Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Patricia Sargeant

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Title: You Belong to Me

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romance

 Synopsis: Science fiction author Nicole Collins is delighted when she learns her first book will be made into a movie by Celestial Productions—until she finds out who owns the company: Malcolm Bryant, her ex-husband. Nicole still loves him, but she fears Malcolm is the same man who crumbles in the face of adversity. And then there are those threatening letters…

Somewhere out there is a deranged fan, one who has adopted Nicole’s characters as his own family—and he’s not about to see his loved ones distorted by the camera lens. Nicole’s life is in danger. With a killer closing in, the only person who may be able to save Nicole is Malcolm—the man she so desperately hopes will finally make a stand.

This romantic suspense novel was originally released in 2006.

Patricia Sargeant, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Patricia Sargent. Patricia writes romance to die for. Welcome to my blog, Patricia.

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

PS: Oooh, that’s a tough one. You’ve taken off the gloves with your first question. OK. Here it goes: You Belong to Me is a romantic suspense that reunites a divorced couple, looking for their second chance at love. Twenty words on the nose. Bam!

CH: This book was your debut novel and won several awards in 2006. Are you re-issuing the book? If so, why now?

PS: There are several reasons I wanted to reissue You Belong to Me as an eBook. The most pressing reason is that You Belong to Me was always supposed to have a sequel for Omar and Joyce. Even though my publisher didn’t want that story, I’ve always wanted to tell it. But it’s been more than 10 years, so I thought I’d reissue You Belong to Me, then finally write We Belong Together, Omar and Joyce’s story. I hope to release their story in 2018.

CH: Sounds like a great reason to re-release the book. 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?

PS: My stories come to me in different ways depending on the genre. With contemporary romances, I start with a protagonist’s inner demon. Character A has an identity crisis or Character B has trust issues. Since I’ve got a lot of issues myself, I can do this all day. Ha! With romantic suspense, I start with the villain’s goal. Villain A wants your job. Villain B wants your guy. Great fun!

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

PS: I think the stories that stick with us the longest are the ones with situations that we can relate to. “Oh, yeah! I can totally see that happening!” Or, “Oh, yeah! That’s actually happened to me!” But to keep turning the page, I need something that embellishes on those situations; something that adds that extra, “Oh, no they didn’t!!!” to the story, but still keeps it believable.

CH: Which book is your latest release? Can you give us a brief synopsis?

 PS: Thank you so much for asking, Cheryl. My most recent release is my re-release of You Belong to Me. It’s available in eBook format on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. I’m hoping to upload it to iTunes the week of March 13. You Belong to Me is a romantic suspense that reunites Nicole Collins, a popular sci-fi author, with her ex-husband, Malcolm Bryant, a movie producer. Malcolm has bought the film rights to the first book in Nicole’s best-selling series. However, a deranged fan will do whatever it takes to prevent the book from becoming a movie, even if he has to kill the author.

In June, I plan to release in eBook format the next story in my Brooklyn Monarchs series. Game Plan brings back the fictitious professional basketball team that I introduced in Fast Break, Smooth Play and Keeping Score. Game Plan is two romances. We advance Serge and Constance’s relationship, and we start a romance for Anthony “St. Anthony” Chambers and Faith Wilcox. This is another story that my publisher didn’t want but that I wanted to share.

CH: You seem to be revamping your writing. Can you tell us a little about it?

PS: Oh, Cheryl, honey, I’m calling it taking back my power. Like Patti LaBelle said, ‘I’ve got a new attitude.’ When I first dreamed of becoming a published author, I wanted to tell my stories. However, New York had a different vision for my career. And that was fine at the time. I love the characters I created. I don’t regret any of them. But I still wanted to tell my stories. I’ve got a lot of stories to tell. Then I saw so many of my associates independently publishing their stories. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I could put on my Big Girl Pants and give it a try.’ Oh, Cheryl! Patricia Sargeant’s back, baby! And I’m so excited. As I mentioned, I’m writing the sequel to You Belong to Me. I’ve brought back my Brooklyn Monarchs basketball romances. Next, I’m going to publish my Fire trilogy, starting with On Fire. And then—wait for it—I’m going to publish my sci-fi/fantasy trilogy. It takes place on four different planets in a galaxy far, far away. Bam!

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

PS: With my romantic suspense, I like to put ordinary people in extraordinary situations and have them find the courage that they didn’t even think they had. With my contemporary romances, I put my characters in the position of having to face their demons head on and vanquish them. If he’s afraid to trust someone, I’m going to put him in a corner where he has no choice. If she doesn’t want to forgive someone, I’m going to make her realize that the person she’s hurting the most by withholding forgiveness is herself. I hope my stories give readers encouragement or inspiration or at least, an enjoyable few hours.

CH: In all of your books, who was your favorite character to write? Why? Who was the hardest character to write? Why?

PS: Quite candidly, Cheryl, I loved all of my characters for one reason or another, even the villains. I’ve written 20 stories, 16 have been published to date, and I’ve loved every single one of them. I think that’s a requirement. Before I share a story, I have to know that I love it enough to spend the $3.99, $4.99 or $7.99 that I’m asking readers to spend on it, otherwise why did I write that story? What’s the point? Life is too short to write a story that you don’t want to write, much less read.

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

PS: Oh, yes. All of my stories have messages for myself and my readers. ‘Family’s really important.’ ‘Love is the most powerful healing medicine.’ I use those messages to help plot the stories.

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

PS: Oh, now are we really going to go there? I must be the slowest writer on the planet. When I’m working full-time, it takes me about…OK, nine months from concept to final revision to complete a full-length novel. So sad, but so true.

CH: A lot of authors write under pen names. What pen name do you use? Will you continue to write under that pen name?

PS: Now, that’s an excellent question for the transition I’m going through right now. Currently, I write romantic suspense as Patricia Sargeant, contemporary romance as Regina Hart, and cozy mysteries as Olivia Matthews. I know. Oh, my goodness. However, I’m spending 2017 bidding a fond farewell to Regina Hart—the name—not the contemporary romances. As Patricia Sargeant, I’m going to write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sci-fi/fantasy, paranormal romance and time travel. These will be independently published eBooks. For my New York publisher, I’m going to write cozy mysteries as Olivia Matthews. Let’s face it; three names is a bit much. Yeesh.

CH: You’ve been writing for over ten years. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

PS: I’d love to share an experience that was tremendously important to me. I’d been trying to get published for about 13 years at the time, I got a promotion at my old day job and I was feeling overwhelmed. These were two, three, four diet Mountain Dew days. I’m talking hard core. My brother called one weekend just to chat and I told him that I was going to give up my dream of becoming a published author. Between the added responsibilities of my promotion, my writing and life, something had to give. I still remember what he told me, ‘Don’t give up your dream. Don’t ever give up your dream. Even if you just write a page a day, don’t give up your dream.’ And he was right. If you have a dream, don’t allow other people or circumstances take it away from you. Find a way to continue your journey until you achieve your dream.

CH: Can you tell my audience about some of your series and how they came about?

PS: I’d love to. Thank you. My Brooklyn Monarchs series came about when my editor asked me to switch to contemporary romances. I love football and basketball. At the time, I knew of a couple of romances featuring football players, but I wasn’t aware of many with basketball players. That’s how my Monarchs were born.

I created my Finding Home series when my editor told me she didn’t want anymore basketball books. She wanted me to write small town contemporary romances. I turned to my husband and said, ‘Now, how is a woman who grew up in Brooklyn, New York, going to convincingly write a small town romance?’ Can we say, ‘panic’? Then I remembered that the neighborhood I grew up in was like a small town. You had the neighbor who spied on everyone. You had beefs between the neighbors up the block and neighbors at the end of the block. You had the star-crossed romance between the boy from up the block and the girl from the end of the block. I just expanded on that, added a waterfall and created Trinity Falls, Ohio.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of your books?

PS: I’ve received some wonderfully supportive and encouraging feedback from readers. Readers are amazing. They seem to know just when you need a pat on the back or a kick in the butt to get the next story going. I’m tremendously grateful to all of my readers and especially the ones who’ve taken the time and gone to the trouble to be so encouraging.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

PS: Thank you so much for asking, Cheryl. I’m really excited about my 2017 schedule and my 2018 releases. As I mentioned, next up is Game Plan: A Brooklyn Monarchs novella and book 4 in the Monarchs series. It will be an original eBook. In September, I hope to re-release On Fire in eBook format prior to continuing my Fire trilogy. In December, my first Olivia Matthews Sister Lou Mystery will debut. The title is Mayhem and Mass. Sister Lou is a Catholic sister who’s an amateur sleuth. I’m really excited about this trilogy because I’m returning to my mystery/suspense roots. There’s a little bit of romance—a teeny bit—between Sister Lou’s nephew and a sassy, cynical newspaper reporter. Ha! Love it.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

PS: Of course. Thank you so much. it’s www.PatriciaSargeant.com. From this URL, you can get to my Regina Hart website, at least until the end of 2017, and to my AuthorOliviaMatthews.com website, once it’s launched.

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

PS: My print books are in bookstores. The print and eBooks also are on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and Kobo.com.

CH: How to Find Patricia Sargeant:

CH: Any closing remarks?

PS: Cheryl, thank you so much for this opportunity. I really appreciate your welcome. And to my readers, thank you so very much for helping me keep my storytelling dreams alive. Love you so much!

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

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet,Patricia Sargeant 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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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Pat Simmons

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Title: Love by Delivery

Genre: African American/Christian Romance

Synopsis: Senior Accounts Manager Dominique Hayes has it all—money, a car and a condo. Well, almost. She’s starting to believe love has passed her by.
One thing for sure, she can’t hurry God, so she continues to wait while losing hope that a special Godly man will ever make his appearance.
Package Courier Ashton Taylor knows a man who finds a wife finds a good thing. The only thing standing in his way of finding the right woman is his long work hours. Or maybe, not.

A chance meeting changes everything. When love finally comes knocking, will Dominique open the door and accept Ashton’s special delivery?

Pat Simmons, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Pat Simmons. Pat is a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth who is passionate about researching her ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in her novels. Welcome to my blog, Pat.

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

PS: For Christian inspiration

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

PS: Anyway and everywhere—church, strangers, news, movies, and real life situations. There are no limits when it comes to listening for God’s direction.

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

PS: That depends. As a Christian author, it is important for me to defer to the Lord for the message in a story. Case in point, I have readers waiting and I was eagerly ready to pen book nine in the Guilty series when I realized that I had no spiritual message for the readers. Concerned, I prayed and asked God what should I do? That had never happened before in all my works. The Lord Jesus had me resurrect an outline from 2011. He told me it was time to tell the story and He had a message in it for someone, so that is my current project. As for other plots, I have a news background, so I like to write stories that are issue-driven.

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

PS: No. I want my stories to hit home with readers. I want to be sensitive to people who are hurting. That’s real life.

CH: Was there a special reason that you decided to write this book?

PS: Yes, I had a conversation with a young woman who asked why do all my characters have to be well-off, especially the men. She asked, “What about the plain everyday guy?” First, I chuckled, because I thought some of my characters were down to earth heroes. Also, I entered the industry at a time when Arabesque/BET had the market cornered for Black romances. One requirement to write for them was the hero had to be almost wealthy to create the fantasy escape for their readers. Although, I never wrote for them, I followed their lead.

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

PS: Always, sometimes the research will create scenes in the story that I might not have ever thought about before. Digging deeper is part of my personality to a fault sometimes. I got it honestly with a degree in broadcast journalism. I call them field trips when I have to go interview someone or go on location. I did so much research for The Acquittal that took place in Ghana, Africa that I felt I lived there.

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

PS: I would like to think as Christian authors, there would be more similarity than differences between us. That’s not always the case. I don’t have sex scenes, use profanity, and have a woman or child violated. I believe in using scriptures rather than paraphrasing a quote. If people don’t read their Bibles, and my work is their only exposure to scriptures, it’s important for me to be accurate and list the references where they can go and study for themselves. I also like my Christian characters to be consistent. In other words, my writing mission statement is Jude 1:24. God can keep anyone from falling into sin. He gives us warning signs. There are Christians who are sincere with their walk with Christ and those are the type of people I like to feature in my stories.

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

PS: My favorite is Grandma BB who is a hoot in my Guilty series/Jamieson Legacy. The woman writes her own scenes. I wouldn’t say some characters are hard to write, rather my focus is on convincing the reader that a dislikeable character can be redeemed and are worthy of a second chance. I liked Karyn Wallace in Crowning Glory (My favorite book). I have to be true to their past, but show their baby steps to salvation: Jet (Restore My Soul series); Landon Thomas (Redeeming Heart); Michael Bishop (The Keepsake)

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

PS: I thought, emphasis on ‘thought,’ it was because I wanted a clean and inspirational romance to read free of sex/profanity/infidelity. But God had other plans after a couple of years into my writing. The Lord Jesus let me know I had a writing ministry to help hurting people by giving Him the glory.

CH: As a Christian writer, is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

PS: Absolutely, Jude 1:24: Now unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy… 

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

PS: From outline to release, a novel takes about four months and for a novella, six weeks to two months.

CH: You’ve been writing for ten years and you have published over thirty books. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

PS: I’m so happy to share the testimony about my first book deal. Guilty of Love was actually the third novel I wrote, but the first one that was published. The amazing thing is I didn’t want to write the story because of the subject matter: abortion. After I gave it some thought, I realized that I could write ten novels and none of them would be successful until I wrote the one God told me to. Let me tell you what Jesus did. That book broke sales records for the imprint that year. It also established my writing career. The Guilty series now called the Jamieson Legacy will probably go to twelve books. Look at Jesus. What would have happened if I didn’t say, yes Lord?

Prior to starting that book, I became interested in my family’s genealogy. I decided to incorporate some of my family names for characters in the stories in hopes of tracking now distant relatives who might pick up the book and recognize names.

I chose Charlotte for my main character’s mother. Charlotte was my maternal grandmother and my maternal great-great grandmother. Then on to the last name. I needed something that had a distinguished ring. Somehow Jamiesons stuck, thus creating Parke K. Jamieson VI. He and his brothers became the strong, successful and confident black men who were the tenth generation descendants of a royal African tribe.

Okay, back to my family history. My maternal grandmother’s last name was Wilkerson. I located Charlotte Wilkerson along with her two sons: William (my great-grandfather b. 1866) and his brother Samuel (b. 1868), on the 1880 census. I hit a wall when I went back to the 1870 census. I couldn’t locate them. I turned to other genealogy enthusiasts to help in the hunt for Charlotte Wilkerson and her two sons who would have been four and two. It’s amazing how savvy some of these sleuths are. A few days later, they came back with information that made me hold my breath.

It appears that Charlotte’s last name was actually Jamieson. Eerie, huh?  I had no idea I was giving my character the exact FIRST and LAST name of an ancestor.

Since 1870, was the first year blacks were counted as free, I searched the 1860 slaveholders’ schedule. Sure enough, Robert Jamieson was the slaveholder over my great-great-grandmother. In his household, there was a guest and teacher in the academy, John Wilkerson (my white great-grandfather).  The Guilty series renamed the Jamieson Legacy has captivated black and white readers alike with its positive strong black family and historical facts that are weaved into contemporary storylines. Currently, the series is eight books strong with plans for four more to complete the series.

Throughout my publishing career, I have learned that I work for the Lord, and any recognition is God’s.

CH: Can you tell my audience about some of your series?

PS: Restore My Soul Series: Wounded spirits, troubled pasts, and a God who can restore souls for His glory. (John 8:36) “He who the Son sets free, is free indeed.” Karyn Wallace has issues with forgiving herself. Jet Hutchens refuses to forgive others. And the man of God who stands between them, Minister Rossi Tolliver, knows the power of prayer and deliverance.

Love at the Crossroads Series: When relationships are tested, love covers a multitude of faults and conquers all for Candace Clark, who has to start over after the death of her husband. She will learn faith and fear aren’t friends; Solae Wyatt’s inability to have children has been a deal breaker when it comes to relationships. Will Hershel Kavnaugh let her walk away?; Next, it’s going to take Desi’ forgiveness, and Michael’s repentance, and redemption to give their marriage a second chance after infidelity; In hindsight, unwed mother Halcyone Holland admits that God didn’t handpick the father of her children. Yet, that doesn’t stop God from sending her the man who has been standing on the sidelines for a long time; Finally, Monica thought she knew what she wanted in a man until she suffers health challenges, then God sends her what she needs most, a praying man.

The Andersen Brothers Series: There is nothing sexier than a man who loves God and family. Christian kicks off the holiday series by showing how he celebrates Christ’s birth, resurrection, and the biggest of all, Father’s Day to a single mother; It takes a pure heart to capture God’s attention, and David is looking for that one woman who can pull at his heartstrings; Nathan finds a kindred spirit in Noelle who has a heart for the helpless, hungry, and homeless. Together they try to make a difference during Christmas.

The Jamieson Legacy Series: If you love history? You won’t be disappointed as American Black history and genealogy are weaved into the romances. The series tackles cultural issues with godly intervention, whether it’s abortion, single parenting, or our angry youth. The Jamieson men are tenth and eleventh generation descendants of a royal African tribe. They carry strength and determination in their DNA when it comes to family ties. The only ones who can penetrate their armor are strong-willed women that God puts in their paths.

The Carmen Sister Series: Sisters who pray together, stay together, and Stacy, Shari, Shae, and Sabrece (Brecee) hold one another accountable when it comes to dating God’s way. Shae has to choose between her career and true love; Shari has to believe God when He sends her a man with a tormented past; and Brecee has to be convinced of a match made in heaven when it doesn’t make sense on paper.

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

PS: Great reviews are this being a sweet inspirational romance. I have faithful fans, but I’m always looking for new readers and that’s where reviews come in. In addition to a great back blurb, only a reader can sway another reader to give my book a try.

CH: Most reader/fans can hardly wait. So, what is your next writing project?

PS: I’m working on book one of a new series called THE CAREGIVERS. I’m still tweaking the title, so amazingly, I don’t have one to share, yet. Also, I’m not sure if this story will be a novella (35,000 words), or a novel (65,000 words). The most important thing about this story is that I get God’s message out.

CH: How to Find Pat Simmons:

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

PS: There may be some of my older titles in book stores, but all are sold online and some are available in libraries.

CH: Any closing remarks?

PS: Cheryl, Thank you for the invitation to share my story, and God bless you.

CH: Thank you so much, Pat Simmons, 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, Pat Simmons 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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Celebrity Guest Author – Suzanne Kelman

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Suzanne Kelman
Title: The Rejected Writers’ Book Club (Southlea Bay)

Genre: Contemporary Women/Humor

Synopsis: Librarian Janet Johnson is puzzled when she is invited—and practically dragged—to her first meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club. This quirky group of women would much rather celebrate one another’s rejected manuscripts over cups of tea and slices of lemon cake than actually publish a book. But good friends are exactly what Janet needs after moving to the small town of Southlea Bay, Washington. Just as the ladies are about to raise a teacup to their five hundredth rejection letter, they receive bad news that could destroy one member’s reputation—and disband the group forever. To save the club, Janet joins her fellow writers on a wild road trip to San Francisco in search of the local publisher who holds the key to a long-buried secret. As they race to the finish line, they’ll face their fears—landslides, haunted houses, handsome strangers, ungrateful children—and have the time of their lives.

Suzanne Kelman, Author

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

SK: A small-town librarian gets pulled into a ‘kaleidoscope of craziness’ when she gets dragged to a meeting of The Rejected Writers Book Club.

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

SK: The book started out as a screenplay that ended up being a book and now a series. Years ago, I went to a book signing, and the author started his talk by emptying all his rejection letters onto the table in front of him. It was freeing to all the authors in the room—as if he was giving us permission to be rejected by publishers. I always thought it would be fun to have people celebrate that experience.

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

SK: My stories typically start with the spark of an idea that grows into a bigger piece. I write the first draft very fast, and it is more like a very long outline and the story literally unfolds before my eyes. Then, I go in and clean that draft up, and more story ideas materialize and lastly, I re-write adding in the real comedy and crafting the scenes.

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

SK: From real life and elaborate. I already spend time in real life with characters just like this. Living in a small town is like that; you learn to love and appreciate everyone, even the eccentric members of the group. But friendship and a desire to bond is the center of any small town, and there are no finer people to rally around you in an emergency. Janet, my protagonist, was my window into the world of small-town eccentricities from an outsider’s point of view. I am British and moved to my town here in the Pacific Northwest from a big city in England, so I understand what it feels like to jump into such a unique melting pot.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters? 

SK: I think a lot of it comes from my theater background; I was trained from an early age to study people. Now, I’m middle-aged and have met every kind of conceivable character there is, I’m sure. When I’m creating a new character, I just combine a couple of folks I know to create a whole new person. It’s way too dangerous to base any fictional character totally on one person, especially in a small town!

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

SK: My favorites are the really comedic characters. In book one, Ronald, the homeless guy, was the most fun to write. The Rejected Writers get snowed in the mountains with him. I remember one editor suggesting I lose him altogether, but I decided to keep him, as I think he is a great character for comedy and my readers seem to really enjoy that scene. The hardest character is Doris; she is a strong, bombastic character, but she also has a heart of gold, and it’s a balancing act not to make her too off-putting for my readers.

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

SK: I think, I give them permission not to take life too seriously. Also, so often when I read comedy, some writers rely on being crude to make it funny. All of my books have clean humor with no explicit sex scenes.  I love to take everyday situations and take them to the edge of madcap crazy without hopefully taking it too far.

CH: Did you have to do any research for the wild road trip to San Francisco?

SK: I have actually traveled the route two or three times on my own road trips, so I am familiar with it and the different terrains and towns along the way. However, when I was researching and writing the book I followed the journey on Google maps just to make sure I had everything in the right place, plus that helped me figure out the timeline for the trip.

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

SK: That you should never judge a book by its cover, the strangest of people can be the kindest; also never underestimate the length people will go for friendship. At the end of the day, kindness and friendship are the most important things.

CH: Since you live in a small town, how much of your background has influence on this book?

SK: I live in a small town, which I love, and have been part of many crazy groups, so I really drew on that experience.

CH: Since you were born in Scotland, raised in the U.K. and now live in the U.S., does your background have any influence on your writing? 

SK: Yes, I think it does. My humor is definitely British, so if you like that kind of crazy madcap comedy you might enjoy my books. Also, the Brits have a very unique way of seeing the world, often through a filter of humor, which you will see in my protagonist.

CH: You’ve written several books, well over 500. What contributes to your success as a writer? 

SK: I didn’t start writing seriously until six years ago, and I think finding your passion later in life creates a different focus. I have been very committed to the craft in that time. I am quite disciplined with my writing schedule and have always taken it very seriously, writing 4-6 hours a day five days a week, even weekends when I’m on a deadline. And for years, I wasn’t paid anything, but stayed committed. I also never stop learning. I am always reading, and absorbing everything I can about the craft of writing.

CH: You have won several awards for your writing. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

SK: There have been many twists and turns in my writing career, and many things have contributed to my success, but there never was a real plan, except the fact I have always been a passionate storyteller and want to communicate that to the world.  I started in the theater, telling a story through acting and then, I fell in love with screenwriting and started writing for the screen. But alas, it can be a long time waiting for films to get produced. So then, I became an author to sustain my screenwriting ‘habit.’ So, it was less about a roadmap for success and more like the song ‘I knew an old woman who swallowed a fly.’

CH: You have 500+ 5-Star reviews. What type of feedback are you receiving from readers of this book?

SK: On the whole, I have had fantastic reviews. I love the way that so many people have connected with these wild and wooly characters on a very deep level.  Also, I love reading the review when people have laughed till they cried or the stories of husbands that have been woken by their wife suddenly laughing out loud in the middle of the night as they read through my book.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

SK: I have a very exciting year coming up; my first book just got published in German, (10th January).  I also have the second book in the Southlea Bay series, Rejected Writers Take the Stage, coming out June 6th and also the third book in the series—a Christmas novella—is being published in October. So, this is a busy writing year for me.

CH: How to Find Suzanne Kelman:

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

SK: My book is available on Amazon, as a paperback, eBook or audio book.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SK: Thank you so much for giving me this chance to share my work with your readers. Also, my book is on sale for $1.99 until the end of January or if any of your readers are Amazon Prime members they can download my book for FREE, right now.

CH: Thank you so much, Celebrity Suzanne Kelman, 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 and Suzanne Kelman.

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Celebrity Guest Author – Melody Carlson

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Celebrity Melody Carlson

Title: I’ll Be Seeing You (The Mulligan Sisters Book 1)

Genre: Romance/Historical

Synopsis: December 7, 1941, San Francisco is on high alert following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Mulligan family is grappling with the news that Peter, beloved son and brother, is among the missing.

Each of the Mulligan sisters Bridget, Margaret, Colleen and Molly strives to find her place in the rapidly changing world in these early days of World War II. With their father ailing, Margaret takes over management of the family’s grocery store trying to keep hoarders at bay while daydreaming of a June wedding. Meanwhile Bridget focuses on her board exams and hopes to be accepted as an Army nurse. Beautiful Colleen, the “family flibbertigibbet” just wants to have fun despite the dire news of the war. But it’s the “baby” fifteen-year-old Molly who seems to be the glue that holds the family together.

With siblings, friends, and beaus being shipped out weekly, the remaining Mulligans quickly realize that this war will be fought on two fronts at home and overseas.

Each of the strong, hopeful Mulligan sisters will do their part if they hope to see victory and the end of the war.

Melody Carlson, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Melody Carlson, who has written over 200 books. Welcome to my blog Melody.

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

 MC: I’ll Be Seeing You is set in the World War 2 era and will transport you to an important, unforgettable, and exciting time in history.

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?

MC: Ideas come randomly to me—and in all shapes and forms. Sometimes, a character with a distinct voice and an interesting problem will show up in my head. Occasionally, a great location or intriguing era will call out to me. I’ve even written books that were inspired by dreams. Usually, the story is only partially there when I start to write—and I’m compelled to go looking for the rest of it. That’s my favorite way to create a book, not knowing what’s around the next corner and being surprised along the way. It’s what keeps me going back to my computer, after more than 200 books.

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

MC: My World War 2 trilogy (The Mulligan Sisters) is partially inspired by family stories that I heard as a child. Whenever older relatives spoke about the ‘war era,’ I could tell that it had played a huge part in all their lives. My uncles both served overseas—one in the European front and one in the Pacific. And my mother’s family, like the Mulligan’s, had owned a small grocery store on the home front. The women dealt with things like rationing, volunteering . . . and even painting “nylon seams” on the backs of their legs, when shortages called for creativity.

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

MC: I think I secretly envied my older relatives for getting to live out the challenges and rewards of the World War 2 era. And I must admit to an ongoing fascination with 1940’s fashions. But writing about the war from the perspectives of four sisters living in San Francisco (which is my birthplace) was hugely appealing. Plus, it felt like a story that was too big to be told in just one book—thus The Mulligan Sisters series was born.

CH: Since this is the first book in the series, have you decided on how many books will be in this series?

MC: I only planned on three books. Each one is titled after a popular song during WW2. I’m about to start the third (and I think final book) but there is still a lot of story to tell. I hope I can fit it all into one book. Or maybe I can talk my publisher into adding a fourth. 🙂

CH: A reader said that the book is full of rich history, family drama, and war-time romance. How did you decide to write about World War 2?

MC: World War 2 is so full of story potential. And the idea of writing about young women serving (for the most part) on the home front intrigued me. I probably wanted to live vicariously through them. Plus, it’s a great way to learn history—the research has been interesting and fun. And so many stories have surfaced (thanks to the internet) in recent years that it’s not hard to find inspiration.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

MC: Some pieces of the characters are extracted from people in my life. Some that have passed, and some that are living. Bridget Mulligan is similar to a niece whose name is also Bridget and she’s a nurse too. Margaret is a bit like an aunt who’s passed on. Colleen is a morph of a couple of glamorous people. And Molly, the youngest, is a sweetheart that you can’t help but fall in love with.

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

MC: Margaret is probably the hardest to write. She’s simple, but complicated in that she only seems interested in becoming a wife and mother—and at the same time, she struggles with feeling a bit jealous of her sisters for wanting more than that. Plus, she’s saddled with a lot of responsibility in running the store, when her dad gets sick. Colleen is fun to write because she’s somewhat unpredictable. She’s the glamour girl and family “flibbertigibbet” but she actually has some surprising layers and strengths that show up later—when she’s faced with some severe trials.

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

MC: I hope readers will feel like they’ve been on a journey with me—going back in time and seeing up close how lives were changed, strengthened and challenged during World War 2. I hope these women’s stories will remind each of us how sacrifices were made . . . and how many rewards followed. Life wasn’t easy for them and yet, it was fulfilling.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research on World War 2?

MC: I’m constantly researching as I write. I keep maps and timelines handy, and I’m always pulling up true stories from the internet. Sometimes they’re so interesting, that it’s a distraction (although a good one!). And fashion research gives me a good excuse to watch classic movies from that era—something I love to do anyway. All in all, it’s given me even more respect for the people who lived through that time.

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

MC: The biggest challenge is keeping it true to the era—and yet, relevant to contemporary readers. I hope that I’ve managed to do that. So far, the comments I’ve received from all age groups is encouraging.

CH: You’ve written over 200 books. What contributes to your success as a writer?

MC: I’m not sure how you define “success.” But I’ll admit that I’ve written a LOT of books and I like to think I’ve improved over time. I never meant to be this prolific, but I write extremely fast—it’s just the way I work—and that’s resulted in many stories, which translates into many readers (about 7.5 million) . . . as well as some nice awards. So, if that adds up to success, well, then I’m very grateful!

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

MC: If there’s a specific message . . . it’s probably simply to encourage all of us to remember that good things come out of hard times. The WW 2 era was an extremely dark time in history for most of the world. Horrific things happened. Millions of lives were lost. It could’ve felt utterly hopeless . . . and yet, good people rolled up their sleeves and worked hard to get through it victoriously. This encourages me a lot.

CH: You seem to have quite a following. What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

MC: So far, the response to the start of this new series has been positive. I’ve been hearing “when’s the next book coming?” a lot. And it will be released this spring. And the third book in the upcoming fall.

CH: How to Find Melody Carlson:

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

MC: Print and e-books are available on Amazon and several other online bookstores.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MC: Thanks for taking time to ‘visit with me’ today. If you get a chance to ‘meet’ my Mulligan Sisters, I hope you’ll like them as much as I do. They really feel like family members to me. I think we can all learn a thing or two from them.

CH: Thank you so much, Melody Carlson, 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 and Melody Carlson.

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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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Celebrity Guest Author – Keith Thomas Walker

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Keith Thomas Walker

Title: Brick House 3

Genre: African A

merican/Romance

Synopsis: After graduating college, Korah’s daughter Stephanie is eager to take the helm of her family’s legacy. She also has her sights set on Baron Grant, a lead foreman at the company. Korah fears this reckless pursuit of prominence and love could spell trouble. When the dust settles, will Texas Builders still be on the rise, or will Stephanie’s office romance cost them their rising star?

Keith Thomas Walker, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Keith Thomas Walker. He is known as the Master of Romantic Suspense and Urban Fiction. Welcome to my blog, Keith.

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

KTW: I write real stories about real people.

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

KTW: No, it wasn’t hard to create believable situations and issues in Brick House 3.  All of my books have believable plots with down to earth people.  That’s important to me.  I do sometimes take stories from real life and embellish them, but not for this book.  Nothing I’ve heard about is as interesting as Korah and Brick’s stories.

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

KTW: With the Brick House series, I wanted an alpha female; a strong, black business owner.  I liked the idea of a woman in charge on a major level.  That’s something I’d never written about before.  I’m not sure why I focused on construction, but it fit perfectly. Once I created Korah, I needed to pair her with a hero, and I hit a homeroom with Brick.  He’s as confident and powerful as the heroine.  Brick adds that sexy testosterone every romance novel needs.  I love that he’s so cocky and caring.

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

KTW: Yes.  I generally write stand-alones, but this time I knew I wanted to write a series.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

KTW: For Korah, I wanted a beautiful, successful, family-oriented mother, like Michelle Obama.  Michelle gave America a new vision of a prominent black woman.  Her class, grace and style has been wonderful to watch for the past eight years.  The way she loves Barack and raises their children makes my heart sigh.  I will truly miss them in the White House!  For Brick, I don’t believe there was any inspiration.  I’ve never met or heard of anyone quite like him.  He’s all kinds of special.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

KTW: In Brick House 3, Stephanie was probably the hardest character for me to write, because she made a few decisions I wouldn’t have advised.  The drama definitely added intrigue to the story.  But there are certain characters I love so much, it’s actually hard for me to treat them a certain way.  Lol.  Sorry, if I’m being vague.  I’m trying to avoid any spoilers.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

KTW: I really enjoyed writing Baron’s character.  He has a lot of characteristics I identify with, such as his work ethics, his family values and his maturity level.  I enjoy his strength and wisdom.  Baron suffered a number of setbacks in his lifetime, but he pushed forward and is successful.  I enjoyed his interactions with Stephanie.  The couple has many differences, but they fit together surprisingly well.

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

KTW: Lol.  I don’t get asked that question very often.  I’m gonna flake on the answer, because I write so zealously, I can put out five to eight thousand words a day.  A full-length novel has between 60,000 and 80,000 words.  With that math, I can write a book in a month.  Unfortunately, some readers think the work is rushed and subpar if you tell them that.

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

KTW: I bring a lot of suspense to my romance novels, and I do my best to avoid predictability.  I know the romance novel formula—boy meets girl, they fall in love, they break up, they get back together and live happily ever after—is fairly concrete.  Because of the formula, a lot of readers know how a book will end within the first few chapters.  I work outside of the romance formula, as often as possible, and I like to add unconventional plots and storylines within the formula.

CH: Since you have many awards and nominations, what has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

KTW: The most exciting thing will always be my first book deal with a major publisher.  Like most writers, I accumulated a lot of rejection letters before I got one that said they were excited about my book and wanted to publish it.  Fixin’ Tyrone was my first published novel in 2009.  That experience will always hold a special place in my heart.

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

KTW: I touched on this a little already, but in Brick House 3, Baron and I have quite a few things in common.  He’s honest, loyal and devoted to his family, as I am.  He experienced major setbacks in life, and I have as well.  He was determined to do whatever he could to get back on his feet after those setbacks.  And of course, Baron is a hit with the ladies, and I’m, um… married.  Lol.

CH: Is there another book in this series?

KTW: The Brick House series has part one, part two and part three.

CH: You’ve won numerous awards and have been nominated for various titles and awards. If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

KTW: I’d love to work with Stephen King and Walter Dean Myers.  I have fond memories of both of those authors from my childhood.  Stephen King is the first author I fell in love with.  Evidence of his influence appears in some of my novels, like Sleeping With the Strangler, Blood for Isaiah and Colored Rags.  Later in my writing career, when I started the Finley High series, I thought back to the things I learned from Walter Dean Myers.  I’ve always appreciated that he writes about today’s urban youth, rather than witchcraft and sorcery, which has taken over the teen/young adult genre.

CH: You seem to have quite a following. What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

KTW: My readers have always been very supportive.  They’re encouraging.  They post reviews loyally—which is the best thing they can do to help promote my books.  Sometimes they send me sweets!  The feedback I receive from them has always been one of my most motivating forces.  I love my readers!  They mean the world to me.

CH: How to Find Keith Thomas Walker:

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

KTW: My eBooks are sold on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  My paperbacks are available on those sites, as well as, any site that sells paperbacks.  You can find my books in public libraries and of course, on my website.

CH: Any closing remarks?

KTW: Thank you for having me!  I had a lot of fun with this interview.  I look forward to interacting with anyone who reads it!

CH: Thank you so much, Keith Thomas Walker, 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 and Keith Thomas Walker.

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Tina Martin

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Title: Wishing That I Was Yours (A Lennox in Love Book 3)
Genre: Romance/Inspirational

Synopsis: She always liked him but pushed those feelings aside. Now, they’ve reemerged with a force she can hardly control…

Jessalyn Lennox has hidden a crush with Spencer Wakefield for nearly a decade. He was, and still is, the man of her dreams but he was unavailable. Unavailable to her, that is. He’s older. One of her brothers’ best friends. He was like family. No, he was family and she loved him like a brother.

When Spencer becomes aware of Jessalyn’s feelings for him, he knows the best course of action is to talk some sense into her. A relationship between the two of them wouldn’t work due to the family dynamic. His refusal to even try leaves them both at a loss.

Leaving them both longing. Wishing…

But there’s nothing like a little jealousy that kicks a man in the butt and makes him realize that if you don’t want a woman, you better believe someone else does.

Tina Martin, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Tina Martin. She has always dreamed of becoming a writer and made it a reality. Welcome to my blog, Tina.

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

TM: Wishing That I Was Yours is a traditional romance about an intense attraction between friends, Spencer Wakefield and Jessalyn Lennox.

CH: Since this book is a standalone novella and part of a series, how did you decide to make it both?

TM: That’s easy. Some of my readers like series books. Some like standalone books without having the commitment of a series. I figured I could satisfy everyone with a novella that catered to both. Even though Wishing That I Was Yours is not the first book in the series, you can opt to read it first and still go back and read the others without missing too much.

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

TM: I’m not sure to be honest. I love to travel and I love the mountains. I think the mountain setting of Bryson City, North Carolina, actually came to me before I knew who the characters would be.

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

TM: It wasn’t difficult. I try my best to stretch fiction as far as I can, but there’s only so much stretching you can do when it comes to writing about love. I rarely ever develop my stories from real-life situations.

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

TM: I like creating tension between characters, and I love using everyday language to help the readers get better acquainted with the characters. I also have a very unique imagination (at least, I like to think so…LOL) and I use that to my advantage to create not so common love stories.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TM: In this book, Jessalyn’s character was harder to write because she was in love with a man, who wanted to deny that he felt the same way about her. Therefore, she was more emotional and that was more challenging to convey.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

TM: Spencer was my favorite. I love writing and creating male characters. I have no idea why, but I do. The entire time I was writing Wishing That I Was Yours, I could see Spencer in my head—his body movements, mannerisms, facial expressions—he was quite the character!

CH: What are some of the emotional intricacies that are involved in falling in love with someone who is like family?

TM: Well, for one, if that person was like a brother to you like Spencer was to Jessalyn, that makes it awkward right out of the gate. Then there’s the fear of the unknown, which is presented in the story. Neither, had any idea how a relationship would turn out; and thus, neither wanted to cross that line for fear that a failed relationship would ruin their close friendship.

CH: Some of your readers enjoy the traditional romance. Some of your readers enjoy a book with a lot of sex. So, how do you decide to write somewhere in the happy medium?

TM: Well, let me just state, I don’t write or read erotica. I think that since my books fall into a certain genre, some readers expect that. I firmly believe that a book should tell a story without depending on any sexual component to make it ‘sell.’ With that being said, I do have romantic scenes between characters, but it’s nothing too over the top. I keep it as sweet as possible and my readers have expressed their appreciation for that.

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

TM: I try to include an underlying message in all of my books. In Wishing That I Was Yours, I would say the message would be not to rule something (a potential relationship) out without first giving it a try.

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

TM: A lot of readers love the book and have expressed interest in the next book in the series. I’ve received emails about how much my readers love the Lennox Family!

CH: Do you read in the same genre that you write in?

TM: Yes, and others. I like to expand my library and read books that are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

CH: What is your favorite book? And why?

TM: I don’t necessarily have a favorite book. I do have a favorite genre and that’s the same genre in which I write: romantic suspense.

CH: What is your next writing project?

TM: I’m currently working on Book 5 of The Champion Brothers Series, entitled, When Champions Love. It’s being released January 2017 (soon) and a synopsis is available at my website.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

TM: My website is www.tinamartin.net. I have all of my books listed there in order by series and you can also download a printable book list and sign up for my monthly newsletter.

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

TM: Wishing That I Was Yours is available at the following eBook retailers: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo and Scribd.

CH: How to find Tina Martin:

  • Tina’s Website:TinaMartin.net
  • Tina’s Author Page: http://amzn.to/2hVBC3X
  • Tina’s Amazon Page: http://amzn.to/2hN6lgg

CH: Any closing remarks?

TM: Thank you to all the readers who have emailed me, left reviews and supported my work over the years. Writing is my passion and sometimes it’s challenging, but your support gives me the extra push to keep these stories coming. Cheryl, thank you so much for the interview!

CH: Thank you so much, Tina Martin, 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 and Tina Martin.

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Latrivia Welch

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Title: Gabriel’s Regret Book 2: The Medlov Men 3 Series

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Organized Crime

Synopsis: There is nothing redeeming in what we do. We are simply bad men.” Dmitry Medlov
Russian Billionaire bad-boy, Gabriel Medlov, is in serious mortal danger. Captured by a Neo-Nazis separatist group while trying to save his black girlfriend and business partner, Valeriya Nenya, during an ambush, he is relegated to being the prisoner of a man, who not only hates Gabriel’s family, but also hates everything that the handsome six-foot eight crime boss stands for. However, even though he is a captor, Gabriel refuses to be broken, either mentally or physically, by anyone so beneath him. Reaching down inside of himself, he discovers that his past experiences with his family were not crutches, but actual lessons designed to prepare him for this very moment in his life. Will what he has learned keep him alive?

The Medlov Crime Family is not taking the kidnapping of one of their council members lightly. While they are no strangers to abduction, they realize it will take drastic measures to get him back in one piece. The head of the organization, Dmitry Medlov, pulls his men together and wreaks havoc on an army completely unready for his unrelenting retribution. The message is clear. He wants his nephew back. But even with his vast resources, can he get him back alive?

While protected by the Medlov Family from the outside world, Valeriya Nenya has to wage her own war inside the family, not only to get Dmitry to take her back with him when they extract the man she loves from the clutches of the Neo-Nazis, but also to fight the battle going on between herself and the pregnant ex-girlfriend of Gabriel, whose secrets will cost someone their life before the tale has ended. But who will die?

latrivia-welch

Latrivia Welch, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Celebrity Latrivia Welch, the USA Today bestselling author of Interracial Romance novels. Welcome to my blog, Latrivia.

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

LW: Gabriel’s Regret: Book Two is a book of transcendence for one man on a journey to find love and acceptance.

CH: This book involves so much—good, evil, war, rich, poor, family, black, white, US, Ukraine, and love. How did you come up with the premise for writing this book?

LW: With each book in the Medlov series, I try to take the readers into another facet of the men’s lives.  Gabriel was a man of decadence and privilege, so to me, it would have been boring to write a story where we continued that narrative.  Two things brought me to the story of Gabriel in Donetsk.  (1) I have been following Eastern Bloc relations for a while.  (2) I wanted to write something that wasn’t all about the glitz and glamour of weapons trafficking or about billionaire lifestyles.

Considering that the Medlov Crime Family is vertically integrated, I wanted to show how they have to get into the “muck” sometimes in order to be as completive globally as they are.  Many times organized crime syndicates thrive during war and thrive in war were there are undefined roles. Ukraine was the perfect setting.

It also made sense to shed light on a country that has continued to have “problems” with race relations.  I spoke with a few women from Ukraine and all of them had horrible experiences with the Neo-Nazis there; and all of them loved their country despite clear, abhorrent rejection.

Valeriya was representative of women who are told that they can’t be patriots in their countries because they are black.  This happens around the world.  This happens often.  I wanted to focus on her strength, and the internal conflict that Ukraine actually faces as they go to war internally and with Russia.

What amazed me was how many women of color didn’t believe that we exist in the Easter bloc.  I hope this story at least shines some light on that issue and what interracial children face in orphanages there. It’s a real problem and there are so many families looking for children to make a part of their families.  We need to get the world out and get those babies out of there.

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

LW: In my stories, there is a little truth and a lot of fiction.  However, I base everything on facts.  I study a lot of reports by law enforcement agencies from all over the world, and I interview a lot of people from various backgrounds.

Creating believable situations is a little easier for me, because we’re all people.  Love is a bridge and if love is involved, no story is truly unbelievable.  People do just about anything to protect those that they love.

I was told when I first started to write Russian Mafia Romance back in 2010 that it was an implausible situation and that I’d never be able to grow a fan base.  We fast forward nearly seven years and it’s a sub-genre.   Some of my counterparts, quietly, still laugh about that.  I was proud to be the first African-American woman to write about Russian mafia and position them as sexy, anti-heroes in love with women of color.  Again, I was told this is implausible.  I recently wrote a book called Highness about an African-American woman falling for the Prince of England (again…I was told it was implausible a couple of years ago, and its current event news now).

I’m always looking for love. I’m always looking for sparks between two characters, and I want to take those sparks and turn them into flaming hot love.  I shrug as I write this, because that’s my intention when I sit down in front of a computer.  I’m a romance writer, first and always. I love and crave a good HEA (happily ever after) when possible. It doesn’t always happen that way, but for the most part, that’s what makes me happy.

CH: Since this book involves so many issues, did you have to do a lot of special research to write it?

LW: Tons of research.  Tons of documents.  Tons of books.  Tons of phone calls and Skype Calls.  Tons of nights with no sleep.  But I love that kind of research.  My Ph.D. studies are in criminology with a focus on organized crime and sexual deviancy.  So, this is right at home for me. I don’t mind the research; I revel in it. I want the reader to walk away feeling, as though I told a complete and awesome story.  I don’t always hit pay dirt with that, but I always aim for it.  I like to make my readers happy. I like to entertain them and explore their wildest fantasies and take them away from real life for just a moment.

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

LW: Sometimes it takes 30 days, sometimes it takes 30 months. I never know.  I had to learn never to give deadlines, because if I’m not feeling the story and if I feel as though I’m going to let the reader down, I’ll start all over again. So, you’ll never see me give a drop date UNLESS the book is already written and the editors have it.  I enjoy ever part of writing, even rewrites.  This is why a lot of times, I have to just make myself stop writing.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

LW: Male characters – Men in my life or have been in my life; Female characters – Women I know, women I admire, women I want to kill.smiley-face

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

LW: The hardest character to write is always the new “guy.”  New guys have to earn loyalty from readers.  You have to make people like them, love them, or hate them.  When you are starting from scratch, it’s really hard because you are developing a foundation for future books.  The hardest new guy for me to write was probably, Gabriel.  I like Alphas, so it was hard to write a beta and try to make him redeemable.  I was so freaking happy to write his alpha transformation. Words don’t describe it.

My favorite character to write will always by my first love, Dmitry Medlov.  I always write about him from a place of both pain and love.  I always will.

CH: Since you have so many characters in this book, do you have anything to share about the main or supporting characters? (Here it is readers—the 411!)

LW: Here it is:

  •    Anatoly and Renee – Expect their own book
  •    Royal and Dmitry – Expect their own book
  •    Gabriel and Valeriya – Expect a small novella
  •    Nadei – Expect a small novella
  •    Boris and Marat – Expect a small novella
  •    Vasily and Lilly – Expect to see more of them in upcoming books
  •    All the bad guys die in the end…so, there’s that.

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

LW: I couldn’t find stories that were like The Godfather Epic that were centered around African-American women, who were precious and smart and beautiful.  So, I made a series that we could enjoy with our eyes and our minds.  The Medlov Crime Family Series was dropped in January of 2010.

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

LW: Saving Anya was the hardest book to write, because I didn’t want to kill Davyd.  I loved his character, and I felt like Dmitry needed him in his life, but in organized crime there is loss (loss of life, love and happiness).  So, I had to write this story to the best of my ability, even if it meant killing off one of my favorite guys.  TRUE STORY: I cried during his murder scene.

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

LW: The continual progression of women is one my truest endeavors.  We must be allowed to take our proper place in this world. We must have equal pay.  We must have equal respect.  We must be equally allowed opportunities to excel.    Being selected by some of the strongest, most powerful and most vocal women of Memphis to be the President of the Memphis Women’s Political Caucus is always going to be really high up there on my list.

My other greatest achievement was on my daughter’s ninth birthday, she said she wanted to meet Hillary Clinton and have her say happy birthday, and I was actually able to pull that off that day (Thank God).  She met her by 5:00 p.m. and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave her a big hug and wished her happy birthday.  My daughter looked at me like I owned the entire world.  I have dined with many heads of state over the years or worked for them including: President Clinton, President Obama, President Mandela, Former President Lech Walesa of Poland, and President Mary Robinson of Ireland and on so.  But I never felt more important than November 20, 2015 when my daughter said that I had made her dreams come true.  Still gives me chills.

CH: You seem to have quite a following for your books. So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

LW: My readers are loving Gabriel’s Regret and the entire Medlov Men Series.  We’re having fun.  We have many discussion both online and via email.  We enjoy sharing crazy memes, music and pictures on the Facebook Red Door Retreat, and we are ramping up for a Anatoly’s Retribution.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

LW: Not always.  Some books are easy and they flow without many peaks or valleys.  Others are very tumultuous.  It all depends on the character.  With any Medlov, I can tell you it’s going to be crazy town.  With Lonely Heart books, it could be very calm.  Sometimes, readers want sweet and sensual, and sometimes, after a long day, these ladies want Apocalyptic.

CH: You are a USA Today Best Selling Author. What has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

LW: I’ve been approached by some big, BIG hitters.  These producers and directors are giants in their industry, and they liked my work. I’m just glad to finally have Tracy Christian, my agent, helping me navigate the waters. I appreciate her expertise when dealing with Hollywood.

The other most exciting thing to me was making the USA Today list.    I remember when Yvette Hines called me.  I cried.  And then my editor, Karen Moss, called and I cried some more.  My then fiancé, now my hubby, was so concerned with the tears.  He was like, “who do I need to kill?”  I looked up at him with blood shot eyes and a snotty nose and sniffled.  “I made the USA TODAY bestsellers list.”  He and I both broke out in the loudest scream ever.  I thank Yvette Hines for her vision and her determination to get the boxset out there.  I thank the other authors in that boxset for their contributions to our body of work.  We were the first Multicultural boxset to EVER receive that honor. And I’m still very honored.

CH: You changed your name from Nelson to Welch. Has this caused a problem with readers and followers?

LW: We’ve been on a branding campaign for nearly two years now, so most people know that my name has changed. Many people wanted to know why.  And that’s a very reasonable question.  I just had to step out on Faith.  I entered into a marriage with a wonderful man and I asked God to bless that union—my work as an author was a part of that.  So, I know God. When He blesses you, He blesses all of you.  So, I’m happy to say, there have been no hiccups. We’ve seen a dramatic uptick in followers and readers.  So, it’s been great.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

LW: Your followers and fans can hang out with me in the Red Door Retreat on Facebook to talk more about my books or visit my website (below).

CH: How to find Latrivia Welch:

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

LW: Everywhere eBooks are sold—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and PayHip.  Paperbacks are sold anywhere that there is a book store.  Simply walk-up or call to the front desk of your favorite bookstore and tell them the name of the book and they can order it and have it available in 48 hours.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LW: Writing for you all is an honor. I enjoy it, and I enjoy entertaining you.  If you’ve never read one of my books, please consider giving me a chance.  I’d love to become your next biggest fan and your next favorite author.  Thanks for reading my interview and God Bless. Thanks so much, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Latrivia Welch, 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 to enjoy. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Latrivia Welch.

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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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Special Guest Author Interview – Cassie Dandridge Selleck

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Cassie Dandridge Selleck, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Cassie Dandridge Selleck. Her book, The Pecan Man, is a southern fiction novel with much acclaim over the last few years.  Welcome to my blog, Cassie Selleck. 

CH: The first chapter of this book won the 2006 Florida State Writing Competition of the Unpublished Novel Category. It was finally published on Amazon on January 1, 2012. As of today, The Pecan Man has well over 2,500 reviews with new reviews every day. The book has been compared to Pulitzer Prize Winner Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mocking Bird. So, let’s cut to the chase and start this wonderful interview. The questions are categorized to allow for clarity.

CH: Cassie, I know the last few months have been quite busy for you and your family. I feel honored that you agreed to this interview at this time.

Writing in general

CH: What do you think makes a good story?

CDS: My mother was a wonderful storyteller, so I was raised hearing stories told the traditional way. I would say that a good story is one that makes you laugh and cry before it is over. A good story leaves you feeling like you know the characters and want them to always be a part of your life. I have never felt like the story depended at all on the plot, but on who the characters are, what they want, and what they are willing to risk to get it.

CH: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

CDS: Far be it from me to look a gift horse in the mouth. It is a gift for which I am incredibly grateful. It is also hard work that often leaves me feeling insecure and frustrated and even terrified. I never think I can finish a story, never believe I will get it right, never trust myself to know what I am doing. And yet, when I finally do finish, I often find that I love my characters and feel good about the story. So being a writer is a gift, but it is also emotional agony followed by personal accomplishment. Yeah…that’s about it.

CH: What is your favorite book on the craft of writing?

CDS: I have two…Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop and Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind: Living The Writer’s Life.

CH: Who are your favorite authors?

CDS: Lee Smith, Harper Lee, Ferrol Sams, Ann B. Ross, Jan Karon, Sue Monk Kidd, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston. I’m also fond of Truman Capote and John Irving.

Your Writing

CH: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

CDS: I do not outline and usually have no clue where my story is going, when I start writing. Also that I often foreshadow intuitively, without knowing why or how it will play out going forward. I develop characters first and then throw them into situations to see how they handle the situation and eventually a plot develops.

CH: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

CDS: LOL…everything!! See question #2! (Is writing a gift or a curse?) It is always a challenge when you don’t outline. I just find everything about writing incredibly difficult. I don’t know if I envy, hate, or am in awe of writers who say, “Oh, I write ten thousand words every single day. No big deal!” Arrrrgh! I don’t work like that and never will. I can’t.

CH: What motivated you to become an indie author?

CDS: Well…I am a bit on the controlling side, though only of what happens to ME, not what others do. For instance, I rarely ride in a car. I always drive. I almost always take my own car no matter what so that I don’t have to ride. I helped my husband build our house on the river and we are constantly doing DIY projects. I taught myself to read, to draw, to paint…I learned photography on my own. My motto has always been, “I’ll do it myself, if you’ll just get out of my way.” But, the more precise answer to this is that I intensely disliked the process of sending out query letters, and more importantly, receiving rejection letters. I didn’t like the idea of someone else telling me how to write my story, and my experience with even highly qualified writers editing my work was just an exercise in frustration. I hated it. So, I read an article in Forbes magazine about an attorney who wrote a novel at night after putting her child to bed, and she self-published her work through Amazon’s print-on-demand and digital services and had made quite a bit of money. I thought…hey, I can do that!

CH: Where is your favorite place to write?

CDS: On my screened porch overlooking the Suwannee River in the early morning. Hands down. Sometimes, I like to write in coffee shops, but I have to have earphones blasting The Piano Guys station on Pandora to drown out talking around me. I need music without words—words interfere with my writing process.

CH: How do maintain the balance between expressing the personal thoughts/ideas and not letting it overwhelm the work?

CDS: Hmmm….good question. I don’t think I balance it at all to be honest. I inject personal thoughts and ideas and viewpoints in almost everything I do. I write to connect with others, to create shared experiences and aha moments, so I just usually let it rip. If it gets too heavy-handed, it is usually readily apparent and I’ll back off. I don’t like to hit people over the head with anything. I just like to give them the opportunity to see what I see.

CH: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

CDS: Haha…who Eddie was. Halfway through the book. That is all I’m gonna say about that!

CH: What about writing inspires you to get out of bed each day?

CDS: Sometimes, I do wake up with writing on my mind, but that is kind of rare. I’m not a prolific writer at all, though I wish I were. What gets me out of bed every day is my little Chihuahua. She waits until I stir and then comes in for a snuggle. I swear, the dog hugs me. After a bit, she starts whining and I get up to let her out, at which point she curls up in the warm spot on my pillow. So, I go make coffee while she takes another nap, and I sit down at my computer to face the day. True story.

CH: What a charming story. When you develop characters do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go? 

CDS: A little of both. Mostly I have a general idea of who they are, but they reveal themselves to me as I go along. Just like any relationship. You meet a person and you size them up and think, oh, this is who they are, but as you get to know them, they surprise you sometimes.

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Title: The Pecan Man

Genre: Cultural Heritage

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2cT3WOd

Synopsis: The Pecan Man is a work of Southern fiction whose first chapter was the First Place winner of the 2006 CNW/FFWA Florida State Writing Competition in the Unpublished Novel category. In the summer of 1976, recently widowed and childless, Ora Lee Beckworth hires a homeless old black man to mow her lawn. The neighborhood children call him the Pee-can Man; their mothers call them inside whenever he appears. When the police chief’s son is found stabbed to death near his camp, the man Ora knows as Eddie is arrested and charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, Ora sets out to tell the truth about the Pecan Man. In narrating her story, Ora discovers more truth about herself than she could ever have imagined. This novel has been described as To Kill a Mockingbird meets The Help.

Note: The Pecan Man has been optioned by an independent film company out of New York and LA, and the novel is being adapted into a film.

Cassie Selleck

Cassie Dandridge Selleck discusses The Pecan Man and her future writings.

CH: For new audience members, how did you come up with the idea for The Pecan Man?

CDS: I tell this story all the time. I had recently moved to North Florida and it is a small county with NO Walmart or fast food or real shopping to be found, so I have to drive 45 minutes to get supplies. I don’t like traffic, so I take the least populated routes. One day, on my way back from Walmart, I rounded a corner and a little old man riding a rusty old bike sort of materialized out of the woods and rode out in front of me. I was already considering him as a character, because that’s what I ALWAYS do, when I passed another old man out in his yard collecting pecans with a wire basket. By the time I made the trip home, I had Eddie, Ora and Blanche as characters, and I knew Eddie was called “The Pecan Man.” I went home and wrote the first chapter with absolutely nothing in mind, other than that Ora would tell the story, in traditional storytelling fashion, about why Eddie died in prison. No idea what he had done, or why he was there, or who he actually was. See why writing is agony for me?

CH: I do see why there is agony at times. So, what would you as the author say are the overall themes of the book?

CDS: Redemption and grace. What it means to be family. How perspective influences how you see the world and your place in it. Sacrifice, atonement and personal integrity. Privilege and self-awareness and evolution, as a human being.

CH: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

CDS: That I could do it myself, but that it would be better to have an editor who I trusted. The new novel What Matters in Mayhew was edited by my daughter, Patricia C. Walker, and it is a much more complete and thorough story than The Pecan Man. Patti’s background is in theatre, but she also teaches in the Communications and Rhetoric Department at University of South Carolina, so she is highly qualified. More importantly, she knows my voice and has lived with the kind of people about whom I write, so she is the perfect editor for me.

CH: Which one of your characters do you feel you relate to the most?

CDS: Probably Ora Lee, since she is partly my mother, myself and my grandmother…and ten other Southern women I know well.

CH: Wow, a definite mixture of people.  So, If you had to re-write it all over again, would you change anything in The Pecan Man

CDS: I would have my daughter edit, and I would make it a little longer, but on the whole, I think I told the story I wanted to tell.

CH: What has gone on in the gestation period between The Pecan Man and the sequel book?

CDS: Four years it has been. I am still contemplating a sequel, but have not started it. I did, however, write a completely new novel, one that is the first in a series. I also went back to school and my success with The Pecan Man actually paid for that. I just graduated September 18th with a BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, so there has been a LOT happening in my world. Unfortunately, it has been four years of personal tragedy as well, which has been very challenging for me. I lost my sister (the inspiration for the character Grace) in October 2015, and then my precious mama in February of this year. My sister had struggled with drug addiction for years, so that was not an unexpected event, but losing my mother was the hardest thing I have ever endured. I miss her every minute of every day. Her voice resonates in everything I say and everything I write, and always will.

Oh, and I can’t forget…my daughters and I also started a new small press called Obstinate Daughters Press. Our mission is to help other authors publish using print-on-demand and digital outlets like I did. It will be a hybrid press and our first publication was my new novel.

CH: What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing The Pecan Man to life? 

CDS: I didn’t have too much research to do, since I was writing about an era I had known well growing up. Psychologically, I had to deal with issues related to personal experience with family members and drug abuse. I feel like I let it lead me down the rocky paths that make a story real, so I just went with my heart at every step. I had to be willing to learn and grow just as I was expecting my character, Ora Lee to do, and I did learn a lot about myself in the writing. It was important to me to get the characters of color right, as well. That can be a little scary. I wanted to respect them, above all else. I did not want stereotypical characters and I did not want sensationalized scenes. I wanted to tell the truth about what it was like in the 70s, how the world was changing, but not fast enough. How it was different for people of color. How even well-meaning and good white people had biases they didn’t recognize in themselves, until they took a good long look in the mirror, or saw the situation from an alternate perspective. I wanted to show relationships that were real, and situations that were heartbreaking and funny, all at once. I hope,  I was successful. I meant well.

CH: You were successful in accomplishing emotional situations for the reader. So,  while you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

CDS: LOL…always. But I also have a background in theatre, so I often embody any character I’m writing. I write as if I am witnessing the scene, too. I do see myself in Ora Lee, and most of my friends do, too.

CH: Does your finished book live up to your expectations?

CDS: Lord, no…in some ways it falls short and other ways it FAR surpassed them. I never expected it to sell like it has, nor have the impact it has had on the readers who contact me. It has been a tremendous blessing and one for which I am grateful. So, grateful.

Fans and readers

CH: What do your fans mean to you?

CDS: Funny you should ask! I have to say I am not a fan of the term “fan,” so I never call my readers that. I call them readers and they mean the absolute world to me, to borrow the most clichéd cliché ever. Readers have sold my book for me. Bottom line: They have enriched my life, shared their stories, encouraged me to go on, uplifted me when I was dealing with loss, flattered me far more than I will ever deserve, and shared my book with their friends. Everything. They mean everything.

CH: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

CDS: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

CH: Can you give us a quick book description of the sequel book?

CDS: Well, the sequel to The Pecan Man is yet to be written, but I just published my second novel called What Matters in Mayhew, which is the first in what I call the Beanie Bradsher series about a small town in North Florida and the quirky characters who live there. Print should be out very soon, probably by the time this is shared on your site. Here is the blurb from the back of the book, which is already available on Amazon’s Kindle program.

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Title: What Matters in Mayhem (The Beanie Bradsher Series Book 1)

Genre: Humor and Satire

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2dtHTS9

Synopsis:  Every town has at least one beloved, if misunderstood, eccentric and Beanie Bradsher belongs to Mayhew Junction. Some – LouWanda Crump, for example ­­– would call Beanie a spectacle, but Beanie just marches (and dresses) to the beat of a different drum. Not much has changed over the years in this town. On any given morning, you’ll find the same people at the same table at the same café, and none of them have changed one iota in the past twenty years. But now,  Beanie Bradsher has won the lottery, and might be dating Sweet Lee Atwater’s husband. And the hometown basketball star, Vesuvius Jones,  just got a face full of Red Velvet cake at the Trunk-or-Treat. The gossip has never been juicier, which might just be a good thing. Lord knows, this town could use a good shaking up.

CH: Ardent fans want to know, when the sequel book is being released?

CDS: I will have to get back to you on the sequel to The Pecan Man. There has been so much tragedy in my life, it has been hard to imagine trying to go back and tell Grace’s story. I know,  the title will be The Truth About Grace, but I don’t know if she’ll be okay. I hope so. Drug addiction formed after emotional and physical trauma can be very difficult to beat. My sister was never okay and lost her battle last year. It will be a challenge facing these truths. Y’all pray for me.

CH: How to find Cassie Dandridge Selleck

CH: Any closing remarks?

CDS: I think I would like to close with a big thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. From writers and bloggers like yourself, who have generously offered to cross-promote work, who have given me glowing reviews and shared my work with their own readers, to the readers themselves, who tell their friends about the books they love, who write me the most beautiful words of encourage, and who invite me to chat with their book clubs…I have been blessed by the community of readers and artists who tell others about my stories. I am more grateful than mere words will ever convey. Thank you all.   ~Cass

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

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Cassie Dandridge Selleck.

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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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Celebrity Author Interview – Kimberla Lawson Roby

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Kimberla Lawson Roby

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Title: A Sinful Calling: A Reverend Curtis Black Novel

Genre: Christian/Inspirational/African American

Synopsis: Two years ago, to everyone’s surprise, Dillon Whitfield Black, the secret son of Reverend Curtis Black, boldly moved back home, married a woman named Raven, decided he was going to become a minister, and then founded a church right in the center of his living room. Today he’s pastor of a 1,000-plus-member congregation, and new members are joining weekly. Sadly, behind closed doors, Dillon is far from being a saint. Dillon has become more like the man his father was thirty years ago-consumed with money, power, and lots of women. His family may have let bygones be bygones, but they continue to keep their distance.

Not Alicia, though. This daughter of Curtis Black joins Dillon’s congregation, leaving her father’s church behind. The family has forgiven Alicia for marrying Levi Cunningham, the former drug dealer she had an affair with, but once Alicia realizes they will never fully accept Levi, she decides to see her family less and less. She and Levi are truly happy, however, guilt from her betrayal of Phillip and its aftermath casts a shadow over their wedded bliss.

But when Raven decides she wants a higher position in the church and Alicia hides a devastating secret, the entire family is affected in ways they don’t see coming. In the end, no one will be able to trust anyone . . . and for very good reason.

Kimberla Roby

Kimberla Lawson Roby, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Kimberla Lawson Roby, a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author. Kimberla’s novels deal with very real issues and this is her 24th novel. Welcome again to my blog, Kim.

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

KLR: Because not only does the story center on very real-life issues told in a dramatic fictional format, it also offers a clear message that we all can learn from or be helped by.

CH: What are some of the emotional intricacies that are part of being a secret child of a pastor?

KLR: Being rejected and abandoned brings about much pain and resentment for any child, which can lead to even worse pain and resentment once that child becomes an adult.

CH: Dillon, Rev. Black’s son, is consumed with money, power and lots of women. While Alicia, Rev. Black’s daughter, married a former drug dealer, is it difficult for Rev. Black to deal with his children who have gone astray?

KLR: Yes, Curtis struggles with accepting a few of the decisions Dillon and Alicia have made, and while his own past certainly isn’t pretty, he has a hard time forgiving them.  This, of course, is the reason he is now basically estranged from both children.

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

KLR: After writing about Curtis for so many years, I realized it was time to focus on the sins of the father so to speak.  So in the last two titles of the series, The Prodigal Son and The Ultimate Betrayal and now in A Sinful Calling, I wanted to tell the stories of the three adult children.

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?

KLR: With both the novels in my Reverend Curtis Black Series and my standalone titles, I first decide what social issue or issues I want to center my story on and then I create my characters, write a 2-3 page synopsis, and then I outline 15 to 20 chapters of the story.

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

KLR: I always write believable situations in each of my books, and they center on issues that either have or can happen in a similar fashion.  I never write anyone’s exact story, not even my own, but I take real-life scenarios and think, “But what if the situation had happened like this?” or “What if the situation had turned out differently?”

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

KLR: I didn’t find that either character was harder to write about than the other.  They each had very different problems and personalities, so I enjoyed writing about both of them.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

KLR: Dillon was my favorite character to write about in A Sinful Calling.

CH: Since you’ve told us about the main characters, do you have anything to share about the supporting characters?

KLR: The supporting/secondary characters were very interesting to write about, because these are the characters who challenge the main characters the most.  Dillon’s wife, Raven, plays a major part in the story, as does Alicia’s husband, Levi.

CH: In this series, which book was hardest to write? Is this the last book in this series?

KLR: I don’t really feel as though any one title was more difficult to write than another, because they’re all very different with very different issues.  Also, no, A Sinful Calling is not the last title in the series.

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

KLR: Yes, that whatever parents do, good or bad, it will affect their children for the rest of their lives.

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

KLR: I don’t sugarcoat anything, and I tell the truth, even if the truth is sometimes taboo or controversial.  I also make sure to show that we all reap what we sow, and that if we don’t treat people the way we want to be treated, we will surely pay the consequences.

CH: What’s your next writing project? 

KLR: Copycat, which is a standalone title, will be released January 31, 2017.

CH: Kim, you have won many awards. What are your three biggest writing accomplishments?

KLR: 1) When I received the 2013 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction for The Reverend’s Wife.

2)  Making the New York Times list for the very first time with my 6th novel, Too Much of A Good Thing.

3)  Submitting my 25th book to my publisher last month, Copycat.

CH: Who is your favorite author? Why?

KLR: I have a lot of authors who I love reading books by, such as Terry McMillan, Trice Hickman, Mary Monroe, Barbara Delinsky, James Patterson, etc., and my all-time favorite novel is Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine by Bebe Moore Campbell.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

KLR: www.kimroby.com

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

KLR: They are sold nationwide at local independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, Target and other retailers.  They are also available at all online bookstores and retailers that sell books. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2b1eFKa

CH: Any closing remarks?

KLR: Thank you so much for allowing me this wonderful opportunity.  I sincerely appreciate it, Cheryl!

CH: Thank you so much, Kimberla Lawson Roby, 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 writing journey and your book with my audience.  It is truly a joy to have you visit my blog a second time. 

Note: Photos 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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Celebrity Author Interview – Deborah Fletcher Mello

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Deborah Fletcher Mello

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Title: Guilty Pleasures: Bad Boys of Boulder (Book 1)

Genre: African American Romance

Synopsis: Former NBA star Alexander Barrett has slam dunked his career into second gear with the grand opening of his hot new gym in Boulder, Colorado. But his excitement is tempered when his estranged twin brother, MMA title holder Zachary “The Hammer” Barrett returns home from Thailand. Alex has never forgiven Zach for marrying his college sweetheart. And while they’re now divorced, his bitterness lingers.

Zach hoped to re-connect with his brother, but when his personal assistant and trainer, Sarai Montri, arrives, their rivalry is soon reignited. Highly educated, not to mention gorgeous, the former Miss Thailand captivates Alex for the first time since his heartbreak. But Sarai’s devotion to Zach only stirs up the past. Will the brothers’ competitive natures tear them apart once more–with Sarai caught in the middle? …

Deborah Mello

Deborah Fletcher Mello, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Deborah Fletcher Mello. For Deborah, writing is akin to breathing and she firmly believes that if she could not write she would cease to exist. Welcome again to my blog, Deborah.

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

DFM: Bad boy, Alexander Barrett, and his twin brother, both fall in love with the same woman, beauty queen, Sarai Montri.                                           

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

DFM: I’ve always been fascinated with twins and that intensely personal connection they have with each other. I wanted to do a story that explored the dynamics of brothers whose connection, since birth, was thought to be unbreakable and how throwing a woman into that mix might affect them.

CH: What are some of the emotional intricacies that are part of being in an interracial relationship?

DFM: What Alexander and Sarai face is not much different from what any same race couple might have to face. Theirs is a journey of discovery; a discovery of self and each other. Sarai is Thai, where the cultural mores are very different. Both have to learn what they want, what they don’t want, and more importantly what they’re willing to compromise on to be with each other.

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?

DFM: Stories can come at the oddest times and in the strangest places. My stories are character driven, so once I connect to the characters, the rest is a piece of cake. I’m what’s known as a “pantser.” I write by the seat of my pants. I never know how a story will end or what the journey will be to get there. It all just seems to work and come together when I need it to. Each time, I consider it a blessing.

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

DFM: Because I love writing, I never see it as hard. There is always an element of real and true that I bring to every story and character. The men, more times than not, embody the characteristics of men I respect and admire, as do many of the women.

CH: How did you choose Thailand as the setting for the characters to portray part of the story?

DFM: Years ago, I worked for a hotel-owning company and was blessed to be able to travel internationally for many years. Thailand is one of my favorite places in the world to visit and it just made sense to bring my love for the culture into one of my stories.

CH: There is usually sibling rivalry, so how did you decide on twin rivalry?

DFM: Twins have a unique connection. Because they are typically so close, rivalry between them can be very different from your usual sibling rivalry. It was fun to explore that.

CH: Many readers say that your characters are emotional and memorable. How do you convey this in your books?

DFM: That readers say such a thing makes my heart sing! I work very hard to make my characters believable. It’s important that I connect to them to insure the reader connects to them. I consider everything from what they would snack on to how they would decorate their living spaces. And it works.

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

DFM: Love knows no boundaries. Whether it’s the love of family or friends, it is the strongest unifying emotion that any of us will ever know.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

DFM: Good question! Probably, Alexander. I wanted him to be less conservative and not so by-the-book and he just wouldn’t cooperate!

CH: How many books are in this series? Was this book harder to write?

DFM: I’d say the first book was the hardest, if either of them had to be hard. It was important to me that I honor the Thai culture and be respectful of their traditions and heritage. I’ve read too many books where an entire race or culture is subtly insulted or disrespected and I didn’t want to make that mistake. Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the series. My next book, Perfect Pleasures, which will drop on October 25, 2017, is the last book in the two-book series.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

DFM: There are many authors that I have great respect for but Walter Mosely has had one of the biggest influences on me. He is a masterful storyteller and reading him feels like swimming in an ocean of everything I love!

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

DFM: The characters inspire their own passionate encounters. Those scenes are a natural progression of their developing relationships and it’s just as easy from one perspective, as it is from the other.

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

DFM: Being named the 2016 Romance Slam Jam Author of the Year was a definite high. To be acknowledged by readers who love my writing was humbling and I was truly honored.

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

DFM: I don’t know. I really don’t. But if I had to say anything, I’d say it’s maybe my distinctive voice and the fact that I don’t shy away from tough subjects.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

DFM: Of course! Readers can follow me at www.deborahmello.blogspot.com. As well, I am active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google-plus. I am all over social media.

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

DFM: Readers can follow the links below or find my books wherever books are sold: Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2aaDaTw and

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2aaDbqs

CH: Any closing remarks?

DFM: I just want to extend my sincerest appreciation to you, Cheryl, for having me. This has been much fun and I want to thank you for supporting me and my writing. And to the readers, Happy Reading!

CH: Thank you so much, Deborah Fletcher Mello, 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 writing journey and your book with my audience.  It is truly a joy to have you visit my blog a second time. 

Note: Photos 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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Coming Soon…Cassie Dandridge Selleck

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Celebrity Author Cassie Dandridge Selleck will join us soon.

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Cassie Dandridge Selleck will discuss her book, The Pecan Man and her “New” Book!

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Cassie Selleck

Cassie Dandridge Selleck, Author

“Don’t miss this exciting interview. Join us!”                                                                                         ~Cheryl Holloway

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

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

Thanks for Sharing

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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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Celebrity Authors Coming August 15-19, 2016

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Celebrity Author Week August 15 – August 19, 2016

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Deborah Fletcher Mello with her new book, Guilty Pleasureswill join us on August 15th.

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Kimberla Lawson Roby  with her new book, A Sinful Calling, will join us on Aug 19th.

“Join us for these exciting interviews that can’t be missed!”                                                         ~Cheryl Holloway

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

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

Become a Subscriber_meme

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

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

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Coming Soon…Deborah Fletcher Mello

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Coming Soon…August 15th

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Celebrity Guest Author:                                                                                         Deborah Fletcher Mello

Her Latest Book:                                                                                                                Guilty Pleasures (Bad Boys of Boulder Series)

“Join us for this exciting interview that can’t be missed!”                                                              ~Cheryl Holloway

Coming Soon…Kimberla Lawson Roby

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Coming Soon…August 19th

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Celebrity Guest Author:                                                                                         Kimberla Lawson Roby

Her Latest Book:                                                                                                                A Sinful Calling (A Reverend Curtis Black Novel)

“Join us for this stimulating interview that shouldn’t be missed!”                                                         ~Cheryl Holloway

 

Guest Author Interview – John Lansing

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Title: Dead is Dead: The Jack Bertolino Series

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Organized Crime

Synopsis: Retired Inspector Jack Bertolino gets his first taste of the capricious nature of Hollywood when George Litton, an A list producer, options one of Jack’s recent cases that achieved international notoriety. The studio agrees to green light the film if Litton can sign New York actress Susan Blake, the new “It Girl,” to play the lead.

Jack is engaged as the technical advisor on Litton’s noir police thriller currently filming on location in Venice, California and starring Susan Blake. But more importantly, to keep a protective eye on Susan, who’s being harassed by a cyber stalker and is reticent to commit to a second Litton production and spend another year in LA.

When a six-year-old girl is shot dead in the living room of her parents’ home, just blocks from where Litton’s cop movie is filming, Jack Bertolino gets pulled into a case with threads connecting the movie, the murder, a brutal gang of brothers, and a terrifying body count.

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John Lansing

John Lansing, Author

CH: Today’s guest author is John Lansing, a former television network writer. In his latest book, life imitates art. Welcome to my blog, John.

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

JL: If the early reviews are any indication, the book is a page-turner.

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

JL: I think I had read one too many stories about drive by shootings in the Los Angeles area where a child was killed by a stray bullet. And then I thought about life imitating art, and the tragedy became the impetus, the way in, to tell the story of Dead Is Dead.

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?

JL: I collect newspaper and magazine articles that pique my interest. I might overhear a conversation and jot down ideas on a post-it and file them away. I’m always on the lookout for a situation that takes my protagonist, Jack Bertolino, out of his comfort zone and throws him into extreme conflict. When I’m searching for the next idea, I’ll cull my files and see if anything sticks. I’ll write a chapter or two and if I like the direction the book is taking, I’ll commit to writing the novel. I don’t write from a formula, and I don’t write with an outline anymore.

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

JL: I think you have to answer that for me. I don’t spend a lot of time second-guessing myself once I’ve committed to an idea. I leave everything on the page and hopefully it provides some measure of escape for my readers.

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

JL: I always pull certain elements of my story from real life. I write about locations where I live, streets I walk down, restaurants I eat in. Many of my characters are based loosely on people that I know or have met. And when you’re situations are reality based; I think it gives the reader a comfort level that allows them to trust the writing, and go along for the ride.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

JL: Jack Bertolino. Because I get to live vicariously off of his exploits.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

JL: In Dead Is Dead, it was Susan Blake. She started out a very different character in the first draft. But, after working with my editor, John Paine, I decided to reinvent her backstory. The change created more tension, conflict, and mystery in her relationship with Jack, and I’m very happy with the results. It’s one of the joys of working with a great editor.

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

JL: I had just finished five years of writing and producing Walker, Texas Ranger. When I started writing books, my world changed radically, and I’d like to think for the better. I had always been attracted to crime novels and detective series. It’s what I read and my bookshelves overflowed with them. I wanted to try my hand at creating my own.

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

JL: I wasn’t sure. It was something that I was shooting for, that I wanted to achieve, but The Devil’s Necktie was my first novel, and the jury was still out as to whether I would like the character of Jack enough to spend more than a few years of my life with. It turns out, I did, and I do. I’m already working on the fourth book in the series.

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

JL: Write every day. Walter Mosley wrote a terrific book about the writing process, This Year You Write Your Novel. It’s a short book that can be life altering if you’re still standing at the crossroads. Especially, if you have the desire to write, but are afraid to take the plunge. He might be able to answer your questions and get you on the right track.

CH: In addition to the other careers that you have, when did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? 

JL: I didn’t grow up dreaming about being a writer. It wasn’t even on my short list. But now in hindsight, I do think writing books was a natural evolution from my time working in Hollywood.

Writing my first script was actually a fluke. I had committed to directing a short film and when the screenwriter dropped out due to illness, I was forced to pick up the pen. I never looked back.

After an extensive acting career, I switched gears and moved from working in front of the camera to behind, and started writing for television. I moved from interpreting characters to creating characters and it opened up a whole new world for me.

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

JL: Dead Is Dead is the third book in my Jack Bertolino series. It was just recently released by Simon & Schuster, and that put a big smile on my face.

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

JL: Very favorable.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

JL: My website is: http://www.johnlansing.net but if you simply Google John Lansing, it will take you there.

CH: Can you tell my audience where they can purchase your book?

JL: Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Un7cmP

But if your readers google John Lansing, it will take you there and you’ll find the links to all the retailers who sell my books. You can also download a free copy of my short story, The Test. It’s a coming of age tale, set on Long Island in 1963, that deals with race, violence, social politics, and young love.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JL: I just want to say a big thank you, Cheryl, for hosting me on your terrific blog site, and posing such thought-provoking questions.

CH: Thank you, John Lansing, for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and John Lansing.

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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 – Peggy A. Edelheit

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Title: Saving Sindia (Samantha Jamison Mystery Series Book 10)

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Detective

Synopsis: A handsome flirt, mysterious girl, devoted caregiver, trash collector, and lessons from my past lure me into Saving Sindia. Based on a true unsolved mystery in Ocean City, NJ.

Peggy Edelheit

Peggy A. Edelheit, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is Peggy A Edelheit,  who loves to entertain readers with keep-you-guessing mysteries. Welcome to my blog, Peggy.

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

PAE: Sam’s good intentions weren’t turning out as planned and she finds herself entangled in a true historical mystery in Ocean City, NJ.

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

PAE: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I kept a journal and was always writing down something. When I was older, the character, Samantha, began looking over my shoulder, advising me to seriously put down on paper some ideas I had taking shape for a few storylines that would make great mysteries. She began demanding, either I did that, or it could get ugly. After postponing the idea while raising three sons, I finally agreed and began to write it in earnest.

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?

PAE: My locations and characters play a major role in my mysteries. I let my setting play into possible scenarios, then I add the characters one by one: some new, some old. I don’t like to throw a lot of characters at the reader too quickly unless it can’t be avoided in certain situations. As each book unfolds, the characters then develop further with their interplay and become an integral part of the books. Their personas tell me what they are going to say and how they are going to react in certain situations. I then let my fingers roll with their dialogue to see where they will take me next.

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

PAE: I write about how Sam gets caught up in unexpected mysteries with a touch of humor, while she constantly talks to her readers, who have the same disadvantage as Sam: they only see and hear what she does. It’s like they are peeking over her shoulder and try to solve or figure it all out with her. They are thrown by unexpected twists in the mystery, just like Sam is.

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

PAE: I have to admit, that initially, The Puzzle, Book 1, was meant to be a standalone, but by the end of the mystery, I felt Sam’s story wasn’t finished yet. There was so much more to tell. So, Sam continued as a reluctant sleuth, while writing and solving her unexpected often humorous, thriller-whodunits.

CH: Although you can read each book in the series as a standalone, do you advise readers to read the series in order?

PAE: I have heard from readers who really enjoy the mysteries, it’s more enjoyable to read them in order to see with each book how Sam grows from an intimidated young widow, into someone much stronger, taking more risks and trusting her intuition and the group of women she has surrounded herself with. Some are her age (thirtyish) and the older, wiser trio (seventyish). Martha, a character in her seventies in the series, is a great counterpoint to Sam: an older influence for Sam as an example of what the aging process might be like. Martha pushes and challenges Sam to get out of her comfort zone. And so, the reader sees Sam blossom and transform from one book to the next. I always briefly bring the reader up to date at the beginning of each mystery, so it is up to them how they wish to read the series.

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

PAE: My latest, Saving Sindia, Book 10. It’s based on a true historical mystery that takes place in Ocean City, NJ. After walking by the historical marker on the boardwalk and stopping to read it, I became intrigued. I soon discovered what a great mystery it was and still unsolved to this day. I knew this was the perfect idea to weave Sam into it fictionally, while still leaving the mystery itself intact by the end of the book. It also gave me the opportunity to let the readers inside Sam’s head as she chronicles her life in personal journal entries to figure out how she developed into the woman she is today, and why her curiosity was always there inside her for solving mysteries. I show a parallel between the two to help her solve an underlying mystery in Saving Sindia: two mysteries with the same name.

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

PAE: Each one varied, some six months, others longer. I can never predict, because I’ve been known to wipe out whole chapters and swap dialogue unexpectedly to throw in multiple twists. I like to challenge myself, making the whole thing feel unexpected to both Sam and the reader, who is peeking over her shoulder throughout the mystery.

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

PAE: The Puzzle, Book 1, took place in Highlands, North Carolina. I owned a log home there; hence it was a picture-perfect location to write a mystery with the mountains as a backdrop. I often sat on my back porch of that log cabin, daydreaming what a great isolated place for a writer to get caught up in her own mystery. Many incidents happened, including that ice storm.

Being familiar with Ocean City, NJ, it was perfect for Without Any Warning, Book 2, and Saving Sindia, Book 10. The boardwalk and beach were an ideal setting for my characters and the underlying mysteries. Readers are always looking for authenticity. You have to be as accurate as possible or they will let you know when you’re not.

CH: Which character in this series is hardest to write?

PAE: I wouldn’t exactly say harder, but the most complex is Sam. There is a lot of Sam in me. We always give others credit, more so than ourselves. We are reluctant to take center stage in this regard. We both have a great sense of humor and get carried away on occasion, especially with things we are passionate about. We always learn from our mistakes—sometimes humorously.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in this series?

PAE: Truthfully? I’m not sure yet. I mulling over my options. The characters in this series have become so familiar to me that sometimes I can’t write their dialogue fast enough. (Yes, they often go on a rant, explaining what they should be saying is better, not what I had intended for them to say.)

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

PAE: There are so many talented authors out there that it would be, at least for me, a tough choice. How would I choose between them? As an author, I am honored and humbled just to work in the same field with them all.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing thriller/suspense novels?

PAE: I’m a lover of the written word and the worlds they create. So, it was a natural that I’ve been making up and writing stories since I first learned to write. Although I read every genre, mysteries were always my preference. Later on, after ignoring certain voices in my head, I finally let them have their say. Sam just sort of jumped out to the forefront of the group.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

PAE: It is: www.samanthajamison.com

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

PAE: They are all on Amazon under The Samantha Jamison Mystery Series Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Ysmp5J

CH: Any closing remarks?

PAE: I love being an author. I just wish my parents were still alive to see what their little girl has achieved. I feel they would be very proud of me and tell me not to let any of it go to my head. I don’t think that would happen. I am too humbled by all the talent around me.

It was an honor and a pleasure to be asked to do this interview. Thank you, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you, Peggy A. Edelheit, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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

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

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Mallory Monroe

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Title: Reno Gabrini: For His Lover

Genre: Romance/Multicultural

Synopsis: Reno Gabrini, the longtime owner of the PaLargio Hotel and Casino on the Vegas Strip, faces his toughest foes; yet when he has to face the ghosts of his past. Just when he thought life was sailing right along, and his family were all making their own dreams come true, the sins of his past come back with a vengeance and seek to dismantle all that he holds dear. First his son and daughter-in-law find themselves in a situation that almost destroys them both. Then, his children are targets. And then, his wife. But nobody should ever mistake Reno Gabrini as anything but tough on steroids, and nobody is going to harm his family and live to tell about it. Reno, and his beautiful African-American wife, Trina, fight for their survival. They pull out all of the stops to defend their family, their love, and their PaLargio. In the latest installment of the Mob Boss Series, Reno and Trina put it all on the line and discover, even then, that their everlasting love may not be enough to conquer their enemies’ unquenchable hate.

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Mallory Monroe, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Mallory Monroe, bestselling author of numerous books. Welcome to my blog, Mallory.

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

MM: Reno Gabrini: For His Lover is an interracial romance between a hot-tempered casino owner and a hot-blooded businesswoman.

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

MM: Via a very vivid imagination.

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

MM: I never, ever, ever look at market trends.  Another word for failure is when a writer attempts to do what somebody else is doing, or what is fashionable at the time.  I write my own story.

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

MM: I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with two people so different, not just racially, but morally and temperamentally, who manage to fall in love.

CH: Since this is book 14 in the series, when you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

MM: Not at all!  Just the opposite.  But after I wrote it, I decided that I enjoyed the characters, realized that the fans enjoyed the characters, so I kept writing.

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

MM: I think I try my best to keep it simple.  I do not attempt to write the great American novel.  I just try to write the best little romance that I can write.

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?

MM: I believe writing is a God-given talent.  I began writing when I was nine years old, and never stopped.  The ideas come from that special, creative place that the good Lord allows me to visit.

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

MM: From two weeks to two months.  It depends on the book.

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

MM: A little of both. 

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MM: Characters in my earliest romance novels.  My current series characters have not been difficult at all. They have been a pleasure to write.

CH: You have written several different books and series. What do you attribute your success to as an author?

MM: I have written over fifty novels.  I attribute all of my success to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Had it not been for the grace of God Almighty, His unmerited favor, there would be no success.

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

MM: In terms of writing, my greatest achievement is when a reader loves the story—when a reader gets it.  When a reader finishes one of my novels and completely understands the vibe I was attempting to generate.  That’s an achievement.  The reverse is when I fail to make it clear what I am writing about.  For example, I was blown away when fans thought my novel, Big Daddy Sinatra: Carly’s Cry, would be all about Carly.  I was stunned.  I thought they understood that I was writing the latest Big Daddy book, which would primarily be about Big Daddy and Jenay, as all of his novels have been, and that Carly would be a part of the story.  I apparently did not make that clear enough.  That was the opposite of achievement, LOL.

CH: You seem to have a lot of dedicated readers. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

MM: Excellent feedback!  They get it, and I love that.  I am very blessed to have the fan base God has allowed me to have.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

MM: Toni Morrison.  Nobody can turn a phrase the way she can.  I read Song of Solomon and was hooked for life.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MM: www.mallorymonroebooks.com 

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

MM: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1sbtWff

CH: Any closing remarks?

MM: God bless you all. Thanks!

CH: Thank you, Mallory Monroe, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Mallory Monroe.

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

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

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

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Werner Stejskal

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Title: Oliver and Jumpy Stories 34-36 (Oliver and Jumpy, The Cat Series, #12)

Genre: Children’s/Animals-Cats

Synopsis: These illustrated cat and kangaroo stories are all about “Oliver and Jumpy,” who are best of friends and experience many adventures together.

Oliver is an elegant tuxedo cat, who is full of himself. As a matter of fact he says: “I love myself!”, quite often. Naughty, isn’t he? But his best friend Jumpy, a kangaroo lady, is aware that he has a soft heart and will always want to help others. The great thing is Jumpy’s pouch, which Oliver loves to ride in! He calls her his kangaroo taxi! These little bedtime stories with their lovely illustrations are great for small kids. A parent can read the text and tell the child in his own words. These animal stories have sufficient text to keep early readers happy and provide some educational value.

Stejskal

Werner Stejskal, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Werner Stejskal, an International Celebrity Children’s Author. Welcome to my blog Werner.

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

WS: Oliver the tuxedo cat and Jumpy the kangaroo lady, are best of friends and experience many adventures together.

CH: What inspired you to write this charming children’s book series of short fairy tales and animal stories?

WS: There are lots of fairy tales and bedtime stories around and many of them are quite violent and unsuitable for young children. This made me decide to write something different. On a flight from Europe to Australia, I watched the movie, Magic on Belle Island, with Morgan Freeman, where Freeman teaches a little girl to have imagination and write her first story. This inspired me, as well, and the first stories with the two main characters Oliver, the elegant tomcat, and Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend, made their appearance.

CH: Which character was hardest to write Oliver, the elegant tomcat, or Jumpy, his kangaroo lady friend?

WS: Nothing was hard at all. Oliver is me in disguise and Jumpy is really only a support figure.

CH: How did you find an illustrator?

WS: I was extremely lucky to find Marvin Alonso through Odesk (now Upwork). He immediately understood what I wanted and, very independently, developed the characters for me in Disney style (my idea). Unfortunately, he found another calling after a while. I tried out three illustrators with lesser results, until I found Maycee. She and her husband Allan have been the rock of this series.

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

WS: This is rather interesting. As mentioned before, the idea came out of the blue at night. Call it a message from God or whatever else you like. I was just ready for it at that stage of my life. It has always been like that. All my life, I was presented with another opportunity when the time was right.

CH: What inspired you to begin writing for children?

WS: I always wanted to write. I am an avid reader. Unfortunately, I don’t have any novels in me. Picture books gave me the chance to use my endless imagination.

CH: Does being an adult give you a different perspective on writing children’s literature? If so, how?

WS: Being very young at heart helps! After seeing your own children grow up, you know what interests them and you implement that.

CH: What do you find to be the hardest part of writing for children?

WS: Nothing hard at all!

CH: Do you write books for different age levels of children?

WS: My series is really from toddler to grown up. While the little ones just admire the complex pictures, the older kids will find details popping out, while the early readers find enough text with some difficult words to ponder over. Finally, many adults love the series, as well. My reviewer family keeps telling me about that all the time.

CH: You seem to entertain the little readers. Is it hard to write a story on a child’s level?

WS: There are limited scenarios in a child’s world. I simply use existing ones and write my own story around it. Kids love fairies, giants, animals, dragons, etc. I simply make my two main characters experience all those scenarios.

CH: What is your favorite children’s book? What is your favorite children’s book that you have written?

WS: I like Walt Disney books. That’s the reason, I decided on that style for my own series.

I love best my two stories about how Oliver found his top cat and how he was a baby.

CH: What was the book you loved as a child?

WS: I still love the old Grimm fairy tales. I prefer a very old book with the beautiful original illustrations. I am not happy with the simplified drawings of today’s children’s books.

CH: How important are titles for children’s books?

WS: Titles are important for all books. They set your book apart from others. Titles for kid’s books should be funny, if possible. The initial audience for picture books are moms. Therefore, the title and cover page illustration should appeal to the mother first.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from parents and children?

WS: I am very blessed. I get 99.9% positive feedback. Everybody loves Oliver and Jumpy. There are some educational values, as well. Most reviews stress that fact.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

WS: Yes. www.bedtimestory4you.com

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

WS: My series is sold on Amazon, Kobo, Google Play, ibooks and Barnes & Noble. Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1QTgTDZ

CH: Any closing remarks?

WS: The value of a product is shown by how many people use it. The more kids who get to know “Oliver and Jumpy,” the happier I will become. The crucial factor to the success of a picture book series are the participation of moms/mums of this world. So, mothers unite in the quest for Oliver’s fame! Thank you!

CH: Thank you Werner Stejskal, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.  

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Werner Stejskal.

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

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

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

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

Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Linzi Basset

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In my opinion, Celebrity Authors are those whose sole purpose is to entertain others with the written word and who have written several books for their audience. On this blog, a Celebrity Author is one who has written at least ten books and is the real star. I will highlight a variety of celebrity authors who I think the readers of this blog will love and enjoy their books. Some are well-known internationally, while others are well-known locally. I haven’t spotlighted a Celebrity Author in a while. So, sit back and enjoy!

For Amy_Cover

Title: For Amy: Their Beloved Sub (Club Alpha Cove Book 11)

Genre: Erotica

Synopsis: The Cutter twins were known as the “Badass” Dom’s at Club Alpha Cove, but at the same time all the submissives coveted their attention. There was one, however, who craved it, and then demanded it. Because they promised her, six years before they would come for her. She waited for them. They never came.

Amy Dwyer was devastated when they didn’t come for her as they had promised and nearly made the biggest mistake of her life. Now, nearly seven years later, she realized she still wanted them. However, it was not going to be easy. Dax Cutter hated her and he made no secret of it.

Dax and Gunther were disillusioned by the one woman they had both wanted from the first time they met her. Dax hated her for what she did to them, to him and his actions pushed her away time and again, while he pulled her back with the other hand, helpless against the passion she awakened in him.

When a lethal situation developed with a stalker, their protectiveness overtook their distrust and brought them closer together. Will the lurking evil destroy their chance at happiness, or will the sweet, still innocent Amy bring them together?

Note: This book is intended for mature audiences.

Linzi Bassett

Avatar for Linzi Basset, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Linzi Basset, who writes hot books with happy endings and forever after.  Welcome to my blog, Linzi.

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

LB: If you pick up one of my books because your curiosity has been seduced by the cover art, or because you’ve seen the reviews, or maybe because a friend has recommended it, and you decide to look inside for yourself to see what all the noise is about, you will almost certainly become a voyeur into a world that you never realized existed and wonder what’s happened to you, because now, you feel a need to satisfy yourself long after the last page.

CH: This is the eleventh book in the Club Alpha Cove Series, can we expect another book in this series?

LB: No. This series has run its course. However, the next series will weave around the life of Colt Fargo, the cousin of one of the characters in the current series, so, I daresay, we’ll meet up with some of the old gang there!

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

LB: I did quite a lot of research before I embarked on this series. I think as a writer of BDSM, at least for me, I knew that I had to distinguish my own point of view and establish my own voice within the very specific boundaries of the subject matter, while at the same time, delivering the goods; giving the reader what they crave and expect.

There are many BDSM club books out there, but I chose mine to be situated on a secluded island with a specific kink as to how the subs are punished. This particular story is a standalone in the series and tells us about the emotional behavior within this unique community that so often is misconstrued as destructive.

CH: How did you decide to start writing erotica?

LB: I am a very passionate person. It’s what drives and motivates most every decision I make in life. Passion is a spark that ignites the fuel that feeds the fire in an erotica novel. I live inside each book that I write. It is, in part, my own sensual self that I explore and the demons that I expunge that inhabit the pages of my stories.

CH: What does your family think about your writing?

LB: My family is very supportive of my writing. My mother is one of my biggest fans.  I can’t keep ahead of her. She has a voracious appetite. The moment she finishes one book, she wants to know when the next will be published.

CH: Of all of your books, which book was hardest to write?

LB: Without a doubt, For Amy – Their Beloved Sub, the final book in the series. It was the hardest to write, for two reasons. Firstly, I had barely started the book when my father passed away. It was an extremely emotional time for me. I really struggled to get back to writing after taking off more than a month.

Secondly, this story is the culmination of seven years ‘after’ the previous one. Those that have read the entire series know that there was an inherent storyline written around the dark machinations of a syndicate. They are finally eliminated in book 10.

For me, writing, His Cherished Sub, was very sad because that, ultimately, was the end of the series. For Amy, came about because of a request from my loyal readers, based on Book 8 in the series. The three characters in this book are the children of the couple in Book 8. In a way I had already said my goodbyes to Club Alpha Cove in Book 10, so to ‘re-open’ its doors, so to speak was a challenge.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LB: This is difficult to say. It’s almost like asking a mother who of her children she favors the most…hahaha. But anyway, I’d have to say my favorite is Ruark, purely because the series began with him and he was the only one that appeared in all eleven books. He became part of my life for a year!

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

LB: I draw a lot from within myself when I write or create most of the female characters.  As for the others, they evolve around the imaginary circle I create within my mind during the time I write the stories. The male characters are all Alpha males. What is challenging, is to give the male character a balance within himself; to be more than just a dominant persona, but to be caring and tender at the same time.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LB: Ryder Whitmore from His Forever Sub—who by the way, was nominated for The Golden Flogger award. He was an abused child, so I brought in flashback scenes of that abuse, to develop his personal history, which was the force that eventually motivated him to act out. Child Abuse, or any kind of abuse of anyone, for that matter, whether emotional or physical is an abomination and anathema to me.  To delve into the mind of an abused; that was the most difficult thing for which I had to write. The resultant struggles he endured to overcome and the effect it had on him throughout his life was the equivalent of living inside his head.

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?

LB: I have no formula for ideas. Sometimes, I watch a movie and a scene in the movie might trigger an idea for a plot. I might listen to music and suddenly an idea would explode in my mind. Ultimately, I have always been a dreamer and stories and ideas come very easily to me.

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

LB: That is a very difficult question to answer. I would hope that it’s an amalgamation of things, for lack of a better word. How to animate the private worlds inhabited by the cast of characters and their singular obsessions that exist in my imagination.  How I can best tell a story in my own voice that would appeal to the reader. Every writer must believe that they can bring something different, something unique to their stories that will have the ability to capture the imagination of a reader, or a time-traveler or a voyeur. It’s whatever speaks to you personally, whether it’s a book or a painting, a photograph or music.

My stories are BDSM club-based and I guess for this first series, the disciplines and punishments were done in a vastly different way than in most of the others, which is what has drawn so many readers to the series. I have been told that I have a different writing style than most erotica writers and I always strive to bring more than one element into my stories. Passion, lust, hate, anger, suspense, love and always…always laughter. For is laughter not the window to the soul?

CH: Have you ever thought about writing in another genre?

LB: One of the reviewers claimed that I could write any genre, even literature, and the biggest honor of all that I was bestowed proclaimed me to be the Nabokov of erotica! That is some very heady company to keep!

I know that I have the ability to write in another genre and yes, I am co-writing an erotic suspense novel that weaves fiction and nonfiction with the author, James Calderaro. We are going to start on a thriller pretty soon, and after that a political drama. I also dabble a little with poetry. I wouldn’t call myself a poet, but I do know that my prose has found affection with quite a number of people.

I also published a Dragon Shifter book, His Flame Dragon King which is intended as a 3 part series, but since I started with Club Alpha Cove, I have not had the time to continue with the series. I have been receiving huge demands from writers for book 2…so, I will have to get writing!

I have also published a number of more contemporary romance stories under the pseudonym, Sabel Simmons.

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

LB: A lot of what a writer creates is drawn from their own life experiences and yes, the emotions and certain aspects of the stories are taken from real life and my own experiences, but the storylines are make-believe. I do strive, however, to make them as plausibly real as I can and do extensive research before I commence with any story.

CH: Who is your favorite author? Why? 

LB: I have a few, but I love John Grisham’s writing because he does it with such precision and style that you can’t not help other than to admire it. And I have a particular fondness for stories that revolve around legal issues. In the erotica genre, I have always admired Johanna Lindsey, who is a historical erotica writer. I have all her books. I learned from her to build all aspects of life into my stories.

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

LB: For Amy – Their Beloved Sub, was mainly a sweet love story. Amy was an actress and the twins, an architect and an OB-GYN, however, I didn’t bring much of their respective professions into the story. The villain, however, was a stalker and sex offender, so I did extensive research on the actions and mindset, so that I could realistically animate him.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

LB: I just created a new website, which I’m quite proud of and I can be found on www.linzibassetauthor.com

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

LB: All my books are sold on Amazon and my author page there is: www.amazon.com/author/linzibasset Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1RL7BhT

CH: Any closing remarks?

LB: I’ve really enjoyed my journey into the world of BDSM club erotica and want to thank every one of my fans and supporters for their continued loyalty. Because of you, For Amy has reached # 1 on the Amazon Bestsellers ranking within 5 days of its release, as well as #1 on the New Release Hot list within 4 days of its release. It was the highlight for me, to end the series on a number #1 ranking. All 11 books are currently on the Amazon Top 100 Bestsellers list.

I love meeting and hearing from my readers and I read every email I receive. I respond to every one personally, even the ones where the reader is upset about the direction I might have taken with a story. Please feel free to write to me via my website and indicate whether you wish to be added to my mailing list for future releases, teasers and trailers.

Two of my books have been nominated for The Golden Flogger award. My interview is/was hosted on 22nd January 2016. Full details and my interview is here: http://bdsmwriterscon.com/kinky-chats/linzi-basset

My next series is named Club Wicked Cove and the first book Desperation, is already in progress. Be on the lookout on my website, Facebook or Twitter for news on the release date!                ~Linzi Basset

CH: Thank you Linzi Basset, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book and your writing journey with my audience.  

Celebrate Black History Month

Note: February is the shortest month of the year, so we will post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

 Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Linzi Basset.

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

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

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

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

Guest Author Interview – Celeste Norfleet, Regina Hart and Deborah Mello

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Christmas Book Blog Post-page1

A Christmas Kiss_Cover

Title: A Christmas Kiss

Genre: Holiday/Romance

Synopsis: Warm up with these sweet and sexy holiday tales of love and romance…

CH: Today is a special Christmas Eve blog post about a special holiday book, A Christmas Kiss, and the authors—Celeste O. Norfleet, Regina Hart and Deborah Fletcher Mello! Each of these ladies is a well-known national best-selling author. Welcome to my blog Celeste, Regina and Deborah.  

Celeste Norfleet

Celeste O. Norfleet, Author

Regina Hart

Regina Hart, Author

Deborah Mello

Deborah Fletcher Mello

Story Title: Sealed With A Kiss by Celeste O. Norfleet

Small town bad boy Dean Everett has made good in the tech world and now struggling Hayden, Georgia, is ready to welcome him home—along with his corporate headquarters. But Carmen Stiles is less than happy to see him. Dean had no idea he broke her heart when he left town after high school. Now he plans to make up for it—and as old friendship stirs new passion, Carmen just might let him—until she suspects he has no intention of really making things right for Hayden, or for her….

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

CON: In Sealed with A Kiss, successful businessman, Dean Everett, returns to his small hometown to reunite with his best friend and first love, Carmen Stiles.

CH: Were there any novels or short stories that you feel influenced your writing about a Christmas story, either directly or indirectly?

CON: I’m influenced by the holiday season. I love this time of year. I’ve written several holiday novels and anthologies and have always found inspiration in the love and joy of the season.

CH: How much of your characters’ backstories do you know before you write the story? Or do you tend to discover it as you go? 

CON: I always write a synopsis and main character outlines including backstories. I pretty much know everything I need to know about my characters before I begin writing. I find this helps me keep the storyline focused and cohesive.

CH: Is Christmas one of your favorite holidays? What is your favorite Christmas story? 

CON: Christmas is indeed one of my favorite holidays. I’ve never read, seen, heard or written a Christmas story I didn’t enjoy.

CH: As you worked on your story, did you have to change anything to tweak it for more of a Christmas atmosphere?

CON: No, not really. My synopsis emphasized the holiday theme and made it easy to elaborate and incorporate the atmosphere and the feeling of Christmas throughout the story.

CH: Was it hard developing your story to fit the book title?

CON: Not at all.

CH: How far in advance did you have to begin the project to have it ready for Christmas? 

CON: I had plenty of time to write the story. Since it was an anthology, it didn’t take too long at all.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

CON: Sure, my website address is www.Celesteonorfleet.com

CH: Any closing remarks?

CON: Yes, thank you so much for inviting us to participate. A Christmas Kiss is a wonderful holiday anthology and I know your audience will enjoy reading it. I’d also like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!

Story Title: Mistletoe Lane by Regina Hart

Benjamin Brooks’s marriage ended when he learned his wife was having an affair—with his boss. Now he’s returned to Trinity Falls to start a new job—and ignore Christmas. Too bad his new employee, June Cale, won’t let him. June knows all about bitterness, and she’s determined to help Ben heal—through embracing the holidays. And soon he just might find himself embracing brave and beautiful June as well….

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

RH: I’ll try. LOL! Here’s a shorter version of the log line I developed for my novella, Mistletoe Lane, in A Christmas Kiss: A prideful executive learns about forgiveness from a tough-as-nails single mom.

CH: Were there any novels or short stories that you feel influenced your writing about a Christmas story, either directly or indirectly?

RH: I knew that I wanted a theme that would resonate with my impression of the Christmas season. The theme of forgiveness immediately came to mind. Forgiveness isn’t easy. We’ve all been there, and done that. It’s not easy. However, I believe that, when we ask for forgiveness, we take the first step toward healing. And when we grant forgiveness to someone else, we begin to heal ourselves. Now, that’s not to say we’re always able to forget what happened. Forgetting is a whole different story.

CH: How much of your characters’ backstories do you know before you write the story? Or do you tend to discover it as you go?

RH: I’m a plotter. Usually, I know my characters’ backstories before I start to write. It’s during the plotting that I make these discoveries. Although, I have on occasion been surprised by a turn a character decided to take in the middle of a story. I also had the benefit of using characters I’d previously introduced in my Finding Home series. Readers who’ve read one of the previous Finding Home stories would have met June Cale in the second book, Harmony Cabins. June also appeared in Wishing Lake, which is the third book in the series. So June and I were old friends by the time I wrote Mistletoe Lane.

CH: Is Christmas one of your favorite holidays? What is your favorite Christmas story?

RH: Christmas is absolutely my very favorite holiday and season—despite the cold. LOL! Besides the first Christmas story, I also love It’s a Wonderful Life with James Stewart. I admit that I don’t like the remakes. I much prefer the original. I love the idea that someone has contributed so much to his family and his community—not because of what they could do for him but from love—that, if he or she was out of the picture, the community would basically fall apart. That’s an incredibly inspiring message.

CH: As you worked on your story, did you have to change anything to tweak it for more of a Christmas atmosphere?

RH: I didn’t need to tweak anything to make Mistletoe Lane more of a Christmas story. I had planned it as a Christmas story from the beginning. And actually, it worked pretty well with the way the story is positioned in the Finding Home series.

CH: Was it hard developing your story to fit the book title?

RH: It wasn’t a challenge to develop Mistletoe Lane to fit the anthology title, A Christmas Kiss. Mercedes was very clear about the tone and type of story she was looking for. It matched my vision for my story perfectly. I was really excited to work on this project with her.

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

RH: I would be happy to; my website is AuthorReginaHart.com.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RH: Cheryl, thank you so much for this opportunity to chat about A Christmas Kiss.

I hope readers enjoy A Christmas Kiss. As a bonus, the stories have strong positive messages about love, family, acceptance and forgiveness. I’d also love the opportunity to partner with Deborah Fletcher Mello and Celeste O. Norfleet again. They’re wonderful people and gifted storytellers. I also want to “Wish everyone a Joyous Holiday Season and a Blessed Christmas.”

Story Title: His Christmas Present by Deborah Fletcher Mello

Bianca Torres is already dreading Christmas with her parents in tiny Boone, North Carolina. But she’s not at all prepared for her father’s golf buddy, the sexy, successful, holiday-loving, aptly named Ethan Christmas. And when she and Ethan find themselves snowbound, Bianca discovers a whole new appreciation for the season…

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

DFM: In His Christmas Gift, age is just a number when Bianca Torres has a secret affair with her father’s golf buddy, Ethan Christmas

CH: Were there any novels or short stories that you feel influenced your writing about a Christmas story, either directly or indirectly?

DFM: I love holiday movies but there wasn’t one in particular that influenced me! I just love the happy endings and the whole spirit of Christmas that comes with spending time with family and friends. As I wrote my story I wanted to convey that emotion and feeling!

CH: How much of your character’s backstories do you know before you write the story? Or do you tend to discover it as you go?

DFM: I’m what’s lovingly referred to as a ‘pantser.’ I write by the seat of my pants and rarely know anything about the story or the characters. For me it feels like meeting a new friend and getting to know everything I can about them. They all have unique voices and they reveal themselves to me as we go along.

CH: Is Christmas one of your favorite holidays? What is your favorite Christmas story?

DFM: Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, most especially because I now have grandchildren and they’re still at that age where they believe in the magic of the season. Santa Claus still exists!!!

I actually have two favorite children’s stories that I love to read with my family every Christmas. The first is Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg and the second is A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe. I’m obsessed with holiday trees!

CH: As you worked on your story, did you have to change anything to tweak it for more of a Christmas atmosphere?]

DFM: No, in fact, the biggest editorial critique I received was to tone down the Christmas element!

CH: Was it hard developing your story to fit the book title?

DFM: Not at all. For me, the book title, A Christmas Kiss, just screamed love story!

CH: Can you tell my audience your website address?

DFM: Readers can always find me at my blog: www.deborahmello.blogspot.com and I am all over social media. Just Google me!

CH: Any closing remarks?

DFM: I’d like to express my appreciation to my co-authors Celeste Norfleet and Regina Hart. I absolutely adore these women and it was an honor to be featured with them!

I’d also like to thank you Cheryl for this opportunity and I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1OD8Da3

Collaboration Questions:

CH: How did the process of collaboration on A Christmas Kiss start and then evolve? 

CON: Our amazing editor, Mercedes Fernandez, is responsible for getting the three of us together. This was my first time working with Regina and Deborah and I hope it will not be our last.

RH: I’ve always wanted to participate in a publisher’s holiday anthology. Even before I was published, I also wanted to participate in a multi-author, holiday anthology. As purely a reader, I’ve always loved holiday anthologies: Kwanzaa, Valentine’s Day, Halloween…Love them! My dream was to participate in a Christmas anthology, but I wasn’t particular. Well, not too particular. LOL! So when my editor, Mercedes Fernandez with Kensington Publishing, offered me a spot in A Christmas Kiss with Deborah Fletcher Mello and Celeste O. Norfleet, it was the realization of a decades-long dream.

DFM: We had a wonderful editor, Mercedes Fernandez, who had the vision of A Christmas Kiss and handpicked us to execute it.

CH: What advice would you give to writers who want to write a collaborative book?

CON: I’ve written several collaborative anthologies and novels. My advice would be to, as always, write the best story you can and make sure to stay within any editorially set parameters. The editorial parameters cohesively unify collaborative novels. In the case of, A Christmas Kiss, small town romance and a fateful Christmas kiss unified our stories.

RH: A Christmas Kiss wasn’t exactly a collaboration with me, Deborah Fletcher Mello and Celeste O. Norfleet. Our editor, Mercedes Fernandez with Kensington Publishing, invited us to participate in her proposed Christmas anthology. I think our three stories worked together really well in the anthology. I don’t know whether Mercedes knew that in advance or if we were all just really lucky. I should ask her…

DFM: Once you know and understand the concept, just write the best story you can write. Whether you’re invited into the collaboration or it’s a joint creative venture, just remember to have fun with it!

CH: Did you discuss your characters and story with your co-authors?

CON: Not this time. Since our stories and characters were all very different and the storylines weren’t strictly editorially connected, we didn’t have to collaborate to ensure cohesion. Our editor, Mercedes, gave us two elements to incorporate—small town romance and a Christmas kiss.

RH: We didn’t discuss our characters or stories with each other. We worked directly with our editor, Mercedes.

DFM: I didn’t. We were each given specific criteria to work with and since our collaborative effort didn’t require us to insure any cohesion, it wasn’t necessary.

CH: Why did you decide to write a collaborative book about Christmas?

CON: Our editor, Mercedes Fernandez, brought us together. She is the mastermind behind A Christmas Kiss.

RH: I’ve always wanted to participate in a publisher’s multi-author, holiday anthology. Even before I was published, so when my editor invited me to participate in A Christmas Kiss with Deborah Fletcher Mello and Celeste O. Norfleet, I jumped at the opportunity.

DFM: I love the holiday, so when the opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me.

CH: How far in advance did you have to begin the project to have it ready for Christmas?

CON: I had plenty of time to write the story. Since it was an anthology, it didn’t take too long at all.

RH: Oh, this question always gets me into trouble. LOL! I’m *such* a slow writer. LOL! The actual release date for A Christmas Kiss was October 2015. I wrote the summary September 2014 and turned in the completed manuscript January 2015.

DFM: I actually didn’t have a wide window. When I came onboard I only had a few short months to start and finish the story to meet the publishing deadlines. But typically with any book, stories need to be done and finished some twelve months in advance of the publication date.

CH: Can you tell us the pros and cons of a collaborative project?

CON: The main advantage of a collaborative project is that the reader gets to enjoy wonderfully written short stories by a number of authors. They get to read a variety of authors and perhaps even discover new talent. Sorry, I don’t have any disadvantages.

DFM: A definite pro is partnering with other extraordinary authors where you can each use the opportunity to expand and grow your fan base. I love that some of my readers discovered the writings of Celeste and Regina Hart for the first time!

I don’t know that there are any cons because this was one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had.

CH: Thank you so much Celeste O. Norfleet, Regina Hart and Deborah Fletcher Mello.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your Christmas book and your writing journey with my audience.  

 Spread the Word

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

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Celeste O. Norfleet, Regina Hart and Deborah Fletcher Mello.

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

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

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

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