Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Interview with novelist Gerri LeClerc

Novelist Gerri LeClerc joins me today to talk about her new women’s fiction, Silent Grace.

Pennsylvania native Gerri LeClerc lives on Cape Cod with her husband Ron. The medical background Gerri gained as a Registered Nurse is reflected in her stories, which explore the complex ways in which children’s health challenges affect the lives of the adults around them. A passionate reader with a lifelong love of classic romantic suspense and contemporary women’s fiction, Gerri is the author of Missing Emily, the first book in the Knoll Cottage trilogy, which appeared in early 2016.

Welcome, Gerri. Please tell us about your current release.
Sisters Beth and Patrice Hensen have taken very different paths in life. When Patrice’s drug addiction interferes with her ability to raise her 8-year-old daughter Grace, the always-responsible Beth assumes temporary custody. Settling into Knoll Cottage, the small home on Cape Cod Beth has recently purchased, Beth and Grace struggle to adjust. Just as their lives stabilize and their bond solidifies, fate steps in with surprises that test their hearts, souls and strength yet again.

What inspired you to write this book?
The nurse in me! Deafness and the conflict in the deaf community over to treat or not, has always intrigued me. I thought about how lonely a child with hearing loss must be, how she might misconstrue communication from others. How hard it must be for Grace to build trust in people.

How a handsome doctor and a loving aunt might help her hear again. (Must have romance in my story, too.) The second issue in the book is addiction to prescription drugs, which is so prevalent today. How easy it is to relieve Patrice’s pain in her difficult life with easily obtained drugs. And the toll addiction takes on those who love her.

Excerpt from Silent Grace:
With sleet tapping at the window of her New Bedford, Massachusetts apartment, Beth Henson sat on the floor, packing a box of books. The phone rang with her sister’s unique ringtone and interrupted her off-key singing. Beth hesitated, pressing tape over the flaps of the box, and considered letting the call roll to voicemail. Instead, she wove her way through a maze of packed boxes, retrieved her phone and answered.
            It was a video call from Grace.
            “Mommy won’t wake up,” her niece said in her fragile voice, while she also signed at a frantic pace. “Scared.”
            “Is she breathing? Turn the phone so I can see Mommy,” Beth said, signing the main words. Grace understood and switched the phone’s camera to Patrice on the couch. Beth saw that she was breathing deeply.
            “I’m coming now, sweetie. Stay on the phone with me.” But the call ended. Beth must have signed wrong. She didn’t take time to call back. She grabbed her purse from the table by the front door. “Keys. Keys,” she said, dumping the contents on the floor. She scooped up the keys and left everything except her wallet where it landed. Grace had to be alarmed to use her voice. Beth was afraid she knew what it was; had seen it before.

What exciting story are you working on next?
While I work on book three in the Knoll Cottage trilogy, I’ve been busy revising another novel I wrote, A Marriage to Die For. It’s A suspense story about how an abused wife escapes her DEA Agent husband who promised to kill her if she leaves him. And how a raccoon that gets into your basement can lead to romance when the sheriff comes.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when my friends began to read my first manuscript for me. I had such wonderful feedback and support. They saw me as a writer—and I began to believe it, too.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My husband and I are best buds. We love to do things together—after many years of marriage! When I started writing, I became immersed in a surprisingly time-consuming effort. It’s not just writing, it’s a learning curve, it’s networking, it’s marketing. Everything takes time. So, I began to get up at 6 a.m. and work until 11 a.m. I’d sneak back to the computer if he was otherwise occupied later in the day. My husband’s on board now, and he’s learned to cook dinner—he likes to eat!

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
St. Frances Cabrini. She’s my patron—it’s a long story. Her statue sits on my desk. And then Livia, my cat. She thinks she’s my muse. I think she is, too.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wore my mother’s nurse’s uniform for four consecutive years on Halloween.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thanks for being part of Lisa’s blog on my novel, Silent Grace. I hope you read it, and I hope you love it!


Thanks for being here today!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Interview with mystery author Edita A. Petrick

Mystery author Edita A. Petrick joins me today to talk about her thriller-suspense series, the Peacetaker. The premise (ancient myth of the Peacetaker) is established in Book 1.

Book 1 – Ribbons of Death is a suspense thriller;
Book 2 – The Harmony Scroll is action-adventure thriller;
Book 3 – The Byzantine Connection is a thriller;
Book 4 – Arachne’s Challenge is once again more of adventure-techno-thriller
Book 5 - Doomsday Hand is an adventure-suspense thriller

I have been writing all my life and other than those couple of family members who occasionally look over my shoulder, no one knows I’m an author of 15+ books. Or that these are listed on, B&N, Kobo, iApple and a dozen other distribution outlets. One of my books is also being translated into Cantonese and Mandarin. These last few years, I’ve kept my ‘writing’ life and my other self totally separate because it is safer that way. I can be ‘me’ when I’m out there in the world, working, socializing, etc.

Please tell us about your current release.
Doomsday Hand – Book 5 of the Peacetaker Series has been on pre-order these last few weeks. Like the others in the series, it centers on a little known ancient charming myth that has a potential to doom the world. I’ve had great response from my readers to the series itself, and hoping this book will appeal to my readership as well. However, like all my books, the story is about people, their interactions, their problems and threats; the myths and legends merely serve as a vehicle for human stories that are in my books.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to craft a story where the male character, Carter, will be in mortal danger for a change. At the same time, I like to weave adventure through my stories and that involves travel and foreign locales.

Excerpt from Doomsday Hand:
            The man took out something from the inner pocket of his coat and flipped it open then held it out to him, across the glass strip.
            “I’m Inspector Dhaloub, Scotland Yard.”
            “Well, that’s certainly an honor and I can’t even reciprocate because you already know my name and probably everything else there is to know about me,” he said, wondering whether the French Sûreté was not far behind. Years ago, when he first met Greg in Cairo, the man had already acquired a crowd of followers, the humorless kind.
            “Not quite everything,” the Inspector said. “May I see some form of identification, please—a passport, perhaps?”
            Carter smiled, hoping the policeman saw nothing else but amity. “I don’t have it on me, inspector,” he said.
            “Then perhaps a driver’s license?”
            “I took the subway…tube, as you say here.”
            “Do you have any form of identification, Mr. Tanner?”
            He did, but not as Tanner. Well, there was no way to get out of the trap. If he insisted that he had no identification whatsoever, he’d quickly find himself at the New Scotland Yard, being fingerprinted because these days the British police were utterly humorless when it came to foreigners who couldn’t vouch for their identity with some form of official picture-bearing card. The King’s College issued a formal coded ID security card for all members of Stella’s family to assure them entry into the administrative building if they wished to visit their wife and mother. The card was three months old, certainly very recent, and would make any British policeman happy…except it was for Timothy J. Carter, resident of 21 Baxter Walk, Soho. Stella’s full name and academic title featured in brackets underneath his.
            “Mr. Tanner, may I see some form of identification?” the inspector asked, his voice still even but much colder.
            Carter nodded, and then fished out the college ID from the breast pocket in his windbreaker, handing it to the inspector who took it and stared at it for a long time.
            “You’re Dr. Stella Hunter’s husband then,” the inspector finally commented, his expression like his voice—inscrutable.
            “Welcome to London, Mr. Carter. Please give my best regards to Dr. Hunter. I have read quite a few of her academic papers, as well as her book with great interest. You could say that I’m a fan. Now, what is your relationship with Mr. Gregory Semple?”
            In his forty-seven years of life, quite a few of them spent avoiding people like this policeman, he’d learned one thing that served man best when dealing with the law: Make your answers brief and don’t volunteer what they don’t have to know.
            “We’re friends,” he said, smiling just right not to read anything into it.
            “Good friends?”
            “Good enough to spend some time together, having lunch.”
            “However, during your lunch he would no doubt address you—his good friend—as Ross Tanner. Interesting. When did you first meet Mr. Semple?”
            “About ten, eleven years ago.”
            “Where, if I may ask?”
            “An interesting continent. It’s the cradle of life and yet still full of mysteries.”
            He wondered what the Inspector was after, other than to draw from him the ‘mystery’ he already knew, so it would become a confession.
            “The world is full of mysteries, Inspector. Africa’s just one of the global continents that has what England obviously doesn’t.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
Three new books, actually. Book 6 of the Peacetaker series – Seals of Eternity. Book 2 of the Bree-Ann Carver Suspense Blog series, and Rimworld Legends, Book 2 of my sci-fi space-opera, Lords of the Winter Stars series. I’m one of those writers who doesn’t make notes or outlines or plot-sketches of any kind. I live with the story in my head. Eventually, times comes to start writing it.

Mostly it works for me…except when it doesn’t and I get ‘stuck’ in the story. It’s why I need to work on at least 3 books at any given time.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t know about other authors, but I never consciously thought or considered myself as a writer. I write because I love it. It relaxes me. It gives me a sense of purpose. I like to ‘create’ characters through observation of people around me.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I WORK full time. I write whenever I’m not exhausted by living, working and taking care of family. However, since I work for a school board, I have summers off so that’s my ‘writing’ time – whether I feel like it or not. Any free time – holidays, vacations and such, I ‘push’ myself to work on something ‘in the drawer.’

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I talk to my characters as I write (it let’s me feel the ideas and dialogue) and basically ‘talk’ my way through the story. It works really well for me when I write ‘arguments and controversies.’ I get to be…everyone.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Archeologist. And I went into it at university but then my father persevered and ‘yanked’ me out of the ‘empty’ education and presto, I was enrolled in engineering. Practical, puts bread on the table. Has future. I spent 25 years working as an engineer, in mostly male-dominated field, and honestly, I don’t think it ‘built character’ or toughened me. I was already tough when I went into it and struggling at every turn of the career…would not be my first choice again, let’s just say that.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for your time reading my books.


Thanks for being here today!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Interview with humor writer Jass Richards

Comediane Jass Richards joins me today to talk about her new humor novel, TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God.

Jass Richards has an M.A. in Philosophy and used to be a stand-up comic (now she’s more of a sprawled-out-on-the-couch comic). Despite these attributes, she has received four Ontario Arts Council grants.

Her most recent novel, TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God has been called “highly entertaining … and a riveting read” (Midwest Book Review). In addition to her Rev and Dylan series (The Road Trip Dialogues, The Blasphemy Tour, and License to Do That), which has reportedly made people snort root beer out their noses, she has written This Will Not Look Good on My Resume, a collection of short stories described as “a bit of quirky fun that slaps you upside the head,” followed by its sequel Dogs Just Wanna Have Fun. Several of her pieces have appeared on Erma Bombeck’s humor website, “The O & D” was published in The Cynic Online Magazine (Sep 2011), two excerpts from This Will Not Look Good on My Resume have been selected for Contemporary Monologues for Young Women (vol.3), and Substitute Teacher from Hell was produced and performed by Ghost Monkey Productions in Winnipeg (2014).

Her worst-ever stand-up moment occurred in Atlanta (at a for-blacks-only club) (apparently). Her best-ever stand-up moment occurred in Toronto (when she made the black guy fall off his stool because he was laughing so hard at her Donovan Bailey joke).

Welcome, Jass. Please tell us about your current release.
Here’s the blurb:

You ever have a neighbour whose behaviour is so mind-bogglingly inconsiderate and so suicide-inducingly annoying that you just want to ask him, in a polite Canadian way, to please stop?

TurboJetslams isn't like that.

Jass Richards' new novel, TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God, tells the tale of one person's pathetic and hilarious attempts to single-handedly stop the destruction of a little piece of beautiful Canadian wilderness by the increasing numbers of idiots who couldn't care less.

A quick and entertaining summer read. A perfect cottage-warming gift. Boomer lit. Sure to resonate with paddlers and nature lovers everywhere.

What inspired you to write this book?
My primary reason for writing this book was to inspire a bit more respect for others’ quality of life. I find that we are living in a culture of less civility and more ‘entitlement’—people have gone overboard with rights talk and now often claim they have the right to do whatever they want (especially when on their own property). They forget that their right to X stops at someone else’s right to Y; in the words of someone philosophical, ‘Your right to freedom of movement stops at my nose.’ In other words, rights are not absolute; they are often in conflict and we need to figure whose rights or which rights should take priority when.

Exacerbating this is that we seem to priortize the physical, forgetting that the visual and audio can be just as intrusive, just as much a trespass on other people’s space.

Of course, there was also the environmental motive—we mistakenly think that ‘cottage country’ is pure and will, somehow, always stay that way—though I think that ship has sailed.

Also, I hoped to speak for other people who are just as angry and just as dismayed at the demise of the little natural beauty that remains, especially when it is being destroyed by idiots for no good reason. 

Lastly, TurboJetslams:Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God was personal therapy: I tried to turn tears of frustration and screams of anger into laughter. And since almost all of the triggering events in TurboJetslams actually happened, it was a stay-out-jail card: writing about what I really wanted to do kept me from actually doing it.

Excerpt from TurboJetslams: Proof #29 of the Non-Existence of God:
The next week, a trailer appeared on a piece of land mid-way up the lane. Again, Vic had thought the land in question was part of the lots on either side, not a separate lot.
The appearance of the trailer meant that within two years (the Township did have one bylaw), a cottage would be built. She hoped they’d hire the local construction crew. It would be done in three weeks, Monday to Friday, nine to five. If they did it themselves, there’d be no telling how many years it would take.
It also meant that, in the meantime, they’d have to pay just $200 a year in property taxes instead of something closer to $2,000. Even though they’d use the roads, the dump, the library—scratch that, what was she thinking—even though they’d use the roads and the dump just as much. More, probably.
And since they probably wouldn’t pay to hook up to hydro until they started building, it meant that everyone on Paradise Lake would hear their generator whenever they wanted to watch tv. They’d probably also hear their tv, given how loud it would have to be to be audible over the generator.

When she paddled past, on her way up the river, she saw that the teenaged son was up with all of his friends. Three tents were set up around the trailer.
She thought for a minute. Had she seen an outhouse? Or would there be shitting in the bush. Ten feet from the lake.
She heard a belch. A long, extended belch.
A lot of shitting in the bush.
She considered giving a heads-up to the woman down-current with the red bathing suit who swam every day. Scratch that. Used to swim every day. (The jetslams near-slammed into her one day.)

She thought nothing more of them until well after she’d returned. Until two o’clock in the morning, in fact. At which time the bongo drums started.
They probably have a fire too, she thought, as she set aside her work and headed out.
It was that whole primeval thing again. Sitting by a fire, sending messages by drum, chowing down on a mammoth— What’s next, she wondered as she got to their driveway, hurling spears?
Something whizzed by, just missing her face.
“What the fuck?” she screamed as she dove into the bush.
“Sorry!” How he’d heard her, given the bongos, she had no idea.
She picked herself up and walked in.
They had one of those straw targets set up on the driveway. Its back to the road. See what she meant by the drop in IQ due to all that DEET and two-stroke engine fumes?
It was, she noticed, as yet unpunctured.
“Give me that thing,” she said to the nearest twenty-something, the one with the bow and arrow in his hand. He handed it over. She loaded the arrow and fired it into his leg.
“Fuck!” he started hopping.
“And enough with the bongos!” she screamed.
They stared at her.
“There’s a fire ban,” she said then, searching for the one in charge. The one with half a brain.
“What’s a fire ban?” someone asked.
What? What?!
“We haven’t had rain for over two weeks,” she explained. “No outdoor fires are allowed.”
She waited for it. Altogether now, ‘We can do whatever we want on our own property!’
Surprisingly enough, they were silent. Probably still trying to figure out the relevance of rain to fires.
“Suppose that thing,” she pointed to the six-foot high blaze, “throws a spark.” She bent down, picked up a rock, and tossed it into the fire. Some of those present—not all, note—moved back from the shower of sparks.
Unfortunately, one of the sparks landed on one of the tents. Nylon, it blazed immediately.
Shit. She looked around, but they didn’t have buckets of water at the ready. Of course not.
“Call 911!” she screamed. Her cabin was just five lots away.
“And enough with the bongos!”
But as quickly as it had blazed, the tent, now an ex-tent, had congealed into a sad, melted marshmallow.
“Never mind.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on the fourth Rev and Dylan novel. This one is about an app that creates a sex-changing (or at least gender-changing) hologram, making women appear as men and men appear as women. Rev and Dylan become part of the beta testing team.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was eight and wrote a poem about my dog, Rexie. It rhymed.

Do you write full-time? No. I can’t imagine spending 8 hours a day working on a novel. Or even several novels. If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write? I spend a lot of time kayaking and going for long walks in the forest. I do various things for just enough money to enable forementioned writing, kayaking, and walking.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t have one. Which is really weird because a lot of people say my writing is quirky.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If they want to buy any of my books from Smashwords, I’ll create a discount coupon for them to use.


THANK YOU for this!!

You’re quite welcome. Thank you for joining my blog.