Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Self-Promotion Makes Me Uncomfortable," by Ken Lizzi, sci-fi author of 'Under Strange Suns'

“They” say that self-promotion is part of the game, that we should shatter the image of writers as introverts and recluses, that none of us can get away with being J.D. Salinger in today’s world of social media. Maybe “they” are right. But I’m going to invert the standard practice of a fiction writer and tell the truth: Self-promotion makes me uncomfortable.
There, I said it. My name is Ken Lizzi and I do not like talking about myself. No, I don’t feel any better. But I suppose catharsis is too much to expect after only the first step.
I do my best. I’m building my “brand.” I’m Tweeting and posting on Facebook. I sit on panels at conventions and inscribe personalized notes at book signings. As long as the topics trend away from the personal, I think I do all right.
But like Kevin Bacon in Animal House I don’t want to seem too, y’know, pushy.
The thing is, a book-launch blitz doesn’t care about my tender sensibilities. Let the undesirable candidates worry about seeming too pushy. These interview questions are not going to answer themselves. Give a little of yourself, people want to know something about the author. Get out there and share. You’re not J.D. Salinger, you know.
Fine. I’ll play the game. And why not? My stuff is pretty good. I think you’ll like it. Modesty only sends you to the keg for another ale, it doesn’t get you a dance with Rosie Cotton.
Look, I’m not agoraphobic. I’m not a wallflower. I’m...self-contained, is all. A bit wary of opening my mouth and shoving my foot in. Of course, a couple of beers in and you’ll be hard pressed to shut me up.
There, see? I’m sharing. Now buy my books.



Title: Under Strange Suns
Genre: SF
Author: Ken Lizzi
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

Under Strange Suns is on sale now until August 28th: Only .99 cents!

About the Book:

In the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars, Under Strange Suns brings the sword-and-planet novel to the twenty-first century. War is a constant, and marooned on a distant world, former Special Forces soldier Aidan Carson learns there is nothing new Under Strange Suns.

About the Author:

Ken Lizzi is an attorney and the author of an assortment of published short stories. When not traveling – and he'd rather be traveling – he lives in Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife Isa and their daughter, Victoria Valentina. He enjoys reading, homebrewing, and visiting new places. He loathes writing about himself in the third person. Connect with Ken on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Interview with Olivia Hardin, author of All For Family

Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Thank you so much for having me.  I started writing about the Rawley family a long time ago, and although each book is a stand-alone, these novels let us journey into different lovers’ stories while maintaining a continuing connection with their same family and friends.

All for Family is especially important to me because I poured a lot of myself into Meg’s character.  She’s a woman tackling insecurities that become an integral part of her story and her relationship with Jeremy.  No, this isn’t an autobiography by any stretch of the imagination.  But I did apply the things I’ve learned about myself to the situations in which I placed Meg’s character.

How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I’m a woman who’s always struggled with my weight and body image, and when I decided to tackle that characteristic in Meg, it scared me.  I thought this would be a difficult book to write.  I knew it would be cathartic, too.  I never expected it to flow as effortlessly as it did.  This was perhaps the easiest story I’ve put to paper.  It was almost as if I’d been waiting for a long time to express this part of myself. 

As for other writers, there is always a lot of talk about which genre or theme is “hot” at any one time.  It’s hard to deny the temptation to chase the fad.  But I think most readers are sharp enough to know when an author is writing from the heart.  And certainly for me, feeding my passion to tell a story is what drives me, and my readers have told me they feel that when they read my words.

Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I’m independently published, which has made my journey an exciting one.  I’ve learned some hard lessons about writing, promoting and running a business.  But I’ve also had the luxury of making my own decisions about what to write, how to write it, which way to package my stories and where and when I promote.  It can be exhilarating, really.

Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I’m not sure about surprised.  Terrified, maybe?  Hitting the button to publish that first book wasn’t easy.  I’m pretty sure my finger hovered for at least sixty seconds before I pressed it.  When sales started happening (I mean ones above and beyond the copies I knew friends and family were purchasing), I was thrilled with the realization that a stranger somewhere was reading the fruits of my imagination.

What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m working in my urban fantasy world at the moment.  This is the fourth book in the Lynlee Lincoln Series about a witch whose job protecting magical creatures always seems to land her trouble.

What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Facebook is pretty much my hang-out.  I have several writing related groups that offer support and advice on the craft and on publishing, then I also have a group consisting of my fans called Team OH.  The teamsters are lots of fun, and I share information and teasers with them before the rest of the public gets them. 

Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

I was about halfway finished with the first draft when the words of my dedication popped into my head:  For You.  Yes, You. The one who is perfectly imperfect.  The one who is beautiful.  The one who deserves to be loved. 

I think this story can be for any woman.  I think most, if not all of us, feel unlovable from time to time.  Maybe you think your nose is too long, your hair is too curly, your legs are too skinny.  Isn’t there always something?  For me, the issue was mostly my weight.  I remember the nickname a group of boys had for me in high school.  Fatz was certainly not what a somewhat-shy freshman girl wanted to hear tossed in her direction.  And the hurt of it sank deep as the moniker began to define who I was in my own eyes.

The journey of developing self-worth is a never-ending one.  I still stand in front of that mirror and have to tell myself that I’m beautiful.  Because if I don’t see the value in me, then how can anyone else?  And that’s the key.  Sure, this is a love story, and Jeremy and Meg have a wonderful romance.  But in the midst of that, Meg also had to learn to love and depend on herself, too.

Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I really appreciate you having me.  Thanks, too, for all the readers, and please, please feel free to communicate with me.  One of my favorite parts of the writing journey is hearing from people who’ve given me the honor of their time and just maybe letting me touch their hearts.

About The Book 

TitleAll For Family (A Rawley Family Novel)
Author: Olivia Hardin
Publisher: Olivia Hardin
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Format: Paperback / eBook / PDF
Pages: 200
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy The Book: 


Barnes & Noble:


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Rawley family, but gearing up for Van and Kay’s nuptials revives old insecurities for Kay’s sister-in-law Meg. When she learns that her ex-husband is asking for her from his hospital bed, Meg must confront the painful memories of her past.

Family is everything for Jeremy Rawley. Most important is the one he and Meg created together. But their beginning was tangled in memories he wishes his wife could forget for good. A call from her past brings them back to a place he thought they’d never have to be again.

Forgiveness may be the key, but the first step is finding the locked heart that needs it.

Book Excerpt: 

He watched her slide her feet back and forth against the carpet. “Whew … there’s a reason big girls shouldn’t wear heels.”
Jeremy finished his own drink and sat back down beside her, this time reaching down and taking her feet to pull them up into her lap. She made a face as if she would protest, but when he began circling his thumbs into the arches of her feet, she leaned back against the arm of the couch and moaned. “Oh, that’s nice. Do they teach that at earl school?”
As he massaged, she pointed her feet in a stretch, and her toes brushed a feather’s touch against his thighs. Damn, but the woman could get a reaction from him almost without warning. He continued rubbing, then slipped his fingers between her toes.
“Oh, no, no, no,” she squealed, jerking to try to pull away from him. “Ticklish.”
“I figured…” One corner of his mouth turned up in a grin. He tugged her feet back to his lap, and when he did, the skirt of her dress hitched up almost past her knees. She immediately took hold of the hem and tried to push it back down.
He encircled both her ankles with his hands and then slid them upward along her calves, kneading the muscles of each leg as he went along.
“Jeremy, you don’t have to …”
“Shh …”
Her eyes were open wide, so many emotions in their depths that it was hard to figure what she was feeling. Fear? Embarrassment? Excitement? He pushed one of her legs to the side until it slipped off the couch, then he scooted forward into the open space between her thighs. With one ankle still in his hand, he lifted it so that he could sweep his lips across the creamy smooth skin of her calf, working his way upward.
She was still holding her dress, doing her best to cover up, but the hypnosis of his stare had her. She never once looked away from him as he made his way higher. When he nipped his teeth to the tender spot at the crook of her knee she flinched, then sucked her lip into her mouth.
He was so desperate to kiss her that he almost rose up to smother her body with his and claim her mouth. But he didn’t. Instead he let go of her leg and then took her hands, loosening the tight hold she had on her hemline. The satiny material dropped, sliding down her thighs to bunch at her waist. Under she had on tight nude-colored shapewear, which she was clearly embarrassed about.
Gazing up at her, he brought one of her hands to his cheek. Her fingers stretched long, tentatively touching his lips. When he sucked two of them into his mouth, she moaned and closed her eyes.
“Jeremy, why are you doing this?” She snatched her hands away and to her lap where she once again tried to hide herself under folds of orange fabric.

“I want there to be a day when you won’t ask that question. Maybe it won’t be with me, but one day, you won’t have to wonder why a man would worship you and your body.”

About The Author

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily “cured” of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again.

Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term “road scholar,”' and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she “studies” anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she’s sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

Connect with Olivia:

Virtual Book Tour Event Page

Monday, August 24, 2015

Dear Reader by Michelle Beber

The Writer’s Life newest feature, Dear Reader, gives authors a chance to talk to their readers - YOU!  
Today's guest is Michelle Beber, author of the children's book, Angels, Angels, Everywhere.


Dear Reader…

I know that sometimes being a kid can be hard.  I know that because I used to be a kid.  When you’re little and you don’t understand everything about the world, it can seem like a big, scary place.  And, sometimes, the feelings that you have can be too much for you.

Sometimes, you might be afraid, like when it’s dark outside or when you have to do something you’ve never done before. 

Sometimes, you might get mad, like when someone is mean to you or when things don’t go your way. 

Sometimes, you might feel sad, like when you miss someone you love or when you feel like things aren’t going to get better. 

Sometimes, you might feel lonely, like when no one wants to play with you or when you move away from your friends and have to make new ones.

I’m going to tell you about someone very special who can help you when you’re afraid, sad, mad, or lonely.  That special someone is your guardian angel.  This angel has been with you ever since you were born, and they will never, ever leave your side.

Your guardian angel will stay with you for the rest of your life.  They love you very much and will do anything to help you.  All you have to do is ask them for help.  This is the number one rule for angels.  They are not allowed to help unless you ask them for help, but they love you at all times, no matter what.

Now, here’s where you come in.  You need to believe that your guardian angel is real even though you can’t see them.  When you believe in something that you can’t see, it’s called faith.  The next thing you need to do is trust that your guardian angel hears your prayers.  When you believe and have faith and trust, you’ll learn that angels really can help you feel better!

The reason I’m telling you this is because I can talk with angels.  Archangel Michael, who is the leader of all the angels, wants me to let every kid know that they have a guardian angel with them at all times.  It’s kind of like having your very own invisible “superhero.”

I hope you like my book, Angels, Angels, Everywhere.


Michelle, the “Children’s Angel Lady”

About the Author:

Michelle Beber has certifications as an Angel Intuitive and Angel Oracle Card Reader from renowned "angel lady," Doreen Virtue, as well as certifications as a Spiritual Teacher and Archangel Life Coach from Doreen's son, Charles Virtue.

In 2008, Michelle's life changed when she attended a spiritual retreat and learned about angels and how they communicate through repetitive number sequences known as "angel numbers." Little did she know that this insight would lead her on an amazing spiritual journey that would directly connect her with angels and result in the discovery of her life purpose.

Always grateful for the spiritual guidance she has received, Michelle looks forward to sharing the knowledge she has gained to inspire others, especially children. Michelle is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Her latest book is the juvenile fiction/children’s picture book, Angels, Angels, Everywhere.

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Angels, Angels, Everywhere
Author: Michelle Beber
Publisher: Balboa Press
Pages: 30
Genre: Juvenile Fiction/Children’s Picture Book
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Nook

Angels, Angels, Everywhere is a non-denominational, multiracial book written in delightful rhythm and rhyme and accompanied by charming illustrations.  The themes of constant support and unconditional love are designed to help children deal with everyday experiences in life.

By developing children’s faith in knowing that they are not alone and building their trust that they are consistently watched over, cared for, and loved, children will become empowered to deal with life’s challenges.  The book also lets children know that angels are there in good times as well, sharing in their joy.

For More Information

Friday, August 21, 2015

Interview with Maria J. Nieto, author of Breaking the Silence

Title: Breaking the Silence 
Author: Maria Nieto 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Pages: 202 
Genre: Historical Thriller 
Format: Kindle/Paperback 

 On a sweltering summer day, the streets of Old Madrid that once resonated with the laughter of children playing are empty and silent. But inside the apartment buildings there is life as families faithfully wait for updates about an army uprising in Spanish Morocco. Before long, their greatest fears come true. As rebel troops storm Madrid and chaos fills the streets, six-year-old Mari wonders why she cannot go outside to play. Unfortunately, she has no idea she is about to be trapped inside the abyss of what is rapidly becoming a ruthless civil war. Already emotionally wounded by the absence of her mother, Mari attempts to go about her fear-filled days living with her father’s family, which includes a grandfather who lovingly teaches her about the history leading up to the conflict. As she embarks on a coming-of-age journey submerged in the darkness of war, Mari somehow stays alive despite the decisions of an intimidating, ruthless dictator, starvation, and brainwashing by the new Fascist regime. But when circumstances lead her to inadvertently commit the ultimate betrayal, Mari must face the horrifying consequences of her actions. Breaking the Silence shares the compelling tale of a little girl’s experiences as she attempts to survive amid the horror and death surrounding the Spanish Civil War.

How did you come up with the title of your book?

When Spain's dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, Spain went into a two year period introducing a Constitutional Monarchy. The new government passed a law of silence called "El Pacto del Silencio." This law mandated no talking about the past years under a dictator, no legal actions against anyone who had engaged in the violent murderous executions and the tortures of thousands and thousands of Spaniards under the dictatorship. Franco's political butchers were never brought to justice, or made to pay for their atrocities.

I wanted to break this silence and write about what happened to the people of Spain during their Civil War, and after the war under Franco's dictatorship. Thus, Breaking the Silence seemed an appropriate title for the book.

What is your writing environment like?

I live in New Mexico with eight chickens, one rooster, two geese, one cat, one dog, and one horse. We all get along and my days are peaceful.

What are some of the best tools available today for writers?

I suppose the internet, although I seldom use it.

What inspires you to write?

My never dormant imagination and my feelings for all of the suffering people in the world.

Did you learn anything from writing this book?

I learned quite a bit! Writing is hard, but harder when personal feeling and memories are involved in what we write.

What is your favorite quality about yourself?

The feeling and need to be independent and alert to the needs of others as well as myself.

The author spent her childhood in Spain during the Spanish Civil War and the post war years that followed the war under a brutal dictatorship. As an adult, and after four years in the US Navy, Maria graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with degrees in nursing and nursing education followed by graduate and post graduate degrees in mental health education and counseling psychology. After teaching psychiatric nursing in Philadelphia, the author moved to New Mexico where she worked in mental health services for the Indian Health Service, and later worked for the University of New Mexico in the department of Emergency Psychiatry. Now retired, Maria still lives in New Mexico with her horse.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Interview with N.E. Brown, author of 'Carson Chance, P.I., Over the Edge

After a successful career in real estate, N. E. Brown retired and began pursuing her passion for writing.  She has authored and published four successful historical fiction novels about life in early Galveston.  Her most recent book, Carson Chance, P.I., Over the Edge, takes place in Dallas, Texas, during the 1960s. It is not only available in paperback and e-books, but is now an audio book.

Having been a legal secretary during that time in Dallas, her eye for detail brings about a memorable life experience between two young people who are destined to find love a real challenge.

Being a native Texan, Ms. Brown’s love of Texas history inspires her to create true-to-life fictional characters from the past. She is currently working on two new novels, one being Book 5 of her Galveston, 1900, Indignities series. Ms. Brown resides in Tyler, Texas, with her husband.

For More Information
About the Book:

Set against the rock and roll era of the early 1960’s, when casual sex and recreational drugs were the norm, a chance meeting on a road trip finds twenty-four year old Carson Chance smitten with a
young female hitchhiker he gives a ride to. Sparks fly as the two loners reach out to each other for companionship. They are like two pages torn from the same book that fit together perfectly, only Carson doesn’t know it.

For More Information

  • Carson Chance, P.I., Over the Edge is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?  

When I retired in 2012, I began writing, mostly for myself, but I gave the manuscript to a journalist and she told me I need to publish it. So I did. Carson Chance P. I., Over the Edge is my fifth book.

Why did you choose your particular genre?

I like to write about things I know and I was a part of the hippie generation although I was pretty conservative.

What was your greatest challenge writing this book? 

Making the characters believable.

Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published? 

I used a small press that did a turn-key job.

Was it the right choice for you?

All five of my books were self-published through a small press, but my next two novels which are almost finished will be self-published with the help of a professional editor, cover artist and beta-reader.

How are you promoting your book thus far?

I use social media and do book signings.

How is that going for you?

You never sell enough books, but momentum is gaining and I will continue to use social media.

Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales? 

I did a book signing event at a huge gathering once and sold over 150 books.

Do you have another job besides writing? 

I’m an antique dealer and volunteer at the Salvation Army.

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?

Start promoting your book before you release it.

What’s next for you?

Getting my next two books published.

Interview with Luke Delaney, author of the Toy Taker

    Title: The Toy Taker 
Author: Luke Delaney 
Publisher: Harper 
Genre: Thriller/Suspense 
Format: Kindle/Paperback 

Outside the house, it's cold and dark.

Inside, where it's warm, children are sleeping.

D.I. Sean Corrigan might have a tiny new office at Scotland Yard and a huge new beat—all of London—but the job is the same. His team has a knack for catching the sickest criminals on either side of the Thames, thanks in large part to Corrigan's uncanny ability to place himself inside the mind of a predator.

But he just can't get a read on this new case. Four-year-old George Bridgeman went to sleep in his bedroom in a leafy London suburb . . . and wasn't there in the morning. No tripped alarms. No broken windows. No sign of forced entry or struggle.

As his investigation zeroes in on a suspect, Corrigan's gut tells him it doesn't add up. Then another child is taken. Now someone's toying with Corrigan. And the game is about to turn deadly.


The Toy Taker is available for order at  

google play

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Luke Delaney.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I’m an ex-Detective who served seventeen years with the Metropolitan Police in London. I guess I’d investigated every crime imaginable until I retired early and decided to turn my hand to writing.

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: My next book set for release in the USA is The Toy Taker. It’s the third in the series following the exploits of Detective Inspector Sean Corrigan and the Special Investigations Unit he’s in charge of. In this book young children from wealthy families are disappearing from their beds in seemingly secure houses and with no sign of forced entry. Corrigan expects to start finding tiny bodies sooner rather than later, but when none turn up, he knows he’s dealing with something completely different and disturbing.

I wrote The Toy Taker after one of my own children unwittingly gave me the idea whilst being very naughty, but I can’t say more than that or I could give away a crucial part of the plot and ruin the book for the readers. Sorry!

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: Writing about children as the victims of crime is always difficult and can put people off before they even start, so I had to be very careful and subtle to make it bearable for the reader – especially those with children, but you still want it to be scary. Not always an easy balance with a subject like this, but I should point out it’s not about paedophiles or children being abused. I wouldn’t really want to ever write about that.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: I don’t even know what a press kit is, so I guess that answers that.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: I guard my anonymity closely, because of my past, so I don’t do public appearances or TV. However I have been interviewed on radio before, both in the US and UK, as well as countless newspaper, magazine and blog interviews.

I’m not sure what the up and coming plans are – they’re in the hands of my publisher and publicist. I just get on with the writing.

Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: My agent is Simon Trewin – the head guy for literature at William Morris Endeavour’s London Office. He’s extremely well known and respected in the industry and has represented the likes of Condeleeza Rice and Manchester United – oh and me too.

You almost certainly need an agent to get a publisher, as publishers won’t read anything submitted cold from an unrepresented writer. But once you’re up and running and have social media covered – maybe in this day and age you can go it alone. These days I find I just get approached direct from newspapers, TV people, film people etc. In the future, authors probably won’t even need publishers and we’ll all be a lot better off!

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: I wouldn’t exactly call it a blitz, but they try to get newspaper and radio interviews and here in London they put up quite a few cool looking posters on the Underground (Subway) and there’s always the blog stuff. Everything helps, but word of mouth is a powerful tool too.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: You’re a little behind the UK with my books. Here, The Jackdaw has already been out for a couple of months and going well. It’s the fourth DI Corrigan book and I think it would resonate very well with American readers as it’s about someone seemingly taking revenge on wealthy bankers who he holds responsible for the crash and subsequent economic hardship felt by many. I’ve also just finished my fifth book, not a Corrigan book – The King of Millander Walk. A bit different that one – a cautionary tale.
Q: Thank you for your interview, (insert name here).  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: You can buy my books from Amazon and most large retailers like Wallmart. I’m on twitter @lukedelaneyuk. I also have an official website with videos and info as well as an official facebook site with links, info etc. They’re all pretty easy to find on the Internet.


Luke Delaney


Luke Delaney joined the Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1980s and his first posting was to an inner city area of South East London notorious for high levels of crime and extreme violence. He later joined CID where he investigated murders ranging from those committed by fledgling serial killers to gangland assassinations…

For More Information

 Visit Luke’s website.
 Connect with Luke
  Social-Network-Facebook Social-Network-Twitter       

Interview with Douglas Gardham, author of The Drive In

Title: The Drive In
Author: Douglas Gardham
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 130
Genre: Short Stories
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 Have you ever been intrigued by what mysteries lie behind the doors and windows of the places you pass by on your drive into work everyday? The Drive In takes you on Tom Johnson‘s commute. Unlike Tom, you’ll get to peek behind some of those closed doors. Remember going to the “Drive-In” theatre? Each story reveals what goes on like watching the “dusk ‘til dawn” features through your car’s windshield. Meet the people at the places Tom only passes by each day. Then discover how his drive in ends like no other.  

Question1- Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it? The Drive In is a collection of short stories with a twist. The short stories are about what goes on behind the doors and windows of the places a person passes on their drive into work. The reader gets to find out what goes on (as the driver can really never know) but along the way you discover why this particular drive in is unlike any other.
I’ve written short stories since I started writing. Years ago while driving to work, I was struck by the idea of the places I passed being a unique way to bring a collection of short stories together. I forgot about it. When I suggested to my publisher wanting to publish a couple of my short stories to help promote my STARBook awarded novel The Actor, iUniverse suggested I put a number of my short stories together in a collection. My “drive in to work” idea came back and hence The Drive In came to fruition.
Question2- What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it? There were many challenges but three in particular. Keeping it short as it’s a “drive in” not a “road trip”. Picking out the right stories to include from the dozens I’d written over the years. The connecting story of the man driving into work and not making it a business story or a business book but a story of human emotion that a man is going through at this juncture of his life. I was very pleased with the final outcome.
Question3- Do you plan subsequent books? Yes. I’m working on the follow-up to my STARBook awarded novel The Actor. I have another novel in the works and another collection of short stories.
Question4- When and why did you begin writing? . I started writing in high school where I wrote the music and lyrics for the original songs my band performed. It was around the age of twenty-five when I took to writing with earnest going from poetry, prose and freeform writing into short stories. I didn’t take on a novel until my late twenties. I’ve written nearly every day since then.
Question5- What is your greatest strength as an author? I have a hard time with this so I’ll use my wife’s response. She said I am able to capture the passion and emotion of how people react to the situations they are confronted with that connects with readers’ hearts.
Question6- Did writing this book teach you anything? A lot. The connecting story of The Drive In with the protagonist driving to work became somewhat cathartic for me in switching from my engineering and manufacturing world into this “writing” thing full-time. Although happening in a rather short space of time, there was much more going on in my head than I realized. Much of that made its way into the story. I also learned to never give up on an idea. Ideas have a way of surfacing at the right time provided you’re open and listening and choose to act on them.

 Douglas Gardham is the author of the STARbook-awarded novel The Actor. He lives near Toronto, Canada with his wife, dog and cat. He loves books, music and movies. This is his second published novel.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Guest post by Sophia Bar-Lev, author of The Silver Locket

When people ask me why I’m a writer, my response is ‘Why not’?  After giving me a strange look, they will usually resort to the logical reasons why writing is a less than lucrative career unless one happens to make it big.  They quickly add, “And very few do.”

I smile.  I know something that perhaps my acquaintances do not.  A writer writes because that’s what a writer does.  Maya Angelou said it beautifully: “You write because you have to. A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate.”

The written word, from Plato to Patterson, from Moses to Mailer, has shaped society’s thinking, its values and its dreams.  But more than that: the written word shapes the one who writes it.  For in our writing, we often discover something of ourselves hitherto unrealized. In seeking to create something worthwhile for others to enjoy, we access untapped reservoirs of thought and attitude that challenge our own inner growth perhaps more than it will ever challenge a reader.  A writer is as much on a journey of self-discovery as he or she is on a voyage of self-expression.

Writing is at once exhilarating and tedious, amusing and strenuous.  It can be an enemy as well as a friend.  It may bring you intense pleasure as well as crushing frustration.  Yet the writer never gives up.  The thought of doing anything else is abhorrent. 

And so we write on.

Becoming an author with something valuable to say to one’s contemporaries is the fruit of consistent discipline, a healthy dose of humility to receive constructive criticism and a persistence that defies reason.

There are days when more pages are consigned to the dustbin than the ones for which you click the ‘save’ button.  It’s all part of the process and it’s all for the good.  A seasoned author knows that one must be willing to discard as much as one keeps, to edit as much as one creates.  It’s not enough to write; it’s even more important to scrutinize so that the ultimate goal of any writing project is achieved with excellence.  There is no shortcut to best-seller status.

While various types of writers own their unique motivations and goals, each one’s book, poem, or short story is a vessel for an idea, which in one way or another has something to offer to the public. The challenge is to present one’s idea or message in a manner that will resonate with one’s prospective audience.

For me, writing is an opportunity to contribute something positive and uplifting to my readers.  I love to entertain but I also love to inspire. Greatness is not for the lucky few but for all who reach higher than themselves.



Genre:  Women’s Fiction
Author:  Sophia Bar-Lev
Purchase on Amazon
About the Book:   When The Silver Locket opens, it’s July 1941 in Boston, Massachusetts. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific. But for two young women in a small town in New England waging their own personal battles, the struggle is way too close to home.
When extraordinary circumstances bring these two women together, one decision will alter the course of their lives.  And with that one decision, their lives will be forever changed…and forever intertwined.
Were these two women thrust together by happenstance—or fate?   A tragedy. A decision. A pact. Lives irretrievably changed. A baby girl will grow up in the shadow of a secret that must be kept at all costs. But will this secret ever see the light of day?  And what happens when—or if—a promise made must be broken?
Adopting a child is not for the feint of heart—but neither is being adopted…
A sweeping and suspenseful story that unfolds in a different time and a different place, The Silver Locket explores universal themes that ring true even today. Secrets. Unbreakable bonds. The healing power of love.  Deception. Anguish.  Redemption.
In this touching and tender tale, novelist Sophia Bar-Lev weaves a confident, quietly moving story about adoption, finding hope in the face of hopelessness, and how true love can overcome any obstacle. With its brilliant juxtaposition of the wars fought both on the battlefield and internally, The Silver Locket is a poignant novel, resplendent with drama.  Featuring an exceedingly real and relatable plot, and characters that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned, The Silver Locket is a sterling new read. 
About the Author:  A native of Massachusetts, Sophia Bar-Lev divides her time between the Fort Worth, Texas area and Israel.  A former school teacher and adult education lecturer, Bar-Lev now devotes the majority of her time to writing.  Sophia Bar-Lev is also the author of Pasta, Poppy Fields, and Pearls and Pizza and Promises. The Silver Locket is her latest novel.
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