Welcome to the #RRBC ROCKIN’ 2020 AWAY Book, Blog & Trailer Block Party! #Giveaways #DoorPrizes @NonnieJules

I think I’m speaking for the great majority of us when I say that “2020 has been a pretty sucky year.”  We’ve been stuck at home, some of us under quarantine, some of us have lost our jobs, graduates were not allowed to walk across the stage this year, weddings were put on hold, and sadly, many of our loved ones were taken away from us by the horrible coronavirus – many without loved ones by their side.  I’ll repeat, “2020 has been a pretty sucky year,” but in spite of that, we’re going to continue living as best we can through the most trying of times.

Welcome to RRBC’s “ROCKIN’ 2020 AWAY” Book, Blog & Trailer Block Party!!!

STOP!!!

Don’t you go any farther without hitting the button below to party while you’re browsing!

LET’S ROCK, ROCK, ROCK!

For the next 25 days, we will be rockin’ around some of the most awesome RRBC member blogs!   We’re going to show our support of our fellow members by purchasing their books, enjoying their book trailers, reading their blog posts, then sharing them to our social media platforms.  Before we leave each blog, we will Like, Share and #Follow!  

People dancing

RRBC is known for its amazing events and awesome door prizes that are gifted during our events.  Be sure to leave a comment at each stop as each night, new winners will be announced here, as well as on each member’s blog post.  Winnings will be sent out the very next day!

At the end of the tour, there will also be GRAND PRIZES awarded, as well!

*1st/Grand Prize:  $50 Amazon Gift Card 

*2nd/Grand Prize:  3-day Blog Tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing

*3rd/Grand Prize:  Book Bundle {10 books of your choice from the Kathryn C. Treat Book Giveaway Treasure Chest}

*4th/Grand Prize:  A *LIVE* interview on an upcoming segment of a RAVE WAVES “EYES ON THE BOOK” or a BOOK OF THE MONTH slot.

Each day, a new link will open on the blog that’s on tour that day and we want you to spread the word of that blog everywhere you can!

Are you ready to rock?  Well, here we go!

Monday, 10/5/20

WJ Scott Children’s Author Blog

(Winner:  Charles Jones)

Tuesday, 10/6/20

Susanne Leist

(Winners:  John Podlaski, Rox Burkey, Wanda Fischer, PTL Perrin, Pat Garcia, John Fioravanti, Marian Beaman)

Wednesday, 10/7/20

Bette A. Stevens

(Winners:  Shirley Harris-Slaughter & Pete Springer)

Thursday, 10/8/20

Marian Beaman

(Winner:  Charles Jones)

Friday, 10/9/20

John Podlaski

(Winners:  Rox Burkey, John Fioravanti, Robert Fear & Susanne Leist)

Saturday, 10/10/20

Flossie Benton Rogers

(Winners:  Bette Stevens & Wendy Scott)

Sunday, 10/11/20

Robbie Cheadle

(Winners:  Pat Garcia and Acflory)

Monday, 10/12/20

Jan Sikes

(Winners:  PTL Perrin, Flossie Benton Rogers, Balroop Singh, Karen Black, Sam Polakoff  & Bette Stevens)

Tuesday, 10/13/20

Wendy Scott

(Winner:  Robbie Cheadle)

Wednesday, 10/14/20

PTL Perrin

(Winners:  Jan Sikes & NJ)

Thursday, 10/15/20

Shirley Harris-Slaughter

(Winners:  Yvette Calleiro & Robbie Cheadle)

Friday, 10/16/20

Robert Fear

(Winners:  Sam Polakoff & NJ)

Saturday, 10/17/20

Phil Stephens

(Winners:  Robbie Cheadle & Linnea Tanner)

Sunday, 10/18/20

Wanda Fischer

(Winners:   Sam Polakoff & John Podlaski)

Monday, 10/19/20

Nonnie Jules

(Winner:  Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko & Wanda Fischer)

Tuesday, 10/20/20

Rox Burkey

(Winners:  PTL Perrin, Flossie Benton Rogers, Susanne Leist & Robert Fear)

Wednesday, 10/21/20

Wendy Scott

(Winner: Rox Burkey)

Thursday, 10/22/20

John Fioravanti

(Winner:  Bette Stevens)

Friday, 10/23/20

Yvette Calleiro

(Winners:  Susanne Leist, Marian Beaman & Rox Burkey)

Saturday, 10/24/20

Robbie Cheadle

(Winners:  Shirley Harris-Slaughter & Judeitakali)

Sunday, 10/25/20

Sam Polakoff

(Winners:  Wendy Scott, NJ, Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko, Bette Stevens, Yvette Calleiro & Wanda Fischer)

Monday, 10/26/20

Books by Nonnie

(Winners:  Phil Stephens, Wendy Scott & Jan Sikes)

Tuesday, 10/27/20

4WillsPublishing

(Winners:  John Podlaski & Wanda Fischer)

Wednesday, 10/28/20

Shirley Harris-Slaughter

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS ANNOUNCED ON 11/7/20!

THE END! 

THANKS TO ALL WHO SUPPORTED THIS EVENT!

You rock, rock, rock!!!

Robbie Cheadle in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@NonnieJules – #RRBC @bakeandwrite @RobertaEaton17

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC  member,  Author, ROBBIE CHEADLE! 

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and in all honesty, I can’t recall any accidents lately, so I think this redesign is working.  Are you comfy?

Robbie:  I love the design of the eagle carrying a book. The eagle signifies inspiration, victory, speed and pride, all of which are important qualities for writers.

NJ:  Well, thank you.  I’m glad you like our new logo.  I designed it myself!  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Robbie:  I write under the name of Robbie Cheadle for my children’s books and Roberta Eaton Cheadle for my adult books. Most people, including my work colleagues, know me as Robbie Cheadle. Roberta is my full name and Eaton is my maiden name. I use to variations of my name to clearly separate my children’s fiction from my adult fiction.

NJ:  Wendy Scott uses that technique, as well.  Good for you all!  I don’t think I’d be able to keep it all straight.  Robbie, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Robbie:  I was born in Knightsbridge in the UK. My father died when I was three months old and my mother moved to South Africa. Her sister, my aunt, offered to take care of my while my mother worked. I still live in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have lived in George, a small town in the Western Cape for two years and in Cape Town for two years, both in South Africa.

NJ:  Robbie, I like to ask the hard questions here and I look forward to the honest answers.  Since you mentioned being from South Africa, I must say that I’ve found South African women to be a tad difficult.  You, on the other hand, appear to be such a gentle sweetheart, but, we know that there are those times when the folks behind the keyboard aren’t what they appear to be.  I mean, I’m not as nice as I seem (when I’m forced to go in another direction, if you know what I mean).   Is the picture that I have of you in my head accurate or would you fall into that category of those others I have encountered that I found to be difficult?  

Robbie:   I think how one develops as a person depends a lot on upbringing, position in society, economic standing, and your own character. As with all countries, South African women vary and there are some who are difficult and demanding. I suspect this is to do with being brought up to think they are entitled. This, of course, is not the case with all, or even most, South African women and there are lots of wonderful, kind, and caring women out there. I work in a multi-cultural environment and there are representatives from all eleven of our national language and cultural groups, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, and the other seven main African ethnic groups in South Africa. There are also Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, and Christian people and foreigners from other African countries including Ghana, Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Everyone I work with is nice and most people are helpful and committed to their jobs. I like to believe I am a kind and helpful person. I know that my colleagues, friends, and family all rely on me to help them with difficult situations and personal problems. I am a good listener and don’t offer unwanted advice, so people often confide in me. I also don’t break confidences. I hope this answers your question.

NJ:  Interesting.  Robbie,  are you married or single?

Robbie:  I will have been married for twenty years in February 2021. My husband and I are both chartered accountants and met at work in 1997.

NJ:  That’s amazing!  I love February for weddings.  I’m not sure why, though.  So, do you two lovebirds have any kids?  If so, what kind? And, more importantly, do you like them?

Robbie:  I have two sons, Gregory and Michael. They are both great lads and they both help me with my books and marketing. Michael is my co-author for the Sir Chocolate series of children’s books. Sir Chocolate, a little man made of chocolate, and Chocolate World, where you can eat everything was his idea. We wrote the first book together when he was six years old and later added the fondant, cake and biscuit illustrations and the recipes. These additions were at the suggestion of my brother-in-law who is in advertising.  I am proud of my boys and I do like them … most of the time.

NJ:  Robbie, they sound like awesome ‘lads!’ If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Robbie:  My parents live in a cottage on our premises. Both my sons think this is the norm and seem to have a plan to live in the house and move my husband and I out to the cottage in the future. They make me smile when they discuss their future plans.

NJ:  Uh, not sure that I’d be smiling while they were discussing putting me outside in the outhouse and taking over my house.  Any pets?  What kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question…do you like them?

Robbie:  I have two cats which I share with my dad. Smudge is more his cat and Push-Push is more mine. She comes to visit me for cuddles every morning. I do like my cats but when they bring dead rodent or bird gifts into the house, I’m not very grateful.

NJ:  What cute names! (But I still don’t like cats.)  Robbie, what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Robbie:  Oooh, that’s tough. I’m not a big foodie even though I bake a lot. That started as an endeavor to give my boys healthier food that wasn’t full of chemicals and where I could control the sugar content. I always reduce the sugar in recipes.

I do like prawns but don’t eat them often because they are on the orange list – partially endangered.

NJ:  I love prawns and eat them as much as I can!  Sorry.  What’s your favorite color, Robbie?

Robbie:  I like yellow, pink and orange in that order.

NJ:  I love to attach colors to people and you look like a yellow, pink and orange kind of girl!  Love it!  Favorite sport?

Robbie:  I am not sporty and never watch sport. My boys play tennis so I’ll pick that as my favourite sport.

NJ:  Oh, but your photo above … I imagined you hiking through the mountains.  Oh, well, do you have a favorite TV show?

Robbie:  I never watch TV. I watched The Addam’s Family [movie], two weeks ago with my sons at their request. This is the first movie I’ve watched in two years. I do like to read.

NJ:  No … No … No  TV?  Like, no Housewives of anything?  No BRAVO of any kind?  Uh, how does that work?  Robbie, that’s almost sacrilegious.  OK, let me move on from that place of absolutely no understanding.  Do you have a favorite Actress or Actor?

Robbie:  As mentioned, I haven’t watched a movie for a while, but I do like Helen Bonham Carter. I think she is a great actress.

NJ:  Yeah, I get it, but I still don’t understand it.  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Robbie:  Haha, no beer bellies for me. I’m not much of a foodie and sometimes forget meals. I don’t do organized exercise in a gym or sports facility but I walk every day and I do housework and gardening. I’m a bit obsessive about cleanliness.

NJ:  Cleanliness!!!  Now, I like you even more!  So, during this pandemic which we are all living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit?

Robbie:  I like to keep to my routines. It is part of my obsessive personality. Lack of routine is very tough for me and makes me distressed. I have done my best to keep to my work and home routines as much as possible during this pandemic. My workload has been enormous due to the financial fallout created by the lockdowns, but I have tried to keep work boxed within its hours and not let it take over my life. I have been moderately successful with that, but have still had to delay the publication of my new adult paranormal historical novel because of timing issues.

NJ:  OK.  I wish you success in completing that next book baby.  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you,  ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all says:  “You always know where she stands on things. You’re never left to wonder with her.”

Robbie:  Haha, People always say to me that they don’t know how I do everything I do with working full time, raising a family, writing and blogging. I’m always left wondering what other people do with their time.

NJ:  I’m with you – where do people get so much free time and down time?  Biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Robbie:  I also can’t abide dishonesty. It can cause so much heartache and pain to other people when someone lies. Lies can be very destructive.

NJ:  Lies are deadly at times, Robbie.  So, are you neat or messy?

Robbie:  I am neat.

NJ:  Yes, I know … I just wanted to hear you say it again!  I love it!

Are you nice or mean?  And, is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?

Robbie:  I believe I am nice, and I often overcommit myself as a result. I can take a hard line in my work environment thought. It is necessary to get the correct outcome.

NJ:  Facebook or Twitter?

Robbie:  Facebook

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

Robbie:  I am only vaguely familiar with Wonder Woman, but I do know Nonnie Jules and how hard she works to support other writers. I’ll definitely go with Nonnie.

NJ:  Robbie, I knew I liked you for various reasons!  LOL!  Seriously, thank you for your kind words.  We all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Robbie:  I am a big believer in the truth and the need for people to acknowledge the truth of situations. That is one of the reasons I write historical fiction, so that people can remember and appreciate the truth of historical events. Here again, I have to go with Nonnie and her belief in the truth.

NJ:  Name two favorite INDIE books that you’ve read by RRBC members:

Robbie:  No Pedigree: A Really Short Story by Nonnie Jules

Vanished by Mark Bierman

I enjoyed these books because they both highlighted a specific issue in society and they both had good outcomes which, although not always the case, allows the reader to believe people can make a difference.

NJ:  Why, thank you, Robbie!  So happy you enjoyed NO PEDIGREE.  It is one of my personal favorites.  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Robbie:  Yes, I post a review of every book I read.

NJ:  Good for you!  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Robbie:  I have a formula for my reviews. I comment on the overall plot and story line. I comment on my favourite, or least favourite, characters and the character development by the author. Depending on the nature of the book, I may quote a few lines or stanza’s if the book is a poetry book. I try to appreciate a book based on its nature. For example, I am not a reader of self help books, but if I do read one, I will analyse it from the perspective of a self-help book and not let my personal genre likes and dislikes influence the review. In other words, I try to be fair and balanced when reviewing a book.

NJ:  How interesting.  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Robbie:  I believe I am honest in my reviews. I do look for the best in a book as well as the weaker elements. A book may have a great plot idea but be badly written. In a case like this, I will mention both points i.e. that the plot has a lot of potential but the book needs editing.

NJ:  Hmmmm, ok.  Read any poorly written books lately?

Robbie:  No, if a book is really poor, I will put it aside and not finish it. I don’t review books I haven’t finished reading.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews when you knew they were horrible reads?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Robbie:  I don’t do that. I usually read books that are written by people whose blogs I’ve followed and read for a while, so I know I like their writing style. Most of the Indie or small publisher books I read are well edited. There is usually the odd error but I find errors in books published by large publishing houses too.

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name two INDIE authors who have done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Robbie:  I have only been in the writing world for a few years so I can’t really comment extensively on this. I am fortunate as organisations like RRBC have always existed since I started writing so I only have to make the effort to find people like you and embrace the help and advice offered. I know it hasn’t always been like that and I realise that I have benefited from other people’s efforts to gain recognition for Indie and small publisher authors.

The author community on WordPress has been welcoming and helpful and I have learned a lot from posts about writing, marketing and publishing. I have recently started attending on-line sessions and workshops to improve my writing skills.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Robbie:  I am an author. I believe I have good story ideas, but I am still learning how to convey them well and to use the available writing tools to build tension and provide for a professionally written story. I attended a few of the sessions at the recent RRBC writing conference and I learned some new things, especially around filter words and composing short stories.

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Robbie:  I have always written, but I’ve only been writing fiction for four years. As a girl I wrote poems and descriptive passages and I have written several non-fiction publications about investing in Africa. The most difficult challenge I had with moving from non-fiction writing to fiction, was learning to show and not tell. In non-fiction writing you mainly share facts so it is a different mindset.

NJ:  Robbie, are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Robbie:  Yes, I get feedback from my mother and she is a surpringly good critic. She is a huge reader and is good at picking up areas where I get to bogged down in detail or to convoluted in my story telling. She also picks up typos and that sort of thing for me.

My last two books, as well as my work in progress, have gone through a developmental editing processes which has been hugely useful to me. I have tried to ensure I implement previous advice in my new work and I think I am starting to get it right as the feedback in respect of my new book was much less invasive than the two previous books.

I work with public documents in my day job, so I am used to having a number of people, including lawyers, work through my sections with a fine-tooth comb and send back a lot of changes and edits. I am used to criticism but prefer it to be constructive rather than just negative.

NJ:  Usually when I ask questions like the last one I asked above, I close it off with “…and don’t include your mother.”  LOL.  Name two books that you’ve written? 

While the Bombs Fell 

Through the Nethergate written under Roberta Eaton Cheadle

My books are all available from Amazon US here: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Robbie:  They are very different genres so I can’t really say which is better. They are also aimed at different age groups.

While the Bombs Fell is a fictionalized autobiography of my mom’s life, growing up as a small child in an English town during World War II. The idea for the book was a cross between the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards. Each chapter in the book tells of a different event in my mother’s life such as Christmas Day or going swimming in the manner of My Naughty Little Sister.

Through the Nethergate is a supernatural fantasy and is my first darker novel. It followed on the heels of a number of horror and paranormal stories I wrote for various anthologies. Writing these short stories planted the seed that I could write a supernatural book and so I did. It also includes historical and political elements all tied together by a common thread.

NJ:  And who didn’t love the LITTLE HOUSE series?  They sound interesting.  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Robbie:  I have two blogs.

Robbie’s Inspiration shares posts about baking, poetry and fondant art as well as reviews of poetry and children’s books.

Robertawrites shares posts about writing, extracts from my adult and young adult books, photographs of places my family has visited and reviews of classic and adult books.

I often do things in a rush and sometimes run out of time when writing posts. When this happens, I make typing and other errors. I am trying to slow down and read my posts over more critically before publishing them.

NJ:  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Robbie:  RRBC has helped me and also a number of my blogging friends.  Blogs like  Nonnie Jules’ three blogs and several others all share writing tips and ideas for marketing books. It all helps and I read as many as I can.

NJ:  Robbie, I’m happy that you find my blogs helpful.  My apologies that I’m behind on my publishing schedule.   Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Robbie:  I enjoy being part of an on-line book club and I especially enjoy the live sessions especially when they are on a Saturday and I can easily join them. I like interacting with other writers and reviewers and hearing their views about books. I learn a lot that way. 

I am more of a listener than a speaker when I attend but that works for me and I gain a lot from hearing what others have to say.

NJ:  That’s good to hear.  Have you come across any other online entities like RRBC?

Robbie:  I have not come across another organization like RRBC. It is a huge undertaking to run an organization like RRBC and for Nonnie to have her fingers in so many pies. I know there are a limited number of people involved. I can see how much hard work it is, and I don’t think there are many others who would be willing to do this. Or who would be able to organize it all as successfully.

NJ:  Thank you for noticing the hard work that goes into running such  a huge, well-oiled machine like RRBC – and you’re right, I haven’t found any who would be willing to do what I do here (believe me, I’ve looked and tried to recruit them to take over!) but although many have tried to mimic the successful growth and organized processes of RRBC, none have come close to scratching the surface of what goes on here. (Even when they were entrusted with the RRBC kitchen sink and then ran off with it, they still couldn’t do what we do here.)  I’m so grateful to my right-hand Paula, who is the absolute greatest at what she does, to John F. who handles Membership and helps me with anything I need help with daily, to Wendy and Jan for their awesome and selfless contributions to RWISA, and to the hosts of RAVE WAVES (Shirley, Joy, Wendy, Rox, Guy and Sam) who are the ultimate show hosts and who we look forward to getting “good show” from every month – we are grateful to all of them.  Lastly, we wouldn’t be who we are without the amazingly supportive “core” group of members who have taken up residence here within RRBC.  I could go on and on about those dedicated and committed members who proudly wear the label of  RRBC Author, but, this is your interview and I’ve taken up enough of it, Robbie.   Yes, very few hands keep this huge machine going, but you wouldn’t know it unless I told you, because it all flows so well together.  Robbie, would you recommend RRBC to your friends and family?

Robbie:  Yes, I would recommend RRBC to other authors and writers. I do try to participate in promotions and blog posts that tell others about its benefits when I can. I also juggle a lot of balls so I can’t always do everything.

NJ:  That’s awesome.  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Robbie:  I have only been a member for nine months, so I am still learning about all the things on offer in the club. I really did enjoy the writing conference and I like the live sessions and join when I can. I also have a six-hour time difference which makes evening sessions difficult for me.

NJ:  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Robbie:  I’d like to thank you, Nonnie, for this opportunity to showcase my books and thank you for all the hard work that goes into running RRBC.  I appreciate the time and effort the team goes to under her leadership.

NJ:  You’re too kind, Robbie, and it was such a pleasure to have you join me today .  Visitors, I ask that you pick up a copy of either of Robbie’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Robbie was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in November, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

***

DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  We post material exactly as it is submitted to us.

Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community & #Support, Pt. 9 #RRBC #RWISA

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted in separate parts.

Welcome to Part 9!

ARE WE SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE?

Being a writer, you automatically belong to a wonderful, very elite club of “like minds.”  How exciting!  Then there are those times, you may feel that this private club is really made up of just a bunch of regular Joes.  (Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a regular Joe, but, I’d much rather be an extraordinary Joe … know what I mean?)  Writers have creative minds and can spin a story out of very little:  a person standing on a street corner, a homeless person sleeping on a bench, a dog running across the grass to greet its master, or, even clouds rolling across a blue sky.  Yes, each of these brief scenarios, catching the eye of a writer, could one day yield a wonderfully written story or a beautiful piece of poetry.  We (writers) see a story in almost everything we see.

Everyone wasn’t born with a creative gene, so those of us who were should feel blessed to be in such good company. Having the ability to create, even with words, makes those of us who do it and do it well, literary technicians. Where others use words to tear down, or, even to build up someone’s self-esteem, we use words to create magic.  So, why is it that quite often I feel as if I’m in a village of my brothers and sisters, but we’re all speaking a different language?

Some of us take our time to write and turn out the most awesome works of art. But on the other side of that, there are those who simply put out words on paper, literally or virtually.  From what I’ve seen,  it’s almost like … in their minds, those words don’t have to make sense, they don’t have to be spelled correctly, and they don’t even have to be used in the proper context of a sentence.  They were simply … put out. When I see writing like this, I ask myself, “Is this the impression they want to leave me (the reader) with?  Do they really want me to believe that they are a writer?”

I can tell a “professional” writer (published or not) simply by the email messages they write or the blog posts they publish.  I’m grateful that I was blessed with the gift of the eye, so, I don’t need you to write a whole book, for me to sum up your writing talent (or lack thereof).  I strive to always give my very best in anything I write, whether it’s an email message, a blog post, or even something as small as a tweet, so it’s foreign to me when others throw slovenly work out into the universe, hoping that it’s going to stick somewhere and be viewed as serious writing.  That’s when I know for sure that some of my brothers and sisters in my village are not speaking the same language I am.

Those of us who take our creativity in the writing department seriously, are unfortunately sometimes lumped in with those “writers” who have only come out to “play.”  Well, this is not playtime for me and maybe you feel the same – this is real life, and I hope that one day it will evolve into the same for everyone who dons the title of Author. 

Let’s all strive to speak the same language – the language of always putting our BEST FOOT FORWARD with everything we share with the world in written form.

So, are you on the playground, or are you in the classroom earning those literary credits? 

***

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Looking to belong to an awesome community of support where HONESTY and DECENCY in all things are strongly encouraged and highly valued?  Then, JOIN the Rave Reviews Book Club where you’ll never feel alone on your writing journey, the place always feels like home, and your professional reputation doesn’t decline by association!

#RRBC Celebrates and Honors Their Most Loyal and Dedicated Members!

Since our inception 7 years ago, RRBC quickly became, and still remains known for the amazing support of our members. Our “core” group of members are dedicated, loyal, and committed to our mission and our goals – and, they always lead by example.

These are the members you’ll find showing up to support other members on tour, on their blog sites, in their RAVE WAVES interview slots, their Book of the Month and Member of the Month spots, they participate in club activities and other club events, and they are the members you’ll find consistently purchasing, reading and reviewing the books of their fellow members. Those are the members who stand out here.

The late Kathryn C. Treat was so committed to our club that when she passed away, folks were still joining, listing her name on their membership applications as their referring source.  This continued long after she was gone.  I truly believe that Kathryn was still recruiting for us from Heaven. 

There are many ways that we continue to honor Kathryn here.  Our VIP lounge houses her name, our treasury of books that we give away, is named in her honor, and the KCT Int’l Literary Awards Contest  – our largest contest, is also named in her honor.  I only wish that Kathryn could be “physically” here to see how much she meant to us.  I’m confident, though, that she’s watching us from above.

Our dearly departed, Jan Hawke, who would go out of her way to help any and everyone, also has an event named in her honor here:  The “JAN HAWKE” RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS Day that we love to celebrate so much!  Showing kindness to others was what she did best.

After Kathryn and Jan’s passing, I decided that I would no longer wait for another of our beloved human treasures here at RRBC, to pass on without us giving them their flowers.  There’s an old gospel song that goes, “Give me my flowers now, while I can still enjoy the view.”  And, giving those flowers that are so richly deserved right now, is what I am committed to doing. 

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko was the first member of our club to read 100 RRBC books from our catalog.  Because of that and her dedication and loyalty to RRBC, we have an award here named in her honor: The  JOY NWOSU LO-BAMIJOKO REVIEWER OF THE YEAR Award.

Now, it’s time for us to bestow another honor.  The announcement was made last night that Jan Sikes had won our 90-Day Alpha/Omega (Beginning-to-End) Short Story Writing Contest – for the 3rd time in a row!  What a feat that was!  It is because of this accomplishment and her dedication to the programs of RRBC & RWISA, that as of today, that award has been renamed The “JAN SIKES” 90-DAY ALPHA/OMEGA (Beginning-to-End) SHORT STORY WRITING CONTEST!

But, I’m not done yet!  There are more deserving members here who I must honor before I close my eyes on this day!

Not many of you know this, but our Membership Director, John J. Fioravanti, was one of our very first “SPOTLIGHT” Authors, and this program is extremely dear to his heart.  Today, that program has been renamed the “JOHN J. FIORAVANTI” #RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR Program!

Wendy J. Scott, who is the RWISA Advisory Committee Leader and who is committed and dedicated to all things RWISA, is being bestowed with an honor she so richly deserves.  As of today, I welcome you to the #RWISA “WENDY J. SCOTT” TARGET THE TALENT (#TTT) WRITING CONTEST!  This honor couldn’t have been bestowed at a better time as on October 1, 2020, we begin accepting submissions for this contest!  Wendy wants you to make those submissions great, by the way!

Wendy

Last, but certainly not least, no one loves paying it forward more than Shirley Harris-Slaughter.  As of today, this special day has been renamed in her honor, the #RRBC “SHIRLEY HARRIS-SLAUGHTER” #PIF (PAY-IT-FORWARD) DAY!

It should not be surprising to learn that each of these awesome members also hold LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP status here at RRBC!  Their dedication, loyalty and support have earned them that awesome status!  How exciting to know that no matter how long you live and no matter how things might change in your life, and, even long after you’re gone, you will still be recognized as a LIFETIME MEMBER of this amazing organization, that has given name recognition to EVERYONE that has ever sat on its roster.  And I do mean EVERYONE.  I mean, c’mon, who knew you before you were on RRBC’s roster?  Your mom doesn’t count.

CONGRATULATIONS to each of you listed here!  Thank you for being solid RRBC citizens and not being as fickle as the wind – going in whatever direction it blows.   You are admired for your high standards of decency, and above all, your commitment and loyalty to the one organization that has given you so much!  (Not many can boast of that, so pat yourselves on the back for being part of a rare class of people).  On both ends of the pole, it’s true when said that birds of a feather flock together.  That’s why you’re here on RRBC’s roster!  You’re a treasure and… 

SIMPLY THE BEST!

I can’t wait to honor more of our awesome members in this manner so stay tuned!

 

Susanne Leist in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF” w/@Nonnie Jules – #RRBC #RRBCAuthor @SusanneLeist

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us, RRBC  member, and September’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, SUSANNE LEIST! We celebrated her all last month and today she gets to sit on the shelf with me!

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and all honesty, I can’t recall any accidents lately, so I think this redesign is working.  Are you comfy?

Susanne:  The design is easy to follow. The instructions are clear. If there were a flaw in the system, I would have fallen into it.

NJ:  Let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name:

Susanne:  My author name, Leist, is my maiden name. I have used it in the past for my family’s legal documents. Schwartz is my married name.

NJ:  Tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Susanne:  I was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. I now live in Woodmere, New York.

NJ:  Married or single?

Susanne:  Married.

NJ:  Any kids?  What kind? Do you like them?

Susanne:  Two daughters. They are my best friends, and I love them.

NJ:  If you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Susanne:  I try not to think about this. My older daughter calls me every day. I’m hoping she’d care for me. But, then there is her husband to consider.

NJ:  Susanne, how thoughtful of you to consider the husbands.  I’m not taking anyone into considerations.  My children had better take care of me or there will be consequences!  (Nonnie composes herself again).  Now, any pets?  What kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question…do you like them?

Susanne:  I have a Maltese dog called Nounous. I bought him for my younger daughter, but he’s mine. He follows me everywhere. I almost forgot the dwarf bunny, Thumper. The same daughter bought him and then deserted him. I’m allergic to him, but I take care of him. I guess I love my animals.

NJ:  Your house sounds like mine – filled with every brand of animal.  What’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Susanne:  I drew a blank. I don’t have one food I love best.

NJ:  You don’t?  OK, well, let’s move right along.  What’s your favorite color?

Susanne:  Brown looks the best on me, but it’s not my favorite color. Purple is also suitable for my coloring, and I like it better. I’ll pick purple.

NJ:  Always remember that purple is a sign of royalty.  You can’t go wrong with that.  Why do you think I selected that color for RWISA?  Do you have a favorite sport:

Susanne:  Swimming. Before the virus, I swam every week.

NJ:  Favorite TV Show:

Susanne:  Murder She Wrote. Wait, no. Supernatural. It’s a tie.

Photo by Charles on Pexels.com

NJ:  Favorite Actress/Actor:

Susanne:  I’ll pick Angela Lansbury. I loved her in Murder She Wrote.

NJ:  Do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Susanne:  I try to stay fit. I can’t walk as much as in the past since I have lymphedema. Swimming is best for my swollen legs.

NJ:  During this pandemic which we are all living through right now, what is the one thing you find that relaxes you and calms your mind and spirit

Susanne:  Writing. I can escape for hours inside my imagination and stories.

NJ:  In 15 words or less, what is the most common thing that the people who really know you,  ALWAYS say about you?  For instance, everyone who knows me all say:  “You always know where she stands on things. You’re never left to wonder.”

Susanne:  A few of my friends call me for advice on sales and where to buy products. (Not impressive).

NJ:  So, they say:  “Want a discount?  Call Susanne?”  OK, what is your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Susanne:  I’ve yelled at people who have walked too close without wearing masks.

NJ:  That’s a pet peeve of mine right now, too,.  So, are you neat or messy?

Susanne:  Neat. And if there’s too much stuff, it’s a tidy mess.

NJ:  Are you nice or mean?  Is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?

Susanne:  I’m loyal and supportive of my friends and family. But since I get hurt easily, I can snap at people. (I’ve been spending too much time with my dog.)

NJ:  Yeah, you might want to work on that “snapping at people” thing.  Facebook or Twitter?

Susanne:  I use them to promote my books and author platform. If I didn’t write, I doubt I’d use either one.

NJ:  OK.  I’m like  you in that regards.  If it wasn’t for work – I wouldn’t be on it.  Too much nonsense.  Susanne, we’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most…your internet BFF or buddy?

Susanne:  I don’t have one person but groups of authors. We promote each other’s books.

NJ:  Who’s the one person that you’ve met online who makes you laugh the hardest?

Susanne:  Many people share funny posts on Facebook.  I’m awful at remembering names.

NJ:  Who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or Wonder Woman? Be honest.

Susanne:  I’ll pick Nonnie Jules. I’ve always found Wonder Woman intimidating. She’s too perfect.

NJ:  {So, is Nonnie Jules … too perfect and intimidating, but I digress.}  We all know that Wonder Woman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has…well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.

Susanne:  Wonder Woman is a great role model for women across the world, while Nonnie is a great role model for authors.

NJ:  Uh, thanks (I think).  But, FYI, Nonnie is also a great role model for all women around the world.  Ask anybody who really knows her.  She’s even designed a magical crown for all the women of the world to wear, and you know what?  Once it sits atop their heads, they immediately feel powerful!  Get yours today on Amazon or other online retailers where books are sold legally!  Hahaha!

Now that I’m done entertaining myself, Susanne, please name a favorite INDIE book that you’ve read by a fellow RRBC member.

Susanne:  Circus Tarot by Charles W Jones

NJ:  ONE good INDIE book you’ve read written by an RRBC member that was so good you wished the entire world would read it:

Susanne:  Satin & Cinders by Jan Sikes is the sweetest book I’ve read.

NJ:  What was so great about it?

Susanne:  It reminded me of the books I enjoyed in my childhood like Irish Red and Black Velvet.

NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Susanne:  I always post reviews for indie authors but not always for mainstream authors.

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Susanne:  Readers should base their reviews on their opinions and not the previous reviews for the book. Some reviews sound like carbon-copies of each other.

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Susanne:  I am always honest in my reviews. I emphasize a book’s best points and briefly mention any issues I had. I don’t want to discourage others from reading the book.

NJ:  Read any poorly written books lately?

Susanne:  Yes. In the last few months, I’ve read many variations on Pride and Prejudice. They are feel-good books, similar to watching Hallmark movies. Most are enjoyable and relaxing. A few have been so awful that Jane Austen would roll over in her grave.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews when you knew they were horrible reads?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Susanne:  I don’t give five stars unless I enjoy the writing, and I don’t like giving ratings below three stars unless the book is awful. If it’s an indie book I was asked to rate, I’ll post three stars but not a glowing review.

NJ:  There are some INDIE authors who have come onto the scene and have given our literary playing field a new look.  Can you name an INDIE author who has done this in your eyes?  And, how have they changed the field for us?

Susanne:  Charles W Jonas brings horror to a new creepy level.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Susanne:  I’m an author whose writing improved over the last ten years. I’ve rewritten my first book, The Dead Game, three times. It will never be as good as my third book, The Dead At Heart, but it’s grammatically and structurally sound. (I don’t use adverbs in my books as I did here.)

NJ:  How long have you been writing?

Susanne:  Ten years.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Susanne:  I Facebook groups to get criticism of my books. Over the years, my skin has grown thicker and tougher. I’ve learned from my reviews and proofreaders. The reviews of my books are better each year.

NJ:  Name two books that you’ve written? (Please include the purchase links to these books):

Susanne:  Prey for The Dead (Book Two of the Dead Game Series)  https://amzn.to/321DKuP

The Dead At Heart (Book Three of the Dead Game Series)  https://amzn.to/3gzul3E

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Susanne:  The Dead At Heart is my best one so far. Not only has my writing improved, but the plot is more complicated with twists and turns that leave the reader unsure who are the good and bad guys.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Susanne:  I have a website that showcases my books. I don’t use it often since I find WIX confusing. That’s my next challenge. I’m proud of my blog on WordPress, where I post poetry. I began writing poetry as a way to promote my books. Now, I also write poetry because I love it.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Susanne:  I love the club. I’m in awe of the number of books some of the authors have produced. Now that my writing has improved, I hope to write more than three books a decade. Instead of worrying about my technique, I can now focus on new stories.

NJ:  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Susanne:  Grammarly is helpful. It spots typos, missed commas, and so on.

NJ:  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Susanne:  Yes. I don’t belong to any other groups as helpful as RRBC.

NJ:  Susanne, I can definitely believe that!  What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Susanne:  I enjoy the Writers’ Conference & Book Expo the most. I can meet and speak with new authors. I also like sharing RRBC posts and authors’ posts on Twitter.

NJ:  This shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Susanne:  {Silence}

NJ:  Well, I guess not.   Susanne, it was a pleasure to have you join me today and I hope you have enjoyed your time in our “Spotlight” during the month of September!  By the way, your BRING ON THE SPOTLIGHT interview was so entertaining – it was one of my faves!  {Guests:  Please visit our PAST RAVE WAVES GUEST INTERVIEWS forum to check out Susanne’s interview from 9/26/20).  Also, we ask that you pick up a copy of either of Susanne’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Susanne was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you in November, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

***

DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  We post material exactly as it is submitted to us.

#RRBC Beware of Suspicious Activity and Shady Characters on Twitter #RRBC_Community

Hello, RRBC!

It seems that a ring of suspicious Tweeters are including our hashtag in their messages.  Now, these messages are in a foreign language so I’m not sure what they mean or what this group is attempting to do, but Tamara, our Social Media Director has cleverly tagged them as SPAMMERS/HACKERS/NO-GOODERS.  Some of you have been notifying us that they are appearing on your feeds as well but you don’t know how to block or report them, so I have put together this step by step guide so that you’re able to block them and report them to Twitter at the same time.

You will notice my little hand symbol/pointer over most of the areas that you’ll need to click on.

Step 1:  Click on the name of the tweeter.  Per the diagram below, that name would be HimanshuDO NOT CLICK FOLLOW!

Step 2:  Once you’re on their page, in the top right hand corner you will see a circle with 3 dots in it.  This is located to the left of the Follow button.  Click the circle with 3 dots.  DO NOT CLICK FOLLOW!

Step 3:  Once you click that circle with the 3 dots, a drop down window appears and down at the bottom of it you should click REPORT @whatever the name is.  

Step 4:  When you click REPORT, another window opens and you should click  It’s suspicious or spam.

Step 5:  Another window opens and you will click It’s posting spam to a trend or hashtag.

Step 6:  Another window opens and you will click Block @whatever the name is.  This is in red.

Step 7:  In the top right-hand corner of that page, Click DONE.

Members, we don’t want anything to negatively impact you, and a great majority of our members are older and extremely vulnerable to all sorts of hacks and those who seek to cause harm. 

Again, I don’t know what this group is or what their intentions are, but, what is most concerning, is I don’t know what the message is that they are spreading.  Whatever it is, we don’t want any part of it.  It appears that this group is from India as I’ve seen India in many of the tweets that have come across our feeds and the names on the twitter handles appear to also be out of India.

I know that it may be time-consuming, but, better that you take the time to perform these steps now than risk being hacked or otherwise taken advantage of by this group that appears to be unscrupulous.  All of the accounts appear to be very new accounts, with only a handful of followers.  I think the most followers I’ve seen one have was 9 – some had 3, some had 0.  Another red flag is that none of our followers are following these people.  They, on the other hand, appear to be following a ton of folks.

This particular activity is a prime reason you should read every tweet before you retweet it and you should also be careful of who you follow.  Following and retweeting randomly and blindly, could get you into big trouble and also cost you big in the long run if these are experienced hackers.

I hope this information has been helpful and if you have encountered any of this suspicious activity yet, please let us know in the comments below.

Pearls of #Literature on #Marketing, #Blogging, #Community & #Support, Pt. 8 #RRBC #RWISA

During our 4th Annual Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, I was scheduled to present a session on my “15 Pearls” of Literature on Marketing, Blogging, Community, and Support.  As it has worked out in the past, I wasn’t able to get this session up in time but did get it done eventually. 

This session on my “PEARLS…” will be shared here for all our members, in hopes that it will help in our quest to become more successful and better at marketing our work as we make connections that will benefit us professionally as well as personally.  These will be posted in separate parts.

Welcome to Part 8!

…AND THE TANTRUMS WILL FOLLOW

I live in constant support of others, so when I founded RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB it was just another way for me to support and help to propel the many wonderful authors out there, who are so deserving of the little support I can offer, and so much more. In an extremely short period of time, our virtual book club grew by leaps and bounds, with an impressive roster of talented writers. We boast of a board of very exceptional and extremely talented writers who give of themselves daily to be in service to our members. They do it without pay, they do it without reservation, and there are those times, they do it in the midst of many complaints, trials, and shows of un-appreciation. BUT, they continue to serve.

We live in a world where poor behavior is seemingly acceptable.  I’ve heard others blame this on social media but although there is a ton I could attribute to the new culture of social media, this is where I will give it a break.

Poor behavior is not something you just wake up one day and find that you have.  If it’s in you now, it’s been inside of you for a while.

Our focal point at RRBC is mainly that of support. We ask and strongly encourage each of our members to jump right in and support their fellow club members by purchasing, reading and reviewing their books. We also ask that they #Follow each member on social media so that they will be able to show their support of each other via that avenue. A vast majority of our members are the kinds of members who are also all about support and we greatly appreciate them.

But, as with any organization, there are those who do absolutely NOTHING but expect that they are served, served and served some more, without ever giving any of themselves to help others. We can’t please those people so we’re not even going to try.

When these “kinds” join us, they join us for one reason and one reason only – TO SEE WHAT WE CAN DO FOR THEM. That’s their only agenda. They have no desire to give to others, only to take. And when they find that they are not being “given” in the manner they feel they should be, that’s when the tantrums begin.

They take to social media to try and bad-mouth what we do here, and they try to defame and degrade our intentions. But you know what, I have said this before will continue to say it: When you live your life in such a way that everything you do is above reproach, no comments, nor any displays of ugliness, will ever be able to touch you. 

The Board Members here at RRBC are held in high esteem, and I, being the President, make no apologies for the way that I run my ship … that ship that has proven time and time again, that we walk our talk each and every day. The proof is in our pudding. We set out to PROFILE, PROMOTE & PROPEL the careers of Indie Authors and we are doing just that! Our member-authors are seeing increases in their book sales like some have never seen before! Our member-authors are gaining book reviews in record numbers like never before! And, their name recognition, well, I receive email and Twitter DMs on a regular basis stating how “No one knew my name before RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB,” so I’ll repeat, we are doing just what we set out to do.

Ignore those that are not happy with themselves, therefore, seek to make everyone else just as miserable as they are.  Don’t let the venomous words of those who love to complain and destroy, keep you from always being at your very best.  Remember to never, ever stoop to someone else’s level … always make them rise to yours. ~Nonnie Jules

***

Before you leave, would you mind hitting the LIKE button above, leaving a comment and sharing the page onto social media?  Thanks in advance!

Looking to belong to an awesome community of support where HONESTY and DECENCY in all things are strongly encouraged and highly valued?  Then, JOIN the Rave Reviews Book Club where you’ll never feel alone on your writing journey, the place always feels like home, and your professional reputation doesn’t decline by association!

WHO’S ON THE SHELF w/Nonnie Jules? #Author, Karen Black @KarensStories #RRBC #RRBC_Community

Hello, and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules! Since we are a book club, you know we had to offer something that included a bookshelf. A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories. Here on this “SHELF,” we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask. We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to, on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but, no one has dared to cover them. We get personal! Because, when you sit on this “SHELF,” YOU are an open book! Even if I have to pry you open!

Today, we have a very special guest on the SHELF with us – RRBC member and July’s “SPOTLIGHT” Author, Karen Black!  We have celebrated her the entire month of July and today, she gets to sit on the shelf with me – a little late, but, she’s here so that’s good!

Dream Racing

NJ:  Before we get started, how do you like the design and feel of my new shelf?  We updated it in 2017 and now, I’m thinking of giving it an overhaul again.  We’ll see.  Are you comfy?

Karen:  The redesign is great, and the shelf is quite comfy!

NJ:  That’s great to hear, Karen.  Just be careful and say only the right things as this shelf has a mind of its own.  It might start shaking, and you might take a tumble.  I don’t know, I’m just sayin’, so just watch yourself.

adult black pug
Photo by Charles on Pexels.com

Now, let’s start by confirming whether or not your author name is your birth name or a pen name.

Karen:  I don’t use a pen name.

NJ:  Well, I guess that took care of that question.  So, tell us where you were born?  Do you still live there now?  If not, what city and state are you calling home these days?

Karen:  I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates! Although I don’t live in Pittsburgh anymore, I still call it home.  Halfway between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is a tiny municipality called Highspire. You can find me in the center of that little borough.

NJ:  Awesome! Although, I tend to stay away from boroughs in tiny municipalities, so, no worries about me randomly dropping by because I was “in the neighborhood.”  Karen, are you married or single?

Karen:  Married to the most wonderful husband imaginable

NJ:  I doubt that because that husband lives here with me in Louisiana!  But, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s move on –  do you lovebirds have any kids?  What kind and do you like them?

Karen:  Two kids, one of each. I usually like them.

NJ:  You know, the older they get, the like for them is on a day-by-day basis.  My daughters often jokingly ask:  “Mommy, is today a day that you like me?”  I respond:  “I don’t know, what day is it?”  And no matter the day that comes out of their mouths, I always say, “Nope.  Not today.” 

Karen, if you’re not there already, when you’re old and cranky, which one will keep you at home to care for you themselves, and which one started seeking out the A PLACE FOR MOM franchise facility in your area when they were 9?

Karen:  They’d probably draw straws and the winner (loser?) would get to decide. That being said, I cannot imagine living with one of the kids, and would never even consider letting either of them decide the best place for mom.

NJ:  Well, you’re certainly a better mom than I am.  I have demanded that both of my daughters share custody of me and their father, by moving back home and caring for us and dealing with all of my old-crankiness.  I say to them quite often:  “I’m the mom and you don’t get to tell me what to do … yet.  Now, when you’re changing my diaper, then, you’re in charge.”  They roll with laughter each time I say it.  I tend to think the laughs are nervous laughs and they are secretly praying that I’m only teasing.  (I’m not, by the way).  Karen, do you and the hubby have any pets?  If so, what kind?  They act like kids, too, so I have to ask the same question … do you like them?

Karen:  Yes, I adore them, but you won’t. One is a Devon Rex cat who claims to be ET’s second cousin, although that hasn’t been confirmed. The other is a former, feral, feline ninja, now a spoiled house princess, who appreciates everything domestic and doesn’t miss hunting for food.

We also have a variety of wild critters, some that live here year around, and some that migrate. Rabbits, squirrels, ducks, opossums, more birds than you’d want me to list, and an occasional skunk or raccoon. We feed everybody who wonders by and there’s always fresh water for them.

NJ:  You’re right, Karen – I don’t want to hear about your cats, thank you very much!  Now, on to something that really interests me – what’s the food that’s so good to you, you go to bed dreaming about it, and you forego breakfast just to get to it?

Karen:  Pizza. Even bad pizza is good.

NJ:  Go figure.  I’m pretty familiar with pizza – but, only good pizza.  What’s your favorite color?

Karen:  Vibrant orange that fades into a subtle pink.

NJ:  OK.  Your favorite sport…

Karen:  Horse racing and Football

NJ:  Ooops … careful.  I felt the shelf rumble a bit.  (Probably because I asked for a favorite sport not sports).  Karen, what’s your favorite TV Show?

Karen:  The Walking Dead

NJ:  Never got into it.  How about your favorite Actress/Actor?

Karen:  Barbra Streisand. She was brilliant in “Prince of Tides” and hysterical in “Meet the Fockers.” I also love her music.

NJ:  Now you’re talking!  I loveeeeeee everything Barbara!  She’s what I listen to most in my office when I’m working.  I think she’s brilliant at everything, even her tweets against the person sitting in the high chair of the White House right now.  And Meet The Fockers, with that all-star cast (DeNiro, Danner, Streisand, Stiller, Hoffman and Wilson) how could it not be great?!

Karen, do you like to exercise to stay fit OR do you not mind walking around with a beer belly?

Karen:  I am allergic to formal exercise, but I manage to do some yoga and I move around a lot. As for the beer belly – well, mine is a wine belly, and since it means I don’t have to exercise, I don’t mind it.

NJ:  Haha, that’s too funny 🙂 What’s your biggest pet peeve that makes you want to spit nails?  (For the record, NJ does not condone violence, but she does believe in being honest, so she admits that there are those times and there are those people, who do cause her to want to spit a few nails in the direction of their foreheads.  Hey, just being honest.  It’s the only way I roll).

Karen:  It’s irritating when people fill their gas tank, and then leave their cars in front of the pump to go inside the store and shop around, when there are only a few pumps available and other drivers are waiting.  Spitting nails into their tires would make me smile. Of course, then their car would sit there longer, so I guess that would be counter productive.

NJ:  Karen, if I ever come out of the gas station and there are nails in my tires …

So, are you neat or messy?

Karen:  If stacks of books everywhere aren’t considered messy, I’m neat.

NJ:  Oh, I don’t even think you’re a real author unless you have stacks of books lying about (which I do, by the way … everywhere). Are you nice or mean?  And, is that your perception of you, or is that what others think of you?

Karen:  I’m nice. But if a mean person confronts me he/she will meet his/her match. Those who know me can confirm.

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Photo by Dominic Buccilli on Pexels.com

NJ:  Sure. Yeah.  Uh-huh.  Karen, Facebook or Twitter?

Karen:  Facebook

NJ:  We’ve come to realize that the internet is giving way to tons of budding friendships.  Who would you say is the one person you’ve connected with the most … your internet BFF or buddy?

Karen:  I don’t have one. There are several people with whom I interact almost daily. Most of them are old like me and we don’t care to travel any more so we stay in touch online.

NJ:  OK, that’s fine, too.  Who’s the one person you’ve met online who makes you laugh the hardest?

Karen:  I didn’t meet him online, but the person who makes me laugh the hardest is my husband.  He’s a riot!

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NJ:  Uh, yeah … that’s what happens when you don’t answer questions as asked on this shelf.  I did ask for the person “online,” didn’t I?  Karen, maybe you better hold on a little tighter.  Now, who do you favor most:  Nonnie Jules or WonderWoman? Be honest.

Karen:  Nice try, but you can’t fool me. I realize Nonnie doesn’t change in a telephone booth, like Clark Kent did. Of course there aren’t any more telephone booths, or maybe she would. In any event, I know who’s on the shelf with me. She just exchanged her lasso for the spoken/written word.

NJ: 

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Photo by Nancy Guth on Pexels.com

NJ:  {A telephone booth?  Kent Clark?  Can she not understand the words that are coming from my mouth???  I said WonderWoman! I guess all super heroes look alike to her.}

{Deep breath} Karen, we all know that WonderWoman has her truth lasso and Nonnie has … well, just her truths, in the no-nonsense way she forces us to be honest and tell it like it is, whether it makes others uncomfortable or not.  In your opinion, which one does a better job of making the world a better place?  You can be honest here, too.  {Now watch she responds with Tweety Bird or something}

Karen:  Truth does make the world a better place. Who does a better job? See my previous answer.

 NJ:  After you read books, do you post reviews?

Karen:  Yes.

NJ:  What do you think readers should base their reviews on?

Karen:  I think a review should reflect the reader’s opinion of the characters, the plot and the overall storyline. Was the book entertaining, educational, funny, sad, thought provoking, etc.?

NJ:  Are you one of those who are afraid to be honest in their reviews lest the author gets upset with you, or is honesty your best policy, especially in reviews?

Karen:  Honesty is the best policy. However, if I’m reading a book and don’t enjoy it, or can’t get into the story, I don’t read it. There are so many books to read that I won’t spend time plodding through something, if I have to force myself to turn the pages. If I don’t finish a book, I don’t review it.

NJ:  Fair enough.  Read any poorly written books lately?

Karen:  I’ve started a few, but haven’t read them to the end.

NJ:  How many poorly written books have you read that you gave high marks to in your reviews when you knew they were horrible reads?  Be honest, I won’t ask you to name the books here in public.

Karen:  None. I can’t get through a horrible read. On several occasions, however, I have given four stars when it probably should have been three. Since I read for pleasure, I can ignore some editing mistakes or typos, when I really enjoy the storyline.

NJ:  Are you an author?  Are you a good one?  C’mon, we love honesty here.

Karen:  Yes.  Am I a good one? Well, I finish reading all of my books.

NJ:  Okie Dokie.  So, how long have you been writing?

Karen:  I wrote my first story in grade school, but didn’t start writing with any intention to share my work until about ten years ago.

NJ:  Are you able to take constructive criticism of your written work?

Karen:  Yes, even if it makes me sad.

NJ:  Good for you!  Name two books that you’ve written? 

“Mountain Justice” 

Mountain Justice by Karen Black

“Treacherous Love” 

Treacherous Love by Karen Black

NJ:  Which one do you think is the best?

Karen:  Both deal with domestic violence. “Treacherous Love” is probably the better written overall, but I like the “Mountain Justice” storyline best of the two.

NJ:  Do you have a blog or website?  I love GREAT blogs, so would you say that yours is written well enough for harsh critics like me to enjoy?

Karen:  I do have a website. I seldom blog, so I don’t think my website/blog would qualify as GREAT, but your harsh criticism is always appreciated.

NJ:  Oh, that’s kind of you to say, Karen.  I’m humbled.  Which online resource or organization has helped you as an author the most?

Karen:  Without question, it was RWISA University!

NJ:  How were you helped by them?

Karen:  Through discussions and critiques, I figured out how to overcome occasional writer’s block. Editors often refer to it as “showing, not telling.” I was a technical writer for over twenty years and found it difficult to move on from “just the facts.” I would labor over details to bring a situation to life, but didn’t understand why I was having trouble getting to where I wanted to go. RWISA U turned the light on. Once I realized what I was doing, or not doing, the problem disappeared.

NJ:  Since you’re sitting on the SHELF, you’re obviously a RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB member, so what do you think of the club?

Karen:  It is my favorite resource. The comradery and resources are second to none.

NJ:  Karen, I agree whole-heartedly.  Have you come across any other online entities like it?

Karen:  There are other groups and resources, but nothing like RRBC.

NJ:  Ha!  I so agree with you there!  RRBC is often imitated but never duplicated or equalled.  Would you recommend it to your friends and family?

Karen:  I’ve recommended the club to a number of people.

NJ:  Yes, you have! What’s your most favorite program or place here within RRBC?  (#PUSHTUESDAY, RAVE WAVES Shows, Block Parties, Writers’ Conference & Book Expo, BOOKS OF THE MONTH discussions, “ON THE SHELF” interviews, etc.)

Karen:  The “On the Shelf” interviews are great, and I love the Books of the Month I always enjoy reading the reviews posted on the RRBC site. #Push Tuesday is an extraordinary benefit and the book discussions are fun. Are those too many favorites?

NJ:  Karen, the interview is almost over – it doesn’t matter at this point (insert NJ’s famous eye roll).  Well, this shelf is getting hard on my hiney so we’re going to wrap this interview up.  Any final words for our reading audience today?

Karen:  Thank you RRBC members for taking the time to read this interview and for your ongoing encouragement and support. It is truly appreciated. (That thank you includes you, Nonnie. By the way, I think I know why your hiney isn’t as well-padded as mine; you probably exercise.)

NJ:  Karen, I am a fitness fanatic!  I received my Fitness Trainer certification in 2009.  I’m probably in a very small, but special class of people who wakes up every day, dresses in workout attire, raring to exercise.  I actually have a timer on my cell phone that goes off once an hour when I’m extremely busy, to remind me to go and have a run on my treadmill for 20 minutes, so, yeah.  I think I’m still pretty well padded, though, but I work hard to keep it properly padded. Haha!  At my age, it’s easy to go in the other direction.

Karen, it was a pleasure to have you join me today.  Do drop in again!

To my guests, please pick up a copy of either of Karen’s books above. Please be sure to leave her a comment below as she loves to chat!  

Have you joined RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB yet?  Well, here’s your chance!  And, since Karen was on the “SHELF” today, tell them she sent you.

Until next time, take care.  We’ll see you next month, right here on the “SHELF” with another INTERESTING GUEST!!!

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DISCLAIMER:  RRBC does not alter the writing of any guest who has participated in our interviews.  We post material exactly as it is submitted to us.