INDIE BOOKFEST 2017

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I’m excited to be a part of the Indie BookFest 2017 in Orlando, Florida, September 28-30. To attend as a reader or fan, tickets are still available!

 

Over eighty fabulous authors, panels and workshops for both authors and readers . . . two
amazing parties and a huge signing . . . where in the world can you find all of this awesomeness
in one event?

Indie BookFest, of course!

This premier author-reader event, in its fifth year in central Florida, takes place September 28 th
through October 1 st at the Westin Lake Mary.

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Indie BookFest is the only non-organization- affiliated author event to offer a dedicated Industry
Day, with representatives from a variety of service companies presenting workshops,
participating in panels and meeting with authors. This year, industry reps include those from
Written Word Media, Draft2Digital, Robin Reads, Bublish and more.

But IBF isn’t simply an author education conference. We also offer an entire evening and day of
Reader Appreciation panels and presentations—PLUS FanFare, an evening where the authors
entertain the readers.

And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a three-hour signing that is free and open to the public, on
Saturday from three to six.

Tickets to Indie BookFest 2017 are available now. There are several options for readers and for
attending authors:

–INDUSTRY DAY Ticket: This option provides admittance to and participation in all the
panels and workshops offered on Friday, September 29 th . Topics will apply to both new and
established authors, as well as to others in the publishing field. This ticket allows attending
authors and those interested in exploring the possibility of authorhood to participate in the entire
weekend; it also includes FanFare, Reader Appreciation Day participation, the signing and
Saturday night party. Thursday night’s Dinner with the Authors is not included.

–VIP TICKET: This option provides admittance to and participation in all aspects of Indie
BookFest, including access to the entire weekend EXCEPT the Thursday night dinner (available
at an additional charge), including the Green Room, all panels, workshops, parties and signings.
VIP ticket holders also receive a special VIP swag bag.

–GENERAL ADMISSION TICKET: This option includes access to FanFare on Friday night,
reader workshops and panels on Saturday, the three-hour signing on Saturday, and the Saturday
night party, as well as access to the Swag Tables.

–YOUNG AUTHOR EVENT: The Young Author session will take place Saturday, September
30, from 9:30-11 AM. Attendees must be under 18 to attend. A panel of authors will lead the
workshop, which will explore all nuances of writing and publishing a book. Very Important:
This is an add-on ticket to the main event. You must purchase either a general admission/VIP
or Industry Day ticket to add this event.

— THURSDAY NIGHT DINNER WITH THE AUTHORS: Join authors from Indie BookFest
2017 as we kick off the event with a lovely buffet meal in a beautiful setting.

Indiebookfestpjparty
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit our website and Eventbrite page.

How to help Indie Authors – A Primer

Help an IndieHow to help Indie Authors – A Primer for family, friends, fans, and other Indie Writers

It’s not easy taking the route of Indie Author or any route as an author. The field is crowded, and it’s hard for readers to sift through it all. So in addition to writing, most of us Indies spend a great deal of time promoting our work. Most of us try not to annoy our friends and family, but it’s inevitable that many of them will see our promotional stuff. So as we move into the holiday season, I’d like to give some advice to anyone associated with an author. Also, there’s a little bit of advice for other authors as well. I wish you peace and relaxation during the coming season. Take the time to read a book, maybe even from an Indie Author in your life.

Besides buying the books of your favorite authors, there are other things that can be done to help raise the visibility of Indie Authors, who are adrift in a massive sea of other Indies trying to be seen, heard, and read. So here’s a primer for simple things you can do to help raise us up. It all has to do with SEOs and Google searches, and believe me, it all helps. In the case of Facebook, it means more people see the post if there are likes and comments on it. It’s amazing to see what happens to a post on Facebook when even a few people hit the “like” button. Your vote does count in a huge way.

Amazon and other book purchase sites

  • Leave a short review after reading an Indie Author book. If you’re related or somehow related to the book, leave the review to someone else. If you’re not, leave a short review. I’m a believer in the short, but sweet, reviews. They all help. Here’s one of the best ones for my book Live from the Road.
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Trip Worth Taking May 29, 2012
    By Marisella Veiga
    Format:Kindle Edition
    This novel is a spirited travel story. It is packed with humor, understanding, and difficult conflicts. What is more, it is sprinkled with insights,love and no love. If you’re looking for a fun read that shares nuggets of wisdom, this is the book for you.
  • Press the “review was helpful (or not)” button on other reviews.
  • If you don’t purchase the book, at least add it to your “wish list” and then push the Twitter button about it.
  • Tweet after you purchase a book (buttons are provided on Amazon).

 Blog help

  • After reading a blog post (large hint here), “like” it. I get tons of notices about blogs every day, and I can’t read every one of them, but I open many of them and at least give a “like.”
  • After reading a blog post, leave a comment.
  • Press any of the share buttons at the end of most blog posts.

 Facebook

  • Leave a comment on posts by Indie Authors.
  • Follow or like author pages.
  • Share posts by Indie Authors if you feel your friends might enjoy something.

 To Indie Authors

  • If you are featured on someone’s blog, go to the post, and “like” it AND post a comment.
  • Follow the blog where you’ve been featured. Check back for comments by others for a few days after post. Comment on comments!
  • Like all comments on posts where you’re featured.
  • Share the post on all of your social media sites.
  • If you have your own blog, reblog to your followers.
  • If you’re a blogger, respond to every comment left on your posts. Also, now that WordPress gives you the choice of liking comments, do so.
  • And as you were taught as a child, send a thank you note to the blogger who featured you. Remember your manners.
  • Treat your fellow Indie Author as you wish to be treated as an Indie Author.

I hope this helps. Helping out an Indie Author is really quite simple and easy, but it might mean the of a sale of one book or the addition of one follower. I think of my journey as an Indie as a domino effect, with one thing leading to another.

Give the gift of “like” to your favorite Indie this year. What did I leave out? Please let me know, by leaving a comment below. I promise I’ll respond.

PC ZICK PHOTO COLLAGE

Author Wednesday – Marsha Roberts

???????????????????????????????Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Marsha Roberts if you’ve not already had the pleasure. Marsha has penned a book that is not only delightful to read, but it is an inspiration to all of us who’ve never quite fit into the “mold” set before us by society. Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant is the title of her funny, touching, and loving story story of her life told as parables for living a happy and fulfilling life.MBBCover2014

I’m so happy you’re here to talk about your writing, Marsha. I’m enjoying your book, and it’s always a great honor and pleasure to get to know the authors behind the words. I have a very specific vision of myself as a writer–that’s why I use the photo of the old manual typewriter for Author Wednesday–so I always like to ask authors about their visions. What is your vision of yourself as a writer?

Great question! I think of myself as a spinner of tales; it’s just that my tales happen to be true, pulled from my life – good times, bad times, adventures, hopes and dreams, and dogs! Telling someone about yourself with total honesty can be and should be very personal, almost intimate. When I write my stories, I imagine the reader sitting across from me, and I feel like I’m talking directly to my companion, the reader.

You’ve accomplished that very well. Reading your book makes me feel as if I’m sitting at the kitchen table with you, sharing a cup of coffee. Did you try to convey a particular theme to your readers?

My main theme is how incredibly magical life is. In my experience, there are times in life when the magic is so clear and vivid that it just about slaps you across the face! Then there are those times where it seems to have totally disappeared. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind that we forget how miraculous our very existence is. I know, I’ve done it many times. My book is about the crazy amount of faith that it takes to find the magic (the joy!) in our lives every day. Finding it and keeping it.

That is such an important message for everyone. I’m curious about the title. How did you choose it?

HA! I know it is an insanely long title! OK, it happened like this. First off, it was called The Parable of the Tomato Plant because at a very low point in my life, I found this little story I had written about the unlikely gift of tomato plants from a surly neighbor and the unexpected lesson that came out of it. I wrote it down on a few legal pad pages and tucked it away in a drawer I rarely used. I totally forgot about it, but it was waiting for me and was there at the precise moment I needed encouragement. One of life’s many little miracles. That “parable” was the beginning of my book, but it grew into something much bigger than I had initially intended. In a way, it had a life of its own. When I finished the first draft, it was like God was tugging at my sleeve, “Marsha, it’s not enough, you have to go deeper, you have to share more.” And so I did and that’s when it became Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant.

I love it. After reading some of the book, I think I know where the “mutinous” part originates, but please share with others why you used that particular word.

The little girl on the cover? That’s me. When I came across that photograph, the first word that came to mind was ~ mutinous!

Yes, that certainly is conveyed in that look. Are you going to write more in this genre?

Absolutely. I definitely plan to write two more books in the “Mutinous Boomer” Series, but not just yet. I spent most of my adult life as a producer, first with films and videos, but mainly stage. My husband is Bob Rector, who you have also interviewed about his incredible book Unthinkable Consequences. He wrote and directed our theatrical production Letters from the Front, and I produced it. This beloved show toured American military bases all over the world for fifteen years. In fact, a lot of the stories in my book revolve around the miraculous nature of that project. Letters has been on leave for a while (which gave us both time to write our books!), but now it’s time for it to be on active duty again. The show has always been described as “healing,” and we know that the troops, their families, and the veterans need us now more than ever. And we miss them. In the coming months, my focus will be on getting our show on the road again. Which will give me more stories to tell!

I loved Bob’s book. And what a wonderful project to be able to put together as a couple. You two are the golden couple! We all get those reviews, so tell me the best thing that’s ever been said about your book from a reviewer?

Well, if you mean an “official” review, Kirkus Reviews called my book “An optimistic look at the magic of life.” Perfect! But, if you are referring to reader reviews, there’s the one who said she loved my book so much she read it twice and the guy who called it “5* Soul Candy!” But, I think the one who summed it up the best was author Diane Harman who wrote, “This is simply a wonderful book which offers hope to everyone who has ever struggled with almost any human condition. Confessions belongs on the nightstand. When hope is not at hand, it can be.”

I was just thinking that this book is a wonderful one for restoring faith. I’ve been bookmarking like crazy. What else do you want readers to know about Confessions?

I’m very pleased to announce that Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant book is now available as an audiobook! For many years, the star of Letters From The Front was a wonderful actress by the name of Della Cole. Della and I have traveled the globe together entertaining American troops. I share some of these adventures in my book, and since Della was actually there during many of them, she is able to bring a personal warmth to the narration that you rarely hear in an audiobook. Just like you said eariler, reviewers have often commented that my style of writing is like sitting down with an old friend, sharing life lessons over a cup of coffee. Della’s approach to the narration definitely captures that tone, and I couldn’t be happier that she’s my “voice.” She’s fabulous!

That sounds like a wonderful partnership. Marsha, it’s been a pleasure to have you stop by today. I wish you and Bob success on all your future endeavors and hope you’ll both keep in touch.

Thanks so much for having me here on Author Wednesday, Patricia. You are a lovely host!

MRoberts-HS-7-14About Marsha Robert: After years of producing Corporate Theatre for clients such as IBM and Coca-Cola, Marsha Roberts developed, produced and marketed Letters From The Front, the only professional theatrical production to tour military bases around the world. This heartfelt show touched hundreds of thousands of lives, toured stateside and abroad for fifteen years, was the first play ever to perform at the Pentagon and became known as The World’s Most Decorated Play. The daunting process of getting this never-been-done-before production off the ground and onto a worldwide stage gave her a keen awareness of what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles and find the miraculous in the commonplace. She shares many of her experiences in her inspirational memoir Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and her Parable of the Tomato Plant.

Links:
Website: http://www.mutinousbabyboomer.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H0RS60
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Marsha-Roberts-Author/218916171540114
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MutinousBoomer
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037984.Marsha_Roberts
Blog: http://mutinousboomer.wordpress.com/

Author Wednesday – John Hazen

???????????????????????????????Welcome to Author Wednesday. Today I interview John Hazen who is now fulfilling his dream of writing novels. He’s working on his fifth book, but today he’s going to talk about his latest novel, Fava, an action thriller filled with intrigue and plot twists. Fava poster front

Hello, John. I’m glad you stopped by today. Your latest novel sounds very exciting, but before we talk about that why don’t you tell readers a little bit about your writing life. What are your writing rituals?

Other than a need for copious amounts of coffee, I can’t say I have many writing rituals. In fact, I’m quite undisciplined as a writer, which can be both a blessing and a curse. I’m not an outliner; the story creates itself as I progress. I have a general theme, an overall concept, and an ultimate outcome, but the details work themselves out along the way. I like to believe that as a result my writing doesn’t come out formulaic or predictable.

I work a bit like you do. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who writes that way. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring) said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Describe a time when a subject chose you.

In real life, my professional career has been in environmental protection, so Rachel Carson holds a special place in my heart. But more germane to the question, I believe she’s correct: the subjects have chosen me for each of the four novels I’ve written. Two of my books emerged from unanswerable questions that swirled around in my head for years. Fava (Black Rose Writing, 2014): “What would happen if a “Pillar of Islam” were to be removed?” and, Aceldama (as yet unpublished): “What if a person were to stumble upon one of Judas’s thirty pieces of silver?” The subject presented itself in a different way for my novel Journey of an American Son, (to be released by Black Rose Writing in November 2014). I found a diary my grandfather kept on a 1920 business trip he took going from Boston to Calcutta, India. At that time, travel was somewhat arduous; he traveled by train, boat, car, and even rickshaw. Along the way he encountered lepers, geishas, and silent film starlets. It struck me as a great starting point for a novel.

I’m impressed by so much of what you said in that answer! We have a lot in common, since all my novels tend to have an environmental theme, and Rachel Carson is one of my heroes. I love the idea of your grandfather’s diary. What an experience. I can’t wait to read it. Do you have a favorite character that you created?

All my characters are like my children and what type of parent would I be if I favored one over another? Seriously though, one of my favorite things is when I introduce a minor character simply to advance the plot but, as I continue writing, that character grows before my eyes. Soon he or she becomes a major figure, integral to the book itself. In Fava, Special Agent Will Allen was introduced as a roadblock for the protagonist, Francine Vega, to overcome but eventually he teams with her to help save the world. In Journey of an American Son, Walter Jones was Ben Albert’s sergeant during the First World War, but I bring him back to help Ben’s wife in her attempts to free her husband from jail in Calcutta after he is framed for murder. These characters tend to be my richest because I’m developing them for myself as well as for the reader.
I also like to take famous historical figures and peel away the myths that surround them to show them as real human beings. The three characters I’ve dealt with thus far are Ulysses S. Grant, Mahatma Gandhi, and Judas Iscariot!

You pulled in the big guns. What’s your one sentence pitch for Fava?

Can a beautiful, talented New York TV reporter thwart a maniacal plot to exact the ultimate revenge for 9-11 before it plunges the world into war?

That’s a great hook. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

A review of Fava by Midwest Book Reviews contained all the things an author likes to hear: “terrific premise,” “holds the reader’s entertained attention from beginning to end,” “very highly recommended,” but the part the got me the most was when they noted it was “deftly written.” High praise indeed. On a local level, I did a book signing at a bookstore, and they posted the event on Twitter. A man I’d never met retweeted it saying I was one of his favorite writers, and he was glad they were supporting me. Made my day, I must say.

That’s a great thing, for sure. How did you choose the title?

The title Fava didn’t become apparent to me until about half way through the book. In fact, the reader won’t become aware of what the title means until exactly the same time, which I think is kind of neat.

I like that. I can’t wait to figure it out. If you could invite two other authors over to your house for dinner, who would you choose?

My favorite all-time book is To Kill a Mockingbird so I’d love to meet Harper Lee, but I know how much she cherishes her privacy, and I would be reluctant to invade on that privacy. So, the two I would pick are J.K. Rowling and Doris Kearns Goodwin. I am in such awe of the Harry Potter series. It would be such a thrill just being able to converse with the person who could create such a world. I’ve loved a number of Kearns Goodwin’s books. No Ordinary Time is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Also, I’ve seen her on news programs. She’s so interesting and knowledgeable on so many subjects that I’d imagined she be a wonderful dinner companion.

Excellent choices. I’d like to know why Harper Lee never wrote another book! Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, John. I hope you’ll come back when your next book is published. And I promise to move Fava up high on my TBR list.

 

JohnHazenAbout John Hazen – John began writing novels relatively late in life, but once he started he hasn’t looked back. Inspired by Lynn, his wife of more than thirty years, he pursued the dream of becoming an author and is now working on his fifth book as well as several screenplays. Degrees from Rutgers, The New School and NYU— and a lifelong passion for learning and a love of history—influence him as a writer.

 

 

Links to books and social media sites

Website: www.johnwhazen.com

Fava: www.blackrosewriting.com/suspensethriller/fava

Dear Dad: http://www.amazon.com/Dear-Dad-Novel-John-Hazen/dp/1466394757/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406855185&sr=8-1&keywords=dear+dad+hazen

Twitter: https://twitter.com/john_hazen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.hazen.92?fref=ts

Author Wednesday – Rebekah Lyn

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Welcome to Author Wednesday and an interview with Rebekah Lyn, the author of several Christian novels. Her stories are filled with faith, hope, and adventure. Today, she’s here to tell us a little bit more about her latest release, Jessie, the second book in the Coastal Chronicles. Jesse, a young adult coming-of-age story, is set in the 1960s in Indian River City, Florida, near Cape Canaveral where the race to the moon captured the hearts of and minds of young and old. As a result, Rebekah scheduled the release of the book to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.3d cover Jessie

Welcome Rebekah. I love meeting new authors and finding out how they discovered their voice as authors. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I never really talked to anyone about my writing until 2001 when I met another friend who enjoyed writing. The conversations we had, coupled with some difficult times I was going through, really sparked me to write more. It took ten years for me to decide I had anything I wanted to publish, but without that friendship, I may never have pursued this path.

I know that you write Christian fiction and have two series. Are there any special themes or messages that you try to convey to your readers?

I write inspirational fiction because I want people to have hope and know joy. I’ve been through dark times and struggled with my faith, so I understand how others can lose hope. I want my stories to be entertaining and, in the case of Jessie, mixed with humor. My characters are overcomers, and by the end of the book, I want my readers to feel that way, too. When a reader lets me know how a book touched their heart I feel like I’ve done my job well.

Yes, that’s a very important aspect of being an author. It can keep us going for a long time. Tell us a little bit about your current projects.

My new release, Jessie, is my first foray into historical fiction, as well as what may be considered young adult fiction. The main characters are teenage boys, but the message is something everyone from age five to ninety-five can benefit from. I am also starting to work on the third book in the Seasons of Faith series

What’s your one sentence pitch for Jessie?

From tide pools to technology, follow Jessie’s emotional journey from a young boy enthralled with the United States race for the moon taking place just a few miles from his home to a young man overcoming many obstacles to pursue his dream.

How did you choose the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

The first book in the Coastal Chronicles was Julianne so I decided to keep all of the books the name of the lead character. I’ve toyed with the idea of making all the leads in the Chronicles start with J, but I don’t know if that will pan out. The characters usually tell me their own names.

That’s true. It might be difficult to pin yourself down. I’m always asked about how long it took me to write a book so I’ll ask you the same question. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

I don’t remember when exactly the idea first came to me, but I started research in October 2012, and the book was finally completed in April  2014. I chose to release the book to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the moon landing since that event is a crucial element of the story.

That’s an excellent idea. Tell us about the antagonist of the book.

Jessie’s father, Eugene, would probably be considered the antagonist. He’s an alcoholic and has abused both Jessie and his older brother Max. Even though Eugene isn’t a very active character in the story, he is always present in Jessie’s mind.

If you listen to music while you’re writing, what is it?

I tend to choose music that fits the storyline of the character I am working on that day. For Jessie, I listened to music from the 1950s and 1960s. For my Seasons of Faith books, I have different bands for each character that I listen to when I am writing in their point of view.

That’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a writer doing that before, but it makes perfect sense. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

Since I am a single lady, my parents are my biggest supporters, and I couldn’t do this without them. My mom helps with marketing and brings me food when I’m in a really good writing groove. My dad is handy and has made me some beautiful easels for my book as well as a prize wheel I can take with me to the variety of festivals in my hometown where I’ve started selling books. I have also enlisted my teenage niece and her friend to make signature jewelry to give out at teas where I meet with readers and talk about books. I think my cat gets a bit annoyed when I am in the zone and don’t take time off the computer to give her attention. She gets over that pretty fast when I fill her treat bowl, though.

How wonderful to have such a supportive family. If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights and Nashville. She is a fighter and never gives up, but most of all I love her Southern Exasperation, the way a southern woman can say more with facial expressions than most can with words, a tilt of the head or a pat on the hand.

She’s a good choice. Rebekah, it’s been wonderful having you visit today, and I wish you tremendous success in your writing career. The world needs as much hope and inspiration as possible.

author Rebekah LynAbout Rebekah Lyn – Rebekah is a popular Indie Author with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of faith, adventure, and hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books. Rebekah writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. One Summer Storms reviewer said, “Something about this author’s writing style reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series.” Her first published novel was released in October, 2011, and three of her current books have received solid ratings in the Christian Fiction category on Amazon.com. She has two distinct series developed, with further books planned for each series.

Contact Rebekah

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Buy Rebekah Lyn’s books     

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Author Wednesday – Stacy Juba

???????????????????????????????Welcome to another installment of Author Wednesday. Stacy Juba loves to write stories about Characters at a Crossroads, who are those individuals trying to find the right life path after overcoming obstacles. Her choice has resulted in a successful writing career. Her latest offering, Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, has been described as both a cozy mystery and a romantic suspense. 25 YearsFrontCover web versionIt’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to Stacy Juba.

Welcome, Stacy. I’m always curious about the writer’s journey. Tell us when you were first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

My first book, a young adult hockey novel called Face-Off, was originally published in the early 1990s when I was eighteen years old. I entered it in a contest and the manuscript won. That was when I was first able to call myself an author. It was quite exciting to see the book in bookstores and to get letters from readers.

That must have been a very exciting time and certainly the right time to call yourself an author. Tell us about the message you try to convey in your works.

I write about characters at a crossroads in their lives – a fork in the road where they can either take a chance and follow a new path, or continue down the same road that hasn’t been leading anywhere. I write books for different age groups (adult, YA and children’s) and in different genres that range from mystery to romantic comedy to sports fiction, but no matter what the age group or genre, this is a theme that I always incorporate.

What made you chose to write about characters facing this type of situation?

I didn’t consciously set out to write about characters at a crossroads. In fact, I didn’t realize at first that I was writing about this theme until I took a workshop on branding and was challenged to examine all of my books and find an underlying common thread. It was pointed out to me that my website needed to reflect some kind of common theme. After giving it a lot of thought, I realized that I was writing about characters at a fork in the road. I think I was drawn to this theme because it’s so universal. We all find ourselves at forks in the roads from time to time, and we need to decide whether to take the easy way or the harder, yet potentially more fulfilling, way. Sometimes the hard way is scarier as it is so new. I wanted to highlight this aspect of my work so that readers might ponder their own forks in the road and give some thought to what they really want and how they can get there.

Since you write in different genres, what’s on the agenda for your next books?

I plan to continue writing adult mystery novels, but I am also finishing up my first romantic comedy/sweet romance. I am having fun with the latter genre as it shows my lighter side, and I plan to do more romantic comedies in the future.

Excellent. I find it’s so important to stretch our writing selves. How did you choose the title Twenty-Five Years Ago Today? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today was the title from the very beginning. It was an easy title to choose, as the book is about a newspaper editorial assistant who compiles “twenty-five years ago today” items from the microfilm and stumbles onto a cold case.

I love the concept. What’s is the best thing someone could say about this book?

I get a lot of comments about the twist ending. Most people are surprised by the ending. I enjoy it when someone notes in a review that they love a book that surprises them.
How much research was required?

I once had the same job as my protagonist, Kris Langley, who is a newspaper editorial assistant, obit writer, and reporter. One of my tasks was compiling the “twenty-five years ago today” column from the microfilm. As a result, I didn’t need to research any of the newsroom scenes; however, I did interview a police chief about unsolved crimes. I also did research for the Greek mythology subplot. In the book, the murder victim, Diana Ferguson, was an artist inspired by Greek myths. I have always loved Greek mythology and was familiar with many myths, but needed to do some research to refresh my memory. One of the paintings holds a clue to Diana’s death, and I needed to find just the right myth to portray in the painting.

What else do you want readers to know about Twenty-Five Years Ago Today?

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today also has a spin-off book called Twenty-Five Years in the Rearview Mirror: 52 Authors Look Back, which is free at many retailers. In the book, authors write about what they (or their characters) were doing twenty-five years ago. It’s funny, touching, and makes readers think about the small moments in their lives. There is also a scene about what Diana Ferguson, the murder victim in Twenty-Five Years Ago Today, was doing on the last day of her life. Click here for the link to find the retailers.

Thank you for stopping by today, Stacy. I’m reading Twenty-Five Years Ago Today and hope to write a review very soon. My best to you in your writing  endeavors.

Butch AdamsAbout Stacy Juba:  Her goals are to entertain readers of all ages as well as inspire them. She has made numerous bestseller lists including GalleyCat’s Barnes & Noble Bestsellers and GalleyCat’s Mystery and Thriller Bestsellers. Stacy has written about reality TV contestants targeted by a killer, an obit writer investigating a cold case, teen psychics who control minds, twin high school hockey stars battling on the ice, and teddy bears learning to raise the U.S. flag.

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Author Wednesday – James Moushon

typewriter.jpgIt’s another edition of Author Wednesday here at Writing Whims. Today I am pleased to feature James Moushon who is a stellar promoter of Indie Authors through various blogs (The eBook Author’s Corner, HBS Author’s Spotlight, and HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle). When he’s not promoting the rest of us, he’s busy writing his own mystery and thriller novels. He’s just released the second book in the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels, Game of Fire. moushon1-gamefire

James, welcome to Author Wednesday. It’s a pleasure to return the favor by featuring you today as an author. Let’s talk a bit about your writing life. What’s an average day for you as writer, blogger, and promoter of Indie Authors?

I usually spend the first two hours working on a book I’m writing or a short story. Then I switch gears and start working on my three blogs. I try to do at least one post a day. All my blogs are book and author related so my research is sort of mixed together. In the evening I try to relax and do some social media things. Boring right.

I think it sounds very organized. For someone who does so many different things, it’s probably essential. Put your writer hat on now. Who has most influenced your writing and why?

Ernest Hemingway. I was fortunate enough to meet a Hemingway scholar when I was in college. I write about things I have experienced and visualized.

There’s no one better to serve as an example. You’ve been writing mystery/thriller novels. Is there another genre or form you’d like to try?

Short stories. I plan on publishing a bundle of six short stories this summer, featuring my leading character, Jonathon Stone.

Speaking of Jonathon Stone, do all your books have a common theme or thread?

All my books, so far, have a Mystery and Espionage theme with a CIA agent chasing down the bad guys and terrorists. One of the things that makes it unique is the action for the most part is in the United States, which is an off-books adventure.

Tell us about your favorite character from your novels.

Jonathon Stone, CIA agent at large. He likes action. He likes to gamble. He likes the ladies with drinking a close second. Although I am not as lucky as Jon, I like to gamble.

That’s the beauty of writing fiction. We can make our characters into the person we’d most like to be. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

Here’s my favorite review of Game of Fire: “That’s pretty much my criteria for how good a book is. If I keep putting it down, I probably won’t finish it. Trust me, you won’t be putting Game of Fire down. The story of former CIA Agent Jonathan Stone and his relationship with Jodi Shannon is wonderful, as is the fast-paced unfolding of the plot. I live in the part of California where the novel takes places and because of the author’s integrity to time and place, I can only assume that the bomb making and everything else is just as valid. I didn’t just like this book, I’m hooked on Jonathon Stone and the author’s style of writing. Thank you for providing such a great read!”

That’s a wonderful review, which gives us a view into the plot. What’s your one sentence pitch for Game of Fire?

CIA agent Jonathon Stone hunts for an arsonist linked to terrorism and espionage.

I’m hooked. How did you choose the title?

Game of Fire: The story starts with an explosion in Little Saigon, California during the Tet Festival Parade. The year was 2007 and the Vietnamese were celebrating the year of the Fire Pig. The cover has the Chinese characters announcing the event.

What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

I lived in the area for years and experienced the celebration many times.

With your busy schedule, it’s hard to imagine you having down time, but when you do, what do you like to do?

Right now it is summer time, and I’m watching baseball almost every day. I love the game. Oh yeah, I watch the game with a laptop close by.

I bet you do. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you a little better, James. I appreciate all that you do to support us Indies. Thanks for stopping by.

Thanks for having me.

moushon1About James Moushon – Born in Illinois, James Moushon is a published writer in the electronic document field. Moushon is a graduate of Bradley University in Peoria, IL.

He is the author of the Jonathon Stone Mystery Novels. moushon1-bms300He has published three books: Call Off the Dogs, Black Mountain Secrets, and newly released Game of Fire.

Starting more than fifteen years ago, he helped lead the start up of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion, and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products, and training seminars. In 2003, Moushon changed his focus to eBbooks and their development.

He is currently wearing three hats. He is a mystery writer, book publishing blogger, and a computer consultant. He has spent the majority of his adult life developing computer systems and thinking about writing.

James can be found all over the Internet. Click on titles below to find him.

Links to books

Black Mountain Secrets

Game of Fire

And social media sites

Twitter: @jimhbs

Email    james.moushon@gmail.com

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Website: James Moushon – Mystery Writer:

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Author Wednesday – Courtney Giardina

???????????????????????????????Welcome to Author Wednesday. Courtney Giardina stops by today to discuss her novel Tear Stained Beaches. The novel explores what happens when a marriage the ideal marriage suddenly isn’t. Courtney says that “Tear Stained Beaches, is the story of one woman’s strength to stand up for what she believes is best for her despite the thoughts and words of others. This novel gives women hope and courage to live the life they see fit for themselves.” cover for web final

I’m so happy to welcome you today, Courtney. Your novel sounds fascinating. Let’s start with your writing life before we talk about your book. Do you have any writing rituals?

I always write at night. For some reason my creativity just doesn’t start flowing until 9pm or later. When that time comes I turn my music on to almost a whisper, open up my manuscript and begin to write.

That sounds like a very good ritual. Since I’m a writer myself, I’m always fascinated by other writers’ lives. What is your vision of yourself as a writer?

I love writing and always have. If I could continue to do so and keep gathering inspiration for many more books to come, I would be happy. I’ve met so many great authors and readers with just this one book, I’m excited to keep building relationships with people I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I’d also love to delve a little more into blogging as well to keep my writing up to speed.

I agree that the bonus of writing are the relationships formed with readers and writer. Tear Stained Beaches is your first novel, but you’re working on your second one. Are there common themes between the two books?

I’m just finishing up my second novel now–Holding on to Georgia. The official book trailer (click here to view) has been released and I’m gearing up for the cover reveal! I like to think that both of them have an overall message that readers can get out of it. It wouldn’t necessarily be the same for everyone, but I do want them to finish the book and be inspired by it. Carry it over to their everyday lives.

You’ve received a lot of reviews so far for Tear Stained Beaches, so what’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

One of the greatest sentiments I’ve received from reviewers is how much they could feel the emotions of Haylie throughout the novel. The fact that my writing could really pull them in like that it such a sweet compliment.

I know how gratifying that is when you know a reader has really connected with something you’ve put on the page. We all receive them, so let’s talk about the bad review. What advice can you give to other writers about receiving one?

Learn from it, but don’t let it get you down. Not everyone is going to like your writing style or your story. You don’t write for them, you write because you love to write and your audience appreciates it.

Excellent advice, Courtney.  I love the title of this book. How did you choose Tear Stained Beaches for the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

I wish I knew how it came to me! I really wanted something different, something that would catch a reader’s attention immediately and still convey the meaning of the book. Since most of my main character’s soul searching is on the beach, I began focusing on that and then Tear Stained Beaches just popped into my head.

You mentioned you have a similar theme in both your novels. What is the specific message you’ve conveyed?

The overall message in this book is to always be true to yourself. We all have the strength and courage to do what it best for us, sometimes it just takes a little digging to find it.

You are right about that. Thank you for writing a novel that also provides inspiration. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

This book is quite emotional, but there is one scene in the book that made me laugh out loud while I was writing it. It’s when Haylie first meets Chase. Let’s just say, she didn’t quite make the best impression, but it was a head banging one.

That’s a good teaser. Tell us about your life away from the keyboard. What do you do during your down time?

I love to workout and find new ways to challenge myself. I’ve taken up many fitness classes here in Charlotte such as Pure Barre, bootcamp and dance classes. Right now I am a member of a boxing club, and I love to sign up for 5k races. My next challenge is going to be a Wipeout inspired 5k called Roc Race. I’m very excited!

Not only do you write inspirational novels, but you’re an inspiration in your personal life. If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Ironically enough it would be the same person who I would pick to play Haylie if Tear Stained Beaches was a movie. That would be Sophia Bush. I really adore not only her acting skills, but who she is as a person.

Thank you for stopping by today, Courtney. It’s been a real pleasure to get to know you, and I look forward to reading Tear Stained Beaches. Please stop back when the new novel is finished.

cgiardinaAbout Courtney Giardina: Courtney is a Rochester, New York, native who currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. After nine months of wearing out the delete button on the keyboard, Tear Stained Beaches was completed. She is currently working on her second novel. When she’s not writing, Courtney is an avid health and fitness lover who has currently taken up a love of boxing as a member of Title Boxing Club and loves trying out new healthy recipes from Pinterest.

Click on links  below to find Courtney and Tear Stained Beaches.

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Author Wednesday – Victoria Dougherty

typewriter.jpgWelcome to Author Wednesday. Today I welcome Victoria Dougherty, who has just published her first novel, The Bone Church. Set in Prague over the past fifty years, this historical thriller encompasses political, cultural, and historical boundaries.BoneChurch

Welcome, Victoria. It’s my pleasure to have you drop by for an interview today. I’m always fascinated about the author’s journey, so tell us, when were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I didn’t consider myself a writer. But I didn’t see myself an author – honestly – until one of my essays got published in the New York Times. Not because I needed the NYT’s blessing to call myself an author, but because the sheer volume of mail I got from readers was staggering. I don’t think I had an imagination for how that would change my perception of what it means to be an author. It was a bit of a bucket of cold water, too, because as good as it made me feel, I also felt tremendously vulnerable. The only other times I’d felt that vulnerable was when I fell in love with my husband, and when my first child was born.

Wow – I’m very impressed. An article in The New York Times? That was my penultimate goal when I was a journalist. So now that I now I’m rubbing elbows with the elite, tell me your writing rituals?

Not interesting. I just sit down and type.

That’s it, isn’t it? It’s as simple, and as complicated, as all that. I’m a great fan of Rachel Carson, the author of Silent Spring. She once said in an interview that she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Has this ever happened to you?

I can’t think of a time when the subject didn’t choose me. Even when I’ve written speeches for others, somehow it always seemed like the subject was chosen for me. Go figure. In terms of my fiction, I grew up in what my husband describes as “the ultimate Cold War family” – with a little bit of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and World War II thrown in for good measure.  So, writing noirish Cold War spy thrillers with a ghostly twist sort of came naturally to me. That, and the fact that I live in a very old, haunted house may have helped. Maybe I just channel spirits or something and they tell me what to write.

I find that aspect of The Bone Church very compelling. What messages or themes do you try to convey to your readers?

My stories are about spies, killers, and dangerous pursuits, but they’re also about love. Of getting caught in history’s massive tailwind and blown to the other side of the world, yet despite everything, discovering the meaning of faith and love.

That’s the best message of all. Who has most influenced your writing and why?

The three authors who have made the greatest impression on me are Raymond Chandler, John Steinbeck, and Harper Lee. But Dracula by Bram Stoker is probably my favorite novel of all time – even though I’m neither into Gothic stories or vampires as a rule. It’s just so highly original and has given us a character that we’ll take through the ages.

Those are very noble choices. I would say John Steinbeck is one of the greatest influences on my writing as well. What are your current projects?

Right now I’m writing my second Cold War historical thriller. It’s called The Hungarian and it’s an adventure, a spy-thriller, and a love story all rolled into one. The Hungarian examines the intersection of three lives – a drifting ex-pat, a fugitive Russian diplomat, and a Hungarian assassin with a weakness for rich food and sadistic murder.

That’s sounds as intriguing as The Bone Church. What knowledge have you acquired recently that might assist other writers?

You are not an island and you cannot succeed without learning to market your work.

It sounds as if all your books have a common theme or thread. Would you say this is true? 

I’m interested in how people behave under intense pressure and how historical forces make sweeping changes in people’s lives. I also have a deep personal interest in faith and love – the two driving forces in my life, and I think, in most people’s lives in one way or another. I define faith very broadly, by the way, and include atheists and environmentalists in my definition. I, personally, have met few atheists who didn’t passionately believe in their atheism and didn’t – at the very least in a roundabout way – try to convert you to their way of thinking, and I mean that with great respect. I simply think it’s part of human nature.

How does setting play a role in your books?

My books are terribly atmospheric. I love writing about places I’ve lived in or visited and fantasizing about places I’ve always wanted to see. When you have wanderlust the way I do, how can it not make its way into your work?

We’ve all gotten them at some point, so I’m wondering what advice can you give to other writers about receiving a bad review?

Bad reviews sting no matter how tough your skin. However, I think they offer gems of insight. If enough bad reviews say the same thing more or less, you have an opportunity to improve your work and that’s what we all love about being writers, isn’t it? That constant trickle of improvement. Someone recently told me that writing was like golf in that way. I wouldn’t know.

Let’s talk a bit more about The Bone Church. What’s your one sentence pitch for the book?

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, lives The Bone Church.

It’s an intriguing title. How did you choose it? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

Yes, I always knew I wanted to write about the Bone Church – which really exists – I just needed to build a story around it.

How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

Seven years.

What is the best thing someone could say about this book?

That it meant something to them.

What type of research did you do in the writing of The Bone Church?

I come from a family of spies, priests, and adventurers, so it was in my blood. I also lived in Prague for several years, so I got to know the part of the world I’m writing about very, very well.

Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

My favorite scene is actually very short and simple. It involves Magdalena, the love interest in my story, and describes a memory she has when the scent of her late mother wafts in through a courtyard window. It’s a sad scene, but a hopeful one.

It’s a beautiful scene. Where do you write?

In my home office or on my living room couch (where I am right now). I can never seem to write in a coffee house. Too many clinking glasses. And I look lousy in a beret.

I love my couch, too. But I do go to coffee houses–never considered wearing a beret! How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

My kids are fascinated that I write books. Both my husband and I work from home in fact. It’s kind of funny, because we find ourselves having to explain to our children that most people actually don’t work the way we do – they have to go to an office outside the home, or a hospital, or a big building with security guards. That’s a head-scratcher for them.

What do you do during your down time?

Spend time with my family. I try to savor every minute my kids still like me and want to hang around me. The clock is ticking on that one.

If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Anyone but a Kardashian. Are they even actors?

I’m not sure what they do, but I’m pretty sure not a one of them could portray you in a movie. You’re talented and interesting, and I’m delighted you stopped by for a few minutes today. Please come back when your new novel is released, Victoria.

VictoriaAbout Victoria:  Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Links to books and social media sites

Victoria Dougherty’s blog, Cold

Facebook Pate: Victoria Dougherty, Author

Twitter: @vicdougherty

Click here for Amazon purchase link

Author Wednesday – Francis Guenette

typewriter.jpgIt’s Author Wednesday time once again. I’m so excited when I can welcome back a favorite author because she’s published a new book. Today I welcome back Francis Guenette who visited for an interview in November, and whose book Disappearing in Plain Sight, I reviewed back then as well. It is with great pleasure to bring Francis back for another interview, this time to discuss her new novel The Light Never Lies, a sequel to her first novel, both of which are contemporary fiction that deal with family issues and romance. The Light Never Lies - 3-D bookcover

Before we begin the interview, Francis is offering some prizes to celebrate the release of The Light Never Lies. Two softcover copies of The Light Never Lies will be mailed to the lucky winners. One for the blog host who achieves the greatest engagement with the post and one commenter – a name of a commenter drawn from a hat which includes all commenters on the blog tour. So please comment freely to win your copy. And look for my review of The Light Never Lies on Book Review Friday.

Welcome, Francis. It’s so wonderful to have you back for Author Wednesday. Let’s tell readers a bit about your new book. What’s the one sentence pitch for The Light Never Lies?

If Disappearing in Plain Sight, the first book in the Crater Lake Series, was about how a group of people get over a devastating loss and move on with their lives, The Light Never Lies is about the messiness that is the inevitable consequence of moving on.

Yes, we must deal with those messes! How did you choose the title? Was it the title from the very beginning?

There were a few common themes that emerged early in the writing process – a young boy’s special ability, the play of the light on water, and how light relates to photography.

How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published product?

The book took one year. Here’s how that year broke down: two months doing research, notes and outlining; three months on the first draft; a month to let that draft rest; a month to do rewrites; two months working with my editor; two months of proofreading and final changes; and an intense month of formatting and preparing for publication.

You did well to keep to such a tight schedule. What is the message conveyed in this book?

Starting over is always possible, people do change, relationships can be rewritten and redefined and the concept of family is one we create as we go.

Those are some of my favorite messages as well. Explain how this book was conceived in your imagination.

Since The Light Never Lies is a sequel, most of the characters were already there, fully-developed and waiting for me to write the next chapters of their lives. I saw so much more conflict and ultimately growth for them. I started to examine the hard-fought ground they had gained for themselves in the first book so I could rip it out from under them. Being a writer is sometimes a cruel endeavor!

That’s the truth, but what fun it is to allow our characters to grow. What type of research did you do in the writing of this book?

With The Light Never Lies, I wanted to bring the reader right into the sawmill-woodlot operation and the organic bakery. I had to delve deeper, with research into each of those settings. I also did research for a particular character who had been a Native activist throughout most of his life. The places I wanted him to have been and the things I wanted him to have done needed to line up with his age and his appearances in other characters’ lives. This character needed to be able to speak convincingly about those places and situations.

I can tell readers that your research shines through in this book. Who or what is the antagonist in your book? Did you enjoy creating this character?

Both my books are written from the perspective of several characters. Depending on the reader, the protagonist and thus the antagonist shifts. In the interest of brevity, let’s assume Lisa-Marie, the feisty yet troubled and, at times, troublesome teenager, is the main character. She is the character who appears on the first page of both books, so there is a good case for her being the protagonist. In the first book, that meant Izzy, the poised and self-assured trauma counselor was the antagonist as she stood in the way of Lisa-Marie getting the guy of her dreams. In The Light Never Lies, the antagonist role shifts from Izzy to her new partner, Liam. He was once Lisa-Marie’s friend, but now he stands in the way of her primary desire to get back to what she considers normal. He is constantly calling her to a responsibility she doesn’t want to assume. I must admit, I do enjoy creating the drama and heartache that goes on in these characters’ lives. All for a good cause, mind you. It’s so nice to pull the characters back into the light – a bit older and wiser.

Interesting – I’ll have to think about that as I finish the book. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.

My favorite scene is when two of the secondary characters, Maddy and Jesse, say goodbye. They have both been residents of nearby Micah Camp, a facility for troubled foster kids trying to get on with their lives, and they’ve had an intense relationship. A parting of the ways was inevitable. Even the thought of that scene makes me feel weepy.

What else do you want readers to know about your new book?

The view that inspires the writing

The view that inspires the writing

If you haven’t read Disappearing in Plain Sight – no problems. The Light Never Lies is a stand-alone book, but expect to be hit with a large number of characters at the start. Rest assured though, everyone is necessary and all story lines tie together and find resolution by the end. Both books will make you laugh out-loud and sniffle now and then. You’ll come away from the reading wishing you could know these people and visit the fictional setting of Crater Lake. But since you can’t do that, you might consider a vacation to the northern end of Vancouver Island for a little taste of what you’ve experienced.

I’d love to visit. The setting is beautiful in both of these books, but I really want Izzy’s house. I’m so happy you stopped by again, Francis. It’s always a pleasure.

Francis Guenette - author photoAbout Francis: Francis Guenette has spent most of her life on the west coast of British Columbia. She lives with her husband and finds inspiration for writing in the beauty and drama of their lakeshore cabin and garden. She has a graduate degree in Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. She has worked as an educator, trauma counsellor, and researcher. The Light Never Lies is her second novel. Francis blogs over at http://disappearinginplainsight.com and maintains a Facebook author page. Please stop by and say hello.

Click here for Amazon page for The Light Never Lies (U.S.)

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