Posted in Barbara Avon, indie author, Uncategorized

Timepiece by: Barbara Avon

“Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” … William Shakespeare

Timepiece begins with two soulmates living in the 1930’s, (pre-wall street-crash), married, in love, then they come across a means to travel across time and choose to take it before troubled times erupt.

Johnny– Hi Barbara, thank you for taking time to talk with me. I noticed on Amazon that you have written a few books. How many books have you written? 

Barbara– Thank you for this opportunity, Johnny!  I have written and self-published seventeen books of various genres.  Three are children’s books.  I began with romantic suspense but quickly felt the urge to branch out from there.  I tacked Fantasy next (time travel), and several other genres after that. Timepiece is my fourth time travel book.

Johnny– Which would describe this book best in your opinion? That time (no matter how you get there, natural or manipulated) time effects everything, even love? Or, this is the direct consequence and effect of someone running away from their troubles? 

Barbara– I’d say it’s the latter.  Matthew and Anna have a solid relationship.  Even by the end of the book, when it seems that all is lost, they are still in love with one another.  Matthew made a hasty decision that catapulted them into impossible situations.  However, as we can read in the last few lines, the love is ever-present. 

Johnny– This book haunts me, and I love it. It starts off like a “Dickens classic” and end in a full-blown “Burroughs Beat” titling towards “Poe”. What author has had the biggest influence on you as a writer? 

Barbara– I’m so thrilled you enjoyed it! I actually adore Dickens, and Shakespeare.  I wouldn’t say that any one author influenced me, but it’s more like I’m in love with the written word and the way authors can weave words into a story.  That said, Jack Finney’s “Time and Again” is my favorite Time Travel book.  It inspired me to try my hand at it.  

Johnny– This is the first book by you that I have read, (so far), so I don’t know if your other books deal with this or not, but do you have an artistic or personal interest with time travel? 

Barbara– The idea of it has always fascinated me. I’m always interested in television shows, movies or books that deal with Time Travel.  I wrote my first Time Travel story three years ago, and I was hooked after that.  Unlike other authors, I do leave science out of it, and focus on the “magic of it all”. 

Johnny– Your two main characters, Matthew and Anna, what was your inspiration while creating these two? 

Barbara– Part of my brand includes advertising the notion that “love is the most remarkable magic – even in horror”.  Matthew and Anna are simply two people in love.  As the book opens in the 1930s, I simply made sure to have their speech and mannerisms match the decade in which they lived.  I used to watch a lot of classic movies.  The rest is simply born of my imagination.  

Johnny– At the end of the first chapter there is a little sexual tension between Mathew and Martha, what is the back-story there? is there a back-story there? (maybe in another book) or is it just a “is what it is” situation?  

Barbara– I wanted the reader to know early on that Matthew would always stay loyal to his wife.  That idea circles around, and we see it again at the very end of the story.  It’s also a nod to Matthew’s good looks. A reader will often form a picture in their head of how the characters look.  I wanted to make it clear that Matthew is a handsome man.  

Johnny– Handsome and loyal are awesome qualities, would you say it was his loyalty, to not disappoint Anna, that put them in their situation?

Barbara–  Absolutely!  Matthew is a proud man.  Given the era, think James Stewart or Cary Grant.  Times were different then and it was common for the man to head the family and take care of his family both financially and emotionally.  The thing that intrigued him most about the watch was not what it could do, but what it could do FOR him.  

Johnny– Your descriptive narrative of the late 60’s is raw and very real. Are you a fan of that era? 

Barbara– Actually, not really!  I prefer the 70s, 80s, and 90s, which is when my other novels are set.  It was fun to challenge myself though.  I used Google (a writer’s best friend) to find the jargon of the era.  

JohnnyShakespeare, Kerouac, Ginsberg. Three names mentioned during the interview for The Daily Rag, if you could have lunch with one of them, which would you pick? 

Barbara– That’s a tough one! But I’d have to go with The Bard.  

Johnny– Why did you pick the 3 moments in time that you did while writing Timepiece?

Barbara- One of my favourite movies of all time is “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  This is the first time that I wrote a story set in that time period.  Matthew and Anna naturally found themselves in the 1960s and I had to end it in the 80s.  Most people know that I’m an 80s lover.  It even says so in my Twitter bio!  

Johnny– What do you want the reader to take away from this book?

Barbara– Love conquers all.  That’s usually the message in all of my books.  Whether dark, or more in tune with a “happily ever after”, love is the only thing that matters.  

Johnny– When did you first decide that you were going to be a writer?

Barbara– It wasn’t really a decision.  More of a calling?  I started out dabbling in poetry.  Then, one day, in grade 9 English Class, my teacher praised a short story I had written.  He even made me read it out loud which was excruciating for an awkward, shy teen!  But my classmates loved it.  I penned my first book in 2002.  My husband encouraged me to published it in 2015, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Johnny– Tell me something about yourself that the average person doesn’t know. (where you are from, what do you do for fun, hobbies, what’s your favorite binge-watch, pets etc…) 

Barbara– We live in Ottawa, Canada, but I was born in Switzerland to Italian parents.  We immigrated to Canada when I was two.  I still speak Italian daily, and there’s always at least one Italian character in my books.  (Anna, in the case of “Timepiece”.)  Our only pet is a tarantula that my husband named “Betsy”.  (No, she’s not poisonous and stays in her aquarium.)  I love to cook and I’m big on cooking shows, but we recently discovered Netflix, and love Stranger Things, Black Mirror and we’re currently bingeing The 100.  We recently saw Joker in theaters, and it was right up my alley!  It was dark, yet brilliant, and breathtaking.  

Johnny– You have already published a few books. What is your process when you start developing an idea to the point you start writing it down as a book? 

Barbara– I pick a title first.  Then I create the book cover.  Both those things inspire the rest of the story. I create a brief outline using bullet points that I email to myself.  The story may change from there as I’m generally a panster, but that’s about it! 

Johnny– What was the first book you ever written? And did it get published?

Barbara– ”My Love is Deep” is my first book.  The title was inspired by the famous Bee Gees song “How Deep is Your Love?”  Although I wrote it in 2002, “life happened” and I put it away.  Back then, I didn’t know about self-publishing.  I’m not sure it even existed.  In 2015, my husband encouraged me to publish it.  There are now three other books in that series revolving around Peter Travis and his quest to find true love.  It’s set between Ottawa and Niagara Falls.  Last Christmas, I wrote “The Christmas Miracle” and I’m pretty sure that’s the last book I’ll write with Peter as my protagonist.  Fun fact: Peter makes an appearance in my latest book, “Postscript”.  

Johnny– Have you ever received a dreaded “rejection” letter? If so, how did you cope, and what advise do you have for unpublished writers if they ever get one? 

Barbara– At first, I did briefly query.  The rejection only added fuel to my creative fire.  I am happily self-published now, and wouldn’t have it any other way.  The creative freedom is what my soul screams for.  For writers who follow the traditional publishing path, I can only say, don’t let rejections quash your spirit.  There’s an audience for everything. 

...don't let rejections quash your spirit.  There's an audience for everything.

Johnny– I love the fact that rejection only added to your creative fire, is this something that all indie authors need to have in order to break through?

Barbara– Fear serves no purpose, except to paralyze us and inhibit our growth.  As we all have different reasons for writing, I don’t want to share a blanket statement.  However, if fear is preventing a writer from sharing or querying (or whatever their goal is), yes, they must overcome it to reach the next stage in their career. 

Johnny– How do you go about editing work, do you do your own self-editing?

BarbaraI do self-edit!  One of the greatest compliments I ever received was from a fellow writer.  She sent me a private message and asked me if I didn’t mind sharing the name of my editor since my work is “flawless”.  I told her I self-edit.  That message that day brought me so much joy.  It really was priceless

Johnny– What are your thoughts on beta-readers? Do you use?

Barbara– I don’t use any.  Picture the author slumped over their typewriter, or scribbling in their notebook.  The one who bleeds their soul on paper.  That’s who I relate to.  Once those words are down, I share them.  I don’t look for feedback prior to publishing.  I don’t know, it’s sort of like a chef.  Their diners don’t sample the food before deciding to eat the whole plate, do they?  I see it more as a “surprise…I hope you like it!”  And keeping with the food analogy, just as there can be too many cooks in the kitchen, I feel like there’s such a thing as too much feedback for writers.  The magic sort of dissipates.  This is also what I mean about confidence being key.

Johnny– Do you recommend self-publishing to anyone that is starting out? If so, how does someone self-publish?

Barbara– I’ve been known to say this a lot, but self-publishing is not “something to fall back on”.  It’s not the first step for a novice.  It’s a career in itself and a hell of a lot of work.  However, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’m too stubborn!  The creative freedom is exhilarating.  Therefore, I recommend it to everyone who wants their story out there on their own schedule, and doesn’t mind doing all their own marketing, etc.  As far as “how”?  There are so many different outlets available, so I will just say, find the one that works for you, and learn the technical ropes.  The rest is simply your artistic expression come to life, and that is a very beautiful thing.

Johnny– Artistic expression is definitely something that you know about. Barbara, thank you so much for taking this time to talk with me. It has been an absolute pleasure talking with you!

REVIEW

As I stated earlier; This book haunts me, and I love it. It starts off like a “Dickens classic” and ends in a full-blown “Burroughs Beat” titling towards “Poe”. I ended this book feeling much the way one feels when exiting a roller-coaster, and no, not queasy, but rather: full of wonder and wanting more.

In a generation of writers pursuing to publish a new franchise it is so refreshing to come across such daring and originality. Timepiece draws you in with its loveliness and keeps you by it’s desirability. Splendidly written with eloquent historical-appropriate language, it swept me across the fabric of time as true love was put to the “ultimate” test.

Barbara has displayed everything that is truly wonderful and unique about indie authors. Her self published world is where the literary meets the fantasy, the contemporary meets the classic, merging, to becomes a tour d’ force for the imagination.

Honestly I love it!

I’m giving Timepiece 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on Goodreads and Amazon because of it’s sheer beauty and artistic-flow. This book is an absolute must for anyone who yearns for a really good discussion worthy composition.

WARNING this writer possess the following: originality, tenacity, and charm.

You have met the writer: Barbara Avon

Now read the book: Timepiece

Elegant and beautify written. Check it out for yourself.

Barbara on TWITTER

Barbara on FACEBOOK

Barbara_on Goodreads

Barbara on AMAZON

✌❤

Be sure to check out Barbara’s new Book.

If you enjoyed Timepiece be sure to check out Postscript.

✌❤

Posted in Amy Lyle, Uncategorized

Amy Lyle

The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures

A Funny Memoir of Missteps, Inadequacies, and Faux Pas

Comedy is surprises, so if you're intending to make somebody laugh and they don't laugh, that's funny. -Norm MacDonald

Johnny– Amy Lyle is an author, comedienne, actor, and screenwriter, in her spare time she’s married and a mother to 4, (are you kidding me)! That is absurd, (lol), (other than finding short titles for your books), how do you find time to do anything? Is your whole day pretty much a scheduled routine?

Amy– YES! Two of the four kids are in college now and the two at home drive so it is getting much more manageable. I try to get most of my work done during the day. My husband is a fabulous cook, so we try to get all of us together as much as possible for dinners.

Johnny– With everything going on in your busy world, what do you do to keep yourself grounded?

Amy– I grew up in Appalachia, and when I’ve done independent films, my compensation was tacos, I’m pretty grounded.

Johnny- You have a very comedic outlook towards life, how does that affect you as a parent? 

Amy– People are often shocked that I’m so silly yet so strict (as a parent). I think they see that everything, given enough time, can be funny. We have been lucky that they have never taken themselves too seriously and have a “this too shall pass, and my mom will tell this story in a stand-up routine within six months” attitude. 

Johnny– That’s awesome, do they ever make suggestions to you about adding something into your stand-up routine?

Amy– Yes. They text me stories all the time, normally about their siblings.

Johnny– Did your parents have a sense of humor?

Amy– No. 

Johnny– What was your parents’ reaction when you went into comedy?

Amy– My mother was mortified that I was “airing my dirty laundry.” When I told my dad that I was co-hosting a tv show, he said, “Interesting. Have you guys had any rain there?”

Johnny– Do your kids think your funny?

Amy– It depends on the day.

Johnny– Are any of them planning on following in your footsteps?

Amy– Not to my knowledge.

People are often shocked that I’m so silly yet so strict (as a parent).

Johnny– How important of a role does social media play, with your career?

Amy– I don’t have any proof, but I do think social media has helped me land speaking engagements, film roles and sell a lot of books. I rarely pay for paid advertising, other than on Amazon for my books, so the social media must be helping.

Johnny– Do you have plans on increasing your presence YouTube?

Amy– I would love to increase my YouTube presence, I think I only have 9 followers. 

Johnny– This book reads different than most memoirs, did you write your chapters as skits? 

Amy– That is an interesting observation. People have left reviews stating that my books read like SNL skits.  I was a screenwriter and a stand- up comic before becoming an author so I have been trained that if you can say something in 5 words, do not use six. I try to get to the point quickly. I did have a firm ask me if they could turn The Book of Failures into a sitcom or film. I replied to their email in less than five seconds and have not heard back from them since. So, no. I did not set out to write the chapters as skits but it seems as if they have that flavor. 

Johnny– When I’d first started read your book, I was thinking you had written it with an essay format, then I watched one of your stand-ups on YouTube, that kind of tweaked my thought process and pushed me towards skits, is auditioning for SNL a dream of yours?

Amy– Only every waking moment.

Johnny– This book is brutally honest, and honestly that is one of the reasons it’s so appealing to me, (it actually helped me with issues that I have). When you wrote this, did you realize or intend for this to be a self-help book also?

Amy– I did not. I wrote the book because of a Hollywood attorney rejected me as a client because I was a nobody that did not have any money or know anyone. He told me to write a book and get lots of press. Immediately my thoughts went to, “I have had a lot of failures, I could write about those.” In hindsight, and in writing my second book, I DID realize the healing power of sharing your worst moments. People were writing to me saying how they had felt so much shame for getting fired, or dumped in a relationship when really, all of these terrible things that happen to us just get us to where we need to be. I’m not saying it is easy. I cried in the bathtub every night for a year after my husband divorced me. But now, (over a decade later) I see that our time together was not wasted, we just wanted different things.  

I wrote the book because of a Hollywood attorney rejected me

Johnny– You mention early on in your book that you have issues, one of them is pronunciation, how does that affect when you are writing and performing your Stand Up?

Amy– I write my own stand-up so I keep the GRE words for print use only.

 Johnny– After I read this I went and purchased it on Audible, was this the reason you didn’t narrate your book?

Amy– I tried to record it on my own, but I sounded like a second grader and telling a story is different than reading a story.

Johnny– When did you first know, or make the decision, that you wanted to be a stand-up comedienne? Was this something you wanted to do since you were little?

Amy– My parents were strict German protestants that reminded my sister and me how very un-special we were since our births. They did this by saying, “Remember you are not special.” Comedy was a survival tactic for us. We used to put on complete “Late Night Comedy Shows” in our basement for our friends. They were a combination of imitating our parents, lip-synching to Barbara Mandrel, and roller skating to the soundtrack of Grease.

Johnny– Do you think that being raised by strict parents triggered you to be as focused or determined as you are now?  You seem to be pretty thick skinned.

Amy– I do not know anyone with thicker skin than authors, comedians and salespeople and I’m all three. I pick on my parents frequently, but I have to admit that they both have incredible work ethics.

Johnny– Let’s talk about your “unconscious zone” you wrote about an improv performance during a class you took, it happened, and “was appreciated by the audience but I was mortified by exposing what I suppose is my dark side.” Why were you mortified by this? 

Amy– People that perform improv well are geniuses. I can write stand-up, books and screenplays because I can rework it, again and again, there’s no such luxury in improv. I do think improv can be studied and practiced; your mind would adapt to the medium. I have only taken one class and did one performance.  And as you know, I was humiliated by what was flying out of my mouth- complete storylines about STD’s and little people.  Improv is not for me.

Johnny– Is improv important for a stand-up comic? (It seems like it would be if there was a heckler in the audience.) 

Amy– I love Paula Poundstone, she’s able to work the crowd really, really well on the fly. However, now that I have seen her perform several times, I have noticed that even her “on the fly” has tried and true jokes. It’s interesting, every comic must address hecklers and such, but each performer seems to handle them in their own way, which is the same way, every time.

Johnny– Have you ever been heckled?

Amy– Only by my teenage children that were sitting in the front row at The Basement Theater when I was telling a joke about them.  The audience was shocked when I said, “All of those people (pointing them out) are my children,” The kids and the audience loved it.

Johnny– There was an incident that happened with your friend Shannon at Chipotle, by far one of the funniest scenarios I’ve ever read, how did you not just laugh-your-ass-off when that happened to your friend? Or did you?

Amy– I checked to make sure she was breathing and then laughed.

Johnny– Not to be a spoiler, but when she goes to refill her drink, the Russian Businessmen cleaning their ties… To steal a line from Kenny Bania “that’s gold, Amy… Gold!” Now the screen writer in you has got to be salivating over the possibilities of what you can do with that?

Amy– I’m so thrilled that you were able to “see” that story in your head. I would love to make my books into films or sitcoms. 

What does not kill us will eventually make us laugh

Johnny– Using your philosophy, “everything, given enough time, can be funny” is there an exception to that? Take away human suffering, death, misery, etc… let’s say, there’s a situation that happens with friend or family, even though no physical harm occurred, just great embarrassment, would this be off limits to you to use as part of  your material, even though you know it’s comedy gold? 

Amy– Nothing is off limits. Think of it as “What does not kill us will eventually make us laugh.” I’m don’t do insult comedy so I’m not offending people on purpose, I just prefer more self- deprecating bits.

Johnny– You had said earlier you love Paula Poundstone, is she your favorite stand-up comedian? (If not who?)

Amy– I cannot pick just one. What is incredibly crazy to me is that many of the stand-up comedians, and comedians in general, that I love have bestselling books on Amazon and are next to my books. The list includes Tina Fey, Kevin Hart, Jim Gaffigan, Paula Poundstone, Trevor Noah, Mindy Kaling, Carol Burnett and Betty White, to mention a few. A few days ago, all of the “Amy’s” were lined up in a row on Amazon’s bestselling Humor & Entertainment books; Amy Schumer, Amy Lyle and Amy Poehler- that was a very good day.

Johnny– I bet it was. You deserve it Amy! Thank you for taking this time to talk with me, I’ve really enjoyed this time together.

REVIEW

Every so often you come across a book that will literally make you “laugh out loud” Amy’s Book of Failures had done that to me, at 4am.

This book is laugh packed and a fun read. It was created out of a rejection, turning a negative situation into a positive result. From this result I find it hard to believe that Amy will do nothing but succeed.

Written as a memoir Amy is brutally honest. She truly embraces her own philosophy of: “what doesn’t kill us will eventually make us laugh” and goes for it. Her light heart spirited approach to current life situation has become an inspiration to many, myself included.

Written in a different format than most memoirs, (another advantage Amy has going for herself), her narrative flow across the pages as a witty satire, allowing the readers an escape, as the scenes play out before them. Her refreshing style is a sheer delight.  

Never taking herself too seriously Amy reveals to us that we should never be so critical about our lives that we forget that sometimes, it’s alright to laugh. If recognizing and exposing our flaws only makes us stronger, she’s Hercules on steroids. If your talented and creative enough, it makes an interesting memoir. Great job Amy, I’m a fan!

BEWARE: VERY FUNNY LADY AHEAD!

I’m given Book of Failures 5 stars on Amazon and Goodreads for creativity, originality and plain AWESOMENESS.

You’ve met the writer: Amy Lyle

Now read her book: The Amy Bingar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures

Fresh and amazingly funny. Check her out for yourself.

Website: www.amylyle.me/

Twitter: www.twiter.com/amylyle

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amylyle.me/

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/authoramylyle/

✌❤

Be sure and check out Amy’s new project

✌❤

Posted in LM Gose, Uncategorized

Ascend: Children of Lilith Book One by: L.M. Gose

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
–Benjamin Franklin

L.M. Gose is a writer, wife, mother, editor, (Horse whisperer lol) She can be found on Twitter @LaPetiteWolfe and her website www.authorlmgose.com She’s a busy lady who recently published her book titled Ascend.

Johnny– Hello Leia welcome and thank you for taking some time to talk with me, you recently released Ascend, was this your first book?

Leia– First published. I’ve written others that didn’t make it to this stage.

Johnny– That being said, the “others that didn’t make it to this stage” are you ever tempted to revisiting those earlier books and fine-tune them into something that works? or do you move on, possibly reviving and integrating them into other ventures later?

Leia– I’ll likely go back eventually but it’s not a concern at the moment. So far I’ve plenty of ideas before I need to recycle some.

Johnny– I noticed, at one time that you listed on your Twitter bio that you’re an editor… did you edit Ascend yourself?

Leia– I sent it to someone but I felt it wasn’t thorough enough so in the end, I did red ink everything myself. I have also edited three other books by other authors as well as a few Thesis papers and many graduate level papers.

Everyone needs to make their own choices.

Johnny– That is remarkable, and very well done might I add. Is it safe to say you’ll be editing your future books as well?

Leia– With the help of my BETA readers.

Johnny– Self-published?

Leia– Yes, it was preferable to the defeatism in the industry.

Johnny– Would you recommend self-publication to somebody that is looking to get published?

Leia– Everyone needs to make their own choices. They have to be confident with the decision to publish however they feel is best for them. I prefer creative control so this works for me.

Johnny– I’m a huge fan of cover art, do you design your covers?

Leia– No, actually, my niece-in-law LeÁnne Pelletier did. You can find out how to contact her on my website.

Johnny– How fortunate to have that kind of talent in the family. When your picking your cover, did you go to her with a certain design or style in mind?

Leia– Yes, I knew exactly what I wanted but lack the skills necessary to create. She was able to make my vision come to life perfectly.

Johnny– This is really a fast-paced book that covers a lot of territory, Biblical, Gnostic, Mythology, Folklore, there are a lot of references / research that had to happen in order to prep for this book. How long did it take you to develop and write Ascend?

Leia– I honestly believe this book has been trying to come out in one way or another for years, but I did zero research specifically for Ascend. It took me about 5 months from start to finish to write, edit and publish.

Johnny- That’s astounding, has writing always been easy or “naturally” for you?

Leia– I’d say yes. Writing, and reading, has always been linked to my survival in this world.

Johnny– This book caught me by surprise. I really wasn’t expecting the “depth” that you brought with it. What inspired you to write Ascend? Was it an idea that just come to you out of nowhere?

Leia– I can’t say there was any one thing except this year, I took a really long trip and reconnected with family I’d long since lost touch with. It was healing and I think that healing helped inspire me.

Johnny– I’m a fan, please tell me that there is another book coming out in this series.

Leia– Yes, I’m currently working on Descend, which is the sequel to Ascend and picks up right where the first book ends.

Descend: Children of Lilith Book Two

Johnny– Do you have an ETA for Descend?

Leia– Spring 2020.

Johnny– “Ascend” has so many good characters, (descriptions for each is spectacular), do you have a favorite?

Leia– Madoc Weatherly. I love his personality and ever-changing beard.

Johnny– Defiantly one of my favorite characters as well. Was there a specific inspiration behind your creation of Madoc?

Leia– I had a German Teacher that was a bit unusual who inspired the depth of the character. His beard was Pride parade inspired. I loved the idea of an ever-changing mood beard.

Johnny– Do you use family or friends when you developed your characters? You’re a mother with four kids, (and two horse), was Arya and Xavier inspired by any of your children?

Leia– Yes and no. The relationship between a boy and girl twin was inspired by my older two children, who are Irish Twins (but honestly, everyone has mistaken them for twins for 11 years now so it counts). I wanted to have a story that wasn’t focused on romance or even had the kindling of a spark of romance between the Main Characters. Having siblings allowed me the freedom from that.

Johnny– How are your horses? They had to have inspired you in this book, lol. Especially when creating Persephone.

Leia– I love my horses, and yes, I have to admit, they did help, but more my connection with horses my entire life. In Canada, my uncle and auntie who helped raise me have a herd of 12 strong and I was able to spend a lot of time with them in early February. Persephone actually inspired me to get a horse. I adopted my mare, Molly, in early June, which was about a month before I finished Ascend. I adopted my gelding, Durango, right after.

Durango and Molly

Johnny– What is your process? When you have a story or idea and you decide you want to make it a book, do you journal it down, let it percolate, or go to your computer and start banging it out?

Leia– I am terrible about explaining my process, but I’ll try. I write when I’m inspired and I sit down for about an hour a day to try to write something, but that’s very structured and I’m not. I like to use guided dreams to help me sort out issues with my characters. It inspired the battle scene in Ascend.

Johnny– We you say “guided dreams” are you talking about meditation?

Leia– No, it’s a therapeutic technique I learned to help me cope with nightmares. I’ve learned to use it to explore ideas that needed more development before writing.

Johnny– I think you had mentioned earlier that you use beta readers as part of your writing process? are these friends of yours?

Leia– Yes and yes. I wouldn’t trust anyone I didn’t know with my brain-babies. They earned the right to be part of my group though because they’ve me such amazing feedback. I’ve included a few others in my group this time too, to help make Descend even better.

Johnny– Some writers say that they edit and/or send to beta readers in chunks during their writing process, others wait and do both after completion so not to interfere with their flow. How do you handle that?

Leia– I do a chapter at a time. This allows me to focus on the chapters as a whole. I don’t edit until after the book is halfway at the minimum though. Otherwise, you get stuck in a horrible habit of hating your work.

Johnny– Any advice for any young writers that might be looking up to you as a role model?

Leia– Be kind in your life, not only to others but to yourself and that includes how you rate your own writing.

Johnny– Great advise, what genre do you enjoy reading?

Leia– Fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction and dystopias are some of my favorites.

Johnny– In today’s world, how important is a “Social Media presence” for Indie writers?

Leia– It’s obviously very important. Social Media is a real aspect of this world.

Johnny– Very generic question, who inspires you?

Leia– It might be generic but it’s very difficult to answer. I’m inspired by so many different people. I’ve been gifted with an extraordinary life of travel and met so many incredible human beings on this planet, from different countries and from different cultures and backgrounds. I’m inspired by them all.

Johnny– Where do you want to be in 10 years?

Leia– In the house I’m about to move into and in my third series, maybe. I hope to be successful enough to pay the mortgage at least once a year.

It took me about 5 months from start to finish to write

Johnny– Thank you Leia, it has been a pleasure talking to you. Best of luck to you. I loved Ascend and anxiously awaiting Descend due out Spring of 2020. Hopefully you will come back and talk with me again…

REVIEW

This book has everything that is desired when digesting, the story flows like a river, I don’t remember it dragging once, descriptive characters, I felt like I knew everyone that was introduced  in this book. In the beginning I remember thinking I would have liked a little more description about Morningstar, however, in the end it all worked out.

So why mention it?

I said that to say this, stick around, about every question I had was answered during her telling of the story.

Going down the list, Ascend has something for everybody. It contains Heroes, Villains, Damsel in distress, a King, a Queen, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, Warlocks along with an assortment of mythical creatures, just an all-around good time and good read.

About my only complaint turned out to be my only regret and it was that it had to end. 😒

Que Sera, Sera, I suppose that’s why there are sequels. 😉

Great job Leia! 🎉 I can’t sing your praises loud enough. You captured my imagination and made me a FAN.

Written as YA Fiction, Ascend joins the ranks of mainstream novels that will be enjoyed by all ages.

I’m giving Ascend 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on both Amazon and Goodreads. **If you enjoy indie authors as much as I do please be sure to buy their books, leave reviews, share and retweet.

You’ve met the writer – Leia M Gose

Now read her book – Ascend: Children of Lilith Book One (you won’t regret it). ✌❤

Posted in Gabrielle Olexa, Repost

Jenny of Lebanon by: Gabrielle Olexa

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Conversation with Gabrielle

Johnny- Hi, Gabrielle, and thank you for talking to me about your book Jenny of Lebanon, a short but sweet read that drops the reader at ground zero of White Ash Lane. The narrative is so descriptive that it’s hard to imagine anything except the sight and sounds of the morning in all its glory, a house neglected, a wrecked truck and a cat being a cat. Where does an idea like this come from?

Gabrielle- That’s a good question and a somewhat difficult one for me to answer because I’m not sure why when I put pen to paper that chapter one became what it is – a dark, descriptive waltz into the broken and decaying lives of Billy and Jenny. Really, as I started, I was unaware of the gloomy path my characters were taking me on, but as I walked with Jenny into this house, I began to grasp the gravity of the relationship and all of its flaws. The house is a representation of all that, I guess. My idea was just to immerse the reader, bring them to ground zero, as you said, so they could understand more fully everything that comes next.

Johnny- It almost seems like this might have been a part of a bigger body of work at one time. Was it, and you liked this scenario so much that you made it a solo project?

Gabrielle- Yes, it is, actually! When I was in college, once upon a time, I took a creative writing course. In that class I wrote a short story entitled Jenny Kissed Me. It was inspired by a poem by the same name by James Leigh Hunt. You can find that poem in the front of my book. After I had finished and read it to the class, I couldn’t shake Jenny from my mind. I felt there was a lot more to her story. And thus, Jenny of Lebanon was born.

I decided to publish this one first, even though it’s technically out of order, because I felt it was strong enough to stand on its own. There are many details sprinkled throughout referencing moments that have occurred earlier, some vague, and others in your face. You don’t have to understand their full depth to enjoy what’s happening in the present, but I’ve basically planted seeds that will grow into larger plot points – in reverse chronological order – for readers stumbling upon the books as they are first published. I guess I watched too much Star Wars as a kid. 😊

As I release other Jenny stories (fingers crossed for the near future), it’s my hope they’ll strengthen Jenny of Lebanon and the series as a whole even more. Jenny is not done telling her story. There are reasons that help explain why she acts in the manner she does. She’s complicated.

Thames
Doppel

Johnny– I’m going to do my best to attempt to talk about your book without any spoilers. Novellas can be tricky without giving away too much. Is it fair to say that Jenny of Lebanon was an exercise for you to create and develop your character writing skills?

Gabrielle- The short answer is yes, it did, but I think it’s important to explain what kind of genre my book falls into so I can better explain my answer.  Jenny of Lebanon is literary fiction. What that means is that it’s a story being driven by its characters instead of traditionally being moved by the plot, as well as focusing on style and depth. It’s also a “slice of life”. The reader steps into the lives of Jenny and Billy, experiences an afternoon with them, and then they depart. Pieces of the past are touched upon during this small window and the future can be alluded to, but it’s this specific moment in time between these two people that is the focus of the story.

So, yes, it was certainly an exercise for me, and I like to think it helped hone my writing skills.  There are only two speaking parts in the story, unless you want to count the cat, Marvin, and he does put his two cents in quite often. I had to constantly think about pacing, about what they were saying to each other, and how it was affecting them. Other writers do this as well, but my space and time was limited. I had to make every moment I had with them count. There’s a lot of banter between Billy and Jenny, but they obviously couldn’t argue the entire time. That would have been tiring and boring, so I had to try and distract them, give them a reprieve before bringing them and ultimately, the reader, to a climax.

If you’d been a fly on the wall when I was writing, you would’ve heard me talking out the dialogue, trying to figure out if it was authentic enough. Me not being a man, obviously, I had to ask my husband and other guy friends if Billy seemed real in the way he acted and talked to Jenny. I wanted both of them to be relatable to the readers. So that was another exercise for me. I hope I succeeded in that endeavor.

Johnny- Absolutely, I think you did a great job, both sexes are believable. You bring up “literary fiction”. Veering from the book for a second, do you think that is a risky genre for an independent writer to start at? Why do you think it’s so rare nowadays?

Gabrielle- I think the literary fiction genre is frowned upon by some. For example, if you aren’t famous or dead or both, you can’t fall into that category rightfully, at least that’s the general feeling I get from scrolling through Twitter. I’ve read many threads where people talk about what they feel should be classified as literary fiction, and that’s hardly ever included a debut novel by an indie author. From what I’ve read, they thought it should be a term reserved for writers who’ve earned it from their peers, like there’s some contest I have to win first before I can claim it as my own genre. There also appears to be an air of pretension associated with it as well. This obviously isn’t true for everyone, but it’s still frustrating.

I’m not entirely sure why people think this way, but part of me believes it’s because they don’t truly understand what literary fiction is.  It’s not that popular of a category, and there aren’t that many publications accepting submissions for it, compared to that of science fiction, fantasy or romance – so it’s really hard to get on people’s radars. Anytime someone asks what genre my book is or what it’s about, I mostly get deer in headlights looks, and then I have to do a whole bunch of explaining. Sometimes I purposefully don’t tell people the genre because I fear they won’t read it out of bias or confusion. I personally think it’s rarer to find books written in this genre because so many readers want immediate gratification and a fast-moving story filled with as much action as it can hold – so that’s what writers are providing them. You write what sells, right? It’s not wrong or bad, it’s just a different style. I’ve read on multiple occasions where people have said if something doesn’t happen in the first page and a half, they’re done. Some people like Michael Bay movies. Me, not so much. Ha. I personally enjoy getting to know the ins and outs of characters, learning what propels them in life, and discovering the details that create who they are. To me, even though I write fiction, I want my stories to be as real as I can make them. Life has all of those intricacies balled up into it, and that’s what makes it special.

I’m Jenny’s conduit to the world, so yeah, I’d say we’re close

Johnny- Surveying the living room, the documented clutter and random chaos of the coffee table is so descriptive, is this based off something you’ve witnessed at someone’s house? (Meant as a fun question, no judgement. lol)

Gabrielle- Whatever gave you that impression? Ha ha. Yes, without naming anyone, there was an apartment I used to frequent that certainly helped shape the chaos we witness in Billy’s house. I only used some of what I experienced, like the fan with its missing blade covered in dust. Maybe some of the dishes or takeout items, too, but believe me, my friend’s place was Heaven compared to Billy’s. To fill in the details of the house, I tried to imagine how depression would look if it all got unpacked and strewn about. Let’s just be glad we never had to walk into Billy’s bathroom. Not even I wanted to go there.

Johnny- Lol, fair enough. Does this person(s) know they inspired you so much that you included them in this book?

Gabrielle- Oh, he’s aware. 😊In fact, when he read one of the first drafts, I think he knew immediately where I had drawn my inspirations. He wasn’t offended or anything, thankfully. I’m always warning friends that some part of their personalities or life may end up in my books, so they better be careful. 😉

Johnny- Jenny, is unfazed by the condition of the living room; in fact, she stops at one point and checks her appearance in the mirror. What was your inspiration in creating this character?  I love this little attention to detail btw.

Gabrielle- Ah, Jenny.  She’s an interesting one.  Like most of the characters I’ve created over the years, it’s hard for me pinpoint exactly what creative puddle of ooze she crawled out of and why. She was birthed slowly through the words as I wrote them. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it’s the truth. There are some parts of Jenny that I myself do not completely understand yet because she hasn’t told me, but I believe she will tell me all eventually.

            So really, she’s less of an inspiration and more of a person existing in my mind, telling me her story as I write it. When I get into her head space, I see her as this strong, sensual, but damaged woman who knows she’s beautiful and makes zero effort to hide it. She takes every opportunity to flaunt what she has, placing herself in the center of every situation. She craves that attention. But like I said, she’s damaged, and if she’s not careful, she’ll find herself vulnerable and no longer in control. That’s what really makes her uncomfortable. Underneath her tough exterior, as hard as it is to believe, Jenny does have a heart. And although she is a very honest person, she is human, and she lies.

Johnny- She’s beautiful and complicated for sure, not a cop out answer, btw. However, it’s amazing that you created her the way you did; do you think at times, that you are too close to her? (if that makes sense) Will her effect on you affect her journey down the road?

Gabrielle- I’m Jenny’s conduit to the world, so yeah, I’d say we’re close, maybe sometimes too close. When I delve too deep into her waters, it’s often a toxic trip and an emotionally draining one. On some levels I think we understand each other and can relate, but then she’ll say something or act in a way I never imagine I could, and I have to work extra hard to make sense of it. Her desires and motivations are often disconnected from my own life experiences. I’d be a dirty liar if I said our journeys weren’t connected. We may be two different people, living separate lives, but we are constantly learning from one another. I just can’t say for sure that we use that gained knowledge appropriately or at all.

Johnny- She’s walking down the hallway, she straightens a couple of pictures, then she stops and relives a moment in one picture hanging on the wall, but doesn’t straighten it. Tell me about this scene…

Gabrielle- I have to be careful what I say about this scene because it’s a big part of the conclusion of the book. This is another moment where you aren’t likely to believe my explanation, but I’m pretty sure when I first wrote this part, I didn’t know what she was looking at or why it was important. All I knew is that it would be. That’s how a lot of things I write work. I drop down the dots, but I don’t connect them until later. I’m thankful this method works for me or else all of my stories would be complete and utter nonsense. I’m sure if you took a peek into my brain when I was plotting out my stories, it probably would’ve looked like a detective’s board filled with a dozen different colored strings stretched from one side to the other.

What Jenny sees and how she reacts used to make me think Jenny was truly just a heartless person who didn’t care at all, but the longer I’ve had to spend with her, I think this scene is more a moment for her to pause and reflect, to think about the here and now, and where’s she come from since then. Not fixing it says a lot about Jenny, I think, more so than if she did correct it.  What it says exactly will likely be interpreted in many different ways, depending on the reader. I’d love to watch a group discuss Jenny and Billy. That would be a lot of fun.

There are some parts of Jenny that I myself do not completely understand yet

Johnny- Let’s talk about Billy for a moment. Why is this guy so likable? Where did he come from?

Gabrielle- I’m not so sure he is likable. Some may see him as the victim in all of this, but others may think he’s as much to blame as Jenny. The way he is perceived will depend upon each individual reader, and that’s completely okay with me.  Everyone is going make their own judgment. That’s the beauty of books, really – people being able to see characters and their actions and deciding for themselves who the “bad guy” really is, if indeed there is one.

Johnny– Likable might be the wrong word, he just seems “laid back” I’m guessing that’s why he seems likable to me, a bit of a slob, but, likable. lol. Was he a creation also? Or was there a muse behind his conception?

Gabrielle- Billy was partly just a guy who showed up and took his place in the story, but he was also a character fleshed out by stealing tiny details from my now husband, Phil. We weren’t married when I first started writing Billy, in fact, we were barely dating. The first draft versus what finally made it out into the world changed drastically over the years as our relationship did. I want to make it absolutely clear, though, that Billy is not my husband, but some of his mannerisms and best qualities exist in him. My husband loathes my characters, but specifically Billy because he can see the few things I borrowed. Billy was a mold made special by a handful of human traits, some random, some inspired, but without them, I don’t think he’d be the same character.

Johnny- Billy’s has a thought as Jenny is replacing a lightbulb. (no spoilers) His thoughts go one way and then his actions another. Are you describing “true love”?

Gabrielle- This is an interesting but brief looksee into Billy’s mind and character. We get a glimpse of what’s beneath what he shows us and Jenny throughout the book. I don’t think it was “true love” I had intended to show per se, but I can see how one could perceive it that way, considering what happens. It’s not the only time Billy’s emotions get the best of him, but as much as he would maybe like to become this person he thinks about or attempts to act like, he can’t change who he is. Jenny knows this and makes sure to tell him.

Johnny- I’m so happy that Jenny will return. There really seems to be more to her that I want to know about. It’s like she has so much more to tell. So, when you say “fingers crossed for the near future” are you talking 2020?

Gabrielle- Ultimately, yes, I hope that come spring, or shortly after, I’ll have another chapter of Jenny’s life out in the world. A large chunk of it is already written. I just need to flesh out scenes in-between scenes and grow upon what I have. Saying that makes me incredibly nervous because deadlines terrify me. I don’t know how I turned in all my papers in college and graduated on time. Historically, I’m the slowest writer on planet Earth, and I can make an excuse out of just about anything. I’m almost magical that way. 😊 I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from complete strangers, though, and I think that’s what really is going to motivate me to make it happen. Many have asked for more, and I want nothing more than to do that for them.

Johnny- There is so much more of your book that I want to talk to you about. I’m afraid that if I do, I’m going to spoil it for others,so I’m going to stop. Who is your favorite author?

Gabrielle- That’s an easy answer, though not a very unique one, I’m afraid. Stephen King has been my go-to writer since my 9th grade math class. Somehow, I came into possession of the paperback tome that is IT. I’d been traumatized by the TV miniseries as a kid, thanks to my brothers, and I guess I wanted to face my childhood fears head-on. Or it could’ve been I really didn’t like math and needed a long distraction. This was likely the catalyst that determined my lackluster math skills, and I forgive Stephen King wholeheartedly. 😊 Totally worth it, in my opinion. Once I was done with that massive book, and it took most of the year, I needed more. I fell in love with his style and his stories. I even started collecting his first editions. There are some I’ll never be able to afford, but I’ve found a lot of them in varying conditions. None of them are signed, but my husband managed to get a baseball with his John Hancock on it. That was the best birthday present ever! I’ll never know if it’s authentic or not, but I really don’t care. It’s real to me.

Johnny– What advise do you have for younger writers who are looking to get started?

Gabrielle- First and foremost, read. If you don’t have time to read, you probably don’t have time to write. It was probably Stephen King that said that or some other famous person, but it’s true. Your skill will obviously improve over time if all you ever do is write, but you’ll gain ground faster if you read the work of your favorite writers or peers. We learn so much from each other. Besides that, write what you know, write what you’d like to know, challenge yourself and step outside your comfort zone or genre. Write what sells or write for yourself. Whatever you do, just write. Even if you think it’s terrible, write it. It very well may be, but it will get better. That’s what second, third and fourth drafts are for. Writing is a process, and it takes time. When you’re finished, don’t keep it to yourself. Set it free.

Johnny* Great advice. Thank you for taking the time and talk with me. It has been a pure joy to share this time with you! Please keep doing what you do.

Jenny of Lebanon is literary fiction at it's finest.

REVIEW

Jenny of Lebanon has been like a breath of fresh air. It’s simple, it’s beautiful, it quenched my thirst, and scratched the proverbial itch that was impossible to reach. It was a joyful surprise.

From the opening scene the reader is whisked away into a narrative that is a feast for the imagination.

Weighing in at 57 pages there is no wasted space found between these covers. What is found is a narrative that took me by the hand and led me step by step across the pages, description that left lasting images in my mind, characters so realistic I can picture them living up my block.

Jenny of Lebanon is literary fiction at its finest.

As Gabrielle had mentioned earlier, literary fiction is rarely used when discussing a debut novel but in this case, that is not true. Twitter did not discourage Gabrielle and she stuck to her guns because literary fiction is the glue that holds all other writing together. **“I just put the words down and hope for the best.” This is where dreams are born. Literary fiction is making a massive come back in this engrossing indie debut from who can be considered a rising star and a master of her craft.

On Goodreads and Amazon, I gave Jenny of Lebanon 5 stars, if possible, I’d given more. This book is definitely worth the read.

**Quoted from Gabrielle while sharing random thoughts.

Jenny of Lebanon by: Gabrielle Olexa

✌❤

Posted in Gabrielle promo, Uncategorized

Trying something new.

I am getting excited about the upcoming conversation and review of Gabrielle Olexa and her new book Jenny of Lebanon. (🤞) Spoiler alert, I already gave it a 5 star review on GoodReads , (Click the link to read, everything else will have to wait).

If you haven’t already you should pick up a copy Free on Kindle Unlimited. click here.

This review will be complete with interview. Please stay tuned.......

Actual reviews from GoodReads has it rated 4.47 ⭐’s

Amazon has her at 4.7 ⭐’s

✌❤

Posted in Uncategorized

While we are waiting..


I have to be honest with you, I don’t have a clue of what I’m doing here.

I’ve never blogged or operated a website. I’m an introvert so going out and meeting people, (let alone starting a conversation with them), has ever been anything that has ever come easy.

Yet… here I am. Starting a blog spotlighting writers, Indie Writers, talking to them about their books, learning about their passion, inspiration and motivation.

Oh yeah, did I mention that when I graduated High School I was reading on a 5th grade level?

Fasten your seat-belts folks this ride could get bumpy

Yet, somehow it all feels right, deep down this has been something that I had always wanted to do.

As far back as I can remember I’d always dreamed of being on the radio, dreamed of interviewing people, playing kick-ass music, making people laugh😂 and just entertaining 🎉everyone as they went throughout their day. To me that sounded like the best job ever.

Uhhhh, Houston….. we have a problem.😶

Shortly after enlisting in the Army I was diagnosed as being dyslexic. Growing up in the 70's✌ people weren’t diagnosed with conditions, they were given labels. If you were dyslexic you wore the label of stupid, you had A.D.D…., you were labeled hyperactive, god-for-f'n bid you were an introvert…. if so, your label read….WEIRD-O.

Luck for me, I had all three.

ENOUGH about that already!!!

My name is Johnny, I eat Cracker Jacks and enjoy a good selfie standing next to plastic green dinosaurs.

This is Dodge he’s 12 and ferocious.

Here’s Chrysler, he steals shit, especially from King.

Last but not least, this is King, we lovingly refer to him as the hipster doofus.

Stick around, Interviews and Reviews are coming shortly.

✌❤