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Today’s Tease…Greg Smith

Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Greg Smith 

Your Name or Pen Name you use: Greg Smith 

Links where we can find you: http://gregsmith-writer.weebly.com

http://www.facebook.com/GVSmith.Author

http://gregsmith-graphicdesigner.weebly.com/

Other Special Talents we should know about: I’m a full time graphic designer. Commissioned portraits are something else I do.

Welcome  GS…I, LH have some questions for you 😉

LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?

GS: I wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and work for Qantas, Australia’s international airline but that wasn’t meant to be. I think I’ve always wanted to be an artist of some sort and never failed to be egged on by family and friends to keep drawing. But a time traveller … that was, and still is, the top of my dream list.

LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies!  Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?

GS: I’d find it intriguing to have dinner with Steven Spielberg. His movies would NOT be the focus of my attention because he’s a fabulous storyteller and avid historian – that’s what I’d be dying to talk to him about.

LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. It’s kind of ironic that we’re in the business of selling sex and violence. Ever feel conflicted and if so why?

GS:It’s not so much the sex and violence per se, but the quantity of it that pervades our lives. Both are intrinsic to our existence and way of life. As an author I always struggle to keep a tight rein on those sections of any story involving either subject. I don’t believe anything is achieved by being excessive in describing sex or violent scenes. The trick is to play to the reader’s imagination. A person’s mind is more than capable of filling in the blanks left by a writer.

LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?

GS:Wow, that’s a heavy question. There are so many things I would love to change if given the power but I guess I’d go for the chance to give every person the inspiration to find the answers to world hunger. There is almost an infinite number of ways we could solve world hunger if only we were all able to focus our collective mind and talents on that one problem.

LH: A little birdie told me you are a graphic artist…in fact; I know you did a beautiful book cover for my book “Me, Myself & I.” How did you get into that and is that your only artistic talent?

GS:Back in the Stone Age I used to be known as a commercial artist. Now we’re tagged as graphic designers or artists, but I view that as “work-related” talent. If you visit the web site devoted to my artwork you’ll see that I love painting faces, animals, and women. I’d be intrigued to hear from people what medium they think I’ve used for some of my artwork. The answer generally surprises a lot of people. But all in all nearly everything I do on paper or computer is one form or another of art. It’s something I’ve been interested in ever since I was able to hold a quill … computers have only broadened an artist’s horizons.

LH: My mother was a wonderful artist; I however, cannot draw a stick figure! Where did your artistic ability come from or are you self taught? Will you indulge us with some of your favorite work?

GS:It’s funny that nearly everyone who views my work says that they can’t even draw a stick figure. Would you believe that’s exactly how I began – with nothing but plain old stick figures? Later, I began collecting art books and taught myself a rough or basic understanding of anatomy. It helped that I was born with an artistic bent, but apart from those high school art classes, I am otherwise self-taught. When I do a portrait I generally work from photos supplied to me mainly due to the fact that I might work all sorts of strange hours and could never expect to call someone at 2am and ask, “I’m ready to work on your portrait. Can you pop over now for a couple of hours?” As to my favorite work, that’s easy. It’s anything that involves hair, eyes, a mouth – those are the magical elements for me, personally. Then there’s the figure. Women are such fascinating creatures; with so many facets (some visible, most invisible). For me they make ideal subjects.

LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. When did you decide that you wanted to start doing covers?

GS:That began centuries ago when I was in high school, back when music was restricted to records (LPs, 45s, etc). I had myself quite a collection of singers, musicians, bands, etc and one day I found the jacket to one of my favorite LPs had been damaged, so I sat down and set about making and designing myself a new jacket. I still recall the group – The Shadows. Wow! That brings back fond memories. Thanks for asking that question. One thing led to another and soon I was trying my hand at book covers, etc. Mind you, this was way before the word computer was even included in the English language, so the task of designing was far more painstaking than today.

LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?

GS:Naturally it’s the characters. I’m a fiction writer and therefore find it extremely hard to imagine attempting to write anything without involving at least one or two characters. I regard them as the windows into my stories for the reader. Sometimes you can visualize a scene through the eyes of the character; sometimes it might seem you are looking into a mirror and either seeing the character for who she or he really is – or you might actually see yourself! But giving your question another glance, something else that fascinates me about a story is experiencing the writer’s imagination for myself. I guess that’s why I so fond of historical fiction, and why I’m tackling my own historical fiction novel right now.

LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your cover ideas?

GS: Imagination and inspiration. I am never short of ideas for almost anything when it involves my writing. And being a graphic designer, I only want to extend that to include designing my own book trailers, covers, marketing material, etc. An idea can be, and usually is, sparked by the most innocuous things that can confront me; a word, a sound, a color, music … anything and everything.

LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?

GS:My latest book, THE PITS has not long been released. I’m beginning to work on ideas for its sequel, but I’m also trying to make time for my pet project, my historical fiction novel that I have been working on sporadically for the passed few years. Both projects are vying for my time and it’s hard to allocate a balanced schedule.

LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you do covers for fun, an artistic outlet or money?

GS:I do them hardly for fun these days. That’s not to say I don’t have fun working on a cover. I certainly don’t do them for making a potential fortune; in fact, I quite often will put a cover together for someone for next to nothing just to help them out. I still struggle as a writer, and I know how what’s it’s like to try to stretch a meager budget when it comes to getting a book ready for the market.

LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends and your work?

GS:I still struggle with the specter of my first book. It was born of a dare and only took a few months to write, and I had a lot of fun working on it. But when family and friends read it for the first time I think several were quite taken aback by the story. It’s an erotic thriller; quite detailed, in fact. Strangely enough, my wife tried to read 50 Shades of Grey and thought the book boring. She actually prefers my own book, KILLING SOFTLY. I’m not sure if I’ll ever venture into that genre again, but you never know.

LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever suffered from “designers block and if so, how do you overcome it?

GS:Not writer’s or designer’s block so much, but more a sudden lack of drive or interest in a job. Sometimes the feeling will last only a day or so, but there have been occasions when I’ve left a job for weeks or months before being able to confront it again. Once I overcome that lack-luster feeling I quite often will work all hours into the night to get the job completed. Strange. When the sensation comes over me I try to find something else to focus on, sometimes something completely different to the job in hand. But I know for a fact that somewhere deep in my mind there is a part of me still actively working on the problem and given enough time will eventually find the answer to my sudden “block.”

LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

GS:Geez, another tough question. And it’s not really a fair question. There are so many things I guess I’d like to change. But I guess if I had to pick one it would be the morning I left to fly to Papua New Guinea to spend a few weeks with missionary friends among the Highland natives. No sooner had I arrived in the middle of PNG and was preparing to settle down for the night that I received a phone call informing me that my mother had just passed away. She was still half asleep when I said my quick goodbye that morning. Yes, I’d go back to the day I arranged to make that trip so that I could cancel it and then be home when Mum was rushed off to hospital. I never did get the chance to say a proper goodbye.

LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?

GS: Crikey! Where do you get these questions from? Let me see. Well to begin with, if we ever had the opportunity to go back and confront a person or persons about something we knew would happen, we’d be laughed at and ridiculed … unless, of course, we thought to take along evidence to back up our message. But I digress. Okay then, seeing as I’m a relatively new US citizen, I think I’d like to go back and talk JFK out of his scheduled trip to Dallas. I’d take along news clippings and photos to support my warning and make a strong suggestion that he initiate a witch hunt for those planning to assassinate him.

Thanks for that fun and thoughtful interview GS…Now… for the fun stuff!

Favorite Beverage? Hot chocolate

Exercise or Bubble Bath? A luxuriating bubble bath after a hard day at the keyboard. But don’t mention that to my mates.

Favorite Color? Bright yellow.

Take out or Dine in? Dine in with that someone special with wine and candle light.

Camping or Hotel? Depends on the time of year and what hotel you’re talking about.

Sports or Chocolate? You can’t have both? Who says you can’t!

Dogs or Cats? Dogs. I’ve always had a dog growing up. Now we have two.

Favorite Food? My Mum’s roast leg of lamb.

Favorite Song? Impossible to say.

Favorite Movie? Lawrence of Arabia, Camelot (the musical), Braveheart, The African Queen … and many, many more.

Favorite Car? Jaguar

Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Both make a magical combination, especially if both a very warm verging on hot.

And now for the essay part of the interview 😉

LH: If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?

GS:Boy, is that ever a loaded question. Well, a week isn’t very long at all, but I think I’d spend it on the dazzling white sands of one of the Fijian islands. Everything runs on “island time”, no hurry for anything. The woman of my dreams and I would laze around, soaking up the tropical sun and cooling off in the crystal clear warm ocean. We’d stroll hand-in-hand along the beach at night bathed in the soft pearl glow of the full moon and listen to the tropical birds settling down for the night. And we’d enjoy discovering each other.

Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Greg Smith’s

The Pits: A Crime Novel (Volume 1)

at

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pits-Crime-Novel-Volume/dp/1492847275/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384920261&sr=8-1&keywords=the+pits+by+greg+smith

THE PITS cover Trisha & Samantha Greg 9-27-13

LIESE The Drover at 500k

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Today’s Tease… Graham Dixon

Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease… Graham Dixon

Your Name or Pen Name you use:  Graham Dixon

Title of the book you are promoting:  The Eyes of the Chameleon

 Link to purchase your Book:  http://www.cassiustoledo.us

Genre:  Crime/Thriller/Mystery

Welcome GD…I, LH have some questions for you!

LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?

GD: Somewhere lurking at the back of my mind I have always wanted to be a writer. Also an actor, journalist, psychologist and rugby player. Strangely, I have worked in all the occupations other than the last.

LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?

GD: Many influences. One of the first writers to catch my attention was the poet Thom Gunn. As a teenager I read his poems and found his life – poet, biker, professor – irresistible. In my twenties I graded papers for one of his seminars at Berkeley and was struck by the generosity of his spirit and the power of his intellect.  He was a charming, modest and yet dazzling man, and lived the life of a writer to the extreme. “On the Move” and “Tamer and Hawk” are among the best poems of the last hundred years.

PG Wodehouse – for his effortless ability to write about the most difficult-to-capture subject – happiness. Jeeves and Wooster are a delight. Pinter, for his pauses and understanding that we reveal so much in silence. Conan Doyle for creating Sherlock Holmes – a man more real than most people I actually know.

Proust – I have read him every ten years since the age of eighteen. I am due to start again in April. His descriptions of the joys and agonies of love are unmatched. Probably unmatchable.

Oscar Wilde – the unflinching honesty of “De Profundis”, the elegant loveliness of his children’s stories, the artful perfection of his plays, the unforgettable anguish of “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”.

Martin Amis – “Time’s Arrow” is one of the greatest books ever written.

Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood”

Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song”

Vladamir Nabokov’s “Lolita”

William Golding’s “Free Fall” – one of the best analyses of the terrible choices creativity presents us.

Virginia Woolf – intellect and emotion so ideally matched

And then … Shakespeare … the beacon that has shown how beautiful English can be for four hundred years.

LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?

GD: I have been published as an academic writer and work as the Entertainment Critic for the Midland Reporter-Telegram.

My novel is an Indie effort though.

LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?

GD: A traditional publisher so my work would reach as wide an audience as possible. But there is a frontier excitement to Indie publishing that is hard to resist.

LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies!  Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?

GD: Oscar Wilde, and I would not discuss his court cases. I would sit and listen.

LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors.  Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?

GD: The very pairing of “sex and violence” is telling to me. Sex is one of the most wonderful aspects of life and violence is the most negative – yet for some reason they are paired. It says a lot about our culture that such opposites are regarded as synonymous.  We are scared of sex, and drawn to violence. The world would be happier if that was reversed.

To be concise – it is impossible to be exposed to too much sex if it is presented in a beautiful and sensitive manner.

Violence? Unfortunately it is part of our nature and the proper study of Man is Man. The tendency for movies to have torture as their main subject is disturbing. It is not gratuitous because – in pictures like the “Saw” franchise – it is the central subject.  Individuals – or a society – that are fascinated by torture, or who glorify it, have severe problems.

For a superb examination of both sex and violence read Thom Gunn’s poetry collection “Boss Cupid”. He explores the psyche of Jeffrey Dahmer. In the hands of a great writer no subject is too extreme or degrading.

LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?

GD: Our tendency to enjoy the suffering of others.

LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?

GD: The cover may catch the interest, but a few words from the actual book will capture the mind and imagination.

LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?

GD: I wrote my first “book” at the age of eight.  It was called “The Tree” – very derivative from some of John Wyndham’s science-fiction.

LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?

GD: What happens next … the glorious complexity and unpredictability of human behavior.

LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?

GD: They settle on me like the memory of an apparently random detail from a dream. Then they slowly grow.

LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?

GD: The second book in my Cassius Toledo series.

LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?

GD: First novel.

LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?

GD: Fun is the substance, money would be the icing.

LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?

GD: If I reveal something about family or friends that they wanted to remain hidden. I am not talking about Big Secrets – but rather a little detail, nuance or foible that the person recognizes as their own.

I also work as a psychotherapist so I am doubly damned – people think I am analyzing them and also gathering raw material for writing.

LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

GD: Yes. When a particular narrative twist has yet to fully develop. Books – like babies – come when they are ready.

LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?

GD: Write. Write. Write. And then – write again.

LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

GD: I am blind in one eye. The accident that caused it.

LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?

GD: Mozart. Write down every composition you have stored in your mind. Don’t wait.

LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?

GD: My wife. My sons. My parents. My sister.

Thank you for that fun and informative interview GD….Now, for the fun stuff!

Favorite Beverage? Cold milk.

Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble Bath

Favorite Color? ?

Take out or Dine in? Dine in

Camping or Hotel? Hotel

Sports or Chocolate? Chocolate
Dogs or Cats? Dogs

Favorite Food? Sushi

Favorite Song? Tupelo Honey

Favorite Movie? The Graduate

Favorite Car? Jaguar XJS from the 1980s.

Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Both
LH: If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?

GD:  That would be telling…

But I would arrive back with slightly swollen lips, a moderate tan and an odd mixture of the Mona Lisa and Cheshire Cat smiles.

Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Graham Dixon’s

The Eyes of the Chameleon

at

Buddy Holly Museum New Mexico South Padre the Venetian with my wife

http://www.cassiustoledo.us

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Today’s Tease…Rebekah L. Pierce

Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Rebekah L. Pierce

Your Name or Pen Name you use:  Rebekah L. Pierce

Title of the book you are promoting:  Murder on Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders

 Link to purchase your Book:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E3XWN82 (ebook); CreateSpace – https://www.createspace.com/4419407 (hard copy)

 Genre:  Historical Fiction, Suspense, Mystery, Romance

Welcome  RLP:..I, LH have some questions for you ;

LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?

RLP: A writer. I have always wanted to be a writer. I used to get into so much trouble as a kid for always having my nose in a book. I’d get lost in the world of the stories I read. I loved to read, and I so wanted to put to paper the stories that came to mind when I’d read those lovely books. It has also saved my life literally and metaphorically. When I was 12, my father left the family and I went through a very dark period. I couldn’t express how I was feeling except on paper. So, journaling kept me going. And now, I am a writer. I am also an English teacher, teaching others how to write. It’s my purpose.

LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?     

RLP: Okay, this is a loaded question for an English! I’ll try to be brief. I am a huge fan of and grew up reading Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys, Harlequin Romances and Louie Lamar westerns. I am deeply influenced in terms of narration and POV by Alexander McCall Smith’s “No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. With regards to humor and gum shoe detective stories, I absolutely love the style of Janet Evanovich. And for classic mystery/detective, it has to be Walter Mosley’s “Easy Rawlins” series. Of course, for the classics, the period I most identify with and generally love to teach/read, it’s the modernist period in America. Some of those authors are Ernest Hemingway, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, John Steinbeck, etc. The use of imagery and language is powerful as well as the themes of their words: social justice, the loss of faith, redemption, and more. The mother-daughter duo of Mary Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft have had a huge impact on my work and my advocacy for women and children and for the portrayal of the frailty of humanity. For theatre, William Shakespeare, of course, Lorraine Hansberry (A Raisin in the Sun), Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman and The Crucible) and Aristophanes (Lysistrata).

LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?

RLP: I am an indie published author with aspirations of becoming a “traditional” published author. But if that does not happen, life is still good. There’s always a way to make your dreams come true.

LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies!      Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?

RLP: Langston Hughes and I would discuss EVERYTHING with him except food. I want to hear from him personally his philosophy on culture, jazz, the responsibility of literature and art to the community and what it was like to travel the world on a boat. I want to know what and who truly inspired him to pick up the pen. I think that would be an awesome conversation.

LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?

RLP: Yes, I do, and yes, I am. As a teacher and parent, I am very concerned about what is being marketed as “family TV” when it is darn near close to pornography. I know our children need to learn about sex, but at the age of 5? I don’t think so. But because sex is viewed and portrayed as easy and no big deal, we now find ourselves having children having children. So, we must teach sex education early. My son’s school sent the letter of agreement home in the 4th grade. I dang near passed out! But it’s necessary, and as long as my husband and I can confirm what he has learned and answer additional questions within reason and age appropriate, I am fine with it. But, lord!

LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?

RLP: I’d make racism disappear in a flash. Racism is a learned behavior, not an innate behavior. It’s a socially constructed ideology designed to keep people in a box and confined. It is so crippling to love. And that is all that matters, truly, in this world: love. There would be no hate and ignorance if racism were eradicated because then there’d be no fear. Racism was created out of fear and greed. I’d love to see it go away; then, imagine what a world we’d have!!

LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online? 

RLP: I have to disagree with you here. Visual rhetoric is everything. People purchase based on what their eyes are attracted to. I think a good, clear, specific book cover that relates to the storyline is IMPERATIVE to book sales even online. For me, if the book cover looks generic or poorly presented, I won’t take a second glance at it or read the synopsis. It shows a lack of respect and appreciation for the reader. So, yes, you still must have a beautifully, cleanly designed book cover, and preferably designed by a professional – even if that is the writer themselves. Editing and book covers are two keys to success for a writer in my humble opinion. If you want to be taken seriously,

LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?

RLP:  Yes, I have always wanted to write. As I said before, my ferocious love of reading moved me to put pen to paper. I started writing stories at a very young age – 5, I believe. But it wasn’t until the 8th grade when I wrote and submitted my story to a book fair for middle schoolers that I knew for sure writing was my purpose.

LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?

RLP:  What interests me the most about story is the portrayal of humanity at its darkest, most loving or funny. I look for authenticity and an obvious pleasure in storytelling on the part of the writer. I love imagery and colorful, full language that paints a picture in my mind and moves me to action.

LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?            

RLP: I firmly believe in the power of the muse. My stories are given to me by my muse. There are stories that must be told and artists/writers must be open to telling them. I have to tell the story, no matter how ugly or painful it may be. For example, in both of my novel series, Murder on Second Street and Sex, Lies & Shoeboxes, the protagonists are troubled individuals. Both suffer from PTSD as a result of horrific things done to them or experienced in their past such as abuse, murder, etc. So, writing about the frailties of humanity and demonstrating strength of dignity even in the moment of despair – that hope is always there – motivates me. I do the same for my plays. I don’t do happy endings because life is not over for these characters or for us. We do not know the ending yet. But I also do that because it’s probably who I am as a teacher. I am always s teaching, and so I want to readers to walk away affected by what they have read/seen to the point where they begin to evaluate their own lives in relation to what has been witnessed, and hopefully, come out the wiser and more connected for it.

LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?                                                                             

RLP: Yes, I am working on the following: 1) a second book in the Sy Sanford series (Murder on Second Street) and the re-release of Sex, Lies & Shoeboxes, which was originally a novella, but I have since added book 1 & 2 together to create a novel in two parts. Super excited about that release coming in the winter of 2013. I have also released a collection of 6 of my short plays called, On the Cusp of Humanity, so if you love plays, then this book is also a great purchase. Several of the plays have been performed on Off Broadway and are award-winning pieces. So, I hope to produce more of those plays for the stage as well as my full length plays.

LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?

RLP: I write because that is what I was created to do. I love what I do, and when you love what you do and understand your divine purpose, then money will come from that love. That’s how the universe works. It gives in response to love. I know, I’m on a whole other level. J

LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?

RLP: Well, not everyone is going to understand your vision in a work. I learned that a long time ago. What’s important is that you stay true to the story you were given to tell. My mother gave me the greatest gift when she said to me after I left her read one of my erotica stories and a play about transgendered males, “I never told you what you couldn’t write.” This is HUGE for me because we grew up strict Pentecostal. My mother was the First Lady of the church. What I write is not what many church folk want to hear, let alone read because it ain’t “Christian-like.” But I write what is given to me by the universe – I call him God. We aren’t supposed to preach only inside of the church walls and only church stuff. We are to go out into the world and minister. That is what I do in my work: I tell the stories of people on the outside…without judgment.

LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

RLP: No, not really. And I say this because I teach my students to practice free-writing. That is, just write on the page what comes to mind, even if it’s, “I have no idea what to write.” That opens up creative energy. Writing, or rather storytelling, is an exercise – a voluntary act. Whether we want to believe it or not, we are participating in the act of writing every day. But when it comes to creative writing, you just need to understand that it is voluntary; you do not have to open up to the creative energies of the universe. But if you want to be used by this energy to share tell your story, then you will relax, breathe and let the energy – the muse – deliver to you what it wants for you to have. You are voluntarily opening up to it. So, there is no “writer’s block” if you are open to what the energy wants, not necessarily what you want.

LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?

RLP: My advice to aspiring authors is to: 1) Learn your craft. Writing is a skill that needs honing and protecting. 2) Hire an editor for your team. Yes, you need a team to help you produce credible, quality work. That team could include: beta readers, editor/copywriter, PR/Marketing, book cover designer, etc. 3) Create a solid, clearly defined platform. Who are you? What do you stand for? 4) Have a strong support network. I call them the Crying Angel Network. These are the folks who keep it real with you and keep you uplifted in prayer not because they’ll get anything out of it, but because they believe in a higher power which guides our lives and purposes us for greatness. Finally, never give up, and be realistic. When that rejection letter comes in, and it will, don’t let it knock you down. Read it, take from it that which is true and go back to the work and make it better. Keep trying, keep writing, keep revising! Remember why you write: because it’s like breathing for you.

LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

RLP:  Nothing! Everything is as it should be. I am where I am supposed to be at this moment in time. The past helped to shape this moment. To wish to change something about my life is to regret, and I have learned to let that kind of thinking go because it holds one hostage to what was, what could have been, etc. I live in the present moment – the NOW. It’s a gift, and I want that gift.

LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?

RLP: If I could have a conversation with someone from the past, it would be my ancestors. I would tell them “thank you” for holding on to what could be, what was promised to them. It is through their faith and self-sacrifice that I am here – that we are here. And I think it’s imperative to our present and our future that we honor our past: that we give thanks.

LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?

RLP: Well, I already have two screenplays sitting on the desk of a buyer in Los Angeles. When I first got the call, I nearly passed out. It is what an artist longs to hear, but it can’t stop me from creating more work. It’s nice that they want to make my stories into film or made for TV, but I ain’t gonna hold my breath and not move on. Things take time, and we must not live only for that moment. So, yeah, I am super excited, but I’ve got to keep working. As for who I told first, my momma, of course! I know, I am a total momma’s girl! J

Thank you for that fun and informative interview RLP…Now… for the fun stuff! 

Favorite Beverage? Sweet tea & Diet Coke

Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble Bath

Favorite Color? Blue

Take out or Dine in? Dine in

Camping or Hotel? Hotel

Sports or Chocolate? CHOCOLATE!!!!

Dogs or Cats? Neither

Favorite Food? French Fries and Cheeseburger

Favorite Song? “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” by Whitney Houston
Favorite Movie? Last Holiday – Queen Latifah & The Mummy – Brandon Fraiser

Favorite Car?

Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Um, let me think about this…BOTH!!!

And now for the essay part of the interview 😉

LH: If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?

RLP: If I could go anywhere for one week, it would the island of Oahu with Hugh Jackman – lord have mercy, Jesus! We walk on the beach holding hands, consume fruity drinks, watch the sun set and rise, eat tons of food and laugh our behinds off. And it wouldn’t hurt for him to have his shirt off the entire week. Yes!!!

Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of  Rebekah L. Pierce’s 

Murder on Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders

at

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E3XWN82 (ebook); CreateSpace – https://www.createspace.com/4419407

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Today’s Tease…Lorelei Bell

Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Lorelei Bell

Your Name or Pen Name you use:  Lorelei Bell

Title of the book you are promoting:  Spell of the Black Unicorn

 Link to purchase your Book:   http://www.amazon.com/Unicorn-Chronicles-Trickenbod-sorceress-ebook/dp/B00CXOX4UY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369623391&sr=1-1&keywords=Spell+of+the+Black+Unicorn

Genre:  fantasy/mystery/romance (adult)

Welcome  ….I, LH have some questions for you 😉

LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?

LB: An actress, at first. Then I wanted to be an artist—and was for the first 21 years of life. After that I wanted to be an author.

LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?

LB: I didn’t get any encouragement from anyone. I too began writing. It was terrible writing, but I kept on going at it. Later on, merely other authors I read were encouragement enough.

LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?

LB: Both. Actually this book, Spell of the Black Unicorn was my self-published work—in paperback. That was back in 2008. It is now an eBook, just released in May of 2013. But also my vampire series (Sabrina Strong Series), the first three books have been published by a micro-publisher.

LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?             

LB: Since I’m both, let me say that I know the downfalls for both. I would have loved to have been discovered by a large-house publisher, but that didn’t happen. Thus, when I look at self-publishing at this point, I like to have say in the cover, more control as to when it gets put out there and my royalties should be much better.

LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies!  Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?

LB: I don’t know. That’s a tough one. Okay, maybe I’d like to have dinner with Dean Koontz. I think he would have me roaring with laughter. Not discussing publishers and movies.

LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?

LB: Hahaha. I drive a transit bus for NIU, and see women parade themselves like hookers and some men like to advertise their underwear—don’t ask me why—and I’m sooo sick of having my eyes burned 5 days a week for 6 hours each.

Hollywood, yes they do contribute to the problem, but people pay money to see it. TV: HBO and other networks are bad too. I think its society as a whole. You can’t stop a train wreck.

I’m not conflicted with putting sex into my books, but it’s the how much and when, what and between who. I don’t read, nor do I write erotica.

LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?

LB: This will sound crazy, but if the Internet did not exist neither would I be published, but also, a lot of bad things wouldn’t be easy to do/attain, like how to build a bomb, buying child porno and so forth. 

LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?

LB: I’m not buying that bookstores won’t be around. I run into many people out there who want to hold a physical book. But I think the cover is important to catch the eye and make a person stop and look. The title, next and after that a riveting story line. So, yeah I’m in the cover is what grabs people’s attention. It does me.

LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?

LB: I began writing in my senior year in high school. I was born with a crayon in my hand. I was an artist before I wrote. I’ve been writing for 42 years, now.

LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?

LB: I enjoy character-driven stories. If I can identify with a main character, then I’m hooked.

LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?

LB: They wake me up. They are in my head 24/7. My husband has gotten used to me being in another world, I guess, after 28 years together. But it’s like I’m the invisible person in the corner watching things going on, and I have to keep up with it. So glad when they made computers, it’s so much easier to write it all down.

LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?

LB: OMG! Seventh novel in the Sabrina Strong series is my WIP. The fourth one is being beta read by two people. I’ve already got the cover for that one.

LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?

LB: I don’t remember. Maybe I’ve written and finished 20 or more—one was 800 pages long. I had to rewrite it. I may take a look at that one someday.

LB: Four have been published to date.

LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?

LB: Money? What’s that? Obviously, if I’ve stuck with writing when I couldn’t get published for the first 30 years, then it must be for the fun of it. 🙂

LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?

LB: Believing in me/my writing. My husband, however, is 100% behind me. After that first one (Spell of the Black Unicorn) was printed and I had a book signing, they all must have come around. They buy the books as they become available, and tell me how good they are.

LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

LB: No. Such. Thing. But when I’m stuck with what-comes-next, I rest. I take a break. I do something else. I take a walk. I watch TV. If ideas don’t come today, I know that they will tomorrow or the next day, and I just allow them to come. No sense in straining on the toilet, right?

LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?

LB: Interesting. A young lady got on my bus one day and said she wanted to write a book, she wanted it to be a movie. I’m like “whoa honey. You’ve gotta write something first.” It was all I could do to not discourage her. I told her to seek advice in the English department of the college. You have to be devoted to writing. It isn’t like a whim, it isn’t something to do when you’re bored. It’s a job and you have to treat it like one and sit in the chair and put something down, even if you don’t make money right away.

I guess what I’m saying is if it’s in you, if you are a writer, you’ll know soon enough once you begin writing. If you finish a novel or even a short story, rewrite it a number of times, then go have it critiqued or a beta reader point out things to you, and you go back and work on editing the crap out of it and not quit/give up—then, yeah, you get to wear the badge “Author in Progress”.

LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

LB: I’m dyslexic. I would love to go back and change that. I might have gotten on with a large publishing house in my 20’s.

LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?

LB: Do you have an hour? Two?

LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?

LB: My husband would be first to know. He’d hear me screaming at the top of my lungs. I’d cry, jump up and down, I’d call everyone! (after signing contract, of course)

Thank you for that funny and entertaining interview…Now… for the fun stuff!

Favorite Beverage? Coffee in the morning; iced tea or coffee midday; wine before dinner

Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble bath.

Favorite Color? lilac

Take out or Dine in? Depends on the restaurant.

Camping or Hotel? Hotel camping.

Sports or Chocolate? Hell, chocolate

Dogs or Cats? Apparently cats, have 3 adults and 4 just-born kittens

Favorite Food? Anything (especially when my husband makes it)

Favorite Song? “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles

Favorite Movie? “Love at First Bite”

Today’s Tease Lorelei Bell Cobra Mustang hissssss!

Today’s Tease Lorelei Bell (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Both (Oh, God that got an interesting picture in my head!)

And now for the essay part of the interview 😉

If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?

LB: A week? Are you kidding? Only one person??? Only a week????

I’d take my husband. We’d go back up to Glacier Montana, stay in a lodge and do some hiking, drive around… do we get some spending cash too???? I know, you’re disappointed. But my husband is everything to me, he’s my soul mate, and no one else can read my mind like he can.

LH: Is not disappointed…LH is envious 😉

Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Lorelei Bell’s

 Spell of the Black Unicorn at it’s discounted price of $1.99 through June, 16, 2013!

at

http://www.amazon.com/Unicorn-Chronicles-Trickenbod-sorceress-ebook/dp/B00CXOX4UY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369623391&sr=1-1&keywords=Spell+of+the+Black+Unicorn

Spell of the Black Unicorn IV - web small picture of Nocturne Lorelei at my book signing 2013 April

 

 

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Today’s Tease…Jackson Paul Baer

Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease Jackson Paul Baer

Your Name or Pen Name you use:  Jackson Paul Baer

Title of the book you are promoting:  The Earth Bleeds Red

Link to purchase your Book: http://jacksonpaulbaer.com/the-earth-bleeds-red/

Genre:  Literary Suspense

Welcome  JPB..I, LH have some questions for you 😉

LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?

JPB: I always wanted to be a teacher. I actually spent seven years as a youth pastor and am close to finishing my degree to become a high school English teacher now.

LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?

JPB: Many of my professors inspired me and encouraged me to keep writing. Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Diaz, and Sherman Alexie are my biggest influences.

LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?

JPB: I signed with Pandamoon Publishing for the release of my debut novel. I’m excited to be working with them and have a lot of respect for all authors, whether they self-publish or go the traditional route.

LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies!      Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?

JPB: I’d invite Tim Tebow and not discuss Christianity.

LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?

JPB: I definitely believe there is too much sex in our society but if it didn’t sell, they wouldn’t use it.

LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?

JPB: While you could make an argument for world peace, I’d say that solving the world’s hunger problem would be my first change.

LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?

JPB: I actually think you can judge a book by its cover. I’m guilty of passing over books when the cover doesn’t grab my attention. Just as important, however, is the title. A book has to have an eye-catching cover and an intriguing title for me to read it.

LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?

JPB: I have always wanted to write. I used to write songs all the time and even a little poetry growing up. I started more novels than I can remember as a kid and as a young adult. It wasn’t until this past year, I’m 29 now, that I committed to writing and wouldn’t give it up for anything.

LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?                                                         JPB: The flaws. I love imperfection.

LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?

JPB: Pretty much the same way though I do write out major points here and there so I don’t forget the thoughts when I have them. Usually, those points change when I actually write the story but they are still helpful for me.

LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?

JPB: Yes, my first novel, The Earth Bleeds Red, is due out at the end of August (2013). I’m about halfway through my second novel, The Lights Will Never Fade. It’s a literary psychological thriller.

LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?

JPB: I write for sanity. I absolutely have to tell these stories and I hope that readers will enjoy them and relate to the complex stories inside.

LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?

JPB: Honestly, very rarely. When I do get writer’s block, I usually go back and edit and then new ideas pop into my head.

LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?

JPB: Yes, write. Write everyday no matter how much or how little. Don’t get discouraged by negative people or criticism. Instead, use it to make your writing better and know that the only person that can stop you is you.

LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?

JPB: I would spend more time with my kids. The only thing I can’t get back is time and I’m determined not to waste it.

LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?

JPB: I would tell my parents to start something called Google, 25 years ago J

LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?

JPB: First, I would tell my wife. I would be incredibly excited but also nervous that the movie wouldn’t truly reflect the novel. Still, I’d love the chance to have my book turned into a movie.

Thank you for the awesome interview JPB…Now…for the fun stuff!

Favorite Beverage? Sugar-free orange Rockstar

Exercise or Bubble Bath? Exercise

Favorite Color? Blue

Take out or Dine in? Take out

Camping or Hotel? Hotel

Sports or Chocolate? Sports

Dogs or Cats? Dogs

Favorite Food? Fried Chicken

Favorite Song? Adam’s Song by Blink 182

Favorite Movie? Dumb and Dumber… and With Honors

Favorite Car? 57’ Chevy

Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 Sex, then chocolate

And now for the essay part of the interview 😉

If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?

JPB: My wife and I just celebrated our 10-year anniversary last year and we went to Ireland to celebrate. I want to go back to Ireland with her and stay as long as we possibly could. We married young, I was 19 and she was 22, but 10 years and 4 kids later, we’re still hanging on.

Thank you for spending this time with us. Make sure to pick up your copy of Jackson Paul Baer’s

 

The Earth Bleeds Red

at

http://jacksonpaulbaer.com/the-earth-bleeds-red/

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