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Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Lawyer | Romantic Suspense Author | Speaker | TV Junkie | Foodie | Sweet Wine Addict | Savvy Shopper You can visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. You can also connect with me online @ thewritepen (Twitter and Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Interview with J. R. Lindermuth, Author of Shares The Darkness

Author’s Bio: A retired newspaper editor, J. R. Lindermuth is the author of 15 novels, including seven in his Sticks Hetrick crime series, and a non-fiction regional history. Since retirement, he has been librarian of his county historical society, assisting patrons with genealogy and research. He is a member of International Thriller Writers and a past vice president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society.

What inspired you to write your book?
JRL: Shares is the seventh book in the Sticks Hetrick crime series. Each has been inspired by a particular type of crime and is set in a small fictional town near Harrisburg, PA. The crimes are solved by Sticks, former police chief and now a county detective, and his proteges. Officer Flora Vastine is the primary in this one. The actual inspiration for Shares was a documentary on bird-watching. Though a series, the books are structured so they can be read as stand-alones.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
JRL: I've been a reader since a very early age and I'm sure I've been influenced to a degree by a number of writers. But I wouldn't want to blame them for any good or bad habits that have rubbed off on me over the years.

Some of my favorite "classic" writers would include Alexander Dumas, Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Bronte and Edgar Allan Poe. Some favorite contemporary mystery writers would include James Lee Burke, Ruth Rendell, Harlan Coben, Charles Willeford and Georges Simenon.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
JRL: Shares is my 15th published novel. I've also published a non-fiction regional history. As to time, that depends on the book. Some germinate in the mind for years, other come quickly. I try to write every day, but don't set a word count target. I prefer to progress steadily without setting particular demands. I find the work goes easier that way.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
JRL: I'm a pantser. Usually I know where I'm headed, but welcome some surprises along the way. Knowing too much in advance would bore me. I do jot some notes to keep me on track; nothing you could really call an outline.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
JRL: There's always music playing in the background as I work; usually Symphony Hall on Sirius Radio and the classics; sometimes folk music or the Blues. Depends on my mood. No theme song for Shares The Darkness.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
JRL: It's important these days you utilize all possible means of getting your name recognized. Book stores are scarce on the homefront, so I seek library and other outlets for signings and similar events and write a weekly newspaper column. I also maintain a heavy footprint online. The best road to success remains word of mouth, but people must know about you to pass the word.

What advice would you give to new authors?
JRL: As Stephen King and others have advised, read a lot and write a lot.

How about sharing an excerpt from Shares The Darkness?
JRL: Here you are:
Chapter 1.

            “She didn’t come home last night.”
            Flora Vastine hesitated. She knew Mrs. Kepler as the type of overly protective mother who wouldn’t take kindly to a suggestion her daughter might be sleeping around. “Maybe she stayed with a friend,” Flora said without specifying gender.
            Mrs. Kepler shook her head. “She didn’t have an overnight bag or even a toothbrush. Besides, I’m sure Jan would have told me if she was going to do that.”
            The woman had shown up just as Flora was preparing to leave for her shift. Mrs. Kepler had come down the street in her nightgown and robe, fuzzy slippers on her feet, sans makeup and without even having run a brush through her sleep-knotted gray hair. Obviously she was distraught and Flora had no choice but to invite her in. Besides, as a police officer she had a responsibility to those who sought her assistance--no matter how tenuous the situation might seem.
            Flora’s father was still at the table, having a second cup of coffee. He looked up in surprise as the two women entered the kitchen. “Jan didn’t come home last night. Mrs. Kepler is worried,” Flora quickly explained.
            “Oh,” her father said. “Of course you’re worried. What can we do to help? Have a seat. Would you like some coffee, Sylvia?”
            “No. Thank you, but no,” Mrs. Kepler said, sliding onto a chair next to him. “My stomach is acidic enough. Coffee would definitely not help.”
            Sneaking a quick glance at the clock, Flora saw she was going to be late. “Sorry,” she said, drawing out her mobile, “I’ve got to call in.”
            “Oh, I don’t want you to be late.”
            “It’s okay. I just have to let them know.” She made her call, told dispatch she was delayed and would explain on arrival.
            Mrs. Kepler drew a hand across her face. “I hope I’m not getting you in trouble, Flora.”
            Flora leaned on a chair on the opposite side of the table. “Not a problem. Do you know where Jan was going when she left the house yesterday?” Jan Kepler was a high school biology teacher who still lived with her widowed mother. When not working, she helped her friend Peg Peabody conduct birding tours spring and fall. As far as Flora knew, neither woman had a boyfriend.
            “She had her binoculars and her bag. She didn’t say, but it was obvious she was going birding.”
            “With Miss Peabody?”
            “No. I called Peg last night. She said she hadn’t seen Jan since Tuesday.”
            “Does she often go by herself?” Bill Vastine asked.
            “Oh, yes. When she isn’t helping Peg she loves to go out alone. She says it’s better that way. No crowds of people making noise and scaring off the birds before you can find them.”
            “Dangerous, isn’t it? What if she fell or something?”
            “I’ve said the same thing myself. That’s why I got so worried when she didn’t come home.”
            Some other dangers came to mind for Flora, but she didn’t mention them.  The woman was agitated enough. “Did she have her phone?”
“Yes. At least I didn’t see it at the house.”
“Did she give any idea where she was going?”
            “No. But probably out to the Preserve. That’s one of her favorite places.”
            “Did you say anything to Fred?” Officer Fred Drumheiser was Mrs. Kepler’s next door neighbor and also her brother. While Flora had been a police officer for several years now and proven herself on numerous occasions some members of the Swatara Creek squad—most notably Fred Drumheiser—still considered her a rookie.
            “No. I thought of you first, dear, since you and Jan have always been friends.”
            Though they’d lived on the same street all their lives and gone through school together, Flora had never considered Jan Kepler and herself as friends. Acquaintances. But never friends.

What’s next for you?
JRL: I'm finishing up the next in the Hetrick series and also working on another non-fiction book about my railroading ancestors.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.
  





Monday, January 2, 2017

Interview with TM Brown, Author of A Life Not My Own

Author’s Bio: Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, TM Brown holds a BA in Psychology and MS in Systems Engineering. Tina is also the mother of two amazing people and the grandmother to the cutest little boy ever! Her books include:

·         A Life Not My Own -  Tina shares her personal experiences of child abuse and neglect, her struggles as a teenager and in her young adult life.

·         Just Between Us – Inspiring Stories by Women.  Tina joined forces with Janice Ross, Selena Haskins, Adrienne Thompson, Tamika Christy and Nicole Dunlap as they share a collection of short stories about the life challenges that they overcome. 

·         The FAPA award winning and bestseller Struggles of the Women Folk.  An engaging, fictional, though powerful piece from the stories that her grandmother shared with her as a child.

·      Tethered Angel - PART TWO of Struggles of the Women Folk. Angel has a special gift hearing the thoughts of the people around her, but only if she reminds pure in mind and heart.
She shares her inspirational stories of encouragement and invites you to visit her website at www.authortmbrown.com or contact her directly - tm.brown35@yahoo.com

What inspired you to write your book?  I was struggling in my personal life and began journaling, evidentially deciding to share my experiences with others life me.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
There are many.  Ralph Ellison’s book, invisible man, really opened my eyes to the possibility of writing our truth as black Americans.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book? 
A Life Not My Own was my first book.  I waited 15 years before publishing it.  My journaling was therapeutic but I also wanted to be respectful to my family who were unaware of many aspects of my past. 

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I just let it flow.  My writing process is a visual exercise, capturing what I see in my mind’s eye.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?  
No, I often do my best writing in the tub with the water running

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public? 
Continually reaching out to new readers.  My readers often recommend my books to friends and family.  I also participate in a lot of vendor events.  I’m hoping that 2017 will offer more opportunities to do group talks and discussion.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Just keep writing and dig deep.  The best work comes from the heart.

How about sharing an excerpt from A Life Not My Own?
In all of my books, readers can expect to feel an emotional response when they read the words, “It was a day like any other day”: 

It was a day just like any other day. Ya know, that’s the really crappy part about death, it doesn’t usually come to my door in the expected form of, for example, a sick relative departing. No, it’s been much sneakier in most of its dealings with me. Well anyway, I was sitting in the living room doing my homework before dinner, just like any other day, when the telephone rang:

“What, what, what did you say? No, you don’t know what you’re talkin’ ’bout. No she ain’t. Who is dis? Hello, hello . . .”

Crying: “Oh no, oh no, oh no.”

I had never seen Ma cry before. She was always so strong. Even when something bad happened, she would say things like, “I told dem, if dey keep going like dey going . . .” This was very different.

Shortly thereafter, a policeman knocked on our door and confirmed what the mystery caller had said. Betty was dead. My heart was filled with guilt and relief. Guilty about telling her not more than two months previous that I did not want to live with her and relief that she wouldn’t be hurting herself doing those drugs anymore. The dream that I had came to mind as well. I was sure that somehow the two were connected. Betty’s death would be the beginning of a test for me. I knew that.

What’s next for you?
I’m currently writing an untitled piece about a young girl who runs away from a dysfunctional family existence.  I’m not sure how the story will unfold and that exciting to me.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.




Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Review of Secret Attraction by Donna Hill

Sometimes loving someone from a distance can prevent you from giving your heart to someone else. Such is the case with Desiree (“Desi”) Lawson, twin sister to Dominique (“Dom”), who has been in love with Spence Hampton for a long while. But she was afraid to pursue her desire because of Dom’s relationship (which was never clearly defined to her) with Spence. So, she decided it would be best to move on and agreed to a blind date orchestrated by Dom with Max DeLaine, a college professor from a prominent family.

Spence has seen Desi out with Max and thought that it killed his chance to tell her how he truly felt. But when Max turned out not to be too stable (showing up at Desi’s office and at her home uninvited), Dom gets wind of it and confides in Spence. It was then that Spence decided to bypass the platonic phase with Desi and tell her how he truly felt.

This story was sexy, filled with great dialogue and with delicious meals (Spence is a chef) that could fly off the pages - yummy. The characters were not one dimensional (crazy knows no bounds or family status) and full of surprises too (Desi was a race car driver which she kept a secret from her family – I wanted to see this explored some more though).

Anyway, Spence is definitely a man any woman would fall for (sexy, successful and well grounded), but he only had eyes for Desi and she only had eyes for him. And no one could come between that. I was happy they were able to get together – great power couple!

A must read!

Some of my favorite lines:
They pulled up to a light. He turned to her.  “Now that I finally have you with me, I don’t intend to waste one minute apart.”

The heat in his eyes played over her face. Her entire body tingled.

“That cool with you?”

All she could do was nod her head to make sure she didn’t stir herself from this incredible dream she was having.

Rating: 4 Stars


Monday, December 19, 2016

Interview with David Russell, Author of Self's Blossom

Author’s Bio: {b. 1940. Resident in the UK. Writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. Main poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints (1998); poems published in online International Times. Main speculative works High Wired On (2002); Rock Bottom (2005). Translation of Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. Romances: Self’s Blossom; Explorations; Further Explorations; Therapy Rapture; Darlene, An Ecstatic Rendezvous (all pub Extasy (Devine Destinies). Self-published collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, 2015. Singer-songwriter/guitarist. Main CD albums Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many tracks on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell.’

What inspired you to write your book?
A close friend wrote a historical romance, which made me want to try something in that area.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The novels of William Golding

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
This was in fact my second; it took me about six months to write.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I have a very vague outline, and then let things flow organically.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
I listen to a lot of music, but never when I am writing.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Be thorough with approaching review sites, and be open to do review exchanges with other authors.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Be tenacious, and be prepared for some adversity.

How about sharing an excerpt from Self’s Blossom?
Here, she was on a beach, pure and simple. Now the sea breathed heavily, whispering and murmuring to her. It was returning her stare, speaking to her. It was the spirit of love, beckoning her with a pulsing, sinewy body. In all its lines, shades, and fleeting forms, Selene saw the essence of pure beauty, all grace of form, flesh, limb and feature. It was in one, all the lovers of whom she could possibly dream, conflated into one elemental ideal. He, pure love in soul, bade her to enter his domain and make it hers. His arms moved her hands to unclasp, unbutton, and unzip . . . the blossom emerged. The sun became the eye of all that was not earth, and Selene loved fully, though the pallor of her skin left her momentarily abashed.

At first she lay in the tide's path, the top of her head at its most extreme mark. The sand bank made a soft bed. The sea lover smoothly caressed her calves, thighs, hips, breasts, shoulders, and cheeks before retreating to pause in his mossy pinnacles. Three times this action was repeated, and then Selene stood up, wading in with arms outstretched. Her arms were linked, as she stood up to her neck in the saline flow. The balls and heels of her feet wobbled, slithering on the moss. With the next wave, she lost her balance – her breath prepared in unison with the hissing around her. She threw her head back, once again horizontal, and launched into a backstroke, sweeping and circling. She parted her legs wide with each thrust of motion, each sweep of self-propulsion pushing out to answer the cavernous currents of his passion. Seven circles gave her a delicious, warm bliss –then the sea lover, well pleased, carried her back to a near-dry bed. Aching and contented, Selene dozed a while.

What’s next for you?
I have 2 sequels to this story in mid-preparation, and 3 more unpublished stories.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.
  





Monday, December 5, 2016

Interview with Brenda D. Bunting, Author of Poems of Love and Violence In Between Life and Death 2nd Edition

Author’s Bio: Brenda D. Bunting is a socially conscious Poet and Educator, Spoken Word Artist and Workshop Facilitator. She is a Poet in Progress (PIP) through the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities headed by Poet Laureate Dolores Kendrick. She is a member of the Sanctuary’s multi-disciplinary team in Washington DC. A University of Kentucky alumna with her B.A. in English Brenda has been writing and performing poetry for over 30 years.

Published in newspapers, anthologies and journals Brenda knows the benefits and advocates for the therapeutic use of writing poetry for mental and emotional wellness and healing from traumatic events. Her book of poetry, "Poems of Love and Violence in between Life and Death 2nd Edition" is available for purchase on Amazon.com. She is an original member of the DC Poetry Project and a life member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society (KSPS).

What inspired you to write your book?
I had a lifelong dream of being a published author since I was 12 years old. When I was about 25 years old I got the title, “Poems of Love and Violence In Between Life and Death.” Because the themes of love and violence persisted in my life and I had been near death I knew that is what would be in my book. I was 49 years old when the first edition was published.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As a young African American woman I fell in love with poetry when I heard it but it was not until tenth grade did I realize it was accessible to me. I heard Shakespeare and many old English gentlemen but when I heard Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” my young mind was struck by the fact that her voice was valid in academia. Her voice was considered poetry. Her style was not a poetic form of de rigueur but it was about her experience. The message was just as important as the mode.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
This was my first book and although I have very old poems in the pages it took approximately two years from start to finish for completion. I knew exactly how I wanted the layout, the pictures and the flow. Because I have some experience with editing I was able to do everything myself. No one helped me with this book project. I have learned so much more since this first effort I was amazed to see how many people usually are involved in a book publication even if you do self publish.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically? Ever since I have heard of “The Muse” I knew that was what happened to me. I am suddenly inspired. Those are my best poems. While I may write from an outline or some such other prompt if inspiration does not come to me, the writing with be lackluster. I do not know how else to write. There is a Muse.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book? I never listen to music when I write but I may be inspired by music. The music that inspires me the most is Classical and Jazz.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
I have a very supportive company where I work and when the CEO found out I published a book of poems I had my first book signing at my company. My boss bought 115 copies of my book. Aside from that an author should have a concrete plan, not thoughts, no vague feelings but an actual plan. Talk to family and friends about purchasing your book. Write a great press release. Have at least five places you are able to have a book signing or author event. Have a couple of scripted and prepared speeches about your book. Investigate having reader reviews. Don’t lose faith in your book and what you have accomplished.  Keep rebranding your book and yourself.

What advice would you give to new authors? Know what you want to accomplish by writing the book. Have a realistic expectation about what is going to happen after you put the pen down. Very few players go to the big leagues so if you solely want commercial success then you should research the subject matter and what is popular and move in that direction. If you are writing a memoir to work through something or something else think about who else do you want to share your book with and find the niche.

How about sharing an excerpt from Poems of Love and Violence In Between Life and Death 2nd Edition?  
Love to Resurrect
Stark is the harsh cry of winter winds,
They lash into tender and vulnerable skin,
Making memories of sunshine and friends,
Fade into despair.

When I first reached out,
To touch you to love you and to hug you,
Your attitude was forget me and you
It’s too late. I am dead.

Your thorns cut me so deeply.
I bleed red and you see me,
With tears of hope and needing
To comfort you somehow

I know a dying flower,
Can resurrect in hours,
Good earth, hot sun, rain showers,
Can bloom for ever on

Please reach out just touch me,
Don’t be afraid of loving.
I’m not the one, who’s cutting,
Down flowers for graveyards

I want to see you flourish,
To rise again be nourished,
With all the care and courage,
It takes to love again.

Then there will come the season,
You will understand the reason,
To know your suffering’s meaning,
Was to make your joy so strong

Your scars are healed and covered,
An inner strength’s discovered,
Come laugh with me my lover,
In the meadow green of spring

What’s next for you?
I will be presenting my original work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Conference January 12-15, 2017 at Bridgewater College in Virginia. I will be presented as a PIP poet in Washington DC in April 2017. I am working on my next book and continuing to perform public and private events.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?

DL: It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

BB: Thank you Dee for having me and I appreciate the opportunity to be featured on your blog!


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Review of The Deal, the Dance, and the Devil by Victoria Christopher Murray

When the going gets tough, how far would you be willing to go to stay afloat? Well, the Langstons have hit a rough financial spot and temptation was right around the corner with an offer from Shay-Shaunté, Evia Langston’s boss.  This was more of an indecent proposal with a five million dollar string attached to it. The deal was for Evia to agree to have her husband, her own Adonis to spend a weekend with Shay-Shaunté in celebration of her 50th birthday.

Evia balked at the thought but then her husband had to go through with it creating a chasm in their marriage. The dance was whether the Langstons could stand up to Shay-Shaunté who now sued them for breach of contract. Go figure. Then again they were dealing with the devil.

Great dialogue. Great story. Great read.

Some of my favorite lines:

SILENCE. THE QUIET THAT WAS BETWEEN us was like our fourth child. It was always there, and over the past weeks, we’d nutured silence, allowed it to live, allowed it to grow.

Shay-Shaunté was the cause, and now it was all over. There was no need to let silence stay and separate us any longer; the deal, the dance, the devil…it was done.

Rating: 4 stars


Image result for the deal, the dance and the devil



Monday, November 21, 2016

Interview with Annie Rose Alexander, Author of RETRIBUTION

Author’s Bio: Annie Rose Alexander is the author of two published novels, Retribution and Evil In High Places. Her short stories are Murder In The Courthouse, and Eternally Yours. She won, the LOVEY Award for Best PI Novel at the Love Is Murder XIV Mystery Writers Conference in Chicago in 2015, for her novel Retribution. Annie earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Howard University, and a Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law.  She is admitted to the Maryland and DC Bars. She has fifteen years of experience litigating criminal and civil cases. She is working on her third Mystery/Thriller, The President's Assassin.

What inspired you to write your book?
When I read in the news about famous athletes being killed I started wondering what if the same person or persons were responsible and what if the deaths weren't accidents but murders. My imagination took over from there.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As a child I was influenced by the TV show, Perry Mason. As I got older, I would read one author such as James Patterson and then Robert Ludlum, and the list goes on and on. I may stay with a particular author for a while and then move on to other authors.

Is this your first book?  NO. How long did it take to start and finish your book? I think it took me about two years to finish this book.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
I definitely use an outline.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
No. I like peace and quiet when I write.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
Good question. I think I am inspired by Austin Camacho. He really knows how to hustle and is always on the move with book signings. I wish I could find the time and do more of what he is doing.

What advice would you give to new authors?
Perseverance, and believe in yourself. And read good books in your favorite genre that are on the New York Times Best Sellers.

How about sharing an excerpt from Retribution.
He thrilled at the terror that flickered in Brian's eyes as he tried to push Mary out of the path of the speeding car. But the assassin smashed into them, heard a loud thump, and felt the vehicle vibrate as metal hit flesh and bones. The girl's screams shattered the night as she and Brian were thrown through the air. The assassin sped away, his tires screeching and sliding on the wet pavement.

What’s next for you?
My third novel, The President's Assassin.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
  • Website: www.annierosealexander.com
  • Amazon Author Page: (coming soon)
  • Facebook: Annie Alexander Author's Page
  • Twitter: @annieralexander
  • Blog: (coming soon)
It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.







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