Monday, August 29, 2011

This week's book give-away!

From our friend, Linda Weaver Clarke:

Interview with YA Author Tracy Marchini


E-Book Give-Away August 29 - September 7: To win an ebook of Hot Ticket, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. International.

Hot Ticket is the story of Juliet Robinson, the only sixth grade in John Jay Jr. High who doesnt have a hot ticket. When one of the dorkiest kids in school, Crammit Gibson, gets a hot ticket before she does, she knows that the only way to salvage her middle school reputation is to stop the mysterious ticket dispenser once and for all. With the help of her best friend Lucy and her semi-crush Crammit, Juliet is determined to catch the ticket dispenser and climb a few rungs on the middle-school social ladder. Unfortunately for Juliet, things dont quite go as planned. To win a book, leave a comment at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 28, 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 Darren Frey, author of The Blood Reapers. Join in on Wednesday, August 31st at 3:30 Pacific Time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-walker/2011/08/31/a-cup-of-coffee-and-a-good-book! As always, the show will be archived if you miss it.

Find out more about Darren at http://darrenfrey.zxq.net/index.html.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

This week's book give-away!

From our friend, Linda Weaver Clarke:


Interview with Romance Author Celia Yeary

E-Book Give-Away August 22 - 29: To win an e-book of Wish for the Moon, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. International.

Wish for the Moon is a tale about a 16-yr-old in 1901, Annie McGinnis, who lives on a farm with her family in Northern Texas. Her life changes when a stranger, Max Landry, walks to their house and asks for work. During the 3-year span of the story, Annie becomes the caretaker for her big slow-witted brother, her mother until she dies, her widower father, and a local blind man who has no place to go. She even attemptsand succeedsat rescuing Max from the hangman's noose. Eventually, grown-up Annie gets her wish, the one she asks for every night of a full moon, the one her mother always told her: "Annie, girl, you might as well wish for the Moon." To win a book, leave a comment at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com



Monday, August 22, 2011

Author Interview: Gregg Luke

Today's interview is with Gregg Luke, author of Bloodborne. Visit him on the web at www.greggluke.com.


Gregg Luke biography

Gregg Luke, R.Ph. spent his childhood and young adult life in Santa Barbara, California. He began college studying art and cinematography before serving an LDS mission to Wisconsin. He then pursued his education in Natural Sciences at SBCC, UCSB, and BYU. He completed his schooling at the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy. His novels include The Survivors, Do No Harm, Altered State, and Blink of an Eye.


Jennifer: Tell us about your book.


Gregg: Bloodborne is about a sociopathic genius, Dr. Jacob Krantz, who has developed a way to spread his deadly designer virus using mosquitos. His former partner, Dr. Erin Cross, is the only one who could thwart his evil plans. But since they have not worked together for more than two years, she has no idea he is in league with a secret organization, or that they want her dead before she can blow the whistle. Barely escaping their first attempt on her life, Erin unravels the mysterious threats with the help of former Special Ops Marine, Sean Flannery. But the closer they get to finding answers, the more questionable Sean’s behavior becomes. His erratic moods and suspicious cell phone messages are more befitting an enemy than a friend. As the crisis comes to a head, she can’t be sure who harbors more secrets—the bioterrorists pursuing her or the one man who can protect her.


Jennifer: Where did you get the idea for the story?


Gregg: The idea for Bloodborne came from studying the H1N1 pandemic a few years back. I found some very interesting facts about viruses in general and which viruses and parasites can be transmitted by mosquitos. At the same time, there was lots of media coverage about bioterrorism and the potential for world-wide outbreaks of uncontrollable diseases. Everything seemed to line up for a story involving a sociopath bent on world domination via a bioweapon, and thus my novel was born.


Jennifer: What is your greatest writing challenge?


Gregg: Because I write for a religious-oriented publisher, I cannot cow to national standards of scenes which include graphic violence and sex, or vulgar or suggestive language. I honestly don’t feel those are necessary in most stories anyway. Anyone can drop an F-bomb; a good writer can deliver the same punch without being offensive. My challenge comes in creating a tale that is thrilling, suspenseful, and entertaining, as well as reasonably clean.


Jennifer: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?


Gregg: I love learning. I love reading a book and find myself thinking, “Wow, that’s fascinating!” Most people hate being lectured to, so if I can teach at the same time as I entertain, I have succeeded. I also love to elicit emotions with words—be it fright, happiness, anger, sadness, etc. I find those aspects of writing very rewarding.


Jennifer: Tell us about your previous work.


Gregg: My previous novel was Blink of an Eye. It is a though-provoking story of a young man with repressed memories which come to the surface after a near-fatal traffic accident. Not only does he relive many heartbreaking events from his brutal childhood, he also realizes for the first time that he may have killed his own father. It was a Whitney Award finalist for best fiction novel in 2010.


Jennifer: What other projects do you have coming up?


Gregg: I am currently working on a story that’s sort of an offshoot of Bloodborne. It’s not a sequel but it involves blood. Lots of blood. A would-be med student discovers that most centenarians (people 100 years old) have a similar blood type. He assumes blood has everything to do with their longevity. What he does with that assumption is truly creepy.


Jennifer: Do you write full time? If so, tell us how you manage it. If not, what is your day job?


Gregg: Writing is my second career. I work in a community health center as a Clinical Pharmacist. However, I am also a self-professed nerd; therefore, I don’t participate on sports, hunting, fishing, or waste time in front of the TV. That frees up a surprising amount of time to read and write, two of my favorite past times.


Jennifer: What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.?


Gregg: I begin each work with an idea spawned from a Continuing Ed course or an article in a medical magazine. I then formulate a beginning and an end, with a few crucial plot points along the way.

From there, I am mostly a “discovery writer.” I know I need to get from point A to point B, but I have no clue how until I sit down and start typing. It’s simply more fun that way.


Jennifer: What have you done to develop your writing craft?


Gregg: I do not believe I will ever attain the level of “perfect writer.” I don’t think anyone can. I learn something new about writing every time I pick up a book or magazine just by examining the prose of another author. If there’s something I like, I try to emulate it; if there’s something I hate, I try to avoid it. I also attend writer’s conferences as often as occasion permits. I hope I never feel like I know it all. Learning new technique is too much fun.


Jennifer: What was the hardest part: writing the book, getting it published, or marketing it? Why?


Gregg: Each novel presents its own challenges. I love the writing process but it can also be the most daunting. I am a stickler for accuracy. I realize every author will use a certain amount of literary license, but when someone writes about a certain drug causing a certain affect, and they get it totally wrong, that detracts from the story. Even if what you’re trying to create is impossible (according to current knowledge) it needs to at least be plausible. As far as publishing, I think the toughest part is getting your foot in the door. And I believe the only way to do that is to create something fresh, or a unique way of presenting something already told, or find a way to fill an empty niche. Marketing presents a challenge in that it is a time-killer. I am lucky to have a publisher that does most of the marketing for me, but I still try to do as many book signings, classes, and interviews as possible.



Jennifer: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?


Gregg: Please feel free to visit my website: http://www.greggluke.com/.

And here's the link to my book trailer on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BpIw5Q2-Ts

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

In the August 24th edition of the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer talks with Chris McLaughlin, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables, and next year's Hobby Farms: Rabbits: Small-Scale Rabbit Keeping.

Find out more about Chris and her books at http://www.asuburbanfarmer.com/

Friday, August 19, 2011

Author Interview: Heather Justesen

Today's interview is with Heather Justesen, author of Blank Slate. Find out more about her at http://www.heatherjustesen.com/.


Bio: Heather Justesen spent hours every day with her nose in a book long before she could read. She grew up in the heart of rural Utah where there was plenty of time and space for reading and daydreaming. After attending Snow College, she transferred to Southern Utah University, where she met her husband, Bill, and received a BA in English literature.

While living in Utah Valley after they both graduated, they foster parented fifteen children and Heather worked for the newspaper and played in her garden. She now lives in her hometown of Fillmore, Utah, where she and her husband own a computer business, run the volunteer ambulance service, and raise a wild mix of cats, dogs, chickens, geese, ducks, guineas and one tom turkey. Once in a while she still finds time to play in the garden.

Heather’s prior novels include The Ball’s in Her Court and Rebound. To learn more about Heather and her writing, visit her website at HeatherJustesen.com or her blog at HeatherJustesen.blogspot.com. She loves to hear from readers and speak to schools, book clubs, and church groups. She can be contacted at Heather@HeatherJustesen.com.


Jennifer Walker: Where can we find out more about you and buy your book?


Heather Justesen: You can find more about me on my website, HeatherJustesen.com, or my blog, HeatherJustesen.blogspot.com. My book is available on Amazon in both paper and ebook, and in pretty much all other ebook formats through major online retailers or Smashwords.com.


Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your book, Blank Slate.

Heather Justesen: After waking from a coma, Adrianna can’t remember who she is, any of her family, friends, or fianc√©. As if her recovery isn’t hard enough, she finds she can no longer play the piano—something she’d always loved and made into a career. In a desperate attempt to do something that would make her feel useful, she steps in as office manager for her brother when his quits, and finds she has a knack for the position. That and the developing feelings for her brother’s business partner after she and her fianc√© split up give her a new direction in life and hope for the future. Until everything starts crashing down around


Jennifer Walker: Where did you get the idea for the story?


Heather Justesen: I saw a news story that fascinated me and I started playing with various scenarios from there. I get ideas from everywhere, and I write down ones that intrigue me, but lots of them never make it into books—there just isn’t enough to drive the story. This one was a happy exception.


Jennifer Walker: What is your greatest writing challenge?


Heather Justesen: Finishing and then doing the final edits. I LOVE the writing, I even love the rewriting if I’m making significant changes that are really going to improve the story. Finishing and getting those detail edits done is hard for me though. Critique partners really motivate me to get the story finished (because I have to have something to take with me next week), and I just have to really put my focus on a story to get edits finished. Setting deadlines for myself can really help with that.


Jennifer Walker: What do you find most rewarding in writing a book?


Heather Justesen: Seeing all the pieces come together, falling in love with the characters and enjoying the flashes of insight that come along the way. Blank Slate has a sister story that has some crossover characters and happens at the same time. During one of the scenes, the main character’s parents have a big argument in which we learn why they divorced—it was as big of a revelation for me as for the protagonist—those discoveries are so much fun!


Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your previous work.


Heather Justesen: I have two previous books out called The Ball’s in Her Court, and Rebound put out by a small regional publisher. The Ball’s in Her Court is about a woman who was adopted out of foster care when she was twelve, and her decision to search for answers to her past. Along the way she finds family members she never knew about and falls in love.

Rebound is about her roommate a couple of years later. Lily comes home from her prenatal exam, toddler in tow, and learns her husband has been arrested for fraud. She faces losing everything they own, starting over, and raising her children alone. Thankfully, with a helping hand from her sister and a growing friendship with her former roommate’s half-brother, she manages to make a new life for herself and find love along the way. Unfortunately neither book is available as an ebook right now, but I know my publisher is working on making their titles available for Kindle and Nook.


Jennifer Walker: What other projects do you have coming up?


Heather Justesen: Oh, so many! I have another romance coming out with my publisher next January about a man whose brother and sister-in-law die in an accident, leaving two kids behind. Because he’s in the Marine reserves, the state is reluctant to give him custody when he has no family to take on the kids if he gets called up, so he convinces his best friend, Rena, to marry him and provide a stable home. It’s a sweet romance with lots of fun twists.

I have the sister story to Blank Slate, currently titled Switched that’s nearly ready for submission. Danny, a firefighter paramedic, falls hard for a young widow (and her two little girls) who does the daily cooking segment for the local noon news. When she finds out she isn’t her parents’ biological child, she goes on a quest for answers.

I’ve written the first book in a culinary mystery series which I’m totally excited about. It’s nearly ready for submission. And I’ve written the first book for a new romance series about seven women who show up at the reading of their father’s will and find out they’re all his daughters. He coerces them into moving to a remote Colorado ski town to open the latest in his chain of luxury hotels. In addition to picking out a house and jobs for them, he’s lined up what he thinks will be the perfect men—only not everyone is amenable to his matchmaking.


Jennifer Walker: Do you write full time? If so, tell us how you manage it. If not, what is your day job?


Heather Justesen: I do actually have a full-time job which thankfully allows me some time for writing and editing at work on most of my shifts. Between that and the time I log at home, I’m writing very nearly full time now. I have grand aspirations of being able to quit my job and concentrate on my writing more, as so many people do. =)


Jennifer Walker: What is your writing process like--do you outline first or just start writing, etc.?


Heather Justesen: I used to be a total seat-of-my-pants writer with no outlining at all, but over the past few years I’ve turned more and more to outlining—at least on a basic level. The amount of outlining I do varies depending on the story. I planned a lot of setup for my mystery: backgrounds, some journaling from most of their perspectives, motivations for wanting the victim dead. I let myself be surprised about who the murderer was in the end. In my other stories, the outline is a lot more linear, though I prefer to go with general checklists of what needs to happen rather than detailed lists.


Jennifer Walker: Do you work with a writing group or mentor? Why or why not? If you do, what do you get out of it?


Heather Justesen: I’ve been part of a critique group for more than three years, though I traded critiques with other writers even before that. I love my group, the feedback they give me, the embarrassments they save me from, and the motivation to keep going when I get discouraged, or I need a little help when the plot isn’t quite working. I can’t imagine not belonging to a critique group now (I actually have three because I can’t settle on just one book to work on at a time, apparently). I’d never submit a book without getting feedback from other writers first.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

AuthorInterview: Chitoka Webb

Our interview today is with Chitoka Webb, author of Something Inside Of Me: How To Hang On To Heaven When You're Going Through Hell. Find out more about Chitoka at http://www.chitokawebb.com/.


Synopsis of Something inside of Me:

Chitoka Webb shares her poignant, funny and inspiring life story from her humble beginnings as the daughter of a single mother holding her family together in the Nashville housing projects to her rise as the CEO of several companies, choosing to find the light and love in herself and in others along a journey from the lowest valleys of misery to adrenaline-filled tops of personal and professional achievement.

Long before Internet selling was the rage, as a pre-teen she sold what others saw as junk for a profit. At the age of 13 and before it was legal to work, Chitoka talked her way into a job as the youngest checker at a local grocery store. Without a college degree, through tenacity, grit and a healthy dose of faith in herself, she became the owner of several businesses before the age of thirty.

Through personal stories of the many struggles she faced, from poverty to racism to the loss of her vision, Webb demonstrates the amazing human ability to triumph over extreme adversity through willpower, faith, and a constant love for oneself.

Connecting with readers from all walks of life, Chitoka will inspire you to find the “something” inside yourself that provides the hope and courage to discover what is most important to you and attain those things for yourself.


Author Interview with Chitoka Webb:

You are in your mid 30s and you've written a memoir. What prompted you to write such a book at this point in your life?


Chitoka: Even though I am in my mid 30s I feel like I have lived a full life. I have experienced both sides of the track in every sense. I have been the employee, and I have been the employer. I have lived on that side of the tracks, and I have lived on this side of the tracks; and for me, I have found that through it all there is only one message that is constant: Treat people the way that you want to be treated.



At 13 you landed your first job at a grocery store, how did you acquire such an incredible work ethic?


Chitoka: It goes back to that one consistent message. When I was a young girl that was my mother’s answer for everything, “Treat other people the way that you want them to treat you.” If I had a problem at school with another kid, or if I made a mean comment to my sisters, my mom would say, “Now how would you like it if someone treated you like that?” So early on I learned to consider other people’s feelings. I think learning that one lesson as a young girl evolved into good work ethics, good manners and making good choices.



Did you feel like the odds to become a successful business woman were stacked against you being an African American female without any form of college?


Chitoka: Absolutely not. Learning how to take responsibility for your actions at a young age puts your path in a forward motion. Even if the odds were against me, I did not feel it; I always felt like I was in front of the odds. Other great African Americans like Mary McLeod Bethune and Madam CJ Walker have proven that you cannot become great by worrying about the odds.



You have a similarly uplifting story as the one of Chris Gardner portrayed in The Pursuit of Happyness (famously acted by Will Smith). How does Chris' story compare to your own life?


Chitoka: In the movie Chris stops at nothing to become the person he was created to be. Homelessness could not stop him, being a single parent could not stop him. In my book, I share with the readers how your obstacles can be used as energy in your pursuit to happiness. There was something inside of him that would not let him give up. Same with my book, Something Inside of Me. You will learn that your key to happiness is your pursuit to it. Everything you need to get through the storms in your life is in the storm, but one must be in pursuit of happiness in order to see the obstacles as a form of power to help you reach your goals.



You have a universal message that people of any race, color and background can learn from. What will we all find in your book?


Chitoka: You can if you want to, but you must leave your excuses at the door. They don’t belong in the house! Whatever you go through in life—whether it is your fault or not—own it, and move on. The victory is in the battle and the reward is after the battle.



People in Nashville where Oprah Winfrey grew up have compared you to her. How does that feel?

Chitoka: I consider it to be an honor, but let me set the record straight – there will never be another Oprah Winfrey. Some say the comparison is our drive. I think the commonality is the spirit. In all of her endeavors, she has a left a footprint for women like me to follow, and I thank her for the footprints.



What advice would you give a young person struggling to pick themselves up by the bootstraps?

Chitoka: It will not be all right in ten days, or five days. It is already all right! Life is okay right now. You’re doing a good job, and never expect anyone to be as excited about your dreams as you. Believing in yourself is nobody’s business but yours.



Why is the YMCA, and for that matter, the many organizations you are invovled with, so important to you?

Chitoka: I believe success is not what you take in but what you put out. There is nothing more rewarding than living your life in such a way that the generation behind you can pick up where you left off. I am where I am because of women and men seen and unseen made away for me. We have all benefited from someone else’s labor!

Monday, August 15, 2011

This week's book give-away!

From our friend, Linda Weaver Clarke:

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Ruth J. Hartman and book Giveaway


Book Give-Away August 15 - 22: To win Flossophy of Grace, leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. International.

This brings a lot of humorous scenes to the story. Ms. Hartman keeps Flossophy of Grace flowing with a quick wittiness that made me laugh out loud several times.

Grace Hart meets Bruce Gardener when he shows up in her office as a new patient. Shes a smitten kitten from the get-go. But doesnt think anyone as good-looking as Bruce would take a second look at her.

To win a book, leave a comment at http://lindaweaverclarke.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 14, 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'll be interviewing an author whose books I really enjoy. Josi S. Kilpack is the author of the Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery series, the latest of which, Blackberry Crumble, came out earlier this year. Learn more about Josi at http://www.josiskilpack.com/.

The word is out about Sadie Hoffmiller’s amateur detective work, but it’s not the kind of publicity Sadie wants. When Jane’s article threatens Sadie’s reputation in the community, she accepts her first investigation-for-hire and travels to Portland, Oregon – if only to give herself some space from her whispering neighbors. And from Pete, who is sending her mixed signals about their budding relationship.


Sadie hopes the Portland air will clear her head, and she is eager to get to work for May Sanderson, who has suspicions about her father’s untimely death.

Putting her detective skills to the test, Sadie delves into a complicated past that includes a business partnership that didn’t end well, several unsavory family secrets, and more than a few motives for murder.

Sadie is afraid she might crumble under the pressure, but in a new place with new recipes, she finds herself more determined than ever to uncover the answers buried in scandal, insatiable appetites, and pure and simple greed.

Sunday, August 7, 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 be interviewing Rena Romano, author of His Puppet No More. This is the tale of the 20 years of sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of a family member, how she survived, and how she finally broke past it 50 years after her nightmare began. Romano was featured on Oprah as a follow-up to the Mackenzie Phillips story.

Listen Wednesday, August 10th at 3:30 Pacific Time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-walker/2011/08/10/a-cup-of-coffee-and-a-good-book for what shoudl be a very interesting discussion. If you miss it, the show will be archived so you can still hear it.

Find out more about Rena Romano and her work at https://www.createspace.com/3449079.

Monday, August 1, 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 Kim Ablon Whitney, author of THE OTHER HALF OF LIFE, THE PERFECT DISTANCE, and SEE YOU DOWN THE ROAD. Tune in on Wednesday, August 3rd, at 3:30 Pactific Time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jennifer-walker/2011/08/03/a-cup-of-coffee-and-a-good-book. As always, the show will be archived for later listening.

Learn more about Kim Ablon Whitney and her books at http://www.kimablonwhitney.com/.