Friday, May 31, 2013

R.I.P. Father Andrew Greeley-A unique voice in literature is quieted

Photo by Jonathan Kirn

Another voiced quieted

Andrew M. Greeley 1928-2013
Sometime during the night of May 29th we lost a great man and a great author. He was a true shepherd and a special amazing and unique voice in literature.

He was born February 5th, 1928 in Oak Park Il. the son of Andrew T. Greenley and Grace (nee) McNichols. He was a third generation American. He always knew he wanted to be a priest when he grew up. He attended Seminaries in Chicago and was ordained in 1952.

He suffered many career blows because of his politics and theological ideals, but he also often stated, “My core identity is a priest.” Father Andrew M. Greeley celebrated 59 years as a priest this year. 

He’s written over 50 best-selling novels and more than 100 works of non-fiction. His writing has been translated into 12 languages. 

He was a professor of sociology at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. He was a frequent contributor to The National Catholic Reporter and The New York Times to which he said “Sometimes I suspect that my obituary in The New York Times, will read ‘Andrew Greeley, Priest; Wrote Steamy Novels.’ ”

Father Greeley was outspoken and critical, and a huge, early supporter of victims of priest abuse and in 1989 he began writing articles in Chicago newspapers against the church’s position. He could find fault with secular as well as Catholic doctrine and opinion and was not apologetic about voicing his often “Everyman” opinion. 

He was a true Chicago son and enjoyed watching and cheering on his Cubs, Bears & Bulls.

His books made him rich; he however, donated his first million to charity and was a staunch advocate time and money wise for many causes he found worthy.

Speaking strictly as a reader, when it comes to romance this man knew his stuff. His novels were filled with laughter, drama and yes a little hanky-panky too. But they were also full of morals and values and humility and honesty that sometimes lacks in today’s everything now, everything goes novels.
My favorite series were his Nuala Ann McGrail series, she was a character and her poor misunderstood hunk of a husband was too. Another thing I liked in his novels were the cameos from past works and even some from other series that made you feel like you were checking in with old friends.

He was the author of three series secular yet spiritual and godly too are as follows:
The Bishop Blackie Ryan Series List from GoodReads
The O’Malley Family series List from LibraryThing
The Nuala Anne McGrail Series List from GoodReads

Book List courtesy GoodReads

To offer condolences, leave a message or light a virtual candle you may do so at his Legacy Guest Book

Interview with Beatriz Williams about her brand new amazing historical novel A Hundred Summers––"Well, my agent calls it “High Society meets A Perfect Storm!” Like Overseas, it’s a love story, set in the wealthy beach community of Seaview, Rhode Island, in the summer before the great New England hurricane of 1938. "

Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

Early Praise for A Hundred Summers
"Novels as masterfully done as A Hundred Summers come along only about that often. Beatriz Williams delivers an intricately woven tale of friendship, betrayal, old families, and closely guarded secrets. It is what every beach book should aspire to be — smart and engrossing." — Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times-bestselling author of Beautiful Day

"A candidate for this year's best beach read — the period story of a derailed love affair seen through a sequence of summers at Seaview, R.I." — Kirkus Book Reviews

"Smart, delicious writing... Williams adds a signature touch of historic drama." — Library Journal

"A Hundred Summers sparkles like the New England summer sun. A brilliantly told tale of love lost and found, of friendship, and of family ties that strangle… Definitely a book for my keeper shelf." — Karen White New York Times-bestselling author of Sea Change

Please welcome back Beatriz Williams who’s fast becoming my favorite author.
I’ve had the immense pleasure of reading both her novels and I can’t sing her praises loudly enough. This is our third interview together.

Beatriz, Hi! Welcome to my blog.
Debbie, thanks so much for having me! It’s always a pleasure to talk books with you!

Tell your many fans here about your latest novel A Hundred Summers.
Well, my agent calls it “High Society meets A Perfect Storm!”  Like Overseas, it’s a love story, set in the wealthy beach community of Seaview, Rhode Island, in the summer before the great New England hurricane of 1938.  Lily Dane returns to her family’s generations-old Seaview cottage with her mother and young sister, as she does every year, but this time she’s confronted with a heartbreaking pair of neighbors: her childhood friend Budgie and her old flame Nick Greenwald, with whom she shared a passionate courtship six years ago.  As the story alternates between Lily and Nick’s romance in 1931 and the sticky, hot summer of 1938, all the buried secrets start simmering to the surface, until the famous storm crashes into Seaview with all its potential for destruction and redemption.

How did the original novel idea come to you?
I’m from Seattle originally, so I came as an outsider into this whole East Coast culture of clubs and summer houses and intricate social relationships. As I writer, I find it so compelling, because so much takes place below the surface, which is how I tend to write my books anyway! Meanwhile, I’d always been fascinated with the legend of the 1938 storm––it came without warning and swept away entire shoreline communities. So I started combining these two ideas in my head, a secret love affair among the insular WASP upper crust of the 1930s together with a cataclysmic end-of-summer hurricane, and A Hundred Summers was born!

This is your second novel.
Does the writing get easier or harder?
What’s the biggest difference as a “now published” author from an “aspiring” author?
The writing is definitely easier! I’ve often described how I wrote Overseas in six weeks, but I had to follow that six weeks with months of editing to get the prose and the story where I wanted it. I drafted A Hundred Summers in about the same time, but I felt much more comfortable in my voice this time around, so I could polish and self-correct as I went along. Of course, as a debut author, you get a certain amount of publicity mileage just for appearing on the scene, fresh and dewy-cheeked. This year, I’m probably much less exciting!

Both your novels have been historical but this one happened during the time of an actual natural disaster.
When researching the novel did you discover anything about the hurricane that surprised you?
What shocked me most was the suddenness of it. Back in an age without satellites or Doppler radar, no one had any way of knowing that this particular storm was shooting straight up toward Long Island at sixty miles an hour instead of hooking rightward over the Atlantic, as hurricanes were expected to do. So coastal New Englanders heard this forecast for sunny skies in the morning and a bit of bluster in the afternoon, and they went about their business. By the time the winds cranked up to a hundred and thirty miles and hour, and a fifteen to twenty foot storm surge rolled in like a tsunami, it was too late to prepare, let alone to flee.

On your bio it says you divide your time between writing and laundry because of your 4 children. I love your humor in your interviews, in your novels and on your website.
When writing such poignant and serious scenes, how do you think humor helps the plot line?
Oh, I think a bit of humor is an absolute necessity, in life as well as in books! You can’t have three or four hundred pages of uninterrupted pathos; you need something to pace the tension. I think that’s why it’s called comic relief! But writing humor can be a lot harder than writing drama. Your timing has to be perfect, your rhythm has to be perfect. Delivery is everything!

The characters in both novels are unforgettable for me and yet both sets of heroines and heroes are so different.
As an author how do you put one set of characters down and pick up another, is it intrinsic or do they tend to mix if you’re not careful?
I’m certainly guilty of falling in love with some of my characters; it’s how I’m inspired as a writer, and how I keep myself glued to the page so that––well, fingers crossed, anyway!––readers stay glued to the page. By the time I sit down to write a story, I’ve usually been thinking about it for some time, so the characters are like real people in my head, with their own histories and personalities and voices. Sometimes they even surprise me, once they appear on the page and start interacting with each other, but confusion is never the problem!

Of all your characters so far do you have a favorite?
I can’t play favorites! The hardest part is starting a new book before I’m completely over the book I’ve just finished, which I had to do recently. I have to force myself to feel something for these new characters and to care about their problems. Once I get going, of course, I slip into the story just fine. But it was definitely tougher to start writing before I felt I knew my characters well enough. It’s like when you’re at a dinner party with a bunch of people you’ve only just met, and you’re trying to make interesting conversation with them. Hard work.

As you know I reviewed A Hundred Summers for RT Magazine (below)
How much credence do you put on reviews either editorial or reader?
Reviews are tough for me! I’m a second child and have that pleaser personality, and unfortunately you can’t please everyone in this business: What one person adores is another’s pet peeve. So I tread carefully over at Goodreads and Amazon, although I do try to listen to the thoughtful, constructive reviews, whether good or so-so. And trust me, we writers really do appreciate the good ones! It means so much when a reader or reviewer (like you, Debbie!) really connects with what I’ve written. I have a lot of fan mail I take out and re-read when my writerly mojo needs a boost.

Will you share your road to becoming an author with us. Are you an overnight success or did it take a little longer?
Like most authors, I’ve wanted to write books since the moment I could read them, so to me that road feels very long indeed! But I really didn’t pursue the craft seriously until I was home with my kids and felt my time had come, and I was ready to face all the challenge and rejection and criticism that I knew would come my way. I started off with a few failed efforts, as I learned how to tell a compelling story, but everything clicked with Overseas and things started happening pretty quickly after that. But I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like a success, overnight or otherwise! I’m too much a perfectionist. I can hardly even read my books once they’re out in print and I can’t change anything!

Okay it’s time to get into your “writing cave”. Does anything or anyone suffer while you’re on deadline?
My kids and my house! I’ve come to accept the fact that while I adore my husband and his many sterling qualities, he’s no housekeeper. (Not that I’m Mrs. Beeton myself, mind you!) He’ll pitch in willingly when I ask him to do something, but it just won’t occur to him to do things like pick up the clutter on his way upstairs, or wipe our four-year-old’s sticky hands before her fingers hit the computer keyboard. So when I’m in the homestretch of a book, the kitchen winds up littered with detritus and the kids wander around unwashed. It’s pretty grim, and it’s usually when my in-laws decided to pop in for a spontaneous visit!

Beatriz, it’s just us friends, you can trust us.
Tell us a secret.

My hair is seriously growing gray! It’s horrifying. It must be all the kids and writing deadlines. I have to touch up my roots at home, or I’d go broke.

Visit Beatriz website here


by Beatriz Williams
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, America
Sensuality: HOT
Setting: 1930s New England
Williams’ historical masterpiece is an all-encompassing, period-perfect read. Set in a historically accurate Rhode Island summer community, her narrative delivers visions of Gable and Garbo, and her storyline is a medley of political incorrectness, intrigue, debauchery and scandal. Her entire cast shines, but it’s her unsinkable, timeless couple who awes with their tenacity and integrity in the face of every unscrupulous act against them.
In the fall of 1931, the country stews between the ‘29 crash and WWII. Against all odds, Lily Dane and Nick Greenwald meet and fall in love. With much working against them, some obvious factors and some unknown, a personal tragedy proves too much for their fragile love and tears them apart. They reacquaint in 1938, during a perfect social storm, when the secrets and scandals that separated them come to a crashing climax that will seal their fates one way or the other. Will they weather the tempest or become its victims? (PUTNAM, Jun., 368 pp., $26.95)
Reviewed By: Debbie Haupt


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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today I interview the Queen of Western Romance: Linda Lael Miller who chats about her newest novel, her guilty pleasures and her work––"I’m very happy writing western romance. At some point, I would like to tackle a big Civil War family saga, but so far, I just haven’t had time."

Interview with Linda Lael Miller Big Sky Summer
Editorial reviews for Linda’s work:
"Miller's down-home, easy-to-read style keeps the plot moving, and she includes . . . likable characters, picturesque descriptions and some very sweet pets." -Publishers Weekly on Big Sky Country
"Miller's name is synonymous with the finest in western romance." -RT Book Reviews
"Linda Lael Miller creates vibrant characters and stories I defy you to forget."--#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber
"A passionate love too long denied drives the action in this multifaceted, emotionally rich reunion story that overflows with breathtaking sexual chemistry." -Library Journal on McKettricks of Texas: Tate
"Miller once again tells a memorable tale." -RT Book Reviews on A Creed in Stone Creek

The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller, welcomes you home to Parable, Montana—where love awaits.
With his father's rodeo legacy to continue and a prosperous spread to run, Walker Parrish has no time to dwell on wrecked relationships.

But country-western sweetheart Casey Elder is out of the spotlight and back in Parable, Montana. And Walker can't ignore that his "act now, think later"
Please welcome #1NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author and a personal favorite Linda Lael Miller

Linda welcome back!!

Tell us about your newest release in your Parable Montana series Big Sky Summer.
“Big Sky Summer” is the fourth book in the Parable/Three Trees series I’ve been writing for my fantastic publisher, Harlequin, and their HQN imprint.  Although the story is a continuation, each book stands alone, so you needn’t have read the preceding stories to be on track.  “Big Sky Country” introduced Slade Barlow and Joslyn Kirk, “Big Sky Mountain”, Hutch Carmody and Kendra Shepherd, “Big Sky River”, Boone Taylor and Tara Kendall.  “Big Sky Summer” includes some of these same characters, plus our hero, Walker Parrish, and heroine, Casey Elder.  (Both Walker and Casey have appeared briefly in previous stories.)  They have an old and deep connection, one they’ve been trying to ignore, but that’s getting more and more difficult as time goes on and certain people begin to demand some answers…

Do you have a set number in this series?
At this point, there are 6 books in the Big Sky series. 

Linda, you grew up the daughter of a town marshal and traveled and lived all around the world before finally coming home and starting your prolific career.
Was there a catalyst that brought you home to start your life as an author?
Well, I was already an established writer when I started my travels, and I lived in (and loved) London, Florence, and Venice for periods of time.  I was writing about lords and ladies, knights and pirates, and the books were good, but I didn’t feel that soul connection I wanted to feel.  Then one fine day, in Paris of all places, I met Johnny Cash and his lovely wife, June Carter Cash, through a friend.  There was never a time when I didn’t know the sound of those voices and meeting those living legends, especially John, was a watershed moment for me, creatively and in a lot of other ways, too.  Country music had always resonated with me, and I knew most of John’s songs word for word, because my cowboy-dad played them often.  That was when I thought, “Heck, girl, you’re from cowboy country!  Go home and write about what you know and love!”  I did, and ever since then, I’ve been picking up speed.

You are the author of over 100 novels, contemporary, historical and even paranormal.
Is there another genre you’d like to give a try?
I’m very happy writing western romance.  At some point, I would like to tackle a big Civil War family saga, but so far, I just haven’t had time.

When I think of cowboy/western romance I sometimes think of the song that Barbara Mandrell made famous, I was country when country wasn’t cool.
What do you attribute to the huge success of western romance competing with so many genres?
I think country music and western romance are popular because they appeal to real, solid, down-to-earth human values, like integrity, and grit, and sticking with a hard task until it’s done, no matter what.  The cowboy is an icon, representing those qualities and many others.  Cowboys don’t quit, they don’t snivel, and they don’t go looking for trouble.  But they won’t run from it, either.

What do you like to read when you have spare time?
WOW.  Just about everything.  I love memoirs, like “The Glass Castle”, and histories, as in ALL of David McCullough’s books, my favorite being “Truman.”  I love suspense and there are certain authors I always read: Joy Fielding, Patricia MacDonald and Mary Higgins Clark to name just a few.  I watch for their books and buy them without even reading the blurb.  I loved “Team of Rivals”, on which the film “Lincoln” was based and, because of my interest in the Civil War, I’ve read a lot about key figures in that conflict.  I’m a big, big fan of David Sedaris, too.  I listen to a lot of audio books on my iPod these days, as by the end of the day, I’m usually tired of looking at words.

Let’s talk about your most prolific of families, The McKettricks.
Are you planning more books about them?
You never know about the McKettricks and the Creeds.  They have a tendency to crop up in new stories.  I don’t have current plans for more stories about either of these families, but you never know.

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
Playing slot machines at Northern Quest, our local casino.  It’s one of my favorite ways to unwind.

Linda thank you so much for stopping by and filling us in on the new novel and a few personal bits too. Good luck with the new novel and I hope you’ll come back and chat in the future.
You’re so welcome.

Visit Linda's website here

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Interview with the very talented Dean Orion about his book "Live To Write Another Day-A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers"––".... the main thrust of it is about the creative process, and how that process is the key to not only doing great work, but also surviving the perils you experience along the way, which is something that any artist can relate to, amateur or professional."

What other professionals are saying about Dean's book-

“Dean Orion gets it – better than any book or course I know – about the journey each creative person must take to produce work that is not only meaningful but commercial.”
Tom Teicholz
Writer, Producer, and award-winning Jounalist of TOMMYWOOD.
“Dean Orion brings a fresh voice to the ancient art of storytelling in his pull-no-punches primer. He not only helps you answer the age-old question, “Am I a writer?” but as a screenwriter, Disney Imagineer and interactivity expert extraordinaire he also helps you clear the hurdles of writing as a professional – an art in and of itself.”
Maria Alexander
Author and Interactive Designer
“If writing is 90% perspiration, then nobody knows how to sweat it out better than Dean Orion. I’ve never met a more disciplined writer in my life. If anyone knows how to Live To Write Another Day, it’s him. And if you want to learn to do the same then this is the book for you.”
Karey Kirkpatrick
Screenwriter, CHICKEN RUN, Writer/Director, OVER THE HEDGE



Dean hi and welcome to my blog
Thank you for having me, Debbie.

What was the catalyst for writing this book? (I love the cover)
Thank you!  My friend, Mark Page, illustrated the cover.  They say a picture’s worth a thousand words and he really nailed the feeling I was trying to convey—that when you’re a writer, no matter how difficult the road gets, you can never give up.  I tend to chronically feel that way, but about nine months ago I had really hit a rough patch and was kind of at a loss as to how to get my head right.  “What can I do differently?” I thought.  “What do I have to give that people will find value in, and that is truly worthy of my time and effort?  Is there a way I can help other writers and help myself at the same time?”  The book essentially grew out of that conversation that I had with myself.

Would amateurs as well as professionals find benefits from reading this book?
Who is your intended audience?
The book is based on my experiences so the intended audience is primarily creative writers who, like me, write for film, television, and interactive media.  However, the main thrust of it is about the creative process, and how that process is the key to not only doing great work, but also surviving the perils you experience along the way, which is something that any artist can relate to, amateur or professional.

Now tell us your story, your writing journey.
When I was little, watching movies and television shows, I used to fantasize about being in the stories on the screen.  But I was also sophisticated enough, even at a very young age, to understand that what I was watching was already made, “in the can,” as they say.  So I would immediately start dreaming about the next show, the sequel, the following episode that I could be “in” with the characters.  That was really the intitial spark that set me on the writer’s journey.

Dean your career path is very eclectic and you’ve dipped your creative toes in many different writing genres from traditional to screenwriting to interactive to playwriting, and you’ve even worked for Disney where you helped create virtual and interactive gaming for Epcot and for their cruise lines.
Is there one over the others that were more of a challenge for you?
I couldn’t rank the challenges because they’re all so unique.  From a writing standpoint, I think creating a good screenplay is an incredibly hard thing to do, much harder than writing a television episode or a short play.  Writing a TV pilot however, or a full-length play are also very difficult to do well.  On the interactive side, the challenges are of a different nature.  In video games the challenge is largely political in the sense that the story is almost never the developer’s top priority.  So you need to find a way to do something cool within the limitations of a larger agenda.  With location-based interactive experiences, like the ones I’ve done for Disney, the challenges are almost always monumental.  First, you have to come up with something that’s never been done before, then you have to figure out a way to actually make it work.  So there’s a creative challenge, an engineering challenge, and a producing challenge.

What’s next for you?
Fortunately I’ve been very busy lately.  I recently wrote a series of short films for the Revolutionary War Museum and the Museum of the United States Army, both of which will be built in the state of Virginia in the next few years.  Currently I’m working on a fairly extensive edutainment game for a major textbook publisher.  And because I’m a glutton for punishment, I’m also writing a new spec television pilot. I have to admit though, I’ve really been bitten by the digital publishing bug, so in the very near future I plan to turn my sights on the world of serial fiction.

You are the author of multiple successful plays, and I have to admit total ignorance about the role of the playwright after his/her play is sold. Could you fill us in on your role through production, if any?
The greatest thing about being a playwright is the interaction that you have with the actors.  You hear your words spoken on a daily basis and you get to see your work literally come to life.  Your job is to take what you see and hear, run it back through the mill and make it better, to use the rehearsal process as a laboratory where you, as the mad scientist, can test and improve your ingenious invention.  Like all creative endeavors, it can get contentious and stressful at times, but for a dramatic writer there’s nothing more instructive or rewarding than having your work performed by live people in front of a live audience.

How important is it for an author to be at least somewhat literate in the ever changing “new media” of today?
Very.  New media has opened up so many possibilities for authors.  I think that what we’re seeing right now is a bit of a gold rush, which of course has its pros and cons.  But in general, all the tools are available for today’s author to be successful without the necessity of currying favor with publishing industry gatekeepers.

Speaking of new media. How important do you think the role of social media is for authors to get the word out about their work?
Social media is very important because it is the connective tissue of our new online economy.  It’s how you reach out to people of like mind and the best way to promote your work.  In fact, it’s how I met you!  What I love most about this new “connection economy” is that the connections are the currency, so there’s value in every relationship you make, and all parties benefit.

Dean on your website you say “Writing is such a solitary experience, but that doesn’t mean that each of us has to be in it alone.” …when you’re talking about writing your book.
Do you think this is why so many writers belong to critique/writer’s groups?
Absolutely.  I’m a big fan of writing groups and writer’s communities.  In fact, I advocate for them quite strongly in my book.  Without relationships with other writers you start to feel very isolated.  For the past two and half years I’ve been a member of a place called The Writer’s Junction, which is a co-op office-type space for writers located near my home.  It’s such a supportive environment and I’ve made so many great friends there.  Not to mention the peace of mind that comes with knowing I always have a quiet place to work.    

Dean on your blog post from March 26th where you were discussing The Juggling Writer. You use the term “cerebral odyssey” when describing your mind set when writing. I know many authors who agree with you and have shared stories of their family chaos while they’re in their writing bubble.
Do you have a story you could share?
Every once in a while I get home late from writing, get in bed and just can’t turn it off.  I then proceed to get up and down at least three or four times to sketch out notes on all the ideas that won’t leave me alone.  I know I won’t forget the ideas, so it’s not so much paranoia that drives this behavior.  It’s the fact that my brain simply won’t stop working if I don’t create some kind of punctuation mark.  The up/down up/down is kind of silly, not to mention more than a tad annoying, as my wife will attest, but it’s kind of an idiosyncrasy I just have to ride out until I can finally get to sleep.  I guess the only thing harder than being a writer, is being married to one.

Dean thank you for being my guest today. Good luck with the book and in all your future writing endeavors.
Thanks so much, Debbie.  You too!

Connect with Dean:

Those of you reading this between Wednesday May 29th and Friday May 31st-Dean is running a free Kindle edition promotion. Click here for details.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interview with Beth Albright who talks about her debut novel The Sassy Belles–"This series is best described as STEEL MAGNOLIAS MEETS SEX AND THE CITY."

  • ISBN-13: 9780778315285
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 304


 Meet the Sassy Belles 
They're strong as a mint julep, sweet as peach cobbler, and no matter what, they stick together.
There are only two seasons in Tuscaloosa—football and waiting-for-football.

Please welcome Southern Belle extraordinaire Beth Albright;
she’s a novelist, a screenwriter, Radio talk show host, voice over talent, and a former star of the TV Soap Opera The Days Of Our Lives. She’s married to her college sweetheart and her son is a nationally ranked figure skater. She was born and raised in Alabama where she’s a rabid fan of the Crimson Tide. After 15 years in show biz she’s decided to return to her roots of storytelling. The Sassy Belles is her debut novel.

Beth welcome to my blog.
Tell us a bit about your new novel.
My novel is set in my hometown of Tuscaloosa Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The play-by-play announcer, Lewis Heart is missing after a sexy tryst with Vivi McFadden. Blake O’Hara Heart, Vivi’s BFF, is a lawyer and they are on the case to find Lewis and clear Vivi’s name. This series is best described as STEEL MAGNOLIAS MEETS SEX AND THE CITY.

Are there more Sassy Belle novels coming?
I certainly plan many more! Three will be out this year. June, August and October!
The titles are: THE SASSY BELLES/ JUNE 1ST
                            WEDDING BELLES/ AUGUST 1ST
                            SLEIGH BELLES/ OCTOBER 1ST

Are the Sassy Belles based on anyone you know?
My mother is evident in every single character. But mostly, they are an amalgamation of all of the women in my life. It was wonderfully fun to create these funny, smart, sarcastic, sexy women. They are all very typical of Southern Women!

Being involved in the entertainment business you’re a seasoned pro.
Was it still exciting selling your novel?
Oh, my gosh! YES! I had to pull over in a parking lot and cry like a baby! I was ecstatic! This was the biggest thing EVER! These were my words, my stories…and someone loved them—other than my family!

Who will enjoy reading your novel?
Everyone from age 15 to 90! These are the girlfriends everyone wants. They always have your back and they love living life together. The fun they have is not about an age. I have characters that are in their mid-thirties, but also some in their 40s, late 50s and even an 80-year-old spitfire who is absolutely hilarious. She throws herself a “Hollywood Nights” themed birthday party complete with half-naked men!
The Sassy Belles aren’t about an age or a color or a waist size—it’s all about sheer attitude and love and zest for life!

Beth, you used to act on Days Of Our Lives, I started watching that soap opera when I was a little girl at my grandmother’s house.
How long did you appear on that show and what part did you play?
I was on the show for about a year. My part was Mandy Cox, the Ballistix store manager. I, too, watched soaps with my grandmother. My favorite was actually The Young and The Restless when I was growing up. It, ironically, became the very first soap I was ever on. I left Days Of Our Lives when I had my son. Best decision I ever made. He is the love of my life!

Tell us about the screenplay you wrote, Kiss Me Goodnight.
Have you sold it?
Is it for the screen or is it a play?
It is for the screen. It is a dramatic love story of a woman whose son has just left for college. She discovers her husband has been having an affair. But she and her husband have been basically not much more than roommates forever. She is incredibly lonely and can’t seem to find herself after her son leaves. She joins Facebook and discovers her old boyfriend from when she was just 13 years old. He pushes her to become a writer and makes her see herself through his eyes, the way he remembers her. She becomes very successful as his belief in her rekindles the real self she has been missing. He helps her find herself again. She and her husband divorce. She makes plans to finally meet with her man—the man who has saved her and helped her love herself again—but all is not what it has seemed when she finally meets up with him on a windswept rainy beach in November…
I love this story so much! I actually finished it before I finished any of my novels, and I’m thinking of turning this into a novel, as well.

Who are your favorite authors?
I love Mary Kay Andrews and Dorothea Benton Frank. Those two wonderful women were an inspiration for me! I also love Southern humorist Celia Rivenbark—she is the funniest writer ever!

Will there be signing events where fans can meet you in person?
Absolutely! I love meeting my readers! I am launching my series at Barnes and Noble in Tuscaloosa on June 1st from 2-6 and will be in several other Southern cities all summer—from Birmingham to Nashville to Atlanta and Charlotte. I hope to be in Philadelphia, Kansas City and Dallas in the early Fall.
I will always have book signings! It will be one of my very favorite parts about being an author!

Beth, thank you so much for chatting with us. Your novel looks scrumptious; I can’t wait to read it. Good luck with the novel and all your endeavors.
Be sure and visit Beth's website for more information about her, reviews etc... The Sassy Belles

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank You Lisa Verge Higgins and to the participants for this wonderful debut book club read

Lisa thank you from the bottom of my very appreciative heart for the honor you bestowed on all of us this month while we read and discussed your wonderful novel.
You graciously and without blinking your eye said yes to this debut book club read and I'm forever in your debt because it was a huge success!   

Now for my readers and participants, thank you, thank you a thousand times thank you because without your input, comments and participation Lisa's and my efforts would have been for naught. So thank you for stepping over that comfort line and being the giving and wonderful people you are.
As always you've made this re-read for me so much more than it ever could be from just my point of view, you as always give me different perspectives and different understandings of the same words we all read together yet perceived differently.

My hat's off to you all!!!               

And don't forget you still have a few days to enter the Nook Giveaway graciously offered by Lisa

My thanks to you all and I hope you'll be back for the next round

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Interview with June Featured author Matthew Dicks who talks about his novel Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend–". In my initial vision for the book, the imaginary friends would comprise the bulk of the world and thought that the human beings would remain in the shadows."

Drum Roll Please and congratulate the winner of the paperback copy of the novel who is
Congratulations Jeanne. I hope you'll join us in the read.


If you missed the reading schedule here it is again:

Week one June 3-9 Chapters 1-21
Week two June 10-16 Chapters 22-42
Week three June 17-23 Chapters 43-end

Now I'd like to introduce all of my June readers to Matthew Dicks who has graciously agreed to join us in June.

It’s my immense pleasure to introduce Matthew Dicks whose novel Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend is our June monthly feature.
Matthew, welcome to my blog, I’m very excited to have your input while we read and chat about your novel.  There’s nothing to fear my May author Lisa Verge Higgins paved the way to this my second feature on my blog.

As you know I raved about your novel to whoever would listen to me, it made one of my top 20 list of 2012 and I chose it for my feature not only because I love it but because I think it’s an important piece of literature that my fiction friends would enjoy too. During our first interview you revealed that the premise of the novel came about because of your childhood imaginary friend Johnson Jonson.
How did Max come about?
I originally thought that Max would be a character in the background of the story. In my initial vision for the book, the imaginary friends would comprise the bulk of the world and thought that the human beings would remain in the shadows.
I chose to place Max on the autism spectrum for two reasons:
             Children with autism tend to have imaginary friends who last longer than typical kids, and I knew that Budo needed to be old by imaginary friend standards.
            Our school has a program for special needs students, so every year I have autistic children in my classroom. I feel like I understand these kids better than the average person and wanted to take advantage of this unique knowledge.
Still, with this in mind, I planned on keeping Max’s role small, but Max wouldn’t allow it. Every time I tried to deemphasize his presence in the book, Max reared up and refused to be ignored. It sounds strange, but in many ways Max emerged on the page because Max demanded to exist in a way that I had not planned. 

On your website you say that when your first novel was sold and published it was a dream come true.
Were you an overnight success or was it a bumpy road to becoming an author?
I had many false starts before publishing my first novel, but Something Missing was the first novel I completed, so I feel fortunate in that regard. But yes, it was a bumpy road indeed. After leaving my childhood home at eighteen, my life included years of managing fast food restaurants in order to put myself through college, a brief period of homelessness, an arrest and trial for a crime I did not commit, an armed robbery that left me with more than a decade of PTSD and much more. An interesting and often difficult path to say the least, but I wouldn’t change a thing. 

You also currently teach elementary school.
Did being a teacher help you mold the characters of Max and Budo?
My experience as a teacher certainly helped me in creating Max, but Budo was more a product of my imagination. As a third and now fifth grade teacher, I never had a student who discussed his or her imaginary friend with me.  

Your other two books have adult protagonists.
What are you working on now and is the protagonists a child or adult?
I just completed my next novel, tentatively titled The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs. It features my first female protagonist, a 40-year old woman who is unhappy with her life and the person she has become. She traces the source of her problems back to a bullying incident in high school and decides to return to her hometown after twenty-five years to do something about it.

Do you connect with other writers for critiquing/networking purposes?
I actually connect with readers for critiquing. I have a group of about 25 friends who read my work chapter by chapter and offer feedback as I write. After having grown up on video games, I require immediate feedback. I use about ten of these people for each novel and choose them based upon how their skills match up with the type of book that I am writing. For the book I just finished, I used more women than ever before simply because the book is comprised primarily of female characters. For Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, I chose more teachers and parents as readers than normal because of the nature of the story.
But in terms of networking, yes, I connect with writers constantly. They have become some of my closest friends. Being able to share the day to day struggles of being a writer with someone who shares the same struggles has been invaluable.

You also describe yourself as a storyteller and not just in print, you host many in-person and other media storytelling series including one that you and your wife host in Connecticut called Speak Up! Oral storytelling is an important part of our history.
Why do you think that oral storytelling is important today?
I think it’s important for people to look and listen more. With our heads buried in our phones and our computer screens and television programing available on demand, it’s easy to find yourself staring at screens more often than actual human beings. Storytelling requires you to put away the phone, step away from the computer and TV, and sit and listen to someone share a portion of their life with you. I can think of no better way to spend time.  

Your blog (which I love and need most days for a huge bit of humor) is very entertaining.
Is it mostly an emotional outlet for you, a stress reliever or something totally different?
My blog is the space where I can express the random, incomplete, and inconsequential thoughts that I have on a daily basis. Whether I am bragging about my children, discussing my writing process, whining about my golf game or criticizing a piece of popular culture, my blog is the outlet for my unfiltered, unedited, often unwise self. I can’t imagine what I would do without it.
 My wife is the only person who gets to tell me that I’ve gone too far and need to refrain from posting something. She is my filter. Fortunately, she only nixes posts once or twice a year. 

Than you Matthew for this interview and for the opportunity to pick your brain for an entire month. I can’t wait to begin!!!

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