Tag Archives: author interview

The Last Meridian – A new novel by Joe Hefferon (@hefferonJoe)

It’s been some time since I’ve showcased an author. I took a break to pursue other commitments but when friend and author, Joe Hefferon, told me about his upcoming book, I wanted to share it and do so by way of a Q & A. I have interviewed Joe before, so his name will be familiar.

He’s taken a different approach with his current novel. Find out what he did and why.

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(Eden) Hi Joe, great to have you back. Your latest book, The Last Meridian is published by Evolved Publishing, a hybrid small press. Why did you decide to publish with them?

(Joe) For one, they agreed to work with me. I’d been testing the market for traditional publishers and found Evolved. I like the concept behind the hybrid model; it suits the changing landscape of publishing. The short of hybrid is, upfront money that might typically go to the author as an advance is spent on production and larger royalties are afforded the author, post production.

A good model to keep in mind, thanks Joe. I’m intrigued by the setting of your book. Why did you set The Last Meridian in the sixties in Los Angeles?

It’s a time of wonderment for me. As a kid, movie stars intrigued me. They lived in a glamorous world I could only glimpse on Oscar night, a huge television event. I loved movies. I like the styles of the sixties, that Mad Men look. I like the suits, the hats, the highballs, the smoking of cigarettes that seemed cool. I like the mid-century modern style of houses, though I prefer the updated version, wired for the internet. Although there is, politically speaking, good reason to leave the past where it is, the pre-war sixties are alluring. I love crooners like Tony Bennett and Sam Cooke, bourbon over ice and a cigar on the veranda. It seems simpler.

Not a fan of cigars, but I love Sam Cooke! Tell us about the book’s main character, Nina Ferrer. What inspired you to write her story?

It started almost as a lark, a kind of writing exercise. I wrote some hard-boiled dialogue just for fun and decided to see where I could take it. I began to wonder who this woman is, driving to Bakersfield with the top down. What’s her intention? Why does she need a private eye?

I have an adopted son and any adoptive parent will tell you they’ve often wondered about how or why the child’s life took such a dramatic turn. I wondered if the mother might ever think about him. I spoke to a number of women of various ages and backgrounds and they all told me the same thing. You’d never let it go. Somewhere inside, you would care. It started the stone rolling.

Nina is a complicated woman, like many I’ve met in my life. She’s tough, witty, wicked smart and creative, but she has secrets and demons that keep her up at night. She can be almost cruel, but it’s to keep you from being cruel to her. She’s had a hard life, was raised poor and she isn’t going to let anyone take what she’s worked so hard to build for herself. She’s funny, and has a soft spot, I think and that makes her likeable.

I like her already. Are any of the characters based on people you know, and how did you develop them?

They all are, either directly or in the round. Nina is a combination of a couple of women I’m close to with a little Joan Didion wisdom thrown in to challenge me. After twenty-five years in police work, I’ve met all the characters: good, bad or pretending to be one or the other. I once read everyone has a public, a private and a secret life. There’s a lot of truth to that.

They develop over time as I form a mental picture of them, the way they walk or respond. Dialogue helps. As I’m putting the plot together the characters reveal themselves. It come from their motivation for pushing the story one way or another. Each character has their own goals and working to achieve or acquire those things within the context of the story drives the action.

I love that saying about how we all have three lives. What is the central theme of your book?

Loss. Nina had given up her newborn son for adoption and suffers quietly with the remorse she feels over having done that. Her marriage is failing and both spouses have lost the desire to fix it. There is also an underlying yearning to make something right, that perhaps, whatever that turns out to be, will have a halo effect on other aspects of her life.

Your book is considered a hard-boiled mystery. How do you define this genre and who have been your favourite authors of it? What is it about their work that influences your writing?

Hard-boiled is defined by the noir aspect but also by the character archetypes; femme fatales, battle-worn-bourbon-swilling private eyes and slimy bad guys. I love the old movies and the classics of the genre, such as, Raymond Chandler. I also like Elmore Leonard and gristly newspaper men like Jimmy Breslin. In fact, my reporter’s first name is Jimmy; that’s for Breslin, although the character is nothing like him. I’m influenced by the no-nonsense style. I write much like a musician who plays by ear. I may not have had the formal prose training, but I know people.

That’s a good segue into my next question. Has your profession as a former law enforcement officer helped you to read people? And did it help in writing this book?

Yes. It helped in the interrogation scenes and the police procedures but more important, it helped in developing a dislike for phonies and people who lie to your face while screwing you. I’ve met and worked with them all—they’ll all find their way into The Last Meridian or in one book or another. Writing is great revenge. In police work you see people at their best and worst. It’s definitely made me more cynical, but also wiser and it’s broadened my view of the human animal.

Writing is definitely great revenge, and you won’t get jailed for it. 😉 What do you think crime fiction readers will like most about The Last Meridian?

I hope they like the characters and the dialogue. I tend to write visually. By that I mean I should probably write screen plays. I see each chapter as a scene from the movie, so the prose is less important than the action and dialogue. Everything about a person is revealed in what they say and how they say it. In life and in fiction, nothing is by accident.

I tend to agree. What was the most difficult part of writing this book? And the easiest? 

Short answer? the plot was the hardest, because it’s not so much about the murder mystery but about how the characters react to what life throws at them, be it a philandering husband or a murder suspect. I knew I had something to say, but finding the right mechanism was difficult at first.

The easy part was the dialogue. Once you know who is speaking, what they say comes naturally.

Yes, your dialogue flows smoothly throughout the book. What’s next for you, Joe?

I’ve just completed a draft of an action novel called (tentatively) Countdown to Osaka. This is my homage (French accent please) to Elmore Leonard. It’s all action and dialogue peppered with comedy, no philosophy (well, perhaps). It follows Koi, a Yakuza enforcer who wants to leave her clan. She’s given one last mission, but it’s her most dangerous—tracking and killing the elusive Le Sauvage, the world’s most notorious gunrunner. Le Sauvage holds the codes to a secret cache of gold hidden after the fall of Osaka Castle, but Interpol is closing in on him. She must get to him before the law. If Koi fails, her dying mother will pass without honor. If she succeeds, Koi will kill her father.

Countdown to Osaka is due to drop on Cyber Monday, 2017. I had a lot of fun writing it and can’t wait till it’s ready to roll out.

Sounds amazing. This short blurb has me intrigued already!

Thank you, Eden, for making the time for me I had fun speaking with you.

And me with you, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Readers, find out all more about Joe’s upcoming book below. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon

The Last Meridian – crossing it was her only choice.

A telegram sets off a chain of events that destroys five lives, throwing Hollywood insider Nina Ferrer’s life into turmoil. The infant boy she gave up for adoption in Chicago sixteen years earlier has been arrested for murder. A plea from the boy’s adoptive mother pushes her to act, but Nina has a big problem—she never told her husband about the boy.

Nina must come to terms with her guilt, while accepting the reality of her fragile life and her cheating husband, who’s embroiled in another deadly plot. As her life unravels, the boy’s fate grows ominous. Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood heyday of the early 1960s, the quick-witted, smart-talking Nina, a designer for the well-heeled of Los Angeles, hires a private detective to uncover the facts about what happened back in Chicago, and save her boy. Maybe… just maybe… he can save her, too.

Or perhaps Nina will have to save herself, the most frightening prospect of all. To do that, she must cross The Last Meridian, the place beyond which life as she knows it will no longer exist.

About the Author

 Website |  LinkedIn | Twitter: @hefferonjoe | Facebook

Joe enters the writing world after a 25-year law enforcement career in the city of Newark, NJ. He’s written for several online publications, including over thirty profiles of high-achieving women from around the world for About.com. He has an inexplicable curiosity about Texas noir, and set two short stories in the southeast corner of the state between Laredo and Corpus Christi. Many of the awful things his characters inflict on one another are based on real events from his former career. The sarcasm is in his bones. Joe lives in New Jersey but enjoys learning about other cultures and perspectives. He’s fascinated by human motivation, and doesn’t believe much happens by accident. He often listens to movie soundtracks when writing to help with visualization.

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Filed under Author & Artist Interviews, Author Promotions

Eden’s Exchange talks to author Chris Rose (@WritingOnaCloud)

Author Chris Rose and I have crossed paths on several writers’ groups, and I’m happy to finally have him on my blog.

He has a sense of humor, and I think you will enjoy his interview. Please learn more about Chris and all he has to offer.

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Welcome Chris! Let’s start with a personal question. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

Shy & outgoing. Black and white. Yin and Yang. And on it goes. But passionate always. Oh, and charming (cough).

Sweet. Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? 

I’m a translator, for now, which, ideally, when the good work’s there, is much the same as writing – it is, indeed, re-writing, rather like editing someone else’s work – so I flit between the two, theirs, mine, theirs, mine…

Sounds like great work for a writer. What part of the world do you live in? 

I live in Norfolk now, Norwich, Europe’s centre of all things literary, and I LOVE it! For its sense of community; for its beautiful coastline, and for all its many cultural and historical aspects.

What is your biggest extravagance?

My clothes. I’ve always been a bit of a dandy.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Well, I’ve recently read a quote by Helen Mirren, at 70, where she says that if she could go back and advise her younger self about how to deal with people, day to day, there would be many more ‘F*ck offs’ in there. I was brought up to employ the old stiff upper lip, and to not let the bastards see they were grinding me down, and to get through matters on wit. Which isn’t the way to go about things.

Helen Mirren is wickedly beautiful and I love her. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Be a member of the S.A.S, anything that makes me feel alive. May sound silly to compare the two but that’s why I do theatre.

What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Other than indulge in quite a number of sexual fantasies, all involving willing participants, I’d say get my Italian up there with my French and Spanish.

It’s wonderful to know many languages. Do you have favorite curse words, in English or any other language?

If they can be classed as curse words this day and age, I love the old British working class ‘bleedin’’ this and that – ‘Shut up, ya silly bleeder!’ That kind of stuff, very dry and genuine. But I tend to swear in French most of the time, and so get away with it now: you know, like, ‘Putain de bordel de merde !’ I say get away with it, but I can get caught out sometimes.

How about a motto you live by?

I have so many, as trite as they sometimes sound, but I think ‘Nothing ventured’ holds very true.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My good lady and kids aside, my having become tri-lingual to native level in French and Spanish, having started late on in life, from scratch. It’s what seems to impress people, although I never initiate the question; it’s always due to their curiosity, no cats involved.

🙂 What makes you REALLY laugh?

Wow, where to start! Nothing too intellectual, and it always tends to be quite visual; and it’s something that can catch me completely off guard, all very reactionary and natural. Very basic.

Let’s learn more about the writer in you, Chris.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Memory, mainly, I have quite a vivid memory. It’s strange, but I think somewhere, deep down, I always knew I’d become a writer, and it’s as if I’d subconsciously record stuff, from situations right down to something somebody said. And I can go back decades on those alone.

And then there are books I’ve read of course.

What motivates you to write?

The previous question, I think. It’s a need to purge, like most writers, I imagine.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-4-43-13-pmWhat is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

To write for me, not some 23 year old agent. Or publisher. Hence why I love the route I’ve taken and wouldn’t change it.

Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.

The question I feared. Albert Camus. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Truman Capote. Kurt Vonnegut. Christianne Rochefort… I could go on, and on.

Yes, it’s always hard to choose just a few. How do you market yourself?

Twitter and Facebook, generally. I mean to do more by putting myself about with the paperbacks, but life keeps getting in the way.

Do you do much research for your books?

Very little. I write about what I know about. Based on what I like to read personally. I’ve yet to attempt some new area.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I love the editing part, it’s what I call the real writing, even when it means deleting chunks of text; in fact, I love that part most, clearing away the debris.

The least favourite is the few days after a book has come to completion, and I feel a little lost.

I can relate to that. It’s the anti-climax. Define your style of writing.

Different. Original… hopefully. But to place it somewhere I’d go for poetic prose.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-4-42-48-pmIs it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

Fantastic question. The title of a book works as a wonderful catalyst for me. I base a book around it. For the ending, no, that just writes itself… as long as it isn’t a happy one, I don’t like those.

Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

The second option. Or rather I sit down and bleed 😉

So true! Do you have a set schedule for writing? 

Not really. Whenever it’s quiet, mainly. And if the muse isn’t there, I don’t. No rush.

What is your best advice for new authors?

Be you. There’s room for us all. And read when you can.

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

A thesaurus – sometimes, that is; I don’t like repeating words when I can help it. And my guitar.

Ah, a musician, nice. What is the name and genre of your latest book?

The latest is called Nancy Boy: for one year only…

Although genre is always a tough one with me. Let’s call it ‘contemporary, introspective, family drama, and romance – there are many more, I’m sure, I like to give value for money (cough).

Yes you do! Let’s  learn more about the book.

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Buy link: Amazon 

Nancy Boy: for one year only…

It’s a time of great social and political upheaval – industrial disputes… and… hang on, that was the last book, Wood, Talc and Mr. J, which I hope you’ve read; it might help keep you in the loop. This time the upheaval’s personal; less a “Britain on the brink” for more our protagonist being on it, the brink, on Britain’s brink, heading outwards, over the water by way of the odd blunder.

You’ve got it, Phillip Rowlings is back, all grown up (cough…)

A new dawn approaches – “the real out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new,” deems Emmaline; “the shedding of crinkly baggage.” What with a tired and tested Conservative party spiralling downward, and the emergence of a New Labour drawing near, the writing is on the wall; things, as they’d in time say, could only get better. And how better might Britain these “things” than by her ever innovative, her unique, musical sons! Oasis? Blur? The ’80s are gone and good riddance to them, that’s what Phillip thinks!

Or he would, were he to think at all…

He couldn’t give a garlic snail about emerging British dawns; he wants out. And has invested years applying himself to that end – he’s heard the call, you see. Or rather, the calls, conveyed by T.Rex’s Marc Bolan, and Blind Date’s Cilla Black. And if you think that’s weird, how might they inspire our ex-Soul rebel-without-a-clue to… become a Nancy Boy, for the one year only?

France. 1994-’95.

Phillip no longer sees life in black and white, for blue, white, and red, perfect symmetry, height, width. And it all looks lovely on the brochure. Save that – hélas – he’s never been skilled in the shedding of crinkly baggage.

Still, he will encounter the unforeseen, as you do when things come… unforeseen. Poor Phillip, somebody once said. Well, maybe this time it’s more a case of lucky Phillip. Maybe.

Cigarettes are cheaper in France, too.

But let’s get one thing clear from the outset – dès le départ, as they say in the old hexagon. This isn’t A Year in Provence…

Why should people read Nancy Boy?

Because I like to face taboo issues. Or maybe issues people don’t even think to write about, hopefully. They can then, perhaps, find themselves in my books.

How long did it take for you to write it?

Off and on, about two years – with quite a few offs.

What inspired you to write it?

Memory, unresolved issues?

How are you marketing Nancy Boy?

More of the above, really. Which is quite difficult in a paranormal romance dominated world. But as long as someone reads it, I don’t mind… (sniff).

How did you celebrate when you finished the book?

I stopped drinking. I tend to celebrate during.

Ha! Okay. What has the reception been to it?

Great. Initially. And then zilch. Which at least goes to show I have a fan out there (another sniff).

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing Nancy Boy?

Again, self-belief. And it’s a great feeling.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Its originality.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

That detailed (5 star, cough) review.

What is next for you, Chris?

I’m hoping to write a number of flash fiction stories, perhaps based around the same novel.

Excellent, let’s finish with a fun lightning round! 

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My cashmere coat.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I love Cortona, in Tuscany. But I guess my heart will always be in France.

Name a food you can eat every day. Eggs.

Salty or sweet? I swing both ways.

Coffee or tea or something else? COFFEE !!

Cat/dog/other pet? Hamster.

Favorite style of music? Why, Soul music, sista !!

The best gift you’ve ever received? A boy and a girl.

Your most guilty pleasure. Chocolate and banana crèpes – that’s when I’m anybody’s…

Favorite season. Autumn.

Name something you cannot go a day without. A cuddle… (please!)

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

YES. PLEASE BUY MY BOOKS & I LOVE YOU ALL !!!!!

Ps: sorry, but my original website no longer exists (long story, & one I’ll no doubt write about in 20 years or so), so what you have at the moment are the splutterings of a new and basic blog. But just you wait, folks !!

Got it! Thanks again for sharing of yourself with my readers, Chris. It’s been a pleasure to learn more about you.

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Connect to Chris

chris-roseWebsite | Linkedin | Google +

Facebook | Twitter: @WritingOnACloud

Born and bred in the city of steel: Sheffield.

Spent – or misspent, whichever your viewpoint – the majority of his ‘young’ years on the Northern Soul circuit. It’s around this time and place that his novel is set – ‘Wood, Talc and Mr. J : We never had it so good’, which is the 1st in the ‘The Rowlings Years’ series.

His academic education came much later, from scratch, in a sense.

In time, he fell in love with the idea of languages, French in particular, and went on to get a BA Hons in French Language and Literature with subsidiary Spanish, at The University of Sheffield. He was a ‘mature student’, though maybe not as mature as he would like to think, looking back…

After which, he moved down south – mid 90s – and eventually further still to the South of France for a few years, where he taught English. He then moved up to northern France to do much the same thing.

But it was here where he also began to write, or experiment with writing.

He came back to England in the mid-00s and lived in North London for five years, teaching and writing again.

And for the last four or five years, he’s lived in Norwich, where he’s completed a Masters in Literary Translation, at the UEA – he likes to believe he’s most definitely mature now!

He’s now working his way toward making a living by writing, with a little translation on the side…

He tends to be picky about books, and take his time reading them; he expects each word to count; something he can go back to, read again – and again. Things witty, satirical, poetic… Moving. Favourite writers of late? Maybe Markas Zusak. Anna Funder, her ‘All That I Am’. Actually, he’s only just discovered Kurt Vonnegut, and read ‘The Slaughterhouse Five’.

Soulful writers, and their soulful things. And maybe he tries to emulate them.

Same goes for his taste in films, music… and people

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Eden’s Exchange talks to Mark Barry (@greenwizard62)

Mark Barry wears many hats. I know him as the author of novels, Carla, Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and other books. He’s the head of  his publishing company, Green Wizard, and now, he’s also the writer by the name of … Luke Rock.

Like my name, Luke Rock is a pseudonym, and here is what he says about it:

“The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before”.

I’ve featured one of Mark’s books on my blog before, and I’m pleased to interview him to highlight his latest book.

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Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Mark. Great to have you here finally! Tell readers how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Loyal, honest, intelligent, funny and a bit bonkers.

That’s even less than 20 words. 🙂 Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

I was a full time writer until imminent starvation propelled me into helping run Empleo, a popular local voluntary and social enterprise, alongside my friend and colleague Phil Pidluznyj. We are based in Nottingham (UK) and help others with employability, reading projects and creative writing and anything else we can think of.

Ha! We’d all be rich if we didn’t have to eat, right? What is your biggest extravagance?

Gambling on horses and going to football matches all over the UK, following a team called Notts County.

Gambling on horses? I made a bet on a horse once—a sure thing (I was told). I lost five bucks and that was the end of gambling for me! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Lose weight: An eternal struggle.

🙂 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Forestry.

Hmm … I’ve never had that answer before. What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Visit all the racetracks in the world, particularly Melbourne Park, Longchamp, Happy Valley, Baden Baden, Santa Anita, Del Mar and (your own) Woodbine.

Wow, you’re serious about horses, aren’t you?  Any favorite curse words? Especially, say, when you lose a bet on a horse?

I have to be careful with the F word. I use it way too much.

Hehe! Do you have a motto you live by?

Win or lose, have a booze.

That’s a new one! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Helping my nineteen year old son grow up to become a decent person.

Sweet. What makes you REALLY laugh?

A British TV programme called The IT Crowd. Cracks me up every time #Messyjoes.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.51 PMI love British comedies. As for your writing, I previously featured your book Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and I’m thrilled to learn you have another one under your name, Luke Rock.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Real life and real people. I won’t read a book unless it is theoretically possible to meet and shake hands with the characters in the street today.

 

What motivates you to write?

The prospect of making a living at it.

That never hurts, does it? What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Don’t write long books.

Ahh, that would explain your brevity here. Name a few of your favorite authors and books and why you like them.

Martin Amis, Scarlett Thomas, Jim Thompson, Sebastian Faulks, Charles Bukowski, Rimbaud, Liz Jensen, Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Tom McCarthy, Alan Moore. Great, clever, ingenious writers. Beautiful sentencesmiths – that is important to me, far more than the story itself.

How do you market yourself?

Badly.

I’m not sure I agree with you. You get around *wink.* How much research do you do for your books?

Virtually none. It’s all in my head.

You must have a lot of information stored in there. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I like the white space aspects of writing. Exploring the blank page in front of me at the beginning of a piece. The first pages of a novel are exciting, aren’t they!?  Actually, the blank page, meeting other lovely writers like yourself and the quest to construct the perfect sentence, are the only things I like about being a writer. The rest is an utter pain in the arse. Writers must be bonkers to even attempt the caper.

It’s always great connecting with other writers, but I agree that being an author is not an easy way to earn a living. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

The start and the climax. The middle is the actual work. Not a marketing man at all – like pulling teeth. My own.

I hear you, marketing is tough. Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

Yes. Absolutely essential. Otherwise, what is the point exactly?

I understand. For me, it’s the journey, but sometimes it’s a long, hard one. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

No. I’m a pantser, in that lovely YA-influenced olden times phrase.

Me too! What is your best advice for new authors?

If you need a kitchen critique group, advice from a 101 blog, a book club, a phalanx of beta readers and slabs of reassurance about your work and abilities, you simply aren’t ready to publish your work, simple as. Sorry if that’s offensive.

Not at all. I think every writer is different. Some may need more support initially to get started. Tell us a bit about your relaunched book, Kevin And The Atomic Bomb. I know it’s a YA/NA novel under your pen name of Luke Rock. Why should people read it?

It’s a black comedy full of different characters and it is based squarely in the ten days following the British people’s disastrous decision to leave the European Union. There is a love story at its core, there are jokes, there is polemic, a really nasty villain of the type many of us have worked with in the past and best of all, there is an atomic bomb in a garage in the suburbs.

Wow, that’s timely! How long did it take for you to write it?

I wrote it in 2012. It took six months and then I have completely rewritten in it in the last ten days, the hardest work I’ve done for a while.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.28 PMWhat inspired you to rewrite the book?

I published it under my own name and a different title in May 2012. The market reacted favourably to other books of mine, notably Carla (my most critically acclaimed book), but this one got a bit lost. I depubbed after three weeks. Then, when the British public decided to commit economic suicide en masse, I saw an opportunity to republish it, completely rebranded, titled, authornamed and covered.

Incidentally, it is quite political, but you can skip those bits and still enjoy it, assuming you don’t hate me for it, in which case bollocks.

Bollocks indeed! Let’s take a look at the book.

Kevin and the Atomic e-cover

Buy link: Amazon US | UK | Canada

Blurb for: Kevin And The Atomic Bomb

What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?

Kevin Taylor’s got problems.

His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.

To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody “companion” is constantly in his face.

And all he really wants to do is play Doom.

Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.

When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter – donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.

And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.

Other information: The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public’s decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.

How are you marketing the book?

Twitter and on FB. I use giveaways a lot.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing your book?

Books are of their time. There is a time and a place. In the first instance, when I set up my business, everyone bought Carla, one of my personal favourite novels. It sold well at one point, but is almost forgotten now. This one (Kevin) struggled in its original guise, but early signs are much more promising.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

When I publish the paperback, I’ll send it to you free if you review it!! You know, Eden, of all people, how important reviews are to small press and Indie authors. We can’t get reviewed in newspapers and it’s critical that we get the word of mouth. I sell quite a few books every quarter but I don’t get reviewed as often as some of my peers. I’m not sure why this happens. I would like that to change but hey, I’ll join the queue for the answer to that question.

Reviews are always tough to get. I’m happy to buy your book and read it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My ammunition crate full of vintage superhero comics, a photograph of a girlfriend, and this laptop.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? California – would love to meet my sidekick, your friend and mine, top fiction author Brenda Perlin, and I’m also a big fan of Lorraine Devon Wilke who has promised me muffins galore by the shore if I ever make it over again.

I’d travel over with my great friend Georgia Rose, romance author, noted horsewoman and paddock expert and we’d go to Santa Anita and pay for the trip using our combined horse selecting skills. I’ve just written a short story about Billy Idol on Highway One for Brenda’s new punk anthology and I had a great time researching it – would love to mountain bike up the Pacific Crest Trail too.

Name a food you can eat everyday.  KFC. Buckets of it. Unfortunately, it no longer loves me and we’ve been divorced for six weeks now.

Salty or sweet? As most ladies know, there’s nothing like something salty on birthdays and at Christmas.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea – every time. Built an Empire!

Favorite style of music? Late sixties psychedelia. Beatles. Byrds. Jefferson Airplane. Janis. Floyd. Favourite band: Black Sabbath.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sleeping in when I should be up and about.

Favorite season. Autumn – that’s the original label for Fall to you North Americans, Eden!

Name something you cannot go a day without. Reading. More of a passion to me than writing.

Thanks so much for  your answers, Mark. I wish you success, no matter what name you write under! 

Readers, please find Mark at all his virtual homes below.

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Connect to Mark Barry aka Luke Rock

Mark Barry Author

Blog | Twitter @GreenWizard62

Amazon Page US | Amazon Page UK

Green Wizard Publishing

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.

He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people. He has one son, Matt, on the  brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.

Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell in the UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
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Eden’s Exchange talks to @AuthorAmyMetz

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce author, Amy Metz. She and I have crossed paths on several writing sites, and I wanted to learn more about her.

Amy is a lovely woman, so do connect to her and find out more about her books.

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Amy, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I went straight to the source. He said, “A caring and sensitive mother and friend; always available to support others and is passionate about her beliefs and principles.”

How sweet.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a billionaire. Seriously, I would be an extrovert instead of introvert.

A billionaire extrovert wouldn’t be bad. 😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I’d love to be a travel photographer.

Do you have a motto you live by?

For my personal life: The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For my writing life:You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

I love that, and peaches are one of my favorite fruits. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My children. I have two grown sons so I guess they’re actually not children anymore, but they will always be my babies and the best things I ever did.

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You sound like an amazing mom, Amy. Let’s learn more about your writing life. How do you market yourself?

I think blog features like this one are effective in getting the word out about a book (thank you!), so I try to do as many as will have me. I also take advantage of any of the free services on the Internet, such as virtual bookshelves, author pages on various sites, or free or reduced book alert services. I have a list on my blog of marketing steps that I use: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/p/marketing.html

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I look forward to connecting with you on your site too. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

Favorite: I love getting lost in a story and feeling like I’m in the scene.
Least favorite: editing. Specifically, the 100,000th round of editing.

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I know the feeling well, Amy. Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

A typical day starts by answering emails and posting to Facebook and Twitter. Then I pull up whatever it is I’m working on and reread the section I wrote last. Next, I write or edit or rewrite, depending on the need. Somewhere along the way, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will probably lead me to Facebook where I’ll be for I-don’t-know-how-long. Something on FB will probably lead me to another site like Twitter or Pinterest, where I’ll probably get lost again. I’ll eventually wonder what it was I came online to do, and I’ll finally go check out what I came online to do in the first place. Then I’ll go back to writing. Somewhere along the line, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will lead me to Facebook to like or comment . . . you get the picture. That and a short break for lunch is pretty much my day.

Haha, my head was spinning reading your answer! Do you have advice for new authors?

Stay away from Facebook while you’re working.

I agree Facebook can be a huge energy sucker. What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing?  

I don’t need much. My laptop. Electricity. The Internet for thesaurus.com and research or checking facts. That’s about it.

Tell us the name and genre of your latest book.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction is a cozy mystery.

Rogues&Rascals

Buy link: Amazon 

Blurb for: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Amy, why should people read the book?

I think if someone wants to get lost in a mystery that will make them laugh and make them want to move to a quirky small town where the community is fun, loving, and close-knit, they should read my books!

Sounds like a great reason to read it! How did you celebrate when you finished writing Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction?

I don’t think I celebrated when I finished writing the book, because as soon as I’m sure I’m finished, the editing process starts, which means the book isn’t really finished. I consider the book finished on launch day. On launch day, I went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and my friend Tom.

I feel the same way. It’s only finished for me when it’s available for sale. What has the reception been to the book?

It has received great reviews so far, with twelve 5-star reviews and one 4-star review. But sales have been very slow, which is depressing.

I hope it ramps up soon, Amy. What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends. Post a comment about it on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. And post a review online on as many sites as you can.

What is next for you after this book?

I’m writing the fifth book in the series. Wynona and Caledonia will be back!

That’s excellent news! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer. It pretty much has my life on it.

Salty or sweet? Sweet. A day without something sweet isn’t a day.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea. Preferably sweet tea—hot or cold. With a lemon!

Cat/dog/other pet? Dog. I love dogs, but I hate the fur that sheds all over everything and everywhere.

Your most guilty pleasure. Donuts. I love them. There’s a store near my house that sells Boston Cream Pie donuts. Oh. My. Gosh.

Favorite season. Fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, and the temps below 80. And I love Halloween.

Name something you cannot go a day without. My iPhone. Not necessarily for the phone feature, but for the email, notes, text message, photo, camera, Google and Google Maps, Audible, Kindle, calculator, clock, and Solitaire apps!

Thank you so much for hosting me!

You are most welcome, Amy. Readers, please find her at all her virtual homes below.

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Connect to Amy

AmyMetz

Website | Blog | Twitter @AuthorAmyMetz

Amazon Author Page | LinkedIn

Facebook | Goodreads | Google +

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @MarsDorian #scifi

I first connected with Mars Dorian on Twitter some years ago, not long after I started writing. We’ve been friends ever since.

Each exchange, no matter how brief is always a treat for me. Mars is a delightful human being who deserves every success because he works so hard at it.

And yet, he makes it look effortless. His presence on social media is superb and few people do it as well as he does—we can all learn from him!

It’s a pleasure for me to finally welcome Mars to my blog and highlight his work as a science fiction author.

Be sure to connect to him. He’s definitely worth your time. 🙂

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Mars, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. Please tell my readers where you live.

Berlin. And I’m love-hating it. Love, because it’s an open-minded city with affordable rent, grrreat creative events and unique people. Hate, because it’s getting more criminal, dirty and dark. Sounds like hokus-pokus, or maybe I’ve lived here for too long, but the city seems to suck my creative energies, I need change.

I’d love to visit you. Don’t leave yet! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I was more business-savvy and entrepreneurial-spirited. My parents are both creatives, and their chaotic daydreaming spirit has wandered over to me. It’s fun and fulfilling, but it also leads to many decisions that are dumb from a biz point of view. So less introvert daydreamer, more outgoing business man. But maybe it’s DNA. I’ll tell you in a year.

Please do. 😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

In my early twenties, I wanted to become a movie director in Hollywood, but then I realized I hated waking up early and working with people. I still would love to see a movie made by me, I just hate all the steps it would take to get there.

Mars, at least you know yourself well! Do you have a motto you live by?

I stole this one from Mark Schaefer this year, a writing mentor and popular marketing blogger over at http://www.businessesgrow.com/.

The wise man said, “Growth and comfort can’t coexist.”

It’s my motto for 2016, to try things that challenge my comfort and hopefully grow my personality, finances and overall life.

Challenging your comfort zone is always a good thing, though I think your personality is already HUGE. Let’s learn more about your writing. What motivates you to do it?

I love telling stories, ever since my mother bought the first comic edition of Ghostbusters when I was seven years old. From that day on, I used comic-drawing, type-writng (remember that?) and conventional painting to tell stories.

As an adult, I find writing to be the purest and most accessible style to heart-reach a human being on the other side of the planet.

What a wonderful way of putting it. How do you market yourself?

I’ve built up an email list with over 1300 peeps that I write to once my new book comes out. I also have regular readers who give me honest reviews for new books, which helps build up social proof for the launch. I use Amazon’s marketing tools such as the Kindle countdown deal or the temporary free option to shoot up the sales ranks, or try to. Recently, I’ve started learning more about book promotion sites but I need more experience and knowledge to properly understand their merit. Other than that, it’s the good old ‘constantly ship quality books for your target audience.’

Quality. Yes. Name a few authors and books, and why you like them.

As a sci-fi writer, I try to avoid reading too much sci-fi to avoid idea incest and samey samey stories. So years ago, when I was looking for different authors to admire, I stumbled upon Don Winslow, a SoCal thriller writer. His book Savages, about two guys setting up a cannabis empire in California and pissing off a major Mexican cartel, inspired me. The man writes in a way that I hadn’t seen before: Don breaks the fourth wall, berates his characters in the middle of a paragraph, writes staccato minimalist prose with the beauty of a lyrical song text. And then you read his witty dialogue, bam. I’ve since read ten books penned by Don and it has deepened my literary love for his unconventional prose and storytelling.

Don sounds amazing. I must add him to my list. How much research do you do for your books?

I watch science videos every single day on Youtube, ranging from how space rockets work to how terraforming Mars could look like. I also use the online tool Evernote to collect and save articles about any technology I want to include in my stories, such as nano-medicine, miniature robots, AI, FTL-traveling and genome engineering. Even though I put characters and stories always first, I want to make sure that the worlds I create are based on (possible) science.

attack planetVery cool way of doing it Mars. How would you define your style of writing?

Minimalist, fast-paced, short-chapter-ish prose with the occasional word play and witty dialogue. Don Winslow, don’t sue me.

Ha! Don Winslow is lucky to have you as a true fan, Mars. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

I write a character sheet for the protagonists and antagonists, where I clarify their wants, their voice and unique traits slash skills. Based on that, I craft a thousand word treatment that shows what must happen in each act of the story (I follow the trusted three act structure). The main parts of every story are: opening scene, premise, mid-point, mirror moment, showdown, and of course resolution. Once I’ve finished all that, I start writing the first draft. This sounds very plott-y, but there’s still a lot of making-things-up-on-the-go. I for example don’t outline my scenes, because that would take away any surprise on my end. So sixty-five percent plotting, thirty-five percent pantsing. 🙂

Do you have a set schedule for writing? Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

I write during the day while listening to video game soundtracks and/or J-pop. Since I use the writing software Scrivener, I can track my daily writing goal in the form of a status bar that fills up the more you write. My goal is to write at least 2K words a day, 1K being the absolute minimum.

fear the liberator

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

The writing software is the most important part in my creative arsenal. Back when I wrote in Word, writing was less than half the fun it’s now. Scrivener, available for Mac and Windows, is in my opinion the best writing software for authors who write non/fiction. It’s organization of chapters is a dream, the options for writing and tracking your goals are amazing, and the possibility to formate any digital book file (epub, mobi, PDF, etc.) without coding experience makes it the perfect tool for self-publishing authors. I know I sound like a double-used car salesman, but I simply love products that drastically help my career.

I agree you need good tools. Writing in itself is hard enough. What is the name and genre of your latest book?

Vanguard Galaxy. It’s about an ambitious ex-military captain taking a cybernetic ship crew to the rim of the known galaxy to establish contact with a sentient life form. I guess some people call that genre space opera, but it does sound cheesy, that’s why I call it galactic sci-fi. 🙂

Here is the cover and blurb.

Vanguard-Galaxy_Flattened

Buy links: Amazon US | UK | Canada | Germany

Vanguard Galaxy

Rising cruiser captain Tellride fails a secret asteroid assault and kills his military career. Fortunately for the captain, one of the solar system’s biggest corps hires him to lead an elite ship crew billions of kilometers across the mysterious space.

The mission: initiate contact with the first advanced alien known to mankind.

Sounds simple, especially when equipped with a biomorphic spaceship, hi-tech arms and elite members with cybernetic skills. But when deceptive aliens and archenemies from past battles collide, the question of success becomes one of survival.

“Vanguard Galaxy is filled with twists and turns, cool new tech, witty dialogue and epic space encounters…” ~ Ioangu

“If you’re into future tech, epic space battles, and a nice twisty plot, then this is the book you were looking for.” ~ Brandon Stewart

 

Why should people read Vanguard Galaxy?

If you’re open to sci-fi and want to read fast-paced, future-packed rides with diverse characters, cool new tech, and witty dialogue, you should check Mars Dorian out. There’s also a sense of wonder I want to instill in readers.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing it?

That you have to keep your target market in mind. My first books flopped abysmally because I told stories no one cared about and used weird comic covers trying to (desperately) sell them. Nowadays, I’m very conscious of my audience and how to reach them, e.g. through adequate covers, targeted stories (that still end up unique and weird), and the proper promotion. Self-awareness is by the far most important skill here—knowing yourself, and the market where you want to position yourself.

What makes your books stand out from the crowd?

My unique storytelling style, the diverse set of characters, definitely the dialogue and the world-building. Once you read a Mars Dorian book, you will recognize my style because no one writes the way I do. I want to believe readers who dig that style keep coming back because they can’t get that experience anywhere else.

I read an early book of yours and I agree. Your style is uniquely YOU. What inspired you to write Vanguard Galaxy?

I often dream about the future and wonder how humanity would act as an advanced, spacefaring civilization. If we had the technology to travel and colonize much of the solar system, what would we discover in far away galaxies, which I call the Rim. And who would explore this ‘new’ frontier—governments, the military or even corporations in their future form? How would alien discoveries change our race? So many far-flung questions I wanted to jam-pack into a tight galactic sci-fi thriller.

What is next for you, Mars?

I want to explore the concept of exoplanet colonization, and how it changes us from a mental and genetic point of view. If we on Earth already differentiate between nationalities (German versus Canadian), how would that differ if humans evolved on different planets (Earthling versus Martian?). I believe we would turn into different humanoid species with vastly different cultures, and that’s a fascinating opportunity for stories.

It is indeed. Your science fiction is like nothing I’ve read before, and everyone should try it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round!

Name a food you can eat everyday. Pho soup. I almost hit my local vietnamese snack bar daily for the necessary fix.

Salty or sweet? How about bitter? Lemon, especially.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I love the former territories of the Queen—Australia and America. Canada is next on my list, I’m going there for at least 6-12 months beginning in 2017. There’s something fresh about these countries, opposed to ancient Europe which comes with a stale flavor.

Coffee or tea or something else? I love a German ice-tea brand that makes (somewhat) unique combos, such as green tea mixed with cactus pear. They produce two liter packages only, and in my weaker moments, I down them on a single day.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sounds trivial, but my doctors told me to trim down on the sugar intake. I’ve managed that goal somewhat, but I’m still hooked to a Bavarian Hipster-Drink based on the Mate flower from South America called Club Mate. It comes with only one third the sugar of a regular coke, someone told me. Or maybe that’s what I wish to believe.

Favorite style of music? I love Japanese pop and indie electronic music with video game elements, such as Lapfox who’s Canadian by the way. 🙂

Favorite season. Autumn. I like the melancholic and morbid atmo it often brings when the wind blows the dying leaves from the tree-crowns. Autumn is also an excuse to stay inside, cuddle up and do work in front of the computer while enjoying hot chocolate.

Name something you cannot go a day without. I’m training myself to be emotionally independent from pretty much every object and thing, including the Internet.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers? Follow me on Twitter @marsdorian if you have any questions or just want to connect.

Mars, I knew you would be a fascinating subject and you did not disappoint. When you come to Canada, you must visit me, okay? 

Readers, please find Mars on his incredible website and connect to him! You will learn SO much. 

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Connect to Mars

MarsDorian2014

Website | Twitter @marsdorian | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Mars Dorian is a recovering world traveler, a web-based illustrator and an indie sci-fi author.

He’s created artwork for startups and popular podcasts such as The Unmistakable Creative and written viral articles for renowned marketing blog ‘Grow’ by Mark Schaefer.

He loves telling compelling stories using words and pictures, dealing with future technologies and how they impact human lives…forever. His books tackle futuristic topics such as privatized military, human/alien contacts and cybernetic humanity.

When Mars is not busy getting lost in the worlds he has created, he can be contacted via his website www.marsdorian.com/contact

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Anna Celeste Burke (@aburke59)

I know Anna Celeste Burke from several writing groups. Her friends and family call her Celeste, and so will I. 😀

An award-winning author and a fascinating woman, Celeste has written numerous series of cozy mysteries. They are bound to please readers of the popular genre.

Please welcome Celeste to Eden’s Exchange.

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Thank you, Eden, for the invitation to drop by your lovely blog! I’m grateful for this opportunity to meet your followers and tell them more about myself and my writing.

You’re welcome! Thrilled to have you here, Celeste. Please tell readers if you have a motto you live by.

An interesting question. I find it a bit uncomfortable writing about myself, but here goes! That discomfort probably stems from an early upbringing in a hell fire and brimstone tradition that warns: “Pride goeth before the fall.” Pride was not just about taking pleasure in your accomplishments but included the vain glory of looking at yourself in a mirror, bodily adornments, and any desire for more than the simplest things in life. My roots reach back into the Amish/Mennonite tradition, although by the time I was born my paternal grandparents, both ministers, had left the reclusive sects in which they were raised. Perhaps, I’m still influenced by those early admonishments. My motto is something like: Dream big, work hard, stay humble.

Great answer. I believe humility is so important. What part of the world do you live in?

Maybe geography is destiny. At six, my more liberal and adventurous parents left the Midwest for California. That changed everything. By the time I turned ten those earlier religious tenets were old news. I experienced the physical beauty of California as wildly flamboyant. Even the Spanish Catholic heritage appeared to fly in the face of that more austere vision of life. Gleaming white-washed mission walls, strewn with magenta bougainvillea, set against the backdrop of blue skies—stunning.

The culture felt edgy and unbounded. Dreaming big, wanting more, seeking new and novel experiences all seemed part of the package. Think Hollywood, Baby, as the Old West gave way to the new. Of course, there were larger influences, too, given that my move west coincided with coming of age as a baby boomer: Space Race, as well as Civil Rights, Women’s and Peace movements. The place and time defined many things about life for me, as it did for many who grew up in the same era.

Is it any wonder that, at 17, I ran off with a high school dropout and rock and roll musician I met in San Diego and married in a Tijuana lawyer’s office? Not that my parents or the police agreed with my decision. I got as far as LAX before the police picked me up as a runaway. It wasn’t all about the California dream run amok—I had other reasons to run–good ones. Lucky for me, the guy I married turned out to be a keeper. I left California for decades, but the place stayed with me.

When it came time to retire from our jobs as professors at the Ohio State University, my ex-rocker husband and I returned to California. To the desert near Palm Spring, not San Diego where I grew up, and we met. I love most everything about this valley, even the triple-digit heat, although I’d gladly take fewer of those days!

Wow, Celeste … I’m happy you and your husband made it work despite the initial challenges! And I LOVE the heat! Is there another profession you would have liked to try?

Growing up in a large family, money was scarce. I started doing odd jobs early. Babysitting at age 7—mostly with moms nearby, but not always. At eight, a neighborhood teenager paid my younger brother and me a nickel for each snake chased out by running ahead of him through the brush in a nearby canyon. By the time I left home at 17, I had worked as a tutor, delivered papers, cleaned houses, sold Avon, and worked in a genetics lab breeding fruit flies.

My first real job was at Walt Disney World. At 18, I had completed basic training as a cook and started as a culinary assistant in one of the theme park restaurants. A couple of years later, Disney offered me an opportunity to enter the Walt Disney World University chef school where I continued my training and became a chef. After graduation, I became a Preparation Chef at the Polynesian Hotel, one of two or three women in that role in the Disney corporation.

Most of my professional life I worked as a professor, behavioral health researcher, and research administrator. As part of my training for that work on the way to my Ph.D., I earned a clinical degree in social work [MSW] and spent more than five years working as a therapist in substance abuse and mental health settings. I continued to supervise students in those settings for my entire career along with my other professorial duties.

During high school, I sang in the choir and smaller choral ensembles. I was encouraged by our music director to consider a career in opera. That might have been an exciting alternative career path, although I’m not sure I had “the chops” to cut it in that challenging profession. I also dabble in painting and wish I had more formal training in that area.

It’s great to learn of your diverse talents, Celeste. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to have a tougher hide and a better sense of humor about myself. I tend to be a serious person even though the absurdity of the world doesn’t elude me. That’s often brought home to me by my acts of hubris. Oh my, here we go back to that pride goeth before a fall thing. I have taken some spectacular pratfalls in my lifetime. Eventually, I can have a good “yuck” about it, but I’m a not always a good sport at first. My husband, on the other hand, has a terrific sense of humor and helps me find that laugh out loud moment sooner than I might otherwise.

You two were definitely meant for each other. 🙂 Are you a full time writer now?

I write fiction full time, now, with the aim of spending 3 or 4 hours a day, 4-6 days a week, writing and editing. I spend that much time, or more, marketing the books I write. Like most indie authors that includes the work done by publishers: PR, book promotion, etc. Mornings are spent writing. Afternoons editing, blogging, creating materials for promotion, and evenings are spent tweeting, posting, and sharing elsewhere like on Facebook and Google+.

It is a lot of work, and you do it so well. Tell us what motivates you to write.

At this point in my life, writing is a lark. It’s an adventure, pure and simple. Much of my professional life I wrote nonfiction in the context of the “publish or perish” world of the university. I do still enjoy exploring some of the topics I dealt with teaching social work practice and doing research on poverty, addictions, and mental health problems. Social relationships, problems of living; drug addiction and mental health issues all figure into my stories. My lead characters are women so that worldview drives the way in which these subjects come up. I still have lots of questions about why people do what they do and how to anticipate or respond to troubled people—many of the same questions that drove me into social and behavioral science with a bent toward improving policy and practice.

How would you define your style of writing?

The tag line I use for my website is: Snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food–California style!

I write mystery fiction with a dash of romance and humor. That’s closer to what’s regarded as “cozy” these days than to the thriller end of the continuum.  When Agatha Christie wrote there was no such thing. It was just called “mystery” then.  The three series I write all feature “amateur” or “accidental” sleuths—women pulled into sleuthing by murder and mayhem. All three series are set in California so that setting is a backdrop—another “character” in many ways. Because of my background as a chef, and the fact that food is integral to California culture, “foodie” is part of the package and shows up in my writing. I have a “What’s Cooking” page on my website and have started to include recipes in my newest series featuring Georgie Shaw, a character trained as a chef.

montagesmaller

Very cool! What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I consider my stories “character-driven,” so character development is fascinating to me. The women are very different in the three series that I write. The rich, 30-something lead in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series is a child of wealth and privilege. When she’s delivered a big dose of “money can’t buy you happiness,” she keeps trying to console herself with shopping binges. An anxious sort prone to panic attacks, she has to search elsewhere for answers to the questions that bother her. She’s often preoccupied not just with “whodunit” but “why?”

Kim Reed the 20-something sleuth in my Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series is a streetwise young woman we first meet when she’s rescued by Jessica Huntington in A Dead Sister. Life surprises this cynical survivor with, of all things, love! She falls for another over-the-top character in the Jessica Huntington series, Brien Williams—a surfer dude stranded in the California desert. In Corsario Cove, he’s in his element and on his honeymoon with Kim. Murder and mayhem ensue, of course, and these two take to it like bees to honey. In my mind, at times, I react like I’m watching one of those old 1950s monster movies. “No, don’t go down there!” You know, that sort of thing?  Then, as I write, off they go, diving right into the middle of murder and mischief!

georgie shaw #1

Georgie Shaw, lead in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, is a 50-something corporate exec who started out at Marvelous Marley World as a chef.  In book 1, Murder at Catmmando Mountain, she’s working in public relations for a Disney-like entertainment conglomerate and her life turns upside down by a murder in the Arcadia theme park. A capable, intelligent woman, sleuthing isn’t part of her life until she’s framed for murder and forced to consider whodunit. The biggest bombshell in her life isn’t the murder. Georgie Shaw has a tragic past and never married. When the handsome detective, Jack Wheeler, sweeps into her life, he challenges her with new possibilities.  A new mystery brought them together. Will an old one drive them apart? Those questions get answered in book 2, Love Notes in the Key of Sea.

I also enjoy writing dialogue, and plotting out the murder and mayhem. I have a good laugh at the situations in which my characters are placed [by me]. They get back at me in surprising ways, and one of the things I find most challenging, at times, is writing my way out of a corner!

Why do you write your books as part of a series?

The character arc has a more realistic time frame in which to unfold in a series rather than in a single book.  There’s more room for characters to grow and change which is part of that character development that I find interesting. That often involves a lot of humor, too. Each of these amateurs, equipped with different skill sets, have to stretch as people to cope with the problems they encounter when plunged into the unpredictability of a murder investigation.

Good reasons! What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Some version of “don’t get it right, just get it written.” I forget now, who told me that. I’m sure it was while I was still writing for my university career where getting it right did matter. You have to back up claims made in your writing with evidence, but also have to recognize that the data you have to work with is never going to be perfect. So, the key for me, even now, is to write it then hammer it to bits—separate the creator from the critic. That’s the best advice I can give to someone just starting out, too.

Let’s learn about your upcoming books, Celeste!

Love Notes asymmetrical 6 x 9

Love Notes in the Key of Sea, Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery #2

Georgie Shaw and Detective Jack Wheeler have a second chance at love—despite the fact they met during a murder investigation. Decades earlier, Georgie lost the love of her life in an attack on the beach that left one man dead and two others missing including her fiancé, Danny Farrell. When Georgie returns to Corsario Cove, more than memories haunt her as a song Danny wrote just for her echoes in the air: Love Notes in the Key of Sea. Who else, other than she and Danny could know that song? A new mystery brought Georgie and Jack together, will an old one drive them apart?

 

I have two new cozy mystery releases that will be available for preorder in May and purchase in June. Love Notes in the Key of Sea, book 2 in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, will be included in a summer beach anthology of short reads: Stories of Sun, Sand, and Sea. The stories in this collection combine mystery, romance, and suspense, all set during the summer months but on different beaches. With 11 beaches…anything can happen. 

Stories of Sun, Sand, and Sea is available for preorder May 16th, for release June 28th.

sun sand and sea

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

A summer breeze, sandy shore, and sparkling waters. Is it the perfect setting for love or something more dangerous?
First loves, second chances, mystery, and intrigue, even murder.
Drift away with this collection of stories about Sun, Sand and Sea to 11 beaches…where anything can happen.

 

romantic sea beach. Women's Glasses and Champagne cork on sand

 Gnarly New Year – Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery #2

The honeymoon’s not over yet! Kim and Brien’s excellent adventure at the swanky Sanctuary Resort & Spa continues when an unwelcome visitor drops in on New Year’s Eve. An elusive marine GPS device, found and lost again, unleashes another wave of murder and mayhem in Corsario Cove!  What is it about that thing? Stooges, Krugerrands, and monks—oh my! Will it be a Gnarly New Year for Kim and Brien?

 

Book 2 in the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series will be out soon, too. Kim and Brien’s excellent honeymoon adventure continues in Gnarly New Year. My two love birds are swept up into more murder and mayhem even though they vowed to stay out of it at the end of book 1, Cowabunga Christmas!

So much going on Celeste, congratulations! What is next for you after these books?

Next up in the queue is A DEAD MOTHER, book 4 in the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series. There’s more on relationships between mothers and daughters in this book, as there was in book 3, A DEAD DAUGHTER . Jessica’s saga with her dysfunctional mother continues, but the story revolves around the death of Beverly Windsor, a client in Jessica’s newly reinstated law career. Why would anyone kill the wealthy woman, a pillar of the Palm Desert community, active in the homeowners’ association in her gated community, and on the charity circuit in the Greater Palm Springs area? Oh, let me count the reasons and the suspects.

Why should people read your books?

I want to entertain readers. The books are meant to be romps, with a mystery at the heart of each story. I hope they’ll be intrigued by my characters and will return to find out what’s up next for them. The blend of mystery, humor, romance, and women’s fiction is a bit different in each series, but present in all of them.

What is the best way for someone to support your books?

FEEDBACK! I’m fortunate that my husband and several readers will give me feedback early on, but gathering input is vital. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are so important when it comes to increasing the visibility of books. They also clarify what a book is about for other readers, and help other readers make more informed choices about the suitability of the book for them. I’m still learning, and feedback is critical to my growth as an author. Leaving a comment or suggestion on my website, blog, Goodreads, or Facebook, are all greatly appreciated as well as reviews.

Feedback is always helpful. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? MY LAPTOP—the “death” of my old one in December taught me how hard it is to live without one!

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Maui!

Name a food you can eat every day. Salads—not exciting, I know, but I love them!

Salty or sweet? Sweet.

Coffee or tea or something else? COFFEE—fresh ground beans brewed in a French press!

Cat/dog/other pet? Mouthy Siamese cats.

Favorite style of music? Jazz fusion a la John McLaughlin and my hubby.

The best gift you’ve ever received? Spa Day at the La Quinta Resort.

Your most guilty pleasure. Chocolate.

Favorite season. Spring.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Why love, of course!

Thank you Celeste for sharing with my readers. It was wonderful to learn more about you.

Readers, please find Celeste at all her virtual homes and discover her books! 

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Connect to Celeste

cropped head shot

WebsiteBlog | Twitter @aburke59 | Amazon Author Page

Facebook | Goodreads

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning and bestselling author who enjoys snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! Her books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark that take place in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.

BUY LINKS for Celeste’s books in ebook and print

The Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery Series

Amazon

A DEAD HUSBAND JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

A DEAD SISTER JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #2

Amazon | Barnes and Noble   

A DEAD DAUGHTER JESSICA HUNTINGTON DESERT CITIES MYSTERY #3

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

LOVE A FOOT ABOVE THE GROUND: (PREQUEL TO THE JESSICA HUNTINGTON SERIES)

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

COWABUNGA CHRISTMAS CORSARIO COVE COZY MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

MURDER AT CATMMANDO MOUNTAIN GEORGIE SHAW COZY MYSTERY #1

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

ANTHOLOGIES

Happy Homicides 2: Thirteen Cozy Mysteries (Crimes of the Heart) 

Mother’s Day Magic with Love

Stories of Sun, Sand and Sea

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Brenda Perlin (@BrooklynandBo)

I’m very excited to introduce author, Brenda Perlin. When I first connected with her, I admit she intimidated me … just a little. She was well read, über cool, and she had a wonderful network of friends and authors. Add to that — she is an incredibly beautiful woman, both inside and out.

Her book  LA Punk Rocker is ranked as the #1 BEST SELLER in both the PUNK and PHOTOJOURNALISM categories. I learned so much about the punk era by reading it.

I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to interview her, especially since the sequel, PUNK ROCKER drops May 15th!

Please welcome the lovely Brenda Perlin. You’re going to love her.

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It’s wonderful to have you here Brenda, tell us how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Quirky but loyal. Goofy but has a serious side. Someone you would want on your team. (I am just guessing so please don’t gag!)

No gagging here! I’m sure it’s all true. What is your biggest extravagance?

Time. I don’t work, other than what I do with my books so I have the luxury of spending my days how I choose. That is a bigger extravagance than most people can imagine. I feel fortunate in this way because I know from having to make a living and that comes with plenty of stress.

I’ve never had this answer but TIME is definitely a luxury. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

It’s not so much about change but what I lack. I have always wanted to be able to sing yet I can’t carry a tune. Music is important to me. In another life. I pray I have the talent to be a rock singer.

Yes! You have excellent taste in music. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Friends have always told me I should be a therapist. I do like working out people’s problems. Always have. I believe I get that from my mom. Everyone went to her for advice.

We have that in common. 😉 What are some of your favorite curse words?

I do like saying fuck-everyone. Yes, FUCK is an old standby.

Love it! Do you have a motto you live by?

Fuck-everyone. Ha-ha.

Haha! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

I was able to complete my life story in a trilogy before the age of fifty. Now it’s all fun stuff from here on out.

That’s an amazing feat, Brenda—truly. Let’s learn a bit more about the writer in you. Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Life. I write from my own experiences. Some things you can’t make up and I don’t even try.

shattered reality burnt promises

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what motivates you to write?

Usually I write when there is big drama in my life. I wrote Shattered Reality and Burnt Promises at lightning speed because flames were flying!

Of course! That makes a lot of sense. I can see the drama in the great book trailers too. 

 

What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

More than anything I have learned the valuable lesson of making sure I have read the proof completely looking for typos and such before publishing the book. Reading the book out loud is one of the best ways to catch errors.

I agree with you there. I write regularly for a podcast, and I always catch mistakes when reading my stories aloud. Tell us about your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer.

I do enjoy the process of writing. There is something mighty therapeutic about it. I love when people respond well to my books and I have enjoyed meeting people from all over the world. What I don’t appreciate as much are the headaches that come with publishing. And there are plenty. Also, it can be very frustrating trying to sell a book as an unknown author with no one representing your work. It is daunting.

And yet, you always appear so calm. 🙂 How would you define your style of writing?

I am a memoirist. It’s conversational and yet there isn’t too much dialog. I am like the reality TV version of writers. I like giving away all my secrets and exposing the truths that lay hidden.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy the writing part when the story is flowing. That is the best feeling in the world.

What don’t you enjoy?

The worst part is relying on other people to get things done. That can be very frustrating and disappointing.

fractured vowsI agree. It’s always harder when you don’t have full control, isn’t it? Is it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

For me, not at all. I was writing Fractured Vows, my third book in Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles while the charades were still going on. From one day to the next I didn’t know how the book would end or where the story was being led. That was stressful and at the same time a bit exciting. Could have gone any way. I was prepared for the worst.

 

Yes, I feel the hints of uncertainty from the excellent book trailer.

 

What is your best advice for new authors?

I have learned quite a bit since I signed a bad seven year book contract with a fraudulent book publishing company. Now I would advise people to never sign a contract without legal counsel. Also, hire a professional editor and find some beta-readers to read the finished product as well. Some of the mistakes are just silly ones and make the author appear unprofessional.

Wise words indeed. Let’s learn more about your books. How would you classify them?

All my books are listed as fiction though they are more fact than fiction. I change names and places to protect the identities as well as myself.

Why should people read your books?

I do share a different slice of life. Some of the things I have experienced are unimaginable. It’s always fun to step in someone else’s sneakers.

la punk rocker

What inspired you to write the best-selling LA Punk Rocker?

I can put the blame entirely on British author Mark Barry. He thought writing about my punk days would be interesting. At first I was opposed to the idea but then I began listening to the old tunes and saw the wisdom in sharing those stories.

I’m so glad Mark talked you into it! What has surprised you the most about writing the book?

I didn’t expect to find so many people that were still so enthusiastic about the music.

I haven’t been involved in punk rock for more than thirty years but I have reunited with some of the friends I had from that time period. The interest in the music is still going strong. And who knew Billy Idol still had so many admirers?! I’ve even joined up with his fan club the #BIFFWW. These gals always have your back, so it seems.

That’s terrific Brenda, and now you have the sequel, Punk Rocker officially releasing May 15th! I admit I’ve already bought my copy since I saw it pre-released a few days early. I’m very excited to read it! Let’s learn more from the blurb.

Punk ROcker

PUNK ROCKER is now available on Amazon! 

US | UK | Canada

 Book blurb for Punk Rocker

Punk Rocker is the much anticipated sequel to “L.A. Punk Rocker”: top author Brenda Perlin’s best-selling punk anthology.

Here you will find a collection of short stories from those who were there in the early days. Hard core musical anarchists who saw it all, heard it all, did it all – and survived to tell their stories.

Along with Brenda and the West Coast punks, Punk Rocker features rebels, writers, commentators and street kids from all over America – talking about the music, the fashion, the attitude, the passion, the lifestyle and, of course, the bands who made it all happen.

Meet people who discovered punk’s new dawn – and those who were there for its sunset, in the ramshackle mausoleum of the Chelsea Hotel.

Backstage, in the clubs, in the gigs, in hotel rooms with the band, on the streets –Brenda was there. She saw it all. And so did her friends.

Punk Rocker. If you missed it…what are you waiting for?

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Of course, reviews are a pleasure. For me, I have made it my mission to jot down notes when I am reading new releases to help the author. And I do believe it helps. Who wouldn’t want to erase the overused words or typos, if possible? I am starting to do it less because it’s often a thankless job but that is another subject for another time possibly.

I know you’ve helped me with your copious notes, and I so appreciate it.  Let’s  finish with a fun lightning round! 

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? A framed drawing of my first dog Alex. The artist in Venice Beach only charged $5 to do the portrait but it’s my favorite possession. I’ve even considered having a tattoo done from the drawing but as of now I have put that thought to rest.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? Kauai is where I feel the most connected. There is just something about the water that touches me.

Name a food you can eat everyday. Mangoes

Salty or sweet? Sweet Sweet Sweet!

Cat/dog/other pet? I am a dog person.

Favorite style of music? Is David Bowie a style? Ha-ha. I like classic rock, rock and alternative.

The best gift you’ve ever received? I was sick in 2007 as was told I might not ever walk again. I am blessed with the gift to walk. That is not something I take for granted. Ever.

Your most guilty pleasure. Papa John’s pizza delivery and reality TV.

Name something you cannot go a day without. Exercise and music. I am officially addicted.

Thank you Brenda for sharing with my readers. I learned many new and interesting things about you—all the more to admire. 🙂 Congratulations on your accomplishments and the upcoming release of Punk Rocker. I look forward to reading and reviewing it.

Readers, please find Brenda at all her virtual homes below. She’s as amazing as she sounds.  

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Connect to Brenda

brenda perlin

Author Website | Website (Blossoming Press) | Blog | Google+

Twitter @BrooklynandBo | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

Facebook Pages

Blossoming Press | Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles

Alex the Mutt | Ty the Bull

Additional book trailers

Ty the Bull | Alex the Mutt: From Death Row to Cozy Home

Brenda Perlin is an independent contemporary fiction author of five titles and numerous short stories. From novels to illustrated books, Brenda’s provocatively unique writing style evokes passionate responses in her readers. Ever since she was a child, Brenda has been fascinated with the writing process. She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume who sparked her obsession with pursuing personal expression through prose. Brenda has always lost herself in the world of literature.

Her first series, the highly-acclaimed Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a couple struggling for emotional fulfillment against those who would keep them apart. Next, Brenda ventured into the realm of graphic novellas with Ty the Bull, a story about a young boy who overcomes bullying, and Alex the Mutt, which explores the journey of love and loss of a beloved dog.

Her latest, Punk Rocker comes after L.A. Punk Rocker, both are anthologies where authors write about the music scene in the late seventies to the early eighties: a time when she was in Hollywood meeting famous bands and enjoying the new music scene.

Now that Brenda has just released Punk Rocker, the second book in the punk series she is contemplating whether or not she will forge ahead with another book to complete the series, along with a photo book, L.A. Punk Snapshots. While she is still listening to her favorite bands from the eighties, Billy Idol remains the ultimate King Rocker and music is just as important to her as ever. All her works are available through Amazon.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author John McCaffrey (@jamccaffrey)

I’m very excited to introduce you to author, John McCaffrey. We first met on Facebook and subsequently followed each other on Twitter. He’s been a wonderful supporter of my work, and I consider it good fortune to interview him just after he’s released a HOT new book.

His latest offering, Two Syllable Men (Vine Leaves Press) came out April 26th. It’s already hit several top-selling lists.

Learn more about John and why he classifies his writing as “Disturbed Apple Crisp!” Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @PeterCBradbury

As with many authors I’ve interviewed, I met Peter C. Bradbury through social media and later, we found ourselves as part of the same writing groups.

It’s always interesting to learn from other writers, and I’m sure you will enjoy Peter’s insight. He’s an Englishman now living in California, and he is passionate about his causes, which include: animal cruelty, hunting for fun, bullying, and human trafficking.

Read more about this talented author and see what he has to offer. Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Claude Bouchard (@ceebee308)

It’s always nice to meet an author from my hometown of Montreal. Though the world of independent authors is not huge, Claude is one of the larger-than-life figures within it. He’s also one of the most gracious authors I know, and I’m happy to feature him on my blog.

Like most Canadians, he has a great sense of humor, so you don’t want to miss his interview!  Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author @MariaHaskins

I don’t recall the exact moment I connected with poet and author, Maria Haskins. All I know is she has been extremely supportive of my work, and when I dug a bit deeper, I was not surprised to learn how talented she is.

For the past couple of months, we have both read for The Word Count Podcast, and it’s made me appreciate Maria’s stories and writing style.

I’m very happy to offer Maria a forum to share of herself and her books on Eden’s Exchange. Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Scott Bury (@ScottTheWriter)

I’ve crossed paths with Canadian author, Scott Bury in the past, but we didn’t connect until last year while working on the Lei Crime Series for Kindle Worlds.

I read his novella, Torn Roots and finally got a taste of his writing—excellent! Like me, Scott writes in multiple genres and he has numerous writing projects on the go.

Read more about this multi-talented writer and what he has to offer.

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author Olga Núñez Miret (@OlgaNM7)

I’m excited to have author Olga Núñez Miret on my blog. Olga is a talented writer and translator of English and Spanish texts. She was also a forensic psychiatrist, which is of great interest to me for my own writing.

Please learn more about Olga and her books.

Her latest one called Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is free for now, so be sure to pick it up! Continue reading

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Eden’s Exchange Talks to Author James Moushon (@jimhbs)

Author interviews are a helpful way to learn about new and established writers. After doing nearly 150 of them since I started blogging, I took a break from Eden’s Exchange in 2015.

I’m happy to restart my series with an interview of author, James Moushon. James is a tireless promoter of others, and it’s my pleasure to shine a light on him for a change. Continue reading

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