Featured Author: Sharla Shults

Featured AuthorSharla Lee Shults

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  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

A mathematician by nature is a strange beginning for a writer of poetry. Born into a family rooted in the field of education destined my life’s profession to becoming a teacher. The atmosphere of a small town kept families close and the importance of school was instilled at an early age.

As an educator, I always found myself writing but that role primarily centered on lesson plans, along with curriculum. I definitely never envisioned myself as a published writer/author. My expertise was in mathematics and science. Did I think about writing a textbook? Nah!

Almost thirty years in the education field finds me today enjoying retirement but not yet ready to cut the educational umbilical cord. Instead of a real-life classroom where I greet my students face-to-face, we meet in the virtual world of the online classroom where the students are now teachers. The most rewarding part is when my long ago eighth grade to senior high classroom students appear as students of mine once again, this time as an educators themselves. Priceless!

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.  

Poetry became a way of expressing my innermost thoughts to touch the heart and soul of those I love, as well as strangers. Poetic verses found themselves being generated from random thoughts, impromptu conversations, casual images or pure imagination reflecting feelings to warm the heart and lift the spirit.

My first two books, Echoes and Remembering reflect inspirational poetry. Both fact and fiction found their place with family being my inspiration: my husband for divine love and spiritual uplifts; our children for many memories, happiness as well as tears; my mother who taught me life is a bed of thorny roses; my dad for believing in me, keeping me toward life’s goal.

A shift in poetic thinking guided my third book, Awakenings, toward historical poetry. This was somewhat out of character since history had always been a back burner subject of mine so to speak. Through the years, however, a strong affinity toward America and her history developed. Therefore, the focus of Awakenings became Embrace the Past, Empower the Present, Enrich the Future.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Promotion has been difficult. Time and consistency are most important factors in promotion. Neither of these worked well for me over the past year. Life got in the way. As I strive to move forward, it is the social media networks that have become my sources of communication and promotion, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Writers’ Group, Pinterest, Scoop.It, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, personal blogs, personal website. Then, of course, the best is perhaps the book signings. Unlike social media, with the book signings you get to meet the author face-to-face. You sell yourself first, then, your book.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Oh, yes! I remember that moment well. It was the first review of my first book, Echoes. I cried. Heartbreakingly cried! It was so vindictive and definitely was written as a means to belittle me, as the author, as well as my writing. I have contacted Amazon repeatedly hoping to get it removed because it is not a review for the content of the book. No response.

On the flip side, the remaining reviews have been excellent 4 to 5-star. From heartbreaking to heartwarming. These have brought on their own share of tears but this time happily and thankfully! I truly treasure those than imply they ‘see’ what I ‘see’ when I write. Creativity arises from imagery. The words of imagery are the photographs of poetry.

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

I will focus here on Awakenings, which presents some of America’s momentous historical events in poetic verse. The rhythmic character of the verses in this book is designed to add flair to what is sometimes regarded as dull reading. History by its very nature is extremely poignant. The scene begins with the seventeenth century, a time absorbed in thoughts of death, physical love, and religious devotion. The woman’s role adheres to silence in the public arena and provides unstinting obedience to father and husband. Emotions unwind and remain somewhat unsettles as the journey through time spans five centuries.

The audience for Awakenings is somewhat limited since its very nature is poetry. The average reader is more inclined toward selecting a novel rather than a book of poetic verse. Public reaction has been slow but good. Once the purpose behind Awakenings is understood I am hopeful the audience will expand.

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

Instead of sharing one person and book, I would like to introduce all who read this interview to a group of writers. What started out as a bunch of Tweeters learning to Tweet appropriate blurbs for promotion has evolved into a blog where friends from disparate approaches to life and writing work together and share: The Write Room Blog @ http://www.thewriteroomblog.com/

From mystery to romance to poetry and more – visit The Write Room Blog for sure! Into the scary bit? At The Write Room you’ll find a hit!

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

 

Dedication

“Free will is not the liberty to do whatever one likes, but the power of doing whatever one sees ought to be done, even in the very face of otherwise overwhelming impulse. There lies freedom, indeed.”

—Anonymous

Awakenings

Awakenings is dedicated to those who laid the foundation and established the platform for our American freedom: those who have served in the past, presently serve, or will serve our military forces in the future. A profound appreciation is extended for the sacrifice of these brave men and women who left or will leave their homes and family to ensure America’s freedom endures.

A grave price is being paid every moment of every day of the year for all the freedom America has to offer. Let us not forget those who have fought or are fighting for our nation; they are the epitome of the human spirit called freedom!

What does the past whisper to you?

Whisperings from the Past

Whisperings from the past reveal themselves in many forms: happy whisperings from the heart, melancholy whisperings from the mind, quiet whisperings from the soul. Each of these is grounded in beliefs instilled in us by our ancestors from events that transpired years upon years upon years ago.

Food for thought…

What thoughts whisper to you

On leaving for a new place

Where everything you know

Reflects a different face?

Are you ready for choices

To be rightly made

Based on courage, faith, and hope

None of which outweighed?

Could you undergo

Trials day by day

Putting forward trust

To guide the way?

What strengths of yesterday

Uphold tomorrow’s visions?

Dreams of utopia

May need many revisions

What lights shine for you

Reflective of yearnings

Not easily dimmed

By futile burnings?

How does your place in time

Connect to the past

Reflective of groundings

In beliefs that last?

“History is the memory of time, the life of the dead and the happiness of the living.”

—Captain John Smith (1580–1631)

EchoesRemembering

*** Sharla is quite a prolific writer, a kind human being and such an intelligent and caring individual.  I highly recommend her books.  I personally have “AWAKENINGS”, and LOVED IT!!

Featured Author: Douglas Carlyle

Featured Author:     Douglas Carlyle

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  1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

First of all, let me thank you, Lori, for taking the time to include me in your blog interviews.

 

I am an electrical engineer by degree. By trade, I spent 26 years with companies making integrated circuits such as the brains within your laptop, iPad, or cellphone.

 

However, early on, I knew I could write. English teachers in my high school entered several of my short stories in contests where they achieved great acclaim. In college freshman rhetoric, I had a very difficult professor. I got an ‘A’ in the class. He taught me a great deal about ‘how’ to write.

 

I began writing over a dozen years ago to pass the time during extensive business travel. I started writing a journal of sorts. I am never at a loss for words so the entries took on more of a story form. Then I introduced characters and a plot. Next came some fictional characters. I encountered dippin’ dots for the first time at the Brookfield Zoo in 2006. That was my epiphany. One finds inspiration in the most unexpected places. Suddenly, I had a piece that was missing to my story. That story became my latest novel, BOUNDARIES.

 

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.

 

My mother died of cancer in 1986. She was an incredibly important person in my life as you might expect. My mother’s last written words in her journal were “Fuller Brush Man.”

 

Then around 2003, my high school girlfriend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lost her courageous battle in 2010. She had been a journalist. She began a novel when we were dating in the early 1970s. Though she worked on it for thirty-plus years, she never finished it. I took the story of the unfinished novel started by my dear friend, mixed it with the last words my mother wrote before she died, and wrote IN SEARCH OF THE FULLER BRUSH MAN. The novel is a memorial to those two fabulous women who were such an influence upon me.

 

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I enjoy writing. I hate marketing. I love doing book signings where I can speak with my readers. I sell my print books at all of the large indie bookstores in Texas. I loathe shopping my stories on the internet. I love print books. I dislike technology. Within those parameters, I have a website. My books are all available in print as well as on Kindle and Nookpress. I begrudgingly joined Facebook. I don’t do Twitter. Sum total, I have ever an increasing base of readers with whom I have a relationship.

 

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

I absolutely enjoy each and every interview. My first was no different. I am not bashful. I speak my mind. This is the link to that interview. I encourage anyone who is reading this to take the time to read it.

 

http://christopherbunn.com/indie-author-interviews/author-interview-archives/doug-carlyle/

 

5.  Tell us about your books and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Three book advert

My first published novel is IN SEARCH OF THE FULLER BRUSH MAN. Readers love it. The Book Readers’ Appreciation Group gave it their BRAG Medallion in April, 2012. I couldn’t be happier about it.

 

My second novel is the romantic fantasy VINEGARONE. A smaller audience has enjoyed it. Part of the problem is that marketing that novel took a back seat to finishing my third novel. The sales numbers reflect that. I could reach a much wider audience with a few investments of both cash and time. With two daughters in college, I have neither to spare at this time.

 

My latest novel is the first one I wrote, BOUNDARIES. It is a long novel at 208,000 words. It is my first (psychological) thriller. Agents and editors beat on me to finish it and put it on a shelf, or cut it down to something closer to 80,000 words. I tend to do my own thing. As you might guess, I have no agent. I released it last month in its beautiful entirety. I’m getting great feedback. I consider it a success.

 

My work in progress will be the first of a series I am calling the “Cat Kavanaugh Series”. She is a tough, and beautiful, former Army CBRNE Captain now FBI agent. The first book is half done. The title of it is BOOK REVIEW. I have the plot and title for the second in the series. The title will be EIGENGRAU.

 

6.   Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

My website is www.dbcarlyle.com . You will find all you need there.

 

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Here is a link to an excerpt from BOUNDARIES.

http://www.dbcarlyle.com/media/8ec07822bf2141f4ffff9a2affffe417.pdf

* I want to thank you for allowing me to interview you and showcase your book.  Your a very humble man, I can tell, and to me that equals CHARACTER which one should be fond of and learn from 🙂

 

Featured Author: Andrea Buginsky

Featured Author:   ANDREA BUGINSKY

1.   Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

My name is Andrea. I was born in New Jersey, but grew up in Florida. My family moved there when I was 7. I have a congenital heart condition, and it made it a bit tough growing up, but not impossible. It’s probably part of the reason I became a writer. I loved school and being with my family and friends. I now live in Kansas with my husband and our two furry children.

I have enjoyed writing when I was a kid. I decided to make it a career halfway through college, and earned my BA in Journalism. While freelance writing from home, I decided I wanted to write a book, and upon thinking about the type, I really liked the idea of a fantasy for teenagers. I started writing The Chosen, and the rest is history.

2.    What made you decide to write fantasy, were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I love fantasy, and have lived in a fantasy world inside my head my whole life. So, when I started writing, I decided I wanted to write fantasies. The idea came to me when I was watching a movie called The Seeker: The Dark is Rising. I suddenly realized that as much as I loved fantasy, I should write my own. So, I did. The Chosen was my first fantasy series, and I’m happy to say, I’ll be getting back to writing more of them. New Avalon is my newest series, and I’m enjoying getting to know those characters too.

I have a lot of fun creating my own worlds and characters, adding magic, and bringing these new worlds to readers.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I do find promoting a bit difficult, but it has gotten easier over the years as I’ve learned about marketing. One of the things I learned about promotion is that you have to show your readers that you get them, and that you understand what makes them tick. I have always felt a lot younger than my age, and I feel very comfortable talking to teens and about subjects in their world. I love to read YA and my favorite shows seem to be the ones aimed at teens. I like to think I “get” teens, and can write books for them that will help them escape their world when they need to.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

 

I don’t remember the review per se, but I remember how it felt to see it. Very exciting! Not only did it mean someone read my book, but they cared enough to write their thoughts and feelings about it.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Destiny is the first of my new series, New Avalon. It has only been out for a few weeks, and it’s getting a great reaction from the public! I am so thrilled to see the reaction, from comments about the cover, to readers telling me how excited they are to read it, and hearing great reviews from those who have already read it.

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

 

I’ll start with my website, since that’s the best place to find me and all of my books:  http://www.andreabuginsky.com/

Next is my Facebook Author Page, where I try to post information not only about me and my books, but topics that I think will appeal to my readers: https://www.facebook.com/Andrea.Buginsky.Author

My Facebook Fan Page is another one where I try to get to know my readers. I welcome anyone who’s interested to join me there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/287037564737457/

And my Amazon Author Page is where you’ll find all of my books on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Buginsky/e/B005C4NJJS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1359736403&sr=8-1-spell

Some of my favorite websites include:

http://www.imdb.com/

http://www.teen.com/

http://www.amazon.com/

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/team/atlanta-braves/71601?q=atlanta-braves

http://www.tvguide.com/watchlist?newairingsonly=true

As you can see, most of my favorite web pages are about movies, books, and television, my three favorite hobbies.

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Elena was getting upset as she defended her family’s honor. She wasn’t thinking about where that might lead. She wasn’t thinking at all.

“Why, Elena, I didn’t mean to upset you.  I just meant that-“

“I know exactly what you meant, Barbara Thomas! You think your family is better than anyone else in this town. You always have. Just because your dad happens to be the former mayor’s son doesn’t mean you own this town and everyone in it! I’m so sick of your mock sentiment when all you really feel is that you’re better than everyone. You’re no better than the rest of us!”

As she yelled, things around her felt funny, and she realized she heard screaming. She looked around, and was startled to see everyone staring at her, horrified. She took a deep breath, and realized what had happened. She let her emotions get away from her, and her powers erupted.

The only words she could think of to describe the scene around her were total chaosEvery locker had burst open, and the entire contents – books, folders, papers, pictures, mirrors, backpacks – had come flying out. The posters on the walls were scattered everywhere. Most of the students and teachers were picking themselves up off the floor. Elena knew her powers had gotten totally out of hand, and she made everything around her fly out of control, literally.

She heard footsteps walking toward her, the only sound in the hall. She looked up and saw her counselor, Mrs. Adams, walking toward her. She gently took Elena by the shoulder and guided her to her office. She looked back and saw Barb and the other Bimbettes staring at her, as well as everyone else in the hall.

Thank you so much for having me over today, Lori! I really enjoyed our chat J

 

***Andrea is an accomplished author of MANY books.  I have read her book “My Open Heart” which was an autobiography of her living with heart disease.

Featured Author: Lauren Algeo

Featured Author:    Lauren Algeo

 

LaurenAlgeo_500x500Lauren and her dog Kip

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

Hi, my name’s Lauren Algeo. I’m a 28 year old graphic designer from Kent, England. I currently write during my daily commute and spare time but would love to write for a living one day. I find writing a great way to unwind after a day at work and I get inspiration from everywhere. I always have a notepad in my bag for jotting down ideas. I live with my boyfriend and our dog, Kip, a German Shepherd we got from a rescue centre last year. For me, dog walking is a great opportunity to think through story ideas and new plots!

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events. 

I’m a huge fan of horror stories and thrillers so they were natural genres for me. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Lee Child, Jo Nesbo and James Patterson so I credit them with my love of those genres.

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

At the moment I mainly use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter for promotion, as well as Goodreads. It can be quite difficult to find time to fit in promotion as well as writing and the day job but it seems to be going ok so far. I’m learning all the time and always appreciate any promoting suggestions.

4.    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was a 5 star one on Amazon for my first book, Hikers – Part One: Power. It was really exciting to see it there and I love getting new reviews (good or bad), it’s always interesting to see people’s reactions to my books.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

The first novel I published, Hikers – Part One: Power, is part of a horror series, the Hikers Trilogy. I’m currently editing Hikers – Part Two: Passion, which will be available to buy soon. So far the reaction has been great and I’ve had quite a few people contacting me to ask when Part Two will be out as they can’t wait to read it. I plan to start writing Part Three as soon as Part Two is published, and already have plenty of notes to get started with.

In between writing Hikers Part One and Two, I published a book called The Perfect Date. It’s a slight change of genre for me, more of a romance thriller, but there’s a plot twist that people have been very complimentary of so far – so not your average ‘romance’, more thriller!

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

For all the latest news on my books, go to:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/HikersTrilogy

Twitter:  @LaurenAlgeo

To purchase ebook or paperback versions of Hikers – Part One: Power visit:

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hikers-Part-Power-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B35DZMG

Amazon USA:

http://www.amazon.com/Hikers-Part-Power-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00B35DZMG

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341549

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

LaurenAlgeo_205x285

Thanks for having me! I’d like to share an excerpt from Hikers – Part One: Power. It’s a horror thriller about an ex-Detective Inspector, Scott Brewer, who hunts hikers, a family of hired assassins with the power of mind control. Brewer is joined on his mission by Georgie Duncan, a moody teenager with a turbulent past, and together they must find a way to kill the seemingly invincible hikers. This excerpt is from the very start of the trilogy. I hope you enjoy it!

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Prologue

 ‘It’s time.’ The voice in his mind urged.

He felt a moment of doubt but couldn’t think of a rational reason why. He had been planning this for days. He was ready. They would all pay.

He slipped his right hand into the pocket of the large duffel coat he was wearing and felt the weight of the gun. He closed his hand around the cool metal and rested his finger on the trigger.

He stepped onto the escalator and surveyed the scene as it descended slowly in to Waterloo’s main train station. It was lunchtime and people were bustling to and fro in front of him. Not as busy as rush hour in the morning or evening but busy enough for him to blend in to the crowd.

He felt a shiver surge through his body and he pulled the heavy black coat tighter around himself. The weather had begun to turn and he knew there were cold days ahead.

‘There! There!’ The voice whispered excitedly.

He looked towards a small crowd gathered round some video equipment near the middle of the station. A TV actor was filming part of a drama series there today. The man could see him sitting in a chair to the side of the equipment, being fussed over by a makeup artist. He felt a tug of anger as he focussed on the man’s smug face.

That should have been his life. He deserved fame, money and recognition. Instead he had nothing.

He walked towards the set slowly, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself. He set his face in a mildly curious expression, as if he was just heading over to check out what was being filmed. A couple of others were doing the same but this was London and most people weren’t too bothered about minor celebrities when they had their own important lives.

The TV star was talking to a young woman who had just had her picture taken with him. She was giggling and toying coyly with her hair. Women just threw themselves at celebrities. He felt that ripple of rage again. He was only a few steps away now.

The actor half turned towards him as he reached them, a friendly smile on his face. He assumed the man was just another fan coming to say hello.

The man began to pull his hand out of his coat pocket. It looked as though he wanted to shake hands and the actor started to extend his own towards the man. Their eyes met for an instant and he felt that moment’s hesitation again.

Before he could comprehend it, his right hand was being thrust upwards and his thumb clicked off the safety.

‘Now!’ The voice in his head screamed.

The TV actor barely had time to register the change in intent before the man shot him in the chest.

The sound was deafening and echoed around the station but the man barely noticed, all he seemed to hear was an insane laughing in his mind.

He turned swiftly and shot the young woman before the actor’s body had even hit the ground. His shot was wide of target and only clipped her left arm but he didn’t care.

He twisted and turned, firing at anyone in his line of sight. He spun to the right suddenly and felt the gun being guided to a middle-aged man who had been walking past.

The man was frozen to the spot, his eyes wide with shock and a sandwich dangling in his stiff fingers. He had on a dark pinstripe suit and was carrying a brief case by his side.

The man thought he heard the voice whisper through its chilling laughter. ‘Bang.’

This time his shot was perfect and he hit the man dead centre in the chest. His finger carried on squeezing and the gun bucked in his hand as he found running targets. There was panic everywhere but the urgency that had consumed him seemed to be subsiding. The gun clicked empty and suddenly the crazy laughter that had filled his mind was gone.

The world seemed to swim back to the man slowly. He looked around confused. People were fleeing away from where he stood and there were several others lying on the floor. He could see blood pooled around some of the motionless ones. Others were writhing around, trying to drag themselves to the safety of cover.

He looked down at the gun in his hand, realising what he had done. Now all he could hear was screaming.

***Lauren is a friend and colleague of mine with a wonderful book to share!  Make sure to check out her links as well.

Featured Author: Delinda McCann

Featured Author:  Delinda McCann

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Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I am a social psychologist with many years of experience working with people who are poor, disabled, at-risk, and have mental health problems.  I’ve served as an advocate on state boards and been a board member for several Non-Government Organizations that serve the most vulnerable in our society.

 I am basically a country girl.  Over the years we’ve owned three horses, some goats, three sheep, many dogs and cats, rabbits, ducks, chickens, geese and the usual round of pet birds and rodents.  Currently, I own a small flower farm on Vashon Island.  I grow cut flowers and sell them at a slightly crooked farm stand that I built all by myself.

 In addition to the above interests, I am an amateur musician.  I play the piano poorly and sing with my church choir.  I mention the music because it has been one of my more lucrative hobbies.  I put myself through graduate school with money from my piano teaching.  All the heroine’s in my novels can play and sing.

2.  What made you decide to write fiction?  Were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.  

I’d just gotten the diagnosis for my second cancer.  I wasn’t even close to recovered from my first cancer or my stroke.  I decided reality sucked.  I was way too sick to do anything else so I started writing Lies That Bind based loosely on my experience as the first person to have a web site on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  My web site brought me into contact with other foreign governments and I learned more than I taught.  I wove that experience into a love story.  Note:  I never had an affair with a foreign head of state.  I have been married for forty-seven years so maybe I know a thing or two about sex though.

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Lies That Bind was picked up by a literacy program and was shipped off to remote places on the globe.  Other than the literacy program, my promotional efforts include mostly internet activities.   I have a blog.  I tweet.  I promote on Facebook.  I have a large extended family and lots of friends who buy my books.

4.  Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was a five star and very enthusiastic.  Most people with a sense for social justice give my books five star ratings.  I remember being so thankful for those first couple reviews.  I am still extremely thankful for anybody who takes the time to write a review.  I know someday I may get a bad review and I have no idea how I will take that.

5.  Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

My first book Lies That Bind was huge—eight hundred pages, which is almost a series between two covers.  I’ve had people buy it because it was thick and others avoid it because it looks to be too long.  It did cause my readers to ask questions about my hero, Jake Jaconovich.  By this time Jake was firmly lodged in my head so he told me the story of his childhood and the events that catapulted him into the presidency of his country so I wrote M’TK Sewer Rat: End of and Empire and M’TK Sewer Rat: Birth of a Nation.  Meanwhile, Maudy asked me to tell her story.  Maudy also lives in my head.  She wanted me to write about brain damage and the grace of God.  Her story, Something About Maudy came out in July.  I’m not certain The Public has read any of my books, but the few people who’ve read them and contacted me about them love them, saying that I’ve describe a portion of their lives or the life of a loved one with a disability so accurately.  One cousin just hugged me for a long time and thanked me for my words.  I think the hug from a family member was the best reward ever.

Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

Links:

All Delinda’s books are on her website. http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/index.html

7.   I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Excerpt

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This is from M’TK Sewer Rat:  End of an Empire

*****

    I wondered what this old drunk could have seen that made him fear for his life.

“I figure you’s an hones man.  I heerd how your papa saved all dose people when M’TK burned.  I heerd how you got dat Fortenac.  I remember da M’TK Sewer Rat.”

  I smiled.

            “I figure I cin trust you.”

            I nodded.

            “I seen some men.  Da night da laundry caught fire, I seen dem and I heerd dem.”

            I looked around to see if anybody noticed us or could overhear us.  I didn’t ask him why he had not come forward sooner.  I knew the city.  I understood why he hadn’t said anything sooner.  I pulled out a legal pad.  I wrote the case number for the fire on the top of the page and labeled it Source: Q.  “Mr. S’PnG this is very important.  It will help me a great deal.”

            “Well, I seen dat cop.”

*** I’ve known Delinda for quite a while, we are friends and colleagues.  She is a WONDERFUL, TALENTED and KINDHEARTED woman that is an excellent writer!

Featured Author: J. Naomi Ay

 Featured Author:   J. Naomi Ay

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  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I’m a former CPA and businesswoman, who out of boredom more than 20 years ago, started writing a science fiction/fantasy story purely for my own entertainment.  Mr. Ay and I have two boys one would consider adults although they are still on our medical plan, a daughter who is fourteen and has just started high school, and a Pomeranian.

2.  What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I’m a life long fan of Star Trek and Star Wars and have also enjoyed historical fiction.  The Two Moons of Rehnor has a lot of elements from all that.  In fact, recently a reviewer called it “Game of Thrones meets Star Wars.”  I confess that I’ve never read or watched Game of Thrones but my sons tell me that is a huge compliment.

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Well, that’s exactly the issue isn’t it?   We write this amazing treatise and put it out there on Amazon and somehow expect readers to notice it amongst the other 80,000 ebooks which are launched every month.  Unless you’re really lucky, that just doesn’t happen.  So, promotion means constantly working the social media, advertising in the social media and working the local area press and book stores.  It’s hard and horrible for someone who’d rather just sit in front of their computer and bond with Word.

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Of course!  As I mentioned early, the Two Moons of Rehnor series evolved over a 20 year time period.  About 1 ½ years ago, I bought an iPad and discovered the whole ebook revolution and KDP.  Here I was sitting with a huge story that was almost ½ million words figuring that nobody would ever read but me.  So, figuring that I could hide under the cloak of anonymity, I bravely put up the first 70k words on Amazon as “The Boy who Lit up the Sky.”  I didn’t tell anyone, not husband, not kids, not friends.  Two days later, someone bought it.  The next day, they returned it.  Oh!  You mean I’ve got to edit it too?  Anyway, long story short, I asked two friends to take a look at it, edit it and tell me what they thought.  They both came back and said, basically, you’ve got something here.  A month later, edited and republished, I got my first review from a stranger.  Here it is:

What a great book READ April 11, 2012

I really enjoyed this book. This book renewed my love of the fantasy genre.I had just finished the “Hunger Trilogy” and feeling a little let down. This book is the opposite. It has everything you want in a book; politics, drama; the unexpected and love. The characters are developed so you feel you have a stake in what happens to them. Just when you wonder what happened to a past character there they are again in the story adding more “flavor” to this stew of intrique. I just finished book 1 and purchased the next 2 just so I can continue uniterrupted. ENJOY.

PS started book 2 last night and stayed up until late just to get to a point I could take a breath. This book promises to be even better than the 1st one.!!!!

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Yes, as mentioned, the original Two Moons series was nearly ½ million words which I broke up into Books 1 – 5.  Amazingly, once I called that done, I started receiving letters from fans begging for more.  Now, I’m in the middle of drafting Book 11.  We’re several generations into the characters and the story is taking twists and turns in all sorts of directions.  I’ve also written 9 prequel novelettes which sort of fill in the gaps.  4 of the novelettes have been made into audiobooks and I’m also working with an illustrator to turn the series in graphic novels.  The Two Moons of Rehnor #1, a graphic novel which starts at the beginning of The Boy who Lit up the Sky will be out before Thanksgiving in ebook format.

As far as how the public is reacting, The Boy is probably the most controversial book as there is some graphic scenes of child abuse, implied rape, and a fair amount of profanity.  Some object to this while others tell me it’s mild as I don’t get into any explicit details.  Unfortunately, a lot of people think that because it’s about “a boy” it’s intended for children or teens which is NOT.  It is necessary to show the development of the character though.  That being said, The Boy is still highly rated on Amazon and Goodreads.  The series overall has 152 ratings with a 4.38 avg on Goodreads and on Amazon, every book in the series has a 5 Star average in the US, UK and Germany.  It’s truly amazing to me and heartwarming that the series and especially, the main character, Senya, has garnered so many fans.

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).  

My links are as follows:

www.jnaomiay.com

www.twomoonsofrehnor.com

www.jnaomiay.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/jnaomiay

The main series is available in ebook and paperback format at all major book resellers.  Here’s the link to Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007B77U8A

7.      I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

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Excerpt from The Boy who Lit up the Sky, Chapter 1, Meri

“What have you got there?” I asked Sister Moon.

“A pot of gold,” she cackled holding up a little purse and shaking it.  It jingled with heavy coins.

“No,” I said reaching for the baby in her arms.  “Who is this?”

“A Karut.”  She easily relinquished him to me.  I peeled back the blanket and looked at the little face.

“Aren’t you pretty?”  I stroked the soft cheek.  “You’re sure he’s a Karut?  He’s so pale.”

“Maybe he’s a half-breed,” she replied, already counting the coins.  “So many good Mishnese girls giving themselves to Karut men after poor Lydia was forced to do it.  I suspect we’ll be getting a lot more just like him.”

“Maybe,” I agreed, stroking the baby’s tuff of silky black hair.  “He’s sweet all the same.  Does he have a name?”

“Senya.”

“Senya,” I repeated.

“Now don’t you go taking special heart to this little rat,” Sister Moon scolded me as she tossed the coins back in the purse.  “The same will happen to him as the rest of them.”

“Maybe he’ll get adopted by a nice family,” I said wistfully.  “Look what long eyelashes he has.”

“Nobody will want a Karut,” she snorted.  “He’ll be here with the rest of the nasties until he runs off and gets himself killed on the street.  Get yourself back to work now.  Put the baby in the baby room and go check the one year olds’ buckets.”

“Yes Ma’am.”  The baby put his little fist in his mouth.  “Can I give him a bottle first?  He’s hungry.”

Sister Moon shrugged.  “Be quick about it.”

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“Thank you, Ma’am.”  I curtseyed and hurried the baby to the baby room where I could get a bottle out of the warmer and sit for a moment before I had to dump all the potty buckets.  Twice daily I had to circle through the one year olds’ room here in the Old Mishnah Orphan Home where twenty babies sat naked in chairs, eating, sleeping and pooping at will.  I spent about two minutes with each of them, wiping them hopefully before they broke out in rash, putting ointment on their rashes and hugging them all for just a moment before I must put them back down and move on to the next.  By the time they graduated on to the two year old room, they were allowed to wear pants and shirts, sleep on cots and eat at small tables.  If they messed their pants for whatever reason, they were sent back to the one year old room for a day which was such a punishment that rarely would they mess again.

The baby room was my favorite place though.  It was quiet and warm in there, and I could sit in a rocker and cuddle as many little bundles as I had time for.  The older ones stood in their cribs and waved to me as I came in.  Some babbled out a few nonsense sounds and some smiled showing me two or four tiny teeth.

“Hello babies,” I called to them.

“Hello Meri,” Sister Lena called back.  She was in a rocker with one of the few little girls we had.  Most of our children were boys.  I didn’t know why they were abandoned more often than girls.  Girls could be put to work, I supposed.  Certainly our girls unless they were rescued before age seven or eight, would be put to work earning their keep.

“Who have you got there?” Lena asked.

“A new one,” I replied, grabbing a bottle and settling down next to her.  “This is Senya.”

“A Karut,” she gasped with surprise.  The baby she was holding stopped sucking and looked at her for a moment.

“Yes, but he’s pretty isn’t he,” I said, offering him the bottle.  He sucked it greedily and patted it with his hand.

“I wonder why the Karuts didn’t take him.”  Lena peered at him through her bottle thick glasses.

“Sister Moon thinks his mum was Mishnese.  Was your mum Mishnese, Senya?” I teased.  The baby smiled with the nipple still in his mouth.

“He says yes.”  I laughed as he sucked fiercely once again.

“He is beautiful,” Lena agreed.  “What color are his eyes?”

“I don’t know.  Open your eyes, baby.  Let me see your pretty eyes.”

The baby opened his eyes as if he understood me, and Blessed Saint, I nearly dropped him.  His eyes were silver, like swirly specks of silver light.

“Blessed Saint,” Lena cried upsetting her baby who howled in protest.

Senya closed his eyes again as if he knew this is what caused us fright.  He finished his bottle and sucked air until I wrestled the bottle from his mouth and held him against my shoulder.

“He is possessed.”  Lena calmed her baby and then quickly put her back in a crib.  “Do you think this is why the Karuts didn’t want him?”

“He’s not possessed,” I insisted, burping my little friend.  “He’s sweet.”  He patted my face with his hand while looking out across my back.

Lena looked at me warily.  “It is strange though.”

“It is,” I agreed.  “But they are kind of beautiful too.”  Surely, if he was possessed, we would know that somehow.  I might have to ask the Father about that, but I hated speaking with the Father.  He always wanted favors, and his breath was bad, and his old skin was wrinkled and made my own skin crawl.

I changed Senya and put him in one of our shirts.  I was about to put socks on his little feet when I was stopped short.

“Lena, can you come here?”

She approached with narrow eyes.  I held up a little foot.  Senya reached for it too.

“Look at his nails,” I said.  “Why are they like this?”   Gingerly, Lena touched them.  She visibly shivered.  Senya played with his toes.  He put one in his mouth and sucked on the long curled nail.

“We should dispose of him,” she said.

“Dispose?” I cried.

“Throw him out in the gutter before …before…”

“Before what?  You mean to kill him?”

“No, no.”  She walked away.  “Maybe send him to the Karuts.  I have a bad feeling about him.”

“Will you tell the Father?”

Lena turned and looked into my eyes.  She nodded slowly.

“Don’t hurt this baby,” I begged.  “Let me take care of him.”

“I have a very bad feeling about him,” she repeated, and her wimple nearly fell off as she shook her head.  “Something is wrong about him.”

“I promise, Sister.  Please let me care for him.  If he turns out to be bad, then I’ll help you get rid of him.  Don’t turn him out now and don’t tell the Father.”

“What will you do for me if I agree?” She asked, lifting her head haughtily.

“What do you want?”

“All the diapers,” she said.  “All the time.”

I looked down at Senya.  He smiled at me, and when he opened his eyes they sparkled.   “Okay,” I agreed, falling in love with this strange little fellow.  “I will do anything to save little Senya.”

I was strange too.  My back was crooked, and my face was scarred.  I was ugly even though I wasn’t always.  Once I was a beautiful young girl who nice boys would ask to dance and nice girls would chat up.  Once I went to school and got high marks in Mishnese and literature and fair marks in math and science.  Then my step-father wanted me, and when I refused he pushed me down the stairs and broke my back.  As I lay crumpled, he set my clothes on fire.  The Saint saved me, and after I was healed, I came here to love other children who no one wanted anymore.

Senya loved me, I thought.  He greeted me every day with a smile.  He didn’t speak.  He didn’t even make noise, but he stood in his crib and waved at me and his silver eyes sparkled.  Everyone else he ignored.  He sat in the corner of his crib sucking his fingers, or lay on his back and played with his strange toes.

The Father came to look at him.  “How much was in the purse?” He asked Sister Moon.  She told him, and we all gasped as it was such a large sum.  It would feed everyone in this house for a year.  “Will there be more?” The Father wondered aloud.

“I think so,” Sister Moon replied.  “For as long as we keep him.”

“Then we will keep him until they want him back,” the Father declared.  The next week, the Father had a new speeder.  It was shiny and red with rich leather and polished wood inside.  It looked very expensive.  He wanted me to sit in it with him.  He wanted me to pleasure him while he drove it around.  I did because he was the Father and I was so ugly no other man would want me.  If he threw me out on the street, I would have nowhere to go and be forced to pleasure other men who were worse than him.  This is what he told me when his leavings were in my mouth, and I wished to spit them out on the fine carpet of his new speeder.

When I came back to the orphanage, I went to the baby room and found Senya crying.  He sobbed silently, his little body heaving but making no sound.  There was a red welt across his back.  “Who did this?” I demanded of Sister Lena.

“Sister Moon,” she said.  “Sister Moon says he is destroying too many socks and wasting our precious cloth.  She says he is to have cold feet all winter.  He shall have no more socks.”

“But why did she hit him?” I asked, picking him up and holding him tight until he stopped crying.  He put his hand on my face and nuzzled my neck.

“He looked at her with his wicked eyes and she said she felt dizzy because of it and nearly fell down.  He is possessed she says, but the Father says he must stay here so we cannot throw him out in the gutter.”

I wondered if I could take Senya and run away.  I would have to pleasure anyone who would give me money, and how many would want one as ugly as me?  I would have liked a real job.  Once I knew how to type and could speak well and answer a vid and perhaps put together things with my hands.  There were no jobs like that anymore.  There were no jobs for anyone because Mishnah was broke.  There were only jobs for men who joined the guards and women who worked as maids in the Palace.  I could not do that because I was a woman with a broken back and burned face.

It was a cold winter, and there was not much food.  The money from the purse had been spent on the Father’s new speeder and his fine clothes and jewelry.  The children cried because they were hungry and cold, and the old radiators spat and hissed, but little warmth came from them.  Senya’s little feet were always cold, and when I was with him I wrapped them in rags, but someone else always took them off.  Senya sat in his crib and held the bottle himself.  He was getting big, and his face was taking shape.

“He looks more and more like a Karut,” Lena said beside me.  “He looks like Prince Sorkan.”

“He does,” I agreed, admiring his handsome little face.  “But pale.”

“Maybe he’ll get darker over time,” Lena thought.  “Did you give him this bottle?  It’s not time for him to eat.”  She took it away.  Senya opened his mouth to protest.

“I didn’t,” I said.  “He was already drinking it when I came here.”

“Well I wonder how he got it then,” Lena frowned and just as she did so, the bottle went flying out of her hand and back into Senya’s.

Lena and I both screamed.

Senya popped the bottle back in his mouth and gave us a big smile.

“How did he do that?” Lena whispered, her eyes giant saucers.

“I don’t know,” I whispered back.  “Do you think that’s how he got the bottle from the warmer?”  We both looked at the warmer as if it could speak to us.  Lena turned back and snatched the bottle out of Senya’s grasp again.  He opened his mouth in a silent howl.  Lena ran across the room and put it on the warmer table.

“You want it, Senya?” She challenged.  “Then take it.”

Senya pulled himself up by the bars on his crib and held out his little hands.  The bottle flew across the room right into them.  He fell back on his bottom and sucked triumphantly.

“Don’t say a word of this to anyone,” I begged Lena.

“Blessed Saint,” Lena collapsed in a chair.  “What is he?”

“Please Lena, please!  I’ll do anything.  Don’t let them throw him out on the street!”  I was on my knees before her.

“Okay,” she said, narrowing her eyes and smiling wickedly.  “Forever and ever you will be doing the diapers, Meri.”

“I will, I will,” I promised.

Senya laughed.  It was the first noise we had heard from him.  I ran to him and gathered him in my arms.

“You little devil,” I cried, and he laughed some more.

“Mayhap, he really is,” Lena snorted and walked away.

We lost four babies from the baby room including our one little girl.  There was a fever going around, and the diapers were endless and messy.  Our one year olds and two year olds were sick too, and I was forever dumping buckets filled with loose and foul smelling stools.  Our two year olds were messing their pants, but we did not punish them because several of them had died, as well.  Our building was cold, and the snow and frost outside made it impossible to open the windows and bring in fresh air.  The children burned with fever and then shook with chills.  I wrapped and rewrapped as many as I could, but there were not enough of us Sainted Ladies here to take care of them.  There was sickness in the city, and bodies lay in the gutters where ever you walked.  Our dead children joined them waiting for the coroner’s van to collect them.

* I’d like to thank J. Naomi Ay.  She is a wonderful author and colleague.  I would personally recommend her book (s).   Thank you for allowing me to interview you.

Featured Author: James DiBenedetto

Featured Author:   James DiBenedetto

James D

  1.  Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I’m a pretty average guy (at least, I think so).  I’m originally from Yonkers, NY (literally on the street that bordered New York City – walk 10 feet and I’m in the Bronx), and I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for 17 years or so.  I came here for graduate school and just stayed afterwards.

I work in fundraising/marketing during the day (someone has to do it!), and I write my novels by night.

I’m married to a wonderful woman who’s also working on a novel of her own, and we’re both well-trained by our tortoise-shell cat who runs the household.

2.   What made you decide to write a paranormal romance?  Were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.  

That’s  just the story that came to me.  I had an idea about someone with the ability to step into other people’s dreams, and the book grew from that.

The stories in the Dream Series are in no way whatsoever based on real events, but some of the incidental characters are modeled on real people to fill out the world.  And the books are set in the “real world” so real-life events are mentioned (the book I’m working on now, #6 in the series, takes place in October, 2001, so the events of 9/11 come up in the course of the book, for example).

3.    How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

Incredibly difficult!  I’m not a natural self-promoter, and there’s just so much to learn.  And, on top of that, it seems as though the world of indie publishing and marketing changes daily.  Techniques and websites that were effective even a couple of months ago stop working, and you have to find new approaches constantly.  And NOBODY really knows the rules, as far as I can tell.

I’ve been doing everything I can think of – blog tours, FB, word of mouth, paid advertising, recording the books as audiobooks, etc.

4    Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

Oh, yes.  Nearly all the reviews for the series have been very positive. The review from the Paranormal Romance Guild, as a professional-type organization with “real” reviewers, was especially exciting.  It wasn’t a complete rave, but just the fact that the book compared favorably to other works, and that I could put it next to anybody else’s books and not be ashamed, was a huge lift for me.

5.    Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

There are five books so far in the Dream Series.  They all follow Sara, who we first meet in college in the winter of 1989/90.  She’s pretty ordinary, until she starts having dreams that aren’t hers.  She realizes pretty quickly what’s going on, that she actually is stepping into the dreams of other people, and that causes major problems for her, because one of the dreamers she’s seeing might be a serial killer.

As the series goes on, she has to try and figure out who wants to poison the least popular teacher in her medical school; she discovers that her daughter has inherited her “gift” and she needs to figure out how to help a 4-year-old girl cope with these strange dreams, and she finally meets someone outside her family who can do what she does, but who’s using their talent for evil rather than good.

I’ve gotten excellent response from the public; I’ve sold nearly 1,400 copies of the five books, and gotten almost uniformly positive reviews.

6.    Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).

Well, the first book is set where I went to college – www.case.edu

I’m a huge opera lover, and I go regularly to the Kennedy Center here in DC – www.kennedy-center.org

My favorite author is Stephen r. Donaldson – www.stephenrdonaldson.com

My website is www.writingdreams.net, and my books are on my Amazon author page – www.amazon.com/author/jjdibenedetto

The narrator for my audiobooks is just amazing.  Her site is http://www.heatherjanehogan.com

7.     I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

Dream Student Cover

OK, here’s an excerpt from the first book, “Dream Student”.  Sara has just told her best brined and her boyfriend about a series of dreams she’s had, and they’re discussing things over dinner:

Another thought goes through my mind just now, and it throws me off track.  “If I’ve got a power, right?  I’m psychic, or whatever you want to call this, right?  Well, where’s my wise mentor?  In every story I can think of, people who suddenly find they have a special power or something always have one.  King Arthur had Merlin.  Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan. The Scottish guy in that stupid movie Ron likes, where they’re all cutting each other’s heads off…”

“Connor MacLeod,” Brian pipes in.  “And the movie is ‘Highlander.’”

Beth snorts.  “All you guys like that movie.  I’ll never understand it.”

“Anyway,” I say, trying to get back on track.  “Connor whatever, he had Sean Connery to mentor him, right?  So where’s the old wise master to tell me how to deal with all this?”  Brian’s amused by the thought, but Beth has a different reaction.

“I’d let Sean Connery tell me what to do,” she sighs.  “Anytime.”

So would I, although not that way.  He’s old enough to be my grandfather, after all.  Besides, I’m taken!  And I will definitely have to tell Brian that that was my first thought, once we’re alone of course.  But I definitely wouldn’t say no to Sean Connery’s advice.  I bet he’d know exactly what to do about the nightmares.