Posted in Barbara Avon, CC Luckey, Crystal Kirkham, Dreena Collins, Evelyn Charters, Gabrielle Olexa, indie author, Jennifer Irwin, Jessica Conwell, LM Gose, Random stuff about my blog, Rebecca Hefner, Uncategorized

My 2019 Top 10 Picks

By: Johnny Swanson

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”
― Jack Kerouac

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!

I’m not for sure how many books I read during 2019, I know it was a few. Around the end of August I had decided to start this blog honoring and featuring Indie Authors, it was then I started logging and reviewing through Goodreads and Amazon, Goodreads has me down for reading 52 between the months of August thru December.

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13688308-johnny-swanson

Although my site reviews Indie Authors and supports Indie Books there were a couple on books on my reading list that did not fall into the Indie category, in the end only Indies made the list. This list does not reflect that the book was written or published in 2019, it just happens to be when I read them.

After reading so many good book this year it can almost be overwhelming try to only pick 10 as the top picks. There are so many others that deserve an Honorable Mention. However, in the end there could only be 10 and these 10 have made a lasting impression on me unlike any of the others.

Honorable MentionElectric Blues by: Shaun O McCoy, Although it didn’t make it into the top 10 it defiantly deserves to be mentioned. This is a futuristic tale about a depressed out of work A.I. named Arty that is sure to put a smile on your face. Gabrielle Olexa had recommended this book, said that it was a cute book, and she’s right. It’s well written and Shaun is a fascinating individual that I had the privilege to interview. Defiantly worth a look.

TOP 10

10Bird Wing by: Dreena Collins, This is a book of Flash Fiction and I love it. It was way back when I first read Black Coffee Blues by: Henry Rollins, that I realized how much I enjoy reading flash fiction. This book brought it all back to me. Thank you Dreena!

9- Ascend by: Leia Gose, Fun and Magical are two words that best describe Ascend. Leia has done a ridiculously good job creating this world that I want to live in, written for YA this book is fun enough for everyone. Good news is that she’s writing a sequel!

8- The Desert in the Glass by C.C. Luckey, This book is surprisingly good. If not mistaken it is a debut novel and CC brings it. I’m really excited that I had the opportunity to interview her in 2019 and can’t wait to see what she publishes next. If you haven’t read it you should, it’s a lot of fun!

7- Jenny of Lebanon by: Gabrielle Olexa I know Gabrielle takes a lot of heat because this book is identified as literary fiction. Looking at the reviews for Jenny of Lebanon readers either hate it or love it, if you are looking for something to rival Twilight or Harry Potter, this book will be a waste of your time, however, if you love words and wordplay I highly recommend this book.

6- Depths of Darkness (Saints and Sinners Book 2) by: Crystal L. Kirkham, this is book 2 of the Saints and Sinners series and I found it to be just as good if not better than the first. I consider Crystal to be a writer on the move, she is as talented as she is creative and her new book Feathers and Fae will be reviewed on my blog in early 2020.

5- Three Sharp Knives by: Jessica Conwell, This was a pleasant surprise to me, Three Sharp Knives introduced me to my first transgender main character as well as the struggles within their community. I love the book as well as Jessica and her writing style. The interview I published with her on 12/8/19 is my favorite of the year, hoping to have her back after reading her other novel, Cluster. My advise, Read this BOOK!

4- The Van Helsing Paradox by: Evelyn Chartres, This is such a fun book, the flow is incredible and very engrossing. There will be more about Evelyn during 2020 on my site because I think her writing is phenomenal, I will be reviewing her work in the near future.

3- A Dress the Color of the Sky by: Jennifer Irwin WOW! is about all I can say about A Dress the Color of the Sky. Jennifer also will be my first interview / review featured in 2020. Really impressed with this book!

2- Postscript by: Barbara Avon, I love Barbara! Her writing JUST does it for me. Every time I finish one of her books it has become my new favorite. I picked Postscript because the evolution of her writing style has STOLEN MY HEART with this tale, it’s also filled with hidden gems that kept me on my toes. ❤

1- The End of Hatred by: Rebecca Hefner, this book has earned my number one spot because it was the book that stole my soul to romance, it’s not just this book either, it’s the whole series. I love it and can’t wait until she writes another. Rebecca is going to be a writer that we will hear of for a long, long time.

✌❤

Posted in Ava Lee Mosley, indie author, Random stuff about my blog, Uncategorized

Twice as nice

By: Ava Lee Mosley

“The one thing we can never get enough of is love. And the one thing we never give enough of is love.” ― Henry Miller

Johnny– Hi Ava! Thank, thank you for taking the time to visit with me and have a conversation about your book. Where did the idea for ‘Twice as Nice’ originate?

Ava– I think I read somewhere the phrase “space pirate” recently and I really wanted there to be a female space pirate! So I created Allie. As for the idea for the story, I just thought it would be a funny conflict if we put together a female who is somewhat asexual with a hypersexual male and see what happens. I love conflict!

Johnny– Space Pirate, I love it!  You feature two different species of aliens Brex and Allie, (kudos on originality btw), where do you draw your inspiration from when you are creating different species?

Ava– Terran actually means human, but I understand it’s not very well explained in the story. As for Brex, who is not human, I guess I just draw on the many years of watching sci-fi shows and reading sci-fi books. But I also try to come up with something I haven’t seen.

Johnny– Brex is Primarsul, how did you go about creating this character? He is very unique in more ways than one.

Ava– To be honest, the idea for the story always comes first. As for the characters and the details, they just develop from the idea. I often “pantse” so I don’t know how they look until I write the scenes and sometimes even until I edit! For me, it’s easier to add the details later, and that’s only because what captivates me at the start is the story.

Johnny– This is the first book I’ve read that you’ve written, is sci-fi erotica the only genre you write? Or is this your first book?

Ava– I’ve written many unfinished speculative stories, novellas and even novels throughout the years – urban fantasy, dark fantasy, science fiction, science fantasy, paranormal, etc. However, as I don’t easily finish long stories, I decided to go shorter and shorter… and once I did and I decided I wanted to publish, I realized the only short fiction that was publishable was mostly erotica. Don’t get me wrong, I love it and I’ve read and written my share throughout the years, but this decision was more necessity than anything else. Luckily, I started writing and publishing in this genre – after doing some market research – and I LOVED IT. Who knew it would be so fun to write short steamy stories with aliens?!

Johnny– It most defiantly is steamy and fun! Do you self-publish? Or do you go through an agency?

Ava– Yes, I self-publish. I am such a control freak and so multipassionate that I suppose self-publishing is fun for me, and necessary. I can’t imagine someone telling me what to do with my story, so I just do everything myself, and it works! I have spent years writing, editing, designing, marketing… so the natural conclusion was to self-publish. It’s a challenge because you have a tiny budget and a LOT of tasks, but there’s also a lot to be learned, and that’s what I thrive on.

Johnny– What advise would you give to anyone that is wanting to write erotica?

Ava– Well, right now it’s not as easy to make money off erotica… if you’re in it for the money, you better write longer romance works. If you’re just writing for fun, shorter pieces are a great way to improve your craft and get feedback. Definitely read top stories on literotica.com if you want to improve your sex scenes and sign up on Erotic Authors, the subreddit, where people will help you on your journey.

Johnny– Do you have to be ‘thick skinned’ to write erotica? I would imagine that there are some pretty crude people out there that just think they can message or email you some pretty vulgar stuff, or for the most part, is everybody cordial?

Ava– For now everyone has been super nice, but after all, I have just started. I have only published 3 short stories and I have only been an “author” for 1 month, so I’m sure I might face some weirdness in the future, but so what? I have become pretty thick-skinned already since I have been active only for years and have encountered all kind of people. As long as people are reading my stories, I am happy.

Johnny– What does the future hold for Brex and Allie? Any plans for later adventures?

Ava– Yes actually! After some positive feedback and a couple of suggestions, I decided to turn this story into a series called Starfarers and Warriors. Sadly, I might not revisit those specific characters, or I might, in passing. I have a couple of ideas for other series as well and it’s usually always the same world but with different people/couples.

Johnny– This is a very short read, are you planning on writing larger volumes in the future?

Ava– Absolutely!!! Even though I said I’m not good at longer works, I actually can last for a novella (no pun intended). So I definitely plan on publishing some longer works in the romance genre in the future, since Romance readers prefer longer reads. Also, I get most of my royalties from Kindle Unlimited readers, and that’s really pennies when the work is shorter.

Johnny– Who or what is your inspiration? (Could be your favorite author, musician, or music), what makes you want to write?

Ava– To be honest, writing is in my blood, my breath, my everything. I have been a writer since a very early age and the only times when I don’t write, I am miserable. As for my inspiration, it’s J.K. Rowling. Even though it sounds cheesy, Harry Potter opened my eyes to the magic of world building and storytelling and I became a true fiction writer than. I started with fanfiction and slowly built up my confidence to come up with my own stories. And once I opened that well, OH BOY, I still get dozens of ideas every week…

Johnny– Give me a quick elevator pitch for “Kicking the Vow”.

Ava– Kicking the Vow is about a woman who is highly religious and who has taken a vow of chastity, but because of horrid circumstance, she has to go work in a brothel on another planet. There she meets the charismatic concubines Tanar and Crahain and the owner Seb, and suddenly, she doesn’t know what to do with herself!

Johnny– What are your plans for 2020?

Ava– I plan to release a story at least every fortnight, so I hope that 2020 will come with a bit more clarity. I want to experiment and perfect my marketing strategy, so I can reach more readers, and I would be very excited to write more series! I love some of the worlds I’ve created, and my readers love them, too, so the new year looks good indeed!

Johnny– That’s a pretty aggressive goal! Are you the person that needs to challenge themselves?

Ava– See, that’s a normal goal for me! I guess if I don’t go big, it’s just not me. If I’m not challenged, I’m bored… so that answers your question.

REVIEW

Twice as Nice: Alien Breeding Romance is a fast read that will take less than thirty minutes to consume.  Although short but sweet I found that what it lacks in volume it makes up for in creativity. Twice as Nice is also the first erotica book to be reviewed on this site.

No spoiler alert warning needed for this but do expect the heat 🔥 to rise while you are reading this book. Ava leaves nothing to the imagination, she also leaves nothing on the table.

Although short but sweet I can’t help but give Ava credit for originality and creativity. For that reason I’m giving this a thumbs up. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐HIGHLY RECOMMEND

This short story contains explicit sexual content, some may look as a disclaimer while other view it as a welcome sign, where-ever you reading preference I feel positive that there will be something in this book that you will like.

Support Indie authors: buy their books!


Here’s the link to use for Twice As Nice (it’s via booklinker):http://mybook.to/TwiceAsNice


Except GENESIS is an intergalactic brothel. And the more she works there with the charismatic owner, Seb, the flimsier her vows get.
In this short, steamy story, let’s follow Raya’s sexy transformation.
http://mybook.to/KickingtheVow

KICKING THE VOW
When Raya’s small planet is torn by war, she has to find a new place to live and work… and were it not for her vow of chastity, she would have been happy about finding work in GENESIS.

Follow Ava on Social Media

✌❤

Posted in CC Luckey, indie author, Random stuff about my blog, Uncategorized

THE DESERT IN THE GLASS

By: C.C. Luckey

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. -Jim Morrison

Johnny– Hi C.C. thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Straight out of the gate I want to ask, where did the idea for The Desert in the Glass come from?

CC- I love adventure stories. Reading a book set in a detailed fictional world feels like the best kind of vacation. I wanted to write a book that felt real, but integrated some believable fantasy elements featuring characters the reader could relate to. The Desert in the Glass is written for people who love to explore.

Johnny– I don’t think I’m giving to much away by asking this, but basically this book is made up of three different stories that come together to complete this novel. All three are good enough to be stand-alone works, how hard of a decision was it to use these three in one book? were they originally independent stories or stand-alone works?

CC- Part 1, Terata, was originally a novella. As soon as I finished, I knew there was more to be told. I love road movies and I wanted my book to have legs, which led to the second part, The Red Road to Vegas. Part 3, The Birdhouse Keeper, was the most personally difficult to write, yet my readers say it’s their favorite. I see each part as following not a story-line but rather the unique life of a person, and all three of those people are critical pillars of the book’s structure.

Johnny– Where on earth did you come up with the “event” that takes place in Part 2, The Red Road to Vegas? That was very creative!

CC- We’re very, very small in the universe. Infinitesimal. Sometimes I’m surprised these kinds of terrifying incidents don’t happen a lot more often. Best not to think about that too hard, perhaps.

Johnny– How hard was it to develop the characters for this book? You get really detailed about them as individuals, I really like that.

CC- My writing process generally involves a brief initial description of a scenario and world before even thinking about characters. Once I have that idea in my head—which could be stated in as little as a single sentence—I ask myself, who is the actor? This person could be old or young, male or female. Eventually, someone in my head raises their hand. Then I put myself in their shoes, and get moving.

Johnny– Which was the hardest character to create?

CC- The main character of Part 3 worried me a little because she is a mother, and I am not. That’s an experience you can’t really understand unless you have it yourself—no pretending. I had trouble with her until I fell in love with her daughter, and realized that was something we had in common. After that, I knew her well enough to write her.

Johnny– You did very well, I personally believed her to be genuine. Which of the three stories proved to be the most difficult to write?

CC- A couple sections of Part 3 made me cry. Is it arrogance to cry at your own writing? The story digs deep into neurological issues, which I based on my personal experiences as a caregiver for a brain damaged family member. 

Johnny– I don’t think it’s arrogance, it does say a lot about your passion, though. Let’s talk about the title for a moment, where did the name, ‘The Desert in the Glass’ come from?

CC- I knew from the start that I wanted time to be a constant theme of the book. There are many references to the counting of time in the book, from age differences between characters, whole sections set in different years throughout history, and the generally urgent pace. The other running theme of the book is the desert, which almost serves as a character itself. So, the book is an hourglass filled with desert sand, measuring the passage of time.

Johnny– How long did it take you to write this novel?

CC- I wrote Part 1 during a time when I was a caregiver for a family member. It was hard to hold down a regular job or any other commitments, so I turned to writing to keep me sane and give me an escape. The other two parts were written and edited over a period of just four months.

Johnny– Let’s talk about your writing process and habits, are you big on journaling? Do you start out writing by hand or digital all the way?

CC- I don’t do any personal journaling, but I always have pens and paper close at hand in case I have a lightning-flash idea that I need to record it right away. When I’m writing a story, I use a tablet and keyboard because my brain works faster than I can write by hand. I’m most comfortable typing because I’ve been using computers for writing since 1985. My father was an engineer so when I was a kid we always had the latest technology.

Johnny– Do you edit your work yourself?

CC- Yes, I do my own editing. I am protective of my work, yet I am a very strict taskmaster for myself. I read and re-read my work dozens of times, interspersed with breaks away from the manuscript and reading other authors’ books to clear my mind. If something doesn’t work in my story—if it doesn’t feel exactly right—I cut it and throw it away. And I’m crazy for grammar and spelling. I absolutely love editing, it’s my favorite part of writing. Sure, first drafts are fun and interesting and you never really know what’s going to happen. But when you edit, you really get to hone your craft, to take that raw material and make it glow. I feel little pride during my initial writing, but editing fills me with euphoria as I watch my story come to life.

Johnny– Does this love for editing help or hinder your ability or creativity while writing?

CC- It probably hinders it. It can be difficult to resist stopping and going back to double check the flow of the story, the quality of my sentences, and my grammar. Sometimes the frequent stops make for a better first draft, but it can also kick me out of my creative head-space. Drinking coffee helps, actually. It makes the story in my head play out in fast-forward, and if I stop typing, I won’t keep up and it will get away from me.

Johnny– If you were given the chance to go back and change any part of this book, regardless of how big or small, is there any part that you would change or alter?

CC- No. I’m not saying my work is perfect, of course. But every single step I take is forward, not back. And something that looks like a mistake to me may be an enlightenment to someone else, so I’ll let my work lay as it falls.

Johnny– Is there a bottom-line lesson to be learned from “The Desert in the Glass”?

CC- While my background is in philosophy, I try not to include overt morals in my adventure stories. But I do admit to a certain agenda; I love to feature characters in roles which may be surprising. A majority of my characters are female, but my writing is not romantic or “chick lit.” Not all of my characters are neurotypical, but my stories aren’t really about that. It’s okay for characters to be incidentally female, or unusual, or genius or broken in some way without the story being about that. And if the story ends up being about a normal typical guy, that’s okay, too. I write about regular people in irregular situations, and to me that means diversity without apology.

Johnny– I think you did an awesome job! Any chance you will be revisiting any characters or parts of this book in the future?

CC- No, The Desert in the Glass is a very self-contained story. But you’ll have to read to the end to find out why.

Johnny– What or who inspires you?

CC- I am in awe of the writers who have come before me, not because of what they’ve written but because of the circumstances under which they created their work. Writers are an odd bunch; they are compelled to create, perhaps even against their own will, like they have whole universes bouncing around in their heads that will burst out through their ears if not released through their fingertips. This process isn’t always fun or lucrative, but an impassioned writer doesn’t have any choice but to write—and, sometimes, drink to excess. I feel a kinship with the struggling writers who have come before me, and I hope to have the perseverance they did in sharing my stories with the world.

Johnny– Any particular writers you consider to be your favorite?

CC- Stephen King had a big effect on me when I was a teenager, not because of his horror themes but because of how he wrote his characters with such empathy even when he had little in common with them. I am also a big Richard Adams fan. But my favorite book of all time is actually by a very obscure author, Walter Wangerin Jr. He wrote a story in two books, The Book of the Dun Cow and The Book of Sorrows, which I highly recommend to pretty much everyone in the world. I’ve been known to buy copies of them at used book stores and randomly give them to friends.

Johnny– What can we expect next from C.C. Luckey?

CC- So many more adventures! I am just starting a massive multi-book series that will take readers on an epic journey to another world. I can’t wait to visit, myself. I’ll be the first one there, but I’ll be clearing the path and sending directions as soon as it’s ready to come visit.

Johnny– I cannot wait to see where your journey will take us C.C. I know one thing, it’s going to be great. Other than writing, what do you like to do for fun?

CC- I enjoy making miniature dioramas, like faux specimen jars and creepy scenes in tiny rooms where a crime has just taken place. I’m also very into video games, especially massive open-world RPGs.

Johnny– Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me! It has been a pleasure. Before we wrap this up is there any final thoughts or parting wisdom you’d like to share?

CC- It can take a long time to realize what you really want from life. The important thing is to keep trying until you find it, and don’t let anyone else tell you who you should be. For some people it’s creating a certain type of art, for others it’s having kids, and some people simply yearn for a return to nature. It can take decades to figure out where you fit in the world, and there’s no shame in learning late who you are. Just don’t give up until you figure it out.

Johnny– You are an awesome writer C.C. it has been an honor to visit with you.

CCThank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and my book!

REVIEW

I knew there was something special about CC Luckey when I read her book. Then in her opening line during our conversation she said “I love adventure stories.” Well, well, well, so, do I.

There is nothing that I didn’t like about this book. It’s an evocative adventure that beacons my soul to the dusty deserts of Nevada. I could almost feel the heat on my skin and the sun on my face as I read…

Divided into three sections each more beautiful and troubling than the next, I found it hard to pick a favorite. In the end it didn’t matter though, what happened was “The Desert in the Glass” tied together as neatly as a professionally tied bow around a beautifully wrapped box. A work of art.

If there was one thing that stood out about this book it would be this, the expressive narrative in which C.C. introduces her characters that she had created to star in this impressive tale. Vivid portrayal, well established cast and a plot that is as solid as a rock I found this book to be nothing more than remarkable.

I’m giving The Desert in the Glass five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on both Amazon and Goodreads. It’s an adventure, not just that, it’s creative, it’s fun and I found it to be addictive. I love it and highly recommend it.

Below you will find links to contact and follow CC Luckey on social media as well as links to buy her books. If you are a fan of adventure, macabre and the unexplained you will not be disappointed.

Buy her E-Books here

Visit C.C. on her website

www.ccluckey.com

follow c.c. luckey on social media

https://www.facebook.com/ccluckey/

paperback is only available directly from me right now because Amazon is refusing to stock it until after the holidays. I can be reached via my web site or twitter for paperback order C.C. Luckey

http://www.ccluckey.com/

https://www.amazon.com/C-C-Luckey/e/B082MT2KSM/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

✌❤

Posted in indie author, Random stuff about my blog, Uncategorized

My Summer Friend

By Ophelia Rue

In the midnight hour she cried more, more, more Billy Idol

My Summer Friend is a fast 60 page read that takes us into the life and struggles of a young man who also happens to be an introvert that is coping with the loss of his grandparent and a negligent mother.

Johnny– Hello Ophelia and thank you for taking the time to talk to me. This book covers a lot of relevant topics in the world today. What inspired you to write My Summer Friend?

Ophelia– My degrees are in Psychology and Education so I work with high school students with social/ emotional issues. I think it was a combination of that, and my own upbringing having been raised by a 19 year old single mother.

Johnny– You seem like a focused and driven individual; do you think being raised by a single mother made you a stronger person.

Ophelia– It meant a lot of time spent alone. She worked full time and earned her BA part time at night so I had a lot of time to think, to use imagination and form my own opinions. The solitude was positive in that regard but led to a pretty serious lack of social skills. We lived with my grandparents early on so she was gone before I would wake up and I was in bed before she got home. The one thing she stressed was that education was the only way to escape being poor so I was held to a pretty high standard in that regard, but once the pre-teen years hit, it become much more difficult to maintain the confidence necessary to do well in school when there are so many instabilities and inequities in your life.

Johnny– This book expresses (with what I believed to be) the misunderstanding of being an introvert. Was one of your goals to bring awareness to this personality facet?

Ophelia– Yes. I think introverts, especially young males, can struggle socially. People may assume introverts don’t like other people or are shy with poor coping mechanisms. At the same time, I think young introverts may assume extroverts are less introspective and shallow and it can be upsetting to them when extrovert’s traits are favored by society.

Johnny– How difficult was it for you to create your main character, Ed? What kind of homework did you have to do? (If any)

Ophelia– Ed came pretty naturally. I spent a few years after college working at a school for juvenile sex offenders and fire setters so he is a combination of me and some of my former students.

Johnny– Working with either of those groups sounds pretty intense. How intimidating was it to go to work there straight out of college?

Ophelia– It was pretty intense. You go through the restraint training and read their profiles as part of the orientation but nothing really prepares you. You need to just jump in and be willing to screw up and grow. It’s a lot of violence and sadness. You see the results of the cycle of abuse. It takes a toll on you. The two images that stick with me most from that time are my first restraint when this 16 year old kid was trying to injure himself by lying down and repeatedly banging his head really hard on the gym floor. We restrained him with two holding him down and another bracing his head so he couldn’t bang it while we tried to talk him down. He got so mad that he couldn’t move his head that he bit through his tongue and started spitting blood at us. I can still picture him vividly, laying on the floor laughing with all that blood in his teeth.

The other incident that sticks with me was when I was getting something out of one of the residences for the younger kids. It was empty because they were having a Christmas party in another building with the staff and a few of the parents that showed up. The rooms had no doors and I saw this little kid’s basketball trophy on his bureau and I couldn’t help but think, who did he show that to when he got it? I just stared at it for a while in this cold institutional room trying to stop crying so I could go back to work.

Johnny– Wow, that is intense. Your heart is in the right place and I praise you for that. Who is the villain in this book? When I first got into this, I was thinking his mom was a bad seed, in the end you changed my mind. Then I was thinking the rich kid, then society for always favoring the upper class, who do you consider to be the anti-hero?

Ophelia– I think if you had to choose a character to be the villain it would be Paul Wheeler because he acts purely out of self interest. The rich kid is as much a product of his environment as Ed. I see the main conflict in our society being between individuals and their own identity. People seem to establish whatever identity will result in the greatest social benefit within their peer group. This is why I think adolescence is so difficult and adults are so rigid when presented with information that challenges the basis of their identity. Any change to how you see yourself may have social implications. That is the one thing I have found that people cannot tolerate and leads to the creation of justifications that can become problematic. This is most obvious to me on the macro scale of the socio/political but starts with the establishment of individual identity within a person’s peer group. Social media exposes people to a wider variety of perspectives which may challenge beliefs and therefore identity, so I think things will be rocky on the macro before it settles down. These little shells of identity are cracking and the reaction is quite polarizing and intense.

Johnny – I totally agree with your comment of Paul Wheeler acting purely out of self-interest. It seems we see this too often unfolding out each time we turn on the news. Was this social observation done on purpose or did it just work out that way in your story?

Ophelia– It wasn’t intentional. The twist wasn’t even in the original outline. It came as I wrote it. I look for themes and layers when editing. For example, once that twist became part of the story I was able to go back and add all of the broken home imagery every time Ed went on a date with Elise, like the condemned house in the woods, broken lighthouse at the airport bar, dilapidated house in Newport, and burning house in Providence.

Johnny– On the back of your book cover, it reads: “This edgy novella is a modern American love story that offers a glimpse into the psyche of a disturbed young man.” Is he disturbed or misunderstood?

Ophelia– He is disturbed in the sense that the identity he has worked to establish when he is finally free of his past, becomes challenged when he returns home. He is misunderstood in that I don’t think he is acting in an abnormal way given the circumstances of his situation.

Johnny– You portray an attempted date rape situation on the beach. How hard was it for you to write that scene? (Good job btw, I don’t know why, but that was uncomfortable).

Ophelia– Thanks. I wrote it from a distance because I wanted to focus on Ed’s reaction to it. That part was difficult. What would it feel like to value someone so much that is taken for granted by another? I wanted to capture the sense of worthlessness and powerlessness.

Johnny– What are you wanting your readers to take away from this book?

Ophelia– Question your identity. How do your beliefs benefit you within the context of your immediate peer group? Have you established these beliefs purely for personal social benefit or because they are true? Are you willing to be vulnerable enough to change and grow? Can you incorporate that willingness to change and grow into your identity rather than live a comfortably dogmatic existence? Can you understand how identity functions in others and have the patience to help them grow rather than dismiss them entirely? Can you recognize when someone is not willing to change and disengage rather than engaging in pointless conflict to reinforce your own identity?

Johnny– Was Elise an obsession or a crush?

Ophelia– She is an obsession because she checks all the boxes for him. She is his only connection to society. She is attractive. She validates his rejection of society by crossing the lake. She also fills the void his mother left. This is why no one else compares to her in his mind.

Johnny– What advise do you have for unpublished authors who are trying to get started?

Ophelia Write like no one will ever read it.

Johnny– Ophelia I feel as though I’ve learned a lot from and about you, professionally, throughout our conversation, what do you like to do to for fun or to unwind?

Ophelia– I unwind with exercise, music and watching Patriots games.

Johnny– Thank you Ophelia for taking the time to talk with me, I really enjoyed My Summer Friend, I’m recommending it to everyone I know. Do you have any other books in the works?

Ophelia– Thanks Johnny, these are great questions. I appreciate the opportunity. I wrote a book called Something in the Water. It’s a book of short stories about other misfits that live around the lake from My Summer Friend. The stories all intertwine in subtle ways and have twist endings. Right now, I’m working on a novella named Exuvia which is related to the Something in the Water stories. It is about a photojournalist who enters the world of a group of young rich people under the guise of doing a story on them, but he has a hidden motive. I also released book three of my sci-fi series in June. Its title is The Infinite Eye, which is a sequel to Eclipse and Typhon. It is a dark sci-fi adventure similar to the tone of the Expanse or Culture series. They are all available on Amazon in ebook and paperback. I also have some hidden prizes on my website opheliarue.com

REVIEW

Ophelia has penned a story that is as beautiful as it is tragic. Ed’s reality comes to him through the lens of a telescope, it’s not until he’s forced to come out of his make-believe world that he meets the object of his desires face-to-face.

As you can read from our conversation, Ophelia defiantly knows what she’s talking about, she’s lived it, and she’s not afraid to talk about it. Written with a cynical styled cleverness, Ophelia has created a character deserving of both our admiration and pity.

I love this book and highly recommend it. Coming in at 60 pages it is a fast afternoon read that will satisfy while indulging your reading desires.


I’m giving My Summer Friend five stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ on both Goodreads and Amazon. It’s gritty, raw, and it’s real. I LOVE IT!

Maybe there is a little of Ed in all of us, maybe that’s whats drawn me in, mental health is a real world issue, it’s not going away no matter how hard we try to ignore it. Thank you Ophelia, for allowing us to see the world through your MAGNIFICENT eyes.


If you haven’t read it you should. Ophelia is defiantly an author that I WANT read again.

FOLLOW OPHELIA ON TWITTER

https://twitter.com/opheliarue1?lang=en

Be sure to check these other books by Ophelia.

Amazon

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Posted in Lois Snelling, Random stuff about my blog, Uncategorized

Lois Snelling

Mysterious Author

As a kid growing up in the 70’s I lived next door to a witch. Let me rephrase that, I believed my family and I lived next door to a witch.

Growing up in Rogers Arkansas during the 70’s probably wasn’t much different then growing up in another small town in America. Walmart was still in its development stage so downtown was full of mom and pop shops, there was four elementary schools, two junior highs, and one high school.

Wal-Mart Store 1 Rogers, Arkansas

Lake Atlanta housed the town swimming pool. It cost fifty cents to enter, it opened at eleven o’clock everyday and was “the place to be” during the summer. Across the lane from the pool sat Lake Atlanta Skating Rink. It to cost fifty cents to enter, if you needed to rent skates you could for an additional twenty-five cents.

Lake Atlanta Pool

During the summer months the skating rink was usually abandoned so the owner had installed a miniature golf course next door, he would also rent the skating rink out for dances, wedding receptions, etc. during this down time. During the school year the place was filled to capacity every Friday and Saturday night. It was another the place to be”.

Hopping with the latest 70’s fashion the patrons of this fine establishment wore the latest rock-band T’s or flashy disco shirts, along with Levi jeans, and feathered hair doo’s, Oh yeah, fashion was on parade at Lake Atlanta Skating Rink. Of course, the cooler you looked on skates determined your level of popularity, and if you skated or sat out during couples skate.

Lake Atlanta at time of construction , the skating rink is the building on the right.

The place was owned by a guy named Dennis. He was typical seventies. A skinny white guy, permed Afro, bell bottom slacks, satin shirt the was unbuttoned down almost to his mid stomach and shiny half boots that zipped on the side. He was cool! Dennis drove an awesome Stingray Corvette and was the envy of every adolescent male youth that hung around his establishment. I think he use to date my aunt Connie when they were in high school, he always asked about her.

We lived in a dry county so the only drinking night life for adults happened at a privately-owned spot in Rogers called The Anchor Club.

Rogers Arkansas was the typical bible belt town.

Everyone went to church on Sunday morning, if you didn’t you were a heathen. Our town had our share of heathen also, of course, I thought they were cool.

OH, THE HUMANITY

If you were male and between the ages of twelve and eighteen (or the youngest male that fell in between those ages, congratulations, you were that families designated lawn mower.

Lawns were to be mowed once a week, if you were creative enough there was always a couple of lawns on your block that was needing to be mowed, easy pickins for the up-and-coming entrepreneurs, they could rake in an extra three to five bucks per yard to fund his summer time goings-on. ✌

My families next-door neighbor had lived in an old rickety small white house that set on the corner of Nineteenth and Oak Street, her yard was thick with dense bushes, scraggly trees with very little little room left for a lawn, everything was overgrown and the place oozed with creepiness. This was where the neighborhood “witch” lived, her name was Lois Snelling.

She was a witch, we had evidence. She was old, had white wiry hair, she never looked or talked to any of the neighborhood kids, she didn’t have a car, she never went anywhere and no one ever came to see her. Need more proof, she didn’t go to church on Sunday, such Witchcraft.

Lois Snelling wasn’t a witch; she was however a bit of a recluse, or so she seemed, she lived next door to her sister and brother-in-law, (happens more than you think) they had lived on the corner of Oak Street and New Hope Road. This explains a few things, I later learned they would all go to town and do their shopping together and that Lois was active in the community and contributed to the local newspaper.

You see, Lois Snelling was a published author. She had written ten books mostly mystery, a few non-fictions, one of them was a biography of a colorful local founder by the name of William HopeCoin” Harvey. My school librarian had once told me that her books had been published in at least six different languages.

Lois Snelling

Oh, the lost opportunity to talk to such a person. The stories she could have told. In 1980 Lois Snelling had donated to the University of Arkansas thirty-six research items she used to write Harvey’s biography.

Not a lot is known about Lois nowadays, but I want to change that.

Newspaper clipping Rogers Daily News

I’m looking for her books, scouring the internet to learn more about this forgotten character, that has forever, been etched into my mind.

I owe that to her.

To be continued…..

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Posted in Random stuff about my blog, Uncategorized

Why I’m here

Hi! My name is Johnny and this is my first post.

I live in NW Arkansas with my wife Jody and our three dogs: Chrysler, Dodge (both rescued Yorkie’s) and King (the spoiled German Shepherd).

Why am I here? Great question and I’m glad you asked, I’m here to meet and get to know Indie authors, spotlight them, their work and hopefully introduce some people to some great writers, read a few book, share some laughs🤣, you know….have fun.

So smile for a while and lets be jolly😜

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Each week a new Indie writer will be spotlighted. During our conversation my goal is to learn as much as possible about them. I want to know what makes them tick, what motivates them to do what they do, what processes and tips they might want to share and any advice they might have to help others up and coming indies headed down the same path they have already traveled.

My hope is that you will stick around and come back to meet some great people, who knows the next writer you meet might be your new favorite…

Meet a Writer Read a Book

Welp that’s it, my first post, 🎉 and since I don’t know what the hell I’m doing I’m going to bounce. ✌❤

Please feel free to hit me up on Twitter or drop me an email

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