Sunday, February 17, 2019

Maker of Sunshine: Only for Love

February 17, 2019
It is with pleasure that I introduce my subscribers to this novel because I love it when I support other authors and women writers. G Nichelle and I have something in common - we both are from Dallas, Texas. Although I live in New Orleans, there is something special about women from Texas. I hope you enjoy meeting G Nichelle and take the time to learn about her and her books.

G Nichelle
Maker of Sunshine: Only for Love

Name of Book: Maker of Sunshine: Only for Love

Year Published: 2019

Publisher: HunBun Luv (Independent)

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you. - I was born and raised in Dallas, TX, which is a big small town. There are huge buildings, but the streets are still quiet by ten o’clock on weeknights. I still live in Dallas, because I love the diversity and opportunities available. A de-segregation court order created various school programs in the city that provided me with the opportunity to explore the arts through a specialized magnet school program. Every day I rode a bus from my neighborhood to another school that had programs geared to the performing arts. On those thirty-minute bus rides is where I began sharing stories that I wrote about a music group that I adored. Back then I called my stories ‘dreams’. I would tell my friend “I had this dream…” and then I would include all of our friends as characters who meet and fall in love with the band members to live happily ever after. Class work was easy for me, so I would write the ‘dreams’ down and pass them around on the bus back home.

What inspired you to write this book? -  For all of the great things in my childhood, there were many dark moments. I wanted more for my children, I wanted a loving stable environment for them to flourish in. How do you accomplish that when you have never seen love? How do you accomplish a healthy relationship when you have never seen one and don’t know anyone in a meaningful positive relationship? The story grew from questions about how to love after trauma. When it’s hard to love yourself and you are struggling to just survive, how can you love? Is it even a good idea?  I wanted to explore what that looked like.

You’re very young for a novelist? When did you begin writing? - I fell in love with books before I could really read. My parents would have to limit the number of books that I could bring home. The grandmother that cared for me when I was pre-school age doodled a lot and wrote on everything. I would mimic her and by the end of the day have a notebook full of curly loops that were words just like hers (in my mind at least). I have always written. I remember reading Terry Mc Millan and Zora Neal Hurston in middle school and wanting more stories like that. So between my fan fiction, mimicking great writers, and the women in my life, I began crafting my romance stories.

Are there any authors who inspired you growing up or who inspires you now? - Terry Mc Millan and Zora Neal Hurston are the inspiration of course, but Maya Angelou and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings… that did it for me. I still watch her interviews in amazement at the way she was able to craft words of wisdom in a way that stuck with me without that sense of judgment or condescension.

Susan Mallory and Brenda Jackson influence my romance writing.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written? - First and foremost, time was/is the biggest hurdle to overcome. I have a fulltime job, a husband, and three active children. Over the years I have written when I had a moment of quietness or when the muses spoke to me, but to write consistently on one piece and complete it was difficult. My characters are like family, so ending the story was difficult as well (hence a novella coming this June). Finding good resources became a hurdle. Finding a cover creator, editor, a person to help with a blurb for sales etc. took longer than needed. I took the long way around to get simple things done.

Tell your readers about your book. - It’s a story about love on many levels. While the main plot focuses on Nailah and Tyriq finding each other, I also explore how the love of family and friends shapes our lives. Nailah is a social worker who was abandoned by her mother, father and foster mother. She has learned that relationships are temporary and it’s best to love in small doses. Tyriq is ready for the forever kind of love and doesn’t mind walking Nailah each step of the way, even if it is at a snail’s pace. Nailah is not what Tyriq’s family or his ex-girlfriend expected. The two have to overcome individual past hurts to build a future.

Who is your target audience and why? - People who love a love story. Love is universal, but women may relate to the story more since the majority of the book is given from Nailah’s perspective.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre? - I believe romance includes more than the physical act of sex, so while there are some erotic scenes, my books delve into the love moments that make life fun. My goal in writing is to make my reader’s smile. I want to normalize romance and give people the opportunity to see the love in their everyday lives. Love is not always grand gestures with billboards and millionaires, love includes backrubs and favorite pasta dishes while watching a show you despise. My writing includes the grandiose… Tyriq is wealthy of course… but also the little things that people overlook, like getting your girlfriend new tires.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? - It’s always a question for me. What would that look like in someone’s life? My grandmother told me about her grandmother being left with her father’s girlfriend when she was young and I had tons of questions. I am always inspired by the real.

What is your next book? Tell us a little about it. - I have three.

Maker of Sunshine: The Wedding, this will be a novella out in June that will continue Nailah and Tyriq’s journey to marriage.

Maker of Moonlight: Midnight in Bloom, is the love story about two of the characters from Maker of Sunshine. Terrence lost the love of his life and first wife at the tender age of 23. He knows that no one will ever be able to replace her, so he promises that he will remain single to honor her memory. Regina is poised to take over her father’s investment company, but there is one stipulation, she can’t do it alone. Her father requires that she marry first. Even though Regina is a beautiful woman, she can’t find the right combination of intelligence and compassion that she requires in a man to tolerate being married. When Terrence and Regina begin a fiery love affair, they learn that their bodies were made to be connected to each other, but what about their hearts?

In Maker of Moonlight, I still explore the theme of loving after trauma and learning to love in a way that was not taught to you.  Regina’s parents had a marriage based on mutual understanding and it worked out well, but Regina is not as compliant as her mother. Her independent spirit and unrestricted vocabulary usually drive away the men that she doesn’t dismiss first. Terrence grew up in a home with strong women, so Regina’s brazen attitude doesn’t scare him, but the fact that she has wiggled close to his heart does.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share. I’m simple: I like to write stories. I hope people will read them, smile, and like my stories too.

The Case of a Bearded Man

February 17, 2018

Every once in a while I come across a little gem that makes my heart go pitter patter. I must say though that I love to read to my grandchildren and they love to be read to. This father I am introducing you to went beyond above for his son and created a fabulous book, My Dad has a Beard. Kellen Roggenbuck as a unique story to tell. I love the book and it would be a perfect gift for Father's Day.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - Kellen Roggenbuck

Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc.

Kellen Roggenbuck and is son.

I grew up outside Chicago, IL but I live in central Southern Wisconsin now.  I went to school to be a music teacher, but many twists and turns later, I’m the pastor of a growing rural church.  I have an amazing wife and an outrageous 3-year-old son, both of which are very supportive in my life and writing.

What inspired you to write this book? After rereading my son’s books for the hundredth time, and feeling like I could write something better, I put together this book as a silly bedtime read for our family.  I’ve always had a beard of sorts, but when my wife was pregnant, I didn’t trim my beard so that when my son was born, my beard was massive.  The book was a sort of collection of silly things a bearded dad can do, many of which were autobiographical.  I was approached by a local publisher to get the book published by Father’s Day that year, as it’s a book about a dad, and the rest is history!

Are there any authors who inspired you growing up or who inspires you now? I love reading C.S. Lewis, my favorite book being the collection of Narnia adventures.  I also really enjoyed the quirky nature of Stephen Crane’s poetry and the dry wit of J.K. Rowling in my early adult years.  As a children’s author, I have been inspired by Mo Willem’s humor and simplicity and clever book concepts like Dragons Love Tacos and The Day The Crayons Quit.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written? The biggest struggle is that this book has been viewed as a niche book since it’s about a dad with a beard, so it’s often only suggested or bought for dads with beards.  The story is told by a narrator telling about his dad, so I think it could be enjoyed by anyone, not just the niche of beardedly gifted fathers.  My next book coming out this spring is also a silly beard book, and so I imagine I will continue to be dealing with breaking out of that niche for some time.

Tell your readers about your book. The story is told by a young child as he explains all about his dad’s beard.  It chronicles the story of his dad growing a beard, the types of beards that other dads have and some of the unique advantages of having a dad with a big beard, like your dad looking like a young Santa.  It’s an easy read for new readers and should bring smiles to the faces of everyone reading it.  It’s highly colorful and engaging and has sold over 1,000 copies over the almost 2 years it’s been in print.

Who is your target audience? My target audience has been dads with beards and young children.  It’s a book that’s bought overwhelmingly as a gift for Christmas, Father’s Day and for expecting dads.  The book is about a bearded dad and if you are a bearded dad will be extra special for you, so it makes sense that that’s the biggest audience for this book.  It’s been so successful in that audience that my second book Great Beards of History will be a follow up with a similar theme and feel. 

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre? Many of the books I have at home for my son are just so painful to read.  Either the story is boring, the illustrations are lacking, or there are issues like typos, bad rhymes or poor story construction.  I like to think that the care I’ve put into the composition of the book is unique in that respect.  The rhythm of the writing and the subtle humor works well with the colorful and engaging illustrations.  It’s really a book that can be enjoyed by parents while they read it to their children.  There are other great books there that do that, too, I just think that my book can be counted in that category.

How did you come up with the idea for your book? My son used to hold onto my beard when I held him, not to steady himself or yank on it, but as a comfort.  I always loved that, and it made me think about all the ways he experienced me as a dad differently because of my beard.  Once I started writing down the silly things a big beard brought to the father/child relationship, the book sort of came together.  I illustrated it for fun, never really intending to seek publication, but a friend who worked for a publisher saw it and convinced the publisher they had to print it.

What is your next book? Tell us a little about it. - My next book is called Great Beards of History and will showcase some famous people who wore beards, everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Bob Ross.  At its surface, it’s a silly page-by-page biography of bearded people, but underneath it all, it’s about the appreciation of the narrator’s dad, who is included because of his beard and the admiration of his child.  It will have the same illustration style and silliness, so if you loved my first book, this will be a must-have.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share. - My book is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble’s website, and my new book will be released in plenty of time for Father’s Day!  If you are considering writing a book, just do it.  Start, keep going, finish strong.  It’s rewarding in ways you can’t yet imagine!

Monday, February 11, 2019

How to Market and Launch Your Book

February 11, 2019

Today I start of the morning getting ready to be interviewed on the Brian Jackson and Ellen J in the Morning Show. It is always a lot of fun when I am on this radio show. Join us as we go live discussing all things The Keystroke Killer: Transcendence. The show starts at 10:20 a.m. Call into 1-319-527-6099.

This interview begins my national blog, podcast, radio and book tour.


When you think that wasn't enough, I just finished a new book, How to Market and Launch Your Book: The Six Month Countdown. Starting this Friday, the book will be available for pre-orders on Amazon Kindle. Stay tuned for more details on this book's availability. If you're an author, you'll want this book as it describes my process of how launched my boos to the #1 New Release on Amazon. This book offers a step-by-by guide for each month up until launch with real examples. The book has eight chapters filled information to help you launch and market your book. If you have already published your book, it's not too late as the information can help you too.

One last thing on a private and exciting note. My book tour is set and I'm happy to announce I am visiting eight wonderful cities with more in the future. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to stay up to date on this tour and to find out my latest releases. Speaking of releases, my next novel, A.D.A.M. will launch in June 2019. Here is the trailer for it.


Jamell Crouthers

The featured author today is Jamell Crouthers who is a poet, author, blogger and podcaster. I hope you enjoy his interview.


Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you. I was born in the Bronx, New York and
I lived there for 8 years, then lived in Queens, NY until I was 14 years old and currently live in Woodmere, New York, a suburban area of Long Island. I went to college at the University of Hartford and graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts in Mass Media Communications.

When I graduated, I worked in the medical field for a little while before venturing off into my field which is TV production. I've been fortunate enough to have worked for the NBA twice (TV production and retail side), MLB, JP Morgan Chase (2 internships), Converse (retail) and currently NYP Hospital. I've had my share of experiences in different fields and I was also a basketball referee for 7 years for ZogSports one of the biggest sports leagues in NYC and in other major cities.

You bring a social twist to your writing. How do you choose your topics? A lot of my topics come from experiences, other people's experiences and observing the world and the current state it is in. There are a lot of subjects that are taboo to talk about or aren't talked about enough and I feel through stories, I can get my message out to readers and people who are concerned about the world. 
Brainstorming sessions happen a lot and I spend more time thinking, crafting stories, characters, backstories to them and then bringing these characters to life through my writing. Before I write any of my books, I have a good hour-long brainstorming session where I listen to music and just write down anything that comes to my mind (storyline, concepts, characters, their story, and purpose for writing the book, goals for writing the book).
What inspired you to write? A few years ago I was going through a transition phase of my life where I was trying to decide what I wanted to do. I was grinding through Corporate America, refereeing basketball and I was burnt out. I took a trip to California to recharge my battery and thought about what I was really good at and writing was something I did sparingly. I never took it seriously, and I started thinking about how I can utilize my talents to write stories. 
I knew that writing traditionally formatted books weren't going to work, but I knew I could write poetry prose books. So I incorporated poetry prose, and social issues into one and from there came my first book The Struggles and Growth of a Man. I never had any plans to write a ton of books but all of these ideas started coming to me and I ran with them. 
Then I came across an article that gives insight and advice on the best way to draw in readers and it was writing books in a series. At that point, I had the Struggles and Growth of a Man, The World We Live In and Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun published. I knew then that I wanted to turn these books into a series but make it to where it's not too long of a series where it drags so I decided on a 5 book series for each of them and I will finish these series by June.
When did you begin writing? I started writing at the age of 13 and it was randomly. My poetry was about my life experiences and things that I loved the most (family, friends, music, and sports). Somehow it came naturally to me, I don't get writer's block much, and I enjoyed doing it. I would share some of my stuff with my female friends and they loved it. I wrote on and off for nearly 20 years before I considered publishing my first book. 

There was never a serious plan to publish any books but sometimes fate sends you down a road you didn't think you would go. Life has a way of making you go through experiences to make you realize what you're meant to do.

Are there any authors who inspired you growing up or who inspires you now? There weren't any specific authors who inspired me growing up, it was more of watching the world and seeing what's going on currently that inspires me. Meeting people, talking to them about their experiences, understanding others, that is the biggest component too what inspires me. 
For me, knowing that I can impact others and change the world with my writing and going against the grain a little is what keeps me going. I'm not necessarily following all rules when it comes to my writing, I'm different and I love it.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome? My biggest obstacles are when people realize that my writing is different, and it's in poetry format. I write poetry prose, literary fiction, social issues type of books so I'm not categorically one specific genre. That struggle continues three years later and I stay determined to break the mold of what poetry is, should be and should consist of. 
There's this sense of expectation or interpretation of what poetry should be and I want to change that. I want to let people know that poetry can be formulated into a story and a journey within characters. 
You are also a podcaster? Tell us about it and where to find it and the times you air? Yes, I am a podcaster, my podcast is named, The Aquarianmind Podcast and I post my podcasts every Friday. I delve into social issues that are going on in the world such as women's issues, the education system, life struggles, raising kids in today's world, how the world is structured to keep us from achieving greatness, television programming, and so many more subjects.
My podcast is on Podbean, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play and iTunes. You can type in the Aquarianmind Podcast and you'll find me.
Describe three of your books.

Book #1:
America Under Mind Control

What happens when society takes control of your mind and how you think? This book speaks on all of the issues going on in today’s society and how the rich, wealthy and elite do everything in their power to keep the American people under mind control. There are different tactics and ways they use to make sure we as a people don’t strive for greatness in life. It starts from when you’re a child in the education system and how we’re taught to be obedient and to respect authority all the way into Corporate America. Our minds are programmed on a daily basis and whether we realize it or not, we don’t take the time to see the bigger picture of how the world is run. From the music we listen to, to the television we watch, the politics they control and infiltrate, this book deals head-on with how we the American people are controlled by so many messages on a daily basis. It’s a book that speaks truth into how this country and the world is in shambles and how we need to come together as a nation and as a people and do better. 

Book #2:

Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun is a story about a police officer named Gary who has been on the police force for 5 years. He feels he's doing a great job in protecting and serving the community and city he's grown up in until he gets caught up in a lot of corruption. Police brutality, lies, racism, falsified reports and illegal activities as he tries to decide whether he's going to report his coworkers and superiors. The series is a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs where Gary is involved in a plethora of cases that question his morality and what he values most, his badge, gun, paycheck, and pension or the citizens of his city.

Book #3 -

The World We Live In: A Poetry Book On Societal Issues is a series that delves into 19 various characters who are all going through trials and tribulations in their lives. From a woman who is raped to a man who is homeless, a young child who was molested, a mother who is addicted to alcohol and an athlete who is gay and many other subject areas. It's a series that is very emotional and tackles a lot of subjects that are sensitive to the mind and heart. The series was written to convey a message to be kind to others because we never know what people are going through in their lives or have gone through. BUY NOW

Book #4:
The Struggles and Growth of a Man

The Struggles and Growth of a Man is a series about a young man named Robert who chronicles his life journey from childhood to the present. He talks about the battles, struggles, and hardships he's dealt with in his life and what it takes to become a good man in the world. He learned so many wrong things at a young age, made some bad decisions and is now trying to make up for it by doing the right things and being an inspiring person like his mentor Mr. Marble. 
Listen to this Audio Sample of one of Jamell's audiobooks.

Who is your target audience and why? My target audience is people who enjoy reading about societal issues that are going on in the world. My reason is readers who are concerned about the world and want to make the world a better place sometimes don't know how to express it but through reading stories they may become motivated and inspired. 

Looking back, what would you tell your younger self? I would definitely tell my younger self to write books in my twenties. Also to write what you're passionate about and don't focus on trying to make it in Corporate America. My younger self would have been able to write some of these books but not all of them but the good part is I started in my 30s and it's never too late to find your purpose in life and what you're passionate about.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre? What sets me apart is how I write my books, it's not the traditionally formatted book. I write my books in a poetry prose format and incorporate storylines to them which is different. I always felt that I had to stand out from the pack and write what I'm good at. I want to draw readers in through the story and not necessarily how I write my books. 

What is your next book? Tell us a little about it. My next book is the ending of the series where the characters have closure to all of what they've dealt with and gone through in their lives. The book is a sense of hope for most of the characters and it allows you to either see growth in characters or some going downhill.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share. In my spare time, I love to play basketball, go running, bowling, watch sports (basketball, football, and baseball). Music is my life and I can't do a day without listening to music. I'm very close to my family and my three best friends.

There are a lot of great books coming this year and next year. The Struggles and Growth of a Man series will finish by early spring and in the fall will start a new series Kids With Guns that delves into bullying, mental health and gun control in America.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019