Tag Archives: Adult Drama

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “Dancing With Air,” BY AUTHOR @UVIPOZNANSKY

dancing-with-air

  • Title:  Dancing With Air (Still Life with Memories – Book 4)
  • Author: Uvi Poznansky
  • File Size: 2011 KB
  • Print Length: 214 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1536896535
  •  Publisher: Uvi Poznansky
  • Publication Date: August 8, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN:  B01I4ENROY
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Drama

In the Author’s Words:

“Serving on the European front, Lenny longs for Natasha, the girl who captured his heart back home. He writes bogus reports, designed to fall into the hands of Nazi Intelligence. To fool the enemy, these reports are disguised as love letters to another woman. This task must remain confidential, even at the risk of Natasha becoming suspicious of him.

Once she arrives in London, Lenny takes her for a ride on his Harley throughout England, from the White Cliffs of Dover to a village near an underground ammunition depot in Staffordshire. When he is wounded in a horrific explosion, Natasha brings him back to safety, only to discover the other woman’s letter to him. He wonders, will she trust him again, even though as a soldier, he must keep his mission a secret? Will their love survive the test of war?

In the past Natasha wrote, with girlish infatuation, “He will be running his fingers down, all the way down to the small of my back, touching his lips to my ear, breathing his name, breathing mine. Here I am, dancing with air.” In years to come, she will begin to lose her memory, which will make Lenny see her as delicate. “I gather her gently into my arms, holding her like a breath.” But right now, during the months leading up to D-Day, she is at her peak. With solid resolve, she is ready to take charge of the course of their story.

Dancing with Air is a standalone WWII historical fiction novel, as well as the fourth volume of a family saga series titled Still Life with Memories, one of family sagas best sellers of all time. If you like family saga romance, wounded warrior romance books, military romantic suspense, or strong female lead romance, you will find that this love story is a unique melding of them all.”

*The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

My Recommendation:

This was my first introduction to the writings of Uvi Poznansky and I must say I was delighted. Dancing With Air is a poignant tale of love which begins during World War II between Lenny and Natasha. Most of the story covers their life in England, East Anglia, which held significance to me as I had been stationed there myself in the early 1980’s. The descriptions were superb and in my mind’s eye, I saw the white cliffs of Dover through the words on the page.

What I liked most about the book is the retelling of their memories, mostly by Lenny. The entire story is shadowed by a tragic illness that has Natasha in its grips. The reader feels Lenny’s pain at the possibility of losing his beloved wife. Seldom have I read such a depth of emotion portrayed by both characters. I found it easy to become wrapped up in the events that happened in the past and the present. I shed many tears, some in joy, and some in sorrow.

The fact that this book was the fourth in the series did not matter, other than the fact that I now want to read the complete series. I must add another feature of the story I really enjoyed. Uvi Poznansky threaded the lyrics of songs throughout the novel, which given the time frame, was a huge part of life during World War II. We’re so used to our world of immediate social media connections that we forget how people really bonded back then. For me, the songs added the “ring of truth,” to their romantic memories. Those songs connected both characters and allowed the reader a peek into their romance and the love that blossomed from it.

I read this novel quickly because it was the kind of story that drew me into the lives of the characters. Lenny’s story of his time in the Marines is filled with mystery and intrigue. Natasha leads the life of a concert pianist on tour in Europe. Their joining as partners in life is what will touch you the most. If you love romance novels with a touch of history and realism, you will love Dancing With Air. I know I did.

 love-it

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

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Author, Uvi Poznansky

About Uvi Poznansky

Uvi Poznansky is a bestselling, award-winning author, poet, and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.” Her romance boxed set, A Touch of Passion, is the 2016 WINNER of The Romance Reviews Readers’ Choice Awards.

Education and work:
Uvi earned her B. A. in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion in Haifa, Israel and practiced with an innovative Architectural firm, taking a major part in the large-scale project, called Home for the Soldier.

Having moved to Troy, N.Y. with her husband and two children, Uvi received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. There, she guided teams in a variety of design projects and earned her M.A. in Architecture. Then, taking a sharp turn in her education, she earned her M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.

She worked first as an architect, and later as a software engineer, software team leader, software manager and a software consultant (with an emphasis on user interface for medical instruments devices.) All the while, she wrote and painted constantly, and exhibited in Israel and California. In addition, she taught art appreciation classes. Her versatile body of work includes bronze and ceramic sculptures, oil and watercolor paintings, charcoal, pen and pencil drawings, and mixed media.

Books and Genres:
Her two series won great acclaim. Still Life with Memories is a family saga series with touches of romance. It includes Apart From Love, My Own Voice, The White Piano, The Music of Us, and Dancing with Air. The David Chronicles is a historical fiction series. It includes Rise to Power, A Peek at Bathsheba, and The Edge of Revolt.

Her poetry book, Home, is in tribute to her father. Her collection of dark tales, Twisted, and her Historical Fiction book, A Favorite Son, are both new age, biblically inspired books. In addition, Uvi wrote and illustrated two children books, Jess and Wiggle and Now I Am Paper. For each one of these books, she created an animation video (find them on YouTube and on her Goodreads page.)

I’ve included a video of the introduction to her “Still Life With Memories Series,” to whet your appetite for more!

Make certain to connect with Uvi through her Twitter @Uvi Poznansky and Facebook at Uvi Poznansky

You can find her on her blog Uvi Poznansky.com

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

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#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “The Truth She Knew,” BY AUTHOR @JAOWENBY

The Truth She Knew

  • Title:  The Truth She Knew
  • Author: J. A. Owenby
  • Print Length: 238 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN:
  • Publication Date: September 18, 2016
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1533660549
  • ISBN-13: 9781533660541
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Drama

In the Author’s words:

“A bittersweet story of young love independence, and soul-crushing manipulation. J.A. Owenby shines a light on the impact that mental illness can have on a family.” —Dr. Sheri Kaye Hoff, Ph.D., Professional Life Coach

Mama didn’t want me. In fact, she would’ve traded my soul back for someone different if God would’ve let her, but he didn’t, so she was stuck with me.

For eighteen-year-old Lacey, life at home is a rollercoaster. She doesn’t think she’ll ever be good enough to truly deserve Mama’s love.

But when Lacey enters college and meets Walker, everything starts to change. Suddenly, Lacey is face to face with the realization that maybe what she’s always seen as normal really isn’t. Her entire life—and everything she’s ever believed about herself and her family—is abruptly hanging in midair.

Lacey is left facing two paths, and she has to make a choice. The first means walking away from everything she’s ever known. The other means never really knowing the truth.

The Truth She Knew offers an honest and powerful glimpse into mental illness, the meaning of true love, and the psychological waltz that a daughter dances as she endures her mother’s unpredictable emotions, manipulation, and abuse.”

My Recommendation:

*The author provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review which follows*

Eighteen-year-old Lacey has reached the point in her life where she is ready to strike out on her own. The stars are shining down upon her and independence is within reach. She is a beautiful girl with a job and friends that mean the world to her. Her life is wide open. That is, except for her family.

Lacey belongs to a family where she is an outcast. Her overbearing mother reminds her on a daily basis that she wishes she had never been born. To Lacey, this is the normality of her life. She has learned to watch for the subtle signals from her mother that alert her to the changes in her personality. Always on the lookout for acceptance from her mother, but seldom finding it, Lacey finds it is easier to hide in the sanctuary of her room when the tirades begin. She lives a lonely existence.

One night, after she sneaked away to attend a friend’s party, Lacey has a chance encounter with a handsome guy named, Walker. There is an immediate attraction between the two of them. Once the sparks begin to fly, Lacey knows she is falling in love. Their resulting affair left me breathless! Beware. There is sex in this novel, however, I found it to be realistic and between two loving individuals.

As Lacey’s family life becomes more violent, she revels in the strong arms of Walker. His belief in her leads her to the safety she seeks. It is through his love that Lacey starts to learn that her life is not normal. Finally, things spiral out of control when her mother interferes in her life one last time, endangering her relationship with Walker.

I read and reviewed the short story called Tears in the Sun, also penned by J. A. Owenby, which was the basis for this novel. Click here to read my review.

Just so you know… I could not put this novel down! Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster ride and have the box of tissues handy. J. A. Owenby depicts Lacey as someone you want to help and protect. I cried at the horrors she was forced to endure. Mental illness figures predominantly in the writing, exposing the reader to a world filled with dread. Lacey haunted my dreams for a few nights after I finished the book.

This is the first book in the series and it does end on a bit of cliff-hanger. The Truth She Knew has not been released yet. It has an expected publication date of September 16, 2016.

I also know the author is working on the second novel, so there should not be a long wait in between publication.

Do you like the kind of novels that lead you on a journey of self-discovery, recovery, and independence? If so, this is the book for you. I loved it and I know you will too! I look forward to finding how Lacey copes with her dysfunctional family.

back to reality

I have a book hangover! It’s time to get back to reality!

MY Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

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J.A. OwenbyAuthor, J. A. Owenby

About J. A. Owenby:

J.A. Owenby lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband and two cats.

She’s a published author of six short stories, and she is currently working on her second full-length novel. She also runs her own business as a professional resume writer and interview coach—she helps people find jobs they love.

J.A. is an avid reader of thrillers, romance, new adult, and young adult novels. She loves music, movies, and good wine. And call her crazy, but she loves the rainy Pacific Northwest; she gets her best story ideas while listening to the rain pattering against the windows in front of the fireplace.

You can follow the progress of her upcoming novel on Twitter @jaowenby and Facebook at Author J. A. Owenby

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

 

 

 

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If Only Interview with Author @NormaBudden

RW – You have three children and two grandchildren in the house. How do you find a place for privacy to write, or perhaps a better question is how do you find the quiet time?

NORMA – My family and I live in a two bedroom house which will, likely, make you wonder how weNorma Budden manage to comfortably have six people sleeping in the house. The answer is that we gave up the living room a few years ago and turned it into an open-area bedroom, which used to be mine. I loved it! Except for the washroom and laundry facilities, everything I needed was in the same room; it felt like I had my own studio apartment.

As the family grew, with the same daily grind at the day job, I needed a space to call my own. I achieved it, for a while, because I moved into the smallest bedroom. When my grandson was born, I gave up a little of that space and allowed him to share my room with me since it was a much quieter environment. We formed an agreement: in the evenings, after unwinding a little when coming home from work, I could write to my heart’s content as long as I found a way to shield his eyes from the light surrounding my desk.

Having a fan set on a low speed helped because it shut out the noise from the kitchen and other areas of the house. If the noise got louder, the speed of the fan went up a notch. Though my grandson no longer shares a room with me, the same fan is still in operation.

I have gotten into having easy listening music playing in the background, sometimes, which helps drown out the sounds in the main part of the house, and helps me relax. One other enhancement has been installing a deadbolt on my bedroom door because sometimes I have to meet a deadline and, no matter how much I enjoy little visits from my kids and grandkids, it removes my focus, depending upon what I’m working on at the time. Does the deadbolt get locked very often? No, but it gives me peace of mind knowing it’s there.

RW – Describe your writer’s place.

NORMA – I write in my bedroom. Instead of hanging clothes in my open-area closet, I set a desk in there instead. To my immediate left is a window through which I see a few houses and can look onto the tundra. During summer, when the kids are playing outside, I can easily write and look through my window to make sure they’re in sight and okay.

In front of me is my 23” all-in-one Dell Inspiron computer which sits about 24 inches away from me as I write. There are photos of the kids and an inspirational quote sitting on my desk to the left of my computer. On the right is my little pen and stationery area which comes in handy more than one might think for a writer who primarily uses the computer.

On the wall behind my computer, to the left, are a couple of wall decorations. To the right is a piece of art made at school by my son the first year he was in school titled, Walk With Me, Anaana – Anaana being the Inuktitut word for Mom.

To the right of my desk is a filing cabinet – which comes in handy, but is rarely used.

RW – How does where you live influence what you write?

NORMA – Despite interest people have shown over the years, one thing I don’t do is write books about living in Arctic Canada. Whether I will, who knows, but my heart is stuck on writing fiction. That being said, I may be able to use the Arctic tundra as settings for fiction novels but, in all honesty, I like to escape the frigid temperatures outside as I can, and writing helps carry me to another place.

Since I began publishing e-books in 2011, I’ve noticed that I pay more attention to detail when traveling. My family and I enjoy extended road trips and, because I can’t find such settings and enjoy such experiences at home, I soak everything in so that my characters can enjoy the same towns, road trips and experiences.

RW – Tell our readers about If Only.

NORMA – I’ve written numerous storylines throughout my writing career but I can’t say any previous title I’ve published resonates within my soul the same way as If Only does. I’m so used to beginning a story with only one scene in my mind, but the scene calls to me. The more I try to ignore it, the louder it calls my name – to the point I just set everything else aside and begin to write.

If Only Norma Budden Book CoverWhen I began writing If Only, I thought of a mother searching for a baby girl she had put up for adoption several years earlier. At the time, I didn’t know that the biological mother was married. I just knew her heart was aching and she needed to find her child, no matter what. At the same time, I wondered how I could introduce a paranormal element into my story – something I’d be comfortable writing, something my fans would be willing to read. At the heart of the matter, I knew I wanted the story to appeal to peoples’ emotions because, of all the subjects people can study and understand, I understand emotions.

Without giving the story away, If Only takes readers on a journey into relationships and the ensuing emotions the characters feel because of the circumstances they find themselves in.

Demi loved David – the father of the daughter she put up for adoption 16-years-ago – but they moved on with their lives. When feeling desperate to find her firstborn child, Demi calls David and tells him the truth of the situation, that he had sired a daughter as a teen, that two detectives were unable to find her.

I don’t think either of them expected the events which followed, how tragedy would strike, how their lives would change forever. David certainly had no expectation that a young lady calling him, “Dad,” would begin appearing to him in the dead of night. Demi didn’t expect David to come to her with stories she couldn’t make herself believe.

In the midst of it all, we have a budding teen romance and four small children struggling with their emotions. All in all, it’s a story that stirs my soul because so many emotional elements of it are felt by people every day.

RW – What themes can the reader expect?

NORMA – Forgiveness brings healing; it is definitely one of the themes that readers should take away after reading, If Only. Of course, true love conquers all would be another. I’m sure there are others but I’d like to leave something for readers to discover on their own because I’ve already learned people interpret the story differently.

RW – Although the characters are works of fiction in If Only you must have pulled influences from various people in your life. Would you be willing to share some of them? I know where the name David Alexander came from and very likely his relationship with children but, as far as personality traits, where did those come from for some of your characters?

NORMA – I hadn’t thought about this until you asked but, in retrospect, I can see the character of Phillip, David’s father, as being a close resemblance to a pastor friend, John Dueck, of Saskatchewan, Canada. I met him when he was stationed in Arviat with his wife several years ago. In many ways the two of them were like parents to me; they would do anything for me and I could confide in them about anything. In the story, David could tell his father anything and his father would never cast judgment. Instead, he would offer sage advice – for David to be cautious in his steps, for example. This is the kind of advice John would have given me in such a situation. He might have his own thoughts and ideals, but he would never force me to bow to his wishes.

As for Demi, in some areas, she is similar to me. We share the same allergic reaction to tobacco smoke. Also, if I wanted to find someone, I would do everything in my power to make sure I found them, exhausting every possible tool at my disposal, if required. Also, Demi throws herself into her work and often feels inadequate as a parent because she has to work so many hours in a given week. I’m the same. I work between 45-50 hours outside of the home. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted. I’d really like to kick my feet up and relax for a while, but I have this quirk about not wanting to eat after eight o’clock so must force myself to keep going so that, when I can sit down, I don’t need to get up again right away.

As for Riley, I imagined a boy similar to my son. He likes to dance and would be a little scared if he was put into a situation that made him uncomfortable. Wanting to hide would be something I could imagine him doing if he encountered the situation Riley did when with his father in PEI.

As for JD Phelps, his character is based upon an author friend, Michael Phelps, who has worn many hats; his retirement as Chief Investigator from a well-known Miami law firm was the last hat he wore before trying his hand at writing. I just had to have him help David find his daughter.

As for the other characters, they wrote themselves, but it doesn’t mean they are any less important. Caitlin and Jocelyn, for example, are two girls I wish I could meet so I might wrap my arms around them, even if they have David and Demi to comfort them. Those two girls tugged at my heartstrings unlike any other “child” character I’ve created.

RW – If Only seems to be a very personal story. I know you are a talented writer but there are elements here that are portrayed almost too perfectly for the imagination. How did the story develop?

NORMA – The story is pure imagination which started with an idea and grew. I wish I could say I had personal experience which enabled me to write the story as I did but, at the time I wrote If Only, I didn’t. It was months after the story was written that the bottom dropped out of my world from losing so many people I cared about. I guess you can say I threw myself into my characters’ lives so that I became each one of them and went with how I thought I might feel.

RW – There are young children in the book and they deal with some very big emotions. How did you go about writing those parts? I mean they are spot on.

NORMA – When I wrote If Only, I was living and breathing the story no matter what I was doing, where I was or whom I was with. It became my life, consuming every ounce of energy I possessed. I didn’t feel comfortable until I was in front of my computer, having settled in to write for the evening.

The issues the young children had to deal with surprised me because I didn’t see them coming. However, I’m a firm believer that, as something is written, so shall it be. I don’t mean that we shouldn’t review and polish a piece of writing; what I mean is that, for me, if a storyline begins to write itself, I have to go along for the ride and see how everything unfolds. As of yet, I’ve never written myself into a corner.

I threw myself into the character of Caitlin looking at her younger sister’s pain. It was as if Caitlin stepped inside of me and told me how she was feeling. As for Jocelyn, I imagined how I might feel if something I did hurt someone else. I know, without a doubt, I’d be blaming myself, no matter what anyone said. It would take time for me to heal completely.

As for Sophie and Riley, I tried imagining how I would feel if my hero let me down; it wasn’t a difficult thing to do, though I hated that they had grown scared of a person they had loved so much. It brought to mind an experience from my childhood, seeing a man I loved in a drunken state. When he called out to me, I was terrified. I remember hiding, not because I was afraid of the man, but because of the way my name sounded that particular time when he said it. Writing If Only, I went with the way I felt at that time in my life and used my feelings as a starting point for writing the scenes.

The emotions were painful to deal with as I wrote the various scenes but, in some peoples’ lives, those emotions and feelings of being afraid are faced on a daily basis – whether it’s because they lost a loved one or have grown afraid of a person who has been assigned to love and protect them.

RW – Again about the children in the book, I personally look at what you did as taking a lot of strength to do. Even as a work of fiction I know it’s difficult to write certain pieces. How did you handle those parts with the children? How did you not curl up and want to hide under a blanket in the bed?

NORMA – Let me tackle the easiest issue first: the fear that developed for Sophie and Riley soon after they went to PEI for vacation. I’ve been to PEI and I stayed at one of the cottages in Hampton mentioned in the story. I had to deal with my garbage the same way my characters did, having everything sorted depending upon what it was made from or whether it was organic waste. I had the same level of excitement as Sophie did, even if I was confused, at first.

The events that followed – their father taking up smoking and beginning to drink – unsettled Sophie and Riley. It was difficult to write those scenes because these two kids didn’t grow up in such an environment. Their mother was allergic to tobacco smoke so that was the first thing to instill fear into their young minds. When their father began drinking, shouting that they didn’t need their mother anymore, I wanted to knock him on his backside then kick him in the ribs a couple of times – which was shocking for me. I rarely want to bring pain to one of my characters but, in that moment, Robert Glenn was lucky I decided to let him live.

When Riley crawled from underneath the bed, my heart broke for this child who had lost a level of innocence he should never have lost, especially at such a young age. Up to the point when they left for their trip to PEI, he had already been trying, in his own way, to get his father’s attention in the way he craved. Yes, it was difficult to write such a scene. In my mind, Riley deserved the kind of father David was to his girls, a father whose world revolved around his children.

With Jocelyn and Caitlin, however, I could easily have curled up in bed and kissed the story goodbye because I didn’t want to deal with the emotions anymore. What good would that have done, though? In my mind, they would’ve been left in limbo. I would have left two little girls hurting when healing might have come their way, so I did the only thing I could do: I continued to write the story while sobbing like a baby sitting at my computer, reaching for tissues as I needed them. With the emotional scars I feared they’d have to deal with for the remainder of their lives, I had to try to come up with some type of happy ending for them. I owed them that much; after all, it was my writing which brought them so much pain so the least I could do was try to repair the damage.

RW – How important is the seat belt rule in your family?

NORMA – I live in Arctic Canada where seat belts are rarely, if ever, used – at least in the areas where I live. There is no law that states we have to use them, but I can’t speak for the remainder of the territory. We don’t have a vehicle to drive, anyway – except an ATV during summer – so it’s a moot point.

Because I am typically the only adult traveling with the kids, in the distant past, sometimes I’ve encountered situations in which it seemed safest to take one of the little ones in the front with me than leave them crying in the back.

For example, my girls and I were traveling in one of the states several years ago when they were young, before my son was born. My girls were not used to trees since we live above the treeline in Arctic Canada. This particular night, it was dark – though not late – and we were surrounded by trees with little traffic on the lonely road we were driving. The hotel room was booked but we still had about an hour or so to drive before we got there. My youngest daughter, a baby at the time, woke to the darkness outside and started crying. I don’t know how long she cried but I was starting to feel overwhelmed. I pulled over quickly, unstrapped my seat belt and turned around in my seat. I took her out of the car seat and put her on my lap closest to the door, strapped the seat belt the best I could over both of us and continued driving. In all honesty, had it not been such a dark, deserted road, or if I had another adult in the vehicle with me, I likely would have stayed pulled over until she drifted back to sleep but, given the circumstances, it felt safest to make the decision I made.

In general, though, from the time I board a plane with my family, the seat belt is fastened. Like David, I will not move a car unless every seat belt is fastened, even if we are driving outside of the country and enter a state where the seat belt law is not in effect.

Imagine my surprise (in 2011) when stopping at a drive-through in Ohio and seeing a baby sitting on a man’s lap in the back seat. I was astonished! A lady at a restaurant later told me that seat belts were not required in Ohio and, as long as a baby is sitting in the back seat, it’s okay.

Well, the truth of the matter is that I don’t feel comfortable driving unless I’m wearing my seat belt. To me, sitting in a moving vehicle without using my seat belt would be similar to a cop going on duty and failing to take his weapon. It just doesn’t make sense.

A side note: driving in the dark is at a minimum over recent years yet, strangely, my children now miss it. Since they are older, I may begin resuming my old habits because I miss driving at night, too.

RW – Your writing, and I am including your previous books, have a great deal about families in them, even if they are families of friends. How much does your own family influence your writing?

NORMA – Off the top of my head, I can’t see a correlation between my family and the subjects I write. However, family is important and, with a larger number of parents working and having less time to spend with their kids, I like to write stories which brings the family unit to the forefront of readers’ minds, even in their down time.

RW – Tell us about a food court at a mall and how important that is to your writing career?

NORMA – I knew the minute I read this question that you did some extensive homework in preparing your interview. I’ve been searching the recesses of my mind to remember where you might have come across something I wrote that led up to this question, but I’m drawing a blank.

To answer your question, though, I started writing poetry when I was a teenager. I was going through a rough situation and needed an outlet for my thoughts. I worked at a Laura Secord location in St. John’s, Newfoundland, at the time. During lunch breaks, I would quickly grab a bite to eat in the food court and then put pen to paper and write.

I wrote poems and songs about my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I imagined a situation and how I might feel if I was in that situation and wrote about it. Other times, I looked at people – studied them – and wrote poems or songs about what I thought they might be feeling.

At any rate, it was a starting point. Over the years, I went on to write several novels and short stories – some of which I’ve published – and I’m proud to say I have an ever-growing fan base.

RW – About your writing process. If Only was a ‘let my imagination run its course’ book written during November of 2013, perhaps NaNoWriMo. It’s been over a year later. Is that your normal process? Is that your normal length of time from beginning to being published?

NORMA – From the time I finish writing a book to the time it is published depends entirely upon what is going on in my life. I try not to box myself in too much, in terms of announcing deadlines, since I have no way of knowing what will arise on any given day.

Sometimes I intend to work on publishing a title but another story idea comes to mind and I need to start writing immediately. I follow my gut a lot in everything I do so, sometimes, writing projects get put on hold for a while.

To give you an idea of time lines, I published the first book of my Freedom in Love Series, An Affair to Remember, in September of 2011. The second book of the series, When Love Abides, was published three months later. I was on a roll with thoughts for the third book, Soul Confessions, to be written and published soon afterwards. However, life happened. My grandson came along and I started writing shorter stories because I didn’t have as much writing time.

I went on to publish two short stories and two novellas by September, 2012. By that time, life had settled into a routine and I started working on Soul Confessions. It came to an abrupt halt when I felt prompted in my spirit to write, Coming Unglued: A Mother’s Journey into Hell. The story would not let me go so I had no choice but to follow through; it was published in November of 2012.

Just when I thought, again, I’d be able to focus on writing more of my series, my granddaughter came along. I knew I was in trouble where my writing was concerned. What made matters worse was that I had readers wanting to read the third book of the series and had to put them on hold.

That being said, after writing If Only in November of 2013, I knew I would let the story sit for a while. I had to finish writing Soul Confessions and, because there was going to be such a lengthy time between the publication of the second book and the third, I didn’t feel it was right to publish Soul Confessions until the fourth book (Divided Loyalties) was written.

Months passed. Little writing would be done until June, 2014, when I resumed writing and finished Soul Confessions then, without taking a break, started writing Divided Loyalties.

Sunday, July 20, 2014, would see me at David Alexander Vetra’s apartment where I was house-sitting until he got back in town. I decided to cook dinner so he wouldn’t need to fool around with preparing a meal. It was just a quick weekend trip so, while waiting for the next several hours to pass, I took the opportunity to finish writing Divided Loyalties.

At one point in the early afternoon, I was writing a scene and suddenly stopped, then started sobbing like a baby. I noted the time; it’s another quirk of mine. I wanted to stop writing but I felt in my spirit that I had to finish the story, so I got my out-of-the-blue emotions under control and finished it. I was on such a natural high after writing two books in a matter of six weeks that I thought nothing could bring me down.

Just a short while – I’m talking about a couple of hours – after penning the last words of Divided Loyalties, I received news that David was killed in an accident. He was a dear friend of my family and we continue to miss his presence in our lives. I later learned that the time of his death had occurred around the same time I had started sobbing for no apparent reason.

Let me tell you, an emotional high followed by such a devastating low, in such a short span of time, left me feeling absolutely numb. I couldn’t imagine working on publishing a book. I could barely bring myself to think. Thank God I still had a few days of vacation remaining so I could get my head together before returning to work.

Even weeks after, I still couldn’t write. It felt like something had died within me; I feared I’d never feel normal again. Then came Michael Phelps of Miami, Florida – friend of the late David Jannsen and a dear friend of mine – asking if I might consider editing and formatting his two volume book titled, David Janssen: Our Conversations. In retrospect, I believe God took that opportunity to provide a healing balm to my wounded soul.

After I finished with his book, I figured I’d better get Soul Confessions published. Finally, in October, 2014 – three years after the second book of the series was published – the third title was available to my readers. In November, 2014, I took part in another NaNoWriMo challenge and wrote the fifth book of my series, The Promise, which left me free to work on publishing Divided Loyalties.

However, I felt urged within my spirit to publish If Only first, felt the time was right, and here I am promoting this title as much as possible. By the beginning of March, 2015, I will be working on finalizing Divided Loyalties.

RW – I know you are just releasing this book but what are you working on now for your readers to enjoy next?

NORMA – After Divided Loyalties and The Promise are published in 2015, I intend to write another stand-alone book titled, A Lost Mind. In this story, I’ll be writing about a man who had an accident, whose memory was wiped clean, a man who wakes every morning since the accident with no memory of the day before. I intend to build upon his life before the accident and how his life, and the lives of those he loves, has forever changed after the accident. It will be an uplifting story and, amazingly, I already know what the last words will be – but I can’t ruin the surprise so I will keep them to myself. They are written upon my heart and I shall not forget.

RW – Is there a genre that you would like to explore and if so why?

NORMA – Unlike many writers who would like to become known for writing a certain genre, I don’t want to box myself in. I guess I’m much like an actor who doesn’t want to become known for only being able to act in certain types of roles. That being said, there are subjects I won’t write but every subject I write about will have emotional depth.

RW – One of your interests is writing poetry. Would you write a poem to share with our readers that you believe fits If Only?

An Anchor

Happiness lingers all around,

Smiles and laughter everywhere,

Until, one day, the phone did ring,

Bringing news one couldn’t bear.

An anchor comes from a past life,

Calms the stormy, raging sea,

Spreading her arms of love around,

Falls in love, but it can’t be.

 

Yearning to know what is the truth,

A voice whispers in the night,

One man can hear and he believes.

His mission is to set things right.

 

Copyright 2015 Norma Budden

 

 

RW – You are very prolific in your writing. I also know you do some editing. Where do you find time for it all?

NORMA – I rarely watch television which gives me a lot of time to get extra things done, even though I spend a large portion of each week day outside of the home. Also, writing is as relaxing for me as reading so, sometimes, I choose to write – instead of read – before going to bed. Typically, if I take on an editing project, I don’t write and do very little reading, so it becomes a balancing act. It’s amazing what can be accomplished in two to three hours each night.

RW – You edited Michael Phelps’ books David Janssen-Our Conversations. I’ve read the unedited versions. How does one go about acquiring your services?

NORMA – I haven’t advertised my editorial services, as such. Editing Mike’s book came along because he read some of my e-books and asked me who prepared them for publication. When I told him I passed my book to an editor but did all of the formatting myself, he was impressed and sent his files to me.

Of course, I can’t attach my name to something unless I feel it’s as perfect as it can be so I took on the editing as well as the formatting, setting up the files for publication and so on. I’ve had other assignments, even turned some down, but it is largely dependent on my schedule.

RW – You’re self-published but reading If Only I would think if you wanted to be you would be signed by someone by now. What is the appeal of self-publishing to you? What is your biggest advice to those looking at self-publishing?

NORMA – The biggest appeal of self-publishing is that I get to keep my story how I want it told. I can retain my rights to it and set my own deadlines. I’m a professional in wanting my books released properly the first time they are out the door and, thankfully, there are many tasks involved with self-publishing that I can do myself. Also, in self-publishing, if I was to read one of my books and find a mistake, there would only be myself to blame and I could fix the mistake rather quickly; if I sent my book to a mainstream publisher and saw typos or less than ideal formatting, I’d be upset.

It takes a lot of time preparing a book for publication. I read it over several times to be sure it’s perfect, even after receiving it back from my editor. If I find mistakes, I polish the book and read it again. Yes, it’s a time consuming process and I haven’t even touched on marketing my books. However, I couldn’t imagine sending my book to anyone and having them tell me a scene has to go, especially if I feel that scene is critical to the story.

On the subject of marketing, though, I enjoy interacting with my readers and people who blog about my books. I enjoy forming friendships which would be missing, to a large degree, if I was to go mainstream – and, with mainstream publishing, unless my books were best sellers, they wouldn’t have a long shelf life.

As for advice to those wanting to self-publish, the most important advice I can give you is to be a professional and give yourself time. Don’t publish a work that isn’t edited or formatted properly. Whether your book is in an e-book or printed format, make your book look the same inside as a book you would see in a bookstore. This means your book needs to have front matter. It needs to have a copyright page and it needs to have a title page. Dedication and acknowledgment pages are optional but the other two aren’t.

If you are not inclined to learn how to master the steps of self-publishing and don’t want to take on the marketing aspects of publishing a book, pay a professional to do those things for you. It will be worth it.

RW – How do you define success?

NORMA – I could write a book on how I would define success, and I’m willing to bet it would turn out to be an emotional story.

I’m alive. I’m healthy and my children are healthy. I have a job, clothes on my back, food on my table each day and a roof over my head which isn’t threatened. To me, these are the basics of being successful because, without any of these, one would define true success as attaining all of these.

You’ll notice I didn’t mention money, any more than what one needs to comfortably meet their basic needs each day. A wise man once told me that money is a tool, that it should never be a god. I’ve taken those words to heart and, in the process, I’ve learned that by giving to others, I become richer in spirit. This is success to me.

However, if I could reach a point in my life in which I could devote most of my day to writing and promoting my stories, it would be the ultimate form of success, especially if I can write from an office with a wall of windows overlooking a large body of water.

RW – I have one question I always ask my authors: what is your favorite word and why?

NORMA – I never thought about this, but the first word which comes to mind is forgiveness. It is the only word I know which completely sets a person free. For example, you can love one person and hate another but, unless you release the hatred, the love you feel will never be as full as it can be because hatred will hold you prisoner. It will keep you from living the life you were meant to live.

RW – What is one book, that you were not involved in any way with, that you would recommend for people to read?

NORMA – It’s interesting that I was thinking about this last night before going to sleep. I read a book by Dean Mayes a couple of years ago called, The Hambledown Dream. The story has forever stayed with me, likely because it was so different.

The author had a passing thought which led him to wonder what might happen if a dying man’s soul inhabited the body of another who had led an undesirable life but would walk away from the emergency room, his body unscathed. The Hambledown Dream has overtones of reincarnation, which I’ve never read before nor since, but this story gripped me. The writing was some of the best I’ve ever read and to say the story carried me away would be an understatement.

There are many great books out there and I’ll never get to them all but some of the books I’ve enjoyed most over the past three years can be found at Budden Book Reviews.

www.buddenbookreviews.com

 

RW – Where can everyone find you online?

NORMA – I have multiple websites but the two I frequent most are Norma’s Books (www.normasbooks.com) and Budden Book Reviews (www.buddenbookreviews.com).

I can also be found at several places but the most popular social networks I frequent are:

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NormaBudden

 

Sometimes I’m asked, “Ronovan, how short should my answers be?” when I ask interview questions.If Only Norma Budden Book Cover My answer is always, “As long as they need to be.” Today I could have cut down and edited some of what Norma Budden said, but you know what? Don’t you know who she is now and what drives her? Can you feel how much writing is such an integral part of her life? It’s more than a passion. I have grown to know Norma during the interview process, reading If Only for review and giving her feedback. When she says she is a perfectionist, let me tell you, she means it. She cares about the scenes being just right. I reviewed If Only. I called it the most personal review I’ve ever done. I came close to not reviewing books after doing this one. Not because the book was bad. You’ll need to read the review to see the answer. Buy If Only today. Don’t waste time in thinking, “Oh, I’ll do it later.” No, do it now by clicking here now.

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

@RonovanWrites

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BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “OUTSOURCED” @ETHRILLERWRITER

eric-j-gates-outsourced-review-colleen-cheseboro

Title: Outsourced

Author: Eric J. Gates

ASIN: B00NNNCA7M

Website: ericjgates.com

Published: September 18, 2014 by Amazon

Pages: 302

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Adventure, Paranormal Suspense, Drama

*A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, which follows.

A mystifying package arrives in the mail of New York writer, Nic Stiles. Inside the package, Nic finds an old-fashioned fountain pen made from the remains of an ancient meteorite enclosed inside a carved wooden box. Accompanying the mysterious artifact is a message, which explains that the user of the pen has the capability to change destiny.

Nic uncovers a horrific plot instigated by Robert Polanski, a retired assassin and a previous owner of the pen, who was recently acquitted of murdering hundreds of people, by using the pen to rewrite destiny in his favor. Not believing the power that exists within the ancient artifact, Nic begins to write using the unusual pen. The results are devastating.

Desperate for solutions, Nic teams up with Phil Beasley, (a.k.a. Grayson Fallon), a rival author, who once owned the strange pen himself. Together the two men enter the world of quantum physics looking for answers on how the pen could have the ability to change a person’s destiny with a single written thought. However, they are not alone. The CIA is after the artifact too. Suddenly the issue crystallizes because; whoever uses the pen controls the destiny of the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced suspense in this novel. My favorite part was the research that Nic did into the ancient artifact’s origin. In addition, I enjoyed the unlikely friendship that developed between the two authors, as they teamed up to stop Polanski from his terrible task.

The fact that Outsourced dealt with current issues about government surveillance and even the evils in the publishing industry seemed to weave a thread of truth into the entire storyline for me. The characters were not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. That resolve made me like the characters even more with all their flaws included.

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Eric J. Gates

I found the plot, and the characters to be well thought out in the sequence of events. Eric Gates effectively switched the points of view of some of the characters in the beginning of the book. I found this to be a great tool for understanding the plot and getting into the minds of the characters. Overlook the typos, and you will find yourself wrapped up in a story of intrigue and magic that is hard to put down.

For me, the philosophical elements of “destiny versus fate,” that Gates used to illustrate the magic behind the use of the artifact was delivered with stunning accuracy. Destiny seems predetermined and inevitable, while fate represents the consequences, or a result of something. Eric Gates explored these issues, all the while making the pen have a life all its own.

If you love suspense, non-stop action, literally sprinkled with paranormal mystery, Outsource will lead you on a journey that will leave you questioning the world as you know it.

RATINGS
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4.5

Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback: $12.61 US
Kindle: $2.99 US

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@ColleenChesebro

www.SilverThreading.com

 

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BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO of “Conditions” Christoph Fischer @CFFBooks

Title: Conditions
Author: Christoph Fischer
Published: October 15th 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
ASIN: B00NZ1VTBU
www.christophfischerbooks.com
Pages: 222
Genre: Drama, Fiction, Family

Conditions

After the death of Tony and Charles’ mother, the two brothers struggle to reconcile and develop a relationship, of which they have never had throughout their lives. Tony, the older brother feels discarded by a family that dedicated all its energies into the younger brother Charles, who is mentally challenged.

Materialistic ideals propel Tony and his wife forward into challenging his place within the remains of the family. Kind, gentle Charles, with the help of his loyal friends, copes with circumstances that lead the two brothers on a journey of self-renewal, causing them to face past prejudices and to deal with mistaken beliefs about themselves and life in general.

I was struck with the realization of how aptly this book was named, “Conditions.” Each character in this drama had circumstances of some sort they also had to face. Everyone traveled a path of their own choosing to reach a favorable understanding of their own situation.

Charles and Tony seemed to be equal victims at the hand of their parents. Coping with mental illness in the form of Aspergers within a family is difficult at best. Add stereotypes and an overprotective, well-meaning mother and you conclude that everyone has failings. No one is perfect. I wondered numerous times about the meaning of the word normal. When it comes to family, what truly is normal?

Christoph Fischer

Author, Christoph Fischer @CFFBooks

This story is character driven and requires you to interact with numerous aspects of the human condition. From mental illness, homosexuality, greed, guilt, addictions, to undiagnosed social issues, this book illustrates that everyone has some type of disability, real or perceived. The key at the heart of the story is finding acceptance and moving forward.

I found this book to be a thought provoking take of the struggles within a family unit. There was no single hero. In its place, I felt like each character achieved an independence from the family, while still remaining part of the collective family. Even the word ‘family’ was redefined with the support that Charles received from friends who were not relatives.

I love characters that face struggles and learn something from the situations they are placed in. “Conditions,” will make you think about family and the unique place each of us holds within our own families. I still cannot get the characters out of my mind, as they touched me deeply with their journey. The story made me question my own family relationships and to wonder if as families, we are all are too quick to judge each other.

Ratings:
Realistic Characterization: 5/5
Made Me Think: 5/5
Overall enjoyment: 4/5
Readability: 4/5
Recommended: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5

Buy it at: Amazon
Format & Pricing:
Paperback: $8.99
Kindle: $2.99

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@ColleenChesebro

www.SilverThreading.com

 

 

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David Janssen-Conversations Q&A @MichaelPhelps3 (The Author) Part 2

michael phelps david janssen review image

In Part One of Our Conversation with author Michael Phelps, we learned about why this man was the only man that could write about his friend the TV Icon, the original Fugitive, David Janssen. Today we learn more from Mike about that friendship and about Mike Walsh, the other Mike in Mike’s life. Let’s get into Part Two of . . .

Our Conversation

With

Michael Phelps

Author of David Janssen-Our Conversations Books 1 and 2

 David Janssen Our Conversations Book 1 coverMichael Phelps AuthorDavid Janssen Our Conversations Book 2 Cover

 

 

 

 

 

RW: Mike, you spent four years working on David Janssen-My Fugitive with Ellie David Janssen My Fugitive Book CoverJanssen, her biography of David, what happened next?

MIKE: Based on the success of the book, I took early retirement from the law firm and chose to embark on the challenging career of being an Author. I promised I would NEVER co-author a book again, especially with an ex-wife of a friend, who happened to be a celebrity.

RW: You then created the Mike Walsh Detective Novels. How was that writing experience compared to the memoir experience with Ellie Janssen and those four years?

MIKE: BOY . . . what a difference! I chose to write about something I know well; police procedurals, detective novels and court cases based on actual crimes.

RW: How did Mike Walsh come to be?

MIKE: My debut novel, THE EXECUTION OF JUSTICE, in which I created the “Mike Wthe execution of justice michael phelpsalsh Detective Novels” series is based on the murder of a close friend and one-time mentor of mine; Detective Sergeant Jack R. Ohrberg of the Indianapolis Police Department.

After I left Indianapolis, Jack went on from uniform patrol officer to become a Burglary Detective, then Auto-Theft and finally to the elite Robbery & Homicide Unit. He was murdered on 11 December 1980 at 5:05 AM as he kicked in the door of a duplex where a vicious gang of armed robbery and murder suspects were hiding. I inserted myself as his rookie partner, Mike Walsh, and related cases ‘we’ worked on leading up to his murder. It took me almost thirteen years to write. I went to Indianapolis and researched his murder through talks with officers we knew, police and court files and local newspaper archives.

RW: Then there was the next one, also based on a true story?

MIKE: THE JOCKEY’S JUSTICE is based on a case I worked as Chief Investigator for a promithe jockey's justice michael phelpsnent Miami law firm. A highly respected horse racing jockey was brutally murdered on the last day of the racing season at a Kentucky race course. Eight years later, his widow and son-in-law, living in the Miami area, were arrested and charged with the crime. They hired our law firm. My assistant and I were dispatched to Kentucky to investigate the very cold case. I take my readers on a harrowing, rollercoaster ride into the sleazy underbelly of the fast and colorful ‘Sport of Kings’. 

RW: Two fiction books after a memoir. I know you said you wanted to write fiction but how did you become a writer of fiction?

MIKE: I have always been a fan of detective novels. The murder of my friend, Jack Ohrberg is what inspired me to write HIS story. I decided to create the series and write novels based on the two, high profile murder cases I worked on for the law firm. 

RW: You ran into a situation that I am certain many authors do when basing a book on a true story, would you tell us about that?

MIKE: In THE EXECUTION OF JUSTICE, I thought I had changed all the names, but after its release, Sergeant Bob Givans, who had been the SWAT Commander that tragic morning called me.

One of Jack’s daughters had sent him the book and he noted I had not changed HIS name. He promised not to sue me, said my depiction of the chaotic scene was “right on point”. One of Jack’s daughters sent me a nice e-mail, thanking me for the way I portrayed her father.

RW: Your writing style is very polished and easy to read. You were in the military, then the police, then an investigator. I am wondering where the writing background came from.

MIKE: I don’t usually blush, but you sure sparked a good one. I have written police reports, and while working with the law firm, I was charged with writing investigation reports and even legal motions, which my boss (the Attorney) would then review. I became very proficient with the legal motions, he seldom made a change. In working with Ellie, the book was edited and over one hundred pages were cut. Some reviews said it was “poorly written”. That did not give me any spurt of self-confidence. In my debut novel, The Execution of Justice, I had a lot of repetitions of how the protagonist dressed each day, what he and his wife had for breakfast and dinner, his two German Shepherds, but what I was attempting to do was show readers the PERSONAL side of a dedicated police officer’s life, that the men and women who serve and protect their communities are just ordinary people. I don’t think I’ll be writing any more memoirs. My next “Mike Walsh Detective Novel” is based on a double homicide case I worked
on for the law firm. It occurred in Miami Beach in 1993. The State was seeking the death penalty. Two trials, they did not get the death penalty.

RW: When can we expect this next Mike Walsh novel to come out?

MIKE: As soon as the marketing obligations of Dave’s books ease up some, I will start writing “INSANE JUSTICE“. I literally lived and breathed that case for over two years, so it will be very easy and fast to write. I hope to have it ready for release by the summer of 2015.

michael phelps david janssen review imageRW: Let’s switch gears a little. You write, but there is another step to the book process – the editing. I know you have a great editor behind you. Tell us a little about Norma Budden and how the two of you became associated.

MIKE: NORMA BUDDEN is an extraordinary Author in her own right. I first learned of her work by purchasing, reading and posting a Review of “COMING UNGLUED: A Mother’s Journey Into Hell“. This book dealt with domestic violence. I ended up buying a second Paperback copy for a lady friend I knew was the victim of domestic violence. She read it, then read parts to her abuser, who then read the book himself. The abuse stopped, almost instantly.  He stopped drinking and they are like high school sweethearts again. I related the story in e-mails to Norma. I then read her other books; romance novels with some suspense interwoven.  We became friends. I mentioned Dave’s books and that I was looking for a new Editor. She said she was an Editor as well. We struck a deal, and I could not be happier. Not only is she an Editor, she also completely re-designed my personal website and converted my manuscript for uploading to Amazon Kindle. We have become close friends over the past three years. She resides in Canada, but will be visiting me in Miami in April, 2015. You can see all of her books on Amazon. Her “FREEDOM IN LOVE” series has three books so far, and I highly recommend them.

david-janssen-our-conversations-11.jpgRW: How much editing went into David Janssen-Our Conversations?

MIKE: VERY LITTLE. The only restriction I placed on Norma Budden, as my Editor was that NOT a single word of any conversation could be deleted, altered or changed in any way.

RW: That’s understandable. The conversations are what you know. So I get that. Speaking of those memories, was it difficult to go through those after all these years?

MIKE: Yes and no. Yes, in recalling conversations where Dave was going through mental hell during the protracted divorce proceedings with Ellie, and later the volatile relationship with his second wife. And then NO, during our conversations where he was excited at a new film role, a new Made-for-Television Movie, a new series. I can still hear his voice and see him just as if he were still alive. He was an extraordinary guy and he lived his life to the fullest, unfortunately for everyone who knew him personally, and his millions of devoted fans, his personal habits of
smoking and drinking may have contributed to cutting his life way too short.

RW: I think this is a good place for you to explain to our readers about your fascination with German Shepherds and why I probably am bringing that up.

MIKE: As a boy growing up, we had a Cocker Spaniel. When I enlisted in the Air Force and went through Military Police training, I became fascinated at how big, strong, super-smart and obedient our German Shepherds are. I have had one ever since, sometimes two at a time, male and female. Shortly after I relocated to New York City, I travelled to New Jersey and bought a German Shepherd puppy from a breeder. I named him Baron der Hunter. Dave came to New York and we had dinner at a restaurant close to my apartment. I assume you mention this because I invited Dave to my apartment to meet “The Bear” as I sometimes called Baron. He loved Baron and Baron loved him. Dave gave him a bite of his (prime rib) treat, and actually got down on the floor, with his very expensive suit on and played with Baron for close to an hour. It was hilarious to watch. Dave loved dogs, but Ellie was allergic to dogs and cats and aside from that with his schedule, he just couldn’t have one.

RW: What’s your writing environment like, your writing space?  I was speaking to a young lady recently and she was on her couch writing on her laptop with her office only steps away. I somehow don’t see you hunched over on the couch with a cushion as a desk.

MIKE: I have a home office, approximately 12 X 12.  I have a two large cherry wood book (Barrister) cases with glass doors, full of books I’ve read.  I have my desk with hutch where I have police memorabilia and Eagles figurines and more books, with my HP TouchSmart All-In-One desktop computer.  On the other side of the room I have another desk with another desktop computer, a cherry red lateral file drawer with an HP Officejet 8600 Pro printer-fax-scanner-copier. I have a small TV which is usually turned to Fox News channel, but I am usually too concentrated on work I don’t pay attention. I am up with my first cup of coffee at four o’clock each morning, check and respond to e-mails and then WRITE. I take the dogs to the park for their morning run at daybreak, an hour later I am back home, shower, shave, more coffee, orange juice and back on the computer. I usually finish work by about eight o’clock, sometimes later at night and in bed by midnight.

michael phelps david janssen review image

RW: You get almost less sleep than I do it seems. You appear to be a healthy man.  What do you do to stay healthy?

MIKE: I actually am in great health, for a man turning 72 next September. I was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer just over a year ago and have been receiving treatment at the Veterans Medical Center of Miami. I have had three aortic aneurysms requiring surgery, and just learned I have a new one in my right femoral artery, where I had a femoral-to-femoral bypass surgery in November of 2010. So, I have an upcoming surgery . . . but I wanted to do this Interview first. Aside from that, I stopped smoking a couple of years ago and seldom imbibe in my favorite J & B Scotch. I think I am in good shape, and feel like I’m still in my forties.

RW: When are we going to see a memoir of a TV Icon’s “Shoulder to cry on” come out?

MIKE: You make me laugh, Ron. I never looked at our friendship as me being the one to have a shoulder for Dave to “cry on”. I always looked at our friendship as just two guys who became friends and could talk to each other about anything. I never boasted to anyone that; “Hey see ‘The Fugitive’ . . . that’s David Janssen . . . he’s a good friend of mine.”

When he began the “HARRY O” series, my then girlfriend and I would watch it at my apartment, sometimes we would host a few of our friends, but even they were not impressed that I had a TV-Movie Star as a friend. We would all critique the episodes and have a lot of fun doing it. Of course I would tell Dave all about it later.

RW: You mentioned when you heard about David Janssen’s passing and the thoughts that ran through your mind.  Has it crossed your mind or have you given any thought to writing a Mike Walsh Detective Novels story based on anything like the loss of a beloved acting icon, tastefully as I think you would obviously handle it?  More as a way to relieve your mind of all those thoughts as oppose to simply a creative process.

carol connors and michael phelps
Mike and Carol Connors of “To Know Him is To Love Him” #1 Hit written by Phil Spector.

MIKE: To be honest, no.  However, you have given me a great idea.  When I first heard the news, I was totally shocked, in total disbelief.  I had spoken with Dave just five days before he died. He called me to let me know he had just passed a very thorough physical examination for a large insurance policy required by the studio producing “Father Damien”, and they were to start filming two days later on Malibu Beach. He and Dani were again separated, and the location for the start of the film was only a few short miles from his home on Malibu Beach. He sounded extremely happy, anxious to start the film and I can say he was completely sober in our last conversation. HOW could he die of a massive heart attack just five days later? When Ellie and I went to Los Angeles to interview people close to them, we spoke with David’s mother, his housekeeper/cook Beatrice, Actor Stuart Whitman (his next door neighbor) a Paramedic Lieutenant, one of the first on the scene. A lot of SUSPICION of HOW he died was raised. A lot of unproven rumors centered around his second wife. Over the years I have come to accept he died of a massive heart attack. Rumors were widely circulated that “high levels of drugs (morphine and cocaine) and alcohol” were found in David’s body at autopsy. Ellie and I went to the L. A. Medical Examiner’s Office and viewed the Microfilm of his autopsy. NO DRUGS of any kind, and just a trace of alcohol.

I KNEW David was adamantly against illicit drugs and would NEVER engage in such, even for recreation. He had said to me many times, he had seen people in the “business” ruin their careers, even lose their lives accidently by overdosing on drugs. Dave always made sure he was in control of his faculties, even when he was close to being drunk. There were rumors he had three-way sex with a Playboy Bunny and a married woman the night before his death. All such rumors are preposterous. He had just finished a fourteen+ hours day filming. He came home, showered and made himself one drink. Beatrice was going to prepare his dinner, when Dani appeared, unexpected and uninvited and dismissed Beatrice for the day, telling her that SHE was making a “special” dinner for the two of them. Was Dani there in an attempt to reconcile? I’ll never know, but is it possible? I would have to say yes. A storyline for a Mike Walsh Detective novel? I’ll give that some thought. (LOL)

RW: One final thing, I have always asked authors to describe their book in one word.  Instead I want to ask you to describe David Janssen in one word. Why the man and not the book, because I think that will also describe David Janssen-Our Conversations. And you can explain why if you like.
michael phelps david janssen review image
MIKE: EXTRAORDINARY!  Why do I choose that word, you may ask?  Because David Janssen was an extraordinary, multi-talented man; an extraordinary actor, a Poet, a Song writer, a Comedian, an animal lover, a man who helped complete strangers (especially single mothers in distress and he did so anonymously). He was truly a kind, sensitive, compassionate man who, aside from his celebrity status, was a really ‘down-to-earth’, ordinary guy.

 

Extraordinary describes my new friend Mike. I call him friend because that’s how he makes one feel after speaking with him just once or twice. I know why David Janssen called Michael Phelps at 1:15 that early morning back in 1965. If you don’t know by now, then read parts one and two of this interview again, my fellow book fiends. I always say to follow an author everywhere you can, and buy all their books. That’s a given. I think you want to after reading these two days of interviews. Something you don’t know about Mike? He’s an Indie Author’s friend. He roams the blogs and comments. He reads books and leaves reviews. He supports the Indie Authors. I didn’t ask him about that. I already knew. You see, he may have been an Investigator, but I was a Historian who still loves to do research.

Michael Phelps Books

Click any image to go and purchase one of Mike’s books. I’m in the middle of Conversations now and I hate that I had to break away to even post this interview, sorry Mike, but the book is just that good. And if you want an editor, go get Norma now. I tell you, Mike’s writing combined with Norma’s editing and you’ve got an excellent book. These are two books I will be reading again and again. I’m just like that. I can’t wait to get my eyes on Mike’s fiction work as well. Those are actually next on my to read list.

You can connect with Mike on Twitter

Acquire his books either on his Author site here or at Amazon here.

 

Much Respect to Mike, a new Friend,

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

@RonovanWrites

RonovanWrites.WordPress.com

 

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Q&A Jo Robinson African Me & Satellite TV @jorobinson176

AM Cover V1 - CopyAfrican Me & Satellite TV

Jo Robinson

“Even though this is not the type of story I would normally read, I enjoyed the other three different themed books by this author (Fly Birdie, The Visitation and Shadow People) so much that I decided to try this latest one – and I’m glad I did, because it let me see yet another aspect of her talent as a writer.”-Chris Graham

The author has done a masterful job describing a wide range of characters. The artistic Suzette, the rugged men who work the land, the cook, maid, and tragic gardner – all have distinct personalities that leapt off the page. Enter the villainous couple who I wanted the smack from the moment I met them.”-Mark Myers

There is never a dull moment in the Hertzog household, which consists of Suzette, her loving husband Herman, their cook, Precious, the gardener, Christopher and their dog and cat who are like their children.
The novel is set in today’s Zimbabwe and Suzette, the main character – a white woman of Afrikaner heritage – cares a lot about justice and despises prejudice of any sort. Her problem is that she doesn’t want to rock the boat, is scared of most things but especially public speaking.
When the Shermans move in next door, with their ugly, racist and mean attitude, Suzette is beginning to find it difficult to contain her rage.”-Carol Balawyder

 

I met my guest today through what I call Blog World, the land of blogdom. We followed each other and enjoyed each others posts. Then I discovered she was an author and . . . of course . . . I had to ask for an interview. I don’t ask everyone, but she’s an amazing lady and I find her posts enjoyable and I needed to find out more. So without any more from me, it’s time to meet . . .

Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson (2)

 

RW: Tell us where you’re from?

JO: I was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, but spent most of my childhood in Johannesburg and my

twenties in Cape Town.  After that I lived in Zimbabwe – out in the rural lands – until last year, when I

came back home to South Africa.  And very happy to be back, even though I’ll never forget the people

I met, the adventures I had, and the lessons that Zimbabwe taught me.

 

 

RW: And who would you say are your favorite authors?

JO: There aren’t many genres that I don’t like to read, so my favorite authors probably look a little mismatched.  I’ve always loved horror, with Stephen King at the top of that pile for me. 

Ever since I read Carpet People by Terry Pratchett when I was young, I’ve been madly in love with that man –I’ve read most of his books at least three times each. 

I’m a big sci-fi and fantasy fan too, so James Herbert, Asimov of course, Anne McCaffrey, and Piers Anthony are major faves. 

I also love Joanna Trollope’s gentle style of writing, and Philippa Gregory’s historical books.

 

RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

JO: I very seldom drink anything other than water during the day – boring, I know, I know, but I’m a big fan of wildly colored cocktails with umbrellas and swizzle sticks in them for now and then, and champagne and orange with breakfast now and then is not a bad thing at all.

 

 

RW: What is your favorite word?

JO: Goodness!  I never knew I had one, but the first word that pops up now is love.  It’s the answer to most questions and problems after all.

 

 

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

JO: I started writing quite abruptly a couple of years ago.  I never thought about it, or planned it.  It just happened.  I was sitting at the kitchen table writing out a shopping list, and it went something like: Milk – Bread – Bog Roll – and then the first few paragraphs of African Me & Satellite TV happened. I’ve never changed them either.  The way they are now in the book is the way that they came out then.  I’d actually forgotten until recently, that I had just started a new job as a reporter for a small town newspaper when I was eighteen, and I got to interview the junior Miss Bethal and write up the article just before my mother passed away.  It was published without any editing and I got a pat on the back for a job well done, but things got a bit crazy after that and writing never occurred to me again.

Reading on the other hand – I did that all the time.

 

 

RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point?

JO: I have quite a lot of loves, and fortunately these days my writing helps to bring them all together.  I paint, and cook, and garden, and just lately I’m trying my hand at photography and digital painting too.  The art and the photography aren’t guilty pleasures because those two things will hopefully help with future covers and book projects, but being out in the sun, or spending hours in a kitchen full of gorgeous aromas are pretty good explosion stoppers for me.

(I have to intrude, I now want to be in her kitchen.)

 

 

RW: What genre does African Me & Satellite TV fall into?

JO: Fictional Drama

 

 

RW: Tell us a little about your book.

JO: It’s about heartbreak caused by hatred and racism, and about healing with love and courage.

“For many years Suzette has managed very well to live her life without actually taking part in

it, avoiding any possibility of pain by very carefully ignoring reality. Until something happens.

Something so terrible that she has no choice but to abandon her cocoon of safety.

After the brutal beating of an elderly domestic worker, Suzette takes her in, and sets off a chain of events that leads to devastating heartbreak. And then an unexpected hero changes everything.

Finally finding her voice, she speaks out, and her world explodes, culminating in the death of a very special man.

On her path to make amends, she discovers the story of his life, connects with the people of his past, and finds the chance to fully live her life once again if that’s what she chooses to.”

 

 

RW: What inspired the book?

JO: I saw a terrible verbal racist attack take place on a street in Zimbabwe.  White person screaming abuse – black person standing silently looking at the ground until the white person made an exit with screeching wheels bouncing off the pavement.  It sort of smacked me in the face then that we had all just stood and gaped.  Not a single one of us had uttered a word or stepped in, when somebody really, really should have.  The foulness of that incident stayed in the back of my mind for a long time, and eventually became the inspiration for African Me.

 

 

RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will them connect to readers.

JO: hey’re human, and they have flaws.  Suzette has quite a few to be honest, and until you get to know her you might want to give her a little shake or two.  Christopher has suffered a great deal in his life, and fallen at one of life’s hurdles, so he’s also flawed.  But they have strengths too.  I think that all of the characters in this story came to life with their own very distinctive traits – good, bad, or just plain odd, and I’m pretty fond of most of them, warts and all.

 

 

RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

JO: Funny you should ask that – it has occurred to me.  I suppose all of us scribblers consider that now and then.  I would go for Charlize Theron and Morgan Freeman – in fact they were made for these roles!  Hang on a bit – just off to email them…..

charlize_theron morgan_freeman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

JO: That all humans need to respect all other humans as equals, and treat them as such, because at the end of the day it is the truth.  And that when some who feel so terribly superior to others have hatred in their hearts, and act out on it, only sorrow and loss can result.

 

 

RW: Describe your book in one word.

JO: That’s a sneaky one!  I think it will have to be “Live”, as in – Live your life.

RW: Where can we get your book now?

JO: There are several options:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

 

 

RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?

JO: Mainly through my blog, which is my favourite place to be online, and I have Contact Me pages there and also on my website.  Google+ is lovely and interactive, and Twitter is great for chats.  I don’t have much time to spend on Facebook these days, although I’m going to try and make some.  The problem with Facebook is that once you open it up, you fly through some sort of warped and twisted portal that turns what you think are minutes into hours. And of there is also Goodreads.

 

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

JO: I’ve never looked for an agent or publisher, and the couple that offered didn’t look overly fantastic to me.  I’ve worked very hard to learn what I know now about independent publishing, so I would have to be offered a very good deal to hand over the reins to any of my work, and with my control issues I don’t think that I’d be easy to work with.  I wouldn’t like to work with me that way.  Apart from my short story with Springbok Publications I only represent myself.  Like it like that.

 

 

SP2 The Hunger - Version 1 2

 

RW: What are you working on right now?

JO: I’ve had a lot of major interruptions to my work this past year and things have piled up, so I’m working on polishing three books at the moment, and I’ll publish all of them within weeks of each other probably.  The Hunger is the second book in my Shadow People series.  Emmaline, which is the first in my Ghost Writer collection, and a third, which even though it does have a title, I probably won’t share that until I publish it.  Or maybe I will – just not yet.

 

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

JO: I have a large pile of indie published books that I’m reading my way through to review right now on my Kindle, but at the same time I’m slowly reading the paper version of Further Along The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck.  I loved the first book, and this one is also the kind of book that takes time to read in little bits, because of all the long pauses to stop and think a while.

 

 

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

JO: Write it and then do it.  For an indie published writer, my advice would definitely be not to publish the book that you’ve been slaving away on for years first.  Publish a shorter story to begin with to learn the ropes a little, figure out how things work, see how other authors are marketing their books, and then head on in with your novel.  Especially if you don’t already have much of an online presence -you’ll be to talking to the wall if there’s nobody in the room to buy your book.  Also, don’t be shy to ask for help with the technical bits.  Writers are kind souls, and they are mostly all willing to help you with your first time round.

 

 

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

JO: I can think of a couple that I would have liked to have watched being written so I could get inside their authors heads, but I can’t think of any that I would have liked to have written myself – apart from Harry Potter because if I had I’d be rolling in dough and have all the time in the world to write my own stuff, and not have to worry about crusts of bread and so on.

 

~~~~

I would like to thank Jo for agreeing to the interview today and I am going to be begging for her to come back when it’s time for the release of her new books. I think when she described her book in one were she was describing what she does. I think we can all agree that Jo Robinson does live a life to its fullest.

 

GET HER BOOKS Starting Saturday September 20, 2014 for .99 and FREE for Kindle. See our other note about it.

Remember to buy her book at one of the following:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Follow her at

blog,

Contact Me

Google+ 

Twitter

Facebook 

Goodreads

I followed them all, so why not you, right?

Much Respect

Ronovan

 

 

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