Marcha Fox in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC #RWISA @StartrailsIV


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 bookshelf. 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 this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC member and October’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, MARCHA FOX! We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

halloween2

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We  made it more comfortable in 2017 because we wanted all of our guests to feel more at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and 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, Marcha?

Marcha:  {Silence}

NJ:  Since Marcha chose to not tell us if she’s comfy or not, I think this would be a great time to crank up the old jukebox to break up this awkward moment:

Now, let’s see if she’ll answer the next question.  {Nonnie, leaning over and tapping Marcha on the knee to get her attention.}  Uh, Marcha, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Marcha:  Married name, actually. My maiden name was Unterreiner. You can see why I married someone with an easy last name.

NJ:  {Uh, no I can’t.  I’m still trying to “see” why you didn’t answer my first question}  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Marcha:  I was born in Peekskill, NY. My parents moved to California when I was going into 8th grade. In 1973 my then-husband and I moved to Utah, then to Houston, Texas in 1988. I currently live in the Texas Hill Country out in the boonies where I retired in 2009. The nearest town has about 5000 people and it’s 15 miles away. I’m in a small resort/retirement community on the shores of Lake Buchanan.

NJ:  How very interesting!  So, are you now married or single…since you mentioned your “then” husband?

Marcha:  Married 37 years, currently single.

NJ:  Any kids?  If so, what kind?

Marcha:  What kind? Fortunately, the grown kind. I have six kids (4 daughters, 2 sons) who have provided me with 17 grandkids. Two of my granddaughters have provided me with 5 great-grandkids. I don’t remember when I got old enough for that, but what really freaks me out is thinking of my two daughters as grandmothers! Yikes! How could that be? They were just teenagers!

NJ:  {I can see now, we’re about to have an accident.  I can feel my skin itching}  If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?

Marcha:  Don’t tell them, but I think I could probably count on my younger son and his wife to help me out. On the other hand, one of my daughters considers me her “retirement plan”. So if she plans to move in with me, then I assume she’ll take care of me. On the other hand, maybe she plans to throw me into a nursing home. My mother, who lived to be 96, was in a nursing home for 5 years and I told my kids if I was ever in that position to just shoot me. So, there’s also that possibility…

NJ:  Marcha, be careful what you ask for?  Anyway, any pets?  If so, are they also of the ‘grown’  kind?

Marcha:  The spoiled kind. Two Bengal cats and one sassy tuxedo share the house with me, and I feed three feral cats, two of which were born in my garage and are now tame enough that they let me pet them. The indoor cats are as bad as having children, as far as interrupting me when I’m trying to write.

NJ: OK, enough conversation about cats.  Marcha, 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?

Marcha:  On the rare occasions when such is in the house, that would have to be cheesecake.

NJ:  Yeah, I don’t like cheesecake at all.  Something about putting cheese and cake together sort of blows my appetite.  What’s your favorite color?

Marcha:  Black, mainly because it takes off a few pounds. I also like royal blue, turquoise, hot pink, and magenta.

NJ:  WOW!  I love royal blue and hot pink and black are one of my favorite combination colors.  How about a favorite sport?

Marcha:  To watch: ice skating.   To do: swim

NJ:  I can’t do either, but I do love watching them both.  Favorite TV Show?

Marcha:  “The Big Bang Theory”

NJ:  Hmmm, what are you going to watch when it goes off the air?  It is in its final season, correct?  Oh, nevermind.  You can answer that question later.   Marcha, do you have a favorite Actress or actor?

Marcha:  Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones

NJ:  Harrison Ford is one of the most phenomenal actors around, although I’ve never watched Indiana Jones.  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Marcha:  I have a stationary bike I get on almost every day for about a half-hour. It has 895 virtual miles on it and I’ve done a lot of reading while pedaling away. I love being able to multiplex.

NJ:  Well, good for you.  Your 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.}

Marcha:  Robocalls, especially when they “fake” the caller ID to make you think it’s a local call. Grrrrrr! You don’t even get the satisfaction of telling them where to go since it’s a recording! (But I usually do, anyway.)

NJ:  Well, okie dokie, then.  So, are you neat or messy?

Marcha:  A little of both. My office is an organized mess because there is too much in it, but the rest is pretty neat. I had to downsize 50% when I retired, which was quite a challenge. I had to have a shed built to accommodate some of it. My intention is to get to it someday and clean it out. Yeah, right…”Out of sight, out of mind” is quite effective for avoiding that.

NJ:  OK.  Your preference:  Facebook or Twitter?

Marcha:  Ugh. All social media is a major time-suck, but a necessary evil to an indie author.  If I had to choose, I’d probably go with Facebook.

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?

Marcha:  That would be my “cosmic twin” and fellow author, Dawn Greenfield Ireland. Yes, I’m working on her to join us at RRBC. I met her through my astrology work and noticed she was approximately 3 weeks younger than me. We found out our backgrounds were remarkably similar: technical writing, science fiction, self-published–we’d even lived in some of the same towns or areas. Our furniture even looks alike, including an identical vanity chair! What are the odds? She has definitely become my internet BFF.

NJ:  Well, good for you.  Everyone needs an internet BFF.  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest.

Marcha:  You mean they’re not the same person?

NJ:  Well, I think the real WW chain-smokes and NJ, she just likes using chains when people get out of hand, so, I guess the answer is NO.  But moving right along, Marcha, we all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and just 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?  You can be honest here, too.

Marcha:  That’s easy. Nonnie is real while WonderWoman isn’t. Nonnie has definitely made my world a better place through her hard work with RRBC and RWISA. No contest there, folks. WonderWoman is entertaining, but Nonnie rocks!

NJ:  Awwww, that was so sweet of you to say.  Hold on a second…let me push your seat back closer to the safe zone.  Now, there.  Marcha, would you share with us two favorite Indie books that you’ve read?

Marcha:  Only two?

NJ:  Yes, only two, dear.

Marcha:  That’s a tough one, there are so many. Thus, I’ll go with my most recent favorites: Mary Adler’s “In the Shadow of Lies” and Eichin Chang-Lim’s “Flipping.”

In The Shadow of Lies by Mary Adler

Flipping by Eichin Chang Lim

NJ:  Both are amazing RRBC members!  Now, ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:

Marcha:  That would be Eichin’s “Flipping.” Loved it, totally made me cry, which isn’t that easy to do.

NJ:  Well, OK.  Do tell us what was so great about it?

Marcha:  Everything! The plot, characters and how they were intertwined, the heavy-duty adversity, the love that bound them together, the research into the medical and gymnastics angles, her silky writing style, and the fact that English is her second language, yet, she can write like that! It had so much substance and originality, I was enchanted as a reader and very impressed as a fellow author.

NJ:  Well, I sure hope Eichin is tuning in to this interview for all of those beautiful accolades you just bestowed upon her and her writing.  Marcha, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Marcha:  Definitely, if I finish the book. If I don’t, usually not, depending on why I didn’t read the whole thing. If it just wasn’t my kind of book, I leave it be as too subjective. If it was poorly written, I’d probably give it a bad review while acknowledging I didn’t read the entire thing and why.

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Marcha:  Fairness to the book for what it is, considering the genre and intended audience. YA books should not be held to the same standard of complexity and detail as an epic historical novel. There will always be a certain level of subjectivity to any review, but there should be some rationale for the ranking other than unsubstantiated opinion. If I give a book a poor review, I usually specify why. Sometimes I’ll even break it down to components because some are good in one way and dreadful in others. I make an effort to justify my rating in a logical way.

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

Marcha:  I try to be as honest as possible. It can be difficult if it’s someone who has given you good reviews or they’re a friend of sorts, but generally, it seems “birds of a feather flock together” and we’re on the same basic level. For people I know, I like to participate as a beta reader. Then I can be honest without making it public. It also gives them a chance to fix or explain it.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Marcha:  No, gratefully. Fortunately, there are enough excellent writers out there these days whose work I know will be well-done if not enjoyable, I no longer have problems in that area. Every now and then I’ll get one that just isn’t my type of story, even if it’s well-written. I usually don’t advertise what I’m reading for that reason. I wouldn’t want to announce I’m reading something, then quit for purely subjective reasons that could reflect badly on the story when it simply wasn’t what I prefer. Since we’re being honest, I’ll admit that I’ve bought several RRBC books just to be supportive, yet never read them or didn’t get through them.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave a high mark to in your review when you knew it was horrible?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Marcha:  LOL! I’m afraid if something is horrible it’s not going to get a high mark. I might not review it at all, but wouldn’t give it a high mark undeservingly. When I first got into the Indie world, I did a reciprocal review with someone on LinkedIn. She blew right through mine and gave each of them five-stars. Hers was horrible! There must have been three or four typos on every page and the plot was loaded with holes and inaccuracies! I gave her five or six pages that listed the mistakes and issues, an editing job that would have cost her hundreds of dollars. After that, she asked if I was going to leave a review! I apologized and told her I just couldn’t do it, given the quality. She definitely wouldn’t have liked the one or two-star rating I would have given it.

I’ve inflated ratings from time to time, but if it’s truly horrible, I couldn’t do that. I want people to have some level of trust in my reviews. It can get complicated, though, when several elements of the story are well-done while others are lacking. That’s when I have to break it down into its components, rank each separately, then find the average.

NJ:  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?

Marcha:  I think Ron Yates is one candidate for that as well as Mary Adler with their respective works of historical fiction. I’m a detail-oriented person who appreciates good research backing it up, and they both do an outstanding job.  The high quality of their work raises the bar for everyone.

I must admit, some of the books I read early-on from the RRBC selections were pretty unprofessional and were a chore to get through. RWISA has helped with that a lot. I can count on a high level of quality and professionalism from anyone who’s a member. I do know a couple authors who aren’t in there whose work I enjoy, but the guesswork isn’t nearly as painful as it has been in the past.

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

Marcha:  I’m trying to be. There is always something to learn and ways to improve. When I read works from the author’s I’ve mentioned, I’m always a bit awed and humbled. I tend to analyze what makes them stand out and figure out how I can incorporate new techniques into my own writing. I’d like to think I can always do better.

NJ:  Marcha, your response to that question above was my best one yet.  Perfect!  So, how long have you been writing?

Marcha:  I remember writing my first story when I was in 1st grade. After that, I wrote science fiction stories to entertain my classmates in 6th grade. I loved to write letters to relatives and pen pals, even as a young child. I could read before I went to kindergarten, loved books, and always wanted to write one. I LOVED essay questions in school. I also learned the truth of the statement “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.” I could write a copious amount on just about anything, often without really saying anything substantial, but the teachers’ eyes would apparently glaze over and they’d give me a good grade based on quantity. I didn’t actually produce anything of novel length until around 1978.

NJ:  Interesting and I definitely love that quote.  Thanks for sharing it. So, are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Marcha:  I am now. I definitely learned not to get my feelings hurt when I was a technical writer at NASA. The engineers would figuratively bleed all over your work, which could be pretty annoying. However, at a certain point, I realized that their changes made it more accurate and therefore better. I learned to look at us as a team with their edits helping me produce a better product. I may not always agree with what someone says, but I always consider it.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Marcha:  My most recent ones would be “The Terra Debacle: Prisoners at Area 51”

The Terra Debacle by Marcha Fox

and “Refractions of Frozen Time” 

Refractions by Marcha Fox

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Marcha:  That depends on what constitutes “best.” “The Terra Debacle” is a side story to my series, so it doesn’t have the plot depth that “Refractions of Frozen Time” does since it was the concluding volume to my Star Trails Tetralogy. There’s a fair amount of humor in “The Terra Debacle,” which makes it a lighter read, plus a lot of research went into it, which took as long or longer than writing the book itself. “Refractions” required tying up the loose ends from the previous three books and providing a satisfying ending, so that was a major feat. “The Terra Debacle” is quirky sci-fi, “Refractions…” fairly heavy drama and hard sci-fi, so it’s not easy to compare them.

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?

Marcha:  My blog is Marcha2014. I post a writing tip each day, book reviews, author interviews, and occasionally other things that catch my attention one way or the other. For example, I did one a while back on spirit animals. I also have what I call an “astroblog” on my astrology site where I look at various events and so forth along with how the astrology fits. Most of it’s in the “you can’t make this stuff up” department.

An occasional typo might slip through since I often write them rather quickly and off the top of my head, not giving them the scrutiny I do fiction, so they might be a target-rich environment if you’re looking for things like that. I like to think the content is reasonably substantial.

NJ:  Interesting.  Now, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Marcha:  Hahaha, loaded question! As an organization, no doubt RRBC/RWISA. It’s undoubtedly the most comprehensive and pervasive. None of the others come close. RRBC/RWISA has everything imaginable and is always expanding and adding new features and help. If anything, sometimes it’s mind-boggling, there’s so much there.

As far as online resources are concerned, and I don’t know if this would count, but I would have to say Hootsuite. Being able to post tweets as well as Instagram and Facebook posts in advance is a huge help.

NJ:  How have you been helped by the RRBC/RWISA orgs?

Marcha:  Getting honest reviews is always a plus and the majority of mine are from fellow RRBC members. I’ve also been able to connect with other authors, which has been great. Some of us have done beta swaps, interviewed each other on our blogs, and so forth. There’s definitely a comradery amongst members, especially when you’ve been onboard for a while.

NJ:  Knowing all the ways that RRBC & RWISA benefit you, Marcha, makes my heart extremely happy.  Thank you!

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

Marcha:  I think it’s amazing. As previously mentioned, it has done me more good as far as getting reviews and connecting with fellow authors than any other. Plus, there’s all the other benefits like radio interviews, writing conferences, blog tours, and so forth, just to name a few.

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

Marcha:  Not even close. If they’re out there, I don’t know where. I’m also not shopping for one, since I’m more than happy with RRBC/RWISA. I can hardly keep up with everything going on here.  To do so would take all my time and I’d never get any writing done.

NJ:  Would you recommend RRBC/RWISA to your friends and family?

Marcha:  Definitely. I try to recruit folks whenever I can. Some are in the “starving author” category, which keeps some of them away. However, I’m somewhat in that spot myself, being retired, but I also believe you get what you pay for and I have no problem saying I’ve always gotten my money’s worth from RRBC/RWISA. I’ve spent plenty of money on promotions and advertising that turned out to be a complete waste; not the case with RRBC/RWISA.

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.)

Marcha:  I love the block parties and the WC&BEs as well as the various blog tours. I really enjoy getting to know my fellow authors. I’ve discovered so many with whom I have something in common.

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

Marcha:  It’s been a true honor to be here and I appreciate it, more than you know. This is about the third time that I was in a bit of a slump or discouraged about writing when, out of the blue, RRBC comes along with some honor or validation of my hard work. I don’t consider it your job to maintain or bolster my morale, but definitely, appreciate it when it works out that way. RRBC/RWISA rocks!

NJ:  Marcha, thank you so much for joining me here and thank you even more for all your kind words.  I’m sorry that in the beginning of our interview I ‘accidentally’ bumped your seat closer to the edge of the shelf, where you could have easily and ‘accidentally’ fallen.

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Marcha’s books.  Based on what she’s shared with us, I’m sure you’ll find them enjoyable reads.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Marcha was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

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19 responses

  1. Great interview! I loved learning more about Marcha! 🙂

    Like

  2. Thanks, Nonnie and Marcha, for this interesting interview “on the Shelf”!

    Like

  3. Wonderful interview, ladies! I loved the interaction. Thank you, Nonnie and March! 😀 xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Vashti! It was definitely one of the more enjoyable interviews I’ve had.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It comes across, Marcha. I enjoyed it. 🙂 xo

        Like

  4. Shirley Harris-Slaughter | Reply

    I enjoyed the interview Marcha and NJ. At times I even laughed. These interviews are fun that way.

    Like

  5. Fantastic interview!! As I anticipated, this interview was both entertaining and informative. Marcha, I take your book recommendations seriously. 🙂 I have Ron’s books, but based on your statement, I am heading to Amazon to get “Flipping!” I really enjoyed this. Congrats again, Marcha!

    Like

  6. What a great interview! Marcha, I am also a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory. I’m going to be very sad when it’s gone. Lol I’ve always wanted a Bengal, but that will have to happen down the road a bit. I am currently staff to 10 little rescued dictators, and they keep me busy. I went to your blog and I think I managed to successfully follow you. Lol

    Nonnie, I love the questions that you asked and the answers that they bring forth from the people on your shelf.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rhani! I’m sure The Big Bang Theory will around ad infinitum, much like old M*A*S*H episodes from the 70s, which I also love. Reruns are already on Hulu, from what I hear. Bengals are a handful. They’re very vocal, love high places, and are high maintenance generally. My little girl, Ophie, has cost me literally $thousands in vet bills and property damage. They are definitely a different breed of cat!

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  7. Such a fun interview, as always. Thank you, ladies, for entertaining us! Hope you’ve enjoyed your exciting month, Marcha!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Marlena! It has definitely been an exciting month.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on Marcha's Two-Cents Worth and commented:
    Check out my latest interview with Nonnie Jules, President of Rave Reviews Book Club!

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  9. Hahaha! I didn’t realize that “Comfortable?” question was one I was supposed to answer, so I will now. I’m not usually one who likes to be the center of attention, but I must admit that being in the company of so many other awesome authors here on the Shelf is a great place to be and it feels wonderful. I’m very much at home here at RRBC/RWISA.

    Like

  10. Great interview with Marcha, Nonnie. She is one of my favorites in RRBC. Love the Monster Mash!

    Ron

    On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 3:34 PM Rave Reviews By Nonnie Jules wrote:

    > RaveReviewsbyNJ posted: “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 bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover > an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here o” >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Ron! You’re definitely one of my favorites as well.

      Like

  11. Great fun from two of my favourite authors – thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Wendy! I love your work, too. You have an incredible talent for suspense!

      Like

  12. This was a fantastic interview! Thank you, Nonnie and Marcha. Your playfulness and seriousness kept me glued to your dialogue. Bravo!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gwen! I’m glad it didn’t put you to sleep. 😀 I hope you and John Howell are working hard on your “Contract” sequel!

      Liked by 1 person

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