Cheryl Holloway’s Advice for Developing Good Writing Habits

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Did you know that 82% of the people say that they want to write a book, but only 2% actually write a book?

I am an Accountability Writing Coach and today, we are discussing advice that I give to my clients and the students in my Creative Writing Classes.

  1. Be A Winner When Setting Your Goals

You must set goals you can easily achieve. I set weekly goals.

Start out with a simple goal: Within One Week I will… Example: Within One Week, I will write the outline for my fiction book.

As you progress you can make bigger, smarter goals. Years ago, I learned about S.M.A.R.T. Goals. (I can’t remember who to give the credit to, but I didn’t come up with this idea.) These goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Example of a SMART Goal: I will write the first chapter of book title with 1,500 words by December 15, 2017.

You want to be successful in reaching your writing goals. I would rather that you write 250 words a day and reach your goal, than strive for 1,000 words a day and never reach your goal. Now, if you write 479 words today and only 251 words tomorrow that is okay, because you still reached your daily goal of 250 words. Note: I advise you not to end your writing session until you have achieved your goal. And that is why a smaller goal is better than a big/fast goal…like writing a book in 30 days. Yes, it can be done, but are you the one to do it.

Remember: A successful author set goals (and deadlines-another blog post).

  1. Be Diligent in Managing Your Writing Time

Did you know that when you write something down, you are 42% more likely to make it happen?

Ask yourself: How often will I write? How long will I write? And then write your goals down.

You must be very specific with yourself about the time you will commit to writing, especially if you want to go from a writer to an author. You must write on a regular schedule—write every day at the same time. Whether it is early morning, late night, or all day, the key is to be consistent in your daily writing. If you need help, keep a chart of daily writing times.

Remember: Writers write.

Month Day Word Goal Words Written
August 1 250 250
2 250 593
3 250 649
4 250 255
5 250 407
6 250 1,528
7 250 1,751

3. Be a Finisher and Complete Your Draft

Ask yourself. What type of writer am I? Am I a pantser? Am I a planner?

A pantser makes the story up as they go along. A planner plots the story, usually with an outline.

Regardless of what type of writer you are, you need to completely finish writing the entire first draft, before you start self-editing!

Remember: A carpenter doesn’t polish the table before he attaches the legs.

Every writer wants to become a successful author.

  

Remember: Alice Walker, Walter Mosley, Danielle Steel, James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Stephen King were not an overnight success—it took years for them to reach that status.

I hope this short blog post helped you better understand developing good writing habits.

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Nicholas Kontis

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Title: Going Local: Experiences and Encounters On The Road

Genre: Travel

Synopsis: Today’s traveler seeks authentic experiences, not just viewing awesome sites, and taking must-see photo opportunities, while checking an item off of a bucket list. Experiential travel, also known as immersion travel, is about travel experiences that resonate on a deeper emotional level—A focus on experiencing a country, city or particular place by connecting to its history, people and culture. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is an experience worth?

Travel is life-changing. We all become better world citizens when we learn from other cultures. Real life experiences are compelling people to travel and bridge cultures together. Travel opens us up to the wonders of the world, and to the serendipitous occurrences when different cultures merge. At the forefront of any journey, travel begins with people and protecting local society and wilderness. It’s a powerful lesson that cannot be learned by staying home and viewing travel shows on television.

Nicholas Kontis, Author

 CH: Today’s Guest Author is Nicholas Kontis. Nick says that 2/3 of Americans do not have passports, does anyone care about travel books? Welcome to my blog, Nick.

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

NK: The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

CH: This book is a collection of authentic travel experiences. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

NK: Travel was instilled in me at a young age. I was blessed to have been born in Greece, and raised in America’s culture capital of San Francisco. It seems like all that one hears about in the travel industry is immersing into local society, while seeking out unique experiences. Airbnb, being the poster child of peer-to-peer travel, showed me that concepts of sharing living spaces, sharing meals, learning to cook a meal, learning from local society is here to stay. I’ve been sleeping on friends and relatives couches and helping prepare meals since my childhood. The idea just came to me, and I ran with it.

CH: Can you briefly summarize some of the places visited?

NK: Too many to count, but a few of my special favorites include trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; traveling all throughout India and Nepal; traveling over from Kenya to South Africa and from Darwin to Sydney in Australia. Greece is where I’m born, and Mexico is where I live part-time.

CH: How did you select the travels that would be included in this book?

NK: My book is more about a philosophy and inspiration to get off the couch and travel the world. Travel changes us like nothing else. I cover why and how to live experientially; and the importance of learning from local society. I mention foods pivotal role in planning a trip; why we should all take 6 months to a year off and travel the world; also, how we all should do volunteer work on our travels; and ‘Responsible Travel’ and why it matters.

CH: Did you decide to include any travel tips or relevant facts in this unique book of travel encounters?

NK: Many! I have a whole section on apps, web sites, responsible tour operators, food tours, cooking classes and volunteer organizations. I cover meal sharing which is an interesting concept to go to the home of a local, and see how the chef/owner cooks dinner. I guess one could argue that my book is mostly travel tips, and that’s okay with me. If I can inspire even a small number of people to take a chance on travel, that works for me.

CH: How can a traveler learn to bridge cultures and meet locals without speaking their language?

NK: You know it really sickens me to see bombings, fighting, and senseless killings. Travel teaches us tolerance, understanding of people and a lack of prejudice. Richard Branson (an English business magnate, investor and philanthropist) once said to me that we’re less likely to want to bomb a place that we have visited and met the locals. If you make an effort to learn a few words of a local language, your efforts will be rewarded with kindness and acceptance.

CH: What is your favorite thing about traveling?

NK: I have a perpetual wanderlust. Not that I’m not happy wherever I may roam. But, my wife says, put me in Mexico and I want to be in London—on and on. The countless chance encounters of making new friends over say ciccietti—small happy hour nibbles and drinks in Venice. Serendipity! Or getting lost in Kenya—only to meet new Masai friends.

CH: Of your travels, which country or place was your favorite to visit?

NK: Again, a tough question for a traveler, but I’m of Greek decent.  I live in Mexico, but I can be seen biking the streets of San Francisco. Italy took what my people did, and made it even better. Okay, then add in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Peru, Spain, Brazil, S.E. Asia, Nepal, Kenya, and Spain—the list is too long. Oh, Burma, my how Myanmar mesmerized me. I recommend that if you can, go to Myanmar—where time really stands still.

CH: When you are travelling to so many places, does your travel start to feel repetitive?

NK: No, I can go to Paris a thousand times and I’ll always find something new. I’m also a photographer, and many times a good one. I see the view of the grand dame of world bridges in my city by the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge or I even see the light at different times of the day, the angles, or different vantage points. Even in my second city of Puerto Vallarta, I find new ways to get enthralled. Maybe a new beach, or even a scrumptious taco truck that I somehow missed. I can go back to Greece 1,000 times and it never feels repetitive.

CH: How do you keep each destination exciting?

NK: I try to view a destination through the people—who know it best—the locals. I want to know what makes them happy and sad. The world becomes a better place, when cultures collide. I seek the road less traveled, when at least for me, has rarely let me down.

CH: How did you decide to write the book to keep readers from being bored?

NK: My book is not a Don George anthology book of travel tales, but then we’re all different. However, my biggest challenge in my home country is the 66% of Americans many who rarely depart their home state, and who could care less about a book that preaches and teaches people to learn from a live person like a local from a different country.

CH: Did you include photos of your trips? If so, was this decision before or after you began writing the travel book?

NK: I did not want to make my book all about my trips, but I’m included throughout the book in photos from the trips. Whether I’m in Greece, Mexico, or Peru, since I have many interviews and subjects based on material in the book, such as moving to another country, or taking a trip around the world.

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

NK: From the well over 100 reviews on Amazon (and believe me, that’s a ton of reviews for a travel book), I’m told that my book inspires people.

I’m blessed—and people are loving my book. If you go to Amazon, almost all of my reviews are 5-Stars. I guess it’s kind of difficult for a responsible traveler not to follow my mantra of “Going Local.” Especially when the founder of Lonely Planet Guidebooks backs my subject matter (you can’t get much better than that).

CH: What is your next writing project?

NK: I want to gather travel tales from select travel experts, authors, bloggers, and create a book around people’s encounters with people. There are so many worthwhile stories to be told around the kindness of people.

CH: How to Find Nicholas Kontis:

CH: Can you give my audience your website?

NK: My website, www.nicholaskontis.com, is being redone, and I have a site for discount business class/first class airfares, Circle the Planet at www.circletheplanet.com

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

NK: My book is sold on Amazon and select book stores throughout North America.

CH: Any closing remarks?

NK: I’ve learned that 95% of people are good. Do you know that I’ve been to 85 countries and never been mugged or harmed? There’s a reason for that. People are just as curious to learn about you—the travelers—as you are excited to learn about your new destination. Cheryl, thanks for having me on your blog.

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

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Lindsay Townsend

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Title: A Knight’s Vow (Re-Issue)

Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval

Synopsis: A crusader, haunted by grief and guilt. A bride-to-be, struggling with old yearnings and desires. Can Sir Guillelm de la Rochelle and Lady Alyson of Olverton rediscover the innocent love they once had for each other? When Guillelm makes a fearful vow on their wedding night, is all lost forever between him and Alyson? And will the secret enemy, who hates their marriage, destroy them both?

Lindsay Townsend, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author Lindsay Townsend.  She is an English novelist with a passion for writing historical romance. Welcome to my blog, Lindsay.

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

LT: A troubled knight makes a terrible vow on his wedding night. Will their love win through for Guillelm and Alyson?

CH: This book is a re-issue. Can you explain to my audience why you re-issued it?

 LT: This story was first published as A Knight’s Vow by Kensington Zebra back in 2008. Since then, eBook publishing has really taken off. I wanted new readers to have a chance to discover the novel in that format.

CH: It has a new cover and new price. What made you decide on this?

LT: I loved my first cover of A Knight’s Vow, but felt it didn’t quite capture my hero. This new design, by Melody Simmons, brings together Guillelm and Alyson in a vivid, striking way that suggests their tenderness and feelings for each other. As to the price, seeing it was a re-issue I felt it only fair to set it at a reasonable cost for readers.

CH: Since this is a tale of romance and chivalry, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

 LT: The crusades as a backdrop were real. The civil war between the followers of King Stephen and the Empress Matildia was real. Both these gave me lots of opportunities for conflict, threat and issues. I have one character plainly suffering from a version of post-traumatic stress, brought on from serving in battle overseas, and having to be “talked-down” and also retrained by the hero. Also, the medieval sexist attitudes of the church to women and magic gave me lots of areas to exploit. For example, in one scene I have Alyson’s old nurse offering a loving cup to Guillelm and Alyson, an action for which she is violently berated by one of Guillelm’s crusader knights and accused of witchcraft through a love potion, a charge which later returns to make trouble for Alyson.

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?

LT: My stories tend to come from a single mental image, or from a “What if?” question that develops along with the main plot. I write romance, so I love a happily ever after (HEA) ending, but how that ending is reached and the way my hero and heroine meet, get to know each other and begin to fall in love is something I enjoy writing about. Within the romance genre, I try to be as vibrant as possible, to give twists to favourite tropes. I have an overall idea of the story arc when I begin, and where I want the story to finish, but don’t over-plan, so that I can retain freshness.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book originally?

LT: I wanted to write about a hero and heroine who fell in love for each other at a young age, but then were forced by others and by circumstances to separate. When they come together again, will they re-discover their feelings? That idea intrigued me very much, so I wrote A Knight’s Vow.

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

LT: I strive to show the full scope of the medieval period and to give my readers a feel of the time—its sounds, scents, tastes and sights. I hope to transport people through my writing, so they can see and share what my hero and heroine experience, before their HEA.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research on romance during this time period for this book?

LT: I read about medieval courtly romance, and customs, plus the giving of favours at jousts, and details of things like clothing, castles, houses, landscape, animals and what people liked to grow in their gardens.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LT: My hero, Guillelm and the battered crusader knight, Sir Tom.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LT: I enjoyed writing all my characters, even those I considered to be the baddies. I admit that showing intolerance and cruelty was very hard, but such forces were present in the Middle Ages and at times, I needed to express it.

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

LT: People and feelings have not changed much, since the first humans and the cave paintings. We love now, as others did in the past.

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

LT: People enjoy the splendour of the medieval times; its gallantry; and also the adventure and danger.

CH: Do you have any historical writing mentors? If so, what is the experience like?

LT: I love to read and I read a lot of historical romances when I was growing up. I love the sweep of epic romances and J. R. R. Tolkien remains a favourite, and also Mary Stewart and her Merlin Trilogy.

CH: How to Find Lindsay Townsend:

CH: What is your next writing project?

LT: I’m working on a Christmas story at the moment.

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

LT: A Knight’s Vow is available on Amazon. Readers can also read an excerpt at http://bit.ly/2vQXkMI

CH: Any closing remarks?

LT: Thanks again for hosting me, Cheryl. I love the whole romance genre, with its scope and variety, and its willingness to tackle difficult issues. I find all of its writers and readers truly amazing and inspiring. Best wishes, Lindsay

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

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Amarie Avant

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Title: Fearless: A Sports Romance

Genre: Romance/Multicultural/Interracial

Synopsis: Zariah Washington-When my best friend is beaten to within an inch of her life, I step into Vadim’s Gym, where her boyfriend exercises, and go off. Though, I’ll one day become a district attorney, there’s nothing graceful about how I seek justice, which is all a big mistake. One: I’m at the wrong damn gym. Two: I’ve cussed and disrespected every male in the place. Oh, and the Russian fighter I encounter, whose jacked with muscles and packing heat, won’t let me go! He promises to extract vengeance. His loyalty comes at a price. Not to mention, my father is the Chief of Police.

Vassili Karo Resnov-Zariah and I had a misunderstanding when she walked into Vadim’s Gym. The beautiful, black vixen came into my life and cussed everyone out before I could say a word. I introduced myself, the anger and desire she felt gave way to fear… But we’ll fix that, because now she’s mine.

Amarie Avant, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Amarie Avant. Amarie says that her books are not your ordinary romance. Welcome to my blog, Amarie.

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

 AA: You’ll always be transported into a story surrounded with emotion while the hero and heroine fall in love.

CH: What made you decide to write a sports romance book?

AA: Romantic suspense is my go-to; however, I wanted to add another dynamic into my favorite genre.

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

AA: It’s actually easy for me to create situations and placing my characters into turmoil, because I work in the social sector. Deescalating issues and dealing with trauma and tragedy are at the forefront of my life.

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

AA: My ideas sometimes come from dreams. My latest book, Fearless, started from a dream I had. I have lucid dreams, which have helped me in being creative through my hobby as a writer.

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

AA: Yes, I started watching “Kingdom (U.S. TV series),” which is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) show. Each of the males in that show dealt with serious power struggles. They were all alpha males in their own right, and regardless of their faults, I came to care for them. I also had Bellator MMA recorded on my DVR and also the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Champion) matches. Though I’ll skip the heavyweights for their slow, Neanderthal techniques, I enjoy watching other matches. Welterweight is my fav.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

AA: My favorite character to write was Vassili. If I don’t fall in love with the main male character, I don’t even like the book. That’s only happened a select few times for me, while writing. What I loved about him is that he did not care one bit about others perceptions of him. It took time to gain his trust. He also had witty, bad boy “comebacks” for all of Zariah’s arguments.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AA: I don’t have characters that are hard to write per se. Although, I have villains that readers will mention in their reviews. It is always awesome to step into a villains shoes. In my Deceptive Desires series, there’s a serial rapist, who just so happens to hate black women. So guess what, I had to get into his mind. I’ve had to deal with a few sociopaths in my career. (One of which I cannot get rid of now…the woes of case management). In Devil In Her Bed, I forced myself to enter the stalker’s mind. He was you’re prototype for antisocial, flat affect, liar, misconstrued outlook on life. The villains are always fun.

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

AA: You’ve gotta give it your all in a marriage or relationship. There will be hard times, don’t give up.

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

AA: From the reviews I’ve read, I’ve been told a good number of times that my stories are like watching movies. I love movies more than I love…I want you to feel the emotion. 🙂

CH: You’ve written quite a few books. What are some of the frustrations of being an author? What are some of the perks?

AA: Frustrations…I’m introverted. Making friends is hard. So is finding good editors. Perks…I’m introverted. Learning that I have a reader in a different country or one who I’ve encouraged enough to reach out is shocking in a good way.

CH: Are most of your books standalones or part of a series?

AA: I prefer series books. As I work in the mental health field, I rather enjoy learning more about a person. Books in a Series will allow your characters to evolve and you can root for them. Standalone books are something that a good number of my readers like. So, I am forced to do it.

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

AA: That depends on the book. All of my stories are different. Fearless has readers telling me that they’ve fallen for Vassili and Zariah. Zariah is strong willed and sophisticated. An Alpha’s Desire has readers wanting a man who loves them, flaws and all…at least that’s what the reviewers say. Devil In Her Bed gave some readers chills, others learned about how crazy one can be, while others loved how Lincoln Zager was the underdog hero, who literally saved a life. And my oldie but goodie series, Fear, had people in lust, shock or love.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?  

AA: Angela Marsons, Omar Tyree, Sandra Brown, Steve Demaree, Mary Monroe

CH: Those are some of my favorites, also. So, what can we expect next from you?

AA: Killing Mary Jane is a Twilight Zone and American Horror Story (without the scare) new release I should have it out soon for free. It will keep you wondering until the end, as it is psychological thriller in nature.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

AA: On my website readers can sample Fearless for free: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/5mu5na2qd1

CH: How to Find Amarie Avant:

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

AA: On Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AA: Thanks for having me, Cheryl.

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

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Cheryl Holloway’s Paperback, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life, is Here!

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A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection Book 1 is Now Available in Paperback! Get your Copy Today and Write a Review on Amazon.

The Author Reception on August 19, 2017 at Waldorf West Library.

Cheryl Holloway is discussing her book with one of her loyal readers.

Cheryl Holloway and Telfair Graves.

 

 

 

 

 

Cheryl writing a personal inscription .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s also available in eBook, too.

A “special thanks” to all of the fans who attended the Author Reception.

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Sharon K. Miller

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Title: The Clay Remembers (Book 1 in The Clay Series)

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: Anna’s Story – Oppressed by a husband who treats her as his property, Anna Robinson flees to the Southwestern desert. As an archaeologist, she knows each sherd, each scrap of cloth holds something of an earlier life. And each artifact draws her more intimately into the stories of Esperanza Ramirez, a nineteenth-century homesteader, and of the Hohokam woman before her. Can their experience here beneath a rugged ridge in the Santa Catalina Mountains, joyful and tragic both, give Anna the strength to face Foster, the armed and dangerous husband on her trail?

Foster does not yet suspect there is another man in Anna’s life, a man with his own story of pain and loss. Resist Nick Anderson as she will, Anna is hopelessly attracted, fearful of her husband’s crazed jealousy, and only beginning to sense the deep love and fulfillment in the lives of the women who preceded her.

Title: The Clay Endures (Book 2 in The Clay Series)

Synopsis: Esperanza’s Story – When her husband brings her to a lonely ridge north of the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona, to start a cattle ranch in 1865, Esperanza Ramirez struggles to help him achieve his dream. Finding an ancient pot in her garden gives her a sense of companionship, as does, surprisingly, the presence of an enigmatic Apache that watches her from a distance.

Can she survive the desolation, the tragic loss of a child, her husband’s indifference to her struggle, and an attack by outlaws? Will she know what to do when the Apache makes his move?

Title: The Clay Sustains (Book 3 in The Clay Series)

Synopsis: Ha-Wani’s Story – It is a time of struggle for Ha-wani and her people. Her village, once an extensive, thriving, open community has evolved into a closed community within a cobble-walled compound.
The village shaman encourages the People to believe the gods have abandoned them and that only he can guide them back to plenty. He is determined, not just to control the village, but to capture Ha-wani’s spirit for himself, a spirit he knows is blessed with special gifts.
But has he underestimated the strength and spiritual power this simple woman brings to their conflict?

Sharon K. Miller, Author

 

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Sharon K. Miller. Having fallen in love with words, reading and books as a child, she wrote her first book in the second grade. Welcome to my blog, Sharon.

CH: Please tell us in three sentences, why we should read the books in this series.

SKM: If you like strong women characters, who overcome adversity, you’ll like the books in this series. The first two books, The Clay Remembers (TCR), and The Clay Endures (TCE), take place a century apart on a scrap of desert where a simple clay pot brings Anna and Esperanza the spirit and courage of the remarkable woman who made it in the twelfth century. The third book, The Clay Sustains (TCS), tells the story of that woman and her battle with an evil shaman determined to capture her spirit.

CH: The three books of The Clay Series were inspired by local history of the Sonoran Desert. So, what made you decide to write this series?

SKM: There is a state park not far from where I live near Tucson, Arizona, and in the park is an interpretive trail that winds through the ruins of a prehistoric Hohokam village which was inhabited from approximately 200 BC to about 1450 AD. At the same site are the remains of a nineteenth-century homesteader’s house. Signs along the interpretive trail describe how the Hohokam lived and farmed the area and how Francisco Romero brought his wife there in the nineteenth century to establish a cattle ranch. The first time I walked this trail, I wondered about Victoriana Romero’s life on this ridge with no one around but Apaches who stole their cattle, did battle with her husband, and threatened their very existence. My first inclination was to write her story, but I discovered there was very little in the historical record about her. I decided to write a story about a fictitious woman, Esperanza Ramirez, who finds an ancient pot and makes a connection to the Hohokam woman who made it—a connection that helps her deal with loneliness and threats from those who would do her harm. Her story, then, is actually the second book in the series. The first book, which I conceived of later, involves Anna, an archaeologist who participates in the excavation and study of the site in preparation for the park and the interpretive trail. She finds the broken pieces of the pot and makes a connection to the woman who made the pot, but she also connects with Esperanza and her experiences. The third book tells of the woman who made the pot in the twelfth century, at a time when the Hohokam culture was in decline. Her struggle is with the village shaman who knows she has a powerful spirit, one which he wants to control for his own purposes.

CH: How do you weave history with fiction?

SKM: Historical fiction offered me a ready-made time and place wherein my characters could interact while facing the challenges associated with the time period, as well as those I created for them. The Clay Remembers takes place in the late 1980s in modern Tucson, The Clay Endures in the late 1860s in the Arizona Territory, and The Clay Sustains in a twelfth century Hohokam village in the same place that figures in the first two books. Anna (TCR) is an archaeologist who has run away from an abusive husband; Esperanza (TCE) is a Yaqui Indian married to a man whose family disapproves of her because they want to maintain what they call their “pure Spanish lineage.” Ha-wani (TCS) is an ordinary woman, who finds herself facing an extraordinary conflict with the village shaman at a time when their social structure was changing. Each woman’s world is defined by the time and the place in which she lives; consequently, I felt I had to present those worlds as accurately as I could. My job as an author is to guide my characters through that place during those times in history and to tell a compelling story at the same time.

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

SKM: I do not follow any kind of formula. I conceive of the characters and the conflict or struggle they must endure, drop them into a time and place, and then watch what happens. That may sound flip, but, in fact, I often find that stories begin to write themselves and characters frequently do things that surprise me. Once I have identified the conflict, my goal is to tell what happens as they struggle to overcome the obstacles I’ve placed before them. My intent is for them to “win” in the end, but I’m never quite sure how they will get there.

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

SKM: Different and exciting? That’s a difficult question. I try to be very honest with my writing even though I’m creating fictional characters and events. I strive for believability and accessibility. I don’t go all flowery and purple with descriptions of people or places. I want my characters—even those who lived centuries ago—to come across as real people, people you might meet on the street or in the grocery store. With these stories, I tried to present the setting—the Sonoran Desert—as another character, one that has a profound impact on the experiences of the women and men who inhabit my pages.

CH: Since this series is historical fiction, did you have to do any special research to write these books?

SKM: Oh, my goodness, yes. I read extensively about the Spanish entrada into the New World, about the Apaches, about Tucson in the nineteenth century. I not only read about archaeology, I took courses at the local community college and participated in excavations. My instructors allowed me to reconstruct a pot in the lab, since I needed to learn about it on behalf of Anna, in the first book. I joined archaeological organizations and attended lectures and went on field trips and even took a ten-week course in the history of the Hohokam in the southwestern United States. I signed up for pottery classes with an instructor who specialized in re-creating prehistoric pottery. In fact, with his help, I collected clay from the same source my character in the third book would have used to make her pot—the pot that touches the lives of the other women in the series. I made two pots with that clay, one that I scored with a dental tool to make it look like it had been glued back together and the other as it might have been when Ha-wani finished making it. The covers of my books feature those pots. The history and culture of the Pascua Yaqui Indians informed the spiritual and cultural beliefs of Ha-wani’s people in book three. Each of my books has an extensive bibliography included. In fact, I spent many years in research before I seriously sat down and gave myself deadlines to finish the books.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SKM: That’s hard to say. I think most of my characters are very different from one another, but, in the third book, I created a character who, at first, I thought would just offer variety to the inhabitants of the village. He was a young man, who, if he lived today, we would know quickly that he was on the autism spectrum. We see him going through his daily routines without variation, never speaking to anyone, moving silently through the village delivering firewood to each family’s ramada, and destined to be alone, because he would never be initiated into manhood. He was one of those characters whose outcome surprised me, even though from the very beginning, I had actually foreshadowed that very outcome. He became more important to the story than I had originally envisioned.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

SKM: That’s a tough one. I think it would have to be Anna’s boss in the first book. He agreed to give her a job when she arrived in Tucson even though he did not know her history or the situation with her abusive husband. He hired her as a favor to an old friend and colleague who asked him to do it. At first, I made him far too accommodating and supportive, but one of my early readers suggested that it might be more realistic for him to have doubts about her, that she might need to prove herself as an archaeologist and even as someone he could trust. That was hard, because I liked him and I wanted to keep him likable, but I had to let him withhold his approval of her developing relationship with one of his employees, and to let him be angry when he discovers he and his family and his crew might be in danger when Anna’s husband comes after her. It was hard to strike the balance for him.

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

SKM: Actually, the second book was the first one I conceived of and I really thought I’d write one book and weave the story of the Hohokam woman, who made the pot into Esperanza’s life on that lonely ridge on the other side of the mountain from Tucson. But then, the first time I went on an excavation with the community college, I picked up a pottery sherd to examine it, while the instructor told us what to look for. I turned it over and realized my thumb was resting in a depression on the concave side of the sherd. My thumb fit into it perfectly. I was suddenly overcome with what I can only describe as an “otherworldly” feeling. I had touched the hand of the potter—I had actually touched her hand. In that moment, Anna was born. At first I thought—foolishly—that I would just weave the three stories together into one book. But that was unreasonable, so three books was the solution.

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

SKM: I would say it was the third book, The Clay Sustains, because I had to do a certain amount of world-building, since it was a prehistoric culture and society I was describing. Many of the spiritual and cultural beliefs of the characters were borrowed from the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s ancestral people, the Yoeme, as well as from the Tohono O’odham Indians, who believe they are direct descendants of the Hohokam. I felt an obligation to treat these beliefs and practices with the utmost respect, while at the same time creating a society that readers should not assume to be factual representations of either culture or tribe. And, because Yoeme spirituality is somewhat complex, I had to work hard to make it accessible to my readers. It was also the book that I had done the least work on over the years. I had done scenes that were integrated into the first two books, but I had not conceived of the entire story until the time came to actually produce it.

CH: Will there be other books in this series?

SKM: Because the story of the pot has been completed, and there are no other women for whom the pot will be important, I won’t have more in this series. However, many readers wanted to know what happened to Anna’s husband at the end of the first book because I didn’t go into his trial for kidnapping her. I’ve been mulling over the idea of a sequel to the first book wherein he comes back to Tucson seeking revenge after he gets out of prison. He’s a real piece of work, that fellow, and he wouldn’t just go away quietly. But then I’d be into writing a mystery which is a new genre for me. I hope I’m up to it.

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

SKM: I hoped to write stories about strong women and to demonstrate through their experiences what women are capable of when they are put to the test. One of my reviewers put it nicely when he said, “Sharon Miller is convinced of the solidarity of women throughout time, and the pot connecting all three women … is the symbol of the love, work, and suffering which binds them in shared experience.” I wish I could have said this myself, but sometimes it is up to others to synthesize our message for us.

CH: What type of feedback have you received so far?

SKM: I’ve had very good reviews for the first two books, both of which received IndieB.R.A.G Medallions for Excellence, an honor not to be taken lightly. Their standards are very high. While it would be nice to have a vast collection of five-star reviews, I’m afraid I don’t have that many, but the ones I have are four or five stars. After the first book, I discovered I had readers who were eager for the next books. That’s a nice feeling.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

SKM: I’m planning to spend some time with marketing and promotion after The Clay Sustains is released at the end of September. It’s difficult to do all of that when you’re writing against a deadline. I’ll promote the series as a whole, offer a boxed set, hopefully do some book talks, maybe a blog tour, and other interviews like this. I’m also hoping to become more involved with book clubs, either in person or via skype. And I schedule regular book talks at Catalina Park, where I provide light picnic fare and a walking tour of the interpretive trail, which is the setting for all three books. That’s the most fun of all.

CH: Can you tell us a little about your website?

SKM: My website is www.sharonkmiller.com. Visitors can read synopses, previews, buy the books at reduced prices, and get special pricing with free shipping for book clubs. They can also download and read previews of all three books.

There are also three Pinterest Boards (The Clay Remembers, The Clay Endures, The Clay Sustains) that provide illustrations of people, places, and things associated with each book.

CH: How to Find Sharon K. Miller:

CH: For my audience, where are your books sold?

SKM: The Clay Remembers  and The Clay Endures are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Antigone Books, and Mostly Books, as well as, Indie bookstores in Tucson, Arizona.

The Clay Sustains will be available for pre-sale on Amazon on September 1, 2017, with a release date of September 29, 2017.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SKM: Cheryl, Thank you for the opportunity to share with your readers my excitement about these books. It has been such a long journey, having first conceived of these stories almost twenty years ago. Arriving at my destination has been very gratifying.

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Sharon K. Miller and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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Guest Author Interview – Nancy Cole Silverman

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Title: Room For Doubt: A Carol Childs Mystery Book 4

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis:  When radio reporter Carol Childs is called to a crime scene in the Hollywood Hills at five thirty in the morning, she’s convinced it must be a publicity stunt to promote a new movie. That is, until she sees the body hanging from the center of the Hollywood sign. The police are quick to rule it a suicide, but something doesn’t add up for Carol. Particularly after a mysterious caller named Mustang Sally confesses to the murder on the air and threatens to kill again. With the help of an incorrigible PI, her best friend, and a kooky psychic, Carol is drawn into the world of contract killers and women scorned. As she races to find the real killer, she finds herself faced with a decision that will challenge everything she thought she knew.

Nancy Cole Silverman, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Nancy Cole Silverman. Nancy began her writing career in radio and she says that like every writer, she hopes her characters are fascinating, her dialogue crisp, and her word choices clever. Welcome to my blog, Nancy.

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

NCS: Carol’s sense of justice is challenged when a deranged woman calls the station and confesses to murder.

CH: You take pride in crafting believable stories. So, where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept? 

NCS: Most of my ideas are loosely inspired by news stories.  I spent twenty-five years in news and talk radio, so I guess you could say I have an ear for it.  Matched with my imagination, the subject matter in each book is probably best described as a mash-up of both.

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

NCS: I think the fact that Carol works for a talk radio station, adds an element of mystery from the get-go.  With radio, a listener and host never see one another.  For me, it’s that faceless voice across the airwaves that starts the mystery.

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

NCS: People who know me think Carol Childs is me.  The truth is, she’s younger, thinner, smarter and gutsier than I could have ever been.  It’s always easiest to play Monday morning quarterback on a story you’re writing versus one that you’re living.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

NCS: I’m a people watcher.  I enjoy crafting characters after people I’ve seen interact with others around me.  My characters are seldom based on anyone I know or have worked with, although friends will tell me they think so.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

NCS: Obviously, my protagonist Carol.  She’s a complex character. In so many ways, she’s like a lot of modern young women, she wants it all—a career, a home, and a relationship. It’s her balancing act and fear of losing herself to a relationship at the expense of her job and self that keep her from being too predictable.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

NCS: Misty Dawn, the once famous Hollywood Psychic to the Stars.  I love her character, and I wanted to make certain she showed up on the page, as I saw her in my mind.  She and Carol have a complex relationship because Carol doesn’t believe in psychics and Misty, who is now retired, has begun to lose her psychic abilities.  Like many former, aging actors and people in the industry, she didn’t have a lot of money put aside for retirement and is close to destitute, but not without ideas.  When she shows up on Carol’s doorstep in book four, Room For Doubt, she suggests Carol might need a housekeeper.  Under Carol’s care, Misty’s abilities will start to return, which is both a good thing and bad thing for Carol.  Stay Tuned.  I’ve more planned for Misty.

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

NCS: Not really.  It was my publisher who suggested I sit down and start writing a sequel.  Only then, did I start to map out the idea for a series.

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

NCS: Shadow of Doubt, book one of the Carol Childs series, took me about two and half years to write. However, this was not my first book, but it was my first traditionally published book.  Before that, I wrote about a half dozen books. It takes time for a writer to find their voice.  Subsequent books in the Carol Childs series have each taken about a year.  I think a series in many ways is easier to write than a stand-alone book.  The author knows the characters, and the plot seems to come together much quicker.

CH: Is there anything in particular that you have learned about writing that you would like to share?

NCS: Writing the book is just the tip of the iceberg.  I don’t think most readers begin to understand that once the book is written how much more is involved in marketing the book, and that so much of that, regardless of whether or not the book is traditionally published or self-published, falls upon the author to do.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a privilege to do it, but between blog tours, speaking engagements, etc., I don’t have as much time to write as I’d always like.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

NCS: There are so many.  I like Joyce Carol Oates.  I recently finished JoJo Moyes book, Me Before You—the woman can pull tears from me like no other author.  I also am a big fan of Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Raymond Chandler and just about any mystery author.

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

NCS: I think the most exciting thing is that my books have found their way into the hands of readers who have enjoyed them.  Writing fiction is the next step for me, and knowing that there are those who take pleasure in my work is such a reward. Thank you.

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

NCS: I’ve always written.  I knew from the time I was a child, I wanted to be a writer, and went to college and got a degree in journalism because, for me, that was where the action was.  The big difference was when I retired, I suddenly found that as a former broadcast person, I had to write copy that was longer than thirty and sixty seconds long.  That’s about 75 to 150 words and a big stretch from an eighty-thousand-word novel.

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

NCS: I read a lot of Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich. Both these women have huge followings, and I figure they must be doing something right, so I’ve read nearly everything they have written.

CH: How to Find Nancy Cole Silverman:

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

NCS: My book is available through any book store or at online retails like Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

CH: Any closing remarks? 

NCS: I love writing the Carol Childs Mysteries, and I’m thankful to Henery Press for allowing me free rein with my plots and twists.  So often, I hear writer friends say their publishers have pushed for traditional, nicely wrapped endings. Henery has allowed me to put on the page the story as I feel it deserves to be told and end.  I like to leave with a wow, which frequently is anything but traditional. Hopefully, it gives my readers something to think about.

Thank you, Cheryl, for hosting this interview.  It was a pleasure.

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet,Nancy Cole Silverman and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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Coming Soon in Paperback…A Sisterhood of Women Living Life by Cheryl Holloway

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

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

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Guest Author Interview – Tracee Lydia Garner

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Title: Deadly Affections

Genre: Romance/Multicultural

Synopsis: A crime romance, mystery suspense, romance novel. Psychologist Leedra Henderson has a hidden motive in abandoning everything to accept a new job at the Anchored Empowerment Center. She secretly hopes that the new position will help her to investigate her own past—and to finally uncover the real story behind a string of mysterious deaths at her childhood foster home. Now a strong, independent woman, Leedra doesn’t need help: she wants to seek justice, and she will. Alone. Dexter Parker needs his own answers about that time in the foster home so long ago. A grown man reeling from the fallout of a broken marriage, Dexter’s rational mind tells him never to try the risks of love again—but he knows he could fill in the blanks for Leedra, if only it doesn’t end up costing him his heart. More urgently, Dexter needs to save the determined Leedra from the results of her detective work, before it all blows up in her face and costs both of them their lives. Can the pair set aside their painful histories, avenge the lives that have been lost and—who knows—discover new love?

Tracee Lydia Garner, Author

 

 

 

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Tracee Lydia Garner. Tracee has been writing since she was in elementary school. Welcome to my blog, Tracee.

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

TLG: That’s hard but okay: Deadly Affections—a suspense about seeking justice for your loved ones and healing ones pain to forge loving relationships.

CH: Crime, mystery and romance are all in one novel. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

TLG: I love suspenseful tales. I think there is something fun about trying to ‘figure out’ who has done what or who is hiding something and who is worthy of trust. The backdrop of the crime and the mystery, for me, even in my reading choices, makes for more entertaining stories.

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

TLG: I have always been a news junkie, I seem to have on the four, five, six and seven o’clock news (with Lester Holt) each and every evening. I wonder about the snippets of people’s lives that make their way across my screen. I wonder about stories that include missing persons and the details that emerge daily about someone’s disappearance, I keep hoping, waiting for an end, for a resolution of some sort and I’m so disappointed when the news fails to give me one, some weeks later. These are real people to me and I guess a way to satisfy my own curiosity is to write their beginning and their end. Only their middles are sensationalized briefly on the evening’s news and I happily try to create a tale that perceivably gives you the “rest of the story.”

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?

TLG: Ripped directly from the headlines of the day. I’m a certified news junkie.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

TLG: I LOVE writing period. My goals in my career include a play, a script and perhaps a made for television movie. I write because the ideas just yearn to be freed. This book visits with the second brother of three that I’m exploring and what he faces as he tries to build his life and maybe find love again, after his wife’s betrayal and subsequent mysterious death. The love for writing is the impetuous behind every book.

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

TLG: I think that a lot of my writing stays plausible. While I write romance, many people may have snippets in their prose where you are like oh come on, that’s so unreal. I never, ever want people to feel that way and so sometimes, I feel my romance is not all that traditional. I don’t think my male characters are unbelievably romantic and I try to make my females as real as possible. I never want people to have that statement so I try to be as real as possible, while still delivering an escape.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research on the foster care system for this book?

TLG: For Anchored Hearts, I had to learn what the process is like for readying your child and yourself for a home and I have actually -for my own plans to adopt, someday- been through the first few steps of the process. It’s been a thought I’ve had sometime but it has also waned due to various issues.  In some ways, I hope that expressing some of the issues may be enlightening to people that consider adoption and for others perhaps a way for them to make peace with a type of nontraditional family creation and know that it is completely okay, too.

CH: What made you decide to write about a string of mysterious deaths at her childhood foster home?

TLG: The entire series follows three of five adopted brothers. The same woman and her husband raised them all, known affectionately as Momma G and David. I think that foster care/adopted children, especially in African-American romance isn’t often written about, so I simply wanted to give people a small glimpse of the perils that some can face and how they may even struggle to get to their own peace and adulthood.

CH: Why was it necessary to avenge the lost lives of their childhood?

TLG: In Deadly Affections, part of the underlying story is the helplessness you feel as a child. You can’t do anything but watch the people around you make decisions FOR you and leave with you choices—sometimes wrong—that impact the adult you will become. Leedra was one of those children that had to leave her foster home after the murders of the other children in it. She left the area, joined the mercy ship but one of the children—which a body was never recovered—was her sister and she wanted to be brave and find out what happened and bring whomever she could to justice, and if her sister was really gone, she wanted to accept that. Much like the mercy ship, there was a part of her that always felt adrift somehow, unanchored. It was always a part of her life that she needed to solve in order to feel hope and to feel whole.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

TLG: The heroines are always my most favorites to explore. I loved writing Allontis in Anchored Hearts, she and Cole had a lot of work to do to become the central unit that would hold the family together after Cole’s adoptive mother passes away at the opening of the story. Allontis would have to sustain the family and help bring everyone together and she’s seen again in Deadly Affections and upcoming Fatal Opposition.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TLG: I don’t find my characters hard to write, their professions are sometimes challenging, both Dexter, who is a doctor and a single parent; and Leedra, who spent most of her life on a Mercy Ship as a missionary. It was interesting to read about missionary life and the mission of the Mercy Ship. It was fascinating and I was so thankful to dig deep through the Internet to find an actual nurse who is/was on a Mercy Ship and blogged about her experience.

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

TLG: In all my work, even my nonfiction, I want readers to find hope. Whatever the character faces, should be like real life, adversity, loss, grief and personal /professional challenges, and overcoming all of that to win in the end.

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

TLG: I love the reader mail that I receive. They love the characters and they find the work a real suspenseful tail and those are things I love to hear. I, particularly, enjoy readers that tell me the characters seem so real that they wonder what the characters are doing after the final page is turned. I, too, wonder what they are doing; they become a part of my life like a good neighbor.

CH: Do you have any writing mentors? If so, what is the experience like?

TLG: I was so fortunate to meet someone that I think will be a mentor for me at this year’s Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Conference, held in Orlando, Florida. I just got back. I have not solidified our relationship, so I can’t mention them just yet, but they were warm and friendly and just super kind and welcomed an ongoing contract. For the other parts of my career, I have not had a lot of success with mentors.  I’ve asked and not gotten very far. With that said, I have always had a few authors that I try to study and review their career trajectory over the years. Adult-to-adult mentoring relationships are so hard to come by that I just encourage people that even when an author you admire doesn’t have time, perhaps just send them questions every now and then or try to follow them, set up Google alerts so you can see when they are in the news and read their interviews through the years. There’s a lot of wisdom you should find as an author’s career progresses and that can be just as helpful as a live relationship.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

TLG: Please reach out to me and visit www.Teegarner.com. There, you’ll also see I have a Writer’s Resources page that strangers and aspiring writers actually have written me to tell me how helpful and comprehensive it is.

CH: How to Find Tracee Lydia Garner:

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

TLG: My books are sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo platforms.

CH: Any closing remarks?

 TLG: Thanks so much for the opportunity, Cheryl. Be blessed.

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet,Tracee Lydia Garner and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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August is Romance Awareness Month

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August is Romance Awareness Month

Since the beginning of time, romance has always been an extremely important part of love and relationships. While women have always wanted just a little more romance in their relationships, men seem to be always looking for the “little” something that will make a “big” difference to the “love” of their life.

Four simple things you can do to enhance the romance:

  1. Say “I Love You”
  2. Give him or her a “Sensual” kiss
  3. Give your significant other a “Hug”
  4. Try “Holding” hands in public

Here’s a “novel” idea to rekindle the passion.

“Read Romance Stories to Each Other”

You can cuddle up in bed in “sexy” lingerie (or in your birthday suit) and take turns reading the story.  This may turn you on, so you might want to re-enact the love scenes after you’ve finished reading.

Now is a great time to catch up on some reading—together. And there is a wide selection of romance (and erotic) novels that are available, depending on how hot and steamy you want to get.

P.S. Adding a “single” red rose and a “sexy” handwritten note will take you from passionate to breathtaking.

  

How’s that “idea” for a little something “off the beaten” path?

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

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

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Miracle’s Destiny Book Launch Pictures – By Request

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Title: Miracles’s Destiny

Genre: Family Saga

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

So many people have asked me, “How was the book launch event?” Well, here are some pictures, so you can see for yourself. It was indeed a classy affair, thanks to Georgette Littlejohn, author. 

The author and her book as they greeted hundreds of attendees.

A table full of books and items for sale.

  

Her hand got tired signing so many books.

The proud writer turned author, Georgette Littlejohn.

This is just a few of the pictures. The photographer took hundreds of photos. The cake was beautiful, the food was delicious and  topped off with Sangria wine. A good time was had by all—Georgette’s family, friends and fans!

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

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

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Guest Author Interview – Shelia E. Bell

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 Title: The Real Housewives of Adverse City 2 (Volume 2)

Genre: Spiritual/Inspirational/African American

Synopsis: Fabulously rich housewives, Avery, Meesha, Peyton and Eva are dealing with the damages each one of their decisions has cost. Meesha Porter is pregnant with her fifth child by her husband, mega pastor, Carlton Porter while Carlton wants out of his marriage. Peyton Hudson struggles to find a way to get back in the good graces of her estranged husband, Derek and their teenage son, Liam, after secrets about Liam’s past rise to the surface. Eva Stenberg is devastated and heartbroken after her husband, Harper, throws her out of their mansion when she tells him she is pregnant with a child he told her he was not ready to have. And fragile Avery Mitchelson is in love with another man and wants out of her relationship with Ryker. What will happen to these four housewives as they come to terms with living lives of the rich and famous while dealing with the consequences of their decisions?

Shelia E. Bell, Author

 CH: Today’s Guest Author is Shelia E. Bell, an award winning and bestselling author. Welcome again to my blog, Shelia.

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

SEB: The stories I write are entertaining, realistic, exceptionally great, and definitely page turners!

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

SEB: It is not hard creating believable situations because I use everyday life events, circumstances, situations and problems that many people face in the world today. My tagline is ‘Perfect stores about imperfect people…like you and me.’ I believe this tagline sums it up.

CH: Since these women are all fabulously rich housewives, did you have to do any special research?

SEB: I always do research when writing. This book is no different. I researched the fictional city based on the exclusive little known island in Florida called Fisher Island (a place only the elite rich and famous reside) as well as, the careers of the husbands and numerous other things that happened in the story. I want my stories to be as true to life as I can possibly make them.

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

SEB: I believe it is dialogue. I use narrative, of course, but my books are primarily dialogue driven. I get into the lives and personalities of my characters and allow them to speak in everyday language according to their backgrounds, education, and upbringing, etc.

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?

SEB: I have no standard formula, other than I write according to titles. I do not outline, I do not have notes written down beforehand, I simply say a prayer and ask God to direct and guide me and then I sit down at the computer (after I have a title) and I began to write. My son says I’m like the well-known rapper, Jay Z, who freestyles. He says I write freestyle because I literally do not know any of what is going to occur in my stories beforehand. It all comes to me, as I sit before the computer and my mind and fingers connect to weave a fantastic story. God is good!

CH: Why did you decide to write this book about rich housewives? Was your decision based on any of the housewives tv series?

SEB: Actually, I have only seen one, maybe two episodes of any of the housewives reality shows. Again, I write according to titles and I thought The Real Housewives of Adverse City was a great title and that I could deliver an even greater story around this title.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SEB: I have no favorite character. Each of the ladies have their own struggles, shortcomings, family drama and life’s decisions to make and so they are all equally important.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

SEB: Perhaps, if I had to choose, I guess I would say Peyton because her struggles with addiction are so real and so many people struggle with some type of addiction, whether it’s addiction to drugs, alcohol, food, relationships, religion, and the list can go on and on. We all struggle with something and I felt extremely sorry for Peyton because of her addiction.

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

SEB: Yes, I did. When the title came to me, my spirit had already prompted me about making it into a series.

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

SEB: I have only two books, so far in the series. I would say book 2 was more difficult. In Book 1, I am basically introducing the housewives and Book 2 goes more in depth about their situations and what they are dealing with. It delves deeper into their overall lives.

CH: Will there be other books in this series?

SEB: Yes, I’m not sure how many. We’ll just have to see what all these ladies have to say and want to share with the world about their lives. I do not have a preconceived number of books in the series in my mind. I just let the characters lead me.

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

SEB: We are not perfect. Money does not equate to happiness and cannot bring true love. I always close my books out with Words from the Author, which gives a deeper insight to the situations involved in my books. I think in this instance, many people believe that money can solve many of life’s problems, and it can solve many, but not those hidden secrets, desires, or battles, that we often face.

CH: Who are some of your Christian fiction writing influences?

SEB: That’s a tough one to answer. I don’t look at any particular Christian fiction person, author/writer as an influence. My long time mentor was author J. California Cooper, who passed many years ago. I fell in love with her innate ability to tell a story. I knew I wanted to write stories and books that could transform, inspire, and touch people’s lives all because of Cooper.

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

SEB: I have to smile on this question because I never knew I had so much to write! I had no idea I would be a national bestselling author. That was not my plan. But God. This journey is not an easy one. I had to learn to get out of my feelings because this is not a get rich quick industry. Sometimes, we can equate success with how much money is in our bank accounts and that’s not evidence of true success, although it can be a byproduct of it. But continuing to do what I do, and write what I write is my passion. Yes, I want to makes thousands upon thousands of dollars doing it like some authors are fortunate to be able to do, but God has not yet bestowed that upon me, although I enjoy a measure of monetary success. As I write, I seem to understand more and more that like the housewives I write about, money cannot offer the essence of true happiness and abiding spirituality. There was a time recently, when I said I was not going to write another book. I was discouraged, disheartened and disappointed because of low book sales and a meager bank account. The hustle is real but when you hustle and hustle and you don’t actually see the monetary fruits of your labor, it can be tough to keep hustling, so I gave up on writing. That only lasted a good six months and because of faithful and loyal readers, who contacted me asking about the date of my next release, I realized once again that I had a gift that money can’t buy. I have the talent and the ability, the desire and the passion to touch people’s lives in a good way through the stories I write. I love it! Now, I’m back on my grind and churning out book after book after book. God is amazing!

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

SEB: Sure, I would love for your audience to join my mailing list. I promise not to bog them down with unnecessary emails or newsletters. I only use it to share the blogs I write from time to time and to keep my subscribers updated about new book releases or book events. My website is sheliawritesbooks Be sure to note the correct spelling of S-H-E-L-I-A

CH: How to Find Shelia E. Bell:

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

SEB: My books are sold primarily online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Books A Million and numerous other online eRetailers.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SEB: I want to say ‘thank you’ Cheryl Holloway for yet another opportunity to talk about what I love. Thank you for your literary support and for your kind heart. I want to thank every reader and every person, who will read my work. Kudos to all the authors, whether veteran or aspiring. Most of all thank you to God for choosing me, his Amazing girl, to write the stories I write.

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet,Shelia E. Bell and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

   

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

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Guest Author Interview – M. Pax

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Title: FreeFall (The Backworlds Book 7)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Space Exploration

Synopsis: The first shot of a new war echoes through the galaxy. Craze has high hopes for what the alliance with an old enemy, the Foreworlds, will do to defeat a worse enemy, the Quassers.

The test of a highly-advanced weapon, created by the efforts of the alliance, pushes tensions over the brink and kills thousands. To make it worse, the Foreworld ambassador is keeping secrets.

Conventional warfare against the Quassers isn’t working, and if the alliance ends, Craze has become the most hated man in the galaxy for no reason.

With nothing left to lose, Craze sets in motion one last chance for survival.

M. Pax, Author

CH:  Today’s Guest Author is M. Pax.  She has been fascinated by space and what’s out there, since her childhood. Welcome to my blog, M. Pax.

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

MP: Humans constantly struggle against each other, but can we ever come together to fight a common foe?

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

MP: My characters face real problems on made up worlds in an imagined future. As the series goes on, the problems become larger and how each character must decide how they want to survive, or if they do.

CH: With space exploration and colonization writing in mind, can you describe your writing style? What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

MP: Terraforming takes a lot of resources and time. Instead, I genetically altered people to survive on different worlds. We haven’t moved too far from home; yet, still in the same spur of the Milky Way. My characters are regular people doing their best to cope with the aftermath of a war with another faction of humans. Now, a new threat comes along.

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?

MP: My ideas come from everywhere. I was inspired by Firefly, one of my favorite shows.  Then, I heard a song on the radio. One of the lines said, “What if the good guys lost?” I used that as a premise. I usually start with the character arcs and where I want to take my characters. I add the big plot points and then, how I move from point-to-point isn’t always clear, until I’m writing.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

MP: The idea of The Backworlds was a short story at first. I submitted it to a big science fiction magazine, which rejected the story. The editor, however, sent me a page of feedback. There was a lot she liked about the story, and she pointed out where I could improve it. That was when ebooks were starting to take off. So, I expanded the idea and took the suggestions she made. So, here we are seven books into the series.

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

MP: I did research on physics and space travel. I’ve done research on mechanics and biology. I did research on making alcoholic beverages, too. My main character is a bartender.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

MP: The main character, Craze, is very comfortable for me to write. He came to me fully formed, and I can see and hear him very clearly when I write for him.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MP: The hardest is a character from Earth, Barnabus Manalo. His goals put him at odds with the other characters more often than not.

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

MP: It began as a short story, which was actually the beginning of book 2. I wrote book 2 first, then the first book. Then, I realized it would be a series.

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

MP: The sixth, Precipice. When I was halfway through, I received the worst phone call of my life. My baby brother had been found dead. It was so unexpected, so devastating. It broke my heart, and I didn’t know what to feel other than sad. A month later, my cat became ill. I nursed her for a month, but finally had to let her go. She was my constant companion, and my brother was one of my best friends. It’s probably the darkest book in the series, just because I was in a dark place. I poured a lot of my emotions into that story.

CH: Wow. That was a dark place and I can definitely understand why that book was hard to write. Your readers are on edge waiting on Book 8 in the series, when will it be released?

MP: I started a new job, which slowed me up a little. But I’ll be getting book 8 out in 2018. I can’t wait to start on it. The title is Endpoint.

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

MP: My stories are about regular people, who are dealt a bad hand, doing the best they can to survive. They find ways to be courageous and go on with life.

CH: Who are some of your sci-fi/fantasy writing influences?

MP: Arthur C. Clarke is one of my favorites. So are Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and Frank Herbert. John Scalzi writes a fantastic story, and I really enjoyed Lois McMaster Bujold’s series. The Valor series by Tanya Huff is a great favorite of mine, too.

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

MP: The most exciting thing is fan mail and having devoted fans. It’s been a joy to connect with them and to continue writing for them.

CH: How to Find M. Pax:

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

MP: I sell wide: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iTunes, Nook, Kobo, iBook, Googleplay, Bookcessories, and more.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MP: It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Cheryl. Wish we lived closer, so we could get together regularly and chat over a coffee. I love to write and will keep writing. Work life may slow me up, now and then, but I’ll keep writing. I have to. If I don’t write enough in a week, I get rather cranky.

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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