#Interview & #Giveaway – Meet author Maha Gargash!!

Maha Gargash ap1Meet Maha Gargash: Author of the newly released book “That Other Me”!

http://bit.ly/ThatOtherMe

She is a fascinating woman and author. This is an interview not to be missed.

Comment below to win one of two copies of “That Other Me”
(US/CA Residents)

That Other Me - Maha Gargash
Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I got my first novel published! That’s when I could introduce myself with confidence as an author.

Q:  As you geared up for your Books being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?
I’m usually geared up even before I finish a book. The most exciting parts are when the editor says we are ready to go to print and when I receive the advance author copies.

Q:  You have written two novels so far; what is that your favorite topic to explore?

I love to put my protagonists in tricky situations or push them to the edge of desperation. I have an idea of what they will do and then, it’s a question of writing it all down. But we all know how characters can get. They take a life of their own and surprise you with all sorts of possibilities—and before I know it, they are the ones pulling me along. The Sand Fish

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

I think this should come from the reader because, quite simply, like most writers, I get so engrossed in the whole process of writing a book that it’s near to impossible to provide an objective comparison.

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

Think of exercise: it always gets easier once the effort has been made with the feet snug in socks and sneakers. For me, it’s the same with writing: the mind alert yet lazy, sifting through all manner of trivial distractions and chores. Should I wash that mug or watch a bit of news on television or play a quick round of solitaire on my Iphone?

I have to jump up and hurry to my desk, shake the mouse to wake up the screen and start. My desk is modern and broad. I chose this shape so that I have hand and elbow space whenever I feel the urge to slide my arms about (a quirky habit). That means I can’t write unless it’s organized. And even then, concentration is not something that occurs magically.

I have to keep telling myself to just sit and do it. And that’s when it comes. Ideas form and flow. Then, the hard part becomes pulling myself away from the story.Maha's Desk
Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Oh, so many!

All time favorites include: Rohinton Mistry and his ‘A Fine Balance’; Arundhati Roy, and her ‘The God of Small Things’; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’; and more recently, Adam Johnson and his mind blowing ‘The Orphan Master’s Son’.

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

There are days (and weeks) when the writing goes smooth as butter. The words and sentences don’t thin no matter how much you spread them. These are rare time spans where everything falls into place, and I find myself thinking, I love being an author.

Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Reading, of course, and photography. I enjoy watching BBC documentaries and television dramas. Years ago, I used to collect tiny perfume bottles. But the interest waned when I realized that the fragrances were not going to stay bottled up forever and that the tiny things might as well be filled with water.

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

Nothing concrete yet. I’m dabbling with many ideas at the moment, flinging a hook with the hope that something will soon bite.

Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I feel more grounded when reading a hardback or paperback copy. It’s to do with the texture of the paper, the solidity of the book, and seeing a page number (as opposed to being told on a monitor) that makes it more real, if that makes sense. Having said that, an eBook brings the convenience of instant delivery (and that wonderful built-in light) and the choice of many books at the same time: very handy when traveling.

For more detailed information on “That Other Me”, Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Author, Sandra Block

Meet this amazing author, Sandra Block! She is giving away a copy of each of her books, which I will post my reviews for this weekend, when most of us are snowed in!!! So, join in the fun, and comment below!!!

Sandra BlockQ: When did you realize you were a novelist?

 I was a poet first. I remember writing on little scraps of paper around seven years old, describing the jet trail from a plane as “chalk across the sky.” My mom asked with some surprise, “you’re writing poetry?” I realized then, “oh, that’s what this is.” I guess I always knew I’d be some kind of writer. 

 

Q:  I see that you are a practicing Neurologist! Where do you find the time to do both jobs? How do you manage both careers?

It isn’t always easy, but it is doable. I usually write first thing in the morning, before anyone in the family is up. For years, I didn’t write because I was too tired after a full day of work, not to mention kids. Changing my routine to writing first thing in the morning made all the difference. 

Q:  Does your medical career help with your stories?

My medical career definitely colors my writing. Both Zoe books were based off memories of my neurology residency, a formative time for me. At this point, I subspecialize in sleep disorders and epilepsy, so I don’t really see some of the cool cases that pop up in my novels. But, I know enough psychiatry to fake it at least! 

Little Black LiesQ:  As you geared up for your Book Releases, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

For Little Black Lies, I was having a medical procedure done on my pub day  (everything turned out fine 🙂 ) so I was pretty much sedated. Not an ideal pub day. For The Girl Without a Name, my pub day was quite special – like a hundred birthdays. One of my fondest memories is an unlikely twitter exchange with Salmon Rushdie. It turns out his newest book came out the same day. In response to his simple tweet of “pub day,” I joked how I was sorry that his book would likely be overshadowed by my book, but “take heart, your day will come.” With utter grace, he retweeted: “Happy to stand in your shadow. Have a great pub day.” to his 1M (seriously, one million!) followers. I still smile thinking about that. 

Q:  How long did it take you to write each book? Releasing two books in one year is huge accomplishment!  

The Girl without a NameThank you! It took me about one year for each. I was writing The Girl Without a Name before I even sold Little Black Lies. When negotiation came around and they were willing to do a two-book deal, I just happened to have one all ready! It definitely taught me the lesson that no matter what happens: keep writing. 

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

I would say Gillian Flynn and Meg Abbot for their colloquial, yet poetic style. 

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

 I write whenever and wherever is my honest answer. As I mentioned above, I definitely put in a good forty-five minutes in the morning. But then I just grab time. I write on my iPad and take it everywhere. I might write while waiting for my daughter at school or my son at a swimming lesson for example. Even if it’s just half a page, it’s something. 

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

I split my reading time between mystery/suspense and literary fiction. For literary, I would say Ann Tyler, Sue Miller, and Richard Ford. Oh, plus Louise Erdrich and Jennifer Egan. (I could go on and on.) For mystery/suspense, I love Henning Menkel, Charles Todd, Gillian Flynn, and Kate Atkinson. Plus Sara Gran. (I could go on and on.) 

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

I would say the writing community. I belong to a group of women writers (shout out the Tall Poppies!) Some days writing is drudgery, some days it’s a joyful. The publishing side is also full of highs and lows. But writing friends are always there for you. That’s been a wonderfully unexpected side benefit. 

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook??

Both, baby! Read, read, read, I don’t care how you it!

#Spotlight & #Excerpt ~ “The New Mrs. D” by Heather Hill

The New Mrs. Dclp button

 

The New Mrs DSummary:
Four days into their honeymoon in Greece, Bernice and David Dando have yet to consummate their marriage and after having accepted his almost non-existent desire for sex throughout the relationship, Bernice finally discovers the reason; he is addicted to porn. Learning that the love of her life chooses the cheap thrill of fantasy over her is devastating but then, ‘every man does it; it’s just looking, right?’ If she leaves the relationship because of virtual adultery, will she be labelled as pathological, overreacting, or even worse, frigid?

When funny, feisty, forty-something Bernice plans the adventure trip of a lifetime, she doesn’t expect to be spending it alone. But as it turns out, unintentionally contributing to a Greek fish explosion, nude karaoke and hilarious misadventures with volcanoes are exactly what she needs to stop fretting about errant husbands and really start living. But when Mr D tries to win her back, Bernice has a decision to make: is this a holiday from her humdrum life, or the start of a whole new adventure?

“The New Mrs D is a refreshing, sharp-witted and empowering romp that reflects real life, delves into unspoken about subjects and slaps the reader in the face with honesty.” Fleur Ferris, author

It is a story about one woman’s midlife awakening… on her honeymoon alone.

Click Here for My Review

Excerpt:

Would a stolen pencil really warrant such an elaborate daylight operation? Of course not, stupid woman. Maybe I was being mugged. Was it the stash of Euros in my purse I’d flashed while paying for the moped? Oh no, wait – they surely weren’t after my faux diamond emblazoned Primark flip-flops?

In a panic, I kicked one off into the path of an elderly couple as they strolled out from a hotel car park. The shoe shot straight into the old man’s portly, bare stomach with a sickening slap.

‘They have the diamonds!’ I called, mercilessly pointing them out to the gangsters before whizzing onwards to make my getaway.

But it was all for nothing; the roar of bikes continued behind me. I slowed to turn a corner into another side street and heard a shout.

‘Stop! Mrs Dando! You stop NOW!’

What on earth could they want? I reached down with one hand, trying to take the other flip-flop off to throw back as a ransom, but dropping it instead. As I cursed myself and looked up, an ancient Greek woman on a scooter was zipping round a bend straight at me, only swerving at the last second to avoid a collision.

‘What the…’

‘WAAAAHHHH!!!’ We screamed the last part in unison; ‘Waaaahhhh’, it transpired, being the international synonym for ‘OH SHIIIIIT!’ In an instant, her front wheel bounced off the kerb, sending both the old lady, and the basket of lemons balanced on her handlebars, flying, Frank Spencer style through the air towards a couple of teenage boys. Christ, I’m in a Carry On film.

‘Save the lemons!’ I called back, rattling onwards with no time to look behind again or wonder why my first manic thoughts were for Frank Spencer and the fruit – not the little old lady. Speeding away from the increasing chaos behind, I rounded a honking car pulling out from a driveway and yelled at its startled occupants, ‘CALL THE POLICE!’

Despite the throttle being fully open it seemed the tiny moped engine had no more to give and the roar from the biker gang got closer. Turning round once more, I could see the two bikes were still in hot pursuit, and for the first time I noticed the boy had a very fat man riding pillion. So there were four of them! And the fourth had mad lady-killer written all over him. Heart pounding with fear, I grabbed the nearest thing to a weapon from the moped basket and began hurling ammunition overhead at the assailants. However, taking my eyes off the road to lob miniature chocolate croissants was a last, fatal mistake.

Crunch!

The moped bumped straight up a kerb, sending my stomach boinging up to my lungs and my knicker tops rolling back down below my belly again, as the bike came to a near halt. This was it, the end. I waited for my life to flash in front of me… but a massive, spiny bush got there first. Without testing the moped’s brakes and fuelled by an extraordinary burst of adrenaline, I dived off, sending it ploughing, un-helmed, into the bush. This was where, in a moment of TV cop-esque brilliance, I rolled over-and-over onto a grass bank before springing back to my feet.

‘Whoa!’ For a split second, Mrs David Dando was Lara Croft; crime-fighting, tomb raiding stunt rider. That was until My Big Fat Greek Assassin got off his bike and made towards me and I remembered who I actually was. Bawling Binnie – with her knickers rolling down again.

‘Don’t kill me! Don’t kill me! I’m unarmed!’ I yelled, trying – and failing – to get my helmet off before throwing up my hands in surrender to the waiting gang.

‘Other side, Mrs Dando! Other side!’ yelled Zorba the Crook, taking a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe bits of chocolate and pastry from his fat sweaty face. Spying his accomplices coming up behind, I turned around and flung myself face down in the dirt with my hands behind my still helmeted head.

‘Okay, okay,’ I whimpered, ‘just, please don’t hurt me.’

There are moments that should flash through your mind when you think death is imminent; the faces of loved ones, lifelong friends, long-forgotten happy moments, childhood memories. This was my crucial moment – and I was going to die wondering if Greece had body bags big enough for me in this colossal monstrosity of a biking helmet.

The Fat Assassin flopped down beside me and prodded my shoulder. ‘Oh God,’ I thought. ‘He’s really mad! Goodbye cruel world!’

Dear Facebook, today I was so hot. Oops, bloody mobile phone typos! I was s-h-o-t. 

‘Mrs Dando…’

As I lay there with my eyes screwed shut waiting to feel a gun in my ribs, (please God let it be a gun in his pocket) hearing him huffing like a muddy, wet contestant on Total Wipeout, his voice took on a calmer, more sinister tone.

‘I not kill you. You kill yourself.’

I froze. Oh my God, he was going to make me shoot me.

I heard him take another deep breath and cough. ‘Mrs Dando,’ he said finally. ‘You drive with the moped on the other side!’

‘I didn’t mean… I wasn’t… oh!’ Ah. Right… I rolled back over to face him, but again, met with nothing but blackness. Bloody helmet! So, I wasn’t going to be bumped off for stealing the island’s only pencil. Or for assault with a supersized bag of mini croissants.

Twisting the monstrous headgear off and easing myself upright, I was met by four nonplussed faces caked in, well… cake.

‘Oh,’ I said, smoothing my hair in an attempt to recuperate some composure. ‘Well, er… why didn’t you just say so?’

heather hillAuthor Bio
Heather Hill is a Scotland based comedy writer, author and mum of five (not the band). She is one of a rare kind; the rare kind being one of only 0.5% of women who are colourblind. She has been known to leave the house with blue eyebrows on at least one occasion. Her debut novel, ‘The New Mrs D’ is being pitched for film by a British TV comedy producer and Snipper Films.

Website: www.hell4heather.com
Twitter & Instagram name: @hell4heather
Links to buy The New Mrs D:
Amazon UK 
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00P4D57KQ
Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Mrs-Heather-Hill-ebook/dp/B00P4D57KQ
Paperback: 
https://www.bookdepository.com/New-Mrs-D-Heather-Hill/9781634157735

Also available to order at all UK Waterstones, Foyles Bookstores & WH Smiths branches

CLICK HERE FOR GIVEAWAY

 

 

#Giveaway & #Excerpt ~ Courtney Psak’s book, “Thirty Days to Thirty”

clp buttonSummary:

What if you were on the cusp of marrying the guy of your dreams and reaching that career goal you set for yourself, only for all of it to be taken away in one fell swoop? 

What if this all happened a month before you turned 30?

This is the story of Jill Stevens, who after moving back home, finds a list she made in high school of thirty things she wanted to accomplish before her thirtieth birthday.

With a month left and hardly anything crossed off her list, she teams up with old friends to accomplish as much as she can before the big 3-0. Along the way, she discovers her true self and realizes it’s not about the material successes in life but the journey. 

 Thirty days to ThirtyExcerpt:

“So do you want to talk about it?” my mom finally asks me, taking a seat next to me with a cup of tea.
“I’m not really ready to recap,” I tell her with a mouth full of peanut butter. “I’m still trying to process everything.”
My mother basically got the hysterical gist of it when I called her at midnight, crying, and all she could make out was “pig head … boyfriend … cheated on me … fired … homeless.” She sat on the phone with me while I tried to pull myself together, and finally ordered me to pack up and get on the next train home.
“I understand,” she says, sounding disappointed. “We can talk about what you want to do for your birthday coming up.”
I look up mid-bite to stare at her.
“It’s your thirtieth, it’s a big deal,” she presses.
Yes, I know it’s a big deal. It’s a big deal because that’s when you’re supposed to have your life together. “Mom, that’s really the last thing I want to think about right now.
“Fine,” she says getting frustrated. After a few minutes of silence, she leans forward as if to say something and then retreats.
“What’s wrong?” I ask her, knowing I won’t be able to avoid hearing what she wants to say.
“Well, I mean, aside from wanting to know what happened, I want to know what your plan is to get past this? I don’t want you just sulking around the house for the next few weeks.”
“Come on, Mom it’s been twelve hours since my life fell apart. I can’t get a full day to mourn here?”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” she defends herself, shaking her head as if I’ve blown things all out of proportion. “I was just reading this pamphlet about how to handle adult children living at home that I downloaded off the Internet.” She stands up and pulls it out of a drawer underneath the phone. Then she hands it to me. I scan it over. “When the Empty Nest Becomes Full Again,” I read. “I don’t plan on being here that long,” I say, handing it back to her. “Think of it as a two-week vacation.”
She doesn’t say anything. She simply shrugs and puts the pamphlet back in the drawer.
Finally, I give in and proceed to tell her what happened. My father, who’s come in from the garage to get his keys out of the drawer, listens in and eventually joins us at the table.
“Those bastards,” he contributes.
“Tell me about it,” I say, looking down at my milk and swirling the liquid inside the glass.
“Can you sue them?” my mom suggests.
“For what, exactly? Even if I could, it’s a law firm. You ever try to sue a bunch of lawyers?”
They’re both silent for a moment and give each other nervous looks. It’s obvious they’re trying to be supportive but they don’t really know what to say.
“It’s fine.” I try to convince them and myself. “I’m going to call a headhunter first thing Monday morning and I’m going to bounce back from this in no time. I’ll start looking at apartment listings today. Everything will be fine.” I stand up from my chair.
“I think you should at least stay here until you find another job,” my mother says. “There’s no sense in you getting an apartment somewhere and finding out your job is a far commute.”
Stay here? I do a double take. I can’t imagine doing that. “Mom, it’s New York. No matter where I get an apartment, as long as it’s in Manhattan, the commute will be doable.” I stand up and dump the remainder of my milk in the sink and load my glass and plate into the dishwasher.
“Well, what if you don’t get a job in New York?” she says, turning around in her chair to face me.
“Why wouldn’t I get a job in New York?” I ask, confused, as I close the dishwasher and stare out the window. I feel my body turn to ice at the thought.
“Well, Jill,” my dad says, “the job market is pretty bad, and as great as your resume and your education are, there may not be a lot of opportunities out there.”
“All we’re saying is maybe you’ve outgrown the city, and maybe now it’s time to settle somewhere closer to home. Maybe you’ll meet someone and settle down,” my mom concludes.
“Really?” I say, shaking my head. “You’re really giving me the you-aren’t-getting-any-younger speech when I’m already at the lowest point in my life?” I start to storm towards the hallway. I really don’t need to be hearing this right now.
“Sweetie, it’s not that I’m trying to kick you while you’re down, I’m just saying maybe it’s time to start reassessing your life.” My mom stands up to follow me.
“Thanks for the talk,” I say, walking past her and back up to my room. I suddenly feel like I’m a teenager again as I slam the door to my room.
“Marilynn, she just got home. Go easy on her,” I hear my dad defend me.
“Martin, I’m just following the pamphlet,” she insists.
“Well stop reading,” he says. “This is our daughter, not a case study.”
Living at home with my parents in my thirties? Maybe I really am a case study. I barely made it out alive the first time, how the hell am I supposed to do it all over again?

Blog Tour

November 17 – Chick Lit Plus – Review

November 18 – Book Groupies – Review

November 19 – Chick Lit Goddess – Q&A& Excerpt

November 19 – Change the Word – Q&A

November 24 – Love Chick Lit – Review & Excerpt

November 25 – Queen of All She Reads – Excerpt

November 27 – Authors and Readers Book Corner – Excerpt

November 27 – Granny Loves to Read – Review & Excerpt

December 1 – Annabel and Alice – Review

December 2 – Wendi Nunnery – Review

December 2 – A British Bookworm – Excerpt

December 3- The Write Review – Excerpt

December 4 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews – Review, Q&A & Excerpt

December 4 – The Phantom Paragrapher – Review

December 7 – Reecas Pieces – Review & Excerpt

courtney psakAuthor Bio:

Courtney Psak is a New Jersey native who grew up with a passion for reading and writing.
After traveling the world, she settled into New York City where she earned her Masters in Publishing.
She is a member of the National Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.
She currently resides in Hoboken with her husband. 
She spends her weekends seeking adventure through hiking, skiing and traveling.

website:
http://www.courtneypsak.com/

goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14358396.Courtney_Psak

Author Central/ Amazon
https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/CourtneyPsak

Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/courtneypsak/

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

Blog:
https://courtneypsakauthor.wordpress.com/ 

Purchase Links below: 

Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Thirty-Days-Courtney-Psak/dp/0996815910/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447422443&sr=8-1&keywords=courtney+psak

Barnes and Noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thirty-days-to-thirty-courtney-psak/1122917276?ean=2940152449723

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/589711

GIVEAWAY LINK

 

 

 

 

#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 .

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Meet author, Ann Troup!! and, enter her Giveaway!

Meet Ann Troup, the Author of “The Lost Child”. Comment below for your chance to win an eCopy of her book along with a $10 Amazon Voucher!!

Ann Troupe PicQ:  When did you realize you wanted to write a book?

I knew that I wanted to be a writer, or more accurately a novelist, in my early teens though I didn’t write my first full length novel until I was in my twenties.  I did write a play when I was eight, which was performed at my primary school I do recall that it was very tragic and deeply romantic and probably quite terrible – I’m sure my mother was cringing in the audience. So, I have always written for my own pleasure but didn’t become serious about publication until I hit my 40’s and had the necessary time to devote to it. 

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release on May 19th, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

The single most exciting aspect was the enthusiasm and great feedback from book bloggers who had received advance reader copies of the book. Knowing that people who love books, storytelling and sharing their passion had enjoyed my work and wanted to shout about it was a fantastic experience and for me definitely the most exciting part of the process. Everything else was exciting and daunting in equal measures, when you have written a book and it is unleashed onto the world there is a feeling of exhilaration and fear – it can make you feel very vulnerable, very humble and very hopeful.  

Q:  Where did you get your inspiration from for this book?

I’d had the idea for some time. In the town where I grew up a girl had gone missing and years later that incident turned out to be connected with terrible crimes. I used to work as a psychiatric nurse and worked with some of the people who had been affected by the crimes and the losses they had caused – the dynamics of it stayed with me and formed the seeds of the story that became The Lost Child. The book is purely fictional, as are the characters however the relationships, reactions and behavior of the characters is very much rooted in my real life observations of how people behave in unusual and extreme situations. Human behavior is a never ending source of story material.

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

I honestly don’t know. My editor is adamant that she sees a similarity between the stories that I write and the books that Diane Chamberlain and Rosamund Lupton write. I’m sorry to say I had never read anything from either before The Lost Child was published. I have since read some of their work and can see the connection, though not in style. Our similarities lie more in our subjective choices regarding plot and story development than in any similarity of style.

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  How long did it take you to write? Set this up for us…

These days I have the luxury of being able to call writing my full time job, so I now try to have a working day as regards writing and fit it in between nine and five as much as I can – though if I’m ‘on a roll’ those limits are entirely flexible. I write in my home office, which was my daughter’s bedroom before she left home, so we call it the empty nest.  It’s a warm, light and relaxing space, full of all my bits and pieces and I can shut the world out and enter my imagination quite happily in there.  In terms of The Lost Child writing the actual book took around six weeks for the first draft, though in reality from first thoughts to publishable book probably took years. I take an inordinate amount of time with the planning and plotting, but once that’s done the book emerges relatively quickly. By the time I sit down at the computer I usually know exactly what the story is and where it will go, of course there is always room for new ideas to emerge, but the skeleton is definitely there. 

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

Haha, there are too many to list! I just like beautiful writing, thought provoking stories and sheer entertainment. For beautiful writing I would say John Steinbeck (any, but particularly Cannery Row) Edna o’Brien (August is a Wicked Month and The Country Girls) Kate Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum and and Human Croquet) and one of my all time favourite authors Jane Gardam (again, I would read her grocery list, but in particular I love Old Filth, Faith Fox and Bilgewater). I absolutely cannot name one favourite, there really are too many wonderful books and writers.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being a published author? 

Knowing that people have enjoyed something that I created and that for a few hours they have been transported out of their lives and have been entertained by my words.  Chatting to and connecting with other people who love books and writing is also hugely enjoyable, and I love to hear from people who are passionate about the written word. Second to that I do rather enjoy getting paid for doing something that I love – I don’t intend that to sound mercenary about it, but it is rather gratifying to know that what you do can be valued and appreciated in monetary terms. 

Q:  Do you have a new book on the horizon?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?  

I do have a new book on the horizon – it’s called The Silent Girls (It was originally listed as The Unnamed, but we have decided to change the title before it is published in February 2016).

I can’t say too much about it at this stage but it is a very different story that explores similar themes to The Lost Child in regards to how people adapt to terrible things and how their choices form a legacy for others.  It’s a darker story but just as twisty (maybe even a little more twisty…) and full of characters that you will love and hate – I hope! 

Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

Gah! Both, but for different reasons. I love, love, love books – they are my favourite possessions, but I have a modest home and not much room, so I am very selective about my dead tree books. I will always by a paper copy of a book I will read again. On the whole I buy more eBooks now, mainly for convenience, but a book is a book and I will value it either way.