Monday, May 30, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book radio show, I will interview Adra Young and Tracie Christian, "The Live Ladies of Literature". Adra's book series,The Everyday Living of Children & Teen Monologues are based upon the real life situations of what take place in the life of kids today.Tracie's  books are based on the lives of four young ladies attending a Historical Black College.

Visit them on teh web at
Listen to the show on Wednesday, June 1st at 3:30 Pacific Time at The episode will be archived for later listening.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mella Reese interview rescheduled

We had some technical difficulties on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book yesterday (different ones than last week...this time my fault instead of BTR's!), so we had to reschedule Mella Reese's interview to Friday, May 27th at 3:30PT. Tune in at to hear about her fantasy novel, Nia, and her battle with Cushing's Disease.

Monday, May 23, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book radio show, I'll interview Mella Reese, author of the fantasy novel Nia , a heart-warming story of a princess who doesn’t want to be queen, and the man who will give up his own life to protect her. 

From the Back Cover
Suddenly this kneeling, filthy man caused all of my attention to pivot upon him when he grabbed my hand. I was just opening my mouth to warn him that he would surely be one was allowed to touch me, Princess Nia, without permission. My protesting words were replaced with a swift intake of breath as the soldier produced a strange-looking dagger and drug it lightly over my finger. I stared in wonderment as he gently squeezed my fingertip to produce just one red ball of blood, my blood. Then the man kneeling before me swiped the blood from my finger with his own and plunged it into his mouth. "Your blood is now my blood. Your world is now my world. Your life is now my life," were the words he chanted...

Tune in at! As always, the show will be archived for later listening.

Book Review: Anasazi Intrigue and Mayan Intrigue, by Linda Weaver Clarke

Anasazi Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans and Mayan Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans, by Linda Weaver Clarke

Anasazi Intrigue:

Paperback: 280 pages

Publisher: American Book Publishing (March 5, 2010)
ISBN-10: 158982587X
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****
Mayan Intrigue:
Paperback: 252 pages

Publisher: American Book Publishing (August 30, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1589826167
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****

Book Reviews:

Anasazi Intrigue

A devastating flood wipes out homes in a small town, but that is only the beginning of Julia Evans's problems. A newspaper reporter intent on finally getting a "real" story to her credit despite the disparaging remarks of her co-worker, Julia soon discovers a possible poison spill that kills many of the fish and her neighbors' pets. Julie springs into action to investigate the matter and soon finds there is much more involved than she originally thought, including illegal theft of artifacts from a nearby Anasazi Indian historical site. Soon, she is stalked and receives threatening notes. She refuses to let her fear stop her from getting her story, hoping it won't come at too great a cost.

Mayan Intrigue

John and Julia Evans are in the Yucatan Peninsula on a combination of vacation and business. They need to rekindle their romantic relationship, and Julia needs to get a great story about stolen Mayan artifacts. As seems to be a pattern in her life, Julia is once again plunged into danger when she stumbles upon some shady business men conducting business in the park. As she and John explore the various Mayan ruins in the area, she discovers she is being followed. Of course, she does not easily give up, and the Evanses soon find themselves in a world of trouble.

Linda Weaver Clarke has been writing historical fiction for years, and she also travels the country giving workshops on preserving family history through telling stories. Her new Intrigue mystery series departs slightly from her traditional historic fiction, blending her knowledge of ages past with her ability to spin a fun adventure with interesting characters. The depiction of the ancient cities is very interesting--especially since I've been to Tulum, which appears in Mayan Intrigue.

I must say the writing could have been stronger--there is a lot of passive wording and descriptions that could be entwined a little more smoothly into the story. However, the sweet interactions of the main characters, the highly interesting info on ancient history and the plundering of artifacts, and the intriguing mystery will keep you reading right up until the last page.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Author Interview: Bill See

I recently posted my review of 33 Days, by Bill See. I asked Bill a few questions about the writing of the book, and his answers are below. I will also have the opportunity to interview him live about him, his writing, and his views on promotion on my BlogTalkRadio show, A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book, on July 27th at 3:30PT. Be sure to tune in!

Jennifer Walker: Was it painful reliving the days of your youth as you wrote?

Bill See: Basically it was a case of it starting to hurt too much not writing the book. I think as writers we go through stages. The first is a purging, an exorcism of sorts. It's like journaling to and for yourself. Just try and be as unselfconscious as possible. Slowly you strip away the melodrama and focus in on the universal themes that make it relateable to a wider audience. In sharing some of the more painful aspects of my upbringing, what I tried to do was write without judgment or editorializing. No martyrdom. Trust the readers and let them conclude the significance as the story unfolds. And I think I made the right decision in that respect.

Jennifer Walker: Do you have any regrets about Divine Weeks, how you did things, or how things turned out?

Bill See: Generally, I believe that regrets are vain. Standing here many years later and using acquired wisdom, sure, I wish we understood how infinitesimal that window of opportunity truly is. You just assume you keep ascending and never give ground, but you have to literally commit every single ounce of energy and leave everything else behind and even then you need a lot of luck and some muscle behind you. When we returned from our first tour, we were a big deal in L.A., and it probably would have made a big difference to have high powered management right then and get in the studio right away, get another record out and back on the road immediately. We were never a cool or hip band with friends in high places. We operated on a different grid and where a lot of our peers were more guarded and took great care of their image, we were openly passionate and vulnerable. That built trust with our audience, but in a town like L.A. it made things a little harder.

Jennifer Walker: Were there any stories from that first tour that didn't make it into the book?

Bill See: The book is culled from my tour journals so it was largely just what I observed or heard. I'm sure I missed a lot that was out of my eye or ear shot.

Jennifer Walker: Have any of your old band mates read the book? What was their reaction?

Bill See: Our drummer Dave read the book and gave his blessing. Our road manager Ian gave his blessing. I turned to our guitarist Raj quite a bit putting the book together. His story is a huge part of the book. His struggle to break free from home was as profound as my own, and I wanted juxtapose his struggle with my own and share how big a part our liberation played in the music of Divine Weeks and what we overcame just to get in that van. In the end, the book is really about friendship – about sharing dreams and finding through that friendship the courage to summon the courage to go chase those dreams.

Jennifer Walker: What do you feel was Divine Weeks's greatest accomplishment?

Bill See: It's hard to quantify, but I think if you ever saw us live it would be hard to deny that we laid it on the line and played like our lives depended on it. Not everyone loved us, but we were hard to forget.

Jennifer Walker: It seems that in your band mate George's eyes, the band failed to succeed because it didn't reach the status of The Who and other legendary greats. What is your answer to that?

Bill See: Reconciling something as huge as chasing your first real passion is a very personal and fragile thing. The end of the book kind of examines that whole idea of closure and making sense of the past. We all have to find our own answers. For George, he had to stab rock and roll in the heart in order to move forward. That was the right decision for him and no one could be more proud and happy for him than myself. He's a professor at Dartmouth now and a real rock star of the classroom. For me, I couldn't stab rock and roll in the heart because that would kill me. I live to make music. Even if it only ends up in a shoe box in the back of my closet, I'll be making music until my last breath. Success is something you have to define for yourself. You can't buy into anyone else's idea of it. Only your own.

Jennifer Walker: What do you hope readers will take away from 33 Days?

Bill See: I wanted to capture a now or never moment in our lives. Take a shot at making the band work or leave it all behind and go your separate ways. And I think every one of us has that moment at our own personal crossroads where we have to decide to either live our dreams or give up and regret it for the rest of our lives. I wanted to write a book that made you sit up in the middle of your life and ask yourself, you know, 'did I fire my shot?' Hopefully the answer is yes. And if it is, be gentle on yourself and don't get hung up on whether you 'made it' but how much taking the shot is worth because so many of us have to reconcile we played it safe. Instead of reaching for the sweetest fruit that's at the top of the tallest tree, we clutched the trunk of the tree and never moved. It's like that moment when you just get out of college and you're trying to decide whether to take your buddy up on his offer to go backpacking in Europe or do you take that job at your uncle's insurance company. 33 Days, at its core, is a cautionary tale about the perils of sitting on your dreams. Now is the time, because if not now, then when -- ever?

Jennifer Walker: If you could relive one day in your life, which would it be, and why?

Bill See: I'm a pretty forward looking person notwithstanding the subject matter of the book. I guess I've always been inspired by the past to try and stay relevant and make the next thing I do the greatest thing I do. But to answer your question, I'd like a do over of the last time I saw my grandfather. I told him he'd lived his life and to let me live mine. Probably the stupidest thing I've ever said in my life.

Jennifer Walker: If you could pack up and go anywhere and do anything tomorrow, what would it be?

Bill See: I want to go to Spain with my girlfriend and let her show me the place she's tried to make me understand for so long.

33 Days website:

Amazon listing:

Monday, May 16, 2011

This week's book give-away!

From our friend, Linda Weaver Clarke:

Book Give-Away May 16 - 23: To win an e-book of Sabotage, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. International.

 “Anne Patrick’s heroines are usually strong willed, witty, and often very opinionated … combinations that usually land them in situations where death seems imminent.”

District Judge Katie McKinley takes her career very seriously. No one knows that better than her old childhood friend and first love, Graham Bishop. Her ruling cost him his family’s ranch. So it’s no surprise, when an attempt is made on her life, the sheriff turns his suspicions to Graham. Katie feels horrible knowing what her ruling cost her old friend, and knows his outburst in her courtroom gave the sheriff every right to suspect him. The Graham Bishop she grew up with would never harm her, though...or would he?

To win a book, leave a comment at

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, I will interview Jonathan Maxwell, a Georgia-based writer and public speaker. He is the author of Murderous Intellectuals: German Elites and the Nazi SS, which received the 2011 Allbooks Review Editor's Choice Award in the Category of Best Non/fiction Book. In addition,the online publication Author Exposure rated the work as being one of the "20 Most Memorable Debut Books of 2010." The book examines why so many well-educated professionals- such as doctors, lawyers, scientists, and the like- willingly joined the Nazi SS, the notorious group that spearheaded the Holocaust.

This should be an interesting discussion! To listen, tune in at This episode will be archived if you miss it.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Book Review: 33 Days, by Bill See

33 Days: Touring In A Van. Sleeping On Floors. Chasing A Dream., by Bill See

Format: Paperback and Kindle

Publisher: Bill See
Pages: 276
Rating (1 to 5 *): *****

Book Review: 33 Days, by Bill See

In July of 1987, five young men set out on an adventure: their first tour as the rock band Divine Weeks. A Los Angeles band that was starting to build momentum--a video scheduled to appear on MTV's 120 Minutes, their first record in stores, and a following of loyal fans--Bill, Dave, George, Raj, and their road manager Ian set out on an adventure. It was an adventure that would not only spread their music across much of the western part of the United States and parts of Canada, but would bring them together in ways they never expected. Once loaded down with baggage from their families and other influences, the boys learn to be truly on their own for the first time. They rely on each other for support and the kindness of strangers for a floor to sleep on and a meal.

33 Days is your classic coming of age story, but it is so much more than that. It's about putting your life on the line for a dream, making things happen for yourself, making sacrifices for your art, and about leaving behind all the reasons why you shouldn't do what you love and try to make it. It's also about friendship and the pure joy of being young, with the whole world in front of you.

In listening to Divine Weeks's music on the website, it's easy to see why Bill See is such a good author. His music is heartfelt and passionate, just like his writing. Perhaps the book struck a particular chord in me (pardon the pun) because I'm an independently published author and I have to do a lot of my own promotion, just like Divine Weeks did, but there was something about the poignancy of this book that really left an impression on me. I walked away from it feeling a little sad, not only because it was over, but for the days of youth that are long past...for the band as well as myself. It made me look at my own life and how I've chased my own dreams. It makes me proud that I've done what I have, but made me question whether I have done enough.

After reading 33 Days, I felt so connected to the author and the band that I wanted to read more. I reread the epilogues, the dedication, everything. I went to the website and listened to their songs, watched videos on youtube, and looked the book up on facebook. I sound like a silly groupie reading that, but it's rare that I take such an interest in a book that I thirst to know more, but author Bill See pulled me in and mercilessly held me captive until the very last word.

Watch this blog for an interview with Bill See, author of 33 Days, and tune in to the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show on July 27th at 3:30PT for a discussion of how Bill took what he learned promoting his band and applied it to marketing his book.

Disclosure: The author of this book sent the reviewer a free copy for the purposes of this review.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review: Husbands May Come and Go, but Friends are Forever, by Judith Marshall

Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever: A Novel

Paperback: 440 pages

Publisher: Kelso Books (August 27, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0982504608
Rating (1 to 5 *): *****

Book Review: Husbands May Come and Go, but Friends are Forever

Liz's life seems to be falling apart. She's been laid off (although, maybe she didn't really like that job anyway), her male companion of 20 years, Sam, is moving to New York and wants her to go despite the fact that her whole life is in California (she's too scared to marry him anyway), and then the kicker: her best friend Karen is killed on a lonely mountain road in a motorcycle accident.

Liz and her four remaining close friends--Arlene, Jo, Rosie, and Gidge--pack up in Sam's van and head to Karen's cabin in Lake Tahoe to make funeral arrangements and have a little together time while they make ready to say their final farewell to their friend. Throughout the heart-wrenching week, Liz goes back over and over to the times she has had with these women, scenes that date back over the span of 40 years. Through the experience, she learns a little more than she ever expected about not only her friends, but about herself...and about love.

I review a lot of books, and while I enjoy many of them, it's rare that I come across a book that touches me so deeply as Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever. Not only did I read this 429 page book in three days, something I rarely have the time or desire to do, but I felt myself so enraptured by Liz's world that I couldn't seem to draw myself out of it...and I didn't want to.

This book had me examining my own life, which is an effect few books have on me. Expertly written, perfectly paced, and painfully poignant, this book brought me to tears. It comes as no surprise that it has been optioned for the big screen, and I wish author Judith Marshall the best of luck in seeing that come to fruition, because I will be first in line to see the movie.

Disclosure of material connection: the author provided a free review copy for the purpose of this review.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Author Interview: Karen Schwind

Let's learn a little about Karen Schwind, author of Her Life As She Knew It, just $1.99 on Amazon!

On all eBook Readers for $1.99 or on Smashwords for only $1.00 with code

Links and code at end of interview

Jennifer Walker: Why write about the year 1919? What about that year would interest our readers?

Karen Schwind: The year 1919 introduced the most fascinating period in American history to me. The Great War, which we now call World War I, had just ended. WWI was the first war since the Civil War in which Americans had been drafted, so that and the technological advances of the war completely changed America from being a rural, community-oriented nation to the more urban, mobile society we now take for granted. Of course, all of the changes didn’t occur at once; nevertheless, the mind set that led to them began around this time. To give one example, in 1918 almost all women had long hair. By the end of the twenties, 90% of them had “bobbed” hair! That represents not only a change in hair style but in social mores as well. Ads showed women smoking for the first time, and many of the men who fought in the war went to the cities instead of home to the country, so you had a mass migration. All of this makes its way into Her Life as She Knew It.

Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your protagonist. What will readers like about her?

Karen Schwind: Well, I like her because she’s saucy and quick witted. At one point, she says, quite correctly I think, that most people would rather sit on the front porch gossiping about their neighbors than discussing the Apostle Paul any day. She launches herself into the world and goes after what she wants, which I think most people like—she’s not one to sit around and whine.

She also loves her family and takes good care of her younger siblings. In the end—and this is important—we find that she’s willing to do the right thing when she sees what the right thing to do is. She’s no sugar-coated, goody-two shoes. She’s too real for that. But she’s essentially right-hearted and right-headed and because of that learns from her adventures.

Jennifer Walker: You mention the father/daughter relationship. How important is that to the theme of Her Life as She Knew It?

Karen Schwind: More important than I realized when I wrote Her Life. I’ve had readers refer to Caroline’s father as the hero and even imply that he’s the center of the novel. I don’t agree with either of those—he makes mistakes like any father—but he does provide a living example of the principles that Caroline sees are the ones she should live by, mainly Christian principles like love and compassion.

Jennifer Walker: What is specifically Christian about this novel? How does that make it different from the same story told from a non-Christian point of view?

Karen Schwind: First, let me say that I wasn’t trying to write a “Christian” novel when I wrote this and it doesn’t adhere to any association’s standards. People smoke because the men who returned from the war had gotten cigarettes in their rations and smoked when they came home, and people dance because dancing was an important part of the culture when people didn’t have radios, let alone television sets. I would say it’s a Christian novel because it embodies the most important values of the Bible, namely forgiving and loving your enemies and those who have hurt you.

Jennifer Walker: Some people don't like your portrayal of Caroline's mother. How do you respond to those readers?

Karen Schwind: The father used to be seen as the primary parent because people perceived him as being the better disciplinarian at a time when teaching right from wrong was a parent’s most important responsibility. Part of the self-esteem/happiness movement that began in the 1950s has been that we look more to the mother to provide those things and so families have become more mother-centric. In addition, historically, when we became a commercial nation rather than agricultural, which happened in the 1920s, fathers left the home and for the first time didn’t either work with their older children or have easy access to all the children every day. This was not only a major shift for our economy but changed the family in ways that I don’t think we’ve given enough thought to.

Because of our view of mothers being the center and often the leader of the family, we’ve built this kind of myth around them: they can do all things for all people and still look great at dinner. That puts a lot of pressure on men and women, but it’s also a false image. I guess to go back to another question, I would say that my being a Christian puts to rest for me the idea that any one of us can be perfect. We’re all fallen and all make mistakes; hence the need for Grace and forgiveness, mothers included. Caroline’s mother hurt her. Caroline has to learn to forgive her mother and stop using what happened as an excuse for her own behavior—not that the novel states this explicitly.

Jennifer Walker: Why did Caroline let Jenny persuade her to treat other girls so badly—ostracizing one girl, bossing the children at school around, deciding who's in and who's out?

Karen Schwind: Peer pressure has always and will always exist. Most of us would rather be on the top than the bottom. Also, Caroline’s mother put a lot of pressure on Caroline to be friends with children from the “best” families because the mother had grown up in one of the best families in Charleston, SC, an old Southern city. So Caroline felt the natural pressure we all feel to fit it and be popular, and she wanted to make her mother happy.

Jennifer Walker: What is the main theme of this novel and how would our readers change if they focused their lives on that theme?

Karen Schwind: The novel has a couple of themes. One influence on my writing is Southern Agrarianism or Jeffersonian Agrarianism, if you prefer. It’s the idea that people who are close to the land or who live in communities where they know everyone are more likely to live virtuous lives and to care about their town and the people in it. Wendell Berry is a modern agrarian. Part of Caroline’s—and Billy’s for that matter—struggle is whether to stay in Greensboro or join the great trek to New York City. Caroline has to decide for herself, as all people eventually do, what she believes and how she wants to live her life.

The greater theme, though, is love. Not romantic love. In fact, this theme is tied directly to the first because love must encompass more than one person. People who think the idea that love conquers all is hokey have never experienced a kind of absolute love, which in Biblical terms is represented by the Christ. We can’t attain that. Yet the closer we come to being sacrificial towards our family and community and even our enemies, the better the world becomes because we create the world we live in every time we choose to love or not.

Jennifer Walker: Some people are surprised at how funny your novel is. What kind of humor is in it?

Karen Schwind: The humor tends to be broad—not subtle at all, not sarcastic. Caroline tells the story when she’s older—I’m not sure how old—but she’s only 19 when the story takes place. Like most of us at 19, she had some silly ideas and throws herself into things in a way that an older woman probably never would, like the trip to New York City to march for prohibition when all she really wants to do is shop at Macy’s. One thing I will say is that, though she can be silly, some of her arguments turn out to be valid in the long run, and she has real insights that Billy and others lack. Readers shouldn’t dismiss some of her comic moments.

Jennifer Walker: Where can readers buy this eBook?

Karen Schwind: Her Life as She Knew It is an eBook, so readers can download it onto their eReaders—any of them—or download it onto their computers. Best of all, if they go to Smashwords, they can get it for only $1.00 until the end of May—the link is below!

Available for Kindle on $1.99

Smashwords:, coupon code we52m until the end of May


Monday, May 9, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book radio show, I will interview Tim Marquitz, author of the young adult horror novel Skulls. Tune in at on Wednesday, May 11th, at 3:30PT for what should be a fun discussion.


Life held little interest for Jacob, until he found death.

Abused and neglected, Jacob’s only solace comes when he is alone in the woods or in the arms of his new girlfriend. But when he stumbles across a hidden bunker filled with human skulls, he learns what true suffering is.

Drawn to examine the skulls, he finds there is more than just empty blackness behind their lifeless stares. Through their eyes he watches them die.

With every glance, he witnesses another murder, the memories of the dead playing out inside his mind until reality becomes a blur. A primal cruelty awakening, Jacob returns to the morbid comfort of the skulls, over and over again. But when he happens upon a fresh skull, a victim tortured and slain for his amusement alone, he knows his time has come. Face to face with death, Jacob must choose whether to resist the darkness that dwells inside or condemn himself forever, murdering his innocence on the edge of an axe.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

This week's book give-away!

From our friend, Linda Weaver Clarke:

 Interview with Author Jill Ammon Vanderwood

Book Give-Away May 9 - 16: To win the childrens book, Through the Rug, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. U.S. and Canada.

This is a magical adventure series. When Grandma Emma signs up for cooking school, she doesnt realize she is learning magic. She tries a formula to clean her dog, and turns her black and white dog, Domino, to pink and green. Her dog attracts the attention of a dogcatcher. While her granddaughter, ten-year-old Alyssa, comes to visit, Grandma makes a formula for more days in the week, the formula spills onto the kitchen rug. Grandma slips into the spill and falls through the rug. Alyssa and Domino are followed through the rug by the dogcatcher. They find themselves in a magical place called Wishville, where all wishes are granted.

To win a book, leave a comment at

Monday, May 2, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

This week on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book radio show, I'll be interviewing Joan Meijer, author of 15 books. We will talk about her latest, the medical thriller TRANQUILITY INITIATIVE.Be sure to tune in for an interesting discussion! Meanwhile, learn more about Joan at

Remember, we don't take call-in questions, but you are welcome to join the chat room on and Ill field your questions on the air. As always, this show will be archived in case you miss it.