Archive: Meet & Greet Authors (A-F)

Welcome to the Archive Section of

Meet & Greet Authors

All of the writers on THIS page are listed alphabetically by LAST names A through F.

 

*All the information/websites/links were current AT THE TIME OF INITIAL POSTING. As time passes, please be aware that the links provided might not be active anymore.

 

 

Steven Bates

Name: Steven Bates

Genre(s) of your work: Poetry

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Reflections of A Beret (1st edition / 2015 , 2nd edition 2016)

The “After” Life (1st edition / 2016,  2nd edition 2017)

Bio:

Steven Bates was a military brat who has served the public as an armed and unarmed security officer, a police officer, and a corrections officer.  He went on to serve his country in both the Air Force Reserves and Active Duty Air Force as a Security Police/Security Forces member until he was medically discharged in 2003.   Steven has written two books of poetry and is currently working on a third collection due out this December.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?  

I find poetry to be my inner voice and catharsis for dealing with a variety of issues.  The symmetry, rhythm, and ability to impart imagery to the reader or listener help me to convey things that I am not able to in a normal voice.  I find that poetry gives me the connection to the listener/reader that I would not normally have, and as such, gives the reader/listener a connection to the heart and soul of what I am trying to make them feel and understand.

 How has writing changed/altered your life?

It has allowed me to help others in ways that I never have been able to before, that of mentally instead of physically, by letting others know that they are not alone in the struggles they are having in their own lives, that others have been where they are now.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Timothy Zahn, Clive Cussler, Margaret Weis/Tracy Hickman, and Kevin J. Anderson.  All because they are able to take me into the places they have imagined, into the worlds they have created, and into the characters that are speaking with such skill as to allow me to suspend any and all disbelief and immerse myself totally into their creations.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I find them to be an integral part of “making” it in the literary world.  My local Barnes and Noble has been very supportive of me as an author and has allowed me several book signings that have really helped get my material out to the masses where they can do the help that I have always hoped they can do.

 What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

They aren’t alone.  Period.  They aren’t alone with PTSD, depression, suicide attempts, deployments, and personal issues that many think they have been struggling with by themselves and only themselves.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Quite a bit.  If not a personal experience of mine then normally my poems reflect an experience that has been relayed to me from another veteran that has been unable to get his story out in other means, or they are created to convey a certain image to make the reader/listener understand the circumstances they would not normally have a grasp of.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

DEADLINES… lol.. seriously though.. I think that having a set deadline helps but it’s the inner desire to get a certain message out for a certain cause that helps me finish my poems, for example, writing a poem of suicide awareness for a suicide prevention rally.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Failure to immerse me into the story, if I can stop when a chapter ends and set the book down, it normally stays down.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Touchy question! For while all should have freedom of speech, certain speech, and this includes writing, might be dangerous, inflammatory, or downright initiative of hostile acts.  These topics, or statements, such as screaming “Fire” in a crowded theatre, while not violent in nature, still could cause mass panic, violence and endangerment to society as a stampede resulting from fear and anxiety as people rush away from an imagined threat.

By the same token, writing can be just as taboo with certain topics.  When society allows publication of taboo mores and ideologies, pedophilia for instance, into the mainstream literary world, then they allow the nurturing of that culture thus endangering that which we hold dearest, our future in our children.

Who holds the standards is not necessarily up to the majority either, for sometimes the majority rule is formulated by the mob rule mentality caught up in the heat of the moment or the cause of the moment.  Majority doesn’t always mean right and while a lot of people might be upset at that notion, imagine if the majority decided in a tizzy that law enforcement be disbanded, as is a popular notion to many these days, and they got their way.  Total anarchy and lawlessness would eventually ensue with mob and gang rule dictating decisions such as who lives and dies, and who eats and starves.

As I said, a touchy subject. and one that is up to a court higher than any circuit court of appeals to decide.  Forgive my rambling.. else I might be censored as well… lol

Where can people find you and your work?

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and on audio at Audible.

my website is http://stevenbates.online/

and I am on Facebook at Steven Bates’ Musings and can be friended at my Facebook page under the name Norelcobronze or Steven  Bates

(and I will send a free autographed copy of my books to the first person that can accurately tell me where I came up with the name Norelco Bronze!)

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Amir Bavar

Name: Amir Bavar

Pseudonym : A. A. Bavar

Genre(s) of your work: Action, thriller, romantic comedy, fantasy, creative non-fiction

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Shutdown (screenplay): 1999

That’s Amore (screenplay): 2000

Beauty Untold (screenplay): 2002

The Angel of Death (screenplay): 2005

Coma (short story): 2007

The Walk (short story): 2007

Superstition (short story): 2007

The Hand (short story): 2008

An Alien in China (screenplay): 2010

Az – Revenge of an Archangel (novel): 2015

Juror 83 (novel): 2016

Last Man Standing – My car needs a wash (screenplay): 2017

Samantha (novel): 2017

Kiss Me at the Finish Line (novel): 2017

 

Bio :

I was only nine when my mother rushed me out of school to board a plane for Italy. It was the beginning of the Iranian Revolution, the beginning of my exile. From there, life became an adventure, from going to school in an ancient castle in Florence and playing tennis on the lawns at Wimbledon, to dribbling a soccer ball on the white, sandy beaches of Brazil. What I didn’t realize was that my roots had been permanently up-heaved and that I would spend the rest of my life trying to find a place to belong.

Can you imagine being nine and suddenly going to school in Italy without knowing a single word in Italian or having any friends? And then, as you’re slowly finding your way, to be yanked away again to live in England? Again, no friends, but at least I was fluent in English. But that didn’t last long either, since I soon found myself in Brazil. Once again, no friends and no language. Luckily, I went to the American school so the transition was a bit smoother, but unfortunately, the Iran/U.S. relationship wasn’t. We were right in the middle of the hostage crisis… more on this later. Yes, you guessed it, I’m writing my own life story.

When people ask me where I’m from, I find myself stammering, wondering what I should say. Am I Iranian? Brazilian? American? No, not really… more like an international, cultural mess. So I say I’m from earth, even though when I first came to the U.S. I was tagged as an alien! On the positive side, as a citizen of the world, I understand the nuances of many diverse cultures and can write about almost anything, usually with a lot of humor. Too bad I still haven’t found a place I can truly call home.

After high school in Brazil, I moved to the U.S. and majored in computer engineering with a concentration in creative writing. I met my future wife in engineering lab and we got married soon after graduation.

In 1999, I wrote my first screenplay, Shutdown, which was considered for production by New Line Cinema with Harrison Ford. I went on to write several other screenplays, and in 2015 published my first novel, Az – Revenge of an Archangel.

Also in 2015, I was approached by one of the jurors in the Boston Marathon bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and wrote the book Juror 83, which for personal reasons was not published.

In 2016, I entered a script competition and wrote an episode for the sitcom Last Man Standing called My Truck Needs a Wash, while working on my novel Samantha which I finished in 2017. Samantha is a romantic thriller with a touch of magic. Imagine Bewitched meets Fatal Attraction! Doesn’t that say it all? It’s currently competing on Kindle Scout, so please go to https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2YWWJWSRZQ9XT and NOMINATE it for publication by Amazon. Thank you!

Right now I’m working on my next novel, Kiss Me at the Finish Line, due for publication in December, 2017. It’s an action drama based on my work in Juror 83.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’m not bound to any one genre. What genre I choose to write mostly depends on my mood at that specific moment, or the premise that pops into my head. From there, it develops almost organically. Originally, I started as a screenwriter and wrote action, comedy, and thrillers. As an author, my books follow the same pattern. I’ve written fantasy, action, comedy, and creative non-fiction. Bottom line, my motivation is to write stories that move my readers independent of the genre.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing is like a pressure release valve. I use it all the time, when I’m excited, happy, angry, scared, confused; when life is simply moving along and I’m trying to keep up. For example, when I wrote Az – Revenge of an Archangel, I was going through a very difficult time when my mother was losing herself (at a relatively young age) to Alzheimer’s disease. Writing that book greatly helped me confront and understand my feelings.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Alexandre Dumas for writing the masterpiece The Three Musketeers. I love the humor and adventure. It is a complete work that encompasses every aspect of life: dignity, honor, love, loss, and survival.

Robert Ludlum for the scope of his work, but more specifically The Bourne Identity. The book is very different from the movie, and for the better. It’s fast paced and adrenaline packed. The writing is crisp and moves at lightning speed without excessive description. I’m a screenwriter, so it appeals to me.

William Goldman for immortalizing The Princess Bride. It’s the perfect love story.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I think they serve a purpose. Everyone likes to go to a B&N, have a coffee, and browse through the best sellers or classics. However, give me a corner mom and pop bookstore and you’ll find me there; that’s where the magic is!

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

When I started writing, it was very clear to me that anything I wrote should be a source of pride for my children. Not because of any success it may have, but because it upholds good morals and integrity. I would never write anything that my children shouldn’t read.

I want my readers to enjoy reading my work. Whether it’s with a smile or biting their finger nails, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that they take something away from the journey, something memorable.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Very much indeed. The best writing is the one that is based on what we know, what we’ve experienced. That should be the foundation of an author’s work.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Honestly, I don’t know. Ideas just come to me, anything from romantic comedies and action, to thrillers. Being an avid reader helps – reading stimulates the imagination, which helps writing. Right now I have four novels in the pipeline. These are stories I feel I need to tell and that is motivation enough.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

It has to be really bad for me to give up. I mean, my character doesn’t allow me leave leave things half done, and that applies to book also. I believe there have been only a handful of books that I’ve not finished, and I’ve read hundreds.

So, to be more precise. I’m very picky about what I read. I look at the storyline and evaluate the writing style and editing. If the latter two fall short, I will not start the book.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. If an author feels strongly enough towards a subject to want to write about it and sign his name on the cover, then that’s their journey to take. However, I do abhor bad taste and will not read things that offend me or are deplorable to human dignity.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Of course! As a professional, I have high standards and expect other authors to have the same. It really bothers me when I read books that are poorly written, especially the basics such as spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Proofread, please!

Where can people find you and your work?

Vote for Samantha: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2YWWJWSRZQ9XT
Az – Revenge of an Archangel: https://www.amazon.com/Az-Revenge-Archangel-Bavar-ebook/dp/B00XIN9ICC

 Social media:
www.aabavar.com
https://www.facebook.com/amir.bavar.5
https://www.instagram.com/amirbavar/

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Karen Bedore

 

Name: Karen Bedore

Genre(s) of your work: (fiction) Romance/Historical/Renaissance

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Bard Trilogy

The Bard – 2015

The Betrayal – 2016

The Brotherhood – 2017

Another Lifetime – 2017

Bio:

On a typical day, one could find Karen in the throngs of adolescent wonderment, trying to create harmonious music-making to these next-generation superstars. From the first squeaks of “Hot Cross Buns” to the lavish lyrical sounds of “Danny Boy,” there is much magic that occurs within the four walls of the band room.

After being fueled by many cups of coffee to sustain the never-ending insanity of middle school energy, she arrives home to the role of wife (to a wonderful husband) and mother (of an amazing little boy), cherishing every moment (okay, perhaps not the whining…).

However…

Secretly (well, not so secret any more), she is an undercover author, who laces up her trainers for a run to build endurance–not just for running–but to escape from this world to an alternate one, where history and romance meet, fueled by suspense–and of course–wonderful music.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I am a romantic at heart, and long to go on an adventure in Renaissance Italy. I have been fascinated with Italy and this time period ever since I can remember, so it makes researching different aspects of them sooooo much fun! And since the Doctor has yet to come and sweep me away in his TARDIS to experience it first-hand, for now, this will have to do.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve always loved to write—I’ve been journaling since 1989 (it was the summer of 5th grade!)  and have started many, many stories, but I either never finished them or they were just ‘meh’. They always seemed to fall short. So I left the writing world to pursue writing music instead, and picked up novel writing again as a friendly NaNo competition between some of my 8th grade students and myself in 2014. I would hold myself accountable by posting my word count on my board in my band room. I never made it to 50K that year, but did surpass 30K, and found the experience so rewarding that I wanted to be sure to finish my story. I had fallen in love with my characters, and it has since become this part of me that I don’t think I can live without.

Writing gives me a chance to escape reality, and it has kept me sane through some pretty trying moments. I had almost given up on dreaming until The Bard Trilogy began, giving me the chance to let go and dream once more. Writing has become such a passion of mine that I have started the creative writing club at the school where I teach, and provide a place for students that love the art of writing enough to become self-published in our annual student authors book.

 Who are your favorite authors and why?

Oddly enough, though I write Historical Romance, I don’t really read it—my favorite authors are in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller (sometimes Historical Fiction) genres—David Baldacci, Steve Berry, James Patterson, and Rick Polad. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a huge Indiana Jones fan. There’s something romantic about adventuring and questing and solving puzzles, whether it’s historical or present-day.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I absolutely LOVE getting to walk into a bookstore and pick up a book. Whether it’s a “big” store or a small local one, I could spend hours there browsing the shelves. It’s another reason why I love libraries so much! There is just something really special about holding a book in your hands. I just wish they would support indie authors more—even with the smaller bookstores it’s difficult to get your books “in store” there.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I tend to model myself after the FMC, especially in “Another Lifetime.” From traits and hobbies, to hopes and dreams, if you know me well, you can easily find “me” in my books! I love RPGs and always wanted to be in a real-life one, but since that isn’t possible, I want to live the stories I create. And well, since they’re fiction and of my own creation, writing myself into them is the only way I can “live” them.

 How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I love my characters. I truly do, and sometimes think that in some bizarre alternate universe that they’re real. I can’t leave them stranded in the middle of a situation!! They need me, and I need them. Sometimes it takes me jumping around and writing scenes out of order, but it’s really the characters that keep driving me forward.

 What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Too much information and not enough plot. Sometimes I’ve come across books that deviate from the plot way too much to try to explain history or politics or whatnot, and I just want to know what’s going to happen already! Some of that is needed to understand the “why” of the story, but there are times where it’s too much. Other things that makes me not want to finish are characters that don’t interest me in the first few chapters or stories with huge plot holes/unresolved issues. I do make an honest effort to give it a good read before I abandon it.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Nope. If you don’t like the topic, don’t read it. It’s that simple.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Overused words!!! I read a book once where the same word was used beyond the point of annoyance. There are thesauruses for a reason!!!

 Where can people find you and your work?

Website: http://karenbedore.wordpress.com

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

Twitter: @Lady_Alcinia

Instagram: lady_alcinia

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/karenbedore

 

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Lindsey Behee

 

Name: Lindsey Behee

Genre(s) of your work: paranormal, fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Paranormalish: A Collection of Writings (2015)

Bio:

I was born and raised in Frankfort, Kentucky. I have dreamed of being a writer since I first learned someone could actually do that for a living. Married in 2009, I had the opportunity to travel the United States due to my husband’s job, living in California and Colorado before settling in Texas. Currently, I am lucky to get to stay home with our two young daughters. This has given me the chance to fulfill my dream and finally get pen to paper.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I have had an overactive imagination my entire life, sometimes to a fault. I’ve learned that writing out the strange thoughts are a great way to exorcise my mind. While I wouldn’t say I only write about the paranormal, I centered my first book around that to help get stories out of my mind that have been there for ages. A lot of those stories are actually based off of nightmares I’ve had as well as true events that occurred to me or loved ones.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I have written since I was a preteen, so it has always been a part of my life. However, in the last several months, I have decided to focus solely on writing and it has been an amazing change! First, my best friend and I wrote an entire novel after a simple phone conversation turned into a creative brainstorming session. And beyond that, I have had so many opportunities to get my name out there pop up, including this author meet and greet!

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Chuck Palahniuk! I first discovered him in high school, and seeing the way he wrote opened my eyes to a whole new world! It seemed like he broke the writing rules I had learned in high school and that amazed me. It made me realize I could push that line drawn in the sand and truly write whatever I wanted!

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

From a reader’s point of view, I’ve always loved a good trip to Barnes and Noble! There is something so spectacularly magical about visiting a small local bookshop, though. From a writer’s point of view, I love the extended opportunities that come along with channels like Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, both of which I have used for Paranormalish and my upcoming novel. Everyone deserves to get their creative work out into the world without having to go broke doing so!

 What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

On a surface level, I hope they get enjoyment. When it comes to my creepier works, I love to think I’ve given someone chills or made a few jaws drop. Overall, though, I hope that when readers realize I’m “just” a stay at home mom, they see that they don’t have to put themselves in any sort of box. I am more than just a mom who sometimes writes, I am a writer! So, they can be whatever it is they want to be, not just what they feel they’re labeled as.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I put so much personal experience into my writing! From a few stories in Paranormalish being only slightly fictionalized, and some being completely true, to just little details like a place of business being inspired by a place I’ve visited. It’s fun to hide those Easter eggs in my work and see if those who know me pick them up.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Oh, this is something I admittedly struggle with. It took me over a year to finish Paranormalish for Kindle and another two years to get it ready for paperback. And there’s no excuse for that! I was the only one to blame. I think that’s a bit of self-doubt. I’m working on that with my upcoming novel. My best friend and co-author has really helped me keep that in check, I’d say. Working with her, and feeding off of her excitement helps me keep my excitement instead of giving in to the self-doubts and thinking the work isn’t good enough to put out there.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Getting caught up in the busy-ness of life! I have two young kids, one of which is in school, and my husband works a lot. It’s so easy to just tell myself I don’t have time to read.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I was actually thinking on this recently when a friend of mine sought out a “taboo” book that was banned from Amazon. I feel it’s a gray area for me. On one hand, I think “Why would someone need to write about [xyz]?” but I think I mostly lean towards the idea that anyone can write whatever their heart desires. Who am I to judge what they enjoy? As long as it’s not threatening a real person/people, or purposely ruining a real person’s life with lies passed as truth, write away!

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

For my own writing, I hate when I start to realize how often I use certain words. For example, in one piece, I noticed the world “little” was always used to describe a character. It wasn’t on purpose, there was just so much story happening in between the descriptions that it took a while to notice. But the important thing is that it was caught and changed!

In reading, I may have a few. First, when dialogue doesn’t sound natural. Saying someone’s name every single time a character addresses them? We don’t talk like that!

I’ve never been a fan of overly descriptive writing. I’m talking things like describing every single aspect of a person’s face, with metaphors and similes for each characteristic. Saying someone’s eyes were cold as ice is fine. Saying their eyes are cold as ice, set in a snowy skinned face with wrinkles like rivers flowing to the sea around a great mountain of a nose, is a bit much. (Silly example, I know.)

Where can people find you and your work?

You can find me on Facebook, Amazon and CreateSpace!

My writer’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lindseybeheewriter/

My upcoming novel, Lost in Grey: https://www.facebook.com/lostingreynovel/

Amazon’s author page: https://www.amazon.com/Lindsey-Behee/e/B016SPVYIM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1509202061&sr=8-1

Paranomalish: A Collection of Writings:

            Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Paranormalish-Collection-Writings-Lindsey-Behee/dp/1518837387/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

            CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/5822376

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 Barbara Belford

Name: Barbara Belford

 Pseudonym (if you use one):  Bibi Belford

 Genre(s) of your work:  Middle Grade Fiction and Middle Grade Historical Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Canned and Crushed, March 2015 and June 2017

Crossing the Line, August 2017

Bio:

Bibi Belford is the author of books for middle grade readers: CROSSING THE LINE, CANNED AND CRUSHED, THE GIFT, and ANOTHER D FOR DEEDEE (coming 2018). She lives in the South Loop neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois with her husband. She enjoys books, gardening, beaches, and spending time with her grandchildren. Belford also works as an educational consultant and volunteers in public schools. She is a member of CWA – Chicago Writers Association, SCBWI-Illinois, and has served as a panelist for author Success Stories at the UW-Madison Writers’ Institute.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I wrote my first novel, Canned and Crushed, in response to a former student’s lament that he didn’t read because he couldn’t find books that appealed to him. He was a second-language soccer-loving student that had spent three years in my reading intervention classroom. “What if I write a book? Will you read it?” I asked him. “If you write a book, I will promise to read it,” he told me. Was he surprised when his teacher read the unpublished chapters of a “mystery writer” to his fifth grade classroom and then invited me to come and read the final chapter for the author reveal.

I walked into the room and everyone shouted, “Guess what? An author is coming to read to us today.” I asked, “Who do you think it is?” Their answers ranged from J.K. Rowling to the school’s Learning Center Director.  “It’s me. I’m the author,” I confessed. “No, it can’t be you,” my former student said. “Now I have to read the book over again, by myself!” My goal is to write books that bring kids joy and create stories that motivate readers to be everyday heroes.

How has writing changed/altered your life? 

I was so busy working full-time and being a mom to four kids I never had blocks of time to finish writing projects. Once all the kids flew away from the nest, I dusted off the unfinished projects, enrolled in writing workshops and rekindled my writing passion. I write almost everyday. There’s nothing as energizing and challenging as creating something. I find the research fascinating and stimulating and developing characters and their relationships is like navigating a complex maze. And if that’s not enough to change/alter life, the network of writers I’ve met and the students who tell me they love Canned and Crushed truly fill my life with joy.

 Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have so many favorite authors, it’s difficult to mention only a few. I love books with everyday heroes that have messages of hope. Middle grade novel writer, Kate DiCamillo, always has characters I want to meet. Jodi Picoult’s books are so difficult to put down because the characters face such current and catastrophic events. Recently, I’ve become a huge fan of Fredrick Backman’s books and his style of writing. The author that probably inspired me the most was Katherine Paterson with her storytelling technique. See? I can’t stop. What can I say? I’m a hopelessly addicted reader.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Although I know that large mainstream bookstores, such as B&N and Amazon,  have helped me as an author sell books, I have a heart for neighborhood bookstores, where I can spend hours perusing and choosing books. Some of my favorite smaller bookstores have ordered my books and sponsored events that promote authors. I hope there’s room at the table for all kinds of bookstores, even though that sounds like I’m speaking with duplicity.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Since I write for middle grade kids, grades 2-7, I want them to put down my book and say, I’m just like that character. I can make a difference in my family, my school, and my neighborhood.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I might have to take the fifth amendment on this question. As a teacher for many years, my mind if full of quite a few characters I’ve actually taught and episodes that I’ve experienced personally.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

There’s a song that I won’t sing here, because my writing voice is better than my singing voice, but it alludes to sitting on the sand and putting your toes in the water. That’s what has to happen to complete a book. Everyday I sit in my chair and put my fingers on the keyboard. Once the writing gets done, then the editing and revising can begin.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I very rarely don’t finish a book, even if I’m not in love with it. I know it’s probably some sort of neurotic disorder, but I feel responsible to the author in most cases, to give it the benefit of the doubt and go the distance with them. On the rare occasion I’ve stopped reading it’s because of two reasons. One—awful writing, labored or excessively contrived prose. Two—inaccuracies in character development or setting details.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Whoa. I’m sensitive to some topics being inappropriate for certain ages of readers but censoring writing sounds like a violation of free speech. In my lifetime books that were originally banned/challenged such as Catcher in the Rye, and Brave New World, are now found in libraries.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work? 

I understand the importance of social media in today’s world of book promotion, but it’s still a pet peeve. I wish my time could be spent writing and the publisher had the budget to promote my book. It’s been a huge learning curve to get up to speed on self promotion. Did I say up to speed? It’s probably more accurate to say, barely approaching minimum speed!

And regarding reading others’ work, I’m a member of a group of seven writers, all writing different genres, from cozy mystery to dystopian YA. We read each others’ work and meet once a year to critique in person. We are all open to criticism and suggestions and it’s an absolutely invigorating process, a gift, that we can share with each other. So, if reading others’ work ended up not being like what I know, then I would have a pet peeve. From my experience pets, especially pet peeves, require a lot of maintenance and can be messy, so the less I have the better!

Where can people find you and your work? 

Amazon: http://a.co/bjJo3gM (link to Crossing the Line)

Amazon: http://a.co/4Ts61sn  (link to Canned and Crushed)

 http://www.bibibelford.com/

https://www.onlineprnews.com/news/931783-1500219994-new-kids-novel-crossing-the-line-by-bibi-belford-set-during-historic-chicago-race-riots.html

https://twitter.com/BarbaraBelford

https://www.facebook.com/bibibelford/

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Shelby Bentil

Your Name: Shelby Bentil

Genre(s) of your work: Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Diminished Dreams/2017

 

Bio:

Born and raised in Newark, NJ, in one of the city’s deplorable housing projects, success was the only option. I fell in love with writing and reading as a child in grammar school. It became my outlet because I could escape reality through the words of the author.

 

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I choose to write Fiction because there aren’t any restrictions. When writing essays in English class we always followed very specific rules with a very specific format and use only the information given. With fiction writing there is more freedom of expression. It’s my story told my way.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Through writing I was able to gain my own voice and express my emotions and views without criticism. Growing up as the youngest of 3 girls no one cared about what I wanted to say. Through writing, what I believe, feel and care about matters.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

One of my favorite author’s is Gary Paulsen. My first chapter book was by him, Sarny: A Life Remembered. The Prequel, Nightjohn is still one of the most memorable books I ever read.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Hopefully my readers will be motivated to live fearlessly and positively after reading Diminished Dreams. I want them to be inspired to live their life for themselves instead of for others.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

The lesson’s I learned throughout my life help to give me ideas for the basis of what I want the book to be about. My imagination leads the way after that.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

The last thing I would want in my life is to live thinking should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. This pushed me to complete Diminished Dreams and pursue publishing.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

The only time I haven’t finished a book was because I felt the book was dragging.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

The only pet peeve I have when writing my own work is writer’s block. I don’t have any when it comes to the work of other people.

Where can people find you and your work?

Anyone can purchase Diminished Dreams on Amazon and Barnes and Noble or on the 13th&Joan website when the book becomes available. To know more about my journey to being a published author and me, you can follow me on any of my social media accounts.

https://www.facebook.com/DiminishedDreams/

https://www.instagram.com/shelby_bentil/

http://13thandjoan.com/shelbybentil

https://twitter.com/shelby_bentil

 

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David W. Berner

 

Name: David W. Berner

Genre(s) of your work: Memoir, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Accidental Lessons (Strategic, 2009)

Any Road Will Take You There (Dream of Things, 2014)

There’s Hamster in the Dashboard (Dream of Things, 2015)

Night Radio (Cawing Crow Press, 2016)

October Song (Roundfire, 2017)

Bio :

David W. Berner has been a fixture in Chicago broadcasting since 1988, working for CBS radio and contributing stories to pubic radio stations around the country. He has also written for the arts magazine, Clef Notes Journal and several other publications, and has been an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago since 2004.

He recently completed his tenure as the Writer-in-Residence at the Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park and was the Writer-in-Residence at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando in 2011. He has published five books. Any Road Will Take You There was awarded a Chicago Writers Association award and There’s a Hamster in the Dashboard was named one of the best books of 2015 by the Chicago Book Review.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I mostly write memoir and creative nonfiction. I’m most at home telling stories I have lived through or at least gleaning material from my life. My background as a journalist has helped, making  me a pretty good observer and this includes observations on my own life. 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Immensely. When I started my first book, Accidental Lessons, I discovered how much writing meant to me. I had always been a storyteller, in one way or another. When I was paperboy as a kid in the 1960s and 70s, I was, in many ways, delivering stories. Then it was music—playing and writing as a young man. Broadcasting and journalism was all part of it, too, of course. So writing books was always on the periphery. But when I finally figured out how to do it reasonably well, really discipline myself with a meaty story to tell, I found what truly made me tick. 

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorites writers are usually the ones I’m reading at the moment. But I remain a Jack Kerouac and a Ernest Hemingway fan. I guess I’m a little old school. But I recently discovered Percival Everett. He is wonderful. So Much Blue may be the perfect novel. I also love Joan Didion and one of my favorite all-time books is Gretel Ehrlich’s The Solace of Open Spaces. It is a marvelous book.  Currently I’m re-reading John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, his nonfiction book about the cross-country trip with his dog. I had forgotten how very, very good that is.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

If you’re talking about the Barnes and Nobles of the world—they have their place. But they are less and less bookstores and more the proprietors of greeting cards, silly games, and coffee treats than booksellers. Not many around anymore after the demise of Border’s. I love the independents and they are experiencing a bit of a renaissance right now. We have some great ones in Chicago. My favorite is The Book Cellar. Still have to be supported for them to thrive. So get going! 

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Nearly all of my work is about redemption in all of its forms. I think that’s what life is about—renewal. We all are trying to find ways to reawaken ourselves, discover our truth paths, or reinvent our lives. I think this is the overriding theme of most of my writing. I guess I want readers to see their own lives in my stories. It’s not that my life is so meaningful; it’s that we all live lives that are meaningful in someway or to someone.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Absolutely everything. It’s what I write about. 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

It sounds cliche but I feel a NEED to write. It is what I do. If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it, doing research or reading. Motivation for me comes from the absolute necessity to write; it’s t like eating. Plus, reading great writers. That motivates the hell out of me.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If it doesn’t hit me in the heart. I try to finish all my readings, certainly books I am reviewing, but there have been some I just did not find a connection with. I have even put aside a Pulitzer Prize winner and never finished reading it. I won’t say which one. 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Absolutely not. No censorship. None.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Obsessive dialogue or dialogue that isn’t real. I also don’t like stories that feel a need to tie up all the loose ends. Life is full of loose ends! Let them be. And please don’t start your story with a weather report. So many newbie writers do this. But this said, there is room for breaking the rules, even mine. (Although I wouldn’t call my pet peeves rules. They are just things that don’t work for me.) I conduct workshops a lot, including a recent one at the American Writers Museum and I really encourage writers to do more reading; read the classics, the best of the best. It will help.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon. Any bookstore. If they don’t have, they can order.

www.davidwberner.com

Twitter: @davidwberner.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/david.w.berner

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Vic Broquard

 

Name: Vic Broquard

Genre(s) of your work:

I’ve written a number of computer programming texts on C++, C#, and Windows MFC programming. Ten are in print today.

I’ve also written fifty-five published novels. My three genres are Sci-fi, fantasy, and YA.  I tend to write in series.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Without Warning (fantasy)

The Trident Series: (fantasy)

Volume 1 The Trident and the Book  

Volume 2 The Trident and the Scepter         

Volume 3 The Trident and the Resurrection 

The Adventures of Elizabeth Stanton Series: (science fiction)

Volume 1 The Evolution of the Path  

Volume 2 The Great Messiah

Volume 3 Of Kings and Queens and Troubadours    

Volume 4 Chaos in the Aftermath     

Volume 5 Power Plays

Volume 6 Age of Exploration 

Volume 7 Abducted   

Volume 8 The Emperor and Empress

Volume 9 A Job Worth Doing

Volume 10 Degradation        

Volume 11 The Second Crusade        

Volume 12 When Worlds Collide      

Volume 13 Dark Ages

The Lindsey Barron Series: (fantasy YA)

Volume 1 The Rod of the Apocalypse

Volume 2 The Board of Governors    

Volume 3 The Crown of Moses         

Volume 4 Dominus for President      

Volume 5 The National Health Care Program          

Volume 6 States Justice         

Volume 7 Cross and Double-cross     

Volume 8 Down the Dragon Hole      

Zoran Chronicles Series: (fantasy)

Volume 1 A Dragon in Our Town      

Volume 2 Dragons, Power, Courts, and War

Planet of the Orange-red Sun Series: (science fiction)

Volume 1 When Kingdoms Fall          

Volume 2 Dark Ages  

Volume 3 Age of the Towers 

Volume 4 Difficillis Exitus

Volume 5 Age of the Lords    

Volume 6 The Renegade Tower        

Volume 7 Rebellions  

Volume 8 The Aliens Return  

Volume 9 Power Struggles    

Volume 10 Guilds, Genetics, and Gods          

Volume 11 Magi, Witches, Swords, and Superstitions          

Volume 12 The Voyage of the Eagle’s Seed  

Volume 13 Eagle’s Seed and Origins 

Volume 14 Justifications        

Volume 15 Responsibilities

The Return of the Wizards: Twelve Companions – The Making of Wizards (fantasy)

Slow Comes the Dark Series: (science fiction)

Volume 1 Creeping Darkness

Volume 2 Serendipity

Volume 3 Darkness Descends

Volume 4 Perversion Incarnate         

Volume 5 Extermination Wars

Reclamation Series (science fiction)

Volume 1 For the Want of a Pill        

Volume 2 Organ Donors        

Dragons, Magic, and Me (fantasy)

            Volume 1 The Box

Sol Empire (science fiction) due out this year

            Volume 1 For the Want of Humanity

            Volume 2 Fear

            Volume 3 Greed

The Three Friend’s Grand Plan (fantasy) also due out this year

Out of print works:

Intermediate MFC, Broquard, Prentice Hall, 1998, ISBN 0-13-848276-4

Programming with OWL for Windows 95, Broquard, Prentice Hall, 1997, ISBN 0-13-492273-5

Programming with MFC for Windows 95, Broquard, Prentice Hall, 1996, ISBN 0-13-459546-7

Fundamentals Of Assembler Language For The IBM PC/XT, Broquard and Westley, Merrill, 1990, ISBN 0675-210585-01

Structured Problem Analysis and Logic Design, Broquard and Westley, Prentice Hall, 1985

In the Fantasy Area:
The Jingling Mordo Circus, Broquard, TSR: Dungeon Adventures, 1987
Underdark Tunnel Design, Broquard, TSR: Dragon Magazine, 1988

 

Bio:

Professor Vic Broquard has over thirty-five years experience in the computer programming field. He has programmed in the engineering arena as well as the business and systems programming areas. For the last twenty years up to 2010, he has taught full-time at a Midwestern junior college.

He also does Windows programming consulting for several local firms. He has had three Windows programming books published by Prentice Hall and was the primary author for two other published programming books.

In 1999, he received the “Gallion Award” for excellence in teaching. It is an award given by the students each year for the best teacher at the college.

His books reflect his teaching style and attitude. In his words, “I try to communicate the information in a manner that is easily understood by the student. I am application oriented. That means you will not find my books theoretical in nature nor a rewritten language reference manual. Rather, they are very readable and emphasize the actual doingness of programming. My students end up being able to actually write computer programs in the real-world. In the final analysis, the ability of someone to actually “do it” is what is vitally important.”

He is now retired from teaching and writing novels full-time.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Why I Write Fantasy Novels

I get an enormous amount of pleasure and satisfaction from writing fantasy novels for three key reasons.

One, magic. What would life be like if one could cast magical spells? Such spells range from protection spells, such as my Skin of Stone spell – which protects the body from physical blows from things as sword strikes and even bullets, to offensive spells such as a Ball of Fire. Let your imagination flow freely and then ask yourself just what would live be like for you if you could do such things? Intriguing.

Two, mental skills that mimic magical spells. Often called psi powers, the same considerations apply. What would life be like if you had powers of the mind at your disposal, such as telepathy, telekinesis, and many more? Again, I find such notions highly intriguing.

Three, character development and interaction. I enjoy mocking up unique characters and then “wearing their hat,” writing as though I was that person. In fact, in one novel, I had a high action chapter involving seven quite different and unique characters constantly interacting with each other, making a fascinating read.

Back in the 1980’s, I played a lot of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, even going so far as having an article published in the Dragon magazine and a game module in the Dungeon magazine. That, coupled with my love of Tolkien, led me to write my first such novel, The Return of the Wizards.

From there, I decided to merge magic spells and psi powers. The result was the Trident Series, which also became a love story as well. In the third book in that series, you can find the chapter with the seven characters in action that I mentioned above. Jon Brown has the psi powers, while his new friends have magical spell casting abilities. His friends are each very unique with strong personalities, quite divergent from each other.

One of my students once asked me why I didn’t have a novel involving dragons. So I wrote the Zoran Chronicles in response, making dragons the focal point of that series.

Harry Potter was impressive. I just knew that I had to respond. After all, the US needs its own version. Thus, I began writing the Lindsey Barron series, which soon grew to six novels to tell her complete story.

Then, later on, I added a twist. People can change. What would happen if the main evil wizard that haunted Lindsey in those six books suddenly changed – for the better? Enter the recent addition of the seventh novel in that scene! I’m just now finishing up the 8th, continuing  to explore that huge personality change.

Several years back, they did a remake of Alice in Wonderland as a short mini-series. Impressed with it, I decided to try my hand at writing something akin to Alice. The result was Without Warning, a fanciful wonderland-like fantasy novel.

What I Like Most About Writing Science Fiction

Evolution of people and societies over long time spans. I was inspired to tackle such a broad span by Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series of many novels, which still ranks as one of my favorites of all time.

Okay, what exactly do I mean by “evolution?” There are many, many good sci-fi novels but it takes a whole series of novels to cover say five hundred years of a society’s development. Perhaps, my background in anthropology also tends to push me along these lines.

The fifteen novels in the series Planet of the Orange-red Sun begins with a primitive society located on the fringes of the galaxy stuck in what one might call the Bronze Age of development. Their planet has almost no heavier elements. Iron is so rare that a steel sword is worth “millions.” How can such a society develop beyond such a point?

Just how can a people develop and progress as a society if some have such powerful gifts, while others lack them totally? One solution that is followed is to allow these incredibly powerful people to be the sole rulers of the various kingdoms. Ah, with such ultimate power and no checks on their powers one might well anticipate major disasters will follow.

Does this relate to our own time where giant corporations control so much of our society and dump billions into getting certain candidates elected to political offices?

Evolution of societies: one of the key principle that unfolds is that “the solution to today’s problem becomes tomorrow’s problem.” A secondary key principle is that aberration in behavior is and can be easily transmitted down through many generations, though it can become twisted and distorted as it carries on through the centuries…

…I’m looking at my second viewpoint of evolution – that of aberration or how traumatic events propagate down the ages. For example, a parent abuses child; child grows up and abuses his children in a similar manner. Or a person is raped and thereafter the person is afraid, fearful of … Many of current TV shows are dramatizing this type of situation.

Coupled intimately with this is my personal belief that we are all immortal spiritual beings who have a mind and who are inhabiting human bodies. Call it Karma or whatever, but this notion is reflected in many religions.

An individual person can suffer very traumatic events, events that cause severe pain and unconsciousness or tremendous personal loss. Likewise, a whole society can also undergo a severe trauma. While society is beginning to accept the fact that these traumas can adversely affect the person for the rest of their lifetimes unless healed, my proposition is that since the person, the being, is immortal and will have further lifetimes (Karma or whatever), that trauma is still there and can still impact them in their future lives.

Worse, we tend to forget previous lifetimes. We try to avoid pain, and that other body did just die somehow. Also, the old out of sight, out of mind kicks in. We forget things, especially if those things are no longer present anywhere in our lives. Best left forgotten is frequently the norm. Yet, that un-erased, un-handled trauma is still there, buried deep in what many call our unconscious minds and can still impact our lives.

Just how do, why, and what do such traumatic events have on people and upon a society as a whole? This, then, is the second aspect of evolution that so intrigues me and which I often explore when writing science fiction novels.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It has broadened my grasp and understanding of people and society.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series

Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series

Roger Zelazny’s Amber series

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series

Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series

Tolkien’s  Lord of the Rings and Hobbit

In all cases, because they fuel my imagination and I can follow a character across time.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

They should buy and sell more Indie published books.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

That there are parallels to our own world and times. That there is hope for the future. That there are ways to deal with disabilities. That there are ways to erase trauma, physical and emotional. What can happen if a person has more than one lifetime… Oh, and be entertained, lol.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

In my textbooks, my experience is everything.

However, in my novels, my exposure to the erasure of trauma plays a role. I want others to know and have hope. Beyond that, I mostly study and observe others, reflecting off them.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I’m a panster. When I get an idea for a story, I simply have to tell it. Usually, I have a starting point and an ending point in mind. Then, I’m off, allowing the story and characters to develop as I write.

The problem is that I get too many ideas. Right now, for example, I have eight novels in progress – just got another great idea and started its chapter 1 this week. This year, home remodeling and vacation has cut into my writing time.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Many misspelled words. Horrible grammar. Obtuse writing. Pages of unfamiliar words that aren’t defined. And most of all, boring material that goes on and on.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Nothing should be taboo. Nothing should be censored. HOWEVER, book covers should carry red warning labels, such as Hateful Material, Pornographic, Polarizing Views, Fake News etc.

I don’t want school children reading erotic stories or hate inciting materials, for example. That’s one other reason I like Amazon’s Look Inside feature, so I can get an idea of what the book contains before I buy.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Many misspelled words, bad grammar and punctuation turn me off right away. Where’s the Editor?

A story that goes nowhere, a story that is banal, especially in dialog, and one with overly flowery (literary fiction) prose or lengthy, page after page descriptions also turn me off.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

http://amazon.com/author/vic-broquard

http://www.broquard-ebooks.com

http://www.broquard-ebooks.com /blog

On Social Media:

Facebook

Google+

LinkedIn

YouTube

 

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Angel Chadwick

Name:  Angel Chadwick

Genre(s) of your work:   International Crime Mystery/Thriller/Multicultural Romance/Suspense/ Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-fi, Poetry/Memoir

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Weeping Well (2017)

Corridors of My Mind (2014)

 

Bio:

Angel M.B. Chadwick is currently writing the sequel to the “Weeping Well” series, titled “Weeping Well: Shards to the Grave.” She’s also writing a twelve book cozy mysteries series, numerous plays, novels, short stories, among her other literary works, business ideas and inventions all while raising her ten year old son. She has traveled all over the world starting in her teens and hopes to do it again soon. She currently lives in Mississippi, in a quaint little house on the corner, in a quiet neighborhood in the city, where she is constantly and relentlessly plagued by inspiration.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I write in all genres, with the exception of erotica. I like writing mostly crime mystery/thrillers and sci-fantasy. I like the suspense, whodunit, the mystery. With sci-fi fantasy I like all that entails, especially the world building. But I prefer writing all genres and mixing those genres, because I like what I can do with the aspects of their genres by mixing them together and developing something that everyone can relate to, or evokes emotion or some sort of feeling in them that is genuine, real and human.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I like the dark stuff so Edgar Allan Poe and his works are one, but I also like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bret Harte, Tennessee Williams, William Shakespeare,  Washington Irving, Sylvia Plath to name a few. I love how deep, raw, tragic their characters are. Ralph Waldo Emerson I like the value of his words, their authenticity. These authors works speak to me in depth on so many levels.  I can relate to it.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

All of it. Authenticity, depth and  emotion are very important to me when writing.  So why not use my own experiences.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

What would make me not want to even entertain reading a book would be a book length blurb. You’ve told me everything I needed to know about the book, why would I want to read it, when basically I’ve already read it from the blurb.  For this reason, I don’t make a habit of reading blurbs, if they’re too long.

I also don’t read books with lengthy (like book report long) blurbs. To me it’s like going to a movie after you’ve been told all the spoilers or a good bit of them.  I don’t like spoilers. I rather find out what happens and have my own thoughts and opinions about it.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I don’t like first person. But I have made exceptions. But I don’t read a lot of first person  unless it’s the classics.

Where can people find you and your work?

https://www.amazon.com/Mrs.-Angel-M.B.-Chadwick/e/B00O4KZI8Q/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 https://www.facebook.com/angel.chadwick.10

https://twitter.com/goddessamabo23

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9476119.Angel_M_B_Chadwick

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9476119.Angel_M_B_Chadwick/blog

Buy Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Weeping-Well-Angel-Chadwick-ebook/dp/B01NAOJ4O5/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503340779&sr=8-1&keywords=weeping+well

https://www.amazon.com/Weeping-Well-Mrs-Angel-Chadwick/dp/1541341082/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1503340779&sr=8-1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Weeping-Well-Mrs-Angel-Chadwick/dp/1541341082/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503340874&sr=8-1&keywords=weeping+well

https://www.amazon.com/Corridors-My-Mind-Angel-Chadwick-ebook/dp/B00NLOM0HI/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

https://www.amazon.com/Corridors-Mind-Mrs-Angel-Chadwick/dp/1500796328/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Corridors-My-Mind-Angel-Chadwick-ebook/dp/B00NLOM0HI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503427777&sr=8-1&keywords=corridors+of+my+mind

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Kristina Cowan

Your Name: Kristina Cowan

Genre(s) of your work: narrative nonfiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

I’ve been a journalist for 20 years, and I’ve had many articles published at a variety of publications. My latest and largest project is my first nonfiction book, When Postpartum Packs a Punch: Fighting Back and Finding Joy. It includes my personal experience with postpartum depression, and the stories of other parents who had postpartum mood disorders, in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. The book is a resource for mothers and fathers coping with mental illness during pregnancy or after childbirth, and for the friends, family, and clinicians who help them.

 

Bio :

Kristina Cowan started writing when she was 5. Years later, she earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and these days she covers mental health and women’s issues. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two young children. When Postpartum Packs a Punch is her first book.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

When I faced postpartum depression, I couldn’t find a book that offered true, detailed stories from other mothers who’d been where I was. There was plenty of clinical advice, but nothing from peers. What helped me most was the solace I received while talking with other mothers. I set out to capture that solace in print, and offer it to families for generations to come. Because I’ve been a journalist for 20 years, writing nonfiction came naturally. Still, I do harbor the dream of writing fiction. It’s my next frontier.

 

 How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve been writing since I was 5—maybe earlier. It’s the way I sing, pray, think, and spread hope. Life doesn’t make sense to me unless I write.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

They’re too many to list here, so I’ll give the top few.

Philip Yancey is my favorite nonfiction author. He helps me better understand big issues and how they relate to my faith. He’s humble, he has an excellent command of complex subjects, and he’s brilliant. His writing makes me feel smarter.

Shakespeare inspired me at an early age, and he still does. Name a heartbreak, a malady, a joy; name a type of hero or villain, and you’ll find them somewhere in his work.

Mystery is my favorite fiction genre. My favorite writers there are Tana French and Mark Pryor. French’s prose is lyrical. Her stories are anchored to psychological suspense, not gore. Pryor’s character, Hugo Marston, is a modern-day Cary Grant who grabs bad guys around France. What’s not to love? Pryor has dexterity with the language and smartly weaves in background and description. I forget that I’m reading, and I’m transported to Europe. If I one day come close to writing fiction that good, I’ll be happy.

I like historical romance, too. Natasha Solomons does an excellent job here, with The House at Tyneford and The Song of Hartgrove Hall. Her characters are believable and lovable. The story lines seamlessly weave history with romance, and leave the reader with much to reflect on.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love bookstores. I’ve always spent a lot of time and money in them. After I had children, I developed a new appreciation for all they offer. Barnes & Noble has been good to me since I published my book. I’m not famous, and I don’t yet have an agent, and my publisher isn’t one of the big ones in New York. But B&N agreed to catalog my book, and my local branch stocks some on the shelves. I wish I could say the same for my favorite independent bookstore in my neighborhood. I figured they’d be open to including my book in their collection, but I’ve not been able to get them to return my emails and calls.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

If readers come away with just one thing, I’d like it to be hope. There are wise, empathetic people capable of helping families who struggle through perinatal mental illness. It might take a while to find them, so you have to persist and be your own best advocate. It’s also important for women to listen to their bodies. They never lie. If you don’t feel like yourself, and that feeling lingers, chances are it won’t go away on its own. Staying quiet won’t make it better. Sharing how you feel with someone you trust is the most important step you can take to restoring your mental health. It’s not a sign of weakness, as our society readily suggests.

Modern medicine has redeeming qualities, but it falls short with mental illness. There’s still much it gets wrong. For example, recent research suggests that Pitocin, medication often used to speed labor, increases a woman’s chances of postpartum depression between 32 and 36 percent. Those numbers should send medical experts on a quest to more carefully consider the drugs they give women in labor and postpartum.

Like any art, my book is a snapshot, a moment in time. Research on maternal mental health continues. We’ll get better at reaching, responding to, and caring for struggling families. And we’ll face setbacks. My book couldn’t cover everything, but I’ll continue to build on it through my future writing.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

For the last six years, about half of what I write touches on my personal experience. My book delves into my brush with postpartum depression. My blog posts and stories for various outlets deal with mental health, and how I think we need to change and grow. I lost my brother to suicide four years ago, and I’ve been writing about what I learned through that experience. I hope to write more about men in middle age who face severe depression, too.

The other half of my writing life is pure journalism, where my personal experience doesn’t come into play at all.

I find the balance of this tricky. Writing about myself is difficult, especially because I was trained as a journalist to remain objective and keep my perspective out of the equation. We see this less and less in mainstream media, especially on TV. I value Walter Kronkite-type journalists, who don’t pepper the news with their thoughts and feelings. 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Deadlines are a writer’s best friend. My writing mentor says that often. And I learned that in journalism school—write to finish. If you don’t, you’ve no hope of keeping a job. That served me well as I wrote my book proposal, looked for a publisher, finished the manuscript, went through edits, and polished off the galleys.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If there’s too much description, if the author waxes flowery, if the characters are boring or unbelievable—these things make me stop reading. I sometimes have trouble with books that toggle between the past and present, a trend common in fiction. But if those types of books are well-written, if I relate to the characters, if the tension builds with each scene—then the back-and-forth doesn’t matter. There’s no substitute for good writing.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Typos. My own are the worst. They’re like nails on a chalkboard.

When I’m reading a book and I find a typo, I wonder whether a copy editor had enough time to read as carefully as he/she would’ve liked. There’s no substitute for good editing, whether it’s for content, mechanics, or grammar.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website: https://www.kristinacowan.com/

My blog, housed at my website: https://www.kristinacowan.com/blog/

My author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cowankristina/

My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Cowan/e/B071SDD8P3

On Twitter, I’m @kristinacowan

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Kevin N. Fair

 

Name: Kevin N. Fair

Genre(s) of your work: Upper Middle Grade/YA fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Paper Airplane, November 2017

Bio :

I graduated from Florida Atlantic University with degrees in education and history. I am currently a teacher, having spent the last ten years in classrooms. This has allowed me to see the struggles of teenage life today, and compare it to my teens. There are many similarities, but also some major differences. In many ways, teens have it MUCH more difficult now. Paper Airplane is my debut novel. It has already received wonderful reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and San Francisco Book Review, among others.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

YA stories are the best ones to tell! Who can’t relate to or remember all of the trials and tribulations, drama and awkward moments of their teenage years? It’s such a critical time in a person’s life, and if my stories can help a teen deal with some of the problems they are facing, or bring back fond (and maybe some not so fond) memories to an adult, then mission accomplished for me!

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has always been my therapy, my medicine. Any time I felt some kind of way about something, I picked up a pen and wrote (yes, a pen, I still prefer writing over typing). Paper Airplane, in fact, was written during a particularly low point in my life, as a way for my mind to escape that reality. Without this novel, I might have made some decisions at the time that wouldn’t have been the best for me long term. That’s the power and impact of writing for me. And I encourage everyone to find their passion and make it their therapy, to use it as a means of coping with their emotions.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I grew up on Judy Blume and Rachel Vail. I was already addicted to writing basically as soon as I was old enough to hold a pen. But I remember reading a Vail book titled Do Over in eighth grade, and I was immediately hooked. I saw so much of myself in the main character (named Whitman), and I still clearly recall how much that book touched and affected me. I wanted to make a similar impact on readers.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Bookstores of any kind are very necessary, as technology moves us further away from physical books. There’s definitely a time and place for technology, but I’m old school. I still enjoy the feeling of holding an actual novel in my hand, turning the pages, and escaping into another world.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

One of the most difficult things to do as a teen is to be comfortable with yourself. Everyone, everywhere tells you that you must think, or act, or dress, or behave a certain way. Uniqueness is rarely rewarded. Following the crowd just seems easier in school. The main message I want young readers to take away is that it really is okay being yourself. A person is better at being themselves than they can ever be at trying to be someone else.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

For me, personal experience plays a major role. I envy writers who can create a great story out of thin air. I’m not that good (laughs). My story has to be my story. It has to come from my mind and heart, my past experiences. That’s how I write the most effective narrative.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

To me, it starts with the motivation of wanting to tell the right story. I have to be invested in the story and in its message, and then I focus on trying to tell it in an authentic way.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

A lack of connection. If there is nothing connecting me to the characters, I can’t get into the book. When I say connecting, that can be in either a positive or negative way. If a character makes me angry with their behavior, I will continue reading to see if something bad happens to them. Kind of shallow, I know (laughs). I will also continue reading and hoping for good things to happen to characters I like.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

As a teacher (and student) of history and politics, I am a firm believer that no writing should be censored. The exchange of ideas should always be open and free. Writing, at its best, should lead to conversation and self-reflection. But that can’t happen if it is censored.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Simplicity. I love complex stories and complex characters. Beyond what characters are doing, I want to know why they are doing it. One-dimensional writing loses me.

Where can people find you and your work?

Check out my website, www.kevin-n-fair.com. Every book bought from the site is personally autographed, and you are automatically entered into a contest where one lucky winner receives a framed, autographed 24”x36” cover poster.

You can also purchase other items from my site such as bookmarks, notebooks, magnets, and (soon) fidget spinners. The preorder for Paper Airplane is also available via Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can also follow me on Twitter @KevinNFair, Facebook, the usual. You can also check out my Amazon and Goodreads pages and follow me there, and my blog will be up and running shortly (as soon as I catch my breath from the start of the school year!). I look forward to hearing from you.

 

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Marc Frazier

 

Your Name: Marc Frazier

Genre(s) of your work: poetry, memoir, flash fiction, fiction

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Full length poetry books:

The Way Here by Aldrich Press, 2012

Each Thing Touches by Glass Lyre Press, 2015

I have had memoir from my book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre Cobalt Magazine and Evening Street Review and Punctuate (forthcoming).

 

 

Bio:

 Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review (forthcoming), Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been featured on Verse Daily. His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press). His website is www.marcfrazier.org 

  

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I have been publishing poetry in journals and online for decades but have also dabbled in prose such as fiction and nonfiction. I have just finished my memoir WITHOUT and am searching for an agent or publisher. Writing prose was so much different than writing poetry. It is difficult to describe. I kept having the feeling the work was never finished. That it always needed more work. I revise and edit poems, sometimes over years, but it doesn’t feel as incomplete as prose does.

  

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I now write full time which has changed my life. I had a teaching career and wrote part time. This is so much better. The ability to live the writer’s life. There is a lot of business to a writing career that people don’t realize: all the time in revising, sending out for publication, tracking submissions, etc.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I would say Virginia Woolf, Laurence Osborne, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Louise Gluck. They all write exquisitely. I especially relate to the beauty of language which I hear in my head.

  

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I have no strong opinion about this

  

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Something they remember that is significant to their life.

  

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A great deal although I do write other types of poems, for instance such as persona, ekphrastic and ones based on history or myth that are not I-centered.

  

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

It is just built in. I have to write.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I simply lose interest or can’t relate to the characters. I like a very tightly written style of writing also and don’t have patience for lengthy ramblings.

  

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No I do not believe in censorship. I have found that the publishing community can actually be very prudish. Yes, even in 2017. My memoir pieces that contain gay sex are very difficult to place even though they are not overly shocking.

  

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I don’t believe in self-publishing at all.

Say it once. In the least possible words.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

My poetry books and chapbooks are available on Amazon. My website also has examples of my published writings. Check it out!

 www.marcfrazier.org (website)

https://www.facebook.com/poetmarcfrazier/ (Facebook author page)

https://www.pw.org/content/marc_frazier (Poets & Writers directory)

https://www.amazon.com/Marc-Frazier/e/B00DHX19VG (Amazon)

@marcfrazier45 (Twitter)

marcfrazier-blog (Tumbler)

marcfrazier45 (Instagram)

 

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John Andrew Fredrick

 

Name: John Andrew Fredrick

Genre(s) of your work: comic literary fiction, film criticism

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The knucklehead chronicles (Full Court Press, 2008, London and Los Angeles)

The king of good intentions (Verse Chorus Press, Portland, Sydney, London, 2013)

The king of good intentions II (Rare Bird Books, Los Angeles, 2015)

Your caius aquilla (Rare Bird Books, 2017)

Fucking innocent:  the early films of wes Anderson (Rare Bird Books, 2017)

Bio:

John Andrew Fredrick was born in Richmond, VA and raised and educated in Santa Barbara, CA.  He teaches writing in the English Department at California Lutheran University.  He is the frontman for longstanding indie pop band the black watch.  He lives in Los Angeles and London.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Because in a Hemingwayan sense you must write what you know—and I think at least that I know both the indie rock world and what works in comic fiction:  I have a real yen to make myself laugh first, then the reader.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It made me into a scotch-o-holic for a spell there until my doctor ordered me to leave it out.  Creating characters you are rabid to run home to the computer to be with, as it were, staves off a bit of the unmitigated loneliness of the so-called writing life.  It got me a beautiful and absolutely bonkers Persian Abercrombie and Fitch model girlfriend for a year and a half—my first and last fictional groupie.  That was… interesting and dramatic.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Nabokov because he is mad perfect, a master of the unforgettable phrase. Lorrie Moore because she slays me.  Martin Amis as well.  Henry James and Proust I am stunned by.  George Saunders on account of, well, who doesn’t love him?

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Even the lattes are corporate there.  Fuck that.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Whenever anybody hails me somewhere and says “You know, I really did laugh a lot, John” I am terribly humbled and thrilled and thrilled and humbled.  I hope they realize they themselves must be in on the joke (my narrators always-always mess with the reader) for the novels to work.

 How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Wanting one’s trade secrets, wot?

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I’m like another of my heroes, Flaubert:  very jaded, very bored by most people, by life.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

A more interesting book.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I’m apolitical.  Last time I voted was against Reagan.  That didn’t work out now, did it?

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

The sort of fiction V.S. Naipaul described as “bringing news.”  So so so much MFA stuff!

Where can people find you and your work?

Me on the tennis court.  My work in indie bookstores and at RareBirdLit.com

www.johnandrewfredrick.com    you can find the amazon page—I’m here in LA watching the World Series, hoping the Dodgers lose.  Am a Giants fan who lives a pop-up fly ball from Chavez Ravine!