Thursday, October 31, 2013

Madison's Christmas

Madison's Christmas is my Christmas short story.  I wrote this for an anthology with other indie authors to be published for a holiday project that fell through for some unknown reason.  It is being offered free on from midnight tonight until midnight tomorrow night, November 1, 2013.

Christmas is Madison's favorite holiday, but this year she has to face it alone, without her father and her best friend, amid the problems of running her own high-stakes business and dealing with family issues.  Can the spirit of Christmas lift a heavy heart?

What a thoroughly enjoyable read!  Thank you.
                  -Maria M.


Just what is a film poster?  It is a poster used to advertise a film.  They are used by movie studios to promote a film, both domestically and internationally.  Present day posters feature photos of the main characters of the movie.  Prior to 1990, the posters used illustrations rather than photographs.  These placards also contain the film title, actors and directors names, and the release date of the movie.  They can be found inside and outside theaters and elsewhere on the streets and in retail entertainment outlets.

The earlier advertisements were compositions of multiple overlaid illustrations from scenes in the film.  Many others were artistic interpretations of the overall theme of the movie displayed in various artistic styles.

Originally these posters were printed for the specific theater where the film was being shown.  At the end of the film's run, the posters were returned to  the National Screen Service which was responsible for the printing and distribution.  In the 1980's most American movie studios took over production and distribution of film advertisements.

There are several kinds of movie poster formats.

Lobby cards were a smaller form of poster, usually 8x10 or 11x14 inches in size, popular before 1930.  These cards are very collectible.  Age, quality, and popularity determine their value.  Lobby cards were most commonly issued in sets of 8, each with a different film scene.

Teaser posters are used in the early promotion of a film.  They feature a basic image or design which doesn't reveal much about the plot or characters.  They are generally used to create hype over the film.

Character posters are promotional placards that feature a character and the name of the actor playing it.  It may also carry a tagline reflecting a quality of that character.

Pictured above are 10 of the most famous movie posters in recent film history.

Interview with Author Gregory S. Lamb

 Gregory S. Lamb
Portland, Oregon

What have you written?
The People In Between:  A Cyprus Odyssey
Family Saga - Historical Fiction
A Ghost Named Manky
Young Adult - Campfire Story
A Dangerous Element
Military Thriller - (currently in the mill)

What is your favorite genre to write?  
Contemporary Fiction

Favorite food:  
Çoban or Mercimek çorbası - Turkish for Shepherd's Soup often made with red lentils

Where would you like to visit? 
The Kingdom of Tonga in the South West Pacific - It would mean tramping on an Inter-Island supply ship - something I've got on my bucket list.

Favorite musical artist:  
Aoife O'Donavan - Progressive Blue Grass Singer/ Song Writer with the sweetest airy voice you'll ever hear.  The original music she performs with the Band "Crooked Still" tells some amazing tales.

Do you listen to music when you write? 
Sometimes - I find music with lyrics to be a distraction

When I do it is Modern or acoustic Jazz Instrumentals

What makes you laugh?
Great question.  When I was a kid I remember experiencing the uncontrollable emotion of laugher when I heard certain types of music being played.  Recently I've re-discovered the joy of listening and have found myself laughing when listening to Old Time American Folk music.
I also find myself laughing at some of the silly things I see my dog, Matisse doing.  He's a Faux French Bulldog (mom was Frenchie, dad a Boston Terrier). 

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote a play in Fifth Grade...that must have been my first foray into the world of creative writing.  I was a terrible student and really terrible writer until my sophomore year as an undergraduate.  However, I didn't really learn to write until later. 
Believe it or not, writing policy documents in my former career taught me a lot about crafting a story line. About three years ago, I began my second career as an independent author and I'm still learning.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I've been thinking about this question since I discovered the importance of marketing my work. By reading the work of others - both good and bad, I've started to populate my creative writing tool kit with a variety of techniques.
I'm often impressed with the creativity of the work written by young artists.  I don't believe I would have been able to do what I'm doing now without the perspective of my life's experiences.  In recent years, I've come to realize that I'm a collector of other people's stories, which sometimes form the basis or framework of a plot line.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Thank goodness I haven't experienced this plague!  My stories burn in my mind and I'm compelled to write them down - they spill out in ways that sometimes keep me from remaining in the present.  Two things emerge as a result:  I sometimes miss what is happening around me while imagining how I would document an occurrence or emotion that I just experienced. Second, I end up with lots of written material that requires sifting, organizing and eliminating all together.  That is the hardest part for me - As Stephen King points out in his work, "On Writing."  We must learn to eliminate "our little darlings," to keep the plot moving and our readers engaged.

Who is your favorite author?
Jack London - This guy had the credibility of experience.  He wasn't afraid of adventure.  I would be so bold as to describe him as one of the world's first participative authors.  He was a ground-breaking war correspondent at a very young age - long before the popularity we see with today's celebrity journalists.

Best book you ever read.
Why do people ask me that?  It is perhaps the most difficult question for me because I have so many and my answer varies with my mood.  However, two recent novels come to mind: 
I liked the structure of The People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks more than anything I’ve read in the past year.  The story arcs from Cutting for Stone, by Abraham Verghese really grabbed me and I admired the way he structured the chronology and flow into a complete novel.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I couldn't afford college so I worked my way through school as a sail maker.  My world revolved around sailing in competitions in the San Francisco Bay Area and saving money for college.  Kame Richards, the owner of Pineapple Sails in Oakland, California was a generous employer who I admired for his creativity and energy.  He always kept a spot for me on his small staff of employees so that I could make it through college.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Henry Kissinger because I'd want to learn every detail about the path he took to acquire so much influence. Not because I'm interested in becoming a power monger either.  I'd like to go eyeball to eyeball with Mr. Kissinger and challenge him to defend keeping the American public in the dark about his involvement in manipulating international politics.  I'd want to hear what he has to say about the many people in various places in the world who endured and suffered as a result of his political engagements.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
Enjoy the process.  Have fun on the adventure ride that you would be creating for yourself as you journey along the trails of your characters.  Manage your expectations and follow your heart and allow yourself to write what you feel matters.




My Website:

My Blog: 

Read about my soon to be realeased novel:  A Dangerous Element

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Interview with Author Mellie George

 Mellie George
Indiana, USA

Welcome, Mellie, to Vision and Verse, the place for Art and Authors.  We're happy to have you here with us this morning.  Tell us, what have you written?
 Say Yes (Glenbrook Girls Series), Back To Life, and the
upcoming novella Rebel (part one in a four part series)

What is your favorite genre to write?
Steamy romance

Favorite food.
Pizza. LOTS of pizza, lol. It’s my eternal weakness.

Where would you like to visit?
I would love to travel around the US and see places I haven’t seen like New York City, New Orleans, Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas.

Favorite musical artist.
Wow, that’s like asking me which child is my favorite! I am a rock chick at heart and my favorite bands right now are Memphis May Fire, Saving Abel, and Shinedown. I also surprisingly am loving the heck out of Lady Gaga’s new stuff, and I will admit I crank up the radio when Katy Perry’s new song comes on.

Do you listen to music when you write?  What? 
I definitely listen to music when I write. In fact, my second book “Back To Life” includes a playlist of all the music I listened to and what inspired me to write and shape the character of Rory. My first novella, “Rebel”, will have a playlist attached as well. I don’t have one in Say Yes, but I am thinking of going back and adding one since I get asked that question a lot. I tend to listen to music I think my characters would listen to while I am shaping them.

What makes you laugh?
My friends (including my work family who I adore so much), and anything from Family Guy. Seriously…funniest show EVER.

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote my first short story when I was eleven, actually. It was a story about a figure skater and her partner. (The Cutting Edge was a big movie at the time, lol.) I wrote a lot through high school too, but I began writing “Say Yes” in October of 2012 and I seriously considered publishing it that December.

Where do you get your inspiration?
I am a hairstylist, so I get a lot of inspiration from hearing about my customers love lives, lol. I am also a sucker for a good love story, so I just write about what I would love to read about.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
Step away from the computer and read a good book. I also listen to different kinds of music or watch sappy movies…anything that can help me get the creative juices flowing again. I also sometimes step away from my current WIP and work on a different one. It helps to get out of one person’s head and dive into another.

Who is your favorite author? 
Oh man…this is hard. I don’t think I have one favorite, but the authors I have loved and whose books have stayed with me are Jay Crownover, Terri Anne Browning, Sophie Monroe, and Molly McAdams.

Best book you ever read.
Again, a hard question. I absolutely loved Rule by Jay Crownover, I love Terri Anne Browning’s “The Rocker” series but my favorite of the series so far was “The Rocker That Needs Me” (Book 3). Both of those chicks are crazy talented and they are who inspired me to put myself out there and self publish.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I have many people that have influenced me, but I honestly I have to credit my new friends I have met through Facebook as the ones who have the biggest influence on me recently. I have met some incredible lifelong friends on there that never fail to support me and will listen to me cry all the while encouraging me to let it all roll off my back and keep going. They know who they are, lol.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
Oh wow…I think I’d love spend a couple of hours with John Lennon. I’d love to get inside his brilliant mind and just talk about anything and everything.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
The biggest advice I can give is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Not everyone is going to like you and you have to be okay with that. Do bad reviews hurt? Absolutely. I think I cried when I got my first bad one, lol. (It was freaking brutal). However, for every one person that doesn’t like your books there are one hundred people that do and would follow you and your books anywhere. Learn to take constructive criticism, but don’t ever put up with cruelty and bullying. Let it roll off your back and keep on moving with your head held high. Don’t write because you want to be liked, write because it’s what you love, even if it’s crap. Be proud of your crap!!! Lol

Links to my books on Amazon:
Back To Life (US):
Back To Life (UK):

Say Yes (US):
Say Yes (UK):

Links to my books on Barnes & Noble:

Back To Life:

Say Yes:

Like me on Facebook:

Follow me on Twitter:  @AuthorMellieG


Book jackets, also known as dust jackets or dust wrappers, have been a part of book publishing since the early 19th century.  Most are made of paper and are adorned with print and illustrations.  Covers are detachable, usually with folded flaps that hold it to the front and back of the book.

The jacket's main purpose was to protect the book's hard cover.  Many times the paper jackets were encased in a transparent wrapper to further protect the book, especially in instances where it was a library volume.

Typically, the back flap contains information about the author, the publisher, and promotional comments.  The front flap in turn usually has a snippet of the contents of the book.

Often overlooked as an art form, they also bring attention to the artists/illustrators that design them.  Many iconic books have become instantly recognizable because of their cover art.

Pictured above are 10 of the most recognizable books and jackets known today.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Interview with Author Matthew Munson

Matthew Munson 

Welcome to Visio and Verse, the place for Art and Authors this morning, Matthew.  It's a pleasure to have you here.  Tell us, where do you call Home?
    A seaside town called Broadstairs, in Kent – the south-east of England. I’ve lived in and around the town all my life, and love it here. It hosts the country’s second-largest folk festival in the summer, and goes a lot quieter in the winter, and I’m proud to call it home.

It sounds just lovely.  What have you written?
    Two full-length novels, both in the contemporary fantasy genre. My first book, Fall From Grace, was published in October 2011, and its sequel, Leap of Faith, came out just recently in September 2013.
    They’ve both been published by Inspired Quill, a fairly new indie publishing house. IQ began trading just six months before my first book came out, which set for an interesting and busy production period; it was a learning curve for all of us, and great fun – but when Leap of Faith came out two years later, it was a lot calmer!

What is your favorite genre to write?
    Fantasy / sci-fi, most definitely, but I do want to try some writing in crime and drama genres at some point in the future.

Favorite food?
    Scrambled egg on toast – I’m obsessed!

Where would you like to visit?
    New York; I’ve heard it’s a fantastic city to see. I’m not a very seasoned traveler; the furthest I’ve ever been is to Calais in France, so I need to up my game in the next few years. I’m considering doing a walking marathon in Iceland at some point in the future.

Favorite musical artist?  Do you listen to music when you write?  What?
    I don’t have one particular favourite, but Fun is a great current group – although with many others.
    I do always listen to music when I write; it helps me feel a lot more creative. What I listen to depends on what I’m writing. I usually search on Youtube to find various medleys – dramatic, sad, etc. I couldn’t write very easily without music.

What makes you laugh?
    My friends; they’re very witty people, leaving me in the dust!
    There’s quite a few comedians that make me laugh, and I’m always on the look-out for new people on the comedy circuit.

How old were you when you started writing?
    10! I wrote a short story to escape from a geography class (which I hated throughout my school career). A shame, really, as I’m useless at map-reading now.
    Still, I’ve got a writing career out of it; swings and roundabouts and all that.

That's okay about the map-thing, Matt.  They even put GPS in rental cars.Where do you get your inspiration?
    Partly from reading and listening to other people and writers talking; I’m a great magpie for picking up snippets of conversation that set my mind wandering and thinking “What if …?”
    Of course, part of my inspiration comes from my own odd imagination; I wish I could tell you exactly how it works, but it’s a mystery even to me. I just enjoy it while it lasts!

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
    Tell my brain to buck its ideas up; I haven’t got time for any of that sort of thing!

And that works?  Who is your favorite author?
    I can’t honestly be tied down to one author; I worship at the altar of the greats; China Mieville, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Harlan Coburn and the legends – Arthur C Clarke, Agatha Christie, H G Wells, etc.

Best book you ever read.
    Again, I’d struggle to pick just one, but H G Wells’ “Time Machine” certainly was an early inspiration to me.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
    Must I pick just one? I’m going to buck the trend here and sod the rules!
    My parents and the three grandparents I knew have all been magnificent influences. My dad was a journalist for about 50 years before he eventually retired, with a great passion for words, and he instilled a love of words in me. My mum loved fiction, so there were always books sitting around the house, which taught me to respect writing – in whatever genre it might have been (but especially gritty crime and grizzly murder – I worry about my mum sometimes), and I knew then that I would have always preferred writing fiction to non-fiction.
    My grandparents were awesome folk; my mum’s dad (who I sadly never met) actually wrote a book once, but sadly never had it published. I would have relished the chance to have had a good conversation with him about that.
    When I was diagnosed with dyspraxia, at 15, they, above everyone, pushed me on and made me realize that there was so much I could do with my life. I am very fortunate to have such a lovely family.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
    Shakespeare. His words are poetry on the pages, and I would want to learn what made him tick – how he thought, how he used his inspiration … all that and more!

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer?
    Keep going. Never give up. If you love writing – if you feel inside that you love writing (and you’ll know exactly what I mean if you do), then don’t you dare ever give up. Keep writing.

Well, Matthew, you are delightful.  Thank you for your refreshing look at things and "sodding" my rules.  Come back and see us again when your next fantasy novel comes out.  We go cover reveals, and in special cases, book reviews.

My website is and my Facebook page is

My books can be brought from Amazon,, Waterstones, W H Smiths … pretty much everywhere!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Interview with Author Amber Skye Forbes

 Amber Skye Forbes
Grovetown, Georgia

Welcome to Vision and Verse, Amber Skye.  We're happy to have you here from Grovetown, Georgia.  What have you written? 
Well, I wrote When Stars Die, which is about Amelia wanting to cleanse the taint of being a witch from her family because being a witch is the biggest sin in her world. I am also working on Stars Will Rise, which will feature an entirely new protagonist. I also have a contemporary fantasy I hope to get back to in December. 

What is your favorite genre to write?
Right now might favorite genre to write is contemporary literary. I blame John Green's The Fault in Our Stars for this sudden urge to write in the YA contemporary genre. 

Favorite food.  
I love stuffed chicken with rice pilaf.

Where would you like to visit?
I would love, love, love to visit anywhere in Europe. From the pictures I've seen, it just seems so beautiful over there, no matter where you go. I especially want to visit France, simply because I've taken several courses in French--but I am by no means fluent. I don't even consider myself bilingual.

Favorite Musical Artist.
 I love Emilie Autumn and Nightwish. Nightwish especially inspires The Stars Trilogy. But I do not listen to music while I write because I can't concentrate at all. However, when I am listening to music, it does inspire me to want to write.

What makes you laugh?
 I laugh easily over everything. So anything can really make me last. I have a morbid sense of humor, sometimes a dirty sense of humor, but also a childish sense of humor. 

How old were you when you started writing?
 I was eight when I started writing, but I didn't start taking my writing seriously until I was fourteen, which is when I knew I wanted to seek publication.

Where do you get your inspiration?
 Life experiences definitely inspire me with certain stories. I have a mental illness called bipolar disorder and had two stays in psychiatric units in 2012. The experiences there will be inspiring many stories to come--though they'll never take place in psyche wards. Maybe briefly, but there are already plenty of YA books that take place in psychiatric units. 

What do you do when you get writer's block?
I never get writer's block because I always outline before I start any book. So when I find myself stumped on something, I just pull out my outline and it puts me back on track.

Who is your favorite author?
 I would say John Green is my favorite author. He's probably the one author whose newest books I'm keeping an eye out for. He has such an emotional writing style, similar to mine, so I easily connect to his stories. 

Best book you've read.
The Fault in Our Stars hands down. It's a beautiful tragic romance that makes me tear up, even when I simply think about it. 

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
I would say my fiance. He is incredibly supportive of me and always tries to remind me what I have going for me in my life. I suffer from depressive spells from time to time, and he is always, always, always there for me to pick me back up. He really watches out for me, and I appreciate it so much.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
 I think I would like to sit down with my MC from When Stars Die, Amelia Gareth. She is a very interesting person, I think, and I know she would have a lot to say, and I would be interested in hearing what she has to say. I would also be interested in knowing what she thinks of me putting her through all the torture that I do. I hope that throughout the trilogy everything that I've done to her ultimately makes her a stronger character, even if she grows cynical at the end. 

What advice would you give to someone who aspired to be a writer? 
I would tell that person to just keep writing. It's fine to learn the rules and read some books on writing, but don't become so enamored with them because you eventually have to find your own rules and style. Trying to follow all the rules down to the exact wording will only ruin your writing. 

Bio: Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn't like your attitude. She lives in Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward...again. But she doesn't care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Interview with Author Deanna Kinney

Deanna Kinney
North Carolina

Welcome to Vision and Verse, the Place for Art and Authors.  It's a pleasure to have you here this morning.  Now, tell me.what have you written?
My titles: Charity Moon (Charity Series Book 1), Charity Rising (Charity Series Book 2), Raven’s Rose (Charity Series Book 3), Loving Lily Lavender, Exposing Kitty Langley, Box of Gaza, and Sammy the Sea Cow Makes a New Friend (A Children’s Book) Whew!!

What is your favorite genre to write?
I mostly write Young Adult because I love the idea of entertaining young readers and bringing smiles to their faces without putting all the smut in their heads. In other words, my work is relatively clean but also very entertaining. Can I say that about my own work, lol? But I have just recently published my first children’s book and have fallen in love!!
Favorite food.
Oh, that’s an easy one…spaghetti. The only hard part is getting the spelling right. I’m so dependent on spellcheck. 
Where would you like to visit?
I don’t aim high. I really want to visit Charleston S.C. I want to stay in a lovely Victorian Bed & Breakfast and tour all the historic sites. Maybe for my next anniversary…too bad my husband’s not reading this.

I will email his a copy.  Favorite musical artist.  Do   you listen to music when you write?  What?I love me some Skillet. But no, I have too much noise in my house to begin with. If I listened to music too, I’d never be able to think at all. 

What makes you laugh?
I laugh at my own writings. Is that crazy? Yes…crazy…that’s me. I also laugh at my kids. They’re just so quirky…like me.

How old were you when you started writing?
I wrote poetry as a child, but I didn’t start writing novels until about 5 years ago. It’s a great but very long story. You might have to have me back for that one. 

Okay.  Com back in November and tell us all about it.  Where do you get your inspiration?
That’s another easy one. My kids. But my fans also inspire me when they share what they would like to read about next. For example, when I wrote Book 3 of the Charity Series, I wrote that it was the last one, but my fans wouldn’t have it and now I’m working on the next one, lol.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
I usually put my work away and pick up a book. Sometimes just getting my head out of my own work is enough to get my mind back in the game. The break can be good to clear away all the cobwebs.

Who is your favorite author?
I have many, most of whom, like me, are Indie authors. We help and support each other. But my all-time favorite probably would be Jude Deveraux. 

I love Jude Deveraux, too!  Best book you ever read.
Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor…love that book!!

Yes, me, too.  Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
My mom. She passed her creative spirit to me, and we often spend hours talking about new ideas for books. We are now actually working on something together. 

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why? 
God, though technically I guess He’s not a person. Boy, if I could pick His brain for a few minutes I’d have a lot of questions to ask, like what really happened to the dinosaurs? And did Adam and Eve have belly buttons, and important stuff like that. (I’m kidding. I would ask Him important stuff too).

Coffee or tea
I'm a southern girl all the way through, so I drink a little tea with my sugar.

Beer or ice cream.
I don't drink beer.  I have enough chaos in my life without adding drinking to the mix.

So, I'll take that as a vote for ice cream.  Describe your perfect date night.
The perfect date night for me would be dinner at an Italian restaurant and a scary movie.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? 
I would say to never give up, and don’t let the negative reviews (assuming you have any) get you down. Learn from them and let them make you a better writer. But totally ignore the nasty ones. Some people, no matter what you write, will just not like it. That is their right, but it doesn’t have to knock you down. If you are pleased with your work, ultimately that’s all that matters. 

Thank you so much for allowing me to interview with you. Please check out my work, but be warned, I am a quirky writer and my work reflects that truth, lol.
Judging by this interview, I think we're going to like you and your work very much.  Here at Vision and Verse, we like "out of the box."  Please come back again.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cover Reveal of Mellie George's REBEL

REBEL by Author Mellie George


Ryder Matthews was, by all intents and purposes, a rock god. The lead singer of Bad Blooded Rebel, he was talented, gorgeous, and used to getting his way in all aspects of his life...until he met a raven haired beauty backstage after a concert in his hometown. She seemed like she'd rather be anywhere than at his show...and it intrigued him.
Everleigh Stone was about as down to earth as a girl from Indiana could be. She felt out of her element when her best friend dragged her along to see a famous rock band in concert and couldn't wait to leave...especially when she goes backstage and meets the bands lead singer who makes her reluctantly weak in the knees.
Ryder can't get Everleigh out of his mind after their first encounter...he has to know her. What will happen when takes a chance and follows her to her hometown?

Purchase here:
Product Details

Rebel (Bad Blooded Rebel Series) by Mellie George and Dawn Bourgeois (Oct 20, 2013)

Mellie will be here next Tuesday, October 29th  for an interview.  Come back and find out more about this interesting author.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Interview with Author Dawn Jacobs

Dawn Jacobs
Biloxi, MS

Welcome to Vision and Verse,  fellow teacher  Dawn Jacobs!  It's a pleasure to have you with us this morning.  I have read Bear and Mel, Friends, An Unlikely Duo and wished I would have had a set of them when I was teaching reading.  So tell us, what have you written?
I have written so much since I began as a child.  I have written over 150 different pieces, mostly poetry.  I have them compiled in chronological order because it spells out my life’s journey to a T.  One day I will be brave enough to publish an autobiography, it is aptly titled, From a Solitary Soul.
What I am most proud of is my first published novel, God’s Child.  A Christian novel based on the song from Mercy Me, “I Can Only Imagine.”  I have always thought of what I will do when I meet Jesus face to face.  Am I worthy of such?  Will he accept me after all I have done against him?  There is a lot of me in this novel.  I hope it touches others as it touched me.
After her death, a woman journeys with an angel to Paradise Pasture where she waits, with many others, to see Jesus face to face.  She realizes that although she had died, it does not necessarily mean her life is over.  Her journey with an angel guide takes her through her inner thoughts of self worth.  Her earthly attributes follow her to Paradise although she is no longer of earthly quality.  Is it because she is not worthy to be in heaven?  Is it because she is still a sinner?  Will she finally meet her Savior, or will she be rejected from heaven’s angelic hosts and sent away?

My second novel is a children’s novel, Bear and Mel, Friends: An Unlikely Duo.  Bear and Mel are my two real life pets.  This inspiration came from sitting on my deck or patio as I read.  I am still marveled at the animals’ activity in the backyard, although Bear is no longer an outside dog.  I watched and listened.  Bear would let any animal eat from his dish or drink from his water.  They would not be afraid of him, and I wondered, do they really communicate and they know he is okay with them eating and drinking his food and water.  I listened to the birds chatter and answer each other.  I listened to the squirrels alarm others if a cat was nearby.  So, the story of Bear and Mel grew within me.  Once it started, it never stopped.  I could not get the animals inside my head to hush.  The premise struck home when we went through a rash of car burglaries in the neighborhood, and so lived the antagonist.  Once I began to put everything into the perspective of the animals, I could not stop.
Bear and Mel, who like most cats and dogs, did not get along, but with the help of their backyard and neighborhood friends came together to thwart the neighborhood thief.  However, to instill a little mystery, the thief is not the only antagonist.  Reviewers told me they laughed, yet cried, and felt connected to the animals and their owners.  I feel more connected to this story because it is real to me.  My pets are a real part of my life.  Bear and Mel are now 16 and 17 respectively.  I am watching them age as do I.  We are connected.

What is your favorite genre to write? 
I would have to say my favorite genre to write and read is fiction.  I love anything fiction.  I have tried my hand at writing just about every kind.  I am currently working on two pieces, one I hope to have out in November, The Christmas Angel, which is a short story about a boy who meets an angel during the holiday season shortly after the death of his little sister.  Another is a murder mystery set in my favorite city to visit, New Orleans, about my two sisters and me, suitably titled, 3 Sisters, 3 Secrets, & 3 Murders.

Favorite food.
My favorite food is cheesecake, and I put garlic on everything, except cheesecake, that is.  ☺

I love cheesecake , too!  But not garlic.  Where would you like to visit?
I would love to visit Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis.  I had never thought of making a bucket list until I realized I am at the age I better start seeing this beautiful world before I am no longer able.  Another place I would love to see with my own eyes is Angel Falls, Venezuela.  Although that will probably never happen since I have a fear of flying, jungles, and slimy icky bugs and squirmy creatures as found in the Venezuelan jungles.  Another place would be to travel down the streets of Venice, Italy, just because I teach social studies and have discussed it with my students on many occasions with a lot of unanswered questions, and no Google cannot do that for me.

Venice is absolutely beautiful.  I love Venice.  Favorite musical artist.
My favorite musical artists are Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 and Billy Currington.  Those guys’ voices just do something to my soul.  Do you listen to music when you write?  It depends.  Some days I need back ground “noise”, tv or what not.  What? If I do listen to music, it’s usually whatever is on my iphone, which right now has: the above mentioned, Michael Bolton, OMGosh!, Christian music, such as Colton Dixon, Toby Mac, Mandisa, and of course, Mercy Me, and something I can listen to on repeat forever, which is currently running on repeat, is “Friends and Love”, the classical theme song from Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which happens to be my favorite book and movie in the series.

What makes you laugh?
My husband makes me laugh.  I think he is just hilarious, and I have never personally known anyone that can do that for me.  I love Jerry Lewis movies.  In my darkest of hours, he can pull me out of a slump.  Also, anything that has to do with funny animals and babies remind me what is most important in life, genuine humor.  But, I am not a funny person by no means, so writing comedy, not so much.
How old were you when you started writing? I began writing around the age of six.  I knew I wanted to read as soon as I knew the letters made words.  I was so fascinated.  I would get so upset with myself when I could not understand words.  I basically taught myself very quickly to read in first grade.  I was always ahead of my group, and that brought me to writing my own stories.  I wanted to be a part of that miracle I stumbled upon.

Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the voices inside my head that will not stop bothering me until I put them down on paper.  I write about dreams, memories, anything that moves me.  I even wake up and write notes on my phone or Nook, just so I can go back to sleep.  Yet, it is weird, that I cannot commit to writing a journal.  I have tried on several occasions, and I guess it is just too… “focused” (?)  And to me that is a strange thing too since I am so obsessive compulsive about certain things.

What do you do when you get a writer's block?
When I get writer’s block, I watch old movies and read, read, read, until the voices return.

Who is your favorite author?
Do you really have time for this?  I have so many….John Grisham, of course, being the native Mississippian, James Patterson, Janet Evanovich, Ted Dekker, Frank Perretti, Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins, and usually any Christmas love story.  And then, there’s children’s books: Patricia Polacco, Lois Lowry, Margaret Peterson Haddix, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, I could keep going…

Best book you ever read. 
My favorite book is The Shack by William P. Young, no doubt about it.  My favorite series is Harry Potter.  Oh, how I would love to be able to write like J.K. Rowling.  Maybe, one day.

Who is the one person who has influenced your personal life the most and why?
That is hard to say.  All my life I have had stepping stones to get me to the point where I am and the person I am today: my husband, my children, my grandchildren, my pastor, my family, my friends.  Who is to say that they have the most important place in my life?  Really, to think about it, it does come down to one person, my savior, Jesus Christ.

If you could sit down and have a conversation with ONE person, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I have thought about this on numerous occasions.  Narrowing it down to just one seems…disrespectful, if that is the right word, to the others.  But, you say ONE, so I guess it would have to be…again, Jesus Christ.  I would just want him to talk and me to listen.  I think no one has ever just wanted to let Jesus talk.  Everyone has questions, questions, questions about their lives, reasons why, their futures, end times, and aptly so with the way our world has become.  I, personally, would just want to listen to anything he would want to say to me.

What advice would you give someone who aspired to be a writer? I talk to my students almost daily about reading and writing. 
 I have students who love to write and will ask me to read their work.  It takes everything in me, as a teacher and former elementary librarian, to not edit their work.  I do however critique their work pretty ferociously.  I think I owe it to them.  I would never tell a student not to write for any reason.  I encourage what they have inside of them, even if it is ugly.  Sometimes putting things down on paper, of which I am familiar, seems to be a healing process, and sometimes that is all they want is for someone to “hear” their voices screaming inside their heads.


Thank you for stopping by this morning, Dawn.  Come back and see us again when your next book comes out.