Tag Archives: Spotlight Author

Mark Bierman in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @MBiermanAuthor

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

We have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC member and November’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, MARK BIERMAN! We have been celebrating him the entire month of November and although a little delayed, he gets to sit on the shelf with me today!

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NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2018, 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?

Mark:  Yes, I’m totally chilled. Thank you.

NJ:  Chilled?  Huh?  OK.  Well, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Mark:  Birth

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?

Mark:  I grew up on a farm, about a half an hour from a small city called Brockville, in the beautiful province of Ontario, Canada. We had almost three-hundred acres of land, some of it forested, so my siblings and I were always outside. Sadly, in 1991, my Dad decided he no longer wanted to run a farm and he sold the place. Before he sold it, he asked me if I wanted to take it over. If I’d said ‘yes’ he would have held onto it for me until I was a bit older. But, hey, I was nineteen at the time and had no desire to be a farmer . . . there was a big world out there to explore and I didn’t want to be tied to a farm. I admit, looking back on the opportunity that I’d had of being my own boss, there are regrets. Well, fast forward to 2004, and after years of moving about, living in cities, and being apartment dwellers, my wife (also raised on a farm) and I decided it was time to return to quiet roads and green spaces. We bought, and still occupy, a small bungalow with ten acres of land just outside of Napanee, Ontario. It’s about one hour from my old farm.    

NJ:  What an amazing story, Mark!  Maybe one day you’ll have the opportunity to buy your dad’s old place.  We’ll pray on that.  Well, we know that you’re married so tell us how you two lovebirds met.

Mark:  I’m married to an amazing woman named Tanya. She’s been my rock. Always supportive, with my writing as well.  We met via a friend of mine back in 1997. In 2002 we were married. She’s very creative and used to run her own interior design business. I can’t say enough good things about her.

NJ:  That’s awesome and you’re my kind of husband…the kind that never runs out of good things to say about his wife.  I have one of those at home.  Are you parents?  If so, to what species…animal or human?

Mark:  The human kind.  But, if you’re going by gender, two girls. That’s about where the similarities end. The two are polar opposites. The oldest, she’s our budding engineer. Analytical and perceptive, this kid knows her stuff when it comes computers. Last Christmas, we bought her a small robot that she could program to perform simple moves, the program was meant for older kids, but she managed to get that thing working in no time. I don’t know where this ability came from, not from me! The one thing she did inherit was my love for reading. She devours books.

Our youngest is also very bright, but not as academic. She loves dance (cartwheels everywhere, even in malls), wearing glittery dresses and snakes. Yup, snakes. No fear of handling the reptiles, large or small (definitely did not get this trait from me!). I’ve said to her on more than one occasion, “You’d put glitter on a boa constrictor and wear it like a scarf.”            

NJ:  Hahaha!  I love your stories and since I’m a girl-mommy, I love these daughters of yours, too!  Mark, clearly you’re not old enough to even be considered for what I’m about to ask, but let’s fast forward a few years.  When you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you on their own, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?

Mark:  Ummm . . . that depends. You know, I sometimes think about that when I say ‘no’ to their demands. The youngest, especially. Oh, she’s sweet enough, but this has me picturing my future self leaning against my walker, with all remaining earthly possessions stuffed into a zip lock freezer bag and sitting on the front stoop of ‘Helga’s Ranch For Really Old Dudes’ or known locally as the HRFROD. My false teeth clatter against the stoop as I watch her cart wheel across the parking lot towards the convertible she bought with my pension cheques. “The kitty was nice, Old Man . . . but when I was ten, you should have bought me the pit viper instead.”

The older one . . . she’d probably look after me, as long as I agreed to be nurtured by the robot she built to look after me. “Obey the ‘bot’, Dad, and we’ll get along fine. Listen to Xena.”

This thing has a name, now?” I’d ask as oatmeal dribbles down my chin. ‘Xena’s’ aim with a spoon is still a work in progress.

Xena, rules.” She’d answer, just a hint of threat in her voice. “Now open your mouth, wider.”

Naw, just kidding. I’m sure, I think, that either one would let me occupy their attic.

NJ:  Mark, I think you’re penning for a job doing stand-up, ‘eh?  OK, moving right along.  Any pets?  What kind?

Mark:  As of three month ago, fish only. They are mollies, five of them live in harmony together, along with one zebra snail. We did have a lovely yellow lab (passed away at the age of 12) and a cat named Marble (age 14 when she died). Tanya and I are not currently excited for more furry pets, but the pressure is on to get another cat, so one is in the future . . . at least they’re not asking for a snake.

NJ:  That’s nice.  Let’s move away from the cat-chatter.  (Nonnie doesn’t do cats…or snakes).  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?

Mark: No bake cherry cheesecake’ . . . love the stuff!! I’m pretty health conscious, so it only comes around on my birthday and Christmas. I’d trade an entire chocolate cake for just one piece.

NJ:  WOW!  You must really like that stuff.  Believe it or not, most people don’t, I have never tried cheesecake.  I’m weird in that fashion.  You see, in Nonnie’s mind, there are some things that just shouldn’t be paired….even in the naming sense.  Like, I can’t wrap my mind around cheese and cake (my sister would kill for this stuff)….I can’t stand to eat catfish because it has whiskers (and we know how Nonnie feels about cats)…I think that cheese only belongs on hamburgers and nachos (my family puts cheese on EVERYTHING…chicken included)…I’m sure you get the picture.  But, I’m happy for those people with open minds, like yours.  But, moving right along, what’s your favorite color?

Mark:  I love the golden color of ripened corn stalks. When the sun hits them just right . . . can’t really explain it if you have never seen it. Probably harkens back to my childhood on the farm.

NJ:  Probably.  What’s your favorite sport?

Mark:  Down hill skiing. I know, I’m Canadian and hockey is supposed to be king, but not for me.

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

Mark:  I’m not really a big television watcher, but there’s a documentary on Netflix called, ‘Paranormal Survivor’. The supernatural has always fascinated me. I’m a pretty logical individual, but I’ve had a few crazy experiences that neither myself, nor anyone else can explain away.

NJ:  Interesting.  How about a Favorite Actress/Actor…

Mark:  Morgan Freeman

NJ:  Hmmm.  He was once a favorite of mine, too, but he allowed his personal life to get in the way of our relationship.  Mark, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind just letting it all go?

Mark:  I workout about an hour and a half everyday. I lift weights, run/walk, and try to remember to stretch after

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).

Mark:  Employers who think they “own” employees. Ya, I get it, we need your money to help us live, but I think you’re forgetting that it’s a two-way street! Sheesh! They boil my blood! See my comment in question one about wishing I was self employed.

NJ:  WOW!  I hope this doesn’t lead to some workplace retaliation.  But, I can understand what you’re speaking of.  I haven’t worked for someone else in thousands of years, thank God, but I do remember the time.  So, are you neat or messy, Mark?

Mark:  Neat . . . messes drive me crazy! Though I’ve learned to tolerate a bit more because of the kids. My favorite saying that I once heard was, “Trying to clean up your house when you have small children, is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos!”

NJ:  Not true.  My house was just as sparkly clean and neat when my babies were babies, just the same as it is today and they are young adults.  It’s all in your discipline.  Facebook or Twitter?

Mark:  Used to be Facebook, now I’m leaning towards Twitter.

NJ:  Yes, RRBC will convert you quickly to a Twitter-ian.  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?

Mark:  I have a friend who is a paramedic, we send each other funny video clips and jokes, and because our professions take us to the darker side of humanity, our humor follows.

NJ:  You’re married so I hope this friend is male…hahaha!  Mark, 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.

Mark:  I declare it a tie for now, until I can set up a competition between the two of you (lassoing bad guys . . . I know where to find a few) I’ll just let them go in a field and we’ll see who gets the most. Oh yes, it will be against Lynda Carter, she’s still got it!

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

Mark:  Another tough one. I’ve read so many good ones. I really enjoyed ‘The Alternative’ by Suzanne Burke, and ‘Finding Billy Battles’ by Ron Yates.   

NJ:  So glad those were books by two RRBC/RWISA Indie Authors!  Good choices!  Now, how about ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it.

Mark: The Alternative’ by Suzanne Burke. Maybe not suitable for younger audiences but should be mandatory reading for high school level and beyond.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Mark:  Aside from the excellent writing, my years working the correctional system has left me, oh let’s just say, a bit cynical and jaded towards some things. Just being honest here.  

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

Mark:  Only if I like them. Yes, maybe I am being a bit soft, but I understand the hard work it takes to write a book and have a hard time trashing someone’s efforts. If an author came to me and asked me to proof read their book, well, then I would oblige. I know, tough love and all, but my mother always said, “If you can’t . . .” ah, you know the rest.

Really dog

NJ:  In my opinion, being nice when it comes to offering your honest opinion on a read, helps no one.  But, hey, to each his own.   Mark, 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?

Mark:  Well, I know that honesty is the best policy, but as I mentioned earlier, I don’t post bad reviews, I just stop reading the book and plop it on the ‘NA’ (Never Again) pile. I know that it’s not fair to the author and readers, but for now, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

NJ:  You know, they have classes for that.  Nonnie Jules teaches them, by the way.  LOL.  So, read any poorly written books lately?  Guess we should ask you that here since we know you’d never tell us in an actual review.

Gum popping dog

Mark:  Yes, and I’ve stopped reading after the first three chapters.

NJ:  (I know, I’m beating a dead horse here, but I’m leading up to a point that I must make).  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.

Mark:  Zero, but there are a few on the ‘NA’ pile.

NJ:  Here goes, Mark.  So, you have this huge NA pile.  I’m curious…how is the author being helped by you stashing their book in a place where you have thrown all the other books that you felt needed help?  Because, that’s what poor reads mean…”need help.”  And maybe, just maybe, they need one person to step out there and tell them the honest truth.  Life isn’t about everything always being pretty.  There is help in ugly at times.  How will these authors grow and become better if you keep throwing their books into your never again pile?

OK, I think I made my point whether it changes anything or not…I had to get that out.    Mark, are you an author?  Are you a good one? C’mon, we love honesty here.

Mark:  I get up early in the morning and type (sometimes successfully, sometimes I need a bit more java) words on the ‘glowy screeny’ thing. So, I guess that makes me one. Oh, there are some who would consider me good. Doesn’t always feel that way. I always feel the need to push myself to be better. I guess that’s a good thing.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Mark:  I have been writing seriously for about six years now.

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

Mark:  Yes, but sometimes it’s like ‘Buckley’s Cough Syrup’. It can taste awful, but it works. I try to approach it with this mentality. I tell myself this, “You are writing thousands of words, constructing events that never existed, and characters that never lived, do you really think you are going to get everything right the first time? Do you really expect everyone to like your writing style, story line, genre, (there’s more, but I’ll spare you)?” The answer is, “Of course not.” It’s unrealistic.

When I’m given ‘feedback’ I’ll consider it and weigh it, then make a decision whether I believe it to be valid or not. There are many factors that influence this decision, but a key one, for me, is if the same issue is mentioned by more than one reader. That can carry some weight. There is a common denominator there that may be more than just an individual’s preferences.

NJ:  Give us the name of your book, please.

Mark:  Vanished.

Vanished by Mark Bierman

Though I am currently working on my second. Time is not always on my side and there is limited amounts of it. 

NJ:  Out of this one and the upcoming one…which one do you think will be considered the best?

Mark:  Vanished. Though I think the next when will appeal to a greater audience, whenever it is finished.

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?

Mark:  Yes. Here is the link  markbierman.com. I also have a blog  wordpress. I am not sure if my blog would do well under the microscope, I’m still learning.

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

Mark:  At the risk of sounding obsequious, Rave Reviews Book Club has been my biggest ally. I honestly had no clue how to market myself. I was writing reviews for other authors, in the false hope that maybe someone would take notice, but it never happened. Let’s face it, this is a tough market, a vast ocean of voices that are trying to find a shoal or an island that they can use to stand above and have their stories heard (too much? Ya, maybe) But you get the idea. I found Rave Reviews when I was searching for yet another author book club. Sounds okay. I’ll give it a try, I thought. I have been pleasantly surprised and impressed.

NJ:  Mark, that’s great to hear!  We always like knowing how we have helped our author members.  So, more specifically, how has RRBC helped you?

Mark:  Well, I actually get reviews, for one thing. Not to mention speedy and great advice on several occasions when I really didn’t have any answers. It’s a great network too. I’ve met people from all back grounds and walks of life with different perspectives from my own. I’ve even been invited into some of their homes, should I ever be in the area (please memorize my photo, should you ever see a strange man standing on your front step . . . if he’s holding a large aquarium full of mollies, you know it’s me and I’m moving in)! Then there’s what we’re doing here, where else can you get this?

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what other great things can you say about the club?

Mark:  Everything I mentioned above and more. I’m glad I stumbled onto the site that day. It’s been a great experience and I love the camaraderie.

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

Mark:  No, I can’t say I have. It is certainly unique, in a good way!

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

Mark:  I already have. I only (other than online) know two dedicated writers like myself, and I recommended it to both. I don’t believe either one has taken my suggestion yet, but I hope they’ll come around

NJ:  Good! Sometimes it takes a minute for those we offer advice to as to what might be good for them.  They may just need to sit back and watch your success within the club first.   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.)

Mark:  At this point I would have to say, Books Of The Month. I really enjoy reading the work of my fellow writers. I find it relaxing and a nice break from having to be in the pilot’s seat . . . just going for a ride in the imagination of another. I’m frustrated at myself for not getting the second book done as quickly as I’d like and being able to read, review, and help others get that one step closer to their goal is very therapeutic. I was recently on the receiving end of the Book Of The Month, and I was honestly overwhelmed by the amount of support I received, and continue to receive. As I have already mentioned, where else are you going to get this? I’ve yet to find it.

NJ:  WOW!  You’ve been a BOOK OF THE MONTH author and now you’re a “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR!  Go, Mark!

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?

Mark:  Final Words: I just want to thank everyone for being so supportive and for the opportunities you have given me. I hope I offer you as much, I will continue to try and do so! Keep up the great work!

NJ:  Mark, thank you so much for joining me here today and my apologies for the delay in getting your interview up.  It’s truly been my pleasure to chat with you.

To my guests, please pick up a copy of Mark’s book above and do support him with reviews, no matter how you feel about the read.

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

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in 2019, 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!

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(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!!

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

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

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

ammanayphoto

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Married or single?

AM:  I’ve been married nearly 13 years.

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

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

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

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

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

AM:  Zero. I am not an animal person.

Many dogs

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

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

AM:  Chocolate, of course.

NJ:  How about your favorite color?

AM:  I love red.

NJ:  OK.  Got a favorite sport?

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

dog-doing-yoga

dog-doing-yoga-pose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM:  Well, do you have an invisible plane?

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

ninja-dog

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

AM:  I have a lot of respect for ______ and I’m quite impressed with _______.  It’s so hard to pick just two!

 

 

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

AM:  Yes, I always review.

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

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

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

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

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

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

NJ:  What books have you written?

She Dies at the End (November Snow Book 1) 

She Sees in Her Sleep (Three November Snow Shorts)

She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)

She Lights Up The Dark by A. M. Manay

 

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

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

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

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

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a Rave Reviews Book Club member, so what do you think of the club?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIZZIE CHANTREE in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

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

Today, I have with me on the “SHELF” Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Lizzie Chantree

Lizzie Chantree photo 10

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

Lizzie:  It feels warm and well supported! Is there a radiator underneath this shelf? I don’t like heights, but I was hoping someone might have left some food up here for me.

 NJ:  Food?  There is absolutely no eating allowed on this shelf, Ms. Lizzie.  Now let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Lizzie:  It’s my married name, which is Elizabeth Chantree. My closest friends and family have always called me Lizzie. I also paint under the name Beth Juniper, which is an abbreviation of my maiden 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?

Lizzie:  I was born by the coast, in a town called Southend. I don’t live there now, but it is only a short drive away. I live on the outskirts of London.

 NJ:  Yes, we could tell from your interview earlier today that you were mighty “Brit” as we say on this side of the pond.  (At least the side that I live on).  Are you married or single?

Lizzie:  Married.

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

Lizzie:  I have two beautiful daughters, who are energetic and fill me with inspiration every day.

NJ:  Oh well,  you must read THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS by that uber-Mommy, Nonnie Jules! (By the way , I shall remain in this uber state until my children write that tell-all, they keep threatening me with.)

b7a351c92f470a90c7b8b2.L

So, Lizzie, out of those two amazing daughters, which one is your favorite? (And be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview):

Lizzie:  I really don’t have a favorite. They are both so different. One was poorly for many years when she was very young and still smiled through it all, and the other went through long periods of worry about her sister, but stayed strong and has grown into an amazing young woman. They amaze me!

NJ:  Young woman?  You look like the young woman!  I imagine you to have toddlers!  My goodness, you girls age so well.  OK, moving right along…any pets in the Chantree household?  If so, what kind?  (I sure hope it’s a dog).

Lizzie:  A very fluffy dog named Pepper. She is a cross between a Poodle and a Spaniel. She is an allergy dog, which means she doesn’t drop hair or cause breathing problems for anyone. She carries stones around with her all day and sleeps on my feet, even if I stand still for just a few minutes! I have fallen over her many times. She follows me everywhere.

Gorilla clapping

(Woo Hoo!  She has a dog!)

 

NJ: Lizzie, what is your favorite food?

Lizzie:  All food! My absolute favorite is nachos with chilli con carne, sour cream and cheese.

NJ:  You are much too tiny to love all food.  Honey, this is me loving all food…

Big belly wonder woman.jpg

So, I think it’s safe to say that I definitely don’t love all food.  What’s your favorite color?

Lizzie:  Blue. Every tone of blue.

NJ:  OK.  What about your favorite sport?

Lizzie:  Athletics. But I enjoy lots of different sports.

big eyed confused dog

 NJ:  This next round of questions will go really fast.  You have to be quick in your responses, or you’ll miss something.  Favorite TV Show…

Lizzie:  I love reality TV. I find it all so funny!

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Lizzie:  Meryl Streep.

 NJ:  Couch potato or workout nut? Be honest .

Lizzie:  I’m not a couch potato, I move around too much. I love working from anywhere, so I walk to a coffee shop, or go to sit by the sea to write. I love exercise, but I should do more than I currently do.

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

Lizzie:  People who put other people down. This really, really, annoys me! I don’t believe that kindness is a weakness. In fact it makes you stronger. You don’t have to drag anyone else down to get where you’re going. Lift others up and help them along on their journey. A little kindness goes a long way.

 NJ:  Good response.  Are you neat or messy?

Lizzie:  I’m a neat, messy person. I’m creative! Are there any obsessively neat creative people out there? I love clean surfaces, as I then have a lovely space to sit or work, but open a drawer and you will either find an array of papers, paints and goodness knows what else, or my various flavors of bubblegum, which I hide from the children in my office.  I love bubblegum!

 NJ:  Obsessively Neat?  ME!  Creative?  ME! ME! & ME! So there!   Facebook or Twitter?

Lizzie:  Twitter. I think it’s fabulous. Plus, with 140 characters, you have to be creative about your wording or photos. It’s a brilliant way to connect with readers and authors. I have met so many people who run businesses, sculpt, photograph, travel, design and simply enjoy interacting with others on Twitter. I rarely automate my account as it is full of things I discover daily that interest me. It is time consuming, but productive.

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

Lizzie:  Only two? There are so many great people out there! Gordon Bickerstaff / @ADPase is a huge support.  I met him through RRBC, and he’s  friendly and gives his time to tell the world about other author’s work, mine included.

 NJ:  Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest.

Lizzie:  You are a bit of a Wonderwoman to be honest, Nonnie! My sister and I used to love watching Wonderwoman as we were growing up. She represented a strong woman with a busy life, who still took the time to help others. Sound familiar…..

 NJ:  Of course, it does.  Thanks, Lizzie!  I also watched her as a child and whenever there are re-runs on of the show, I still stand up (look around to make sure no one’s watching) and I spin and spin and spin, until I have on my imaginary WW attire!  Takes a lot more spins than it did when I was younger, and could spin faster but… anyway.  So, everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor:

Lizzie:  I must admit my kindle is jammed packed with indie author’s books I have not tried before, from RRBC. Before joining, I used to pick my favorite genre, which is ChickLit. Now I have stories from all walks of life that I haven’t read before.

I really enjoyed Rebecca Reilly’s, Into Dark Waters and am looking forward to reading more of her work.

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

Lizzie:  Yes. As long as I finish reading the book. As an author I know how important it is to have reviews.

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

Lizzie:  Their enjoyment of the story and how they connect with the characters or theme.

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?

Lizzie:  Lol! I’m not afraid of being honest. I won’t review anything I don’t enjoy, though. I don’t see the point of putting someone else’s work down. I just don’t say anything. I know many people feel a bad review is constructive, but some people take this to the extreme and I don’t think it’s necessary. A good review for a book you loved is just as honest as saying nothing for one you don’t.  If I gave a book I was bored with a top review, then I could see the issue.

 NJ:  Yes, some people do take this to the extreme but you don’t have to tear anyone down to give a poor mark on a review.  I think all are necessary, as long as you’re being honest. Read any poorly written books lately?

Lizzie:  Yes. I have read a few that I started and then didn’t finish.

NJ:  Are you an author?

Lizzie:  Yes!

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Lizzie:  I started writing as a teen and I have loved reading since I discovered The Hobbit at school. I wrote my first novel, Babe Driven when my daughter was unwell, to keep myself awake at night. I didn’t publish it until her health started to improve, five years later. I didn’t approach any publishers at that time. I read an article about an author who had self-published and the whole process fascinated me. Babe Driven is full of the sunshine and laughter I didn’t have in my life at that time. I was just a whole ball of stress!

NJ:  WOW.  I can’t think of a better way to pass the time, or to relieve stress than writing, myself.  So, what books have you written?

BABE DRIVEN

Babe Driven by Lizzie Chantree

LOVE’S CHILD

Love's Child by Lizzie Chantree

FINDING GINA

Finding Gina by Lizzie Chantree

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Lizzie:  I love them all, but BABE DRIVEN holds a special place in my heart because I was under so much pressure when I wrote it, but I still finished the story. I may have been a hysterical wreck by that time though!

NJ:  Lizzie, do you have a blog or website?

Lizzie:  I do.

My blog is: https://lizziechantree.com

My website: https://writewithsydney.co.uk

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

Lizzie:  RRBC! I’m sure everyone must say that!

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

Lizzie:  RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!  I cannot thank the enough the person who for introduced me to this book club, just as I had published my first book, Babe Driven. I was trying to learn as much as I could about publishing and months later had been offered my first book deal, but meeting so many inspirational authors was just what I needed to stop me feeling isolated from people by working alone.

NJ:  RRBC has helped so many and been a constant source of inspiration, as well, but how have you been helped by them?

Lizzie:  It helped me to decide to stick with being an indie author for now. I was worried that taking my book down from Amazon for months or a year without another of my books being ready to print, would mean the loss of all of the wonderful people who have enjoyed my first novel and supported a new author on her journey. Who knows, I may have found more book lovers via a traditionally published book, but I didn’t want to loose the readers I already have. There were other factors involved, but it was a really hard decision. I learnt from the experience and the publisher involved was patient, kind and helpful, giving me some breathing space to decide what was right for me at that time.

 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?

Lizzie:  I have met so many talented people and I love to see what they are up to next! I often look at the RRBC website to see whose book I can find and which one to tweet about.

NJ:  Lizzie, have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Lizzie:  No.

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

Lizzie:  I have! All of them!

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

Lizzie:  RRBC is a place of mutual support. It’s not here for anyone to sit by the window in the drizzling rain, watching the party from outside. Dive in and tell everyone about yourself. Wave your arms around and tell us who you are. Join the forums and stop by blogs. Raise a glass to your fellow members and shout out about their work. Most of all, enjoy being part of the RRBC family!

NJ:  Very well said!  Lizzie, thank you for joining me ON THE SHELF today!  And thank you for those very kind words of me and RRBC.  And on a personal level, thanks for checking in on me.  (You know what I’m talking about).  It was very thoughtful of you.

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

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

#RRBC, DO YOU FEEL SUPPORTED HERE?

Well, are you being SUPPORTIVE?

English bulldog funny face

Some of you might not like what I’m about to say in this blog, but you know what I say to that?  Too bad, get over it and if the shoe fits, then you wear it. (If the shoe doesn’t fit, then sit back, prop your feet up and enjoy the refreshments).

During our  BACK TO SCHOOL BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY last September, and THE HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY which was last December, every day tons of prizes were given away and all you had to do for a chance at winning, was to stop by a blog and leave a comment.  During that time, you all showed up in droves.  Many of you, every day, I might add!

Now, our BACK TO SCHOOL BOOK & BLOG BLOCK PARTY and THE HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY have ended (until the next time), and although we still have  blog tours going on for our members, such as the bi-monthly blog tours for “SPOTLIGHT” Authors, we already know before the tours begin, who’s going to show up to support.  It’s always the same people, the core of RRBC, the uber-supportive, the few, super-awesome members of the RRBC family.  Why have I labeled “these” members so highly?  Well, they show up and leave comments when there are prizes to be won and they also show up and leave comments, when there aren’t. 

We work hard supporting each other here and we also work hard putting these awesome programs into place for ALL members to enjoy, yet, it’s almost like pulling teeth when we go looking for those members deserving of the seats in the RRBC house.  Sadly, they’re very hard t0 find.

For those of you who are wondering HOW members are selected to fill these seats, well, let me make it crystal clear for all.  We look at each member’s support level.  We look to see how they’re supporting on social media, we look at how they are doing in the reviews department, and we even take notice of how often they are supporting the blog tours and events of their fellow members.

Now, before some of you jump on your high-horse with, “Well, I work every day!” and “I’m too busy with life to just…”  Notice I didn’t finish that sentence because I didn’t want to take that away from those of you who want us to know what you’re too busy with, to drop a little support every now and again around here.  Once you get down, then watch me climb on my high, high horse.  Now that I’m seated here comfortably,  guess what?  I’m pretty sure we all work every day.  I know I do, and although I never leave my home for work, I spend probably 15-18 hours PER day, working here to make this place great for all of you!  Any member of my board can tell you that on a good day, my days begin around 5:30 a.m. and they don’t end typically sometimes, until the next morning, between 1 a.m and 2:30 a.m…sometimes even later.  I’m not asking any of you to work or even function on a schedule like mine because it’s crazy,  but, if you sit in that knowledge for just a moment, then you can appreciate how much time I don’t have, yet, I still find the time to support my fellow members.  I’m just one example.

We have members in our midst who have serious disabilities, but you know what, they are among our elite and our most supportive.  Members who are blind, who are losing their eyesight, who have missing limbs, in wheel chairs, with brain injuries, those who suffer with debilitating diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinsons, Lupus, etc., and yet, they are among our core of usual supporters.  And if they can do it, then there shouldn’t be a hint of excuse in the rest of us.  You know, the rest of us who are extra blessed to have our eyesight, to have all our limbs, to be in total control of our faculties…if they can do it, what excuse could we possibly have, for not?

Some members are even honored with RRBC seats and after they’ve taken all they can, they leave!  After we have pushed them, supported them, BOUGHT THEIR BOOKS, they don’t even stick around to return the support!  That’s infuriating but, we’ll save that for another blog.

Just because we’re not advertising that prizes could be won when you support a “SPOTLIGHT” Author blog tour, doesn’t mean that you won’t be a winner.  You see, when you support a “SPOTLIGHT” Author blog tour, by simply stopping along the tour a couple of days during that week (you don’t have to show up every day), when you support our Member of the Month by dropping by their page and congratulating them and then joining in their #MemberOfTheMonth Monday support day on social media;  when you support our Books of the Month by joining in a monthly discussion, when you tune in to our RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio shows and join in the conversation on Twitter during the shows, even when you drop by to show your support of a “SPOTLIGHT” Author’s “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” interview,  then you are positioning yourself to hold your own  fabulous RRBC seat, such as: BOOK OF THE MONTH, “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR, MEMBER OF THE MONTH, MEMBER OF THE WEEK, RAVE WAVES BLOGTALK RADIO GUEST, and so many more wonderful opportunities to be supported, that I wish I had the time to list here.

I’m getting off my soapbox now, because I’m getting dizzy being up so high (I really don’t know how some of you do it every day) but, let me leave you with this:  RRBC is an international organization of support.  You couldn’t be in the company of a more loving and giving community.  Why not jump right in, get to know these people who can “push” you, “propel” you and who can be your greatest support system, already in place, when and for whatever you need.   You are the only one standing in your way.  We say this over and over and over again, but I guess it’s just not clicking with some of you…so, we’ll say it again and again and again…to be supported here, you HAVE TO be a supporter here.  Let me put it another way:  those that are most supportive here are the ones who are MOST SUPPORTED here.   I really hope you got it that time, but in the event you didn’t, check out these tutorials on how to become more supportive here at RRBC:

*Writing the Almost Perfect Book Review by Beem Weeks

Take care, RRBC, and we’ll be looking for you to help us close out the month by showing your support at some of our club events, as well.

*BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB DISCUSSION on Wednesday, 3/30/16, 11 AM Central Time (see sidebar widget for location)

If you can’t or won’t help your fellow man, then please remember, it is within your power to not hurt him, either.

JAN HAWKE in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

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

Today, I have with me on the “SHELF” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author, JAN HAWKE!  Jan comes in slowly, like a Tiger, tipping up on its prey…to the tune of CIRCLE OF LIFE from the “LION KING,” as we know how much she likes jungles! I just want her to feel comfortable…and at home here. 

warhag

(I will definitely let Jan explain this one)

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

Jan:  Very! Although I hope it’s sturdy too – if we hear creaking we’d better evacuate as I’m no lightweight!

NJ:  Well, I did hear a little something, but I didn’t want to say anything…(NJ puts on her life jacket.  Tells Jan she’s a little cold).  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Jan:  It’s my married name. However, I’m about to start using another nom de plume for my fantasy writing – Sîan Glírdan, which is Welsh and Elvish for Jan(e) the Bard (literally a wordsmith) after my fantasy elven role-playing persona – the wordsmith aspect does reflect my birth name a little, as that’s a Scottish variant of the clan name ‘Gow’, which was traditionally associated with the occupation of metalsmithing.

NJ:  (You know, when I saw that this interview ran into twelve pages on paper, I thought…no, let me retract, I hoped it was because she had hit the return key too many times, accidentally.  Already I can tell this lady’s got a lot to say).

English bulldog funny face

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

Jan:  I was born in Plymouth in south-west Devon – the last port of call for taking on European passengers for the Mayflower before it crossed the Atlantic in 1620.
I moved away to the outer London area (when I got married) for nearly 30 years, but we moved back to the South West in 2003 and I now live in a tiny village near Launceston in north-east Cornwall.

NJ:  We were all very sorry to hear of your loss last year.  Would you like to share a bit more with us?

Jan:  Yes, I am recently widowed – 2016 would have been our 40th wedding anniversary so I may do something special to mark the day with some close friends and family.

NJ:  Again, we were, and all are, still here for you, Jan.  You’re not alone.  So, do you have any kids? If yes, how many? Sons or Daughters?

Jan:  No human children – I do have 2 fur baby sons, Toby and Benji who are English Springer Spaniels (well, Benji’s a collie cross-bred, but his nature’s all spaniel!). They’re a handful, but I love them dearly.

NJ:  Which one is your favorite? (And be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview)…

Jan:  LOL! No, they won’t be reading this! I have to say that it’s Toby – even though he’s the youngest, and the one who gets into trouble most. He’s been with me longest, since he was just out of puppy-hood and is still just a big baby. They’re both rescue dogs, so they came to us with those names, but they do suit them.

You have an answer for that already! Before we moved back to Cornwall we always had cats as we didn’t have the space or time to look after a dog properly (I had a minimum 3-hour round-trip commute on a good day!). That meant cats won because they’re a lot less work and see to walking themselves! I couldn’t have a cat now as Toby loves to chase them too much, and hasn’t got the intelligence to take on board that cats are meaner and much more intelligent than him – and I couldn’t stand to see him scratched up…

NJ:  Uh, Jan, I’m sorry that my people didn’t inform you that we’re not allowed to even say the word “cat” on this shelf.  (Somebody’s head is going to roll for this one!)  Jan, what’s your favorite food?

Jan:  Ahhh – well I have a sweet tooth, but my big vices are for chocolate, strawberries and meringues. I do love Italian cooking as well, so pasta and pizza are favourites. I like most things really, although I’m not keen on leafy green veggies – that’s mainly due to my upbringing, though. My mum used to boil anything green to death – with bicarbonate of soda, so it all tasted like stinky green slime! I still have to swallow sprouts whole – if I try to chew them, they just won’t go down!

NJ:  Jan, I’m a green veggie lover and was about to run and enjoy my green smoothie that I have chilling in the fridge now, but you may have ruined that for me.  Try not to ruin this next one for me, OK?  Tell us what your favorite color is, please.

Jan:  Cool colours – blue-greens mostly

NJ:  Before I even heard your response, I said it was green!  #Promise!  WOW!  I’m really good!  So, do you have a favorite sport?

Jan:  Ugh! Not a sporty person at all. Most team sports are anathema to me – although I sometimes indulge in watching large, muddy, muscular men playing rugby during the wintry UK months… I quite like the gladiatorial spirit of tennis occasionally, but that may have more to do with the tradition of eating strawberries and cream (and possibly drinking fizzy wine) while I watch the Wimbledon finals.

big eyed confused dog

Huh???

NJ:  Jan, you’re going to make my eyes pop right out of my head with these responses.  Can you give me a simple one to my next question?  What’s your favorite TV Show?

Jan:  Very, very difficult one (looking nervously in Nonnie’s direction…) It’s a toss-up between The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones – so, whichever’s running the newest series.

NJ:  OK, that was a lot less confusing than your response to my sports question, that’s for sure!  Who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?

Jan:  One of each? (shuffles into the deepest recesses of the shelf, away from that edge…) Meryl Streep and the late, great Alan Rickman.

NJ:  I love Meryl!  You can scooch back over now.  Are you a couch potato or workout nut? Be honest.

Jan:  No hedging – physically I’m a couch potato with extra honey-butter and full metal recliner with reiki massager… Mentally and emotionally, I’m Lucy Lawless in full-throttle Xena-mode!

NJ:  So, basically, this is you…

Dog sleeping on treadmill

(SMH = Shaking my head).  OK, Jan, tell us your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody? (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary).

Jan:  Hmmm – have to think about this one a bit. Inconsistency of the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ variety. Particularly people who behave like spoiled little kids, but get antsy when other people do the same to them…

NJ:  “People who behave like spoiled little kids?”  Have you been speaking to my husband, Jan?  Don’t believe a word he says!  So, are you neat or messy?

Jan:  Messier than neat, so long it’s not dirty? Constant and meticulous neatness creeps me out to be honest – I prefer things ‘homesy’ and comfortably casual, rather than leaping around with a duster and plumping cushions the whole time. Plus, Toby and Benji like to make forts out of cushions, so I’d be fighting a losing battle trying to keep them in one place – it’s their home too, after all! 😉
… (I’m still getting the island banishment, aren’t I? 😉

NJ:  Darn tootin’ you are!  Facebook or Twitter?

Jan:  Twitter – it’s simpler and less time-consuming, plus you can ignore it quite easily (well I can). Facebook is a little too much for me really, although I admit it’s quite useful to have an author page on there to point non-bookish friends to, and for random link ups.

NJ:  Twitter’s my choice, as well.  Jan, name two of the most supportive people you’ve met on either Facebook or Twitter? Hurry and tell us so we can become their friend.

Jan:  You already know them…

NJ:  I do?

Jan:  Yes, Nonnie Jules and Harmony Kent.

NJ:  Oh, scooch back over here, Jan.  That was so sweet of you to say, and there’s no way you could ‘accidentally’ fall from way up here after that!  Just no way.  Now, here’s a hard one…Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest.

Jan:  Wonderwho…? Has to be Nonnie – Wonderwoman’s an ad myth (or is that the Wonderbra?).  Anyway, WW and her bra are both over-inflated and I hate wires in undergarments…

NJ:  (Looking up and down at herself in the mirror) I don’t see any underwires there.  What are you talking about, Jan?

Fat Wonder Woman

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

Jan:  Ted Farrar and Harmony Kent.

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

Jan:  Ted’s debut novel ‘Dreamers’ is a dark contemporary fantasy that’s at once brutally down to earth and ethereally quixotic, with a large slice of originality. He gave me my very first 5-star review (the first 5-star review he’d ever written too!), because it took him back to smoky campfires out in the bush with a beer in hand, after looking for strange toads and newts all day!

Harmony’s just awesome and always a pleasure to read because she doesn’t get pinned down into any one genre, unless there’s one for quirky! FINDING KATIE is my favourite of hers to date, simply because it’s got the ring of truth about it all the way through, even though it’s subject matter is so dark.

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

Jan:  ‘A Glimmer of Guile’ by my friend Mary Patterson Thornburg.
I’m also a fan of RRBC’s C.S. BoyackPANAMA was another quirky ‘wee small hours’ book. Any writer that can put Billy the Kid and hoodoo together convincingly has to be a good bet and, as I read more of his titles, I’m turning into this big fan girl

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

Jan:  Dreamers by Ted Farrar.

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

Jan:  Eventually, yes. I was quite organized up until spring last year and always reviewed right after I finished a book, but since my husband died I seem to need to read more and get to the reviews as and when. I’m trying to get a little more disciplined again because I have about a dozen titles I need to write up now, so it’s getting too unmanageable.

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

Jan:  How much they enjoyed reading the book. If the story’s good I can forgive bad grammar and typos up to a point, especially if it doesn’t keep tripping you out of the ‘moment’.

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

Jan:  Definitely to be honest, but keep it polite and constructive. If it’s a gut thing and I can’t say for definite WHY I didn’t like it (usually because I couldn’t finish it) then I most likely won’t leave a review at all, as it’s not worth the effort to try and analyse it to death. If I do know why I gave it the thumbs down and it’s more to do with editorial, than stylistics, and if the storyline had some merit, then I might contact the author with some constructive comments, rather than saddle them with a snarky, destructive 1 or 2-star review.  If a book’s just not your thing and you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything – especially if it’s got lots of positive reviews. Why rain on their parade, just because I happen to not like their genre, or using present tense (or whatever) particularly…

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Jan:  Oh, yes – more than one!

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

Jan:  They’re not written up yet – they’ll be polite as they weren’t totally awful, and one had quite a good concept that had been mishandled, rather than completely botched. Also too much telling and not enough showing, but everyone struggles with that at times, of course.

NJ:  Are you an author?

Jan:  Yes

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Jan:  Seriously, since 2005 on Milele Safari, but I’ve always written for my own amusement on and off since leaving high school – way back in 1974 (you can do the math – I can’t say it!).

NJ:  What books have you written?

Jan:  MILELE SAFARI

Milele Safari original cover by Jan Hawke

Dreamless Roads – a fantasy anthology – (3 short stories in that, BUT THIS TITLE IS NOT IN THE RRBC CATALOG); and 2 shorts in the first RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL Anthology:

Rave Soup

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Jan:  MILELE SAFARI – I put a lot of myself into that and much of it was written when I’d had some tough times, so I was drawing on some really dark stuff I’d been going through. Plus, it’s about Africa, which I’m just enthralled with.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?

Jan:  My blog is Jan Hawke INKorporated –  and my old website that has a lot of my poetry and artwork displayed, is Jan the Diva

NJ:  Jan, I’ve seen photos of you wrapped in your fancy furs and the first thing that came to mind:  DIVA! LOL!  Would you name three great online resources or organizations that every author should belong to?

Jan:  Of course, RRBC is top of my list, simply because there’s so much you can get out of being a member, as well as helping other folks out, which is always good karma!
LinkedIn’s been useful in a very selective and deliberate way, in that I connected with several people on there (like Ted Farrar) who’ve been instrumental in the learning curve of becoming an indie author and publisher, finding a really good POD supplier, and in fact, referring me onto RRBC too.

As a pure resource, I’m split between Wikipedia and Google Earth as research tools – Wiki’s not always reliable of course, but it’s great for getting ideas on where to go and look for proper sources. Google Earth actually helped me map out an overland trip for my characters from Mwanza on Lake Victoria to the Rwandan border in Tanzania, which was really fun to do and gave me lots to work with, including coffee plantations and a gold mine, as well as the beautiful lake and mountains!

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

Jan:  Definitely RRBC!

NJ:  How were you helped by the club, Jan?

Jan:  I’m unbelievably hopeless at marketing and promo, so joining has helped me to learn how not to be terrified of Twitter, FB and blogging and also got me into making book trailers, which I hadn’t even heard of before I joined.

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

Jan:  Online communities can be scary places so I’ve always been drawn to more creative ones and even then the ‘clique-ism’ you can encounter is very draining. None of that with RRBC – you find friends and help everywhere and it quickly gets to feel more like a family scene, especially once you get into the support avenues.

NJ:  I totally agree, Jan.  I’m curious to know, have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Jan:  No – certainly not any book clubs, on or offline.

NJ:  Yes, RRBC is truly one-of-a-kind!  Many will try and duplicate but they won’t be able to get it just the way we have it here.  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Jan:  Whenever I can decently bring it up in conversation!

NJ:  That’s great, Jan!  Everyone should remember that RRBC membership is not just for authors, it’s for readers, too!  Well, Jan, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney, so we’re going to wrap this interview up. Any final words?

Jan:  Apart from a huge thank you for having me over, Nonnie, just to say to writers who’ve yet to get themselves published (indie or no), keep doing what you love most and take pride in your achievements, even if the reviews and sales don’t come quickly, or at all. You do a remarkable thing in creating something from nothing every time you pick up a pen, or sit down behind that keyboard. If you feel discouraged and need some company and/or help, then RRBC’s there to give it to you – all you need to do is reach out and you’ll find all the understanding, support and, best of all, friends you’ve always dreamt of!

NJ:  Jan, thank you for joining me ON THE SHELF today.  I’m sure you had a good time (being as though you didn’t end up on the floor…hehehe).  To my guests, please support Jan by picking up a copy of her book above.   You can also support her by visiting the blog stops on her tour which ends on Saturday.  You can find the tour line up here.  

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

**Please join Jan for her RAVE WAVES BLOGTALK Radio interview on BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT, today at 11 AM CST!  Here’s the link to the show page and you can also tune in directly to the interview by clicking here!**

Kathryn C. Treat in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

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

Today I have with me on the “SHELF” our Current “SPOTLIGHT” Author,  KATHRYN C. TREAT!!!

IMG_1858NJ:  Sorry for my tardiness, guys.  I had a little scare last night and ended up in the ER, so that caused me to be late to my interview with dear Kathryn.  As you can see, rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated, so those of you who are celebrating, STOP IT NOW!  Welcome, Kathryn and before we really get started, how does the “SHELF” feel to you?  Is it comfy?

Kathryn:  It is much more comfy than my wicker chair.  Sitting on them sometimes feels like I am sitting on a piece of board.

NJ:  I can see how you can feel that after having to use that method of furniture for so long.  I love wicker, but only when I’m relaxing on my porch.  I know I wouldn’t be able to live on it everyday, so Kudos to you Kathryn for having the kind of strength I don’t.  So, how about we start by confirming whether or not the name we know you as, is your birth name or a pen name?

Kathryn:  My author name is a combination of my birth name and my married name.  I was born Kathryn Chastain and my married name is Treat.

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?

Kathryn:  I was born in Joplin, Missouri.  I haven’t lived there since I was a small child.  I live in the Central Valley of California.

NJ:  Married or single?

Kathryn:  I’m married.  I have been married to the most wonderful man for 38 years.  I am so lucky to have someone who is willing to take on so much.  When my life turned upside down, he rose to the challenge.

IMG_2798

NJ:  I mean seriously, Kathryn, how wonderful can they be after 38 years?  Rising to challenges or not, SOME OF THEM TURN INTO MONSTERS of the worst kind!  You know the ones that sit in front of the television, with their hands stuffed down their pants, watching a football game.  Remember Al Bundy?  I thought he was real!  But ok, let’s move on.  So, I know that you’re a mom.  Girls or Boys?

Kathryn:  I have two lovely daughters.  I also have three wonderful grandchildren. (Uh oh…she’s one of those…here comes the photos of the grandkids *Sigh*)

NJ:  Favorite child (and be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview).  Can we assume it’s the beauty in this photo?  By the way, she’s a dead ringer for you!  GORGEOUS!

Kathryn:  I don’t have a favorite child.  They are each caring and loving women.

NJ:  Any pets?  If so, what kind?

Kathryn:  I love cats and had one for many years.  My husband had to take her when my allergies became so bad I couldn’t have her around me.  I now have a Beta fish that my granddaughter has named Rosa.  We also have an outdoor dog that my husband took in because he was afraid she would get hit by a car.

NJ:  Kathryn, my daughters come home with that story at least 3 times on a slow week. You fell for it?   {Daughters}:  “Mommy, look at this hungry dog I found in the street!  It was almost hit by a car!  Can we keep it?”  {Mean Mommy}:  “NO! Now go put it back in the street!” 🙂  Kathryn, share with us your favorite food? (Gee, my mouth waters every time I say the word FOOD).

Kathryn:  My favorite food would be hot sourdough bread right out of the oven piled high with butter, but I can’t eat it any more.  I love Chinese food and have found a place that will make me a dish without soy sauce or cornstarch.  While the flavor is not the same, it is better than not having it at all.

NJ:  I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE sourdough bread with tons of butter AND Chinese food is my most favorite!  Heck, I just gained 15 lbs typing this…dang it, Kathryn!  So, what’s your favorite color?

Kathryn:  My favorite color is green, although I seem to have a lot of pinks and blues in my wardrobe lately.

NJ:  You look like a green-girl!  Give us your favorite sport, if you have one.

Kathryn:  I am not athletic and never played sports of any kind.  In fact, I am more of a klutz than anything.  I do enjoy watching Baseball.

NJ:  Favorite TV show…

Kathryn:  I love to watch SHARK TANK.  I think it’s fascinating to see what inventions others come up with.  I also love all cooking shows.  While I can’t eat most foods they prepare, it inspires me to want to try and make a version of the same meal using substitutions.

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Kathryn:  My favorite actor has always been James Stewart.  I love all his movies.  My favorites are probably Rear Window and Vertigo.  I once read a biography about him and found his life very interesting.

NJ:  I like him, too, mainly at Christmas time.  So are you a couch potato or workout nut?  Be honest, Kathryn…

Kathryn:  I would probably be called a couch potato. I love to sew and do crafts which usually means sitting.  I used to walk a lot and was a lot more active before becoming ill.  I plan on doing more physical fitness.  It seems every time I get started on a routine I get sick or have an exposure which knocks me back and then I have to regroup and get myself motivated to start all over again.

NJ:  Kathryn, what’s your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to stomach-punch somebody?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence but she does believe in being honest so she has to admit that there are times when she feels like some friendly stomach-punching is a little necessary.  She also feels she is not alone in these feelings).

Kathryn:  Rudeness and lack of manners is my biggest pet peeve.  It surprises me how manners are just not taught to our children any more.  There is nothing worse than someone running into you in a market and just pushing right on by.  There is no “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.” I was not raised that way, my daughters weren’t raised that way, and my grandchildren are not being raised this way.

NJ:  Kathryn, I suggest you start carrying paperback copies of  THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS!”  I hear that the tips in this book work just as effectively on boys, the same as girls, (or adult men, the same as adult women).  So, the next time this happens, just give ’em a book (after you push them back harder!).  Are you neat or messy?

Kathryn:  I think I fit right in the middle.  I am more “Nessy” (if that can be considered a word).  I like things in order and I like a clean tidy house.  I also realize that I have to allow things to slide sometimes and save the energy for myself.  There is a “Spoon Theory”).  You are given so many spoons for each day (6 for example).  It takes 1 spoon to shower and get dressed, 3 spoons to prepare and clean up after meals, 1 spoon to vacuum the house, 1 spoon to clean the  closet.  OK, so now you have used up your spoons and you want to wash laundry and do ironing.  You decide to borrow a spoon from tomorrow.  You continue to borrow spoons from tomorrow until on Day 7 you have no spoons left.  I am learning that I have to conserve my spoons to make it through the week thus I am more “Nessy” than neat.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Kathryn:  I like the speed of Twitter and the 140 characters forces me to be creative and get to the point.  I have both a personal Facebook page as well as an author Facebook page.  It is nice to link my blog posts to my author Facebook page.

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

Kathryn:  I am not trying to win points here, Nonnie, but you were one of my early Twitter followers and you have been nothing but supportive to me and my writing.  Another very supportive person on Twitter has been @VickieCaseAuthor.  Vickie is very supportive of me as well.

NJ:  Awww, that was so sweet to say, Kathryn (I know it was honest).  You were one of my first supporters as well, so it was easy reciprocating the support the way we did and still do. And yes, Vickie is sweet and she’s supportive!  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman?  Be honest (but don’t get kicked off the shelf)  -______-

Kathryn:  WonderWoman!  I am pretty sure you are secretly WonderWoman.  How else could you have accomplished so much in such a short amount of time and still have all this amazing energy?  Maybe you could share a little of that energy with me.  Just a little?

NJ:  Sure, I’m into energy-sharing!  Sending a cup over to you right now!  That’s all you need.  My energy is powerful stuff!  Kathryn, everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor.

Kathryn:  I didn’t know much about INDIE authors until I started writing my own book and began learning about some of them through a website that I came across.  I like both Alana Terry and Don Drewniak.

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

Kathryn:   Alana Terry wrote an amazing historical fiction story that I just couldn’t put down.  Don Drewniak took a story (maybe more of a journal) that his father had written many years ago about his life and turned it into a wonderful and captivating story.

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

Kathryn:  You mean besides DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND?  Well, I could include The Beloved Daughter and The Junk Picker.

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

Kathryn:  The book I would choose is I, Win by Win Charles.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Kathryn:  Win Charles is a young woman with Cerebral Palsy who has refused to let it define her.  She writes her story by dictating it through her IPhone and then has someone transcribe it for her.  This book both inspires and encourages.  She was taught no to let her disability be a hindrance in anything she wanted to do.

NJ:  Sounds like my  kind of book.  I love reads that inspire and encourage.  Kathryn, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Kathryn:  Yes, I leave reviews after reading a book.  I believe in supporting authors by sharing my experiences when reading their books.

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

Kathryn:  The reader should base his/her review on two things.  A review should be based on the story itself and if it stirs something in the reader that makes them want to share the book with others, and how the book is written (whether it flows smoothly and how well it is edited.)

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?

Kathryn:  It is very difficult to leave a negative review.  I am learning to be a better reviewer by being honest.  I always try to find the good points of the book and focus on them.  My star rating will generally be enough to state how well I liked the book.  I don’t believe in being overly critical in my reviews to the point of bashing an author.

NJ:  Well said, Kathryn.  Have you read any poorly written books lately?

Kathryn:  Yes, I have read some poorly written books lately.  There have been some that I just could not finish and give a review.

NJ:  WOW!  Surprisingly, I’ve had the same experience…of not being able to wade thru that, which was causing me distress the more I read.  Kathryn, are you an author yourself?

Kathryn:  Yes.  It is a title I’m still getting accustomed to using.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Kathryn:  I have been writing for ten years.  That is the length of time it took me to write my book.  It is my first true attempt at writing but now I have the bug and ideas for other books are beginning to forumlate in my mind.  With some time management and dedication, I hope to get them from my head to paper.

NJ:  I definitely understand having the bug, Kathryn.  It’s a really good bug to be bitten by, isn’t it?  What’s the title of your book?

Kathryn:  ALLERGIC TO LIFE:  My Battle for Survival, Courage and Hope is my first book.  You can purchase my book through my website where there are links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and a link to purchase a signed copy from me.  My website is KathrynTreat.com.

NJ:  Do you have a blog?

Kathryn:  I have two blogs.  The first one is dedicated to sharing my story and talking about chronic illness and multiple chemical sensitivity.  My second blog, BE MY GUEST, is dedicated to writing and supporting other authors.  I hope that you all will visit both and share your thoughts and comments with me.

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

Kathryn:  I have signed up and follow several online resources/organizations.  The two that stand out the most for me are RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB  (RRBC) and Indies Unlimited.

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

Kathryn:  I have received the most social media support and encouragement from RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

NJ:  How has RRBC helped you exactly, Kathryn?

Kathryn:  RRBC is one of those “do everything” clubs.  I have received so much support in terms of Twitter and name recognition!

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?

Kathryn:  Yes, I am not only a member, but the Membership Director!  Where do I begin?  {NJ:  Another long-winded one…*Sigh*}.  This club is phenomenal!  There is so much activity and ways for its members to be PROFILED, PROMOTED & PROPELLED.  Members are supported daily through tweets by members of our Tweet Support Team (TST) and other club members.  Member-author books are displayed prominently in our Online Catalog (BOOK CLUB SELECTIONS FOR REVIEW page).  RRBC offers a BOOK OF THE MONTH where a book and it’s author are promoted for an entire month.  RRBC shines a bright spotlight on authors through our “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR program, where authors are featured as guests on many blogs for an entire week;  featured on the RRBC SpotlightChat with Danica Cornell and they also have the honor of being interviewed by our President, Nonnie Jules, in the most sought after interview segment ever, “WHO’S ON THE SHELF,” which is where I’m sitting now.  Members are randomly selected each Tuesday for #PUSHTUESDAY, where our body of active members push and promote this special member HEAVILY for a full 24-hours!  There are writing contests, a Mentor Program and so many other giveaways and Incentives for our members.

There is so much going on here and new ways to promote our members are continually popping up.  What’s not to love about this club?  Are you a member yet?  Mention that you heard about it from me WHEN you join us!

NJ:  -______-  WHEW!  Sure you’re finished, Kathryn?  OK.  Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Kathryn:  I have come across book clubs, but nothing like this club.  RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is growing rapidly.  There will be others trying to emulate it BUT RRBC has set very high standards, and so copying it would be almost impossible.

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

Kathryn:  I want to thank you, Nonnie, for bringing me on board when you began envisioning RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.  I have had so many positive experiences with the club and it’s members.  I am enjoying my time in the “SPOTLIGHT” now and also look forward to my time in any of the other fabulous seats here in the RRBC house.

NJ:  Thank you so much, Kathryn!  That was an awesome interview (you were a little long-winded like your friend Mrs. Slaughter, but that’s OK…hehehehe).  You have made our time on the SHELF, a most pleasant one!  To my guests, please support Kathryn by picking up a copy of her book  ALLERGIC TO LIFE  and by visiting her blog stops on her tour which ends on Saturday.  You can find the complete tour line up here.  Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since Kathryn was on the “SHELF” today, well, she already told you what to tell folks, didn’t she?  Make it a great day, my friends.  We’ll see you next week, right here on the “SHELF”!!

Allergic To Life cover

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