Guest

Interview with
Paul DeBlassie III
Author of


What inspired you to write books? 

Books are and always have been my thing. My lovely lady, Kate, kindred soul, wife and mother of our four adult children inspired me to move into dramatic fiction. She said, “You can write visionary thrillers loaded with archetypal gusto just like you write psychology except these’ll be even more compelling, captivating, riveting”! Kate’s my inspiration, and she says she loves the story of Goddess of the Wild Thing (anybody guess why?)!         

What do you love about writing in general? 

Words are a psychic narcotic, a real high. When I read good indie writers like Tamara Ferguson, Uvi Poznansky, Luna Saint Claire, Rayna Noire, David P. Permutter, and Lorraine Carey my mind is tuned in and turned on. When I wrote Goddess of the Wild Thing there was a sense of being transported to another realm filled with mystery, insight, and age-old wisdom. I loved it!    

Have you ever felt that there was something inside of you that you couldn't control? If so what? If no what spurs you to reach for the unexperienced? 

I can’t control the words that hit the page. They jump out of my creative unconscious. As in the Goddess of the Wild Thing, they take me and the reader by surprise!

Tell us a little about yourself and your work. 

I am a psychologist and writer who treats patients in psychotherapy and creates phantasmagoric tales set in the mystic land of Aztlan. The Unholy conjures a spell about life, love, and religion gone bad. It’s a step into horror that chills, frightens, and then blows out clogged psychic pathways.

Tell us about your new release.

Goddess of the Wild Thing is a dramatic tale of one woman’s spiritual journey where magical happenings, unexpected turns of fate, and unseen forces influence her ability to love and be loved. Eve Sanchez, a middle-aged woman and scholar of esoteric studies, encounters a seductive but frightening man who introduces her to a supernatural world in which the wicked powers of a surrogate mother’s twisted affection threaten love and life. In the mystic realm of Aztlan del Sur, Eve and three friends struggle with whether bad love is better than no love and discover that love is a wild thing.

Links:






Interview with
Judy Ritchie-Ramirez
(AKA Judy Foster Phillips)
Author of



I know you have been writing poetry for years. Who inspired you to write poetry? And who are your favorite writers? 

My Grandmother would spend hours writing poetry and reading it to me when I was a child.  Through her love of poetry, she inspired me and I began writing as an outlet for my joy or pain at whatever happened to be going on in my life at the time. 

I love to read and have many authors that I enjoy, but my favorites are Nora Roberts, Glenn Soucey and Mike Wells.  I also enjoyed reading the series written by Martha Perez she is a great writer. 

Describe the pleasure you get from coming up with a powerful composition of words to aptly express your emotions. 

The majority of my poems were written when I was either happy or sad.  I write from my heart and I put what my heart feels at the time onto paper.   

If I am writing from happiness it is a challenge coming up with just the right words to  express that joy.  If I am sad then my heart takes over and I write what it feels. 

Your book, Poems of Love, Romance, and Tears was written over the span of a lifetime.  Describe the selection process you went through to include just the right material for this book. 

When I made the decision to make my poems into a book of poems it was a fairly process for me.  I read and re-read each poem and some I made revisions to at that time because they needed either more or less or just a bit of tweaking. 

Then I started the weeding process, which ones do I want to share in this first book and which ones do I want to keep to myself and not share at all.  You know we all have those  that we want to keep only to ourselves.   

I'd like to share this poem which will be included in my next book this is one I wrote about my son. 

If Heaven Had Visiting Hours 

I miss you my Son.  Seems like only yesterday that you went away.   
I imagine you in Heaven with Grandma and Grandpa and having  
a good time with Janet the love of your life. 
I can feel you with me from time to time and I picture you sitting there 
with that little grin on your face watching something that makes your smile. 
I miss you my Son, life just has not been the same without you here. 
If Heaven has visiting hours I would certainly be there to visit on a regular basis.   
I’d walk right up to the doors, knock and say I’m here to see my son. 
He left us to serve as God’s  handyman in Heaven and to be with all our loved ones who  
Have gone before him.   
I hope you are happy Son, I miss you every day it is just like you left me only yesterday. 

What have you learned from the process of publishing your book? Any advice for new writers? 

I have learned that there is a lot more to getting your book published and marketed than there is in just writing it.   

If you publish it yourself you have to do a lot of research such as what type of paper and margins, etc as I learned all of that has to be just perfect in order for it to upload correctly. Which I do need to say was sort of confusing for me so I hired someone to do that for me, problem solved.   

There is a lot of work that goes into getting it marketed so I would advise a new writer to do their research and start out small at first then branch out later.

Links:





Interview with 
James Moushon
Author of


New Release: Operation Asian Tiger is the third and final short story of the Jonathon Stone Short Story Summer. What is this Jonathon Stone story about?

Here is the blurb:
Chuck Chun joins Jonathon Stone in a mundane assignment in Singapore. The dull surveillance op quickly turns from boring to the search for terrorists and the solution of an international tragedy. The Royal Malaysian Police are going in the wrong direction as Jonathon uses the vast resources of the CIA to zero in on the truth.   
What is next in the Jonathon Stone Short Story collection? 
This fall there will be several more short stories published starting with Operation Country Club. I have published three novels and currently 9 short stories, all featuring Jonathon Stone. They are all eBook-only publications.
You have a good following on Twitter and Facebook. How important has your social media relationships been? How did you build your following?
I have a modest following on both platforms however I have a great retweet and like responses from my followers. I do maintain a reader list which I have complied over the last several years. I use social media and direct mail to reach out to this group and push my latest writings. 
Also, I use my website and my blogs to market and build my list. I try to keep my readers informed, market my books and at the same time help other writers gain exposure and market their books. My blogs recently passed 900,000 views. Thanks to all my supporters.
What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?
I am a Mystery Writer. So far all my novels and short stories are centered on CIA agent Jonathon Stone. He operates domestically for an off the books division of the CIA earmarked D.O.T.
I find the best approach is to focus on my use of social media, my blogs and direct contact. Also, I get a lot of support from the blogs written by author I have worked with and supported.

You are a self-publisher. How does doing everything yourself work out? Do you outsource any of the process?
I do everything myself: Covers, publishing, and marketing. As mentioned before, I get a lot of help from my author friends.
I started this venture on the technical side, converting paper documents to a digital format including writing software to create the Amazon format (mobi) from a text file. Now the retailers do all that for authors. I like the control the self-publishing gives me.
The blog's purpose is to help authors get exposure in the book publishing industry. I have interviewed and showcased over 450 authors to date.
The HBS Mystery Reader's Circle provides information about the latest novels and what is coming next from a collection of Bestselling and Outstanding Authors in the Mystery, Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Crime genre.

eBook Author's Corner 
The Corner is a collection of Author advice and studies including Marketing, Social Media and other major topics created to help writers in today's ever changing world of book publishing.
Author Links:





Interview with 
James Moushon
Author of


New Release: Operation Camp Navajo is the second short story of the Jonathon Stone Short Story Summer. What is this Jonathon Stone story about?

Here is the blurb:

Camp Navajo Weapon Station near Flagstaff, Arizona is robbed and Jonathon Stone and fellow agent Dale Oak are dispatched to the area to insure that CIA weapons stored at the site are intact. Upon arrival he finds the FBI has taken charge and has quickly caught the thieves.
Case closed. After a drive through the area and listening to the details of the crime from the FBI, things just did not add up. A complete search of the facilities finds explosives are missing and Jonathon is tasked with finding them before they are used.

What is the Jonathon Stone Short Story Summer collection all about? Are there more stories planned in the Jonathon Stone series?

The Short Story Summer collection consists of three short stories.
Operation No Sanctuary (June 2017) 
Operation Camp Navajo (July 2017) 
Operation Asian Tiger (August 2017) Coming Soon

I have published three novels and currently 8 short stories, all featuring Jonathon Stone. They are all eBook-only publications. I have five more short stories and a novel planned.

Where do you get the plots for the Jonathon Stone Mysteries?

I try to put Jonathon Stone in unique situations. The plots feed off current issues and events with some political basis. The most recent short stories touch on Sanctuary Cities, Illegal hacking, Missing planes, Terrorism, Assassination attempts and the Leaking of information.

You have been writing the Jonathon Stone Mysteries for the last five years and now you have switched your focus from Novels to Short Stories. Are you planning more short stories? Is there a Jonathon Stone novel in the future?

Short stories are one of my styles of writing. I like the short quick write. I can get the main idea across and get Jonathon through the adventure quickly. I have one more novel on the drawing board, a non-fiction book about indie publishing and a bunch of short stories in the queue, so to speak.

What is your basic marketing strategy for selling the Jonathon Stone Mystery Series?

Reader List
I maintain a reader list which I have complied over the last several years. I use social media and direct mail to reach out to this group and push my latest writings.

Blogging
I use my website and my blogs to market and build my list. I try to keep my readers informed, market my books and at the same time help other writers gain exposure and market their books. My blogs recently passed 900,000 views. Thanks to all my supporters.

The blog's purpose is to help authors get exposure in the book publishing industry. I have interviewed and showcased over 450 authors to date.


The HBS Mystery Reader's Circle provides information about the latest novels and what is coming next from a collection of Bestselling and Outstanding Authors in the Mystery, Thrillers, Historical Fiction and Crime genre.


The Corner is a collection of Author advice and studies including Marketing, Social Media and other major topics created to help writers in today's ever changing world of book publishing.


Author Links:





Interview with
John Holland
Author of


I see your new book Old Year’s Day is described as speculative fiction. You have published poetry, fiction which has been described as outback noir and even a young adult’s book about adventure and survival. Why speculative fiction this time?

I love speculative fiction and have read all types. I particularly loved the cautionary tales of a dystopic future like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

Humanity seems, to me, to be in a fragile place right now and I really think we need to change direction as a species or we will face some very difficult consequences. So a modern day cautionary tale seems to be an appropriate way of expressing my fears and concerns.

Is there no hope for humanity in your book?

On the contrary. There is always hope. Humanity can’t exist without hope and we always seem to find it when we need it. In the book hope takes a long time to make a difference, but it comes through in the end.

Your hero is a man who carries the memories and autonomous self awareness of an ancestor within him. That’s pretty unusual isn’t it?

It is not really unusual in my opinion. The communication between the two might not the norm however. I try to show that both are mentally changed by their own circumstances and some of the communication between them borders on raving.

Your covers are all interesting. Who does them for you?

I do them myself. I’m not an expert by any means, but at least I can conceptualise my covers based on my intimate knowledge of the book’s content.

Can you give us a bit more detail about what the book is all about?

Yes I can. In the first half of the twenty-first century, society on Earth imploded and the world was plunged into a battle for power between forces representing the world governments, the churches, and the corporations.

At the end of this bloody series of conflicts the population of Earth had been reduced to a mere 400 million individuals and one great corporation now controlled all aspects of human life.

“The Corporation” decided that Earth had been damaged so badly that it was dying. Using new technology developed during the “big troubles” they migrated everyone to other sites in the solar system and eventually to systems revolving around other stars. They also took seeds and genetic material from a wide range of surviving flora and fauna. Earth was abandoned.

Nuclear warfare did not take place during the conflicts because the corporations had become strong enough to eliminate that threat worldwide before it was used. They did this because a corporation needs customers and killing everyone would be bad for business. The widespread use of chemical and biological weapons caused enormous damage to human life and to the environment, however.

The passage of time was still based on the duration of the Earth year. By the year 2199 the corporation had settled a vast area of space that became known as the “settled universe.” It was in that year the corporation decided there had been enough expansion by humanity and halted all further exploration. They also decide to stop time. Every year the clocks and calendars would be reset and each January 1st would start the new 2199. January the 1st became known thereafter as Old Year’s Day.

Around 1000 generations after the mass migrations from Earth, The Corporation rules an empire of 400 billion individuals spread across the many hundreds of planets which comprise the Settled Universe.

On the prison planet of Renod a man named Dowling suddenly realises he is not alone inside his own mind. He meets the memories and autonomous self awareness of Jones, a man who lived in the time of the Big Troubles.

Dowling also meets the beautiful Mind Nurse Wilson who is secretly against the corporation and a member of a clandestine group who seek change.


Links
Old Year’s Day: Amazon, NookKoboSmashwords

Author Links:




Interview with
P.H. Solomon
Author of


What do you find exciting about writing fantasy at the moment? 

Being a fantasy writer means I get to come up with story ideas and place them in all kinds of settings. The options are endless even though the elements of the plot can dictate what’s important when I do “world-building”. I recently started working on some proposals for new fantasy projects and had quite a lot of fun designing new worlds to fit the plots. To answer the question more directly, it’s being able to finish a current project and move onto new material.

Speaking of “world-building”, can you give us a behind-the-scenes view about how you go about it? 

My recent efforts were for proposals only so both required setting up the basics. What’s the world like? From there, I get into the main setting and come up with suitable names of everything I can think of for the story. This includes characters, cities, rivers, continents and much more. Along the way, I have to decide what the magic system is like and whether the story calls for very specific rules or a more general approach. For instance, with The Bow of Hart Saga, I only needed more general rules to show the magic. But for my newer projects, each one requires a set of rules specific to the world and the plot so I have to write those down and use magic appropriately.

How to you come up with your covers? 

I have the great privilege to work with a wonderful artist named Christopher Rawlins. I give him my ideas for the cover based on the book as well as basic descriptions of characters and he does the rest. Christopher has a good intuitive feel for what I want based on my genre and lets me know if my ideas are consistent from book to book. I think he’s done a fantastic job on both books since I receive a lot of positive feedback for them.

Do you ever see yourself writing any other genres? 

That’s entirely possible but I can do that with fantasy. Lots of authors are hybridizing their books so that there are several genres represented in their work. I don’t want to give anything away, but I’ve actually incorporated the use of several genres into my newer fantasy projects that are in the works now. I’m looking forward to wrapping up my current series this year and moving onto these new projects for this reason. The current series was an excellent starting point for me as an author but now I’m ready to leap into newer material since The Bow of Hart Saga has been with me for decades.

With the release of the new book upon us, can you offer any insights into what will happen? 

I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that there are even more twists of the unexpected in An Arrow Against the Wind and it will be an arduous adventure for all the characters. I can also say the events will become even more challenging for Athson, Limbreth and the rest of the characters during the last book, The White Arrow. 

Links for An Arrow Against the Wind:

Author links:



Interview with
Elaine Pereira
Author of


You wrote I Will Never Forget to profile your mother’s journey through dementia.  Why do you feel it was so important to write this memoir?   

My mother’s was a story that needed to be told.  She was a kind, brilliant, accomplished woman all of my life until dementia took hold leaving a bewildered, agitated and compromised person in its wake.  

In 1945, in the shadows of World War II, my mother graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry!  Years later she went back to college for her masters in education, and went on to teach high school math and advanced calculus!   

Many decades later, however after numerous family tragedies, my amazing mom started her one way descent into dementia’s abyss.  Her decline from Alzheimer’s was tantamount to falling off a cliff.  Mom had exhibited a smattering of memory related issues including paranoia and word recycling for several years.  But the last two were laced with drama, bizarre but enlightening hallucinations and a masterful Houdini-like escape. 
Mom’s touching but warped delusion that she had to find her own mother launched a catastrophic sequence of events ultimately leading to her death. During her final months I started sketching stories from Mom's life that exemplified her wonderful character.  
I was determined my mother would be remembered as the powerful and graceful woman I knew, not the mumbling old woman withered by Alzheimer’s.  
The title is catchy.  How did you come up with it?   

How many times do we casually saw “I will never forget” that story, that day, etc.  

Before my mother’s dementia controlled all of her, we took the train from her home in SW Michigan to Chicago to see my aunt and cousins.  The outbound train was wonderful but en route home it broke down so many times that we finally got off along with many other passengers and made alternative transportation arrangements. 

The sight of my diminutive pixie of a mom schlepping her little suitcase along the railroad tracks was hilarious.  

From the book:  My mom talked about our great train escape for a while. “I will never forget that train ride,” she would say. “That was really something.” Ultimately, however, she did forget it, like virtually everything else.

How do you think your mom would feel about her life being showcased in your memoir I Will Never Forget?  

My mother was a more private person.  She didn’t crave the limelight nor perceive herself as special.  But she would’ve embraced helping others.  To that end, I donate from each book sold to help support Alzheimer's research; making a difference through a great read.  

She would be proud though to see so many personal adversities help others know they are not alone!

What sets I Will Never Forget apart from other memoirs on dementia?

Memoirs guarantee an authenticity, intimacy and personal depth that can’t be made up.  The expression “fact is stranger than fiction” particularly applies to I Will Never Forget.  My mother’s real life experiences and drama would not be believable, were they not absolutely true!  

I unwittingly made endless mistakes, living in denial, dismissing Mom’s erratic, unsafe behaviors as a show of her fierce independence and autonomy.  But when a cascade of bizarre events triggered my epiphany, I saw how  compromised my mother really was. 

Transparently I reveal my flawed perceptions, but more importantly I showcase strategies learned the hard way to dissolve outbursts, manage adverse behaviors and maintain connections when words become less meaningful.   

Links:





Interview with 
Paul James Zack
Author of


Tell us about “An Eternal Melody,” and your inspiration for writing the novel.

“An Eternal Melody” is the story of cowboy singer Casey Beckett and western artist Victoria Ames.  Casey, fast approaching the middle of his life, is a man out of place in a world run by clocks and computers.  Bonded to the land with his Wyoming roots, yet driven by restlessness he can only vaguely understand, he travels the country singing songs and reciting cowboy poetry.  Victoria, middle-aged and separated from her husband, is struggling to follow her dreams.  She yearns to live in the infinite vistas of the western landscapes she creates on canvas, but wonders if her desires can ever be attained in a life where her every step forward has been matched by retreat.  When Casey walks into Victoria’s art gallery on a hot June day, their lives are forever changed as they begin a passionate romance transcending the boundaries of time and place.  Written in poetic prose, “An Eternal Melody” is an unforgettable tapestry of tenderness and yearning, defining what it means to dance to the music within one’s heart.  Set in harmony with the lyrical soul of the land, this love story reminds us that hope can exist even at the darkest hours, at the final curtain, and that with courage and affirmation, a man and a woman together can fulfill their shared destiny.  

I like to call this story a “philosophical romance.”  As such, it appeals to women and men, with its themes of women with dreams, alienated men, wistful memories, unfulfilled yearning, and bittersweet love affairs haunting you forever.  These are undercurrents that have played roles in my own personal experiences, and like other novels in this genre (The Horse Whisperer, The Bridges of Madison County), the themes resonate with anyone who has lived a “true” life, with its attendant joy and pain, passion and heartbreak, love and longing.  I tapped into a deep well of universal emotion to find my means of expression to write this novel.

What is your writing routine?  How often do you write and do you outline your work?

When I’m working on a particular project, I try to write at least three or four hours every day.  Usually, I end up working longer than that.  I sit down at the computer whether I am “inspired” on a given day or not.  I’ve found that after a few minutes of contemplation and tentative pecking on the keyboard, inspiration always arrives from the universe.  I will sometimes work from a loose outline, more of a scene sequence than a rigid playbook.  Within that sequence can be dialogue, characterization, or plot points that I’d previously written down.  Frequently, I’m surprised by what appears on the page as I create a story; a scene that I’d not planned simply flows out without any help from me.  I call these awesome moments “downloads” from the universe.  

Where do you get your story ideas?

Everywhere!  A fiction writer is constantly observing, listening, thinking, questioning, conjuring.  Ideas come to me as fully-clothed, colorful, grandiose, brass-band experiences, or arriving silently as the smallest wisp of an image or emotion, and anywhere in between.  I receive inspiration from movie music (there is a post on my WordPress site about using movie soundtracks for writing inspiration), and spending time in wide-open spaces.  For me, a certain amount of solitude is essential in order to keep the creative gears oiled.  I get so many ideas and impressions that could become stories, I will never be able to write all of them.  I always carry a notebook to record my thoughts when they come, because they can slip away as easily as they appear.  

Tell us about your wide-ranging background.

That trait seems to be common among novelists.  The variety of my experiences helps me understand people, provides material for story ideas, and offers a rounded view of the world and our place in it.  I’ve traveled across the United States, and I’ve been a radio announcer, teacher, advertising consultant, actor, and stand-up humorist.  As well, I have numerous interests, and I read widely across several fields (archaeology, history, railroads, art, metaphysics, and of course, fiction).  A writer can never read too much.

What is the most rewarding thing about writing fiction?

Two things.  First, the sublime satisfaction of creation, whether it’s a novel, short story, poem, or song lyrics.  Second, interaction with readers who have enjoyed my work.  For example, women have told me that I was able to accurately capture a woman’s point of view through the character of Victoria Ames in “An Eternal Melody,” and this surprised them since I’m a man.  It has been gratifying to hear that from women readers.

Do have any advice for other writers?

Write every day.  Read every day.  Write without concern for the market.  Write the book you would enjoy reading.  Love your characters, but don’t be afraid to see them in pain.  Eat, breathe, sleep, and immerse yourself in the beauty of creating a story.  Don’t give up.

Please provide us with an excerpt from “An Eternal Melody.”

     Why hadn’t she heard the bells?
     The footsteps indicated that someone had entered the gallery, but the sleigh bells hanging from the brass doorknob on the front door hadn’t made a sound.  Vicki twisted around in her chair and peered into the showroom.  Half-hidden by a wall, she saw a tall man, wearing a blue and white striped shirt, jeans, boots and a black cowboy hat.  Was this Joanne’s cowboy?  She couldn’t see his face.  He had his back to her, his hands in the rear pockets of his jeans.
     Vicki swiveled back to her right, grabbed a rag and wiped her hands, removing a speck of blue from a long fingernail polished in pink.  She stood and the smell of turpentine wafted through the air as she flipped the rag across the racks of paint tubes on her supply table.  Anticipation tugged at her and she tried to suppress it.  She turned and stepped from the studio to the showroom after pausing at a mirror to glance at herself.  Why hadn’t she washed her hair that morning?
     Her bare feet, toenails also glistening pink, were silent against the varnished oak as she padded toward the front of the shop.  The cowboy was concentrating on a landscape of hers titled Mountain Morning.  
     In a quiet voice so he wouldn’t be startled, she said, “Can I help you with anything?”
     The cowboy turned, and as she saw his face, something quivered high in her chest.  It was him.  His face and the image on the portrait merged.
     He smiled gently, touched the brim of his hat and said, “How are you?  I wanted to talk to the artist.”
     His voice was kind, clear.  Light and color danced in his blue eyes.  Vicki hesitated, blinked.  “I’m the artist,” she finally said.  “What can I do for you?”
     She guessed he was younger than her, around forty.  There was a look about him, a certain wildness, telling her he wasn’t from the Midwest.  It was in his eyes and the way he carried himself.  His movements were deliberate and controlled, none wasted.
     “This painting here,” he said, pointing toward Mountain Morning, “looks just like a special place I know, near where I live in Wyoming.  It’s quite a ways off any of the regular trails.  I thought I was the only one who knew about it.”  He gave her an enigmatic smile. 
     It was difficult for her to look directly at him.  She toyed with a pearl snap on the front of her blouse.  After a second she said, “Where is this special place?”  It sounded senseless and she felt her face warm.
     “These mountains are at the north end of the Grand Teton National Park, near Jackson, but this view is a couple miles from any of the roads a-horseback.”  
     He lowered his voice.  “It’s one of my favorite places because almost nobody knows where it is.  At least, I thought that until I saw this painting.”
     “I’ve never been there,” Vicki said.
     “Then you have a rare imagination.”
     She smiled and the cowboy added, “I have a horse that looks remarkably like that bay.”  He pointed to the horse in the painting, and Vicki noticed a heavy turquoise and silver ring of Zuni Pueblo origin on his hand.  “My other steed is a paint horse called Dutch Boy.”
     Laughing, she relaxed, but her insides simmered.  She introduced herself and extended her hand, hoping he wouldn’t think she was too forward.  The cowboy hesitated, then reached his hand out and cradled hers firmly.
     “Casey,” he said.  “Casey Beckett.”
     His warm grip enveloped her hand.  She sensed strength, a kind of energy in his touch, and a spark passed between them, unlike anything she had ever felt.  It was primal, hinting at the untamed fire she saw in his eyes.
     Their handshake lingered for a moment as they looked at each other, then he blinked and released her hand, pushing his hands into the front pockets of his jeans.  The connection broke but a filament of energy remained.  Native American flute music floated between them.
     “I’m pleased to meet you, Casey.  Are you an artist?”  She tossed her hair over her shoulder.  A silver hoop earring glimmered in the glow of a ceiling spotlight.
     He shook his head.  “No ma’am.  I’m a singer and cowboy poet.  I’m doing a couple of shows over in Dubuque.”  He pointed over his shoulder with his thumb.
     Ma’am?  No one had called her ma’am in a long time, except the kid behind the deli counter at the Hy-Vee supermarket.  When he said it she felt old, but hearing Casey Beckett say it made her feel honored.
     “How long have you been running this outfit?”  He gestured toward the other paintings on the barn wood walls around them.
     “Almost eight years.  I’ve been painting all my life.”  She smiled.  “In my previous life, I was a Pinkerton agent, traveling the West, investigating underhanded salesmen who turned the odometers back on stagecoaches.”
     Casey eyed her for a moment before laughing.  “You too?  I thought I was the only one doing that.”
     She laughed with him.  Then he said, “You do look familiar.  Maybe we met back then at a saloon in Dodge City.”
     Vicki took in the high cheekbones, the mustache and hard jawline, all of it familiar.  More familiar than she could understand at the moment.  She wanted to tell him.  Perhaps he could explain why she’d painted a picture of him.
     “I’ve never been to Dodge City,” she said, the usual trace of wistful longing in her voice.  “I’ve always wanted to see it.”
     “I was there last summer.  Did a show for a cattlemen’s group.”  He shook his head.  “It was a hundred and three in the shade that day.  Hot enough to wither a fencepost.”
     “You must travel a lot.”
     Casey shrugged and fixed his gaze on her.  “It’s been my life,” he said.  The look in his eyes confirmed his words, but a shadow slid past, as if something contradictory lurked beneath the surface.  He looked away before she could see more.
     Questions dashed through Vicki’s mind.  She fought to find one or two on which she could focus.  “Tell me more about Jackson.  I’ve read there are quite a number of art galleries there.”
     He nodded and described the town.  She studied him as he talked.  He had a solid, powerful-looking chest and broad shoulders, arms that looked strong and capable.  
     She thought the black hat and dark mustache were an intriguing contrast to the brightness of his eyes.  The resemblance to the cowboy in the portrait was extraordinary.
     He was over six feet tall, with long, sturdy legs.  Even at her five feet ten, he towered over her.  The expensive western shirt he wore was tucked neatly into his jeans.  She liked that.  The top two pearl snaps of the shirt were undone and she could see a fine silver rope chain around his neck nestled in a wisp of dark hair on his chest.  An unusual gold watch with a black band circled his wrist.
      Vicki admired the large, tarnished silver and gold oval buckle at Casey’s waist.  In small capital letters that were almost worn away, the engraving on the buckle read CHAMPION BULL RIDER – PLATTE COUNTY RODEO – 1995.
     A bead of perspiration rolled down the small of her back and into the waistband of her jeans.  She realized she had been standing in the blaze of a ceiling spotlight.  A circle of heat was branded on her shoulder.  She absentmindedly wiped her forehead and stepped out of the light, closer to Casey.  The scent of his cologne kissed her.  Like him, it was feral, but pleasing.

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Interview with
Paul Zunckel
Author of


You have a fascination with witchcraft, superstitions, secret rites and ancient beliefs. Tell us how you interweaved them into your story, The Blood Trilogy.

Africa is rich in superstition and ancient beliefs. I have always been interested in the myths and legends of the people of the land, and as for witchcraft and secret rites, well they still take place to this day as it is something that is buried in the African culture so for me, it just seem to come naturally when I write. For example in Book One of The Blood Trilogy, Blood Moon over Africa, I take the superstitions that surround the Hyena and the witchdoctor, much like the black cat and the witch in Europe and just let my “Dark Side” take over and capture my imagination. Witchcraft and witchdoctors form a very real  part of African life…for example even a sneeze can be blamed on someone bewitching the one sneezing via some sort of spell or charm obtained from a witchdoctor, so as you can see as far as African superstitions go, it gives me a vast pool to draw inspiration from.   

You write about something that is close to your heart: Africa. “The beauty and treachery of the land.” Tell us how growing up in South Africa inspired your writing.

As a child growing up my Father worked on the mines in Rhodesia and his job took him to some very remote areas. I was blessed to live in the heart of the Wankie Game Reserve where the school had a security fence around it to keep the wild life safe from the children. My Grandfather was a professional big game hunter in the early years and I reckon a lot of tall tales he told me as a boy made a deep impression on me...I have brought some of those stories to life in my books. Africa is a stunning country and to answer your question, growing up not only in South Africa but Rhodesia and Zambia and coming into close contact with the local people in the areas and hearing about their superstitions, the myths and legends sparked an interest that got buried by life and only resurfaced in August 2014 when I started on this awesome journey of writing.
  
You served in the National service in the South African Defence Force as an Ops Medic. Had this experience influenced your writing?

I suppose in a way it has had an influence as I can draw on experience from serving in the “combat zone”. Fourteen months of my two year service was spent in South West Africa...again in the bush and I sometimes find that when I am describing a camp at night, the use of a helicopter, gunfire, the chatter of the primates or the cough of a lion my mind goes back to those days.

I love the words you invent, such as “blood spoor.” How do you come up with new, imaginative language? 

LOL...I just have to be very honest here...I have no idea. I guess that I have been very blessed as when I write the words just flow like a water tap that has been turned on...I really have no idea what is going to pop up next in my head...I go into another world and live with my characters... the plot sucks me in and I just let my imagination run wild.

You play the guitar, and music is a big part of your life. Do you find that it affects the way you write?

The only thing that is affected by my guitar playing is the neighbours and then I have problems with shouts of...”keep that racket down”...Seriously to answer your question I write my own material for the guitar and I would suppose that in some way it does influence my writing, but it is something that I have not noticed.

Give us an excerpt from The Blood Trilogy

Prologue from Book One: Blood Moon over Africa

The full moon looks down on the dry African bush, the wind plays with the leaves of the trees, and the shadows grow longer as the moon climbs in the sky.  The howl echo’s across the vast African landscape, splitting the night in two.  The leopard freezes in his tracks as he moves from the safety of the shrubs, silence descends like a blanket, the chirping of the crickets and the mating call of the frogs disappear as the howl echoes off the kopje behind him.  The other watches as the big cat moves slowly around the corner of the deserted house.  The attack is fast and deadly, the other launches itself onto the back of the cat, its strong jaws latching onto the thick neck of the leopard, just behind the head.  The cat rolls onto its back, trying to dislodge its attacker, blood fly’s, bone is crushed and the spinal cord severed, the big cat now paralyzed is at the mercy of the other.  The head of the leopard is torn from its body; sounds of ripping and tearing now fill the night as the other eats.

The other stands in the clearing; all is still; it lifts its head to the heavens and howls out its ownership of the night.

Nothing is safe when the moon is full.

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Interview with
Rik Stone
Author of



What is your writing regimen? Any tips for keeping focused?
I took an early retirement package when I was fifty and immediately turned my efforts to writing professionally. After all, it was the beginning of the rest of my life and I had to take it seriously. Already having the work ethic from being in harness, I found it fairly easy to shift my focus and keep to the regime I had established over the previous years. Having said that, I don’t stick to the same hours. My buddy Wilson, the dog, gets a nice, long, leisurely walk first thing which gives me time to get my thoughts straight and then it’s home for breakfast. In summer, I spend time during the sunny days gardening and generally enjoying the time of year. That doesn’t mean I don’t work on those days, it just means the hours are pushed back, a little like Spanish time. On the days that slip back I work until seven or eight in the evening, as long as I put in four to eight hours, I usually feel satisfied. 

As far as tips for writers just setting out go, I would recommend putting aside writing time that is easily achievable. I can’t put a number to that because everyone’s different; too much might sicken one while too little might bore another. Whatever hours you do plan, they will expand of their own volition along with the piece you just can’t walk away from right now. I suggest a time quota because I’ve read stuff saying you should write a given amount of words per day, but for me that isn’t realistic. Why? After I finish the final draft of a novel I give the work a thorough read through. If the book in question is 80k words, then I might spend several days without writing a word, but I am still putting the time in.

What is your next project?

 If there is a weakness in my career, it would be marketing. While I always make time for writing, of late I have put some of it aside to study various marketing techniques. I have a new modern day series called A Destiny to Die for Crime Novels, the first two books of which are Angelita’s Story parts 1&2. The novels are written and ready to go, but I’m not rushing into publishing them until I have a better feel for getting the launch right. 

Even then, while it’s a lovely thought that you might get everything right from day one, I won’t despair if it doesn’t work out that way for Angelita. And here’s why not to worry: A fresh cream cake on display becomes unsellable if it doesn’t leave the shelf after the first day or so, but a book has no sell-by date. I am three books down the line with the Birth of an Assassin series of novels and while I have been happy with the success they’ve enjoyed, there is a lot of life left in them yet. Probably ninety percent plus of the possible readership don’t yet know these books exist. So, like a dog, your novel is not just for Christmas, it is for life, so you always have time to get things right.

What drove you to write the A Destiny to Die for Crime Novels?

I read several articles online and in the newspapers regarding the true stories of women in Mexico and Columbia who had gradually worked their way into the drug cartels until they, unbelievably, took command of their respective gangs. Depressingly, the more I researched the possibility of writing a fiction novel that reflected what I’d read, the more I saw it had all been done before. But I didn’t want to give up, I had the bit between my teeth and I wanted to write that story. So, applying a little diversity and moving the location to Brazil, I looked at the bare outline I had written and played with its perspective, changed the demeanour of the plot and ended up with a story that I believe to be unique. I loved writing about Angelita so much, I am totally excited about getting it out there, but patience is the key and I must rein in my enthusiasm until the time is right. 

Words of advice for those looking to indie-publish?

Don’t give up. Writers write, that’s what they do and they should remember that’s what is important. I say that because when your work goes out to the real world you have a shed-load of unrealistic expectations in mind and if those expectations aren’t met overnight, it can make you question why you bothered doing it the first place. It’s called disappointment. Dream yes, but don’t expect. And remember, success or failure is not a reflection of your work, rather a reflection of your marketing skills. Take your time, keep writing, and let the more worldly accomplishments develop with experience. Only time will tell and if you are not willing to put that time in, you might well fall by the wayside before you’ve given it a chance.

Do you consider yourself multi-genre or are you completely immersed in a particular theme?

Primarily, I think of myself as a thriller writer. However, I’ve done several interviews where I’ve stated that a writer should be able to write in any genre. That smartass answer bugged me a little, as thrillers have been all I’ve tackled to date. What I’d said had me questioning if that was really the case for me. I had to find out. By coincidence, it wasn’t long after having those thoughts that I had a nightmare I couldn’t shake off even after wakening. When I shared the story with my wife, she said, ‘There you go, there’s your different genre, write it down.’ Although the dream was frightening at the time, it boiled down to being about caring for someone. So, I tweaked the story, gave it width and depth, and produced a short story romance. I succeeded, yay, but was it a fluke? Luckily no, I’ve written another four short romances and have outlined three more, so I will have a full length romantic collection in the pot by the time the latest ones are complete.

How long did it take before you considered your writing style became your own?

A good question. In short, I think when you start out you look at the writers you admire and try to emulate them. When you have found your own style, you look at those same writers and think, ‘they should’ve done it like this.’ i.e. your way.

Links:





Interview with
Linnea Tanner
Author of


Tell us about your debut novel? Is your recent book part of a series?

My debut novel, Apollo’s Raven, is an epic Celtic tale that follows two star-crossed lovers and weaves Celtic mythology into a backdrop of ancient Rome and Britannia. In a story of forbidden love and loyalty, the Celtic Warrior Princess Catrin is caught in a political web of deception when the emperor Tiberius demands allegiance from her father, King Amren. When King Amren takes Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, as a hostage, he demands that Catrin spy on him. As her feelings grow for him, she discovers a curse that foretells a future she desperately wants to break. Torn between her forbidden love for the enemy and loyalty to her people, Catrin urgently calls upon the magic of the Ancient Druids to alter the dark prophecy that awaits her.

Apollo’s Raven is the first book in a series that will center on the star-crossed lovers that spans from 24 AD to 40 AD.

How did you select your genre of your series? Or did it choose you?

Apollo’s Raven is multi-genre: historical fiction/epic fantasy. 

The series is inspired by the legacy of Cleopatra and Mark Antony, but with a Celtic twist. I had originally envisioned the series to be a historical fiction of the star-crossed lover Catrin and Marcellus. The backdrop is based on a historical period in southeast Britannia from which few written records exist before Claudius’ invasion in 43 AD. Nonetheless, archaeological findings suggest powerful Celtic kings were expanding their power by conquering other tribes. Nonetheless, Rome’s influence on their internal politics was inescapable. This provides the perfect backdrop for political and romantic turmoil.

However, as I did more research, I became increasingly fascinated with the Celtic religion and mythology and began incorporating fantastical elements into the story. Thus, Celtic mysticism and magic are woven in the historical backdrop of Ancient Rome and Britannia. 

What inspired you to write a story about a Celtic warrior princess?

As a young girl growing up in the 1950s, I was inspired by the myths and legends of powerful women warriors and sorceresses. In third grade, when most of my friends were reading Nancy Drew mysteries, I was devouring books on Greek and Nordic mythology. By eighth grade, I was reading adult historical fiction about the bigger-than life adventures of epic heroes and gods and goddesses that steered the fate of humans. 

When I saw the statue of the Celtic Warrior Queen Boudica with her two daughters in a chariot prominently displayed in London, I was inspired by her determination to lead a resistance against the Romans in 61 AD. In the Victorian Era, Boudica’s fame took on legendary proportions as Queen Victoria became associated with Boudica's "namesake", their names being identical in meaning.

Modern readers can draw on the rich traditions of ancient civilizations where women owned property and could become rulers and spiritual leaders. Women fought with weapons, hunted, rode horses and used bows and arrows, just like the men, to maintain the integrity and protection of their family and society.

Will the stain left by Mark Antony and his descendents became a central theme in the series? Will history repeat itself with the star-crossed lovers, Catrin and Marcellus?

There legendary Mark Antony and Cleopatra inspired the Apollo’s Raven series. Though Marcellus is a fictional character, his father is based on the historical figure of Lucius Antonius, the grandson of Mark Antony and the son of Iullus Antonius. In an act of damnatio memoriae, Mark Antony’s honors were revoked and his statues destroyed. Lucius was banished to Gaul when his father Iullus was accused of treason for having an affair with Augustus’ daughter, Julia. When I began writing the series, I could image the anger and bitterness Lucius felt being punished for the sins of his forefathers. 

The stain left by Mark Antony and his descendents directly impacts the story line that will unfold in the series. 

What are the special challenges in writing a series?

The biggest challenge is the series continues to evolve as more scenes are written. Book1: Apollo’s Raven is actually the fourth book that I have written in the series. After I received feedback from agents and other writers on the first three books, I realized that I needed to create another book that that clearly sets the complex political situation and draws the reader into the fantastical world of the Celts. Apollo’s Raven had unexpected but exciting directions that I’m now trying to weave back into the original books I have already drafted. As I revise the first original three books, I’ve had to change some of the plot and characters to enhance the story. Also, each book needs to be kept fresh by introducing new characters, themes, and settings. The series has expanded beyond what I had first envisioned.

Please share an excerpt with us.

Catrin again hesitated. Once before, when she had melded and then disconnected from her raven, she lost consciousness. It took awhile for her head to clear after that episode. If that happened again, it could spell disaster so close to the precipice. 

She stepped away from the cliff’s edge and stared into the raven’s eyes which were glowing like amber gems. The bird’s talons emitted a bolt of electric heat into her arm. A light flashed in her mind, and the raven’s essence permeated her core being. She knew then that she had entered the raven’s prescient mind.

At first, the landscape appeared blurry until she adjusted to the raven’s eyesight. Then brightly colored wildflowers dazzled her with purple hues that she was unable to detect with her human eyes. A thrill rushed through her as she sensed the bird’s breast muscles contracting to flap its wings. When the raven began its thrust into flight, she felt the misty air lift the bird’s outstretched wings.

Links:





Interview with
Aidan Stone
Author of

Rae Leah’s Salvation is the second book in the Tales From Aelfyce Series and both books have included Rae Leah. Will she be returning again in another volume, and will you talk about her role in this volume?

I suppose there’s little harm in admitting that Rae Leah will be a constant throughout the series. Wesley, now that’s another matter. He seems to be operating under the idea that it’s better to burn out than to fade away. When they read Rae Leah’s Salvation they will understand what I mean.

Sure, I’ll give you a teaser of sorts, something different than the blurbs. I wrote Rae Leah and Wesley’s love affair to bond two people who have suffered alone before healing one another, together in the isolation of Steam Island, and I’ve left myself an avenue to see that it grows in volume three. That’s it for the teaser.

Aidan, what led you to create the Lourack as catlike, and will we meet other species in the series?

Oddly enough, they came from a tattoo on my forearm. Working late one night with another tattoo artist I held my arm out and said, “You decide.” He tattooed the head and shoulders of a cat lady on me. I wore the tattoo for many years before I created the first Lourack. In one of those daydream moments, I created Red who I introduced with Rae Leah in The Power of the Stones. At the time, I had just retired and my wife made it perfectly clear that being completely retired wasn’t working. I began writing the fledgling story of Aelfyce and the Lourack fleshed out as I wrote. I really enjoy the creation process of writing fiction. I enjoyed adding new facets to the Lourack.

In volume three, I introduce new animals and their habits, but no sentient species.

Do you have any idea how far you will go with the series?

I am long-winded, but no more than seven. Of course, now that I’ve said that the number will either shrink or grow. If I hit a place that seems a proper end to the series, I’ll quit. I also have two other books outside the series that I want to publish that I will squeeze in somewhere.

What authors have given you inspiration and why?

I’m a reader; I was in my early twenties before I looked at books as an inspiration to write something of my own. Anne McCaffrey inspired me to put arduous words into my books. I have to get something in there that people will need a dictionary to understand. In dedication to Piers Anthony I try to get a real belly groaning pun in. He is an author to emulate, being so prolific, and in so many genres.

I’ve read many indie authors during the last four years. I think a lot of good work is going unnoticed. Not every work is the next great American saga, but I’ve read and reviewed many as five star books. I found many have new devices to promote action, different ways to write descriptions, and other things that I will flat-out steal when I can use them.

In all truth, the author who will truly inspire me is the author who writes the next book I can’t put down.

What frustrates you when you write?

Many things frustrate me. Having a good idea while you can’t write it down stinks. People who think I’m crazy as I walk the aisles at the local grocery store repeating, “I will see him dead, don’t doubt it,” changing my tirade subtly until it sounds right. Having to walk the aisles of the grocery store repeating, “I will see him dead, don’t doubt it,” because, “Where was I that I couldn’t write it down when it was perfect.” (See line two)

Second guessing myself will eventually frustrate me. Sometimes I carve a vicious circle to get right back where I started. Writers block doesn’t frustrate me; it’s a great time to get ice cream.

Please share an excerpt with us:

They lay together in the snow laughing. Rae Leah snuggled next to him and began rubbing her head under his chin. Wess felt her become very still, and then heard her thoughts. “He is a good man. I hope he doesn’t forsake me in this place.”

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Interview with 
Linda Lee Green
Author of


I have read in your biographies that you are a victim of Crohns Disease. While in no way are you thankful for the devastating illness, you credit it for showing you the way to your soul’s voice, and therefore to your life as an author. Will you share that transformative experience with us, please, Linda?

It was the morning of August 10, 2000. I was lying in bed suffering yet another severe flare-up of the Crohns Disease that had taken over my life utterly for nearly a decade. I was on an extended sick leave from my job as an Interior Designer with a local firm because I couldn’t work—I couldn’t be more than a few paces away from my bathroom—I couldn’t eat because food aggravated the symptoms—I couldn’t sleep because the steroids kept me awake almost perpetually. I was worn out, worn down, and downcast, and of the mind that I hadn’t a thing to look forward to in life anymore. But Fate stepped in that morning, put me on my feet, sent me to the shower, and while there, a story, a murder mystery, no less, flowed over me as if the words were contained within the molecules of the water. I knew without question that my soul’s voice had taken over, and it was a path it called me to follow. I returned to my bed with a notepad and pen, began to write, and in those few moments, my life, my purposeful life as an author of books began. That book became an Amazon best-seller.

Did the talent for writing come as a surprise to you with that experience? Or, was it always there, somewhere within you?

I had known since I was a very young child that I was an artist. I began drawing as soon as I discovered how to hold a pencil in my hand. The talent for interior design took shape as I approached adulthood, but writing stayed in the shadows, showing its face only in glimpses now and then—in college essays that earned high marks, in poems I wrote on the sneak. I suspected I was a writer at heart, but ideas for stories eluded me completely—until that fateful day in the summer of 2000. Since then, the stories come and come and come, like a water spigot that will not turn off...ha ha…as if I am still standing beneath the spray of water in my bathroom shower.

To date, you have released four books to the public, all of different genres. Do you intend to continue in this vein, or do you think you will settle into a specific genre as time goes by?

Your question reminds of my student days at the Columbus College of Art and Design (I live in Columbus, Ohio, by the way). My instructors there often found my love of diversity in my artwork infuriating. They admonished me to stick to one style, to create a recognizable signature if I ever expected to ‘make it’ in the art world. Such limitations were intolerable to me, and are to this day. The repetition bored me almost fatally, but I survived through diversity. 

I don’t know if the same credo holds true in the literary world, but if it does, I guess I am doomed to everlasting obscurity as an author. ‘Jesus Gandhi Oma Mae Adams’ (http://amzn.to/VazHFG) which is my first book and co-authored by Debra Shiveley Welch, is designated as a ‘Mystery.’ That is the book that came to me in the shower. ‘Guardians and Other Angels’ (http://goo.gl/imUwKO) is a novel of ‘Historical Fiction.’ My book for young readers is ‘Rooster Tale’ (goo.gl/vNq32g). My latest book, ‘Cradle of the Serpent’ (goo.gl/i3UkAV), is labeled as a ‘Contemporary Romance’.

Like you, I am an artist and author. I have found that no matter the apparent dissimilarities in my work, as indeed in the work of all such prolific creators, there is an underlying element that is detectable, despite our own efforts to mask it, either deliberately or accidentally. Can you recognize some harmonious theme in all your books?

Well, I guess it takes one to know one, Uvi! You’ve found me out! Yes, the thread in my work, or ‘spine,’ in the words of the late Film Director Sydney Pollock, is relationships. I write about relationships. Enfolded in the murder mystery of my first book is a love affair between a man and a woman, why and how it began, and why and how it went wrong. ‘Guardians and Other Angels,’ this homage to my Southern Ohio ancestors of the early to middle 1900s, is the book that led me back home, that rooted me firmly in my and my family’s little patch of Earth, that brought to a halt, finally, my lust of wandering, my fear of establishing roots. My fun and happy little novella for young readers weaves a story centered on the love among siblings and their animals, and the sacrifices they willingly assume for the benefit of one another. My new novel, ‘Cradle of the Serpent,’ explores a crisis in a long-term marriage brought on by infidelity and catastrophic illness. How I managed to find a happy ending for that one, I will never know. Although, I must state that happy endings are never my goal. Truth is my primary goal—I must find truth, no matter where it leads, or ends.

Do you establish an outline before you begin writing a book?

Oh no, never! Never do I know where my stories are leading me. Writing for me is an adventure—about the only great adventure left to me in life considering my circumstances. I begin with a grain of an idea, sometimes with just an intriguing word. And I follow it to the place my soul wants to show me, to the concept my soul wishes to teach me, to the spiritual realm my soul wants to take me. Somehow I know I am charged with taking my readers on the adventures with me, to show them the place, to reveal to them the concept, to take them out of themselves and to ride the wave of their spirit for a time.

In addition to writing as a discovery of people, places, and things, it is a way of getting to closure in my own experiences. For instance, much of my own marriage showed up in ‘Cradle of the Serpent.’ It was completely unintentional, at least consciously, but that old reptilian brain of mine, my unconscious, had ideas of its own. It brought a conclusion to the story that was entirely different than the outcome of the crisis in my own marriage. It was a way of voicing my regrets over my own choices, of wiping my bad conscience clean, at last. Writing is therapeutic for me. It is my greatest wish that my books are similarly curative, and in the process, entertaining for my readers.

Thank you so much for inviting me to be a guest on your blog, Uvi. I hope your readers enjoy viewing my artwork, some of it having won awards. An extensive collection of it is on view at www.gallery-llgreene.com. I hope my responses on this post will inspire your readers to become my readers, too, and will post reviews of my books on Amazon and/or other retail outlets where they are available. I would enjoy hearing from your readers by email at lindaleegreene.author.artist@gmail.com.
Totally my pleasure, Linda! Wonderful to talk to you and learn about your work!

Links:
Blog 




Interview with 
Sheila Deeth
Author of
And other books


Divide by Zero and Infinite Sum are constructed very differently from each other. The first novel is told from multiple points of view and the second is entirely Syvia’s first-person account. Why did you choose to do that?

In a way, Infinite Sum is the novel I always needed to write, hence first-person I suppose. But I couldn’t write it. Some of the scenes cut too close to home, and I didn’t want to write a story about me. Divide by Zero is kind of the consequence of not writing my story—a novel about lots of different people who end up tied, even knotted together when Sylvia’s secret comes out. But Sylvia was still keeping secrets, even to the final pages. I just hadn’t realized it. While the other characters slipped out of focus when Divide by Zero was done, Sylvia kept coming back, kept insisting her story had to be told. So now, Infinite Sum really isn’t my story after all, its scenes aren’t my scenes, and its protagonist isn’t me. But I loved being Sylvia’s storyteller.

The truth is, I love to play with words, forms and stories, so I’m quite glad the two novels ended up so different. I hope to write many more in the series and I make no promises about how many points of view they’ll cover or how many genres.

It sounds like Infinite Sum is rather special to you. Would you say it’s your favorite of the books you’ve written so far? Will it remain a favorite?

Infinite Sum is my favorite, yes, at least in the sense that an author can have favorites – is that the same as a parent has favorites? It’s special to me because it’s a subject so close to my heart, and I’m guessing it will always be special because it’s the story in which I’m most vulnerable – I admit in the introduction that some of these things happened to me, that I’m writing from personal experience as well as my imaginary character’s, and that, although it’s not my story, it is informed by mine.

At this point, I should ask you to clarify for readers, what is the central theme of Infinite Sum?

The novel starts with a depressed mother going through therapy. Her depression stems from sexual abuse in her childhood. I went through therapy for similar reasons when my third child was born and, like my protagonist, I struggled for years with a sense of guilt, unable to quite forgive myself for what I’d allowed to happen. Of course, children inevitably allow things to happen. They’re not the ones in control. But it becomes hard to take control as an adult when you’re blaming yourself for what happened to you as a child.

Who do you think should read your novel?

I think people should read Infinite Sum just as a story, so I guess I’m saying, anyone should. There’s a mystery in there, and a character arc as Sylvia grows to new knowledge. There’s lots of art, exploring how pictures can hide and reveal the truth. And there’s plenty of family drama. But I think people who’ve been abused, or who have friends who’ve been abused, might find some recognition and encouragement too. I’d love someone to read the novel and respond by forgiving herself and moving on.

Do you think that will happen?

I hope it will, but first I have to actually find some readers. I really appreciate your interviewing me here; it gives me a little more exposure, and it gives me an emotional boost – another author thinks I’m worth interviewing. Thank you so much Uvi!

Aw, it’s my pleasure Sheila! Please share an excerpt with us.

“Don’t try to decide what you’re going to paint,” says the teacher. Then I wonder; if I don’t decide to dab my brush in paint, does he think some glorious image will appear unaided?

“Don’t restrict yourself.” But I’m bound by the page.
“Let inspiration arise from your subconscious. Set it free.”

The teacher’s voice rises skyward with his words. I watch him lift manicured hands, so very consciously and theatrically. But we’re working in a warehouse, under a lofty ceiling of snaking conduits and tangled wires. Around us, deliberately inspiring objects are artfully displayed—paintings, sculptures, a vase of flowers, a crooked pile of boxes covered in cloth. Distant spotlights splash the walls, while layers of gauze and canvas tumble down in wild abandon. In the midst of it all, we painters guard our easels, proudly wearing our different shapes and styles, eagerly devouring the teacher’s wondrous wisdom, and ready for art.

But my subconscious really doesn’t feel like inspiring anything. My hand holds the paintbrush, level with my eyes, as if I’m measuring angles or judging the shade for some curious tone, while I stare pointlessly at flowers. Yellow roses, tipped and veined with red; I mourn them as they dangle over the rim of a blue glass vase. Their feathered heads promise magic in that precious moment before falling. And then, in silence, one lonely petal drops. I let my paintbrush dip and stroke its sunset onto the page and think, yeah great; this is me, inspired by dying flowers.


And now here is where to find out more about you and your work:





Interview with
Raven A. Price
Author of


What persuaded you to write a trilogy? 

After I wrote my first book, The Plan, my friends encouraged me to write books that would entertain and benefit women who face challenging situations.   I got the idea of making my leading ladies avenging heroes who break out of bad lifestyles by watching the movie ‘Avengers’. 

Tell us something about the first book.

Convicted (Book 1 of The Paradigm Shift Trilogy) is about Hope Anderson, a woman who was mentally and physically abused and felt like she was a failure in life.   Afraid of her own shadow, she seeks comfort from her family church only to feel condemnation and shame instead of love and acceptance.   Through supernatural events with the Holy Spirit, Hope is given abilities to know the truth behind chaos and it is with the Lord’s presence and her new abilities she able to heal and be of service to Him. 

What genre would you categorize this book? 

Christian, fantasy, and romance.

Explain why you feel Convicted is a Christian fantasy and romance book, instead of just a romance?  

When I read for enjoyment, my preference is romance but the younger generation is more intrigued with supernatural and fantasy so I decided to make my stories Christian-themed with genres that are popular.   

Throughout Convicted, Hope is taken on spiritual journeys and taught spiritual warfare making the story like a fantasy.   When Hope meets Jesus, He proves to her that she is a lovable woman and encourages her to share her heart again with another.  He also convinces her that she was designed to be a powerful woman for His kingdom as well as a wife and mother.  When Hope submits to Jesus’ plan to become what she was created to be, does all hell breaks loose and she must fight her deepest fear as well as Satan in order to live. 

Explain why Convicted is a Christian fantasy and romance, instead of just a romance?

It is a Christian book because it embraces a lifestyle with Jesus.   Plus, throughout the book, Hope is taken on spiritual journeys and taught spiritual warfare making the story like a fantasy.   After Hope meets Jesus, He proves to her that she is a lovable woman designed to be a powerful woman as well as a wife and mother giving her confidence to share her heart again with another.  Only after she commits to Jesus’ plan, does all hell breaks loose and Hope must fight her deepest fear as well as Satan in order to live.

Have you finished the entire trilogy? 

Yes, Convinced (Book 2) is centered around a young lady who is self-willed and very pretentious who has an out of body experience with an angel.  I had fun bringing Gina Grimes to life.   

Commissioned (Book 3) finishes the story about the Paradigm Shift by ushering in a harlot who has the power to change life for all mankind.  I don’t want to give too much away about this book.  It is very dramatic and fulfilling.

Please share an excerpt with us.

I saw a light on the bedroom wall. It looked like a candle flickering. Focusing on its shimmer, I noticed it was also moving. Then I heard his heavenly voice calling, “Hope, come to me. I want to give you peace and rest.”

My logical mind was telling me I was just tired and confused, seeing things that couldn’t exist; but my spirit was urging me to reach out to the light. Hadn’t I told the Lord I was giving up? What did it hurt to reach for the light? Didn’t Moses seek a burning bush? This had to be the Lord because my spirit was so excited. Getting out of bed to focus more closely on the light, I felt like a cat chasing a light. Extremely excited and wide-eyed, I watched it move. As I stretched out my hand to make contact, an amazing thing happened. The light began to pulse brighter. The air around me felt like it was pushing me into the wall. At first, I didn’t feel anything when connected with the light. My body felt fluid as the light sucked me into another dimension. Instantly, I was flying or falling or spinning head over feet. Then I got motion sickness from the speed within the dimension. My head felt dizzy and my stomach felt sick, so I closed my eyes. My eyes were closed, but my mouth was continually screaming. I was at the breaking point. While screaming, I mentally prayed, Lord, I can’t take this! I’m scared! Please stop this!

“Trust me. It’s almost over,” I heard the voice reply.

I was mentally preparing for a splat. I just knew I was going to land so hard that there wouldn’t be anything left of me. I would be like Humpy Dumpty for the Lord to put together again. I wouldn’t be dead because He was with me. There was no way around it. I was about to know more pain.

Links:






Interview with
S.j. Hermann
Author of



Tell us about Morium and what does Morium mean? 

Morium is Latin for morals, conduct and character. That is what's at the heart of the trilogy. It follows three close friends, Lexi, Nathan and Stacy who suffer through bullying during their high school years. They each react differently. Lexi turns the pain on herself through self harm. Nathan buries his hatred deep when his parents are constantly working. Stacy verbally fights back, even though she hurts inside.

One evening Lexi and Nathan discover meteorites and after they dissolve in their hands, they find themselves with abilities that are unbelievable and the chance to get revenge on those who mentally tortured them. That's where the moral question comes in. Would you get revenge if given the chance? 

What makes Morium stand out against other YA books out there?

While the supernatural aspect of the story is an important part, its only the outer layer. In its core, moral convictions is what truly drives the story. The power of friendship even during the hardest times. It gives readers two very separate viewpoints on the use of these powers. Lexi sees the danger of abuse while Nathan sees an opportunity. 

As the story progresses through the books,  it covers many serious topics that teenagers may face. It's not only about the bullying and it's psychological effects; addiction, self harm, and sexual abuse weave into the story. It defines who we are as a person.

When is the next book in The Morium Trilogy set be release? 

Morium: Terminus is scheduled to be released in May. It will conclude what has been a rollercoaster of writing blocks. It was one of those writing blocks where I knew how the book would end but I didn't know how I would get there. There were times where I suffered story burnout, but I became determined to give my characters the best sendoff I could. 

What do you think is the toughest part of being an indie writer?

Marketing. Your book is a mere dot in the night sky which is filled with other stars. The biggest challenge is making your star shine brighter than the rest. On the flip side of that, authors have been some of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. They've made my writing journey a pleasure.

Any advice for writers thinking of jumping into the fray?

Yes. Write. Write as much as you can. If you have a story you want to tell, then tell it. Who knows, it just may be that brightly lit star in the night sky.

Please share an excerpt with us.

"Lexi darted into the girls’ washroom. Pushing open a stall door, she ducked inside and slammed it shut. As she sunk onto the toilet, her books fell from her hands, but she didn’t notice as they crashed against the floor. Unable to hold back anymore, she buried her face in her sweaty hands and cried uncontrollably. She wondered how she could possibly make it through the last five months of school. Her fist slammed against the stall as the tears flowed freely, splashing against her books and the tiled floor. “I hate them,” she mumbled to herself. “I hate them. I hate them. I hate them.” She slid up her sleeve, revealing several rows of scars and scraping her fingernails over the scabs. Every swipe felt like a knife slicing into her, causing the warm blood to trickle from the wounds. Her breathing slowed from a rapid pant to a normal rhythm as the pain settled over her, filling her with calm. In that moment, the physical hurting became a temporary relief from the emotional agony which swelled inside her. She sat there for a few minutes, taking in deep breaths. “Lexi?” the soft voice rang out, bouncing off the walls of the vacant room. Lexi yanked her sleeve down to hide her secret and pulled her hair back in her hands. “Yeah, Stace?” she sobbed out. “You okay?” Lexi gathered her books from the floor, attempting to regain what little composure she could. As she reached to open the stall door, her red-stained fingers caught her attention. She vigorously wiped the blood onto the inside of her sweater. With a final breath, she emerged to find Stacy standing by the door. “I’m sorry, Lex,” Stacy told her, wrapping her arms around Lexi. “Just another day in hell,” Lexi replied. The bell echoed from down the hallway, startling them. They strolled out as students began to fill the hall. Only half a day left, she thought as they made their way to the next class." 

From Morium: Book One by S.J. Hermann

"Lexi darted into the girls’ washroom. Pushing open a stall door, she ducked inside and slammed it shut. As she sunk onto the toilet, her books fell from her hands, but she didn’t notice as they crashed against the floor. Unable to hold back anymore, she buried her face in her sweaty hands and cried uncontrollably. She wondered how she could possibly make it through the last five months of school. Her fist slammed against the stall as the tears flowed freely, splashing against her books and the tiled floor. “I hate them,” she mumbled to herself. “I hate them. I hate them. I hate them.” She slid up her sleeve, revealing several rows of scars and scraping her fingernails over the scabs. Every swipe felt like a knife slicing into her, causing the warm blood to trickle from the wounds. Her breathing slowed from a rapid pant to a normal rhythm as the pain settled over her, filling her with calm. In that moment, the physical hurting became a temporary relief from the emotional agony which swelled inside her. She sat there for a few minutes, taking in deep breaths. “Lexi?” the soft voice rang out, bouncing off the walls of the vacant room. Lexi yanked her sleeve down to hide her secret and pulled her hair back in her hands. “Yeah, Stace?” she sobbed out. “You okay?” Lexi gathered her books from the floor, attempting to regain what little composure she could. As she reached to open the stall door, her red-stained fingers caught her attention. She vigorously wiped the blood onto the inside of her sweater. With a final breath, she emerged to find Stacy standing by the door. “I’m sorry, Lex,” Stacy told her, wrapping her arms around Lexi. “Just another day in hell,” Lexi replied. The bell echoed from down the hallway, startling them. They strolled out as students began to fill the hall. Only half a day left, she thought as they made their way to the next class." 

From Morium: Book One by S.J. Hermann

Links:


Buy links:

Morium Trilogy

107 comments:

  1. Thank you very much, Uvi. It was a pleasure and an honor to be interviewed by an author and artist I admire a lot.

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    1. Literature is for the people who are literate,what is there for educated to read?

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  2. The Work you do Uvi is so appreciated . . . it is a good one.
    Blessings
    bill

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    1. My pleasure, W. S. Peters. I am happy to provide a platform for the new voices in literature.

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  3. Thank you Uvi for the honor of being a guest on this wonderful site. Blessings....Teresa

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    1. Totally my pleasure, Teresa! Best of luck with Chasing Light.

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  4. Thanks, Uvi, for inviting me here and interviewing me. I love your work. Good luck with your books. Happy reading & writing :)

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    1. My pleasure Vickie! And what a lovely interview!

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  5. Thank you so much, Uvi, for the wonderful opportunity to visit with you and for posting my interview. It has been an experience I will cherish - always.

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    1. So glad your interview coincided with the publication of The Trap on Amazon and B&N! Congratulation Dennis, it's my pleasure

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  6. Thank you for inviting me Uvi. I really enjoyed this.

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    1. Totally my pleasure Sheila! I enjoyed learning more about your work!

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  7. Thank you for featuring my work on your blog, Uvi!

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  8. Thank you so much Uvi for inviting me. I cherish it with all my heart and over the time you have become such a valuable connect between me and the others in the literary world. :)

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    1. Totally my pleasure Jaspreet, you are truly an inspiration!

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  9. Great interview with Catherine Kirby. What a thoughtful and insightful author.

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    1. Oh thank you Alex! (and sorry for missing your note all this time...) Yes, Catherine Kirby is indeed a great author!

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  10. Uvi, Thank you for having me. You have a delightful blog. It's been a lovely visit.

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  11. Great interview with Barbara Silkstone, Uvi. She is so funny and so honest! I love all her books.

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    1. I totally agree with you Gerry! And her books shine with her humor :)

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  12. Gerry, Uvi, Thank you! So sweet of you! Hugs and giggles!

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    1. My pleasure Barbara, what a lovely interview!

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  13. Great interview! Love Barb and Cynthia, and glad to discover some new authors!

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    1. I totally agree with you Christy, and I'm so glad they came here for an interview!

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  14. THANK YOU! What an honor and such fun!

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  15. Thanks again Uvi, people really liked the interview.

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    1. I liked it too! Lovely cover, great answers :)

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  16. Uvi,
    Thank you so much for having an author spotlight on your blog. I really appreciate you asking me to interview with you and your ongoing support of Indie authors. Looking forward to following your wonderful work, posts and blog interviews. Blessings to you!
    Kathryne Arnnold

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    1. Oh, totally my pleasure, Kathryne! Your interview was like a magnet, it drew a lot of people, because what you wrote about your work is so engaging.
      All my best!

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    2. What do you think about a society where a man is killed for eating beef ?

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  17. Thank you so much for hosting me, Uvi! You're the best.

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    1. Totally my pleasure Pat, love your interview! Indeed, the subject presents itself to the writer and demands to be expressed.

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  18. Uvi,
    Thank you for featuring my second novel on your blog this week. You do such a great job with all the author presentations and helping Indie authors is priceless! I've been tweeting alot, so I hope it's working!! and I love reading all the different author interviews. See you around FB and Twitter!
    Kathryne

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    1. Totally my pleasure Kathryne! Love your interview, it draws so many readers!

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  19. I have been a fan of Elaine Raco Chase for years. Lovely interview!

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  20. Uvi,

    Thank you so much for the interview...I so appreciate it.
    Jane (and Bertha)

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  21. Thank you so much for interviewing me. I think it looks great. Only one typo before the Reviews. But it is no problem. I love everything else and will be sending my friends over here to check it out!! I will also link your beautiful blog to mine.

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    1. My pleasure Barbara! I loved learning more about your work, so thank you!

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    2. Is fantasy more unimaginable or thrilling then what is happening around the world

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  22. Thanks again for inviting me here, Uvi. I love your blog, and it's an honour to be here with so many great writers!

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    1. My pleasure Gerry, I love learning about your work!

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  23. Thank you Uvi, for having me on your beautiful blog and for this opportunity to present my work to your readers. You've been an awesome host :)

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    1. Aw... My pleasure Effrosyni! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about going Indie :) and as Indie authors we support each other.

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  24. Always fascinating to read about what makes other authors tick.

    Thanks.

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    1. Me too, Rosie, love to learn how each author approaches her craft.

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    2. Thank you for taking the time to visit, Rosie :)

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  25. Really fascinating interview. I like your advice about learning when to let go. Good advice.

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  26. Great interview! So glad to learn more about you along with your writing advice, Fros!!

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    1. I totally agree, great interview by Effrosyni!

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  27. Loved getting to know a bit more about one of my favorite authors. Fros is a delight and so is this interview, Uvi!

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  28. Great to hear more about Paul and his work! Thank you Uvi and Paul for sharing :)

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    1. My pleasure Effrosyni, I am blessed to get to know about so many talented authors, including Paul and you!

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  29. Uvi! Thanks for having me as your guest today! It's a fun way to welcome 2016.

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    1. Oh it's my pleasure Jerrie! I so enjoy learning about your work

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  30. I know the feeling, Jerrie, because I chase squirrels. And sometimes right in the middle I forget I'm chasing the a squirrel and start chasing a bluebird, or butterfly, or whatever. :)

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    1. Regina, thank you for stopping by. And for sharing that we are very much alike! Getting distracted is good for us occasionally...helps us destress. ;)

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  31. Thanks so much for featuring me, Uvi, and in such great company too! I hope to have you as a guest in my blog soon! ♥ And happy Valentine's Day!

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    1. It's my pleasure, Olga. Great interview!
      Happy Valentine's day to you too <3

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  32. Great collection of interviews--glad to learn more about Cary! Cheers!

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  33. Thanks so much for including me in this terrific cast of characters featured on your blog! I'm glad to be in the company of so many talented and productive storytellers. Cheers!

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    1. I know exactly how you feel Anna, because I feel honored as well! All my best, it's my pleasure to host you and to learn about your work here.

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  34. Thank you so much for featuring me and my book, THE DOLAN GIRLS, today, Uvi. Always appreciate your great generosity to us authors...

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    1. It's my pleasure and honor to feature your work, Sarah!

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  35. Great to see Sarah here. I'm reading 'The Dolan Girls' at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it.

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    1. So glad, Olga! Thanks for stopping by to mention that... yippee kayay!

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    2. Thank you, Olga! (I've read The Dolan Girls as well as other works by Sarah Mallery and so love her writing.)

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  36. Thanks again, Uvi, for featuring me on your wonderful website. So kind of you to support fellow authors. Happy Spring!

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    1. My pleasure Caron and happy spring to you too!

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  37. Thanks for the love, Uvi! You are very special! :-D

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  38. was a wonderful day when I discovered you Uvi and thanks so much for the wonderful authors your interview!

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  39. Thank you so much for interviewing Lisette Brodey. I love her books. I'm fascinated by the fact that she writes so well in a variety of genres. That can't be easy. I'm never disappointed by any of her books. What a great interview! Now I know about two more books that I will eagerly anticipate!

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    1. My pleasure Darlene :) Like you, I love Lisette's interview!

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  40. Uvi, thank you for featuring me (and my new release!) on you blog. I had a great time answering your questions.

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    1. Love your writing, Donna, and it's a great pleasure to learn more about your work. Congratulations on your new release1

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  41. Thank you, Uvi, for taking the time to interview me and feature my book. I truly appreciate it. I especially like the piece about Wolfe. After so many years, I still get heated when I think about Wolfe. :)

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    1. Totally my pleasure Ju! I love learning where the passion for your work lies :)

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  42. Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Uvi. Congratulations on the successes of your writing!

    Kate

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    1. My pleasure Kate! (and sorry for not discovering your comment earlier...)

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  43. Thank you for the interview, Uvi! You're so kind! :)

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    1. Aw... It's my pleasure and honor to have you here, Marie!

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  44. Uvi, what a great site! I recognize and know a good many of the authors here. It's interesting to read their interviews.
    I have more to read.
    Excellent job, Uvi!

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    1. Oh thank you Ron, so glad you've discovered it! Yes, great authors and it's wonderful to read about their work.

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  45. Thank you so much for a wonderful interview, Uvi! It was such a pleasure :)

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  46. A great way to meet new authors! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Yes Jacquie, It is a great way (for me too...)
      :)

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  47. Thanks for having me on today, Uvi. You're the best!

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    1. It's my pleasure and honor, Sarah :) Love your writing.

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  48. Great interview, Sarah. I have to admit to an ignorance about the civil war and women spies. I guess, being a Canadian, we either weren't taught too much about the war or I missed it. You've struck my interest now though!

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    1. You're right. Why should you know much about it. But it tore this nation apart in so many ways. And these female spies? Wow! Fascinating...
      Thanks for commenting... :)

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  49. Thank you for inviting me to your author hall of fame, Uvi. :)

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  50. Thank you for asking me along, Uvi, I enjoyed it.

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    1. Oh, me too, Rik! Loved learning about you and about your work :)

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