Author Interview, Hillary E. Peak


Author Interview #39, with lawyer and “recovering idealist,” Hillary E. Peak!

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Hi Hillary! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Recovering idealist, lawyer, aspiring author.

Please share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):


What amazed me the most was that not all of the guys became fluent. Remember, my medical education was five years, not the four it is here in the states. There was a guy in my class, he became quite a famous psychiatrist, we were walking with his wife and his son toward the end of our fifth year.

I can still see his little boy, who was almost five, running out in front of us. He turned to his father and said, “Papa, regarder un oiseau!” Which means, ‘Dad, look a bird. ’

My friend turned to his wife and said, ‘Ellie, what the hell is a oiseau?’

Can you imagine? Five years in a French speaking country, and he didn’t have any idea what his own child was saying.” Dad rolled his eyes contemptuously.

“In fact, his French was so bad, that he didn’t earn the same degree the rest of us earned. We all became real doctors, but he got a certificate saying that he had been in school for five years. I thought that was crazy — spending all that time and money and ending up with nothing. But I was wrong because he minted money as a psychiatrist.” His lips pursed a little, and his nostrils flared irritated, with perhaps, a hint of jealousy.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

When the lights went off the accompanist kissed her.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is fun. Publishing and promoting is not—it is HARD, HARD work!

Yes ;)! What is your definition of “good writing”?

Something I can’t wait to get home to read. Anything where I’m thinking about it later.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Keep writing! The more you write, the better you get.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:


Twitter | Facebook

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Much thanks to Hillary for stopping by! Be sure to check out her website for more info about Hillary and her books.

Author Interview, Topher Sanders


Author Interview #38, with the music-obsessed Topher Sanders!

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Hi Topher! Please describe yourself in 5 words:

Husband. Father. Silly. Geeky. Music-Obsessed.

Please share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):


Courtney and I talked for another two hours. It turned out we had a mutual obsession for Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica.

“Absolutely not,” he said. “There’s no way Captain Picard is a better leader than Admiral Adama.”

“What,” I said. “Are you kiddin’ me? All Adama had to do was fight the Cylons — and he never did that very well mind you — he never had to deal with Borg or Q or the Klingons.”

“Well, Picard didn’t deal with them all that well, now did he?” he said. “He did get his ass assimilated.”

We both laughed.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

He was an introvert who trembled with fear every time gym class rolled around. He watched nerd shows like “Doctor Who” and “Blake’s 7,” could tell you the difference between a Veritech fighter and a Zentraedi battle pod, and he used a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like “indefatigable” and “ubiquitous” when talking to niggers who would barely graduate from high school.

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

People often talk about the writing process as the hard part. I know a lot of cats with multiple half-written manuscripts. Writing your novel is really the easy phase, it’s that one-page synopsis of your 120,000-word opus that’s a real bitch. The publication process can be brutal, but it’s a matter of how badly you want to share your creation with the world. If you believe in your project and you’ve worked hard to get it clean and ready for eyes, then publish it. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and do some more work to promote it, but it’s your book and you love it. You’ll love raising awareness for it too.

Hell yeah ;) What is your definition of “good writing”?

Writing that transports and transforms. It doesn’t have to be complex or verbose, heady or erudite, it just needs to tell the story. The best writing for me is simple, clear and keeps me on my toes for the next turn in events.

Yes, I like that type of effect too :P (sounds very much like “good music”!). Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Write and share. I know a lot of people give the ‘put-your-butt-in-the-chair’ advice and that’s good advice, that’s where it starts. But you have to share your writing with readers. You have to expose yourself to the opinions of others to get better. Being in a critique group is good, but those are also creative-types trying to get published themselves and they bring a certain type of eye to your work. But you need your average readers like your Aunt Gretchen or that guy at work who hates you or your girlfriend’s sister to read your writing. Those are the people who will tell you something so painfully obvious you or your critique-group pals should have noticed it, but it just slipped by you. So write and share often.

Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

For the novel it’s

Folks can follow me on Twitter @tophersanders

The book on Amazon: Aysel’s Arrow

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Much thanks to Topher for stopping by! Be sure to check out Aysel’s Arrow (featuring 29-year-old Latina Aysel Valencia, who is a straight shooter not only with her arrows at the archery range but also with her no-nonsense personality…).

Author Interview, Joseph Rinaldo


Author Interview #32, with writer/reader/husband/father/sports fan/fisherman/boater (many roles!), Joseph Rinaldo!

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Hi Joseph — please describe yourself in 5 words:

Smart, funny, creative, loyal, ambitious.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):



“I really didn’t want any part of gang life, but in my building every kid had to make a choice.”


Can a football scholarship to a rural Kentucky college save a gangbanger from his deadly past?

Read Hazardous Choices for the answer.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“In my gunny-covered cubicle I sat staring at the computer screen. My story for the day was a limp sort of evil. Four kids, ages two through six, were found locked in a room on the South Side with a couple of tuna sandwiches and a quart of milk. They’d been left three days, flurrying like chickens over the food and feces on the carpet. Their mother had wandered off for a suck on the pipe and just forgotten. Sometimes that’s what happens.”
— Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The writing is effortless. I just copy down what the voices in my head dictate. Publishing is a nightmare. I tried the traditional route — got nothing but frustration and rejection. Went self-publishing — got sales, but the workload of promoting your own books is heavy and constant.

Sales and your own promotion = much better than nothing but frustration and rejection :P What is your definition of “good writing”?

Good writing is creating a world that the reader can visit and lose himself in for a time. Good writing, to me, is pure escapism.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Revise, revise, revise, edit, edit, edit. Most importantly, hire a professional editor.

Mm-hmm with editing (argh!). Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:



Twitter handle: @jmrinaldo

Facebook Author Page | Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon

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Much thanks to Joseph for stopping by! Be sure to check out his website for more info/excerpts.

P.S. Both of Joseph’s books feature a character with Down Syndrome. His experiences “with this wonderful population come from not only living with someone with Down, but from [his] roles of Special Olympics coach, volunteer, and coordinator, and the countless interactions life provides for a dad with his child and her friends.”

Author Interview, Niamh Clune


Author Interview #31, with author of feminine wisdom stories, Dr. Niamh Clune!

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Hi Niamh! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Author, Visionary, Environmentalist, Humanitarian, Musician.

Share a short blurb of your work (10-100 words):


Orange Petals in a Storm is a mystical story about a wonderful child who endures great suffering at the hands of the family who inherited her. Though she lives in a harsh reality, she evolves spiritually despite, or perhaps because of the hurt she suffers.

The magical way she transcends her unbearable life through her inner world transports us into the hauntingly beautiful world of the imagination.

Telling you that Skyla triumphs over her situation is not a spoiler — because as you get to know her, you realise there is no other way. She must triumph because of who she is.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“The boy and his heart had become friends, and neither was capable now of betraying the other.”
— Paolo Coelho

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

I love every second of the writing process. I am lost in it, consumed by it, but then have to crash through the gates of reality to publish. What I love is scattered to the winds.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Beautiful prose, that by its very nature uplifts and allows soul into life, is my definition of good writing. It is a thing-in-itself, a work of art, a thing of beauty. It is simple, uncluttered by adverbs and adjectives. It is not over-lofty but deeply thoughtful.

The writer of good prose defiantly re-arranges words to paint pictures of light as well as dark and is brave enough to shrink from neither. Grammar is good, in fact, so good it challenges rules. Good prose contains within itself consistency of metaphor and lends three-dimensional depth to character. A reader should know how characters think and feel and be able to identify with those intimacies, as though the writer were speaking from one heart directly to another.

Good writing is musical, has rhythm and timbre. Even if it describes Hell, it does it beautifully…

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Patience, love your words, but never be afraid to edit and discipline them.

Agree with that totally! Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

Product Links: Orange Petals in a Storm on and Wix.

Social Media: I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

Press: I’m a featured Author, and am part of the OB (Orange Berry Books) Collective.

Blog #1:

Blog #2:

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Much thanks to Dr. Clune for stopping by! Be sure to check out her website for more info about her and her soulful/mystical inspirational stories ;)

P.S. This Q&A was part of an Orangeberry Virtual Book Tour.

Author Interview, Thomas Amo



Author Interview #23, with author & playwright, Thomas Amo!

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Hi Thomas! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Impetuous, creative, communicative, romantic, direct.

Share a short excerpt and
blurb of your work (10-100 words):


The City of San Francisco is locked in a grip of fear. A series of occult murders has led, Inspector Thomas James, to a crime scene similar to a murder committed 90 years ago in the once grand Aleris Hotel. A place where power barons of the early 20th century engaged in witchcraft. And silent film stars indulged in the most wicked of sins.

A place where no one questions the black smoke that rises from the hotel’s incinerators in the middle of the night.


She looked perfect now. Her hair was combed just right. Lipstick applied with the expertise of a Hollywood make-up artist. Her hands neatly placed one on top of the other to show off her manicured nails. The fresh scent of perfume emanated from her blouse filling the room with a sweet euphoria. Her portrait loomed by her side.

Her innocent smile was underlined by a hint of sultriness reflected in her eyes, eyes that could catch the attention of any man she desired. Flashbulbs popped and lit the room with the brief, yet intense, glow of a lightning storm. Finally her audience had arrived. She was at long last the center of attention. Everyone wanted to see her. Several policemen stood keeping reporters and spectators at a respectable distance. The media sat waiting, eager to learn every detail about what Amanda would have to say.

Thomas James looked at Amanda, noticing just how perfect she truly was. She was indeed the sort of woman that all men desire. He wondered how many men had she rejected. Denied the pleasure of her company or affections. Yet it now seemed that someone did get Amanda’s attention and he had made her perfect in every detail. Her screams were now silent, all the blood gone, and Inspector James stood puzzling over the most bizarre crime scene of his career. His bespectacled hazel eyes looked down at Amanda Carlyle, who was bathed in a pink glow of dimmed lights and lit candles. The coffin lid open, exposing her only from the waist up. A Catholic set up was in place for potential mourners to come kneel and pray the rosary. She was completely prepared for her funeral, the problem was, Amanda Carlyle was alive just six hours earlier.
Chapter One, An Apple For Zoë, Book One ~ The Forsaken

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“What’s that thing on your lip?” It was the nicest thing Karen had said to me all month. Granted, it’s not the first thing anyone wants to hear at the beginning of a brand new day. Somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring as “Top o’ the morning’ to ya!” But for me, the tragic optimist in this farce we called a marriage, it showed Karen still cared. For one thing, she actually acknowledged my presence, which she hadn’t done for most of that entire week. I was starting to believe that I could have walked around sans pants and nary a peep would she utter. The fact that she noticed anything at all gave me a microscopic piece of hope that we, as a couple might actually survive. It wasn’t much, but it was more than we had for quite some time.
–Excerpt from Scott Cherney’s “Red Asphalt” | Chapter One: Lip Service

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is fun when it’s going well. When you don’t have life distractions surrounding you all the time. I applaud women authors, who not only have a full-time writing career, but also juggle a husband, and 3 children, shop, and clean house all at the same time. However when you have writers block, it feels like a bully who just keeps getting in your way and preventing you from removing it.

I have found that when I have writer’s block, two things that help a great deal:

1. Do research.
2. Take notes.

Talk to yourself aloud, ask the questions, why can’t I seem to resolve this issue. Sometimes I find it can be the simplest thing that solves the block, and that’s a random comment by someone. My favorite example: I was writing a play for the theatre, and I was struggling with the “ex-wife” character. I didn’t know how to bring her into the show, and make witty and sharp and not be a stereotyped battle-axe. When a friend said to me, “Why does there have to be a wife?” BING! And there it was. So talk to your friends, listen to conversations, take notes, and do research!

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Narrative! I love to read someone who can tell me a story as if they are in the room with me. I get the cadence of their delivery, or the nuance of the details. Often I worry that I don’t write enough details. I am too heavy on dialogue. But I also don’t want to read about a leaf falling to the ground for 3 pages either.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Editors! I cannot emphasize enough the value of a good book editor. No matter how many times you try to edit your own book, a professional can often spot those mistakes you don’t see, because you’re too attached to the manuscript. They have an objective eye, and can offer you changes that make your book look more polished and professional. Finding a good editor is like falling in love, you have to build a solid trusting relationship with them. I am very fortunate that my editor at one time worked for me as an actress. So we already had a personal connection. She did amazing work on, “An Apple For Zoë”. And by the way, she is accepting clients.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Facebook Page:

Much thanks to Mr. Amo for the chat!

Author Interview, Alistair Forrest


Author Interview #7, with Alistair Forrest!

Describe yourself in 5 words:

Dashing, debonair, talented (a Leo!)

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

I knew from the look in his eyes that he wanted to kill me. That’s the opening sentence of my first novel, Libertas, inspiring (I think) the English Parliamentarian Sir Patrick Cormack to write for the cover blurb: “Forrest has the gift of the true story teller – the ability to engage his readers’ interest from the very first sentence.” He was my English teacher way back when. He didn’t like my essays on Macbeth — too descriptive, he said (rightly), so I gladly accept his praise now.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

“Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thine eyes are as doves behind thy veil. Thy hair is as a flock of goats, that lie along the side of mount Gilead. Thy breasts are like two fawns, twins of a gazelle.” The author (of Song of Solomon) is unknown and not my favourite (sorry Jess, I cheated) but the reaction when I tried these words out was amazing — I love it when my wife laughs uncontrollably!

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is heaven; finding a home with an agent or publisher is hell. I was lucky with my first novel as the publisher saw my work on the Internet. Right now, I can’t seem to find him so I’m looking for an agent for my second novel, Goliath, but I don’t believe agents read what you send them unless you’ve been referred. I hope I’m proved wrong. Do I sound negative? I don’t mean to be.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

I haven’t got one but I know when I’m reading good writing because I feel it.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Do what you love. Find someone else to do what you hate. Okay, I’m a hypocrite, but you know what I mean.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

Thanks for inviting me here! (:

Most welcome (:!

The Intern (first chapter)

seven deadly sins, lust

1: The Intern (cover version #2)

Book05 is my completed, 65,000-word novel titled 1: THE INTERN—a teenage version of Dirty Dancing meets Punk’d.

1: THE INTERN is Book #1 of the SINS07 “seven deadly sins” series.

EXCERPT (available on SINS07 booksite): First Chapter