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David W. Berner is a memoirist whose personal stories tell all of our stories. His memoirs reflect on our collective relationships and how those experiences link us to the world we share. From stories of fathers and sons, to road trips, travel memoir, pets, and music, David’s books are mirrors of our common human experience.

Storytelling has been a part of David’s life since his days as a young boy, delivering The Pittsburgh Press newspaper. He began telling his own stories and the stories of others as a reporter for numerous radio stations, including freelance work at National Public Radio and more recently for CBS in Chicago.

David’s reporting background has given birth to award-winning memoirs and novels based on his own experiences.

He has been the Writer-in-Residence for the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando, where he was privileged to live and work at the Kerouac House in Orlando for two-and-a-half months. He later was honored with the Writer-in-Residence position at the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois.

Website: https://www.davidwberner.com/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/davidwberner

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DavidWBernerWriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour  (David W. Berner—Writer)

BOOK BLURB:

THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS is a unique and thoughtful memoir on our eternal search for home. Told in a series of essays on love, loss, travel, music, spirituality, and the joys of solitude, memoirist David W. Berner, reaches deep to discover where he belongs and ultimately where all of us belong.

“Berner gives us both travelogue and memoir in living, breathing depth and color.” — D.S. White, Editor-in-Chief, Longshot Island

“A writer with an enormous sense of humanity.” — San Francisco Review of Books

“Reflective, engaging…Berner’s authentic storytelling takes you with him on his travels through the chapters of his life where in the end, he reveals connections to finding a place to be, his home under the stars.” — Nancy Chadwick, author of Under the Birch Tree

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Adelaide Books

http://www.adelaidebooks.org/consequence_of_stars.html

Interview:

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

I am an associate professor in the Communication Department at Columbia College Chicago and I have been a journalist for many years, mainly working in broadcasting, including work for CBS radio and some freelancing for public radio.

When did you start writing?

I was in second grade. Our teacher helped us make paper mache books. We each wrote a story and she helped us produce the actual book. My book was titled The Cyclops. I was fascinated with the ocean when I was kid. I still have that book. My mother saves it. But real writing, in terms of short essays and books, came in my 40s, but I was writing news copy for years as a reporter before that.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

Getting published for the first time. It validated my work. But while working on my second book, I was honored with the Writer-in-Residence position at the Jack Kerouac Project in Orlando and was allowed to live and work in Kerouac’s old house for three months. That was a marvelous experience. I wrote every day in the same room where Kerouac wrote The Dharma Bums. It was heavenly.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

Wow. Hmmm. I assume you mean using that place as a setting in the story? Maybe Spain. Although, I’ve been to Cuba and that would be so interesting to use Havana as a setting. But if you are talking about a great place to write, just write—hmmm—well, you know what? I think it would be Spain again, sitting in a villa on the southern coast somewhere, windows open, breeze dancing with the white curtains, late day sun, glass of wine.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

Besides write? Walk my dog. Write music. Play guitar. Go to a long lunch with my wife. But I don’t really consider those things something I would do with “extra time”—that’s just life.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

I’ve written essays in my newest book, The Consequence of Stars, that take in many places where I have traveled—Paris, Cuba, The Navajo Nation, just to name some. The book is part travelogue and memoir, so “place” plays a big part. But I think it would be interesting to write a piece about somewhere deeply urban and gritty. I haven’t done that yet.

Back to your present book, THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS: A MEMOIR, how did you publish it?

It was a query and a submission to Adelaide Books, NY/Lisbon. I had it out to several publishers and Adelaide was the right fit.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

I didn’t travel specifically for research, but there is a lot of travel in this book. As I mentioned—Paris, Cuba, The Navajo Nation—but I also write about time in Orlando at the Kerouac house, my hometown—Pittsburgh, Chicago, and a cross-country train trip from Seattle to Chicago.

Why was writing THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS: A MEMOIR so important to you?

I had this gem of an idea years ago about what “home” meant to me, what it means to all of us. How do we see home? What is it physically and emotionally? How do we find it? Why do we forever seek it? And how do we do that? It fascinated me but it took some time to shape those thoughts into a cohesive theme. Once I did that, it came together in spurts, with me always remembering that the concept of home is forever in flux. This book is not a typical memoir, it is not a self-indulgent work, as some poorly thought out memoirs can be, and hopefully the reader will find it to be a shared experience, a book about me but also about all of us.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

Norman Mailer called writing “the spooky art.” He was right. I have no idea where ideas come from. They just surface, emerge, morph. I am not a planner, I do not outline. I just write and let the characters and the story, or the theme, come to me. It’s as if all of it works itself out through the process of writing. Spooky, right? Like Joan Didion, I believe I write to find out what I’m thinking. She said the same in so many words. It is so true.

Any final words?

I hope those who are not necessarily essay or memoir readers will read THE CONSEQUENCE OF STARS. I do believe it’s a book for all of us, something we all have in common, this concept of home. It’s part of our shared human condition.

 

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I earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Coral Ridge University and Seminary, as well as an M.A. in Political Science from George Wythe College. My first publication was a short story, TELEPIO 690, which appeared in Sidetrekked Magazine, Issue #48. My other publications are, my first novel (actually a novella), THE WONK DECELERATOR, my second novel, THE LATE, GREAT BENJAMIN BALE, my third novel, RETURN OF THE CRIMSON WITCH and a fourth mini-book, a prequel to the Guild Series, THE DAUGHTER OF GETH, which is available only in ebook. I am currently working on a science fiction/horror novel, THE DARK. One of these days I might even finish it.

Happily, I have a wife and four children and live in Florida.

Website Link: www.johndoody.com

Twitter Link: @johnjosephdoody

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/authorjohnjosephdoody/

 

Inside the Books

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: THE WONK DECELERATOR (Book 1)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 131
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

For Earthers dwelling in Guild space, it is a one-hundred year journey back to Earth. An unimaginable voyage, until now.

When Guild commander and crack pilot, Thad Cochran boards the shuttle destined for the casinos of Timmerus, finding a way back to Earth is not on his radar. He wants the five-percent finder’s fee the Guild is offering for a black box held by the lizard-like Yazz. Thad has a dream: With the loot he will get for stealing the Wonk Decelerator, he can buy a ranch on Beta Prime.

But things begin to fall apart for him in the dark caverns of Timmerus, and Thad must reconsider his priorities in life. Has he discovered a cause greater than his dream? Are there actually more important things to life than money and his dream? What about the woman who is waiting for him? What about freedom in the galaxy? And what about his discovery, fashioned by the gnarled hands of a brilliant, old Yazz, that could change everything?

Thad Cochran has a choice to make. He can fulfill his quest, escape with his life and be rich. Or he can fly with the Wonks … one more time.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Wonk-Decelerator-Guild-Saga/dp/1937809323/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_3?keywords=john+joseph+doody&qid=1551501377&s=gateway&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

Book Excerpt:

Thad opened his eyes, aware of a sense that the murky sun was dropping on the horizon. He panicked momentarily until he realized he still had a half hour before the prearranged confab with Maggie. 

He headed for the bathroom to change into darker clothes for the journey. The bathroom had Thandimonean stone flooring, golden faucets and a huge commode one nearly needed a ladder to get up on. 

Thad rubbed his face and ran his tongue over his teeth. He might as well clean up while he was in here. He stripped, broke out his toothbrush and was busy about his business when he heard a creaking hinge. 

He stepped out of the bathroom in his skivvies, toothpaste frothing in his mouth. 

“Commander Cochran.” 

He heard the voice, glanced at the open door, but saw no one. 

“Yeph?!” he gurgled, toothpaste spraying everywhere as his voice took on a falsetto tone. 

“I’m up here, silly boy.” 

Thad looked up, and his heart tried to jump out of his gullet. The woman, the one he had seen in the space port 

and had suspected of being a droid, crawled across the ceiling like a spider chasing after a bug. How she managed to cling, upside down, her head twisted a hundred and eighty degrees and looking directly at him, was a repulsive mystery to him. 

Oh, you’re a droid all right! 

He had never seen a Mandroid capable of walking on ceilings. This droid’s techno was impressive and scary. 

“You should go back to your people, Commander Cochran,” she said, as she crawled down the wall, her head twisting again, cracking and popping back to its original position. 

He knew there was no sense in trying to get away, or in trying to fight with this droid. She was too fast, too strong. He had no weapon to use against her, and worst of all, he was in his underwear. 

Thad swallowed his toothpaste. 

Once on the floor, she meandered over to him and, with a critical expression, eyed him from head to toe. She was beautiful, but she smelled of a peculiar blend of perfume and something like burnt rubber. 

“There’s only death waiting for you here on Gar Mega. Go back, Commander, before it’s too late.” 

With that, she walked stiffly from the room, leaving the door open. Thad wasted no time, sprinted to the door, locked it and leaned against the wall, his legs trembling beneath him. 

She’s probably got a key that pops out of her finger or something. I know I locked that.

 

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: THE LATE, GREAT BENJAMIN BALE (Book 2)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 370
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

The destinies of two men depend on Maggie Thorn. One is dying and the other is dead…or is he?

 

Captain Maggie Thorn is on a formal Guild mission, supposedly to kidnap the yazz scientist, Gravian Endrenicus, and return him to Thandimone. But she also has a personal score to settle with the lizard-like inhabitants of Timmerus. She intends to make the yazz pay for what they did to Thad Cochran—the one the yazz call the Thieves Guild pilot. The man she loves.

 

Supreme Fleet Commander, Admiral Geoff Grangore knows of only one man who could get Maggie to Timmerus and back while traitorous eyes are watching. That man is an old drunk who lives deep in the Thandimonean wilderness with his pet Eno, Snot. Benjamin Bale is suicidal and cantankerous, and Maggie can’t stand him—at first.

 

Bale is a dead man. At least, that’s what everyone was told. But this dead man has a final mission to perform. The greatest star pilot in the galaxy has a chance to redeem himself and make right a great wrong. A wrong which he can never forgive or forget. A wrong that cost him everything.

 

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/193780948X/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Title: THE GUILD SAGA: RETURN OF THE CRIMSON WITCH (Book 3)
Author: John Joseph Doody
Publisher: eTreasures Publishing LLC
Pages: 407
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy

BOOK BLURB:

The Bashtier call Wonk space, Eerindark—The Place of the Dead—and Thad Cochran, the only pilot to go there and live, will soon find out why. The sacrifice of Benjamin Bale brings Thad back from the dead. But is he truly free from the death grip of the Wonks?

A body is discovered behind an apartment wall in a small town on the planet Daggon. With the mystery thrust upon him, Admiral Geoff Grangore must pursue a dangerous quest for the truth—is it somehow connected to The Wonk Decelerator?

 

Dreams and visions are dancing in the heads of the yazz. Something bad is coming to the frontier—a hidden enemy only the Guild traitor, Alexander Hamilton Patho knows.
Patho sends an assassin to Daggon and his conniving gaze is on the M-3 Wonk vessel. It seems civil war is imminent and those who control the power of Wonk travel will rule the known galaxy. Therefore, it must not fall into Patho’s hands.

 

It is time for war, and time for Maggie Thorn to learn the truth about who she really is. It is also time for The Return of the Crimson Witch.

ORDER YOUR COPY BELOW:

https://www.amazon.com/Return-Crimson-Witch-Book-Guild/dp/1942391242/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

No. I’ve had to work at it.

What was your inspiration for The Wonk Decelerator?

I saw a murky planet with people who resembled lizards. It became a trilogy.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

There is a thin line between courage and cowardice and also between light and darkness.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I finished the first one, The Wonk Decelerator in four or five months. The next two, The Late, Great Benjamin Bale and Return of the Crimson Witch I did in about a year each.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I’m focused, but I’m not always disciplined. I write, rewrite then rewrite some more. Many times, I’m unsatisfied with the results. Sometimes I’m happy and excited with the results. I try to stay balanced and professional each day regardless of results.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Trying to balance out the Meganites’ weird love for all things Earther with a serious storyline.

What do you love most about being an author?

Being in the creative flow.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

I signed with a small press for all three books, and a prequel, The Daughter of Geth. There was a lot of waiting in between furious bouts of editing. I’m happy I went in this direction because I was able to work with editors. I learned a lot I couldn’t have learned any other way. I learned the process through to the galleys. I think all of that prepared me for the project I’m finishing up now—a supernatural, sci-fi thriller called, The Dark.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.johndoody.com

 

 

 

 

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“A shadow passed behind a tree, bigger than any animal. He propped himself up against a rock, too exhausted to move any farther, closing his eyes and waiting to die. He could see tomorrow’s headlines declaring his death as a mugging gone wrong.”

–From The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

Book Description:

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

Interview:

Welcome, Lee!  Your crime/suspense novel, The Desire Card, sounds thrilling!  Why did you decide to write a whole series around a sinister organization where the actual price of being in the organization is the cost of one’s soul?

Lee: The sinister organization has a motto, Any wish fulfilled for the right price. The book came about when I thought of a character so desperate to attain his wish that he would do anything for it. And of course, some evil company would come up with idea to make money off of desperation.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters in The Desire Card?

Lee: The main character is Harrison Stockton, who works on Wall Street in Mergers & Acquisitions. He has a wife Helene and two kids who he never sees. His goal in glife has been the sole pursuit of money along with drinking and pills. When he finds out his has liver cirrhosis, he assums he can just pay to get to get a new one. But after being placed far down on the donor list, he resorts to more unsavory measures to get a new liver.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

Lee: There are a few big twists in the book that the readers will not see coming. One takes place about halfway through. The other about 2/3rds into it and then a final big twist at the end. I like twists so if someone reads a book a second time they can see all the clues that foreshadow the twists. And thrillers must keep readers turning the pages.

Do your novels carry a message or written for pure entertainment?

Lee: I would say entertainment first, message second. I want readers to be transported into another world but also to think. I would say this book is a literary thriller. It is certainly a page-turner, but also about morality. We might think we know our own morals, but in times of desperation, we might not be as ethically sound as we think.

Can you tell us what was it like when you saw your book cover for the first time?

Lee: I just saw it! I absolutely love it. It is ominous and eye-catching. The design team at Fahrenheit Press did a fantastic job getting the feel for the book.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

Lee: I have always wanted to be a writer. Since I was about six, I was writing stories. I remember one about my dog and a cat staying at a spooky hotel.

Where is your happy place when you are writing? You know – the place where imagination flows and a feel good environment to write your books?

Lee: My happy place is definitely writing in Central Park, which I call my outdoor office. From about April through November, I have a few spots in the park where I bring my laptop and write under a tree. The Desire Card was written during a mild winter where I bundled up and wrote it wearing gloves.

Where is your happy place when you just want to unwind?

Lee: I love the beach and to travel. Traveling is really the only time I take a break from writing. I love Santa Monica beach. I go there a lot.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

Lee: If you are looking for a fast-paced, high-stakes thriller that will also make you think, The Desire Card is for you. It will also be the first book in a series. The second book Prey No More will be coming out soon. I have finished a draft of the third book and I am working on the fourth book right now, which is an origin story of the sinister organization set in 1978.

 

 

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Dr. Louis R. Negrete was born and raised in Los Angeles. During his distinguished career, Dr. Negrete served as Director of Project Head Start for the Council of Mexican American Affairs and was also a founding member of the new Chicano Studies Department at the California State University in Los Angeles. He served as professor of Chicano Studies for some 35 years at Cal State LA. CHICANO HOMELAND is his first book. Dr. Negrete makes his home in Los Angeles, California.

Web site for book at www.ChicanoHomeland.com

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/Chicano-Homeland-Louis-R-Negrete-1657612917852351/?fref=ts

About the Book:

Los Angeles author-educator Dr. Louis R. Negrete lived and now tells the compelling, dynamic story of the movement for the rights of Mexican-Americans in the USA, particularly those In California.  In his riveting, powerfully written historical book, CHICANO HOMELAND,  retired college professor Dr. Negrete vividly describes the issues that sparked the Chicano civil rights movement, that saw unbridled police brutality, institutional poverty (that still even exists today, he says), demands for better schools, the  anti-Vietnam war protests and the support for undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Negrete’s CHICANO HOMELAND captures in its historical pages the early Mexican settlement in Los Angeles to the 1950s Zoot Suit riots in L.A. to where Chicanos stand today in the California culture. He gives us a colorful, vivid history of a people that every Hispanic should read, especially as he says, “Chicanos and Chicanas, so they can know where they came from, how they got here and be inspired to chart a course to a genuine, lasting political power for what is now the largest ethnic minority in the United States.”

Commented author Dr. Louis R. Negrete on his book, “I believe that Americans must fight back against racism and national politics. The Chicano movement was a success but resistance to racism must continue, especially with the anti-immigrant policies popular today. I wrote the book based upon my experience growing up in Los Angeles, aware of persistent demands for justice and an end to racism. Younger Mexican-Americans and other minorities should know this part of United States history.”

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Book Excerpt:

In spite of its general uncoordinated character, or perhaps because of it, the Chicano movement achieved notable success. Now a new generation of active Chicanos, who call themselves Mexican Americans or Latinos, works inside the political power structure. They continue to spark the growth of a professional and middle class, and promote a positive cultural identity rooted in the concept that Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants are a major, permanent historical positive part of U.S. society. They reject the notion that an oppressed people must wait for a pony rider with blazing guns to rescue them. They rekindle the passion of the walkouts and mass protests. This new generation of Mexican Americans form a base for electoral politics aimed at reducing poverty.

Success also comes in the development of Chicano Studies academic departments in colleges and universities; ethnic studies courses in traditional social studies departments; the formation of immigrant defense committees; and in an increased number of Chicanos elected to public office. However; poverty and anti-Mexican racism continue to persist in America, and today, militant protest groups have gone missing.

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Meridian couldn’t help but keep looking at the ghost.  John took her by the hand and helped her walk to the back where the bathrooms were.  John was kissing Meridian all over, and it was obvious that he wanted more.  Relic and the rest of the guides, along with Luna, walked to the bathrooms and watched.  Meridian and John had gone into a bathroom stall, and he began to pull her underwear down from underneath her skirt. As the pair continued to get to know each other in the stall, the ghosts hovered above and watched with a look of concern.”

–From Meridian Chronicles: Black Widow Curse & The Coven by M.D. Fryson

M.D. Fryson is a wife and mom to three boys as well as an animal lover especially horses she used to ride, train and show. Her favorite books are anything astrology, self help, motivation, romance and humor. She loves chocolate, coffee and her family (not in that order), and the beach. She likes to garden, hike, jog, swim and travel. Her most recent release is the paranormal romance, Meridian Chronicles: Black Widow Curse & The Coven. The third installment to this series comes out September 2019 and she is nearly finished with the last book to the series that comes out in 2020.

Book Description:

 MERIDIAN’S curse has left her in a state all her own of amnesia. She is on Earth lost and afraid with only fragments to piece together her mysterious circumstance. The curse has taken the unimaginable from her, but that is just scratching the surface. The Black Widow curse will reveal itself through the demon’s riddle, the Coven and the Fairy Nymphs.

A trip back to Salem is just what the psychic ordered, but treachery lurks with an ex coven member who calls on demons. The demon realm offers more riddles than answers, but a stroke of luck from the high demon court, brings in a sophisticated demon, Lahash who has grown tired of the games.

The curse hides Meridian’s identity and her memory will unlock the Universal secret of her twin soul to find her way home. As Meridian finds Aiden so do the impacts of her curse and what it could do to their budding relationship.

Meridian’s soul and fate are in the cross hairs, while the odds rise between the demons, witches and the fairies. \

Finally having found Aiden, the Fairy Queen comes through to send aid to Meridian, but she still doubts herself and contemplates running away from it all. Who is Meridian’s twin soul? Will she go back to Etheria or will the curse reign down on Meridian?
Find out in this dark and twisted paranormal romance.

Interview:

Welcome, M.D.!  Your new paranormal romance series sounds thrilling! Can you tell us how you came up with the idea?

M.D.:  Hello and thank you Richard for the invitation for the interview!  The core of the story is around the protagonist, Meridian who is a realm born spirit guide, in that she was born of her realm of Etheria, versus how the majority of the spirit guides came to be, through the process of living several lives, learning their lessons the universe has sent for them, so that they can at some point, transcend to becoming a guide, to watch over human kind.

Meridian is young in terms of the time in a realm born guides existence that they are released to watch over humans.  She doesn’t get that chance because in the first book Hall of Souls & The Book of the Fairies, she is cast out by the realms leader who has his own secrets and covert agenda.  As she arrives on Earth, she doesn’t recall much of her previous life and she is very much like a child in that, she doesn’t understand what being a human is like and the situations that present their selves.

The idea came to me, from my own life experiences in that the curse is a bit figurative for how I felt about myself in a dark time in my life. Many people that I have had an experience with, gave rise to the traits in many characters, good and bad.  Which brings me to my next point.

Life is full of good and bad and I think for me, being able to write a genre I love, fantasy, wrapping up elements of my own views, feelings and experiences into fictional characters while weaving a couple of messages in the story was how I came up with the idea.

The ideas and concepts of a past life, reincarnation and karma is something that a lot of people believe in.  Many believe that there are other beings at work such as guardian angels, spirits etc., so I wrapped them into the story as well.  Having been exposed to a plethora of beliefs, there are some I find easier to write about.  It isn’t necessarily that I believe in all of them, but I appreciate the different view points and they make up the world we live in.  I wanted the story to be fantasy/paranormal but in a way that hopefully some readers could relate too.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters?

M.D.:I mentioned Meridian.  She goes through quite some prolific changes through the series. There are two more books to this series (and I am thrilled that I am finished writing them already, now just editing) Anyway, another character is Aiden, he is inspired by my husband from his physical features all the way to his music taste and a little of his background.  His wonderful personality is in there, right along with a bit of his sarcastic side.

Relic, a spirit guide who in his previous life, was a rock star.  If someone were to ask me how to describe him, my husband shouted out, that Relic reminded him of a guitar player from Motley Crue, Nikki Sixx.  I decided that was pretty close.  His personality is very sarcastic, witty and he is very full of himself, but he is tolerated by his group because deep down he is a good spirit, he just doesn’t like to be vulnerable. In a way, a lot of his banter is inspired by my husband who is very witty

Selena is the Fairy Queen and what can I say, she is very cold and calculating in the first book, but some events that take place between her daughter and her, humble her a bit and in the second book readers will get to see her go through the realizations that despite she may feel strongly about certain things, she needs to help the spirit guides and win her daughter’s approval.  She has the power to turn spirit guides back from fallen, that the leader of Etheria has cast to Earth as a form of a demon.

Warrick is the main antagonist, but in this book I introduce another one, a witch named Raina.  Now she is certainly a dark witch with an agenda and she finds out Meridian’s secret and wants to capitalize on that for her own reasons.

Warrick is the leader of Etheria who is threated by Meridian and the gifts she has yet to realize about herself.  He carries a big secret in the first book, that in this book, gets exposed. I can’t tell you or it would spoil the story!

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point where the reader just can’t put the book down. What is one of the pivotal points in your book?

I would say when Warrick’s identity and the way to break Meridian’s curse is exposed through a ritual conducted by the Queen and other fairy nymphs along with a witch coven in Salem.  They help Meridian unlock the mystery.

Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?

M.D.: Yes.  After I get the first draft, I reread and rewrite for the second draft.  My last book I wrote, I sent to beta readers and then had a small rewrite and proof read before it went to the editor.  After that comes back, I rewrite again for another draft, it goes to the editor.  Then I reread, then to a proofreader then I reread again before I am finished.  Whew!

Do you believe a book cover plays an important role in the selling process?

M.D.:  Very much so.  I believe when a readers sees the cover, it generates a feeling and an idea.  I think that it is important to convey the tone of the story through the cover, so that a reader can feel for their selves and carry with them through the pages as they read.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

M.D.:  Well, an astronaut!  To this day I binge watch the space channel because to me the Universe is fascinating to me in that there is so much out there that we have yet to discover.  If I had it to do over again, I would have studied to become an astrophysicist.   But I settled for a Business Degree in Marketing, because math was too scary for me! That degree has allowed me to have experiences in the investments/management and advertising worlds.

Do your novels carry a message?

M.D.:  Absolutely!  Now I will say that aside from the message, my books all end in cliffhangers, (you have been warned)  My life at one point felt like a never-ending precession of cliffhangers, so I have to be true to myself when I write.

However, in the books and through out the series, the message I convey is that no matter how far you fall off track, that there is always hope no matter how dark it gets and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel if you simply look and push through the hard times.  Life is a gift and we can either allow our mistakes to define and rule us, or we can choose to be an inspiration to someone who may have went through something similar.  Taking the high road isn’t the hard part.  Finding the high road to me is the toughest and once you are there, keep going. The energy we put out into the world always finds its way back, just may take some time.

Is there anything you’d like to tell your readers and fans?

M.D.: If you get the chance to read the book, I hope you enjoy it!

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What you don’t know about the amazing Josephine Baker

By Sherry Jones

When I give talks on the great African-American performer Josephine Baker, I always ask what my audience knows of her.

“Singer,” someone will call out. “Dancer.” “Paris.” And, always, “Banana skirt.”

But few seem to know of the most fascinating aspects of this woman’s life.

Yes, she danced topless on the Paris stage (at age 19!) wearing a skirt ringed with rubber bananas, a witty send-up of her own status as a sex symbol and black exotique–emblematic of French colonialism and the national craze for all things African. And her scandalous bootyshaking crosseyed antics made her a superstar.

But Josephine Baker was so much more than a comedic dancer in a silly skirt. She is one of the most remarkable women ever to have lived: a survivor who grew up in poverty, abuse, and neglect; an entertainer who perfected the art of intimacy with her audiences, entrancing them; a beloved singer, opera diva, movie actor, recording artist, and fashionista; a woman of color who became the most highly paid performer in Europe, and more.

Much more.

Fighting for a cause

As is true for so many women, by the time she turned 30, she was just getting started.

In 1936, she turned 30—and, as is true for so many women, began to empower herself. Soon afterward she joined the cause against Nazism, using her skills as a pilot to fly medical supplies weekly for the Red Cross.

While on tour in Berlin, Josephine had experienced racial hatred first-hand from Hitler’s Brownshirts, and she hated the Nazis in turn. By the time they invaded Paris in 1940 she was already working as a spy, seducing generals and diplomats to get information that she sneaked across borders under the guise of touring.

She risked her life every time she passed a customs checkpoint; as a woman of color, if caught, she would be sent to a concentration camp—or worse.

In her castle on France’s Dordogne River, Josephine Baker harbored other members of the French Resistance, who gathered there to plan their next missions, using her remote Medieval fortress as a base. When the Nazis got suspicious and searched the castle and grounds, Josephine took off for Lisbon, the spy capital of Europe, to await orders from Gen. Charles de Gaulle, leader of the French Resistance.

Josephine Baker’s eldest adopted son, Jean-Claude Baker, wrote snidely of Josephine’s later accomplishments, saying she was a thrill-seeker who, unable to safely perform in Paris, chose the excitement and glamour of spying.

Really? She never accepted a dime for her Resistance efforts, and, penniless, often had to sleep in unheated hotels, where she caught pneumonia and nearly died from the complications. With no money for food, she became emaciated. She spent more than a year in a hospital in Morocco, but when U.S. troops flooded the streets, she dragged herself out of bed, got dressed, and went out to greet them. She spent the next several years entertaining the troops, touring throughout Europe, all without pay.

A fully empowered woman

When the war had ended, she emerged a woman aware of her powers. Fighting racism, always a desire, now became her driving force. Unable to bear children, she began adopting babies from cultures around the world. Her vision: a “Rainbow Tribe” of multicolored, multicultural children who loved one another, showing the world that hatred is not innate, but learned. She would eventually adopt 12 children.

The United States would be her next frontier in the fight for equality. Invited to perform in a Miami nightclub, she insisted that its owner include black people in the audience. Because of a city curfew, the nightclub owner had to bus and even fly people in to achieve integration, but the experiment worked: soon other clubs in the city were integrating, too.

Ms. Baker continued her one-woman show for racial justice during her U.S. tour, calling out racism and publicly announcing that she would not appear in any venue that segregated its audiences.

Ultimately, Ms. Baker lost bookings, a film deal, and popularity with U.S. audiences as her fight for equality led the FBI to brand her as a subversive and possible Communist sympathizer. When she left the country, she was told not to come back. She never did until 1963—invited to participate in the March on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Josephine Baker was the only woman to speak.

About the Author

Author and journalist Sherry Jones is best known for her international bestseller The Jewel of Medina. She is also the author of The Sword of MedinaFour SistersAll QueensThe Sharp Hook of Love, and the novella White Heart.  Sherry lives in Spokane, WA, where, like Josephine Baker, she enjoys dancing, singing, eating, advocating for equality, and drinking champagne.

Her latest novel is Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

Website: http://authorsherryjones.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sherryjones
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sherryjones
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/sherry-jones
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherryjonesfanpage
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/josephinebakerslastdance
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cybersecuritytechnologywriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1219600.Sherry_Jones

About the Book:

From the author of The Jewel of Medina, a moving and insightful novel based on the life of legendary performer and activist Josephine Baker, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and Hidden Figures.

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine’s early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

With intimate prose and comprehensive research, Sherry Jones brings this remarkable and compelling public figure into focus for the first time in a joyous celebration of a life lived in technicolor, a powerful woman who continues to inspire today.

Purchase Josephine Baker’s Last Dance in paperback,  ebook,  and  audiobook  formats on  Simon and Schuster’s website (available on Amazon,  Barnes and Noble,  BooksAMillion,  Indiebound,  Kobo,  and  other sites). Learn more about Sherry’s books  at  www.authorsherryjones.com

 

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Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is an Application Consultant for a software company.  He has also worked as a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Joab is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds (Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald: Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.

Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series, which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the 1920’s.

Website Address: http://joabstieglitz.com

Twitter Address: @joabstieglitz

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/rantingsofawanderingmind

About the Book:

An Innocent Favor for a Dying Old Friend…

Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last of the students, now a trustee of Reister University enlists the aid of three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.

Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean O’Malley are all indebted the ailing trustee for their positions. Together, they pursue the knowledge and resources needed to perform the ritual.

Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can they perform the ritual and banish the entity?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I have been writing all my life. I wrote stories for myself as a child. In college, I excelled at classes that had papers (as opposed to tests). In my various jobs in the computer networking world, I have gravitated toward writing tasks, such as requirements, training, and policies and procedures.

My writing career really started when I decided to hunker down a write a chapter a week. I was reasonably successful, writing and publishing my first three books in roughly six months each. The constraints of my day job reduced my time over the last year or two, so book four took about nine months, and book five is still in progress.

What was your inspiration for The Old Man’s Request?

I am a big role-player and have written numerous adventures, character backgrounds, and other material for a variety of genres. I took notes of the games I ran over the years, and ideas from some of those became the inspiration for my books. I am also a history buff, especially with respect to the 19th and 20th centuries, which provide source material as well.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to introduce obscure historical figures and events into my stories. Other than that, my works are pulp escapism.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Writing and publishing a novel was a life goal. I had started writing a Tolkeinesque journey tale in the 90’s in dribs and drabs “when the muse hit me.” Twenty-five years and 300 pages later, that story had changed in terms of plot, tone, and style. I considered revising or even restarting it, but instead I decided to start fresh with another idea that had been on the shelf all that time. So I sat down and wrote one chapter a week. Using that method, I published my first three novels in six months each from start to finish.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I try to write a 1500-2000 word chapter each week, but that is constrained by the requirements of my day job, running/playing in several games each week (which does provide inspiration for future projects), and my family.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing the books was the easy part. I outlined the plots in terms of 10 chapters each. As I composed, some chapters expanded to two or three. I followed my outlines fairly closely. The most challenging aspect of this enterprise has been promotion.

What do you love most about being an author?

I enjoy the creativity, but also hearing that people have read and enjoyed my work.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

When I wrote the first book, The Old Man’s Request, I didn’t write it to sell. I wanted to achieve publication. So I went with Createspace. The publishing process was simple and I am happy with the product.

Where can we find you on the web?

My books are all available in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook formats on Amazon. Readers can also follow me at joabstieglitz.com.

 

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