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All posts for the month August, 2012

Author Interview: Barbara Hosbach

Published August 30, 2012 by jnaomiay

With the political circus going on in all tents here in the U.S., now would be an apropos time to chat with Barbara Hosbach, author of Fools, Liars, Cheaters & Other Bible Heroes.

 Naomi:  Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book. In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.

 Barbara:  It explores 28 Biblical characters who faced life with a variety of personal strengths and weaknesses…just like us.

Naomi:  I’m not sure whether it’s comforting or not to know that fools, liars and cheaters existed throughout our history in positions of power.   What was the hardest part about writing your book?

 Barbara:  Crafting a query letter that would interest publishers.

Naomi:  That is indeed the hardest part which is why many of us just avoid it.  What was the easiest part?

Barbara:  Coming up with subjects. I get so curious when I read the Bible—How did Leah feel when her husband loved her sister more than he loved her? Why did Jesus pick a skeptic to be one of his disciples? I could go on and on.

Naomi:  It seems to me those questions have been asked for at least two thousand years and the debate still goes on and on.  If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?

 Barbara:  A gold crown. One image of heaven describes people taking off their crowns and throwing them at God’s feet. I love that image. It tells me that we don’t have to worry about impressing others with our own glory to cover up our imperfections. The glory is that God is love and we are loved as we are.

NaomiDo you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

Barbara:  I blog about Scripture twice a week on my website. I also make a pretty good meat loaf.

Naomi:  Awesome.  I just buy the meatloaf premade at the grocery storeWhat’s the ugliest thing in your closet?

 Barbara:  The most comfortable, beat up pair of sneakers you ever saw.

Naomi:  I’m glad to hear that.  Some folks have come up with demons and all sorts of odd things.  What’s in the bottom of your purse?

Barbara:  Enough loose change to choke a horse. I don’t have to work out with weights—I just lug my purse around.

Naomi:  I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one whose coin purse regularly dumps.  I’m also glad to hear you’re not carrying around underwear.  I still can’t get over the author who did that.  Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.

Barbara:  All of them remind me of real people, that’s why I find them so intriguing. But if I had to pick only one, I would say Andrew, who actually reminds me of both of my sisters. You don’t hear a lot about Andrew. He’s content to be in the background, but he’s always there to lend a helping hand when needed. Just like my sisters.

Naomi:  Well, they are all sort of real people, I guess, although I suppose that’s been debated for at least two thousand years too.  What’s your favorite game? Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?

Barbara:  Scrabble. Yes, my favorite character would probably be able to come up with words in two or three different languages.

Naomi:  Indeed they would.  Unfortunately, we don’t allow Aramaic when we play.  That would net an immediate disqualification and you’d be ousted from the game.

Barbara:  Really?  Why?

Naomi:  While Barbara ponders this, you can find Barbara and her book online at:

 http://www.biblemeditations.net

 

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Author Interview: Bette A. Stevens

Published August 27, 2012 by jnaomiay

Today, I am meeting my friend, Bette A. Stevens, at the local tea room for a spot of afternoon tea and some of those cute little cake things with the pastel colored frosting.  Actually, now that I look around, everything in this place is pastel colored.  That’s not important though.  What is important is Bette’s new book Amazing Matilda.

Naomi: Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book. In 20 words or less, tell me what it’s about.

Bette: AMAZING MATILDA faces challenges, but she never gives up on her dream.  She succeeds with encouragement from her meadowland friends.

Naomi:  Before we continue with the interview, I just have to say that I am very proud of you, Bette.  You have diligently kept your summary to 20 words.  That must be your school teacher training.  Now, who is your favorite character and why?

Bette: Matilda is the featured star of the show. Her friends, Toad and Rabbit, who laugh at her aspirations at first, play a crucial role by encouraging Matilda to learn how to fly with their own stories of how they learned to do all of the things they really wanted to do. Meanwhile, Sparrow represents the character whose unconditional love and encouragement we all seek and need in our lives. Choosing a favorite character is not easy. I love them all.

Naomi:  I’m afraid I love all these little desserts too but unfortunately, life is full of choices.  Alright, the yellow one.  No wait!  The green one.  If Toad and Rabbit or Sparrow called you up tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something,” what would it be and where would you go with them?  That’s assuming they could call.  Can those little woodland creatures use the phone?  Perhaps they can only text?  Maybe Toad can text but Rabbit has to email while Sparrow just tells Siri to place the call for him.

Bette:  It’s fantasy.

Naomi:  Right!

Bette:  Anyway, I’d jump up and down and flap my wings and say, “Sparrow, I want to be just like you. Let’s fly around the world and you can help me show children everywhere how very special they are. We’ll show them that, like Matilda, they can do all of the things they really want to do!”

Naomi:  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

Bette:  The hardest part was keeping it simple enough for a child to grasp the lessons these characters have to teach us all. I wanted it to be an adventure, a mystery and have a happy ending, all while encouraging positive character traits without being preachy.  And, of course, the language had to be fun and filled with vivid images to “show” the real life cycle of a butterfly. It took a lot of work, a lot of rewrites and a lot of encouragement from friends and family. Like all of those things in life that we really want to do, it was a lot of work, but lots of fun and very rewarding.

Naomi:  That’s so interesting.  Writing a children’s book may actually be more difficult than something aimed at adults.  It’s critical that your grammar is correct and that the book be engaging as well understandable by the age level.  For adults, some authors need only slap a few obscenities together along with a plot line that consists of getting “it” and then getting “some more” and what do you know, a commercial success, commas and structure be damned.  Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

Bette:  I call myself a “nature nut.” I collect everything from seashells to birds’ nests and use them to decorate my home or make baskets or ornaments as gifts.  When I was teaching, my classrooms were filled with all of these treasures of nature. They gave us lots of inspiration for writing, reading and research. I also enjoy drawing and painting and searching for treasures (to me) at thrift shops and yard sales. Now that my husband Dan and I are retired, I enjoy day trips to the coast when we’re not busy renovating our 37-acre farmstead in Maine. Gardening and cooking/baking are also on my list. Oh, yes, I almost forgot READING! I am a member of the Book Club at our town library and am actively involved in a Bible Study. And of course, now that I’m “online,” I’m learning new things about writing and publishing and meeting lots of wonderful new friends, like you, Naomi.

Naomi:  What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?

Bette:  A green mosquito-net hooded jacket that becomes the essence of my high garden fashion when the bugs are out to get me. It is UGLY! But, the veggies are SO GOOD…

Naomi:  Over here on this coast, we don’t have that problem with bugs.  Instead, we have thick slimy creatures called slugs and no amount of mosquito-netting will keep them away.  What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?

Bette:  Lots of tissues, a few bedraggled BAND-AIDS. The grandkids or I haven’t cut ourselves in a while. Oh, yes, the all-important lip gloss and mascara. Those little extras-in-waiting just in case I leave in a rush and forget to put on my makeup. I have made that mistake a few times!

Naomi:  I make that mistake daily.  Then, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and wonder who unlocked the attic door.  Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.

Bette:  That would be Sparrow. She reminds me of my Grandma Babcock. Grandma had eight children and more than 30 grandchildren. According to her, we were all the most unique and important human beings to ever grace the earth’s surface. She told the world about it, too. I got to spend two weeks with her every summer. That was my good fortune!

Naomi:  You were indeed fortunate and with 29 other cousins, it was even better if she was able to recall your name.  Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fiction?

Bette:  Maybe a little bit crazy that I could write fiction. I’ve always loved reading fiction, especially historical and contemporary (including literary) fiction. All of the novels that I have read over the years have played a role in enriching my  life in some way. A creative writing class in college served as an impetus. I got hooked! I had so many stories that I wanted to tell.

Naomi:  Did your friends ever wonder the same thing?

Bette:  Not sure, but, fortunately, if they did, they never told me. Family and friends have been great advocates, encouraging me through sunshine and snowstorms. Oops, forgot to put snowshoeing on my list of things I love to do!

Naomi:  That’s wonderful, Bette and good luck to you. 

Bette and I have finished our tea and cakes are now going to head out in pursuit of antique treasures which others have thrown away as trash.  While we’re auditioning for the Roadshow, you can find Bette and her book online at:

Amazon (Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale)

http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Matilda-Monarchs-Bette-Stevens/dp/1470187663/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341698525&sr=1-2&keywords=Monarch+butterflies

Bette A. Stevens Blog

http:// www.4writersandreaders.wordpress.com/  

Author Bette A. Stevens Web Page

http://angelassignmentstm.tripod.com/cherubs4children/amazing-matilda-a-monarch-s-tale-by-author-bette-a-stevens.html

Author Interview: S.I. Hayes

Published August 23, 2012 by jnaomiay

S.I. Hayes and I are sitting in a spaceport orbiting Derius III waiting for our flight home which unfortunately has been delayed due to weather back on Earth.  At least, that’s what the nasty, three-legged woman at the service counter is telling us.  I think it’s a mechanical issue and we’re stuck here waiting for some part to fly in from the outerbanks of the galaxy.  In the meantime, let’s chat about S.I.’s new book In Dreams  The Road Unavoidable.

Naomi: Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book. In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.

S.I.: Amara tries to ignore the path chosen for her, until she is suddenly rerouted by an annoyingly charming stranger.

Naomi:  I have a feeling we’re going to be rerouted as well.  I hope not to Mars.  Last time I was there I couldn’t find a decent restaurant.  Actually, I couldn’t any restaurant.  They all closed about a millennium or two ago.  Who is your favorite character and why? You can use more than 20 words from here on out.

S.I.:  Awe, do I have to pick one… *sigh, I flipped a coin. Morgan Braith wins. He is the second central character in my Novel “In Dreams The Road Unavoidable.” He is a Meiores Meiore, which translates to Mirror’s Mirror. A species of humanoid that uses telepathy and shape shifting in order to mimic others. But Morgan is not cold and unfeeling like the rest of his clan, which set him at odds with them, so he travels… A lot. I love him because he doesn’t lie, much, and generally tells it like it is whether one wants to hear it or not.

Naomi:  I’m so glad someone in this galaxy tells it like it is.  Certainly not that gate agent.   If this character called you up tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something.” What and where would you go with them?

S.I.   I’d definitely want to go to Zuar-Newy. Just to get there is an adventure in bravery, as you are lifted miles into the air by giant soaring eagles, while you sit in a little metal basket. It is a city where indulgence is encouraged, from restaurants offering worldly delicacies, to an all out amusement park sporting a three-story high roller coaster; it’s a hell of a ride. And if you are the naughty sort, The Dark District is known for its Brothel, where Morgan himself occasionally puts in a few hours for the Mistress Madeline, manacles and all!

Naomi:  Sounds a bit like San Francisco.  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

S.I.   Sticking to the outlines! I have pages and pages, but the brain likes to go on tangents! So I have to catch myself before I veer off into some other direction.

Naomi:  Someday I’ll have to read up on what an outline is.   What’s the easiest part?

S.I.  The banter, Morgan and Amara have a lot of it, it helps you to really get a sense of who they are, and I love it when he makes her twitch.

Naomi:  I imagine they twitch in Zuar -Newy the same way they do in San Francisco too.   If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?  A purple octopus?  An orange hula hoop?

S.I.  A Raven. So obviously, the color here is black. I choose him, because Amara keeps one called Jeremy as her familiar. The bird has gotten a bad rap throughout the last hundred years or so, but before Poe immortalized him as a harbinger of doom, the story was very different. To the Romans and the Norse, they were Oracles, in some Native tales they were the bringers of light to the world. Another of the “speaking” birds, it was said by Greco-Roman myth, that the bird couldn’t keep a secret. Which fits his role in my novel, as he can’t seem to keep his mouth shut.

Naomi:  Neither can a few authors I know, present company excluded of course.  What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?

S.I.   An Opossum, named Monkey. Seriously, I have one of those portable closets; you know the kind, metal bars, and wheels, and I am currently sharing the room with a baby opossum, who I have dubbed Monkey, I don’t know how he got in, but it seems he’s here to stay.

Naomi:  Is he from Zuar- Newy too?

S.I.  Actually, he’s from San Francisco.

Naomi:  What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?

S.I.  Funny thing about all of that. I don’t carry anything. I know it’s very unwomanly, but if I had, more than my wallet on me I would most certainly set it down someplace and forget it. I actually used to lose backpacks when I was in school! I just make sure when I go out that I have enough pockets in my pants to carry everything I need. Cigarettes, lighter, chapstick, and wallet. If it doesn’t fit, it stays home.

Naomi: I’m glad to hear that.  Last week, I spoke to a woman busy carrying underwear in her purse. Name one character in your book that reminds you of a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.

S.I.  That’s a toughie, all of my characters are a small part of me, but The Madame Madeline, she reminds me of my best friend, and Co-Author Will Van Stone Jr. She’s tough, strong willed and doesn’t cut corners when it comes to her opinions. Will is a lot like that. They both also love what they do.

Naomi:  What’s your favorite game?  Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?

S.I.   I love the Smackdown VS. Raw video games. Not for the games them selves, but for their create-a-character options. With that, I have been able to create 3d renders of some of my favorite characters. I think that Morgan would burn out my Xbox360 trying to make his own likeness, as he is his favorite subject.

Naomi:  I suggest he makes himself a little Mii on the Wii.  Amazingly, they look just like us even though they have no legs.   Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy/fiction?

S.I.  I don’t wonder if, I know I am! But you have to be a little twisted in order to write any kind of fiction. Especially now a days, people have an inherent need to escape into unknown worlds, to see things they won’t believe. I hope that I have been able to paint some interesting characters and places and that readers will join me in my little world.

Naomi:  I can see we are all a little more than twisted.  By the time we get home to Earth, we’re all going to be positively pretzel-shaped.  Did your friends ever wonder the same thing?

S.I.  Yeah, probably,  if you asked them they’d say I’m a bit out there.

Naomi:  I wish we were out of here.  Oh yes, hold on, they’re about to make an announcement.  While S.I. anxiously wait to find out if we’re ever going to see home again, you can find S.I. and her book online at:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SIHayes

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/S.I.Hayes.Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shannonihayes

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/SIHayes

Available in Paperback @Amazon:http://www.amazon.com/Dreams-The-Road-Unavoidable-Volume/dp/1478340886

Stumbling in order to Get Discovered

Published August 22, 2012 by jnaomiay

Three of my works are participating in StumbleUpon’s Get Discovered Contest. Here are 3 20-page excerpts from

The Boy who Lit up the Sky

http://www.stumbleupon.com/content/2dyR6Y

My Enemy’s Son

http://www.stumbleupon.com/content/1aAG89

The New Planet

http://www.stumbleupon.com/content/4UEtkm

If you like the excerpts, please show me a little love by clicking “I LIKE IT”.

 

Author Interview: Karen F. Riley

Published August 20, 2012 by jnaomiay

Today, I’m not sitting anywhere except in front of my laptop, chatting on line with a very special person, Karen F. Riley.  Karen’s written a serious and important book, not crazy fantasy stuff about alien men who just happen to fall in love with human girls or human guys who go around blasting those alien men.  Karen’s book “Healing in the Hurting Places” is about a personal experience of childhood sexual abuse and it provides outreach to other victims and those who want to help them.

Naomi:  So, let’s get on with our interview.  Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

Karen:  I own a graphic and website design company which specializes in brand promotion. We also have a book publishing division to help budding authors not only with their publication, but their platform and marketing. And of course, I am a voracious reader, when I can find the time. And I also have a ministry for childhood sexual abuse victims and those who care about them. The focus is on healing, prevention and education.

Naomi:  That’s incredible, Karen.  How do you find the time to do all that?

Karen:  I’m operating at “warp speed.”

Naomi:  Ha!  A little attempt at Scifi humor there.  What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?

Karen: Probably some clothes from my high school days that really need to be gotten rid of. Even if they come back into vogue, I don’t think I could pull off the look. I probably couldn’t then, either.

Naomi:  Bless you if you can fit into your high school clothes.  What’s your favorite game?  Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?

Karen:  My favorite board game is Monopoly. I think it speaks to most of the characters in my book because someone who has been abused has a desire to control and trust issues; two characteristics that can make Monopoly interesting.

Naomi:  For what it’s worth, I have never trusted the Top Hat….ever.  Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing a book?

Karen:  I prefer non-fiction because as they say, truth is stranger than fiction and I don’t have to hassle making up names and keeping my characters straight. It is challenging, however, to make sure that I am honoring the characters since these are real people and being authentic to who they are.

Naomi:  I guess that is a distinct advantage to Non-fiction.  Everybody is already named and already has personalities.  As a fiction author, it’s sometimes very disturbing to discover 400 pages in that you’ve got seven characters all named Pete.  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

Karen:  As the main character in my latest book, it was hard to put on paper my less positive qualities since I was the ultimate people pleaser. I wasn’t initially comfortable letting my audience know that I harbored a lot of bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, etc. and I wasn’t always proud of how that came out in some circumstances and affected those around me.

Naomi: What’s the easiest part?

Karen:  I will steal a line from Steve Saint, author of The End of the Spear, and say that “my name is on the cover of the book simply because God graciously allowed me to hold the pen while He wrote His story.” And that is the truth. When I stopped fighting to write the sanitized version where I looked like a good person and just “let go and let God” the words literally poured out onto the page. I was pretty shocked when I looked back and read what was there, but it is the parts that I was most ashamed of that my readers seem to relate the most to. There is nothing more rewarding than to hear someone say that they thought they were alone and no one else ever felt like this or had this experience until they read my book and now they know it was not them, but what happened to them.

Naomi:  You know, that is so true even when writing fiction because so much of what we put into fiction is our own thoughts and feelings.  When we try to sanitize, make politically correct or copy what we think is popular, it tends to be boring and not have the same impact.  Passion in your writing makes the writing interesting regardless of what it is you are writing about.  There, I’ll get off my soapbox and continue our chat.  Did your friends and family support you in this effort?

Karen: Actually, my friends were my biggest supporters. They wanted me to write this book more than I did at first. While I was reluctant to show the uglier side of myself; they already knew it, and loved and accepted me anyway. They were the ones that showed me that I needed to be authentic so my readers could relate because they were struggling with the same ugly issues and didn’t want to read the sanitized version because they couldn’t connect.

Naomi:  Karen, after speaking with you, knowing a little about what you have and are going through, I truly do not think there is an ugly side to you.  You are an extremely brave and admirable woman and I wish you only the best.  The rest of you, please look for Karen’s book on line at:

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Hurting-Places-ebook/dp/B005JSEFHM

Lydia’s Dance is free – Aug 17

Published August 16, 2012 by jnaomiay

In honor of my father who died 12 years ago tomorrow, Lydia’s Dance is going to be free again. My dad and the book are absolutely unrelated although he probably would have enjoyed the stories immensely, especially the character of Manny Golden. In any case, doing the promo tomorrow may add a little excitement to a day that is normally very grim. If you haven’t picked up a copy, feel free.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008SC61NC

Golden’s Quest is live!

Published August 16, 2012 by jnaomiay

I wasn’t going to write it.  In fact, I figured I was done with the series.  After all, what more can one do after they’ve taken over the whole galaxy?  Bowling and Bingo night in the Imperial Palace just wasn’t going to cut it.  Then, I woke up one morning and the whole thing was in my head.  Now, it’s on paper or rather the electronic version of such and my head is vacant again.  Of course, others may disagree and say that my head has always had ample space for rent.   In any case, enjoy the adventures of the next generation in Golden’s Quest, The Two Moons of Rehnor, Book 6.

Available at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008YH72NE

And Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/215545