Cougar Tales: Jamaican Love by Cheryl Holloway…Get Your Copy Today!

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“Have You Read A Good Book by Cheryl Holloway?”

Jamaican Love

Joi meets a Chef in New York City that is interested in dating her. Joi is not ready to be in a new relationship with anyone, especially a long-distance relationship—he lives on the East Coast and she lives on the West Coast. But Spencer doesn’t give up easily. They go their separate ways. Fate brings them together again while on vacation.

Can Spencer sweep Joi off her feet with Jamaican love?

Note: This is Book 3 of 3 in the Cougar Tales series, but can be read as a standalone novella and can be read without needing to buy subsequent books.

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

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Guest Author Interview – Louise Blackwick

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Title: Vivian Amberville: The Weaver of Odds

Genre: Teen/Young Adult/Dystopian Fantasy

Synopsis: Vivian Amberville is philosophical fantasy book series about a girl whose thoughts can control and reshape reality.

The main protagonist, Vivian is an orphaned child who uncovers her imagination can influence certain events, and even twist reality into impossible shapes – a mind-over-matter ability called “Weaving”

But Vivian’s powers prove hazardous to keeping the universal balance. Beyond the fabric of reality, she finds herself in the custody of the original Weavers, thrown head-first into the most dangerous competition the multiverse has ever known: The Weaver Trials.

Louise Blackwick, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Louise Blackwick. Louise says that she is a next generation fiction writer. Welcome to my blog, Louise.

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

LB: Vivian Amberville – The Weaver of Odds is a philosophical fantasy about a girl whose thoughts can control and reshape reality.

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

LB: I have always been a great believer in the power of imagination; that given enough effort, any great idea can be shaped into a waking reality. We wouldn’t have as much as a bridge in this world without a mind to imagine it. We have built and continue to build this world on the premise: thoughts become things.

Vivian’s story merely extrapolates on that idea. She is a 13-year old, who discovers she can reshape reality in her image. This fantasy book, thus becomes my way of telling the reader: we are responsible for the ideas we breed, and we are responsible for the world we create.

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

LB: My personal experience and real life played an important part in the book’s development. My anxiety disorder became Vivian’s, and as I conquered it, she did too. Vivian’s world—much like our own—is plagued by the same struggles we face: war, disease, poverty, hatemongering, injustice, and indifference. These parallels have helped me develop a living-breeding fictional world, as real as our own.

CH: Can you describe your writing style for this dystopian fiction novel?

LB: I mixed classic British humour and social satire with a simple narrative structure. Descriptions are short, but memorable, dialogues are lifelike, and I struggle to make any bit of narration, as immersive as possible. Language-wise, it’s very approachable. I wanted this to be a book everyone can enjoy, particularly younger audiences. As a dystopia, I wanted kids to know how a society should NOT be. Naturally, adults savour the book for its deeper, more philosophical traits. I do enjoy writing in layers.

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

LB: The story is set in two dystopian worlds: one is a futuristic Great Britain ruled by disease and poverty; another is a fantasy realm where people can imagine things true. The book is essentially a double dystopia, with two different universes that, despite their differences, correspond to one another. Since Vivian can walk both worlds, it is exciting to see the two worlds collide.

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: My ideas come from imagination. As for the plots, I cannot really say I follow a standard formula, but screenplay writing is a great influencer. I like to play with camera angles, and strive to make my fictional environments as interactive as possible. Pacing, lighting and angles play just as big a role as theme-building and characterization. I always assume my readers have picked up my book because they expect entertainment, and I deliver that entertainment by ‘projecting’ a movie into their mind.

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

LB: Can’t really recall any research, but I did use a skill. Not many people know this, but I have a degree in Norse linguistics. I found myself developing not just one, but 3 distinct fictional languages (and their dialects), fully-equipped with grammar, phonetics, semantics. It took me years, but alas! I had so much fun doing it! I’m sure my former linguistics professor feels proud my degree didn’t completely go to waste.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LB: By far, Kaap (aka The-Hole-in-the-Wall) was the most difficult. He is a sentient shape-shifting non-human character—that’s a mouthful!—who follows Vivian on her journey. I’ve been told he is so realistic, readers expect him to spring up from the page. Kaap is a walking metaphor of everything Vivian is, and my absolute favourite!

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LB: A character called Lady Saah, the Artisan. She has one of the most painful inner struggles in the Vivian Amberville series. A certain villain called ‘Ashlar’ was also difficult to write, as villains often are in such stories. Stories are only as strong as your weakest villain, I always say. There is a quote in the book that I believe resumes this quite well: As the Weaver, so is the Thread.

CH: Since this book is about Vivian’s power to reshape events, is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

LB: I’d say quite a few messages, yet the most pivotal one would have to be this: your circumstances don’t define your life. No matter how terrible your circumstances, how dreadful your situation, you remain the creator of your own life; the master of your circumstances. A true Weaver of Odds. Your circumstances don’t define your life—your actions do.

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

LB: My Publisher recently told me the book has created quite the fanbase. I personally received thousands of messages from readers who felt inspired by Vivian’s journey; people whose appetite for reading was rekindled by the story; people who believe I offered something original and refreshing. I heard many readers are discussing the book’s deeper layers on literature forums. Since this is only the first book in a series of five, I guess only time will tell how this could develop.

CH: Who are some of your fantasy writing influences?

LB: Definitely Lewis Carroll’s quirky Through the Looking Glass is Vivian Amberville’s greatest influencer. I owe my dreamlike narrative style to the surrealist, André Breton, and the absurdist, Kafka. Edgar Allan Poe is again, a big influence, more strongly seen in the novel’s darker scenes. As for the philosophical aspects of the book, J.J. Rousseau, F. Nietzsche and S. Kierkegaard are my pillars.

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

LB: At one point, the book got so known, many of my neighbours had read it. Funny part is, I write under a pen-name, so they didn’t know it was me. I can never forget the look on their faces when they found out!

CH: What can we expect next from you? More books in this series?

LB: The Book of Chaos—Vivian’s sequel—is coming in 2018. In the meantime, I’m working on a humorous sci-fi novel entitled, God is a Robot. Set in a world where the humans are long extinct, 4 unlikely robots will embark on a journey to answer the question: Why have the humans created us?

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

LB: Absolutely! I’m continuously working on expanding the trivia page, thus visitors can expect new content every so often.

CH:  How to Find Louise Blackwick:

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

LB: Vivian’s official website is our main selling point. Visitors can purchase both the eBook and the paperback from: https://www.vivianamberville.com/the-book. They can also preview the book on the same address. Smaller selling points are Amazon and Kobo.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LB: Cheryl, Thank you so dearly for this interview! I applaud your amazing initiative and look forward to reading more author interviews on your page!

CH: Thank you so much, Louise Blackwick, 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, Louise Blackwick and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

   

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

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Guest Author Interview – Lesley Hayes

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Title: The Other Twin

Genre: Teen/Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: Since early childhood, Verity has been haunted by the dream of meeting her twin soul. Is such a thing even possible? She thinks she might have found him in Ned, but is he all that he seems? No one and nothing in this novel is as straightforward as it first appears, including Verity. Sometimes, it takes other people to help us discover who we truly are, and the lengths we will go to when pushed. A compelling psychological mystery with the notion of true love at its heart, The Other Twin explores the noxious legacy of suspicion, hatred, revenge, and duplicity—and asks of the reader: just who can you trust?

Lesley Hayes, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Lesley Hayes.  Lesley has noticed as she writes that she has grown wiser in her treatment of her characters.  Welcome to my blog, Lesley.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this psychological mystery about love.

LH: Anyone who has ever wondered whether there is such a thing as a soulmate or a twin flame will be beguiled by the story and learn a lot about obsession in the process.

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

LH: I have always been fascinated by twins, and by the notion that although apparently similar, there are also significant differences in their personalities. I’m not the first writer who has elaborated the narrative of ‘good twin’, ‘bad twin’, but I also wanted to explore our need to trust the people we love, and to pose the question: ‘But how can you really be sure when someone is telling you the whole truth?’ …Especially, when your future with that person hinges on the answer.

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

LH: Oh, that would be telling! All writers plunder ruthlessly their own life experience and steal narratives from situations and people they have met. It’s inevitable that in every book I write, there will be elements reminiscent of aspects of life I have lived or heard about. But I also have a fertile imagination and easily move into exploring the territory of ‘What ifs?’

CH: Since you are trying to define love, can you describe your writing style for this mystery/thriller?

LH: I’m told by readers that I have a unique and recognizable voice, whether I’m writing in the first or third person. For this novel, I chose to write the story in the third person, but from Verity’s perspective, so that the reader was kept in the dark as much as she was about what might be going on ‘behind the scenes.’ Writing in the third person gives me the freedom to delve into the history of the main characters, which inevitably brings increasing insight into their hidden motivations.

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

LH: I always write with a deep interest in the psychological makeup of my characters. Creating an expanding picture of them on the inside and revealing what makes them tick, brings a particular satisfaction to the reader. I’ve been told that people find themselves identifying with the characters, relating to them and their emotions and often feeling as though the story is telling them something new about themselves.

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?

LH: I definitely don’t have a formula, which is why all of my novels are so different. Stories come to me; I don’t go looking for them. They arrive almost fully formed in my mind, and then I just have to get on with the hard work of writing them! The structure, dialogue and characterization are all equally as important as the plot itself.

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

LH: Only in a few technical details regarding private aircraft, and the procedure in Oxford airport.

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

LH: Ah, that’s impossible to answer. I feel at the end of writing a novel as though I know every character so well, and they each have something special about them. I get so involved in the inner life of my characters that they are all equally enjoyable to write—even the ones who are intentionally dislikeable.

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

LH: That love is challenging, and trust is fragile, and the wounds of childhood go very deep and have a long memory…so be warned, dear reader, you can never be sure that what you see on the surface is even close to the truth of who a person is.

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

LH: Five stars all the way as far as the reviews go, which is very affirming. One of the reviewers wrote of The Other Twin: “It has particular emphasis on what has hurt and belittled so many of us in childhood and how that affects the way we interact with others as adults: especially the lies, the half-truths, the yearnings and the disappointments, the rivalries and jealousies that so affect our behaviour towards, and opinion of, others. It is about caring and needing, and living with suffering, about trying and failing to please and to win approval, about trust and betrayal: the endless, manoeuvring maze of human interactions through which we all do our best to find our way.” That review really summed up what I had hoped to achieve.

CH: Who are some of your mystery/thriller/suspense writing influences?

LH: I don’t think any other writers have actually influenced my writing—not consciously, anyway.

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

LH: If I go way back to the beginning, the first short story I had published in a magazine when I was seventeen, and was almost immediately head-hunted by an agent! That was many years ago, and a lot of water has passed under a number of bridges since then. This time around, taking what felt like the breathtakingly daring step of self-publishing my first book on kindle, followed by the first review…that amazing moment when I realised I actually had a following!

CH: What can we expect next from you?

LH: I have two more collections of short stories currently in the pipeline, hopefully to be published before Christmas. I’ve also recently completed my sixth novel, and am endeavouring to find an agent as I’d like this one to be published by the more traditional route. If I can’t get the support of an agent you’ll be seeing that one on kindle and in paperback via Amazon by the end of the year. No spoilers, though. I won’t even divulge the title!

CH: How to Find Lesley Hayes:

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

LH: On Amazon. If you go to my Author page there you’ll find links to The Other Twin and all my other books. There is also a universal link that should reach an Amazon near you anywhere in the world.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LH: Cheryl, I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to talk about my work. I’m not great at self publicity as I much prefer writing. When people who read my books ask me to tell them something about myself I usually say: ‘Read between the lines of my books. That’s where you’ll find me.’ Although, I do give quite a lot else away on my website.

CH: Thank you so much, Lesley Hayes, 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, Lesley Hayes and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Cheryl Holloway Celebrates Indie Author Day, October 14th

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Celebrate Indie Author Day on October 14th

The public is encouraged to attend and meet dozens of local indie authors, poets, and graphic novelists, and to discover new talent. Authors in your area  will be selling their books at various sites for readers to pick up their next favorite book.

As an Indie Author, I understand how difficult it can be to promote the great books that independent authors write and work so hard to share with the rest of the world.  So on today, find an indie author in your area and support them. Some will be at libraries and others will be at book events, but here is just another way for ‘indies’ to get the recognition we deserve at local libraries and events.

Ted Olczak, “A book without an audience is like not having a book at all.”

Join me today in Supporting Indie Author Day!

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

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Shyla Colt

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Title: Twist of Fate (Kings of Chaos Book 6)

Genre: Romantic/Multi-Cultural/Interracial

Synopsis: Shayne Spencer wasn’t the man of my dreams.

A twist of fate placed us in the confines of my family’s food truck. The attraction between us was a force of nature we couldn’t ignore. The bonds we formed made me believe in forever, and gave me the courage to break free from the chains of tradition.

Then fate took another turn, and I learned Shayne wasn’t who he said he was. Now, I’m forced to question everything I thought I knew.

I went on a mission for the Kings of Chaos looking for, redemption and reconciliation with my hate-filled past. What I found was the greatest treasure I never knew I was seeking, Xia Foley. I should never have gotten involved with the brown-skinned woman. My hands are stained with the dirt I’ve done and the choices I made.

Will my past as the reformed son of a racist traitor ruin my chance at creating a future worth living?

Shyla Colt, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Shyla Colt. Three of her favorite writing areas are strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Welcome to my blog, Shyla.

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

SC: Two lost souls, find more than themselves when fate places them together. They discover a love worth fighting for.

CH:  A twist of fate…how did you come up with the premise for this book?

SC: I love reality tv, where people compete. I was watching Master Chef with my family, and this story hit me.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

SC: I wanted to do something fun, with the competition in the book, and I wanted to write a coming of age story for an older woman. Sometimes it takes more time to figure things out, and become the adults we want to be.

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

SC: I don’t believe so.  I think we’ve all been cast into roles that don’t suit us at one time, and we stay for one reason or another.

It takes courage to break free, take risks, and in some cases go against our family. As someone who has a job in the creative field, I understood that feeling well. People don’t always understand what you do, or why you do it.

I also related to the theme of racism and the change that can come from understanding, and knowledge, because I’ve seen that happen, and I wanted to tell that story.

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

SC: My ideas come from all over the place. I might see a movie, or a tv show. It could be sparked by a place I saw on a road trip.

I’m a character-driven writer, so often the character comes to me and tells me their story, or something happens that triggers me developing a character to match it.

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

SC: I’m not sure how to answer this. I’m a pretty unique person, and I think my perspective, and the things I write about can be unique, i.e., the food truck business in this story.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research to write this book?

SC: I did a decent amount, to get the food truck business and contests correct. Because I once lived near the areas I wrote about. I didn’t have to invest as much time on the setting, as I usually do.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SC: Oh wow, I think Xia. I loved her unique style, determination, and drive. I admired her.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

SC: Hmmm. I think Xia’s father. I didn’t like some of the things he did, but I had to stay true to him as a character.

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

SC: I did know it would be a series. I really enjoy world building, so I was excited. Wow, the hardest one to write…maybe For the Love of Dixie, because of the very sensitive subject matter.

CH: Will there be other books in this series?

SC: Yes, there will be a few more.

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

SC: Love is for everyone and tragedy, or hard times don’t last forever.

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

SC: I get the good, the bad, and the honest. (Shyla laughs) I’m blessed to have readers who take the time to tell me what they enjoyed, didn’t enjoy, and would like to see more. I appreciate them so much.

CH: What can we expect from you next—more series or a stand alone?

SC: A mixture of both. I try to keep things varied.

CH: How to Find Shyla Colt:

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

SC: Amazon

CH: Any closing remarks?

SC:  Cheryl, Thank you for having me. It’s been a lot of fun.

CH: Thank you so much, Shyla Colt, 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, Shyla Colt and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Columbus Day Is Being Refocused to Indigenous People’s Day

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Columbus Day Is Being Refocused to Indigenous People’s Day

According to the New York Post, there is a growing list of places that have already replaced Columbus Day—first recognized as a Federal holiday in 1937—with Indigenous People’s Day,

Indigenous People’s Day celebrates indigenous natives who lived on the North American continent long before European explorers set foot here.

It has been reported and critics argue that devoting a day to Columbus is not only misleading, but celebrates a violent history of colonialism, enslavement and discrimination.

It makes sense to refocus the holiday, because there are many Native American tribes in North America.

To all of you, I wish you have a Happy Indigenous People’s Day.Signature Logo

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Toki Smith

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Title: Them Inside Me

Genre: African-American Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Several women come together to support each other while trying to find healthy ways to deal with the traumas each has faced. But during the course of their 8 week support group, betrayal, self-doubt and even murder begins to threaten their path to becoming survivors. “Them Inside Me” is a look at sexual assault and the long-term consequences.

Toki Smith, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Toki Smith. She is a passionate writer who takes real situations and creates an inspiring novel. Welcome to my blog, Toki.

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

 TS: My book is, not only a murder mystery, but also elements of my own journey as a sexual assault victim.

CH: This book is about a support group of women dealing with traumas. Why did you decide to write this book?

TS: I haven’t read books about “real” characters in a trauma support group.  Many books have the standard few characters that are so one dimensional, it will falsely leave you thinking all victims present have the same cookie cutter behaviors.  I wanted to show, from a personal experience, what it was like for me in a support group.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues?

TS: It was hard to express my life situations in a way that drove the fictionalized elements of the story.  I wanted to be true to my history, while not making this a biography, per se.  I haven’t known pimps and prostitutes, so I drew on some of those 1970’s TV shows for inspiration!

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

TS: My first book, The Plan, featured an assassin and I wanted to tell a story about how that person became a killer and a human being without regard for others.  During my journey, I’ve wondered why I became a law-abiding citizen and not a hard, hostile and unforgiving person.  So, I got to explore the dangerous side through my writing.

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

TS: The feedback has been universal—the characters speak like people they know.  I tried to use an honest voice, as I think the character would want to express their truth.

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

TS: Yes, I set my story in a fictional town in West Virginia, but my son, who is a West Virginia University student, made me a map of the downtown area, so I could use it for the story.  Otherwise, I relied on my clinical skills, I’m a clinical social worker (mental health therapist) and a survivor of rape and incest.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

TS: My favorite character to write was Yvette!  She was a ‘tell-it-like-it is’ girl and I wish I could be more like her and not care about the consequences.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TS: Penny for sure…she was a professional dealing with the long-standing consequences of being raped by a cousin.  Reliving my own rape to write her storyline was very painful.

CH: Tell us a little about your first book and whether you will decide to make your second book a series?

TS:  My first book, The Plan, introduced us to an assassin, but it’s definitely a stand-alone book.  I’m not sure if Them Inside Me will be a series.  Although, I have gotten feedback that certain characters should have their own books.

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

TS: Yes, a few take-aways would be:

  • Don’t assume you know how the victim feels;
  • Some families do make it back from trauma;
  • Don’t assume every victim is the same;
  • Suicide may not be an option to you, but respect that victims may see it as a very real option; or
  • There is help out there…keep living till you find it.

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

TS: Sexual assault victims have reached out to me with thanks for giving them a voice.  One lady’s mother committed suicide years ago and she wanted to thank me for giving her some idea of what her mother may have been dealing with.

The Center for Abused Persons asked me to be their guest speaker (Victim’s Vigil) and from there, the Charles County Commissioners invited me to speak at a town hall meeting about childhood sexual abuse.

Lastly, one of my first therapists wrote that she was proud of me and my book was “on par with the mysteries I read.”

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

TS: Janet Evanovich and James Patterson.

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

TS: Meeting other victims and having them tell me I got it right!

CH: What can we expect next from you?

TS: I would really like to write a story where Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford get back together!  I can’t believe The Way We Were has been left for so long with their characters still apart!

CH: How to Find Toki Smith:

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

TS: My above website and Amazon; also found at Southern Maryland libraries!

CH: Any closing remarks?

TS: Thanks Cheryl for offering your platform to support other writers.

CH: Yes, I pay it forward to other authors as much as I can. Thank you so much, Toki Smith, 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, Toki Smith and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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Cheryl Holloway Participates in Walk to End Alzheimer’s

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“SHADES OF MEMORIES OF DINWIDDIE, VIRGINIA”

Cheryl Holloway joined the Dinwiddie, VA Community in Stepping to raise awareness and funds for Dementia/Alzheimer’s care, support and research on September 30, 2017.

Author, Cheryl Holloway, setting up vendor table to sell books.

The first three ladies to buy my book were Doris, Mary and Felicia. Thanks ladies for getting the day started!

Author, Georgette Littlejohn, setting up her books also.

It was a fun day for all participants! Wish we could have gotten more pictures to share.

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

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

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Six Things You Need to Make Your Book a Best Seller by Cheryl Holloway

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Six Things You Need to Make Your Book a Best Seller

These techniques will work on any kind of book: fiction: romance, mystery, sci-fi, urban fantasy, thriller, etc.; or non-fiction: business or literary work. Any writer can implement these techniques no matter where you are in your writing process, from the first draft to the polished final draft.

  1. A Well-written Book
  2. A Positive Attitude
  3. Inspiration
  4. Motivation
  5. Determination
  6. Target Audience

A Well-written Book – Tell a wonderful story to make readers love you (Fiction). Provide useful information that readers can use (Non-fiction).

Hint: Pull on their emotions—make them laugh or make them cry.

A Positive Attitude – Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking when it comes to your writing. Learn and know your craft by building and enhancing your skills and developing your resources. As a writer, you must build and maintain a positive attitude. Don’t worry about rejections or negative feedback.

Hint: Everyone is not going to like your book.

Inspiration (definition) – the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative (such as writing). Find your inspiration and let it lead you on to better writing. It will also lead you from being a writer to being an author. What inspires most people is “an ordinary person who has done an extraordinary thing.”

Hint: Whether your inspiration is someone or something; big or small; let it lead you on to better writing.

Motivation – According to Writer’s Digest magazine, “Writing takes commitment, self-discipline, and desire.” My passion for writing is my motivation. What’s yours?

Hint: Find a quote about writing and put it near your PC or laptop where you can always glance at it.

My Two Favorite Quotes: 1) I live in my own little world. But it’s okay…they know me here! 2) If there is a book you want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. Toni Morrison

Determination (definition) – a firmness of purpose; resoluteness. As a writer with a mission, you need an unflinching determination. You have goals and deadlines to meet—go for it.

Hint: Don’t give up! No matter what.

Target Audience – The Bible is the only book that is for everyone (and some people will question that). Know who should read your book: What type of people? (Christians, entrepreneurs, etc.) What type of groups? (shoppers, smokers, children, baby boomers, young adults, etc.) What other books do they read? (romance, sci-fi, urban, etc.) Know their demographics: age, income, education, race, gender, marital status, and/or occupation

Hint: Learn as much about your target audience as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am determined to make one of my books a best seller. I promote my books each and every day. It’s only a matter of time for me…how about you?

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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 – Jeanna L. Pryor

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Title: Every Penny Counts: Become A Middle-Income Millionaire

 Genre: Personal Finance/Money Management

 Synopsis: Are you fed up of living paycheck to paycheck? Every Penny Counts shows you how to become debt free and build wealth using the money you make. Middle-income workers make hundreds of thousands of dollars during their working lifetime, but struggle to live day-to-day and retire at near-poverty levels. You don’t have to! You can live the American dream using your take home pay. You don’t have to be rich to become rich. You can live in comfort, buy a home, pay for college, take vacations, and stop robbing Peter to pay Paul. Follow the techniques and principals outlined in Every Penny Counts to begin a chain reaction of financial success.

Jeanna L. Pryor, Author and Financial Coach

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Jeanna L. Pryor. She is a Financial Coach and helps people to become middle-income millionaires. Welcome to my blog, Jeanna.

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

JLP: Many struggle with getting the most with the money they make, this book tells you how.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

 JLP: I began writing the book in 1982 when I began teaching and assisting individuals with their finances, in 2009, I finally put all of my notes together and wrote the book over a two-week period.

CH: Why is it important for middle-income people to have financial freedom?

JLP: It’s important for everyone to achieve financial independence.  The difference between financial freedom and independence is independence is a level of financial security that only the individual can determine.  Freedom is rarely achieved, because laws and needs change.

CH: What is generational wealth? Why is it important to our generation?

JLP: Generational wealth is created when a financial inheritance of assets (money, property, stocks, etc.) are left from one generation to the other.  These assets continue to increase in value and are used as leverage to achieve more wealth.  It’s important because it catapults each generation financially forward to achieve a legacy, create jobs, and more assets.  Great examples of generational wealth are the Hiltons, Kennedy’s, Walton’s, and Rockefeller’s etc..

CH: What is a fiduciary? Are you a fiduciary?

JLP: A fiduciary is a financial advisor that is under law to place their client’s interests above their own when providing financial advice.  This is important because while they could benefit financially and make more money providing a recommendation, if the recommendation is not in the clients’ best interest, they cannot make the recommendation.  Yes, I am a fiduciary.  But more importantly, without the legal requirement to do so, as a person of integrity and moral character, I would not make a recommendation that is not in the best interest of my client.

CH: What type of services does a financial planner provide?

JLP: It depends on their license and competence.  The services could include, financial planning for retirement, college, etc., investment executions, banking, and insurance.

CH: Do you offer sample financial plans?

JLP: Yes

CH: What are ‘penny’ stocks?

JLP: Penny stock is stock that cost less than $5 per share.

CH: Is there a special investment approach that middle income families should use?

JLP: No.  Each investment approach is unique to the individual, their financial goals, the funds they have available to achieve the goal and how much risk they feel comfortable taking. There is no one-size fits all.

CH: Should people use eTrade?

JLP: Self-trade and eTrade platforms are great for individuals that are willing to do their own research and investing.  I recommend self-traders consult with a fee-based financial advisor at least annually to get a comprehensive check-up on how they are progressing with their financial goals.  Making trades is only one component of financial planning and goal setting.

CH: Is financial planning a one-on-one process or do you work with a team of advisors?

JLP: The consultation should be a one-on-one or family process to ensure the individual’s needs are met.  The consultation to create the best financial platform should be a team process.  By this I mean, tax, accountants, banking, legal, etc., experts work with the financial advisor to create the best solution for their client.

CH: What are some of the most important financial resources ordinary people need?

JLP: Like the previous answer, the resources are experts in finance, law, banking, taxes, and accounting for starters.  Each considers the implication each of their expertise can be used to help their client achieve their financial goals.

CH: Realistically, can a middle income person become a millionaire?

JLP: Absolutely.  Most middle-income persons will make over a million dollars during their working lifetime.  The key is having strategies to keep and grow most of what they make.  That’s where their expert financial team can help.

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

JLP: Most are surprised at the budget strategy I teach in the book.  Those that have employed it have eliminated their debt in less than three years.  They also share how they became more aware of where they were spending money and how to redirect those funds to achieve the goals they wanted.

CH: How to Find Jeanna L. Pryor:

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

JLP: Amazon is the best place to find it.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JLP: Ms. Holloway, thanks for this opportunity to share my thoughts on Every Penny Counts.  The principals taught in the book have been used with great success, since 1982 with my clients and students.  Try them for yourself.

CH: Thank you so much, Jeanna L. Pryor, 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, Jeanna L. Pryor and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

   

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

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Flash Book Sale on Cheryl Holloway’s New Print Book!

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To My Loyal Fans and Readers,

You will receive an autographed copy of the  book, a bookmark, a pen and a coaster for your coffee cup or wine glass!

Plus…$1 Shipping  All for only…Email: authorCherylHolloway@gmail.com

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

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

   

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

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Cheryl Holloway Says, “How Important Are Book Reviews?”

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“How Important Are Book Reviews?”

I firmly believe book reviews are an essential part of reading a book.

What does it mean to review a book?

According to the internet, A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit. A book review may be a primary source, opinion piece, or summary review.

As an author, book reviews are the first thing I look at on Amazon. They tell me about my writing—overall. Reviews are an important way of getting the word out about books, and for authors, reviews are the much needed feedback about their work—encouragement from others. It is a validation of an author’s hard work—a validation by readers, fans, peers and friends/family.

I think, book reviewers have a different perspective on writing reviews. For them, it is an exercise in thinking about an author’s words and how she/he organized them and presented those words to the world.

I recently released one of my eBooks as a print book, A Sisterhood of Women Living Life: A Short Story Collection Book 1. I’ve sold several copies of the book and I encourage readers to stop by Amazon and leave a book review. I read somewhere that only 5% of readers write a review. I find that 1 in 250 readers write a review for the average author. However, for a celebrity author, they are knocking down the door to write a book review. How ironic, those are the very authors who don’t need a review. Oh, well…

On the other hand, many of my readers email me to tell me how much they enjoyed my books. This is wonderful, but no one sees their comments but me and them.

Recently, a friend, since I was 16 years old, finally read one of my books. (I have nine books on Amazon.) She said, “Wow, I didn’t know that you were such a great writer and story teller. Your book is wonderful. I’ve read it three times in a three days.” It is a stellar review.

So, how can I encourage the readers to tell me and tell the world about my books?

Amazon Link: http://tiny.cc/3f9uny

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

   

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

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Guest Author Interview – Rachel J. Good

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Title: Buried Secrets (Sisters and Friends Series )

 Genre: Religious/Inspirational/Romance/Amish

Synopsis: Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.

Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically, but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.

But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englisher Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?

Rachel J. Good, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Rachel J. Good. Rachel writes heartfelt tales of faith, hope and forgiveness. Welcome to my blog, Rachel.

CH: Can you sum up your Amish/Inspirational novel in 20 words or less?

RJG: Secrets from the past threaten to destroy Emma’s budding relationship with Sam and make her doubt God’s love and forgiveness.

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

RJG: I created this story from my imagination, but I take the feelings and reactions from real situations that are similar to those in the book. I chose three sisters for the first three books because I’m one of three girls, so that was a conscious choice, but the sisters don’t really resemble my family. But in the first novel of the series, Change of Heart, I discovered after I wrote it, that it had many parallels with my life and that of close family members. Interestingly enough, while I was writing it, I wasn’t thinking about those events. The other things I find is that the spiritual truths I’m exploring in each book are usually lessons I need to learn.

CH: What made you decide to write this series about sisters and friends?

RJG: Because I have Amish friends, I like being able to introduce readers to Amish lifestyles and beliefs, which I hope will make them more respectful of the Amish culture and lead to a greater understanding. So many people are curious about the Amish and admire their lifestyle, but I want to show that they have problems and challenges the same as the rest of the world, but I also want to reveal the depth of their faith and, in this book, the emphasis they place on forgiveness.

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

RJG: For this book, I spent time in the Northern Dauphin area, which is where Emma travels from her Lancaster home. I do a lot of research for all my books, spending time in the areas where they’re set, visiting all the places I mentioned, meeting the Amish in that area, reading about physical and mental healing (and going to Amish healers), checking with professionals about all the topics in the book. Once I’ve completed all the general research, I talk to Amish friends and have beta readers check all of my information. I try to select people who have been through some of the experiences in the book to be sure they ring true.

Sometimes, I stumble upon great ideas for other books while I’m researching, which is an extra bonus. One of my friends in the Northern Dauphin area gave the Amish school the right-of-way through their land, so I spent time observing the Amish children driving their pony carts to school. It was fascinating to see eight-year-olds driving down country roads to get to school. Those visits sparked one of my next books, The Amish Teacher’s Gift (April 2018). Of course, that meant I needed to visit Amish schools, which was fun. Next, I will be tagging along with a Lancaster County midwife for The Amish Midwife’s Secret.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

RJG: I love Emma, the main character of the book. She was the troubled younger sister in book 1, Change of Heart, who rebelled against God, her family and her community. I’ve always been partial to troublemakers. I think they often rail against lies and hypocrisy. Sometimes, they speak truths that others refuse to see. But they’re often hard on themselves.

After Emma’s wildness during Rumschpringa (the Amish teens’ running around time), she ends up in a lot of trouble. When Buried Secrets opens, Emma has amnesia because of an accident and doesn’t remember what she did in the past. Over the course of the book, her memory slowly returns. She must face some devastating secrets from her past, which make her doubt her worthiness to be loved or forgiven. I like that Emma is willing to be honest and courageous, when she chooses not to conceal the truth.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RJG: I had two characters I struggled with writing. The first was Emma’s oldest sister, Lydia, who interferes in Emma’s life. In the first draft, she came across as mean and bossy. My editor suggested writing some chapters from Lydia’s point of view. To do that, I had to really dig into Lydia’s personality to uncover her love for her sister and the caring that lay underneath her critical exterior.

The other character was Emma’s father. He reveals a shocking secret from the past, but I wanted readers to empathize with him rather than judge him. It was a delicate balance to keep him likeable despite what he’d done to hurt others.

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

RJG: When I signed the contract, the publisher offered a three-book deal, so I had to come up with two more ideas for the series. I decided to tell one story about each of the three Esh sisters. Since then, I’ve come up with three more stories about the characters in this series, but some of them will be put out by different publishers.

Once I finished writing the first three books, I found myself wanting to explore the lives of some of the other characters in the books. So, Lights, Camera…Love tells the story of Rebecca, the head teacher and best friend to Sarah, the youngest Esh sister. Many readers wondered about Kyle, the headstrong Englisher (non-Amish) Emma dated, and his story will be in The Amish Midwife’s Secret. Ada, who appears in Gift From Above, is the schoolteacher in The Amish Teacher’s Gift. Several of my minor characters also show up in the anthologies Springs of Love and A Plain Hearth.

I think the reason for the continuation of the series is that the characters become so real to me, and I want to tell their stories. I also find that I subconsciously include details that don’t seem very important at the time, but later I realize that those details are important to another character’s story and they make a perfect set-up for a new story. I’m not sure exactly how the mind works that way. Perhaps the best explanation is that it’s God’s leading. He knows what I’m going to write next, even if I don’t, and He prepares the seeds for that story.

CH: So far, which book in the series was hardest to write?

RJG: I struggled the most with the third book, Gift From Above, which tells the story of the sweet youngest sister, Sarah. A lot of readers said she’s their favorite character. She’s near and dear to my heart too, because she always tries to do the right thing. That’s terrific in real life, but when you’re trying to write stories, you need tension and conflict. It’s hard to create conflicts when a character is so nice. I really struggled to come up with problems for Sarah, but I managed to put her in a moral dilemma, where she must decide about keeping someone’s secret, which she promised to do, and telling the truth when it appears that secret will endanger her best friend and others in the community.

CH: One of your reviewers said that this is a well-layered story of love, loss, growth, forgiveness, and redemption. What overall feedback have you received from readers?

RJG: I’ve been amazed at how many people were drawn to this story. On the website, ChristianBooks.com it has 4.9 stars and on Amazon it has 4.8 stars.

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

RJG: For me, one of the main messages is that we often underestimate God’s forgiveness. Sometimes, we harbor the feeling that God (or others) could never forgive us for something we’ve done. The truth often is that we can’t forgive ourselves. God’s mercy is unending.

In addition to God’s forgiveness, the characters in the book are faced with situations that must be forgiven—often for sins many of us consider unforgiveable. But healing comes when we open our hearts first to God’s forgiveness and then extend that forgiveness to others who have hurt us.

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

RJG: I try to write faster-paced books with more action and drama than are usually found in typical Amish novels. In Buried Secrets, I touch on a taboo topic I haven’t seen before in any Amish stories I’ve read.

CH: Who are some of your Amish writing influences?

RJG: This is a hard question to answer. I admire so many authors, but I try to bring my own style to the stories I tell.

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

RJG: For me, connecting with readers and fans of the Amish genre has been awesome. I find them so loving and supportive. It’s been such a joy to meet each and every one of them.

As for the actual publishing part, I’ve been thrilled to have an awesome agent, who does so much to help my career. I’ve been humbled that several major publishers have been interested in acquiring my work. It was especially exciting when one of the publishers I’ve always aspired to work for emailed me out of the blue with an offer because of her interest in Buried Secrets. I can’t say more about that yet because we haven’t finalized the contract, but I was thrilled to have a publisher seek me out.

CH: What can we expect from you next?

RJG: I have quite a few books under contract and/or coming out soon. Book 3 in the Sisters and Friends series, Gift From Above, will come out in Nov. That will be followed by Book 4, Lights, Camera…Love (2018).

This fall, I’ll have a story in an anthology, A Plain Thanksgiving, with authors Laura Hilton and Thomas Nye.

I’m also writing the Love & Promises series, which includes The Amish Teacher’s Gift (Apr. 2018), The Amish Midwife’s Secret (Oct. 2018), and The Amish Widow’s Rescue (Mar. 2019). I have 2 books coming out in the Hearts of Amish Country series (Jan/Apr. 2018)—Hearts Reunited and Secret Identity.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RJG: I’d be happy to (below) and readers who love Amish novels, can sign up for my newsletter on my website.

CH: How to Find Rachel J. Good:        

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

RJG: Online at Amazon and Christian Books; some Walmart stores (will be coming soon to many more), and many bookstores. If your local bookstore doesn’t carry it, you can ask them to order it in.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RJG: I’m so grateful to God for leading me down this path. I’ve always been a reader, but it’s been a joy to write books for others to read. I just want to encourage anyone who has a dream to follow their passion. God put that dream in your heart for a reason. Sometimes, it seems like there’s no way to reach that dream, but trust God to lead you. Start small and do something every day to move yourself in the direction you hope to go. Each step will bring you one step closer.

Thank you so much for having me, Cheryl. I appreciated your insightful questions.

CH: Thank you so much, Rachel J. Good, 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, Rachel J. Good and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

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Happy 4th Anniversary to the Cheryl Holloway Blog!

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Happy 4th Anniversary to the Cheryl Holloway Blog!

I’m so excited because September is a very special month for me. It is the blog anniversary—blogaversary of the Cheryl Holloway Blog—this year is the Fourth Anniversary!

I am so very happy about my decision to start writing this blog. It has allowed me to connect with many, many people—writers and readers—from around the world. Last year, we celebrated with an all day virtual blog party.  It was FUN.

It has been a pleasure over the past four years of providing author interviews with Cheryl Holloway, offering great books to read, and valuable writing tips. I’ve had international authors from 67 countries—all over the world!

I never thought that I would learn so much about blogging, but it has been a really great experience. There have been 700+ posts and hundreds of authors featured. I am happy to say, “The Cheryl Holloway blog will continue to be a reality and I will pay it forward to as many authors as possible. We will see what happens in the years to come.”

It would never have been possible without the support of all of you! Here is a GIGANTIC THANK YOU to all of my readers and followers. Thank You So Much for your dedicated support, valuable feedback, and much-appreciated comments, whether you visited once or whether you’re a subscriber.

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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 – Angelica Kate

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Title: Scars of Yesterday

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Military

 Synopsis: Jordan Kuriel was tough as nails, immovable and unflinching which were the very characteristics that propelled her into a decorated military career serving multiple tours overseas, until the moment a bomb ended that trajectory and sent her state’s side for good. Upon her return home, she found her younger sister’s lifetime of bad choices come to a head making Jordan a single mother causing her life’s mission to take a drastic turn. Balancing her grief, healing and an infant Jordan finds peace with the past and focuses on building the life she desires for her new son. Over time Jordan comes to cherish her close-knit family, a career she loves and is making the best of all her blessings while never allowing herself to focus on the sacrifices her injuries forced upon her and ruin that peaceful existence. That balance is upended the day she comes home to one of the richest men in America standing on her doorstep demanding her name a number for her to turn over custody of her son.

Domninic Bansuelos runs his families multi-national company with firm but fair hands and puts his duty to the masses of employees and his family above his own happiness. The scar across his heart honed by hordes of people who only seek his company to better their bank accounts, company position or other selfish endeavors causes him to always feel alone even in the most crowded of public spotlights. He was raised by parents who only ever had eyes for each other until the moment his father passed on the reigns of their kingdom to him. His parent’s marriage provided him a blueprint of the ideal relationship that no woman has ever been able to attain and give him a reason to break his bachelor existence. When his mother demands he once again clean up his baby brother’s mess, and try to gain custody of the nephew he never knew existed he crosses path with the indomitable force that is Jordan Kuriel. He had hoped for a simple showing of force to back her down but soon finds out that where this woman is concerned nothing is that simple.

Angelica Kate, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Angelica Kate. She is a lifetime scribbler who has always enjoyed writing as a release of her creative juices.  Welcome to my blog, Angelica.

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

AK: This book is filled with feel good characters you want to cheer for from the first page.

CH: What made you decide to write about a good/bad set of brothers and a good/bad set of sisters in your book?

AK: As the oldest sibling in a large family, I like seeing the way that elder siblings react to situations that many times are in direct opposition to how others might react.  I enjoy exploring these bonds that are strong despite the differences, and no matter what love of family—triumphs, trials and tribulations occur.

CH: Military, foster care, rich lifestyle and romance are all in one novel. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

AK: My family has always fostered children and had strong military ties through multi-generations serving in various branches of the military. I enjoy honoring these relationships in my own life by weaving them into stories.

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

AK: I took them from news stories I have read of veterans loosing limbs and wanted to honor that sacrifice, while expanding the dimensions of these polar opposites.  I always enjoy writing contemporary stories that are familiar and also uplifting and inspiring.

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?

AK: I tend to find my stories in headlines in the news. I enjoy reading about people and imagining the other side of the story. The murder victim that isn’t a victim, foster kids that rise up above their situation, the abused mom who pulls herself up and starts over inspiring others around her through their own struggles.  It seems like every time someone tells me the news is all depressing, I have to disagree because I see the start of a great story beyond the headlines.

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

AK: My husband is a veteran, his brothers served, his father served and hordes of other friends and extended family. I love listening to their stories and asking questions of their experiences to weave into my stories.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

AK: I loved Jordan, she is strong in all she has survived, but soft in how she loves her family and nephew/son. She is driven by a duty above all others, and need to protect those around her from everything that duty drives her to see and experience. I felt she was a wonderfully complex and enjoyable character to bring to life.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AK: Dominic was tough for me, as he had so much and that was difficult to write and balance it with scars so deep it could overshadow nearly everything he had. Finding a good balance in that level of wealth and privilege, with the solitude, anger and grief his past causes him to live with daily. I couldn’t imagine how someone in this status would exhibit his emotions. I had to read other stories and articles and hope I could do him justice.

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

AK: Absolutely, never judge a book or person by their outward appearance and belongings. The heart and emotions of anybody is a hard thing to know, so always give everyone the same amount of respect and consideration you yourself would want provided.

CH: Since you’ve written several books, what is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

 AK: I bring stories of common people, in uncommon situations that climb above their station and circumstances. I want characters that anyone can relate to and want to cheer the story through to completion due to investing in the characters themselves.

CH: You seem to have written several books about the military and war. Were you in the military, and do you use your experiences as a backstory for your books?

 AK: I was not, but my husband was and still goes through putting little routines related to his service every day. I think we owe a debt of honor to those that serve, and find that calling to be one that I myself want to honor through my writing, whenever possible.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

AK: Erma Bombeck, Shel Silverstein, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Suzanne Collins.

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

AK: Seeing my first book on Amazon will remain the best day of my journey so far, having a bestseller go number one on Amazon and finally becoming part of a boxset with a large group of women authors.

CH: What can we expect from you next?

AK: I am writing an expanse science fiction trilogy that I am hoping to bring out in 2018, and have one more romance novel due out Christmas of 2017.

CH: How to Find Angelica Kate:

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

AK: Amazon for my ebooks; itunes/audible for my audio books; and my paperbacks on most online platforms.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AK: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me, Cheryl. It was a great honor to discuss my passion of writing with you and I hope your readers find one of my books to enjoy in the future.

CH: Thank you so much, Angelica Kate, 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, Angelica Kate and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

 

Guest Author, Nick Kontis, Featured in Huffington Post

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Guest Author, Nick Kontis, who was featured on my blog, was recently featured in a Huffington Post article, How Becoming A Travel Agent Changed My Life Forever. Huffington Post link: http://bit.ly/2jnUiuC

Nick Kontis, Guest Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog.

You can also read Nick’s Guest Author Interview on my blog at: http://www.cherylholloway.net/blog/2017/08/28/guest-author-interview-nicholas-kontis/.

As always, I feature great authors on my blog!

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

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Lynne M. Spreen

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Title: Key Largo Blues (Karen Grace Book 2)

 Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance

 Synopsis: When Karen Grace turned fifty, she lost her husband and her job. Now she’s starting over, and this time, she’s determined to build a new life on her own terms. However, she’s being pulled in multiple directions: her family and friends want more of her time, her hometown sweetheart wants a commitment, and her fledgling business is on life support.

With the hard-won confidence of midlife, Karen knows what she needs to do, and pays the heartbreaking price for pursuing her dreams. And while grieving that decision, another challenge lands: Frieda’s granddaughter arrives on her doorstep in Key Largo, pleading for refuge.

In this life-affirming sequel to Dakota Blues, Karen Grace completes her journey, deciding what can be saved and what must be jettisoned as she navigates passage into the second half of her life.

Lynne M. Spreen, Author

 CH: Today’s Guest Author is Lynne M. Spreen.  She says, “As an author, I write about older people, because I’m fascinated by the incredible drama we go through.” Welcome to my blog, Lynne.

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

LMS: My novels are a fun and emotional read; and they’re geared to positive aging, so readers of every age will feel uplifted about the second half of life.

CH: This book is about a female mid-life crisis. Why did you decide to write this book?

LMS: I enjoy reading and writing about women who are age fifty and over. Dakota Blues was the first, and when readers asked for a sequel, I was happy to oblige them.

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

LMS: It wasn’t hard, and they sprang from my imagination and real life. Dakota Blues was more autobiographical. I think a lot of first-time authors draw from their own lives. But Key Largo Blues was more imaginary. Although, now that I think of it, some parts, like what it feels like to experience domestic abuse, were not made up—unfortunately.

CH: Where do your ideas come from?

LMS: Lots of authors are asked that question, but I’ll bet few of them give this answer: advice columns! I grew up reading Dear Abby and Ann Landers, and I’m still hooked on Carolyn Hax, Ask Amy, and E. Jean’s column in Elle Magazine. I’ll be reading and all of a sudden, I want to know more about the person who wrote in, but since I never will, I get to make it up. Or maybe, they sound like a character I’d like to include in a book. I print out the column, make notes about why it compels me, and put it in my idea folder.

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

LMS: I don’t have a standard formula for plots. I wish I did! But each book is its own creation.

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

LMS: People have told me two things about my style: that it pulls hard on your emotions, and that my descriptions of settings affect them deeply. For example, After Dakota Blues, a neighbor sold her house and became a full-time RVer. They say my writing makes them feel as if they are there, smelling the salt air and feeling the soft, warm air on bare skin.

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

LMS: Oh, for sure, Cheryl! Being the diligent writer that I am, I made several trips to the Florida Keys to do research—long and arduous research.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LMS: My favorite character was probably Frieda, in Dakota Blues. She just popped in one day and I couldn’t get rid of her. My readers loved her, because (down side) I have this quirk in my writing: my sidekick characters threaten to take over! Karen, pretty much, is me. But Frieda and Fern and Jessie are all inventions, who just flew out of my head onto the page and now, they feel like real people! All of them were easy to write.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LMS: The only time a character is difficult to write is if I’ve made some kind of mistake with them. Like the worst reason ever to invent a character is to reflect some creepazoid in your real life. It’s innocent fun, I guess, but it never works. They just go nowhere, which has to be karma. When they fall flat, you deserve it. So, when a character turns out to be a dud, I pick them up, look at them for a long time, ask them if there’s any way they can change to legitimately serve the story, and if the answer’s no, they go in the ‘Some Other Time’ folder.

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

LMS: No, I had no idea that Dakota Blues would turn out to be the first book, and Key Largo Blues, the second, in a series. In fact, when readers said they wanted a sequel, I had to put aside a different book and write Key Largo Blues. Now, I’m working on another sequel, Palm Springs Blues, and after that I’m mapping out Sedona Blues, so the die is cast.

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

LMS: Oh, Dakota Blues for sure was the hardest, because I was a newbie writer. Dakota Blues took me about eight years. Every time I took a class on structure, plot or characterization, for example, I had to go back and redo a bunch of pages. I think of Dakota Blues as my Master’s Degree in Fiction. And it won an award, so I guess all that time was worth it.

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

LMS: Yes. I want readers to get a sense from every book I write that the second half of life is amazing! That you’re not alone. That people everywhere are going through what you’re experiencing and they’re finding solutions, and becoming happy again. Authors aren’t supposed to have messages, so I’m not supposed to admit that. But if anything drives me, it’s that.

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

LMS: People telling me how much they enjoyed my books, and why. When they get attached to a theme or character, or draw out some special, personalized meaning, that just floors me. I feel like we’ve connected in a deep way—heartwise— and that’s the best part of being human.

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

LMS: Very encouraging. I wish I could write faster! They want more books. I get lots of great reviews.

CH: What can we expect from you next?

LMS: Palm Springs Blues is the sequel to Key Largo Blues and it’s kind of interesting in that it’s a novel in four parts. Each part is an epilogue for characters that appeared in the two earlier books. Part One is a crisis affecting Fern and Belle. Part Two is Rita, the trucker, and her boyfriend, Grady. Part Three is Jessie and her mother, Sandy. And Part Four occurs in North Dakota, tying up loose ends and making new beginnings for Karen and Curt. The book is in first person, in Karen’s point of view, and she travels to four different cities visiting friends and dealing with the crises.

CH: Wow. Lynne, that certainly sounds like a great sequel! I will have to invite you back.

CH: How to Find Lynne M. Spreen:

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

LMS: The best source is Amazon.com.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LMS: Only to tell younger people that getting older is a blast! And that I’m so blessed to be able to do this, after waiting a lifetime for the chance. Cheryl, thanks for inviting me.

CH: Thank you so much, Lynne M. Spreen, 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, Lynne M. Spreen and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Lachlan Walter

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Title: The Rain Never Came

Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Synopsis: In a thirsty, drought-stricken Australia, the country is well and truly sunburnt. As the Eastern states are evacuated to more appealing climates, a stubborn few resist the forced removal. They hide out in small country towns – where no one would ever bother looking.

Bill Cook and Tobe Cousins are united in their disregard of the law. Aussie larrikins, they pass their hot, monotonous existence drinking at the barely standing pub.

When strange lights appear across the Western sky, it seems that those embittered by the drought are seeking revenge. And Bill and Tobe are in their path. In the heat of the moment secrets will be revealed, and survival can’t be guaranteed.

Lachlan Walter, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Lachlan Walter. He has completed a PhD that critically and creatively explored the relationship between Australian post-apocalyptic fiction and Australian notions of national identity. Welcome to my blog, Lachlan.

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

LW: Told in an unmistakably and undeniably Australian voice, The Rain Never Came will show you a different end of the world, one of thirst and drought and baked earth, of mateship and laconicism and black humor.

CH: Since this book is about a drought in Australia, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

LW: A great deal of The Rain Never Came is extrapolated from real life. Almost a decade ago, I moved back to my hometown at the tail end of a ten-year drought that devastated much of Australia’s south-east. My hometown is a tiny country town, deep in the bush—at that time, it was suffering from the effects of this drought. Life was strange: communities were fraying; some people who depended on water for their livelihood began abandoning the land and moving to the city; and water theft had become common.

It seemed as if the past had returned—a world of hard work, dust and thirst. And yet, we were surrounded by the trappings of 21st Century life. More than anything else, this world of old and new seemed like the beginning of some post-apocalyptic world you would find in science fiction. From there, based on my own experience, it was easy to imagine the parched land only a handful of years hence. And so The Rain Never Came was born.

CH: What made you decide to write this book?

LW: I returned to university in my late twenties, to finish a Bachelor’s Degree that life had interrupted. I’d already had the idea for The Rain Never Came, but turning it into a book seemed like a fantasy. However, during my degree and my honors year, I took quite a few writing classes, and rediscovered a passion and enthusiasm for writing that I thought had disappeared.

I practiced a lot, trying to find a voice and point-of-view all my own. I finished my studies and returned to real life, writing as much as I could, whenever I could. And then one day, the opportunity arose to do a PhD, which would involve writing both a novel and a piece of literary criticism. I seized it, realizing that it would be the perfect environment to bring The Rain Never Came to life.

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

LW: Like most writers of science fiction/speculative fiction, the big ideas at the heart of my stories are really just frameworks upon which I can hang explorations of the ways in which people might react to their new situations and new worlds. After all, an idea isn’t a story—it’s more like a spark—a spark that ignites a fire. As I want my fires to contain what-ifs and maybes (that nonetheless still connect to the world we live in), I’m always on the lookout for real-life stories that seem to point towards our future—changes in technology, politics, culture, the environment, medical science, communication devices, interpersonal relationships, infrastructure systems, and organizational, learning and teaching methods.

And then it’s just a matter of extrapolating a new idea from any particular real-life stories that grab me, and working out how this new idea might affect everyday people. To do this, I rely on every writer’s trick: observing and eavesdropping, creating characters and situations by recombining the people I know and see and the minutiae of life around me. Once I’ve got the first inklings of my characters and a plot, I then tend to just spend time with them and let them reveal themselves through the process of writing—their formation should be a bottom-up process, based on attempts at realistic actions and reactions, rather than a top-down process, whereby the stricture of a predetermined plot guides them with an unwavering hand.

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

LW: Most of the way of life portrayed in The Rain Never Came was based on observation, guesswork and my own prior knowledge—the only real research that was necessary was on the effects of dehydration. And even then, we’ve all been thirsty at some time. 

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? And which character was hardest to write?

LW: I didn’t have a favorite character to write, or a least favorite. Likewise I didn’t find any one particular character harder to write than any other. What I did find was that there were some character moments I thoroughly enjoyed, and some that I didn’t enjoy much at all. Funnily enough, these two disparate moments both involved the same characters: Bill and Tobe.

Even though Bill and Tobe are almost entirely fictional creations, there is one part of their relationship that is steeped in reality: the shit-stirring, knockabout sense of mateship that they share. Here, I drew upon the same kind of Australian-style trash-talk that exists between some of my own friends and I, and thoroughly enjoyed the process – the roughness and dismissiveness that they show towards each other, which masks genuine concern and compassion, never failed to make me smile. And so, without giving things away, I found writing the flip-side of their relationship to be a difficult and sometimes enjoyment-free process, so invested was I in the light-hearted and affectionately derogatory vibe that exists between them.

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

LW: I don’t really like highlighting particular messages that I want readers to take from my work—I feel that the beauty and the joy of literature is that the act of reading is all about the reader, rather than the writer. I might want people to find specific messages in The Rain Never Came, but I can’t force them to do so. Reading is the most individual of individual acts; whatever messages we take away apply only to ourselves, as they’re solely dependent on our own points of view and personal philosophies.

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

LW: First and foremost, I want people to be excited by an Australian voice that is steeped in Australian-isms—this is something that I’ve tried hard to achieve, as we have some fascinating terms and colloquialisms that are as interesting as those of anywhere else, and what might be called our stereotypically ‘Australian’ way of looking at the world can provide a refreshing perspective.

As well, I hope that readers will find my style both straightforward enough to avoid affectation, and literary enough to avoid being boring or seen as riding the coattails of the bare-bone sparseness common to so-called literary science fiction/speculative fiction. I’ve always been an admirer of both types: the straightforward science fiction voice that simply gets the job done, and the literary voice that flaunts a love of words, language and story. But above all, I’ve always preferred those writers who can walk the fine line between the two.

That’s not to say that I want my ‘voice’ to sound like any of theirs. What I do want, though, is for mine to affect people in the same way as theirs do, and to straddle the same kind of line as they do. And lastly, I hope that readers find it to be unique without being precious, earthy without being coarse, learned without being pretentious.

CH: What can non-Australians understand by reading this book?

LW: I hope that The Rain Never Came will open the eyes of non-Australian readers to the uniqueness of Australian science fiction/speculative fiction, and I hope that these readers see The Rain Never Came as a deliberate addition to this subgenre/offshoot/micro-genre/call-it-what-you-will. Of course, every nationality has a different way of telling stories, both in general and about themselves; no two national perspectives are the same, nor are any two senses of national identity or foundational myths. But being Australian, in my book I want Australian-ness to shine through.

As well, I hope that in The Rain Never Came readers will see how the inherent potential and unreal nature of science fiction/speculative fiction allows for a creative exploration of what it means to be ‘Australian,’ a device used by many other Australian authors operating in the same genre. I also hope that after reading it, readers will imagine the Australian bush in much the same way as they imagined the Australian desert after seeing Mad Max—as a place of desolate beauty and ancient stillness, that doesn’t need dressing up to resemble a world after the apocalypse.

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

LW: Most of the feedback I’ve received so far has been positive, or at least encouraging. I’m more than ready for anything negative, though nothing creative is ever perfect, and nor should it be. Luckily, I’ve got pretty thick skin. The writer’s lot has given me this ‘you can’t let rejection letter after rejection letter stop you from persevering,’ you just have to have confidence, determination and an honest eye, and realize that you can always get better.

Remembering that taste is in the eye of the beholder also helps. Even better is doing the best job that you can, and resisting the urge to grow complacent or lazy with your work. We write because we love writing and literature, books and stories. There’s no point in phoning that love in.

 CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

LW: I like those writers who have a singular ‘voice’ and focus on the emotional states of their characters, and on their characters’ psychological development. Within science fiction/speculative fiction, these kinds of writers normally use their science fiction ideas as a framework to support an exploration of these states and developments, rather than as an end unto themselves: people like J. G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, Debra Biancotti, Steven Amsterdam and Margaret Atwood. Their work, while full of ideas, is truly memorable for the way it makes us feel, rather than the way they make us think.

Outside the umbrella of science fiction, I like writers who do the same kind of thing, and possess a similarly singular voice and focus on the emotional and psychological states of their characters: Charles Bukowski, William Kotzwinkle, Katherine Dunn, Franz Kafka and Peter Carey.

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

LW: The Rain Never Came hasn’t been out for that long, so I’m only really taking my first steps as a published author. But I don’t think that many writing accomplishments will ever feel as good as the first time I saw my book as an actual book, something I’m sure most published writers will agree with.

CH: How to Find Lachlan Walter:

CH: What is your next writing project?

LW: I like to have a lot of projects on the go at once—the trick is knowing which one to focus on first, something I’m not that good at. And so right now, I have a decent second draft of a book-length story cycle, which looks at giant monsters with serious eyes, and have also made a start on two other books: a post-apocalyptic western, and an offbeat piece of metafictional science fiction. Did I really just use the word offbeat?

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

LW: You can find The Rain Never Came at all the usual places: Amazon, the Book Depository, Booktopia, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Odyssey Books’ website.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LW: I’ve banged this drum previously, but I’m going to beat it some more: as fans of science fiction/speculative fiction, we must ensure that we make an effort to explore beyond the boundaries of those countries that produce the majority of it: Europe, the UK, the US and Japan.

From South-East Asia to the Antipodes, from the Indian Subcontinent to Eastern Europe, and from Africa to South America, science fiction/speculative fiction allows all of us to express our hopes for the future and our fears of it, regardless of our nationality or background. All we need to do is look a little further and dig a little deeper. Cheryl, thanks for the opportunity to be on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, Lachlan Walter, 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, Lachlan Walter and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Stephen Murray

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Title: Murder Aboard the Queen Elizabeth II

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Wealthy Beverly Hills socialites, Brian and Sylvia Sinclair, are celebrating their 25th Anniversary on a cruise from London to New York on the luxurious QEII. Joining the couple’s joyous excursion is their rebellious daughter and her controlling husband, their scheming son and his wily girlfriend, six of their longtime friends, and a surprise person from their past. Also on board is private eye Richard Manning, who volunteers to investigate when a member of the party dies an unnatural death. Manning’s search reveals dark secrets and everyone becomes a suspect. Ferreting out the truth is a daunting challenge, and time is short—once the ship reaches New York, the parties will scatter—making it almost impossible for authorities to solve the case. Will Manning figure it out in time? Follow him on his quest to unmask the killer in this captivating mystery.

Stephen Murray, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Stephen Murray. He enjoys traveling and has explored the world extensively, which gives him background for his writings. Welcome to my blog, Stephen.  

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

 SM: My novel is a fun, clean, cozy, page-turning, murder mystery with a very diverse cast of intriguing characters as suspects.

CH: What made you decide to write this book about a cruise from London to New York?

SM: I originally wrote a murder mystery for a dinner party in my home! The short story centered around a wealthy Beverly Hills couple celebrating their silver wedding anniversary with family and friends. The murder mystery was set in their mansion. After I published my first two novels, I wanted to have a shot (no pun intended!) at writing a murder mystery novel. I thought it would be interesting to expand my original story line from my dinner party, and set it against the backdrop of the QEII to (hopefully) make it more entertaining. I had the good fortune to travel on the Queen Elizabeth II many years ago, and thought it would be interesting to blend the two experiences.

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

SM: My novel involves the ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’, a way of life with which I am totally unfamiliar.  The situations and characters were pure imagination. That is what makes my writing journey such an enjoyable one.

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?

SM: In all my novels, the ideas are original. I never base any of my characters upon people I know or have met. I generally create an overall concept in my mind, and see the beginning and the end of the novel. I then have to figure how to get from start to finish. That often takes me down very interesting side paths. As part of a standard formula, I do try and include the gamut of emotions in all novels—sadness, joy, grief, love, passion, and always a dose of humor. The characters must be credible and have contrasting personality traits.

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

SM: In Murder Aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, I tried a slightly different concept. In many murder mysteries, the victim becomes apparent in the very early stages. In my novel, the murder doesn’t actually take place until quite far into the book. The entire cast of characters is introduced, and any one of them could be the victim. I thought it might be fun to offer the reader a twofer—first to figure out the victim, and then to figure out the murderer.

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

SM: Not really. I did have to rely heavily on recall, since it had been so long since I had travelled on the QEII. But having lived in London and in Los Angeles (albeit, not Beverly Hills), I was familiar with the places and localities mentioned in Murder Aboard the Queen Elizabeth II.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SM: There was no favorite. They were all fun and challenging to develop. They all have their good sides, but they all have their dark elements—and all have a reason, if not the capacity, to commit murder.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

SM: Sylvia Sinclair, the character who is celebrating her Silver Wedding Anniversary. She is very stoic, refined, straight-laced, controlled, dignified, and very upper-class British. And she does not reveal her emotions easily.

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

SM: I would just like the reader to enjoy the escapism, wrap themselves in the luxury and elegance of the environment, knowing that even the wealthy and famous have their demons.

CH: Some of your books are about love and romance. Is this your favorite genre for writing?

SM: No. I like writing in all genres. I was encouraged to write for the female reader and stumbled across the idea of writing a novel focused on a day at a fictional Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. The book tells the stories behind the couples that travel to our city to get married, and, in so doing, have made it the marriage capital of the world. The idea spawned my first published novel, The Chapel of Eternal Love: Wedding Stories from Las Vegas, and its unintended sequel, Return to the Chapel of Eternal Love: Marriage Stories from Las Vegas.

CH: Who are some of your favorite writing influences?

SM: Charles Dickens. Who else could come up with such delicious characters as Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagin, the Artful Dodger, Mr. Micawber and Uriah Heep?

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

SM: There have been many exciting happenings on my publishing journey, not least are the amazing people I have met along the way who have enriched my life. If I had to cite the most exciting though, it would probably have to be when The Chapel of Eternal Love: Wedding Stories from Las Vegas won First Place Award in the mainstream fiction category in the Authors Talk About It book contest.  It was totally unexpected. The most exciting happening will be if it is ever optioned for a TV series.

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

SM: Fortunately, very favorable. All three of my published novels have been well received. It has been very, very humbling and extremely gratifying.

CH: What can we expect from you next?

SM: I am currently in the middle of writing another murder novel, this one set in Las Vegas.

CH: How to Find Stephen Murray:

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

SM: They are available on Amazon and Kindle. If readers would like signed and personalized copies, it can be ordered from my website, where credit cards and PayPal are accepted. All of my books are distributed internationally through IngramSpark and can be ordered at any book store.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SM: Thank you, Cheryl, for this wonderful opportunity, and for your very thought-provoking questions. I would like to thank your audience for taking the time to read about my books and my journey as a writer. I certainly wish you and your followers every success and much love and happiness in all future endeavors.

CH: Thank you so much, Stephen Murray, 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, Stephen Murray and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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Guest Author Interview – Barb Warner Deane

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Title: On The Homefront

Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: In 1941, WWII begins for the United States, and life will never be the same for three women as they send their husbands, brothers, and friends off to war.

Ruth, a young wife and teacher, Lilly her teenaged sister-in-law, and Helen, a British war bride, learn to cope with rationing, change, fear, loss, humiliation, and brutality, while they forge an impenetrable bond and grow to be stronger than any of them ever dreamed possible. They lean on each other for support, aided by the family and friends who surround them, but when one decides to go to the front lines as part of the American Red Cross Clubmobile program, how can they cope with her absence—and more telegrams reporting loss?

Barb Warner Deane, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Barb Warner Deane.  Her book was inspired by a trip to Normandy, France. Welcome to my blog, Barb.

CH: Can you sum up your historical fiction novel in a few words?

BWD: On The Homefront is historical women’s fiction set in the U.S. during World War II, following 3 young women after their men marched off to war, which shows how they stepped up and one even joined the American Red Cross Clubmobile program and going to the front lines.

CH: What made you decide to write about strong women who step up when their men go off to war?

BWD: I learned about the Clubmobile program when visiting the American Cemetery in Normandy, France and started researching these little-known heroic young women. As the ideas grew, I realized most American women had to become heroes during WWII, whether on the front lines or the home front, in order to keep the country operating and to support the war effort.

CH: Did you have to do any special research for the historical accuracy of this book?

BWD: When I practiced law, my favorite part was the research and writing, and that holds true for writing historical fiction. I spent hours reading first-person accounts, in letters and books, of former Clubmobilers, as well as reading books, watching film, and visiting many WWII historical spots, to research life on the home front, the men on the front lines, the battles in both theaters of operations, and the overall effect of the war on Americans.

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

BWD: Some aspects of the story just came to me while writing, but for some I took situations from real life. For instance, when I was visiting the WWII Museum in New Orleans, one of the WWII veterans working there told me to be sure to check out an exhibit about a soldier whose life was saved by the life-preserver made by his own mother back in the U.S., where she was a ‘Rosie-the-Riveter’ type of factory worker in a plant back in the U.S. I found the story so compelling, I had to work it into my book.

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?

BWD: Each book comes to me in different, but similar ways. I lock onto the people in the story—they are what catches my interest from the start. For On The Homefront, it started with a real Clubmobiler and grew as I dug into my research to incorporate these three women working in different ways to support the war effort. For Killing Her Softly, my new release later this month, I woke up one morning with the nugget of the story clear to me from a dream. I knew who the people were and went from there. For my current work-in-progress, a connected book to Killing Her Softly, I had an idea of a heroine I wanted to write about and realized she was going to fall in love with a character from Killing Her Softly, which started the wheels in motion.

CH: What made you decide to write this book?

BWD: I have always been interested in history and writing, so I guess the surprising thing is it took me until my fourth completed novel to finally write historical fiction. When I read about the Clubmobile program, and realized how little was known about them, I realized this was a story that needed to be told. I just had to work to make it right.

CH: Where do you get the inspiration for your strong women characters?

BWD: Ruth is named after my mother; and certainly, inspiration from my mother, my aunts, and other members of the Greatest Generation served as inspiration for the women in On The Homefront. In fact, there are a number of names pulled from my family tree—I’m big into genealogy, too—and the Walker farm in the story is inspired by the Walker family farm that has been in my Aunt and Uncle’s family for more than 100 years. Mostly, I have always been surrounded by strong women, from my mother, mother-in-law, aunts, sisters, sisters-in-law, daughters, nieces, and friends. These women all serve as inspiration.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

BWD: In OnThe Homefront, I was sure Ruth would be my favorite, given that she was named after my mother and she was the inspiration for the story. But I found each woman compelling in her own way. Lilly came from a loving home, but had to endure a lot at a fairly young age, so she grew into a fascinating woman for me. But, I think it was Helen, who came from a very difficult upbringing, who had low self-esteem and was functionally illiterate, but was at her core a strong, loving, caring, and dependable woman, who really surprised me the most.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

BWD: Each woman had her own challenges and surprises, but I think the hardest to write was Lilly, because she was so young and innocent at the start of the war, but even on the home front, those qualities couldn’t survive during the war.

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

BWD: One of the things that draws me to the WWII era is the clear delineation the world saw in right versus wrong, but the many shades of grey that remained for individuals trying to do their best to survive and save their world. I think the main message I see in On The Homefront is that life is a group effort. It takes a village, not only to raise a child, but to have a full and fulfilling life. We need to support and care for one another in order for any of us to really succeed in life.

Again, the main message is that your life is a successful one if you surround yourself with people you can help and who help you. My parents raised my sisters and I to believe that we are obligated and privileged to help others where we can, just by the fact that we are alive and have the ability to help. Life is not meant to be a solitary endeavor and the most rewarding life is one lived in service to others.

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

BWD: I think one of the distinct differences that readers are enjoying about On The Homefront is the fact that it is written in alternating first person point of view of all three women—Ruth, Lilly, and Helen. Readers feel a stronger sense of connection to each of these women, because they are in each woman’s head. For me, this era is so much about the feeling that we were all in this together, I wanted to ensure that my readers really felt that they were a part of the story, as well.

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

BWD: The feedback and reviews of On The Homefront have been better than I had hoped for and I am truly grateful. I think it currently has a 4.8 out of 5 star rating on Amazon and Goodreads; and the emails I’m getting from readers telling me they couldn’t put the book down; and cried and laughed; and loved my characters. The feedback tells me that it is hitting the right notes with so many readers. I’m extremely happy and fortunate that so many readers are ‘getting’ what I was going for and enjoying the story.

CH: What can we expect from you next?

BWD: My second book, Killing Her Softly, will be released on September 29, is a very different type of book. It is a contemporary romantic suspense, set in a fictional town next to my hometown of Watkins Glen, NY. The main characters are Kate, a woman trying to escape her abusive marriage, and Jack, the new sheriff in town, who happens to be Kate’s long-ago friend and brother-in-law. I dedicated this book in part to the late Nancy Richards-Akers, a wonderful romance author who was killed by her abusive husband.

I am working on two more books right now. I’m about half-way through writing a contemporary romantic women’s fiction that will be a follow-up to Killing Her Softly, set in the same town of Harper’s Glen, with several of the same characters having roles in the new story. I foresee at least a third book in the Harper’s Glen series down the road. I’m also in the research stage of my next historical, also a WWII-era story set on the American home front.

CH: Can you tell us about your website?

BWD: My website (listed below) is designed by my talented daughter, Miranda. I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/barbwarnerdeane

CH: How to Find Barb Warner Deane:

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

BWD: On The Homefront is available in both eBook and paperback from The Wild Rose Press and Amazon. For anyone who would like to buy an autographed copy of the paperback, they can contact me directly, via the contact page on my website. Interested readers can also sign up for my mailing list on my contact page and, if interested, qualify for the lottery drawing for free tickets to For The Love of Books & Chicago, a large book signing of 40+ authors at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, IL on October 14.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BWD: Thanks so much for interviewing me about On The Homefront and my writing career, Cheryl. It is a privilege to be able to share my passion for writing, reading, and books with you and your audience.

CH: Thank you so much, Barb Warner Deane, 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, Barb Warner Deane and Cheryl Holloway.

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

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

   

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

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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net