a robot and terrorize Barnes & Noble, shoving indie books in patrons’ hands? 

Well, what was I supposed to do, dress up like myself and shove indie books at people? Everyone would think I was insane! No, best to go with the robot costume. Everyone trusts a ro-buh… What? I mean…. What are you even talking about? I would never… Next question!

9. You suddenly wake up and find that you’re living in Blackbird. Who are you and what’s your Past Life Strife?

Well… here’s a little secret: Blackbird is based on a combination of the small, economically defunct, post-cold war industrial city that I grew up in and the small college town that I currently live in. I’m an anonymous patron at the Five Penny Pub whose soul has teetered on the edge of lost a few more times than she would like to admit. But a trip to HomeGoods and some cheddar biscuits can go a long way toward finding balance. ;) 

10. What couldn’t you live without while writing?

Coffee!!! That’s the cliché author answer, isn’t it? But it’s so true. Between giving up sweets, drinking, smoking, and not having a drug habit, it’s my only vice and if author clichés have taught me anything, we need a vice. 

The Unrevealed

The Unrevealed - Jason Porter and Lara Marie Collinsworth

As the cover of this book would suggest (along with the title), The Unrevealed is a bit of a whirlwind plot. 

You're immediately thrown into the life of Haze as he's thrown a curve ball of his own. And despite his less than legal actions in retaliation, I felt for him and immediately took a liking to him. 

The plot moves so fast to begin with that I had a hard time keeping up, but at the same time, it was near impossible to stop turning the pages (electronically speaking). 

By the end of the book I was left with more questions than answers, but the great dialogue, realistic and in depth characters, and great action sequences made the journey a fun one. 

If you're looking for something a little unique and out of your ordinary reading realm, then The Unrevealed is worth your time. 


Some Bio Information

After discovering that cannabis was the only treatment for his rare illness, long-time poet Jason Porter Collinsworth became an ardent advocate for medical marijuana.  He founded and became head breeder of Love Genetics, an innovative boutique cannabis breeding organization in California that focuses on high CBD and THC strains. He has written an extensive amount of poetry, some of which is published in his anthology, Tearing Apart a Whisper. Jason also co-authored The Unrevealed, the first cannabis superhero adventure novel of its kind, with his wife, Lara Marie Collinsworth. In his free time, Jason enjoys photographing life, composing poetry, growing, making soap, and creating interesting recipes. He lives with his two beautiful children and his lovely wife in California.

Lara Marie Collinsworth began writing fantasy stories at the early age of seven.  Her passion for writing only grew from there.  She worked as an editor for a literary magazine, earned her BA in English, and became a high school English teacher.  After developing a serious medical condition, Lara left teaching and now focuses exclusively on writing and studying yoga.  She published her first novel, The Unrevealed, as a collaboration piece with her husband, Jason Porter Collinsworth.  She and Jason are currently working on their second novel, The Convergence, and several short stories.  They live in California with their two children and three cats.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

Our own lives and stories inspired us to write The Unrevealed series and to spread the word about the healing and curative nature of cannabis in an entertaining package. We hope that we can potentially reach mainstream society with such an important message.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

First, Jason and I created the universe for the series and the main character descriptions and plot lines.  Next, we outlined and brainstormed the chapters one at a time, and then Jason composed the text orally like telling a story.  I directly transcribed what he said, and later we went back over the chapters together.  When we finished, we spent about a year editing and revising the novel in its entirety.

3. Who is your favorite character within The Unrevealed?

Haze.  He’s got this sexy, charming bad boy thing goin’ on, while at the same time truly caring about people and doing whatever he can to help them.  Plus, you never know what he’ll do or say next.  He’s exciting.

4. How long did it take you to complete this book?

We wrote the first draft in 5 months, and then it took about a year to edit and revise.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

Our style is edgy, poetic personal narrative like if Hunter S. Thompson and Sylvia Path collaborated to write a superhero novel based on their real lives.

6. What would you like your readers to take away from your work?

We hope our readers find high times on the wild ride and leave with a greater appreciation and understanding of the benefits of cannabis.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

Jason:  I hope to someday write a piece of literature that becomes so much more than a book in somebody’s life, something that actually becomes a life event that they remember, a piece of art they celebrate forever because of how much the language or wisdom impacted their soul like The Alchemist and Stone Junction did for me.

Lara:  My goal is just to write, and then see what happens.

Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills

Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills - Praveen Venkiteswara Annu

Deep within us, we all long for adventure. Whether we appease these cravings by traveling or reading, the desire is ever present. 

In Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills, Praveen Venkiteswara Annu introduces us to one man's desire for adventure and the journey that he and a few friends embark on. 

Complete with breathtaking images that will leave you a bit in awe, this account leaves no detail out. 

The writing is straight to the point and the images are a wonderful addition, helping to fully bring to life exactly what the author is describing and making you a part of the story. 


Some Bio Information

I am Praveen Venkiteswara Annu, from God’s Own Country, Kerala in India. 
Although I am a mechanical engineer by qualification, I switched streams after studies and picked up software development. I work as a Software Architect in a multi-national company and live in Trivandrum, Kerala with my wife and 3 year-old daughter.

I enjoy travelling, photography and spending time with my family. My daughter loves the beach and the outdoors in general and that is where we normally spend our weekends.
Having been a sportsperson in my school days, I follow cricket closely and I am interested in basketball, volleyball, tennis and soccer. I have tried my hand at various sports whenever I had the opportunity.

I never thought I would become a published author until I returned from a trip to Ladakh, a high altitude cold desert in the Indian Himalayas. I had an encounter with Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) and had to return halfway through the trip. I decided to jot down my experiences. Once I was done, I shared it with my friends to get some feedback and the feedback was positive. It was then that I decided that it was probably a good idea to try my hand at self-publishing.

I thought it would be a good idea to include some pictures that I had clicked during the journey, in the book. So, after completing a couple of drafts, editing and formatting, I was ready to self-publish. I also designed the cover art myself, with some help from the Amazon Cover Designer, of course. Do let me know what you think about it.

Thus, my first book “Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills” was published. I also put together a collection of photographs from the trip in a picture book titled “Ladakh in Pictures”. 

Though this was my first attempt at publishing a book, I had started writing about my experiences of travelling in Europe, while working in the United Kingdom. That was never completed. Now that I have discovered the art of self-publishing, I hope to pick up from where I left off, complete the book and publish it sooner than later.

I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to reach out to me at Praveen.annu@gmail.com.


Q&A

1. What made you decide to share your story? 

never really planned to become a writer. After returning from a life changing trip to Ladakh, I jotted down my experience. I shared it with my friends and I received positive feedback from them. So, I thought of publishing it since I had written it anyway! 'Himalayas: Through Heaven and Hell in the Hills' became my first book. A selection of photographs from the trip was compiled into the book 'Ladakh in Pictures'.

2. How long did it take you to write this? 

This is a short book. I took around three weeks from the first draft to reviewers copy. The book was ready for publication in another two weeks after I designed the cover and incorporated feedback from my beta readers.

3. How would you describe your writing process?

I prefer to write only when I am in the mood. I cannot force myself to write. So, there is no set schedule. But, when I do write, I like to write as long as I find the flow.

4. What is your favorite memory from that time? 

That would have to be the time spent on the banks of river Indus, near the Stakna Monastery. It was around midday and the sun was bright enough and the breeze mild enough to be enjoyed. The only sounds were of chirping birds and the rippling water. The view had everything on offer; snowcapped mountains, lush greenery, turquoise blue water of the Indus, a clear blue sky and the Stakna Monastery perched on a hill. It was a spiritual and heavenly experience.

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

I use simple English and try not to elaborate too much. I want the readers to use their imagination to paint a picture for themselves with the basic description that I provide. Some people have given me specific advice to be more descriptive in my writing – probably not my style.

6. What piece of advice would you give to your readers? 

My books are all related to travel and are based on real life experiences. As in real life, not all such experiences can have a fairytale ending. Most times it is a mix of both, good and bad. I have had some one star reviews with comments stating that it is a story of an unsuccessful road trip. My take on that is, unless others know what went wrong when I went on my trip, how will they avoid such mistakes when they undertake similar trips? There is no point just writing about success stories. Sometimes, sharing failures is also helpful and equally important.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

To share the memories from the various trips that I undertake with my readers and hopefully enrich their lives with experiences of my travel. And, possibly to inspire some people to actually embark on a journey inspired by the places I travel to

Dirt Nap Rhapsody

Dirt Nap Rhapsody - Jules Cassard

I always enjoy it when authors combine genres successfully. You get the best of all your favorite types of books in one. So what do you get when you combine a murder mystery, crime thriller, romance, and humor? You get Dirt Nap Rhapsody. 

This book jumps perspectives and for the first few chapters, it takes some adjustment. But once I was able to get into the flow of how it was written, I didn't have any issues keeping up or following the change in perspectives. 

I found the characters to be amusing and endearing, the plot to be well paced, and the entire work enjoyable. I could definitely see this put into production on the stage. I think it would be quite entertaining and would provide a lot of laughs. Overall a great work -- albeit a little unpredictable. 


Some Bio Information

As a popular radio and television personality in his hometown of New Orleans, Jules Cassard knows how to tell a good story. In fact, he considers that experience as well as his seven years performing theatrically with the National Comedy Company to be at least as important to his writing abilities as his Degree in English Literature from the University of New Orleans. That may be why his satirical style of crime fiction has been described as "a unique blend of the comic and the tragic" and "the best kind of black humor." Jules Cassard is the author of several short stories such as "The Inanimates" and "A Codependent Pistol" as well as the plays "Stuck Together" and "First Impression." He lives in New Orleans with his wife and two children. "Dirt Nap Rhapsody" is his first novel.


Q&A

1. What inspired you to write this book?

As a playwright I often come up with ideas for scenes, or one-act plays, without intending on expanding them beyond that. Sometimes though, an idea naturally grows bigger than that and becomes a full-length play. This was the first time one of those grew even bigger than that and became a novel.

The initial idea was of a man being led to his execution, but instead of appearing sullen or afraid, looking very content and satisfied and blowing kisses and happily waving to a mysterious figure on the other side of the two-way mirror. I wanted to know who these two people were, and suddenly that moment became an afterthought as their story came alive.

2. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process?

As I suggested above I try to come up with interesting ideas and just let them exist in their best form. Sometimes the initial form I try isn’t the best one, so I write very freely at first trying to see where it goes. Often it goes nowhere, which just means it’s not finished yet, but when it goes somewhere it becomes an adventure piecing together the best possible version of the story.

For this book, I ended up cutting out the first 40 to 50 pages very deep into the process, but in a way those pages are still the most important, because without them the actual story never would have materialized.

3. Who is your favorite fictional character? 

Tough one, but I’m going with “Virginia”, the mysterious call girl from Elliot Chaze’s “Black Wings Has My Angel.” The dynamic between her and Tim Sunblade is so entertaining, and she’s such a mysterious and complex character. Her past drips out so slowly during the story that you almost feel like you’re in the author's shoes, creating a fully realized character piece by piece in your mind.
    
4. How would you describe your writing style? 

I’ve been criticized at times for not being descriptive enough, not necessarily painting a picture in the reader’s mind, and I know that there is the type of reader who craves that type of writing, but as a reader myself my pet peeve has always been having to wade through paragraphs and paragraphs of details about the colors of the walls and whatnot, and I always wanted to scream at the book “WHO CARES!!!!”

The issue was probably exacerbated by the fact that one of my favorite writers is Raymond Chandler, who can go on for pages at a time describing the scenery. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, it’s just not my thing. So in the battle of the Raymonds I personally much prefer Chandler, but my writing style is more akin to Carver. Besides, I do a lot of inner monologues, and when’s the last time you thought in detail about the type of fabric on a chair in the room during an inner monologue? Exactly.

5. What’s your favorite scene that you’ve written?

From Dirt Nap Rhapsody it’s definitely the banter in the car between Tag and Lori before, during, and after Tag’s return to the scene of the crime to clean up. For some reason that dialogue just leapt out of my brain and onto the page so naturally that I wrote that entire section in one day. And the scene has stayed largely intact since the first draft. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it happens it feels great.

6. Why did you choose to write from different perspectives throughout the book?

As I mentioned earlier the idea started as a short dramatic piece, and I liked where the story was going but I kept thinking that from Tag’s naïve point of view, many of the supporting characters looked much less complex than they actually were. I knew that the main thrust of the story had to be from his point of view, but I also began to think that just because Tag was missing so much, that didn’t mean the reader had to miss it too. So I decided that I needed to give other characters a voice as well. I was murdering many of them after all, so I felt it was the least that I could do. 

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal? 

To create stories that are memorable and enjoyable to read with characters who are relatable to the reader even if some of the situations that they find themselves in are not. Also some money would be nice. 

Wounds of the Father

Wounds of the Father - Elizabeth Garrison

It is always difficult to read stories of abuse. I usually struggle to get through the books and end up skipping sections and chapters. For that reason, I was nervous to begin reading this book. Having a two year old of my own, any stories that include child abuse leave me nauseous and in tears. 

However, Garrison tells the story in such a way that even though your heart is hurting for her, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that it's a memoir, made me optimistic that the powerful message would be worth the difficult journey. And it was/is.

The book is well written and includes a powerful message that everyone can relate to - regardless of their past experiences. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. Garrison conjures some powerful imagery. 

A highly worthy read, even if you think you may find the story irrelevant to your life. It's positive message of perseverance and overcoming the odds is one that we should all take to heart.   

 


Some Bio Information

Elizabeth Garrison has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and works as a researcher for the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress. Her research focuses on the effects of childhood abuse and developing interventions to help children recover. She also is a well-known celebrity ghost-writer. Given her talent in helping others to tell their stories, Garrison decided it was time to tell her own story. Visit her at www.elizabethgarrison.info.


Q&A

1. What made you decide to put your story into book form? 

Initially, I did it to help me make sense of all of the holes in my memory and blank spaces in my life from drug use and abuse. I was reading through pages of old journals I’d kept (including one that was tucked away in my seat when I lived in my car) and as I was reading, I started writing. I didn’t start writing my story with the intention to share it with the world, however, as time went on, I realized that people could benefit from hearing my story. 

2. What would you like your readers to take away from your work? 

First, your labels don’t define you. I can’t count the number of labels that have been attached to me. I've been diagnosed with everything from schizophrenia to mild mental retardation. None of these things are true and none of these things are my experience. You are not who people say you are. Period.

Second, don’t ever give up. The only thing that separates me from all the other people who didn't make it out of the darkness is that I didn't quit. I kept going no matter what. It’s the thing that will separate you from those who don’t make it. The line dividing the successful from the unsuccessful is not based on any hidden factor or secret formula other than the refusal to quit. Successful people have had just as many failures as the unsuccessful, they just kept going until they got where they wanted to be. All you have to do is keep moving forward and you will too.

3. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? 

I have a notebook that I am constantly scribbling in throughout the day. I don’t have time to sit and write during the day because I’m juggling a career, a second grader, and a marriage. I don’t have the time to sit down and write until the evening once everyone is in bed. This is the time I can pull out my computer and refer to the frantic notes of things I noted to write about during the day. I’d love to have more time to write.

4. How long did it take you to write your work?

It took me two years to go through my journals. Putting together the notes I’d written into a narrative that others could read took an additional year. 

5. How would you describe your writing style? 

I don’t know if this will make sense, but I write how people think. I think one of the reasons people can relate to my book so well is because it gives you an inside look into the mind of an addict and a child who has been abused, but doesn’t realize what’s happened to her constitutes abuse. 

6. What’s the great piece of advice you can give to your readers? 

To learn from their mistakes. I wish I could say that I've done things perfectly, but I haven’t. Nobody does. The one constant in life is that we will all make mistakes, but some of my biggest mistakes have been my greatest teachers. They can be yours too.

7. What’s your ultimate writing goal?

I’m moving into writing psychological thrillers that blur the lines between fiction and non-fiction given my own life experiences as well as the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with. I’d love to write the next gripping page turner in psychological thrillers