Guest Author Interview – Jenny Jackson

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Title: The Silence of Knowing

Genre: Crime/Thriller/Mystery/Historical

Synopsis: 1952 – a small Kentish village seemingly little affected by the war years. Eleven-year-old Josie, dumb from birth and who communicates through her writing, is on the verge of puberty and life in the wider world. It is a time of childhood innocence. She and her twin brother, Mitch, are thrilled when an American teacher arrives at their village school, suspecting him of being their long-lost father. Together with their two best friends they set about collecting evidence for their suspicions but soon find themselves embroiled in deeper, darker secrets which land Josie in a life-threatening situation. As childhood recedes and mature thought begins to surface, Josie, who tells the tale, realizes that she is not the only one who has been unable to speak.

Jenny Jackson, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s International Guest Author is Jenny Jackson. She belongs to a writing group and this is her debut novel. Welcome to my blog, Jenny.

CH: Can you sum up your historical mystery novel in 20 words or less?

JJ: A mute girl and her twin brother, searching for their unknown father, stumble across life-threatening adult secrets.

CH: Your book deals with a mute girl, who communicates through writing and secrets. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

JJ: I wanted to tell the story from the child’s perspective.  Having her mute from birth would mean that she would naturally take to writing down her thoughts and ideas.  Similarly, it is easier to hide secrets in a journal rather than talking about them.

CH: With that in mind, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

JJ: The book is set in 1950’s southern England, where I grew up so much of the background is taken from memory. However, the main plot came about because I needed an excuse to bring an American teacher to a small village school.

CH: Since the twins are looking for their long-lost father, did you run into any challenges while writing this book?

JJ: Whilst researching the background for the story I discovered that some servicemen posted abroad did permanently desert their families. I had a childhood friend, who was told that her absent father had to ‘go to live in another country’.

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

JJ: I tried to be as accurate as possible within the period I was writing about, so I had to check and re-check my facts and not rely entirely on memory.

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

JJ: I am most comfortable writing a book that can be read by anyone of any age without embarrassment. Ask me to write about something steamy and you’ll most likely get a description of my husband’s model railway. Also by keeping the chapters short, I could include several cliff hangers which adds to the excitement.

CH: Which character was hardest to write and develop?

JJ: Probably, the American teacher, as I have no American acquaintances!

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

JJ: I loved writing about the tramp. His character was taken from real life, based on an actual person from my childhood. The incident with the telephone box really did happen.

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

JJ: At the back of my mind, I was aware of highlighting tolerance and acceptance.

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

JJ: Very positive—children like it as a pure adventure story and adults for the history aspect, as well.

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

JJ: Chatting to friends about childhood or other memories will often trigger ideas, as well as, listening to radio interviews with older people.

CH: Can you give my audience your website?

JJ: As a part-time writer, I don’t have a website, as yet.  I can be contacted via publishingpush.com

CH: How to Find Jenny Jackson:

CH: Where is your book sold?

JJ: On Amazon in paperback and eBook.

CH: What is your next writing project?

JJ: A longer novel this time of the same genre.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JJ: Thank you very much for taking the time to read my book and inviting me on your blog, Cheryl.  It was a privilege.

CH: Thank you so much, Jenny Jackson, 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, Jenny Jackson 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 – Roxy Wilson

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Title: My Guardian Vampire: The Novel

Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Vampires

Synopsis: Can his love for her stand the test of time?

On a night that should have been an ordinary one, curvy BBW Lacey Parker is accosted by a knife-wielding mugger, but is soon rescued by a charismatic stranger. Not even 24 hours later, Lacey’s life is once again at risk and her rescuer of the previous night snatches her from the jaws of death.

Vampire Aric Thornton knew Lacey from the moment of her birth. His existence revolves around watching her every footstep and protecting her from the enemies she knows nothing about. He loves her with every fiber of his otherworldly being, but the crazy thing is she didn’t even know he existed… until one night in the darkened alley.

Lacey can’t stand it; one minute Aric is all over her, can’t get his hands off of her, and the next he is giving her the cold shoulder. It doesn’t help that Damian is also vying for her affections. Can she and Aric defeat the forces that are conspiring against them and still have the love of a lifetime before it’s too late?

Roxy Wilson, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Roxy Wilson. She is a self-professed book junkie. Welcome to my blog, Roxy.

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

RW: A sexy-as-sin vampire and an I-don’t-give-a-damn heroine, Aric and Lacey, face many challenges on their road to love. 

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

RW: I just wondered what it would be like if a vampire fell in love with someone he knew and even protected, since she was a baby.  He would definitely have internal conflicts, as he wrestled with the very adult/romantic feelings he has for her; yet, having the paternal instinct to continue to protect her.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

RW: It was all in my imagination.

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

RW: I’m an educator by profession and I like to think that I give my readers the opportunity to learn something new, or at least look at a particular issue in a different way. For example, Smitten highlights the possible effects that gentrification can have on a community; Work It Out touches on how some single mothers handle raising a child with autism. The Baby Proposal examined the real issues that a surrogate mother can face. In fact, it was inspired by a true story!  Then there is Ms. Perfectly Imperfect in which the heroine has alopecia!  Can you imagine reading a romance about a bald-headed heroine? And even though My Guardian Vampire is a paranormal romance, I wanted readers to learn (if they hadn’t done so before) that you can’t force love; if you are meant for someone, there’s no thing or no one that can stop you and that special someone from being together. I’ve written dozens of books, so I won’t be able to elaborate on all of them; however, I guess by now you got the picture. 🙂

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

RW: I enjoy reading and writing romance. Period. I’m also fascinated by real-life stories of people who’ve faced seemingly insurmountable challenges, but still found the love of their life in the end. These stories inspire my own writing; so, my answer is yes and yes.  In other words, it’s not particularly hard to create believable situations and issues, and there are times that I take them from real life and put my own spin on them.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RW: None of the characters were particularly hard to write.  I loved them all. It was just a matter of me ensuring that each of them had a distinct voice, and a distinct personality.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

RW: I certainly enjoyed writing Lacey Parker’s character.

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

RW: I’ve got to admit that I didn’t get many reviews on this book, but the average rating is 4 stars.

CH: Is this the only genre you write?

RW: No.  I write Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) under two pen names: one for the sexy JAFF and the other for the clean, Regency JAFF. I also write WWWM bad boy romance under another pen name. I wish to keep these pen names a secret. Roxy Wilson is my most popular pen name, however.  Check out Roxy Wilson and perhaps, you may see something that may satisfy your reading palate. 🙂

CH: What is your next writing project?

RW: I’ll be re-releasing my first romance.  I’ve got a new cover and have given it a new title, as well.  Please permit me to reveal my cover to your readers. 🙂

Isn’t it lovely?  This is book one of a 4-book series. Also, I’m collaborating with a new author. It will be her first romance, so I do hope that when our book hits the shelves, so-to-speak, that you guys will show her some love. 🙂

CH: How to Find Roxy Wilson:

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

RW: You can purchase My Guardian Vampire on Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RW: I’m glad you asked. 🙂

It’s always a lovely feeling for authors when readers support them by not only buying or borrowing (if it’s enrolled in Kindle Unlimited) their book, but also by leaving a review. Reviews don’t have to be long, but they do bring visibility to the author’s work. These days it’s becoming harder and harder for many authors to break even when they release a book. Things have become such a challenge that many authors who were once writing full-time are now looking for gainful full-time or part-time employment in order to make ends meet. So, dear readers, don’t get mad when your favorite authors are taking longer than expected to release the second, third or fourth book in a series. Some of them are trying to meet their monthly obligations and have very little time to reserve for writing nowadays.

Finally, I love and appreciate every one of you who set aside a few hours of your time to read one of my books. I don’t take it for granted. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of authors, who write the same genres that I do; therefore, I’m delighted when you see value in reading my books. Much Love. Cheryl, thanks for having me on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, Roxy Wilson, 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, Roxy Wilson 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 – David Ahern

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Title: Madam Tulip And The Bones of Chance

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands.  But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion.  Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip. As Derry and her friend, Bruce, race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Madam Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip: And The Bones of Chance is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

David Ahern, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author David Ahern. He writes mystery thrillers with some humor. Welcome to my blog, David.

CH: This book is the third book in the Madam Tulip Mystery series. It is about the out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell. Why should we read this book?

DA: That depends on who you are.  If you’re bored with implausible action heroines, you’ll like that Derry O’Donnell is completely believable. If you’re tired of dark and gloomy crime, Madam Tulip has lots of laughs.  If you like cozy mysteries, but wish they were page turners as well, then…

CH: This time Derry is in a movie, instead of a play. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

DA: It would be a spoiler if I told you, but let’s say the movie business is about money and not much else. And where there’s money, there’s greed and there’s crime.

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

DA: Nothing so complicated. Scenes just play out for me, and the characters do whatever they do.

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

DA: I’ve had some experience with almost everything in the story (except the criminal parts, I’d better say.)

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

DA: I like a book that’s an easy read, but not dumbed down in any way.  All the best performances look easy.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

DA: I never have trouble with characters.  They just walk on and start talking.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

DA: Can’t say I have any favorites, but I love writing the scenes between Derry’s divorced parents—an Irish artist father and her wildly successful art dealer mother. They’re hilarious, and I really do laugh out loud writing them. Readers seem to agree with me; they love Jacko and Vanessa.

CH: Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?

DA: Like I said, they really do just walk on and start talking. I don’t plan them at all.

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

DA: Yes. I knew straight away that I’d want these characters around me for a long time.

CH: Will there be any more books in this series?

DA: Lots, I hope.  Book #4 is in the writing now.

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

DA: I’m not a message kind of person. But I do love my heroine Derry O’Donnell (aka Madam Tulip) and I like what she’s made of.

CH: This book was just released. What kind of feedback are you getting from ARC readers of this book?

DA: I never know what to think of a book when I’ve finished it, so I’m surprised that everyone is saying it’s even better than the last.  Nice if that’s true, but only readers can judge.

CH: What is your next writing project?

DA: Madam Tulip #4. I know what it’s called, but I’m not telling.

CH: How to Find David Ahern:

CH: Where is your book sold?

DA: The paperback and eBook were on Amazon presale from March 12th, and it was published yesterday, April 12th.  The book will be exclusive to Amazon for a little while, but then more widely available.

CH: Any additional comments?

DA: I hope people enjoy reading Madam Tulip stories, as much as I enjoy writing them.

CH: Any closing remarks?

DA: Thanks so much for the chat. Next time, I’ll bring the cake.

CH: Thank you so much, David Ahern, 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, David Ahern 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 – Annemarie Neary

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Title: The Orphans

Genre: Psychological Mystery/ Thriller/Suspense/Family Life

Synopsis: Eight-year-old Jess and her little brother were playing at the water’s edge when their parents vanished.

For hours the children held hands and waited for them to return. But nobody ever came back.

Years later, Jess has become a locker of doors. Now a lawyer and a mother, she is determined to protect the life she has built around her. But her brother, Ro, has grown unpredictable, elusive and obsessive.

When new evidence suggests that their mother might be alive, Ro reappears, convinced that his sister knows more than she claims.

And then bad things start to happen.

Annemarie Neary, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Annemarie Neary. She has been inspired to write a number of short stories. Welcome to my blog, Annemarie.

CH: This book is about abandonment and loss. Why should we read this psychological mystery?

AN: The book would interest those fascinated by family dynamics, and by the secrets families keep. It is a suspenseful mystery, but the drama of the orphaned siblings, Jess and Ro, is at the center of the book. As young children, Jess and Ro found themselves seemingly abandoned on a beach in Goa, India, at that time a kind of New Age paradise. As adults, they have been indelibly marked by that experience in quite different ways. When their mother’s passport is found and it appears that she may have survived that Goa beach and left India soon afterwards, the plot is set in motion.

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

AN: Actually, the premise was inspired by a story I was told by a friend who had met someone who’d experienced something similar. I’m interested in orphans in fiction, of which there are very many—Superman, Jane Eyre, Pippi Longstocking, the Baudelaire family—to name just a few. There are (very broadly speaking) two basic fictional types—the orphan figure who yearns for structure and a conventional place within society, and the adventurer or outsider. I played around with these ideas when conceiving the characters.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

AN: I did quite a lot of research on Ro’s psychology. He is the more damaged of the two siblings, and his actions are what drive the plot. A couple of decades on, he is still following up random sightings of his mother, convinced she is still alive and has decided to live her life without him. He is burdened by a compulsion to tell and re-tell his story in the hope that one day he might remember a detail that might provide the key to the mystery. I also researched the life-style his parents would have experienced in the commune, mainly through anecdotes told on New Ager reunion sites.

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

AN: I think my readers will be the best judge of that, but I’m aiming to grip the reader, move her/him, and evoke time and place.

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

AN: Apart from the initial set-up, the story is entirely imagined. However, most of the book is set in London, and is inspired by the Common where I live. I don’t know that you have many Commons in the US, but in London they are large areas of open space, some wilder than others, which are remnants of ancient wilderness in the heart of the city. This lends them a certain mystery and I thought it would be a good place to play out a drama made up of absence and memory and threat.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AN: I didn’t find any particular character hard to write. They are all hard!

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

AN: I suppose Ro is the closest to a ‘baddie’ in this book, and I think they are always the most fun to write. He is very far removed from me—different gender, personality, preoccupations—and I found it fascinating to try to wear his shoes.

CH: Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?    

AN: I don’t tend to consciously base my characters on real people. These are amalgams of aspects of people I’ve imagined, met or read about. I listen hard, though…

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

AN: Not really, other than that childhood trauma can have terrible consequences, and that we should be alive to that.

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

AN: I think most readers find it atmospheric and suspenseful, and a sharp portrait of a certain kind of London family. I hope some of them also feel empathy for its characters, too. A lot of people love the Common (as do I)!

CH: Since this is your third novel, can you tell us a little about the other novels?

AN: My first novel, A Parachute in the Lime Tree is a wartime story about love and neutrality and the consequences of war told from the points of view of four people, Irish and German, in 1941. My second, Siren, is a post-Troubles thriller set partly in late 1970s Belfast and partly on a remote Irish island about 15 years ago with a strong female protagonist, who is both perpetrator and victim. It’s about identity, revenge, redemption, and how someone is always watching.

CH: What is your next writing project?

AN: I’m about to deliver the first draft of my fourth novel to my agent, hopefully next week!  It’s a thriller set at the shadowy margins of the oil industry in contemporary Algiers—full of skullduggery and intrigue. At the center of the book is an alliance between two women, a young Anglo-French geologist, who stumbles into a web of corruption, and her much older Algerian interpreter.

CH: How to Find Annemarie Neary:

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

AN: All three books are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble and other US booksellers.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AN: Many thanks for having me on your blog, Cheryl. Happy to answer any other questions your readers might have via Twitter or on my website messaging service.

CH: Thank you so much, Annemarie Neary, 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, Annemarie Neary 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 – Jenny Xu

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Title: Rich Bedroom Poor Bedroom: Secrets of Feng Shui – Key to Wealth, Health, Romance and Prosperity

Genre: Hobbies/Home/Decorating

Synopsis: Simple ways to create a fortune in any room. This lavishly illustrated guide explains the principles of Feng Shui in a comprehensive and aesthetic way, combining the secrets of Chinese wisdom with wise design tips to promote health, wealth, romance and prosperity. In this book you will discover authentic Feng Shui design principles, guiding you to confidently create an aesthetic bedroom by balancing the natural and human-made environments. It also explains how, by making changes to your surroundings, you can cultivate good health, nourish relationships and attract prosperity both at home and in business. More than 70 images illustrate the essential guidelines for you to create a beautiful bedroom that perfectly reflects your style and personality.

Jenny Xu, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Jenny Xu. She has a degree in Architecture and Interior Design, with a special emphasis on Feng Shui. Welcome to my blog, Jenny.

CH: Why should we read your book on Feng Shui in the bedroom?

JX: Feng Shui is about being in balance and in harmony with the energies around you. We spend approximately 30% of our time in bed every day. The bedroom is one of the most important areas in the home. Feng Shui principles are the same. That is the reason people should read this book.

It would be unfortunate for you not to know the secrets of good Feng Shui when so many other people from all walks of life are taking advantage of it. It is that helpful. When you follow good Feng Shui principles, the bad days seem to disappear and you feel that your life has become more and more enjoyable.

When you practice good Feng Shui daily, you will be able to enjoy a life filled with health, fortune, wealth, prosperity and happiness.

CH: Can you tell us about Feng Shui history?

JX: Feng Shui has more than five thousand years of history in China. Historically, Feng Shui principles were employed only for The Imperial Palace or a noble family resident. The most important concept in Feng Shui theory is “Air” which means “Qi” or “Life-Force Energy.” When your home is surrounded with good Feng Shui Qi, it can promote harmony, balance, health, prosperity and a long life. Water means prosperity in Feng Shui. That is the reason why most of the houses along a lake, beach or ocean are more expensive. It is the same as humans not being able to live without water and air. This book will not go into a lot of detail about the history of Feng Shui, because it is so extensive, but it will explain in detail how to apply the principles to reflect the best design for your personal space and bedroom.

CH: What made you decide to write this book?

JX: I received a degree in Architecture and Interior Design from UCLA Extension, with a special emphasis on Feng Shui. I have long been fascinated by this five thousand year old Chinese study of the impact of architecture and design on people and the environments in which they live and work. I recognized that some of my friends were suffering financial loss and illness and came to the conclusion that it was due to an unbalanced, bad Feng Shui house. As a designer, I feel like I have to share the secrets of Feng Shui with everyone. I am committed to making sure that everyone has a comfortable living space. In addition, my friend Stephen Rivele, producer and writer, best known for his work on the film’s ‘Ali’ (2001) and ‘Nixon’ (1995, Academy Award Nomination), encouraged and supported me in writing this book.

CH: There are 5 basic Feng Shui elements to create balance and energy. Do you incorporate these into your designs?

JX: Yes, I do incorporate Feng Shui elements into my designs. Each design that I complete creates an aesthetic space by balancing the natural and human-made environments. I make changes to the surroundings in order to help my clients cultivate good health, nourish positive relationships and attract prosperity, both at home and in business.

CH: Can you give us an example of designing a bedroom with Feng Shui?

JX: Here’s is an example: I had a client who was missing the Metal Element, which is one of the elements in Feng Shui. I designed a piece for his bedroom which was located in the southern sector of his home. I placed a metal vase with 50 pounds of pennies in his bedroom. This was in 2017. Without this remedy, there was a greater chance that he would have suffered illness and financial loss.

CH: Can you tell us why we should use Feng Shui in our bedrooms?

JX: Believe it or not, Feng Shui works for many people, including billionaires, such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Li Ka-shing, Oprah Winfrey and Jack Ma, whose company, Alibaba, is set for the largest U.S. IPO in history. All of these business magnates, whose careers have been examined, have been either intentionally or accidentally aligned with the ‘correct’ Feng Shui elemental designs. All of the businessmen, whose failures and misfortunes we have seen, have been aligned with the wrong Feng Shui elemental designs.

CH: Are fortune and prosperity what most people want?

JX: I would like to think that people want prosperity in some form or another in their lives. Fortune or wealth, I think, is something some people want, while others just want to be content, balanced and at peace. We all deserve a healthy, fortunate, happy, peaceful and prosperous life. It doesn’t matter how big or small your bedroom is, everyone is capable of achieving this themselves in order to improve their life.

CH: Are pets a part of good Feng Shui?

JX: Animals have naturally positive Qi energy, which is beneficial in achieving balance in people’s lives and homes. If you are an animal lover, you may have pets in your home, so you should be aware that cats and dogs are very sensitive to their environments. They can instinctively feel imbalances in your space. Too much clutter, too many chemicals, too many toxic substances or blocked doorways can cause Qi energy to become stuck and/or stagnant. Watch where your dog or cat spends the most time or which area they tend to avoid. This could give you a big clue as to what areas in your home are ‘blocked.’

CH: How do colors and shapes fit into Feng Shui?

JX: Colors have an enormous impact on us psychologically, emotionally and even physically. Ultra Violet is the Pantone color of the year for 2018, but if your bedroom is located in the north sector of the home, it cannot be painted purple in the bedroom in 2018, otherwise it has the potential of causing illness, arguments and financial loss. Purple, red, orange and pink are Fire Elements in Feng Shui theory. Those saturated colors tend to trigger your stress response and make you feel more anxious. Only lighter shades calm you down in the bedroom. Balance is the key. Rectangles and squares are the perfect shape for the bedroom because they tend to create a smooth energy flow without any of the hassles. Any irregular shaped bedroom can create unstable, stagnate Qi.

CH: What is the best direction for the bed?

JX: Everyone has their own individual auspicious Feng Shui for their bed placement. It depends on their personal Feng Shui Element. For example, if the person belongs to the Fire Element, her headboard should face toward the South wall, as well as placing the bed against the wall.

CH: Any specific tips you can offer my audience?

JX: Absolutely! Here are a few tips to keep in mind. Never place a mirror opposite, next to, or over the bed. It will cause energy to bounce around the room and interfere with your rest. Reflective surfaces, such as mirrors are thought to magnify problems and worries. Wrongful placement in a bedroom could negatively affect health and wealth! When a large mirror is placed in a bedroom, year after year, the cumulative effects may bring the occupants inexplicable feelings of dizziness, depression and sadness. It may develop into other cognitive illness, such as depression. That is one of the reasons why someone may not have a good night’s sleep. Another helpful tip: Avoid full-sized animal images in the bedroom, because they can create Sha Qi (negative Qi) in the room. The sleeper may soon find that he or she is depressed, stressed, argumentative and experiencing a diminished ability to do daily work, together with damage to his or her relationships.

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

JX: The feedback has been amazing! There are so many people I have encountered who have no idea of the proper balance and designing with Feng Shui principles, and how they can make such a huge difference in their daily lives. Within the first week of its release, Rich Bedroom Poor Bedroom, shot to the #1 Bestselling position on Amazon with fifteen 5-star reviews.

CH: What is your next writing project?

JX: My next book will be titled, Successful Office Failure Office. It will be centered around the benefits of applying Feng Shui principles to your work space.

CH: How to Find Jenny Xu:

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

JX: Currently, Rich Bedroom Poor Bedroom, is available on Amazon in both paperback and eBook. It is also available through Barnes and Noble. In the next few months, the book should be available in bookstores across the U.S.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JX: This book is appropriate for everyone. It doesn’t matter the size of your bedroom—you can apply Feng Shui designing principles. Everyone deserves a good quality of life. Every house has a ‘trigram’ or life essence, that determines the ebb and flow of Qi. Each house has its own unique Feng Shui element and magnetic orientation. Each house has a unique style. This means that it is necessary to do a thorough analysis of a house to ensure that it embodies the best possible Feng Shui. This comprehensive analysis includes not only the interior design, but also the location, materials, colors and furnishings, with a full Feng Shui interpretation to promote comfort and a high-quality lifestyle. You can learn how to do this yourself. Rich Bedroom Poor Bedroom will teach you how. Thank you so much, Cheryl. I greatly appreciate this interview.

CH: Thank you so much, Jenny Xu, 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, Jenny Xu and Cheryl Holloway.

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Cheryl Holloway Remembering Dr. King on the 50th Anniversary of His Death

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On Apr 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of room 306 at the Lorraine Motel at 6:01 pm, and he was pronounced dead at 7:05 pm at St. Joseph’s Hospital. Many American people were upset over the assassination of Dr. King. There were riots across the country as the news of his death spread. Dr. King advocated justice for all people.

A Historic Anniversary – It’s been 50 years since his death.

Yet, the United States of America is still struggling with racism!

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 – Violetta Armour

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Title: I’ll Always Be with You

Genre: Contemporary/Coming of Age

Synopsis: Since the horrific night a drunk driver slammed into their car during his driving lesson, young Teddy has had to live with the memory of seeing his beloved father, Stan, die. Now just sixteen, he carries both sorrow and survivor’s guilt. Concerned for her grieving son, Mary decides to put as much distance as she can between Teddy and the nightmarish Phoenix intersection that claimed Stan’s life. She moves the family to Stan’s small Indiana hometown, a place of peace in which she hopes they can build new memories. There, Teddy finds inspiration in an old book his great-grandfather carried with him to America, a book Bulgarian fathers have always read to their sons. Is Stan reaching out to his son from the grave? Mary also makes an equally life-changing discovery in the small town-Rosetta, Stan’s high school sweetheart. The deeper Mary digs, the more she learns of the forbidden love Stan and Rosetta shared. During the Civil Rights Movement, they dared to reach out for love across racial lines. Now as their three lives intertwine, Teddy, Mary, and Rosetta must make difficult choices. Will they choose happiness? Or will old pains cause them to live as victims of circumstances? Beginning in 1912 on Ellis Island and told in three voices over four generations, I’ll Always Be with You is a profound celebration of the power of family.

Violetta Armour, Author

CH:  Today’s Guest Author is Violetta Armour. Violetta is a first-generation American who cherishes her Bulgarian/Macedonian heritage. Her grandfather immigrated to America in the 1920’s and settled in Gary, Indiana where she was raised. Welcome to my blog, Violetta.

CH: Some of my followers may know that I was also raised in Gary, Indiana. This book is about generations in a family and loss. Why should we read this book?

VA: I’ll Always Be with You will appeal to readers who might have experienced a loss and how the love of family and friends can guide them through this difficult journey. It is also about the wisdom the older generation can impart to the younger ones. Although it starts with a tragic event, readers tell me it is an uplifting story.

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

VA: My initial idea was a story along the lines of pay it forward and how random acts of kindness can eventually come back full circle to the very person who started the chain.  Some call it good karma.  I strayed a bit from that initial idea although there are many good deeds performed by the characters as they face their unique challenges.

CH: I love the pay it forward concept. Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

VA: The book is mostly my imagination, although I did research the process of coming through Ellis Island in the early 1900’s, as my parents did.  I also researched the turbulent decade of the sixties in our country. There was a wealth of material to choose from in both times. The book takes place in 1999 with a flashback to the 60’s. I placed it in 1999 because I wanted to close with a scene I liked from my first draft-a New Year’s Eve celebration at the millennium.

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

VA: My readers have told me they like seeing the same situation from three different voices and viewpoints—a teen-ager, his mother and his dead father’s high school girlfriend. They also like the short chapters. It’s been dubbed an easy read and I often heard what became my five new favorite words in the English language:  “I couldn’t put it down.”

CH: Those five words are every author’s favorite. Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

VA: I think the situations are believable because everyone has experienced teen angst, young love, uncertainty, jealousy and insecurity. These are some of the issues my characters are faced with. Anyone who has had to start over in life could relate—be it a new school, a move across the country or any unfamiliar situation.  It is also about forgiveness—both of self and others.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

VA: The character who was hardest to write was Mary, Teddy’s mother. I say that because at that point in my life I had not experienced the loss of a husband, so I could only imagine her grief, as it might be.   Her particular challenge was that she had to be cautious in displaying her grief, because Teddy was suffering from survivor guilt, as well as feeling that he was to blame for his father’s death. Mary often had to choose between being a grieving widow or a compassionate mother.  Her further challenge was to come to terms with the secret, she later discovered about her husband’s past.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

VA: Of course, I love the main character, sixteen-year old Teddy. It is mainly his story. But the most fun to write was his new-found friend Mindy. She’s a quirky, nerdy Brainiac, who gradually helps Teddy come out of his despair and learn to laugh again. It was fun to come up with unusual facts she knows and remembers and then blurts out usually at the most inappropriate time.

CH: Was it hard developing characters/voices from a previous generation?

VA: Developing voices from a previous generation was not difficult, because I am a first-generation American and grew up in an ethnic community, surrounded by these voices. They were ingrained in me at an early age.

CH: Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?

VA: Inspiration for the characters evolved as the story unfolded. My first draft (1999-yes, that long ago) was just Teddy’s voice.  I wanted to tell a story of a young boy who had to experience change and how to come out a better person for it. When I had difficulty finding a publisher for that first story, I became discouraged and put it away until 2013. (It was really a pretty awful attempt at that point, so I am not surprised that no one wanted it.) But I kept thinking about Teddy through the years and finally decided that he did have a meaningful message. I just had to make it more interesting. That’s when I added the voices (viewpoints) of his mother, Mary, and Rosetta, his dead father’s high school girlfriend.  I thought this would not only make it more interesting, but give it wider audience appeal to adults. The irony of this is that the two awards the book received in 2016 were both for young adult fiction.

CH: Do you enjoy writing about family history?

VA: I did enjoy writing about family history, because let’s face it, our history is who we are and often greatly affects who we become, as an adult. It seems people either embrace their heritage or disown it. Today, with all the sources available to us to research our ancestry, it seems more people are seeking their roots. I never appreciated my rich cultural background (Bulgarian), while I was growing up. Only in my later years, did I realize what a treasure my parents had instilled in me. Their love for America and the freedoms it offered seeped into the novel through the character Baba, (the grandmother) although, I did not set out to do this initially.

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

VA: The message I would hope readers might grasp from the novel is the awareness that life and our circumstances can often change in an instant and how we deal with that change is a choice. We can become stronger and grow from the experience or become a victim. As Teddy, who finds an old Bulgarian book in Baba’s attic that becomes a guide and inspiration to him, discovers The past cannot be changed, but the future is in your hands.

CH: This book was written a few years ago, but you have a lot of reviews. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

VA: Feedback from my readers is the most rewarding thing I have experienced in the publication of my book—and far beyond my expectations. I think when you spend so much time with a story, you lose your objectivity and by the end you are not sure if you have created something worthy at all. When readers said “I loved your book,” my initial reaction was one of relief.  (Oh, thank goodness it wasn’t terrible.)  In the beginning, I often cried when they told me this. As it happened more frequently, I felt a deep satisfaction that I had taken the risk to put myself out there. And when comments like, “I laughed, I cried, I couldn’t put it down,” came it was both joyous and humbling. There is no greater satisfaction than knowing your words have touched another life in a meaningful way. One of my favorite fan mails was from an 8th grader who said, “Most adults don’t get teen romance right. You were spot on.”

CH: Do you plan on writing another book soon?

VA: Yes, I’m writing the sequel to I’ll Always be With You, because so many people have asked for it. They want to know when…whoops…that would be a plot spoiler, so I’ll just say I left one situation unresolved, not with the intention of writing a sequel, but because I felt it was more realistic as real life is often not wrapped up in a big pink bow. I must say, however, the sequel is a bit daunting as I don’t know how much of the first story to recap in order to make new readers aware of how they evolved to this point. In other words, for the readers to care about the characters, as if they had read the first book. I also wrote a cozy mystery entitled Mahjongg Murder that is in the process of seeking a publisher. Four old ladies play Mahjongg and when one dies, mysteriously, another one tries to solve the crime. Of course, she botches it completely, while falling in love with the widowed detective. It was fun and a totally different genre.

CH: How to Find Violetta Armour:

CH: Where is your book sold?

VA: I’ll Always Be with You is sold on Amazon.com in all formats—hardcover, paper, eBook and audible. It can also be purchased or ordered from any retail bookstore.

CH: Any closing remarks?

VA: I’ve been so fortunate that the book has appealed to many book clubs and I have joined over twenty of them for their discussions in Arizona. I have also skyped with those in other states and would be happy to do so with any book club who choses to read it.  I will close with one of Teddy’s quotes:  Life is a song. Find your melody and play it. Although, it took me many years, I feel so fortunate to have found my melody. Thanks again for the opportunity to be on your blog, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Violetta Armour, 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, Violetta Armour and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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Cheryl Holloway Discusses How to Improve Your Writing Skills

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How to Improve Your Writing Skills

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to improving your writing skills.

The bad news is writing can often times be very intimidating to people who don’t write on a regular basis. However, the good news is that any writer can improve their writing skills with a little discipline and with a little eagerness to learn. Here are some of my tips.

Learn the Basics of Grammar and Writing

  • Take a writing class at your local college or a writing workshop by a well-known author in your city. From time to time, I teach Writing Workshops from coast to coast. So, if I’m in your area, check me out!
  • Buy some General Writing Guides – Every writer should have a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk and White on their book shelf for general writing. I would also suggest a Manual of Style (a guide for authors and editors), such as Chicago Manual of Style or New York Times Manual of Style. Some other writing book suggestions are Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott; On Writing by Stephen King; and Stein on Writing by Sol Stein. If all else fails, try Writing Fiction for Dummies. Surprisingly, it has good writing information in it.

  • Buy a good book on how to write in your genre. Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery/Thriller, etc. Years ago, I had a really good book on How to Write Romance Stories. I told many romance authors about it and loaned it to a few authors. Well, my book eventually disappeared. Now, it’s out of print. (Note: If you stole my book, please return it!)

Read to enhance your writing.

  • The best writers are avid readers, and surprisingly reading on a regular basis is an easy way to start enhancing your own writing skills. I used to read a book a day, but in recent years I have slowed down on the number of books I read daily.
  • Expand your reading to more challenging books. Don’t just read the same author or genre all the time—diversify your reading material. Note: Read 2 or 3 books on the best sellers list and open your eyes to new authors.
  • While reading other authors, pay attention to how they write: sentence structure; use of synonyms, antonyms, and adjectives; word choices; descriptions; character developments; transitions; showing versus telling; and how the story flows. This will be extremely helpful to you as a writer.

Develop your own style.

  • Discover your own “voice”through trial and error.
  • Analyze famous writers by imitating (not duplicating) their writing style.
  • Try various elements from a variety of your favorite authors and create your own style of

Write with a passion.

  • Write regularly and consistently. By now, you should know my saying, “Writers write.”

Review your writing.

  • Every 3 months Review your earlier work and see how you’ve grown. Note: Read something you wrote five years ago and you will laugh at your naiveté in early writing.

My last tip is easy—continue writing and continue growing.

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 – Paul Anthony

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Title: White Eagle

Genre: Organized Crime/Espionage

Synopsis: A Cumbrian detective is working with the Special Crime Unit and elements of British Intelligence.

When a desperate young man is forced out of his home in the mountains, he claims ‘Qisas’ and sets out on a bitter journey of revenge. As he terrorizes a continent with his wicked plan, the evil megalomaniac becomes an iconic figure synonymous with fear and dread. In a fast-moving, white knuckle ride, the unknown assassin leaves police and intelligence services reeling from the sheer pressure of relentless attacks.

What is White Eagle? Is it the name of a bird of prey? Or is it a mysterious individual who has no name? There are those who think White Eagle is a newly formed terrorist group working for the highest bidder. Whichever, it’s a mystery no-one can solve. Mouretti, the man from NATO, takes up the case and is determined to claim all the glory.

The plot explodes when Boyd and his team from the Special Crime Unit become involved. All hell breaks out as three single-minded individuals, each propelled and fuelled by revenge, fight for victory.

Who will win and who is doomed to failure? In the chaos that surrounds the investigation, does anyone walk away unscathed?

Paul Anthony, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Paul Anthony.  He is the UK Crime Writer. Welcome to my blog, Paul.

CH: We don’t know who or what is ‘White Eagle’? So, please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this novel.

PA: This is a book that informs, engages, engrosses, and entertains the reader.

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

PA: The story begins in the isolated Quandril Mountains of the Middle East. Here, the white eagle is prominent unlike the rest of the world where it is a comparative rarity in its purest form. The book traces the life of an innocent youngster, who befriends an eagle after a catastrophic attack on the remote village in which they both live. It is a life-changing episode that underpins and explains the protagonist’s motive of revenge. But the Quandril Mountains are also the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (a terrorist organization that is proscribed—prohibited, denounced and banned—in the UK and elsewhere), and our young man’s father is an integral part of the organization. Also known as the PKK, Kadedk, or Kongra Gele, the organization is a separatist movement that seeks an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey. This tale follows the flight of the eagle and its Muslim handler, as they embark on a mission of global revenge.

CH: What made you decide to write a book about organized crime/espionage?

PA: I don’t know anything about flower arranging, cookery or gardening so I learnt long ago not to write about things that I am not familiar with. As a detective, I was in command of a counter-terrorist unit and worked extensively throughout the UK, with various agencies, on counter-terrorism at the national and international level. It is an area I am acquainted with.

CH: ‘Qisas’ is the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative to take the life of the killer. Most people have never heard of ‘Qisas’. Did you have to do a lot of research to write this book?

PA: My main area of research revolved around the geography and environment of the Quandril Mountains and various travel routes that the main character might take in his escape. The term ‘Qisas’ may not be recognizable to some but it is an Islamic term meaning retaliation in kind, revenge, an eye for an eye, or retributive justice. It is a category of crimes in Islamic jurisprudence where Sharia Law allows equal retaliation as the punishment. It’s available—against the accused—to the victim or victim’s heirs, when a Muslim is murdered, suffers bodily injury, or suffers property damage. In the case of murder, Qisas means the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative or legal guardian to, if the Sharia court approves, take the life of the killer. Qisas is one of several forms of punishment in Islamic Penal Law. In the world of counter-terrorism—or counter extremism—it will always be necessary to acknowledge how others live their lives irrespective of what religion, faith, race colour or creed they belong to. Since Islam is the second biggest religion in the world with over one and a half billion followers, I would suggest to you that ‘Qisas’ is a well-known term in some quarters, since it is part of Sharia Law. That law is present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mauritania, and some parts of Indonesia. In many places in the United States of America and Canada, however, Sharia Law is banned in the legal system and explains why some people from the ‘west’ will not be aware of the term ‘Qisas.’ With this in mind, I suggest to you that the novel, White Eagle, informs and entertains the reader as the work unravels. It is fast-moving fiction based inside a model of fact.

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

PA: My writing style has evolved over the years and has certainly improved since my first published work in 1996. It’s much crisper and innovative than those days. I enjoy writing and am always looking for ways to deliver a good-paced thriller that doesn’t confuse the reader.

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

PA: At the end of the day, this book is like many others. Who wins? Who loses? Or is it a draw? It’s good versus bad with explanations as to why, offered along the way. The writing is certainly believable, but there is obviously a lot of imagination in use too. Some of the action sequences are quite unique, whilst also being extremely credible.

CH: Can readers tell where the truth ends and fiction begins or did you write transparently?

PA: The whole work is entirely fictitious, but the narrative often explains where the truth—or fact—lies in the story and why it is written in the manner it is.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

PA: Mouretti! Whilst the ‘baddie’ is a terrorist, Boyd and Mouretti are the good guys, trying to identify him and chase him down. Boyd is a Scotland Yard detective working out of a unit inside Counter Terrorist Command. Mouretti is a NATO investigator, who develops a ‘freelance’ interest in the inquiry when terrorism rips his life to pieces. Balancing and developing a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad good guy,’ who have no relationship to each other is not as easy as it might seem. They have to work out, if they are looking for a terrorist, a terrorist organization, or a crime syndicate. And who is who? It’s not until the very end that all is revealed.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

PA: White Eagle is part of the Boyd detective series that I have written. It has proved extremely popular in the UK, where each of the books have reached bestseller status in the Kindle store. Boyd is a Cumbrian from the Lake District and he speaks his mind to the extent that he is often in trouble with his bosses. His team is formed from a mix of elite UK detectives and a selection of high-grade intelligence officers from MI5—the Security Service. His second in command, Anthea, is an intrepid member of the unit who does not suffer fools gladly. Intelligent and extremely competent, she is a crack shot. Alternatively, and of equal enjoyment, Antonia, of MI5, is a privileged daughter of parents who left her a financial legacy. She is of comfortable private means. In the City, in the country club, she has no enemies, save those who bitch at her pretentiousness. Antonia has connections in every corner of society that one might imagine: the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a senior Intelligence Officer, she is a leading member of the controversial team and she is falling in love with Phillip Nesbit, director general of the security service. So, my favourite characters are probably Boyd, Anthea and Antonia.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

PA: I’ve not actually found any of them difficult to develop as I have profiles of every character that I have written about.

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

PA: The message ‘Why?’ is posed in the first chapter and runs through the story. The book will interest those who like a good mystery, a murder, a fast-paced thriller, a police procedural with a twist of espionage, and even a political thriller, because it has all of those elements thrown in. It shows the problems a police and intelligence service have in identifying a terrorist, what steps are used to try and catch someone, why terrorism occurs, and how terrorism could have been avoided in the historical context. In relation to Kurdistan, the work shows an understanding of how the making of war and defining a peace process are bizarrely related.

CH: Since this book is full of suspense, action and intrigue, do you prefer writing books with a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs?

PA: My thrillers always carry some twists and turns, whether they lie in the plot or in the evolution of the character in the story. One of the problems for investigators, in this story, is that there is early evidence that White Eagle is a terrorist group. But how to find the group and identify it is the crux of an intriguing investigation that is guaranteed to keep the reader engrossed.

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

PA: Very good. I’ve never chased or harried people for reviews because that’s not my way. But some of the reviews on Amazon are as follows:  …another brilliant story about William Boyd and his colleagues; …the author has really put together another great story and taken us to a different part of the world to get the excitement going in the book;  …Written with a great knowledge of the subject, this is well-paced, engaging and difficult to put down; …The characters are well thought out and believable and the story weaves effortlessly between locations. Great stuff; …Couldn’t put it down from start to finish. You will not be disappointed with it.

CH: What is your next writing project?

PA: This month (February 2018), I shall be publishing, Septimus, the story of a man from Cumbria, who gets embroiled in the Roman invasion of the Lake District and the subsequent invasion of Scotland. It’s loosely based on the life story of my great uncle, who was a scout for the US cavalry and one of the first recorded white men to journey into Indian country. It’s a departure from crime thrillers and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it. The next Boyd thriller is fully plotted, and I shall start writing that one soon.

CH: How to Find Paul Anthony:

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

PA: Amazon in Kindle and Lulu.com in print.

CH: Any closing remarks?

PA: Many thanks, Cheryl and best wishes from the UK.

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Paul Anthony 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 – Vanessa Riley

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Title: The Bittersweet Bride

Genre: African American Historical

Synopsis: Widow Theodosia Cecil needs a husband to help protect her son. The former flower seller, turned estate owner, posts an ad in the newspaper, and no one is more surprised than she, when her first love, the man she thought dead, reappears.

Ewan Fitzwilliam has been at war for six years. Now, the second son of a powerful Earl is back, but his beloved Theo needs a husband and will not consider him. She believes Ewan left her—in desperate straits—so she denies the feelings she still harbors for the handsome, scarred soldier. Theo and playwright Ewan must overcome bitter lies and vengeful actions that ruined their youthful affair. Theo must reveal her deepest secret in order to reclaim the love that has long been denied.

Vanessa Riley, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Vanessa Riley. She enjoys writing about the Regency and Victorian eras. Welcome to my blog, Vanessa.

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

VR: A widow needs a husband, anyone, but him—her ex, who she thought died and has returned to woo her.

CH: Your book deals with a widow wanting to find a husband and she places an ad in the newspaper. Almost like a few years ago when women placed a singles ad in the newspaper to find a significant other. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

VR: I do a ton of research in English history, particularly, the plight of the 10,000 free Blackamoor and mulatto people, who lived in London during the time of Jane Austen. I happened on a political cartoon (http://www.vanessariley.com/brides.htm) making fun of the common practice of placing an advertisement in the newspaper for marriages of convenience. All the women in the advertisement were made fun of, made to look ugly, but one woman, the Blackamoor woman was drawn to be horrible. Then, it came to me. How can I reclaim power for every woman who saw this and cringed? You make a story about three Blackamoor heiresses, who place ads in the paper and leave it to them to choose their husbands.

CH: Women have been denying their feelings for years. So, what made you decide to include this aspect in your novel?

VR: Women need to be shown as full persons. That means they need to be written accepting their feelings, making their choices, and owning the consequences. That is my goal with every heroine I write. It’s how I give power back to the ancients and hopefully empower today’s readers.

CH: You have researched furnishings and even medicine for the era. So, did you have to do a great deal of historical research to write this book and keep it authentic?

VR: I do a ton of research for my books. My job sometimes is not only to entertain, but to educate. People feel that they know the Regency era based on all the books they see at Barnes & Nobles or the movies they watch. But many don’t know that Blackamoors were free in Regency England or that Jane Austen, the patron saint of the Regency, wrote of a wealthy mulatto heiress in her book, Sanditon.

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

VR: I always base situations on something I found in research like a court case or a political cartoon. Then, I let my mind create a story from these facts.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

VR: Ewan was hard to write. He’s a man of that era filled with all the chauvinistic paradigms and classist ideals that would be been ingrained in him through society and his dysfunctional family. Yet, he has to fight through his bitterness to see the truth and then to forgive himself and deem himself worthy enough to try to win Theo’s love again. It was a delicate balance.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

VR: Theodosia was my favorite. She’s been through a lot. She harbors guilt over her son and over the choices her mother made, but Theo is strong and knows her worth.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

VR: None of them were hard. I have a great picture in my head of who these people are and the lies they’ve internalized about themselves. Their journey is crafted by how do they break free of the lies and learn to love themselves fully. I firmly believe that only when the lies are broken that one can be free to love one another and to love them well.

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

VR: I have been told that I have a very lyrical writing style. Hopefully, that helps you feel the characters and the songs of their spirit.

CH: How do you decide to name your historical characters?

VR: Research. I use names that are historically accurate to the time period and then fit the character.

CH: Is historical romance the only genre that you write?

VR: Yes. So, far.

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

VR: That love, deep and abiding love, is available, but only comes when there is true forgiveness and understanding.

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

VR: I love, love, love the feedback. First, everyone adores Theodosia and her strength. Many have written about sharing her pain for her son Phillip and her guilt over his hearing loss. That journey, of Theodosia accepting Phillip’s difficulties and embracing his possibilities, is not over. Keep reading The Advertisements for Love Series to see what total acceptance looks like.

Ewan is getting mixed reactions. His hurt and anger at all he lost comes across. He was more willing to believe lies, than to accept the truth, that his lack of faith caused everything to go wrong in his life. Again, keep reading The Advertisements for Love Series. He may grow on you.

CH: What is your next writing project?

VR: Well, there are two more books releasing this year in the series: The Bashful Bride (5/28) and The Butterfly Bride (10/29). I think that fans of the series will truly enjoy how these stories and characters evolve.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

VR: The Bittersweet Bride and The Advertisement for Love Series—if you’d like to know more about my books and keep in touch online, find me on my website!

CH: How to Find Vanessa Riley:

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

VR: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Entangled Publishing.

CH: Any closing remarks?

VR: Cheryl, I just want to thank you for getting the word out about Vanessa Riley’s books. I love crafting stories about strong women who created their happy-ever-afters in Regency England. I hope you all will love them, too.

CH: Thank you so much, Vanessa Riley, 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, Vanessa Riley 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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 :

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Guest Author Interview – Angela P. Dodson

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March is Women’s History Month from March 1 through March 31. I’ve been celebrating all month so far, but wanted to spotlight this book on Women’s History. Please enjoy the blog post.

Title: Remember the Ladies: Celebrating Those Who Fought for Freedom at the Ballot Box

Genre: Women in History/Civil Rights & Liberties

Synopsis: From the birth of our nation to the recent crushing defeat of the first female presidential candidate, this book highlights women’s impact on United States politics and government. It documents the fight for women’s right to vote, drawing on historic research, biographies of leaders, and such original sources as photos, line art, charts, graphs, documents, posters, ads, and buttons. It presents this often-forgotten struggle in an accessible, conversational, relevant manner for a wide audience.

Here are the groundbreaking convention records, speeches, newspaper accounts, letters, photos, and drawings of those who fought for women’s right to vote, all in their own words, arranged to convey the inherent historical drama. The accessible almanac style allows this entertaining history speak for itself.

It is full of little-known facts. For instance: When the Second Continental Congress of the thirteen colonies convened to draft the Declaration of Independence, Abigail Adams admonished her husband John Adams to “remember the ladies” (write rights for women into the Constitution!).

Angela P. Dodson, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Angela P. Dodson. She enjoys reading history and researching genealogy. Welcome to my blog, Angela.

CH: This book highlights women’s impact on United States politics and government. It begins with a letter from Abigail Adams to her husband John Adams when he was President. So, please tell us why we should read this book about the struggle of women’s right to vote?

APD: You should read my book because it is eye-opening. It has helped people understand what women in this country endured to get the vote and to secure other rights. Abigail Adams wrote that letter to her husband, while he was at the Second Continental Congress. Women had virtually no rights at the time, and the Congress did not grant any. Women could not go to school, own property, divorce without a struggle, or get custody of their children. The book is relevant to today’s political atmosphere, as women mobilize to protect hard-won rights and to bring sexual assault into the forefront. I hope my book can be a conversation starter for women to talk about our political status and how we can elect more women to public office, especially, the White House.

CH: What made you decide to write this book?

APD: An editor challenged me to research the subject of woman suffrage for a book that would tie into the various centennial observations that would be coming up, leading up to 2020, the 100th anniversary of the Federal woman suffrage amendment. For instance, 2017 was the 100th anniversary of the passage of a referendum granting women the fight to vote in New York, and other states—Michigan, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Texas, have centennials this year. Once I began researching the people involved in gaining those victories and the hardships they endured, I was determined to bring this subject to life. I made a proposal on how I would present the story, and the publishing company accepted it.

CH: What were some of the challenges in writing this book?

APD: I had to teach myself how to research this, taking a lead from the bibliography of one book, or a brief mention on a website, to find the next resource I needed.  I was really starting from scratch. As I say in the book, I was a woman who was educated from the mid-1950s to the late 70s—grade school to grad school—before women’s history was taught widely. When I was in school, I don’t recall learning much of anything about the women’s rights movement or the individual women (and men) behind it. I did not own books on woman suffrage, and I had never really investigated the subject.

CH: Did you have to do any special historical research to write it?

APD: Early on, I went to local libraries with a list of names and topics to see what was in stock. Then, I bought a lot of books. In all, I read from dozens of books on individuals, specific issues, or related history. I got research from some original papers in libraries. Most of the photographs or sketches came from the Library of Congress, and I bought some on eBay. In addition, I also used online archives of newspapers going back to the 1850s and the online version of the six-volume History of Woman Suffrage. I looked at documentaries on DVDs. Finally, I went to Seneca Falls, NY, to see the place where the first women’s rights convention was held and to see the homes of its organizers, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jane Hunt and Mary Ann M’Clintock, and to Rochester, NY to see the home of Susan B. Anthony.

CH: What made you want to write about this often-forgotten struggle in American history?

APD: I found it fascinating and thought other people would too. I think it is very important that we know this history, so we do not take what we have now, for granted. I also became intrigued that many of the early women’s rights leaders were deeply rooted in the abolitionist movement and were part of the Underground Railroad network, opening their homes to those fleeing slavery. The book explores the ways blacks and whites, men and women, beginning as abolitionist allies, worked together in the women’s rights movement and sometimes, clashed.

CH: What made you decide to write this book in an accessible, conversational, relevant manner?

APD: It is my style, and it is what the publisher wanted. I am a journalist. I am not an academic, and I was not writing for academics or scholars as someone else might. As an editor, I have extensive experience in eliminating verbiage and packaging content. I want to present information in a manner that attracts and holds people’s attention without confusing them or overloading them. So, I approached this as if I were editing a magazine. My publisher compares it to an ‘almanac.’  I present the information in short, easily readable chapters. Throughout the book, we have ‘sidebars’—little stories on specific women or aspects of the movement that are freestanding. You do not even have to read the whole book or read it in any order to get something out of it. I think, people as young as 14 or 15 will be able to read it.

CH: Do you provide photos and additional information for the readers?

APD: Yes, Remember the Ladies has many beautiful photographs, drawings, maps, and cartoons. We have appendices on women elected to national office, a timeline, an excellent index, endnotes, and bibliography.

CH: This book documents the women’s struggle throughout American history. What made you want to compile the information for future generations?

APD: I realized that people did not know this history. I knew little about it until I embarked on this project, and I am a history buff, who has reviewed many history books and interviewed historians. As I noted, schools didn’t teach much about women’s history when I was in school. You were lucky, if you had heard of Pocahontas, Betsy Ross, Martha Washington, Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks. As for the women’s movement, you might have learned that there was a convention in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848 and a vote to ratify the 19th Amendment in 1920, but not that a long, contentious and sometimes, violent struggle took place in between. I thought, maybe, younger women knew more, but when I speak on campuses or in high schools, I find that they do not for the most part, unless they are women’s studies majors. So, I think it is vital that students have more resources and that we create a fuller record of what went on. We need to know how far we have come and how far we have to go.

CH: You include key leaders in the movement and their bios. Was this information difficult to find?

APD: Some of it was not difficult, because at least one or two major biographies existed of top leaders like Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and one or two major histories were available that talked about the movement or aspects of it. Other subjects took some digging because either no one had written a major work on them or what existed did not have much detail on their work in the movement. This was, especially, true of the African-American women. Sometimes, the information was contradictory.

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

APD: Because of the woman suffrage anniversaries coming up, the editors had a certain publishing timeline in mind. I only had about 6 months to produce the first draft, with a few months more of editing and preparation for publishing. The process took about a year from the time I got the go-ahead to start work on it until the publication date.

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

APD: I am getting wonderful comments and reviews. The Philadelphia Inquirer chose Remember the Ladies as one of its best books of 2017, and AudioFile magazine chose the audio version as one of the best on history for the year. When I sign books, some people have bought stacks of copies. They buy it for a sister, a daughter or friend. I see women and girls’ eyes light up, and men enjoy it too, probably, because it does not depict all men as bad guys. Men played important roles in the movement, and the book gives them their due. People seem to find it informative and easy to read. They also love the pictures.

CH: Do you speak to woman’s groups about the book?

APD: I go to women’s groups, but I speak in other settings, as well. I have been to a couple of League of Women Voters’ groups, university campuses, high schools, libraries, book stores, book clubs, house party discussions, a Society of Friends meeting house, churches and a café. In Women’s History Month, I have a Rotary Club at a country club, a 100 Black Women’s luncheon, a Maryland women’s philanthropic group, two community colleges, a historical society, and a historic mansion. I will be doing talks at a couple of museums and a barn performance space this spring and summer. When I speak, people like to know more about the history, but women especially want to talk about politics, the last election and the ones coming up.

CH: What is your next writing project?

APD: I am not certain. I usually work as a freelance editor and ghost writer, so I might be working on someone else’s book for some time. Then, I am pondering doing something about women in wartime.

CH: How to Find Angela P. Dodson:

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

APD: It is in major outlets, on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and online, and ‘everywhere books are sold,’ as the publisher says.

CH: Any additional comments?

APD: Just that I hope people will read it, enjoy it and share it with others.

CH: Any closing remarks?

APD: Thank you for inviting me to contribute to this blog, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Angela P. Dodson, 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, Angela P. Dodson 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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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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Guess What’s Coming Next…A New Book!

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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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 Co-Author Interview – R. C. and J. P. Carter

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Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Title: Bioprints (O’Rourke Crime Novels Book 1)

Synopsis: Cutting edge technology meets classic detective fiction in this thrilling, often humorous escapade. Ryan and his team are drawn into a web of murder, mystery and suspense. While they investigate the death of Ryan’s best friend, the danger of 3D technology is exposed as a scientist goes rogue and pulls out all the stops to cover his tracks.

 

Title: Flash Zombies (O’Rourke Crime Novels Book 2)

Synopsis: This entertaining, suspenseful and often humorous novel will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next. The O’Rourke team is brought in to investigate a theft from a high end jewelry store and an alarming disappearance of narcotics at a local hospital. It’s a fast paced, action packed story. Follow the team through hair raising twists and turns as they outwit the Chicago Mob.

 

 

Title: Clone Drones (O’Rourke Crime Novels Book 3)

Synopsis:  This high octane thriller has it all; murder, Mob revenge, political intrigue, a little romance, strong male & female characters with a storyline that could be tomorrow’s headline news. The O’Rourke team is called in to help solve a nationwide plot involving the assassinations of several US Senators.

Will they succeed?

R. C. and J. P. Carter, Co-Authors

CH: Today’s Guests are Co-Authors, R. C. and J. P. Carter. They love paranormal investigating and writing. Welcome to my blog, R. C. and J. P.

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

RCC/JPC: When we first conceived the series, 3D printing was in its infancy. We had read in journals that it was possible to print human body parts. This was a fascinating concept. Having the minds of mystery writers, we thought someone could use this technology in a nefarious way.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write these books or is it all imagination?

RCC/JPC: Yes, we researched 3D printing, how fraud investigators work and how the FBI actually conducts investigations. At the time, we wrote Clone Drones, no one in the private sector had weaponized drones. That was purely imagination.

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

RCC/JPC: We combine the classic detective style with high tech crime. We also have an ensemble cast of both intelligent and strong female and male characters with integrity.

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

RCC/JPC: Some of the situations are taken from real life and we elaborated on them. Other situations are entirely from our imaginations. We would have to say they were more fun than difficult.

CH: As co-authors, do you each write a chapter or section or do you write together?

RCC/JPC: We write it together.

CH: Of the three books, which character was hardest to write? And develop?

RCC/JPC: The criminal brothers in Flash Zombies were the most difficult to write and develop.

CH: Of the three books, which character was your favorite to write?

RCC/JPC: We actually have three favorite characters in the series. They are Ryan, Siobhan and Rachel.

CH: Is there a message that you want the readers to grasp in any of the books?

RCC/JPC: O’Rourke crime novels were written purely for entertainment in the classic detective style. However, we are working on a children’s series and a young adult series both of which have a definite message.

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

RCC/JPC: People enjoy the fast-paced action and attention to geographic details.

CH: Is one book more popular with readers than the others?

RCC/JPC: Clone Drones is the most popular.

CH: What is your next writing project?

RCC/JPC: We are working on several at this time. A children’s series of different animal friends with diverse personalities, who learn to get along together. Also, a young adult novel about the early life of Jezebel. Several other projects are on the drawing board along with a major rewrite for Bioprints.

CH:  How to Find R. C. and J. P. Carter:

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

RCC/JPC: Currently, all 3 books are available on Amazon and the paperbacks are available through CreateSpace.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RCC/JPC: Yes, actually two things. First, we would like to thank you for this interview opportunity, Cheryl. If anyone has any further questions, please email us at CarterNovels@aol.com.

Secondly, we want to make sure everyone is aware of Indie Book Source. This is a part of our website that is dedicated to supporting indie authors. Currently, we showcase and promote over 90 indie authors.

CH: Thank you so much, R. C. and J. P. Carter, 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 books with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this series.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, R. C. and J. P. Carter 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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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

Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review for A Sisterhood of Women Living Life

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review

Please read the wonderful 5 Star Review by Lesley Jones at:

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/a-sisterhood-of-women-living-life

“This is my second 5 star review from Readers’ Favorite and it is my new all-time favorite review of any of my books!”

http://tiny.cc/tlcvry

 

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 – V. L. McBeath

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Title: Hooks & Eyes: Part 1 of The Ambition & Destiny Series

Genre: Historical Fiction/Family Saga

Synopsis: Mary is desperate to put her troubled past behind her. As a widow with two small children, she is determined to earn enough money to look after her family. When she takes a job making hooks & eyes for the ambitious Mr. Wetherby, she thinks she’s found a solution…

But when Mr. Wetherby decides he wants Mary as more than a worker, she fears his intentions are dishonorable. After all, why else would he be interested in her? Following a misunderstanding, Mary abandons her job, never wanting to see him again.

While Mary prepares to make another life for herself, Mr. Wetherby has other ideas. If his plan works, he could use the children to win Mary’s heart and free her from a life of poverty—once and for all…

Hooks & Eyes is inspired by a true story.

V. L. McBeath, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is V. L. McBeath. As she researched her family history, she decided to write a book. Welcome to my blog, V. L.

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

VLM: An epic saga of one family’s trials, tragedies, and triumphs as they seek their fortune in Victorian-era England

CH: You write historical novels with plenty of family history. Can you tell us how you started writing historical novels?

VLM: It was never my intention to write a book, but I started researching my family history about ten years ago and I uncovered a story I just had to write. It’s been a long journey, as I have not only had to learn how to write fiction, but also I’ve had to fully research the Victorian era and uncover as much of the ‘real’ story as possible. I then filled in the gaps with liberal dashings of fiction.

CH: This book is about love, loss and providing for your children. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

VLM: The premise for the story was based on real-life events. I found out early in my research that my great, great, great grandmother had been widowed at the age of only 23, leaving her to care for her two small children.

This was in 1840’s rural England and I wondered how on earth she survived without any welfare system to support them. As far as the story is concerned, everything she subsequently did, was always for the benefit of the children.

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

VLM: The backbone of the story, things such as births, deaths, marriages, occupations, locations, are all based on real-life events. Where I used fiction to fill in the gaps, I always tried to base it on events I knew were coming, as well as, how life would have been at the time. It wasn’t easy, and one of the most common questions I had throughout the whole process was Why? Why did they do that? Some things made no sense at all. Because events happened so long ago, I have no knowledge of the actual characters involved and so their motivation was one of the hardest things to work out.

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

VLM: Yes. I’ve barely written anything that hasn’t been researched! Not just the overall story, but also how people lived in the Victorian-era. Some days I could spend hours researching something that may end up as half a sentence in the book.

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

VLM: This is a difficult one, but I would say the main difference is that it is based on reality. It’s about real people living real lives. If they succeeded in any situation, it was due to their own hard work and not some fantasy or coincidence.

I would also suggest that unlike a lot of novels, it is not predictable. The series (which will ultimately be five books), covers numerous different topics and hopefully there will be something in it for everyone.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

VLM: There were two characters that were difficult for very different reasons.

The first was William Junior. He was brought up as the spoiled child of a powerful and influential businessman, who even in adulthood, lived in the shadow of his father. I found it difficult to get into his head to understand his motivations.

The second was a young baby called Arthur. It wasn’t specifically Arthur himself who was difficult, but rather the circumstances surrounding his birth and early life. Without giving the plot away, most of his story is true and around the time he was born was a very traumatic period for the family. Remembering it is based on a true story, realizing what they must have gone through was one of the most difficult parts of writing the whole series.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

VLM: This question is easy. The character’s name is Harriet, and although, she makes a cameo appearance in Part 1, Hooks & Eyes, her story really begins in Part 2, Less Than Equals. Her character was inspired by the life of my great, great, grandmother. With nothing to base her real personality on, I portrayed her as a strong woman who was frustrated by the constraints placed on women in the Victorian-era. In the books, she was determined to fight for women’s rights and overcame a lot of obstacles along the way. Unfortunately, as time went on, she upset one particularly dominant male character, which turned out to be a very bad move.

CH: Is there a reason that so many characters were introduced in the beginning?

VLM: As the series is a family saga and as Mary (the widow mentioned above) had to rely heavily on the family, I thought it was important to show her support network early on to set the scene.

CH: Is this your favorite genre to write?

VLM: So far, this is the only genre I have written, and so I suppose the answer must be yes!

CH: Who is your favorite historical author? Why?

VLM: I don’t have a specific author who is my favorite. In most walks of life, including reading, I like variety and so I tend to read a wide variety of authors and genres.

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

 VLM: As I’ve worked through the series, various messages have been important to me, but probably the main two are:

First, sometimes we need to stop and appreciate what we have. When we consider the hardships some of our ancestors faced, we really should be thankful we live in today’s world.

Second, with all the talk about women’s rights today, there is a lot of frustration that we still have a long way to go before women are treated the same as men. If you read this series, and particularly Parts 2 and 3, it shows how far we’ve actually come.

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

VLM: The feedback so far has been really nice and I have some lovely reviews on Amazon. Many reflect on the way women were treated in the 19th century (even in Hooks & Eyes), while others comment on how they have become immersed in the story.

I try to be clear that the books in this series form one story and although, I try to resolve as many issues as I can, each book ends on a cliffhanger (some more dramatic than others). For those who don’t like cliffhangers, I’m hoping the box sets, when they are available, will be appreciated.

CH: What is your next writing project?

VLM: I am currently writing Part 5 (the final book) in the series, which I hope will be available around July 2018. After that, I have a couple of options.

One is another story based on family history that would be set in Victorian England. At the moment, however, I have one rather large gap in my research and so it may end up being pure fiction.

The other may be a novel set in 1600’s England. It is also based on family history and for this one I think finding the facts will be relatively easy. As I know nothing about the time period; however, it could take me a while.

CH: How to Find V. L. McBeath:

CH: Where is your book sold?

VLM: At the moment, the eBooks are only available on Amazon and can be read for free as part of Kindle Unlimited. Once Part 5 is published, I may look to expand the distribution to other e-retailers. The paperbacks are also available on Amazon, but should be available at other retailers (although they may need to be requested).

CH: Any additional comments?

    

VLM: Yes, Only One Winner: Part 4 of The Ambition & Destiny Series was published on Tuesday and will be available for 99c until the end of today and to coincide with that, Hooks & Eyes: Part 1 will be available as a free download until the end of today, also.

CH: Any closing remarks?

VLM: The story starts with Mary meeting a local businessman, Mr Wetherby, which may suggest that the series is a romance. Although there are elements of romance in most of the books; however, it isn’t and I have deliberately not listed it in any romance categories. Instead, the main theme of the series is about family bonds and breakdowns, and focuses on the interactions between family members.

If you only enjoy books with happy ever afters, then this series may not be for you. If you enjoy reading about family relationships and life as it was over one hundred years ago; however, then this series has plenty to keep you going. Thank you, Cheryl, for giving me the opportunity to be a guest on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, V. L. McBeath, 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, V. L. McBeath 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 – Ashe Barker

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Blogger’s Note: Making the Rules includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t read the interview or buy this book.

Title: Making the Rules

Genre: Mystery/Romantic Suspense

Synopsis: When twenty-five-year-old forensic sociology student Lily Jamison travels to a small town in West Yorkshire to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, she expects to be working alone. But then Ben Tyler offers his help, and before Lily knows it the handsome former Chicago police officer has taken charge and made it his business to keep her safe, even if that means baring her bottom for a painful, embarrassing spanking when she disobeys him.

Ben’s firm-handed dominance and strict correction leave Lily deeply aroused, and when he takes her in his arms and shows her how a man masters a woman properly, she cannot help begging for more. But as Lily gets closer to the truth, she becomes ever more reckless. When she pushes things too far with her impulsive behavior, will Ben be prepared to punish her as thoroughly and shamefully as necessary to convince her that he is the one making the rules?

Ashe Barker, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Ashe Barker. She has been an avid reader of women’s fiction for many years and now realizes her dream of writing romance herself. Welcome to my blog, Ashe.

CH: Why should we read your romantic suspense book?

AB: I always try to write a book I’d enjoy reading. So, I love to read books with sassy, resourceful, independent heroines and a hero who is up to the challenge. Lily in Making the Rules has an agenda and she pursues it with single-minded determination. She meets challenges head on. Sometimes she acts foolishly or without thinking, but there’s always a method in her madness. She’s the sort of character I’d root for and I hope others will love her too.

The book spans a couple of decades, shows the ways in which people can change over the years, and for those who appreciate the suspense element it ends with a surprise I doubt most will see coming.

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

AB: The small town in the UK where the book is set—I call it Mytholm Bridge in the book—is based on a town I drive through two or three times a week. In real life it’s called Sowerby Bridge and it nestles in the hills on the edge of the Pennines. I used several places in Sowerby Bridge as inspirations for my story—the pub, the main street, the river running through the town centre. And some places I made up, of course.

As for the premise itself, the story is about a homecoming of sorts, and about long-lost relatives and old friends reunited.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

AB: No significant research, the location is one I know well. The characters and events are the product of my fevered imagination. However, the main male character is from Seattle and I did need a lot of advice from my beta reader in the U.S. to make sure he sounded American. So many Britishisms slip in unnoticed—talk about being divided by a common language! I also had to craft an authentic back-story for him, so that needed a bit of digging.

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

AB: I don’t tend to write about high-flying billionaires or set my stories in sumptuous locations. I prefer to write about places I know, the sort of people I encounter every day. My stories are real, often quite gritty, usually, but not exclusively set in the UK. My books are always sexy, erotic romance with a BDSM flavor, but I don’t let that take over the story. Plots need to be tight and fast-paced, with engaging dialogue to keep you turning the pages.

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

AB: I’ve never found it hard to dream up engaging stories from everyday life. The ordinary, the mundane, can be quite bizarre at times and there’s never any shortage of material to work with. People are fascinating, and full of surprises. Everyone has a story. I’m a people-watcher and find ample inspiration wherever I look.

When my daughter was younger, I used to play a game with her, if we were in the car together. We’d pick someone outside, anyone, it didn’t matter, and we’d make up their story. “That’s Bill. He’s an electrician. He‘s fifty four years old, married with three children and he likes to sky-dive most weekends. He loves country music and once got arrested for…, etc.”

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AB: In Making the Rules, I think Ben was the hardest, just because he’s American and I wanted to get that right. He had to have a back-story that made sense, so I needed to research the Chicago Police Department to create his previous career.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

AB: I loved writing Lily, obviously. She’s riddled with curiosity and unfinished business, but wants to protect those she loves from the consequences of the stones she picks up to look underneath. Sadly, once the genie is out of the bottle there’s no going back.

At the same time, I enjoyed writing Harry Murgatroyd. He’s a secondary character, but completely reinvents himself over the course of the story and demonstrates some unexpected qualities.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

AB: There are a couple of characters in the story, who I seriously dislike and those never flow quite so easily. I find it much easier to get inside the heads of people who I empathize with, whose motives and responses I understand. I won’t give spoilers by saying who the villains are or why, but I’m sure readers will work them out.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for the passionate encounters in your writing and do you find them easier to write from the male or female perspective?

AB: Mmm, that’s a tricky one. I get a lot of inspiration from reading the work of other erotic authors and of course I have a seriously dirty mind myself. In my earlier writing career, I tended to only write from the female perspective and I suppose that does come more naturally, but the male viewpoint is fascinating, too and can be a whole lot sexier, if done well.

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

AB: I share Lily’s curiosity about people, and her obsession with finding out the truth; however, unpalatable. I think, she’s more forgiving than I am though, and more inclined to see the good in others. She has an adventurous streak and knows an opportunity when she sees it. Her plans are loosely formed. She probably can’t say what she’ll do next, but recognizes the next step when she sees it.

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

AB: At the heart of it is the certainty that people can and do change over time. And they are not always what they appear to be on the surface

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

AB: I admire the story-telling expertise of Nora Roberts, and the fast-paced plotting of J. R. Ward.

CH: Who is your favorite author and why?

AB: I couldn’t pick out just one. There are so many I adore, but just a few that get my one-click finger twitching every time. I mentioned two already. I also enjoy the dark romances of Natasha Knight, and the rigorously researched, but endlessly entertaining historical novels of Philippa Gregory.

CH: What is your next writing project?

AB: I have three completed stories scheduled for release in the coming weeks—a short historical story in an anthology, a novella I am re-releasing, and a completely new contemporary BDSM ménage story. Currently, I’m writing another contemporary romantic suspense set on Capri, a place I visited last summer and which totally inspired me.

CH: How to Find Ashe Barker:

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

AB: It’s on Amazon, and free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AB: Thank you so much for inviting me over to chat, Cheryl. I hope you’ll find something you like in my stories, and please feel free to let me know what you think. We authors thrive on feedback, especially reviews. If your followers want to keep in touch via social media I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Or they can sign-up for my newsletter to keep in touch with all my news and latest releases.

CH: Thank you so much, Ashe Barker, 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, Ashe Barker and Cheryl Holloway.

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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

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Cheryl Holloway is Guest Blogger on Australian Romance Readers (ARRA) Blog

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Please Read Today’s Guest Post

I am a Guest Author on Australian Romance Readers Association’s Blog, www.australianromancereaders.com.au

Please, check out my post, “Romance Readers Love Short Stories on the blog:  

https://australianromancereaders.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/guest-blogger-cheryl-holloway/

In my guest post, I tell you How to Get Your Reading in On A Busy Day and several tips to help the process. I also discuss How I Encourage Emotional Response from My Readers and How I Stir Reader Curiosity.

A very special Thank You to Debbie and the Australian Romance Readers Association..

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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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 :

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Cheryl Holloway is Guest Blogger in Australia on Tomorrow, March 11th

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I will be visiting my down under friends at ARRA on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Please join me tomorrow.

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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 :

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Guest Author Interview – Lizzie T. Leaf

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Blogger’s Note: Beyond Magic includes erotic sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t read the interview or buy this book.

Title: Beyond Magic (Magical Love Book 1)

Genre: Erotica/Humorous

Synopsis: Following the Powers directive to unite soul mates, a Scottish Cailleach’s magic will have repercussions in several realms.

Mixed-blood author Ian McCabe, grandson of Fae and gods, tries to deny his powers, while hiding his true origins from the human world. When he discovers mortal, Emma Grant, unconscious at his front door, his world starts to change.

Tour director, Emma Grant, leads a group of senior ladies through Scotland. The breakdown of their bus on a rural Scottish backroad has her sloshing through the rain and mud on foot. Her efforts to seek help results in a fall that knocks her unconscious. She awakens to find the man of her dreams staring into her eyes.

Both feel an instant attraction, but will his secrets and her distrust of men keep them apart?

Lizzie T. Leaf, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Lizzie T. Leaf. She is living her dream by creating stories to share with others. Welcome to my blog, Lizzie.

CH: This book is about secrets and distrust. So, please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this novel.

LTL: In addition to the secrets and distrust, Beyond Magic is a blend of humor, heat, and forming the bonds of friendship and learning to trust.

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

LTL: Brainstorming with my critique partner about the trip I took to Scotland and about the folklore planted the seed. Some scene ideas occurred to me in the shower. Something about the water splashing on my head, I guess. And dreams.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

LTL: Quite a bit. I needed to research Celtic folklore and mythology more deeply. I read several books on the subjects and spent time on the internet researching the same subjects.

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

LTL: My writing has been described as ‘character driven.’ I plot, but in addition to a storyline, strong characters that a reader can love, or hate are needed to drive the plot. Guess my writing reflects the type of books I read. Also, humor plays a part in most of my books. Everyone needs to smile once in a while.

CH: Humor does make a reader smile. Was it hard creating believable situations and issues, or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

LTL: There are some situations from my life that work their way through some of my writing, even though a lot of it is enhanced, the idea occurred from reality.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

LTL: Research plants ideas and then, I play the ‘what if’ game with myself, writing down the ideas that pop into my head. What does this character look like? What kind of family life did they have as a kid? What are their favorite foods? I ask those questions and many more in order to get to know the character.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LTL: Probably Ian. He has his mortal existence and then, there is the immortal life in which he must deal with various family members from different worlds.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

LTL: I enjoyed creating the ladies in the tour group, especially, Mildred. She reminded me of a lady from my childhood—quite the character and a bit on the naughty side.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

LTL: Possibly, Emma. She’s smart, but also carries the pain of her childhood she has never really dealt with until some of the situations happen, and the truth about exposed secrets give her the relief she needed.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for the passionate encounters in your writing and do you find them easier to write from the male or female perspective?

LTL: Reality. After all, I’m not a virgin (grin). And the female perspective is easier for me to write. When working on the male POV, there have been times when I ask my husband questions.

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

LTL: I grew up in the South. I also learned about a family secret, when I was an adult that rocked my world a bit.

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

LTL: You are never too old to make friends and find love.

CH: Has this book won any awards?

LTL: The original release of Beyond Magic won the 2012 Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Best Paranormal and was a finalist in the Aspen Gold 2012 for Best Paranormal/Fantasy.

CH: What is your next writing project?

LTL: Lizzie is currently working on the third Magical Love book. And Lizzie’s alter-ego is researching a WWII Historical that is non-romance.

CH: How to Find Lizzie T. Leaf:

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

LTL: Currently it is only in eBook on Amazon. The plan for later this year is to have all the novels in print, also.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LTL: Thank you for inviting me to do this interview, Cheryl. I’m happy you enjoyed Beyond Magic and reached out. I love hearing from readers and appreciate their comments and reviews.

CH: Thank you so much, Lizzie T. Leaf, 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, Lizzie T. Leaf and Cheryl Holloway.

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

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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

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Cheryl Holloway Celebrates Women’s History Month

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March is Women’s History Month from March 1 through March 31. I’ve been celebrating all month so far, but these pictures say it all!

Parker Curry is amazed as she looks at Michelle Obama’s portrait.

Michelle Obama meets and dances with Parker.

Cheryl Holloway says, “What a great way to celebrate Women’s History Month!”

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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 – Keith A. Battle

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Title: A Second Chance: Grace For the Broken

Genre: Self-help

Synopsis: A Second Chance is a hope-filled, life-giving rescue plan for people who have failed. It’s written with a combination of transparency and tools that are transforming and also provide guidance to those who are called upon to restore the broken.

 

For every leader stranded on the side of the road without a map, A Second Chance pulls up to them like an RV full of love, wisdom, grace, mercy, restoration, and support to not only pull the beleaguered servant up from the ashes of disgrace and shame, but to drive them onward to a future that is brighter than their past.

Keith A. Battle, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Keith A. Battle. He is Pastor of Zion Church. Welcome to my blog, Pastor Keith.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this book on second chances.

KB: Because everyone blows it and needs a roadmap for how to recover well following failure.

CH: Is your book geared mainly to Christian leaders or can anyone use your advice?

KB: My book is geared towards leaders in general, but because failure is universal, it’s a book that all can benefit from.

CH: This book is about transformational growth and emotional healing. So, how did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

KB: The book is born out of my own personal experience. I share my way down and my way up out of failure.

CH: I enjoyed the graphics with a number two in the title word second. Was this your input?

KB: Nope. The book’s designer Rob Wesley came up with that concept.

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

KB: Absolutely. A lot of the stories that I introduced each chapter with required research.

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

KB: I think a combination of transparency and practical advice are the things that are most helpful.

CH: You provide a map or rescue plan for the broken individuals. What are the top three steps one should take?

KB: The top three steps are: confession of wrong; recompense for damages done; and healing work and accountability.

CH: You provide a lot of examples—some from scripture and some from life. How did you decide on which examples to use?

KB: I love sports, so I connect a lot of sports examples to life lessons. I just kind of used whatever I thought would fit whatever point I was trying to make.

CH: Why do people make the same mistakes over and over in life?

KB: I think, it’s partly because they haven’t suffered severe enough consequences for those mistakes to be interested in changing. Then it’s also because they don’t have the tools needed to make the adjustments necessary to make better choices and decisions.

CH: You made your life quite transparent in the book. Was this a difficult decision?

KB: In some ways it was, but I actually wish I could be more transparent.

CH: Was writing your book therapy for you?

KB: Absolutely. The process of writing the book and the accomplishment of completing the book was all very therapeutic for me.

CH: Do you have a specific theory on second chances?

KB: When it comes to God, He gives us second chances before we’re even aware that we need them, because He knows the mistakes that we’re going to make, before we make them; yet, He loves us enough to allow us to fail.

CH: What is your next writing project?

KB: I’m writing my second book now and it’s about ‘relationships.’ Hopefully, it will be completed and released sometime this spring or summer.

CH: In the appendix, you also offer many resources for the reader. What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

KB: All of the feedback that I’ve received from those who’ve read the book has been positive. Especially, from Leaders. 🙂

CH: How to Find Keith Battle:

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

KB: Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

CH: Any closing remarks?

KB: My hope is that the Book will be used in Educational Leadership contexts, so that students will have a document on restoring fallen leaders.

Thanks for having me and taking an interest in my work, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Keith Battle, 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, Keith Battle 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.

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 – Nina Romano

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Title: The Secret Language of Women: A Novel (Wayfarer Trilogy)

Genre: Historical Romance

Synopsis: Set in China in the late 1800’s, The Secret Language of Women tells the story of star-crossed lovers, Zhou Bin Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, driven apart by the Boxer Rebellion.

When Lian is seventeen years old, she accompanies her Swiss father, Dr. Gianluca Brasolin, fluent in Italian, to tend the Italian ambassador, at the Summer Palace of Empress Dowager, where she meets and falls in love with Giacomo.

Through voyage and adventure, their love intensifies, but soon is severed by Lian’s dutiful promise as the wife to another. Forbidden from pursuing her chosen profession as a healer, and despised because she does not have bound feet, she is forced to work in a cloisonné factory while her in-laws raise her daughter, Ya Chen. It is in Nushu, the women’s secret writing, that she chronicles her life and her hopes for the future.

Rebelling against the life forced upon her, she empowers herself to act out against the injustice and becomes the master of her own destiny. But her quest for freedom comes at a costly price: The life of someone close to her, lost in a raging typhoon, a grueling journey to the Yun-kang Caves, and a desperate search for beauty and love in the midst of brutality.

Nina Romano, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Nina Romano. She is a world traveler and historical writer. Welcome to my blog, Nina.

NR: Before I answer your very interesting questions, let me say thanks for the interview.  An author always speaking about what they love doing—writing!

CH: Thanks, Nina. Since this is a historical fiction about young love—lost and found—and the consequences, can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?

NR: The Secret Language of Women is a story of star-crossed lovers, Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo a sailor in the Italian Navy. The story is set in China during the Boxer Rebellion, the driving force which separates them. Both Lian and Giacomo voyage inexorably, each searching for the other.  Their experiences and thoughts of reuniting carry them through in the midst of brutality and war.

CH: This book has won the Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY) Gold Medal for Romance and was a Foreword Reviews Book Award Finalist. How did you come up with the premise for this series/trilogy?

NR: Interestingly enough, I wrote Lemon Blossoms, the second book first.  I had an agent who shopped the book around to publishers and the letters we received from them were all about the same—evocative writing, wonderful story—but I don’t know how to market this novel. So I took it back from the agent, saying I know how to market it and I need to write the prequel and I’d get back to her when I did.

Little did I know that it would take me close to nine years to write, revise and sculpt it into a publishable manuscript.  The sad part was when I’d finished, I sent a new query letter and a fifty-page submission to that same agent, who didn’t even bother to respond. But that’s show biz and the show must go on! Or at least the world of publishing.  That’s when I decided I’d submit directly to three small, independent publishers—skipping the agonizing querying to agents! I’d written so many that I’d begun receiving return mail with words like: GREAT QUERY! across the top, but that didn’t help get me published.

Each revision was months of rewriting and honing the story. I had done a tremendous amount of research and visited China twice.  I had many recollections from my grandfather, who had been in the Italian Navy and served during the Boxer Rebellion, but what I revised for were different things. Nine revisions and each time I read through the book it was for one thing only: POV, plot, story cohesiveness, language, characterization, format, timeline, etc. Of course, other things jump out at you when you are reading out loud, and you correct those, too. I was so upset to find several little errors after the book released—and the crushing thing about that was the publisher would not correct them.

CH: I hate it when publishers refuse to correct errors. Did you have to do any special historical research to write this book or is it all imagination?

NR: I did extensive research for history, geography, customs, cultural traditions, superstitions, food, etc.  All of my chapter titles are written, not only with an English title, but a Mandarin title, and hànzì, traditional Chinese: 漢字.

CH: I commend you for your efforts. Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

NR: I tried very hard to make situations and issues as close to real life as possible, culling from my own life and others.  There are things I never experienced, thank God, like rape, but I put myself in the character’s stead, and imagined living through the violence. There were many scenes in my novel, when I had to literally get up and walk away from the writing—it was so horrific. And at those times, I knew I’d hit upon raw emotion and the writing was strong.

CH: The Boxer Rebellion is a piece of history that many readers do not quite fully understand. Was it easy for you to write about this time in history?

NR: I studied the Boxer Rebellion in school, but I doubt it’s taught today and I’m sure there are many readers who’ve never heard of it.  I always knew I wanted to go to China since I was a little girl, because of my grandfather’s stories. Of course, he’d probably turn in his grave, knowing what I put the character based on him through in my novel. I can’t say it was easy to write this—it was certainly a challenge to imagine and write about this time in history, but I reveled in it. And I’m blessed with a vivid imagination.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

NR: Believe it or not, it was Giacomo’s. I actually had started writing the novel entirely in his POV.  I was about to attend a workshop on revision at the University of Iowa, and decided I didn’t want to take pages that I’d already written, so I dashed down twenty-two new pages—we were supposed to bring twenty, but oh well—and they were in Lian’s POV.  I’d found my main character and the woman’s perspective I needed to complete the novel.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

NR: Without a doubt, it was the pig keeper, Zhougong. He almost stole the book!   I think, I was actually smitten with him the way Lian was taken with him. Zhuogong was her sage, and I must say that his life experiences taught me a great deal. He was a complete and absolute, all-absorbing delight to write.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

NR: I had several: the ship’s captain, Captain Morante, Lieutenant Rinaldi and the boy Shen.  You didn’t ask why, so I’ll skip that.

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

NR: I think this book, due to the exotic world, is well-rendered because I wrote it lyrically, almost as I would a narrative poem. There are breath-taking descriptions and scenes. Perhaps, because I experienced seeing these places in China, I was able to capture them like a photograph in color, especially, the market scene in Guilin, the temple that Lian goes to pray in, and scenes along the Li River. I loved writing about the archers. I enjoyed my creation of the character of Alberico Crescitelli, Guo Xide, the priest—he was an actual person who lived and worked as a missionary in China.  I met his grand-niece in a bar in New York! I had visited the Museum of Modern Art and had a book with a Chinese cover from MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in my hand. She noticed it and started telling me about her uncle, a Martyr of the Faith in China!  Talk about serendipity! I thanked her profusely and said that my professor/mentor, John Dufresne, always said that the Universe conspires to bring you all you need to write a novel—and she had given me a huge gift! The Empress Ci Xi is the other character in my novel that had actually lived.

CH: This book covers several years and pages. How long did it take you to write this book?

NR: Nine years.  But I wasn’t only working on the novel.  Fortunately, during this time, I was publishing poetry in journals and literary magazines and I produced several poetry collections, which were published with small, independent publishers—I’ve been truly blessed with the gift of love for heightened and poetic language.

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

NR: On Amazon and on Barnes and Noble online, The Secret Language of Women has a five star rating.

CH: Awards and Five-star reviews mean a lot. Is there anything else you would like to share about writing this book?

NR: I believe that using other languages, primarily Chinese and Italian, helped create a sense of veracity for the characters and the plot.  Of course, that’s a tricky tool, because you must always let the reader know or understand the meaning of the foreign words. I use italics for foreign words, but many authors are dropping that.  However, I think it’s important.

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

NR: I’ve created a strong woman’s personality for my character, Lian. Despite many adversities and life’s cruelties, she persevered. For me, she is an exemplary role model of a person with grit and courage, resourcefulness and pluck.  Like all of us, she has flaws, but she never gave up.  I know Lian intimately and, she has the instincts and tenacity of women I’ve known—and in my own life, I try to emulate her bravura and daring.

CH: Are you currently writing the next book in the series? What is your next writing project?

NR: I just finished writing a fourth novel, which has nothing to do with my Wayfarer Trilogy, but might turn into a duology.  It’s an historical Western Romance, entitled: The Girl Who Loved Cayo Bradley. It is set between New Mexico and St. Louis, Missouri in the 1870’s.

Currently, I’m submitting the novel, and in the meantime, I’ve decided to rewrite one of my short stories, hoping to give it more of a holiday feel. When I looked at it the other day, I was shocked to see I hadn’t included it in my short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates—what an omission!

I Haven’t written poetry for some time, so I might try to wrote a few Christmas poems I promised to submit to a wonderful publisher. I’m also considering writing a novel based on my Aunt Lina’s life in Sicily during WWII. She’s 103 years old and still has all her faculties and lives alone. I speak with her frequently. She is one STRONG woman!

CH: How to Find Nina Romano:

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

NR: This is the first book of the Wayfarer Trilogy and all three books are featured on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel online.  It also sells in Books a Million, Target, and some others.  Although, I think you must request it from the stores, or purchase it online.

CH: Any closing remarks?

NR: Thank you, Cheryl.  It’s been lovely answering your incisive questions about my first novel.  I hope there’s something in this interview that will spark a writer and impassion them enough to make them want to run to the keyboard or pull out pen and paper and write, write, write. I’d also be most pleased, if a reader that invests in my novel would kindly leave a customer review on Amazon. Reviews really do help authors sell books!

CH: Thank you so much, Nina Romano, 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, Nina Romano 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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Overcoming Self-Doubt by Cheryl Holloway

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Overcoming Self-Doubt

Self-doubt feels overwhelming from time-to-time and when you are                  experiencing self-doubt writing seems almost impossible. The bad news is it doesn’t go away. The good news is you can manage it with a few tricks. It’s just like writers block…you have to know what to do in order to move on.

Can you imagine Stephen King, the bestselling author of countless books, having self-doubt? He once said in an interview, “I’m afraid of failing at whatever story I’m writing – that it won’t come up for me, or that I won’t be able to finish it.” So, you see we all have self-doubt. Sometimes, it causes greater anxiety than other times, but it is still on our minds as a writer. I think if an author like Stephen King has self-doubt, then obviously it must be part of the creative process.

You ask yourself, “Who Am I?” If you’ve never published anything, you say, “I’m a writer, not an author.” If you have published something, you say, “I have only published __  (fill in the blank) books. Do readers really know who I am? Hell, no. So, who do I think I am? Certainly, not a writer!”

Well, here are some of my tips:

  1. Get rid of the negative self-talk and replace it with positive motivational talk. “I am a writer.” “I am an author!”
  2. Take a break. Get up from your computer or laptop. Leave the fear behind. Walk around. Exercise. Go to lunch. Clear your mind. Then, get back to writing. Put some words on that blank page. Continue with your writing. Write because it’s your passion.
  3. Face it, everybody cannot and will not like your writing. Some will hate it, while others will love it—mostly your friends and especially, your mom. Write for those who will love it.

James Patterson has written 75+ books I’m sure he had self-doubt at some point in time and thought, Do I deserve this? These accolades? These awards? All of this money? LOL I wish I had that problem.

Anyway, move on and Keep Writing because…we’ve all been there and done that!

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 – Sarita Lynn

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Title: The Quandary: Feeling Responsible for What’s Not Mine

Genre: Self-Help/Relationships/ Codependency

Synopsis: The Quandary is about breaking the cycle to supporting codependent relationships. It begins with helping you identify the warning signs if you are an enabler, creating an action plan after each chapter to make life altering decisions and ultimately getting to a place you make yourself a priority, and not feel guilty. Sarita Lynn shares her personal encounters enabling destructive behaviors for over 27 years to include enabling her brother with a drug addiction who later died of an overdose. There is a price to pay for being an enabler.

Sarita Lynn, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Sarita Lynn. She writes about a path of life. Welcome to my blog, Sarita.

CH: Can you sum up this book on codependency in 20 words or less?

SL: The Quandary is the conduit to identify the warning signs of codependent relationships and learning alternative ways to support others.

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

SL: I had a desire to be everything to everyone, not realizing I was depleting myself. For 27 years I enabled my brother, George, who had a drug addiction and at the age of 43 he died of an overdose. George and I were only 13 months apart in age, and super close growing up. It was devastating that the one thing I prayed so hard to never happen, did, and there was nothing I could do about it. So, I decided to turn my pain into a vehicle to help others who find themselves not holding others accountable for their own decisions.

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

SL: To write The Quandary, I read through my last 18 years of journals and had to dig deep to allow myself to relive the years where I made decisions in the vein to help my brother, but in hindsight was the contrary. I interviewed others who were also in codependent relationships to get their perspective on why they supported dysfunctional relationships and what they got out of the exchange. You don’t stay in a dysfunctional relationship without it meeting some internal need/void you have. You must identify what that need is and make life changes.

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

SL: My book is totally transparent of what it’s like to have unconditional love for someone with an addiction and how it impacts a family. In my situation, I speak openly in the book about how my brother overdosed in someone’s home and because they didn’t want to be connected, they took his body and left him outside and someone took his identification. It took days for us to search and find him. Not only do I speak about being in a codependent relationship with a person on drugs, but also how many times we don’t hold our children or significant other accountable for the decisions. Codependency is about supporting a person’s dysfunctional behavior and not holding them accountable. Oftentimes, we enable our children by bailing them out from situations too soon—before they can learn the lesson— because we are always their “Plan B.”

CH: Was it hard re-living some of the situations and issues of codependency with your family member?

SL: Writing The Quandary was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Life is hard enough going through it once, but when you have to relive many painful situations again requires an inner strength stronger than you. I speak frankly about growing up with my father as an alcoholic, in my early years, and the impact it had on the family and how we had to learn to walk on egg shells, hoping none would crack.

CH: Do you have any tips or suggestions on how people should respond during these times of perplexity and uncertainty?

SL: Yes, Here are my tips:

  1. Try not to react to the situation immediately, but allow yourself to step away for a period of time to see the bigger issue;
  2. Remove your emotions out of the equation;
  3. Weigh the cost of the decision you will make; and
  4. Read my chapter in the book “Truth vs Manipulation.”

CH: What are some of the signs of enabling a person’s destructive behavior?

SL: Some of the warning signs of being an enabler are:

  • Saying yes just to appease others;
  • Always bailing others out of trouble;
  • Not being patient to allow them to confront the issue on their own;
  • Getting mad when they don’t take your advice; and
  • Doing for others what they should be doing for themselves.

CH: How do you hold another person accountable for their own actions?

SL: We teach people how to treat us. Accountability is nothing new. In the workplace, our employer holds us accountable to arrive to work on time and deliver on organizational goals, and in return you receive a paycheck. If you don’t meet these terms, you are terminated. It’s only in our personal relationships we don’t want to be held accountable. The first step is setting boundaries and limitations of what’s expected and when they are not met, there are consequences. The challenge, often, is people in codependent relationships do not remain consistent with enforcing the consequence and holding the person accountable, so the cycle continues. You must allow the other person to experience the consequence of their action. In my chapter “Trust the Process” it speaks to accountability and not intervening to rescue them.

CH: What do you think is the key that led you to enable your brother for 27 years?

SL: I enabled George so long out of a desire for him to be what I thought he should be and my own need to be needed. I loved him so much I thought if I did just one more thing it would be the catalyst for his change. There became too many “I’s” in the equation and I became like his “god” for answers and his deliverance, but I lost focus where I began, and he ended.

CH: What is the most obvious price of being an enabler?

SL: We all enable for various reasons, but for me the emotional and physical toll it began to take on the body was unmeasurable. I became stressed, fussing at the kids, making decisions for the moment and not long-term. Being an enabler is an exhausting job that doesn’t give you a day off unless you begin to make life altering decisions, create an action plan, and remain consistent. It’s time to submit your resignation letter and no longer be that persons “Plan B” for every decision. Make yourself a priority.

CH: Breaking the cycle of codependency is very difficult. How can a person make an action plan to break the cycle?

SL: In my book I have an action plan after each chapter for readers to complete. Creating an action plan to break the cycle of codependent relationships begins with being honest with yourself that you’re an enabler and having an accountability partner. You cannot change what you don’t acknowledge.

CH: Guilt has a great deal to do with codependency. What is the best way to deal with guilt?

SL: I have a chapter in the book entitled “Moving Past the Pain and Forgiving.” In order to deal with your guilt you must first acknowledge your anger, frustration, guilt, and disappointment, or whatever emotion you are harboring. Then you must take ownership of those emotions.  Don’t give yourself a life sentence in the jail of guilt over a wrong decision.  We are human, and we will make many mistakes. Allow yourself to make mistakes and forgive yourself—often.

CH: What made you decide to write this book?

SL: I wrote the book after my 43-year-old brother, George, died of a drug overdose and I was mad at God at first, because I felt God could have delivered him. So, I kept journaling to work through my pain and disappointment. I had to forgive George and myself. I allowed myself to enable him for 27 years. Through my pain, I wanted to help someone else stop the addiction of codependency. I enabled George for 27 years, enabled my mom, male relationships and children. It was a learned behavior. I was feeling tired of the cycles of life and something in me said, “…put your experience on paper.” Now, here I am.

CH: When did you decide to make yourself a priority?

SL: The turning point for me was when I could no longer juggle all the balls of life in the air. Read my last chapter in the book entitled “Making Yourself a Priority”. This was a challenge for me. I thought it was my responsibility to take care of everyone, but you are no good to anyone else if you aren’t whole. When traveling, right before takeoff, the flight attendants line up and down the aisle to review the emergency procedures. In case of an emergency, a mask will drop from the container in the ceiling. You are instructed to put on your mask before helping anyone sitting with you. Self-care is essential to be available for anyone else.

CH: What is your next writing project?

SL: I would love to write a children’s book with my 10-year-old daughter Imani.

CH: How to Find Sarita Lynn:

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

SL: You can purchase The Quandary: Feeling Responsible for What’s Not Mine on my website (above), Amazon, and Booksamillion.com.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SL: Invest in yourself. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for making yourself a priority. Renew your passion. If you loved to draw, then draw again. If you loved to volunteer, get back out there to share your gifts and talents. Also, get yourself an accountability partner that will hold you accountable to saying, no. No, isn’t a curse word. Start using it a little more often and eventually that person who you enable will begin to drop off, because you are no longer meeting their needs. You deserve happiness in the one life we are given. Thank you so much for reaching out to me, Cheryl. I love this opportunity.

CH: Thank you so much, Sarita Lynn, 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, Sarita Lynn 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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Author, Cheryl Holloway’s Birthday!

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Happy Birthday, Cheryl Holloway, Author!

Well, It’s my birthday and I’m going to celebrate! The very best birthday gift you can give me is to buy one of my books on Amazon. The prices range from $0.99 to $8.99. And then, leave a book review. 🙂 I will appreciate it!

Well, I’m outta here, I have to go celebrate.

See, yeah…

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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!

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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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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net