AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH: SHERYL J. BIZE-BOUTTE TALKS ABOUT HER FIRST NOVEL:BETRAYAL ON THE BAYOU

AUTHOR INTERVIEW  WITH:

SHERYL J. BIZE-BOUTTE

TALKS ABOUT HER FIRST NOVEL: BETRAYAL ON THE BAYOU

I want to welcome author Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte who has graciously agreed to a FOUR question interview. And I have to say this is one of the best and most timely answers to questions I’ve experienced.

SHERYL J. BIZE-BOUTTESheryl is a Pushcart Prize nominee and an Oakland, California-based multidisciplinary writer. Her autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry have been described as “rich in vivid imagery,” “incredible,” and “great contributions to literature.” She is also a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events. Her first novel, “Betrayal on the Bayou,” was published in June 2020.

As a Southern white man, born in Florida, but raised in Mississippi, then living my entire adult life in Georgia, I am looking forward to reading Shery’s book Betrayal on the Bayou. Her descriptions in the following give one a different way of looking at the issue of “…the killing abuses of power, racism, incest, sexism, classism…”

R: Thank you for this interview, Sheryl.

S: Thank you, Ronovan, for inviting me.

R: Let’s get right into it. What was your research/inspiration for the Betrayal on the Bayou?

S: Well, Betrayal on the Bayou is a work of historical fiction, so my research was a combination of known family history heavily sprinkled with factual events from the time period I chose, along with more than a bit of my ever-active imagination. My inspiration came from my desire to tell pieces of my family history while trying to capture, even if infinitesimally, the relentlessness of racism and colorism and how it affected the everyday lives of people depicted in the book and how that is still the case today. After a recent coffee meeting with a White female writing club president, and her fervent use of the false equivalency of her blonde hair to indicate her deep understanding of segregation and bias, writing Betrayal on the Bayou, became even more urgent for me. In the book, I use strong, graphically described examples to depict the scourge and impacts of separation, colorism and racism.

R: How can today’s readers take lessons from the book and use them for today?

S: First of all, I do believe that reading promotes empathy and understanding and that those two things can lead to the promotion and hopefully implementation of change and correction of ill treatment and marginalization of Black people and people of color. It is important that people of today realize this is not a new phenomenon. That it did not just crop up when George Floyd was murdered, and more White people decided to pay some attention to it. People need to know how baked-in these beliefs are; how much work was put into separation in every facet of life; and, how there have always been Black people who lived in very different ways. We are not a monolithic people, and we all suffer some deep form of discrimination on a daily basis even to this day. I also tackle the impacts and outcomes of gender bias, economics, and other areas of everyday living in the early 1850’ s ripe for betrayal in a closed society where almost anything can happen, and let readers know that many things they may think are new, are not.

R: What else would you like readers to know about Betrayal on the Bayou?

S: That it is not the usual historical fiction fare with the characters one may look for from the 1800’s Southern U.S. Oh, they are there of course, because they are fundamental to the place and time, but they are not the center of the story. Readers will be intrigued while trying to determine what is fact and what is fiction within a dystopian yet very possibly real, isolated town. I want readers to know that the setting and the people are unusual, that the things that happen are stark and substantive, and that betrayals as well as the inhumanity and humanity will stay on your mind long after you have read the epilogue.

R: I encourBetrayal on the Bayou coverage everyone to read Betrayal on the Bayou. I found it to be… It is available at Amazon, and other vendors. For a full list of the booksellers and their links for Betrayal on the Bayou, visit Goodreads. For more information on Sheryl and her writing, please go to www.sheryljbize-boutte.com. Thank you so much, Sheryl.

S: Thank you Ronovan, it has been my pleasure.


Be sure to get your copy of  Sheryl’s book Betrayal on the Bayou on Amazon.

And be certain to check out her selection of work on her Author Page.

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www.sjbb-talkinginclass.blogspot.com

© 2020 Ronovan Hester Copyright reserved. The author asserts his moral and legal rights over this work.

#BOOK REVIEW BY @COLLEENCHESEBRO OF “Mankind Limited,” BY AUTHOR @HOUSEOFBAILEY

Mankindd Limited

  • Title:  Mankind Limited
  • Author: Scott Bailey
  • File Size: 958 KB
  • Print Length: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Scott Bailey
  • Publication Date: August 19, 2013
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00EOA1RW2
  • Formats: Paperback and Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Dystopian Fantasy

In the Author’s Words:

“Trapped. In a world where everything is measured and control pervades every area of life, four people begin to break down. Instead, they break through the walls of deceit and propaganda and into a world of revolution. 

Each, in their way, vow to overthrow the established order. They embark on a journey against the forces arraigned against them, forces of the state and self-doubt.

Ultimately their paths converge on a dangerous road and the discovery of an ancient secret.

Four people, four rebels. Four journeys of self-doubt and discovery that converge on the road to revolution and the discovery of an ancient secret.”

My Recommendation:

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

I have never been a fan of dystopian novels. For me, they were always too dark and miserable, filled with human misery and oppression. You can imagine my joy then when I dug into Mankind Limited to find a book filled with characters who were well-rounded and human, flaws and all. I even found an element of hope buried within the pages that drew me further into the story.

In a time, possibly not too far in our future, the MOD has assumed complete control of the government. Nobody crosses them or even attempts to. People become automatons, there but for one reason – to earn money. Individuality is frowned upon. All you are allowed to do is work.

If you lose your job, which is considered a public failure, you are allowed to stay on welfare for only a very short time. The possibility of getting another job after that would be slim to none. Once an individual falls off the bottom of the Personal League Tables, they become illegals, forced to live on the street. Tens of thousands of illegals are shot in the act of criminal activity each year, simply trying to survive.

The government has found a way to manipulate and drug people so they can control them. The MOD believes a docile employee will work hard and earn more money. One such man, Marc, finds himself struggling to survive in this world. It is as if he cannot adapt. Eventually, he loses his job and his wife. He finds himself part of a fringe group of illegals hunting for information about a MOD program called Noah’s Ark.

Richard and Jane, brother and sister, along with their friend, William, welcome Marc into their group of illegals. One day, during a reconnaissance mission to a laboratory high in the mountains, the group comes upon a secret so deadly, it could spell the end of the world for them all. Evidence must be destroyed, so the group plants a bomb to insure the secrets are never used against humans.

As they make their escape, they discover the President is on his way to the facilities for a briefing. The bomb blows the research laboratory and the President to smithereens, branding the illegals as murderers on the run.

Now, this is where I found the story got really interesting. This series of events leads the foursome on an adventure of self-discovery. Each person deals with the trauma from their life decisions, leading the reader to a culmination of events at the explosive ending where the secret is finally revealed.

The plot and characters were superb. The only thing I found I had to get used to was the way the author switched scenes and characters within the same chapter. This was done, I am sure, for perspective and as a way to show what was happening to each character all at the same time.

I must admit, I was surprised by the ending. Scott Bailey skillfully wove a tale of intrigue and suspense with just the right amount of dystopian dread. Bravo!

thumbs up

 

 

 

 

 

My Rating:

Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 4
Reader Engagement: 4
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 4
Overall Rate: 4.0 out of 5 stars

Author, Scott Bailey

About Scott Bailey:

Scott Bailey is a freelance writer, author, and blogger. His works include the dystopian novel “Mankind Limited” and “A Spring of Dreams” collection of poetry. His blogging ranges across family articles, poetry and short stories and even the odd book or movie review.

Make certain to connect with (author) through his Twitter @houseofbailey, and Facebook atScott Andrew Bailey. You can also find Scott on his author blog: Scott Andrew Bailey
and his personal blog, House of Bailey.

Book Review by @ColleenChesebro of silverthreading.com

Colleen 5.3.16

World-Mart by @LeighMLane #BookReview

  • Title:  World-MartWorld Mart Image
  • Author: Leigh M. Lane
  • File Size: 683KB
  • Print Length: 297
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1514105799
  •  Publisher: Cerebral Books
  • Publication Date: October 13, 2011
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  •  Language: English
  • ASIN: B005VTN1OC
  • Format:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Dystopian Future, Science Fiction

From the author

I wrote this novel in response to the death of Kurt Vonnegut Jr., determined to create not only a dystopia for modern times, but a payment of homage to the genre.  Tucked throughout the work, you’ll find allusions to numerous greats of science fiction past, hints to a future world that could easily come to pass, and subtle references to the death of an important and meaningful literary era.

World-Mart follows the classic dystopian trope, and as such, I recommend it to those who enjoyed Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, Orwell’s 1984, and similar works.

World-Mart is the first in a trilogy, and a chilling story of class segregation, failing energy supplies, food shortages, antibiotic resistant viruses and governmental control over every action and choice made in life. With the way the world seems to be going these days, World-Mart gives a glimpse of a very possible, and frightening, future. It seemed all too real to me.

It’s slow-moving, however, I didn’t mind it because it was at the same time, a quick read. The scenes were put together beautifully. Each character held their own and was very rounded and believable. I enjoyed getting to know them and emphasized with most.

Before agreeing to read the book for a review, I read a review that stated this novel was just a commentary of the author’s rants on the success of businesses, loathing of America, etcetera. After reading, I disagree with that review. World-Mart brings me to mind of The Hunger Games, but better put together, and more realistic. And I enjoyed World-Mart a hundred percent more. I believe that it would make a good Lifetime series or even a mini-series. At the very least, I wouldn’t be too surprised should high school teachers one day decide to have their class read and study its contents for Literature. I enjoyed the ending, which saddened me, but at the same time left me wanting for more.

Still, although the story itself was five stars, there were some imperfections. There was quite a lot of telling, rather than showing, which at times put me off from reading. There were a few misspells and grammatical errors.

Leigh M. Lane followed up with Aftermath: Beyond World-Mart and its prequel, The Private Sector, both of which I would be eager to read.

Overall rate: 4 out of 5 stars.

Leigh M. Lane

“In addition to writing dark speculative fiction for over twenty-five

years, Leigh M. Lane has dabbled in fine arts, earned a black belt in karate, and sung lead and backup vocals for bands ranging from classic rock to the blues. She currently lives in the dusty outskirts of Sin City with her husband, an editor and educator, and one very spoiled cat.

Her published works include traditional Gothic horror novel Finding Poe; the World-Mart trilogy, a dystopian tribute to Orwell, Serling, and Vonnegut; and the dark allegorical tale, Myths of Gods.

Leigh also writes urban and mainstream horror as Lisa Lane: http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Lane/e/B002BMI5S4.”

Connect with Leigh on her website.
http://www.cerebralwriter.com.

“How to Kill Your Senator” by @KaisyWMills & @jamesacourtney

The Dystopian Nation of City-State – “How to Kill Your Senator”

how-to-kill-your-senator &

A new short story from Courtney James and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills, authors of our previously reviewed The Dystopian Nation of City-State: An Anthology: Origin, Corruption, and Rebellion. Read that review by wonderful Olga Núñez Miret here.

I read an early copy of this as a Beta-Reader and my Review at Amazon is based on that and what I say here will be as well.

The idea and handling of the idea was original. The main character is a man named Jackson who as the story opens has killed senators in the world the authors have created. As the story progresses Jackson is shown the true source of the political evil of his city. But can he face that?

The authors lead you along and as you follow you realize where the story is going and what the message is, but the ending isn’t what you expect. maybe.

I gave the book a 3 out of 5 stars.

The story itself, the idea was a good one, but there was some stylistic elements that took away from my being able to really losing myself into the story. Just when I would be there I would be made aware of the writing. As I said, that was a beta copy I read, perhaps those elements have been addressed. If I get a chance to read a new version I will let you know. In truth it would be an interesting experience to see the after results of beta-reading.

Do I recommend this for a read at 3 stars?

If you have read the anthology and are interested in jumping on board a new world as it is created I think yes, read it. It’s .99 on Kindle. It does give depth to the world by telling a side story that shows you more of the world than one can always put into a regular novel.

You can visit the Dystopian Nation of City-State site here.

 

 

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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Q&A Shannon A. Thompson of Take Me Tomorrow @ShanAshleeT23

takemetomorrowTake Me Tomorrow

Shannon A. Thompson

 

5.0 out of 5 stars  An exciting YA dystopian novel-Elaine Jeremiah
“This was an exciting, intriguing tale. In the dystopian world Sophia, her family and friends are living in, there is a war on between the State who control the various regions in this post-modern America and those who use and promote a clairvoyant drug.”

4.0 out of 5 starsEnticing, mysterious dystopian!-Jen @Star-Crossed Book Blog

“This was truly a unique read! I love my dystopian worlds and while some can blend together, that definitely wasn’t the case in Take Me Tomorrow. The elements of the storyline were enticing and the mystery of all of the unknowns kept me flying through the pages. The little hints of romance were innocently sweet and what blossomed from it left me smiling. And the ending of the book left me completely dismayed (but in a good way)! I can’t even start to imagine where they can all go from here!”

4.0 out of 5 stars A YA novel unafraid to address grown up issues-Allie Potts

“The book’s premise hooked me right away. Set in a realistic future featuring extreme immigration control and harsh anti-drug policies, a teenager named Sophia Gray’s sheltered world is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a stranger in the woods. This stranger has ties to a risky drug believed to provide users with the temporary ability to see everything all at once, including the future. While users are potentially endangering their own lives by using the drug, it is the government that is the most threatened by its existence. The novel asks you to answer the question, what is more important security or freedom?”

 

 

I want to say my guest and I have followed each others blogs for some time now. I mean she’s an author, I think authors are cool, so of course I followed the author lady. That of course meant that when I decided to start this site I wanted to interview her and amazingly enough she said yes. I am surprised with each person that says yes, but especially those who have several books out. Now it’s time to meet . . .

Shannon A. Thompson

pic1 

 

RW: Where are you from?

SHANNON: I’m from the road. Even though I’m only 23, I have moved 15 times in my life. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Georgia, and on the Kansas-Missouri border, so I don’t really have a hometown. It’s hard for me to stay in one place for too long. Traveling is when I feel at home.

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

SHANNON: Jack Kerouac and Edgar Allan Poe are my favorite traditional authors, but I absolutely adore Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, Lauren Oliver and Lynne Ewing in the young-adult market. I’m also a huge fan of the poet, Billy Collins.

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

SHANNON: Coffee! I’m such a coffee addict that I just cannot go a single day without at least one pot of coffee. I’ve actually been drinking it regularly since I was twelve. I am not a fan of chocolate, so I didn’t like having hot chocolate in the winter mornings to keep me warm, so my father thought it was a good idea to give me his leftover coffee. Been hooked ever since. The funniest moment was when my middle school teacher realized what I was drinking every morning, but that’s another story to be told. I’m actually drinking a coffee right now.

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

SHANNON: Writing – I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I have many types of writing. I write young-adult novels, but I’m also a poet, and I work on numerous books at a time. If I’m stressing out about one, I just skip over to something else – something that I don’t have to worry about – and if I don’t want to write at all, I’ve been known to hop in the car and drive without a destination in mind. The road is a comforting place. Unless you’re short like me driving into the setting sun. Then, it burns.

RW: What is your favorite word?

SHANNON: Midnight – I am a night owl, practically nocturnal, and the single word reminds me of how calm everything is late into the evening when everyone else is asleep.

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

SHANNON:  I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. In fact, my mother taught me to write in order to cope with my night terrors as a child, but she – unfortunately – died very suddenly when I was eleven, so I began chasing a serious writing career after that. My first novel was published five years later, and since then, I’ve had four novels, two short stories, and a collection of poems published all around the world, including a Norwegian magazine. I also studied literature and creative writing at the University of Kansas where I graduated from in 2013.

RW: Tell us about why you chose Take Me Tomorrow as the title of your novel?

SHANNON: Take Me Tomorrow is my latest novel, and the title created itself. About halfway through the story, one of the protagonists talks about tomorrow and what it means to them, but explaining it too much might give away parts of the story. The novel is a young-adult dystopian tale about a clairvoyant drug. When citizens can see the future, it changes how everyone lives in the present and remembers the past, so time is a huge factor in both the story and the title. The drug is also called “tomo” and everyone believes it is a nickname for “tomorrow” but it isn’t. ::wink wink::

RW: What genre does your book fall into?

SHANNON:  Young-adult dystopian.

RW: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

SHANNON:  I write in many genres, but I currently only have young-adult, paranormal romance, dystopian, contemporary, military, and poetry published. Whew. I thought that list would be shorter when I started, but – as you can see – I love writing in various styles. I look at it this way: I love reading numerous genres. Why would I only write in one genre?

RW: Tell us a little about your book.

SHANNON:  Take Me Tomorrow is a young-adult dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug, but sixteen-year-old, Sophia Gray, has other problems to deal with. Her father runs an illegal forgery, and her best friend is caught up in small crime, and that is not even the end of it. When a mysterious boy shows up in her backyard, Sophia has to decide whether to fight for a tomorrow she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.

RW: What inspired the book?

SHANNON:  Take Me Tomorrow deals with many sensitive issues within society, including drug abuse, addiction, and immigration. I decided to write about these topics mainly because my mother was a drug addicted, and it ultimately killed her. I spent many years researching drugs, and that research developed itself into this novel. I actually wrote an article about this if you want more details: http://shannonathompson.com/2014/07/18/why-i-write-about-immigration-drugs-and-addiction/

 

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

SHANNON:  Sophia Gray is strong, stubborn, and willing to do anything to help her friends and family, but she’s also human. Her anger can get the best of her, but she doesn’t let anyone try to stop her from doing what she thinks is right. Noah, on the other hand, is rather forced into doing things, and everything has slowly broken him down. He’s a very complex and damaged character, but when the two come together, a dark serenity clears the tension around them.

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

SHANNON:  I would beg, beg, BEG for an open-casting call. I wish Hollywood would do that more often for two reasons:

  1. It gives new actors and actresses a chance at participating in a large project

  2. (I think) Viewers can believe in the characters more when they haven’t seen the actors everywhere before.

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

SHANNON:  As much as Take Me Tomorrow deals with sensitive topics revolving around drug abuse, I strived to stay neutral to the topic, and so far, many readers have reflected that in their reviews. The message is completely up to the reader, and I wanted it to be that way because society is that way. These things are not black and white. These moments are always gray.

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

SHANNON:  After it was all written, I think I realized how much of my personal life I have slipped into the story. Sophia is very much like me when I was sixteen years old. She has a knife collection. (Something I do, in fact, have.) And she finds peace in a forest that she checks with her dog, Argos, who she loves very much. That was practically my life. I had acres I had to watch over, and my husky and I spent hours out there. Writing about it brought many happy memories back, but writing about the drug use was also very hard. When my mother first died, I never told anyone how it happened. I just avoided explaining it. But after many years passed, I slowly dealt with the fact that she had been addicted to drugs, and writing allowed me to explore a lot of those emotions. There’s a moment in Take Me Tomorrow where Sophia looks at Noah and states, “I could handle his drug-induced state. His sober state was more terrifying.” This line has been pointed out by readers, and I think that’s because it’s uncomfortable and true. Not for all situations, of course, but for some people who’ve had loved ones addicted. Sharing those moments can be scary, confusing, disheartening, and honest.

RW: Where can we get your book now?

SHANNON: Take Me Tomorrow is available everywhere – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple, etc.

RW: What other books do you have to share with us and can you tell us a little about them?

SHANNON: The Timely Death Trilogy is an award-winning, paranormal romance, and it is also available everywhere. Minutes Before Sunset (book 1) explores the world of lights and shades, creatures that live among humans as humans, and two characters – Jessica and Eric – tell the story of two destinies and one death. Book 2, Seconds Before Sunrise, is also available, and Death Before Daylight, book 3, is releasing in January of 2015.

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

SHANNON:  I am mainly found on my website – ShannonAThompson.com – where I talk about reading, writing, and publishing. We are so close to 18,000 followers! But I love connecting with anyone and everyone, so I am also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wattpad, Instagram, and more.

 

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.

SHANNON:  In 2012, I was signed by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., and they’ve represented The Timely Death Trilogy as well as Take Me Tomorrow. My poetry was published by LALUNA magazine and Kansa Publishing, and my short story was in The June Project. My first novel was done by Golden Eagle Publishing, but I’ve gotten my rights back, and I plan on re-releasing November Snow in November of 2015.

RW: What are you working on right now?

SHANNON:  For publication, I’m working on my content edits for Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, and November Snow. I have other works pending in various stages of publication, but I don’t like talking about them until they’re coming out – I’m a very superstitious person, and I always feel like I’m jinxing it if I talk about it with anyone but beta readers.

 

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

SHANNON:  One of my jobs at AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., is pre-reading novels before release, so I’ve been reading two novels we’re releasing – The Stars Are Infinite, book 2 of The Stars Trilogy, by Amber Skye Forbes and The Pandora Chronicles by Ryan Attard.

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

SHANNON:  Research and research some more to make sure the path you take is the best one for both your novel and your goals. Traditional publishing, small press, and self-publishing all have pros and cons. Understanding those is key to achieving the type of publication you dream of.

RW: List links to all websites you have and social networks such as Twitter.

SHANNON:

There you have it all folks. Everything you need to know about Shannon. Below you will see her book trailer for Take Me Tomorrow, enjoy it. I once again thank Shannon for agreeing to join us today. I just cannot believe the generosity of the Literary Community in starting this site off in such a great way.

 

Much Love & Respect to You All

Ronovan

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