Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Author Interview: Jennifer Hurst

Today's interview is with Jennifer Hurst, author of Fall.

Bio: Jennifer grew up in a traveling family. As the oldest of 8 children, she spent most of her childhood in the South Pacific playing in the ocean and going barefoot to school. She graduated with a B.S. in Technology Management at Utah Valley University and worked in the construction industry for 12 years. Jennifer worked her way up from drafter to project manager before retiring to pursue her lifelong passion for writing and art. She lives in Utah with her three sons, a toe nibbling, snuggly Boxer named Tanu, and a deranged siamese cat called Horatio (who also loves to walk up and down on the piano keyboard in the middle of the night).

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

Jennifer Hurst: Interested readers can find me at Fall is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony Ebooks, Smashwords and other places where ebooks are sold.

Jennifer Walker: Tell us about your book.

Jennifer Hurst: Fall is about a headstrong, impulsive young woman, Julia Dayle, (JD for short) who is given the chance to prove herself as a project manager for a conversion project. Her grandfather owns the construction company she works for and she is determined to prove to him she has what it takes to run his company when he retires. Little does she realize what she is getting into when the actual work begins on the site. There are twists and turns to the plot that not even the most attentive readers will figure out (I secretly enjoy surprising people). There is a paranormal aspect to the story, and this involves demons, angels and, well, I won’t say. That’ll ruin the surprise.

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

Jennifer Hurst: Like a lot of writers, I got the idea for this story from a series of dreams I had. Fortunately, none of them made it into the final cut of the book.

Jennifer Walker: What is your greatest writing challenge?

Jennifer Hurst: Staying focused. Often while I'm working on one story, I'll get an idea for another and I have to start on it right away before I lose the feel of it.

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

Jennifer Hurst: An action/adventure YA called Muddy, a Sci-Fi graphic novel for tweens based on a computer game called Zening, a Chic Lit Fantasy based on Scotlands Pict people, an action/adventure for tween boys about a family of Monster Hunters, and of course, the sequel to Fall.

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

Jennifer Hurst: I used to be very organized and detailed. I'd have every chapter outlined and scenes described in detail, but once I got to writing it, I'd find myself in a tug-of-war with the characters over who got to tell the story and how. Finally, I just gave up and let them have their say. It's a win-win situation as I'm not stressing about what goes where and the characters get to tell it their way.

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

Jennifer Hurst: I write constantly. In my journal, notes to my kids, in my head, etc. I carry around a notebook and when words won't come, I use doodles to capture the feel of the stories I want to write.

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

Jennifer Hurst: Marketing it. I like it - but its more time consuming than writing the book. I'd rather be writing.

Jennifer Walker: Tell us a little about your non-writing life. Family? Pets? Hobbies?

Jennifer Hurst: I have three boys, who are the centers of my universe. They keep things lively and interesting and help me to keep my priorities straight. My hobbies involve my children. I write to entertain them and earn a living to support us. It's becoming more and more a family thing for us - we tell stories a lot.

Jennifer Walker: Who is your favorite author of all time, and why?

Jennifer Hurst:: Frank Herbert. He opened my mind to a whole new world of science fiction and the possibilities. C.J. Cherryh would be a close second. I love her book Rimrunners.

Monday, November 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 Ellen Ruderman, author of CHASING THE RED CAR. Ellen G. Ruderman, PhD, is a psychoanalyst and mental health consultant who has published numerous articles and books about the challenges of women's quest for autonomy in professional and familial relationships. CHASING THE RED CAR is her first novel.

Read my review of CHASING THE RED CAR at

Monday, November 21, 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, Jennifer will interview Dennis Danziger. Dennis is the author of A Short History of a Tall Jew and Daddy, The Diary of an Expectant Father. He writes a regular guest column for the Huffington Post and his essays have appeared in Premiere and Education Week.

Listen live this Wednesday at 3:30 Pacific Time at, or listen to the recording any time after the show.

Be sure to read Jennifer's review of A Short History of a Tall Jew.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Spin the Plate, by Donna Anastasi

Spin the Plate, by Donna Anastasi

Paperback: 198 pages

Publisher: Black Rose Writing (May 27, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1935605399
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****

Spin the Plate Book Review

Jo fills her waking hours in an attempt to keep her 128 episodes of childhood trauma from replaying in her mind. She is a talented tattoo artist, she roams the streets at night in search of needy animals to save, she picks fights, and she works out and follows a sumo wrestling training program. However, no matter how hard she tries, those episodes continue to torture her.

Enter Francis, a strange little man (as she thinks of him), who wants to be with her but does not make demands or pressure her. Francis, who tries to live in the manner of his sainted namesake, is much more than he appears, and he seems determined to save Jo from her demons. She's not so sure she needs saving, but she can't quite turn him away.

Spin the Plate, by Donna Anastasi, crosses several genres. There is a romance, but it is much more serious and heavy than typical romance novels. There are Christian themes, but the grittiness of the story would deter the typical reader of Christian fiction. The overarching theme is Jo's transformation from a sexually abused child to a woman who attempts to hide her femininity and quash all signs of vulnerability to a woman who is able to accept a man's love. This, to me, puts it squarely in the genre of Women's Fiction...and let's not confuse that with "chick lit". This is serious stuff, no fluff here. The story tackles some tough issues, and while it doesn't tread lightly, it does handle some harsh scenes very gracefully.

As a reader, this is an interesting, absorbing story. As an editor, I see much potential if a developmental edit were done on it: much of the story is rushed, some descriptions and details are distracting rather than adding to the story, and some of the back story and timelines are a little confusing or contradictory. However, while working on these things would make the book better, it is quite readable and powerful as it stands.

Donna Anastasi's characters are rich and interesting, and the picture she paints in the reader's mind is vivid. She tackles some tough situations that happen in our world every day, which we need to be reminded of, and she does it without being preachy. Spin the Plate is a worthy read!

Listen to my BlogTalkRadio interview with Donna at!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review as part of a virtual book tour promoted by my company, Walker Author Tours. However, this did not influence my review, and I gave it the same honest assessment I give all books I review.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A special edition of A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

On a special edition of the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Donna Anastasi, author of Spin the Plate. This interview is a part of Donna's virtual book tour with Walker Author Tours.

Listen live on Thursday at 3:30 Pacific Time or any time after the show at

Spin the Plate is an inspirational story of the central character Jo’s personal journey from an abusive childhood to romance and overcoming the scars of childhood trauma.
Learn more about Donna and the book at

Monday, November 14, 2011

This week on A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book

On the 11/16/11 edition of the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show, Jennifer will interview Heather Justesen about her latest book, Blank Slate.Listen live this Wednesday at 3:30 Pacific Time at, or listen any time to the archived recording after the show.

Read Jennifer's blog interview with Heather at

After waking from a coma, Adrianna can’t remember who she is, any of her family, friends, or fiancĂ©. 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 fiancĂ© split up give her a new direction in life and hope for the future. Until everything starts crashing down around her.

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 or her blog at She loves to hear from readers and speak to schools, book clubs, and church groups. She can be contacted at

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review: The Original Horse Bible

The Original Horse Bible: The Definitive Source for All Things Horse, by Moira C. Reeve and Sharon Biggs

Paperback: 544 pages

Publisher: BowTie Press; Original edition (August 30, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1933958758
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****** (yes, 6.)

The Original Horse Bible Book Review

Anyone who has ever had a horse or spent any time with them knows you never stop learning about them. There is so much to learn, you could fill an entire set of encyclopedias! Authors Sharon Biggs and Moira C. Reeve attempted to get some of the more important and interesting stuff into The Original Horse Bible, and they did a fantastic job of it.

The Original Horse Bible contains breed profiles, basic information novices must know, training techniques, health and basic care, showing tips, breeding information, and so much more. It's a truly stunning collection of knowledge, supplemented by many pictures--it's worth getting the book just to look at them alone. The amount of research that went into this book is mind boggling.

I have one small beef with the book, and that is minor. There are so many views on training and care that I thought the authors should have acknowledged that more--techniques discussed are presented as the only correct way to do something, which I'm sure they felt is true, but some very successful trainers or vets might disagree. With my level of knowledge, I didn't find any of the information to be bad or incorrect, I just know that there are other approaches that are just as valid.

The Original Horse Bible is a valuable resource that horse lovers could sit down and read cover to cover and be entertained while they learn more than they could ever have expected, but it's also laid out in such a way that it's easy to find information you need to go straight to. It is well written and conceived, and I applaud the authors for their hard work.

On a sad note, Moira C. Reeve is no longer with us. May she rest in peace knowing that she has left a vast legacy in the work she created throughout her career.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Book Review: Chasing the Red Car

Chasing the Red Car, by Ellen Ruderman

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: (November 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1450267181
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****

Join us on November 30, 2011 at 3:30PT when I interview Ellen Ruderman on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show!

Chasing the Red Car Book Review

Kim LeBow grows up in a very scary time, an age when McCarthyism is in full force and threatening many people she cares about, including her father and her favorite teacher at school. Her home life is scary too, with a mother who is emotionally unstable and a father who often disappears with no explanation.

Chasing the Red Car follows Kim through her life, from growing up in the McCarthy era, through college, and later as an educator. It comes full circle after 9/11, when the Patriot Act brought some questionable policies. She struggles with her conviction to voice her own views and beliefs when those in authority tell her not to. Yet, her father taught her to stand up for what she believes in, and she does.

Chasing the Red Car was an entertaining and thought-provoking read. Although I am not liberal, I thought it would be interesting to see that side of the story set in such a volatile time. It was enlightening to see the way the witch hunts of the time affected not only the communists who were flushed out, but those around them as well. (ETA: Just to be clear, I am not in favor of how things were handled at that time.)

Ellen Ruderman's characters were realistic, and there was an interesting balance between the different personality types. I found the timeline a little difficult to follow at times when flashbacks were mixed in with the story. Also, Kim mentioned "my beliefs" many times--to the point of being repetitive--without ever really saying what those were except for a couple of vague comments about human rights. I would have liked to have seen how such a young girl came by whatever her beliefs were and a little discussion of what was so radical. However, I can guess that since that wasn't really the point of the book, the author wanted to focus more on the feelings and emotions of this coming of age story. All in all, I enjoyed the book and found it to be a good commentary on how politics affect us all.

Join us on November 30, 2011 at 3:30PT when I interview Ellen Ruderman on the A Cup of Coffee and a Good Book BlogTalkRadio show!