Author Interview: Colleen Mooney

Author Colleen Mooney and her dog, Meaux

Today we have Colleen Mooney with us. Colleen Mooney was born and lived much of her life in New Orleans before a job moved her to other cities.  She writes a cozy mystery series set in New Orleans. It’s called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the third book, Drive Thru Murder, was released in early April.

Since January 2017 Colleen organized a Sisters In Crime chapter in New Orleans, has been elected President and has a planned a Mystery Writers’ Conference for June.  She is currently working on her 4th book in the Brandy Alexander series.  You would expect her protagonist with a name like Brandy Alexander to be a stripper instead of the girl next door with a serious passion for rescuing dogs. Brandy has a way of being at the eye of every storm that seems to go through the city and we’re not talking about the weather.  In the city known as The Big Easy, Brandy Alexander’s life is like a Category 5 Hurricane. You have to ask, Is there anything in Brandy Alexander’s life that is not complicated? There’s no place like New Orleans to have a good crime!

Colleen was born and raised in New Orleans and lived in the Irish Channel along with just about everybody else in her family.  She says, “New Orleanians are a lot like boomerangs or homing pigeons.  If we move away, we always move back.”

Colleen worked in corporate America for twenty-one years before retiring and has lived in Birmingham, Atlanta, New Jersey and New York. She moved back to New Orleans every time before another corporate reorganization would transfer her to another city.

“My vacation and work related travels opened my eyes as to how different we are in New Orleans.  We are very different from the rest of the state, let alone the rest of the country. We have different laws, different food and the way we cook it, different weather, different things we celebrate and how we celebrate them. We even have a different language in some cases.  Everyone thinks New Orleans is all about a good time in the French Quarter or on Bourbon Street, but those of us from here know that’s only the tip of the iceberg, well, if we had icebergs.”

Colleen loves to travel and do new things.  She is an avid Scuba diver and Underwater photographer, owned and raced sailboats in the Gulf of Mexico, Key West and the BVI. She has owned a  motorcycle and has skied Colorado, Idaho, California, New York State as well as the German and Austrian Alps.

In New Orleans, she’s been active in many Mardi Gras Krewes, Super Krewes, and organizations and has belonged to the Krewe of Cork, Orpheus, Iris, Tucks, Joan of Arc and the Halloween Krewe of Boo. Colleen says she has never met a parade she didn’t like.

She’s an ardent animal lover and the Director for a breed rescue, Schnauzer Rescue of Louisiana for the last fifteen years.  She has rescued and placed over 300 abandoned or surrendered Schnauzers.  She loves to write, and writes about what she loves. Colleen says, “New Orleans is where it all happens for me.”

Let’s give Colleen a warm welcome and get started.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

My favorite hobby is anything to do with or on the  water…sailing, diving, swimming, water skiing, tubing, sitting on the beach—anything. I can walk along the waters’ edge for hours.  My dad had me swimming before I could walk.  My mother was terrified of the water…guess who I took after?

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Who would I spend an afternoon with and why?  Jacques Cousteau pioneered scuba gear to open up a world of adventure for the average person. He is a legend in his efforts to save the oceans from dumping waste and raise awareness on why we should protect them. I would ask how and what got him on that path. What adversities did he experience and how did he overcome them.  I’d like to hear his most exciting  explorations and how he discovered them.  When you consider his travels, his underwater filming of documentaries, his explorations and his equipment he designed and pioneered it all seems too much for one person. I’d like to know what he ate for breakfast (smle).

He was a unique individual that inspired me to find  a water world of adventure and excitement.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Not just coffee…coffee WITH chicory.  I’m a New Orleans girl.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the 4th book in my series, New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles. I have a working title but I don’t think that will be it when I’m finished.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style is part plotting and part organic (pantser).  I have an outline but my characters don’t always follow it.  (smile).

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

My advice to someone beginning their writing career?  Don’t do anything like I’ve done because it seems most of it was wrong.  I don’t know what to tell anyone.  We all need to find our own path in life. What worked for me might work against someone else.  I draw a lot from my experiences and that of others since I’ll never live long enough to make that many mistakes on my own!

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Many of my ideas come from day-to-day life in New Orleans, which is to say, not a normal, day-to-day, life  All of my stories are grounded in real life events, characters or places that I fictionalize. A reader once wrote a review saying that my stories were preposterous and could not really happen.  She should see what I left out!

Here’s where you can find me:

Email:      colleen@colleenmooney.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ColleenMooneyAuthor

Website: www.colleenmooney.com

Twitter: mooney_colleen@twitter.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8548635.Colleen_Mooney

And thank you Colleen for spending a little time with us. Gentle reader, please take the time to visit Colleen on any or all of her social media. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

Yellowstone Trip and Heat Wave: Monday Blog Post

Mammoth Hot Springs

Newest News:

So we went to Yellowstone National Park last week, that’s why there was no Monday blog post on the 12th. We arrived on Saturday, temps in the 50’s. Sunday we took a bus tour of the lower half of the park. Cold and rainy. Monday, hung out with my friend, JA Marlow, who works in Yellowstone, and the day was clear and sunny and hot! That is right up till 5pm when a storm blew in and it started snowing. Yep, 75 degrees to 32 degrees in about an hour and a half. Crazy.

Bison Calf Studies Us as we Drive By

We took a ton o’ pictures. I took a video of Old Faithful and a couple of other sites. Those will be on my newsletter so if you aren’t signed up for that, now’s the time. Loved the park. We had several run-ins with bison (not buffalo!), saw a coyote, a couple of antelope, elk, and magpie’s.

Along the Yellowstone River, This Fellow was watching the traffic go by.

I had watered the garden heavily the day before we left and when we returned home, the garden had done well even with the high temps. Peas are already flowering and a couple of pods are present. Beans, squashes and tomatoes are in good shape. One of the serrano pepper plants is down for the count but the other one has blossoms on it so I’m calling that a win. The potatoes and garlic are dying back. I pulled up my elephant garlic and it’s drying.  The regular garlic, in a pot, has also died back. After the elephant garlic is dried, I’ll pull the regular.

For my SciFi readers, I mentioned last week that I finished the edits on Tested, the fourth book in the Brown Rain series and sent it off to the editor. I should have that back in a week. I’m still thinking about the cover. I’d like to get a picture of a college administration building for the cover. What do you think?

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is still running until the 20th. There is a grand prize PayPal card and multiple prizes from the participating authors. There’s still time. You can find the link to the Rafflecopter on my Giveaways page.

Shout Out:

I have an interview scheduled to run on Wednesday the 21st with mystery author Colleen Mooney. Colleen was born and lived much of her live in New Orleans before a job moved her to other cities.  Back now, in The Big Easy, she writes a cozy mystery series set in New Orleans. It’s called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the third book, Drive Thru Murder, was released in early April. If you can’t wait to see what Colleen is up to, check out her website at www.ColleenMooney.com.

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

I’m a late registrant to the Westercon conference held this year in Tempe, Arizona. I’m scheduled to sit on some panels and I have a reading and some signings scheduled. I don’t know yet if I’m going to get a Dealer’s table to sell books but I’ll definitely sell books at my signings. I’ve never been to this con and it’s been going on for seven decades! I hope you can make it. Check out all the fun at www.Westercon70.org.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with over 80 authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:Mystery at the Book Festival released June 1st and I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Author Interview: Kittly Boyes

Author Kitty Boyes

Today I’d like to welcome Kitty Boyes to the blog. Kitty lives on the coast of Western Australia. She has three amazing children and six gorgeous grandchildren. Her debut novel, The Sins of our Mothers; published in November 2015 had readers asking for more so she published the second book to the series; Her Father’s Daughter in March 2016. Stay tuned for book III. Her Brother’s Keeper. Out in 2017. 

Make yourself at home, Kitty!

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favourite hobby?

I have a few so it’s difficult to decide which one is my favourite. I enjoy so many things life offers.  Is reading a hobby or a pastime?  I live for my next exciting book. There’s nothing quite like delving inside a world quite different to my own; where all my senses are alerted from laughing to feeling a little terrified or anxious hoping for the protagonists’ victory over an antagonist, yet knowing it must end with the good guys prevailing. Always. Yet the journey is what takes me there and moves me along. My real hobby, apart from renovation work and scrapbooking is writing.

2. If you had the opportunity – who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why.

Quite clearly for me my immediate answer is the family I’ve lost over the years. (Parents, two brothers and two sisters) I miss them and it’s more or less since losing each one, in particular my parents, that I’ve accumulated dozens of questions I want the answers to. Ahh, the thought of spending an afternoon with them conjures up familiar smells, old conversations and distant memories both good and not so good.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or domething else?

Coffee!  Iced coffee, hot coffee, cappuccino, espresso, with milk, black, instant, percolated, dripolated, pods or in cake. Coffee and walnut cake with a hot cuppa? Heaven.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on book three to my series and revisiting the first two to make them the best books I can write. I wrote The Sins of our Mothers, published in 2015. I then wrote Her Father’s Daughter in 2016 but only due to people saying they wanted to read more about my protagonist Arina Perry.  At the time I didn’t think I had it in me to write another book, but I was pestered enough to give it a little thought at least. Then when I asked that all time question (What If) I had another story. Thus my third book is under construction, so far titled Her Brother’s Keeper and is almost ready.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I’ve got no idea really because I write in a number of different ways from letters to friends and family, an opinion on Facebook, a post to my blog sites, a children’s story for different ages, a couple of non-fiction  wellbeing e-books and then my novels. So it varies I guess depending on the situation in which I’m penning something. And even though it all comes from the same place, the style is always different.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Never give up!  Even though you may find that writing the story has its own share of difficulties, be aware that unless you can afford an editor and a graphic designer for your cover, which a lot of us can’t, then doing these yourself is very time consuming and has its own set of frustrations. Don’t give up! Ask for beta readers when your first draft is done. Edit, edit and re-edit until you’re almost sick of the sight of all those words, but continue because every single time you go over your book you find something else to fix, something else, even if it’s only the way you structured a sentence or two that when you fix it, you feel the satisfaction in making your story that much better each time. Come launch time, and you’re an indie Author (self-publishing to Amazon for instance) you need to find that other hat. The one that has Merchandiser Extraordinaire, Advertising Guru or World’s best Marketer on the brim. But never give up! Find a way to make it happen. If you’re filthy rich just hand your manuscript over to the experts and sit back to write your next exciting adventure. But even then be prepared for all the input needed here too. There’s never a dull moment that’s for sure.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day to day life?

I tend to immerse myself. Once I get the initial plot thought in my mind I start writing and from there different ideas or better twists may present themselves both in my day to day thoughts doing chores or whatever but more so whilst I’m writing.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I’m all over the place, just open your computer and there I am. Haha. I would welcome it if you chose to join me on some of these. There’s always an opt-out if you get sick of me. If you were to buy a book and review it too, you’ll be my new best friend. Most are only 99 cents USD. For now. Until I get famous.

https://kittyboyes.com is my website

kittyb2153@gmail.com is my email address

https://kittyboyeswordpress.wordpess.com is my books blog site

https://booknook1blog.wordpress.com  is another blog site for readers and writers

https://www.facebook.com/kittysebooks  My Facebook page

https://twitter.com/kitty_boyes My twitter URL

My books on Australia Amazon 

My books on American Amazon

My books on Smashwords

Thank you, Kitty for such a lovely chat.

Dear readers, don’t be shy. Take Kitty up on a visit to one or all of her sites. You’ll be glad you did!

Author Interviews: Linda Berry

Author Linda Berry

Today I’d like to present author Linda Berry, a new to me police thriller author. Linda, let’s talk about your book first!

Your latest mystery, Pretty Corpse, was recently released. Tell us about the story.

The year is 1999. A serial rapist is targeting teen girls in San Francisco. While on patrol, Officer Lauren Starkley discovers one of the victims, and she’s shocked to find out the girl is a close friend of her daughter. The case instantly becomes intensely personal. Because she isn’t a detective, Lauren is restricted from investigating, but she does so nonetheless on her own time. Lauren has an uncanny ability to find obscure clues and link them together. Her relentless pursuit of the rapist draws her deeper into his world. He in turn, starts getting closer to Lauren and her daughter. Lauren needs to lure him out of hiding, fast, before her daughter becomes his next victim.

 

You populate your novels with an interesting mix of characters. Tell us about that.

My stories reflect the range of characters each of us knows in real life. We all have people we admire, people who threaten us or are just plain luny. I like to keep a reader alert and surprised by creating several interrelated stories that and ebb and flow through the main story. We are all multi-dimensional, and have many stories happening simultaneously in our lives, and sometimes conflict erupts on many fronts. I like to get into those emotional tsunamis and explore a person’s breaking point, and how they deal with the challenge. Complex characters that are bitterly wounded or pathologically twisted are interesting to me. I like to contrast the most vile and repugnant aspects of human nature to the most heroic and noble, and throw some quirky characters in for good measure.

 

How did you research this police thriller?

To write authentically, I do extensive research. That doesn’t mean I let my fingers do the walking. I have to give a big thank you to the police officers at Mission Station in San Francisco in 2001, when I wrote this first draft. My research for Pretty Corpse came in the form of dozens of ride-alongs I did with various female patrol officers. I chose the night shift when the city was rife with criminal activity, and I got to see these courageous women in action. Several of my characters were inspired by the female cops I came to know, and also by the captain of the station, who gave generously of his time to help me authenticate my writing. Many of the side stories in Pretty Corpse are based on actual events relayed to me by police officers from Mission Station.

 

Where do you write?

I write in a sunny office in my home overlooking a canal and peaceful wooded area. I live in Central Oregon, a resort town in the shadow of the Cascade Mountains.

 

You were an award-winning copywriter and art director for twenty-five years, and worked part of that time for the film industry. Did that experience shape your decision to become a novelist?

Absolutely. I had the privilege of collaborating with talented writers and some of the best editors in the business. I love books and have been an avid reader my entire life. I wrote novels as a passionate hobby. In fact, my three novels released this year by Winter Goose Publishing are the result of my efforts spanning a decade. Now that I’m retired, I write every day. It’s so much easier to produce good work when you can keep your train of thought moving forward, and are not constantly interrupted.

 

What do you love most about your work?

I love the creative process itself—the challenge of developing and constructing plots that continually surprise the reader and hold them in a state of suspense. Writing is both a passion and a compulsion—a truly satisfying form of escape. My reward comes when a reader tells me they couldn’t put my book down and they talk about my characters as though they’re real people. Then I know I did my job well.

 

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness comes to me in many forms. Appreciation of life itself is the foundation of happiness. I find this planet miraculous, from subatomic matter to the galaxies in space. I enjoy the beauty of ecosystems, how so many forms of life—plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, insects—the smallest creature to the largest, are dependent on each other for survival. My idea of perfect happiness is living on a healthy planet where people live together in peace and are trusted guardians of nature.

 

What is your greatest fear?

Being impoverished, homeless, or mentally or physically impaired and dependent on others. I did undergo some terrible threats to my health six years ago. I had a bout of debilitating pain for about 8 months, which diminished my ability to enjoy life. I’m now completely recovered, and feel I’ve been given a second chance at life. The experience sharpened my awareness of how fragile life is, how it can be taken away in an instant, and how one might be forced to languish in pain for a period of time. It heightened my appreciation for the quality of life I have now, for every precious moment I’m healthy and independent.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Lack of patience. Sometimes I get caught up in the every day demands of life, and the illusion that I don’t have enough time to do everything I want to do.  I have to remind myself at times to live in the moment, address what is happening right in front of me, and listen to people, even when I feel I’m short on time. Giving another human being a few minutes of conversation can make a huge difference in that person’s life. Kindness goes a long way.

 
Who in your profession do you most admire?

I read everything, and admire countless writers, from journalists to screen writers to poets to authors. I especially love mysteries, and I read an average of two books a week. If the writing is solid, and the story is well-constructed, I’ll read it regardless of genre.
What is your greatest extravagance?

Disconnecting from the world. Getting out in nature with my husband and our dog in our motorhome. I love being on a lazy schedule and disconnecting from social media, where the only decision I have to make is when to eat and what hikes to takey. I can write in uninterrupted peace for hours at a time, surrounded by nature, sometimes listening to the gentle patter of rain, watching water drip off leaves. I love going to national parks, off season. We went to Bryce and Zion and Arches and the Grand Canyon two years ago. Last year we went to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and this year we may be going to Yosemite.
On what occasion would you lie?

I don’t tell big extravagant lies, but I do tell baby lies frequently, mostly when complimenting people. For example: “no, your ass doesn’t look big in those jeans” or “you look marvelous” when in actuality, you look hungover, and you have stains on your shirt.
What do you dislike most in your work?

When I hit a brick wall and I have to stop writing, sometimes for days, while I process my story and play out different scenarios in my head. I never force the creative process. What generally helps me break through the logjam is reading. I’ll bury my nose in a good book, and before long, ideas start percolating to the surface. I also have a muse. My nail goddess, who’s held captive doing my mani/pedi for 2 hours, and I bounce ideas off her. She has a creative mind and has been a wonderful contributor to my stories for years.
When and where were you happiest in your work?

This current period in my life is the happiest. Now that I’m retired, I have the luxury of writing every day. I wake up eager to get to work. I take my coffee up to my sunny office and dig in. I believe I’m at my most happiest when my husband and I are traveling and we’re parked in a beautiful wilderness area and the peace of the place seeps into my bones. I can write with no interruption.
If you could, what would you change about myself?

I would take twenty years of physical wear and tear off my body. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, I would change nothing. If I had to lose twenty years of life experience to be in a younger body, I would say no. I’m more at peace with myself at this stage of life than I have ever been.
What is your greatest achievement in work?

Having three novels completed and coming out this year, 2017. It’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment to see the culmination of years of work and endless rewrites in a physical book. Hidden Part One and Pretty Corpse are out, and Hidden Part Two comes out in September. I’m expecting my fourth mystery, Quiet Scream, to be out in December or January.

 

What is your most marked characteristic?

My friendliness, and my sense of humor. I have always had a keen interest in people and I’m a good observer, passionately interested in humans and the world around me. I’m an optimist at heart, and I’ve been blessed with a jolly spirit. I enjoy socializing but the greater part of my waking life is spent in solitude, writing, reading, and doing projects.


What is your most inspirational location in your city?

I like to get out on the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. We have a beautiful river, the Deschutes, that meanders through town and its character changes every foot of the way. There are many meadows, sagebrush flats, waterfalls, and breathtaking views of the Cascade Range. The look of a wild river, the various sounds of water rushing, falling, cascading over boulders, is invigorating and soothing. Hiking clears my head of thoughts and worries and puts me in a state of peacefulness.

What is your best advice for beginning writers?

Write about something you love and then your passion will come out in your words. Write often, everyday, if possible. Read, read, read. I read one or two books a week, and I also watch movies and TV productions that tell good stories. I take notes. I have volumes of notes, and refer to them daily.

 

Thank you so much for talking with us today, Linda. I’ve already read Pretty Corpse and it was fantastic!

So, gentle readers, you can pick up Linda’s book on Kindle Unlimited for free right now or wait until the release, June 10th! You can find our more about Linda and her books at:

Linda’s Youtube trailers:

Hidden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-bNoFgaD9U&t=7s

Pretty Corpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be

 

You can also find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/linda.berry.94617

www.lindaberry.net

@LindaBerry7272

lindaberrywriter@gmail.com

 

 

Memorial Day 2017: Monday Blog Post

A character holds my book, Troubled Streets!

Newest News:

Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I hope you’re having a great day, family and friends present, and being safe!

I spent the weekend (last Thursday through Sunday) at the Phoenix ComiCon. What an event. Multiple buildings, four floors, thousands of people, a huge percentage of them in costume. It was fantastic. I was there in booth 1797 with authors Holly S. Roberts, Marsha Ward and Alyssa Louttit and we had a blast. I’ve already signed up for next year. Mark your calendars.

Mystery at the Book Festival is still on pre-order and will be released on June 1st. Both the paperback and ebook will be available. You can find it at Amazon on (https://www.amazon.com/Mystery-Book-Festival-J…/…/B072LKF3DM) and on Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/725756). I’d love it if you could help me with my rankings and buy that book on presale, then leave an honest review.

Gardening: Peas, beans, and squashes are up and doing well. One of my cherry tomato plants was eaten by something but I haven’t replaced it yet. The other cherry I found lying limp on the ground this morning. Perhaps lack of water. Hubby didn’t water while I was gone. All of the fruit trees are full of fruit. Except the nectarine. That only has a few nectarines on it.

Giveaways:

My multi-author giveaway is called Spring into Reading: Easter Giveaway is now on. If you missed out on the last one, this is your chance to win.

Shout Out:

Author Linda Berry is promoting her book Pretty Corpse by having it free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited until its release on June 10th. If you’re a police thriller fan, you will want to take a look at her book. I’ve already read it and loved it. See it at https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Corpse-Linda-Berry/dp/1941058655. Check out her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QHSvirTYdw&feature=youtu.be.  As always, an honest review will go a long way to helping her out. I have a full interview with her coming up on Wednesday, the 31st. You can find out more about Linda at www.lindaberry.net.

 

Where Will I Be?

Check my website, https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/where-will-i-be/ for my next engagements.

July 22nd is the Payson Book Festival. I have to say, this festival has turned into quite a thing. Over 600 people came to it last year. The tables have already been filled with authors. You can find out who is attending at www.PaysonBookFestival.org. The event is free to visitors and starts at 9am and runs until 3:30pm. Details about the location, video from last year, and more, can be found on the site.

Newsletter Sign Up:

Click here to sign up for my newsletter. I’ve put sign-up gifts on both the regular and the Brown Rain newsletter sign-ups. That’s right. If you sign up for my newsletter you get a free story from me. Be prepared for fun and contests! Click on the video link for a short video from me. Hear what I’m working on. Join my “A” Team to be the first to read my books and hear what new books are coming.

Don’t forget to follow my blog, too. Different material goes in the blog as in the newsletter. You can share both, so spread the word!

Newest Book Release:

Mystery in the Woods released on December 25th! I’m pretty excited about it. You can buy it and my other books at: Apple, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords, today! You can also see all my books on https://conniesrandomthoughts.com/my-books-and-other-published-work/. If you’ve read any of my books, please drop a short, honest, review on the site where you bought it or on Goodreads. It’s critical to help me promote the books to other readers. Thanks in advance.

Author Interviews: Marsha Ward

Author Marsha Ward

Welcome back to my Author Interview series. Today we have the wonderful historical fiction author, Marsha Ward with us. Ward is an Amazon best-selling author who writes authentic historical fiction set in 19th Century America. She is a multi-published writer, editor, workshop presenter, mentor, and consultant. Marsha has written five novels in The Owen Family Saga, another that begins the Promised Valley series; and many other works. A former journalist, Marsha is the recipient of the 2015 Whitney Lifetime Achievement Award and President of Arizona Rim Country Chapter of Arizona Professional Writers.

Thank you, Marsha, for visiting with us today.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

Almost every author will say “reading,” but I consider much of my reading to be business, education, or entertainment, so I’ll say writing and arranging music. I was raised in a musical home and majored in music on the university level. Hearing or performing music sooths me. A natural extension of my love of and training in music is to arrange a piece of music to make it suitable for the small choir in my congregation to sing.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

I think that depends on my motivation. If I’m looking to the edification of my soul, I would choose Thomas S. Monson, the president and living prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), because he is such a gentle, caring man who can teach me much about giving service to others (and I need to be reminded of that daily) and centering my life on Jesus Christ.

If I’m seeking advice about my writing and publishing businesses, I’d like to spend an afternoon with Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch, because they are the best teachers and mentors I can think of in that realm.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I drink water or fruit juice. If I am traveling and am getting sleepy, I’ll drink a caffeinated soda like Dr. Pepper, but recovering from the caffeine takes a day or two, so I pay a price for that and prefer not to do it.

4. What are you working on right now?

I have a couple of projects I’m working on concurrently: a nonfiction book about a checklist I use in indie publishing, and a piece of fiction called That Tender Light, in which the principal characters of my fictional Owen family, Rod Owen and Julia Helm, meet and marry.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My brain is wired so that I am a pantser (discovery, or organic writer) if I want to make any writing progress. If I outline, the little grey cells rise up in rebellion at the suggestion that they cooperate in writing the story thereafter. They complain, “But you already wrote it! Don’t expect to involve us in doing it again!” I can begin with some kind of end in mind, but I let the characters reveal the story to me as I type.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Don’t overlook “practice” as you learn the craft of writing. Trust your creative voice to know how to tell a story. Don’t revise the life out of your piece. You don’t really know what needs correction, if anything does.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I do an immense amount of research sometime during the writing life of a work, whether that’s from reading, exploring a place, or talking with experts, because I write historical fiction. The ideas, however, come all the time, faster than I can keep up with them. I don’t know if that’s because of the research, or if something in life sparks a thought.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I love to hear from and interact with my readers. Here are the places to find me:

Website: http://marshaward.com
Blog: http://marshaward.blogspot.com
Email: marshaw@marshaward.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormarshaward
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarshaWard as well as

https://www.amazon.com/Marsha-Ward/e/B003RB9P9Q/
To be notified of new releases, join my Readers Mailing List at http://eepurl.com/vBKEj

Thank you so much, Marsha for taking the time to chat with us.

Gentle readers, Marsha’s latest works include Blood at Haught Springs, Faith and the Foreman, and From Julia’s Kitchen: Owen Family Cookery, a recipe collection from America’s earlier times. See the cover above. Isn’t it beautiful?

Author Interviews: Anna Payne

Author Anna Payne

I’m very pleased to bring Anna Payne, Christian Cozy Mystery author to the website today. Anna K Payne loves a mystery. Her favorite movies include one-liners and things that explode. Her relationship with her Savior is her number one priority and her family come second. Her passion and vision is to inspire hope, encourage others, love richly, and listen well through the strength of Jesus Christ. She seeks to inspire and encourage through her devotionals and cozy mysteries as well as aiding her family of writers publish their own books.

Anna, let’s get started!

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

I love my kids, my cats, and I love reading. I love keeping up with extended family throughout the world.

Because of my food allergies and a constant struggle with digestive issues I have developed a keen interest in a healthy diet, supplements, and essential oils.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

So many bible characters come to mind, Jesus, the Father, but I think my grandfathers would be interesting. Both of my grandfathers have a sense of humor and they loved telling stories. And I enjoyed listening. If I could spend an afternoon with them and hear them speak of the glories of heaven, it would be fun. I’d like to joke with them and laugh with them again.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I drink a glass of Masala tea every morning, then I can have decaf tea. But mostly I drink water with essential oils.

4. What are you working on right now?

I’m still in editing mode right now. I’m finishing my latest novella, Rose, Book 6 of Planted Flowers Christian cozy mystery series. I’m creating a bible study workbook to use with the series.

In the next few months, I will edit and reissue on of my grandmother’s book of family history, help my mom publish her first book on the fruit of the Spirit, and edit several books I’ve written in another series, Matthew’s Matchmakers. Before the end of the year I hope to work on a Santa Clarita valley time travel suspense novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style is a fast paced Christian suspense with surprising twists. I tell stories of faith, hopeless humanity, and how they discover hope.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Write down your ideas and start putting words on paper (or screen). Be bold, learn how to edit a book, and write what thrills you.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

Most of my ideas come from off-hand remarks people make. For some reason, I see a story behind most conversations. And I can hear the sinister overtones where everyone else sees a peaceful vista.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

My main website is www.apayne.com and you can find the other sites from there. You can download free books at https://www.instafreebie.com/author/AnnaKPayne

Thank you so much Anna, for visiting with us today.

And gentle readers, check out Anna’s site, social media and free books. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Author Interviews: Gail Kittleson

Welcome today to author Gail Kittleson. Gail writes Women’s Fiction and memoir, with a focus on the World War II era. She facilitates writing workshops and speaks on writing-related topics. She and her husband enjoy Rim Country during the winter.

And I love your line: Dare to Bloom. That’s a wonderful way to greet your readers. So, first question.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

It’s a tie between hiking and reading. Hiking/walking frees my mind, and reading has always intrigued me.

 

2. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

I’m a tea person, and Good Earth original Sweet and Spice is my favorite—I could own stock in the company.

 

3. What are you working on right now?

My work in progress. Right now, it’s called A Distant Goodness, and it’s the sequel to the second in my Women of the Heartland World War II series. Depending on the editor’s opinion of the title, it may change, since my second one did.

 

4. How would you describe your writing style?

My heroines and heroes juggle difficult questions and situations. I guess that’s obvious, since the stories are set in the midst of a nasty war. I do my best to remain faithful to historical facts, and really enjoy the intensive research required.

 

5. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Keep in mind that writing carries no guarantees. It’s a calling (in my humble opinion), and sometimes seems to have a life of its own. If you’re a control freak, you’ll likely experience frustration. And if you’ve put off writing for a long time, never fear—with a little nurturing and a lot of courage, your gift can still blossom.

 

5. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

The ideas come during regular everyday experiences, but once the main character gets firmly planted in my brain/heart, the research begins. That’s one way of immersing myself in new situations—I try to drop down into the historical era/setting as much as possible. Plotting is tougher than characterization for me, so the research helps the story unfold.

Documentaries and movies can sometimes be helpful, and in my dreams, I plan research trips to London and Southern France. (:

 

6. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

http://www.gailkittleson.com/

www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor

http://twitter.com/gailgkittleson

http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson

Thank you so much, Gail, for joining us today. We all enjoyed it.

Readers, you can follow Gail on two social media sites, her website and her Amazon page to keep up with her releases. Check them out today.

Author Interviews: Colleen Cross

colleen-author-pic

I’d like to welcome Colleen Cross to my blog today. Colleen Cross writes page-turning thrillers and fun, cozy mysteries. She lives with her family on the West Coast. When she’s not writing, she loves to run, hike, and explore with her rescue dog Jaeger, who reminds her daily that life’s too short to not follow your dreams–or a squirrel or two. Her books are international bestsellers and have been translated into multiple languages with more to come.

I’m sure we’ll have fun today. Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

I like to run and hike with my dog, Jaeger. We have fun wearing each other out. 🙂

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

Agatha Christie. Aside from her talent as a mystery writer, she was extremely successful as a businesswoman in an era where women didn’t work. It would be fascinating to get her perspective on things.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Strong coffee.

4. What are you working on right now?

witch-you-well-cover

I am writing books 3 and 4 of a humorous witch cozy mystery.

5. How would you describe your writing style? Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

Read lots on the craft, join a critique group and write as much, and as regularly, as you can. Practice makes perfect. I would also advise someone just starting out to research their genre by studying bestsellers. You can write what you love, but you also want to be able to see it. There’s a way to do both if you study the market.

6. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I am never short of ideas. I probably have 3-4 ideas a day for different books. Plotting and writing it out is where the real work is for me.

7. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

You can find me here:

Website: http://colleencross.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/colleenxcross/

exit-strategy-cover

Thank you so much Colleen. Both of your series sound like a lot of fun. Dear readers, please visit her website at www.colleencross.com and sign up for her twice-yearly private newsletter to hear about new releases and exclusive subscriber-only offers. You can also connect with her on social media: Twitter: @colleenxcross or find her on Goodreads.

 

Author Interview: James Stack

I want to give a warm welcome to James Stack, a non-fiction author. James lives in the lovely and gentle state of Vermont and his memoir, WORLD’S FAIR, and collection of poetry, PLEASURES & SEASONS OF VERMONT, were published in 2013. His blog, Postcards From Lebanon, about his experience with chemotherapy, appeared on The Huffington Post during 2013/2014. His poems have appeared in ENGLYN: Journal of Four Line Poetry, the Maine Review (Grand Prize winner), America Is Not the World (Pankhearst Anthology), and Ash & Bones, among others. His short stories have appeared in the Maine Review and Five2One Magazine and been semifinalists in the New Millennium Writings and Cutthroat contests.

We’re so glad to have you here, James.

1. Let’s start with something fun. What’s your favorite hobby?

This is an interesting question. It has caused me to think about what I do that could be considered a hobby since everything I do is fun. After all, the definition of a hobby is: “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.” At my age, all the episodes of my life are considered leisure time, especially the time during which I write. As such, all that I now do could be considered a hobby. With that said, some things may reside in that niche more than others. I have to say that cooking – the planning, shopping and preparation – would have to be my favorite hobby.

2. If you had the opportunity—who would you like to spend an afternoon with and why?

There isn’t one person who would fit this bill. There are so many. It’s interesting as I think about it. I would have to insist on some requirements. The person would have to be willing to talk to me and be honest. I say this because as I thought about spending the afternoon with my father, he would have been silent and lied as he had in life. All questions would be allowed. There should be nothing off limits, as my mother would have told me, “There are some things you don’t ask in polite society.” There could be no judgmental replies by either party. This is important because time can be wasted on defending topics.

Then it came to me. A mythical bolt of lightening struck. I’d like to spend a sunny, warm, pleasant afternoon with my pre-teen self, after my parents divorced.

I’d love to tell that short, skinny, acne-faced, hormonal boy that not only does life gets better, but I’d want to be convincing since I know what I have in front of me. To encourage the once extrovert in myself that had been cowered to come out of his shell and live life to the fullest so long as we/I do no harm to anyone else. Begin reading everything you/I/we can get our hands on and don’t stop because it will help us be a more knowledgeable and better person/writer. This part of my/our time together should never come across as my preaching to myself, as I know my younger self would never have listened. It would have to be an intimate dialogue where I could share with the pre-teen I had become that there are so many glorious experiences that I/we will have and not to spend so much time worrying about what might have been or will be. Simply know that it will be glorious! I could then put my soul to rest.

3. Coffee, tea, soda or something else?

Tea is my drink of choice during the morning, followed by well water from lunch until dinnertime, during which wine becomes my drink of choice. After dinner it is more water before bed and through the night. My favorite tea is from India – Assam Bop – whose botanical name is Camellia Sinensis. I do not like coffee. In fact, the smell of a fresh pot of coffee makes me ill. I do like the odor of coffee beans, but not the brewed aroma. I used to drink more than my share of diet Pepsi. I will still drink it, but only when traveling or skiing. I allow myself to luxuriate in the treat of a diet Pepsi soda at only those times. I could easily fall off the non-soda wagon and partake once again, but I do fight the urge every day.

4. What are you working on right now?

Funny you should ask. My primary focus is a novel, tentatively entitled The Wycliffe Six. It is a New Adult, coming-of-age, mini mystery that has as its themes friendship, bigotry and betrayal. I’m also working on a series of short stories with my prior Vermont home, Popplewood Farm, as the common theme. I also have several flash fiction pieces in draft form. In reserve I have three collections of poetry hovering around the lower limbs of the maple trees. With that said, I’m hoping to soon begin querying agents about my novel.

5. How would you describe your writing style?

I’m actually glad you asked this question, as I believe it crosses several genres. As such, it is hard to classify. As for how I would describe it, my pen (actually a keyboard) flows from personal experiences. Those that are considered non-fiction are based upon the truth as I lived it. The ones that are fiction have elements of truth mixed in with sensational text to embellish and enhance what I might have experienced or read. I consider myself a realist with a twist. My memoir was from my memory; my novel is expanded realism; my poetry is highlighted life; while my short stories are capable of incorporating fantasy since they may be told from the perspective of a talking bird or ghost.

6. Do you have any advice for a person just beginning their writing career?

I have three pieces of advice for anyone beginning their writing career:

  1. Read everything on which you can get your hands. The classics are a good place to start. The books that received awards, like the Man Booker International Prize, PEN/Faulkner Award For Fiction, Pulitzer Prize, Nobel Prize in Literature Pushcart Prize and many more. Also incorporate books within your genre. For instance, if you are a romance novelist, you will want to read those that I don’t believe have won any of the awards I’ve mentioned.
  2. Write at least 500 words every day without editing (editing can be done later). In order to get started, think of them as flash fiction pieces, even if based on a fact of life. Many terrific short stories and novels have come from this exercise.
  3. Do not fear failure or being declined. This is what others call rejection. It’s part of the life of a writer (also being human). Put yourself out there, starting with having other writers/editors read your work. Look for honest feedback. Failure only makes us stronger and better writers.

7. Do you immerse yourself in new situations for writing ideas or do your ideas come to you through your normal, day-to-day life?

I have to say I do not actively look for writing ideas. My past and day-to-day living have provided so many experiences from which to draw stories. Some are invented and some are based on truth, yet embellished, while still others are drawn from the actual instances in which I breathed. I have traveled extensively, and I have yet to write any stories about the places I’ve visited. I don’t lack for ideas. My struggle is with turning those ideas into a viable story that someone might want to read. My life, to my way of thinking, is not boring; but when I tell a story about it, most times there needs to be a twist or kick to make it interesting to someone else. The truth of the matter is that life is often stranger than fiction.

8. Where can we find you on the interwebs?

I don’t yet have an author webpage, but the following are links to where you can find me or follow me.

http://www.siroliverofskygatefarm.com (blog)

https://www.facebook.com/JamesStackAuthor (facebook)

On twitter @SkygateStack

World’s Fair

Pleasures & Seasons of Vermont

Thank you so much, James for being on today’s interview with us. I know I appreciate getting some tips from a non-fiction author.

Readers, check out James’ social media. You’ll be glad you did.