The Importance of the Amazon Customer Review for Your Book

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The Importance of The Amazon Customer Review for Your Book

On several occasions on my blog, I have discussed the importance of book reviews on Amazon. My latest post was ‘A Hard Lesson Learned’ on June 28th.

I am currently trying to get reviews on Amazon for my latest box set Cougar Tales: Books 1-3.

Boxed Setredo

I have learned that an Indie author needs 35+ reviews to remain in good standing with Amazon; however, the average best selling author has 130+ reviews on Amazon.

I have also heard how important it is for a book to have lots of reviews on Amazon. Authors who get a lot of reviews on Amazon tend to sell more books than those who don’t (sort of a catch 22 situation). And the reviews have to be a variety from one-star to five-stars, just so the results don’t look like fake reviews. Apparently, many Amazon customers decide whether or not to purchase a book based on those reviews. (We will talk more about fake reviews in a moment.)

Amazon Customer Review Restrictions:

  • Amazon doesn’t allow “close friends” or “family members” to write a customer review for an author’s book. (Hey, your BFF can’t write an unbiased opinion??)
  • Amazon doesn’t allow “agents,” “editors,” or “publishers” to write a customer review for an author’s book. (I agree on this one. They may tend to be slightly biased.)
  • Amazon doesn’t allow the author to “pay someone” or “offer a gift to someone” to write a customer review for an author’s book. (Wow, a small incentive sometimes helps.)
  • Amazon does allow authors to review other authors books; however, they make it so hard to do so that you have to contact Customer Service. (I’m still waiting on a reply from a review I tried to post.)
  • Amazon said, “To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to purchase an item from Amazon.com.” So, I couldn’t write a review because I didn’t buy the book from Amazon. What a bummer! (They have to keep their sales up.)

Why? Because Amazon doesn’t want any biased opinions from customers.

Author Customer Review Facts:

  • It’s hard for the Indie author to get customer reviews for books. It has been estimated that only 15% of your email list (no mater how big or small) will provide reviews.
  • An Indie author needs 35+ reviews (not 20-25 reviews that I was told) to remain in good standing with Amazon; however, the average best selling author has 130+ reviews on Amazon.
  • An author can ask their facebook, twitter, instagram, etc. followers/friends to provide customer reviews. But most of these people are online and don’t have time to write a review. LOL/HaHa
  • Let’s face it, it’s hard to get customer reviews for your books. Period.

Authors who resort to “Fake Reviews” (a few examples):

  • Stephen Leather confessed, during an on-stage panel discussion, that he used fake accounts on forums under assumed names in order to “create a buzz” about his own books and to promote his books.(His reputation must have taken a drop!)
  • John Locke reportedly bought 300 reviews and spent about $6,000 to do so, from Todd Rutherford’s business, Getting Book Reviews. (But the bottom line is that I don’t have $6,000 to spend on 300 reviews like John Locke did. And to think, those fake reviews are what probably convinced me to buy John Locke’s book. Almost everyone in our book club bought the book! I felt conned when I found out Locke had bought reviews.)
  • Other authors (unknown) have bought “fake reviews” on Fiverr.com and other similar websites. (The consequences are dire if Amazon finds out; and author integrity is at risk.)
  • But that hasn’t put a stop to fake reviews.

So, Amazon has changed their reviewing system. In my opinion, it makes it even harder for Indie authors to get customer reviews.

For Cougar Tales, I currently have three reviews. I am so thankful for them. But it is so hard to get distant family, second-hand friends or lovable readers to actually write a review. Yes, they will read the book. Yes, they will agree to write a review, but…will they?

Next time, we will discuss author ranking and the number of books sold.

Just my opinion!

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

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

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

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

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

 

Delta Author Week Guest Author Interview – Patricia Haley

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Unforgiving_Cover

Title: Unforgiving (Mitchell Family Drama Series)

Genre: Christian Fiction

Synopsis: Sins from the past have left a lingering stench in the Mitchell family. Amidst a tumultuous roller coaster ride through financial ruin, professional humiliation, personal failure, and marital discord, Joel, the youngest son who was once considered the most eligible bachelor, has finally come to terms with his shortcomings and self-centered decisions. Spurred by his estranged wife’s troubled pregnancy, he decides to honor their marriage. Joel reaches out to the most unlikely person, his stepmother and long-time nemesis, Madeline Mitchell, pleading with her to let him back into the family business.

Don, the eldest living son, has other plans and vehemently discounts Madeline’s recommendation, not ready to trust his half-brother Joel. Don has paid his dues, suffered years of rejection, and played second fiddle to his father’s second family long enough.

Feeling robbed of her rightful place in the company, Tamara, the only remaining heir to the Mitchell fortune, gets wind of what she considers to be her mother’s and brother’s betrayal. She is outraged that they’re considering someone other than her for the CEO role. Refusing to lose out again to the whims of her family, Tamara writes off Madeline and Don as traitors, concocting her own way to get the upper hand.

Harmony seems impossible for the Mitchell clan, with each step toward truce and reconciliation resulting in two backward steps shrouded in conflict. Unforgiving shoves years of conflict and bitterness to the edge, when everyone is forced to set aside their issues and come together in order to save DMI, the Mitchell legacy, and the life of a disturbed family member. They must learn painfully that forgiveness is the only path to restoration, and those who choose another route are bound to face unavoidable consequences.

Patricia Haley

Author: Patricia Haley

CH: Welcome Delta author, Patricia Haley. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

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

PH: Unforgiving is a good book for those who like page-turning drama, interesting and relatable characters, laugh-out-loud scenes, an uplifting message, and real issues woven into a family-based storyline.

CH: You’ve been writing the Mitchell Family Drama Series for a while. Is this book the last in the series?

PH: Unforgiving is the seventh and last book in the Mitchell Family Drama Series. At least for now the family is on a long vacation. Who knows if there’s going to be a reunion down the road.

CH: Can any of the books in the series be read as a stand-alone book?

PH: Each book in the series has the appropriate backstory and is intentionally written to stand-alone. That’s important, because if a person reads the books out of the intended order, they shouldn’t feel lost or have a sense that some critical past detail is missing.

CH: Where did you get your inspiration from to write this series?

PH: Inspiration for the series came from one of my all-time favorite characters in the Bible, King David. He is an imperfect man plagued with family tragedy, personal failures, and constant battles. Yet, he understood the true essence of forgiveness. Once God forgave him, David forgave himself and forgot about it. He didn’t let past mistakes or shortcomings linger on and impact his future. He was also eager to forgive those who wronged him. As a result, David is s remembered as someone highly favored by God.  I’m equally intrigued by King David’s son, Solomon, who managed to squander away his noteworthy position, reputation, and godly favor after succumbing to his weakness for women. This biblical family is filled with intrigue and makes for easy translation into a modern-day version set in Detroit with the corporate scene, wealth, relationship woes, and power struggles serving as a backdrop.

CH: Forgiving someone is often very painful. So, why was forgiveness the only path to restoration for the Mitchell family?

PH: Forgiveness is liberating as it frees the heart, soul, and mind. Without it, the Mitchell family was consumed with bitterness, anger, and good old- fashioned unhappiness. The strife ate at them like a wide-spreading disease. Yes, forgiveness might have been difficult initially, actually unthinkable, but after nearly thirty years, they came to realize that holding on to unforgiveness was a pain that wasn’t going away. There was no hope of a happy and united future for the family unless they began forgiving and letting go of the hurts and infractions of the past. Nobody’s perfect, including those who weren’t so willing to forgive the mistakes of others. Thank goodness, the Mitchell family finally came to a place of forgiveness, with God’s help, and then allowed Him to begin healing their family.

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

 PH: I didn’t have to do any research for this book. For earlier books in the series, many scenes and events are captured in places where I have some familiarity as a result of my traveling, such as Detroit area, South Africa, Europe, and India. However, I had to do some research, when it came to confirming the Indian marital traditions, practices, and names for authenticity in the writing. I also had to investigate the meaning of certain African and Indian names, which was very interesting to me. I didn’t have to do much research for the South of France and South Africa since those happen to be a couple of my favorite travel spots. Other than confirming a few key landmarks, I didn’t have to do much research for Detroit, since I used to live in the area for several years.

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

PH: My novels aren’t about me. However, both my experiences and those of others are a source of inspiration. If something happens or seems like it would be interesting to mold into a story, I’m inspired. I often say that my stories are about everyone I know and no one I know.  One character may have attributes of five different people that I know. Some characters are purely fictional. Bottom line, my goal is to develop interesting and unique characters and situations that we can connect with and enjoy reading.

 CH: In this series, who was your favorite character to write?

 PH: My favorite character is a toss-up between Madeline and a ‘colorful’ Uncle Frank. Madeline is a sharp-tongued, top-notch businesswoman who doesn’t easily back down to opposition.  Uncle Frank is full of surprises, none of which are typically good. The one thing for sure, Uncle Frank is consistent with his shenanigans. He’s entertaining, too.

CH: In this series, who was the hardest character to write?

 PH: One of my most difficult characters to write was Abigail, because she didn’t know who or what she wanted. My second challenging character was Zarah. I have to say that it was a fun challenge in developing her character, because I had to maintain key aspects of her Indian culture, beliefs, and way of thinking, while finding common interests between her and an African-American family living in Detroit.

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

PH: Initially, I planned on having three books in the series, but readers wanted more from the Mitchell family. So instead of three, I ended up with seven: Anointed, Betrayed, Chosen, Destined, Broken, Humbled, and Unforgiving.

CH: Since you are an Essence #1 Bestselling author, as far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

PH: Out of 14 titles and several short stories, my greatest achievement has been in trusting God to get each book written, published, and in the hands of those that need to be entertained, while simultaneously being encouraged. The faith that I’ve gained as a result of my literary journey has been immeasurable, transferable to other areas of my life, and completely life-changing. This literary journey helped me discover my purpose for being on this earth, which is to use every gift and talent God has given me to encourage others. Writing is only one of those talents.

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

 PH: I’m grateful and thrilled that readers have fallen in love with the Mitchell family. For some, it’s been difficult for them to accept that Unforgiving is the last book. So, I direct them to my new series, which contains Relentless (2014) and Redeemed (2015) in the Redeemed Drama Series.

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

PH: On average it takes me two months to write the first draft of a novel.

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

 PH: I want the readers to be entertained first. Then, before closing the book, I’d like for them to grasp the message that in spite of challenges and dysfunction, a family’s ability to forgive, to love, to forget the pain of the past, and to exercise a tad bit of diplomacy can get them through any situation, no matter how tragic the circumstances.

CH: Can you tell us a little about your literary/publishing journey?

 PH: My literary journey began when I was searching for an agent and publisher in 1996-97. At the time, no one was interested in publishing faith-based (clean) fiction filled with real issues, African-American characters set in a modern-day storyline. So, in 1998, I decided to launch my debut novel, Nobody’s Perfect, as a self-published title. After selling roughly 20,000 copies, I had no idea Nobody’s Perfect would become the first faith-based novel of its kind to make the mainstream national best sellers list, including #1 on the Essence list. Subsequently agents and publishers contacted me. I decided to go with an agent at the prestigious William Morris Agency who helped me get my first book deal. Fourteen books later with many #1 Christian best-selling novels and awards, I am grateful.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

PH: www.patriciahaley.com

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

PH: Everywhere. Unforgiving, as well as my other books in the series, are available nationally and internationally wherever books are sold. You can find it in print and e-book formats. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1JYVVUR

CH: Any closing remarks?

 PH: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to interact with readers. I’m grateful for all those who have read my books, posted feedback, sent a note of encouragement, or simply wished me well. I am blessed, and may God be glorified in every book that I write.

CH: Thank you Delta Author, Patricia Haley, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your writing career.

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Note: Photos are compliments of Patricia Haley and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

 

 

Delta Author Week Guest Author Interview – Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett

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drejpickett_Cover

Title: College “Y” Go (audio book)

Genre: Educational/Instructional

Synopsis: An informative guide for people considering college attendance.

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Author: Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett

CH: Welcome Delta author, Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

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

EJP: An informational resource to stimulate positive thoughts regarding the advantages of college attendance and facilitate the same.

CH: Why did you decide to write this audio book on deciding to go to college?

EJP: To encourage perspective high school graduates, high school graduates, drop outs, returning adults, self-employed, under employed and the millions with unmet dreams, to know that the gains of a college education far out weights the liability of unpreparedness and financial cost.

CH: When planning your audio books do you ever take into consideration how the text will sound when it’s read aloud? If so, how does that influence your writing?

EJP: Yes, and I also read the content aloud and have others to read aloud for my critiquing. Based upon what is revealed, I attempt to edit the vocabulary and flow to enhance the delivery of the ideas for listening.

CH: What inspired you to write an inspirational book for people wanting to attend college?

EJP: My inspiration for this book was born out of my years of professional experience helping clients: students, parents, returning adult learners, self-employed, under employed and any who dreamed of having a college degree.

CH: What is your key piece of advice for someone wanting to attend college? What is your theory on education advancing lifelong learning?

EJP: ‘Lifelong’ learning is inevitable and the college experience and degree can foster the quality of what is learned, how it is learned and how much is learned.

CH: You provide 20 valid reasons. What are the top 3 reasons why a person should go to college?

EJP: A college degree: 1) allows you to obtain a more secure future; 2) allows you to acquire and maintain a better lifestyle; and 3) allows you larger earning power over your lifetime.

CH: What is a student’s role in relations to the global world? And why is it important?

EJP: As stated in the book, the number of people who will study and work abroad, during their professional career, is rapidly increasing. We are closer to a world economy than ever before. Technological advances are providing broader pathways to knowledge and cultural connections. The game of competition has intensified. This in turn increases the need for higher education in order to meet the societal demands.

CH: How does your doctoral degree in education enhance the writing of this book?

EJP: My quest for education resulting in a doctorate degree has allowed me to enjoy and experience all 20 of the reasons put forth in the book plus more.  I have freedom of selecting where I live, raise and educate my children, employment positions, status in the society, some knowledge of how systems work, etc.  I have seen the lives of the ‘Haves and the Have Nots.’ As a high school student, not to have a college degree frightened me.  My life experiences have developed a landscape that enhanced the writing of this book.

CH: What other background experience do you have that makes you an expert as a counselor to students?

EJP: My life experience, formal education, and over 40 years of working with all age groups as a strong advocate for student success.

CH: Are there any other plans for this audio book, such as a print book?

EJP: Yes! I plan to embellish the content into a print version of this audio book.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

EJP: My website is currently under reconstruction. www.DrPickett.com

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

EJP: Amazon.com/audiobooks, CD Baby, and Apple.com/itunes. CD Baby Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/drejpickett

CH: Any closing remarks?

EJP: To the many listeners who for whatever reason need or wish to enjoy the advantages of a college degree, I encourage you to purchase this book for you and whoever you know that needs to further their education with a college degree. It is never too late to educate! Cheryl, thanks for offering this interview.

CH: Thank you Delta Author, Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your writing career.

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

 

Delta Author Week Guest Author Interview – B. W. Read

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Fourth Sunday_Cover

Title: Fourth Sunday: Journey of A Book Club

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: What happens when a real life book club decides to write their own novel? The result is a fresh, fun story about a group of women who have more in common than just the books they read.

Fourth Sunday written by B.W. Read (aka “Because We Read”) is the tale of seven women and their journey towards friendship by way of a simple book club. Over time, their friendship grows beyond books, as their lives, relationships, careers, and families become one. The core group of women—Gwen, Natalie, Allana, Brianna, Camille, Destiny, and Adriane—shares not only their love of books at these monthly meetings but their life experiences as well. Over two years, the women undergo a number of trials within their own lives as they confront divorce, illness, romantic highs and lows, sexual experimentation, and career challenges. Throughout the good times and bad times, their book club family provides support, encouragement, laughter, and love.

Fourth Sunday is timeless cosmopolitan literature. The novel incorporates intellect and riveting facts about medical, political and small business state of affairs while balancing playfulness and sensuality. It is funny, it is sad, it is contemporary, but most of all it is real.

BW Read

B. W. Read authors (alphabetically) Francesca Cook, Chyla Evans, Clarita Frazier, Allita Irby, Donna Neale, and Yolanda Yates.

Author: B. W. Read

CH: Welcome Delta authors, B. W. Read: Francesca Cook, Chyla Evans, Clarita Frazier, Allita Irby, Donna Neale, and Yolanda Yates. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

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

Chyla: We had been reading various books for approximately 2 years as a book club and we had just finished an acclaimed book that no one liked!  Someone said ‘we can do this!’   We then began the discussion of writing a book based loosely on our lives and how we became friends as a result of our book club.  I held the first meeting at my office and invited anyone who was interested in joining the writing group from the club.  Eleven ladies showed up and we discussed our outline.  Eventually some ladies dropped out and we ended up with 7 writers. We then wrote our individual pieces and came together at various places, like hotel suites or our homes, to discuss our characters and write the group part.

CH: What inspired the group to write a story about a book club?

BWR: All of us were connected through our book club and it was in that setting that we decided to write the book.  It seemed like a natural fit to use a book club as the setting for our book.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters? 

BWR: As novice writers, we first looked at what we knew and were familiar with—our own lives.  As the characters began to establish themselves they took on a life of their own.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?   

BWR: None of the characters were hard to write, because they are fictional. Though some of the characters may have attributes of the authors, we took liberties in making the characters fit the story we wanted to tell. For example, two of the characters are physicians and two of the authors are physicians.  This allowed us to take advantage of the experience of our authors and incorporate realistic medical situations into our fictional story.

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

BWR: Our biggest challenge in the book writing, publishing and marketing process has been managing the schedules of six (6) women. However, we somehow made it work. We had face-to-face meetings, weekend writing sessions, communicated and exchanged written work via email, and met by conference call. This challenge also proves to be an advantage. Since there are so many of us and we have different schedules, we were able to complete tasks around the clock—24/7.

CH: Take us through your writing process for a group of writers. You had the idea, so did all of you map out the book beforehand?

Yolanda: B. W. Read found the writing of the characters and story invigorating. Because none of us had written a novel before, we basically took on the project as a challenge, there were no expectations, other than to try and finish what we had started.  Of course, we also hoped it would be published and we would get rich and live happily ever after!

The writing process was pretty simple at first. Each author was responsible for developing a character by way of a chapter or two. After the character development, the authors collectively outlined an overarching story from beginning to end, using outlines, storybooking and timelines. Then the authors took on the task of writing and editing the plot for their respective characters and the novel independently and as a team.

With six writers, implementing and maintaining a consistent writing style was quite an undertaking. So, we decided to use Amy Tan’s book, Joy Luck Club, as a model. This strategy allowed the authors to be creative in telling each character’s story, while ensuring that the characters stayed connected in the broader story.

CH: Since this is your first book together, how long did it take you to write this book with so many co-authors?

Francesca: We began the project in 1996 and completed the project in the early 2000s. We decided to write a book, because we did not see stories about women like us.  No one had any writing background, so we didn’t know what we didn’t know.  It really was a fun side project and we challenged ourselves to see if we could complete a manuscript.  We didn’t mind taking several years to complete the book.  With no agent or publisher at the outset, there were no deadlines other than self-imposed ones.

CH: What pitfalls have you run into as a group of authors?

 BWR: Ironically, we get asked all the time, ‘How did 6 women go thru this process and still remain friends?’ We actually never had any major disputes while writing the book!  We had so much respect for each other individually and we never let the book become bigger than our friendships. We were honest about giving criticism regarding each other’s writing but we also praised our good parts!  We never expected anything to come from this effort and were happy just to have the manuscript finished!  Everything that happened since then has been icing on the cake!

CH: How did Zane come about publishing your book? Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

Allita: I met Zane’s sister many years ago when she was a writer for the Washington Post. She wrote an article on our book project chronicling our journey as book club members taking on the challenge of writing a book.  Fast forward 12 years when Zane’s publishing company, Strebor Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, was looking for black authors to publish.  Zane’s sister contacted me regarding the status of our book.  At that time we had a completed manuscript but had given up the idea of getting it published.  We sent a few chapters to Zane for review and a year later Fourth Sunday was in print!

CH: As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement for this book or any of the authors?

BWR: Collectively, we are just so proud to have accomplished the task of writing a book and actually getting it published.  Having so many read it and provide such positive feedback was unexpected but so gratifying!

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

Claire: The positive feedback has been amazing. Book clubs have been especially supportive.  We have had the good fortune to meet with and talk about our book with so many book clubs both in the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) and up and down the East Coast.  These events enable us to meet so many smart and interesting women.  This experience has been so fun and rewarding for us.  We are so grateful.

CH: Ladies, would you write a book again with so many authors? If so, will there be a follow-up book?

BWR: We would love to write another book, but with six busy women, it is difficult to find convenient times to get everyone together. In the near-term, we are focused on promoting this book and exploring screenplay options. Making Fourth Sunday into a movie is our next challenge!

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

Donna: Fourth Sunday is not just a book—it’s about embracing your goals and making them happen.  We hope our book is not only a fun read, but also an example to empower and inspire women of every age and hue to work together to accomplish what can’t be done solo.

CH: Can you describe the journey as a group of writers working together and meeting deadlines?

BWR: We began this project together as a fun challenge and had no external deadlines.  We did set internal deadlines to ensure when the six of us met, we all had met the stated goals; however, the process was a loose one.  Once we had a contract in place with Simon & Schuster, there were real deadlines that had to be met to ensure that our book would be published on time.  We found that we had to implement new rules of engagement to make sure we got everything done.  We started a weekly conference call with an agenda and follow-up notes to make sure each author understood which tasks had been assigned to her with specific deadlines identified.  Since there were six of us, we could divide up the work to make sure everything was covered.

CH: All of you have day jobs, so was it difficult to find time to write your portion of the story?

BWR: We began this effort many years ago in 1996.  At that time, most of us were single with no children.  It was a lot easier to get together during the evening or plan weekend writing getaways.  We also took our time since there was no deadline to finish the book.  Today, with full time jobs and families in tow, it would be more difficult to write, but we all love a challenge, and when we set a goal together we can make it happen.  Our current goal is a screenplay.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address? 

BWR: Our website address is www.bwread.com and our email address is bw.read@yahoo.com.

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

BWR: Our book can be found or ordered wherever books are sold—Amazon, is often the best site to order the book. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1TGvRyB

CH: Any closing remarks?

BWR: Writing this book was an amazing journey; we all learned so much.  We enjoy sharing our book with others and encourage women, who so often are focused on taking care of everyone but themselves, to make themselves their top priority, if only for a day.  Embrace your Fourth Sunday and make it count. The possibilities are endless!

CH: Thank you Delta Author, B. W. Read, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your career and a possible screenplay.

 

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Note: Photos are compliments of B. W. Read and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

 

Delta Author Week Guest Author Interview – Brenda Lane-Oliver

header1_An Author Writes

Delta       Delta Author Week

Million Dollar Leader_Cover

Title: Creating the Million Dollar Leader: 52 Inspiration Lessons to Attract the Life You Want

Genre: Business Leadership/Motivational

Synopsis: There must be at least 150 million people in the USA alone who would like to write at least one check to themselves for $1,000,000.00. The check represents fulfillment of your deepest dream for success. Creating the Million Dollar Leader will provide you with the knowledge to begin that journey. Simply answer the following questions: 1. Are you ready to create inner wealth and self-appreciation? 2. Can you accept the good in all people and repel toxic behaviors? 3. Are you willing to replace negative self-talk with visualization and positive affirmations? 4. Do you want balance between your business and personal aspirations? 5. Do you want better relationships, the knowledge to achieve lifelong goals, and most importantly, the happiness you deserve? 6. Are you ready to write that check for $1,000,000? Follow the 52 inspirational lessons in Creating the Million Dollar Leader to achieve your ultimate goal. Brenda Lane-Oliver has held positions of leadership in various businesses and organizations. The author of Stand Up and Be Counted Now continues her lessons on how to avoid failure and obtain success in this powerful and inspirational book.

Brenda Lane Oliver

Author: Brenda Lane-Oliver

CH: Welcome Delta author, Brenda Lane-Oliver. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

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

BLO: It is about how to create inner wealth by establishing and fulfilling lifelong goals, whether related to personal aspirations, financial independence or happiness.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book on leadership?

BLO: My professional background is in leadership, so I focused on my area of expertise. I believe that most people have some leadership skills, but don’t always use them. So, my goal is to help readers become self-directed leaders.

CH: What inspired you to write an inspirational book for others to read?

BLO: I am blessed to be successful in achieving most of my goals. I am often asked how I do it. So, the 52 inspirational lessons are based on my experiences and the interaction with others who have made a difference in their lives.

CH: What is your key piece of advice for someone wanting to be a million dollar leader?

BLO: Lesson 1: Be true to yourself. What is it that you really want in this life? Every dream has a dreamer and if you really want something, you have within you the strength, patience and passion to achieve any realistic goal.

CH: You provide 52 inspirational lessons in your book. Can people use just a portion of these lessons to become a powerful leader?

BLO: Absolutely! I advised my readers to look at the table of contents and decide which lessons are of interest. Remember, we all have leadership skills, so fill in the blank with the most appropriate lesson that will help you achieve a specific goal.

CH: You also provide 10 questions to ask yourself, if you want to become a million dollar leader. Are the questions imperative to begin the journey?

BLO: They provide a sound foundation for becoming a million dollar leader. You don’t want to be blindsided by believing that you will succeed if you do not know what it takes to become a million dollar leader.

CH: The book was published almost 2 years ago, what is the theme that continues to grab the reader’s attention?

BLO: The title, Creating the Million Dollar Leader, seems to grab most people’s attention. Readers are interested in attracting a certain lifestyle, so they still call me to either buy the book, speak on the subject, or attend a meeting.

CH: Does your degree in Management/Leadership enhance the writing of this book?

BLO: My degrees in Management/Leadership and Applied Behavioral Science definitely made an impact on this Motivational Business Book.

CH: How does this book tie in with your first book, Stand Up and Be Counted Now?

BLO: While they are both about Leadership, they are stand alone books.  My first book, Stand Up and Be Counted Now is primarily for women interested in learning skills and leadership skills to move up in Business Leadership positions. While Creating the Million Dollar Leader is for anyone interested in fulfilling dreams related to leadership, self-appreciation, innovation, entrepreneurship, finances and happiness.

CH: You provide some excellent resources for reading. Is this list from many years of experience?

BLO: With more than 20 years of experience, research, being resourceful, attending and conducting Leadership training, I was able to share some of the resources that I have read over the years.

CH: Do you consider yourself a success guru?

BLO: I would like to believe that I am a Success Guru because of my work, including this book that was recognized by the International Book Award, as well as, my followings.

CH: Do you belong to or have you created any success or leadership organizations?

BLO: Yes, I most recently created two groups:  Professional Women Connected for Change and the Leadership Circle.

CH: What type of leadership positions have you held?

BLO: I have held several leadership positions: Senior Quality Advisor for a large Federal Organization; local President and National Advisor for the American Society for Training and Development; leadership and board leadership positions in professional, non-profit organizations; as well as, several public service strategic leadership positions with organizations such as, Baltimore County Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

CH: Do you consider yourself a million dollar leader?

BLO: Yes, I do. I am living the dream.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

BLO: www.BrendaLaneOliver.com

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

BLO: Creating the Million Dollar Leader: 52 Inspiration Lessons to Attract the Life You Want can be purchased on Amazon.com and my website www.BrendaLaneOliver.com Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1NiyXcz

CH: Any closing remarks?

BLO: Begin by writing a symbolic check for $1M to yourself. Enter the goal you would to achieve on the Memo line. When you have achieved that goal, you are on your way to becoming a Million Dollar Leader. ‘If Not Now, When?’

Thank you, Cheryl, for allowing me to share Creating the Million Dollar Leader on your Delta Authors On Tour on your  Blog.

CH: Thank you Delta Author, Brenda Lane-Oliver, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your writing career. 

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Brenda Lane-Oliver and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

 

Delta Author Week Guest Author Interview – Ruth P. Watson

header1_An Author Writes

Delta     Delta Author Week

An Elderberry Fall_Cover

Title: An Elderberry Fall

Genre: Historical Mystery/Romance

Synopsis: This sequel to the historical bestseller Blackberry Days of Summer reunites the people of Jefferson County, Virginia, with yet another murder and the resurrection of an evil thought to be dead and gone.

As she adjusts to a new beginning in Richmond, Virginia, Carrie Parker, finds herself juggling motherhood, work, school, and increasing strains on her new marriage to Simon. Carrie and Simon are happy parents, but sometimes Carrie feels there’s something dark and evil about her little baby’s eyes, and it scares her. She vows he will not be anything like his real father—a beady-eyed womanizer now long gone.

But the past has a strange way of creeping back into the present…Just as the dust is settling on the murder of Carrie’s stepfather, Herman Camm, everybody in Richmond is shocked to find out his memory is not yet gone. Did he really die? And what part did Carrie play? Soon she is forced to answer questions and return to a past ridden with abuse, corruption, scandal, and deceit. Will she be able to move on with her life, or will the past follow Carrie and her family wherever they go?

Ruth Watson

Author: Ruth P. Watson

CH: Welcome Delta author, Ruth P. Watson. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your writing world and publishing journey with my audience.

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

RPW: Simon is her man; however, someone else has eyes for her too. And, just when she thought Camm was dead and buried, a ghost lingers. Will Pearl and Camm ever go away?

CH: You had the readers on edge waiting on this book. What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your type of historical writing?

RPW: I write about real situations, which can take place anywhere and at anytime.

CH: Tell us a little bit about your storytelling art and where it came from.

RPW: As a child, I listened to stories told by adults and at times created my own ending. I guess this is where they came from.

CH: When you wrote Blackberry Days of Summer, did you know that it would be a series then?

RPW: No, not at all. I just wanted to tell a story that would leave the reader transfixed for a moment into another place and time.

CH: What inspired you to decide to write this series?

RPW: The characters are forever talking and it would be impolite to mute their story.

CH: Is there a third and final book in this series?

RPW: Yes, I’m writing it now.

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

RPW: No, it was not hard. They are people with life situations as we all deal with.

CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?

RPW: No

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

RPW: Ginny is my favorite character to write. She is hard and real at the same time. I suppose Mae Lou was the hardest. I couldn’t understand why she could be so cold to her daughter. I also struggled with her relationship with Camm.

CH: What time period for both books?

RPW: The time period is post World War I.

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

RPW: Yes, we all are faced with challenges. We’ve endured abuse, incest, and misunderstandings, however there is always happiness for those who can fight through it all.

CH: Zane published both books. Can you tell us about your publishing journey?

RPW: Publishing is a difficult business; yet, so rewarding. It is extremely tiring to get a literary agent, and the wait for the sale can be frustrating.  At the end, it will all come together with time. Publishing is a slow and deliberate business. You must know things take time.

CH: Can you describe your writing style?

RPW: My writing style is compelling and simple.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

RPW: I read everything and love all writers.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RPW: www.ruthpwatson.com

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

RPW: Barnes and Noble, Amazon and all the online bookstores. You may find them in bookstores all around. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Ja6QdC

CH: Any closing remarks?

RPW: Writers never give up. Believe in yourself and write something everyday.

CH: Thank you Delta Author, Ruth P. Watson, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your writing career.

 Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Ruth P. Watson and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

 

Guest Author Interview – Maurice G. Miller

header1_An Author Writes

The Budapest Experiment_Cover

Title: The Budapest Experiment: An International Thriller Novel

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Synopsis: At what price would you sell your soul?

Set in 1991, during the dawn of the Post-Communist era in Hungary, this novel chronicles the exploits of Michael, an adventurous but struggling American entrepreneur.

As Michael navigates his way through the streets of Budapest for the first time, he senses almost immediately an air of mysticism and lurking danger. Things begin to heat up, as a series of business dealings and events leads him to a consulting position with the Russian Mob. During this period of great political, economic, and social change, the ‘Organization’ is taking advantage of the turmoil entrenching itself deeper into the business landscape across the former Soviet Bloc countries.

Seduced by their women, money, and power, Michael becomes entangled in the web of Mob culture. An examination of conscience reveals a spirit ravaged with feelings of guilt and betrayal, but a rapidly growing bank account serves as the means to justify his actions.

Pondering his future, he wonders if he can balance this extreme Budapest lifestyle with his “ordinary” family life back home. After padding his wallet for the past several months, would the Organization let him just walk away, or would there be consequences?

Maurice Miller

Author: Maurice G. Miller

Note: Due to the length of this interview and the space available, this interview has been edited.

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

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

MGM: A captivating thriller that weaves business, politics, seduction, power, and religion into a compelling tale of international intrigue.

CH: Since this is an international thrillerwhere do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

MGM: As this is my first novel, I cannot say that I have a ‘standard formula’ for plots, at least not yet. But I can say that even as a child I had quite a vivid imagination and was adept at storytelling. It is these qualities that I believe shaped my visions in writing this book. The scenes and dialogue came to me almost as if I was writing a screenplay. This particular story and concept had been brewing in my head since the early 1990’s and I’ve finally put it into print. It is going to be a three book series.

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

MGM: I would dare to say that this book does not reflect your typical storyline and plot. It is a thriller incorporated into historical fiction that reminds us of the political, social, and economic outcomes of the late 1980’s, and early 1990’s. While these events took place a quarter of a century ago, it is amazing to realize how they have impacted our lives and major world events here in the 21st century. Even today, we see Russia trying to reclaim and form alliances with former Soviet Bloc countries, playing out a game of international ‘tug of war’ on the world stage.

I did spend some time constructing the background and character of Michael, the protagonist, and then work toward immersing the reader into his skin. Confronted with business and financial challenges whose solutions come with a multitude of moral and philosophical dilemmas, Michael is riddled with guilt and betrayal. Add in the benefits, dangers, and intrigue of being linked with the Russian Mob, the story is designed to keep readers on edge and ultimately implore them to consider ‘At what price would I sell my soul?’

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

 MGM: I grew up in New England, but this had no impact with regard to the setting and plot of the book. Although, I do include scenes in Boston and its suburbs, being the protagonist’s ‘home base.’

The story was born of my experiences in the early 1990’s. One of my entrepreneurial ventures led me to working as a trade consultant in Hungary. At that time, the country was transitioning from a state to market economy and offered many business opportunities.

In the nearly 3 years that I travelled there I met lots of characters in both business and political arenas. The Budapest night life could get quite crazy at times if your ‘meetings’ and social engagements led you to certain places. Conversations would get quite interesting as my Hungarian colleagues and I would be ‘playing games with the faces,’ as Simon and Garfunkle would put it, letting our imaginations go wild. As an example, my Hungarian associates would look at a table that was living it up big time in a crowded room and say, ‘That guy is a lieutenant with the Mob’ or ‘That dancer he’s with is one of the Organization’s women.’ It was these real life experiences that had the biggest influence on the creation of The Budapest Experiment.

CH: This book is about the Russian Mafia, the Organization as you refer to them in the book.  Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

MGM: As a young adult, two great movies came across the silver screen that really stuck with me, The Godfather in 1972 and Jaws in 1975. Despite all the violence and bloodshed, I think The Godfather went a long way toward romanticizing Organized Crime with the general public. Seems like there will always be an attraction to those with power and wealth, regardless of the methodologies they used to procure their status.

In my book, the Mob serves as the vehicle to Michael’s newfound wealth, while at the same time providing a glimpse into the darker side of their operations. This triggers the internal conflicts that confront the protagonist and give pause for readers to consider how they would handle these dilemmas.

Not really knowing much about the Russian Mafia, it was somewhat of a challenge to write. Along with some research, I combined my real life experiences in Hungary with what I’ve seen in some of the more famous mafia movies to create and develop the ‘mob’ characters and scenes. There are several references to The Godfather movie in the book.

Another challenge I faced was writing the erotica scenes. My decision to include these was a bit of a struggle. I considered ‘glazing over’ these scenes, but in the end felt it important to capture the intimacy between Michael, the ‘Mob Women’ assigned to make him happy, and a flirty interpreter. My hope was that by including the details of these encounters, readers would better comprehend the internal conflicts of the main character, and also familarize themselves with the ‘behind the scenes,’ and sometimes tragic, life stories of the women he encountered.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

MGM: Many in my family and in the business world have often told me that I had good writing skills. I had this story on the back burner for quite a while, always thinking about writing a novel, but never following through. Oddly enough, it was the sensation of Fifty Shades of Grey and E.L. James that was the final motivating factor.

After hearing all the ‘buzz,’ I decided to read the book. When finished, I kind of understood why the book took off but felt, ‘Hey my story is more compelling than that and as sexy as this one…’  Then I discovered self-publishing was now an option for authors. After lots of research on the industry and being an entrepreneur at heart, I launched myself into it. Not alone in these notions, many new emerging authors have brought the self-publishing industry to what it is today.

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

MGM: I did do some, but not an extensive amount, of research into the Russian Mob of the late 1980’s and early 90’s. As an MBA, I found it quite fascinating from a business perspective. In the book, I do get into quite a bit of detail regarding the Mob’s overall plan for enhancing their financial positions in Eastern Europe and beyond during this time of tumultuous change.

The real research came more on the self-publishing, promoting, and marketing stages of the process.

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

MGM: The latter is true through the first eight or so chapters of the book and in some instances later on. For the rest, I believe I succeeded in creating realistic and believable dialogue and scenes for the 100% fictional parts, though often hampered with the challenge of using ‘second hand’ English for international characters. Yes, I can say it was difficult at times.

Readers will not help but notice there are some ‘unbelievable’ situations that continue to perplex the protagonist, like ‘Why has the Organization found such favor in me?’ And ‘Am I being setup?’

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

MGM: I don’t have a book trailer yet, but certainly that is in my future.

I was given some advice by Joanna Penn at the emerging author Pub Sense Summit conference in Charleston, SC back in March. Her web site, The Creative Penn, in my opinion, can be counted as one of the top web resources for self-published authors. She told me that I should have at least 2-3 books published before investing in a well done book trailer. I met the owner, Jerome McLain, and saw a great demo by Book Frenzy Studios, a high end producer of book trailers, also while at Pub Sense Summit. Their trailers were of extremely high quality, but also came with a steep price.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? Which character was easiest to write?

MGM: By far, the easiest character to write was the protagonist, Michael. It was easy because surprisingly (he says jokingly) he shared a lot of the same traits as I did back then, even though most of his experiences in Budapest are quite different than what mine were.

The most difficult was the character of Laszlo Toth, a member of the Mob with a drug (cocaine) issue, who without giving too much of the book away, becomes a villan to both Michael and the Organization. I definitely need some more experience and work on creating and developing villanous characters.

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

MGM: It took me about 13 months to write. I do have a full time job that pays the bills, so the writing was done on a part time basis.

CH: Did you have any problems with characters?

MGM: As previously mentioned, many of the characters were extrapolated from my personal experiences while in Hungary and some were strictly figments of my imagination. Fortunately for me, there were no major stumbling blocks in character creation and development while writing this debut novel.

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

MGM: The most common feedback I have received from my readers is that the book kept them on edge, and that the ending left them wanting more, which I take as a very high compliment. The six Amazon reviews I have obtained so far have been very positive and encouraging.  I would strongly encourage your audience to post reviews for their favorite books penned by indie authors to show them support.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MGM: Yes of course, please visit my web site and blog found at http://www.mauricegmiller.com/

CH: For my audience, where is your book sold?

MGM: The Budapest Experiment is available exclusively on Amazon though the middle of November, then it will then become available for purchase across multiple platforms. Then, the first book of a three part series sequel will be made available. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1UTXeb9

CH: Any closing remarks?

MGM: First, I would like to thank you so much for having me as a guest author. This is my first ever author interview and I will always remember it. I tried to answer all of your questions candidly, and this was a great exercise that gave me a chance to reflect on my writing. As I am sure you are aware, writing and publishing your book is only the first step. It is easy to get all caught up in the marketing and promotion of your book once it is out there. This was a refreshing pause from the madness.

I would like to suggest to your audience that if they are looking for something different, a thriller with an ‘atypical’ story line to cap off their summer reading, then please consider reading The Budapest Experiment. I hope you will enjoy it.

Finally, I would like to reiterate that new and emerging authors depend so much on reviews. Please, please, support us all and post reviews for your favorite books and authors. Thanks Again

CH: Thank you Maurice G. Miller.  It has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your writing career.

 Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Maurice G. Miller and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

 

Writing Exercise – Six-Word Novel

header1_An Author Writes

Short Story_Novel

Ernest Hemingway who, according to literary legend, was once challenged to write a short story in only six words. Hemingway wrote, For Sale: baby shoes, never worn. It has been referred to as a six-word novel.

My writing group has the same challenge for next month’s writing exercise.

Cheryl Holloway wrote:

  • Love. Marriage. Children. Infidelity. Divorce. Hate.
  • Talent. Creativity. Write. Author. Bestseller. Fame.
  • Museum: Slavery, Artifacts, Pictures. History.
  • Life. Happy Childhood. Angry Adulthood. Suicide.
  • Born. Adult. Education. Success. Rich. Death.

I challenge any reader to write a six-word novel or short story and send it to me.

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Clip art compliments of the Internet.

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

Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Joanna Mazurkiewicz

Celebrity Couch (2)

International flags

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

Illicit Canvas_Cover

Title: Illicit Canvas

Genre:  Contemporary/Political Romance

Synopsis: Twenty year old Arwen West thinks that she has everything figured out. She moved to Brussels to study art and to find her father, who abandoned her when she was only a child. The only lead that she has is an old painting that her father carried with him many years ago, the painting that was allegedly stolen.

She starts to visit galleries, hoping to find someone who can help her with locating that last lost piece of art, but instead runs into Ethan. Older and enigmatic, Ethan elicits raw emotions in her, something that she has never experienced with her current boyfriend, Colin.

The instant connection is undeniable, and when Ethan offers to be her guide, she is torn between her own desires and the need to gain closure on her jaded past. Ethan opens her eyes to a new world of eccentric art dealers and old art studios, promising the most illicit affair that she’d ever live through.

Every affair has its consequences and if exposed, Arwen might not only destroy Ethan’s political career, but also jeopardize his aspirations forever.

drinkz maz

Author: Joanna Mazurkiewicz

CH: Welcome Joanna Mazurkiewicz to my blog. Joanna was born in Poland and later moved to the United Kingdom. She is one of our international authors. Joanna writes contemporary romance and urban fantasy books. Joanna thanks for joining us.

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

JM: Illicit Canvas is a stand-alone romance with intensive political undertones that entwine art and sexual encounters.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

JM: The story had been floating in my head for quite some time. I went on holiday in January and decided to finally put pen to paper.

CH: Since you are writing about politics, art, romance and sex in an international background, did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

JM: Yes, first the setting. I have lived in Belgium for two months almost ten years ago and I had a hard time recalling all the places that I had visited, so I did quite a lot of research about art galleries, areas and in general about the feel of this rich and magnificent city.

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?

JM: My ideas are pretty much generated from everywhere. Sometimes I have dreams, other times I listen to people’s conversations, and a lot of the time the idea just pops into my head and I have to put it on paper straight away before I forget about it. Once I decide to write a particular book, I try to plot the first few scenes with the ending in mind.

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

JM: Once I get the plot going, it’s fairly easy. All the situations are fictional, but I do use real life experiences and mix them together.

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

JM: I had to study the maps of Brussels for quite a while to figure out the location for a few scenes. Also, I had to research all the terminology in the art world and read biographies of all the painters that I included in the story.

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

JM: Yes, I think setting up a book in a different country was a challenge.

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

JM: I give the reader a unique plot and believable characters that everyone can relate to.

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

JM: I was born in Poland and moved to the Uk when I was 19. I decided to write in English a couple of years ago and still struggle with the grammar and the word choice. I try to write about the places that I have visited, and in this case, I thought that Brussels was a good fit for this story.

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

JM: I try to create my own story.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

JM: I’m not quite sure, the idea just came to me and I had to write it. At the time, I was working on a paranormal romance that wasn’t coming together like I wanted it to, so I needed a break.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

JM: Ethan, the love interest. I think he was the most complex and likable hero that I ever created.

CH: Which characters are the hardest to write?

JM: Villains

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

JM: I write because I love creating stories. I get bored quite easily and my books keep me occupied. I want my readers to enjoy the story and the world that I have created for them.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

JM: Sure it’s http://jmazurkiewiczauthor.com

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

JM: It’s currently enrolled in KDP select programme, so mainly Amazon. Anyone can read it free on kindle unlimited. Amazon link:  http://amzn.to/1N15hBp

CH: Any Closing remarks?

JM: Thank you for the interview.

CH: Thank you so much, Joanna. We look forward to following your writing career. 

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Joanna Mzurkiewicz and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

Delta Week – Authors On Tour on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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Delta Author Tour Week

Delta Author Tour Week

  • August 24 – Ruth P. Watson
  • August 25 – Brenda Lane-Oliver
  • August 26 – B. W. Read (6 Co-Authors)
  • August 27 – Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett
  • August 28 – Patricia Haley

Please join us during the Delta Author Tour Week.  We will have some great books to discuss in a variety of genres. They are:

  • An Elderberry Fall by Ruth P. Watson
  • Creating the Million Dollar Leader by Brenda Lane-Oliver
  • Fourth Sunday:Journey of A Book Club by B. W. Read
  • College “Y” Go by Dr. Eulaletta Johnson-Pickett
  • Unforgiving by Patricia Haley

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Cheryl Holloway Wishes You A Happy National Book Lover’s Day

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Happy National Book Lover’s Day 2015

We’ll take any excuse to celebrate our love of the written word, and today Sunday, August 9th, is the day. This is a day for all those who love to read and National Book Lovers Day encourages you to find your favorite reading place, a good book, rather it be fiction or non-fiction, and read the day away.

It can also be a great time to remind yourself how you fell in love with books in the first place.

Books can help you connect with people from the past, the present and the future.

I will be reading books all day. One of the books I’m reading is From These Ashes by Tamela J. Ritter,  a local author.

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Where I am, it’s a cloudy day and looks like it will rain—a perfect day for reading.

Long live the book lovers!

P.S. Yes, this is my favorite holiday!

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Note: Clip art is compliments of the Internet.

Guest Author Interview – Theresa A. Campbell

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Title: God Has Spoken

Genre: Christian Fiction

Synopsis:  HOW HARD IS IT TO FORGIVE?

After finding the biological mother who abandoned her as a baby, learning the identity of her birth father and her biological brother, Dupree is left distraught and betrayed. Like a volcano about to erupt, she vows to have nothing to do with her newly discovered family—so help her God! However, if Dupree’s mother, Tiny, has anything to say about it, Dupree won’t be able to keep that vow.

How does a former teenaged runaway become a wealthy, sophisticated business executive? Tiny’s quest for happiness and independence in Kingston, Jamaica, has taken her on a life-altering journey through hell. After a vicious attack and a serious sickness that leaves her fighting for her life in the hospital, Tiny prays for death . . . but then God speaks. Will she listen to His voice? What exactly is He saying?

Theresa Campbell

Author:  Theresa A. Campbell

CH: I would like to welcome Theresa A. Campbell to my website. She is an upcoming author who writes stories from the heart. Welcome Theresa. 

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

TAC: God Has Spoken is an inspiring Christian Fiction book, delivering soul-fulfilling entertainment that will resonate with my readers because we have all had those moments when we are surprised by the Word.

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

TAC: I usually write my own story. These are stories that I feel compelled to share with my readers.  The stories come from my head and my heart, and I hope they will accomplish what I intend, which is: to inspire, motivate and entertain my readers. And believe me when I tell you, there are a lot of stories swimming around in my head. I just need to put them on paper, so to speak, and get them out there.

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

TAC: God Has Spoken is actually the sequel to my first book, Are You There, God?, which I wrote at a very difficult time in my life.  My beloved uncle, who was like a father to me, died suddenly.  Just before my uncle died, we had a conversation about my dreams, and some of the things I wanted to do in my life. Well, I always wanted to be a writer, but it seemed so far-fetched at the time that I tucked it away in the back of my mind for years. However, in losing my uncle, I realized that life is too short and I had to give this a shot. So writing this story was very therapeutic for me, and also helped me to go after my dream of becoming a published author.

The story contains over 60 percent of my life. Are You There, God? tells the story of a young girl, Dupree, in rural Jamaica who was abandoned by her teenage mother and didn’t know her biological father. Raised by her grand-aunt with no electricity, running water and little money, she faces constant struggles including a brutal betrayal. Wrestling one storm after the other, Dupree often wondered if God was there for her. When Dupree meets the mother she never knew and learns the identity of her father, readers are left with many questions. Readers want to know her mother’s story, so this led to the book, God Has Spoken.

God Has Spoken tells the story of Dupree’s mother, Tiny. Why did she run away and leave her baby? It answers a question that so many of us deal with on a daily basis, ‘how hard is it to forgive?’ Naturally, Dupree feels she could never forgive her parents for abandoning her. But we all know there are always two sides to every the story, and Tiny shares hers in this new book. It was Tiny’s ambition to gain independence and live happily in the city. When her dreams and body are shattered, she prays for death. How did she go from living on the streets of Kingston to becoming a wealthy business executive? The story reveals how and Tiny finds out that it’s not over until God has spoken.

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? 

TAC: A lot of ideas come from my own personal experience in life, people I interact with and situations that I’ve observed. I also get ideas from stories I have heard, whether it’s directly from someone, or something I have seen on television. I’m the type of person who will look at a situation and mentally develop different scenarios or other possible outcomes. So right then and there, I’m creating a different story from the one that’s unfolding or had unfolded. I really do have a wild imagination. I love creating conflicts, and resolving them by incorporating the character’s faith in God. I know it sounds like a cliché, but I strongly believe that all things are possible with God. I really do.

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

TAC: I’ll always keep it real in my writing. Even though we’re Christians and believers, we are still human and we live in an imperfect world and deal with everyday problems. So, readers will always be able to relate to my characters and the challenges they face because chances are, they too have been there or know of someone who has.

I love to create suspense in my writing. When I’m writing a story it’s like going down a road with numerous twists and turns and different exits and not knowing which one I’m going to take. This makes it even more unpredictable and exhilarating. I can never predict how my stories will end. I usually have a general idea, but I’ll be writing and then I’ll begin to wonder, ‘what if this happened instead?’ And once that thought pops up, I’m off on another road all together that just keeps building into something climatic! This unpredictability will keep the readers on their toes.

Also, I should note that so far, all my stories are set in Jamaica, West Indies. One of my favorite writing techniques is descriptive writing. So, my readers will experience the Jamaican culture through my stories. They will be enticed to visit the island of paradise and sample some of the delicious Jamaican cuisine mentioned in my books. In fact, one reader told me that while she was reading my books she felt as if she was in the islands. Who doesn’t want to get away from everyday life once in a while, even if it’s through the pages of a book? The readers are definitely in for a treat (pun intended). LOL.

CH: Since you are from Jamaica, how much influence does your background have on this book?

TAC: This book is enriched with the Jamaican culture and my experience living there. The story is fiction, but this makes it even more personal when I write about places I’ve been. It’s almost as if I’m back in Jamaica and I’m walking through the streets of Half Way Tree or Downtown Kingston. I can still visualize the different sights, the sounds, and the people, and as such, I’m able to give beautiful, picturesque descriptions of my characters and the setting. The reader will be engrossed in the story, with a vivid picture of the setting in their mind.

CH: Forgiveness is extremely hard for most people. Why did you decide to write about this issue?

TAC: I decided to write about forgiveness because it’s an issue that so many people deal with on a daily basis, myself included. I wanted to specifically look at the question, ‘how hard is it to forgive?’ I know we all should forgive, and it’s required of Christians, and a few people may be able to do so instantaneously. But as you noted forgiveness is extremely hard for most people, and I do believe it’s a process. There are some wounds that are just so deep, they will take a while to heal, but eventually they do. Forgiveness is not a 100 meter sprint all the time. Sometimes,  it’s like a marathon that will take a few laps. You will get tired, dehydrated and need to rest along the way. But if you just pace yourself and continue to run the race, you will eventually cross that finish line!

I want my readers to know that when you forgive, you’re not doing it for the person who had hurt you. You’re doing it for YOU. It’s such a great feeling when you can finally let go of the pain and free yourself by forgiving someone. It’s like a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulder and you can now move on with your life and the awesome future that God has in store for you.

CH: Since this is a sequel to Are You There, God, can this book be read as a stand-alone book?

TAC: Yes, it definitely can be read as a stand-alone. In fact, I’ve gotten emails and great reviews from readers who have read God Has Spoken first, and were getting ready to read Are You There, God?

CH: Which book was hardest to write?

TAC: Definitely God Has Spoken. As I have mentioned before, Are You There, God? has a lot of my life story in it and to be honest, I wasn’t planning on writing a sequel. But the story took on a life of its own and developed in a way I never expected. So my editor pointed out that the readers are going to want to read Tiny’s story and I agreed. So, I had to go back and think really hard about how I wanted the story to end, while using a theme that will have an impact on the readers. Also, I had to write the story so it can be read as a stand-alone, and in the same breath I didn’t want to repeat too much of the first book. Finding that balance was a little challenging, especially as this was my first time writing a sequel. But I got into it and gave it my all, and I’m very proud of my book. In fact, I had a discussion with a book club and someone asked if I had written the story and divided it into two books. She noted that the second book just picked up exactly where the first book ended and everything flowed so smoothly! That was very nice to hear.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

TAC: I once heard and do believe that each person is at any given time in one of the following phases in life: going through a storm, just gotten out of a storm, or getting ready to go into a storm. So, I decided to write this book to inspire others as they deal with their storms. It’s my desire that my readers’ faith in God will be uplifted once they have read the hell that Tiny had gone through, and the way God shows up in her situations time and time again. Like Tiny, we all have our fair share of trials and sometimes may even feel like giving up. But as the title of the book says, it’s not over until God has spoken. He has the final say in our lives, and everything will be done according to His will. God loves us. Yes, He really does!

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

TAC: Dupree was my favorite character to write because I could relate to her on a personal level. Dupree took me back to times in my life that I had to revisit and cry all over again. Ghosts were resurrected, and pain resurfaced, as old wounds came undone. Through her, I was able to reminisce about the good old days, crying one minute, then laughing the next. Writing about Dupree was a roller coaster ride that I wouldn’t exchange for anything in the world. I admire Dupree a lot for her strength, courage and survival instincts. She’s an exemplary young lady.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TAC: Tiny was the hardest character to write. She was a little fire cracker growing up, as was my intent to make her different from her daughter in some ways. Not only did I have to find a reason why this teenage mother ran away, but why it took nineteen years for her to see her daughter again. The things Tiny went through were horrible. I was crying while writing some of the scenes, but knew it was important to do so. I also wanted to show the negative effects of peer pressure, underage drinking and drugs, and the consequences for Tiny’s action. But in the long run, I wanted her to be an overcomer with God by her side.

CH: What is your key piece of advice for new writers?

TAC: Keep on going. You will get discouraged, as I do at times. However, if writing is what you want to do and you’re passionate about it, keep at it until you get the results you want. Writing is my own little ministry. I can’t preach, I can’t sing outside the shower, but I can write a book that will touch the lives of those who read it, and reinforce the love of God to them. Also, new writers should remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Writing a book can be a long, weary process but the reward is well worth it in the end.

CH: Did you get a two-book contract with Urban Christian Books? What’s next for you?

TAC: I did get a two-book contract with Urban Christian Books and I’ve fulfilled that contract with Are you There, God? and God Has Spoken. Unfortunately, Urban Christian Books was acquired by Random House and dissolved. However, I’m happy to say I’ve signed with a new publishing company; Brown Girls.  My third novel, His Final Deal will be published by them and is tentatively set to be released November, 2015. I’m very excited about this.

CH: What are your three biggest accomplishments as a writer?

TAC: One of my biggest accomplishments as a writer is successfully writing three full length books—and counting. Next is becoming a published author so my books can reach and motivate readers near and far. Last, and very important, is the positive effect my books have on many readers as they make known to me through their personal testimonies and reviews. I’m sharing what I know about God with my readers and they are being receptive to it. That’s the beauty of it all, and I’m so humbled and happy about it.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

TAC: My website is: www.TheresaACampbell.com. Please feel free to contact me and share your thoughts about my books. I would love hearing from you!

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

TAC: My books are sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart and bookstores nationwide. They are available in paperback and as ebooks. Please go and get your copy!   Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1KMTO87

CH: Any closing remarks?

TAC: Cheryl, I want to thank you for the opportunity to share my book with your audience. I really do appreciate it. And to your audience, I know you have a lot of choices when it comes to books, including the many bestsellers available. But I’m hoping you’ll give me the ‘little guy’ a chance and try my books. I can assure you it will be worth your while! God bless you all.

CH: Thank you Theresa A. Campbell.  We look forward to following your writing career. 

Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Theresa A. Campbell and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

Guest Author Interview – Dr. Tecoy Porter, Sr.

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Title: Faith To Innovate: 21st Century Tools & Strategies for Leadership Transformation

Genre: Christian Leadership

Synopsis: Faith To Innovate: 21st Century Tools & Strategies for Leadership Transformation is tailored made for leaders of any organization who desire to increase their effectiveness by becoming an innovative leader of the 21st Century. Today s reality is the rules have drastically changed. The processes leaders previously used to achieve their objectives are no longer valid and the traditional roles and hierarchical working relationships are no longer effective. The new rules have not only impacted the way we do business, but also our politics, social ideologies, and especially our faith! New times call for new techniques, methods and ideas all of which requires profound faith! Faith to innovate!
Within this book you will learn:

  • Why innovation is key to being an effective leader and how to increase your capacity to innovate!
  • Why it s not just about the economy and what 3 cultural trends are significantly shaping the future of the world s social, political and religious landscape.
  • What a coaching leader is and why it is essential for YOU to become one.
  • How you can (Re) Structure your organization s design to better lead, develop, and deploy your greatest resource people!
  • What culture is and how it is essential in the transformation process!
  • Why faith is critical to all innovation and why it s suicidal to be a leader without it.

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Author: Dr. Tecoy Porter, Sr.

CH: It’s a pleasure having you here, Rev. Dr. Porter.

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

TPS: The world is begging for effective leadership, and this book tells you how to be just that.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

TPS: I wrote this book to help leaders achieve their leadership turnaround! So many leaders find themselves constantly failing because they haven’t recognized how much the world has changed around them. What worked then, does not work now! We are living in a new reality with new rules. What I do in this book is to help a person recognize, analyze and adapt to this new reality!

CH: Can you tell us why innovation is the key to being an effective leader?

TPS: Innovation is vital to being an effective leader because it is key to not only adapting to this new normal, but even more importantly, thriving in it. When most people think about innovation, they think change. But Innovation goes beyond this—it is change that sustains. It is game changing! The late Steve Jobs and Apple are perfect examples of being game changers. With the establishment of the iPhone and the iPad, they literally changed the way we work, socialize AND communicate. They invented not just a product, but…a new industry. Look at iTunes. That innovation changed the entire music business!

CH: Can you explain a little about the transformation process for leadership?

TPS: The transformation process is three-fold overall:

  1. Unfreeze – This step requires becoming aware of the need to change and realizing that it means a thawing out of learned habits, attitudes, and behaviors.
  2. Change – This is the action step taken to redirect and refocus habits, resources, and behaviors.
  3. Refreeze – This is an often-overlooked part of the transformation process. In this step, you are making the new habits, behaviors and thinking the new normal.  This is the step that makes change stick! Authentic transformation will not occur until it becomes the new normal.

CH: What inspired you to write a book on leadership and innovation at this time?

TPS: I wrote this book because we have many leaders, but a dearth of effective leadership. There is no shortage of positional leaders or the desire of becoming a leader because of its rewards. However, so many are failing because they are working on the old paradigm of command and control —Follow me simply because of my leadership position. What they don’t realize is that leadership is relational! It takes two to lead—a leader AND a follower. Today’s leader cannot afford to overlook the importance of the role of the follower. Effective leaders recognize those who follow them as partners in the process instead of minions to command. Most leaders are ineffective because they are leaders in name only. No one is following them. If you are a leader and no one is following you, then you are just taking a walk!

CH: Why is faith critical to all innovation?

TPS: Faith is essential to innovation because it is the key to pursuing and accomplishing anything new. Anytime you strive to do something outside of the status quo you will be labeled a disruptor. No one likes disruptors! As a result, they have to expect to encounter adversity. The only way to overcome adversity is faith—the undeniable belief in obtaining what others cannot see. Without faith, innovation fails every time.

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

TPS: First of all, leaders should read Faith To Innovate! Secondly, they must do all that they can to develop their innovative leadership capacity. This means always learning and never believing that they know it all. Once you know it all, you will stop knowing. They have to learn how to adapt to this new normal—socially, technically, economically, environmentally and politically.  Doing so requires leaders to do more listening than speaking. Also, I strongly advise getting a leadership coach to help them stay focused, accountable and knowledgeable on how they can ultimately coach others.

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

TPS: Pastoring an urban church successfully for nearly 16 years. I started pastoring when I was 28 years old and had a pretty meteoric rise to the top. Built a new multi-million dollar edifice four years into my tenure as pastor. Worked with my brother in sustaining a ministry legacy left by my parents who founded the church. Overcoming foreclosure and potential loss of our property and legacy due to the Great Recession of 2007. Experiencing all of this with my mind, body spirit and family in-tack.  I am grateful to God for faith, favor and direction. It really wasn’t my achievement, but the grace of God.

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

TPS: Very positive feedback! A pastor recently wrote on Amazon.com stating, “The contents of this book should be the litmus test for all 21st-century leaders.  Faith to Innovate holds principles powerful enough to jettison stagnant, stale leadership into creative Coaching instruments equipped for the future. Dr. Porter not only posits personal testimonies of the woes of leading a large congregation steeped in the legacy of his father but also outlines his personal triumphs over territories unknown or above his expertise. All pastors should be assessing their (ILC) – Innovative Leadership Capacity at least yearly. ”  

Another reader said,  “There is something in this book for everyone…leaders and non-leaders. I really enjoyed being able to see by reading, the journey. The hard work and the tears it took to get where you are today. Innovation is never easy and to apply that to ministry…even harder. Every household needs this book.”

There are more reviews on my Amazon page and website.

CH: Which leader—living or dead—do you admire most and why?

TPS: Of course, there are my parents, Dr. Robert Porter, and Hazel Porter. Both deceased.  I strongly admire Bishop TD Jakes and President Obama.

CH: What are the qualities of a great leader?

TPS: There are many—honesty, integrity, competence, trustworthy, inspirational. But I think the most important one is credible. Without credibility, it is a wrap!

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

TPS: Yes! To recognize the urgent need for effective leadership, and that doing so is achievable through faith and innovation.

CH: Tell us five positive words that describe you as a leader.

TPS: Innovative, Thoughtful, Credible, Honest, and Integral.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

TPS: www.DrTecoyPorter.com Facebook: Dr Tecoy Porter Sr; Twitter: @DrTecoyPorterSr; and Instagram: @drtporter

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

TPS: On my website and Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Nobles Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Innovate-Strategies-Leadership-Transformation/dp/1934466514/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1438220068&sr=1-1&keywords=faith+to+innovate

CH: Any closing remarks?

TPS: Be A Unicorn and pop some balloons! Thanks for the interview!

CH: Thank you Dr. Porter. We look forward to following your leadership and writing career. 

Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Dr. Tecoy Porter, Sr. and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

Guest Author Interview – Glenn Benest and Dale Pitman

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Ink_Cover

Title: Ink

Genre: Horror/Paranormal Romance

Synopsis: His studio has become his refuge and his prison—a place of boundless imagination and isolation. Brian Archer, creator of a series of successful graphic novels about a vengeful supernatural being called “The Highwayman,” has become a recluse after the adoration of a female fan turned to rage and violence.

But all that changes when he meets a renowned and beautiful illustrator, A. J. Hart, who carries emotional scars of her own. Their work together is fueled by the unrequited passion they share and a mysterious bottle of black ink that arrives one day at Brian’s doorstep.

The impossibly dark liquid has mystical properties, making their characters appear so real they eventually come to life, reigning terror on those who mean them harm and if not stopped—threatens to unleash an apocalypse on all mankind. Brian must break free of his self-imposed exile and solve the mystery that allowed these terrible creatures into the world.

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Authors: Glenn Benest and Dale Pitman

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The authors photo Hollywood style.

CH: Today, I would like to welcome Glenn Benest and Dale Pitman to my blog. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me and my audience.  They decided to become writing partners with this project. 

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

DP: Hopefully, it takes readers of the genre to realms they may not have thought of before, in terms of how Creation becomes reality, and how we each, consciously or unconsciously, choose ours.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this story?

DP: Actually, upon attending a very poignant memorial for a friend’s son who died in a horrible manner; they played the deceased’s favorite song, ‘The Highwayman,’ written by Jimmy Webb, and recorded by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and the boys, and the idea just sort of took off from there.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for the paranormal romance?

DP: That’s easy… have you ever wanted someone, or something, that was just always a little bit out of reach?  So, adding dimensional problems of time and space make it a bit more fun.

CH: Since film seems to be first in both of your lives, why did you decide to write this book?

DP: The original idea was to take the feature film script Glenn and I had written and turn it into a graphic novel, and that idea isn’t off the table completely.  Glenn and the amazing Mary Louise Gemmill of Writer’s Ascending are chiefly responsible for this novelized version.

CH: Since both of you have a passion for the supernatural, what do you think is the universal scare factor?

DP: For me, it is fear of the unknown, and specifically, what becomes of me, (or more precisely) ‘my soul’ when I die.  That’s a lot of grist for my ‘3:00 a.m. monkey mind’ mill, if you get my drift.  Writing about it seems to help.

CH: How long did it take you to write this novel? Did each author write a section or was it a joint venture throughout the book?

DP: Great question! I think we started around March, 2011 on the script, and the book, probably in September of 2013 … all in all, about 18 months.  A sincere hat’s off to those ‘book of the month’ type authors.  That ain’t us… sometimes I wish it were!

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

DP: I think I know who Glenn is going to say, so I’ll go with that evil buggering thug, Christy…

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

DP: A. J., our female lead.  Written by two guys, right? Let’s hope we did right by her…

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

GB: Our book is set in downtown L.A. and we did scour the area looking for interesting places to set our scenes—Central Market, the Higashi Buddhist Temple and other places that a lot of even the locales don’t know about.

CH: Since this book is in the horror and paranormal genres, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and embellish on the situation?  

GB: The Protagonist is a graphic novelist, so the fact that both Dale and I are writers, we had a lot to relate to here.  Brian Archer is also a recluse and I have to confess, I can be pretty reclusive myself at times.  That fueled a lot of his issues.

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

GB: We mention a great many writers in our book, but the central figure hovering over them all is Edgar Allan Poe. He fascinates me and always has. In fact, I wrote a play about him some years ago. I know how tortured he was; and yet, he was able to produce so many great stories, poems and even some novels.  He was also a book critic which a lot of people don’t know about. There is no greater genius than Poe, who was given very little praise in his own life, but turned out to be one of the greats.

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

GB: Because Dale and I were primarily screenwriters before we began this journey, we had no idea what it really took to produce a good novel.  A screenplay is only 110 pages, this novel is over 300 pages.  When you do a rewrite, it’s not like you’re re-writing a hundred pages.  A novel really challenges you in a way a screenplay doesn’t.  Not to say, it’s easy to write a screenplay. But you don’t have to worry about who’s telling the story, should it be first person or third person or omniscient, or any of the vexing problems you need to conquer in a novel.

CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?

GB: I do love Dean’s Koontz’s books and of course, Stephen King.  I read Doctor Sleep, for example, the sequel to The Shining and that gave me some things to think about. But as I mentioned earlier, Poe is the real source of inspiration here and H. P. Lovecraft, who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction.

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

GB: We’ve gotten fantastic early reviews from book bloggers around the country and in England.  The reviewers really seem to respond to our characters and even to one of the unexpected narrators of the story—Deke—the protagonist’s white German shepherd.  Some of the novel is told through his point of view and readers really seem to love that.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?  

GB: Yes, www.inkthenovel.com

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

GB: Through our author’s website at the above link and through Amazon if you’d like a digital copy of the book. Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Ink-Glenn-Benest/dp/0692336184/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1437115191&sr=1-1&keywords=ink+by+Glenn+Benest+and+Dale+Pitman

CH: Any closing remarks?  

GB: This is a horror novel but it also has a very strong love story between the protagonist, a graphic novelist, and his new illustrator, A. J. Hart. They have both been damaged to some degree and together they find a safe place to heal and are able to love again.

CH: Thank you Glenn and Dale, it has been a real pleasure talking with you. We look forward to following your writing career. 

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Note: Photos are compliments of Glenn Benest and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

Guest Author Interview – Nigeria Lockley

header1_An Author WritesSeasoned with Grace_Cover

Title: Seasoned with Grace (Release Date 7/28)

Genre: Contemporary Christian

Synopsis: Sentenced to probation, thirty-year-old, supermodel Grace King must put her plans of transitioning into acting to extend the longevity of her career on hold. Desperate to keep a close eye on Grace and his job, Grace’s ambitious lawyer, Ethan Summerville, has her complete community service in the last place Grace wants to be—His church.

Instead of God, Grace finds a “chocolate drop” of a man—Brother Horace Brown. However, Horace isn’t looking for a supermodel. He wants his woman saved and sanctified, but Grace has never met a man who has been able to resist her. Will Horace compromise his faith for a taste of fortune, fame, and Grace? While Grace focuses on the pursuit of passion, Ethan finds one director willing to take a risk and cast Grace in his debut film, but this role fits Grace all too well. Will this film revive Grace’s relationship with God and her career or bring her closer to destruction?

Nigeria Lockley

Author: Nigeria Lockley

CH:  Welcome to my blog Nigeria Lockley, a new Christian author whose forte used to be poetry. Welcome Nigeria.

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

NL: In order to forge the future that she wants, supermodel Grace King must fight the demons of her past.

CH: Are you familiar with modeling and acting? Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

NL: Beyond a failed experiment as a child with one of those pop-up child modeling agencies and walking in a college fashion show, I don’t have much personal experience with modeling. I’ve taken some acting classes as a child as well, but nothing too serious. I didn’t do much research besides looking up a few terms here and there.

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

NL: It wasn’t hard at all. This story just came to me and I wrote whatever I saw in my head. The issues and events do mirror certain aspects of real life, but they were not written to intentionally mirror any particular situation.

CH: What genre does this book fall under since it is contemporary mixed with Christian?

NL: It is contemporary in that it deals with issues that people deal with today; however, it is thematically Christian at its heart. Jesus is all in there. Seasoned with Grace points the reader directly to the redeeming power of His Grace, the deliverance that comes with His Grace, and His agape love that is demonstrated through His Grace. I wouldn’t really place this book in any other genre—except quite possibly romance.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

NL: I can’t pinpoint or attribute my ideas to any one thing. I don’t think about stories they just appear in my mind’s eye, so really they come from the Lord.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

NL: Once I get a vision for a story, I can’t ignore it. I just keep writing until I have reached the end.

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

NL: None of Grace is based on me. I’ve had some similar experiences that Grace has had. Before giving my life to Christ, I was the consummate party girl. I partied six days a week, drank, and smoked lots of marijuana. So, those moments and the turmoil she goes through I was able to relate to that.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

NL: Grace just manifested, but as she grew and as I wrote there was always this image of the exchange between Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks on The Tyra Banks Show.

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

NL: Jesus is able to redeem us from all things. Seasoned with Grace is a story of redemption and the unfailing love of God.

CH: How did you find an agent and publisher?

NL: I don’t have an agent. I found my publisher through the Lord. One day I walked into a library I heard the Spirit say to me the first book you pick is your publisher. I just reached out picked up a book. The book I picked up was written by E.N. Joy and published by Urban Christian. Two years later, I had the opportunity to attend a conference and pitch my novel to E.N. Joy, who then functioned as the acquisitions editor for Urban Christian. It is unfortunate that the line has been dissolved; however, I am grateful for the start I got there.

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

NL: The characters write the story and the Holy Ghost pulls it all together.

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

NL: In addition to being an author, I also teach English, so I’m never not reading. My secular faves are—June Jordan, James Baldwin, and Ntozake Shange. My Christian Fiction shero is Michelle Stimpson.

CH: Do you have a support system and if so, who does it consist of?

NL: My older sister is the person who keeps me on track and checks on me; and the authors that I have met since I have began the journey to publication have become my support system. Particularly, Unoma Nwankwor and Theresa A. Campbell. They pray for me, encourage me, and hold me accountable.

CH: Have you always wanted to write?

NL: Since I learned to read, all I’ve ever wanted to be is an author. I really banked on becoming a celebrated poet, but as you can see God had other plans for me.

CH: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

NL: Every time I am asked this question, I say the same thing and that is do not write the story that someone else wants you to write and don’t write the story that you think will sell. Write the story you want to tell. You won’t be sorry.

CH: Do you have a website?

NL: My online home is www.nigerialockley.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

NL: Seasoned with Grace can be found on: Amazon Link: http://bit.ly/SeasonedwithGrace ; Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/B_NSWG ; and Books-a-Million: http://bit.ly/booksSWG

CH: Any closing remarks?

NL: Thank you, Cheryl for having me. I look forward to connecting with readers and can’t wait to hear their thoughts, questions and comments about this interview and Seasoned with Grace.

CH: You are quite welcome. 

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

Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Nigeria Lockley and the Internet.

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

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

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

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