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 Rebecca Jane Lynch

Posted on May 20, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, Fiction, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

This week I’m delighted to introduce an up and coming author who has written the young adult fantasy series Satu Country.  You’ll see by her answers to the questions below that she is dedicated to her work.  You can read my review of Coming Tides here.

Interview of Author Rebecca Jane Lynch

By L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why?

Kano Shadow is my favorite so far. He’s cool, strong, dark, and a real mystery. He’s the type of person I love to follow in a story, but I’d probably be afraid of him if he were real.

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?

I am actually both. I have been published in the anthology Swimming Blind by Athanatos Ministries, which was traditionally published by the Athanatos Publishing Group. I’ve also published two books through Publish America. More recently though, I’ve settled on self-publishing through, and I really enjoy it. I enjoy that I have full control over the formatting and cover design of my book. Best of all, Lulu is free–which is great for a new author.

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

Well, when I was little I always wanted to be three things simultaneously: an author, movie director, and an actress. So far I’m only one of those.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

I am definitely an outliner. I have dozens of documents on my computer storing plot ideas and extremely detailed character information. I always have a general idea of what I want to happen in a story before I begin writing. Usually as I go along though, random ideas come to me and I add them to the story. That’s especially true with a lot of the humor in my books–that is rarely planned.

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

Sometimes ideas just come to me when I least expect it; other times I get ideas from dreams or real-life experiences. When it comes to Satu Country, the idea just came to me one day and I started writing. With other books, such as my children’s mystery story Hamster Heroes, I based the characters on real-life people and animals, but the stories themselves are entirely imaginary.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why?

My biggest supporter is probably my friend Michelle. She’s one of my beta readers and has been encouraging me to write before I ever published my first book.

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

Since I only write as a hobby and my real “job” is being a full-time college student, I just grab a few moments here and there to write when I can. Usually I get my best writing done late at night after everyone else is in bed. When I’m not in classes however, I like to sit down, turn on some Skillet or Relient K music, and write.

What is your wildest dream for your writing?

To have my Satu Country books made into movies, or an anime-styled cartoon series. If I had the skills and people necessary, I’d love to make it an animated series and direct it myself.

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

Even though I read manga the most, I really enjoy reading fantasy books and some Christian fiction. My favorite authors are Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I’ve really been inspired by Ted Dekker’s writing style/tone.

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

Writing really is my favorite hobby. Besides reading and sketching, it’s my favorite thing to do. As for the second half of that question, I think it does. Practice makes perfect (or, at least, makes things better). The more I write, the more I understand myself, my writing style, and my direction for future projects.

There will be seven books total in the Satu Country series, and the first two have already been published.  This year I’m working on book three, In the Heights.  Each year I plan to self-publish one of the Satu books, which shouldn’t be too difficult since I have already written them on paper and just need to transcribe them to digital copies and edit them.

Satu Country has really been my life’s dream.  I started working on handwriting them when I was in high school.  I’d like to encourage people to read the Satu books, especially if they like young adult fiction.  The first book, Coming Tides, was the roughest one I wrote, plot-wise, because it is mostly just introducing all of the characters to the readers while trying to add enough plot to keep the story going.  The second book, Saving the Valley, is smoother.  I think the books will get better the further along the series goes.

I’m also working on my first adult fiction novel, which will be titled Thethe perceptionalist front vs 4 Perceptionalist.  It probably won’t be published until 2014 because it’s taken a backseat to the Satu books.  More information about my other books can be found on my website.

~Rebecca Jane Lynch

stcLinks where my book can be purchased: My Author Spotlight, and Amazon.

Other links: My website and the Satu Country website

Author bio: Rebecca Jane has been writing books since she was eleven years old. She first became published after winning a Christian writing contest in 2010 and had her short story “The Dissenters” published in an anthology. Since then, she has published seven books and is best known for her young adult fantasy series Satu Country

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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:



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Introducing Author Michael Murphy

Posted on May 6, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

005 What a treat we have in store for us this week.  My guest is Michael Murphy, author of Goodbye Emily.  This is a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes sad and downright funny book about returning to Woodstock and reliving the days of youth.  If you’d like to read my review click here.

Interview with Michael Murphy

By L.Leander

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

I used to write glued to my home office computer, but in the past year I’ve added a wireless keyboard to my tablet and now write in the backyard with my chickens, Michael bonds with the girls 005around the pool or patio. Freedom via technology!

What is your favorite writing tool?

As I mentioned, my tablet is a fabulous tool. In addition to writing, I can pause and check something on the internet and since my current work in process is historical fiction, that comes in handy when checking slang words in the 1930s for example.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why? I’ve been asked this more for my return to Woodstock novel, Goodbye Emily, than any of my previous books. I think it’s because readers often comment that it would make a great movie. Since it focuses on three baby boomers reliving their roadtrip to Woodstock, I envision Tom Hanks as Sparky, Billy Bob Thornton or Sam Elliott as Buck and William H. Macy as Josh.

006 (2)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be an author. I read Gone with the Wind when I was nine. I was a geek even then, still am.

Did you realize that dream?

Just about.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

I’ve always been a seat of the pants author, but I’ve become more formalized as I’ve become more experienced. For example. I write details biographical histories for my main characters so I know how they’ll act or what they might say in a given situation or scene.

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

I’m not much for either, but my wife and I have a tandem bike that we dust off now and then. She still looks sweet, upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

Do you dream about your stories?

Absolutely. Ever written about a dream? Dreaming is the most important part of my creative process. I use it as a tool. If I envision a character or scene before falling asleep, I often wake up with a vivid dream. I also tap into my subconscious on a treadmill.

What’s your favorite theme park?

Definitely Disneyland.


It’s the happiest place on earth!

Are you a reader?  I’m an avid reader.

I write the type of books I love reading, mostly (but not limited to) mystery/suspense with a lot of humor. The master being Nelson DeMille.

Michael says:

My goal in writing Goodbye Emily was to portray sixty-somethings in a realistic manner instead of “get off my lawn” clichés. By realistic, I mean, funny, talented, sexually active and optimistic about the future. From the reviews so far, I think I’ve succeeded.


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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.

Books by Thomas M. Sullivan

lifeLife in the Slow Lane









somuchcoverSo Much Time So Little Change

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INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) by L.Leander

Posted on April 22, 2013. Filed under: Book Reviews, Fiction, New Book Premiere | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s here!  After almost a year of editing, the second book of the INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders series continues where the first book left off.  Here is a brief description and links to both books.  I hope you enjoy them!

coverWe meet Bertha Maude Anderson, a girl of sixteen from the hills of Appalachia in INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book One).  Bertha is misunderstood by her parents and yearns to escape her mountain home and see the world.  She craves excitement, and when a Gypsy circus comes to the village of Brower’s Gap she seizes the opportunity and runs away from home.  Life is not exactly as she imagines, but she definitely lives a colorful life among the Gypsies who make up the performers and roustabouts of the small circus that tours the eastern part of the United States.  The year is 1843.  Bertha hates her name and is delighted when the circus owners give her the glamorous stage name of Inzared.  Introduced to Cecil the elephant, and his handler Paytre, Inzared falls in love with both of them and her life changes dramatically.  Although she endures many hardships she is steadfast and becomes the main attraction for the small circus.  She learns the Gypsy culture and superstitions and helps solve a mystery.  But how will she deal with the guilt that plagues her?  Will the Gypsies accept her?  And what of the old fortune-teller Vadoma’s warnings?  Part mystery, part romance and full of quirky characters the book is sure to delight readers of every age!

Inzared_1563x2500_MediumSizeIt is now 1849 and life in the circus continues.  INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) picks up the story where Book One left off.  Inzared feels the strong pull of home and knows she must face her demons.  A series of nightmares cause her to rethink her life.  When she left Brower’s Gap, North Carolina she didn’t say goodbye and now fears her family will no longer want her to be part of their lives.  But things are different now and she feels she must try to make amends.  After she writes a poignant letter home she makes the decision to return.  She goes back to find things not much different from what she remembered.  She learns the skills of healing from her Ma and with the fortune-telling she has studied from the Gypsies she journeys back to Home Run and the circus she loves.  But what will she encounter along the way?  Will she be strong enough to handle the problems that arise?  What of the man from her past  – will he be part of her future?  Filled with new adventures, paranormal romance and danger, INZARED,The Fortune Teller will make you laugh, make you cry, and you won’t want to put it down until it’s finished!

Stay Tuned for the third book in the Inzared series to be published in 2014.  The Civil War has broken out and Inzared and her son must make some heartbreaking sacrifices.  Will they survive this terrible time in American History?  What of the circus and Inzared’s beloved elephant Cecil?  Will Inzared support the North or the South?  These questions and more will be asked and answered in this adventurous tale of love, loss and human fortitude.


L.Leander is an e-book author, freelancer and songwriter.  She writes for Yahoo! Content and does guest posts on author blogs and groups.  As a child Ms. Leander dreamed of running away to join the circus.  Instead, she grew up to write about it, bringing the magic alive for all who read her work.

Ms. Leander currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico.  INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is the first book in a series about a Gypsy wagon circus in pre-Civil War America.

Books by L.Leander:


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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,

my reading has been eclectic.


My book – The Audubon Capertac


Barnes & Noble:


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.


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Introducing Author Sarah Buchynski

Posted on February 25, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

sarah_1Please help me welcome a young up and coming author this week who I’m sure we’ll see more of.  Her name is Sarah Buchynski and her book reads like a video game – action, plot and characters that pop.  If you’d like to read my review of her book, The Awakening (Before True Light) click here.  And, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the interview to see Sarah’s free offer!

Interview with Author Sarah Buchynski

by L.Leander

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

My favourite pastime, other than writing, would be playing video games.  More specifically RPGs such as games from the Final Fantasy series are really enjoyable to me.  I like them since they convey a story and you can really immerse yourself into the world through the visuals, music, and interactions.  Even though it is entertaining for me, sometimes the emotions that the music creates with the different scenarios gives me a burst of inspiration, which can lead me to go write or compose music.

Who are you as a writer?

My identity as a writer is simple.  I only try to create works that will entertain readers and make them laugh, cry, be angry, get excited, etc…

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think it is great.  However, it is still a small movement in comparison to other indie movements such as music.  Hopefully it will continue to grow, so truly talented authors can be more easily discovered.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have not ghostwritten.  However, if I had the opportunity, I probably would.  If you are ghostwriting for certain people, it can lead to other writing opportunities since you are networking your writing skills.  Although, not getting a credit for the public to see is disheartening, but inside the industry can discover you through word of mouth.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Probably The Horse and his Boy by CS Lewis.  That was the first book that I got so addicted to that I could not put it down.  Before I read that, I was not really into reading and now I read a variety of things like books, manga, articles, etc…

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

Absolutely not! For fiction, I believe that a degree cannot teach a person to be creative to create a captivating story.  In my opinion, a degree would only help to teach a person to have proper grammar skills so they can convey their story in a written format.  The story is the most important element of a book and an editor can help with the technical aspect for the writer if they lack the skill.  The grammar is not what captives an audience, it is the story.

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

I pinch myself and then I wake up from a terrifying dream.  In reality I am safe in my bed at home.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

I suppose my greatest asset as an independent author would be the business skills/knowledge I’ve been learning in post secondary.  This knowledge helps me to find ways to market and promote myself as well as understand any contracts I need to so there is a lesser chance I get ripped off.

What do you treasure most on earth?

The human brain because it is an amazing thing that it can do so much and create so much.

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

To be honest, most of my childhood memories are of me doing homework.  However, I really enjoyed the traveling that I was able to do.

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

Probably getting my book published and actually finding out complete strangers are reading my book.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

It is not very important, however, it would be nice.  All I really want is for people to read and enjoy my book.

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

An isolated tropical island, a movie deal for my book where I get to work on the post production for it, and a wish for more wishes since at the time I could not come up with a last one.

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

I’m not really sure what I would do.  Any day where I do not have to worry about anything school related is a great day.  I would probably end up going to a music store and getting new and high quality instruments, equipment and software for music production and post production so I can go out and record anything from field recordings to a full band.

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

Writing is not really my career.  I do it because I enjoy it.  However, I put enough effort into that it could be my career.  I mainly got into writing because someone once told me that I was good at it.  From that I tried writing poetry and had some publishing success with that then moved into the world of writing novels.  People seemed to enjoy reading my work so that’s what makes me keep writing.

So when I’m not writing and promoting my work, I am a full time student of audio engineering (soon to be graduated).  I have already recorded a few indie bands.  In the near future I may be doing the audio for an indie film.  I also want to branch out to doing audio for book trailers plus create original music for them either contemporary, orchestrated or a combination of both.   My ultimate career goal with that is to be a foley artist and eventually get into composing music for film.  Writing is what keeps me sane trying to accomplish these goals.

People have told me that my book, Before True Light: The Awakening is very unique, but in a good way.  The system of abilities comes from the science of ancient alchemy, but also the fantasy side of it.  So it is not 100% magic and not 100% science.  The storyline is more than just a story too.  I want to entertain people, but also make them think about the world around us.  However, I would like to think that I’ve done this in a way that if a person does not understand the metaphors, it will not hinder the storyline in any way for them – it’s more like bonus material if you catch on to it.

Thanks for stopping by – leave a comment for Sarah and let her know you came.  Check below for her generous offer to five lucky readers.

Beforetruelight_1Points of Purchase:




Barnes & Noble:




Sarah Buchynski is a young author that showed a passion for writing even as a child. In her grade school years, she placed second in an essay writing contest for the Royal Canadian Legion and has two poems published in a student anthology with Creative Communications and several works in school-based anthologies. Now she has expanded her writing ambitions with her first fantasy series, Before True Light.

As a writer, one of Sarah’s main techniques is to paint a vivid picture into the reader’s mind through carefully constructed imagery. In addition to the embedded metaphors which older audiences can enjoy along with the story.

Sarah’s other technique is research. Almost every name of places and characters have been carefully researched so that it is relevant to the storyline. Sarah believes that everything in a story should have a purpose to an extend,so that makes research even more important even for works of fiction.

Giveaway: the first 5 people to like Before True Light on facebook will receive a free copy of the ebook.


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Introducing Author Michael Cavallo

Posted on February 18, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, everyone.  You won’t want to miss this week’s zany interview with author Michael Cavallo, the author of Michael Did What?  You can read my review of the book here.  Mike is a funny guy and the great lengths his character goes to to prove to the world how wonderful he is makes for a light read.  I found myself laughing more than once.  You will too. (Be sure to check out the links at the end of the interview – Michael has a money-saving coupon for you!

Interview with Michael Cavallo

by L.Leander

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

I don’t really have one. Life just kinda gets in the way. I’m married, with two kids, a house, and that keeps be busy. Aside from writing and marketing, “Michael Did What?” I’ve been mentally kicking around a few ideas for my next book. For now, “Michael Did What?” takes most of my free time. That, and trying to keep those little cups on top of the NyQuil bottles. They’re always disappearing, and it’s up to me to restore order to the medicine cabinet. Can you consider that a pastime?

Who are you as a writer?

Simply put, I’m really just going for a laugh, and there are few rules to that. (One is to refer to bad 80’s TV shows a lot. What the heck was Hart to Hart about anyway?)  I’m trying to keep the reader a little off balance so they never really know what to expect. I like to use a variety of techniques, each in a different way, and without a discernible pattern. I like to hit the reader with a joke about F. Murray Abraham and two stalks of celery when they least expect it.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

As a writer, I think it’s awesome. It gives every author an opportunity, which is all one can ask for. It’s also a ton of work, and full of scams. (The Ultra-Golden-Ruby-Premium Marketing package will help you to sell 3 million books in the first 3 days alone! By Thursday, Lindsay Lohan will be cast in the movie version, provided she posts bail! Just send $400 now, and an address where your groupies should loiter!)

I’m self-published on Amazon, so I’m more familiar with that than the others, but I did do my homework. It takes so much time and effort to get your book noticed, but if it’s good, it will be shared, and you’re on your way. Competition is tremendous, as even the most popular writers give their books away for free or 99 cents from time to time. It can be rewarding though, once you invest the time and effort into learning how to utilize the industry, and filter out the nonsense.

As a reader, it can be just as much work separating the good writing from the not so good. You can find some good work in whatever niche you’re into, and you may have to sift through a lot of titles. I’m not sure the world needs a 450 page tome dedicated to the proper storage of garden hoses, (and 67 ways to coil them!) but at least the choice is there. Worst case scenario, you’ve wasted a dollar.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

It isn’t something that I’ve really considered, but I would love to do it. I think I’d have a great ability to help someone crystallize their thoughts, and inject some humor into their story. I understand Fidel Castro’s English isn’t so good, and, let’s face it, he isn’t known for his humor. I could help to soften his image in his golden years. This could be a win-win for both of us! Do his henchmen read this blog? Maybe then I’ll have henchmen too. That’s when you know you’ve made it.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why?Little.Happy.Michael

I’m not sure I have an all-time favorite book. If I had to pick one, Our Dumb World from the Onion would probably be it. Who satirizes an atlas, anyway? Brilliant! Probably a million one-liners in that book. Also America, the Book, by John Stewart. Great sound bites, blurbs, ridiculous comments in a spoofed textbook. A textbook I can scribble in if I want to! I guess I see these as revenge from years of Catholic grammar school.

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

Of course not. A writer only needs a bunch of crap bouncing around inside of his head, a need to get it out, and the means to do so. See those people wandering around Manhattan muttering to themselves, oblivious to the world around them? Those are unwritten books, trying to get out.

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

First, I unzip the flap as patiently and gingerly as possible, sometimes taking upwards of six hours, so as not to draw undue attention upon myself. If the roaring still persists, I will then attempt to distract the roarmaker, usually by screaming like a little bitch. I do this as I make a bee-line for the cooler, and bravely attempt to liberate as many cans of beer as possible, while cursing myself for not finishing them the night before. I will then head towards the car, which, because of the Rules of Scary Movies, is wwwwaaaaaayyy off in the opposite direction. Immediately thereafter, I drop one of the cans, and am faced with a dilemma: Continue on, and enjoy the juice of my labor in the comfort of my ’72 Pinto? Or do I risk it all to go back for the lone ale, reminding myself that people are sober in China? Being as eco-conscious as I am, I make an about face to rescue the lone straggler. This is when, as the Rules of Scary Movies dictate, that the hideous beast emerges from the brush, and the race—full of close-ups, and in slow motion—begins for real. Realizing that if something works, you should stick with it, I then enter Phase II of my plan, namely, screaming like a BIG banshee. The higher pitch and frequency of this brilliant and manly plan usually works to perfection, and within moments I’m sipping a cold one from inside my car, while the defeated monster fogs my window with his rapid panting. All that’s left to do, as the camera pans back, is give that squirrel the finger. Fade to black, roll credits.*

*No squirrels were hurt during the answering of this question.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

That’s easy. My sense of humor. I’ve learned to find the humor in almost any situation, including the most difficult ones. That’s not to say you can avoid your responsibilities, or neglect to do the tough things that need to be done, but I always try to find a way to laugh while doing them. Many people may feel that you can’t be serious about something and maintain a sense of humor about it at the same time. They feel it’s either/or. I’ve laughed in the dentist’s chair, emergency room, and funeral homes. If I can help other people to laugh while in those situations, that’s even better.

What do you treasure most on earth?

That’s a bit tougher. I’d have to say life itself. The process of life, of growing and evolving. Just watching life unfold, and taking from it what you can, and being thankful for it. Most people can look back on difficult times and see how it made them grow, and then appreciate it. If  I can accelerate that process, and experience gratitude during the difficult times, then I’ve taken a tremendous step. I have done that. The trick is to do it consistently. That, and pepper-jack cheese. The mild cheese is deliciously offset by the spiciness of the jalapenos. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth.

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

I played hockey a lot, usually as a goalie. There’s was nothing like it. When I’m focused, nothing else exists except that puck. I wouldn’t feel cold, or tired, or worry my car insurance is due. Time would sometime slow down, and I’d see the play a few seconds before it unfolded. Other times, it would speed up, and I’d have no recollection of plays after the game. The outside world would just cease to exist.

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

I’d have to say the confidence I’ve gained, just learning to open up a bit, and put myself out there. You immediately set yourself up for criticism, and need to understand it comes with the territory. And this is just from a simple joke book, it’s not like I’ve published my personal memoirs. Of course, the positive feedback  helps too.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

I enjoy making people laugh, so that is my primarily goal. If I can do that, and  make a few bucks, even better. What I don’t enjoy is the constant work promoting, and marketing the book. In a perfect world, I’d have an army of minions to take care of that.

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

Well, the most obvious answer is for world peace, but I don’t want to sound like a desperate Miss America contestant.  Another would be for my kids to get along, but this would not be possible without supernatural intervention. They could rule the entire Earth, and they’d still fight. Stuff like:

One son: “This is MY ocean! Why don’t you go play in the Atlantic?!?”

Other son: “But I saw it first! I want to play here!”

Either son: “Moooommm!”

The other two wishes? I don’t know. Can I donate them to charity?

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

Money is no object? What about resurrecting the dead? If that isn’t an object, then I’d go drinking with Jim Morrison. I would describe the day in great detail, but unfortunately I’d have no recollection of it. Trust me, we had a good time.

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

I’d have to say Douglas Adams, and Dave Barry. Dave Barry could write an article about any topic, and take it in any direction within 3 paragraphs. No matter where he went with it, it was hilarious. Adams too, but he’d build a full novel around it. I also have a tiny (3 inch square, hardcover) book on my desk about the New York Mets. I don’t know the title, but it’s the crappiest book I have ever come across. About 30 pages, with one ‘fact’ on each page. The thing is, the facts aren’t even impressive. Stuff like, “Mike Piazza hit 2 doubles against L.A. on August 9, 2001.” From a major publisher, with a price of $7.99. An average fan could do better right of the top of their head. I’m not sure where I got it, but keep it as inspiration. If this book can be published and sold, I can challenge the Bible.

Readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I have.  Please leave Michael a comment to let him know you stopped by!  If you’d like to find out more about Michael Cavallo (who wouldn’t?) check out his links below:

CreateSpace (Paperback)
(Coupon for this paperback at CreateSpace, $1.00 off with code C75DXRC3)
Page a Day Calendar from Printed Owl:
Apps/Widgets from Printed Owl:
You Tube Radio commercial:
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