Friday, March 27, 2015

On the Spotlight: Eleanor Parker Sapia, author of 'A Decent Woman'



Puerto Rican-born novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s life experiences as a counselor, alternative health practitioner, a Spanish language social worker, and a refugee case worker inspire her passion for writing. When Eleanor is not writing, she facilitates creativity groups, and is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago a second time. A Decent Woman is her debut novel. Eleanor is the mother of two adult children, and she lives in West Virginia.

Listen to an audio interview with the author HERE.
About the Book 

Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the turn of the century: Ana Belén Opaku, an Afro-Cuban born into slavery, is a proud midwife with a tempestuous past. After testifying at an infanticide trial, Ana is forced to reveal a dark secret from her past, but continues to hide an even more sinister one. Pitted against the parish priest, Padre Vicénte, and young Doctór Héctor Rivera, Ana must battle to preserve her twenty-five year career as the only midwife in La Playa.
Serafina is a respectable young widow with two small children, who marries an older wealthy merchant from a distinguished family. A crime against Serafina during her last pregnancy forever bonds her to Ana in an ill-conceived plan to avoid a scandal and preserve Serafina’s honor.
Set against the combustive backdrop of a chauvinistic society, where women are treated as possessions, A Decent Woman is the provocative story of these two women as they battle for their dignity and for love against the pain of betrayal and social change.
Find out more on Amazon.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Interview with Ed Barajas, author of The Quiet Revolution


Title: The Quiet Revolution
Author: Ed Barajas
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 110
Genre: Non-fiction/Law
Format: Kindle
This is a different view of our criminal justice system in a way that challenges the negative portrayals from people considered experts. Contrary to the prevailing view of most experts describing a broken and inhumane system, something appears to be working. For the past twenty years crime has taken a plunge in the US and the experts appear to be clueless regarding the cause. Barajas suggests the reason for less crime is because of an ongoing transformation of the justice system that is more focused on public safety and working in concert with the community and other service agencies.
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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Ed Barajas.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A:  Ed Barajas retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after twenty-seven years of service, including twelve years in three maximum-security prisons.  He began his career as a correctional officer right after graduating from college.  He worked his way into management and administrative positions, including ten years with the National Institute of Corrections in Washington, DC.   He has been a guest lecturer at universities and has written chapters of criminal justice textbooks and published articles and guest editorials in various periodicals.  He and his wife live in North Carolina.

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

A:  This book presents a different view of our criminal justice system in a way that challenges the negative portrayals from people considered experts.  Contrary to the prevailing view of most experts describing a broken and inhumane system, something appears to be working.

For the past twenty years crime has taken a plunge in the US and the experts appear to be clueless regarding the cause.  I suggest the reason for less crime is because of an ongoing transformation of the justice system that is more focused on public safety and working in concert with the community and other service agencies.

Frustration with the lack of information and coverage about the subject from this perspective drove me to write the book.

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

A:  The biggest challenge for me was inertia.  The idea of writing a book seemed daunting and I was content with writing letters to the editor and occasional guest editorials.  I suppose writers cramp from so many small articles prompted me to write on comprehensive work of my views and opinions.

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:  The publisher (iUniverse) issued a press release in January 2015.  I’m waiting for a report on responses.  I don’t have a link.

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:  As of today, I haven’t been asked to speak to any groups.  The local Barnes and Noble said they’d do a book sighing for me and I plan to pursue this.  If the press release and blog tour generates requests for radio or other media interviews I’d be happy to accept.

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:  I don’t have an agent.  The publisher has been doing some promotion and marketing for my book.  I don’t know how much more an agent can do for me but I’m open to learn.

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:  The publisher’s press release went to some 500 media outlets.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Not now but if the spirit moves me at a later time…
 
Q: Thank you for your interview, Ed Barajas.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: The publisher’s site is: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/AdvancedSearch/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=Ed+Barajas

Amazon site is: http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Revolution-Shattering-American-Criminal/dp/1491749008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425048038&sr=8-1&keywords=Ed+Barajas

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-quiet-revolution-ed-barajas/1120689845?ean=9781491749005

My Blog: http://justusdepartment.blogspot.com


Ed Barajas retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons after twenty-seven years of service, including twelve years in three maximum security prisons. He began his career as a correctional officer right after graduating from college. He worked his way into management and administrative positions, including ten years with the National Institute of Corrections in Washington, DC. He has been a guest lecturer at universities and has written chapters of criminal justice textbooks and published articles and guest editorials in various periodicals. He and his wife live in North Carolina.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

His Life, His People, and His Legacy - Edward IV, England's Forgotten Warrior King by Dr. Anthony Corbet Book Feature


Title: Edward IV, England's Forgotten Warrior King
Author: Dr. Anthony Corbet
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 464
Genre: History
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Purchase at AMAZON

 As the 100 Years War ground to its dismal end, England groaned under the misrule of Henry VI and his Lancastrian favorites. The House of York rose in rebellion; and Parliament restored York in the line of inheritance to the throne. Edward, Earl of March, triumphed at the Battle of Mortimer’s Cross; Parliament asked him to be King and the people proclaimed him Edward IV. His life and legacy are chronicled in Edward IV, England’s Forgotten Warrior King.

 For ten years, Edward struggled against repeated Lancastrian rebellions. He was driven from his kingdom by Richard, Earl of Warwick, but then he won decisive victories at the Battles of Barnet and Tewkesbury in 1471. For another twelve years, he reigned wisely with peace and prosperity, as a beloved King; but then he died at age forty one and his twelve-year-old son was proclaimed Edward V. Richard, Duke of Gloucester, seized the throne and put young Edward and his brother in the Tower of London, from where they never emerged alive.

 Richard III was a good King and wanted to be respected, but the people believed he had murdered the Princes in the Tower, and would not forgive him. Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Beaufort plotted with Henry Tudor, who invaded England in 1485. Henry Tudor then defeated and killed Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Henry Tudor (Henry VII) was crowned King and married Edward IV’s daughter Elizabeth; the resultant Tudor dynasty would rule England for another 118 years.

   amazon  

Dr. Anthony Corbet was born in Perth, Australia. He graduated from the Adelaide Medical School in 1963; he trained in Pediatrics and Neonatology at Sydney and Montreal. He held professorial/research positions at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Since 1994, Dr. Corbet has practiced at the Children’s Hospital in San Antonio. Book Cover shows the Chapel of St George at Windsor (where King Edward IV and Queen Elizabeth Woodville were buried in a common tomb.)

Anthony is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins March 16 and ends on March 27.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, March 30.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Two Princes: The Biker & The Billionaire by Victoria Danann (Book Cover Reveal)



 About The Book 




Title:  Two Princes: The Biker and The Billionaire
Author: Victoria Danann
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher:  dba7th House Publishing, Imprint of Andromeda LLC
Publication Date: June 16, 2015


Preorder Book Buy Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Apple iTunes
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Brigid Roan is a graduate student at the University of Texas. She had no trouble getting her thesis approved, but finding a Hill Country motorcycle club willing to give her access to their lifestyle had started to seem impossible. Then she got a lead. A friend of a friend had a cousin with ties to The Sons of Sanctuary.

What she wanted was information to prove a proposition. What she didn’t want was to fall for one of the members of the club. Especially since she had set out to prove that motorcycle clubs are organized according to the same structure as primitive tribal society.

Brash Fornight was standing in line at the H.E.B. Market when his world tipped on its axis. While waiting his turn to check out, his gaze had wandered to the magazine display and settled on the new issue of “NOW”. The image on the cover, although GQ’d up in an insanely urbane way, was… him.

After reading the article, Brash threw some stuff in a duffle and left his club, The Sons of Sanctuary, with a vague explanation about needing a couple of days away. He left his Jeep at the Austin airport and caught a plane for New York, on a mission to find the guy who was walking around with his face.

Two brothers, one a player, one a playboy, are on a collision course with destiny and a woman who thought she won a prize when she was allowed a look inside the Sons of Sanctuary MC.


About The Author


Victoria Danann


Victoria Danann is the USA TODAY Bestselling Author of The Knights of Black Swan, which has won BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE SERIES TWO YEARS IN A ROW (2013, 2014). Reviewers Choice Awards, The Paranormal Romance Guild.

Victoria writes cross-genre with uniquely fresh perspectives on paranormal creatures, characters, and themes. She is making her debut into contemporary romance with publication of the SUMMER FIRE ultimate romance collection anthology. It contains a novella intro to the Sons of Sanctuary MC series. The first full novel of the series will be released June 16, 2015.

Contact Victoria at:

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Meadowdale Project by Matt Shea Book Feature

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The Meadowdale Community Project Title: The Meadowdale Community Project
Author: Matt Shea
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing
Pages: 233
Genre: Fiction/Family Life
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Demolition crews continue to raze abandoned and condemned structures in the sleepy town of Meadowdale - a city hit hard by the sluggish economy. A once-cherished building is now the dilapidated Meadowdale Community Center (MCC), where the handicapped and mentally-challenged sort recyclable materials and create artwork from refuse that catches their eye. This prompts many to consider the MCC a burial ground for lost causes. But a mysterious stranger in a wheelchair arrives and befriends an intellectually-challenged teen, Chase Mansfield. When the Community Center is condemned and Chase realizes the squirrel he feeds is about to become homeless, he comes up with an ingenious idea that changes his future - and the future of the community. Chase and his invention soon unite the entire city, breaking down barriers related to wealth, politics, age, mobility and intellect. In an age of fiction based on witchcraft, libido, and immorality, The Meadowdale Community Project is a family-friendly story for all ages, tastes and background.
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Matt Shea  Matt Shea writes stories that are designed for both young and old. He profiles the average person in society that's a little different or misunderstood. Matt also writes about the plight of those who are mentally disabled and senior citizens. He exposes their personal battles in life; with values being challenged- but never compromised. When it's all said and done such individuals are recognized for being a contribution to society. They also achieve their just reward: appreciation followed by acceptance. His characters are nothing more than average people that represent all walks of life. People like you and me. Matt loves feedback from those that take the time to read his stories. He offers his email address and promises to do his very best to answer all who write him.

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Interview with Andrea Michaels, author of Reflections of a Successful Wallflower


Title: Reflections of a Successful Wallflower
Author: Andrea Michaels
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Pages: 340
Genre: Business Memoir
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Reflections of a Successful Wallflower can only be compared to reading the diaries of Andrea Michaels, considered to be the backbone of the special events industry. This multiple award-winning business woman shares openly and candidly, not only the public wunderkind but the inner woman. Discover the workings of one of the foremost event producers in the world. You'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll be in disbelief and fascinated at the same time. Andrea is a storyteller, and her stories and her life are great lessons for everyone.

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What is your favorite quality about yourself? I never EVER give up.

What is your least favorite quality about yourself? Impatience. 

How long have you been writing? Since the age of 5...do I have to tell you how many years that is?

When did you first know you could be a writer? Age 5. I loved it.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began? I started reading grown up books when I was very young and loved how words played with eachother to bring images to life. We didn't have a television so I would read and imagine. it was wonderful.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years? Everyone who could bring words to life and make me feel that what they wrote was real.

What made you want to be a writer? I never thought about being a writer. I just thought about writing.

How did you come up with the title of the book? I was a wallflower. Still am. I am successful so the "wallflower" is me but not the ones people perceive.  And it was not about "Confessions" ... it was about looking back to see what had happened in my life and career and thinking about it.

Are there any current books that have grasped your interest? I seem to be drawn to the YA genre because there is an innocence in them. I have always loved the stories of overcoming obstacles with heroes and heroines who despite all the odds, conquer.

What was the hardest part of writing your book? Editing it. If left in my hands I would have edited and edited and edited and it never would have been published. There was always just one more thing I wanted to add.

Did you learn anything while writing your book? If so, what was it? That I loved the process...all of it.

Give us three “Good to Know” facts about you. Be creative, you can talk about your first job, something that inspires you, anything fun that might grab the readers attention.

1.  I am completely honest about who I am, flaws and all. Good and bad. So ask me a question, and you'll get an answer. You may not like it, but you'll have my honest opinion.
2. I am unbelievably shy. I cannot walk into a party or a room without feeling like the wallflower that I am. I am terrified of those situations and get through them only with false bravado. As a result people think I'm cold or haughty or unapproachable. And I'm not. I just wish they'd approach me. The inner me says, "no one in the room likes me or wants to talk to me."
Yes, wallflower to the max.
3. I am committed to writing a book about a young man I just met who inspires me incredibly. At the ripe old age of 17 or so, he's CEO of several companies and is out to change the world. And he will. He is from very humble beginnings, the kind that could have lead to crime or some form of social inertia, but instead he has risen above it all to be an incredible achiever. I feel that his story will tell young people what they can do if only they have the right mind set.

Tell us a little bit about the cover art. Who designed it? What made you choose that particular image/artwork? My dear friend, Carol Wood, designed it. I had put out a feeler for a cover artist and the samples that came back were ridiculous and just not "me". I knew that only someone who knew me well could capture the essence of what would complement the book itself. And that person, who I trust implicitly, was Carol.


Winner of 39 Special Events magazine Gala Awards, Andrea was honored as the “Pillar of the Industry” during The Special Event Gala in 2014. This unique one-time-only achievement award, on the heels of the 25th Anniversary of Extraordinary Events, recognized Andrea for a lifetime of elevating the quality, integrity, creativity and impact of the events industry, as well as spearheading its international outreach. Andrea is also the first inductee into the Special Event Industry Hall of Fame and the recipient of the coveted Special Event Award of Excellence and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, she has won the M.P.I. Global Paragon Award and a SITE Crystal Award, among many other such honors. Andrea has planned and produced events since 1973, expanding from local Los Angeles based events to a dominant international presence.

 How does Andrea stay ahead of the competition and consistently exceed her clients’ expectations? She listens. To her clients. To her vendors. To the industry. Then she integrates that very precise information in order to achieve her clients’ individual goals through creative marketing and integrated special events. What does this mean and how does it benefit you? It means that Andrea will promise that your needs are understood, your goals are met, and your budget is respected. All achieved through listening.

 Andrea thinks of each event like a play…with an overture, acts, and finale, which brings a satisfying experience to all who attend her events. She believes in intense communication through marketing strategies designed to fulfill the goals of each individual project.

 Whether it’s a multi-day festival at Mall of America, the opening of G.M. Place in Vancouver, hybrid events for MINI, the holiday spectacle for Go Daddy or multi-day programs throughout Europe, Asia or Latin America, no event is too small or too large. All are given equal attention.

 Andrea’s conceptualization skills, logistical savvy, and ability to produce the mega-event for thousands of guests are legendary. Each event presented to her is analyzed for its specific needs. Her ever-growing clientele is loyal, and many clients have been with her for more than 20 years. These sought-after relationships are based on proven performance and enriched with trust and ethics. She listened carefully 25 years ago. She listens now.

 Andrea is now a published author. Available on Amazon as a hard-bound book or on Kindle, as well as at Barnes & Noble book stores, her book, Reflections of a Successful Wallflower; Lessons in Business, Lessons in Life, is a tell-all, in-depth glimpse into her personal and professional life and is quite a read! Other books co-authored by Andrea include: Stepping Stones to Success with Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield;

  Yes You Can! Reaching your Potential While Achieving Greatness with Dr. Warren Bennis and Jim Rohn; Bushido Business – The Fine Art of the Modern Professional with Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy and Stephen M.R. Covey; and Mastering the Art of Success with Mark Victor Hansen, Les Brown and Jack Canfield.

 Follow Andrea on https://www.facebook.com/pages/Extraordinary-Events/; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Reflections-of-a-Successful-Wallflower-Lessons-in-Business-Lessons-in-Life/ and Twitter @extraordinaryev.

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview with Imari Douthit, author of 'Be Calm Be Brave Don't Be Afraid'




Imari Douthit is a young author wanting to entertain others through her words. She is a creative writer with an exciting and adventurous imagination. Imari’s love for story telling prompted her to become a published author. She resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her family.
Facebook: Imari Douthit
Twitter: @imaridouthit
About The Book

Ally and Max are a sister and brother adventure team that helps towns in distress. When a rock lands in Ally’s bedroom to give them their mission, the duo is off to solve the problem. This mission has them going into the future and once the duo arrives they are in for a surprise. Will Ally and Max be able to save the town under siege? Or will they become the town’s next victims?
Purchase your copy at Amazon.
 


Q: 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?

A: One night I was sitting in my bed bored and I started to write in my binder. The more I wrote, the more it became a story. Since it became so long, I decided to make it into chapters. For school I was reading Mary Pope Osborne’s books and she inspired my idea to write a book about a mission.

Q: 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?

A: It wasn’t hard at all because I love writing. When it comes to writing it’s my favorite thing to do. The tip I would give to other writers would be to just follow our heart.

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

A: My publisher is Teresa Beasley with Gotcha Covered Publishing. I go to church with her but I didn’t know she was a publisher until my mom posted on Facebook that we wanted to get my book published. Then Teresa contacted my mom.

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

A: Yes. I didn’t know it would be this popular for a 9 year old kid, now 10 years old, to have a book published because I thought other kids at my age would have books published too.

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

A: I’m working on book number two but I’m not sure yet when or if it’ll be published.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

A: I like to get on You Tube.

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

A: My book is just for entertainment.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

A: Thank you for interviewing me. I hope that you enjoy my book.




Interview with Gary Rodriguez, author of Escape Through the Wilderness



My name is Gary Rodriguez, and I live in California. I'm the president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development, and conflict resolution. 

Previously, I worked for eighteen years in the radio business as an executive where I spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.

Following a successful radio career I became the president of a non-profit organization for a season. 

As a young man, I spent a tour of duty in the U.S. Army where I was recognized as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army's history at age 18 years. I was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation's third highest award for valor) while serving in a combat zone.

Over the past few years, I've written three non-fiction books and then I decided to write a novel.

My first book, Purpose-Centered Public Speaking, was published in 2009 and was re-published this summer (2014). Then I wrote a companion workbook designed to help people implement the principles taught in my first book. Next, I wrote Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking. And this past year, I wrote my first novel, Escape Through The Wilderness. 

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About the Book:

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp
Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “last chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

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Q: 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?

The book Escape Through the Wilderness was birthed out of my passion to teach young emerging leaders principles related to life and leadership.

My unique background and credentials include a season in the U.S. Army where I was the youngest drill sergeant in the Army’s history at age 18 (Pentagon confirmed), a jungle expert (trained in the Panama Canal Zone), and recipient of the Silver Star (the nations third highest award for courage under fire).

Escape Through the Wilderness gave me a distinctive opportunity to write to today’s youth about leadership and teach key principles in the context of a wilderness survival adventure.

Q: 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?

Honestly, writing the book was fairly easy for me. My confidence in writing was piqued by the fact that I have experience in survival, the wilderness, white-water rafting, hunting, fishing, hiking, evasion, and navigating the wild. All these are woven into this thrilling survival story.

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

In the past, I’ve self-published three books on public speaking. This time I decided to use a publisher for my first novel. I went with Tate Publishing on the recommendation of another author.

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

The length of time between submitting the manuscript and distribution was excruciatingly long. I hoped the process would be more streamlined but working with a publisher is very involved and time consuming.

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

Currently, I’m in the process of writing the sequel to Escape Through the Wilderness. So far it’s going well and I’m about a third of the way to completion. It is very important to me that it has at least the same level of intensity as the first book and so far it does.

My hope is to have the sequel released by summer 2016.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Candidly, I don’t think I can narrow it to one. I love writer’s sites like, The Writer’s Life, Book Daily, and various News sites. I also spend time on Twitter and Pinterest. 

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

Here’s how another writer described the message from my book:

Masterfully crafted by Gary Rodriguez, Escape Through the Wilderness tells the gripping story of four teenagers whose rafting accident forces them to fight for their survival and defy all odds to come out alive. Taking the book’s premise directly from his own military experiences, Rodriguez constructed the narrative to turn young readers into admirable leaders and explore issues related to faith, abuse and forgiveness.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Our schools are filled with young emerging leaders looking for insight and guidance related to leadership. Learning leadership principles can be boring but it doesn’t have to be. My hope is that Escape Through the Wilderness, its sequel, and other books like this can fan the flame of leadership in today’s youth.

Thanks so much for taking this time to interview me.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Interview with Mary Morony, author of Apron Strings

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Apron Strings Title: Apron Strings
Author: Mary Morony
Publisher: Mary Morony
Pages: 252
Genre: Literary Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle/Audio

 When a grown-up tells you not to worry, you had better start—first rule of thumb, Sallee Mackey, age seven. She is already more than a little bit wary of the adults in her segregated, Southern world with good reason. Sallee’s mother Ginny is flat out dangerous; her father Joe is on his way out the door; and Mr. Dabney the bigoted neighbor seems to be just a little too interested with the goings on at Sallee’s house—like he knows something no one else does.

 The only adult to be trusted is Ethel, the family maid, who has known Sallee’s mother since Ethel and Ginny were both girls. That complicated relationship started the day Ethel spied Ginny kissing the black stable boy years ago.

 While Ginny has conveniently forgotten that she even knew Ethel back then, Sallee has not as she constantly lobs questions at Ethel about her mother’s girlhood.

 From Sallee’s oft times humorous and always guileless vantage, grownups have a most mixed up view of the world.

 Ethel gives her very own biased account of her shared history with Ginny while Sallee hones her vigilance and stealth, skills she and her brother and two sisters have acquired in an attempt to understand the drama that swirls around them.

 Rocks are thrown through windows, a car filled with angry white men shout racial slurs at the children at play and a tragic poisoning threatens the entire family’s sense of security. When Joe Mackey asks Ethel to testify on his behalf in a custody suit, her conflicted loyalties throw the entire family into even more turmoil. Fortunately for Sallee no one took the time to teach her to hate a person based on the skin color.

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Q: Please tell us about Apron Strings and what inspired you to write it.

A: Apron Strings follows the relationship between Ethel the black family maid and Sallee a bright inquisitive white child. It is set in Charlottesville, VA in the late 1950’s at around the time the civil rights movement was heating up. As a dual narrative the reader gets to read about the drama and trauma that swirls around inside and outside the household from two decidedly different points of view.
Having been raised by my family’s maid I was no stranger to the power she had over our household. I had played around writing about the relationship between white children and their black caregivers for a long time before The Help hit the world stage. The relationship is so ubiquitously southern, fraught with so much humanity, and such opportunity for great drama.
Domestic work is not considered empowering work, but I couldn’t help thinking about the power that is intrinsic and implicit in the relationship. My thinking went like this; take a small town mayor, if he isn’t happy ultimately nobody in town will be and who has more sway over the household than the maid, so I thought, the maid actually has more power than one would think, whether the power is tapped into is another story. That is why Ethel in Apron Strings was given a lot of power. Her choices had far reaching implications. You’ll have to read the book to find out more.
A friend had read my manuscript and so asked me to go to see Kathryn Stockett at the Virginia Festival of the Book. While we were there the author told a story about a black woman standing up in an audience and saying, “That women who raised you didn’t love you. She was paid to pretend like she did, but she didn’t.”  That was the imperative I needed to finish the book and get it published, because I knew at least for me that what that women said was not true.

Q: What themes do you explore in Apron Strings?

A:  Lots and lots of themes, just to name a few I touch on racism, change, and family also alcoholism and divorce and just for the heck of it a little bit of pedophilia. What can I say, it takes place in the South. Using the dual narrators Sallee and Ethel I am able to explore some pretty heavy topics without be too dour, I promise.

Q: Why do you write?

A: Because it is fun and I have a lot to say.

Q: How picky are you with language?

A: I love words. I love using the right one to convey what I want to say.

Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?

A: I feel like sometimes the stories take on a life of their own. That might be the same thing.

Q: What is your worst time as a writer?

A: When I don’t know where I am going or how to get where I think I want to go.

Q: Your best?

A: When I have sit down in the morning, and all of a sudden it’s 4:00 in the afternoon and I didn’t notice.

Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?

A:  My laziness and the voice in my head that says I’m no good at it.

Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?

A: My happiest moment is when I connect with someone because of something I have written.

Q: Is writing an obsession to you?

A: I like it so no. I can stop.

Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?

A: Apron Stings is based on a real relationship that I had as a child. The characters are made up or are an amalgamation of lots of different people. The stories are made up the relationship was real.

Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?

A: Reality cannot destroy me because I am in control of my reality so no I don’t agree, but I like being drunk on writing. There is no hangover.

Q: Where is your book available?

A: Amazon as a paperback, Kindle and audio

Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
http://MaryMorony.com



Mary Morony    Mary Morony author of Apron Strings is one of six children. She was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and had the good fortune of being raised by her family’s maid Lottie. She taught me love and acceptance with warm, loving humor and unending patience. It was a time and place of segregated schools and water fountains, as well as restaurants and movie theaters that prohibited black customers. She remembers the hurled epithets and smashed windows of a society boiling in hatred.

 Besides five siblings she had four children of her own. As if that didn't provide sufficient material about family chaos, at the age of forty-something, with a high school daughter and a four-year-old girl still at home, she decided to get a college degree. Mary likes to say she earned, and she does mean earned, a bachelors of arts in English at the University of Virginia, with a concentration in creative writing. More recently she has pursued additional studies under the tutelage of her seven-year-old granddaughter. Her refresher course in childhood perspective was invaluable in writing this book.

 The author lives on a farm in Orange County, Virginia, with her husband, four dogs, and her daughter’s cat.

 Mary says, “The relationship I was privileged to experience taught me much about the human heart and the redemptive power of love, especially between races.”

For More Information

  Visit Mary’s website.
 Connect with Mary on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn  

WATCH THE TRAILER

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJYTwhvzPH8]

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Prophase: A Present Tale by M. Street

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ProphaseTitle: Prophase: A Present Tale
Author: M. Street
Publisher: Mitchel Street
Pages: 334
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Kindle

 Become swept away into a world of light just beyond our perception. Piper Walker, a high school senior, has seen her share of hard times. At a young age, she lost her mother to breast cancer shortly after her brother Charlie was born. Raising her baby brother under the wrathful eye of an abusive and alcoholic father, she relies heavily on her small, but tight core of friends. Lisa, her best friend from kindergarten, and Chris, her longtime boyfriend, help to keep her above water. Along with her friends, Piper’s elderly neighbor, Ester, and her lynx point Siamese cat, Jazz, become the extended family she never had. Even before her mom died, Piper always felt different. She was opposite of her popular best buddy Lisa, and didn’t enjoy doing what most other teenage girls liked to do. She wasn’t much for fixing up and thought hanging out was boring. Music and nature were her muses. Piper grew up next to a forest with countless paths, one of which led to the high school; the others to myriad of seasonal wonders. Piper spent countless hours in the woods exploring and finding solace in the trees, wild flowers, and every kind of animal. Although somewhat shy and insecure of her voice, Piper was lead vocals and a passionate bass player for a garage band called ‘The Coat Tails’ that consisted of Lisa, Chris, and their close friend Josh. Having never sounded better, they were sure to win the senior talent show. After a Spring Fling dance, a near-death experience prematurely rebirths Piper to her destiny, for not even she knows who she really is. Her identity has remained buried deep for her protection. She awakens to a dimension where light laden with emotions emits from everything around her. Overnight, Piper and her world are transformed into something radically different. What she thought was real was only the beginning, a thin veneer to actual reality. Universal truths are turned upside down. She wakes to a magical world with an ancient history and kingdoms of races. Life becomes way more beautiful, complex, and breathtaking than she ever imagined. A menagerie of supernatural and metallic gleaming mythical characters come to assist Piper to take her first steps in her new world and keep her safe. The realm of brilliant auras, feelings, and endless color surround her creating a language she doesn’t understand. She begins a long journey to discovering and mastering her powers and senses that defy fantasy. Riding gravity waves, casting spells, and leaping to exotic locations become her new curriculum. However, amongst the Eden lies a fatal danger. For centuries, a tyrannical rule has suppressed and strangled the enchanted world she is now part of. A most brilliant Guardian, named Eli, and his council, the Arbitri, have become the only voice. Evolution has stopped. Only Piper has the power to bring about change. Amongst the unspeakable beauty, unknown danger, and the desire to find out who she really is, Piper stumbles upon an unexplainable, first-time love that becomes the only thing that she can cling to in her stormy and unexpected life. From the first time his voice dances on her ear drums, she is taken by something wonderfully unreal. Piper now must juggle her two worlds – and disguise her increasing abilities and morphing appearance while attempting to be the slightly nerdy teenager everyone knows. This story captivates the imagination with the beauty of nature and the celebration of love, life, and light – and the power of one girl.

For More Information

  • Prophase is available at Amazon
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  M. Street is an avid storyteller with an innate passion for fiction writing. He was raised in rural Wisconsin near the shores of Lake Michigan across from a small forest that became his second home. As an adult, M. Street has lived on the East Coast in Boston, on the West Coast in San Jose, and now resides South, in the great city of Austin, TX. A love for nature, art, spirituality, and science has been his foundation. He has been fortunate to have been adopted by cats, dogs, birds, frogs, turtles, and Monarch butterflies. His professional background is rooted in Engineering having earned a graduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is technically published (under a different name). He is currently creating Metaphase and Anaphase/Telophase, the follow on to Interphase/Prophase, part of the Mitosis series.

  For More Information
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