Cheryl Holloway’s Publishing Journey Has Been Difficult

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Today, February 24th, is Cheryl Holloway’s Birthday.

Happy Birthday

My Publishing Journey Has Been Difficult

My publishing journey started early. My first official published article was when I was fifteen and I won the Crime Prevention Contest in Indiana with an outstanding essay. Then when I was eighteen, just before college, I published an autobiography with a vanity press. I majored in Journalism at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Later, while working for the Federal Government, I was a technical writer, editor, managing editor and finally a writer/editor. Ironically, while working, I didn’t have time to write books, only magazine articles. So, in 2003, I finally had completed my book, A Forgotten Negro League Star: A Personal Look at Al Burrows. I self-published the book in Jan 2004. In 2014, I decided to write Part II to the Negro League Baseball book with Mr. Burrows and he suddenly passed before we could get it written.

I was still working and decided to retire to have time to write full-time. But life happened, and I still wasn’t writing and publishing as I wanted to. I was a ghost writer for a sickle cell book. This was very frustrating when I knew that I spent a few years writing a book that no one would know that I was the author.

My publishing journey took another road when I wrote a historical novel for young adults, Lana’s Dream. I couldn’t get a traditional publisher after numerous tries. Then, I got a publisher in California, but they went out of business. I finally got another traditional publisher, Passionate Writer Publishing, and they went out of business before publishing the book. I still haven’t decided if I want to self publish the book.

So, I decided to write some short stories and self-publish them as eBooks on Smashwords. The Cougar Tales Series: Father and Son and The Italian Basketball Player were self-published in 2012; and The Bane Bath Salts was self-published in 2013 on Smashwords and Amazon.

Now, I have novella for The Cougar Tales Series: Jamaican Love that I will self publish on Amazon along with the other two short stories as a boxed set.

I have one other completed book, How to Enhance Your Life with Prayer, a Christian book, that I will self-publish. I have tried to find a traditional publisher to no avail. I had a couple of ‘almost.’ So, I may self-publish that book also. After all, my literary clock is ticking.

For me, self-publishing has become a wonderful ‘choice,’ since most traditional publishers are only looking at books that will be million dollar bestsellers. Perhaps, 2015 will be the self-publishing year for me!

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Guest Author Interview – Lorraine Pestell

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This is International Month with authors and illustrators from other countries. 

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Title: A Life Singular- Six Book Serial

Synopsis:  So this was it…Lynn and Jeff, two celebrities driven to change the world together, had grasped their life singular with both hands and were not about to let go.  They had the Midas touch, gifted through the virtues of reciprocity and a deepening understanding of right versus wrong.

The prospect of turning two into four, mirroring the black jetstone ring that lived on the handsome man’s right hand, filled the couple with excitement.  Never in his wildest dreams had the no-good street kid imagined himself as a father.  His own had given him nothing.  So much less than nothing, in fact.

Should Jeff settle that score?  Was it worth disturbing the paradise they had planned, where their well-established careers showed no sign of slowing down and their hard work yielded so much for so many?  Surfacing past wrongs and holding people to account for setting them right were part and parcel of letting go, his dream girl had insisted.  And who was he to argue?  She had been right all along.

As the book’s extraordinary chapters continued to document the achievements of their life singular, the solitary author cried and smiled in equal measure through the arrival of a small boy with blond, curly hair and the sultry gipsy girl, who could see inside his soul from the moment she was born.  Lynn had given him two new friends, who must now be steered through their young lives, learning their own lessons about the endless pursuit of love and wisdom.

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Author: Lorraine Pestell – representing Australia

Note: This interview has been edited due to space availability.

CH: Welcome Lorraine Pestell. Thank you for joining us and sharing your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

CH:  Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read a serial book with six parts, essentially one story written in six books?

LP: I’d love readers to learn about one of the 21st century’s most pressing social issues, and at the same time discover a little more about themselves, while joining my protagonists on their sometimes challenging and always spectacular journey to love and wisdom.

CH: Tell us a little bit about Part Four to be released in March.

LP: First, if I may, a very quick synopsis of the serial in its entirety…  Essentially a love story, A Life Singular, follows a highly successful rock star as he writes his autobiography after a rogue gunman kills his wife.  Its themes are triumph over mental scars; the choices we make between right and wrong; and how one affects the other through the relentless passage of time.

Part One covers the aftermath of Lynn’s death, how Jeff and their children come to terms with their loss, and his plans for setting their very public record straight.  Parts Two and Three take us back to how the lovers first meet as teenagers, are torn apart by her parents and then find each other again as adults.  The pair’s independent careers take them all over the world, experiencing the best and worst of what life has to offer.

Part Four sees the reunited soul-mates leave their home in Australia as two highly successful celebrities who hope to make their mark on the world’s stage.  It begins in London, taking the reader from London to New York, and from fame and fortune to two adorable children, finally ending up back in Jeff’s home town of Sydney to settle the score with his father.

And Parts Five and Six?  We’ll have to wait and see, although I promise a few more radical changes of direction before the serial’s conclusion.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

LP: The idea for A Life Singular has been with me since my mid-teens, where an innocent romance about a rock guitarist and a pop star became the vehicle through which I unearthed and explored my own chronic depression and sought to make sense of myself and the world around me.

As my own life took its own violent and challenging twists and turns, the story developed very much as therapy and a comfortable retreat from my daily struggle with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its various debilitating symptoms.

With depression-related illnesses now affecting half of the developed world’s population, I have two main goals for my serial:  first, to inspire follower sufferers of mental illness to understand themselves and make a success of their lives; and second, to encourage the other 50 percent of the population to tolerate, support and even love those afflicted in our quest to live a “normal” life.

CH: How long have you been writing this book?

LP: Well…having already mentioned that I started A Life Singular at fourteen, I will have been writing it for four decades by the time I finish Part Six of the serial!

Of course, this has not been forty years of slaving over a hot computer!  I work full-time in the IT industry and also volunteer for several non-profit organisations, which meant that my writing has proceeded in fits and starts over this period.

Although, these books are not my own story, by any means, they have grown with me, similar to my protagonist’s own autobiographical account of how his beautiful best friend helped him conquer his own inner demons.

CH: When you wrote the first part, did you know there would be six parts?

LP: Most certainly not!  I only made the decision to publish in 2008, after several friends and associates began to encourage me to write my own autobiography.  Having become an advocate for mental health, particularly of young people and in the workplace, and having experienced first-hand the discrimination and lack of understanding that still exists around the topic, I chose to pour the knowledge I’ve gained and real-life scenarios I’ve either experienced, witnessed or been told, into a work of contemporary fiction that I hope stands as a fulfilling read in its own right.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

LP: The writing process is a catharsis for me, a solitary craft which allows me to create something meaningful and entertaining while I figure life out.  I often say that writing is the only place where I can be myself, given the smiley-face mask I’m required to wear everywhere else!

The areas of challenge come with promoting the books, as an unknown author from a faraway, southern-hemisphere country the size of North America but with a population of only 23 million.  With a full-time job, volunteering and my writing deadlines, the amount of time required on social media, doing radio interviews in the middle of the night and exploring new avenues for exposure are all somewhat exhausting!

This is why the opportunity to be featured on this blog is so valuable, so it is much appreciated, Cheryl, and thank YOU for reading also!

CH:  The book is being published over several years, why does the story continue to grab the reader’s attention?

LP: Yes, Part One was published in June 2013, and I hope to release Part Six in 2016.  Heading into 2015, we are increasingly seeing vast areas of the world embroiled in conflict and discrimination, where our ability to understand those different from us is regularly put to the test.

I deliberately chose the universal theme of love and our endless fascination for a celebrity as basis for the A Life Singular serial because I seek to reach the widest possible audience.  Always fascinated by the backstory to every event we see reported through the media, I hope by slowly unwinding the various plot-lines and immersing themselves in my story, readers will look forward to developing an affinity for characters with whom they know both inside and out.

CH: What time period does the book span?

LP: The whole serial spans around fifty years, from the early 1970s.  My ambition is to finish the final part in contemporary times.  Throughout the serial, readers are transported back in time with the widower as he reconstitutes the couple’s amazing life into his autobiography.  I also use flash-forwards to return us to Jeff and his children as they piece everything together and proof-read the upcoming book.

CH: Which part was hardest to write?

LP: I am not a medical professional, qualified counsellor or psychiatrist, so the hardest thing for me when writing about alleviating the symptoms of mental illness is not to be seen to recommend specific clinical treatments.

There is definitely no “one size fits all” approach to mental health, since such a wide variety of causes and effects exist.  However, I am confident that educating ourselves further and enabling a loving, supportive environment cannot fail to help in the vast majority of cases.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book? How do they feel about the book being in six parts?

LP: I’ve been fortunate to receive many complimentary reviews, which has been edifying as a début author.  As with all art-forms, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I certainly understand that my serial will not be to everyone’s taste.

On the whole, readers who have followed all three published parts are eager for Part Four.  One such faithful reader recounted that she had a classic love-hate relationship with the handsome widower in Part One, then fell hook, line and sinker with a dangerous adolescent in Part Two.  As a chart-topping rock star, he drove her crazy in the first half of Part Three, but by the end she wanted to marry him!

A 5-star reviewer wrote of Part Three, “the story in the first book and second book meshes very smoothly with this one and all the dots continue to connect. This is not just a story of the past being retold but one also sees the life of the storyteller himself as he works hard to move forward in life and also keep his beloved wife’s memory alive.”

CH: What is special about your book that differentiates it from other books in the same genre?

LP: My books don’t sit comfortably in any one genre, which is a challenge in itself!  Since I am attempting to reach as wide an audience as possible, I tend to use the broad genre of “Contemporary Fiction.”  I wish to attract male readers, as well as the predominately female contingent of “Romance” consumers, for whom the story has its fair share of fast cars and sports.  It is also written from a male perspective.

I’m reluctant to describe my serial as pure romance because I’m hoping to live up to the “love story with substance” accolade to spread my more serious messages.

CH: Do you have any other plans for this serial book?

Certainly, even more grandiose, if I dare, I always write with the visual in mind, and I’d absolutely love to see A Life Singular made into a television serial or set of movies, in order to reach the non-reading audience, too.

CH: Is this your first writing project? If so, why did you choose this story?

LP: My backstory obsession began very early, where I would sit in my bedroom for hours dreaming up hidden secrets to explain things I had seen on the news or current affairs programs.  Although, I didn’t know it at the time, A Life Singular was born during this time!

Similar to my belief that depression chooses us, rather than the other way around, I am convinced my story chose me

CH: Book sales proceeds go to two Australian Charities for disadvantaged children.  Can you tell us a little about why these charities were chosen?

LP: Absolutely!  People with chronic mental illness, especially those without a support network around them, tend to be excessively inward-focussed and can become quite selfish in their search for that elusive thing called happiness.  My main method of avoiding this fate is to volunteer my time to charitable causes, either by serving on arts organization Boards or through providing business skills on a pro-bono basis.

I became involved with both The Smith Family (http://www.thesmithfamily.com.au) and the School Volunteer Program (http://www.svp.org.au) a number of years ago, when I became a mentor for school students at risk of dropping out through financial disadvantage or an unstable family situation.  These children often have no role models to help them visualize a positive future, whether by continuing their education, staying out of trouble or not succumbing to substance abuse or early parenthood.

The people who work at organisations such as The Smith Family and the School Volunteer Program are incredibly committed to helping those who wish to help themselves, often with very few resources and at the mercy of funding politics.

Since several students I have mentored have already been affected by mental health issues, whether themselves or through members of their family, I decided to channel sales proceeds from my books into their coffers.  By giving young people resilience strategies for when life throws them the inevitable curve-balls, hopefully they will go on to live happy and productive lives, able to cope with stigma and rejection.

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

LP: Fundamentally, I write because I can’t not write!  I express myself way more fluently using fingers on a keyboard than my voice will ever manage.  I’m fortunate never to suffer from writer’s block, and regularly wake to find six or seven yellow sticky notes on my bedside table, covered on both sides with nocturnal scribbling!

I hope that readers will primarily love the story of A Life Singular and its journey into the world of super-stardom.  If they also assimilate the anecdotes and increase their understanding of the mind’s complexity and fragility, perhaps we can all make our world a happier and more tolerant place.

CH:  Do you have a website?

LP: My serial’s website can be found at http://ALifeSingular.com and I blog on the topics of mental health and writing from http://ALifeSingular.com/postings. I’m also active on Twitter as @LorrainePestell.

CH: Where is your book sold?

LP: If readers are interested in purchasing the books, the percentage the charities receive is greatest from my website: http://ALifeSingular.com/purchase-new/, for e-books worldwide and paperbacks within Australia.  (Unfortunately, with postage being so ridiculously expensive, it’s not cost-effective to send physical books overseas.) The books are available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon.  A Life Singular – Part Four will be released in March 2015, with Parts Five and Six appearing over the following 18 months.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LP: Thank you, Cheryl, for giving me this opportunity to showcase my books on your awesome blog!  Your readers are welcome to contact me for more information via the Contact Form on my website or by e-mailing Lorraine@ALifeSingular.net.

I wish you all the best for 2015, from a very hot Melbourne summer day!

CH: Thank you Lorraine Pestell for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your career. 

Note: Photos are compliments of Lorraine Pestell and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Black History Month 2015

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Black History 2                                                                         Black History

Note: There is so much Black History this month with all of the items in the news—Black Lives Matter—that I decided to only share a couple of posts on Black History.

Last week, I was talking to some writing sisters about Black History Month and we each shared a personal piece of Black History. The stories were just as diverse as the writers. Some had been publicized and others hadn’t. So, I decided to share my story with those of you reading my blog.

Anyway, I was a small child when this happened. I do not remember all of the details. (I called my brother to see if he remembered any details, but he didn’t.) But here is the story as I remember it. My Aunt Mattie owned a custom drapery business and was moving to an apartment building on the north side of Chicago in the 1950’s. There was an apartment on the second floor that she would later rent; her and my Uncle Charles would live on the first floor and her business would be in the basement. They were to move in on a certain date; however, a white physician had not finished moving out yet. No one knew of the change of plans, except the doctor and my uncle and my aunt.

Racists bombed the apartment building, because they did not want blacks moving in the area.

The doctor was hurt and sued the City of Chicago. The doctor won his lawsuit and the building was repaired, which delayed their moving in for several months. However, as a precaution, the City of Chicago would provide police protection for a few years. The police officers chosen to “protect” the property were all white. They used the business bathroom in the basement. And often left messages on the wall, written with feces that said, “Nigger go home,” or “Niggers not wanted.”

These were the first racial messages that I had seen (and smelled), as a child. Our family was always a nervous wreck when visiting our relatives. There was a park across the street, but we were not allowed to go to the park for obvious reasons.

Fact: According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, The Chicago Police Department, by far the largest police agency in the region, grew from 3,314 employees in 1900 to 10,535 in 1960. There was little change in the pattern of arrests. African Americans were better represented on the force than in other big cities and were slowly promoted, reaching the rank of captain—the first in the United States—in 1940. But black officers could not arrest white citizens, and black sergeants were never assigned to supervise white officers.

Note: The clipart is compliments of the Internet.

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Guest Author Interview – Gilbert Ohanian

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This is International Month with authors and illustrators from other countries. 

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Title: Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied

Genre: Self-Help

Synopsis: Is there a bully in your life that you don’t know how to deal with? I had one too. It prompted me to write, Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, a book outlining practical strategies for defending against bullies and resolving the conflict and aggression that often plagues victims of bullying. Inside these pages, I will take you through my own harrowing journey with bullies—from boarding school beat-ups, to violent attacks from crazed skinheads on the streets of London, to bullies in public school in America. In each chapter, a reflection of my personal story will show you what I did wrong, and how you can actually defend yourself in this modern day and age. Find out: How bullying is perceived by bullies, victims, parents and teachers; What goes on in the mind of a bully, and What you can do about it; How authority figures often make bullying even worse; and The steps you can take to defend yourself, find help and heal from the trauma.

In Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, you will find out how to deal with psychological, emotional and physical bullying—and even what to do when one of your teachers is being a bully. Get this book now, and empower yourself to stand against the tyranny that oppresses you!

Gilbert Ohanian

Author: Gilbert Ohanian – originally from Iran.

CH: Welcome to my blog Gilbert Ohanian.  Thank you for joining me today to discus such a timely issue—bullying.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

GO: This book tells my experiences of being bullied as a child, but more importantly, provides insights of how to combat bullying.

CH: How much of the media’s influence and the public’s reaction helped you to write this book?

GO: The media and the public’s reaction had a lot of influence on me, which consequently helped me write this book.  Forty years ago, the media did not cover the dynamics of bullying like they do today and victims didn’t have the luxury to express themselves.

CH: How do you think a bullied child will take the guidelines/advice given in this book to “empower themselves to stand against the tyranny that oppresses them”?

GO: By reading this book, the bullied child will recognize and understand what bullying is and how to combat their own crisis.  Essentially, this book provides prudent guidelines in order to  “empower themselves to stand against the tyranny that oppresses them.”

CH: Why the Title Chestnuts? What Significance does the title have to you?

GO: The significance of the title “Chestnuts,” was primarily given because whilst I was sleeping in my dorm room at a boarding school just outside of London, the kids used to throw chestnuts at me as part of their intimidation tactics.  Also, partly because we were playing a game called conkers, which is mentioned in the book.

CH: There is a section in your book, ‘How Authority Figures Can Make The Bullying Worse.’ How so and is that all authority figures or just the ones in the immediate surroundings of the bullying?

GO: Yes, actually there is a whole chapter dedicated to this topic.  Authority figures can make bullying worse, for instance, if a victim complains to the authority figures at school, they (educators) might brush it off, which makes things much worse.  And in most cases, if the bully is reported to the authority figures at school, the bully responds harshly with a form of retribution, which also makes matters worse.  Inevitably, bullies are everywhere and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and one has to deal with it head on.  Take it to the authority figures (educators), if you are at school; take it to the authority figures (employers), if you are at work; and take it to the authority figures (law enforcement), if you are out in the public.

CH: There is a short poem by Lao Tzu at the beginning of the book. Was this poem helpful to you during your time of bullying or was it found during research for your book?

GO: The poem was never researched when I was writing or even thought about writing “Chestnuts,” nor did I even know about the poem when I was being bullied in my childhood years.  I learned about the poem during my tenure at Glendale Community College in my psychology class, at which time I wrote those words in my notebook and carried it everywhere.  I have cherished those words since 2009 and when I thought about writing the book, I knew exactly where those words were going to be as part of the book.

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

GO: I am originally from Iran from Armenian descent, lived in England for almost 8 years and I have been in the states for 35 years.  My background one way or another had influence on the book because I was being bullied as a foreign student in England.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

GO: Yes, I did research about bullying and my research has been cited in the book also.

CH: Was it painful to revisit some of the bullying situations to write the book?

GO: It was not as painful as learning about my son being bullied, much less literally watching him get bullied.  I dealt with it and I moved on, it doesn’t hurt anymore, because at some point you forgive and you forget; there is no point of holding a grudge.  We were all kids.

CH: Is there a message about bullying in your book that you want the readers to grasp?

GO: There are so many, but I will give you a few excerpts from the book: Do not be split between who you really are and who people want you to be.  Every child is different.  Somewhere in the world, there are thousands of people who are just like you.  There is no urgency to find them right away.  But you must be willing to connect and share who you are with people, because that is what protects you from harassment.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

GO: I decided to write this book mainly because of the timely topic—bullying—which has taken a different and dangerous dimension, whilst at the same time when my son was being bullied, it was a constant reminder that I really needed to write and share my thoughts with people that are dealing with the issue.

CH: Is this your first book? How long have you been writing?

GO: Yes, this is my first book.  I have been writing since 2011, at which time, I started working on this book.  But, I have been a book lover, since I was 5 years old and I have to thank my father for that.

CH: So, what’s next for you as an author?

GO: Well, I don’t know about being an author, but I have the strong desire to be a advocate against bullying.  Although, I have brainstormed about writing another book, which is also a non-fiction based on a day traders life story.

CH: Do you have a website?

GO: I currently don’t have a website, but it is in the works and I should have it up within the next month.

CH: Where is your book sold?

GO: My book is sold on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major online bookstores.

CH: Any closing remarks?

GO: To everyone and anyone, who has a niece, nephew, grandchild, children; and to avid readers, Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied, is part of my autobiography and the rest is a social commentary about a timely topic—bullying.  This book mainly talks about my personal experience with being bullied and what I did wrong, but, more importantly, it sheds light on what bullying is to bullies, victims, parents, and educators; and how to combat the crisis.

CH: Thank you Gilbert Ohanian for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your advocacy on bullying. 

Note: Photos are compliments of Gilbert Ohanian and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – M. McKie

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This is International Month with authors and illustrators from other countries. 

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Title: Lightning Fire: The Blue Moon’s Calling

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

Synopsis: Almost 200 years ago the Fairy world turned to the Lycans for protection after a deadly vampire attack took away their flying magic. Although safe, they are faced with the reality that this same alliance has weakened their blood line and made it impossible for them to complete a successful blue moon ceremony since, to restore their magic.
With two months away from a blue moon’s rising, the monarchy is sure that crown Princess Lily is the key to save them, but as luck would have it a Lycan Alpha dies and Arn, the new Alpha, is not interested in signing a renewed alliance without a bride. Faced with choosing between the safety of his borders and the hand of his pure daughter Monarch Alcazar is forced to reveal that his daughter is a twin and offers Luna instead, in hope that she would please the wolf and buy them enough time to complete the ceremony.

Luna enters a world that not only unlocks the secret of her lineage but she realizes in a most embarrassing way that she actually has a powerful light that only comes out of her when Arn brings her to an orgasm. Arn commits to helping her master it and it triggers a suppressed memory from his childhood, which reveals what really happens the night his parents died. This insight into his past proves to be the key to helping him uncover the fact that he has inherited a complicated rule filled with betrayal, murder and strife. With pure nerve and brute force, Arn fights to uncover the conspiracy which threatens to devastate the continuance of his pack. While Luna is called upon to step in and complete the Blue Moon ceremony herself when Lily fails, placing her in harm’s way.

Their ultimate success will only come when they both join forces to reconcile their past in time to save a world that depends only on the strength of their love to survive.

McKie Author

Author: M. McKie – representing the Caribbean.

CH: Welcome M. McKie. Thank you for joining us and sharing your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

MM: It’s a new realm and a new take on paranormal fantasy with powerful yet, humorous characters that will make you want to read to the last page.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

MM: They want more, so I am working on the second book.

CH: What are some of your aspirations as far as the writing profession?

MM: I would like to write in many genres before I die. I’ve been writing steamy romance with a paranormal fantasy twist and I have also written and illustrated by own children books under the name, “Aunty Marsha Children’s Books.” The next genre, I gravitate towards is historical fiction with a look at Caribbean Folklore, then I will move on to Young Adult. I have a few ideas for young adults and I can’t wait to write it. I am going to explore the depth of my writing talent and that’s as far as my aspirations go.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

MM: Lightning Fire is all about self belief. The main characters are both in the middle of circumstances surrounding tradition and assumptions of what they should do and freedom comes when they understand their inner strength. All of my books encourage differences and understanding that change is not just inevitable, but it can also be wonderful when you believe in yourself.

CH: What was the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

MM: Self-publishing, of course. As an artist and a writer, I like the freedom it gives me to be involved in both art and the copy without having to ask permission. One month, I’ll be drawing and the next month, I’ll be writing. I tested the waters with Lightning Fire and two children’s books but I am working on releasing a batch of books at the end of the year. I am looking at it strategically write/draw for a period, launch and promote for a period.

CH: Do you have a book trailer? What are your thoughts on book trailers?

MM: I am working on the book trailer but I don’t have any out, yet. I think they are great marketing tools. So, look out for one for Lightning Fire.

CH: Do you have plans for a new book?

MM: I have plans for eight (8) new books at the moment (long to do list). Yes, right now, I am in production gear.  I usually don’t write multiple books at a time. Right now, I’m working on SouCouYant, my folklore fiction and then I’ll do a children’s book, Dragon Soup, to flex those graphic muscles. This year is a writing year, so I hope to have a few out by December.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

MM: The children’s books are usually from my daughter. She cracks me up with her five-year old answers. I say to myself, I can get a book out of that and I usually do. The adult books are all fantasy focus for now and that’s a mixture of dreams, nature and plain old fashion, crazy thoughts that come out of the wind. Sometimes, I wonder to myself where did that idea come from—it’s so unlike nice and quiet you. Not! I hope I’m not living out my inner fantasies because that would be telling, wouldn’t it.

CH: Do you have any writing rituals or do you listen to “mood music” when you write?

MM: I like to write when I’m hungry. The words fly out like if they are begging me to go and eat. I tend to browse the Internet more on a full stomach. Secondly, I write on a tablet that I haven’t installed email or social media alerts on, so I wouldn’t get distracted by a ping. I try to be totally unplugged because I don’t trust my mental fortitude to ignore everything.

CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?

MM: Yes, I have titles for stories beforehand. Sometimes, I have cool titles with no story idea at all. My twitter handle, DragonBlood, is a story in the waiting. God knows when it will come to me, but I just love the title so I’m praying about it.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

MM: Once the idea is resonant in my mind and overflowing. I will do a full story concept draft from beginning to end in a flow chart format and write down the major scenes, much like a project management chart. So, I create a skeleton to work with before I write. The manuscript becomes the process of filling in the blanks. After I fill in the blanks, I go back and add vivid descriptions where needed. I may even draw characters or main scenes just to bring the story to life in my head. It’s a wonderful and frightening process as I try to take on the characters personality or a whole village, or imagine I am a werewolf running in the midday sun, or I am the villain. OMG writing about vampires always makes me stare at people’s necks and my husband won’t let me bite him. I digress. Let me read the question again. So, I find that a story takes longer to write when I don’t have that draft of the whole concept.

CH: What pitfalls have you run into as a new author?  

MM: Self-publishing required that I be everything for my new book—writer, promoter, seller and everything in between. So, I had less time to write, when I needed to write the most. The first book was great, but getting that second book out would start cementing my brand as a true author. Juggling my time and understanding what I needed to do was a hard lesson that took months. I looked at the process and said I should have had five books to market, not one, because I would have used the same energy. So moving forward, I’m giving myself time to write and then time to sell.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life? 

MM: Lightning Fire is a new world with new paradigms, words and objects. So, I drew a lot. I drew a map of Moorland and stuck it up on the wall, so I would be able to describe directions clearly; things that were supposed to be to the north remained north. I drew the ceremonial room with the sphere and used that to guide those chapters. It’s fairies and werewolves, so my imagination ruled this one (other than some of the sex scenes, don’t get excited it’s not an erotica). I have two books coming up, which dabble in real life experiences, so it depends on the genre.

CH: Do you have a website?

MM: My website is www.marshagomes.com (a must have for an author)

CH: Where is your book sold?

MM: Lightning Fire: The Blue Moon’s Calling is only available on Amazon and Smashwords, as an eBook, at the moment. There are plans to print it this year, when I complete the second book. I’ll do it in a batch with the others.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MM: I want to thank Cheryl for inviting me to guest blog. You are Super! You can check me and my books out on my website at  www.marshagomes.com and on Facebook – Aunty Marsha Children’s Books and Marsha Gomes – M. Mckie and on Twitter DragonBlood @marshagomes. I’m also on Goodreads and Pinterest which I neglect and I haven’t found the time to Instagram. My other passion at the moment is Caribbean Books Foundation and working on www.caribbeanbooks.org a promotion area for Caribbean Authors. If you are a Caribbean Author send me an email to join the growing catalogue at marsha(at)caribbeanbooks.org

CH: Thank you M. McKie for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your career. 

Note: Photos are compliments of M. McKie and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Mourning Another Great Author – Colleen McCullough

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Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough, Author

thorn Birds Book cover

The Thorn Birds sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

Australian  Author, Colleen McCullough, Dies at 77

Colleen McCullough, Australia’s best-selling author, died on Thursday at age 77 after a long illness. She is most famous for her second novel, The Thorn Birds, published in 1977, which sold 30 million copies worldwide and became a U.S. television miniseries in 1983. The Outback melodrama was about a priest’s struggle between church and love. Her final book, Bittersweet, was released in 2013.

Condolences to her family. The literary world will miss her!

Guest Author Interview – Candy Jackson

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Pink and Patent Leather_Cover

Title: Pink and Patent Leather

Genre: Contemporary Christian Romance

Synopsis: Sasha “Pink” Jansen has heard the voice of God. He spoke loud and clear at her purity ceremony, when she was just sixteen years old and Pastor Malik Stroman placed that ring on her finger. And He was just as clear when He told her that purity ring would someday be replaced with a wedding ring from the same man . . . all Pink had to do was save herself. Dreams of a life with Pastor Malik were enough to keep the privileged princess committed to her vow, dodging all kinds of temptation, resisting every romance, and the whole time, keeping her eyes on the prize—the day she would become first lady. There’s just one problem—Pastor Malik already has a wife. But Pink is accustomed to getting what she wants—by any means necessary. With her grace and virtue on the line—and what she thinks is God’s word in her head—Pink is on a mission no one understands. She’s determined to show Pastor Malik that they belong together—and come hell or high water, she plans to get the good reverend to agree.

Candy-Jackson

Author: Candy Jackson

CH: Welcome to my blog Candy Jackson. I have been trying to catch up with you for months and I am glad that we finally got together.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

CJ: Dreams of a life with Pastor Malik were enough to keep Pink committed to her purity vow.   There’s only one problem—he’s married.

CH: Do you have a book trailer? What are your thoughts on book trailers?

CJ: I don’t have a book trailer and I have to be honest, I’ve been an avid reader for years and a trailer has never been the way I determined buying a book. I look at the cover, read a few lines of the synopsis and I know if it’s the book for me.

CH: Do you read in the same genre that you write?

CJ: Yes, but I also read just about every genre book. I’m not into science fiction or self-help (I know people call me crazy) but everything else I’ve read.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?

CJ: I guess like most writers I picked up the interest in grade school. At first, I expressed myself through writing poetry and then writing short  stories.   After graduating high school, I got away from it, but did a lot of poetry for church events and socials.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

CJ: Everywhere LOL! With Pink and Patent Leather, I actually had the title for years but it wasn’t until my pastor preached a sermon and said a lot of women come up to him and say, “God told me that you’re suppose to be my prayer partner!” No sooner than he said it, the idea came to mind, what if it’s not a woman, what if it’s a girl? And it was on, a popping from there.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your type of writing?

CJ: I try to give my readers a bird’s eye view of what the character is thinking and I challenge the reader to figure it out. My reviews were through the roof and my readers are anticipating a sequel.

CH: Yes, the reviews were—you had 38 five-stars out of 51 reviews. I’d say that is excellent. Well, I see you are with a new company, Brown Girls Publishing Company (BGP). Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey with them?

CJ: I met Victoria a few years ago and we became instant friends. I would travel with her many times meeting her fans. I was writing but I began to learn so much about the industry, the readers, publishing and more than anything she was teaching me all she could about writing. She had been helping me the entire time to hone my skills, so when she and ReShonda decided on starting their own company, she called me up and asked would I be interested in being one of the Brown Girls authors. Needless to say, she didn’t have to ask me twice!

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

CJ: My message is simple—love! That’s the message I hope to always leave them with. Love conquers all.

CH: What sets your book apart from other books in the same genre?

CJ: I have to let the readers decide but I would say, I’m a little edgy and somewhat to the left, before I go right.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

CJ: It was definitely what my Pastor had said on that Sunday afternoon. Women are bold creatures, so where do we start with the behavior. Teenagers? Maybe, or maybe not.

CH: How much of your leading lady is based on you?

CJ: LOL! My mother did dress me in pink and patent leather nearly everyday until I was twelve. That’s it!

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

CJ: I actually thought of my main character as a few girls I knew growing up—very privileged, very spoiled and Christian.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

CJ: It was hard for me to write the Pastor because, although, we see images of Pastors going left in the media and on social networks, that has never been my story. I’ve always been blessed to learn from pastors that are true believers and honest people. Not saying that they never made a mistake, I’m just saying their love for their wives remains strong. So, creating a cheating husband out of a pastor was totally from my imagination.

CH: So what’s next for you as an author?

CJ: Right now, I’m collaborating on a book with the queen herself, Victoria Christopher Murray and working on the sequel to Pink and Patent Leather. It’s titled The Way, The Truth and The Lie.

CH: What is your website?

CJ: It’s www.candyjackson.net

CH: Where is your book sold?

CJ: You can purchase my book on amazon, BGP website and my website, of course.

CH: Any Closing remarks?

CJ: I want to take the time to thank all the people who have supported me in this adventure. It’s been an amazing time and I wouldn’t change a thing. I have made my rounds and I’ve been able to talk to so many people who have read and enjoyed my book. I look forward to meeting more readers and hopefully writing a story that will help someone along the way.

CH: Candy, thanks for sharing your book and your publishing journey with my audience. 

Note: Photos are compliments of Candy Jackson and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Suzette Riddick

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Its My Turn_Cover

Title: It’s My Turn (Love at Last Series)

Genre: Romance

Synopsis: Forced to exist in a loveless marriage, Beatrice Warrington was powerless to stand up to her husband. So instead, she takes her anger and frustration out on those closest to her. After years of treating her loved ones horribly, she finds herself alienated, desperate and alone. Terrified, she reaches out to the only man who’s capable of helping her out of the mess she’s created. And she will soon discover he will help her in ways she never imagined.

Charles Allen never expected the likes of Beatrice Warrington to land on his doorstep. For years, he despised her because of her devious ways. So helping her was not an option. But a crazy thing happened. Against his better judgment, he agreed to come to her rescue. Little did he know, rescuing her would be the best thing to happen to him.

Suzette Riddick

Author: Suzette Riddick

CH: Welcome Suzette Riddick. Thank you for joining us and sharing your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

CH: Please tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for that story? 

SR: It’s My Turn is a follow-up story to my third book Key To My Heart (written as Victoria Wells). The heroine, Beatrice Warrington is a mature woman who’s made devastating choices in her life. These choices have resulted in her pushing her loved ones away. When she finally takes responsibility and admits to the error of her ways, she’s threatened with the likelihood of being alone. Desperation forces her to turn to the one who just happens to be her sworn enemy.

CH: Since you write passionate romances with a touch of reality, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

SR: No, it wasn’t hard at all. Just about all of the situations or issues I write about are real life with a little bit of embellishment. Well…sometimes a lot of embellishment. Many readers have emailed me expressing that they know people who possess some of the same traits as my characters.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your romantic writing?

SR: Hmm… I honestly don’t know if I bring anything different. I believe most readers find my writing exciting because they love the romance genre and a good storyline. However, I’m starting to write stories featuring heroines and heroes over the age of 40. Many women over the age of 40— including myself—enjoy reading romance stories. I think it would be nice if sometimes the heroine looks like us. Also, I’m venturing into writing short stories dealing with marital issues. Hopefully, readers will find this different and exciting.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?

SR: I started writing in 2007 under the penname Victoria Wells. Writing became a way for me to deal with a rewarding, yet stressful job as a nurse practitioner caring for adults with sickle cell disease.

CH: How much of your leading lady is based on you?

SR: Not much, other than the both of us being independent and at times vulnerable.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SR: Beatrice! In Key To My Heart, she was a villain and hated by most readers. It was such a challenge to redeem her as a BELIEVABLE loving and caring woman. Once her story was told, readers really empathized with her.

CH: Take us through your writing process. Do you get an idea, do you map out the book beforehand, or do you allow the characters to write their own story?

SR: In my last few books, I’ve learned to create character profiles on my main characters. This helps me to get to know them. And I loosely map the book out, just in case the characters want to do their own thing, which most of the times they do.

CH: What are some of your aspirations as far as the writing profession?

SR: I would love to be able to put out at least 2 novels and/or 2-3 short stories in a year.

CH: What authors do you read? And who are some of your favorites?

SR: Beverly Jenkins, AC Arthur, LA Banks/Leslie Esdaile, Iris Bolling, Maureen Smith, Chanta Rand Jefferson, Loretta Walls, Brenda Jackson, Altonya Washington, Francis Ray, Niobia Bryant, Melanie Schuster, Deborah Mello and lots of more. These are my favorites.

CH: Well, I’ve had three of those authors on my blog: Beverly Jenkins, Chanta Rand and Brenda Jackson. Do you have a support system and if so, who does it consist of?

SR: My family and friends. I have the best moderator for my FB group and an author friend who’s always there for me.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

SR: The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. As I pointed out in a previous question, readers had no love for the heroine. They were really surprised by Beatrice’s background growing up and the abuse she dealt with as a young woman. Many of them expressed they’d fallen in love with the new and improved Beatrice.

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

SR: I write because it’s something that I truly enjoy doing. And it allows me to escape into another world when I’m feeling stressed. I want readers to take away the true meaning of the story.

CH: Do you have a website?

SR: Yes, its www.suzetteriddick.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

SR: My book can be purchased on amazon and barnesandnoble.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SR: Yes. Thank you, Cheryl for this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed on your blog.  I sincerely appreciate you thinking of me. And readers can also follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzette0222, Twitter @suzette267 and Google+

Note: Photos are compliments of Suzette Riddick and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday and Remembering

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Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday 

I wanted to celebrate MLK’s birthday by doing something different. So, I went to a matinee movie  to see Selma. I want to congratulate the writers who intertwined various parts of history to make a wonderful movie for generations to enjoy the African American legacy.

The movie reminded me of so many historical events that I participated in and organized in several states.  From Gary, Indiana when, as a teenager,  I helped in Mayor Richard Hatcher’s first election.  Then years later in Sacramento, California, I helped to organize the Black History celebrations at the Chapel on McClellan AFB. When I was a reporter for the Precinct Reporter newspaper in San Bernardino, California and I wrote feature articles on Rosa Parks and John Carlos (1968 Olympics Black Power Salute). Then in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I was part of New Mexico’s African-American Legacy: Visible, Vital, and Valuable-a community history project.  At the National Maritime Center in Virginia, I organized some of the very first African -American events for the Coast Guard. These are just a few of the events throughout the years.

I have been an activist for many years, and I presume I will always be one-it’s part of me and my legacy.

Please enjoy your holiday and remember some special part of history.

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Seven Sentence Sunday

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Once Upon a Time

Hello, today, I’m going to write one short story using only seven sentences.

Title: True Love

They met in high school and frozen in that perfect moment thought it be true love forever.

After finishing college, they realized that perhaps it was just infatuation.

So, he went his way and made a life for himself, his wife and his kids.

She made a wonderful career for herself and realized that love had eluded her.

Then, the elderly widower and the old maid met once again, only to fall in love—again.

He said, “You are my soulmate, the one I didn’t recognize to be ideally suited to be my romantic partner forever.”

She said, “There is no perfect person, but there is perfect love.”

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Thanks for reading the story. Please give me some feedback and tell me if you like it or what you think about it.

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Guest Author Interview – C. J. Rand

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Title: Change of Heart

Genre: Inspirational Romance

Synopsis: Pop star Cheyenne Roberts has a life most women would envy. She’s wealthy, famous, and has a singing voice that’s earned her two platinum albums. But her world is all smoke and mirrors. In reality, she’s a virtual prisoner of her overzealous manager and former pimp, Ice Boudreaux. Behind the scenes, her every move is orchestrated. She’s in a depressing cycle of drug addiction and never-ending tours.

When her tour bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Cheyenne sees her chance to escape the life she’s grown to hate. She flees to a small town where nobody recognizes her. Ready to start a new life, she’s determined to kick her demons to the curb and turn her life around.

When Paul Sampson picks up a hitchhiker one night, he never imagines it will turn out to be a beautiful woman. She’s suffering from withdrawal symptoms and has baggage she’s not willing to discuss. Despite this, Paul is drawn to her, and he makes it his mission to help her heal and move on with her life. He doesn’t care about her past, only her future, which he envisions himself a part of.

But Ice wants his superstar back, and he’ll move heaven and earth to return her to his control. Will Cheyenne have a chance at redemption before Ice destroys the new life she’s built?

Chanta Rand Author

Author: C. J. Rand

CH: Welcome C. J. Rand. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

CJR: If you’re looking for an inspirational story of love, romance, and redemption that doesn’t shove religion down your throat, you’ll enjoy Change of Heart.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

CJR: Too many places to name, but usually from life in general. People love to tell me their problems, and I’m a good listener. Sometimes I think to myself, “This person’s story would make a great novel with a few tweaks here and there!”

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your inspirational writing?

CJR: My characters aren’t preachy or unrealistic. They’re raw and real. They curse sometimes. They lie. They’re jealous. They make mistakes. And they’re flawed. Basically, they’re a representation of real people in the world.

CH: You changed genres, why did you decide to write this book?

CJR: I’m no stranger to crossing genres. I’ve written historical romance, erotica, sports romance, women’s fiction, and sci-fi/dystopian. I was tired of seeing a lot of “goody-good” girls in romance. I wanted to write about somebody who was real and had real problems and was trying to work her way out of a hole that she’d created. I think if you’re really going to write inspirational fiction, you must write about trials and tribulations. Therefore, you must have characters that have been through something, whether it’s temptation, substance abuse, or infidelity.

CH: What pitfalls have you run into as a new author?

CJR: I have 13 books under my belt. I don’t consider myself a new author, but I do feel I’m constantly learning about the writing industry, and I’m always looking for ways to improve the quality of my craft. I guess the biggest challenge would be marketing myself, and finding new readers to network with.

CH: Wow, I should have you listed as a celebrity, who has written at least 10 books. So, did you find anything challenging while writing this book? 

CJR: Yes! It was hard to make Cheyenne’s pimp, Ice, come across as the cruel and despicable low-life that he is without using a lot of profanity. He’s from the gutter; he’s a master manipulator; and he’s not used to people “disobeying” him. My beta readers told me the first draft had too much cursing, so I had to make some changes to his character.

CH: Do you have a background in music? Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

CJR: The closest I’ve come to music is singing in the church choir when I was younger. And no, I wasn’t talented enough to do a solo! LOL.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

CJR: I don’t have any first-hand experience being a prostitute or a pimp, but I do have experience with power struggles and feeling helpless in life. I called upon those feelings to create this. Also, years ago, I saw a movie called Pure Country with George Strait. He was a country star who was tired of his life and he “disappeared” for a few weeks. Basically, he just took a break from his hectic life. Some of that movie influenced my writing.

CH: How much of your leading lady is based on you?

CJR: Cheyenne is not based on me, but I think she has attributes that all of us may have had at one time. She’s insecure; she’s afraid; and she wants to be loved. She also does some things.she’s not so proud of in search of that love. We’ve all been there. There are some things I’ve done that I’ll take to the grave with me! Only God knows.

CH: Do you write full-time or part-time?

CJR: I write full-time and I work full-time as a curriculum designer, developing training material. After I get off work each day, I go to the gym, then write from 10-Midnight. On Saturday, I write all day. Then on Sunday, I usually take a break and watch the Hallmark Channel. I like their ‘feel-good’ stories.

CH: Was this book harder to write than the first?

CJR: Yes. My first book, Pharaoh’s Desire, was a historical romance set in Ancient Egypt. Change of Heart is quite a departure. But I love challenges, and I felt good writing this.

CH: You are a self-published author. Can you tell us about your publishing journey?

CJR: My first book, Pharaoh’s Desire, was published in June 2010. I had a bad experience with the publisher not paying me adequately and on time. I decided to self-published my second book, The Highest Bidder, a sports romance, in December 2010. I never looked back. I’ve been self-publishing ever since. I’m working on book number 14. I love the freedom of being my own boss. And I love interacting with so many fans and readers.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

CJR: Oh no, I am not falling into that trap! There are too many good authors out there to mention. When I started reading historical romance at the age of 15, I read a lot of Johanna Lindsey. I loved her work. I had a passion for history and I was a voracious reader, so I knew that’s what I wanted to do in life—write romance!

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

CJR: I write because I love it. I can’t imagine my life without it. I write EVERY day. This is not work for me. It’s love. It’s my passion. I write about Alpha men and the strong women they fall for. I always say that I’m selling hope. I want readers to walk away from my books feeling good and believing there is hope for them to find their ‘happily ever after,’ too!

CH: Do you have a website?

CJR: Yes, www.cjrand.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

CJR: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Also at http://goo.gl/DsT9VG

CH: Any closing remarks?

CJR: I love hearing from readers with any type of feedback. So, don’t hesitate to email me and let me know what you think of my work. I appreciate you having me on your blog, Cheryl. You are a wonderful host, and I you ask intriguing questions.

CH: Thank you so much. I try to pay-it-forward to as many authors as I can. I enjoy what I do. And thank you C. J. Rand for joining me on my blog, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your career. 

Note: Photos are compliments of C. J. Rand and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – D.K. Christi

header1_An Author Writes

Bamboo Ring_Cover

Title: Bambo Ring

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Korea, Iraq, Iran, Egypt – they jump from today’s headlines and from the pages of Bamboo Ring, a novel of high stakes adventure and romance set in the 70’s and weaving through exotic foreign locations.

The unfolding scandal between a young ex-patriot wife and a charming military officer capture the heart. The terror of surviving life-threatening adventures and the agony and ecstasy of passionate love provide an emotional roller coaster with a surprise at every turn of the page.

Explore the elite ex-patriot community of Europe and Asia, U.S. military bases at the end of Vietnam and international experiences that enrich and confuse the lives of young professionals outside the comforts of the U.S., connected to each other by U. S. citizenship, an intimate club of their own that spans the continents.

A prequel to the well-received Ghost Orchid, Bamboo Ring is the back story, complete and satisfying in its own rich tapestry. Meet Melani and Jack and discover the back story that sets the stage for the best-selling novel, Ghost Orchid.

D K Christi

 Author: D.K. Christi

CH: Welcome D.K. Christi. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

DKC: Bamboo Ring is a tale of love and obsession set in exotic, foreign locations that excite the senses with page-turning adventures.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

DKC: Usually a true incident fascinates me and leads to the development of a story that creates the world in which the incident occurs.  My life has been rich with travel, work, family, and friends of infinite variety from which to glean characteristics to create new characters who live in the pages of the stories.

I write in the real world, with people who may step from the pages and emotions the readers may share.  Amazon.com said that my readers “may discover something” about themselves when they read my stories.

CH: Your cover is bright and cheerful. Who designed the cover?

DKC: I do love the cover, designed by Dave King at Black Rose Writing.  The bamboo’s strength is a key element of Bamboo Ring and the walk into the unknown.  Have you ever heard bamboo sing?  It makes its own haunting percussion sound in the slightest wind that grows in intensity.

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

DKC: Born in the U.S. Midwest, I left in my teens and spent the rest of my life moving on the average of every 1 ½ to 3 years across the nation and the world.  However, when Melani needed to return to some secure place, I sent her to the Midwest.

I think a moralistic viewpoint from my early protestant roots influences the deeper story in Bamboo Ring, the story of a life unraveling because of choices that rattle the ‘perfect’ life of a young wife and mother and shine a moral spotlight on Melani.  She ‘sold her soul.’

CH: Did the readers of Ghost Orchid, want to know the backstory? Why did you decide to write this book?

DKC: In Ghost Orchid, Neev searched for her roots, hoping for a love story to validate her birth, to explain her feelings of abandonment and the false hope of a fantasy father who did not exist.  Their story, the story of her parents, remained to be told in full. Bamboo Ring tells half of that story and is a complete novel in itself.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

DKC: Researching the countries to which Melani traveled was challenging.  I wanted to give readers the excitement of foreign travel, the fears in dangerous countries and the awesome variety in the world.  It was a big order.  I wanted them to feel as though the journey was theirs.

Just as researching was challenging, so were the final edits to a complex work.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

DKC: I did.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

DKC: Writers create from what they have stored in the recesses of their memories or from what they learn new.  They don’t create something from nothing.  Thus, a childhood friend’s claustrophobia becomes a characteristic of one of the adults in the story.  A remembered college professor becomes an officer in the military.

Emotions are transferred from the writer to characters.  In my work as in the work of most authors who will admit it, one finds a bit of the author spread throughout from people to places, values and things.  Even complete vignettes are transferred with new bits that change the story, but still start with the incident.

Real life is more difficult to believe than fiction.  Real life often imitates fiction.  In Ghost Orchid, I wrote of a tragic accident inspired by a dangerous curve I knew.  A year after the novel was published, that same curve was re-marked with a left turn lane and bright silver guard rails.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

DKC: I was a new bride in the seventies.  I lived the upwardly mobile life surrounded by friends on the same express.  We worked hard, played hard, followed our spouses with their career transfers, raised families and were influenced by changing values and the role of women.  We were affected by Vietnam and the realization that life was uncertain.  We had romantic hopes and desires fulfilled and unfulfilled. All these factors figured in for the development of the main characters, Melani and Jack and all those whose lives swirled around them. Love in all its manifestations is what makes life worthwhile.  My muse keeps my heart full and my pen in motion.

CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

DKC: I realized at the end of Ghost Orchid that the story went deeper.  My characters were real to me by then, and I knew that Neev’s son would pursue more information about his grandparents, if Neev ever released his grandfather’s ghost orchid photograph to him.  Before I could help him with his quest, I needed to write Melani’s story.  Readers needed to understand why Neev’s quest and Melani’s redemption mattered.

CH: Are you a self-published author? Can you tell us about your publishing journey?

DKC: Actually, Ghost Orchid was published by L & L Dreamspell, a wonderful publisher that closed its doors upon the untimely death of a critical, creative partner.  They helped their authors gain new publishers, but the contract offered to me required re-writing the sensual content of Ghost Orchid to a sexual heat level that was not my writing style.  In the meantime, I published with Kindle.  I now have a contract with Vinspire to publish Ghost Orchid in print and more in the spring.  I prefer a small press to self-publishing.  I want my novels vetted to know they are marketable and worthy of publishing—beyond my opinion.

CH: Was your second book harder to write than the first?

DKC: Writing is easy for me.  The words and stories flow.  The difficult part is reducing the back stories and limiting the content to just what the readers want to know.  Edits are my challenge.  The time needed for marketing and promotion takes me away from writing.  It’s the time thing—I am also a journalist for a local in print and online news magazine and several online ezines.  Time is the issue.  If I could just write it and leave it, I would be in fantasyland.  Professional publications require work when the creative writing is done.  That is only the first step.

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

DKC: I think Amazon.com said it best, “Themes of friendship surviving tragedy, love conquering adversity and the triumph of the human spirit over the hardships of life serve to uplift and inspire…through her stories perhaps discover something new about yourself.”

I write because I must.  I experience and I write.  Words are my paint and paper is my canvas.  I have no choice.  The word is my friend and my companion, my therapist and my obsession.  I want readers to enjoy the escape into the pages of other lives that take them from their own and give them new thoughts or even new perspectives in this complex world in which we write our stories for real with all their agony and ecstasy.

In Ghost Orchid, I wanted them to know the magnificence of one flower and the serenity of the Everglades, while identifying with the heart yearning for roots.  In Bamboo Ring, I want them to experience other cultures, their challenges and their beauty while trying to understand an obsession that unravels a perfect life and forgive the flaws that lead to dire circumstances.

In both, I give the readers imperfect people to take into their hearts and minds for a few pages—perhaps lingering a bit after the book’s cover is closed.

CH: Do you have a website?

DKC: My main web site is www.dkchristi.com but my prior site is also packed with info, www.dkchristi.webs.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

DKC: Soon Amazon.com, BN.com and all online booksellers and some brick and mortar stores.  Currently, www.blackrosewriting.com   Send me an email at dkchristi at yahoo dot com and make arrangement to receive a signed copy through Paypal.

CH: Any closing remarks?

DKC: I spent much of my earlier career as an entertaining and informative platform presenter at national conferences and workshops.  I love talking to audiences and interacting with them.  I am mobile and available for writing workshops, conferences and panels.

I thoroughly enjoy your site and thank you for including me and my new release, Bamboo Ring.  As a special thank you to your readers, I will provide a signed copy of Bamboo Ring to a person randomly selected by you from those leaving comments.

CH: Thank you D. K. Christi, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your career. 

Note: Photos are compliments of D. K. Christi and the Internet.

 

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Pat G’Orge-Walker

Celebrity Couch (2)

Somebodys Sinning_Cover

Title: Somebody’s Sinning in My Bed

Genre: Gospel Comedy (Re-Release)

Synopsis: A wickedly funny, uplifting novel of love and betrayal…good karma and bad karma…sin and redemption.

Chyna and her sister, Janelle, are always moments away from a catfight. They love each other, but Janelle has never forgiven her sister for swiping her first love, Cordell. That was ages ago, and now Chyna is showing off as the First Lady of New Hope Assembly, a church caught between the old ways of Holiness and new ways of serving its community. New Hope’s leader, Reverend Grayson Young, is also caught–in the infamous Sweet Bush lounge, an establishment well-known for adult pleasures. . .

With the church congregation running wild in the aftermath of her husband’s scandalous behavior, Chyna turns to Janelle for guidance. But if Chyna thinks she’s getting sympathy, she’d better think again, because Janelle’s got her own crisis. And when Cordell suddenly reappears in their lives, what follows are squabbling, chaos, and surprises that show just how hard the road to salvation really is.

Pat G Walker

Author: Pat G’Orge-Walker

CH: I am so pleased to welcome Pat G’Orge-Walker to my blog.  She is a wonderful Christian writer and often referred to as The First Lady of Gospel Comedy.’

 CH: Tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for the story? 

PGW: This is a contemporary story based upon John 8:4. There was a woman caught in the act of adultery. If she was caught in the act and sentenced to stoning, then why wasn’t the man taken out and judged for stoning also? I wanted to show how the church often judges and punishes their men and women differently when they’ve sinned.

I put another spin on it. Chyna and her sister, Janelle, are always moments away from a catfight. They love each other, but Janelle has never forgiven her sister for swiping her first love, Cordell. That was ages ago, and now Chyna is showing off as the First Lady of New Hope Assembly, a church caught between the old ways of Holiness and new ways of serving its community. New Hope’s leader, Reverend Grayson Young, is also caught—in the infamous Sweet Bush lounge, an establishment well-known for adult pleasures. In that same hour, First Lady Chyna was several miles away in a hotel room indulging in adultery.

CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title? 

PGW: It often goes both ways.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write? 

PGW: I pray, dream and attend church. There are many situations to address without being judgmental… although, sometimes it’s hard not to be.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your humorous type of writing?

PGW: I would say that I often have a mixture of satire and realism that causes folks to point fingers at others, while often ignoring the thumb pointing back at them.

CH: When you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story?

PGW: I never look at markets or trends. My writing is my ministry.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

PGW: I have several. Church mothers, Bea Blister and Sasha PrayOnn. They allow me to exhibit crazy in an acceptable way. Deacon Thugood Pillar, an old school gangster Deacon. He will shoot you, remove the bullet, pray for you while telling the goodness of the Lord; and he still wears his hair processed.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters? 

PGW: As a PK (preacher’s kid) I got tired of folks stealing my joy after a powerful sermon. I was inspired to name the characters based on their actions, i.e., Reverend Knott Enuff Money. He pastored the Ain’t Nobody Right But Us—All Others Goin’ to Hell Church.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

PGW: I wanted to hold a mirror in the face of hypocrisy. Jesus often used women in his ministry and showed no difference…why do we?

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

PGW: I use real situations, so readers can relate.

CH: What would be the best piece of advice you would offer a new author?

PGW: I would advise a new author to be honest when they write…readers are not fooled. They know a knock off when they read it. I advise them to pray and never be envious of other authors. Envy is different from admiring.

CH: As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

PGW: There have been many. However, credited with creating the gospel comedy genre is high on the list. It reminds me of how obedience to the Word brings its own reward. I signed a major contract after publishing a twenty-two page booklet titled, Sister Betty God’s Calling You. God took a little I had and returned it beyond my wildest expectations.

CH: Since this book has been re-released, what kind of feedback are you getting from the readers?

PGW: It has been very positive.  Of course, you can’t please everyone, nor do I try. It also seems to have been renamed The Deacon Pillar series. He was first introduced in this story.

CH: Do you have a website?

PGW: www.Patgorgewalker.com or www.sisterbetty.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

PGW: Wherever books are sold. It is also available in all formats including audio.

CH: Any closing remarks?

Don't Blame the Devil_Cover

Pat’s favorite book will soon be re-released.

PGW: There is also the re-release of my favorite book, Don’t Blame the Devil. Lastly, I want to thank my supporters and my critics. When my beloved husband/best friend/prayer partner passed away in September 2013, I didn’t think I’d write again. The prayers, hugs and all the support shown have lifted me back into my writing…I love you all.

CH:Pat, thank you for sharing your writing experience and your book with my readers

Note: Photos are compliments of Pat G’Orge-Walker and the Internet.

 

CH: Share it, if you like it. I’m counting on you!

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!                                         Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                                                                                                       ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Questions? Comments? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

 

Cheryl Holloway: 10 Interesting Writers Who Think Outside The Box in 2014

header1_An Author Writes

Think Outside

Often times, when writing our stories, we feel boxed-in, but these 10 authors (alphabetically) were thinking outside the box. They each took a fresh look at an old topic and added their uniqueness to create a story with a different slant.

Fresh Idea

Recognition Cover  Bennett_Author

O. H. Bennett wrote about a wife’s recognition of her husband to create this twisting plot with thriller like intensity.                             http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/09/26/guest-author-interview-o-h-bennett/

Stone in the Crick_Cover     Granville Burgess

Granville Wyche Burgess  wrote about Amish life, romance and a murder to create a plot with many complications.                http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/11/25/guest-author-interview-granville-wyche-burgess/

51eudKMOI+L._AA160_      Chas photo 1

Charles Lober wrote about a Christmas Club, love and friendships to create a Christmas Club Trilogy.                                                                                      http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/12/25/guest-author-interview-charles-lober/

Endangered_Cover       Jean Cush

 Jean Love Cush wrote about endangered boys to create a provocative and compassionate thriller.                               http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/10/22/book-review-endangered-a-novel-by-jean-love-cush/

Seeds of Magnolia_Cover    Bill Miller

Bill Miller wrote about slaves who appeared to be white to create a historical novel about his ancestry.                                             http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/09/05/guest-author-interview-bill-miller/

FLATLINED_Cover    K S Oliver

K. S. Oliver wrote about the challenge of being flatlined and the challenges of illness to create a story about military families.               http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/07/18/k-s-oliver-guest-author-interview/

the_unthinkable_cover    author_lois_schaffer

Lois A. Schaffer wrote about banning illegal guns and created a memoir dedicated to her daughter.                                                      http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/03/14/lois-a-schaffer-guest-author-interview/

Forty Acres_Cover 2   Dwayne Smith

Dwayne Alexander Smith wrote about the preservation of the institution of slavery to create a novel of rage and passion.         http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/11/14/guest-author-interview-dwayne-alexander-smith/

Bluebutterfly_Cover   Marian L. Thomas

Marian L Thomas wrote a story about a black ballerina and created a powerful and dramatic story.                                       http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/05/02/marian-l-thomas-guest-author-interview/

Phantoms of Rockwood Amazon-Smashwords E-Book Cover (1)   juliusthompson2[1]

 J. E. Thompson wrote about teenage ghosts and created a story with hopes and dreams.                                                           http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2014/06/27/j-e-thompson-guest-author-interview/

 

The authors of the interesting books on this list were thinking outside the box and created wonderfully new stories from within for their readers.

Note: It was very hard for me to narrow the list down to just 10 authors. Happy Reading!

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