A Hard Lesson Learned

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A Hard Lesson Learned

Some weeks you learn more than other weeks. I have been taking workshops on “How to Get Reviews on Amazon” for my latest book Jamaican Love.

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Well, this is what I learned from various sources:

  1. An Indie author needs to request reviews months before the book is published.
  2. An Indie author needs an enormous mailing list because only about 15% will read and review the book.
  3. An Indie author needs to gently keep reminding family and friends to read and review the book.
  4. An Indie author needs to give readers an incentive to read and review the book.
  5. An Indie author needs 35+ reviews (not 20-25) to remain in good standing with Amazon; however, the average best selling author has 130+ reviews on Amazon.

So, for the last month, I have been requesting book reviews from family, friends, reviewers, book clubs, bloggers, readers, fans and my blog subscribers.

To date, I have zero book reviews.

The biggest lesson learned—I cannot do this alone!

  1. An Indie author needs a “launch team” to help them.

And to make matters worse, this is not my first book. I should have known better. But…I’m always busy writing, not promoting. Rest assured, I will not make this mistake on the next book!

If you would like to help an Indie author get a book review, email me and I will be honored to send you a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest book review.

Note: The photos are compliments of Cheryl Holloway.

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Guest Author Interview – Hannah D. Spivey

header1_An Author Writes

Bold and Ugly _Cover

Title: The Bold and The Ugly Truth

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: Samuel Lee Baker is a well-respected, rich televangelist, and bestselling author with a beautiful doting wife, Pauline, and an adorable daughter, Chastity. He is the pastor of New World Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Miami; and he owns several charities. Despite his fame and fortune, Samuel has a hard time living up to his womanizing father, Woodrow’s standards. Woodrow is a cantankerous man and pastor who abused Samuel since he was a child and he forced him to become a pastor. However, Samuel isn’t happy with his life and he begins to question his integrity, society, and religion. When Samuel discovers things about Christianity, he begins criticizing Christianity, along with all other religions and then he bashes holidays, politics, homosexuality, government; and it could cost him his family, friends, fortune, and his life. Not only does Samuel become an outspoken threat to society, but he also amasses a lot of foes along the way. Is Samuel willing to sacrifice everything he’s worked hard for in search of the truth? Each chain of events in the book becomes more interesting than the other. So, prepare to be edu-tained.

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Author: Hannah D. Spivey

CH: Welcome Hannah D. Spivey to my blog. Hannah is a unique writer with a different point of view.

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

HDS: My book will make a nun use profanity.

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

HDS: Mary Monroe because I love her writing style and her God Don’t Like Ugly series and I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing her a few years ago. She’s a humbled soul.

CH: Due to the topics, is your book considered Urban Christian, rather than the Christian genre? 

HDS: If I could create a genre for it, it would be called ‘Controversial fiction.’ I can say it’s urban because of the language, but I can’t say it’s a Christian book, because it’s not a typical Christian book, although, the characters are Christian but they’re very unorthodox Christians.

CH: Are you a self-published author?

HDS: Yes

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

HDS: I want them to grasp the instability in religion and how it has negatively impacted so many people’s lives. The ‘holier-than-thou’ facade that their favorite pastors put up, are not who they truly are. With all the unsavory things church pastors find themselves in the midst of should make people question the credibility of their pastors and their religion. I will be honest, a majority of the pastors use religion as a tool to fleece their congregation. Not all, but majority of them do that. Creflo Dollar is a prime example. He is trying to get his minions to finance a $65 million jet for him. If that isn’t an eye opener, then I don’t know what else to name it.

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

HDS: I’ve been writing on and off for several years now. I started writing after Twitter came about. I was always colorful with my words on Twitter and my love for writing also stems from writing short stories, as well as a journal I write.

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?

HDS: I just write stories off the top of my head, because I have a vivid imagination and I am a different type of eccentric. I don’t want my story to sound like the next author’s story but it is always the type of story someone can relate to.

CH: Readers said that too much is going on in this book. Why did you decide to write this book?

HDS: I wanted to a write a book that many religious people are afraid to speak about or aren’t willing to admit to themselves. We hear about controversy in the news and in the so-called religious community, many people cast stones from a glass castle while they live a double lifestyle.

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

HDS: Life, other authors, and my surroundings are what keep me inspired

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

HDS: Actually, I used a Hebrew Israelite and at the time, I wanted to write something that was quite controversial and Hebrew Israelites are a controversial group of people who receive a lot of flack for their biblical beliefs. Also, Pastor David Manning who isn’t a fan of Obama has also inspired me to write this book, because he’s known for making video series heavily criticizing Obama. So, I figured if I write a book about a wealthy pastor who questions religion, it will raise thousands of eyebrows.

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

HDS: It varies. I wrote my first book in five months and it took me about three years to write The Bold and The Ugly Truth.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

HDS: It’s never hard for me to create characters, because I have a ravenous appetite for controversy that others deem inappropriate and that’s okay.

CH: One reviewer said that the book needed editing. Can you tell us your feelings on editing?

HDS: The book is professionally edited by my friend, who is an established editor; and she has a Bachelors Degree in Journalism. Furthermore, I can think of a number of books that are New York Times Bestsellers that were poorly edited. There’s no such thing as a perfectly edited book, because books are created by humans and humans make mistakes. However, editing is necessary. It is a necessity to a book like an engine is a necessity to a car. Without either of these components, they will not go anywhere. Real editors can do their best work but it doesn’t guarantee that a typo won’t appear, but it still wouldn’t diminish the quality of the book. A book can be error free and someone will find a flaw in it somehow. It’s part of human nature. We can’t please everyone, but constructive criticism is always welcome.

CH: Do you have a website?

HDS: I do, but it’s currently being revamped.

CH: Where is your book sold?

HDS: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Bold-Ugly-Truth-Hannah-Spivey-ebook/dp/B00OMAXDVW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431043252&sr=1-1&keywords=Hannah+spivey

CH: Any closing remarks?

HDS: You’re beaunique, so be uniquely you.

CH: Thank you so much Hannah for joining me and my audience.

Please Note: I provide a venue for all authors and do not necessarily agree with their opinion.

Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Hannah D. Spivey and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

Cheryl Holloway Wishes You A Happy Father’s Day

Fathers Day

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

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

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

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Stephanie Perry Moore

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Give it up_Cover

Title: Give It Up (The Swoop List)

Genre: Teen & Young Adult (Series)

Synopsis: When five girls at Jackson High School find themselves on a nasty list, they must join together and face the rest of their school. But will their struggles be too much to bear?

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Author: Stephanie Perry Moore

CH: Welcome, Stephanie Perry Moore to my blog. Stephanie is the author of many Young Adult Christian fiction titles. She is the trailblazing author of the Payton Skky series, the first African-American Christian teen series in 2000.

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

SPM: When girls from a different side of the school get placed on a horrible list, their bond helps them defeat staying broken.

CH: What inspired you to write books for teens and young adults?

SPM: I wanted to write books where kids like me could see themselves in a book and because they could identify with the characters and stories they would grow their reading levels.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

SPM: The Swoop List is another form of bullying. Students in a rural school in Georgia gave me the idea. I wanted to write a juicy series that made something positive come out of what was meant to be negative.

CH: Of the five girls, who was your favorite character to write and who was the hardest character to write?

SPM: I truly loved all the characters equally. Each brought something fun and exciting to the series and represented different problems girls face that I wanted to bring to the forefront. Sanaa and her best friend liked the same guy. Willow truly was the wild one and had to do the most self reflection. Olive was the foster child that had to understand she is not alone. Octavia learned fitting in at any cost is not worthwhile. And Pia had to become whole again and get stronger from being raped. Pia is also Hispanic and thus she was a tougher character to write, as I did research to make sure her story was authentic.

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

SPM: It’s a mix of both. I listen to students and I dream. Putting that all together in a made up world makes my stories realistic.

CH: Do you consider this nasty list as a form of bullying?

SPM: Too funny. I just answered above that it is. Most certainly it is a form of bullying because the list is posted to hurt those listed.

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

SPM: Understanding that folks can be cruel to hurt people this bad was hard to wrap my head around.

CH: Since you’ve written in several genres, what would be the best piece of advice you would offer an author who wants to branch out into other genres?

SPM: Read books in the genre you’d like to explore to get a feel of what sells. Also, I talk to readers in the intended market to see what they would like to read. Lastly, I’d say write what’s in your heart…so just go for it.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

SPM: I wanted to write to Swoop List to put a positive slant on such a negative problem affecting teens. Also, I wanted teens to truly look within and become better at how they carry themselves and how they treat others.

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

SPM: Online you’ll find tons of real Swoop List. They also are called other names that mean the same. Surfing the net gave me lots of ideas. Having students tell me stories and change the names to protect the guilty was also worthwhile.

CH: Tell us a little bit about why you decided to make this a series? 

SPM: My publisher asked for a series that was edgier and I knew this subject matter was perfect.

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

SPM: Yes, when something bad happens to you, turn it around and make the bitter sweet.

CH: For all of your books, you’ve written for many age groups and in many genres.  Tell us a little about it?

SPM: Every book I’ve written thus far is realist fiction. However, I write for all age groups—children, middle grade, YA, New Adult and Adult. I am working on an Urban Sci-Fi title that I feel is the book I was born to write, so I’m praying on that one.

CH: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing journey?

SPM: It took me seven years to get my first book published and it’s still hard even though I’ve been published every year for the last sixteen years. So don’t ever give up on any dream. It takes hard work, but God works things out.

CH: Do you have a website?

SPM: Yes my website is www.stephanieperrymoore.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

SPM: Anywhere books are sold.  Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Give-Up-Swoop-List/dp/1467760498/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432680190&sr=1-1&keywords=give+it+up+%28swoop+list%29

CH: Any closing remarks?

SPM: Thank you for your support. To have a better future we must help our young people succeed. One way to ensure their future is bright, is if they read more. Therefore, please get one of my books for a young person you know. Summer is here, a Stephanie Perry Moore book can help them grow.

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

Note: Photos are compliments of Stephanie Perry Moore and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Author Interview – Kevin D’Onofrio

header1_An Author WritesThe Murderers Smile

Title: The Murderer’s Smile

Genre:  Murder Mystery Thriller

Synopsis: The Evidence Tells the Story. But…What if the Evidence Is a Lie?

As the top-rated news anchor in all of Dallas, Tony Michaels has his smiling face on billboards all over the Dallas Metroplex which proclaim him to be “The Most Trusted Man in Texas.” But when the dismembered bodies of his wife and son are found in his backyard, he is arrested and the media dub him “The Anchor of Death.” Tony insists on his innocence, but the evidence is stacked heavily against him and the prosecution believes he has motive. Facing the death sentence and now haunted by disturbing nightmares, Tony receives an unusual visit and enlists the help of friend and private investigator Ryan Samuels. Now it is up to Samuels to find out anything the police missed in their investigation that can prove his friend’s innocence and save him from the lethal injection.

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Author: Kevin D’Onofrio

CH: Please welcome Kevin D’Onofrio to my blog. I introduced him to you in April when I read his book and was excited to tell my audience about a new book and up and coming author. Welcome Kevin.

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

KD: It will entertain and surprise you.

CH: How did you manage to write about such a horrific topic and keep your audience clinging to your words?

KD: I tried to make it more about the characters; so the reader is more focused on the impact it has on the characters rather than the actual gory details. I tried to include enough details for those who like that aspect of murder/mysteries or TV shows like CSI, but not so much as to horrify people.

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?

 KD: To be honest, I’m not always sure where my ideas come from. Some of my past (unpublished) stories have come from simple things like a conversation at a bar. Sometimes for me, they start with one scene or one character and I see if/how it evolves from there.

Sometimes, I know how I want it to end before I start, and sometimes I figure that out during the process. The Murderer’s Smile started with the idea of who this killer was and it evolved from there. When I actually started writing it, I knew what I wanted but I wasn’t sure about some of the details. One of my favorite characters (Simon the Pieman) didn’t even occur to me until I got to the part of the manuscript where somebody like him would help achieve the desired ending.

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

KD: I put a lot of myself in this book. I think, I develop characters that are deep, real and relatable. Like them or hate them you will have some response to the characters. And I think I bring an original story with a slightly different approach to telling that story.

CH: Are there any books that influence you as an author? 

KD: Surprisingly, my favorite book is actually The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Huff, which obviously does not come through as an influence.

Growing up, I read a lot of Stephen King which is probably what lets me get to some dark places. I also loved the Hannibal Lecter character in the Thomas Harris series. But I think influences can come from anywhere. It can come from somebody you see at the mall, at the park, stuck in traffic, anywhere in everyday life. It can come from the news, television, movies and books without your realizing it.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

 KD: The more I thought about the characters and the more I developed them in my head, the more I thought this was a book that I really wanted to read. I wanted to know how things would turn out and the only way to do so was to actually write the book.

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

 KD: For this book, I didn’t have to do any special research. I did have to google a few things for fact checking. For other stories, I have had to do more research. Since most of my stories to this point are dark, I worry that I am now on some kind of watch list. :-)

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

KD: I didn’t start out with a message, I simply hoped to entertain. But I think now that if I were to wish readers would take one message from this book, it is to always fight for what is right and what you believe in and never give up. Never give in. No matter how bad things look—endure; persevere and keep fighting. It won’t always wind up in a happy ending in real life, but it definitely beats the alternatives.

CH: They tell us to write about what we know. So, the fact that you’re a sport’s enthusiast is that why there was so much sports in the book?

KD: Actually, for this book, sports was really a means to an end. I wanted Tony to go to Northwestern because it is widely recognized as one of the best—if not the best—broadcast journalism schools in the country. I wanted him to wind up in Dallas, because it’s a top 5 media market and I lived there for several years. So, it was easy to add certain details. It was a convenient way to get him from point A to point B more than it was about trying to infuse sports into the story. But I hope it also helped in developing who he was as a character. He certainly had his flaws, to be mild. But he did have some strong qualities. I tried to balance his good with his bad, so that readers may have mixed emotions as the story goes along.

I studied journalism in college and got my degree in it. I had an internship with a TV station, so I saw the news from the other side of the camera. That may be where I got the idea for Tony being a newscaster. I now live in California, but while I was in Texas (and I assume it continues to this day), there was a radio broadcast about the Cowboys from a different Hooters each week during the football season. I wanted to bring some realism to those who know the area and it was also a convenient place for Tony to have his indiscretions.

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

KD: Wow, that is a great (and very tough) question. Right now, I’m not sure I would feel worthy to work with any of them until I have a skin or two on the wall, but there are several that I would love to watch work or have lunch with or pick their brains over a beverage or two.

CH: In your opinion, what makes a murder mystery thriller a success?

KD: Many things that can make it a success.

Characters: If readers feel strongly about a character, they will continue reading hoping that (depending on their view of the character) either good or bad things happen to that character.

Intrigue: Sometimes readers are kept guessing as to who the killer really is. Sometimes the author makes it obvious, sometimes even early in the story. Even in those cases, if it is well written, there is uncertainty about when and how the good guys will catch the bad guys or if the bad guys will get away. Most of the time in a well-established series (because the character is recurring) you pick up the book fairly certain you know how it will end. But if it is well written, you get caught up in the story, and your emotions rise and fall with the main character. Those emotions get in the way of your logic. You don’t want to put the book down, because YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!!!! If the author evokes that from a reader, it is a success.

A great villain: This one can be tricky. Depending how the story is written, the reader may end up liking the villain or at least certain aspects of his or her character. Readers may even identify with the “why?” of what the villain does, even if they don’t approve of what the actions seem to be. If the villain is portrayed a certain way, the reader may be hoping the villain gets away, so there is another book about that villain. OR the reader may hope the villain meets a well-deserved awful fate in the end. But either way, readers should definitely feel strongly about the villain.

A good ending: It can be happy. It can sometimes be sad. But it has to be honest and it has to be believable within the context of the story. Whether it is something you are or are not expecting, a good story has to arrive at the end honestly. There is nothing worse than a reading a book you love for the first 95% and suddenly a spaceship arrives or something else completely out of the blue and out of context with the rest of the story and you are left with a really bad taste in your mouth. The love you had for the book is gone. This is where I think of the Annie Wilkes character from Misery yelling about some “cockadoodie” problem with the story. Sometimes the ending ties everything neatly in a bow, sometimes the end doesn’t quite feel like an ending (especially in a series) but it has to feel right.

In terms of commercial success, with any kind of book, a huge key is word of mouth. If somebody writes a great book but nobody knows about it, it can’t be a success. That’s where people like you help, Cheryl. But even those without the time or the skills to write a blog can still help. If you read something you love, tell your friends and leave good reviews on Amazon or wherever you bought it. It will encourage more people to read it. Obviously, not everyone has the same tastes, but if you really enjoy a book don’t keep it a secret.

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

KD: I am trying to establish myself to where I can write full-time. I feel like it is what I was born to do. It is what I love doing. It never feels like work. I feel like I have some talent at storytelling and if I can earn even a meager living doing this, then I will be living the dream.

CH: Is this your first book?

KD: This is my first finished and first published book. I have tried to write others in the past, but sometimes life gets in the way, sometimes I have reached a point where I don’t think I can write a satisfying ending and sometimes I have been distracted and gotten lost along the way. Reaching the finish line felt like quite an accomplishment. Now, I just need to keep reaching it.

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

 KD: I have finished a second book that I am currently attempting to market to agents and publishers. If I’m not successful, I will probably self-publish again this summer. I have also finished a story that is novella-length which I may develop further or publish as-is.

Currently I am in the process of writing a screenplay for The Murderer’s Smile and I have started a fourth book which I get to occasionally, but mostly it sits on the back burner for now.

CH: Do you have a website?

KD: I don’t have an actual website yet, but I do have a facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/donofrioauthor I try to keep everyone up to date on what I’m working on and what I’m up to. I posted a few excerpts from this book before it was released. I’m sure before too long, I will post some for my upcoming titles.

CH: Where is your book sold?

KD: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Outskirts Press. Almost anywhere books are sold online.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Murderers-Smile-Kevin-DOnofrio/dp/1478752971/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1432673477&sr=1-1&keywords=the+murders+smile

It is also available in Kindle, Nook and iBook formats. And if anybody is reading this from Ventura County, CA, it is available at Mrs. Fig’s Bookworm in Camarillo. http://www.mrsfigs.com

CH: I love to promote brick and mortar book stores like Mrs. Fig’s Bookworm.  Any closing remarks?

KD: Thank you for taking the time to critique my book and helping to spread the word. And thank you for giving me this opportunity. I hope others will see this and give the book a chance and I hope they will enjoy it.

CH: Thank you Kevin, 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 Kevin D’Onofrio 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

Cheryl Holloway’s Cougar Tales Series ebooks Are A Great Gift

header1_An Author Writes                                           Perfect Gift

Cougar Tales Series ebooks Are A Great Gift!

Cougar Tales: Father and Son Book 1 Short Story – He wants her. She wants him. His father interferes. Joi and her 35-year old fiancé, Jon, enjoy a wonderful loving relationship. They begin planning their wedding until his father intervenes—he thinks she is too old for his son. Then life happens!

Cougar Tales: The Italian Basketball Player Book 2 Short Story – Joi and Robert meet while waiting on the maintenance of their luxury cars. He’s an American who plays on the Italian basketball team. They enjoyed each other’s company and he invited her on a date…a blind date with his older brother.

Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love Book 3 Novelette – Joi meets a Chef in New York City that is interested in dating her. Joi is not ready to be in a new relationship with anyone, especially a long-distance relationship—he lives on the East Coast and she lives on the West Coast.   But Spencer doesn’t give up easily. They go their separate ways. Fate brings them together again while on vacation. Can Spencer sweep Joi off her feet with Jamaican love?

Box Set Books 1 – 3 (Cougar Tales Series) Three books in an entertaining romance series that has already been downloaded by hundreds of people. This exciting new series is by one of Maryland’s favorite authors, Cheryl Holloway, with stories about older women enjoying love and life! These original stories are boldly sexy and consistently honest, as they take on modern-day relationships.

Please note that you don’t need a Kindle/e-reader to read these ebooks. You can read the books on your computer, smartphone, tablet or a cloud.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Cougar-Tales-Box-Set-Book-ebook/dp/B00YM0B4JK/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433956344&sr=1-3&keywords=cheryl+holloway

I went from no ranking to being ranked at 253, 287 on Amazon. It changes everyday.

Note: The clip art is compliments of Cheryl Holloway and the Internet.

Spread the Word

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

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

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

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

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

Cheryl Holloway’s New Books The Cougar Tales Series Available on Amazon.com

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All Three ebooks are found in One Place…Amazon.com

The long-awaited Box Set (Books 1-3) is finally available. It is value priced at $4.99. The Box Set is cheaper than a Starbucks® Venti Caramel Frappuccino® and it lasts a lot longer! If you love reading, you should not miss this opportunity.

Cougar Tales: Father and Son Book 1 Short Story

Cougar Tales: The Italian Basketball Player Book 2 Short Story

Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love Book 3 Novelette

Please note that you don’t need a Kindle/e-reader in order to read these ebooks. You can read the books on your computer, smartphone, tablet or a Cloud.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Cougar-Tales-Box-Set-Book-ebook/dp/B00YM0B4JK/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433956344&sr=1-3&keywords=cheryl+holloway

I went from no ranking to being ranked at 253, 287 on Amazon. It changes everyday.

Note: The clip art is compliments of Cheryl Holloway and the Internet.

Spread the Word

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

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

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

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

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

Father’s Day Writing Contest for Military Kids Sponsored by NavyRackPacks

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Writing Contest

Best Dad _Cup

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NavyRackPacks Essay Contest

Best Dad on the Seven Seas. Tell us why an active duty Sailor, Coast Guardian, or Marine you know is the best Dad. Post a 40 word essay here for two chances to win a complete set of NavyRackPacks and a $25 NEX gift card. One winner will be selected by the most likes, and the second winner will be selected by a panel of professional military writers. Rules: only unedited essays will be considered, so post carefully. Contest runs now to midnight, EST June 15. Winners will be announced here Sunday, June 21. Father’s Day. Children may dictate essays to parents for submission.

Sponsored by: NavyRackPacks at: https://www.facebook.com/navyrackpacks/photos/a.366973353373572.80331.137508356320074/875331199204449/?type=1&fref=nf

I support the Military and their children!  Happy Writing!

Note: The clip art is compliments of the Internet.

Spread the Word

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

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

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

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

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

Announcing the Newest eBook from Cheryl Holloway – Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love

Special Announcement

Today, I’m officially announcing the publication of my newest ebook, Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love, Book 3 in the Cougar Tales Series. This ebook is not a full-length novel. It is approximately 12,100 words, which is about 58 pages. A quick read for busy readers. I’m really proud of this book, and I think everyone who reads it will be pleasantly entertained.

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I’m also happy to announce that the long-awaited Box Set (Books 1-3) is finally available. It is value priced at $4.99. The Box Set is cheaper than a Starbucks® Venti Caramel Frappuccino® and it lasts a lot longer! If you love reading, you should not miss this opportunity.

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Author Cheryl Holloway

Please note that you don’t need a Kindle/e-reader in order to read these ebooks. You can read the books on your computer, i-phone or a Cloud.

Each ebook and the box set are now available on Amazon.com.

Book Trailer_1

I’m also happy to announce the new Book Trailer for Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love.

YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQArRLulA1I

Note: The clip art is compliments of the Internet. Covers, photos and video are compliments of Cheryl Holloway.

Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of George Sauolidis 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 – George Saoulidis

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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Title: Maniai Case File 1: The Girl and The Blood Slide

Genre: Sci-Fi/Greek Mythology

 Synopsis:

What if there’s a problem to the madness? More and more people are reported being obsessed with unusual tasks and tested positive for rabies. But when an investigator finds a pattern to the madness and tries to tell people, will anyone listen?  Do you want to know what’s next for the inexperienced investigator? Do you wanna meet the crazies? Then read this thrilling patchwork of the weirdest bio-scare ever encountered.

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Author: George Saoulidis

CH: Welcome to my blog, George Saoulidis. George is one of our international writers from Greece. He combines science fiction with Greek mythology.

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

GS: Because when we are done, you’ll see the patterns too.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

 GS: Because there is an extreme ecological message that comes as a twist after a few more ‘Case Files.’

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

GS: Yes, giving a nice flow to the mosaic writing.

CH: Was Science Fiction and Greek Mythology always your chosen genre?

GS: No, it’s recent but this particular combination (after the positive feedback) seems like it’s here to stay.

CH: Do you develop the Sci-Fi world of a novel fully in your mind before beginning to write?

GS: Not fully, but there is a solid framework and it gets expanded organically as I write.

CH: Which authors have most influenced your writing?

GS: Dan Simmons and Iain M. Banks mostly, but also Jim Butcher and Terry Pratchett.

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

GS: The more I think about it, the more it seems that I’ve been writing since I was a little boy. Essays were always fun for me, in contrast to other people.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your combination of Sci-Fi and Greek Mythology writing?

GS: It’s bonkers and amazing. The reviews I’ve had so far are all following a common thread of, ‘Oh, how unique!’ It’s actually not, but it feels unique to the reader and that’s what matters. All of the stories are modern re-tellings of ancient motifs.

CH: Since you are from Greece, what made you decide to mix Greek Mythology and Science Fiction in this book?

GS: The Americans. It’s always the Americans and their Hollywood. Seeing what they can do without historical constraints, while taking influence from our mythology is simply amazing. Frank Miller’s 300, Percy Jackson and Elysium. Battlestar Galactica and even Y: The Last Man, they all dip their toes in mythology and modernize it in great ways.

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

GS: It is hard because I make it my case to be believable. I can’t stand unrealistic reactions to stuff happening, so I try to have my characters hesitate, get amazed and get frightened by what falls upon them. I call them ‘Oh sh*t!’ moments.

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

GS: I try to avoid giving a straight up ‘message,’ because I think it always comes out overly didactic. Aesop’s are always there, whether the author likes it or not.

CH: Who, in your opinion, is a great Sci-Fi author and why?

GS: William Gibson, because he was spot-on in many of his predictions. Seriously, it’s freaky. Google it.  http://www.gq.com/entertainment/books/201411/william-gibson

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

GS: In Maniai, Zoe, hands down. It’s always the anti-heroes, basically.

CH: Do you have a website?

GS: Yes, who doesn’t? You can find more original novellas on http://www.mythographystudios.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

GS: All major Internet publishers, Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, etc. There is no print format, yet. Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Maniai-Case-File-Complex-Universe-ebook/dp/B00WC7HO7Q/ref=sr_1_sc_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1433022444&sr=1-3-spell&keywords=georgge+saoulidis

CH: Any closing remarks?

GS: My thanks for this interview, and keep on creating.

CH: Thank you George, 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 George Sauolidis 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 – RJ Crayton

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Third Life_Cover

Title: Third Life: Taken (Life First Series)

Genre: Futuristic

Synopsis: When Kelsey Reed fled her country to escape a forced kidney transplant, she was sure she’d never return. However, when her brother-in-law shows up on her doorstep, he commits an act of betrayal by kidnapping Kelsey and Luke’s daughter.

Forced to head back to the nation that tried to kill her, Kelsey will need the help of her husband Luke, and friends Susan and Rob to get her daughter back.

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Author: RJ Crayton

CH: Welcome RJ Crayton. RJ is an upcoming author with a voice that needs to be heard. 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 Book 3 of the series in 20 words or less? And give a brief description of Books 1 and 2?

RJC: In Third Life: Taken (Book 3), a nefarious government official kidnaps a child to force a fugitive out of hiding and into his clutches. In Life First (Book 1), Kelsey Reed is fleeing an oppressive government that wants to take her kidney and give it to someone else. In Second Life (Book 2), Kelsey’s friend Susan Harper is being held captive by the government and will need the help of a mysterious doctor and Kelsey to escape.

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

RJC: The series is set in a dystopian future and follows Kelsey Reed, who is fleeing a government forced kidney removal. So, the original idea came from a news story about a woman who refused to have surgery at the insistence of her doctors. She was later charged with a crime (I believe some type of child abuse) because the surgery she refused was a cesarean section, and it caused the infant’s death. I found the case sad, but interesting because it made me think about the issue of body rights. When do people have a right to refuse treatment to their own bodies, even if it means saving another person’s life. Cases involving mothers and children have been tricky for eons, with doctors pitting lifesaving procedures for mothers against the child’s health. In Life First, we extricate the clear link that you have between mother and child and go to a more nebulous one—one involving a stranger. If a stranger needs a kidney and you’re a match, do you have a right to refuse? Not should you, but must you. Do you have a right to say no, even if it means someone else will not survive?

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

RJC: When I finished book one, I knew I wanted to say more about Kelsey and Luke. I struggled a bit with it, though, because book one ends with Kelsey in a difficult position. I thought it would be hard to write about Kelsey due to this, and it was. I ended up going from another angle, and looking not just at Kelsey in book two, but also her best friend Susan, which dovetails nicely.

CH: Which book was hardest to write?

RJC: The second book was hardest to write, as it was hardest to start. It took me a while to figure out the angle. However, once I figured out how to approach the book, it went fairly easily. In the end, I like Second Life a lot.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

RJC: That’s tough, because I really like all my characters. At this point, I think Susan was my favorite to write after all was said and done, over the course of the three books. But, when I revisit the series at the end of the year, I’m going to be getting back to the roots, back to book one, which is all Kelsey. So, she may become my favorite again, because I’ll be submerged in her world. Also, Dr. Grant is a favorite to write. There’s a lot more going on with him than it seems, so he’s a fun guy to explore.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RJC: I think Patricia Donnelly was hard to write. She appears in book two primarily, but she’s also a little bit in book three. With Patricia, I had to strike a fine line between villain and misunderstood person, so it was hard. That said, I like the character. We don’t see her much beyond book two, but she makes a striking impression.

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

RJC: For book three, not really. I did some general research on nanotech, but again, this is my world of the future, not the real world. So, it’s based in what could be reality, but because it’s not happened yet, I have license to shape the world how I want it, rather than be constricted by the absolutes of reality.

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

RJC: I took none of the situations from real life. It’s set in a fictional future, so they’re not real in that sense. I do believe the situations. As long as you buy into the setup that this government that is now in a “Life First” mode, everything that happens is perfectly believable. If someone is looking for a book more based on real life, they should check out my short story collection: Four Mothers. All but one story in the book is based on something that’s happened in my real life. So, those stories, I think, are all believable and all very real. They explore the many facets of motherhood and inspire some thoughtful discussions.

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

RJC: I think suspense readers want to be surprised, and I think I’ve crafted narratives that constantly throw new things at them. I can’t say it’s terribly different from other good suspense, because it’s not meant to be something different. It’s meant to be good suspense. The books have been called “edge of your seat reads,” and I think that’s what readers will get. There’s a touch of romance in each of the books, more so in book two and than in book one or book three. But, I think they’re all great, fun reads for people who like suspense.

CH: There is so much action and suspense in the first chapter. Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

RJC: Thanks. I’m glad you found the first chapter action packed. I do not get wholly formed novels in my head. I’m a pantser, or someone who writes in the dark. I get an idea or concept that I think is interesting and develop it from there. My goal is to always have a character whose true motivations we don’t know. Those are characters who drive the story and make the reader want to turn the page because they know something is up and they just want to figure out what.  With me, I’m often trying to figure out what, too? Once I do, it’s awesome, because it makes writing the book much easier (LOL). But, until then, I’m as much in the dark as the reader.

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

RJC: For the final book in the series, I found it challenging just wrapping things up in a way that takes care of all the loose ends. I think I’ve done a pretty good job, but there is one dangling strand I left. I did that deliberately because I was thinking of writing a prequel to deal with that. But, I think tying things together is the hardest part.

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

RJC: Just to enjoy the book. I think all books come from a place in the writer’s heart. They come from a place where the writer is, and they’re expressing something that the writer is dealing with. However, I think that’s the issue for the writer, not an issue for a reader. So, for me, I don’t have some specific message I want readers to take away, other than they got a book they enjoyed.  However, I’m a writer and a human being, so there are probably some latent Freudian issues you could find in the book, and say, “Wow, what a powerful message.”  But that’s not my goal. My goal is for you to enjoy. If you find it makes you think more deeply about something, too, wonderful.

CH: What is your writing regimen?

RJC: I need a better writing regimen. I’ve been trying to ensure I write 1,500 words a day this year, to keep me on track. However, I find it really hard to write when I’m in an editing phase, so my word count has suffered while I was getting a couple of books edited. I try to write in the mornings, but it doesn’t always work out that way, especially if I have an editing deadline. I hope to get more regimented in my routine soon. If I can find my happy place, I think I’ll feel less stressed.

CH: Are there any books that influence you as an author?

RJC: I like really well done suspense books. When you’re reading the book, you’re always thinking, who could’ve done this? Or how will this come together/be explained at the end. If you guess the ending beforehand, it’s always a bit of a letdown, rather than vindication. At least for me. I want the author to keep me guessing as to what’s really going on, so I like authors who write books that keep me in the dark until the very end. I don’t want some whacky plot thrown in that no one could see coming. I want something I didn’t foresee but that makes total sense when I read it. I think Harlan Coben does an excellent job with this. S. J. Watson, whose debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, I loved, is great at this, too.

CH: Do you have a website?

RJC: Yes, http://www.rjcrayton.com

CH: Where is your book sold?

RJC: All three books are sold at all the major retailers:

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DFNWFX4

Barnes & Noble, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/life-first-rj-crayton/1115836167?ean=9781490468082

Google Play, https://play.google.com/store/books/details/RJ_Crayton_Life_First?id=rdOgAgAAQBAJ&hl=en

Apple, https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/life-first/id666057909?mt=11

Kobo, https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/life-first

CH: Any closing remarks?

RJC: Live long and prosper (I’m a total Trekkie; I own a stuffed tribble.)

CH: Thank you RJ Crayton, 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 RJ Crayton and the Internet.

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

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

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

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

Cheryl Holloway’s Favorite Books to Read while Traveling

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My Favorite Books to Read while Traveling

From time-to-time, I will make suggestions of good books to read while traveling, whether you are traveling across the state, the nation or the continent. These books are my favorite books to bring along when I travel. And you will find that at least one of these books is a must as a travel companion. You can take a hardback, a paperback or an eReader.

So, if you haven’t read these books, give them a try. They will remind you of the different people that you may meet in your travels. Some novels are longer than others, but that’s OK too, because some trips are longer than others.

If you’ve taken up your travels for relaxation, a good time, or just for you, please, please bring along a good book!

Today’s Suggestions are:

Seeds of Magnolia by Bill Miller Genre: Historical

Cougar Tales Series: Jamaican Love by Cheryl Holloway…Coming Soon on Amazon Genre: Romance

The Mid-Wife Factor: A Lynn Davis Mystery by Gigi Gossett Genre: Mystery

Keeping my readers informed about great books!

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Memorial Day 2015 – Honor the Fallen Heroes

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Memorial Day is the one holiday of the year when we are to remember and honor those who have died in war. It is not the official holiday for summer to begin; but it is a day of remembrance for our lost soldiers.

Today, I ask you to join me in remembering and honoring our family and friends who served in the armed forces and who lost their lives fighting to protect our homeland and our safety. 

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

Note: Clip art compliments of the Internet.

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20 Ways to Support Your Favorite Author

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20 Ways to Support Your Favorite Author

  1. Buy the book for yourself (My favorite);
  2. Buy the book for a friend;
  3. Spread the word to as many people as possible;
  4. Write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords or Goodreads;
  5. Leave a Review on the authors website;
  6. Visit the Author’s blog and leave a comment;
  7. (If you’re an author) Tell your followers and friends about the book;
  8. Like and Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or wherever you can;
  9. Promote the book on social media;
  10. Discuss the book on your blog or in your newsletter;
  11. Contact the author and tell him/her how much you enjoyed the book;
  12. Rate the book 5 Stars (or highest) on a book review;
  13. Give the book as a Christmas or Birthday present;
  14. Suggest the book to your book club;
  15. Have the author speak to your book club;
  16. Buy other books by the author;
  17. Nominate the book for an award;
  18. Leave a copy in a cafe/coffee shop/waiting room for others to enjoy;
  19. Give a stranger a copy of the book; and/or
  20. Tell the author about Cheryl Holloway’s Guest Author Interview.Signature Logo

Guest Author Interview – Olivia Gaines

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Title: A Menu for Loving

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: It started with a simple request for Tony Peay to pretend to be her man for the evening. The problem was Tony enjoyed the role so much of pretending to be her man which led them to his hotel room, where he became a very real lover.

And he wanted the rest of what she had cooked up in the menu in her head. Together, they created the perfect menu for loving.

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Author: Olivia Gaines

CH: Welcome to my blog Olivia Gaines. Olivia writes stories about people, life and love. 

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

OG: Tony and Jennifer found love when both had given up looking, instead, they trusted their hearts and found each other.

CH: You seem to be able to pull your reader into the story immediately. Do you have a special process to achieve this?

OG: I hate to read a book that has twenty pages of back story.  I am busy. I have things to do.  When I read I want to get into the story and be invested in the characters. I want a story to transport me into the characters world and make me want to stay to find out what happens next.  I guess to answer your question, I write what I want to read.  I write stories for today’s woman.

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?

OG: I love the possibility of…what if?  What if Jennifer walks into that bar and the one man she picks to be her fake date is the actual man that she needs.  In A Menu for Loving, she makes one statement that sticks in his mind, ‘I need for you to be my man.’ This is a role that Tony P stepped into for a few hours and decided he loved the way it felt and wanted to make it permanent.

Most of my ideas come from an overactive imagination and a bottle of Zinfandel. Once I have the concept, I actually plot the story all the way through from beginning to end, I find images of what the characters look like, then have the cover designed.  After all of that, I write the story.  I do not have a formula for plots with one exception—in every story, there is a ‘say what now?’ moment.  It is also a chapter heading in every story I write.

No two stories of mine are ever the same.

CH: One reviewer said that the book needed editing, but it didn’t stop her from giving the book 5 stars. Can you tell us your feelings on editing?

OG: A good editor is hard to find. I have read New York Times best-selling books that have had some form of gaff in them. Every now and then, there is something that slips through the cracks but I also have a really big dictionary and different writing style that uses a lot of wordplay.  Sometimes, readers think it may need an edit, when it is written, as it should be.  It is not a typo and that is how it is supposed to be.

I also have had a few readers who have complained that the stories feel rushed.  They are not.  I move the story along at a different pace with very few lulls and readers are not accustomed to that.

CH: Yes, I understand how readers complain about things that may not be wrong, but just awkward to the reader. On another note, are there any other genres that you would like to write a book?

OG: I would love to write cozy or a murder mystery.  I don’t know how, so I am going to leave that alone. I am most comfortable writing literary fiction.  I mix that genre with romance and add in a little comedy.

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

OG: I am a journalist by trade and have been writing all my life. Literally.  I wrote my first story at the age of nine.  I was also on my elementary school newsletter, my high school newspaper, and my college newspaper as well.

I was a journalist in the Army, which is where I started my professional writing career.

I started writing because summers in Alabama are hotter than sin.  As kids back then, you couldn’t stay in the house, instead you had to go outside and play.  I learned that if I was silent, no one knew I was in the house, so I found a book and a quiet place to sit, and I made up stories.  Stories about great adventures and little girls who became heroes. I guess I still write that kind of stuff.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

OG: I hate cookie cutter books. I wanted to write a story about two people who were both seeking redemption in a different kind of way.  Tony P wanted redemption because he felt he had fallen short on his path to faith, and until he got it right, he would never find the right woman.  Jennifer on the other hand, had fallen for the smooth talker and had lost her faith in men. She also felt she had prevented her father from finding a woman to share his life, as well as her relationship with her sister needed to be mended. I wrote this story as a beacon of hope for anyone who was afraid to try again.

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

OG: Nope.  I write in a vacuum.  I don’t read anything before, after or during the writing of a story. I don’t know if I have ever read anything like it. I was looking over some menus when I came across a 21course meal and thought, hey, what if there was A Menu for Loving. I weaved in the 21 courses into 21 chapters, mixed in a bit of faith, stirred it up with some love, added a pinch of steamy, and threw out the descriptive sex.

I wanted my readers to feel as if they had been fed a yummy meal that was a bit different, but still with my humor and not so much sex. It is still a sexy story though.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

OG: People inspire me.  I challenge myself by writing about women who understand the importance of having a man in their life, but not have their life depend on a man.  In A Menu for Loving, Jennifer has the money and he does not, versus the latest trend of the Alpha billionaire.  That concept is fine, but I want my characters to be about something more than what they possess.

Times have changed and there are so many fields and careers out there that women have a leading role in now.  I want to explore some of those fields.  I have written about a scientist, an actuary, a sports medicine doctor, a graphic designer, a fashion designer, a copy editor and more.

The same can be said for my male characters, who vary from a Japanese college professor, a romance writing cowboy, a CIA agent, an entertainment lawyer, a Duke, a construction worker and even a dude that works in an oil field in Alaska.

I cannot see defining a man by his wallet, but by his journey.

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

OG: Yes, to trust the journey. Not everyone arrives at the desired destination at the same time; for some of us, it takes a bit longer. There will be times we will not get it right, but we can’t spend our lives beating ourselves up over mistakes. Johnny Taylor beat himself up for saying something to his wife that he believed caused her death. Jennifer was punishing herself for trusting in a man she thought loved her.  Tony was punishing himself for two bad calls that derailed him from a path to being a minister.

When each character reached a point of acceptance, not only for their mistakes, they were able to begin healing and move forward.

I want the readers to understand that we are all flawed, imperfect and have some ugly spots in our lives. Okay. Acknowledged, not let’s create some really pretty moments. The spots are still there, just not so prominent.

CH: Obviously, your readers love your books. This book is only 152 pages and you have 135 reviews—that’s almost a review per page. How do you gain fans so quickly?

OG: I have no idea. I write stories that touch people.  Either they love it or they hate it.  The ones that hate it also write reviews.

I am humbled and thankful.  I try to write good stories and engaging characters.

CH: You seem to write a lot of short books fast and you are self-published. Is there a certain routine you implement when writing? What is it?

OG: Many of the stories that are out are not new stories. A great number of them have been rejected by publishers.  Courting Guinevere, Loving Words and Vanity’s Pleasure, were written years ago. I just released them back to back.

As a self-employed individual, I have to work twice as hard as the traditionally published author. Therefore, I have a production schedule, a marketing plan, a business plan and bi-weekly meetings with my editors and my team.  I am a writer, but I am also a businesswoman.  I have to keep the business in mind as well.  My business is telling stories.

I release two full-length novels a year.  The Blakemore’s are released each July and December. This way, the readers know what and when to expect the stories.

I call my shorts an adult summer reading program.  They are short so that busy women can sit down, and get all the elements of a big story in half the words.  I just take out all the fluff and give you a good short story.

CH: What kind of marketing strategies would you give to up and coming Indie writers?

OG: Know your genre and know your brand.  I see many Indie authors following trends; stop it.  Write what you know.  There are readers out there for every genre and sub-genre.  Go find them and write good stuff. If you are loyal to your readers, they will be loyal to you.

CH: Do you have a website?

OG: My website is http://oliviagaines.com  readers can also find me on http://Twitter.com/oliviagaines or @Oliviagaines.

CH: Where is your book sold?

OG: A Menu for Loving is in limited release on Amazon until the summer, and afterwards can be found at all online retailers. The paperback will be available in May. Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Menu-Loving-Olivia-Gaines-ebook/dp/B00TXYJU8C/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1431043101&sr=1-1&keywords=a+menu+for+loving

CH: Any closing remarks?

OG: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to talk about my stories.  I hope and pray that as I continue to grow as a writer, my readers will see my journey.  I am getting better with each story.

CH: Thank you so much Olivia for joining me and my audience.

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