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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, July 30, 2018

Interview with Frank E Hopkins, author of Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders

Author’s Bio: Frank E Hopkins writes realistic crime novels and short stories portraying social and political issues. He has published three novels: Unplanned Choices, The Opportunity, and Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders. The Maryland Writers Association awarded Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders first place in the mystery/thriller category in their 2018 novel contest and it earned an honorable mention in the Delaware Press Associations 2018 Communications contest. The Delaware Press Association awarded Frank’s collection of short stories, First Time, second place for a collection by a single author, in their 2017 Communication contest. He is active in the Delaware Press Association, the Eastern Shore Writers Association, the Maryland Writers Association, and the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
FEH: Since our involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, those born after 1965, or under 53 have no appreciation for the impact of the large war, and how it tore the country apart as it continued as positions for and against the war hardened. It is important for our political future for citizens to learn about the past follies of war-loving politicians—Vietnam and Iraq 2.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
FEH: As a teenager and young adult, Mark Twain influenced me on how to use writing to describe and influence political events. His use of humor and sarcasm to make his readers remember his writing impressed me.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
FEH: Abandoned Home: Vietnam Revenge Murders was my fourth book, and I completed writing the novel within a year. My first novel, Unplanned Choices, took three years when I was in my formative stage of writing. Since then, I have developed my writing techniques, work habits, and editing efficiency allowing me to reduce the time for writing novels or short stories.

The next question includes a discussion of my writing techniques. Since I am a morning person, I would wake up early, five or six, and write for two, three or four hours. There were two processes that helped to improve my editing efficiency. First, I joined two critique groups and received periodic feedback on my drafts and suggestions for improving them. Second, I used automated editing and writing software, ProWritingAid, and MasterWriter to reduce my editing time and improve the clarity of the writing. However, I did not develop the cover for Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders, until I had almost finished the text, which added three months to the publication process. For my next book, a sequel to Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders, I will start developing the cover after completion of the first draft.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
FEH: There are three procedures I use to write novels. First, I develop a chapter outline. Second, I create an annotated outline, where each chapter’s annotation is the title of a scene or a narrative summary. Third, I create a large spreadsheet where the elements of the first row are the chapter headings, and the elements of the second row are the scenes. The data in the cells of the scene columns include characters, date, point of view, location, setting, first sentence, scene summary, transition sentence, and ideas for improving the scene in the next editing round. During the creative writing process I update the spreadsheet as I develop new ideas to improve the novel.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
FEH: Occasionally, I listen to classical music. There is no theme song for the book.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
FEH: I use the standard tools, including a website and Facebook page to develop a reading audience. However, I find the most effective method of recruiting new readers is to attend as many book signings as possible, whether at book stores, book festivals, writer’s conferences, or book clubs.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
FEH: Keep writing and improving your techniques. Developing writing skills is similar to improving your tennis or golf game. Practice, practice, and more practice is required to improve. In tennis you would never win if you still used a wooden racket. You’d always lose in golf if you still used old metal shafts. Similarly in writing, use automated software to improve writing efficiency, continue taking writing courses to maintain your skills, and never stop writing so your draft quality doesn’t deteriorate.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders?
FEH: Here you go: From Chapter 1

 ...He heard the crack before he felt his left leg disappear through the floorboards up to his knee. The initial sharp pain in his knee subsided immediately when the wood broke from the floor and fell to the crawlspace relieving the pain caused by the stabbing jagged wood. Dust rose from the broken floorboards, accompanied by the earthen smell of accumulated dead insects and small animal droppings. He feared he could have a broken leg and would become part of the abandoned home, perhaps decaying over the next several months into a trapped skeleton. That fear subsided as he felt his cell phone in his shorts’ pocket, and realized he hadn’t broken his leg as he could move it without a sharp pain.

 Paul looked through a crack in the broken floorboards and estimated the surface of the crawlspace at six inches below the bottom of his foot. Kneeling on his right leg he found he could not directly lift his injured leg through the destroyed floorboard. He had to use his arms to break the decayed wood around the initial hole so he could remove his leg by lifting his right knee, balancing on his hands and pulling the other leg though the widened hole. Returning his right knee to the dirty wooden floor, he placed his injured leg outstretched to the right of the hole.... After stabilizing his injured leg, he gazed into the crawlspace and saw sunlight pouring through the window reflecting off a skull.

DL: What’s next for you?
FEH: My current writing includes developing a sequel to Abandoned Homes: Vietnam Revenge Murders and writing short stories for my next short story collection. The new novel continues the adventures of Detective Margaret Hoffman and retired professor Paul O’Hare who met in the first novel. In this book they marry and investigate a massive embezzlement at a large Delaware credit card company, and survive an attack by one criminal. The book is set in Delaware and Greece, where the recently married couple spent their honeymoon. My short stories continue my adventures in writing humorous stories with a twist, initially presented in First Time.

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
• Website: http://www.frankehopkins.com
• Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B0028AR904?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true
• Facebook: http://facebook.com/hopkinsfe
• Book Buy Links:

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, July 29, 2018

A Review of The Family Business 3 : The Return of Vegas by Carl Weber with Treasure Hernandez

Carl Weber is known as the King of “Relationship” Drama but I have to say that his new series (The Family Business) has garnered him a new title…the King of “Crime” Drama. In part 3 of the series, Carl Weber has teamed up with Treasure Hernandez to craft a story where readers see Vegas in action after getting out of jail. He had no time to enjoy being with his family because he had to dive into action to neutralize a threat levied against the Duncan family by Brother Xavier.
You see Brother Xavier is the leader of the Islamic Black Panther Party (IBPP) and the husband of Sonya, Junior Duncan’s girlfriend. While locked up in jail, Sonya told him that she doesn’t love him anymore and that she wanted a divorce. Brother Xavier wasn’t taking this lightly and once he paid off Sergeant Jefferson and Captain Nugent to break out of jail, he began to wage war not only on the man who took his wife but the entire Duncan family.

It was a roller coaster ride of action, twists and turns that will leave you surprised at the end. The characters were well developed and I really loved that the entire Duncan family played a part in protecting the clan. I can’t wait to dive into part 4 to see what happens to a few folks I didn’t trust in part 3.
Fantastic read! Two thumps way up!

My favorite lines:

   “Look, go home through the tunnel and let me figure out how to sneak you in here.”

   “No, I’m on my way!” I was screaming at him now.

    “Don’t.” It was Vegas’s voice on the phone now. ‘We need you to be smart, because if anything happened to you, Mom would not make it. Just give us an hour, that’s all. Plus, you need to get Sonya to the house so that she’s safe. We’ll figure something out.”

   Where Orlando had sounded broken, Vegas sounded calm and in charge. I realized that he was talking sense. “Fine,” I said. We’ll go to the house, but if I don’t hear from you in an hour, know that I will be on my way.”

   “Of course. You’re a Duncan. And, Junior, this isn’t your fault. This is the life we live, and it was only going to be a matter of time.”

   I hung up, hoping that one day I would come to believe, like Vegas did, that I wasn’t to blame for all of this.

Rating: 5 stars  

Monday, July 16, 2018

Interview with Carol J. Dunlop, author of UN-Market Your Business: 10 Ways for Savvy Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting

Author’s Bio: Carol J. Dunlop is the founder and CCO at CSI Corporation, the company she founded more than twenty-three years ago with her husband Alvin. Carol is an Amazon #1 International Best-selling author of her book, UN-Market Your Business: 10 Ways for Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting.

She works with women entrepreneurs who struggle to market their business successfully online and is known as “The Online WOW! Strategist.” Carol currently speaks to women entrepreneurs about how “UN-Market” their business and utilize their website as their business hub. Her clients hail from cities across the U.S.A., the U.K., and Australia. Carol currently serves on the board for ProWIN, a women’s business networking group in Atlanta, co-founded and formerly served as the marketing mastermind behind Write Books That Sell Now, and also serves as the Graphic Design sponsor for Atlanta Women’s Network.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
CJD: I wrote the book to help women entrepreneurs market their business without breaking the bank.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
CJD: Growing up it was Mark Twain, I loved how he developed the Tom Sawyer character and all the mischief he got in. I lost myself in their adventures every time. As an adult, it was Terry McMillan. I was first introduced to her writing in Waiting to Exhale.” I have been a fan ever since.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
CJD: 90 Days.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
CJD: I definitely had to use an outline, otherwise I would still be writing.

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book? 
CJD: No, I don’t really like to listen to anything while I write, I actually like for it to be quiet. But a song for this book would be, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” because marketing is a dirty word to entrepreneurs, men and women alike, but its necessary. I wanted to show them that marketing your business really isn’t that bad, especially when you choose strategies that resonate with you and feels authentic to how you want to be seen and heard.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
CJD: The number one key that leads to success in marketing your book is knowing who your audience is. You can't write a book for "everyone," if you attempt it, you'll wind up affecting no one. Meaning no one will buy and no one will read your book. Get clear first on who you are writing the book for, meaning a specific group or segment of people. Once you figure that out, your marketing will be easier for you to create and easier for your target audience to find and buy.

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
CJD: My advice to aspiring writers is to write. You'll never get good or better at writing unless you actually write. Start writing social media posts, then blogging, then move to articles. The people who gravitate to your writing will gravitate to your book.

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from UN-Market Your Business: 10 Ways for Savvy Entrepreneurs to Stand Out, Stop Struggling, and Start Profiting?
CJD: Sure, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 2 The 2:00am Problem

What They Want

My mentor, Rob Schultz, is a business coach, speaker, and on-line strategist. He says that, to be successful, you have to sell your ideal prospects what they want, and then when they purchase, give them what they need.

That may sound counterintuitive, but it isn’t, and here’s why. Buying is an emotional decision; people buy what they want, not what they need. For example, your ideal prospects may wish they had more time in the day to do what needs to be done but have no idea how to accomplish this. Since you classify yourself as a productivity coach, you create a product that will help them.

Look at these two examples of marketing copy. Which one do you think would appeal to your ideal prospects in solving their problem?

1) How would you like to free up 2 hours in your day?
2) This scheduling software is easy to use.

Which example would grab your attention faster?

DL: What’s next for you?
CJD: Launching my Book Tour which kicks off in September in Philadelphia. I have 2 clients who each is holding a big event on the same weekend at the end of September and both of them wanted me to be there to help them with their marketing strategy. So, it’s going to be a busy last weekend in September!

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
• Website: www.csicorporation.com
• Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00WH9AN04
• Facebook: www.csicorporation.com/fbgroup
• Twitter: @csicorporation
• Blog: www.csicorporation.com/blog
• Book Buy Links: https://www.amazon.com/Market-Your-Business-Entrepreneurs-Struggling/dp/1978181795/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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, July 2, 2018

Interview with William J. Goyette, author of In Our Blood: A Jake Hawksworth Thriller

Author’s Bio: I'm the author of In Our Blood – the first in a series of detective thrillers featuring Jake Hawksworth. Jake isn't superhuman. He can't take on five guys at once, can't scale buildings, can't save the world from weapons of mass destruction. Jake is everyman. He's a flawed, complex character we can all relate to and want to root for.

Like Jake, I'm no superhero either. I'm more of a "word nerd," with my mind always in the "on" position. Right now, I have about a half dozen new ideas banging around in my head. When I'm not lost in my fictional world, I'm traveling the world with my wife, spending quality time with my two daughters, or rolling around on the ground with my dogs. And I do like to think that I'm their superhero.

DL: What’s the inspiration for writing your book?
WJG: For years, I’ve been creating stories in my head, and finally thought it was time to share some of these ideas with the world. My mind is always in the “on” position, with new characters and plots constantly materializing. At this moment, I have about half a dozen solid ideas for future novels banging around in my head.

DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
WJG: Throughout my school years, I read all the classics – Shakespeare, Hemingway, Steinbeck – but my guilty pleasures were crime novels by the likes of Raymond Chandler, and I devoured Stephen King novels. These days, I’m still a fan of crime fiction, but the author whose writing truly stands out to me is Dennis Lehane. His words just come to life and leave me with a sense of awe.

DL: How long did it take to write your book?
WJG: I actually started it years ago when my daughters were young. Life got in the way and the book collected dust. A couple of years ago, I decided it was time to get moving, so I dusted it off and started cranking.

DL: Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
WJG: I usually start with an outline, but stray so much from it that I eventually toss it aside and let the characters “tell me” what’s going to happen next!

DL: Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
WJG: No, I’m one of those guys who needs to get completely into the zone. I can’t have music, TV, phone or people around – any distractions and I’m done.

DL: What are the keys to success in marketing your book(s)?
WJG: I’m always thinking about ways in which I can make my book stand out from all the competition. I hit social media platforms as much as I can, targeting audiences outside of my usual sphere. But it’s important to really key in on your target audience – their interests, their behaviors. And, of course, there’s word of mouth. Any chance I get, I tout my book and tell people to spread the word!

DL: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
WJG: Keep at it. You will get frustrated. You will get discouraged. But, in the end, when you see your book in print, you will realize all the pain was worth it!

DL: How about sharing an excerpt from In Our Blood: A Jake Hawksworth Thriller?

Excerpt from Chapter 1

He scribbled down the address and padded to the bathroom.  The mirror on the wall was no dream child of Walt Disney.  And the muddled reflection frowning at him held no claim to The Land’s Fairest.  Hell, even Dopey had him beat there.

He wasn’t handsome, never had been.  Every school has that fat, homely kid who hides behind a clown mask.  Back at Jefferson Heights a thousand years ago, that clown had been Jacob Francis Hawksworth.

As he entered his twenties, Jake went from flabby to what he liked to call stocky.  His face took on a new shape, the absurdly wide nose that dominated it upstaged by a granite slab of a jaw that looked as if it had been Play-Doh’d on as an afterthought.  Eyebrows thick enough to be moustaches topped off brooding eyes.  A great look if you’re a gangster.

Or a homicide cop.

Now, more than thirty years later, he gazed sullenly at a face that looked an awful lot like that fat, awkward teenager again–with a lot less hair and plenty more wear and tear.

DL: What’s next for you?
WJG: I’m currently writing the next Jake Hawksworth mystery. It’s called Little Red Herrings and takes place at a remote writers’ retreat. Readers can expect a few plot twists and, of course, some murder and mayhem. I’m also working on a stand-alone novel called This Guy Walks Into a Bar... It’s a thriller about an Average Joe who gets mixed up with the Mafia. I still don’t know exactly where this one is headed, but it’s fun trying to figure it out!

DL: Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
• Website: https://outskirtspress.com/inourblood
• Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B07DP9BJ7W/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0?redirectedFromKindleDbs=true
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inourbloodbook/?modal=admin_todo_tour
• Book Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Our-Blood-Jake-Hawksworth-Thriller/dp/1478797592/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1530308200&sr=8-1&keywords=in+our+blood

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