Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Lessons Learned on the Way to the Top: A Q&A with Deirdre Thurston

Deirdre is the author of the collection of short stories Caught. Writing Daze caught up with Deirdre recently and asked her some questions On Writing. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by her answers. 

About Deirdre Thurston

A mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, confidante, Deirdre Thurston has been an observer of people her whole life. Sifting through the debris of quotidian angst, Deirdre gently excavates its relics and dusts off their funny side.

            my website
            my Facebook page
            my Twitter
Order my book:
            on Amazon
            on Barnes & Noble

About the Book: CAUGHT

Caught is a collection of stories that explore the deeper human themes: expectation, desire, loss, hope, fear, joy, redemption. And while the collection as a whole is relentlessly empathic, each retelling is colourful and sharp; here acidic and humourous, there bittersweet with pathos.

In this era of increasing social disconnection – in which technology is replacing intimacy and life occurs at a pace that challenges our ability to stop, observe and interpret our own existence and its relationship with those around us – Caught’s celebration of the everyday experience offers nourishment for the harried soul.

Book Excerpt

The young woman stood between the old gateposts, which were the only reason the rickety wooden fence, paint peeled almost entirely off, remained standing . . . on a precarious lean.
            In her arms she cradled a brown cat, soft tummy up, round body topped with a small round head like a chocolate pudding. Lifting its head, the cat popped out a fuchsia-pink tongue and delicately licked the woman’s small chin. She placed a kiss on his sun-warmed head.
            They were comfortable together this morning, going nowhere.

On Writing:

Q:  What motivated you to write the book?
       A lifelong dream I’d had. I was always searching for that ‘something else’ in my life. It is writing. When I sit to write – whether it be scribbles of nothing or an idea, I am in my happy place. It is what I love to do. The world seems at rights.

Q:  What is the single most useful thing you have learned and how has it helped you as a writer.
Write from your heart. Don’t worry about what people will think. Let it flow out.

Q:  What would you say are your main literary influences?
In my genre: David Sedaris. He makes me laugh. Always a good thing don’t you think? His  un-PC approach is refreshing and hilarious but he can still show pathos.
I love many authors and each book is a treasure.

Questions for Fun

Q: What’s your favorite color?
Q: What’s your favorite author and why?
In my genre it is David Sedaris. He is un-PC, witty and hilarious.
I love Ian McEwan. His stories and style capture me each and every time.

Q: What are three things that your fans don’t know about you?
I’m an insomniac.
I stoop to pat every animal I come across.
 I hate people wearing shoes in the house.

Thanks Deirdre for stopping
It was my pleasure, thank you. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Celebrations - A Day of Love

Valentine's Day, originally a liturgical celebration, of St. Valentine, has evolved into a multi-million dollar day associated with romance. It's the day when everyone is expected to share/show their love with candy, flowers, dinners and other things with their sweethearts. It's the day where Hallmark writes it for you on a card.

Whether you celebrate at home or outside of the home, it's a day that can be shared by not only couples, but by families. Children can be encouraged to express their love with those Valentine Cards that make their way around school. They can have fun making handmade cards for mom and dad.

If we didn't have this day on the calendar, it would just be another typical day. It would be a day where we might not say, "I Love You" to our loved ones. Having a dedicated day to acknowledge our loved ones brings us out of self absorbed cocoons, so to speak.

However you choose to celebrate Valentine's Day, make it memorable and continue to say "I Love You" tomorrow and the next day and every day after that; there isn't anyone that will get tired of hearing it.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Living Stones - See What Reviewers Have To Say

About Living Stones 

She was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nearly killed in Seattle during a jihadist bombing, Ashley recognizes the synagogue bomber and is later stalked by a hired Muslim hit man in Israel. There she reacquaints with Najid, the Christian Palestinian scholar she had met at the University of Washington. She falls in love with him, putting her at odds with her Zionist pro-Israeli convictions.

On the run, Ashley sees the beautiful rock churches and shrines.  But the living stones, the people of the Holy Land intrigue her. She meets Jews and Palestinians, Rabbis for and against Israeli settlement expansion. Gentle Palestinians like Najid’s family, and those in the West Bank suffering under military occupation. Both Muslims and Christians living peacefully together.

Najid and Ashley find the bomber in Seattle despite the FBI dragnet put out to arrest him.. Living Stones is the story of an American woman coming to terms with the truth of the Middle East, and the lies she had been fed. Will she survive the forces that threaten to tear her apart?

See What Reviewers Have To Say 


“Lloyd Johnson creates a new way of looking at the tumult in the Holy Land.”
—Sami Awad, Executive Director, Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem

“Lloyd Johnson brings a worldview which is both entertaining, educational, and based on his own observation and personal experience. His book, LIVING STONES, is a must read and will open up a perspective that will be an eye opener for those fortunate enough to get their hands on it.”
—Leonard Rodgers, Global Initiatives, Inc.

“Lloyd Johnson has done an important and wonderful thing in
bringing the reality of Israel and Palestine to the fiction reader. In Living Stones he shows us what most Americans don’t see: the real face of Palestine and of life under occupation.  Just as important, Johnson’s strong faith shines through in every page. This is a story about crossing boundaries and about forgiveness. Don’t pick up this book if you are not willing to have your assumptions challenged.  But don’t miss the opportunity—your faith will be strengthened and your horizons widened.”

—Mark Braverman, Program Director of Kairos USA and the author of A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing and the Struggle for Peace in Israel and Palestine.

From his own rich experiences with the Living Stones, Lloyd Johnson weaves a story of intrigue and danger but also love, curiosity, forgiveness, and hope. Living Stones takes us as readers beyond simplistic understandings of Israel and Palestine.  In this gripping novel, Ashley Wells’ journey of discovery helps open minds and hearts—for others in the novel, but for us as well.

—Joan Deming, Pilgrims of Ibillin Executive Director

Many excellent books treat the conflict, but in “ Living Stones” Lloyd Johnson creates a new way of looking at the tumult in the Holy Land— through a fiction lens .  Stories of ordinary people, the living stones, caught up in the historic chaos, unmask the hidden dynamics of the conflict—social, spiritual and psychological.  Their action-adventures reflect the reality of life in Palestine/Israel.
Sami Awad, Founder and Director, Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem
I am enjoying your book... passing through memory lane - not only
geographically but politically, culturally and spiritually! Very exciting
read... can see a good movie made from this! :)

I'll let you know when I'm all done.. I am mentally " walking with Ashley"
on the streets of Bethlehem and at Shepherd's Filed  - even imaging Gamal on
my brother in law's street in Beit Jala!  very cool! ) 

Ann Ammar 

Follow Lloyd’s tour here with Pump Up Your Book


Friday, April 5, 2013

Christine Marmoy Announces Self-Help Book Success in High Heels 30 Day Diet Feast to Success

Christine Marmoy, founder of The Women’s Edge Magazine, a publication designed by women for women and multi-published author announces the April, 2013 release of the women’s self-help book, Success in {High Heels} 30 Day Diet Feast toSuccess. 

Along with her co-authors, today’s brightest stars in women’s leadership roles, SUCCESS IN {HIGH HEELS} 30 Day Diet Feast to Success offers great ideas and sound advice from today’s most accomplished women. Each chapter is a lesson, 30 in all, and each lesson will teach you an important point in business or your life. By combining traditional advice, transformational ideas that embrace beauty, brains, wisdom and practices, this 30-day feast to success will help all women reach a place they call success.  

Success in {High} Heels 30 Day Diet Feast to Success brings together a variety of successful women who empower all women with their essays to realize that they can pursue their dreams. The essays cover topics from dressing for success, taking the t out of can’t, transforming your hobby into a way of life, branding with beauty and more. According to Marmoy, the power that lies within women is a personal path through change and embracing situations will help them get out of their own way and rise to success. Marmoy drives home the point of success, that there are no borders to a woman’s power.  

It never crossed Marmoy’s mind that she wouldn’t be able to pull together 30 of the most inspirational women on the planet. She personally hand-picked all the women with the criteria that each one had to have a vision for the world and each one had to be working with women. She states they had to be professional and fun and they were all amazing. 

Marmoy’s background is the perfect backdrop to be an inspiration to other women. She thrives to lead a global movement – a movement to inspire and empower women to collaborate in innovative ways to stand out from the crowd, and profit from their unique brilliance in the international marketplace. According to Marmoy, Success in {High} Heels is the true testimony to what one women can achieve when they understand that being a woman is her greatest asset in life and in business. 

All Authors in Chapter Order
Sue Donnelly * Bunny Star * Kelly Falardeau * Anna D. Garrett * Angelika Christie * Dorothy-Inez Del Tufo * Noni Boon * Lillian Ogbogoh * Angelas Raspass * Lisa Rehurek * Shawn Driscoll * Aime Hutton * Jasmin Christensen * Toni  Coleman Brown * Monique Alamedine * Kim Boudreau Smith * Catrice M. Jackson * Nancy Meadows * Miki Strong * Patty Farmer * Ava Diamond * Lisa Rothstein * Margo DeGange * Kathleen Hanagan * Kuumba Nia * Kat Mikic * Katrin Faensen * Terry Wildermann * Ana Lucia Novak * Christine Marmoy 

Success in High Heels compiled by Christine Marmoy
Publisher: Marketing for Coach, Ltd
Self-Help Paperback, USD $18.95, GBP 14.00, CAD 19.50, EUR 16.00, AUD 19.00
ISBN: 978-0-9575561-0-2

Lessons Learned on the Way to the Top: A Q&A with Ron Hutchison

Ron Hutchison is the author of the YA novel “Voicesof the Locusts.” Writing Daze caught up with Ron recently and asked him some questions On Writing and Self-Publishing. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by his answers. 

About Voices of the Locusts

Sixteen-year old Jack O’Brien has never known the bittersweet stint of love, and romance is the farthest thing from his mind as he and his family arrives at a remote U.S. Air Force outpost in Japan where Jack’s father is base commander. The year is 1948. Jack’s life changes after a chance encounter with Fujiko Kobaysi, a beautiful and enchanting 17-year-old Japanese girl. Jack is immediately smitten.
Fujiko’s traditional parents are overly protective and monitor her every move, and Jack and Fujiko meet secretly at her garden, located some distance from her village. There is a good reason why Fujiko’s parents are so protective and Jack is devastated when Fujiko tells him that her parents have promised her in marriage to an older man, a practice common throughout Asia at the time. The marriage is only a months away. Jack devises a cunning plan, one that will overshadow her arranged marriage and bring Fujiko and him together. 

Playing against a backdrop of swirling post-War social change, Voices of the Locusts tells the story of three families – one black, one white, one Asian. Told in Jack’s voice in vivid and sometimes haunting detail, Jack and Fujiko are frustrated in their romantic quest by story characters coming to terms (often violently) with the emotional scars of World War II. 

Book Excerpt

            A flutter of panic races through my body. It is instantly replaced by a sweep of joy, and a strange, unnatural lucidity overcomes me.
            Fujiko and I hesitate for what seems a small eternity, our eyes locked in a moment of mutual understanding. Finally, I lean in toward Fujiko and she leans in toward me. Our eyes close and our mouths touch in a whisper-soft kiss, a brief, gentle brush of lips.
            I pull back slowly, my heart racing, my head alive with all manner of strange, warm images. This must all be a dream. A wonderful, glorious dream. I don’t want to ever wake up.

About Ron Hutchison
Author Ron Hutchison

            Ron Hutchison began writing fiction full time after a long career in journalism and public relations. “Voices of the Locusts” is his fourth novel. A multi-genre author, Hutchison’s choice of novels to write is determined not by genre, but by the weight of the story. Hutchison graduated from the University of Missouri in 1967 with a degree in journalism. He has worked as a reporter, editor, and columnist at newspapers in Texas, California, and Missouri. He was employed by a Fortune 100 company as a public relations executive, and later operated his own public relations agency. Hutchison attended high school in Japan, and much of his “Voices of the Locusts” is based on personal experience. Hutchison lives in Joplin, Missouri. His novel can be purchased exclusively at His website:

On Writing:

Q:  What motivated you to write the book?
I have carried this story in my head for 30 years. It was not until I reached my mid-60s did I have the discipline to sit down and piece the story together. Writing requires Himalayan dedication, but I was never able to demonstrate this personal commitment until late in my life. Much of my story is based upon personal experience.   

Q:  What is the single most useful thing you have learned and how has it helped you as a writer.
I am constantly amazed at the volume of copy I can produce if I dedicate three or four hours each day to writing. Working seven days a week, I wrote the first draft of “Voices of the Locusts” in about two months.

Q:  What would you say are your main literary influences?
All of my novels are multi-cultural: Native Americans, Latinos, and Asians assume pivotal roles in each of my novels. I would hope that each novel provides the reader with the knowledge that although we are all different—our language is different, as are our looks and cultures—there is a common thread of humanity that runs through all of us.

On Self-Publishing:

Q:  What are the biggest challenges you have faced with self-publishing?
To be honest, I have not experienced any problems, although my humble marketing strategy can never hope to compete with traditional publishers. I assembled a six-person team that I have used for each of my novels: photographer, graphic artist, formatter, website specialist, publicist, and editor. Editing remains the biggest challenge.

Q:  What surprised you about the self-publishing process?
The ease of the process.

Q:  Right now there is a stigma attached to self-published authors, that just because you can pay for the book to be published doesn’t mean you are a qualified author. Do you think self-publishing will ever become a respected industry?  
For me, self-publishing has been a rewarding experience. Between Dec. 1, 2012 and March 20, 2013, I sold nearly a 1,000 copies of my third novel, a middle-grade story titled “A Boy Called Duct Tape.” By traditional standards, that probably isn’t that many books, but for me it is a homerun. I continue to believe that a good story will always make its mark in the literary marketplace. And yes, I believe self-publishing will find its rightful place in literature within the next two years. The industry is changing at warp speed. 

Q:  What is your advice to authors who decide to self-publish?
Roll up your sleeves and do it! Your expenses should run anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 depending on the length of your book, the complexity of your cover, etc. I live in Joplin, Missouri, and the cost of these services is low. If you live in New York City, your costs will be much higher. 

Questions for Fun

Q: What’s your favorite color?

Q: What’s your favorite author and why?
            Stephen King. I enjoy his writing style. His settings are real—they draw me into the story.

Q: What are three things that your fans don’t know about you?
I’ve never used an ATM.
I’ve never played a video game.
I’ve never eaten a McDonald’s hamburger.

Thanks Ron for stopping by.

It was my pleasure, thank you. 

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