Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!  Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a book shelf.  A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories.  Here on this “SHELF,”  we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask.  We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them.  WE get personal!  Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF,” YOU are an open book!

Today we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, our Club Secretary, Marlena Smith.  Mar is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of January and we are celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me.  Typically, I tend to be pretty hard on my guests, but today…eh, I’ll go a little easy on this one.

(Throwback Thursday!)



NJ:  Before we get started, Mar, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2017, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice, neat one, and we also wanted the layout to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf?  So, comfy?

MS:  Oh, the shelf is very comfy, thank you!

NJ:  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

MS:  It’s my birth name.

NJ:  {Your real name?  Seriously?  Who does that?}  Oh, OK!  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

MS:  I was born and raised in Cullman, Alabama. It has always been my home and probably always will be.

NJ:  Why…because you’re so in love with the caves there?

Dog rolling his eyes

Anyway, are you hitched or unhitched?

MS:  I think you’re asking if I’m single, so I’ll just respond with “Yes.”

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

MS:  No.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

MS:  Yes – a big lap dog, a black cat and two bell-ringing guinea pigs.

Many dogs

NJ:  {Guess she sent us photos of another family’s pets by accident, unless she doesn’t know that cat above isn’t black and the two jokers on the end aren’t guinea pigs…and, maybe she meant she had a dog that LAPPED up dogs, with that huge hanging tongue above!}  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

MS:  Anything Italian!

NJ:  I know!  We both love Olive Garden, don’t we?  LOL!  (The folks who eat “real” italian food are rolling their eyes right now!) Mar, what’s your favorite color?

MS:  Blue.

NJ:  Favorite sport?

MS:  If I have to choose, I guess baseball.

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

MS:  I’ve recently become addicted to “Supernatural.” Also “The Blacklist”

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

MS:  Just naming one, I’ll say Jessica Biel. (This often changes, though. LOL)

NJ:  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

MS:  I enjoy exercising when it doesn’t feel like exercising… Like hiking or dancing.

NJ:  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

MS:  Lying.

NJ:  Can the church say AMEN?  All lyers, head to the hills, because Mar is about to spit nails in the direction of your foreheads!  So, are you neat or messy?

MS:  I like to think of it as organized chaos.

NJ:  And I’d like to think that I won’t have to ban you to that special island where I send the not-so neat people!  And it ain’t Fantasy Island, either!  Facebook or Twitter?

MS:  Facebook to stay connected with family & friends, Twitter for my Writing/Reading family & networking.

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

MS:  Well, of course it’s you, Non!  😉

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest.

MS:  Trick question… NJ & WW are one and the same.

NJ:  We all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just my truths, in the no-nonsense way I force us all to be honest and to simply, tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  Me or the WonderWoman who wears those provocative clothes? You can be honest here, too.

MS:  Please refer to the previous question/answer.

NJ:  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

MS:  IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC by you Non and THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME by Natalie Ducey. Both amazing books of poetry.

NJ:  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:

MS:  It’s difficult to select just one. I’ve read several wonderful books of our RRBC Members. There are many talented writers among us, each having a unique way of writing. {Secretly, she wanted to name all my books, but she didn’t want to hurt y’all’s feelings…}

Blushing dog

NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

MS:  Of course.

NJ:  Of course is a great answer!  That’s to say that if you’re a very supportive member of RRBC, posting reviews is a given and goes without saying.  Mar, what do you think readers should base their reviews on?

MS:  The story, the uniqueness, the writing, the characters. When I review, I look at different elements, different angles.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

MS:  I tend to sugar-coat sometimes, but I’m still honest about key points.

NJ:  You’ve…been…SUGARCOATIN’?!  MARLENA TRISHA DENISE MARIE-ANNE SMITH!  We don’t SUGARCOAT!  Now I’m almost afraid to ask this next question, but I will.  Read any poorly written books lately?

MS:  Nothing too terrible.

NJ:  If it looks like SUGARCOATIN’ and it smells like SUGARCOATIN’…then, you’re still SUGARCOATIN’!

angry dog

How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews, when you knew they were horrible?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

MS:  I’m sure there are a couple I ranked incorrectly, especially when I was new to reviewing. I like to think I’ve improved in my reviewing and hope to continue to do so.

NJ:  {Wonder Woman has a truth serum…I just know how to ask the right questions!  Notice how she’s singing like a bird!}  Mar, you know, I never imagined in a million years that you might have an accident while visiting my shelf, but, the more you talk…the closer we get to hearing…



Now that I’m composed again (and Mar is falling over the cliff…I hope she can hear this next question), there are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

MS:  Well, you, Nonnie, are one that comes to mind. I like your tell-it-like-it-is philosophy. People should take lessons from your honesty. I must also refer back to RRBC, where our Members, our Board have made a new way for Indie Authors with one-of-a-kind support. That’s made a big difference in the literary world, I think. People see others doing good and receiving good in return.

*WOW!  All of a sudden, the spirit of saving someone’s life has come over me!  Get back up on this shelf, Mar!  Are you OK, honey?  {NJ brushes Mar’s hair}


Mar, are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

MS:  I am an author and hope that I’m a good one, but I do believe there is always room for improvement.

NJ:  There is definitely always room for us to improve, that’s if we wish to continue getting better.  How long have you been writing?

MS:  My earliest memory of writing would be 2nd grade, when I wrote a story about my mom. So that puts my writing background at about 22 years.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

MS:  Yes, it’s needed at times and is usually quite helpful.

NJ:  I can definitely vouch for you there…and you take it extremely well.  Name two books that you’ve written?

MS:  I have some short writings and poems in RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY and my debut book. THE POWER OF LOVE, will be available May 1st.



NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

MS:  Of course! I do enjoy blogging, and have been doing so for a few years, just wish I could do it more often.

NJ:  {Uhhhhh, of course what?}  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

MS:  RRBC, hands down.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

MS:  The members of RRBC have been the encouragement and support that I’ve needed for my writing. They often go all out to make one feel great about the words they’re putting out there. I say “one-of-a-kind” often, but that’s exactly what RRBC is.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

MS:   I adore everything about and everyone in RRBC. I am beyond grateful for the friendships I have created and can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of us, as Indie Authors and as a book club.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

MS:  Nope.

NJ:  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

MS:  Of course, and I do.

NJ:  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

MS:  Oh, goodness, that’s impossible to answer! Each program has its own perks, its own awesomeness. Each one is unique. I can’t choose just one because each has something special to offer.

NJ:  OK, good answer.  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our guests today?

MS:  Just that I’m thankful for the continued support that I receive daily. And I’m looking forward to everyone’s thoughts when my debut book is released.   🙂

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Mar!  You are so appreciated for being my right hand.  Your interview was the first of 2017 to  be introduced with some fresh, new questions, so I hope you aren’t traumatized anymore than you usually are, after having had a chat with me.  To my guests, please  pick up a copy of Mar’s book when it hits virtual shelves in the Spring!

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since Marlena was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.  Make it a great day, my friends…or not.  The choice is all yours!   We’ll see you next month, right here on the SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!


45 responses

  1. The last to arrive, apologies, guys and gals. Have been over-the-top crazy here packing up house for a big move. Fun and interesting interview as always. Marlena I’m so looking forward to reading ‘The Power of Love.’ Its a wonderfully exciting time waiting on the release of a new book. This has been a superb tour. Congrats all round.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Made it finally! *blushes* Great interview ladies – even the ‘edge-play’… 😛 Just as well Nonnie’s got super-powers! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Drat! I missed this when it first went live. I had a horrible email glitch and lost the connection to all the blogs I was following on top of it. All straightened out now, and I’m glad I caught Mar’s interview.
    Whose on the Shelf is always enjoyable and it was great to see Marlena here to kick off the year. Loved the Throwback Thursday pic too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fun, informative, and interesting interview. You both put a smile on my face.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Harmz, let that be a lesson for everyone, because if Mar can have an “accident” way up there, then ANYONE could! I’m just sayin’.


  6. Great interview. Good fun. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I know, Harmz. Of all people… ME??? It was a fun “trip” though!! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a fun and entertaining interview! Thank you both for sharing the joy!
    Marlena, thank you for the mention. It brought an instant smile. It’s been wonderful following your month in the spotlight. Your passion and generosity of spirit embodies everything that I love about RRBC. Thank you for sharing so much with us. Cheers! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Natalie. You’ve been so supportive and I am forever grateful. Your book was a MUST to mention because it’s a must read!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful interview; the chemistry is obviously great. I keep wondering now if Marlena’s middle names are really Trisha. Denise, and Marie-Anne.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha. I’ve seen it said a few different ways. Who knows?! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yep, it’s Trisha Denise Marie-Anne!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Bell ringing guinea pigs–my favorite! What a fun interview–with the brains behind RRBC and her tower of strength, Marlena. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Juliet! Ringing guinea pigs indeed! They were taught to ring the bell when they were hungry or out of water. Well, they picked up on the trick real quick and now constantly ring that darn bell! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I had a giggle, reading this lovely interview. I had better not tell you where I was sitting with my iPad, but I need to buy out time to keep up with all the awesome information which comes my way from RRBC. Well, here’s a clue. Hubby needed to use the bathroom and asked if I would please go giggle at my desk, because I was reading fun stuff from my book club. (I often read some titbits to him). Thank you, Nonnie and Marlena and I think you are lovely, Marlena and the dog is not half bad either …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL Glad we could make ya giggle, Maretha! Appreciate you stopping by and sharing with us. 🙂


  12. This would not post the first time so we’ll see what happens now. The interview was hysterical!! Shame on you, Nonnie for shoving Mar off the shelf–and your own right hand no less. Marlena you were a perfect guest, polite, honest not afraid to speak your mind. I think we should have Nonnie ‘On the Shelf’—yes what fun that would be. Let’s have a vote on it lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I’m thinking that may have been done before. Nonnie interviews Nonnie. We may need an updated chat, though. That Shelf is ALWAYS entertaining! Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂


  13. Reblogged this on A healing Place | Joyce shaughnessy and commented:
    NJ or Wonder Woman – great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. How fun. I also like The Blacklist. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Best show!! Ridiculously addictive! 🙂 Thanks for visiting, A.M.!!


  15. What a fun interview! I loved the 4-legged visitors who showed up throughout the conversation. Can’t wait to read your book, Marlena. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Gwen!! Your support is top notch and so appreciated!!! 🙂


  16. That was a fun interview that had me laughing out loud!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mims! Glad we could make ya LOL. 🙂


  17. Delightful interview with these two charming Southern gals, thanks Marlena and Nonnie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Peggy!


  18. This was entertaining and truthful! I would say that Marlena has been properly exposed. 🙂 Great interview, Nonnie and Marlena!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jan!!


  19. What a great interview, except for the falling off the shelf (with help) part! You handled yourself very gracefully, Marlena! You may have a new shelf, Nonnie, but you are still the same ol’ you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Appreciate you visiting with us!!


  20. This was fun to read. You two could take this show on the road. Best of success on your new book, Mar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Shirley Harris-Slaughter | Reply

    Very nice and interesting interview Marlena and NJ. Congratulations on the first one in the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Shirley!!


  22. This was such a fun interview! Non, thanks so much for being gentle with me and not letting me fall completely off that shelf. Always a delight to be interrogated… I mean, interviewed by ya. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  23. You didn’t Nonnie! :(. You didn’t just push Marlena off the cliff! Thank God for the quick rescue. Marlena, you are the first person, as far as I can remember, who ever went off the cliff. :D. Many have come very close, but, as they say, saved by the bell! Do you know you are a beauty? I love that first photo of you. I enjoyed the conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a first time for everything! 🙂 Thanks so much, Joy. Appreciate your kind words.


  24. I did indeed roll my eyes at the Olive Garden comment. I wish we all lived closer; I’d make you real Italian food. 😉

    Great learning more about you, Marlena. This was a fun interview.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. LOL I would definitely be ok with sitting at your table of yummy Italian food! Thanks for stopping by!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If we ever manage to be in the same place at the same time, it’s a deal. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree with Staci. Olive Garden is not real Italian food.

          Liked by 1 person

  25. Congratulations, Marlena, and hope those bruises heal soon… If you can be pushed off the shelf, what hope is there for any of the others who sit on the shelf?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL So true!! Thanks for stopping by!


We love feedback so please share a comment with us!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: