Tag Archive | Southern Writers Magazine

Janie Dempsey Watts Turns Curiosity Into Writing Career

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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)

.mother sons

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

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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.

Niles Reddick-A Real Storyteller

Niles Reddick head shot Niles Reddick is the author of a collection of stories titled  Road Kill Art and Other Oddities which was a finalist for an Eppie award, his novel Lead Me Home was a national finalist for a ForeWord Award, a finalist in the Georgia Author of the Year award in the fiction category, and a nominee for an IPPY award. His work has appeared in anthologies, and  been featured in many journals. His new novel, Drifting too far from the Shore, releases in September 2016.

We are delighted you could join us Niles. 

drifing4,203,200_ (1) Winston Groom, author of Forest Gump  said, “Chocked full of humor, “Drifting Too Far From the Shore” is a beautiful story that makes you feel like you have been transported back to small town America.”

That is quite a compliment. Tell us about your book.

I think readers will fall in love with my character Muddy “Charlotte” Rewis, a sassy yet reserved southern woman who has a cane and ain’t afraid to use it. Muddy believes she is in her last days and longs to reunite in heaven with her deceased husband, Claude, But when Muddy’s grandson shoots out a neighbor’s front window, an old friendship is renewed, and troubling mysteries irresistibly revived.

Can’t wait to read it. I like the character already.

I understand Drifting too far from the Shore has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN-Faulkner award. So I want to congratulate you on the nomination. That is quite an honor. And it has also been nominated for a ForeWord award in fiction.

You’ve written several books..

Yes, I have Easy Loving which is a short story about college friendships;easy loving517I4e0fMKL

lead me home51-Uwe7F6zL._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_ Lead Me Home . A glimpse of a pragmatic, surreal and spiritual Southern journey back to his roots shows Max Peacock that one can come back home.

Then there is Road kill Art and Other Oddities.road kill51XKWLyLGrL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ It’s a collection of short stories. I’m told people  laugh out loud at the eccentricities of the characters and their peculiar situations. Set in the rural past and the strip mall world of the New South. These stories offer readers glimpses into every day experiences through the eyes of a manic narrator who survives and thrives on the oddities of the modern American South.

I have to tell you, I have read some of your post on your blog, and I love them. I am putting your blog link here so others can check them out.  http://nilesreddick.com/gallery/

I am so glad you visited with us today Niles.  Having read a number of things you’ve written, I think you are going to be one of the writers people will gravitate to. You give your reader enjoyment but most important you give your reader that feeling of realness.

Congratulations. I look forward to this new book. Come back and visit.

Be sure and visit Niles at his blog and also on his website http://nilesreddick.com/ He loves to hear from his readers.Don’t miss reading one of his books or his blog, it give you that certain something we all need each day.

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/niles.reddick.9

Elaine Marie Cooper on Road to Deer Run

elaine marie cooper 451MtQNdo0qL._UX250_We are delighted to have Elaine Marie Cooper visiting with us today. Elaine is an author and speaker who became fascinated with the American Revolution growing up in Massachusetts. 

I describe myself as a history geek. You will find my bookshelves filled with volumes about the American Revolution.

Your  book, Road to Deer Run, tell us about the story and the books in the series.Road-to-Deer-Run-Cover-197x300

It’s a historical romance set in Colonial America in 1777. This book was published in December 2015. The war has already broken the heart of Mary Thomsen, a nineteen-year-old colonial woman from Massachusetts. Her brother, Asa was killed by the King’s army, so when she stumbles across a wounded British soldier, you can imagine her sense of right and wrong is challenged. Inside she’s battling the “Should I help a soldier of the enemy who took my brother’s life, or let him die, cold and alone?”

The war has  broken the British soldier Daniel Lowe’s spirit. He’s severely wounded and a prisoner of war, he escapes his rebel captors while on a death march to Boston. As the pain in his injured leg worsens, he wonders if the young woman looking down at him is an angel or the enemy.

So the question becomes, what will they find on the Road to Deer Run? This book was highlighted in Southern Writers Magazine.

The second book, Promise of Deer Run was just published in June of this year.

promise of deer run

It is set in 1790 and the American Revolution is over, but a battle still rages in the hearts of survivors. Painful memories of war haunt one young veteran. He still waits for a father who never returned from battle and feels the sting of betrayal from a former love. Withdrawing into his own world, he clings to one hope — perhaps his father still lives.

There is only one person in Deer Run who seems to understand him, Sarah Thomsen. She’s nineteen- year- old who struggles to bury her own war memories. The veteran’s search for his father touches a chord in her, as she feels the loss of a father she never knew. While the couple begins to find hope in a mutual affection, others are determined to destroy it. Slander and misunderstandings ignite a fire of doubt and mistrust, destroying any faith they had in each other.

The next book, the third one in this saga will be released in December, 2016.  Can’t wait to hear more about the third book. We hope you will come back and visit and share information on this book and also information about the new historical novel that will release in October, 2016 which is Saratoga Letters. I understand that book is set in 1777 and 1977. Can’t wait to hear more about that one.

You also wrote a book called Fields of the Fatherless.

Yes and it won a few awards.

It won the Winner of the 2014 Selah Award, YA Fiction, right? 

Yes and it won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award, Best Religious Fiction
Winner of the 2014 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and Best YA Religious Fiction .

The  Fields of the Fatherless is based on a true story.

fields of fatherless51yq+jk+SsL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_  In the early months of 1775, war is brewing in the American colonies. Although frightened, eighteen-year-old Betsy Russell (an ancestor to actor Kurt Russell) of Menotomy Village, Massachusetts, wants to be prepared in case of attack by British troops. Her father, prosperous farmer Jason, is the fourth generation of Russells on this land yet their very rights as British Colonials are being stripped away one by one. Will the King of England take their land as well? Tensions are growing here in the countryside west of Boston and the outbreak of battle seems a certainty. Jason desperately wants to protect his family–– his wife, children and grandchildren and their future. Betsy makes every attempt to be prepared for the worst. But not even the American militia could have predicted the bloody massacre that was about to occur right on the Russells’ doorstep. If Betsy loses everything she holds dear, are the rights of all the Colonists endangered?

And this is based on a true story?

Yes, on the first day of the American Revolution, the worst battle did not occur at Lexington or Concord. It took place at the home of Jason Russell in Menotomy Village, MA. “Fields of the Fatherless” brings this true story to light as seen through the eyes of Jason’s daughter, Betsy.  Although written for a YA audience, it has received positive reviews from its many adult readers.

No wonder this novel has received several awards and continues to find new readers more than two years after its release. Thank you for sharing this with us.

It was great having Elaine here today to share her books. Be sure and check out her website

http://www.elainemariecooper.com/

and visit her blog

http://www.elainemariecooper.com/blog/

 

 

 

Diane Kelly Romance Writer

Diane-Kelly-headshot-e1427808949837  We are so pleased to welcome Diane Kelly today. Her books have been awarded the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award and a Reviewers Choice Award. Currently she is the president of Romance Writers of America. 

Tell me about your work as a former tax advisor and how you went from that to becoming an author.

I inadvertently worked with white-collar criminals.So I wouldn’t  end up in an orange jumpsuit, I decided self-employment would be a good idea. My fingers hit the keyboard after that and thus began my“Death and Taxes” romantic mystery series.

death taxes and a french manicureDTAFM-Cover-flat-cover1-115x188My first book in that series was Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure released in November 2011.Eleven books have been released in that series. Book number twelve, death taxes51yjnUJ0pXL._SX304_BO1,204,203,200_Death, Taxes and a Satin Garter, will release in August of this year.

Diane is also a graduate of her hometown’s Citizen Police Academy and writes the funny K9 Cop “Paw Enforcement” series. 

PawEnforcement_300-114x188The first book in that series, Paw Enforcement, released June 2014. Five books in that series have been released.

against the paw In May, Against the Paw was released. The next book in the series  is due out in December of this year, titled, AboveThePaw-115x188Above the Paw.

Sappy love stories513D-sZaKFL._SX311_BO1204203200_-118x188Your book, A Sappy Love Story is a stand alone was released in January of this year. Tell us about it.

A Sappy Love Story is a short story inspired by my breakfast of banana pancakes and maple syrup one Saturday morning. Occasionally, you’ll hear someone call a love story “sappy.” The play on words with “sap” and “sappy” popped into my head, and developed into an idea for a romance centered around a maple syrup business.

Was it fun to write?

Definitely! I performed a lot of research on how maple syrup is made. It’s an interesting process. And since I live in the south, it was fun to virtually venture into the snowy northern woods with my characters. 

How long did it take to write?

Only about ten days, since it’s a shorter story. 

Is there a purpose behind it?

To entertain and warm a reader’s heart, much like the spiked hot cocoa the hero and heroine drink in the story. 

Where did the idea for a series with police dogs come from?

After I began my IRS agent series, I realized how much I enjoyed writing female characters in law enforcement. The idea of a female cop came to mind, so I signed up for my town’s citizen police academy to learn more about police work. The night a handler did a demonstration with his K-9 partner, I was hooked. I’ve been a dog lover since my family got our first dog when I was an adolescent, and I have three dogs now, each with their own quirky personalities. I realized how fun it would be to write a female K-9 team, especially when I could write from both the police officer’s and dog’s points of view. 

What kind of research did you have to do to write this series?

I attended a conference for K-9 handlers in law enforcement and also interviewed police K-9 handlers in my hometown. They gave me all kinds of great information and let me try on the suit they use for bite demos. They were incredibly helpful. 

The books in the series, do you develop plots so the cases encountered in each book stands alone?

Yes, I write each book so they can be read as a standalone crime/mystery novel. However, there is a romantic arc that spans the books, so for those readers who enjoy the romantic angle of the series, reading them in order is a good idea. 

What is the most fun about writing these books?

Writing the chapters from K-9 Brigit’s point of view is an absolute blast. I love getting into the mindset of a smart, somewhat snarky dog, and telling the story from her viewpoint. I often find myself laughing out loud as I develop her chapters. 

Okay, I’m hooked now. I have to read these books. 

We thank you Diane for visiting and for you readers be sure and drop by Diane’s website site and Facebook page and say hello. She loves hearing from her readers.

may cover 2See her in May/June 2016 Southern Writers Magazine issue.

 

http://www.dianekelly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/DianeKellyBooks/

Tonya Kappes-Happily Ever After With Cozy Mystery Writer

tonya kappes 2    We welcome Tonya Kappes today. She’s a Southern Romance and Cozy Mystery Writer.

Tonya, Romance and Mystery?

I know it sounds crazy, but I love a good mystery and a good happily ever after. All my novels are set in small towns where humor and charm are a must. I grew up in a small town in Kentucky and cherish every memory. 

You make a statement on your website  http://www.tonyakappes.com/  that has a lot of meaning. It’s what I, as a reader, look for when I sit down to read a book. You were talking about transporting the reader.

I want to transport my readers to my small towns where they are wrapped around in a blanket of comfort whether it’s a mystery or romance. When you read one of my books my goal is to tickle your funny bone, drain your tear ducts, and steal your heart.

You are a USA Today bestselling author and have published numerous mystery and romance titles. You’ve been very successful. In fact you’re famous for your hilarious plot lines and quirky characters.  

Tell us about your new series.

FIXIN TO DIE cover FRONTIt’s my Kenni Lowry Mystery series. The first book in that series, Fixin’ To Die, just released this month. Kenni Lowry is a sheriff in Cottonwood, Kentucky who likes to think the zero crime rate in  is due to her. However, she quickly discovers the ghost of her grandfather, the town’s previous sheriff, has been scaring off any would-be criminals since she was elected. When the town’s most beloved doctor is found murdered on the very same day as a jewelry store robbery, and a mysterious symbol ties the crime scenes together, Kenni must satisfy her hankerin’ for justice by nabbing the culprits.  With the help of her poppa, a lone deputy, and an annoyingly cute, too-big-for-his-britches State Reserve officer, Kenni must solve both cases and prove to the whole town, and herself, that she’s worth her salt before time runs out.

This book sounds like it will be fun to read with lots of twist and turns especially with your ability to weave mystery into humor. Can’t wait to read it.

We were delighted to showcase the book in our May/June 2016 issue of Southern Writers Magazine. may cover 2 You were interviewed in Southern Writers in 2013 and in that interview we talked about your writing humorous fiction with a little romance and mystery.

I’ve always had a little witty humor to my personality. I’ve tried to mask it and watch my mouth, but it just flows right out of me. I grew up a true southern. I drink my sweet tea (sugar only!), go to church, believe in superstition, and bestow the ‘bless your heart’ on everyone (which true southerners know that can mean a few things). All of these play a part in all my novels along with my wit and I believe putting these in the romance and mystery genre is a great escape for readers.

SW Cover CC BlackIn January, 2013 Southern Writers interviewed you and we talked about  you’re interacting with your readers.

I’m very  involved with my readers. I started connecting with them two years before I had even published a book. I knew I needed a following, so I blogged about my daily life as a mom raising four boys, two fur babies, ornery stray cat, and an awesome husband. The readers loved how I wrote my first novel under an oak tree at my guys football practices one summer. I took pictures, posted and they went crazy. For two years I did these types of posts as well as offer giveaways of my friends who were already published.

This is one of the things that marks a write as being a serious writer. That first book hit the bestseller list, didn’t it?

Yes, it hit the bestsellers list the first day. I had my following. That was when I decided to start a Team Tonya Street Team. It’s moved from a yahoo loop to a Facebook page. I do weekly giveaways and contests. I have huge online parties where I promote other authors. I think it’s important to pay it forward. My street team will read any author I recommend. I love that. We have twitter parties and Kindle parties. We love to have a good time.

You have a new book coming out in your Ghostly Southern Mystery series in December titled a Ghostly Reunion. Tell us about it.

A ghostly reunoinAs proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee Raines can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.

There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.

But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra close with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.

Well, that is one I definitely will have to read. Thanks for visiting with us today.

Be sure and visit Tonya Kappes on her website: http://www.tonyakappes.com/

Visit her on Twitter https://twitter.com/tonyakappes11

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/authortonyakappes/?ref=hl