Tag Archives: WHO’S ON THE SHELF

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

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

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

Natalie Ducey - My first catch in 25 years

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

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

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

Natalie:  Natalie Ducey is my married name.

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

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

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

Natalie:  We just recently celebrated our 14th Anniversary.

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

Natalie:  No children.

NJ:  Any pets? If so, what kind?

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

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

Confused dog

(Am I off base?  Just a little?)

Natalie, what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Natalie:  Chicken Pad Thai.

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

Natalie:  Teal blue.

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

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

NJ:  How about your current favorite TV Show:

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

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Natalie:  Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson.

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

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

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

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

NJ:  So, are you neat or messy?

Natalie:  Definitely more on the neat side.

Smiling dog

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

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

NJ:  Me, too, Natalie.  Not a FB fan but am in love with Mr. Twitter. (I hope he’s a Mr.)  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships. Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

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

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

Natalie:  Nonnie Jules, of course!

Chi dog smiling

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

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

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

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

Cheesing dog

Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read.

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

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

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

NJ:  What was so great about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natalie:  Not lately.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*THE HEART’S JOURNEY HOME

The Hearts Journey Home by Natalie Ducey

*THE HEART’S LULLABY

The Heart's Lullaby by Natalie Ducey

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

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

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

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

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

Natalie:  RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!

NJ:   How were you helped by them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natalie:  No. It’s unique for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RRBC Carol New

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Married or single?

Carol:  Married.

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

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

NJ:  If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one will immediately throw you into a nursing home and only visit you at Christmas?

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

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

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

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

Carol:  Cheesecake

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

Carol:  Red

NJ:  Your favorite sport…

Carol:  Hiking

NJ:  How about your favorite TV Show…

Carol:  I don’t watch TV

NJ:  disgusted-dog

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

Carol:  I don’t really have one.

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

Carol:  Definitely exercise.

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

Carol:  Know-it-alls

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

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

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

Carol:  Twitter

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

Carol:  Theresa Snyder

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

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

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

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

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

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

After you read books, do you post reviews?

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

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

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

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

OK, so let me get off my high-horse here and move on.  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

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

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carol:  Certainly, I welcome it. 

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

Carol:  WHAM!

Wham by Carol Marrs Phipps

HEART OF THE STAFF: COMPLETE SERIES

Heart of the Staff Complete Series by Carol Marrs Phipps

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Carol:  WHAM!

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

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

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

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

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

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

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

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

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

Carol:  Never

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

Carol:  Absolutely, and I have.

NJ:  WOW!  Thanks, Carol!  Nothing like those word-of-mouth referrals!  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

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

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

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

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

Dog being stroked.jpg

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

What the funny face dog

(“Well, we never!”)

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

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

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

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

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us,  member, ROBERT FEAR.  Robert is our “SPOTLIGHT” Author for the month of July and we are celebrating him all month long.  This week, he gets to sit on the shelf with me!

IMG_0713

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

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

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

RF:  Robert Fear is my birth name.

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

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

NJ:  Married or single, Robert?

RF:  Married.

NJ:  Any kids? What kind?

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

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

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

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

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

How Nonnie feels about cats…

NJ:  Uh, yea.  OK, so what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

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

Whaaaaattttt????

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

RF:  Blue

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

RF:  Soccer

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and low places, too

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

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

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

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

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

RF:  Neat.

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

RF:  Both.

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

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

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

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

Oh, shucks…you’re such a flatterer!

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

RF:  It would have to be WonderWoman Nonnie Jules!

Robert, stop it! You are tickling me pink!

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

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

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

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

NJ:  What was so great about it?

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

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

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

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

NJ:

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

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

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

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

RF:  Quality and content of the book.

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

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

NJ:  OK.  Read any poorly written books lately?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

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

NJ:  I can’t wait to read  both!  Do you have a blog or website? I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Birds chirping)

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

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

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

RF:  No, not really

Guess you forgot about your Facebook group then…

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

RF:  Yes, definitely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

dog shocked

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

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

NJ:  Uh huh…well, OK.

Confused dog pic.jpg-

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:

Drinking dog

(Is she finished yet?)

Laura, share your favorite sport with us, please…

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

NJ:  What about your favorite TV Show?

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

NJ:  What about your favorite Actress/Actor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Uh, yes she does…

Wonder woman smoking

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

Laura:  Again, Nonnie does.

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

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

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

Laura:  The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz

NJ:  I’m dead.

Sleeping dog

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

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

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

Laura:  Yes, I almost always post reviews.

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

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

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

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

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

Laura:  Yes I have.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Master and the Maid by Laura Libricz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laura:  Um, no…

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

Laura:  Yes, definitely…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ammanayphoto

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Married or single?

AM:  I’ve been married nearly 13 years.

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

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

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

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

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

AM:  Zero. I am not an animal person.

Many dogs

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

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

AM:  Chocolate, of course.

NJ:  How about your favorite color?

AM:  I love red.

NJ:  OK.  Got a favorite sport?

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

dog-doing-yoga

dog-doing-yoga-pose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AM:  Well, do you have an invisible plane?

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

ninja-dog

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NJ:  What was so great about it?

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

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

AM:  Yes, I always review.

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

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

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

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

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

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

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

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

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

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

NJ:  What books have you written?

She Dies at the End (November Snow Book 1) 

She Sees in Her Sleep (Three November Snow Shorts)

She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)

She Lights Up The Dark by A. M. Manay

 

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#RRBC Book & Blog Block Party – Quizzing The President

Blog Party 1

Location:  ALL OVER THE WORLD!

# 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, John Howell, John Fioravanti, Peggy Hattendorf, Bette A. Stevens, Nicholas Rossis, Jan Hawke, Gwen Plano, Michelle Abbott, Rhani D’Chae, Harmony Kent, Natalie Ducey, Linda Mims, Jennifer Hinsman, C. S. Boyack, 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!

***

HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR THE WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO YET?

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

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

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

Kim'sLife.png

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

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

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

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

shocked dog

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

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

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

Kim:  Yes, two sons.

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

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

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

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

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

Kim:  Rib-eye Steak

NJ:  Favorite color…

Kim:  Green

NJ:  Favorite sport…

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

NJ:  Favorite TV Show…

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

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

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

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

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

NJ:  Are you neat or messy?

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

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

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

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

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

NJ:  Nonnie Jules or Wonderwoman? Be honest

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

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

Kim:  Gordon Bickerstaff, and Yvette Callerio

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

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

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

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

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

Kim:  “Into Dark Waters” by Rebecca Reilly

NJ:  What was so great about it?

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

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

Kim:  Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Kim:  No, not lately.

NJ:  Are you an author?

Kim:  Yes.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Kim:  About 18 years off and on.

NJ:  What books have you written?

Kim:  Two Romantic Suspense Novels:

ALL THIS TIME

All This Time by Kim Cox

 

and SUSPICIOUS MINDS

Suspicious Minds by Kim Cox

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

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

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

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

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kim:  None can touch it.

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

Kim:  I will and I have.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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, as is Jan Hawke / @Jan Hawke.  I met them through RRBC, both are friendly and give their 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.  I also read Jan Hawke’s, Milele Safari, which was a moving tale of love and loss.

 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!

I think that other author’s blogs are a valuable resource for writers. Kim Cox  https://kimwrtr.wordpress.com and Author Central on Amazon is also a great resource. You can ask questions and join chats/forums if you have queries about anything to do with your work.

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

Lizzie:  RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB!  I cannot thank Jason Zandri enough for introducing 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:

*SUPPORT TIPS by John Fioravanti

*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 the following events, as well:

*BUY THE BOOK BlogTalkRadio show on Saturday, 3/19/16,  12 N Central Time

*BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT BlogTalkRadio show on Thursday, 3/24/16, 11 AM Central Time

*TAG TEAM 2*4*5 BlogTalkRadio show on Saturday, 3/26/16, 12 N Central Time

*ASPIRE TO INSPIRE BlogTalkRadio show on Monday, 3/28/16, 11 AM Central Time

*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!**

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