Author Archive: reviewsbynonnie

@LauraLibricz in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” WITH NONNIE JULES – #RRBC

Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!  Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a book shelf.  A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories.  Here on this “SHELF,”  we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask.  We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them.  WE get personal!  Because when you sit on 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,  member, LAURA LIBRICZ.  Laura is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of May and we are celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

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

Laura:  Hi there, Nonnie! I’m real comfy, thanks.

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

Laura:  Laura Libricz is my birth name and I’m the only one in the world.

NJ:  WOW!  OK, you sound as if you’re coming from a place of fairies and flying donkeys, with all that chipper I hear in your voice.  So, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Laura:  I was born and raised in Bethlehem, PA, a city that once had the second largest steel company in America. I moved to upstate New York in the 80’s and moved to Germany in 1991. I’m still in Germany.

NJ:  A transplant German!  That sounds like a good book!  Laura, are in married or single in Germany?

Laura:  I am in between marriages right now. Is there a name for that?

NJ:  (No, but there is a state for that…it’s called polygamist state!…Who says they’re in between marriages?)  Any kids?  What kind?

Laura:  I have two grown kids and they’ve always been great kids. My daughter is studying International Business in London and my son is an accomplished, talented carpenter. They were both accidents and the best things I’ve ever produced in my life. You could say, I’m really proud of them.

NJ:  {Did she just say they were both accidents? Yep, I can tell already this is going to be a pretty interesting interview}

dog shocked

OK, Laura, 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?  That’s totally dependent upon the fact that they don’t know that you actually tell folks that they were accidents, in which case, both will equally assign you to the worst old folks home that they can find in Germany, and word on the street is, the homes there, are a little more restrictive than the ones in the states.  So, tell us…

Laura:  I wouldn’t want either of them to have to keep me. But, seeing as I won’t ever get cranky, I think we could all live together. They may not think so, but because I love to cook and bake, I bet they would put up with me.

NJ:  Uh huh…well, OK.

Confused dog pic.jpg-

Do you have any pets?  If so, what kind?

Laura:  For the first time in twenty years, I don’t have any pets. I have had cats, a dog, lizards, turtles, chickens, all sorts. Now I travel!

NJ:  That’s an awful lot of animals to care for, but I can totally see you as being a cat-lady.  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?

Laura:  Because I’ve been really busy, I have to write down everything I eat. I tend to expand. But, I will always save room for a bowl of vanilla ice cream with Lyle’s Golden Syrup on top. Or, some sort of fruit crumble, like cherry or rhubarb, or anything I bake. Did I mention that I love to bake?

NJ:  I do think you’ve hinted in that direction a time or two.  What’s your favorite color?

Laura:  Depending on where a color is used, would I call it my favorite? A silk blouse in a plum royal purple; a house painted a matte brick red; khaki green jeans; a vast, deep summer-blue sky; creamy butter-yellow; steaming espresso-brown…

NJ:

Drinking dog

(Is she finished yet?)

Laura, share your favorite sport with us, please…

Laura:  I used to love football but I haven’t seen it in at least 25 years since I left the US. I love well-executed full-contact kick boxing. I like regular boxing, too, but I don’t care for professional sports or gambling.

NJ:  What about your favorite TV Show?

Laura:  My favorite TV shows change all the time but right now I’m binging on Star Trek: The Next Generation, season 4 to 6. And, anything Sherlock, like Elementary. The old Sherlock series with Jeremy Brett is fantastic, by the way.

NJ:  What about your favorite Actress/Actor:

Laura:  I have too many favorites to list. I like them as long as I don’t have to hear anything about their private lives.

NJ:  Seriously?  That’s the best part of them.  Well, OK, to each his own.  So, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go

Laura:  I was a Fitness Practitioner and worked in the field for years. I taught a lot of Step and all sorts of group fitness classes and lifted weights, etc, etc. I can be a bit of a missionary for exercise and healthy eating. Most of us can learn to stay fit and healthy and it only takes a minimum of effort. Seriously. It is easier to stay fit than to let oneself go. I have slowed down now that I’m over 50 but I love to do Pilates–real, classic-traditional Pilates. And I like to walk.

NJ:  Good for you!  Now, what’s 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).

Laura:  One of my biggest pet peeves is lying. I used to tell my kids that the worse thing they could do to me was to lie or to steal my money. If they had to lie, then they didn’t believe what they were doing was right. That means they shouldn’t be doing it. If they wanted to do something, they should be committed enough to admit to it. And, if they ever needed money, they should believe in that, too, and ask for it. I would always give it to them (or make them a loan.)  

NJ:  {A loan?  For little kids?  No wonder they might steal it, then.}  Anyway, great to hear!  Lying is my pet peeve, too!  I’ve always taught my kids that the only reason they should tell a lie is if some crazy person is holding a gun to their heads.  In that case, they should do and say whatever it takes to save their lives.  Anything else, just don’t respond to a question, or, do as I do, simply say:  “That’s not any of your business!” So, are you neat or messy?

Laura:  I used to be a mess but that’s not really me. I am very neat and tidy and I love a spotless bathroom.

NJ:  Good to hear that I won’t have to exile you to my least favorite island!  Facebook or Twitter?  Which is your fave?

Laura:  I like Facebook for personal stuff and Twitter for authory stuff.

NJ:  I actually hear people say that a lot.  For me, I only use both professionally, not for anything personal.  Laura, 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?

Laura:  I’ve connected with a lot of new people but I don’t have a favorite.

NJ:  Oh, you just haven’t been with RRBC long enough.  That’ll change for sure!  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest…

Laura:  Nonnie, of course. WonderWoman doesn’t exist.

NJ:  Uh, yes she does…

Wonder woman smoking

Laura:  Imagine that Wonder Woman did exist…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.

Laura:  Again, Nonnie does.

NJ:  OK!  Since I’m two for two, I’ll go along.  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read:

Laura:  The most recent indie books I’ve read that really stuck with me were Loggerhead by T.A. Peters and Mystic Emona by Ronesa Aveela.

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

Laura:  The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz

NJ:  I’m dead.

Sleeping dog

{Wasn’t expecting that horn-toot}  So, Laura, what was so great about this book?

Laura:  The Master and the Maid is the story of a woman whose strength was her ability to sacrifice. There are ‘WonderWomen’ out there who, because they are busy doing what women do, aren’t considered heroes because they aren’t swinging a sword or slaying dragons. A woman is not necessarily a doormat because she puts someone else’s needs in front of her own.

NJ:  Well, OK!  That sounds like an interesting read.  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Laura:  Yes, I almost always post reviews.

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

Laura:  I base my reviews on how I feel as a reader. My reviews are simple and not meant to be writing critique. There is a place for writing critique. If I’m reading to review then I am reading the book as a reader, not as a writer.

NJ:  Well, unfortunately, some of us don’t have the talent to separate the two.  My hand just might be raised high!  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?

Laura:  To be honest, if I don’t like a book, I don’t finish it, so I only review books I’ve read. I don’t leave bad reviews unless the book is so badly edited and formatted it has no place being published.

NJ:  Since you brought it up, have you read any poorly written books lately?

Laura:  Yes I have.

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.

Laura:  I will only review a book if I have read it. If the book is so bad that I can’t, and this has happened in the past, I contact the author and tell them why I can’t leave a review.

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?

Laura:  The most recent case is that of Andy Weir and The Martian. No, I haven’t read it or seen the movie, but it shows that indies are getting noticed. And writers like E.L. James have done, well, you know what she’s done.

NJ:  {Actually, I don’t know what she’s done, but OK}  Laura, are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Laura:  Yes, I am an author and I do what I do. I am committed to a certain level of quality, I research my stories and progressively work on improving my skills. I am a better writer than I was ten years ago. Realizing my improvements gives me a lot of joy.

NJ:  {Did I miss a part of this interview?  What exactly does she do?}  How long have you been writing?

Laura:  I have been writing since I learned how to read. I have been writing seriously for ten years.

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

Yes, I can take criticism and that was hard at first. I am not precious about my work anymore. My projects have benefitted from some serious criticism and I am now grateful when someone takes that much interest in my work and takes the time to talk to me about it.

 NJ:  What an awesome response!  Good for you!  Name two books that you’ve written?

Laura:  Available now is the first book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy called The Master and the Maid.

The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz

The second book called The Soldier’s Return is almost finished with its final edit and will be released in September 2017.

Here’s my author page on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laura-Libricz/e/B009CB79DO/

NJ:  Even though one is unpublished, which one will you consider as the best?

Laura:  They are both good BUT…The Soldier’s Return is just a tick better. It is, after all, my second novel.

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?

Laura:  I have a blog and just like anything we do, it has gotten better with time. I am proud of my blog so please have a look!

NJ:  I most definitely will!  Laura, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Laura:  I have been involved in many author platforms over the years and there are some great ones out there. Writing advice, indie advice and resources, social media support, it’s all out there. I tend to lurk around these websites. I’m not one to just jump in and mix or anything.

NJ:  Well, RRBC is definitely one of those places where you should ‘jump in and mix.’  Just an FYI.  I must ask, since you don’t tend to ‘jump in and mix,’ has either of these groups helped you?

Laura:  Well, there are some who post informative articles about publishing and writing tips. Some are involved in social media and reviews. They all brought me another step forward.

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?  

Laura:  I’m really feeling the love from the RRBC. I get the ‘pay it forward’ thing: I love to help out, I love the Tweet Support Team and the interactions we have on SOCIAL media (the key being the word ‘social’ there.) You guys have pulled me in and included me in this club and I really appreciate it. This month in the ‘Spotlight’ has floored me, really…

NJ:  Awwwww, you’ve jumped right in and mixed!  See, I told you so!  Have you come across any other online entities like our amazing club?

Laura:  Um, no…

NJ:  I’m not surprised.  Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Laura:  Yes, 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.)

Laura:  My favorite aspect is all of them together. I’ve been on RaveWaves twice now and, aside from almost collapsing from fright beforehand (ha, drama queen!), it was a wonderful experience! I love to meet everyone on twitter and see what they’re up to. Book of the Month is great, too.

NJ:  Laura, all kidding aside, those are wonderful words to hear from someone who doesn’t tend to jump in and mix.  We’re glad to have you!  Now, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our guests today?

Laura:  I’d just like to thank you all for making me feel so welcome. And I’d like to vouch for the ‘pay it forward’ aspect of the club for members who are shy and lurking but want to get involved. Just ask!

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Laura!  You have given us so many giggles today.  To my guests, please  pick up a copy of Laura’s book above!

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

#Motivational & #Inspirational Wednesday! #RRBC

Inspire Image1

WINNER OF THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL AND UPLIFTING COMMENT WILL BE ANNOUNCED 5/28/17, LATE EVE!!!

Everyone goes through storms at times.  The rich, the poor, the powerful, the President;  doesn’t matter what or who you are, you are not immune to the struggles and trials of life.  During this time of storm, what’s needed is support and encouragement from everyone around.  Truth be told, some even find it hard to get out of bed and get dressed, and it’s at those times, when motivational words help to lift them right up.

Today is our Motivational & Inspirational Wednesday and we want all of you to help us lift someone up!  You never know what your neighbor is going through, so, we want our community to drop by here, get inspired and feel uplifted by simply reading the comments left by YOU.  The person who leaves the most inspiring and motivational words of wisdom in the comments section below, wins our SURPRISE OF THE WEEK!

Listen, you never know just how impactful your words are, until a life has changed because of them. – NJ

#RRBC SPRINGTIME BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY EXTENDED!

Watch Nonnie Write!

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Because you were promised one extra stop later in the evening, I just had to get one done.  And, this is a very special stop, with several very important messages.

# of winners for this stop:  3

GIVEAWAYS:  

(1) $10 Amazon gift card

(1) 1-Day Multi-Blog Book Blast (courtesy of 4WillsPub)

(1) 6-book bundle (winner’s choice) from the Kathryn C. Treat Treasure Chest (if Marlena approves)

***

The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB was founded in 2013 and it was founded on the premise of strong support of others.  You give it, you’ll get it back, ten-fold.  Then, respect of others, especially in our forum, was the 2nd premise on which we were founded.  Negativity of any kind would not be allowed to breathe within the realm of RRBC.  So, it is with those two things in mind, that I bring you this very important message, which will cover…

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Rhani D’Chae in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?” #RRBC

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

Today, we have our current “SPOTLIGHT”Author with us:  “A totally lost Rhani D’Chae. (this is the way Rhani describes herself when she phones me.  It is hilarious!).

(Throwback Thursday!)

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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 more comfortable in 2017, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice 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?

Rhani:  Yes, it’s actually very comfy. I especially like the cushion, and the way it cradles my tired old tookus.

NJ:  Hmmmm, I didn’t know that we were cradling tired, old tookuses, but OK!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Rhani:  Rhani D’Chae isn’t the name on my birth certificate, but it’s not a pen name, either.

NJ:  Scandalous!  So, Rhani-who’s-not-really-Rhani, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Rhani:  I was born in Tacoma Washington, and though I spent many years running around the country, I’ve been living here for the past few decades.

NJ:  Married or single?

Rhani:  I got married at 16, but it lasted only a minute or two. It was a case of being young and stupid, in that I was young, and he was stupid. I’ve had a few long-term relationships since then, but am currently single.

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

Rhani:  Let’s see, at the top of the list is my seeing-eye-son, James. Then, in order, my heathen kids are: Jon, Timothy, Jeremey, Ann, and Joyce. Jon and Timothy have both passed on, but the rest of my kids are alive and making me old before my time.

NJ:  Rhani, you, yourself are a book just waiting to be written.  #OneInterestingPerson.  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?

Rhani:  That’s an easy question to answer. James is already searching for the cheapest home he can throw me into, and he’s said many times that if it costs more than $4.95 a month he’s going to put a pillow on my face and lay on it. On the other hand, Ann or Jeremey would gladly take me in and make sure that I was well taken care of. Joyce would too, but hers is not a cat friendly household, so it wouldn’t really work for me.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

Rhani:  My roomies and I are currently staff to 10 rescued cats. Nine of them are indoor boys, while one streetwise panfur has taken up residence in my carport, which was modified for his comfort.

NJ:  Rhani, your cat background is the reason I tried to unfollow you on Twitter. Wierd, the unfollow button is stuck on your page.  Dang cat-curse!  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?

Rhani:  That’s a really tough question. I think I would have to say meatballs.

NJ:  WOW!  I just made meatballs tonight for dinner!  What’s your favorite color, Rhani?

Rhani:  Black

NJ:  Favorite sport:

Rhani:  Football

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

Rhani:  The Walking Dead

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor…

Rhani:  I would have to say Joe Manganiello. I’ve been a fan of his ever since True Blood, but I’m even more of one since a friend told me that he would make a great on-screen Decker.

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

Rhani:  I had to gain quite a bit of weight a few years ago in an effort to save what was left of my eyes. I hate being overweight, and am doing my best to get back in shape.

NJ:  Good luck with that, Rhani.  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).

Rhani:  Cruelty to animals on-screen or in books. I despise any type of animal cruelty, and even though it’s not actually happening to the animal on-screen or in the book, I just don’t think it’s necessary. It throws me out of the story and I will often leave the theater or toss the book.

  dog shocked

NJ:  Uhhhh, OK.  I still don’t like cats, so, there!  Are you neat or messy?

Rhani:  I’m a mix of both. I hate a dirty house but I do get distracted, especially when I’m writing, so things slip by me.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Rhani:  Absolutely Twitter.

NJ:  LOL, yes, for me, too!  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?

Rhani:  That would be you. LOL. You’re always there when I need input or advice, and it doesn’t matter how stupid my question is. You’ve gone out of your way to help my work be the best that it can be, and you’ve encouraged me in so many ways.

NJ:  Awwww, Rhani…that’s so sweet of you to say.  🙂  Thank you and I’m humbled and honored.  Now, since you feel that way, I know WW isn’t your internet BFF, but I must ask anyway…Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest

Rhani:  Nonnie Jules, without question.

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.

Rhani:  That would be NJ. Wonder Woman isn’t as accessible to us every day people, whereas Nonnie is only a phone call away.

NJ:  LOL!  Yes, that is true.  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read:

Rhani:  Only two? Dog Bone Soup, by Bette Stevens is one of my favorites, and so is Jazz Baby, by Beem Weeks.

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

Rhani:  Dog Bone Soup, by Bette Stevens.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Rhani:  The character development was great, and it was very well written. It was so authentic it actually took me back in time so that I felt as if I was there with the characters.

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

Rhani:  Yes, I usually do.

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

Rhani:  Speaking for myself, I base my reviews on my enjoyment of the read. I will give a lower rating if there are glaring spelling or editing issues, but I don’t get too hung up on the technical stuff. One of my favorite authors is really not a great writer, but his books are so much fun to read that it just doesn’t matter. I’ve loved his work since the 70s, and I’m a fan of his newer work as well.

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?

Rhani:  Honesty is absolutely the best policy, but I do believe in using tact. If I have to say something that is less than complementary, I try to make sure to mention the positive things as well.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Rhani:  Yes, I have, but I can honestly say that none of them were written by RRBC authors.

NJ:  That’s good to hear!  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.

Rhani:  Only one. But I am not a member of the genre it was intended for, so I tried to read/review it as if it had been written with me in mind. As an adult, I knew it was pretty bad, but it wasn’t written for adults. Had I been a member of the age group it was intended for, I would have enjoyed it a great deal.

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?

Rhani:  Suzanne Burke, for one. I read many books that contain vicious characters or brutal acts, but often times it seems that the authors are afraid to take us too far in. It’s almost as if their mothers are standing next to them and telling them that “nice” writers don’t write stuff like that. In Acts Beyond Redemption, Suzanne Burke crosses that “nice” line without hesitation. The result is a gripping piece of work that might not be for everyone, but it sure works for those of us who like our thrillers to be graphic and realistic. It’s a refreshing change from the writers who tap dance around non-gratuitous violence.

Another is Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko. Her book, Mirror Of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women, tells the stories of four Nigerian women. Their lives are hard, brutal, and fairly typical of what it is to be a woman in that culture. The Indie playing field gives authors the opportunity to write and publish books that contain what some would feel is “delicate” subject matter. Authors who write so openly about the kind of things that are often discounted or completely ignored are finding a home in the world of Indie. And Indie is much better for it.

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

Rhani:  Yes, I am an author. I’m not a great author, but I think I’m a good one.

NJ:  Rhani, you’re an amazing writer.  Trust me!  How long have you been writing?

Rhani:  I’ve been writing, off and on, since my early teens, so…a really long time.

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

Rhani:  Yes, I am. Constructive criticism can be a great friend to a writer, and I think my work has improved due to some of the constructive criticism that I’ve received over the years.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

“SHADOW OF THE DRILL”

Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D'Chae 1

 

A PERILOUS THIRST”

A PERILOUS THIRST BY RHANI D'CHAE

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Rhani:   think that Shadow is the better read. It’s a full-length novel, as opposed to a short story like Thirst, so I was able to get much more character depth and development onto its pages.

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?

Rhani:  I have a blog, and I also have a website. Sadly, the last year has been rough for me, and I’ve been very distracted from all things writing. Little by little, I’m getting things back on track but at this point, you would probably find my blog to be totally tragic.

NJ:  OK, in that case, we won’t show up unexpectedly.  Will wait for invite.  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Rhani:  I’ve tried several in my quest to be a successful writer but most of them were disappointments. So the only answer I can give to that question is RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Rhani:  The fact that #RRBC members are willing to read and review my books is a huge help in building a reputation as an author. Also, the “word-of-mouth” that they provide on Twitter really helps to bring attention to my work. More importantly, their encouragement and emotional support is both limitless and freely given.

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?

Rhani:  I think the club is the best thing out there for Indie authors, regardless of how long they’ve been writing or how many books they have published.

NJ:  WOW!  What an amazing response!  Have you come across any other online entities like us, Rhani?

Rhani:  No, I haven’t. I mean, there are many groups out there that were formed for the purpose of helping Indie authors to succeed, but they don’t provide the same level of support, encouragement, and input that this club does.

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

Rhani:  Most of my family doesn’t do the whole computer thing, and an online book club is something they have no interest in. I do recommend it to my friends, though.

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.)

Rhani:  I love the “On The Shelf” interviews. They’re light, they’re funny, and they give a great behind the scenes look at our friends and fellow authors in the club.

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?

Rhani:  The ability to write is a gift. Cherish it, explore it, open your mind and let it fly free. Allow it to develop and grow, even if it wanders in a direction that’s different from what you had planned. Most importantly, don’t ever tell it that it can’t, because it absolutely can. All it needs is your permission, your dedication, and open access to your heart.

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Rhani!  You are one of RRBC’s finest!  To my guests, please  pick up a copy of one of Rhani’s books or both (you will not be  disappointed, I can assure you!).

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

What Does a Good #RRBC Member Look Like?

Funny Face Dog 1

(Well, close…but not exactly.)

I receive so many email messages asking: “Nonnie, what does a good RRBC Member look like?  I want to know, because I want to ensure that I’m wearing that look.” Well, the words may not come out exactly that way, but in a gist, that’s what they’re trying to say.

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a book club unlike any other book club you’ve ever seen.  We’re different, and where I come from…different is a really good thing.  If you’re a new member, you might wonder how we’re different, OR, what separates us from the one million, five hundred thousand, thirty two and a half other book clubs out there. (Whew! Breathe).  Since I am the Founder of this club, I am the perfect person to answer that question, but, I’m going a step farther…I’m going to tell you just what an AMAZING RRBC Member looks like.  Cop a squat (as they say), and prepare to be enlightened.

An AMAZING RRBC Member…

*…takes the time to engage in the RRBC forums, introducing themselves and meeting as many of his/her fellow members as possible.  They want to know who is who, so they’ll know who to throw their extra-special support behind;

*…doesn’t join to see what we can do for him/her.  They join to see what they can offer to others;

*…doesn’t come into the club clueless, then take all that we have taught them and run off to try and start their own club to compete against us.  No, they take that knowledge that we have given them and they use it to help us grow and grow and grow.  You would be shocked at the sheer number of members who didn’t even know how to log onto Twitter, let alone send a tweet before they joined RRBC, but boy, once we got them up to speed, we never even see them anymore (because they’re off doing their own thing…I mean, who wouldn’t, though?  We’ve equipped them well!).  A perfect example of forgetting the hand that fed you…and, taught you to walk;

*…participates in as many club activities as their little heart can muster!  Block parties, contests, blog tours, book club discussions…you name it…they’re there!;

*…ensures that he/she is doing his/her part by remaining compliant within the club.  That entails supporting fellow members by reading and reviewing their books;

*…supports his/her fellow members when they are on blog tours, by following along each day, actually taking the time to read their posts, sharing on social media and then, leaving comments.  They don’t just leave comments when there are prizes to be given away;

*…takes the time to become familiar with our club calendar, so that they don’t miss out on any of our amazingly fun and supportive events;

*…can be found in the #RRBC #PeanutGallery during our RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio shows, sharing their comments and questions for the guests and the hosts;

*…doesn’t just pop up when there is something in it for them specifically…like when their books can be promoted or their blogs can be promoted.  Amazing RRBC members, are there all the time;

*…doesn’t only read the WCU (Weekly Club Updates) to ensure that the book promo info that they’ve submitted, is included .  They read it all the time because they’re truly interested in what’s going on in our club, as well as being genuinely interested in the good news shared by other members;

*…doesn’t re-tweet only the tweets with their own Twitter handle included.  They take the time to seek out their fellow member’s tweets to show their support of them.  (This is easily done by searching Twitter for #RRBC or #RaveReviewsBookClub);

*…doesn’t keep their name on our roster just to continue to sell their books;

*…continually helps us to spread the word of RRBC and all that it offers, so that we are always growing.  They realize that the greater our membership, the greater the support we give and receive;

*…is fiercely protective of RRBC and all that we stand for, and just might challenge you if you try to smear our good name;

…and lastly, an AMAZING RRBC MEMBER is here for the long haul.  The excitement that they felt about our club when they first joined, is the same excitement you will find them with today.  Look around, members like Beem Weeks, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Peggy Hattendorf, Rhani D’Chae, John Howell, Larry Hyatt, Karen Ingalls, Harmony Kent, Jan Hawke, Karl Morgan and so many more…these members have been here practically since the very beginning and they are still here, giving and giving and giving.  But, don’t be mistaken, their giving continually pays off for them.  Don’t believe me?  Well, why don’t you ask them.  I’m sure they’re somewhere wandering the halls of our AMAZING club!

Remember the crazy-faced dog above who looks so excited?  Well, we staunch supporters of RRBC and its members, tend to look like that on occasion, too, as we are so “loopy” for all things RRBC!

So, are you on the fast track to AMAZING within RRBC?  I sure hope so because that’s when all those AMAZING doors begin to open up for you!

Do You Have An Elevator Speech? #RRBC

Right now, some of you are staring at this page wondering “What the heck is an elevator speech and why do I need one?”  Well, EVERY writer needs one if he wants to rub elbows with movers and shakers in this industry, and to me that could be anyone who has the ability to purchase my books.

An elevator speech is a very passionate, 60-90 second “spiel,” that you would pitch to the media or any individual or groups who might be interested in (again), purchasing your books.  But, to be effective, this “spiel” must accomplish two things:

  • It must point out three ways your books will change your audience’s lives, and…
  • It must be conveyed with such enthusiasm and passion, that it will be hard for the listener to say “NO” to you.

This elevator speech should literally last no longer than an elevator ride, which means if you’re starting off on floor one, and the both of you are getting off on floor two, you need to make it really good, in a really short amount of time.  {Note:  this “spiel” should be equally effective whether it’s being delivered over the phone, in person, on the web or in print}.

Not comfortable with being put on the spot when asked about your books or your writing?  My advice:  Stand in the mirror and practice your “elevator speech.” I’ve personally done it many times and I’ve been told that it’s the best speech some have ever heard!

But, I don’t want you to share your elevator speech with anyone until your friend in the mirror (or your significant other) tells you that it is absolutely PERFECT!  Just imagine being faced with the possibility of being booked for a radio show.  You need to be able to present this “spiel” in such a way, that it explodes in the minds of those media people, convincing them to book you right on the spot…even if that spot is in an elevator.

So, today, I want you all to work on honing this very important skill BEFORE you (hypothetically) take your next elevator ride!

If this post was helpful to you, please follow Nonnie’s blog, WATCH NONNIE WRITE! today.  You will always find new and useful information such as what has been presented here.

Thanks for dropping by and we hope to see you again soon!  Don’t forget to share this post on social media, and to also LIKE it before you leave!

Suzanne Burke in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?” #RRBC

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

Today we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us (although right now she’s in our pool, playing with our pet dolphin… RAVEN), supportive member, SUZANNE BURKE.  Suzanne is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of February and we are celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me.

dolphins

NJ:  Hi, Soooz!  Ooops, I mean Suzanne!  My apologies for the delay…but, I am known for being fashionably late in some parts of the world.  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2017, in that we want all of our guests to feel at home…that’s if they’re coming from a nice 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?

Suzanne:  Yup! I have copious amounts of coffee at hand.

NJ:  OK, coffee always helps, but then again, Vodka might have been better.

drinking-dog

(It may not be Vodka, but just in case she goes a little crazy and tries to boot me off this shelf, I won’t feel a thing.)

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

Soooz:  Great place to start. I have never been absolutely certain if Suzanne is entirely accurate, however it’s what I am known by (Apart from my nickname of Soooz), so I’m comfortable with that.

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

Soooz:  I was born in Sydney, Australia. I still live here for the moment, but will be relocating to a small University town to the west of our Blue Mountains in March of 2017.

NJ:  Married or single?

Soooz:  I am blissfully and determinedly single.

NJ:  Oh, my!  Well, we’ll save that for another interview.  Any kids?  What kind?

Soooz:  I have one amazing daughter.

NJ:  Awwww…Daughters, aren’t they just the most amazing  miracles?  Soooz, 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?

Soooz:  I guess it depends on what people regard as old, I’m sixty-two, my body is probably two decades ahead of my brain, and rather than being perpetually cranky , I have outbursts of frustration and temper, which are usually alleviated by my killing a character off in a work of fiction. I’m in a wheelchair which restricts my mobility a little, so I’m reliant on my daughter whom I live with for so many things. Like I said, she is amazing.

NJ:  That’s such a blessing to be able to say that about our children.  So many grow up and become strangers to us…people we don’t even know.  OK, enough of that sad song…any pets?  If so, what kind?

Soooz:  We currently have two cats, and anticipate buying a puppy when we relocate to the country, my grandson will soon turn five and my daughter and I both share the belief that every little boy should have a puppy in his life. Besides, we are all animal lovers in this household. Critters contribute so much to our lives.

NJ:  {Yes, they do…but…cats?}  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?

Soooz:  It used to be chocolate, come to think of it, despite being an insulin dependent diabetic … it still is chocolate. I just have to moderate my consumption more than I wish to.

NJ:  Oh, you poor darling.  If I couldn’t have chocolate, I’d be walking down Main Street yelling, “Just kill me now!” So tell us, what’s your favorite color?

Soooz:  I have four …

NJ:  But I only asked for one…

Soooz:  Red, White, Dark blue, and Black.

NJ:  Well, I’ll be darned…she said them all anyway!

Many dogs

*Sigh*  Favorite sport, Soooz?

Soooz:  I am probably the only Aussie I know that has no absolute favorite sport. Although I totally admire those that compete for their utter dedication. If I do watch anything, it would be once every four years during the Olympics, and then it would be the swimming.

NJ:  That’s OK.  We don’t all have to enjoy the same things.  How about a favorite TV Show?

Soooz:  Currently “Game of Thrones” or “The Blacklist”

NJ:  Oh, look!  We got one out of her!  Let’s see if w e can go two for two.  Favorite Actress/Actor…

Soooz:  Still living, would have to be Meryl Streep and Matt Damon. Deceased, Robin Williams and Clarke Gable, Oh, and the wonderful Bette Davis.

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

Soooz:  I can only exercise my brain these days, but as I’m very thin, my body weight is not a problem.

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).

Soooz:  Wow, Nonnie, you mean I only get to name one? Eeek! No pressure or anything. Hmm … my BIGGEST pet peeve would have to be folks that throw a pity party if they break a fingernail. My empathy is huge for folks that are doing it tough, or have experienced loss or hardship. Just don’t put me anywhere near a person who whines about every little thing in their immediate vicinity. Grrr ……! That sets me off into kill another character mode, fast.

NJ:  Uhhhhh, well Soooz, I did just break a nail!  Moving right along before you go killing another character.  So, are you neat or messy?

Soooz:  That has altered in the past few years. I was a person who craved neat and tidy, I needed a well-ordered environment around me to feel safe in. These days I can’t afford to be too concerned about it, I’ve lightened up, and am much happier.  I’m as neat as I can manage to be. My daughter works full-time, and is raising a dear little boy as a single mom. I do whatever I can manage to do to help. Just having them in my life has enriched it beyond measure. She takes care of the things I can no longer manage, and between us, we have created a warm and happy home. The laughter of a delightful, almost five-year-old boy colors my days with rainbows.

NJ:  Oh, Soooz, just hearing you say that has covered my life with rainbows!  Facebook or Twitter?

Soooz:  I would have answered ‘Facebook’ until I discovered Rave Reviews Book Club. Now, I only pop in to Facebook to catch up and share a laugh or two, but the bulk of my non-writing time is spent on 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?

Soooz:  I have made many friends in the last six years, and I’ll always be grateful to FB for that, yet one lovely internet friend really stands out, and that is Teresa Geering, a wonderful writer and downright awesome lady of the first order.

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest…

Soooz:  Seriously? Has to be you, Nonnie.  Wonder Woman just didn’t cut it for me at all. She was far too bland for my stomach to handle… just bleh!

NJ:  We all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie…well, just my truths, in the no-nonsense way I know that I tend to try and force us all to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one of us does a better job of attempting to make the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Soooz:  A truth lasso, hah! Too convenient. The world will never be a better place until a persons’ honesty is directed by their own Moral Compass.

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

Soooz:  Milele Safari by Jan Hawke, and “Shadow of The Drill” by Rhani D’Chae.

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

Soooz:  That would depend entirely on genre. I have a few books that I wish others would read for varying reasons.  If folks are looking for fast-paced thriller suspense it’s hard to go past the series by John W. Howell, I’ve read, enjoyed and reviewed two out of three of his series So yeah, If I had to choose only 1 book out of all I have read in the last year it would be ‘His Revenge’ by John W. Howell.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Soooz:  Well it is my favorite reading genre.   Thriller Suspense is somewhere I escape to regularly, and John Howell has the tight plot, the fast pacing, and the hold my breath action that I crave. It ticks all my boxes.

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

Soooz:  99% of the time, yes I do. The only time I will NOT offer a review is if I can offer nothing constructive to that books author. If I haven’t completed the reading process because it was just not up to the standard I expect, then I will not review it.

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

Soooz:  I believe every reader looks for different things in a book, I can only comment on what I base my reviews on, and it begins with ‘Did I find this book entertaining, and/or enlightening in any way?’ That covers both my fictional reads, and non-fiction.

Did the author invite me to become involved in their work by their plot and characterizations?’

Did the fictional author make me suspend disbelief with their descriptions and scene setting ability?

Did an author of a non-fiction work inform me well about their chosen topic? Did I gain knowledge or insights from this book?

Did the dialogue fit and help define the characters?

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?

Soooz:  No, I’m never afraid to be honest. BUT … and it’s a BIGGIE, I will always remain aware that dismembering a book in order to review it can and does have a code of honor that I must follow. If I can find NOTHING of value in a book, I will NOT review it. I go into anything I read with the expectation of being entertained and/or informed,  Some books don’t hit that mark , but If I have persevered and completely read the book and found it lacking I will post a lower marked review, and explain exactly why in my remarks.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Soooz:  Yes, I have started to read two books recently that I would NOT have offered a review on..

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.

Soooz:  None whatsoever. If it were horrible, I wouldn’t have finished reading it, and therefore wouldn’t review it.

NJ:  Good for you! 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?

I’ve given this some thought over the past few hours, and I have to admit that it wasn’t something I have thought about too deeply until now.  I’m not all that certain if they have given us a new look per-se. I’m inclined to believe that what has occurred is the larger than expected response to the blending of genre’s outside our previous comfort zones.

Speculative fiction, is one that has been around for a very long time under many different guises, that genre has a large appeal.  One author that I really enjoy is C.S Boyack I believe this author has expanded the playing field with his work.

The bar is set very high for Dystopian Fiction and again I found an author who excelled in this area, Stuart Kenyons’  ‘Subnormal’ rates up there with Aldous Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ and George Orwell’s 1984.

NJ:  Great plugs for two of our amazingly supportive members.  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Soooz:  Yes, I am an author. Am I a good one? That depends on what day of the week you ask me. There are those marvelous days when I read back over what I’ve written and just know that it’s damned good. The other days I re-read what I may have written that day and I delete it. I don’t try to edit it, if that scene didn’t work I ditch it. Then I move on to something else to allow my mind to relax enough for another weird idea to surface.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Soooz:  Given that I’m in my sixties it hasn’t been that long, (Apart from stuff I scribbled on scraps of paper as a teenager.) I began writing with the intent to publish late in 2007. So, almost ten years.

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

Constructive criticism? Yup. I take it on board, and if I agree with it, I will look at implementing the reviewers’ suggestions. Thanks to some of my constructive reviewers, I believe that the quality of my work has improved over time.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Soooz:  Acts Beyond Redemption Book 1 in the (Unintended Consequences) series Link

acts-beyond-redemption-by-s-burke 

Acts of Betrayal Book 2 in the (Unintended Consequences) series 

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Soooz:  Now that’s a hard question. ‘Acts Beyond Redemption’ was my first journey into writing my favorite Thriller/Suspense/Psychological genre, so it holds a special place in my heart, BUT ‘Acts of Betrayal’ yeah, that’s my newest baby, and I’m like any proud new mommy. I’m eager for readers to enjoy what I have written. The characters are already screaming at me to begin Book 3.

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?

Soooz:  I have a blog where I review books, hold writing contests, and occasionally write a quirky post or two about my observations of life. I get great pleasure from supporting other indie authors. I will be setting up an author website whenever the funds become available for me to do it well.

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

Soooz:  A few years ago I would have responded with Facebook as it helped me meet folks whose expertise enriched my experience as an author. I will always value the people who became good friends, however I found that with the exception of a very small group of people, Facebook had become a social nightmare for me at least. Too much negativity and judgements made without thought of the consequences.

Now my response would be Rave Reviews Book Club. The positive energy and the dedication of the members to support each other has touched me. It’s so damned good to belong to an organization with a strong code of ethics.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Soooz:  I’ll combine the answer with the next question if I may.

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

Soooz:  I wrote a blog about my experiences with Rave Reviews Book Club and it (I hope) expressed my delight in all that had occurred since joining RRBC.  From being one of the three Books of The Month in October 2016, and on to an amazing Blog party, another Trailer Party and end of year Writers’ Conference, I have met and been inspired by an entire world of authors with a common interest in offering support and sharing their own experiences and expertise.  Here is one statistic that stands out …BEFORE joining #RRBC in June 2016 … I had 1423 Followers on Twitter; with NO new followers whatsoever for the entire month of June.(This was despite me being on Twitter since 2009). My blog had less than 300 followers.

Now my followers on twitter exceed 4500 followers, a consistently steady growth of like-minded people.  My blog has over 7000 followers. These figures would mean nothing if the followers were all about what was in it for them. My experience with RRBC has opened the doors for other Indie writers to find each other, and share their successes all within a framework of integrity.

NJ:  Those are exactly the kinds of things that put rainbows in my eyesight, Soooz.  Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Soooz:  I have come across imperfect clones, but without the guidelines and moral compass of RRBC. They just didn’t appeal to me.

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

Soooz:  Every chance I get

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.)

Soooz:  Now THAT is the most difficult question yet. I find each of the programs has its own unique appeal. The time-zone difference is enormous which means I don’t have an opportunity to listen in to the LIVE Rave Waves shows, however I spend much enjoyable time sitting back and absorbing the archived shows. The Block parties, Writers’ Conference and the other supportive and interesting features provide me with even more unexplored avenues of discovery and sharing.

NJ:  Soooz, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney and I’m also a little sleepy, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our guests today?

Soooz:  Just a huge thank you for being here today.

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Soooz!  You are so appreciated for being the wonderful member that you are.  To my guests, please  pick up a copy of either of Soooz’s books, but if you want to get on her Christmas list…pick up both!

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

Book Club Drama – Presidential Chronicles #3 – #RRBC

A laugh to brighten your day!

Books By Nonnie

 Hello!  Welcome to my new series: BOOK CLUB DRAMA – PRESIDENTIAL CHRONICLES. This is just my bit of hilarity to entertain you all. The short stories that you are about to read are fictional and not at all indicative of the way I feel, as President of the phenomenal, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB! But, some of the stories that I poke fun at, I’m sure are loosely based on some incidents…somewhere (but surely, not within the RRBC). I hope that you all will follow my blog here so that each time I post a new segment to the BOOK CLUB DRAMA – PRESIDENTIAL CHRONICLES series, you will be the first to receive notice. If they give you a chuckle, I ask that you please share them on your social media forums. Enjoy, and do keep giving me great material to write about!

P.S. Before my secretary starts…

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Marlena Smith in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?” #RRBC

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

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

(Throwback Thursday!)

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

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

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

MS:  It’s my birth name.

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

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

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

Dog rolling his eyes

Anyway, are you hitched or unhitched?

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

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

MS:  No.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

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

Many dogs

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

MS:  Anything Italian!

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

MS:  Blue.

NJ:  Favorite sport?

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

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

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

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

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

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

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

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

MS:  Lying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS:  Please refer to the previous question/answer.

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

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

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

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

Blushing dog

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

MS:  Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

MS:  Nothing too terrible.

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

angry dog

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

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

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

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SPLAT!!!

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

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

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

wonderwoman-rescues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the-power

 

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

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

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

MS:  RRBC, hands down.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

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

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

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

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

MS:  Nope.

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

MS:  Of course, and I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Focus on Better #1: Writing From Different Worlds -#RRBC

This year, we (the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB) are lending great focus to  getting better…improvement of our selves, improvement in our lives, and because we are a literary organization, improvement of our writing, has moved to the forefront of our mission. It is time that we ALL stand out.  Some of our members already do, but because it is not our goal to leave any of our RRBC family behind, we are going to push one another, until we are all standing on solid (equal) ground.  If you’re not there in the upper echelon of the writing club, then those who are, will not rest until you are planted firmly beside them.  Let’s become each others keepers.  As the great Martin Luther King, Jr. once said:  “I cannot be all that I can be, until you are all that you can be,” so on that premise, we won’t rest until each and every member of RRBC, has reached their highest pinnacle of success in all their written work.

This series, “FOCUS ON BETTER,” will empower and enlighten you.  They are lessons meant to open your eyes to all the possibilities that await you, once you seriously embark on the journey of becoming, not just an average, mediocre writer, but a phenomenal one, whose words are highly sought after by Connoisseurs of the written word. Yes, those are the folks I want to appraise my books…because they are the ones who know truly good writing when they read it.  They can discern junk from jewel and ultimately, their reviews are the ones that matter most to me, as they should to you.  This series is also meant to make you an even better book reviewer.

Today, our focus is on WRITING FROM DIFFERENT WORLDS.  As a book reviewer, I have come to the conclusion that writers from the US & Canada, write a tad bit differently from those writers in the UK and beyond.  You see, the United Kingdom writers tend to write without much punctuation, whereas, if you’re writing it properly in the US, there is a specific place for stop signs and red lights, for green lights that let you continue with the flow of traffic, and even the yellow ones that ask you to pause for a bit.  We already know that some of their (UK & even Canada) words are spelled differently than ours (US), as well;  organization (organisation), catalog (catalogue), centerpiece (centrepiece), and misbehavior (misbehaviour) are just a few of those words.  But, does any of this make their writing incorrect?  For a long time, I thought it did, and so I graded accordingly in my reviews of such work.

After a time of reading so much work by many writers from the UK, writers whose work I enjoyed, aside from the variations of country, I came to the conclusion that their writing wasn’t wrong, it was just the way it was done in their country.  It was at that time, that I decided to use a different scale for their writing, as opposed to my standard scale (my own) of those writers from the US.  I could no longer penalize writing, that for a few variations in spelling, was pretty good reading.  As far as the punctuation end of it, I still struggle, as some work that I have read from writers from the UK, never allow you to pause and take a breath before your eyes begin to cross.  That’s a huge problem for me and probably will continue to be so.  I ask those writers to have a little empathy for those of us who are accustomed to driving on the right side of the road.  I’m sure you wouldn’t want us to have a brain-crash, which is customary when we’re given the freedom to just go go go, without any regard to running into the other words in front of us.  I mean, run-on  sentences are against the law, aren’t they?  Maybe that’s just in Nonnie-land….hmmmm.

What I’d like for you all to take from this today, is to give the other side a chance, whether you’re a word-Connoisseur from the US or from the UK.  Recognize the differences in our writing that are there because of the side of the ocean we’re from, and not just blatant errors and mistakes that some would be quick to believe…are from a lack of knowledge in the field.  Maybe we, in the RRBC, should create a new scale of review to be used for books from the UK, which in all actuality, are well-written, aside from the variations of country that separate us in the area of writing.

Now, I’m not saying that all books, whether from the US or the UK, should be given a pass…just because.  Absolutely not!  No matter where you’re from, there is no arguing that good writing is still, good writing.  I’m merely suggesting that we dig a little deeper, to discern the real junk from the jewels, because no matter where you’re from, THAT should be standard!

We’ll see you next time on FOCUS ON BETTER, for another enlightening topic that can only help you to grow into the best version of you, as a writer.

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What are your thoughts on this topic?  We’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

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