Monday, September 26, 2011

❤author: UL Harper Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a Pump Up Your Book virtual blog tour, I will be hosting sci-fi author, UL Harper with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, UL! Will you please share a short bio with us?

U.L. Harper is an after-school program Site Director in Long Beach, California. Over one hundred students attend his program.

He previously worked as a corporate manager, and a journalist for a now defunct news agency in Los Alamitos, California. Newspapers are part of his writing background but he also dabbled in poetry. His poetry is published in The Body Politic chapbooks.

He is the author of In Blackness, The Flesh Statue, and the short story called Guidelines for Rejects.


❤ Tell us about your newest release, In Blackness.

As children, Lenny and Saline’s parents brought them to Southern California to escape the nightmares. But after their parents die in a horrible car accident, their adoption by longtime family friend, Busek, proves nightmarish in its own right. Busek is abusive to his son, Dustin, and does very little to hold the young family together. The trio of kids become friends and grow up as a family. Outwardly, they are unruffled by life’s events, yet as teens the emotional aftermath of Saline and Lenny’s parents’ deaths lingers and eventually catapults Lenny and Saline on individual journeys back to their old hometown.

Saline journeys with a small church group which has regular excursions to her old hometown in Lowery, Washington. She discovers the group is protecting a powerful secret that will change her life.

Lenny, on the other hand, becomes stranded in King City. There, he meets someone who unexpectedly and unknowingly guides him to a place in Washington where something might be waiting for him. Impulsively, he makes his way there and discovers that the simple world he has been living in is vastly different from what he could have ever imagined.

Meanwhile, Dustin remains in Southern California and meets a group of youth who stumble upon the city's plan to replace the local library with a jail. In the process of this discovery they learn of one of the largest secrets society has ever kept, a secret waiting for them underground, in blackness.

❤ What inspired you to write it and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

First off, this book has been in the works for a while. Inspired to write it is not how I look at it. It was a work ethic. It had to be done. These characters had to be written. I’m sure there was a succinct inspiration at some point but that has long left. It wound up being duty to myself and the characters involved. They had a story and I had a word processor, so everything worked out. That fact that it can be purchased is only a miracle. And that’s it.

❤ How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

I add in all of my real life. In fact, there is barely any fiction. Aliens appear in this story, so obviously that didn’t happen in my real life, but the places the characters visit, the people they meet, the food they eat, what the characters smell and think and even become, is pulled directly out of the real world. I often get frustrated by stories that start off by saying it was based on a true story. Well, what story isn’t?

True point! What are your biggest motivations for writing?

I need to write. Once the story is there, I have to get it done. I still use writing to expel emotions so it’s a meditation tool as well. How’s that for motivation? I’m cranky if I don’t write.

❤ How would you describe your writing style and tone?

My style is to-the-point but oddly vague. I like to let the reader to connect the dots, if I can. I like to say exactly what is happening, but only show emotion. I can’t stand talking about emotions. It bores me to tears reading about why someone is crying. If they’re crying for a reason, then I’ll know what that reason is. I tend to write the same way.

 Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Oh, here’s a piece of advice: your originality is in your tone and in your characters. Your story will not be new or original, most likely, no matter the twist or how many vampires you add to it. Stories usually come down to the same social issues or political schemes or relationship conflicts. But we can meet a new character still, I think. We can still appreciate a solid vibe, and oh yeah, style counts.

❤ What's something about you that might surprise your readers?

I actually have a sense of humor: why did the punk rocker cross the road? Give up? Because the chicken was nailed to his chest.

❤ 
What's the most interesting comment you've received about your books so far?


Someone said I write how I talk. Everything is fine and then it’s all loud and crazy and out of control.

❤ What's next for you?

Sequels, of course, and in between, I’ll have something called The Miracles of Arthur Lowe, a story about a man who can clearly perform miracles but with rare and interesting motives.

Books to look forward to! Where can you be found on the web?

At my website: ULHarper.com.


❤ Thank you for being here today, UL! It was a pleasure getting to know you and your writing better :)

Giveaway!
 Thanks to UL's tour publicist, Pump Up Your Book, one lucky reader will win their very own copy of In Blackness. To enter the giveaway, tell me:

How do you find new or lesser-known authors? Are you a big fan of any indies in particular? If so, name them! I love supporting indie authors and want some recommendations.

Giveaway runs through October 10th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time). International readers may enter for a Smashwords DOWNLOAD of this book, but if you want to enter for a print copy, you must be a US or Canada resident.
Please include your email address in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Good luck!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Commune of Women by Suzan Still

Release Date: July 16th, 2011
Publisher: The Fiction Studio
Page Count: 380
Source: Complimentary copy provided by author, via Pump Up Your Book Promotions, in exchange for  an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!!), as part of the virtual blog tour

On an ordinary Los Angeles morning, six unrelated women converge on Los Angeles International Airport. A hornet's nest of chaos ensues, and the women find their survival depends on their ability to navigate a web of interpersonal and cultural conflict.
  • Sophia, adept at the arts of survival, who takes the lead;
  • Pearl, an ancient bag lady whose wisdom becomes guidance;
  • Erika, a top executive whose business trip is cut short by a bullet wound;
  • Heddi, a Jungian analyst who must use her skills to help the others;
  • Betty, an overweight, histrionic housewife who endangers everything;
  • Ondine, a wealthy and neurotic artist whose self-absorption turns to action;
Each much use her slender resources and innate abilities to survive.

For four days, the women sustain themselves by telling their life stories, which grow darker and more intimate as the days pass. Meanwhile, Najat, abandoned by her male companions in a control room with a view of the entire terminal and of televised rescue efforts, struggles between her own conscience and the dictates of her group, the Brothers.

Commune of Women explores what happens when ordinary citizens meet their worst nightmare. It is a novel of travail, gritty determination, compassion, and the will to prevail.
What Stephanie Thinks: Suzan Still takes an insightful and deep approach to women's fiction in this novel of multiple perspectives that all have one thing in common: control. Or rather, lack thereof. Each woman, each life portrayed, couldn't be more different. Each individual, shaped by what they have experienced and developed with, is unique. However, after gathering, each realizes, that they are actually quite the same.
I enjoy how each protagonist gets their own narrative. Only one of the seven characters speaks in the first person, but all the third-person perspectives are equally intimate. Still is keen on characterization, very much based off verisimilitude, which strengthens the sense of sympathy I gain for each of the main characters. Najat's story especially, the story of the opponent, or in this case, the perpetrator of the initial tragedy, touches me and has me rethinking my values of who I condemn as "good" and who I convict as "bad". Personally, I hate prejudice but it's always in my subconscience; it's in everybody's. Knowing on the other hand, that what we judge has its own mindset itself, is both puzzling and enlightening, but it has the ability to keep us in check, which I think is most important.

Stylistically, this book is not phenomenal. At best, I would call it lush, in that it is finely detailed. However, there's really no suspense or poise to it. I find it bland and catch myself trudging through it. It doesn't take away from the storyline too much, but it's definitely something that bothers me.

Commune of Women is a book of interest, but not really something outrageous. I like the story enough to get through it, but not enough to highly suggest it to someone in search of a recommended read. As I personally am interested in depth psychology, I was able to connect with this book, but conventionally, most people may not see it the same way.

Stephanie Loves: ". . . it's not possible to grieve for anyone else until you've truly grieved for yourself."

Radical Rating: 7 hearts: Not without flaws, but overall enjoyable. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Saturday, September 24, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Legend of Lady MacLaoch by Becky Banks

Release Date: May 23rd, 2011
Publisher: Ha'iku
Page Count: 249
Source: From author, via Romancing the Bookfor review as part of the Becky Banks blog tour

A legendary love, an unforgiving curse, and the discovery of a lifetime.

Centuries ago, a vengeful curse buried itself deep into the history of the MacLaoch clan and become a legendary tale told by all those not cursed by its words.

In present-day Scotland, the laird and chieftain of the MacLaoch clan is an ex-Royal Air Force fighter pilot who has been past the gates of hell and returned a changed man. Rowan MacLaoch does battle with wartime memories and a family curse that threaten to consume him—unaware that his life and that of the history of the clan will be changed forever by the arrival of an American woman.

Cole Baker, a feisty recent graduate of a master’s program, stumbles upon the ancient curse while researching her bloodlines. Moved by the history of the MacLaoch clan and the mystery of its chief, she digs into the legend that had been anything but quiet for centuries.

On their quest for answers, Cole and Rowan travel to places they have never before been and become witnesses to things they have never before fathomed. The legend—one started with blood—will end with more shed as its creator finally exacts her justice.
What Stephanie Thinks: Cole Baker has always been proud to be Cole Baker—all-American, no-nonsense, overly frisky Cole Baker. It isn't until one Christmas evening when her grandfather breaks news that her name isn't Cole Baker at all. She's actually Cole Minary, and is introduced a Scottish surname she's never even encountered in her life. Curiosity and a hard head have Cole setting out on a quest to find about her bloodlines, but she discovers more than what she could have ever hoped for, instead.

Fictional Scottish history and dark, brooding mystery ignite the pages of The Legend of Lady MacLaoch. An ancient curse brings Cole to Scotland and into the arms of Rowan MacLaoch, chieftain of the MacLaoch clan. He is the modern version of the sexy Scottish hero (kilts and all!!!!) and though I've never read a Scottish historical before, I'm pretty sure I could get used to them. Cole and Rowan's chemistry is undeniable, and is a gorgeous demonstration that love can often both be happenstance and eternal, if not redeeming. Rowan is a romance hero I've gone ahead and fallen in love with (who saw that one coming?), and Cole is an independent, admirable heroine. She however, does come off as extremely rude at times. I know it's supposed to be portrayed as "feisty", but if I was acquainted with her in real life, I feel I'd constantly tingle with the urge to bitchslap her.

The plot is surprising, but not shocking in terms of the conclusion. It's fairly predictable, in fact, it's just that there are minor twists within the story I never see coming.

Banks's writing is suspenseful and provocative. The story is consuming; I was unable to put it down! Her characters are witty—a fine combination of hilarious and smart—and in the end, they are definitely the type that linger. I am impressed by Banks's marvelous debut; definitely pick this one up if you're in the mood for heated romance mixed with a striking image of Scottish history, as well as the intrigue of mystery and revelation.

Stephanie Loves: "'Mother, Roger is an ex-boyfriend from high school; one that was very sweet but incredibly unmotivated in life except for the pursuit of ass.'"

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Saturday, September 17, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥: Cheri on Top by Susan Donovan

Cheri on Top (Bigler, North Carolina #1)
Susan Donovan

Release Date: August 30th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
Page Count: 308
Source: Complimentary ARC provided by Carolyn at Romance Novel News in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thanks, dear!)

SHE'S GOT EVERYTHING SHE WANTS

Sun-drenched beaches, designer-label clothes, drop-dead-gorgeous boy-toys... all paid for with a series of high-risk real estate deals. That’s the lifestyle Cherise Newberry and her BFF Candy enjoy after leaving rural North Carolina for Tampa—until the market tanks and they lose everything. Cheri is surviving on Ramen Noodles and temp jobs when she gets a call from home to come back and run the family’s small-town newspaper. Just one catch: She’ll become the boss of her high school crush—and former brother-in-law—who might have the power to crush her all over again...

BUT HE'S WHAT SHE NEEDS

But Cheri is surprised to see how “bad boy” J.J. DeCourcy has grown into the hard-working and principled managing editor of The Bigler Bugle. Still, according to Cheri’s bitter sister, he’s not to be trusted. If Cheri’s going to co-exist at the with this sexier-than-ever man from her past, she needs to stay professional—and keep her distance—even though he sets her on fire. When they’re handed the biggest news story in the town’s history, Cheri must trust J.J., even it means putting her life in danger... and her heart on the line.
What Stephanie Thinks:  I'm normally a fan of contemporary romances, especially the ones with twisted plots: once-shy, past-heartbroken heroine kicks back into town with intentions of leaving a bruise and a seemingly unstoppable ferocity in her heart. Of course her childhood heartthrob is going to see her and think "Wow, I missed out...". Of course.

Because essentially, that's really all that happens. I wish there could have been more plot, more structure and depth, to this story, but there certainly isn't. While Donovan does a great job of describing J.J. as the ultimate sexy hero (drool drool), and while Cheri herself is pretty likable of a character, their so-called "romance" really doesn't do anything for me.

I hesitate to even call this one a romance. It mostly evolves around a long-term dispute over Cheri's family's newspaper business, The Bigler Bugle. Someone's been snatching funds from it, which has slowly been leading to its decline over the years. Maybe this book could have made for a good sexy mystery, but considering a) the perpetrator is revealed at the very beginning, and b) the romance isn't sexy in the least, I can't find myself thinking it too special.


Stephanie Loves: "'I laughed so hard once, I fell out of the boat.'
'I think the twelve-pack of Bud Light probably had something to do with that, Cheri.'"

Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ♥♥♥♥♥♥

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

❤author: Greg Kiser Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ blog tour, I will be hosting author, Greg Kiser with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Greg! Will you please share a short bio with us?

Happily married to a wonderful and inspirational wife, Serena, with two beautiful children – Miller and Grace.

Graduated from Southern Polytechnic University in Atlanta with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Then earned an MBA from the University of South Florida.

Currently Client Service Director at Cisco, a fortune fifty high-tech multinational corporation.

Written extensively for fortune fifty high-tech firms in describing next generation networks and painting pictures of the true evolution of technology for the consumer.

My short story, Did They Tell You, was selected for the 2010 San Francisco Writer’s Conference Anthology, and is currently available on scribd.com, no charge.


❤ Tell us about debut release, inSyte.

It’s set in Tampa Bay, Florida and the year is 2020. Ex-Navy SEAL Mitch “Double” Downing discovers how to tap into the internet with his mind. His new inSyte provides transparent access to the sum of all human knowledge recorded since hieroglyphics.

If knowledge is power, Mitch just became the strongest man in the world.

But inSyte has ideas of its own as the software exposes a politician’s “divine” plan that will unwittingly slaughter millions of people. Is killing the man the only way to prevent Armageddon? The politician’s daughter would probably disagree. And she happens to be the love of Mitch’s life. Losing Kate would be too damn much collateral damage.

At the center of the conflict is a wolf-like killer who will stop at nothing to murder the ex-Navy SEAL. And Mitch must come to grips with inSyte’s dark side – a dominating addiction that soon controls his thoughts and places him on a steep slide to self-destruction.


❤ What inspired you to write it and then how did you get published? Tell us your call story.

I listened to Rudy Giuliani speak a year after 9/11. This was in August of 2002, just under a year since 9/11. Rudy spoke to a crowd of about 5,000 folks. He described the events of that day and it was very emotional, everyone loved the guy, he was held in such admiration.

He told the crowd that every great leader will possess spirituality. And when you have millions of people that you’re serving, there’s a natural temptation to believe that God put you there, there must be a divine intervention. Then the tendency is to think that any gut feeling you have, gut decision, must be God’s decision.

So Rudy talked about how you have to avoid falling into that trap, you have to remain objective and realize you’re only human and they are your decisions.

I found that fascinating because I had never heard a politician talk like that. I think there are a number of politicians in the US and abroad, recently and not, where pragmatism was nowhere to be found. I wanted to explore that in a novel. Come on, there’s all kinds of room for conflict.

As for publishing, I self-published on Amazon. The only way to go these days ;) Really pretty simple. Of course, the average book that self-publishes on Amazon sells 100 copies to, you guessed it, friends and business associates and the like. So the trick is – how do you market the book further; drive sales?

At the end of the day, it’s all about word of mouth. So you have to get your book out there and it has to be good and then you need for word of mouth to help.

So – be sure it’s ready for prime time before you decide to self-publish. I waited 3 years after my first draft because I wanted my novel to be as good as it could possibly be. Along the way I had some serious people read it and provide candid feedback. Enough good feedback to know I was onto something, enough bad feedback to keep me busy writing and rewriting and, yes, deleting!


❤ How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

The best parts, because they're what gives my writing color, richness. There’s one scene in my book where my protagonist and his love interest meet at his apartment. She’s looking at photographs on a bookshelf and she sees one of him as a child with his family. The thoughts she has are directly related to thoughts I had looking at a picture of my young niece many years ago with her family.

It’s the little moments in life that must be woven into your book to make it real.

❤ I so contend to that! If inSyte were made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?

What a great question! I’ve actually thought about that. Why not? It’s fun. Here goes:

Mitch: Ryan Gosling
Kate: Kristen Stewart
Cheslov: Daniel Craig
Woody: Sean William Scott
Mayor: Alec Baldwin
Phelps: Željko Ivanek

❤ What are your biggest motivations for writing?

To get all this stuff that is swimming around in my head out. If I didn’t write, I’d probably explode. I’ve always had a really dark mind and I think that writing about scary things helps me stay sane.

❤ How would you describe your writing style and tone?

Real. Direct. I spent many, many hours searching and deleting ‘had’. I rewrote to put as much as I could into present tense. I read through sentences and deleted words that were unnecessary. I read all the dialogue aloud to ensure I had contractions and cuss words but not too much of either because I wanted it to be real.

Real.

❤ I notice myself doing that too, when I write. Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Don’t let ANYBODY read that initial draft. It will suck.

Also, be ready for criticism. You may think it’s the best novel, potentially, ever written. It’s not. You need direction from others to make your book be all that it can possibly be.
Finish your first draft and then refine, rewrite, make it real. Until you love it. I’d say a year or more. For me, it took three years after the initial draft to get it where I wanted it to be. And at least one year before it was ready for anyone else to read.

Because before that, it sucked. To be clear, I never thought it sucked when I finished writing sections. Only when I re-read them months later.

You see, here’s another bit of advice. Don’t spend too much time on the polishing when you first get the words down. You’re just building the foundation. The polishing and finishing comes later.

❤ What's something about you that might surprise your readers?

I was on a Nuclear Cruiser in the Navy. That might surprise some people.

❤ Who are some books or authors your idolize?

Stephen King and Thomas Harris. Gods.

❤ If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?

Wow. That’s a really interesting question. Certainly not Ned Beatty’s character in Deliverance.

I’d say Clint Eastwood’s character in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Why? Because he was just so damn cool.

❤ 
What's the most interesting comment you've received about inSyte so far?


I loved the description of Cheslov from the Kirkus Review:
Woven throughout a story with many finely crafted twists, turns and revelations is the charismatic, mysterious, murderous Cheslov Kirill. As a classic merciless political operator, Kirill is unforgettable and chillingly, complexly rendered, especially for a man who uses a school of sharks off the Florida coast for corpse disposal.

❤ What lovely feedback! What's next for you?

Thinking about a sequel. Just thinking. Letting my mind sort through it subconsciously.

I look forward to reading it! Where can you be found on the web?

At my website: www.gkiser.com.


❤ Before we conclude this interview, is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

How many pages do you give a book to ‘grab’ you? Honestly? If you say it has to grab you off the bat, well, OK – everyone says that. But plenty of books will grab you in the first chapter, the first paragraph, even the first line. But the subsequent chapters have to follow it up. How many of those will you read before you decide you’re into it, or not?

What’s the criteria to grab you? Can you define it? Plot? Characters? Action? Drama? Conflict?

❤ Thank you for being here today, Greg! It was a pleasure getting to know you and inSyte better :)

Giveaway!
 Thanks to Greg's tour publicist, NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™, one lucky reader will win their very own print copy of inSyte. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this interview with an answer to Greg's question.

Giveaway runs through September 28th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open to US, Canada, and UK residents only.
Please include your email address in your comment! If I don't know who to contact once you are chosen as the winner, your prize will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Good luck!

Monday, September 5, 2011

❤author: Lynda M. Martin Interview and Giveaway!

❤ Today, as part of a NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™ blog tour, I will be hosting author, Lynda M. Martin with an interview and giveaway. Welcome to ¡Miraculous!, Lynda! Will you please share a short bio with us?

I was born in Scotland, started school in England, then immigrated to Alberta, Canada with my family at the age of six. I grew up close to the town of Medicine Hat, Alberta, went to university in Montreal, Quebec, lived in Manitoba for several years, and returned to Alberta. Along the way, I married an American and began a cross-border life that culminated in my now living on the Gulf Coast of Florida -- a life we share with two mastiff dogs.

I have two daughters, all grown up, and four grandchildren, whom I don’t see as much as I would like, but love with all my heart

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, a career that paid the bills and years of courses relating to childhood development and child protection, a career that satisfied my heart. Oh -- and also a number of courses in writing, which is a passion that fulfills my soul.

I’m a private person and have used an avatar for all my publishing, both on the internet and print, as well as the cover of my novel. Recently, I became a little daring and started sharing my real image (age having wreaked enough change; recognition, which might have compromised some connections from the past is unlikely.)

❤ Tell us about debut release, This Bird Flew Away.

I will use the words of my wonderful editor, New York Times bestselling author, Kathryn Lynn Davis:
This is a tender, wrenching, funny, brilliantly written novel about so many kinds of courage, so many layers of beauty and strength, and the bonds of family (however unique they may be) that help us survive even the worst life makes us suffer.

❤ What inspired you to write this book?

This particular story came to me following a discussion I had with some friends over the unrealistic portrayals of victims of abuse portrayed in the media. I think it was an episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” that set me off, so twisted and dramatic. I pontificated on my issues with the vision that survivors were “ruined,” psychotic and suicidal. This is not true to my experience with real-life survivors at all.

I decided to write a story and a character that more truly represented survivors and their journey to healing, something optimistic. I have always been amazed at the ability of children to go on being children no matter what misery surrounds them. That’s why I call this novel a celebration of one girl’s triumph.

There's always more intrigue in the What if...s and the truths we can't acknowledge superficially. How did you get your book published? Tell us your call story.

I quickly gave up on the idea of acquiring an agent and going the traditional route after receiving an interesting collection of rejection letters. My favorite came in three minutes after the query was sent and said, “After careful consideration, we’ve decided this work is not for us…” One agent asked for the manuscript and sat on it for a year before responding to the query on the rudest of terms.

As a newcomer to this country, I was loathe to self-publish, and began to query the boutique publishers. With five queries, I had four offers to publish and chose the one that let me have a free hand in the book’s final design, including cover art. (Do you like the image on the cover?)

Certainly, going with an independent publisher means more work in the promotion and marketing, but on the other hand, traditional publishing houses do not give you much time to prove your work in the marketplace. This way, This Bird Flew Away can take the time to build readership.

Would I go the same route again? I haven’t decided.

The cover image seems relevant to the book! How much of your actual life would you say gets written into your fictional stories?

Quite a bit. Bria, the main character, is an amalgam of many girls I’ve known in the past, including characteristics of my own daughters, foster daughters, cases I’ve worked on, and yes, with a good dollop of my own tumultuous youth.

Many of the other characters are loosely based on people from real life, though none are exact.

The clinical treatment described is based on reality, as is the psychologist, Mrs. Friesen. In my years of involvement with troubled girls, it’s been my great privilege to work with some wonderful professionals.

Bria’s subsequent behavior, including her fixation on her guardian, Jack, is quite typical of young female survivors of abuse and exploitation, much to the consternation of the men in their lives.

So yes, my actual life experiences play a big role in this book. A necessity, as I strove to make it as realistic as possible. 


❤ How would you describe your writing style and tone?

The first word that comes to mind is intimate. My characters tend to share all. I think that’s why I so enjoy the first person voice -- so chatty, so open. What editors sometimes call the restriction of the first person (no getting inside another character’s mind) seems more of an opportunity for character development to me. The whole world and the people in it are seen only through the narrator’s perception.

This Bird Flew Away has two first-person narrators, Bria and Mary (her foster mother), as though you were sitting at a table and these two women took turns telling you the story. Jack, the third major character is seen only through their eyes, so we can never be sure that what we are told about him is the entire truth. We must judge him for ourselves.

This story had to be told in such an intimate manner for it to work.

❤ Interesting... Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Be aware that in most cases, you will be entirely on your own when it comes to marketing and promotion. Unless you’ve written what is judged to be the next bestseller, the resources given to you are likely to be minimal. If, like me, you’re no marketing genius, make sure you have the resources to get the assistance you will need. Keep your expectations reasonable.

But more importantly, write to please yourself, from the heart, and leave the thought of markets, sales, fame (most unlikely) and financial rewards aside.

That's down-to-earth and realistic. Who are some books or authors you idolize?

If I had to point to one novel as being representative of great skill, I would choose To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee has crafted what I’d consider the perfect novel, tight writing -- not one superfluous word, -- superb character development, an understated tone, major themes, the intertwining of two plots into one without a single seam showing, excellent pacing and above all, masterful setting and atmosphere.

❤ What’s a question you always want to be asked in interviews? How would you answer it?

What do I consider a writing success? Finishing the book. Writing until you’re happy with the end project. Now, you’re a success. Anything else is icing on the cake.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?

Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, an independent woman at a time such women are rare, who appears to be welcome everywhere she goes and is possessed of an excellent mind.

❤ What’s the most interesting comment you have ever received about your books?
"Different people will draw different things from this story, but one thing is sure; no one will leave untouched." – Morton Rand, Fiction Factory

❤ 
What's next for you?


The sequel to This Bird Flew Away, with a working title, Fly High; Fly Blind, is in draft form and currently in the hands of some selected readers for their input prior to final revision and edit. I have not yet decided how and when this book will be published.

I am currently working out the skeleton for a new novel, entirely removed from these characters and subject matter, one based on life’s later problems. For the past while, I’ve been working with the elderly, helping them stay in their own homes and providing companionship and care. Listening to their stories, helping them overcome their problems and just getting to know these people has given enough grist for several novels.

I also write articles for various sites and organizations, but hold a personal publishing page on Hubpages, where I share my thoughts and views on all kinds of subjects. This has become a favorite place of mine, where I am free to publish as I wish. To my great surprise, it has developed a large readership and led to a number of other opportunities.

 Where can you be found on the web?


❤ Thank you for being here today, Lynda! It was a pleasure getting to know you and This Bird Flew Away better :)

Giveaway!
 Thanks to Lynda's tour publicist, NURTURE Virtual BOOK Tourz™, one lucky reader will win their very own print copy of This Bird Flew Away. To enter the giveaway, leave a meaningful comment or question on this interview post for Lynda. 

Giveaway runs through October 6th, 2011 at 11.59 pm (your time) and is open internationally.
Meaningful comment means something other than "Hi, please enter me in this giveaway." Your comment or question should be thoughtful and relevant.
Please leave your email in your comment so I know who to contact as the winner.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated :)
Good luck!