The Most Dangerous Game, a Kickstarter Project by James Mascia, Author

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James Mascia_2

James Mascia, Author

James Mascia, a High School English teacher, has a passion to find new and creative ways to get youngsters interested in reading. He has a talent for writing comics and novels for children and teenagers. Mascia has combined the two for his latest project, The Most Dangerous Game. It is an adaptation and extension of Richard Connell’s 1924 short story by the same title.

Mascia has created a kickstarter project, which will fund this graphic novel.

What is Kickstarter?

According to Wikipedia, Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform, which helps to bring creative projects to life. People who back Kickstarter projects are offered tangible rewards and special experiences in exchange for their pledges. No one is charged for a pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal.

In Mascia’s sci-fi adventure story, the main character, Rainsford, crashes on a planet that is overseen by aliens who have a hunger for prey of the human variety. Mounting conflict between Rainsford and other characters keep the plot moving along with action and thrills by the pageful. As the story winds down, Rainsford’s quest for survival becomes an escalation point for the reader.

Mascia has high hopes that readers of this book will become interested and elect to pursue reading the bounty of other classic tales.

Since his target audience is students, he has prepared a teacher’s guide, comprehension questions, prompts for essays and classroom lessons.

The success of this kickstarter campaign will help make publishing of this novel possible. So, he is asking people to pledge support for his project.

Kickstarter

Response is picking up, but he has to get the word out about this project.  We are attempting to help him get the word out!

People in line

People are standing in line to make pledges for Mascia’s project to help teens become more interested in reading.

In support of the Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign, James Mascia is committed to:

  • Compensating artists for their creations, including detailed character sketches
  • Completing the book
  • Paying for printing and distribution costs
  • Marketing “The Most Dangerous Game”
  • Providing all promised perks to reward supporters of the campaign

The Kickstarter campaign’s initial goal of $2,500 is currently active and runs through September 5th, 2014 at 11:59 Pacific Time. Full details about the Kickstarter campaign including sponsorship and involvement levels can be found at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1210719219/the-most-dangerous-game, or you can contact James Mascia at: masciajames@yahoo.com

As always, I hope you will support this author and his endeavors. James, I wish you success!

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Mary Monroe

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Family of Lies_Cover

Title: Family of Lies

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: After growing up poor in Texas, Vera Lomax used every gold-digging trick in the book to land a rich husband. Now living in the lap of luxury in San Francisco, her only job is to fawn over her much-older husband, so it’s been easy for her to balance a life of shopping and affairs with younger men with a major secret: the sixteen-year bribery of one of her husband’s mistresses to keep her pregnancy under wraps. Vera figures that a little hush money every month will ensure her husband’s fortune is hers alone. . .

Unfortunately for Vera, Sarah Cooper is the child Kenneth Lomax always wanted. When the father she never knew shows up at her mother’s funeral to claim her, it’s a fairy tale journey from the ghetto to a mansion on a hill. But Sarah’s life is not as carefree as her father wants it to be . . .because Sarah knows from the start that her step-mother is as two-faced as they come. And after losing all the family she’s ever known, she wants a life that’s richer than what Vera’s got planned for her.

Neither woman can be sure who will win Kenneth’s heart and fortune. But as Vera and Sarah scheme to get what they want, everyone they know will be choosing sides, taking chances, and gambling it all to come out on top.

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Author: Mary Monroe

CH: I am so pleased to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Mary Monroe, who is a New York Times Best Selling Author. She is best known for her novels about contemporary African-American life.

CH: Mary, thank you for joining us and Welcome! Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

MM: This book is about a conniving woman and how her plot to steal her elderly husband’s multi-million dollar fortune backfires.

CH: Your books and storylines are very different. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

MM: All of my books are based on my own personal experiences or the experiences of people I know.  I also get a lot of inspiration from stories in the headlines.  My characters are composites of people I know—including myself.

CH: Since this book is about lies, is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

MM: It’s a very basic message: there are ALWAYS consequences when we lie.  It’s better to be truthful even though that usually includes some consequences too.  But lies breed more lies, and more people get hurt by lies than the truth.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

MM: I love “underdogs” so, Sarah Cooper was my favorite character to write.  She had a rough life, which included poverty and a very dangerous neighborhood for the first fifteen years of her life.  She ends up with a mansion and millions of dollars when her biological father finds out she exists.

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

MM: I like to read about things that are  “different and exciting,” which is why I write about what I know and things other people would like to read about.  I get tons of email from readers who tell me that they can relate to my characters and the situations I put them in.

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

MM: No, it was not hard for me to create believable situations and issues because I take most of them from real life.

CH: Your books are usually very lengthy. How long does it take you to write a book?

MM: I start with a chapter-by-chapter outline, which usually takes about five hours to compose.  Then, I do four or five drafts of the whole book.  I allow myself at least five to six months to complete the final version, but I wrote Family of Lies in only four months.

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Mary is busy writing one of her story-telling books in her office.

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

MM: I am originally from a small town in Alabama called Toxey (near Mobile) and I spent my early years in a small town in Ohio called Alliance (near Cleveland).  I moved to California in 1973.  My background has everything to do with the influence on my books.  Some of my relatives and friends are very “colorful,” which means they get caught up in all kinds of situations that involve crime, sex, backstabbing, violence, redemption, and humor.  I could write at least a dozen more books based on the antics of the people I know…

CH: What are your three biggest accomplishments?

MM: I taught myself how to write, I survived a very abusive marriage, and I raised two daughters on a shoestring budget.

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

MM: The two emails I received from Congresswoman Barbara Lee praising my books was the most exciting thing, until I landed a spot on the New York Times Bestsellers List in 2006 with my sixth novel, God Don’t Play.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

MM: I love Toni Morrison.  Not only do her books hold my attention, but she’s one of the few authors who encouraged me to keep writing—despite my HUNDREDS of rejection letters before I got my first book contract.  She even took the time to critique some of my early work and had she not, I probably would have given up on writing a long time ago.

CH: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

MM: Read as much as you can and as many genres as possible.  A good book provides creative nourishment.

CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?

MM: My next release will be a book titled, Bad Blood, and it will be released June 1, 2015. It will deal with revenge and redemption.

CH: Please tell my audience where they can find your website.

MM: My website is www.marymonroe.org.

CH: Where are your books sold?

MM: In all bookstores and online.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MM: I have several new books on my agenda and I hope my readers will continue to support my work!

CH: I’m sure they will support you and your work. Mary Monroe, thank you so much for sharing your literary journey and your latest book with my audience. 

MM: You are welcome, Cheryl.

Note: Photos are compliments of Mary Monroe.

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

Seven Sentence Sunday

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Once Upon a Time

Hello, today, I’m going to write two short stories using only seven sentences.

Story 1: The Artist

Jessica thought about how her day had begun and when she felt like a mermaid basking in the sun on Venice Beach.

Now, at lunch, she felt on top of the world with her new friend, Roger, hanging onto her every word.

She had to quickly think of a way to keep Roger with her longer, so she could enjoy his company.

She only wished that she could meet someone famous and rich, but this handsome man would have to do.

So, she invited him to join her in viewing the art exhibit down the street and was delighted when he agreed.

They viewed all the paintings and sculptures; and spent two lovely hours discussing colors, textures and the artistic creativity of the one-man show of John R. Mondavie.

But, just as they were leaving, a young lady approached Roger and asked for his autograph.

 

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Story 2: The Stranger

Paige sat and reminisced about her life, when she was jolted out of her private space by a tall handsome stranger.

“Excuse me, Miss, but can you give me directions to the L’Ouvre?” he announced.

“Sure, go to Paris and turn left,” Paige sneered.

“That is one of my best lines and you are the only person who got it,” the stranger exclaimed.

“So, what’s up with you and the French lines,” Paige wondered.

“Well, when I see a beautiful woman in deep thought, I want to join her and..and take her to lunch.” The stranger stammered.

“It seems like an interesting suggestion, and I’m free,” Paige giggled.

 

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

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Sylvester Boyd, Jr. – Guest Author Interview

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Title: The Road from Money: A Journey to Find Why?

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: The Road from Money takes you on a journey to the small town of Money, Mississippi; just after the turn of the 20th century. It is the story of Estella Reynolds, a young Negro girl, growing up in America’s deep south. You follow her life as she faces racism, segregation, exploration, brutality and poverty. You watch as she finds the joy of family life, battles to get a good education, finds her first love and above all tries to figure out why things are the way they are. You enter a time after World War I and before the start of World War II. A time when automobiles were new and planes had just taken to the sky. The story is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the Great Dust Bowl, a flood, Prohibition; and a time when Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt were President. The story also highlights the strengths of a people and many of America’s weaknesses.

S Boyd

Author: Sylvester Boyd, Jr.

CH: Hello, Sylvester. Welcome to my blog.  Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book. What makes Estella’s life so endearing?

SB:  It is Estella’s young mind, love for her family, faith and yearning for knowledge about her world and the world around her that makes a her very interesting and unique person.

CH: What does Estella’s life offer us today?

SB: Her life demonstrates what we need more of today—patience, perseverance, respect for others, respect for ones self; and how one’s faith can help you to overcome almost anything in life.

CH: How did you get involved with writing this story?

SB:  I felt this story is the story of thousands of African Americans at the turn of the 20th century—their struggles, the way they made do with very little and how Estella and her family (my family/ancestors) survived and eventually flourished.

CH: How did you intertwine history and fiction?

SB:  The family stories told to me by my Aunt, Grandmother, Mother and others were the bricks of my story—the era, so rich in history, inventions, music, etc. This was the mortar, while some fictionalized events/characters were added to enrich the story.

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

SB:  About two years of writing; however, the majority was written in the last year before publishing.

CH: What do you think are the elements that make a good historical fiction novel?

SB:  A lot of people think history is dry or that it doesn’t relate to life now; however, adding history can make the story come alive, provides us with life lessons, helps us to make better decisions. Even music from other times reminds us of an event, a friend, or a mother’s favorite song.

CH: What year in history would you have liked to live?

SB:  This was an especially hard question; however, as I am the quintessential historian, I would like to have lived in 1941. I would have liked to experience first hand that year and on December 7th, the news about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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

SB:  I did do special research to make sure the music, inventions, radio shows, etc., were correct for the period that I covered in this first book of my three part series about Estella’s life.

CH: Do have any advice for writers of historical fiction?

SB:  Yes, to do the research and to keep the reader interested by letting the characters experience history as the story is told.

CH: When can we expect the second book in this series?

SB:  I am working on the first few chapters now, and I expect to publish the second book sometime in 2015.

CH: What is your website address?

SB: www.boydbooks.net

CH: Where is your book sold?

SB:  Anyone can purchase the book from my website and also on Amazon. The book is also available in a couple of local independent bookstores in Chicago. I continue to broaden the book’s access in other bookstores.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SB: Yes, I chose to tell the story of my family, my people; although, the novel centers around Estella’s search to understand the cruelty of Jim Crow in the South—it is also the story of overcoming what we often feel we can’t overcome. And, I hope to project the message of the importance of education, family, love and meeting life’s challenges with strength and courage to young people that seem to be so violent, lost and hopeless in today’s world. I plan to speak in some college and high school classrooms this fall.

CH: Thank you so much, Sylvester for sharing your new book and book series with my audience.  

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

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

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

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

Book Review: The Road from Money: A Journey to Find Why? By Sylvester Boyd, Jr.

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Road to Money_Cover

Title: The Road from Money: A Journey to Find Why?

Synopsis: The Road from Money takes you on a journey to the small town of Money, Mississippi; just after the turn of the 20th century. It is the story of Estella Reynolds, a young Negro girl, growing up in America’s deep south. You follow her life as she faces racism, segregation, exploration, brutality and poverty. You watch as she finds the joy of family life, battles to get a good education, finds her first love and above all tries to figure out why things are the way they are. You enter a time after World War I and before the start of World War II. A time when automobiles were new and planes had just taken to the sky. The story is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the Great Dust Bowl, a flood, Prohibition; and a time when Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt were President. The story also highlights the strengths of a people and many of America’s weaknesses.

Genre: Historical Fiction

S Boyd

Author: Sylvester Boyd, Jr.

Note: Sylvester Boyd, Jr. is a first-time, self-published author.

I started reading…

The book captured my attention with the first chapter. It started in 1925 on Estella Reynolds’ eighth birthday, and she spent the day with her grandfather, Paul Reynolds, whom she adored. She spent a lot of time with her grandfather, who taught her many things about life, since her father had left Money, Mississippi the previous year.  Her and her grandfather faced racism head-on that day when they went into Benson’s General Store and had to wait until all of the white customers had been waited on before they could be helped. Estella did not understand why this happened and wanted to know why? She was a very intelligent little girl with a quizzical mind. This began Estella’s journey to find why and lead her to the road from Money.

I enjoyed how Estella had many situations and stories to share about her life—from the cotton fields to the relaxation and freedom of church on Sunday; from life in a small town in the deep south to the hopes and dreams of a big city up north through the Chicago Defender newspaper; from the poverty of the Great Depression and how poor Negroes, mostly sharecroppers dealt with life in general.   We tagged along in Estella’s life and went through the Great Dust Bowl, a storm and a flood; and we were even with her when she saw her first alligator. We were there for a lot of her firsts—her first love, her first movie and her first job. We were astonished at the first lynching she saw and the cruelty of southern whites to Negro victims—from diminutive pay to being chased out of town for no fault of their own. We followed Estella from her inferior and limited education in Money, Mississippi, to a Negro school many miles away that offered a better life, better opportunities and a better future.  We shared the closeness of family, extended family, friends, neighbors, and new friends.  We went with her into her first juke joint and learned about prohibition—for Caucasians and Negroes. She even met a Negro woman who could pass for white. These were all stories that made us laugh, love and cry.

But the story that touched us the most was Estella’s journey from Money—her plan, preparation and execution. And the long, train ride to the north!

Now, the reason that I rated this book 4 stars. There were some editing issues—misspelled words, omitted words, transition, and substance issues. Although, the one issue that bothered me most was the portrayed eating during the depression. All the families in the book ate too well during the Depression. They always had ham, but didn’t have any pigs. They never ate dandelions, grits, corn meal mush, sugar or molasses sandwiches, pig feet, chicken necks or ox tail soup. These and others were food items that African Americans made do with in times of poverty.

Now, for the good reason: It was a pleasure to see how Sylvester Boyd mixed both history and fiction to make a truly believable and interesting story. We followed Estella from her eighth birthday until she was twenty years old. This is the first book in a Memoir Trilogy.       I look forward to the other two books in this series from an upcoming author!

I rate this book…

starstarstarstar

Sylvester Boyd, Jr.’s Guest Author Interview will be Friday, August 8, 2014.

Action Steps:                                                                                                                      1. View/read this blog and comment;                                                                             2. Invite your friends to view/read this blog; and                                                             3.  When you read the book, let me know what you think.

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Guest Character Interview – Joi from Cougar Tales

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Title: Father and Son from Cougar Tales Series

Synopsis: In Father and Son, Joi and Jon enjoy a wonderfully loving relationship and begin planning their wedding until his father intervenes, because he thinks she is too old for his son. Then life happens!

www.smashwords.com/books/view/239942

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Title: The Italian Basketball Player from Cougar Tales Series

Synopsis: In the Italian Basketball Player, Joi and Robert meet while waiting on the maintenance of their luxury cars. She started a conversation about his well-crafted Italian shoes. He enjoyed her company and invited her on a date…a blind date with his older brother.

www.smashwords.com/books/view/239950

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Cheryl Holloway                                                                                     Author: Cheryl Holloway

CH: Welcome, Joi. She is the main character in the Cougar Tales Series. My readers and followers would like to find out a little about your life as a character. Let’s begin, please tell us, what is the current day definition of a “cougar”?

Joi: The definition of a cougar is a woman over 40-years old who preys on younger men, which ultimately makes her feel younger. The proverbial “they” consider a cougar “over the hill” and probably in the midst of a midlife crisis. They say that she preys on younger men to maintain a sense of her youthfulness. Well, that’s not me. Besides the word cougar just was created in the new millennium, but I’ve been dating younger men for over 25 years. I prefer to be called a black leopard—they are more elegant and slimmer with powerful legs. LOL.

Full Body Massage Coupon

CH: What makes you “unique” as a character?

Joi: Well, I’m sensitive about certain things. I think, I am a confident person. At times, I guess, I’m a little arrogant, but then, aren’t we all.  But most of all, I have an obsession with younger men—I just love them!

CH: Please describe the motto that you live by?

Joi: I live by what I call the Triple Ts—my theme, theory and trademark. My theme is Age is only a number and mine is unlisted! This I truly believe. My theory is Enjoy who you enjoy and be happy! I will never regret a happy memory. My trademark is a purple rose. It is thought to be almost mystical in nature, with symbolism tied to enchantment, desire, and even caution. It’s not surprising that a purple rose sends a message of love at first sight.

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CH: What makes you sexy?

Joi: I think caring for oneself is sexy, in every way. I love caring for myself and I enjoy the finer things in life. I do this by pampering myself with manicures, pedicures, spa days, Christian Louboutin shoes and only the best attire from Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus. I also like to go to special places in a limo, because I don’t just want to go to funerals and weddings in them. I spend thousands of dollars on exquisite and expensive matching lingerie, which is de rigueur. (Look it up, you have a computer!) Maybe, I’m a little arrogant, but so is my sexiness.

CH: What is the average age of the men you date?

Joi: Most of the men I date are 7-10 years younger than me. Afterall, I don’t want to rob anyone’s cradle. I want someone close to my age, because I want a lasting relationship, not a one-night stand.

CH: What is the longest relationship you’ve had with a younger man?

Joi: My longest relationship was ten years and when we finally decided to get married, he died in an auto accident.

CH: What makes you happy when you date younger men?

Joi: Younger men seem to adore me. I love the feeling of men adoring me! They seem to be on the same level of thinking as I am. Younger men just give me happiness, in general. CH: What’s sexy about younger men? Joi: They’re sexy looking wit sexy bodies. They have sexy stamina and sexy endurance. They definitely have sexy attentiveness. Well…younger men are sexy period!

CH: What makes love come easy for you?

Joi: I think, love doesn’t come easy for anyone. Being happy in a relationship is often times delusional. It is a give-and-take situation, where both parties must communicate.

CH: What “hot” tips do you have on loving a cougar?

Joi: They must put their relationship first, above all else. They must ignore the age difference. She has to be assertive and confident. He can never call her a cougar. They must be open to each other’s interest. They must pay each other compliments. They must communicate. And they must go slow—Rome wasn’t built in a day.

CH: Can you share a secret not revealed in the two eBooks?

Joi: Falling in love is like having a heart attack. It doesn’t come with warning signs. I met a Puerto Rican Chef, who was a total gentleman and he swept me off my feet. It was “food for thought.”

CH: What is your author like?

Joi: Cheryl, yes she is sweet and such a good writer, but sometimes, I have to just take over!

CH: Any closing remarks about being a cougar?

Joi: Experience it for yourself, and let your heart guide you.

Readers and followers, I’ve been busy and you have been asking me to blog more often. You miss me. I’m sorry. So, I will try to continue blogging every Sunday.

Please share this post with your friends.

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

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

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

Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Shelia E. Bell (Formerly Shelia E. Lipsey)

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My Wife_Cover

Title: My Wife My Baby…And Him

Genre: Christian Fiction

Synopsis: In the fifth installment of the My Son’s Wife series, Senior Pastor Stiles Graham and First Lady Detria Graham’s marriage is rapidly falling apart, thanks to her adulterous ways. Stiles had hoped and prayed that the time they spent away from Memphis would make their marriage stronger, but after just months from returning from Myrtle Beach, Stiles questions whether that is truly the case. When what’s done in the dark comes to light, and Stiles discovers that Detria is cheating on him with his good friend, Skip Madison, the marriage quickly unravels. This startling revelation brings out the worse in Stiles Graham. During the midst of it all, Detria learns that she is pregnant. As much as she wanted to steer clear of Skip Madison and give her marriage to Stiles a fighting chance, her heart says something different. Now, she finds herself worried about who is the father of her unborn child. Turmoil, trouble, deception and disaster infiltrate this marriage, and much is at stake, including Stiles pastoral position at Holy Rock. When tragedy strikes this already dysfunctional marriage, it sends life, as they know it spiraling down a never-ending tunnel of hurt, anger and grief, leaving both Stiles and Detria questioning their faith and belief in God to restore their lives and relationship.

Shelia E. Bell

Author: Shelia E. Bell (formerly Shelia E. Lipsey)

CH: Shelia E. Bell (formerly Shelia E. Lipsey) has graced me with the pleasure of a Celebrity Guest Author Interview. She has often been referred to as “God’s Amazing Girl,” because of her Christian fiction novels being so real. Welcome, Shelia E. Bell.  

SEB: Thank you, Cheryl. 

CH: Shelia, can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

SEB: My Wife My Baby…And Him, Book 5 in the My Son’s Wife Series equals Stiles, Detria and drama!

CH: Since you write “perfect stories about imperfect people,” is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

SEB: There is always a message that can be found in my novels, at least that is my intent. In Book 5 of the series, I believe readers will see how the choices we make in life, the things we do, the words we speak, and the life we live will make an impact on those around us, whether negative or positive. Also, readers will see that these very same actions and decisions will impact us in the same way, whether negative or positive.

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

SEB: Yes, I always do research when I write just to make sure that I keep the books ‘real’. I had to do some medical and judicial research in this one.

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

SEB: Yes, I found this book challenging because it is book FIVE in the My Son’s Wife series, and it was written because my readers want to keep reading about the Grahams! (LOL) That, in and of itself, is a challenge because I have to keep the story, the people, everything alive and going. But, it is what I do and what I love to do.

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

SEB: I try to write true to life, real to life stories that can happen to anyone regardless of socioeconomic status, race, color, male or female. I don’t find it difficult because writing about real issues is just easier for me.

CH: This is the fifth book in the series, My Son’s Wife, which book was hardest to write?

SEB: I would have to say that book two, My Son’s Ex-Wife: The Aftermath, was the hardest because when I wrote the first book, My Son’s Wife, I did not intend for it to turn into a series. When readers started contacting me asking me when the next book was coming out, I went into a tailspin! (LOL) I never saw myself as a ‘series’ writer, but here I am working on book 6 in the series.

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

SEB: It was not supposed to be a series. My readers are the ones responsible for the ‘idea’. I’m grateful to them because the series has turned out to be some of the best sellers out of all of the books I have written.

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

SEB: As I said, earlier, I never thought or imagined it would become a series.

CH: You recently had a name change, do you think this will make it hard for your followers to find you? 

SEB: I pondered and prayed over the decision to revert to my maiden name of BELL. I was somewhat apprehensive, but I knew that the name Lipsey was toxic for me and it always has been toxic, but when I got my first book deal, I didn’t change it and then my career started taking off. Recently, however, I was reminded of just how toxic that name was and how detrimental it can be to hold on to the past, especially when it is tied to hurt and negativity, so I released Lipsey and stepped into the name of Shelia E. Bell. Surprisingly, it has been an easier transition than I thought. All of my future titles will, of course, be written under Shelia E. Bell. I believe and expect God to take me to heights beyond measure because I have finally let go.

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

SEB: I am blessed to be able to write full-time.

Shelia Bell Office

Shelia E. Bell’s office where she creates perfect stories about imperfect people.

CH: How did you get an agent?

SEB: LOL. I have never had an agent. When I got my book deal with Kensington/Urban Books, I submitted my manuscript without an agent. My first submission was accepted and I’ve been writing ever since. I now write for Bonita and Hodge Publishing Group, which I am one of the co-founders and acquisitions editor, and, of course, I don’t need an agent. However, I do plan on securing an agent for a future literary endeavor that I plan on stepping into. I want to write for as many publishing houses as I can, if the opportunity presents itself, so that is why I am going to go with an agent I know and trust to look out for my best interests.

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

SEB: Ummm, that’s a tough question, Cheryl. Perhaps my greatest achievement is stepping out on faith and actually writing. It has proven to be my greatest achievement outside of family.

CH: What’s next on the agenda in your writing career?

SEB: I have ventured into writing young adult themed books. House of Cars was the first book in the Fairley High Series. The second book, The Life of Payne, will be released later this year. I am also working with a screenwriter to prepare my novel, What’s Blood Got to Do With It?, for the big screen!

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CH: Do you have a website?

SEB: My website address is www.sheliaebell.net. You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sheliaebell on Twitter and Instagram as sheliaebell.

CH: Where is your book sold?

SEB: My books are sold online and at bookstores. If a particular bookstore does not have it on the shelf, readers can order it and most bookstores will have them in 3 days. My books are also available in eBook format (Nook, Kindle, on IPad, etc.) You can read them on Scribd.com, and of course, purchase them on my website.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SEB: Yes, Cheryl, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to be featured on your blog. I do not take it for granted when others extend a hand of support. People like you help me to live my dreams now. So, thank you, Cheryl. To those who read this interview, remember that whatever talent or gift you have, believe in yourself and in your ability to reach your highest potential. Live your dreams now!

CH: Thank you for sharing your writing experience and your book series with my readers. Shelia, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We will look forward to following your career. 

Note: Photos are compliments of Shelia E. Bell and the Internet.

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

 

 

 

Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Catherine Ryan Hyde

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Title: Take Me with You

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go.

What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together.

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Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

CH: Catherine Ryan Hyde has graced me with the pleasure of a Celebrity Author Interview. You may know her as the Pay-It-Forward author. Welcome, Catherine Ryan Hyde.  

CRH: Thank you, Cheryl.

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

CRH: Sometimes the people who become most important in our lives are no blood relation to us—they are a surprise.

CH: This book has an unusual theme. Why did you decide to write this book?

CRH: I don’t know if it’s unusual. It has similarities to everything I write, in that it’s about relationships, love—but not the romantic kind. The kind that transcends differences and ages. I guess it’s unusual for a guy to take two of somebody else’s kids on a summer-long road trip with him. I hope that was a twist that my other novels don’t have.

I have my own little RV, and I’ve been to all of the places I write about in the book. I guess it was just a matter of time until an RV trip came up in my work.

CH: What do you want readers to take from this novel?

CRH: That we can be there for each other. That we can matter to each other. That we can help and save each other, just because we’re all human and we’re all in this together, not because of some logical indication that we “should.” And that we won’t go far wrong following our hearts.

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

CRH: I guess it depends on what you call exciting. I don’t write thrillers or intrigue or potboilers or page-turners. I don’t write heavily plotted novels. Some people think my books are too “deliberately paced.” They are about what it means to be human. Not that we don’t all know that. But I think, fiction can shed light on the human condition in a very beneficial way. It can make us feel more human, but in a good sense. It can make us feel more connected, more hopeful, and less alone. If that’s the kind of feeling you’re seeking in a book, then you might find my work exciting and different.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

CRH: I write very fast. I always have. I suppose, I always will. I’m not hurrying, or suggesting anyone else write at my speed. It’s just the way I work. On average, it’s about 4-7 months from the time I start a novel until the time I’m ready to show it to my agent or editor.

CH: You had 122 rejections before getting published. Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

CRH: Yes. Expect rejection. Accept it as part of the experience of being a writer. Know that all writers go through it. Make up your mind going in that you won’t let it stop you. I can’t tell you not to let it hurt you, because you’re human, so it will hurt. Feel however you need to about it, just don’t let it stop you.

CH: Years ago, you said that you were an under published author. Now, that you have 25 books written and forthcoming, do you think you have accomplished your writing goals?

CRH: I feel I’ve exceeded them many times over. Because my goals weren’t all that lofty. I wrote “small” literary books, or so everybody told me. And we all know, they don’t make it big. (Actually, no one really knows what will happen in this business, but, anyway, that’s what they tell us.) So, I just wanted to make enough money with my writing that I could keep writing. Just enough that I wouldn’t have to get a full-time day job. And I had this dream that maybe just enough people would read my work that once, on a plane or at a cocktail party, I’d be talking to someone and find out they’d actually read me. The rest of this was unexpected, to say the least.

CH: What is your current opinion on celebrity books v. good books?

CRH: I don’t know that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive. But they tend not to overlap much, I guess. I think the book business has become more and more like the movie business, in that it wants “guaranteed” successes only. I’m talking about traditional New York publishing, of course. So, I think for years what they’re willing to publish has been contracting as publishers tell people, often incorrectly, what they should want to read. But this never entirely works. First, there was the small press rebellion, now there is an absolute revolution in self-publishing. So, what I think about good books is that you can’t keep them down. They will get out there, these days more readily than ever. And like cream, they will rise to the top.

Saddlebag-Lake-Photo by CRH

One of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s other passions is photography. Here is a one of her stunning photos of Saddlebag Lake.

CH: Your mother was a writer and your two siblings are writers. Did this have any influence on you also becoming a writer?        

CRH: I think my mother did. When I was in the first or second grade, she came to my school for one of those “career day show and tell” things. She brought her published books and talked to my class. And later, I was able to see that the other kids were very impressed. To be a writer, they felt, made you a big deal. Not that my goal at this point is to impress anyone. But I think, a thing like that gets under your skin and shapes your world view.

Of course, there’s the old “nature vs. nurture” debate. Could be I was simply born with the right kind of brain for this work. God knows I’ve yet to figure out what else it’s good for.

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

CRH: Well, I’ve never done any kind of collaborative fiction, but as this is hypothetical… Kurt Vonnegut springs to mind. I grew up on his work, and I think he had a fascinating mind. He was someone who struck me as fiercely intelligent; yet, full of heart. I just would have enjoyed knowing more about what made him tick.

CH: What book are you currently reading?

CRH: I’m reading my friend Holly Schindler’s middle-grade novel, The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky.

CH: The Pay-It-Forward (PIF) book was a national best seller in 2000 and it was adapted into a movie. When you wrote the book, did you ever think it would change the world? 

CRH: Oh, goodness no. I didn’t even imagine it would get published. I was barely breaking into publishing at the time. Just the idea of ever seeing it in a bookstore was mental hurdle enough.

CH: The PIF experience is the power of giving. What keeps PIF going all of these years?

CRH: That’s one of those answers in which I honestly think your theory is as good as mine. The book and movie publicity is clearly no longer driving it, so the only explanation is that it somehow planted its own roots. But the “why” of it is a big one. There are more and more scientific studies being published that seem to corroborate my idea that receiving an act of kindness predisposes us to giving acts of kindness. So, maybe we really are kind at heart. You know, underneath our fears and defenses. Underneath all the armor we put on to live safely in this world. Maybe, the news really is good.

CH: I Pay-It-Forward on my blog to any author and it does make a difference from debut authors to celebrity authors. Is this what you had in mind when you said, “Why don’t we as humans just be kinder”?

CRH: I can’t honestly say what I had in mind with that, because it was something of a rhetorical question. It wasn’t a suggestion of how we should behave, because I never dreamed the world was open to taking any suggestions from me. It was said, I believe, in the context of the question that drove me to write the book. Which was: If we all say we want to live in a kinder world, and it’s easy enough to be kinder, then why don’t we just do it? Why doesn’t somebody just… start?

But the stories I see playing out in real life, yes. They’re the kind of thing I had in mind when I wrote the book. But that was fiction. I never really imagined it wouldn’t stay on the page.

CH: Take Me with You was just released earlier this week. You can find her book anywhere fine books are sold and online. Her website is www.Catherineryanhyde.com. Thank you so much, Catherine for joining us today!

Note: Photos are compliments of Catherine Ryan Hyde and the Internet.

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

 

K. S. Oliver – Guest Author Interview

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Title: Flatlined: Almost Doesn’t Count

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: Inspired by a True Story – Life was all fun and games until the day 25 year old Kai Davis walked into a UK hospital passing out from an unknown disease that threatens her life. Just moving from Japan to England, not knowing many people and her military husband in Iraq on a 6-month deployment. Kai must learn to live with the cards she was dealt. Will she embrace the challenge or give up without a fight?

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Author: K. S. Oliver

CH: Hello K. S., welcome to my blog. Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

KSO: It’s inspired by my life…unfiltered.

CH: What inspired you to write this novel?

KSO: When I was diagnosed with Lupus the depression was taking over.

CH: Was it painful to revisit that the situations that are connected to your illness?

KSO: Extremely, I didn’t realize how angry I was.

CH: Did you leave out any stories that you wanted to include?

KSO: You never know what’s next.

CH: What are you doing to raise awareness for Lupus? Do you have a website to refer people to for Lupus?

KSO: I focus on my story, hoping it will inspire someone to tell theirs. I have a lupus group on facebook, and I promote my books through the National Lupus Foundation in Washington (DC).  They are supportive and it reaches more survivors. I have done multiple speaking engagements and fashion shows, including Lupus Support Groups. I always promote lupus awareness through #LHandSign #LupusAwareness          .

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

KSO: Part-time. I’m a Mother, Event Planner, Co-owner of a Publishing Company, Model, Public Speaker, Poet and Author.

CH: Since you’re a self-published author, do you plan on finding an agent or a publisher?

KSO: I have a Marketing Representative and I plan to remain self-published. No one works harder than I do for me.

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

KSO: I have always been a writer. I write in diaries, etc. It was an escape.

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

KSO: A good tv show and I go writing.

CH: Your cover is very descriptive of the content. Who designed the cover?

KSO: Aija Butler of AMB Branding designed my cover. She is a great designer, sister and friend. She understood my vision.

CH: Since this is an eBook, do you plan on having a paperback or hardback in the future?

KSO: It is currently in both eBook and Paperback.

CH: Do you have plans for a new book?

KSO: I am currently working on a novel with the Literary Ladies of Atlanta.

CH: Do you have a website?

KSO: www.authoressksoliver.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

KSO: Amazon, Google Play and my website.

CH: Any closing remarks

KSO: I have been to hell and back and it didn’t stop me from doing anything I wanted to do as a person or a businesswoman. It was just a bump in the road.

CH: Thank you, K. S.,  and thank you for sharing your novel and creating awareness about Lupus disease with my audience.  

 

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

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

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

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

Eric Jerome Dickey – Celebrity Guest Author Interview

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A Wanted Woman

Title: A Wanted Woman

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: The twenty-first novel from New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey, a steamy thriller set in tropical Barbados.

Reaper is a woman of a thousand faces, an assassin who could be anyone, anywhere. 

The Trinidad contract was supposed to be simple: to make a living man become a dead man. When the job goes bad under the watchful eye of a bank security camera, there is nowhere for agent MX-401, known as Reaper, to hide from the fearsome local warlords, the Laventille Killers.

Her employers, the Barbarians, send her to Barbados, the next island over, barely two hundred miles away, with the LK’s in hot pursuit of the woman who took many of their own. With the scant protection of a dank safe house, no passport, and no access to funds, an island paradise becomes her prison.

While she trawls for low-profile assignments to keep her skills sharp and a few dollars in her pocket, Reaper discovers that family ties run deep, on both sides of the fight. Will the woman everyone wants, who has lived countless lives in the service of others, finally discover who she really is?

In A Wanted Woman, New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey delivers an adrenaline-pumping rush of a read.

Eric Jerome Dickey credit Joseph Jones Photography

Author: Eric Jerome Dickey

CH: I am so pleased to present to you today, our Celebrity Guest Author, Eric Jerome Dickey, who is best known for his novels about contemporary African-American life.

CH: Eric, thank you for joining us and welcome! Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

EJD: Reaper rocks.

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

EJD: So far as the premise, I was plot-shopping in Premises R Us, turned down aisle 6, saw that one under AWESOME THRILLERS, picked it up, paid for it.  The rest is history.

CH: You have created a page-turning thriller of murder and romance set in tropical Barbados. Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

EJD: Ideas come from letting the imagination run free and playing “What if?”  No formula.  No standard plots.

CH: A lot of your readers have been following you for years. Is it hard to create believable situations and new issues for your followers? Do you take situations from real life?

EJD: I just write, but I don’t think of what I am doing as being about “issues,” only as storytelling.  You’re only limited by your imagination and so I try to never let the cart lead the horse.  I keep away from real life, so far as what’s going on in the lives of the people I know.  It’s a great way to avoid lawsuits.

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

EJD: No messages.  Never a message.  Just enjoy being a fly on a wall.

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

EJD: Every book is a challenge.  This isn’t as easy as it looks.  It takes a lot of discipline, dedication, and green tea during the midnight hours.

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

EJD: I research everything.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

EJD: That would be a five-way tie between Nia, Gideon, Drive, James Thicke, and Reaper, everyone else coming in a very close second.  And this “favorite character” goes by the storyline, not just the description of a fictional character.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

EJD: I have no idea what inspiration means.  It’s a proactive occupation.  You get up, you work, no matter your disposition.  We all have to find a way to pay for food, clothing, and shelter.  I’m lucky to be able to do something that I enjoy doing between my alpha and omega.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

EJD: The challenge is the plot, making it move in its own way, at its own pace, not being retentive or predictable, the proper dissemination of information, not the character, and each storyline has presented its own challenge. 

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

EJD: It varies and depends on the novel.  Some are shorter, like Genevieve, and others are more complicated and require travel and being out of my comfort zone for a season or two, like A Wanted Woman and the Gideon series.

CH: How long did it take you to write your first novel?

EJD: Twenty years.  LOL.  I have no idea.  I don’t keep up with the time.  Less than a year, months of rewriting, but I had a full-time job and many other interests at that time.  Still I set a deadline at some point, a great habit I picked from when I worked in aerospace.  Every project needs to have an end-date.

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Eric reading at the Gaithersburg Book Festival.

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Cheryl Holloway and Eric Jerome Dickey at Gaithersburg (MD) Book Festival in May 2014.

CH: I enjoyed meeting you at the Gaithersburg (MD) Book Festival. You’ve had an impeccable publishing journey, along with many followers. Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

EJD: Years.  It took years.  Missteps, bad contracts, lawsuits, and the show goes on. People tend to focus on being published, but the journey is about learning the craft. Everyone who owns a knife isn’t qualified to be a surgeon.  The journey was the transition from engineering to getting back into UCLA to try and reinvent myself, with no guarantee.  It’s a labor of love, not an easy money occupation.  Nothing is guaranteed.  You can write your heart out and never sell more than a handful of books.  It’s a long road, and will be a different journey for all, but the thing all have in common is discipline and determination.

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

EJD: Well, nothing compares to completing the first novel.  Completing the novel, and not necessarily getting published. When you have done it and are holding it like it’s a newborn child.

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

EJD: I read across the board.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  I never name names.

CH: What kind of advice do you have for those aspiring to write? If you had to give them a blueprint for success, what would that be?

EJD: Study the craft.  It’s an occupation. Think of it as an engineering job.  You have to study the basics and work your way up to the advanced level.  But you have to rely on your imagination.  Follow the trends or become a trailblazer, it’s all up to you.

CH: As a NY Times bestselling author, you’ve written twenty-one novels, which book was hardest to write?

EJD: No idea.  Again, they all have their own challenges.  I made it to #30 on all of them, so that’s the thing that makes me smile.

CH: Please tell my audience where they can find your website.

EJD: My website is www.ericjeromedickey.com and from there you can link me on social media.

CH: Where are your books sold?

EJD: In all bookstores and online.  Pick your favorite book-buying spot and/or format and the novels/audio should be there waiting on you.

CH: Any closing remarks?

EJD: Enjoy Reaper!

CH: Eric Jerome Dickey, thank you so much for sharing your literary journey and your latest book with my audience. 

EJD: You are welcome, Cheryl.

Note: Photos are compliments of Eric Jerome Dickey and the Internet.

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