Monday, June 29, 2015

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Deborah M. Piccurelli

Book Giveaway June 29 – July 6: You have a chance to win an Inspirational Romance, Love Comes Calling. To enter the contest, make a comment about the interview. E-book: International.

After years of reading books and watching movies with an element of romance, Deborah M. Piccurelli’s desire to write romance novels came naturally. She is active in her church and is an advocate for sanctity of life. Deborah is the author of two romantic suspense novels, a romantic novella and several cause-related newspaper articles. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the New Jersey Society of Christian Writers. Deborah lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two sons.

This is such a touching love story. I loved the way Derek was so compassionate towards Charlotte, known as Charlie. His mannerisms toward her were so touching, yet masculine. Even though his main purpose was to make things right with her, their growing attraction for one another was the main focus of this story. I would most definitely pick this book up and read it again.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Welcome to my blog, Deborah. I love your book cover. Please tell us about your Inspirational Romance.

Here’s the back cover blurb for Love Comes Calling: The day new Christian, Derek Spencer, shows up on Charlie Parkes’s doorstep to make up for what he’d done, is the very day he falls in love with her. But Charlie’s sister mistakes him for a home improvement contractor, and he decides to play along until he finds a way to tell her who he really is.

Charlie is attracted to Derek, but knows the attention he pays her is only flattery. How could such a great-looking guy fall for someone with a face like hers? Nevertheless, the two form a relationship that brings a joy to Charlie that’s way beyond her wildest dreams. But what will happen when Derek’s true identity is revealed?

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Well, I dislike saying this, because we writers always want our readers to think we get our stories by some great inspiration, but, for this novella, everything was strictly made up for a purpose. By that I mean that some years ago, a well-known publisher had advertised that they would be accepting submissions for four different anthologies. Each one had a specific theme. I chose the one called, “A well-kept secret.” I had to come up with a story to fit that theme, and I devised the plot for Love Comes Calling.

After somewhere from 3-6 months of writing it, I submitted it on the first day they were accepting submissions. The next day, I received an email from the publisher saying they had decided not to publish that particular anthology. Shortly after that, I heard they had stopped doing anthologies altogether. So this novella had been sitting around for a long, long time until I heard that Prism was running a contest. I submitted, became one of three winners, submitted the full manuscript and was ultimately offered a contract. I praise God for Prism and for how it all came about!

I’m so glad that you were accepted because I totally enjoyed your book. What kind of research did you have to do?

Since I knew very little about ballet, I did some online research on that. And if I remember correctly, I may have made a phone call to a home improvement contractor with questions on the type of work Derek and Greg were doing in Charlie’s basement.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.

Charlotte Parkes, nicknamed Charlie, is a very strong woman, yet, a little insecure, at times. But she is also strong in the Lord. Derek doesn’t realize it, but she had already forgiven him for what he did to her before they even met.

The story shows Charlie’s resourcefulness. Since she cannot work in her chosen profession, she contributes to household finances through other talents and skills she possesses.

The two things I like best about Charlie is her loyalty, learned through growing up in a tight-knit family, and her determination. Though, at times, she may allow herself a short pity party, she never lets what happened to her keep her down.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I guess I could say that, like Charlie, I am also loyal. If you tell me something in confidence, it will never go farther than that. Many times, I still won’t reveal a thing to anyone even if I wasn’t told it in confidence, because it’s not my place to do so. My husband never has to worry that when I’m with friends, I’ll talk about him the way some women do about their husbands. I just can’t do that! Not that there is anything to complain about, anyway, but I think you know what I mean.

That is so admirable. I also believe it’s important to treat our spouses with respect. Thanks for this awesome interview, Deborah.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales – Now an Audiobook!



Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors – Now an Audiobook!

I grew up reading the My Bookhouse Books—a 1921 series of historical fiction volumes for children. They made a huge impression on me that I did not recognize until life slowed down for me in my fifties. Then I turned back to what I realized was embedded in my heart—history and historical fiction.

I had read Dickens in school—but didn’t slow down to realize how much I loved it. Then during a pregnancy that I had to spend in bed, I read the same books again before getting back to my busy life.

When the 2008 recession took my job I felt lost at sea, but as I began to drift what came to the surface around me was the Jane Austen movies I was watching, the historical dramas, the Palliser series on Netflix that were coming to an end.  What would I do now? I knew there had to be more stories, and I would be the one to write them!

An old computer held up just long enough for my first book, The Companion of Lady Holmeshire. But promoting it after publication had me frustrated. I began to write historical blog posts, but research for the blog took up all my time. So I started a blog and invited 30 other authors to write a history post, one of us each day. With all of us promoting the blog, it developed a good readership. At the end of the first year, one of the authors suggested we select posts and make them into a book. Thus was born the first volume of Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors.

Castles, Customs, and Kings is now available in audiobook form as well as digital and paperback! It has been well received and reviewed for the last one and a half years, and Volume II is in production. Watch for the second volume in September 2015.

You may buy this audio at Audible Audiobooks at Amazon.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Interview with Inspirational Author Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a reader even before she could read. She has always loved books and would pretend to read even before the skill to read sunk in. She has loved to write for almost the same amount of time. Kathryn has published 7 books to date. Two mysteries, two Christian fiction books, two nonfiction books and one middle reader. She has also published short stories and articles for newspapers and magazines throughout her 20+ years as an author.

"An excellent story...She really gets inside Samantha's head in a very realistic way." --Bob Spear, Heartland Reviews

"This book is insightful, emotional, sensitive, and therapeutic—perfect for children who are trying to deal with divorce. -- Jennifer LB Leese, Children's Book Review Columnist, Fiction Forum for Kids

"This book will have you laughing and crying and wishing there was more..." --Beverly J. Rowe, Editor,

Welcome back to my blog, Kathryn. This is an LDS based Inspirational story. Please tell us about your book, A River of Stones.

Samantha’s mother and father have divorced and she’s left standing in the middle of the separation. Along with her brother, Luke, Samantha traverses pain, guilt and loneliness as she takes on a new father and a new step-brother. Her only solace comes from her best friend, June, and the neighborhood kids who flock around her. One day Samantha is shown The Book of Mormon. She knows nothing about Mormon’s but soon realizes she must make a choice. Get the help of God from this new-found book, or go it alone without them both.

Samantha is a young girl who finds her world turned upside down in one brief moment. Her secure world is shaken with the abrupt departure of her father. Left behind with no explanations, she takes solace in her two best friends, Bruce and June. She is soon faced with a myriad of changes, including a new stepfather and a stepbrother she didn't want. Over the next two years, as she rapidly approaches adolescence, lonely young Sam discovers a world that holds pain and bitterness, as well as love, and is introduced to a mysterious book that could change her life.

A River of Stones chronicles the pain of divorce and growing up in the life of a young, adolescent girl. Penned with the heart of experience, the author touches the deepest recesses of a young girl's hopes, dreams, and fears as she searches for answers no one has been willing to give her. From the pain of losing a parent to divorce, to the joy of hopeful possibility, Kathryn Jones takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and promise.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

A River of Stones is my first book. I began writing the story just to clear the air a bit with my own upbringing and the fact that my parents also divorced when I was young. It soon became apparent that this story needed to be written.

What age group would enjoy this story the most?

This story is unique in that the young as well as the young at heart will enjoy it. It is LDS based, but keep in mind that many of us search for God in our times of need and Samantha was also searching and found the Mormon Church. The story appeals to those whose parents have recently divorced, those who are struggling to make sense of their parents' divorce, even those who have divorced themselves and want to understand what their children are going through.

Please tell us about the main character in this story.

10-year-old Samantha is imaginative, so she imagines up all sorts of reasons why her parents have divorced. When her mother re-marries and she suddenly has a new step-brother, she is caught in the mix of loving her mother and trying to make sense of a new dad and a new brother in her life, though she has no idea where her own father has gone. Samantha is a real friend, but her vivid imagination gets her into trouble at times and she is constantly wishing for a better life.

Where can my readers find you online?

Readers can find me at: or at They can connect with me on twitter @kakido or visit me at:

Thank you, Linda, for inviting me.

Thanks for this sweet interview, Kathryn. I hope this book will help many children to heal and to understand their own feelings when it comes to separation.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author Sherrill S. Cannon

Sherrill S. Cannon is a former teacher and a grandmother of ten, who is also an Award-Winning Best-Selling Author! Her previous books My Fingerpaint Masterpiece, Manner-Man, Gimme-Jimmy, The Magic Word, Peter and the Whimper-Whineys, and Santa’s Birthday Gift have received twenty-nine 2011-14 National and International awards. Most of her books try to teach something, like good manners and consideration for others.

All of her books are now part of two fundraisers, one for the anti-bullying campaign at at and another to help find a cure for Juvenile Myositis, an incurable children's disease at -- 50% of the cost of her books on these sites will go directly to each organization!

This is an adorable story about a child's misunderstandings about the computer. It's totally done in rhyme and I loved it. My kids and grandchildren have always loved stories in rhyme. Thanks for another fun children's book.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

It’s always a pleasure to have you on my blog, Sherrill. Please tell us about your new Children’s Book, Mice & Spiders & Webs… Oh My!

Mice; Spiders; Webs…Oh My! illustrates the importance of being a good listener.  It also is a cute introduction to basic computer terms. Rosemary is worried about returning to school, after her teacher has warned the class that they would soon have some mice, spiders and webs in the classroom.  Could Rosemary have misunderstood something?   
I read this book to my granddaughter and she laughed. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I thought it would be fun to combine the need for good listening skills with some “Computer Speak”.  It also tries to show the importance of both parents and teachers being supportive when children misunderstand.  (It’s also quite enjoyable when one sees the look on a child’s face when that “now I get it” expression happens!!!)

Is it easy or difficult to create rhyme for each of your books?

I have always loved to write poetry, and I strive to have children hear the “music of the words”.  My friends sometimes accuse me of thinking in rhyme!  The problem with many rhyming books is that there is often little or no meter.  It is not enough if there are two lines that have a word that rhymes at the end of the line – because the cadence of the words is equally important! The sound of the words also matters in word choices, so that words such as said, replied, and responded are all interchangeable – but not in poetry! I could go on and on, but if anyone would like to learn more, please send me a message.

Wow! So that is why some poetry flows easily and others don’t. Now I understand. You love to write children’s books. Where do you find all your ideas for your stories?

Having been a teacher, as well as mother and grandmother, there is always a constant source of material if one listens to children!  All of my books try to teach something to do with consideration for others, disguised as fun stories.  I don’t care for the “anything for a laugh” approach that some children’s authors take.  Children learn from what they read, and it is important that they read books with positive attitudes and values.

That is so true. Where can my readers find you online?

All my books are available on and

Thanks for this awesome interview, Sherrill. I hope my readers will check out your children’s books.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Interview with Inspirational YA Author Gail Pallotta

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. A 2013 Grace Awards finalist, she’s been a best-selling author on All Romance eBooks and in amazon’s paid kindle store. Her credits include three published books, two short stories, and a couple hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Visit Gail’s web site at

Mountain of Love and Danger is a modern day fairytale of Jack and the Beanstalk, with cell phones and all. This story is fast paced and delightful. From chapter one to the last chapter there is plenty of suspense as you watch Jack try to figure out where his girlfriend has been taken. This story was written for young adults to appreciate. As an adult, I totally enjoyed it.” --Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. Please tell us about your new book, Mountain of Love and Danger. By the way, what genre is this novel?

This fairy tale retelling is a fantasy with romance and mystery. In it Jack Greenthumb finds romance in Fairwilde Kingdom—a different day—a different girl. Then a cruel mystery begins. Dad’s beaten, the family farm destroyed and Jack’s true love, Gwendolyn Bante, kidnapped. Jack’s undercover operation reveals Gwenie’s a captive atop a mountain accessible only by helicopter. Reaching her is a dangerous expedition even for a champion rock climber like Jack. However, a Greenthumb Acres employee plants a miraculous seed from Heaven for the rescue. Suspense mounts as Jack scales the perilous cliff to face a brute and a treacherous descent in this retelling of the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.

This is my favorite question. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I belong to a Christian critique group with four other authors. Mildred Colvin’s son, Jonathan, suggested we write a series of fairy tales and self-publish them. We thought it was a great idea, so we did. I chose a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk because I thought it would lend itself to romance and mystery if Jack’s true love were at the top of the beanstalk. I enjoy reading and writing in that genre.

Mountain of Love and Danger is fifth in the series. The books are tied together by the setting, Fairwilde Kingdom. The others are At the Edge of a Dark Forest, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Connie Almony; Red and the Wolf, retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, by June Foster; Mirror on the Fall, retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by Mildred and Jonathan Colvin; Swept Away, retelling of Cinderella, by Vanessa Riley.

A bunch of fairy tales? How interesting! What kind of research did you do?

I thoroughly researched rock and mountain climbing. Fortunately, I know someone active in the sport and called on him to review all of the pages involving the climb and the descent of the perilous cliff. I also researched police procedures for vandalism and kidnapping.   

Awesome! Now that’s impressive. You love to write young adult romances. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

I enjoy writing that reflects the world around me, and I like young people. Over the years I’ve had lots of fun spending time with them. Then too, we’re a family who loves sports, so as a youngster our daughter chose to participate in swimming. Stopped Cold tells the story of a fictitious family based on my observations of being involved with young people not only in swimming but also as a volunteer literary instructor in the schools and various other activities. In Mountain of Love and Danger, which is a fantasy, I strove to make the book fun and fanciful as fairy tales are to me. I think young love can be a magical time, and in the case of Jack and Gwenie it turns out to be true love.

My next book, Barely above Water, is an adult romance, but it has adorable, wonderful young people in it. In the book an illness comes out of nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her boyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. She turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida, and takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer league swim team. She’s determined to turn the
sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her mysterious affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but must overcome his fear of losing someone close, then regain Suzie’s trust. She relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, financial burdens without permanent employment, and heartbreak in this contemporary romance.

Thanks for telling my readers about your books. Where can my readers find you online?

Facebook - Authors and More Page -

Thanks, Gail, for this wonderful interview. I hope my readers will check out your books.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Carole Brown

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, and the simple life. And her grandsons! Did she mention their grandsons?!

“With Music In Their Hearts is a mystery romance. This is the most adorable mystery ever! Emma Jaine is a strong character and I really like her. Not only does she run a boarding house, but she also takes care of her father and two younger sisters. She’s a spunky and pretty woman, and a few men at the boarding house are attracted to her.

“Tyrell is a good-looking man and absolutely adorable when he teases and flirts with Emma Jaine. He is a reverend, a minster of a nearby church, but at the same time he’s an undercover agent for the government. His flirtations with Emma are appropriate for a minister and you can see the attraction between the two. I love the mystery that goes along with the romance. Romance and mystery make a book so much fun to read.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Welcome to my blog, Carole. This book is a World War II Spy Trilogy. Please tell us about it: With Music in Their Hearts.

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Where can my readers find your books?

What kind of research did you have to do?

Lots of it, and since I love research, it wasn’t a hardship. I researched:

Phrases and words common to the 1940s.
Fashion, including men’s hats and suits, women’s hats and clothing, and styles
Music: songs especially
A bit about the area, although I have lived for awhile in the Cincinnati area, so knew some.
Some about ammunition

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.

I have two main characters: Emma Jaine Rayner and Tyrell Walker, but I will focus on Emma Jaine for this question.

She’s the oldest red-headed daughter of Papa (Ossie) Rayner. Since her mother died ten years before, she’s taken over the care of her two younger sisters, and her father. The responsibility has given her a rather over-bearing attitude in some ways, and only when Tyrell Walker shows up with his teasing, does she come to life and realize she wants what all the young women her age--and younger--are wanting: a MAN! 

I love how Tyrell teases Emma Jaine. He is so adorable. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I love life--not the hardships and trials. Lol. But the privilege of having another day to enjoy. I love elephants and many other animals. I like learning about new things (research). I love real cheesecake and Christmas and well, most holidays or any chance to be with family and friends. I enjoy collecting rocks and music boxes. I love traveling and we have visited ¾ of the United States. I love cities at night and the country anytime. Love misty valleys and rolling streams, crashing ocean waves and waterfalls. I love photography, scrap booking, good food and the simple life. Most of all I adore my three grand boys--God sent! And God himself.

Now that’s quite a handful of things you just named, Carole. Thank you for this fun interview. It was enjoyable getting to know you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author Louie Lawent

Louie Lawent is the author of the picture book "Gerty The Pig" which is in schools across the United States. The book is part of the National Accelerated Readers Program. He is also a lyricist with his works featured on rock, country and children's releases. Louie co-wrote 10 children's songs with Steve Goodie which are featured on Steve's "Refrigerator Art" CD. Also, he co-wrote "Worms In The Can, Wieners On The Bun" on Canadian children's recording artist Erick Traplin's CD "A Little More." Louie is an avid Green Bay Packers fan and enjoys table tennis.

Welcome to my blog, Louie. Please tell us about your children’s book: Momma Don't You Worry.

The tale is told through the voice of a boy who's almost 6 years old and wants his independence. He feels like he's too old to have to hold on to his mom's hand when they're out and about. When he breaks away from his mom in a shopping mall, he gets lost. Then he must decide what to do.

I read this book and it’s so cute. Its only 9 pages and done in rhyme. Here is an example to whet your “reading appetite.”

When we’re crossing busy streets
My mom always insists
“Put your little hand in mine”

She watches me with eagle eyes
Like I’m a treasured jewel
She cramps my style, oh man alive

The author writes “Thank God” in this rhyme and I figured the boy was actually thanking God for helping him to find his mother when he was lost. Where did you get your inspiration for this book, Louie? From life experiences?

I came up with this idea quite a while ago. I can't pinpoint how it came to be, but yes, I do get many ideas from life experiences, whether it be from something a friend says, or something that someone I know does. For instance, one day I was in a post office and 2 kids were sitting side by side - a boy and a girl - probably 4 to 6 years old. The girl said something to the younger boy and I thought "that would be a great title for a children's song" and I then wrote a lyric. One of my grandmas was a packrat. I wrote a lyric entitled "A Packrat's Mind" that eventually became a song I co-wrote with Wayne Hamilton who sings it. He reformed it and added to it and it's a real catchy folk song.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him.

I love that the little boy wants to assert his independence, but at the same time recognizes that he has to do it on the sly because he knows he will be in trouble if all goes wrong.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Well, when I was in kindergarten, apparently I scrambled across the street when school let out. The kindergarten teacher wrote on my report card something like this, "You should talk to Louis about crossing streets. He's had a couple of narrow escapes."

Thank you, Louie, for this interview. Louie’s children’s book, Momma Don't You Worry, is only $1.29. There is no book giveaway for this interview but you can purchase it at Amazon.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Interview with a Inspriational Romance Author Diane Dean White

Diane started her writing career at an early age when she asked for a typewriter for Christmas. She pounded the keys writing poetry and short stories in grade school on an old black Royal manual. She wrote for a local newspaper, covering hard news and feature stories including a column called: “Yankee Viewpoint’s”. She enjoys ancestral history and writing donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations. She is the author of Beach Walks, Carolina in the Morning, On a Summer Night, Stories from a Porch Swing, Winter Wonderland and Texting Mr. Right. Diane is also the author of over three-hundred short stories. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-two years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.

Welcome back to my blog, Diane. I love the book cover. It's draws me into the story. Please tell us about Texting Mr. Right.

Thank you, Linda. This is a novella set it my home state of Michigan. I write mostly inspirational romance and suspense, but this was purely romance. I used the familiar setting at my parent’s cottage on Lake Michigan to introduce readers. The story is fictional but the cities are real.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I wanted to do a story that included the area in Michigan around the great lake, and the cottage. I was asked to write something by a publisher, and sadly a few months after she published this, she dissolved her company. The book was relinquished back to me, so this
April, I did some small edits and it’s now back on Amazon. On both e-book and paperback.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The area, which is a few hours north of major metro cities in Michigan, is well known to me. But things such as diseases contracted from deer, which are popular and how they are treated took some research. Although our son and daughter-in-love are stateside after six years in the mission field, they now live in California and helped with research there. I take readers on a tour of that area. I constantly do research to be sure names I use aren’t real in a city, and had fun writing this story.

Please tell us about one of the main characters in this story and what you like about him or her.

Megyn is the main character and she has just graduated from college…she watches friends marry and wonders why she hasn’t found Mr. Right. Soon she finds him, but they don’t live in the same part of the state. (Relationships are often separated with both spouses working today.) So when Megyn falls in love she seeks God for guidance, in hopes she and Brandon can make it work…praying, but wondering how. I enjoyed creating a number of characters…Megyn’s girl friend’s mother, Mrs. Young, is a fun-loving woman, and Megyn’s own mother is a character. Brandon is handsome, computer savvy, and knows what he wants in a wife.

Where can my readers find you online?

This book is presently in ebook and paperback on Amazon, and other booksellers.
My website is:
YouTube video for Texting Mr. Right:

Thanks for this awesome interview, Diane. If this video doesn't make you want to read this story, I don't know what would. Great video! 

"Texting Mr. Right was a fun love story. Brandon was an awesome guy in this story. He was attracted to Megyn right away and their love grew quickly. I love how the author developed his loving personality, using a pet name for Megyn that is so charming… he calls her Beautiful. Megyn reminded me of my own daughters and her pet name for Brandon was Handsome. This story is unique because it doesn't have that old unrealistic misunderstanding between the couple: get mad, stay mad for a few chapters, then make up. Diane White allows the couple to think about their problem, lets the couple try to solve it, and still be wildly in love at the same time. The ending is delightful and totally unlike other love stories, because the author chooses to end the last chapter on their honeymoon. How fun is that!" --Review written by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Monday, May 4, 2015

Interview with Historical Biographer Author Anna Ray Jones

Anna Ray-Jones is the author of Sustainable Architecture in Japan. She has also written several screenplays including The Haunting of Rachel Gottlieb, a semi-finalist in the Nicholl’s Screenwriting Fellowships of 2005, and There Might be Angels, a finalist for the Kairos Screenwriting Prize of 2009. Her short story, Him Woolly, was a winner of the new fiction prize of 2009 awarded by the Journal of Arts and the Environment. Her next book, a work in progress, is called Loom Song, a novel about Irish linen weavers shipped out as felons to Australia in 1828. She is currently a Senior Vice-President at the PR agency of Donley Communications in New York City.

Despite a story set in, and surrounded by, horrific events, ‘Journey of Ashes: A Boyhood in the Holocaust’ does not allow those events to dominate or to become ‘the story.’ Instead, it captures the human perseverance for normalcy during even the most abnormal and abhorrent of circumstances.” – Sherrie Dulworth

Welcome to my blog, Anna. Please tell us about Journey of Ashes.
Journey of Ashes presents a literary interpretation of a child’s recollections of growing up in Krakow surrounded by the Holocaust.  In this uplifting story we are introduced to Roman Ferber, a boy whose humor, courage and sturdy sense of self outshines the sun, even in the darkest days of the Nazi era in Poland. His biography displays a delicate balance between humor and tragedy and explores the striving for normalcy in the face of the unimaginable. 

Journey of Ashes offers up humor and grace, cunning, spirituality, friendship and betrayal as among the well honed tools of endurance.  The transition to the death camps is shocking, yet the book exalts the sustaining power of a child’s belief.  Despite facing unimaginable cruelties, Roman held fast to the pledge made to his lost father that he would survive at any cost.  This book confirms that shining promise.

Roman Ferber is a holocaust survivor. He was born in Poland in 1933 and spent his childhood confined by the Nazis in several prison camps including Auschwitz. You are the co-author of Roman’s story. How did this come about? 

We found each other on Craig’s list after a friend of mine saw his post looking for a writer to tell his story. We met and got along well. Initially, we had planned on a non-fiction book derived from interviews but after nine months of discussion, I had a very dull manuscript that was not satisfying to either of us.  Also, Roman didn’t want to do any writing himself--he felt it all should come from the interviews that regrettably weren’t good. I think he never realized that to write the book he wanted, he would have to lay open his soul for all the world to see.  But Roman was reluctant and fearful (and understandably so) to dig deep into personal recollections about his wartime experience, so no emotional investigations at all seemed possible. I certainly did not have the heart to quit on the project but needed a completely different approach to take it forward. It was then I had the idea to reinterpret Roman’s story as a semi-fictionalized memoir.

Thankfully, I could draw on my accumulated knowledge of the Shoah and my Polish travel notes and use that knowledge to expand his story into a kind of “theater of experience,” whereby not only would the story be centered on him but would integrate characters around him that were real, that he knew or may have encountered, and also I could compose composite characters who would have been archetypes of the period.  Two examples are: the Catholic Pharmacist in the Krakow Ghetto named Tadeusz Pankiewicz, who helped Jews in a hundred different ways, and who interacted with Roman’s brother, Manek. The Pharmacist’s role and many of his brave acts are highlighted in my book, as are those of his opposite, a German officer named Walter Mueller, who went insane after a day of killing in the Ghetto and shot himself.  While Pankiewicz was a real person, Mueller is a composite soldier based on real-life case histories I researched of Nazi officers who lost their minds from the atrocities they agreed to commit.
What happened to Roman after he was liberated from the prison camp?

After the liberation, he was rehabilitated in what had become the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen Belsen in northwestern Gemany. In 1949, at the age of 16, he immigrated with his mother to the USA and settled in New Jersey. For over three decades, he served under several mayors and held key positions in the city government of New York including: Special Assistant to the Deputy Mayor for Business & Community Development, Director of Manufacturing & Wholesaling, Director of Business Development, and Director of Job Development & Treasurer of the NYC Job Development Loan Program.

Thank you for telling us about Roman Ferber, Anna. To learn more, visit Check out Roman’s story on Amazon.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author Amy Hauer

Amy Hauer is an avid reader, a lover of non-fiction and children’s picture books. She is also an avid photographer, her camera never far from her hand. The Emily Grace Series, which teaches preschoolers to read, uses her photography to illustrate each adventure. Amy lives in upstate New York with her husband and three daughters—all of whom provide much inspiration for her  stories—but her youngest daughter serves as the subject of the Emily Grace Series.

Welcome to my blog, Amy. Please tell us about your children’s books, The Emily Grace Series.

Thank you so much for having me. What an honor! Well, The Emily Grace books are non-fiction tales about a young girl’s real adventures as she visits, discovers and interacts with the world around her. Whether it’s a flower shop, a garden with worms, or picking pumpkins and apples, each story is different. Emily Grace is naturally curious about everything and through these books, young readers can discover things as she does. Each book is designed to help children build their reading skills through sight words and repetition.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Inspiration comes from so many things in my life. I am an artist and love to create, so ideas come from everything around me. My children are a big inspiration! I also spent the last 13 years as a preschool teacher, so I know what the children I taught loved to read: books that engaged them and held their attention. Adventure was a big part of that, and any book that they can feel a part of they wanted to hold onto. I found that there were books that weren’t written for this age group, but should be. I love nature and how things work. I love the seasons and how things change. I also love the idea that I can give something to the kids I taught that they hadn’t seen: interaction through their natural world. By inviting them into Emily Grace’s world, they can go along for the adventure as if they were there.

What kind of research did you have to do?

Being that this series is non-fiction, I needed to research how things grow. Emily Grace Goes Pumpkin Picking shows how seeds change into plants by showing the life cycle of the pumpkin in a kid-friendly way. With both Emily Grace Plants a Garden and Emily Grace Goes to a Flower Shop, our research came from visiting a flower shop and talking with the staff, and then capturing Emily Grace learning from hands-on experience. One of the best parts of Emily Grace Plants a Garden came when Emily discovered a group of worms digging their own holes in the dirt as she dug holes for her flowers. By experiencing that, she was able to both see and learn just how valuable worms are for a garden. In the coming months, The Emily Grace series will find her visiting the NASA Space Center in Florida, as well as an aquarium, a veterinarian, a fire station, and an emergency medical services provider in her “People in Our Community” books.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about her.

Emily Grace is the young girl in each of The Emily Grace series books. She is naturally curious about the world around her. She loves to ask why—a lot. Emily Grace, like most children her age, looks at the world with eyes wide open. She often sees things with a curiosity we adults have lost. I found that by joining Emily Grace, as both the author and photographer, I was able to chronicle her adventures as she navigates the world around her while learning about things at the same time.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I am quite good at doing a rooster impression and a witch’s cackle. Hey, maybe that’s an idea for two more Emily Grace books. Emily Grace on a farm and going out on Halloween!

HAHA! Thank you very much, Amy, for this awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your children’s books.