Monday, August 31, 2015

Interview with Historical Fiction Author Bruce Judisch

Bruce Judisch was born in Canton, Ohio. After serving over 21 years in the US Air Force, he settled with his family in San Antonio, Texas. He and his wife, Jeannie, are parents of three, and grandparents of fourteen. Bruce loves writing historical fiction, teaching, camping, and playing the 12-string guitar.

Welcome to my blog, Bruce. Please tell us about your two novels, Katia and For Maria.

First of all, thanks so much, Linda, for hosting me. I hope I’ll have something of value—and fun—to leave with your readers. Both books are hybrid contemporary/historical works, in that they have a modern-day storyline and a parallel mid-20th-century storyline.

Katia centers on post-WWII and the Cold War in East Berlin, Germany, and the sequel For Maria deals with the “Kindertransport,” 1934-1945, during which thousands of children were saved from concentration camps and fostered overseas to await reunion with their families. The contemporary storylines in both novels feature Madeline “Maddy” McAllister, an exchange student in Katia and young journalist in For Maria. She is the prime driver of the crux events in both stories.

I love historical fiction because I learn so much about history. Where did you get your inspiration for these books?

Katia was inspired by a scene I witnessed in Berlin, Germany, in 1989 at the fall of the Berlin Wall. For Maria follows the story of twin infant girls, briefly introduced in Katia, as they transit Europe in the Kindertransport.

What kind of research did you do?

Both the contemporary and historical settings for Katia were driven by the circumstances surrounding the Berlin Wall, which, of course, dictated their placement in Berlin. There was some academic research involved; however, I was eyewitness to many of the events in the story—which made it easier and a lot of fun to write.

The historical setting of For Maria is wide ranging, covering Poland, Austria, France, Spain, Portugal, and the United States. The contemporary setting takes place in Madeline’s hometown:  Saginaw, Michigan, and my hometown, San Antonio, Texas. I have no idea why I chose Saginaw, other than it stuck with me after hearing it many years ago in the Paul Simon song, America. Deep, huh?

Research on For Maria was both time intensive and emotionally exhausting. The greatest joy was befriending some of the alumni of the Kindertransport I interviewed, now in their 80s. It’s largely their story I tell.

How long did it take to write the book, including preliminary work?

Amazingly, I wrote the first draft of Katia in 30 days (76.5K words). The story just flowed from the, the keyboard. Of course, editing it into something readable took a year, but that’s not too bad for a part-time author. The story was a joy to write and is still Jeannie’s favorite.

For Maria was a different story, literally. It took about a year and a half to complete a satisfactory first draft. The research time and emotional investment from the historical subject matter contributed to that sometimes heartbreaking journey. A few times I had to step away from the manuscript for a couple of weeks just to clear my mind.

It sounds like it was emotionally exhausting. Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about her.

I suppose Madeline would be the main-main character, as she is central in both books. She’s a spunky redhead who tends to stick her foot in her mouth more often than chocolate—which is saying something. I absolutely love her for both her foibles and her strengths; in short, her humanity. If Katia were to be made into a movie—a suggestion more than one reader has made to me—think of Amy Adams. I can think of no other.

The other main character in Katia is the title character. She’s a 60-year-old matron; stoic, formal, and very set in her ways. I love her for her heart, her faith, and her grit in the face of what life has dealt her. The change both she and Maddy undergo during their association is heartwarming and humorous, but not without its missteps. I’m less sure who would play Katia on the big screen (Meryl Streep, perhaps, or Vanessa Redgrave?).
I would be remiss to leave out the other main character in Katia, Oskar. A more lovable character you’ll never meet, if I may say so. Quiet, unassuming, and harboring a painful secret that threatens his whole existence—a secret the impetuous Maddy wrestles from him, and then has no idea what to do with. For Oskar’s part, think of Ernest Borgnine 30 years ago.

Awesome! You have definitely helped us imagine what your characters are like with your examples. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Oh my. Compared to my characters, I’m quite forgettable. I do have fun with my writing though, being mostly a seat-of-the-pants writer. If the characters don’t chime in, the story doesn’t get written. I love the first (and last) lines from the movie Miss Potter, in which Rene Zellweger, as the title character Beatrix Potter utters, “There's something delicious about writing those first few words of a story. You can never quite tell where they will take you.”  How true!

You can see more about me and my writing at and on my FaceBook author page. Thanks again, Linda, for the opportunity to reach out to your readers. It’s been fun!

Thank you, Bruce, for this wonderful interview. I have enjoyed getting to know about your books and you. I hope my readers will check out your books.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Interview with Humorous Christian Author Gay N. Lewis

Gay N. Lewis has a background in video production and interior design. She is a pastor’s wife and has three daughters and four grandchildren. Gay lives in Fulshear, TX and is the author of seven books in the Sarah Series, with more to come. All of the Sarah books are filled with humor and are on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List.

Sarah, a dyslexic angel, arrives from The Heavenlies to unite couples into lasting relationships.  Problem? Well, Sarah is always lost, loves red stilettos and falls down often.  When she must appear as a mortal, she can’t find a proper human disguise. Havoc and Mayhem should be her middle name. Sarah is a combination of I Love Lucy, I Dream of Jeanie, and Touched by an Angel rolled into one. The Sarah books are filled with humor and Christian inspiration.  Sarah’s shortcomings make it easy for the reader to identify with her.

Welcome to my blog, Gay. We are going to discuss your last four books in the Sarah Series. Sarah is an angel who helps humans in time of need. These books are available as ebooks, hard copies, and as an audiobook. Where did you get your inspiration for this series?

I love this question and thanks Linda for having me! I’ve written nonfiction for years, but when I ventured into novels, I wrote a book which I’m still waiting for it to see daylight. Choices is a historical story and the genre is Women’s Fiction. At the time, I didn’t understand the difference between women’s fiction and romance and sent my book to the wrong agents.

Getting nowhere fast, a friend told me about the local RWA chapter. I joined and discovered the difference between the two genres. While at the meeting, I learned romance with vampires and werewolves sold as hot commodities. Such stories were impossible for me, but as I listened, the thought of a goofy, dyslexic angel came to mind.

I wrote the first book, Little Angel Screw Up and sent it to Prism Book Group. Two days later, I received a contract. The publisher changed the name to Sarah: A Mission of Love. After the success of the first book, Prism Book Group now signs me to three contracts at a time. I recently finished one—it is currently in the editing stage. I have one to start and another book after that. I hope Sarah ideas keep coming my way.

Please give us a description of Sarah and the Internet Dating Service.

Thanks for asking. This book came to mind from my personal lack of savvy in computer skills. Two of my daughters and one nephew met through an Internet service, so I decided Sarah should try her hand, and of course, she knows nothing of computers.

The Superiors give Sarah a challenging assignment and send her to earth. She is to spur a romantic relationship between Karen Newton and Jeremy Spencer. The dyslexic angel has managed to unite couples previously, but never through the Internet! Since the couple knows each other and work in a Houston oil company, Sarah wonders why she must use that irksome computer gadget to trigger romance. The Superiors should have dispatched one of the angel techy geeks instead of her.  After all, she is known in The Heavenlies as “Little Miss Goof Up.”

When Karen faces danger, Sarah realizes she must get a correct email message to Jeremy. But how?  She’s already created multiple cyber fiascoes with her Internet attempts. Perhaps she should ignore orders and find other means to alert Jeremy. Poopty doopty—it would mean a reprimand on Cloud Five. Should she risk it? Uh-oh. Do angels get headaches?  It looks as though Sarah is headed for one.

Please tell us about Sarah and the Scary Ferris Wheel.

The publisher gave me this theme. Perhaps it came from a personal fear of Ferris wheels. I refuse to ride rollercoasters. Sarah isn’t afraid of heights, but she is terrified of the ocean.

Sarah is given a new mission—to link Robert Johnson and Brittany Lee—two people she encountered while trying to bring a couple together on that irksome computer Internet dating service. Oh sure, she’d done it. Not without trial and a lot of error, but with this fresh assignment, trouble would come again, she was positive.

If she hadn’t grumbled about the computer, maybe the Lieutenant wouldn’t have ordered her to ride the Galveston Ferris wheel. She’d seen the huge rotation device built over the Gulf of Mexico, and the very thought of a ride on that monster made her nauseous.  What if she threw up on the humans? Oh merciful heavens!  Why did the Superiors give such tasks to bumbling angels anyway?

The next book in this series is called Sarah and a Dad for Mandy. Please tell us about it.

I love writing about children. Little Mandy captured my heart in Sarah and the Internet Dating Service. She appears in Sarah and the Scary Ferris Wheel too.

Sarah receives instructions to find a mate for Galena Maddox and a dad for six year old Mandy. Sarah is one angel headed for trouble—again.  Pesky human disguises cause distress, and at one point, the earthlings think she’s a fugitive from a mental hospital. With Galena’s shady past, will Matt Austin, a minister, consider Galena for marriage?  Will Matt’s hoity-toity church accept Galena?  Angels shouldn’t worry, but this task is daunting.

Tell us about the newest book: Sarah and the Midnight Cruise to Catalina Island.

In this latest book, Sarah and the Midnight Cruise to Catalina Island, Carolyn travels by herself. The notion came from my own familiarity. I actually sailed alone to Catalina. Many of Carolyn’s adventures on the cruise were ones I experienced. Carolyn’s father had recently died, and so had mine. The airline lost my luggage, so of course that happened to Carolyn too.  

Carolyn can fly but can she swim? Dyslexic and bumbling angel, Sarah, comes to earth to unite Carolyn with a mate. Poopty doopty! She must do it on a ship while Carolyn cruises to Catalina Island. Sarah fears falling into the ocean, and she’s horrified soggy wings will drown her.  On this mission, Talen, an evil spirit is assigned to thwart Heaven’s Little Love Angel’s efforts. Tomas, the Warrior Angel, must protect Sarah. Can Tomas succeed without Sarah goofing up the war between the holy and unholy spirits? Will Talen succeed in spoiling Carolyn’s romance?

How do you come up with the humor in each story? Does it come naturally or do you use real-life situations?

God gifted me with humor before my birth, and I find hilarity in everyday situations. I can be writing when a thought comes to me, and I laugh. My hubby shares our office and will say, “What’s Sarah done now?”  Crazy things happen to me too, and they find their way into my books. Would you believe the first year we lived in Houston I had nine car wrecks? Sarah can’t drive, and in the second book, Sarah: Laney’s Angel, she creates a disaster when she tries her hand at it.

Haha. Your books sound so fun. Everyone loves to laugh.

Thanks Linda. I enjoy reading Janet Evanovich and Ann B. Ross for their humor.  I adore books that take stress away, and I hope mine does the same for readers.

I hope my readers will check out your books. I know they will enjoy them because of the humor you add. Here is my review of Sarah and A Midnight Cruise:

This is an adorable story about a young angel, Sarah, who makes one mistake after another. Even though she is assigned to guide and protect her “charge” and find her a husband, being a guardian angel is a new experience and she makes many mistakes along the way. This story is perfect for teenagers and adults who enjoy a cute story. Teens would love this series because Sarah reminds me of a sweet young teenager who sometimes forgets to think before she acts. –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Interview with Author and Country Singer Eric Dodge

Eric Dodge’s albums are making waves in the country music world! His album Why Not Today became a huge international success and has sold all over the world in over 15 countries and even topped the best selling albums list. Eric has also been featured in Country Weekly magazine, KUTV 2 News at Noon, and Good Things Utah, several times. Eric has released 8 albums and has performed across the United States and Canada.

In 2012 he was accepted into the Country Music association, the (CMA). In 2013 Eric became an Author and entered the world of book writing. He released his debut book titled Baby Steps To Music Industry Success. In 2015 Eric released his second book Why Not Today? Face Your Fears and Chase Your Dreams! 

He’s also shared the stage with many of country music's biggest names in front of over 50,000 people!

Welcome to my blog, Eric. I have heard you sing in concerts and absolutely love your voice. It is well-trained and sort of reminds me of a mixture between country and Broadway put together. What inspired you to become a singer?

I was on a free cruise that I won on a local radio station. The cruise sailed out on September 10th 2001. We were quarantined in international waters while they searched our rooms with bomb sniffing dogs. While sitting on the top deck scared out of our minds, my brother dared me to do Karaoke for the first time. Singing was my biggest fear. I always thought I could sing, but never tried.  I was in my 20’s that day, and a full grown adult, when I found out at the end of the song that I could sing. One of the passengers hugged me and she told me if we all got home safely I needed to become a singer. I stopped pursuing becoming a police officer and dedicated all my time to becoming a singer. Here I am today.

Wow! That is so interesting. Please tell us about your book: Why Not Today? Face Your Fears and Chase Your Dreams! What is it about?

This is a book about many of the trials I faced growing up. Depression, anxiety, severe bullying and more. I am hoping to inspire others to chase their dreams as well. The name Why Not Today? really says it all. I want others to know that it is ok to break free from the past that may be holding them back. It was for me. I was able to lose 80 pounds, get out of severe depression, and become a country singer. If I can do this, so can others. I am just a normal guy.

Just a normal guy with a fantastic voice!!! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

There are a whole lot of things. My life is this book. I wrote my first book about the Music industry in 2012. I mentioned some things about my bullying from my younger school days. I mentioned my weight loss and health challenges. Many people started asking me about those things. When they heard about my September 11th story I started getting asked to speak at different groups. I decided I needed to tell the full story. The bullying, the weight loss, the September 11th story, and how I pulled myself out of some pretty bad depression.

I know this book will help many people, Eric. What kind of research did you do and did you give real life experiences for the reader?

Most of this book is real-life experiences. As I was combatting anxiety I studied it and even took some online courses and classes on coping with it. I read books on Happiness and health. I studied the topics that I needed help with at the time.

Thank you for a wonderful interview, Eric. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I am a terrible bowler. When I was younger I was bowling and getting very frustrated that I could not get anything other than gutter balls. I decided I was going to run all the way down the lane and throw the ball at point blank at the pins so I could finally knock a few pins down. As I stepped on to the lane at a full run I chickened out and decided to turn back so nobody would see me doing this. As I went to stop, I quickly learned that the floor of the lane was oiled and very slippery. I had no idea. I ended up falling on my backside and dropping my bowling ball very loudly on the lane. The entire place went silent and everyone was looking at me. I could not get up because of the slippery floor. I had to roll into the gutter and stand up and walk back up the lane in shame. This was a very embarrassing moment for me. Lots of people were laughing at me.

No my goodness! That is so sad, but yet it’s so funny. I tried to not laugh and be sympathetic, but it was hard. I guess every one has their embarrassing moments, don’t they? I hope all my readers will check out your awesome book.

Visit Eric Dodge’s website at
Check out The Last Real Cowboy at

Chapter 1

        My heart was pounding so hard in my chest that I thought it was about to explode. The palms of my hands were cold and clammy, and the sweat was beginning to run down the back of my neck and forehead. Every salty drop of sweat that would run down from beneath the band of my black cowboy hat would burn my eyes as I would try to wipe it away from my face. Trying to catch my breath was the most important thing in my life right now, and concentration seemed impossible.
There was a ringing in my ears and my chest felt like it was being crushed by the weight of a 5-ton elephant sitting on it. This was a panic attack. But who wouldn’t be falling apart? I was about to walk out into a football stadium crowded with over 50,000 people, and sing one of my songs.
There was a giant TV screen and camera crews holding cameras right in my face. How was this possible for someone who so desperately feared being in front of a crowd? Would this be the end? Would this kill me? Even worse, would I forget the words?
 My mind was so blurred, how could I remember anything? What am I doing here? This was all a huge mistake!
Those were some of the questions that ran through my mind as the announcer loudly said “Please welcome Eric Dodge to the stage,” and my band began to play a familiar song of mine. I began to walk down the ramp towards the stage, just as I’d done on so many occasions in the past.
My mind was now on autopilot. Trying to calm down, I began to breathe slowly and deeply.
Everything is going to be OK, Eric. Trust your preparation.
Once the first word of that song came out of my mouth my mind began to free up. Everything became clear—the green field, the audience, the blue sky, my great band—and the show went off without a hitch. 
I am not an expert on fear, nor pretending to be an expert on anything. However, my fears at times have gotten the best of me.
Let me be clear about something. This book is not about my journey as a country music entertainer, but it has everything to do with being able to achieve that dream. This book came to life because of my overwhelming desire to help others who struggle with the same issues that many of us have lived with, and still live with today. You are the reason this book was written. Let me help you to achieve your dreams. It starts by facing your fears.
We all have fears that control us. It is my belief that if we can control our fears we can accomplish anything. If we master our fears, we master our future. When we are born and when we are little kids we are, for the most part, fearless. Outside circumstances, introduced to us throughout our lives, begin the process of developing fears. When we have a fear of something, we have a reason for it. Something happened to us. Maybe it was something we saw, or a reaction we witnessed from someone we loved. This is where our deepest, most strongly rooted fears come from.
We can push past these fears. Many years ago I started believing that we should face our fears instead of running from them. As part of this hard-won knowledge, I’d like to share some stories from my life that caused me to start living a life of fear. In examining my life, I was able to trace some of my very deep-rooted fears back to these stories.
Many of us struggle every day. For me, there were many sleepless nights. Worry, frustration, doubt, fear, sadness, depression, and anxiety are just some of the emotions I have felt and dealt with at many times of my life. Because of these facts, what you read here is going to be very honest. It will literally make my life an open book.
Yes, it will be very hard for me to write—and hard for me to share. It may be hard for some to read, but I believe it must be shared. It is very clear to me that my purpose is to help others, as well as myself, to let go of our fears, let go of what is holding us back, and just let go of what we cannot change.
We have one life to live. Why not see what we can do with it? Why not face our fears! And, Why Not Today? Are you ready to begin your journey with me? There is no better time to face our fears and chase our dreams.