Introducing Author Winslow Eliot

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Winslow EliotIt’s my great pleasure to introduce author Winslow Eliot this week.  I stumbled across this author’s site as I was doing research and  I was very interested in what she offers.   Ms. Eliot runs a series of workshops for writers called WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year based on faith and daily exercises.  I joined and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Immediately I contacted Ms. Eliot and asked if she would like to be featured on this blog and she agreed.  I’m glad I could interview her and share her work with my readers.  If you’d like to read my review of her book The Happiness Cure click here.  Please leave a comment and let us know you visited!

Interview with Winslow Eliot

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why? Probably Tess HeavenFallsCoverDuncan – she was my heroine in Heaven Falls. I just loved how she entered into an entirely new situation with such grace and humor, and I found her as lovable and interesting as the hero did!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why? I’ve been published traditionally (NAL/Signet and St. Martin’s Press) in the past, but since 2010 I’ve been self-published. I MUCH prefer the freedom, adventure, thrill of investing in my creative projects. I love owning 100% of my work, and receiving 100% of my profits. In addition to being able to thoroughly enjoy writing my stories the way I want to, I also love the covers that my designers have created.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream? I always wanted to be a writer. Even before I knew how to write I’d fill up notebooks with arcane scribbles, pretending that I was writing a book. So, yes, writing has been my dream, and I HAVE realized it. Dreams do continue, though, so it’s not over… there’s always more to realize within the dream of writing. We’ll see what unfolds.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? Hmm. It’s hard to say. A story sweeps me away, scenes sweep me away, and I follow my beloved characters through those events. My stories are very twisty-turny, unexpected, so once the first draft is completed I do find I spend many months—sometimes years—making sure that all the twists, turns, and unexpected surprises are 100% explained and tied up by the end.

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects? That’s just one of those things. They pour out—I can’t really keep up with them, because I do like to take my time with my stories.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why? I’d have to say my mother has always been my biggest supporter. She was a fantastic editor of every single one of my first drafts of every book I wrote. She was one of the most enthusiastic fans. She admired my talent, my determination, my courage in pursuing my dream. She died recently and I sometimes don’t know how I’ll write and get my next book to press without her editorial skills and her unstinting encouragement.

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you). I wake up around six a.m. and lean over the edge of my bed, pick up and turn on my laptop, and begin to write. I start with writing down my dreams and some other things, and then always write my “daily happinesses” which I then share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. During this time, my handsome husband has brought me coffee in bed, without interrupting my flow. Once my happinesses are posted, I check mail, but unless it’s really important I don’t respond until later in the morning. I devote the rest of the morning to working on my writing project—whichever book is currently absorbing me. In the afternoon, we’ll walk, or I’ll do yoga, answer emails, or indulge in various other hobbies I have: like meditative sufi dance and tarot. Then in the evening I’ll join my husband for a glass of wine and some light entertainment—currently our favorite is watching old Perry Mason mysteries. I do teach high school students twice a week during the school year, and have other things I do. But basically that’s my ideal “day in the life.”

What is your wildest dream for your writing? To be a beloved household name—and the income to show for it LOL.

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you? So many! I love the classics like Jane Austen; love Graham Greene and Anne Douglas Sedwick. Contemporary novelists…I just read Karen Engelmann’s The Stockholm Octavo which is fabulous. I also recently discovered Robert MacLean, who’s a sort of modern-day P.G.Wodehouse. I love an author (like him) who can make me laugh out loud. Most of all I love my grandmother’s books. Her grown-up novels are all out of print, but they definitely inspired me growing up. Her name is Ethel Cook Eliot.
belly dancing 2
What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing? As I mentioned earlier, I love dancing. I used to do a lot of belly dancing, and that has morphed into a sufi dance meditation practice. I also enjoy using the tarot—those cards are like my friends. We sit around telling each other stories! Also, I sing and play guitar, and we have friends who come over and play with us on occasion. My husband is a musician too. Yes, I think singing and dancing definitely enhances my writing! It keeps me light-hearted. I can get much too serious otherwise.

Happiness-cover-ebookSHORT AUTHOR BIO: Winslow Eliot is the award-winning author of the novels Heaven Falls, Bright Face of Danger, A Perfect Gem, and Pursued, as well as the inspirational books: What Would You Do If There Was Nothing You Had To Do and WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year. Every morning she writes and shares her daily happinesses before turning to her work of the day: writing more books and mentoring writers.


Author site:

The Happiness Cure on Amazon:

Facebook author page:

On Twitter:

On Wikipedia:

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Introducing Author David D’Aguanno

Posted on April 3, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

SAMSUNGIf you love a comedic, witty mystery you’ll love this week’s author, David D’Aguanno.  You may know him best for his Brett character in Don’t Mess With Brett but do you know he has also penned a book that is very different and serious titled Why She Left Us?  I think you’ll enjoy learning about this writer and you’ll be glad you took the time to follow his interview. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free digital copy of Don’t Mess With Brett.  If you’d like to see my review of Brett Aerobicizes, the second book in the series, click here.

Interview with Author David D’Aguanno

by L.Leander

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

When I’m not writing (or reading), I’m usually listening to classical music. I have a huge CD collection, and because there are only so many hours in the day, there are many CDs I’ve heard only once and don’t even remember what they sound like!

Who are you as a writer?

As a writer – and particularly as a writer of the Brett Cornell series of comedy-mysteries – I view my role to be that of a person whose aim is merely to entertain. In other words, I sincerely doubt that anyone would want to read a “Brett book” in order to gain any kind of spiritual enlightenment. Escapism, a few laughs – That’s about it!

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think it’s wonderful, since it gives so many tremendously talented writers an opportunity to have their works read, instead of having to spend so much valuable time, simply trying to find an agent and/or a publisher in such a competitive area.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

No, I haven’t, and I probably wouldn’t. As it is, I have so many various ideas floating around in my head that I need to get “on paper” that I probably wouldn’t have the time for it.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Well, I probably have several favorites,  but one that stands out in my mind is “Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite” by Anthony Trollope. I recall how, when reading it, I said to myself,” I know where this story is heading,” only to find myself completely surprised by a tragic ending that left me emotionally devastated. Often, in a single phrase or a single sentence, Trollope was able to pull me into the minds and emotional states of his main characters. Amazing!

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

Having taught English in a public school for nearly 30 years, I find myself being somewhat finicky about spelling, punctuation, and the like. However, with a good editor and proper guidance, anyone should be able to produce a worthwhile piece of writing, even without having earned a degree.

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

Seeing as the mere suspicion that a spider or a snake may be nearby usually gets me nerved up, my imagination would go into over-drive at the sound of a loud roar, and I’d probably freak out completely!

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My greatest asset as a person? Well, I’ve been told that I’m extremely compassionate, or “an old softie” (if you will). As a writer, I think that I have a knack for coming up with a story that moves along fairly quickly, for the most part.

What do you treasure most on earth?

It may sound like a stock answer, but I’d have to say: “My friends and family.”

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

Being non-athletic as a child, I enjoyed mostly board games and word games, and my love of classical music, even at any early age, meant that listening to records or music on the radio took up a lot of my time. Oh, and writing little stories, too, of course.

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

Finding out that there are so many ways of reaching potential readers with my writing has been an eye-opening experience for me.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

Being successful as a writer is probably as important to me now as being successful as a teacher was, back in the days when I was doing that, assuming that “being successful” means being able to affect other people’s moods, attitudes, and lives in a positive way.

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

O.K., if I were to say that I’d wish I could feed all the hungry people in the world – or anything else along that line – I’d be lying. So, at the risk of sounding self-centered, I’d wish (1) that my Brett books could be turned into a TV series, preferably on HBO, Showtime, or Starz (I’m not too fussy, am I?),  (2) that my other novel “Why She Left Us” could be turned into a major motion picture, and (3) that I could live long enough to hear Brett’s quirky sayings become part of people’s everyday vocabulary. (You would have had to have read one of my Brett books in order to fully appreciate what I mean by that last “wish” of mine.)

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

Wow! I’m afraid I can’t really answer that, only because I’d want to be able to spend the day with people I miss the most, and sadly enough, it would be physically impossible to do that (you can guess the reason why).

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

A lot of my writing was originally done several years back, and it wasn’t until my cousin Darlene urged me to do something with the novels I had written that I actually decided to take on this so-called second career of mine. Without her show of confidence in my writing ability, I probably would be doing something else right now. Sad but true, now that I think about it.

Here’s a little more about books currently available from David D’Aguanno in his own words.

A little bit about my books:

Brett Cornell is meant to be taken more as a cartoonish type of character rather than a real person. In fact, if such a person really did exist, most people wouldn’t have anything to do with him, and any self-respecting woman would surely stay clear of him, despite his good looks. The novels themselves are over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek, so that anyone expecting a serious and intricately plotted murder mystery (as in Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, for example) would be very disappointed. Provided you don’t take the character of Brett Cornell too seriously, though, you should probably find the novels engaging and amusing and totally unique.

My novel “Why She Left Us” is radically different, written in a somewhat experimental style, and involving characters who are meant to be viewed as real human beings who have sincere and deep emotions and several of whom suffer greatly through acts of betrayal, loss, and revenge. If I can move readers emotionally in this novel, then I will have succeeded in doing what I meant to do in writing this novel.

Here are some links to check out this author and his books.  Be sure to leave a comment below to enter the drawing for a free digital copy of Don’t Mess With Brett by David D’Aguanno.

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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

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


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











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Introducing Author Karen A. Wyle

Posted on January 21, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wyle author photo number 2Author Karen A. Wyle is my guest this week on the blog.  She’s a very interesting author and you can read my review of her book Wander Home here.  I can’t wait to read Karen’s take on Scrivener (see the second question in her interview) as I recently purchased it and haven’t had much time to learn to use the program.  So grab a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy our chat.  Please feel free to leave a comment!

Interview with Author Karen A. Wyle

by L.Leander

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

I usually write on my desktop computer, which sits on a maybe-antique desk too high for good ergonomics, so I’m constantly courting carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s in a very messy room we call an office, with what might be a nice view if we ever opened the blinds. Hmmm. Maybe this setup needs work . . . .

What is your favorite writing tool?

Scrivener!!! I recently posted a paean to this program on my blog, at Another and more detailed article showing what Scrivener can do for writers:

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

I don’t know whether she counts as a star, nor whether she’s done anything with the requisite emotional depth, but Lake Bell looks the part. With the right hair adjustment, Anna Paquin or Bryce Dallas Howard might fit the bill.

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

I wanted to be a novelist! I gave up on that dream sometime in college, and came back to it after a decades-long detour, at just the right time, with self-publishing now a viable option.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

I’m mostly a pantser. I never do a full outline. Usually, I start with an opening situation and a handful of characters, and then come up with a list of scenes I may want to include. The rest of the story unfolds as I write, and invariably surprises me. The only time I thought I knew the ending ahead of time, it turned out I didn’t.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?horse_1

Assuming I had the resources to take care of a horse, I’d prefer a horse — if it would be so kind as to pull a covered carriage to protect me from the elements. I’d be particularly gratified if the horse would learn the way home from various places I’d be likely to go, so I could relax and nap during the journey.

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

I sometimes dream stories that, in the dream, I believe I’ve been writing — but at least as far as I can remember, they aren’t my actual stories. I believe I have come up with one or two story ideas in dreams, but I haven’t written about them yet — I’ve just noted them down in my “Ideas” folder.

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

I was one of the “smart” kids, and on the fringes of  (tolerated by) the “smart-but-popular” set. I had three friends with whom I spent most of my time (as a foursome or in smaller sub-sets).

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

The only one I’ve visited is Disneyland, which I enjoy more than I can explain. There’s something about the surrounding energy that delights me.

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

I’m a compulsive reader. If I’m sitting down, awake, and not in active conversation with anyone, I’m reading. (That’s a slight overstatement: when I’m watching TV or a movie, I don’t always read. But often I do.)

I have been reading science fiction most of my life, although I seem to read less of it these days. I have been reading increasing amounts of historical fiction, including historical mysteries, which I read for the setting and characters rather than the mystery itself. One of my favorite authors is Mary Doria Russell, whose science fiction novel The Sparrow may be my favorite novel in any genre and from any time period, and who also writes historical fiction.

What led you to write your latest book, Wander Home?

I’ve always been interested in different speculations and imaginings about life after death — and I am drawn to themes of family communication, unfinished business, and reconciliation. I don’t remember exactly when or how the setting for Wander Home came to me, but it fit my interests and preoccupations to dream up an afterlife with features suitable for celebrating one’s life and addressing lingering issues. Once I had the setting, I found a family-based story that grew out of it.

Is Wander Home your first novel? If not, what was your first novel about?

Twin-Bred ebook cover sized for SpotlightIf we (mercifully) don’t count the book I wrote at age ten about a boy and his dragon, my first novel was Twin-Bred, published in paperback and ebook formats in October 2011.

This science fiction novel addresses the question: can interspecies diplomacy begin in the womb? Humans have lived on Tofarn, planet of creeks and rivers, for seventy years, but they still don’t understand the Tofa. The Tofa are an enigma, from their featureless faces to the four arms that sometimes seem to be five. They take arbitrary umbrage at the simplest human activities, while annoying their human neighbors in seemingly pointless ways. The next infuriating, inexplicable incident may explode into war.

Scientist Mara Cadell has a radical proposal: that host mothers carry fraternal twins, human and Tofa, who might understand each other better. Mara knows about the bond between twins: her own twin Levi died in utero, but she has secretly kept him alive in her mind as companion and collaborator.

The human Council approves the project. The Tofa agree to cooperate, although no one is sure they understand the project’s purpose. In fact, the Tofa have their own agenda. And so does one member of the Council, who believes the human colonists should have wiped out the Tofa before setting foot on Tofarn. Mara must shepherd the Twin-Bred project through dangers she anticipated and others that even the canny Levi could not foresee. Will the Twin-Bred bring peace, war, or something else entirely? . . .

What’s next?

I just finished (via NaNo) the rough draft of a science fiction novel tentatively titled Division, involving conjoined twins. While I let it cool off in the virtual desk drawer, I’m editing the sequel to Twin-Bred, with the working title Reach. I hope to publish the latter by late Spring of 2013.

Here are some other places you can find author Karen A. Wyle and her books.  Scroll down to read her bio.

Karen’s Website:

Karen Wyle Facebook page

Facebook pages for Karen A. Wyle Books:

Karen’s Blog (Looking Around):

Follow Karen on Twitter: @WordsmithWyle

Purchase Karen Wyle’s books here:


Twin-Bred ebook cover sized for SpotlightAmazon (Kindle):

Amazon (paperback):

Nook Store:

B&N online (paperback):

Smashwords (various ebook formats):

Wander Home:

wanderAmazon (Kindle):


Smashwords (various ebook formats):

Karen A. Wyle Bio:

Karen A. Wyle was born a Connecticut Yankee, but moved every few years throughout her childhood and adolescence.  After college in California, law school in Massachusetts, and a mercifully short stint in a large San Francisco law firm, she moved to Los Angeles, where she met her now-husband, who hates L.A.  They eventually settled in Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University.

Wyle’s childhood ambition was to be the youngest ever published novelist.  While writing her first novel at age ten, she was mortified to learn that some British upstart had beaten her to the goal at age nine.

Wyle has been a voracious and compulsive reader as long as she can remember.  Do not strand this woman on a plane without reading matter!  Wyle was an English and American Literature major at Stanford University, which suited her, although she has in recent years developed some doubts about whether studying literature is, for most people, a good preparation for enjoying it.  Her most useful preparation for writing novels, besides reading them, has been the practice of appellate law — in other words, writing large quantities of persuasive prose, on deadline, year after year. 

Wyle and her husband have two intensely creative daughters, the older of whom introduced Wyle to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), for which she will be forever grateful.

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Introducing Author J.T. Schaad

Posted on January 7, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

222743_10150558942720075_746485074_18225713_4275797_nThis week I am pleased to introduce a chilling writer, J.T. Schaad.  J.T.s books are not for the faint-hearted.  He writes in the style of Thomas Harris (whose work I absolutely love) and the scenes are graphic and scary.  I could not put down Black Rose from the moment I picked it up. You can read my review here.  I warn you, if you choose to read the book, it’ll leave a mark on you.  Evil can lurk anywhere – maybe even closer than you think?  On a lighter note, J.T. and I have something in common – we are both musicians and songwriters.  It’s always nice to connect with someone who is into the same things you are.

J.T. Schaad Interview

By L.Leander

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

I write in my office at home most of the time. In the office I have my desktop pc (I don’t do laptops, keep feeling like It’s gonna break lol) and it is also my music room. I”ve got my guitars, my bass guitars, amps and so forth. It’s my own little world in there.

What is your favorite writing tool?

For drafts I strongly prefer my pc, because I type fast and can usually keep up with my brain when I’m in hyperdrive plowing through a story. For outlines I use spiral notebook paper. For song lyrics I use yellow legal pads.

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

I think that Ed O’Neill from the early 90’s would be perfect as Frank Adams. He just has that sort of realism to him. Always been a big fan of his since I was a kid.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and a musician. I realized my dream of writing when I was 9 years old. I had a story idea that came to mind out of the blue. I searched and searched to find this idea in a book so I could read it. Finally I just decided to do it on my own. I became hooked on it. I always say that beyond being an artist, I am a fan first. I write mostly so I can read the story. When I get an idea it’s like seeing a preview at the movies for something that looks awesome. I get an idea that grabs me and I realize I have to read this book. But I have to write it first lol

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

For my novels I start with an outline. I find it way easier to use an outline when you are tackling something as big as a novel. I outline the entire story chapter by chapter. Then when I write the prose I just have to fill in the blanks basically. If I didn’t do this I would go nuts because I would do nothing but rewrites. Nothing more frustrating then getting a great idea of where the story should go, but realizing that for this to happen you have to rewrite the past 100 pages.

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

I like bicycles. They are fun to ride and they almost become a part of your body. Plus you are in control. With a horse, you never have full control.

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

I don’t dream about them. At least I don’t think I do. I say that because my dreams never make any logical sense after I wake up.

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

In high school I was kind of a loner. I always felt more comfortable with my fictional characters then the real world. I hid in the back of the room and read. Then I went home and played guitar and wrote. That was high school for me.

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

I’ve never had a chance to go to one. It would have to be one with a horror theme. That would be like a huge crazy haunted house type of thing. I think that would be wicked sweet.

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

I love reading. Always have since I was 5. I read a variety, but horror/thrillers have always been my faves. I’ve always been a huge fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, R L Stine, Poe,  James Patterson, right now I  love the Dexter novels by Jeff  Lindsay. Those are awesome.

Thank you, J.T. for being my guest this week.  Readers, you can connect with J.T. and his works at the links listed below.  How about leaving him a comment here to let him know you read his interview and support him?  Thanks for stopping by!

Here’s a little more information from J.T. regarding his current works in progress. 

I am currently working on a vampire series. The first book is entitled Blood Born. It should be finished soon.

I currently am working on a werewolf series, and a few paranormal series. One will focus on a town and the strange inhabitants and history. One series will focus on a paranormal investigative team.

So I have many many ideas running around in my head.

I also have many short stories I am working on also. These are great to relax with between novels.

J.T. Schaad Author Bio

I’ve been writing since I was 9 years old and I still feel as passionate about it today as I did then. It is an amazing feeling when you find something like this that you truly love. I’ve been lucky to find several passions in the arts. In addition to writing, I am a musician, songwriter, and a budding film maker.

I’m the author of the Black Rose series and The Blood Born series (coming soon)

Black Rose Cover 1440X2250 (2)CONTACT!/pages/Black-Rose/116396145196655


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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:

One Imperfect Christmas-coverOrder One Imperfect Christmas online at:

Amazon (print version)

Amazon (Kindle version)


Watch the Book Trailer for

One Imperfect Christmas:

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


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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 Brian Beam

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This week it’s my pleasure to introduce an exciting author, Brian Beam.  Brian and I met on a Facebook group.  I offered to read and review his manuscript.  Am I ever glad I did!

From the very first paragraph of The Dragon Gem I was hooked.  Mr. Beam has a style that keeps readers on their toes, craning their necks to get a peek at what’s coming up next.  The fantasy world he creates is well-developed and the characters are delightful.  You can read my review of The Dragon Gem here.

One of the things that interested me about Brian Beam was his comment about being a dad.  He takes his role very seriously and is proud of his son.  That is something that endears him to readers, I think.  His compassion and fun-loving spirit shine through the pages of his writing.

I sincerely believe that Mr. Beam is an author who will make a name for himself.  His first book was great and I’ve been privileged to read the manuscript of the second.  (I promised not to relay any secrets – sorry!)  Brian has a definite way with words and plot.  His characters jump from the pages right into your heart and you find yourself falling in love with them.  I was sad to see the first book end.  Oh, and I forgot – for you adventure lovers – Brian writes lots of action and adventure in his series.  You won’t be disappointed!

Here is my interview with Brian – his personality shines through!

Interview with Brian Beam

by L.Leander

L.Leander:  What makes you stand out as a writer?

Brian Beam:  I write for the sheer pleasure of writing and telling a story, not to sell the most books I can.  When I have a story in mind, I don’t really think much about how universally appealing it will be.  I hope that readers will love it, and I hope that it will sell, but I don’t sacrifice vision solely for increased readership.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to shovel out poor work just because I think it’s good, but it does mean that there will be no vampires or erotica in my books any time soon.  I think that dedication to my vision comes out in my work.

L.Leander:  What is your favorite type of reading material?

Brian Beam:  I’m a big fantasy nerd, so just about anything fantasy.  I tend to read more epic fantasy, though.

L.Leander:  If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Brian Beam:  Even though I just started reading his work about three or four years ago, Brandon Sanderson.  He is not the author who made me want to strive to write fantasy; he’s the one who made we want to strive to write good fantasy.  His books have taught me so much about effective world-building and thinking outside of the box when crafting stories.  I would say that if not for his work, I probably never would have completely finished my first novel.

L.Leander:  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Brian Beam:  They just pop in my head.  I know that sounds simple, but there’s not much more to it.  I am a jogger, and sometimes I get some great(to me at least) ideas then, but there’s no particular process.

L.Leander:  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Brian Beam:  Mostly a pantser.  I say mostly because I do come up with the generalities of the story in my head.  I know where the characters will start and finish.  I know most of the big events that occur in between.  I know my characters’ personalities.  I never put all this to paper except for the occasional note or two.  Once I start writing, I let the story lead me from the beginning to the end.  Sometimes I find myself on the general path that was plotted in my mind.  Other times, I go off-roading and have a great time doing so.

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

Brian Beam:  That I love to write and record music.  I haven’t done so in quite a while, but I love it!

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

Brian Beam:  Four hours of dedicated writing time followed by 12 straight hours of playing with my wife and son.  And chocolate.  And cake.

L.Leander:  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?

Brian Beam:  Depends…do I get electricity?  If so, internet hands down.  There’s plenty of programs where I could write.  Besides, I type much faster than I write and I have horrible handwriting/drawing skills.  Plus, it’d be much easier to send letters through email than in a bottle J.

L.Leander:  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Brian Beam:  They tell me to write their stories.  I tell them to sit down, shut up, and wait their turn.  I’m starting to wonder if this is an interview or a psychological screening questionnaire…

L.Leander:  What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

Brian Beam:  Having someone say they enjoyed my book is my favorite.  When I first published The Dragon Gem, I told my wife that if just one person who was a complete stranger said they liked my book, it would all be worth it.  Just reaching even one person truly validates what an author does.  My least favorite is having so many ideas in my head and not having the time to dedicate to them.

L.Leander:  Where did you grow up?

Brian Beam:  I was born and raised in Bardstown, Kentucky (bourbon capital of the world as well as Rand McNally’s Most Beautiful Small Town in America 2012).  It was one of those quaint towns that you hate growing up in as a kid and miss the minute you move away.  My father still lives there, so I get to visit my hometown still.  It’s just one of those friendly, historic towns.

L.Leander:  Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit)

Brian Beam:  All I want is a beach and no responsibilities.  I’m not too hard to please J

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

Brian Beam:  Definitely a cat.  Cats are (usually) very independent.  Plus, as a cat, I could look at everyone like they’re idiots or have an incredibly eclectic personality and people would be okay with it because I was a cat.

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

Brian Beam:  Brandon Sanderson.  He has some amazing thoughts on what it takes to be a good writer and write a good book.  He teaches a creative writing class at BYU and one of his students taped a series of his lectures.  I watched several of them and took so much away from them.  I’d love the chance to pick his brain a bit.  Maybe some of his creativity would rub off on me too.

L.Leander:  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Brian Beam:  Korin is sarcastic, good-natured, slightly flawed, and willing to put his life on the line for those he cares about.  He’s not the perfect hero.  He’s brave, but only to an extent.  He’s smart, but not a genius.  He’s a capable fighter, but still gets his butt handed to him.  He is generous, yet not selfless.  Basically, he’s real.  Too often in books we get these cookie-cutter good guys and villains.  I wanted to try to steer from that a bit.

Korin’s best friend is a magic talking wizard cat named Max, who is partially to blame for his sarcastic wit.  Max is there to keep Korin grounded…and alive.

The Korin’s Journal trilogy will follow him on a journey that starts as a quest to find his parents that turns out to be much much more.

L.Leander:  Thank you Brian for allowing me to interview you.  Readers, you’ll definitely want to read Brian’s fantasy novel, The Dragon Gem.  It’s available on Amazon.  Click on the book cover below to purchase.  You’ll be glad you did!

Brian Beam Facebook Author Page

Brian Beam Website

Brian Beam on Twitter

Brian Beam Amazon Author Page

Be sure to grab a copy of The Dragon Gem – you’ll be glad you did!  Click on the book cover to take you to the Amazon sale page.  Be sure to give Brian some love in the comments section – he’d love to hear from you!

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Introducing Author Betty Dravis

Posted on October 29, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Interview with Betty Dravis

by L.Leander

On my journey to becoming an Indie Author I have met some amazing writers, some famous, and some not so famous.  The one thing I can say about fellow authors is that most are very willing to help another writer succeed.  As Indies most of us have to learn things that we don’t know, in order to publish and promote our work.

One of the nicest, most helpful (and most famous) authors I have met is this week’s Betty Dravis.  I met Betty on a Facebook group and when she posted about needing reviews for Six-Pack of Blood I jumped at the chance.  Read my review of Six-Pack of Blood here.

We communicated via Facebook and became friends.  Betty Dravis is a hard person not to like.  Funny, witty, and a true fan of Pay-It-Forward, it’s easy to see why she has reached the success she has.  I do have to say one thing about her, though.

Don’t be fooled by the twinkle in Betty’s eyes or the smile on her face.  Inside this unassuming woman lurks the imagination of a really creepy horror novelist.  Makes me wonder about some of the other people I’ve met.  She may smile and carry on a normal conversation with you, all the while thinking about how to gouge out your eyeballs and serve them up on a platter of lettuce leaves.

She’s the stuff great authors are made of.  Thank you, Betty, for agreeing to do this interview and for being such a great friend.  So, in the spirit of all things Halloween I promise you’ll be genuinely surprised at Betty’s interview answers – I was.  Enjoy!


 L. Leander: What makes you stand out as a writer?

Betty Dravis: Linda, It’s hard to say why one person stands out above others. Many people say I have “star power” and am a “celebrity in my own right.” Although that and other astonishing compliments make me very happy, I always disagree, saying that it’s the people I interview who are the celebs—not me!

If I do stand out in any way, I think the many awards I have won make me noticeable. A few are: 1) Resolution of Commendation from California State Assembly and Senate; 2) Best Paranormal/Horror from Zodiac Entertainment (from director/producer Dimi Nakov for Six-Pack of Blood); 3) Top 20 Best Women’s Fiction 2011 (from Heart Press for 1106 Grand Boulevard); 4) placed 18th in Fourth Annual Shorty Awards; 5) San Jose Woman of Achievement, etc.

My writing stands out because I was a journalist and a celebrity interviewer for so many years and picked up lots of tricks of the trade. I had almost every job in the newspaper business, going from reporter to columnist to editor and then to publishing my own paper. In addition, I once hosted a Cable TV talk-show that went out to Gilroy, Hollister and San Martin (CA) area. With heavy editing skills and industry know-how I feel qualified to help my fellow authors and have built up a great reputation as a woman who pays it forward. I also help authors by writing book reviews when time allows; I’m an Amazon top reviewer and have written 766 reviews.

I also think being affiliated with famous people such as Clint Eastwood, Jane Russell, Ted Kennedy, Kat Pacino, Tanya Tucker and many more qualify me for the “Stand-out Club.” (laughs)

Disregarding awards and writing style, though, I truly think it’s my personality that does it because I love people and it shows in my interactions with them. I love to joke around and they reciprocate, making the promotional process much more fun. And while I’m serious about my writing, I’m irreverent about myself and tend to present myself in a humorous manner that seems to attract people.

 L. Leander: What is your favorite type of reading material?

Betty Dravis:  While I tend to read everything from children’s picture books to YA and sci-fi fantasies, my very favorite books are horrors, paranormal and thrillers in contemporary settings. For samples of my horror writing, check my Amazon link and find Six-Pack of Blood (co-author Barbara Watkins). Barbara is dubbed “The Queen of Terror” and after reading our book you’ll see why! Check us out and be patient: a second book is in the making. It’s titled Six-Pack of Fear and is the Work in Progress (WIP) that you invited me here to discuss. (More on that at end of this blog).

Fiction is my first love, Linda, but I also enjoy inspirational biographies and exposes of people I admire. For examples of my inspirational books, I suggest checking out my e-book Star Struck: Interviews with Dirty Harry and Other Hollywood Icons and Dream Reachers and Dream Reachers II celebrity interview books (co-author Chase Von).

L. Leander: If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Betty Dravis: This is the easiest question: CLINT EASTWOOD is my greatest influence because I had the good fortune of meeting him in a one-on-one interview session when I was a starry-eyed young journalist. His attitude, kindness and encouragement in making me feel at ease are unforgettable. As I watched him grow from a gorgeous young actor to a multi-accomplished, award-winning director and producer, I learned many things about myself and life in general. (This answer in no way belittles the impression my parents, siblings, children, friends and fans make on my life, also. Their offerings are invaluable in learning how to live my life in a most productive manner; Clint’s example helped to improve my God-given writing gift and take it to the maximum.)

L. Leander:  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Betty Dravis:  Linda, I get so many ideas that I will never ever be able to write all the books I wish to write. My ideas come from everywhere, every place and everyone (past, present and future). I often tell people that I have a beautiful Dark Muse who rides a shocking pink Harley, wears black, silver-studded leathers. Her long blonde hair streams out behind her as she rides through my mind, tossing weird ideas hither and yon. (laughs) She’s the one who gives me my far out, twisted, scary stories. Needless to say, Six-Pack of Blood and the upcoming Six-Pack of Fear were inspired by ideas I grabbed from her.

And then there’s my White-Hat Muse, Billy Wayne, who rides a big white horse, wears a white hat and is a cross between the late greats Reverend Billy Graham and Actor John Wayne. These good guys, of course, give me ideas for my books like 1106 Grand Boulevard, Star Struck: Interviews With Dirty Harry and Other Hollywood Icons, the inspiring Dream Reachers series and a slew of unpublished novels I’m working on.

To be more specific, I got the idea for Millennium Babe: The Prophecy when my son barely missed being the first baby on Mother’s Day in 1971. The first baby of the year in that hospital was awarded gifts and bonds and other goodies. Voila: my brain latched on to that idea and the first baby in my book was born. (I didn’t write the book until 2000 but the idea stuck…)

I got the idea for Toonies living inside a computer (for The Toonies Invade Silicon Valley) when I actually heard voices inside my computer. It turned out to be telephone voices due to mixed-up dial-up wiring. (laughs) One can get ideas everywhere: newspapers, other books, fragments of conversations, etc. A writer’s mind is fertile territory, especially if one has a great imagination.

L. Leander:  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Betty Dravis:  I’m more of a pantser since my ideas form in my mind and reveal themselves to me like ongoing movies. Linda, I give the characters full reign to lead me where their individual personalities would go naturally. When I allow the characters to lead, I always get a more authentic story, with the writing leaping from my fingertips onto the computer screen like White Lightning, as the country singer George Jones would say.

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

Betty Dravis:  Well, Linda, even though I’ve been interviewed myriads of times throughout my career, I think there are many things people still don’t know about me. But those are things I’d prefer to remain in the closet… (laughs) Seriously, I’m too open and outspoken for my own good, as my mother used to tell me. I tell everyone everything. For example, I let everyone know up-front that I’m eighty-three years young and often brag about it; mainly because I’m hoping to inspire them to let nothing stop them from following their dream, be it writing, acting, collecting garbage or whatever… I feel so blessed to still be able to type, keep my thoughts in chronological order and to imagine all kinds of wonderful dream worlds and characters for my readers to enjoy.

To satisfy your readers, though, here is one thing most people don’t know about me: Even though I was a model in my youth and had a curvaceous figure, as I aged I tended to gain weight easily. I am now at least twenty pounds overweight. Another thing that most people don’t know is that I enjoy being a little overweight because I’ve had too many slender friends get ill (in later years) and lose weight to the point of being skeletal. I figure with a little meat on my bones, I might avoid that happening to me. Does that make sense?

L. Leander:  Finish this sentence: If I had a choice, every day would include…

Betty Dravis:  In general, I think everyone needs a balance of the following to be happy: health, peace, prosperity and love of family and friends. On a personal level, following a productive writing session every day, I would enjoy a short swim in the pool followed by a brisk massage. Other things I would include: a half-hour of light rain (I love reading on the lounge on rainy days), humongous book sales and two extra hours to enjoy it all with family and friends.

L. Leander: 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?

Betty Dravis:  As long as you assure me there is Wi-Fi and a steady source of power, I choose the Internet and a computer—hands down–because I can create stories, blogs and all manner of written text quicker, easier and much more efficiently. Also, I can reach almost anyone with e-mail, read books online, Google all kinds of information… And I can still order things and have them drop-shipped. (laughs) The choices are unlimited.

L. Leander:  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Betty Dravis:  Of course I hear voices, Linda! Any writer worth his/her salt must hear voices. My voices are mostly my characters’ voices and I hear them inside my head as opposed to outside, like when conversing with someone. They help me write by acting out their stories. The only other times I’ve heard voices was when God spoke to me to comfort me during sad, tragic times in my life. Several of those incidents I wrote about in a short anecdote The Voice of God which will be in an upcoming book Betty Dravis Eyes: an eclectic anthology. That’s another WIP.

L. Leander: What is your very favorite part of being an author and your least favorite?

Betty Dravis:  My favorite part of being an author is when the book is finished and I see the cover for the first time and (if a print book) hold it in my hands. I must admit to basking in a bit of glory from time to time; I love being the center of attention at book-signings and other book events. (laughs) I’m an extrovert and I get a natural high when mixing with people; that’s fun.

My least favorite part of being an author is the marketing of my own books. It’s too time-consuming and immensely competitive in today’s evolving marketplace. In fact, my dislike of marketing led me to coin this self-quote that has been picked up and quoted as a favorite by many people: “Writing a book is like sliding down a rainbow; marketing it is like trudging through a field of chewed bubblegum on a hot, sticky day.” You like?

L. Leander: Where did you grow up?

Betty Dravis:  I grew up in the small town of Hamilton, Ohio, twenty-three miles from Cincinnati and fifty miles from Dayton. I loved my small-town life with my wonderful, Christian parents and six siblings (three sisters, three brothers). Learning came easy to me and I earned top grades without much effort. I played softball for a short while, but loved my role as drum majorette in both junior and senior high. As such, I enjoyed twirling the baton and performing at school football and basketball games and strutting down High Street during parades. Fun years… And FYI, I wasn’t a farm girl; every house I’ve ever lived in has had a sidewalk out front. (laughs) Truthfully, Linda, the closest I got to a farm was when we visited Uncle Bob, my mother’s brother, who had a small farm on the outskirts of town.

L. Leander: Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit).

Betty Dravis:  I raised my six children alone, so never really had time for vacations and when I did it was always quick jaunts to the beach, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe or Reno and day trips to Mexico (the closest vacation spots). As a result, I never acquired a taste for travel, so have to think long and hard about this one. My children have traveled much more than I. It was fun hearing all about Hawaii, New York, Caribbean and Alaskan Cruises, but I would not want to go on one at this stage of my life.

However, I would dearly love to visit my online friend Antonia Tosini in Naples, Italy. She’s a role model for all of us writers. She’s a screenwriter with movies in the works, an acclaimed author and Italy’s Ambassador of Goodwill. She has invited me into her home and to a huge red carpet event honoring the late great Robert Altman. I would dearly love to attend and to finally meet and spend time with her and her charming husband and sons.

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

Betty Dravis:  Neither! Although I like both animals, I’d rather be a horse because I love the wind and the rain in my hair…the feeling of freedom.  Besides, I’d love to be able to hang out with those handsome, rugged cowboys and transport them on their exciting adventures. (Clint comes to mind first, of course.) (laughs)

L. Leander: Imagine that you are the co-host of CBS This Morning. With whom would you like to snag an interview?

Betty Dravis:  That’s another easy one: Clint Eastwood–mainly because I’d love to see him again after all these years. It’s my dream to get a photo with him wherein we pose in identical fashion to the one taken in 1967. (I don’t normally take any side photos due to aging factors, but if he’d go for it, I would too…)

L. Leander:  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Betty Dravis: I’m pleased to have the opportunity to talk about my latest protagonist because he’s a one-of-a-kind character that I’ve come to love. His name is George Phinneus Starbucks, Phinny for short. But before I tell you more about him and my latest story, I’d like to tell you about the coming e-book… My current WIP!

As many readers know, I recently wrote three short horror stories for an e-book with the gifted paranormal writer Barbara Watkins. Barbara also wrote three, and we titled that book Six-Pack of Blood. Barbara and I have other books, but this one made us international best-sellers by ranking no. one on Amazon Kindle Horror, U.S., no. 2 in Germany Occult and no. 34 in the UK. I heard it did well in India, too, but did not see the figures myself.

Well, since Blood did so well, Barbara and I wrote six more stories for our upcoming sequel Six-Pack of Fear.  The last one I just finished writing is the one starring my George Phinneus Starbucks character. I can’t give you the title of the story because I don’t want to give away the identity of his co-character (his love interest). You will be very surprised at who he sets his sights on and why… It’s a unique idea and I’m sure it will delight and amuse our readers…when they’re not too busy being frightened by the evil characters–along with poor Phinny.

I started out to write a short story, but Phinny, his son and love interest carried me away into a very strange adventure, indeed. It ended up being almost 13,000 words, so technically qualifies as a novella, so in Six-Pack of Fear the readers will actually be getting one novella and five short stories… I hope you enjoy my new story because I love my own idea in creating it. (laughs) But Barbara also has three unique stories and I have two more. Fear will also be $2.99, the same as Blood, but it will be featured in the Kindle free program from time to time.

Linda, our new e-book won’t be out for a few more weeks, meantime check out Six-Pack of Blood at the link listed above. We have been compared to Rod Serling, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Hitchcock and many other famous horror writers. We are very grateful and humbled, indeed.

This is a book blog, so it’s proper to talk of books instead of kids, but I am so proud of my children. I have four surviving children (three daughters, one son) and two angel girls in Heaven; nine grandchildren; five great-grands; and one great-great granddaughter. I feel so blessed…

Thanks, Linda, for inviting me to participate in this popular blog. It’s been a joy speaking to your fans, as well as any of mine who might wander over here. Love you all…

READERS:  Here are a few quotes people have said about Betty Dravis.

I know Betty Dravis as a multi-genre writer, but no matter what genre she writes in, make no mistake, Betty’s a treasure, far as I’m concerned. This collection is special because it offers you a glimpse into the ‘other’ mind and character of this author.” – John Locke, famous creator of the fictional character Donovan Creed and the first self-published author to sell a million e-books.

Betty Dravis is a gifted storyteller who along with Barbara Watkins crafted an amazing compilation of tales of terror and the supernatural called Six Pack of Blood. I had the pleasure of reading and supporting this book and have highly recommended it to others. Betty Dravis has been entertaining readers for years and her fans are never disappointed with her work. She is a talent whose ability to communicate with her audience is apparent by the well-deserved praises she receives. We all await her next book.” –Armand Mastroianni, internationally renowned Hollywood Producer/Director of numerous blockbuster films; latest film Dark Desire, Shore Road Entertainment

 “Betty Dravis is a fantastic mix of Shirley Jackson, Edna Buchanan and Janis Joplin. Don’t ask me how I came up with that unlikely comparison–I just feel it, and I haven’t been drinking much tonight…” – Mark LaFlamme, author of Worumbo, The Pink Room and many horror books

What can I say about Betty? In fact, it might be an easier question to ask what can’t I say about Betty? I could list superlatives such as fabulous, amazing, inspiring, but I guess I had better tell you why I think those things about this (here I go again) wonderful lady. To tell you that she has the magic to bring grown men to their knees in obeisance is not an exaggeration. In fact, she has us all trying to please her. Betty is the queen of the social network boards, make no mistake about that!If you knew Betty, it would not surprise you to know that she has even managed a coup in the new e-publishing industry. She has captivated the heart of e-book sensation, John Locke, whom she asked to write the foreword for her e-book, Star Struck. It is an apt title. How could John refuse? He is a mere mortal – a satellite in Betty’s orbit! No one says No! to Betty! We are all a little in love with her, rapt by her talent, charm, drive, energy and determination that puts those of us who feel old to shame… Betty is one of those eternally young spirits in the shape of the great, grand dame that remind many of us of how fairy god-mothers ought to be. Not even Clint Eastwood could say No to her.” – Dr. Niamh Clune, founder of On the Plum Tree.

Be sure to check out Six-Pack of Blood.  Three lucky winners will receive 
an eBook copy.  All you have to do is post in the comments section.  Winners will be notified via email on Monday, November 5.




Here are some links where you can find Betty Dravis and her current books.

Betty Dravis Facebook Author Page

Betty Dravis Amazon Author Central Page

Betty Dravis Website

Betty Dravis Book Video Trailers

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