Interview with Megan Cyrulewski

Tell us about your latest book.

Who Am I? is about my journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, visits to the psych ward, divorce, domestic violence, law school, and my struggle to survive with my sanity intact—and how a beautiful little girl emerged from all this chaos.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 

I created my own website and blog.  I also use Facebook and Twitter.  But mainly, I get to know other authors by either “liking” their FB pages or joining FB groups.

Who are your favourite authors?

John Grisham, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series), Jodi Piccoult and Nora Roberts are just a few.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.”  -Abraham Lincoln

What's the best thing about being a writer?

I love to give people that “ah” moment when they realize the plot twist.  I want them to shake their heads and have to read a part over because they didn’t see that coming.

Who designed the cover?

A wonderful friend from high school, Ksen Savic, took the picture.  She’s a brilliant photographer. 

How do you research your books?

Right now, I’m working on a crime fiction book and all of my research actually comes from Law School.  I have to use that degree somehow, right?

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?

I think that self-publishing is going to overtake traditional publishing in maybe 5-10 years.  I think it’s a great avenue for those authors who love to write.  It doesn’t pay the big bucks, but most authors who self-publish don’t do it for the money.  There are times when I read self-published book and get really mad that the author got rejection letters!  There are a lot of wonderful untapped talent in the self-publishing world and I think literary agents and publishers are missing out!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading about The Vanderbilt family and their fall from grace.  At one point, they were the richest family in America with a net worth of $100 million!  Fifty years later, they’re almost bankrupt.  It’s crazy!

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I’m a part-time personal playground for my 4-year-old daughter.  I keep trying to tell her she’s getting too big to climb all over me, but she doesn’t seem to want to listen.  When is the age when kids start listening to parents??


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Interview with A.J. Tupps

What genre do you write and why?
This book is Young Adult Fantasy.  I love escaping reality into fantasy worlds. 

Tell us about your latest book.
Shadow Tears is the first book in a series.  In this book you meet Selena Goodwin who discovers more about her heritage than she ever wanted.  She has special abilities that are fascinating while others are frightening to her.  All her beliefs are tested when she finds out that the mortal rules don’t apply to everybody or everything.  Her knowledge of the supernatural and myths might become her only means to survive.  She must accept who she is meant to be. 

Being thrust into a world full of secrets, danger, and a family she didn’t know existed is overwhelming, not to mention a responsibility.  Luckily she still has the love and support of her adoptive father who had known all along who she is meant to be.  To make things worse she discovers her very existence is threatened by an unknown enemy.  The normal obstacles of being a teenager are hard enough.  Now she has to learn how to live a lie while falling in love and accepting her life as it was meant to be.  High school is supposed to be the best years of your life. 

Selena must rely on strangers who she is not sure are reliable.  The only person she can rely on must stand between her and the possibility of death.  Selena faces these realms with reality always reminding her she is fallible.  Yet she can overcome anything with the love of her family and friends. 

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
Halo Publishing, Int. (which is my publisher) has been great with helping with my marketing. They sent out press releases once my book was ready to debut. I’m currently doing a virtual book tour. I also use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to share any news about my book and updates on my writing.

What formats is the book available in?
Shadow TEARS is available in both print and eBook.

Who are your favourite authors?
If you are talking growing up I loved every book I could get my hands on.  I spent large amounts of time in the library reading The Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon and Robert Lois Stevenson Treasure Island.  If I had to pick between the two hands down it would be Treasure Island.  I know it is traditional but there are so many versions.  The one I have has the part where Jim sneaks back on the ship and is pierced through his shoulder and pinned to the mast.  In some versions they don’t have that part.  As I grew up I fell in love with Hannah Howell.  To this day I read everything she puts out. 

Where can a reader purchase your book?
Shadow Tears is now available on the Halo Publishing website,, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Bowker Books, Ingram Distributing, B. Dalton, and many more
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
I am working on the whole series but the main project now is Book 2.  This is a small peek.
I will start editing book two after the Christmas Holiday.  This Christmas will be a similar holiday to the one when Shadow Tears began since my husband has had a reoccurrence of his cancer.  I will keep working on it so we can get in to your hands. 

Book 2 Shadow -------- tba
Selena, Matthew barely survived their first encounter with their Shadow enemies.  They were shoved into what Shadows term as a vortex to stabilize their Shadow genes from disintegrating into nothingness.  Afterwards they are delivered from the vortex into the arms of Shep and Victor.  The children will need time to heal while they enjoy their first Christmas together with their friends and family in the Shadow Realm.  During the next several months Selena and Matthew will discover their rich heritage, visit the main Capitol of the Shadow Realm, Troy.  The Shadow Realm is just like Jared’s journals had described. 

A new year looms on the horizon as does the enemy.  Shep and Billy expect this year to be more challenging since the enemy is aware Selena exists.  They are fairly certain none of the enemy returned home to report what they had found, so hopefully Selena will remain safe for now.  That poor child has no idea what her first steps back onto these grounds have announced.  The sisters of fate seem to be untwining their twine.  May Zeus deliver them all from Cronos.

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

Stories from my imagination have always been a part of me.  I love storytelling and have practiced my entire life.  Since I was young I have written stories.  I can see my growth but there are three stories that I return to all the time.  The Shadow one is my favorite.  This particular series plays with one’s natural fears and made for some great times with my children.  However, when my husband’s illness took control of our life I invented this whole world with the help of my children.  I wanted my children to be able to face anything sent their way.  No illness would be allowed to steal our joy of life.  So I used things I saw that influenced those around me and put a paranormal spin to them.  Selena faces things that the average teenager and young adult faces while the adults face their own dilemmas.  This may be a sci-fi fantasy book but there are life lessons.  No problem is small to the person going through the event but they can be overcomed.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I love being with family.  It doesn’t matter what we are doing as long as we are enjoying each other’s company.  I do love hiking and swimming. 

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Excerpt: Romance & Revenge by Laina Turner

Title: Romance & Revenge
Author: Laina Turner
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Chick Lit

Book description:

The bookkeeper at Jared’s company has been murdered and if that wasn’t bad enough someone is trying to sabotage the company by leaking company documents to other firms who are then upstaging their presentations. Jared asks for her help to find out who is trying to take Sleeping Bear Designs down and while Presley is always willing to help a friend, she is also hoping it will take her mind off obsessing over Cooper.
Presley and Cooper are on a break or are they broken up? It was never really clarified and she just found out he’s in town and he hasn’t called. Is he avoiding her? What does that mean?
Are they done for good?

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“What is it, Jared? Did you get fired?” Hoping that wasn’t the case, but I couldn’t think of anything else that would bring him home at this time and this upset. “Not even close,” he said, walking to the liquor cabinet, pouring a shot of vodka and downing it before getting some coffee and sitting down.
Katy and I just stared. I didn’t know what to say. He was acting bizarre.“Jared, what is going on?”“Remember Becky I work with? You met her when we went for drinks to celebrate
Sally’s birthday.”“Petite brunette. She does the books.”“Yep, that’s her. Or was her. She’s been murdered.”
“Oh my God,” I said. No wonder he looked the way he did. “What happened?” Jared ran his hands through his hair, clearly distressed.“John had called an emergency meeting because someone is stealing company information.”“What?” I interrupted.
“Oh yeah, it’s been quite the morning. I’ll get to that in a minute. We were all there but Becky. John called Becky’s phone to see where she was and the police answered. They said she had been found murdered and got all our contact information from John saying they would need to talk to all of us.”
“That’s horrible, Jared. How’s everyone taking it?” “Not well. Things have already been a mess these last few weeks.”
“What else is going on?” I asked. “We initially were meeting because we have a leak in our office and John doesn’t know what to do about it.”“What?” I asked. “Can’t he just call a plumber?”“Not that kind of leak.” He looked at me and rolled his eyes. “Sorry, I was trying to lighten the mood.”
What kind of leak?” asked Katy. “We’ve been working on this really big branding campaign. One of the biggest all year. We showed it to the client yesterday and when we did, they had already seen it. Or rather something similar the day before by one of our competitors,” he said. “Needless to say, they weren’t very happy with our pitch and almost seemed accusatory. Like we had stolen the other company’s ideas. John was already pissed over that. I mean it not only loses us the client but makes us look like idiots and tarnishes our reputation.”
“Jared, you always tell me that there are only so many original thoughts. Could it just be a coincidence?” I asked.

Author Bio
As a child Laina thought she would either be a truck driver (thanks to Jerry Reed in Smokey and the Bandit) or work at Taco Bell (her favorite restaurant as a child). As she grew older she realized her talents lay in academics and business and for the last several years has been a business consultant and college professor where she uses the analytical side of her brain and not the side that makes up stories.

Through all her career choices she has continued to have a passion for writing. This stemmed from childhood whereas an only child she developed a vivid imagination spending most of her time making things up and thinking the Incredible Hulk lived in her closet.

Proud of her vast experiences in life from barrel racing to being on the dance team for a semi pro basketball team to being a mom of 2 amazing kids, she tells her family and friends that no one is safe from their escapades slipping in to her books.

Taking the plunge to write books that she actually lets people read in 2010, she has worked her way up to having 5 fans (maybe 6 now). Her blog, The Art Of Living Fabulously, was launched to share the daily fun in the life of a Real Housewife of the Midwest along with the musing of other fabulous ladies.

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Christmas Wish list: Non Fiction Books

When you're thinking of what presents to buy this Christmas, remember that a book is a gift that keeps on giving. 

Today's Christmas Wish List is for non fiction books. Take a look below at these books by Writers and Authors community members for some inspiration.

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Interview with Medini Summers

What genre do you write in?

My genre is historical fiction.

Tell us about your latest book.
Aloise by Medini Summers. This is a tale about a girl who is born into abject poverty in the Seven Dials – City of London –1850. To get an idea of its atmosphere think 'Les Miserables.' The poverty of the great cities of Britain and Europe was so extreme that people died of starvation in their thousands.
Aloise is not one to accept her fate. She secures a birth on a tall ship – Isabel Hercus bound for NZ. Typhoid stalks the steerage accommodation and a mean-minded clerk of the Canterbury Association threatens to expose her former means as a prostitute of the Rookeries in the Seven Dials, threatening Aloise's pretensions to a gentle lineage.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I am using mostly online tools –
I am also on Writers Beat and Writers and Authors – this website. Apart from this I have done a lot of footslogging and posting fliers about my books into letter boxes. 500 of these so far with a lot more to come.

What format is the book available in?
It is an E book. I have it on Amazon Kindle Books.
I am happy to send 'Aloise' free to the computer of anyone who would like to read and put a review on Amazon Kindle Books for me.

What advice do you have for other writers?
The best piece of advice that I can give to aspiring writers is to hone your skills until your writing is as mature and readable as it possibly can be. Only when it has reached this stage will any publisher be prepared to think of publishing it. Of course that is not all there is to it. There must be something special about your words that speak to the human condition, that touch the soul. Also a tidbit of passion will not go amiss.

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Being my own boss and being free to create stories and characters that have the possibility of becoming memorable. A character, once a book becomes popular, will have a life of its own. People are going to remember him or her for longer than any of us ordinary souls.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
On Facebook, Goodreads, Writers and Authors, Writers Beat. Or speak to me on email

Who is your favourite character in your book and why?
My favourite character in my book is my protagonist, Aloise, because she is fierce and feisty and will not be overcome by the most extreme challenges. She is not someone who wants to do good. She must needs survive before all else. When that is achieved she can go on to create a better life for herself.

Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your books?
Ever since beginning to write, some twenty years since, readers have been telling me that my stories are exciting and unputdownable. I am told, the plot holds their attention from beginning to end. There is excitement and lots of action. Never a dull moment.

How long did it take you to write your book?
Aloise took nearly two years to research and write. It was my biggest project yet.

Who designed the cover?
I did the cover design. But I have an artist friend who drew the images of Aloise and the little pic of the tall ship. The photo is mine. My friend's name is Thomas Pendrigh. Barry Wheaton made up the whole image at slipstream computers.

Did you learn anything from writing your book that was unexpected?

Yes, I have learned so much more about human nature. How it is for human beings who come from the worst cess-pits of degradation and violence. I now have more compassion for those poor souls than I ever did before.

Where can a reader purchase your book.

Who inspires you?
Authors such as Phillipa Gregory for historical fiction and D. H. Lawrence for classical literature. Cat Stevens is an inspiring singer and for politicians – Helen Clark who was a former Labour prime minister in New Zealand and is set to become the leader of the United Nations before much longer.

How do you research your books?
Mostly by old fashioned reading and taking handwritten notes as I go.  I create my story after reading through my notes again. For details on ordinary day to day stuff, the internet is very good. I like to visit the site of my story, London – Soho in this case, to feel the ambience of place and to make sure all my details of landcape and buildings are correct.

What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
At present, I am researching for another Egyptian saga, probably about the renowned beauty, Queen Nefertiti, who was Great Wife to Pharaoh Akhenaten. Once Pharaoh is dead, Nefertiti disappears from the world stage. It will be up to my imagination to create the story of Nefertiti from that moment onward. I am really excited to be back in Egypt.

What are your thoughts on Self-Publishing versus Traditional publishing?
It will be clear to most writers that the work of publicity is now down to them. If I have to do the hard graft then I might as well receive the benefits and not be returning profits to a publisher. It makes very good sense. A self-published author can do what she likes creatively, within the parameters of the site that she has adopted to sell her work.

Who or what has inspired you to become a writer?
I like to be at home. I like to be creative. I have a million stories inside my head. There has to be a further aspect to life than family, friends, work and home.
Being a writer fulfills all these needs. It is what I am and how I define myself.

Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
I would say – no, sadly. And I wish they would, but I have many friends who are very encouraging and have helped me a great deal.

What are you currently reading?
'The Infinite Plan' by Isabelle Allende. It is beautiful writing for a literary author. I don't usually like literary choices, finding them hard going, but her style is easy and she displays depth of understanding of the human condition.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?
'Avalon' by Marion Zimmer Bradley. 'Women Who Run With the Wolves.' 'The Book Thief.'

When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

Reading, of course, music, nature, massage, meditation, animals (mostly feline), sacred sites and power places, travel.


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Tips for Gaining Attention in the World of Fiction

If you aspire to be a fiction writer and think all you have to do is sit down to your computer and create, you will be very disappointed. Most writers eventually want to publish their work. They want family, friends and others to read what they've created.
Here are some tips for gaining attention in the fiction world:
1) Enter contests. The first contest I entered was for a nonfiction piece. It was a national contest sponsored by Reader's Digest and McCalls Magazine. I won second place and I received a note from the editor of Reader's Digest. We talked and one year later I published my first written words as an original piece for Reader's Digest, receiving more money than any advance on my later books.
This experience taught me not to be shy in entering contests. My cozy mystery won first place in the Malice Domestic Grants award for new writers. That boost motivated to keep writing fiction. My nonfiction proposal won first place in the Harriet Austin contest for nonfiction and was later to become my first published business book.
Don't worry about winning the contest, just get your name out there. Even the smaller contests are worth entering. Imagine a query letter that begins with, "The Clock Strikes Midnight won honorable mention in the Regional mystery writer's competition." That sentence alone separates you from all the other query letters coming across a publisher's desk.
2) Take classes and re-write. I've leaned so much over the years. I thought I could write before I began composing my novels. Unfortunately I knew little about fiction writing. If you are like me and didn't major in creative writing in college, you might need to invest some time and energy in studying the craft. I've taken classes on everything from dialogue to plot development.  I participated in classes at writer's conferences and online. For me offers the widest array of classes. Don't be too proud to learn!
3) If an agent doesn't snap up your creation, skip the agent and go to a small publishing house. With the current publishing industry in such flux, it is becoming harder and harder for new writers to break into publishing. Agents want a sure bet. They want someone whose works they know they can sell (and make money). After all, they earn a percentage on your royalties. The large publishing houses still rely on agented manuscripts. So, where does that leave the new writer? Forget the agent and go to smaller houses willing to take a risk with your new work. I used a search driven website to help me sort through the small houses. There are others out there. Find the best one and go from there. But, most of all do not give up. Write and re-write.
By Joan Curtis

“I write about characters who remind me of myself at times and my sister at times, but never fully so. My stories are told from a woman’s point of view. Characters drive my writing and my reading.”

Having grown up in the South with a mother from Westchester County New York, Joan has a unique take on blending the southern traditions with the eye of a northerner.  She spent most of her childhood in North Carolina and now resides in Georgia.

Links:  website:





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