authors, interviews, poems, poetry, Uncategorized

In the Words of an Author: An Interview With Jennifer Juan


Jennifer Juan is a cultural melting pot of an artist. She is a writer, a musician, a producer, a film maker and a podcast host, currently residing in the Kent countryside, but dreaming of the ocean. A tornado of darkness and delicacy, Juan creates engaging and powerful projects, using a variety of mediums and platforms, each dripping with her signature playful, yet powerful style of writing.

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

I’ve always been very inspired by Carol Ann Duffy. I’ve been reading her work since I was a little girl, and she has always been somebody I admired and was inspired by.

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

Probably Marina, who is featured in my upcoming media project “Drowning In Us”. The project uses music, film, and poetry to tell Marina’s story, as she tries to create a new life for herself, after screwing everything up. I think a lot of people have moments in their life where they wish they could just run away and start again, and Marina actually does it. It was a lot of fun to throw her into the worst time of her life, and then write her out of trouble.

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

I mainly write poetry, and a lot of what I create is based on my own life, so it can be difficult to relive some of the more tempestuous and troubling experiences, but it does feel freeing to create something from those moments.

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

I think for me, being able to reach out to other people, and share my experiences, and to be able to create something from the life I’ve lived is the most rewarding thing.

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

I think the best thing someone can do is learn to appreciate their own voice as a writer, and their own style. It can be tempting to copy what you see, and what is popular, but sooner or later, it becomes obvious that it isn’t authentic. Being yourself and discovering your own way of doing things is one of the most challenging but rewarding things any creator will do, but it will always be worth it.

The other thing I would advise is to build a base for yourself, like a website you regularly update, or a social media page that contains your information and content. Make it easy for people to find you, and your work, and see what you’re all about. It’s such a shame to see some writers creating amazing things, but barely sharing them, or making them accessible to an audience. If you don’t have the resources to create your own online spaces, there will be other creatives who can help. I recently launched a poetry contest on my own website for this reason, as part of the prize package is the winning and commended entries being read on my podcast, “Sincerely, Jennifer x” and hosted on my website, with biographies and further information about the writer. There are lots of other creatives who are doing similar things, and sharing their own platforms, so there is a lot of help out there for young writers who want to get more exposure for their work, or find a base for potential fans to find out more about them.

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

I like to dress up sometimes, when I write. I take bubble baths before, a lot, and just stay in the water for a little while, thinking about what I’ll write about, and then I get dressed, and make sure I feel good, before I get started. I like to listen to records while I’m writing. I have a lot of instrumental, ambient stuff, but I also like older things, like The Beach Boys or Bobby Vee, it depends on the kind of day I’m having.

I normally start with a stream of consciousness, so I can get down everything I’m thinking, and then I pick out the things I’m most struck by, the things I’m really in love with, and begin crafting them into something bigger.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

In a sense, yes. I was very interested in creating things in general, and dabbled in music and acting, but along the way, I ended up focusing mostly on writing.

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

Joan Crawford. I think she was a fascinating and talented woman, and I’d love to get some more insight into her life and who she was. I wrote a poem about how fascinated I was with her life, and how I see parts of her in myself sometimes, in my recent poetry collection “Kissing Boys, Just For The Thrill” so, it would also be interesting to ask her what she thought about that.

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


This is a poem called “You’re A Crushing Bore (But I’ve Got A Crush On You)”, taken from my latest book “Kissing Boys, Just For The Thrill”.


You spent two hours,
telling me you’d never break my heart.
You spent two hours,
breaking my heart,
just from wrapping it,
so tightly,
that it suffocated.

I fantasised,
about your nights,
as a werewolf.
My fingers lost in your fur,
as you left me marked,
by bites you’d apologise for,
when the moon was put to bed,
and you awoke,
worried what I thought of you.

When the sun is in our eyes,
you’re a crushing bore,
but I’ve got a crush on you.
My hands speak a language that I know you understand,
but most days,
you pretend your whole body is deaf.
I play on the tracks,
hoping for a highspeed service,
to take me somewhere sublime,
but you’re still waiting at the station,
ignoring green light,
after green light.

You swing,
and you miss,
by not playing at all.
I stole your mind,
from your back pocket,
in some bar,
where you were so interesting,
a tornado.

Your destruction,
lasted minutes,
before you shrank to the ground,
found naked in a field,
and I am marked,
missing the man you are,
when the moon comes out to make you a monster.

Make sure to check out Jennifer's work at



authors, books, ficiton, interviews, Uncategorized

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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:

Lulu Book Page:

Barnes and Noble:

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.

authors, books, ficiton, interviews, Uncategorized, urban fiction

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Koffi Hallman


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

Yes. Walter Mosely, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, among others too long to list here

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

Max BLAKK from my 6 Degrees Of Hustle Series, because he is absolutely pure steel nothing gets the best of him.
But Koffi Majors, in Death Of A Thug, has this adaptability to him that is to be envied.
Donna McCafferty is a pit bull in a skirt as an attorney.

Bob Staks & Lisa Woodman, in Body Count, are both opposite ends of a spectrum who’s lives are forced together for survival.

I actually have relationships with all my characters, even minor ones, so they’re actually like my kids.

I try to make sure I’m worth the price of admission to my readers so I give them people they can relate to & root for & against so it’s actually difficult to pick just one.


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

No, because I follow the story line and whatever it calls for in order to bring the best out of each particular scene so they are one- not separate, so there is no difficulty only a clear picture of what I want to convey to my audience and how I want them to feel about that .
Many writers tell me they experience writers block or can sit for an entire weekend and draw blanks. I don’t have that issue (knock on wood).

Because I actually have relationships with my characters. As a writer I Am The God Of my Universe.
My stories and characters all live within that universe.
So I don’t have to invent them just have to stop that lady on the street; she will tell me her name, her story, and a lay out of the town so by visiting different areas I can change story dynamics. A long time ago a teacher, Mrs. Troy, who taught English convinced me I wasn’t crazy when she told me I was a writer the voices I was hearing where characters introducing themselves to me and I needed to listen! Worked wonders for me! Shout out to Mrs. Troy!

I guess that’s why my writings are so descriptive



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

People who’s lives I touch that share my talent and allow me to provide an escape from their world to mine if only until they close the pages. I try to ensure that ride is as great as I can make it.

And when your fortunate enough for someone to purchase your book and they really enjoy it!!!

And they say they’ve read multiple times and it’s like a new experience each time and they find things they missed initially.


With Series like 6 Degrees Of Hustle Series
I throw you curve balls for multiple titles

The Suspicion Series (Takes Of Max BLAKK)
I do it for 47 titles each will have the word Suspicion somewhere in the title there are 47 books in the series the 1st is Deadly Suspicions


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

Write write write ! Don’t obsess over Small details (character name, setting, etc…)

Concentrate on the story!

The better the story the bigger the fan!

Believe that each time you write and write for fans of your work and if your looking for a publisher check out the folks at
492 Publishing House Inc they’re all inclusive packages put Authors First


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

None to speak of other than my Characters talk to me. I actually let my characters explain their stories to me as they see them happening! So I actually become the narrator to my audience and they can feel the emotion because it’s genuine

This is actually how it affected this particular character

That’s why the emotions in my book are real they are told from a place of a character this actually happened to.

I have a novel I’m writing now I’m 2 chapters in and the main character who is telling the story still hasn’t told me her name ,yet with the things that have happened to her in these two chapters makes me excited to know who she is… hopefully that feeling translates to my audience

That’s what allows them to not put it down. Especially if it’s based on true events as with the 2017 Winner of the Walter Mosely Award for African American Fiction, Death Of A Thug.


Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Well, I’ve always been a writer of sorts. Poems, short stories, plays, raps, what have you. I wrote a poem and my English teacher submitted it to a contest and I won.

I then realized I needed to write on a larger scale. It wouldn’t be till years later when I would actually be in a position to put paper to pad and I actually got to tell an Amazing story that actually happened and I got to Fictionalize it without incriminating the innocent or further incriminating the guilty. To do such with an artistic flare that allows people from all walks of life to actually be able to take an in depth look into a world many didn’t know existed and to paint a picture they could understand and enjoy.

I feel that fully expresses my talent as a Author.

So Far I’ve won (2) awards including
the Walter Mosely Award for African American Fiction for my Current novel Death Of A Thug.
I’m Extremely Proud of that one


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


Ask him where we went wrong what we can do to fix it to the benefit of all mankind.


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


I can provide the link so you can look inside and read excerpt for free on Amazon

But I have to warn you once they cut you off

Your going to one click it because it’s a must read that is hard to tear away from

authors, children's literature, ficiton, interviews, Uncategorized

In the Words of an Author: An Interview with Nicole Russin-McFarland

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

As a newbie filmmaker, my primary focus is to write material that I can later turn into animated work once I am more established. If anything, nobody influences me. My influence is creating stories that treat young people as the intelligent adults they are. Children have brains. They deserve good storytelling, less artificiality on the way things are presented to them, and a lot more jokes.

And yes, answering the most common question, my very own big bad wolf penned his memoirs long before some Leonardo DiCaprio movie came out called The Wolf of Wall Street. My story is a lot cooler and funnier for younger audiences! Sorry, Mr. Scorsese!


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

Aladdin Todd Jackson, the title character in my book The Big Bad Wolf Strikes It Rich! Fairy Tale Wall Street Memoirs, is really relatable. He isn’t perfect. Animated movies and children’s literature right now is about these fantasy, cutesy characters. We don’t have anyone with a real life profession. Aladdin has been poor and rich. He knows what it’s like to struggle, but he relates to being disrespected because he is rich – which many stories don’t talk about either. Regardless of his wealth, his richness is never part of the story. His personality is really vibrant and out there. He is nice and moody. Aladdin loves making money on Wall Street, soy milk, friendship because he’s been lonesome, and living at his Ritz-Carlton hotel condo in lower Manhattan.

He doesn’t eat pork and was wrongly accused of triple homicide with the three little pigs’ murder at the start of the book. We get to see how he ends up changing around his incorrectly bad reputation smeared by the pigs onto a real career path. He starts out not knowing how to make do with how skilled he is with money and makes a career out of it. And, he’s really silly! The book is like a children’s ridiculous take on those old 80’s Donald Trump money saving books all of America bought then. Aladdin is sweet though, unlike Mr. Trump, and his quirks make him a lovable friend to all at the end.


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

A lot of what I write is based on my own reality or something I have witnessed in someone else’s reality, good or bad. Everything gets changed a lot to where you don’t know what I am talking about. Some of the things that happen to Aladdin in the story are real. I once had a guy where I just gave him my cell phone number, and he called me a minute later in front of me. Of course, this got written into Aladdin’s story!

Aladdin is a lot like me in some aspects, despite our clear differences like how I am not a stockbroker. Someone might think with Aladdin the big bad wolf’s situation he should be out partying at clubs and being a total snob, yet all he cares about is where he can find a good slice of pizza or doing something stupid with a fellow group of immature people. He could hang out in his office, or he could go through time into 1800’s Manhattan and meet a green witch. Aladdin isn’t entirely me. He is a true New Yorker, therefore, he has really rude remarks and blurts out all kinds of things you shouldn’t say. He almost got fried by a laser beam for asking someone her age!

The Evil Queen in the Snow White portion of the story is, unlike me, from Europe, yet like me, complains about everything. Can you believe she ordered a huntsman to go after someone because the diner waitress brought mustard instead of ketchup? How dare they!? Looking back, I hope to expand upon some of these characters the day I get the film version of The Big Bad Wolf Strikes It Rich! going. They are all so unique and human-like. Every one of them has good and bad. The Evil Queen is based on me during my worst moments.


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

Authors have copyright legal protection you don’t get with a screenplay. Of course, anyone can always steal elements of your work. Stealing your work at large, down to detail, as many people have had happen? You can really take someone to court for doing that if you have a pre-existing novel and audiobook out.


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

First, know that if you are of the female gender, your chances of being rejected by a major publishing house are leaps higher. You can find an article I read online somewhere how a girl submitted her fake book everywhere as male and female aliases. The fake male author received responses almost right away; the female fake pen name received rejections or was ignored.

Secondly, be like a businessperson. Know your legal rights and financial rights with a contract. Everyone thinks they should not speak their minds. Authors are willing to give up everything to see their book on a shelf somewhere. With most sales being online, few if any books ever make it to the marketplace.

Point three, know that New York Times bestselling books are misleading. To get on that list, you have to be with a specific publishing house, selling your book in a small number of bookshops. You can really skew the results. Have your boyfriend come and buy all the books with his friends in these shops, and you’re a “bestselling author!” Congratulations! The real bestselling label comes from sales. Sell a million dollars worth of books, and you have real bragging rights.

Final point I can think of, most major book publishers pay you an advance because they take most of your royalties. I know a guy earning $20 per month from his popular book because he took an advance. Please, know your financial rights. Your art is worth something. You’re better off renegotiating with that big publishing house, finding a smaller place, or going solo.


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

My brain functions primarily via other artistic formats. Paraphrasing an awfully corny music meme I saw the other day, writing is not my forte, music is! I’m an amazing composer and was always good at flute and stuff like that. And, I think I’m going to be a pretty good movie director, particularly once I get to the point where I have a big animation house with animators doing all the work in my head one person cannot pull off. As a writer? Well, oh, perhaps a SCREENWRITER, where things are direct to the point. Writing an actual literary work, in which one needs to be descriptive of everything and not so much what’s going on in front of the camera or animated world? Wow, a struggle for me! My only solution was imagining myself talking it out verbatim, as one might hear real conversations. How might a sleazy stockbroker wolf who’s actually really sweet at times write his book? Like this. Exactly, like this! The real conversational flow one might hear from the mouth of an actual New Yorker, someone born and raised there, who now works on Wall Street.


Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

Are you kidding?!?! No way! I felt so bad this one day at school. I was in second grade, paying full attention to a local children’s book author from Chicago in our school cafeteria. She came in to tell us what being a big time author is like. Because I was paying attention – and I always did, always do to people who deserve respect – she called me out in front of everyone. “That girl over there in the pink jogging suit? She looks like she’s going to be a writer when she grows up! She’s paying attention. And wearing glasses!” I sat silently. The very nice writer said: “Whoops. I think I embarrassed her!”

I hated glasses before that. This, being called out as looking like a writer, made me despise them. I began breaking my glasses all the time. Who wanted to look like a writer? I felt like shouting, “WRITER?!?! Me!??!?! I want to be like….!!!!! Marilyn Monroe, her, or those old movie stars! Making movies and writing them, and, ohhhhh!!!!” Because I thought Marilyn Monroe and all the old film stars got to wear sexy makeup and glamorous retro dresses but were writing and directing the movies. I didn’t know what being a movie director was called. I also wanted to be like Madonna in the “Human Nature” music video, slithering around in a latex catsuit for a music video, or Janet Jackson, dancing and looking so carefree as she sang.

Writers weren’t glamorous!

When I got to meet Jackie Collins when she went to Chicago, and I interviewed her, I told her this story. She was like, “What?!” And, “Writers do lead lonesome lives…I don’t get to meet people when I’m writing. I stay inside or write by the pool.” I did clarify to her, “No, this was me when I was SEVEN YEARS OLD. I don’t feel this way now! And you’re so pretty. You are not my seven year old idea of what a writer looks like.”

So number one off that, we need to teach kids, being a writer doesn’t equal ugly. And wearing glasses can be cool. I’d love to see media portray intelligence as attractive. But yeah, my honest first impressions of being an author were not good. The nice author coming to my school being so frumpy didn’t help. Again, I was seven. I’m a lot more feminist minded today and don’t judge women by appearance anymore as an adult; please understand this. 😉


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

Wow, I would love to meet Peter Jackson! I imagine taking him to Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills, which is probably close to his house. First, because I’ve been professionally bothering Thomas Keller the chef who owns all the Bouchon’s since I was 20. I’m the biggest fan, definitely of him, Wolfgang Puck, and Emeril Lagasse because I dream of having healthy food products that taste good and their staffers are so amazing. So get that out of the way. After I tell Mr. Peter Jackson of how awesome the tomato soup combo is and we go all foodie on everything on the menu, I would talk to him about his Lord of the Rings trilogy and ask him questions about his amazing cartoon he did with Steven Spielberg called The Adventures of Tintin. Quite possibly the most lifelike cartoon I’ve ever seen. He seems really shy but entertaining to chat with. We could talk about his house in New Zealand. All kinds of stuff. How he sold his apartment to Taylor Swift. I mean, it’s his conversation. I’m really Mr. Jackson’s guest, therefore, having to do whatever he wants. I wish he would do more animated movies. Mr. Jackson set the bar really high for film trilogies. What I love about him is he left it there. No “Lord of the Rings Go to Malibu and Strike Back” situations. A good story needs to be left as is.

Want more information on Nicole Russin-McFarland? Follow these links and get to know her!





authors, books, ficiton, interviews, Uncategorized

In the Words of An Author: An Interview With Rich Marcello


Rich Marcello, author of “The Beauty of the Fall”, has invited you to get to know him a little bit better. Find out a bit about him as he answers just a few questions, and make sure to follow him on social media!

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

I love the work of Milan Kundera, Don Delillo, Alice Walker, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Adam Haslett, to name a few.

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

Dan Underlight, in The Beauty of the Fall, is my favorite because he’s so complex. As a writer, I’m trying to go deeper and deeper into the soul of each of my characters, and so I focus a lot of my effort on their inner lives. In TBOTF, I spent most of my time on Dan. I wrote him over and over until I understood his grief at some deep non-verbal level. That’s when he came into focus.

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

When I started writing, it was more difficult for me to write female characters well, especially when the scene was from their POV. But I’ve spent a lot of time working to improve my craft in that area, and now, I’m really proud of the female characters in my novels. I’m particularly fond of Willow in TBOTF and Paige Plant in The Big Wide Calm.

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

The most rewarding part of being an author is when a reader writes me or tells me that one of my novels or characters resonated in some way that made a positive difference in her life. My hope is that my novels, in some small way, connect folks more to themselves and the world, and so, when it happens, it truly is rewarding.

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

To write your first draft of each scene quickly so you fully capture the intended emotion. After that, edit over and over again until the scene is fully realized. In my fiction class, I like to tell students to rewrite a scene five times before they workshop it. That seems to work pretty well.

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

I write seven days a week first thing in the morning for about five hours. I’m a big believer in going from one kind of dream time ( sleeping) to another ( writing fiction). I seem to do my best work this way.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

I’ve been writing all of my adult life, but only full-time for the last six years. In college, I had a chance to be mentored by a novelist in residence, but I was broke and needed to make money for a time. So when I graduated, I did. Throughout those years, I kept writing––mostly songs and poetry––but I always knew I would come back to writing novels. Hopefully, I’ll get ten or so of them out into the world before I’m done.

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

I’ll pick two. I’d love to talk with John Lennon about music and the current state of the world, and I’d like to talk with Dalai Lama about love and kindness.

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


The Beauty of the Fall Excerpt

Chapter 1

So It Spins

“Dan, Olivia would like to see you now.”

Summoned, I hang up the phone, lift off my chair, and exit my corner office. A year in the making, it’s about to happen, and even though I had a hunch it was coming, nothing has prepared me for the end walk. As I’m heading to Olivia’s office, the last months flash in Technicolor until the credits, the epitaph rolls— He put his head down, tried to rekindle the wildfire he helped birth years ago, tried to daydream down a riven path. Didn’t work, but hey. Midway, my legs go wobbly, so I restroom to regroup. After I wash my hands and face and adjust my tie, I stare at my regrouped selves in the mirror and recite Willow. She sent me one of her poems the other day after we chatted about my current predicament: When sudden loss dances/ When the inexplicable fogs/ When you’re about to lose what you love most/ Remember this: You’re fucked. Well, that’s not exactly the poem. Her last line made some poignant point about all the “When’s” being gifts, but I like my version better.
To stay up-to-date with all things Rich Marcello check him out on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, or his website!


authors, books, Coming Soon, cover reveal, ficiton, Uncategorized

Cover Reveal for M. Dauphin’s It All Falls Down


Front Cover Image: Reggie Deanching @RplusMPhoto
Models: Blake Sevani and Gina Sevani
Designer: Inked Imprints


He promised he’d never leave. He should have told me. I could have helped. Max came into my life when I didn’t need a man to define me. He didn’t push his way in… not really. He slowly, tirelessly, and patiently waited. He used that damn smile, day in and day out, and waited until I tumbled head over heels in love with him. My grandma always told me to watch out for the pretty boys. The ones that turn you to mush the first time you lay eyes on them. She never warned me about Maxwell Holzer. If there’s one thing in life I’ve always known, it’s that when something goes up, it will most certainly always come crashing down.




The intense need to be next to her, to smell her, comes over me so I walk across the room and smile brightly when I see her push herself back against the door. From what I remember, that smile got to her last time. I mean, the smile gets me a lot of places, but with Nora it gets me what I want. I stalk closer to her, ignoring the work that needs to get done today, and enjoy watching her body start to react to my nearness. The hitched breath, the pebbled nipples showing through her dress, the goosebumps on her soft skin; all unspoken signs she’s turned on. 

“What are you doing?” Nora whispers, watching me move closer to her until I have her boxed in, my hands resting on the door next to her head. 

“What I should have done yesterday,” I whisper. My eyes flick to her lips. We’re so close I can feel her breath on me as her lips part. Nora’s body relaxes, her eyes searching mine, every now and then flicking to my lips. 

I should do it. I should just fucking kiss her.


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life, poems, poetry, politics, Uncategorized

Sneak Peek: New Poetry Coming Soon

With the U.S. Presidential election coming upon us quickly, I figured I would share a sneak peek into my forthcoming poetry anthology, “Pieces of Me”, the follow-up to “About A Girl: A Poetry Compilation” (which is available now). Keeping with the theme of the first anthology, “Pieces of Me” will delve deeper into who I am, based on experiences I have undergone and how those experiences have effected me. There will be darkness, there will be light. There will be insights into my mind, into my heart, into my soul. With any luck, I will move someone, or I will make someone feel not quite alone. This is a poem about one of my biggest passions, an integral part of my personality.


My Observations

We too contribute to the condemning silence,

We too watch the news, see the violence,

But in this condemning silence,

Neither you nor I speak up for the truth or the righteous.

Too often it seems we just sit back,

We watch babies born addicted to crack,

We watch kids with knives and guns,

We watch people old and young run.

We see people stand around waiting,

You wanna scream, you wanna yell, “Life’s yours for the taking!”

No one listens, no one cares,

It feels like no one is there, no one hears.

Too often times get tough,

You wanna scream, you wanna yell, “Enough’s enough!”

Too often we see the signs before witnessing the deeds,

But no one really notices their needs.

We too add to the delinquency, claiming stupidity,

We have eyes, we can see,

We know what we know,

We wallow in despair over what we don’t.

We too contribute to the condemning silence,

We too watch the news, see the violence,

But in this condemning silence,

Neither you nor I speak up for the truth or the righteous.

I don’t want to bombard you with my political views, if you care enough to find out, I’m fairly vocal on my personal facebook page, though I try to keep those views away from my writing world. As this election cycle comes to a close, though, and people head to the polls, I want you to think about this. Think about this issues we face. Vote on the issues, not because of how you feel personally about a candidate. Don’t sit this out. Let your voice be heard. November 8th, 2016 is election day, go to the polls. Don’t sit in silence any longer. And be sure to keep an eye on the blog for more sneak peeks. There will be a cover reveal for “Pieces of Me” coming soon!


In the Words Of An Author: An Interview With Marcus the Motivator

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

No I prefer to do things my own way. I came to this through my own unique burning desire to succeed and I want to transfer that over to others. When I first started, I had a cunning little plan, I wanted to change the world and I knew writing this book was the way to do that.

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

Well since my book is about my life experiences, it would be me (haha) but probably my friend Andrew, he came to me down on his luck and needed help to improve his life because it was going the wrong way. Well I am proud to call him a friend now because his life has totally turned around and he has become extremely successful.

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

I find it hardest to write about my positives, it feels like bragging but its almost a necessity in what I do. I find it much easier to talk about my down times and bad experiences strangely although I try not to identify with the negatives anymore.

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

When I receive messages from my fans how my work has inspired or changed them. Nothing can be more rewarding than knowing you have touched someones life.

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

Much like the Nike slogan, Just do it! Write now, keep going and eventually you will learn to just do it automatically, the more you write-the more you have to offer.

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

Any free time I get, I look for a topic and just write. I just make sure I start doing something and maybe I only keep 1/10 of what I write but the more I write the better.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

No, its only something that has come to me after I tried many other things and this really stuck as being what I want to do, what I really have to do for myself. I don’t write because I want to, I write because I have to, I’ve made it a part of who I am.

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

Hitler. Strange I know but I would try to talk to him when he was young and hopefully change his ideology and thought patterns

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

“But most importantly, always remember chocolate pudding is
the breakfast for champions and those who just get to work on time.”

What could this possibly have to do with a motivational book? Well you will have to get the book to find out 😉


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authors, books, children's literature, Coming Soon, cover reveal, interviews, kids books, nonfiction, Uncategorized

An Inside Look At Author Zena Xenae

About the Author!

(In her own words)


I write both Adult Novels and Children’s stories. I am the owner of Glamma LLC books and publishing. All my books can be purchased at Barnes and Noble and on, My published tittles are Cruel Awakening and Tyler the Wonderkid. My upcoming tittles are Inside Out, Chemo Curls and Pink Awakening My Breast Cancer Journey. I can be followed on instagram @cruelawakening and on facebook “cruel awakening the book” I am a survivor.


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

E.L James. She inspired me to write even though I thought I had missed my opportunity. She showed me that it was never to late to pursue a dream.

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

My Adult novels thus far have all been based on life events. The characters are real, but I am looking forward to putting my creative juices together and come with a character that my readers will love. However for now I would say Sessie from Cruel Awakening is my favorite character she was my best friend; she died before the book was released. I love that I am able to have her continue to live through my writings.

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

In Cruel Awakening the scene where I have to try and save my children from being abused and trying to shield them as they escaped was the most difficult. I cried through every letter I typed and it was so painful that i put off completing the book for like 15 years because i couldn’t bring myself to complete the chapter.

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

Holding your book in your hand after it comes from the publisher. The most rewarding part was hearing from other women who were victims of abuse and them telling me my story helped them and made them feel that they were not alone, and that I inspired them to tell their story.

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

Don’t ever give up on yourself and don’t be discouraged.

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

I love to listen to Caribbean music or the sound ocean waves when I’m writing.

Was being an author something you always wanted to do?

I’m not sure if I wanted to be an author but I’ve known since I was a young child that I loved telling stories. As I child I would write stories then read them to my family. When I went away to summer camp in 6th grade, every night all the girl would come to our bunk to hear me tell them stories it was like I was the television.

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

Tyler Perry, I would love to know how he gets so much writing done. He is a creative genius when it comes to writing and storytelling.

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

“You can’t have me, Angelo. You lose. You can’t control me. I will escape this madness, let God be my witness. You don’t deserve me. I’m taking all my love back. You can’t do what you want. You can’t hurt me, and you can’t try and tear me down because you are not man enough inside. I have a good heart. I am a good a woman. I have loved you an immeasurable amount. There is no weighted average here. It was all real but what do you do?– From “Cruel Awakening”










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Cruel Awakening is one woman’s story of abuse, based on actual events set in Baltimore MD in the early 80’s. It starts off as a love story between Angelo and Zikiyah, after the birth of their first child things take a turn for the worse. It gives a truthful look inside a real domestic situation. the physical abuse, substance abuse, infidelities, and a whole turmoil of mixed in drama. Promises to shed light on the domestic violence question of “Why do they stay?” or “Why do they leave?” a page turner, a jaw dropper with very intense love scenes , not for the faint of heart. ends in a very dramatic manner. It will make you laugh, make you cry, make you angry! Intended for mature audiences.





Tyler and his Grandpa takes their secret invention with them to the beach. When Tyler and his friends go surfing, they find that they are in for a shark filled adventure. Full of surprises!




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