Friday, December 20, 2013

Children’s Bedtime Stories: Shadows In My Room

Bedtime stories are fun to read to our children as they settle down for bedtime. They’re even fun to read during the day. As we tuck our children in bed, how many times do we address the fears they have at night? This book helps our children to talk about those fears.

Shadows In My Room & What’s That Noise

Two Bedtime Stories: In each of these stories, a mother helps her little girl understand her fears at night.

Shadows In My Room: Kayla sees shadows in her room that disturb her. Her mother answers all her questions about each shadow that she points to, and helps her to calm down and go to sleep.

What’s That Noise: Amber hears noises that disturb her such as the wind and thunder. Her mother teaches Amber to use her imagination by turning something fearful into something fun.

Cheryl Larson wrote: “These two adorable stories address children's nighttime fears. My 4 year old and I had fun reading them together and imagining how the shadows and noises in her own room could be understood. She thought the idea of the wind tickling the branches of the trees was hilarious. We enjoyed a good laugh together and I am sure any fear she had of the shadows and noises produced by the wind in the trees has been put to rest. Linda helps explain shadows and teaches how our imaginations can quiet our fears of nighttime noises. This is a great read for children and their parents to enjoy together!

If you choose to purchase a book at Amazon, let me know and I’ll email you six e-books of your choice from my website at Make Believe. I have sweet romances, mystery/adventure, and non-fiction to choose from. You may purchase the children’s book at Amazon.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Interview with Children’s Author Sherry Frith

Sherry Frith is a simple person who enjoys simple things in life. She has many writings that she is working on, but has published this one book. She is the mother to 3 handsome boys, Kyle, Kevin, and Kory. When her time is not consumed with her boys, she enjoys the company of delicious food and intriguing conversation.

Hello, Sherry. I didn’t know what cystic fibrosis was until I read your book. I learned something new. Please tell my friends about this children’s story.

Sticky Icky Booger Bugs is the story of a young boy who has inherited this disease that has currently no cure. However, by doing his daily medical routine Kory reduces his chances of hospital stays and improving his quality of life. Cystic Fibrosis causes all the mucus in the body to be thicker. The result is repeated infections within the respiratory system and digestive complications.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My sons Kory and Kevin inspire my writing. Children have a wonderful innocence; their questions and answers can bring tears of laughter or sorrow to a conversation. When Kory was diagnosed 6 years ago with cystic fibrosis doctors explained cystic fibrosis to Kory in medical terms. However, as we walked out of the building Kory asked “What does this mean for me?” I told him that he had sticky boogers that wanted to stay in him and we had to get them out. When the medical equipment arrived to help improve Kory’s quality of life we gave them all names so he could understand them and not be so overwhelmed. My heart broke knowing the challenges he would be facing with this incurable disease and felt the need to convey them in terms that he could relate to.

My heart goes out to you and your sons. What kind of research did you have to do for this book?

First hand research, I have lived each day battling this disease with Kevin and Kory. This book is a brief synopsis of what Kory does on a daily basis. I have done hours of reading and Internet searches for this disease.

What age group would enjoy this story most?

This is a book for young readers, the age is 1 year to 7 years of age. The beautiful crayon illustrations add so much to the story.

What do you hope your readers will learn from this book?

I want readers to feel empathy. You never know what is happening in a person’s life. My theory is that just when I feel my life is rough, someone has it rougher. I hear their story and stop the poor me woes and appreciate another day of life.

You are absolutely right. My daughter recently found out that her 3-year-old son has a heart disease, marfan syndrome, and will have to have heart medication for the rest of his life. Our hearts went out to the family but we are grateful that something can be done so he can live a long and happy life.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Release Celebration with Fantasy/Romance Author Serena Clarke

Serena Clarke lives in beautiful, sunny St. George, Utah.  She received a Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design and is a member of the Red Mountain Shadows Publishing team.  She has loved writing since she was young and is so excited to share her books.  Serena also enjoys designing her own book covers as much as writing her books.

I am quickly becoming a huge fan of Serena's. I loved this book even more than the first one in the series.  I am always intrigued by stories of arranged marriages and how they turn to marriages filled with love.  These two characters had so much to overcome, coming from different cultures.  Yet, they bravely took on the challenge because of the love they had for the people who they ruled over.  There is plenty of action and intrigue in the storyline. I lost quite a bit of sleep reading way too late into the night.  I love the characters.  I want to know even more about their lives.  I can't wait for the next book in the series!!!!!!” --Cheryl Larson

Welcome back to my blog, Serena. This is the second book in The Isian series, which is a delightful fantasy. Here is the synopsis from the back of the book.

War is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war.

With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trials or tear them apart? Enjoy the fantasy, danger, mystery, and romance!

Where did you get your inspiration for this particular novel?

I have always been intrigued with the idea of arranged marriages.  In many of the books I have read where there is supposed to be an arranged marriage, the princess is usually in love with someone else and at the last minute gets out of her arranged marriage.  Or perhaps she meets her intended beforehand and they fall in love before they even get married.  But what would happen if the princess did not get out of the marriage?  And she really did end up having to marry the prince from the enemy kingdom to form a treaty?  

People are more complex than they seem.  A person is not typically good or bad.  Everyone is raised differently and has different beliefs, ideas and quirks.  When you really love someone, you accept their faults.  But what if you were married to someone you did not know and were raised to believe was your enemy?  Could you ever learn to accept their faults?  Could you ever grow to love them or trust them?

Those are very interesting questions, Serena. I think that fact is what makes this book so intriguing to me. Most authors fall in love with their characters for different reasons. What do you love the most about the two main characters?

I absolutely love both of my main characters. Princess Gabrielle is strong-headed, prideful, loyal, and determined.  Though she hates the idea of not only marrying, but also putting her trust in this man she thinks is her enemy, she loves her people so much that she is determined not only to marry the prince, but also to bring their people together.  

Prince Alec is loyal, brave, and surprisingly understanding of Gabrielle’s situation. 
Both characters are admirable and yet they have their flaws.  I think this is why I love them so much.  They need to get past themselves and learn to understand each other and put their trust in each other before they can save their kingdoms. 

Serena Clarke has developed her characters very well. It’s easy to see them in your imagination. I read this book and totally fell in love with the main characters. This is my review:

The Alliance of Isian was one of the best fantasies I’ve ever read. Why? I’m not a fantasy reader…far from it. This book was enchanting and very difficult to put down. Gabrielle is a strong character and I could feel the emotions she was experiencing. I could feel her frustration in being forced to marry someone she did not know, and whose background was totally so different from her own. Alec is likewise a strong character and has his definite opinions, but he is also very sensitive to Gabrielle’s feelings of inadequacy in marrying a stranger. As time passes, I could see the respect they gradually develop for each another and how they learn to understand one another’s differences. They learn to accept one another’s faults and failings. I noticed the change in both characters, a change for the better, as Gabrielle and Alec fall in love. I found myself wishing the story would never end. That’s really saying something for a non-fantasy reader.” Reviewed by Linda Weaver Clarke, Author of Sweet Romances and Mysteries

You may buy a hard copy of The Alliance of Isian at Amazon here or an e-book at Smashwords here.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Interview with Children’s Author Cheryl Malandrinos


Cheryl is a children’s author from Western Massachusetts. A Christmas Kindness is her second Christmas book, but her first book with 4RV Publishing. She is also a member of the SCBWI. Cheryl is married with two young children and a son who is married. Visit her online at

Welcome back to my blog, Cheryl. Please tell us about this Christmas story.

Thanks for having me, Linda. It’s always great to be here. A Christmas Kindness is the story of an eight-year-old boy named Robert who helps a friend in need while visiting a mall Santa on Christmas Eve. Robert comes with a long wish list, but after meeting Glenn, he decides there is something more special he can ask for.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Christmas is a time when it’s easy for kids to get caught up in the gifts they will receive. I wanted a subtle way to share the message of thinking of others with my children.

That’s a wonderful message. What age group will be interested in this book?

This is an early chapter reader, so kids 4 to 8 will be most interested; though I hope families will find the book’s message worth sharing with everyone.

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?

As a Sunday school teacher for the past 25 years, I’m always looking for new ways to share Biblical values with my students. Though A Christmas Kindness is not based upon any real experiences that I know of, it is definitely a story that could take place anywhere.

Thank you so much for this interview, Cheryl. It was really fun to share this wonderful children’s story with my readers. I would encourage everyone to get this book for your children during this Christmas season.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Interview with English Historical Romance Author Debra Brown

The English Historical Fiction Authors Group started working together in September, 2011. They created a blog in which they post one British historical article each day, sharing information they gleaned from their education and research done in preparing novels. The group includes authors who range from mainstream-published authors to Indies, from multi-published to debut novelists.

Hello, Debra. You’re a member of the English Historical Fiction Group and all of you have participated in writing this book. Please tell us about it.

Some of us felt that history lessons in school were boring. I’m sure it depended greatly on the teacher, but in general we had to sit for another hour, listen to another lecture, and memorize more information. Dates seemed to be important—to the teachers. I remembered dates, indeed, but not always what happened that day. School, of course, is important, and the teachers do their best. But with vast centuries to cover, little time can be spent on the humorous aspects or the human-interest details that bring history to life while the turning points of the past must be learned. The EHFA blog and our book were written to bring out many fascinating true-to-life stories which can be read in a leisure setting and stir up thirst for more knowledge. Truth can be stranger than fiction.”

This book keeps a person’s attention. Each “chapter” is a page or two long, so it is wonderful for reading in short sittings. It would be a great waiting room book, lobby or break-room book, or a book to be read on public transportation. These essays from different time periods would also help to interest high school students in history.

Where did you get your inspiration to write this book?

Shortly after we celebrated the first year anniversary of the blog, one of the authors (wisely) suggested we select posts for an anthology. This idea was received with great enthusiasm, and the work began.

What kind of research did you have to do?

The historical research had been done earlier, of course, and the articles written. It became a matter of selecting, organizing, and compiling. A publisher was contacted, proofing and editing followed, and the book became a reality.

You love to write stories surrounding England’s history. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

The research is a huge draw. I devour the history itself. England is a beautiful, awe-inspiring country that had a class structure and its related customs that make for situations and conflict that cannot occur in a place where “all men are created equal”.

Writing is also a great pleasure; creativity simply feels good. An author develops a relationship with their characters—“people” who no one else even knows for quite some time. It is fun to see how they take over and add their twist to what I had planned.

Thank you for this opportunity to visit and let your friends know about the recently released Castles, Customs, and Kings!

Thank you, Debra, for sharing this new book with us. It sounds quite intriguing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Celebrating Veterans Day: An Interview with Author Bill Christy

Bill Christy is a Korean War Army Veteran, a retired certified public accountant and a retired financial administrator in higher education. He said, “This is my 3rd book. The first 2 books were family history books based on my mother’s family name, Burke. Burke is the English spelling of the French name De Burgh. Tommy de Burgh, A Soldier’s Legacy, is my first historic fiction but comes out of about 10 years of research and 2 trips to England and Ireland.”

A Soldier’s Legacy is a series of letters that Tommy wrote. It tells how he suffered after being wounded in the Korean War, about his release to return home, and how he was honored. This story begins on a hospital ship where Tommy has been taken. With each letter he writes, Tommy is learning to forgive and to survive from being a POW (prisoner of war). When he gets an invitation to the Vatican, he is elated and that is where he begins to heal. This is a short read of only 91 pages.” Reviewed by Linda Weaver Clarke

Hello, Bill. Please tell us about A Soldier’s Legacy: Tommy De Burgh.

Tommy de Burgh is historic fiction about a Kansas youth drafted into the very early days of the Korean War. He is a composite of many of my High School Classmates and the events that they suffered through. This is a different slant of telling their story and their search for faith & hope in a war they felt unprepared for. Many did not survive but those who did were forever changed. Tommy suffers the loss of many friends, my friends, but gains faith and hope from people who reached out to him in mysterious ways.

I’m sure there are many soldiers who understand and feel what Tommy felt. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

The memories and stories of high school friends and my own de Burgh family legacy research. I wanted to write the history but have found by mountains of research that absolute truth is impossible to come by. Historic writers can’t seem to agree on it or define it and Historic Fiction writers by faithful research and basis in fact can spin a story that touches all the bases in an interesting way and tell the story.

I absolutely agree. I have read some historical fiction books that helped me to understand what the patriots, years ago, really had to go through to get this freedom we enjoy so much. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

The military part of Tommy’s service came from my friends and events during the beginning of the Korean War and the startup of the military draft system along with their experiences. Many of these events I still feel emotional about. The Korean War is now the “Forgotten War”. The de Burgh legacy comes from the ten years of research and travel to England & Ireland and family still living in Ireland.

I bet the research was fun to do. When researching your own families, it can feel very personal. Please tell us your feelings about this subject.

We must never forget the service of those who risk their lives for us. I hope we can all take pride in the fact that South Korea is now free and a major democratic and economic power in the world today. America is now prepared to defend our own democracy.

That's right. We, as Americans, need to support the soldiers of our country. Thank you, Bill, for joining us and celebrating Veterans Day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Interview with Author Shirley Raye Redmond

An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond has 27 books and over 400 magazine and newspaper articles. Most of her children’s books are nonfiction on American history topics. Even her novels, including Rosemary’s Glove and Stone of the Sun, have a strong emphasis on history. She’s been married for 38 years and has two grown children, an adorable 9-year-old grandson and a “silly” Scottish terrier named Duncan McPiddle.

Welcome back to my blog, Shirley. Please tell us about this sweet romance.

I love my opening sentence: “She’d witnessed a murder—or so she’d been told—and nothing would ever be the same again.” It sets a tone of intrigue, don’t you think? Finding out that she witnessed her own father's murder is a shock, but when April Cortes receives a letter from the grandmother she hasn't seen since she was five, she knows she must make peace with her past. The mysterious summons to her grandmother's sprawling Arizona ranch is irresistible. Collie Cortes relates the family's ancestral history, including the legend of the Stone of the Sun, an ancient Aztec heirloom that was stolen at the time of April's father's death.

Collie also confides that someone—maybe someone on the ranch—is trying to kill her. April hates to believe it's anyone she's growing close to, but she has already lost too much at this ranch and has no intention of letting anything end her new relationship with her grandmother. She will not drop her guard—not even for the handsome Del Spurgeon. If she does, she might not be around to ensure her grandmother's safety.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

When visiting my parents in Arizona some years ago, they took me to see a reenactment of the shootout at the O.K. corral in Tombstone. The gunfire was loud and the injuries appeared realistic. One gunman was stretched out on the roof of a building across from where I stood. He aimed his rifle and shot one of the re-enactors in the street. I thought to myself at the time what a clever way to actually murder someone—during a reenactment when the spectators would be expecting to see people “die.” No one would realize until the killer had escaped, that the “dead person” was not acting!

You’re right. No one would even know. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did some research on the conquistador Hernando Cortes and his Aztec mistress so that I could come up with a believable back-story for the heirloom, the Stone of the Sun, and I’ve spent considerable time in Sierra Vista, Arizona, where the novel takes place.

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?

Oh, yes. Everything April does in Tombstone—touring the Wells Fargo
Museum, drinking a sarsaparilla and riding a stagecoach—I did when I was there. And the scene that takes place in Ramsey Canyon while April and her grandmother are watching the hummingbirds actually happened when my mother took me there.

I hope your readers will read the novel and enjoy it. If your readers have any questions or comments, they may contact me at my website at I’d love to hear from them.

Thank you, Shirley, for this great interview. This book sounds very intriguing.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Interview with Young Adult Mystery Author Lisa Orchard

Lisa Orchard was hooked on mysteries by the fifth grade and even wrote a few of her own. She knew she wanted to be a writer even then. After graduating from Central Michigan University with a Marketing Degree she spent many years in the insurance industry, pining to express her creative side. The decision to stay home with her children gave her the opportunity to follow her dream and become a writer. She currently resides in Rockford Michigan with her husband, Steve, and two wonderful boys. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, running, hiking, and reading.

Hello, Lisa. This is a young adult mystery about three girls who organize their own detective squad. Please tell us about your novel.

It’s the story of an innocent game of Truth or Dare that spins out of control when three friends stumble upon the dead body of a reclusive neighborhood woman. The girls are taken into custody when the police arrive on the scene and find them. One of the police officers believes that the girls are responsible for the old woman’s death. Fearing he will frame them for the murder, the girls form their own detective squad and start their own inquest. They dig into the Cat-lady’s past and discover a horrible crime that happened thirty years ago. When they uncover a connection between the two crimes, they bring the information to the police, only to be reprimanded for meddling in the investigation. Not only are the girls upset by the admonition, but they find out their exuberant investigating may provide a legal loophole for the killer to go free. Frustrated by this turn of events, the Super Spies realize it’s up to them to snare the Cat Lady Killer.

This book is perfect for the Halloween season. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I got the inspiration for this book from my own teen exploits and the fact that I wanted to be a detective when I was younger. In fact, my friends and I formed our own detective squad and investigated an act of vandalism in my neighborhood. I was also a huge Nancy Drew fan when I was younger so the mystery genre was a natural choice for me.

What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

I did a lot of research on police procedures regarding crime scenes.

What does your family think about your writing?
They’re very proud and excited for me. I have two young boys and they’re always coming up with titles for my books. It’s fun for all of us.

Now that’s real support. I love how your kids help out. Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Well, I’ve already told you about my desire to be a detective when I was younger. That’s something most people never forget. LOL. I love chocolate and hiking in the woods. Both are great stress relievers!

True. Chocolate and exercise do relieve stress. Haha. Thanks for this great interview, Lisa. I believe this will be a fun series of books.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Sarah Dunster

Sarah Dunster is happily married, mother to seven children, and an author of fiction and poetry. Her poems have appeared in several magazines. Sarah’s first novel, Lightning Tree, was released in 2012. When she is not writing, Sarah can often be found cleaning, cooking vegetarian meals, holding small people on her lap, or taking long, risky walks after dark, especially in thunderstorms.

Hello, Sarah. Your novel is written in first person and in present tense. It’s about a young woman having to deal with the death of her husband and how she learns to cope. It defines what struggling to survive is all about. This is what Mile 21 is about.

Abish's husband died suddenly just seven months after their marriage, so she's allowed to be a little crazy and mixed up inside. But it's been a year now since it happened, and her family can't handle her quirky behaviors and emotional disconnect anymore. When mom boots her from the family apartment, it seems her only choice is to move back into single-student housing and attend the ward that her drill-sergeant boss happens to preside over. Add in Bob, the divorced-single-parent who Abish accidentally walked in on in her pajamas when he was trying to fix her internet, and Abish is sure it's all some cosmic joke. Question is, will she be able to land on her feet, or is she going to allow her world to continue to fall apart until she has nobody left?

Why is this novel called Mile 21?

The 21st mile of a marathon is the point at which a lot of runners break down and struggle. My main character Abish is also struggling. She’s having the most difficult year of her life, and she happens to be twenty-one years old. It just worked!

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? Do you get any ideas from your own life experiences?

Oh, yes.  This book is about struggling with unexpected tragedy and overwhelming difficulty, and struggling through inspiration, the help of others and sometimes, pure mean grit. I’ve had these sorts of experiences in my life. Abish and I, in fact, share a lot of traits and some of her experiences are ones I can relate to firsthand. That is what makes things so much sweeter for her (and have for me as well) when things turn around and she finds happiness again.

What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

You won’t believe this but… I toured a women’s prison! It was so interesting. And heartbreaking. I also had to ask for information from a lot of friends who run. And I had to make sure I knew about LDS doctrine related to marriage and sealing and the death of a spouse, and so forth. People were very helpful.

Wow! You actually toured a women’s prison. That’s great research. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I think when I write, my drive and passion is to bring another perspective to readers who might not be able to go through certain things for themselves. I personally have gone through a lot of unusual things—I’ve adopted 2 girls from a foreign country. I had a very sad and tragic first marriage that failed. I’ve gone through a lot! And I’m happier for it. I know that sounds completely trite, but it is absolutely true. I would not trade any of these experiences because they’ve put me right where I am right now, with my husband, with all of my children. I’m so grateful for being able to weather tough stuff and come out well on the other side, with the help of my spirituality and friends who turned out to be more like family. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

You have certainly gone through a lot in your life. And yes, you’re right. Our trials make us the people we are today. Thank you, Sarah, for this interview. I hope my readers will check out your book and see what it’s like.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Marie Higgins

Marie Higgins is a multi-published author of romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who makes your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to look past their faults and love them regardless. She’s married with two children and two grandchildren; and she has lived in Utah all her life. Visit her blog for more about her books – 

Hello, Marie. This new romance has a different spin to it than your other books. It’s actually a ghost story. Haha. Please tell us about your novel, Waiting For You.

You have no idea how different this story is from others I’ve read or heard about. My heroine, heiress Abigail Carlisle, is a ghost who was murdered in 1912. She’s been stuck in the building where she was killed for over 100 years waiting for the man her gypsy grandmother told her would help her one day. All Abigail knows about this man is that he’s a solicitor with the initials N.M. Abigail knows she’ll find him – because he will be the only person who can hear and see her. Abigail’s heart tells her that this man will help her pass over.

Nick Marshall was once a high-profile lawyer who was stuck in a scandal. Now, a few years later, he’s ready to clean up his life…which means he cannot date his clients. When he meets the heiress for the first time, he convinces himself that he’s finally having that mental breakdown that he’d been waiting for since the Hollywood scandal. But soon Abigail convinces him that she really is a ghost. He’s determined to find her killer and help her cross over…either that or check himself into the mental ward.

Slowly, she starts to become real to him, and he’s in danger of breaking his rule about having feelings for his clients, because now he wants to give Abigail his heart. Abigail is very much attracted to Nick as well, but… How can there be a happy-ever-after if she’s already dead?

Wow! What a new concept for a story! Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I know you’re going to laugh, but growing up I was always playing Charlie’s Angels with my friends (the original three). I was always Sabrina, but I wanted to be Kelly. lol  Anyway, after the angels were off the air, Jaclyn Smith made a lot of movies. One was titled  “Love Can be Murder”. That was about a detective and a ghost. She was the detective. It was a funny movie, and at the same time, there was a good mystery and love story. (Although I didn’t like the ending at all!) This is what inspired me to write “Waiting For You”.

My book was previously published as a different title a few years ago, but the publisher had taken out some funny scenes. So now that the book is mine again, I’ve added back in these scenes and made the story even funnier.

Back a few years ago when paranormal romance was big, I wanted to write one, but I didn’t want a vampire. Well…the next best thing in my opinion, was a ghost!

I love this story idea. And I’m glad that you put the humor back in the book because that’s what makes a good book to me. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

I had to research what California was doing in 1912. I had to make sure the names of the streets were the same, and buildings. I even used the mayor’s manor house as my heroine’s home. Oh, and this was the fun part… I researched the Titanic. I mention the sinking a couple times in my book. And, did you know that the first newspaper that published the news about Titanic’s sinking actually said that all the passengers were saved? Oh yeah! So, that’s what I added in my story. I also had to research how they ran a newspaper office in 1912. That was hard, but thankfully, I found information.

I love your research. One reviewer wrote: “Happily surprised!” What intrigued you most about writing this ghostly love story?

Believe it or not – a lot of things intrigued me. I don’t plot my stories, although in this book I had to mainly because there were so many suspects who could have killed Abigail and I needed to fit them in the time-line. But as I was writing the story, I found my characters had different ideas. I loved the way they directed the story toward the end. There are many twists and turns, and…(eerie music starts to play) nothing is as it seems.

Haha. Well, you’ve got me hooked. I can’t wait to read it. Thanks for this wonderful interview.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Interview with Suspense/Romance Author Charissa Stastny

Charissa Stastny was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada...but she has never gambled and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. She is married, has four kids, and loves writing, reading, hiking, and imitating monkeys–although when she tried it at the zoo, one of the monkeys spit at her. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho, where she doesn’t have to be embarrassed by her poor card shuffling skills nor worry about being taunted by monkeys.

Welcome back to my blog, Charissa. I love your bio about the monkey incident. There’s nothing better than an author with a great sense of humor. Please tell us about your Eyes of Light trilogy.

This series is clean romance with lots of suspense, action, and emotional turmoil. From Hispanic drug capos and Mormon missionaries in Guatemala to Mossad agents in Israel, these stories take opposites to extremes. Suvi Goldstein is torn between violent men in one world and a forgiving man in another, but must overcome dark secrets from her past to ultimately find redemption and love.

Each book switches between 3 points of view: Suvi - our troubled main character seeking light, James Hinton - a clean-cut, returned missionary, and Austan - an ex-NCS operative who Suvi believes died when she was in high school. He has gone deep undercover, but still secretly watches over and protects her from forces bent on her destruction.

What kind of trials do your main characters have to endure?

Suvi’s trials never seem to end (I feel bad for being so brutal to her as an author—but it makes for a good story). She’s a recovering closet alcoholic, as well as dealing with repressed memories of abuse as a teen and adult. And as if those weren’t bad enough, she has drug capos and a psychopath killer stalking her. Good thing her dad is a Mossad agent.

James’s trial seems to be Suvi, even though he’s smitten by her. The baggage above that she carries becomes his by association...and puts his life in jeopardy.

Austan’s life rivals Suvi’s. Unloved and unwanted as a child, made to play dead as an adult and lose the love of his life, he’s used to life’s gut punches. The secretive life of a CIA-NCS operative isn’t as glamorous as he’d thought it’d be when he signed up; but with Suvi’s life at risk, he can’t quit.

When will book number 3 be ready and what is it about?

My goal was to have it out well before Christmas, but that was before I had a wedding to plan for my daughter. I guess it will be a surprise, depending on how efficient (or not) I am this fall with my writing. In Hands of Mercy, the infinite power of the atonement comes full circle in the lives of my three characters. Life is perfect for Suvi...but then the unthinkable happens. The Dragon returns, and brings tragedy in his wake. Suvi, James, and Austan are tested beyond their limits as death tears them apart and forces them to question their faith, love and convictions.

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?

In Eyes of Light, the missionary scenes are almost all taken from real-life experiences my brother had while he served in Guatemala. I found his letters captivating and used them to form my character James. In Secret Keepers, there are several scenes—like the Garden tomb and the Wailing Wall—I described from being in Israel as a college student. I also stayed on a kibbutz and based Suvi’s experiences there on mine. I find as an author that little bits and pieces of real life creep into my writing whether I want them to or not. My sisters always tease me by saying things like, “Ha! James rides his bike like your husband.” or “Suvi bites her nails like you.” Sometimes those references happen on purpose, but usually they don’t.

This was so much fun getting to know you better. My husband has read both your books in this series and really loves them. Thank you for an awesome interview, Charissa.

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Interview with YA Author Monique Bucheger

When Monique Bucheger isn’t writing, you can find her playing taxi driver to one or more of her 12 children, plotting her next novel, scrapbooking, or being the “Mamarazzi” at any number of child-oriented events. Even though she realizes there will never be enough hours in any given day, Monique tries very hard to enjoy the journey that is her life. She shares it with a terrific husband, her dozen children, an adorable granddaughter, a son-in-law, three cats, and many real and imaginary friends. She is the author of several books and plans to write many more. 

Welcome back to my blog, Monique. Being West Is Best: A Ginnie West Adventure is the 4th in A Ginnie West Adventure series. Please tell us about your new book.

I’d love to, thank you. This is my back cover blurb: Twelve year old BFFs, Ginnie West and Tillie Taylor, are matchmaking geniuses. Together, they maneuvered Ginnie’s widower-dad into proposing to Tillie’s divorcee-mom. Sweet! Certain they are well on their way to sisterhood, each girl is floored when Tillie’s lousy-excuse-for-a-father puts in an appearance after a six year absence. Ginnie's job will be to kick Tillie’s father to the curb or “Operation: Secret Sisters” may have to be renamed:  “Operation: Not Gonna Happen.”

If that's not bad enough, the biggest bully in seventh grade comes over often and wishes he could call the West's farmhouse home. When the bully's abusive dad shows up as well, Ginnie thinks it's time to change her family's motto from "When you're here, you're family" to "There's no more room at the West's."

This sounds like a fun teen book. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

This novel: Being West is Best: A Ginnie West Adventure follows along several storylines I started in the three previous books. It adds new information and lots of new plot twists. I just finished an ending chapter where—even I—didn’t know what was going to happen. A story arc came to me that I have never considered before and it is going to cause a huge ripple throughout the rest of the series. I thought I knew what was going to happen in the next couple of books—but I may find out differently when I write them. 

Haha. That is great. That has happened to me before and to many other authors. You have The Secret Sisters Club, Trouble Blows West, Simply West of Heaven, and Being West Is Best in this series. Can each book be read separately or do we have to read them in order?

I started out writing my books pretty standalone. They contain the same characters, but the plots are not dependent on one another. The feedback I have gotten from people who have only read Simply West of Heaven have said it felt complete.

This book: Being West is Best: A Ginnie West Adventure, picks up where book 3 ended. It also re-introduces us to Pierce Owens, the bully from Trouble Blows West (Book 2) and lets the reader catch up on what’s going on in his life. I have several beta readers who have not read Trouble Blows West that have said they are keeping up fine.

If anybody is interested in beta reading Being West is Best and reviewing it—email me at and I will send it to the 1st three people to respond. I am still looking for feedback from those who have kept up with my series and those who would like to check it out. Both insights are valuable to me. 

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences in this book?

Yes, but I had to change the details to protect the guilty—er—innocent. J I was a foster parent for 12 years to over 120 kids, so I have a little experience with a lot of issues. I also have 12 children and a sweet little granddaughter.

Snippets of their lives and experiences, as well as my own may show up here and there, but my characters are not based on real people. They are their own brand of fun, crazy, endearing, energetic, and courageous whatever they are. 

Thank you, Monique, for this great interview. Wow! I bet you’ve had experiences that the average mother has never had. You can find more about Monique and her works at: