#BookReview: The Lei Crime Series: Esther’s Gift (Kindle Worlds Novella) by Bette Lee Crosby

Esthers GiftsSummary:

In the days before hurricane Iniki hit the island of Kauai the forecasters predicted it would stay south of Hilo. But Esther Ka’awai, a psychic and gifted wise woman of the ancient culture has seen the future. She knows of the devastation that will come to the island. She has warned those she loves; now all she can do is pray.

As she struggles to accept this gift of knowing, Esther discovers that even the most wonderful gift can sometimes break your heart.

A story of love, faith and a belief in the future.

Review:

Once again, Bette Lee Crosby delivers a story that will grab you on the first page.

Esther has the gift of knowing things before they happen, like the hurricane coming to the island she lived on in Hawaii.

She meets a man named John who came to Hawaii after purchasing a local Resort. He meets Esther, and their lives are changed forever.

This book will prove that even though things fall apart…they can be rebuilt. Both your home and heart can come alive again where you thought it wouldn’t.

Bette Lee Crosby is by far one of the most talented writers I know. I admire her. For 2016, I plan to read the rest of her books!

Her words are always a “lyrical dance”.

5 Stars

#BookReview ~ “The Beauty of What Remains” by Susan Johnson Hadler

The Beauty of What RemainsSummary:

Where are they now, the lost, the forgotten? With the love in her mother’s silence as her guide, Susan Johnson Hadler began a quest to find out who the missing people in her family were and what happened to them. The search led her to Germany, where her father was killed just before the end of WWII; then to a Buddhist monastery in France, where she learned new ways to relate to life and death; and ultimately to a state mental hospital in Ohio, where the family abandoned her mother’s older sister years earlier. She believed that her aunt had died―but Hadler, to her great surprise, found her still alive at age ninety-four. And the story didn’t end there. Captivating and often heartwrenching, The Beauty of What Remains is a story of liberating a family from secrets, ghosts, and untold pain; of reuniting four generations shattered by shame and fear; and of finding the ineffable beauty in what remains.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you don’t have an ancestry.com account, you will want to open one. I know I did.

“The Beauty of What Remains” is a wonderfully written story of Susan Johnson Hadler finding her father’s history and family. I was taken in right away as she learns more about her father’s death during WWII. I was in awe that she and her husband were able to go walk in the places he was when he was alive. This book was a true walking history of her father’s life. And, her father’s death.

This is a story that will show you that you can love someone you never met, you can want to know more about them, and you can have a relationship with them even after their passing.

I know want to learn more about my mother’s father. The grandfather I never met. I wonder how this will go for me??

But, this book, is a must read for anyone with a family history that they want to learn more about. If you don’t…You will once you start reading this book. I guarantee this story will inspire you to learn more about your family tree.

This is a fabulous tale.

5 Stars.

 

#BookReview ~ “The King’s Sisters” by Sarah Kennedy

The Kings SistersSummary:

It is now 1542 and another queen, Catherine Howard, has been beheaded for adultery. Although young Prince Edward is thriving, and the line of Tudor succession seems secure, the king falls into a deep melancholy and questions the faith and loyalty of those around him. Catherine has found herself in a unique position as a married former nun. Now she is a wealthy widow. She has two children, a boy who has successfully joined the young prince’s household and a daughter who lives with her at Richmond Palace, home to Henry’s cast-off fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, now designated “The King’s Beloved Sister.” Catherine also enjoys the attentions of widower Benjamin Davies, and in the festive court atmosphere, she has furtively indulged her passion for him. But England has changed again. Anne of Cleves hopes for reinstatement as queen―until questions arise about the finances of the houses she keeps. Catherine, as one of the king’s “reformed sisters,” is singled out, just as she realizes that she is carrying a third child. The King’s Sisters explores the Tudor court under an aging Henry VIII. He now has a son and heir, but his two daughters remain players in the political intrigues. The Cross and the Crown series follows the very private Catherine as she is thrust into the scheming. She is skilled enough to serve a former queen . . . but this may be the very quality that endangers her future.

Review:

Again, another wonderful cover!

This is the third book in Sarah Kennedy’s “The Cross and The Crown Series”. It is now 1542, and Henry VIII’s young queen Catherine Howard has been beheaded for adultery. Catherine Haven Overton is now a widow with her two children living with Sister Ann of Cleve.

This book was not as exciting as book two in the series. This was really a book that described their lives in this time in English history in such detail…I got a bit involved, as Sarah Kennedy writes with the depictions of someone that was truly there, as in all three of the books in this series. The only thing is that there was not a lot going in the beginning of the book….but, it picked up in the second half.

I was really invested in her character, Catherine, and I kept reading to find out her fate.

This was disappointing compared to “City of Ladies”, but if I did not have that to compare this book to, I think I would have given it more stars.

3.5 Stars

#BookReview: “City of Ladies” by Sarah Kennedy

City of Ladies.jpg

Summary:

It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband’s lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine’s family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete. But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies. Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives. Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.

Review:

I loved this cover. It looks fabulous on my book shelf.

This was my second book by Sarah Kennedy, and it is book two in the “Cross and The Crown” Series. When I finished I was looking forward to getting to the third book. This is a series that I will never forget and they stand out as originals, as I never read books about this time in history. Sarah Kennedy writes such knowledge of historical facts that you feel like she was right there, walking among the women.

The book “City of Ladies”, is about the women from her first book. It is 1539, and Catherine Havens Overton gathers the women that she lived with in the Convent with her when they were removed by the king’s men. She has them all working at the Overton House, to have them remain together.

But, the women start disappearing. They are being murdered. Catherine is determined to find the killer and save the women in her “City of Ladies”

This book is an amazing tale of mystery and intrigue. You will be spellbound.

5 Stars

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Author, Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy, photo by Rachel Fowler of RFD PhotographyPhoto Credit Rachel Fowler at RFD Photography 

COMMENT BELOW TO WIN A COPY OF HER FIRST NOVEL, THE ALTERPIECE (US ONLY)

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

A:  The realization crept up on me gradually.  I used to consider myself a poet only, but when I got to my third book, the poems became less lyrical and more narrative . . . and they got longer-lined.  At some point in my forties, I hit the right-hand margin, and one evening in a bookstore with my husband it came to me:  I’m going to write a novel! 

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of your books, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

A:  Seeing the hard copy for the first time, definitely!  It’s always exciting to see the cover, too, of course, but there’s nothing like opening the cardboard box and seeing the actual books in there.  I’m usually almost too excited to lift one out!

Q:  I am so excited to read, “The Cross and The Crown Series”, what first sparked this interest for you? 

A:  Well, it was actually a research project for poems that got me thinking about the story of a young former nun under Henry VIII.  I’ve been interested in English women’s history for a long time, and as a Renaissance scholar (and frequent traveler to the UK and Ireland) I’ve walked through many a religious ruin.  I had done a lot of reading about the European witch trials and about early female mystics and other church women who were well-known.   It occurred to me as I was reading, though, that there were no stories about what happened to the ordinary women in the convents after Henry VIII closed them and seized the properties, so I felt a strong urge to create a history for these lost women. 

Q:  You have several books, including poetry. What is that your favorite topic to explore? 

A:  Oh, wow, that’s a hard one!  I have an abiding interest in the lives of ordinary women from all periods.  I guess I’m particularly interested in how women cope during times of great upheaval—wars, changes in government, changes in religious belief.  Women kept families together and often had to do much of the behind-the-scenes work (like making sure that food was available and clothing was washed) that made life go on—for everyone. 

Q:  Tell us more about how you learned so much about the lives that were lived in the 1500’s in Tudor England? 

A:  I love to read odd sorts of “literature,” like letters, diaries, and manuscripts that people left, like recipe (or “receipt”) collections.  You can get interesting tidbits about how people really lived from them.  I also like to go to out-of-the-way sites, like ruined old castles and houses that almost nobody visits, to see the layout of the buildings.  You can definitely tell quite a lot about how people lived from seeing where they put their kitchens and sickrooms and libraries.  People often don’t think about how ordinary folks did things like wash their linens (you had to make the soap first!) and dispose of bodily waste (put the toilet near a sluice that can run to a river . . . but don’t put it upstream from your drinking water source!). 

Q:  Is there any truth to what you write about?

A:  Yes, there’s quite a lot of truth to the way people dressed, spoke, behaved, and misbehaved.  I try to use documented types of medical procedures and keep true to historical events and persons.  I also try to create characters who are true to the belief systems of the day, without making cardboard figures.  For example, many nuns were quite devout . . . but many of them weren’t and got carried away by ambition, lust, or greed.  I want my characters to be fully human (which includes flaws, alas!) without making them modern humans. 

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? 

A:  That’s another difficult one!  I’m not sure I know what my style is!  I know that I like knotty characters and plausible plots.  I get impatient when characters are too good (or too evil, for that matter).  I want characters to make mistakes and figure out how to fix or atone for them.  I just finished reading a long novel, Sweet Caress by William Boyd.  There’s really not a plot to this novel, but there is a leisurely unfolding of character.  There’s no big central crime; the character moves through history to the end of the book.  I loved this novel for its description and close attention to character.  At the same time, I love good crime fiction like that of Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) that’s fast-paced without losing sight of character. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us… 

A:  When I started writing fiction, I changed from a daytime writer to an evening writer.  I used to write poems in fits and starts, in several short sessions per day.  Now, I write in longer stints, after dinner.  I think I need the daytime hours to let my subconscious work on the manuscript, and when I sit down I need a few hours of uninterrupted time at my desk.  Of course, I sometimes have to pace around some during those hours! 

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? 

A:  I’m not sure I have a favorite!  I love Tana French, Morag Joss, and Ian Rankin for crime fiction, and I think Hilary Mantel is great (though I don’t agree with her assessment of Thomas Cromwell’s character!).  I think Charles Frazier is wonderful, and I look forward to anything Lee Smith publishes.  Because I’m a teacher, I get to revisit the classics frequently, too, and I never tire of teaching Thomas Wyatt, Shakespeare, John Donne, and Isabella Whitney. 

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author? 

A:  The freedom to disappear into my own world!  I’m quite solitary by nature, but my head is always full of people talking.  Being an author lets me talk back to them without appearing nutty to the “real” people around me. 

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it? 

A:  I hope the next installment of The Cross and Crown will be out next year.  This one moves forward in time several years and takes place during the first year of Mary Tudor’s reign.  It’s tentatively titled Queen of Blood—but I promise that it does not feature any vampires. 

Lastly, Book or eBook??

For me?  Book, hands down.  There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than stretching out in a comfy chair with a physical book in my hands.  I like the feel of paper and the smell of print.  I want to run my hand over the cover and rub the pages between my fingers.  Yeah, it’s book for me.  And a cup of coffee and my dog.

#Spotlight ~ “The Gold Thread” by Sarah Kennedy

The Gold ThreadSummary:

Poetry. THE GOLD THREAD is the most recent book of poetry by Sarah Kennedy. It is an astonishing collection of female saints and holy women speaking to God in a landscape of violence and hope.

“Sarah Kennedy’s THE GOLD THREAD is an extended meditation on the quest for meaning—spiritual or otherwise—in a troubled world. Moving seamlessly from considerations of our spiritual foremothers, women who sought liberation and selfhood through the communion with God, to lamentations for the current state of things, these fierce, elegant poems serve as a kind of cautionary tale. They remind us of the possibility of another fall brought on by the myopia of empire, by war and the sins of injustice. Soberly and powerfully, Kennedy shows us that the golden thread is also what ties us to our past and, inevitably, to our future.”—Natasha Trethewey

#BookReview: “The Altarpiece” by Sarah Kennedy

The AlterpieceSummary:

It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force.

Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge.

Catherine’s hopes for a place at court have been dashed by the king’s divorce, and she has reluctantly taken the veil. When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion. King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I love historical fictions, and this book delivers!! It is 1535 in Tudor England and King Henry VIII is creating the Church of England and his soldiers are overtaking the Catholic Churches, and Catherine Havens is hiding all of the important papers and other items that she does not want to be taken from Mount Grace (the Convent that she is raised in). This scavenging is how we are introduced to this story…and, it is exciting from the first page!

An altarpiece is missing, but there is much more to this story, than the Madonna and the baby statue…

Not only does Sarah Kennedy know her history, she also creates a story that will stay with you. I was in awe of Catherine and her dignity, and honor. She is a woman that believes in herbal remedies, and does not want to be taken for a witch. In these times, to have those beliefs is very difficult and Catherine tries to hold her secrets in.

Will she be able to?

Will the Altarpiece be found? And, will there be a personal cost?

Sarah Kennedy is a talented writer, and I am excited to read the other two books in this Cross and Crown Series.

4 Stars.

 

 

#BookReview: “The Magic Phone” by Gary Welch

The Magic Phone

Summary:

The Magic Phone is a story of a young girl “Abigail” who lives in a quaint little town on the south shore of Long Island. She’s given a phone with powers that you’ve never imagined from a device that so many of us use everyday. This story will take you on a journey that has many subjects that children, teens, and adults will find very exciting. The novel includes adventure, fantasy, historical events, humor, mystery, science fiction, and suspense. The Magic Phone will take Abigail and you through time, both in the past and the future. The Magic Phone gives you the power to teleport anywhere around the world, defy physics as we know it, allowing her to fly, move, lift, or throw objects that weigh thousands of pounds, manipulate the weather, heal the sick, and so much more. Take an amazing journey with Abigail, the adventures are endless with the magic phone.

Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“The Magic Phone” is the first book that I have reviewed that is recommended for children ages 8-12, and I have to say that it was a truly entertaining and ingenious romp!

I had fun reading about ten-year-old Abby and her family! I trust that any child would enjoy this story. I have asked my niece, Sarah to review it…So, we will be back to post that review once she finishes.

Gary Welch writes with true inspiration and creativity! I am in awe that this book was inspired by a dream that his daughter had.

I was really into the story as Abby learned how to use the phone, and what she decided to use it for.  Pete, the inventor of the phone was too cool! And, the adventures were wonderful!

I recommend this book to anyone that has a young reader in their life. I have loved reading since I was a child, so I know that I would have liked to have had this book on my book shelf back then.

I look forward to more books by Gary Welch!!

5 Stars.

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Gary Welch, Author of “The Magic Phone”

Comment below to enter our Giveaway. Gary is offering one lucky winner an autographed First Edition of his book, “The Magic Phone”.

This book is a great gift idea for your child reader, age 8-12.

Gary Welch 2Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

I began to realize that I may have the potential to be a novelist when I began to read my manuscript, to edit the story. I would read what I wrote and smile, because I thought that the story was coming together well, and I couldn’t believe that it was coming from me.  But, maybe it was when I wrote “The End”; that felt pretty good, and the thought entered my head.  However, it was when the book was printed and delivered to my house. I remember opening the box and pulling out the first book. My daughter Abigail was with me and when we saw the book, both of our jaws dropped and we got so excited. This is when I knew that I made it as a novelist.  

Annie: I can see your excitement, and I am excited to post my review HERE tomorrow.

Q:  Did you ever write fiction prior to this story, or did this story ignite your interest in writing?

Great question Annie!  I did not write fiction before this book. The only thing that I wrote prior was articles and a manual that was all related to physical therapy. The manual was used in my class for the doctorate students who were learning advanced techniques in manual and manipulative therapy.  The story of The Magic Phone started with my daughter, Abigail, telling me about her a dream that she had. I asked her what the dream was about?  She told me that in her dream, she got a phone. Well, I rolled my eyes because she was always asking about when I would buy her a cell phone.  She told me “No dad, the phone I had in the dream was magic”.  She went on about her dream and I was in awe about her story.  In the end, I thought that it was such a great idea, because it incorporated technology that kids love and it added a big splash of magic.  So, I took notes later that day, and about a month later, I began writing the first words in the book.  I had so many ideas in my head when I started, that I wrote almost five full chapters! 

Annie: Abigail needs to share more stories with you, as you are a great writer!

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “The Magic Phone” on July 25th, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

The thought that I had finally finished this project!!  That was pretty exciting. Although, I would say that the most exciting moment during this time was when someone wanted to buy a pre-first edition, and wanted me to sign it!! What? You want me to autograph the book? That was really cool. Nobody had ever asked for my signature before.  

Annie: Here is Gary at his release party, signing a book for his fan, Rachel!

Gary Welch with Rachel

Q:  Do you think you will always write for the 8-12 age group?

No, I don’t thinks so. As this story progresses, the main character will get older, along with her target audience.   

Q:  When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

I would write at night when the household would settle down, but I needed at least two hours of uninterrupted time or I wouldn’t even try to begin writing again. When you have a full time job, a part time job, a wife and kids it may be a few weeks before you have a chance to write something down, and when this happens, you have to remember where you left off or have to re-read some of the chapter to get back up to speed. Then, I would begin to write more of the story.  Let me tell you where I wrote the most, which was surprising to me. It was when we would go on a trip or when I would travel.  I could zone out the world around me and get entrenched into the story.  I remember when we would drive up to Maine; my wife would do the driving so that I could write.  Seriously, I would look up, amazed that eight hours went by so fast, and we were there already!!  I wrote most of this story on my Ipad and transferred it over to a Mac book pro towards the end of my writing.  

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

Being immersed in the story while all of this creativity comes out of nowhere. Words filling the pages, forming a story that you hope people will enjoy. While writing this book, I felt like I was on this amazing journey with Abigail, wishing at times that I owned the magic phone, and what I would do with it, if it were mine! So, writing the story, the creative part coming together, and accomplishing your goal when the book is done. 

The Magic PhoneQ:  I see you have many jobs, so how did you find the time to write “The Magic Phone”?  How long did it take to write?

Ok, let summarize all the things I have been doing lately.  I own Spectrum Physical Therapy with my wife. I’m the manager at another PT facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory, and I’m an adjunct professor at Stony Brook school of Physical Therapy, and Touro College’s residency program in physical therapy.  I was actually asked this question quite a few times by my patients, and I remember telling them “I don’t know where I had the time” It was difficult at times. When you own a business, it is pretty much a 24/7 job, but I was motivated by the potential this story had and to continue on to see what would happen next. All in all, it took me 2 ½ years to finish writing and editing it to the best of my abilities.  

Annie: You are rather inspiring!!

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

I’ve started the next book, but I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to it yet; because, as an independent writer who self-published, I have spent a lot of time marketing this book. There’s a lot to do after you publish. My son Gary, helped me with creating the website, http://abbysmagicphone.com/ , I needed to start the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/themagicphone,  which helps me reach out to fans.  I also started reaching out to libraries to schedule book readings and signings, and send the book out for reviews, etc…  I really hope to continue the second story real soon. Time permitting, the entire story will require three books. I know how the second and third books end too!!!  And the end of the third books ties into the first chapter of this book.  I can’t wait to accomplish this and I know everyone will like how the story progresses from a ten-year-old girl to a teenager and then to a young adult. Each story gets more intense, when Abigail learns how to become one with the phone.  

Q:  Any advice for someone that wants to write a book?

Yes, it takes a lot of work to get the book written, edited, illustrated, interior set, cover designed, formatted for eBook, uploaded, and then published! But the sense of accomplishment is awesome! Keep your chin up and persevere; there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Also, I encourage a new writer to forward their manuscript to literary agents and publishers. I didn’t have any luck with that route, and 99% of them didn’t even respond to my story. This was discouraging, and I didn’t want to self publish; but, in the end, self-publishing isn’t such a bad trade off.  Self publishing is flourishing these days with all of the new opportunities out there. You can set up an account at Amazon and the Itunes store for free. If self-publishing, I would recommend uploading your finished manuscript and cover to Ingram Sparks. Their printing services are second to none and they get your book out to well over 3,000 libraries and bookstores worldwide. In fact, two days later, the book was on the Barnes and Noble website. When I uploaded the eBook to Amazon, it only took five hours for the book to be available, and the hard cover and paperback from Ingram was carried over, and right next to the eBook at Amazon.  

Q: Lastly, Book or eBook??

Personally, I like the physical book, but you have to satisfy the market. Therefore, I would recommend both the book and eBook. Oh, and you can upload your manuscript in PDF and Ingram Sparks will convert it to an eBook format for a nominal fee. The cost to convert this book was around $120, where other companies were going to charge me four to five times that amount.

Annie: Thank you for all of this “inside” knowledge…You are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

 

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Get to know Vicki Abelson, author of “Don’t Jump”

Vicki AbelsonComment below for your chance to win a print copy of her book, “Don’t Jump” (US Only)

Q:  When did you realize you wanted to add author to your list of accomplishments?

On October 27th, 2015, when Don’t Jump was published and I became one.  Seriously, during all the years writing the book, I barely considered myself a writer, let alone an author. There’s something kind of weighty and serious about that title isn’t there?  

Don’t Jump began as a two-page rant. I showed it to my writer husband and he encouraged me to continue. When I’d written about twenty pages I committed to seeing it through, having no idea it would be a thirteen-year journey. 

I’d written a screenplay and some television treatments, one was even optioned, but, it wasn’t until I published my first column in The Huffington Post  that I called myself a writer without looking over my shoulder to see if the authenticity police were about to haul me in for fraud.  

Q:   I love your cover.  How hard was it to choose one? 

Thank you. I do, too. It exceeds my highest imaginings. I’d had a few ideas over the years and had brainstormed them with smart, creative people.   Vicki Abelsons Dont Jump

Over a lunch with publisher, Lawrence O’Flahavan, we discussed the book, and some of the ideas which had been bandied about. After about an hour, Larry picked up a pencil and a scrap of paper and started sketching. I have no idea how he came up with the traffic signal, but as soon as he did, it became the perfect focal point. He continued to add elements and allowed me a couple… but, the genius of it, is his.  

Q:   Can you tell me more about your Literary Salon, “Women Who Write”?    

My original intention was to transform the prose into a play.  That was my ultimate goal from the get-go. When I began working with editor David Tabatsky on the revision of the first draft, I was new to Los Angeles and had no idea how to get stage time to workshop the thing. David suggested I start my own group––invite others to read with me, and local mommies to listen. I knew a few respected writers, and well-known performers who wrote, and used that as my hook, whilst slipping in a chapter of mine each month. When, six months in, Carol Leifer asked if her friend, Academy Award Winner, Marlee Matlin, could come read, that was the game-changer.  With the help of introductions from friends, Facebook, and even Twitter, the readers and musicians who’ve read and performed for us rivals any talk show, and many of the women who attend are equally accomplished.  

Over the eight years we’ve morphed into a solid community of support, friendship and fun. We have writing workshops, I coach individually, and we have a Facebook group where all are encouraged to promote their work, ask for help, guidance, and support. We have 30-Day Writing Challenges and many of us are accountable on the site, daily.   

We support each other’s work and projects in the real world, collaborate, socialize and have become very much like family.  

First-timers are welcomed into the fold as if old friends, and, we’ve opened the door to some special men.  

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “Don’t Jump”, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

A few months prior to publication I sent the manuscript out to people I respect and admire in hopes of gathering blurbs. Who the hell was I? I was the host, who wrote, they were the authors––accomplished celebrities.  I was more than a tad terrified. Within two days, responses started coming in––beyond my wildest dreams. I hoped the book would resonate… I had moments over the years where I believed it was worthy… and, more, where I doubted it. Not a negative word came back. The reactions were effusive… thrilling. The books were available for order on pre-sale. Inadvertently, Amazon jumped the gun and sent out about a bunch of books before the launch. The gift of the error was discovering that not only were people ordering the book, they were reading it… for the most part in a couple of days, and have continued to. It’s been an extraordinary validation.  

I had an amazing launch party, thanks to Annie and Jake Deptula (brother and sister producing partners), with incredible music from the Night Train Music Club and a stellar turn-out of amazing people. Selling and signing books for the first time was an absolute trip. Living the dream…  

Being a guest on radio shows and podcasts, answering questions rather than asking them has been a  “please pinch me so know this is real” continuing excitement.  

Q:  Does your character “Andi Stone” represent you or anyone you know?

Yes.  

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?  

There are many authors who resonate with me. I’m not sure my style compares to any of them, specifically, but I’ve surely been influenced by many I admire.

Stephen King’s On Writing is my bible. Which, I’m certain, I’ve desecrated more than once. He was my “ideal reader” as I wrote. Unbeknownst to him.  

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us… 

I committed to writing at least five minutes a day 3,928 days ago. I’m accountable to a very generous woman from my NY writers group who’s received my daily emails for the past almost eleven years.  

I’m at my computer all day and most of the night. Much of what I write most days I post on Facebook. It’s where I found my voice, and my audience. I hate the way that sounds. It’s a “grouptually” reciprocal arrangement.  

I write Morning Pages daily, whenever the spirit moves me, oft late night… I  take notes throughout the day/night for articles I’m working on, treatments I’m developing and the two books which loom ahead. My desk is in the kitchen… it’s open, has good light, and easy access to snacks. When I get serious, am ready to hammer out a final draft, I write with my computer on my lap, in bed. And I don’t get up, till I’m done.  

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar transformed me. I adore Dostoyevsky, especially, The Brother’s Karamazov, Augusten Burroughs Dry and Running With Scissors, David Sedaris’ Naked, Stephen King’s The Shinning was one of my favorite books, ever, as was all of his work before it and what followed for many years after. I read a load of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and love them both. James Clavell’s  Shogun and Tai-Pan have stayed with me, Love Erica Jong, John Grisham, and ate up bestsellers prior to starting Women Who Write, when memoir became my focus.  Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies had profound effect on me as has Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and Illuminata 

Q:  Can we expect another book? If so, do you want to tell us a little bit about it? 

I have two books I’ve been unofficially writing in spurts.  It was essential to me for Don’t Jump to publish before I turned serious attention to them. One is my misadventures as a sober, single, now, sixty year old woman. WHAT?!? That’s just crazy to me. The other is how I went from being a housewife and mother to creating and hosting a renowned literary salon in less than a year… thanks to the Facebook.  How Facebook has transformed my life in every way. How it can be used for good. Lord knows I abuse it, too.   

I also have a compilation book I attempted to do outreach on last winter. I had zero credibility as an author and got little response from the lofty list I pursued. Perhaps on next attempt I’ll fair better.  

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I’m new school with just about everything. Books… I want to hold in my hand. With a cover, pages and a bookmark. 

I read one book on my computer and iPhone Kindle. It was fun. I read at red lights, on line at the grocery store, everywhere. I get it. I may try another. I’m mostly iTune’ing these days… so, who knows .