A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘MEET THE AUTHORS’ Category


Meet Micki Pelus

Micki Peluso’s unique sense of humor sparkles like a fine gem even as she shares her journey through the tragic loss of her daughter in “And the Whippoorwill Sang,” a must-read memoir. ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author http://www.4writersandreaders.com

Right The Writer

Today’s Meet the Author post is an author spotlight for the Rave Review’s Book Club Spotlight Author Blog Tour.

About Micki

MickiPelusoMicki Peluso began writing after a personal tragedy, which lead to publication in Victimology: An International Magazine and a 25 year career in Journalism. She’s been staff writer for one major newspaper and freelanced for two more. Twelve of her award winning short fiction and slice of life stories are published in anthologies, magazines and e-zines. Her debut book was published in 2012; a funny family memoir of love, loss and survival, called, . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG which won the Nesta CBC Silver Award for writing that builds character. She is presently working on a collection of short fiction and slice of life stories and essays in a book called Don’t Pluck the Duck. Her debut children’s book, The Cat Who Wanted a Dog will be…

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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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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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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]


FOLLOW THE TOUR: It’s Milele Safari by Jan Hawke

Author Jan Hawke is on tour with her novel Milele Safari and she’s stopped by to tell us a bit about her book today. Hawke has included a fascinating excerpt from her novel as well. Welcome to 4writersandreaders, Jan.  The page is yours and we’re looking forward to finding out more about you and Milele Safari, An Eternal Journey.

Part 5 – Zimbabwe

kariba photo for Jan HawkeIt’s almost a fairy tale really. Regrettably it’s mostly a Grimm one in terms of extremes of human rights, white on black and vice versa, black on black, economic, political affiliations—you name it, Zimbabwe’s most likely had a problem with it, or will have. From a safari point of view however, Zimbabwe’s almost peerless. A pearl of a tourist destination, even though it’s land-locked. Actually, scrap that— it doesn’t matter that it has no coastline, because Zimbabwe has the Zambezi and its ‘baby’ Lake Kariba. My third safari trip was to Zimbabwe and, a year after our hairy Tanzanian adventure, it was one that I had reservations with, which were more or less evaporated on starting out at Lake Kariba with our own private game guide. Harry Burton isn’t entirely based on that engaging young man, his backstory is an amalgam of several safari guides we met, as are his experiences, but the ethos for ‘high end’ quality safaris is right up there with only the decade being totally different. Our Zimbabwe holidays took place at the start of the 1990s ten years after the civil war ended and while there was still a reasonable amount of interracial amity about, before the program of white evictions began. To this day the safari trade still goes on regardless so ‘my’ Zimbabwe is still there, although some of the National Parks, like Gonarezhou remain mostly off the main tourist track (in the late 1980’s and 90’s it was still heavily mined and definitely a no-go area). Zimbabwe and its wildlife is truly beautiful though, and Harry’s Africa really needs no further embellishment from me in here. Lake Kariba remains high on the list of places I love most in this world and, if you’re prepared to live with the political exigencies and are careful who you travel with, I’d definitely recommend the country as one of those places to see before you die. From a wildlife perspective it’s still ‘last chance to see’ territory, as it’s one of the few countries to have black and white rhino in any significant numbers and, like other parts of southern Africa, it is enjoying some notable success with sustainable eco-tourism involving the indigenous people, and in running limited licensed hunting franchises to support conservation areas. Long may that continue…

Book Cover Meille Safari Milele Safari back blurb—Milele Safari – An Eternal Journey …twines around a single day, in an unremarkable border village that snuffs out the lives of four people and shatters many others, only to draw the survivors back to a different time and, perhaps, a hope of atonement and peace. Step out on the journey and discover an Africa that could have been, is and might one day come to be.

Excerpt from Trophies

It was money for old rope almost and the client paid through the nose for literally everything – the pro hunter’s fee being almost the least of it. Silly prices, and paid at source, where it did most good and everyone, including the precious animals, benefitted in some way. Gun hunting was just not something he enjoyed doing anymore, however great it was for easy money. It was too crude and if the client was a bad shot it could get very distressing, especially if they didn’t miss but botched the shot and hit a non-fatal area… … He was swearing under his breath as he tried to balance himself to take yet another shot at this bloody buff. Bloody client more like! Big Mr. ‘I am’, and he was ‘gonna git himself one of them big motherfuckin’ Cape bufferloes’… Flaming idiot! He should have listened to his instincts and refused to go out with Marjulies today – the amount the man’d put away last night it was a wonder he made it to lunch, let alone breakfast, but there were only two full days left of their stay here and the old dugga bull they’d found down by the river should’ve been feeling sluggish so late in the day… … ‘Shit!’  The blasted animal had literally charged and nutted the tree trunk so hard he’d nearly fallen out and his shot had missed by miles. Harry reloaded quickly, his face grim. He’d have to chance it and get back on the ground because he sure as hell wasn’t going to get a good killing shot in sitting up in a tree bole with this useless clot of a client, who’d managed to drop his weapon even before they’d both had to take shelter from the maddened buff in this ruddy tree.  He looked up at Marjulies, who was rustling the leaves on the next branch up he was so shit-scared.  ‘Stay put and try to be quiet – I’ll have to get down if it backs off again.’ Dear God, the man was actually crying now… ‘I mean it! Stay there.’ The old bull was puffing and blowing again. This one wasn’t going to let things lie and not because by rights it should be lying dead several yards off. All they’d done so far was get it so pumped up with adrenalin it was literally running on spite now. It had moved off a little at last, but was still glaring up at them in the tree. Harry raised his rifle and used the telescopic sight to assess the damage he’d inflicted so far. Despite himself he was impressed – there was blood everywhere down the forequarters, so he’d got it in the chest at least once and judging from the way it was spurting blood he’d hit a major vein, if not the heart. That was buffs for you – mean as hell and long on retribution. This old boy wasn’t too far past his prime either. He’d hate to meet up with the new guy who kicked him out – must’ve been bloody monstrous. Very, very slowly he put his weight on the right leg and slid his left down and behind the trunk until his foot rested on the stub of an old branch, still looking at the bull. Finally it turned away and trotted off for fifty yards or so, breathing hard now. He only needed those few moments to drop lightly to the ground with most of his body hidden by the tree trunk. The buff had stopped, its chest heaving with the effort of its final strength, but it looked back at them, angling around so he had a choice of a head shot or one more to the chest. He had four shots and those should do it he thought as he raised the Browning. ‘Burton! Behind us!’ Marjulies hissed at him loud enough for the buff to bellow out its anger and turn full on again. Harry slewed his head towards the slight movements from nearby mopane brush in time to see a battery bird fly away.  ‘Shut the fuck up!’ he growled viciously as he swung back and revised the low shot he’d contemplated in favour of the head. The wounded buffalo snorted aggressively and its muscles bunched in obedience to its final crack at vengeance.  Hold tight Harry… Keep your focus… but this had gone beyond rationality now. He let off two shots in quick succession and still it came, even though both times he saw skin and blood flying away and the white of bone between the buff’s eyes. Another shot, another hit, into the eye itself this time and at last it stumbled as he began to lower the Browning. There was a scream above him from Marjulies that joined the echoing gunshots reverberating in his ears as, unbelievably, the animal heaved itself back into the charge. Harry inhaled and held it in a mixture of fury and fear as he took careful aim with his last shot, knowing he’d need to be bloody lucky to have time to reload if it didn’t go down this time. Wait. Wait. Make it count. Let it get close. He fired. He breathed out and stood his ground as the old buffalo finally crumpled forwards onto its knees and slowly fell onto its side as the rear legs splayed and faltered and then were still. It was about two yards away from him. He could smell its blood and sweat, saw the ever-present flies rise up with a buzz, then fall back onto its face, feasting on fresh blood and brains. His legs were shaking now and he breathed in sharply, squatted down on his haunches and bowed his head, trying not to throw up. ‘Why’d ya shoot the bastid inna head! Ya could’ve spoilt ma trophy!’  The punch he landed on Marjulies’ ugly yellow mug smashed his nose almost to a right angle. It was worth breaking two of his own fingers and the mocking laughter back at the Lodge when the trackers asked him which one of them had really shot the buff’s tail off… ‘First rule in the Pro Hunter’s manual – follow up the client’s shot PDQ and be prepared to say yours was the one that missed, if you want your tip.’

Other Zimbabwean chapters

Perfect Day – Harry hosts a full day’s game excursion by boat and open land cruiser to view bathing elephants, threatened rhino, buffalo, not to mention a wealth of birdlife and crocodiles. The Gathering of Water – the group are dropped off at the lake and dam where they hear the strange tale, half myth, half mystery of Nyaminyami, the Spirit Guardian of the Zambezi and meet Harry’s nephew, Luey who explains the legend more prosaically.


Jan Hawke picI live near Launceston in Cornwall, UK with Toby and Benji the Springer Spaniels – it’s a tie between us all as to who’s maddest, but as I outrank them in being weird anyway it’s not open to debate really. I’m physically lazy with things that don’t hold much interest for me (so that’s mostly housework and, increasingly, cooking…), but I love where we live, mainly because I chose it for being so quiet and off the beaten track, very close to the moors and quite near to the sea. I also love books, both to write and to read, the latter of which can be very eclectic (I enjoy Julian Barnes, Kate Atkinson, Jeanette Winterson and will happily admit to Jilly Cooper too) but in the main I’m heavily into SF&F, particularly Tolkien, Terry Pratchett and Julian May, although I can pass on Zombie Apocalypses fairly easily… …how I’ve chosen to write about Africa for my first novel may be something of a surprise to my friends, but if you read it you may find that all of the above information manifests in there somehow! Future projects include a futuristic fantasy series, loosely grounded in Celtic myth – The Shadow Chronica (http://havenlands.blogspot.co.uk/), which is kind of stalled at present, but I’ll be dusting it off as summer gets in full flood with the first novel hopefully available at the tail end of 2016.

4WillsPublishing Link: JAN HAWKE’S AUTHOR EVENT Come follow the tour!http://4wills-hawke.chatovod.com/

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

banner 4WillsPublishing Thanks for stopping by, friends. Jan and I would love to hear from you (comments below). Milele Safari is now on my TBR list and I’m definitely looking forward to the read. ~ Bette A. Stevens at http://www.4writersandreaders.com

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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



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

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