Anthony Mays

Mystery, Suspense and Family Saga

What brought about the writing of this book, Halfway to a Vineyard?

Halfway to a Vineyard began from polling my fans to help select the title of my next book after I completed writing, Halfway to Magnolia House. I presented four potential titles, from which to select and Vineyard won with the most votes. Using a vineyard backdrop appealed to me after attending our daughter’s wedding at Firestone Winery in 2009. While there, we toured several vineyards and I was enthralled by the idea of writing a thriller using a vineyard as a backdrop.  After careful consideration and research, I also discovered an area in northern California that is known as the Emerald Triangle. halfway to a vineyardThe name refers to the counties of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity which are the largest cannabis producing region in the U.S.  Growers have been cultivating cannabis in the region since the 1960’s. 

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I began writing the book in June 2016. However, late September of that year, I needed a total knee replacement and it was to be a while before I felt like taking up writing again. I picked up where I left off about March of 2017 and completed the story July of that year.

Tell us something about you your readers don’t know.

During my military career I met very interesting people. I was privy to be present in Hawaii as Admiral Noel Gayler conducted the last evacuations of the Vietnam U.S. embassy. I also had the opportunity to brief the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, General Edward C. Meyer, and later, through my duties at the Pentagon, met the president of El Salvador, Jose Napoleon Duarte.

Are you working on another book to release this year?

I have been working on my next novel, Halfway to MMXX, which is slightly futuristic with an environmental theme. I won a local adult library contest using only the first chapter of the book as a short story. However, I am not able to project a release date due to another surgery this past January. Your interest, may be the spark I need to continue writing that piece of work.

Then by all means, please continue writing it. We want to read it. We love how you weave several plots into your stories making a great suspense––mystery.

Wasn’t your book picked as a semi-finalist?

Halfway to a Vineyard, was a semi-finalist in the Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author competition.

 

Thank you for visiting Anthony. Let us know when your new book is published.

Visit Anthony at:  https://www.anthony-mays.com/

http://authors.southernwritersmagazine.com/anthony-mays.html

 

 

 

 

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Larissa Reinhart~Southern Author

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If you’re looking for stories about strong, sassy heroines who tend to find trouble without even trying, then you want to read Larissa Reinhart’s books.

Welcome to Author’s Visits. Today Larissa Reinhart is visiting.

Larissa, A Wall Street Journal bestselling author and 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist. She writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery and Maizie Albright Star Detective series and the Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series, and various romantic comedies. She loves books, food, and traveling with her family. 

I’ve been waiting to find out about your new book that just released, View to a Chill.

Cherry Tucker suffers from flu-induced visions of murder, while Maizie Albright’s on the hunt for a missing granddaughter whose criminal stockings have long been filled with coal.view to a chill

Wow, Have Cherry and Maizie in the same book is going to be fantastic. I really can’t wait to get it.

I understand they are making movies in your part of the country.

I live in Peachtree City, Georgia (when I’m not in Japan) and the TV and movie industry has exploded here. Georgia is now the number one state to make movies, surpassing California and New York. About four years ago, the huge UK film company, Pinewood Studios, built their America studios a few miles from my house. Acres and acres of giant soundstages and the like. Now big blockbuster movies, like all the recent Marvel movies, are filmed here. About five miles away in the other direction, is the little town of Senoia and that’s where The Walking Dead films. AMC just bought the studio TWD uses, so I’m sure more AMC television shows will be here. Sony Pictures bought property nearby, too. We started with Fried Green Tomatoes in Senoia back in 1991, and the movie people have been coming here ever since.

I take that back. Actually, Smokey and the Bandit filmed around here back in 1977. We just celebrated the 40th anniversary this summer.

The film industry in a place like small-town Georgia is a such a great setting. Lots of interesting paradoxes. Plus big money means more interesting crime, which is good for mysteries.

Tell us about your book,16 MINUTES, the book in your Maizie Albright Star Detective series.

You know Susan, I have so much fun with these books.

16 minutes

I had this character, Maizie Albright. She’s about 180 degrees different from my redneck artist character, Cherry Tucker. Maizie was raised in California in the movie industry. A child star with an extremely driven stage-mother. Maizie’s daddy remained in Georgia — she’s a child of divorce — and I get my redneck element with him and his family. But he’s the CEO of DeerNose Corp, clothing and accessories scented with deer pee. A corporate redneck. He’s famous in his own right, on the cover of every (fictional) hunting and gaming magazine you can think of. So two driven parents and this young woman who’s spent much of her youth living someone else’s dream. The happiest point in her childhood was starring in this TV show as a teen detective. So after crashing and burning in Hollywood, she returns to Georgia (on judge’s orders) to pursue her own dream: becoming a real-life detective.

In 16 MILLIMETERS,  she’s continuing her career-makeover quest as a for-real detective. Wyatt Nash has Maizie working in the office —where the clients are few and far between — while he’s doing the few-and-far-between security solutions. Maizie’s a little bored and a lot frustrated (both career-wise and romantically). When a major movie producer needs a babysitter for his hot mess starlet, Maizie eagerly takes the job. Nash is not happy with the decision. And when her starlet appears dead and then not dead, Maizie scrambles to watch an actress who seems determined to screw up her career plus find this missing corpse. And she keeps finding more bodies. Maizie’s hunting a killer who may be a celebrity stalker. And Maizie might be the next celebrity who gets snuffed.

Was your book research intensive? Did you find some fun facts?

Research is a delicate balance while writing for me because I’ll get sucked into the internet looking for a fact for one sentence. My family was on HGTV’s House Hunters International while we were in Japan (our episode’s called “Living for the Weekend in Nagoya, Japan”) and that’s helped me with some background in how reality shows can be filmed.

Did you find a not so fun fact while researching your book?

I was shocked (ha) at the number of actors who underwent shock treatment, particularly in the 1940s. There’s such a strong correlation between mental illness and artists. I deal with it lightly in the series, mainly in Maizie’s remarks about the stars she’s met in rehab, but I  try to deal with it respectfully. There’s a chicken and the egg syndrome between fame and depression. They feed each which I find poignant.

What do you like most about writing? What do you like least?

I love creating story ideas. They’re always popping in my head, which makes it hard to concentrate on the book I’m currently writing. I love the premise of an idea, new characters; when a book feels like it’s writing itself. I sometimes find myself surprised by what happens after I write it. That’s such an exciting tingly feeling.

The readers are the best part of writing, though. When I get an email from a reader who’s been going through a difficult time — an illness, a death, job loss, etc. — and they tell me my books have helped them escape that for a little while…it makes me cry every time. I get so much personal fulfillment in knowing I helped them in this very insignificant way. I’ve been there. Books are my escape, too.

Tell us something fun you like to do.

Now that we’re not traveling around Japan, we spend a lot of weekends seeking out BBQ in Georgia. My husband smokes pulled pork as a serious hobby. We’re huge BBQ fanatics, so we take a lot of pleasure in finding local spots for BBQ.

We are so delighted you visited with us today. Love reading your books, they always give me a much-needed break from my everyday world.  Keep up the writing!

Start looking for her next book, The Cupid Caper

Be sure and visit Larissa at https://www.larissareinhart.com/

https://www.facebook.com/larissareinhartwriter

 

Richard L. Mabry-Medical Suspense With Heart.

richard mabry new  I want to welcome Dr. Richard Mabry today. We are very honored to have him visit. In addition to practicing medicine, you will find his past as interesting as his novels. He was in the US Air Force overseas, several periods as an interim music minister and as he says, “An all-too-brief experience as a semi-pro baseball player.” 

As a physician he has had lots of opportunities to write through his time as a doctor. 

“During the 36 years I spent in medicine, I wrote or edited eight textbooks, authored over a hundred professional papers, and an invited guest speaker all over the world.”

You also held the presidency or vice-presidency of three professional societies,  received a number of awards and honors.

“Yes, but if you asked my greatest reward in medicine, it would be in seeing patients get better under my care.”

Before I ask you about your newest book, I would like to talk a little bit about your first non-medical book you wrote. The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse.tender scar

I wrote that book after after the death of my first wife. The book offers hope and healing for the brokenhearted. It addresses the heart-wrenching pain of losing a spouse. Working from my journal entries written after the death of my wife, I use my journey as a stepping-stone to a practical discussion of the grief process. The second edition of this book includes a new chapter that highlights the process of building a second marriage and blended family after loss. I’m gratified that it continues to help those who have lost a loved one.

No wonder it is still selling today. 

Tell me about your newest release, Surgeons Choice.

SurgeonsChoice

Dr. Ben Merrick and his fiancé, Rachel Gardner, can’t get her divorced parents to stay in the same room, much less attend their wedding together.  He is also looking over his shoulder expecting more trouble from a very senior surgeon who has shown he is still smarting from a previous dust-up. Ben doesn’t know if a series of mishaps and accidents are caused by a disgruntled patient’s relatives or represent more from the older surgeon.

Then his prospective father-in-law approaches him, needing money for reasons Ben can’t fathom. Rachel has an idea about the cause of the request, but she doesn’t want to accept it. Then, when the deaths begin, Ben and Rachel begin to wonder if they can escape unscathed…and alive.

Can’t wait to read this one Richard. Everything I’ve read backs up your words “I write what I call medical suspense with heart”.

Your novels have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Award, Romantic Times’ Best Inspirational Novel and their Reviewer’s Choice Award; won the Selah award, and been named by Christian Retailing as the best in the mystery/suspense/thriller category.
I have to bring up your book Silent Night, Deadly Night; it’s a page turner. Great job. I really like the cover! Please share a little of this book with our readers.
The colored lights on the snow give it a holiday appearance, but the dead woman’s body in the yard add’s a grisly touch. Everyone wants to know how  Ina Bell Patrick died?
Who killed her? And why?silent nitghtThe dead woman had no direct heirs, so two nephews and a niece stood to inherit. Dr. Laura Morris was left to make all the arrangements, attorney Roger Morris could certainly use the money, and Zack Morris had disappeared two years earlier. Then there was a neighbor and “best friend” Fay Autrey, who was certain the woman intended to leave her some money—a great deal of money.The police were still looking for the killer who left the frozen body in the snow when it became apparent someone was trying to pick off the heirs, one by one. You begin to wonder who is going to win win the race—the police or the killer?

If readers haven’t read it, they need to get it now. They want want to put it down either.
Thank you Richard for joining us today. Look forward to reading your newest book, Surgeons Choice.
You can follow Richard L. Mabry, M.D. on his blog (rmabry.blogspot.com) and his web page (rmabry.com), as well as Facebook (rmabrybooks) and Twitter (RichardMabry).

 

Becky Villareal – Books for Children

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Today we welcome Becky Villarel,

 Born in Dallas, Texas to missionary parents. 

“As the fourth of five children I was often left to my own devices to entertain myself.  So inventing new stories became my passion at a very early age where I would create small books out of any scraps of paper I could find around the house.

“For twenty years I taught in the Dallas Independent School District.  For the past ten years I have been completing family research on my mother’s and father’s families. The grandmother of two I enjoy writing and spending time with my family.

“As an elementary teacher and ten-year veteran of genealogy, I have been able to enjoy not only working with children but finding out about my family history.

One of the books you wrote, Gianna the Great, is an interesting book. Tells us about it.

“Gianna just wants to know about her ancestors, but she has to join an after school history club to do it. Now, she’s about to embark on a journey that will change everything she thinks she knows about her family. becky first boookAknaXBL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

The mother is both unwilling and unable to give her information on her father.  Finding out information is a big part of the story.  In the beginning of the series, she doesn’t want her daughter digging up old bones because of how her own mother reacted when she was expecting Gianna.

What was your primary reason for writing the books?
“To encourage children to explore their ancestry.  This would mean actually talking to their grandparents to get information.  In today’s society, so few families take the time to talk to one another anymore and I was hoping to begin these important conversations.  When the older members of our families pass away, that link to the family history is often lost.
“The use of Multicultural books in and out of the classroom in this day and time is imperative  when so many children are coming from multi-racial and multi-cultural backgrounds. The need for them to see their reflection in books is one of the ways to encourage them to become life-long readers and learners as well.”
Tell us about the Genealogical Research.
“Genealogical research is taking what you know about your family and searching for what you don’t know.  It begins with discussions with  parents, grandparents, and any family members who might have information; this includes pictures and stories.  After this information is put together, you can begin an actual family tree (see attached) this is where it becomes like a puzzle. What piece is missing, a name, date of birth, or place of birth?  These records can be found online many times through Family Search.org that has one of the largest databases available free of cost.   There is also the National Archives and Genealogy Departments available in the larger libraries.  As the tree grows, so does the bank of information that can be put together in book form and given to relatives.
“By learning about my family history, I found out why my hair is the color and texture it is, why I have an overbite and why I have a very strong, determined nature that can take me through the many trials of life.  It is because of my ancestors and the resilience they
have shown that I am who I am.”
Then you wrote, Halito Gianna.: The Journey Continues. Tell us about it.
“On her  journey, she was able to access online information and find out things she never envisioned. However, many of the questions she has remain unanswered until in the new book, Halito Gianna: The Journey Continues Gianna Saldaña finds out about connections she never knew existed.” becky second book41R488IPoBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_
Why did you get into writing and researching this information.
“I have been a family genealogist for over ten years now and have researched ways of finding out obscure information online.  When my own children began to ask questions, I knew I needed to have the truth in hand.  This gave me the idea of Gianna who is modeled after one of the students I worked with who is bright, articulate and curious.
There is a third book currently in the hands of my wonderful agent Jessica Schmedlier who works with Golden Wheat Literary Agency that promises an even better journey!
Becky, thank you so much for visiting today and telling us about these wonderful books.
These are great books for parents to get for their children.
Be sure and visit Becky at:

Bob Srother––A Page Turning Author

We welcome Bbob strother photoob Strother with us today.

We’ve known Bob Strother for since the beginning of Southern Writers Magazine. He is a master at writing short stories and his short stories have been published in numerous magazines.

Bob, you wrote a book called Burning Time. David Burnsworth, author of the Brack Pelton Mystery Series said,Burning Time is a page-turner of historical fiction! Strother is a class act whose prose does not disappoint. He has mastered the art of rooting the reader in the time-period and then supported that with a great coming of age tale.”

Tell us about the book.

Set in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in the early 1900s, Burning Time  portrays the life of Louise Schmidt, from early childhood to adulthood, as Louise, her mother, and younger brother fight to survive the abuse of Louise’s father, Will.bob strother book_

 The largess of Will’s parents initially provides refuge from her father’s drunken exploits, but Louise learns too young that nothing lasts forever. Though previously ostracized from the family, the prodigal son returns at the behest of his ailing father, and brings along a new wife, Maude, who fans the flames of Will’s inherent avarice and disregard for his former wife and children.

At fifteen, Louise is forced from the only home she’s ever known and into marriage with a man ten years her senior.  Even as Louise comes to terms with her life and assumes the role of family matriarch, she still must face the consequences of her actions—including a death sentence for murder.

Susan M. Boyer, USA TODAY bestselling author of the Liz Talbot Mystery Series said, “One-part Southern Gothic, one part crime novel, one part coming-of-age story, Burning Time is a compelling read I couldn’t put down. It’s beautifully delivered in Strother’s clear, concise prose and authentic Southern voice.

Now, you have a new historical novel out, A Fire To Be Kindled, the sequel to Burning Time.

Tell us about it.

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This sequel begins with the Roaring Twenties. Cleared of murder charges and finally free of her father’s tyranny, Louise, it would seem, has it all. With money in the bank, she branches out into other business ventures. Meanwhile, the family delights in young Bobby’s escapades while See-Boy builds a lucrative, albeit shady, side business. But, as Louise knows all too well, hard times are always just around the corner. As the Great Depression besieges the country, Louise and her family suffer personal trials — an unwanted pregnancy, clandestine love affairs, and unseen forces scheming behind the scenes to tear apart everything Louise has, including her family.

Wow, well we will be reading this sequel. You did an excellent job weaving your story and characters together in Burning Time, I definitely want to see what happens in this new book.

Bob, thank you for visiting with us today. I know readers are going to love this sequel. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for being such a wonderful supporter of Southern Writers Magazine.

To order Bob’s book Burning Tree go to:

https://moonshinereview.wordpress.com/moonshine-press-releases/burning-time-new-publication-by-moonshine-press/

To Order his new book A Fire to be Kindled:

https://moonshinereview.wordpress.com/moonshine-press-releases/new-a-fire-to-be-kindled-bob-strother

Be sure and visit Bob at: https://www.facebook.com/bob.strother

Diane Burton~Adventure and Romance

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Welcome to Authors Visits Diane. We love your books. I especially like the title on your website, Adventure and Romance–in this world and beyond. It intrigues my imagination. Thank you for coming today.

I won’t to know about your series. How they started, why you write different ones and why you’ve added two new genres-mystery and romantic suspense? 

Switched started as a fun story because I’d felt beaten down by rejections of my romances. My heroine is very fond of Star Trek. So when she’s transported aboard an alien starship and thinks it’s a gag pulled by her brother, she sees everything in terms of the TV show and movies. Switched was supposed to be a stand-alone book, not a series. When readers started asking when I would write Scott’s (a secondary character) story, I had to and that became Switched, Too. The 3rd book, Switched Resolution, wrapped up everything.

switched 1                                switched2                           switched3

My second series, Outer Rim, explores what strong women have to do to survive and flourish on the frontier of space. Each story is a stand-alone. Secondary and tertiary characters eventually get their own stories. This series was a lot of fun to write while exploring the heroine’s relationships—with their parents, best friends, romantic interests. I chose a different “world” for this series because I couldn’t do what I wanted to do in the Switched world.

outter1                     outter2           outer3

When did you join Romance Writers of America? How do you feel your association with them helps you as an author?

I joined RWA when I decided to write for publication in 1993. I learned a lot from the national conferences and the magazine Romance Writers Report. At the same time, I joined the local chapter, Mid-Michigan RWA. My fellow writers are super-supported. They are my rock when my confidence is shaken.

 

What three things do you do to make yourself successful in your writing?

I’m visible online—I blog (my own plus as a contributor to two others, Paranormal Romantics and The Roses of Proses), Facebook, Twitter, my website—I’m active in online writers’ groups and offer other authors spots on my blog.

 

One of your newest books is The Case of the Meddling Mama. This is book 3 in your Alex O’Hara Novels series.  Tell us a little about this book.

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Well, once again, Alex O’Hara is up to her ears in mysteries. After surviving an attempted murder, all she wants is R&R time with Nick Palzetti. But his mother leaving his father (“that horse’s patoot”) and moving in with Alex puts a crimp in their plans. Then Nick leaves on assignment and the teen she rescued from an abusive father believes his buddy is doing drugs. Meanwhile, Alex has two easy cases to take her mind off her shaky relationship with Nick—a philandering husband and a background check on a client’s boyfriend. Piece of cake.

This is great Diane. Can’t wait to read it.  I thank you so much for visiting with us today.

Every one can go to Diane’s website and keep up with her events. Just go to

http://www.dianeburton.com/home.html

Kay Chandler~Southern Fiction Author

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Welcome to Authors Visits Kay, we are excited about your latest book, The Keeper.

Tell us this book.

The Keeper is about a young woman, an abusive man, and the lies that bind. Mandy drifts from one homeless shelter to another, sometimes sleeping under bridges or staying in shady motels with the man she calls “Daddy,” although the affectionate term begins to stick in her throat. Wylie Gafford is obnoxious, cold-hearted and mean. Some folks have book sense and some have common sense, but Wylie appears to have neither. He forbids her to have friends.

When Mandy falls in love at seventeen, Wylie’s furious and takes her away. He compares her to a trash-fish and says a trash-fish is as much fun to pull into the boat as a nice bream, but at the end of the day the trash goes back into the cold waters, while the bream—a keeper—goes home with the fisherman. “When that ol’ boy gets ready to pick a wife, he won’t be picking the likes of you. You ain’t no keeper, girlie.”

Mandy’s goal is to become a Keeper and return to Alabama to the love she left behind. But fear, guilt, and a false sense of loyalty are the invisible chains that bind her to her domineering father. IMG_3541

How did it come about?

My husband and I had the privilege of getting to know a unique homeless couple who drifted into our lives several years ago. We listened to their stories of being without a home, and rejoiced when they moved into an old rental house, even though the only furniture was a mattress they found at the dump for their children to sleep on. He had a fourth grade education, had been in prison, but eventually joined our Sunday School Class. I learned through that experience that there is indeed a little bad in the best of us and a little good in the worst of us.

What is the story behind the creation?

The couple we befriended had three children, but one little girl looked very different from the parents and the other two children. When we first met them, the thought ran through my mind, “What if this child isn’t theirs?” After I came to know them, I knew it was a foolish notion, but the idea for a book lurked in the back of my mind. Mandy desperately wants to believe Wylie can’t be her father. After all, how could a daddy be so cruel to his own flesh and blood?

Was your book research intensive?

A great deal of information was gleaned from previous experiences. Years ago, I visited a single mother with a newborn who was staying at the Rescue Mission in Mobile, Alabama. When I wrote a scene that takes place at a shelter, I drew from that experience.

Did you find some fun facts?

Yes, I did. A character in the book wants to convince Mandy that her father is wrong, and she is indeed a Keeper. He takes her to a seafood restaurant and tells her the chef attends a Trash Fish Festival each year, because they’ve discovered previously labeled “trash fish,” are actually delectable dishes—real keepers. I had never heard of a Trash Fish Festival, but out of curiosity, Googled. Guess what? There really is a Trash Fish Festival, and I found some wonderful information that I was able to use in my book.

Did you find not so fun facts while researching your book?

I did. But to share it would give away a portion of the book that I’d prefer to let the readers discover for themselves. My books are called Southern Secrets, so some things must remain hidden. J

Does coincidence play a role in your book? If so, what was the strangest coincidence you experienced and did you use it in your book?

Actually, it happened after I wrote the book. There was an article in the newspaper, where a young woman gave her story, and it was as if my character had come to life and had written the article. It was eerie how much it sounded like Mandy speaking—same experiences, same thoughts and actions. It was confirmation to me that I got it right.

What do you like most about writing?

I love hearing from readers. I’m in constant awe at how God uses fiction to touch lives.

What do you like least?

I’ll have to come back to that one. At the moment, I can’t think of anything about writing that I don’t enjoy.

Are you working on the next book?

Yes. Book 4 in the Switched Series.

Tell us how long it took you to write your book.

I wrote The Keeper in three or four months several years ago, but put it away to write Lunacy, when the Publishers were asking for Historicals. I pulled it back out recently, tweaked it, and now I’m glad I did.lunancy

Tell us something fun you like to do.

I enjoy taking spontaneous road trips with my husband, stopping along the way to explore Mom and Pop shops, while getting to know the locals.

What’s next for you in writing?

I’ve had readers wanting to know what happened to Ludie, a character in Mercy, so I’m working on Kinfolk, Book 4 in the Switched Series.mercy

Janie Dempsey Watts Turns Curiosity Into Writing Career

janie dempsey watts photo

A Chattanooga native, Janie Dempsey Watts grew up riding horses at her family farm in Woodstation, Georgia. Her curiosity about most everything steered her to journalism and a writing career.

She was just chosen to be “Author of the Month” for June by Barnes and Noble, Chattanooga.

Her novel “Return to Taylor’s Crossing” (2015) earned an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion and won first place in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild novel excerpt competition. Her first novel, “Moon Over Taylor’s Ridge,” was a Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for a debut novel and nominated for a S.I.B.A. Her newest book is a collection of her short stories, “Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers” (Bold Horses Press, 2017)

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Hi Janie, welcome to Authors Visits. Tell us about this new collection fo short stories.

It’s fifteen short stories set in the South, California, and Europe. One of the stories, “Erice,” was a Faulkner Pirate’s Alley finalist. These stories feature characters facing inner and outer journeys that often do not go as expected. Why did Sadie’s mother run away? And when will she return? Must a teenage girl learn the truth about her daddy the hard way? Why must a bride’s rehearsal dinner feel like a Hatfield-McCoy moment? Can a widow escape loneliness by commiserating? On a train ride in Belgium, can a mother and son trust a postcard salesman they meet? At a laundromat in Rome, Italy, what kind of trouble can a restless wife find? In these tales, some humorous and some edgy, characters discover they do not really know those who are closest, yet a stranger may offer the gift of hope.

Oh this sounds like a must read for sure.

I also wanted to talk to you about your book, Return to Taylor’s Crossing. This book earned an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion and won first place in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild novel excerpt competition. Tell us a little about this book.

.Return

The summer of 1959 in a small Georgia town, dairy worker Abednego Harris, 19, not only stands out for his skillful handling of bulls, but because of his color. When Lola James, 17, arrives to do day work for a nearby family, Abednego is smitten. As the young couple falls in love, racial tensions heat up, threatening their world. A violent attack tears them apart and spins their lives in different directions. This is their story, and the story of four others whose lives are forever changed by violence. One of them will return to Taylor’s Crossing seeking answers.

What drew you to writing?

My parents gave me a diary when I was eight or nine.  I started writing life events in short, newspaper style. A winter storm, the death of a newborn colt, for example. I also read constantly–-horse books, biographies, any book I could get my hands on.  In 8th grade I read “Catcher in the Rye.”  Our Civics teacher asked us to write a paper on what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I knew I wanted to be a novelist, like J.D. Salinger.

How long was it before you wrote your first novel?

The short answer is 28 years from the time I wrote my first short story in college. The long answer is this. In college, I studied English, then journalism, graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in journalism, and later, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California. I wrote for newspapers, magazines, and TV during my journalism career. When my children were little, I used my time as a stay-at-home mother to study screenplay writing at U.C.L.A. Writing five screenplays (never produced) taught me the craft of long-form fiction writing.  All throughout the 28 years, I wrote short stories and also short non-fiction pieces.  Many were published in anthologies and literary magazines, anthologies. In late 2012, my first novel was published.  I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer––and persistent!

 

What do you think made your book Moon over Taylor’s Ridge stand out above all the others to win  Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for a debut novel?
Readers of this novel have told me that the Cherokee history, folklore, and Trail of Tears connection is why they were drawn to the story. I spent many hours researching to make sure my fictional story rested upon a solid base of facts.  The legend of the Cherokee silver mine in the area where the novel is set was passed down in my family and recounted in a history book by my late Aunt Mary. 

moon over

In your speaking engagements, do you take your book and do you sell many of your books? 
I always take about a dozen copies of each book, more if a big crowd is anticipated. I usually sell five to six copies, but I have sold as few as one and as many as 52 at an event. It’s very humbling, and you have to check your ego at the door. Many times those attending will buy my novels later in e-book format, or check it out at the library. From a marketing point of view, the best part about speaking at an event is the publicity generated.  If the event is mentioned in the media, it draws more attention to your book, and hopefully brings in more sales from those unable to attend.
Janie, you’ve been in Southern Writers Magazine a few times and we are so pleased you joined us on our Authors Visits. I know your fans will enjoy this new book that released.
Please come back and visit, and let us know the when you are ready to release another new book.

Growing Up in 1956! by Thomas Conner

3. Current Photo

Meet Thomas Conner, known to some as Tom, others as Tommy, and TC by friends and family. Although born in Florida, two miles from the Alabama state line, he spent most of his early years living on the Alabama side and went to college in Florida. 

He graduated from the University of West Florida in Pensacola with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and since 1980  has resided in Central California’s Big Valley, where he has worked in higher education at a prestigious private university in Student Life.

Tom, welcome to Authos Visits. I am excited to talk to you about this book, Goodby, Saturday Night.

goodnight saturday nightYour book, Goodbye, Saturday Night, is very interesting, and for us who are older brings back a lot of memories.

Tell us a little about the book.

Well it’s early  May 1956 in the small South Alabama town of Farmington, and eleven year old Bobby Crosby’s life is about to change forever. He’s still anguishing over the death of his father even though it’s been five years, and he’s come to despise the life centered around his mother’s cafe, a place that turns into the revelrous hot spot of the community when the sun goes down. Bobby escapes his real world by sitting every night in the local movie theater, third row left down front. There, alone in the dark, he leaves Farmington far behind and melts into the world of the silver screen. Bobby’s best friend is Hucker Nolan, a twenty-two year old drop-out from the swamps across the tracks who drives a taxicab in the daytime and works concession at the movie theater at night. Now, Bobby’s world seems to be collapsing and there’s nothing he can do to stop it; his mother has a boyfriend Bobby desperately resents and his feelings for Hucker are confusing and ever changing, often filled with anger and jealousy Bobby doesn’t understand. Then, the worst thing possible happens to Bobby— he’s betrayed by the person he trusts the most.

Was your book research intensive? Did you find some fun facts?

Yes, definitely. The book is set in 1956 and required a lot of research because I give lots of details in my writing. My character paid 5 cents for a soda. The Western Flyer Super Deluxe bicycle he dreamed of cost $75 and was unobtainable. I also used movie and music references throughout the book, so I had to research the release dates to make sure I wasn’t using titles that hadn’t been released in May of 1956. A good example of this is Saturday night television line-up in 1956. I really wanted one of my characters to be watching Gunsmoke on T.V. when he was called away for an emergency. Well, the show didn’t air at the time I needed him to be watching it, so I had him watch “The Jackie Gleason Show” instead.

Did you find not so fun facts while researching your book?

Yes, and some very disturbing. This book is based very loosely on my childhood growing up in the Deep South. My main character has a close friend who is “colored” but they cannot sit together in the movies. My character lives in a racial bubble, just as I did at the time. When researching racial tension in Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, I was made aware of much more racially related violence than I had previously known. I knew of the Selma marches of 1965 but I had no idea of the violence and brutality involved until I began my research. It was played down in my area and among my family and friends.

Does coincidence play a role in your book? If so, what was the strangest coincidence experienced and did you use it in your book?

Yes, most definitely. In the past, we have had two Sunday services at my church, St. Anne’s Episcopal. I always attended the 10:00am service. Early last spring our services were combined into one at 9:00am. That offered an opportunity to meet folks from the other service I didn’t know. One Sunday, I struck up a conversation at coffee hour with a woman who had just published her second novel with a small publishing house. I told her about my book, that I was planning on self-publishing because I didn’t want to go through all those hundreds of rejections until I found a house that would take my book. She suggested I submit my work to her publisher. After mulling it over for a few weeks I did and they immediately offered me a publishing contract. My friend and I had been attending the same church for many years without knowing each other or that we were both writers. Now, we are authors with the same publishing house because our church services were combined

What is the story behind the creation your book?

When I read Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show in the mid 1970s, I realized I had a book in me about small town life in Alabama in the 1950s. I met Larry McMurtry at his rare and collectible bookstore, Booked Up, in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. When I discussed my idea for a book with him he said write it, it will tell a good story. I went home and wrote the first draft. That was in the late fall of 1979. I moved to California a month later and brought the hand-written manuscript with me with the intensions of polishing and rewriting. However, it got pushed back for 35 years.

What do you like most about writing? What do you like least?

Hanging on and following where the characters take me. Some people might say I’m not telling the truth, but my books seem to write themselves. I have a beginning and an idea of an ending and I just start writing. The characters take over and the book comes to life. Sometimes, I am totally amazed that we took the turn in the road we did. Recently, in my new book, one character asked the other where they are going as they climb into the car. I had no idea as I wrote those words. The main character made a choice and the direction they took opened up the plot with a major new twist. I was amazed.

And the least?

I like promoting the book the very least. I wish I could just write and the book would sell itself. That’s not the case. I spend at least fifty percent of my writing time promoting.

Are you working on the next book?

Yes. My work is always based very loosely on something I’ve done or I’ve lived. I just make characters and a story out of it. The first book was based  loosely on my childhood. The new book is based on my first quarter in college in 1965. It’s the story of an 18-year-old freshman who is totally smitten with his single 27-year-old English professor. They become fast friends due to mutual interest and need. Soon, the friendship begins to develop into more. I am obsessed with the story and at the present time have over 52,000 words down.

Tell us how long it took you to write your book.

I wrote the first draft of the first book in three months. I wrote it in longhand because my old typewriter had keys that stuck and I could write faster than type. It was put aside as I said for 35 years. I pulled the old manuscript out and began transcription and rewrite last year. I spent nearly a year on the final book. So, the answer is 37 years in total time and a year and three months of actually writing time.

Whats next for you in writing?

To continue with the new book until it’s ready to send to my publisher. I also plan to pull out some old short stories and see what I can do with them. I spend a tremendous amount of time promoting the book and finding readers.

Thank you for visiting with us today. Can’t wait to hear about your next new book.

 

 

Kimberly J. Dalferes-Humorous It Is!

kim-dalfries   Kimberly “Kimba” J. Dalferes ––a former Justice Department official whose publications, until recently, focused on criminal and juvenile justice issues. Then a transformation took place she let her humorous side come to the surface and her writing became funny!

I definitely believe Kimba has achieve in her writing what Erma Bombeck said, “Hook ’em with the lead. Hold ’em with laughter. Exit with a quip they won’t forget.” 

This seems to be a good overall life goal, don’t you think? 

Yes, I do agree Kimba. Thank you for joining us on Authors Visits today. We wanted our readers to know more about you and your writing and books. 

Tell me how each book: Crazy Southern Irish Girl, I was In Love With a Short Man Once and Magic Fishing Panties came about.

shortman-ebook-final-final-cover-december-2015My first book, I Was In Love With a Short Man Once, was inspired, in part, by my nana’s apple pie recipe. Nana was a great cook, and like most cooks of her era, almost all of her masterpieces were created from scratch. That woman was no friend of Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines. In particular, Nana made the most amazing apple pies. Serious stuff of legends. The problem is that no one ever wrote down her recipes or techniques. Nana left this world with the instructions for creating this most treasured of family desserts tucked away securely in her minds’ memory vault. We’ve tried for years, but no family member can recreate Nana’s flaky crust and tart yet sweet and juicy filling. This got me to thinking about stories from my life that I would like to make sure are remembered and handed down. Consequently, many of the stories in Short Man are from my childhood or young adult life.

This first book also came about because I wanted to leave something behind for my son Jimmy. Jimmy is an only child and until he was ten years old it was mostly just the two of us. There are stories about his birth, the time he came home with a rabid bat, and how he got a concussion at the White House that I found myself needing to commit to written form.

Now those are definitely stories worth writing down.

magicfishingpantiesebookfinal-final-cover-september-2015My second book, Magic Fishing Panties, came about by very different inspirations. Whereas Magic Fishing Panties is a humorous essay collection similar in structure to Short Man, many of the stories are inspired by my gal pals. When I earned my membership card to Club 50, I became acutely aware of the importance of the women in my life. I would be forever lost without my gal pals. Magic Fishing Panties, in a way, is a love letter to all the women in my life, both near and far.

What did you find most interesting as you wrote each story?

Stories from my childhood always surprise me. I’ve found myself remembering the most interesting details: the smell of my nana’s White Shoulders perfume. The rough scrape of my Grandpa’s beard stubble when he gave me a hug. The feel of the hot gritty sand under my feet at a south Florida beach. I’ve recalled in great detail the homes of my childhood and even penned an entire story about my GeeGee’s house entitled Peas Behind the Washer.

It’s also interesting to see the life lessons that have sometimes emerged as I’ve worked through the story development process. For example, when I began to write the story about getting a tattoo, I had no idea it would evoke the challenges faced by those who stay behind when our loved ones go off to war. Now I know that doesn’t sound like a very funny tale, but I hope the essay title – Exposed Temptations – entices the reader to want to find out how the Hubs reacted to my newly inked hip upon his return from overseas.

Does humor come easily to you when you are writing?

Yes and no. Humor writing is a funny thing (pun very much intended). One person’s belly laugh is someone else’s not so much. Because I write nonfiction, my writing tends to be based upon observation and personal experiences. I “collect” story ideas at odd moments. For example, I wrote and entire essay about being stuck on a Northern Virginia city bus in a blizzard based on my Facebook postings during the ordeal. Recently, after perusing the back-to-school sales at the local mall with my husband, I was inspired to write an essay about the five types of male shoppers. I think the humor part comes easy in that perhaps I view the world through a kind of quirky lens. I remember Eddie Murphy once noting that comedians are wired differently as compared to most people. Comedians see the ridiculous in very mundane situations and then play out in their minds how things could turn out differently. An Elvis song playing in the background at the big box store might cause a humorist to wonder: what would Elvis buy at Walmart? What would happen if Elvis lost his toddler at the mall? What would it be like to have Elvis as your sales clerk at check-out?

What is a typical day of writing like for you?

 

my-writing-officeWell, for one thing, it’s usually dark outside. I have a day job, so most of my writing is relegated to any free time I might have in the evenings or occasionally on weekends down on the dock at the lake house. I keep a folder of story assignments and inspirations or ideas on the desktop of my computer. The process that often works best for me is to create a story outline, fill in the observations, and then work the essay into a cohesive story arc. I come back to Erma Bombeck often here: Hook ’em with the lead. Hold ’em with laughter. Exit with a quip they won’t forget. I even have this quote posted on my website.

Some people may not know but you are a fisherwoman. Tell us about your Sitka fishing.

Back in 2005, the women in our family stomped our collective feet and demanded that we be allowed to tag along on the annual “boys-only” Alaska fishing trip. We had heard so many wonderful stories from the boys: husbands; fathers; brothers; and sons all blissfully sharing tales of beautiful Alaska. We gals wanted a shot at the glory. The push-back was in fun, but a little serious too: there would be no girly girls allowed. We would be expected to pull our own weight, be down on the dock at o’dark thirty – no time for hair or make-up, manage our own poles, and basically “woman-up.” The boys never expected us to survive more than one trip. Well game on/fish on! I’m happy to report that eleven years later we gals are still going strong. We’ve seen some amazing sights: breaching humpbacks, pods of killer whales, sea lions the size of VW Bugs. I’ve felt the distinctive tug of an Alaskan kind salmon on the line and the thrill of landing a 35 pounder. It just goes to show you, if you tell a strong southern Irish gal she can’t do something, you better get out of her way.

noles-fishing-in-alaska-2012       kim-lucky-fishing-hat

Dalferes is a contributing writer for Smith Mountain Laker Magazine which publishes her humor column, Dock Tale Hour. Her freelance work has been featured in The Roanoke Times.

You have a new book out, Crazy Southern Irish Gal. I understand  this book it dishes on a wide variety of topics. You have woven what may appear to be dissimilar themes into a tapestry that invokes your life’s motto: live out loud, laugh often, and ‘occasionally’ drink tequila.

kd_crazyirishgal2_coverfinalYes, from days of my youth spent blissfully on the shores of Florida’s beaches to menopause and empty nests. Together, these books offer descriptive and colorful essays on subjects such as getting a tattoo in midlife, unique uses for kitty litter, handling a rabid bat, public speaking gone wrong, and naked hot-tubbing in Vegas. Dalferes skillfully weaves what at first glance may appear to be dissimilar themes into a tapestry that invokes her life’s motto: live out loud, laugh often, and ‘occasionally’ drink tequila.

These are delightful books that our readers will enjoy reading.

Thank you so much for coming to visit. Keep us posted on new books releasing.

Be sure and get in touch with Kimberly “Kimba” Dalferes, kimba@kimdalferes.com,http://www.kimdalferes.com she would love to hear from her readers.