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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - Swimming with Maya - Eleanor Vincent

8:00 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

 

Swimming with Maya - Eleanor Vincent

Amazon Kindle UK

Amazon Kindle UK

Genre - Memoir

Rating - PG13

Free until 1 April 2013

Previously available only in hardcover, Swimming with Maya demonstrates the remarkable process of healing after the traumatic death of a loved one. Eleanor Vincent raised her two daughters, Maya and Meghan, virtually as a single-parent. Maya, the eldest, was a high-spirited and gifted young woman. As a toddler, Maya was an angelic tow-head, full of life and curiosity. As a teenager, Maya was energetic and independent - and often butted heads with her mother. But Eleanor and Maya were always close and connected, like best friends or sisters, but always also mother and daughter.
Then at age 19, Maya mounts a horse bareback as a dare and, in a crushing cantilever fall, is left in a coma from which she will never recover. Eleanor's life is turned upside down as she struggles to make the painful decision about Maya's fate.
Ultimately Eleanor chooses to donate Maya's organs. Years later, she is able to hear Maya's heart beat in the chest of the heart recipient. Along the way, Eleanor re-examines her relationship with her daughter, as well as Eleanor's traumatic life as a child and young woman. In a story that has been called "heartbreaking and heart-healing," Eleanor Vincent illuminates the kind of courage, creativity, faith, and sheer tenacity it takes to find one's balance after unthinkable tragedy.

Orangeberry Book Tours – January Exposure by Sunny Benson

7:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

 

In Fargo, North Dakota, it’s January, the mercury is hibernating below zero, and chemist Ellie Craven prefers playing hockey to playing detective. But to protect her family and keep her sister out of jail, she investigates bizarre pranks at her grandpa’s rest home, mingles with drug dealing outlaw bikers, searches for her kidnapped niece, and uncovers a murderer who uses an atypical weapon – the frigid Fargo weather.

Ellie uses her intelligence, her chemistry connections, and a sleigh-full of fortitude to rescue her niece and expose a murderer. Everyone’s a murder suspect, including Ellie’s kung fu queen sister Tandy, her senility-faking Grandpa, her potential love interest Brandon, and her brother-in-law Rick’s look-alike mistresses Barbie and Clarissa. But in the icy end, Ellie discovers perception isn’t always reality.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Sunny Benson on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.sunnybenson.com/

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Author Interview – Sunny Benson

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I enjoy reading and writing fast-paced mysteries with a humorous bent. I especially delight in plotting out interweaving mysteries and endeavor to surprise the readers with the associated twists.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Authors who charmed me with their quirky characters and wacky stories, including Kim Harrison, Janet Evanovich, and Sarah Strohmeyer.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? Keeping impatience at bay. I get so excited to see where the story will take me, it’s sometimes hard to slow down and describe the small details that may not be critical to the plot, such as the internal emotional state of the characters or the environment. I realize the importance of those details to the reader, but it’s an area for improvement.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? Persistence in proofreading and editing. The process of proofreading and editing a book takes far more time and effort than I ever imagined.

Have you developed a specific writing style? My stories tend to be quirky, fast-paced, and dialog heavy.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A small stream of water flowed from under Grandpa’s door and into the hallway. Oh boy, the fire alarm again. I knew I should have stopped buying Grandpa cigars after the last sprinkler system incident.

“I take it he set off the sprinkler system with his smoking,” I said.

“Not exactly.” The rest home director opened the door. “Take a look in the bathroom.”

My snow boots squishing on the slick tile floor, I stepped inside the silent room, ready for anything. Anything except for what I spotted when I opened the door to Grandpa’s bathroom. Flat black eyes peered at me from under an overflowing toilet, and a forked tongue taunted me. A scaly head flattened, a neck expanded, and a wild hissing emanated from the creature.

“Holy crap!” I said, closing the door and almost falling as I retreated from the room at warp speed. I wasn’t especially scared of snakes, at least the nonpoisonous varieties. As a kid on my grandparents’ farm, terrorizing my sister with garter snakes was one of my favorite pastimes. But the snake in Grandpa’s bathroom was no ordinary reptile. It sported a pink bonnet and a matching pink tube dress. No, I was scared because there was a distinct possibility Grandpa would be moving in with me.

How did you come up with the title? The title of the book is January Exposure. The word January evokes the cold, wintery time of year. The theme of exposure reoccurs throughout the book. The murder victim in the book dies of exposure to cold, the protagonist exposes the evildoers in the book, and the protagonist herself experiences exposure due to her perennially bragging mother and the media.

Can you tell us about your main character?  The protagonist, Ellie Craven, is highly intelligent, works as a chemist, and loves playing pickup hockey with guys twice her size.

Will you write others in this same genre? January Exposure is the first in a series of mysteries, and Ellie will grow into her detective skills as the books progress. In future books, I envision her taking detective classes, learning how to shoot a gun, signing up for martial arts instruction, and becoming a licensed private investigator.

Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot? I use Fargo, North Dakota, the community I grew up in, as the main setting. Plus like the protagonist, I’m addicted to cheesecake and my mom is the original Iron Chef Cheesecake.

Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery

Rating – PG13

More details about the author & the book

Connect with Sunny Benson on Facebook & Twitter

Website http://www.sunnybenson.com/

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Review: Away from the Spotlight by Tamara Carlisle

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
Away from the SpotlightAway from the Spotlight by Tamara Carlisle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did the book description relate to the story? Almost but the description provided was short and did not provide enough details about what was to come.

How did you feel about the opening / ending sequences of the book? This is was a short story told in many words. It's 481 pages long but the core of the story would not pass 200 pages. The character development was good but plot was long winded and too many things were happening at the same time.

Who was your favourite character and why? I'm going to choose Shannon & Will. It was their romance that kept me turning the pages and the story came in bits which was much like The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.

What were the main relationships explored in this book? It would have to be the romance between Shannon and Will. Both of them need each other in different ways.

Was this book worth reading? It does need a bit more editing which made my reading experience a little jerky. If a reader doesn' mind this, then yes, I would definitely recommend this book.

Disclosure - I received a complimentary copy from the author which did not affect my honest opinion.

View all my reviews

January Exposure by Sunny Benson

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
January ExposureJanuary Exposure by Sunny Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Did the plot pull you in or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book? It definitely pulled me in, hook, line and sinker.

How realistic was the characterization? The development for all characters was very good. Everything they did was plausible. Each one was brought to life.

How does the setting figure into the book? The book was very lively. You could almost feel the blistering cold of Minnesota. The kidnapping could have taken place.

What are some of the book's themes? Book was about family, kidnapping and murder. All these variables made for a fantastic read.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author.

View all my reviews

Orangeberry Spring Fling - Away From The Spotlight - Tamara Carlisle

5:00 AM Posted by James Noel , 1 comment
away from the spotlight
In the closing weeks of law school, Shannon Sutherland meets handsome and charming Englishman Will MacKenzie. Initially swept off her feet, Shannon finds that Will has a secret that, once discovered and the consequences realized, could destroy their fledgling relationship. Will and Shannon take great pains to have a normal relationship but, ultimately, find it impossible to do so. Will the pressures of their careers and the temptations of others drive Will and Shannon apart? Can Will and Shannon live a happy life away from the spotlight?
Tamara Carlisle takes you on a romantic ride that explores the consequences of fame and a love that endures all.
Buy at Amazon
Genre – Contemporary Romance (PG13)
Connect with Tamara Carlisle on Facebook
Check out this author’s book feature, guest post, Top 10 & interview
OB-SPRING-FLING
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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - Black Hole Sun - David Macinnis Gill

7:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

No one, except Durango.

Genre - YA

Rating - PG13

4.0 (20 reviews)

Free until 1 April 2013

Mars stinks.

IThe air reeks of burning fuel; the rivers and lakes seethe with sulfur. In the shadows, evil men plot terror and beasts hunt the innocent. Out on the barren crags of the terraformed planet, there is nowhere to hide. No one to heed a call for help.

Author Interview – James R Johnson

7:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why? “It’s nothing personal, Sonny.  It’s strictly business.”  This was said by Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, in the 1972 Best Picture Oscar winner, The Godfather.  If you can’t tell, I’m a huge movie nut.  This quote always stood out to me, because at this point in the film, Michael has thrown himself completely into the family business, which he worked so hard to stay out of.  Here he realizes that he needs to step up for his family, to do what is necessary to survive.  The implications of what Michael is saying carry the maturity of manhood, looking outside himself to satisfy the needs of those he cares about.  He does what is necessary.  He does what others can’t or won’t.  He becomes the go-to guy.  I admire those who take control and get the job done.  Of course the morality of this instance is questionable, but the motivation behind it is what I cling to.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? Wow.  There are so many things in my life that I can look back on and ask, “Did I do that”.  I’m not a big believer in regret, so I tend to find the best in any situation.  Especially those tough situations in life, I try to find something I can learn from and make me a better person for the next encounter.  But, if I must toot my horn a little, I would have to say that I am proudest on my accomplishments in the film and television industry.  I started out as an actor in an out-of-market area.  Gigs were tough and few.  So, I made my own gigs.  I got into writing my own scripts, producing my own films, directing my own crew and cast.  I heard a quote once, actually it was Billy Zane in Titanic, he said, “A real man makes his own luck”.  Well, his character was pompous and arrogant, but that line always stuck with me.  I’m definitely a person who tries to make things happen.

What is your favorite color? Believe it or not… Orange.  Followed closely by Pinstripe.  I know, that’s not a real color but what’s a Yankees fan to do??

What is your favorite food? I love anything Oriental.  Chinese, Japanese, it doesn’t matter.  My father was stationed in Japan for a few years and the cuisine stuck with the whole family.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? While there are many places I’d love to visit and see, there is nowhere on Earth quite like NYC!  New York City will always have a place in my heart as “home”.  Even now I hear New York State of Mind tripping in my mind’s ear.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My upbringing always fostered the creative spirit.  Between my father’s love of story and storytelling and my mother’s creative overdrive (crafts, writing, acting, painting, drawing, sculpting, cooking), there was not a deficiency in support.  I remember after I discovered acting in high school, I knew I had found my calling.  I told my parents that after I graduated I was going to fly out to Hollywood and make it big as a movie star.  I said I would give it two weeks and that should be plenty of time.  What did my parents do?  Encouraged me every step of the way.  I never did go to Hollywood, but the support never faded.  So when I decided to move from writing screenplays to novels, my parents were the first to read it and praise it.  But, of course, parents are supposed to stuff like that, right?

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Writing, like most of my other creative outlets, started as just that, an outlet.  I hated the routine of life.  School, homework, dinner, chores, bed.  How can anyone live like that?  I needed to create something.  It all started with erector sets and legos as a kid.  Then I moved on drawing and painting and sculpting and performing.  But writing was something that could be done anywhere with nothing but a pencil, paper, and time.  I could do it in class during lectures (I probably shouldn’t admit that…) or waiting in the doctor’s office.

When and why did you begin writing? I seriously started writing after college.  My situation forced me to leave New York and move back to my hometown.  That destroyed me.  So I wrote.  It wasn’t anything structured, no story arcs, no character development.  It was slice of life and just described experiences.  Mainly it was about a man who sought redemption and restoration (hmm).  For years I thought of nothing but returning to NYC.  I found relief in writing narrative.

How long have you been writing? Technically you could say I’ve been writing for all of my adult life.  But I didn’t start paying attention to the fundamentals of writing until about 1997 when I wrote my first screenplay.  Man, what a piece of trash that was.  But, we all have to start somewhere.

When did you first know you could be a writer? Honestly, I didn’t think it was possible to be a “writer”.  That thought began to change after I was offered my publishing deal.  The idea that someone was willing to give me money for the words I wrote, shook me.  It wasn’t until that day.  Actually, I still struggle with it sometimes.

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Genre – Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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Orangeberry Spring Fling - Dark Lady of Doona by Christine Frost

7:24 AM Posted by Quality Reads UK , , No comments

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#OBSpringFling



Known as “Granía of the Gamblers,” Granía O’Malley makes a high-stakes bet to buy her freedom and the ability to continue her livelihood as pirate queen on Ireland’s west coast. She enters into a dangerous agreement with Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, and soon finds herself caught up in a web of intrigue that is plunging her country, as well as her family, into chaos. 

At war with a cruel governor while serving as one of Walsingham’s many spies, Granía struggles to maintain stability within her family and fleet and provide an enduring legacy for her heir to the seas. A story full of adventure and passion, Dark Lady of Doona portrays the life of a formidable woman who defied traditions by commanding her own fleet of ships and leading her loyal followers into rebellion.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Historical Fiction (R)
Connect with Christine Frost on Facebook & Twitter

NG Osborne – The Right to Love

7:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

The Right to Love

by NG Osborne

When we think of the struggle for women’s rights, the rights we most often think of are the right to vote, the right to property and the right to work and equal pay. These are all phenomenally important rights, and ones that women in the West have fought hard to secure. However I would argue that the most important right of all is the right to love.

Many of the novels I’ve been most drawn to in this life – Jane Eyre, Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice, Middlemarch – have had at their heart these incredibly strong and courageous women; women who’ve battled the popular perceptions of their time and have courageously loved despite the obstacles and scorn flung their way.

Now 150 years later, it may seem as if their struggle is antiquated. But what these women fought for in the nineteenth century is exactly what so many women in the Muslim women are struggling for now.

20 years ago I spent 12 months as an idealistic, young aid worker teaching in a school and an Afghan refugee camp on the outskirts of Peshawar, Pakistan. It was one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I had never seen a woman in a burqa before and the only thing more shocking was the fact that most women wore them. In the main, the women there were third class citizens living in a patriarchal feudal system with few rights. Yet the rights they did have were strangely the ones that Western women had fought hardest to secure, namely the right to vote, the right to work (if only in the most menial of jobs) and the right to property (a central tenet of Islam).

The one right they didn’t have was the right to love.

Here are the facts. The United Nations estimates that 50% of all Afghan girls are forced into marriage before reaching the age of 15. Pakistan is the 3rd most dangerous country in the world for women with 1000 women and girls murdered every year in ‘honor killings’ and 150 suffering horrendous acid attacks. Most rapes go unreported and the reason is simple: unless a woman has four male witnesses it is almost certain that she will be charged with adultery or a ‘moral crime’. In Afghanistan 87% of women have experienced some form of ‘intimate violence’ – i.e. either a forced marriage or physical, sexual or psychological abuse. In many areas of Afghanistan the practice of ‘baad’ is common in which girls are given away to settle disputes between families.

This is why of all rights, the freedom to love is the one that should be most cherished and hardest fought for. For when a woman is not allowed to love whom she wants, she is in essence being told that her feelings are worthless and when you cannot act on your feelings you are no more than an emotional prisoner. Conversely if men can control whom a woman marries, they will never respect their opinions or look upon them as anything but their property.

On the other hand, if women are free to love (and free to suffer its consequences) they own the essence of who they are and all other freedoms will follow. Further men will come to look upon them as equals – for, if nothing else, in order to gain a wife they’ll have to earn their love and respect. In my opinion, this is the underlying message of all the great novels I mentioned earlier.

I am an optimist, as Frankin Roosevelt said in his fourth inaugural “the great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward”. Yet if there is one area in which Western women could stand with their Muslim counterparts, I would argue that this is it.

The progress maybe glacially slow in many parts of the Muslim world, however I believe it will come and when it does, when all women are free to love whom they want and their men accept this fact, I believe the world, in turn, will be a more tolerant and peaceful place.

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Genre – Literary Fiction / Romance

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.ngosborne.com/

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Author Interview – Jessica Kristie

6:00 AM Posted by James Noel 1 comment

Tells us a bit about your publisher? Winter Goose Publishing is a traditional small press who have been supportive, caring, and let you feel a part of the entire process. They made my book beautiful. They have grown exponentially over the last year and I expect great things from them as they grow their catalog and authors.

Will you write others in this same genre? Yes, I intend to continue to write in the general fiction genre with some shift from literary to suspense.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? More of an education than a message. The issue of human trafficking is serious and a worldwide problem. I want this book to help begin the conversation in those that may have never thought to discuss it. This book is appropriate for all ages (with parental guidance) and a great way to encourage education and conversation.

Can you tell us about your main character? Elani Benjamin is a talented young lady who is forced into a difficult situation where she must decide to give up and give in, or keep going. Something we all can relate to.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I did a lot of research on human trafficking as well as read many survivor stories and connected with local non-profits. All of these aspects helped me shape and mold my characters and storyline.

How much of the book is realistic? Most of it if not all is realistic and based on basic human condition and response and survivor stories that I’ve read.

 

 

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG

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Website http://jessicakristie.com/

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Orangeberry Book Tours – For Gods & For Men by James R Johnson

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

This bold new story written on an epic scaoe vibrates with its unique setting and time frame. Trapped in an alternate universe, the memorable characters set off on a quest to overcome nearly insurmountable odds.

The setting: 98 BC Rome. The story: Marcus Tegerius Castimus has just learned he is immortal. Together with an unlikely alliance that includes a vexed Vestal Virgin, he is the only hope to save the world from a trap that the Lifebloods had set centuries before. Pursued by two factions, Castimus can choose to help the Lifebloods and live in luxury and power, or he can fight them to save the human race from extinction. But doing the right thing is not always easy, and Marcus stubmles into the snare that the Lifebloods laid for him – a trap that has been centuries in the making and from which there is no escape. Or nearly none.

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Genre – Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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Orangeberry Book Tours – Refuge by NG Osborne

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

On a dusty, sweltering night, Noor Khan, a beautiful, headstrong Afghan refugee, comes face-to-face with Charlie Matthews, a brash, young American aid worker. To Noor’s fury, Charlie breaks every cultural norm and pursues her. She wants nothing to do with him: her sole aim in life is to earn an overseas scholarship so she can escape the miseries of the refugee camps.

However when Noor’s brother threatens to marry her off, she is forced to seek refuge in Charlie’s home, of all places, and suddenly everything Noor believes in is put into question.

Set in the mystical and seething city of Peshawar, where no one is without an agenda and few can be trusted, Refuge is a timeless and unforgettable love story about the struggle for love and purpose in a cruel and cynical world.

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Genre – Literary Fiction / Romance

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.ngosborne.com/

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Orangeberry Book Tours – Barbed-Wire Butterflies by Jessica Kristie

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

Elani Benjamin had never imagined the level of fear and uncertainty that was now a demoralizing part of her everyday life. With freedom ripped from her world, Elani must stand alongside the hundreds of other women forced into slave labor by the mysterious organization that runs The Hub. At only thirteen years of age, she must decide if she will give in to the daily atrocities surrounding her or keep fighting her courageous, emotional battle for freedom. Malnutrition, intimidation, and abuse force them all into an isolated depression that guarantees compliance. On the edge of surrender, Elani finds an ally in Eddie, a repentant long-term employee of The Hub who gives her the resolution to find a way out of her imprisonment and the hope of reclaiming her stolen freedom.

100% of all print royalties and a percentage of digital copies go to Courage Worldwide, an international non-profit organization that is building homes around the world for children rescued out of sex trafficking.

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Genre – Literary Fiction

Rating – PG

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Website http://jessicakristie.com/

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Review: Refuge by NS Osborne

4:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
RefugeRefuge by N.G. Osborne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

How did the main character feel during the book? He was sad, how the people lived. He was determined to help them. He saved Wali's life. He cried like a baby, when he got home. Felt like it was his fault.

What was the author's purpose or purposes in writing this book? To enlighten us about a very different way of live.

What other books has this author written? I do not know but he is on my list to watch.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author.

View all my reviews

Review: Barbed - Wire Butterflies by Jessica Kristie

4:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
Barbed-Wire ButterfliesBarbed-Wire Butterflies by Jessica Kristie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


What part would you change in the story, and why? I might add a little more at the end. Would have been nice to witness the raid on the Hub.

What do you think is the climax of the book and why. When Eddie hid Elani in the truck. Because the truck was her ticket to freedom.

Who do you think the author intended to read this book and why? This book is a excellent book for anyone to read. It opens our eyes and educates us about this very real problem.

Disclosure - I received a free copy of the book which did not affect my honest opinion.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 29, 2013

Author Interview – Julia Tagliere

7:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in writing, so it’s hard to fix a point of origin—maybe in the womb?

When and why did you begin writing? I started writing when I was very young, awful poems and song lyrics, mostly to try to work through some difficult experiences happening in my childhood: my parents divorcing, multiple moves, and my grandfather’s death. The more I wrote, however, the less focused on reality my writing became; I eventually settled into fiction, imagining different worlds for myself. I guess at its heart, it began as escapism.

Why did you choose to write this particular book? It tortured me until I released it.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? The revision process was excruciating for me, endless.

Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it? That I can.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it? When I started writing Widow Woman, it was a much different book than it is today. I thought I wanted to say one thing with it at first, but with every subsequent revision or rewrite, I realized that there were different, much deeper, messages underneath that needed to come out. It’s odd to say that those messages took me by surprise at times, but they did. From that I learned that I can’t force the story—it will become what it is meant to be, if I trust it.

Do you intend to make writing a career? Come hell or high water.

Have you developed a specific writing style? I’ve been told that my writing has a very poetic quality to it, but that’s not something I strive to achieve; I just try to write in such a way that readers can see what I see, feel what I feel. Any poetic effect is incidental to that.

What is your greatest strength as a writer? Tenacity.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it? I hope not to offend anyone out there, but I don’t believe in writer’s block. Have I been stuck? Yes, I think every writer gets stuck from time to time. For me, that’s a sign that I’m not done with my soft writing, so I walk away from it. I’ll think about the problem section, but I don’t sit in front of a blank screen and stew. I get on with my life, because it’s living, being in the world, that gives me the clues and inspiration I need to get unstuck. I read, I go to movies, talk with my husband and kids, have dinner with friends, run things past my writer’s group to see if maybe they can unlock something for me—but mostly, I ignore the book until something pops in my head and I’m ready to get back to work with it. Sometimes that process takes a long time—in one case, several months—but it’s never lasted longer for me than that. I think those long breaks from the actual writing are all part of a natural process, a natural rhythm. In any case, those breaks are inevitable; we all experience them.

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Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Orangeberry Book of the Day - The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan

7:23 AM Posted by Quality Reads UK No comments


Murdered artists. Masterful forgeries.
Art crime at its worst.

A straightforward murder investigation quickly turns into a quagmire of stolen Eurocorps weapons, a money-laundering charity, forged art and high-ranking EU officials abusing their power.

As an insurance investigator and world renowned expert in nonverbal communication, Dr Genevieve Lenard faces the daily challenge of living a successful, independent life. Particularly because she has to deal with her high functioning Autism. Nothing - not her studies, her high IQ or her astounding analytical skills - prepared her for the changes about to take place in her life.

It started as a favour to help her boss' acerbic friend look into the murder of a young artist, but soon it proves to be far more complex. Forced out of her predictable routines, safe environment and limited social interaction, Genevieve is thrown into exploring the meaning of friendship, expanding her social definitions, and for the first time in her life be part of a team in a race to stop more artists from being murdered.

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Genre - Mystery
Rating – PG13
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Orangeberry Spring Fling - Playing the Genetic Lottery by Terri Morgan

7:08 AM Posted by Quality Reads UK No comments

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#OBSpringFling



"Caitlin’s story touched me deep in my soul" ~ Marina

"Terri Morgan's depictions of the disorder are realistic as well as haunting." ~ Allizabeth Collins

At fifteen, Ava ran away from home and changed her name to Caitlin to escape the chaotic childhood of having two schizophrenic parents. However, she lives with the constant fear of what lies in her DNA. Will she succumb to the disease that robbed her of a normal childhood? Will her children be the next victims of the family curse?

"its a roller-coaster ride of emotions" ~ Sandra

Looking for an emotional and touching story of human strength and overcoming obstacles? Read Terri Morgan's fictional memoir PLAYING THE GENETIC LOTTERY.

Buy at Amazon
Genre – Fictional Memoir (PG13)
Connect with Terri Morgan on Facebook

Orangeberry Book Tours – Greedy for Life: A Memoir on Aging with Gratitude by Lori Stevic-Rust

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

 

Through reflections on the guidance of her one-hundred-year-old grandmother, national healthcare expert, Dr. Lori writes a powerful memoir on aging that is humorously told and sure to be warmly received by all generations. The personal life lessons shared in Greedy for Life, become a universal story of finding purpose and living with gratitude.

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Genre – Memoir

Rating – PG13

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Website http://www.doctorlori.net/

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Orangeberry Book Tours – Widow Woman by Julia Tagliere

5:45 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

It is 1962, the starting pistol for a decade of tremendous change. President Kennedy bans all trade with Cuba. Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Beatles record their first song together, and Illinois becomes the first U.S. state to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults. For Audrey Randolph, a young Midwestern wife, 1962 also brings a personal tragedy: her mother dies suddenly, leaving behind a lifetime of letters, photos and unimaginable secrets.

Audrey, stunned by her mother’s death and the subsequent revelations of past loves and lovers, can no longer trust the reality she has always known. She must come to terms with dual losses, both her mother’s death, as well as the unanswered, nagging question: Was anything she knew real? Audrey turns to her estranged father, her family’s pastor, even her mother’s best friend, to uncover the truth. Through her desperate search to learn which lies, and which people, are forgivable, Audrey will discover a greater truth: that sometimes, forgiving yourself is the first step to letting go.

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Genre – Women’s Fiction

Rating – PG13

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Review: Greedy For Life: A Memoir on Aging with Gratitude by Lori Stevic-Rust

4:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
Greedy For Life: A Memoir on Aging with GratitudeGreedy For Life: A Memoir on Aging with Gratitude by Lori Stevic-Rust
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Did the plot pull you in or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book? The story definitely pulled me in and it was fascinating to read about Nana.

How realistic was the characterization? The characters seemed real and all actions were plausible.

How does the setting figure into the book? The settings were important, because the book was about tradition. I could see myself sitting at Nana's kitchen table.


Disclosure - I received a free copy of the book which did not affect my honest opinion.

View all my reviews

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Orangeberry Book of the Day - Only A Glow (The White Warrior) by Nichelle Rae

8:18 AM Posted by Quality Reads UK No comments


What if the world was ending? What if only you had the power to save it? And what if your power wasn't in your control? Welcome to Azrel's dilemma. "Only A Glow" is the first book in an epic new fantasy series, The White Warrior. Join Azrel, her brother Rabryn, and her best friend Ortheldo as they journey across their land to try to save the world from another age of the Shadow Gods rule. Along the way they try to find out what's wrong with Azrel's magic, because her magic is the only power that will cause the Shadow Gods to stumble and fail.

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Genre - Epic Fantasy 
Rating – PG13
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Orangeberry Book Tours – Gallows Ascending (Stone Quest) by Leigh Podgorski

6:30 AM Posted by James Noel , , No comments

Gallows Ascending continues the saga of tracker and pyschic visionary Luke Stone in Book Two of the Stone Quest Series.

It has been thirteen years since Luke’s confrontation in the desert with his nemesis, black magician Armand Jacobi. Luke’s wife Consuelo, whom he met at Eppie Falco’s Desert Inn and Café has died, and Luke has placed himself once again in exile. This time, his wanderings have brought him to the seaside village of New Camen, New Hampshire.

Into his self-imposed solitude drops Dr. Bethany Rutledge. Accused of the murder of her eight year old daughter, stripped of her license to practice medicine, her marriage to politician Adrian Mountzaire in tatters, Beth Rutledge is haunted nightly by the chilling vision of a young woman’s brutal death by hanging.

Adding to this mix is the disappearance of an adolescent boy that appears to be centered in the tiny hamlet of New Camen. Then, Adrian Mountzaire turns up dead with his estranged wife Beth Rutledge lying in the sand beside him.

Despite his best efforts to resist the temptation, Luke is falling in love with Beth Rutledge, and she with him. Beth has unlocked the frozen reaches of his heart–the heart that was frozen when his beloved Consuelo was taken by breast cancer several years before and he could do nothing to save her.

Now, Luke must not only find the lost boy, but find the real killer of Adrian Mountzaire in order to save his beloved from the same fate that haunts her restless dreams.

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Genre – Metaphysical / Mystery

Rating – PG

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Orangeberry Book Tours – The Learner by Alan Nayes

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , 1 comment

NayéLi has come from the dark side of the universe to learn as much as she can about the third planet from the sun, and to communicate her findings back to her home world. NayéLi is a Learner – and on Earth she assumes the form of a young human female of the indigenous host species.

NayéLi is bound by her rulers’ strict laws of planetary exploration, which state that there can be no involvement with a member of the host species. But NayéLi is more human now than she realizes. And she is about to fall in love.

THE LEARNER is the first book in the paranormal Learner Series.

132,000 words or approximately 450 pages.

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Genre – Sci Fi / Paranormal Romance

Rating – PG13

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Leigh Podgorski – March is Women’s History Month

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

March is Women’s History Month

by Leigh Podgorski

March is Women’s History Month, and this month I would like to remember a very special young woman, someone who perhaps very few people might remember or have even heard of outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, a young woman who was brutally and coldly hanged on the 30th of December in 1768 for the crime purportedly of murdering her child, but truthfully was so publicly punished, humiliated, and executed for the unspeakable crime of having sex out-of-wedlock. As per usual in that day, as per usual to this day in so-called “modern” Middle Eastern societies, the man who engaged with Ruth Blay, the father of the child, the other half of this equation, was never even publicly identified; to this day, he remains unknown.

I first discovered the story of Ruth Blay while I was in Portsmouth with my husband actor/director Dave Florek (Prince of Belle Aire, Grace Under Fire, Ghost Busters ll, Audi Ahab Spot, and most recently Grey’s Anatomy among countless other credits) who was playing Happy in a revival of Death of a Salesman starring Dan Frazier (Kojak) over 25 years ago. I was dumbfounded by what I read and knew it was something I would have to write about. Consequently, I wrote the play Act of Grace which was a contemporary metaphysical/mystery/suspense interwoven with the historical story of Ruth Blay. Act of Grace ,because of its inclusion of two elder characters the Shirley sisters Amalthea and Druscylla, was chosen to participate in the Professional Older Women’s Theatre festival at Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre in New York City.

Subsequently, I adapted Act of Grace to a screenplay. Interesting note: the play was an all-female cast; I wrote the screenplay accordingly. Pitching the screenplay, I was told an all-female screenplay, Thelma and Louise not-with-standing, would never sell. I needed to write in a “love interest” for my lead Beth Rutledge. I adapted. The screenplay went on to win several awards including the Women in Film and Video Screenwriting Competition.

Was it a better vehicle now that it contained a “love interest” for Beth Rutledge? It was different. Did I like it as much as the all-female version? Short answer– yes. Would I have liked to have written the modern American film version of the House of Bernarda Alba? Do you really need to ask that? Here is my question– Why is it that we can have X to the nth degree of all-male movies, perhaps with the one you-know-what female, yet we still cannot promote, encourage, make a film with an all-female cast?

Act of Grace had a huge fan in Cynde Harmon of Really Real films in Vancouver, but Canadian Development is tricky, and they couldn’t get the development money. The film was never made.

Recently, I adapted Act of Grace to the novel Gallows Ascending.

Applying some of the critique from the Women in Film and Video Award, I expanded the role of the love interest. I also changed his name and his identity from the rather flat character I had written in the film ( the source of the critique I had received) reviving it to the rounder, much more interesting lead character Luke Stone. Thus, I was able to incorporate GALLOWS ASCENDING into the Stone Quest series, incorporating as well the story of Ruth Blay.

Gallows Ascending will be offered as a Kindle free book this Sunday March 24th and Monday, March 25th. I hope the offer will attract many readers to download the book. Amazon prime members can download the Kindle book for free any time. After the free giveaway, the price for Gallows Ascending is only $2.99.

On December 30, 1768 an innocent young woman dressed in white was dragged through the streets of Portsmouth in a horse-drawn cart. Her shrieks filled the air. Some say a rude wooden coffin sat beside her. She was taken to the Old South Cemetery where on a rise facing the sea a gallows had been constructed. She was scheduled to be hanged at noon, but the Sheriff, Sheriff Thomas Packer, was cold and he was hungry, and so he gave the order, and Ruth Blay was marched up the gallows stairs two hours before her time. And even as the noose was placed around her neck, a messenger from Governor Wentworth’s office was riding to the cemetery with a reprieve. But the messenger could not make it through the throngs that had gathered to watch the public spectacle. And so Ruth Blay flew screaming to her fate.

In memory of Ruth Blay– rest in peace, my sister.

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Genre – Metaphysical / Mystery

Rating – PG

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Orangeberry Free Alert - Temptation (Under Mr.. Nolan's Bed) - Selena Kitt

8:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

undermrnolansbedtemptationare

Buy @ Amazon Kindle US

Genre - Romance

Rating - MA

4.4 (29 reviews)

Free until 29 March 2013

"Lead us not into temptation..." ~Matthew 6:13
What happens when you fall in love with your best friend's father?
Leah is a good, Catholic girl, and she and Erica have been best friends since their first communion. Sure, Erica's father is handsome and charming, but Leah spends so much time at the Nolan's--just Erica and her famous, photographer father now, since Erica's mother died--that she's practically part of the family.
Both girls have led privileged, sheltered lives and are on the "good girl" track at St. Mary Magdalene's Preparatory College, Leah pursuing her love of dance and Erica sating her endless curiosity as editor of the newspaper. Neither of them could have ever imagined that one fateful discovery will not only push the boundaries of their strict, repressive upbringing, but the bonds of their friendship as well.
Leah certainly never could have imagined finding herself torn between her best friend and her best friend's father. Sure, Leah's mother had always talked about Mr. Nolan as "a catch," but Leah herself had never thought of him as anything other than just Erica's dad--until the girls discover something darkly erotic under Mr. Nolan's bed, a deep, shameful secret that will not only lead them into temptation, but will deliver them into a far greater revelation than any of them could ever have imagined.

EXCERPT:
She danced with the memories, she danced the sin and shame of her own lust, the final acquiescence to her body's need, and the sweet triumph of reaching that peak. The dance was hers now, no longer anything she had learned. It was the pure expression of her essence, every feeling and thought that had been running through her head on some endless loop.
When she finally collapsed in a heap in the middle of the floor, breathless and panting, she felt like crying, as if her body had been filled to bursting and it must now have some sort of deliverance. The dance she had hoped would exhaust and deplete her had simply served to energize her further. Leah lifted her head, opening her eyes slowly, and saw him standing there in the shadows, like a dream.
Her heart fluttered to her throat like a trapped butterfly and her hand leapt there, as if she could catch it. He was watching her, just outside of the circle of lamplight, leaning against one of the tall supports she and Erica used to dance around that ran floor to ceiling throughout the warehouse.
"Mr. Nolan?"
She heard the click of his throat as he swallowed dryly. "You're so beautiful."
The look on his face was the one straight from her imagination, like he worshipped her, and at the same time, like the big bad wolf accosting an innocent red riding hood, like he wanted to eat her all up.
"I didn't mean to wake you." Her voice was barely a whisper. "I just... couldn't sleep..."
"So fucking beautiful."
She was stunned to silence, lips parted with words she couldn't speak, staring at him as he took a step toward her, the light on his face now, a wolfish look in his eyes making her skin bristle all over. She had never heard Mr. Nolan swear before. Ever.
"Leah..." Her name on his lips was like a caress. His gaze moved over her, no tights, no leg warmers, no toe shoes. He'd seen her like this a hundred times of course, but she had never felt so naked. The look on his face changed when he met her wide eyes. She saw the emotions cross his features, from horror and shame to something like anger. "Jesus. Go to bed."

Orangeberry Book Of The Day – Playing Nice by Rebekah Crane

8:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments

Martina “Marty” Hart is really nice. At least, that’s what people think.

It’s Marty’s junior year at Minster High. Minster’s a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances–including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration–gets you … what? Marty’s not sure.

Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she’s restless, searching for a way out of the box her controlling mother and best frenemy Sarah have locked her in. When Lil–don’t call her Lily!–Hatfield transfers to Minster, Marty gets her chance. Lil’s different. She smokes, wears black, listens to angry punk records, and lives in a weird trailer with her mother. Lil has secrets–secrets that make her a target for all the gossiping and online bullying Minster can muster. But so does Marty. And Marty sees something different in Lil. Something honest. Something real.

Playing Nice is the achingly real story of a girl who’s been following the rules for so long she’s forgotten who she was when she started. It’s about falling in love with the wrong people and not seeing the right ones, about the moments in life when you step out of line, take a chance … and begin to break free.

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Genre – Young Adult / Bullying

Rating – PG13

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Website http://rebekahcrane.tumblr.com/

Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
 
Blue Hearts of Mars by Nicole Grotepas


Retta Heikkinen knows the unspoken rule of society: love between androids and humans is forbidden. A simple enough edict until Hemingway Koskinen spends an evening charming her with his intense gaze, bewitching smile, and sparkling conversation that hints at so much more than the usual obsessions of high school boys. Rules were meant to be cast aside, especially when love beckons.

If only it were as simple as being in love.

Trouble is brewing, not just for Hemingway--for all androids. Secrets have been kept, lies propagated, and Retta soon discovers that a frightening future awaits thousands of androids if she doesn’t do something to stop it. Worse yet, she will lose the one love she’s ever endangered herself for: Hemingway.



Praise

"Nothing like I've read before. A true original story! Everything is so well described. Now if they could make a follow up book and movie, that would be great!" ~Mrs. Z (Amazon)

"I was addicted to this book from the beginning. Life on Mars was very real and not at all a sci fi world I didn't understand . . . I found myself rooting for Retta and Hemingway from the very beginning. Easy reading, couldn't put it down and had it read in a weekend. Waiting for a sequel!" ~TNielsen (Amazon)

"The ending of this book is exceptional. While it was different from what I imagined, the way the author brought in a shocking revelation was amazing. I probably reread the last chapter 3 times letting it sink in and the meaning behind it. It was truly beautiful . . . I would love to see more of Retta and Hemingway!" ~Kat Meyer, (Goodreads)

"I love how the author populated Mars . . . so descriptive and comprehensive . . . I could clearly picture everything as if I was seeing the movie &/or was along for the ride. . . . Retta, the main character, is strong, opinionated, and a great champion for her cause." ~Megan (Amazon)

"I had been in the worst reading slump ever and came across this on Goodreads and thought I'd give it a try. Well, I was pleasantly surprised on how funny and exciting and mysterious it was . . . Mei, Retta's bff, had me laughing out loud quite a bit as well as Retta herself. I'd definitely hang out with those two." ~Deanneluvbooks (Goodreads)



Blue Hearts of Mars has made it to the quarterfinals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

Readers are invited to download the excerpts (here) and rate and comment on the entries. So please, if you want to contribute, download and rate Blue Hearts! Your support is incredibly appreciated!


Or purchase the full version of the book here: Amazon




Author Nicole Grotepas

Nicole wrote her first fantasy novel in 7th grade on her mother's old Brother typewriter. It was never finished but it strongly resembled a Dragonlance plot and she's forever wondered what happened to the manuscript and Tonathan--the handsome elven protagonist. After living in Nashville where she worked as an editor, she returned to the Utah desert where she was raised. Nicole now lives near the Wasatch mountains with her husband. She writes and raises her son and three cats full time.
 


 

Tour Schedule





Book Blast Giveaway
$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 4/14/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Orangeberry Book Tours – For Gods & For Men by James R Johnson

9:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

This bold new story written on an epic scaoe vibrates with its unique setting and time frame. Trapped in an alternate universe, the memorable characters set off on a quest to overcome nearly insurmountable odds.

The setting: 98 BC Rome. The story: Marcus Tegerius Castimus has just learned he is immortal. Together with an unlikely alliance that includes a vexed Vestal Virgin, he is the only hope to save the world from a trap that the Lifebloods had set centuries before. Pursued by two factions, Castimus can choose to help the Lifebloods and live in luxury and power, or he can fight them to save the human race from extinction. But doing the right thing is not always easy, and Marcus stubmles into the snare that the Lifebloods laid for him – a trap that has been centuries in the making and from which there is no escape. Or nearly none.

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Genre – Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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Review: For Gods and For Men by James R. Johnson

7:00 AM Posted by James Noel No comments
For Gods and For Men (Lifeblood Saga, #1)For Gods and For Men by James R. Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Did the plot pull you in or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book? Many of us at the book club had differing views. Most enjoyed the flow amidst it's own world created by the author. Some felt it was slow. I felt it was in between. There were sections that pulled me in and then there were others that felt like it was a forced read .

How realistic was the characterization? The author has used myths and simple ideas to weave a story and characters that you will not hear about everyday. All of this is fiction but as they plod through their journey, the reader is able to feel their emotions and can understand what they were going through.

How does the setting figure into the book? The setting was people traveling. Their journey is not entirely a pleasant one and involves an end goal that does not seem attainable. It is during this journey, that each character finds out more about each other and not always in a non-violent manner. The journey also explains the book title, For Gods and For Men.

Disclosure - As a Quality Reads Book Club member, I received a free copy of this book from the author via Orangeberry Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.

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Author Interview – James R Johnson

5:30 AM Posted by James Noel , No comments

What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? I think that the best tools out there for creators of story are Syd Field’s Screenplay and Dramatica by Melanie Anne Philips and Chris Huntley.  Screenplay, like Dramatica, offers great advice on creating the story structure needed to make a great story.  Although Screenplay offers some specifics to film projects, the basics of story composition are still hugely insightful.  I enthusiastically recommend both of these resources.

What contributes to making a writer successful? Drive.  I believe that if you can face the constant uphill battle of writing something you feel passionate about even though it feels like the world couldn’t care less, you can make it as an author.  I believe it was Bette Midler who once said, “If you’re not neurotic, get out of the business”. I believe that to be true.  You can’t fold at the first or forty-first sign of rejection.  You need to keep doing what you love and in time you will find that you are getting better and better at it.  Eventually, someone will recognize it enough to give it a chance.  Keep driving forward and find a successful writer at the end of the tunnel.

Do you have any advice for writers? Write, write, write.  Then write some more.  Don’t edit.  Don’t proofread.  Don’t rewrite.  When the time is right to do those other tasks, you’ll know because someone told you to do it.  Until that time arrives, just keep writing.

Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers? Take everything I say with a grain of salt.  I’m not an expert on anything nor do I try to be.  Don’t completely rely on my word for anything.  Do your own research, your own soul searching.  Life is an adventure.  So remember to pay attention to the journey more than the destination.  I’m just full of clichés, right?

What do you do to unwind and relax? I watch movies.  I especially love the ones with a great script and splendid acting and incredible cinematography and seamless editing.  “Fine Feature Films” as we call them in my house.  A film can make any day brighter.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? The dream of helping others has always been a dream of mine.  My wife and I help as many people as we can.  We’ve done that throughout our marriage.  Now that there is another income stream, we have more resources to help people with.  You can always lend a helping hand, no matter what you have to offer.  We have lived our lives based on that principle.  Now we find we can help out even more.

Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? I plan on attending the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Chicago this summer.  I’d love to meet each and every one of you there!

If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Find what makes you happy.  Not just happy, but whole, complete.  Once you find it, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  Don’t stop searching until you have found it, then hang on with both hands.

 

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Genre – Urban Fantasy

Rating – PG13

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