Monday, October 17, 2016

Books: Interview with Writer and Mind Mentor M.A. Nevvis

Today we're interviewing M.A. Nevvis, author and mind mentor. Read below to find more about his background and work.

The author was born in Brooklyn, New York. He left his home at the ripe age of 10 to begin a new life in Saint Louis, Missouri. Times were emotionally and mentally challenging but he prevailed. During the course of the life that he has lived, he has died many times. He uses prose at times to express those instances. M.A Nevvis enjoys sitting in calm environments to listen for otherwise unnoticed voices in nature. He also enjoys being tackled by happy dogs that have missed him.

When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I realized that I wanted to write when my mind was about to explode with jumbled words and mixed emotions of past and present. I started writing when I found good use of paper and pens and notebooks. I would just write, and write, and write. 5 minutes later there would be meaningful words that I had to read as if it were my first interaction with myself.

Great way for self discovery. What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

Someone told me once that my genre is Prose. Whether it is or not is beyond my interest. All I do is
sit and reflect; whatever is written is written. It takes me a few times to fully understand what I have written and what it means. Ironically, I have learned much about myself since my mind has began to write. My target audience is nobody in particular. If people can understand and have interest in the art that I offer to this world then I am humbled and appreciative of the time that they have taken to enjoy what has become.

How many books have you published? Do you have a favorite?

I have published only a single piece of art, but I have written personal pieces for people that have been given to only them. Whatever they have used it for is their own path, not mine. As to my favorite pieces I would have to say the personal pieces that were written only for them and nobody else. I believe in pure and personalized art. If I could sit down with each and every person in the world individually and gather thoughts to write down in a poetic form then I would. We have so much trapped within our minds that it is only a matter of provoking them to surface that could change the perspective that we carry for ourselves and each other.

What is your favorite quote, and who wrote it?

My favorite quote is "I love you" by everyone who says it.

Do you have a favorite author? Who? What's your favorite book? Has this author or book influenced your writing in any way?

My favorite author is Paul. He was a convicted criminal that lived long ago. He was rejected by many because He chose to follow a man that wanted nothing more in life but to sacrifice himself for all.
  Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

I am optimistic and hopeful that romance and hope will make us all optimistic that hopeless romantics will gain hope in being optimistic about all 3 classifications. As to myself I believe that I can be a combination of all 3 with a fluctuating level of each.

What are you working on now?

I am working on 3-4 pieces at the present time.

1) Teach Me about Jesus
2) The Distance between Us
3) The Adventures of Gianni and Rocco

I am also in the beginning stages of writing a piece with a talented individual, as well as a weekly online series, which I have not began just yet. Stay tuned...
I have not a clue when they will be complete, nor if others pieces will begin. I am currently helping a few other writers with whatever they need as with whatever I can offer.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

There are not many places to find out more about me unless you look on GoodReads or Twitter. Yet, anyone has the option to email me, or message me on either social platform. It might take a few days or so but I usually respond to as many as I can.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Yes, the way that I write, speak, carry myself, think, and react are purely my own. Nobody is expected to be like anyone else. If we cannot help someone without hurting them then we must leave them alone altogether. We all have our own paths none better than the other. None of us has lived/lives the perfect life as to make it the blueprint for everyone else. You would not believe how many perfect people are out in the world with goals of nothing but fame, pride, and outward beauty. 

Also, increasing the value of one does not decrease the value of anyone else.

Thank you so much for telling a little about you and your work to our readers. 

To check M.A. Nevvis's book, click on the link below:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Books: Interview with Award-winning author Karlyle Tomms

Our guest today is Award-winning author Karlyle Tomms, who we are delighted to introduce to our readers. His interview below will give you an insight about his writing and creativity!

Karlyle, please tell us where are you from and what's your background?

I am a hillbilly half-breed. My mother is from rural Arkansas, and my Dad is from southern California. I grew up in rural Ozarks poverty in a four room house with no running water. I was raised by my grandparents, after my mother was killed when I was five years old. I never knew my father when I was growing up. I only knew that he had been a prisoner of war in Japan in World War II and I knew this because I had a copy of the book he had narrated to a ghost writer about his prisoner of war experiences. The book was published in 1954, the year before I was born. He had autographed a copy of the book to my mother when she first met him in California. It is all a very long story, the details of which I don’t have time for now, but someday, I will write my own story. Suffice it to say, my mother was killed, my grandparents raised me and I managed to locate and meet my Dad when I was eighteen by sending a letter to the publishing company of his book which they then forwarded to him. Upon receiving that letter, he wrote to me, and arranged to fly to Little Rock to meet me a few weeks before I entered college.

I was told the whole time I was growing up, “Your mother always wanted you to go to college.” Since my father had a master’s degree and I am the only person on my mother’s side of the family ever to get a degree, with the exception of a couple of distant cousins, and I am the only one ever to get a master’s degree, I assume it was my father’s influence that prompted the goal. I certainly could not disappoint my deceased mother, so I sought to go to college. I received an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Science in 1977 and a graduate degree in clinical social work in 1981. Since 1981, I have worked primarily in addictions recovery and mental health.

That's an exciting story already to start off with! Definitely worth a book. When did you realize you wanted to write and when did you start writing?

I remember writing my first play when I was in about the eighth grade. It was called “Who Ate the Tree” and was a story about the importance of being environmentally aware and responsible. I have no idea whatever happened to it. It ended up in file thirteen, at some point, I’m sure. I know I must have written poetry before that, and I wrote poetry throughout high school.  When I was in college, I was the editor of the campus literary magazine to promote, and print writing talent of students. I don’t doubt that having a father whose story had been published was an influence on my desire to write.  I just know that I have always wanted to do it.

When you're a born writer, it's in the genes... What genre do you write and what's your target audience?

I have had a hard time determining genre. I guess if anything my current work is historical or general fiction. When I started this first book I didn’t have a target audience. I actually never thought about getting the book published, but I had some encouragement from friends to continue working on it. Although I had written for a recovery oriented magazine and for local newspapers, I had never written a novel. I had even written a self-help coloring book back in the early 1990’s, and had a very good chance of getting that published if personal tragedy had not occurred. In 1997, I had to give up on that. My agent moved back to New York, and I ended up moving back to the Ozarks to care for my grandmother in her waning years.

Even though I had ideas for novels, most of which were science fiction, I never attempted to write one before this one. Even as I was writing this one, I wasn’t sure if it would get finished or if it would turn out to be an actual novel. I certainly never gave thought to audience or genre.

It started out as a joke, and once I started, I couldn’t seem to stop. However, I quit writing for a full year because I had no idea where the story was supposed to go from that particular point, and I had absolutely no idea how to end it.  Everything kind of fell into place from that point. I am not quite sure how.

If I were to have to venture a guess about an audience, I would guess probably fairly educated women, some of whom might have had mother/daughter struggles. I might guess those interested in the history around the Vietnam War, and the Civil Rights Movement could have some interest in this first book. I would think also, those who have struggled with issues of identity, those coming of age and trying to find their place in the world could be interested in it, and I would guess those who are interested in stories about the haves and have-nots might find some interest in it as well.  All the books in this series are about people struggling with their own issues of identity or abuse, of family, mental health and addictions. These are stories of overcoming our internal battles and our personal struggles. By the time the series of at least four novels is completed, topics of marriage, family, war, addiction, abuse, PTSD, murder, suicide, rape, child abuse, LGBT, transgender, and multiple other forms of human issues and anguish will be covered.

How many books have you published? Do you have a favorite?

Confessions from the Pumpkin Patch is actually my only published book so far. However, I am almost finished with the second novel in the “Soul Encounters” series which I hope to have published before the end of 2016. I also have a poetry book about ready to come out, and I have articles that I wrote for “Recovery Times” magazine back in the 1990’s that I am considering publishing as a compilation. I have even thought about re-vamping my recovery coloring book now that we have the technology of publish and print on demand.

Great plans. What is your favorite quote, and who wrote it?

I actually have three quotes competing for the number one spot. The first is by Mark Twain, “Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain nor freed a human soul.” The second is by Jimi Hendrix, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”  The third is by Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

Excellent choices. Beautiful and meaningful quotes! Do you have a favorite author? Who? What's your favorite book? Has this author or book influenced your writing in any way? 
Actually I read non-fiction and self-help books far more than fiction, even though I am writing
novels. My favorite non-fiction writer I think would be Malcomb Gladwell, and my two favorite books by him are The Outliers and Blink. My favorite self-help or spiritual writers would be tied between Jerald Jampaulski, Marianne Williamson, and Neale Donald Walsh. My favorite fiction, without a doubt, is The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. This is the only fictional book I ever read that I had a hard time putting down, and that I could not wait for my next opportunity to read.

I actually don’t read as much, or in the way that a lot of people or writers read. I tend to be a binge reader. I may not read anything for a year or two, then I go on a kick and I may read 3-5 books over the course of a vacation, but I don’t have to be on vacation to be on a reading binge. It just hits me sometimes, and I have to stop everything else, and read for a while.
Blink by Gladwell is one of my favorite books, too, and I'm also a fan of Walsh. Are you optimistic/hopeful/romantic?

Ah, a multi-layered question. Yes, I am absolutely optimistic. I grew up with pessimism, trained to hopelessness by a grandfather who had raised children during the Great Depression. I learned in my spiritual studies to train myself to optimism. It may or may not help to hope for the best, but it certainly is not going to hurt. Why not shoot for the stars? Why not have confidence that your dreams are going to be fulfilled? Even if they are not, it feels a lot better to have hope than to think that life is hopeless. 

Romantic? Well, that is a bit more about fantasy than reality isn’t it? If you consider finding a quiet place to sit and meditate romantic, if you consider strolling along the beach looking for sea glass romantic, if you consider finding joy in the sounds of wind chimes while watching humming birds zip about your porch romantic, then yes, I am a hopeless romantic.

Yes, definitely romantic and I can see the poetry in the words! What are you working on now?

I am only one or two chapters away from finishing my second novel in my “Soul Encounters” series, and I have started the third novel in the series. The books are tied together by a soul encounter in which the protagonist of the next novel is a cameo character who interacts with the protagonist of the previous novel. They have an encounter that changes their lives, makes them aware, or shifts the course of life for both of them. That cameo character of novel one, then tells his or her own story in novel two, including his or her own perspective of the encounter with the previous protagonist. The cameo character who has the soul encounter with the protagonist of novel two, then tells his or her own story in novel three, and so on.

I am also working on finishing a poetry book, and I am working on getting some of my photo quotes that are posted on my website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. printed onto T- shirts for market.

Where can we find out more about you and your work?

If you just do a Google or Bing search for Karlyle Tomms, there is quite a bit to explore. However, my website is and I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media formats.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with us and our readers?

This has been an amazing adventure that, like so many other things in my life, has seemed serendipitous or pre-ordained. My life has been a series of serendipitous events that have led me to some amazing experiences I never expected. Writing novels and being a published author is just another in the long line of amazing experiences. I guess one of the reasons I think of my series as the “Soul Encounters” is that I have had so many soul encounters of my own. In many ways, life is a long series of soul encounters, and if we leave ourselves receptive to it, life becomes a series of miracles that are triggered by encounters with unexpected people at the most unexpected times. It helps if we are aware of this and receptive to it, but it happens anyway. One result of a series of my soul encounters includes the publication of this first novel. It started out as a joke with a friend. Then another friend encouraged me to write it, and encouraged me to keep writing. Then when I finished writing it, another friend who is also a published author, and who is married to a published author, reviewed it and decided to help me prepare it for publication. Then I happened to get an opportunity to have Merideth Sisco review it. She happened to have worked on the Oscar nominated film “Winter’s Bone” that launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence.

To my amazement, Merideth gave me a glowing review. Then I happened to meet Jarod Kintz through social media, and knew about him because I had his quotes on one of my phone apps. He also agreed to review my novel, and gave a glowing review. I stumbled upon the New Apple Awards, and submitted the novel, not really expecting much, but it won the 2016 New Apple Medalist award for general fiction. If all this did not make me trust God and trust that all good things work together for good. I don’t know what ever would. I am deeply grateful, and I am humbled. 

That's fabulous and I'm so excited for you! Good luck in your writing career and much success!

Find Karlyle Tomms' award-winning book here:


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Event: Houston Writers Guild presents Indiepalooza Conference

Indiepalooza 2016

Members:  Friday Only $50; Saturday Only $100; 2-Day Pass $120
Nonmembers: Friday Only $75; Saturday Only $125; $170
Student 2 Day Pass: $75

Ticket price includes:
Friday Night:
Coffee and Double Tree’s famous cookies; cash bar available
Continental breakfast
All day coffee, tea, sodas, water
Lunch:  Tuscan Delight Buffet
Cucumber and tomato salad; bocconcini and tomato salad; fire-roasted red pepper salad; Ceasar salad; chicken parmesan; beef lasagna; sauteed Italian vegetable medley; and fettuccini alfredo. Garlic breadsticks and Tiramisu included as well plus coffee, tea, water, and sodas.
Plus: Afternoon Double Tree’s famous cookies break
Spend the night Friday and stay up with us at our cocktail party in the hotel’s bar area.  

To reserve a room at the special $99 per night rate, visit

Still have individual marketing coaching with expert publicist, Brian Jud.  Marketing Coaching Sessions (see below for details): $50

Friday, September 23rd, 2016 from 7:00 pm-9:00 pm
Dylan Drake – What Makes a Great Cover (7:00pm-8:00pm)
In this session, Dylan Drake will explore the elements that make for a great cover design.  As a graphic designer, book nerd, indie publishing evangelist, and Owner of Wayword Author Services, Drake will share tips and techniques for making your cover stand out fom the rest.

Cocktail and Networking from 8:00pm – ?

Saturday, September 24 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
9:00 am to 10:00 am Keynote Speaker Max Regan – Indie Publishing is a Team Sport

Everyone knows that the author is always the driving force behind any great piece of writing, but what happens when we ask our work to cross from private to public space? When we embark on the publishing journey, how do we ensure that our work is as professional and successful as possible? The truth is that every book you’ve ever read has a whole team of professionals working invisibly behind the scenes, making sure that the author puts their very best foot forward. These folks can help you bring texts through the Drafting Process and see your work through the eyes of your readers in the literary marketplace. They help you build not only a stronger book, but a stronger craft. Whether you are developing a story, working to finish a book, building an author platform, choosing a book cover, or trying to market a project, come take a look at who these people are, what they do and how they can help you bring your best possible work to life.
Max Regan is a freelance Developmental/ Content editor of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He has worked with a diverse array of authors who have published with Simon and Schuster, Counterpoint, WW Norton, Random House, Harper Collins and others. Max is the founder and director of The Hollowdeck Writing Guild in Boulder, Co For over 25 years Max has designed and taught creative writing classes across the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. He has taught and lectured at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Rose Medical Center and Naropa University where he worked for over a decade as the Director of the Naropa Summer Writing Program. His own creative work has been published in numerous literary journals, magazines and anthologies and has been translated into Czech, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. He lives and works in Boulder CO and St.John, USVI.

Breakout 1  Options: 10:15 am to 11:15 am

Option A: Rookie Indies tell Their Journey -Chantell Renee and Martine Lewis
Chantell Renee is an Urban Fantasy writer that caters to New Adult. She has been writing short stories and poetry since she fell in love with the subject at the young age of twelve. The idea that she could ever write a novel seemed unbelievable. She fell in love with words. What made them so fascinating was the way words create worlds; how they can inspire physical and emotional experiences for those who read or hear them. Her debut novel, Belonging, and the second book in the trilogy, Consumed, were published this past year.

Martine Lewis is a forty-something who was born and raised in the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada. She spent her childhood looking forward to her summer vacations at the farm, which were a nice escape from the suburbs where she lived. Her debut young adult novel, Crossing the Barrier, is book one in the Gray Eyes Series and was published this past year.


 Option B: Building Winning Relationships -Mary Smith

Creating a team of professionals to help you reach your publishing goals is not easy.  Managing those relationships takes skill.  In this session, Mary will share tips and techniques for managing your relationships effectively and keeping your team on target and working productively. This is a Zig Ziglar Legacy Certified class.

Mary Smith is a Ziglar Legacy Certified trainer, coach and leadership development expert.  She started an oil and gas recruiting firm, Personnel Professionals, in 2004. She has 28 years as an educator, 8 of which were in developing and teaching staff development, curriculum writing and coaching/mentoring teachers.  Mary was a ROPES facilitator for 10 years, and has experience building teams that are successful through collaboration.  Mary is an active member of Toastmasters and Association for Talent Development Houston.  She is personable, fun, relatable and her passion shows in her presentations.  Mary has owned several businesses, but none have met her need for the training and development that Educational Leadership Consultants has provided.  She truly loves her work! Mary, a native Texan, was raised in Houston, TX and graduated with a BS from The University of West Florida.  She still resides in Houston, is married with two children and 8 grandchildren.


Option C: The Types of Editing and Why We Need Them – Johnnie Bernhard

In this session, Johnnie will discuss the difference between developmental/content editing, copy editing, and proof reading.  She will share how these types of editing are each an integral part to ensuring the success of your manuscript.
A former English teacher and journalist, Johnnie Bernhard life’s work has been reading and writing. A published author, her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines, both nationally and internationally. She is a graduate of the University of Houston (B.A. Journalism) and Nicholls State University Graduate School (English). She has written articles and columns for: the Suburban Reporter, Houston, World Oil Magazine, Houston, The MS Press, Ocean Springs Record, Gulfport Memorial Hospital Patient Publications and Word Among Us. She was also published in two anthologies for the Gulf Coast Writer’s Association and the Houston Writer’s Guild.

Breakout 2 Options 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Option A: Setting Goals – Mary Smith
(see above for Mary’s bio)
In this session, Mary will discuss tips and techniques for effective goal setting.  Understanding time management and making an effective plan to reach your goals will also be covered. This is a Zig Ziglar Legacy Certified class.


Option B: Journals, Magazines, Anthologies: An Author’s Friend – Adrienne Perry and Fern Brady

Many authors are using publication in journals, magazines, and anthologies to help them build up their following as they work towards their first novel.  As an author, these kinds of publishing can help you market and promote, but how can you tell which publications you should submit to.  Join Adrienne Perry and Fern Brady as they share tips on making these options work for you.
Adrienne Perry grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the daughter of a rolling stone from Souther California and a mother whose family homestead outside of Gillette, Wyoming. Adrienne earned her MFA from Warren Wilson Collee, serves as the current editor of Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine Arts, and is a Kimbijio Fellow at the University of Houston. Adrienne is currently at work on a novel and a collection of short stories. An exerpt of her story “Red Desert” was translated by Jean Guiloineau and appears in the French Literary journal Si├Ęcle 21.

Option C: Business Basics – Small Business Bureau

In this session, members of the Houston chapter of the Small Business Bureau will share tips and resources for launching your own small business. Whether you will publish only your own books or have a larger dream of becoming a small press, this session will provide valuable information to keep in mind as you embark on the journey of being your own small business.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 as an independent agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.
The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow business. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the Unites States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
Is the organization that works with SBA to teach and assist individuals that are interested in starting small businesses.  They offer workshops, mentoring, templates, and other tools to help make small businesses in Houston successful.  Check out their website at

12:30pm to 1:30 pm  Lunch  — See above for the delicious buffet options we will be enjoying

1:30 pm to 2:00 pm – Presenting Authors Book Signing

Breakout 3 Options 2:00pm to 3:00pm
Option A: Veteran Indies Share Their Experience – Melanie Bragg, Alicia Richardson, Dorothy Tinker

Artemis Greenleaf [A.K.A. Alicia Richardson] has always been fascinated by the mysterious, and she devoured fairy tales, folk tales and ghost stories since before she could read. In 1995, she had a near-death experience which turned her perception of the world upside down. She lived to tell the tale (and often does, in one form or another). Artemis lives in the suburban wilds of Houston, Texas with her husband, two children and assorted pets. She writes novels, short stories, and non-fiction, and her work has appeared in magazines. For more information, please visit

Melanie Bragg obtained her Bachelors of Science from the University of Texas at Austin with Honors in 1978 and her Juris Doctorate at the University of Houston Law Center in 1982. After serving a year as a Briefing Attorney for the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas, Melanie started her own law practice. She worked in the civil, criminal, probate and family courts. Her self-published legal thriller, Crosstown Park, explores social justice issues.  The sequel is in the works.

Dorothy Tinker is a genre fiction writer, with a heavy focus in epic fantasy.  She is the author of the Peace of Evon young adult series, with three books published and the fourth, and final, book of the series in progress. Dorothy has two fantasy/romance short stories published in the HGW Press anthology, Riding the Waves, and a scifi/spiritual short story published in the Inklings Publishing anthology, Eclectically Cosmic.  The first two stories further explore the lives of two minor characters from her first book, Peace of Evon, while the third short story explores the mysteries of an extradimensional resort hotel. Dorothy is an enthusiast of languages, cultures, and fantastical worlds

Option B: Marketing 101 – Brian Jud

In this session, Brian will review the basics of marketing strategy and planning; planning new products to expand profits; sales forecasting; finding and working with distributors; pricing strategies for greater net income; generating buzz through publicity, advertising, sales promotion and selling.
Brian Jud is author of Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly book) and TheMarketing Planning CD-ROM describing new ways to sell more books profitably to special-sales buyers. He is also the author of the new series of printed booklets published by R. R. Bowker with Proven Tips for Publishing Success. Brian is editor of the Book Marketing Matters special-sales newsletter, and creator of the Special-Sales Profit Center used by R. R. Bowker to sell other publishers’ books to special markets.

Option C: Successful Crowdfunding – Adam Holt

Author Adam Holt will share his experience with Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform. From campaign start all the way through fulfillment, he’ll share the methods he used to successfully fund his debut and followup novel on the crowdfunding website.
Novelist and poet Adam Holt grew up near NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where his father worked for Mission Control during the Apollo missions. After attending Baylor, Adam taught English at Greenhill School in Dallas for a decade; however, he left teaching in 2013 to devote himself to writing and sharing his love of human space exploration. He’s currently working on the third novel in the Tully Harper Series, about a trio of teen space travelers that change the fate of the solar system. As a poet, Adam was selected to read at the upcoming Poetry Series at the Houston Public Library. In his free time he coaches, travels, and searches for great tacos.

Breakout 4 options 3:15pm to 4:15 pm

Option A: Difficult Conversations Made Easy: Giving and Receiving Feedback — Mary Smith
(see Mary’s bio above)  In this session, Mary will discuss the importance of genuine feedback, how to give good quality critique to others, and most importantly how to receive and use feedback critique given to you.  As indie authors, the critique process helps ensure that when our work finally reaches publication it is of the highest possible quality in terms of content.  But knowing how to use critique to our advantage can be difficult


Option B: Poetry and the Indie Author – Andrea Barbosa

Selling poetry today can be difficult.  In this session, Andrea will share tips and strategies for finding places and methods for selling and publishing your poetry. As Author Events Director for the Houston Writers Guild, Andrea will give guidance on how to make poetry sellable again.
Award-winning novelist and poet Andrea Barbosa is an avid reader, soccer fanatic and a tourist at heart. She took Creative Writing classes at Texas Tech University. Her poetry collection, Holes in Space is the recipient of the 2015 Silver Medal Award in Poetry from Readers’ Favorite, and is featured in the 50 Best Books of 2014 at website, voted top 5 in poetry by readers. She is currently working on Olympian Heartbreak, the second in the Olympian Love romance series


Option C: Teaming Up for Maximum Promotion – Space City 6 Artemis Greenleaf, Monica Shaughnessy, Ellen Leventhal, Mandy Broughton

These four local Guilders have teamed up to help each other promote. Join in this session and learn some tips and tools, strategies and techniques, for developing a team approach to marketing and promotions as authors.

(see Artemis Greenleaf above as Alicia Richardson on Veteran Indie Panel)
Monica Shaughnessy has a flair for creating characters and plots larger than her home state of Texas. Most notably, she’s the author of the Cattarina Mysteries, a cozy mystery series starring Edgar Allan Poe’s real-life cat companion. Ms. Shaughnessy has numerous books in print, including mysteries, suspense novels, children’s works, and short story collections. She also writes under the pen name, Annie Bassett, with co-author Mandy Broughton. Customers have praised her work time and again, calling it “unique and creative,” “fresh and original,” and “very well written.” When she’s not slaying adverbs and tightening plots, she’s walking her rescue dogs, goofing around with her family, or going back to the grocery store for the hundredth time because she forgot milk.

Mandy Broughton is a nerdy girl who loved school (M.A. in Clinical Psychology and M.A. in Christian Education). But as much as she loved school, she loves reading more. She usually has a book in her hand and two more in a bag. And she won’t buy a purse unless it has a special pocket for her kindle. She gravitates towards mysteries, science fiction and historical novels but the Bible is her passion.

4:30pm to 5:30pm   Bloggers Panel Meet book review bloggers Emily Reads Everything, Bohemian Housewife, and Rolopolobookblog. These ladies will share about their blogs, working with authors, and provide tips for how to best reach out to this growing avenue for book promotions.  You won’t want to miss this panel!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Books: Interview with expert historian Christopher Berg

We are fortunate to introduce Christopher Berg on the blog today, who is a writer and an expert in History! We invite you to read on to find more about his exciting background and work.

Christopher, can you tell us a little about you?

I’m from the United States and my educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Medieval and Renaissance studies, advanced degrees in Religious studies and Comparative World history, and a doctorate in Curriculum and Teaching.  My teaching includes all areas of history with majors-level courses in modern Europe and military history, as well as the humanities and world religions.

Wow, that's impressive. I love history, too, it can teach us so much. Tell us about your book.

The book is a collection of essays I wrote on various aspects of the British empire. Generally, they look at specific moments in time, such as the creation of the Boy and Girl Scout movements in sub-Saharan Africa, through the lens of “empire” and “imperialism.”

That sounds very interesting and a different look at this time period. What's your target audience?

The book was written as a popular history, so that it would appeal to a wide readership. The narrative resembles more of a story line rather than a dry retelling of events that are standard fare in many historical studies. The content does not presuppose a level of familiarity with the topic; in fact, necessary background information is often woven into each short essay to make the reading more accessible and, perhaps even, enjoyable. This book would make an excellent companion to a majors-level course in British history but would, no doubt, be beneficial to anyone interested in transnational themes, such as international history and the rise and fall of empires.

I'm sure the book is very enjoyable! Why did you choose to write a book with this subject, though?

When I was a graduate student, certain courses were only offered on a rotation basis and one of the courses I had wanted to take for some time was open when my own course load was light, so I took “Great Britain and the British Empire” as one of my exit courses.  It was undoubtedly the most difficult course of my graduate career as the reading and writing loads were unlike anything I had ever taken before. But, this course, and the professor who taught it, pushed the boundaries of what I thought was humanly possible, or even desirable, and it led to a period of intellectual growth I had not experienced since my time at New College. Much of the content for this book was produced, in preliminary form, during this time.

That shows how a teacher can influence learning so much! And now you're spreading your love of history and making it accessible for all. Is there a historian that you think that has influenced you?

Several come to mind but only a few have really influenced my own educational and professional path and the way I see the world. Will Durant, in his Story of Civilization, showed me the lofty heights of good style and prose.  The first volume I ever read of his award-winning multi-volume work was The Renaissance and it profoundly influenced the way I see history and how I try to communicate it in my own writing.  If there is one historian who rivals, or even surpasses, the grand style of Gibbon it would be Durant. Daniel Boorstin’s trilogy on civilization, too, is one of my favorites to read as it blends the best of academic and popular history.  Boorstin’s The Seekers is one of my favorites as it was the first to introduce me to a number of topics outside of Western Civilization as well as cultivate an appreciation for good quotes.  Niall Ferguson is one of the few living historians that continue to influence the way I see the world; his award-winning book The Pity of War was not read once, but twice, as it was on the syllabi of two different courses I took in grad school. Ferguson has become quite an intellectual luminary for his conservative and, often, contrarian positions on economics, history, politics, and the rise and fall of nations. He is particularly relevant today because he uses the past as a measure and standard for the present but also as a means to discern the future. And, if you’ve never seen him speak or debate, I encourage you to do so because you’re promised a stimulating tour de force on the intersection of history and current events.

Thanks for the suggestions. History lovers will be thrilled! What made the British Empire, in your opinion, stop being an Empire?

Winston Churchill’s vision during World War II was to not only survive the war and the Nazi threat, but also to maintain, if possible, the grandeur of the empire. He had grown up during the Victorian age at the height of Britain’s empire and imperial position. But, as an aged prime minister, Churchill saw that the empire had slipped the grasp of the British and in order to make it through this ordeal, they would have to relax their positions towards their colonial brethren. This was especially so in Africa and India. World War II, essentially, brought the end of the British empire and, in the post-war world, a new balance-of-power emerged with new superpowers and a new wave of paranoia in the dawn of the nuclear age. Britain would not play a key role and would be resigned to focusing on social and welfare matters at home. Two world wars had crippled continental Europe and Great Britain; the only vestiges of the empire remaining reside in historical memory and in the title of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

I'm learning a lot with this interview! Are there any other subjects that interest you?

Ancient and medieval history, in general, and military history, in particular, are my favorites. One of the problems of attending university in the United States is that you must have a good idea of what you want to study and then specialize and declare majors/minors but I never did so until the last minute when the matter was forced upon me as I just couldn’t bear to pass up a class because it wasn’t in my specialty. I still feel that way, even now. I earned a degree in Comparative World history mainly because the scope of my program was too diverse to “fit” in any other major at my university.  

That's true. There are so many interesting courses to take. What are you working on now?

I’m presently completing my dissertation on World history education in public and private schools and how teachers negotiate historical significance intellectually and instructionally in the classroom. 

I hope you will write more books on history. Where can we find out more about
you and your work? 

My website is and I have author’s pages at, Ancient History Encyclopedia and Historical Quest online.You can read about my books at

Thank you so much for spending some time here letting us know more about your work and your book! We wish you lots of success and keep making history available to all! 

For more about Christopher's work, visit: 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Books - New Release: A Journey of Self Discovery Preorder Review Tour -'East-A Novel' by @PeriHoskins #RPBP

East-A Novel
By Peri Hoskions
Preorder Now
End of August Release
‘About ‘East – A Novel'
It’s 1994. Junior lawyer, Vince Osbourne, leaves behind a small, mean and viciously circular life in the city representing petty criminals and takes to the road. He’s lived 30 years. The wide continent of Australia is out in front. He’s almost young. Where will the road lead?

East takes in sunsets; rain in the desert; a five-year-old girl on a bike; a battered former thief and jockey; old-timers; young lovers; beautiful women, and aboriginals in public bars. The open road connects many vignettes making a rich tapestry of human encounters.

East is poignant, gritty, funny, sad and above all: human. Hoskins’ laconic prose captures the harsh, arid country in all its big, empty beauty along with quirky exchanges with strangers, travel buddies, shop assistants, workmates, and friends old and new. A journey without and within, East taps into the spiritual realm that lies beneath this land and its people.

(#travel & Adventure, #Travel, #Aus, #RPBP, #preorder, #ebook, #NewRelease)
~Pre-release review~
A Journey of Self Discovery
This intriguing book is based on the author’s personal memoirs and although it is described as fiction it feels very, very real.
Vince has reached a stage at 30 when he wants to break free from a life that seems to be suffocating him. He has been working as a junior lawyer but needs to do something different and this book tells of his travels towards the East of Australia.
His journey draws you along with him as he discovers himself and realises that he can achieve so much more than he previously thought possible. He settles in places with people from his past that he sees in a new light, along with their prejudices.
Then there are the long and testing journeys across the deserts of Australia, meeting a fascinating mix of people along the way. Vince’s observations on the Aboriginal people, being of Maori origin himself, are extremely revealing. The back breaking work he takes on in a mine, to earn some extra money, couldn’t be further removed from his previous work as a lawyer.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys travel writing and journeys of self-discovery. ~Robert Fear 8.10.16
~Enjoy Chapter One From East~
The bonnet in front of me is big and white. Rain on the windscreen – the wipers sweep it away. The clouds are grey, the road is grey, the suburbs are grey and I am leaving. There is joy in that. I’m leaving it behind – a life – small, petty, viciously circular. Out in front is the road and I don’t know where it will end. I am free. I’m almost young.

A beginning. Renewal pulses in my blood, pumping out from my heart, through my veins, feeding me, making me new again, a keenly conscious being reaching out to the uncertainty. This road will lead me to places that I have not seen – to people I have not met. There’s no place I have to be and no time I have to be there.

I drive on and on leaving the city far behind. The rain clears. Sunlight glints on wet grass and trees. I see farmhouses, fences and cows. The gnawing in my belly eases as I’m gently enveloped by the freedom of the great mystery now upon me. The shackles of the old life fall away, for I’m shedding a skin – dry, worn, old and scaly. I found the courage to step into the dream. And the dream has become real.

The life of a suburban lawyer is behind me. Small decisions. Small repetitions. Which tie to wear today. Pay the electricity bill. Sunday – iron five shirts for the week ahead. See the same people. Say the same things. Hear the same things said. In that life I wondered whether I had it better than the petty criminals I represented in court. Some had no job and no home. They pleaded guilty and I said what I could say, for something had to be said. And then the court, that street-sweeper of humanity, tidied them away. For there must be a place – there must be somewhere for them to go: a prison, a halfway house, a drug rehab centre. There must be a place for everyone – somewhere. These people had fallen through cracks and become untidy. Did they envy my tidy life, those that I helped to tidy away? Did they see my life as I saw it – not a tidy life, but a tidy prison?

Tidiness. I had been taught to lead a tidy life. What was it they had said – the teachers, the headmasters? Work hard at school. Get a good job. Be a good employee. Pay your taxes. Mow your lawns. Be a good neighbour. Be a good citizen. Lead a tidy life. Not a full life, a varied life, a great life – no, a tidy life of small neat circles. I have lived thirty years.

As the trees and houses and petrol stations whistle by, the reasons for leaving once again crowd my mind. At thirty, life no longer stretches out before me like an uncharted great ocean. If I live to be eighty, more than one third of my life is spent. Where am I? At a time of life when I’m supposed to be somewhere – I’m nowhere I ever wanted to be. I’ll taste the last drops of youth before the cup passes from my lips, forever. The familiar yearning claws at my insides again – but it’s different now – it’s happy knowing I have been true to it – finally.

The yearning … a murmur in a corner of my soul ... that’s how it started … a couple of years ago ... I pushed it away. I was busy; there were things to do. It kept coming back, stronger and stronger: a growing gnawing that would not be denied. The day I turned thirty, I came to know what it was, finally. It was the feeling of having missed my destiny. At one of life’s important junctures, I don’t know when or where, I’d taken the wrong turn.

So maybe that’s what it is: a journey back down life’s highway to try and find the turn I missed. A journey to reconnect with who I am and what I should be doing here – in this life. Did I ever really want to be a lawyer? Maybe I did it because my father didn’t finish law school. Maybe I did it for him, and not for me. Didn’t have the courage to find my destiny and follow it … settled for safety and caution. And the small repetitions of the safe life had closed in and were suffocating me. Don’t know if that’s what it is … I had to go – I know that much … it was the most honest thing I could do. And now it’s real: this journey with no end and no decided route. It’s a big country. Yeah, I’ll head east ... And in my travels maybe I’ll find something of the soul of this land and its people ...

I have been at the wheel for four hours. The muscular movements needed to keep the car on course have become automatic. My thoughts drift freely now, first to the future – new, pregnant with possibility – before anchoring in my childhood. I recall a long-buried idea – from a time of wonder at a world full of possibilities. As a child I thought I could see into people, a kind of second sight.

Memories flow into my mind – sharp, clear, focused. I see things now as I saw things then. I am a small boy sitting in the passenger seat of a car. My father is driving. We approach an intersection. A policeman is standing in the middle directing traffic. He signals the car in front to stop. The policeman fascinates me – his neat blue uniform, high black boots, long white gloves – his precise hand signals. He makes cars stop and go by moving his hands like the man who made the puppets move at the fairground. The gloved hands move and the cars obey, crossing the intersection, slowly and respectfully passing the uniformed man.

From above I hear the noise of a plane. In the eye of my mind as a child I see the silver wings and fuselage. The policeman’s eyes turn skyward to the plane I see clearly in the window of my imagination. The officer’s long-gloved hands slowly fall to rest at his heavy belt. Cars bank up at the intersection. The driver in front looks at him for directions but he gives none. Unconscious of the traffic, his attention is focused in the sky above. The face of the policeman loses form and I see into him. First I feel his discomfort in the hot uniform, the dryness in his throat and the tiredness behind his eyes. Gradually my perception deepens. I sense the numbed heart, the thwarted ambitions – the hopes and dreams unrealized and gone awry. He doesn’t want to be here, directing traffic. The past has cheated him. He is disconnected from the present and fearful of the future.

A car horn honks from behind. A driver doesn’t know why the traffic is not moving. The policeman’s eyes return to the traffic, his arms snapping up with military precision. As he waves us on, the look of purpose clothes his face once again and the moment of seeing into him has passed.

The second sight would come to me without warning and always just for a fleeting moment or two. I would see my mother trying to hide an emotion or catch my father unguarded, looking into the distance. In the moment of second sight the physical would melt – the body become transparent and amorphous. Instead of seeing the person I would see into the person – reach inside to the heart, sense the fears, touch the dreams – see the humanity, raw and struggling.

~About The Author~
Peri Hoskins is the author of 'Millennium – A Memoir’, a travelogue memoir that has received many five star reader reviews.
Christopher Moore of the New Zealand Listener had this to say about ‘Millennium – A Memoir’:
'Written with perhaps the merest of bows to Joseph Conrad and Robert Louis Stevenson, the book’s colourful cast of characters come together to greet the dawn of the 21st century. It’s a vigorously written sly-humoured account of human encounters in a small place lapped by the tides of change…It’s a genial well observed book that insinuates itself into the affections.’
~Christopher Moore, New Zealand Listener, 2 August 2014.

Peri Hoskins was born in Wellington, New Zealand. He is the second son of a family of five children, four boys and a girl. He is of mixed Maori and Anglo-Celtic ancestry. Peri grew up in Whangarei, Northland, New Zealand, a provincial city then home to about 30,000 people. He was educated at Whangarei Boys’ High School where he twice won a national essay competition. After completing high school and winning the school prizes for English, History and Geography, Peri went to Auckland University where he studied law and the humanities, including history and English literature.

Peri was substantially based in Australia between 1985 and 2005. He completed his study of law and the humanities at the University of Sydney including several courses in philosophy. He worked as a lawyer in New South Wales before embarking on a 1994 five-month road trip all around Australia. This road trip comprises the material for his soon to be published second book, East. Peri subsequently worked as a lawyer in both New South Wales and Queensland, and developed his current specialisation in legal work – civil litigation. In December 1999 Peri travelled to the Kingdom of Tonga to be in the first country in the world to see in the new millennium. The diary of his three weeks in Tonga has become his first book, Millennium – A Memoir. In 2004 Peri completed a post graduate diploma in film and television production at Queensland University of Technology.

Peri now lives, writes and works as a barrister (being a self-employed lawyer) in Northland, New Zealand.

You can connect With Peri Hoskins here:

 Read an interview with author Peri Hoskins here:
~Special Offer From Peri Hoskins~
Download the Millennium ebook FREE
Just enter your email address and you’ll get instant access to download Millennium absolutely FREE.
I hope you enjoy it. If you do, I’d really appreciate you sharing your thoughts about Millennium: A Memoir with a brief review and rating on Amazon, Goodreads, or your favourite place to talk about books.
Get Your Download Today
This special offers comes to an end on August 31, 2016

~Follow The Tour~
August 15th
August 16th