Guest Author Interview – Dr. Bob Rich

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Title: Guardian Angel

Genre: Historical/Inspirational/Christian

Synopsis: In 1850, a small town in Australia: Glindi, an Aboriginal woman, gives birth to a daughter, the result of a rape by a white man. She names her Maraglindi, meaning “Glindi’s sorrow,” but the girl is a joy to all those around her. She has the gift of love. During her short life, she encounters everything intolerant, cruel Victorian society can throw at people it considers to be animals. She surmounts the savagery of the white invader by conquering hate with love. Even beyond death, she spreads compassion, then she returns a second time, with an ending that will touch your heart.

Dr. Bob Rich, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Dr. Bob Rich, an International author from Australia. When a publisher rejects his work…he writes. Welcome to my blog, Dr. Bob.

BR: Cheryl, before I start answering your questions, I’d like to thank you for the honor of having me here on your blog. I am very impressed with your achievements, and I am sure there is a fascinating story to tell there.

CH: Can you sum up your book for us?

BR: She was sent to Earth to guide us, but first needed to experience human suffering, so chose to be Maraglindi—child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and an instrument of Love. During her short life, she repaid white people’s hate and disdain with the gift of unconditional love.

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?

BR: Your readers may be amused by a little essay I’ve written on ‘How I Write.’ Here’s the link:  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Lx

When I was new to fiction writing, I meticulously plotted even a short story. I got every detail right, then wrote. This is like being an inexperienced cook, who follows a recipe, while a master chef, just cooks. If you inspect the process, you see the recipe, implicit in it, but even if there is a written guide, it’s only something to be improvised on.

So, I have a plot that’s kept secret from me. The real writing is done by ‘Little Bob’ somewhere within my mind. Then, when I have the time, all I need to do is to record what he tells me.

Always, even before I knew I was a writer, I started with people in a scene. For Guardian Angel, the scene was little, six-year-old Maraglindi rescuing another girl from a snake. The other girl is twelve, and has terrorized Maraglindi for months. On the first day of school, she’d hit and kicked her, and threatened to kill her, if she told.

Also, all writing has a message. Even your shopping list says a lot about its author. Your story tells me all about your philosophy of life, and your idea of what the world is and should be like. ‘A story is a vehicle for creating the reality of choice the author would like to see.’

The difference between me and many other writers is that I’ve thought deeply about such things, since the 1970s, and rather than have this an unconscious, intuitive process, I use my writing as a tool to help people to see a new way of looking at the world. We live in an insane global culture that encourages and rewards greed, aggression, hate, and territoriality. I want to change this to a global culture that focuses on the best in human nature—compassion, cooperation, and decency. It’s no good lecturing at people. So, I tell a story. As I said, I have people in a scene. Those people come alive, and after that THEY run the show.

CH: Since this is a historical book, did you have to do a lot of research for the story?

BR: I did. Research is fun and gathering information is an addiction for me. I’ve long had a fascination with Australian Aboriginal culture. When Europeans were still primitive cave dwellers, the people of Australia already had a sophisticated way of living in harmony with their land. If we want to survive on Planet Earth, we could do a lot worse than to create a modern, technological version of the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle.

For some years, I worked as a counselor at an Aboriginal health service, because today’s Aboriginals are almost all severely traumatized by over 200 years of genocide, discrimination, deliberate suppression of culture, and then blaming the victim for the symptoms of trauma.

Also, I’ve studied the Victorian era in other contexts. The English, and generally Europeans, were arrogant to the point of idiocy. They invaded lands with ancient, wise cultures like India and China, and considered the locals to be savages. Actually, the savagery was done by the Europeans, and to a psychologist, the ways of thinking to enable this are very interesting.

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

BR: Cheryl, this is the hardest of your questions for me. I don’t know! What’s more, the same is true for everyone. There is no divide between memory and imagination. When you remember something, you actually create it. This is why six reliable witnesses to a car smash will have six different stories. I could tell you about many ingenious experiments psychologists have used to show the creativity of memory. So, everything anyone writes or says is a fruit of their past experience, with many events in many contexts blended into something new.

CH: Where did you get the idea for the book?

BR: I don’t get ideas. They get me. Winston Churchill once said, “The problem is not to find a solution, but to choose between the dozen possibilities.” That’s how my mind works too. I need to fight off ideas, so I can concentrate on my several current projects. Still, your question made me think. Where did the idea for Guardian Angel come from?

It was many years ago, when I learned about the history of Coranderrk. In 1978, I moved to a community near Healesville, a small town to the east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. This was the location of a settlement the local Aborigines of the Kulin nation managed to establish. They had the wisdom to see that, with all their land stolen, they needed to change, so succeeded in getting a government grant of land. With the help of a few sympathetic white people, they built houses, grew crops, raised cattle, had a school for the children, and would have done really well…except that neighboring white landowners refused them access, buildings were burnt down, cattle killed, and similar acts of civilization were inflicted on the savages, who were aping their betters.

Reading about this made me look for a time machine, so I could go back and be of service to the victims. Perhaps, writing about the times and its attitudes can enable me to be of service to their descendants.

CH: Since the book describes the racial discords of earlier times and today, where did you get inspiration for your characters?

BR: As I’ve said, I’ve had the honor of being a counselor for several years at an Aboriginal health center. This was very rewarding work, particularly being accepted as ‘Uncle Bob’ by the younger people.

Also, my past life recalls have told me that I’ve had close and loving connections to Australian Aborigines when I was an Irishman transported to New South Wales for the term of my natural life, and when I was a woman whose karma was marriage to a monster of a husband. This story is told in Ascending Spiral.

The people in my stories are just…my children. I need someone to do something. A person comes, and we gradually get acquainted. In Guardian Angel, Maraglindi needed a family to be born into. When I sat down to write her birth, I didn’t know who they were, but they did. As they did things, and thought, and talked with each other, I found out all about them, eventually knowing more than they did themselves.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

BR: The man who murdered my little girl. It’s OK, death is not the end; it is only a change of state, a liberation, and the start of the next phase of existence. And she was born again. But she did have to die, and someone needed to be responsible. I then needed to get into the reality of the perpetrator. I feel the disgust even as I am writing my answer to you, right now. But again, it’s all right—Maraglindi helped him the very next day. And if that doesn’t make sense to you, you’ll need to read the book.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

BR: You’re trying to make me choose among my beloved children? Can’t be done.

My little girl Maraglindi is always physically awkward, and self-effacing. She dislikes it when people praise her for what seems to be just natural. But she is the instrument of Love. I’d like to be more like her.

Her father, Mick, is an amalgam of several Aboriginal men I’ve known. He is intelligent, physically powerful, has a lovely connection to animals, is gentle with people but when provoked, he has a cold fury that destroys what’s in his path. He sees the injustice about him, but controls his anger, and his attitudes are far more civilized than that of the invaders, who despise him.

Glindi, Maraglindi’s mother, is a delightful young woman with a deep laugh, and a generosity of spirit.

Gerald is wonderful. He and his friends did something terrible that resulted in the death of a little child. Retribution from the magic man killed his six friends, and he also almost died, taking months to recover. This changed him into the kind of person I wish to be, and indeed he is the main hero of the story, after Maraglindi’s death.

Alice was the lady who saw Maraglindi’s high intelligence, and spent her money to send the little Aboriginal girl to a Ladies’ College. Actually, apart from being a wealthy landowner’s wife, she reminds me of my wife and daughters.

But if I have to choose one, it’s Kirsten. We meet her when she hits and kicks Maraglindi, and then leads her friends in a campaign of discrimination almost till the end of the first school term. All the same, when it is time for Maraglindi to be born again, she chooses Kirsten as her mother. Why? I’m not going to tell you.

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

BR: All prose is poetry. For me, what I say is important, and how I say it is equally so. My writing may be challenging, amusing, informative, or annoying…but never boring.

CH: Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

BR: Always. My writing is me and I am my writing.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

BR: Isaac Asimov. When I was a student, I read his textbook on chemistry. It’s the only scholarly work that’s actually fun to read, and it explains the basic concepts, approximately better than possible. His science fiction writing has the same characteristics. Although, his characterization is not as good as that of many other writers, the flight of his imagination is delightful. I’ve read everything he’s written (but then, the same is true for many other writers).

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

BR: J. K. Rowling. She has revolutionized children’s writing. Thanks to her, millions of kids are now keen readers. She survived rejection after rejection, but persevered until a then, a small publisher took a chance on her, and they both succeeded beyond any possible dreams. Mind you, I have never been able to finish reading any of the Harry Potter books.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from your readers for this book?

BR: One friend couldn’t get into it, because he doesn’t believe there are angels, or that anyone can read minds, or put the grace of God into people by touching them. To my great delight, everyone else has been most complimentary. People have told me Guardian Angel draws them in, so they have to keep reading. After they’ve finished, it stays with them, and makes them see events around them in a different light.

It’s a very new release, but already the 5 and 4 star reviews are accumulating. No one has had the temerity to give it less than 4 stars.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making soon?

BR: Always. What, only one? Actually, Guardian Angel skipped ahead. Last year, my novel, Hit and Run, was accepted by a publisher, but we have been struck by severe front cover-itis. The publisher is still struggling with getting an artist to design the right cover. Right now, when time permits, I am working on Depression: You Can Gain Contentment in A Crazy World, which is a user’s guide to living with depression, and I am also working on The Protector, which is the sequel to Guardian Angel.

 CH: How to Find Dr. Bob Rich:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

BR: Guardian Angel is a new experiment for me and I self-published it on all Amazon sites.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BR: Full circle. Cheryl, thank you for the honor of inviting me along. If your schedule allows it, I’d be delighted to reverse roles, and interview you at Bobbing Around.

CH: Thank you so much, Dr. Bob Rich, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Dr. Bob Rich and Cheryl Holloway.

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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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Guest Author Interview – D. L. White

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Title: Dinner At Sam’s: A Ruby’s Novel

Genre: African American Romance

Synopsis: Vanessa Jackson is just trying to get her life together. It’s been a year since her marriage ended and her husband left her and their children destitute. If she could just divorce the son-of-a-bitch, the future would be bright, but Warren is fighting the process every step of the way. If she wants a divorce and to move on with her life, she will need an attorney.

Gibson Kincaid is the youngest of four brothers, all attorneys at Kincaid Family Law, operated under the watchful eye of Sylvia, the “Silver Shark” Kincaid. Gibson is the rebel, the one who’s never going to do what Mother wants him to do. Instead of serving the interests of wealthy and high profile Kincaid clients, Gibson prefers to serve the ‘down on their luck’ sector, earning him the nickname “community lawyer.” When Sylvia rejects Vanessa as a client, it’s a lucky break that she—literally—runs into Gibson.

The attraction between them is immediate, smoldering, mutual, and distracting. Vanessa’s just trying to get divorced, not pick up a new man, and certainly not her divorce attorney! Gibson is trying to do right by his new client, but he can’t lie; he wants to help Vanessa get divorced. So, he can have her to himself. But Warren still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and Vanessa is hiding a huge part of her past that she’s not ready for Gibson to know.

D. L. White, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is D. L. White. She wants others to share in the joy of writing. Welcome to my blog, D. L.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book? 

DLW: My books are a great escape of sweet heat for a few hours from real life.

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?

DLW: They come from a variety of places—sometimes an overheard conversation, a song, a movie, or a situation. One of my books was born out of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, and another out of an eavesdropped conversation about a woman’s husband being investigated by the IRS for tax evasion. There are a lot of times I hear something and think…that has to go in a book.

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

DLW: Many of the situations my characters find themselves in come from real life. Especially, when someone says, ‘I don’t know if that’s believable.’ Then I tell them, oh, it actually happened, believe it or not. I generally take the base situation and change the circumstances. I use them for inspiration. I don’t take them straight from people’s lives.

CH: Where did you get the idea for the series?

DLW: The only ‘series’  I currently have is the Ruby’s novels. The first came, as I mentioned earlier from the Atlanta Public School Cheating Scandal. As I was listening to reports everyday on my way to work on NPR, my mind started swirling with what if…they were talking about indicting the Superintendent and I just thought, what if someone did something that got them into a world of trouble? Not the Superintendent, but maybe a Principal. What if…she made a mistake, someone found out and now she’s faced with her life falling apart. I was also part of a monthly brunch group of women of different ages from all walks of life and we got along, so well. I wanted to incorporate that sisterhood, give her a little bit of support, and add some conflict, when the friendship begins to stretch and strain through everyone’s life struggles.

The second book in that series is a romance featuring a minor character from the first book. Her life was SUCH a mess and I just wanted her to have a happy ending!

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

DLW: No. I’m not a series writer, so when I put a book to bed, I am done with those people and that world…but I did leave a lot open at the end of Ruby’s, just in case I wanted to write more about them.

CH: Which book in the series was hardest to write?

DLW: The first book. Ruby’s took me four years to write. When I came up with the idea and started writing, I really wasn’t ready to write the book. There was a lot of stumbling, mistakes, quitting and restarting. I finally got tired of feeling like a failure, so I ripped it apart and started over in 2014.

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

DLW: I like to think I’m a little bit funny, a little sexy, and very real. My characters aren’t billionaires or high society and even those that are well-off have problems that I don’t solve by throwing a bunch of money at them. I like to write stories where a reader can insert themselves and feel like it’s realistic—like it could actually happen.

CH: Since readers say that your characters are relatable and likeable, who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest character to write?

DLW: My fave AND the hardest was Maxine Donovan, from Brunch at Ruby’s. She’s not your typical friend/side-kick character. She is materialistic, but not shallow; one of those women, who says what’s on her mind even when she shouldn’t. Her personality wasn’t going to change, but she still had to have a character ARC. I love Maxine, because even though she is a pain in the butt, she loves hard and her love is genuine. She would lay down her life for those who are in her inner circle.

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

DLW: I identify a lot with Renee, the bookstore owner, but none of them are me. I make stuff up on purpose. I do live my life. The last thing I want is to write me or read me in a book.

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

DLW: I don’t write with a central message, just an entertaining couple of hours, but I always make sure that love wins in the end—any kind of love, whether friendship love, or romantic love.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

DLW: Most of them like my books, I am happy to say!  Realistic, sexy, believable, someone even said that they laugh a little at how some of my characters talk. I always have a character willing to hurt feelings to get a point across.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

DLW: More of the same! I’m working on ‘an enemies to lovers romance’ between dueling business owners in a small town, and another book in the Ruby’s world, following up on Renee, Debra and Maxine.

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

DLW: Getting to participate in a book signing. It was so much fun to meet readers face-to-face and see people excited to grab a copy of my book.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

DLW: Oh, gosh, I don’t even know. I do LOVE Atlanta Author Tayari Jones. I’d love to just sit and talk writing with her, maybe Bernice L. McFadden, or Terry McMillan—those classic authors that capture black fiction, so well.

CH: How to Find D. L. White:   

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold? 

DLW: You can find all of my books in electronic format on Amazon or in paperback on www.lulu.com.

CH: Any closing remarks?

DLW: Cheryl, Thank you for this interview and for the interest in my books! It’s so appreciated! 🙂

CH: Thank you so much, D. L. White, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, D. L. White and Cheryl Holloway.

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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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Guest Author Interview – Vivian Ward

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Title: One Wild Night (A MFMM Ménage Romance)

Genre: Romance/Women’s Fiction

Synopsis:  What could possibly go wrong during a drunken game of truth or dare?

Some couples have their kinks, and Tom and Beth definitely have theirs. Being exhibitionists is a fun thrill that the two of them share, but Tom has a hidden fantasy that his wife doesn’t know about.
He’s always secretly hoped that one day a stranger would join them.

But then the perfect opportunity presents itself one wild night on a camping trip that his wife was never supposed to go on. When the couple starts playing drunken truth or dare with a couple of guys next to their campsite, things quickly get out of hand.

How far is too far when it comes to a dare?

Vivian Ward, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Vivian Ward. She has been writing and creating fantasy worlds most of her life. Welcome to my blog, Vivian.

CH:  Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

VW: It gives you an up close look at why people do the sexual things they do and how to deal with them.

CH: How did you come up with the premise of ‘truth or dare’ for One Wild Night?

VW: You might laugh at this, but I came up with the game of Truth or Dare for the story because of my kids. They’re always playing, and I play with them. I thought, ‘You know? This could be really interesting with adults, especially if they were drinking.’

CH: Is there a message in One Wild Night that you want the readers to grasp?

VW: The message in One Wild Night is that it’s okay to explore your sexual fantasies, especially with your spouse. Your partner should be the one person that you can trust and do anything with, including, but not limited to sexual exploration. Not only did Tom and Beth explore their sexual side, but they talked about it afterward—in great detail. Communication is always the key.

CH: Have you considered writing a series versus writing a standalone book?

VW: I’ve never written a series, but I do have a couple that I’ve been mapping out for some time. As for now, all of my books are standalone novels.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? 

 VW: People! I’m an avid reader, so sometimes I come up with story ideas from books, and sometimes they come from reading message boards. There have also been plenty of nights where I had a dream and woke up to email myself the dream—so I wouldn’t forget—because it was such a good story.

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

 VW: I don’t have a standard formula. I try to make each book different.

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

VW: For me, it’s a challenge that I welcome. I like to find out what makes people tick and I like to ask, ‘What if?’

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

VW: I try to walk in my character’s shoes and give the readers an honest story. A lot of them are based on real life experiences—either my own or ones that I’ve read—and all of my characters have a little of me sprinkled in them. That always makes for an entertaining person. LOL

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

VW: When I wrote One Wild Night, I wanted them to be a fun, connected couple. I drew a lot of that from my own marriage because my husband and I are so close. What can I say? He’s my partner in crime.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

VW: Out of all of my books? Corbin from Rock-A-Bye Baby was the hardest to write. The reason for this is because I had a hard time connecting with him and because of that, I think my readers did, too.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

VW: Hmm. This is so hard. I can’t say any one character, but I loved writing Blake and Tasha from The Baby Is Mine and I loved writing Cathy and Brett from Our Dirty Secret. I might be biased though, because those are my two favorite books that I’ve written.

CH: Who would you consider to be a mentor for you as an author? 

VW: I can’t pick any particular author, but I use all authors as a mentor. You can learn something from everyone. I try to take away what I can and put my own spin on it. I do tend to favor Indie authors over traditionally published authors, but maybe it’s because I feel more connected to them.

CH: How long have you been writing in this genre?

VW: I’ve been writing contemporary romance since 2015. Before that, I published short erotica under several pen names.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

VW: Hot heros with strong heroines, who can lean on their (stronger) man and lots of HEA’s (Happily Ever After).

CH: How to Find Vivian Ward:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

VW: My entire catalog is exclusive to Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

VW: Cheryl, I appreciate the opportunity for the author interview and look forward to meeting new readers. I’m a social butterfly, so don’t be afraid to say ‘Hi.’

CH: Thank you so much, Vivian Ward, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Vivian Ward and Cheryl Holloway.

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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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Cheryl Holloway Wishes You A Happy Father’s Day

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Happy Father’s Day to…all my family, friends and readers near and far!

I sent a Father’s Day prayer up to Heaven to my Dad. I’m spending the day with family and special friends.  I thank God for the many Blessings.

May you have a Happy & Blessed Father’s Day!  

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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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Cheryl Holloway Celebrates Juneteenth

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I recently attended a Juneteenth Celebration in Maryland.

Here is some History of Juneteenth.

Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas, and more generally the emancipation of African American  slaves throughout the Confederate South. Celebrated on June 19, the word is a portmanteau of “June” and “nineteenth.” Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday or special day of observance in forty-five states.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.  Any of these stories could be true.

  • Often told is the story of a messenger, who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom.
  • Another story is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers/masters to maintain the labor force on the plantations.
  • Another story is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation.

Today, the holiday is observed primarily in local celebrations. Traditions include public readings of the Emancipation Proclamation the singing of traditional songs, such as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black American National Anthem, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,”  an American Negro Spiritual and readings by noted African-American writers, such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou.  Celebrations may include parades, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, park parties,  historical reenactments, or Miss Juneteenth contests.

Note: Special Thanks to Wikipedia.org and Juneteenth.com for the history.

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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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Guest Author Interview – Alexandria House

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Title: Stay with Me (Strickland Sisters Book 1)

Genre: African American Romance

Synopsis: Twice unlucky in love, natural hair vlogger, Angela Strickland, has settled into a life centered around avoiding men and relationships like the plague. Unwilling to risk another broken heart, she resigns herself to being a perpetually single woman.

Corporate man and self-professed womanizer, Ryan Boyé, doesn’t believe in relationships or love and thinks anyone who does is a fool. But there’s just something about Angela Strickland he can’t shake…

When these two cross paths, their attraction to one another is undeniable. Will they find that the love they’ve both evaded is exactly what they both need?

Alexandria House, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Alexandria House.  She loves writing steamy stories about real black love. Welcome to my blog, Alexandria

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

AH: You should read Stay with Me because I can guarantee it’ll make you smile, laugh out loud, and squirm in your seat.

CH: What a match—a perpetually single woman and a womanizer. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

AH: It honestly just popped in my head. I’m obsessed with all things YouTube, so I knew the heroine would be a YouTuber. I had the concept from day one, but a lot of the story kind of just unfolded as I wrote it.

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

AH: No standard formula, really. The overall story comes to me, but I don’t know the details, until I start writing. I start out with a word-count goal, but never meet it exactly. I either go over it or fall just shy of it. I also know how I want the story to end and let the characters get me there.

CH: Since this book this is part of a series, I presume future books will include her sisters Nicky and Renee. Will any other family members, such as her mom, be included in the series?

AH: I just finished writing Renee’s story, and yes, Mom and Dad both make an appearance or two. I’ve just begun Nicky’s story and plan for them to pop up in there, too.

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

AH: Well, I have natural hair and I don’t play about my coins. And I’ve known heartache. Dang, I guess I’m Angela. Just realized that, LOL.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

AH: Ryan, hands down. He was a blast to create. He’s so funny and a bit crazy, but he loves his woman. Nicky would be a close second.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AH: Actually, none of them were difficult to write. This was a chatty bunch, who virtually never shut up, LOL. The story kind of wrote itself. I think, I wrote it from start to finish in under three weeks.

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

AH: Well…my characters like to curse and have a lot of sex—A LOT, LOL. And then, there’s the humor. I’m a pretty funny chick!

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

AH: Yes, when love hits, you can’t dodge it, no matter how hard you try. The right one will break down all of your walls.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from your readers for this book?

AH: Overwhelmingly positive. People really seem to be enjoying it and I couldn’t be happier.

CH: What are your three biggest accomplishments in writing?

AH: 1) There are four books out there with my name on them because I wrote them all by myself; 2) People have read and enjoyed said books; and 3) There’s money in my account because people read said books!

If I could add a fourth achievement, all four books have portions written from a male’s perspective in first person. I’m not a man, so I definitely consider that an achievement.

CH: How important is social media to your marketing?

AH: It’s of the utmost importance. I don’t think, I’d have an audience without social media.

CH: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  How did you handle it?

AH: Hmm, that my work was a watered-down version of the work of a popular romance author. And get this, at the time, I hadn’t even read that author’s work! Ever! I didn’t respond to it, because my general attitude about most things like that is whatever, but I’ll say this now: everything I write is authentically me. It is not deep and super angsty because I don’t want it to be. I want to make people smile and swoon, make them believe in and know that black love still exists, and take them away from their problems for a bit, and if I can accomplish that, I’m happy.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

AH: Believe in Me (Renee’s story), Book 2 of the Strickland Sisters Series, is coming in July.

CH: How to Find Alexandria House:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

AH: Yes, it is sold exclusively on Amazon and is FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AH: Yes, Cheryl, thank you for having me! And never stop believing in #blacklove.

CH: Thank you so much, Alexandria House, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Alexandria House and Cheryl Holloway.

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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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Guest Author Interview – Rick Sulik

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Title: Death Unmasked

Genre: Mystery/Thriller & Suspense

Synopsis: A reincarnated evil is stalking the women of Houston. With each murder, the madman quotes an excerpt from the Oscar Wilde poem, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” A huge smokestack belching smoke, a ragged flea market double-breasted wool coat, and an old antique picture frame, bring the distant past back to haunt Houston Homicide Detective, Sean Jamison. With those catalysts, Jamison knows who he was in a past life and that he lost the only woman he could ever love. Searching for his reincarnated mate becomes Jamison’s raison d’être as he and fellow detectives scour Houston for a brutal serial killer. The memory of timeless love drives Jamison’s dogged search for a serial killer, determined to finish what he started decades earlier. Each clue brings Jamison closer to unmasking his old nemesis. Tenacious police work, lessons learned in the past, and intuition may be the only weapons he has in preventing history from repeating itself.


CH: Today’s Guest Author is Rick Sulik. He worked over thirty years as a policeman, before retiring.  Welcome to my blog, Rick.

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

RS: A Houston homicide detective investigates a double murder—his and his wife’s—in his next lifetime.

CH: Where did you get the inspiration for your novel? 

RS: The inspiration to write my story came from three entrancing tunes that dramatize the storyline in Death Unmasked. The songs are ‘Greensleeves’ by Mantovani; ‘Think of Laura’ sung by Christopher Cross; and ‘Mary in the Morning’ sung by Al Martino. These songs are all available on YouTube.com. I was also inspired by Oscar Wilde’s disquieting poem, ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Jail).’

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

RS: I have no standard ‘formula’ for putting an ‘unusual’ novel together.

CH: Since this book also has reincarnation in it, how did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

RS: Through my own belief in reincarnation. When I was young, my mom and I would walk a mile in the evenings after dinner around a lake near our home. On our last walk together before she passed away, she looked up at me, and said with a sweet smile, “If I had to do it all over again for you, and your brothers, I would.” Instinctively, without her saying another word, the look in her beautiful hazel eyes communicated her thoughts, and it all came together ‘in-a-blink-of-eye,’ and I fully understood what my mom had meant…she had been my mother, in other lifetimes.

CH: Can you tell us a little about your belief in reincarnation?

RS: I thought it interesting, since Army General George S. Patton Jr., (born 11-11-1885) believed in reincarnation, that his Warrior ‘spirit,’ in foresight, would choose to incarnate (Free Will) back into the ‘physical’ on the date, 11-11. General Patton’s poem, ‘Through a Glass, Darkly’ is evident of his resolute belief in reincarnation. I quote, “So as through a glass and darkly, the age long strife I see, where I fought in many guises, many names, but always me.”

To Patton, who strongly believed in God, the date 11-11, might symbolize ‘spirits’ re-entering the ‘physical’ (earth) by way of the top left inside 11, and eventually departing by way of the lower right inside 11, back to the ‘spirit’ world, only to be ‘reborn’ again (a cycle) at some future date by using – The All Merciful Father’s (God) greatest gift to humanity…’Free Will.’

At 11:00 am, of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, WWI came to an end, and it was to be the war that would end all wars…Patton lived half of his adult life at this point in history.

Patton’s Warrior ‘Spirit’ might have foreseen, before reincarnating on his latest birthday, 11-11-1885, that years after WWII, his birthday (November 11) would be remembered as a National Holiday and would honor all veterans, and that Armistice Day, would be eventually changed to Veterans Day.

“I’m a soldier, I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight. There is only one proper way for a professional soldier to die…the last bullet of the last battle of the last war.”   General George S. Patton Jr.

CH: Is the main character, Det. Sean Jamison, a combination of any of your partners? Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

RS: The protagonist is a combination of police personalities (veterans) of all my Houston Police Department, Field Training Officers (FTO’s), during my training/probationary period in the late 70’s. They are Houston homicide detectives Sean Jamison, Roman Addison, and Captain Virginia Schaeffer,

CH: Did you have any challenges while writing this storytelling novel?

RS: Yes, I found it a real challenge to switch from ‘descriptive’ police report ‘fact’ writing to ‘creative,’ and colorful storytelling ‘novel’ writing.

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

RS: Close your eyes, clear your mind, and meditate. Let your ‘mem-‘ory, shine through, so you can re-‘mem-‘ber. I quote, ‘Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of bodies of the world.’ Jesus Christ from the teachings in the Gnostic Gospels.

CH: You have two out-of-print books, Cold Kill and Random Ransom. Of the three books, which book was hardest to write?

RS: Death Unmasked. It was like fitting small pieces together to a much larger puzzle.

CH: Is this book a reprint of a previously written book?

RS: The first edition of, Death Unmasked, was published by, Itoh Press, in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 2012. My publisher developed a health problem, and had to close her publishing company, and released all of her authors.

CH: You have combined poetry with your serial killer. Why did you decide to include poetry in your book?

RS: ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’ by Oscar Wilde is a story within itself, and I felt the poetry added flavor, which enhanced the storyline.

CH: You have many reviews, so what kind of feedback are you getting from readers for your book?

RS: Mostly 5 star and 4 star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

CH: What can we expect next, is there a new thriller/suspense book in the making soon?

RS: I’m saving my next ‘unusual’ story, for my next lifetime.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RS: I do not have a website. My publisher’s website is: http://christophermatthewspub.com/death-unmasked/ 

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

RS: It is sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million. It is also featured on Goodreads.

CH: How To Find Rick Sulik:

CH: Any closing remarks?

RS: Death Unmasked is a suspenseful mystery thriller spanning lifetimes, using reincarnation, karma, psychic ability, remote viewing, and out-of-body experience, to outwit an evil incarnated entity stalking women in Houston, Texas. Death Unmasked is an afterthought from my superconscious, which compares ‘physical’ ballistics to ‘spiritual’ reincarnation. Ballistics is the science of flight dynamics—the trajectory of an unpowered ‘physical’ object in ‘free-flight.’ I am not a skeptic. I firmly believe in reincarnation. It makes perfect sense. We cannot learn in a ‘blink-of-an-eye’ all about life in one lifetime. It takes many lifetimes for our spirits to evolve, and come around full-circle, in order to become completed spirits with Our Creator.

Cheryl, thank you for the interview.

CH: Thank you so much, Rick Sulik, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Rick Sulik and Cheryl Holloway..

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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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Guest Author Interview – Selena Haskins

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Title: Yesterday Was A Long Time Ago

Genre: Romance/New Adult & College

Synopsis: Southern gal, Germaine Landry wants to become a writer in the big city of Washington, DC. She meets a privileged heartthrob and college football player, Angelo Pearson, who is used to having anything and every girl he wants. A loner by nature, Germaine is not easily impressed with Angelo’s bravado, but he eventually charms his way into her heart. This pair of opposites attract develops a friendship that catches fire. Their love is seemingly shatterproof until a malicious scheme leads them down a dark path that could end tragically. Twenty years later, thoughts of yesterday still haunt Germaine, until an unexpected encounter leads her to the pearls of truth. Germaine just may have a second chance at love or finally free herself from the memories of a long time ago.

Selena Haskins, Author

 

 

 

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Selena Haskins. She says that writing wakes her up to new ideas giving her an adrenaline rush. Welcome to my blog, Selena.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?  

SH: It’s a story that will wheel you in emotionally, fill your heart with nostalgia, break it, and heal it again.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

SH: My ideas come from my five senses—anything I see, hear, taste, smell, and touch from life and nature, I can pretty much write a story about it.

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

SH: I’ve always had a vivid imagination. I know it sounds cliché, but since I was a kid my mind was filled with imaginative things. I never knew what would become of daydreaming or playing make believe, but eventually it led to becoming a bestselling author.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

SH: This is a story that’s loosely based on my college experiences.

CH: Since you are a bestselling author, what is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

SH: I’ve been told my character development is spot on and that my stories closely resemble real life.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SH: Germaine Landry was my favorite character to write about. She’s smart, humble, and kind of reserved. She stays in her own lane. It’s easy to write about characters with a good heart.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

SH: Lisa Dupree-Landry was the hardest to write about. She’s very pompous and shallow, the opposite of who I am as a person, but it was fun exposing her to the bare bones. LOL.

CH: What are your three biggest accomplishments in writing? 

SH: My three biggest accomplishments are I’ve been an Amazon bestseller; my readership is still growing, and I’ve met some wonderful people in the publishing industry to help me along the way.

CH: How important is social media to your marketing? 

SH: Very important. It’s an avenue that reaches people in places I’m not able to travel to in person.

CH: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  How did you handle it?

SH: I’m a perfectionist by nature, and sometimes that makes me a little impatient with the publishing process. I recognized this myself, but per the advice of others who’ve been in this business longer than I have, patience is truly a virtue. Anything worth having takes time.

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

SH: True love never fades away with the passing of time. It lives in our hearts forever.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why? 

SH: I would love to work with Carl Weber. I love the twists and turns in his books, and if you add the emotional drama that I create, I could foresee a bestseller.

CH: Are there any writers that you consider your mentor? If so, who and why?

SH: There isn’t one particular person, but I have a few author friends in the industry, who I can turn to for advice.

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

SH: Positive feedback, so far!

CH: What can we expect next from you? 

SH: I’m working on a short story comedy for this winter (2017).

CH: How to Find Selena Haskins:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

 SH: It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO.

CH: Any closing remarks? 

SH: Thank you Cheryl for giving me this opportunity to share with your audience. Thanks to my readers, and also please purchase my latest novel, Yesterday Was a Long Time Ago, and kindly leave a review. You can follow me on Facebook @Author Selena Haskins, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope @booksbyselena.

CH: Thank you so much, Selena Haskins, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Selena Haskins and Cheryl Holloway..

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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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Guest Author Interview – Essence and Schertevear Watkins

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Title: Never Too Young To Dance

Authors: Schertevear Watkins and Essence Watkins

Genre: Children/Blooming Readers Reading Paragraphs

Synopsis: Everyone in Pointer Ridge loved to dance. Xena, was no different. But every time she asked someone if she could join in with their dancing, they’d shew her off and say that she’s too young. Will Xena ever find the perfect dance crew that’s just right? See how a little hope and determination makes things happen in,   “Never Too Young To Dance.”

 

CH: Today’s Guest Authors are Schertevear Q. Watkins and her 8 year-old daughter, Essence T. M. Watkins. They are planting seeds of  character, wisdom, unity and love. Welcome to my blog, Essence and Schertevear.

 

 

 

 

 

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

SQW/EW: Our book, Never Too Young To Dance, overall shows children that though there may be obstacles or a lack of support in reaching their dreams, you should never give up, because dreams do happen.

CH: What inspired you to write this charming children’s book?

SQW/EW: We wanted children to realize that they have to work at the things they want. Everything doesn’t always come easy, or on the first go around. They need to know that there is always a place for them everywhere, regardless of what others may feel they are capable of or where they should be.

CH: How did you find an illustrator?

SQW: I own my own Publishing Company, Baobab Publishing. Also, the first book that featured these same characters, I illustrated myself. On this go around, another illustrator just matched my characters.

CH: Can you tell my audience a little about the age group who is reading this book?

SQW: This book is actually an early reader, where the target age range is 4-6, or those that are now reading simple paragraphs.

CH: What inspired you to begin writing for children?

SQW: My love for children, their wonderful stories and the need for diversity, unity and inclusion in early childhood literature.

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

SQW: My writing style is realistic multicultural fiction, for the most part. This means I use human characters with regular situations and challenges that all children face and can relate to. As a teacher, mother and former resource parent, I think, I know children well. This makes it easy for me to write from their point of view.

CH: Does being an adult give you a different perspective on writing children’s literature? If so, how?

SQW: As an adult, I am able to see and explain the story from all perspectives. But again, by working with children, I’m able to relay my overall message from a child’s point of view, still allowing for the problem to be solved and lessons learned in the end.

CH: What do you find to be the hardest part of writing for children?

SQW: To me, it comes very easily. Often, I have so many ideas running through my mind that I have to suppress them because they become so numerous.

CH: Do you write books for different age levels of children?

SQW: Yes, Ages 3-10, but mostly ages 6-9.

CH: Is it hard to write a story on a child’s level?

SQW: No, not at all, only because of my background.

CH: Where do you come up with ideas for children’s story?

SQW: Some ideas come to me, and the words will just flow from my thoughts. I can write a 1,500 word book anywhere from 15 minutes to 3-4 days. Chapter books can take a week to 3 weeks to get the story down properly.

CH: What was the book you loved as a child?

SQW: I loved the Box Car Children Series and Charlotte’s Web. All of the Little Golden Books and Goosebumps.

CH: What are your favorite children’s books?

SQW: The Little Engine That Could, The First Doll and Hansel and Gretel.

CH: What kind of feedback have you received?

SQW: From anyone who has read and commented on my books, they have all given excellent feedback.

CH: Is this the first book that you and Essence have written together?

SQW/EW: No, we’ve written several books together.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making soon?

SQW: There are several brands that Author Schertevear Watkins writes under and they all have numerous series or books within them. This would include the following brands: Characters Like Me, Blooming Readers, Fairytale Endings, Color My World and more to come.

CH: How to Find Schertevear Watkins:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

SQW: Amazon.com and soon, our website store will be ready. We also go to schools and organizations, who are looking for fundraising or book fair products.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SQW: I’d just like to say that, reading is the key to knowledge and the road to freedom. There’s not much that you can achieve without reading. Every child should own books. Each child should have at least 5 books, on their grade level. Also, any child who reads a book from myself or any other author under the Baobab Publishing umbrella, will receive a character building experience.  We are devoted to creating quality literature that stimulates the imagination, as well as, builds self-esteem, character, and encourages faith and unity.  Cheryl, thanks for the interview.

CH: Thank you so much, Essence and Schertevear Watkins, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Schertevear Watkins; and Cheryl Holloway..

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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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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Graham Diamond

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Title: Black Midnight

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Detective Sergeant Yvonne DiPalma is near the top of her career…a member of the elite Terrorist Task Force. DiPalma will do anything to stop terrorism, even if it involves getting her hands dirty.
But when a bomb explodes on a train track, killing the driver and horribly wounding a police officer on board, DiPalma will be under more pressure than ever before. Not only does she have to catch the bombers, but she has to do it before they strike again.

All they have to go on is a note, a note that promises another bomb in barely more than a week. A note signed by someone calling themselves Armageddon.

DiPalma may have been prepared to get her hands dirty, but as the clock ticks down, she will be forced to do things she never would have imagined.
She must stop Armageddon…no matter what kind of person she has to become to do it.

Graham Diamond, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Author, Graham Diamond. He is an acclaimed writer of speculative fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction. Welcome to my blog, Graham. 

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

GD: Black Midnight is extremely relevant in the world we live in today; although fiction, the characters will be recognizable as your friends, your neighbors, and yourself.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

GD: My ideas come from the world around me. I am a people watcher, a follower of politics, religions, and cultures. I love meeting people from everywhere, and I am proud to say that I have made friends with men and women from every continent.

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

GD: I never have a ‘standard formula.’  A story for me comes with a broad idea of what I want to say and where I want it to go.  As the plot deepens—whatever the subject—the characters come to life and they tend to tell me what they would or wouldn’t do. They are as alive as anyone, with their own voices and needs. I listen to them, and observe them through the personalities I have created. Then, the real work begins of having fully drawn characters react and find a way to come to the tale’s conclusion, much as I had anticipated.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

GD: I always look for the offbeat, or the road less traveled. Most of my novels reflect that aspect of my personality. A good example is my choosing to do a romantic tale based around the happenings of the Zulu War of 1879. First titled, Tears of Passion, Tears of Shame, and now Cry For Freedom (Endeavour Press UK). I sought out a location and a piece of history never done before. This way, I know I can bring far more to the reader than a typical novel in its genre.

CH: Since you are a bestselling author, what is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

GD: Location, location, location. I look for the exotic and unusual among my settings. Examples are the cities of Samarkand, and Marrakesh, around which I based several series. In my fantasy writings, I create locations where anything may go. The world of wolves brought to life in The Haven and Lady of The Haven. I want unlimited horizons, and through my stories hope to expand the minds of my readers.

CH: You write across many genres and even with a pen name, Rochelle Leslie. Your books have been published in several countries and you have a wonderful literary career, so what has been your key to success as a writer?

GD: I like to think it’s the inner child inside me. Children have an innocence about them, and a wonder of the world around them. I try to keep that wonder and wonderment with me. I am a searcher, something of a dreamer. Often, I ask myself the simple question: What if?  And then, I begin to answer it, hopefully in entertaining ways that will keep my readers enthralled and wanting more. As for Rochelle Leslie, used as a pen name, they are the names of my two beautiful daughters, Rochelle and Leslie.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

GD: Inspiration for my characters comes from necessity drawn from the situations of the stories I write. For example, in this book, Black Midnight , my protagonist Yvonne DiPalma, NYPD Terrorist Squad detective, was drawn from among individual police contacts I made, and especially, a woman detective I met, who worked in the borough of Queens, NY. She told me she carried her snub-nosed .38 in her purse. I liked that. I knew Yvonne would also. Detective DiPalma, who was always close to my heart, does indeed carry her weapon in her purse.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? Which character was your favorite to write?

GD: The hardest characters to write are my protagonists. I need to get into their minds, into their hearts. What makes them tick? What are their problems and life situations—both negative and positive. They become real, far beyond being written on paper. They exist, ready to spring to life on the pages from my first book to my last. Whether it was Nigel, the young botanist in The Haven, struggling to make his leaders see how their fate will be doomed unless his people begin to accept this fact and change it, or Vlad Petrovsky, the well-meaning Public Relations specialist, in my well-received satire Chocolate Lenin. As with Nigel, Vlad is given an almost impossible task, and somehow must tackle it and find a successful solution before revolution overtakes the world.  As for favorites, well, each has become a friend, a confident. As with the story itself, I have given birth to each of them, and like my children, I am proud when they are able to muster all their resources to succeed in whatever plight they are thrown into.

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

GD: If there is a single, overriding message it is one of hope—never to give up in your beliefs. Always stand up for what you think is right. Believe in yourself. Give of yourself.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

GD: My favorite authors include: Thomas Hardy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Thomas Wolfe, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  If I had the opportunity to speak with any of them, I would sit and listen to everything they had to tell me!  Sometimes, it really is better to keep your mouth shut and listen!

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

GD: I would say Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The genre of ‘Magical Realism’ he created is, for me, a modern wonder of writing. In his books, especially, One Years of Solitude, has more creativity on every page than most novels in a handful of chapters.

CH: What kind of feedback are you receiving for this book?

GD: Feedback has been really good. I have been told that my characters are believable, and the situations they find themselves caught in are sadly all too real in our world.  Also, I have been complimented on my descriptions of the New York Police Department, as being accurate down to the smallest detail.

CH: You worked for many years at the New York Times. Do you think this enhanced your career as a writer?

GD: Working at the New York Times was the most incredible education of my life—every day of the week, 24/7, 365 a year. I was exposed to the world as stories broke before my eyes. Each day brought a different landscape, and although, my role was small in comparison, I had the pleasure of knowing and working alongside some of the greatest journalists of modern times.

CH: As you continue your writing, citing that you will ‘never retire.’ Tell us how you feel about your writing passion.  

GD: I love storytelling. Ideas are always bouncing around in my mind. I doubt I could ‘retire’ even, if I wanted to. As long as, I feel I have good ideas, the magic of the written page will continue for me.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

GD: I don’t talk about new work underway, but I can tell you that what I am doing now has something of an ancient biblical theme.

CH: Can you tell my audience about your website?

GD: I have a brand new website that I’m very excited about.

CH: How to Find Graham Diamond:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

GD: They are available on Amazon and Amazon.uk. Almost all of my books are now available through kindle and all digital formats. Many are still available in print. Personally, I love the feel of a real book.

CH: Any closing remarks?

GD: In closing, let me thank you, Cheryl, for the chance to be interviewed and speak about myself and my books. If any of your readers would like to contact me, I will answer as soon as I can.  I can be reached at: caAuthorny@aol.com.

CH: Thank you so much, Graham Diamond, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

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Five Essentials of An Author Website by Cheryl Holloway

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Five Essentials of An Author Website

Since I wrote the last article on Author Websites, many authors have written me and asked the question, ‘What Are The Essentials of An Author Website?’ So, today, I’m going to answer that question to the best of my ability.

  1. Think About the future of your website

Think ‘Big’ and act like you’re already famous. I can’t remember who said this, but the idea stuck in my head.  I know, as a new author, you may be on a limited budget, but think about the future. Do not limit the design. I suggest getting a website with yourauthorname.com or if someone has your domain name, get yourauthorname.net (like I did).

You can also use a free domain, such as yourname.wordpress.com. Or use a free website, such as wix.com

I suggest that most writers do as I did and do it right from the beginning by hiring a web designer and put your best foot forward. Remember, you only get one first impression. I advise you to have one page done right and you can expand it later, once you start selling books. Brand yourself and make your website and blog look alike, so readers can recognize you.  All of this means something to the reader—you look consistent and you look professional.

  1. Your Book Cover is Extremely Important

Make sure your book cover is done by a professional graphic designer. Do not try to do it yourself, unless you are a graphic designer. The cover will define your brand as an author. It will be the primary visual brand for your readers to identify you. You must put your professional foot forward. Do not ask your niece, nephew or grandson to design it.  Pay hard-earned money to have your book cover designed. There is no exception to this rule!

  1. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly

Today, most people use their phone to google an author, then they check out your website on their laptop. A few readers may even use their PC, but be prepared and make sure that your website looks good on any of their devices. Check mine out. This isn’t hard to do for a professional web designer, and they can do it fast. So, once again, get it done right!

  1. Your Author Website is not a Catch-all

Your website should target only readers of your books. Do not mix your passion for crocheting with your books. Get a separate website for your crocheting. So, your author website needs to remain true to your goal—your books and nothing else.

The only exception to this is if you write in two very different genres, such as Mystery/Thriller and Romance, or if you write under two different pen names, then you will need two separate websites. Of course, you can always provide a link between the two websites. Keep your author website just that—an author website—preferably for one genre.

  1. Your Author Website is there to Connect with Your Readers

This author website says it all.

The main purpose of your Author Website is to connect with your Reader Fans. Do I need to repeat that? The main purpose of your Author Website is to connect with your Reader Fans.

First and foremost, your Reader Fans need a way to contact you. I have my email address pasted all over my website and my blog. You can easily contact me with my easy author email address. AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com Do not use cute email addresses, such as. Pookie52190@yahoo.com or Twinkletoes15@hotmail.com. Your readers are not going to remember the cute email address. Personally, my pet peeve is a website where I send the author an email, never knowing whether they will answer it in the next 90 days or not. I suggest using an email address that the Reader Fan can easily contact  you. Use one that you will check at least every 2 days. You can always say that you are in the middle of a big re-write and will get back to them in one week, but do so. Remember, your readers are your bread and butter. Treat them like family (or better!).

Second, you need to be able to contact your Reader Fans when you release your next book. You can contact them and tell about your New Book Launch. Better yet, you can send them a free or reduced price book and solicit book reviews on Book Launch Day. Most of the Reader Fans will buy your new book and those are easy sales that you made with just a few emails. You can sell hundreds of books this way. Plus, book sales and book reviews on Book Launch Day push you up on Amazon’s Bestseller List. This is a win-win situation.

And last, but not least, you don’t need to be a social media junkie to have a successful author website. Your author website can connect you to social media by having a link to your Facebook page and your Twitter page. You can make your website sharable to both Facebook and Twitter.

So, that’s my take on the five essentials of an Author website. Let me know what you think about the topic.

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A Memorial Day Salute to Our Military Heroes from Cheryl Holloway

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A MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE TO OUR MILITARY HEROES

Memorial Day is the one holiday of the year when we are to remember and honor the men and women who are America’s Fallen Warriors.  It is not the official holiday for summer to begin; but it is a day of remembrance for our lost soldiers.

Today, I ask you to join me in remembering and honoring our family and friends who served in the Armed Forces and who lost their lives fighting to protect our homeland and our safety with their bravery and sacrifice.  There is a bevy of ceremonies, events and parades marking the occasion. Please take the time  to honor those who served.

I’m Proud to be An American/God Bless the USA

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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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Seven Sentence Sunday with Cheryl Holloway

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Seven Sentence Sunday

Once Upon a Time

 

Most of my readers enjoy Seven Sentence Sunday and often request the short stories. 

I write a short story using only seven sentences. I also use this as a writing exercise in the writing workshops that I present. 

Note: According to USA Today, at least 22 people died and 59 were injured after a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device at a concert by the American pop star Ariana Grande at the Manchester Arena in northwestern England on Monday night.

This is dedicated to those parents who lost their children in the bombing.

Title: The Death of A Child

There are no words on this earth that can describe how a parent feels when they have to experience the death of their child.

The age of the child does not matter—whether an infant, a small child or an adult child.

The fact of the matter remains that the child was a special part of the parent.

I think, the strongest love on this earth is the love that a parent holds so deeply in their heart for their child.

The mourning period varies according to the person who is grieving.

The love for the child will remain in the heart of the parent, until they meet again—in Heaven.

To my daughter, Nichelle, rest in heaven, until I join you—someday.

The End

 

Keep in mind that this is fiction. 🙂

“Hello, my name is James Patterson,” said the voice on the phone.

He continued before I could say a word.

“I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name, as someone who can help me write a book.”

He paused again, as if waiting on me to say something, but I was in total shock.

“Cheryl, I want to write my memoir and they said that you are the best writer/editor in the U.S.”

“I know how to write fiction, but I don’t know how to write about my life, so, can you help me?”

As I said, “Yes, I can,” I woke up.

The End

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

Have a Great Writing Day!

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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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Guest Author Interview – Steve Snyder

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A Must Read for World War II Enthusiasts!

Title: Shot Down: The True Story of Pilot Howard Snyder and the Crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth

Genre: History/Military/World War II

Synopsis: Winner of 20 national book awards, SHOT DOWN is set within the framework of World War II in Europe and recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew after their plane, piloted by the author’s father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgian border on February 8,1944.

Some men died. Some were captured and became prisoners of war. Some men evaded capture and were missing in action for months before making it back to England. Their individual stories and those of the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives to help them are all different and are all remarkable.

Even before the dramatic battle in the air and the subsequent harrowing events on the ground, the story is informative, insightful, and captivating. Prior to the fateful event, the book covers the crew’s training, their journey to England, what life was like on base as well as in London and the English countryside, and the perils of flying combat missions over occupied Europe and Germany.

Through personal letters, oral and written accounts, declassified military documents, and interviews – all from people who took part in the events that happened over 70 years ago (even the German Luftwaffe pilot who shot down the Susan Ruth) – the stories come alive. Adding to the feeling of “being there,” are more than 200 time period photographs interspersed throughout the book.

To add background and context, many historical facts and anecdotes about and surrounding World War II are entwined throughout the book so that the reader has a feel for and understanding of what was occurring on a broader scale. SHOT DOWN is an account about brave individuals, featuring pilot Howard Snyder, set within the compelling events of the greatest conflict in world history.

Steve Snyder, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Steve Snyder, an author and military historian. Welcome to my blog, Steve.

CH: Can you sum up your book in two sentences?

SS: Set within the framework of World War II in Europe, Shot Down recounts the dramatic experiences of each member of a ten man B-17 bomber crew, after their plane, piloted by my father, was knocked out of the sky by German fighters over the French/Belgium border on February 8, 1944. Their individual stories and those of the courageous Belgian people who risked their lives to help them are all different and are all remarkable.

CH: Since this is World War II history, can you tell us how you compiled the information for your father’s journey in aviation?

SS: My father had kept all his records and orders from the war. He wrote a diary, while he was missing in action, about his plane being shot down that was riveting. My mother had kept all the letters he wrote to her while he was stationed with the 306th Bomb Group at Thurleigh, England. In them, my father wrote about bombing missions, what life was like on the air base, and what life was like in England and in London. In 1994, I accompanied my parents on a trip to Belgium for the 50th anniversary of the country’s liberation from Nazi occupation and of his plane being shot down during which we visited many of the locations where the events took place.

My mother also kept letters written between family members of the crew after they were shot down and letters written by members of the Belgian underground, who hid my dad. In 1989, a memorial was erected at Macquenoise, Belgium in memory of the B-17 Susan Ruth crew. My father along with the three other members of the crew, who were still living, attended the dedication and waist gunner, Joe Musial, filmed the entire trip, during which the men told stories about their war experiences.

CH: Did you have to do any additional research for this book?

SS: Yes. I spent hours on the internet doing research and downloading declassified military documents, such as the 306th Bomb Group Mission Reports and the 369th Bomb Squadron Diaries. I also obtained a copy of a War Department War Crimes Report. However, the highlight was finding Hans Berger, the German Luftwaffe pilot, who shot down my dad’s plane and interviewing him for the book. Fortunately for me, Hans became a translator after the war, and speaks English. He provided me with wonderful information about what it was like to go up against the 8th Air Force. He’s 93 years old now, and last year I visited him in Munich, Germany.

CH: Did you interview other family members for their stories or recounts of what happened?

SS: Yes. During my research, I went on a quest to find as many relatives of my dad’s crew as possible. Through the internet, Facebook, obituaries, etc., I found relatives (brothers, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews) of all the crew, except bombardier, Robert Benninger. They provided pictures, written accounts, newspaper articles, and letters.

CH: What made you decide to include photos?

 SS: After the war, many Belgian people who helped hide my father from the Germans sent pictures to him. In addition, two Belgian gentlemen, who were young boys during the war and became local historians later in life, provided me with all sorts of pictures taken in 1944.  I know of no other story or book that has such unique, historical, and personal photographs taken in an occupied country. I also included many photographs taken by the Air Force and other military entities that are in the public domain.

Including photographs of the people, places, aircraft and other things described in the book makes it much more enjoyable and personal for a reader. There are more than 200 photos in the print editions.

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

SS: Most books about the air war are either very large in scope; addressing many bomb group, many crews, and many missions, or very narrow in scope; addressing one man’s experience, often as a prisoner of war. Shot Down addresses one ten-man crew and the different experiences of each man. It is also unique in that there is so much detail about the Belgian underground and resistance, who fought against the tyranny of Nazi occupation.

CH: Where did you get the idea to write this book? Did your background as an amateur historian help in writing this book?

SS: After I retired in 2009, I had the time to really delve into my father’s war history to find out more details. However, I had no intention of writing a book. I just wanted to go through all the material my parents had kept from the war years. After doing that, I was hooked. I started reading book after book about the air war over Europe and spent a tremendous amount of time doing research on the internet. I also joined several World War II organizations and went to their reunions, where I listened to veterans tell their stories. Finally in 2012, I decided to write a book, After all that I had learned, I came to the conclusion that the story of my father and his crew was so unique and so compelling that people needed to know about it and read about it.

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

SS: What I want readers to grasp is the sacrifice of the men who fought and died for the freedom that we enjoy today. People need to be aware of what they went through. Although the story is specifically about the crew of the B-17 Susan Ruth, it is also about the men of the 306th Bomb Group, the 8th Air Force, and in a sense everyone who served in World War II.

When the war ended, there were 16 million veterans of which 97% are no longer with us. Soon, we will no longer have the honor and opportunity to show them our appreciation. No other event in history affected more people than World War II. No one alive was untouched by it, and no nation was spared the cost and horror. World War II changed the course of America and the world forever. We must never forget the sacrifice of those brave, young men, who without doubt are ‘The Greatest Generation.’ “It is our duty to remember.”

CH: What was the hardest part of writing this book and which challenges did you face?

SS: It was a challenge to organize so much information and then put it all together in a logical fashion and make it a readable manuscript. I had no formal writing background, so I wrote like I talk, which is to the point without using a lot of flowery language.

Another challenge was trying to make sure that everything in the book was accurate and 100% correct. This was difficult because there is so much information and so many details included in the book, besides the story of B-17 Susan Ruth crew.

My final challenge was writing a manuscript that would not only appeal to World War II and history buffs, but also appeal to the general public. I didn’t want it to be just a war book for guys, but one that was about people and the human spirit, so it would be an enjoyable read for anybody.

CH: These men were American Heroes. Was it hard writing with suspense and excitement to tell their tale?

SS: I didn’t have to. The tale of the Susan Ruth crew members and the Belgian people, who helped them was filled with suspense and excitement. I purposely made no attempt to embellish it, whatsoever. It was their story, and it told itself. Although, everything in the book is factual and based on first-hand testimony by the people who were involved in the events that took place, it reads like a novel. As Mark Twain said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

I just organized everything and tried to put it together so it flowed. What I did add was a significant amount of historical information and anecdotes about and surrounding the war to put the story in context and give it background. Therefore, Shot Down is also a history book about the B-17 Flying Fortress, the 8th Air Force, the air war over Europe, and a little about World War II, in general.

CH: This book is the winner of 20 national book awards. Can you tell us a little about the awards?

Awards from 2014 thru 2017 included: Top Shelf Magazine Editor’s Choice; Independent Press Military Nonfiction; Online Book Club Book of the Year; The Author’s Show 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading; National Indie Excellence – US History and Military Non-Fiction; Beverly Hills Book – Non-Fiction Military; Global eBook Awards – Non-Fiction Military; Shelf Unbound Best Indie/Self-Published Book; Books and Authors Book of the Year  – Non-Fiction Military; Next Generation Indie Book –Military; International Book – General History: Readers’ Favorite Book Awards – Non-Fiction Historical; Kindle Book  – Non-Fiction; Next Generation Indie Book – Historical Non-fiction; Independent Publisher Book -US History; Independent Author Network Book of the Year – Outstanding Non-Fiction; NABE Spring Pinnacle Book Achievement – Best Books Military;  Non-fiction Book; eLit Awards – History; Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Book of the Year – War & Military; USA Best Book – History General; USA Best Book – History Military; and Southern California Book Festival – Honorable Mention General Non-Fiction.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making soon?

SS: Not at the moment. I am working on making a Shot Down documentary. From a trip to Belgium and Munich, Germany last year, I have 16 hours of raw footage.

CH: What has been the best compliment you’ve received about your writing of this book?

SS: There are many spectacular ones which appear on Amazon, but by far the highest compliments I receive are from combat veterans of the 8th Air Force, who were there and went through it themselves. When they tell me how much they enjoyed reading Shot Down, it is the highest praise possible.

It’s also very gratifying when readers tell me that after reading Shot Down, they now have an understanding about what ‘their vet’ went through during the air war over Europe.

CH: What kind of feedback have you received?

SS: It has all been absolutely wonderful; both from reviewers and readers. Shot Down has a 4.9—a wonderful 92% of 5-star reader review ratings on Amazon.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

SS: On Amazon, Barnes & Noble; and any independent bookstore or library can order it. Signed copies are available on my website.

CH: How to Find Steve Snyder:

CH: Any closing remarks?

SSL Writing and publishing Shot Down has changed my life. I went from a relaxing retirement life to, now, basically having a full-time job again. I spend hours each day promoting my book. I make PowerPoint presentations to all sorts of different organizations, and I attend air shows around the country signing copies of my book.

Doing all this, I have the pleasure of talking with many World War II veterans, and I meet so many wonderful people. I am so very blessed to do what I do, which is to remind people to remember, and be thankful for the heroic efforts of a special generation of men.

Cheryl, thanks for the interview. It was absolutely my pleasure.

CH: Thank you so much, Steve Snyder, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book, I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Steve Snyder and Cheryl Holloway.

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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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Guest Author Interview – Georgette Littlejohn

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Title: Miracle’s Destiny

Genre: Fiction/Family Life

Synopsis: Miracle had no clue that keeping her brother Joseph’s secret would blindside her marriage. She’s also holding back about Karma, her husband’s sister. Mychal isn’t without his own discretion and when faced with Joseph’s reality Mychal is peering in the closet at his own skeletons. Miracle is the confidant of the family and is expected to hold it together, but her life is evaporating before her eyes. Will Miracle heal from her untruths and get her hectic life back that she often complained about?

Georgette Littlejohn, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Georgette Littlejohn, a debut author. Welcome to my blog, Georgette.

CH:    Can you sum up your book in a few words?  

GL: Forgiveness is hard, but it’s liberating and powerful; however, when dealing with life challenges, you have to learn that your future isn’t defined by your past.

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?

GL: I wish I did…I would be famous already. The ideas come from life. Honestly, I just let the words flow for this novel. I wrote it during Nano Month, so, it was about hitting my 50,000 words, but it worked. The ideas kept coming, so I kept writing.

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

GL: At times, it was hard. One scene in particular was challenging for me and I still think I could have written it differently. Others came naturally, because it was close enough to things I, or others I know have experienced.

CH: Will this book be part of a series?

GL: Possibly…maybe I’ll let the readers decide!  🙂

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

GL: No doubt, Patrick was my favorite character to write.

CH: Who was the hardest character to write?

GL: Mychal was definitely the hardest character to write.

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

GL: Lol…she’s a part of every women that I know.

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

GL: Yes, we all have a past, but do we let that define our expectations of the future? Also keeping secrets is ultimately damaging.

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

GL: A bit of reality with a touch of humor, while focusing on the principles of everyday life. We all go through things, but you must stay rooted in your faith and realize there is a higher power that you must turn to daily.

CH: Since you are a debut author, what has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey, so far?

GL: Even though, I was not selected by Amazon’s Kindle Scout Program, it opened the door of exposure and the support was ‘phenomenal,’ considering I’m a new author.

CH: What has been the hardest part of your publishing journey, so far?

GL: Formatting for the various websites and continually going back thinking I should have changed one more thing. And asking myself, is it ready?

CH: What can we expect next from you?

GL: If all goes well with Miracle’s Destiny and readers want more, there very well may be a follow-up book (hint..hint-wink). I have a couple of unfinished projects I’m fishing through. I like challenging myself with different genres, so we’ll see.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

GL: Janet Evanovich…it amazes me how she brings her characters to life. Her characters are ‘freaking’ hilarious, as well. Her writing skills are off the chain!

CH: Can you give my audience your social media info:

  • Facebook: Author Georgette Littlejohn
  • Twitter: @geeloves2write
  • Instagram: Author Georgette Littlejohn
  • Email: authorgeorgettelittlejohn@gmail.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

GL: The eBook is currently sold on Amazon. Miracle’s Destiny can be pre-ordered for $0.99 and the Official Book Launch date is June 1st.

CH: How to Find Georgette Littlejohn:

CH: Any closing remarks?

GL: Words can’t express the overwhelming feeling I get when I see that I actually accomplished a dream that I’ve had for a long time. To be able to sit in your vision is amazing. I thank God for the journey, even though it wasn’t the path I would have chosen—each curve, bend, or side-swipe has made me a better person. I pray that I learn something new every day and I can use that to help others along the way! I hope readers enjoy Miracle’s Destiny and I look forward to giving readers more. Please post reviews after reading the book. I would love to hear from my readers.

Thank you because without readers there would be no authors!

Thank you for the interview, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Georgette Littlejohn, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book, I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Georgette Littlejohn and Cheryl Holloway.

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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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Cheryl Holloway Celebrates National Military Appreciation Month 2017

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May is National Military Appreciation Month!

May is National Military Appreciation Month and we want to give a shout-out and say THANK YOU to all of the men and women in uniform serving our country.

 Some of My Amazing Military Friends and Family!

God Bless our men and women in service—their dedication will never be forgotten.                                                                   ~Cheryl Holloway

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Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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

   

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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Guest Author Interview – Paul Hollis

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The Hollow Man Series

Title: The Hollow Man (Book 1)

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/True Crime/Espionage

 Synopsis: A terrorist’s plot, the assassination of a prime minister, holds the key to an apocalyptic plot to destroy Europe’s economy. It’s impossible to stop, but one man doesn’t know enough to think the world can’t be saved. He’s no hero; not clever or capable, talented or tested. The Hollow Man is just trying to survive in an uncertain climate where terrorism is changing the rules of how we live.

 

Title: London Bridge is Falling Down (Book 2)

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/True Crime/Espionage

 Synopsis: In an exhilarating blend of adventure and international intrigue, U.S. field analyst Doc and his partner, Zita, an MI6 agent, are drawn into the harrowing world of espionage where terrorism casts its ugly shadow over innocence. Doc and Zita are the most original characters to appear in years. London Bridge is Falling Down heralds the arrival of a new breed of lightning-paced, intelligent thriller – surprising at every twist, absorbing at every turn, and in the end, utterly unpredictable—right up to its astonishing conclusion.

Paul Hollis, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Paul Hollis. While Paul is an active member of International Thriller Writers and a world tourist, he brings his own unique viewpoint to his thriller series. Welcome to my blog, Paul.  

CH: Can you sum up The Hollow Man Series in two sentences?

PH: In over his head, a U.S. government analyst is no hero; not clever or capable, talented or tested. The Hollow Man is just trying to stay alive in an uncertain world where terrorism is changing the way we live.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

PH: Finding ideas isn’t hard. Ideas come from our environment and personal experiences that bring them to life. Applying ideas to create believable characters that do what you tell them to do is much harder. And putting one word after another to construct sentences, paragraphs and finally chapters is the hardest thing a writer can do: making it interesting, making it new.

CH: Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept? Did you have to do a lot of research?

PH: I don’t have a particular plot formula. Since my books are based on true experiences, the stories came to me as a whole concept. I lived with the consequences of those times for forty years. With The Hollow Man Series, there was a bit of research to get the facts reset and memory searches to refresh the sequencing of events but the plots were always there.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for writing this series?

PH: Based on true events during the early 1970’s, The Hollow Man Series traces some of my experiences as a young man traveling in Europe. At the time, terrorism was on the rise and I had been assigned to learn as much as I could about it. Most early acts of terror were specific, personal and damage was focused on a distinct, definable enemy. But terrorism was beginning to change its strategy to the familiar, senseless chaos we recognize today. The death of political figures no longer seemed to bother us, as much as these new, random attacks against our children. Targets of innocence became preferable, because they hit closer to our hearts and the fear inside us grew larger with each incident.

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

PH: The reader won’t find James Bond or Jason Bourne in these pages, but he/she will find a memorable read. I like to say 80 percent of my books are 90 percent true. In conjunction with flawed, yet, identifiable characters, vivid imagery, and nonstop action, The Hollow Man Series was made to be experienced with the senses. Smells and tastes are as important as sights and sounds. And if the reader comes away feeling something too, then I will be satisfied.

It’s important for me to completely immerse the reader, drawing him/her totally into each scene. I want the reader to see what’s going on around them, feel the excitement, and hear the voices. When readers tell me The Hollow Man Series should be on the big screen, I feel like I’ve made the story completely real.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

 PH: The Hollow Man Series is rooted in my personal experiences, so I’m sure you can guess the characters are derived from real people.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

PH: The terrorist, Chaban, was the most complex character. Though I knew him well, I didn’t know how he thought or what exactly drove him. Not being a stereotypical sociopath, I had to completely separate him from my own memories and feelings then look at him objectively. As I say at one point: ‘He (Chaban) was going to shoot me and go about his day. I peered into his steel-grey eyes and saw something I hadn’t expected. I wanted to see a total lack of empathy. I wanted to see the black bottom of fourth-world paranoia. I wanted to see swamp alligator crazy. Instead, the crystal-clear sanity of reason and right was staring back at me. I saw the calm intelligence he used to calculate and recalculate every brush stroke in his masterpiece. I saw the untroubled conscience allowing him to pull the trigger without another thought.’

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

PH: The main character was easiest to write. He is exactly like me when I was 24 years old. Doc is adventurous, more than a little impulsive, certainly headstrong, and probably reckless, as well.  He doesn’t know enough, to know what he doesn’t know. Doc is just a guy who asks more of himself, than the world believes he can do. But still, that’s not the kind of man we want responsible for protecting us.

Zita also easily came alive on the pages. As an MI6 agent, she is Doc’s counterbalance. She keeps him grounded and adds some sensibility to his lack of focus. She is smart, sensual, sexy, and a trained killer. These skills save their lives more than once in the dark, unfamiliar world of espionage. I left her a bit mysterious, since every woman should have her secrets.

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

PH: I intended to write one book and be done with it. But half way through The Hollow Man, I realized I was going to have a twelve hundred page War & Peace (or more precisely, War & War) epic or I needed to break it up into a series. There was a natural segmentation by country and assignment, so it became easy enough to separate the books into three full novels.

CH: Which book was harder to write Book 1 or Book 2?

PH: For me, The Hollow Man was more difficult than London Bridge is Falling Down. I was new to writing and needed to experiment with voice, characterizations, plot sequencing, phrasing—everything. Rewrites were difficult and plentiful, as I learned the finer points of the tradecraft. I finally found my voice and settled into a workable rhythm half way through the first book. Editing (all 26 versions!) was a struggle as I learned to rewrite and tweak my early experimentation.

CH: What is the hardest part of writing for you? (outline, draft, edit, write)

PH: I’m a pantser—little to no outline preparation. I write from a very shallow sketch, partially on paper and the rest bouncing around my brain uncontrolled. Because my work is mostly character driven, I’ve talked myself into believing this is an advantage. The plot is laid out in chapter boxes using a few sentences to keep the action moving with the characters. As the characters come to life, change, grow, etc., the plot changes in the same way.

Although, I try to remain true to my superficial plot outline, occasionally it strays because of character development. So, my biggest struggle is keeping the characters within the bounds of the hollow storyline. It’s important to me that plot and character exist in sync like words and music. Otherwise, a fully plot driven novel is just a story told without the sound and passion of real life and a wholly character driven novel is at best, characters looking for something to do to give their lives meaning.

CH: Is there a message in this series that you want the readers to grasp?

PH: My message is simple. Get out, see the world, and broaden your perspective. I’ve lived in some exotic places, such as London, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Anchorage, and many more. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in all fifty states and almost as many countries. If you’re thinking of your dream vacation spot right now, I have probably been there.

These experiences have allowed me to interact with people within their own cultures, experience their spiritual and political environments, and understand their hopes and dreams. Consumed with an overwhelming fascination to learn something from every person encountered along my journey, I was able to understand the world through their eyes; its animosities, ambitions, and motivations. As a result, The Hollow Man Series has a ring of realism that pulls the reader into the scene with the characters, whether it’s entering a dark alley in Madrid or sitting in a café on the Champs Elysees in Paris.

CH: What can we expect next, is there a book 3 in the making soon?

PH: My work in progress is Surviving Prague, the third installment of the series. A British MI6 agent and an American field analyst are running for their lives after being implicated in the murder of a high ranking government official. Trapped in a Communist country with no way out, the two are forced to find the killer to save their own lives. But the treacherous trail leading through the dark underworld of terrorism takes them right to the center of a plot to dominate Western Europe.

CH: What has been the best compliment you’ve received about your writing of this series?

PH: I have been lucky enough to enjoy many positive reviews and comments about The Hollow Man Series. Most reflect the following sentiments from one of my very first reviews:

“Paul Hollis is a very visual writer. I could see the countryside unfurling from the train window. I could picture the blood spurting from one of the many villains’ carotid arteries. I could picture the ghost, a murdered little girl forlornly gazing into a camera, or into the main character’s eyes.

“Speaking of cameras, The Hollow Man belongs on the big screen. I’m hoping the author ships this novel to either Indie filmmakers or perhaps to the titans in Hollywood. I predict that if this is adapted for film, it will be a mega hit.

“What audience will enjoy The Hollow Man? Fans of literary fiction will appreciate the craftsmanship. Male readers will love the pacing, the action, and the likable lead. History buffs will appreciate the early 1970’s time period, which almost amounts to a separate character in itself. Former intelligence officers will likely chuckle about the author’s take on the spy world. Anyone with a pulse will enjoy reading The Hollow Man.”

CH: Can you tell my audience where your books are sold?

PH: My books can be found in both electronic and paperback formats on Amazon.com, Createspace.com, and Smashwords.com to name a few. Barnes & Noble also carries the paperbacks. If they are sold out when you ask, they will happily order copies through their regular channels.

 CH: How to find Paul Hollis:

CH: Any Closing Remarks?

PH: Thank you for the opportunity, Cheryl!

CH: Thank you so much, Paul Hollis, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book, I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Paul Hollis and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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

   

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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Cheryl Holloway Wishes You A Happy Mother’s Day!

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Happy Mother’s Day to…all my family, friends and readers near and far!

I’m having a wonderful Mother’s Day with Family and Friends.  I sent a Mother’s Day prayer up to Heaven to my Love One’s and a special teddy bear to Shellie! I received Shari’s Berries, cards, gifts, pictures, texts, calls and love from Angie & the gang and all of my favorite people.  I thank God for the many Blessings.

May you have a Happy & Blessed Mother’s Day!  

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Guest Author Interview – Tiffany Patterson

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****Warning: This is a BDSM romance. ****

Title: My Storm

Genre: Erotica/Romantic/Multicultural

Synopsis: Writing has always been Tasha Edwards’ means of escape. When the world around her was falling apart, and the adults she was supposed to depend on turned on her, it was her vivid imagination and storytelling that got her through the rough times. As an adult, it is this very passion for writing that has made her a New York Times’ bestselling author. She couldn’t ask for much more, with a thriving career and now being reunited with the older sister, who always looked out for her. Tasha’s on the cusp of writing the fourth book in her highly popular series. But what happens when the words stop coming? After months of writers’ block, Tasha looks to somewhat unconventional means to distract her from her inability to write; a distraction by the name of Jeremy Bennett, the very sexy cousin of her new brother-in-law.

Jeremy noticed Tasha the first time he laid eyes on her. He also told himself she was off limits. That look of sadness that always hid deep in those golden-colored orbs warned him that she had an ugly past. It takes one to know one. After one dance with Tasha at his cousin’s wedding, Jeremy promises himself he’ll keep away from the beautiful woman with skin the color of dark chocolate, killer curves, but a dark past. Now, if he can only keep her out of his dreams at night. He manages for a while, but when Tasha initiates the first move, can he turn her away? Is Tasha ready for everything that comes with being Jeremy Bennett; floggers, ball gags and nipple clamps included?

Tiffany Patterson, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Tiffany Patterson.  She writes diverse and interesting stories centering around women falling in love and being loved. Welcome to my blog, Tiffany.

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

TP: My Storm is the story of two people who’ve endured traumatic pasts to find love in one another, in an unconventional relationship.

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?

TP: My ideas come from everywhere. I can have a conversation with a friend and get an idea for a book. Songs are another big motivator of my work. I don’t have a standard formula. Typically, a character will reveal themselves to me and the story develops around who the characters are.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

TP: I’ve wanted to write a BDSM story for a long time, but didn’t feel ready until now. When I first wrote about Tasha and Jeremy in This Is Where I Sleep, I knew it was time to write this story.

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

TP: Some aspects of the story I took from real life. I’ve read articles about young Black and Latina girls being sex trafficked and it being ignored by the mainstream media for a few years now. I often seek to bring issues that are happening in society into my work, so real life definitely impacts my writing.

CH: Was it hard dealing with the deeply rooted scars of abandonment for Tasha and Jeremy?

TP: It was hard to an extent. When I wrote about Tasha’s background or how Jeremy had to confront his mother, I could feel their pain, which is what I wanted to make it believable. But I was okay with writing the hard stuff because it is going through that, when the true healing can occur, which is what I hope I encapsulated in My Storm.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

TP: Everywhere: pictures, music, the gym, work, my family, friends, etc. I’m a people watcher by nature, so I can watch a random person and make up a whole story in my head about them. I’ve done that for years, long before I started writing.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TP: Definitely Tasha’s character. She had been through so much as a child and teen and she was so vulnerable. I was also a bit fearful of doing victims of that type of trauma wrong, so I wanted to make sure I made her character believable and triumphant at the same time.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

 TP: This question is SO hard, but I think little Trudy is. She really has a wonderful spirit despite what she’s been through at such a young age. And I know she’s going to have a great life with Tasha and Jeremy.

CH: Since this is an erotica romance, where do you get inspiration for the passionate encounters in your writing and do you find them easier to write from the male or female perspective?

TP: I get inspiration from my interest in “the life,” as it’s called. I spent a lot of time researching and reading about what makes BDSM relationships work. The female perspective may be a little bit easier just because I am a woman.

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

TP: What I’m learning about my own self and my writing is that I am a teacher by nature. I love learning new things and sharing it with others. So, while you’ll always get a romantic love story from me, you’ll also learn some interesting facts about society along the way.

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

TP: One, I want to make it clear that people who engage in BDSM relationships are not “abnormal” or solely come from “broken” childhoods and backgrounds. Also, I want to make it clear that BDSM is ALL about consent, trust and communication. We all get our pleasure in different ways and what is good for one person, may not be fun for you and that’s okay. But everyone should have their boundaries and pleasures respected, as long as they are not harming anyone else.

CH: Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

TP: Not particularly. It did make me more aware that people would actually be interested in what I wrote. LOL.

CH: What have been the key factors to your success as a bestselling author?

TP: Hmmm…Giving the readers a good, fun, and interesting story. That is always the goal.

CH: What can we expect next, is there a book 3 in the making soon?

TP: My next book is going to be my first African-American romance which I’m super excited about! We’ll see some characters from past books pop up in that one. Then, I have a couple of series I’m thinking about writing. Lots of ideas percolating, so stay tuned!

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

TP: Amazon. All books are free via Kindle Unlimited.

CH: How to Find Tiffany Patterson:

CH: Any closing remarks?

TP: I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share my books and writing process with your readers. Also, I can be found via my website, on FaceBook as Author Tiffany Patterson, or email at TiffanyPattersonWrites@gmail.com

CH: Thank you so much, Tiffany Patterson, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book, I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Tiffany Patterson and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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

   

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? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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