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:

Monday, September 23, 2013

Interview with Mystery Romance Author Gail Pallotta

Award-winning author Gail Pallotta is a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday School teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an after-school literary instructor. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen book, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance eBooks. Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler, a new anthology, includes her short story, “Stitches in Love.” Visit Gail’s blog at and her Web Site at

Welcome back to my blog, Gail. Please tell us about your young adult romance.

It’s a mystery with a touch of romance and suspense reminiscent of a Nancy Drew / Hardy Boys book. It takes place in a small town in the North Carolina Mountains, but things aren’t what they seem in peaceful Mistville.

Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean. Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

This book sounds intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

From several sources. I wanted to write a fun-to-read book. As a youngster I enjoyed Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I made three characters in the book amateur sleuths reminiscent of the famous teens. The book’s message—we don’t have to be number one for God to love us—rattled around in my head a long time. Over the years I’ve seen instances in which the drive to always be the best grew into a destructive force. There’s a difference in being the best one can be and always having to be number one. When I thought of winning, I thought of sports and the present-day prevalence of steroids. I asked what if a young man took a steroid to excel in sports? That became my plot.

I love your message, Gail. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Extensive. For information on steroids I read quite a bit of material from library books, the Physicians’ Desk Reference and the internet. Also, I interviewed an undercover detective and a narcotics officer as well as an administrative policeman. Even though the use of steroids is going down, according to the latest statistics I could find on the internet there are around 125,000 who say they’ve used them. I imagine there are some who’ve used them, but didn’t say they did.

As for the swimming, my daughter was a high school and U.S. swimmer, so I had lots of experience as a Team Mom doing everything from timing to serving as a team coordinator. I swim also. Still, I consulted with a coach and a director of summer league swimming about the technicalities.

You love to write sweet romances. What intrigues you most about writing love stories?

Love is such an important part of life. Love can motivate people and characters to do things they wouldn’t do if they weren’t in love. Because of love someone who’s serious can become silly. A person who’s conservative might take risks and face danger. Someone who’s a reserved, stay-at-home type might become a party animal. Who knows what love will make a person do? True love definitely brings out the best in us and spices up life and books.

So true! Love is an important part of life. I actually told someone that just a while ago. Without it, life would be so dull. Thanks for this awesome interview, Gail.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Interview with Children’s Author Cheryl Malandrinos

 Cheryl Malandrinos is a freelance writer, children’s author and editor. Her first children’s book, Little Shepherd, was released in August 2010 by Guardian Angel Publishing. She is a member of the SCBWI, a book reviewer, and blogger. Cheryl also writes under the name of C. C. Gevry. Ms. Malandrinos lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two children. She also has a son who is married.

Welcome back to my blog, Cheryl. Please tell us about Little Shepherd.

Thanks for having me back, Linda. It’s always great to be here. Little Shepherd is the story of eight-year-old, Obed, who is afraid to leave his sheep in the field while he visits the newborn King. He must learn, like we all do, that putting His trust in the Lord comes with great rewards.

What a great message! Where did you get your inspiration for this picture book?

When our oldest daughter was still in her crib, I would sing to her at night. I’ve always loved Christmas carols and sing them all year long. Each time I sang “The Little Drummer Boy,” I would get this vision of a shepherd in the hills of Bethlehem on the night of Christ’s birth. Obed begged me to tell his story and simply wouldn’t go away until I did.

What age group would enjoy this book?

It’s targeted for children ages 4 to 8. These are the children who will get the most out of the book; though I think slightly younger and older children would enjoy it, too.

You love to write children’s books. What intrigues you most about writing children’s stories?

I never imagined writing for children. I always thought I would be writing women’s fiction or historical fiction aimed at adults. But God works in mysterious ways and he guided me in this direction where I’ve had the most success.

What is intriguing—and sometimes frustrating—about writing for children is needing to keep up with what they enjoy despite the fact you’re much older than those you’re writing for. Both my daughters have very different tastes in books than I did at that age or even what I am drawn to read that is aimed at young or middle grade readers. I’m a lover of history, but my oldest daughter likes dystopian fiction and books where ghosts or magic are part of the plot. My youngest is a fan of humor. Dork Diaries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Henry Winkler’s Hank Zipzer books are often on her bookshelf.

Luckily, I spend a lot of time around kids and I read a fair amount of what is available for children in this age group. I also make a point to visit our local schools, offering writing workshops so I can see what is of interest to these kids. Some of them are already amazing writers at young ages, and I can only imagine what they will be writing ten years from now.

Thanks, Cheryl, for this wonderful interview. I hope all my followers will take advantage of this book and get it before the Christmas season.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Interview with Suspense Author Steve Westover

Steve Westover lives in a small Midwestern town with his wife and four kids. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in Political Science and currently works in banking. 
 Steve has two middle-grade fantasies: Crater Lake and Gold Clash. He also has two FBI thrillers. To learn more about Steve, visit his website,
Hello, Steve. Welcome to my blog. This is a young adult novel with lots of suspense. Please tell us about A Nothing Named Silas.

Thank you, Linda. In the not-so-distant future domed shields cover entire communities where every citizen is assigned the same field of labor. Silas has trained his entire life to join the Command Shield but after he fails a critical test, he is drafted into a menial life of the Labor Shield. He couldn’t be more disappointed and he feels like a failure…like a nothing. He doesn’t know that powers beyond his control determined his draft into Labor and now he’s stuck with it.

Citizens living under the domed shields are ruled by regents and Silas’ new regent seems intent on breaking him down mentally, emotionally and physically so that he can be controlled more easily. As Silas endures a series of humiliating tests, a group of insurgents recruit him to help change life under the shield. As Silas learns about who he is and where he came from, as well as his mission in life, he is forced to decide which side he’ll fight for, the regent or the insurgents. The reality of Silas’ origins and his pre-determined life is shocking and will keep the reader thinking long after the book is finished.

Wow, this book sounds quite intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

The concept for A Nothing Named Silas is the result of some brainstorming my wife and I did while driving. I can’t give away that concept because it would be a major spoiler. For a book to hold my attention it has to be fast-paced with interesting characters so that’s what I write. This book was a blast to write because my wife and teenaged daughter read my chapters as soon as I finished them. They urged me to write faster so they could find out what happens next and they gave lots of great feedback along the way. Writing this book was really a family adventure.

How fun! What age group would enjoy this novel and did you have to do any research for this story?

Silas is a teenager and so is the heroine so I wrote it with a Young Adult mindset. This is a dystopian thriller. I think the genre, the subject matter and the action will have broad cross-over appeal.

What does your family think about your writing?

They love it. My wife and kids are a great encouragement and certainly my biggest fans. I come from a large family of 8 children and my siblings have all had fun reactions. They were surprised when I wrote and published my first book in 2010. They said things like, “Wow, this is like a real book.” Yep, it is. I often use my family members as test readers. That approach may not work for some authors, but my family is brutally honest so it seems to be a good system so far.

That is so funny what your siblings said. I guess they were really surprised at your writing abilities. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Hmmm. No pressure. One of my favorite songs is Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd and I consider myself a simple man so there’s nothing too thrilling to tell. Each year I like to learn new skills and try new things. One of my biggest failures was when I tried raising bees. I thought I was pretty cool. I’d wear the helmet and mesh face cover but I wouldn’t wear any other protection. I’d wear short sleeves while checking the hive and this usually worked fine but then I got stung and I discovered that I’m allergic to bees. After I managed to kill both hives I didn’t replace them because, hey, I’m allergic. Genius. (FYI- getting a bee stuck in your helmet (bonnet) really is panic inducing.)

Oh my gosh! Yes, having a bee in your helmet would really make me panic. I’m terribly afraid of bees. When I was young, my brothers found a hornet’s nest and tossed a rock at it. This wasn’t their first time to do this. They had done it before. Well, it made those bees real mad and they went after my brothers. When I saw what was happening, I began running, too. I was the innocent victim and got stung all over my back, but my brothers didn’t get hurt at all. Got figure!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September is for Sequels

Five Historical Romances for September by Linda Weaver Clarke: A Family Saga in Bear Lake Idaho. I have a book giveaway every week and introduce a new author on my blog, so stop by often.

Linda Weaver Clarke has created a beautiful story of love, strength and endurance in this first book of her Bear Lake series. Melinda is a character readers will admire and cheer for. Each character will touch the reader’s heart and hold onto it until the very last page and beyond. I loved every minute of this book. Any book that has such memorable characters deserves 5 kitties and my Socrates Great Book Alert!--Socrates Book Review

Book: Melinda and the Wild West
Award: Semi-Finalist for Reviewers Choice Award
Synopsis: Melinda Gamble wants to make a difference in the world. Without hesitation, she accepts a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho. She has many challenges such as trying to help a rebellious student, coming face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and finding herself in a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.

Book: Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
Synopsis: With mysterious letters, cattle rustlers, a spunky woman, Halloween, and young love, there is always something happening. Edith, a nurse, moves to Idaho to care for her cousin Melinda who is having a difficult pregnancy. She has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high. However, all that changes when a mysterious stranger starts writing to her. For the first time, she gets to know a man's inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery and the best thing that has ever happened to her. The question that puzzles her is whether or not he's as wonderful in person as he is in his letters.

Book: Jenny’s Dream
Synopsis: Jenny Roberts has a dream to escape her small hometown to become a writer. She develops a friendship with a young farmer who is new to the area and has secretly fallen in love with her. After she realizes that her friend means more to her than she thought, she must now choose between a career and romance. Which dream should she pursue? The only thing standing in her way is an unpleasant memory, which has haunted her since childhood. She must learn to forgive before she can choose which dream to follow. Meanwhile, a legendary ten-foot grizzly is seen in the area and its boldness has frightened the community.

Book: Sarah’s Special Gift
Synopsis: Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher. She is deaf, but this does not stop her from living life to its fullest. While visiting the Roberts family, David finds himself entranced with this very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. He finds that Sarah has gone through many trials as she teaches him the importance of not dwelling on the past and how to love life. Meanwhile, David learns about the legend of the Bear Lake Monster and wonders why the community believes in such a thing. He is determined to prove there is no Bear Lake Monster.

Book: Elena, Woman of Courage
Synopsis: The “Roaring Twenties” was a time of great change, when women raised their hemlines and bobbed their hair. The language of the era was also new and different. Watch a young love blossom in this sweet romance. When Elena Yeates settles into a small western town as the newest doctor, a few problems arise. The town is not ready for a female doctor, let alone one so strong and independent. She must struggle against the prejudice to establish her new practice. As she fights to prove herself, the town’s most eligible bachelor finds it a challenge to see if he can win her heart.

These books may be purchased for only $10.95 from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or my website. Visit my website at Make Believe! They are available as an e-book for only $2.99.