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Monday, October 11, 2021

Interview with Tyler Edwards, Author of The Outlands


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Tyler Edwards.  Tyler Edwards has written the book, The Outlands.  First, let me thank you for joining me. I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

  

Amazon


Goodreads


Website: http://entertheoutlands.com


Facebook


 

 

That is great.  Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?

 

I have always loved writing. Growing up my mom and I would read books together and I fell in love with stories. About fifth grade I started writing down stories and ideas in notebooks when I should have been listening to my teachers. Ever since then, I’ve been writing and developing story ideas. There’s just something about crafting stories, worlds, characters that has always excited me.  

 

Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?


Usually when I am really busy and away from my computer, super exciting ideas strike and I have to hope to remember them when I get the time to write them down. A lot of my inspiration comes from moments of margin, when I’m not actively doing something and mind wanders.

 

"Take criticism well. It’s hard when you write something you love to hear others talk bad about it. Do NOT get offended. Hear what they are saying and learn from it."

What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?


I love movies and stories in any form so yea, consuming stories in various mediums of entertainment plays well into crafting stories. 


What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?


I’d say a couple of things: 

1. Write because it’s what you love. Write because you have a story to tell. Write because it brings you joy. Don’t write to sell books. It’s easy to get discouraged if you write for the wrong reasons.  


2. Never show anyone your first draft. After you write a story, start again from scratch using the first draft as a general outline. After writing the story at least twice you might have something that other people can look at.


3. Get some beta readers who can provide detailed, thoughtful feedback and listen to ALL of it. You bring an ego into writing and your book will suffer.


4. Take criticism well. It’s hard when you write something you love to hear others talk bad about it. Do NOT get offended. Hear what they are saying and learn from it. The only way to get better is to through accepting critiques. If you’re just starting, you need to get better if you want to do anything with your books. 

 

That's great advice. Truly. What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?


Don’t write the story you are passionate about first. You won't have the audience to share it with or the skills to develop it properly.

 

Don't think I have ever heard that said so well. I think it is very true. I have one I've been sitting on and had that feeling... I'm not ready. So much of that is learning the craft but also practice. Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?


I write on the side. For me, my ideas tend to come late at night. So when the rest of my family goes to sleep, I get up and write, usually at the expense of a good night’s sleep. 


How many hours a day do you write?


I am an inspiration writer. I try to give myself 30 minutes – 1 hour a day to write but most of the time, I get a jolt of inspiration and write for 4 hours straight and then the next day just stare at the screen like I’m in a vegetative state.

 

What is your favorite part about writing?


Building a new world.


That is fun. And can be the reward in and of itself. What does literary success look like to you?


Success is writing a story that people enjoy, want to re-read, and want more from. Getting a base audience is hard. I don’t care about the numbers. My hope is that those who read my books enjoy it and find some encouragement or escape in them.

 

"I am an inspiration writer. I try to give myself 30 minutes – 1 hour a day to write but most of the time, I get a jolt of inspiration and write for 4 hours straight and then the next day just stare at the screen like I’m in a vegetative state."


It is hard, but you are doing the right things. That said, tell us about your current release.


In the ruins of the world that was lies the city of Dios, a haven protected from the hostile environment known as The Outlands. Ruled by an oppressive Patriarch, the people of Dios are conditioned in fear. The smallest infraction could result in banishment to the Outlands, a fate worse than death.

With his make-shift family of “Undesirables”, Jett Lasting struggles to find his place in a world where drawing attention to yourself can get you killed. His very existence is considered a crime. To survive, he must avoid guards, beggar gangs, and an ever-growing tension that could drag the whole city into chaos.

Jett unwittingly becomes entwined in a plot to overthrow the government where his choices could lead to freedom or the death of everyone he’s ever known or cared about.


That is awesome. I'd want to read it. You said you are an inspirational writer, writing in jolts. What exciting story are you working on next?


I am finishing up book 2: The Tides of Reckoning, which is considerably better in my opinion. Book 1 was my first novel and writing book 2 I could feel my ideas and writing coming together in ways that book 1 didn’t.

 

Who are your favorite authors? 


J.R.R Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Jim Butcher, Andy Weir, Suzanne Collins, Llyod Alexander, J.K Rollings, George R.R Martin

 

Those are some great writers, for sure. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?


The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

 

Any plans for the upcoming holiday?


Just a ten-hour road trip with my wife and 2 year old son to visit my wife’s family for thanksgiving. What could go wrong?

 

LOL. Sounds like it might be ripe for inspiration! As a writer, we have to also be marketer, publisher, and many other hats. Part of the craft is deciding where to spend your budget. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


Good editors. Every typo, misplaced word, event in the wrong order, and confusing sentence has the potential to pull your reader from the story and destroys the magic you want them to get lost in. You can’t get your book polished and quality enough.

 

What is your writer’s kryptonite? 


The comma. I was taught incorrectly how to use it and can’t unlearn it for some reason. 

 

I, understand. Apart from commas, what part of writing and publishing was most difficult for you?


The marketing is the worst for me. I love writing. I don’t even mind editing. Getting the book in front of people is physically painful. 

 

Are you involved in any writer groups?


I have some writer friends who I talk books with, but not any formal group.

 

Well, let them know any friend of yours has an open door here if they ever publish. One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?


Amazon


Goodreads


Website: http://entertheoutlands.com


Facebook

LONGHAND:

https://www.amazon.com/Outlands-Tyler-Edwards-ebook/dp/B08QL3SSYJ/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=the+outlands&qid=1629300918&s=digital-text&sr=1-2

 

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-outlands-tyler-edwards/1139319969?ean=9780578896083

 

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Outlands-Audiobook/B09B7WCW3Q?asin=B09B7WCW3Q

 

https://www.target.com/p/the-outlands-by-tyler-edwards-paperback/-/A-83193293




MY REVIEW: I was given a copy by the author for an unbiased review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.

You can see my review also on Amazon.com


Tyler Edward’s debut novel, The Outlands is a great read for Dystopian fans. There are already several quality reviews regarding the plot, so I will focus on what made the story engaging for me. 

 

First, Tyler does a marvelous job world building. There is enough connectivity to my own world, sufficient description of this one, and enough humanity sprinkled in that I can easily visualize the setting of The Outlands. I never felt like it was borrowed from others. The introduction of Paragon Virtues, the Primes, the Artisans, and Plebs echo other modern dystopian societies where people are divided up. However, What Tyler does with his framework is original and refreshing. Tyler sets forth a unique effort. 

 

Secondly, there is action. Lots of action. Tyler is a good story teller and an excellent action sequence writer. As his character Spike states at one point, “Aye, he fights. Fighting is easy. Rage is easy. It’s the aftermath ye never ready for.” It is perhaps one of my favorite lines of the book and as much a promise to the reader turning a page as it is to the characters themselves.

 

Third, the book is satisfying but also leaves plenty of room for a sequel or series outside the dome of Dios.

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Review of The Phoenix Rises

 


Here is my review as posted on Amazon.com and Goodreads.


Buy it here


P. Benjamin Mains’ work, The Phoenix Rises: Beyond Imagination opens with a dream sequence reminiscent of Starship Troopers. Mains does a great job describing both the combat and the villainous Zom-Borgs. I loved lines like “looking more Spartacus than Michelangelo”or “Leo thrus his arm to the heavens in a theatrical gesture that would make any tokusatsu fanboy proud.”

 

The initial scene revolves around a group of knights and their efforts drew me in to my childhood days of watching Power Rangers, Voltron, or the more modern Pacific Rim or Ready Player One. In chapter two we read of a darker, colder, slower world where we meet “Reilly Brendan Patrick Major, professional pushover.” As one might expect, we discover soon there is a connection. Once the connection is made we have a “unimportant character discovers he is very important” tale. This particular one is told well with pop culture references, its own well designed world, and excellent battle-scape narrative. Like well written fiction in this genre, it reads at the pace of a good, immersive video game never letting up on the throttle. Constellations launch!


I was given a copy for review. The opinions are my own.

Monday, September 27, 2021

 

10 out of 10
"Jerry Harwood's third YA novel is a tour de force of magic, mayhem and self-discovery for protagonist Simon, who turns out to have a lot more going for him than anyone thought." 

Freckles: The Dark Wizard has been reviewed by The Book Life:

Review

Plot: Simon attends Flame Rock Middle School where absolutely everyone is going to grow up to be a wizard. The question is, what kind of wizard? Simon has freckles, a feature that bodes ill for his power as a wizard and puts him at the bottom of the social ladder in middle school. But as he comes into his full wizarding powers, Simon discovers that he can conjure a dragon - powerful dark magic indeed - and that his perception of himself trumps what anyone else thinks of him. Freckles: The Dark Wizard is a well-crafted allegory about growing up during what is perhaps one of the most difficult periods of many a kid's life.


Prose/Style: 
The prose is completely appropriate for a middle school reader, with just enough challenging vocabulary to make it interesting without slowing down the action.

"This fantasy has all the right elements for this age group—wizards, magic, pre-teen social challenges, and adventure."

Originality: 
Harwood is a middle school teacher and the father of six; his understanding of upper elementary school age kids, what will engage their attention, and their sense of humor is spot-on. This fantasy has all the right elements for this age group—wizards, magic, pre-teen social challenges, and adventure. A particularly refreshing element of this story is that it starts in a fantasy world, rather than taking the reader through a litany of events to get there.


Character Development/Execution: 
Simon is a completely believable middle schooler (aside from his wizarding powers, of course), portrayed with sympathy but without sentimentality. Simon discovers the power that will make him master of his own life, but the challenge is to learn to control it. The sensitive descriptions of Simon's efforts to negotiate the complexities of middle school social life, find his strengths, and figure out girls show Harwood's deep familiarity with and commitment to this age group.

Jerry Harwood's third YA novel is a tour de force of magic, mayhem and self-discovery for protagonist Simon, who turns out to have a lot more going for him than anyone thought.

The sensitive descriptions of Simon's efforts to negotiate the complexities of middle school social life, find his strengths, and figure out girls show Harwood's deep familiarity with and commitment to this age group.


Score:
  • Plot/Idea: 10
  • Originality: 10
  • Prose: 10
  • Character/Execution: 10
  • Overall: 10.00
REVIEWED BY  The Booklife Prize (a subsidiary of Publisher's Weekly)

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Interview with Avery Caswell

  




Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Avery Caswell.  Avery has written the novel, Salvation.  

 

First, let me thank you for joining me.  I appreciate you giving me your links and I want to share those with our readers.

 


Averycaswell.com  @averycaswell on Facebook and Instagram  

I'm also with writer Marianne Spranger's a podcast: TurnThePage, adventures & misadventures in writing:


Terrific. And you are here today to tell us about your new work.


Salvation is my new novel.


Salvation is based on the harrowing true story of two young girls who were abducted by a traveling preacher in 1971.

 

 

Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?

 

I snuck into writing through the back door. I began in advertising, writing brochure copy and snappy 8-word billboard headlines. The agency won a restaurant account and we decided to do the menu like a J.Peterman catalog with evocative descriptions of the international cuisine the restaurant featured. Writing that was so much fun, I decided to write full time and left advertising. My first books were niche local histories, several for former clients. After I was accepted to Iowa Writers’ Workshop, I turned my attention to writing fiction. 

 




Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books? 


Inspiration is everywhere! An acorn hit my head while I was raking once and that led to my novel FALL (an excerpt is one of the stories in MotherLoad). 

 

As an unashamed eavesdropper, I will say overheard conversations can lead to fantastic characters and scenes. A few years ago, in Ohio, I visited two competing museums and witnessed such palpable animosity between the two places I thought the town was ripe for a murder mystery. When I got home, I started writing one. 

 

Anger can also be a great inspiration. Some really hilarious scenes have derived from interactions with difficult people. It turns out to be so much fun writing those awful, frustrating moments that by the time I’ve written them, I’m no longer upset. I get my revenge in a way—a healthy, safe way. No chance of prison time. No legal fees—as long as all the names are changed, of course.

 

That is one of the best answers I've ever heard. You are absolutely right. As writers we must be excellent observers. What are your hobbies and do they ever play into your writing?


One of my favorite quotes about writing is “A book is a party the writer throws for the reader.” Consequently, I want readers to have a good time and be glad they spent time with me via my writing. I always try to include scenes with food, describe what people are wearing, and make sure the conversation is interesting. 

 

I love to bake, am a former costume designer, a shoe fanatic, and a huge fan of history; all those things figure into my writing. 

 

What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer? 


Write every day. Don’t get caught up in having the “right” journal, or pen, or any writerly gear or software. Just put words on paper. And READ. Read a variety of material. Take apart a sentence or a paragraph that someone else wrote. Discover what makes it tick. Then write a similar sentence based on your work in progress. I’ve found that doing this just once or twice can get the creative juices flowing and before you know it, you’re deep into your story.

 

One of my favorite quotes about writing is “A book is a party the writer throws for the reader.” Consequently, I want readers to have a good time and be glad they spent time with me via my writing.


What is the best advice you have ever been given as a writer?


I can’t recall any specific advice, but I can say the most important thing I ever received was encouragement. My mentor, Abigail DeWitt (News of Our Loved Ones) saw potential in my early writing and without her support and praise for my early work, I’d never have continued. Her belief in me made me believe. 

 

Do you write full-time or around another job? How do you schedule your time to write?


I am a writing coach and book designer for Better Books (writingbetterbooks.com) and work with writers at all levels, from emerging to established. It’s a privilege to help other writers and watch as their work takes shape and flies. Just this afternoon, one of my protégés unveiled a collection of essays she wrote under quarantine during her gap year. Titled Mind The Gap, Essays of Pandemic Proportions, it is funny and dark and absolutely wonderful. I’m so proud of her.


How many hours a day do you write? 


I’m fortunate that my work schedule is flexible. Plus, I can write anywhere—the carwash, the dentist’s office—so I always have something to write with and write on. On a good day, I’ll get a solid eight hours in. Some days, it’s only eight minutes. I always seem to get some of my best work done while on vacation.  

 

What is your favorite part about writing? 


Editing! I love revision. I also really enjoy playing with a scene, getting it moving, developing its rhythm, making sure the character’s action propels the plot or provides subtle metaphor.

 

I admire that and it speaks highly for your work. So many authors who ask me to review their work don't revise. 


I’m so grateful for your interest in my work and feel honored to be here. Thank you!

 

Like Nike says, Just do it.

Writing is deceptively simple. Seemingly anyone can do it; but few succeed at doing it well. 

Time is your friend. Write every day. That is the secret in a nutshell.

 

I am very interested. Please tell us about your current release.


Salvation is based on the harrowing true story of two young girls who were abducted by a traveling preacher in 1971.  

 

Their mother Del Munro, was a single mom with four young children and was having a hard time making ends meet. When Mother Franklin, a traveling evangelist, came to town that summer, she welcomed her into her home. “This is the beginning, she feels it, when blessings will start falling down on her like summer rain, soft at first and then a deluge.”

 

Blessings are what Mother Franklin, whose ambitions are as outsized as her enormous girth, trades in. Inspired by Sweet Daddy Grace, the Messiah-like preacher who baptized her many years ago and was worth $25 million at his death, she believes she’s destined for greatness.

 

When school is delayed because of court-mandated busing, the evangelist offers to take Del’s girls, seven-year-old Glory and nine-year-old Willie June, home with her to Savannah for two weeks at the beach. For the girls, restless at the end of a long hot summer in Charlotte, it's a dream come true. To Del, it's a much-needed reprieve.

 

But what seemed like a blessing soon becomes a nightmare when the girls do not return to Charlotte. Instead, they are pressed into service by Mother Franklin who promises power and glory to the unsuspecting while relying on the book of Ezekiel to propel her ministry. Along with her driver Luther, a man with questionable connections and a Saturday Night Special hidden in a wig box, they travel from one church to another along the backroads of Georgia and Florida.

 

 

Can you read / provide us with a small exerpt? 


This is the opening to SALVATION:

 

 

 

To imagine what reality looks like ... is a challenge.

It’s the things not said, the stories, the unremembered histories.

Statements made only in whispers.

                                                         —Timothy Powell, “Summoning the Ancestors” 

 

 

No one ever talks about what happened when Glory was seven; she says the family acts like they don’t remember. They talk about other things though, like losing her little brother JoJo to AIDS, decades later, in 1997. 

            Willie June says when she gets a whiff of celery it comes back to her. Glory says celery doesn’t even have a smell—not one she notices anyway. She wonders if that’s just her sister’s way of messing with her, or maybe it means she really doesn’t remember. 

Glory remembers—every time she looks at her legs. 

 

—here is something a little later in the book:

 

Luther was Mother Franklin’s driver. At least that’s how he thought of himself. He spent a lot of time waiting around on her; her being so big and all meant she was a slow mover. He’d stand for what seemed like hours waiting for the old woman in one churchyard or another. This time of year, when the grass was brown and crackly and clover was the only thing showing green on the ground, he would kick at it with his shoe, grinding the clover until it disappeared in the red dirt.

That’s what that fat old woman was doing to him.Grinding him down.It wasn’t like she was really paying him.He was just part of her—what’d she call it?—retinue. My driver. A plate for my driver, she’d demand and the church ladies always did provide. It wasn’t begging. But it was charity. What he’d like was a little cash in his pocket. Even when they pulled into a filling station she’d get the bills out of her black square of a pocketbook and not let go of them ’til he was done pumping. Two dollars, she’d bawl in her wheezy old voice, and not a drop more!

Even though technically the station wagon wasn’t his, Luther watched over it like a jealous lover, noticing every little hint of trespass—fingerprints on the windows, mud on the floor, crumbs. He kept a little whisk broom under the driver’s seat and a red rag, worn soft, that he folded in half and then in thirds and tucked up under the visor. Every time they stopped for gas, he swept the floorboard on the driver side and wiped down the dash. When Mother Franklin was doing her business, he’d whisk her side of the car as well.

He was sure this dust-covered, paneled wagon would do better if they just filled it up to the top of the tank every once and again.He wasn’t anything more than a shade tree mechanic but he knew where to poke around under the hood and it was looking like there were going to be some serious problems soon enough.

 

What exciting story are you working on next?


I’ve been revising my novel FALL, which explores the intertwined fates of small town families and the perils of conflicting expectations. It takes place during a prolonged dry spell in a small southern college town. 

 

The three main characters are: Maggie Bliss, who is determined to hold on to her legacy—her grandmother’s home and Gullah healing practices; fifteen-year-old Nate Simmons; and his mother Eileen who up to then had been successful in controlling her family. Nate exposes himself to risks far beyond his mother’s worst fears, forcing Eileen to let go—of her children, perfection, and the hope for true fulfillment. 

  

Who are your favorite authors? 


There are too many to list! 

 

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


I will preface this by saying I write everything longhand first.


That is a great system. I hear James Patterson only works longhand. I like to do it, but if honest I only do it about half the time. Bet you burn through legal pads and journals.


 I’m incredibly frugal and have quite a collection of free hotel pens and write on yellow legal pads, or any handy scrap of paper. Best money spent: purchasing/upgrading my laptop. I’m a Mac person through and through and I use a MacBook pro.     

 

My first computer was an Apple 2c and I have never gone PC.  Sounds like you have a great system that works well. Do you have a writer’s kryptonite? 


Self-doubt and falling prey to procrastination. My former athletic trainer in Baltimore seems to intuit when I need a jolt and he’ll message me links to motivational videos that never fail to get me re-energized.

 

Are you involved in any writer groups?


I tried one or two in the past, but never found one that had the right mix of people. I am still in regular contact with a writer I befriended at Iowa (Naná Howton whose novel Burning Seasons will be published in France in 2022). We plan writing retreats fairly regularly and read each other’s work and offer feedback. And one of my former coaching clients is well on her way to writerly fame and glory and we constantly compare notes and cheer each other on.

 


Anything additional you want to share with the readers? 


Like Nike says, Just do it.

Writing is deceptively simple. Seemingly anyone can do it; but few succeed at doing it well. Time is your friend. Write every day. That is the secret in a nutshell.

 

 

One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?

Add your links here again

https://www.amazon.com/Salvation-novel.../dp/1952816556




_________


BELOW IS MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK I POSTED ON AMAZON AND GOODREADS:


Salvation by Avery Caswell is based on the true story of two young girls tragically abducted in 1971 by a traveling preacher, Mother Franklin. Mother Franklin, an obese, African-American woman, takes Glory and Willie June with her one summer. What begins as innocently helping Mother Franklin negotiate her clothes in a bathroom stall evolves into a road trip bouncing from service to service with hunger pains and an empty bread box. There is a gun introduced to the car, smelly socks, and the kids’ homesickness for their mother. There is also theft as the two become part of the caravan’s continual innovation of schemes as Mother Franklin’s health declines. My favorite was where Mother Franklin would do readings as Sheila would slip her information overheard in the waiting room. Based on a true story, I loved how Avery weaved the detective’s reports with the narrative. The “journal in my head” was another device used to end some chanpters, giving insight into the two kidnapped children. 

 

Overall, I would highly recommend the book. I read it in two sittings and found it to be engaging and compelling. There are so many themes still prevalent today in our society, even as the setting is nearly fifty years ago. Avery’s prose are wonderful with lines like “On the bravery scale he was closer to a rabbit nibbling at lettuce than a bear grabbing a fish” or “Ain’t no Jehoshaphat jumping, no Jeremiah, no Joshua fitting no battle of no Jericho. Far as I see, they just be Luther Jackson.”

 

I was given a copy for review. The opinions are my own.

 


 

Monday, September 20, 2021



www.shaebwrites.com


Today, we have an opportunity to talk to Shae Bryant.  Shae has written the book, Is She Home? In addition to this post, you can find more information at:

 

www.shaebwrites.com

 

Shae,  Can you tell us a little about yourself and what led you to start writing?

 

I’m the author of several historical fiction and fantasy novels. I’m also a digital marketing professional, creating content for clients I’m not allowed to actually talk to. That's because I’m known to have a bit of a big mouth. When I’m not writing, I’m riding motorcycles, getting the next tattoo, crocheting, playing an RPG, or hiking with my husband and dog Zero. 


Just f***ing write! I’ve told so many people those exact words. Just write. Keep writing. As you keep writing, learn to improve. Take classes, workshops, get networked with other writers and find a place for good and honest feedback. Then...WRITE!


A big mouth? I bet there are some stories there! And I can relate to the joy in all those activities (well... my hiking is with my wife...) except crocheting. However, my daughter Snizzana loves to crochet. She started at a very young age as a hobby and never stopped. I'm always fascinated how people get started with jobs or passions such as writing. How did you begin writing?

 

I started writing at a very young age. I remember creating a book on a dot matrix printer when I was about 8. No one but my parents saw that book. At around age 12, I knew I wanted to write. I had been devouring books since I was able to read, and I wanted to share the stories I enjoyed so much. I attempted to write when I was in 7th grade, but I had a long way to go. 

 

 

You mentioned hiking. That can be inspirational for me. Where do you get your inspiration, information, and ideas for books?


 I get ideas and inspiration from a lot of places. Most of the time it comes from music. That could be one of my favorite bands, a game soundtrack, movie score or instrumental. I often use music playlists to “score” scenes I am writing. I also get inspiration from just being out and about. I remember riding through Kansas and seeing an old farm house that was falling apart next to a windmill. Suddenly, a story of the dust bowl era popped into my mind. 

 

That is cool how places can trigger us to story. I also remember Stephen King saying once he used certain soundtracks and playlists when writing, so you are in good company. What advice would you give someone who wants to be a writer?


Just f***ing write! I’ve told so many people those exact words. Just write. Keep writing. As you keep writing, learn to improve. Take classes, workshops, get networked with other writers and find a place for good and honest feedback. Then...WRITE! The other advice I give is to get a thick skin. Publishers are going to rip your stuff apart. People are going to hate your stories. Get used to it, and get ready for it. If you can’t handle critique and criticism, you are in the wrong game. 

 

Very true about the thick skin. As for scheduling writing, how do you schedule your writing around your job?  


Some days I write full time. Other days I have clients I need to tend to. I’m a digital marketer specializing in content marketing. I do it on a freelance basis, so sometimes I have a client to work with. On those days, I may focus completely on my task until it’s finished. If it’s a rather easy task, I’ll split my work day. 

 

 

Well you can certainly be proud you are one of the very few statistically who set out to write and make it to publication. That's awesome. Please tell us about your current release. 


Is She home? is part of a series based on true stories from my own family. They all came from Appalachia, and I had been told no one cares about the history of Appalachia. I set out to prove that wrong. 


That is interesting that you say that. One of my favorite films is October Sky. Another is Cold Mountain. I believe both are set in Appalachia. I think there is a real market for story originating in that area.


Appalachia has a rich history of people who lived hard lives and persevered through all of it. Is She Home? is based on the true story of my Great Grandfather, his Mother and his siblings. Many of the pieces of the book were told to my Grandmother by her Uncles and her Dad. The rest I was able to fill in with public records. 

 

That is really great. What exciting story are you working on next?


 I’m continuing to work on and finish the Appalachian Roots series. The next book in the series is called Marriage and Moonshine. However, the next novel is a switch up. I’m working on a new fantasy series that is a little mix of urban fantasy, fantasy and a touch of dystopian fiction. The first novel in the series is titled “The Secret of Vod” and should be out at the end of 2021. 

Appalachia has a rich history of people who lived hard lives and persevered through all of it. 
Is She Home? is based on the true story of my Great Grandfather, his Mother and his siblings. Many of the pieces of the book were told to my Grandmother by her Uncles and her Dad.  

Stephen King also says that any writer should be an avid reader. Who are your favorite authors? 


 Ken Follett, Stephen Lawhead, J. R. R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis. 



I'm not familiar with Ken Follett. One of the best parts of doing these interviews is I get to learn my next reads. I'll put one of his on my "to read" shelf. I'll also be putting yours on there as you were kind enough to promise me a hardcopy. I look forward to reading it. I really like the blurb on his book as well as the cover. Yours looks stunning too. Really draws you in. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?


Cover design. You can find free ways to outline and write your stuff (hello Google Docs). But, you need a good cover! If you can’t design it yourself, pay someone to do it. 


Couldn't agree more. I just had my third book done professionally and it is heads above my first two. Shamless Plug Inserted here:




 

I found my artist through my writing group. Are you involved in any writer groups?


 I am! I’ve got an amazing group of folks I meet with every Monday. Author Kevin Wolf heads up the group, and we are often joined by some of the most talented writers I’ve met. It is such a valuable place to gain feedback and critique. Oftentimes, I sit back, listen and absorb anything I can learn from men and women who have been writing far longer than I have been. 

 

 

Awesome. I read a piece he did in an anthology. Really liked it too. Let him know he is welcome to contact me anytime. Based on what you have said regarding your topic, your sources, your writing group, and your reading preferences I bet this book will be a true hit. One more time, where can someone go to purchase your book?


You can purchase Is She Home at www.shaebwrites.com . There, you can find out where to purchase it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and various online retailers.