authors, books, children's literature, christian fiction, christian literature, interviews, kids books, poetry

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Sandi Smith

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

I have followed two wonderful authors – Maeve Binchy and Fannie Flagg.

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Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

Well, for my children’s books I would have to say A.R. Achnid is my favorite character. A.R. was the reason I started to write, and his character was so much fun. He thought he was human, and wanted to do everything with his human friend, Harold. Even though people thought of him as a scary spider, he didn’t let that get him down. He just went along with his life, enjoying all of his adventures.

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Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

I have been very lucky, and have not had any difficulties with any scenes I have written. My new novel that I am working on now, though, I am having a little bit of trouble getting past one particular scene. It is a little dark, and I am not sure in what direction I want to take the story.

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What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

I have found that finishing a story, especially a novel, is so rewarding. So much time and energy is invested in the writing of the story, and when it finally is finished and comes together to form the feelings you wanted to express, it is a tremendously gratifying experience.

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What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Well, I am basically just starting out myself, but I would advise anyone who is starting out to believe in what you are writing. In the beginning, when I wrote something, I was always looking for approval from a family member or a friend. One day when someone told me they didn’t care for my book, my husband told me that there are going to be people who love the book and people who don’t care for it at all, but that doesn’t mean that it is a bad story. Believe in yourself is the advice my husband gave me, and continues to give me, so I would pass that on to anyone starting out.

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Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

I do not. The words come to me, and I sit down and start typing away. The whole process for me has been very simple. The only ritual I would say I have is making sure I have cookies available for when I am awake and typing at night. They are soothing to the soul.

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Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Not really. I used to write in high school, but never gave it too much thought after that. Actually, I always wanted to be an opera singer, but, occasionally, I always found myself writing poems or short stories.

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If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

My mother, who has been gone for quite a few years now. We didn’t have a great relationship, and I would really love to sit and chat with her, getting to know her as a person. I believe, because of our volatile relationship, that I may have missed out on a wonderful friendship with a wonderful person. That breaks my heart.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

This is from one of my children’s books, Sarah Bella’s Gift of Gold:

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When Sarah Bella was a very young girl,

(let’s say, probably about six years old),

her parents gave her a small ball of yarn,

that they said was a “gift of gold”.

Sarah Bella was then told by her parents,

“A life of adventure is waiting ahead.

Wrap your favorite things in this ball of yarn,

and when you sleep, keep it close by your bed.”

They told Sarah Bella that when she grew old,

in her ball of yarn would be memories so dear.

There would be times and places to remember,

from all of her adventures throughout the years.

The following is from my first novel, Sitting at the Kitchen Table with God:

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Andrew was gone, and Marianne should have been buried with him. There were two deaths on that day, but only one soul was taken. The other was left to slowly decay in the shell of a lonely woman.

For more information on this author, please, visit:


http://www.authorsandismith.com

http://amzn.to/2fdd1YJ


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authors, books, fiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Thomas Lowrie

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Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Yes, Lee Child and Nelson DeMille.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

All of the characters I write about are very real to me so I really have no favorite.

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Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

Scenes with death in them are difficult since I feel as though I was there as it happened.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The ability to expand someone’s imagination.

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What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Don’t worry about what others think, just go for it.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

Not that I know of.

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Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

No, I didn’t start writing until others asked me to do so. Now I very much enjoy it.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Anyone who has lost their mother knows the only answer to this question.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

I looked across my crew. I was looking for John Wayne, he wasn’t there. I looked for Arnold, same thing. I also didn’t find Stalone, Clint nor Chuck Norris. The reality of it was none of my heroes were there, this was NOT the movies. I needed just one Badass and found none.What I found was a high school yearbook.I found fresh off the farm boys, children by most people’s standards. Some of these boys weren’t even getting to go to their senior prom. I feel safe in the notion that some of them have not even held a girls hand. That doesn’t sound like much unless you haven’t done it. Think about that for a minute. They haven’t lived yet and are prepared to die.

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For more information on the author, visit:

www.thomaslowrie.com

http://amzn.to/2wyUgS9

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/he-was-thomas-william-lowrie/1119687508?ean=9780990362616

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/He-Was-Ray-Lafayette-Novel/Thomas-William-Lowrie/9780990362616?id=6025076222321
authors, books, fiction, interviews, murder-mystery, mystery

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Lonna Enox

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Lonna Enox, cozy mystery author.

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

I grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries, and I love Jonathan Kellerman, Robert Dugoni, Faye Kellerman, and Sue Grafton.

 

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

I think I have the most fun with Chris Reed, the local sheriff’s detective. I enjoy the banter between Reed and Sorrel. It was only during my most recent book, Striking Blind, that I realized much of his personality—not all of course—may emulate my own dad…or the cowboys around whom I grew up.

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Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

Crime scenes as well as those building up to them are difficult. I do hours of research, talk to professionals, and then my husband and I walk the area where I have set it. We take photos, and I jot notes about how tiring it is, how hot or cold, the traffic, the effects of the area, etc. I want the scenes to give enough information to keep my readers “hungry” without giving too much away.

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What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

The most rewarding part of being an author is when someone says, “I read your book and I couldn’t put it down!” or “I think Reed is so hot!” or “When’s the next one? Could you hurry?”

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What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

I would tell authors to never think they must write when they are ‘in the mood’. I just start, and it soon flows. Write routinely when you can. Research, talk to other writers, and get an editor. With a Master of Arts in English, I still need an editor—someone with fresh eyes who will see the “gaps”.

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please, explain.

I am an early riser, so I go to the computer in the upstairs small living room when I awake. I reread the last part I have written, look over my outline, and write. Sometimes it is great…sometimes not. But the characters speak to me best in the early morning quiet times. I seldom write on the book after lunch. That is when I handle the other ‘author stuff’—emails, requests, etc.

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Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

I think so, although I also wanted to be a teacher. My parents encouraged the second so I would “also eat regularly”.

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If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to talk to Dickens. He had such fascinating characters. I’ve always been curious whether or not he patterned them after real people. I would also like to tell my mama, “I am finally following the dream. I’m sorry I couldn’t make it happen before you left me.”

For more information on Lonna Enox, check out these websites:


Amazon – search for Lonna Enox in books. All books are available in both print and kindle formats.

Barnes and Noble – search for Lonna Enox – books are available for both printed and nook format.

Website – lonnaenox.org – order author signed copies or use the links to go to Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Facebook – www.facebook.com/lonnaenoxauthor

authors, books, children's literature, fiction, kids books

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With K.J. Blocker

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Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so who?

PL Travers . Whimsical, yet straightforward

A good mixture of fantasy, with a slight twist of reality .

Cs Lewis, bold but not over to top storyteller I love his children’s work Great fantasy with a moral compass .

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Out of all the characters you’ve written who is your favorite? Why?

 Wow ! there’s so many great stand out characters in this book, so hard to choose just one, but I love the somewhat addled mine manager, Dusty. He’s got this really cool old-school thinking chair he can’t figure nothing without it , And he  has a signature ball close by just in case The conversation gets boring, Dusty is loyal to Pappy, unless the right offer comes along, as he’s very easy to sway . Sometimes it’s hard for Dusty to make up his mind. As the last person’s opinion he hears is the one he is most likely to go with ..I just love his child like attitude. After all …there’s a little dust in all of us

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Are there any type of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why?

For me it would be the scenes where Tom wants to believe so much that his father is dead, that he lies to both his wife and son as either wife or son have never met toms father I really do believe Tom wants his father to be alive but there’s so much pain and disappointment . He buried his father at age 18 .

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What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

To bring to life what was once only in your imagination .

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What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

If you’re an Indy writer, ideas don’t come cheap,or easy,. I’m not trying to scare you there’s just a ton of competition, and only so many buyers, for your genre .. So be different , be bold be creative, do something different to stand out, Be prepared to spend $$$ . You’re the producer . You call the shots .. But calling the shots costs ..You’ll get tired, at times feel abandon all alone . You’ll get to a point where characters make no sense, but you go on anyway, you will hear them say good luck you got a 1 million to one chance ,but if you keep going in due time ,it will become clear Cause if you feel down deep in your soul that you’re called to write . …No force, people or finances will be able to stop you . Only you. Will stop you, Because when it comes from your soul. . You won’t be able to let it go….

 

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please, explain.

I block out time, usually at night I guess you’d call it block writing . But the truth of the matter is an idea can come at anytime… So always keep the pen and paper handy .

Was being an author something you always wanted to be?

No. I thought I was gonna be a DJ . When I was a kid, I love music, and I though  that way I could meet The artist I love to listen to .

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If you could have a conversation with any one person alive or dead who would it be and why?

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Superfan Pinocchio.. And the lesson it taught me as a child about honesty. Just want to thank him for that work . And the impact it had on my life .


If you would like to find out more about K.J. Blocker, check out these links:

www.kjblocker.com

http://amzn.to/2wyK1gx

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treasure-of-the-magical-mine-moppets-kj-blocker/1126822686?ean=9780999150740
authors, books, children's literature, fiction, interviews, kids books

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Margaret Segal

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Margaret Segal, Author of “The Adventures of Harry the Inside-Outside Cat”
Children’s Books

 

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

Even though my writing isn’t remotely like his, I’ve always been inspired by William Shakespeare. His massive writing skill, and the sheer volume of what he’s created, are mind-boggling. His grasp on the vicissitudes of human nature and behavior, which comes through so well in the dialogue of his plays, is amazing. Perhaps because I enjoy writing about real life – the good, the evil, the pain and joy, the ugliness and the beauty – his writing sings to me.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

My favorite character is Harry the Cat, who isn’t completely my “creation”, because he is a real, live cat. He never fails to entertain me with his unique and sweet personality.

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What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

Seeing your work in print, and hearing from readers that they really enjoyed your writing and/or were positively affected, touched, or moved by it.

What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Take your time, and try not to push yourself too hard. But at the same time, find a way to keep yourself motivated, but don’t drive yourself crazy over it. Writing, like, medicine or meteorology, isn’t an exact science, and it moves at its own pace sometimes. Try to go with it.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

I work writing into my everyday life, so I don’t really have what you’d call a specific “ritual”. But I DO need silence in order to write.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Not always, but it has come to the fore in recent years. Personal and family health challenges were a huge part of my life for many years – only now that those challenges have been overcome has writing become more a part of my life.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

My mother. I would share with her the thoughts unsaid before her passing.

Where can readers go to find out about you and your books?

My website: http://www.harrytheinsideoutsidecat.com

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authors, books, ficiton, interviews, Uncategorized

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Curtis W. Jackson

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A little background on the other and his genre of choice…
My name is Curtis W. Jackson, my first novel is a youth drama and fictional memoir. I feel the book can be considered for general audiences. Waiting for Regina was told in a first person account, it is narrated by Mispha. As for genres, I have authored my memoir as a freelance artist, and a collection of social commentary cartoons.

Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?

For Waiting for Regina, it is no. Or I can not think of any writer who affected me. It is only been in recent years I am reading more often after writing blog posts.
As a young person, I was a poor reader having trouble pronuncing words and focusing on the content consistingly. The activity was often unpleasant. So, I did not follow any authors or have any favorites.
A principal influence might have been from motion pictures. It was one of the avenues I taken in information visually along with television, illustrations, and photographs. In fact, I wrote Waiting for Regina in a manner of viewing a feature film. I want the reading to be enjoyable to me and others.

Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?

You asked a tough question, it is like who is your favorite relative, child, or student when there are multiple good examples. Each one have their special qualities and uniqueness.
Okay, I am going say Mrs. Hussung, Marylou the guidance counselor. She extended herself in assisting Mispha cope with grief and personal guilt.

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Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.

Yes, every scene involving Sally Anderson. There were wonderful moments of her association with Regina and Mispha. As an author, I had planned story ahead of time in awareness of what would happen to Sally.
It was also challenging to write the scenes of Mrs. Ombrom, the minister’s wife, who was brutal with her tongue and ill-mannerly blunt with her viewpoints. I was aware some would find her statements offensive. Although there are no profanity and explicit expressions in the book, Mrs. Ombrom’s saying can be cutting and disheartening, but were necessary for the story.
And I must admit, it was uneasy writing the one to one conversations Mispha had with Professor Douglas. There is a critical moment when Mispha confronted Cory on a sensitive manner. I don’t think there’s a man on earth who wish for a young woman to corner him in that way. If he was living with phony pretenses and wrong motives, Mispha is likely to shatter that false shell of identity. Mr. Douglas revealed his inner self replying to her, something he could not conceal from Mispha.

What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?

It hits the core of me when people say how they benefited from reading Waiting for Regina. When they express from their hearts the lessons gained from it and recommending the novel to other individuals. It is a good feeling indicating your writing has value not a loss or waste of time.

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What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?

Please continue educating yourself about high standards writership and practice it, and keep reading and learning. Life have endless discoveries and knowledge to better ourselves as human beings and as professional authors.

Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.

I can not think of anything at the moment. Well, maybe so, I tend to outline the segments of the book and research my subjects as much possible.

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Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Yes, even as a youth when I did not like to read much. For decades, It was challenging for me to imagine publishing a book, more so a novel.

If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

You ask incredible questions, there are so many people I welcome a discussion with if they come back to life! Jesus’ adoptive father, Joesph, he is a model family man. Who accepted the responsibility with his wife to care for Jesus.
He protected his child and worked hard to provide for his family. Joesph was one of the examples I thought of when developing the character of Mispha’s father.
You also inquired of those alive, This is far-fetch so to say, I would like to have a conversation with each individual who reads my book. Each person experiences the novel differently, I believe a good reader mentally adds to the content as he or she turn the pages.

Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?

Yes, here it is.

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There are also extended previews of my novel on its book product pages online like Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I request also people request their local public and school libraries purchase copies of the novel. Patrons would access more than a preview, it would be something they could hold in their hands.

Want more of Curtis W. Jackson?

Goodreads Author's Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14740181.Curtis_W_Jackson

Lulu Book Page: http://www.lulu.com/shop/curtis-w-jackson/waiting-for-regina/hardcover/product-23264293.html

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/waiting-for-regina-curtis-jackson/1125420442?ean=9781538008201



Linkin Park, music, Uncategorized

A Goodbye to Chester Bennington

Let’s get real for a minute. By now, we’ve all heard the news: Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, has died (especially considering the bulk of this post has been sitting in my notebook since the morning after the news broke.) Maybe he wasn’t an Elvis, or a Prince, but his passing was enough to rock a generation- my generation.

I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot of celebrities I will mourn over in my life. I’m not the girl who follows the gossip columns, the fan that can tell you the who-what-when of an artist’s private life. I haven’t been since I was a tween obsessing over the latest teen beat magazine.

I grew up.

Linkin Park was a crucial part of that growing up.

It was during my most formative years when Hybrid Theory dropped. I was a girl who was struggling and these incredible songs spoke to me in a way nothing else had, a way that nothing else could.

How many of you know who Reggie Dabbs is? I’ll go ahead and assume not many. For reference, he’s a motivational speaker. I was lucky enough to go to an event he was holding during my high school years. During this event, he used current hits to get his point across for the youth that was his audience. I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with Linkin Park and the passing of an amazing vocalist. I’m getting there.

“In The End” was one of the songs that was used during this motivational event. I’d loved the song since I’d first heard it. I probably couldn’t name more than two songs that played during this event, but the skit that accompanied this tune was so powerful. It was like everything I was feeling in the deepest most secret parts of my soul was being acted out right in front of me. I seriously had chills. This song meant something to me before, but seeing it right out in the open, resonating with so many was incredible.

People’s lives were touched by the music created by this band.

Their struggles became my hope.

When Meteora was released, the music once again resonated with me on an intimate level. Still struggling, still trying to maintain, still seeking that hope that I knew was out there that I just couldn’t grasp. I felt every chord, every lyric. It was my own, personal brand of therapy and I’m sure many would agree. In fact, seeing so many memorial posts after this tragedy, I know the above statement is true, and many were struggling with completely unrelated issues. With tracks like “Somewhere I Belong” and “Numb” topping the charts, it’s no wonder these songs resonated with teenagers across the board. It was “Easier to Run” that topped the CD’s track list for me, though, and listening to Chester with such emotion in his voice as he sang each word… Nothing could compare.

Minutes to Midnight marked a change in the band’s sound. They had grown, the substance of their art became more mature. I, too, was maturing. With politically motivated tracks like “No More Sorrow” and “Hands Held High” they were showing that they stood for something, and that something they stood for was something I had been increasingly passionate about. They sparked into the conversation of current events with “The Little Things Give You Away.” They were broadening their horizons, taking all that angst and putting into something that mattered. With tracks from this album also gracing soundtracks for Transformers and the Twilight Saga, they continued to stay on top. Even with their maturing subject matter and hits finding a new outlet, tracks like “Bleed It Out” could have been found on any of their albums. It was a throwback for me with the way the lyrics resonated. It seemed a throwback for them as well “F- this hurts, I won’t lie, It doesn’t matter how hard I try.” Ring a bell, anyone?

Over the years, admittedly, I haven’t followed any bands like I did back in the day. I heard a few singles on the radio, after a time had passed. I had become a mom. My focused had shifted. Following bands, even the ones that had helped shape me, became something that was so low on the totem pole. I still felt the same awe when I would hear a new song, I still connected with the music.

By the time their last album dropped, I was in a place where I not only had the time to listen to music of my choice, but also the need. I sought out the band that had been there for me in my adolescence. What I heard wasn’t as hardcore as their first couple of albums, but the woman I am now, was once again touched by the words and melodies I heard. The passion they felt was still there and I felt it. I was moved until my eyes were glossed over with tears.

I was changed.

I read an article the other day, talking about life long fans who had booed this incredible band off the stage because they didn’t like the new direction the band was taking. This broke my heart more than it already was. There was a video included of the aforementioned event taking place. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. How could people who claimed to be fans be so cruel? I only wish I had been lucky enough to have seen them live.

Linkin Park took us all on a journey. They evolved as people, a fact that can be seen through the evolution of their music. They played what they were passionate about. They poured out their souls for the masses. The first time I heard “Heavy” I literally felt my heart shattering in my chest and mending itself back together.

To those who feel like they drifted too far from the hybrid sound they started their journey with, I pity you. “One More Light” was never about selling out. The lyrics speak for themselves, and they speak directly to my soul. It’s an incredibly heavy album. I’ve been changed once again by these incredible musicians. They’ve always been there, just a few clicks a way.

In the end, they should know, IT DID MATTER. Linkin Park saved me. They continue to save me.

R.I.P. Chester. Your memory will live on within your powerful vocals and all the lives you touched.