Tag Archives: Spotlight Authors

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

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

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

(Just as an FYI:  This year I will not be editing the responses of my guests.  I will post their responses to each interview question, just as they have written them.)

227545_10150597633450724_3524451_n

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We’ve made it more comfortable in 2018, and I’ve added a few bars to make it a bit safer.  Some of my guests in the past have had some very unfortunate accidents and I don’t ever want that to happen again.  So, are you comfy?

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Married or single?

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

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

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

NJ:  I think I saw a photo of Scribbles.  Cute kid!  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

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

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

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

NJ:  OK.  How about your favorite sport…

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

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

Vashti:  Game of Thrones. Duh.

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

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

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

Judge Judy rolling eyes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I think you opened up a can of worms here.

shutterstock_29964307Are you OK?)  

NJ:  So, are you neat or messy?

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

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

Vashti:  I use both but prefer Twitter.

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

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

Handclapping gif

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

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

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

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

eye rolling gif.gif

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

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

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

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

NJ:  What was so great about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vashti:  I’ve never done that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VashtiTHE FALL OF LILITH

The Fall of Lilith by Vashti Q

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vashti:  Not at all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Vashti, thank you so much for hanging out on THE SHELF with us today!  And, thanks for being an awesome member! This has been so much fun!  Not once did you come close to having an accident!  That’s an amazing feat.

To my guests, please pick up a copy of Vashti’s book.

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

I’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

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

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

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

(Throwback Thursday!)

fb_img_1485461432230

marlena-smith

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

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

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

MS:  It’s my birth name.

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

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

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

Dog rolling his eyes

Anyway, are you hitched or unhitched?

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

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind?

MS:  No.

NJ:  Any pets?  What kind?

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

Many dogs

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

MS:  Anything Italian!

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

MS:  Blue.

NJ:  Favorite sport?

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

NJ:  Favorite TV Show?

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

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

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

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

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

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

MS:  Lying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MS:  Please refer to the previous question/answer.

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

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

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

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

Blushing dog

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

MS:  Of course.

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

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

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

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

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

MS:  Nothing too terrible.

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

angry dog

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

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

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

woman-being-pushed

SPLAT!!!

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

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

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

wonderwoman-rescues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the-power

 

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

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

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

MS:  RRBC, hands down.

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

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

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

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

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

MS:  Nope.

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

MS:  Of course, and I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

%d bloggers like this: