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Title: Girl Gone Missing

Genre: Native American Literature/Hard-Boiled Mystery

Synopsis: Her name is Renee Blackbear, but what most people call the 19-year-old Chippewa woman is Cash. She lived all her life in Fargo, sister city to Minnesota’s Moorhead, just downriver from the Cities. She has one friend, Sheriff Wheaton. He pulled her from her mother’s wrecked car when she was three. Since then, Cash navigated through foster homes, and at 13 was working farms, driving trucks. Wheaton wants her to take hold of her life, signs her up for college. She gets an education there at Moorhead State all right: sees that people talk a lot, but mostly about nothing, not like the men in the fields she’s known all her life, who hold the rich topsoil in their hands, talk fertilizer and weather and prices on the Grain Exchange. In between classes and hauling beets, drinking beer and shooting pool, a man who claims he’s her brother shows up, and she begins to dream about the Cities and blonde Scandinavian girls calling for help.

Marcie R. Rendon, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Marcie R. Rendon. She writes Native American literature.  Welcome back to my blog, Marcie.

CH: Can you sum up this mystery thriller about Native Americans in 20 words or less?

MRR: Cash Blackbear, former foster child, dreams of college girls calling for help. Cash is led to find them. A suspenseful story of women trafficked.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this book?

MRR: It is a character-driven book, so basically, Cash drives the story. One of the biggest issues in Indian country today is the fact that there are an estimated 4,000+ missing and/or murdered Native women across the continent. On Feb 14th communities across the United States and Canada have memorials, where women wear Red Dresses, to honor the missing/murdered women. This fact informed the story as did the idea that as Native women, no matter how much trauma we have collectively faced, we have still maintained our humanity.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book?

MRR: Interesting enough, at least to me, is that I had to do the most research about the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, which is a dominate obsession of Cash, who grew up listening to the Minneapolis Grain Exchange reports each day on the radio. It is these reports that Red River Valley farmers listen to for the worth of their farm products.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues?

MRR: The story is set in about 1970 in northern Minnesota on the North Dakota border. I know the farm culture of that area and I am familiar with the stories of trafficked women from having worked in jails and prisons. The character Cash arrived in my storytelling brain with her story and truly all I had to do was follow her lead. Thank goodness, she tells her story in places and in situations I seem to be familiar with.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MRR: Cash’s brother, Mo. He is funny, brave, and vulnerable. He also nurtures Cash in unexpected ways that allows for her vulnerability to show in ways we haven’t seen before (in the previous book, Murder on the Red River).

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

MRR: The male teachers were the hardest to write. I think, because of their class and white privilege, they are strange characters to me, but necessary for the story.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

MRR: The antagonist. I never quite knew who he was, how he was going to appear, or how he was going to do what he did. It was a process of trial and error, but he finally came alive—both in my brain and on the page.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

MRR: In this series, Cash is the driving force. She is a character, in my mind, with a full set of life experiences that she is bringing to the page. When I am working on a play, I am much more likely to have a story idea that I personally want to explore and will create an outline and create characters to fill that story line. Not so with this series. The character is there and she is telling me the story and I just have to get my fingers to the keyboard.

Also, in isolated communities there are so many secrets—secret affairs, secret deaths, secret births—so many stories to bring to life. In Indian country, those secret stories are magnified by the drama of our everyday lives. As author Mark Anthony Rolo is fond of saying, “We can’t make this s*& up.”  Or “Because of the drama we have already seen/lived, we can make this s*& up.”

CH: Since this book is a sequel, when you wrote the first book, did you know then that there would be a sequel? 

MRR: I knew pretty soon into the first book that there was going to be a second book.

CH: In this mystery series, will there be a third book?

MRR: Yes, and a third, and possibly a fourth.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

MRR: What pleases me the most is that readers will ask me questions about Cash or Wheaton or some other character in the book, as if they are real people.  For example, college professors have asked me, how Cash is doing in college? Others have asked, what Longbraids is doing?  To me this means that the characters in the book are as alive to the reader, as they are in my storytelling brain. I think that is what I bring to the readers table or nightstand, as it may be.

CH: What kind of feedback are you receiving from the first and second book? 

MRR: I am humbled and honored by the praise the book is getting. And I love when I hear so many folks ask, “When is the next one out, I can’t wait.”  That’s music to my ears.

CH: Have you received any awards for this series?

MRR: Yes, Pinckley Debut Women Crime Writers Award-2018 and SPUR finalist for best contemporary western novel-2018.

CH: If you could work with any mystery author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

MRR: Oh dear. These are things I don’t think about. I have a wonderful writing group of women. We call ourselves. Women from the Center. We are: Dakota author, Diane Wilson, MN Book Award winner; Irish-American writer, Nora Murphey, who wrote a memoir, White Birch, Red Hawthorn; African-American superstar, Carolyn Holbrook, who has led the Indigenous/People of Color writing community here in the Twin Cities for the length of time that I have been writing; Mai Neng Moua, whose book Bride Price is still shaking the Hmong community; and newer Japanese members, Joan Trygg and Kyoko Katayama; and Arab-American Jna Shelomith. These women are all excellent writers who are committed to their work, to the success of other women writers; and who are excellent critiques for anyone’s work.

CH: Who is your favorite mystery thriller author?

MRR: John Sandford and Lee Child, and Harlan Coben…hmm those are the names that float to the top of my brain.

CH: Can you tell my audience where we can find you?

MRR: The best place to find me is on facebook or twitter under Marcie Rendon. We are rebuilding my website currently, so social media seems to be the current place.

CH: How to Find Marcie Rendon:

CH: Where are your books sold?

MRR: At Independent bookstores in Minneapolis: Once Upon a Crime bookstore and Birchbark Books. It can be ordered from Cinco Puntos Press. The book is also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MRR: Chi Miigwetch. Thank you so much. I so appreciate the time and energy you give to helping me and other authors get our thoughts out to our readers.

CH: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, Marcie R. Rendon for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Marcie R. Rendon and Cheryl Holloway.

               

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Title: Earthbound (The Valiant Chronicles Book 0)

Genre: Psychic Thriller/Ghost Fiction

Synopsis: Nothing says bad day like waking up dead.

Software developer Jayden McQueen is dead, but it’s not in her stubborn and controlling nature to say die. When she’s offered a chance to return to the physical plane to bid a final farewell to her loved ones, she seizes it.

Who wouldn’t want to attend their own funeral?

Warned that her time on this side of the veil is limited, she promises to return before the deadline. Then she discovers her death was murder and not the heart attack her family believes.

Refusing to leave until she uncovers the truth behind her death, Jayden enlists the help of a mysterious spirit who seems to know a lot about her and her family. Together they peel away the layers of this mystery, but when they get to the bottom, a dark horror awaits them. Now, not only is Jayden earthbound, she’s caught in a trap from which there may be no escape.

Hell hath no fury …

Alone and in despair, Jayden must learn to let go or endure a lifetime of hell at the hands of a sociopath who would use her for his personal gain.

A prequel to The Experiencers and part of the Valiant Chronicles series, Earthbound is a stand-alone story and can be read before or after the other two books in the set.

Val Tobin, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Val Tobin. She writes stories worth losing sleep over by drawing on her master’s degree in parapsychology. Welcome to my blog, Val.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this psychic/ghost thriller?

VT: Earthbound is a prequel to The Experiencers, book one of the Valiant Chronicles. Ever since I wrote about Michael Valiant, I wanted to know more about his previous victims and what led up to the events that occur in The Experiencers and A Ring of Truth. I decided to tell the story of one of the unjustly murdered, and to do it from the spirit world. This way, I could explore philosophical and theological themes. I’ve always wondered, if spirits exist, why don’t all murder victims try to expose their killers? What would cause them to let it go? What higher purpose might there be to events? What is fate and how does it fit in with free will?

Most of these questions don’t have answers, but fiction is a great conduit for exploring such ideas.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book?

VT: I’ve studied metaphysics for years and have a master’s degree in parapsychology, so I drew on knowledge I’d acquired, as well as experiences I’ve had. My master’s thesis was on the after-effects of near-death experience, and I drew heavily on the research I did on that topic.

CH: Did you run into any challenges while writing this book?

VT: I had to construct a spirit world that would fit into my story, so I had to take some artistic license with reality. For example, if you accept that a spirit of your departed loved one can make you feel their presence by allowing you to smell the tobacco they used to smoke, I imagined the spirit did it by smoking.

Transferring an object from one place to another is called apportation. The food, drinks, and cigarettes my spirits conjure are the result of apportation. Since it takes energy to do this, they don’t apport large items and they don’t bring them through into the physical plane to such a degree that living people can see them.

However, the scene near the end where Jayden is pulled into the physical plane was challenging to construct. I had to make sure I didn’t break any physical laws I’d set in the story world. Anything that happened had to be explainable.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

VT: Most of the situations were created, but I based a lot on what can happen in real life or what myths or beliefs have permeated our culture regarding death and the afterlife. For example, Jayden and Daniel aren’t restricted in where they can go on Earth and beyond. This makes sense, because they’ve both had the initial trip to the other side. They understand they’re dead.

Often, if a spirit is trapped in a location, it’s because they had a problem crossing over. Perhaps, they can’t accept their death or they’re attached to a location or physical item to such an extent that they can’t separate from it. This isn’t the case with Jayden or with Daniel, the spirit who wants to help her.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

VT: Jayden was my favourite in this story, because she’s strong and assertive. She takes no guff from anyone.

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

VT: Daniel was the hardest to write, because at first he was as mysterious to me as he was to Jayden. I had in mind at first that he’d be a love interest, but then the story took a different turn and who he ultimately became made more sense.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

VT: Thomas was the hardest to develop, but even he was not too difficult. At first, I had a different direction I wanted him to take, but as the story unfolded and I got to know him better, he ended up becoming a more likeable and sympathetic character than I’d originally envisioned.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

VT: I draw on inspiration and ideas from everywhere. For example, the idea for Injury grew from an assignment my daughter had to do in grade eight. She had to write a biography on a famous person, and she chose Marilyn Monroe. Part of the assignment was to create a list of interview questions, and on my daughter’s list was the question: ‘If you could ask your father anything right now, what would it be?’

I thought that was a brilliant question, considering Marilyn Monroe never knew her father. It made me wonder what it would be like to be rich and famous and to not know who your father is. Would she wonder if he recognizes his daughter as the famous sex symbol? Does he regret abandoning the family? By this point, I wasn’t thinking specifically of Marilyn—I was generalizing. From there, I created Daniella Grayson, an actress at the height of her career, who has always believed her father abandoned her, leaving her with an abusive mother. As the story opens, we learn that everything she’s ever believed about herself, everything that’s affected her self-esteem, was based on a lie.

My idea for Storm Lake evolved from visiting my parents’ cottage when I was a teen and seeing trees in the forest with huge burls on them. Burls are bulges that can grow on a tree’s trunk, and to me, they looked creepy way out in the middle of nowhere. I kept thinking they looked like aliens could be gestating in there and they’d burst out sooner or later and eat your face off. I had to write that story, though the creatures in Storm Lake aren’t aliens.

Gillian’s Island came from me woolgathering about an island resort owned by a friend. I wondered what it would be like to run a resort on an island, and thought it might be a great place for an introvert as long as her husband dealt with the guests. In my head, I created a couple, who lived in such a situation, but then I shook things up and put them through a messy divorce that left the introvert wife stuck running the resort and then forced to sell it. Now, not only does she have to deal with the guests, but she has to deal with the new owner,who she must train to run it. On top of all that, there’s a saboteur, who seems to be trying to shut down the resort.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

VT: I try to make my stories lively and exciting, so readers want to keep reading well past the time they should have set the book down. That’s why I’ve made my tagline ‘Stories worth losing sleep over.’

CH: Since this book is full of suspense, action and intrigue, do you prefer writing books with a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs?

VT: Yes, I do. I like to have complex characters in challenging situations and stories that readers may want to read more than once, so they can discover nuances with each subsequent reading.

CH: This is the prequel in the Valiant Chronicles series. Did you know it would be a series when you wrote this book?

VT: The first book for the series I wrote was The Experiencers, and I only planned to have that and A Ring of Truth, the sequel. However, some readers wanted more, and though I know they meant they wanted a sequel to A Ring of Truth, I wasn’t quite ready to go back there. I was very curious about what happened before, though, so I wrote Earthbound as a prequel.

CH: How many books are in this series? Can you briefly tell us about the other books in this series?

VT: There are two other books in this series (so, three all together).

The Experiencers is book one, and deals with Michael Valiant and his epiphany about the work he does for the Agency. It’s told from multiple viewpoints, and I really explore fate and how that might work, particularly if reincarnation exists. Some people believe that if you don’t learn the lessons you’re supposed to learn in one lifetime, you’ll have to return until you fulfill your purpose. I explore that through Michael’s and Carolyn’s stories.

A Ring of Truth completes Michael and Carolyn’s story. One of the ideas I explored in this book was how memory shapes character. If your memories are false or they’ve been manipulated to the extreme (such as, what happened with the CIA’s Project MK-ULTRA, which influenced my story), then who are you? If you believe you’ve had a certain experience, it would form your character, affect your behaviour, and influence your beliefs. I superficially touched on this in Injury, but in A Ring of Truth, I took it to the next level. In Injury, Dani believed a lie. In A Ring of Truth, people’s minds are manipulated, so they believe they’ve had experiences they’ve never had.

CH: What kind of feedback are you receiving from the readers of this book and the series?

VT: I’ve had lots of positive feedback on the stories. Readers continue to request a sequel to A Ring of Truth. I’m contemplating it, and have some ideas, but I’ve got a number of other projects I want to complete before returning to this world.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

VT: I’m currently working on a sequel to Storm Lake, called The Hunted, which picks up the story thread about twelve years after the original events took place. I’m also working on a nonfiction book based on my master’s thesis. It’s called Changed for Life: The After-Effects of Near-Death Experience.

CH: How to Find Val Tobin:

CH: Where are your books sold?

VT: You can find my books at a variety of retailers in both eBook and paperback. They’re on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and other places.

CH: Any closing remarks?

VT: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this interview, Cheryl, and thank you to the readers who support me by buying and reading my stories. I appreciate each and every one of you and am always happy to hear from you.

CH: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, Val Tobin, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Val Tobin and Cheryl Holloway.

     

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          Happy Mother’s Day to…all my family, friends and readers near and far!

I’m having a wonderful Mother’s Day with Family and Friends.  I sent a Mother’s Day prayer up to Heaven to my Love One’s and a special teddy bear to Shellie! I received Shari’s Berries, cards, gifts, pictures, texts, calls and love from Angie & the gang and all of my favorite people.  I thank God for the many Blessings.

May you have a Happy & Blessed Mother’s Day!  

             

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.                     

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it! Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends. Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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          Title: Heaven Can Be Hell

Genre: African American Fiction/Short Reads

Synopsis: Heaven Foxx thought she was on top of her game, until she meets the Rev. Averic Domingo; a young man handsome enough to grace the cover of a fashion magazine, but much too attached to his pulpit. The good Reverend preached against having any type of kinky sex in or out of the bedroom, until Heaven walked into his life. She is hell bent on showing him just how wrong he had been. They both have met their match in one another and have a lot to lose when they find out…Heaven Can Be absolute Hell!

Ms. G’Orge Walker wanted to show what could happen when a confident, carnal-minded woman works her magic to seduce a sexually inhibited reverend. She got him, but now, can she keep him, if God wants him too, kinky-free? It asks the question…is the bed ever defiled between a consenting husband and wife when their explorations go outside the regular “missionary” position.

Pat G’Orge-Walker, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Pat G’Orge-Walker. Pat’s storytelling is likened to Zora Neale Hurston’s folklore—a documentation of American culture and church life in literature. Welcome back to my blog, Pat.

CH: Can you sum up this Christian fiction about a confident woman, who works her magic to seduce a sexually inhibited reverend?

(The woman, Heaven Foxx) Song of Solomon 1: 12-14 reads: When my king-Lover lay down beside me, my fragrance filled the room. His head resting between my breasts…the head of my lover was a sachet of sweet myrrh. My beloved is a bouquet of wildflowers picked just for me from the fields of Engedi.

PGW: Heaven Foxx is a beautiful young woman, daughter of a well-known Bishop. Her self-validation comes from using her sexuality to gain the attention of and ultimately capture the heart and mind of men crossing her path. The more elusive the game, the more she will participate. She has set her sights on an up-and-coming young preacher, who has spent a lot of time preaching against using any sexual position that is not ‘missionary.’ He becomes an obsession without thinking of repercussions.

What started out as a sexual conquest for Heaven and an eye-open sexual reveal for young Reverend Averic Domingo leads to actual love and marriage. The conflict is not how they left their season of lust, but how do they deal with those same needs after the ‘I do’s.’  When communication ceases with total honesty, it can spill over into the bedroom, especially, when the question becomes ‘what defiles the marriage bed?’ when the Bible says, ‘…the marriage bed is undefiled.’

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this book?

PGW: One of the seeds of this premise, aside from the Song of Solomon that had always interested me, began several years ago. A church in Baltimore, Maryland contacted me. They wanted me to perform a portion of my one-woman Sister Betty show comedy as an opening act for Zane. The pastor’s wife had a book club and they were going to discuss her book, Addicted. I was informed that the women in that particular book club enjoyed books of that nature and that none of them believed in physical or mental constraints when it came to sex in the marriage bed. It just so happened that I totally agreed with them.

(The man, Reverend Averic Domingo) Song of Solomon, 1:15 reads: Oh, my dear friend! You’re so beautiful! And your eyes so beautiful-like doves!

(The Woman, Heaven Foxx) And you, my dear lover–you’re so handsome! And the bed we share is like a forest glen. We enjoy a canopy of cedars enclosed by cypresses, fragrant and green.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book?

PGW: Not much at all. Heaven was unsatisfied…Song of Solomon 3:1-4 reads:  Restless in bed and sleepless through the night. I longed for my lover. I wanted him desperately. His absence was painful. So I got up, went out and roved the city, hunting through streets and down alleys. I wanted my lover in the worst way! I looked high and low, and didn’t find him–

This was Heaven at one point in her life. She longed for something she couldn’t put a name to. That need led her to make numerous mistakes and ultimately question her faith.

Over the years, I have traveled a lot. I’ve had speaking engagements, as well as performing comedy, and satire from different venues, including Essence Fest, churches and cruise ships. One of my characters, Sister Ima Hellraiser, is somewhat like the character Heaven in my story. Ima always brings about a conversation and, of course, I’m always open to discussing various inhibitions relating to the Christian community. What I found was a lot that was said in public, did not translate to the bedroom, once the lights went off. I soon got over my shock that men and women who shouted, ‘hallelujah’ in the pulpits and pews, also cried out ‘thank you, Lord’ in the bedroom after swinging from the chandeliers.

CH: Did you run into any challenges, while writing this book?

PGW: Yes, I ran into several that pertained more to me and what I believed was expected from me as an author. I’d already written Somebody’s Sinning in My Bed (SSIMB) based upon John 8:3-6, which reads: Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed…

I’d received both good and bad feedback. I wanted to tackle the question of ‘why.’ Why didn’t the man (the pastor in that story SSIMB) caught red-handed in the act of adultery with that same woman receive the same outrage and punishment, as was intended for her. Of course, in the Bible, it took Jesus to bring shame to her accusers, none of whom were sinless, despite the man being involved.

In my book SSIMB, the First Lady Chyna also committed adultery. The church lit her up, while bypassing their pastor, Reverend Grayson. He not only committed adultery, but murder.

Basically, it was why church folk hold a woman to a different standard, if both committed the same sin.

However, many of my readers, although appreciating me going in a different direction, wanted comedy, specifically, Sister Betty. From that novel, the character Deacon Thurgood Pillar was created to provide the comedy and was featured in several novels after. I was forgiven, somewhat.

This time, 2018-2019, I decided to stretch a little, because I didn’t want to leave this earth without doing so. As an author, I have other stories to tell that are of a more serious nature and the offer to participate in the Spice Anthology formed by Naleighna Kai offered it.

However, I still try to keep the humor going, which is why Aunt Peaches was created in Heaven Can Be Hell. I had no idea at the time that she’d become another female, Deacon Thurgood Pillar. She has since reappeared in my current novella, Fire in the Water. She is still outrageous and opinionated. I also brought back Averic and Heaven, who now have their own church and their experiences are on display to help others. I wanted to show growth for them and how God uses whom He chooses. I also needed to demonstrate why folks need to keep their mouths off of ‘God’s anointed.’ Averic and Heaven needed to start where they did in a season of lust, before they married, so they could help those who struggle sexually in and out of marriage and hopefully, lessen the divorce and adultery rate within the church.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

PGW: No, it was not hard at all. Some of the situations were based on conversations and others were based upon my own experiences. I will not divulge which, but…I haven’t been Saved all my life and I truly enjoyed Hawaii.

CH: This book is basically about sex and the Christian couple. Did you interview any Christian couples on the topic?

PGW: It wasn’t so much as interviews; more like conversations that led to various revelations. I particularly enjoyed having conversations with First Ladies and oh my, some Deaconesses had my jaw dropping. I also had discussions with several widows. It was important to me to do so, because I’m a widow, too. I wanted to know what they missed, romantically, about their husbands and if they were able to move on. And if they had moved on, was it different? Did they feel guilty when they decided to reenter the marriage or dating scene? Did they compare the sex from their previous marriage or relationship with the current one? The survivors I spoke with ranged from ages 30’s through 70’s. I was happy to discover, I was not alone when I chose to remain alone, forgoing dating and all it brings into a relationship.

For me, any relationship would have been a downgrade. I don’t do downgrade. The flame of desire for my late husband is an eternal flame.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

PGW: Aunt Peaches was definitely my favorite. I love writing from the perspective of being someone older, wiser; yet, filter-free. She was definitely based upon me. I am totally filter-free, if not so wise.

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

PGW: Averic was the hardest for me. First of all, he is a male character. Writing from a male perspective always leads me to discovering aspects of the male psyche that are sometimes foreign to me. I try to ask another male, if I’m on to something. I was.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

PGW: Averic was extremely religious, handsome and hadn’t always been ‘uptight.’ I needed to explore his journey and what it would take for him to escape the sexual clutches of a woman, who could ruin his ministry, his character and make him beg for more. Even while he preached, he kept dipping his manhood into the hypocrisy pool, hoping he wouldn’t be found out, while trying not to completely let go of God’s hand.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

PGW: There is no one particular way. Sometimes, I go the ‘what if’ direction. Other times, I come across situations that cause me to pause. Then there are times, I go to church and aside from hearing a great sermon, find something crazy happening. I love ‘church folk.’ There will always be material; the good, the bad and the crazy.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

PGW: I wish I had a definitive answer. I try to follow the advice Maya Angelou imparted to me during the 1970’s. She told me to always ‘be honest.’ That’s what I’ve tried to do over the years. I never try to write what’s popular or like anyone who seems to garner all the attention. Just being myself has been rewarding. I’m told that my stories created a new genre of fiction, ‘Gospel/Christian Comedy.’ I’m proud of that and apparently my readers who have followed my literary career are also.

CH: What kind of feedback are you receiving from the readers of this book?

PGW: I’ve received a couple of negative feedbacks. In fact, someone posted that I had the couple performing a sexual act. I most certainly did NOT. Were there innuendos or flirting? Most definitely there were. Most of the feedback also noted that perhaps, if some church folk weren’t so uptight the divorce and adultery rate wouldn’t be so high.

CH: If you could work with any Christian author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

PGW: I would love to co-write with Jacquelin Thomas and Tiffany Warren. They are phenomenal writers, who always write with such clarity, compassion and their subjects are always timely.

CH: Who is your favorite Christian author?

PGW: All of them…

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Title: The Vision of Antje Baumann: Dutch Resistance to Nazi Terror

Genre: Historical Irish Fiction/War Fiction Synopsis: It is May 1940 in Holland. As the Baumann family realizes that Hitler’s war has suddenly become their war, sirens begin blaring as a squadron of airplanes flies over Oosterbeek. Antje, Gerrit, and Cornelis Baumann are too young to understand what is happening around them. All they know is that they feel powerless as they watch their father cry. As the Germans invade, the Baumanns strive to maintain a quiet life. But as war comes to their street and doorstep, they soon recognize that keeping a low profile is not an option. Antje, Gerrit, and Cornelis each respond in their own way to their new crisis. Just as the French and Belgian armies surrender to the Nazis, little Antje loses her sight, prompting a chain of events that causes all the Baumanns to realize that surviving as a family in a land of mayhem and death is a greater challenge than they ever imagined. In this historical novel, a Dutch family struggles to endure the chaos of war after Holland is invaded by the Nazis.

Laurence Power, Author

CH: Today’s International Guest Author is Laurence Power.  He enjoys writing about Irish history. Welcome to my blog, Laurence.   

CH: Can you sum up this Historical Irish fiction novel for my audience?

LP: A Dutch family struggles to endure the chaos of war after Holland is invaded by the Nazis.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this book?

LP: In late spring of 1945, I was an eleven year old pupil in a rural school in County Tipperary. One day a priest, our local curate, arrived into our classroom to tell us how lucky we were in Ireland, because so many children were dying of starvation in Holland. The children were eating bulbs of daffodils and flowers and plants to stay alive. Ireland was the nation that experienced the Great Famine. Within a 4-year period, we lost one million people to starvation and another one million to emigration. The priest asked us to put pennies and halfpennies into collection boxes to help feed as many as possible. Every coin put into a collection box was for a starving child. In 1945 pennies were very scarce, but we did our best and were delighted to do so. More than 70 years on that memory remains with me.

Some 35 or so years later I was in Holland buying pedigree livestock for a client, a Dutchman living in Ireland. He introduced me to other Dutchmen, who were exporting livestock. One evening at a meal the conversation turned to the years of Nazi rule and occupation. It seemed to me until that evening, the Dutchmen had never spoken to each other about what had happened. It was a memorable meal. One of them told me that, as a boy of 13-14 years he watched his mother from a window gather a hatchet and meet up with other women, all with hatchets. It was the final days of the war and there was a price to be paid by those women, who played along with the Nazis. It was hearing this story that led me to revisiting the country after retirement.

CH: Where was the setting for the story? Were you familiar with the area?

LP: I set the Baumann family story in Oosterbeek, on the outskirts of Arnhem where the Airborne landings occurred. I hired a bicycle and cycled all over the area over many days. The landings were a tragedy with terrible consequences, both for the allies and for Holland. It was as if I was the one destined to write this book.

CH: What was the glue that held the family together during this difficult time?

LP: The glue was a sense of family. The fact that Antje had physical handicaps added greatly to the sense of family solidarity. When she lost her sight, everyone rowed in to help, but they differed strongly on how best to help her. Everything done for her was in her best interest, no one else’s.

CH: Since this book is a historical Irish fiction, did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book?

LP: Quite a lot of research was required and done, mainly in Holland, but also in London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM). The IWM research was on the Arnhem landings and the Hunger Winter of 1944-45.  

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

LP: Antje, by a mile. She cherished in full her gifts and talents; and she ignored her disabilities. She never complained, not once. She had a right to be selfish, but not Antje. She’s my best friend.

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

LP: The woman next door. The story needed her, but she was hard to take.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

LP: For inspiration, one needs a central character with character. When you have that quality in your central character, others are drawn in, as well. In times of great upheaval and adversity, the person of character stays true to him/herself.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

LP: The top writers say to use nouns and verbs in the main and cut adjectives to the bone. I try to keep the emphasis on the message within the story and not on the style of telling. I aim to create a flow in the narrative, which makes me want to keep to it. As a reader, I love to read a book that just flows.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

LP: A serious book calls for a serious narrative. When war comes to one’s front door, such as, in Antje Baumann’s situation, everyone within the house is involved, most are trapped by forces beyond their control and each and everyone wants to survive. The imperative is to survive, in that moment and nothing else matters. 

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

LP: Six months researching and writing, and six months editing.

CH: What kind of feedback are you receiving from this book?

LP: Early days, yet but all favorable. Most every comment relates to either the research behind the story or the quality of the writing from the miracle in the sky, with thousands of aircraft from England circling; to the landing places east of Arnhem; to the collapse of the resistance seven days later. There were days of infinite sadness and tragedy for so many. I feel that I wrote that part as it should have been written.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

LP: It has to be William Shakespeare, no one else comes close. Seems he might have been sent by God, because his artistry is ageless, timeless and never less than awesome. How strange. but also how amazing that an Englishman should know of and write of the rottenness happening in Denmark. Queen Gertrude was quite a handful…how could Hamlet have been born of this woman?

CH: What is your next writing project?

LP: I have in excess of 40,000 words written on Guess Who—William Shakespeare. I hope to have it completed at 100,000 words by the end of the year. I cannot tell you the story line…I hope I make it all the way.

CH:  How to Find Laurence Power:

CH: Where is your book sold?

LP: Amazon and Amazon.co.uk, as well as Kindle and Lulu.

CH: Any additional comments?

LP: I wrote a play for stage two years ago that is set in a US jury room involving the killing of a colored boy by the county Sheriff, who has strong support of the KKK. My granddaughter picked up the play and it was recently scheduled to be staged in the Casa Theater, in Liverpool, England on April 5. It was exciting. It’s my first play.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LP: Thank you, Cheryl. Go well and kind regards,

CH: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, Laurence Power, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Laurence Power and Cheryl Holloway.

               

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Cheryl Holloway is Author Spotlight on Silver Dagger Book Tour 5/3 – 6/3

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/author-spotlight-cheryl-holloway-book-tour-and-giveaway

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Silver Dagger Tours and Cheryl Holloway.

               

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it! Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or..

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          Title; Over the Fence (The Neighbors Series Book 2)

Genre: Historical African American/Historical Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Set in the Depression-era in a small Alabama town, where home is not always a sanctuary, and two neighboring families let pleasantries mask increasing resentment. . .  

Bootlegging was Milton and Yvonne Hamilton’s ticket out of poverty, prison time, and plain bad luck. Now, they’ve moved on—to a bigger, richer pool of clientele—right in their own respectable new middle-class backyard. And their growing friendship with seemingly-perfect couple Joyce and Odell Watson is proving golden in more ways than one. . .

As Milton soon learns, Odell is hiding an outside family and dubious business dealings. It’s the perfect recipe for a blackmail scheme that will help Milton hide his own dirty secrets—even from Yvonne. Better yet, he can take ever more dangerous risks to ace out his liquor-smuggling rivals—and add a lucrative temptation to his illicit services. And Yvonne, emboldened by her husband’s new gravy train, delights in tormenting Joyce about everything the snobbish matron doesn’t have—especially children.

But even a winning hand can be played too far. Pushed past their limits, Odell and Joyce will play on Milton’s careless boasting—to get him and Yvonne out of their lives for good. And soon, a devastating frame-up will plunge one couple into a living nightmare—and set the stage for explosive retribution. . .

Mary Monroe, New York Times Bestselling Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Mary Monroe. She is a New York Times bestselling author, who writes page-turning suspense novels. Welcome to my blog, Mary.

MM: Thanks for inviting me, Cheryl.

CH: Mary, can you sum up this depression-era fiction about neighbors and their interactions?

MM: This is a story about the conflicts that can arise when two married couples, who have very little in common, try to develop a friendship. The Great Depression is still going on and Prohibition has ended.  But a lot of black folks in the Deep South still like to socialize.  One of the best and cheapest ways to do so is to hang out at the homes of bootleggers.  Joyce and Odell Watson appear to be an upstanding married couple.  They are prosperous and well-respected in their community.  Yvonne and Milton Hamilton are greedy, conniving ex-convicts who are now running the most successful bootlegging business in town.  The two couples live next door to each other, but it’s not long before the proximity becomes too close for comfort and all hell will break loose.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this book?

MM: I wanted to do a story about people who are friends and enemies at the same time. Sometimes, no matter how much you like someone, if they are better off than you and they let you know this by acting ‘superior’ and talking down to you; there is bound to be trouble.

CH: Since this is historical fiction, did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book?

MM: Not really.  I am originally from Alabama and I know how some of the folks speak and carry on.  When I was a teenager, I resided in a neighborhood where several bootleggers lived and operated. One of the major bootleggers lived next door to my family and I ran errands for some of his guests.  I had a ringside seat to a lot of the goings-on.

CH: Did you run into any challenges, while writing this book?

MM: It’s always a challenge when you tell a story using more than one voice.  I had to keep reminding myself to be consistent with the different points of view.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

MM: It was not hard, because I write mainly about what I know.  I base my stories on things that have happened to me, or someone I know.  I do embellish a lot, though!

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MM: Odell!  Writing about him being good and respectable in some situations, but mean and deceitful in others was fun.

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

MM: Joyce was difficult to write at times.  She was snooty to Yvonne and Milton, but very gullible and subservient when it came to Odell.  I tried to present her in a way that the readers would get annoyed with her, and feel sorry for her at the same time.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

MM: Odell was the hardest.  When you create a “bad” character, he (or she) should be interesting, if you want to keep the readers’ attention.  Nobody wants to read about a boring villain.  Despite his many flaws, I had to give Odell some balance.  He was a pathological liar, a cheater, and a thief; but he was also a kind-hearted, sensitive church-going man, a doting father, and a role model to a lot the people he interacted with.  The challenge was keeping him consistent.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

MM: My characters are composites of people I know.  In addition to basing stories on my personal experiences, I also get ideas from a variety of sources.  I watch a lot of TV, eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, and I read everything I can get my hands on.  I call this creative nourishment.

CH: I like your creative nourishment. So, what is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

MM: I include a lot of humor and unexpected surprises in my books.  I try to write in a style that’s easy to follow.

CH: You often times write page-turning suspenseful novels, and this book is one of those novels. So, does this drain you as an author?

MM: Not at all.  The more I write, the more ideas I come up with.

CH: Is it hard writing a character that most readers hate?

MM: It’s very easy for me.  All I have to do is think about some of the real people who get on my nerves (smile).

What’s interesting is that a lot of readers send emails and tell me how much they hated particular characters.  Other people tell me that they loved those same characters.  It’s a no-win situation.

CH: When you wrote the first book, did you know then that it would be a series?

MM: Yes.  The story was too long to tell in one book.

CH: This book was recently released. So, what kind of feedback are you receiving from the readers?

MM: So far, it’s been very positive.  Most of my readers are anxious to get the final book when it comes out next year, and a few are sick of the four main characters and don’t want to continue reading about them.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

MM: The last book in the series, Across the Way, will be released in March, 2020. CH:  How to Find Mary Monroe:

CH: How can “Fans” find you?

MM: I can also be reached by email at Authorauthor5409@aol.com

CH: Where are your books sold? 

MM: You can find all of my books for sale on Amazon, at Walmart and Target, Barnes and Noble, and all of the regional bookstores.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MM: Keep reading and I will keep writing! Cheryl, thank you for your interest in my work!

CH: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, Mary Monroe, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Mary Monroe and Cheryl Holloway.

     

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          Title: The Ranger’s Heart: A Clean Army Ranger Romance Book 3

Genre: Clean & Wholesome Romance/Military Romance

Synopsis: A Woman who’s been threatened, the man sent to find the culprit, and the reality dating show that forces them together.

YouTube Baking Star, Sophia Parker is slated to be the next bachelorette on Celebrity Proposal. Despite the threatening letters the show has received, the lure of increased popularity and subscriber numbers has her determined to move forward. When the letters start coming addressed to her, the show takes a proactive step and hires undercover security—without her knowledge.

As the Guardian Group’s resident carefree playboy, Thomas Gun’s newest undercover assignment seems like the perfect fit—a bachelor on a reality dating show. As perfect as the gig sounds, Gun’s anything, but thrilled. He’s not looking to date, but he’s used to pretending. This job will be a cakewalk, or so he thinks.

When the threatening letters turn serious, Thomas isn’t just fighting to keep Sophia safe, he’s fighting to keep his heart safe too.

Bree Livingston, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Bree Livingston. She writes sweet romance with a sprinkle of fun. Welcome to my blog, Bree,

CH: Can you sum up this romantic Army Ranger story in a few words?

BL: Celebrity Proposal’s newest bachelorette is being threatened, and the Guardian Group sends in Thomas “Gunner” Gun undercover as one of the bachelors. When she learns he’s there undercover, she swears him off, but the heart wants who the heart wants.

CH: A reality dating show is a different twist in a book. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

BL: I actually used it in another book that will be coming out later this year. Although, I wrote it in 2017, it was with an agent until last month when I asked for it back.

CH: You also included the couple’s parents in some of the situations. Was it difficult creating believable situations and issues?

BL: It’s always tricky when your heroes are meeting the parents and doing it on live television is even trickier, because they know the cameras are rolling.

CH: Since this book is about an Army Ranger, did you have to do a lot of special research to write this book?

BL: Um, no because I really didn’t make it about them being Army Rangers. I made it more about the group they work for now, and how they are dealing with being home after being in the service.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write? 

BL: I love Gunner. I love that vulnerable, sweet, sensitive guy who makes you feel like he’s looking through you and seeing who you really are.

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

BL: The best friend. Finding just the right amount of affection to be believable, and yet, making the reader root for Gunner.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

BL: Gunner. I wanted him to have depth.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

BL: Everywhere—books I’ve read, television, and stories I read on Facebook or the internet.

CH: When you wrote the first book, did you know then that it would be a series?

BL: Yes, I went into it knowing it’d be a series.

CH: How many books are in this series?

BL: I have four published currently with a plan to release two more—one in May, and the last in June. So, a total of six will be in this series.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

BL: I think, I bring clean content that is still full of those awesome kisses and emotional feels that everyone wants in a romance.

CH: What kind of feedback are you receiving on this new book?

BL: Readers love Gunner, and they love the relationship that builds between him and Sophia.

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

BL: About a month.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

BL: James Patterson. He’s so successful, and I hope to be successful like that one day.

CH: Well, you’re definitely on your way. So, who is your favorite author?

BL: Orson Scott Card. I love the book Ender’s Game. It’s so well written. The realistic way he portrayed those kids in that environment was incredible.

CH: Yes, he’s won the Nebula Award for Best Novel. You have published many books in the clean and wholesome and military romance genre. So, is this your favorite genre to write? If so, why?

BL: Oh, gosh, Billionaire for sure. Suspense makes me think so hard, because I am not a criminal mastermind. So, I like the Billionaires because you can do so many things with them. They have unlimited funds, so really there are no limits.

CH:  How to Find Bree Livingston:

CH: Any closing remarks? 

BL: I love writing clean. I work to get better every day, with every story. This time next year, I hope I’ve grown even more. Thank you so much, Cheryl. This was fun.

CH: You’re welcome. Thank you so much, Bree Livingston, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Bree Livingston and Cheryl Holloway.

               

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Cheryl Holloway on International Pay It Forward Day April 28, 2019

International Pay It Forward Day is about all people, from all walks of life, all over the world giving to someone else and making a positive difference. The concept is that Together we can change the world—one good deed at a time!

Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor. The concept is old, but a variety of people seem to be accredited with coining the phrase—from Lily Hardy Hammond in her 1916 book, In the Garden of Delight, to Catherine Ryan Hyde, who helped found the Pay it Forward Foundation in 2000 and she was president until 2009. And the Pay It Forward movie (in 2000) was adapted from her novel, to Blake Beattie from Australia who founded Pay it Forward Day in 2007.

To pay it forward means that instead of paying someone back for a good deed, you do a good deed for someone else. When you pay it forward, you’re usually changing someone else’s circumstances for the better. I find this especially true when paying it forward to Indie Authors.

Millions of acts of kindness are performed on International Pay It Forward Day. Won’t you join us!

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

               

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it! Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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National Tell a Story Day is observed in the United States each year on April 27th.  People of all ages are encouraged to share all kinds of stories on National Tell a Story Day. Whether it’s read from a book, one from your imagination or an actual story from a childhood memory, April 27th is the day to gather friends and family and share those stories. Join me in Sharing a Story with someone!

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

               

Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it! Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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