Sunday, May 31, 2015

Book Review: ‘Death Is Always a Resident,’ by Lorraine Jeffery

Death-is-Always-a-Resident-Ecover_9781462124763_FULL (1)Jan Myers is a widowed mom and director of the Forest Hills Skilled Nursing Facility in Ohio. One day she receives an unexpected visit from Detective Pollander from the Columbus Police Department, asking unsettling questions about a Mr. Packard Nickle, who used to be a resident but had suffered a heart attack and died recently.
Jan and the staff are disturbed by the detective’s visit, especially after he begins interrogating the nurses and aides.
Soon the reason for the detective’s visit becomes obvious: there’s been either negligence or murderous intent surrounding Mr. Nickel’s death, and the whole facility is put under the microscope, especially Jan, who’s the director. It turns out the victim was a very difficult and demanding man, and most nurses and residents would have cheerfully strangled him.Jefferyshe won’t be able to get any job in Ohio when he’s through. The list of suspects begins to pile up, and it’s up to Jan to investigate the case, especially now that she’s also a suspect…and someone wants her dead.
Death Is Always a Resident is a well written cozy mystery that kept me turning pages and wondering who the killer was until the end. Jan Myers is a likable protagonist, a kind, hard-working woman with problems of her own, with a high sense of justice and integrity. Her mother and her daughter are secondary characters that add flavor to the story.
The setting was very real to me, making me think that the author either did her research well or has experience with nursing facilities. This is the type of tale where the police stay sort of in the background while the civilian protagonist investigates on her own. The pacing felt right for this cozy–not too quick like a suspense thriller, yet not too slow to drag. There’s also a sprinkle of romance for good measure. In short, it is a nicely written, well-structured and plotted little mystery. I look forward to reading more books from this debut novelist!
Purchase from Amazon.
My review originally appeared on Blogcritics

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Guest post: "How to Do Everything Wrong, and Somehow Still Get Published," by Terry Jackman

Apparently I won a Cadbury’s essay competition in primary school. I don’t remember but I do recall an exciting day the teacher shared out chocolate. With hindsight I have to wonder if that was my prize. Maybe that was my first intimation that one shouldn’t expect to get fat, or rich, from writing. J

Secondary school produced my first ‘published’ work, in an end of year magazine. I was about sixteen. Unfortunately it didn’t actually have my name on it; it was a piece I’d dashed off for a friend when she’d begged for help. If you haven’t guessed, the entries weren’t voluntary. She did offer to own up, but I told her I wasn’t bothered. The truth was I didn’t want my name in print; by that time I was abnormally shy, something I still struggle with despite numerous public appearances.

I got a job as a teacher. I wrote exam papers. Once I wrote a playscript for a music teacher who fancied being another Andrew Lloyd Weber. I recall a scene where the young hero climbed the church tower to talk to the weathercock, a chance to write choral music without words to represent  the wind as the boy climbed higher. But the musician vanished to another school with it. I have no idea if he ever completed the libretto. It would be nice to know, but it was fun anyway.

Maybe by now you’re seeing a pattern? I liked writing, the challenge, the excitement, a lot more than I did people knowing about it? In fact, I kind of preferred them not knowing. I went through my teens frankly too self-conscious to live; the kind of ‘shyness’ that means taking a deep breath before walking into a room with actual people in it. I did manage to partly handle the problem during my college years. That’s when I studied Drama- and did rather well at it. Because I discovered I could perform pretty well in public - if I let ‘Terry’ replace‘Teresa’. It wasn’t the real me, it was this much braver alternate persona. (No wonder I like fantasy.)

But neither Terry nor Teresa was brave enough for a long time, they let ‘life’ get in the way. Till one day I thought, ‘All right. Why not. But how? How do I know I can write anything worth reading?’ And that’s how I enrolled in a writing course. Hey, it was long distance, and it promised if I completed the course and hadn’t earned back my fees they would refund them! Couldn’t lose.
Lesson one: plan three articles for three magazines. Bother, I’d wanted fiction. Never mind, it would still be good for me. I planned them. Lesson two: write them. Done. Lesson three: send them off. 


Long story short, they all sold and one turned into a series. I’d earned my fees in three lessons. And editors asked for more. A great compliment, how could I refuse. For ten years my spare time – I often worked six day weeks in my ‘day job’ - had a waiting list of articles. I’d become a ‘writer’. I was fairly sure I was a good one, at least in fifteen hundred word bites. I finally had my name on my work. I got paid. The problem I wasn’t trying the fiction I’d intended.

And of course I had no idea how to sell my writing. I’d never had to.

So picture the shock when I finally switched tracks into fiction. I was supposed to submit stuff? You’ve guessed it; the old me came rushing back; the me who had trouble facing people. I sold a couple short stories, but I didn’t send out anything once it failed a couple of times; obviously that meant it wasn’t good enough.

In fact I did exactly the same thing with Ashamet, Desert-Born. Getting the world the story is set in just right took a while but eventually I took a breath and sent it out; twice. First time: a senior editor held it for a year, then said no. The second: they said it was “too difficult to market”. I knew it didn’t fit an established niche, but stupidly I’d thought that might be a good thing. Obviously not. I was disappointed, but prepared to shelve it when, amazingly, Dragonwell Publishing heard about it from another writer and asked me if I’d “like to send them something”! When I recovered from the shock Ashamet was sold, in ten short days.

Truth really can be stranger than fiction. But trust me, it’s not the way you should intend to get published. Even if it makes such a great story in itself.

TitleAshamet, Desert-Born
Genre: Fantasy/adventure/romance/paranormal
Author: Terry Jackman
Find out more on Amazon
A desert world. A warrior nation that worships its emperor as a god. But for Ashamet, its prince, a future filled with danger…
Ashamet is confident his swordsmanship, and his arranged marriage, will be enough to maintain the empire’s peace. But when a divine symbol magically appears on his arm, closely followed by an attempt on his life, he no longer knows who to trust. Worse, the strange attraction he feels toward a foreign slave could be another trap. As events unravel, too fast,Ashamet must find out if this innocent young male is a tool for his enemies–or the magic key to his survival.
“Ashamet, Desert-Born” is a debut adventure fantasy with an exotic Arabian-style setting and elements of same-sex romance.
author pic 1
author pic 1
Terry Jackman was christened Teresa, and is married with kids. She’s not pretending to be a guy just for the book. It’s just that nobody, but nobody, calls her anything but Terry, so Terry is actually the most honest name to put on the cover.
To go with her two names she inhabits two worlds. In one she’s a mild-mannered lady who tutors children and lives in a pretty English village, called Lymm. [It’s not far from the Manchester United football ground. You can take a peek at it If you look carefully at the picture of the old stone cross in the village centre you might see the ancient stocks below, where villagers would have thrown rotten eggs etc at local miscreants – but we don’t do that now, honest.]
In the other, she’s written articles and study guides, is secretly on the committee of the British Science Fiction Association, coordinates all their online writers’ groups, writes a regular page for Focus magazine and reads submissions for Albedo One magazine in Ireland. Oh, and has been known to do convention panels and some freelance editing.
When Ashamet goes public the two worlds will finally collide. She suspects there’ll be some raised eyebrows so she’s stocking up on fortifying tea and biscuits – and lots of chocolate!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Interview with H.O. Tanager, author of Autograph Penis

Autograph Penis Book Banner

Autograph PenisTitle: Autograph Penis
Author: H.O. Tanager
Publisher: H.O. Tanager
Pages: 282
Genre: Nonfiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 Performance artist H. O. Tanager holds high hopes for her cross-country trip to Boston: to see great art, to eat delicious food... and to incite mayhem. But once the journey actually begins, it’s all she can do to hold on for the ride. Surrounded by brilliant, intimidating, and sometimes delicious-smelling colleagues, Tanager’s precarious hold on her ambition and desire threatens to unravel in the face of laryngitis, an angry God, and the unexpected death of a friend. Will her team’s independent spirit and wit buoy Tanager though the pitfalls, heartache - and yes, mayhem - as hundreds of artists strive to be the best that ever was, the best that’s ever been?

 For More Information:
  Autograph Penis is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble. 
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.    

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

A: Well, I’ve been competing in poetry slams for 15 years, so I’ve been writing a fairly long time in an incredibly niche discipline! Slam poems are usually limited to three minutes in length – about 450 words from the mouth of a mere mortal, though some poets can squeeze in more than 600 words. It’s a really fun discipline for me, because you always get immediate feedback from the audience response as well as the slam judges.

In “real life,” I’m a psychologist in private practice. Being a psychologist is the perfect complement to being a performance poet, as you are listening rather than performing. Both deal with narrative and truth-telling, though, and that’s my jam.

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

A: When you look at the nonfiction works about poetry slam, you can find lots of how-to books, histories, and news articles written by outsiders… but nothing about what it is really like to be a slam poet. Nobody tries the way slam poets try – it’s all on the line, every time. And at the same time, it’s a tiny world. I wanted to share that world with a wider audience.

The book covers a weeklong journey with a team of beautiful women poets, from the alarm going off the morning of leaving home, to packing up the hotel room at the end of the journey. In between, there is art, drama, some hijinks, and just a hint of mayhem.

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

A:  The first draft of the book really wrote itself — it’s a chronological series of vignettes that are each as long as one slam poem. Cake. However, I was determined to flesh out the story with a lot of data and fun quotes and samples from other poets… What I’m saying is, the footnotes are various and deep. That took time and a lot of help from my editor.

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 do! It has a bio, photos, a press release, book information, and review information. You can find it at

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 have! I launched the book with a mini-tour of venues in NYC and Boston, I’m in the process of booking a radio show and book celebration party at home in Boise, and I plan to visit Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver for another mini-tour.

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 do not have an agent, and frankly, I would love one. I find that working with great, competent, funny people (like my editor and the poetry team described in the book) is a reward in itself and keeps me going.

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:  Other than creating a very fancy blog, finding reviewers, and booking the first mini-tour, no. I am still learning what kind of promotion can be effective – it’s a journey.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  I do! I am currently interviewing every writer I respect as to what makes a novel a really good novel. I have some weird ideas. It’s exciting.
Q: Thank you for your interview, H. O. Tanager.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Of course! You can read my hashtag-infected blog at, and buy the book on Amazon at

Thanks for having me!

H.O. Tanager

H. O. Tanager is an author, adventurer, and provocateur who divides her time amongst her passions: family, satirical performance pieces, and convincingly wearing slacks. She’s achieved so many things, she finds achievements boring. What she does like is surprise, and people who work hard, juxtaposition, and repurposing forms for her own amusement.

For More Information

Visit H.O.’s website. Connect with H.O. on Facebook and Twitter.

Destiny's Tapestry I Walk This Path by Betty June Gilliland Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Title: Destiny's Tapestry
Author: Betty June Gilliland
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 346
Genre: Biography
Format: Kindle/Paperback/Hardcover

 On a stormy night, as a hurricane raced up the Gulf Coast and created havoc in its path, Betty Gilliland was born on a corn shuck mattress in a barn at the foot of Sand Mountain. As soon as the midwife wrapped her in a blanket and gently laid her in a cow manger, Gilliland began a journey through life that would eventually test her spirit, courage, and, most of all, her power to forgive. Gilliland begins by chronicling her growing up years during a challenging time in America’s history. Her father was drafted into the war and then abandoned his family, leaving Gilliland and her mother to eke out a life for themselves in their tiny cabin, surviving on a diet of wild greens, nuts, and roots. As she weaves through the threads of her life’s tapestry, Gilliland recalls the challenges she confronted during her difficult coming-of-age journey as she suffered through hardships, physical abuse, emotional abandonment, and her own self-destructive behavior. Yet through it all, she never lost the faith. What’s more, she used that faith to begin building a new life and to discover her roots. Destiny’s Tapestry shares one woman’s poignant memories of moving from the darkness of abuse into the light of healing.


 Betty June Gilliland is the mother of three sons, two daughters, and grandmother to many grandchildren. She and her miniature pinscher currently reside with her eldest daughter on Sand Mountain in Alabama, where she enjoys friends, winter nights, firelight, and good books

Betty is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 25 and ends on June 5.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 6.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview with Judy Fishel, author of Straight A's Are Not Enough

Title: Straight A's Are Not Enough
Author: Judy Fishel
Publisher: Flying Heron Books
Pages: 320
Genre: Educational
Format: Paperback

 Why do 5000 girls a year not get credit for AP Calculus? How do our mindsets affect our learning? Can we change our own brains, get smarter, or improve our willpower? What happens in your brain when you concentrate on learning? What is the major factor that divides freshmen who do well and those who struggle? These and other intriguing questions are answered in this book. Memorable stories, vivid metaphors, simple images and even a few comic strips reveal ways you can learn most effectively. Many straight A students memorize facts for exams but soon forget nearly everything. What a waste of your time and money! Wouldn't you rather take charge of your own learning and get a great education? Straight A's Are Not Enough is definitely not another book on how to make straight A's. Students who use these powerful strategies will enjoy learning, get a great education, and learn skills employers want most. They can also make straight A's.

To Purchase Straight A's Are Not Enough

amazon BN

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

A:  Thank you for inviting me. While teaching in a summer program for gifted students, I asked the children to share what they wanted to be when they grew up. A fourth grade girl asked me what I was going to be when I grew up. Although I thought, since I was in my fifties, I was already grown up, I responded seriously. “When I grow up,” I said, “I’m going to write a book.” The girl suggested helpfully, “You don’t need to wait until you grow up, Mrs. Fishel. You can start writing now.”

I took her advice and have been learning to write for at least 15 years. One children’s book received high praise from some agents, but never seemed to “meet their needs at this time.” I took classes, read books on how to write, analyzed the books I loved, went to conferences, and I kept writing. Finally, I entered a short story contest and won first prize ($100). A few years later another short story was published in a collection. The problem, though, is that I don’t really enjoy reading or writing short stories.

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

A: After much reflection, I finally realized I wanted to write something important, something I was passionate about, something that might even change my readers’ lives. Realizing how many students struggle in college because they lack study skills, I decided to write this book.

I would start with my own questions: “Why do I work so hard, make excellent grades, and still learn so little?” “How can I learn more and remember longer?” “How can I get a great education?” In Straight A’s Are Not Enough, I answer these questions and more.

Students working for good grades all too often avoid thinking. They accept what the professor says or what the authors write. They memorize what they expect to be tested on and, soon after exams, forget nearly everything.

Straight A’s Are Not Enough focuses on learning rather than grades. Based on current research about the most effective learning strategies, this book suggests that students set their own goals, define what kind of education they want and need, and create plans to get that great education. They are encouraged to think deeply about what their professors say and what their authors write but still form their own opinions. And, yes, while learning more and remembering longer, these students can still make high grades.

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

A:  The first challenge was dealing with literary agents. I spent (or wasted) a year and a half querying agents who, if they answered at all, simply said, “Not for me.” One kind agent finally explained that this was a powerful book that should sell well, but that no major publisher would touch it. They believe “College students don’t buy anything but textbooks.”

When she recommended self-publishing, it came as a shock. My biggest challenge was overcoming the mindset that successful authors need an agent. After shedding a few tears, I took a deep breath – actually many deep breaths – and I began reading everything I could find on self-publishing.

I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I had to invest a great deal of time and money, but now I was in control of my book. When Howard Gardner and Daniel Pink both read the book and wrote great blurbs, I knew it was worth everything I had done.

One of my goals is to reach students who need these skills most. To my delight, contacts in India led to getting a literary agency there and they already have a publisher interested in publishing the book there. Even more exciting is a potential sale of 3-4,000 books to a college who wants to give a copy to each freshman in the fall.

As I did my “Happy Dance” I wanted to shout out to the world, “Yes, it is possible to self-publish and be successful.”

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: My website,, is actually a complete press kit. It includes a fact sheet, a press release, the table of contents, more about the book, more about the author, plus pictures of the book cover and of the author. Eventually book reviews and a number of potential news articles will be added to the website.

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 plan to do a series of workshops on preparing for college with students and parents. The first one, in Florida, is scheduled for the end of April. Others will take place in western North Carolina during the summer and again in Florida later in the fall.

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: No, not an agent in the US. I queried agents but discovered this kind of book would be hard to sell.

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 publicists at  are doing an outstanding job of organizing a media blitz. I sent books and press releases to most of the major journals but it is too early to know the results.

Marketing books to college students is not like marketing books to the general public. Few students read book reviews or newspaper articles about books. Very different strategies are needed to reach students.

I first sent about 20 copies of the advance reading copies to college presidents or those involved with First Year Experience. I wrote over 100 scholarship sponsors suggesting they give a book to each recipient. Then I wrote over 300 colleges with posters to recruit student ambassadors interested in promoting the book on their campus.

 The student website, includes information about the book, weekly study skills, a student-written blog, monthly contests – with prizes – and Ask Judy, where students can email me with their questions.

Most exciting is that my husband and I will both be at BEA during the last week in May. We will both be wearing bright red tee-shirts with a copy of the book cover in back and we’ll be talking to anyone who shows an interest in the book. A copy of Straight A’s Are Not Enough and handouts will be in the IBPA display.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  The next book will be for high school students. The tentative title is “Think College.”
Q: Thank you for your interview, (Judy).  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: The student website tied to this book is will become more active in the fall when classes start.

The website for Flying Heron Books is

The book is currently available on  but should eventually be appearing in bookstores.

Bulk purchases also available from Ingram, Baker and Taylor or through my fulfillment company, Pathway Book Service. For special discounts on large bulk orders, or to arrange speaking engagements, contact me at  

Judy Fishel was a seventh grader when she first asked the question why she worked so hard, made good grades, but learned so little. She struggled with this question through high school, college and grad schools, and for years as an award-winner teacher. Here she shares her discoveries and insights with you.

For More Information
  Visit Judy at her website

The Drive In by Douglas Gardham Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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.    


 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.

Douglas is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins May 25 and ends on June 5.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on June 6.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Book Review: April Snow, by Lynn Steward

Title: April Snow
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Author: Lynn Steward
Publisher: Lynn Steward Publishing

As so often happens, a marriage is broken beyond mending, and the partners are in that state of suspension before the divorce. This is where Dana McGarry finds herself as she vacations in one of her favorite cities, London.

Imaginative author, Lynn Steward, creates a realistic world inhabited by characters that walk and talk as if they were live. It is here that Dana tries to understand her rapid decision to end her marriage to her unfaithful, neglectful husband who has shown a preference for his mistress. She also confronts the problems in her career as a buyer for a well-known department store in New York City. She wants to help the store move forward against the competition that seems more progressive in their marketing ideas, but is stymied by her boss who refuses to consider new ideas.

April Snow is a well-written tale, a blend of several characters’ lives that touch upon Dana’s life, sharing joys and sorrows as they live out their parts of the story. A balanced blend of the many emotions that make up the lives of people the reader can easily bond with to share their joys and sorrows, hopes and disappointments, this tales is a showcase for the talents of Lynn Steward, a story that will seem biographical to some and very possible to many.

I’m pleased to recommend April Snow to anyone who enjoys a good tale that lets the reader become one of the characters. Open the first page and step into a world that will seem new and yet familiar, as a visit to a town where one might enjoy living. You will really like meeting these people and find yourself looking forward to future visits with them in future stories by this talented writer.

Enjoy. I sure did.

Anne K. Edwards, guest reviewer 

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Twist of Fortune Book Excerpt Tour - Excerpt #15

We are thrilled to be hosting Mike Martin and his A Twist of Fortune Book Excerpt Tour today!  The Writer's Life kicks off excerpt #15 and if you follow his tour here, you could win an autographed copy of the first book in the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries series, The Walker on the Cape!  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and leave comments on each of his stops for extra entries.  Good luck!


Title: A Twist of Fortune (Book 4 of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series)
Author: Mike Martin
Publisher: Booklocker
Pages: 278
Genre: Mystery
Format: Paperback

A Twist of Fortune is the fourth book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series and it continues the adventures of Sgt. Windflower as he tries to solve crime and experience the joy and the sadness of life in a small maritime community. Follow along as he feels the sometimes bitter taste of an east coast winter and the unique culinary delights of this part of the world.

For More Information

  • A Twist of Fortune is available at Amazon.

Excerpt #15:

Windflower sat in his usual corner seat while Moira got his order together. When she came out a few minutes later with his coffee and sandwiches he gave her a hug along with his thanks.
“Sheila called me,” said Moira after Windflower released her from his grasp. “It wasn’t as bad as she thought and they’re now at the hotel in Marystown.”
“I talked to her too.”
“She had to do it, you know.”
Windflower smiled weakly and tipped his hat goodnight. “Close her up, Moira. This is going to be a big one.”
With that, he was soon back in his car and shortly afterwards offering the tray of sandwiches around the detachment lunchroom. It looked like Tizzard was planning to eat the whole kit and caboodle so Windflower packaged up the remnants and put them in the fridge for later.

About the Author

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland on the East Coast of Canada and now lives and works in Ottawa, Ontario. He is a longtime freelance writer and his articles and essays have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online across Canada as well as in the United States and New Zealand. He is the author of Change the Things You Can: Dealing with Difficult People and has written a number of short stories that have published in various publications including Canadian Stories and Downhome magazine.

The Walker on the Cape was his first full fiction book and the premiere of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. The Body on the T was the second book, Beneath the Surface is the third installment and A Twist of Fortune is the newest book in the series.

He is a member of Ottawa Independent Writers, Capital Crime Writers, the Crime Writers of Canada and the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild. 

For More Information

Book Giveaway!

Enter to win an autographed copy of Mike Martin’s The Walker on the Cape: Book 1 of the Sgt. Windflower Mysteries series!  Leave comments on each blog stop for 5 extra entries!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Interview with R.L. Byrd, author of Black Coffee

Title: Black Coffee
Author: R.L. Byrd
Publisher: R.L. Byrd Publishing
Pages: 304 

There are ALWAYS two sides to every story. In R.L. Byrd's debut novel, Looking for Sweet Love, the Love Forum Divas told their side. 

Now it's the Brothers' turn. . . .

 The Love Forum is back and the relationship dilemmas continue within the infamous Dallas, Texas, urban radio station, K103.5. DK "Love" Niles, the popular Disc Jockey from the DK and Melissa Morning Show, takes over the reins of hosting the new Love Forum called The Brothers Speak, and man, are the Brothas talking. DK, in his pursuit to finding good love himself, discusses relationships from a black man's point of view and enlist the help of the husbands, boyfriends and lovers of the Love Forum Divas. Known as the Brotherhood; DK, Quentin, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, Pastor Levine, Dr. Houston and Brass aim to set the record straight and talk about dating black women, marriage, infidelity, personal struggles, what distinguishes a throw-back from a keeper, and answers the question the radio listeners really want to know: What really went down in their relationships? 

Along the way, the Brothers break the silence on some of the most pressing social issues challenging today's black males: Disproportionate homicide rates, unintentional injuries, suicide, HIV/AIDS, and disparities in employment and graduation rates.If you thought the Love Forum Divas were dealing with issues, you may be surprised at what the brothers have to say about those relationship woes. In the end--when all is said and done--one Diva will be asking, "Am I drinking the right cup of Black Coffee?"

For More Information

Black Coffee  is available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.  

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

A:  First and foremost, thank you. I’m grateful for this interview with The Writer’s Life. As far as how long I’ve been writing (and a little insight about myself); I’ve been writing ever since I can remember (poems and whatnot since grade school), however, my authorship journey really didn’t start until late 2008.

The backstory to that is that when I was working on my MBA (doing my field residency in Vietnam), the whole overseas experience opened up a new world for me; one where I dropped my conventional beliefs and ways of thinking, to embrace a broader, more accepting way of thinking and belief system. Upon my return to the States, I just so happened to hear a voice on the radio (doing psychic readings for the station’s callers) and said, “Hey, why not.” When I scheduled my appointment with the clairvoyant, she immediately asked me, “Have you been working on something? Something for the last ten years. Writing?” I hesitantly answered, and she told me, “Boy, you’re a writer and you need to write.” And that’s exactly when (and how) my authorship journey began.

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

A: Black Coffee is the answer to a voice—the Black male voice—that hasn’t been represented (in my opinion) all too well, if not, well enough. It’s the male answer to my debut novel, Looking for Sweet Love: A story of six women (the Love Forum Divas) who blow up the Dallas radio airwaves with their sassy discussions about life, love, and relationships; told from their (the female) point of view. The relationship dilemmas continue (as there are always two sides to a story) when their husbands, lovers and boyfriends, nine men led by DK “Love” Niles, take center stage in Black Coffee.

Quentin, Miguel, Michael, Donnell, Pastor Levine, Dr. Houston, Brass, Magic and DK—better known as the Brotherhood—aim to set the record straight as they talk about (and live out) dating black women, marriage, infidelity, personal struggles, what distinguishes a throw-back from a keeper, and answer the question the radio listeners really want to know: What really happened in their relationships?

It’s an emotional (and sometimes shocking) story of black men supporting and relying on each other to get through life’s many struggles.

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

A:  The biggest challenge was the time and effort it took to ensure that all the social issues within the book were accurately documented, portrayed, justified and incorporated in an entertaining way.

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:  Yes, the press kit, containing press release information, author head shots, Black Coffee book excerpts and book covers, and interview information, can be downloaded by typing in the following URL address:

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 recently did an extended interview on The Black Author Network (BAN) with Ella Curry. I’m also currently on a blog tour, and my publicist is organizing other traditional media interviews on my behalf. Your readers can check my Facebook page, Author R.L. Byrd, for news about upcoming appearances and interviews.  

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, but I did hire a publicity firm, based in Los Angeles, to help promote my book. 

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:  Yes. The main push is on social media—Facebook and Twitter, as well as blogs, internet radio, and traditional media. Because my book has a social message that I call Project H.U.S.H., the social media campaign has really taken off. H.U.S.H is an acronym and awareness campaign for the top social challenges faced by African American males—Homicide, Unemployment, Suicide, and HIV/AIDS. We started a little over two months ago and have already built a following of 1,500+ people on Facebook. That number is growing at a rate of around 200 new followers per week.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Yes, The Art of Scandal is a fictional story inspired by true events. The storyline continues the dialogue about female and male relationships (as with the first two books) however; the relationship is focused more on business, rather than romantic relations. In a nutshell, the main characters (Marianne and Kristoff) happen to be friends of over twenty years—they know each other’s families, friends, wants and desires, deepest secrets, and have been supporting each other throughout the duration of their friendship. That is until the day one believes they’ve been betrayed by the other; and plots to get their revenge, stopping at nothing (and destroying everyone in their path) to get it.
Q: Thank you for your interview, R.L. Byrd.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Black Coffee is available at the major retailers (e.g., Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and Powell’s) and can be ordered through most of the Indie or independently owned bookstores. Readers can find out about me, my work, and Project HUSH, via my website: And I thank you, as well, for allowing me the opportunity to interview with you.

For more information about R.L. Byrd, Black Coffee, and Project H.U.S.H., please connect with him at:

Twitter: @author_rlbyrd

 R.L. Byrd was born in the coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia, in a time where America and the South was growing and evolving. His early upbringing there, would shape his world not only as a person, but as a writer. His passion for writing was delayed by a similar passion for Architecture which he pursued by obtaining a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1992. After many years of carrying stories, characters and images in his mind, R. L. found them revisiting him on a more frequent basis as the years rolled by; and beginning in 2007, it wasn’t a day that went by that the pull to write didn’t lure him back to the pen and paper. Looking for Sweet Love (2010) was his debut novel, followed by the sequelBlack Coffee (2012, reissued in 2014).

He is currently working on his third novel, The Art of Scandal (a story inspired by true events), scheduled to be released soon.

  For More Information
  Connect with R.L. on Twitter and Facebook
  Find out more about R.L. at his website