Author Archive: RaveReviewsbyNJ

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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What It Really Means To Be an #RRBC KCT Int’l Literary Award Winner, Runner-Up or Finalist

In 2017, the KCT International Literary Award Writing Contest was born out of a need for the recognition of truly good and well-written books.

The KTC International Literary Award

After having read some of the worst written books that I’ve ever seen my entire life… being awarded by entities which I had previously held in high esteem for many years, I knew that it was time for RRBC to throw its hat in the ring.  The need was great for a contest where the winners (grand prize, runner-ups and finalists) would be truly deserving of award-winning accolades.

Here are the things that our judges look for in a KCT ILA read:

-Written works that have been properly edited and proofed;

-Great story-lines (we don’t want to fall asleep by page 6);

-Well-developed characters;

-Believability (perfect example: “A PERILOUS THIRST” is about a vampire, but while reading it, I thought he was just an average Joe who had walked into a bar. The author made me believe…)

-Story-lines that flow easily;

-All-in-all, we are searching for reads that, after having read Chapter one, compels us to continue reading to the very end. We don’t want to have to stop to jump over typos and misspelled words.  Nonnie writes in Nonnie-tongue, and I often share that “I write the way that I speak, and I speak very well,” so we are not opposed to you using your own language, but it MUST make sense!   We’re also not freaky about the rules of who follows who or what in the varying parts of speech (i.e. nouns, pronouns, adjectives, conjunctions, prepositions, etc).  I mean, c’mon, seriously? This is 2018.

Although no book is perfect, the member titles that you will find sporting a KCT ILA badge of honor, well, they come pretty close.

So, what does it really mean to have KCT Int’l Literary Award Winner displayed next to your book or a book that you might find listed in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs?

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It means that the book is a good or even an amazing read that will keep you continually turning the pages in hurried anticipation of finding out what’s going to happen next.  Simply put, you won’t want to put these reads down, so when you see KCT ILA winning titles in our catalogs (RWISA or RRBC), be sure to snag your copies!

Here are the 2018 Winners:

2018 GRAND PRIZE WINNER – TREAT AWARD “GOLD!!!

“THE ACTRESS” by Michael Hicks Thompson

The Actress by Michael Hicks Thompson

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*1st Place Runner Ups – TREAT AWARD “SILVER

“PASSING THROUGH” by Jenny Sundstedt

“FLOWERS AND STONE” by Jan Sikes

“RUBY SLIPS AND POKER CHIPS” by Heather Kindt

“JAZZ BABY” by Beem Weeks

“DETACHED” by Wendy Weiss

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*Top Finalists – TREAT AWARD “BLUE

“SHADOW OF THE DRILL” by Rhani D’Chae

“HOME AT LAST” by Jan Sikes

“ELIZABETH’S WAR” by D. L. Finn

“DAVIDA” by Karen Ingalls

“THE LOST YEARS OF BILLY BATTLES” by Ronald Yates

“IN THE SHADOW OF LIES” by Mary Adler

“LODESTONE” by Wendy Scott

“THE ONE AWAKENED” by Yvette Calleiro

“SEVEN DAYS TO GOODBYE” by Sheri S. Levy

“FINDING BILLY BATTLES” by Ronald Yates

“UNBRIDLED” by Young

“STARTING OVER” by Sheri S. Levy

So, there are our winners for 2018!  Please be sure to check out these entertaining reads just as soon as you can.  I must say that 6 of the titles under the FINALIST category, should have been part of the 1st Place Runner-Up group, but unfortunately, we could only list the Top 5.  (I won’t say which titles…you’ll just have to read them all to see what I mean!)

These reads will get a full year of promotion beginning early 2019 and ‘KCT ILA’ will be proudly displayed in the catalogs, next to each of them.

Remember, you earn MEMBER REWARDS POINTS when you read KCT ILA winning titles!

If you’ve never entered your book into the KCT ILA, get ready for the 2019 competition.  You could be our next Grand Prize Winner, 1st Place Runner-Up or Finalist! Contest opens in early January.

 

 

#RRBC 3rd Annual WC&BE18 FACT OR FICTION Answer Key!

Welcome to FACT OR FICTION!  Which statements are TRUE and which one is FALSE?  Let me give you a little assist here.  Only ONE of each statement is FALSE!!!

WE HAVE A 4-WAY TIE! 

These members have been sent a series of questions.  The member who returns their answers in a timely fashion, with the most answers correct, will win the FACT OR FICTION game!  Tune in by 11:59 PM CT on Monday, 11/1/18 to see who the winner is!

Below you will find a list of members.  Listed under each member’s name, you will find 3 statements.  You must determine which statement is FALSE.

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The correct answers are highlighted in bold/red.

The person with the most correct answers will win a nice prize but you must have AT LEAST 16 of the 33 correct!  This game is open to the general public.

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1. ALEX BAILEY
a.I have a small organic farm to feed the needy
b. I am a multi-genre author under different pen names
c. All 3 of my children graduated from my alma-mater, University of MD

2. AMIE O’BRIEN
a. My favorite hobby is snorkeling
b. As a child, I dreamed of living in California
c. The most bizarre food I ever ate was crocodile soup

3. BEEM WEEKS
a. I spent time as a lead singer in a heavy metal band
b. I’m a former competitive rider in horse shows
c. As a child, I appeared in a series of television commercials for a local (Michigan) grocery store

4. D. L. FINN
a. I’ve seen a UFO
b. I refuse to eat mushrooms
c. I’m afraid to touch a live dolphin

5. ERIC BORGERSON
a. I have trekked in Nepal
b. I love cultivating trees from seed
c. I considered a career as a chef

6. ERIC HALPENNY
a. I learned to ride a bike at age 19
b. I have never had a cavity
c. I have never broken a bone

7. FLOSSIE BENTON ROGERS
a. I majored in history in college
b. I played drums in a garage band
c. I love broccoli and brussel sprouts

8. FRANK KELSO
a. I taught monkeys to fly airplanes
b. I met my wife on a video dating service
c. I climbed Mt. Shasta last year

9. GRACIE BRADFORD
a. I have self-published four books about relationships
b. The 2018 academy-award winning movie, LADY BIRD, was based upon the beagle character, LADY BIRD from the book “JUNE THE PRUNE AND LADY BIRD”
c. I have over 300 collectible frogs securely displayed in my garage, although I am afraid of live frogs

10. GWEN PLANO
a. My first book was focused on finding my soul mate
b. My second book was inspired by a dream
c. I recently walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and visited two sons living in the area

11. HARRIET HODGSON
a. I took yodeling lessons in high school and still love doing it
b. When I was a CNN hookup from Chicago, there was a small fire in the studio
c. I have appeared on more than 185 radio talk shows

12. JOHN HOWELL
a. I don’t know how to swim
b. I love to cook
c. Wyoming is the only state in the US that I have not visited

13. JOY GERKEN
a. I do not have great grandchildren
b. My blood cells take 60 seconds to travel around my body
c. I am a traditionally published author

14. JOY NWOSU LO-BAMIJOKO
a. My first book: Cinema E Africa Nera, was published in Rome in 1968
b. My bio titled: Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko – The Saga of a Nigerian Female Ethnomusicologist by Godwin Sadoh, was published in 2012
c. In 2010, I got a movie deal for my book, “MIRROR OF OUR LIVES: VOICES OF FOUR IGBO WOMEN”

15. JOYCE SHAUGHNESSY
a. I love to play blackjack and win money in Vegas
b. I have been married 3 times
c. I like to explore in caves

16. KARL MORGAN
a. I worked for 5 companies without changing jobs or the factory where I was located
b. As an author, I plan and outline my plots and research all historical facts
c. I have been to 6 of the 7 continents

17. KAREN INGALLS
a. I caught a 6-lb bass just off our dock
b. I was born at the hospital my grandparent’s owned
c. My twin sister was born 2 minutes after me

18. LARRY HYATT
a. As a child, I always wanted to be a disc jockey
b. When I worked for the Houma Regional Arts Council, I was put in charge of the local Big Read
c. I started singing opera at age twelve

19. LARRY LANDGRAF
a. I live along a piranha and alligator-infested river in Texas
b. I write award-winning children’s books inspired by my eight grandchildren
c. I spent the night of Hurricane Harvey outside in 140 mph winds

20. MARCHA FOX
a. I’m a professional astrologer with over 240,000 answer views on Quora.com
b. I have a Master’s Degree in physics
c. I’ve lived in New York, Cali, Utah and Texas

21. MARY ADLER
a. The German shepherd in my Oliver Wright books is named after my pet hamster
b. Emma in my Oliver books is the spitting image of my dog Andy
c. I played on the painter’s scaffolding on the Richmond-San Rafael bridge

22. MICHELLE ABBOTT
a. I used to play guitar in a band
b. I got married at age 17
c. I worked as a house painter and decorator

23. NICHOLAS ROSSIS
a. I have accidentally taken a photo of what just might be a ghost, during a photo shoot in Edinburgh
b. I am half-English, born in Greece but grew up in the UK
c. I served two years in the Hellenic Navy. One of my fellow sailors turned out to be a notorious serial killer

24. NONNIE JULES
a. My car is sometimes messy
b. I took a year off from college to hitchhike around the world
c. I love the smell of gasoline and mothballs

25. PATRICIA GUTHRIE
a. I sang opera in Germany and Switzerland
b. I love to exercise
c. I hate to exercise

26. RHANI D’CHAE
a. I have one biological child
b. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a Queen. Instead, I’m an Empress
c. I love clothes with bright colors and wear them often

27. RON YATES
a. I was nominated by the Chicago Tribune three times for a Pulitzer Prize for my work as a foreign correspondent;
b. In order to write Book One in my trilogy which is set in my home state of Kansas, I traveled the 60 miles between the Cimarron and Arkansas Rivers known as the “jornada del muerte” (the journey of death) by horseback, so I could accurately describe the hardships that Billy Battles and his men experienced;
c. The locations in Asia and Mexico that I describe in Books Two and Three of the Finding Billy Battles Trilogy, are all places where I lived and worked

28. SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER
a. I was invited to speak at my own book event after someone spotted my book online
b. I belonged to a girls singing group that played around the city
c. I had a photo op with President Barack Obama

29. SUSANNE LEIST
a. My fave chicken soup recipe includes chicken necks and feet
b. My fave tv show is MURDER SHE WROTE
c. I love to read historical fiction books

30. SUZANNE BURKE
a. I spent many years living in the U.S.A
b. I have been married twice
c. I have swum with Dolphins

31. WENDY SCOTT
I’m a thrill-seeker who has:
a. Bungy jumped
b. Paraglided
c. Parachuted

32. VASHTI Q
a. I was married in Paris, France
b. I went snorkeling in subzero temperature water in Alaska
c. I’ve never eaten pork

33. YVETTE CALLEIRO
a. I attended 7 different schools in 13 years
b. My father was in the Army, and I have lived in four different countries
c. I am highly allergic to shellfish

34.  Jan Sikes
a. I was born in the New Mexico desert
b. I have lived in 5 different states
c. I am an expert swimmer

***

The winner of the SCAVENGER HUNT Game will be posted shortly!

Karen Ingalls in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC #RWISA @KIngallsAuthor

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 September’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, KAREN INGALLS! We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

IMG_1441

NJ:  Hi, Karen! Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  I redesigned it last year for more comfortability so that that our guests would feel more at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, otherwise my set up won’t matter to them.  We also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf?  So, are you comfy?

Karen:  The shelf is big and roomy so there should be no accidents. I am comfy in this overstuffed chair with an ottoman to rest my weary feet. I love the relaxing ambience, floral arrangement on the table, and the big window looking out at nature in all her beauty. Thank you for the cold iced tea with lots of ice…perfect!

NJ: {Wondering what shelf Karen is on}  Uh, Karen, we don’t serve tea on this shelf, only beer – and that floral arrangement is Lucky’s stuffed bear that he chews and then flings around so that it lands all over the place.  And, nice view?  Nature?  Our view is the back of Miller’s dirty parking lot, but hey, if you gotta go their in your mind to feel safe up here, go for it!  Now, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Karen:  Yes, Karen Ingalls is my name by marriage; Karen Clark by birth. My name is a story in itself…someday I will write a short story about that.

NJ:  {Thank goodness it will be short.  I can tell already she has a lot to say today.  Geeez, I haven’t even had my morning cup-o-joe yet}

Blank stare boy

(Courtesy of TENOR.com)

Karen, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Karen:  I was born in San Diego, California. FYI from the Scavenger Hunt, I was born in the very hospital that my great aunt Helen built, owned, and ran. Lived in San Diego/Los Angeles areas for 28 years; moved to Minnesota to get out of the insanity and heavy drug culture of California; and after 40 years there, I retired in Tavares, Florida with lots of sunshine and no snow.

NJ:  Interesting.  So, are you married or single?

Karen:  I am very happily married. It is my second marriage and he’s my soul-mate.

NJ:

Blank stare boy

Do you lovebirds have any kids, Karen?  If so, what kind?

Karen:  I have three sons, who are all married and have children of their own. Have you heard the saying, “There is a special place in heaven for the mothers of three sons?”

NJ:  No, Karen, I can’t say that I have, but tell us, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one of those sons 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?

Karen:  Oh, my goodness!! That is quite a question. I truly believe that any three of them would keep me at home despite my crankiness (unless I had special health needs). I think my middle son might be the first to volunteer.

NJ:  Well, aren’t you lucky. I think even our dogs are planning my trip to “A PLACE FOR MOM” these days.  Speaking of dogs, do you guys have any pets?  If so, what kind?

Karen:  No pets. I have had every pet imaginable in my life, but cats are my favorite. I even had a white lab rat for a pet one time. He was really sweet.

NJ:  A lab rat?  You know, saying rat around me is just like saying cat.  They have traps for those things, don’t they?  Uuugh!  My skin crawls just thinking of them…both of them!  Let’s move away from your choice of pets.  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?

Karen:  My favorite breakfast is Eggs Benedict, I love BLT’s for lunch, and Enchiladas and Tacos are a favorite dinner, but my favorite food of all time is: POPCORN!

NJ:  Really???  Popcorn as a favorite food?  I’ve never heard that one before.  How interesting!  So, what’s your favorite color?

Karen:  Teal

NJ:  Teal’s good.  Your favorite sport?

Karen:  Golf to watch and play.

NJ:  You don’t even want to get me started on golf.  It is the most confusing game ever in my world, and for sure, I’d be the person standing there screaming every time someone got ready to hit a ball;  just so they’d kick me out, because I’m sure I wouldn’t have gone there willingly.  I have an avid golf person in my world…golf instructor, to be exact.  But, no thank you, it’s not my game.  Karen, what’s your favorite TV Show?

Karen:  Jeopardy and Amazing Race are tied.

NJ:  OK.  Since you mentioned Jeopardy?  Did Vanna have some work done?  Her and what’s his name…the Pat guy.  I’m curious to know so maybe we can discuss that after the show.  Karen, who is your favorite Actress/Actor?

Karen:  I have so many it is hard to just give one. I really do not know current stars, so I will date myself and name my four all-time favorites: Jennifer Jones, Susan Hayward, Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart are in the top ten. Can you tell I love old movies?

NJ:  Nope, can’t tell at all, Karen. {Sigh}

Dogs watching clock

(Courtesy of 1zoom.me}

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

Karen:  I do like to exercise, but I am out of the routine right now. Golf is my only form of exercise now, but I do need to get back into going to the gym and doing Yoga.

NJ:  OK.  Yoga’s good.  Karen, what is 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).

Karen:  People being rude or just plain mean to others.

NJ:  {Well, I guess you’re no fan of hers, then}.

Judge Jugy gif

(Giphy)

So, are you neat or messy?

Karen:  I am definitely neat. Clutter drives me crazy.

NJ:  {Suddenly sees Karen in a new light!}

Shocked dogs

(Heavenlydogs.net & e.ritt photography)

Karen, which is your favorite…Facebook or Twitter?

Karen:  Twitter

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?

Karen:  She will remain anonymous, but she is also an ovarian cancer survivor who I have never met in person. We are in close communication and deeply share with one another.

NJ:  It’s always good to have someone, especially one who is traveling a similar journey.  Karen, who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? It’s OK to be honest here with no fear that the shelf might begin to shake a bit and you could accidentally fall.

Karen:  I favor Nonnie Jules because that is the name you go by as an author and founder of RRBC.  I am assuming (such a dangerous word) that it is your given name. Wonder Woman does have super powers, but I believe you have super gifts of writing, organization, creativity, and kindness which are more important.

NJ:  Thank you, Karen.  Very kind words that are much appreciated.  Well, 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 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, as well.

Karen:  Nonnie makes the world a better place because she is real…demands honesty, integrity, professionalism, cooperativeness, and friendliness to be a member of RRBC. She uses a lasso through confronting anyone who does not abide by these traits.

NJ:  Karen, you have been watching very closely and paying attention!  I love it!  If everyone viewed it that way, it’d be so much easier for us all to get along.  Thank you for your very clear, and most accurate assessment of me.  Now, please name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

Karen:  This is difficult because I have read many great books by Indie authors. The first ones that came to mind were Milele Safari and Jazz Baby.

NJ:  I’m so glad you stuck to only two. Now, ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Karen:  Vanished

NJ:  Hmmm, I wished we knew who the author of VANISHED was so that we could check out the book.  We do know who authored your other two favorites above (the late Jan Hawke and Beem Weeks). But, tell us what was so great about that book?

It was very well-written and the story-line is a powerful one. It is a subject that everyone should not only know about, but help find answers to this horrible fact of our society as well as other countries.

NJ:  OK, good to know.  After you read books, do you post reviews, Karen?

Karen:  Absolutely.

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

Karen:  They must be honest. I believe how well the book has been written and edited is integral to the review. Even if the subject matter or genre is not the reader’s favorite, one must ask “Did it hold my attention and was it well-written?”

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?

Karen:  It is hard to write a review about a book that I did not care for by an author-friend. I just recently had to write one about a short story by one of my favorite authors. I gave my honest reasons why and I hope he read it with an open mind.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Karen:  Yes, the one I described above and another one I just finished.

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.

Karen:  No, I have not ever done that.

NJ:  Good for you.  Karen, do you know that we have had members to quit the club because of reviews that I’ve given of their books?  Yep.  I sent the reviews to them personally, but you know, when someone is constantly being lied to….“You’re good, you’re great, etc. etc. etc.,” you start to buy into that nonsense.  Then, when the truth comes along, sometimes it hurts.  (Baby, I’m Sorry – Not Sorry) 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?

Karen:  Ron Yates has written powerful blogs, articles, and books which I believe challenges us to do due diligence when we create a story. Do the research, have an interesting and absorbing story, and an excellent editor.

Suzanne Burke has brought exciting, interesting, and heart-wrenching stories. She is creative, willing to take risks writing about “uncomfortable” subjects, and at the same time write scary, skin-tingling murder stories. I admire how far she has come and her confidence in providing such powerful stories.

NJ:  Both, great choices.  Karen, are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Karen:  Yes, I am an author. I believe I am a good one though it took most of my life for me to accept that I had a talent for writing. I have had only one bad review and it was due to the set up for the Kindle version – was a mess! I offered the reader an updated and professional version, but it was declined. I do wish he/she would reconsider because I respect the author and would like honest feedback.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Karen:  Since I was a preteen.

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

Karen:  Yes. How else can I improve and learn?

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Karen:  Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens

davida

Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir  

Outshine by Karen Ingalls

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Karen:  Davida

NJ:  I think many of us feel that the books following our first one, are better.  That’s because we’ve learned from the mistakes of the first one, right?  Karen, 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?

Karen:  I have two blogs, one for avid readers and authors, kareningalls.blogspot.com and the other one is about health/wellness, spirituality, and relationships at outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com. I believe they both are well written. I would love your expert critique.

NJ:  I’ll have to drop by them both just for that reason, Karen.  I’ll send my feedback.  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Karen:  RRBC in all honesty

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Karen:  Support, encouragement, reviews, and challenging me to write short stories to be entered into the anthology book.

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?

Karen:  I love it. I am grateful to The Late, Kathryn Chastain Treat who invited me.

NJ:  Our dear Kathryn brought a lot of folks into the club because she believed in it and loved it, as well.  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Karen:  There are many book clubs, but none even close to RRBC.

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

Karen:  I would 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.)

Karen:  Book of the Month discussions and On the Shelf. Both of these provide opportunities to get to know authors at a deeper and more personal level. I had to put them together. I could not choose one over the other.

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

Karen:  I just want to say that it has been fun, and at times challenging, to answer the questions. I wish this was in person. I love to look into people’s eyes, hear their voice, and watch their body language. However, I have enjoyed myself and I hope everyone has learned a little bit more about me. Many thanks to you, Nonnie for taking the time out of your busy schedule to interview me.

NJ:  Karen, thank you so much for joining me here.  It’s truly been my pleasure!  And, if I haven’t thanked you properly for my prayer square, I LOVE IT!  Gwen Plano sent me a Prayer Shawl that I use every single day!  It sits in my office downstairs, on the back of my chair, and my prayer square is kept in my purse, so I’m covered all over the place.  Thanks so much, again!

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Karen’s books.  You’ll find them enjoyable reads.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Karen 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!!

Joyce Shaughnessy in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @AuthorJoyceS

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 July’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, JOYCE SHAUGHNESSY! We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

image

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf, Joyce?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2018, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, and we also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf.  So, are ya’ comfy?

Joyce:  {Silence}

NJ:

Really dog

Well…this is going to be a fun interview.

Uh, Joyce….how about we try another question then.  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Joyce:  Birth name

NJ:  Blushing dog

Yayyyyy!  She speaks!

OK, now we’re getting somewhere!  Joyce, now how about sharing with us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?  Married or single?

Joyce:  I was born in Brownwood, Texas. I live in Midland, Texas with my wonderful husband. We’ve lived here for twenty-six years.

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

Joyce:  I have one daughter, and Dennis has one daughter.

NJ:  I assume Dennis is the wonderful husband who has lived with you for twenty-six years in Midland?  OK, moving on from that…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?  Your daughter or your step-daughter?

Joyce:  I think my daughter, Heather, will throw me in the nearest nursing home she can find. She’s pretty busy being a lawyer, and she might not even visit me at Christmas. Bridget might let me live with them- actually it would be her husband who might. I must not be a very good Mother – at least not a very sociable one.

NJ: 

English bulldog funny face

You don’t say.

Joyce, do you have any pets?  If so, what kind?

Joyce:  I have a very neurotic black Cocker Spaniel.

NJ:  Neurotic, huh?  Hmmmm……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?

Joyce:  I love, love cookies. But if forced to, I will eat other food.

NJ:  What’s your favorite color:

Joyce:  Blue

NJ:  Really?  I would have taken you for an (Oreo cookie) brown kind of girl.  Let’s see if I can get it right with this next one.  What’s your favorite sport?

Joyce:  None. I don’t like sports. I watch Notre Dame football with my husband, but I don’t like it. I just pretend I do.

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

Joyce:  Movies on the Hallmark Channel. I don’t have to think when I watch them and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Joyce:  Tom Hanks

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

Joyce:  I have been forced to exercise in the water because of a bad back problem. All of the people are over sixty.

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).

Joyce:  When people say “where it’s at” or “where we’re going to.” We have many people who say that here in West Texas, and it does make me want to run them over with my car. I’ve managed to resist so far.

NJ:  Uh, so what’s wrong with “where it’s at?”

disgusted-dog

Joyce, are you neat or messy?

Joyce:  Neat. Very neat. Drives my husband crazy. Maybe that’s why my daughter won’t care for me in my old age.

NJ:  I’ve known children to chunk their parents into elderly care facilities but none of the reasons given were because they were too neat.  I’d wager that she has another reason.  So, which is your vice….Facebook or Twitter?

Joyce:  Twitter definitely. I hate Facebook.

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

Joyce:  Oh, I thought Nonnie Jules was Wonder Woman.

NJ:  Good answer!  Joyce, 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 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.

Joyce:  Well, since I always thought they were the same person, I’ll have to think about that one. Nonnie makes the writing world a better place, so I think the answer has to be Nonnie.

NJ:  You’re on fire now, Joyce!   After you read books, do you post reviews?

Joyce:  Almost always.

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

Joyce:  How well the book was written.

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?

Joyce:  I try to be honest in my reviews but not rude. There’s a big difference.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Joyce:  Oh, yes.

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

Joyce:  None. I will give it better than it deserves, but if I can’t give it at least 3 stars, I won’t write the review. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often.

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?

Joyce:  You have, Nonnie. You’ve created something here that changes things for a lot of Indie writers.

I can’t think of the other.

NJ:  Well, that was kind of you to say, Joyce.  Thank you 🙂 Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Joyce:  I think I’m pretty good, but definitely not the best. At least I don’t say or write “where it’s going to.”

NJ:  How about “Where is that box going to?”  LOL!  Joyce, how long have you been writing?

Joyce:  About ten years professionally. I’ve been writing for years.

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

Joyce:  Yes, I can.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

“A HEALING PLACE”

A Healing Place by Joyce Shaughnessy

“THE UNSURRENDERED”

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Joyce:  A Healing Place has always been my favorite, but I don’t know which is the best.

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?

Joyce:  I have a blog. You won’t laugh out loud or gasp with astonishment at my brilliance. It may not be up to your standards. It is:  http://joyceshaughnessy.blogspot.com

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Joyce:  You’ve definitely helped me with promotion and simply enjoying being an author by visiting with other authors.

NJ:  Thanks, Joyce.  How exactly have we helped you?

Joyce:  RRBC made me feel welcome. I’ve learned by reading other members’ books. Also promotions – things like this interview.

NJ:  Well, making our members feel welcome and as if they are part of a huge extended family, is our first goal.  Helping you to promote and putting your name out there via our support, is also extremely important to the members of this club.  Joyce, since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Joyce:  I think it is a great, great, great club!

NJ:  WOW! 3 ‘greats!’ That’s awesome!  Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC, Joyce?

Joyce:  No. I’ve certainly never been made to feel as welcome as RRBC does.

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

Joyce:  Definitely.

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.)

Joyce:  BOOKS OF THE MONTH

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

Joyce:  Thank you for listening to me.

NJ: 

Dog with ear muffs

I’m sorry, Joyce, I can’t hear you.  LOL!

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Joyce’s books.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Joyce 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!!

Jan Sikes in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @Rijanjks

Jan_Sikes_Signing_Books

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 & RWISA member, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE Co-Host and June’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, JAN SIKES We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

***

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  Back in 2017 I tried to make it more comfortable, so I’m curious to know how it’s holding up in 2018.  I also wanted the lay-out to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf.  Between you and me, I think the majority of those falls were because the guests were a tad-bit clumsy, but, nevertheless, I’d like everyone to know that you fall here at your own risk.  I was laughing so hard at my girlfriend’s the other day that I almost fell off her sofa, so I’m going to share with you what she shared with me and the way she shared it:  “Fall if you wanna.  We ain’t got no insurance over here!”  I’m still laughing at that!  So, are you comfy?

Jan:  Yep, I’m feeling right at home, Nonnie. Thanks for helping me up. You know at my age, climbing isn’t easy.

NJ:  Oh, I’m sorry, Jan.  You mean they didn’t offer you my medi-Lift to get up here?  Poor things.  They think I’m such a bear all the time that they even made this 97 year old grandmother walk up the stairs to see me.  They said they didn’t think I wanted anyone else using my Lift, because then I’d feel like I was using public transportation.  But, again, Jan, my apologies.  So, since we’re a bit delayed with this interview, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Jan:  My birth name is Janice Kay Smith, but when I was eighteen, I shortened it to Jan and Sikes is my married name.

3 Shocked dogs

NJ:  Well, Okie Dokie, Ms. Janice Kay Smith.  You people will never learn.  Y’all give away waaaaaaaayyyyyyy too much information in these interviews and you know the internet is nothing but a cesspool of stalkers…AND crazy folks.  But, I keep warning and y’all keep ignoring so let’s move on.  Tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Jan:  I was born in Hobbs, New Mexico.  I left home when I turned eighteen and never looked back and at the moment, I live in Plano, Texas!

NJ:  At the moment?  Janice Kay, that sounds as if there might be a moving van in your future.  Hmmm.  OK.  Make sure you let us know when you’re moving.  Oh, and don’t forget the address and zip code and phone number, too.

Dog researching on the computer

(Psycho internet troll dog tracking you down cuz you made it easy for him)

So, Janice Kay, married or single?

Jan:  Widowed

NJ:  I’m so sorry to hear that.  Any kids?  What kind?

Jan:  Two beautiful, smart and kind-hearted daughters.

NJ:  Don’t you just love those kind?  I have two of those myself.  So, Janice Kay, 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?

Jan:  That’s a tough one. I can’t see either of my girls throwing me in a nursing home, but if they did, you could rest assured it would be the nicest one they could find. No, I think they’d probably work out a share system and I’d be at each house for periods of time.

NJ:  As much as I love my babies, I feel a nursing home, a remote control and some books in my future.  I have to tell the truth.  Any pets?

Jan:  I live in an apartment, so “No.”  But, I have had dogs, cats and fish in the past.

NJ:  Janice Kay (I just love that name!), 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?

Jan:  That’s a tough one. Food is low on my priority list, but there is one food that I’ve only had three times in my life and my mouth still waters when I think about it – homemade Baklava. Yummy!

NJ:  Hmmm, never heard of Baklava, but I had a feeling that you would mention this, so I had my cook to whip you up a little.  Hope you like it.  For those of you who are ignorant to this food that keeps Jan’s mouth watering, this is what it is:  a dessert originating in the Middle East made of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey.

Baklava

They had me when they said “pastry.”  Nonnie = pastry-lover.  So, Janice Kay, what’s your favorite color?

Jan:  Any shade of blue

NJ:  OK.  How about your favorite sport…

Jan:  I love watching my grandsons play soccer and baseball, but I don’t watch any sports on TV.

NJ:  I wasn’t a sports fan at all until my daughter began playing volleyball.  Now, that sport dominates our world.  Love it (but only to watch her play it!).  So, do you have a favorite TV show?

Jan:  Right now, I’d say hands-down, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Wowzer!

NJ:  OK, never heard of that, either.  Who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?

Jan:  I’ve always loved Meryl Streep. If I ever get my story made into a movie, and she’s still alive, she could play my part. Male actors – That’s a hard one. I’ve always loved the bad boys. I think Sam Elliott would win. I loved him in Roadhouse.

NJ:  Meryl Streep in “Bridges Over Madison County,” was it for me.  And that soundtrack?  I listen to it even now, a few times a week while I’m working.

Janice Kay, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Jan:  My favorite form of exercise is walking. I also love exercise classes because they push me. But, I do struggle with consistent exercise. It’s hit and miss.

NJ:  I love to exercise!  It really does make you feel so good.  So, Janice Kay, what’s the 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).

Jan:  As an apartment dweller, my biggest pet peeve in life is people who don’t pick up their dogs’ poop. That is disgusting!

NJ:  Thanks for the heads up, Janice Kay.  I was about to have lunch, but, that’s OK.  It can wait a few hours now (thanks to your visual).  So, are you neat or messy?

Jan:  Mostly neat. I like keeping my workspace organized, but around magazine deadlines, it can get pretty messy. I think I need a cork board.

NJ:  OK, that’s understandable.  I may have a bit of dirt in my car every now and again.  But, that’s my car…never my home!  So, Facebook or Twitter?

Jan:  Facebook for personal fun stuff and keeping up with friends and family. Twitter for business.

NJ:  You know, I’m amazed at the number of folks who feel the same way you do about these two mediums.  I don’t use Facebook much, so all of my online time is definitely work related but, if I did spend personal time online, I would separate them the very same way.

Janice Kay, 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?

Jan:  That’s a hard question to answer because there are several, but I’d say Wendy Scott is at the top of that list.

NJ:  Yes, that Wendy Scott is amazing, isn’t she?  If I could only get her to do this one thing that I want her to do.  Janice Kay, do you know any hypnotists?  Maybe I can get her that way.  But, we’ll come back to Wendy later…off air.  So tell us, who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest

Jan:  WonderWoman for fantasy, Nonnie Jules for reality.

NJ:  Good answer.  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 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?

Jan:  Nonnie, of course, because she’s real. Nonnie is making a difference in author’s lives around the world.

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

Jan:  Oh! That’s an easy one to answer. “Shadow of the Drill” by Rhani D’Chae and “Jazz Baby” by Beem Weeks.

NJ:  Good choices, Janice Kay!  So, how about sharing ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it…

Jan:  Empty Chairs by Stacey Danson

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Jan:  This book is extremely well-written. It’s gritty and honest exposing child abuse horrors most of us can’t imagine. The fact that this book is a true story is its strongest and most powerful aspect. I have so much admiration for Sooz (Stacey) for laying it all out in such a way that it can’t help but bring awareness to a world-wide epidemic. If everyone would read this book, perhaps there would be more proactive people combatting child abuse, while also finding ways to help children living on the streets.

NJ:  Janice Kay, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Jan:  Yes

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

Jan:  To me, a review is simply my opinion of the book. I think it needs to express what I thought about the author’s writing ability, grammar, punctuation, etc, the plot, but especially for me, most of all the characters. I am a character driven writer and reader.

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?

Jan:  No. I believe it is my duty to be honest with my reviews.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Jan:  Yes. One.

NJ:  (Well, Janice Kay, I would have hoped that you wouldn’t have mentioned my book publicly.  I’m working on correcting it, you know!)

Angry dog

(Photo by AnimalWised)

Moving right along from the ugly part of the interview… Janice Kay, how many poorly written books have you read that you gave a high mark to in your review, when you knew they were horrible?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Jan:  Zero. I won’t give anything above two or three stars for a poorly written book. To be honest, I rarely read a poorly written book because I don’t have time for such nonsense. Most of the time, I just put it aside and forget about it.

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?

Jan:  Nonnie Jules and Nicholas Rossis.  Nonnie has changed the playing field by challenging Indie Writers to grow and be better and providing a platform for that growth to happen. The RRBC Writers’ Conference and Book Expo is a good example. Nicholas provided us a wonderful tool to help authors bring the reader inside their character’s emotions with his “Emotional Beats” book. It is one of the best reference books I own, and I use it often.

NJ:  Why thank you, Jan!  Very kind of you to say.  Nicholas and I are sometimes joined at the hip in projects and lately, in these interviews, you guys have been linking us more and more.  I now think we’re starting to look alike and you should hear my Greek accent – and his is turning a bit more Southern by the day! LOL!  So, Janice Kay, are you an author?

Jan:  Yes, I am an author. It took a couple of years before I was comfortable saying those words.

NJ:  Well, good for you!  Are you a good author?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Jan:  I am a good author who is still learning the craft. I think my willingness to learn and grow helps make me a good author. I’m always striving for better.

NJ:  Janice Kay, you know, there could not have been a better response to that question.  And, you are so right!  That is what makes us good authors:  the willingness to continually learn the craft so that we are continually improving and also, the ability to listen to the critiques of those who are clearly more skilled than we are in certain areas.  Good response.  I loved it!  How long have you been writing, by the way?

Jan:  Really, since I can remember. The first thing I can remember writing was a gospel song. But, I wrote my first book in 2012.

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

Jan:  Yes. I welcome it. I won’t accept personal attacks or destructive comments, but I am wide open to constructive criticism.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Jan:

FLOWERS AND STONE

Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes

THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE

The Convict and the Rose by Jan Sikes

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Jan:  That question is impossible for me to answer. They are both such vastly different books. I recently pulled Flowers and Stone down, revised and re-edited it so I know it is much better than it was when I originally published it. On the other hand, The Convict and the Rose has all Five-Star reviews, so many thought it was good.

NJ:  Yeah, I don’t put that much stock into reviews.  But, Janice Kay, 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?

Jan:  I have both a blog site and a website. I think you would thoroughly enjoy my blog, Nonnie. I strive to keep it clean and well-written, whether it’s a book review or a short story.

NJ:  I must stop by there today!  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Jan:  The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

NJ:  You know, Janice Kay…I hear that a lot.  It must be true!  How have you been helped by the club?

Jan:  I’ve been embraced, encouraged and uplifted by my peers and I had not found that anywhere else I had looked. I’ve had one of my books featured as a Book of the Month. I’ve been on a RAVE WAVES radio show talking about one of my books. I’ve enjoyed many Blog Tours and other RRBC events.  Many members have read and reviewed my books. It was due to one member’s book review that I decided to re-write Flowers and Stone. The RRBC Writers’ Conferences have helped grow my writing and marketing skills through the many workshops offered. I’ve made friendships that I treasure. I’ve found a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people. We are all in this together and there is no competition. When a member does win an award, like Ron Yates did in the KCT Literary contest, I get excited and want to help promote them. Ron didn’t know he’d won until I posted something on Twitter congratulating him. 😊

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?

Jan:  I think you already know the answer to that question, Nonnie. I love the RRBC and RWISA family that I’ve found. Writing and marketing your books can be a lonely existence and it is so encouraging to find others in the same boat. Then, you can climb on that boat and sail together. That’s when you gain strength. That’s what I’ve found.

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

Jan:  None. There are some organizations who offer one tiny aspect of the many things offered at RRBC, but NONE that give the whole ball of wax like RRBC.

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

Jan:  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.)

Jan:  That’s a tough one. I suppose if I had to choose only one, it would be the RRBC Writer’s Conference and Book Expo.

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

Jan:  It is an honor and privilege to sit in this seat for the month of June. I appreciate all the shares, comments and camaraderie from our members. If you are reading this and are not yet a member of RRBC, or maybe you are a member but haven’t fully “jumped-in” yet, I encourage you to do so. This is a book club, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a community of kind-hearted giving people who enjoy promoting each other. But, you have to give to receive. It’s the law of the Universe and Nonnie’s law as well. Thank you everyone, for all your awesome support!

NJ:  Jan, we can always count on you for such kind words.  Thank you!  Audience, for once, there were no “almost” accidents today!  Jan was the most perfect guest!  That’s a little disappointing actually.  I know most of you only come here for the drama.  (That’s OK…it’s the only reason I show up, too!  And also for the cookies!)

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Jan’s books.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Jan 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!!

Maretha Botha in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @MarethMBotha

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 May’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, MARETHA BOTHA We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

ROXIE ME SELFIE_2064

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf? We’ve made it even more comfortable in 2018, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, and we also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer…. You know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf? So, comfy?

Maretha:  Yes, feeling a bit more comfortable!

NJ:  Good, well let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name

Maretha: (nickname) and my married name, Botha. My birth name is Margaretha Menichini

NJ:  Tell us where you were born?

Maretha:  In Montagu, Western Province, South Africa

NJ:  Do you still live there now?

Maretha:  Sadly not

NJ:  What city and state are you calling home these days?

Maretha:  Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom

NJ:  Married, single, kids?

Maretha:  Married with kids

NJ:  What kind?

Maretha:  The in-between ones

NJ:  Never heard of the ‘in-between ones,’ but OK.  Maretha, 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?

Maretha:  I’m confident that there might well be a toss-up between the two of them as to who would want me. So, I’ll be diplomatic and share my time between them, that is, if I have time to share – what with all the travelling and writing I want to do.

NJ:  Well, how kind of you.  Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

Maretha:  Indoors, not any more. Outdoors – I view all the stray cats as my pets, and the garden birds think I’m their Godmother.

NJ:  Another cat lady, huh?  There are just too many of you around me!!!

Pug dog face

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?

Maretha:  Fruit and Nut Cadbury Chocolate Bar

NJ: What’s your favorite color?

Maretha:  I don’t have one, but I feel happy in an autumn inspired interior and wearing winter colours such as dark blues, greens and maroons.

NJ:  How about a favorite sport?

Maretha:  Tennis

NJ:  Favorite TV Show

Maretha:  Alan Tichmarch’s Gardening Make-overs

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor

Maretha:  There are a few great ones, but I like Cameron Diaz and Morgan Freeman.

NJ:  Mr. Freeman is in the news right now, and not for anything good.  Maybe you wanna come up with a second choice, but, I like Cameron Diaz, too!  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Maretha:  I don’t like to do any formal exercises these days other than to garden, walk on the moors (occasionally) and do cleaning when I must.

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).

Maretha:  When someone drives right in front of me, whether to steal my intended parking spot or cutting across to take the next exit, even though there’s nothing behind me . . .I want to scratch their car – something like they did in that movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.

NJ:  Oh, my!  You’re a feisty one, Maretha!  I love it!  Now, here’s the million dollar question…the one that determines whether you’re on Nonnie’s Christmas list or off.  Are you neat or messy?

Maretha:  Neat, except when I’m in the middle of an illustrating project and then the world can cave in around me.

NJ:  The jury’s still out on that one.  Facebook or Twitter?

Maretha:  Twitter

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?

Maretha:  At RRBC I love connecting with so many wonderful folks that I’ll refrain from naming any, since I’m limited to only one.

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

Maretha:  I’ve not discovered the difference, but I think they might well be one and the same person.

NJ:  Good answer, although Wonder Woman isn’t as cute as Nonnie, just for the record.  Maretha, 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 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.

Maretha:  WonderWoman uses her lasso to get what she wants; the very thought of it scares me. So, I’m going to go with Nonnie, because she says it as it is and I’m either going to take it or not, but before I do, I’ll weigh up the consequences of a making a bad decision.

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

Maretha:  I’ve read several great books over the past two years, especially when I think of the high standard reached in poetry. Gwendolyn Plano – “Letting Go Into Perfect Love”, Nonnie Jules – “If Only There Was Music”, D.L. Finn – “No Fairy Tale . . . and many more.  Sorry, N.J. it’s difficult to count when I must choose.  Besides, I’ve now counted way past two. Sorry!

Letting Go Into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano

’17 KCT ILA 1st Place Runner Up – Silver “Treat” Award

If Only There Was Music

No Fairy Tale by D L Finn

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

Maretha:  “Empty Chairs” by Stacey Danson

Empty Chairs

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Maretha:  It is brutally honest, and I admire the author for having had the courage to write about the terrible abuse she suffered as a child.

NJ:  It is definitely on my TBR, although someone once close to me said that I shouldn’t read it, because it would anger me too much. Some books do that to me.  Maretha, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Maretha:  Yes

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

Maretha:  On how much they enjoyed the contents, its message and that which they took away from it – having a great reading experience, rather than being weighed down by the weight of having to write a top critical review. Not everyone could possibly like each story, but if it meets the criteria as far as target market and genre are concerned, I will give it a good review and star rating.

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?

Maretha:  No, but I don’t consider myself such an expert that I would tear a perfectly good book to pieces just because the reader, in this instance me, that I didn’t like the author’s writing style or voice.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Maretha:  No, All the stories and plots were good. Sometimes punctuation or lack there-of could stand in the way of a book being great and perfect, which it could be in any event, even if it’s not a subject/genre I would normally read.

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

Maretha:  Only one, and I wrote a kind note to the author. That was the first book I ever reviewed, but I see it hasn’t been corrected. So, an effort wasted.

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

Maretha:  I’ve had a love affair with reading ever since I could make out words, and sometimes such avid readers progress to becoming writers and finally, published authors. I think my writing is descriptive and not bad most of the time, but I can only go by what my readers say, and they mostly tell me that I’ve got what it takes. Only time will tell whether I’m an enduring, good author. Unfortunately, I cannot follow trends just to make my work profitable. If I have only one reader who loves my work, I will view myself as successful and good.

NJ:  Really?  WOW.  OK.  Please tell us how long you’ve been writing?

Maretha:  Ever since I went to school, I began to make notes and write down little rhymes. I was published in my school’s year book in my final year at school, but my writing career took off in April 2012.

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

Maretha:  Yes, if the person giving the critique knows what they’re talking about, otherwise I just move on and view the review as a bad experience.

NJ:  I’m curious, Maretha.  How would you determine if the person knew what they were talking about or not?  In the meantime, would you name two books that you’ve written?

Maretha:  Flame and Hope: An African Adventure

Flame and Hope by Maretha Botha

Trails and Trials

Trails and Trials by Maretha Botha

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Maretha:  Trails and Trials: An African Adventure is book four in the Fauna Park Tales Series. Writing Flame and Hope taught me much and assisted in making me a better writer by the time I finished the fourth book.

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?

Maretha:  I have two – one suitable to be read by younger readers, dealing with children’s literature and related matters, and the other – a general blog which I use for all things to do with authoring, books and authors. I’ve not asked for my blogs to be vetted by RRBC yet, but I feel ready to do so now.

NJ:  Well, good for you.  Maretha, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Maretha:  I’ve tried a few who offer limited help, and I still support one of them occasionally. I’m not sure if I can name them, but I spent many months during this time just reading Nonnie Jules’ WHOSE ON THE SHELF and then I decided to join her Rave Reviews Book Club. Since then, I’ve not seen the necessity to join any where else.

NJ:  That’s always great to hear!  Thank you!  So, how have you been helped by the club?

Maretha:  Meeting serious and professional indie authors, reviewing and being reviewed, getting wonderful support, encouragement and exposure.

NJ:  Yes, RRBC does offer all of those things to its’ members.  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a member here, so what do you really think of the club?

Maretha:  Unless RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB throws me out, I don’t intend looking anywhere else.

NJ:  Now, why would we ever do such a thing?  You’re one of our amazing members that we just adore!  But I’m curious, have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Maretha:  There are some that try, but they lack the commitment to tweet fellow members work, let alone do a special mention/ presentation for them, so in my opinion, their members remain isolated.

NJ:  Would you recommend the club to your friends and family?

Maretha:  I have done so, and will continue to do so.

NJ:  That’s also good to hear!  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.

Maretha:  I try to support all of them, because each of these individual programs support authors and their work. So, I don’t think one has more value than the other.

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

Maretha:  I appreciate your support, interest and commitment very much!  Thank you so much for having me and giving me such incredible support! Where would I be without you?

NJ:  Maretha, that’s so very sweet of you to say.  Thank you!  Audience, for once, there were no “almost” accidents!  Maretha was the perfect guest!  That’s a little disappointing actually.  I know most of you only come here for the drama.  (That’s OK…it’s the only reason I show up, too!)

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Maretha’s books.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Maretha 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!!

HURRY AND PICK UP YOUR COPY OF THE #RRBC 2016-2017 RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL ANTHOLOGY!

The 2016-2017 combined editions of the RRBC RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL Anthology has hit the shelves and is begging for you to  pick up a copy!

Rave Soup For The Writer's Soul 2016 - 2017 edition

If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, we invite you to do so today.

Thanks to all of you who supported the pre-order of our Anthology!

Please be sure to help us spread this announcement.  Thanks!

RRBC/RWISA

Flossie Benton-Rogers in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @Frostfyre

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 March’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, FLOSSIE BENTON-ROGERS We have been celebrating her all month long and this week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

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NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it even more comfortable in 2018, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, and we also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf?  So, comfy?

Flossie:  Nonnie, you have made me feel welcome, comfy, and cozy.

Dog drinking

(Well, don’t look at me…I didn’t make her “this” comfy.  She was like this when she got here.)

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

Flossie:  Birth name plus married name.

NJ:  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Flossie:  I am a 5th generation Floridian and live in West Central Florida, specifically Inverness.

NJ:  Married or single?

Flossie:  Widow. I lost my beloved husband Ronnie five years ago.

NJ:  Oh, Flossie…I’m so sorry to hear of your loss.  So, any kids from this union with your beloved Ronnie?  If so, what kind?

Flossie:  I have a wonderful, thoughtful son and daughter-in-law, as well as two Snickerdoodles (grandsons) ages 10 and 8.

NJ:  Snickerdoodles…so that’s what they’re calling boys these days, huh?  Interesting.  Flossie, 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?

Flossie:  I’m blessed to have a son and daughter-in-law who love dragging this wannabe writing recluse out to “party.”

NJ:  Now, how awesome is that?  Way to go, kiddos!  Any pets?  What kind?

Flossie:  I share my home with a feline fur fae, Marigold.

NJ:  Moving along (Nonnie doesn’t do felines).  Flossie, 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?

Flossie:  As a southern woman, my favorite food is lima beans over cornbread.

NJ:  I’m a southern lady, too, and can’t say that I’ve ever tasted a Lima bean….and cornbread….nahhhhh!  What’s your favorite color?

Flossie:  Purple.

NJ:  Really?  Then you should apply to join us at RWISA!  That’s the only color we wear over there!  It’s a sign of Royalty, you know.  Flossie, what’s your favorite sport?

Flossie:  Since my Snickerdoodles are involved in it now, baseball.

dogs in astros gear

(My husband and I usually travel to my hometown for the games.  Guess it’s obvious who we root for.)

NJ:  Flossie, what’s your favorite TV Show?

Flossie:  Supernatural, with heroes Sam and Dean Winchester.

NJ:  Hmmm, never heard of it.  Do you have a favorite Actress and/or Actor?

Flossie:  Katheryn Winnick / Michael York

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

Flossie:  Although I have to force myself, I do ride a stationary bike.

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).

Flossie:  My old pet peeve was magazine pages without numbers. My newer pet peeve is magazines that clutter up my mailbox unordered and unwanted. Also, the social use of the word peeps makes my teeth hurt.

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(Flossie, but I have peeps all over!  You’re even one of my peeps!)

NJ:  So, are you neat or messy?

Flossie:  I like colorful, attractive surroundings, but I do have a room that desperately needs decluttering.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Flossie:  Although I use both, Twitter is my preference because it’s short and sweet.

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?

Flossie:  An Author by the name of Carmen Stefanescu. 

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

Flossie:  Wonder Woman’s mother. Just kidding. I wish! I do have a Hippolyta doll though.

NJ:  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 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.

Flossie:  I was born under a Libra ascendant and so I say, “Each to her own.”

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NJ:  Flossie, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Flossie:  Usually.

NJ:  OK, what do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Flossie:  Readers should base reviews on how well the author succeeded, and the subjective aspect is the reader’s affinity with the story.

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?

Flossie:  I prefer to review books I love. Reviews can be subjective, in that one person may not cotton to a story, but another person may love that story.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Flossie:  No, all the ones I’ve read this year had something to draw me in and keep my interest.

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.

Flossie:  At this point, none.

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

Flossie:  I’m a good writer and am still learning how to be an effective novelist.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Flossie:  Although I have written all my life, I have only written professionally as a novelist for six years.

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

Flossie:  Yes, I have a tough critique partner.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written? (Please include the purchase links to these books):

Flossie: 

Mind Your Goddess  

Mind Your Goddess by Flossie Benton Rogers

Guardian of the Deep  

Guardian of the Deep by Flossie Benton Rogers

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Flossie:  Mind Your Goddess

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?

Flossie:  

https://flossiebentonrogers.com/

https://flossiebentonrogers.com/blog/

It is written well enough for harsh critics to enjoy if the critic likes mythology and story excerpts.

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Flossie:  RRBC gets the glory!

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Flossie:  The authors at RRBC are immensely supportive, especially with current information, encouragement, and social media support. They are great role models. Being a member has also given me an opportunity to read genres I don’t usually read. I love getting to know these very talented authors through interviews and blog posts.

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?

Flossie:  RRBC is an amazing organization.

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

Flossie:  In my experience RRBC is unique, and wonderfully so.

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

Flossie:  Yes, I recommend RRBC to my writing friends.

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.)

Flossie:  Block Parties are my favorite.

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

Flossie:  A million thanks, Nonnie, for creating this organization and for having me here today!

NJ:  Flossie, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, giving us the most candid of interviews!  And, thanks for being an awesome member! This has been so much fun!  Although, I can’t say that you didn’t come close to having an accident!  You were close!.

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Flossie’s  books.

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

There won’t be a “SPOTLIGHT” Author in April so I’ll see you in May, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

Gracie Bradford in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @IamXordinary

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, GRACIE BRADFORD Gracie is our  2nd “SPOTLIGHT” Author of the new year!  It’s February and we have been celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

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(Just as an FYI:  This year I will not be editing the responses of my guests.  I will post their responses to each interview question, just as they have written them.)

NJ:  Before we get started, Gracie, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2018, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice and neat one, and we also wanted the lay out to be a bit safer…. you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf?  So, how does your tush feel on my cush?

Gracie:  {Silence}

NJ: Uh, Gracie?  Hmmm!    Well, Gracie, since you didn’t like my first question, hopefully this one “feels” a bit better.  Let’s start by confirming whether your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Gracie:  {I can see this going in the wrong direction already.  The nerve of some people to ignore me! If she didn’t like me asking about her tush on my cush, she could have just said so!} Gracie Bradford is my maiden name. I do not have a separate pen name. Before retiring, my name was Gracie Specks.

NJ:  Now hold on a second, Ms. Gracie!  We’re a bit nosey (we prefer to call it curious) up on this shelf, but we certainly don’t want you to go spilling all your beans.  You know the kind STALKERS like to eat?  That was way too much information.  Now, without giving us your complete address, Gracie, please tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Gracie:  I was born in the country-side of Ruston, Louisiana. I left home when I finished college and moved to Fort Worth, Texas with my new husband. I now live in Pearland, Texas, a suburb of Houston, Texas.

NJ:  Yes, I know Pearland very well…actually, I have family there.  I did mention to you that, although raised in Louisiana,  I was born in Houston!  So, you’re in a great place!  Gracie, are you married or single?

Gracie:  I was married for 30 years but is now single (widowed). I love my single life. I get to do what I want when I want, and how I want. It is a more exciting lifestyle.

NJ:  Any kids?  If so, what kind

Gracie:  I had to laugh when you asked what kind of kids I have because I read your book. I can categorically say that they did not turn out like yours. They turned out okay but had their issues. I can tell you the sex of my kids. I can tell you their achievements in life. I can tell you their failures in life. So, I am choosing to say that my kind of kids could meet the definition of normal and are living productive lives. I have two grown children – a daughter and son. Both live in Houston, Texas. I have a 20-year old grandson who lives with me during college breaks. My son is a certified Vet Tech and serves as my subject-matter expert when I write plots about dogs. My daughter and I have an estranged relationship to say the least. After she married and inherited four step-children, she lost touch with the definition of family (smile).

3 Shocked dogs

NJ:  {Now, didn’t I just say that she was sharing way too much information?  Listen, although Gracie appears to be my most “sharing” guest yet, she has given new meaning to “open book” on this shelf.  Doesn’t appear that I’m going to have to “pry” her open at all.}  Gracie, although I’m teasing you a bit here, I must honestly say that it truly breaks my heart to know that a mother and daughter are estranged.  I love my daughters so fiercely, that the mere thought of me not being in their lives, causes me a physical pain.  I pray for you and your daughter’s re-connection.  So, tell us, 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?

Gracie:  I am old in age by my grandson like to say that I am amazingly physical fit for my age. I would say that I am intermittently cranky only when I am forced to deal with procrastination. My grandson will keep me at home to care for me. My son would do the same but would hire in-home help. My daughter would be at the head of the line to sign papers to put me in a nursing home and I would not expect any visits.    

NJ:  Gracie, you’re breaking my heart, here.  Ok, any pets?  If so, what kind?

Gracie:  I don’t personally own any pets. However, I am a grandma and occasional babysitter for my son’s beagle and my grandson’s King Terrier. Both dogs run into the house, sits at my feet, and looks up at me with bubbly eyes. Those “looks” tell me that they want some attention. They know where I keep their treats and toys.

NJ:  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you pass on breakfast just to get to it?

Gracie:  Blue Bell Ice Cream. I am convinced that I am addictive to Blue Bell. When I get a craving for it, I will get up and go to the store at midnight to get ice cream. I try not to keep ice cream in my house because I will eat the whole container in one sitting.

NJ:  What’s your favorite color?

Gracie:  Royal Blue.

NJ:  That’s one of my faves, too!  Favorite sport?

Gracie:  Football and Basketball.

NJ:  Ooooooook, thanks for those TWO favorite sports…

disgusted-dog

Gracie, what’s your ONE favorite TV Show?

Gracie:  I look at Rachel Maddow show every week-day. She has a research team that’s unbelievable. Her analyze of situations are beyond amazing. I am glued to the TV when her show airs then stay tuned to “Hard Ball” on MSNBC.

NJ:  Hahaha!  I love Rachel and Hard Ball, too!  Actually, I love them all on that network! Who’s your favorite actress and actor?

Gracie:  Julia Roberts/Morgan Freeman.

NJ:  Gracie, stop!  Julia Roberts is my favorite all-time everything!  She can do no wrong!  Uh oh, don’t look now, but we’re twinning!

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Gracie, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Gracie:  I hired a trainer at the fitness club after retirement for six months. Then, I force myself to get up and walk 3-5 miles daily. I watch what I eat to maintain my health. Do I like to exercise – No! Do I exercise because it is necessary – Yes!  However, during holidays, I just let it go. When I get a craving for sweets, I just let it all go.

NJ:  OK.  Well, I’m a fitness trainer by trade and can’t say that I’m into just letting it all go.  I have a husband that I’ve had for a very long time, and don’t want to run him off by “letting it all go,” so bravo to you, Gracie! That takes guts!  Now, please share with us 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}.

Gracie:  I want to spit fire when I see young teens addicted to drugs and intoxicated from alcohol. I want to grab them and shake the life out of them and replace it with the blood of a child who knows that their body is a temple that must be respected.

NJ:  Good for you, Gracie!  It does take a village, doesn’t it, so you have my permission to grab those kids you see under such influences, and shake their little heads loose!  Oops, I’m sorry, I forgot we were LIVE.  Did anyone hear me say that?

Cheesing dog

So, are you neat or messy, Gracie?

Gracie:  I am neat. When my grandson first arrives at home, he says I live in a dollhouse. But while he is home, he drops everything where it lands, typical college student. I fume and wait to clean up after he goes back to school. I tend to do the same thing when the dogs come over to visit.

NJ:  There you go with your bravery again.  There is no way that I could wait for someone to leave to clean up a mess.  My husband tells our guests:  “Please don’t sit your glass down because if you turn your back for a second, it’s already been washed and put away.”  All truth.  Gracie, which do you like best…Facebook or Twitter?

Gracie:  I use both Facebook and Twitter but prefer Twitter. I hate chain messages on Facebook. I dislike all the unnecessary crap that people post on Facebook. Although, I am as guilty as anyone but not as frequent. I get frustrated when someone writes a post about events or life crisis but do not say what it is. I have seen up to 50 replies of sympathy or congratulations on such posts.  I must swallow hard to keep from posting a nasty reply. I wonder about mothers who post every detail of their child’s upbringing on Facebook two to three times per day. Quite frankly, I don’t care that he/she is holding a spoon or playing with the dog, or learning to use the potty. I hope I do not sound unmotherly.

NJ:  As you may have noticed already, Gracie, I am totally opposed to over-sharing on social media, so I’ll have to agree with you on this.  Now, 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?

Gracie:  I have connected with one of RRBC writers because I am intrigued by the books written by this author. I believe this author is honest and would not exploit the relationship.  I try to avoid making “real” friends on the internet. This author is an exception.

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? It’s OK to be honest, here. My feelings won’t be hurt at all if you choose WW 🙂

Gracie:  I do love Wonder Woman movies. I would not be able to identify a photo of Nonnie Jules, so I do not have a basis for comparison.

NJ:  OK, so you have to see something to believe that it’s real?  The question was more-so a “who do you like the most” kind of question.  Anyway, 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 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.

Gracie:  Wonder Woman is a fictional character whereas Nonnie Jules is a real person. Wonder Woman delivers her message through theater while Nonnie Jules delivers her truth through the written word. I prefer direct honesty from a real human over a fictional character. So Nonnie would get my vote over the lasso, although sometimes I think Nonnie is too honest.

NJ:  First, Gracie, I am going to THANK YOU for that as I take it as a very high compliment!  Secondly, there is no such thing as being TOO HONEST.  Now, please name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

Gracie:  My first and favorite Indie book read was written my Linda Mims, “The Neon Houses.” My second book written by an Indie author was written by Harmony Kent,  “Finding Katie.”

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

Gracie:  I have read so many good books within 2017.The one book I read that I wish the entire medical community and others would read is Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage and Hope by Kathryn Treat.  No one will believe a person suffered so much pain and the medical community could not diagnosis the person.  I would like to see readers select and read more Indie books.

Allergic To Life

NJ:  What was so great about the book?

Gracie:  This book was great because it holds the reader’ attention. Even though a non-fiction, it was an unbelievable journey.  She never gave up. Her courage was astonishing and mindboggling. It is one of those books that the author wishes the reader would not put down until they reach the end.

NJ:  Gracie, I’m so happy that you chose Kathryn’s book for that recognition.  For those of you who don’t know, Kathryn C. Treat was our 1st ever Membership Director here at RRBC.  She was our family and she was our friend.  She loved RRBC and would be so proud of where it is today.  Kathryn passed away on December 21, 2014 right after leaving our online Christmas party.  We honor and keep her memory alive as much as we can, so I ask that you click the link above with her name, and please do pick up this book.  It is an unbelievable story.  Gracie, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Gracie:  I do write reviews after reading books. I became an official book reviewer for an organization two years ago, so I tend to treat all books as if they should be read and a review written. I have read books across the spectrum that range from poorly written to very good. I tend to focus on the story itself first even though I have a list of criteria that I address in my reviews. Since joining RRBC, my “to read” list have grown beyond my ability to keep up.

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

Gracie:  Reviews should be written on cover appearance, formatting, marketability, plot, development and overall quality of the story itself. Readers should base their reviews on these traits.

NJ:  Cover appearance?  WOW!  That’s a new one for me, Gracie.  My standards are high and extremely strict but I’m not judging a book by its cover.  Now, what lies behind the cover…that’s what matters.  So, 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?

Gracie:  If I am not being honest, I am not doing a service to the author. Every author desires performance improvement with each publication. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the reviewer to write a review with the intent to help the author improve and to get an audience to buy the book.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Gracie:  Yes, but I choose not to identify them. I do send a written summary to the author with suggested improvements.

NJ:  Good!  Because I don’t ask my guests to identify those books publicly.  How many poorly written books would you say you’ve 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. 

Gracie:  I don’t give a high rating to a book unless I stay up all night reading and can’t put the book down. When I do a former review, I write up to 4 pages because I will identify everything that I saw as being wrong and keep in my journey in case the author requests additional information. If I know how to contact the writer, I will messenger the author with a list of corrections noted.  I hate to see reviews that say something is wrong with the book in a generic sense but do not give the author specific input on what needs to be corrected.

NJ:  I agree that reviewers should point out some of what they found wrong in a read, but, it is not the reader/reviewer’s job to detail every single thing they found wrong with a book.  I mean, who has that kind of time?  Also, that’s a job for a professional editor.  Gracie, are you an author?  If so, are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Gracie:  I am an author and believe that I have good stories to tell.  However, I have an issue with that first person, second person, third person thing. What’s in my head may not always come out on the paper the way it is running around in my head.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Gracie:  Since 2012

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

Gracie:  I welcome constructive criticism if the criticism is about the work and not criticism of me as a person.

NJ:  Good response, Gracie!  Now, please give us the name of a book that you’ve written? June the Prune and Lady Bird – Cancer Stinks!

June the Prune and Lady Bird by Gracie Bradford

 

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?

Gracie:  I do have a blog (www.free1592.wordpress.com) in its infant stage. I haven’t taken the time to add the necessary improvements for me to say it is a great blog because I did everything on my own time. I was self-taught and did not use a professional. I am still determining my audience and what direction I want to take my blog. I have set a goal for 2018 to post on my blog at least twice per week. I would say that my website is average. It gets the message across that I want to convey. (www.authorgraciebradford.com). I welcome any suggestions for improvement.

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Gracie:  I was not aware of virtual book clubs until I discovered RRBC online. I have learned a great deal networking as a member of Rave Review Book Club as well as participating in the virtual conferences, radio programs, and chats. Being able to connect with blogs of RRBC members provides a good learning experience.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Gracie:  I have received honest book reviews for my book from RRBC as well as marketing assistance for my books. I have learned about media apps that make writing easier. Interacting with international authors has been fabulous. When I was accepted into the VIP lounge, I did not know what to expect. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this lounge. I have won Amazon gift cards through RRBC member benefits activities making it possible to purchase more RRBC members books. Secret Santa and the VIP Lounge make me feel like I am a part of a family.

NJ:  We’re so happy that you feel part of this family because that is exactly how we see you, as our family member!  Gracie, since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Gracie:  The club is a refreshing addition to my resource library. I love the many things the club plans for its members. It’s a plus to be able to see names I recognize respond to my tweets.

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

Gracie:  I came across one, but it does not come close to RRBC. It is more into making money and not providing resources for its members to grow and develop nor does it provide networking opportunities.

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

Gracie:  I would recommend the RRBC club to others but not the other online entity.

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.)

Gracie:  I think my favorite program is the Writers’ Conference & Book Expo. I attended my first one in 2017 and was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the presentations. Since this occurs once yearly, I will choose Books of the Month discussions as this is on-going throughout the year.

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

Gracie:  The fingers are getting tired and sleepy, so it is time to say good night. The one thing that I would like to say about RRBC is that you create incredible programs with a limited amount of staff you have available to help keep us competitive in the literary community. Thanks for the opportunity to complete this interview.

NJ:  Gracie, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, giving us the most candid of interviews!  And, thanks for being an awesome member! This has been so much fun!  Not once did you come close to having an accident!  That’s an amazing feat.

To my guests, please pick up a copy of Gracie’s  book.

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

I’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

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