Featured Author Laurie E. Boris

Today’s featured author is the lovely Laurie E. Boris.

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Hi Laurie, how nice of you to join me on my blog today and that you are willing to shed some light on what drives you to write these great books, but for that I need to ask you some questions. Brace yourself, for here they come …

Can you give me your best Whoop? Unless you have another one which works better for you?

If I’m in public, I keep it clean. “Woo hoo!” Yeah. That’s generally me.

Okay, sounds like a winner that one, but does it work all the time, even those times when the muse has gone and done a runner on you? And when did you first start with it?

Anything that gets the blood moving. I think I started using it when my husband introduced me to NASCAR and football. (Not sports I ever would have sat down to watch on my own.) And about the muse? I don’t muse much about my muse. I’m a writer. I sit down and write. The times it flows and the times it doesn’t, I attribute more to my physical and emotional state. For instance, when I can do little more than stare at the same sentence, it’s generally because I’m tired or need to eat or get some exercise.

Right, sounds like you are on the right track there. Let’s do a few of the yada yada questions before we move on to the fun.

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Don’t Tell Anyone.

Is that a joke Laurie? Are you trying to wiggle your way out of this?

No, I’m not kidding. That’s the title. Yes, you can tell people.

Okay. 🙂 In that case, I’ll show the cover too.

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AMAZON | B & N | Smashwords

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

Yes and no. Actually, it was excruciating. The working title had been The C Word since I started the first draft, because among the older generations of my family, nobody said “cancer.” It was the C Word, or never mentioned. Jewish superstitions, I think. But when I prepped the manuscript for publishing, the title was in use on at least six cancer memoirs. [This is not one, by the way, although a character in the book has cancer.] So I immediately thought of Don’t Tell Anyone, because nearly all the characters in the book have a secret and at some point ask their confidantes not to tell. Idismissed it initially, brainstormed about 250 new titles, and came back to Don’t Tell Anyone because my writing group and my husband really liked it.

If you would have to change the genre, what would it be then?

Of this book, or in my writing in general? For this book, I toyed with making it a full-out, Coen brothers style dark comedy. But it didn’t work.

Just to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.

What don’t you like about writing, or whatever you need to do marketing wise?

I love writing. I love editing. Constructive criticism, bring it on. Marketing, not so much. I’m an introvert. We’d rather talk to one or two people at a time. I’m working on that.

Tell me, when your muse is visiting and you’re on a roll, what would seriously drive her/him away?

What drives the writing flow away for me is fatigue. Or if I’m doing something contrary to what my gut is telling me. That often means I’m off-track.

What does your muse look like?

The closest thing I’ve had to an actual muse is my late mother-in-law. She was one of my biggest fans. Sometimes she haunts my writing room and I can smell her perfume. I can almost hear her voice: “Finish that book already; I need something good to read.”

Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?

I frequently speak with them. We usually get along. If there’s a disagreement, it’s usually because I’m trying to make them do something they wouldn’t really do, or because they’re not ready to spill their secrets yet. You can’t rush a recalcitrant character.

Can you name the food and drink that will surely get you started?

Coffee or tea. Holding a hot mug centers me and helps me drift into the writing.

Would you be able to come up with an excuse on why you haven’t written a whole day, and have me believe it too?

I don’t write every day. I mark my progress by the week. Some I write more, some I write less. My excuse? I was editing a client’s manuscript. Or there was a good episode of The Big Bang Theory on.

Hahaha, those are actually very good reasons to procrastinate.

But why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Because I don’t really like doing anything else.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

No problem, because I have no cats, dogs, or children. Although we have a lot of mice in our house, so one or more of the three would come in handy. I hear kids are really great at catching mice. Secrets? I always wanted to play second base for the New York Mets. Or be an umpire. I’m annoyed that I failed the height requirement to become a Radio City Hall Rockette. It took me five years to write my first novel (never published), and received 138 literary agent rejections, including one by an agent who also writes romance novels. In the book I make fun of romance novels. She was not amused.

Right, now let’s give out something about the writer. You know, some facts the fans would love to know.

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She is the author of three novels:

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and Don’t Tell Anyone, of which you’ve seen the cover above.

When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she enjoys baseball, cooking, reading, and helping aspiring novelists as a contributing writer and editor for IndiesUnlimited.com. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

And finally we can we stalk, I mean follow, friend or find  Laurie on social media such as her websiteAmazon author pageFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads

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Featured Author – TD McKinnon

Thomas 11.07.2013 at the beach!Today an author with an intriguing background visits me. I’ve even gotten him to answer one question that I just had to ask. 

Hi TD,

Thanks for jumping out of the plane to answer a couple questions of mine.

I’d like to start with a few about you as a person. If that’s okay with you?

Sure, Lucy… After all that’s why I came halfway around the world.

You do have a funny accent for an Aussie. How come you don’t exactly sound like Crocodile Dundee?

While it is true that I live in Australia, well… Tasmania actually, and some would argue that they are two totally different places, but I digress… I am an Australian citizen, but I was born in Scotland and I was thirty years of age before I moved to Australia. So as my wife, Zoë, would say: I’m more Sean Connery than Paul Hogan.

Oh, that explains a lot. 🙂 What place attracts you most? The highlands, or the beautiful vistas of Tasmania?

Well… Tasmania can be beautiful, but I must admit that my very blood cries out for the mystical beauty of the Scottish Highlands. They say that home is where the heart is, and my heart sometimes yearns for the Highlands of Scotland.

By the by, what is an executive close protection operative?

In some folk’s minds, the word bodyguard conjures up a kind of thuggish picture, and I suppose that can be the case; but as in everything there are gradients. A celebrity, or anyone who considers they might need general protection, might employ a bodyguard: someone to be their shadow, follow them around and step in if or when the need should arise. A specific threat, usually within a limited time frame, might warrant the services of a professional, ‘close protection operative’ to determine the ‘threat level’ and the measures that should be taken to minimise that level. Kevin Costner’s portrayal of a bodyguard, in the movie of the same name, is a pretty accurate picture of a professional ‘close protection operative’; however, the job of a CPO and a bodyguard is to protect someone’s life.

I loved that film! Sooo, romantic. *swoons a bit even though she doesn’t really like either Kevin Costner, nor What’s her face.*

Would you like to return to any time or place in your past?

In general, I live in the present and look forward; anything else is redundant. Having said that, the magic of music sometimes transports me back to a time when I was a teenage paratrooper, stationed in England in the ‘swinging sixties.

How did you end up in Indies Unlimited? And do you think you would have been where you are now in your writing career without them?

I found Indies Unlimited, quite by chance, about eighteen months ago; at the time, it was a fledgling site, with a fresh and honest outlook. The staff, and especially the Helmsman, Stephen Hise and his First Officer, KS Brooks, were warm, talented and extremely endearing. I’ve always been pretty much a loner, but over the years I’ve looked at many writers’ communities, even tarried for a short while (emphasis there is on short). It comes down to much more than personalities though; more to do with the attitude that is encouraged at IU, nurtured even. After participating in some of IU’s many activities, I received, as Stephen put it, “A modest proposal,” to become a contributing author at Indies Unlimited; I’ve been comfortably nestled there ever since.

I am now part of a network of writers who, quite apart from being talented, proven, professionals, are such a great bunch of people. Certainly my knowledge of the industry, in regard to the independent author, has grown exponentially, and therefore my decisions, in regard to things like marketing et cetera, are better informed. I dearly love all my fellow IU minions (for anyone who is not familiar with the concept of Indies Unlimited being the Death Star, captained by the Evil Mastermind, crewed by his minions, with a plan to take over the world, one reader at a time, you might not know that minions is a term of endearment) and will always be grateful for the opportunity to be counted among their number.

It is great to see that good things can happen when Indies band together. 🙂 

Thanks for showing us a bit of the person behind the author, but now for the stuff dreams are made of. Books! To be precise, yours!

What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Terra Nullius’ is an historical fiction based on a true story: the European invaders came and they proclaimed the land (Tasmania) ‘Terra Nullius’ (land belonging to no-one), and therefore theirs for the taking; and while systematically, murdering, raping and pillaging the Caretakers, appropriating their young women as concubines and inadvertently, spreading their exotic diseases, they devastated the Caretakers number into extinction in about seventy years.

Cover Terra

The prophesy said Trucannini would be the last to leave for the Dreaming; however, while the warrior chief, Mannalargenna, and the warrior woman/freedom fighter, Tarenenorerer, were resolved to fight to the very last, the diminutive, intelligent and long suffering Trucannini was determined to negotiate a safe path for her people. 

I’d just like to add that everything I write gets very personal; Terra Nullius was no exception. After discovering the little mentioned, sanitised, official, colonially biased, account of this particular part of Tasmania’s history, the disenfranchised spirits of those first nation people of Tasmania began visiting me in my dreams. Nightly, they lined up to give me their version of that period, and not until the book was completed did they leave me alone.  

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

I usually have a working title, while I’m writing, which never ends up being the actual title. For instance, Terra Nullius began as ‘The Caretakers’, but the title is perfect. My wife, Zoë, is my business partner (manager, editor, computer whiz, cover artist, public speaking coach and on and on), and has been a professional dancer, singer, actor all of her life, is an enormous help and has a lot of input; we usually brainstorm for the titles.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I don’t think that Terra Nullius could be slotted into any other genre but historical fiction; however my other books were not so easily pigeonholed. For instance ‘Heather Skye Wilson is The Psychic Warrior’ is labeled a speculative fiction. In fact, reviewing it, Lynne Cantwell said, ‘This is kind of an odd book.  I would put it squarely in the sci-fi quadrant of the speculative fiction roundhouse, except for a “whoa!” twist at the very end that kind of made me wonder what McKinnon was on when he wrote it.  And I mean that in a good way.’

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Oh, I don’t know… that would depend on how difficult it had been and how long I’d sweated over it. I might dance a little jig, or more accurately a ‘highland fling’.

Like this? fling gif

Or more like this?

highland fling

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Marketing is a hard one to get right; I would go so far as to say that there is no single, failsafe, magic, marketing trick. As an Indie – actually, unless you’re a Stephen King or a JK Rowling (already a household brand) – you need to cover all the bases: all social media networks, and there is a mindboggling and ever growing number of those. Of course the new breed of blogger reviewer and interviewer sites, like your own, Lucy, are a huge asset and we, serious Indie authors, owe you and your ilk a huge debt of gratitude.

*grins* Why thank you Mister McKinnon.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Actually, at this stage in my life, I find food and drink more of a hindrance: having to stop what I’m doing to refuel, so to speak; I often forget. That wasn’t always the case; out of necessity, I have always been a fairly healthy eater. I led a busy, active lifestyle until I moved here, to Tasmania, to concentrate on my writing almost nine years ago. I still try to work out daily (my martial arts routines), which stimulates my appetite. Of course there is the occasional bar of dark chocolate. As far as drink (alcohol) goes; I’m a Scotsman and so I had a running start, and I was five years in the British Parachute Regiment, where drinking was the standard way to cut loose, let off steam, but these days I really don’t partake; except for the odd occasion (Christmas, birthdays, Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), Robert Burns night, finish of book night) when I might have a glass of single malt.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

Fresh Tasmanian salmon, braised in fresh lemon juice, crushed fresh garlic and freshly ground black peppercorns, served on a bed of brown rice, with steamed broccoli and baby carrots.

ecstatic minions

Even the minions like that!

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

I was too sick to do anything but sleep.

Okay, I’ll buy that, since no author before you came up with a simple straight forward ‘could be true’ excuse. 🙂

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

I was seven years old when the school principal said, ‘We have a budding author in our midst!’ It was to be fifty years before I published my first book. I spent most of my life doing stuff I could do, because I felt I had to, to provide financial security for the family; now I do what I have always wanted to do (slave over a hot keyboard) and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

I do have a lot of what you might call secrets, and some of them are whoppers, but they’re secrets for a reason. What good are secrets that everyone knows about? What I will tell you is that two of my five published books are memoirs and, until you read them, there are some dirty little secrets buried there. For instance in ‘I was a Teenage Devil’ I inadvertently walk into a predator’s trap; I describe how my fear turned to anger and then to a cold, calculating rage; that’s when I decided to kill him.

Woah! Hahahaha. Thank you Thomas for taking the time for this interview and your great answers. If in future you have news, or feel the need to share a secret … *wink* Feel free to contact me.

For now I’ll give the readers a taste of Terra Nullius by sharing the trailer and an excerpt.

TERRA NULLIUS

When the European invaders came they proclaimed the land ‘Terra Nullius’ (‘uninhabited land’; therefore theirs for the taking); and while systematically, murdering, raping and pillaging the Caretakers’, appropriating their young women as concubines, they also, inadvertently, spread their exotic diseases; devastating the Caretakers number into extinction.

The prophesy said she would be the last to leave for the Dreaming but while others, like the warrior chief, Mannalargenna, and the warrior woman/freedom fighter, Tarenenorerer, were resolved to fight to the very last; the diminutive, intelligent and long suffering Trucannini determined to negotiate a safe path for her people.  

 All that’s left for me to share now are few places where they can badger you personally for more info. 🙂

http://www.tdmckinnon.com

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/author-bios/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDqANdukQ7c

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/t-d-mckinnon/29/80/14a

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5360776.T_D_McKinnon

For those who are really tech-savvy, I have the mobile site grcode too 🙂
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Featured Author and Giveaway – Thomas Rydder

thomasHi Thomas,

I’d like to start with a few ‘personal’ questions. Just for the readers to get a feel for the person behind the author. If that’s okay with you?

Hi Lucy! What a pleasure it is, being here with you. Thanks so much for the opportunity. Sure, I’m all about personal – go for it…

Anyway, I’ve laced your coffee with truth serum, so I guess there’s no dodging this. 🙂

Given the choice, where would you live? In a big city with all the buzz of it, or in a remote area with nature and its tranquility surrounding you? Knowing that in winter you might suffer power loss.

Just for the record, you’ll get more truth of of me if you lace my java with Bailey’s.

(Hehehehe, he doesn’t realise that is my choice of truth serum)

But for now, I’m not much for city life. In fact, my wife and I have joked numerous times that we’d like to be on the side of a mountain in a snug cabin, a large garden outside the door, a few hundred acres off woods beyond, and a lake at the bottom of the hill. One with plenty of bass and catfish. I really don’t think we’re joking…

Taking the kids on holiday, what is the dream vacation? Camping, or a completely organised trip in a luxury hotel?

We live a simple life, and work hard. Do pretty much for ourselves, cook rather than eat out, and don’t spend a dime if we can get by with a nickel. So, conversely with where I’d like to live, my idea of dream vacation is a cruise, all the frills included. Excellent meals, dances, onshore tours and activities, and being totally pampered for a week or ten days. Occasionaly, everyone needs pampering, you know.

Are you a star gazer, or a take the devil by its tail kind of person? i.e. do you think and re-think, or do you do what is necessary and to hell with the consequences.

I do civil engineering for a living, and in that, I have to be very calculating. Many things within a design can and will affect some other component, so I have to be careful in all aspects. That might be a compelling reason why the rest of my life is a bit spontaneous. I particularly like to jump in the car and go. No destination in mind, just drive and see where you end up. You can discover some interesting places like that.

Do you like to break the rules every now and then, or do you live your life by the book?

I’ve broken more rules than Evil Knievel broke bones. The trick is to know which rules you can break, and which will get you in real trouble. Minor rule-cracking is the only really smart way to be an outlaw in our world.

That was it, not too painful, was it? But that’s not why you are here. I can tell you’re itching to talk shop.

So shoot! What is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Not too painful – but I’ll take another Bailey’s 🙂 (Did he know after all?)

At the risk of “breaking a rule”, I’d like to mention both books I have out now. My debut werewolf thriller “The Clearing” takes place in Small Town USA, where a pack of wolves move into the countryside around the town, and it doesn’t take the town folk too long to realize they are dealing with much more then typical Canis Lupus.

The Clearing cover-1

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My latest work is an anthology of three ghost stories – a novella and two rather long short stories. They all involve spirits who, for one reason or another, are compelled to interact with live folks – violently.

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Did you have difficulty coming up with the titles?

You know, I didn’t. It might sound crazy, but I’ve always been good with names. I used to walk down the street, and make up fictitious names for people I happened upon, based on their features or physical makeup. It was a game, and one that’s served me well in naming both my characters and my books.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I wouldn’t do that. In my mind, any book belongs in a given genre, based upon its theme and story line. To change that goes against the nature of the book and won’t work. Werewolves kill, ghosts scare, and there’s not much that can change that – or should. I’m not going to go against my instincts in order to pacify a publisher. Not in today’s age of indie publishing. I’d simply put it out myself. Outlaw, you know…

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Whew, that’s fun, isn’t it? I actually had a lot of that in my novella “Simona Says.” In fact, I struggled with the story a lot. It was gratifying to get the little chunks right and finally see it heading in the right direction. I’ll typically give myself a little fist pump and move on. Typically, when something like that happens, it means I’ve hit a groove and don’t want to waste it on celebration. So I take a minute then keep writing.

What don’t you like about writing.

Re-writing, hands down. I published “The Clearing” this past March, and got a few reviews that mentioned an aspect of the book that they didn’t care for. I recently re-wrote those parts and re-published it. But it was tough, you know? Once you have the story line hard-wired into your brain, it’s difficult to come around the other side and look at it in order to change it up. At least for me.

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Marketing – my second least favorite endeavor. I really don’t like to push myself or my work on people, but it’s necessary, isn’t it? I do a lot of things. I have a pretty good blog that gets a fair number of hits, I socialize on Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads and Triberr and try to get my books listed on as many sites as possible. I’ve been doing a lot of guest posts lately. Pretty much anything from a more personal standpoint that might make someone reach for the Amazon button. In other words, I’m trying to sell without selling.

Now, don’t get me wrong. All the socializing is great fun, and I’ve met with a bunch of splendid friends. I’ll keep you posted on how the marketing is going.

Plese do that, because experiences of others are always the best way to ‘learn’ a new way of going about marketing better.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Not in my writing, no. I like to think my books reflect life, and the characters are real people. Different people eat and drink a variety of things, and it would be disingenuous to have it any other way.

In life is different. I’m a coffee lover, and a Kahula enthusiast. Pasta – many types of pasta – are on the top of my list, but my tastes are widely varied.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

tamale pieIt’s pasta, as you can imagine. My wife makes one wicked tamale pie. Odd name, and it has nothing to do with mexican. It’s similar to lasagne, and I could eat it four times a week. I’ll ask her about the recipe :). It’s pretty exclusive stuff…

 I’ll be waiting for that recipe then 🙂

Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

I don’t think anyone can come up with a viable excuse for not writing. There are all kinds of fake ones – tired, frustrated, bored, fidgety, angry, rushed, sick, depressed, excited. The excuses don’t matter, as they don’t in any facet of life. If you’re going to go to work, go to work. If not, then don’t. Same with writing. But if you don’t, then don’t bitch and moan because your book isn’t done. As my dad used to say, it ain’t gonna do itself.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Oh God, what I’d give. You kidding? You call that slaving? I’d be in my own little corner of Heaven. My wife and I have also discussed living at the beach – somewhat more convenient than the mountain cabin, and you don’t have to go to town twice a month to get flour and sugar. My favorite vision is sitting in my screen porch overlooking the ocean, my glasses perched on my nose, a White Russian frosty and delicious on the tray next to me, and a warm breeze wafting through my fingers as they fly over the keyboard. One of these days…

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want to blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something no one has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Fair enough. I not only write about ghosts, but also believe they exist. We’ve watched all kinds of shows and I’ve read extensively on the subject, and am convinced we aren’t alone on earth. Why the spirits are here are anyone’s guess, but the reasons are undoubtedly widely varied. Some folks might think I’m whacked out, and so be it, but the evidence is so compelling and intense, I don’t really see any way around the beliefs I hold.

One of my favorite shows is Long Island Medium, where a lady by the the of Theresa Caputo allegedly connects with folks that have passed and allow them to communicate with loved ones who remain. I believe in her abilities (Before you go judging me, go have a look at her show – you might end up converted), and part of my reason is hope.

See, I was born late in my parents’ lives, and I wasn’t, shall we say, the ideal son early on. I got in trouble a bit, left home early to go to the Marines, and then was a wild party boy. Consequently, I didn’t enjoy a close relationship with Mom and Dad the way some have. I’d like to have the opportunity to be with them once again, see what they think of the way I’ve turned out. (That’s a dicey prospect) and tell them I’d like to have it back to do again. It’s often said you can’t go back, and it’s true. But to see them just once more…

That is a very intimate snippet of your life you’ve shared there. Thank you, Thomas.

Lucy, thanks so much for having me on today. I appreciate it more than you can know…now, just one more of those tasty coffees of yours, and I’ll be on my way…

Here’s one, again laced with Baileys, but I guess you already figured that one out, eh?

I’d like to thank you for your candor and would love to see you back, a guest post perhaps?

Laughing we say our goodbyes, and Thomas asks me to tell you to enter his giveaway.  Later I find a note on the coffee table.

note

He’s left behind links to where he can be found online should you want to stalk him. Of course I mean follow! Yes, follow!

Blog http://thomasrydder.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thomas.rydder

Twitter – @ThomasRydder

LinkedIN – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/thomas-rydder/5a/994/23a

But I must not forget to include the link to the giveaway Thomas has organised. Click the link to go to the Rafflecopter giveaway

But also go to his site and read the great post he’s done on halloween reading, answer his poll and stand a chance to win, win, win!

Featured Author – Paula Rose Michelson

A while ago I came across a remarkable author on Twitter. Luckily she was willing to join me on my blog and today I feature her once again.

Let’s not delay ay further but let me introduce to you, Paula Rose Michelson, a true wordsmith.

Casa Series 001-1

Welcome Paula. I’m honoured to be able to host you and hope you’ll like me grilling you. 🙂 But first tell us a bit about the woman behind the author, or the woman inside the author.

I am the founder of LAMB Ministries, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of scripture, and prayer. Besides that I lead a monthly writers group at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California, and together with my husband, Ron, serve with Chosen People Ministries.

We are the proud parents two married daughters, and grandparents of seven grandchildren. When not writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use scripture, you will find me researching my next book or meeting with friends.

That is a nice, short introduction which gives us a glimpse of who you are. 

I do however have some questions for you, just to satisfy my curiosity and shed some light on your inner being.

When did you first get the idea of founding your own Ministry?

Good question! I didn’t know and had never thought about founding anything!

I had become a believer in Messiah while completing my training to become a Chemical Dependency/Lifestyle Disorder Councilor in a dually diagnosed psychiatric unit at Woodview Calabasas Psychiatric Hospital. On the very day, I was offered full time employment, my husband told me he’d been promoted and we were moving to the San Francisco bay area, which was nine hours from the San Fernando Valley.

We didn’t know a soul and since we agreed to let the family whose home we were buying rent back we were living in an apartment.

I met a lady who invited me to church. On that first Sunday a woman shared about her friend who was sober but fearful, a white knuckle alcoholic, and had been living like that for many years. I mentioned my background and the books that might help once I’d unpacked them. She asked for my phone number, which I gave. The same afternoon she called to tell me that she and her friend had prayed and felt I should meet with this woman. I agreed and within a month that one woman had become ten.

Though none of the others were in recovery for an addition, each one had the same issue, a fear that the trauma they experienced would continue to be repeated, if not by others, by them. Having dealt with my own stuff, and worked in the system, then discovering that God’s word is affective and will accomplish his purpose, I began teaching these women what I had learned.

When our friends who were missionaries on furlough from YWAM realized what God was doing, they asked me to contact our pastor. I met with him and was appointed the head of Women’s Lay Counseling. While in Freemont, CA, I interfaced with Stanford’s Chemical Dependency staff and worked for the Rubicon Center as a house parent for six teenage girls, which the state had removed from their homes because of abuse, drugs, child endangerment, and other issues to numerous to delineate.

Do you ever doubt?

When I am doing things in my own strength, I feel dread, not doubt, and that tells me that I am not listening to or reading Gods Word.

At the writers group do you write any genre?

The writers group I lead had to disband because our congregation moved to another location, and many programs were eliminated due to lack of space. However, while the group existed I encouraged each writer to follow their hearts leading.

What genre, besides scripture, do you like to read?

I love almost anything that would be classified as “P” or “PG” writing and doesn’t use a lot of swearing and gets to the point without taking Gods name in vain. Because my fiction, which many have labeled “Romance” requires a great deal of research, I’m a passionate reader of history, but love all well written books whether mysteries, historical, biographies … the list goes on and on!

Why did you write the books you did?

Again, I must confess that writing six books about my Sephardic heroine, Naomi was never a goal! I was writing a book about three women who meet while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Ruth was a lot like me so it was easy to write her character sketch.

Scout was a pastor’s kid and having known many writing her character was fun!

Naomi was the third, and least important character, or so I thought! She was difficult to sketch because I had never known a Spanish Jew. Every time I tried to write her sketch, I ended up researching and writing about the trail, minor characters, anything but this illusive …

Finally I told a few friends that I needed help, and was surprised to discover that three of them, Correne, Betty, and Janice were Sephardic, and my friend Trish had married a man who did not know about his hidden heritage until she told him. My friends lent books. After I devoured them, I ordered many more and began researching what happened to the Spanish Jews hundreds of years before the Spanish Inquisition as well as its little known Mexican counterpart.

I had spoken about the book with my publisher friend who had been asking me to write for ten years. She was interested in publishing the work. After months of waiting she asked what I was doing. I told her I was writing a character sketch for Naomi. As requested, I sent her my dailies. Forty days later she told me I had begun to write a different, and she believed, better book, and suggested I go back three days and begin reading! And that is how the two Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, and the four volume Naomi Chronicles were written. But, since I’m telling all, I believe it important to mention that if Naomi had not begun to tell me her story, after asking her mamá’s permission and receiving it, none of these books would exist!

What a wonderful journey to an incredible end result. But let’s not get ahead of things. I have more questions about the who and why of you.

Did you have any trouble coming up with the titles?

After writing what became books one and two, I met with my friend who publishes and discovered that not having a book or chapter titles happens.

Hahaha, Tell me about it. You would be surprised how many authors change the titles of their WIP’s not once but often before publishing. Shoot! Linda Rae Blair even changed it after publication first time. I’m sorry for interrupting, go on.

During our meeting we settled on Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing, which should have been the title of the saga for the first two books. If I had it to do over again, I might have chosen separate titles for those books. Since I like to move forward and cannot do that well if I drag around regrets for things that could have been better, that lesson taught me what I need to know, so I’ve given each of the four Naomi Chronicle Books their own unique title and cover!

Can you see any character in your books turn away from faith?

My characters are written as they present themselves. Given the reality that many in the faith have issues there are characters within the books that lust, are raped, consider abortion, and yes there is even a member of the clergy that tries to run away from his sin nature. Personally I think writing about a person who turns away from their faith and the effects it has on them and others would be amazing but so far that’s not the story I’ve been hearing! Perhaps someday I will.

Do you ever speak to your characters? When you do, do you discuss, or lay down the rules on how they should behave?

I don’t remember speaking to the characters, but have been told by readers and read reviews of the books when readers were so upset that they worried about or talked to the characters! One reviewer mentioned staying up all night trying to figure out how she could help Naomi. Another reader was so upset that while speaking to Naomi, she woke her husband out of a sound sleep in the middle of the night!

That is amazing and a sure signs you are able to pull the reader into the book and have them solidly relate to your characters. Well done!

If you would have to change anything in your books what would it be and why?

I have at times written something that made no sense, gone to bed, thought I should fix it, begun to get up and heard God say, “Do not edit me!” Hearing those affirming words reminded me that though the world calls me an author, he called me to write. Therefore, I am a scribe for Messiah.

Do you ever write alternative endings?

No, I haven’t written alternative endings. It’s enough just making sure that I keep tract of each character, local, and situation so at the end of each book as well as the end of the saga the reader’s not only happy but knows where each of these people are and that they are all right. This is very important to me because there are at least three more series or sagas that I’m researching, and some the minor characters in this saga will be featured in those stories where readers might also find out what’s happening with Chaz, Naomi and the others.

Okay, the serious part is over. Let’s move on to the fun. 🙂

What do you like to secretly do to unwind?

Unwinding is so very important! If I have the time, I like to take off with my husband, who also writes, and go to Big Bear’s Best Western Chalet, a deluxe getaway that looks like a castle! Both of us love to hike the woods, eat great food, walk around the town, and write! If I’m local, meeting with my girlfriends for a gab fest. I love talking with my writer friends in Wales, Australia and other far flung places and planning what island we will meet on for a month and who we’ll invite to join us once we’ve time and money.

There’s a great plan if I ever heard one!

Now, you know I like a scoop, so tell me something that will be fun for us to know about you.

I can’t tell a joke without laughing and my laughter is so infectious that everyone starts laughing. By the time I’ve stopped laughing and can tell the joke, I’ve forgotten what it is and usually while admitting that I’ll start to laugh and where all off to the race’s again!

Paula, you do sound like a fun woman to know! Great, because the fact you have an infectious laugh means you know how to enjoy life and those people bring joy to others.

Now, do you have a craving for sweet or salty snacks? And when does it hit you?

I love food period! If I’m up, if I’m down, I love food! Since I lived next door to my grandparents and my grandfather owned and was a Jewish baker, I love anything sweet! My husband introduced me to salt. After years of experimenting, I can testify that life lived with a little sweet and a little salt helped me understand that everything has a reason for being even if I currently don’t know why!

That is a wisdom not many people realise is important to keep in mind.
But tell me, what is the song that got stuck in your head the most while you wanted it out?

Since I love music, I don’t remember wanting to get a song out of my head. I do smile each time I hear Johnny Mathis sing The Twelfth of Never because that was one of the songs I listened to when I was writing the Casa Saga books.

What movie awakened something basal in you? And what emotion was it?

The movie Charly staring Cliff Robertson based of the book Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes was, by far, the most terrifying possibility I’ve ever seen depicted on screen because it shows how a drug can transform a very developmentally disadvantaged adult into a genius from whom scientist are learning while the one they are learning from discovers that he will become as he once was.

And finally tell us a secret, one that colours your cheeks just thinking back on it. Or just tell us something fun to know about you.

I’ve learned that we can only see in others what we have perceived in ourselves so whether others rave or morn, it’s not about me, and knowing that allows me to be me free to be me!

That is a most wonderful statement to end this interview with. Thank you Paula for so freely sharing these snippets of your life with me and my readers.

Now tell me where can we find you on the internet?

Facebook

Twitter

Amazon Author Page

Writings by Paula Rose Blog

Paula’s own site

And finally, I am proud to announce Paula will be back tomorrow with more. Do come back and don’t miss out on a wonderful revealing of the book.

Featured Author – Barbara Winkes

Today’s guest on my blog is Barbara Winkes, and she agreed to be grilled by me, but would like to stay at least a bit anonymous. But even without showing her face, let me introduce her to you before I tie her down for the inquisition. 🙂

Barbara Winkes is a psychologist/trauma counselor by trade. Her debut novel “Autumn Leaves” and the follow-up, “Winter Storm”, published by Eternal Press, tells the love story between two women in a small town, where neighbors take an interest in the life of others.

The standalone thriller, “Secrets”, will be released in November 2013.

Barbara is currently working on the third part of the series.

Hi Barbara, thanks for popping in and taking the time to answer a few of my questions.

Have you always lived in Quebec?

No, I’m German. I fell in love with a French-Canadian lady when we met in Paris. We recently celebrated our second wedding anniversary. I bet if I wrote that in a novel, more than one person would say it’s not realistic. Life does write the most amazing stories!

Aw! That is pure romance. 🙂

Is writing your day-job?

Yes, and I’m incredibly grateful for that! For the first year, I was staying in Canada on a visitor’s visa, so of course I didn’t have a work permit. I focused on writing, I submitted, and it worked out. There was a lot of luck and great timing at work. Now I’m about to release my 3rd book with Eternal Press, but there’s more in the works. It’s a dream come true.

Did you ever contemplate going indie?

For a brief moment, yes, but I’m very happy where I am now. There’s so much to consider if you want to compete in today’s publishing world–it’s not just putting your story out there. It’s good to have a partner, especially when you’re still learning about the industry.

 It is nice to know a bit of the personal stuff about you, but that is not why you are here, is it?

Thanks, and…I guess not. 😉

So tell us, what is the title of the book you would like to talk about?

Okay, here we go: The book is called Secrets–it’s a standalone thriller.

Secrets_150dpi_eBook-2

Marsha has had some bad luck both in her career and relationships. She decides to go on a getaway to have some time to herself and find out what went wrong, but her vacation isn’t going to be nearly as quiet as she hoped. It doesn’t help that everyone she meets has secrets of their own, including the young hitchhiker she picks up on the way. A serial killer on the loose provides futher complications.

Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?

I don’t stress about titles (most of the time). Usually, they come to my at some point.

If you would have to change the genre in order to be able to publish it, what would it be then? i.e. would you conform to the market?

I suppose it qualifies as lesbian fiction, since the main characters are lesbians, but genre-wise, it’s really a thriller in the first place. Could I change it to something else? I think there’s always the danger that the reader feels tricked, if you aren’t very clear on those categories. There’s a bit of romance going on in Secrets as well, but it wouldn’t be the right genre to put into.

Can you tell me how you celebrate finally getting that tricky chapter (or para) right?

Depends…I don’t really celebrate chapters so much. I just get very grateful (and giddy!) when it finally works.

Right with that out of the way and to confuse you we’ll take the alternative route now.

What don’t you like about writing.

The moments when it drags. Sometimes that means you have to get away from the computer for a bit, sometimes you have to write straight through it, but you never know. Then again, I’ve been writing for many years, and by now, I know that the feeling and the flow always come back. I’m very lucky to be able to do what I do, so I try to keep the complaining to a minimum. 🙂

What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?

Blog hops, guest blogs, inviting other authors to my blog, going to places where my actual and potential readers are. I’m on Twitter and Facebook. It’s a combination of factors, and the season also plays into it–Christmas and Valentine’s Day help, for example.

Tell me, when you’re on a roll, the muse is in the house and happily guiding your pen, what would seriously drive her/him away?

I admit I get distracted sometimes, but all in all…not much. I’ve been writing through grief and also some of the best moments of my life so far. When it’s your day job, you tie the muse to the chair if necessary. Even if you don’t write that kind of story.

Do you ever speak to your characters and do you get along all the time?

Yes, and no. Sometimes, we have heated arguments, especially when I sense a lack of cooperation. I love them. I suspect they don’t always love me back, because I also love drama. I believe in happy endings. Sometimes it takes a lot to get there.

Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?

Would chocolate be too much of a cliché? I write romance, too, after all. Honestly, no. I love Italian and Indian food, sometimes a good glass of wine on the weekend, but I’m always willing to try something new.

What is your favourite dish and can you give me the recipe?

You’d have to ask my wife about a recipe! She’s an amazing cook, so it would be difficult to come up with a favorite (Lasagna? Curry? Oh my!)–I’m more into baking and desserts.

Ah, I see. 🙂

dessert Would you be able to come up with a credible excuse why you haven’t written a whole day? Remember, I have to believe it!

Marketing? No, really, when I don’t write for a whole day it’s usually because I decide to do so, mostly on the weekend. I used to work in two very different jobs, so evenings and weekends were the times when I could write–now those are the times I take off. Sometimes, that is.

And finally why would you ever want to live life behind a keyboard slaving over a manuscript?

Because that’s just the framework, a metaphor. What you really do is create a reality from nothing, a scene and characters on a blank canvas. That’s pretty cool. So there’s writer’s block, and starting over, and editing, but all in all it’s as great as it gets.

Okay now that we have the mandatory questions out of the way, shoot your mouth off. Tell me whatever you want the blab about. But please no cat’s, dogs, or children. Make me laugh, or cry, or even envious. Tell me something none has ever heard before from you. hehehe, love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂

Here’s a little fangirl “secret”: I don’t know if it’s going to make you envious, but I own a pair of high-heeled sandals worn by an actress who is pretty popular these days. How did that happen? I really wanted to buy her autograph on ebay which was part of a charity auction, but that was my first attempt at ebay ever, and of course, I didn’t win. I sent some money to the charity in question and checked what else was there on ebay…and I found them (they’re not in a shrine, though, we have the same shoe size). It got a little weird when I had to go to the customs office and open the package there. I’m sure those guys see a lot, but he seemed to have fun with this. He looked at the shoes in astonishment and said “But they are used!” I also had to show the bill which said “sexy shoes”. Sometimes it’s a relief to know you meet certain people only once in your life!

Hahaha, now you make me envious and curious. I’s love to see the shoes! I’m a shoe woman myself and don’t think I don’t mean that. 🙂

shoes

Anyway, Barbara, thanks for taking the time to let me grill you.

If after reading all this about Barbara and you’d like to see what else she’s up to, you can find her online at:

Her blogFacebookTwitter, her author page on Eternal Press, and her Amazon Author page