A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Meet the Author’ Category

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A Letter to Fourth Grade Fans


Dear Mrs. Glynn & Fourth Grade Students,

How exciting it was to check my mailbox last week and find all of your wonderful Thank You Letters. They really made my day. Your notes and illustrations are fantastic. There is nothing that makes an author happier than hearing from her fans. I’m so glad that you enjoyed AMAZING MATILDA. I definitely enjoyed meeting all of you, reading my book and having a book talk. You had so many great questions to ask me about writing and you offered excellent insights into the book’s messages.

I took a picture of your letters and thought you’d like to see it. So, here it is!

MATILDAonAMAZON_20131106_99

Letters from fourth grade fans in Hartland, Maine. ~ Photo by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

I keep a file called MY SMILE FILE and all of your amazing letters waiting for me there. That way, on gloomy days when I need a smile, I can read your letters and think of ALL OF YOU—Mrs. Gynn and her amazing fourth grade students!

I included both of my children’s books in the photo. You’ll find copies in your school library. Yes, I will be back to read to you again. My favorite genre is historical fiction. Nature and human nature (people) are the things that inspire me to write my books. I’ll be posting this letter on my web/blog http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Happy reading, writing and all of those other amazing things that you all do,

Bette A. Stevens, MAINE AUTHOR ILLUSTRATOR

Inspired by nature BAS Dec 2015

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Christina Steiner (children’s literature)


CHRISTINA STEINER author picChristina Steiner is an award-winning writer of two illustrated children’s books The Sad Tree and Pronuba and The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly (Outskirts Press 2013, 2015). As a nature enthusiast, she likes to introduce children to the wonders of the living world around them. Steiner writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

Other accomplishments include being featured in the Moorpark Review 2013, the West Winds Centennial, California Writers Club 100 year anthology in 2010, and an honorable mentioning in the 77th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition 2008.

Born and raised in Switzerland, Christina made Southern California her home and raised two daughters. When not writing or reading, she hikes with her dogs, rides her horse, makes wine with her partner and enjoys the beauty that nature offers.

It’s wonderful to have Christina Steiner with us today. I’ve fallen in love with both of her children’s books (outstanding children’s literature inspired by nature) and can’t wait to send copies to my youngest grandson to read and enjoy. Now it’s time to meet the author. Tell us more about yourself, Christina.

If I can be outdoors, I usually am. I prefer mountains to the ocean but living in California offers both. Nature in its bounty always amazes and enthralls me. A bad day gets whisked away after a walk on the beach or in the local hills.

How about your family?

My roots are in Switzerland. Growing up as the youngest of five, I learned from my siblings what was accepted and what not. Small town living has advantages and perils. Any misbehaving in the town usually reached my parent’s ear before I could make it home.

Living in America and raising my two daughters was different, everything seemed larger than life. I had the big advantage to live in a semi-rural area of Los Angeles at the time so I could instill the wonders of nature by exposing my children to the local wildlife and our domestic animals which included horses, sheep, goats, dogs, cats and even a llama. Now I live with my partner and four dogs in Ventura, California.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I always loved to write. My earliest competition was an essay for a newspaper in third grade. I did win second place. Later I wrote journals all through my teenage years which included poetry, at that time in German. My dream of writing my own book didn’t happen until much later when my children were grown. English became the language of choice as a writer. I joined local writing communities and profited a lot through critique groups and encouragements of follow writers. The dream became a passion.

SYNOPSIS OF BOOKS (Click cover images to find Christina’s books on Amazon  and take a look inside these beautifully written and illustrated children’s books.)

cover (1)The Sad Tree and Pronuba tells the story of the symbiotic relationship between the Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth.

The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly is a chapter book. A North Dakota boy rides along with Anka, an eastern, fourth-generation Monarch butterfly to central Mexico and back. During the journey William learns the intricate life cycle of the Monarch butterfly, survival and friendship

What prompted you to write The Sad Tree and Pronuba

I visited the Mojave Desert and climbed Malapai Hill in Joshua Tree National Park. Fascinated by one of these strange Joshua trees, I wanted to know everything about them. The relationship of two different species, The Joshua tree and the Pronuba moth, show how exquisite and unique nature presents itself.

Favorite line: I must go—I’m so busy, I’ve got to blow. (Reminds me of our busy lives.)

Favorite character: Pronuba moth, she’s so upbeat and joyful.

William & the Monarch Butterfly CHRISTINA STEINERThe Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly was prompted by a suggestion from my partner. We live close to a grove that western Monarch butterflies choose for their winter quarters. Sadly the population of butterflies greatly diminished. After extensive research I decided to set the story for an eastern Monarch butterfly. For a small creature to fly the distance to the Oyamel fir forest and survive the winter in this unique environment to assure the continuation of the species is another example of the incredible natural world.

Favorite line: Anka speaking to William . . . “You and I share this world. We all have our purpose. I know mine from the get-go. You will have to figure yours out as you grow. But there is a reason why we’re here, why we’re alive.”

Favorite character: Anka, the Monarch butterfly. As she matures, she becomes incredibly sage.

What was the hardest part of writing your children’s books?

To write the stories so the readers, young or old, can see the grandeur of nature and be entertained while adhering to the facts.

Do you do anything in addition to writing books?

I assist my partner in making wine, two to four varietal per year. Together we take care of our dogs. In our household we have four large dogs, three champion Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Betsy, Harvard Girl and Boomer and Sentry, a 180 lbs. Hungarian Kuvasz. Every morning we take them to a leash-free park close by for training and exercise. Several times a week I ride my horse Xena, stabled in Moorpark. These outdoor activities balance out the time spent on the computer.

My two grandchildren, twins—a boy and a girl, spent most Sundays with me while my daughter is at work.

I attend a tutor-training workshop at the local library to become a volunteer tutor and help adults to achieve better reading and life skills.

My books are available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, outskirtspress.com and some local independent book stores.

What’s next for author Christina Steiner?

I finished a series of articles called Predators in the Backyard. Each talks about the intricate lives of insects or spiders commonly found in the backyard and the significance they have in mythology.

The first draft of a new novel is nearly completed. Untitled as of now. The middle-grade fiction deals with coming of age, loss, adjustment to inner city life and forming new friendships.

It’s been wonderful to have you with us today, Christina. I highly recommend both of your beautifully written and illustrated children’s books to our readers.

Visit author Christina Steiner and find out more about her books

Readers, thanks so much for visiting today. In invite you to join the conversation (comments below). Happy reading! ~ Bette A. Stevens 

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The #RRBC “Spotlight” shines on author Mark Aberdeen


Mark Aberdeen is the author of Knight and Dex (The Dex Territory Series). On today’s Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight Author” tour stop at 4writersandreaders.com , we’ll not only have the pleasure of meeting the author, we’ll get a peek inside Book 2 of the series. Welcome Mark, it’s great to have you with us today—I can’t wait to find out more about the authors you wish you could be. ~ Bette A. Stevens

Authors I Wish I Could Be

By Mark Aberdeen

Mark Aberdeen, author of KNIGHT AND DEX

Mark Aberdeen, author of KNIGHT AND DEX Territory (Superheroes/Detective) Series

Over the years and the course of many books consisting of many words of fantastic, interesting characters I’ve found a few stories that have really stuck with me. As a kid I gravitated pretty quickly to science fiction and fantasy. It was mostly due to my dad who was an avid reader and introduced me to the likes of Isaac Asimov, Victor Appleton’s Tom Swift series, Edgar Allan Poe, The Hardy Boys, Edgar Rice Burroughs both John Carter and Tarzan, I read the Time Machine, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea and the rest of the works of H.G. Wells. Later on my attention would turn to Robert. E Howard, Robert Heinlein, Philip K. Dick. These books as well as TV shows like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, every 70’s and 80’s Saturday morning cartoon, a host of comic books and movies like Star Wars, Logan’s Run we’re all consumed with the voracious mind of a young boy and teenager. This set the foundation of my love of reading and writing. I wanted to create worlds like these. I wanted daring characters, dire situations and places that not only dove into the unimaginable but where six impossible things were done before breakfast.

As an adult I found my way over to new authors and some of them are so good that one can help but have physical reaction to it. For instance, when I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman it changed my world. Here was not just a book, but a piece of literature that was either something loved, or hated, but had a prose so beautiful it was painful. I would go on to read Stardust, Neverwhere and Sandman and everything Gaiman put to paper.

Stephen King is a grandmaster. While he has a difficult time sticking an ending, his use of description is unequalled. He can create paintings in my mind with just a few words. The man absolutely objects to adverbs of any kind. When a writer kill adverbs, it forces the author to use description. It’s the difference between a good writer and a great writer.

J.K. Rawling created a world like no other in her Harry Potter series. Here is world building at its finest. Even as fantastic and magical as her world is; it has rules. When those rules are broken there are consequences. She also filled her world with characters that one can’t help but love, or despise and she even created a character in Severus Snape was so utterly tragic that once his secret was revealed one couldn’t look at him the same way again. It was so elegant.

One hundred years from now when a future English literature class talks about books from this era; Gaiman, King and Rowling are the three who are going to be remembered. I’d love to see if this prediction holds true. I wonder if I combined their styles, would I be able to create a world that would have that answer?

Knight and Dex by Mark Aberdeen

Excerpt

Knight&DexEbookSnow settled over New London and covered the alley with a chilly blanket, which normally gave me a moment’s pause to reflect. I might have thought about tranquility, but there was nothing tranquil in the roundhouse kick I took to the face. Steam rose from crimson splatter as my blood hit the freshly fallen snow.

Minx’s claws flashed. I jumped back and narrowly avoided being torn open at the belly.

It was difficult to wax poetic while someone was doing their best to kill me.

Welcome to my life.

I swung my left fist. My intention wasn’t to connect with Minx’s jaw but to buy a precious second. The parry worked well enough and gave me the moment I needed to draw the pulse pistol from under my coat. I bellowed a triumphant, “Ha!”

My moment of glory was short-lived. Another kick connected with my right hand. The blow jarred the weapon loose and it sailed into a snow bank. Powdery snow swallowed it whole. The thing about being unarmed, it felt a bit like being naked in a crowd. No way to cover my ass.

I gripped my stinging hand. “Shit.”

A powerful arm, furry and itchy and stiff as a crowbar, hooked me around the neck. Minx had gotten behind me, and the momentum of her attack tore my feet from the ground. I cartwheeled, forcing her to detach and spring back, but I landed face-down in a heap. The snow with all its apparent fluffiness did nothing to cushion my fall. The impact rattled my bones and lights danced across my vision, swirling in loopy rings.

All I needed was another concussion.

Strong hands grabbed me by the collar and belt. My stomach lurched as I was torn from the relative comfort of the ground and flipped onto my back like a flapjack. Minx pounced on top of me and pinned my arms to my sides with her powerful thighs. Normally, I approved of such positions, but she wasn’t Pink Panther and this wasn’t foreplay. I feared she would crunch me like a walnut in a nutcracker. I gasped for precious air.

To any observer it would appear as if I were unprepared for this fight. That observer would have been correct. I’d seen her running down the sidewalk and duck into this alley. She was up to something and I’d interrupted her. Evidence suggested it was something she didn’t want the cops to know about. While my intent was to have a friendly chat with her, she’d decided to take our exchange in a different direction.

Minx had a reputation in underworld circles as an effective messenger. Our not-so-cozy encounter fell within the realm of her typical delivery method. While I didn’t feel like she took sadistic glee in her work, I thought she took pride in a job well done. I, on the other hand, found the work environment hostile, and already I was drawing up a complaint to her HR department.

Purchase Mark Aberdeen’s  Knight and Dex (The Dex Territory Series Book 2) here:

Follow Mark Aberdeen

Readers, thanks for joining Mark’s Rave Reviews Book Club AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT TOUR today. Mark and I would love to hear from you (comments below): and if you enjoyed the post, I invite you to share it with your friends. ~ Bette A. Stevens

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Ann Morris (author of bilingual children’s books)


Ann Morris (bilingual children's books author)

Ann Morris (bilingual children’s books author)

I met author Ann Morris on Facebook; and being a former ESL (English/Second Language) teacher in middle-school as well as a teacher to students from diverse cultures throughout the globe myself, I’ve had an active interest in following Ann. Today, I’m delighted to have Ann Morris join. She’ll  fill us in on a bit of her personal history and tell us about her latest book, Everything is Different. So let’s meet the author!

It’s wonderful to have you with us to day, Ann. To start off, tell us a little about yourself.

I am a small town Iowa girl (USA) and always have the mentality that I like to know people and try to make a difference in whatever I do. I was encouraged to write by my mom, who had always loved to write. She guided me with ideas, resources, and encouragement. My dad inspired me to appreciate the beauty in everything. I have learned from and continue to apply both lessons.

I was first published in a poetry magazine called Wee Wisdom when I was 10 and 12 years of age. I always enjoyed writing papers and essays.

In college at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, I had the opportunity to travel, study, and live in Pamplona, Spain. I was in Spain twice studying and living during those years, and it changed my life. I learned to see myself and my country from the outside in and experienced being a minority for the first time in my life. That was eye-opening and a valuable experience.

I taught High School Spanish for about 18 years of my adult life, including tutoring and adult education classes. I created the curriculum for an eight-week Spanish for the Workplace class that I taught for Iowa Workforce Development that was well received.

After teaching, I did some freelance translating for local businesses and began working for Iowa Workforce Development as the only bilingual advisor in the Unemployment Division. There was a lot of telephone one-on-one with Latinos from all over the country, and I learned many accents and localisms.

During this time, as well as teaching, I began to express many opinions about acceptance, diversity and inclusion, and education that were published as Letters to the Editor.

From teaching English to some young friends from Madrid in the summers and from working in the New Iowan Center, where I worked with people from all over the world seeking work and community resources to aid their employment and educational empowerment, I became interested in writing children’s books as a way to promote literacy for native speakers as well as for language learners.

How about your family?

My immediate family is local now, and all of my stories so far have featured experiences and/or characters from my family. This includes my extended family, which is spread across the globe.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?

I was encouraged to write by my mom, who had always loved to write. She guided me with ideas, resources, and encouragement. My dad inspired me to appreciate the beauty in everything. I have learned from and continue to apply both lessons.

I was first published in a poetry magazine called Wee Wisdom when I was 10 and 12 years of age. I always enjoyed writing papers and essays.

I now write children’s picture books in English and separately in Spanish. The stories are based on memories with a lesson. The teacher in me is alive and well! I also write posts for LinkedIn and other short pieces. I always have several projects in the works.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your new book?

EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT by Ann MorrisTOTO ES DISTINTO by Ann MorrisEverything Is Different was inspired by a short trip taken to the Midlands in the UK for a daughter’s wedding. Through our sight-seeing and observations, I knew immediately that it was excellent material for a children’s book with an important message. Using my nephew Brett and brother-in-law Scott as the characters, Scott takes Brett with him on a brief business trip to the UK, specifically England.

Brett is amazed at how many things are different in a country that speaks the same language, and asks many point-blank questions as to why? His dad explains patiently why, and Brett continues to learn that different can be interesting, and it may not even be wrong. This is a message near and dear to my heart and especially relevant today and every day.

What prompted you to writeEverything Is Different‘?

Everything Is Different was inspired by a short trip taken to the Midlands in the UK for a daughter’s wedding. Through our sight-seeing and observations, I knew immediately that it was excellent material for a children’s book with an important message. It has received an amazing reaction from fellow children’s book writers and friends from the UK.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

I have several favorite lines, of course.

One I like it: “Brett got quiet whenever he was thinking hard, and this trip was making him thing very hard.”

Another is short conversation between the two: “I have another surprise for you, Brett…We’re going to eat at a pub.” Brett’s response is priceless: “You’re going to take me to a bar?

The spoiler to it all is a response later by Brett’s dad: “You will learn that not everyone does things the same way we do. But if it works for them, that is what is important. Being different does not mean they are wrong.”

Who is your favorite character and why?

Oh, Bette! I can’t choose! They are both my favorites and for different reasons:

  • Brett is open and honest about his observations, as children are. He begins in the book by being startled and befuddled.
  • His dad is patient and ready to explain answers to Brett in a way that makes sense and puts things in perspective for a child. He is the key to Brett’s learning experience.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

There honestly was no hard part in writing the book. Everything depicted in the book was experienced or observed, albeit from an adult perspective. It lent itself perfectly to a children’s story.

Do you do anything besides write?

Yes, I do. I share what I read with others on social media, in bookstores, at book and arts fairs, I make school visits, I speak at events, and I review other children’s books. I also do professional translating, including other children’s books.

Where can readers find your books?

Six book covers Etsy ANN MORRIS

Several local bookstores have my books on consignment, and several book websites have them available, too!

On my personal website, there are photos, examples of my other writing, information about me and a list of links where people can learn more about me and what I do.

What’s next for author Ann Morris?

I had another book ready to go, but I needed to write about my granddaughters first. There are so many stories and fun things we have done that this is going to really be a work of love…as they all are. I have a large collection of partially completed books that are merely awaiting their turns…There will be more from me!

Find out more about Ann Morris

Ann, it’s been wonderful having you with us today. And readers, thanks so much for stopping by to meet Ann Morris. Ann and I look forward to chatting with you (comments below)! ~ Bette A. Stevens

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MEET #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR Christa Nardi


Christa is our “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR for the week of October 11 – October 17

Welcome, author Christa Nardi. It’s a pleasure to host you on your Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight Tour.” I’m looking forward to finding out more about you and your mystery books, meeting some of your characters in today’s interview and introducing all of you to our readers at http://www.4writersandreaders.com.  On with the tour! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

Author Photo CHRISTA NARDIA

“SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR—Christa Nardi

The Characters of the Cold Creek Mysteries Series:

Book Covers CHRISTA NARDIA

Interview with Sheridan Hendley

Thank you for meeting with me today, Sheridan. We wanted to talk today about the recent murders here at Cold Creek College.

Not a problem. What can I tell you?

Can you tell me about your role in relation to the murders here at Cold Creek College? How did you get involved?

I’m the lead faculty member for the campus crisis response team. Last fall, when Dr. Millberg was murdered, the Department Head, Jim Grant, assigned me to help the State Police Detective gather information. He wasn’t familiar with the college or how faculty interacted.

I see. Was that your only motivation?

Honestly, that was how it started out. Then, my close friend Kim was the prime suspect. Add in a healthy dose of my own curiosity, and identifying all the connections and issues became a puzzle to be solved.

Didn’t that put you in danger?

I didn’t think about that at the time. I wasn’t following people or actively involved in the investigation. I asked questions of some and others, like the student involved, shared information with me. I connected dots but had no idea I would be in danger or the complexity of the problems and motive for the murder.

And the murder of Justin Blake?

Chief Pfeiffe was looking for a scapegoat and Mr. Johnson was convenient. It was evident to many of us that he was innocent. We needed to find ways to counter the mindset that because Mr. Johnson was there to discover the body, he was the murderer. Again, I kept asking questions and connecting dots. I was more aware of the danger but my curiosity got the better of me.

In both cases, you worked with Detective McMann? How did that work out?

(smiling) Very well. With both cases, Brett – Detective McMann – asked for my opinion and listened to what I came up with in both situations. We became “friends” after Dr. Millberg’s murder; however, he is always professional. Brett and Officer Hirsch offered self-defense classes after I got assaulted. Several of the faculty, staff, and students took the class. There will be refresher classes soon.

Do you think you will be involved in more murder investigations?

I never plan to be involved in investigations, but if someone I know is involved, like Kim or Zoe, or if someone asks me to help out … even if I’m not actively involved, I’ll be trying to figure it out.

Thank you for your time, Sheridan.

An excerpt from MURDER AT COLD CREEK COLLEGE:

From Chapter 1

I nodded and then checked the next open door. Unfortunately, it was Max’s office. I knocked. He swiveled around, his black hair somewhat uncontrolled and in need of a cut. I must have startled him. His brown eyes opened wide.

“Sheridan, you wouldn’t believe. I‘m ready to get this experiment going, and somehow the materials I ordered haven’t come in. Terra told me I didn’t have enough money in my account, and that’s not right! I don’t know what her problem is,” was his opening tirade. Max was the other experimental psychologist in the department. He was by far the one most interested in research .

“Yeah, well, Terra and Ali do the books. They would know. Maybe you didn’t figure right what you had in your lab account. I bet they can give you a full accounting,” I suggested. Max tended to have these tantrums a lot. He was relatively young and had come to Cold Creek straight from graduation the year after me. He had big dreams of doing enough research to get to a better university.

“You doing okay otherwise – you know with the rec center and all,” I asked.

“Oh, I gave up on the rec center last year. Too crowded. I joined a private club where I don’t have to deal with the students. At the rec center, they always tried to talk to me. Are you looking for a place to work out?” he asked, oblivious to the excitement on campus. But that was not unusual for Max. Unless it was going to directly affect him, he didn’t seem to know about it. Now, if he had wanted to work out today, he might have been more interested.

“Uh, Max, someone died at the rec center this morning,” I offered as gently as I could.

Jumping out of his seat, he proclaimed, “I knew it, I knew there were safety problems. I knew those students would wreck something! See what I mean?”

“Max, someone was murdered. It wasn’t an accident,” I added. I wondered at the fact that he hadn’t asked the obvious question of who? It was certainly the question I wanted answered.

“Oh. Well, it better not get in the way of my lab work. I’d love to chat with you Sheridan, but I have work to do,” he responded. With that, he sat back down and turned back to his computer. Good thing or he would have seen me shake my head in disbelief. It was also probably a good thing that he did research with rats or mice, examining their use of cues, learning, and such. He sure didn’t seem interested in people and didn’t always pick up on social cues. I made my way back to my office with a wave at Kim. I also quickly let her know that it wasn’t Jim, Doug or Max who was murdered.

Check out Christa’s books:

  • Murder at Cold Creek College (mystery, women sleuths, cozy)
  • Murder in the Arboretum (mystery, women sleuths, cozy)

Buy Links:

Follow Christa Nardi:

About the Author

Christa Nardi is and always has been an avid reader. Her favorite authors have shifted from Carolyn Keene and Earl Stanley Gardner to more contemporary mystery/crime authors over time, but mystery/crime along with romance and scifi/fantasy are her preferred choices for leisure reading. Christa also has been a long time writer from poetry and short stories to the Cold Creek series, Christa has joined many other reader/writers in writing one genre she enjoys reading – the cozy mystery. The series started with Murder at Cold Creek College; Murder in the Arboretum is the second in the series. Murder at the Grill is expected to be published in November 2015. Christa Nardi is a pen name for a real life professor/psychologist from the Northeast who is well published in nonfiction and technical venues.

Murder at ColdCreekCollegeBook Blurb:

Murder at Cold Creek College

on sale 10/12-17/15

Sheridan Hendley is a professor and psychologist at a prestigious college. Although she is not a sleuth, when her colleague Adam is murdered, her department head assigns her to assist the detective and help gather information. Unfortunately, her close friend, Kim, quickly becomes the prime suspect. As Sheridan draws connections between the people in Adam’s life, she realizes many women have a strong motive for Adam’s murder. Slashed tires are the first indication that her involvement is making someone nervous. The next indication is not nearly as subtle.

***

We invite you to follow Christa Nardi’s SPOTLIGHT Tour at https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/spotlight-authors/

Dear Readers, thanks so much for stopping by my blog for a visit today. Christa and I would love to hear from you (Comment Section below). Happy reading! ~ Bette A. Stevens

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MEET THE AUTHOR: Mary McLeary


Mary McLeary is the author of two Christian inspirational/devotional books.  Heart Whispers from the Old Testament is her latest—it’s great to have Mary with us today to tell us all about it.

Mary McLeary PICHi, Mary. Welcome to 4writersandreaders. I’ve just downloaded your latest book to my kindle and look forward to having some fresh inspirational readings on hand when I’m on the go. Can’t wait to find out more about you and your writing. First, tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in a family that loved music and good stories. We listened to my folks play music from the 1940’s and share stories of friends and family. From them we learned there is a lesson in everyone’s life. Some lessons teach you what to do and some teach you what not to do.

When I was in third or fourth grade, my most exciting adventures happened on summer afternoons in our local library. The children’s section contained all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books plus the classics that drew me into the author’s vision.

I grew up, married the love of my life, had three children, and taught school until a few years ago when I retired and began writing.

I live in Tennessee with my husband. Our daughters and their families are near so we can have frequent visits with our five grandchildren.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

I have been writing for over twenty-five years. About six years ago I began blogging. My genre is nonfiction/inspirational.

Can you give us a synopsis of “Heart Whispers from the Old Testament”?

Heart Whispers from the Old TestamentThe world has always been a hot mess, but God helps us if we will listen. Heart Whispers from the Old Testament, is a devotional book that gives readers a glimpses of people in desperate need of a Savior and then reflects biblical wisdom along with thoughtful entries from the prayer journals of the author’s mother.

What prompted you to write Heart Whispers from the Old Testament?

The Christmas before my mother passed away, she gifted me her prayer journals which were rich with her thoughts and observations written during her daily prayer and Bible study. They needed to be shared so I started a blog that lead to my first book, In My Mother’s Words. While doing a Twitter interview I was asked if I had any other projects in mind.

Until she asked, I had none. But I automatically said, “Yes, I’m going to write a devotional book and end each daily entry with a quote from Mother’s journal.” Heart Whispers from the Old Testament is that book.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

Heart Whispers from the Old Testament is a devotional and all the scriptures, obviously, come from the Old Testament. After the book was completed, I realized I spent way too much time worrying about things I could do nothing about.

So my favorite quote is from Isaiah 41:10 along with this observation, “An antonym for fear is courage, and an antonym for dismayed is comforted. God doesn’t want us to be fearful or dismayed. He wants us to be courageous and comforted because He will be our help in every situation.”

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The writing was going well. I was getting two or three entries done a day and saving them. One day I went back in and a big section wasn’t in my hard drive. My computer doctor found a virus that took what I thought I saved. I lost a lot of work, but actually wound up going a whole other direction with the book and what was a pain turned into a blessing.

Do you do anything besides write?

Heart Whispers from the Old Testament and my first book In My Mother’s Words took quite a bit of time, but there are many other things going on too. My husband and I love to travel and take frequent trips. Our latest was with long-time friends to Marathon, Florida in the Keys. While there, we visited Hemingway’s home in Key West.

Our children and grandchildren live close enough to attend their activities which we enjoy.

We are avid football fans. Our son-in-law is the head football coach at a local high school and my husband played for the University of Tennessee in “the day.” So fall weekends are pretty full.

We love being part of a church that constantly provides opportunities to go into the world and help others. For several years I tutored young adults preparing to take the GED.

I belong to two book clubs that challenge me to continue reading good books, and I love my card group.

I am grateful that I have plenty to do.

What’s next for author Mary McLeary?

Well, Mother’s prayer journals are full of more wisdom, and I enjoy studying the Bible so another devotional is probable. I also have a story that needs to be told, and when I figure out how to tell it, I’ll start writing my first fiction book based on that story.

Mary, it’s been great having you on my blog today. I look forward to delving into your  latest devotional book and can’t wait to find out more about your upcoming novel.

Find out more about Mary McLeary and her books

In My Mothers Words MARY MCLEARYHeart Whispers from the Old Testament

 

 

 

Readers, thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Mary and I would love to hear from you.
Have a great day and Happy Reading, all!
~ Bette A. Stevens

 [Bette’s Blog]

Aside

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Author Tim Hemlin


The “Rave Reviews Book Club SPOTLIGHT” is a great place to meet new authors and discover great new books. Today, the SPOTLIGHT is shining on Tim Hemlin, author of “The Wastelanders.” ~ Bette A. Stevens, 4writersandreaders.

The New

wastelander-cover-1 2We thrive when the creative spirit pulses through our mind, body and soul and the new suddenly springs to life. And I fully admit that’s me. I love writing first drafts. If I had my way I’d only write first drafts for the rest of my life and they’d magically edit and revise themselves. When I first wrote The Wastelanders it took on a life of its own, surprising me at many turns. The Poet Theodore Roethke wrote, “Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.” This is what I thought of when slowly I developed my little Time Witch in The Wastelanders. Si-Ting has prescient powers and discovers she can “bend time.” Think of the cat in the Matrix. Neo sees it then sees it again and comments he’s had a déjà vu. Instead it’s a glitch. Time has changed. Si-Ting can make changes, though they must be immediate and she is limited to the shadow of the present. It makes her strong, yet it also makes her vulnerable, open to danger. It is a powerful tool for good. Or evil, should this knowledge fall into the wrong hands. I’d not originally planned this for Si-Ting. But I allowed her to grow as the story unfolded, and she showed me the power she had. That’s what the new does for me. This is why I find the new delightful.

Author Bio:

TimHemlinAuthorTim Hemlin is a marathoner, teacher, and has his master’s degree in counseling, but his passion for the environment  sparked him to write The Wastelanders, a dystopian-clifi published in both e-book and paperback by Reputation Books. He is represented by Kimberley Cameron of Kimberley Cameron & Associates Literary Agency.  Hemlin has also published a Wastelanders short story called ‘Black Silence’ as a bridge between the first book and its sequel. He is currently in the notes and brainstorming stage for the Wastelanders sequel Recently the Muse has kindly allowed TIm to tap into that creative magic and pen a young adult urban fantasy. If all goes well with the edits and revision, the final draft should be completed by early summer.  Finally, in the late 90s Ballantine published the Neil Marshall series of culinary mysteries set in Houston, Texas. These include If Wishes Were Horses, A Whisper of Rage (nominated for a Shamus Award), People in Glass Houses, A Catered Christmas (the one I most enjoyed writing), and Dead Man’s Broth. He has recently gotten the reversion rights and is planning on reissuing them under an elite publishing house out of New Orleans.

Hemingway liked running with the bulls. Tim enjoys running with dragons (that’s what he calls his grandkids).

Where to find author Tim Hemlin?

“The Wastelanders” by Tim Hemlin

Comments to Tim’s post are most welcomed and appreciated. Happy writing and reading, friends! ~ Bette A. Stevens, 4writersandreaders. (Member of Rave Reviews Book Club)

Aside

MEET THE AUTHOR: Sharon K. Connell (Christian Fiction)


Sharon K. Connell is the author of Christian/romance/drama fiction and it’s a pleasure to have her with us today at 4writersandreaders.

What readers are saying

SHARON K Connell BOOKS cropped

Christian/romance (fiction) novels by Sharon K. Connell

A Very Present Help by Sharon K. Connell

This book is artfully written and creatively weaves the plot from beginning to end. It is a great reminder that God is still involved in our lives. This is a must read and leaves the reader filled with hope! ~ Jennifer

It’s wonderful to have you with us today, Sharon. I can’t wait to find out more about you and your books. First of all, tell us a little about yourself.

Meet Author Sharon K. Connell

Meet Author Sharon K. Connell

I was born in Wisconsin, grew up and went to school through College in Illinois.  In 1988, I moved to Florida and graduated from Bible School in 1995.  For most of my adult life, I have worked full-time in the clerical field.  In December 2012, I decided to retire, and in March of 2013 moved to Houston, Texas.  Since then I have been enjoying every minute of retirement from the clerical/business world and I have been writing full-time.

Today, I spend my time doing many things, which I never had the time to do before retiring.  This includes at least one or two hours daily writing stories about people who discover (as I have) that God will only allow those things into your life that will help you grow and/or increase your faith.

At the age of twelve years old, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior.  There has not been a day that has gone by where I have been disappointed in that decision.  Many trials have crossed my path, most of which I brought on myself.  Nonetheless, God has been with me every step of the way.  I have never once felt that He deserted me or does not love me. 

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

The genre in which I write is Christian/Romance/Drama.  I could possibly add Mystery to the end of that list with the publishing of my fourth novel sometime this year.

While still working full-time, I began my first book around the year 2000—A Very Present Help.

In my stories, I try to bring out some promises in the Bible.  Humor always is added for entertainment, along with a good love story.  Then there is the villain who adds drama and sometimes mystery to the lives of my hero and heroine.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book? 

My latest book published in December of 2014—There Abideth Hope deals with the life of a former Navy nurse, Lieutenant JG Lynne Temple and the man she meets in Florida, a youth pastor by the name of Nick Livingston.  They run into a treacherous villain who recognizes Miss Temple from a murder trial during her college days, one in which she was the prime witness.  While the couple is trying to get to know each other, they wind up dealing with kidnaped teens from a local Rave gone bad, drugs and human trafficking, not to mention attempted murder.  The story goes from Chicago, Illinois to the war in Afghanistan to Pensacola, Florida.

What prompted you to write your novels, Sharon?

This is an easy one to answer.  My dear friend, Alan J. O’Reilly, author of Sound of Battle and Desired Haven, talked me into it.  I call him my adopted brother.  We have known each other since shortly after 1990.  Through the years, we have corresponded, although never met.  When I would relay a story about something that had happened, he would always tell me, “You need to write a story about that.”  After Hurricane Ivan hit Pensacola, Florida and I went through it all alone, I told him every detail.  Again, he told me that I should write about it.  This time I took him seriously.  However, I did not write about the hurricane.  A story about a girl being lonely came to mind and I was off and running.  That story actually became my second book, Paths of Righteousness, but stemmed the writing of the first, A Very Present Help.

Do you have a favorite line from one of your books? 

“You came within a gnat’s eyebrow of going for a swim with those dolphins, and you’re worried about your heel?” from There Abideth Hope.
(The heel is a high heel and the line is spoken by the hero to the heroine, after she almost fell into the water trying to get a better look at her first live Florida dolphins).  

Who is your favorite character and why? 

I guess my favorite character from my books is Kathryn Kendall from Paths of Righteousness.  She is the heroine I first thought up and started writing about.  She is honest, faithful, gentle, beautiful, and sensitive; yet with an air of pride that gets the better of her at times.

What was the hardest part about writing your books?

Keeping all the events in the lives of my characters in order and consistent.

Do you do anything besides write?  

Yes, besides all my normal house duties, I paint, sketch, blog, take pictures of nature, am a spectator at RC racetracks, I am an active birder (amateur), exercise (mostly by walking the Houston Bayous viewing the many birds that live there) and do some moon and star gazing.

How can readers get copies of your books? 

My books are sold on Amazon and Kindle.  If you look up my Author Page on Amazon, you will find all three novels.

What’s next for author Sharon K. Connell?   

Currently, I am working on my fourth novel—His Perfect Love— about a young woman who has lived a self-centered life, to the point that her family has all but given up on her.  God starts dealing with her by allowing things from her past to catch up with her causing fear and doubt.  She bounces from Illinois to Minnesota, back to Illinois and winds up in Houston, Texas.  You will have to read the book to find out the rest.

After I finish this story and it is ready for all of you readers, I will be begin my next book about a young woman trying to keep her family’s farm in Nebraska from winding up in the wrong hands after her parents pass away.

Where to find author Sharon K. Connell

Sharon also has a Group she’s created on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writersandauthorsforum/

Video Trailers for each book

Sharon, it has been wonderful having you with us today. I’ve already checked out your books and videos. I’ve purchased and downloaded “A Very Present Help” to my kindle and can’t wait to read it. I’m a fan of Christian fiction and your books all sound great. Happy writing!

Dear Readers,

Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Sharon and I would love to hear from you, so please feel free to join the conversation (comments below) and be sure to take a look inside Sharon’s great books on Amazon. I think you’ll want to grab a novel or two.

Happy Reading!

Bette A. Stevens

Aside

MEET THE AUTHOR: Fia Essen


I’m delighted to have Fia Essen here at 4writersandreaders today and can’t wait to find out more about the author and her latest book:

Meet author Fia Essen and find out about her lastest novel, ARIEL.

Meet author Fia Essen and find out about her lastest novel, ARIEL.

 

Nicholas Blomfield talks about Fia Essen’s latest novel

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fia’s work about Ariel and her struggle to find and develop herself.

Fia has a staggeringly strong descriptive style that I personally loved. It felt as though she had spent a great deal of time considering the characters, their lives, history and personal ups and downs. The vivid and life like descriptions of things gave the story a fantastic atmosphere helping to shape Ariel and her eventual triumph over life’s obstacles. I shall not spoil the plot or give too much away, I strongly advise reading it!

A truly wonderful piece of literature and well worth immersing yourself into Fia’s creative work. I have no doubt this is the start of a long and fruitful writing career – watch this space! Nicholas Blomfield

To begin our interview, tell us a little about yourself, Fia.

I was born in Sweden in 1983. My passport claims I’m still Swedish even though I left Sweden more than twenty-five years ago. I grew up in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. And I spent my teenage years living in a stable. Literally. Horses were my next door neighbors. When other girls my age were perfecting the art of applying makeup and discussing boys, I was either mucking out stalls or on horseback, having the time of my life. Now I live in Athens, Greece with Taxi Driver, my Yorkshire Terrier.

How about your family life?

There’s three of us—me and my parents. We’re a small group of nomads. I’m an only child and Taxi Driver is my only child.

 How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I have an active imagination. But I didn’t get serious about writing until 2010. What I write now fits into the Contemporary Fiction genre.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of your book?

ARIEL by Fia Essen BOOK COVERAriel is about a half-English, half-American, lifelong expatriate who was born in Hong Kong and now lives in Singapore. At the age of thirty-four, Ariel is in debt and out of luck. She used to have a career, a penthouse, and a group of fun friends. Now she has a dead-end job, a rented hovel of a home, and a rising stack of unpaid bills to keep her company. Just when she is starting to fear she will never be able to get her life back on track, she is contacted by the mysterious Muse Agency. And, suddenly, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew about herself and those around her.

What prompted you to write Ariel?

Every writer has heard the phrase “write what you know” at some point. So that’s exactly what I did. I wrote what I knew. On a personal level, I know what it’s like to be stuck in a rut.

One reader called Ariel “self-help turned fiction”… That’s a genre you don’t see a lot of but it describes Ariel well. What most self-help books fail to mention is that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to self-help. Every person on the planet is a unique individual. So I began picking bits and pieces of self-help that helped me, advice that suited my personality. And then I put that into Ariel, hoping readers of the story would find something that could help them in their own lives.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

“Think big, start small, and keep going.”

Who is your favorite character and why?

Ariel is my favorite character. The story is told from her point of view. So, as peculiar as it sounds, she and I became very close while I worked on the manuscript.

What was the hardest part about writing?

I love writing. Writing isn’t hard. The only hard part about being an author is gaining an audience. I’m working on it! I have a long road ahead of me but I’m committed to giving it my all. It’s all part of being an author.

Do you do anything besides write?

I’m the Company Administrator at Essen & Essen, which is a family owned company with interest and ownership in various companies and organizations. We specialize in activities related to business & personal growth, management consulting and interim management services.

How can our readers get a copy of ARIEL?

Ariel is available on Amazon, B&N, and from my publisher’s website.

What’s next for Fia Essen?  

More writing! Solstice Publishing will release Anna this summer. And I’m currently working on a story called Amanda, which will come out in time for Christmas. Ariel, Anna, Amanda… I have a thing for As.

GET SOCIAL with author Fia Essen:

Fia, thanks so much for joining us  today. ARIEL, the story of a young woman caught in a rut, has me tap-tap-tapping my kindle to turn the pages to find out just how she’s going to climb out!

Readers, thanks so much for joining us today. Fia and I would love to hear from you. You’re invited to chat with us (comments below). Be sure to take a look inside Ariel on Amazon and dive right into the pages of a great new book. ~ Bette A. Stevens

Aside

Author Harmony Kent on Tour with FINDING KATIE!


Hello and thanks for stopping by! I would like to thank Bette Stevens, my host for today at 4readersandwriters blog , for letting me invade their space. And a big thanks also to 4Wills Publishing for setting up this blog tour for me. For my previous tour stops, please check out the 4Wills current events page.

I am so excited to be able to share my book trailer video with you today for my latest book, Finding Katie.

Who would’ve thought that hospital would be easier than home? Kate hadn’t planned on things turning out how they did, but now they have she has no choice but to suck it up.

Kindle Cover Finding KatieExcerpt from Chapter Three:       

Out of habit, I creep around quietly, walking on my toes. I ease open each door and peek into the room before going in. Once I’ve satisfied myself that the house is empty for real, I head up to my room. Melanie follows. She doesn’t say a word—just watches me.

Self-conscious, I force myself to walk normally, instead of on my tiptoes. Sure enough, my bedroom’s cleaner than the proverbial whistle. My mother needs the psych eval, not me. I hate all the flowers: floral wall-paper, floral bedding, and floral carpet. OMG. You guessed it: … Mother.

Melanie watches while I pack my stuff and shove it into a tatty holdall. She brought the bag along for me. I surprised her yesterday when I mumbled that I didn’t own a suitcase or anything. But she didn’t comment—just raised her eyebrows. And this morning, she turned up with the requisites.

I feel tacky in these clothes. The psych nurse gives me privacy to change, but only after I’ve handed over the bag with my stuff. Is she scared I’ll pack something extra? Does she seriously think I’m thick enough to try and smuggle anything onto the unit?

She pats me down before we leave the house. Gawd, they really do mean business at The Everglades. It feels more like I’m heading for juvie than a mental hospital.

 

Book Blurb:

I killed someone, you see. I killed the girl, who used to be me.

I’m Kate … Kate Charlesworth. I’m seventeen, and self-harming. This time I cut too deep, and I’m in hospital. I hadn’t meant for it to be so bad—it just sort of happened. I needed a lot of distraction that day.

You’ve had bad days, right? Days it hurts too much to think. Days you just wanna stay in bed. Days when the world needs to go away for a while. Right?

What do you do when you’ve hit rock bottom? When there’s nowhere left to turn?

This one little mistake lands me back on a psych unit—the last place I wanna be. Only this time, the nurse I end up with isn’t content to stick on a band-aid and send me home. She wants me to face my demons. But to do that, I’ll have to face who I am … who I used to be … I’ll have to find Katie.

PREORDER HERE

Meet Author Harmony Kent:

Harmony Kent is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour and quirky neighbours. She is single and not admitting to her age.

Here are ten things she thinks you ought to know about her …

  1. Born in 2013 (at least the author was …)
  2. Really boring
  3. Has absolutely no sense of humour
  4. Biographer is a compulsive liar
  5. Reads … a lot
  6. Writes … even more
  7. Completely sane(in)
  8. Neighbours are nuts
  9. If you’re feeling extra brave she’s around
  10. Online …

 

Other books by Harmony

 Other Books by Harmony

 Fiction:

The Battle for Brisingamen

The Glade

Elemental Earth

Anthologies:

Concordant Vibrancy

Rave Soup for the Writer’s Soul

Non-Fiction:

Polish Your Prose

banner 4WillsPublishing HOSTThanks so much for joining us for Harmony Kent’s Blog Tour today. We would love to hear from you (comments below). ~ Bette A. Stevens  at 4writersandreaders blog.

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