Tag Archives: Interviews

#Author Interview: Billy Ray Chitwood

Author Billy Ray ChitwoodI’m delighted to help promote the relaunch of Billy Ray Chitwood‘s novel, Mama’s Madness, to be released June 21st. Billy Ray is the author of 14 books, in the genres of fiction and nonfiction memoir. Many of his novels were inspired by true events. He describes himself as a dreamer, a wanderlust, a stereotype of many in his generation, and a young man in an old man’s body who is trying to catch up with himself and find the pieces he left behind in a disconnected youth and early years of manhood.

 

Mama's Madness by Billy Ray Chitwood

Pre-order HERE

 

Blurb

A story inspired by a northern California news account a few years ago … Some of the details in this fictional penning are true. Some of the details are exaggerated and are simply the work of the author’s imagination. What is clearly evidenced in this novel is the coldness of a mother’s heart and the madness of her cruelty. The mind cannot comprehend lives the children depicted here were forced to endure: from black punishment closets of hell (for days, not hours!), kitchen tables used for crudely performed operations, to a high sierra execution by fire. The terror is real. The pain is vicariously felt. Unbelievable? Yes, it is unbelievable that such depravity, such MAMA’S MADNESS exists in our world. Accept the embellishments with the truth. Know your environment and be safe!

 

Review by  on July 8, 2012
Mama’s Madness: Excellent writing about a depraved subject

“Mama’s Madness” by Billy Ray Chitwood is an excellently written story about an abused protagonist (Tammie Jo), her sociopathic mama, and the senseless crimes that Mama and her accomplices commit and are eventually held accountable for. As unsettling as the characters and their behavior may be, Chitwood manages to almost balance their menace with the goodness and dedication of law enforcement and Tammie Jo’s struggle to reconcile her environment with her possible future (or her lack of a future if Mama is left unrestrained). Chitwood’s ability to interweave the profile of a monster, the coming of age and redemption of a girl, and a fascinating multiple-murder investigation is masterful. I highly recommend “Mama’s Madness” for lovers of gritty murder investigations that include the perpetrator’s, victim’s, and detectives’ point-of-views. I will certainly continue reading Mr. Chitwood’s body of work.

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Please join me in welcoming Billy Ray to my blog.

 

Tell us a little about yourself.  Born in Appalachia during the aftermath of the Great Depression, I somehow survived those tumultuous years of poverty, mobility and family disconnect. I’m a romantic, a wanderlust with too much ‘Past’ in my awareness…reconciled to the fact those parts of me will never change: those parts have been with me all the way and live with me now in ‘Twilight’ – always looking for the ‘White Buffalo’.

In what genre is Mama’s Madness and who published it? This novel is inspired by true events in the genres of Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Child Abuse. Self-published through CreateSpace (Amazon).

The storyline?  Meet a mother from hell! I ran across the California newspaper clippings from years ago about a Northern California mother who tortured her six kids – the three girls most specifically – with beatings, dark-closet punishments that could last for days, eating lard and their own retch, standing erect or on their knees for hours at a time. She kills two of the girls by fire, leaving one girl to fear for her life…an amazing story, fictionalized with lots of true elements!

What inspired you to write it?  Thinking of my own kids, reading the clippings about these California crimes made me angry, made me cry, plus the ‘junk in my mind’s attic,’ conspired and inspired me to write a fictionalized account of this evil ‘woman from hell!’ It was a tough book to write and it’s a tough book to read! My hope is the book will serve as a silent siren for parents and children to be aware that evil exists in our world, to be aware of their environments, the stranger in the park, the offer of a ride home, et al.

Mama's Madness by Billy Ray Chitwood

What inspires you to write in general?  Hope this is not too corny or trite, but something magical happens for me when my fingers touch the laptop keys…it’s like invisible fingers are tapping those keys, creating what I believe to be good, sometimes great writing! The ‘business’ (marketing, the internet) of writing stymies me, but the writing itself satisfies a need within me. I can say truthfully that Writing is my therapy!

In what sub-genres do you write?  Cross-Genres…The whole spectrum actually: mystery, suspense, thriller, romance, memoir, time travel, history. My romance books get very little attention from the reading public, but that’s because, frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing in marketing them.

When and what did you first start writing?  As a kid I wrote poetry – at least, my Mom called it poetry. I thought about becoming a singer but my shyness was a major factor in not following that course. I wrote off and on through the work years, and really got serious about it around the 1980s.

What authors have most influenced you? How and why?  John D. MacDonald hooked me with his Travis McGee Novels. I read all twenty-one: each title contained a color: The Deep Blue Good-by;  Nightmare in Pink; A Purple Place for Dying; The Quick Red Fox. These books were all written in 1964. Tall good-looking Travis lived aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and each book is action-packed as Travis helps a friend or someone get out of trouble. John D. sold over 70 million copies of his books over his 70-year life span. It broke my heart when I lost those 21 books in one of my moves… The English Romantic poets rang my bell in college, as did the Naturalist Writers: Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Jack London, Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie), and others. Today, I like Nelson DeMille’s smooth-flowing style.

How do you write – outline or free flow?  Most of my writing is free flow. I’ve also done outlines, but, for me, I like to let my characters take my laptop tapping wherever it is they go and whatever they do.

What genres do you like to read?  Mystery, suspense, memoirs.

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I’d like to thank Billy Ray for being my guest and wish him all the best with his relaunch.

 

Mama's Madness by Billy Ray Chitwood

Pre-order HERE

 

Other books by Billy Ray

Books by Billy Ray Chitwood

The Bailey Crane Mystery Series

The Bailey Crane Mystery Series Billy Ray Chitwood Bailey Crane Mystery Series by Billy Ray Chitwood

Find all of Billy Ray’s books HERE

 

Connect with Billy Ray:  Website   Blog   Twitter   Facebook   Goodreads   LinkedIn   Google+   Amazon
I hope you enjoyed learning more about Billy Ray. Please visit his blog, comment and share.
Thanks so much for stopping by ❤️
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#Author Interview: Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray, AuthorJacqui Murray has just released her latest novel, Born in a Treacherous Time, and I’m so pleased to help her promote it. She’s doing a blog hop beginning today and running through June 21st. Jacqui has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is editor/author of over 100 tech ed resources, including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, and K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

 

Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray
Cover by: Damonza

Buy Jacqui’s book HERE

 

BLURB

Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when man was relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, his own people, and the next iteration of the species. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She may be their leader’s new mate but they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

Kirkus Review:

Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.

A well-executed tale of early man.

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Please join me in welcoming Jacqui to my blog. Let’s learn more about her and her work.

Before I start, Tina, I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your wonderful blog and for the opportunity to get to know your community. This is quite an honor!

You’re most welcome, Jacqui. I’m delighted to host you! Tell us something personal about yourself.  I adore my husband and my dog (not necessarily in that order). I have two amazing children, one a SGT in the Army and the other a LT CMDR (Select) in the Navy. I am blessed with my family!

Tell us a little about your new book.  My latest novel is prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time, to be released June 2018. It is Book 1 of my Man vs. Nature series, planned for four books covering man’s rise from helpless prey to apex predator. I’m excited to get this story out there and hope it will inspire the main character to stop nagging me!

Born in a Treacherous Time is Lucy’s story, how she and her band of early humans struggle to survive in the harsh reality of a world where nature rules, survival is a daily challenge, and a violent band threatens to destroy everything Lucy thinks she understands.

If you like Bear Grylls’ Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the ten-syllable academic explanations, this book is for you. It will bring that world to life in a way never seen before.

What inspired you to write it?  I started writing to understand historic events better. Nothing unravels history better than seeing people in real-life situations. I like to throw my characters off a ledge and see if they learn to fly. There is no high as great as solving the unsolvable.

 

Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray
Cover by: Damonza

 

How do you write – outline or free flow?  I write from an outline. I put everything into a spreadsheet first, add details, shake everything up, move rows around, and then convert it to Word where I flesh the story out. I know it’s a bit odd but it works well for me!

What subjects do write about on your blog?  I have several blogs (thank you for the opportunity to share them!):

Jacqui Murray - Structured Learning

 

What is your current writing project?  Currently, I am working on Book 2 in the Man vs. Nature series. This one will explore early man’s migration from Africa to all parts of Asia, the Levant, and Europe. It’s tentatively called Crossroads (for obvious reasons) and should be out Summer 2019.

What advice would you give a new writer?  The best I can offer—besides the de rigeur of ‘write well’–is write a lot. Making money at writing is as much a numbers game as anything else—the more books you have out, the more you sell. People are more likely to buy your first book if they see you’ve written a series.

What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?  I hope readers of Born in a Treacherous Time are blown away with the majesty and nobility of early man. He was the first animal who didn’t rely on instinct to ensure his survival. Instead, he evaluated his surroundings and came up with new solutions to old problems. I am in awe of his tenacity and brilliance.

What is a fun fact about you?  Few people know I used to be a professional ballroom dancer. I competed around the country and owned a dance studio. My favorite dances were tango, Paso Doble, and the venerable fox trot. I haven’t danced since I got married. My husband isn’t a fan and nothing I could do would change his mind!

Perhaps Jacqui could hold a dance-a-thon on her blog. It would be great fun and could very well go viral 🙂

I’d like to thank Jacqui for being my guest. I’m sure we all wish her every success with her writing and her new book.

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Jacqui Murray BooksFind all of Jacqui’s books Here

 

Connect with Jacqui:  Blog   Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Pinterest   Nonfiction technology-in-ed books
Amazon Author Page  
I hope you enjoyed learning more about Jacqui. Please visit her blogs, comment and share.
Thanks so much for stopping by ❤️

#Author Interview: Gigi Sedlmayer

Gigi Sedlmayer is an author, architectural drafter, and maker of soft toys. Her Talon series has won several awards, including Book Excellence Awards Finalist.

Find Gigi’s books HERE

Please join me in welcoming Gigi to my blog.

Author Gigi Sedlmayer

Tell us a little about yourself.  I was born on 19 May 1944 in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin, Germany. My family escaped to the West just before the infamous wall went up. We moved around a lot in Germany and I had to change Schools a lot. Have lost track about that. But it influenced me, not to make any friends anymore, because I would lose them anyway again. Finally settling in Munich where I studied architectural drafting. 1965 I met Albert in the drafting school. 1967, December, we got married. 1975, May, my husband and I moved to New Zealand. Here I made soft toys, because of language problems. Colorful parrots, sleepy tigers, koalas and many more. 1988 we decided to adopt and became adoptive parent of twin girls the year after. 1992 we moved to Australia. One year later I was diagnosed with cancer, withdrawing from everything, but still did my duties as wife and mother. After two years still under the living, I decided to do something out of my life. Since my husband wrote a book about the adoption of our girls, I thought I might could start writing something, since I couldn’t go working any longer. I started to write some short stories and send them into competition. I didn’t get first price, but was highly commended. One of the stories was about Matica and Talon. That was the start to write the Talon series.

What is the title and genre of your latest book? Who published it?  My latest book is called: TALON, ENCOUNTER and was published by Aurora House, Australia. Genre? My books are for all ages, from young to old, because everyone should read them, to know, that they are not alone, when they have some affliction and they can’t be cured.

Talon Encounter by Gigi Sedlmayer

Tell us a little about your books.  Children suffer from all sorts of affliction (even if it it’s only wearing glasses in their early years, as it was with me) and through my books they can learn to stand firm and learn and even understand how to cope with everything, as Matica did, the main character in my books. She had to learn it in her early life. (Most children have) Children can and should find a “Condor” as Matica did. Not literally a condor as Matica has, but every child or adult for that matter, they are battling with none curable afflictions, should find something that let them forget what is happening to them. Finding “that” would help them to overcome that.

Parents can read my books to younger children so they can see that they are not alone, but that they can overcome their affliction in a positive way, not in a negative way.

Talon Connected by Gigi Sedlmayer

What inspired you to write your first book?  I say: Children with special needs or with disability, or are handicapped don’t have an illness, so there is no cure and it’s not contagious. They want what we all want, to be accepted.

That’s what inspired me to write the story of Matica and Talon. To overcome it all, and have a good life.

When I was a young teenager, coming out of school, and before I went to the drafting school, I worked in my father’s place for two years. Since I was good with writing at typewriters, (the nice old ones, not a computer) I wrote manuscripts and some papers. But having time between, I wrote short stories for myself. It was fun.

What inspires you to write in general?  My motto was and is: “Teaching Children Self-Confidence through Service to Others.” Children today face immense pressure to fit in with their peers. (As I faced in my own life) This pressure is leading to record rates of depression among preteens and teenagers and this to suicide. Parents look for ways to build their children’s self-esteem; however, teens look to their peers and popular culture for acceptance rather than their parents. This puts parents in a challenging situation. Most children of this age group have issues with acceptance and this is explored and resolved in a positive manner within the story line of the Talon series. Matica shows children and teens that they can overcome great obstacles with love, patience and a selfless attitude toward helping others and experience exciting adventure on the way.

In a sense, Matica is me. (I am not handicapped but faced lots of rejection in my life as well.) Matica and I we are one person and we were looking for acceptance.

Talon Flight for Life by Gigi Sedlmayer

What authors have most influenced you? How and why? I was reading a lot and still read a lot, but all these authors didn’t influence me to write.

My husband did. He wrote the story of our adoption. And that did it. And the fact that I couldn’t go working anymore after I survived cancer but realized that I was still alive.

How do you write – outline or free flow?  Free flow. Sometimes I discuss something with my husband, then I write it down.

What is your current writing project?  I am writing on my sixth book in the Talon series, called: TALON, WINDSONG.

Tell us something you do when writing (your secret sin) that no one knows about?  Laughing and crying with what I am writing. (I am very emotional)

Talon On the Wing by Gigi Sedlmayer

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?  No, I never had and I never will have writers block. Firstly, I don’t let it come, and secondly, when I put my fingers on the key board, the ideas spilling out of my hands. When I think beforehand about what I should or what I will write, nothing comes. But as soon as my fingers touch the key board, my books are on the screen, the ideas are flowing.

Have you received any awards? If so, what are they?  I was finalist with “Book Excellence Awards” and Finalist with “The Independent Authors Network.” Both with the first book: TALON, COME FLY WITH ME

I also got “Bronc” for the fifth book, for ‘First line competition’ with “Authorsdb.” Also silver for the cover competition for first book, with “Authorsdb.” Also gold for the cover competition for fifth book, with “Authorsdb.” Also 5-star reviews for book ONE and book TWO with “Readers Favorite.”

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? Any hobbies? I love traveling with my husband, 4×4 touring, swimming, gardening, handcrafting, painting, cross-stitch pictures, reading, fossicking and enjoy good adventure DVD’s or going to the movies.

Talon Come Fly with Me by Gigi Sedlmayer

What do you wish to say to your readers?  Be open minded when you read my books. There stands a lot between the lines, even it is written as an adventure. Never give up, even everyone and everything is pointing against it. Determination brings you to places, giving up, you go nowhere.

What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your books?  They are books of hope and determination and unconditional love. Because these things will bring you to places, because we are in fact all connected. And, Matica’s disability is her greatest strength. So, it can be for you as well, will be for you. If you have the determination. Bravery, honesty and love. And still, one can have adventure. You will meet danger on the way, laughter and tears. And we are all connected.

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BLURB: Talon Encounter

Will they manage to fulfill Elcano’s wishes to spread his ashes over the mountain?

Planning their big holiday in Australia, Matica is devastated. What will await her back there? Will she lose the birds? Will they stay and wait for her? And most of all, will she cope without her beloved birds?

To overcome her fear to lose the birds, she is flying endlessly with the birds and has many adventures and near misses.

Talon Encounter by Gigi Sedlmayer

Buy Gigi’s books HERE

Connect with Gigi:  Website   Twitter   Facebook   LinkedIn   Google+   Amazon   Barnes & Noble
My thanks to Gigi for being a guest on my blog.
Thank you so much for stopping by  

#Author Interview: Molly Stevens

As I regain my health and energy, I’m wading back in to the
blogosphere with an author interview. I’ve missed all of you and will slowly catch up with your lovely blogs.
Please join me in welcoming Molly Stevens.
Molly Stevens, Author
Molly Stevens is an author, blogger, and nurse, as well as a mother, wife, and grandmother. She grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, and views writing and blogging as her
second act in life. She was among the winners of the 2017
National Society of Newspaper Columnists Writing contest
. She also has a great sense of humor, which (thankfully!) she shares on her blog.

Boomer on the Ledge by Molly StevensBuy Molly’s book HERE

 

Tell us a little about yourself.  I live in eastern Maine near Stephen King’s hometown of Bangor. I grew up in northern Maine on a potato farm where I wore a snowsuit over both my Halloween costume and my Easter dress. I’ve worked as a registered nurse since 1979, which in health care years is a century. I am wife to Patrick, who is shallow like me, so we are a terrific match. And I am the mother of a fabulous son who lives nearby with his incredible wife and two perfect sons. But I’m not proud or prejudice.

What is the title and genre of your latest book? Who published it?  Boomer on the Ledge is a pictorial humor book about the antics of an aging boomer. Humoroutcasts Press published it, and I took all the photographs for it.

Tell us a little bit about your book.  Boomer on the Ledge™ portrays, in a humorous way, some of the challenges people face as they age. I compare the experience of aging to hanging on a ledge, teetering between danger and adventure. Through the antics of a little doll I remind readers that aging can be fun. And we don’t have to be grim while we wait for the reaper.

Boomer on the Ledge by Molly Stevens

What inspired you to write it?  I saw my grandsons get excited about a little elf that monitored their behavior leading up to Christmas. I realized no one watches the actions of my generation unless looking for signs of dementia. I had a vintage doll my mother left me, and I started posing her in comical scenarios, and it made me laugh. That motivated me to design a new doll that became the focus of the book. She is hilarious and if you don’t believe me, ask her, and she’ll tell you.

What inspires you to write in general?  I have always been a voracious reader, gobbling books with almost as much enthusiasm as a platter of nachos. This foundation set the stage for me to become a writer. I am a humor writer, and since laughter helps me through rough patches, my mission is to help others do the same. I also love connecting with my readers and other writers.

When and what did you start writing?  I started writing mini-essays on Facebook, and family and friends urged me to start a blog. Once I decided on the name – Shallow Reflections – I published my first post in January 2015 at the age of 61. My tagline is, ‘Wading through life (mostly) laughing.’ Though I write humor, I reserve the right to be solemn or opinionated on occasion. I write weekly essays about a variety of topics – from my love affair with white potatoes to the whacky reasons I live in Maine year round.

What advice would you give a new writer?  Think about your focus and the audience you hope to attract, but write for you, and you will find your voice. Read and study other writers. Write quality content with consistency. Be generous supporting other writers and a standout when you comment on their blogs – you will make some fabulous friends. Limit social media to protect your writing time. Use a thesaurus. Be attentive to grammar and become a ruthless editor – less is more. Don’t forget to glance up from the computer to live so that you can gather new material for your writing.

What is a fun fact about you?  I sang back up for Foreigner when I was 59 years old. The band performed at a fundraising event in mid-coast, Maine and needed a choral group for the song “I want to Know What Love Is.” They usually invite a high school chorus but because there was an open bar, they had to resort to adults. So the community group I sang with had the chance to do it. You can see it on YouTube and I’m the one dancing like Elaine Benes from Seinfeld. Because, you know – open bar.

Where and what time of day do you like to write? Why?  I can write anywhere and often do with devices and notebooks scattered from one end of my house to the other. But this writing involves jotting down rough ideas and notes for later development. My real work takes place in my office typing on an iMac. I am a morning person, so while I can write after noon if I have to, I’m not as productive.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?  I love to spend time with family. I am involved in a local church and take part in the choir. I started singing lessons in my 40’s, developing an affinity for classical, sacred, and contemporary choral music, and have sung in several groups. I am a fan of British and Australian television, but can watch reruns of Frazier and the Gilmore Girls ad infinitum. I adore reading. And I’ve made snacking an Olympic sport, scoring a gold medal in the nacho competition.

Blurb from Boomer on the Ledge

Do you believe aging is grim? Molly Stevens observed her grandsons discovering Christmas magic with an elf who monitored their behavior and reported it to Santa. As invasive as that seemed, she realized no one watches folks in her age group unless scanning for signs of dementia. She felt invisible. So she created a little doll whose daily surprises reminded her how being a boomer is both harrowing and hilarious. From the mundane to the sublime, Boomer on the Ledge™ can transform grim into grins while you explore the antics of an aging boomer.

Boomer on the Ledge by Molly StevensBuy HERE

Molly is also a contributor to the anthology, These Summer Months: Stories from the Late Orphan Project, edited by Anne Born.

These Summer Months AnthologyBuy HERE

Learn more about Molly:  Blog   Facebook   Facebook   Twitter
LinkedIn   Google+   Pinterest   Instagram   Amazon
My thanks to Molly for being a guest on my blog.
Thank you so much for stopping by