Introducing Author Shelley Workinger

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Fiction, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

shelleyHi everyone.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy my latest interview.  Shelley Workinger, author of the SOLID series is my guest and her answers to my questions are thought-provoking and interesting.  Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Interview with Shelley Workinger

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why?

I obviously care for all of them, because each has his or her own thing to offer like every person on the planet. I purposely built a large and diverse cast for the SOLID series so that every reader would be able to find her/himself and thus invest more fully in the story. But I have to admit that Garrett is my favorite. He’s the friend that Clio needs (that everyone needs) for some comic relief. And I love that so many of the readers I meet feel the same way about him!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?

In what has become a very DIY world, self-publishing now looks to be the way of the future. It’s a natural evolution of the American philosophy, at least – make things happen for yourself; build your own dream. That very much appeals to me because I’ve never had the patience to wait for everyone else to catch up with my bullet-train of ideas! Seriously, I wrote my series for today’s kids and I wanted to get the books into their hands today, so I made it happen and I think sharing that process with readers also serves the second purpose of showing them how they can bring their own ideas to fruition.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

I wanted to be a judge right up until I learned that you have to practice as a lawyer first. I always knew I’d be great at hearing both sides of a case and bringing everyone to a fair and just conclusion, but I had no interest whatsoever in the arguing aspect of the process. I guess in a way I am realizing part of that dream in that I see every side to every character and figure out how to get them all to the finale in one piece!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Essentially, I let the characters write the story. I “launch” a scene in my head, then take notes as they run with it. It’s like planning a dream (which I also do); I imagine a setting, then close my eyes to watch as it develops on its own. The characters of “Solid” just exist so clearly in my imagination that for me to “direct” them would almost be unnatural. They may be fictional, but they are strong, distinct personalities who can really only react one way to the situations I’ve created for them in order to stay consistent and believable. So I may know where the story’s going and how to roll out the plot, but I have to let them talk amongst themselves to pick up their dialogue along the way. Then, of course, I have to back and add all the “filler” (descriptions, etc.); that’s one thing they don’t do for me. 😉

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects?

Ideas come to me at all hours in all places! That’s why I always have pens and paper somewhere on my person, and I also keep a digital recorder in the car, as well as in my pocket when I run. I find that a perfect phrase can be fleeting, and if I don’t capture it when it first appears, it may not return. This goes double for dream-spirations, which is why I stack notebooks and pens beside my bed, too!

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why?

I have a group of girls – my “circle of trust” – who are my go-to readers when I come out with anything new. They’re all quite invested in the story and the characters, so they don’t hesitate to tell me when anything sounds or feels disconnected. I adore these women, who are so willing to help and ask nothing in return…well, one did make me promise that I’ll take her with me when I go on the Ellen DeGeneres show. 😉

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you).

Currently, my days aren’t that structured, mainly because I’m completely focused on a project involving middle and high school libraries that needs to be completed before summer break. This means I’m essentially standing* at my computer for 6 hours a day, as well another 3 to 4 hours each night, researching, typing, and Skyping.
*Yes, I said standing – since I have to be logged in for such extensive hours and I
despise sitting down, I decided to wall-mount my whole system.

What is your wildest dream for your writing?

I would most love for SOLID to be made into a television series, because I get to see and hear the characters so clearly in my mind and it’d be wonderful if readers could fully experience that as well!

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you?

I’m a very random reader and often walk out of the library with more books than I can carry. 😉 I’ve been known to pick up a book because of its color (“The Toss of a Lemon” – Padma Viswanathan), a subject matter I know nothing about (“So, You Want To Join the Peace Corps: What To Know Before You Go”), or because the author’s name started with my two favorite letters: Q and X (Qui Xiaolong). I just like books! But I do have an all-time favorite book, which is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. (Putting together a top 10 list is virtually impossible since I love so many works for different reasons, but I never waver on that #1 pick!) If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t, bookmark this page to read later and go get your hands on a copy! “The Book Thief” is technically YA for some publishing-related reason that I’ve forgotten, but it really should be classified as AA for All Ages. Or, better yet, RR for Required Reading. Are you starting to get a sense of how much I adore this book?

What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing?

Oh, how I wish I had time to indulge in a hobby! When I need a mental break from writing and plotting, I tend to pick up a book or the TV remote. I also make monthly dates with my non-writing girlfriends to go out for dinner or drinks and not think about work for a few hours. I see how we’re all so “plugged in” technology-wise that we’re a bit in danger of staying connected in a real way.

Cover Trio Updated

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Linda, and for asking such thoughtful questions!

And thank you, readers – I am so grateful for your consideration of my work! I know we all have wish lists and TBR piles in the triple digits, so every set of hands that picks up my book is such a gift. J

Author Bio:

Shelley Workinger grew up in Maine, graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, currently resides in New Jersey, and considers all of them home.
 
When she’s not working on the SOLID series, she’s chatting about FoodFic on her blog: But What Are They Eating? Stop by and let her know what you’re reading and what they’re eating!
 
 
Connect with the author here:
 
 
And find the SOLID series here:
http://amzn.com/e/B003VRNPCE

 

 

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Introducing Author Thomas M Sullivan

Posted on April 29, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

ThomasSullivanPhotoA few months ago a fellow Facebook author asked for reviews on a site we both belong to.  I had some time so sent him a message and agreed to give the book an unbiased review.  I’m glad I did.  The story was so heartwarming and so funny that I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.  It’s a look into the life of a Driver’s Education teacher and the trials and tribulations he faces while trying to teach an important subject to those who need or want to learn.  If you’d like to read my review of Life In The Slow Lane click here.

Interview with Author Thomas M. Sullivan

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

I seem to write all over the place – at home, in coffee shops, the library. Whenever something comes to me, I start jotting things down. So I always carry a pen and pad. My creative space is pretty wide open and includes anywhere someone isn’t yapping on a cell phone. I can’t concentrate around those one-sided calls.

What is your favorite writing tool?

I’m still a pen and paper guy, at least for initial drafts.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

Definitely Steve Buscemi. He’s got those bad teeth and awkward mannerisms, which make him so loveable. My characters are goofy and flailing through life, which is their charm. Just like Steve Buscemi.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

I never had any clear interest in a particular field. I seemed to fall into things, and for much of the last two decades I was a teacher. I worked for a series of schools that got shut down or blew themselves up. It was all quite funny. But now I’m doing what I really think is right – writing humor essays.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Since I write essays I don’t really plan or outline things. An idea arrives and I just start writing. And I go until it’s “out of me”. It’s kind of like attacking a buffet when you’re starving. Then I sit back and refine things.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

A bicycle. You don’t have to feed a bike and it never throws you. You throw yourself.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Not really. I’m a forgetter of my sleeping dreams.

What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

I was a clown/jock hybrid, leaning more toward clown. I could never be a cheerleader because I’m very inflexible physically. One high kick and I’d be done.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

It’s not really a theme park, but there’s a velvet painting museum in Portland, Oregon that I adore. They’ve got paintings of unicorns with comb-over hair a portrait of Jesus surfing atop a tractor-trailer. Pure magic.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

I like fiction with believable humor that comes from lesser-known authors. I just read Keith Lee Morris’s The Dart League King. Currently I’m reading Salty by Mark Haskell Smith. Great books from authors who should be getting far more attention.

Thomas Sullivan is a humor writer from Seattle. He is a former teacher whose first book (Life In The Slow Lane) recounted his experience teaching driver education.

If you’d like to find out more about author Thomas M Sullivan here are links his websites.

http://www.thomassullivanhumor.com

http://humoroutcasts.com/author/thomassullivan/

Books by Thomas M. Sullivan

lifeLife in the Slow Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

somuchcoverSo Much Time So Little Change

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Introducing Author Roy Murry

Posted on April 8, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Roy MurryI’ve been waiting to do this interview for a while now and I’m very excited to present to you an author who has written perhaps one of the most interesting tales I’ve ever read.  The Audubon Caper is a work of fiction based on actual events and the story starts at rapid speed and escalates from there.  If you’d like to read my review of the book click here.  No matter what type of material you read you’ll definitely be amazed at the idea that this is a true story and  happened in the USA.  Without going into too much detail I’ll just tell you this is definitely one of my favorite books and if you haven’t already indulged you should run right out and buy a copy.  You definitely will not be disappointed.

Interview of Author Roy Murry

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

A quiet room anywhere I can plug in my Laptop.  I need a place with no distractions.

What is your favorite writing tool?

#1 Tool: My Brain. A good night’s sleep with no appointments in the morning is very important to me before I write.  I place an outline in my mind the night before I write and fill in the blanks when I start writing around 4:00 a.m. in the morning.  Other than my mind, I have three books near by The World Almanac, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and their Thesaurus.

What movies star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

I have never thought of my book as movie material.  Any young actor in their late twenties would do fine.  I think any good actor could pull off the main character’s traits.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

Well, I didn’t dream of being a writer.  I got drafted into the US Army, before I could decide what I wanted to be.  As a Green Beret in Vietnam, I felt like I reached a goal R. Murry circa 1970very few could achieve and live to tell about it.

When I returned home from the war, I reached another goal, not a dream, of graduating from college where my America Literature professor told me I could write after grading my assigned assessments of great and not so great American Writers.  At that point, I thought, not dreamt, I will be a writer someday.

Explain your creative process.

I outline with sentences what I will write.  After that, I put my mind to work at each step.  Sleep on it and write.  I do this with the reviews I write for my blog.

One or two sentences, while reading a book, and then put my brain to work. Then I write.  Might sound too easy, but it works for me.  If I’m not happy with the first draft, I repeat process again, again, and again if need be.

If you could only have one mode of transportation, what would it be a horse or a bicycle?

Neither.     I’m a walker.  Therefore, I’d rather walk, thank you.

Do you dream about your stories?

I don’t call it dreaming.  As I said, I put my brain to work.  That’s why I have one.

What were you like in high school?

I was an introvert until I got to know you.  Then I became an extrovert.  With friends and family, I was fun to be with.  But if they screwed with my reading time, they knew they were in trouble.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?

Disney World and Epcot Center, Orlando, Florida.  The main reason was to see the happy faces on my children.  That was years ago.  In a few years, I’ll take my grandchildren.  For me, I liked adventure land and the restaurants at Epcot.   Traveling is a theme park for me.  I do all the itineraries, etc.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

Read?!  That’s all I do.  Read, write, and play golf is my life.

Past: Ralph Waldo Emerson; Henry David Thoreau, et al

Near past: Edgar Allen Poe; Arthur Conan Doyle, et al

Present: Dan Brown; James Patterson, et al

For my blog: #children to #erotica, and all in between

I like mysteries.   Who-done-it’s I love to solve before the end of the book.  Since

starting my blog  http://www.conniesbrother.blogspot.com,

my reading has been eclectic.

Links:

My book – The Audubon Capertac

Amazon: http://amzn.to/MGxfR7

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/PWnA8n

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/roy.murry.7 

Twitter: @roylmurry425

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Introducing Author JT Sather

Posted on March 27, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

7685942This week it’s my pleasure to share a writer with you who is very unique.  While many of us whine and moan when the bottom drops out of our lives, this author used a very different tactic.  I think JT Sather has had just about everything happen that can go wrong but he chose to face adversity with humor and optimism.  We’ve had a couple of good chats about my home state of Michigan and its beautiful upper peninsula, as well!  So, without further ado, let me introduce JT Sather and his book How to Survive When the Bottom Drops Out.  You can read my review of the book here.

Interview with JT Sather

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

I love to build sandcastles, or at least my version of sandcastles.  Time on the beach is very relaxing for me.  I like to find a secluded spot so I can work undisturbed.  It takes anywhere from two to four hours to make a masterpiece, and it’s tough when there’s a bunch of kiddies running about.

Who are you as a writer?

I’m the same man that I am in regular life.  What I write about is non-fiction.  I don’t have to immerse myself into a fantasy world, my reality is crazy enough!

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think much of it’s terribly disorganized.  I’m happy to be a part of it, but I wish someone would have held my hand when I started.  When I first published, the book was terribly riddled with spelling mistakes.  When I finally realized this (two months later) I felt awful.  If people are going to pay their hard-earned money for a product, I want it to be quality.  Thankfully I have a publisher now, and it’s been edited by a professional.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have been approached to ghost write a memoir for a friend of mine.  I’m happy to do it, but it’s very slow go.  He’s 2000 miles away from me, and he’s a very busy guy.  It’s difficult to pin him down to answer the many questions I have for him.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

I’ve only read a handful in my life.  One that stuck in my head was Fear and Loathing. I really enjoyed Hunter’s story telling skills.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

A degree? Absolutely not.  What they need to possess is story telling skills.  Everyone has an imagination, but it takes a skill to transfer it to paper.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I would scream like a ten year old girl, they hate that!

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

I’d have to say my experience.  I’ve been through more than most,  and the lessons that I’ve learned have served me well.

What do you treasure most on earth?

My freedom.  I lost it for a while, and I missed it terribly.  I have no plans to let it out of my sight again.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pastimes, friends, etc.

I was one of those tree climbers.  Not your ordinary tree climber, I was that kid who would climb to the top of a fifty foot pine tree and cling to the very top, swaying in the breeze, and survey the landscape.  That was my first taste of real freedom, and set me on the path of daredevil mayhem.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

Getting a contract from Inknbeans Press to publish my work.  I’m out of my realm in the writing business, and it’s nice to have someone at my side, finally.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

It’s become the single most important thing to my future.  As an unemployed construction worker, I have no desire to go back to it.  My body getting tired, as well as damaged.  I hope to continue this for the rest of my days.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

Peace, love, and happiness.  Anything else that I could ask for would only bring me to these conclusions anyway.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want. Describe the day (money is no object)

I want to take my mother out for a boat ride on Lake Mead.  I’ve done it a thousand times, and never had the chance to take her out there.  She lives in the upper peninsula of Michigan, and doesn’t get out much.  I’ve had some really great times on that lake.  We’d start the day off at nine in the morning, and depart from the southern part of Boulder Basin.  Lake Mead Marina is filled with beautiful boats of all kinds.  Speedboats, sailboats and yachts are lined up like toys in a pond.  Then it’s off to Sandy cove, where I can light the bbq and have a dandy lunch.  A relaxing day spent cruising on the water is just what my mother needs.  At seventy-four years old, she never seems to have enough time to just enjoy herself.  When the day is done, I’ll tie the boat up in the slip and we can have a cocktail in the Captain’s lounge.  That would be a great day.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

I’ve always enjoyed telling stories.  It’s the highlight of my night, whoever I’m hanging out with.  I’ve had a lot of friends over the years tell me “You need to write a book!”  Well, I finally did.  If the economy hadn’t crashed when it did, I probably would never had done it.  I never had the time before.  When things were good, I worked 80 hrs a day, and then some.  Time was a commodity that I never had.  Now, I have far too much!  Oh well, better finish the next one, before time runs out.

Thank you, JT for being my guest this week.  Readers, be sure to leave a comment to show JT you have enjoyed his featured spot.  And, if you’d like to find out more about author J.T. Sather check out the links below.  The Book Junkies page includes many pictures, including those of his sand sculptures.

http://www.bookjunkiesjournal.com/jt-sather.html

howtosurvivehttp://www.amazon.com/Survive-When-Bottom-Drops-Volume/dp/1479152250/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364329421&sr=8-1&keywords=jt+sather

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/286380

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Introducing Author LA Jones

Posted on March 11, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

lajones_1I love Mondays because I get to meet some intriguing authors each week.  This week my guest is LA Jones, author of Tales of Aradia The Last Witch.  You can read my review of the book here.  Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book!

Interview with LA Jones

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

Shopping. I love shopping. Going out and checking the new imaginative styles. Hanging out at the book stores and talking with the clerks. It’s my favorite pastime.

Who are you as a writer?

In all honesty, I am a person who has ASD (autism spectrum disorder) who is trying to become a role model and inspiration to people who also have this disorder.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

My thought is like many new movements it takes to time to flower or flourish. I am actually happy about the indie author movement because it puts more power in to the author’s hands. Too long has the publisher held power in the relationship between writer and publisher. Publisher and their clients (writers) should be partners. This indie author movement is making sure of that.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

No. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with using someone else’s identity and idea to write a book.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Matilda by Roald Dahl because the story of a little girl over coming such impossible odds has always been so inspiring.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not? No. I believe degrees don’t guarantee or signify anything. In the end determination is what gets things done. I have always been a believer of self-education. What you learn on your own time is what you use in your life.  

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I stay very still and try not to irritate whatever the hell it is that made that noise. I also try to hide a weapon under my pillow just in case.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My creativity and my ability to be so open-minded. I welcome criticism and suggestions because they help me to be a better writer. My creativity because it helps me think of new things to write and develop.

What do you treasure most on earth? My family and my friends.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc. I like to make up games and watch TV. Most of all, I loved to read.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I think what has helped me most of all was meeting my editor Harrison R. Bradlow. He has helped my series reach its true potential and opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities.

How important is being successful as a writer to you? Very. I want to be able to live off my writing and help entertain people with my stories. In addition to inspiring others.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

One) my book series to become the next big franchise. Two) to be able to live off my writing. Three) to be able to become the next J.K. Rowling. Meaning an inspiration to my fellow authors and such.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

Meeting some of the authors who helped inspire me to reach my potential. Namely, buying plane tickets to visit RJ Palmer and her husband and taking her family out to Disneyland or something. Traveling to Florida to meet L.A. Sherman another author who has inspired me. Most of all, traveling to Las Vegas and taking my editor and his family to Disney World.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

My family mostly. They have always loved the fact that I am an author and are very proud of me for being able to publish my books. I don’t think I would have gotten this far without their help.

Editor and partner in my series: Harrison R. Bradlow.la_1

http://www.harrisonbradlow.com/index.html

Readers: Thanks for coming and don’t forget to leave a comment in the comments section for a chance to win an autographed copy of the first book in the series.  Winner will be notified on Monday, March 18.

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Introducing Author Tarah Scott

Posted on March 4, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

tarahjpg

What a pleasure to have author Tarah Scott on the blog this week.  You’ll see in her bio below that she and I share a favorite author we both read as youngsters – Zane Grey.  You’ll definitely enjoy her candid answers to my questions.  Be sure to tell her what you think – Tarah is offering a free digital copy of  My Highland Love to one lucky person who leaves a comment.  If you’d like to read my review of My Highland Love click here.

Interview with Author Tarah Scott

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

I love to bake!

Who are you as a writer?

ROFL. I honestly don’t know how to answer that. I have my regular life, a daughter, all of which comes with the day to day work of housecleaning, cooking, errands, helping with homework (who knew I would be going back to high school?) But writing is just a part of me. It’s pretty hard to separate that from any other part of my psyche.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think the Indie Publishing movement is a natural evolution of the industry, and like any other new phase of any industry there are plenty of growing pains. The opportunities are endless. A professional, serious author can shine. There’s plenty of less-than-stellar fiction being published but, again, that’s the same in any industry. I love indie publishing.

Have you ever ghostwritten? Would you?  Why?

I haven’t ghostwritten. I haven’t given the idea much thought, but my first reaction is no, I wouldn’t ghostwrite. I don’t think I would care for the having to take orders from someone in my writing.

What is your favorite book of all time? Why?

A Tale of Two Cities! The characterization in this book is as masterful as it gets. A Tale of Two Cities isn’t just a love story, it’s a story of redemption. Dickens is the man.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful? Why or why not?

ROFL. They better not, because I don’t have one. Doctors, lawyers, law enforcement officers must learn medicine, science, and law. These are specifics that can’t diverge. We writers must study our craft, but our mistakes won’t jeopardize a life or set free a criminal.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I always was a fool. I peek through the flap to see what’s happened.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My sense of humor. Because I am a never ending source of amusement for my friends, which makes it easy for them forgive me—a lot!

What do you treasure most on earth?

I’m corny; my daughter.

What did you like to do as a child? Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

You’ll laugh, my favorite thing to do as a child was read. I was a total geek. Favorite games: basketball, pool, and ping pong. I was good at all three. I had some very nice friends. If the teenager years count, my first serious boyfriend at age 16 (if serious can be associated with that age), was a doppelganger for Patrick Swayze. Of course, Patrick wasn’t known then, but years later I actually had to look up the old boyfriend to be sure they weren’t the same. Heh heh. I should be so lucky—though my boyfriend was a pretty good guy.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I think the single most important thing that has happened to me so far as a writer is meeting the people who are my teachers/critique partners, Kimberly Comeau and Evan Trevane. They’ve made me the writer I am. I was beyond lucky to meet them so early in my writing life.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

Of all the things that belong to me and me only, being a successful writer is number one.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

I am granted ownership of a Caribbean island. I can eat chocolate without gaining any weight! My internet connection quits bleeping out on me.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

Oh boy, I would gather my daughter, my brother, and a couple of my very close friends and we would go to the Florida Keyes for the whole summer.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

One huge inspiration was (and still is) Amanda Quick. I adore her work and could only hope to be as good as her someday. Of course, Charles Dickens, who I couldn’t hope to be as good as for at least ten lifetimes.

What else would you like us to know about you Tarah?

My latest release is My Highland Love, the first in the Highland Lords series.

How does a woman tell her betrothed that she murdered her first husband?

Elise Kingston is a wanted woman. Nothing, not even Highlander Marcus MacGregor, will stop her from returning home to ensure that the man responsible for her daughter’s death hangs.

Until she must choose between his life and her revenge.

My next release is My Highland Lord, the second in the Highland Lords series.

London Heiress kidnapped by the Marquess of Ashlund, read the headlines. Yet no one tried to save her.

You can find my books at all the major distributors. I have character wallpapers I offer free to my fans, so stop by my website or email me anytime to see what I have on hand.

Thank you for being my guest this week.  Readers, please don’t forget to leave Tarah a comment below for a chance to win a copy of her ebook My Highland Love.  If you’d like to find out more about Tarah Scott be sure to check out the links below her bio.

Thanks for having me, Linda! It’s been great being here at L. Leander’s Book Reviews and Interviews, and it’s been so nice visiting with everyone today.

Tarah Scott Bio

Award winning author Tarah Scott cut her teeth on authors such as Georgette Heyer, Zane Grey, and Amanda Quick. Her favorite book is a Tale of Two Cities, with Gone With the Wind as a close second. She writes modern classical romance, and paranormal and romantic suspense. Tarah grew up in Texas and currently resides in Westchester County, New York with her daughter.

MyHighlandLovebyTarahScott200x300_96DPI_FINALWhere you can find me and my books

B&N

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/tarah-scott

Kobo

http://ptbr.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=%22Tarah+Scott%22&t=none&f=author&p=1&s=none&g=both

MyHighlandLordFINAL200x300_150DPIAmazon

http://www.amazon.com/Tarah-Scott/e/B004RBDUXM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1360006364&sr=8-2-ent

ARe

http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Tarah+Scott

Website:

http://www.tarahscott.com

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/TarahScottsRomanceNovels

Twitter:

@TarahScott

Blog:

http://tarahscott.tarahscott.com/

Email:

tscott@tarahscott.com

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Introducing Author Myra Johnson

Posted on December 24, 2012. Filed under: L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Myra Johnson 2012 smallIt’s Christmas Eve and what better way to celebrate the holidays than snuggling in with a good Christmas-themed novel.  My guest today is Myra Johnson, bestselling author of One Imperfect Christmas.  You can read my review here.

Myra has created a protagonist you either love or want to give a good swift kick in the seat of the pants.  She’s not all that different from most of us, really.  But that’s all I’ll say – you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out more. Be sure to check out the book trailer for One Imperfect Christmas – the link is below – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

So, sit back and enjoy my interview with Myra and above all, Happy Holidays everyone!

Interview of Myra Johnson

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

My office is a converted upstairs guest room, and it’s pretty much wall-to-wall desk, filing cabinets, bookshelves, and bulletin boards. Oh, and a treadmill, which has a makeshift desk for my laptop so I can walk while I check email (don’t ask how that’s working for me!). I do most of the busy work of writing in the mornings while sitting at my regular desk overlooking our woodsy backyard. Then after lunch I usually move to my comfy Ikea chair and ottoman, where I open up my work-in-progress and spend 4-5 hours in focused writing time.

What is your favorite writing tool?

Not counting my trusty MacBook Pro, I’d have to say Scrivener writing software. I love being able to keep the entire manuscript plus character photos, notes, and research material all in one place and easily accessible. Note card view allows me to see scenes and chapters at a glance, and there’s even a word count meter that lets me know whether I’m staying on track toward my deadline. Once the book is complete, I can compile the document as an RTF file and then convert to Word for sending to my agent or editor.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

I recently watched a Christmas movie starring the perfect actors for One Imperfect Christmas. I’d cast Teri Polo as Natalie and Paul Essiembre as Daniel. They’re amazingly close in both looks and personality to how I pictured my characters as I wrote the book. (Hallmark folks, anytime you’d like to pick up the movie rights, just let me know, okay?)

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

As a child I always wanted to become an actress or a writer. So yes, I’d say I have fulfilled the best part of that dream. As a novelist, I live out the stories in my head as both “actor” and “director.” Not to mention I can go to work in my jammies if I want to!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Definitely pantser! Once I have the germ of an idea in mind, I start imagining the characters’ current situations and backstories. Finding representative photos always helps. Usually I get a visual of an opening scene, and that kicks off the story. I might have two or three major turning points in mind, along with a general idea of the ending. But how we get from point A to point B to point C is always a journey of discovery.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

If I could have the means to feed and care for a horse, that would be my choice. I’ve always loved horses, though I didn’t get many chances to ride until my mid-40s. While volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, I met some wonderful “horsey friends” willing to share their horses so I could take dressage lessons—what a thrill! There’s nothing quite like the bond between a horse and rider. We moved from that area several years later, and since then I have really missed the opportunity to ride. Unfortunately, circumstances have never come together in a way that would allow me to have my own horse.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Actually, the idea for One Imperfect Christmas first came to me in a dream. We’d been watching a bunch of sappy Christmas movies on TV, and those were playing through my head all season. Then one night I awoke with dream images of a couple about to celebrate 50 Christmases together, only something stood in their way. It took a little imagining and playing the “what if” game to come up with the right characters and plot, and the story went through several incarnations before reaching its published form.

What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

I’d have to say nerd. I was an A student (graduated 5th in my class), but I was certainly not popular—very much a loner, the last kid picked for teams, never had a real date, much less a boyfriend, didn’t go to prom. Very sad, yes. But that didn’t stop me from not only meeting the guy of my dreams (we’ve been married 40 years now) but landing the career of my dreams as a published novelist. I’m also blessed to have so many wonderful writer friendships now, tops among them the ladies of Seekerville.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

I’m not much of a daredevil, so I don’t visit theme parks for the roller-coaster rides. Give me something fun and “gentle” like Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean river trip or the Haunted Mansion. I loved Epcot, too. We finally made it there a few years ago when RWA held their conference in Orlando. Visiting all the different “countries” was fascinating!

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

I love to read. My pleasure reading is usually during the last hour before bedtime, and my favorite books ever are The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien. For the past several years I’ve mostly read inspirational fiction by favorite author acquaintances including Carla Stewart, Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy, Janet Dean, Cara Lynn James—too many to name! When I need a change of pace, I’ll try one of my husband’s techno-thrillers. Clive Cussler is always fun!

Myra’s bio: Award-winning author Myra Johnson is a Texan through and through, but she has no regrets about recently making the move to the more temperate climate of the Carolinas. She and her husband of over 40 years are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters who, along with their godly husbands, have huge hearts for ministry. Four rambunctious grandsons and two precious granddaughters take up another big chunk of Myra’s heart. The Johnsons also enjoy spoiling their very pampered oversized lapdogs. Myra’s first novel from Abingdon Press is One Imperfect Christmas (September 2009). She has also written contemporary romances for Heartsong Presents.

Thank you, Myra for a candid and interesting interview.  Readers, please leave comments for Myra – she’d love to chat with you!  Listed below are some places you can find Myra Johnson and check out her other books.

Find Myra on the Web:

www.MyraJohnson.com

www.seekerville.net

www.myra.typepad.com

www.facebook.com/MyraJohnsonAuthor

www.Twitter.com/MyraJohnson

www.Twitter.com/TheGrammarQueen

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1391761.Myra_Johnson

One Imperfect Christmas-coverOrder One Imperfect Christmas online at:

Amazon (print version)

Amazon (Kindle version)

Cokesbury

Christianbook.com

Watch the Book Trailer for

One Imperfect Christmas:

http://tinyurl.com/cec2fpj

 Want to see more books by Myra Johnson?  Her latest release, A Horseman’s Hope, is now available for preorder here:  Amazon

HorsemansHopeCover

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR LAURA SEEBER

Posted on December 10, 2012. Filed under: L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

lauraThis week my author guest is Laura Seeber.  I have just finished reading her novel The Spring And Autumn Murders. You can read my review here. This was an interesting book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Seeber has done a great job of making the story personal and relevant to today’s readers.

I love getting to know authors and Laura is definitely not an exception.  How I yearn to be like her!  Read question #5 below and in Laura’s answer you’ll see why.  I am a total pantser, but Laura’s explanation of how she writes puts me to shame.  I just have to get used to outlining.

Enjoy our conversation and don’t forget to comment and show Laura Seeber some author love.

Interview with Author Laura Seeber

by: L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

I work primarily in my living room in a great big pink chair with my laptop perched either on my knees or on a nearby coffee table.  The area around me changes depending on how much other work I have going on- but it usually consists of a notebook, a sketchbook and a few wads of crumpled up paper tossed around the table and floor.  I am definitely not an organized person.

pENPAP_1What is your favorite writing tool?

My favorite writing tool is probably my notebook and pen.  I know, sounds weird when I spend so much time on the computer, but being able to draw out plot lines, etc. with pen and paper feels much more real to me.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

I would probably cast Jackie Chan as Lord Nianzu if I had the chance.  I’m a genuine fan of him, and his acting ability which goes way beyond what is shown in a lot of the kung fu action movies that you see him in.  It would be great to see him in a role that would highlight his acting ability without type-casting him as a kung fu master.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?scientist_1

Depends on when you would have asked me.  At one point I wanted to be a pilot, a tap dancer, a scientist, and a horse trainer.  To be honest, being a writer was never one of my dreams that I remember.  However, right now I also work as a geologist, so I guess I partially realized my dream of becoming a scientist.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

Oh I’m almost obsessive in my outlining.  I’ll start with a subject matter or area I want to write about.  Then I’ll spend the next few months researching the setting, the people, the eras, and the subject matter until I feel that I can truly internalize what I have researched.  Then for the next few months I’ll “write” the story in my head, reworking things, changing point of view, altering characters until I get to the point where I don’t think it can be changed anymore.  Then I break out the lap top and write it down.  After that I’ll revise it a few more times until feel it’s good enough to submit.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

bike_1Unfortunately I would probably choose the bicycle.  Although I love riding horses, they can be quite expensive to fix and or replace when something goes wrong.  It’s much easier to fix a flat tire than it is to fix a broken leg.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Actually, dreaming of my stories is one of my steps in writing.  If I continuously dream of a story for a few nights I know that it’s near completion and it’s time to break out the computer.

What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

Actually in high school I was the quiet kid who sat in the back and didn’t say much.  The only time I came out of my shell was when I was around my friends- then I became a smiling goofball who wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time.HIGH_1

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

Well, I guess my favorite theme park would be Kenny wood Park in Pennsylvania.  It’s the closest park to where I grew up, and it has a great nostalgia feel to it.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

I’m a fairly avid reader, but I wouldn’t say that I read incessantly.  I prefer either mystery, non-fiction or the occasional romance if the heroine actually has half a brain on top of her shoulders.  Honestly if the story is well written, I’ll read just about anything.  As far as authors- Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Madeline L’Engle are a few that come to mind.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to join me today.  It’s been great chatting with you.  Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and do check out my review of The Spring And Autumn Murders – I’m sure you’d love to read it!

You can learn more about Laura Seeber by visiting these links:

Where to purchase The Spring and Autumn Murders:


Spring and Autumn murders coverWriters Thread

Emerald Musings

Biography:

Laura Seeber has worked as a geologist, an environmental consultant, and a freelance writer.  She currently divides her time between her own environmental consulting business, handling various ghostwriting and freelance writing projects, and her own fiction writing.  Her interests include history, outdoor activities, martial arts, mysteries, and non-fiction material.  The Spring and Autumn Murders is her first novel.   She currently lives in Illinois with her husband, Michael.

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR AMY METZ

Posted on November 26, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It is my pleasure to introduce you to author Amy Metz in this week’s interview.  Amy is a charming person and excellent writer who delights her readers with euphemisms of southern wit.  I thoroughly enjoyed her book Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction and you can read my review here.  Amy also does reviews and interviews, so when you’re done reading about her here go on over and visit her website – it’s well done and very interesting!

Interview with Amy Metz

by L.Leander

1.  What makes you stand out as a writer?

Goose Pimple Junction is a wacky town with quirky residents. I think those unique qualities and the goosepimpleisms throughout the book make Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction different from your average mystery.

2.  What is your favorite type of reading material?

Anything with a mystery, humor, or love story.  Combine all three and I’m there. I love mysteries, and I particularly love humorous mysteries. I also love romantic suspense or romantic mysteries.

3.  If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Yikes! I honestly have no idea!

4.  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Everywhere. I’m always on the lookout for ideas, and sometimes reading, hearing, or seeing something sparks a new story. My imaginary friends also frequently give me ideas.

5.  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Both, depending on the story.

6.  Finish this sentence:  One thing very few people know about me is…

I have fibromyalgia. It’s similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, and I have flares when I do too much or don’t get enough sleep. It’s another reason why writing is the ideal occupation for me.

7.  If I had a choice, every day would include:

Oh, so many things. The ocean. Cheesecake. Books. How about eating cheesecake on a beach, reading a book? But seriously, I’d have to say every day would include love.

8.  If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have Internet and a computer or a supply of paper and pens, which would you choose?

Definitely the Internet and a computer. I would go into severe withdrawal without them.

9.  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Not really voices, but I do feel like I get strong suggestions about what to write from my characters. I tell them to have their way with me. I’m easy. But only with imaginary people.

10. What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

I love to get lost in my story and spend time with my characters. I hate promoting and marketing.

11. Where did you grow up?

Louisville, Kentucky.  I moved away for college and lived in Lexington for a few years after that, but mostly, Louisville has been home.

12. Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit.)

I would go to Boston and wander the streets for days, photographing that totally cool city. Then I would drive to Kennebunkport and stay at The Colony Hotel, where I would walk on the beach, take more pictures, and I’d sit on the veranda overlooking the beach and read a good book. Then, because the sky’s the limit, I would go to Ireland, Scotland, and England. And take lots of pictures.

13.  If you could be either, which would you choose – a dog or a cat?  Why?

Definitely a dog.  To me, dogs are goofier, more loving, generally have a warmer, friendlier personality, and they’re more affectionate than most cats. Now, cat people, don’t yell at me. I know there are exceptions. But I would be a dog. I’d be a lab or a golden retriever or a mastiff.

14. You are the co-host of CBS This Morning – who would you like to snag an interview with?

John Sandford. In fact, John—if you’re reading this, call me. I’d love to feature you on my blog!

15.  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Tess Tremaine is a forty-something Yankee who moved to the southern town of Goose Pimple Junction to start a new chapter in her life after getting a divorce. Because of her unhappy marriage and contentious divorce, she’s sworn off men. Until she meets Jackson Wright. As much as she tries to deny an attraction, she’s smitten. And as much as she tries to avoid him, he keeps popping up. They team up to investigate a seventy-five-year-old cold case murder, and he becomes her translator for southern speak and her saving grace in more ways than one.

Thank you for being here, Amy, and sharing a little bit about yourself.  Readers, check out the links below to buy Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction and visit Amy’s site where there are lots of featured Indie authors.  Leave a comment in the comments section below to give Amy some love.  Thanks!

Other places to find Amy Metz (click on the book cover to go to her Amazon book listing):

Amy Metz website

Amy Metz Blog

Amy Metz Amazon Author Page

Amy Metz Facebook Page

 

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR C.MICHAELS

Posted on October 22, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 INTRODUCING AUTHOR C. MICHAELS

               Interview by L.Leander

Author C. Michaels was kind enough to agree to do the first interview on my new L.Leander Reviews and Interviews blog.  I owe her a big thank you.  I had a great time reading the answers to the questions I sent Ms. Michaels and I think you will too.  This summer I read the book “Cross Roads” by the author.  You can read the review here.  I loved the novel and Ms. Michael’s writing style.  I began the second in the series “No Fear” but she put out an entirely new book recently called “Bill Of Human Wrongs” and I immediately downloaded the Kindle version.  It has been very hard to put the book down, even to design this new site and post Ms. Michael’s interview.  You can read my review of “Bill of Human Wrongs” here.

Since I know Ms. Michaels personally, I find it hard to understand that she writes in the Suspense/Thrillers genre.  She is very nice, outgoing, and always eager to help a fellow author succeed.  There is absolutely no sign of the danger and suspense that lurks within the pages of her books.  I’d say that makes a great author and C. Michaels is one of my new favorites.

INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR C. MICHAELS by L.Leander

  • What makes you stand out as a writer?

Perhaps it is my twists and turns with my storylines. It’s done all the time with other writers, but I tell ya… my characters really surprise me sometimes. I have had to get out of my chair and pace the floor at times saying to myself, “Where did that come from?”

  • What is your favorite type of reading material?

Surprise. I would say, a good thriller. The worst part of having learned what makes a good storyline, however, is now I find myself more finicky.  Both with books and movies… I will hear a good review about a movie so I watch it. Immediately, I see how it will play out, too predictable.  With books, I look for tricks, the rules we must, should follow, so when I read a book that misses these gems (rules), I’m tainted by my book snobbery. The good news, though, is that a well-written novel is a real gift.

  • If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Easy. My late husband. He began as a mentor for my career when I was new to teaching many years ago. He was tough, but that encouraged me to work hard.

Later, we became involved, and he became a different type of mentor. He taught me to enjoy every minute of life, literally. Once in a while, I slip and forget to “relish the moment”, but then I think of him, and remind myself to suck it up, maybe turn on some music, maybe even dance.

  • Where do you get your ideas for writing?

At first, I drew exclusively on my own experiences. Cross Roads, my first novel takes place in a small town in Idaho where I fished many years ago. Many of the characters are stolen personalities from folks I know. Funny, though. After I finished the story, my two favorite characters were totally manufactured in my head. That fact helped me feel more confident to just make stuff up.

NO FEAR! continues with the lives of the Cross Roads people, and while the storyline is completely fabricated, it does take place in the town where I live. So, in that respect, I was still drawing on my experiences to some extent.

It is my latest novel, Bill of Human Wrongs where I braved it by picking a subject I haven’t lived. It does, however, deal with a subject matter, US politics, that I find most interesting.

I seem to have a thing for injecting a small bit of fantasy into my novels so far. Just a bit, mind you. Maybe there is still some “kid” in me.

  • Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Both. I start with a strong premise, main characters, and an ending. The rest would be considered “pantser”.

  • Finish this sentence:  One thing very few people know about me is…

I’m shy.

  • If I had a choice, every day would include.

Walk on the beach with my dog (after coffee). Now, if you are allowing me to fantasize, I would say that I’d like my mom and daughters with their families to live near me. Then the daily walk on the beach would include them.

  • If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have Internet and a computer or a supply of paper and pens which would you choose?

Computer ~ I am a geek. Really, I am. Used to teach programming languages.

  • Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Sure, I’m a writer. They don’t say much to me, they talk amongst themselves. But they let me hear their conversations, and have given me permission to use them in my books. I don’t tell them anything – they don’t need me. It’s me who needs them.

  • What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

Best: Unleashing my imagination, so exciting when I move into the zone. Least: When, if I feel the book is taking a wrong turn I need to get away from the computer and begin thinking, planning. Another pacing experience, but in this case, a nervous experience.

  • Where did you grow up?

Washington state, where there is lots of salt water while having the mountains a short drive away. Pretty slick.

  • Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit)

I’m living it every day. I live in Mazatlan. Sounds like I’m a bore, but that’s the way I feel now. Maybe it will wear off after a while. Ask me this question again in a few years.

  •  If you could be either, which would you choose – a dog or a cat?  Why?

My best friend is Rani. She’s a compassionate dog, perhaps the love we share is a perfect definition of love.

  • You are the co-host of CBS This Morning – who would you like to snag an interview with?

There are many, but right now, Tina Fey comes to mind. I would love to learn how her creative mind ticks.

  •  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Ah, that would be Claire Winslow. I really like this woman. Her life, at first glance, tells the reader that she’s a success. She is a US Senator; bright, and compassionate about working to pass laws to enhance women’s rights. I actually feel sorry for her when her world is turned upside down. She is faced with a difficult decision she must make when a Senate bill is to be voted on in a week. She’s the deciding vote for her Party. She knows it makes damaging changes to the Bill of Rights that could ruin lives, but also knows that her Party will make sure she is not re-elected if she doesn’t vote for it. The misery she goes through during the first days of this story is painful to watch. She is in her “hole”. A turn of events throws a curveball to her thinking, however, a secret so hard to believe, so terrible. Claire is able to crawl out of her misery, knowing what she must do, but not before coming to grips with the unimaginable knowledge she learns from a strange woman she meets in a coffee house, late in the night.

Thank you Ms. Michaels for your candor.  I’m sure our readers will enjoy hearing what makes you tick and once they read one of your books you should get a landslide of fan mail!  Readers, I am including the following links for you to check out Ms. Michaels books and other places you can find her on the Internet.  Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below or leave feedback.

Stop by C. Michaels Website

Visit C. Michaels Books Facebook Page

Read @cmichaelsbooks Post (Daily Paper)

Check out C.Michaels book review for Bill of Human Wrongs at eBook and Book for Coffee Time

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