Author Interviews, Cooking Healthy Food

Clean Eating Tips When You’re Away From Home

Eating clean at home is relatively easy. You cook what you want to eat and, provided you have the right ingredients in your fridge and pantry, you shouldn’t be too tempted by takeout and fast food. Things get a little more complicated when you’re away from home. 

When You’re Traveling 

Do your homework before you head out.  What options will you have on the road and once you arrive at your destination? See if there are grocery stores close by and if you will have access to a mini-fridge (if you’re staying in a hotel). 

Pack some emergency snacks in case you can’t find anything you can eat. Stock up on nuts, fruits, seeds and raw vegetables. If you can, pack a little cooler with other ready to eat food. Having water and herbal teas on hand will also help when you’re traveling. 

When You’re Invited to Dinner 

Depending on your relationship with the hostess, you may or may not want to mention your dietary restrictions. In either case, it’s a good idea to have a substantial snack before you head out the door. You don’t want to arrive hungry and be tempted by all the “off-limits” food options. 

Make the best choices you can. It’s your decision if you want to avoid most of the unhealthy foods offered or have some of the foods you wouldn’t normally eat in order to avoid offending the hostess. At the end of the day, a few bites of processed foods won’t kill you. Just avoid any known trigger foods and, if you can, stay away from wheat and sugar. 

When You’re Going Out to Eat 

Research the place ahead of time, or if you have input in where you’re going, pick a restaurant you know has choices that fit into your eating plan. 

Most restaurants offer their menus online. Start there, and see what you can find that’s at least close to being acceptable. Then give them a call and see what they can do to accommodate you. You may be able to make some small tweaks in the menu to cut out foods you’re trying to avoid. Stating you’re on dietary restrictions or can’t handle certain ingredients will help. Of course, it always helps to be nice to the person on the other end of the phone line and your server once you get to the restaurant.  

One more quick tip. Anytime you head out, even if it’s just for a few short hours, carry a healthy snack with you. Keep some non-perishables like nuts and dried fruit in your purse, along with some bottled water. No matter what happens, you’ll have your snack and can make it until you get back home to cook a clean meal.

It’s time to change things and take back control of what we eat and where that food comes from. It’s time to change our eating habits and give our taste buds a chance to recover to the point where they can experience the subtle flavor of a plain potato that isn’t deep fried and/or covered in salt. We need to get back to enjoying food that’s nutrient dense and gives us what we need to stay healthy and happy.

That’s what Clean Eating 101 is all about. Give it 30 days… 30 days of nothing but real food that’s good for you. Think of it as a way to reboot your system and finally kick the junk food habit to the curb.

Clean Eating 101

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Janis Cox

author interview janis cox

Recently, I started writing and posting things on Medium. Since being there, I have met some really cool people – one of whom is Jan Cox. We’re in a Bible study together on Facebook. It’s specifically for artists, writers, and other creative types, so come join us if you’re interested.

But, for now, let’s let Jan talk to us about her books.

How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

My children’s books deal with encouraging children to seek God in all facets of their lives. Tadeo Turtle shows how each of us is special and made just as we are. The Kingdom of Thrim shows what happens when we take our eyes off God and onto worldly pursuits.

And I wrote a Bible study that helps those who are looking for purpose in their lives to find a newness of life. It is based on Timothy. It has excerpts from Ed Hird’s book, Battle for the Soul of Canada.

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

The theme would be how God needs to be the centre of our lives. He is our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. If we listen to Him, He speaks and inspires and helps us create. If we fall away He will accept us back, but it’s at a peril when we stay away too long.

Tadeo Won Word Awards 2012

How did you get the idea for the book?

Tadeo Turtle was first named Leroy the Turtle. The poem came to me during my journaling time. I usually read a scripture every day, and talk to God. This particular day I just started to write. I couldn’t believe it when I read it over. It sounded good. As a rhyming poem it connects with children. I asked my hubby – he agreed that it sounded good. That began my publishing journey. Tadeo Turtle won The Word Awards for best children’s book in 2013.

Thrim won Beverly Hills Book Award 2016

The Kingdom of Thrim is my second children’s book. Once again I was journaling in my notebook. I had been thinking about Pinocchio – not sure why. The character’s name was Nopetto at first but later changed to Yoj (which is joy backwards). I had been painting for about 4 years at this time. I love colour and shapes. I had also made a couple of ceramic dolls. Always fascinated with dolls since a childhood, I decided that the main character was a doll maker. After that, the words flowed and the story was birthed. Colour plays a big part in this second book.

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

To keep writing. I realized that my fingers need to write or type at least once a day. My thoughts have to come out on paper. I even do “morning pages” often as I need to get all these thoughts out to clear my thinking.

Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favourite part is the inspiration and writing. And painting the pictures. My least favourite is finding out how to publish and market my books.

What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

I have published a lot of non-fiction on my blog posts, and I feel a call to do short books for busy moms so they can be in the word with ease but feel God’s presence each day.

What book are you reading right now?

I have been reading an excellent series by Sharon Garlough Brown. Her first book Sensible Shoes caught my attention. A friend had read it. I learned a lot about people, their faith and their growth in community.

What’s up next for you?

That’s a great question. I have too many ideas, but certainly keeping connected in my Facebook Group and leading men and women to putting God first in their lives. I have a few book ideas mulling around and one children’s book written but not painted.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes, like the Little Engine That Could, never give up. If God has called you to write – or paint, or garden, or teach, or whatever, do it with your whole heart. Never say “I can’t,” because God can.

Is there anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I love to connect and pray for artists and writers. If you are struggling and need prayer, please connect with me. Join me on Artists and Writers Grow Through God’s Word. If you want to add art into your life, take my free email Bible Art Course and find out how to study God’s word and paint it too.

smile Janis Cox

About Janis Cox

Janis started writing in her journal as a way to learn more about her faith. She is an award-winning author/illustrator of Tadeo Turtle and The Kingdom of Thrim. She podcasts on Hope Stream Radio. Her talk show Growing Through God’s Word can be heard each Tuesday.

She is a member of Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, Canada. Her art is showcased in the Rails End Gallery at Haliburton. She is a member of the gallery and the Arts Council for Haliburton Highlands. Janis lives in Haliburton with her husband and her dog, Snowball. She is also a snowbird who travels to Arizona in the winter.

You can view her Medium posts here.

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Theresa Jacobs

Today I have the honor of welcoming Theresa Jacobs to the blog. She’s introducing us to her newly released novella, The Cimmerians.


Welcome, Theresa. I’m so pleased you could join me. Let’s talk a bit about your writing.

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Halloween, and that would be awesome. She’s like the daytime Johnny Carson for breakout artists.

How did you get the idea for the novel?

Well, this one began as a short story, and I include it as a freebie in the back of the book. Sometimes when I’m on my computer I’ll catch a shadow in my peripheral vision, but when I turn to look there is nothing there. One time when it happened I just thought what a good creepy ghost story that could be. So I wrote a short. Then I had such great feedback, and everyone was asking for a longer version. So I wrote a longer tale about “The Followers.”

Which came first, the title or the novel?

The above brings me to this question. My short story was called “The Followers,” so I couldn’t name the novel the same. I was deep into writing when I needed a new word for darkness, and I found the word Cimmerian – and that was another light bulb moment. Perfect new title! The Cimmerians.

What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

There is a short scene where Emersyn takes a shortcut through the woods. It wasn’t a long scene, but I felt I did well with instilling a nice creepy aura. I just enjoyed it.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book, Cataclysm, came to me when I was a child. In the author intro, I tell the tale of my cat at night with the eye-shine, which birthed a creative idea. I carried this idea with me for many years until I started to make a story about it. It did take me over twenty years to fully write the novel, and then another to publish it. But once I did that, I dove full-force into my writing. I love doing it!

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Editing is KEY. Get help, ask for help, and listen to all the critics – the honest ones. Fix your mistakes, and keep growing.

What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

Young Adult. I do enjoy reading many excellent YA authors, and I’d love to do some light YA horror. I will try soon, I promise.

What book are you reading right now?

Dean Koontz’s The Whispering Room and David Kummer’s Until We Burn, which I’m beta reading.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never give up, or get discouraged. Take a breather if you need to, but keep plugging away. This is not an easy gig, but if you love it you can’t hide from it.

Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I love you all, and I can’t wait until there are more of you!


Theresa Jacobs



Theresa Jacobs believes in magic, fairies, dragons, and ghosts. She trusts science and thinks that aliens know way too much. Born and raised in Canada, she only began her writing journey two years ago. Through hard work, she has published a horror novel, sci-fi novel, horror novella, horror anthologies, children’s books, and poetry. She is a contributor to an online horror magazine. While working full-time, she is also currently writing a sports figure’s biography, so stay tuned.



Her website:

Her Amazon author page:

WordPress blog;

Free books available from  Smashwords:

1428 Elm Horror Mag:




space kitties
Author Interviews

Author Interview: Lesa McKee

Today I have the honor of welcoming author Lesa McKee to my blog. She’s introducing her Operation Space Cats series of books. Welcome, Lesa!

How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

LESA: Aristocats fun with Veggietales values! An out-of-this world adventure that’s filled with faith, friendship, & fun.

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

LESA: Yes, a message of faith & trust in God. I added a short poem that sums up the lessons in the book in a fun way, and also a short Q&A section at the end of the book for parents and kids to go over with scripture to match up with key parts of the story.

How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

LESA: I didn’t plan it, but in hindsight I realized one of the cats on the space team, Sir Cavias, walks with a limp due to an injury (like me), and struggles in his faith over it.

I didn’t realize I’d written part of my own ordeal into this character until afterward! Farlo’s silliness, and the overall humor is so me too.

How did you get the idea for the story? 

LESA: I was inspired by a contest for The Space Kitties Anthology. I entered it into the contest and was pleasantly surprised it was one of eleven winners. I also kept in mind my sweet grand-darlings.

Which came first, the title or the story?

LESA: I came up with the title pretty close to the beginning. I wanted something catchy. I already thought of them as my space cats when I started the story. And the team is always going on missions so the title came pretty easily to me. I thought the sub-titles should have a common thread to tie them together, so I went with always starting the sub-title with the word ‘the’ and making it a three-word phrase. So far I have:

Operation Space Cats, The Rescue Mission
Operation Space Cats, The Missing Spaceship
Operation Space Cats, The Time Tunnels
Operation Space Cats, The Starlight Diamond

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

LESA: That being a lifelong avid reader does not prepare you to be a writer. I really thought that at the beginning. Over time, and with much studying, I realized there was so much to learn. I joined a critiquing site, and that helped me more than anything. I also followed a couple of really good blogs on writing. I learned the rules of writing, and I’m so glad I did. It improved my stories greatly.

What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

LESA: As you’ll see in my answer below, I love writing in different genres. So maybe a devotional book, or a cozy mystery. I’ve always thought about writing about my father’s life, and his identical twin brother.I grew up fascinated by their amazing bond.

What book are you reading right now?

LESA: My fellow indie authors’ books. I’ve become a huge supporter and fan!

What’s up next for you?

LESA: I’m planning to continue writing my space cat tales. I’m working with my amazing illustrator now on drawings for book two, Operation Space Cats, The Missing Spaceship, which I will be releasing spring 2017.

I also have a Christian historical romance novella series ‘Bridal Falls’ in the works, a spec fic short story series, Sky, and a short story rhyming book, Little Chick, for the younger kiddos. I’m working on learning how to draw so I can do my own illustrations.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

LESA: If you’re new to writing, I highly suggest joining a critique group. And follow a few good blogs on writing. Other writers are your best friends, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, or for help.:)

That’s great advice, Lesa, and so true. Some of my best friends are other writers I’ve met along this publishing journey! Thanks for visiting us and telling us more about you and your writing.


~Every child should have a story-teller in their life.~

lesa's fb pic.Hi! I’m Lesa. That’s Lesa as in Lisa, only with an E.

I grew up at my Grandmother’s knee, listening to the French folk tales my animated Grandma Ida shared. A love of stories was born and my imagination took off!

I started out as a songwriter, and over the years wrote skits and plays for church. It wasn’t until I became a grandmother myself that I decided to write my first short story. Inspired by my own grand-daughter, I set out to write stories filled with faith, friendship & fun.

I entered my very first story in a contest and was pleasantly surprised it was one of eleven winners! This story, Operation Space Cats, The Rescue Mission is now featured in the Space Kitties Anthology.

I decided then and there to turn the story into a series. Each book will be filled with beautiful full-color illustrations, and amazing child & cat friendly covers. Operation Space Cats is in the works, and the series is coming soon!

When I’m not writing (or editing) you’ll usually find me with a good book in hand, a little gardening shovel for planting container flowers, or playing with the grand-kiddo’s. It’s a fantabbielous life! 🙂

Find me on Amazon and Goodreads!



Author Interviews, Saga Saturdays

Blessed Assurance Blog Tour: Author Interview with Faith Blum

BA Banner

Who doesn’t like a good mystery? I’m sure there are a few, but most people do like mysteries. What about a mystery within a mystery. Faith Blum’s new novella is just that. First there’s the mystery of who tried to dupe five mail-order brides. Then Adelaide finds out someone is claiming she’s a runaway bride. What happens to her? Find out in Blessed Assurance.

About the Book

Blessed Assurance_FrontBlessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Adelaide lost her parents a year before and now a rich man in town is making unwanted advances toward her. Desperate, she writes to two men and quickly accepts the one from Cheyenne, Wyoming. On the final leg of her journey, in a stagecoach with four other mail order brides, her suspicions are confirmed. Will she ever find a man she can truly trust?

buy-button-amazonAbout the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped

Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.

There are many ways to connect with Faith online. All of them can be found in one convenient place: On her website you can find links to her various social media sites and both of her blogs as well as learn about any events she has coming up.

Today she has graciously consented to visit me here and answer some questions. So let’s find out a little bit more about Faith Blum.

How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

Blessed Assurance is a mail-order bride story with a twist. The young man Adelaide wrote to is real, but he never wrote the letter. Plus, someone else comes to Cheyenne claiming that Adelaide is a runaway bride. I guess Adelaide kind of got into a bit of a mess. But it’s nothing God can’t turn around and use for the best.

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

God will always work things out His way. It might not be the way you thought it should be, but it will always be for your good.

How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

Nothing that I know of.

How did you get the idea for the novella?

This novella is a spinoff of my novel, The Solid Rock. Adelaide and the four other mail-order brides were introduced, but the ends of their stories would have made the novel too long and complicated, so I wrote novellas about them instead.

What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

This part is a little long, but it is my favorite part.

Mr. Reese looked Bradley Connor over. “I’ll be right back.”

Mr. Harris and Mr. Connor looked at each other. He was gone for two minutes before he came back with a piece of paper in his hand.

After Mr. Reese settled into his chair, he spoke, “Do you mind answering a few questions, Bradley?”

Bradley shrugged. “I guess not.”

“Good. Are you a born-again Christian?”

Bradley blinked once. “Yes.”

“What do you mean by that phrase?” Mr. Reese asked.

Bradley shifted in his chair. Where was he going with this? “It means that I surrendered my life to God so that I could be born of His Holy Spirit through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Reese smiled slightly. “Thank you. How far are you willing to go to earn someone’s trust?”

“If I really care for that person, I’m willing to do whatever is necessary.”

“As a Christian, aren’t you supposed to care for everyone?”

Bradley took a deep breath and smiled. “Yes. So I should be willing to do that for everyone, too. Although, I don’t do it as much as I ought.”

Mr. Reese chuckled. “Who do you love more than anything else?”


“If you were to marry, would that change?”

“I hope and pray not. If it does, I pray someone points it out to me.”

Mr. Reese stared at him for a few minutes. “How old are you?”

Bradley started. “What?”

Mr. Reese raised his eyebrows. “Do you have a problem with the question?”

Bradley cleared his throat. “I just wasn’t expecting it. I’m twenty-six.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Adelaide lean against the doorframe.

Mr. Reese leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “When you enter a courtship, are you willing to court the young lady for at least six months before you ask her to marry you? Assuming of course that the courtship lasts longer than a month to begin with.”

“What are you doing?” Adelaide asked.

“Let him answer the question and then I’ll answer yours.”

Bradley pondered the question. With closed eyes, he said, “If—and that’s a big if—I were ever to court a woman, I would take my time. I haven’t ever thought of an exact period of time since I never planned to marry, let alone court a woman, but if she is most comfortable with at least six months, I will respect her wishes.”


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

I don’t think there is anything I would change about Blessed Assurance. Of the three novellas I have published this summer, Adelaide’s was my favorite.

What inspired you to write your first book?

If you mean the first book I published, that would be a short story contest based on a picture. I was too old and my story much too long to enter, but it got the wheels turning and A Mighty Fortress was the result.

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Don’t rush through the publication process. It’s exciting to get a book published, but don’t let the excitement cause any rash decisions.

Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part of the writing process is writing the rough draft. I love letting the characters take control and wreaking havoc with my ideas for the plot. I love getting a story started and seeing where God takes it. My least favorite part would be editing. It’s hard to spot all the typos and make sure it all fits.

What’s up next for you?

In the next few months, I’m planning to publish a short story, a box set of my three novellas, and an audiobook of my first novel. I’m also working on my next novel series called Orphans of the West.

Thank you for having me on your blog!

You’re very welcome, Faith. Anytime!

BA Promo


BA Giveaway

Faith’s sister, Naomi, graciously hand painted two beautiful bookmarks for this giveaway. There will be one lucky winner. The bookmarks are made with Adelaide in mind. Aren’t they gorgeous?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Faith’s Blog Tour Schedule

August 26
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction
Letters from Annie Douglas Lima-Excerpt
With a Joyful Noise-Excerpt
Rebekah Lyn Books-Excerpt
August 27
Blue-Brown Books-Author Interview
August 29
Singing Librarian Books-Excerpt
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Excerpt
August 30
Ramblings of a Young Author-Review
August 31
Jaye L. Knight-Excerpt
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt
September 1
The Abrahamic Adventures-Excerpt
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview (Adelaide)
September 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Conclusion and Winner


Author Interviews, Friday Free-for-All

Author Interview: Denise Buss

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Denise Buss to my blog and introducing her book, Original Design: Set Free to be Who God Created.

Hi, Denise. Thanks for dropping by. We look forward to learning more about you. So, tell us:

How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

My book is narrative non-fiction. It uses my life as an example to show how Satan uses an array of influences to mold us, in varying degrees, to become someone we were never intended to be. You’ll see how Satan uses our life experiences to distort our beliefs about God and ourselves, thereby taking us off our God-designed path. Through my journey, I show you how God’s mighty hand reaches forth to unbury secrets, gently uproot lies, and heal wounds in our hearts, thereby setting us free from Satan’s grip and restoring us back to God’s original design.

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

The Bible tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God. Unfortunately, we have an adversary, the devil, roaming around like a lion seeking whom he may devour. Most of the time he doesn’t literally kill us, but he takes us off the path of God by concealing our true identity. Satan attacks when we are young, when our hearts are soft and vulnerable—easily molded.  We don’t realize we’ve been altered because much of Satan’s work is either subtle or completely invisible. But in Christ you have redemption from all of the devil’s work, including the impact it has on your heart, the reactions it produces in you, and even his work that becomes a part of who you are.

How did you get the idea for your book?

Original Design is primarily derived from nearly 80 prayer sessions with my pastor friend, spanning over a period of 3 years. God initially used our prayer time to rescue me from the attacks of the enemy but then later to reveal secrets and unbury lies hidden deep in my heart. As God’s truths penetrated my heart, I changed from a helpless girl cowering in the corner to a mighty soldier in Christ. It is a true a story of overcoming adversity by the miraculous power of God.

How did you get the idea for the novel?

As I was living through trials and praying with my pastor friend, God kept telling me to write a book about it.

Which came first, the book or the title?

The book came before the title.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

I would try to expand the ending a bit more and give more closure.

What inspired you to write this book?

I initially wrote the book because God told me to. As I got into the project I then had a desire to help others break free from the bondage that Satan’s has put them in.

Considering the book from the first word you wrote to the moment you saw it on the shelf, what was your favorite part of the process? What was your least favorite?

I loved seeing how God took a raw prayer session full of unneeded dialogue and turned it into a beautiful masterpiece of writing. My least favorite part was having an editor who sometimes tried to change (inadvertently) the meaning of the text.

What’s up next for you?

I would like to start speaking at women’s conferences and retreats about God’s healing power.

Is there anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Don’t be afraid to go into God’s refining fire. All of us have things hidden deep in our hearts from our past that need to be burned away. The fire is hot and painful, but He will give you rest as the impurities are removed. And it’s definitely worth it.  Being set free from the work of the enemy is the only way you can be who God created you to be and do what He created you to do. That is your true freedom in Christ!

denise bussDenise Buss works as a nurse practitioner, but also has a Bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry. God directed Denise to write her first book, Original Design: Set Free to be Who God Created, to share her experience of deliverance and healing with others.
Denise’s desire is for God to use her labor of love to transform the walking wounded into mighty soldiers for Christ. She believes this can only occur when God’s truths pierce the heart and replace the lies and deceptions hidden within. Once the heart has been delivered from the works of Satan, the captive is free to be who God created—His original design.

You can find out more about Denise and her book at her website,

Author Interviews

Thriller Thursdays: Author Interview with Sylvia Stein

Untitled design (5)

Although not a thriller in the traditional sense of the word, Sylvia Stein’s newly released novella, CLOSURE, has elements of the psychological thriller contained within its pages. In any case, it explores the darker side of human nature…with elements of hope sprinkled throughout – just the kind of story I love reading, so I’m thrilled to feature it here today.


Sara James was an only child who loved the world and life. Sadly, her world came to a screeching halt upon the news of her mother’s tragic death.

Devastated by the loss of his wife, Garrison neglects his daughter and turns to the bottle for solace.

Desperate to feel loved and wanted, Sara tries to pickup the pieces of what was left of her family. Sadly, no matter how hard she tries, her father continues with his lust for the bottle and spirals down a dark and abusive path.

Once removed from her home, Sara tries to pick up what was left of her life and begins to live again. She becomes a successful caterer and fights to maintain her promise to never look back.

However, what Sara does not realize it that once she leaves his side, Garrison is forced to recognize what he has done and begins to work on himself. 

Slowly, with the help of others and by his own will, he begins to try to mend his past mistakes. 

In the meantime, a phone call threatens to end Sara’s promise.

Garrison is on his deathbed, and he is asking for his daughter. Will Sara face her father? Will she reject his request, or will she finally fight back and tell him what she really thinks of him?  Will Garrison be able to make amends with his estranged daughter?  

This is one story of a daughter who is trying to move away from her past in order to move forward and a father who is trying to go back and admit his regrets.

Hi, Sylvia. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

CLOSURE is a journey of heartbreak and inspiration seen through the eyes of Sara James and her father, Garrison.

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

The message is to always strive for faith, which leads to hope and that you can always choose to turn things around even when life places many obstacles in your path. 

If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

The theme would be the effects of losing a loved one and the grief it causes when it leads them to a path of destruction in the addiction to alcohol, abuse, neglect.

How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

This is a fictional story that was based, in part, on people I know. One being me, since I grew up in a family that was destroyed by alcohol.  My parents got divorced, and that made me and my siblings very sad.  We had always been close to our parents, but the drinking got in the way of that and my mother was fed up. 

Although my father never abused us mentally or physically, his drinking caused him to lose many jobs, and that left my mother with the burden of worrying about how we would make ends meet.  He eventually got sober, but we went to live with my grandparents, although we got to see my dad and spent time with him.  My mother and he were better friends later in life. 

How did you get the idea for the novel?

The idea came to me in my Creative Writing Class at Southern New Hampshire.

Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel came first, but as I said it began as a short story in class. Then, the title came right after that. 

What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I really like the scene in the beginning because it sets the tone of the story, and then the moment when Sara confronts her father years later.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

No, I think I would not change anything.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always loved to write, and then I wrote short stories with my Writers 750 group on LinkedIn, but I had always wanted to write my own book.

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I think for me it is that you can never give up on your writing if that is something you want to do, and always pay it forward to other writers and your readers, as well as yourself.

Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part is writing it and finishing it. My least favorite part is editing because I tend to go back and rewrite and rewrite. LOL!

What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

I have never written a psychological thriller, and I am working on one now.

Great! I’d be thrilled to feature that book on my Thriller Thursdays when it’s done. What book are you reading right now?

I just finished reading PIECES OF ME by my talented writer friend Elle Henry.

What’s up next for you?

I am working on my National Novel Writing Month book called CHASING CLARITY.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never give up, and keep working on your writing always. 

Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I just wanted to thank them for all the support and also for inspiring me to create stories they will enjoy and love.

I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and introduce us all to CLOSURE, Sylvia, and I really hope all my readers will check it out.

Author Sylvia Stein began her path to writing when she joined the Writers 750 group on LinkedIn in 2012.

Photo on 8-21-14 at 4.21 PM #3She continued her journey by creating short stories, which were published, in the Giant tales Anthology series.

While obtaining her Masters degree at Southern New Hampshire University online author Stein built a solid foundation with her colleagues who encouraged her to continue on her writing. That’s when CLOSURE was born.

With the help of her editor, CLOSURE grew from a short story to a full novella author Stein is excited to share.

CLOSURE is her debut book as a solo writer. To quote author Stein, “This is the first of many to come.”

Visit her Amazon author page to learn more about Sylvia and her writing.

Author Interviews, Book Reviews, Editing, General Book Stuff

Cover Reveal: ENTERTAINING ANGELS by Emerald Barnes

Not too long ago, the lovely Emerald Barnes put a wish up on as her Facebook status that someone would be willing to trade a good edit for a proofread. Since I have a mostly finished, pretty well-edited manuscript just sitting there on my hard drive, waiting to be released, I thought I would take her up on the offer. You see, times are hard, and I can’t afford an editor of my own. And even though I AM an editor, I know I’m also fallible and too close to my own writing. There’s some minor (or perhaps major) error in that manuscript somewhere. I know there is. I need someone else to go over it for me.

So, I said I would do it… and I am working on it, but life being what it is (i.e., depressingly insane at the moment), it’s taken me MUCH longer than I ever thought it would. Still, Ms. Barnes has been MORE than patient with me, and for that, I will be forever grateful. She’s a wonderful person to work with, and this is a great story. You really should check it out when you get the chance. Now I’ll turn the stage over to the author and let her introduce her cover and characters.


I am super thrilled to show you the beautiful cover for my newest and upcoming novel, Entertaining Angels.  Again, my cover artist was Natasha Brown, and she is super talented.  She brought my disjointed vision to life, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank her properly.

I can’t wait to publish it, which I’m hoping will be in May.  That’s what I’m estimating anyway.  But, I couldn’t wait any longer to show you my beautiful cover!


About Entertaining Angels:

Madison Andrews can’t face her reflection in the mirror.  All she sees is a big, fat nobody.  Yet, deep inside she longs for something more, something that’s not skin deep.

Along comes Zach, the new guy in school.  He’s smoking hot and totally out of her league.  She somehow catches his eye, and he makes her feel beautiful for once.  But just as she gets close to Zach, her nerdy best friend, Chase, won’t let Madison doubt her true beauty, no matter how many meals she skips.

Even as Madison begins to realize that she is more than what she thinks, darker forces are at work, darker than the lies and mocking from her peers, stopping her from amounting to her full potential.  Can Madison find true happiness in her own skin?

Are you a book reviewer?  If so, please sign up for an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of my novel here.


About Emerald:

Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women.  She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it.

She mainly writes suspense/thrillers in the YA genre, but she dabbles in other genres and her books are enjoyed by all ages!   She’s constantly working on new novels and has more ideas than she knows what to do with.  She blogs which takes up more of her time than she anticipates but loves it so very much!  She’s also a volunteer at the World Literary Cafe which is amazing, and she is a crazy grammar nazi who proofreads novels!

She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews who take up the other half of her time, but she couldn’t imagine spending her time in any other way!

She’s a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person.  God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

Connect with Emerald:



Inspiration Blog




Google +

Amazon Author Page

Piercing Through the Darkness

Read Me Dead

Where am I touring?

March 17:

The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something year Old Girl

Andrea Buginsky, Author

Tammy’s Tea Time 

Rachelle’s Window — Guest Post

The Writing Realm — Interview

March 18:

ssteinwriting — Interview

Fran’s Stuff

Sitting On The Porch With Lynn — Guest Post

Angel Breath Books — Guest post

The Serious Reader

March 19:

Totally unrelated to this tour is my interview with Angie Brashear.

Sheila Deeth — Guest post

The Wonderings of One Person

J.L. Mbewe

Ever On Word — Guest Post

March 20:

Community Bookstop

Fictional Reality

A.R. Silverberry — Guest Post

Bonnie Blythe’s Pure Romance

March 21:

The Readers Realm

Blue Brown Books

Beck Valley Books, &

Nike Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista — Guest Post

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Chrissie Parker

Chrissie Parker, author of INTEGRATE
Author Chrissie Parker

As part of Melissa Foster’s Awesome Support Group, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of wonderful writers and readers. Chrissie Parker is one of them. She’s just getting ready to release her first book, a paranormal suspense/thriller called INTEGRATE, and I’m thrilled to feature her. 

Chrissie lives in London with her husband and is a freelance Production Coordinator working in the TV, documentary and film industry. She is also an author. Integrate, a suspense novella, is her first release. She is currently working on two suspense books due for release in 2014. One is set in Egypt, and the other on the Greek Island of Zakynthos.

Chrissie is passionate about history, archaeology and travel, and has completed two 6-month Archaeology and Egyptology courses with Exeter University. She also likes to read, collect books and listen to music.

To find out more about Chrissie visit her website

Other links:

Facebook –

Twitter – @Chrissie_author

Blog –

Book Cover for INTEGRATE by Chrissie Parker

1.  Hi, Chrissie. Welcome to Blue-Brown Books! How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

I would describe it as a slightly dark, suspense/thriller with paranormal elements. It highlights how one person’s irresponsible and thoughtless actions can have a far reaching and devastating effect on other people, as well as highlighting the importance of family.

2. How did you get the idea for the novel?

The book is actually based on a screenplay I wrote in the 1990’s. I trained as a Media Production Assistant, and I had always wanted to write a screenplay and produce it. Integrate was written, but it got stuck in a box in my attic and never got made into a film.

I re-discovered it recently and loved the story, so I decided to turn it into a novella instead. It was a lot of hard work changing it, but I’m glad I did as I think the story works well.

3. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The rough outline of a story came first, and characters quickly followed. Choosing the title was fairly easy, it’s a play on words, because of the way the characters all relate to each other. The lives of all of the characters literally integrate.

4. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I am most proud of the last chapter. Jack’s actions throughout most of the book are completely futile, and he has no idea that fate has already intervened, and that there is nothing he can do to stop what is coming.

I really enjoyed writing the last chapter, knowing what was going to happen. I felt like I was there watching the whole thing happen as I was writing it. It was a huge build of tension, and I could have written it in many different ways, but there was only one choice in the end, and the last chapter closed the circle on the story beautifully.

5. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

I am pretty happy with it as it is, but if I was forced to go back and change one thing, I may have chosen to reveal Jack’s identity much later in the book. By doing that it may have made more of a punch, but I wanted to stay true to as much of the original screenplay as I could, and Jack was one of those characters that just wanted to be there showing his hand right from the start!

6. What inspired you to write your first book?

I know many authors say it, but I have always wanted to write. When I was at school I was always writing poems and short stories. I even wrote a 200 page ‘book’ when I was about eleven years old. It has something that has always stayed with me and I have boxes in the attic filled with half-finished manuscripts and poems. I never found a subject that really inspired me until recently. Now I can’t stop!

7. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I have learned many things, but to me the most important thing is if you are going to be a writer, do it properly. Don’t rush the process, take your time and learn your craft. Don’t struggle on with a book if it isn’t right or if you’re not enjoying writing it. I would also say take any advice and criticism where it is given, you may not always agree with it but you can definitely learn from it. I would also recommend using a professional cover designer and a structural editor and proofreader, if your work contains mistakes, it will put people off. It is your name on the cover, and the last thing you want to do is let yourself down. Lastly, always be professional.

8. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

I like creating the story, seeing where it and characters will take me. I really enjoy researching, delving into books, visiting libraries and museums. I have a big passion for history and archaeology and my forthcoming books will all have these elements. I’m a very creative person and writing allows me to be that person.

I think my least favourite part is that last check before publishing, shutting the world out and painstakingly going through the manuscript to catch any problems. It’s a draining process, but it has to be done and in some ways is the most important thing a writer will ever do!

9. What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading Christmas at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan. At this time of year I always stock up on Christmas-related books; I love them!

10. What’s up next for you?

I am currently working on two full-length novels that will be released next year – an archaeological suspense set in Egypt, and a World War Two suspense set in Zakynthos, Greece. I am also working on plots for another three historical suspense books set in Jordan, Italy and the UK!

11. Do you have any advice for other writers?

I know I have mentioned this already, but take any advice or criticism you are given, most of it is there to help not to hinder. Write about things you have a passion for; it will help and shine through in your manuscripts. Read a lot; reading really helps, but never plagiarize or steal because that’s just wrong. Enjoy what you do; it’s meant to be fun!

12. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope that you enjoy my work, and thank you for taking a chance on me, and reading it. The support is much appreciated. I would also like to take the opportunity thank you, Mishael, for interviewing me on your fantastic blog.

You’re very welcome, Chrissie. Stop by anytime! 🙂

Author Interviews, Writing

Author Interview: Jessica Ferguson

A few months ago, I answered a call to join an exciting new series from Helping Hands Press called Kathi Macias’s 12 Days of Christmas. Kathi herself wrote the first book in the series, set on December 13, 12 days before Christmas. It’s called RULES OF ENGAGEMENTand it’s available right now for only 99 cents.

The story for “Day 2” (December 14) was written by Kathy Bruins and is called THE PLAIN UNEXPECTED GIFT.

Up next, for “Day 3” is a story called IF YOU BELIEVE by Jessica Ferguson. She very graciously agreed to visit my blog today to talk about that story (released October 1, 2013) and her novella, THE LAST DAUGHTER. Both are available on Amazon.



Hi, Jessica. Welcome to my brand new Blue Brown Books site!

Hello, Mishael. Thanks for having me on your blog. 

1. Let’s talk about IF YOU BELIEVE. How would you describe your story to someone who has not yet read it?

I would describe the short story, which is part of The Twelve Days of Christmas series by Kathi Macias, as a fun read. It’s a romantic comedy that’s a tad serious.

2. Is there a message in it that you want your readers to grasp?

I support the theory that if we believe and want something bad enough, it will happen. The title of my story, I think, reflects that. Of course, I also believe in God’s Timing and that sometimes He temporarily gives us over to our dreams so that we’ll learn they aren’t right for us.

3. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your books, what would the theme of the show be?

What a wonderful question! I think I’ll ask myself this every time I start a new story. It’ll help me identify my theme. For my romantic comedy, the theme might be marrying too young or couples who have lost each other only to find each other again years later.

For the show focusing on THE LAST DAUGHTER, Oprah would probably invite those searching for birth families … or the theme might be abuse.

4. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

My Christmas short story is a fluffy, fun romantic comedy. None of it is based on real life… just sweet fantasy.  My novella, THE LAST DAUGHTER, is based on so many horrific cases of abuse I’ve read about in the newspaper. How humans can be so cruel to each other, I don’t understand.

5. How did you get the idea for the story?

My idea for the Christmas short story came when I interviewed an ice artist for a regional magazine and learned of the elaborate life-size sleighs he’d carved for the Christmas holidays. Ice art is fascinating. The story was originally supposed to be a novel, but I took  a portion of it and turned it into a short story.

 6. Which came first, the title or the novel?

I have trouble with titles. They seldom come first. Usually a character comes first–in this case, it was the ice artist. IF YOU BELIEVE just seemed right for the short story.

My daughter and some of her friends came up with the title for THE LAST DAUGHTER, and I loved it immediately.

7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

I’m just glad I could write IF YOU BELIEVE by deadline. It was a tight deadline. I work best under pressure though, even if my stomach is in knots the entire time. 

In THE LAST DAUGHTER, I’m most proud of the last chapter or two–the ending. My first reader is always my daughter and when she read and critiqued, she said, “Mom, this story deserves a better ending.”  And it did. I treasure that she’s honest and that she loves to read. I trust her comments because she reads across the board–classics, literary, Christian novels and commercial fiction.

8. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

In my short story, I’d change the deadline. I’d love to have been able to put the story away for a while so I could go back to it and read it with fresh eyes.

9. What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was a romantic comedy that came out in 1996. It was about an Elvis look-alike. My daughter inspired that book. She was about four. Jailhouse Rock came on TV, and she saw Elvis for the first time. It was love at first sight. She was so taken with him it was unfathomable. I suddenly got a glimpse of what Elvis fanatics were really like. My book was born.

10. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

The most important thing I’ve learned is not to watch the other guy or gal. We can’t, and shouldn’t, gauge our success by their best sellers.

Secondly, I’ve learned that a writer should never quit learning. Once we do, we’re in trouble. The market is ever changing. We can’t afford to slow down when it comes to educating ourselves about writing, publishing or marketing. There are a lot of opportunities out there for all of us, but we can get into trouble if we don’t know what we’re doing.

11. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite thing is when I realize “This story’s going to work! This story is going  to be worth the blood, sweat and tears.”  My least favorite thing is the marketing. I despise it! I’d like to be up in the attic, so to speak, writing away … or reading. 🙂

12. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

I’ve written and published a romantic comedy, a romantic suspense and now two sweet romance short stories. I’m a staff writer for Southern Writers Magazine, so I write nonfiction too.

IF YOU BELIEVE was just released on October 1st. It’s my first Christian publication–other than my nonfiction. I come from the world of secular writing (I believe the word “General” is preferred now) but wherever I land, wherever God plops me in this publishing world. I want to write family-friendly books that are clean enough to appeal to the Christian market and secular enough to appeal to the mainstream market.

But, to answer your question, I want to do it all!

13. What book are you reading right now?

I just finished a novella called THE KEY TO CHARLOTTE by E. A. West. It was wonderful. I was blown away by this story and can’t quit thinking about it.

14. What’s up next for you?

Right now I’m just promoting THE LAST DAUGHTER and IF YOU BELIEVE. My husband just retired, and we’ve moved from our temporary home in Oklahoma back to Louisiana. So far, everyday is like a Saturday, so I’m trying to adjust.

15. Do you have any advice for other writers?

I have a lot of advice. I give so much advice I usually overwhelm new writers. But, in a nutshell, do this:  Educate yourselves. Know what you’re doing. Write. Read. Never give up. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Hang out with other writers. All those things will get you somewhere.

16. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Would love to meet you on FB, Twitter, Goodreads and Google+  You can always find me as Jessica or Jessy Ferguson. You’re more than welcome to follow my blogs too, because I love my followers. and

Author Jessica Ferguson

 Thanks, Jessica. It was a pleasure getting to know you better. 🙂

Author Interviews, Writing

Author Interview: Kathy Bruins

A few months ago, I answered a call to join an exciting new series from Helping Hands Press called Kathi Macias’s 12 Days of Christmas. Kathi herself wrote the first book in the series, set on December 13, 12 days before Christmas. It’s called RULES OF ENGAGEMENTand it’s available right now for only 99 cents.

The story for “Day 2” (December 14) was written by Kathy Bruins and is called THE PLAIN UNEXPECTED GIFT. It was just released September 15, 2013. She’s graciously agreed to visit my blog today to talk about her story.


Hi, Kathy. 🙂

1. How would you describe your story to someone who has not yet read it?

THE PLAIN UNEXPECTED GIFT is an Amish Christmas story that shows that a gift may not seem wonderful at first, but can turn into the most precious thing … unexpectedly.

2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

Definitely, that their value is great, no matter what has occurred in their lives.

3. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Bringing deep hurts into the light for healing.

4. How much of this is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

The circumstance is fictional, although I understand the deep hurts that we try to hide.

5. How did you get the idea for this story?

I have always been interested in the Amish culture, I love Christmas, and my passion is people discovering their true value and being free from the wounds of the world.

6. Which came first, the title or the story?

The story … I always have a hard time with titles.

7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

The scene where the wound is discovered and the response of the family to it.

8. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

I would make it longer and add more to the characters and process of healing.

9. What inspired you to write your first book?

When I believe there is a message for me to share, that’s when I write. It mostly comes from life experiences. My first book was about how to set up a drama ministry in a church, because that’s what I was doing. My first books I wrote for clients. Ghostwriting became a large part of my service.

10. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

That you don’t need to walk the writing journey alone. Connecting with other writers is essential.

11. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part is setting the story up … outlining and dreaming about the different scenes. My least favorite? … Promotion.

12. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?


13. What are you reading right now?

Mostly nonfiction, biblical

14. What’s up next for you?

Finishing up projects with clients and writing more of my own books.

15. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t take yourself so seriously. Writers are normal people that have a job to bring forth a message.

16. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I truly enjoy helping my readers grasp the fullness of God’s love, so I would say to live each day with the thought: This is going to be the best day, because God made it just for me.


Thanks, Kathy, for visiting my blog today. I hope everyone checks out THE PLAIN UNEXPECTED GIFT. It’s such a great story!

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Sheila Deeth

I’m connected with Christian author Sheila Deeth in two (or more?) online writing groups. So, when she said she was looking for people to host her to promote her newest book in the Five Minute Bible Story Series  (all of which, by the way, are just fabulous!), I readily agreed.

Here’s my interview with the lovely Sheila Deeth.

1. How would you describe Bethlehem’s Baby to someone who has not yet read it?

It’s a chance to imagine yourself in the world of the first Christmas: walking the streets of Nazareth, Bethlehem, and an unknown village in Egypt; meeting shepherds and kings; hiding out from King Herod; avoiding Roman soldiers; and wondering if God told Zechariah to “Hush!”, and that’s why he lost his voice. It’s a set of forty, five-minute, read-aloud, kid-friendly, Bible-based stories with plenty of history and science thrown into the background.

2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

I hope kids will realize the Christmas story isn’t a fairytale. It’s about real people in a real historical world, interacting with a very real God.

3. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Why we need to let our children imagine and ask questions, even about things where we think we know all the answers.

4. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

I took the best research I could find to help me imagine the real world of Jesus’ birth, and, of course, the whole thing is based on the Bible. There are Bible references with each story, and author’s notes at the back of the book to explain the things I learned along the way. As for the characters I’ve imagined in the story, they’re based on all the various kids I’ve known—the noisy ones who always ask “Why?” quiet ones, thinking deeply and drawing the wrong conclusions; wise ones who think they know it all; and happy-go-lucky ones who don’t even want to…

5. How did you get the idea for the book?

It’s actually the sixth in the Five Minute Bible StoryTM Series from Cape Arago Press. I used to tell stories to kids in Sunday school and for children’s sermons. When I lost my job I started writing them down—something I’d always wanted to do. Somewhere along the line I realized I was working my way through the Bible, which is kind of cool because I remember reading the Silmarillion at college and wishing there were Bible stories that would seem as fun and exciting to the reader. After all, the Bible’s full of fun exciting stories—it’s just we don’t seem to read them that way.

6. Which came first, the title or the book?

The earlier books all have two-word titles, so I wanted something with two words. I think I’d settled on Bethlehem Baby or Bethlehem’s Baby almost as soon as I started writing. Now I’m working on Nazareth Neighbors, Galilee’s Gift and Jerusalem Journey.

7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

That’s a good question. I like all the stories, but maybe my favorite is the one with a little boy making too much noise in the Temple. I guess my boys had a habit of making too much noise—I just enjoyed giving him that surprise insight that sometimes grown-ups talk too much for God as well.

8. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

I think there’s a typo in there. In fact, I’m sure there must be more than one. But I remember my sons being told in school about prayer rugs always having a mistake in the pattern, to remind the pray-er that only God is perfect. My book’s not perfect, and maybe that’s just as it should be.

9. What inspired you to write your first book?

I’m trying to think what would qualify as my first book. There was the one I wrote in elementary school with a multi-colored pen. I wrote each chapter in a different color then tied it all up with string. I think it was inspired by those stories I told my brothers every night on summer holiday—if the brother’s annoyed me I’d threaten, no story tonight. What an evil sister I was!

10. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I’ve just looked back at how I answered that question when I visited your blog a year ago. I wouldn’t change a thing… Typing is still way easier than holding a pen. There’s still many a slip twixt thought and keyboard. And editing still feels like sculpture or art, or tuning an orchestra maybe since these stories are meant to sound right when they’re read aloud.

11. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

Honestly, the most fun part is the time I spend writing and editing. It’s like drinking rich, smooth, chili-tinged chocolate—a treat to be savored, that rolls around the tongue, and makes you believe that everything’s right with the world. Then you send it off to a publisher and realize everything else is stress and panic.

12. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

I’m sure there’s some genre I’ve not written, or at least, not written seriously. But I’m not sure what it is. I just love writing.

13. What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading and reviewing four books—one on kindle, one on kobo, one in a pdf file and one on real paper. I’ve just finished reading Alexander McCall Smith’s The Importance of Being Seven just for myself.

14. What’s up next for you?

My highest priority at the moment is finishing Nazareth Neighbors for Cape Arago Press. I have a romantic novel that’s listed as “coming soon” on another publisher’s website, and a spiritual speculative novella waiting for a reply. My middle grade fantasy keeps reminding me two unpublished books don’t make a series, so I’ve got plenty to keep me busy. Plus I’m reading and reviewing tons of books.

15. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write. Celebrate rejections with chocolate and look forward to a feast when things go right. Enjoy baby-steps.

16. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Only that I hope you’ll like my book, or one of my books, or some of my books… And thank you for reading this interview. Thank you for interviewing me too, Mishael!

>>It’s my pleasure, Sheila. It’s just been delightful!<<

Bethlehem’s Baby Blurb:

Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.



Find Bethlehem’s Baby at:

More of the Five-Minute Bible StoryTM Series on the publisher’s website:


Connect with Sheila at:

Sheila Deeth:



Fan page:



Author Interviews

Author Interview: J.J. DiBenedetto

Continuing last week’s theme of authors I’ve had the pleasure of meeting as part of the Virtual Ebook Fair, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome author J.J. DiBenedetto to my blog.

J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he’s not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.

The “Dreams” series is James’s first published work. He’s just released the fifth book in the series, Waking Dream. Here’s a brief look at the previous four.

Dream Student

What would you do if you could see other people’s dreams?  If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets…without them ever knowing?

Sara Barnes is about to find out.  She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who’s got a crush on her.

But when she starts seeing dreams that aren’t hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.

Dream Student is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.


Dream Doctor

“I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody.  I thought I was done with that once and for all…”

But Sara’s not done with it.  As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren’t difficult enough, she’s started seeing the dreams of everyone around her, again.  Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara’s hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life…

Dream Doctor is the thrilling second novel in the Dreams series.


Dream Child

“I would give anything to take this away from her.  I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this…” 

As a resident at Children’s Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases.  But she’s about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven’t prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people’s dreams…

Dream Child is the suspenseful third novel in the “Dreams” series.


Dream Family

“Why is this so hard for me?  Why am I having so much trouble?  Why do I feel so helpless, so hopeless?  What the hell is wrong with me?”

After tangling with murders and mobsters, not to mention medical school and three years of residency, Sara thought she could handle anything.  And then the police show up without warning at her new office and arrest her for a crime she can’t possibly have committed.  Sara’s confidence, and her grip on reality, is shattered during one terrifying night in jail.

Now, the very dreams that have endangered her life and driven her to the edge of madness may be the only thing that can help Sara find herself again…

Dream Family is the powerful fourth novel in the “Dreams” series.

Waking Dream

“Oh, God!   We can hurt each other.  Whatever we do to each other in the dream, we’ll do it to ourselves for real…”

When her own dreams are visited by a mysterious woman in a red dress, Sara realizes she has something she never expected: a counterpart, someone outside her family who shares her talent to see other people’s dreams.

When the woman in red keeps showing up in other dreams as well, leaving ruined lives in her wake, Sara knows she has something she never imagined: a nemesis.

Now, Sara must track the woman in red down in the waking world, before she’s forced to fight for her life in her dreams…

Waking Dream is the exciting fifth novel in the “Dreams” series.


In this interview, James discusses the Dreams series as a whole and gives a little more information about the previous books in the series.

1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

My Dream Series books are a little bit of everything: romance, mystery, suspense, and humor, with a paranormal twist.  And plenty of heart.

2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

I didn’t set out to push a particular message, but I think there’s one there all the same. Basically, it’s the importance of following your conscience, and stepping up to do the right thing.  And not taking advantage of other people or abusing whatever power you might have over them.

3. How much of the series is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

The setting for the first and second book is a (very) thinly-veiled version of where I went to college, and it’s set around the same time (1989-90 for the first book, 1991 for the second).  Many of the secondary characters and locations are drawn from my life.  But the main characters, and the story itself, are completely original.

4. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel!  It took me a long time to finally come up with Dream Student as the title. The next couple of books, the title and the story came together.  They were kind of obvious – the second book has Sara in medical school, so Dream Doctor was a natural choice.  And the third book features Sara’s daughter and how she shares her mother’s ability to see dreams, so Dream Child was the only possible title for that.

5. What scene or bit of dialogue in the books are you most proud of, and why?

From Dream Student, I’m especially happy with a short scene between Sara and her father, when they talk about just how deep her feelings for Brian, her new boyfriend, are.  It’s sentimental without being sappy, and it really defines the relationship between Sara and her father.

In Dream Family, the scenes with Sara in jail, and immediately after she’s bailed out, were very difficult to write, but they’re very powerful and probably my best writing.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

Other than tweaks here and there, I don’t think I would.  I’m very happy with all the books in this series.  They say what I want them to say, and they tell the story I wanted to tell.

7. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part is when I’ve got a great idea for a scene and it just flows from my head straight to the keyboard.  My least favorite part is the marketing and selling – it’s so much more difficult than I imagined it would be.

8. What book are you reading right now?

I just finished a fantastic indie novel called The Dream Jumper’s Promise by Kim Hornsby.  Next up, it’s getting to be time for my yearly re-read of Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin (the best novel I’ve ever read or will ever read, hands down).

9. What’s up next for you?

The fifth book in the Dream Series is coming out this week, and I’m working on the next book right now, as well as an unrelated novel.  And I’ve got the idea for the seventh Dream Series book already.

10. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I’d like to thank them for giving me a chance, and for embracing Sara and Brian and all the other characters that I’ve been living with in my head for the last year and a half!


Here’s where you can find the books:

Dream Student

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback or Audiobook) – You can sample the audiobook here:

iTunes Store (Audiobook)

Audible (Audiobook)


Dream Doctor

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)


Dream Child 

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)


Dream Family 

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)


All four books are also available at:



You can connect with James online:

Via Facebook:

the Dream Series page

his personal page.

Or on GoodreadsTwitter, YouTube, or his book-specific website:


Author Interviews, Editing, Writing

Author Interview: Fran Veal

A few months ago, when I got involved with the Share An Excerpt Saturday Group, run by author Tammie Clarke Gibbs, I had the honor of meeting a lot of great folks, but one person, in particular, stood out from the crowd, Fran Veal.

Fran and I quickly learned that we are, in fact, what Anne Shirley called “kindred spirits” in Anne of Green Gables. And, much to my delight she even referenced that connection in one of our online conversations.

I also read and reviewed her first book, FINDING MY ESCAPE, during this period, and LOVED it! So, when I found out that Fran was looking for people to host her to help promote the long-awaited sequel, FINDING MY WAY BACK, I readily agreed.

Here’s a look at the book, as told from the main character, Hannah Jordan’s, perspective.

Three weeks ago, I walked in while my parents were being murdered.  I escaped, but I need to put my life back together again. There’s just one problem – I don’t know where to begin.


My parents weren’t who I thought they were.
My best friend isn’t who I thought he was.
The killer isn’t who I thought he was.
And scariest of all, I’m not who I thought I was.

FINDING MY WAY BACK is a Young Adult tale of adventure, self-discovery and romance, with a twist of the paranormal. It’s the sequel to the Kindle bestseller FINDING MY ESCAPE.

Here’s my chat with author Fran Veal about her new book, Finding My Way Back:

1. How would you describe Finding My Way Back to someone who has not yet read it?

Finding My Way Back is very much a coming of age story.  It’s the sequel to Finding My Escape, where Hannah Jordan walks in to find her parents being murdered.  In the first book, she’s dealing with the after-effects of loss.  (I strongly recommend reading the first book since this is a trilogy.)  In the second book, everything in her world is shaken when she learns that her parents had been keeping a very important secret from her.  She realizes virtually nothing in her life – her parents, her best friend, the killer, and even herself – is what it appears to be.

2. Is there a specific message in Finding My Way Back that you want your readers to grasp?

That’s a tough one.  I guess if there’s a specific message, it would be to trust your instincts.  There are people in your life you know you can trust.  You just know it.  There are also people you want to trust, but you have that nagging feeling that there’s something more there.  Don’t trust blindly.  If you have that nagging feeling, listen to it and get to the bottom of what’s causing it.

3. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Whoa!  Me on Oprah.  “Thank you, Ms. Winfrey, for having me on your show.  Please excuse me while I faint from stage fright.”  Sorry, I was digressing a little.

Hmmm, if I were on Oprah, I think the theme of the show would be either dealing with grief, or empowering young women to stand on their own.

4. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

That is an interesting question.  Because this book is the second in a trilogy, I’ll address the series as a whole.  When I was writing Finding My Escape, I lost my father, so Hannah’s grief at losing her parents was very much mine.  There’s a lot of me in Aunt Laura (except for the red hair).  Hannah is a combination of several teens I know.

5. How did you get the idea for the series?

I’ve always been fascinated with dreams, and I had a very vivid dream one night that got me thinking about how dreams occur, and the magical worlds our dreams create.  I wanted to write about another world that could be accessed through our dreams – a world as real as our own.

6. Which came first, the title or the novel?

I was probably halfway through the first book in the series before I had the name, but it just clicked.  I had the title for Finding My Way Back before I started it.

7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

There’s a scene where Hannah blows up at another character who has been consistently keeping things from her and sending her mixed messages.  The story had been building to this for several chapters, but ironically, one of my betas pointed out I’d never written the big blow up scene.  So my favorite scene was actually a bit of an afterthought!

I’m pretty tickled with the end, too, but I won’t even hint at what that is here.  I’ll just say that it will have people chomping at the bit for the third book, which I plan to have finished early in 2014.

8. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about Finding My Way Back?

I really don’t think I would change anything.  I love the way the story flows and sets everything up for the final resolution in the third book.

9. What inspired you to write your first book?

I’ve always wanted to write, but I was at the pool with a group of moms and our kids one day, and I was talking about the quality and subject matter of some of the stories that my daughter was bringing home to read.  Some of the stories that were touted as Young Adult seemed more adult in subject matter.  (I believe the fairly recent book category, New Adult, solves a lot of this.)  One of my friends suggested I write YA novels.  I put it off for a couple of years, but finally, after some nagging by a couple of people I know, I took the plunge.

10. Thinking back to the very beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

How much time and space do you have?  I really feel like I stumbled onto most of what I’ve learned accidentally.  I did some research on writing, got involved with a writing forum that was geared primarily to traditional publishing, and knew nothing about marketing.  I guess if I’ve learned anything, it’s to write from your heart, listen to others, but don’t let them change the heart of what you’re trying to say.  Focus on the writing first, develop strong relationships with other writers, and try not to stress over sales.

11.  Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

I love seeing it finished on the shelf, but I love the writing process too.

I also hate the writing process.  I learned the hard way (maybe I should have added this to question 10) that I need to really have a strong outline from start to finish to avoid writer’s block.  I love sitting down and plotting with my white board, outlining characters and scenes.  I despise writer’s block.

I’m not crazy about editing – which is why I have you.  I’m always a little nervous when the first betas get the book.  I despise formatting, but it’s a necessary evil!

What was the question again?

12.  What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

I really enjoy YA, but I think I might like to try fantasy.  I have my cousin, Ken Ward, to thank for that.  Ken was several years older than me, but he always treated me more like an equal, rather than just a kid.  We talked about books and music, he taught me to play chess.  When I was about eleven, he gave me The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and I was hooked!  Ken is gone now, but every time I see a fantasy novel, I think of him.

13.  What book are you reading right now?

I just finished an ARC of JJ DiBenedetto’s Waking Dream.  It’s book five of his Dream series.  Excellent book and series.

14.  What’s up next for you?

Selling a million books and moving to Hawaii.

Okay, seriously.  I’m working on Finding My Way Home, the final book in the Finding My Escape Series.  I’m also collaborating on a comedy with Bryden Lloyd entitled Five Strikes about a single dad with five daughters.  The dad is trying to date, but the girls are finding ways to thwart his efforts.  I’m also starting a series based on the actual Grimm Fairy Tales.  The stories we read as kids were pretty watered down.

15.  Do you have any advice for other writers?

First, write from your heart and don’t try to write to fit the trends in the market.  For one thing, by the time you finish your story, the trends may be very different.  For another, trend stories are a dime a dozen.

Second, please, please, please make sure the story you are writing is top notch in every way.  Be sure it is well-plotted, be very careful of your grammar, have it edited by someone other than yourself, and make sure your cover can compete with any traditional book on the market.  As an indie author, I hate to say this, but way too much work that is put out there is sub-par and rushed.  The grammar is poor, there are too many typos, and the books are poorly formatted.

Finally, treat your writing as a business.  Always be professional when you are online.  Have a professional, well-thought-out platform.  Learn to brand yourself.  Find online groups in Facebook and Goodreads to join and learn from seasoned authors.  Learn to manage your time.  Very few authors are able to make writing their full-time job until they have several books out there, and juggling job, family, writing, and marketing can be difficult, but it can be done with careful planning.

16.  Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I just want to thank everyone who has purchased a copy of Finding My Escape and Finding My Way Back.  I appreciate all your feedback and support.  You are all a blessing to me.  I love interacting with fans and readers.  You can connect with me on Facebook at, on my website http://franveal, on Twitter @franveal, or on Pinterest

 Thank you!

Bestselling author Fran Veal


Author Interviews, General Book Stuff, Writing


The purpose of this blog hop is to promote Charlene Raddon’s latest release, The Scent of Rosesas well as the work of each of the participating bloggers. Be sure to read to the end of this page so you don’t miss out on the grand prize. Also be certain you visit each blog and comment to qualify for the individual giveaways, and the big prize.

Charlene Raddon has been writing historical romance novels for over thirty years. Her work has won several awards and much well-deserved praise. Here is what she has to say about her newest release.

Any day when a new book is released is exciting for the author. I’m thrilled to announce that my eBook, The Scent of Rosesis now available.

The Scent of Roses is a sequel to my last eBook, To Have And To Hold, but stands alone and does not need to be read in order to be enjoyed. Whip Kincaid, from The Scent of Roses, is the half-brother of Buck Maddux from To Have and To Hold. Whip also has a twin, Cale, who readers met in Buck’s story, which gives me an excuse to write a third book for this series.

The added touch of paranormal elements made The Scent of Roses a fun story to write. Who doesn’t enjoy haunted houses with hidden passageways? When I first moved to Utah, I lived in this house. No, there weren’t any secret passageways, but in every other way, my description of the old house is accurate. The third element new in this book is the subject of polygamy.

Rosalyn Delaney came to Whisky Ridge, Arizona expecting to receive aid from her estranged husband, Josiah Bullock, in escaping the crazed leader of a polygamist cult determined to have her. She’s broke and has nowhere else to go. But Josiah is dead, murdered the very evening of her arrival. The town is in uproar, searching for the suspected killer, Josiah’s business partner, Whip Kincaid. Rosalyn also learns that Josiah has taken a second wife.

Whip is innocent but to prove that, he needs to stay out of jail. He hides in secret passageways in the old house he and Josiah shared. Smythely, the elderly butler who came with the house, is the only other person aware of the passageways. Lurking between spiderwebbed walls and using the abundance of peepholes provided allows Whip to keep up with what’s going on. Sneaking out at night allows him to investigate. He’s particularly interested in Rosalyn Delaney, and for more than one reason. Besides being attracted to her, he’s sure she knows something about the murder.

But does she? Is she safe at Rose House? Will she be safe from Whip Kincade?

I hope you enjoyed this peek into The Scent of Roses. Find it here, at


And one lucky winner who comments on this post will receive a free copy (your choice – paper or eBook) of my latest release, CAMPANULA.

CAMPANULA: A zombified retelling of Rapunzel

Zombies, angels, and everlasting love.


Cami and Mac have been in love with each other practically all their lives, but there’s a problem. Cami’s life is in danger because of a desperate deal her father, Zed the Zombie Killer, made with the local witch, Gert, before Cami was born.

Gert kidnaps Cami as soon as the girl starts menstruating and locks her inside the little used, much haunted tower of the old Waverly Hills Sanitorium. Cami will be the mother of many more zombie children for Gert unless Mac can find her and save her from the zombies and the witch’s clutches…with a little help from some heavenly friends.

Zombies, angels, and everlasting love await you within the pages of Campanula.



“The only way to stop these zombies is to get that bellflower from the witch’s garden and make oil from the dried leaves. I’ve run out of all the supply I had,” Zed told his pregnant wife one evening while he gazed out the window toward the garden that contained his zombie-killing treasure.

“Zed, I don’t want you to do this. I’m scared,” his wife said, an audible tremor in her voice.

Zed looked back at her. “Of course you’re scared, honey. Those zombies want to eat your brain, but I’m not going to let them. I’m going to go over there and get some of that bellflower. It has to be tonight. We can’t wait any longer. Their forces are getting stronger, and the poison will take at least two days to make.”

“But what if the witch sees you? She’ll turn you into a frog or something.”

Zed laughed. “Honey, she’s not that kind of witch.”

Zed’s wife frowned at him and reached for the can of Tab sitting on the end table next to her.  She took a quick sip. “I still don’t like this. I’m due any day now. What if something were to happen to you? Who would help me take care of the baby?”

Zed’s mouth quirked at the self-centered comment, and his hazel eyes twinkled. He chocked it up to pregnant hormones, even though he knew better, and chose to ignore it. “Everything will be fine. I promise. Don’t you know by now that you married the world’s best zombie killer and herb thief? I’ll be back before you know it.”

Zed’s wife opened her mouth to protest, but the look on his face stopped any further comment from her. She watched quietly as he gathered his flashlight and his black leather jacket. He crossed the room to kiss the top of her head before walking out the door into the chilly, dark night.



Mishael Austin Witty is an editor and the internationally bestselling author of SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME, a Christian thriller/suspense novel, and BELIEVE IN ME, a sweet contemporary romance/women’s fiction novella. This zombie fairy tale marks a departure from the usual for her, but it was great fun to write, and she already has plans for another.

She lives in Louisville, KY (where most of the action of this story takes place), with her husband, cat, and two daughters. Connect with her online in the following places:




(Visit these and comment for more chances to win!)

May 31,

May 31

June 1 – Official blog tour for Kat Flannery (not part of PUB/PM blog hop)

June 2,

June 3

June 4

June 5

June 7,

June 8, /giveaway

June 9,

June 10

June 11,

June 12,

June 14

June 15 giveaway

June 16,

June 17

June 18

June 19,

June 21

June 22,

June 23,

Author Interviews, Book Reviews

You’re Right, My Love Blog Tour

You’re Right, My Love

 Pamela Foreman, Published Author

Genre: Romantic Fiction


SYNOPSIS: In a perfect world, David and Annette would never have met. Their spouses would still be alive and well, supporting their families in their endeavors. Their children, seven between the two, would not be spiraling into deep depression with each passing moment.

But their world is not perfect and both must struggle with their spouse’s deaths, raise their children and deal with their new-found relationship with each other. Can David and Annette learn to love each other despite their differences? Can they look into the future instead of the past? Will their own children force them to part?

Purchase Link:



Author Bio: Pamela Foreman is a wife of seventeen years to her high school sweetheart and the mother of four children. Having grown up in Texas, Pamela currently lives in central Virginia. Pamela received her master’s degree in accounting from Liberty University and is an avid reader. She enjoys sewing, crocheting, knitting and scrapbooking when she is not involved with her children’s activities and spending time with her husband.

Pamela is the author of the Nebraska Holds series, a series surrounding the lives of David Anderson and Annette Miller, middle-aged adults who have both gone through the sudden deaths of their spouses and each have children to continue to raise. The series currently has three books, You’re Right, My Love (December 2011), Not Again, My Love (January 2013) and the third book is Secrets Abound, My Love, will be published in July 2013.




About Me:




MY TAKE ON THE NOVEL (by Mishael Austin Witty):

What would you do if your spouse died, leaving you as a single parent to preteen/teenage kids? Would you date again? Would you get married?

These are the questions that both David and Annette must ask themselves when they meet after their daughters have been assigned to work on a school project together. The mutual attraction is instant, but so is the characters’ denial and running away from their feelings.

Ultimately, David and Annette do end up together (this isn’t ever really in question), and several of their children find romantic partners, as well. This is a heartwarming story with a satisfying HEA. And it portrays fairly accurately the emotions families go through when they experience such a tragic loss.

I liked the characters. I liked the story. In fact, I probably would have given this novel five stars, if it hadn’t been for the verb tense changes and other editing issues (incorrect punctuation, misuse of some words, etc.). This book is in major need of a good edit. But, if you’re not bothered by things like that and you’re looking for a read that will leave you with a good, warm feeling, check this out. I think it’s a great first effort, and I look forward to seeing what happens to the characters in the future!



1. What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

At first, my husband thought it was a joke. Then all my husband complained about was how much time it took to write something I probably was never going to publish. Now that I’ve published two books, he’s letting me do this as a full-time career.

2. What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your books?

I learned that writing is harder than it looks! Putting a coherent story together, keeping characters straight and making it sound legitimate? It’s hard!

3. Who is your favorite author?

Debbie Macomber is my absolute favorite author! Her work has inspired me and helped me grow as a writer.

4. If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?

This is a funny question as I am writing a series of novels! This series is all about two families merging together and learning to live as one. The other books branch off, and you see other families connect, but you always come back to the main family. I would love one day to write another series about time travel, but that’s in the future.

5. Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

Really, really hard!

6. Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Just put your fingers to the keyboard and go! Don’t give up on your dream!

7. Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

I am an honest, hardworking writer, desperate to share a story. My thoughts, dreams, and feelings are all poured into my work, mind, body and soul.



Thanks again for visiting! Be sure to leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of my book in either print or electronic form.

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Lawrence Fisher

Author Lawrence Fisher is the newest member of Melissa Foster’s wonderfully supportive author/blogger family. When Melissa asked us if we would be willing to host him on our blogs, I immediately agreed. Mr. Fisher is an interesting person with an even more interesting story to tell.

His nonfiction dating book, Kill Me Now: A Middle Aged Man’s Maneuvers Through the Frontline of the Dating Battlefieldis a lighthearted memoir that’s received rave reviews on Amazon. I’m honored to host Mr. Fisher here on this blog.

So sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and learn more about Mr. Fisher and his amazing dating adventures.

  1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?
    This book is a diary of my escapades and narrow escapes while shamelessly searching for love in all the wrong places.
  2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
    Yes, there are two. First as Jackie Chan said, “If life knocks you down, you can choose whether to get up or not.” Second, no one is going to find the love of their life by staying at home moping that all the good ones are taken.
  3. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?
    Oprah? Show? Wait a minute, I will Google. I don’t watch television much so I had not heard of her. I would say the theme of the show would be “looking for love when you are middle aged”
  4. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?
    All of it! It is not a work of fiction, as horrifying as some of the stories are.
  5. How did you get the idea for the novel?
    From friends. I had started a blog about some bad dates, and they told me that they were too funny not to publish, so I wrote the book.
  6. Which came first, the title or the novel?
    The novel! The title popped into my head while I was on a date with Ms. Motor Mouth.
  7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?
    I am quite proud of the entire book, so it is difficult to pinpoint any scene, although I do enjoy reading the chapter about going to a wedding when you are single.
  8. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?
    Yes. I would not try and go through assisted self-publishing. I tried one company and I found that they were not reporting sales properly.
  9. What inspired you to write your first book?
    That goes back to the message in my book. I am a bit of a geek and I think that others would see what I went through, and how I handled myself, and say to themselves, “Life is not so bad” and continue trying.
  10. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
    Editing is very important. Get an editor, as people do not like reading poorly edited books. In addition, publishing is easy. It is the marketing that causes problems. No marketing, no sales!
  11. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?
    Marketing! But I have yet to see my book in the bookstores! Well, I am still young.
  12. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?
    I simply like humor, but I am toying with the idea of writing a non-fiction historical book about another hobby of mine. More on that at a later stage.
  13. What book are you reading right now?
    This morning I finished a book and am thinking about what to read. My wife is a bit sick at the moment, so after work I am hers. That means not too much free time at the moment.
  14. What’s up next for you?
    Kill Me Now is a trilogy. It wasn’t planned like that, but it happened. Working on books two and three.
  15. Do you have any advice for other writers?
    Well, as I said, marketing is everything. Never think you have the next best seller. You probably do, but for that you have to market. When I first went on this path, I met someone who had sold a few books and then decided to push and push and push. Her book became a best seller. OK, now she is not returning calls.
  16. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
    Of course! “Hey readers, the best is yet to come. Stay tuned for more stories.”
Visit Lawrence on his website/blog:
Check out his Facebook page:
Connect with him on Twitter: @lbigfoot

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Doug Richardson

As the first in a long line of author interviews I need to catch up on posting, I’ve decided to begin with author/screenwriter Doug Richardson, whose latest book, Blood Money, has just recently been released. It’s a mystery/thriller that certainly packs a punch. In this interview, Richardson discusses the book and his life as a writer.

1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

First of all, it’s a thriller. Hopefully, for the reader, it will be a page-turner, something exciting to escape into.

2. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

It takes place in Los Angeles, which is where I was born and have spent most of my life.
In that way, the city is a character along with the people who inhabit it. As much as
the novel is fiction, the characters, their motivations and their agendas are very much poured out of the world where I live.

All I’ve done is place them in a particular situation and try to chronicle how they deal with it.

3. How did you get the idea for the novel?

I can’t say exactly where or when. It was more of an evolution following my last novel, THE SAFETY EXPERT. I wanted to tell a story with an ensemble of characters, all with opposing agendas. Which is very much how I view the city in which I live. Los Angeles is an incredible mash-up of cultures and subplots, much of which is a mystery to the people who live here.

4. Which came first, the title or the novel?

Hmmm. I might’ve been halfway through the novel when the title came to me. Sometimes the titles stick, and sometimes they don’t. This one did.

5. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

(Spoiler Alert.)

I’d have to say that I’m very pleased with the sequence leading up to the bomb explosion in Long Beach. I’d spent much of the book building up to it and hooking most of the characters into having reasons to be there, only to have each and every one of their circumstances both literally and figuratively blown up.

6. What inspired you to write your first book?

My father, a career politician, had retired from the California State Senate. After a few years away, he’d decided to re-enter at the congressional level, but found himself in a
dog-fight of a race against a very deceitful candidate. It was moving to see my father, who
has a very thick skin, shocked at the depths to which politics had lowered. Thus came the germs that would grow to become my first novel, DARK HORSE.

7. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Prior to my first novel, I’d written a host of screenplays for Hollywood. Some successful; others still gathering dust on movie studio shelves. I suppose what I’ve learned – and
what I continue learning to this day – is to never take my reader for granted.

Be it a movie producer, actor, or somebody who’s picked up my novel out of a bookstore rack, they deserve a good read. Well-written, entertaining, and/or thought provoking, not to mention a helluva page-turner.

8. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

I’d have to say my favorite part of the process is the blank page. Nothing written yet. Just
the story in my brain and the unknown world that lies ahead. The moment words begin to slap the page it feels like I’m hitting the road on a grand adventure.

My least favorite part? I suppose waiting for my wife to read those early pages, hoping to
heck I’ve written something she thinks is worth continuing.

9.What’s up next for you?

I’m writing the second Lucky Dey novel. Another thriller tentatively titled 99 PERCENT KILL. That and a variety of continuous film and television projects.

10. Do you have any advice for other writers?

My advice is generally pretty consistent. Write, get some good and honest critique. Then rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.

To read an excerpt of Blood Money, visit Doug’s website and click on the “Media” tab. Blood Money is currently available at Amazon and Smashwords.

Author Interviews, General Book Stuff, Writing

Author Interview: Mishael Austin Witty

Over the past few months, I’ve featured several authors on my Friday blog posts. I did this mainly to help authors in their promotional efforts since my book reviewing time is currently very limited.

For a while, I’ve been putting the author interview feature on the back burner as I try to deal with some other things that have been going on in life and as I try to work on my own writing and editing (which is really my first love, far above and beyond blogging).

If you’ve sent me an email with the answers to the interview questions I have published on the site, thank you. I have seen it. I’ve just been ignoring it until such time as I was better able to devote more of my time and attention to focus on. I apologize that I have not yet gotten back to so many of you.

I think it’s high time I got back to doing what I said I would do. I said I would feature authors, and so I should. And I’m going to again. Starting next Friday.

To get things rolling again (and getting something up and active on my blog), I’m going to post an interview I conducted with myself. I hope you all find it to be entertaining and informative, and not too annoyingly self-serving. Thanks!

This particular interview concentrates on my novella, Believe in Me. 

1. How did you get the idea for the book?

This novella actually got its start because I was responding to an open submission call from Entangled Publishing for a holiday-themed novella collection entitled “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”. The idea was to take one line from either that song or “Santa Baby” and center a romance story on that line. I accepted the challenge.

My pick was “Santa Baby”, and I picked the line, “Let’s see if you believe in me”. In fact, that was the full working title of the novella for quite a while. One of my beta readers (or maybe more than one) advised me against it. I took her advice.

Anyway, I started wondering why someone in a romantic relationship would need to say that to someone else. The most obvious thing I could think of was broken trust, and nothing breaks trust in a relationship like infidelity (even if it’s only assumed). So…the germ of the story idea was born, and the rest of the story naturally progressed from there.

2. Which came first, the title or the book?

Obviously, as I mentioned before, the title did. In a sense, anyway. The working title came first, and I centered the story on the title. This is one of the very few times I have done that. I’m notoriously bad about coming up with titles to fit my books. I almost always wait until the last possible second to come up with what I think is a decent title. From now on, I think I’m just going to let my friends help me with titles. I have a few who are much better at it than I am!

3. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

This is the story of Trina Gray, a high-powered career woman who comes home for the holidays at the urging of her mother. What she’s not suspecting, though, is that her mother has invited her soon-to-be-ex husband to spend the Christmas holiday with them.

The minute she sees Walt, Trina runs back out the door. She can’t deal with the anger and other emotions that come immediately to the surface at the sight of him. She goes to her friend Mim’s bed and breakfast where she runs into her old high school boyfriend, Kurt. Kurt and Trina talk and discover that they still have feeling for each other after all these years, and the sparks start flying.

Believe in Me is, ultimately, a story about the rebuilding of important relationships – both romantic and family relationships.

4. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?

I’m definitely interested in writing a romantic thriller. I’ve written a thriller and I’ve tried my hand at writing romance (although this particular work borders on women’s fiction). I would love to combine those two together. I enjoy reading books in that genre, so I’m sure I would enjoy writing one.

5. If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be?

Men who cheat and the women in love them. 😉

Just kidding (sort of). In all honesty, I’d like for there to be a much more positive spin put on the topic than that. The whole idea of this story is that it takes two people to have a successful relationship – two people who are communicating openly with each other and who are willing to work to make things right.

Love is more than just warm, gushy feelings (or intense sexual attraction) – especially within a marital relationship. I should know. I’ve been married for five and a half years (I know that’s not much to some, but many marriages don’t last even that long). The point is: Sometimes I don’t feel all warm and gushy toward my husband. Truth be known, sometimes I don’t even like him very much. But I’m committed to him, and he’s committed to me, and so we’ve stayed together against all odds and we will continue to stay married until one of us dies.

And, even in the face of something cataclysmic, you can make the choice to repair the relationship. Forgive (this doesn’t mean you excuse the behavior) and move on, and don’t let anything break up your marriage (as long as it doesn’t endanger your life, like spousal abuse).  

6. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part, honestly, is the editing/rewriting phase. I love going back and reading what I’ve written. Sometimes I don’t even remember how good certain bits were. I don’t always remember the bad parts either, but it seems that those aren’t as prevalent as the good parts. I guess sometimes it does pay to leave your “inner editor” on.

I’m also developing a fast fondness for cover design. 🙂

My least favorite part of the process would have to be the planning phase – before any real writing takes place. I know that a certain amount of planning has to be done. I just can’t stand to do it. It drives me crazy, especially when my characters often take the story in a completely different direction from where I planned ahead of time that they would be going. It makes me feel that the planning part really isn’t that necessary at all – except when I act under that assumption, things turn out very badly!


7. What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of and why?

I really love the flashback scene (which takes place in Trina’s memory) where Walt and Trina are talking in bed after the first time they’d made love. It’s so romantic. In fact, it’s one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever written.

Well, it’s practically the ONLY romantic scene I’ve ever written, but I think I did it very well…with a little help from my friends. 😉

8. Which fictional character do you have a secret crush on?

I’ve always been a fan of the dark, brooding Victorian type. Think Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights. Or Jane Eyre’s Rochester. There’s something about those Brontes and their taste in men that I can really identify with!

9. Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?

Actually, several years ago I wrote a flash fiction story about an old man giving his grandson marriage advice just before he walked up to the altar and said “I do”. A pastor read that story and wrote to me, asking if he could use it in his marriage counseling sessions. Just the thought that my words were going to be used to help other people in that way? Amazing!

More recently, though, I had the opportunity to hand sell books at a women’s clothing store. Just being with all the other women there was so much fun. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’m going back to do it again on May 11 (which is one of the reasons I need to buy several hard copies of this book)!

10. What’s up next for you?

I’m currently (in addition to improving this novella) reworking my first novel, Shadows of Things to Come. I’m hoping to re-release that book the same time I re-release this one, on May 1. >>UPDATE<< It’s available NOW. Only $3.99 for the Kindle version. To buy, click here. 

I’m also finishing up the first historical fiction novel I’ve ever written, The Fading Sun, which is Book One in a trilogy that I’ve named Sunset’s Hope. I would really like to self-publish this one too, but I’m not quite sure. I might shop it around a little bit before I definitely decide to go the self-publishing route. I do, however, like the freedom and control that come with self-publishing!


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little interview. If you’d like to connect with me, please do consider following me on Twitter and becoming my fan on Facebook. Also, I’d love to hear what you think of this interview or the blog in general. I can’t improve this blog if I don’t know what’s working and what’s not. Thanks so much!

Mishael Austin Witty


Author Interviews

Author Interview: Sarah Elle Emm

Because of my connection with the amazing Melissa Foster and her most awesome support group, I was able to connect with another great writer, Ms. Sarah Elle Emm. In this interview, she discusses her newest book, Opalescent. 


1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

Opalescent is book two from the Harmony Run Series and revolves around a seventeen-year-old girl named Rain Hawkins as she bravely fights against an evil dictator in the year 2050.  I’d say it is exciting, intended for a teenage audience, and is the perfect book for a book club discussion.

My publisher wrote a great preview in the press release:

Opalescent doesn’t disappoint as we move forward in the exciting story of young people facing segregation and an evil opposition. The sequel starts right where the first book left off with new twists and turns, and loyalties being questioned.

Still enslaved in a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, Rain Hawkins is part of a secret resistance preparing to take on the tyrannical President Nicks before plans to kill the mixed zones across UZTA are executed. When unsettling dreams and a mysterious voice begin to haunt the dark nights, Rain fears someone more powerful than she has discovered the resistance and their secret abilities.

With a known Authority spy on her heels, and her boyfriend, Jabari, suddenly acting strange, Rain doesn’t know who to trust and if the voices calling to her are friend or foe. As conditions across all of the zones get worse and the stakes rise, Rain embarks on a quest for answers that will either put the people she cares about most in more danger or take them one step closer to the truth and their eventual freedom.

2. Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

Well, there are a lot of messages in the Harmony Run Series, but concerning Opalescent particularly, I hope readers grasp the idea of standing up for what they believe in and not being indifferent to injustice.  I think the message of having hope, no matter how dark the times or situation may be, is also important in Opalescent.

3. How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

The series takes place in the year 2050, when a tyrannical ruler has come to power, hydrogen-fueled hover crafts are the only mode of transportation, and the teenagers at the core of the story have discovered they have some extra abilities or talents to help them stand up to their oppressor.  Despite all of these fantasy fiction elements, this story is still based on real life struggles that people in general will be able to relate to.

In real life, for example, people deal with depression, oppression, hatred, and seemingly impossible obstacles.  People fall in love, teenagers argue with their parents, unexpected crisis can pop up and throw us completely from the path we are walking and send us in an entirely different direction.  I think anyone reading the Harmony Run Series will be able to relate to the struggles these teenagers face, even if only on a small level.

4. How did you get the idea for the novel?

From the moment my children were born, people – even strangers – wanted to ask who they would identify with, African Americans or Caucasians, and which color baby doll would we buy for them?  Some tried to figure out if they looked more white or black, and over and over when my husband wasn’t with us at the store, strangers asked me what their father looked like because they just couldn’t figure it out.  When I would say he was African American, they would be dumbstruck.  “Really?”  To which I would say, “Yes, really.”  I should know….I married the man, didn’t I? 😉

I got a bit tired of trying to explain we are all just humans.  That is the point though:  We are all just humans.  Since it felt like there was too much interest on which box my kids should check, eventually, the thought popped into my mind to try to write a story where multiracial teens would be the stars of the show.  Maybe the multiracial teenagers in my book could try to help get the message out to the world that we are all, in fact, just humans.  (Well, aside from some of the Martian Men we have living among us.) 😉

To answer the question a little further, the Harmony Run Series was a story that had been brewing in me since the first time I stood inside the walls of a World War II concentration camp.  I was twelve years old.  I knew about concentration camps like the one we were visiting, Dachau, but I had no idea how it would feel to visit one.

Dachau wasn’t even a death camp, like some of the other Nazi camps.  I saw where prisoners were forced to share wooden bunk beds, stand for hours in torture drills, tortured during medical experiments by Nazi doctors, and on and on. The stories I had been reading about in books suddenly came to life before me.  In the replica gas chambers and crematoriums their heart wrenching murders cried out to me, consuming me with sadness.

Growing up, I devoured WWII books about Jews surviving in hiding, stories of hope and courage, learned about WWII in any way I could, and I visited Dachau on three separate occasions.  Each time, the experience left me speechless, unable to put my emotions into words.  I recall standing in front of my class at the age of seventeen trying to give a report about concentration camps.  My classmates studied me with confusion as I cried the entire time I was trying to give my report.  Just talking about those camps made me cry.  I couldn’t help it.  I know a million stories have been told about that era, but they left an impression on me.

I was also very moved by my visit to Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin.  I wanted to see every contraption devised to try to escape the East and was intrigued by this post war oppression.  Other stories moved me…Slavery in America, the Underground Railroad, Nelson Mandela’s struggles and eventual freedom, and atrocities still happening around the world.  The story of Shin Dong, who escaped a North Korean concentration camp, just seven years ago, breaks my heart.  Here is a link to his story:

My story might not ever help change this crazy world, but I think the idea is to get people thinking about the consequences of sitting by idly when people are attacked.  It doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside.  It doesn’t matter what box I check to label myself.  I am a human.  Just like you.  And the person standing next to you.

5. Which came first, the title or the novel?

The novel.  The characters made their grand appearance in my mind, as if they had stepped out of a painting and into my living room.  I was snoozing on the loveseat, saw them, leapt from the chair, ran to my kitchen table, and filled up pages of my notebook with their story.  Titling book one Prismatic was the easiest thing I have ever titled.  It just clicked.  This is a story about multiracial teens, alongside people of every color of the rainbow, working together to overcome oppression.  I decided to name the entire series with the same general meanings…

Harmony Run Series in order:


Brilliantly colored; iridescent



Exhibiting a milky iridescence like that of an opal



Having a changeable luster; twinkling



Exhibiting lustrous or rainbow-like color.

6. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

YES!!!  I would give myself more time to write this one!  It is quite difficult to crawl inside of that writing cave of mine with kids, their activities, homework, etc.  Plus, we moved from Indiana to Florida in the middle of this story.  Aside from the time issue, I like Opalescent.  This story is important to me.  Of course, it has only been out for a few days.  Those nasty reviews might come rolling in soon.  Ask me then! 😉

7. What inspired you to write your first book?

My first published book was Marrying Missy and was inspired by people picking on people who don’t “look” like them and also by people who pick on themselves. Marrying Missy is about an unlikely friendship, women with low self-esteem, prejudice, people struggling to overcome the negative things their parents taught them, abusive relationships, the role of the modern day woman, (career versus staying at home), and marriage.

It is set in Atlanta in the spring time during the wedding planning of Missy. It’s a fast-paced, fun, easy read, and at the same time has some heavy issues for people to think about. Everywhere I have lived and traveled, I have met women, some worse than others, who struggle with low self-esteem and body issues. I am a mother and an aunt now, and I wanted to go ahead and put some thoughts out there about the consequences of negative behavior and getting caught up in the need for material excess.  Prejudice is also an important theme in this book. Missy is a fictional character, based off of a multitude of experiences and hundreds of people I have met around the globe. Prejudice is very real, it does not exist within one race or culture alone, and it simply disturbs me.  (If you hadn’t picked that up yet.) 😉

8. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

I’ve been writing since I was young.  Never did I stop to think about what would happen if I ever managed to get published.  So of course, when I finally did, I wasn’t really prepared for the negative part that goes with being published…like nasty reviews.  So here is the most important thing I have learned since then:  It is not personal.  My mom told me about a pastor preaching who uses a Q-tip for an analogy.  He says Q-TIP means quit taking it personally.  You can apply this to all areas of your life, from people with road rage to bad reviews.  Who cares if you get slammed by a bad review?  At least the reader was ticked off enough to take the time to write a review.  Besides, reviews – good and bad – get the conversation rolling about your story… 😉

9. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

There is something about the process where I first meet my character or characters before I have even written the first word that is so exciting.  It’s difficult to explain without sounding unhinged, but I know other writers understand.  A character might come around to ‘chat’ or give me a glimpse of their story and who they are and then come and go.  The moment that character is suddenly crystal clear in my mind, and I can’t get to my notebook or computer fast enough to write down the words, is the best moment ever.

My least favorite part is after I have completed the first draft, and I have to try to make sense of what poured on to the pages…(editing and revising.)  Ugh.

10. What book are you reading right now?

I am reading The Last Supper Catering Company by Michaelene McElroy, and I have to tell you I can’t wait to finish this interview so I can get back to reading!  In all seriousness, thank you for allowing me to chat on your blog today about Opalescent, but if you haven’t read The Last Supper Catering Company yet, go ahead and add it to your to-read shelf.  I’m not sure I want her story to end.

11. What’s up next for you?

I am writing Chatoyant, book three of the Harmony Run Series, which is set for release next February 2014.  The fourth installment, Nacreous, doesn’t have an official release date as of yet.  Basically, if I’m not chasing one of my children, cooking healthy, juicing, talking someone’s ear off, (usually this is my awesome mother, Jacque, or my very patient husband, Charles,) reading, attending a school or church function, marketing, or snapping a photo for Sarah’s View from the Bottom, you can bet I am working on the Harmony Run Series.  I think I had better cut something out of that list if I am going to meet my next deadline.

12. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Please, please, please don’t be intimidated by other writers and authors out there who you think are way ahead of you and seem to have all of their ducks in a row.  You may not have written the next big thing or something that is going to immediately, or ever, gain the attention of the industry as a whole, but your story is your story.  It is important to someone, and even if you just touch one reader’s life, making them smile or feel touched in a positive way, that’s all that matters.

13. Is there anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you.  Thank you for reading my work.  Thanks to those who make time to leave reviews on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Goodreads.  Thanks to readers who have passed any of my books to a friend or shared it with their book club.

The Harmony Run Series is technically young-adult, but I sure like hearing about adult readers enjoying Prismatic, looking forward to Opalescent, and sharing the story with younger readers.

Thank you very much, Mishael, for hosting me on your site today!

You can connect with Sarah Elle Emm

On Facebook:!/pages/Sarah-Elle-Emm/146731658742629

On Twitter:

By visiting her website:

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Dana Sitar


About the author:  Dana Sitar is a freelance journalist and indie author. She shares resources, tips, and tools for writers in search of a path at DIYWriting. Her latest book, AWritersBucketList, is a launching point for all of the possibilities of being a writer, a kick in the butt for those who don’t know what to do next, and a simple guide to help writers forge their own unique career/life paths.



1. How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?


A Writer’s Bucket List is a launching point for all the possibilities of being a writer. Instead of another how-to book, I call it a “Why not?” for the writer’s life. The book is a collection of 99 things I’ve either done to further my own career and bolster my creativity, or things that are on my own bucket list that will help me do so in the future.


2. Is there a message in A Writer’s Bucket List that you want your readers to grasp?


I desperately want to convey this message to writers: “TRY SOMETHING NEW, and do it RIGHT NOW!” I want everyone to stop being afraid to take bold steps and follow their dreams because it’s not really that scary, and the payoff is so huge.


3. How did you get the idea for A Writer’s Bucket List?


I was alone at home without Internet one day, and I just had an urge to write SOMETHING. I wasn’t much into writing fiction at the time, so I just started to make a list of things writers do or should do — maybe to use on my blog later, or something? I let it sit at about twenty items for months and never went back to it. After a few months, I had the idea to turn it into a book, and I built the list up to about 100 things.


4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?


Oh, I already have a million little things to change! But you have to just get the book OUT THERE eventually, you know? I do have plans for the future that will address some things this first edition does not. I plan to launch a Kindle edition in a few months. I also may — in the future, maybe — create a special edition that includes a lot more tips and advice, and it will probably be available in print as well as ebook format.


5. What inspired you to write your first book?


My FIRST book was a collection of short stories. I had been blogging and devouring blog posts by other writers for a few months, and I realized how POSSIBLE it would be to create a book and share it with the world. The idea of self-publishing was instantly very appealing to me. I had already written all of the stories, so the creation of that first book involved editing, beta readers, formatting, and publishing on Kindle…then marketing according to my limited abilities at the time. It was an awesome adventure and learning experience.


6. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?


“Writing” means so many things, and not all writing is created equal. You will love some things and hate others, and they may not be the same as what other writers love and hate. Just because others are determined to become novelists doesn’t mean you aren’t a legitimate writer if you prefer to write blog posts. Just because others are willing to write copy for PR firms to make a living writing doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong if you’re working at a cafe and publishing short stories for no pay. Don’t try to be any kind of writer other than who you are, regardless of the money or esteem you think you’ll gain because, in art, your strength lies in your uniqueness.


7. Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?


The first words are always my favorite, whether I’m writing fiction, non-fiction, news articles, etc. The first words hold all the possibilities for what a story will become. As soon as you write them, you can see the spine of the book on a shelf, a reader’s eyes glowing as she meets your characters, a bookstore owner shaking your hand and welcoming your books into his inventory. When I’m writing fiction, I also fall instantly in love with my characters from the first words, and that feeling is so cool.


I absolutely hate the moment after the book is “finalized”. In self-publishing an ebook, that moment is when I have just uploaded the book to the distributor. That’s the moment you’re taking the biggest leap, and all the scary questions flood your brain — Did you run through enough edits? Did you get enough feedback from beta readers? Was that version of the cover REALLY the best? WHAT IF NOBODY BUYS IT?! It’s the moment when you beat yourself up with all the “shouldas” of the past and the “what-ifs” of the future.


8. What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?


I want to write YA/NA. Romantic comedy. I feel so cheesy saying it out loud because I avoided these genres for a long time as a reader. But as I become more entrenched in the writer/reader world, I’m discovering a lot of YA that I love and romance that I respect and enjoy. The format is easy to enjoy, and the readers are awesome — I want to connect with those readers!


9. What’s up next for you?


In addition to promoting the hell out of A Writer’s Bucket List, this year my big goal is to get some fiction up on Kindle. I’m going to start small and work my way up. I’m just finishing a literary novelette, I’m collaborating with a friend on a literary novella, and by the end of NaNoWriMo 2013, I want to have a complete manuscript for that YA rom com.


In non-fiction, I’m continuing to develop new ebooks for writers, as well as e-courses. I want to create a more official community at DIY Writing, where writers have access to special resources and tools, and can collaborate and learn from each other.


10. Do you have any advice for other writers?


Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to try anything, and don’t be afraid to fail. If you have an idea, try it, and share your work. The first thing you share won’t be the best thing you can share, but it will be a start, and the next thing will be better. Failure is how you grow, so embrace it. Don’t try to avoid it just because it doesn’t feel good.