MEET SUSAN FAW

I really should run a competition for the ‘spot the typo’ on my blogs, for the moment they go live, I always see one – despite reading them very, very carefully. Let’s see what this week’s error is 🙂

My guest today is Susan Faw who writes fantasy fiction for the YA age group – and she’s won an award for her work – so please read on.

SUSAN FAW

Do you know when I first decided I wanted to be an author?

No, it wasn’t after reading Harry Potter. It was when I was about 4 years old.

My sister and I used to play a game before we could read before we were even school aged, where we would pick a picture at random from the only magazine my parents would allow in the house – The National Geographic Magazine. We would play school and whoever was the ‘teacher’ would make up a story about a picture and the other would have to ask questions.

You see, people love stories. Children love stories. Even back then I loved books and loved to tell a story.

And I still love to tell stories.

Which brings me to Harry Potter. Harry Potter did not create my love of stories. What Harry Potter did for me, was introduce me to a woman, a single mom, who was destitute and nigh unto homeless.

J.K. Rowling wrote the first book of the Harry Potter Series, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, in an unfurnished flat in London after fleeing an abusive relationship with her infant daughter. She lay on the floor of her flat day after day and wrote, and when Jessica was sleeping, she pushed the pram to a cafe and wrote some more. She was a university educated single parent, hungry, poverty-stricken and relying on food banks.

Yet despite the trials in her life, she wrote. Despite her situation, she wrote. She wrote because she believed in herself.

She wrote because she LOVED TO WRITE.

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I am also an avid reader and an unashamed fan of the Harry Potter series. Jo got one thing right, that so many authors forget. That in order to write, you just first love to read.

J.K. Rowling managed, in a day where electronics are king, to get kids and teens to put down their phones and their I-pads and turn off their TV’s to pick up a book. Not just any book, but a heavy many-hundred paged hardcover book and READ.

To me, that is true magic, in its purest form. She is my hero, she is whom I aspire to be. An author people want to read. For the money? No, although money is nice! I write for the pure joy of a story well told; to make a connection and be able to share the joy of new worlds with someone you have never and may never meet. The joy that comes from reading is the essence of real magic.

I would be thrilled to hear if you have one of my books and if you have taken the time out of your busy lives to try out my series if so I am so glad to have you along for the journey!

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I love connecting with my readers and others who share the same geeky fandom love. Come chat with me and tell me what are your favorite fantasy book series?

Find me on twitter: https://twitter.com/susandfaw
Find me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanFaw
Or visit me on my website at http://susanfaw.com
Sign up for my newsletter for the latest news on new releases!
And last but not least, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susanfawauthor/

Come chat! I assure you, I love to talk too!

Thank you, Susan. I have such admiration for writers who can connect with young people and also admire JK for what she achieved. Thank you for being my guest.


 

 

 

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I JUST CAN’T GET IT LARGER!

How about a Christmas present for me? It won’t cost you more than a moment and very little effort. I’m asking all you FABULOUS people out there for a re-blog of this post (flatter them p 148 of How to Win Friends and Influence People).

You see I have been trying to build up my email list like, well forever. Everyone I know has thousands and thousands and thousands of names and I’ve struggled to reach even a limited number – (you may sigh here).  Now I know the fake news going around that the Big A is about to go bust is nonsense and that we will only be able to sell our books all by ourselves, but I do see it’s a very good idea to have a healthy mail list a little larger than your friends and family – and I have a very small family. I’m fed up with sending dozens of copies of my newsletter to DH and myself over and over again.  He’s now threatening to unsubscribe!

I am sending out my Christmas newsletter on Saturday, December 23rd and my subscribers will get a free copy of:

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Amie African Adventure which has done really well and won lots of awards from individual readers and international awards and 173 reviews (unless some have gone AWOL while I type this!)

And that’s not all. Subscribers will be able to download Part 2 of The very Worst Riding School in the World – which is only available from my newsletter and will NEVER be on general sale.

WRS Kindle Cover book 2 (1)

Part 1 is available free on the Big A and wide and is also free so you can grab that short read if you have got this far.

https://www.books2read.com/u/bw8May

And that’s not all!!  (Amazing isn’t it?)

There are now 12 chapters of the Amie back stories and these build up month by month to download for free.

Amie Back Story v2.1

Sam, Amie’s spoilt brat of a sister, is taking her first overseas holiday with boyfriend Gerri and they are getting into all sorts of trouble in Spain – he’s landed in jail and she’s spent several hours in the lift between floors. The other character who features is Ben, who was Amie’s cameraman in book 1, she meets up with him in book 2 and he plays a huge part in book 5 which is still in progress.  DH has designed this lovely cover for the backstories.

Oh, and before I forget there is also a bit of rubbish blurb from me and if you would like me to feature your book, then let me know by this Friday morning (it takes me hours to sort out the techie stuff on MailChimp).  I’m not sure whose twisted mind designed it all but if you know who it is, advise them to steer clear.  So I think my newsletter is really good value and it only goes out once a month, twice at most. OK, I’ve finished groveling now and it only remains to wish you all a Wonderful Christmas with friends and family or a good book (preferably mine 🙂 )  and a Happy, Healthy and Brilliant 2018.  With love from Lucinda.

 

MEET CAROL GRAHAM

Carol Graham is one of my most favourite people on Facebook. She works tirelessly for other authors and her radio show is heard all over the world. It was one of the nicest radio interviews I’ve ever done, such a lovely friendly lady. Carol has not had an easy time of it but she’s a survivor.

CAROL GRAHAM

Carol Graham has survived the challenges of major illnesses, devastating personal losses and financial ruin more than once, yet has refused to become a victim.

She writes for several monthly columns in various publications.  She has been published in many anthologies including a best-seller.  In 2015, Carol received the Woman of Impact Award from Focus on Women Magazine and Author of the Year for her memoir, Battered Hope.

Carol hosts a bi-weekly show “Never Ever Give Up Hope,” is an international keynote speaker, jewelry store owner and a certified health coach.  Carol has five grandchildren and has rescued over 30 dogs.

How did Carol come to write her autobiography? It’s a delightful story.

Writing a memoir, when it means dredging up painful memories you have buried for decades, is never easy. However, putting pen to paper changed my life forever.

When my daughter turned sixteen, she went on a trip for fourteen days and asked us to take care of her new puppy, a miniature Dachshund. This little guy’s name was Louis Vuitton and he was one smart fellow.

My husband and I were sitting in the living room when we heard an awful commotion upstairs followed by the thump-thumping of something heavy being dragged down the stairs.  I peeked around the corner and saw this little six-month-old puppy with short legs laboriously dragging his large, hard-sided Louis Vuitton carrier down fourteen stairs.

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He glanced at us, wagged his tail and scurried back up the stairs. “What do you think he is doing?” We sat in amazement as one by one he dragged his worldly possessions down those stairs. First his blankie, then his bowl, his bone, ball and his sweater. Wait! There’s something else! One last trip – his leash.

What happened next caused us to sit on the sofa with our mouths hanging open. He took each item and placed them into the carrier. This was not easy as the carrier was considerably taller than he was – please remember he is a miniature Dachshund with very short legs.

After he finished packing his “suitcase,” he attempted to jump inside. It took several tries but he made it. Oh, my goodness he wasn’t done yet. Once inside, he got the zipper between his teeth and with all the strength he could muster, he pulled the zipper closed, laid down and went to sleep.

The message was abundantly clear. He wanted to go see his mommy. He had seen her pack her suitcase and go away. He must do the same so he could find her. He stayed there all night and when I unzipped the carrier in the morning, he was elated believing he had arrived – but mommy was not there. He was still at Gramma’s house. After lots of cuddles, I had a great idea to start making notes of his escapades.

After two weeks, I had completed Louie’s journal written from HIS perspective and it was hilarious. For Christmas that year, I turned this journal into a hardbound book. When my daughter saw her gift, she laughed and cried at the same time. I will never forget the staccato words she spoke, “Mom, NOW will….you…… write…… your…… story?” She began a campaign and no matter what excuse I gave her, she squelched it until I finally said “Yes!” just to make her stop!

It was inevitable. I had to do it. No excuses. No delays. It took almost ten years to complete. Thus, began my therapeutic journey to visit places I never wanted to go to again. Twelve chapters with twelve major traumas. Although a survivor of numerous situations that would make most people roll over and quit, I never regarded myself as a victim – only as a victor.

Battered Hope front cover

Battered Hope is written as a novel – opening as a mystery and continuing by making the reader wonder if the author will survive.

Publishing Battered Hope changed my life. It opened doors to international speaking engagements and my talk show, Never Ever Give Up Hope, now heard in over 140 countries which ranks number one in Google search results for the message of hope.

http://amzn.to/1wEwEsN

I owe it all to a little dog, Louis Vuitton.

Everyone makes choices — some good, some not so good. The difficulty is learning to live with them. Author, Carol Graham learned the long term effects of one bad choice that led her life into a downward spiral. Her sharpest memories were shrouded in darkness and no amount of hope in the future could change the past. She wanted to find her reset button but the only thing she could do was to put one foot in front of the other and continue, hoping each cloud had a silver lining. It is not a story of an abusive or sordid childhood but one of mistakes, poor choices and circumstances as an adult that developed into a series of major losses in physical, financial and emotional arenas. Her story of triumph shows incredible strength, tenacity and sheer determination to become successful against all odds.

You can connect with Carol here.

MONSTERS AND MONARCHS

ALL AMIE BOOKS OCT 2017Now on the first Monday of the month, I usually write about a book thing rather than my travels – such as they are. Right now I’m in the “Shall I, shan’t I?” stage regarding my next book. Do other writers suffer a sort of empty nest syndrome after launching their latest offering out into the world to meet the general public? (Not that Amie has gone anywhere she’s still lurking in the shadows!)

This time after the flurry of all the screaming and shrieking about the launch – delicately of course – I sat back and thought ‘what now?’ I was physically and emotionally drained. At that point, I heard a little voice from under the bed crying out to me. Don’t laugh! I’m a very sensitive person and I have these flashes occasionally. It was Horatio, begging to be let out.

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Back in the 1980s, I wrote several short stories for children which went out on the South African Broadcasting Service. They asked for more Horatio tales, but I had a miserly thought that instead of receiving a few Rand for every flighting I could add a few extra stories and have a whole book. Of course, this would sell millions overnight and I’d be off on my mega yacht in no time at all. I submitted a different series of stories about a witch to the SABC, completed Horatio and gave the manuscript to my then agent. I even produced what I now know is called swag to go with it.

I understand she tried Penguin in London who wrinkled their noses and that was that under the bed it went in South Africa, through 10 house moves, then packed into a cardboard box and flown to Spain and thrown under yet another bed, along with all those awards I shall never look at again.

So in my indecisive mood I decided to take action – not an easy feat getting under our bed the hydraulic lift thingie doesn’t work too well and I nearly sliced off an arm hoisting it out. Would you believe the two copies I have are typewritten on real, old-fashioned paper!

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Yes, that’s how long ago I wrote it. So now I’m labouring away, got an illustrator lined up and soon I will pluck up the courage to tell DH that the next offering will have pictures in it! I must just tell myself that I will not have a nervous breakdown trying to get it out for Xmas, or I’ll aim for Christmas 2018.

Since I’m already out there in 3 genres, what’s one more? I’m probably schizophrenic as it is, and it gives Amie a break for a couple of months.

HISTORY

Not only was Edward or David as he was called – they like things to be very complicated, downgraded to a Duke, the British royal family refused to be friends with him. He had broken the unwritten rules by saying he didn’t want to be a king anymore.

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That was not on. If you are born a king or queen then you become a king or queen and you rule whether you like it or not and you stay ruling until you go to the big throne room in the sky.

The House of Windsor does not do this abdication thing and let the youngsters take over and have a go. In the UK the Heir Apparent might wait for years and years and years.

But there was no stopping Edward from making history and after a lot of fuss, his younger brother had to step in and take over.

THE BOASTING BIT

AMIE 1 AWARDS 18 OCT 2017

Just have to share with you that October was a great month with two really unexpected awards. Amie African Adventure was a Finalist in the Book Excellence Awards in the Adventure category and a Finalist in the IAN awards in Literary Fiction.

And, Walking over Eggshells was a Finalist for First Non-Fiction in the IAN Awards, so I am very thrilled.

Till next week, take care.

MEET MARY L SCHMIDT

Today my guest is one of my favourite authors and I’m so pleased to welcome her to my blog. She has won so many awards with her first book that it’s becoming difficult to read the title on the cover! I read and reviewed her book and was overwhelmed with what she went through, I sobbed my way through it! But it has a happy ending as Mary is one of life’s survivors (whoops, was that a spoiler?) Learn more about this amazing lady.

 

Circa2011

Mary Schmidt writes under the pen name of S. Jackson and her husband, Michael, writes under the pen name of A. Raymond. Both grew up in the middle of Kansas, and they are eclectic authors having written 15 books thus far. They enjoy traveling, reading, poker, enjoying the mountains, and playing with two year old grandson, Austin.

I knew I would write a book eventually back in 1990. That year was a rough one for me and my family personally, and I’ve kept journals most of my life. I had many stories to tell but I wasn’t quite ready, mentally or emotionally, in going headlong into a 376 page book. When 2013 rolled around, I knew then that I was going to put words and stories from my journals into digital format.

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The hardest and most difficult part initially was actually going into and reading my journals from 1989 – 1990 as my first book is Non-Fiction/Spiritual in nature. I knew my book had to be written and I knew the many messages in my book needed to be published, so that hopefully I could help others through difficult times in their lives or the lives of others they knew. The timing was right as I had left nursing in December 2012. My first book was extremely difficult since the stories were real. Some days I could write one sentence and then I was done for the day. Other days I could write more.  From that was born When Angels Fly. From now through the end of October, When Angels Fly is 0.99 cents!

I have three books I would like to touch on in this post. These are books for children and I saw that Mary got a bronze medal from Reader’s Favorite for The Big cheese Festival. 

Awards:

2016 New Apple Official Selection E-Book Award

2016 Ring of Honor Circle of Books Silver Second Place Award

2016 McGrath House Independent Book Awards Finalist

2016 Number One Amazon Best Seller

2016 Reader’s Favorite Five Stars

2017 Literary Titan Silver 2nd Place Award

These are the American links for Mary’s books.

When Angels Fly https://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B017UNVWDI

The Big cheese Festival – a book for children about bullying.

http://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B01H3S381O

Shadow and Friends Celebrate Ellsworth, KS 150th Birthday

http://www.amazon.com/ebook/dp/B072TPMDRH

Mary, it’s been great having you as a guest this week.

 

 

MEET LINDA KOVIC-SKOW

My guest this week is Linda Kovic-Skow (and I forgot to ask her the origin of her surname it’s very unusual). She’s written books about her time in France which I thoroughly enjoyed.

LINDA KOVIC-SLOW

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Originally from Seattle, I currently winter in Saint Petersburg, Florida and spend summers on a boat in the Pacific Northwest Waters of Washington and British Columbia. I’ve been married for 32 years and I have two daughters. I am an enthusiastic traveler, but I also enjoy hiking, boating, reading, gardening and socializing with friends.

 

Can you tell us about your memoirs?

In the summer of 1979, when I was twenty-one and working as a medical assistant, I wanted a career change. I was thrilled when my resume landed me an interview with World Airways, but they encouraged all of their flight attendants to speak a second language. I was broke at the time, so I decided that French immersion was the best solution, and a job as an au pair would enable me to accomplish my goal in the shortest amount of time. To secure the position, I…er…well…I lied on my application and pretended to speak the language—fully aware my lie would be discovered once I arrived at my destination. Based on my diaries, French Illusions: My Story as an American Au Pair in the Loire Valley, recounts my adventure working as a nanny in France. The sequel, French Illusions: From Tours to Paris, recounts the rest of my adventure in France.LINDA 1

Were these difficult books to write?

I have to admit writing my memoir was a lot more complex than I initially imagined it would be. My diary offered a great outline, but I had to research and fill in, hard-to-find data on the Loire Valley, the Loire River and the town of Tours. Internet searches produced most of the information and travel books supplied the rest. From the beginning, difficult questions emerged, such as how to deal with the French sprinkled throughout the book, and how to format my internal thoughts. Oh, and I really struggled with how much detail to include in my own love scenes. Wiping the sweat off my brow, I wrote and then rewrote these scenes until I could read them without squirming in my seat.

LINDA 2

Do you have a favorite chapter in either of your books? Why?

 Ahhh…my favorite chapters to write came in the last section of my memoir. Throughout most of the story, circumstances required me to internalize my discontent and unhappiness with my employer at the Château de Montclair. Within these last pages, I finally had the opportunity to expose my true feelings in vivid scenes filled with passion and drama. It was a thrilling, rewarding experience.

 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book? If yes, where can readers find it?

Yes. You will find my video at http://lindakovicskow.com. I searched the internet for weeks, listening to French music, trying to choose a song for my book trailer. When I heard “Imposture” by Danielle Pauly, from the album Café de Paris, my heart lurched. I loved the melody. I wasn’t sure what the title meant in French so I looked up the translation. It meant “fraud.” The song was perfect.

Linda Kovic-Skow is an award-winning nonfiction travel author. She is also the creator of AmazingAudioBooks.com, a website where you’ll find highly-rated audiobooks for $15 or less. (This I took from her author page – and, I see she has a blog too. When you read this Linda please send me the link).

Do your books have an underlying message that readers should know about?

Set in the beautiful Loire Valley, my memoir will remind older readers what it was like to be young, adventurous and filled with dreams. Younger readers will relate to the difficult decisions women make as they transition into adulthood. My hope is that both of these groups will come away from my book realizing it’s not too late to create your own memories. Go out and explore the world. Life’s for living, after all.

What is the most rewarding part of being an author?

Once I published my memoir and put it out there to the world, I hoped, more than anything else, that people would enjoy it. Positive reviews, whether voiced or written, put me over the moon with happiness.

My website: http://lindakovicskow.com

Put some time aside one weekend and dive into Linda’s books, you won’t regret it! And thank you Linda.

Till next time, take care.

 

MEET SUSAN NAVAS

A very warm welcome to Susan Navas who writes books for children. I was so taken with them that I bought some for a young relative for her birthday. We’ve been Facebook friends like forever and she is going to be living in Spain for part of each year so we have that in common as well.  Over to Sue.

SusanNavasPhoto

What and where is home? Until recently I always had a deep feeling of not belonging anywhere. Nowadays, my partner and I spend our time flitting between our two homes, one in a market town in Cambridgeshire and the other in the heart of rural Andalucia. The contrast is great, but oddly, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’ve found home.

I come from a multicultural family. My father’s parents were Polish Jews and my mother is Spanish. Somehow I always felt I was stuck between both of these cultures, these worlds, living in England at the same time and never seeming to fit in any ‘pigeonhole’. Agnil, the main character of my Agnil’s Worlds series for children is a fantasy reflection of that.

So what happens when an ordinary ten-year-old girl finds out she’s a half-elf? Sliding between worlds, Agnil rescues the elves from many dangers, but can she fulfil the most difficult quest of all – to bring her parents back together?The Rise of Agnil Front LR

The Rise of Agnil is the first book of the Agnil’s Worlds series. When Aggie goes fishing on her own for the first time and is dragged into the river by a shape-changing elf, her life is turned upside-down! Everything she thought she knew about herself is about to be challenged.

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The second book in the series, Agnil and the Wizard’s Orb, picks up on the theme and finds Agnil, the half-elf, being bullied at school because of her slightly pointy ears – a visible sign of her difference from ordinary people. The book explores racism, apartheid and persecution. Yes, all through a story about elves.

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Book three, Agnil and the Tree Spirits, picks up on an eco theme. The plight of forests has long been close to my heart. In Lilurrian, one of the eight elf worlds, tree spirits and elves live in harmony with nature in a beautiful forest. The Great Library, the centre of elf learning and culture, lies at its heart. When the Navigator sets out to mine the crystals of Lilurrian, the whole forest is under threat of destruction. How can Agnil, the half-elf, prevent this disaster? Who is the Navigator and what does he really want?

CentaursSecret

The final book is called Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret. When coming up with the story, I took inspiration from the famous Rosetta Stone, which had enabled Egyptian hieroglyphics to finally be deciphered. The Book of Kalon holds secrets that neither elves nor tree spirits can decipher. When the last centaur was killed, the secrets became locked within the book’s pages for thousands of years. Only Professor Silver can read it, but first Agnil must seek help from an unexpected ally. Will Agnil finally share her own huge secret with her dad, or will she hide it from him forever?

Agnil’s Worlds is a fantasy adventure series aimed at children aged 7-10 years.

Now when I asked Susan to tell me about her books, she modestly forgot to mention the award she got, but I found a picture of it.

SUSAN UK PRIZE

Amazon links

The Rise of Agnil: http://smarturl.it/AmzAgnil1

Agnil and the Wizard’s Orb: http://smarturl.it/AmzWizard

Agnil and the Tree Spirits: http://smarturl.it/TreeSpirits

Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret: http://smarturl.it/AmazonCentaur

Thank you, Susan, and do go take a look at her books, we must all know young people who love to read, or should be forced encouraged to read and these would make great presents.

Till next time, take care.