Getting to know Gwen Mayo

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State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

In my twenties, I was a locomotive engineer.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

I would be the most avid reader on the planet.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Spare time? Seriously, what is spare time? I think everyone I know is busy all the time. There are things that I make time for; my family heads the list. I love spending time with my family. I make time for cooking and trying new recipes. I also make time to read, to walk by the ocean, and sometimes to just sit quietly for a few minutes without all the noise being constantly connected to the world. I have to unplug from everything now and then to give my mind space to explore ideas.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

That question requires backstory. Most people know that the medical examiner in the Nessa Donnelly series is based on a real person. I worked for Dr. Richard Haydon for about 13 years. When he found out I had a doctor in the book, he wanted the character to be him. After several discussions, I agreed to let him be the character and rewrote several scenes in the book to make my medical examiner reflect his personality.

Shortly before the book was released Dr. Haydon was diagnosed with stage four cancer. He was too ill to go to the book launch party. The last time I went to see him he had a copy of Circle of Dishonor on his bedside table. He picked it up, smiled at me, and said “I’m going to live forever.” I don’t think anything that is ever said will top that.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I write characters with a strong sense of justice in a world that isn’t fair or just. Beyond that, when you pick up one of my books, the story is going to take you to a unique moment in time in a place you wouldn’t have thought to visit.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

If you want someone else to publish your book, read their guidelines for submitting a manuscript and follow them to the letter. Don’t give agents or publishers an excuse to reject your book without reading  a single word. You may still get rejected many times. There are thousands of other unknown writers out there competing for a handful of new author slots in any publisher’s calendar. Those slots are going to go to writers willing to give them what they requested.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

More work. The question I hear most from readers is “What are you working on now?”

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

All of it. When it comes to promotion, I’m kind of clueless. What works well for one writer doesn’t work at all for another.

 

Your favorite books and author?

Favorite authors and books:

Anne Perry, Resurrection Row

Louise Penny, The Nature of the Beast

Catriona McPherson: Come to Harm

Cynthia Riggs: Shooting Star

Ariana Franklin: Mistress of the Art of Death

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

In fiction, I read mostly mysteries. I love a good puzzle with lots of surprises.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

My fellow Kentuckian, Kim Michelle Richardson, should be on the radar of mystery readers. Liars Bench, her first novel, is well worth reading.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

None, I don’t read in bed. I’d never sleep. There is a Catriona McPherson novel and a Kentucky history book on the table by my chair, waiting to be read. In the car, I’ve been listening to Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon books. They’re great company on a commute.

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

Agatha Christie’s work is probably my biggest inspiration. I started reading her books when I was about twelve and have never stopped. She had an awesome grasp of how to construct a mystery. She also did a number of innovative experiments with her plots. Her unreliable narrator in The Murder of Roger Ackroyd brought her a lot of criticism, but it is one of my favorites.

 

How many books do you read/month?

Not as many as I would like. I have a full time job, and am working on my own books as well as publishing others. Most of the time I settle for listening to books while I drive. I’m looking forward to my first vacation in three years. Maybe I can catch up on some of the books I’ve missed.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

I don’t believe there is just one book that everyone should read. Reading is personal. I think everyone should read widely and discover what captures their imagination. One of the local libraries has a table labeled brown bag reading. The books are in brown paper covers and all they tell you is the genre. I love to see people grab one of those books and check it out.

 

Do you have an all-time favorite book?

Agatha Christie’s Nemesis has to be my all-time favorite.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Yes, I reply to messages and read reviews. I have a google alert set for my books. It has been interesting to discover what people say. I’ve also found a few interesting groups of people I wouldn’t have thought of as potential readers. For instance, Circle of Dishonor attracted a bunch of treasure hunters interested in locating the Union Army payrolls that were stolen.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook. I have a Twitter account, but am not good at Tweeting.

 

Where can your fans find you?

http://www.gwenmayo.com, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn, and our publishing house site http://www.mysteryandhorrorllc.com

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

Books at Park Place is new, and not as well-known as Haslam’s in St. Petersburg. Both are great stores with good mystery sections. There’s also a quirky book store on Sanibel Island I love to visit, Gene’s Books. It is three beach cottages linked together, and overflowing with books and music. I could spend days there.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

I have two Nessa Donnelly mysteries out now, Circle of Dishonor and Concealed in Ash. The series is set in the 1870’s. Nessa is a former Pinkerton agent who tangles with the secret societies of the time.MMExCoverFront

Sarah E. Glenn and I are kicking off a new series set in the 1920’s. Murder on the Mullet Express is the first book.

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Murder on the Mullet Express is set during the 1920’s Florida land boom. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn is traveling with her ancient uncle, who claims he’s looking for a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they find alternate transportation on the Mullet Express. They end up embroiled in a poisoning case, plus in the crossfire of rival mobsters looking to cash in on a planned casino in New Homosassa. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the prime suspect in the poisoning, and his love of mechanical inventions makes him a target of the mobsters. Cornelia and her companion, Teddy Lawless, are forced to step in and save him from himself.

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

What makes a mystery feel real to you: when do you step into the detective’s shoes and start untangling the puzzle?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on the third Nessa Donnelly mystery, Blood Relations. This book will take her back to Chicago, where she grew up, and into investigating the murder of a nun. It will be out late next year.

Sarah and I are working on the second book with Cornelia and her uncle, Murder at the Million Dollar Pier. Cornelia is going to be out of her element mingling with the rich and famous at the fancy new hotel her uncle booked. It gets more difficult for her when Teddy, who grew up in society, is arrested for murder.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with your followers and readers?

Concealed in Ash is on the short list for the Florida Authors and Publishers Association President’s Award.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

I owe a tremendous debt to the Sisters in Crime. If it were not for the people I met through that organization, I would never have written the first novel. It is an awesome organization with the most amazing readers and writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

 

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Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending her loves of history and mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. She is the author of the Nessa Donnelly Mysteries and co-author of the Old Crows stories with Sarah Glenn.

 

Her stories have appeared in A Whodunit Halloween, Decades of Dirt, Halloween Frights (Volume I), and several flash fiction collections. She belongs to Sisters in Crime, SinC Guppies, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, the Historical Novel Society, and the Florida Authors and Publishers Association.

 

Gwen has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky. Her most interesting job, though, was as a brakeman and railroad engineer from 1983 – 1987. She was one of the last engineers to be certified on steam locomotives.

 

Website URL:          http://www.gwenmayo.com

Blog URL:     http://gwenmayo.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL:                  https://www.facebook.com/Gwen-Mayo-119029591509479/

Twitter:         @gwenmayo

LinkedIn:      https://www.linkedin.com/in/gwen-mayo-41175726

An interview with Amy Metz

AmyMetzAmy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.
Links:
Website: http://authoramymetz.com

Blog: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmyMetz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authoramymetz

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AmyMetz

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Rascals-Pimple-Junction-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01EGOZKSW?

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amy-metz-1a648639

Google+: https://plus.google.com/+AmyMetz/

 

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
Stockbridge, Massachusetts. I visited there for a month in 2014 and fell in love with it. But if I could live anywhere in the world, I’d live in Stockbridge in the summertime and somewhere in the South by the ocean during the winter.

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Donuts. Boston Cream Pie or chocolate donuts, specifically, but really any donut is my kryptonite. It’s a terrible problem.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

My family: my two sons and daughter-in-law, my dad, and my sister; my friend Tom; and a few readers who have become online friends.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Take all those necessary baby steps and then take the giant leap. If you haven’t found a publisher and your manuscript is done to your liking, self-pub it yourself. I was reluctant to self-publish because of the negative stereotype sometimes given to indie authors. But I’m glad I did it and wish I’d done it sooner.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

I think exposure through blogs is invaluable. Unknown or new authors sell books through word of mouth, and the online book community is huge. Getting a spotlight or feature on book blogs is the best way I know of to get the word out about your book.

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I haven’t found author fairs or book signings to be successful. I don’t count any of them as defeats, because I think it’s a positive thing anytime you can promote your work to the public. But monetarily, I am stumped on how to sell books that way!

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?
I am partial to mysteries. I love all three of Robert B. Parker’s series, but I also love David Rosenfelt, Nelson DeMille, Chris Knopf, Michael Connelly . . . I could go on and on. If it’s a mystery, I’ll probably like it unless it’s too gory or scary.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

House of the Hanging Jade by Amy Reade.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

I love communicating with readers. I always respond to messages, which thankfully so far have been encouraging and supportive. I do read reviews, which are, unfortunately, not always encouraging and supportive! But I try to remember one of my favorite quotes: “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” All reviews are appreciated, although I try to forget some of them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook. I use Twitter, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really understood it. I like the interaction with people on Facebook. Since I work at home alone, it’s my water cooler.

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
I think Joseph Beth Booksellers in Lexington, Kentucky is the best bookstore in my area, even though I live an hour and a half away from it. There are several indie bookstores in Louisville, but when I published my first book, none would agree to host a launch. It is so nice to find an indie bookstore that supports indie authors. And I swear I hear angels sing when I walk into Joseph Beth. That place is awesome.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction
Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction
Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction
Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
What do you get when a hit woman, a Southern belle, and a juvenile delinquent cross paths? Murder, mystery, and humor in Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction.

 

Where can we buy it?
At Amazon in Kindle and paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Rogues-Rascals-Pimple-Junction-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B01EGOZKSW?

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?
Who would you like to see more about in the next book?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?
Right now I’m writing the fifth book in the Goose Pimple Junction series. I would love to say it will be out by the end of the year, but the truth is I don’t know. It will depend on how much and how quickly my characters cooperate with me.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?
I am so honored and grateful when readers spend time and money on my work, so I’d like to say a huge thank you to all who do that. If you’d like to be put on an email list for future news, visit my website and fill out the form on the home page. One of these days I’m going to figure out how to do a newsletter.

Thank you so much for hosting me! It is much appreciated.

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Goose Pimple Junction mysteriesLike any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

 

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s Rogues&Rascalshired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

 

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

An interview with Gino Bardi

Gino BardiHow would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?

 

That depends. If they liked me, they might describe me as ‘generous, funny, big heart, big smile, tries hard to make you laugh.’  If they didn’t like me they might say, ‘stingy, smart alec, goofy, tries too hard to make you laugh, will eat off your plate if you sit close to him.’

 

Tell us a little about yourself:

 

In a few weeks I will be officially old, yet I still get a kick out of being able to legally buy a beer. I am still surprised when I look in the mirror and don’t see a teenager. It’s more than ‘surprised,’ it’s more like ‘shocked. Absolutely shocked.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

 

At an airport, where I owned a small jet aircraft.

 

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

 

I make everything up, especially the random facts.  A lot of my stuff sounds and even feels like memoir, as if it actually happened. But usually only the inciting incident- the ‘party starter’ happened, and I made everything else up. If I wrote memoir, it would be appallingly boring.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

 

Eating the ice cream in secret before my wife eats it in secret. I am rarely quick enough to do that, however.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

 

Rich.

 

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

 

In third grade, when I got C’s in all the subjects but language arts, where I got an A. Also I got a D in arithmetic. You can tell that because I was asked to answer three questions and I answered all of them.

 

How long have you been writing?

 

Now? Just a few minutes. Oh, you mean, like, forever? I became a professional in my senior year of high school; I didn’t have the fifty bucks I needed to take my girlfriend to the prom. I won the Newsday “Letter of the Week” contest and got the fifty. It was the easiest money I had ever made; then or now.

 

Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?

 

The guy who runs my writers’ group is very encouraging. His name is David Edmonds and he writes international thrillers. He keeps trying to point me in the right direction and tell me everything I’m doing wrong. Sometimes I even listen to him. But I still fight with him, just to keep up my chops.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

 

One of my daughters likes my stuff. The girl I took to the prom is still impressed.

 

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

 

No, in fact, one of the first things I have to do when I sell a few books is to replace my desk chair. I can hardly get out of it anymore. Not a lot of people took me seriously…boy, I showed THEM, I tell ya.

 

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

 

It didn’t ‘just happen,’ I MADE it happen. I’ve been waiting for years to actually say that to someone. Thanks.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

 

I enjoy cooking a wonderful meal. I love to go for long walks on the beach, watching the sunset, or enjoying hot chocolate by a roaring fire, and… Hey! Wait a minute! You’re not from Playboy Magazine!

 

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

 

Yes. I’m brutal. I have no friends because of that.

 

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

 

So far, I have read only good ones. When I start getting bad ones, I will be too busy to read them.

 

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

 

I STILL want to be a writer. It’s taking a long time.

 

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

 

When I was a little kid I discovered that no matter how mad my mom was at me, I could write her a poem or story and she would laugh and forget all about whatever stupid thing I had done. It was a magic power I developed when I was about eight.

 

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

 

I took my girlfriend to the prom and we…uh…celebrated.

 

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

 

No, I can’t get anything done if I do that, it makes me pick up the guitar and play along, which I can’t do, which makes me frustrated. Then I get up and make something to eat. It is very counter-productive.

 

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

 

Looking for my wallet, car keys, sunglasses and credit card; calling the credit card company and cancelling the card, and calling Netflix and the cell phone company, etc, and telling them to bill my wife’s card. I’m not sure these are actually hobbies but I spend a lot of time doing that stuff.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

Someone BOUGHT A BOOK!!!

 

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

It is the only stuff that was written by me!  I don’t see a lot of stuff that sounds like mine in bookstores.

 

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

“It’s not too late to turn back!”  Okay, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, get into a writer’s group, listen to all the criticism, and when they rise up against you, enraged, you are getting someplace!

 

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

An actual book that people can actually hold onto, with your picture on the back cover and your name on it. Until you can hand someone that, they don’t believe you actually wrote anything. It’s not real impressive to wave a Kindle around. I tried it.

 

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

Convincing myself that I want to spend all day on Facebook pretending I’m fascinated by what everyone had for lunch.

 

 

Your favorite books and author?

 

I split my time between humor and books that are very evocative of time, place and strong emotions. I don’t have a ‘favorite,’ but here are some authors that I actually pay money for: (humor) Mark Twain, Dave Barry, Jean Shephard, Fanny Flag, David Sedaris, Kurt Vonegutt, Garrison Keilor. That other thing, the evocative thing: Junot Diaz, James Lee Burke, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Joanne Beard, Stewart O’nan.

 

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

Coming of age (I’m expecting that will happen to me any day now), romantic comedy (that too, I hope), high tech spy and international thrillers (just for the descriptions of the female leads), anything really funny no matter what the genre. Anything really good, ditto.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

 

I am so behind in my reading, anything written since 1975 is ‘new.’

 

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

Wait a minute I’ll go look. Okay, I’m back. “How to Raise a Jewish Dog,” by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. It’s funny. And short. I love short books.

 

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

 

I fall hard for authors that can make you laugh and cry on the same page. They have power over you, and it’s frightening. I have to keep these titles to myself in the interest of public health.

 

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

I read very slowly because I am still rebelling against the reading lists I had to deal with in college. I read all the dialog aloud as if I were in a play. This drives my family insane. As a result, I am lucky to finish two books a month. I also read the newspaper funnies and never miss them. It’s very instructional to see a writer tell a whole story, with a plot, characters, an issue and a resolution, in three panels.

 

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

 

I can’t think of a single book that everyone would WANT to read enough to make it past the first chapter. If I could, I’d keep that to myself. Life should not be turned into a literature class. But Tom Sawyer would be a safe bet.

 

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

 

I bet you don’t want me to say “My own,” huh?

 

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

 

Absolutely. I love to answer their letters. They rarely write a second time. I wonder why that is?

 

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Facebook. But after my daughter teaches me how to use Twitter, I might like that. I have a problem with Facebook.  Looking at all the pictures of food and empty bottles of wine, and places people go on vacation makes me wonder what the heck I am doing staring at a computer screen all day.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

For the time being, while I finish my fabulously complicated and nonworking website, contact me at ginobardi.author@gmail.com, or on Facebook at Gino B. Bardi author. Put in the extra B because, surprisingly, there is another Gino Bardi, who appears to speak Italian and lift weights. Be nice if you meet him, he could be violent.

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

final art for cover with changes 1/9/16

final art for cover with changes 1/9/16

 

No, the only bookstores near me are Books-a-Bazillion and similar giant places which are gigantic, scary places which I am afraid to enter.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

Oh, let me think….hmmmmm…Okay I got it:  The Cow in the Doorway

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

“What floor are you going to? Me too! Hey, wanna buy my book? It’s about a kid who goes to a tough college because his dad wants him to, and if he flunks out he’ll get drafted. He falls in love with this terrific girl, but she likes his roommate more because the kid is just…hey, wait! We’re not at that floor yet! Where are you going?”

 

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Right now (early May 2016) you can buy it from Amazon as a Kindle book or paperback, or from my publisher, 99% Books at the website address 99pctbooks, or directly from me at Ginobardi.author@ gmail.com.  You should be able to order it from places like Books-a-Bazillion but it’s more fun to just order it from me; I’ll autograph it for you and write anything you want in it, even a convincing alibi for where you were last Friday when you got home at five AM.

 

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

 

What’s more entertaining for you- to laugh or cry?  Don’t just say, laugh, because maybe it’s not. I’d really like to know.

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

I have three other projects in the works. Two novels and a collection of short stories. The short stories are finished, they’ll come out in the fall, probably.

 

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?

 

I can’t finish this sandwich. But it’s got mustard on it. Some people don’t like mustard. Of course, I’m just kidding. I can always finish a sandwich.

 

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

I go through a lot to make people understand how hard I work and difficult this is. Which is all crap. I love doing this, and it’s easy. But I have to keep that a secret, so pretend I never said that. Even my family doesn’t know that. Especially them.

Persistence and Patience by Serita Stevens

_MP_0244Maybe it’s because I’m an Aquarius,  but they say it’s our “advanced”  thinking that keeps us from accomplishing things in what we believe is a timely manner.  Whatever it is, I’ve had to have patience and a lot of persistence with my ideas and especially my writing.

Living in Chicago with my first husband, who seemed to be jealous of writing even though he said he wasn’t,  I was pleased when he gave one of my manuscripts – a novel about Deborah the Prophetess (based on the 4 Bible pages of Judges 4/5)  to a literary writer friend of his father’s.  Her cruel words to me were “Honey, go home and do your housework.”  I cried for a few days before I fisted up and said “Hell no.” I was not going to give up despite the lack of support from my husband or my own family.

While taking a class from Chicago writer in residence, someone asked “When do you give up?”  His words to her were – “Honey if you can do so, you’re stronger than me.  If it’s in your blood, than your screwed.” Writing was in my blood and it could not be denied.

I penned 8 books before the 8th was published and I was able to later revise and rewrite 4 of the 7 books. Going back to those original manuscripts I saw how poorly those had been written and how I had improved. The book about Deborah was finally published in 1990 – a good 10 years after the first draft – by Leisure Books as Lighting and Fire.

Other ideas also took their time to mature.  Sometimes I wasn’t ready and other times, the market had changed before I could finish what I was writing.

Living in England while I obtained my masters in writing from Antioch, I became infatuated with the story of Boudicea, the Celtic queen who rebelled from Rome’s oppression in 60 AD. Destroying much of Roman Britain including London.  I wrote a historical romance using the events as a background with her fictional niece falling in love with a Roman centurion – great conflict there.  It’s been almost 28 years since the idea first percolate in me and will now finally appear in July as A Pagan Love by Oak Tree Press.

Persistence also proved to serve me with my Y.A. drama, based on my work with teens thrown into psychiatric wards merely because their parents couldn’t handle them.  Against Her Will was finally published 2015 by Motivational Press when my new agent asked if I had any young adult material.  I pulled out the half done manuscript, updated a bit and, because I was already deep into other deadlines, worked with another client of hers to finish the book.

My western romantic suspense, Deceptive Desires, also published by Leisure has now been turned into a script – Logan’s Land – with several options under its belt.  Since westerns are currently not in favor for the movie market, it might have to wait a bit longer before showing it’s screen version, but the book will be re-released by Oak Tree Press in December 2016.

One of my gothic novels – The Shrieking Shadows of Penporth Island – went to publishers 21 times – 8 times to the same house – Zebra Publishers- who finally put it out when the time, they felt was right.

My non-fiction book The Forensic Nurse  (St Martin’s Press) about how we as nurses help police solve crimes and written for the ordinary public to forensicpaperback-1understand what we do, took years to find the right home.  Then it was optioned for a TV series not once but several times, always with something spoiling the deal at the last moment.  (In Hollywood, one must have attachments – stars and directors – push projects forward and the studios want A-list writers whom they already know can produce shows.  So I don’t know what went wrong.  But finally when the last option expired, I took it on myself to write my own speculative pilot  for Nursing the Evidence – and show bible, which, has attracted attention.  Fingers are still crossed on that.

Now, in addition to my own writing, I teach at various universities and conferences and published a workbook based on my lectures – The Ultimate Writers Workbook For Books and Scripts (Motivational Press.)  While there are some differences in writing books and scripts, you basically need an exciting story that will entice the reader and make him care about your characters.   I also assist writers with their stories, too.

I can’t say it has been easy watching my friends snap up quick contracts, but I realized that when the time is right for something, an opening will appear.  One just has to keep on writing, and know that if it is meant to be, it will.

Please check out my page at http://www.seritastevens.com

An interview with Maria Grazia Swan

Maria Grazia SwanBestselling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for–ooh-la-la–haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco–but then, who doesn’t?

www.mariagraziaswan.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/MariaGraziaSwan?ref=hl

elechi-pen

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

OMG!! I still blush after all the years. Barnes and Noble. One of my first booksigning. The event was covered by the local media. I quickly had to use the restroom before walking to the podium and unfortunately my beautiful flirty chiffon skirt got stuck in my panties, in the back…made for a Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.03.23 PMmemorable event..

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Never, ever give up. Follow your dream. You never know when lighting will strike.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

I will have to say word of mouth???

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.12 PMWhat area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Anything connected to the digital world.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

I read mystery because I’m a sucker for a good plot. However, I like anything that’s well written. If the writing catches my fancy, I’m in.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Honestly, I have a very hard time keeping up with my usual suspects, I only buy a new author if a trusted friend recommends it.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.55 PM

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Marked Masters, Ritter Ames

 

How many books do you read/month?

Two or three, it depends on my schedule.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.05.19 PM

Bird by Bird. By Annie Lamott it’s my go to bible.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Not really, it changes like everything in life. Maybe I should say that my needs and preferences evolve.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers?

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews? I do, I do. And I often seek their input. I’ll be nothing without them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.11.31 PMFacebook, of course. Doesn’t everybody?

 

Where can your fans find you?

Not sure about the question. I send out a newsletter, I have a website, Facebook and twitter and Goodreads presence and if all fails, I have a page on Amazon with my e-mail address. I’m easily accessible.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Mina’s series (6 books to date)

Love thy Sister

Bosom Bodies

Italian SummerScreen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.10.58 PM

Ashes of Autumn

A Cat to Die For

Best in Show

 

Non fiction

Stories my Grandfather told me

Mating Dance-Rituals for singles who weren’t born yesterday

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

This is not my latest, but it is the one on sale next two weeks. A Cat to die For

Two Calico cats, almost alike except for one detail. The love of Mina’s life, Diego Moran shows up with a Greek heiress wanting Houdini although she has a look-a- like cat named Zeus.The cat caretaker is found dead. Now the adventure begins…

 

Where can we buy it?

Amazon.com

An interview with Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy speakingNancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001, Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015. Coming soon, in 2016, is the third in the series, Without A Doubt. Silverman also has written a number of short stories, many of them influenced by her experiences growing up in the Arizona desert. For more information visit www.nancycolesilverman.com

 

elechi-pen

How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?

Okay, I asked some friends and here it what they said, a few more than twenty words, but you’ll get the idea. Creative. Energetic. Positive. Go Getter.  Loyal. Stubborn. Determined. Won’t take no for an answer. Gregarious. Smart, fun. Blonde. Tall. Thin. Center Stage Personality. Outspoken. Team player. Ambitious. Stylish. Practical. Warm. People person. Entrepreneur.

 

Tell me a little about yourself.

I think my friends really nailed it.  Of course, nobody knows the inner most workings or an individual and writers probably more than any others are hard judges on themselves. I fall into that category.  I’m not really a perfectionist, but I am ambitious and determined to see things through to the finish.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

Santa Barbara.  My husband and I visit there regularly and love the area.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Only one?  Travel. Wine. Chocolate. Coffee and the rest is saved the confessional.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be? SHADOW OF DOUBS

I was in broadcasting for 25 years and loved working as journalist and on the business side of radio.  With that under my belt, I suppose if I had to do it again, and I might like to have been an English teacher.  I enjoy reading and teaching the craft of writing.

 

When did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was a child.  I remember penning, or penciling, my first story when I was seven years old. I think that the age kids start to get an idea about who they are and what they’d like to do in life.

 

Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?

Nora Ephron.  Joyce Carol Oats.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

My mother and my husband.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Cook, entertain and travel and theater. I love the theater.  Growing up I was very active in theater and love to go to plays, particularly musicals.

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Yes.  I try to read as much as I can and I sometimes do reviews on Goodreads.com

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Yes.  I know it’s not advised but I think if a review is well written, there is much to be gained by reading it.

 

BEYOND A DOUBT (1)Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes.

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

When I left radio after twenty-five years I founded and published an equestrian newspaper.  For about eight years I covered a lot of equestrian events and between writing about them, I was riding in some of them.  It was great fun, until I had an accident and needed to hang up my stirrups.  It was then I decided to sell the newspaper and start writing fiction.  I’ve never looked back.

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

Yes.  Usually jazz.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading. Movies. Theater. Music. Hiking. Cooking.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I’m very passionate about The Carol Childs Mysteries and hear back from readers how authentic the work sounds.  I think it comes from having really worked in the business.  Somehow or other it just radiates onto the page.  Authenticity makes for real character and believable situations.  Those are both memorable and touching to readers.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?BOOKED IN BURBANK READ

Write.  Write. Write.  You can’t be a musician without practice.  Writing is no different.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Myself.  I’m good public speaker and my experience with radio has taught me a lot about working a crowd.  I enjoy it and getting before a group of people and answering questions.

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Online blogs.  There are so many of them and I fear they are not read by as many readers as they are writers looking for answers.

 

Your favorite books and author?

Let’s restate this question with favorite authors.  Titles I sometimes forget, but authors, never:  Stephen King, Sue Grafton, Nora Ephron, Leon Uris, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Janet Evonovich, Harlan Coben…the list goes on.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mystery, historical fiction.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer.  I recently heard her speak at a conference and picked up her first book, Killing Sarah and found her both entertaining and as a journalist believable.

 

How many books do you read/month?

If I’m writing, not as many as I’d like.  Maybe only 3 or 4.

 

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

I reply to any messages any reader has ever sent.  I think it someone has read my book and takes the time to email me they deserve a reply.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook.

 

Where can your fans find you?

Facebook.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:WITHOUT A DOUBT front SM

 Shadow of Doubt

Beyond a Doubt

Without a Doubt

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on book 4 of the Carol Childs mysteries and I’ve recently finished a couple of short stories.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

I also write short stories, and I’m currently working an anthology.

An interview with Lesley Diehl

3523Meet author Lesley Diehl:

  What’s your current guilty pleasure?

I love, love, love dark chocolate. One Christmas season I found dark chocolate seasoned with pepper and that became my favorite dark chocolate. Unfortunately, I never found it again. So instead, I now have a passion for dark chocolate and caramel with salt. My second guilty pleasure? Wine, but not red wine which does go with chocolate very well, but white wine, especially sauvignon blancs from New Zealand.

  If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

A comedian.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think I made that decision. I think I just have so many stories in my head that I’ve finally found the time to get them out.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve always played around with writing. When I was in junior high, I decided to write a novel. I think I wrote about five pages before I forgot about it. I don’t remember what it was about, but I’m certain it must have been about young love. In high school I wrote several short stories and a few humorous essays in college. Then my creative writing was replaced by the need to write in my field. I think scientific writing killed my creative energies. I took up writing poems just before I retired and decided to write mysteries after I left academe. It was the best decision I ever made. For over ten years I’ve been writing and publishing cozy mysteries, traditional mysteries and short stories. These have been the most rewarding years of my life.

Who are your cheerleaders?

My husband is one and a small group of friends.

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I first wrote in secret not telling anyone what I was doing. When I finally identified myself as a writer I had to go through that inevitable, “Have you had anything published?” Once I was published, there was the “Is this a selfpub (makes bad face) or a real publisher.” Then there was “I’ve never heard of this publisher.”

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

I think I just fell into it and before I knew what I was doing, I had several books published.

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I spend my spare time going to yard sales, consignment shops, secondhand stores, looking for items I can use to furnish my 1874 cottage. Used items are my passion and find their way into one of my mystery series, the Eve Appel Mysteries. Eve is the owner of a consignment shop in Florida.

I also garden. I have a vegetable garden and a perennial flower garden in Upstate New York. My husband and I like to hike and work on refurbishing our cottage. And, of course, I read, read, read.

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

I write very few reviews because I don’t want to get into the quid pro quo of having to review a really bad book.

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Unfortunately I can’t help myself.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I prefer to listen to the sounds of the birds on my canal in Florida and the babbling of our trout stream up north.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading and going to yard sales, of course. My grandmother never bought anything new. She always reused and repurposed, so I think it’s genetic with me to never buy new.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

One of the first book events I did was at a library in Florida. I was promoting a book I wrote several years ago. The protagonist in the book was called Emily Rhodes. After my presentation, a girl about 12 years old ran up to me. She was so excited because her name was Emily Rhodes. She brought her birth certificate to me to prove that was her name. We had our picture taken together. I’m not sure which of us was proudest.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

I write mostly cozy mysteries with humor in them, but I always incorporate serious themes into my work so that the read is more than just a simple “beach read”. I’ve used such issues as sexual abuse, racism, mistreatment of indigenous people, sexual harassment, and family issues.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

Join a professional writing group. I recommend Sisters in Crime. Learn from them by taking advantage of their prepublication group, the Guppies where you can find manuscript exchanges, online classes on writing and recommendations for books. Go to a writers’ conference such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville, and Malice Domestic to meet other writers and learn from their workshops. Then write, write, write.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

Library programs where I can meet people face to face or book festivals where the same is true.

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I’m not crazy about social media, but I do it because other authors use it, yet no one can say what social media platform works or if any does.

 

Your favorite books and author?

 

I loved Elizabeth Peters’ series on archaeologists in Egypt during the early 1900s. And Elizabeth George is my favorite for her ability to develop her characters’ angst and make it sympathetic. I miss Robert Parker, especially the Jesse Stone books, and I loved the character of Hawk in the Spenser series.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

I read mysteries and prefer the traditional mystery.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I like Cindy Sample’s Dying For books. Funny stuff.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

I just finished Wild  by Cheryl Strayed.

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

Probably 12 or more.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

 

I think if a reader takes the time to contact me, I owe that person a personal reply. I always respond to their messages and read their reviews, understanding that not everyone will like what I write. I try not to cry over a bad review.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Twitter is a fun challenge for me. Can I be brief? As a retired college professor, I always wrote sentence that were pages long!

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

My website and blog: www.lesleyadiehl.com

Twitter: lesleydiehl@twitter.com

Facebook: Lesley.Diehl.1@facebook.com

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

 

The Green Toad Bookstore, Main Street, Oneonta, NY 13820

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

Hera Knightsbridge Microbrewing Mysteries: A Deadly Draught, Poisoned Pairings

Big Lake Murder Mysteries: Dumpster Dying, Grilled, Chilled and Killed

Angel Sleuth

Eve Appel Mysteries: A Secondhand Mystery, Dead in the Water, A Sporting Murder, Mud Bog Murder (due out Summer, 2016)

The Killer Wore Cranberry, Thanksgiving Anthologies from UJntreed Reads

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

Fatal_final_ebook_1Professor Laura Murphy is at it again, snooping into a murder of a coed and finding that some faculty and a few students take advantage of innocent, young women, but the worst offenders may resort to murder for reasons that emerge from the past.

Elevator pitch for Failure Is Fatal

 

Where can we buy it?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AYNXO64

 

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

I have two manuscripts that have been sitting on my computer for the past few years. They are both mysteries (of course), but not cozy mysteries, but rather noir cozies. I’d love to complete them, but haven’t yet found the time.

 

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

I laugh out loud when I write something I think is funny.

An interview with D.V. Berkom

DVatStirrettsmWhat started you on your journey to be a writer?

I wrote my first book (an illustrated tome about the joys of housework—very tongue in cheek) at the age of seven. I flirted with writing throughout my life—mainly short stories—but never took it seriously. In 2005 I found myself with some spare time on my hands, so decided to try writing a book. It was a satire/fantasy and it took me about a year to finish. Not knowing anything about the publishing business, I submitted it to an agent. Needless to say, I figured out pretty quickly that the writing was awful. Since I love a challenge, I decided to learn the craft to see if I could write something worth reading. The next book took me six months for a first draft, and a year and a half of editing. I’m now working on my twelfth book, have two thriller series, and am constantly trying to improve. I love writing (most of the time) and would feel as though my left foot was missing were I to quit.

 

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

I’m one of those writers who need quiet to be able to concentrate. Believe me, I’d love to be able to listen to music while I write, especially for those times when there’s stuff going on in the house, but I’ve tried and it just throws me off my game.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Other than writing and research, cooking, gardening, hiking, traveling, photography, and wine are the top hobbies that spring to mind. I’m especially happy when I can combine all of them together J

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?booksigning 10_2 Boat shed

Once, when I first started doing signings, I was at a local library and a woman with a seeing-eye dog came up to me and asked me if I was the author of a blog post about creating an accessible web site. I said I was, and she said she’d come to the signing especially so she could thank me in person for spreading the word about how to accommodate non-traditional web users such as herself. I’ve never forgotten her words and continue to try to make my work as accessible as possible to all kinds of readers.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

Several readers have thanked me for creating realistic female characters who know how to take care of themselves. Kate Jones is more of an every-woman while my other character, Leine Basso, is a former assassin. Both are approachable and I think most women can empathize with them. I’ve heard from male readers as well, who have told me they enjoy them both—I’ve even had several confide in me that they’re a little in love with one or the otherJ. A lot of times in fiction, female characters are portrayed as either superhuman or manly (what I like to call putting lipstick on a dude and calling it good). I prefer reading and writing about someone with whom I can identify—someone who has some depth and lots of flaws. Apparently, so do a lot of other people.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

My biggest piece of advice is to wait until you’ve had several people read your work before even thinking of submitting it to anyone or publishing it yourself (and no, I don’t mean your family or best friend). If the feedback is less than stellar, write another book. And then another. Then send it to a professional editor before uploading/submitting. You don’t want a reader’s first impression of you to be that you don’t know what you’re doing. Many won’t give you a second chance and then you’ve lost a potential reader.

 

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

It’s hugely important. Not only is it rewarding to hear from readers who enjoy my work, but being a writer is often isolating, and communicating with other people is key to staying semi-sane! I try hard to reply to everyone who contacts me. Sometimes it takes a while, but I usually can get back to folks within 48 hours or so. As for reading reviews, sure, I occasionally check to see how a book is being received. I think most writers do, whether they admit it or not. It’s interesting to see what people think of my work. And, if there’s a problem with a book I’d like to know in case it’s something I can fix, like grammar or typos.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

Website: http://www.dvberkom.com

 

Blog: http://dvberkom.blogspot.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DvBerkomAuthor

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dvberkom

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dvberkom/

 

Google+: google.com/+DVBerkom

Instagram: https://instagram.com/dvberkom/

 

Amazon Author Page:

US: http://amzn.to/oMUb1Z

 

UK: http://amzn.to/pBwClD

 

Smashwords Profile: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/dvberkom

 

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

The Kate Jones Thriller Series:

Bad Spirits

Dead of Winter

Death Rites

Touring for Death

Cruising for Death

Yucatán Dead

A One Way Ticket to Dead

 

The Leine Basso Crime Thriller Series:

Serial Date

Bad Traffick

The Body Market

Cargo

 

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:eBook Cargo 1563x2500

For Cargo:

Money—the universal merchant. Anyone can be bought, anyone can be sold.

Anyone.

Haunted by memories of an op gone bad, former assassin Leine Basso travels to Bangkok in search of a missing backpacker. With help from an old contact, she discovers the man responsible for the girl’s disappearance is connected to a violent Hong Kong triad and is the linchpin of an extensive trafficking network—both animal and human.

Making enemies isn’t new for Leine, but making one in the triad is—she soon finds herself a prisoner onboard a cargo ship headed for sub-Saharan Africa. To ensure her survival and to continue her hunt for the missing girl, she must join forces with Derek, an ivory poacher who promises to help her.

 

For a price.

 

 

Where can we buy it?

Amazon (global link): http://bit.ly/cargoAMZ

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cargo-a-leine-basso-thriller/id1018759891

 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cargo-dv-berkom/1122295857

 

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cargo-a-leine-basso-thriller

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/559351

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on a prequel to Serial Date, as yet untitled, where we learn some of Leine’s secrets and meet people I mention in later books. I hope to have it available by March of this year. Then I’m going to start work on the next Kate Jones. I’m very excited to get back inside her head and am looking forward to writing the story.

 

Bio:

 

DV Berkom is a slave to the voices in her head. As the bestselling author of two award-winning thriller series (Leine Basso and Kate Jones), her love of creating resilient, kick-ass women characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages.

Raised in the Midwest, she earned a BA in political science from the University of Minnesota and promptly moved to Mexico to live on a sailboat. Several cross-country moves later, she now lives just outside of Seattle, Washington with the love of her life, Mark, a chef-turned-contractor, and several imaginary characters who like to tell her what to do. Her most recent books include Cargo, The Body Market, Bad Traffick, A One Way Ticket to Dead, and Yucatán Dead.

 

An interview with Cheryl Hollon

CherylHollonCheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the Tampa Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C., and New England Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow. Learn more at www.cherylhollon.com.

 

Facebook URL:     https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.hollon (profile)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Hollon-Writer/357992230995844  (fan)

Twitter: @CherylHollon

Buy links:

 

Pane & Suffering http://www.amazon.com/Pane-Suffering-Webbs-Glass-Mystery/dp/1617737607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439334392&sr=8-1&keywords=pane+and+suffering

 

How would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?

Cheryl is cheerful, levelheaded and funny. She loves good friends, good books and good beer – in that order.

 

Tell me a little about yourself

I was born in a small town in Eastern Kentucky and have inherited the oral tradition of my Scots-Irish ancestors for story telling. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and could read before I went to school, which seriously annoyed my teacher. Science and math were my favorite subjects and led me to a career in digital communication software programming followed by flight simulation engineering and program management – neither easy but immensely rewarding.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I would live right here in Saint Petersburg, FL. During my engineering adventures, I had a chance to live and work in amazing countries, but I was always happy to come back to St. Pete.

 

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

I was a Boy Scout Leader.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

The discworld novels by Sir Terry Pratchett. I reward myself with one after I finish the first draft of a new manuscript.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

I would still be an engineer. It took me a long time to scrabble myself up the technical and professional ladder, but I would do it again.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

It got serious for me when I attended my first Malice Domestic Convention in 2005. I had been dabbling with photography when a particularly haunting image spoke to me to tell her story. The image is of a homeless woman dressed completely in white moving slowly through the flower market in Boston. I titled it ‘Wishing for Daffodils.’ That was my first attempt at a full-length manuscript.

 

When did you begin writing?

I began writing poems in the sixth grade instead of submitting essays on my English weekly exams.

 

How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously about eight years ago with a series based on a crime scene specialist who quit her job to make a fresh start as a black & white photojournalist. At her first wedding, she discovers the wealthy Indian bride collapsed and cold. The working title was ‘Shooting Brides.’

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

My husband George is my staunchest promoter who is ordinarily quite reserved, but he will tell complete strangers that I am a mystery writer. My friend for life, Joye, has weathered the anxiety, tears, frustration and terror of getting published. She continued to feed me a steady diet of positive praise and constructive critiques to make my writing better and better.

 

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

In the very beginning, I didn’t tell anyone I was writing. It was my secret. That was a happy time.

 

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

I didn’t always want to be a writer, but on the long-haul flights to overseas projects, my writing took on a more structured form and I began studying the craft of writing. After a few years, I began to get serious about it as a business.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My husband and I have been working in glass for a long time. He is colorblind in the green/blue range, so I have always picked out the glass and helped with the design of our projects. Our current project is making glass jewelry.

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

After I discovered Goodreads, I enter what I’m reading now in my account and I like to use the ‘would like to read’ shelf to keep track of new books. I have been slowly entering all the books I’ve enjoyed in the past. I write short reviews to help other readers choose the books I’ve loved, but I don’t really read long ones – I could have finished the first chapter by then.

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Of course I read them, I can resist anything but temptation! I want to know what readers think.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, as a child I always wanted to be an artist. After I figured out how exciting an engineering career could be, I headed that direction. I was right.

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

It was a gradual awakening to how powerful stories can be to the reader and also to the writer. I love it when a reader comes into my story world and enjoys the visit.

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

When my agent called to tell me that my series had been sold to Kensington, I was home alone. I danced around the room like Snoopy and had champagne waiting when my husband returned from his errands. On that Saturday night, the whole family went to our favorite restaurant. We were a noisy group!

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

When I’m creating new material, I need complete silence. In revisions, however, I can listen to soft classical music.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading, glass art, oil painting and impossibly hard jigsaw puzzles. I prefer the wooden ones with the little whimsy figures.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Nothing yet, I’ve only been on one panel at the SleuthFest Conference in Deerfield Beach, FL. I am a conference-junkie and will travel far and wide to meet with readers and fellow writers.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Every writer is unique and that is what sets each one apart. I think my mystery fantasy world is inviting and the people are interesting and some even adorable. I’ll work hard to ensure that readers know about my books – they can read them if they don’t know that they exist.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

The fascinating thing about writing is that it is a skill you teach yourself. As a result, all input has to be filtered by what it means to you and where you are on the writing path. I’ve attended some workshops that went completely over my head – I wasn’t ready for that information. The jazz is when that one tidbit bounced along that gives you an ‘aha moment’ and vaults your work to the next level. Bliss!

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

My mailing list and newsletter is where I have the most direct contact with readers. Every news event or promotional activity is announced to my subscribers first.

 

Your favorite books and author?

Louise Penny and her Inspector Gamache series. I love the small village setting of Three Pines. The first book in the series is STILL LIFE.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

I enjoy the entire wide range of mystery/thriller/suspense as well as Science Fiction/Fantasy and adventurous Young Adult.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

THE ANGEL COURT AFFAIR (A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel) by Anne Perry.

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

The first book that planted the seed that I might be able to write mysteries was WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George. Her writing process is similar to mine and it awakened the desire to prove that I could finish a novel. After that I found DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY by Chris Roerden. It helped me overcome newbie mistakes and improved my plotting as well and characterization. I am always reading a non-fiction book to sharpen my writing skills.

 

How many books do you read/month?

I normally read five or six more a month. I usually have two novels and one non-fiction writing book going at all times. This is a drastic reduction from before I started writing. I’m resigned to that now, but it still disappoints me that I can’t read as much as I want.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. I read it every year to remind me what Olympic class storytelling is like.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

The first book I received as a Christmas gift from my Aunt Thelma was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read that book to shredded tatters. Aunt Thelma was a kind, thoughtful soul who took special time to encourage me and my sister to spread our wings into untraditional career territory.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Hearing from my readers inspires me to dig deeper and reach down to those emotional depths that make a story compelling.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

I like tweeting on Twitter a little more than posting on Facebook, but I prefer reading my Facebook feed.

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

My Website: www.cherylhollon.com

On Twitter: www.twitter.com/cherylhollon

On Facebook: like my Author page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Hollon-Writer/357992230995844

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

My local book seller is Haslam’s Bookstore at 2025 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713. My first ever book signing is scheduled for October 3, 2015 at 3PM. Although around the store, I’m known as ‘Eric’s Mom’ because the owner’s son and my son went to high school together. St. Petersburg is a small town. Their website is www.haslams.com for news of upcoming events.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Pane&SufferingCover

PANE AND SUFFERING (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #1) October 2015

SHARDS OF MURDER (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #2) March 2016

CRACKED TO DEATH (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #3) October 2016

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

Pane and Suffering, releases October 2015

 

When Charlotte Webb loses her father to an unexpected heart attack, she drops everything to return home and handle his affairs—particularly the beloved, family-owned stained glass shop. When she finds her glass expert dead of an apparent heart attack on her first day at the store—and the foreboding note her father left behind—she realizes their deaths were anything but natural and sets off to catch a killer.

 

With a rival glass shop in town and a visiting entrepreneur looking to replace her store with a supermarket, she has a couple of good suspects right off the bat, but things start to get colorful—and a lot more dangerous—when she realizes the stained glass orders from one particular patron are suspicious, and his explanations crack under scrutiny. When she isn’t teaching the crafty locals how to make stained glass turtles, she investigates, and with help from some of her students, the bar-owning British hottie next door, and a boy and his dog, she tries to shatter the killer’s plan before someone else ends up dead.

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Amazon, Barnes &Noble, Bookish.com, Books A Million, IndieBound, Target, and Walmart

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Who’s your favorite character in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries is a series and I’m currently working on the rough draft of Book #3, Cracked to Death. I’ve only just started it so it won’t be out until October 2016.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?

The most helpful thing you can do for an author you love is write a review. Now a review is not like the dreaded book report you inflicted on your teacher ages ago. It can be three sentences explaining what you liked or didn’t like. That’s all. Really. Seriously it makes a huge difference to the author’s visibility and may make the difference when a publisher is deciding whether or not to continue publishing her books.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

Keep reading – that’s all, just keep reading.

Meet Maggie Kast

  1. Maggie KastWhat’s your current guilty pleasure?

Stuffing myself with food press. I receive and read Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and Saveur, recently added the hip, charming and irreverent Lucky Peach. I couldn’t resist one issue of the woman-centered Cherry Bomb. Every Wednesday I buy the New York Times for its Food section, and I bemoan the “spoiler” effect of emails from cooking.nytimes.com (but I still get them). I was thrilled to have excerpts of my essay, “Sugar, Sex and the Andalusian Cadence” published in the spring issue of Cook’s Gazette, available at www.cooksgazette.com. The death of Gourmet is a loss I still mourn.

 

  1. When did you begin writing?

I began writing in the early nineties, shortly after my husband died. I think my first writing impulse was to find someone to talk to. Then my sister gave me a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, with its suggestion of morning pages (3 a day, don’t stop and don’t look back for a couple of weeks). About page 2, each day, a poem broke into the middle of the text, and I began to cultivate them. I took a poetry class but eventually realized that stories were what I liked best. My first career was in modern dance, and at that time I was doing liturgical dance (dance in churches and temples). I wrote about what I knew best: religion and dance, and my first publications were in Image Journal (about the sacred in contemporary choreography) and Religion and the Arts (about dancing in sacred space).

 

  1. Did you have support at the beginning or during your writing?

I have been very fortunate with support all along the way. As soon as I found myself writing 3-4 hours a day, I considered applying to an M.F.A. program, and was very happy to be accepted to the low-residency program of Vermont College of Fine Arts. My mentors there were supremely helpful: David Jauss, Ellen Lesser and Abby Frucht. After graduation it took a long time to find an enduring writing group, but now I’ve been in one that meets regularly (well, most of the time) for about ten years. The writers are excellent and the critique is intense, as it should be. In addition I spent about 15 months in Fred Schafer’s novel group, where both his lectures and his manuscript critique taught me much about everything from sentences to emotional continuity. A weekend novel workout with Kevin McIlvoy shaped and honed my novel, encouraging me to reach for greater tragedy and greater comedy.

 

 

 

  1. What the best thing that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

The best reading is a conversation. When I was doing readings of my memoir, The Crack between the Worlds, I learned to start by announcing that Crack cover artinterruptions were contributions, and comments would be welcome at any point. I broke into the reading myself to ask if anyone had similar experiences. I found this made for a much livelier experience for all then simply reading from my published text. It also involved the audience much sooner that the traditional reading plus Q & A. I value communication with readers highly and will always respond to messages and read reviews. Readers can find me on Facebook, on Twitter @tweenworlds, on Goodreads, on my blog, http://ritualandrhubarbpie.blogspot.com, and soon on a new website at maggiekast.com.

 

  1. Are there any particular books or authors that inspired you?

For a historical novel with broad sweep and portrayal of a distant place and time, there is nothing like Naguib Mahfouz’ three-volume Palace Walk. Though this is a work of fiction, it also satisfies today’s “reality hunger” with its evocation of turn-of-the-20th-century Egypt, where women were confined behind shutters while their men caroused. The same element of reality can be found in David Grossman’s To the End of the Land, for which the author made the same dangerous hike through Israel that his protagonist makes in the book. I also admired the latter for its use of two rapidly shifting points of view. Bravery in terms of form and style always inspires me, so the sudden intrusion of the author into J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man is one of my favorite literary moments. Coetzee also shares with Milan Kundera the ability to integrate philosophic reflection into fiction without losing sight of humor. All these continue to inspire me.

 

  1. How many books do you read per month?

I read 2-3 books per month, and I do keep an annotated bibliography to help me remember what I read and how I reacted. I’ve started adding some of these to Goodreads (in less personal form). My notes vary from a few sentences, mainly to spur memory, to more lengthy analyses of structures I strongly admire (Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, for example), to drafts of review essays I am writing for publication.

 

  1. Here is the elevator pitch for my forthcoming novel, A Free, Unsullied Land:

A young woman of the Depression years seeks escape from her abusive home through immersion in jazz, political protest, and love for an anthropologist whose work she is adopting as her own, when a funeral ritual tempts her to violate an Apache taboo and risk both her love and her life.