Monday, August 31, 2015

Interview with Christine Amsden, author of Madison's Song

Title: Madison's Song
Author: Christine Amsden
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pages: 275
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Format: Kindle

Her voice is enchanting; his soul is black...

Madison Carter has been terrified of Scott Lee since the night he saved her from an evil sorcerer – then melted into a man-eating monster before her eyes. The werewolf is a slave to the moon, but Madison's nightmares are not.

Despite her fears, when Madison's brother, Clinton, is bitten by a werewolf, she knows there is only one man who can help. A man who frightens her all the more because even in her nightmares, he also thrills her.

Together for the first time since that terrible night, Scott and Madison drive to Clinton's home only to discover that he's vanished! Frantic now, Madison must overcome her fears and uncover hidden strengths if she hopes to save him. And she's not the only one fighting inner demons. Scott's are literal, and they have him convinced that he will never deserve the woman he loves.

Praise for Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective "In this entertaining series opener, Amsden (The Immortality Virus) introduces readers to the eponymous Cassie, a decidedly mundane member of a magical family. ...Readers will enjoy Cassie's fish-out-of-water struggles as she fights magical threats with little more than experience and bravado." ~ Publishers Weekly

  Madison's Song is available for order at  
  amazon BN


The Interview

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

A: I have been writing for 30 years … and I'm only 38! I wrote my first short story, about Cabbage Patch Dolls going to Mars, when my mom found an old manual typewriter in her parents' basement. There have been ups and downs since then, but I truly haven't stopped writing for more than a year or so since then.

I recently found a stack of my oldest stories (sadly, not the Cabbage Patch one) and showed them to my 9-year-old son, who has stopped drawing because he isn't perfect. “Look at these,” I told him. “I wrote these when I was your age and they're terrible! Do you think I was born knowing how to write?”  Well, out of loyalty or stubbornness (or both), he said they were great, but I know how hard I've worked to get where I am today. Creativity is a part of the soul that needs to be nurtured and educated; encouraging creativity is something I strive for as a writer, a parent, and as a writing coach.

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

A: Madison's Song is the tale of an unlikely heroine – shy, overweight Madison Carter – who overcomes fear for the sake of loyalty to the people she loves.

Another unlikely heroine, Cassie Scot, inspired me to write about her friend, Madison. Cassie, the only ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, got a four-book urban fantasy series after she barged into my brain back in 2009. Madison came to me inauspiciously as I wrote an early chapter … “Okay, Cassie needs some friends. Let's see … my mom kept hinting that I should name my daughter Madison. I pretended not to notice, but it's a nice name for a character. Madison it is!”

It didn't take long for both Madison and another random friend, Kaitlin, to become bigger than their initial walk-on roles. By book two, each had a significant subplot and lots of backstory that never made it into the original series. At first, I thought Cassie would solve their problems alongside her own, but by book four she and I both learned an important lesson – you can't solve someone else's problems for them, you can only be there to lend comfort and support.

Madison has lots of problems. During the Cassie Scot series she almost had her soul stolen, was kidnapped twice, and was betrayed by her own father. In Madison's Song, she gets to deal with all that and become the heroine of her own story!

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

A: Though it's a spin-off, I wanted Madison's Song to stand alone as a way to draw more readers into the series. This was tough, because so much had happened to her during the Cassie Scot series! I rewrote Chapter 1 at least six times from the ground up because I kept wanting to shove all that backstory and Madison's rich character into the beginning. Finally, I let go and trusted that Madison would develop organically if I got to the heart of the story and showed her in action – the exact same advice I would give to any writer. (Do as I say, not as I do!)

Another challenge I faced, possibly related to the first, is that Madison is more like me than any other character I've written. If Cassie is the person I wish I was, then Madison is far more like the person I am – shy and overweight. I even chew my bottom lip and bite my nails! I needed to find a degree of emotional separation before I could successfully tell Madison's story.

I did this by reaching for something that used to be a big part of me, but is no longer – catholicism. In fact, I finally and completely came to turns with my Catholic upbringing, and the fact that though I've set it aside, I don't resent it. The main character, Madison, is devoutly Catholic and it was my joy to make her belief something beautiful for her. Her faith is personal and powerful, but doesn't require the validation of others. Neither does mine.

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, I put together a media kit for each new book that includes cover art, book blurb, buy links (or release dates), author photo, biography, and social media links. For Madison's Song, I also included buy links to all four books in the original Cassie Scot Series. If I have a tour and a giveaway going on, you'll find a banner and rafflecopter link as well. You can find the media kit here:

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 been on the radio to promote Madison's Song. Linda Mooney's show, Other Worlds of Romance, provides the opportunity for me to read an excerpt from my book and answer a few questions – she's had me back for every book since Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective and it's a terrific show. You can listen to an archived version here:

I also have plans to be at the 39th annual Archon just outside St. Louis this October. I won't be speaking about my book, specifically, but about writing in general.

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 don't feel like I need one right now. There was a time, back when I was promoting one of my earlier books, when an agent might have been useful (or at least felt useful), but now … I have a wonderful working relationship with Lida Quillen from Twilight Times Books, a small traditional press that has helped me sell about eight thousand copies of my Cassie Scot Series. An agent might have helped me get signed on with a bigger press, but I have little confidence that they could have helped me sell more books as a midlist author. Meanwhile, Lida offers one of the most generous contracts in the business and is forward-thinking enough to sell ebooks at a reasonable price. The vast majority of my sales have come from ebook purchases (not to mnetion the vast majority of my royalties), an unlikely outcome when working with a big publisher.

Sometimes I still consider contacting an agent regarding future books, just to test the differences between being agented/working with a big press and being unagented/working with a small press. The trouble is, at this point I've already achieved modest success on my own and I think part of me would resent an agent coming in and taking advantage of my hard work to earn an almost guaranteed profit. Three years ago, I offered Cassie Scot to a few agents. They didn't take a chance. And I get it, they're in the business of making money; Cassie Scot is quirky.  Still … if I ever get an agent, I'll have high expectations. I'll need more than someone who will negotiate a contract for me; I'll expect a solid two-way relationship that includes career and marketing advice that could take me from a modest success to a bestseller.

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, I did! I like to do a lot of promotion online because my inner shy girl feels less threatened that way. So on July 15, I had reviews, guest posts, interviews, and features go up on over a hundred blogs. I work with several different virtual book tours companies to maximize exposure, and I will continue to appear on hundreds of blogs between now and October. I also have a solid reviewer following who were eager to get their hands on my latest book – some of them have already shared their reviews, some of them will be featuring my book in the coming months. My publisher also helps out by sending copies of my book to major reviewers such as Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Of course! Writing is in my soul; I don't think I could stop. Kaitlin's Tale is the final planned spin-off to the Cassie Scot Series, and it will be available in 2016. After that, I'm not sure what's going to come next, I only know there will be something. I'm taking a hiatus to reconnect with my muse. Last time it took me three months; this time, I have a bit more stress in my life but I still feel confident that I'll get excited about a new project soon.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Christine.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Thank you so much for having me here. You can find Madison's Song in ebook format at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It will be coming to print on October 15, 2015, so save the date! It will also be recorded as an audiobook, available at Audible, but I'm afraid I don't know exactly when. If you sign up for my mailing list, I will be sure to let you know as soon as I do. Meanwhile, the Cassie Scot Series is already available in all three formats.

Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone.

At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success. They have two beautiful children.

Visit Christine's website.
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"Nowadays, electronic media rule" - Florence Byham Weinberg, author of DOLET

As a university professor for 36 years, I was expected to publish, so I wrote four scholarly books and many articles and reviews. The first scholarly book, my doctoral dissertation, came out in 1972. Writing fiction began in earnest in 1998 as I prepared for retirement (in 1999). I completed the first novel in 2000 and have written 10 mainly historical novels and historical mysteries. One exception, published in 2014, is Anselm: a Metamorphoses, roughly classified as a metaphysical fantasy. The present novel returns to my scholarly specialization, the French Renaissance.

My early efforts at writing fiction were still tinged with scholarly turns of phrase. I engaged an editor, Gerald W. Mills, a talented editor who taught creative writing and who took me in hand. He edited three of my early books and guided my writing style into the twenty-first century. However, I had a rude awakening when I tried to place my early efforts with an agent or a publisher. I was rejected 243 times by agents. My historical novel about the 16th-century figure, Louise Labé—both poet and knight in armor—was published in French in Lyon, France, before any books in English came out. I was accepted by Twilight Times Books without the benefit of an agent thanks to Gerald Mills, who represented one of my books, The Storks of La Caridad, to them, along with one of his own books. We were both accepted, and I have stayed loyal to that publisher ever since.

Like most authors, I suspect, marketing is the most difficult aspect of writing. Naturally, we all passionately hope that readers will find us, read us, and become fans. I am best at personal appearances where I lecture, answer questions, and then sell books. I do have a website, am on Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and other on-line book sites.  Still, personal contact works best for me. I also find that having an open house to present a new book works well, also if the book has a special aspect, such as incorporating native wild foods that a missionary eats or prepares, or a musical emphasis where the hero meets the teen-age Beethoven. Then, the book will sell well at conferences or meetings featuring organic foods and gardening, or after a concert in a local church. I have had fair but limited luck with signings in book stores. I organized my own book tour for the first mystery I wrote and had everything from an empty room to an enthusiastic crowd that subsequently became a fan club. Nowadays, electronic media rule, and we all have to accept that with grace, adjust to it and use it to our advantage.


Title: Dolet
Genre: Nonfiction Novel; Historical Fiction
Author: Florence Byham Weinberg
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
About the Book:
Dolet depicts the life and times of Etienne Dolet. Etienne, who told the bald truth to friend and foe alike, angered the city authorities in sixteenth-century Toulouse, fled to Lyon, and became a publisher of innovative works on language, history, and theology. His foes framed him; he was persecuted, imprisoned, and ultimately executed by the Inquisition for daring to publish the Bible in French translation.
What readers are saying:
“[Dolet]  …I read it all with pleasure, and delighted to see names that I have known for some time coming alive as “characters,” albeit fictitious ones. I especially liked the way in which you brought out the sense of community, of being a band of brothers that so many of those amazing people shared.”
~ Kenneth Lloyd-Jones, Professor, Trinity College, Hartford, CT
About the Author:
Florence Byham Weinberg, born in Alamogordo, New Mexico, lived on a ranch, on a farm, and traveled with her military family. After earning a PhD, she taught for 36 years in three universities. She published four scholarly books. Since retiring, she has written seven historical novels and one philosophical fantasy/thriller. She lives in San Antonio, loves cats, dogs and horses, and great-souled friends with good conversation. Visit her website and connect with her onFacebook.

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.