Category Archives: Spotlight Authors

Natalie Ducey in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/NonnieJules – #RRBC #RWISA @NatalieDucey

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, NATALIE DUCEY!  Natalie is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of September and we have been celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

Natalie Ducey - My first catch in 25 years

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

Natalie:  Yes, it’s quite comfy up here. I love the décor, too!

NJ:  Why, thank you, Natalie!  I wasn’t sure about these colors, but you have just affirmed that my choices  were the right ones!  Let’s get started by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Natalie:  Natalie Ducey is my 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?

Natalie:  I was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. My husband and I moved to Petawawa, Ontario, Canada in 2005, when he was posted as a serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

NJ:  Interesting!  I see that you’re married…how long now?

Natalie:  We just recently celebrated our 14th Anniversary.

NJ:  Impressive!  And, a hearty CONGRATS, too!  Any kids?

Natalie:  No children.

NJ:  Any pets? If so, what kind?

Natalie:  Our little dog, Bella, is our baby girl. She is a Lhasa Apso and Poodle mix.

NJ:  She sounds confused.  And, I imagine her looking like this:

Confused dog

(Am I off base?  Just a little?)

Natalie, 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?

Natalie:  Chicken Pad Thai.

NJ:  Hmmmm, sounds interesting (also sounds like something I wouldn’t eat.  My taste buds are just so particular and finnicky).  What’s your favorite color?

Natalie:  Teal blue.

NJ: I like teal, too!  Do you have a favorite sport?

Natalie:  I love kayaking. Hockey, however, is my favorite sport to watch.

NJ:  How about your current favorite TV Show:

Natalie:  I just discovered the new show “This is Us.” I absolutely love it. The narrative and cast are just fabulous.

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Natalie:  Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.

NJ:  Both legends, aren’t they?  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Natalie:  Due to my disability (Spinal Cord Injury of C5 & C6 vertebrae in 1992), regular exercise is essential to maintain my strength and flexibility. I really enjoy using a rower, as it feels much like kayaking.

NJ:  OK.  Good for you on keeping up on exercise so that you don’t let your disability rule your life.  Natalie, what is your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails? (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads. Hey, just being honest. It’s the only way I roll).

Natalie:  Negativity. It’s exhausting to be around negative people.

NJ:  So, are you neat or messy?

Natalie:  Definitely more on the neat side.

Smiling dog

NJ:  Natalie, you don’t know just how happy that makes me, hearing that you’re a neatie!  So, Facebook or Twitter?

Natalie:  I use both, but I prefer Twitter for the interaction and engagement.

NJ:  Me, too, Natalie.  Not a FB fan but am in love with Mr. Twitter. (I hope he’s a Mr.)  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?

Natalie:  I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with so many incredible people via online. All are such warm, compassionate souls.

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

Natalie:  Nonnie Jules, of course!

Chi dog smiling

(Oh, Natalie, you’re tickling me!  And I’m blushing!)

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.

Natalie:  Nonnie, your dedication and generosity of spirit has enriched so many lives in a multitude of ways. That’s a remarkable achievement. Cheers to you!

NJ:  Oh, Natalie, don’t stop!  I mean, stop…

Cheesing dog

Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

Natalie:  Just two? Oh dear… Acts Beyond Redemption (Unintended Consequences Series) by Suzanne Burke is a nonstop, intense thrill ride. I have the second book in the series on my Kindle and can’t wait to delve in. Also, Letting Go into Perfect Love by Gwen Plano is a deeply moving, penetrating story.

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

Natalie:  The Point Pleasant series by Mae Clair is a must read!

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Natalie:  In this three-book series, Mae seamlessly weaves folklore, paranormal, suspense, thriller, and a little romance in a highly engaging story. The character development is exceptional and the pace is intense! In true form, Mae never falls to engage all our senses. As a reader, it’s impossible not to be immersed in her stories. I highly recommend it!

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

Natalie:  Absolutely! But it wasn’t until I published my first book that I really understood how essential reviews are.  Reviews are vital and they can, essentially, be the gatekeepers of an author’s success. A book without reviews can be a hard sell, especially if you’re an unknown author. Reviews entice readers in one of two directions: to read or not to read. An author’s goal is to entice readers to purchase their work, and, hopefully, return with a positive review. And purchase another book!

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

Natalie:  I base my reviews on whether or not I thoroughly enjoyed the story and/or have been deeply moved by it. Great reads stay with me, and that’s powerful. A book that doesn’t quite hold my attention may be a good book, it just didn’t pull me in fully. Another reader may love it. So, in my reviews I often refer to how it made me feel and why. It could be the eloquent writing style, well-developed characters, intricately woven plot and subplots, perfectly paced, an unforgettable story, etc. I should note, however, that if a book is riddled with spelling and grammar errors it’s impossible to thoroughly enjoy it.

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?

Natalie:  I’m always honest with my reviews. I refer to how the book made me feel and why. I may not love the book, but it may be a good story. There’s always something I enjoyed, and I highlight this in my review.

As authors, it’s our responsibility to publish polished work. There will always be someone who doesn’t thoroughly enjoy our work because of personal preference, style, etc. That’s okay. Constructive feedback can be invaluable and help us gauge our writing. But, it’s also important not to let the “haters” skew our voice. I have yet to meet one, but I think it’s inevitable in this anonymous online world.  So, let’s support one another in our shared passion of writing with honest, constructive reviews!

NJ:  There’s always something you enjoy?  In every read?  WOW!  You’re an angel!  I can honestly say that as many books as I’ve read, there were many that left a horrible taste in my mouth, so unfortunately, I can’t say the same.  This brings me to my next question, though…have you read any poorly written books lately?

Natalie:  Not lately.

NJ: Lucky you!  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.

Natalie:  I see no value in this at all. It’s a disservice to the author and the industry as a whole. Also, as a writer, this practice could easily tarnish my integrity in this profession.

NJ:  Good answer!  I wish everyone felt the same way when it came to reviews.  Unfortunately, we live in a world of “nice” and “fear.”  I find that these two should never be the guiding factors in reviews.  You can be kind in reviews, and you don’t have to tear anyone down, either, but, in the end, honesty is the only thing that will help the author improve as a writer.  There’s a place for nice and it’s on the playground.  There’s a place for fear, and it’s on the battlefield.  I cannot stress enough that with reviews, HONESTY is the only way to go.

Natalie, 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 do you think they have changed the field for us?

Natalie:  Some of my favorite books were written by Indie Authors. The talent in this industry (community) is incredible. I believe the path of publication should never dictate an author’s success. As a whole, I think we’re moving in a positive direction.
As writers, I believe it’s our duty to honour the craft of writing. Producing poor quality work is a disservice to the craft, the industry as a whole, and most definitely the readers who expect and deserve a product they can ultimately enjoy.

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

Natalie:  I am an author of two collections of poetry, and both have been well received.
Poetry is such a subjective form of art; I leave it up to the readers to decide. It is my hope that readers will connect with the verses in a way that is cathartic and soothing. I hope they can travel back with welcomed reflection, find solace and wisdom in the present, and feel inspired for the journey that lies before them. This is what I aspire to achieve.

NJ:  Well, poet to poet, keep on writing.  Natalie, how long have you been writing?

Natalie:  I penned my first poem in January 2014. It was cathartic and liberating. I felt lost in the chaos of life. Writing was/is my saving grace; it was the light that guided me home.

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

Natalie:  Yes, of course. I believe constructive feedback can be invaluable and help us gauge our writing.

NJ:  Natalie, that is awesome, especially as a member of RWISA.  There, we have to all be willing to hear things about our work that might catch us off guard, but ultimately, will make us better writers.  Name two books that you’ve written?

*THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME

The Hearts Journey Home by Natalie Ducey

*THE HEART’S LULLABY

The Heart's Lullaby by Natalie Ducey

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Natalie:  This is a tough one! Every poem is unique to a specific emotion and place in time. It’s real, raw, and poignant. However, in THE HEART’S LULLABY, I delve deeper and explore/translate the intricate beauty that lies within our hearts. My journey as a self-published author has been a remarkable one. The freedom to chart my own course, thus taking ownership of every step is liberating and a precious gift for a creative soul.

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?

Natalie:  I do have a website/blog. I think it’s a must for every author. A place that welcomes and engages readers and reflects a writer’s style. Nonnie, I’d love for you to drop by for a visit.

NJ:  And I shall do that very soon!  Thanks for the invite!  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Natalie:  RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

NJ:   How were you helped by them?

Natalie:  Joining Rave Reviews Book Club is the best decision I have ever made as a writer.  Soon after I joined in 2015, I was the recipient of a #PUSHTUESDAY slot. The flood of support I received from fellow members was incredible. I have since been featured as MEMBER of the MONTH, and in April 2016 my first book of poetry, The Heart’s Journey Home, was selected as one of the three BOOKS of the MONTH. Also, I was interviewed on the RAVES WAVES RADIO broadcasts: BEHIND the PEN, BUY the BOOK, and most recently BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT! To be chosen for these spots is a huge honor, and I assure you it will never be forgotten.

The support has been tremendous and continues to be. The results are tangible: sales and reviews of my books are steadily climbing, and I have seen an increase in followers (and engagement!) on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. But wait, the support doesn’t end there!

Writing is such a solitary process that we need to connect with others, interact, engage, exchange ideas and learn from each other. The talent within RRBC is extraordinary and the level of peer support is undeniably inspiring. But here’s the key piece: you have to interact and engage.

By observing and engaging with fellow members, I learned how to effectively use social media and discovered the wonderful world of blogging. I’m ecstatic to say I host fellow authors on my blog now. There is a strong community framework within the world of blogging. It’s all a learning process, but a fun one. A lot of what I’ve learned is directly linked to my interaction with fellow writers. I immersed myself into the wealth of knowledge that exists within RRBC. I believe, wholeheartedly, that I’m learning from the best, and I’m elated to say so.

I’ve met so many talented authors and have the privilege of reading and reviewing their work. It continues to be a remarkable journey of learning, friendship, and gratitude.

NJ:  WOW!  What kind words you have to share, Natalie.  That was amazing!  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Natalie:  RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a community like no other. Whether you are an author or an avid reader, RRBC is a place you’ll feel at home. Quite simply … RRBC is the place to be!  If you’re not a member already, I highly recommend joining.

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

Natalie:  No. It’s unique for sure.

NJ:  Thanks, again for those kind words, Natalie.  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Natalie:  Absolutely. I’ve been encouraging others since I joined in 2015!

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

Natalie:  This is another tough one! I enjoy it all, but for unique reasons. I love the enthusiasm behind #PUSHTUESDAY. I love the interaction and engagement during the Block Parties. I love hearing the voices of fellow members during RAVE WAVES shows and learning more about them. I really enjoy the BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions. And my gosh … this month as “SPOTLIGHT” Author has been truly amazing, and I’m most grateful and humbled by this honor.

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

Natalie:  I just like to send out a huge THANK YOU to you, Nonnie, for providing such an amazing opportunity for authors to join together in a shared goal and united passion. To fellow members, I thank you for your kindness, encouraging words, and generous support. You are awesome!!

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Natalie!  And, thanks for being an awesome member! You have definitely given us “great” interview and we’d love to have you come back again some time.  We mean that!

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

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

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ROBERT FEAR in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” W/NONNIE JULES – #RRBC @FredsDiary1981

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, ROBERT FEAR.  Robert is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of July and we are celebrating him all month long.  This week, he gets to sit on the shelf with me!

IMG_0713

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

RF:  Yes, thanks Nonnie. I’m a little nervous, but thanks for inviting me to be a guest on your new, very comfortable shelf. It’s a real honour!

NJ:  Thank you, Mr. FEAR…what a perfect name when you’re sitting up here with me.  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

RF:  Robert Fear is my birth name.

NJ:  And I love it each time you say it!  Tell us where you were born? Do you still live there now? If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

RF:  I was born in a city called Leicester in England. My family left there when I was 11 and moved south to a village in Surrey called South Nutfield. My teenage years were spent growing up there. I now live in a town called Eastbourne on the south coast.

NJ:  Married or single, Robert?

RF:  Married.

NJ:  Any kids? What kind?

RF:  No, although I have two grown-up nephews and a niece. Also a 5 year-old great-nephew.

NJ:  Those will do just fine, too!  Aren’t nieces and nephews grand?  If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one (if they had to) would keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one would immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?

RF:  I will be 62 this year so not old and cranky yet, or I don’t think so! I haven’t really considered the rest of your question, maybe I should.

NJ:  I think you should.  When your mind starts to leave you, you never know which family member is going to draw that short straw (aka YOU) and what they’ll do with you (or to you) when it happens, so if I were you…I’d start pondering.  Any pets? What kind?

RF:  We are cat people. Over the years we have looked after a succession of rescue cats and enjoy their company. At the moment we have three: Floyd, Hazell and Jet.

How Nonnie feels about cats…

NJ:  Uh, yea.  OK, so 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?

RF:  I can’t say that I’ve ever felt that way about food to be honest.

Whaaaaattttt????

NJ:  WOW!  OK.  #Shocking.  What’s your favorite color, Robert?

RF:  Blue

NJ:  Yea, I think blue’s kinda boring, but OK.  Live and let live.  How about your favorite sport.  Have one of those?

RF:  Soccer

NJ:  Yeeeeeessssss, I can totally see you in a soccer game!  So, any favorite TV Shows?

RF:  ‘Have I Got News For You’ – it is a satirical panel quiz show on UK television. Very funny!

NJ:  You’ll have to tell me more about it after the show.  As you can see, I LOVE funny/humor!  So, who’s your favorite Actress or Actor?

RF:  I think it would have to be Tom Hanks. He is such a versatile actor and I’ve enjoyed many of his films.

NJ:  I just hung up the phone with Tom (yes, we’re on a first name basis), and he told me to tell you…

I know, you didn’t know that I knew him. Oh, stop…I see that you’re gushing all over yourself.   I know tons of folks.  I know folks in high places …

…and low places, too

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

RF:  I enjoy walking to stay fit. Eastbourne is a great place for that, with a 4 mile promenade and it’s close to the South Downs National Park as well.

NJ:  I love walking and running, too!  Your place sounds like heaven! Robert, 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).

RF:  Readers who leave 1 star reviews and get very personal and cruel about the author. I don’t think there is any need for that and it can be very upsetting.

NJ:  Robert, here is where you need to become really tuned in to your last name.  You see, I have no problem with a reader who has taken the time to read a book, who has spent their hard-earned money on said book, to give that book a 1-star review if they feel that it deserves it.  I don’t believe in attacking an author or getting personal in reviews, EVER,  it should always be about the book, but I believe in total honesty in reviews and regarding writing, for that matter.  So, you might be upset with me one day when I post a 1-star review.  But, that’s OK.  So, are you neat or messy?

RF:  Neat.

NJ:  Yayyyyy!  I like you again!  Facebook or Twitter?

RF:  Both.

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?

RF:  This would have to be Frank Kusy, the well-known travel memoir author. Frank has been incredibly supportive and is always there when I need advice. He also introduced me to a Facebook group which has helped me tremendously.

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

RF:  I thought they were one and the same person!

Oh, shucks…you’re such a flatterer!

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.

RF:  It would have to be WonderWoman Nonnie Jules!

Robert, stop it! You are tickling me pink!

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

RF:  Kevin and I in India by Frank Kusy and That Bear Ate My Pants by Tony James Slater

NJ:  OK, can’t say that I’ve heard of either.  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it…

RF:  One of its Legs are Both the Same by Mike Cavanagh

NJ:  What was so great about it?

RF:  This is probably best summarized by my 5* review:
Engrossing memoir

I had the privilege of being able to beta read this wonderful book. It is a treasure trove of memories, woven together in a vividly descriptive life tapestry.

With the knowledge of a recent diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, Mike Cavanagh shares his innermost feelings, reflecting on his younger years and why he was so ‘different’. Things he knows now make these reflections even more poignant and provide an additional layer to his many weird and wonderful recollections.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is an engrossing memoir and highly recommended.

NJ:

Yea, uhhhhh, never had that happen here before, you know, someone just ‘reading’ a review like that.  For a minute, I thought this was SPOTLIGHT HONORS with John Howell.

So, Robert, after you read books, do you post reviews?

RF:  I always mean to and do so more often than not, especially if I know that the author does not have many reviews for the book yet.

NJ:  Good for you, but I’m going to need you to do better and go beyond “meaning to.”  Let’s get those reviews posted!  Robert, what do you think readers should base their reviews on?

RF:  Quality and content of the book.

NJ:  OK.  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?

RF:  No, not at all, although all my reviews are 4 or 5 stars for one reason – I tend to be very choosy as to which books I read. If I start reading a book and am not getting on with it, then I would leave it and not review it. My time is too precious!

NJ:  OK.  Read any poorly written books lately?

RF:  No. Well, not beyond the first twenty pages anyway.

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

RF:  I am not a particularly good author. This may come as a bit of a shock as I am in the ‘Author Spotlight’ this month, Nonnie, but I do not see myself as a ‘proper’ author. I am more of a diarist or memoirist. My other skills include proof-reading and editing. It is only with my new book that I am aspiring to become an accomplished author.

NJ:  You have the write attitude, Robert, which means you are going to go far…and, as a good/great author!  How long have you been writing?

RF:  I have had an interest in writing and editing since my early teens. My earliest endeavor was the ‘Library Times’ which I laboriously wrote out by hand and distributed amongst family and school friends. Next came the ‘Crusader Comet’ which lasted for over twenty monthly editions. This was for a local Crusaders group that I attended. As this was in the early 70’s, before word processors, I used a typewriter and produced stencils for use with a duplicator. In the sixth form, when I was 17-18, I studied English Literature for one of my Advanced Level exams. My dream at that time was to become a journalist. I was also appointed as Editor of the school magazine, ‘The Pilgrim’, and I helped produce four editions of this professionally produced periodical. After that my writing lapsed as I took a different career path and then went off on my travels. It was not until 1981 that I embarked on my Asian trip and recorded everything I did in a handwritten diary. This formed the basis of ‘Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia’, which was published in 2013.

NJ:  WOW!  Interesting.  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

RF:  I like to think I can. What I find difficult to accept is negative and unreasonable criticism.

NJ:  That’s good to know, Robert, as so many can’t take any type of critiques regarding their writing.  I literally beg for folks to point out any mistakes they find in my writing, because I want to be able to hold my own against the best.  You can’t grow unless you learn to listen and take in those things that you may perceive to be negative…take notes and learn so that you can turn them into positives.

Robert, name two books that you’ve written?
RF:  The first is an edited version of the diary I referred to previously:
Fred’s Diary 1981: Travels in Asia

The second was mostly written by my father when he was alive. I wrote the forward and did most of the editing, while my younger brother, Alastair, wrote the final three chapters:
Exclusive Pedigree: My life in and out of the Brethren

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

RF:  They are both very different types of books. Mine is in a diary format and covers the 158 days of my travels around Asia – this style and the drug use throughout is not appreciated by some. My father’s memoirs cover a much longer period and are written very well. They cover various aspects of his being both inside and outside the Exclusive Brethren religious sect, while holding true to his faith in God. I think Exclusive Pedigree is the better book because of its wider appeal and the way it is written. My father was a very good writer and worked as a journalist in his later years.

NJ:  I can’t wait to read  both!  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?

RF:  My blog site fd81.net has been around for over two years. It is different to most blogs and is very travel-orientated. The earlier sections contain the daily serialization of my diary, during the time it was being prepared for its second edition. Since then I have featured many travel stories and travel highlights that have been entered in the annual competitions. In addition there are guest blogs from fellow travel writers and bloggers. I think you would have to check it out but hopefully you will find it interesting and enjoy reading it.

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?
This would definitely be the Facebook group.

Really, Rob?  (Where’s my beyhive?  Oh, I forgot, I’m not Beyonce so I don’t have a Beyhive to sting him.  Darnit!  Gotta get me one of those!)

NJ:  Robert, I’m a journalist so I’m going to remain professional here.  (Mumbling) How were you helped by this group?

RF:  It is a very supportive group of authors and readers…

NJ:  I changed my mind.  I can’t do it…I can’t remain professional and sit thru this!!!!!  You answered the question wrong above and so, we don’t want to hear your response!  Right, Nonnie-hive?

(Birds chirping)

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

RF:  I have only been a member since late last year. Although I felt a little overwhelmed at first, I am slowly getting more and more involved. There are so many great activities and the club is very supportive of members when they actively participate in the club.

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

RF:  No, not really

Guess you forgot about your Facebook group then…

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

RF:  Yes, definitely.

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

RF:  I wish that I had the time to participate more in all the different programs organized by RRBC. The area I have used the most is the BOOK CLUB SELECTIONS page and I am always interested in the BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions. In addition I check out the #RRBC Twitter hashtag on a daily basis, re-tweeting and liking posts where I can.

NJ:  Well, good for you, Robert!  Those are great areas to participate in.  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words for our guests today?

RF:  Thank you very much for having me as your guest ON THE SHELF today. It came as a real surprise to be invited and I hope that my answers have been of interest to you and all your guests.

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Robert!  You have definitely entertained us all and made this one memorable interview, right gang?

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

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

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

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

Today we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us,  member, LAURA LIBRICZ.  Laura is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of May and we are celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

Laura (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dog shocked

OK, Laura, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?  That’s totally dependent upon the fact that they don’t know that you actually tell folks that they were accidents, in which case, both will equally assign you to the worst old folks home that they can find in Germany, and word on the street is, the homes there, are a little more restrictive than the ones in the states.  So, tell us…

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

NJ:  Uh huh…well, OK.

Confused dog pic.jpg-

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

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

NJ:  That’s an awful lot of animals to care for, but I can totally see you as being a cat-lady.  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

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

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

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

NJ:

Drinking dog

(Is she finished yet?)

Laura, share your favorite sport with us, please…

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

NJ:  What about your favorite TV Show?

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

NJ:  What about your favorite Actress/Actor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  I actually hear people say that a lot.  For me, I only use both professionally, not for anything personal.  Laura, we’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

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

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

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

NJ:  Uh, yes she does…

Wonder woman smoking

Laura:  Imagine that Wonder Woman did exist…We all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Laura:  Again, Nonnie does.

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

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

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

Laura:  The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz

NJ:  I’m dead.

Sleeping dog

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

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

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

Laura:  Yes, I almost always post reviews.

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

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

NJ:  Well, unfortunately, some of us don’t have the talent to separate the two.  My hand just might be raised high!  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or, is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

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

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

Laura:  Yes I have.

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

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

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura:  Um, no…

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

Laura:  Yes, definitely…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Throwback Thursday!)

IMG_20160226_005537

20160318_210507-1

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Married or single?

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

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

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

NJ:  Rhani, you, yourself are a book just waiting to be written.  #OneInterestingPerson.  If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?

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

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

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

NJ:  Rhani, your cat background is the reason I tried to unfollow you on Twitter. Wierd, the unfollow button is stuck on your page.  Dang cat-curse!  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

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

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

Rhani:  Black

NJ:  Favorite sport:

Rhani:  Football

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

Rhani:  The Walking Dead

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor…

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

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

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

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

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

  dog shocked

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

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

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Rhani:  Absolutely Twitter.

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

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

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

Rhani:  Nonnie Jules, without question.

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

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

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

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

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

Rhani:  Dog Bone Soup, by Bette Stevens.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

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

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

Rhani:  Yes, I usually do.

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

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

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

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

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

“SHADOW OF THE DRILL”

Shadow of the Drill by Rhani D'Chae 1

 

A PERILOUS THIRST”

A PERILOUS THIRST BY RHANI D'CHAE

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Throwback Thursday!)

fb_img_1485461432230

marlena-smith

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

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

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

MS:  It’s my birth name.

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

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

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

Dog rolling his eyes

Anyway, are you hitched or unhitched?

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

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

MS:  No.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

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

Many dogs

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

MS:  Anything Italian!

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

MS:  Blue.

NJ:  Favorite sport?

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

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

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

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

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

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

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

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

MS:  Lying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS:  Please refer to the previous question/answer.

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

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

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

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

Blushing dog

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

MS:  Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

MS:  Nothing too terrible.

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

angry dog

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

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

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

woman-being-pushed

SPLAT!!!

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

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

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

wonderwoman-rescues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the-power

 

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

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

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

MS:  RRBC, hands down.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

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

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

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

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

MS:  Nope.

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

MS:  Of course, and I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. M. Manay in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

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

Today I have with me on the “SHELF,” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, A. M. MANAY!

ammanayphoto

NJ:  Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you?  Is it comfy?

AM:  So comfy. It’s the fluffiest bookshelf I’ve ever seen.

NJ:  (NJ wonders:  “Is she referring to me, or the actual shelf?”  OK, don’t let your mind wonder there…it’s your first interview in months.  Give AM the benefit of the doubt.  She looks sweet.)  Why, thank you (I guess).  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

AM:  I write under my actual initials and real surname.  In real life, I go by Anne Margaret.  I decided that was too long and girly for a book cover.

NJ:  Well, Anne Margaret (that will be the last time I’m saying that, it is long!)…tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

AM:  I was born outside Philadelphia, grew up in Atlanta, and have been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 12 years now.

NJ:  Married or single?

AM:  I’ve been married nearly 13 years.

NJ:  Awwww, you’re still a newly wed! (Says the old lady who’s been in this game for over 30 years now).  Kids or no?  If yes, how many?  Sons or Daughters?

AM:  We have one son.  He is 6 years old.

NJ:  So, would you consider him your favorite child?  I ask because, being the only, does not necessarily make him the most favored.  Know what I mean?

AM:  It’s easy to pick when you only have the one. 🙂 We adopted him when he was a newborn, so we’re extra grateful to have him.

NJ:  Oh, well, I suppose he is the favored one, then!  Good for you!  Any pets?

AM:  Zero. I am not an animal person.

Many dogs

(Really?  And you’re brave enough to say that here?)  

NJ:  So, Ms-Zero-I’m-Not-An-Animal-Person, may we ask your favorite food?  Or, are you not into that, either?

AM:  Chocolate, of course.

NJ:  How about your favorite color?

AM:  I love red.

NJ:  OK.  Got a favorite sport?

AM:  Yoga. Does that count?  It’s more of a practice than a sport.

dog-doing-yoga

dog-doing-yoga-pose

NJ:  Uh, No.  Yoga is not a sport.  So, any favorite TV Shows?

AM:  Hmm . . .  Of shows currently airing, Marvel’s Agents of Shield is probably my favorite.  I think my favorite show of all time is Justified.

NJ:  Never heard of either.  Moving right along, then…Favorite Actress/Actor:

AM:  My favorite living actor is Benedict Cumberbatch.  My fave of all time is Alan Rickman, may he rest in peace.  I’ve loved him since I was a kid.

NJ:  Hmm, never heard of them, either.  Must’ve come from those TV shows you mentioned.  So, are you a couch potato or workout nut? Be honest

AM:  Sometimes Lupus keeps me on the couch, but I love yoga and walking.

NJ:  Good for you, then!  Keep yoga-ing and walking!  What’s your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?: (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).

AM:  Irrationality.  I find it incredibly frustrating when people can’t see past their own feelings enough to make rational decisions about important things.

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

AM:  I’m pretty messy, to be honest.  My husband could tell you.  He grew up in a very neat house.  I did not.

NJ:  Yea, I have a special place I’m building for you folk, where there are no boats or paddles.  Facebook or Twitter?

AM:  I like both, for different reasons. For me, Facebook is for friends and family, and Twitter is for work.

NJ:  OK.  Name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.

AM:  Natalie Ducey is terrific, as is Lizzie Chantree.  The Club has so many supportive people. I could probably name dozens who’ve made a difference to me.

NJ:  Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Feel free to be honest

AM:  Well, do you have an invisible plane?

NJ:  No, but I have a kick-butt  invisible hit man!

ninja-dog

So, everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor…

AM:  I have a lot of respect for Harmony Kent, and I’m quite impressed with Lincoln Cole.  It’s so hard to pick just two!

NJ:  Well, thankfully you did, or I would have had to pick for ya!  What is it about them that you’ve come to like?

AM:  I recently read Lincoln’s Raven’s Peak, and it scared the daylights out of me! It’s engrossing and very well-executed.  It’s visceral but not gory in a distasteful way.

Harmony creates interesting characters, and she uses narrative tools really effectively.  Her descriptions are evocative without being fussy or pretentious.  I really like that in a writer.

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

AM:  The Eternal Season by Tyler Bumpus.  It is probably the best indie book I’ve ever read, and better than many traditionally published ones.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

AM:  Tyler creates a world that is terrifying in its realism and plausibility, with deeply flawed characters that still tug at your heart.  I read it in one sitting.  I can’t praise it highly enough.

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

AM:  Yes, I always review.

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

AM:  Personally, I consider my overall enjoyment, the level of creativity, and the skillfulness of execution.  If it has few errors and sticks with you, and you miss it when it’s done, that’s what I call a 6-star book.  I don’t think readers should penalize authors because something wasn’t their usual cup of tea.  I think readers should judge a book for what it is trying to be.  I’m normally not much for horror or romance, for example, but I can still appreciate when it is done well.

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

AM:  I do feel bad when I say something critical, because I know from personal experience how that feels.  But I also know how enormously helpful critical feedback can be, and I want to be fair to the truly stellar books out there, so I suck it up and tell the truth.   I always make sure I start by emphasizing the good points, though.  There are almost always good points.  If I can’t give it at least 3 stars, I try to email privately rather than posting on Amazon.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

AM:  Unfortunately, yes.  There is such a wide range of quality in indie publishing, and in traditional publishing, for that matter.

NJ:  Where’s your review so I can go and check it out?  LOL  No, seriously.

AM:  Like I said, the really bad ones, I keep private. 😉  A lady never tells.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

AM:  I’ve written on and off for years, but I published my first book only about a year ago.

NJ:  What books have you written?

She Dies at the End (November Snow Book 1) 

She Sees in Her Sleep (Three November Snow Shorts)

She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)

She Lights Up The Dark by A. M. Manay

 

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

AM:  This is way harder than the favorite kid question!   I think She Lights Up the Dark is my favorite so far.  I feel like I’ve improved as a writer as I go along.

NJ:  That’s what we tend to do, is grow as we keep going.  Grow and strive to always be better than the last time you hit PUBLISH.  Do you have a blog or website?

AM:  My website is www.ammanay.net and my blog is ammanaywrites.blogspot.com.

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?

AM:  It has been immensely valuable to me. I’ve met great people and gotten tremendous opportunities.  My sales are much better, but more than that,  I’m learning so much from those with more experience in the publishing game. You’ve all inspired me and allowed me to discover in myself a love of graphic design that I had no idea was in there.  You’ve pushed me to improve as a writer, blogger, and designer.  It’s been a great experience, and I know it will continue to be.

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

AM:  I really haven’t found anything with quite the personality and scope of RRBC.  It’s really a very complex organism!

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

AM:  I would, have, and continue to do so. 🙂

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

AM:  Just a tremendous, “Thank you,” to you and the Club.  And I encourage anyone reading this to keep on writing and participating in the RRBC!  Your work is worthwhile, even when the publishing world gets to be discouraging.

NJ:  Anne Margaret, thank you for you kind words, and an extra special thank you for joining us today!

To my guests, please support A.M. by picking up a copy of one of her books above.   You can also support her by visiting the blog stops along her tour which ends on Saturday.  You can find the tour line up here.

Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since A.M. was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.  Make it a great day, my friends.  We’ll see you next time, right here on the SHELF” with another VERY INTERESTING GUEST!!

KIM COX in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

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

Today, I have with me on the “SHELF” Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Kim Cox! 

Kim'sLife.png

NJ:  Before we get started, how does the “shelf” feel to you?  Is it comfy?

Kim:  I think it’s okay. <She shifts around nervously.>

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

Kim:  My author’s name is my married name, and by the way, before you even ask, I’ve been married for 30 years.

shocked dog

NJ:  Before I ask?  Well, I never!  Moving along…do tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days? (I bet she didn’t know I was going to ask those questions, hmmmm!)

Kim:  I was born in Rockingham, North Carolina. I moved to Asheville, North Carolina in 1989 and have lived here since.

NJ:  Kids or no?  If yes, how many?  Sons or Daughters?

Kim:  Yes, two sons.

NJ:  Favorite child (if you have any, and be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview):

Kim:  I doubt they are reading this but I’d have to say the one who visits and calls most.

NJ:  Kim, you’d be surprised at WHO’S tuning in to Nonnie’s interviews.  Any pets?  What kind?

Kim:  We have three dogs – two West Highland White Terriers (Scooter & Harley) and one Yorkie/Maltese mix that we inherited from my mother-in-law (Candi).

NJ:  OK, time for our Q&A quick round…Favorite food…

Kim:  Rib-eye Steak

NJ:  Favorite color…

Kim:  Green

NJ:  Favorite sport…

Kim:  Baseball, although, I don’t really watch sports much anymore. I used to play softball and my kids played baseball when they were small. We usually spent summers going from one baseball field to another.

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

Kim:  I have so many so it’s hard to choose. My favorite new (to me) show is Downton Abbey. I just switched to Amazon Primetime and Hulu. I couldn’t get it on satellite and will be canceling it soon.

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Kim:  I’ve always loved Richard Gere, Andy Garcia, Al Pacino, and Patrick Swayze. Sorry, it’s too hard to choose between those four.

NJ:  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?: (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).

Kim:  I don’t really get that angry about anything, but things that upset me most normally happens while I’m driving. Things that irritate me are people who drive 25-30 mph in a 45 or 55. Also someone who runs a stop sign to get in front of me and then pokes along. Non-driving pet-peeve is when someone gets up from the table and doesn’t push in their chair. Television related pet-peeve is when the news people cut into a television show I’m watching to put on a special news report that isn’t an emergency or very special.

NJ:  Are you neat or messy?

Kim:  A little of both. I’m not a neat freak but I’m not really messy either. If I was a neat freak, I would drive myself crazy because my husband is somewhat of a packrat. Every time he leaves the house he comes back with something. He helps his brother with a car wash and the customers leave so much stuff behind when they vacuum out their cars. Lately and thankfully, he’s been cleaning up and getting rid of a lot of stuff.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Kim:  It used to be Facebook but more Twitter since I joined RRBC.

NJ:  Name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.

Kim:  You already know them.  Carol Marrs Phipps and Gordon Bickerstaff.  And there are many others but those two really stick out to me.

NJ:  Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest

Kim:  So, you’re telling me they’re not one in the same! I thought Nonnie Jules was a nickname for Wonderwoman.

NJ:  Well, that was so sweet of you to say, but actually, WonderWoman is the nickname for NJ!  Everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor:

Kim:  Gordon Bickerstaff, and Yvette Callerio

NJ:  What is it about them that you’ve come to like?

Kim:  I love their writing styles.  Both Gordon and Yvette write different genres but the first books of their series made me want to jump right into the next one. I couldn’t because I had other reading obligations on my TBR first.

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

Kim:  The One Discovered by Yvette Callerio and Deadly Secrets by Gordon Bickerstaff

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

Kim:  “Into Dark Waters” by Rebecca Reilly

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Kim:  I felt like I was there on the ship. The descriptions were so vivid while being sparsely added the way I like them. You could tell Rebecca wrote the location from experience rather than research.

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

Kim:  Yes.

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

Kim:  The value of the book. Was it entertaining and not boring? Was it well-written and did it make sense?

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?

Kim:  No, I’m not afraid to be honest. Honesty is the best policy. It helps an author improve but I feel that problems should be done privately and not publicly. I normally don’t finish a book if I don’t like it, if it’s riddled with errors or the storyline doesn’t suit me or if it’s boring. I will give it three chapters (sometimes more) before tossing it aside.

NJ:  So, can we call you the 3 Chapter Girl?  I’m forever giving people nicknames?  LOL.  Read any poorly written books lately?

Kim:  No, not lately.

NJ:  Are you an author?

Kim:  Yes.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Kim:  About 18 years off and on.

NJ:  What books have you written?

Kim:  Two Romantic Suspense Novels:

ALL THIS TIME

All This Time by Kim Cox

 

and SUSPICIOUS MINDS

Suspicious Minds by Kim Cox

Four Lana Malloy Paranormal Mystery Novellas: Haunted Hearts (http://smarturl.it/HauntedHearts), Get Out or Die (http://smarturl.it/GetOut-Die), The Wedding Crasher (http://smarturl.it/TheWeddingCrasher), Christmas Cruise (http://smarturl.it/ChristmasCruise), and Four Romantic Short Stories.

Of the above categories, I have one of each in process now.

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Kim:  The Wedding Crasher – I seemed to really get into it more than the others and the writing flowed smoothly. Suspicious Minds is my very first published book and will always be special to me.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?

Kim:  Yes, I do.  Website: http://www.kimcoxauthor.com/

NJ:  Name three great online resources or organizations that every author should belong to:

Kim:  Oh wow, I get a chance to name three but I only belong to one organization and that’s RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. I don’t have the time right now to pursue or devote time to other organizations or to find resources.

NJ:  I’m with you, Kim.  I wish I had the time to devote to others, but my workload says NO!  Anyway, how has RRBC helped you the most?

Kim:  RRBC and I have the same core beliefs about authors promoting authors. I’ve received insurmountable support for my writing—much more than I remember from past organizations. The members are great and very supportive. The club rewards authors for providing support to other members with spotlights, member of the month, books of the month, member of the week, etc.

However, I have to say that the club could be so much more if everyone jumped in and supported the other members. It’s really heartbreaking to tweet your book or someone else’s and get 5 retweets or less when the club is almost 400 members strong. I understand not all are on Twitter and then there are the different time zones. So I’m very happy to get 20, but every tweet should have at least 20 retweets if not more. I will also admit that 5 is probably more than I would have if I weren’t a member of RRBC. And I’m not putting it down by saying this. I just see the possibilities of greatness. I could also be more supportive than I am.

NJ:  Kim, it is very sad and dis-heartening at times to see some of the supportive members give so much, and then there are those who don’t bother to give at all.  But, my belief is that if you do what you know you should be doing, and not worry about those that aren’t doing what they should be doing, then you will get what you deserve…and maybe it will eventually click with some, when they aren’t getting what they feel they should be getting, that to get, you have to give.  With some people, sadly, all they understand is “taking” and there’s not much we can do about that.  Here in RRBC, we seek out and recognize the “givers,” and that’s what’s important.   But, it is so nice when members DO recognize all that RRBC does for its members, so thank you for stating the obvious, which, clearly, some “seem” to miss.

Kim, since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously an RRBC member and you’ve shared some wonderful things about the club.  Anything else you’d like to share?

Kim:  As I said, RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is wonderful and the most supportive organization that I’ve found anywhere. The members make you feel welcome right from the start. I’ve had a #PUSHTUESDAY spot, Member of the Week, and Book of the Month. I’ve won prizes during special events. I love it!

NJ:  Well, that’s all awesome to know!  People may say:  “WOW! She’s sat in a lot of seats here!”  But, they have to understand, that is what happens when you really get involved in RRBC, and you give.  You end up getting so much more.  Kim,  have you come across any other online entities like our fabulous club?

Kim:  None can touch it.

NJ:  I agree.  Many have tried and are still trying, but we have a secret weapon.  So, would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Kim:  I will and I have.

NJ:  Great!  Now, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words, Ms. Kim?

Kim:  I just want to encourage all RRBC members to support one another as best they can. Just take a few minutes a day to get online, sign in to twitter, put #RRBC in the search bar, click on “Live”, and re-tweet all the RRBC authors and the club’s tweets you can. You don’t have to spend hours to be supportive. Just few minutes a day will help. If you see other members being a bit more supportive, just do a little extra for them to show your appreciation.

And by the way, the best way to show your appreciation to another member is to tweet the book(s), website, or blog of the author who tweeted and re-tweeted you, and of course, purchase, read, and review their books. My kindle has over 100 books of just RRBC authors. Some were free or 99 cents, so keep your eyes open for deals because you don’t even have to spend a lot to support.

NJ:  Very well said, Kim!  You made great points, some I wouldn’t have even thought of suggesting myself!  I’d like to thank you for joining me ON THE SHELF today, and my apologies for my tardy!  I’m not sure how much our guests are going to love this interview as I only had to pull out one of my funny-faced dog friends.  These members come here looking for some serious drama, and Kim, you didn’t bring much.  By the way, I love that, but some of these folks (like Micki Peluso and Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko), come here looking for some “mess!”  LOL!   Anyway, I apologize again but sometimes, my workload is just so overwhelming…but that’s about to change!!!   I’d also like to thank you for those very kind words about RRBC.  We always like hearing that our members are happy!

To my guests, please support Kim by picking up a copy of one of her books above.   You can also support her by visiting the blog stops along her tour which ends on Saturday.  You can find the tour line up here.

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since Kim was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you. Take care and we’ll see you next time, right here on the shelf, with another AMAZING RRBC member!


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