SittieCates

SittieCates has been writing for more than ten years. She has covered topics about health, travel, recipes, writing, family, children and many more.  The author of Sleepyhead? NOT!, 13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry and Prose and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You,  she is currently working as a freelance writer.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Cates.

Cates photo2SittieCates: SittieCates is my virtual pseudonym. My real name is Jacqueline, which I mostly prefer my family, old friends and relatives to use. Most of my friends call me Cates. Online, a lot of people call me Sittie. I prefer having my pseudonym, “SittieCates”, written without a space to denote oneness or balance.

I have worked for traditional publishing firms as a Writer and Editor. I also taught English to Filipinos at a local school. I’ve handled students from Grades 3 up to 4th year High School. I was the Guidance Counselor and the Head of the English Department. Aside from those jobs I had at that school, I was also the adviser for the school publication and was in charge of the Theatre Guild.

After a few years, I became an ESL teacher for Koreans. Then, I had an offer at another publishing firm so I went back to writing and editing.

In between those full-time jobs, I tried to squeeze in time to engage in writing the stories that I love; not the articles that I usually spin at work. I’ve managed to publish a poem, a few short stories for kids and some articles in other local magazines published by other publishing firms. While my aim was to write about topics I really love in snippets of time available, I have to admit that there were lots of times when I was too tired to engage in that because of my hectic work schedules. You see, whenever I came home, all I wanted to do was collapse on my bed and pray that I would have a restful sleep so I could function well the next day.

When did the writing bug bite?

SittieCates: I’ve always wanted to write. My parents and siblings would scold me because I would write everywhere. They particularly hated it when I would write on the walls. It looked really messy, but all those scribbles were, in a way, special, because they held dozens of stories only I could understand.

I wrote my very first “nearly legible and more understandable” story when I was in kindergarten. It was part of an assignment. There was a blank page for that in the book, and we were tasked to write a story. We were encouraged to draw the characters, too.

So, I peppered the page with stick figures, the only drawings I could muster. J And I wrote a very, very short story about three girls who always wanted to sing. And when I say short, I really mean short because I only used a few sentences. The title was written as one word; it included all three names of the little girls in the story.

What particular genre/s do you prefer?

SittieCates: For the genre, I seem to gravitate more towards children’s stories. I published two ebooks for kids. One is Sleepyhead? NOT! and the other is Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You. I have a third one that’s already with my illustrator. It’s about learning colors. It’s perfect for kids aged 3 to 5, but younger and older ones up to 8 would also love it.

I also love poetry. I’ve compiled a few of my poems and published them together with some essays in my ebook, 13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry & Prose. The ebook is inspirational and autobiographical. If you read it, you’ll get to know a few things about me. I’ve created an ebook trailer for this at: http://youtu.be/31TfRehsfSU. One of my favorite poetry lines that I’ve written in the ebook includes this one: “In the evenings when the wind speaks softly in my ear… When the stars give out a shine so enchantingly clear… When the soft beams of moonlight leave a trail of shadows in sight… I listen to the sweet, melodious sound of your voice at night.”

What other genre/s are you interested in venturing in?

SittieCates: I have a novel. Currently, I’m polishing that one. It’s my first novel and it’s a romance story, but there’s a little bit of twist there. J I’ll just announce that when it’s ready.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

SittieCates: That’s a good question, Shelagh. When I started writing, just like most authors, I wanted to share my works with a lot of readers. I wanted my works to be read and, hopefully, bring something helpful, amusing or inspiring to the readers – whether the story is for kids or for grown-ups. I truly wanted to give my readers that experience. Even though they may not always have a smile on their faces after reading what I’ve written, I wanted them to feel satisfied or complete, with nary a nagging and confusing thought bothering them afterwards when they close the book.

How do you develop characters?

SittieCates: I’m a people watcher. I observe people of different ages, professions, etc. I’ve been doing that since I was like 6 or 7 years old. It was just like a game before.

People may think I’m naturally talkative. But I’m only like that online. In person, I’m often what you may refer to as “unusually quiet”, especially when there are so many people around. It’s not that I’m a snob, but I merely prefer to observe people and things around me. That is if my nose isn’t buried in a book.

Often, I listen to how people talk. I take note of how they carry themselves, what clothes they prefer to wear, their mannerisms and other things. I also try to feel the underlying messages that their statements try not to reveal because, as I’ve observed, there are some who would tell you one thing but mean another thing, and I could somehow feel and notice that even if they try really hard to keep that to themselves.

It’s amusing to observe people because I feel that by doing this, I would be able to create the possible lead characters and antagonists of the story, sort of like getting inside their heads and seeing how they think. In real life, I try to capture all that. I try to incorporate these things in my stories so it would adopt a “real” atmosphere, especially in my upcoming novel. (Other character sketches I’ve had are kept in a notebook and I’ll be using those next time.)

What about the setting?

SittieCates: When I created the story setting for my upcoming romance novel, Bookworm, I had to struggle for awhile. I was trying to decide if a serious mood would be best or not. With regards to where and what time the story would take place, I chose what I knew, what I was familiar with, and injected that in the novel. Hopefully, the readers would love it.

Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?

SittieCates: For most of the articles I’ve written, I would say that I’d go for the first-person POV.

But with stories, I try to experiment. I used both the first-person and third-person POV for my stories for kids. Sleepyhead? Not! was written using the third-person POV while Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You used the first person.

However, for my upcoming novel, things are totally different. It’s not going to use any of the POVs normally used in writing novels. I wanted to try something else. So, I decided to use a different approach, which you’ll all see when my novel will be published. And I sincerely hope you would all wait for that.

How does your environment or immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues color your writing?

SittieCates: I find that a part of me seems to come out – regardless of whatever I create (poems, songs, articles, stories, etc.). It may be about the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had or the experiences that I knew someone had.

Sometimes, I find that helpful. Other times, no, because when I’m faced with a certain character, and I see that character as someone I know, it wouldn’t help the tale at all, especially if something happens in the story. What I mean is that being the real person that that character is, when he or she is faced with a dilemma, obviously, he or she would do the same thing that his or her character’s “real” counterpart would do. When that happens, all creative juices would be blocked, and that wouldn’t contribute well to the story because I wouldn’t know what else to write. As you can see, for me, when that story character thinks, feels and behaves like the real-life counterpart, that’s the end of the story. You can’t move past that because you would say that the real person wouldn’t behave, feel or think as such. So, there’s no more ideas coming in. You’re blocked! I’ve encountered that when I was writing the first few drafts of Bookworm. It was really hard to move beyond that. So, I changed the story a bit, and tried to see a story character as not being totally similar to a real-life counterpart.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve had.

13th_Breath_Book_Cover_1563x2500SittieCates: Delighted to do so, Shelagh! Some of the links for the book reviews I’ve received for 13th Breath: A Collection of Poetry & Prose” and “Sleepyhead? NOT! are at the tab marked as “Book Reviews Written by Others for My Works” at my two blogs.

I also loved this one that was posted on a retail site. It was for one of my ebooks for kids, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You. It reads:

“A wonderful and delightful story, adorably illustrated, about a little girl’s faith and innocence as she starts understanding about change and learning to love her baby brother. Well done! Five stars all the way (the stars seem to be missing on this review). My child loved it, too!” ~ Patrick Heffernan, Author of Greywalker, a novel

Could you tell us more about your current book bundle promo for kids?

SittieCates: I’d love to, Shelagh!

The Sittie Case Book Bundle_SittieCatesAs I’ve mentioned earlier, I have published two ebooks for kids that are up at Amazon (at http://amzn.to/1dTolwE) and other retailers, priced and sold individually. These two are included in a book bundle at http://flipreads.com/sittie-bundle. The bundle, Sittie CASE, is offered at a very, very low price until January 31, 2014 only.

To give interested readers an idea of the children’s stories included in the bundle, here are the descriptions for both:

Sleepyhead? NOT!
Mabel Robbins is a bright, sweet and cheerful kid who likes to play make-believe. She faces no trouble during the day. But when nighttime comes, her problem begins. She couldn’t sleep easily like the rest of her family. Thinking that she is different, she seeks help to correct her sleeping problem.

But nothing seems to go right!

Will Mabel Robbins be able to find the “right” way to sleep easily? Find out now at Sleepyhead? NOT!

Sleepyhead? NOT! children’s ebook trailer can be seen at YouTube.

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You
When Kaitlyn Zamorra learned to write letters to God from her parents, she started telling Him everything: the things that she likes and what she considers to be “no fun” at all. She also told God about a precious gift that was lots of fun. But then, something happened. Her source of happiness seemed like it was going to be taken away from her.

Will she be able to save something that gave her lots of happiness? Or will Kaitlyn soon realize what’s truly “lots of fun”?

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Kaitlyn Zamorra, Smiling at You Children’s ebook trailer is at YouTube.

While the denomination there is in Philippine Pesos, interested buyers can avail of it in dollars by choosing Paypal as a mode of payment. I would suggest that readers check the FAQ at the site to know more about the file reading formats before they purchase and download the bundle.

Since it’s my first time to have a book bundle, I thought of celebrating it while the promo was running. So, I created a worldwide event on Google Plus. But not everyone could join. So, I transferred the event to Facebook, invited some friends and encouraged them to invite others. The Facebook party, which I named, ♥ The Sittie CASE Book Bundle Party  has already started, and would end by January 31. Others can still join the event if they like, provided that they do so before the last day of January.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

SittieCates: People can follow me in a number of ways:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SittieCates

My Blogs: http://www.myownwritersnook.blogspot.com and http://www.sittiecateslovestories.blogspot.com

Facebook Pages: https://www.facebook.com/TheMusingsofaHopefulPecuniousWordsmith and https://www.facebook.com/SittieCatesLovesStories

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/114470887211929135419

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7415659.SittieCates.

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/sittiecates

Thank you for joining us today, Cates.

SittieCates: Thank you so much, Shelagh! I really enjoyed the interview. All the best to you and your site! And happy holidays to everyone! J

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Anamika Mishra

The young author, Anamika Mishra, was born and raised in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (known as the Manchester of North India). She is presently working as a writer for several communities and websites.  Her debut novel, Too Hard to Handle, was released in July this year.

Hi Anamika, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

AnamikaAnamika: My name is Anamika Mishra. Writing is my first love, second is travelling and photography. I have done Bachelors in Computer Applications and Masters in Journalism & Mass Communication. Too Hard to Handle is my debut novel. I am highly spiritual and believe in miracles. I am an animal-lover too, especially dogs. I am an active member of ‘People For Animals’ NGO, in India. I love interacting with people from all across the world and inspire them to live with a positive perception.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Anamika: Well, I remember when I was in class six while reading Heide by Johanna Spyri, I went near my mom and said that I want to write a novel just like this one. I think that was the time when I was being bitten by a writing bug. General fiction and fantasy are my kind of genres.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Anamika: I have a dream to write at least one novel of each genre. Readers, please keep on supporting my goal and I promise I won’t let anyone’s expectations down.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Too Hard to HandleAnamika: Too Hard to Handle is a stand-alone novel. It is about a girl named Anushree, who is happy-go-lucky in nature. It is about what a common girl faces during her college and school life, series of misunderstandings, betrayal from friends, innocent crushes, stupid decisions etc. till she finds the love of her life. It is also about how fate turns up out of the blue and changes one’s life forever.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Anamika: I first try to decide how the lead character would be and then I create the plot and other characters accordingly.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Anamika: Vivaan. He is a ‘Mr. Perfect’ kind of a guy. People, especially girls, would love him for his small, lovely and romantic surprises, his behavior and his personality.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Anamika: No. I don’t have any specific technique to maintain the course of the plot. I like keeping it simple and try to maintain the interest by adding some ‘wow’ and ‘aww’ moments in it.

Share the best review that you’ve ever had.

Anamika: Best review was given to me by my mother, she said “this story is really inspiring and she never thought that I would be able to write such a deep and intriguing story. I am really proud of you.” And she hugged me tightly.

What are your current projects?

Anamika: I am presently working on my second novel.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Anamika: All folks can directly connect with me on twitter ( www.twitter.com/anamikawrites ) which I think is the easiest way or on facebook ( www.facebook.com/anamika.mishraa ) or they can get in touch by sending an e-mail to me on mail@anamikamishra.com . I shall be highly obliged in hearing something from all the readers.

Thank you for joining us today, Anamika.

Anamika: Thanks for the questions.

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Debra R. Borys

Debra R. Borys has over ten years freelancing experience ranging from fiction to articles, feature stories, press releases and radio spots. I interviewed Debra last year on Literature & Fiction. She has joined us today to talk about her latest novel, Bend Me, Shape Me.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Debra.

Debra BorysDebra: I recently returned to small town Illinois to be closer to family, but I spent over fifteen years living in Chicago and then Seattle where I volunteered with organizations that offer services to homeless youth and adults.  Getting to know people who live on the streets struggling to survive changed the way I think of them and  sparked an interest in creating my Street Stories suspense series.

I have been a serious writer all of my adult life and have had several short stories published in addition to the first novel in the Stories series, Painted Black.  I operate an on-again/off-again freelance writing and editing business that helps fill in my time and pay a few bills.  I have two grown sons and an adorable mixed breed small dog named Sophie who enjoys keeping me company by the computer.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Debra: With the Street Stories series I wanted to create an awareness of the people who are homeless.  Too often we walk by without looking at the person standing on the street corner or if we do notice we jump to negative conclusions about who that person is.  There are a wide variety of people living on the streets and they all have different stories to tell.  While the stories in my novels are fiction, they are based on reality.  If you find my characters interesting, I guarantee you will find the real people you can meet on the street or at the shelters even more enjoyable and surprising.

Briefly tell us about your latest book.

bend-me-beta-finalDebra: In Bend Me, Shape Me, Snow Ramirez is convinced psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide and is targeting her brother as his next victim. But no one will listen to a seventeen-year-old street kid, especially one diagnosed as bi-polar.  When her squat mate Blitz slits his own throat in front of her, she knows it’s time to convince someone to trust her instincts.

Once again, reporter Jo Sullivan finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth.  Helping out kids less fortunate than herself keeps her mind off her conflicted feelings toward her father and his battle with lung cancer.  To save Snow, however, she risks her own life in an unexpected twist of events.

What’s the hook for the book?

Debra: My plots are inspired by real life news stories.  For Bend Me, Shape Me an article about a family suing their son’s psychiatrist planted the germ of an idea.  Their autistic son had been exhibiting violent and dangerous behavior after beginning treatment and because the family insisted on further investigation, the police discovered the doctor was actually a paranoid schizophrenic who planned to brainwash his patients into becoming his own private security force.  I simply asked myself “What if?”  What if the patient had no family, no one who cared what happened to him?  What might the end result have been?  For me, the end result was this book.

How do you develop characters?

Debra: The street characters in the series are inspired by the people I met on the streets of Chicago. In some cases, they are loosely based on specific encounters I had, or may be composites of people My protagonist Jo Sullivan is much more negative and dark than I am, but she shares the same concern for helping the homeless and has a thing for tequila, like me.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Debra: People will be able to identify with Jo the easiest, simply because she is the more “normal” character in the way she thinks.  What’s more, she cares and her caring draws the reader into that same emotion. But it is Snow who seems to grab the most attention from readers.  As one reviewer put it: “Snow is strong, brave, troubled and incredibly fierce.  Watching her open up and trust was profound.”  “Snow is a powerful character who has been a part of too much darkness for a girl of eighteen. She is street wise and has spent her youth protecting her brother Alley and drowning her sorrow in pills.”

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Debra: For this book I started using Microsoft’s OneNote to keep track of plot, characters and research.  I created a notebook for the series and then created tabs that will relate to all books in the series, such as Characters, Locations, Research, etc.  Each tab can have many pages; for instance, each character has his or her own page where I can keep track of their traits and background stories.  The tabs can also be grouped into sections, so I create a section for each novel with one page for each chapter where I summarize what is to happen and also record notes and checkpoints I want to remember to go back and look at later.  You can create multiple notebooks for projects and I have begun one for a new cozy mystery series I am working on currently.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Debra: I’ve been very pleased with the reviews of Bend Me, Shape Me so far.  The review excerpts posted below are typical of what’s been said across the board

“Borys offers fascinating characters, a look at inner city homeless children and combines it with a suspenseful mystery that kept me flipping the pages….The pace slowly built towards the climatic conclusion keeping me engaged. Borys did an excellent job of bringing all of the threads together.” — via Caffeinated Book Reviewer

“True to Borys style you get a very surreal feeling of what life on the streets is really like. It’s gritty, dirty, frightening, and cold. She portrays this life effortlessly, and before long you’re pulled into this harsh life these kids live. The plot moves along at a good pace throughout the story, slowing and spiking at just the right points, and the characters are fleshed out so well that you immediately feel a connection to them – even if you’ve never lived the same kind of life.” — via Darian Wilk.

“The author uses vivid imagery that will stay with the reader, and may even haunt you a little when you’re done reading. These books have definitely caught my attention and I can’t wait to see what comes next.” — via Jenn’s Review Blog

What are your current projects?

Debra: Because I recently moved back to small town Illinois where I was raised, and also to do something a little lighter in tone, I am writing a cozy mystery which I hope will turn into a series.  The title is A Bull By The Horns and in it a country wife who is the caretaker of an art colony established on a working farm tries to solve the murder of a famous literary writer.  Or is he?  Suspects include a painter, composer, poet and mystery author, as well as an irascible old neighbor upset at the establishment of such an “artsy, fartsy” community a mere five miles from his doorstep.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Debra: Details and news are always available at my websites: http://www.Debra-R-Borys.com and http://www.StreetStoriesSuspenseNovels.com.

I also have sites set up for each book where you can read the reviews and any news about events: www.BendMeShapeMe.net  and www.PaintedBlackNovel.com .

You can walk into your local bookstore and ask them to order you a copy of either book. If you prefer online shopping, both print and ebooks are available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, and ebooks can be also purchased at Kobo.com

Thanks for joining us today, Debra.

Debra Thank you for this chance to share my work with your readers again.

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Frank Fiore

Frank Fiore is a bestselling author with more than 50,000 copies of his non-fiction books in print. He has now turned his talents to writing fiction. His first novel is the five star rated cyber-thriller titled Cyberkill. This was followed up with the five star rated three book series titled the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash. His latest work is a book of speculative and Sci-Fi short stories titled The Oracle.

Please tell everyone a little about yourself, Frank.

FrankFrank: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I wrote “To Christopher” under the guise of a book to my young son that leads the reader through social commentary, personal experience and entertaining stories, which take the reader on a thoughtful journey through the challenges and opportunities facing the next generation. My writing experience also includes guest columns on social commentary and future trends published in the Arizona Republic and the Tribune papers in the metro Phoenix area. Through my writings, I’ve shown an ability to explain, in a simplified manner, complex issues and trends.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Frank: In high school. I started a novel but never finished it. Then one summer while in college I did finish a complete Sci-Fi novel. I still have it. It was derivative and not very good.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish? Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Frank: Number one – I want to be a noted author with a following. Not get rich, necessarily – which would be nice – but to know that what I have written has entertained my readers and perhaps informed them at the same time.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

The OracleFrank: It’s called The Oracle and consists of a series of short stories tied together by means of a background story – a story within a story (similar to Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man). And like the Jeffrey Archer and Twilight Zone stories, the Oracle short stories are written with surprise endings.

The background story begins with a young musician on his way to Phoenix from Los Angles for a concert. He is given a car by his manager and shortly after entering Arizona it breaks down. Out in the middle of nowhere he decides to hitch a ride to the nearest town for help. While waiting for a ride, the weather turns inclement and he seeks refuge at a ranch house inhabited by an old and lonely couple. They invite him in and persuade him to stay for dinner.

After eating, they retire to the living room. After a while, the old woman offers to show their guest some of their three dimensional slides on their old-time stereoscope.

Being polite, the young man decides to endure the request. His hosts carefully remove a set of slides from a shiny metallic box from under the coffee table and place the first one in the stereoscope’s viewer. They instruct the young man to hold the stereoscope up to the living room lamp and focus it towards the viewer.When the viewer is focused and the light hits the slide, something amazing happens.

The still 3D image begins to move!

The first image he sees tells a tale that happens to be one of the short stories in the series. At the end of the first story, the young man turns to question his hosts on this wonderfully strange device. The couple just smile and offer him another slide. He asks again what the device is and where did it come from. The couple respond that the device is an ordinary stereoscope of the early 1900s that they purchased from a Sears catalog many years ago.

But the slides – ah yes, the slides. That’s another matter indeed.

What’s the hook for the book?

Frank: The main overall story and the all the short stories end in a twist – like the old Twilight Zone episodes. Some stories are meant to shock while others are whimsical. Either way, the endings are not predictable.

Do you have mental list or a computer file or a spiral notebook with the ideas for or outlines of stories that you have not written but intend to one day?

Frank: Many years ago, I started collecting ideas for my novels. I created file folders for each proposed story I would write. As I found any and all material that fit the story line, I would drop it into the assigned folder. This would include websites, books, news items, magazine articles, videos, etc. etc.  This process has worked well for me in helping develop my stories.

How many stories do you currently have swirling around in your head?

Frank: I’ve completed five novels and currently doing research on a sixth novel. I have at least three more in the hopper.

Which is more important to your story, character or plot?

Frank: Plot. Plot. Plot. Without plot characters have nothing to do. Plot first then develop characters to drive the plot. And in the process, SHOW don’t TELL.

Who gave you the best writing advice you ever received and what was it?

Frank: A fellow popular author colleague of mine. Write, write and write. Create a back list of books. If one takes off, readers will flock to your other books. The more books you have in the marketplace the better return on your writing time when your first book becomes popular. Then Tom Clancy – yeah, that Tom Clancy – told me to don’t suffer over a book. Complete and go on to the next one.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Frank: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. A Brooklyn boy gets right to the point and in a way that communicates quickly and efficiently.  You would know this if you ever spend time around New Yorkers. So that’s how I write. Conversationally without long boring narratives. If you want a quick entertaining read, then the The Oracle fits that bill.

Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Frank: This is for the Chronicles of Jeremy Nash.

 “I read Frank’s Jeremy Nash trilogy on the beach in Mexico over Christmas vacation. It was perfect. The characters were believable, the plot kept you guessing, the twists were surprising, and the action kept you turning the pages. All the books were a terrific read, written in a style that just keeps your eye moving and your imagination seeing what’s going on. Now I’m waiting for Nash’s next adventure.”

What are your current projects?

Frank: I’ve just finished my fifth novel. It’s called Murran. I expect this to be my breakthrough novel because it is steeped in politically incorrect controversy. It is getting very good reviews from my beta readers.

Murran is the story of a young African-American boy named Trey coming of age in the 1980s, and his rite of passage to adulthood. Trey is a member of a ‘crew’ in Brooklyn and is enticed into helping a violent drug gang. He is eventually framed for murder and flees with his high school teacher to his Maasai village in Kenya. There, Trey learns what a true Black African and African culture is, goes through the Maasai warrior’s rite of passage, becomes a young shaman, and returns to America to confront the gang leader that framed him.

Where can people learn more about your books?

Frank: Check out my author website at www.frankfiore.com and my blog at http://frankfiore.wordpress.com/

Thank you for joining us today, Frank.

Frank: Thanks for the opportunity.

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Press Release: The Pool Boy’s Beatitude

D. J. Swykert, the author of novels including Alpha WolvesChildren of the Enemy, and the award winning novel, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington, was interviewed on Literature and Fiction earlier this year.

He’s here today to talk about the release of his latest  book, The Pool Boy’s Beatitude.

poolboysD. J.: Like my character, Jack, I have always been attracted to the great mysteries of life. While Quantum Mechanics continues to search for a Theory of Everything, so have I. And I can write with authority about addiction, rehabilitation and jail. If you add the desire for a real and loving relationship into the equation you come up with the story of The Pool Boy’s Beatitude. Though it is fiction, it’s perhaps the most cathartic piece of writing I have ever produced. Not only does Jack discover anomalies to the large physical world we exist in, but also poignant truths about his own personal little universe.

In his search for the God particle Jack Joseph has lost control of the most important particle of existence, himself. Jack’s intellect may have expanded at the speed of light, but his emotional development is mired in the darkness of addiction. Without change Jack is accelerating towards a personal collision that would render his interest in the cosmic one irrelevant.

Jack is a drop-out physicist cleaning swimming pools to support a lifestyle of addiction and detachment. He has a wife divorcing him, a wealthy woman seducing him and the justice system convicting him. Jack’s personal cosmos is spiraling out of control. When he meets Sarah his universe further expands. The Gravitational Constant he studied at university lacked the velocity with which their galaxies rushed toward one another. It was a life changing Big Bang. A new and brighter Jack was created and he found his supreme happiness. But there was a lot of space junk in the form of addiction and legal consequences standing in the way of his pool boy quest toward bliss.

This is a brief excerpt from the book:

            I believe God thinks in numbers. Most of what I know best can be described with an equation, numbers predicting an outcome, relating the position, velocity, acceleration and various forces acting on a body of mass, and state this relationship as a function of time. And isn’t that what we are, what everything is: accelerated particles in space time.

And this velocity of motion is what creates gravity and holds everything together. But what creates the motion? I think about this shit all the time. Until I feel like I only know one thing: nothing.

I sat out on the grass and opened a bottle of Mad Dog 20-20. Drank it to the bottom, sucked it in like a black hole swallowing light. Alcohol goes through the brain in stages, first the cerebral cortex, the thinking brain. A friendlier, more daring person emerges, and becomes ever more creative, imaginative, as the drug continues deeper into the brain. Last to go is the limbic brain. That’s when you go numb.

I got ultimate this night, left the past, present, and flew into my future. It was brilliant, until in the morning, when I stared into the eyes of a cop. I realized I had evolved, I was homeless. Passed out on the lawn I had merged my present into my future and lost the past. I had become what I refused to change. There are no corners in a round expanding infinite universe. But I had turned one.

The Pool Boy’s Beatitude can be ordered at bookstores or purchased direct at:

http://rebelepublishers.com/

http://www.amazon.com/

www.magicmasterminds.com

David SiguertDJ Swykert is a former 911 operator. His work has appeared in The Tampa Review, Detroit News, Monarch Review, Lunch Ticket, Zodiac Review, Barbaric Yawp and Bull. His books include Children of the Enemy, Alpha Wolves, Maggie Elizabeth Harrington and The Death of Anyone. You can find him at: www.magicmasterminds.com. He is a wolf expert.

 

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Short Story Revival: True or False?

“… There’s something unsaid, a dread in the air. … And so there it was said, floating up and around in the atmosphere with all the delicious aromas, the superficial chatter and the sounds of cars making their way back into the city for the long work week.” Lori M. Myers Cooking in a Room with Strangers

Fact or fantasy, true or false, is the revival of the short story due in part to the easy access to e-books for reading on a tablet or smartphone? Or is this just a myth? According to Laura Miller, the short story boom is bogus. In response to the New York Times article, Good Fit for Today’s Little Screens: Short Stories, Laura says, “Still, the idea that such programs have led to renewed general interest in reading short stories is, like much of the Times article, speculative and fueled by wishful thinking.” She expands on this here: Sorry the Short Story Boom Is Bogus

The “wishful thinking” comment led me to do some research – it’s what I do, and I didn’t even need to Google; I went straight to Amazon’s bestsellers’ list. I compared Short Stories with the Romance, Fantasy and Science Fiction genres. I also looked at the list of Fiction Classics. You can draw your own conclusions from the results.

Compared to the most popular genre, Romance, short stories are way behind (the #100 bestseller in the Romance genre is ranked higher overall than the #1 bestseller in short stories), but compared with Fantasy and Sci-Fi and, especially, Fiction Classics, short stories do much better as shown in the table below:

Genre

Bestseller List

Overall ranking (Paid in Kindle Store)

Short Stories

#1

#261

Romance

#100

#231

Fantasy

#14

#260

Science Fiction

#12

#259

Fiction Classics

#4, #5

#196,  #531

The #1 bestseller in the Romance genre was overall #1 bestseller on Kindle, and even the #100 bestseller in Romance (#231 overall ranking) ranked higher than the #1 bestseller in the Short Stories category (#261 overall ranking). Romance lived up to its reputation and came out well on top.

However, in the Fantasy bestsellers list, only fourteen books (fourteenth book ranked #260 overall) ranked higher than the top ranked book in Short Stories. Similarly, only twelve books (twelfth book ranked #259 overall) performed better in the Science Fiction genre.

Compared with Fiction Classics, short stories performed well – only four books (fourth book ranked #196 overall, fifth book ranked #531 overall) in the Fiction Classics list ranked higher than the top ranked book in Short Stories.

The evidence suggests that, apart from Romance, short stories in e-book format are now on a par with other popular genres. Readers seem to enjoy the variety that short stories offer interspersed among their favorite authors and books. One reason for this might be that a short story can be read in the space of a bus ride or train journey, especially with all the new forms of electronic reading devices and the increasing number of online e-book retailers.

This revival of the short story in electronic format has created an opportunity for writers that might not have presented itself otherwise. Many new and exciting writers are keen to reach out to readers by providing them with stories that entertain and enthrall. The demand from readers is there and authors are matching it.

FrontThe opening quote above is from the talented writer, Lori Myers. Lori is one of three Pushcart nominees (Elynne Chaplik-Aleskow, Murray Dunlap and Lori M. Myers) who contributed short stories to Forever Families, the third in the Forever series of anthologies – Forever Friends (2008), Forever Travels (2010) and Forever Families (2012).

Lori’s touching story about a sister and brother, who have grown apart, is just one of twenty-seven stories that vary in length from concise to extensive. Every story, whether short or long, offers a unique look at family life. While some are poignant, others raise a smile.

The seven sections that make up the book take the reader through the joys of a happy childhood to the sadness of a death in the family, with fond family memories, faithful family pets, risky family business ventures, eventful family weddings and the ups and downs of family life in between. So, find a comfortable chair, download the book to your e-reader, then sit back and enjoy the diversity of reading experiences in Forever Families.

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Lyn Miller Lacoursiere

Meet Lyn Miller Lacoursiere in her latest video and learn about her six novels in the mystery series, the Lindy Lewis Diaries.

The Lindy Lewis Diaries

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