Tag Archives: Twitter

What Does a Good #RRBC / #RWISA Member Look Like?

Funny Face Dog 1

(Well, close…but not exactly.)

I receive so many email messages asking: “Nonnie, what does a good RRBC Member look like?  I want to know because I want to ensure that I’m wearing that same look.” Well, the words may not come out exactly that way, but in a gist, that’s what they’re trying to say.

RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a book club, unlike any other book club you’ve ever seen.  We’re different, and where I come from…different is a really good thing!  If you’re a new member, you might wonder how we’re different, OR, what separates us from the one million, five hundred thousand, thirty-two and a half other book clubs out there. (Whew! Breathe).

Since I am the Founder of this club, I am the perfect person to answer that question, but, I’m going a step farther…I’m going to tell you just what an AMAZING RRBC Member looks like.  So, cop a squat (as they say), and prepare to be enlightened.


*…takes the time to engage in the RRBC forums, introducing themselves and meeting as many of his/her fellow members as possible.  They want to know who is who, so they’ll know who to throw their extra-special support behind;

*…doesn’t join to see what we can do for him/her.  They join to see what they can offer to others;

*…doesn’t come into the club clueless, take all that they have learned from us and then run off to try and start their own club to compete against us.  No, they take that knowledge that we have unselfishly given to them and they use it to help us grow and grow and grow.  You would be shocked at the sheer number of members who didn’t even know how to log onto Twitter, let alone send a tweet, before they joined RRBC, but boy, once we got them up to speed, we never even see them anymore (because of course, they’re off doing their own thing…I mean, who wouldn’t, though?  We’ve equipped them very well!).  Yes, this is the perfect example of forgetting the hand that fed you…and, the hand that literally taught you how to walk;

*…participates in as many club activities as their little heart can muster!  Block parties, contests, blog tours, book club discussions…you name it…they’re there!

*…ensures that he/she is doing his/her part by remaining compliant within the club.  That entails supporting fellow members by reading and reviewing their books;

*…supports his/her fellow members when they are on blog tours, by following along each day, actually taking the time to read posts, sharing on social media and then, leaving comments.  And, they don’t just leave comments when there are prizes to be given away;

*…takes the time to become familiar with our club calendar, so that they don’t miss out on any of our amazingly fun and supportive events;

*…can be found in the #RRBC #PeanutGallery during our RAVE WAVES BlogTalkRadio shows, sharing their comments and questions for the guests and the hosts;

*…doesn’t just pop up when there is something in it for them specifically…like when their books can be promoted or their blogs can be promoted.  Amazing RRBC members are there all the time;

*…doesn’t only read the BWCU (Bi-Weekly Club Updates) to ensure that the book promo info that they submitted, is included.  They read it all the time because they’re truly interested in what’s going on in our club, as well as being genuinely interested in the good news shared by other members;

*…doesn’t re-tweet only the tweets with their own Twitter handle included.  They take the time to seek out their fellow members’ tweets to show their support of them.  (This is easily done by searching Twitter for #RRBC or #RaveReviewsBookClub);

*…doesn’t keep their name on our roster just to continue to sell their books.  They remain because they believe in our mission and our goals here, and they are dedicated to helping to further the cause of building community support;

*…continually helps us to spread the word of RRBC and all that it offers, so that we are always growing.  They realize that the greater our membership, the greater the support we give and receive;

*…is fiercely protective of RRBC and all that we stand for, and just might challenge you if you try to smear our good name;

…and lastly, an AMAZING RRBC MEMBER is here for the long haul.  The excitement that they felt about our club when they first joined, is the same excitement you will find them with today.  Look around, members like Beem Weeks, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Jan Sikes, Wendy Scott, Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Peggy Hattendorf, Rhani D’Chae, Karen Ingalls, Karl Morgan, Patricia Guthrie, Harriet Hodgson, D.L. Finn, Marlena Smith, Michelle Abbott, Karen Ingalls, Bernard Foong, Stephen Geez and so many more…quite a few of these members have been here practically since the very beginning and they are still here, giving and giving and giving.  But, don’t be mistaken, their giving continually pays off for them.  Don’t believe me?  Well, why don’t you ask them.  I’m sure they’re somewhere wandering the halls of our AMAZING club!

Remember the crazy-faced dog above who looks so excited?  Well, we staunch supporters of RRBC and its members, tend to look like that on occasion, too, as we are so “loopy” for all things RRBC!

So, are you on the fast track to AMAZING within RRBC?  I sure hope so because that’s when all those AMAZING doors begin to open up for you!


#RRBC Book & Blog Block Party – Quizzing The President

Blog Party 1


# of Giveaways today:  2

(1) FREE Membership or Membership Renewal

(1) $5 Amazon Gift Card


Good Morning!  My name is Natasha Know-It-All and I’m a reporter with the Raving Reviews News.  Today, we have tracked down the extremely busy President & Founder of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, Nonnie Jules.  We asked if she could spare a few moments for a quick Q&A and surprisingly, to our delight, she said “YES!” Although she has limited this to only a 6 Q&A session, we’re happy to have that!  Any little bone she’s willing to throw at us, we’re willing to run after it!  Ms. Jules rarely gives interviews so sit back, relax and take it all in!  Here is her take on quality vs quantity.  #Winning


Natasha:  Hello, Ms. Jules!  Sharing that I’m so excited to be sitting down with you today would be a great understatement!  I am ecstatic, so thank you, thank you, thank you for this!

Nonnie:  Oh, you’re very welcome.  ‘Tis my pleasure to chat with you, as well.

Natasha:  OK, I know how busy you are, so let’s get right down to business;  just a few questions that came to me last night while doing my research for this sit-down.  I have followed your organization since its inception and if I can remember correctly, at one point, your membership was well over 600.  Can you tell us why you’re around the 400 mark today?

Nonnie:  I’d love to share that with you, Ms. Know-It-All…or, would you prefer that I call you Natasha?

Natasha:  Natasha would be fine, thank you (as she rolls her eyes).

angry dog

Nonnie:  Great!  When I started RRBC, our membership was FREE.  At that time, we were pushing heavily the fact that when you added your name to our roster, every other member on the roster was strongly encouraged to #follow you on social media.  It got to the point that folks were joining us simply to grow their followers list.  It was disheartening to know that there were unscrupulous people out there who would go to such lengths just to grow their followers.  Well, they’d come on board, do absolutely nothing for the club or within the club, show no support for their fellow members and then they’d leave.  When I was completely fed up with these characters, we decided that we would begin charging a fee for membership, a small one, but one nonetheless.  I knew that this would weed out the riff-raff from the serious authors and readers who wanted to truly belong to a community of support, so our fee of $25/annually was instated.  We had much email from members (new and old) who said they would gladly spend more for all that they received, or was offered here. We still have those today who choose not to renew their membership, and for a great majority of those, they joined, put their name on our roster, did absolutely nothing within the club, then looked around one day and said “Hmmm, what is this club doing for me? No one is reading and reviewing my book.”  Well, if you put absolutely nothing in, you probably weren’t getting much out.

Natasha:  OK.  Were you disappointed to see your numbers fall?

Nonnie:  (Laughing) Not at all, Natasha!  Actually, I was excited!  I’m all about quality and not quantity.  I’m not the author who wants to be known for writing MANY books, I’m the author who wants to be known for writing GREAT books, and if that is only ONE great book, I’m happy with that!  All organizations go thru change in membership and if you’ve ever belonged to any, you would know that this kind of change is typical.  I want only the best in my organization and if that means I have only 10 great members as opposed to 100 bits of riff-raff, I’d feel blessed that I had the 10!

Natasha:  It’s pretty evident that you have some folks who have been with you for quite some time.  Why do you think they stick around?

Nonnie:  I have a great many board members, ex-board members, and members who have been here for a very long time, some since day one.  These authors (for the most part) realize the importance of community, and they’ve never found anything like RRBC before.  Authors supporting one another instead of competing against each other?  That’s unheard of!  But, it’s what we do and it is why our core of supportive members remain.  AND, they also see the great benefits to membership here…and those benefits are numerous and all GRAND!

Natasha:  Would you mind sharing the names of some of those awesome members you speak of above?  We’d like to get to know them ourselves!

Nonnie:  Of course!  Bruce A. Borders, Shirley Harris-Slaughter, Beem Weeks and Marlena Hand have been with me practically since the very beginning and you could count them among the founding members group.  Bruce and Shirley are now retired, LIFETIME Board Members, but they are always willing and ready to jump in whenever they are called upon.  I can’t leave without mentioning some of our other awesome-tastic members, as well:  Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Peggy Hattendorf, Bette A. Stevens, Nicholas Rossis, Michelle Abbott, Rhani D’Chae, Linda Mims, Jennifer Hinsman, Jan Sikes, Gordon Bickerstaff, Karen Ingalls, and so many more, and a great big shout-out to those especially supportive newer members, that I’m sure I’ve failed to mention (but you know who you are, and I want you to say so down below!)

Natasha:  Well, OK! That’s quite a list!  What makes these members stand out from some of your past members who you would tag as riff-raff?

Nonnie:  Natasha, these members stand out in my mind because they are so supportive of everyone else.  Their timelines are filled with support of others.  If you’re on a blog tour, you can find them at the door waiting, even before your tour begins (and you don’t have to even offer a giveaway for most of them to follow along), and they make themselves known in the RRBC community…they engage with their fellow members.  That engagement is one of the most important factors to having a successful membership within RRBC.  Our supportive members have to really know you to throw the full weight of their support behind you, so don’t just slap your name on our roster, put your books in our catalog and then expect to be supported in grand fashion.  It doesn’t work that way here.  When you give a little, you get so much more in return!

Natasha:  Everyone knows you’re a no-holds-barred kind of person.  Does it bother you that you are perceived as such, or do you not mind that label at all?

Nonnie:  I’m not a label-person, Natasha, and sticks and stones…right? I learned long ago that I cannot control the actions and thoughts of other people, so I don’t try.  Anyone who follows me anywhere, knows that I don’t live my life based on how I am perceived by others, or what others might think of me.  If you like me, great!  If you don’t, well, that’s your problem…I love me!  And me loving me, is all that matters.  There are too many people who live their lives based on the feelings of others, and when you live that way, you can’t truly be happy.  I mean, if someone is angry with you, you can’t sleep, if someone doesn’t like you, you can’t eat, if someone isn’t your friend, you have a bad day…let me make this crystal clear:  I sleep, eat and have great days so I guess it’s safe to say I’m not one of these people.  I have said, and will go to my grave with this, I will never give ANYONE that kind of power over my life.  For those of you who have relinquished your power to others, take it back.  It’s not at all worth it in the end.

Natasha:  Well, that wraps up this interview!  I wish we had more time with you, Ms. Jules, but we do understand that any moment away from the RRBC Corporate Offices, is a moment lost on supporting your membership, and we wouldn’t want that.  Any final words?

Nonnie:  Natasha, thanks for the interview, I really enjoyed it!   I’d like to thank everyone who is following along and partying with us on our block party this month!  Be sure to leave a comment below to get entered into our daily drawing and there are also two other stops today, so don’t forget to visit the lineup to find out where they are.

If you haven’t joined RRBC, ask yourself “What am I waiting for? Am I being truly supported out here alone or with these other clubs who offer more lip service than actual service?”  I assure you, the sooner you take the leap, the better off you’ll be with the power of RRBC standing behind you!



Your Attitude Determines Your Altitude at RRBC!

In honor of Governing Board Appreciation Month here at RRBC, there will be a special episode of ASPIRE TO INSPIRE on Monday, June 27,  where musings from our board members will be shared by host, Gwen Plano and her co-host, John W. Howell.

Author and “SPOTLIGHT” Author Co-ordinator, Rebecca Reilly, has written a post which needs to be shared in its entirety, therefore it is being posted here, for all to “take in.” I, Nonnie Jules, am only the author of the title and Yes, I Said It!


Attitude is everything. The amount of joy, or frustration, we feel each day largely depends on our outlook. For example, a trip to the grocery store can be an adventure, or drudgery, depending on our mindset. It has nothing to do with what we need to buy, or the condition of the store, or any other thing. The way we anticipate the excursion, our choice to enjoy the task or dread it, causes the level of pleasure or pain, in our experience.

I’ve found this to be true within the walls of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. People join our highly supportive community with one of two attitudes:
Attitude Number One: I am joining RRBC to GET as much support as possible.
Attitude Number Two: I am joining RRBC to GIVE as much support as possible.

Let’s take the member with Attitude Number One. They are always on the lookout for their name to be chosen as a #PUSHTUESDAY Winner, or their book to be touted as the BOOK OF THE MONTH. Their time and energy is used trying to get more for themselves. Some go as far as emailing the leadership to complain or ask for special treatment. Their experience with RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB becomes a frustration. They may tweet and retweet in hopes of garnering the attention they desire, but their heart is not in it. They are too focused on GETTING the glory and they miss the true heart of RRBC.

Now let’s look at the RRBC member with Attitude Number Two. These people join the club to be part of a community. They want to meet authors. They desire to learn how to be supportive. They fill their Twitter feed and Facebook pages, promoting others. They thank those who promote them, and thus forge relationships. They put the RAVE WAVES shows on their calendar so they can tune in and support and thereby learning more about their fellow members. These members celebrate when other authors are chosen for the seats of honor, because those other authors are not strangers—they are friends. Members with Attitude Number Two are blessed by their experience with RAVE REVIEWS  BOOK CLUB, and their relationships with their fellow members. They do not worry about when they will be honored. It just happens because when you are supportive of others, your support is being noticed and noted.

The great thing about life is we have the power to choose our attitude. If you have been focused on “GETTING,” and frustrated with the results, try GIVING. Take your eyes off of yourself and put them firmly on your fellow members. You will enjoy the RAVE REVIEWS BOOKS CLUB experience so much more!


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.


Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!

It’s the interview everyone holds their breath on!  Where guests sometimes have to do a balancing act just to hang on!

photo (18)

{Designed and gifted by the late, Author, Kathryn C. Treat}

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 I have with me on the “SHELF” our very own Club Secretary, Marlena Hand!!! To those of us who know just how long her responsibility list is with the club, she’s also known as Superwoman


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

MH:  Of course!! It couldn’t be any nicer!

NJ:  Of course, you’d say that, Mar.  {Mar is a total mini-me}.  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

MH:  My author name and birth name are one and the same.  When I finally publish my first novel, I will definitely use my God-given name. I owe that to my parents.  🙂

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?

MH:  Born, raised and still a resident of Cullman, Alabama.

NJ:  Married or single?

MH:  Married

NJ:  OK, well, don’t sound so happy about it,  -_______-  Kids or no?  If yes, how many?  Sons or Daughters?

MH:  Only a four-legged fur baby.

NJ:  Thank, Goodness!  Oh, I’m sorry…for those of you who don’t know, I consistently pray over Marlena’s tubes, because if she were to have a baby right now, while RRBC is growing so fast, we’d have to shut down every time she had morning sickness.  Not only that, we’d ALL have to go on maternity leave while she is on maternity leave because this organization CAN NOT function without Marlena Hand.  Believe me when I say, you all would get by without ME just fine, but Marlena…well, I say we all start praying over her tubes together, right now!  She has agreed to let me know when she’s ready to be a mom to a two-legged baby, at which time (per our contract), I will cease praying over her tubes.   So, Mar, what’s the four-legged baby’s name?

MH:  Harli

NJ:  Nice name.  What’s your favorite food?

MH:  Italian

NJ:  Favorite color…

MH:  Blue

NJ:  Favorite sport…

MH:  Favorite sport to watch?  Baseball.  Favorite sport to play?  Volleyball.

NJ:  You didn’t tell me you loved volleyball!  You know how much I love volleyball…to watch, that is, not to play.  Favorite TV Show…

MH:  The crime shows, like CSI or NCIS.

NJ:  Ahhhh, yes, the shows that turn you into a little detective…and we know how much you like to research, don’t we?

Dog researching on the computer

So, who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?

MH: Julia Roberts & Bradley Cooper

NJ:  Julia Roberts is mine, too!  (I told y’all she is a total mini-me!).  Couch potato or workout nut? Be honest, Mar -_____-

MH: Neither. I don’t workout as often as I should, but I am not one to just lounge around. I’m always working on something!

NJ:  Yes, you are always moving and on the go, which is a good thing, exercise-wise.   I think I’m going to get you one of those pedometers that track your steps so that you will ensure you’re getting in at least 10,000 a day.  I wear mine faithfully and love it!  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…and sometimes not-so-friendly stomach-punching).

MH: Betrayal

NJ:  THAT IS THE WORST!  My hand almost (accidentally) hit you sitting across from me, simply because you said the word, betrayal!   That’s just how much my stomach-punching radar loathes people who betray other’s trust.  Thank goodness, I’m calming down now.  I would NEVER want to accidentally punch my Mar!  Let’s get off that subject quickly!  So, are you neat or messy?

MH: I’m borderline OCD

NJ:  Oh my goodness…I think I gave birth to Marlena.  This child is too much like ME!  #Scary but #Awesome at the same time. Facebook or Twitter, my child?

MH:  Depends on the purpose! Facebook is my connection to high school friends & family. Twitter is my connection to some AMAZING authors.

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.

MH:  Nonnie, you are a HUGE supporter on Twitter. I think everyone can agree to that!  And actually, my biggest supporters on Twitter are all members of RRBC!

NJ:  Do you hear that world?  THE MOST AWESOME SUPPORTERS ARE MEMBERS OF RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!  Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest.

MH:  Nonnie and Wonder Woman are one and the same, right?

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

MH: Since I can only name two, I’ll go outside RRBC … Emily Greenwood & Joyce Schneider. (Maybe they’ll see this and join!)

NJ:  {Marlena, don’t think I love you so much that you can’t have an accident up on this shelf.)  What is it about them that you’ve come to like?

MH:  Emily writes historical romance and her books are very well-written and you are immediately pulled into the characters’ worlds. She also writes about strong, independent women, which I love.

Joyce introduced me to my first medical crime thriller and, like Emily, immediately pulled me in. I find the crime scene world rather fascinating. And I love to be put on the edge of my seat, anxious to see what happens next. Joyce does that easily.

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

MH: It’s SO hard to think of only two when I’ve read so many awesome ones. First ones that come to mind would be Jazz Baby by Beem Weeks & A Little Night Mischief by Emily Greenwood.

3rd Try

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

MH:  Sugarcoatin’ is for Candy & Pacifyin’ is for Kids … hands down!!

Sugarcoatin Cover

NJ:  (WOW! And I didn’t even have to pay her to say that!  Hopefully, I don’t get billed later.) Thanks, Mar!  I’m happy you enjoyed it that much!  What was so great about it?

MH:  What wasn’t?! The writing, the message, the quotes…

NJ:  …oh, and don’t forget the FIVE errors that have since been corrected. -_________-  Mar, after you read books, do you post reviews?

MH:  I do.

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

MH:  First and foremost, book reviews should be honest, without being harsh. My method is to give a brief description of the book, followed by my thoughts on different elements of the book – writing, the flow, the character development, etc.

NJ:  Sounds like you’re a pretty good reviewer!  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?

MH:  When I review a book, I try to be honest. I will admit, though, that I reflect more on the positive elements of the book.

NJ:  OK.  Read any poorly written books lately?

MH:  I have not. The last several books I’ve read have been great!

NJ:  You know what, Mar?  Honestly, I have to agree with you.  When I first got into the reviewing biz, oh my goodness, all kinds of literary trash was being dumped over my head, but lately, the Indie world is delivering the goods!

(LITERARY TRASH defined by Nonnie Jules:  A written piece of work that should have had MORE work put into it before it was released, AND when the errors are pointed out to the author, the author makes excuses, instead of rushing to remove and correct/perfect.  “Yes, I Said It!”)   So, Mar, are you an author?

MH:  I am aspiring to publish my own book, but yes, I am a published author.  Right now you can find some of my published work in the Rave Reviews Book Club’s first Anthology:  RAVE SOUP FOR THE WRITER’S SOUL.

Rave Soup own (1)

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

MH:  For as long as I can remember! My first memory comes from 2nd grade, when I was selected to attend a local Young Authors Conference.

NJ:  What books are you working on?

MH:  My WIP is titled (for now!) A Momentary Glance.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?

MH:  I do! I have my blog (mylife428.wordpress.com).

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

MH:  Well, obviously, I think everyone that loves to read/write should belong to Rave Reviews Book Club. It truly is a wonderful organization that offers one-of-a-kind support.  I enjoy visiting the Writer’s Digest website for tips and advice, and Twitter is an excellent way to network with fellow writers.

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

MH:  I would have to say Twitter. Mainly because it connected me to the peeps of RRBC.

Dog rolling his eyes

NJ:  “Really, Mar?  Twitter?

NJ:  OK, then…how did TWITTER help you?

MH:  Twitter has helped me connect with some amazing and inspiring people, including fellow writers. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot through Twitter: marketing/promoting techniques, publishing dos & don’ts, etc. And, as I said, if it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t have met YOU and been introduced to this awesome club.

Blushing dog

NJ:  Oh, shucks, you’re making me blush.  Stop it!  As a Rave Reviews Book Club member, what do you really think of the club?

MH:  Rave Reviews is filled with the most amazing people — talented writers, tremendous supporters. It can’t get much better than RRBC. I truly feel blessed that I am able to serve on a Board of some of the best people I know.

NJ:  Well, thank you, again!  You’re singing our praises today, aren’t cha?  Whatdoyawant?  Huh?  It has to be something big!  Let’s move on (while you’re thinking of how to respond to that last question of mine) …have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

MH: Definitely not!

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

MH:  Oh, I do! Quite often!

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

MH:  I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, Nonnie, and am so grateful for the opportunity to join you on this shelf.

NJ:  Oh, I enjoyed you, too, sweetie.  Hurry and get a book with the author listed as only Marlena Hand, so we can all run out and buy it!  To our guests today, if you’re not following Marlena on her blog or on Twitter, you’re missing out on some grand support!  @mlh42812.  We’ll see you next week with another awesome interview!!! 


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” my fellow board member, Nicholas Rossis!


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

Nicholas:  Yes, thanks for asking!  I did bring an extra cushion, if you want one.

NJ:  Oh, no thank you, hon.  I have plenty of in-grown cushion to keep me comfy on this SHELF.  So, how about we start by confirming whether or not the name we know you as, is your birth name or a pen name?

Nicholas:  It’s my full name.  IN fact, it’s fuller than my full name.  You see, I was baptized as Nicholas Chris, but back then you could only register the one name, so I’m officially registered as Nicholas alone.  Well, not alone (I am married, after all), but you know what I mean.  Anyway, no one knew about the second name.  When I had to choose a pen name, I liked the idea of displaying publically what had been hidden away all this time.  Much like my writing.

NJ:  Interesting.  So, tell us where you were born.  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Nicholas:  Athens, Greece.  I returned here in 2000, after a stint in Edinburgh, Scotland.

NJ:  Now, i’m pretty quick, so some of my questions are going to be quick and straight to the point.  Married or single?

Nicholas:  Happily married to Electra, my childhood sweetheart of over 20 years.

NJ:  WOW!  And I thought I had been hitched for a long time.  Do you and Electra have any kids?

Nicholas:  Not yet.  We’re but kids ourselves, after all.

NJ:  Nicholas, you and I aren’t too far apart in age and honey, I hate to break it to you, but I haven’t been a kid for a long, long, loooooooooooong time.  And I have two kids who constantly remind me of that.  Do you guys have any pets?  If so, what kind?

Nicholas:  That beauty you see above in the picture with me is our Meli (Greek for “honey”).  She’s the sweetest dog I’ve met.  We also have two cats;  mercifully, they have all learned to share the same roof.  I confess to playing favorites with Perro (he’s a cat with remarkably dog-like behavior, hence the name), while Electra is more partial to Basta (he’s single-mindedly stubborn, which explains his name).

NJ:  Your favorite food?

Nicholas:  Ooh, that’s a toughie.  I’m a bit of a foodie and love both to eat and cook – and have been blessed with an excellent cook of a wife.  Which is only fair, as my mother is notoriously a poor cook.  Her recipe for soup seemed to be something like, “boil water, empty can of tomato paste, simmer, serve hot.” So, back to your question:  pretty much anything by Electra, but especially her Moussaka.  Sadly, this traditional dish takes her too long to prepare, so we don’t enjoy it as much as I’d like (Honey, if you’re reading this, feel free to take it as a hint. No pressure).

NJ:  I don’t think you should be concerned as to whether or not Electra’s reading this, I think you should be worried whether or not your MOM is reading this!  You are too brave…to tell the world she is a horrible cook.  Shame on you, Nicholas!  Moving on, what is your favorite color?

Nicholas:  Light blue.  The color of the Athenian sky or the Aegean sea.

NJ:  Favorite sport…

Nicholas:  I’m not exactly a sporty type, probably because I seem to have been born lacking the antagonistic gene.  I do love my Tai Chi, though, and practice daily.  Although I’m not sure if it should be described as sport or meditation!

NJ:  I’m not an expert or anything, but I think we’re safe in labeling Tai Chi as meditational.  What’s your favorite TV Show?

Nicholas:  There’s so many, but I’ll have to go with Fraiser.  I know it’s been over like forever, but, I still consider the writing brilliant.  Almost as brilliant are Gilmore Girls and Friends.  Don’t judge.

NJ:  -_______-  Gilmore Girls?  (clears throat uncomfortably) uuuuuuh, OK.  Your favorite actor?

Nicholas:  Please don’t make me choose!  There’s just too many!  Alright, if I have to choose, I’d go with Paul Newman.  Even if you ignore his many, many movies or philanthropy, this is a guy – no, a Hollywood STAR – with stunning looks, who stayed devoted to his family for fifty years.  Not to mention he served in the  US Navy and actually fought in the Pacific.  Now, how cool is that?

NJ:  I’m gonna have to take your word, that it’s cool.  So, are you a couch potato or workout nut?  Be honest.

Nicholas:  I believe I’ve made it plenty clear that I’m not exactly the workout nut.  It’s a small miracle that I’m in a good shape, as I honestly don’t do anything about it, apart from trying not to stress.  It’s only life after all, as the song goes.

NJ:  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to punch somebody in the nose?  (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 that some friendly nose-punching is in order.  She also feels that she is not alone in those “feelings”).

Nicholas:  Ha ha!  I don’t remember punching someone in the nose, or anywhere else for that matter, since I was a kid.  Having said that, disrespect annoys me.  No matter how it manifests…from cruelty to animals to disrespect towards nature, people with disabilities or the under-privileged, it warrants a good spanking.  Or a punch in the nose, in this case.

NJ:  Awwww, thank you, Nicholas.  You have a serious reputation for being such “a nice guy,” by you letting the world know that sometimes even you feel like nose-punching, you just helped a lot of people to be honest in their feelings.  You made me proud!  🙂  So, are you Neat or Messy?

Nicholas:  Is there an “all of the above”box I can tick?  I like my things neat, but not too neat.  There’s got to be a bit of chaos there, too.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Nicholas:  LOL – definitely Twitter, as I can easily spend an entire day on Facebook and then wonder where the day has gone!  Twitter is more gentlemanly in that way.

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

Nicholas:  Nat Russo is one of them.  A wonderful author with a great book and he’s an amazing person.  Rayne Hall helped me a lot when I first joined Twitter, and she taught me the ropes, so to speak.  Her books on writing also taught me so much, plus she’s quite the writer herself!

NJ:  If my memory serves me correctly, Rayne was one of the first people I met when I got on Twitter.  She and another friend (Maura Jortner) and I used to laugh it up together.  We’ve lost contact, though but I’m so glad you mentioned her!  OK, here’s the big question:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman?  Be honest!

Nicholas:  LOL – obviously Nonnie.  I mean, it’s hard enough keeping up with her, can you imagine the kind of energy WonderWoman would require?

NJ:  Well (sitting up straighter in her chair), in some parts, I’m known as WONDER WOMAN, so thank you!  Now, everyone knows the names Mark Twain and Stephen King but how about you give us two names of some INDIE authors that you favor:

Nicholas:  There’s just too many!  I did mention Nat and Rayne, so I’ll add MPax, whose sci-fi work is amazing, and Peyton Reynolds, whose fantasy books are an inspiration to me.  Also, Effrosyni Moschoudi, Ryan Schneider and Elle Boca, among so many, many others!

NJ:  Whoaa, wait a minute…I asked for two!  I’m glad we didn’t sign you on as the Treasurer at RRBC because it seems you have a problem COUNTING!  I counted 5 people up there!  (Composing myself again).  OK, so tell us what is it about TWO of these INDIE authors that you’ve come to like?

Nicholas:  Their exemplary writing and pacing.  Also, I’ve bee lucky enough to get to know some of them on a personal level, too. and they’re all so helpful and friendly.  But that’s something I’ve come to associate with INDIE authors in general – the way I was welcomed into the community is incredible!

NJ:  Name TWO of your favorite INDIE books…

Nicholas:  It’s hard;  there’s so much wonderful work out there!  I hear a lot of complaints about the poor quality of INDIE work – mainly from traditionally published authors;  what’s come to be known as the “tsunami of crap” argument.  And yet, the majority of books I’ve read match or surpass traditionally published works.  Anyway, if I had to choose just two (NJYou do), I’d say, off  the top of my head, Nat’s Necromancer:  Awakening and Peyton’s Auguries of Dawn.  I’m avoiding naming books by people who are closer to me, to make sure I remain objective.  Although I’m not really objective, as both are fantasy writers, which is my preferred genre.

NJONE good INDIE book you read that was so good you want the entire world to read it…

Nicholas:  This is getting harder and harder (thick beads of sweat now streaking down his forehead).  If by world you mean fantasy/sci-fi readers, and since I’ve already mentioned Nat and Peyton, then I’d have to say MPax’s Backworlds. Any book in the series, really!  If, on the other hand, then ANTics by Dakota Douglas, was a gem of a book, and one I’d happily donate to every children’s library! (NJ:  This proves this guy really does have a problem with counting and numbers.  Didn’t I ask him for ONE good INDIE book?  And, I even put the ONE in big, bold letters!)

NJ:  What was so great about both books?

Nicholas:  Both have wonderful writing, superb pacing and memorable characters.  Most of all, good stories!

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

Nicholas:  Almost always.  Definitely more often since becoming an author myself, as I have come to realize what a great gift reviews are.

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

Nicholas:  More than anything, the feel the book left them with.  I don’t believe in reviews that break down a book and award points to characterization, pacing, writing, typos, etc. and then come up with a grand total.  It just seems too technical to me, too sterile.  When I read a good book, I get excited, and I want my review to reflect that passion.

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?

Nicholas:  A bit of both, to be honest.  My policy is that I focus on what’s good about the book in public, and will contact the author in private to explain what didn’t work, in my opinion.  I also remind myself that one man’s medicine is another man’s poison, to quote from Hippocrates.  I have come across books that have glowing reviews but are just not my cup of tea.  I have also come across books that must seem terrible to others but somehow resonated with me.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Nicholas:  I was given a book to review that was so poorly written, I sent it back with the simple advice to find a decent copy editor before re-submitting it.  There’s no point in publishing a hurtful review if the problems in the book can be relatively easily fixed.  In this case, the author was not a native English speaker, and that was painfully obvious.  Any half-decent editor would be able to turn this book from a two-star to a a four-star one, as the actual story was pretty good.

NJ: Nicholas, are you an author?

Nicholas:  So I’ve been told!  Plus, it says so on my blog’s ABOUT page.  Would that page lie?

NJ:  I don’t know your page that well to being able to say that it’s an honest page or a liar, but after this interview, I’ll go check it out to see.  How long have you been writing?

Nicholas:  Fiction?  I published my first short story in 2009, and PEARSEUS, my first novel, in October, 2013.  I had been writing before that, of course;  in fact, my Professor had suggested I turn my PhD thesis into a book, something I haven’t done so far, preferring fiction instead.

NJ:  What books have you written?

Nicholas:  My latest book, THE POWER OF SIX, is a collection of my best six science fiction short stories.  PEARSEUS is my epic fantasy series.  The first book is entitled, Year 18: The Schism.  

You can read my second book, Rise of the Prince, and since you don’t actually need to have read the first one, that’s the one I’d start with.  Or you could buy both books at a discount here.

Finally, any Greek readers can download for free my translation of the Tao Te Ching on my Istomedia website.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website you’d like us to visit?

Nicholas:  Yes, I blog on NicholasRossis.  I post almost daily, mostly about publishing, book marketing and writing.

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

Nicholas:  You mean, besides Rave Reviews Book Club?  Because that would be my number one choice.  In addition to that, I’d have to say the Self Publisher’s Showcase, run by Paul Martin and the Independent Author Network.  I don’t know if Irene’s Book Oasis qualifies as an organization, but she’s a great supporter of INDIE authors.  Then, there’s a score of wonderful information on writing and self-publishing , available on  blogs and websites.

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?

Nicholas:  I think it’s a great idea, run energetically by a group of amazing people.  The concept is brilliant and it seems to be working wonders, judging from my personal experience.

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

Nicholas:  I have come across various attempts at promoting reviews for authors.  Most focus either on paid-for reviews, or review-swapping.  Bookvetters is an interesting exception to that rule, having built a kind of “blind” review system.  However, in addition to encouraging reviews, Rave Reviews Book Club also promotes authors – heavily!  Having watched the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make this possible, I truly believe that no other online entity has managed to combine the two – reviews and promotion – as seamlessly or effectively as the RRBC.

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

Nicholas:  Want my cushion?  No?  You might, cause this will take a minute.  I just want to say that one of the greatest concerns aspiring authors have is how their work will reach the public.  It used to be that publishers acted as gatekeepers, deciding whom to publish and whom to reject.  Authors had no real way to circumvent this, and were forced to submit to publishers’ judgment.

With the advent of e-books and self-publishing, the situation has changed dramatically.  There is, however, a new challenge:  I read that some 1,500 books are published daily on Amazon;  that is an astounding number.  It is particularly hard for INDIE authors, as we need to be our own publicist, editor and promoter.  So, if you look at it rationally, you should probably give up any hope of pursuing a career as an author.  And yet, I am having such a great time doing it, I don’t really care.  I’d love to be able to live off my books, but even if I don’t, I’ve found this roller coaster of a journey so infinitely satisfying, that I would do it all again in a heartbeat..

So, my advice would be this:  If you’re in it for the money, don’t even bother.  There are plenty of other jobs that pay a lot more and require far less of your time.  If, however, you love writing and are held back by your fear of failure, take the plunge.  Dare to open your wings and fly.  One of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had since starting to write is the discovery of a whole community of wonderful people, like the Rave Reviews Book Club.  They will generously support you and offer their advice and assistance, and I’ve come to realize that there’s an astonishing number of people who share my passion for books.  More than anything, writing is – and should be – a labor of love.

NJ:  Thank you so much, Nicholas.  That was simply beautiful!  You have made our first day on the SHELF, a really, pleasant one!  To my guests, please support Nicholas by picking up a copy of one of his books (or  all of them) and by visiting his blog stops on his tour which ends on Saturday.  You can find his line up here,  and be sure and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter (@Nicholas_Rossis).  Have you joined Rave Reviews Book Club yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And since Nicholas was on the SHELF today, tell them he sent you! Make it a great day, my friends.  We’ll see you next week, right here on the SHELF!!!

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