Author Archive: RaveReviewsbyNJ

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!!

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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.

Shocked puppy gif.gif

(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.”

eye rolling gif

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!!

Vashti Quiroz-Vega in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@NonnieJules – #RRBC @VashtiQV

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, VASHTI QUIROZ-VEGA Vashti is our  1st “SPOTLIGHT” Author of the new year!  It’s January and we have been celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

(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.)

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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 2018, and I’ve added a few bars to make it a bit safer.  Some of my guests in the past have had some very unfortunate accidents and I don’t ever want that to happen again.  So, are you comfy?

Vashti:  I’m extraordinarily comfy and cozy. I feel right at home on your shelf.

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

Vashti:  Vashti Quiroz-Vega is my real name. Vashti Quiroz is my maiden name. I took my husband’s name when we married. It’s a bit scary to use your full real name but I went ahead and did it anyway.

NJ:  It really is scary giving out so much information on this world wide web.  But once you’ve given that much, your full name, I think everything else should be limited.  Notice how Nonnie has no photos swarming around this place.  That’s to keep all the “crazies” at bay.  Vashti, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Vashti:  I grew up in NYC. As a teen, my family and I moved down to Florida. I still call Florida home. I’d like to live in North Carolina someday. I visited once and fell in love with the people and I always said I would live there someday.

NJ:  Married or single?

Vashti:  Married. My husband is amazing. He’s very loving and supportive and someone I feel proud to call my partner in life.

NJ:  That’s awesome news on the hubby front!  Any kids?  What kind?

Vashti:  We have a fur baby named Scribbles. He’s a very sweet and smart Pomeranian.

NJ:  I think I saw a photo of Scribbles.  Cute kid!  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?

Vashti:  I love pizza. I know I should have outgrown it by now, but I could live on it (I don’t, don’t worry). I try to eat healthily, and for the most part, I do. However, occasionally I do indulge with a couple of slices of pizza.

NJ:  Haha!  We own pizza parlors so I don’t eat much pizza, although I do enjoy it on occasion.  Vashti, what’s your favorite color?

Vashti:  When I was very young it used to be green. In my twenties, it was red and gold but now it’s blue––specifically turquoise.

NJ:  OK.  How about your favorite sport…

Vashti:  I enjoy watching basketball. The movement on the court, the size and speed of the players, it’s mesmerizing.

NJ:  Basketball is the favorite sport in our home (loved by hubby, not me).  Right now I can hear the Boston Celtics and The Golden State Warriors playing.  (I love Kyrie Irving and I love Steph Curry, by the way).  Vashti, do you have a favorite TV show?

Vashti:  Game of Thrones. Duh.

NJ:  Duh? I don’t even like the title of the show so you know I wouldn’t even attempt to turn it on to watch.  But, I hear a ton of folks talking about it so there must be something there (just not my cup of tea).  Who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?

Vashti:  Kevin Spacey, Viola Davis, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Russell Crowe, Morgan Freeman, Julia Roberts, Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, and Sigourney Weaver.

NJ:  Seriously?  We’re going to mention Kevin Spacey here on my show?  I’ll pretend as if I didn’t hear his name.

Judge Judy rolling eyes

Moving right along…do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Vashti:  I’m an outgoing person. I enjoy being active. Although I haven’t worked out as much as I used to in the last couple of years. I’m going to improve on that this year.

NJ:  That’s awesome that you’re making your health a priority this year, Vashti!  Good for you!  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).

Vashti:  I’m pretty laid back for the most part. There are certain things that really bug me, like when people don’t cover their mouths when they cough. I fantasize about stuffing cloth (or something) in their mouths. I worked in the medical field many years and I know what comes out of that mouth, so please cover it!

NJ:  OMG, Vashti!  One of my biggest pet peeves is when people yawn without covering their mouths!  I hate that and I find it horribly disgusting!  Every time I see it, no matter the age of who’s doing it, I always think “What poor home training that must have had.” 

Vashti:  I also think it is terrible manners when someone says “ew” to the food on your plate.  Line cutters drive me nuts. Were you raised by wolves?

Okay, last one. My husband is a compulsive door opener. I think he was a doorman in a past life. I can’t stand it when he opens the door for someone and not only do they not say thank you, they also glide straight past him as if people should open doors for them. Makes me want to pull out a cane, hook it to the back of their shirt/blouse and yank them back through the door so that they can open it themselves.

I think you opened up a can of worms here.

shutterstock_29964307Are you OK?)  

NJ:  So, are you neat or messy?

Vashti:  For the most part, I’m neat. I can make a mess, but I do clean up after myself quickly.

NJ:  Good response although I felt you for a minute, leaning towards the left.  That’s the direction of that island I recently purchased to send all messy folks to.  So, Facebook or Twitter?

Vashti:  I use both but prefer 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?

Vashti:  This is a tough question because I’ve met so many wonderful people online in the last four years since I began blogging. Since I joined the RRBC I’ve met so many talented, kindhearted, inspiring and supportive people, many of which I consider friends. It would be too difficult to name them all and I would feel terrible if I left someone out.

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(When you realize she’s going to pass on the question because she doesn’t know how to name just one.)

NJ:  Vashti, who do you favor most… Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? It’s OK to be honest.

Vashti:  I’ve never met WonderWoman, so I’d have to say, Nonnie Jules. 😉

NJ:  Oh, thank you, Vashti, how sweet of you to say. (Although it seems I won the toss by default… “I’ve never met WonderWoman.” Yeah, right!)

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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, especially in our reviews of books we’ve read,  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.

Vashti:  I believe in being honest and being your true self and not whom others deem you should be. Since Nonnie is a real person I’d have to go with her.

NJ:  You’re awfully kind, Vashti.  But, WonderWoman IS a real person, too!  Now, ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Vashti:  EMPTY CHAIRS by Stacey Danson (Suzanne Burke) is a must-read.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Vashti:  EMPTY CHAIRS opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know and taught me many lessons. I’m a fan of books that teach me new things.

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

Vashti:  I do most of the time. If the book has a lot of issues and I can talk to the author and communicate my concerns to him or her, I’d rather do that then give them a bad review.

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

Vashti:  A book review is an opinion that someone has written about another written work. I base my reviews on whether the work I’ve selected fit well within the genre chosen for it. A horror book that doesn’t give you a single chill is disappointing. I also review a book based on the plot, characters and writing style. Is the book entertaining or boring? Are the characters interesting and well developed? Does the story have a good pace or does it drag? Does the book have something unique to offer or have I read this same story a dozen times? There is no book liked by everyone. It doesn’t matter how well written it is.

NJ:  That’s true, but you can’t beat a well-written book, no matter how many dislike it.  Every time, I’m supporting the well-written book!  Vashti, are you one of those who is afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author becomes upset with you, or, is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Vashti:  I’m never afraid to write or speak the truth. However, I believe that if a book is well-written for the most part but has many typos I can better help the author by talking to him/her via email, Skype––whatever, rather than give him/her a 1 or 2-star rating on Amazon. If a book is poorly written from start to finish and makes no sense I have no choice but to give it a low rating. I rarely come across a book like that nowadays, because I’m very selective about the books I read. The books I’ve read lately have been highly recommended.

NJ:  Vashti, I’m going to have to offer my opinion here which is a far reach from yours, just to offer clarity.  If a book is well-written, there won’t be many typos, if any at all, and yes, I’ve read books from start to finish where there was not ONE typo found.  And, I went back to make sure!  Typos, missing words, confusion in a story…anything that slows my reading pace when I’m in a story, I can’t label as well-written.  Just as the wind is blowing thru my hair as I round the bend of a long stretch of beautiful road, is just the feel I want when I’m reading a book.  I want it to just flow.  Now, there’s my two-cents.  Now, Vashti, 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.

Vashti:  I’ve never done that.

NJ:  Well, Kudos to you!  Tell us, are you an author?  If so, are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Vashti:  I am an author. It’s what I was born to do. Yes, I am a good writer but I can always be better, so I will continue to learn and improve. It’s in my nature to always strive to be better.

NJ:  That’s good to hear!  How long have you been writing?

Vashti:  I’ve been writing since I was a kid.

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

Vashti:  Yes, if a critique will help me improve my writing I’m all for it.

NJ:  What’s the name of one of your books?

VashtiTHE FALL OF LILITH

The Fall of Lilith by Vashti Q

 

NJ:  Vashti, 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?

Vashti:  Well, blogs are all about personal preferences. If you enjoy short stories in the fantasy, horror and thriller genres, poetry and occasional articles about issues that I’m interested in such as, bullying, teen depression, child abuse, elderly abuse and animals then you will like my blog.

NJ:  (All I wanted to know was is it well-written.)  Vashti, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Vashti:  The Rave Reviews Book Club has been an enormous help to me as an author.

NJ:  We’re always super happy when we hear that!  Thank you!  Why don’t you share with our guests who may not be members, how you’ve been helped by RRBC.

I have met so many inspiring, supportive and like-minded people in the RRBC. They’ve become my online family. I have received so much support in the form of book reviews, social media growth, interviews, podcasts. I believe my author brand has grown more in the last six months since I’ve joined than in the last four years that I’ve been blogging. It’s been great!

NJ:  What an amazing testimonial, Vashti!  Good for you!  But, you know what?   I will say, you weren’t just given all that amazing support.  You had to do something to get it.  In short, you’re an amazing supporter here and when you wear that title in RRBC, so many great things are placed at your feet and so many wonderful opportunities just seem to fall in your lap!  Good for you!  Is there anything else you’d like to share about RRBC?

Vashti:  The RRBC is a community of talented and supportive readers and writers and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of it.

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

Vashti:  Not at all.

NJ:  Neither have I.  Lots of copy-cats but none successful or sustaining, it seems.  Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Vashti:  I have been recommending it to my writerly friends and bookish friends too.

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

Vashti:  I enjoy the Rave Waves shows, the Writers’ Conference was a lot of fun and I got to know members I didn’t know before, and it’s been pretty cozy up here On The Shelf! Can I stay a while longer?

NJ:  Vashti, although I’d love to hang out with you here all day, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  As they say, you don’t have to go home, but you have to get the heck off of my shelf!  LOL!  Any final words for our guests today?

Vashti:  It’s been an honor to be invited to sit On The Shelf with you Nonnie, thank you very much. I’m excited about being selected as Spotlight Author too. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and for your fabulous support. I appreciate all of you.

NJ:  Vashti, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today!  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 Vashti’s book.

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

Here for the Wrong Reasons; Forgetting The Hand that Fed Ya and Learning Lessons the Hard Way! – #RRBC

Happy New Year, RRBC!  We have some exciting things planned for our membership this year and we want you all along for the ride!  But, I just had to take a moment to start the new year off just perfectly by sharing a few, but very necessary bits of information.

Nothing bugs me more than allowing a driver who has been waiting to merge into traffic forever, to get in front of me, only to have them speed along without so much as a hand raise, a head nod or anything.  Then, after that, nothing cooks my goose faster than when I hold the door open for someone and they don’t even hiss a thank you or a smile in my direction.  Talk about rude.  Talk about UNGRATEFUL!

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Which brings me to today’s “share.”

*We have members who we see only when there is something going on that will benefit them.  They join in on programs or activities that will bring attention to their books, and when it’s all over, we wonder where they’ve disappeared to.  Eventually, we wisen up and realize that we’ll see them the next time there’s an opportunity for them to promote their books.  RRBC is a community of support, so if you’re not here to support and push your fellow members just as much and as hard as you push yourself, then you’re here for the wrong reasons;

*RRBC has built so many members up, given them a platform and have brought much attention to many, Many, MANY authors and their books.  What we have found is that those (disingenuous) members that we build up, take what they need from us, and then, they move on.  They don’t stick around to ensure that others are built up;  they get what they can for themselves and then wave and yell out the window, “Ciao!”  If you’re here only to make a name for yourself off the sweat of our backs and then, once everyone knows your name and all about your books and of course, you’ve grown your following (thanks to RRBC), and you then decide to leave…you were here for the wrong reasons;

*If you’re here just to learn our methods and processes so that you can go off and create your own club or group modeling our methods and processes, please, leave now, because you are definitely here for the wrong reasons.  You see, my brain works overtime to ensure that RRBC has some of the most unique programs around.  I’m certainly not doing it for you to steal my ideas.  (And, just as an FYI, every time one of our loyal members notices that someone, somewhere has “copied” our programs or processes, they drop me a little line and say, “Take a look at thisHow dare they!”  So, don’t think that what you’re doing is going un-noticed and our loyal members, they don’t appreciate your (tacky) tactics at all);

*Lastly, for those of you who keep your name on our roster for the sole benefit of being able to promote your ventures of like nature here, using our hashtags, etc., that’s not what we’re about.  If you don’t take the time to engage and participate in the programs here at RRBC, please don’t use our forum to promote your own programs and ventures (and groups) to our members.  I find that highly insulting.

You know, as a young child I was taught to never, ever, ever burn any bridges or forget the hand that fed me, or even worse, turn around one day and bite that hand.  You never know when you might need that very bridge to cross over into something greater, and that hand that you bite, well, you might be hungry again one day.  Yes, we’ve had members to leave and then return once that realization sunk in.  But, you can be sure that the only reason their names reappeared on our roster, is that they left in a respectful and decent manner.  They didn’t burn their bridges.

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And then, there are those who are just ungrateful.  Ungrateful for the attention and the exposure that RRBC has given them.  Ungrateful for the fact that RRBC was the reason that their books are now being read and are known; ungrateful for the hard work put into helping them to have a name that anyone knows.

It seems that so many others were not taught the same lessons that I was about burning bridges and feeding hands.   And, unfortunately because of that, they’ll have to learn two new lessons:

-the same people you see going up, will be the same people you see coming down.

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-the hands that you step on today to get to the top, might be attached to the arms you’ll need to lift you tomorrow.

RRBC, don’t sit on our roster for the wrong reasons and please, don’t ever forget the hands that fed you, because if you do…one day, there will be lessons to be learned, and they might just come the hard way.

Happy New Year!!!

(We love comments so we’d appreciate one from you!  And, be sure to LIKE the post before you leave, if you did! Thanks in advance!)

Merry Christmas from our #RRBC Family!

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM RRBC!

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Members and friends, it is with profound sincerity that I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!!!

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Because we work so hard all year for our membership here at RRBC & RWISA, our offices will be closed on Sunday, Dec. 24th (Christmas Eve) and Monday, Dec. 25th (Christmas Day).  The VIP Lounge of RRBC and the Member Chat forum of RWISA, will both be open for our annual Christmas parties and SECRET SANTA gift exchange announcements, all day on Christmas Eve.

We will resume normal business hours of 9 AM Central Time on Tuesday, Dec. 26th until Nonnie goes to bed in the wee hours of the morning each day.  (Yes, I am really taking time off for Christmas this year).

Christmas Tree for VIP Lounge

Before we close our doors for Christmas, we’d like to invite you all to join us for our (virtual) Christmas party on Friday, Dec. 22nd from 10 AM Central Time until 1 PM CT.  (Your invite with the chat room location should be in your email).  Tons of merriment will abound!

Christmas tree for Newsletter

HAVE A SAFE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS, RRBC!

Mike Lynes in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/NonnieJules – #RRBC @woodheat

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, MICHAEL LYNES Mike is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of November and we have been celebrating him all month long.  This week, he gets to sit on the shelf with me!

 

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NJ:  Mike, 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?

Mike:  Hi NJ! The RRBC book shelf has always been more like a pedestal than a shelf. It’s an honor to be placed upon it and I will strive to live up to the standard set by my predecessors.

NJ:  Well, OK, you smooth talker!!!  You’re starting this party off right!  Don’t wanna take any chances, do ya?  Well, I don’t blame you, Mike.  Sometimes, this place is downright dangerous!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Mike:  My birth name is Michael Lynes.

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?

Mike:  I was born and raised in Madison, New Jersey, USA – originally grew up in the suburbs but Margaret and I have lived in Sussex County NJ, the New Jersey Skylands region, for the last 30 years.

NJ:  Awesome!  Married or single?

Mike:  Married

NJ:  Ok, good, good.  I assume to Margaret, correct? OK,  moving along before she pops up and we’ve just no room for extra-hineys today.  So, Mike, do you and Margaret have any kids?  If so, what kind?

Mike:  We have four sons, Ian, Christopher, Devon and Caelan.

NJ:  OK, and 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?

Mike:  Well, that’s a disconcerting question!

NJ:  I know, Mike, but it’s what we have to look forward to….a pat on the head every now and again.  Yep, I hear they don’t even allow tricks at that age, either. It’s a hard knock life, I tell ya!

Dog being stroked

Mike:  LOL! I would say that we have a great relationship with all our guys. I am (crosses fingers) going to say that we’ll be welcome with any of them, but our oldest son lives closest to us right now. (No pressure ‘E’….)

NJ:  No pressure?  Hahaha, E is changing his phone and address right now…you just wait.  So, Mike, any pets? What kind?

Mike:  One crazy tortoise-shell cat named LEET, right now. She is a loveable PITA and makes sure to jump in my lap whenever she determines I’ve spent enough time writing and need a ‘pet’ break.

NJ:  Hmmm, yea, Mike, we don’t talk much about cats up on this shelf.  Please, the peanut gallery is begging you not to mention LEET again.

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What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and then forego breakfast just to get to it?

Mike:  Well, I’d have to say one of my favorite dishes is chicken aroz-caldo – Philippine style. Not sure it’s a ‘forego breakfast’ kind of deal – I almost never eat breakfast and only rarely eat lunch. One meal a day is plenty for me…

NJ:  Mike, as a Certified Personal Trainer AND A Fitness Nutrition Specialist, I can truthfully tell you that one meal a day is not plenty for you, but I digress.  So, tell us, what’s your favorite color?

Mike:  Black

NJ:  OK.  How about your favorite sport?

Mike:  I love to play tennis. I’ve not been playing lately but it’s my favorite sport for sure.

NJ:  I love tennis, too.  I don’t play it much, but it’s definitely a fave to watch.   Any favorite TV shows?

Mike:  Currently ‘Forged in Fire’ on the History channel. It’s a great show – wonderful in that there is a real chance of someone losing a thumb at almost any instant… Love it! Also love watching SYTYCD and The Voice. Some of those dancers and singers have amazing talent!

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor?

Mike:  John Wayne and Katherine Hepburn – also a Bogie and Bacall fan for sure.

NJ:  Any who might still be alive banking a paycheck or acting gig?  Never mind.  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Mike:  I like to stay fit, not to say that I couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds, but I am an active type, never sit still.

NJ:  Good for you, Mike!  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).

Mike:  My pet peeve from the author POV is poorly written prose or inconsistent plotting. Nothing makes me want to stop reading a story more than seeing a misplaced metaphor, or an ill used word, or tortured sentence construction. From an overall life POV…crazy drivers that weave in and out of traffic annoy the heck out of me!

NJ:  WOW!  Finally, another soul who understands that those things can mess up a story…and fast!  So, Mike, are you neat or messy?

Mike:  I believe in organized chaos.

NJ:  (People, I do know that means you’re messy)  Facebook or Twitter?

Mike:  Both. I have a very active twitter presence and multiple Facebook pages for my personal, business and two books.

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?

Mike:  I have a few authors to whom I’ve connected to online and whom I would consider friends. Chatting with folks with whom I share common interests and whom I’ve never met personally has become so familiar and common place that I hardly give it a second thought anymore. The power of social media is amazing, really life changing, compared to only a couple of decades ago.

NJ:  We all know that Wonder Woman 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.

Mike:  Well, Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero in a fictional world and NJ is a real-life whirlwind of positive energy so there is really no comparison! I would have to come down on the side of NJ here…

NJ:  That was kind of you to say.  Thank you, Mike 🙂  Now, please name one favorite INDIE book that you’ve read by an RRBC member.

Mike:  “Mercy’s Prince” by Katy Huth Jones.

Mercy's Prince Kindle cover

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

Mike:  Yes, almost always.

NJ:  Good for you, Mike!  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Mike:  Their honest opinion of the story…story-craft, appeal, emotional impact etc. A good review should be fair, positive and spoiler free.

NJ:  I agree on all points, except when you say that all reviews should be positive reviews.  There’s no way that you can always be honest and also always giving positive reviews.  Now, if you mean they shouldn’t tear the author down or rip the book apart, figuratively speaking, then I agree.  But, otherwise, we have to be careful when we say that all reviews should be positive, as some might take that to mean they should all be rated favorably (3 to 5 star).  OK, Mike, 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?

Mike:  I always give my honest opinion. I will not trash an author’s work but I have only rarely given a two star or one star review. If a story is poorly written I will generally not finish it and give no review. If I finish a story and feel that it needs a low review I will post it. Constructive criticism is as important as praise.

NJ:  There again, we agree on constructive critiques!  Read any poorly written books lately?

Mike:  Lots…usually just the sample chapters are enough to convince me to not go further.

NJ:  Now I know you really are my twin!  That’s it for me, too!  You never get a second chance to make a great first impression and the beginning of books, definitely serve as that first “Hello.”  Mike, 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 publicly.

Mike:  I don’t do that. It’s a disservice to the author and to myself.

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

Mike:  My books have been very well received, over 100 reviews for There Is A Reaper (4.9/5.0) and The Fat Man collection is also doing well and winning awards. I would say that there is always room to grow and improve. I look at the stuff I wrote a year or two ago and see that I’ve gotten better with my prose and story-craft since that time. The best answer is ‘I am always striving to improve my author skills’ and leave it at that.

NJ:  Mike, you’re impressing me more and more by the minute!  How long have you been writing?

Mike:  All my life really…specifically, ‘There Is a Reaper’ since 2010, and ‘The Fat Man’ since April 2016.

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

Mike:  Yes.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Mike:

THERE IS A REAPER

There is a Reaper by Mike Lynes

AUDIBLE Version

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THE FAT MAN GETS OUT OF BED

The Fat Man Gets Out of Bed

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Mike:  I don’t have a favorite between the two. I like them both for different reasons.

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

Mike:  M Lynes Author is my website. I do have a blog there but I’m not sure if meets the NJ level for excellence.

NJ:  I’ll just have to drop by to see for myself!  Mike, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Mike:  Probably the exposure with social media, twitter and Facebook, has helped the most. Next, being able to take advantage of programs and promotions on Amazon, and other large ebook sites. Not the least of course would be the authors and friends I’ve met on RRBC!

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Mike:  Twitter for promotion and presence. Facebook as a contacts and exposure resource. Amazon to sell and promote my books, and other ebook sites to help sell and advertise. And, clubs like RRBC to connect with authors and friends for information, shared interests and reviews.

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?

Mike:  A very good resource for connecting with other authors, sharing information, getting reviews and promoting oneself. The value received is far greater than the cost of membership!

NJ:  I so agree with you, Mike.  Authors don’t realize the value of this amazing club until they really sink their teeth into it, or until they leave, and then actually feel the loss of what they had here.  For many, this is the ONLY place their books are being purchased, read and reviewed, and many are smart enough to stay here for that reason alone.  Mike, have you come across any other online entities like it?

Mike:  There are other online organizations – many are less effective than RRBC. I have found a lot of folks who are just in the business to sell you some ad packages. RRBC cares about its members and it is focused on integrity. I’ve not found another online club like it.

NJ:  Thank you, Mike.  I could not have said it any better than that.  Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Mike:  Yes – but more importantly to other authors.

NJ:  That’s right, Mike.  But, readers are just as important here as writers.  We want them all and that’s why we always should introduce RRBC to our family and friends, so that our catalog is where they do they book shopping.   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.)

Mike:  I would say the Block Parties are the most fun. I also like reading the BWCU and catching up on everything that is happening at RRBC in one convenient place.

NJ:  They’re all faves of mine, but I totally agree on those block parties!  And, our WC&BE is starting to blow all out of the water!   Mike, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words for our guests today?

Mike:  Just to say thank you for the honor and all of the great work that you and your team do to keep RRBC rolling along. I’m sure at times it must seem to be a thankless task, and a mountain of work, but your efforts are appreciated and I will take the opportunity to publicly thank you NJ for the great work that you do. Thank you!

NJ:  Mike, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today!  And, thanks for being an awesome member! This has definitely been one of my all-time favorite interviews…and I mean that sincerely.  Not once did you come close to having an accident!  Because of that, we’d love to have you back again some time.  We mean that!

To my guests, please  pick up a copy of one of Mike’s books or both of them.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Mike was on the “SHELF” today, tell them he sent you.  Make it a great day, my friends…or not.  The choice is all yours!   This is my final interview for 2017.  But, we’ll see you bright and early in January, 2018, right here on the SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

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