Today it is my great pleasure to welcome writer friend and Canadian author Diane M. Robinson who has said about herself, Ever since I was a child, I named things. Trees, cars, houses, clouds and of course, all the family pets. Every thing deserves a proper name in my view. My ladder even has a name: Harold H.Handover. Indeed, you will find, as I have, Diane is an incredible person, as well as an incredible author of children's books.
For example, the incredible person I have come to know has studied at Institute of Children's Literature and teaches acrylics, watercolor, and clay sculpture as the St. Paul Visual Arts Center. She also serves on committee for the Friends for World Development, volunteering to help coordinate sustainable programs in Indore, India regarding schools, tea plantations, weaving/sewing centers, milk co-ops, and community meeting halls. She has also volunteered for Kindness in Action to provide dental care for the poor in outlying areas in Honduras and Guatemala. Indeed, a very special person, who happens to be an incredible author as well.
'Incredible' came to mind when I learned that Diane as an author has earned, and is the recipient of the 2012 Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Artist Award (literary arts); the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Award; the 2013 Readers' Favorite International Book Award; the 2013 Sharp Write Book Award; the 2104 Readers' Favorite International Book Award; the 2015 Children's Literary Classics Seal of Approval; and, the 2015 Purple Dragonfly Book Award in the genre of fantasy/adventure children’s chapter books. Books one and two in The Pen Pieyu Adventures series have won 6 international book awards and one provincial award. What makes Diane Robinson an incredible author, is that she is a multi-award-winning children's author, writing Instructor and tutor at Creative Writing Institute.
Before diving into the interview, I thought to complete this introduction, only after listening to Diane read in her own words.
DMR: Over the last several months, Longstride Castle had become quite accustomed to having the only Princess Knight, well, the only knight actually, in the lands of Pen Pieyu. The king and queen held many parties in Petra's honor, and royals and peasants alike acknowledged the Princess Knight's kindness and bravery and brought what gifts they could to the castle, although the gift bearing seemed to have slowed of late. Petra was not concerned with the parties or gifts as much as she was eager to practice all her knight skills : jousting, fencing, javelin throwing, steed grooming and maintenance, running, armour polishing, and, of course, onion-throwing to hit the mark. She also kept up with her Highland dance lessons, just because she liked it. Longstride Castle had also become quite accustomed to having a dragon in the kitchen since Snarls had become master barbecue connoisseur. The royal rule book said nothing about a dragon in the kitchen, only that the master barbecue connoisseur must provide a very hot fire available for barbecues at a moment's notice. The castle parties flourished as Snarls roasted to perfection his specialties: skewed onion-turnip pom-poms, onion-broccoli no-where-to-be-seen, and, of course, onion omelette ta-da.'
GMB: And with thoughts of castles and royals, and Diane's incredible presence, both here and in the writing community, I ask her now, to share with us something about her presence … a little about herself.
DMR: I live in a small town in central Alberta, on an acreage with horses and dogs, and tons of gardening projects to keep me busy in the summer. Winter weekends are my writing time. During the week, I work at a busy dental office, teach art lessons after work, and I am a part-time writing instructor at the Creative Writing Institute. Yes, I need more hours in a day.
GMB: And you have received wonderful reader reviews as well...
DMR: Yes ... and for example, Grady Harp, Hall of Fame, Top 100 Reviewer, said about Sir Princess Petra’s Talent:
Canadian author Diane Mae Robinson freely states `My mission in life is to inspire children to believe in the magic within themselves, to become heroes, and to accomplish great things' and to that end she is proceeding with her series of richly detailed imaginative fantasies focusing on a young princess who feels the need to be a knight. Though young and new to the field of publishing the author has already been awarded honors and medals.
Diane keeps the book short (a true plus for young readers) and makes her dialogue full of contemporary humor with just the right touch of lightness. In other words, Diane has mastered this genre. Or as other have said, her books are `amazingly fresh, charmingly funny, and embrace timeless values kindness, understanding, and respect'. Highly recommended.
GMB: Wonderful, Diane ... and what would you consider the greatest inspiration you have experienced to date?
DMR: I have several great inspirations that have happened to me as a writer.
GMB: Where and/or how do you find or, does inspiration find you?
DMR: It’s kind of a joint effort. When I’m mentally and creatively ready to start a new book, I just have to wander off into my forest. Then it’s like characters jump out at me from the trees. I know, it sounds strange, but when my imagination runs free I see different character images emerge in the tree barks. As I see these same images over and over throughout the months, think about the emerging characters and make notes, the characters start to come to life. When I have a good idea of the characters, the story starts to write as if dictated from the character’s point of view. When I explain this jumping-out-of-tree-bark-character idea to kids at my school author visits, they get it. Hmmm, this could only mean I have a childlike mind. Somehow, I’m okay with that.
GMB: What is your favorite genre to write … to read?
DMR: I only write children’s chapter books in fantasy/adventure. Well, then there’s my grammar book coming out, but in a fun way it is a fantasy/adventure as all the characters of my fantasy series are giving the grammar lessons.
My favorite books are the classics: Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenin, The Scarlett Letter, Jane Eyre, and Great Expectations, to name a few. To me, these writers had a classy flair for writing. I also like adult fantasy, adventure novels, and of course, children’s books.
GMB: What aspect of a story appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot, or the title?
DMR: Definitely the characters. I work for months with my characters, getting to know them inside out, writing notes, and drawing images. Once I know the completeness of them, the story just starts to flow, as if the characters are in control, telling me the story themselves.
GMB: Has your own life influenced your novels? How have your novels influenced your life?
DMR: Petra Longstride, a nine-year old princess knight, is the main character of my series, The Pen Pieyu Adventures. She is feisty, adventurous, rebellious, but kind hearted and non-judgmental. People who know me think that Petra is me, especially the rebellious part. Okay, maybe.
GMB: Who is your favorite character that you have created? Moreover, why is this character a favorite?
DMR: One would think that Petra would be my favorite. She is very cool, but her dragon sidekick, Snarls, seems to steal people’s hearts. He’s a scaredy-cat, lippy dragon, who is also the royal chef and barbeque connoisseur at the palace. He’s also Petra’s royal steed. Together they go on adventures where Petra takes the lead, but Snarls’ antics are hilarious. He’s the nuttiest dragon I know, and his dragon fire is defective, which leads to all kinds of comical situations. He’s a real show stealer, unpredictable, and a wannabe main character. He’s been a pain in my side since I tree-bark met him. Oops, better be careful, he can read now too.
GMB: Tell us about your newest release or a project you are working on.
DMR: The 3rd book in The Pen Pieyu Adventures series will be released within a couple months.
I’m working on three other projects. My grammar book, Grammar for Kids and Dragons, will be the next book up for publication in 2016. I’m going to start writing book four in The Pen Pieyu Adventure this winter. I’m also co-writing a children’s picture book series with a local writer—this project will take some time to get into place.
GMB: If I were a publisher, I believe my first question would be, “Why were you chosen to write this story?” How would you respond to the inquisitive publisher?
DMR: Like I have a choice, living with an irrational dragon in my forest.
GMB: If you could be anyone in the world, space, and designated realm or dimension, who would it be … why?
DMR: I would be Billbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings. His adventure was incredible, heart- wrenching, and a true test of character. He accomplished the hardest and most amazing feats to save the shire and other realms. Billbo is the epitome of the word ‘noble’ and that is an honorable way to go down in history.
GMB: Diane thank you for a wonderful interview ... I really appreciate you taking the time to visit with us today. Is there anything you would like to leave us with ... about you, about your wonderful body of work?
One of my favorite quotes is "Be in the world what you want the world to be."
GMB: That is so super Diane ... what a great thought to leave us with ... Thank you for visiting. It has been my privilege to host you here in the Anything But a Tired Barn ... a great pleasure to share your world ... a world that you want to be in. I hope you will visit again soon.
Now, for everyone who will now agree with me that Diane is in deed a Special Person and Incredible Author, please continue to visit Diane, and support her writing efforts by continuing to join her in her special and incredible world. To do so, please reply on these links and continue to visit and engage and engage and engage...
Thanks again Diane,
Cheers and Be Well...
Website Link: http://www.dragonsbook.com
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/Diane-Mae-Robinson/e/B007DKO8SK
Publisher Link: Book One Tate Website http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61346-264-5
Book Two Tate Website: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=9781625106827
A Fascinating Interview with UK Author, Toni Allen... Reader of The Tarot ... To Help Others ... Simply Fascinating
After a hiatus to complete my forthcoming novel, I am back with Author and New Friend, Toni Allen. She visits from the United Kingdom and has written numerous books, to include 'Visiting Lilly', 'Being Richard' and 'The System of Symbols: A New Way to Look at Tarot'." Toni ... Welcome to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn'... We have the All Authors e-Magazine to thank for introducing us ... And encouraged us to share. Welcome to all indeed....
TA: Mitch, Thanks for hosting me ...
GMB: Let's start with a favorite Excerpt from your work... Something you would really like to share with your readers ... and readers we'd like to encourage, to delve further into your stories.
TA: This is a favourite ... The opening scene in 'Being Richard'...
The little ones were always easy to spot. A vigil of small black headstones, tucked away at the back of the cemetery, their teddies and trains weather beaten; the gold faded. Twilight and rain drops shrouded them in pathos, but come dusk the solar lights would flicker on, permanent candles used as protective sprites to ward demons away from these precious spirits. Such short lives, their pasts a heartbeat in time, their names etched in granite to live on forever. If I was lucky and could find someone suitable I would be able to help him live on far longer than his grieving parents ever imagined.
GMB: Wonderful ... A great read from you ... To change things up a little ... Perhaps learn something more about you ... Tell us about yourself (before we start figuring it all out) *grins*.
TA: I work as a professional tarot reader and astrologer. To many people that may sound like a crazy profession and slightly off the wall...
GMB: Not at all ... fascinating ... please enlighten us...
TA: Thank You Mitch ... My work primarily involves counselling people and helping them through the tough times in life. Sometimes it’s hard work, the same as with any job, and at other times there are a lot of laughs and some great times to be had. I go and give talks to various clubs and groups, as well as offering private sittings, and I get to meet many, many wonderful people.
In my non-working time I write, and follow my other passions which are gardening and photography. I’m a big fan of nature, so you’ll find me walking around the local countryside stalking the wildlife with my camera. I often come across fellow photographers and we have a fine old time chatting about cameras and swapping notes on which birds or insects we've seen.
For pure entertainment I go out for dinner once a week with a friend of mine, and we play the card game cribbage. If anyone here has never played cribbage you really should give it a go, because it’s fun, and we never take things too seriously. I mean, how can I get competitive, when my friend always gets lucky and usually beats me?!
GMB: Nice ... Time well-spent ... Tell us ... What were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realized you had lost all track of time?
TA: A few nights ago. I worked until really late and the other night I stopped at about midnight, made a cup of tea, and thought, ‘Yeah, I’ll write for an hour before bed.’ Next time I glanced at the clock it was 5 am! Whoops!
GMB: Not so ... You know mystical ... That's an author thing... Write, tea ... Oh its tomorrow and I just wrote 4,000 words of sheer brilliance ... That is until the editors have their say ... *Cheeky grin* Toni ... Please describe your latest book ...Share with is us why we here in the ‘Anything But a Tired Barn’ will read your newest material and enjoy it.
TA: 'Visiting Lilly' is a mystery/thriller with a paranormal twist. Available this autumn...
GMB: Now we're talking ... paranormal mystery with thrills ... *smiles in a successfully sinister manner*
TA: Detective Inspector Jake Talbot investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly, and uncovers a dangerous family hiding a forbidden romance that crosses the boundaries of time.
The story opens with a young man of twenty seven, attempting to visit an old lady, Lilly, in a care home. It seems like an easy enough request, but young Frankie is chased away. When Lilly’s grandson makes a complaint to the police, Detective Inspector Jake Talbot simply cannot understand the problem. So, he pokes his nose in, and discovers that Frankie is exceptionally intelligent, but somewhere off the normal spectrum. One of Frankie’s bizarre beliefs is that he’s been visiting Lilly in the past, when she was young and beautiful.
To a down-to-earth cop like Talbot this is all crazy mumbo-jumbo, but he likes Frankie and can’t see why he shouldn't visit Lilly. As both Lilly and Frankie’s families add pressure to keep the two of them apart, Talbot digs deeper and deeper. Murder is mentioned, and suddenly Talbot is forced to work on his own, away from all the back-up and support he’s been used to having.
Christmas is fast approaching and Talbot’s personal traumas are always triggered by seasonal memories. His colleagues say he’s washed-up as a cop, finished; not knowing his extended leave is a cover. Talbot goes it alone, risking everything.
Anyone who has a heart will enjoy reading Visiting Lilly. It’s a traditional mystery thriller with Frankie and Lilly’s romance as the hub of the story. All they want to do is see each other, but Lilly is very old and might die before they ever get a chance to meet. There’s a race against time, and a no-nonsense compassionate detective unraveling the mystery, methodically, and at times, with searing dry humour.
GMB: And when and where will we find 'Visiting Lilly'?
TA: 'Visiting Lilly' is currently at the pre-production editing stage. Booktrope team members working on the novel alongside me have already said how the story has moved them to both laughter and tears.
GMB: "Wonderful to hear," *smiling*
TA: 'Visiting Lilly' is being published by Booktrope, and will be available this autumn.
GMB: Sounds inspired ... Inspiring for the others ... Tell us ... Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration for your writing?
TA: Characters present themselves to me during my quieter times, while walking in the countryside or falling asleep. They are usually doing something of interest so I observe them until I learn more about them. I ask myself who they are, and watch as their story unfolds. This process usually takes many months, and I don't write anything down until I have a very good idea of what their story is all about.
GMB: Why write in the genre you choose? What is it you like about this genre?
TA: I enjoy writing cross-genre material, as in mystery/thriller with some paranormal, because in my line of work I experience a lot of things that are outside other people's understanding. Writing gives me the opportunity to explore some of these phenomena and describe them happening in a very mainstream, traditional context.
GMB: What concern, if any do you have about any of your book releases to date….
TA: I currently have two books on Tarot published.
The 'System of Symbols, a new way to look at tarot', is what you’d describe as my flagship book on tarot. It isn't a ‘cookbook’ of interpretations, it explains why each card means what is does, and how to use the cards in a reading. It also associates the tarot cards with the Bach Flower Remedies, so that people reading tarot can use the healing properties of the remedies to help themselves and others.
GMB: I like it...
TA: This book grew out of my teaching notes, and I've since taught people all over the world how to read tarot, using this book as their basic study book.
Later this year (as of June 2014) The 'System of Symbols' is being launched, translated into Italian, by an Italian publisher of spiritual books Spazio Interiore. I’m absolutely thrilled by this as they approached me and asked if they could publish it in Italian.
My other book on tarot is entitled Sex & Tarot. I’ve been a tarot reader for 30 years and it never ceased to amaze me that when discussing relationships clients would go very pink in the face when I mentioned their sexual fulfillment, or lack of it, within their personal relationships. So, I decided that it was time to bring the subject out into the open. It’s very difficult for a relationship to be whole and happy if the sex life is unsatisfactory.
Sex & Tarot is lighthearted and explores how tarot can be used to judge whether someone you’re dating, or in a committed relationship with, will be sexually compatible.
When I first published Sex & Tarot I was concerned that I’d gather a following of sexual stalkers, but thankfully it hasn't been like that at all. Fellow tarot readers have praised me for bringing this awkward subject to light, and writing about it in a very accessible manner.
GMB: Kudos for the courage Toni... And, you have 'Being Richard' in your bibliography as well.
TA: In my novel 'Being Richard' I write about a very ordinary guy who just happens to be an immortal. With this I am working on the premise that unless you have known somebody since birth you can never know their true history. I mean, your next door neighbour might be immortal, but you’re simply unaware of it! I also really enjoyed creating Sunbeerka’s (aka Richard) character and trying to understand what it would feel like to be 2562 years old while appearing to be 30. A lot of immortal stories cover where someone has been, and what they have seen, whereas I wanted to explore the psychology of my character. How does it feel to live on while every friend you ever make dies? How much grief can a man take, knowing it will happen time, and time, again?
GMB: Which appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot, or the title?
TA: It’s always a character, who does not necessarily have to be the main protagonist, but sometimes I have seeds of ideas floating around, or even a title, and then a character conveniently pops along who fits with the theme I wish to write about.
GMB: What is the hardest part of a novel for you to write? The beginning, middle, or end? Why?
TA: It has to be the saggy middle! Writing the beginning of a novel is always fun and exciting with a lot of forward momentum. The end I always have in my head before I start writing the beginning, but there is that awkward middle section where the pace and interest needs to be maintained, so that I encourage my readers to reach the exciting climax.
Often the middle section of a novel involves a lot of unfoldment of character relating to the start of the work, and if I have been clever enough, the reader should start to see some of the foreshadowing I placed earlier giving them hints as to the plot's potential resolution.
GMB: Tell us about a time when you, as an author had to slog your way through a ton of work. What was it and how did you get through it?
TA: Ha ha! I am currently in that process. Right now we are at the editing stage of my latest novel, 'Visiting Lilly'. As tight as I believe my plot is my editor throws up questions regarding character motivation, where a person is situated within a scene, and, good old punctuation. We are working through the novel chapter by chapter and pass the work back and forth three times each before we class it as finalised. This, as you can imagine, is very time-consuming. Fortunately along the way my editor is quick to praise when she really loves a scene, or piece of dialogue, and we have lots of laughs over quirky errors we both make.
Tea is definitely helping me through this task, as well as being able to laugh at my own mistakes, along with that wonderful sense of achievement when each document is completed to my editor's satisfaction. Yippee!
GMB: Oh I have so been there ... Done that... *grins* Has your own life influenced your novels? If so, please tell us how … perhaps give us an example?
TA: Yes. Divining for, and analysing, so many people has brought me a strong appreciation of the complexity of people's personalities, the road that led them to be who they are, and the dynamics of how they relate with others. I use my observations to add breadth and depth to my characters. It isn't simply a character’s back story that is important, but how it has influenced them.
Being born psychic has definitely influenced my novels. Psychic experiences, which to me are quite normal, have impressed upon me that there is more to this world than meets the eye. I recall one instance, in my writing group, when I read out a piece in which I had a death scene and described the man’s friend, ‘hearing the hush as the soul left his body.’ One group member flew at me and said ‘you simply don’t experience it like that,’ and continued to rant about how she had never felt her mother’s passing, even though she was in the same room. Fortunately I have only witnessed death with my pets, but each time I have known and seen when the soul left the body, which is why I described it as I did in my writing.
GMB: Who is your favorite character you have created? Why this character?
TA: I think it has to be Detective Inspector Jake Talbot in Visiting Lilly. As much as I love Sunbeerka (aka Richard) in 'Being Richard', Talbot is so real and has such a dry sense of humour that you can feel the pain in his life coming through his thoughts; and that appeals to me. He’s a proud and private man, bottling up much from his past; but for all his knocks he’s never lost touch with his own ability to be kind and compassionate.
He’s also rather good at subtly twisting the rules to suit himself, but never crossing the line, hence his superintendent’s main complaint is, ‘I don’t approve of your methods.’ Sometimes Talbot sacrifices his own desires for the good of someone else; and that’s a quality to be admired in any man.
Talbot has two hobbies, antiques and genealogy, both subjects I’m interested in, so it’s always exciting to discover that his taste is very different from mine. Would I have that in my antiques collection? Maybe not, but it suits Talbot’s taste and personality.
GMB: Please describe a favorite setting from you published works ... Fascinate us … Tell us more…
TA: My absolute favourite setting is Thundry Meadows from 'Being Richard'.
Towards the edge of Surrey, near the Hampshire border, lies the rural village of Elstead. If you follow the River Wey Westwards you’ll arrive at Thundry Meadows, an ancient sacred site dedicated to the God Thor.
It’s a real, local beauty spot, and is steeped in history. The idea for Being Richard came to me because I’d visited the location quite a few times because my ancestors were born in Elstead. I recall sitting by the banks of the meandering River Wey and wondering what the ancient tribe who used to live there had been like. Artifacts dated to nearly two thousand years ago have been unearthed from the site, and many local places contain references to the god Thor. One being Thursley which means lea of the god Thunor (Thor).
The character of Sunbeerka appeared to me at quite a different time, and it was only by sitting with him and watching him that I realised he was one of the people who used to live at Thundry Meadow. In Being Richard he lives in Elstead but was born at Thundry Meadows, the birthing tree now a Pillbox built during the war.
If you ever want to visit, do ask a local for directions, because the entrance to Thundry Meadows is in plain sight, but very difficult to spot! Drop me a line and I’ll show you the way.
GMB: Thank You ... I'll do just that ... Now tell us something to really get us interested in reading and sharing one of your stories with others…
TA: Is it possible for the spirit to leave the body and travel to a different time and place? I, personally, don’t see why this isn’t possible, having had various experiences myself and having heard a plethora of stories from my clients.
In 'Visiting Lilly', Jake Talbot is a plain speaking, down to earth, Detective Inspector, who certainly believes in facts and would never consider crossing the line into what he calls ‘heebie-jeebie.’He’s a policeman through and through. Facts. Tangible evidence. Those are what he deals with. Hence, when he encounters a young man, Frankie Hayward, who claims to have been Visiting Lilly in the past, when she was young and beautiful, Talbot is forced to suspend disbelief and get to the facts.
Is Frankie Hayward lying, or will Talbot have the shock of his life?
GMB: Wonderful ... For fun … If 'Visiting Lilly' were made into a movie, who would play the leading roles?
TA: He’s probably a little too old now, but the English actor Shaun Evans, would make a superb Frankie Hayward from 'Visiting Lilly'. (With his hair died and some brown contact lenses!) Evans is such a talented and versatile actor, and in one role I saw him make the little bashful gesture that Frankie does. Currently Evans is playing young Inspector Morse in the TV series Endeavour, but if you watch some of his more obscure earlier work you’ll see what I mean.
GMB: Nice ... and you have offered a Synopsis for 'Visiting Lilly' to share:
TA: Yes ... May I read...
GMB: Of course ... Of course... *smiles*
DI Jake Talbot is a burnt-out British detective given a second chance to believe in love, friendship, and the transcendent power of human experience. When he investigates a seemingly innocent visitor to a residential care home for the elderly, he uncovers a greedy and deadly family who want to hide a forbidden romance that somehow crosses time. The family act ruthlessly to prevent Talbot from discovering the secrets surrounding an unsolved murder and betrayal. At the core of the mystery is an elderly woman, imprisoned by her own grandson, and the keenly intelligent, if admittedly odd, young man who is in love with her. Talbot sets out to right the many wrongs done to the blameless, and in turn rediscovers his own humanity.
GMB: The making of a great story ... Looking forward to its release. Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
TA: I've made so much progress this year, with two of my books being picked up by publishers, that I envisage my writing career going from strength to strength. More books are always in the pipeline, so growth and expanding my fan base are definitely in view for my novels. When 'Visiting Lilly' is launched we’ll be running loads of competitions and give-aways, so if you’re not a fan already, come and test the waters by joining me at my FB Author Page.
GMB: Now so important in this day-and-age ... You have offered various ways to contact you through the Internet and SOcial Networks...
TA: Yes ... Thank You Mitch ... Please find me on my Author Website http://toniallenbooks.com/
I also have an Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/VisitingLillybyToniAllen and I've got a pretty hot Twitter page as well https://twitter.com/Listansus *Mischevious grin* I am also on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/toniallenauthor and I have fun with Pinterest too: http://gb.pinterest.com/listansus/ Finally, please look for my Event page when it is time for Visiting Lilly to truly visit: It will be associated with https://www.facebook.com/VisitingLillybyToniAllen
GMB: And to purchase... We have the Live Links throughout your Interview, but just in case...
TA: Again, Thank You Mitch ... Purchase Link(s): For 'Being Richard' include http://www.amazon.co.uk/Being-Richard-Toni-Allen-ebook/dp/B00A0KXLC4/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402437472&sr=1-8&keywords=toni+allen
Publisher Link: This is the publisher for 'Visiting Lilly', available this autumn. http://booktrope.com/
GMB: Toni ... Thank You so much for visiting and sharing with us today. It has been a real pleasure to meet you and learn about your work ... And how you help others...
TA: And Thank You for hosting me Mitch ... And let us not forget to Thank Jazz at All-Authors e-Magazine (New York) for introducing us, and making all this possible.
GMB: Most definitley ... When this started I was living in Alabama ... I am now in western Canada ... Jazz between New York and Florida ... The Global Village! Thank You Jazz... Thank You Toni... You've all been the Very Best!
Author and Host, G. Mitchell Baker has practiced law for more than twenty years and enjoys researching and writing projects that draw him into the many genres, to include contemporary fiction, science fiction, and paranormal works. For further introduction, please continue through this Website, and visit G Mitchell Baker's Author Page on Facebook as well as his Amazon Author Page.
Author and Friend Greta Burroughs is the Author of six wonderful books to include three children’s books in the Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat series, two MG/YA fantasy entitled Gerald and the Wee People and House on Bo-Kay Lane, and a nonfiction account of her experiences with an autoimmune blood disorder called ITP - Heartaches and Miracles ... Greta it is so nice to see you again ... Welcome to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn'... as Friend of the Master Koda Select Publishing Family we all welcome You and Yours...
GB: Mitch Thanks for having us here ... Glad there is plenty of room for us to settle in... I'd like to you meet my very supportive husband Robert...
GMB: Hey Robert ... Welcome ... How are you?
RB: Well Thank You... Nice place you have here ...
GMB: More like nice place 'They' have here... *Winks* ... So Robert, I'm figuring you for the Strong Silent type *Smiles*.
GB: Yes he is ... *Smiles Proud*
GMB: And who is this we have over here?
GB: This is our Besengi mix, Lil'bit.
Lil'bit: *Woofs* *Smiles*
GB: And a big welcome to you Lil'bit... Oh Look! There's Kinny ...
*Lil'bit is outta here...*
GMB: Greta, I write articles for a Inspiration Unlimited magazine ... about 'inspiration' ... The notion fascinates me ... Where does your inspiration as an author come from?
GB: I have no idea. I just let my imagination run and the characters write their own story.
GMB: Perhaps Lil'bit over there inspires you just a little?
GB: You know I think there may be a lil'bit of inspiration drawn from Lil'bit's antics ... I mean just take one look and you tell me... *winks*
GMB: Oh yes ... definitely inspiring... a no doubter... *Grins*
GMB: Now I'm going to press a little more on the 'inspiration' subject and with another question or two ... What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Are there any tips you could give that you learned along your path of picking up the pen to having a published novel?
GB: Believe in yourself but remember there is always room for improvement. There is more to being a writer than just writing a book. Take advantage of all the tools you have such as beta readers, proofreaders and editors to make your book as perfect as it can be before publishing it.
GMB: And much of what you suggest is about keeping inspiration alive and well, when you then decide to present your inspiration, and the resulting creativity to the public...
GB: Oh yes ...definitely ... I'm not sure I've ever thought of it that way ... But 'Yes'...
GMB What makes your writing unique ... original and interesting?
GB: I guess the most unique thing about my writing is the dialogue. I let the characters dictate to me so the conversations seem more natural and what a teenager (Wee People) or a not-so-smart dog (Patchy and Calico) would say...
GMB: Describe yourself in one word...
GMB: What super power would you like to have...
GMB: What is the title of your newest release?
GB: “House on Bo-Kay Lane” book two in the Wee People series .
GMB: What compelled you to write this book?
GB: The idea came to me and wouldn't leave me alone!
GB: I want to emphasize the fact that my hubby and I work together as a team and we have so many wonderful family and friends. So much credit is due my Hubby Robert and my family and friends... They deserve so much credit for getting me in this writing thing.
GMB: I get a sense there is some inspiration tpo be found there ... I mean from your working together with Robert ...
GB: Oh yes yes ...
GMB: Do you have any books in the works?
GB: I have three started right now but am having a hard time getting into them. They aren't talking to me yet.
GB: Ahhh ... the illusive 'inspiration...' Do you have any hobbies that inspire? What do you like to do in your free time? Robert? what are you doing about this... *winks*
GB: Robert and I have our dogs and you've met Lil'bit ... I love to spend time spoiling them. To get away during our free time, my husband and I take long leisurely rides around the countryside on our motorcycle.
GMB: There you go ... Nice... Very nice. Now How can people connect with you and your work?
GB: Folks can find me on my Author Page ... And read descriptions and excerpts on my Website ... And here are more of my established Links ...
FB Author page https://www.facebook.com/authorgretaburroughs
(Amazon Author Central) http://www.amazon.com/author/gretaburroughs
(Goodreads author page) http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4173006.Greta_Burroughs
(Twitter) https://twitter.com/gretaburroughs @gretaburroughs
(Linked In) http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greta-burroughs/63/166/9a3?trk=shareTw
Gerald and the Wee People
(US Amazon) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004JKMT0Q
(UK Amazon) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004JKMT0Q
(Amazon CA) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B004JKMT0Q
Heartaches and Miracles
(US Amazon ebook) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FYG7E4
(UK Amazon ebook) http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005FYG7E4
(Amazon CA) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B005FYG7E4
Patchwork Dog and Calico Cat
(US Amazon) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006B9RSIQ
(UK Amazon) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006B9RSIQ
(Amazon CA) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B006B9RSIQ
Patchy and Calico’s Summer Vacation
(Amazon US) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008UDGKWG
(Amazon UK) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B008UDGKWG
(Amazon CA) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B008UDGKWG
B&N (Nook) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/patchy-and-calicos-summer-vacation-greta-burroughs/1112658970?ean=2940015767919&itm=1&usri=greta+burroughs
Christmas with Patchy and Calico
(Amazon US) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A9I4XB0
(Amazon UK) https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00A9I4XB0
(Amazon CA) https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00A9I4XB0
B&N (Nook) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-with-patchy-and-calico-greta-burroughs/1113833000?ean=2940015768336&itm=1&usri=greta+burroughs
House on Bo-Kay Lane
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AJUEXBS
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00AJUEXBS
Amazon CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00AJUEXBS
B&N (nook) http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/house-on-bo-kay-lane-greta-burroughs/1113957616?ean=2940015722550&itm=1&usri=greta+burroughs
GB: Mitch Thank You for having us here today...
GMB: Wonderful ... And Thank You Greta and Robert and Friends and Family ... So glad you could join us here in the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' ... Cheers Be Well and Take Care ... We look forward to seeing you again soon ... *Smiles All Around*
Jazz... Passion. Jazz ... Advocate. Jazz ... Book Reviewer. Jazz... Determined to Make a Positive Difference.
Jazz Correa, Author
GMB: And welcome to Jazz Correa, joining us in the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' from Yonkers, New York. I first knew of Jazz through the Master Koda Select Publishing Facebook Group and learned more as she worked through an issue concerning an author who did not like a book review Jazz and her team produced.
Jazz, I believe it takes a certain amount of 'passion' when holding oneself out to the public as a book reviewer. How would you describe that kind of 'passion'?
Jazz: Well the Dictionary Definition includes 'Any powerful, compelling emotion, such as love.' * My Definition would be more like it's the air that I breath, the light of my eyes, that which I cannot live without, my soul, my aura, my identity... I AM PASSION—and I carry it in everything that I do. No matter what that is.
GMB: And how does your passion carry over into your role(s) in the writing community?
Jazz: I am an Author: yes. But, I'm much more than that. I consider myself an Author Advocate. I speak out for them, I help and assist them in any way that I can. I walk with them in this very long walk that we've chose to endeavor. I offer my knowledge, my creativity and tech-savvy abilities to help them reach for the stars and nothing less. I find a sense of belonging in doing said things. So, not only do I write, but I guide aspiring authors and those whom have already realized that dream in marketing, promoting and much, much more.
GMB: Where did your passion, your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/reviewing, etc. come from?
Jazz: Yes. I confess. I am a lover of art. All kinds of art. As a younger person I sang, as a child a drew, in my early adult years I was very crafty and made things. My love for books must have been something that developed out of a need to know and understand. The art hidden therein was a mystery to me during my younger years and I yearned to know. To really know and understand.
Here is a funny fact that most people do not know about me. I have dyslexia. As I child I struggled with it quietly. Ashamed to tell anyone about my problem. So I did not actually start reading until I was in fourth grade, and I did it all by myself. I WANTED—No, NEEDED to know what these fabulous books which were such a mystery hid in their pages. So, all alone I struggled with Dyslexia until I one day, finally, picked up my favorite book, “The Cat in the Hat” and read it. Oh glory! What joy I felt in being able to understand the contents of that page. I remember sitting in the school library or my neighborhood library and breathing deep the scent of books. It was my own personal haven. Then I'd dig in, looking at picture books, sitting with a story in my lap and flipping through it's pages. Then I'd take books home and in the middle of the night, with a flashlight, tucked away under my sheets, head covered and room dark, I would read and read.
THAT is where my passion began!
Y Correa, Advocate
GMB: Incredible! What a commitment to The Page ... both to yours, and to The Page of others. Now alternatively, tell us about the last time you had to slog your way through a ton of work. How did you get through it? With a little style … Perhaps a pang of dismay followed by the satisfaction of …?”
Jazz: Every single day ... LOL! Like I said, I work diligently helping the writing community. Every single day I'm drowned in work that I do for other people—on top of my own works! That can be anything from editing, reviews, cover art, book trailers... you name it.
On top of that, I'm a single mother of 4. Three of which are on their own, but my youngest remains. He had low functioning Autism. So, doing everything I do plus dealing with day to day life, means my life is ALWAYS a struggle. But, the satisfaction at the end of the day lies in going to bed with a smile on my face knowing that I did the best that I can with what I have. That I put positive karma out in the world, and that my kids know that I love them.
GMB: And you choose to bring your passion, your determination to the business world of writing and publishing ... You have shared with us a little about the notion of ‘passion’ … Now where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration for the ‘passion’ you describe?
Jazz: My passion comes from two places: Myself and my kids. My kids inspire me on a daily basis—and my own will power, is the wick that light the flame of my passions.
GMB: Nice ... Very nice ... I'm going to continue with a question or two about the business ... How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing? What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
Jazz: I like eBook and print books just the same. The only difference being that I with eBooks I cannot inhale that glorious soothing scent of printed paper, like I can with in-print books. This debate about Traditional publishing vs Self-publishing is something that I could never really understand. In the words of the famous Rodney King, “Why can't we all just get along?”
I believe that rather than debating who's better and who's not, we should all join together to view the other side of it, and that is: We all share a common goal and a common passion. BOOKS!
I see a very bleak future for us if we cannot get past those petty arguments. I've read both indie and traditional works. On both sides of the fence there had been good and bad. It's ALL just a matter of perspective.
From the Jazz' Facebook Page
GMB: Jazz what were you doing the last time you looked at a clock and realized you had lost all track of time?
Jazz: Writing and smiling!
GMB: You've shared so much already ... But I'm going to ask anyway ... What more about you do you want us to know (before we start figuring out all the rest) *grins*.
Jazz: This may sound as cliché as anything, but I'm the sort of person that just “tells it like it is”. My life really is an open book. I'm not the pretentious type that tries to hide things, worrying about “the public” finding out. I could really care less. I live my life the best I can, knowing that I have shortcomings. Period. I'm not perfect and I don't pretend to be. And, I think that's what my friends love the best about me. That sometimes I'm a bit “brutally honest”.
Oh! Jeez! There it is! That's what people should know! I'm brutally honest. LOL. I suppose that's a bad thing and a good thing.
GMB: Well perhaps a bad or a good thing as well ... I supposed it depends who is hanging around at the time ... What were your goals and intentions when you decided to review books? How well do you feel you have achieved them?
Jazz: My goal upon having made the decision to review books was to give authors the advantage of honest insight of their work, as well as the reading public the opportunity to take a look at books that they may have otherwise overlooked. I wanted to find hidden treasures!
I find that lot's of times the reading public becomes fixed on “what's hot” and turns their backs on anything else. I found that in doing reviews, we can give many authors the chance to showcase their works—should that work be something the reading public may be interested in.
I also found that providing reviews is a good way to give authors exposure. However, the key was “being honest”. Lot's of times authors get very vague reviews or a certain number of starts without an explanation of any kind. When providing reviews, you have the opportunity to tell the author exactly what you did and did not like about their work.
GMB: Share with us more about what you think is essential to your book reviews. Please tell us why we all here in the ‘Anything But a Tired Barn’ will read your Book Reviews and decide whether to buy or ignore the read reviewed.
Jazz: As I mentioned above, my book reviews are HONEST and anything but vague. I also work with a team of ladies, who are part of my read and review group, which have made it their mission to do the same. We make it a point to tell about the story without telling too much. I personally, look at the authors prose and form, at the flow/progression of the book, the evolution of the characters, the plot (as that can play a big role in a story)... basically, I look at every aspect of the book and review accordingly, attempting to give the potential reader a good look into the book, allowing them to decide on their own whether or not that book is for them. I can't tell you HOW HARD it is to give JUST ENOUGH about a book! Being a reviewer, you can easily expose too much, or not enough about a book.
GMB: Can you share some uplifting stories about people you have met in your writing community … perhaps while reviewing books?
Jazz: Oh wow! I've met SO MANY amazing people and some that are in so great in the writing community! I've made friends that I know will last a life time... unfortunately, I've also made enemies. Recently, my group and I had the great experience of reading and reviewing Author Beem Weeks story “Jazz Baby”, and here is what he said once we notified him of his reviews:
“WOW! That's the first response I can offer. WOW! The second response, as well. What humbling reviews. I am so pleased, so thrilled, so overwhelmed by the reviews each of you have written. Thank you all so very much. I mean that from my heart. God bless you each... B. Weeks” It's moment's like this that make it all worth while. Here are some more reviews I enjoy. http://ycorreafb.blogspot.com/2013/08/author-spotlight-reviews-of-beem-weeks.html
GMB: What is the most important thing that people DO NOT know about reviewing books that they need to know?
Jazz: A book review serves a purpose. That being, help. Not only do you help readers decide on whether or not this book is for them, but you also help authors know what the general reading public thinks about their book. With that knowledge, they can either perfect their art or continue to do a fantastic job. Book reviews offer growth. When done well of course.
GMB: What book, or books do you think everyone in the ‘Anything But a Tired Barn’ should read?
Jazz: Do I have all day? LOL...
GMB: Until the cows come home... *winks*
Jazz: Oh my goodness! There are so many that I would recommend. Here is a plan, check out my Blog or my Goodreads page and follow my reviews or look at some that I've already done.
GMB: Fair enough and here are the links those in the Barn can take a peak at and t learn more about what they should be reading ... Now here is my favorite question when with a popular individual who has already done a lot of interviews: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, and then answer it.
Jazz: Hmmm! Good one! LOL. I'll have to say, “Where did you get your characters from?” My characters are a combination of extensive research and everyday people—some, my very own family members. Even myself. My Fate Books Collection is about angels and demons. I've done extensive research about the mythological history about these entities and have written my books to showcase that. The villain in “Marco, Antonio & Amaryllis” is a goddess, though I changed her name, the details of the villain are true to mythological history. I like my characters to have substance and history, I want them to be as real as possible and I find that in looking into that, I can than establish a believable history to those characters.
GMB: Well done *smiles* No always an easy question to answer ... and what a wonderful Interview with you here today. Thank You for joining us Jazz ... And we hope to see you here around the Barn again soon!
Jazz: THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE OPPORTUNITY!!
GMB: You are very welcome Jazz ... Be well, take care ... It was nice organizing this get together with you friends ... I hope everyone surely loves it.
Keeping an Eye on You...
Hello Jacqueline Cross, Author and Friend traditionally publishing under the name Nadia Kilrick ... Thanks for strolling on down our country road for a visit to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn'. I know you are under the weather, and I sure appreciate you coming on by ...
To help you feel at home, we brought over a familiar friend to keep a keen eye on you... I hope our Blog Fans appreciate your effort and to get to know you, and your work a little better... Again, welcome to the Barn one and all...
JC: Thank You for inviting me... You know it was a lovely stroll ... a beautiful day in the country indeed...
GMB: Jacqueline, what genre is Ziggy Returns? Why write in this genre in particular? What is it you like about this genre?
JC: Paranormal/horror. It’s a ghost story. For the most part, I’m not one who thinks too much about genre. I write a story and hope it’s good enough that people will want to read it and tell their friends about it. Once it’s written, I try to put it into the category where it most likely fits. I’ve always liked ghost stories. Perhaps it’s because when I read a good one, memories of sitting on the blue shag carpeting in the living room of my childhood home, listening while my mother told stories of her own childhood, flood my mind and heart. Most of her tales were suspense-filled, creepy and filled with ‘monsters’ found in the backwaters of the Florida panhandle. We couldn’t get enough of them. She should have been a writer.
GMB: Please tell us here in the Barn why we will read Ziggy Returns and enjoy the heck out of it.
JC: Hmm, it’s a short story with a little something for everyone; abuse, betrayal, friendship, secrets, love, remorse and forgiveness. And of course, it’s a ghost story. I tried to write it in such a way that it conveys each character’s emotions without any one being ‘in your face’. It’s my hope that anyone reading about Ziggy and Minna’s relationship will be able to understand Minna’s ability to forgive those who have wronged her and move on with her life.
GMB: Nice ... Tell us more about Ziggy Returns. Something to really get us interested in reading and sharing this story with others…
JC: Ziggy Fuller is a rough, self-sufficient man who lives off the land and likes to be in control. His generally unkind demeanor is made worse by drinking too much of the moonshine he makes and sells. He is a philanderer who has betrayed his wife more than once during their marriage. That is, until a foolish act leads to his death. Only then does he have regrets...
GMB: Stop there ... *smiles* We don't want to give too much away... I believe your description of the story is so intelligently presented. I'm stopping you here because I have read and reviewed Ziggy Returns and come to know you through the wonderful world of the Master Koda Select Publishing Family... I want your readers to discover all there is to discover about your stories...
JC: And thank you for the Review Mitch ... I do tend to go on...
GMB: And we are also privileged to be able to visit with you about your September 7, 2013 release, People of Kilmservy Village - The Rough Hewn Trilogy, but I first want to share with our Blog Fans the Five Star Review I published August 2, 2013 and for Ziggy's Return. In my Book Review, I wrote in part, "By the third chapter I was in love with the writing style conveying a Southern ease on balance with a Back Water sense of urgency. Living in San Diego at the time, I was one of the first in line to see the Blair Witch Project when it broke into popular mainstream. This storytelling continually had me reflecting on what I enjoyed about Blair Witch ... the 'tellin' and'no-telling'. *** An author to be sure to follow into her next project..."
JC: Thank you for the kind words...
GMB: It was a fine read and here we are encouraged and now following you to your next project... *smiles*
People of Kilmservy Village
JC: Yes ... we are here today celebrating the release of my new novel by Nadia Kilrick entitled People of Kilmservy Village - The Rough Hewn Trilogy.
GMB: Tell us about the writer you are ... the author producing these wonderful stories (and before we start figuring it all out) *grins*.
JC: Oh gosh, I don’t know if you need to look into those dark corners. I’m sure the padlocks will hold so, we’re good. *snickers* Seriously, though, I live a simple life in the country and split my time between the Emerald Coast of NW FL and the green hills of the Cumberland Plateau in TN. I spend as much time with my grandchildren as possible. There are 10 of them from toddlers to a twenty-two year old. When I have the time (laughs hysterically) I also make quilts and my own soaps. And you thought you were going to learn some deep-dark secrets, didn’t you? *winks*
GMB: Well there may not be any secrets revealed now, but in your stories, 'Oh My' *winks back* Which appears first, when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot, or the title?
JC: For me, it’s the characters and plot simultaneously. The characters tell me their story and I write it. Then, I rewrite it. The title comes soon after I begin writing.
GMB: Now here we have the blurb for your new release, People of Kilmservy Village - The Rough Hewn Trilogy... Looks incredible ... Has your own life influenced your novels? If so, please tell us how … perhaps give us an example?
JC: Yes. As a writer, I’ve drawn from several personal experiences. That’s not to say that the stories you’ll read are based entirely on my life, certainly not. What a terrifying life that would've been to lead! Like every writer I know, I pick things apart, throw bits out and add bits in to create a world different than most people’s reality. By doing so, I hope to take the reader on a sojourn with me that they will (hopefully) see through the lives of my characters.
GMB: Who is your favorite character you have created? Why this character?
JC: To date, it’s Carolyn ‘Carrie’ Dunsmorrest Breckenship from the ‘Rough Hewn’ Trilogy. When we first meet her, we question her ability to make informed decisions, as well as, a seemingly ever-present weakness, leaving us to wonder if she’ll ever find the strength to stand up for herself. I like that her strength simmers below the surface where others, either, can’t, or refuse to see it - until her trials are such that she has no choice but to show the world around her how strong she has always been.
GMB: Going back to Ziggy Returns, and perhaps Kilmservy Village as well, the settings fascinate me … Tell us more…
JC: I love the hills of East Tennessee in the United States. They are a magical place to me - filled with ghosts of many of my ancestors and inhabited by a peace-loving, gentle sort of humankind. Problems between families are generally solved within the confines of the family and I like that there is seldom outside interference where family/friend/neighbor issues are concerned. That is, unless someone is in imminent danger and then the call goes out and the involvement becomes a community effort. Whenever I think of a setting for a story, my mind goes to these hills first. How can I set these characters in the sweet, misty-magical green hills of TN?
GMB: So incredible ... I find myself being drawn to certain places in the same way... Jacqueline, Tell us about a time when you, as an author had to slog your way through a ton of work. What was it and how did you get through it?
JC: While writing & editing Ziggy Returns, I was working on edits of the ‘Rough Hewn’ 1 & 2 novels, writing #3 in the same, working on a book trailer and covers, writing a recipe book, doing research for two books I’m co-writing; one on mental illness and the other on prescription drug abuse. In addition, I was ghostwriting several gardening articles. In order to complete everything with some semblance of sanity intact, I had to break each piece down into its level of importance/urgency. I’m one who doesn’t like to let others down but I did have to drop the web content writing gig and put the two coauthor projects on hold in order to focus on fiction writing. Those simple moves helped tremendously.
GMB: So busy in deed ... we develop this passion for writing, and the next thing you know we are all making choices ... assuming priorities... Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
JC: I hope to be settled comfortably into a full-time organized writing life within the next five years. I have several novel-length works in progress and notes for many others. The organization part seems to be an issue. So, I would love to find that switch in my brain that locks it in the ‘on’ position.
GMB: And for us all Jacqueline ... And for us all ... And I'd like to thank you for coming by the Barn today...
JC: And I’d like to finish up by thanking you for having me here at ‘Anything But a Tired Barn’, G. Mitchell Baker. It’s been fun! And I want to leave you with a little something from my 2013 Journals...
GMG: Thank You Jacqueline ... So thoughtful ... And to "Keep Moving..." we will my friend... Get well JC... We'll get you well-enough to truly enjoy the release of both your fine works... Sincerely... From all of Us in the 'Anything But a Tired Barn'... And Cheers and All the Best with your Latest and New Releases! Sincerely, Mitch
GMB: Well here we are in Prescott, Arizona, some say the home of the oldest rodeo in the world... What author, and my good friend Tammy Moore-Novak doesn't know is, I got a lot of rodeo to talk about too... *winking* But hay! This is not about me ... Today we are welcoming Tammy to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' for a visit and to learn more about her August 23, 2013 book release on Facebook and, for her novel entitled The Abduction of Lilly Waters ... A great book I have read, reviewed and am waiting until the book is released so I can post a few good words about this effort... (Don't you just love the suspense?) *winking some more*
Interviewer's Observation: Tammy does not look impressed and she is making a move for her rope can!
GMB: *Gulp* Well what do you say we get started Tammy?
TMN: Sounds good Mitch ... You know I really did not want to have to throw a loop or two on you to get you back in line... *a stern grinning going on*
GMB: Oh no ... We don't need any intense roping going on around the Barn here... Now Tammy tell us about yourself (before we start figuring it all out for ourselves) *grins*.
TMN: That’s an open ended question. I’m a teacher and a mother of four boys which makes me the only girl in the house. I wish I could say it makes me spoiled but it doesn't. I’m also a family oriented person.
GMB: That's the way I feel around the Barn here sometimes ... Should be spoiled ... Not even close ... *grins* It's all good about Family though isn't it? Now Tammy we'd like to know what you were doing the last time you looked at a clock and realized you had lost all track of time?
TMN: Well heh heh ... Assuming you have a clock somewhere here in the Barn ... No really ... I’m always racing against the clock. I’m terrible with getting anywhere on time. I find lately I lose track of time when I’m writing. I usually end up looking at the clock around 3 or 4 am realizing the sun is about to come up. My husband works graves, so writing is a great way to pass the witching hours.
GMB: And your husband is working graves because he is a police officer and, well, we here in the Barn want to thank him, you and your Family for the service and support you all provide to your/our community...
TMN: Thank You Mitch...
GMB: And you know ... I was also privileged to read the advanced release copy of The Abduction of Lilly Waters, but please share with our Blog fans here, why everyone else here in the ‘Anything But a Tired Barn’ will read your new book and enjoy the heck out of it.
TMN: Our Blog friends are going to enjoy the Lilly Waters novel because this story hasn't been done before. Not like I've written it anyway... And here is a little description that may help our Blog fans to know a bit more about this new release ... Beth had never anticipated her life would end up like it did. The last beating she received at the hands of her boyfriend threw her over the edge. She had to escape him, so she fled taking her daughter Lilly with her. She didn't know where she’d go, but she didn't care. All she could manage to think about was her unborn child and her daughter Lilly. The frequent stops the mother and daughter had to make were uneventful until Beth pulled into a Diner in Moore, Oklahoma where her daughter Lilly was taken by unseen hands. Detective’s Daniel Prescott and Frank Martinez head the investigation trying relentlessly to solve the case before it’s too late. These days, when children are taken it’s a unified frenzy to find them. In this case, every lead turns up empty and every turn they take reveals a clue they could not have anticipated. The detectives are not quite sure where to turn or who to trust; even the mother herself is a prime suspect. The Abduction of Lilly Waters is a fast paced child abduction thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat in anticipation until the end where you’ll discover the deepest and darkest secret waiting.
GMB: That is for sure good... *smiling*
TMN: Now is that your book review? *grinning*
GMB: Heck no... But as you know ... a lot of my writing involves protecting 'The Innocents...'
TMN: Well good *grinning some more* I was hoping for more of a review than 'That is for sure good'.
GMB: Well there is no mercy to he had 'round here ... You got me going now ...
TMN: But seriously you and I think everyone can relate to the fear of losing a child ... a Little On... of The Innocents... In fact, everyone gets involved when a child is missing. Parents don’t go through the ordeal alone. It’s a unified frenzy when it comes to finding children. But I have to admit, Lilly has a secret. Even I can’t tell you what that secret is. You have to read it to find out.
GMB: Indeed ... And just so you don't think I'm totally selfish after bringing up the whole book review thing time and time again ... I did send in an advance review to your publisher, Master Koda Select Publishing, and, well you know I can't release the entire review just yet ... But I can't resist ... I'm going to tell you it involves plenty of stars ... and begins with me ... just sayin' - "It is all in the talk and storytelling of this edgy ‘Chick Mystery’. ‘The Abduction of Lilly Waters’ by T. M. Novak is her first foray into what I think of as ‘Chick Mystery’ story telling in the spirit of Sue Grafton, Sandra Brown and perhaps the latest collaboration of Janet Evanovich. And, while there is a maternal importance, author Novak provides more as she alternates from maternal to paternal points of view that connect with this reviewer. This mystery is about relationships, frustrated cops, and survival of ‘The Innocents’. * * * Now ... There is more, but I have to rein it in here... I hope it gives you an idea that it is a pretty darn good say-so about your read-a-long... *smiles* So Tammy ... Where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration for your writing?
TMN: My dreams. Sometimes when I dream I feel like I am a fly on the wall in someone else’s life. I get a flash of a moment like a movie and the moment holds a story. If I can recall the dream when I wake up then I jot it down. Sometimes the flash moment is worth developing an entire story from.
GMB: As an author about to be first time published, what is the toughest decision you have had to make leading up to your release and launch of The Abduction of Lilly Waters?
TMN: I think I challenged myself by starting with such a difficult story. I get worried all the time that I see the story one way and others will see it differently. The twists and turns were complicated, so I hope I managed to capture it the way I envisioned it....
GMB: Challenges indeed...
TMN: Also, once the story was written ... I believe the hardest part is going through the editing process. I did not want to lose the essence of what I created by slicing it up. It was very hard to put my trust in others to make sure that did not happen.
GMB: Well I don't think you need to be worried about a whole lot... Not only have I read your book ... I've followed a little bit about your sister, Latisha Wood who created the artwork for your book cover... I have to say when Family is all coming together to support such a wonderful project...
... You know and then the Master Koda Select Publishing Family falls in behind ... Not only are you talking good company ... But ... Well you know ... shoot, I had a close family member recently edit a long novel of mine in contemporary fiction ... I can't say enough about the wonderful support as writers we often received from Family *winking* Now please share with us a little about the genre of The Abduction of Lilly Waters. Why write in this genre in particular? What is it you like about this genre?
TMN: Lilly is a psychological thriller. I didn't choose the genre. It chose me. I love the genre because I like unraveling a story one detail at a time. I like feeling intensity and deeply involved in a story and the characters. I enjoy feeling afraid with them. I also like the mental aspect to the genre, and the twisted side of being human.
GMB: Has your own life influenced your novels? If so, please tell us how … Perhaps give us an example?
TMN: I wrote two short stories that were based on real life events. They will be published in an anthology in August. In my Young Adult novel Butterfly Lake my lead character suffers the loss of a parent. I pulled a lot of my own experience into it, namely, how she felt, the issues she had as a result of her loss and things like that. I don’t use a lot of my own life experiences though. I just let my imagination take over.
GMB: Name the favorite character you have created? Why this character?
TMN: That is really hard. In The Abduction of Lilly Waters I have polar characters. They complement one another. I really like the detectives I created. I may consider doing a spin-off of them someday. They work really well together and were a lot of fun to write.
GMB: I agree ... Those detectives were strong characters alright. Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
TMN: I hope I have a lot of books out that are doing well. I’m hoping to write full time and be settled comfortably into the mystery/thriller genres.
GMB: Tammy I want to Thank You for joining is here in the Anything But a Tired Barn and I do hope you had a nice visit ... Make sure and take a look around before you leave ... There is a lot of artwork hanging around, book reviews and plenty of books you may find of interest as well. And, I do want to Thank You for not roping me in the beginning ... Had to do an interview with a calf dragging me around a corral once and it was not at all fun... ;-)
TMN: Well I'm also glad I didn't have to rope you neither... *winks and a nod* I guess it'd be hard to spit words with a rope around your ... well I'm not sure where you'd been snagged ... *posing and grinning*
GMB: Gee Thanks Tammy ... heh heh ... For now ... we've got some information so your readers and followers will be able to find you and get to know you even better... Below, is the information you provided, and for all to consider...
TMN: Yes, Thank You Mitch and we all look forward to your review and...
GMB: And I will update this Interview with your most current information upon the August 23, 2013 Facebook release and launch of The Abduction of Lilly Waters... But for now and we all hope you will come again to visit ... and let everyone here in the Barn know about your forthcoming projects.
TMN: My how you do go on... Yes ... I'll come back and visit and it sure has been nice being here in the Barn ...
Kim Mutch Emerson ... So Much Giving ... An Author, Mentor, and Well On Her Way to Becoming a Publishing Legend ...
GMB: Kim ... Happy July 4th to you! It is so wonderful to welcome you to the Anything But a Tired Barn. I noticed you published the entire text of the Declaration of Independence on your Facebook page today ... I don't recall anyone else doing that... Yet another example of how special you can be... How special you make things around you. *Smiles*
Kim we've been friends for years now. The first time we met was when you interviewed me on Live Reader's Rockin' Radio... It was about my first novel that was published with a different publisher ... You've now interviewed me three times on live radio and now I get to interview you *smiles*. It is a privilege and my honor to welcome you to this forum, because we who know you, also know how busy you are supporting and encouraging all others, including some very well-known authors. As your friend, and now an author who works for Master Koda Select Publishing, with You, I thank you for making some special time to visit and share a little with us about your incredible fortitude, fiery independence and your relentless effort that Blesses us all.
KME: Thank you Mitch for inviting me!
GMB: Kim, given your extraordinary contribution to those in your circles, I've always wanted to ask you how you about the following statement: “I feel alive!” Tell us what this statement means to you.
KME: Life only has meaning to me if I can assist someone else while I am here on this planet, so the times I feel alive are when a person I am teaching or mentoring “gets” it or has a life changing experience.
GMB: Wow ... That is so special Kim, but it is You! And, we do know how much you give to us all. And we find at the center of your giving world is Master Koda Select Publishing ... Now Kim, and I'm going to be a little goofy here ... What is Master Koda Select Publishing? Is it something mysterious? It sounds like you may be ‘Master Koda’. If so, is that something like a real Jedi Knight or am I thinking of Master Yoda? Anyway, please tell us more about Master Koda Select Publishing, because if it doesn't involve deep dark secrets about the Force and Midi-chlorians, it sounds like it might be of interest to aspiring authors who are looking to put their work out there.
KME: You make me smile Mitch. Although your question was posed with your tongue planted deeply in your cheek you aren’t too far from the true history of the name Master Koda. It was a nickname my clients gave me many years ago. They said I was “Master Koda, the Jedi Master of prosperity.” Koda, they said was a blending of Yoda and Kim. I’ve never been given a nickname that resonated so deeply for me, so I went in search of the meaning of the word Koda and found that it means friend of the people. Hopefully, I am just that – a friend to the people of planet Earth.
Master Koda Select Publishing is the small publishing house I own. It is my dream to assist authors in becoming the best that they can be and publish high quality books they can be proud of.
GMB: Kim, a friend indeed... *smiling* You yourself write and are published as well ... How you can do all you do mystifies me. Now, have you a favorite place to write? Perhaps hide in order to find that oh so personal occasion to write on your own projects? If so, which planet? Is there a particular dimension you prefer? I only ask it this way, because I know, from my own experience how difficult it can be to find quality time and writing space.
KME: Because of my schedule I have to limit my intergalactic travel these days, so I rarely write while visiting other planets anymore. I find my favorite writing spot is where I find myself at the moment an idea hits me. When I was a kid my favorite place to write was a small nook in the basement tucked away behind the furnace. It was a spot no one else in the home thought to look for me so I was guaranteed long periods of time alone.
GMB: If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
KME: Sylvia Plath. I would’ve liked to have an opportunity to tell her to hold on for another hour because it’s always darkest right before dawn.
GMB: And we know well of your very popular novel entitled Digitus 233 ... In fact I'm proud to have read and reviewed your most incredible work. Let's make sure all readers can find it and purchase it.
KME: Yes, Digitus 233 the first book in the Digitus series. People can purchase it on Amazon in eBook form. The print version will be available this fall.
GMB: And perhaps a little more about this great first novel in series, for those who may be looking for a good read ... What more can we share about Digitus?
KME: Well ... When Zeph, the adventurous son of a millionaire hid in the cargo hold of the Learjet carrying his brother Zander to camp he had no idea there was anything dark or ominous going on. That was until he watched Zander ejected from the plane onto a barren arctic island and Zeph, trapped on the plane, found himself headed for South America. Will he be able to expose the truth behind Digitus, the world's dominant corporation, or will they succeed in their sinister plan to control his brother and destroy the world?
GMB: And I'd like to share with those in The Barn some of what is being said about your wonderful book:
Bestselling author of True Crime, RJ Parker has this to say about Digitus 233:
"A fast-paced,hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your-seat, heart-thumping thriller. It captivated my attention from the first page and wouldn't let go until I finished it in one sitting. WOW! An amazing ride... Well-written and highly recommended."
What Readers are saying: "When the next part is out I will be the first in line to get it."
GMB: Now, I recently participated in a Master Koda writing workshop, with you at the helm, and that focused on character and plot development. I want to tell you I enjoyed it immensely and really feel I learned a lot. However, what I would like to ask is for you to share with us your teaching experience and philosophy. I am also curious about whether your roll as publisher is influenced by your teaching experience and outlook.
KME: It fills my heart with joy that you learned from the workshop Mitch. I believe the creator gives each human certain gifts. One of the gifts I received is the gift of teaching or mentoring others. My nature is that of a cheerleader. I supposed it touches everything I do from my writing to my businesses.
GMB: Now, I have been in interview, and in class with you, and a furry friend of yours has interrupted us on occasion…*smiles* Would you care to formerly introduce your critter to the other critters in the Anything But a Tired Barn … Oh and please do not forget to say a big hello to Charlotte up there… ;-)
KME: I think you might be referring to my 4 pound wolf, uhh I mean Yorkie. His name is Teebo and was named after an ewok from Star Wars. I figured if I was Yoda/Kim then I needed an ewok to keep me company.
GMB: A '4 pound wolf' ehhh ... Grrrrrr :-) Check out the eyes ... All Business! ;-) Thanks for the introduction of this mystery presence...
GMB: Kim, I know you are incredibly busy and we all Thank you for sharing with us a little of your valuable time. So in closing, where can readers find you and your blog when they want to learn more about you and your projects?
KME Again, thank you Mitch for inviting me! People can connect with me on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/kimmutch.emerson
They can find out more about the publishing house at this website: http://masterkodaselectpublishing.com/
My blog is on my author services website here: http://masterkoda.com/category/master-koda-blog-tour
GMB: Kim its been great! I hope to get together and chat some more soon ... Oh wait a minute ... We're releasing a book next week ... See you then Kim! Cheers and Be Well!
GMB: Hi Nicole ... Welcome to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' ... I see you dressed up for this interview...
NC: I sure did ... *Huge smile * Wanna' see my shoes?
GMB: Oh yeah ... You going to tell me its all about the shoes?
NC: Well sure ... What were you thinkin'?
GMB: Uh, well ... I um ... Hey Nicole why don't you tell us a little about yourself ... Something for our Barn Blog fans to get to know you better...
NC: Well... according to my driver’s license, I’m a XX-year-old 163cm-tall white female with crappy vision and an attitude problem.
GMB: Nice... ;-)
NC: I thought so... Yes ... Well okay then ... That last part’s not true, but it’s not my fault, they just wouldn't let me smile for the photo.
GMB: And pray tell ... were you dressed like an Egyptian for your Driver's photo?
GMB: Perhaps that is why they wouldn't let you smile? Tell us Nicole ... is it your smile or your affinity for dressing like an Egyptian that provides your greatest inspiration?
NC: Nope ... Inspiration is everywhere. Anything can strike me funny at any time. Bad behavior can inspire a character (the jerkoff Homeland Security ex-husband in Sumer Lovin’ was inspired by an HS power Nazi I saw at a New York airport.)
GMB: I see... Does he know?
NC: Well I had on my T-shirt that reads, “Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel.” Ahem ... Mitch ... You've been forewarned ... ;-)
GMB: You bet ... Now what has you choosing to write humorous fantasy in particular? Please don't tell me that HS guy in the Airport inspired you to write about...?
NC: No ... No ... I've been a lifelong smart-ass and I like to make people laugh. Plus, I've been a Pagan for over 20 years now and I've learned a lot of really weird stuff along the way that I decided to put to work for me.
GMB: No kidding...
NC: Yep again ... Then I moved to Canada in 2005 and now I have a new mandate: To make Canada funnier. Or at least weirder. I find Canadian humor tends to be a bit staid and low-key because Canadians live in constant mortal fear that anything they say can and will give offence to someone somewhere. Which it probably will. While I’m not in favor of intentionally giving offence, humor can challenge our assumptions and belief systems and sometimes what we think we find offensive actually means we've just had our worldview shaken up a little.
GMB: Now that is a huge task ... You know ... making Canada laugh the right way ... I mean unintentionally and all--
NC: But I'm up for it... *Big Egyptian Smile* You wanna' see?
GMB: Sure ... maybe after ...
NC: No no ...
GMB: Ahem ... Well okay then, is there any other genre, subject matter you like to write about?
If so, why?
NC: I've actually written some dark fantasy but haven’t done anything with those projects. Long story why involving American publishers, the Great Financial Collapse of 2008, and my vampire-free story-line. Well, except for one wannabe who reads waaaay too much Anne Rice. I have currently approached one dark fantasy publishing company that has expressed an interest in it and re-reading both novels made me think there’s a possible third book to make it a trilogy. Both explore the evil that lies within normal people like you and me.
NC: Sure ... But I don’t know that dark fantasy is something I would pursue further. Making people laugh (sometimes unintentionally ;) is something I’m better at ... more than exploring our own inner Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer.
GMB: And speaking of the old 'own inner' ... Has your own life influenced your novels? How have your novels influenced your life?
NC: Well my brother just accused me of cadging from our childhood when he read my latest novel Sumer Lovin’ – and he’s right, that whole gerbil-raising thing is lifted directly from our adolescence. Some of the dating tribulations happened to me as well, like the guy who blew me off through his mother, not to mention the Universal Pickup Script which has since changed a little – now Toronto horndogs are starting off with a stock “pretty eyes” line in an effort to butter you up for a date. But I also read pretty widely, mostly non-fiction, so I get a lot of ideas from everywhere.
GMB: Now ... If I was a publisher, I believe my first question would be, “Why were you chosen to write Sumer Lovin'?” How would you respond to the inquisitive publisher?
NC: Because I’m the one who thought of it!
GMB: Well okay then ... I'd have to agree with your choice to follow the funny, and to also opt for unintentionally providing humor to all of Canada ... Nicole, now I have to ask...
NC: No don't ...
GMB: But I have to...
NC: Okay then... get it over with...
GMB: First tell us your shoe size, and then tell the Barn Bloggers which appears first for you when contemplating a new project: Is it a character, the plot or perhaps the title?
NC: No comment and I almost never consider the title first ... but I do confess my feet are .... "No!" I can't go there...
GMB: But you said ...
NC: Nope ... But I can tell you I have a few titles with no story-lines that I should probably write: Satanic Gerbils (don’t ask, I have a weird affinity for gerbils), Canadian Badasses (really; can you think of anything funnier?) and You Can’t Say ****** In Church, based on a conversation that had to be given to an adult friend of mine who went off on a rant in church during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal...
GMB: I see... Kind of read-between-the-line kinda of stuff that turns into unintentional humor and...
NC: Yep ... And sometimes I start off with a set of disparate weird characters and sometimes I come up with the plot line first. I seem to be on a trend in which Toronto is this desperately mystical place and no one really understands that; sort of like Buffy’s Sunnydale except without the vampires, great tans, or perfect hair. Toronto’s a great city to live in but the people are famously reserved and occasionally a little tight ... so smiting them with paranormal weirdness is something I find a tough funny...
GMB: What is the hardest part of a novel for you to write: beginning, middle, or end? Why?
NC: All of the above. First drafts are a bitch. I generally start off with a rough outline that is subject to change as the story progresses; arcs can move in a different direction, characters can become good guys or bad guys depending on where the story is going. Although I love the writing part, doing it is difficult; I keep having the feeling whatever I’m writing totally sucks, even though I know yes, of course it does, it’s a first draft that no one will ever see except me, and it’ll get much better with the next few drafts. Often I know the beginning and end but have no idea what goes in the middle.
GMB: Who is your favorite character that you have created? Moreover, why is this character a favorite?
NC: There’s a character in my as yet-unpublished project that I just adore – a burnt-out ex-rock ‘n’ roller who’s an alcoholic loser and a giant pain in the ass to his half-his age next-door neighbor, after whom he lusts greatly. He claims he’s a former guitar god from some incredibly popular ‘80s band that no one’s ever heard of and he’s in major denial that he’s not the muscle-bound sex symbol he clearly sees himself as. I think we’ve all known people like this – I just had a blast with him coming to terms with what a loser he’d become and facing whether he was going to get his shit together or not. Alcoholism is a subject close to my heart because people close to me have suffered from it.
GMB: Tell us about your newest release or a project you are working on.
NC: Depends on whether you’re referring to the next project coming out or the first draft that I’m working on. The next novel to come out will also be set in Toronto and involve a young witch who brings a famous rock star back from the dead to be her boyfriend; the aforementioned alcoholic self-proclaimed former rock star with hot bananas for her; a male friend who’s not sure if he’s still a virgin or not (he was so drunk the one night he was sure he was in bed with a woman he can’t remember what happened) and a neighbor who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley, The Great Beast. And it answers the burning question we all have – “If Sarah Palin was a Pagan witch, what would she be like?”
The first draft I’m working on now is a time travel story in which a recently unemployed and sexually liberated babelicious actress accidentally travels back to the late 60s when people only think they’re sexually liberated…
GMB: Soooo ... 'Pretty eyes' ... Its been a while since I heard the term 'babelicious' ... Now I think we here in the Barn have the 'XX's on your driver's license figured out...
NC: Oh you big, bad investigator you... *batting eyelashes* What else you got?
GMB: Oh ... Okay I get it ... *winks* Now ... which do you prefer, a great hero or a great villain? Why don’t you name one of each…
NC: I like villains more than heroes. They’re so much more interesting; why are they the way they are? No one cares what made Mother Theresa; but people are far more interested in why Hitler or Jeffrey Dahmer or the Boston bombers turned out as they did. One of my favorite villains is Hannibal Lecter; so brilliant, so clever—so decidedly evil. Although when I explore themes of evil I’m far more interested in the evil within everyday people like ourselves – inspired when I Googled years ago on American lynchings and wondered at the white people photographed beneath black bodies swinging above them; they’re laughing and pointing. WTF? Did these people go to church the next morning and confess their sins, and if they did, did they happen to mention they were party to MURDER? Or, to cite another example, all the good little Germans who helped carry out Hitler’s Final Solution; they were not all psychopaths. Most of the rank-and-file were people like you and me who were just, you know, doing their job. It really was far more banal than most people guess.
GMB: What is your favorite movie? And why? What is NOT your favorite movie?
NC: I don’t really have favorites and non-favorites. I loved Star Wars back in the day, more recently I love the Jurassic Park trilogy – my inner 6-year-old is still jumping up and down and screaming, “Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs!” I don’t go to the movies much anymore because Hollywood hasn’t had an original idea in years and nothing they put out is worth the $13.00. I’m very much not a fan of inscrutable foreign films of the artsy-fartsy variety.
I wonder if the movie industry is ripe for an upheaval like we’ve seen in Big Publishing in recent years – sooner or later people have got to get sick of the 18th Iron Man release, movies based on lame-ass TV shows, Batman LXIX: The Dark Knight Rises With Some Help From Viagra, and geez, at this point there must be more Star Trek movies than there are episodes in the original TV series.
I’m ready to let the indies take a whack at entertaining us. While traditional publishing keeps looking for the next Harry Potter or Dan Brown, self-publishers, micropress, subsidy presses and hybrid presses are showing that there are some pretty damn talented writers out there who aren’t represented by the Big Six Five (possibly soon to be Big Four) Publishing Companies because they know the world doesn’t need another damn zombie story or formulaic art history murder mystery with puzzles. It’s time to let the indy movie producers give it a whirl now.
GMB: I tend to agree ... If you could be anyone in the world, space, and designated realm, who would it be? And why?
NC: Y’know, I really don’t lust after anyone else’s life. I figure I’ve gotten a fairly good deal with this life and shouldn’t complain. My goal is to be a widely-read writer. I don’t care about winning awards; it doesn’t matter to me if I never win the Giller Prize or even the Bulwer-Lytton prize; but you know what, it would be really funny if I did win the Bulwer-Lytton (for the worst writing ever), because then I could claim to be an “award-winning author” and most people wouldn’t know the difference between the Bulwer-Lytton and, say, a REAL writing award ;) And ‘Bulwer-Lytton Prize’ sounds soooo British and pompous! So you KNOW this has to be a really good book, right?!?!
I want to stay here in Toronto where I have lots of friends and more money than I had in the States and be a famous writer. I do love it here although I do wish the men weren’t so timid around women. But hey, that’s also where some of my inspiration comes from.
GMB: Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
NC: I haven’t the foggiest idea. I could never answer that question in job interviews either. My life hasn’t turned out how I planned it thirty years ago, but come to think of it, I didn’t really have a plan then either. I just kind of went with the flow. And that’s what I’ll do now – not plan for five or ten years down the line, just see where my writing career takes me. You know .. that is except for planning my marriage to George Clooney after he lifts the restraining order, of course!GMB: So where can we find you if we're looking for your website?
NC: My website Link is http://www.nicolechardenet.com
GMB: And Sumer Lovin' is humourous fantasy fiction that can be found...
NC: The Purchase Link is http://www.amazon.ca/Sumer-Lovin-Nicole-Chardenet/dp/0988104849 and the Publisher's Link is https://sites.google.com/site/deuxvoilierspublishing/
GMB: Nice again ... now I was wondering of you could share with the Barn Bloggers a blurb for 'Sumer Lovin''
NC: Yes ... Sumer Lovin' tells the story of Rachel Brinkerhoff, a vivacious New Yorker who dumps her psycho macho husband and immigrates to Canada. Rachel is keen to re-launch her matching business for Jewish singles and find new love, but nobody told her that female-aversive Toronto is definitely BYOB (bring your own boy). Then an earthquake shakes up Canada's metropolis in more ways than one, releasing from an ancient underworld, a male-hungry Sumerian demi-goddess and a rag-tag army of Canaanite warriors. The novel is a brash poke at male-female relations and an artful offering of paranormal adventure and romance.
GMB: Sounds great ... I like how the paranormal kind of sneaks in there ... And did you bring an excerpt or perhaps a review you like, and that you might share with us today?
NC: Why of course... I have a book review I'd like to share...
GMB: Well okay then ... Can you give us a taste?
NC: Sure ... Here ... take a peek at this...
Reviewed by Carlos Savanera
Canadian humour?! Since Leacock? From Toronto? You gotta be kidding! Well, that was my first reaction when Sumer Lovin’ was pitched to me for a review. I was wrong. Nicole Chardenet has certainly pulled off a Canuck version of Woody Allen. Beyond a doubt, this hilarious story is the best humour from Canada in a decade.
Sumer Lovin’ combines a mischievous poke at Canadian über-politeness and Toronto's unter-machismo with a wicked use of Sumerian mythology. The heroine, Rachel Brinkerhoff, is a very attractive 41-year-old New Yorker, who has fled the Big Apple and her psychotic ex, Austin, a Homeland Security Rambo. Her goals are to re-establish her matchmaking business in Toronto and find a Canadian soul mate. Pretty simple, eh? Well, Toronto ain’t New York and finding Jewish singles to match up is pretty slim pickings. As for finding a new soul mate, as author Nicole Chardenet puts it, it is BYOB – bring your own boy.
The solution? Rachel teams up with Mahliqa and Amita, immigrants from Pakistan and India, who run Love Comes Later, a service to counsel Canadian parents who want to “arrange” marriages for their hapless progeny. Thus enters Dave the Tarantula Guy and Dave the Gerbil Guy, typical IT nerds who are more drawn to arachnids and rodents than to the vivacious, albeit demanding, women that Rachel, Mahliqa and Amita line up for them.
When all seems hopeless, an earthquake mystically shakes up the libido of Torontonians and opens a portal to an ancient underworld. Out of the fountain at Nathan Philips Square, emerges the lascivious Lamashtu, a Sumerian demigoddess. The divine Lamashtu, famished by her centuries-long celibacy, goes right to work to replenish her powers by sucking out the energy of the city’s myriad male virgins. When her Sumerian sights set on Dave the Gerbil Guy, Rachel is caught up in a wild rescue plan to save her client from Lamashtu’s nasty and lethal little “surprise.”
Lamashtu is not the only trimillenarian to cross through from the underworld. An army of Canaanite warriors march forward, guided by their map-challenged scribe who confuses Canada for Canaan. Their mission is to lay claim to their ancestral homeland and boot out every “squatter” since the first millennium A.D. When the Canaanites realize that their land claim is six thousand miles off the mark, they offer their martial skills to help Rachel and her friends save Toronto from Lamishtu's murderous intent. The new alliance proves promising in more ways than one as Rachel finds herself drawn to the bronzed and well-muscled Canaanite leader, Ammishtamru.
Chardenet, herself an American transplant, has earned her spurs in Sumer Lovin’. The humour is on par with the best of Canadian comedians, who have made their names on the silver screen – Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Martin, John Candy, Dan Akroyd and the list goes on. Sumer Lovin’ is a delightful, absolutely zany story, which pushes the boundaries in many directions. A highly recommended read for 2013.
GMB: Well that is great ... that's a lot of good company you are keeping with these comparisons... Nicole, Thanks for joining us in the "Anything But a Tired Barn" and I hope you have enjoyed your visit...
NC: Its been great Mitch ... Except when you tried to cover the duck's ears when I said...
GMB: I swear I thought there were ears to cover...
GMB: Well to learn something new each and every day is to...
NC: Be alive and on a quest to conquer Canada with more unintentional humor!
GMB: Yeah ... That's it... Ducks do not have ears and you will be conquer Canada with more unintentional humor...
NC: That's it ... Now you're getting the big picture... Nice to see you Mitch ... Let's do this again soon...
GMB: You got it Nicole ... Quack, an unintentionally chortle and a bye for now...
by Nicole Chardenet
Deux Voiliers Publishing 2012
GMB: Kristal ... Thank You for crossing The Pond and visiting with us in the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' here in western Canada! Kristal, please, share a little about you with our Blog Fans.
KM: I'm Kristal McKerrington from Glasgow Scotland. I've been writing since 2010 professionally with several publishing companies worldwide. I'm a member of Romance Writers of America's Association and represented by Barone Literary Agency. I'm of the first wrestling romance authors in the world. I write erotica and a range of genres. I'm currently working with a co-author Joe E Legend.
GMB: Yes, and I know you from a recent time when we were with one of those companies ... You have also been very kind to me, when discussing the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry and you have been so kind as to offer and make kind referrals for me... I want to take this opportunity to Thank You for your being a great professional and colleague. Tell us Kristal ... Where and how do you find your greatest inspiration?
KM: I think I have said this on other interviews, but my two biggest inspirations have been Catherine Cookson and of course wrestling. I created the wrestling romance genre for the likes of those wrestling fans who write and read fan fiction without making the work about real wrestlers. So far they all seem to love it.
GMB: What made you chose to write Contemporary Romance in particular?
KM: This romance genre is a test for me. The freedom I get in Erotica doesn't apply here and often the setup to the story-lines must be different. You have to have far more plot in the Contemporary Romance genre than you need in Erotica even if I do tend to be very plot driven with both.
GMB: Is there any other genre you’d like to write? And, if so, why?
KM: I really hope to do a criminal, thriller in the coming years. Its a genre I like to see how they setup their characters and the tension. I like the idea of being able to challenge myself. So far this year I took on the challenge of dealing with a co-author.
GMB: Kristal, which appears first when contemplating a new project: a character, the plot or the title?
KM: For me I get all of it in one go. Normally it all comes to me and it stalks me. If it hangs out in my mind very powerfully then I will write it. I have a habit of writing down the notes for the book idea and never writing it. Most of what I get ideas for never make it to the publishers desks.
GMB: What is the hardest part of a novel for you to write: beginning, middle, or end? Why?
KM: For me its always the middle. I lose steam at this point and then I start to get distracted by other book ideas. When it comes to keeping my mind focused on the whole book then I struggle. I never thought it would be as hard to do books of greater length, but I live and learn. I do know the best part is the ending when I see the characters all screaming at me to not end it there.
GMB: Has your own life influenced your novels? How have your novels influenced your life?
KM: Gosh okay, wow lots. My life has snippets of it in a few books. There is snippet of me in all of my books whether I want it to be there or not. Novels have driven me to do this and to make me a determine author. So many writers have heard the word no and it makes me want to fight for them, to do right by them. Novels and their writers make me proud to be a writer.
GMB: Who is your favorite character that you have created? Moreover, why is this character a favorite?
KM: Hmm so hard to answer this one. I think the best character I created is either Marie or Charlie from the upcoming Layla's World series. Both are so strong have so much depth to them. They make it easy to write them and yet hard to decide where they are going. I find them so interesting and full of life.
GMB: Tell us about your newest release or a project you are working on.
KM: Well if I did both then we would be here all day. I've just released 'In The Shadows' which was my first wrestling erotica. I've signed the talent contract for a Reality TV show. I'm working on a drama show which is currently in development. I'm about to release 'Marie's World'. I have 'Charlie's Journal: A Man's Desperation' coming out in September. 'The Vampire and The Wrestler' another print book is due out in December. I have several eBooks due out this year and just signed a contract with Joe E Legend to do 'Dragon', a fantasy novel with Media Aria CDM LTD a British publisher.
GMB: Outstanding Kristal! Congratulations ... And here I thought I was busy with four novel releases for 2013, and a dabble with a film production company ... I mean really Kristal .... I knew you were busy, one of the hardest working author's I know, but I had no idea... Thank You so much for making time for this Interview and sharing so we can keep up with you... Can you share with us the blurb from 'In the Shadows'?
KM: Sure Mitch ...
Jasmine got obsessed with a man and now he's obsessed with her. Steamy nights, kisses and rules being broken awaits them. She turned his whole world upside down and now he's doing it to hers. In this free fall, can they survive each others love?
GMB: Now, continuing with this wonderful interview, Kristal, if I was a publisher, I believe my first question would be, “Why were you chosen to write your new release 'Marie's World'?” How would you respond to the inquisitive publisher?
KM: Well Marie's World is the name of the Street Dance character I use to dance and acted. I think putting some of her dance story-lines in wrestling makes me feel more comfortable. It makes another world open up and its part of the reason I chose to write the series. I have written "In The Shadow's" because I couldn't shake the story-line out of my head.
GMB: Yes ... I kind of have the same approach ... If I get an idea, a concept I don't write it down and assume that if it stays with me for a day-or-two its worth remembering and further considering ... Now can you share with us which do you prefer ... A great hero or a great villain? Why don’t you name one of each for us...
KM: Another great question. I have to say I like both. Marie is a great hero, she doesn't give up and during the series your going read how Herald is a wonderful villain in Marie's World. He has his hand in all the bad things going on. For 'In The Shadows' there is no real bad guy. My first grey area book. 'Charlie's Journal' I have to say the great hero is the father of the book, you don't meet the villains until the second book in the series. Its not one you want to miss at all.
GMB: I love it ...! You are so creative in your approach to storytelling ... I mean to write a book like 'In the Shadows' with no 'bad guy', and then maintain creative tension ... And then in Charlie's Journal' defer the antagonist until the second novel ... Unbelievable ... *smiles* I have to read these books ... Now I'm going to change gears a little ... NO wait! ... Have I mentioned how HOT I think your cover is for 'Marie's World'?
KM: No Mitch you haven't *smirking*
GMB: Well Kristal *thunder crashing around me now* Your cover for 'Marie's World' is HOT! :-)
KM: Right oh Mitch ... Thanks ... I think ;-)
GMB: And now changing gears once again, may I ask you about your favorite movie? And why? Perhaps you can share with us what is not a favorite movie?
KM: I love every dance film and I have to say my favourite dance film is 'Save The Last Dance'. It showed just how Street Dance started to bloom and I like the fact they mixed it with Ballet. The second 'Save The Last Dance' wasn't my favourite. I hated how it played out and the way it just didn't hold the same spirit as the first one did.GMB: Now, to reveal a little more about you, the person behind the Author, I need to ask, if you could be anyone in the world, space, and designated realm, who would it be? And why?
KM: I can't think of anyone. I'd like to be Marie out of my books and playing her again. I think being back in the saddle and doing the dangerous dance lifts is something I really like the idea of doing again. Working with something far bigger than myself again would be really amazing.
GMB: Well okay ... there is always a bit of the risk-taking ... I can compare as much to my Motocross racing back 'In-The-Day' ... Now Kristal, your are having a great 2013 and on into 2014 ... Now, where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
KM: A continued published author with several books out with my co-author Joe E Legend and working with mainstream publishers as well as independent publishers worldwide. I like the idea of doing more for the book industry and helping others enter it.
GMB: And as I've already mentioned, you have certainly worked well with me to do more for the book industry and by helping me along the way. Kristal, Thank You so much for joining us in the 'Anything But Tired Barn ... coming to us all the way from Glasgow, Scotland. It has truly been a pleasure getting to know more about you today... Kristal, if you could be so kind and leave with us some contact information as much would be so appreciated.
KM: Mitch, Thank You for hosting me here in the Barn today ... There never is a long way to travel, when there is an invitation from a great host upon arrival ... Now our Blog Fans can find me at my Website Link: kristalmckerrington.com and a great Purchase Link is: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-shadows-kristal-mckerrington/1114860428?ean=2940016387901 ... I want to personally invite everyone to and come visit me and check out my books...
Jane Carroll, Author of "Bertha Size Your Life" fame... Her inspiration is 'Life ... most definitely!'
GMB: Hi Jane Carroll ... Author of "Bertha Size Your Life" fame... Thanks for peddling on over here to the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' to chat. I hope our Blog Fans to get to know you, and your work a little better...
I have come to know you through the wonderful world of the Master Koda Family and welcome you here, to the Barn today
JC: And it was a glorious ride over here to meet with you in the Barn today Mitch ... Thanks for having me...
GMB: Now that I've shown you around the Barn a little, how about we go over to the Route 66 Diner...?
JC: Sure Mitch ... quite the unexpected tour...
GMB: You are very welcome ... And we now have our coffees in our hot little hands... Settling now ... Please ... Jane share with us a little about yourself.
JC: Well…first of all…I’m very comfortable here…since…I was raised in a barn. Well…maybe not…but it’s a question I heard a lot growing up when I failed to act in a civilized manner…which was quite frequently. Actually…I did grow up in the rural South…and we always had a barn. My first career…and the one that still mostly pays the bills…is nursing. I currently work as a school nurse at a K-12 school when I’m not writing or working with clients as a life coach. I have two grown daughters, two grand-daughters, and most days I’m happily single.
GMB: And on most days when you are 'happily single' ... Hey guys out there in Blog Land ... pay close attention now ... *grinning cheeky* Uh ... oh yes ... Now Jane, where and/or how do you find the greatest inspiration for your writing?
JC: Life…most definitely! I generally incorporate humor with insights from my every day experiences into my writing.
GMB: Wonderful! And 'Bertha Size Your Life' is a humorous self-help book ... It focuses on self-help, motivation, personal transformation and the law of attraction ... Why chose to write self-help book that includes the law of attraction in particular?
JC: I gravitate to self-help like a moth to a flame…so it was never really a question. Years ago I thought I was going to…fix…myself but I have since realized that it’s not about…fixing…it’s about growth. And just like Jello…there’s always room for growth.
GMB: Jello growing? If I saw jello growing I always thought it'd spent a little too long in the fridge... or on the picnic table ... I'd better get this figured out and I think I know just the book to help me along with this dilemma... Jane congratulations on such a wonderful effort ... How about sharing the Blurb for Berta ... Heh, heh ... That sounds kind of catchy ... 'Blurb for Berta'... *grinning*
JC: Sure Mitch ... Here's a Blurb for Berta... *grinning back*
'Bertha-Size Your Life!' is a book of personal transformation that reads like a series of entertaining and humorous stories. Bertha, a zany redhead, mysteriously appears in the narrator’s life during a walk in the park. Quicker than a man can hand off a baby with a dirty diaper, she has moved into the narrator’s empty nest and the fun begins.
GMB: Is there any other genre you’d like to write? And, if so, why?
JC: I have started a fiction piece but it will still be a process of transformation for the main character as she determines why she has settled for less than the life she could have been living. It may fit into Boomer Lit…not far enough along to know yet.
GMB: We've switched from coffee ... Taken a relaxing stroll to an outdoor cafe down the way ... Here's where I ask Jane, which appears first when you contemplate a new project such as the fiction piece you describe ... a character, the plot or the title?
JC: Definitely the character then the plot…the title is usually the hardest part for me.
GMB: And the hardest part of a novel for you to write besides the title ... the beginning of the story ... the middle or end? can you share with us 'Why'?
JC: Well…Bertha…isn't really a novel but a series of life lessons that read like short stories. I actually wrote them as the inspiration hit me. There really wasn't a rhyme or reason for them. The publisher had a difficult time putting them into a sequence. I was more deliberate with the sequel and it has definite stages that it goes through. I found the ending to be the most challenging.
GMB: Has your own life influenced your writing? If so, how?
JC: Absolutely! I write life lessons…so everything that I write about is triggered by something that I've learned or experienced either personally or through a coaching client or friend.
GMB: Who of your creations is your favorite character?
JC: Of course I have to say…Bertha…although sometimes I say…the cat…just to rile Bertha up.
GMB: Why Bertha and not the cat?
JC: I love Bertha because she lives life out loud…in a way that I aspire to do. I love that she is flamboyant and gaudy but she’s always true to who she is. I also appreciate that even she loses her self-confidence from time to time…which makes her real. She’s just like the best friend you could ever want to have and she’s always up to something. The cat…I love just because it has such a bat catittude. I based it very closely to my cat at the time.
GMB: Can you share anything about an upcoming release?
JC: It’s Bertha’s sequel ... it starts where Bertha-Size ends and takes the narrator further into her transformation and has a few fun twists along the way. I have submitted it to the publisher and am waiting for the editing process to begin. I’m really excited about the direction the book took and hope that it will be released by the end of the summer.
GMB: Speaking of 'publishers' ... If I was a publisher, I believe my first question would be, “Why were you chosen to write this story?” How would you respond to the inquisitive publisher?
JC: I think I was just in the right place at the right time. My daughters were both out of college and married…so my nest was empty. I had just completed my training as a life coach and I’d always wanted to write a book. Besides that…I was probably the only person who was just goofy enough to listen to Bertha and put her words on paper.
GMB: Sounds like Bertha is a pretty lucky character ... Jane, which do you prefer, a great hero or a great villain? Why don’t you name one of each…
JC: Oh…I always go for the hero. Of course, without the villain he wouldn't be a hero…would he? (Even Bertha has a nemesis.) I’ll stick with my favorite movie and choose George Bailey as my hero and Mr. Potter as the villain.
GMB: What is your favorite movie? And why? What is NOT your favorite movie?
JC: My all-time favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I love the message of the importance of each individual and how each person impacts so many others. There is a lot of wisdom in that movie. My least favorite movie would be anything with a lot of violence and suspense.
GMB: Yes, yes ... and I noticed,m when preparing for this Interview that there are a lot of Christmas photos ... I dare to guess Christmas is a nice time of year for you and your Family. If you could be anyone in the world, space, and designated realm, Christmas or not ... Who would it be? And why?
JC: I have to say I’d still be me but I would love to be impacting the world with my writing, speaking and coaching on a larger scale than I am now.
GMB: KEWL ... very cool ... Where do you see your writing career in the next five to ten years?
JC: Hmmm…by then I should be retired from nursing so I’ll be writing full-time. I would love to be spend more time as an inspirational speaker and life coach as well. I’m sure there will be a whole troop of 'Berthas' running around by then.
GMB: And here is one of those Christmas photos from your Facebook page ... I behold ... and e-Reader ... *smiles* Jane, let share with our Blog Fans that information so they can find you, and your books...
JC: Great Mitch ... the link to my website is: http://www.janecarrollauthor.com
GMB: And if we grab up our e-Readers, what would be your Favorite Amazon Review that we can take a peek at?
JC: I kind of like the following Amazon Consumer review. "
Not Just for Empty-Nesters
GMB: And while we're on our e-Readers and Pads and PCs how can we purchase Berta Size Your Life?
JC: You can find us to buy us at: http://amzn.com/B008873ZRM. You can also find Berta and I using the following links:
*Facebook page: https://facebook.com/janecarrollauthor
*Her website is: http://www.janecarrollauthor.com
GMB: Well Jane Carroll, Author of 'Bertha-Size Your Life' its been great to meet you and get to know you and your book a little better. Thank You for joining us here in the 'Anything But a Tired Barn' ... Be well, Taker Care and have a Great Day ... Oh and please be careful peddling around out there... You never know when a steer may jump out and scare the handlebars off your bike... :-) Bye for now... *Smiles*
Amazon Author Page for G. Mitchell Baker
G. Mitchell Baker, Author
Interviews with authors and friends