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Jenny Hinsman in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/NonnieJules – #RRBC @JennyHinsman1

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, JENNY HINSMAN Jenny is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of October and we have been celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

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NJ:  Before we get started, 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?

Jenny:  Oh yes, very comfortable, thanks for being a great hostess.

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

Jenny:  Birth Name, most people call me Jenny.  Only my parents call me Jennifer.

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?

Jenny:  I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and I wish I still lived there.  I live in Michigan now, and it’s a great place too!

NJ:  OK!  We have a few famous other Michigan folks here in RRBC, as well.  You’re probably familiar with ole’ Shirley & country boy, Beem!  (No last names needed).  Jenny, are you married or single?

Jenny:  Married

NJ:  Married is a great state to be in!  Do you two lovebirds have any kids?  If so, what kind?

Jenny:  Yes, I have two boys.

Jenny Hinsman and sons

NJ:  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?

Jenny:  That’s a tough question because they are both mamma’s boys, but my youngest would probably be more likely to put me in a home.

NJ:  I don’t know why that made me chuckle so hard, but, I must ask, what did you do to him?  Ya had to have done something, Jenny, to push the baby to such limits.   Me, I’m mean, so I know why my youngest is going to put me away.  She has had it up to here with my shenanigans.  OK, enough about me…aside from the two darling sons, how about pets?  Do you all have any?  And, if so, what kind?

Jenny:  Yes!  We only have one dog now as we recently lost our cat.  Skeeter is an eighty pound Coon Hound…he’s a mamma’s boy, too.

NJ:  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?

Jenny:  Pizza, just plain old cheese and/or pepperoni.

NJ:  Hahaha!  We own pizza restaurants so I love pizza, but I have it in moderation.  What’s your favorite color?

Jenny:  Pink

NJ:  I love pink, too!  Especially since I’m a mom of girls.  I also tend to wear loads of it in October due to Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  So, do you have a favorite sport?

Jenny:  Football

NJ:  You’re an all American girl, aren’t you?  Jenny, you know I’m asking all these important questions because they are THE questions that our fans want the answers to.  How about a favorite TV Show?

Jenny:  I’m ashamed to say, Keeping up with the Kardashians.   I get sucked in every time!

NJ:  And I’m ashamed to hear you say it out loud.  I like it, too, but I wouldn’t tell anybody.  Ooops!  I guess I just did!

Many dogs

Favorite Actress or Actor…

Jenny:  Emily Blunt

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

Jenny:  I do like to exercise, I enjoy fitting into my clothes.  I mostly walk, run and do weights.

NJ:  Now, we’re talking!  A girl after my own heart!  Jenny, 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).

Jenny:  When you text someone and they never respond, especially after you see they read it.

NJ:  I am on the floor laughing at that!  Never thought about it, but that one definitely makes me want to explode! So, are you neat or messy?

Jenny:  My closet says MESSY, but my desk says neat.  I guess a little of both.

NJ:  Hmmm, not sure where to put you with that one.  A combination of neat and messy?  Gotta give that some thought after the conference.   So, Facebook or Twitter?

Jenny:  Twitter

NJ:  Way to go!  Jenny, 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?

Jenny:  Lesley Peck

NJ:  OK, don’t know Lesley.  You should invite her over!  Now, Jenny, this next two-part question is a hard one.  All I ask is that you speak from your gut (and we all know, that’s deep down).  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest.

Jenny:  Aren’t they one and the same?

NJ:  Uh, kinda-sorta, except that Nonnie dresses a whole lot better and her butt’s a whole lot bigger (thanks to french fries).  Now, here’s the second part of that question:  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.

Jenny:  This will sound wishy-washy but I think it depends.  I think kindness is very important and I always try to err on the side of kindness, so sometimes being reasonably untruthful can spare feelings if it’s not a make or break situation.

English bulldog funny face

(The look says it all)

NJ:  Jenny, name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

Jenny:  Chronicles of the Diasodz (book series), and Soul Keepers Book Series

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

Jenny:  The Heart of the Staff

Heart of the Staff Complete Series by Carol Marrs Phipps

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Jenny:  The imagination and magic.

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

Jenny:  Yes!

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

Jenny:  Whether or not they enjoyed the story.

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

Jenny:  I feel like I’m pretty honest, I know what I like to read, so most of the time I do like the stories.  On a few rare occasions that I haven’t enjoyed something and think it’s less that 3 stars, I usually don’t post a review.  If it’s an indie author that I’m familiar with I’d reach out and let them know what I didn’t like, though.

NJ:  Jenny, have you read any poorly written books lately?

Jenny:  Not lately, but I have in the past.

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

Jenny:  I really don’t think I have, I’ve given several 3 star reviews, which to me says ‘not bad, but not great’.

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

Jenny:  Yes and I think I’m a decent author.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Jenny:  About 5 years.

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

Jenny:  I think so, I really try to not take anything like that personally.  It still hurts sometimes, though.

NJ:  Please share with us, two books that you’ve written?

Jenny:

ANGEL OF DEATH

Angel of Death by Jenny Hinsman

NJ:  Oh, Jenny, I simply loooooooooooovvvvvvvvvveeeeee that book cover!  Who created that for you?

Jenny:  4WillsPublishing!

NJ:  WOW!  Impressive!  How about the title of your second book?

Jenny: 

SOULS

 Souls by Jenny Hinsman

 

NJ:  Which of the two do you think is best?

Jenny:  The story in SOULS, I think.  However, the structure and cover are better on ANGEL OF DEATH.

NJ:  Well, we all know I love the cover on ANGEL OF DEATH!  Moving on, 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?

Jenny:  I do!  And no, I don’t write a lot of things on my blog, I mainly use it to support tours of other authors and just do fun things on it.

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

Jenny:  RRBC of course!

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Jenny:  I didn’t have a lot of experience with social media, book promotions, where to go for covers, editing, help, etc…  RRBC opened so much up for me, I’ve learned so much since I joined.  The authors are very supportive and forthcoming with their experiences.  It’s been such a fabulous experience and I’ve made friends along the way.

NJ:  Jenny, hearing all that, just made my day!  Everything that you have gotten out of the club, is what I wanted and want for every member of the club who is as supportive and engaged as you are, so let me THANK YOU for your testimony of RRBC!

Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so is there anything else you’d like to share about the club?

Jenny:  I really can’t say enough about RRBC, it’s been a Godsend in the very busy and murky world of indie book publishing.  The club has so much to offer!

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

Jenny:  Maybe a few with similarities, but not too many that I’ve seriously explored.

NJ:  Jenny, they do say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, so thanks for sharing that my flattery meter should be buzzing!  Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Jenny:  Absolutely!

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.)

Jenny:  I like the ‘Books of the Month’ and the interviews here ‘On the Shelf’ are always highly entertaining.

NJ:  These SHELF interviews are a ton of work, but loads of fun, so I wouldn’t give them up for anything!  Well, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our guests today?

Jenny:  Have fun, enjoy life and be kind!  I’ve been spending lots of time in bleachers lately watching my boys… so, I too have a sore hiney!  Thank you for having me.

Dog jumping fron bleacher

NJ:  Yes, I actually saw that someone tweeted a pic of you jumping off those bleachers!  WOW!  You were moving!  Jenny, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today!  And, thanks for being an awesome member! You have definitely given us a “great” interview, especially because you not once came close to having an accident!  Because of that, 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 Jenny’s books or both of them.

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

5 Simple Editing Tips by @RiJanjks #RRBC

5 SIMPLE EDITING TIPS

by Contributing Writer, Author, Jan Sikes

Jan Sikes

You’ve finished your manuscript and joyfully written ‘The End.’ Now that you are there, the tedious work of editing is next. I know. I hear you groaning, but it is the most important and necessary thing you can do to your story. Experts tell us to let our manuscript rest a week or two before we attempt to edit it.

EDIT

I’m going to share with you FIVE simple tips that can make the process of editing a little less painful.

1. Download and open Grammarly:
There are other free apps out there besides Grammarly, such as Evernote that are programmed to find simple typos and grammatical errors fast. Does it catch all of them? Of course not. But, it’s a good start.

2. Do a search for Filter Words:
What are Filter Words? “Julie looked out the window and saw a small dog. She realized that the sight of it made her feel happy.” Examine every paragraph and cut these types of filtering words out of your writing. Consider instead: “A small dog appeared outside Julie’s window and she swelled with happiness.” Not the most eloquent revision, but still much better than the first version. An even better change would be to add a physical reaction that shows her emotional reaction. Cutting the majority of these types of filters out of your work will improve it dramatically.

AVOID FILTER WORDS

If you don’t know what filter words are, you can’t avoid them.
Here is a partial list of filters and their close relatives. Some words could appear in multiple groups.

See: appear like, become aware of, detect, discern, distinguish, give the impression of, identify, look, look like, note, notice, observe, perceive, realize, recognize, reveal, seem, sense, sight, spot, watch

Smell: detect the smell of, diagnose, get a whiff of, scent, smell like, whiff

Hear: catch, eavesdrop, overhear, listen to, sound, sound like

Touch: feel, feel like

Taste: appreciate, delight in, enjoy, like, relish, savor, take pleasure in

Know: ascertain, assume, believe, bring to mind, decide, deem, discover, gather, get, glean, guess, infer, intuit, learn, posit, regard, remember, suspect, think, understand, wonder

Experience: be subjected to, face, go through, live through, suffer, take in, undergo
Be able to: be capable of, be equal to, be up to the task, can, could, have the ability to, have what it takes to

3. Stop Starting and Beginning:
“What do you mean?” you ask.
“She began to walk toward the bus stop.”
“He started to clean his gun while she looked for ammo.”
“She put her head in her hands and started to cry.”

Here are some suggested changes that make for stronger and more descriptive writing:
She sprinted, sauntered, ambled, or shuffled to the bus stop. It all depends on what is happening with the character and her attitude toward the bus stop. The next one would be better fixed with dialogue. He opened the cleaning kit on the table and reached for his gun. “Will you find the ammo while I clean the gun?” He asked.
‘Starting’ or ‘beginning’ is usually unnecessary. Find any use of the words ‘starting’ or ‘beginning’ in your story and eliminate them, unless the action being performed is delayed in starting, or interrupted somehow. For example, “Jimmy started loading the wagon, but Maria drove away before he could finish the job.”

4. Eliminate or Replace Repeated Words:
We all do this. We fall in a rut and tend to use the same words over-and-over-again to describe action, characters, and settings. One of our RRBC members, Nicholas Rossis, has written a book, Emotional Beats: How to Convert Your Writing into Palpable Feelings.
I cannot say enough good things about this book and how invaluable it is when it comes to finding new ways to say the same thing in a stronger and more descriptive way.

5. Read your Manuscript Out Loud:
This is an excellent technique to find echoes, redundancies, filter words, weak verbs, and stilted dialogue. Yes, your family might think you’ve truly lost it this time, but I promise this technique is highly effective.

BONUS TIP:
Our eyes are trained to see words that aren’t there, gloss over misused words and even convert numbers into letters. And, our brain sees words differently on the computer screen than printed on paper. So, my bonus tip is to print out your manuscript and do a line-by-line edit.

**This is only a partial list of editing tips. Adverbs and Adjectives are biggies and I’ll do another post to focus on them.**

But, for now, here are five plus one tips to help with editing your magnificent manuscript!!

Happy Editing!

***

Check out Jan’s author page and books on Amazon!

(If you’d like to be considered for a Contributing Writer spot with RRBC, please contact us at RRBCInfo@gmail.com)

 

Carol Marrs-Phipps in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” W/NONNIE JULES – #RRBC @Car01am

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, CAROL MARRS-PHIPPS!  Carol is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of August and we have been celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

RRBC Carol New

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?

Carol:  I must say it is wonderfully so, Nonnie, and it really does have a “homey” feel, though I’m much more used to standing in front of book shelves than actually being on one. 

NJ:  I like that, Carol!  Good one!  So, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Carol:  My author name is a combination of my birth name and 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?

Carol:  I was born in Trenton, Missouri, but currently I live in Illinois.

NJ:  Married or single?

Carol:  Married.

NJ:  Any kids, Carol?  If so, what kind?

Carol:  Yes, I have two children and two step-children. They are all human…oh…I mean my two are girls, both grown now, and my step-children are a boy and girl, also grown, (and all flown).

NJ:  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?

Carol:  Either of my daughters would definitely take care of me. My step-children would probably condemn me to a nursing home…and I’m not sure about the Christmas visit; probably not.

NJ:  Well!  That sounds like a book!  Wicked Step-Mummy, maybe?  LOL!  Any pets?  Girls or boys?

Carol:  Yes, I have a green cheeked parrot, a cock-a-tiel, a raven, five cats and 3 kittens.

NJ:  Oh my! That doesn’t exactly tell us if they’re boys or girls, but it does speak to the fact that you you should only have as many as you can comfortably send off to college.  You can afford to send all these to college, right?  Oh, wait a second!  You’re talking about your non-human babies! Pardon me…I’m a bit sleepy today.  Carol, 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?

Carol:  Cheesecake

NJ:  Yea, I don’t like cheesecake.  Mostly because I don’t think that cheese and cake go together, but, to each his own.  What’s your favorite color?

Carol:  Red

NJ:  Your favorite sport…

Carol:  Hiking

NJ:  How about your favorite TV Show…

Carol:  I don’t watch TV

NJ:  disgusted-dog

Now, Carol, I find something mildly disturbing about folks who don’t watch TV or eat Honeycomb cereal.  (Better keep my good eye on her).  Favorite Actress/Actor…

Carol:  I don’t really have one.

NJ:  Carol, now this mild feeling is turning into an almost excruciating pain in my left eye!  Let’s move along from this topic quickly.  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Carol:  Definitely exercise.

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).

Carol:  Know-it-alls

NJ:  They annoy me, too…mainly because I’m aware that they know nothing at all.  So, are you neat or messy?

Carol:  I admit, I am immensely comforted in my little corner of happy disarray. However, overall, I prefer my surroundings to be neat and tidy.

NJ:  Great response…I was gathering up oars for that boat ride.  Facebook or Twitter?

Carol:  Twitter

NJ:  Me, too!  Carol, 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?

Carol:  Theresa Snyder

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest, now.

Carol:  At the risk of people thinking me a ‘brown –noser”, I have to be honest here and say, Nonnie Jules. I mean, Wonder Woman is pretty amazing, sure, but what has she ever done for me? Nonnie Jules, on the other hand has introduced me to this fabulous book club and all its very many benefits, great books and amazing authors. Yeah…Nonnie Jules for sure…

NJ:  Thank you, Carol!  And who cares what these people think!  I’m grateful for this amazing club just as much as you are, because without it, we’d never have come to know amazing members like you!

Now, 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.

Carol:  Wonder Woman is larger than life, and with her truth lasso she can make anyone “fess up”, but I’m not sure how much that really changes things in the end. Nonnie Jules has her standards and principles, and as she goes forth living them to the best of her ability and expecting no less from others, I believe she encourages and challenges them to do likewise, thus making a real and lasting difference in the world.

NJ:  Carol, that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today!  Thank you so much for your kind words.  I’ll do my best not to disappoint by doing my best to live up to them.

After you read books, do you post reviews?

Carol:  I admit, I don’t always, but I have been trying to improve on that and leave reviews, if only a few lines, more often than not.

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

Carol:  The quality of the story the author has written rather than concentrating on format irregularities and typos. However, there are, sadly, times that these things are so bad that it affects a person’s ability to read or enjoy the story, no matter how great the tale may be otherwise and one simply has no choice but to take the errors into account.

NJ:  Carol, as much as I love and adore you, this is where we differ greatly.  First, I won’t give any life to the issue of format irregularities as sometimes, this is easily lost when dealing with Amazon. That can be overlooked at times.  But, if there are so many typos and other written errors in a read, it loses me…and it doesn’t take long to do so.  A lack of typos and other errors are all part of good writing, and an abundance of so, sadly can cause a reader to be turned off to a story.  Contrary to popular belief, quality is definitely lost in the face of typos and other errors.  (I’m staying away from including grammatical errors in this, because I believe a writer can create his/her own lingo for his/her characters, and should not be expected to conform to someone else’s standard in doing so).  If the grammatical errors are not intentional (you’ll know), then forget I said this.

OK, so let me get off my high-horse here and move on.  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?

Carol:  Well Nonnie, honesty is the best policy, of course, but if I read a book that I feel does not deserve at least 3 stars, I will not post the review unless the author requests I do so.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Carol:  Sadly, yes, but I honestly think there are less of them out there now than there used to be. (Or perhaps, I’ve just been lucky lately?).

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

Carol:  I have written a lot of reviews over the years, and I can honestly say that there have been only two. To be fair, though, the stories themselves were both stellar. In both cases the books had serious formatting, grammar and spelling errors.

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?

Carol:  Nonnie Jules, who has taught us to simply tell it like it is, no sugar-coating allowed and Kathryn Treat who taught us to keep going, giving it our all, no matter the circumstances,right up to the end.

NJ:  WOW!  Both were powerful statements, and Carol, and I thank you for the both of us.  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Carol:  Yes, I am an author and I believe a good one, though I have yet to reach a state of perfection, a goal which I forever strive to achieve.

NJ:  A goal we should all strive for, Carol.  How long have you been writing?

Carol:  Since I was in 8th grade (and no, I will NOT put that into years for you…sorry). LOL

NJ:  That’s OK.  If you don’t ask me to, I won’t ask you to.  Deal?  OK, Carol, are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Carol:  Certainly, I welcome it. 

NJ:  Good for you, Carol!  Now, name two books that you’ve written?

Carol:  WHAM!

Wham by Carol Marrs Phipps

HEART OF THE STAFF: COMPLETE SERIES

Heart of the Staff Complete Series by Carol Marrs Phipps

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Carol:  WHAM!

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?

Carol:  Yes, my blog/website is http://niarg.com. If you like to read a lot of fantasy excerpts, you might enjoy it.

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

Carol:  That’s the easiest question you’ve asked, Rave Reviews Book Club most definitely!

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Carol:  RRBC has helped me get reviews, meet a great number of fantastic authors and make a lot of new online friends. The club has featured me as the #PUSHTUESDAY Winner of the Day and now as the Spotlight Author for the entire month of August, all of which has boosted my sales. Not to mention that Nonnie has gone out of her way to personally lend me  a helping hand when I was in need of one. There are so many wonderful things going on in this book club and a myriad of amazing people involved that I can’t think of a better group on or off the web to become a part of.

NJ:  Carol, we always go above and beyond for our (RRBC) family members who go above and beyond when they show support for the club.  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Carol:  It is the best book club available anywhere for indie authors. (For more detail, see previous answer).

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

Carol:  Never

NJ:  Well, that means we must be doing something right!  Would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Carol:  Absolutely, and I have.

NJ:  WOW!  Thanks, Carol!  Nothing like those word-of-mouth referrals!  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.)

Carol:  Hard choice, and I can’t quite decide between the RAVES WAVES shows and ON THE SHELF interviews, so I’m going to say it’s a tie.

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

Carol:  Just that I’d like to thank everyone who has joined us here today and you, Nonnie, for inviting me. It has been grand fun!

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Carol!  You have definitely given us “great” interview and we’d love to have you come back again some time.  Your responses to our questions were just phenomenal, and who doesn’t love being “stroked” from time to time?

Dog being stroked.jpg

I’m sure most of our listeners will be sorely disappointed that you didn’t get close to ‘accidentally’ falling off my shelf.  Some of them live for those kind of shows.

What the funny face dog

(“Well, we never!”)

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

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

@WendyJayneScott 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, WENDY SCOTT.  Wendy is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of June and we are celebrating her all month long.  This week, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

Scan_20170527 (2)

(Now that looks just like Wendy, doesn’t it?)

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?

Wendy:  I don’t have a great sense of balance so I appreciate the addition of the padded stirrups. Wonderful view of the RRBC book shelves, filled with highly acclaimed authors like John W. Howell, Gwendolyn Plano, Harmony Kent, Beem Weeks, and a few signed copies by Nonnie Jules.

NJ:  WOW!  Impressive!  (That’s a sure way not to ‘almost’ have an ‘accident.’ … throw my name in there, too).  

English bulldog funny face

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

Wendy:  I use different versions of my name for various genres. Wendy Scott for Fantasy, WJ Scott for Children’s, and Wendy Jayne for Romance. So I suppose that makes me a split personality.

Dog rolling his eyes

(A split personality?  Really, Wendy…don’t you think I get enough of dealing with ‘personalities’ on a daily basis, as it is?  I’m gonna need you to keep that in check during this interview, OK?)

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?

Wendy:  I was born in Invercargill, (the frozen bottom of the South Island), New Zealand. When I was nine we moved to the tropics: Blenheim, (top of the South Island). In 1999, I crossed the ditch and lived in Adelaide, South Australia, for five years (wine country). Currently, residing in Hokitika, West Coast, New Zealand on our 3 ½ acres of paradise.

NJ:  Married or single?

Wendy:  My partner and I have been best buddies for over 25 years. One day we may wed on a Hawaiian beach or a Vegas Elvis Chapel, but hey you can’t rush these things.

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

Wendy:  Two kids; the one with hooves, horns, and startling blue eyes is Iron the goat (mother’s name Maden, sister’s name China). The human kid, our preteen birth child is Layk, named after our favourite lake: Lake Kaniere.

NJ:  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?

Wendy:  Layk has All Black (NZ rugby team) aspirations so here’s hoping he can keep us in the style we wish to become accustomed to. He has offered to build us our own shack.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

Wendy:  Many four-pawed friends. Two dogs, Boss (SPCA well behaved dog) he’s the size of pony with the heart of a teddy bear, and we inherited Zuki, a Bichon Frise, the size of a teddy bear, with the mentality of a Rottweiler (who barks when people are leaving???). Two SPCA rescue cats (reject Russian Blue brothers), Zippy and Zappy.

NJ:  Zippy & Zappy…Hahahaha!  I love those names.  So, Wendy, 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?  I expect that this is also the food you’ll be sharing in our upcoming RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITERS’ SOUL “Good Eats” Cookbook, right?

Wendy:  Raspberries and chocolate. Mmmmmmm.

NJ:  OK.  That, you will never have to worry about coming up missing out of the board member lounge fridge.  So, what’s your favorite color:

Wendy:  Purple, of course.

NJ:  Of course?  That one went over my head, Wendy, but let’s move on to your favorite sport.  I hope there’s not an ‘of course’ attached to that, too.

Wendy:  Watching my son’s rugby. I still don’t understand all the rules, I’ve been barred from running onto the field, but I can wear the team’s hoodie and yell from the sidelines. Go Kiwis!

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

Wendy:  SciFi Geek: Firefly /Stargate (yes, I’ve watched all 10 seasons more than once, and Stargate Atlantis).

NJ:  Yep, you won’t have to worry about me calling to talk about that show with ya!  So, how about your favorite Actress and Actor…

Wendy:  Morgan Freeman and Jodie Foster.

NJ:  I like Jodie Foster, too.  She is such a star!  I used to like Morgan until he did that ‘thing’… now, I don’t care to watch him in anything anymore.  But, anyway, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Wendy:  I believe you lose it if you don’t use it. I hike, bike, and hit the gym for Body Combat and Box Fit (something very satisfying about putting on boxing gloves and smacking things).

NJ:  Wendy, I so agree.  My pink ones keep me out of the slammer, for sure!

Boxing gloves

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).

Wendy:  Some people’s inability to master the engineering feat of changing a toilet roll. Seriously, it’s not that difficult, and it’s just plain good manners.

Puppy and tissue

NJ:  Uh, is this how you do it?  Wendy, be careful who you ask to change the toilet roll, OK?  So, are you neat or messy?

Wendy:  I’m a writer not a domestic goddess. I thrive in chaos.

 NJ:  OOOOOOOOK, so you weren’t at all bothered by the puppy and the mess above?  Got it.  Facebook or Twitter?

Wendy:  Twitter, I love the randomness.

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?

Wendy:  I’ve reconnected with a girl friend from our teenage years and it’s like the missing years never occurred.

NJ:  Well, good for you!  Wendy, here’s the most serious question of the entire interview…who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest, now.  You don’t have to worry about Wonder Woman…she’s at the movies right now.

Wendy:  Is this a trick question?  I was under the impression they are one and the same. Wonder Jules!

NJ:  Hahaha, Wonder Jules!  I love it!  I like that one better, let’s start using it instead!  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.

Wendy:  I suspect Nonnie’s truth lasso is like an electric dog collar. Wander too far from the truth and you get zapped!

NJ:  I love it! And you’re so right.  I do like to remind folks when they act as if they’ve forgotten.   Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read:

Wendy:  Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks, and Finding Katie by Harmony Kent.

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

Wendy:  Silvana The Greening by Belinda Mellor.

NJ:  Great!  Written  by an RRBC member, too!  What was so great about it?

Wendy:  I wish I’d written it! Fantasy literary story telling at its finest.

NJ:  Oh, my!  I may have to pick that one up!  Wendy, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Wendy:  Yes, for those books I read through to the end.

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

Wendy:  Their reading experience of how the story and the characters engaged them. I expect well edited books with believable 3 dimensional characters, a gripping storyline, and a satisfying ending.

 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?

Wendy:  I choose books to read that I expect to enjoy, and I’ll often check out the opening sample to review the writing style. I believe you can tactfully state improvement suggestions. I don’t award 5* lightly, to gain my 5 stars the story has to be exceptional. My reputation as an author is on the line.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Wendy:  My time’s too precious to waste on poorly written or edited books, I abandon them, and read books that capture and hold my attention.

NJ:  So you see, people, some of us don’t even waste our time reading books all the way through if it’s clear that they haven’t been properly edited or, they’re not reads worthy of even having been published in the first place…because there was no care given to how important those issues would be to a reader.  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.

Wendy:  I don’t review them as I didn’t read them past the opening pages. If it was a specific request by an author I will send them a summary of the issues I encountered that stopped me continuing i.e. POV lapses. telling rather than showing, repetition, information dumps, too much backstory, pace, dialogue tags ,lack of character development etc. Usually this is obvious within the first chapter.

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?

Wendy:  Texas author, Jan Sikes, as Marketing Director of RRBC, is actively out there continually promoting RRBC books online and she and Nonnie are working to get RRBC books into bookstores.

Nonnie Jules created RRBC from scratch and within a few short years has steered RRBC into a dynamic and thriving author support network where honest reviews are encouraged.

NJ:  Well, thank you, Wendy.  It’s not every day we get to hear that folks think so highly of us.  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Wendy:  I’m a multi-award winning author who strives to lift the bar with each successive book.

NJ:  Well, good for you!  How long have you been writing?

Wendy:  My writing journey began in 2003 when I attended a six week course on ‘How to write a novel’.

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

Wendy:  Yes, it’s part of the editing process, and with reviews I look for common themes to address with future works. I’ll always be a student of writing, continuing to grow my literary skills.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Lodestone, Book 1,

Lodestone by Wendy Scott

Hieroglyph, TC’s Adventures Book 1

ws

 

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Wendy:  Hieroglyph has won multiple international book awards.

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?

Wendy:  I have several websites and blogs catering to my different readerships.

My main website: http://www.wendyjscott.com/my-blog

Fantasy: http://www.authorfantasy.com/fantasy-author-blog

Children’s: http://www.authorchildrens.com/childrens-author-blog

http://www.hieroglyph.ws/

http://www.tails-wjscott.com/

Please come and visit you are always welcome.

NJ:  Thanks for that open invitation.  I think I will drop by each one.  Wendy, which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Wendy:  Drum roll …… and the winner is …..RRBC!

NJ:  Noooooooo!  I never would’ve ‘thunk’ it!  LOL! How were you helped by this amazing club that I keep hearing so many great things about?

Blushing dog

Wendy:  So many different ways. At first I was blown away by all the features – there’s always something new on the go (interviews, tweets, awards, blog parties, trailer parties, book conference, RWISA, anthology etc). But the best part is the people, real authors, real stories, and real connections. This is a community I’m proud to support.

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

Wendy:  No, RRBC is a unique global community.

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

Wendy:  Absolutely! I’m always encouraging authors to join RRBC.

NJ:  Wendy, but we’re not just for authors.  You should encourage readers to join, as well!  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.)

Wendy:  How can I choose? I do love listening to all the RAVE WAVES shows and I’m honoured to join in as a host for BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT.

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?

Wendy:  Thanks RRBC, Nonnie Jules, and the RRBC Board for befriending me!

NJ:  Thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today, Wendy!  You are one of RRBC’s finest!  If you all haven’t, you should take notice of how Wendy shares all the pages of our online catalog onto social media.  I mean, there may be others doing it, but I’ve not seen anyone else doing it, so, we should all thank Wendy for sharing our books (and also, follow in her footsteps).

To my guests, please  pick up a copy of one of Wendy’s  books or all of them (you will not be  disappointed!).

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

#RRBC, It’s Lonely at the Top …

You know, GOD has a way of making us take stock of our lives – even our time and how we are spending it.  Just today, I thought to myself, “Just as soon as Mar gets back from her vacation, I need to take a little hiatus myself.”  Well, just as soon as that thought entered my mind, it left…quickly.

How will the club manage without me?  How will ALL the million and one things that I do every day, get done?  Who’s going to make those hard and very important decisions that I have to make on a daily basis?  If not me, who?

Then, I opened my phone (to my Twitter account) and there was this article that was meant just for me to see.

Please, read on…

‘IT’S LONELY AT THE TOP – OR, IT SHOULD BE’

Man on top of mountain. Element of design.

Leaders need time for reflection and hard analytical work, just like everyone else.

***

Solitude has been instrumental to the effectiveness of leaders throughout history, but now, they (as with everyone else) are losing it with hardly any awareness of the fact. Before the Information Age – which one could call the Input Age – leaders naturally found solitude anytime they were physically alone, or walking from one place to another, or standing in a line.

Like a great wave that saturates everything in its path, hand-held devices deliver immeasurable quantities of information and entertainment, that now have virtually all of us instead staring down at our phones.  Society did not make a considered choice to surrender the bulk of its time for reflection in favor of time spent reading tweets or texts.

Yet, with an awareness of what we have lost, each of us can choose to reclaim it.  And leaders in particular – whose actions by definition affect not only themselves – have more than a choice.  They have an obligation.  A leader has a responsibility to seek out periods of solitude.

The assumption, unless the leader says otherwise, is that he is constantly accessible – if not in person, then electronically.  But the task of changing that assumption requires only an act of will.  A leader can designate a certain number of workdays each month as no-meeting days, as Endgame CEO, Nate Fick does.  A leader can mark off 60 or 90 minutes each day for time to think.  A leader can make it known that he does not text or check his email only intermittently or at certain points in the day.  (One has to wonder what leaders who make a point of responding to email within minutes, are otherwise doing with their time.)  A leader can declare weekends off-limits for work email, as Wendy Kopp did at Teach for America.

There is a price to be paid for changes like these. Email will go unanswered for hours rather than minutes, subordinates might have to wait 60 minutes to speak to the boss, and meetings might get pushed back a day.

So be it.  Scheduling a leader’s time is a zero-sum game, and fundamentally a manager must decide whether reflection and hard analytical work are important enough to warrant perhaps a third of his time.

There is another price for changes like these, namely the usual social levy upon nonconformity.  Left unexplained, these changes will lead others to say the leader is arrogant, aloof, unapproachable.  But there is a reason to leave the reasons for solitude unexplained.  The leader can simply make clear, in as much or as little detail as he sees fit, that doing the organization’s work requires time to think.

And he can bear out that explanation during the times when he is accessible – by providing subordinates with clear comments on their work rather than vague ones, thoughtful answers rather than platitudes, and otherwise performing like a leader who has thought through his guiding principles rather than made them up on the fly.

(This article taken from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

***

RRBC, if we are to continue to grow as we have in years past, I need time away.  My job is a HUGE one here, and although I am not complaining, I’d like the time away to regroup so that I can do my job better (just as you all get time away to regroup)…and when I’m doing my job better, when I’m at the top of my game, we all benefit from that.

So, it won’t be today, maybe not even tomorrow, but sometime soon, I will be taking a much-needed rest or mini vacation.  It will only be for a week, and, I’ll probably still work during that time, but at least I won’t feel so bad when I turn on my computer to write and ignore the hundreds of email that have popped into my email box within minutes of my waking.

I also hope that during my short time away, that all of my wonderful RRBC family members will continue to do what they would normally do when I’m present – supporting each other, lifting each other up, recruiting, engaging, welcoming, and don’t forget, leaving honest reviews…all in all, just playing nice, so that those standing in my stead won’t have so much to deal with in my absence.

I hope you all have enjoyed this “peace.”  I sure did. 😉

#Motivational & Inspirational Friday! #RRBC

Inspire Image1

Today is our Motivational & Inspirational Friday and we want all of you to help us lift someone up!  But, today it’s more than just leaving an inspirational comment.  Today, we want you to share with us how you handle a specific situation, because maybe, we’re not handling it as well as we could or even should be.

TODAY’S TOPIC:  THE ‘OLDER’ GENERATION

(Before we get started, let me make one thing clear, I’m not speaking of members of the older generation who are suffering from mental illnesses or dementia.  They are definitely not apart of this discussion.  I’m speaking of the ornery class of the older generation).

Yes, leave it to me to touch on topics that others shy away from.  Sorry, folks (not sorry, really), but, today we are going to discuss (honestly, I hope) the older generation.  We spend copious amounts of time talking about the younger generation…and most of that conversation always leans in the direction of their failings…their wrongs.  Well, you know what, the older generation isn’t all that grand at times, either.  Now, I’m going to say that I fall somewhere in between both groups, so my opinion won’t be biased at all.

Pug dog face

(That’s the most neutral looking face if I ever did see one!)

In honor of full disclosure, though, I must own up to the fact that I’m closer to 60 than I am 50.  I’ll let your minds wander from there.

I have a general saying that goes:  “I have zero tolerance for poor behavior.  Doesn’t matter if you’re 3 or if you’re 73…I can’t and I won’t deal with it.”  I’ve heard people say so many times, “Well, she’s older…she gets a pass” OR “At 75, they don’t know what they’re saying.”  I don’t believe that’s true.

My dad’s mom was 90 years old when she passed away and NOT ONCE did I ever see her misbehave or hear her speak in such a way that she might have to be forgiven, for not knowing what she was saying.  The same applied to my beloved grandmother who just left me, at the tender age of 89.  Because of this, I give no passes for poor behavior when it comes to age.  If my dear old grannies, at their ages and wisdom level, could behave as women whose ages and wisdom levels dictated that they should behave, then, again, I will give no passes for poor behavior, or, for not knowing what you’re saying because you’re in your 60’s, your 70’s, or your 80’s.

In my opinion, I feel that some of the older generation feel entitled to misbehave and be rude.  I’ve heard some say that “At my age, I just don’t care what comes out of my mouth.” I’ve also heard others say this in regards to those of the older generation.  And to that I say, “I hope you care when you’re speaking around me.”  

My friend’s dad is 75 years old and she often asks him: “Should I charge this to your head or charge it to your age because if I charge it to your age, you’re gonna get a pass,” she says with a smile.  The response she always gets is “charge it to my head.”  I know why she gets this response, too.  Her dad doesn’t want to be perceived as “old” (for falling asleep with the door wide open, or leaving the keys in the car ignition at night, or forgetting to take care of his personal hygiene) so, he would rather she thinks he just made simple mistakes.

Some of you might not agree with me here and that’s fine.  This is my opinion of this situation and I am entitled, just as you are.  This is also why this topic is being brought up because I want to know how others feel about the subject.

I am no walk in the park, and although my husband lives that reality but would never say it, my daughters would give you an earful.  Knowing how I am now, I can only imagine the horror that I will be as I get older, and in true-Nonnie fashion, I have said to both my daughters, “If mommy EVER behaves that poorly, you do not have to put up with it.  Throw me in a home with a nice television for my Lifetime movies, a slew of books, and a nice young aid with good eyes to read them to me, and I’ll be just fine.”  And you know what, I mean every word of that from the bottom of my heart.  Do I think they’ll oblige me?  NO, but I have put it out there that they do not have to put up with my poor behavior (which I know is coming in my older age).

Our club is filled to the brim with those of the older generation and they’re all loved dearly!  I’m not going to go so far as to say that they are all always on their best behavior, but, they are still loved.  So, whether you are 23 or 93, let’s hear your (honest) thoughts on this subject.  I mean, we all share one very important other thing aside from us all bleeding red…we all have our very own opinions about things.

Remember, we want our community to get inspired and feel uplifted by simply reading the comments left by YOU.  This is our year of better, and maybe your take on a situation will help someone else to see it more clearly, and also cause them to think and grow from what you have shared.  The person who leaves the most inspiring and motivational words of wisdom in the comments section below, wins our SURPRISE OF THE WEEK!

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

#Motivational & #Inspirational Wednesday! #RRBC

Inspire Image1

WINNER OF THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL AND UPLIFTING COMMENT:

SUZANNE BURKE!!!

Suzanne has won a #PUSHTUESDAY slot and a FREE book of choice from the Kathryn C. Treat Treasure Chest!

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

Today is our Motivational & Inspirational Wednesday and we want all of you to help us lift someone up!  But, today it’s more than just leaving an inspirational comment.  Today, we want you to share with us how you handle a specific situation, because maybe, we’re not handling it as well as we could or even should be.

TODAY’S TOPIC:  PANHANDLING

Panhandling has reached almost epidemic status.  You can’t take three steps in my city without being accosted by someone who is asking for money,  and, Walmart parking lots are the worst!  I personally believe that it has turned into big business, and the way some of these folks operate on the sides of the road, that’s exactly what it looks like.  You may not believe this, but I heard a recent tale of a man who was accepting donations by using one of those swipe-thingies on his phone!  That’s right, if you don’t have cash, I take credit cards, too! 

Some people truly need help and are hungry and homeless, but, like the one example above…you’re left to wonder.  (It’s folks like this who make it hard for those who really need help).

So, here is the question:  If you’re faced with panhandling in your neck of the woods, how do you handle it?  Do you walk right by and ignore them by pretending as if you don’t hear them?  Do you hold up traffic to hand them money out the window at stop lights?  Do you report them to the authorities?  What do you do?

After you tell us how you handle these situations, please, explain to us why you handle the situations in that way.

Remember, we want our community to get inspired and feel uplifted by simply reading the comments left by YOU.  This is our year of better, and maybe your take on a situation will help someone else to see it more clearly, and also cause them to think and grow from what you have shared.  The person who leaves the most inspiring and motivational words of wisdom in the comments section below, wins our SURPRISE OF THE WEEK!

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

@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!!!

#Motivational & #Inspirational Wednesday! #RRBC

Inspire Image1

WINNER OF THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL AND UPLIFTING COMMENT:

KAREN INGALLS!!!

Karen has won a $10 Amazon gift card and a FREE book of choice from the Kathryn C. Treat Treasure Chest!

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

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

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

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