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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novels, Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back, the sequel. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Interview with Randall Magley, author of Short Stories

Author’s Bio: Randall grew up in a small Midwestern town in a midsized family. He had to deal with poverty and lack of proper education. That is, until later in life.  On top of the hardships of working many low wage jobs, he had to figure out his place in life and seek out the riddle of happiness, as we all do. He joined the U.S. Army in 1997 and finished his military career in 2000. After that he still worked basic jobs and self-studied countless books and courses on success in many fields.

The author then discovered he was getting sick, and through many tests, found himself in the clutches of disease which caused him to be on disability. His heart was set on working on something however and he never gave up. He decided to use the power of his mind to study and become an author. It is his greatest hope to create values for society in one way or another.
His philosophy is to never give up and to remember that fear and insecurity are the epitome of failure.

What inspired you to write your book?
RM: Over the years, many people have told me that I should write about the many great things that I’ve experienced in my life. I wasn’t too sure about the whole autobiography thing though. It seemed a little cheesy to me. So I came to the conclusion that people wanted to hear more because I had the knack for storytelling. I also suddenly found myself on disability which gave me more time to experiment with writing. It seemed to come natural to me and I enjoyed it so much that the decision to write was an easy one.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
RM: Yes, the Neo-Think literature has influenced me more than anything as an adult. The author Mark Hamilton has quite the different approach to things than the status quo. It has opened up new and exciting avenues of thinking for me, and thus helped me to be more creative.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
RM: This is actually a series of books that has taken about four years to complete. It is a puzzle of short stories that entwine themselves in multiple genres until coming to a common end.

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
RM: I usually create a series of notes and feed off of and build them up into the story. It sort of snowballs into organic writing once the basics have been established as the outline of the story or book.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
RM: Sometimes I listen to classical masterpieces as science dictates them to awaken both alpha and theta waves to get both halves of the brain integrating thoughts. I haven’t put music to the theme of anything I’ve written so far. I suppose one could imagine the genre being filled with the typical matching styles I suppose.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
RM: Be willing to put in some hard work and sacrifice a little money to get to the audience of choice. Marketing is the key to selling anything, even books. One thing to remember is that all things work on supply and demand. So the book must be marketed as something that people would want to buy from the start. Sales aren’t about your good idea; they’re about the needs of the consumer.

What advice would you give to new authors?
RM: Get some sort of help with editing. That second set of eyes before you go public is crucial. Also, keep in mind that perfect practice makes perfect. Perfect your skills by learning from the best sources. If you don’t feel that this is necessary then consider the following. You can be pro-efficient at doing it wrong. Campfire musicians do this for years while singing the wrong verses and thinking the whole time that they’re right.

How about sharing an excerpt from Music Lover, an anti-bullying story?  
“And once again, Carrie everybody” Tim announced. Carrie was not ready for this and was a little shocked. She got up and made her way to the stage regardless. The usual patrons clapped and a couple of yells of encouragement drove her forward into the task.

The music started and the words came on the screen again. She began in a low tone and not fully giving her best. It was if she reverted back to feeling embarrassed about it a little. “You can do it” the bar tender yelled out between verses. Then she remembered what she was told about the nervous energy and how to make it work in her favor. The next verse appeared and she bellowed the words out like a real pro. Every eye in the place looked up and every mouth was shut. The audience was now hers and she was the controlling element in the room.

The only sound was that of the powerful sad song being sung by a young overweight girl who was exploding with passion inside. Eyes widened at the shock of hearing her voice. One woman was tearing up in the front row and shook her head as if feeling every word and every tone. The short and stubby girl sang with all her might and let out everything in defiance of the thought of enemies. She was in defiance of the one’s who taunted her in the back of the room. She was defiant against the lack of love of her parents, and she was defiant toward the rest of the world who judged her so mercilessly throughout her life.

She cried out in utter pain and mental anguish with such a passion that the point was clear for everyone in the establishment. The level of energy she put forth made her begin to sweat and a few beads formed on her contorted face. The song then came to its climax and then the final two words in hush tones as she finished. A couple of key notes from the sound of a piano ended the ballad and she looked down and placed the microphone back in its holster.

Not a sound came from a single person. The silence was deafening. She thought she had failed and began to blush as if exposing too much of herself and becoming embarrassed. A clap broke the silence and then another like the slow clap in romantic comedy movies she had seen. Then uproarious applause broke out with whistles and cheers. Everybody stood, even her foes from school. 

    Carrie took a slight bow with her head and walked off the stage. Tim had his microphone at that point and made the announcement. “Carrie everyone!” Another wave of cheers followed. She went to her table and sat back down. Tim announced the next singer. Carrie was short of breath and needing a sip of her drink. She looked down and placed the straw in her mouth and felt a feminine hand on her shoulder.

What’s next for you?
RM: Finding a new literary agent and continue writing novels. Aggressive marketing sounds like a fun thing to add here as well.

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.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Review of Tempted by Trouble by Eric Jerome Dickey

It’s been some time since I read a novel from one of my all-time favorite authors, Eric Jerome Dickey. So while perusing my bookshelves, I grabbed Tempted by Trouble to get my EJD reader fix. Yes, I did say fix – lol.

Anyway, this novel delivered everything I was looking for…a storyline with the right amount of thrill, suspense, and sexiness. I met Dmytryk Knight from Detroit, a man who was on track with the American dream: college educated, married to a beautiful woman, nice job, and a home. Who could ask for anything more?

Well, when he and Cora, his wife both lost their jobs and their home in foreclosure, their backs are pressed against the wall. Neither of them is happy barely scraping by with several jobs between them (delivering pizza, tutoring, exotic dancing, etc.) until Cora introduces Eddie Coyle, a criminal into the picture who needs a wheelman for bank robberies.

Dmytryk thought it over and with the promise of a job two minutes in and out of the “bank withdrawal business” and a pay day…this was his break. So, he teams up with the crew: Rick, Sammy, and Jackie. And right after doing a job in Texas, Cora disappears.

For six months, Dmytryk searched for her until one day she walked back into his life, on the arms of Eddie Coyle and now the mastermind behind the biggest job that would net them a huge sum of money (robbing a megachurch - Six Flags over Jesus). The Cora that stood face-to-face with Dmytryk was a changed and dangerous woman, not the sweet woman he married.

What transpires next is a series of events filled with greed, desperation, double-cross, jealously, and rage that EJD wonderfully weaved with flashbacks and in present time in the lives of all the players. While reading I asked myself, how far would I go for love? Not that damn far!

Loved this thrill ride! Yes, EJD you ROCK! And yes, I’m excited to read the fifth installment of the Gideon series!

Some of my favorite lines:

“You’ve killed and robbed like everyone else, and now you want to take the high road?”

            “The money stays.”

            “If the money stays, how long do you think we’ll last?” Until we get to Nashville? We wouldn’t last until Nashville, Dmytryk. We wouldn’t last three hours. I left Detroit because of friggin’ money issues and I’m not going to go back there as broke as when I left. I didn’t grow up like you, Dmytryk.  I grew up broke. My father died broke and my mother struggled until she died. I’m not going to live that life. Maybe if there was some guarantee that this would end, but it’s only getting worse. There is no end in sight.”

            “The money stays.”

            “And if I did make it back to Detroit, if I left with you, if I made love to you every night, if we went back to that same routine, if I cooked for you while you cut the yard, at some point, I’d hate myself for being so weak for you, I’d hate how much you love me, and I would poison you. I’d think about this moment, and I’d kill you and bury you with your other secret. The one that you and Eddie Coyle left by the Uniroyal tire. Dmytryk, it’s us and the money or there is no us.”

            “I’m in this because of you.”

            “You made your own choices, Dmytryk.”

Rating:  5 Stars

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Review of the Play, Twisted Melodies (Baltimore Center Stage)

Twisted Melodies recently made its debut the weekend of March 17, 2017 at the Baltimore Center Stage and it was simply FANTASTIC. This one-man play written and performed by Kelvin Roston, Jr. depicted the mental struggles of musical genius, Donny Hathaway. When the play opens, we see Donny sitting at a piano in a hotel room at the Essex Hotel in New York City. Kelvin's interpretation of what happened during the final hours right before Donny “allegedly” ended his life on January 13, 1979 was nothing short of an amazing journey.

This journey went from Donny’s childhood being raised in the church by his grandmother who nutured his love for music, to his college days at Howard University where his met his wife, to his professional days as a musician playing in various bands to his hallucinations and paranoid schizophrenia. This all unfolds as Kelvin, a musician himself, belted out some of Donny’s favorite songs (“A Song For You,” “You’re My Heaven,” “The Closer I Get To You,” and more). And while the audience sang and swayed to the music infused with gospel, blues, jazz and R&B undertones, there was angst, pain, love and joy of a man who grappled with his family, his music and his life.

I can’t imagine the weight that eventually led to Donny's death at the young age of thirty-three. A life cut too short but one which left inspiration for artists like Lalah (his first daughter), Stevie Wonder, Luther Vandross, and so many others. 

So, Kelvin Roston, Jr. kudos to you for enthralling the audience and allowing us to relive a moment in time with Donny Hathaway! Two Thumbs way up!

And yes. “Love comes in different shapes, forms and fashions…” – Donny Hathaway at Carnegie Hall

Poster outside of Baltimore Center Stage

A snippet of the play performed at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre a few years ago.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Interview with ML Hutchinson, Author of Tainted Bond

Author’s Bio: M L Hutchinson resides in the suburbs of Maryland, with her husband of twenty-four years. Preferring the fantasy and glamour of classic movies or the happily ever after of romance novels, this fueled her imagination at an early age. The desire to write her own happy endings has led to her debut novel, Tainted Bond, which will be the first installment in The Bonded Trilogy. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, comic book based action movies, spending time with family and spoiling her two grandchildren. After years of putting off following her dream, she is now ready to share her stories, to become the writer she always dreamed she would be.

What inspired you to write your book?
MLH: I wouldn’t call it inspiration; it was more like an obsession. My love of writing began when I read my first Harlequin Romance novel by Janet Dailey. With the first entry of my journal at the age of fourteen I knew that writing would forever be my passion.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
MLH:  Janet Daily inspired me so many years ago; today my inspiration comes from authors like J Kenner and Sawyer Bennett. Since starting this journey I have recently discovered awesome indie authors like Louise Bay and Emma Hart and the list goes on and on.

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
MLH:  Tainted Bond is my first completed book. However, I still have the first two chapters of a book I started over ten years ago.  My new year’s resolution for 2016 was to start and finish my book by the end of 2016.  I got off to a good start, but the more I wrote the more my insecurities kick in. I finally finished on January 10, 2017. 

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
MLH: Both, actually, I tend us an outline as a general guild.  I like when the story flows naturally. It’s almost like the character are talking to me and telling the story themselves.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
MLH: I do listen to music, but only when it suits the scene I’m writing at the time. For example: The main characters in Tainted Bond share the same ringtone.  I had to choose a song that best fits their relationship.

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
MLH: I wish I knew what works for me. Tainted Bond goes live on 3/27/17; success is yet to be determined.  I utilize social media a lot, spreading the word about my book and trying the build a name for myself.

What advice would you give to new authors?
MLH:  Write even when you don’t feel like, the more you write the better your writing will become.

How about sharing an excerpt from Tainted Bond?  

Franklin brings the limo to a screeching halt.  If it wasn’t for the fact that Marcus always makes us buckle our seat belts, I would have hit the floor instead of just jerking forward. I let down the privacy screen to ask Franklin what’s going on.

“Stay in the car sir,” Franklin states as he exits. My eyes follow him still not sure of what I’m seeing. There’s a woman dressed only in her underwear walking back and forth at the entrance to the garage. Franklin approaches her as if she’s a wounded animal.  “Miss, do you need help. Do you live in the building? Can I call someone for you?”

I get out of the car and walk toward Franklin. Now that I’m closer I can see that it’s not a woman at all but a teenage girl maybe fourteen or fifteen years old. She also appears to be in shock. She hasn’t acknowledged our present as she continues to walk back and forth.  I take off my T-shirt and offer it to her, blocking her path.  She comes to a stop and looks and me with unseeing eyes. “I think she may be sleep walking or in shock.” I say to Franklin without taking my eyes off her.

“Be careful sir, she may be dangerous in this state.” Franklin warns unable to look away from her beautiful hazel eyes.

I begin to speak to her. “I’m going to pull this T-shirt over your head.” No response. “I’m going to pull your arms through now.” Still no response. “Would you like me to call someone for you? Your mother or father?” That got her attention. She blinks and says “All dead” before passing out. I catch her before she falls to the ground.

What’s next for you?
MLH: I’m working on Undeniable Bond, the second installment in The Bonded Trilogy.

Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
·         Website: http://www.mlhutchinsononline.com/
·         Amazon Author Page: Coming Soon
·         Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MLHutchinsonAuthor
·         Twitter: https://twitter.com/mlhutchinson66
·         Book buy Links:
 Available for Pre-Order
 Barnes & Noble- http://bit.ly/2mKdtyX 

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