Tag Archives: WonderWoman

Jan Sikes in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC @Rijanjks

Jan_Sikes_Signing_Books

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

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC & RWISA member, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE Co-Host and June’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, JAN SIKES We have been celebrating her all month long and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

***

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  Back in 2017 I tried to make it more comfortable, so I’m curious to know how it’s holding up in 2018.  I also wanted the lay-out to be a bit safer….you know, we’ve had a few accidents up here on this shelf.  Between you and me, I think the majority of those falls were because the guests were a tad-bit clumsy, but, nevertheless, I’d like everyone to know that you fall here at your own risk.  I was laughing so hard at my girlfriend’s the other day that I almost fell off her sofa, so I’m going to share with you what she shared with me and the way she shared it:  “Fall if you wanna.  We ain’t got no insurance over here!”  I’m still laughing at that!  So, are you comfy?

Jan:  Yep, I’m feeling right at home, Nonnie. Thanks for helping me up. You know at my age, climbing isn’t easy.

NJ:  Oh, I’m sorry, Jan.  You mean they didn’t offer you my medi-Lift to get up here?  Poor things.  They think I’m such a bear all the time that they even made this 97 year old grandmother walk up the stairs to see me.  They said they didn’t think I wanted anyone else using my Lift, because then I’d feel like I was using public transportation.  But, again, Jan, my apologies.  So, since we’re a bit delayed with this interview, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

Jan:  My birth name is Janice Kay Smith, but when I was eighteen, I shortened it to Jan and Sikes is my married name.

3 Shocked dogs

NJ:  Well, Okie Dokie, Ms. Janice Kay Smith.  You people will never learn.  Y’all give away waaaaaaaayyyyyyy too much information in these interviews and you know the internet is nothing but a cesspool of stalkers…AND crazy folks.  But, I keep warning and y’all keep ignoring so let’s move on.  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 Hobbs, New Mexico.  I left home when I turned eighteen and never looked back and at the moment, I live in Plano, Texas!

NJ:  At the moment?  Janice Kay, that sounds as if there might be a moving van in your future.  Hmmm.  OK.  Make sure you let us know when you’re moving.  Oh, and don’t forget the address and zip code and phone number, too.

Dog researching on the computer

(Psycho internet troll dog tracking you down cuz you made it easy for him)

So, Janice Kay, married or single?

Jan:  Widowed

NJ:  I’m so sorry to hear that.  Any kids?  What kind?

Jan:  Two beautiful, smart and kind-hearted daughters.

NJ:  Don’t you just love those kind?  I have two of those myself.  So, Janice Kay, 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?

Jan:  That’s a tough one. I can’t see either of my girls throwing me in a nursing home, but if they did, you could rest assured it would be the nicest one they could find. No, I think they’d probably work out a share system and I’d be at each house for periods of time.

NJ:  As much as I love my babies, I feel a nursing home, a remote control and some books in my future.  I have to tell the truth.  Any pets?

Jan:  I live in an apartment, so “No.”  But, I have had dogs, cats and fish in the past.

NJ:  Janice Kay (I just love that name!), 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?

Jan:  That’s a tough one. Food is low on my priority list, but there is one food that I’ve only had three times in my life and my mouth still waters when I think about it – homemade Baklava. Yummy!

NJ:  Hmmm, never heard of Baklava, but I had a feeling that you would mention this, so I had my cook to whip you up a little.  Hope you like it.  For those of you who are ignorant to this food that keeps Jan’s mouth watering, this is what it is:  a dessert originating in the Middle East made of phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and soaked in honey.

Baklava

They had me when they said “pastry.”  Nonnie = pastry-lover.  So, Janice Kay, what’s your favorite color?

Jan:  Any shade of blue

NJ:  OK.  How about your favorite sport…

Jan:  I love watching my grandsons play soccer and baseball, but I don’t watch any sports on TV.

NJ:  I wasn’t a sports fan at all until my daughter began playing volleyball.  Now, that sport dominates our world.  Love it (but only to watch her play it!).  So, do you have a favorite TV show?

Jan:  Right now, I’d say hands-down, “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Wowzer!

NJ:  OK, never heard of that, either.  Who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?

Jan:  I’ve always loved Meryl Streep. If I ever get my story made into a movie, and she’s still alive, she could play my part. Male actors – That’s a hard one. I’ve always loved the bad boys. I think Sam Elliott would win. I loved him in Roadhouse.

NJ:  Meryl Streep in “Bridges Over Madison County,” was it for me.  And that soundtrack?  I listen to it even now, a few times a week while I’m working.

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

Jan:  My favorite form of exercise is walking. I also love exercise classes because they push me. But, I do struggle with consistent exercise. It’s hit and miss.

NJ:  I love to exercise!  It really does make you feel so good.  So, Janice Kay, what’s the 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).

Jan:  As an apartment dweller, my biggest pet peeve in life is people who don’t pick up their dogs’ poop. That is disgusting!

NJ:  Thanks for the heads up, Janice Kay.  I was about to have lunch, but, that’s OK.  It can wait a few hours now (thanks to your visual).  So, are you neat or messy?

Jan:  Mostly neat. I like keeping my workspace organized, but around magazine deadlines, it can get pretty messy. I think I need a cork board.

NJ:  OK, that’s understandable.  I may have a bit of dirt in my car every now and again.  But, that’s my car…never my home!  So, Facebook or Twitter?

Jan:  Facebook for personal fun stuff and keeping up with friends and family. Twitter for business.

NJ:  You know, I’m amazed at the number of folks who feel the same way you do about these two mediums.  I don’t use Facebook much, so all of my online time is definitely work related but, if I did spend personal time online, I would separate them the very same way.

Janice Kay, 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?

Jan:  That’s a hard question to answer because there are several, but I’d say Wendy Scott is at the top of that list.

NJ:  Yes, that Wendy Scott is amazing, isn’t she?  If I could only get her to do this one thing that I want her to do.  Janice Kay, do you know any hypnotists?  Maybe I can get her that way.  But, we’ll come back to Wendy later…off air.  So tell us, who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest

Jan:  WonderWoman for fantasy, Nonnie Jules for reality.

NJ:  Good answer.  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?

Jan:  Nonnie, of course, because she’s real. Nonnie is making a difference in author’s lives around the world.

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

Jan:  Oh! That’s an easy one to answer. “Shadow of the Drill” by Rhani D’Chae and “Jazz Baby” by Beem Weeks.

NJ:  Good choices, Janice Kay!  So, how about sharing ONE good INDIE book you’ve read that was so good you wished the entire world would read it…

Jan:  Empty Chairs by Stacey Danson

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Jan:  This book is extremely well-written. It’s gritty and honest exposing child abuse horrors most of us can’t imagine. The fact that this book is a true story is its strongest and most powerful aspect. I have so much admiration for Sooz (Stacey) for laying it all out in such a way that it can’t help but bring awareness to a world-wide epidemic. If everyone would read this book, perhaps there would be more proactive people combatting child abuse, while also finding ways to help children living on the streets.

NJ:  Janice Kay, after you read books, do you post reviews?

Jan:  Yes

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

Jan:  To me, a review is simply my opinion of the book. I think it needs to express what I thought about the author’s writing ability, grammar, punctuation, etc, the plot, but especially for me, most of all the characters. I am a character driven writer and reader.

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:  No. I believe it is my duty to be honest with my reviews.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Jan:  Yes. One.

NJ:  (Well, Janice Kay, I would have hoped that you wouldn’t have mentioned my book publicly.  I’m working on correcting it, you know!)

Angry dog

(Photo by AnimalWised)

Moving right along from the ugly part of the interview… Janice Kay, how many poorly written books have you read that you gave a high mark to in your review, when you knew they were horrible?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Jan:  Zero. I won’t give anything above two or three stars for a poorly written book. To be honest, I rarely read a poorly written book because I don’t have time for such nonsense. Most of the time, I just put it aside and forget about it.

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?

Jan:  Nonnie Jules and Nicholas Rossis.  Nonnie has changed the playing field by challenging Indie Writers to grow and be better and providing a platform for that growth to happen. The RRBC Writers’ Conference and Book Expo is a good example. Nicholas provided us a wonderful tool to help authors bring the reader inside their character’s emotions with his “Emotional Beats” book. It is one of the best reference books I own, and I use it often.

NJ:  Why thank you, Jan!  Very kind of you to say.  Nicholas and I are sometimes joined at the hip in projects and lately, in these interviews, you guys have been linking us more and more.  I now think we’re starting to look alike and you should hear my Greek accent – and his is turning a bit more Southern by the day! LOL!  So, Janice Kay, are you an author?

Jan:  Yes, I am an author. It took a couple of years before I was comfortable saying those words.

NJ:  Well, good for you!  Are you a good author?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Jan:  I am a good author who is still learning the craft. I think my willingness to learn and grow helps make me a good author. I’m always striving for better.

NJ:  Janice Kay, you know, there could not have been a better response to that question.  And, you are so right!  That is what makes us good authors:  the willingness to continually learn the craft so that we are continually improving and also, the ability to listen to the critiques of those who are clearly more skilled than we are in certain areas.  Good response.  I loved it!  How long have you been writing, by the way?

Jan:  Really, since I can remember. The first thing I can remember writing was a gospel song. But, I wrote my first book in 2012.

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

Jan:  Yes. I welcome it. I won’t accept personal attacks or destructive comments, but I am wide open to constructive criticism.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written?

Jan:

FLOWERS AND STONE

Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes

THE CONVICT AND THE ROSE

The Convict and the Rose by Jan Sikes

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Jan:  That question is impossible for me to answer. They are both such vastly different books. I recently pulled Flowers and Stone down, revised and re-edited it so I know it is much better than it was when I originally published it. On the other hand, The Convict and the Rose has all Five-Star reviews, so many thought it was good.

NJ:  Yeah, I don’t put that much stock into reviews.  But, Janice Kay, 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?

Jan:  I have both a blog site and a website. I think you would thoroughly enjoy my blog, Nonnie. I strive to keep it clean and well-written, whether it’s a book review or a short story.

NJ:  I must stop by there today!  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Jan:  The RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB

NJ:  You know, Janice Kay…I hear that a lot.  It must be true!  How have you been helped by the club?

Jan:  I’ve been embraced, encouraged and uplifted by my peers and I had not found that anywhere else I had looked. I’ve had one of my books featured as a Book of the Month. I’ve been on a RAVE WAVES radio show talking about one of my books. I’ve enjoyed many Blog Tours and other RRBC events.  Many members have read and reviewed my books. It was due to one member’s book review that I decided to re-write Flowers and Stone. The RRBC Writers’ Conferences have helped grow my writing and marketing skills through the many workshops offered. I’ve made friendships that I treasure. I’ve found a sense of belonging to a community of like-minded people. We are all in this together and there is no competition. When a member does win an award, like Ron Yates did in the KCT Literary contest, I get excited and want to help promote them. Ron didn’t know he’d won until I posted something on Twitter congratulating him. 😊

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:  I think you already know the answer to that question, Nonnie. I love the RRBC and RWISA family that I’ve found. Writing and marketing your books can be a lonely existence and it is so encouraging to find others in the same boat. Then, you can climb on that boat and sail together. That’s when you gain strength. That’s what I’ve found.

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

Jan:  None. There are some organizations who offer one tiny aspect of the many things offered at RRBC, but NONE that give the whole ball of wax like RRBC.

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

Jan:  Of course, and I do.

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

Jan:  That’s a tough one. I suppose if I had to choose only one, it would be the RRBC Writer’s Conference and Book Expo.

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

Jan:  It is an honor and privilege to sit in this seat for the month of June. I appreciate all the shares, comments and camaraderie from our members. If you are reading this and are not yet a member of RRBC, or maybe you are a member but haven’t fully “jumped-in” yet, I encourage you to do so. This is a book club, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a community of kind-hearted giving people who enjoy promoting each other. But, you have to give to receive. It’s the law of the Universe and Nonnie’s law as well. Thank you everyone, for all your awesome support!

NJ:  Jan, we can always count on you for such kind words.  Thank you!  Audience, for once, there were no “almost” accidents today!  Jan was the most perfect guest!  That’s a little disappointing actually.  I know most of you only come here for the drama.  (That’s OK…it’s the only reason I show up, too!  And also for the cookies!)

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Jan’s books.

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.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!

GORDON BICKERSTAFF 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, GORDON BICKERSTAFF!  Gordon comes bouncing in to the tune of JAILHOUSE ROCK (with Elvis, of course), because of some info he shared with me during our interview.  I just want him to feel comfortable…and at home here. 

Gordon Bickerstaff other photo.jpg

 

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

GB:  So far so good. I’ve taken my acrophobia pills, headache pills, truth serum, done my exercises, and I have a large glass a of Shiraz at the ready!

NJ:  Well, that all sounds great so, here we go!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name?

GB:  Birth name Gordon Ferguson Bickerstaff. No pen name, unless you mean my STATE PEN, prisoner #987654321 aka Tricky Bicky III.

Police officer with folded arms

(Not sure what Gordie aka Tricky Bicky did, but my buddy here, Quickfinger Bill, is on standby!)

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?

GB:  Born in Glasgow, central Scotland, and currently living about 15 miles from where I was born. Glasgow used to be in a terrible state but it is much better now.

NJ:  Are you married or single?

GB:  Married to Emily for 40 years.

NJ:  (I wonder if Emily knows about his stint in STATE?)  Kids or no? If yes, how many? Sons or Daughters?

GB:  I have two daughters. One is a physicist and one is an accountant. I am proud of them but also greatly relieved. I know when I am no longer here, they have everything they need to live good lives. Both are well balanced, confident and kind. They have a good mom who guided them well. They are both married, and I have one granddaughter and one grandson. One from each daughter. Like me, they believe in everything in moderation!

NJ:  Well, aren’t you a proud Father?!  I always love to hear dads go on and on about their kids, especially their daughters.  I have one of those dads at home.  And Gordon, since you have a granddaughter, you should definitely gift her mom with a copy of “THE GOOD MOMMIES’ GUIDE TO RAISING (ALMOST) PERFECT DAUGHTERS!”

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It’s an awesome guide!  So, out of the two daughters, which is your favorite? (And be honest…I’m sure they’re not reading this interview).

GB:  I most certainly do have favorites. My favorite physicist is my oldest daughter, and my favorite accountant is my youngest daughter. It’s tough.

NJ:  What a great response!  I was holding my breath there, for a minute.  So, any pets? What kind?

GB:  None at the moment. For 18 years we had a West Highland terrier, and a couple of years ago she had to be put to sleep after a stroke. It took us almost a year before we could walk again down the pet food lane in the supermarket. Naturally, in my first book, “DEADLY SECRETS,” I created a special role for her, and even used her real name, and some of our experiences with her.

NJ:  Oh, how sad.  We have a couple OF 4-legged babies and one is nearing that age, where, sometimes I’m afraid to go upstairs to her room…you know?  But, glad you were able to keep yours alive in your book.  So, share with us your favorite food.

GB:  Emily cooks a fantastic fillet steak with fried mushrooms, a few French fries, some greens, home-made tomato chutney. I love it.

NJ:  OK, and your favorite color?

GB:  I live in Scotland so the weather is often cloudy and wet. I love sky blue because it is such a treat – we don’t see enough in our part of the world. Sky blue = lovely day.

NJ:  Gordon, I don’t think any of us get enough of those beautiful days, no matter where we live.  What’s your favorite sport?

GB:  For doing, I used to do judo and was on the university team when I was a student, and even won a Scottish Universities team championship medal. I think I’ve still got a bruise from when we beat Edinburgh in the final – they weren’t expecting to lose. When we lived in Carnoustie, I ran a judo club in a local school for kids. For watching – I watch football (soccer) and tennis. During the Olympics I’ll watch the judo and dream.

NJ:  What a great story!  Would you like to share with us your favorite TV Show?

GB:  ‘FRINGE’ was my kind of show. I like ‘HOMELAND’ and ‘GOT’ and my eldest daughter recently introduced me to ‘SONS OF ANARCHY’. I didn’t fancy it, but she gave me the first season, and it is good. I bought all the remaining seasons. Still watching and enjoying ‘THE WALKING DEAD’ – it’s not the zombies you need to worry about – it’s the humans! Great stuff.

NJ:  Well, I’ve never heard of FRINGE and GOT or even SONS OF ANARCHY, for that matter, but HOMELAND, I’ve heard mentioned and as far as THE WALKING DEAD, nope, for me, it’s the monsters that keep me awake at night.  I don’t fear humans at all.  So, Gordon, who’s your favorite Actress/Actor?

GB:  I like Morgan Freeman and Sean Connery – I like quality. I like Rachel Weitz and Judi Dench. When I read James Paterson’s Alex Cross books – I hear Morgan Freeman in my head speaking for Alex Cross, and telling me the story. Almost like an audio book.

NJ:  I haven’t read nor seen Alex Cross in a movie yet, but have heard good reviews.  Maybe I’ll check it soon.  Are you a couch potato or workout nut? Be honest

GB:  I exercise daily to nourish my body. I am a great believer of ‘everything in moderation’. Too much exercise wears cartilage in my joints, and too little makes my circulation sluggish. I have a small one meter trampoline, and I jog for three songs once or twice every day. I like to jog to the music of ABBA – Mamma Mia – here we go again! It is enough exercise to push my blood to every corner of my body to deliver oxygen and nutrients, and remove carbon dioxide and waste (the real value of exercise).

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).

GB:  Big peeves such as child and animal cruelty upset me, and would be worth a punch. Smaller peeves don’t bother me. Life has made me tolerant. Now, I don’t care – if someone is an idiot – why bother about other people’s shortcomings if you can’t do anything about it?

NJ:  Are you neat or messy?
Emily likes the house clean, neat and tidy – I know my place! I do make a mess when I’m doing DIY (no not deliberately – it just seems that way) but thankfully Emily sees it as her job to clean up the mess. If I had to do the DIY work, and then clean up the mess – I’d probably do less DIY.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

GB:  All of this social media stuff is new to me. Only started Twittering a year or so ago. Don’t do FB. One of my daughters set up FB for Emily so we can see photos of the grandkids. I’m getting the hang of Twitter, but it does consume time, and I’d rather be out walking, reading or writing.

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:

GB:  Up until this year I didn’t read indie writers. I read mainstream paperbacks. I have read a lot of James Paterson, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, Tess Gerritsen, and similar writers. So I am behind the curve with indie writers. RRBC has opened my eyes, and I have started to read indie on a Samsung tablet. I’ve read and enjoyed several, but if you only want two – Kim Cox, Maggie Thom.

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

GB:  Publishers require most traditional published writers to stick to the formula. So I have noticed repetition. Indie writers can publish equally well crafted stories, plausible, good characters, entertainment, and not be channelled into repetition. In that way they are more refreshing.

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

GB:  ‘REVENGE’ by Bill Ward and ‘PROGENY OF A KILLER’ by J. M. Shorney.

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

GB:  I’ve read very good indie books but there is only one book that would definitely appeal to everyone in the whole entire world. It’s called… em… Oh dear… I’ve deleted it from my tablet.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

GB:  It was free, and it had a really lovely cover.

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

GB:  Having read a lot of paperbacks – I didn’t. Now, I’m reading indie, I have and I will. I still read mainstream paperbacks, but don’t review them.

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

GB:  What they have enjoyed. Characters, story, ending. I don’t like books with vague or unresolved endings. I don’t dwell on the negativity.

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?

GB:  I don’t worry, and I’m sure most authors accept that reviews are subjective. Give ten people a book to review, and you will get ten different perceptions. I am honest, but never overly critical. I spent over 30 years assessing students, and I know that negative comments and criticisms are worthless. Positive does produce improvement. If a book is rubbish I wouldn’t bother to review. If I bother to write a review it is because I liked the book. I don’t delve in nitty gritty specifics. I accept that on one reading, I will not know/understand every nuance in a book. I enjoy my reading, and I don’t want to be bogged down with nit-picking. Time is too precious to waste.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

GB:  I have started a couple that I didn’t finish. I am a bit fussy about what I like as a reader, so a book should not be condemned as poor because I personally couldn’t get into it.

NJ:  Well, from all the mentions above, we know that you are an author.  How long have you  been writing?

GB:  I’ve done two academic books. Three fiction novels with a fourth on the way!  Academic stuff for 30 years, fiction for 5 years. I hear all my former students shouting, ‘… and we thought it was all fiction.’

NJ:  What books have you written?

GB:  First three books are a trilogy. ‘Deadly Secrets’/’Everything To Lose’/’The Black Fox’. Although each one is a stand-alone story in its own right, there are story arcs that move through the trilogy. Available on Amazon, Nook.
Deadly Secrets Amazon US
Everything To Lose Amazon US
The Black Fox Amazon US

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

GB:  ‘THE BLACK FOX’  brings story arcs from the first two books to a satisfactory conclusion. I like good endings. I played around with several endings. Took advice from a few people, and created an ending that I am very pleased with. I think I’ve done a great job with main character Zoe Tampsin. She is a Wonder Woman, but with human flaws. Anyone interested in my experience of writing a trilogy can find more here http://www.pinnacleeditorial.co.uk/2015/02/writing-trilogy/

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?

GB:  Yes, click here. A small repository for sample chapters etc.

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

GB:  RRBC, Twitter, and Facebook.

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

GB:  RRBC

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

GB:  See my piece ‘WHAT RRBC HAS DONE FOR ME‘… here

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?

GB:  Supportive, and encouraging. Every author should join.

NJ:  I agree, Gordon.  RRBC IS the place every author should join!  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

GB:  No.

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

GB:  Yes.

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

GB:  Thank you for having me. It has been a great experience. PS… I haven’t really been in the STATE PEN!

Dog researching on the computer

“UH, Tricky, our research proved otherwise.  Now, you take care and stay out of trouble, ya hear?”

Smiling dog

NJ:  Gordon, 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 Gordon by picking up a copy of his book below.   You can also support  by visiting his blog stops on his tour which ends on Saturday.  You can find the tour line up here.  

The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff

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

If you missed Gordon’s RAVE WAVES BLOGTALK Radio interview on BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT, catch the archived version.

John Fioravanti always does an awesome job with these interviews, and this one is no different so you want to check it out!

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