Guest Author Interview – Sharon K. Miller

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

Genre: Women’s Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sharon K. Miller, Author

 

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

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

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

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

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

CH: How do you weave history with fiction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

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

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Will there be other books in this series?

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

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

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

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

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

CH: What can we expect next from you?

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

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

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

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

CH: How to Find Sharon K. Miller:

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

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

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

CH: Any closing remarks?

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

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

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

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

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Guest Author Interview – Nancy Cole Silverman

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

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

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

Nancy Cole Silverman, Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

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

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

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

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: How to Find Nancy Cole Silverman:

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

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

CH: Any closing remarks? 

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

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

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

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

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

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

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

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

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Guest Author Interview – Tracee Lydia Garner

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Title: Deadly Affections

Genre: Romance/Multicultural

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

Tracee Lydia Garner, Author

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

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

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

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

CH: How to Find Tracee Lydia Garner:

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

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

CH: Any closing remarks?

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

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

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

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

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Miracle’s Destiny Book Launch Pictures – By Request

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Title: Miracles’s Destiny

Genre: Family Saga

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

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

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

A table full of books and items for sale.

  

Her hand got tired signing so many books.

The proud writer turned author, Georgette Littlejohn.

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

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

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

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Guest Author Interview – Shelia E. Bell

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

Genre: Spiritual/Inspirational/African American

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

Shelia E. Bell, Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

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

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Will there be other books in this series?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

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

CH: How to Find Shelia E. Bell:

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

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

CH: Any closing remarks?

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

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

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

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

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Guest Author Interview – M. Pax

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Title: FreeFall (The Backworlds Book 7)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Space Exploration

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

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

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

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

M. Pax, Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

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

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

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

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

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

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CH: How to Find M. Pax:

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

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

CH: Any closing remarks?

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

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

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

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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 – Nicole Blanchard

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Title: Toxic

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Dark Romance

Synopsis: “John Doe” was just another patient. A criminal.
As a prison nurse, I knew the rules: do my job, don’t get involved, and never let a prisoner get under my skin. I broke all three.
My passion, my obsession, my addiction. I risked my entire life, so we could be together.

I thought helping him escape from prison would be the hard part.
It turns out when you fall in love with a villain, you also turn into one.

Nicole Blanchard, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Nicole Blanchard. Nicole survives on a diet of too many books and substantial amounts of root beer and slim jims. Welcome to my blog, Nicole.

CH: Can you sum up your book in a few words?

NB: Can a villain fall in a love?

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

NB: My stories come from situations. What happens when I force two characters into dire circumstances? How they react and what drives the story and fuels my muse.

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

NB: Somewhat of both. In Toxic, I tried to make the prison as realistic as possible, drawing from my Mom’s experience as a correctional officer. Of course, I take creative license with all the details, so any mistakes are my own.

CH: Where did you get the idea for this standalone book?

NB: The inspiration for Toxic comes from the song Gangsta by Kehlani https://open.spotify.com/track/1W7zkKgRv9mrLbfdQ8XyH3

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

NB: Dark romance is a bit of a departure (I primarily write romantic suspense), but I like to think I can connect with readers on a human level, so they can empathize and even sympathize with some of the decisions my anti-hero make.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

NB: The simple answer is everywhere—books, movies, music, and real life. While a story ferments in my mind, I’m constantly drawing inspiration from the world around me. When I come across something that reminds me of a character, I either pin it to the book’s board on Pinterest or save the song on Spotify to create the books “mood.” I often revisit the board and playlist as I’m writing to get myself in the mindset for whichever book I’m working on.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

NB: Gracin’s interactions with Tessa, especially in the beginning of the book are fascinating to me. I think, because he’s so intrigued by his response to her. No matter how heartless he is, he couldn’t let her go and that’s what drew me to the story. He’s a man who deals in death and then can’t shake his feelings for a woman.

CH: Who was the hardest character to write?

NB: At the same time, Gracin, because he’s not a hero in any sense. The decisions he makes are hard to rationalize, but that’s why I like it.

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

NB: More than a message, I hope readers are as intrigued by the dichotomy of love and villainy, as I am. Is it possible for the bad guy to fall in love? Is it even love? Is it obsession? The question still fascinates me.

CH: This book will be released in August. How do you advertise it for the pre-release?

NB: We just finished celebrating the cover reveal. Throughout July and August, I’ll be sharing teasers and counting down until the release on August 22nd. Advanced Readers and Bloggers will receive their ARC at the beginning of August. In addition, there will be giveaways galore!

CH: Is social media important in pre-release advertising?

NB: I think social media is more important to connect with readers than advertising. Sure, it’s useful, but readers want to know more about the author rather than being constantly sold to. With that in mind, I try to approach my social media as a way to grow friendships. What would I want to see from my favorite author? What do I love about my favorite authors’ social media accounts? I try to offer sneak peeks into upcoming books, behind the scenes shots like my office or pets, and the inspiration behind my books, such as my Pinterest boards or Spotify playlists.

CH: You are a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

NB: I’ve always wanted to write. It’s never really been a question. I started writing more seriously around four years ago when I published a short Christmas story with a bit of a horror twist. Since then, I attacked publishing like I do most any of my other obsessions—with an insatiable appetite. I like knowing everything about the process from the first word to the finished project. This allowed me the opportunity to publish with a box set in the Summer of 2015, aptly titled Summer Fire. In it, I included the precursor novella to what would become Anchor (available for free everywhere). I learned so much from the wonderful women I was able to work with. I’ve never seen a group of people so dedicated and seriously fierce. Through a combined effort, Summer Fire debuted #13 on the NYT list and I think the feeling comes in second only to the birth of my daughter. 🙂 Since then, I’ve written several more books in the series (with 5 more to come) and with each one, I continue to learn and grow.

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

NB: The response to my first full-length novel, Warrior; it has gone unrivaled. It was the book of my heart, at the time. One I’ve started and stopped in several incarnations throughout the years. Publishing it was a cathartic and I experienced a level of joy surpassed only by the response from readers. I do think Toxic may top it, though. 🙂 But we’ll keep that between you and me.

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

NB: J. K. Rowling!!! Or Dean Koontz. They are my favorite authors.

CH: Are there any writing projects in progress? What can we expect next from you?

NB: So many. My next book is the 6th in my military romantic suspense series, entitled, Traitor. It will be released this fall, followed by a three book romantic fantasy series this winter.

CH: How to Find Nicole Blanchard:

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold and what date it will be released?

NB: Toxic is currently available for pre-order at iBooks and will be available for pre-order everywhere the beginning of August. It will be released on August 22.

New release alert: http://www.subscribepage.com/newreleasealert

Amazon Print: http://amzn.to/2rlae0w

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/toxic/id1244433496?ls=1&mt=11

CH: Any closing remarks?

NB: Cheryl, Thank you so much for having me!

CH: Thank you so much, Nicole Blanchard, 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, Nicole Blanchard and Cheryl Holloway.

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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Guest Author Interview – Joyce Williams Graves

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Title: Jesus, I Don’t Understand: Rachel’s Doubts in God’s Holy Word Are Restored Through His Son, Jesus

Genre: Religion/Spirituality/Death & Grief

Synopsis: Facing tragedy in her life, seventeen-year-old Rachel McDonald goes on a spiritual journey as Christ Jesus answers her questions. Rachel knows that God loves her, but she still is unclear about why bad things have happened to her, her sister, and her best friend. This narrative study explains God’s love and compassion for Rachel and for everyone through the inspired Word of His Son, Christ Jesus.

Jesus, I Don’t Understand describes God’s endless love, mercy, and grace as Christ Jesus speaks to Rachel’s heart as only a Father could. Rachel, a young Christian girl, attends a Bible study class every Wednesday with her best friend, Matthew Lacy. When a terrible accident occurs, however, it changes her faith in the goodness of God and His promises. All the things she learned in her Bible study classes begin to unravel for her. She feels alone and confused, and she has three important questions for Christ Jesus: Why do children die so young? Why do young people get sick? Are we really going to heaven when we die?

Joyce Williams Graves, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Joyce Williams Graves. Joyce enjoys writing Christian/inspirational books and poetry. Welcome to my blog, Joyce.

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

JWG: You should read my book, Jesus I Don’t Understand, if you would like to know more about the goodness of our Lord and Savior, and His love?

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

JWG: The idea for my recent book came from questions I used to ask about life’s mysteries.  But, there were no convincing answers to those questions. I was and still am a curious and inquisitive person. In my young life, I always had questions about why things happen the way they did?  I never understood why innocent children became so sick?  Why did children die at a young age? Or are we really going to heaven like the Bible states?  These are typical questions that most people have asked at one time or another in their lives.  I knew God loved us, but how could these types of things happen even today?  I wondered, if there was a way to show His love to the world. So, I was always saying silently, Jesus, I don’t understand this! Jesus, I don’t understand that! Well, those four words finally became the title for my book. After extensive research in the Holy Bible, I was able to understand with more clarity why God did the things He did for us?

CH: You take pride in crafting believable contemporary Christian stories. Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

JWG: Not a formula, but my stories are more of a personal one. I share my experiences most of the time. My faith made crafting my story an easy one. I believe in sharing how God loves us immensely and endlessly.  My stories are usually based on inspiration, thankfulness and gratefulness that we should have for our Lord and Savior.

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

JWG: My research for my book came from several Bibles—King James Version, and New International Version—Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (3 volumes) and the book, Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young.

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

JWG: This is a good question!  I believe, I bring the genuine Word from an ancient book, the Bible, which has been around for over two thousand years. This book contains sacred texts and scriptures inspired by divine inspiration of the relationship between God and humans. People today are looking for hope and encouragement about their purpose in life. My book gives you hope in the Creator of the world and His love for everyone. It’s exciting to know the Bible is still the best-selling book of all time.

I love this quote, ‘Whatever you do, hold on to hope! The tiniest thread will twist into an unbreakable cord. Let Hope anchor you in the possibility that this is not the end of your story, that change will bring you to peaceful shores.’ Jesus is that hope.

CH: How did you start writing Christian stories?

JWG: My first book, Jesus, I Don’t Understand, came about after I retired five years ago. I wanted to share that we can learn how to live our life by reading God’s Holy Word.  The acronym for the Bible is ‘Biblical Instruction Before Leaving Earth.’ I have drenched myself into God’s Holy to live my life for years.  So, my goal is to share His goodness with everyone I meet or know—especially, if they have a willingness to listen and engage in a biblical conversation with me. I love sharing God’s Holy Word!

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

JWG: Yes, the main message I want people to know is God sent His only begotten son into the world to save us from our sinful nature. He proved His love for us through this action. Trusting and obeying His Holy Word is the key to a happier life.

CH: What type of feedback have you received from readers?

JWG: Orally, my feedback was very inspiring and uplifting from friends, family and strangers. The online feedback (Amazon.com) has been very encouraging and positive.

CH: What inspired you to write this book?

JWG: My inspiration is very simple.  God’s Holy Word inspired me to share in my book with others, that He is real, true and waiting for everyone to have a personal relationship with Him.  The Bible represents the inerrant Word spoken by God and written down in its perfect form by inspired humans. My inspiration was to share how He has affected and helped me in my life, and can help others in their lives.  Prayer is the key to unanswered questions and establishing a personal relationship with God. It should be as natural as breathing. Without air, we die. Without prayer, we are separated from God. We must pray to better understand God and His plan for us. I prayed before I wrote my book.  God answered the heart behind my prayers; so I moved forward.

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

JWG: Yes, there are many.  Here are a few of the books that influenced me in writing my book:

  • The Bible, King James Version
  • Max Lucado, 3:16: The Numbers of Hope
  • Bible Promises for You from the New international Version
  • Billy Graham, Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity and Our Life Beyond
  • Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
  • Charles Stanley, Teach us to Pray, In Touch Monthly Newsletters

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

JWG: My main characters were easily inspired from the Bible. They were God, Jesus and John of Patmos. The other characters inspiration was inspired by my personal life. I have a Pastor, and two loving families (Father, Mother and children) in my book.  These characters were all fictional.

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

JWG: It took me about five months to write my book.

CH: You wrote this book a few years ago, what do you think has allowed this book to remain relevant?

JWG: My book remains relevant because it speaks of things happening in everyone’s life today, such as, hope, peace, love, faith, gratefulness, thankfulness, anger and optimism. My book is for everyone!  You can find hopefulness in knowing that the Creator of the universe is on your side.

CH:  How to Find Joyce Williams Graves:

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

JWG: Yes, on the following websites: iUniverse, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JWG: We all have a unique way of touching someone in their life through our actions or words.  I have chosen to leave in written form a way to touch the heart of people by speaking of the goodness of our Lord and Savior. Thank you for this opportunity to share my belief, faith, and love for God and life.

My next book will be a book of Poetry, and will be published in late fall of 2017.  This book will also share my experiences of the love of God, family, friends and life. Readers will love it! Thank you, Cheryl for this interview.

CH: Thank you so much, Joyce Williams Graves, 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, Joyce Williams Graves 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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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review for The Proposal: A Leap of Faith

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Readers’ Favorite 5 Star Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please read the wonderful 5 Star Review by Rosie Malezer at:

https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-proposal

“This is my all-time favorite review of any of my books!”

http://amzn.to/2tzvQLN

 

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 – Marcie R. Rendon

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Title: Murder On The Red River

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Native American

Synopsis: Cash and Sheriff Wheaton make for a strange partnership. He pulled her from her mother’s wrecked car when she was three. He’s kept an eye out for her ever since. It’s a tough place to live—northern Minnesota along the Red River. Cash navigated through foster homes, and at thirteen was working farms. She’s tough as nails—five feet two inches, blue jeans, blue jean jacket, smokes Marlboros, drinks Bud Longnecks. She makes her living driving trucks and playing pool on the side. Wheaton is big lawman type—maybe Scandinavian stock, but darker skin than most. He wants her to take hold of her life and get into Junior College. So there they are, staring at the dead Indian lying in the field. Soon, Cash was dreaming about the dead man’s cheap house on the Red Lake Reservation—mother and kids waiting. She has that kind of power. That’s the place to start looking. There’s a long and dangerous way to go to find the men who killed him. Plus, there’s Jim, the married white guy, and Longbraids, the Indian guy, headed for Minneapolis to join the American Indian Movement.

Marcie R. Rendon, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Marcie R. Rendon. Marcie is a writer, poet and playwright. She is a member of the White Earth Anishinabe Nation. Welcome to my blog, Marcie.

CH: Can you tell us why we should read your book?

MRR: Murder on the Red River is a fast read—a murdered man in a field and the Sheriff calls on Cash—an almost twenty something, tough, smart Indian woman with special seeing powers. Readers have said that the book made them laugh, cry, worry about the main character, Cash, and learn more about Native Americans than they knew before.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

MRR: My ideas come from observing people, lived experiences, and the ever expanding question—what if?

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

MRR: I have no standard plot, at least not so far. I would say that the characters come to me as a whole concept, and the story they want to be told follows.

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

MRR: My friend, and fellow author, Mark Anthony Rolo, says, ‘We’re Indians, some of this shit, we can’t make up.’ The issues are real, very real —and the hardships of the foster care system have been some of the hardest pieces of the writing for readers of Murder on the Red River to believe actually happen/ed.

The characters and story are all figments of my imagination. They are fiction.  Was it hard? No. I had a wonderful time writing the book. It takes discipline and determination to sit down every day and write to the finish line. Reading the book for the umpteenth time going through for edits was hard and boring but again, it was necessary work to get to this finished product that I am very happy with.

CH: Since this is your debut novel, where did you get the idea for the book?

MRR: I was writing a book about a young woman who wrote poetry/songs who wanted to be a country western singer and Cash showed up and said ‘Nope, this is the story we’re doing.’

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

MRR: Neither of the characters was easier or harder to write than the other. My editor, bless her heart, Lee Byrd, asked me to write more about the Red River Valley as it seemed to be a ‘character’ in the story that meant a lot to Cash and who had helped shape Cash into who she is. So I had to go back in and figure out how to bring more detail about the Valley and River into the story. Lee Byrd was right, her suggestions improved the book.

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

MRR: In Indian country we are under a lot of pressure to be role models—to write the perfect book of Indian literature. To not be too frivolous and to write ‘meaningful’ stories.  I set out to write first, a story about a young native woman, who then said to me, ‘I don’t want to be a singer, I want to solve a murder mystery, that is way more fun’ And once I started to write that story—a  story for really, pure entertainment—it was exciting to me to write. I think the information about history and foster care, which all speaks to our current situation, gets told in a way that isn’t ‘preachy’ or ‘too educational’— folks learn while going along for the ride, as Cash helps Wheaton solve a murder.

CH: Since you are Native American, are any of your experiences included in the novel?

MRR: I am from the White Earth reservation, which borders the Red River Valley. I have done field work. I have spent time in foster homes. But the experiences in the novel are not mine, they are fiction.

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

MRR: Cash is not me. I know how to shoot pool and when I drank beer I drank Budweiser, but really my drink of choice was straight whiskey. I have been sober for 40 years, thank the universe, or I would probably not be writing books.

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

MRR: I wrote the book for entertainment, which is why I read. I read books that entertain me; and my personal book list is heavy on murder mysteries. If people walk away from the book happy to have read it, to have spent some hours enjoying reading, then mission accomplished. If folks gain some understanding of Native life, that is an added bonus, I imagine.

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

MRR: After people tell me how much they enjoyed the book the number one question is, ‘What happens next? Are you working on a sequel?’ And the answer is yes.

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

MRR: The author I would like most to meet is Stephen King. I would also like to meet John Sanford of the ‘Prey’ series and ask him questions about his writing process. I have met my heroes/sheroes, who are Native writers—Joy Harjo, Sherman Alexie, N. Scott Momaday, Vine Deloria Jr., John Trudell—to name a few. And I am waiting for David Martinez’s book about Vine Deloria to come out.

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

MRR: I have been writing since I learned how to write, but I seriously started writing for publication in 1990. I have four non-fiction children’s books published; four plays published and countless poems floating out there in anthologies. I would encourage Native and other people of color to follow their passion to write, if that is what is driving them—go for it! Don’t wait, as long as I did.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

MRR: Another Cash book, a teen novel about a girl in the ICWA system (Indian Child Welfare), more poetry and hopefully a full-length play.

CH: How to Find Marcie R. Rendon:

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

MRR: I think the best place to find the book in the Twin Cities area is at the Once Upon a Crime Bookstore, 604 W. 26th St., Minneapolis, MN 55405. Online, it is on Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MRR: Cheryl, Thank you so much for asking about the book and my writing life.

CH: Thank you so much, Marcie R. Rendon, 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, Marcie R. Rendon 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 – B. J. Williams

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Title: Bell Bottom High: Book 3 Junior Jewels

Genre: Teen/Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis: Another drama unfolds at Bell Bottom High as Reecy Jones turns sixteen years old during the 1975-76 school year and is allowed to start dating. However, her life gets turned upside down after going out on a group date with her classmates. What happens next could change her life forever. Reecy is struggling to maintain her dignity with a little help from her friends.

Always known as a good girl, can Reecy save her tainted reputation and finish up the school year with her head held high?

B. J. Williams, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is B. J. Williams. B. J. writes in a variety of genres. Welcome to my blog, B. J.

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

BJW: Yes, this is Book 3: Junior Jewels in the Bell Bottom High series, which is set in the seventies.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? 

BJW: My ideas have come from just living and observing everyday life. However, this particular series is loosely based on my teenage years during the seventies.

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

BJW: No, I don’t have a standard formula for plots. Stories normally come to me in pieces and eventually, those pieces become a whole manuscript.

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

 BJW: No, it wasn’t hard coming up with believable situations because some of the events in this book actually happened. I’m just not at liberty to say which ones. But yes, I elaborated on the real-life issues that occurred during that time.

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

BJW: The idea came years ago when I first thought about writing a young adult series. I knew that I didn’t want to write anything set in modern times, because it wouldn’t be authentic. So, a friend suggested that I focus on my teenage era, and it sounded good to me.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your teenage characters? 

BJW: I got the inspiration from these teenage characters from my childhood friends and relatives. Although, some of the real people are combined into one sensationalized character.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

BJW: Well, my favorite character to write has to be the main character, Reecy Jones. She’s a lot like me, but we do have our differences.

CH: Who was the hardest character to write?

BJW: The hardest character to write was probably the grandmother, because she was a special person in the book.

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

BJW: Well, some of the main character, Reecy, is definitely based on me. I would say that it could be fifty-one percent or maybe more.

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

BJW: Yes, I, basically, want the young readers to experience how life and situations were handled back then, compared to now. And I want mature readers to enjoy reliving what they experienced in the seventies.

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

 BJW: I think my series is different because it is set in the seventies which is a time that hasn’t been highlighted a lot in the young adult genre. I also think it’s exciting for that same reason, because my writing style is very descriptive. The books are written in first-person, so readers feel the experiences as they’re reading.

CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then? Which book in the series was hardest to write? 

BJW: Yes, I knew it would be a series before I started writing the first book. I wanted each one to focus on a different year of high school and unique situations. The last book was probably the hardest to write, because I had to remember what was in the previous books and not make it too repetitive.

CH: You’ve written several books in various genres. What contributes to your success as a writer? 

 BJW: I believe writing what’s in my heart is one thing that makes me successful as an author. Everything that I’ve written has been based on my experiences or those around me, so they are believable and well-written. I also have a dynamic team of editors and beta readers, which contributes to my success.

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

BJW: The most exciting thing to happen to me on my publishing journey has been the honor of attending conferences across the nation and meeting some of my all-time favorite authors.

CH: You’ve written in a lot of genres, what is your favorite genre to write? 

BJW: My favorite genre to write in is still contemporary romance. I just wanted to see if I could step outside the box and be successful at something else.

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

BJW: So far, the feedback has been phenomenal. My faithful readers are loving the walk down memory lane. One happy reader has even made up a playlist on each book and placed it on YouTube…That just blew me away.

CH: Are there any writing projects in progress? What can we expect next from you? 

BJW: Right now, I don’t have any writing projects in progress, but I have lots of ideas for more romance and young adult books. So, I can’t say what to expect from me next, because I haven’t decided yet. But if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll be one of the first people to know.

 CH: How to Find B. J. Williams:

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

 BJW: All of my published books are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble, but they can be requested from any bookstore.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BJW: I just want to thank the readers who have supported me over the years, as well as, my new readers with this series. I love reading reviews and hearing from them (readers). They can contact me anytime, especially on social media or email at: amanipublishing@aol.com Thanks for the interview, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, B. J. Williams, 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, B. J. Williams 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 – Mary Grand

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Title: Catching the Light: Four Women, Four Compelling Short Stories

Genre: Fiction/Short Stories

Synopsis: Four Short Stories-

The New Arrival
Rachel has moved to the Isle of Wight determined to become invisible. Hiding a shameful secret, she cultivates a ‘cold polite smile as effective as an electric fence.’ However, unexpectedly, into her life comes a loving, crazy, individual: Lottie the cocker spaniel. Everything is about to change.
Language of love
Megan works in a Theatre for the Deaf. She is Deaf. Her language is British Sign Language. One evening she meets John, who is hearing, and two worlds collide. This is the story of the struggles, joys and tears of their remarkable relationship.
Catching the Light
Erin thinks she has found her fairytale prince. However, the honeymoon in a remote cottage in Wales shatters the dream. For the first time in her life Erin discovers the mystical world of fairies.
The Outing
This was to be the most important day of Kay’s life. However her mission to be free from years of guilt reveals so much more than she could possibly imagine.

Mary Grand, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Mary Grand. Mary writes women’s fiction and the main character is usually a woman at a decisive point in her life. Welcome to my blog, Mary.

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

MG: Four women at a crisis point in their lives; four compelling short stories.

CH: Since this is a book of short stories, how did you decide which stories would blend and complement each other to be included in this book?

MG: Each story stands alone, but in each a woman is at a decisive point in their lives. The title of the book, Catching the Light, captures the theme of all the stories, that the light of love, of belief in yourself can conquer darkness, guilt and past hurt.

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

MG: The exciting thing about short stories is the freedom to explore a range of story types. In Catching the Light, a modern fairy tale sits next to a story about a woman trying to escape her past. I tend to start with a character in a particular dilemma and the stories grow from there.

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

MG: The issues I write about tend to be those that I have experienced or I care deeply about. They say that when taking on a new character as an actor you start with the shoes. Well in writing I take an aspect of the issue that I can relate to and build on that by talking to people, researching the subject matter extensively and then creating a character and setting in which to explore that subject matter.

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

MG: When I started writing I wanted to see if it was possible to write about difficult issues within the context of a story that had other elements of mystery and romance. Although not unique, I do think it is a slightly unusual way to write.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MG: Kay in The Outing was a difficult character to write because she is a character trapped in her past. She is far more complex than she initially appears and it took me a lot of writing and re-writing to really get to know her.

CH:  Which character was your favorite to write?

MG: I loved the character Rachel in The New Arrival. She is not a particularly glamorous person; in fact, she has gone out of her way not to be noticed. She has escaped to the Isle of Wight and hiding a shameful secret, she cultivates a ‘cold polite smile as effective as an electric fence.’ I love the way her life is turned about by a loving, crazy, individual: Lottie, the cocker spaniel. I have a dog named Pepper and through this story and particularly through Rachel, I was able to write about the wonderful things he has brought to my life.

CH: Since you received great reviews for Free to Be Tegan, how has this molded your publishing journey?

MG: Free to Be Tegan is the story of a woman recovering from her upbringing in a psychologically abusive cult was my debut novel. It was partly based on my experience being raised in a strict religious sect.

To be honest, when I wrote Free to Be Tegan, I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to read it!  Well, fortunately they did and I have got to know so many people since. I feel very fortunate to be a writer in the age of self publishing, and have learned so much through the process. In particular, I have had the opportunity to get to know a number of my readers and other writers on social media, an extraordinarily generous and supportive group of people.

CH: Which short story in this book was hardest to write?

MG: I think that would be Catching the Light. I am fascinated by the stories around the Welsh fairies, the Twyleth Teg, who are not the Tinkerbelle image of a fairy, but something a lot more complex and sometimes sinister.  I wanted to write a kind of modern fairy tale using them and this developed into a story about domestic violence. While a difficult story to write, I think it probably is the darkest of the stories and became very important to me.

CH: Which short story was your favorite to write?

 MG: This would be Belonging. Before writing full-time I was a teacher of Deaf children. There are many difficult and complex issues facing the Deaf community and in my novel Hidden Chapters, I had the space to explore them more widely. In this short story, I focus on the meeting of two worlds through the relationship between a Deaf woman, Megan, and a hearing man, John. The real crisis point in their relationship comes when Megan is pregnant, and their expectations of whether their baby will be hearing or Deaf.  I found the story very emotional to write and it is probably the one I have had the most feedback on.

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

MG: I think for me, some of the most profound lessons can be learned through nature: there is a circle of life, there is suffering and there is growth.  Life can be very hard, and my characters go through a lot of heartache and stress. However, ultimately, the stories resolve and bring hope. They aim to show that we can all find the courage within ourselves to heal in some way from our past and take control of the next chapter of our lives.

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

MG: I am fortunate through social media, as well as family and friends, to have a lot of support and positive feedback. On Amazon, I have received a lot of reviews, most of them enthusiastic. I read all the comments, appreciate the time people take to leave them and always try to take something constructive from them.

CH: Do you have any author that you consider to be your mentor and if so, why?

MG: I love the work of Joanna Trollope, Maeve Binchy, Adele Parks, Jodi Picoult. They have a way of showing that life and people are complex, funny, sad, make mistakes, and are capable of making good and bad choices. I also love Agatha Christie, which I think is the reason I always have elements of mystery in my stories.

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

MG: I came to writing late and only started seriously about six years ago. After attending a writing course, I started to write daily. Initially, I was very nervous and worried about what people would think. It was finding something I was passionate about that was the turning point. I wanted to write a novel that explored the effects of psychological abuse on children.

I published my first novel, Free to Be Tegan, on Amazon in March 2015.  It has been a very steep learning curve, but I was fortunate to have great support from family, friends and a whole community of readers and writers.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

MG: I am very excited that Catching the Light has just been released as an audiobook, professionally narrated by Petrina Kingham.

I am just completing the final draft of my next novel. The working title is ‘The Image of You.’ The central character is Lowri, who has been badly scarred in an accident, and moves to the Isle of Wight with her husband to start a new life. The village superficially seems idyllic, but she soon finds that appearances can be deceptive and things are far from what they seem.

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

MG: Amazon, Amazon.UK, iTunes, Nook, Kobo, and Audiobook.

CH: How to Find Mary Grand:

CH: Any closing remarks?

MG: Thank you very much for the opportunity to share these thoughts about my writing, Cheryl. I wish you and all of your readers well.

CH: Thank you so much, Mary Grand, 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, Mary Grand 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 – Tamara Neal

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Title: Venomous Relationships: Learn How to Avoid Common Relationship Bloopers

Genre: Counseling & Psychology /Emotions & Feelings/Abuse

Synopsis: Are you trapped in a venomous, abusive relationship? Does your partner verbally belittle you, making you feel worthless and alone? Are you isolated from your friends, told you’re unlovable, or living under a constant barrage of verbal abuse?

Venomous Relationships exposes the most common, but often unrecognized, abusive relationships—those where one partner emotionally manipulates and verbally abuses the other. Through solid, all-too-real examples, author and emotional abuse survivor, Tamara Neal, helps you identify emotional abuse and makes practical suggestions for moving on, healing, and entering into new, loving relationships.

Tamara Neal, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Tamara Neal. She is a veteran Baltimore County 911 Operator and a Certified Relationship Counselor. Welcome to my blog, Tamara.

CH: Can you tell us why we should read your book?

TN: According to the statistics on the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).  I believe that people should read Venomous Relationships to break the silence of common, less talked about toxic relationships that many women find themselves in everyday, but refuse to acknowledge.

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

TN: I was told many years ago that I would write a book that would help women around the world. I knew in my heart that this was true, because I had been writing since I was old enough to pick up a pen. So, this prophecy set over my life, started my mission to find a way to help women, around the world!

CH: The topic of venomous relationships is a real-life situation. At what point did you decide to share this information with other women?

TN: Being a Baltimore County 911 Operator for many years, I found myself the only help available on the other end of the line, while people did some of the most horrendous things to spouses, girlfriends and significant others, all while in the privacy of their homes. I knew long before the infamous elevator, knock down drag out, that there were many Ike and Tina Turners out there that suffered from emotional abuse, at the very least, in silence. I, too, suffered in silence in my own toxic relationship, because being a 911 operator and living in the jurisdiction in which I worked, to call 911, would be to call my co-workers!

I always knew in my heart that I had a women’s relationship book in me; however, it was not until many years later, after coming full circle and reuniting with my first boyfriend and high school prom date, in a loving, healthy, happy marriage, that I was able to write such a book.

What I have come to know now is, to truly I identify a bad apple, you must have first have experienced a good one!

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research for the book?

TN: Being a 911 Operator, afforded me rare opportunity, to be the only help available on the other end of the phone, while people did the unthinkable, in the privacy of their homes, until the police arrived. Therefore, I could study many different types of toxic relationships first hand and I became well informed of how people, of every age, social status and ethnic group, suffered abuse in silence on a daily basis, while in the privacy of their homes.

Having first-hand experience of my own toxic relationships, I guess one could say, that I have been there, done that and wrote the book!

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

TN: Many relationship books are filled with jargon and psychology. My writing style is like having a girlfriend chat in a coffee shop. Many women who suffer from abuse don’t have girlfriends, because they have been isolated from the world by design.

CH: What is your key piece of advice that you have for women in venomous relationships?

TN: My key piece of advice is you will never be able to change anything that you refuse to acknowledge.  So, each chapter includes a Scenario of a venomous relationship filled will all the trauma and drama, some parts of which are hard to swallow—but a reality check always is. Immediately following the scenario there’s the Let’s Talk section, which is like a coffee-shop chat about the scenario. I skip the jargon and the traditional language of psychology, I prefer a personal approach, encouraging the reader to just recognize and reclaim a lot of what she might already know, but will now be able to feel. Next, I have the Conclusion section which is a review of the venomous relationship from the chapter, identifying its tell-tale traits and discussing the red flags in the abusive person that his partner missed when she first met him, so that she can avoid repeating the pattern. Finally, I have the most important page in each chapter, a Today I will Release and Let Go of page has been provided at the end of each chapter. This page is for the reader to document some of what they may already know, but have refused to acknowledge.

CH: Do you find that most women take your advice or do they continue to stay in a venomous relationship?

TN: I find that most women when looking through the chapters in the book at the very least acknowledge that they are, or have been in a venomous relationship and that is a start and a seed for change.

CH: Did you have an outline for your book to include all of the information that you wanted to provide?

TN: Yes, I had ten common less talked about toxic relationships that women find themselves in all the time. and I wanted the reader to be able to identify the tell-tale traits of a toxic person or relationship, even if the toxic person was them.

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

TN: I really want the reader to know that they are not alone and to be able to identify the tell-tale traits of a toxic relationship or person.

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

TN: Many people feel that Venomous Relationships is a relationship primer for all ages and a good book for anyone that is new to the dating world or having problems identifying toxic people.

CH: Do you speak to women’s groups?

TN: Yes, I speak to a variety of groups. You may go to my website to schedule or call 888-503-1575.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

TN: I am working on Baltimore 911 Operator Breaks the Silence. I plan to reveal what it was like for me being a 911 operator during that time in my life, expose the unsung heroes that continue to take emergency calls even while sitting in a building that people are running out of, and break the code of silence that exists among 911 operators that I think the public should know, all while giving some brief 911 real call stories, that people love to hear, including the good, the bad and the ugly!

I plan to self-publish Baltimore 911 Operator; however, I am very open to a traditional publishing company.

CH: How to Find Tamara Neal:

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

TN: My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and most online bookstores. You may obtain a signed copy of any of my books only from my website.

CH: I am so happy to be able to discuss this topic with my audience. Any closing remarks?

TN: Remember, for those people in venomous relationships: You are not alone; your problem is very common. On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States—more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year, according to statistics provided by the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

No man is perfect, so if you think that you have found a man that is, stay tuned. More will be revealed. Learn to trust your intuition, and never ignore something that troubles you so much that you feel it in your gut. When you have a gut feeling, it is your body’s natural way of telling you something. It could be that something is not right about the situation. Take time to get to know a person in every season before you conclude that he is God’s gift to women.

Cheryl, Thank you for having me on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, Tamara Neal, 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, Tamara Neal 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 – Sharon C. Cooper

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Title: Love Under Contract

Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Multicultural

Synopsis: Timing is everything. Sumeera Robinson refuses to settle for less than she desires, even if what she craves is the sexy, smart, and charming Nicolas Jenkins-Moore. At her age, she wants marriage and a family, not the empty promises Nick offers. Yet, there is just something about the man that makes moving on nearly impossible. As the new senior manager of Jenkins & Sons Construction, Nick’s five-year plan is on track with marriage and starting a family at the bottom of the list. Sumeera is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside, but not even she can entice him to abandon his carefully plotted road to success. That is until she walks away without looking back, leaving him yearning for her presence in his life. Nick is determined to convince Sumeera that he wants the same things she wants. But will an unexpected development keep them from the life they desire? Or will fate bring them closer than they’ve ever been before?

Sharon C. Cooper, Author

    

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Sharon C. Cooper. Sharon is a romance-a-holic who writes passionate stories for the true romantic. Welcome to my blog, Sharon.

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

SCC:  Nick let Sumeera go once, but he’s willing to fight to keep her this time.

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

SCC:  My story ideas come from all over, and most times they come in bits and pieces. I could be sitting in the airport and a story idea will spark. A concept can come from something I see or hear. Other times it’s an experience that ignites an idea. Sometimes, thoughts of a character and their career come to mind first. Other times, it might be a story theme that pops into my head. And no, I can’t say I have a formula for plots. No two stories are the same or even similar.

CH: The topic of not realizing what you have until it is gone is a real-life situation. How did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

SCC:  Hmm…good question. I think the premise of not appreciating something until its gone is something all of us can relate to. I know, I can. But like my other books, the majority of the ideas for this story came in bits and pieces before I started writing. That particular premise came when I was brainstorming Nick’s (the hero in Love Under Contract), backstory. Though I’m a fan of second chance stories (and have written many of them), this was one topic I hadn’t considered/used before.

CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?

SCC:  Occasionally, I’ll start a story with a working title before I settle on a title. But normally, when I start a new project, I begin with a title and my book cover. Then I build my stories around those items.

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

SCC:  I try to make my characters feel real. I always want them to seem like people a reader might know or be related to. I also blend humor, sexiness, and everyday situations into my tales.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SCC: I don’t know that I have a favorite character (in this story or in any of my other stories). I guess if I had to pick one from this story, it would have to be Nick. I loved that he was preparing himself (financially) for marriage. Unfortunately, I don’t think too many people consciously do that these days.

CH: Who was the hardest character to write?

SCC:  I think the hardest character to write was Mona. She’d stayed in what seemed like a loveless relationship for over thirty-plus years. I had to explain (a little) why she’d done it. NOTE: Many readers have asked for a story for Mona and I’m seriously considering it. *Stay Tuned*

CH: Since this is the first book in a series, what is in store for the reader in future books?

SCC:  I’m already enjoying brainstorming the stories for the Jenkins men! There will be more falling in love for them; there’ll be some very nice surprises; and the Jenkins family is growing! Next up is Nate (Nick’s twin brother). He’ll be reunited with a past fling from college. Her name is Liberty and she has recently moved to Cincinnati (where the Jenkins family resides). Unfortunately, she works for one of Jenkins & Sons Construction’s competitors. Needless to say it will be very interesting when she and Nate come face-to-face again! 🙂

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

SCC:  The most noticeable message/theme in my Jenkins & Sons Construction series, as well as my Jenkins Family series is that family comes first. And that even though everyone in the family might be different, it’s important to love the person they are.

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

SCC: The feedback for Love Under Contract has been outstanding! Here’s what some readers are saying:

“Sumeera and Nick are so good together, their love was palpable. I can’t wait to see who is up next.  I fall more in love with these Jenkins with each book.”

“This book gave the warm fuzzy family feel that just makes the reader feel good and want more!”

“This book kept me up until one a.m. I had to finish it. Great story, believable characters, great detail, satisfying ending, a couple I was rooting for the entire time. We all wish we could be a part of the Jenkins family.”

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

SCC: Brenda Jackson, Delaney Diamond, Candace Shaw, Iris Bolling and Kaylea Cross to name a few. I think they are all unique in their own way and I think our writing styles and creative minds would mesh well together. I’ve already done a project with Delaney and Candace; and I had a blast!

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

SCC: I think, I admire Brenda Jackson the most for her staying power. After penning over a hundred books, she’s still going strong and continues to entertain her readers.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

SCC: I have a number of projects going on. My next release will be as a contributing author in the Breaking Bad: 14 Tales of Lawless Love Box Set coming July 11th.  NOTE: This box set is currently available for pre-order and is on sale for only $0.99 for a limited time!

Also, Proposal for Love, Book 2 of the Jenkins & Sons Construction series (Nate’s story) is coming soon. And at the end of the year, I’ll be releasing Book 1 in my new Atlanta’s Finest Series. I’m also hoping to drop another Reunited Story (romantic suspense) story before the year ends. *Fingers Crossed*

CH: How to Find Sharon C. Cooper:

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

SCC:  Love Under Contract is sold at Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, Smashwords, Kobo and iTunes.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SCC: Cheryl, thanks for this opportunity! I appreciate the interview. By the way, if your readers enjoy romantic suspense, now is a great time to check out the first three books in my Reunited Series! They can get my Reunited Series Box Set (Books 1-3), which is a limited edition, for only $1.99! That’s for three full-length stories! NOTE: the box set will only be around for a couple of more weeks. Thanks again!

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Sharon C. Cooper 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 – J. L. Madore

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 Title: Blaze Ignites (Scourge Survivor Series Book 1

Genre: Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy

Synopsis: Blaze Ignites blends strong, clever women and tough, sexy men in a fast paced, volatile cocktail of action, seduction and wicked humour.

“Destiny my ass.” Jade Glaster refuses to believe the Fates rule her life. Orphaned after an attack by Scourge soldiers, a young Jade vows never to be powerless again. Once grown and strong, wielding the affinities of fire and healing, Jade protects innocents as an enforcer for her world’s elite policing agency—The Talon.

When an emissary mission to reinstate a race of exiled Elves brings Galan into her life, Jade finds herself overwhelmed by new passions, some welcome, some not. Although Galan’s antiquated views on women offend her to her heated core, when the Scourge attack his family, she helps him navigate the outside worlds he knows nothing about—the magical Realm of the Fair and, stranger still . . . the modern streets of Toronto.

Through their sensually charged pursuit of justice, Jade discovers that when dealing with the Fates—destiny is never random.

 Title: Ursa Unearthed Book 2

Synopsis: Mika’s life has never been normal, but it’s hers.
After being told by the Great Spirit that her destiny is to stand up for the Earth Mother’s children and “save the great species from extinction,” she buries herself in an investigative journalism career hunting down poachers and exposing illegal trade in wildlife exotics. A survivor by nature, she would rather fight injustice than maneuver the hassles and heartache of relationships anyway.

When danger suddenly finds her unprepared, Mika’s perception of her life is shattered and she’s hurled into a realm of magic and murder she does not understand. Seduced by Bruin, the powerful and sexy warrior who saves her life, Mika is catapulted into a world where Were-creatures and Scourge assassins threaten not only her life but her heart as well.

With the boundary between worlds crumbling, Mika realizes that committing to save the great species will draw her deeper into a reality more terrifying to her than anything she’s faced before. Trusting in love.

Title: Torrent of Tears Book 3

Synopsis: With her birthday approaching and her adoptive family angry with her, Lexi doubts her place in her own life. Where had she come from? Where did she truly belong? When her identical twin emerges from the surface of a frozen pond to reclaim her, Lexi abandons the security of Haven to go find out.

Unfamiliar with the customs, laws, and obligations of life in Attalos, Lexi’s warrior habits and acerbic wit clash with everything in her oppressed homeland. At odds with her mother, the royal guards, and her arranged betrothed, Lexi finds a reluctant ally in Rowan, shunned Noble of the Fifth House.

Through their sexually charged pursuit of freedom, Lexi learns that family and love are two very different things.

J. L. Madore, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author J. L. Madore from Canada, who found her muse and began writing. Welcome to my blog, J. L.

CH: Can you sum up the Scourge Survivor Series, and tell us why we should read these books?

JLM: The Scourge Survivor Series is a Fantasy Romance series of 5 (possibly 6) books about rising beyond your circumstances and finding the place you truly belong. The parallels are applicable in everyday life and highlight that family is the group of people who choose you and who you choose to be with, who love you unconditionally, and who will always have your back.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

JLM: My ideas come from everywhere: travel, books, movies, comments on the radio, song lyrics…anything I hear that sparks an idea or image that resonates.

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

JLM: Usually, I have a character and a situation in mind and scenes start forming. Often, I wake up in the morning and my sub-conscious mind has planned the next scene or figured out a plot twist I have been struggling with. When I hit a block or things aren’t flowing, my husband will often tell me to ‘sleep on it’ because solutions often come to me in my dreams.

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

JLM: Yes, I’ve always planned this series around the five natural elements: fire, earth, water, wind, and spirit. It’s the possibility of the sixth book which has taken me by surprise. I haven’t written the fifth yet, but the scenes and characters seem to have more to say. We’ll see what happens.

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

JLM: Most often people comment on my voice and my characters. I truly do see the scenes as movies playing in my head and try to convey the details of that worldbuilding to my readers. Also, my characters are often a bit insouciant and strong-willed.

CH: You’ve been writing this series for a while. Is there a reason?

JLM: A reason it has taken me a while and I’m still writing it. Just over two years ago, I became the President of a 300-member writing organization—The Writers’ Community of Durham Region. It has taken up most of my time and derailed my own writing, unfortunately. But the story must be told, so I keep at it and will make sure readers get the answers to all their questions.

CH: You recently changed the covers. Was this a suggestion from the readers?

JLM: No, it was a marketing decision. I’m actually using two sets of covers. There are the beautiful Fantasy art covers by David Wysotski I’m using for the print copies, and the more contemporary, sexy abs and skin Romance covers by Sarah Hansen at Okay Creations for the eBooks. I did this for two reasons. First, the books are steamy romance and that doesn’t always come across for genre identification on the fantasy covers. And second, the sexy body-shot covers are only for the eBook format, so no one needs to feel self-conscious about people checking out what they’re reading.

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

JLM: I think I’ve had the most trouble with book 4, Blind Spirit. Lia is a meek, innocent girl in the beginning of her story and for me, that’s a challenge. I’m very comfortable writing strong, outspoken characters and had to pay close attention to what she would say and how she would react to things. It’s also more difficult (for me) to project strength and growth in a character, who is reserved and quite quiet…while still holding reader interest. That book is almost complete now, and I think it was worth the struggles.

CH: Which character in the series was your favorite to write?

JLM: I have several. Lexi is so much fun. She says what she thinks and is a stab first, think later kinda girl. No filter. No restraint. She’s always making me laugh. Kobi, Bruin, and Cowboy are much the same. But it’s Aust, who tugs at my heart. Of all the characters, I need him to find his love and where he belongs most. He’s the anchor character for the overarching series plot and he will take us to the finish line of the series in the end.

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

JLM: Sure. It’s about unconditional love and belonging. About finding your place with people who accept you for who you are making them your family. You love who you love, after all.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for writing your fantasy novels?

JLM: This one came to me, while my husband and I took a year and lived in a Panamanian rainforest with our kids. We only had 1 novel, my daughter’s copy of Twilight, and I read it about a hundred times and started thinking…my hero would do this, and my heroine would say that…so, I started writing it down.

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

JLM: In this genre, definitely J. R. Ward. I’m addicted to her novels, love her male characters, love her plot twists, love, love, love her voice. (Readers will notice that it’s very similar to mine.)

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

JLM: I’ve had great feedback and amazing reviews. I’ve been very blessed that the series has been so well received. From characters, to worldbuilding, to plot, to villains, to love twists and turns, the readers seem happy. It’s an author’s greatest thrill to read reviews of how readers connect with the story and I’ve been so pleased.

CH: What is the most rewarding aspect of writing in this genre?

JLM: In the writing itself, I’d have to say I love making up crazy scenarios, quirky, witty characters, and entertaining people. It’s incredibly fulfilling to be able to create something that alters the mood of a reader. If I can help them escape reality for a bit and let them laugh and fall in love, it’s a great day. Of course, reader feedback, as I mentioned, is my absolute favorite thing.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

JLM: Well, I’m finishing this series. Book 3 Torrent of Tears is on pre-order on Amazon and Book 4 Blind Spirit is almost ready for edits. While that’s in process, I have an angels and demons trilogy coming out, and I’m also working on a couple other outlines for a new series.

CH: How to Find J. L. Madore:

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

JLM: I’m exclusive with Amazon, so my books are there and available for Kindle Unlimited download.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JLM: Thanks so much for having me, Cheryl. It’s readers and bloggers, who make it possible for me to do what I love and love what I do. I wish everyone the same happiness with whatever their bliss might be and wherever it might take them. Much love, JL.

CH: Thank you so much, J. L. Madore, 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, J. L. Madore and Cheryl Holloway.

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

   

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

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Cheryl Holloway Discusses Authors and Book Reviews

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Authors and Book Reviews

As you know, I am trying to get more book reviews for some of my books, if you read yesterday’s blog post. So, today, I am providing some information for authors to know and heed in reference to book reviews. Enjoy!

 What do book reviews do?

  • Add exposure
  • Increase attention
  • Create fans for the author’s writing/books
  • Sell books

Who writes book reviews?

  • Readers
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Colleagues
  • Book Reviewers
  • Bloggers

Where are book reviews?

  • Book Sellers: Such as, Amazon, Barnes & Noble,
  • Online at various websites: Such as, Bloggers and Reviewers
  • Author’s Website
  • Publisher’s Website
  • Social Media: Such as, Facebook, Twitter,
  • Newspapers: Such as, Washington Post, Huffington Post
  • Magazines: Print and Online
  • Prestigious Reviews: Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly

When do you ask for book reviews?

  • Prior to publication of the book
  • Once the book is released

Why do readers read book reviews?

  • To view positive/negative reviews
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Buy, Read and Review Cheryl Holloway Books

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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 – Dr. Bob Rich

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Title: Guardian Angel

Genre: Historical/Inspirational/Christian

Synopsis: In 1850, a small town in Australia: Glindi, an Aboriginal woman, gives birth to a daughter, the result of a rape by a white man. She names her Maraglindi, meaning “Glindi’s sorrow,” but the girl is a joy to all those around her. She has the gift of love. During her short life, she encounters everything intolerant, cruel Victorian society can throw at people it considers to be animals. She surmounts the savagery of the white invader by conquering hate with love. Even beyond death, she spreads compassion, then she returns a second time, with an ending that will touch your heart.

Dr. Bob Rich, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Dr. Bob Rich, an International author from Australia. When a publisher rejects his work…he writes. Welcome to my blog, Dr. Bob.

BR: Cheryl, before I start answering your questions, I’d like to thank you for the honor of having me here on your blog. I am very impressed with your achievements, and I am sure there is a fascinating story to tell there.

CH: Can you sum up your book for us?

BR: She was sent to Earth to guide us, but first needed to experience human suffering, so chose to be Maraglindi—child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and an instrument of Love. During her short life, she repaid white people’s hate and disdain with the gift of unconditional love.

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

BR: Your readers may be amused by a little essay I’ve written on ‘How I Write.’ Here’s the link:  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Lx

When I was new to fiction writing, I meticulously plotted even a short story. I got every detail right, then wrote. This is like being an inexperienced cook, who follows a recipe, while a master chef, just cooks. If you inspect the process, you see the recipe, implicit in it, but even if there is a written guide, it’s only something to be improvised on.

So, I have a plot that’s kept secret from me. The real writing is done by ‘Little Bob’ somewhere within my mind. Then, when I have the time, all I need to do is to record what he tells me.

Always, even before I knew I was a writer, I started with people in a scene. For Guardian Angel, the scene was little, six-year-old Maraglindi rescuing another girl from a snake. The other girl is twelve, and has terrorized Maraglindi for months. On the first day of school, she’d hit and kicked her, and threatened to kill her, if she told.

Also, all writing has a message. Even your shopping list says a lot about its author. Your story tells me all about your philosophy of life, and your idea of what the world is and should be like. ‘A story is a vehicle for creating the reality of choice the author would like to see.’

The difference between me and many other writers is that I’ve thought deeply about such things, since the 1970s, and rather than have this an unconscious, intuitive process, I use my writing as a tool to help people to see a new way of looking at the world. We live in an insane global culture that encourages and rewards greed, aggression, hate, and territoriality. I want to change this to a global culture that focuses on the best in human nature—compassion, cooperation, and decency. It’s no good lecturing at people. So, I tell a story. As I said, I have people in a scene. Those people come alive, and after that THEY run the show.

CH: Since this is a historical book, did you have to do a lot of research for the story?

BR: I did. Research is fun and gathering information is an addiction for me. I’ve long had a fascination with Australian Aboriginal culture. When Europeans were still primitive cave dwellers, the people of Australia already had a sophisticated way of living in harmony with their land. If we want to survive on Planet Earth, we could do a lot worse than to create a modern, technological version of the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle.

For some years, I worked as a counselor at an Aboriginal health service, because today’s Aboriginals are almost all severely traumatized by over 200 years of genocide, discrimination, deliberate suppression of culture, and then blaming the victim for the symptoms of trauma.

Also, I’ve studied the Victorian era in other contexts. The English, and generally Europeans, were arrogant to the point of idiocy. They invaded lands with ancient, wise cultures like India and China, and considered the locals to be savages. Actually, the savagery was done by the Europeans, and to a psychologist, the ways of thinking to enable this are very interesting.

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

BR: Cheryl, this is the hardest of your questions for me. I don’t know! What’s more, the same is true for everyone. There is no divide between memory and imagination. When you remember something, you actually create it. This is why six reliable witnesses to a car smash will have six different stories. I could tell you about many ingenious experiments psychologists have used to show the creativity of memory. So, everything anyone writes or says is a fruit of their past experience, with many events in many contexts blended into something new.

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

BR: I don’t get ideas. They get me. Winston Churchill once said, “The problem is not to find a solution, but to choose between the dozen possibilities.” That’s how my mind works too. I need to fight off ideas, so I can concentrate on my several current projects. Still, your question made me think. Where did the idea for Guardian Angel come from?

It was many years ago, when I learned about the history of Coranderrk. In 1978, I moved to a community near Healesville, a small town to the east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. This was the location of a settlement the local Aborigines of the Kulin nation managed to establish. They had the wisdom to see that, with all their land stolen, they needed to change, so succeeded in getting a government grant of land. With the help of a few sympathetic white people, they built houses, grew crops, raised cattle, had a school for the children, and would have done really well…except that neighboring white landowners refused them access, buildings were burnt down, cattle killed, and similar acts of civilization were inflicted on the savages, who were aping their betters.

Reading about this made me look for a time machine, so I could go back and be of service to the victims. Perhaps, writing about the times and its attitudes can enable me to be of service to their descendants.

CH: Since the book describes the racial discords of earlier times and today, where did you get inspiration for your characters?

BR: As I’ve said, I’ve had the honor of being a counselor for several years at an Aboriginal health center. This was very rewarding work, particularly being accepted as ‘Uncle Bob’ by the younger people.

Also, my past life recalls have told me that I’ve had close and loving connections to Australian Aborigines when I was an Irishman transported to New South Wales for the term of my natural life, and when I was a woman whose karma was marriage to a monster of a husband. This story is told in Ascending Spiral.

The people in my stories are just…my children. I need someone to do something. A person comes, and we gradually get acquainted. In Guardian Angel, Maraglindi needed a family to be born into. When I sat down to write her birth, I didn’t know who they were, but they did. As they did things, and thought, and talked with each other, I found out all about them, eventually knowing more than they did themselves.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

BR: The man who murdered my little girl. It’s OK, death is not the end; it is only a change of state, a liberation, and the start of the next phase of existence. And she was born again. But she did have to die, and someone needed to be responsible. I then needed to get into the reality of the perpetrator. I feel the disgust even as I am writing my answer to you, right now. But again, it’s all right—Maraglindi helped him the very next day. And if that doesn’t make sense to you, you’ll need to read the book.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

BR: You’re trying to make me choose among my beloved children? Can’t be done.

My little girl Maraglindi is always physically awkward, and self-effacing. She dislikes it when people praise her for what seems to be just natural. But she is the instrument of Love. I’d like to be more like her.

Her father, Mick, is an amalgam of several Aboriginal men I’ve known. He is intelligent, physically powerful, has a lovely connection to animals, is gentle with people but when provoked, he has a cold fury that destroys what’s in his path. He sees the injustice about him, but controls his anger, and his attitudes are far more civilized than that of the invaders, who despise him.

Glindi, Maraglindi’s mother, is a delightful young woman with a deep laugh, and a generosity of spirit.

Gerald is wonderful. He and his friends did something terrible that resulted in the death of a little child. Retribution from the magic man killed his six friends, and he also almost died, taking months to recover. This changed him into the kind of person I wish to be, and indeed he is the main hero of the story, after Maraglindi’s death.

Alice was the lady who saw Maraglindi’s high intelligence, and spent her money to send the little Aboriginal girl to a Ladies’ College. Actually, apart from being a wealthy landowner’s wife, she reminds me of my wife and daughters.

But if I have to choose one, it’s Kirsten. We meet her when she hits and kicks Maraglindi, and then leads her friends in a campaign of discrimination almost till the end of the first school term. All the same, when it is time for Maraglindi to be born again, she chooses Kirsten as her mother. Why? I’m not going to tell you.

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

BR: All prose is poetry. For me, what I say is important, and how I say it is equally so. My writing may be challenging, amusing, informative, or annoying…but never boring.

CH: Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

BR: Always. My writing is me and I am my writing.

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

BR: Isaac Asimov. When I was a student, I read his textbook on chemistry. It’s the only scholarly work that’s actually fun to read, and it explains the basic concepts, approximately better than possible. His science fiction writing has the same characteristics. Although, his characterization is not as good as that of many other writers, the flight of his imagination is delightful. I’ve read everything he’s written (but then, the same is true for many other writers).

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

BR: J. K. Rowling. She has revolutionized children’s writing. Thanks to her, millions of kids are now keen readers. She survived rejection after rejection, but persevered until a then, a small publisher took a chance on her, and they both succeeded beyond any possible dreams. Mind you, I have never been able to finish reading any of the Harry Potter books.

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

BR: One friend couldn’t get into it, because he doesn’t believe there are angels, or that anyone can read minds, or put the grace of God into people by touching them. To my great delight, everyone else has been most complimentary. People have told me Guardian Angel draws them in, so they have to keep reading. After they’ve finished, it stays with them, and makes them see events around them in a different light.

It’s a very new release, but already the 5 and 4 star reviews are accumulating. No one has had the temerity to give it less than 4 stars.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making soon?

BR: Always. What, only one? Actually, Guardian Angel skipped ahead. Last year, my novel, Hit and Run, was accepted by a publisher, but we have been struck by severe front cover-itis. The publisher is still struggling with getting an artist to design the right cover. Right now, when time permits, I am working on Depression: You Can Gain Contentment in A Crazy World, which is a user’s guide to living with depression, and I am also working on The Protector, which is the sequel to Guardian Angel.

 CH: How to Find Dr. Bob Rich:

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

BR: Guardian Angel is a new experiment for me and I self-published it on all Amazon sites.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BR: Full circle. Cheryl, thank you for the honor of inviting me along. If your schedule allows it, I’d be delighted to reverse roles, and interview you at Bobbing Around.

CH: Thank you so much, Dr. Bob Rich, 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, Dr. Bob Rich 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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Guest Author Interview – D. L. White

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Title: Dinner At Sam’s: A Ruby’s Novel

Genre: African American Romance

Synopsis: Vanessa Jackson is just trying to get her life together. It’s been a year since her marriage ended and her husband left her and their children destitute. If she could just divorce the son-of-a-bitch, the future would be bright, but Warren is fighting the process every step of the way. If she wants a divorce and to move on with her life, she will need an attorney.

Gibson Kincaid is the youngest of four brothers, all attorneys at Kincaid Family Law, operated under the watchful eye of Sylvia, the “Silver Shark” Kincaid. Gibson is the rebel, the one who’s never going to do what Mother wants him to do. Instead of serving the interests of wealthy and high profile Kincaid clients, Gibson prefers to serve the ‘down on their luck’ sector, earning him the nickname “community lawyer.” When Sylvia rejects Vanessa as a client, it’s a lucky break that she—literally—runs into Gibson.

The attraction between them is immediate, smoldering, mutual, and distracting. Vanessa’s just trying to get divorced, not pick up a new man, and certainly not her divorce attorney! Gibson is trying to do right by his new client, but he can’t lie; he wants to help Vanessa get divorced. So, he can have her to himself. But Warren still has a few tricks up his sleeve, and Vanessa is hiding a huge part of her past that she’s not ready for Gibson to know.

D. L. White, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is D. L. White. She wants others to share in the joy of writing. Welcome to my blog, D. L.

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

DLW: My books are a great escape of sweet heat for a few hours from real life.

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

DLW: They come from a variety of places—sometimes an overheard conversation, a song, a movie, or a situation. One of my books was born out of the Atlanta Public Schools Cheating Scandal, and another out of an eavesdropped conversation about a woman’s husband being investigated by the IRS for tax evasion. There are a lot of times I hear something and think…that has to go in a book.

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

DLW: Many of the situations my characters find themselves in come from real life. Especially, when someone says, ‘I don’t know if that’s believable.’ Then I tell them, oh, it actually happened, believe it or not. I generally take the base situation and change the circumstances. I use them for inspiration. I don’t take them straight from people’s lives.

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

DLW: The only ‘series’  I currently have is the Ruby’s novels. The first came, as I mentioned earlier from the Atlanta Public School Cheating Scandal. As I was listening to reports everyday on my way to work on NPR, my mind started swirling with what if…they were talking about indicting the Superintendent and I just thought, what if someone did something that got them into a world of trouble? Not the Superintendent, but maybe a Principal. What if…she made a mistake, someone found out and now she’s faced with her life falling apart. I was also part of a monthly brunch group of women of different ages from all walks of life and we got along, so well. I wanted to incorporate that sisterhood, give her a little bit of support, and add some conflict, when the friendship begins to stretch and strain through everyone’s life struggles.

The second book in that series is a romance featuring a minor character from the first book. Her life was SUCH a mess and I just wanted her to have a happy ending!

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

DLW: No. I’m not a series writer, so when I put a book to bed, I am done with those people and that world…but I did leave a lot open at the end of Ruby’s, just in case I wanted to write more about them.

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

DLW: The first book. Ruby’s took me four years to write. When I came up with the idea and started writing, I really wasn’t ready to write the book. There was a lot of stumbling, mistakes, quitting and restarting. I finally got tired of feeling like a failure, so I ripped it apart and started over in 2014.

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

DLW: I like to think I’m a little bit funny, a little sexy, and very real. My characters aren’t billionaires or high society and even those that are well-off have problems that I don’t solve by throwing a bunch of money at them. I like to write stories where a reader can insert themselves and feel like it’s realistic—like it could actually happen.

CH: Since readers say that your characters are relatable and likeable, who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest character to write?

DLW: My fave AND the hardest was Maxine Donovan, from Brunch at Ruby’s. She’s not your typical friend/side-kick character. She is materialistic, but not shallow; one of those women, who says what’s on her mind even when she shouldn’t. Her personality wasn’t going to change, but she still had to have a character ARC. I love Maxine, because even though she is a pain in the butt, she loves hard and her love is genuine. She would lay down her life for those who are in her inner circle.

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

DLW: I identify a lot with Renee, the bookstore owner, but none of them are me. I make stuff up on purpose. I do live my life. The last thing I want is to write me or read me in a book.

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

DLW: I don’t write with a central message, just an entertaining couple of hours, but I always make sure that love wins in the end—any kind of love, whether friendship love, or romantic love.

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

DLW: Most of them like my books, I am happy to say!  Realistic, sexy, believable, someone even said that they laugh a little at how some of my characters talk. I always have a character willing to hurt feelings to get a point across.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

DLW: More of the same! I’m working on ‘an enemies to lovers romance’ between dueling business owners in a small town, and another book in the Ruby’s world, following up on Renee, Debra and Maxine.

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

DLW: Getting to participate in a book signing. It was so much fun to meet readers face-to-face and see people excited to grab a copy of my book.

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

DLW: Oh, gosh, I don’t even know. I do LOVE Atlanta Author Tayari Jones. I’d love to just sit and talk writing with her, maybe Bernice L. McFadden, or Terry McMillan—those classic authors that capture black fiction, so well.

CH: How to Find D. L. White:   

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

DLW: You can find all of my books in electronic format on Amazon or in paperback on www.lulu.com.

CH: Any closing remarks?

DLW: Cheryl, Thank you for this interview and for the interest in my books! It’s so appreciated! 🙂

CH: Thank you so much, D. L. White, 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, D. L. White 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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