Saturday, December 27, 2014

Author Interview with Robin Merrill on her book Grace Space A Direct Sales Tale



1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the story?

I dabbled in a few direct sales companies, trying desperately to pay the light bill. I found the whole subculture thoroughly entertaining and just wanted to explore that. This tale is 100% fiction, but I've heard from some saleswomen that it rings true. 



2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?

My background is in poetry, and then I moved into nonfiction, and fiction is very new to me. I didn't do it on purpose. It just sort of happened, but I'm thrilled! I've always liked to make up stories in my head (maybe even too much) so it only makes sense to try to get a few of them on paper.

3. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I didn't do any purposeful research. I just thought about my own experiences with direct sales, and then just tried to make them even more ridiculous.


4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

I'm a mom first, so I work around my kids, but I try to write for several hours each day. There is no set goal, but I usually have some deadlines spurring me on. While I do have a home office, I often end up writing on the couch, with children crawling all over me. 

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The children! Just kidding. I find it difficult to make a protagonist both real and likable. To make a character realistic means to expose their flaws, right? Then my readers say, "I don't like her."

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?

The best thing about being an author is that I get paid to do what I would do anyway. I can't help but write. I'm so thankful people actually read my words. 

7. What are you working on now?

I am working on a nonfiction ghostwriting project and a new novel(la?)! I am very excited about the latter. 

8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

I'm not sure I'm qualified to give advice, but here's what has helped me: hanging out with writers who are better than me. That means taking classes, participating in workshops, going to readings, and reading other writers. I could not possibly write in a vacuum. Well, I could, but that would be a diary.

9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

I have a lot of favorite authors and books. My all-time favorite is Richard Adams, but I am also a Stephen King junkie. And I love to read poetry. My fave poets include Robert Cording and Lauren Zuniga.

10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

What a good question! I have no idea. One question that I like to be asked is, "Why did you become a writer?" because then I get to quote Rocky Balboa: "Because I couldn't sing or dance."

11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Blessed Chaos!
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. It sounds like a fun book. If you would like to buy her book Grace Space A Direct Sales Tale just go to Amazon.com or click here.

Project: Hero Atlantis Under Attack is now on Nook

The second book in the Project: Hero series, Project: Hero Atlantis Under Attack, is now available on Nook. I had to do a different cover as the one for the Kindle and paperback were done through Amazon or an Amazon subsidiary. You can get the Nook Book at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/project-rick-l-phillips/1120406351?ean=2940149855803

Friday, December 26, 2014

Author Interview with C. Fred Smith on his book Developing A Biblical Worldview


 
   I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. If you are looking for a book to read in print or download you may want to get this book after reading this interview.
    This book is a very practical guide to understanding the worldview presented in the Bible, and the various worldviews represented in American History and pop culture.  It ends with a guide to developing a lifetime habit of fine tuning your own worldview in light of  what the Bible says.

 

Let me answer your questions.

 

1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?   As with so many books, it is a synthesis of my other reading.  The Four Question rubric is based on the questions raised by Brian Walsh and J. Richard Middleton, in The Transforming Vision.  Their rubric has been used and modified by others including Chuck Colson and N. T. Wright.

2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children's books, etc.)?   Worldview has been a serious interest of mine for decades.  I really believe that the relevance of the Gospel is found in those places where it challenges people to rethink their values, their lifestyles, and their daily decisions. It is here that worldview becomes important.

3. What kind of research did you do for this book?   I read other books on worldview—most of them see a worldview as something we “adopt”, but I am convinced that it is really something that “develops” over time—and I read theologies dealing with specific biblical topics.

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?   I am a teacher—much of my time is spent dealing with students and lessons.  I have not set a daily writing goal, but I am beginning to see the value of it. It is part of my plan for the coming year.

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?   Developing the outline.  I make many attempts and end up throwing them out because they seem artificial and wooden, or they take on a life of their own and go where I don’t want to go.  Once I have a good outline, though, the process becomes easier (once I get started, which is the other difficult part.).

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?  Knowing that I have produced something that will bless peoples’ lives many miles away, and that will continue being a blessing to some people, long after I am gone.

7. What are you working on now?   A new book on having a genuine “personal relationship with Jesus”—we use that language to describe our Christian experience, but I don’t think most people know what it really means.

8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?   Look at your own writing—and others’ writing—critically.  See if you can discover why a paragraph or sentence “works”. Why is it clear? Why does it move you?  How did the author make an idea vivid?   What was there in the order of the words, the sentences, the choice of sub-clauses etc. that lifted a particular paragraph from the level of “information” to something richer and more glorious?

9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?   C. S. Lewis is a great favorite. I also like Ron Chernow’s biographies Hamilton, Washington, and I enjoy reading good short stories.

10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question? What is the hope of the World?   It is Jesus Christ—put your faith in him and he will make of your life something good and true and beautiful.

11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?   Locusts and Mercy: How God Restored One Man’s Life.    (I am someone to whom God gave “the second chance.”  After spectacular early failures, God took my life and set me on a level place and has fulfilled my greatest dreams.  It is quite a story, but too long to tell here.  My testimony is summed up in Joel 2:25 “I will restore the years which the locusts have eaten. . .”
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions about your new book. If you are interested in reading it you can buy it if you just click here.
 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from me and the characters in the Project: Hero series.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Author Interview with Val Newton Knowles on her book Everyday Uplifting You

Cover to the expanded paperback version
 

1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that idea?
My book, “Everyday Uplifting you,” is filled with short powerful uplifting quotes for each day of the year. The quotes are designed to jumpstart your day and to inspire you to keep going every day for the year. I wrote my first book, and was working on my second when one of my aunts went through a series of challenges. Being one of the strong aunts, it broke my heart to see her hurt so much. She had several strokes and lost her husband. Later, she fell in the yard and broke her hip requiring emergency surgery. I started writing the quotes to uplift her and they did. I had a specific book that was designed for her because it was never meant to be for sale. She was so blessed and encouraged, that I decided to make it available for anyone who might want to bless someone else or need an uplifting word themselves.

2. How did you get interested in writing in this particular genre?
 I believe that a part of my divine purpose is to motivate and uplift others. My first book, while not filled with quotes, is also filled with encouraging words geared towards pulling on the greatness that exists in all of us.

3. What kind of research did you do for this book?
This book for me was a labor of love, so I tried to express that every day in each quote. It is not written as me just making a quote, or saying words, but my readers will feel the empathy and compassion flowing from my heart to theirs, while edging them on with a “Together we can and we will attitude.”

4. What is a typical day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal? I am fully employed as an Assistant Financial Controller. My writing usually takes place late in the night ( when I am done with my daughter and school) or very early in the morning. The quiet times (2:00am) works great for me. Dr. Myles Munroe once said, setting goals are pointless if you don’t make the time to accomplish them. To fulfill your dreams may often require you getting up in the early morning or going to bed late, but it is a small price to pay when you are passionate about what you have to say.

5. What is the hardest part about writing for you?
  I believe for me, I need to exercise some patience. In writing, I try to put myself in the shoes of my readers. I am continually looking for ways that I can help them. Because my style is more uplifting and encouraging others, I look to my source, The Lord Jesus Christ for guidance on what to say that would be a benefit to my readers.

6. What is the best thing about being an author?
Being able to be a blessing to others and being able to touch the world with that message. Writing offers the author such freedom and as it takes me on a journey, I love being able to share it with the world and hopefully bless and empower them in the process.

7. What are you working on now?
I am currently re-doing my first book, “No Shame Only Power,” and also working on another manuscript offering practical steps on how to maintain what you have obtained.
 
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Do not quit or give up on your dream. If you are convinced that this is what you are called to do. Do it and be consistent at it. No one can tell your story like you can, and believe it or not, there are people out there that need your story.

9. Who are your favorite authors?
Sheldon Newton, Dr. Myles Munroe, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, John C. Maxwell. I am currently reading a book by Dr. Munroe, “Releasing your Potential.” The Bible remains my favorite book of all time and I read it daily.

10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question? What is it that inspires me to keep going?
 I believe that I have a gift for writing, but more importantly, I believe that there is a message to be told. There are a lot of people all over the world that are hurting and some have lost all hope. Writing allows me to help restore some of that and give people back some hope. Our situations and problems in life are universal and I am honored to be able to be a voice that can uplift us and tell us that no matter how it looks hope will be the light that will guide us safely through.

11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
“She soared and carried others on her wings.” Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Val. If you want to get her book you can click here to get the kindle version. or you can click here to get the expanded paperback version of Everyday Uplifting You.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Interview with Author Tammie Ratliff about her book Shower Talks Vol II: Selah Moments from My Secret Place With the Father

1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
My book is a devotional that I had not planned to write; however, it came about as a result of some things I went through in 2012. Through relationship downfalls, I began to see things a little differently as it relates to how I was treating people. In other words "My heart was revealed to me." This process brought about a deeper level of introspection through my communication with God. I noticed that every time I got into the shower, I would hear the voice of God say things to me that were healing and instructional. This is why the series is called Shower Talks, Selah Moments From My Secret Place With The Father.
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children's books, etc.)?
I have always journaled my thoughts. However, I found that writing helps me to filter through my feelings and get to the root, and ultimately the answer.
3. What kind of research did you do for this book?
I used the bible for to support my writings.
4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
A typical day consists of waking up around 5 a.m. - taking a shower, prayer, sitting to computer and allowing whatever to flow. I do a lot of my writing in the mornings, from 5 a.m. until about noon. And yes, I set a goal to write something every day.
5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part about writing for me is getting started, especially if I have taken a break for a day or so.
6. What’s the best thing about being an author?
The greatest thing about being an author is the fact that writing opens me up to see things in a different way. When I write, mysteries unfold. It's like digging a ditch - the more I write, the deeper I go.
7. What are you working on now?
My memoir,
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Take your time, and write well. Also, be open to flowing with the pen (keys). You may already have a preconceived notion of how you want things to look on paper, but be open to allowing the words to shape your story. You will be surprised at what YOU will learn about life, love, yourself, etc....
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Dr. Maya Angelou is my all-time favorite, as well as Wayne Dyer.
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?
What took you so long to start writing at the level of sharing.
How would you answer that question?
Fear. I'd always felt like I was alone and that no one would understand me. I felt like I didn't have anything of value to offer ... but that has changed.
11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be? I am actually writing it now. Title: Coming Clean, One Woman's  Journey To Wholeness
Thank you Tammie for your time to discuss your book. If you would like to get her book you can if you click here to purchase Shower Talks Vol II: Selah Moments from My Secret Place With the Father

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Interview with Joseph Breunig III Author of Reaching Towards His Unbound Glory






Joseph and his lovely wife Joyce.

1. Tell me about your book.

This collection of one hundred poems shares messages of praise for Christians while encouraging others to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. The common thread that links these poems is that people can overcome past troubles to achieve a life of abundance as laid out by the Scriptures. This is a poetic expression of one man's Christian faith in God.

As reviewed by New York Times best selling author Ellen Tanner Marsh

Any Christian surveying the current state of modern poetry could easily become discouraged, given that much of that poetry can only be categorized as nihilistic. At worst, such poems seemingly promote despair and violence—against society, the church, or even against oneself. At best, they consist of self-centered whining and over-dramatic emotionalism, completely devoid of spiritual muscle and ethical backbone.

New author Joseph J. Breunig 3rd, in his fine debut collection Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory, takes a fresh stride in the opposite direction, in a poetic compilation that should delight anyone who enjoys reading Christian literature as well as poetry. The book comprises over 100 poems of various lengths, although they generally do not exceed one page. In a slight concession to modern poetic style, some of the stanzas are unrhymed, yet all of them speak to Christian themes, such as faith and its testing, seeking a higher road, the state of grace, error and sin, biblical people and events, and personal redemption through God's word.

A common thread that runs throughout the majority of the poems is that individuals— regardless of any mistakes they may have made in the past—can still turn to Christ as their Savior and begin the slow, sometimes painful, but always positive process of redeeming themselves, in developing a new life filled with abundance and spiritual serenity. By reaching for this new and uplifting collection of Christian poems, readers can indeed begin reaching towards God's glory.



2. How did you come up with that idea?

For about three years, I had been writing thousands of Haikus and Senryus, but never felt fulfilled by the accomplishment of completing five manuscripts- each one contains 505 unique verses.

Once I felt spiritually inspired, I began to write longer, traditional poems that explored the depths of my Christian faith. (Although I’ve been comfortable with my faith for many years, I had never given a tangible voice to it, so that I could more easily share my understanding of it with others.)

I had been downsized from my I.T. (Information Technology) position and was unemployed for nine months; each morning of my job search, I spent 30-60 minutes writing poetry to develop my style and to frame my mindset for the day. Once re-employed, I discovered that I had completed 75 original poems; it was at that point, that I seriously considered publishing my work; however, I felt that the volume of work was insufficient. So I composed another 25+ poems, while researching available publishers; eventually I chose BookSurge during the summer 2006, which was later renamed CreateSpace. My book, Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory, was completed mid November 2006.


3. How did you get interested in writing this particular subject?

I was primarily raised under the teachings of the Baptist Church, was saved in my early teen years and regularly attended services. As my spiritual hunger progressed and grew, I migrated to the Pentecostal Church as an adult. Prior to embarking on this poetic journey, I had become “Spirit-Filled”, whereby I could speak in “Tongues”. This transformation of my heart enabled me to be more concerned about having a personal relationship with Christ from a person who had lots of knowledge about Him.


4. What kind of research did you do for this book?

No external research was needed; I looked inwardly at myself and forced myself to come to terms with my “identity in Christ” (having attended Church for three decades).


5. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?

Presently, my typical day entails the ongoing job search and writing/sharing/marketing poetry and my book; although I’ve never set a (formal) daily writing goal, I expect to complete a second manuscript (tenth overall) this year and have set a personal goal to write three more manuscripts next year.

6. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Besides getting meaningful/timely feedback from my readership and  training others to spell my last name properly (when my poems are accepted by literary organizations), it’s earning a successful living from my writing.

In addition, too many people suffer from the mindset that “poetry has no real value”- while adoring their music collection(s), failing to recognize that a song is actually p-o-e-t-r-y accompanied by a tune.  Therefore, these same individuals “pass judgment” without having taken time to actually read your work and just assume it’s bad. (IMO, the real problem is that there is an abundance of poorly written poetry readily available.)


7. What’s the best thing about being an author?

The freedom to express myself freely about my Faith; people tend to be surprised at the variety of topics that I’ve addressed in my poetry, as well as the quality of my writing.


8. What are you working on now?

Presently, I’m completing the fourth sequel to my original title; it will be the second manuscript completed in 2014. (Currently, I have enough notes to write another 10+ manuscripts of 120-125 poems, with more ideas/topics being developed each week.)


9. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

Be authentic; be transparent; be passionate; be consistent; understand your target audience; write with conviction about what you know and have experienced; focus on the work and not money; without quality of work in one’s writing, no one will be willing to spend their money buying poorly written books. Lastly, have your manuscript properly edited by a professional. Spelling, grammar and punctuation is STILL important- especially in poetry.
                                                

10. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?

William Wordsworth and Gershon Hepner are among my favorite poets; my favorite book is:  How to Rule the World (edittitle/settings) / A Handbook for the Aspiring Dictator  (which contains lots of parallels to I.T.)
  
See www.shelfari.com/jjbreunig3 for more details!



11. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?

What kind(s) of impact would you like to see your poetry have?

I hope and pray that:
l  Unsaved/unchurched people be more receptive to ideas of faith
l  Christians will become stronger in faith
l  Christians will find their identity in Christ (if unknown)
l  Christians will become more articulate in expressing faith
l  Christians will expand my work into new songs and other Christian materials, such as greeting cards
l  People will gain a greater appreciation of Eph 2:10- its implication is that people are the embodiment of God’s poetry
l  Churches would partner with people like me and build a true army of God


12. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?

Not sure; working titles would have to include:
l  Both Brain Hemispheres Function
l  An Analytical Tumble into Poetry
l  Sealed and Approved by Christ / My Journey of Poetic Faith
l  One Maine-iac’s Journey of Faith
l  Overcoming Sin’s Blackness / My Witness of Faith
l  A Personal Mash-Up of Software and Poetry
Thank you for your time Joseph. If you would like a copy of his book just click here to purchase Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Project: Hero is the Book of the Day

The first book in the Project: Hero series is the book of the day on eBookStage at http://www.ebookstage.com/mainPage.xhtml

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Author Interview: A Gift for Santa by Karen Dove

Today I am talking with Karen Dove, author of the children's Christmas book A Gift for Santa.

1. Tell me about your book. How did you come up with the story?
The story of A Gift for Santa was developed in response to a simple snow globe.  When my children were 5 and 10 years old, I attained a snow globe with a kneeling Santa inside.  I searched and searched, but I could not find a story about Santa coming to the manger.  I determined one day to write one myself.  Time passed, and finally, in 1996, in the back seat of the car, on my way home from a visit to New Orleans for Thanksgiving, A Gift for Santa was born.  The narrative poem was written in a steno book by hand.  I held on to the poem for many years, reading it annually in coffee houses and in churches, but did not publish it until 20012. 
2. How did you get interested in writing this particular genre?
My interest in children's stories began out of a need to find a story for my children, but also is related to my background as a school teacher for 8 years and an employee of /consultant to Boy s& Girls Clubs for 15 years.  I love children!  This story to tie the Santa they see everywhere to the Savior they need to know had to be told.

3. What kind of research did you do for this book?
This book did not require research, though I have written others.  I usually do my research online, seeking out reputable resources and double checking facts, which is so important in this time when everything is on the internet, but a lot of it is not true!

4. What's a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I am a part time writer of books and a full time writer of marketing materials and nonprofit grants, so writing is my life.  A typical day starts around 8 a.m. with coffee and a check of my Facebook page (AGFS has a Facebook page), my website (AGFS has a website), and if possible my blog.  If I have the time in my schedule, I will write a blog entry.  From there it is pretty much a blur of meetings, writing and networking.  At this juncture, because AGFS is my primary focus (especially during the holidays), I'm monitoring web-based bookstores that are handling it for sales and information I can pass along to my Facebook fans, my blog followers and my website.  I try to get at least 2 hours/day (4 days/week) in on writing/promoting my book, in addition to the other writing I do for clients.

5. What is the hardest part of writing for you?
FOCUS!  Because I am very "right brained", I find it hard to stay focused on the task at hand, and get sidetracked fairly easily.  I often begin the day intending to blog, and find myself hours later not having achieved the goal!  I love to write, but not if I cannot set aside at least 2 hours out of my schedule to finish what I start.  It's just not the same to go back and try to start again, because the inspiration of the moment is lost.

6. What’s the best thing about being an author?
There is nothing more exciting than seeing your work in print, except, maybe, getting word that your work has won an award!  Six month after AGFS was published it won 1st place for Children's Books in the Christian Choice Book Awards, and I was floating! :)
7. What are you working on now?
There are 2 more books in the series.  The next book, A Treat for the Tricksters, is awaiting final edits and illustrations.  The third, The Tale of Easter Bunnie is in the works.  Friends encouraged me to get A Treat for the Tricksters out right away, but I wanted to focus on AGFS, so I haven't published it.
8. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write for the love of the art.  With 1 million self-published books coming out annually, there are few writers who make a best seller list.  Going to my first International Christian Retail Show was a real eye-opener for me, seeing how many books were being promoted to bookstores, and how few made the shelves.  I believe many people think they will become an author and immediately see great financial success.  That is typically not the case.  If you want to write for an income, there are lots of jobs that allow that, like those I have chosen (grant writer, copy writer, newspaper columnist).  A book is a masterpiece.  Chances are that you may not see financial gain on your work in your lifetime, but if you are thrilled by the legacy you leave for your family (and perhaps...the world)  in your tales, then you are truly an author.
9. Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
I love the classics.  I love Dickens, Hawthorne, Poe.  I think it is frightening how the language is evolving and eventually our youth will struggle understand the language of these fine authors, because it will be like Shakespearean English to them.  (Though I do love Shakespeare...I'm sure you get the idea.)
10. What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
How much of reading is inspiration and how much is perspiration?   My answer would be....
I believe being a writer resides in the heart, and most importantly, is a gift from God.  I have been blessed for most of my adult life to be a writer, with little training.  It always astounds me when I finish whatever I'm writing and go back to read it over.  I can't remember "crafting", "sculpting" or "creating" the art, but there it stands!  I believe through hard work you can learn the mechanics of writing.  Through classes and workshops, you can become a competent and even a good writer, but the heart of a writer lives within.  There were many good painters during the renaissance, but there was only one Michael Angelo.  He had a special gift from God.  It is my prayer that God has given me that gift, and that I can use it to His glory, to share the Gospel of Salvation.  A Gift For Santa is a witness book for children.  It is more than the writing I do for my living.  It is my ministry.

11. If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I have begun it...the title is Miracles Come in Teaspoons.
My website is www.agiftforsanta.com.
Thank you for your time Karen. The book looks wonderful. 
If you wish to get Karen's book you can at her website or at Amazon if you click here.