Blog Interview #5 with Author Marcha Fox

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I had the pleasure of meeting Marcha Fox during a Facebook event spotlighting various artists. As well as making a friend, I won a prize package containing a book she wrote detailing the uses and history of Astrology, a personal analysis, and an autographed copy of her book – A Dark of Endless Days. As you’ll be able to tell from the interview, she’s a pleasant, intelligent lady who’s become one of my favorite authors. Read on as I pick apart the labyrinthine mind of Marcha Fox.

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INTERVIEW

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Hi Marcha.  I’m stoked you agreed to be my guest today. You’re about to release the fourth book of your Star Trails Tetralogy. Have you changed course any from Book one to Book four or are you where you should be in telling the story?

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The story has unfolded in a very natural manner with numerous surprises, even for me. I feel as if it’s where it should be. None of it has been contrived or forced, it just flowed and evolved. I could have ended it with “Beyond the Hidden Sky” with Creena getting home to her family but I knew there was more to the story than that. My characters, especially the teen-age protagonists, have evolved and matured through their troubles and challenges yet they still bicker with each other because they’re so different in how they see the world, make decisions, set priorities, and so forth. People really don’t change much at the core as they get older so it’s not unusual that they would still be at odds with one another, yet they are learning the hard way that they need to respect the other’s view. Their viewpoints are complementary and as they get into the 4th and final volume of the Star Trails Tetralogy they are beginning to finally learn how to work together.

I have to say that I don’t feel as if I created my stories, it’s more like they’re already set and revealed as I write. There have been times when I have felt as if the muses were dictating it to me rather than me making it up. Furthermore, my characters have a mind of their own. They seem to just take action and I write down what they do or think. I figure if they surprise me then it should make for good suspense for readers! Right now I’m working on volume four which is entitled “Refractions of Frozen Time” and some of my characters have gotten themselves into such a mess the I really don’t know how I’ll get them out of it. I’m relying on their ingenuity to tell me, not the other way around.

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You’re probably the most educated author I know. What kind of comments have you received from your peers and colleagues about being an author?

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LOL! That’s really funny to me because I don’t consider myself all that educated. My favorite books out there are frequently written by folks with M.D.’s and PhD’s so my B.S. in physics seems minimal for what I’m trying to accomplish. Nowadays my peers are other authors with my career at NASA like a distant lifetime. Those I’m still in touch with on Facebook, LinkedIn and such think it’s cool that I’m following my dream. I don’t think they’re surprised since it was no secret that is what I intended to do when I retired. I’ve always loved to write and more than once when I was in the workforce that ability beat out competitors. When I was at NASA a former boss even called me “The Mistress of Bullsh*t” because I could put just about anything in writing in convincing form. There were times I was even told that my writing was too clear, which probably isn’t surprising coming from a government agency.

I’ve always been a person who does what I say I’m going to do. When I went back to college to get a physics degree at age 35 with six kids at home I made up my mind I was going to do it and I did. When I decided it was time to retire, I had fortunately already made sure I had various things in place so I could and I did. When I said I was going to publish my science fiction novels I don’t think anyone ever doubted that I would do that as well.

Some people tend to be jealous of what I accomplish but all I can say is that I have worked hard and relentlessly pursued my goals. Nothing has ever been handed to me. To get back to your comment about being educated, getting a physics degree was far from easy but what I lack in brains or intelligence I make up for in determination and perseverance. Before I went back to school fulltime I took an astronomy class where the professor said that anyone who really wanted to badly enough could get a degree in physics so I decided to put him to the test. He was right and on graduation day I reminded him of what he said, which of course he couldn’t remember, and he was amazed that he had inspired me like that. So if I could do it, I think anyone could, if he or she really wanted it badly enough.

Speaking of education, I think it’s important that any young people who read my books learn something along the way but hopefully painlessly. One of the reasons I wanted appropriate background as a science fiction writer was so what I wrote would be accurate. For those who are really interested in science I have an entire section on my website for readers, parents and/or educators which includes potential topics for discussion based on each book and even broken down into chapters. You can find it here: http://www.kallioperisingpress.com/notetoeducators.htm

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Your books, and personal life reflect your love of Astrology. What drew your interest into the field?

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Back in the early 80s I was writing a novel entitled “Phaethon’s Ashes” which was about an asteroid collision with Earth. If you really want the truth, I actually went back to school so I would be qualified to write good science fiction. The NASA career was more of a sidetrack to where I really wanted to be, even though I was well aware I needed the experience. After all, they say “write what you know.” So, back to your question, in this book the hero was, of course, a physicist and he had this ex-wife who I wanted to make as annoying as possible so I made her obsessed with astrology. At the time I didn’t believe in it myself. But, to develop this character I needed to learn something about it. Boy, was I surprised when I discovered that it worked!

I have always loved esoteric subjects and anything mysterious. It fascinated me because in spite of all the reasons scientists said it was nothing but bunk and superstition it nonetheless worked. There have been many highly educated individuals who got converted to astrology in that same way, seeing that it works. I tend to maintain a pretty open mind on things and look for evidence to support either side of any issue. Anyway, at a certain point a few years before I retired I wanted to learn more about it. I had previously, too, but didn’t know where to go to learn more. The books I bought were too far over my head and it seemed few had all the basics.

Around 2006 I was lucky enough to find the International Academy of Astrology (IAA) which taught astrology classes online. I went through their professional program which is pretty close to earning a bachelor’s degree, and graduated in 2012. I taught for IAA for a while and have had my website valkyrieastrology.com since 2006 where I post the information that I would have wanted to find when I was trying to learn about it. It’s also my means to connect with and serve clients who span the globe. It’s pretty humbling that they find me not only from with the USA but also from such faraway places as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore Turkey and Ireland, to name a few. I eventually took the bulk of the information on the website and compiled it into my e-book, “Whobeda’s Guide to Basic Astrology” when I found out a few instructors were using my website for reference material.

Whatever the mechanism for astrology may be, I don’t doubt it’s buried somewhere in the working of quantum physics. I love the book “Biocentrism” by Robert Lanza, M.D. because he points out the importance of consciousness and its influence on the corporeal world. In the world of quantum entanglement my personal theory is that the position of the planets when we’re born (which is represented by a person’s natal chart) also represents a form of entanglement with our consciousness. Then as those energies change with the ongoing motions of the planets it has an influence. I believe in past lives and that we plan our existing gig in mortality and there would be no better way to orchestrate a life plan than through cosmic energies that nudge, push or shove you in a certain direction.

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Do you use Astrology to make career choices, solve/assist romantic issues, and plan book releases?

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I definitely do that for others as a matter of course. My careers are definitely reflected in my natal chart which indicates they’ll be unusual and that I’ll need to be emotionally satisfied by them. I can’t get into something if I don’t care, which is one reason I had to retire. It was no longer fun and I couldn’t do the job the way it needed to be done when my heart wasn’t in it. As far as choosing them, that happened before I was into astrology enough for it to help but it did confirm my choices and inclinations.

Since learning it, however, I do use it for just about everything, or at least do now. There were a few times when I ignored it and discovered later that the reason things didn’t work out was an astrological timing issue, such as when I signed a contract to sell my town home. I try to find favorable times for book releases but there are some periods when that’s almost impossible so you go with the best of what’s available at the time. Finding the perfect day is pretty near impossible. One of the main keys to success actually lies in your birth chart itself. In one of the astrological research journals I subscribe to they had an article on J.K. Rowling and it was clear from her chart that she would be a tremendous success.

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Star Trek, Firefly, Red Dwarf, Babylon5, or Star Wars – which is best and why?

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I grew up with the original Star Trek in the 1960s, really loved the old TV show “Lost in Space” and of course was totally enamored with Star Wars, which is probably what really got me going since that is where my original premise came from: What if a teenage girl got fired off a starcruiser in an escape pod while her family was emigrating to another planet? I enjoyed the Star Trek movies and also liked the Alien movies with Sigourney Weaver. I love the humor of Red Dwarf, but I’m really not that familiar with Firefly or Babylon5 to say much about them.

I don’t feel I’m in a position to say which is best because we all have our own reasons for resonating with a certain show and its characters but for me my favorite is undoubtedly Star Wars, the original three. The subsequent ones didn’t have the charm of the originals, at least for me.

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Any plans to branch out into another genre in the future?

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My next work is probably going to be nonfiction. I’ve been wanting to write a book for quite a while that ties in science, religion and astrology. I’m especially fascinated with the possibility that quantum physics will ultimately redeem astrology as a valid science. Dark matter and dark energy have possibilities as well, though they are still largely theories. Nonetheless, they have components that could also fit in there somewhere.

Star Trails was written primarily for young adults but the adults who have read them enjoyed them as well. Nonetheless, I have a few ideas bouncing around in my head regarding planets and people who are in the existing story. I would like to go after those ideas for an adult SF market. I feel that when you write for young adults you need to rein in your characters to a certain level of acceptable behavior. One of my favorite sayings is “No life is ever wasted, you can always serve as a bad example” and while my characters are certainly not perfect, I don’t want them being too much in that category, either. When you write for adults anything goes. You don’t have to watch their language or behavior quite so much, though from what I’ve seen of today’s YA lit that really doesn’t seem to be much of a concern anymore. I’m old-fashioned, in that respect, however, and try to keep things above board even though there is no doubt parts of my books are in the PG-13 range.

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This may be vague, but which two Astrological Signs, on average, are great and worse together?

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Generally speaking you will be more inclined to butt heads with someone with a sign of the same modality as your own. There are Cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), Fixed (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) and Mutable signs (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces) so the general rule is that you will have the most problems with someone in the same category, like the old adage about being too much alike.

Personally I have found this to be true. The signs on either side of your own can be annoying but with some effort you can get along. It’s often best to find someone of the same element such as Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn), Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) or Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces). Other than that, Water and Earth or Air and Fire tend to get along. Fire and Water, not so much, Fire and Earth, not so good, either, etc. I look at that metaphorically on my website here: http://www.valkyrieastrology.com/Makeover/Compatibility/elementalinteractions/figurativeelementalinteraction.htm

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Thanks for an entertaining and insightful talk, Marcha. I wish you all the luck and successes you’re capable of.

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PARTIAL LIBRARY

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 WHOBEDA’S GUIDE TO BASIC ASTROLOGYwhobedda

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SYNOPSIS

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An easy to comprehend overview of the basic principles you need to know to understand astrology and how they’re applied. Most of this information is published online at http://www.valkyrieastrology.com and is compiled here in book form for convenience rather than following the tedious path of hyperlinks. Includes sections on relationships; career selection; parenting; planetary cycles and their effects; dieting at the right time; and selecting the right time for any endeavor.

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MY REVIEW

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Everything You Want to Know About Astrology — and I Mean EVERYTHING. May 16, 2014 By  J.D.Tucker

I had the luck to win this book at an event featuring Marcha and, oh my God, it’s awesome. It’s packed to the brim with information, charts, diagrams, and explanations on everything to do with Basic Astrology. So far I’ve only checked out the chapters assigned to my own sign – Gemini – and it’s the most comprehensive, yet simple book about the subject I’ve seen.

If you’re into, or interested about the subject, start with this book. You’ll be glad you did. Five Stars only because I can’t give it a hundred.

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BUY LINK — http://www.amazon.com/Whobedas-Guide-Basic-Astrology-Marcha-ebook/dp/B005GFM9CG/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401551481&sr=1-3&keywords=marcha+fox

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BEYOND THE HIDDEN SKY     MF 1

Volume One of the Star Trails Tetralogy

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SYNOPSIS

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Teenage siblings Dirck and Creena Brightstar have never gotten along. They don’t understand each other and manage to bicker over just about everything, particularly when it comes to following the rules. Dirck has always been compliant, Creena questioning everything, something that drove him crazy on Mira III where her repeated noncompliance reports or NCRs were a major embarrassment. With the family emigrating to another planet the regimented and uncomfortable conditions in their starship cabin eventually become intolerable, driving Creena to seek some alone time. It was never her intent for it to be for more than a much-needed break so getting fired off in an escape pod was a bit more than she had in mind. With no support from starship authorities to help in the recovery her father has no choice but to find her himself. Space travel, however, is never simple. Time passes at different rates based on velocity, complicating their separation with not only the vastness of intergalactic space but time as well, triggering a series of events that will change everyone’s life forever. But was it really an accident or what her father’s nemesis, Augustus Troy, planned all along?

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BUY LINK – http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Hidden-Star-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B005JQNN2M/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401551481&sr=1-8&keywords=marcha+fox

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A DARK OF ENDLESS DAYSmf 2

Volume 2 of the Star Trails Tetralogy

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SYNOPSIS

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It’s Opposition, Cyraria’s extreme heat season, and temperatures are quickly approaching lethal range. Dirck knows the family’s survival depends on the heat exchanger he and his father are building. Before they can even afford all the components, however, his father’s arrested in a midnight raid and thrown into territorial prison as part of Augustus Troy’s devious recruiting scheme, leaving Dirck to finish the job as well as look after his mother and little brother. His friend, Win, may be able to offer some assistance but Dirck doesn’t even know if he can trust him or not until he proves his allegiance through a risky and potentially lethal chase evading local authorities.
Meanwhile Creena’s efforts to return to her homeworld to obtain help develop serious complications as well. Their short-range spacecraft lacks the ability to reach Mira III and attempts to find alternate transportation fail miserably, stranding her on a backward planet called Earth. Authorities impound their ship, separate her from her allies and send her off to parts unknown for her supposed safety. Nonetheless, the Integrator has tracked her down and abduction attempts continue, the evil purpose of which she can sense but doesn’t understand. With no other choice, she adapts to the primitive and alien lifestyle, yet when it finally comes time to leave she discovers she’s grown far more attached to this alien world than she ever thought possible.

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BUY LINK —  http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Endless-Days-Trails-Tetralogy-ebook/dp/B007X5V1TE/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401551481&sr=1-5&keywords=marcha+fox

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RANDOM REVIEW

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Format:Paperback
Marcha Fox is a great story teller, and once you begin reading her series, you will surely want to read the next book as quickly as possible. I couldn’t wait to see how the members of the Brightstar family would cope with their intriguing problems in space. Young people can identify with the children in the family, but this series is for people of all ages. Marcha does transport you to outer space, way into the future, and you will believe you are there with the Brightstar family.
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A PSILENT PLACE BELOW   MF 3
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SYNOPSIS
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The Brightstar saga continues in installment three of this fast moving Sci Fi adventure series. The story picks up where “A Dark of Endless Days” ends with Creena on her way to Mira III, Dirck and the others joining the bnolar to survive Opposition, and their father a political prisoner. Following a harrowing prison break the entire family plunges into a world of intrigue as the Integrator’s hold on the planet tightens. With the caverns located deep within enemy territory the risk of being discovered not only threatens their personal safety but assures Integrator victory if cristobalite crystals fall into enemy hands.

At long last Creena makes it home only to find her happy reunion deferred with her father now a virtual prisoner in Cira City working to oppose Integration while everyone else remains in the caverns monitoring enemy activity. Squabbling with Dirck escalates to critical levels until they realize working together is the only way they’ll ever get the family together again. Through deception coupled with a series of oversights and distractions their father is ambushed again, this time with little hope of rescue.

New characters in this volume include Delta Regional Governor, Bryl Woeyel, and Formidicae/Ignatius, captain of Creena’s rescue ship who join Win, Deven, Aggie, and Thyron in yet another suspense-laden episode. Technological challenges, political intrigue and culture clashes all come together in yet another volume of high powered young adult science fiction adventure.

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OTHER LINKS
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Recent blog on Einstein’s Theory of Relativity posted on IndieYABooks:

http://indieyabooks.com/2014/05/so-what-exactly-is-einsteins-theory-of-relativity/

Book Bubbles:

Family History Fun Factor: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2553

Definitive Guide to Astrological Reports: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2639

A Dark of Endless Days: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2735

A Psilent Place Below: http://www.bublish.com/bubble/view/2752

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

Author Homepage: http://www.kallioperisingpress.com/abouttheauthor.htm

Star Trails Main Page: http://www.kallioperisingpress.com/startrails/star_trails_tetralogy.html

For Educators: http://www.kallioperisingpress.com/notetoeducators.htm

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Marcha-Fox/e/B0074RV16O/

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marchafoxauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/startrailsIV

Book Goodies Interview: http://bookgoodies.com/interview-with-author-marcha-fox/

Amazon KINDLE Book Links

http://www.amazon.com/Star-Trails-Compendium-Definitions-Description-ebook/dp/B00HFEWWF0/

http://www.amazon.com/Family-History-Fun-Factor-Preserve-ebook/dp/B00HBZ6XTY/

http://www.amazon.com/Definitive-Guide-Astrological-Reports-Marcha-ebook/dp/B00FCCBF96/

http://www.amazon.com/Whobedas-Guide-Basic-Astrology-Marcha-ebook/dp/B005GFM9CG/

http://www.amazon.com/Asteroid-Archetypes-Primer-Marcha-Fox-ebook/dp/B007WN1J7G/

http://www.amazon.com/Lilith-Dark-Maid-Marcha-Fox-ebook/dp/B007WN25UG/

TURNING BOOKS INTO MUSIC

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My Friday Interview with Author Marcha Fox has been moved from Friday to Saturday.  Instead I’d like to share this article with you and get your opinions.

Artist Hannah Davis and computer scientist Saif Mohammad have devised a program that uses words and translates them into music. Samples are provided in the link below — J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road are a delight to listen to.  Just the thought of using the literary DNA of a novel and turning it into a symphony that reflects the mood and vibrancy makes me wonder how novels like Fifty Shades of Gray, Pride and Prejudice, and Snookie’s Autobiography would turn out.

No doubt my book Divisive would be a dark landscape of sounds. Terpsichore in Love would have a moving operatic sound to it. Romancing the Fox would have a light, pop feel to it, along with assorted moans and groans in the background.

So Here’s my question to you.  What novel – yours or another writers – would you like to see submitted to the program and turned into a piece of music??????

 

 

 

 

 

http://time.com/90259/classic-novels-music/

OPINION —- Methinks Amazon is Getting Too Big For Their Britches

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Here’s the link about Amazon’s latest bullying tactics in the literature field. Admittedly, it’s against the big boys of publishing but we’re all aware of the trickle-down-effect.   Keep an eye out….and pray.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/23/amazon-escalates-its-battle-against-hachette/?_php=true&_type=blogs&partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

SUPPORT INDIE AUTHORS !!!!!!

 

Blog Interview # 5 — With Author Chris Birdy

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Hi Everyone!!   Thanks for dropping by for another tri-weekly interview with an up-and-coming author. Chris Birdy’s kinda shy so, instead of a picture, I’m providing her Amazon Biography.Image

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For almost twenty-five years, I did investigative work for small law firms conducting business in rough housing projects and crack house neighborhoods. I met with clients in every jail in the area even the now defunct Charles Street Jail and Deer Island House of Corrections. On good days, I got to take the .25 caliber handgun out of my pocket and the 9mm out of my purse and go to court. Then the real show began!
Several years ago, while sitting in a courtroom with a client, I watched as a police officer was lambasted by an attorney. The attorney was defending a young woman who crashed her car into two other vehicles before she passed out drunk behind the wheel. The occupants of the other cars were seriously hurt and the cop, a former EMT, tried to assist the injured while waiting for ambulances to arrive. The attorney questioned the cop’s every move, shredded his testimony and made him seem inept.
Embarrassed, the cop returned to his seat beside me and muttered, “Everybody lies. The judges lie, the lawyers lie, the witnesses lie..” I wanted to tell him not to worry that in about five years he’d be just as good a liar as they were.
The seeds for The Girl in White Pajamas were planted in that courtroom.

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INTERVIEW

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Your first novel – The Girl in White Pajamas – is an excellent debut in my literary opinion. Describe the plot in three sentences.

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Bogie McGruder returns to Boston when his brother is killed. He wants to contact his ex-lover and meet his daughter, but she calls him because someone is trying to kill her. Bogie then moves through a labyrinth of lies and deceit before he learns the truth.

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How long did it take for your book to go from concept to publication?

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It took about three years. I wrote the manuscript and started sending out queries to agents. That was a demoralizing experience. Many agents didn’t respond, most sent back form letters, some wrote an encouraging sentence on their letter or mine. Being pragmatic and having gone through the entire alphabet of agent’s names, I put that project aside and returned to writing. When I finished the third manuscript, a friend asked to read the first one. She did and encouraged me to publish it. A whole new career started.

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What’s the best, and worst part about writing a book?

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I love writing. When I’m writing, my mind is in another world. But editing is a pain. I like to print out the work and edit from a paper copy. However, using that paper copy to go back on the computer to make changes is incredibly boring.

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I like how you have varied tastes in Movies and Music. Please tell us your favorite Movie and Singer/Group and tell us why you Love them?

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For many years, my favorite movie was Gone with the Wind. My current favorites are Gran Torino and The Departed. I guess I’ve become more enamored with violence as I’ve grown older. My all-time favorite singers are George Jones and Randy Travis. Elvis was my first crush. Don’t forget, he was country before he was rock and roll. But when I’m writing, I listen to Chopin, Mozart or Beethoven.

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What’s your next book going to be about?

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My next book is the second book in the Pajama series – The Girl in Black Pajamas. This story starts a year after the first book. Isabella is four years old, her parents are married and she has a little brother. Bogie McGruder, the main character, returns to Boston because one of the R&B Investigations people is shot and someone is trying to take over their secure network. Unaware of the dangers in Boston, Bogie brings Isabella with him. While he’s there, Bogie’s extended family in Palm Beach is going off the rails and becomes involved in a porn movie scandal. Bogie tries to deal with both problems with Isabella’s unwelcome assistance.

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What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever done or seen???? You may use fake names to protect the person’s identity.

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Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that my life has been a never-ending series of outrageous things. Many I can’t put in writing, mostly to protect me. One thing I did a few years back even gave me pause. At around 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday I was driving through the worst part of the city and I was lost. Since I didn’t have a GPS, I just kept driving straight. The street I was on seemed dead in the daytime but came alive at night with folks drinking and partying all over their front steps and into the road. I was driving a powder blue Cadillac with a large silver wheel on the back. As I drove my pimp mobile, I stopped at a red light. There I sat with my flaming red hair, wearing all my bling waiting for the light to change. Just then three big dudes walked down the middle of the road toward me in a V formation. I was pissed. I reached over, grabbed by 9mm and racked the slide. I wasn’t threatening them, only deciding which one to take out first since I already knew I’d shoot right through the windshield. They looked at my face and ran. Later, when I found my way back onto the highway all I could think of was the incredible amount of paperwork that would have been involved if I shot them. I’m still waiting for remorse to set in.

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As a new author, do you feel overwhelmed at the amount of time it takes to promote your novel?

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A year ago, I knew nothing about Facebook and Twitter. I’ve now become so enmeshed in them that I have to stop myself from spending too much time on each. I’ve learned that self-promotion is just part of the job, but I’m trying to put limits on the amount of time I spend on them each day. The upside is that I’ve made some good friends, fellow writers from all over the world. That’s how I met you, John. (Editors Note: We met during the Masters Of Darkness Event. A great time was had by all.)

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As a rule, Indie writers should help out each other. Excluding me, who are three writers you feel should always be on a bestselling list?

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I’m sorry, John, but I can’t exclude you. I admire people like you, John Reinhard Dizon and Pam Winn who write in different genres. I think Gunnar Angel Lawrence should be added to the bestseller list as well.

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Last question. Pick a superpower and tell me why you chose it – time-travel, flying, shape-shifting?

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If I had a superpower, it would be to stretch out a day to 40 hours. It seems like I’m always multi-tasking and getting a little further behind each day. I’d like to write 20 hours a day and do everything else with the other 20.

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LIBRARY

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THE GIRL IN WHITE PAJAMASImage

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SYNOPSIS

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Bogie McGruder returns to Boston after his brother, a cop, is gunned down on the street. Since the Boston police are investigating the death of one of their own, Bogie believes his trip will be a short condolence visit and a chance to meet his secret love child.
Although Bogie wants to contact his ex-lover, Bailey Hampfield, he’s reluctant to do so since Bailey dumped him four years earlier. Knowing that Bailey had his child after she cut him loose, Bogie thinks it’s time to establish a relationship with the three year old daughter he’s never met. While he considers his options, Bailey gets in touch with him and asks for protection. Someone is trying to kill her.
Bogie doesn’t want to get involved in the BPD investigation into his brother’s death, but he continues to be drawn into it while trying to discover who is attempting to kill Bailey Hampfield. The investigations seem to parallel each other, then intersect and become intertwined. As the story develops, Isabella, a precocious child obsessed with martial arts, slowly becomes the focus.
The underlying theme of this fast-paced mystery is lies. Everyone seems to be runing on lies and half truths. The only true character is The Girl in White Pajamas.

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BUY LINK — http://www.amazon.com/Girl-White-Pajamas-Chris-Birdy-ebook/dp/B00JEHQ75M/ref=la_B00DEQQPOW_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401305199&sr=1-1

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MY REVIEW

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Murder, Deceit, and a Red-Headed Stepchild of Sorts., May 16, 2014

When PI Bogie McGruder finds out his cop brother has been killed in the streets of Boston, he returns to the city he exiled himself from to privately investigate the crime. He also seizes the opportunity to connect with his 3-yr-old love child Isabella for the first time since learning of her birth.

The novel moves at a brisk pace, filled with seedy characters, diabolical villains, and not so friendly friends. Scenes of family dysfunction, dark secrets, and bitter revelations come to the forefront as this murder mystery reaches its compelling ending.

While it does have its flaws, The Girl in White Pajamas has its merits too. It’s a stylish, totally realistic novel that’s well worth your time and money. I give it Five Stars.

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Twitter — @CHRISBIRDY1

 

 

 

Blog Interview #4 with Lisa Klass

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I’ve known Lisa Klass since we shared a Facebook event a few weeks ago.  She’s become a good friend and it’s been a pleasure to read her work. She’s written three books so far and should continue to delight with her future offerings.   Sit back, relax, and share a few moments with me and Lisa.

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INTERVIEW

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You’ve written three novels so far. Is it getting easier, or harder and why?

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That’s a tough question. When I have the time to write the ideas in my mind flow easily. When I don’t have the time it takes scheduling to work out writing time, but scheduling time in takes away the creative flow. As far as prepping a book such as format and editing that part gets easier each time.

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Do you have a favorite character in your novels and are they you, in a literary sense?

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I would say Cleo from Baby Girl is my favorite, and yes, she is me in a very literary sense. In my other novels I have taken bits and pieces of my life stories and twisted them around, although the characters aren’t me so much as figments of my imagination. Occasionally, I design a character as a combination of people I have known within my life.

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Teaching school can be thrilling and torturous. Like my brother, you teach junior high students, probably the most opinionated group of all. Do you ever wish you had chosen a different career?

Junior High students always get a bad rap. Really though, they aren’t that horrible certainly better than elementary students and seniors. Teaching was never my life goal nor is it now. My life career goal is to write, but in order to do that I need to pay the bills which is where teaching comes in. That doesn’t sound so good so I will add I enjoy my teaching juveniles. It is the system and bureaucratic red tape that needs to go. Students aren’t statistics they are people.

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Describe your feelings when you typed ‘The End’ on your first novel.

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The end is the end is the end, there is no more to tell. I knew the end of the story before I knew the rest and there will never be anymore, therefore when I closed it I decided to end it with a simple statement.

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What kind of story is simmering in your mind right now?

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Many, I have a ton of rough drafts that I wish to finish before I write a new one, but I have crazy notes in my computer, phone, tablet and even paper that I scribble down when an idea pops into my brain. If I had the time I could put out more than one novel in a year. Currently, Baby Girl Book 4 is overwhelming my brain and the ideas are rolling in like a thunderstorm.I have had many requests to put Baby Girl into a full length novel. I hate to give anything away, and there is a very real possibility that I will, and when I do I’m sure more will be added. In my head Cleo’s life is mapped out well into her 30’s. Right now I’m thinking a trilogy of novels.

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You like Zombie movies. (Don’t we all – LOL) Name your favorite Zombie flick or series and would you ever pen a novel about the undead?

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Zombies! I have some ideas brewing in my head that actually originated in a dream where I wasn’t me at all but a young man sitting at a campfire in the desert with my brother and father. As we were escaping from a downpour of zombies my brother got bit, during the campfire, he turned and bolted straight for me, his eyes dead and cold. He grabbed my face in his hands and got ready to take a bite when I yelled, “Dad”. With zombie brother’s head in the way I didn’t have a view of my father, and panic rushed over every centimeter of my body and the dream ended there. Don’t they always?

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What do you do when you get the dreaded writer’s block?

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Whenever I get stuck I reread, if no ideas come to me I erase and backtrack until the ideas flow again, usually just once unless my thoughts are interrupted.

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If you were able to write the final chapter of the True Blood series, who would Sookie Stackhouse end up with romantically?

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True Blood is nothing like the Sookie Stackhouse novels. That being said I would finish them differently. In True Blood I like her with Eric better. In the novels, and mind you I haven’t read the final one. In novel world Sookie Stackhouse is one of my favorite series, and I don’t want to read the end so I put off the reading of the book. Romantically, I don’t like any of the men she’s been with so I think I would have her squeezing through the portal in her back yard with a delicious male fairy, The End.

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Thanks for enduring my review, Lisa.  🙂   May you have much happiness and many successes in the future.

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LISA KLASS’ LIBRARY

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SYNOPSIS

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Baby Girl Book 1: In the Beginning is the first book in this series.
Follow Cleo on her epic saga which begins when she abandoned by her mom at twelve. She has no other family which she is aware of, and in order to survive she leaves her home and lives on the streets. She meets some interesting characters and gets into some amusing predicaments all in the name of survival, such as jumping trains, being chased through the woods by a crazy man with a loaded shotgun and witnessing an unspeakable crime. After a few months on the streets she runs into another group of kids, Einstein is the oldest and a leader in the group, and they form a family of sorts. For survival and money they lean towards a life a crime which inevitably breaks up their family and sends Cleo and Einstein spiraling into their own adventure. Eventually they settle into a “normal” life however their pasts can’t be hushed forever …

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BUY LINKhttp://www.amazon.com/Baby-Girl-Book-1-Beginning-ebook/dp/B00GYP1DXS/ref=la_B00F2Y48C0_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401128242&sr=1-3

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RANDOM 5-STAR REVIEW

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5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-Paced, Exciting, and Beautiful, February 8, 2014
This review is from: Baby Girl Book 1: In the Beginning (Kindle Edition)
Baby Girl is a quick-paced short story following the adventures of one brave and street-savvy adolescent. Abandoned by her mother, Cleo has to learn to fend for herself and ultimately survive.
Descriptive, raw, and captivating, author Elle Klass does a great job of leading you through the mishaps, turmoil, and journey that the main character undergoes over the span of roughly a year.
Shorter structured sentences keeps the reader on the edge of their seat, as the pace is heightened and drops you like a roller-coaster into the harried, disjointed life of Cleo. Concise but beautiful descriptions, like “a stream of shrapnel flowed out of the barrel” or “rubber ducky yellow” made the story a visual treat.
I hungered for the author to include more vivid details and reference the other senses such as taste and touch, but otherwise, I could see exactly what the author had wanted me to.
I recommend this short story to anyone looking to escape into the adventure-packed landscape of one rough-around-edges teenager.
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BABY GIRL  BOOK 2: MOONLIGHTING IN PARIS
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SYNOPSIS
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Follow Cleo as she transforms into the glamorous Justine and falls into a life of unimaginable wealth when Didier the owner of a hotel empire is beguiled by her mysterious and naïve charms. Her life becomes one of luxury and fame beyond anything she could have ever imagined. Remnants of her past continue to haunt her and a new threat appears; is her latest peril related to her past or someone else’s, someone who has become a large part of her new life.
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BUY LINK –  http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Girl-Book-Moonlighting-Paris-ebook/dp/B00IX5SSZS/ref=la_B00F2Y48C0_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401128242&sr=1-2
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RANDOM 5-Star REVIEW
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Face in the Mirror? March 13, 2014 By John R. Dizon

Moonlighting in Paris by Elle Klass is a romantic novel with psychological themes focusing on Justine Holmes, the alter ego of the self-described ‘homely, distraught and self-centered’ Cleo. Having read Baby Girl 1, my best suggestion would be for you to pick up the first installment for some Cleo background. However, it won’t keep you from thoroughly enjoying this one as Klass hits the ground running in this rousing sequel.The author proves most crafty in leading us to sympathize and even identify with Justine. Despite the fact she is lying and deceptive in her dealings with the wealthy Didier and his colleague Sam, Klass’ refined first-person narrative technique makes us want to see her succeed. The enigmatic Einstein makes a spiritual encore here as Justine seeks closure with memories of her past life, only the introduction of Detective John Young comes close to compromising her façade. Justine is able to make her way into the fabric of Parisian society with the aid of Didier, and she basks in his radiance though continually distracted by her own shadowy past. The climactic confrontation comes as Justine is faced with the choice of living her life in married bliss under a bogus identity, or leaving a life of privilege at the cost of a clear conscience.

Elle Klass’ novel is worth reading as much for its delightfully extravagant journey as Justine’s final decision. The anti-heroine reaffirms the notion that charming people have something to hide, namely their chronic reliance on others to define themselves. Moonlighting in Paris by Elle Klass stands alone as a memorable drama, but as the second part of the series it shows us just how far both protagonist and author have progressed along this winding road.

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AS SNOW FALLS
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SYNOPSIS
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It is the 20th century in California and the main character, a woman, has lived her life to the fullest. Nestled in her favorite spot during a snow storm she recalls the events of her life from her earliest memories of resisting birth and losing that futile battle to finding her true love and their beautiful family.
There are monkey wrenches thrown in at every turn as she struggles to find her place; demonic teachers, cliquish students, her nightmare job, a love lost, and an earthquake that threatens her family. Life continues to dismay her until she can’t take it anymore and sets off on a journey. She is a lost soul with no destination, a wandering heart until something happens, something so incredible she could have never imagined it! Through her harrowing and dark story she finds light, justice and true love. She is a humble and lovable character who is quite ordinarily extraordinary. Her story is anyone’s story.
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RANDOM 5-STAR REVIEW
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Intriguing, Emotional, Tender Sweet! February 10, 2014

Author Elle Klass brought to the writing world a classical reminiscing story of the life of an elder lady reliving her past as she sits a snow storm out. As the elder lady continues to rock in her rocking chair she slowly reveals the good and bad times she had growing up. The emotions that are played out in this story is like riding a roller coaster, one minute I was finding myself being happy and then as soon as I turned the page a whole new emotion was brought to the surface Elle Klass took this story to a whole new level to capture the innocence but hurtful events that life can bring. Elle created this short story with such a tender sweet touch but at the same time left the reader intrigued my wondering what the past will bring.As Snow Falls by Elle Klass is a story I would highly recommend to other readers that are looking for a heart-touching story to read.

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OTHER LINKS FROM LISA KLASS
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My Review of Cindy J. Smith’s — Voices in My Head

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My Review of Cindy J. Smith’s — Voices in My Head

Ms. Smith has created a work that has some of the most poignant poetry I’ve ever read. The lyrical verses talk about her family life, dreams, hopes, and even sports. My favorites are the love poems to her immediate family members – ‘Mom,’ ‘My Love,’ and ‘Anniversary.’
If you like poetry, check out a writer who had become one of my favorites. I give this Five Stars.Image

 

http://www.amazon.com/Voices-My-Head-Cindy-Smith-ebook/dp/B00GZQBR8M/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401083294&sr=1-5&keywords=voices+in+my+head

Blog Interview #3 with Michele Riccio

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BLOG INTERVIEW # 3 — With Michele Riccio

I’ve known Michele for three years, thanks to the Internet Writers Workshop (IWW), and she’s one of the most personable, dependable, opinionated friends I know. She’s an unabashed Boston Bruins fan, doesn’t take life too serious, and will out-snark you any chance she gets. Her personality shines in every one of her main characters and the witty dialogue in her books are the best I’ve come across. Without further ado, here’s her interview. You’ll enjoy it. I guarantee.

 

Your first book – Sex Lives and Dental Chairs – is a mystery mixed with comedy, a healthy dose of suspense, and throws in a deep-seated fear most people have – visiting the dentist. Describe how you came up with the concept of Sex Lives, and are you afraid of the dental drill?

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Right, let’s start off with fear and loathing.   As a child (around age 7) I had a traumatic dental experience involving: a baby tooth, a root canal, and not enough Novacaine. As you might imagine, given a sufficiently twisted mind (because I’m not offering details), the sound of a dentist’s drill does not evoke pleasant memories. Flash-forward some decades. Now (technically) an adult, and in my own apartment, I find the new neighbor rather… loud, in all aspects of life (seriously, this guy made jack hammers and smoke alarms seem as quiet as lullabies). While complaining about him to my cousin Karen, I broke a tooth on a nacho chip (and no, I’m never letting her forget – she picked the restaurant).   The following months of dental torture by day and aural torture at night made me rather cranky. Fine, crankier than usual. I realized I’d lose what few friends I still had if all I did was complain, so I took the angst and poured it into a novel. Then I layered on the snark. I felt much better having written it all out, complete with polished snappy comebacks for all occasions. Eventually I even managed to stuff a plot in there.  Since publication I’ve moved to a much quieter apartment and I avoid a specific restaurant known for its brutal nachos.

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The second book in your library – I Do-Over – deals with a woman being forced to serve as a bridesmaid twice for a second wedding when the first is cursed by a psychic. How many times have you been a bridesmaid and tell us about the worst dress you had to wear?

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I have thrice been a bridesmaid. And, in order to safeguard my life, because I’m still in contact with all three of the brides, I will plead the fifth with regards to “worse dress.”    I will say, long dresses and I don’t mix. I have a tendency to trip on the hem, in a way that – were I the star in a romantic-comedy – would be cute and acrobatic, but in reality is just scary-klutzy. And in one case close to indecent exposure.    I won’t even get into the shoe aspect.

I’m not fond of dressing up even when I get to chose the outfit. Being constrained to wear clothes picked by someone else, to fit into a group of similarly dressed women, ranks pretty high on my list of: Things I’d Prefer to Avoid But Feel Duty-Bound to Perform. However, I now share a bond with millions of other women who have something pastel and awkwardly fitting crammed into a corner of the closet.  NOTE: The dresses in the novel were wholly fictional. Any resemblance to actual dresses is purely coincidental.

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How close are the heroines in your books (Grace Douglas – I Do-Over, JaneTynan – Sex Lives and Dental Chairs, and Ursula of your WIP) related to the Michele Riccio I’ve grown to know over the last three years?

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In a sense they are me – they have to be. They came out of my head, colored by my experience and my viewpoint. The characters can’t be anything BUT me. In another sense, they aren’t like me at all. I’ve never pined for a man without telling anyone. I’ve never abandoned/been abandoned by my family. I’ve never had an illegitimate child. I suppose they are possible me’s – who I would have become if put in those situations.   Or, they’re complete fiction.    I suppose creating these people is a way to try on a lifestyle or explore the path you didn’t take. What would I be like if…?   Which means no matter the path, I’d still be a wise-ass.

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What’s the worst part of being a perfectionist author?

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HAHAHAHAHA! According to some reviews I’m hardly a perfectionist.   I do feel a need to get the story right. I have an idea of this intricate layered tale. Something beautiful and unexpected. A story to get lost in.   When ends up on the page usually has jagged edges and the paint doesn’t quite match and the stitching shows… but patchwork quilts can be nice too, right?

Perfection is something to strive for, certainly. I want to tell the sort of story I like to read. The sort that stays with you, a place you want to inhabit. What I’ve actually written are fluffy funny stories. It may be all I can write is fluff. If so, I want to write the best fluff I’m capable of. Making someone laugh is nothing to sneer at, after all.

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You’re a part-time photographer and a full-time lover of the Boston Bruins. Would you ever consider writing a Romantic Drama or a naughty Erotica about a woman who finds her true love on the team?

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And how would photography fit in…? Aside from the obvious, which would likely land me a lengthy stay in prison for “photographing without consent.”   Erotica isn’t where my muse lives. Apparently my muse prefers more comfortable undies, who knew? So, no, never had an urge to go there with or without hockey.   As for drama – maybe someday. I don’t know. I’ve given Ursula (in my WIP) a love of the Bruins in particular and hockey in general. Perhaps my muse will supply me with a character who falls for a hockey player. Stranger things have happened in my novels.

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When you start a novel, describe what you do to prepare for it. Are you a writer who outlines or writes by the seat of your pants?

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Prrreee-paaarre? Sorry, that isn’t a word I’m familiar with.    Total seat-of-the-pants writer. I get an idea, usually a short scene, and go from there. With Sex Lives it was the scene where Jane stops to look at the decaying farmhouse – and I thought it was going to be a fantasy story where she escapes her problems by traveling to fairy-land. I’m not sure I could have been more wrong about the plot.

This is the joy of pantsing, Like jumping into a void, you have no idea where you’ll end up.    For the last seven Novembers I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in which you, as a writer, pledge to write a first draft of a novel in 30 days. With one exception I’ve woken up on November 1st with a vague kernel of an idea and ended the month somewhere between 50-75 thousands words (one year I had an actual idea. An honest-to-goodness PLOT. Worst NaNo ever. I struggled for 30 days barely made the word count and hated every word I wrote). NaNo works for me. There is structure (getting the minimum words per day) and lack of boundaries – the perfect conditions for getting a draft on the page. For me at least.

Post-draft I do a lot of re-writing, re-thinking the plot, re-working bits to make them fit. The novel evolves. I eventually create a sort of outline using a calendar so I know when things happen and can make sure events adhere to the space-time continuum. Around this time I realize some major event happens effect before cause. I pout, rant, complain to other writers, bang my head on literary walls. Re-write some more, buy a really nice bar of chocolate to sooth my inner turmoil or possibly bribe my muse into helping me out (in addition to comfortable clothes, my muse is fond of dark chocolate).

Then, feeling like I’ve pogo-sticked to the top of Everest, I submit chapters to my critique group. And find out just how many glaring errors I’ve missed.    Nothing like a bunch of writers to point out problems, right? (Seriously, I could not have done as much as I have without my writer’s group. They are a great bunch at Internet Writer’s Workshop)

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You’re asked to pick a Hollywood actress to play Grace Douglas. Who would it be and why?

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Ugh. I don’t know – who’s a good actress? I’d be better off guessing an actor for Jon. I had early Farscape-ear Ben Browder in mind for him (he rocked those leather pants). I’m very shallow when it comes to movies, I’m all about the eye-candy – male eye-candy, that is.  Shallow and one-dimensional. I’m a thin layer of vanilla ice cream when it comes to the visual media.

The problem with actresses is – they all seem so comfortable dressed-up and in the spotlight. Grace is neither of those things. She hates all the fuss. So, I’ll say the best actress to play Grace would be someone completely unknown who lacks any preconceived poise. Which, of course, means I don’t know her name. (Editors note—- Kristin Stewart sounds about right. 🙂 Am I wrong?? )

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Last question – What part of writing gives you the most tension?

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Last answer.: Jumping into that void of panster writing can be tense. I don’t know where I’m going or how I’m getting there. When I arrive, I’ve left behind plot holes big enough to drive a tractor trailer through. Re-writing sometimes feels like carving a design into a massive brick wall mortared with a plotless collection of words which have failed to become a novel.

But I can eat snacks while I work. So, that makes things better.    Unless I’m working at the library, which I do in summer because they have AC and comfortable chairs.   That’s tension, right? The character wants something (snacks) but can’t have it because of a barrier (library rules).

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MICHELE RICCIO’S LIBRARY

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I DO-OVER

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SYNOPSIS

Grace Douglas has a secret crush on Jon, the boy next door. The problem is: at thirty-six she’s well past the age of secret crushes, her father insists Jon is her brother (by dint of his marriage to Jon’s mother), and Jon is nothing more than brotherly when he spends the night in her hotel room.

Then a meddling fortuneteller convinces Grace’s half-sister, Kitty she needs to re-stage her recent wedding – and get it right this time – or suffer the consequences. Dodging the bullets of a mysterious, if incompetent, stalker and fending off Heraldo, co-worker without a work ethic are a piece of wedding cake for Grace – compared to being Kitty’s maid of honor.

Grace has to find a way out. Or be seen by the man she loves – wearing a bridesmaid gown.

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MY REVIEW

This Review is for: I Do-Over: Confessions of a Recalcitrant Bridesmaid (Kindle Edition)
For every nine women who love to wear the traditionally horrible bridesmaids gowns, there’s always one who hates every uncomfortable second of it – Grace Douglas is that woman. She’s knocking on the big ‘4-oh,’ lives alone with her dog, and has a longtime, unrequited crush on Jon Taylor. The bad thing about her naughty thoughts is the fact he’s her step-brother – kinda sorta. Read the novel – like real life relationships – it’s complicated.Grace’s newly married/high maintenance step-sister Kitty is warned by a psychic to re-do her marriage ceremony to include Grace as her maid-of-honor instead of just having her photograph the event – as in the first wedding. That development starts to spiral Grace’s personal life into a tragic comedy of events, realizations, and groan-inducing trials that will make you laugh, cry, and say ‘Oh no she didn’t.” Only adding to Grace’s distress, her persnickety boss has a carnal yen for Jon while her clueless, lover assistant Heraldo has an intense hatred of the stressed-out protagonist.The action mounts when an unknown assailant starts trying to kill Grace and the terror ensues when she has to come face to face with the worst thing imaginable – her dress for the Do-Over wedding.Ms. Riccio combines fine writing with snarky overtones to make a romantic dramedy that would be a perfect chick-flick movie in the future…and a sensational chic-lit novel you can read right now. I give it Five unabashed stars. I Loved it.

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SEX LIVES AND DENTAL CHAIRS
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Jane Tynan wants to be happy. Her needs are simple: a satisfying job, a quiet home, and the man she loves. But since she testified against her ex-husband, what she has is: an assumed name, a crap job, an apartment upstairs from the world’s loudest sex addict, and no man at all. Unless you count the cute-but-suspicious deputy investigating her neighbor’s disappearance, the Ski-Mask Wearing man camping in her yard, and the dentist she “accidentally” assaulted before her root canal. Faced with dental bills rivaling the national debt, the revelation of her past to the police, and zits Jane figures she’s hit bottom. Then her ex-husband turns up looking for payback. Jane must decide between running away and calling in a favor from the man she loves, but can’t have.
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MY REVIEW
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Funny, Snarky, and totally Brutal.,August 21, 2013

***ARC*** All Jane Tynan wants to do is live a quiet existance as a librarian and stay as far under the radar as possible. After going into hiding to escape the clutches of her ex-husband, a series of unfortunate incidents turns her life in a living hell. Her neighbor in the apartment below her keeps Jane awake all night with his loud sexual encounters. A mysterious man in a ski-cap is stalking her. A hunky policeman seems to run into her every time she commits a misdemeanor, and the root canal she’s put off for the last few months is either keeping her in pain, or drugged enough to make her a walking disaster. The final part of the book’s twisted puzzle comes when Jane discovers her ex is out of jail and is snooping around her job. Knowing her life may be in danger by two stalkers and the never-ending toothache from hell, Jane frantically tries to find out what the two men want…and when her dentist can make her pain go away.

This novel is fast paced, features a lovably sarcastic main character, boasts unusual plot twists, and is a page turner you’ll devour without putting it down. Ms. Riccio has created a damsel-in-distress for the new millenium, and this is a book you’ll have to read again and again to catch the subtle nuances she loads it with. Five Stars.

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(EDITORS NOTE — Sex Lives and Dental Chairs is now available as an e-book and a print copy is on it’s way.  Be sure to leave a review if your get a copy!!! )
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Thanks for a great Interview, Michele. It’s a distinct pleasure to know you.