Saturday, January 30, 2016

Author Susanne Matthews "Why I Write" Guest Post

Good morning and thank you for inviting me to visit your blog and share a bit about why I write. It’s quite simple really. I write because I have to. The stories and the characters won’t be ignored any longer. Now, that makes me sound like a head case, so I guess I should explain myself before someone calls the men with the white jackets to haul me away.

I’ve always loved books and continue to do so, only now, instead of spending all of my time reading masterpieces written by others, I try to create some of my own. As a teenager and later a young stay-at-home mother, I devoured books. While some of my friends were hooked on the soaps, I usually had my nose stuck in a book, and as my husband is fond of saying, the house could blow up around me and I wouldn’t notice. When I’m really caught up in a story, he’s probably right!

In the mid-sixties before the advent of computers and the Internet, books came from bookstores—some from the supermarket—but more often than not, mine came from the public library. I dreamed of being a writer, but back in that day, books had to be written on a typewriter, one page at a time, without spell check. Those precious sheets of paper would then have to be bundled up and mailed off to a publisher in the hopes they’d want the book. Since I’m a “hunt and peck” typist, needless to say, my early work was confined to handwritten sheets of poetry, long lost.

Eventually, the time came for me to graduate from high school and move on. I left home and went to university. In my early teens, I’d wanted to embark on a number of what I saw as glamourous careers—a stewardess (too short), an archeologist, a journalist, a writer—but all of those potential careers were vetoed by my parents who didn’t see them as practical, employment providing jobs for a woman. No. My choices were simple: secretary, nurse, or teacher.

With a future as a teacher looming in the distance, at university, I studied my favorite subjects—English and history. I also met my husband and took a ten year hiatus in my education to have a family. During that time, when the kids were sleeping, I read. Eventually, they all went to school full-time, and I got my Bachelor of Education, teaching guess what? English. For more than thirty years I taught creative writing, poetry, plot analysis, character development, all the time longing to write a book of my own.

Thanks to the computer age and the Internet, like many other fledgling authors, what had once been an impossible dream was within my grasp. I had the opportunity to write short stories, Sunday school curriculum as well as academic curriculum, but none of those satisfied my yearning to be a storyteller like my personal heroes: Nora Roberts, Dan Brown, Robin Cook, JK Rowling, J.R.R.Tolkein, Daphne Du Maurier, I could go on and on.

When I finally retired from teaching, I decided to try and live my dream. I met a small group of writers, all of whom had never been published, and together we worked our way toward publication. My first novel, Fire Angel, released in April 2013, has been a resounding success for me. Not only did it earn enough revenue for me to qualify for RWA’s PAN membership, it continues to provide me with a small and steady income, but even more importantly, it stands as a testimonial to the fact that I can be the author I dreamed of being. With free rein given to my imagination, the characters and stories come to me at any and all times of the day, anywhere and everywhere.

Since publishing Fire Angel, I have written, sold, and published thirteen novels, two novellas, three short stories and two episodes of a sci-fi space opera. My latest novel will be released in February and another is in edits and will be available in Dec 2016. Currently, I have four novels partially completed, and I’m working on a Valentine’s Day novella/short story and episode three of my space opera. I have a number of other ideas simmering on the back burner, waiting for the muse to inspire me to tell those stories. A visit to my website can show you which books have already been published and which books are waiting in the wings for publication.

My latest novel, The White Iris, is the third and final novel in The Harvester Series. The first book, The White Carnation was released in April; the second book, The White Lily came out in October, and The White Iris will be available February 8, 2016.

So, why do I write? I write to entertain, and I hope one day to entertain you.

Author's Amazon Page

About the author:
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Twitter @jandsmatt

Friday, January 22, 2016

Letting Go - Guest Post by Author KateMarie Collins

Letting Go
I’m in an interesting spot. My oldest daughter is heading off to college next fall. There’s already been discussions between me, my husband, and our youngest about what happens when she’s gone. Especially when it comes to her bedroom.

She has the largest room, and bed. The youngest is beginning to think about how to decorate when she can change rooms. The oldest, upon hearing that her room wasn’t being kept as a shrine while she was gone, is adjusting to the idea.

I see a correlation between parenthood and writing. Our books, our stories, are our children in many ways. We’ve nurtured them, helped them grow. Learned from them to improve our own craft. And, like many parents, we can’t always let go when they’re all grown up.

But we have to. At some point, we need to stop micromanaging our books and let the world experience our creation. Some days that’s harder to do than others. We want to argue with editors, advocate for our characters like we did with our children when we felt a grade was lower than deserved. We want to get that perfect senior portrait or cover art. Is the font right? Or is the tassel on the wrong side of the cap?

When we type ‘the end’, or place that last word on a page, it’s graduation day. It’s freshmen check in at the dorm when we sign a contract and send it to a publisher for editing. We have to trust that we’ve done everything we can to take this book from idea to completion. And that the teachers they’ll have will make them into the success we know they’ll be.

Amazon Author Page

Author Bio
Born in the late 60's, KateMarie has lived most of her life in the Pacific NW. While she's always been creative, she didn't turn towards writing until 2008. She found a love for the craft. With the encouragement of her husband and two daughters, she started submitting her work to publishers. When she's not taking care of her family, KateMarie enjoys attending events for the Society for Creative Anachronism. The SCA has allowed her to combine both a creative nature and love of history. She currently resides with her family and two cats in what she likes to refer to as "Seattle Suburbia".

You can find KateMarie at the following sites:
Twitter:  @DaughterHauk
Her blog:

Friday, January 15, 2016

Author Interview with Young

Thanks for stopping in today!  What can you tell us about your current work in progress?
   I’m working on A Harem Boy’s Saga - book IV – Turpitude; a memoir by Young. It’s a lengthy process since there are a lot of my young life experiences to cramp into each volume. Each book is approximately 3 months of my life, spend in service at a total of 7 different Arab Household harems.

For readers who don’t know what A Harem Boy’s Saga is about, here is a synopsis:
A Harem Boy’s Saga – Book I – Initiation; a memoir by Young.

This provocative story is about a young man who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School (Oasis,) in The United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in Harems for the wealthy and elite.
It is also a love story between the young man and his ‘Valet’ who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy’s Harem service.

Author’s note:
I had a privileged and unique upbringing in Malaysia. Following in my brothers' footsteps, I was sent to an exclusive boarding school in England. It is there that I was inducted into a clandestine organization, E.R.O.S. The Enlightened Royal Oracle Society. For four years, unbeknown to my family, I was willingly and happily part of a Harem.
My story has been kept under wraps for close to 45 years. The correct moment has arrived for me to make known my unique education.
There are 7 books to this series.

What’s your primary method of writing?  Do you brainstorm, work from an outline, or just jot down whatever comes to mind?
   Writing a memoir or an autobiography is vastly different from writing a fictional novel. I’m writing about events, situations and emotional feelings that had happened, of ‘remembrance of things past.’ My outline, inspirations come from an abundance of old photographs, journals/diaries I had kept during the various periods of my life.
Although in the books, I’ve changed the names and places to protect myself and those involved, the experiences and events that happened are true. The creative part of my writing are in the dialogue throughout the books. Although I am able to remember the overall gist of what was said, I had to make up the dialogue since it’s been over 40 odd years since these events/situations occurred.

Who inspired you to get into writing as a profession?
   An inner calling told me to document my unique education. Now, is the correct moment to tell my story. Other factors that influenced me to write are:
• Provide Tolerance to Sissy Boys by understanding parents/peers and the community.
Anderson Cooper 360 documentary on the devastating treatment of effeminate boys influence me to tell my story.
• Bullying can be Avoided through Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer programs in school or outside school system. Older students acting as mentors to younger students.

• Gay Adolescent Tolerance – parents/child/siblings relationship issues.
Support/mentorship program to all parties involved to foster understanding and acceptance of Gay kids.

• Provide an Alternative Educational System;
Understanding Big Brother/adolescent mentorship programs in schools, BB as protector to keep younger kids from being bullied.

• Human Relationship Building Program;

Between parents/teachers and young students on sexual topics/issues, especially when adolescent are just discovering their sexuality. They can be guided on a healthy and honest sexual journey instead of “don’t ask, don’t tell” hide it behind the closet policy.

What has been the biggest challenge for you as a writer?
   Staying focus to write daily especially writing a 7 volume epic saga of my adolescent teenage life. I had considered changing the book main title to The Chronicles of A Harem Boy instead of A Harem Boy’s Saga but my literary agent advised me not to.

Let’s go silly for a moment – if you could be any character from a TV series, who would it be and why?
   I love the BBC TV miniseries, Downton Abbey. I will like to Lady Mary. She is elegant, cool, sophisticated, worldly and stylish. Not to say I’m not all of the above but I miss the wealth I was inducted into during my young years.

Do you have a particular favorite spot to write?  How about a favorite food or drink to stoke the ingenuity?
   I move between my writing desk in my workroom and the lanai (balcony). It is very pleasant to sit outdoors to write, especially when living in Hawaii. The winters here (like now) are very temperate and cool. Perfect place to write and be surrounded by nature.

What sort of advice can you give to those who are just getting into this field?
   Stay focus. My modus operandi: the 3Ps: Perseverance, Persistence & Patience.

Check out the author's Amazon page to see all of his works.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Interview with Jacqueline T. Moore, author of The Checkerboard

Thanks for joining us today. Lets get started by learning a little about you. Where are you from?

      I live in Murrells Inlet, SC. I have family in Ohio and enjoy the winters there.

Tell us your latest news?

      I am thrilled to announce the release of my new novel, THE CHECKERBOARD.

When and why did you begin writing?

      I won an essay contest in grade school, but the teachers said it was too good and my mother must have written it. I became feature editor of the high school paper. (Take that, grade school teachers!) Fast forward through a career, family, and too many pets, the stories started bubbling. I won my first writing award in the mid 1990’s in spite of semi-controlled chaos. Eventually my husband’s struggle against early onset Alzheimer’s disease and my position as his care giver temporarily stopped my creativity.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

      I attended a workshop in 2013. After class, I bought the instructor’s book. She inscribed it with ‘To a fellow writer.’ Tracing the words with my finger, I knew it was real.

What inspired you to write your first book?

      THE CANARY is about a yellow diamond that I inherited along with its whispered origin. THE CHECKERBOARD picks up right where it left off.  

Do you have a specific writing style?

      I seem to automatically pick up the rhythm and nuances of my characters’ speech.

How did you come up with the title?

     The diamond’s color speaks for itself.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

      At what length would you go to reinvent yourself?

How much of the book is realistic?

     THE CANARY and CHECKERBOARD are well-researched historical novel with locations, language, and customs firmly grounded in fact.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

     Family rumors about the source of Myra’s ring are the basis. All the rest of the story is fiction.

What books have most influenced your life?

     Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series hooked me on historical novels. Her precise research methods taught me the importance of accuracy.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

     I have a very good friend who was my colloquialism coach. He guided me down that fine path of country talk.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

     I belong to writers groups in South Carolina and Ohio. I love to travel.

Lastly, do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

      Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from writing.

Get it Now

September 8, 1900
 Five Thousand Lives Blotted Out

The headlines say it all. Death, destruction, and desolation is everywhere on Galveston Island. Nothing is mentioned about the survivors.
THE CHECKERBOARD, sequel to THE CANARY, continues the story of Myra Gallaway, her new husband CB, and Black Jack and his new wife, Marguerite, the ‘red-headed colored gal.’ The men have proven that, against all odds, a mixed ship sails well. The wives band together in the house in LaPorte to prove the same to their new neighborhood. All seems to go as expected until that crazy gypsy, Lulah Marie, shows up and practically sets the house on fire.

Myra’s eldest child, Junior’s rebellious actions have landed him in jail on Galveston Island. His only hope for redemption lies in a very unusual punishment. The boy is forced to sail with the man he hates, his step father, CB Ledbetter. This voyage will either make or break Myra’s family. After all, what do you do with a drunken sailor? Only time will tell.