Love and Happiness by Ben Burgess, Jr.

 

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ABOUT “LOVE AND HAPPINESS:

Karen has it all: a handsome husband, beautiful twin daughters, a lovely home and a great job. Karen also has a secret; she’s cheating on her husband, with not one man, but two.

On the outside her life seems perfect, but on the inside Karen feels neglected, bored and unappreciated. Yearning for affection and excitement, she falls into the arms of first Raheem and then Tyrell. Out of fear of losing her husband and breaking up her family, Karen ends the affairs but things don’t turn out how she planned. When Karen’s dirty secrets are revealed she must fight to keep her family together.

Chris is doing all he can to hold his marriage together. He loves Karen but she grows more distant every day. When she starts coming home later and later, he suspects she is being unfaithful. When Chris accidentally takes her cell phone what he finds changes their lives forever.

When tragedy strikes, Karen must decide if she should sacrifice her happiness for her husband’s love, and Chris wonders if he should stay with Karen because he still loves her despite her infidelity. But if they do stay together, will they ever find love and happiness again?

Sexy and relatable, insightful and inspiring, Love and Happiness shows us both sides of Chris and Karen’s story, and reminds us that sometimes to have it all, you must first lose it all.

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Love and Happiness is a romance story that makes you think. It’s told from both Karen and Chris’s perspectives so you can see where both of their heads are at. Karen is cheating on her husband Chris, with not one man, but two. On the outside, her life seems perfect, but on the inside, Karen feels neglected. Out of fear of losing Chris and breaking up her family, Karen ends the affairs but when Karen’s dirty secrets are revealed,
Karen must decide if she should sacrifice her happiness for her husband’s love, and Chris wonders if he should stay with Karen because he still loves her despite her infidelity.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Where do your story ideas come from?

My first novel “Monster” was based on my personal life and experiences.

My second novel “Wounded” came about while I was actually working on “Love and Happiness.”

“Ken” from “Monster” makes a cameo appearance in “Love and Happiness.” I didn’t want fans to think I was a one trick pony or feel that my book was derivative so I was stuck with how I would write it.

My co-workers (Who happened to be lesbians) asked me to write a book with a Lesbian protagonist. At first, I thought it wouldn’t be possible since I wasn’t a woman, and I knew nothing about being Gay or the LGBT community. My co-workers decided to
take me to a Lesbian bar. (They took me to the Cubbyhole, which is the first bar I mentioned in Wounded.) After going there with them and talking to the women, I decided to work on the book. To make the book feel as authentic as possible, I did a lot of research. I interviewed fifteen women and five couples, to hear their thoughts, feelings, and philosophies about being a Lesbian, and life. I also used one of my family members as a basis for my character development, so I felt personally invested in creating “Samantha.”

For my latest novel “Love and Happiness,” I used real life relationships as m
y inspiration. I talked to several married and divorced couples. I asked them what they enjoyed and hated with marriage. I wanted to know what they wish they could change or what they regretted not doing. With all of my novels, my goal is to make people think. I want to help people see things from different perspectives to help the world to be more open minded.

Do you have a favorite character?

My favorite character to write would have to be Karen because she was more of a challenge. To write as a woman when you are a male is hard. I did a lot of research. I interviewed close to twenty women, asking them all types of questions about marriage and infidelity. It’s a lot of work to develop a female character as a male author, but I loved showing the different layers of her personality.

Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in her 8th-grade class, I read Richard Wright’s “Native Son” I r
ead that book, and it was life changing for me. I knew I wanted to one day write something that could have the same effect on people. Do you remember the first thing you ever wrote? While in 8th grade, my English teacher Mrs. Marcus gave the class a poetry assignment. My poem was on basketball. I don’t remember what I wrote, but I remember my teacher was blown away by it. She encouraged me to keep writing. She was
one of my most influential teachers, and I promised her if I ever wrote a book, I would write a poem about the Holocaust for her. (She was Jewish and had family that were survivors.) My dream was to publish a poetry book. I continued to write throughout high school and college.

How do you work through writer’s block?

When I have writers block, I do several things. Sometimes, I’ll force myself to continue writing. Sometimes, I’ll read a book that is a different topic than the one I’m writing. Sometimes, I’ll take a break from writing altogether to recharge my creative batteries.

What do you think makes a good story?

I think a strong plot with strong dialogue and believable characters help to make a good story.

Do you think most authors understand the importance of marketing their own work?

I think most authors have difficulty marketing their book because there isn’t an exact formula for success with marketing your book. What works for some authors, might not work for another. I try to observe different authors and stick with what I found helped and was effective.

What are some of your methods for self-promotion? To sell your book effectively, I believe it starts with you. You have to talk to all types of people. Personally, I set a goal to sell (5) paperbacks a day to five complete strangers. To sell a lot of books, people have to know your book exists. I search for credible reviewers on Amazon and Goodreads. I also do research on the internet for other well know reviewers. Word of mouth is definitely important, but it can only go so far. I use all of the popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, and Pinterest) to advertise. I use press releases, advertise in local newspapers, and enter book contest to promote and spark interests for potential readers and reviewers.

What’s your writing schedule like?

I write whenever I have the time or as soon as I have an idea. I have a Samsung Note 5 so if an idea comes to mind, I literally write it down or use the voice memos to record my thoughts and write them out when I get time. I try to write something every day, even if it’s only a paragraph. I’m a huge perfectionist so I’m constantly editing and re-editing while I’m writing. Once my project is completed, I edit again to try to make my work the best it can be. When I’m writing, I can have music or a movie playing in the background, but I totally zone out and focus on writing. I turn the internet off when I’m working on my laptop because honestly, I usually end up looking at Facebook or checking out stuff on ESPN.

To include my daughter in my writing process, she puts her desk next to mine while I’m writing and practices writing her letters and/or doing her homework.

What kinds of things do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love playing with my daughter. I like doing puzzles with her or playing sports with her. I love basketball and boxing. Those are two of my favorite sports. I love to read of course, and I’m a big movie buff. I love going to the movies and watching all types of movies.

Who would you say has been a major influence in your life?Ben Burgess Author w: daughter

My biggest inspiration/motivation is my daughter. As a parent, I want nothing but the best for my child. I look at her as an extension of myself. I didn’t have a great childhood. My parents didn’t have a lot of money, I was insecure about myself, I lived in poverty, and I missed out on opportunities due to a lack of funds. While my childhood wasn’t the best, I had a great role model – my mother. I watched my mom struggle to pay bills, work two jobs, put herself through school all the way up to her doctorate, and moved us out of the dangerous neighborhood we lived in, into a house in the suburbs. She did all of these tasks on her own. My mother did the best she could to push for me to have better opportunities than she did. She drove me to want more out of myself and to become the best person I could be.

That is exactly what I wish to do for my child. I want to instill in her that strong work ethic and will. I want her to realize that with hard work and dedication, she can do anything she puts her mind to. I want her to see how I juggle being an NYPD detective, personal trainer, father, and author. I love her, and I want to be that positive role model she looks up to like my Mother was for me. Every achievement, every award, every acknowledgment I receive, I want her to understand that I put 100% into everything I do. I pray that it pushes her to be a great person.

Do you ever use friends, family members or acquaintances as character models?

I love to people watch and I’m constantly thinking, so when I observed different relationships I felt this book “Love and Happiness” needed to be written. I felt the story would help both men and women think and that is what I always try to do when I’m telling a story. When I’m developing my characters, I like them to be layered. I don’t want to make perfect characters because no one is perfect. I develop characters that have strengths and flaws because I feel that makes it easier for readers to connect. I put pieces of myself into every character, but I also look at the personality traits of strangers, family, and friends to inspire me for my character development. I like to do research also by interviewing strangers to get different perspectives on topics.

How do you deal with criticism?

There are different strokes for different folks. There will be some that just don’t feel my style of writing or the story I’m telling. In this business, you have to have thick skin, you can’t take everything personal. I listen to constructive criticism that I feel is helpful. As a writer, I try to work on my flaws and improve with every book, but it’s impossible to please everyone. I work hard to write stories I believe a majority of people will enjoy.

What types of books do you like to read? I

like to read Urban/African American Fiction, Drama, and Contemporary Romance. What would readers be surprised to know about you? I think readers would be surprised to know that I’m actually an NYPD Detective.

If you could spend the day with a famous author who would it be?

I would want to spend the day with my favorite author, Eric Jerome Dickey. He was crucial in my decision to become an author. He has also supported me and has given me advice about the literary industry.

How would you spend the day together?

I would probably ask him questions about the industry.

Are you working on anything new now?

My next project is titled “Daddy’s Girl” Which will be a story of the trials and tribulations of a single father raising a bi-racial daughter on his own. The daughter character in this book will be “Lynn” from my first novel “Monster.” Here, you will see her origin, and learn more about her character. After that novel, I will begin working on another book called “Black and White.”

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

There will be lots of times when you want to give up. There will be times when people will talk bad about your book or sales might be low. Never give up. Believe in yourself and believe in your work. Listen to critiques and push your pride to the side. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you think you are, you can always improve.t of a writer you think you are, you can always improve.

There will be those who will not be fans of your writing, but you should never give up. Keep growing and learning your craft. Edit and re-edit. (*always have your books professionally edited. You want people to take your book seriously and not feel that it is amateurish.) Learn from your mistakes, take classes and read other authors. Research the industry.

Two of the most important things to do are:

1. Find a credible editor

2. Promote, promote, promote!

You have to put your heart and soul into your work. While it will be hard and you will go through trials and tribulations, in the end, it’s worth it when your book is entertaining people and it’s successful.

Ben Burgess Author

 

ABOUT BEN BURGESS JR

Ben Burgess Jr is the author of the award winning novels “Monster”, “Wounded”, the poetry book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” and the new novel “Love and Happiness”

He is an active performer of spoken word poetry. Ben uses his love of writing to inspire and influence youths to strive for what they believe in, and to never give up on their dreams. His poetry book “Times Have Changed and Life is Strange” and his novel “Monster” are currently used in schools on the lower east side of Manhattan.

Ben Burgess has a BA degree in Business Management, and a MA degree in Educational Leadership. He is the proud father of his daughter Jaelynn and is active in trying to improve urban neighborhoods and communities.

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My Guest K.N. Smith Author of The Urban Boys

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K.N. Smith Author Guest Post

Like authors of any other genre, YA fiction writers can learn many new things if they’re open to the process. One of the keys to a successful book for a young audience is character believability. This is much easier said than done. Imagine spending multitudes of hours crafting a personality out of thin air. What we do is wholly visualize the character, dissecting every single detail about him or her, with the remaining time spent articulating that to the reader. It’s part of the craft that needs a lot of attention, even being worthy of visually sketching-out or pre-determining the characters’ events from chapter to chapter, just to stay on track. Something not to be forgotten is the emotion and passion each character will need in order to bring the story to life.

For me, the reason this post is focused on character development relates to recent reviews I have received, and second, the enjoyable experience I recently had watching the movie Goosebumps starring Jack Black about the adventures of Author R.L. Stine. While reviewing some of my recent reviews, I was encouraged to reflect more deeply on character development in preparation for the next book in the series.

I felt transported to another world just by experiencing the lives of these incredible characters who are so true to life and authentic-feeling, yet unlike any I’ve met before.

When I saw the movie Goosebumps, I was immediately attracted to the excellent character development happening within the scenes. The fear, the excitement, the emotion in those characters was quite brilliant! You could see and feel what they were going through in a very real way. In particular, the “Chump” character was great! He really displayed quite a number of emotions, and was extremely believable.

I love this aspect of writing, and I implore you to dig deep when it comes to developing your own characters. They need to come to life. You should give yourself enough time to really study them, grow them, relate the dialogue to their distinct personalities, and make them believable and real. And trust me, characters have flaws. They have ups and downs, and strength and weaknesses just like you and I. Therefore, if you think about yourself and your own experiences, and those of the people around you, you will have all the backstory you need to create a memorable, lasting, and exciting narrative for your next project. Thank you for allowing me to share with you today, I hope you enjoy the excitement of The Urban Boys!

 

ABOUT K. N. SMITH:

K.N. Smith is an American author and passionate advocate of childhood and family literacy programs throughout the world. She continues to inspire students of all ages to reach their highest potential in their literary and educational pursuits.

An established non-fiction writer, Smith chose the teen fiction genre as a way to enhance her daughters’ (then) high school literary experience, and to engage other youth in literacy development. Her creative literary flair sweeps across pages that twist, turn, and grind through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narratives.

As an ardent supporter of youth and family literacy programs across the globe, she states, “My hope is that The Urban Boys will spark imagination in a wide variety of readers while elevating global literacy efforts. It’s important that we have diverse families of readers for generations to come.”

 

The Urban Boys by K. N. Smith Cover PhotoThe Urban Boys by K. N. Smith Back Cover Photo

  • Series:The Urban Boys (Book 1)
  • Paperback:300 pages
  • Publisher:Two Petals Publishing (September 3, 2015)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:0989474755
  • ISBN-13:978-0989474757

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses is an action-adventure story about five teen boys who are mysteriously exposed to a foreign energy source that gives them extremely heightened senses. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become hypersensitive gifts that forever change the world. The story chronicles their effortless interrelations and later exposes the testing of their deep bonds. It introduces the reader to an array of supporting characters who alter the boys’ lives forever.

The Urban Boys offers young and mature readers central themes of loyalty, responsibility, honesty, fear, and triumph, which become artfully integrated with cinematic-level action and high drama. The story twists, turns, and grinds through elements of paranormal and action-adventure in a diverse, exciting, edge-of-your-seat narrative! Intriguing, intelligent, and full of action, The Urban Boys: Discovery of the Five Senses offers a memorable, emotion-packed, thrilling ride for young and mature readers alike!

WHAT READERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THE URBAN BOYS: DISCOVERY OF THE FIVE SENSES:

Five friends do something considered taboo by the townsfolk and enter the mysterious, forest-like preserve. But something otherworldly awaits them among the trees. Yet just as the five can then sense each other, so, too, can three others sense them, and one of the trio is a killer. Smith’s book blends action and mystery with elements of the paranormal. Additionally, the novel overflows with positive thematic pointers relating to the importance of family, honesty, etc. The presence of these moments of encouragement make her story worth reading.
4-stars – John E. Roper, The U.S. Review of Books

“Author K.N. Smith uses her mastery of the written word to weave an entrancing, yet powerful tale of adventure that keeps you turning pages in an unquenchable desire to find out what happens next. The author’s matchless prose details cinematic fight sequences and fully developed characterizations especially in a final, stupendous scene that will take your breath away and leave you limp with spent emotions. Five stars for this imaginative and inspiring story, sure to be as appealing to general audiences as it will be to the YA crowd!”
5-stars – Don Sloane, Publishers Daily Reviews

“An energetic YA adventure debut with stellar action sequences. Smith’s writing is intelligent and often lyrical. Her exuberant prose never fails to dazzle.”- Kirkus Media

“Read the Prologue and fasten your seat-belts! – The URBAN BOYS: Discovery of the Five Senses is the kind of thrill ride you’d expect from a seasoned action and adventure novelist, not in a first novel by a writer just entering this genre. The URBAN BOYS really grabs you. There’s the beauty of the scenes described, the eerie, mysterious source of the boys’ new power, and the suspense you will feel in every engagement that rivets you to every page. The URBAN BOYS creates a whole new world of emotions, suspense, danger and drama. It’s a great read!” 5-stars – Melvin Tag 

PURCHASE THE URBAN BOYS ON AMAZON.COM

K.N. Smith has over twenty years experience in writing, communications, and creative design. She lives with her family in California.

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Better Not Love Me by Dan Kolbet

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Better Not Love Me by Dan Kolbet Cover Photo

 

File Size: 2307 KB

Print Length: 240 pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publisher: Alfe Publishing; 1 edition (October 26, 2015)

Publication Date: October 26, 2015

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Language: English

ASIN: B0177G5LQC

 

 

BOOK SYNOPSIS:

Amelia Cook never wanted to be a corporate executive responsible for a toy business that spanned the country. She accepted the job out of obligation to her past love. The work has forced her away from her children and broken her marriage. After years of misery, she’s decided to walk away.

Single, unemployed and uninspired, Amelia rents a palatial lake cabin for the summer and attempts to reconnect with her children who barely recognize the mom they once knew. Amelia’s summer at the lake takes a surprise turn when a handsome man moves into the cabin next door. The only problem? It’s her old boss, Nate. Can Amelia forgive Nate’s past behavior, find love and forge a bond with her children all while being dragged back into the corporate life she loathes?

Better Not Love Me is the sequel to Don’t Wait For Me, but is a standalone novel.

PURCHASE BETTER NOT LOVE ME ON AMAZON

Dan Kolbet Author Photo 1

ABOUT DAN KOLBET:

Dan Kolbet lives in Spokane, Washington with his family. He is an independent author, former newspaper editor and reporter. He is currently working on his next story.

His novels include You Only Get So Much, Don’t Wait For Me, Off The Grid, Better Not Love Me, plus short stories, Five Rows Back and An Easel for Avery.

You might read romance stories to escape the humdrum day-to-day. You root for your protagonist to find the love you have at home, or the love you want to have someday. Unfortunately, we’re not all tennis pros, powerhouse attorneys or lonesome billionaires pining for each other. Most of us are pretty normal people who do normal people things each day. Love happens in the middle of all that. Love stories happen around us every day, we just have to find the patience to see them and take notice.

So when the characters in my novels fall in love, it’s not because they are in a romance novel. It’s because that’s what people in their situation should do. Yes, they might fight it. And they will probably screw it up, but isn’t that what we all do?

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Good Advice to Writers: Meet Published Authors, Attend Workshops, and join a Writing Group!

On Saturday, August 15th, 2015, I had the opportunity to join some of my fellow Louisiana authors from my local chapter of Romance Writers of America:NOLA STARS and my ladies from my local chapter of Sisters in Crime: Grave Expectations on an excursion to Waskom, Texas where we met for a writers’ workshop at the Waskom Public Library. Here we met with Kellie Coates  and  Lisa Windgate.

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Waskom flier,

It was a great opportunity and the fact that it was only about an hour and half away was doable. I urge fellow writers and published authors to take advantage of any opportunity to meet and greet with other authors.

I won’t go into detail about talks, but I do want to share with my readers the most important snippet of information I took from the this meeting. Don’t just be a writer, be a good writer. Take classes, join groups, attend workshops, read books, etc. You’ll be glad you did!

Robert Germaux, a Man with Romance in His Soul and His Latest Novel, The Backup Husband

Robert Germaux Author PhotoRobert Germaux is a romantic at heart…and he doesn’t mind letting the world know about it. That’s why he never even considered using a different (read: female) author’s name for The Backup Husband, his modern-day love story.

Although his other novels are mysteries, with either a private detective or a police detective as the main character, in both cases, that detective has a love interest who is central to the story. In fact, Mr. Germaux can’t imagine writing a book that doesn’t have a strong romantic element as part of the plot.

Just how romantic is Robert Germaux? In the mid-nineties, his wife slipped on the stairs leading down to her kindergarten classroom. Cynthia fractured several bones in her foot and ended up missing two months of school. Every morning, before he left for work, her husband would hide a little note for her someplace where she would be sure to come across it during the day— propped up against a carton of milk in the refrigerator, inside the silverware drawer, under the remote control for the TV. It’s a memory that both Bob and Cynthia cherish to this day.

Bob has a variety of other interests, including sports (he once signed a contract to pitch for a semi-pro baseball team in Pittsburgh) and travel (he and Cynthia have shared special moments everywhere from Paris to Toronto to Tahiti), but writing is among his favorite activities. The idea for The Backup Husband came while he was playing the “What if” game one day: What if a woman suddenly realized she might actually be in love with two wonderful men at the same time? He ended up writing the book in record time, enjoying every minute of the experience, and he hopes that’s the case for his readers, too.

The Backup Husband cover photo

Title: The Backup Husband

Author: Robert Germaux

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 305 pages

ASIN: B00QMKZ0Z2

Available on Amazon

When Samantha and Steven meet early in their senior year of college, the attraction is both immediate and powerful. And why not? She’s the kind of woman every man desires, and he’s the man at the center of every woman’s dreams. The two of them quickly forge a strong bond, creating their own little world, a world that they permit only one other person to enter: Steven’s roommate, Paul, every bit a hunk in his own right. Now two become three, forming a group dynamic that one of their friends, a sociologist, says is “almost scary, how much in sync you guys are.”

The Backup Husband follows Steven, Samantha and Paul as they finish that last year of college and enter their young adult years, the bond among them seemingly unbreakable, until the most powerful force in the world intrudes, exposing how fragile the walls of their world really are. From Pittsburgh to Paris to San Francisco and beyond, their story unfolds, with moments of unbridled joy punctuated by periods of unbearable sadness. Along the way, each of the main characters is confronted by one question: What am I willing to do, or not do, in the name of love? Their responses to that question will send them all down a path from which there can be no return, one that will dramatically alter their lives in ways that none of them could have foreseen.

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And now for a little Q&A:

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, not at all. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but the idea of writing a book didn’t occur to me until after I retired from teaching. I tried a couple of books aimed at middle-school readers, and then my wife suggested

I write a book for adults. As usual, Cynthia’s idea was a good one.

Are there any authors whose works just grabbed you at first reading?

Three names come to mind. When I was about sixteen, my father introduced me to P.G. Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves novels, and I couldn’t get enough of those characters.

Then in 1974, I came across The Beowulf Manuscript, the first Spenser novel.

I was immediately hooked on anything by Robert B. Parker.

Finally, Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes was so beautifully written, I was sure I would love anything else he wrote, which turned out to be exactly the case.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I pretty much zipped through The Backup Husband in about six months, and Small Talk, my serial killer novel which will be available on Amazon very soon, took just a bit longer. Most of my other books, however, come in at about a year or so.

Are you a disciplined writer, one who wants to write so many words or pages per day?

I’m a very organized person, but not necessarily disciplined in that way. Some days, I’ll write a whole chapter, which in my books is usually around 1200 words, but then I might not write another chapter for several days. However, one thing I’m always doing is making notes about characters, settings, dialogue, etc.

My wife is incredibly understanding about being awakened at two in the morning when I turn on the light to get something down before I forget it.

Do you always know how a book will end when you begin writing it?

Unfortunately, no. Sometimes I start out with an ending in mind, but as I get deeper into my plot, I’ll realize that that ending won’t work. Sometimes, as was the case with The Backup Husband, the ending I envisioned works, but I’ll have to change the setting. And sometimes I simply have no idea how I’ll end a book. I just start writing and trust that somewhere along the way, I’ll figure it out.

Any advice for new writers?

During the years I taught high school English, I had a poster on my classroom wall that read There is no such thing as good writing, just good rewriting. I think that’s excellent advice for all writers, new or otherwise.

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Ben Starling, A Hopeless Romantic, A Boxer, and a Very Funny Guy.

How could such a handsome face belong to a boxer?

I know, right? Ben Starling_Author photo_15May15

But this, my friends, is Ben Starling.

And I think you all will enjoy getting to know him and his work as a writer, actor, and artist! Check out his website for a clip of his acting among other things!

Ben Starling is passionate about marine conservation and boxing, both central themes in his upcoming novel. He is Oxford’s only ever Quintuple Blue (varsity champion five years running), was Captain of the university boxing team, and coached and boxed competitively. Ben graduated from Oxford University with a Master of Arts and a MPhil. He was born in the USA but has lived in the UK since childhood.  

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Title of Work: To be revealed!

Genre: Contemporary fiction 

Tagline: What if to be with the man of your dreams… you had to give up your life?

On the verge of losing her job, a side-lined journalist is forced to travel to the South Pacific to untangle a mystery where she meets a reclusive ex-boxer with a message. When a syndicate of corporate criminals invades paradise, she must either defend the island with her life or accept the plum promotion that will save her career.

 Intended Audience: Those who enjoy the works of Nicholas Sparks, Nora Roberts and Colleen Hoover

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Is this your first book?

I’m a freelance editor and have also written some short items and received encouragement for that. After focusing on the work of others for so long, I longed to take on the challenge of a full-length work of my own. My forthcoming love story will be released on January 21, 2016.

Where do you write? 

There is a beautiful canal that flows near my home. All my plot snarls are unraveled as I walk along beside it – the most important part of my work is done here. Whenever I hit a tough-going portion, I know where to go. There is something about the tranquility of water that inspires.

Ben_canal walk 1  

Okay, NOW I am jealous! 

Do you have any strange writing habits? All writing habits are strange – stranger than fiction. But I have done my best to estrange myself from the strangest ones of all. In fact, I have had no writing habits at all since I stopped taking plot tips from my dog.

And you’re a comedian! Who knew? 

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

You only need to own two books on writing: one is The Elements of Style by EB White. It’s a must read for authors. The other is: any creative writing book by James N Frey. Read it cover to cover. He is the best writing coach in the business.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Hemingway for his symbolism and the poignancy of the troubles of Santiago in Old Man in the Sea. And Herman Wouk for his spell-binding characterisations in Don’t Stop the Carnival.

I’m also a Hemingway fan but I’ve never read Herman Wouk. I’ll have to check that one out! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Edward (Bear) Hamilton was the most fun to write – so astoundingly unaware of his shortcomings and flamboyantly unconcerned about his impact on others. I giggled the whole time I was writing him.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

The villain was the most challenging to write. The antagonist is the crucial counterpoint in every tale. Without a worthy adversary for the hero/ine, the story falls flat. And yet, a worthy villain must be chillingly motivated.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Still writing. More travelled. And in the arms of the woman I love – that I look forward to meeting someday soon! I have a recurring dream about meeting her. We love for the same reason that we write. It’s all about making connections. There’s no other reason to live, is there?

That sounds great! I just love the idea of the recurring dream. Sounds like a great novel idea! Or did your dog already suggests that plot? 

Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

I draw to unwind. Magical realism in black and white is my favorite. Recently, marine themes keep appearing too. I keep promising myself to branch out and explore color. But I keep coming back to pen and ink. I’ve posted some on my site.

Ben Starling_Art_Turtle

This is such a lovely example of your artwork! 

What are you working on now?

I’m finalizing materials and planning events for my upcoming book launch. The novel (title reveal coming soon) will be released in early 2016. Lots to do to prepare for that!

And don’t forget to let me know so that I can be a part of your launch!

What is your next project?

A series of prequel short stories to be released from September 21, 2015, set in the same world as my upcoming novel.

What do you wear (if anything) while writing? My fingers to the bone…

THAT is the BEST answer ever!!!! Do you have a pet or pets? I had a beautiful and brilliant Great Dane named Edington once. She learned every game in a flash, retrieved things I didn’t know I wanted and danced with me. I lost her many years ago, but I’ll never forget her. I’m sure she’s my guardian angel watching over me. I’ve had a few close calls and I credit my continued existence entirely to Edington.

When they say the Great Dane is a noble breed, they are spot on!

What is your favorite snack food?

Soup. Soup… and soup. Toss every vegetable in your fridge into the slow cooker, add a few herbs and then go write for day. Always ready when you need it and perfect every time.

Not a bad plan at all! Okay, so this conversation about dogs and soup is reminding me of Best in Show! If you haven’t seen it…watch it!

I’d like to be able to whip up a five-course gourmet meal in a heartbeat too, but I’m still working on that. Always on the look out for a good recipe!

You should try a few Cajun recipes. I think Gumbo would definitely be your style. I like chicken and sausage with okra and tomatoes. Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of.

When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

I once got out of a dinner party by scheduling invasive surgery. Does that count?

Seriously? You really crack me up!

Have you ever dyed your hair an unusual color?

Yes. Orange. Some things just weren’t meant to be. Or dares meant to be taken.

I like orange! It inspires creativity…so maybe that was a good choice. What is your biggest fear?

That my recurring dream won’t come true.

NOOOOO! Don’t say that! Keep on being your hopeless romantic adorable self! 

What do you want your headstone to say?

Did you hear it too?! I must say, I find talking headstones alarming.

Okay, Ben! You got me! That one made me laugh out loud! 

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Provide images if you want.

Antarctica. Now there’s a fascinating environment. And the closest thing to untouched that is left on our planet.

Antarctica_freeimagescom

I want to go to Easter Island. I’m not such a big fan of the cold.

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I’d be American with a British accent. That’d confuse them. Confuses me quite a bit too…

Made me laugh again! You’re a funny guy! 

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

Start an eco-hotel on a faraway tropical island.

Do you need a partner? We could build one on Easter Island!

Provide an enticing, titillating, interesting, or fun fact about your book or series:

All my most important cuts were made while shaving. (For detail on what was cut from earlier versions of my novel, see below in the final interview question here: What did you delete?)

VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

Monotonous and extraneous transportation scenes were deleted and folded into more vibrant activities. I tried to follow the maxim of “get in late and leave early”.

Sounds good!

Wow! It really has been a lot of fun doing this interview with you, Ben. I know you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you and I hope you’ll let me read and review your novel. Thanks! Geri

Sandra Bolton’s “Key Witness” Weaves a Tale of Suspense in a Southwest Setting

Sandra BoltonSandra Bolton’s novels are based on her real-life experience with diverse settings and cultures. Her first novel, A Cipher in the Sand, was inspired by her work in the Peace Corps in Honduras, while Key Witness was inspired by her years spent teaching Navajo children.

She honed her writing skills under the tutelage of southwestern mystery writer Steven F. Havill, and she holds a master’s degree in guidance counseling.

Originally from California, she raised three children while traveling the globe with her military husband. She is currently at work on an anthology of short stories. She resides in Raton, New Mexico, with her cat, Fidel, and her dog, Sam.

Key Witness

A Jewish musician from New York; a female cop with the Navajo Tribal Police, her unemployed, alcoholic, and gay brother; a three-legged dog, and a “skinny, gray-haired” nurse named Sally who boasts she can “shoot the short hairs off a pig’s balls blindfolded.” These are the main characters in Sandra Bolton’s latest mystery, “Key Witness”.

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Intended Audience: Anyone interested in reading, a fast-moving, action-packed mystery with a touch of romance and a strong dose of New Mexico culture.

Not since Tony Hillerman have we seen a writer portray so well the stark beauty of the Southwest and the solitary lives of the Navajo, woven onto a background of suspense and violence.

SB desert 3

SB desert 2

SB desert 1           

Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?) List other titles if applicable. 

This is my second novel. My first, A Cipher in the Sand, was self-published on Createspace in 2012. 

Where do you write?

I write from two different locations: my home office, which is right off my living room, and I have a little writing nook I set up using my old computer at an isolated cabin not terribly far from my house. I love to write there because there is no internet, no cell, and no distractions. Except nature, and the urge to get outside and enjoy it.

The cabin sounds wonderful! I’m doing the same at lake about an hour from my home. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I am definitely a punster. I never know for sure which way the story is going until I get going with it. Though, sometimes during periods of insomnia, I do a little plotting.

A punster? Are you being punny? Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

I sometimes struggle with the sex scenes. I want to make them exciting, but not too racy, holding a little back for the imagination of the reader. My natural shyness comes out. I think I am getting over that though, since the editors told me to stop leaving out the details.

I know what you mean! How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

My original title for Key Witness was Jesus Eyes. I had come up with that name based on startling blue eyes of the protagonist, Abe Freeman, and the habit of a few people remarking on his “Jesus eyes.” This was based on actual incidents that happened with my late partner. I decided to change the name, as not to invoke a religious tone, and since the mystery in the story involves a mysterious key.

What other books/authors are similar to your own? What makes them similar?

My book has been compared to the writings of Tony Hillerman because of the setting and references to Navajo culture.

Great plug! Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

I had never thought about writing a novel until I participated in a workshop conducted by Southwest Mystery Writer, Steven Havill. He challenged the class to begin writing a novel, gave us the tools to work with, and set goals. After three more workshops with Mr. Havill, I was hooked on writing, and haven’t stopped.

That’s great! Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I love Sally, the skinny old nurse who thinks she can take on anything. She is fearless and funny. She and Emily are both strong female characters.

How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

My least favorite character would be Corazon, just because he’s a mean sob. But he’s supposed to be.

Do you have any other talents or hobbies?

When not writing I enjoy gardening, hiking with my dog, photography, reading, and gourmet cooking. I have many interests, but no outstanding talents – a Jack of all trades, I embrace my mediocrity.

Its good to be well rounded. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Every reader should know the best way to help a writer gain success is to write a review and spread the word. Self-promotion is tough, and I feel extremely grateful to be working with a great team now at Thomas and Mercer..

Do you have a pet or pets?

I have a big orange tabby cat named Fidel and a big black dog named Sammy.

SB pets

So adorable! What is your favorite snack food?

I’d rather eat anything salty or crunchy than sweets. Trouble is, you can’t eat just one. Right now, I’m sipping on a glass of white wine and munching on popcorn.

Interesting combination. Have you ever been in trouble with the police?

Not in the USA.

And we’ll leave it at that! Characters often find themselves in situations they aren’t sure they can get themselves out of. When was the last time you found yourself in a situation that was hard to get out of and what did you do?

In the Peace Corps in Honduras, a young volunteer and I were nearly attacked by a group of drunk men. As they tried to break our door down, we waited with clubs. Finally, they passed out. We tiptoed out of the room and ran like hell to a bus stop. (This incident is included in my novel, A Cipher in the Sand.)

Scary! Do you make up your bed every morning?

I make my bed every morning because I am a bit obsessive/compulsive.

What is on your bed right now?

Right now there is an old-fashioned hand stitched quilt with a traditional wedding ring pattern.

If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I would speak Italian perfectly. I love Italy and the Italian language, and was fortunate enough to live there for three years.

Lucky you! Do you have any scars? What are they from?

I have an old appendectomy scar, a scar near my inside right ankle that I acquired from a string ray zap that became infected with jungle rot. My latest scars, just this month, came from my cat, Fidel. I tried to rescue him from a dog that was after him, and he went crazy tearing into my face and hand. Fourteen stitches on my nose, and another dozen on my right hand.

I saw the photos of the cat scratches on Facebook! Geez! What were you like as a child?

Being the oldest of five, I was a serious and responsible child.

What was your favorite toy?

No particular toy stands out, certainly not dolls. I liked to play board games, tether ball, cards. See how old I am.

I must be old, too, because I loved tether ball! Do you recall your dreams? Do you have any recurring dreams/nightmares?

Since childhood, I have had a recurring dream of a large book with the pages slowly turning. Maybe it was prophetic.

What is your favorite Fiction/Non-Fiction book?

There are many books that have made a profound impression on me, but I think the first and strongest was Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.

My sons were in the theatrical production of Grapes of Wrath at Louisiana Tech. My youngest played Winfield.

VERY IMPORTANT!!!!  Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why.  Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

After the editors at Thomas and Mercer dug into my book, I needed to delete several scenes. Most gave background information into the Navajo history and culture that they thought was “interesting” but slowed down and distracted from the main action of the story. Yes, there were entire scenes I had researched and hated giving up, but they were right, of course.

You can always put that edited out information on your blog!

Website: http://www.sandraboltonwritestuff.com/

            Blog: sandrabolton.com

            Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandraboltonauthor

 Publisher’s Website: https://www.apub.com/imprint-detail?imprint=1

 Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=key+witness&sprefix=key+wi%2Cstripbooks%2C1195

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

 Book Promotion Sites: https://www.facebook.com/groups/promote.your.book.here/

Other Interviews: http://visionandverse.blogspot.com/

Thank you, Sandra, for this opportunity to interview you and I wish you great success!

Treat Yourself to Celtic Romance for Valentine’s Day with Grá mo Chroí

I wish to introduce you to Ali Isaac  and Jane Dougherty.

I met Jane during the aliMARSocial Author of the Year Competition with her book, The Dark Citadel.

Today, I am helping her and her co-author Ali Isaac promote their latest release, Grá mo Chroí‘ (Love of my Heart).

Jane Doughtery

Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty are writers with a shared heritage.

Ali has woven that heritage into the fabric of her stories about Conor Kelly and his adventures in the Otherworld.

Jane consistently slips references to the old stories and the old heroes into all of her novels.

book cover

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology.They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

This collection of retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish mythology is our tribute to this culture which has so captivated us. Love in the Iron Age, as you will see, did not have the benefit of Disney. The Ancient Irish had to contend with far more violence than modern lovers, and their ideas of what constituted happiness were not necessarily the same as ours. An Irish princess was not going to languish at the top of an ivory tower waiting for a knight in shining armour. She was much more likely to get on her horse and drag him out of his bed with a curse if he hung about too long. But in many ways, love through the ages has not changed one iota. Grief, sorrow and passion are all there in spadesful.

If the only thing you know about Irish mythology is Saint Patrick, serpents, and Leprechauns, it’s about time you read this collection. If you like what you see, this could be the start of a life changing experience.

Here is a short excerpt from the first story in the collection,

The Tragedy of Bailé and Aillinn 

Bailé, the soft-spoken, left Emain Macha in the north to meet Aillinn, his betrothed. Rare was such a wedding host, and uncommonly joyful. For the king of Ulster’s only son and the daughter of the king of Leinster had made a love match. Even the sun shone bright on Bailé’s journey, the hounds danced and milled about the horses’ legs, fancy bridle bits sang silver songs in the wind, and the company was filled with joy.

Bailé left behind his own lands of Ulster, the blue lochs and gorse-yellow hills where the eagles cried. Before him, beyond the purple peaks of home, lay the low, wooded hills and the rich plains of Leinster. He saw his Aillinn in the contours of the hills, in the white plumage of the swans on the river. She was soft as new grass and spring foals, wild as the March wind, and generous as the blackbird singing to the world. His heart was full of joy that soon they would be wed and their union would bind together her rich beauty of soft hills and birdsong, and his wild majesty of the eagle and the red deer.

If you like the sound of the world of the ancient Irish, treat yourself to a little Celtic romance for Valentine’s Day. You can get Grá mo Chroí here:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Jane can be found on her blog, www.janedoughertywrites.com, on her Facebook author page , or tweeting. You can find out more about her on Goodreads, and all her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

You will find Ali Isaac pottering about most days on her blog: www.aliisaacstoryteller.com, her Facebook author page, or tweeting. Alternatively, you can email her at: ali@aliisaacstoryteller.com or aliisaacstoryteller.com@gmail.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

C. G. Eberle: A mystery author who believes in honor, justice, truth, and freedom.

I’d like to introduce C.G. Eberle (Christopher), another one of my fellow Melange Books, LLC authors, and his latest work, Killer Holidays; A John Seraph Anthology

Short Bio: Born in Buffalo, New York, C.G. was adopted by George & Dottie Eberle and raised in the Irish neighborhood of South Buffalo, where he still lives today. C.G. has been a comic book fan since he was five years old and began writing & drawing his own home made comics back then. His real interest in writing began in high school when he discovered the 1970’s television series Kolchak: the Night Stalker. He began writing as a hobby, then after reading an article re: the birth of a white buffalo in 1994 C.G. began writing THE RAINBOW WARRIOR. It took ten years & seven re-writes for him to get published. In the meantime C.G. began work on the follow-up books & the companion book, THE ERA OF HEROES, which was published in 2006.

A writer since he was 5 years old, Chris started with his homemade comic books and story books, and then seriously took to writing in high school. While in college, studying English Education, C.G. was published twice in 2004 & 2006, and then switched gears to one of his major passions, mysteries. Besides writing C.G. also is a amateur Old West Historian, an avid classic movie fan & collector, a lover of most styles of music, an avid reader, a student of crypto zoology, an amateur Ripperologist, and dabbles in the kitchen quite well.

C.G. began work on his first mystery FAMILY TIES but filed away the idea for a few years as he wrote & polished THE RAINBOW WARRIOR. Then finally he returned to FAMILY TIES, which took four years to write and, thanks to Nancy Schumacher & Melange Books, LLC,was published in October 2013.

FAMILY TIES was inspired by the missing person/homicide case of Chandra Levy, who was killed on May,1st, 2001. To a degree C.G. became mildly obsessed with the Levy case, which was THE major news story for 2001. Intensive coverage continued until news of the September 11 attacks supplanted the media’s coverage of the Levy case. After the 9/11 attacks knocked the Levy case seemingly out of the news, C.G. followed the case as best he could, and knew it was becoming an inspiration of some form, then truly understood what “Ripped from the headlines” meant.

Title of Work: Killer Holidays; A John Seraph Anthology

Genre: mystery

 Tagline: They say the holidays are murder and for John Seraph it’s the truth.

Intended Audience: adult mystery fans

John Seraph, is the eldest of eight children, whose father is the head of ‘The Arm’, the Buffalo, NY Mafia. John walked away from his family to make something of himself, due to a blood oath he made his mother. This is when his life changes in my first mystery FAMILY TIES.Is this your first book?—- No, I’ve written The Rainbow Warrior: GENESIS and The Era of Heroes (through Publish America in 2004 & 2006), and Family Ties and Family Plots (through Melange Books, LLC in 2013 & 2014)

What does your writing process look like?—- I’ve taken a page from Janet Evanovich’s How I Write. In her book about her processes  Evanovich talks about how she builds a story she’s working on. I adopted a similar process. After I have the basic idea I build from there. I chart out what happens on each day.

Example:

Monday; John goes to work, sees A fighting with B, breaks up fight; at home John hears from Denise, then get call from police, A was found dead with John’s name written in blood.

To me it’s a lot like building a house. First you lay the foundation, (the story idea), then build the frame, (know what’s roughly going to happen). After that put up the walls & install the pluming and electrical, (write the story). Another major aspect for me is picking the names of my characters, both good & bad.

One book I’d recommend to anyone looking to be a fiction writer is buy yourself a baby name dictionary. There’s a science behind naming characters and not just picking some names out of the phone book. Character names related to their traits is a real connection and when I find something that work it’s like a flashbulb goes off in my head.

Finally research is a major part of what I do. I’m lucky because it’s something I’m extremely good and enjoy, and I’m very thorough. For example: when I was picking John’s choice in handgun it took me two weeks of solidly researching various handguns until I found exactly what I wanted and needed for John.

I read Janet Evanovich’s How I Write, as well.  I highly recommend her book as well as Stephen King’s On Writing, etc.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?—- The folks at Melange asked me for my ideas regarding what I wanted to see on a cover, then Lynsee Lauritsen, who’s an artist, photographer, and designer who works with Melange Books, LLC, looked at my ideas/suggestions and put together a first draft. She was excellent about working with me, explaining what works and doesn’t work. For Killer Holidays, I wanted an image of ‘John Seraph’ and some sort of holiday theme but wasn’t positive of what. Lynsee came up with the basic concept and she soon banged out the final image. We’ve worked like this for four book covers and it’s been an amazing partnership. With my first mystery, FAMILY TIES, I had this image of what I wanted and it was way to busy. Lynsee cut it down and produced a much better image. Then she was professional enough to explain to me everything I wanted would’ve made the cover to busy & crowded.

As an artist and photographer myself, I can’t say I care for the job she did on your covers. The word “cheesy” comes to mind. They look a bit homemade and “self published”, which is a shame because, from what I’ve seen on her Facebook page, Ms. Lauritsen is actually a very accomplished photographer.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?—- The three authors who’ve been my biggest inspirations are Robert B. Parker, Janet Evanovich, and Sue Grafton. I’d have to say Parker has been a long term motivation for me since I’ve been a fan of his Spenser; for Hire series, and own his entire Spenser series in hardcover. Evanovich has been a major influence on me as well not only thanks to her, How I Write, but whenever I’ve had questions re: writing, she or her representatives have been good enough to answer me back.

How important are names to you in your books?—- This is an extremely important aspect of writing I believe a lot of people tend to forget or overlook. One book I recommend to anyone who’s looking to write fiction is to buy a copy of Dictionary of First Names. This has masculine and feminine names, ethnic origins, definitions of names, and notable examples. This is extremely important and there’s a science behind naming characters. One cannot just pluck names out of the air, I try to pick names relating to my characters’ traits & personalities.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?—-To be honest I’m not positive, I don’t think anyone can honestly answer this question. Hopefully with some hard work, a little luck, some grand support, and a lot of sales, maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to land on the best sellers’ list multiple times and be able to give back to my parents who’ve given me so much. And with a bit more luck maybe have a movie screenplay picked up by a producer.

Have you always enjoyed writing?—- Yes, I began when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I used to write and draw my own little comic books. It wasn’t until I was in high school, about age 17, when my first writing sparks ignited after first being exposed to an old T.V. show, Kolchak; the Night Stalker. Soon after I began writing for my school newspaper, then I began toying with the idea of writing fiction. It was 1994 when I began writing my first book The Rainbow Warrior: GENESIS.

What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?—- KEEP WRITING!!! You can give in, you can give out, but don’t give up! If you have the idea for a good book, and I don’t just mean fiction, research all you can about whatever topic you’re writing about. Also don’t be afraid to talk to writers who’ve made it. I’m always happy to talk to someone who says “Oh I’ve always wanted to write” or “I’ve got this idea for a book”. Also have some basics on hand; dictionary, thesaurus, a few good notebooks & pens, at least one of each near your bed, if you don’t have a recorder of some kind. And if you do take it with when driving. You’ll never when or where an idea will hit you. Also there are a number of books one can find on any number of subjects and about writing, I’d say be selective. A number of these books repeat themselves. If at a book store I look through them and pick the best ones. And don’t be snobby about where you find books & research material. I’ve come across good research books at second hand book stores. The trick is hunting through the piles, racks, and table you’ll come across

What (when not writing) do you do to support yourself?—- Currently I’m working at the new Buffalo Bills Store, at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. It can be rough at times, but it’s a good job and I work with a good solid crew.

What are you working on now?—- Currently I awaiting the edits of my next book Family Education, which should be debuting sometime in 2015. I’m also writing the fifth book in my series, Family Friend, with plans for my next three books, what I’m calling my serial thriller, the Father’s Day Saga. The Saga will take place over the course of three books and three individual mysteries, the stories will have a sub-plot of a story arch that will change not just John Seraph’s life but almost everyone he knows. I am also working on a Year-0 John Seraph story, which takes place before Family Ties. This is sort of an origins story and explains a bit and takes place before he changed his name. I’m planning on self-publishing this Year-0 story as an e-book and giving it away for free.

It is great to hear that you are busy writing and getting the support you need from your publisher. I hope the best for you and your work!

What is your biggest failure?—- Driving my best friend and the only woman I ever loved out of my life. There isn’t a day I don’t think about her, the mistakes I made, and how’s she is doing.

That sounds like a memoir in the making!

What do you want your tombstone to say?—- Hopefully it’ll read: Christopher G. Eberle (C.G. Eberle); Loving husband, father, son, brother, and loyal friend. A mystery author who believed in honor, justice, truth, and freedom.

CGE image2

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before?-— Italy. I mean the whole country, all 21 regions. If I had the money and time I’d start in the Northern region and make my throughout the entire country and soak up as much of the culture and the people as I can.

CGE image3(Stock Image)

CGE image4

I hope you’re learning to speak the language!

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?—- Find the true love of my life, make her mine, live happily ever after. I’m doubtful of all this, so I’ll have to settle for making writing my career, becoming extremely good at it, and providing for my parents, brother, sister

Never doubt yourself!

Please describe something you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELTE KEY!—- In 1994 when I was writing my first book, The Rainbow Warrior, I had a nightmarish image for my hero, of downtown Buffalo obliterated, and the HSBC Tower having been obliterated. Now during my rewrites after September,11th, 2001 I knew I had to change the scene, so I made the Tower still standing but with an almost, demented, demonic, Jack O’ Lantern face blown into the side of the building.

Contact Information:

Website: http://cavillier1970.wix.com/theamateurdetective#

Blog: http://cavillier1970.wix.com/theamateurdetective

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/chris.eberle.353

CGE image1Downtown Buffalo at dusk. (stock image)

Links:

Publisher’s Website: http://www.melange-books.com/index.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/C.-G.-Eberle/e/B00HX5PT6U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2?qid=1422556691&sr=1-2

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23880558-killer-holidays-a-john-seraph-anthology

Other Interviews: http://joannemyers.blogspot.com/2015/01/author-spotlight-on-christopher-g-eberle.html?zx=378fbe3d9fa2b6d0


I really enjoy interviewing authors and making them a part of my blog,

especially those who are fellow Melange authors

and those whom I’ve met in this industry

who have encouraged and inspired me.

Geri 

 

Marie Lavender on Her Blood At First Sight Series: Clever Title! Clever Girl!

I want you to all to meet Marie Lavender, the Bestselling Author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Is she awesome or what?

ML photo3Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance/fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry.

ML photo2Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March of 2014. Upon Your Honor, released in late April of 2014, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.com/ for further information about her books and her life.

Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Today I am writing about Second Nature, her Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy. 

Can this unique human tame the beast in Alec?

For women and men 18-75, who don’t mind reading romance novels or books about supernatural beings 

The Blood at First Sight Series is about how our characters deal with being in the Other world, a world that will change them forever.

Second Nature is available on the publisher’s website, on Amazon, CreateSpace and Barnes & Noble.

A list of her other books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Tell us something about your books. 

I have written and published twenty books so far. My titles under Marie Lavender are Upon Your Return, Magick & Moonlight, Upon Your Honor and Second Nature. The other sixteen were published under my alternate pen names.

 Where do you write? 

I usually write wherever I can, but a lot of my heavy writing happens at night when I’m in bed.  I also compose on the computer when I’m fully focused on a project.

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I am a bit of both. I start out writing randomly, getting down scenes however they come to me. In the back of my mind, a basic plot has already formed for the most part, but no details have been filled in yet. Eventually, when I am ready to really focus on a project, I start doing a major plot outline and do more writing after that. I use that outline as an anchor of sorts, but I’m not afraid to let my characters go outside of the lines a little.

I think I’ll set up a scale from plotter to panster since most of us have to do a lot of both. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Second Nature finally came to me when I was at my wit’s end about the title. I used a generic title of Love or Blood before it just popped into my head one day. Second Nature made a crazy kind of sense when you really looked hard at the story. The series title came later, and that was about the time that the sequels started nagging at me too. LOL.

Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

Oh, let’s see. I have quite the list. I have to count Nora Roberts, Catherine Coulter, Rosemary Rogers, Tessa Dare, Emma Wildes, J.R. Ward, Kris Tualla, P.C. Cast, Kerrelyn Sparks, Chloe Neill and there are so many more that have brought me to the place where I am today. Even Natalie Goldberg in her way fascinated me, and inspired me to keep writing.

With the exception of a couple of Nora Roberts audiobooks, I have to say that I have read none of these authors’ book. If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters? 

I’ve only thought of the main characters thus far. For Desiree, I would choose Moon Bloodgood, and for Alec, I might pick Matt Bomer.

I had to look them up. I watched/watch Falling Skies but not White CollarHow important are names to you in your books?  

I believe names are very important. Sometimes I go with the way it sounds or I check the meaning to make sure it fits with the character. I did that with a series I have in mind for a set of six books centering on a coven of witches during the time of the Salem witch trials. I also spend a lot of time ruminating on names for my historical novels. One source I use quite often, other than a baby names’ book, is http://www.behindthename.com/. You can search by nationality and gender. You can also find surnames for any nationality there. http://surnames.behindthename.com/

 Thanks for the links! What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

 I would have to say writing my first historical romance novel and getting it published. When Upon Your Return was released, not to mention the moment I received the contract in my inbox, was one of the proudest moments of my life. And the feeling of having a copy in my hands? Priceless.

Good for you! What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

I have a love/hate relationship with research. It can be great fun to learn so much information about a topic, but it can also be frustrating when you are unable to find what you’re looking for. But, as my friends and family know, I am pretty stubborn when I want to be, and I will find that breadcrumb if it kills me. LOL. Another dreaded part of the process is editing. Though it’s a necessary evil, I compare it to jumping off into a dark abyss. You don’t know what will come out on the other side, but you’ll be a better writer for it.

 What can we expect from you in the future?

Well, I’m finishing up final edits on A Little Magick, which is the second book of the Magick Series. It is also a children’s fantasy. I am also writing Upon Your Love, which will be the third and final book of the Heiresses in Love Series. That is a Victorian romantic suspense. I am getting closer to finishing that, and I should be in the editing stages soon enough. So, you will probably see both of those out this year. After that, I plan to focus on the sequels in the Blood at First Sight Series, and I may finish up the last book of the Magick Series.

Do you have a pet or pets?

Yes, I have three cats. When my fiancé and I get married, I will have…yikes! I will have nine of them.

You know, you rarely hear of a “Crazy Cat Man, or a Crazy Cat Couple.  So, I think you’re good! Have you ever dyed your hair an unusual color?

 I tend to choose different shades of red, though I have entertained the idea of doing pink. I think this time I will try purple.

ML image5

That would depend on the shade! Do you make up your bed every morning? 

Yes, I make my bed, or at least pull the covers up to keep cat hair out of the sheets. I have an Egyptian themed comforter and pillows. My entire room is Egyptian right now. I like to try different design schemes.

ML image6Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Provide images if you want.

 I would love to go to Ireland! It’s in my blood, and I’ve always been drawn to the country and the music.

ML image7 Me, too! If you were any plant or animal, what would you be? 

 A white tiger. They are so beautiful!

If you could have any accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

 I love accents! I’d probably choose something European, perhaps British, Irish or Scottish.

 What? Not Irish. Of course, I always get my Irish and Scottish jumbled. Do you have any scars? What are they from?

 I have one defining scar from my childhood, on my leg where I cut myself on a piece of metal. I had to get twelve stitches. It’s pretty faded now, but you can see it if you look close.

What is your favorite song?

 My favorite song right now is “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles. So romantic.

 I listened to it! It’s GREAT! What is your favorite junk food?

 Chocolate, of course! Dark chocolate is my favorite.

Especially with almonds! What is your favorite book?

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward. I love Wrath!

VERY IMPORTANT!!!! Please describe something (significant number of words/a character/entire scene) you “deleted” from your work and why. Because a real writer knows when to hit THE DELETE KEY!

I didn’t worry too much about the length. I never do. My aim is to finish writing the book first, however long it ends up being. Then I can worry about whether it will fit a publisher’s guidelines. Mostly, I don’t try to cut word length, but I do cut out unnecessary words or repetitive things, or rearrange/revise scenes. If I delete anything big, it’s usually something that I decided wasn’t necessary to the story. With regards to Second Nature, the significant scene I thought about cutting (I hadn’t written it yet as it was dancing around in my head) was of Desiree going for a run near Alec’s house, and then something unfortunate occurs. In hindsight, I decided it didn’t fit the first book, but would be perfect for the sequel. I can’t go into too much detail because of spoilers.

Check out these following links to learn more about Marie Lavender and her work.

http://marielavender.com

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com       

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com

http://marielavender.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

http://marielavender.com

http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com

http://marielavender.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58

https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender

https://twitter.com/marielavender1

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender

http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender

http://www.amazon.com/Marie-Lavender/e/B00C10Q94I

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

http://www.thebookcove.com/2015/01/book-spotlight-second-nature-1-blood-at.html

Other Interviews:

http://www.nancychristie.com/o

http://rachaelstapleton.blogspot.ca/2015/01/today-im-interviewing-bestselling.html

https://emmafrostuk.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/interview-with-marie-lavender/

https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/here-is-my-interview-with-marie-lavender/ 

Awards & Speaking engagements: 

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/2014/01/marsocials-author-of-year-competition.html

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/made-the-top-25-on-authors-database/

neonone/2015/02/01/one-on-one-with-romance-novelist-marie-lavender-part-one/

http://rachaelstapleton.blogspot.ca/2015/01/today-im-interviewing-bestselling.html

https://emmafrostuk.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/interview-with-marie-lavender/

https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/22/here-is-my-interview-with-marie-lavender/

https://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/reminder-to-vote-for-the-bts-red-carpet-book-awards/

http://youtu.be/dFzeKq1z5Vo

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2014/11/09/any-which-way-but-loose-with-bennet-pomerantz

I have truly enjoyed this opportunity to get know Marie Lavender better.

She is an incredibly prolific writer and I hope the very best for her continued success.

Geri

ML photo1“A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night, a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.”

-Ana Alas