Don Quixote: interview with Silvia Cachia

DonQuixoteDon Quixote:
interview with Silvia Cachia

As you know by now if you follow my blog, I have recently finished reading Don Quixote.
It was quite an adventure, reading the TWO parts, and also starting with Nick’s read-along, then with Silvia, and finally with Lory at The Emerald City.

I was really impressed by Silvia’s resources and input on Don Quixote, she calls is “MY classic”.
Now that I am done reading the book and am still pondering on its deep meaning, I decided to interview her, so that she could share her great insights with you, my readers.
Incidentally, we were both born and raised in Europe (in Spain for Silvia), but are now living in the US and blogging in English. We are both Christians.
Click to continue reading

The Root of Murder: interview and giveaway

Book Title The Root of Murder (A Lovers in Crime Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  332 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   March 20, 2019
Format available for review:  print, Audible download, mobi, epub, PDF
Will send print books out:  USA & Canada
Tour datesSeptember 9 to October 25, 2019
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr’s books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!
Book Description:

Homicide Detective Cameron Gates learned long ago that there is no such thing as a typical murder case. Each mystery is special in its own right—especially for the family of the victim.The homicide of a successful executive, husband, and father seems open and shut when the murder weapon is found in his estranged son-in-law’s possession. The circumstantial evidence is so damning that when her step-son, J.J. Thornton, agrees to act as the defendant’s public defender, he assumes his first murder case will be a loss. Only the report of a missing husband proves that this case is not as open and shut as it seems. Strap on your seat belts for a wild ride in this mystery rooted in decades of deception that sprouts into murder.

Buy the Book:
Amazon.com 

Add to Goodreads

Lauren Carr

Meet the author:    With over forty years of writing and publishing experience, international best-selling author Lauren Carr has played an active role in the revolution of independent authors.While studying for her college degree in English and journalism, Lauren worked as an editor and layout design artist with the federal government in Washington, DC. It was there that Lauren learned the foundations necessary for book publishing.

Lauren’s debut mystery, A Small Case of Murder was a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Awards. On the heels of that success, she accepted an offer from a traditional publisher for A Reunion to Die For.

When it came time to publish her third book, Lauren rejected offers from two traditional publishers, choosing instead to independently publish It’s Murder, My Son, which made it to #1 in sales on Amazon in cozy mysteries. She has never regretted her decision to become an independent author.

Realizing that she could use her experiences to help other writers achieve their dreams to become published authors, Lauren established Acorn Book Services, offering professional services to independent authors.

The international best-selling author of over twenty-five murder mysteries, Lauren has gone on dozens of virtual blog tours (most with iRead Book Tours!) and has seen first-hand that how an author publishes is irrelevant to success. The key is exposure to potential readers. Virtual blog tours are an excellent avenue for book promotion. Book spotlights, reviews, author guest posts and interviews are forever, unlike in-person book events, which become a memory as soon as they have finished.

With her vast experience, it seemed only natural for Lauren Carr to jump at the opportunity to join the iReads Book Tours team. She lives with her husband, and two spoiled rotten German shepherds on a mountain in West Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.

You can usually find Lauren plotting her next murder mystery in her writer’s studio on her mountaintop. Visit Lauren’s  website https://mysterylady.net/ to learn more about her murder mysteries, Acorn Book Services, and now iReads Book Tours!

Connect with the author:   Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR

  1. How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?

Twenty-five years. During that time I worked as an editor, layout designer both for the federal government and with my own company until my first book was released. All that time, I did freelance writing.

It wasn’t until I had finished my third book that I had an ah-hah moment. I realized that with my experience as an editor and layout designer that I had all the knowledge and technology to publish my own books. Amazon’s Createspace had just come about. Weeks after I made that decision, I received two offers from traditional publishers for It’s Murder, My Son. I turned down the offers, independently published the first Mac Faraday Mystery, and never looked back.

  1. How many hours a day do you write?

That’s a difficult question to answer. It varies. Actual time at my laptop averages to at least four hours a day. Sometimes more if the words are really coming. Even when I’m mot sitting at my laptop writing out words, I am working in my mind on plots and characters development and I consider that to be writing as well.

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energize. There have been times that I’ve sat down to write, saying that I was only going to write 500 words to finish a section. Then, I’ll look up at the clock and it is close to midnight and I’ve written a whole chapter. I’ll go to bed, telling myself that I need to get to sleep, but the words are still flowing in my head. After an hour of tossing and turning, I resign myself to the fact that I should have stayed up writing.

  1. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Writing for literary agents or publishers. This is a common occurrence I’ve seen at writers conferences. Believing that success can only come through literary agents and traditional publishers, writers go to conferences in search of snagging one.

Believing they must do whatever it takes to please these people, they write for them instead of writing for themselves. They fail to realize that when you write for other people, then your own voice is stifled. You’re looking for their words, not yours.

It was only when I made the conscious decision to write for myself, write what I wanted to write whether my books sold or not, that I became a best-selling author.

  1. Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

There’s a fine line between self-confidence and a big ego. You have to have self-confidence to put your book out there for other people, beyond friends and family, to read and (gasp!) leave reviews on book websites.

You also have to be confident enough to stand by your work. As a publisher and publishing consultant, I’ve worked with more than one author who’ve turned their book into a group project. They gave the unpublished manuscript to their friends and family. Then, they acted on every piece of advice given—changing entire plotlines to please them.

One cover artist I worked with refused to work with an author after the seventeenth revision. She’d discovered that the author was sending the proof for the cover around to all of his friends for their input. Then he’d go back to the artist to incorporate their suggestions.

These incidents are symptoms of a great lack of confidence.

Having said that, you have to be open to criticism in order to hone your skills as an author. For example, after the publication of my second book, I received a couple of reviews stating that I had too many characters. I have multiple characters for a reason. I don’t want readers to toss a coin to decide who the killer is.

My mysteries encompass various characters with their own agendas. Reducing the number of characters would take away from the complexity of my mysteries, which is an important part of my brand.

My ego could have rejected this criticism, but I didn’t. My solution: Include a cast of characters, by order of appearance, in the front pages of my mysteries. The cast of characters includes a line or two, just enough to remind the reader of who they are.

Since I have started including the cast of characters, numerous reviewers have proclaimed that every book should include a cast of characters. I guess my books aren’t the only ones that leave readers confused about who-is-who.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Not really. This isn’t to say that all writers are sniveling bags of emotion. But I do believe that they have to be sensitive enough to situations connect with their characters’ emotions and portray them on the page. Otherwise, I believe the writer would have trouble pulling their readers into the story.

  1. Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Yes! I get a serious case of reader’s block when I’m well into writing a novel. I’m like a dog with a bone when I start writing a book. That’s all I can think about. Once the words start flowing, it is difficult for me to set my book aside to read someone else’s book.

Also, being a writer, I read books differently than other people. I have found that I cannot read a book for enjoyment anymore. Anytime I pick up a book, I find myself “working.” I study the plotline, examine the writing, and dissect the characters.

The best way to describe reading for me is to compare it to a chef eating at another chef’s restaurant. He doesn’t taste food the way anyone else would. While other diners taste a dish and declare it good, he would separate the flavors and examine the texture of the vegetables.

There are so many good books out there. Sometimes, I wish I could just sit back and enjoy them the way I used to.

  1. What are you working on next?

I’m really excited to be working on the next Thorny Rose Mystery. I had started a new Mac Faraday mystery for Christmas, but Murphy Thornton started whispering in my ear and he is sooo persuasive.

The fourth installment in the Thorny Rose Mysteries is entitled 13.

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and assassin.

Even after numerous investigations proving otherwise, conspiracy theorists still argue that the would-be assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital and the government was involved in a massive cover-up.

An aspiring author who spent more time enjoying his executive wife’s money than writing, Dean Conway is the last person with whom Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton USN wanted to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest unfinished work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an unknown investigative journalist who’d died suddenly months earlier.

“She was number twelve you know,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy askes while looking for someone, anyone, to offer him an escape.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating the assassination have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean Conway dies suddenly, but not without sending a text message to Murphy.

“13.”

That caught Murphy’s attention.

***

Praise for Lauren Carr’s Mysteries:
“Lauren Carr could give Agatha Christie a run for her money!”
– Charlene Mabie-Gamble, Literary R&R
“As always, Lauren Carr brings an action-packed story that is almost impossible to put down. Her mystery plots have so many twists and turns that I didn’t know if I was coming or going. And the action just didn’t stop from the very beginning till the very end.” – Melina Mason, Melina’s Book Reviews
***

BOOK TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sept 9 –  Rockin Book Reviews – review of The Root of Murder / guest post / 
  Lovers in Crime series spotlight / giveaway
Sept 9 – Working Mommy Journal – review The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 9 – Amy’s Booket List – review The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 10 – The Quirky Romantic – review of The Root of Murder / author interview / giveaway

Sept 10 – Hall Ways Blog – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Sept 10 – Life as Leels – review of Dead on Ice
Sept 11 – Literary Flits – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 11 – My Reading Journeys – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Sept 12 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 12 –  A Fountain of Books – review of Dead on Ice 
Sept 12 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Killer in the Band (audible) / giveaway
Sept 13 – Words and Peace – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Sept 16 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Sept 16 – Working Mommy Journal – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Sept 16 – Amy’s Booket List – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway
Sept 17 – Hall Ways Blog – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 17 –  Laura’s Interests – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Sept 18 – Literary Flits – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway 
Sept 18 – Read and Review – book spotlight / guest post
Sept 18 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – review of The Root of Murder / series spotlight
Sept 19 – #Redhead.with.Book – Lovers in Crime Series book spotlight / giveaway
Sept 19 – Life as Leels – review of Real Murder
Sept 20 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Sept 20 – Nighttime Reading Center – review of Real Murder / giveaway

Sept 23 – Amy’s Booket List – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Sept 23 – Christa Reads and Writes – review of The Root of Murder / series spotlight  / giveaway
Sept 24 – Fundinmental – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 24  A Fountain of Books – review of The Real Murder 
Sept 25 – Library of Clean Reads – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 25  Laura’s Interests – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Sept 26 – FUONLYKNEW – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Sept 26 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – review of The Root of Murder / guest post 
Sept 27 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Sept 30 – Amy’s Booket List – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Sept 30 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Sept 30 – Life as Leels – review of The Root of Murder
Sept 30 – 
Older & Smarter? – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 1 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Oct 1 – Dab of Darkness – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Oct 2 – Literary Flits – review of Real Murder
Oct 3 – Books for Books – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Oct 3 –  My Reading Journeys – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Oct 4 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway
Oct 7 – Bound 4 Escape – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Oct 8 –  A Fountain of Books – review of Killer in the Band 
Oct 9 – I’m All About Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 9 – Kristin’s Novel Cafe – review of The Root of Murder
Oct 10 – Books for Books – review of Real Murder  / giveaway
Oct 10 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway
Oct 10 – Locks, Hooks, and Books – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 11 – Pause for Tales – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 14 – Celtic Lady’s Reviews – Lovers in Crime series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 14 –  My Reading Journeys – review of The Root of Murder / guest post / giveaway
Oct 15 – Dab of Darkness – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway
Oct 15 – Bound 4 Escape – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 16 – A Fountain of Books – review of The Root of Murder / author interview 
Oct 17 – Books for Books – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway
Oct 18 – B for Bookreview – Lovers in Crime series book spotlight / author interview
Oct 21- 
Nighttime Reading Center – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 21 – Laura’s Interests – review of The Root of Murder / guest post / giveaway
Oct 22 – Dab of Darkness – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 22 – Books Are Love – review of Dead on Ice / giveaway
Oct 23 – Books Are Love – review of Real Murder / giveaway
Oct 23 – Books for Books – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 24 – JBronder Book Reviews – review of The Root of Murder / series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 24 – Books Are Love – review of Killer in the Band / giveaway
Oct 25 – Jypsylynn  – review of The Root of Murder

Oct 25 – Adventurous Jessy – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 25 – Books Are Love – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway
Oct 25 – Svetlana’s Reads and Views – review of The Root of Murder / giveaway

Interview and giveaway: Free Pizza, by G.C. McRae

Interview and giveaway:
Free Pizza, by G.C. McRae

Book Details:
Book Title: Free Pizza by G.C. McRae
Category: Middle-Grade Fiction, 360 pages
Genre: Humorous Fiction
Publisher: MacDonald Warne Media
Release date: May 1, 2019
Tour dates: May 1 to 17, 2019
Content Rating: PG (No sex or drugs, just mild expletives such as “hell” and “damn”.)

Book Description:

Brian McSpadden is always hungry. Does he have a disease? Worms? Does it have something to do with his being adopted? He spends his days at his crazy friend Danny’s house, hoping for snacks, but nothing seems to fill the void.

Then Brian receives a mysterious birthday card that says, Free Pizza. He soon discovers the card has nothing to do with food and everything to do with the big questions in his life: where did I come from, why did my mother give me up and is there anyone out there who will like me the way I am?

To read reviews, please visit G.C. McRae’s page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:
Meet the Author:
 

G.C. McRae is the bestselling author of two young adult novels, three illustrated children’s books and a collection of original fairy tales. His writing is fall-down funny, even when the theme is darker than a coal miner’s cough. McRae reads to anybody at any time, in person or online, for free, which probably explains why he meets so many people and sells so many books.

In his latest work, Free Pizza, McRae spins the highly emotional themes from his decidedly unfunny childhood into a brilliantly comic yarn. After being given up for adoption by his teenage mom back when single girls were forced to hide unplanned pregnancies, his adoptive parents didn’t exactly keep him under the stairs but, well, let’s just say, there were spiders.

A lot has changed since then. McRae’s own children have now grown and he runs a small farm with his wife, who is herself an award-winning writer.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ LibraryThing

Interview

Thanks for joining us. In Free Pizza, you integrated the whole arc of an adoption reunion into an urban adventure story. How did that come about?

Free Pizza was my first novel. It was too big and complex to be publishable at first and took years to whittle down to shape. Because it was my first novel, I was still learning and I did exactly as the experts advise: write what you know. I was 25 at the time I started writing the book. I had a new baby and was right in the midst of searching for my own birth mother. I think it all got stirred into the same pot while I was writing.

Did you end up finding your own birth mother?

I did. I talked to her for the first time on the phone on my 40th birthday.

So you’d been searching for 15 years.

Actual searching, yes. Phoning, travelling, visiting graveyards in little towns, interviewing people.

What was it like talking to her for the first time?

Amazing, obviously. Her laugh just slayed me – it sounded so familiar. That experience really informed the character of Brian in the book. He meets his birth mother when he’s 12. But I tell you, during the experience, I sure felt like I was 12 again.

In writing about something so sentimental, things could have gone horribly wrong.

I know! I didn’t want the story to devolve into a big sob-fest. I tried to approach the reunion from a lot of different sides. Happiness isn’t the only emotion involved. There’s also a huge fear of renewed rejection. I hope I captured a bit of the reality of it all.

Aside from Brian, are any of the characters modelled after anyone you know?

Brian’s adoptive mother is a tame version of my own mother. His adoptive father is a complete invention, as are Danny’s parents. Danny is drawn from my friends when I was a kid, mostly my friend Claude. We got up to so much mischief as kids that my father banned me from ever seeing him again. He even got the school to keep us in separate classes all through junior high. The book is dedicated to Claude.

I was amused to discover the double meaning of the title. Could you tell our readers a bit about that?

Sure. Being twelve, Brian is hungry all the time. So when he receives a birthday card from this weird aunt that says, ‘Free Pizza’, he thinks his aunt knows of his plight and is sending him a gift card. But when he opens it, he finds it’s not a gift card at all. Instead, his aunt has donated to a fund-raiser in his name. The fund-raiser is to improve the life of a young polar bear who lives in a small enclosure in a Chinese shopping mall. The bear’s name is Pizza. So the card literally means, Free the Polar Bear Named Pizza.

The birthday card becomes quite significant. The polar bear is symbolic.

It is. The polar bear becomes a symbol of being displaced, of being alienated from your place of origin. Brian’s father makes the point that the fundraiser is useless. The arctic is melting and the polar bear can never go home again. And that’s the thing I discovered after meeting my own birth mother. She had her own big life that had nothing to do with me. There was no going home.

What’s next for you?

I’m doing a sequel to my comedy/science fiction book, Kana and the Red Pilot. Then it’s right back to writing original fairy tales.

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends May 25, 2019

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