Soapbox Spotlight: Stacy Eaton

Welcome back to another Soapbox  Spotlight!  I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed doing these.  Today, I want to introduce you to Stacy Eaton, an incredible paranormal writer that I’ve “known” for nearly two years now.  We kept trying to get something together, either on my blog or hers, and it’s been hit or miss for quite awhile.  Thankfully, I am now able to present this amazing author to you in outstanding form!

Stacy is a bestselling author who, having written dozens of books, is known most notoriously for her My Blood Runs Blue series.  She has now released two new books this past November (Second Shield and Liveon-No Evil) while working on her latest series, Garda.  Stacy attributes her expertise in crime to a full-time position as an active duty police officer (whoa!), which she discusses further later in this post.

We here at the Soapbox are always looking for newer and more interactive ways to bring you what you love about this blog.  So, for the first time ever, we’ve decided to give you a video interview.  Let us know how you enjoyed the new format!

It’s your stage, Stacy!

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Soapbox Spotlight: Kyra Gregory

I am so pleased to present this Soapbox Spotlight today–because this installment of Spotlight is my 100th post!  Today’s Spotlight author is Kyra Gregory, a YA fantasy novelist from Malta.  She is here talking about her latest work, Secrets Clad in Light.

Welcome, Kyra!  Tell us about yourself.

I’m a young writer from the island of Malta. As I write and self-publish, I’m studying to become a teacher for early years. My family says I’ve been writing since a very young age; this developed from short stories to fan fictions, lyrics for a bands, and novels. I have a real passion for reading manga (Japanese comic books), and they’re probably the only thing that can steal me away from writing.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I was always picking out my favourite moments in things I’d seen or read or even things I’d felt and then making a story out of them. I was always reading; story-telling seemed quite natural to me at the time. Years later, I was writing lyrics to a song a friend of mine had composed; you could say I had been caught because I’d had no intention of showing them to him. From then on, I was continuously encouraged by him to keep writing lyrics. I did so but my passion was always more in prose so I kept writing stories, first with fan fiction and short stories and novels later on.

What inspires you to write and why?

Plenty of things inspire me and I think the only thing they all have in common with each other is that they evoke feeling out of me, a deeper emotion. A lot of my stories are very much character-driven which I find enjoyable because everyone is so unique; their feelings and actions to a situation, different combinations of people make completely different stories and I love exploring that. An issue that needs to be talked about is something that inspires me to shed some light on it in the most relatable way possible.

Tell us about your latest work. Can you share a little of it with us?

It could be said that I got a lot out of writing this story. It was achieving a massive goal that I’d had set in my mind a long time ago. I had wanted to write a story in 19th Century London, my favourite period, but found it so incredibly difficult. It’s a moving and mysterious story.

London,1888. Henry decides to abandon all social conventions and rescue his lover, Seth, from an abusive household. He has replayed the moment in his head and has always known it wouldn’t be easy. He has never thought that it would be Seth who would cut his time too short. With Seth barely breathing, Henry must make the hardest decision of his life: try to save Seth, possibly condemning him to a life of suffering, or let him pass on in peace. But the arrival of a young stranger forces Henry’s hand, doing little to ease his qualms of uncertainty as everything he thought he knew changes.

Caught between self-doubt and his own selfish desires Henry learns to fight it all, using this stranger as a light to shine on what he hopes is the right path… All the while aware that there is still so much he doesn’t yet know…

That sounds interesting! Can you tell us a little about your main character?

Henry knows what he wants and prepared himself for all the consequences that would come from trying to get it, but when the circumstances change and things don’t go as he’s imagined, he is instantly lost. He has enough self-awareness to realise that his desires can border selfishness and this makes making decisions extremely difficult for him. He’s also a very caring, loving character but he’s not trusting by nature; that kind of conflict within him gets him into a lot of trouble.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

They developed almost all by themselves to be perfectly honest with you. I first came up with the idea for this story when I was completing Lady in Red; there were two characters in that novel that I wondered how they would have developed had the circumstances been a little bit different. After many failed attempts at writing a story effectively in 19th Century London I chose to try again and once I developed the circumstances for Henry things went on from there. There was little intention for the story to become as mysterious as it did. The character Mary became unlike any other character I had written before; she was more mysterious than I thought she would be, even to myself. I felt intrigued by her but she also scared me. She definitely made writing the story a challenge but absolutely exciting at the same time.

It’s amazing and wonderful to watch your characters become real people with depth of personality!  Do you feel you have you developed a specific writing style?

I would say that I’ve developed a writing style that suits me best, but I don’t think I could quite describe it even if I wanted to. I suppose the reason is because I always adapt it to whatever I’m writing at the time. Since I write so many different genres my writing style changes to suit the story. For Secrets Clad in Light, I wrote in a way that I don’t think I have before in order to suit a period in which I had never written before. Historical fiction is tricky because you need to try to make the dialogue suit the time but also keep it understandable for readers. I worked with my style to try to find a balance in that.

How do you come up with new novel ideas?

I’m inspired by so many things, but usually my novel ideas come from a character. Sometimes I would want to experiment with a character and their qualities, and I start to build a story around them. You could say it’s like a puzzle because frankly I don’t know where the bigger ideas come from sometimes. It’s very much like putting together a puzzle without knowing at all what the end result will look like until I’m further into the writing process.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I would have to say I’m a plotter. I don’t particularly try to be but the thing is that I often have plenty of novel ideas in my head at one time and I consider it a shame if I were to just let them disappear like that. While writing a novel I begin scribbling a few notes for another story; by the time I’m ready to start that story I already have one or two others in my head. In order for me to effectively keep all the feelings and scenes pertaining to a particular story in the right place I’ve learnt to plot things efficiently. This doesn’t mean that things don’t change or that I keep myself confined, spontaneity is good for the soul after all, but it definitely helps. It also means that I write stories a lot faster which I’m happy about.

What do you love about independent publishing?

For how much work it is it’s all worth it for me. I tried traditional publishing and it never happened because there were problems from the start. I’m a control freak; I want my hand in all aspects of my projects. I have a vision of what I’m creating and I’d like to stick to that vision. It’s not as though I won’t accept others opinions but it means that in the end what closest fits my vision will be what I decide to do. There’s no one around to tell me “you can’t do that” and I love that.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Still writing, definitely. Writing, being able to write like this, means the most to me right now so I hope that in five years time I hope I’d have even more time to devote to writing. After all, the thing I’m most passionate about is the thing I want to do all the time, no matter how tough things may get.

Thanks for joining us, Kyra!

Thank you so much for having me!

You can find Kyra at the following links:

Blog: http://kyralyrical.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kyra_lyrical
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6444174.Kyra_Gregory
You can find Kyra’s book at the following links:

Soapbox Spotlight: Michelle Robinson

Welcome to another Soapbox Spotlight!  Today’s guest is Michelle Robinson.  Michelle was born and raised in Oakland, CA. Oakland’s rich culture has laid the fabric for this story. She’s been doing hair for two decades. As a hairstylist, it’s safe to say she has also served as a therapist to her clients. She has heard and witnessed it all right behind her styling chair. From her experiences, she’s given advice to many and has watched people’s lives transition. With this driving force, she has finally penned her first novel, Right Before my Eyes.

Welcome, Michelle!  Can you tell our readers about yourself?

I love music. Compassionate. I’m a great friend, daughter, cousin, girlfriend, hairstylist, poet & thinker. I am a humanitarian. My belief is you owe it to life to give to others. I have a high moral background. I am a dreamer. As long as you have a dream, life should keep you busy. I am a believer that all things are possible. I’m also an artist so I creatively think outside the box. I’m a go-getter so I don’t take no as an option for me. I’m organized to the point that I can’t function in confusion. I can be the life of the party & also like spending time alone. I also love taking naps.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned since authorship?

It’s important to have a great editor.

Isn’t that ever true!  What was your path towards publication like?

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had two friends that were writing books who I could call on for help, referrals and advice. So I literally had to learn the steps along the way.  I prayed a lot, developed more patience and had to lean on my own understanding through this process. I had bad luck with two different editors. I learned that your editor should have a degree in English not Journalism. I ended up having to proofread my own book twice before I submitted it to my publisher because my second editor couldn’t spell or take criticism. But he fell in love with the story, gave a lot of compliments about my writing and gave me advice to write in past tense. I had to figure out that in order to get my book cover the way I dreamt of it, I had to hire a photographer and the models, so I did and my vision came to life.

How do you balance your life as an author with your duties as a business person, employee, parent and/or spouse?

I go to bed at a reasonable hour. That allows me to wake up a little earlier than I need to so that I have time to myself. I start my day praying and reflecting and then head to the gym or go for a walk. I take a day off during the week dedicated to writing. I run my business on the other four days. Weekends are for church, family, friends and fun and if not, then I write!

What can we expect from you in the future?

More books, maybe a movie.

What is your best advice for getting past writer’s block?

Don’t end your writing at the end of a chapter. Stop in the middle of the sentence. That gives you a good jump start and get the creative juices flowing on the next time you begin writing.

Great tip!  I’ll have to try that.  What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?

To just keep writing.
Thanks for joining us today, Michelle!

You can find Michelle at the following links:

Email: rightbeforemyeyes@yahoo.com
Website: www.michellerobinsonauthor.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mrob.robinson
Twitter: @BooksbyMichelle
Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/RightBeforeMyEyes?ref=ts&fref=ts

You can find Michelle’s book at the following links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Right-Before-Eyes-Michelle-Robinson/dp/1463430337/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347481337&sr=8-1&keywords=michelle+robinson

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/right-before-my-eyes-michelle-robinson/1109350562?ean=9781463430337

Authorhouse: http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-000477760/Right-Before-My-Eyes.aspx

Soapbox Spotlight: Yvonne Harriott

Thank you for joining us today on Soapbox Spotlight!  I hope you’re getting your turkey ready!  Today’s featured author is Yvonne Harriott, a romance author from Canada.  She’s here to talk to us about her latest work, Cat ‘N Mouse.

Great photo!  Tell us more about you, Yvonne.

Well, I’m from Canada, and a member of Romance Writers of America.  I love to read. Writing is my passion. I always have a book with me. Since I purchased my Kindle back in February, I can now carry over a hundred books with me. I love to travel and I have a sweet tooth. Lay’s potato chips are my Achilles Heel.

What inspired you to write your first book, and what was it?

I’d written a collection of short stories over the years. Most of them were written for contests. Some have won and placed in contests. One particular short story entitled, “The Wedding” was published in Today’s Blackwoman Magazine, September 2001 issue. I compiled all the short stories that I’d written and divided them into two collections – a romantic and a dramatic collection. “The Wedding and Other Short Romantic Stories” – the romantic collection was the first book that I published.

What inspires you to write?

My imagination…just about anything. If I read an article in the paper or see something unusual on the street, whatever it may be, my mind is instantly thinking how can I incorporate it into a story. A perfect example…on my way into work last week I saw a woman, great shape, tanned and fit with long blond hair. She was wearing a black bustier (she was spilling out of it), black shorts and rubber boots walking a pit bull at seven o’clock in the morning. That’s a story waiting to be written.

Haha, nice!  How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started off with a diary when I was very young and kept a journal, from there the fiction side developed. I would make up these stories and write them down.

That’s very similar to how I started!  Do you travel much concerning your book(s)?

I try to vacation and visit the places where my books are set. If I can’t then the Internet is the next best thing. I was in Chicago back in June so my next romantic suspense or some of it will be set in Chicago.

How do you deal with rejection?

A big bag of Lay’s potato chips and a bottle of water. Then I move on.

My vice is ice cream.  What are your current writing projects now?

I’ve just started research for my next romantic suspense novel, Hit ‘N Run. Hit ‘N Run is the final book in the “N” series. I don’t even know if I should call it a series. After I wrote, Hide ‘N Seek, I couldn’t let go of the detective, Samuel O’Malley so I gave him his own book in Cat ‘N Mouse. Hit ‘N Run is Sydney’s story. She was a character in Hide ‘N Seek, living in the shadow of her sister. I hope to make her shine in Hit ‘N Run.

How did you come up with the title?

I can’t start a book or a short story without a title. Nine point nine times out of ten, the title I choose I stick with. I may have the story idea but my fingers don’t hit the keyboard until I have a title. That’s how it was with Cat ‘N Mouse. I know it’s weird.

Very interesting!  Can you tell us about the main character?

Alexandria ‘Princess’ Prescott is one of the most exciting characters I’ve ever created. I had so much fun bringing her to life on the page. She’s a daddy’s girl, stubborn, a little self centered, spoiled and rich. She’s also living a double life. One of my reviews on Amazon pointed out that she matures as the story unfolds. That’s so true. There is a transformation with her character and I think that’s when you fall in love with her.

Sam O’Malley, what can I say about Sam? He hates rich people and he’s a perfect match for Alexandria. He’s a control freak with all sorts of issues. He was shot in the line of duty and it messed him up. There are a lot of things going on with him that he needs to work out through out the story, yet he spends most of it in denial. Alexandria is the perfect love interest for him because she pushes him to his limits, constantly testing him.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

My characters are always going through some kind of drama or crisis, but it all works out in the end. Some times because of what the characters have experienced in their past they have emotional issues. The message is – it doesn’t matter what you are going through you can make it. Don’t let it take you under. Just hang on. There is quote by Franklin Roosevelt that says, “ When you’ve come to the end of your rope tie a knot and hang on.”

What do you look for in a cover?

It has to be sexy and eye-catching. From all the feedback I’ve gotten from Cat ‘N Mouse, it definitely did that. I believe that once a book cover catches your eye you have to pick the book up. I have a fantastic cover designer, Brian Da Silva briandasilva1@gmail.com.

Thanks for joining us, Yvonne!

You can find Yvonne at the following links:

Website: www.yvonneharriott.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/yvonne.harriott
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ritetorite

You can find Yvonne’s books at the following links:

Soapbox Spotlight: Susan Noble

I am so pleased to be able to share another Soapbox Spotlight with you this morning: Ms. Susan Noble.  Susan is a woman after my own heart, writing anything that moves her.  Her popularity, however, spawns from a fantasy trilogy called “The Elemental”.  Please join me in welcoming her to our site!

Tell us about yourself, Susan.

I am a stay-at-home mom, so I basically divide my time between raising my two children, volunteering at their schools and writing. I love magic and dragons so it just seemed natural to start writing about them. When I am not writing, taking care of the kids (or my husband and three cats), I try to find time to read.

How long have you been writing?

I have always been a writer. As a child I wrote short stories and poems. In high school, I wrote for the student newspaper and liked it enough to make journalism my major in college. However, it wasn’t until after college that I began working on my first novel, Summoned.

I got a similar start.  What first attracted you to this genre?

I have always liked stories of people with extraordinary power, whether it was magic, telekinesis or some other power that average people didn’t have. And of course since I love dragons, it was easy to decide to write fantasy novels.

Does the writing get easier with each new book?

Since I have been working on a trilogy, I would have to say that yes, it gets easier writing each new book. I already know most of the characters so it feels very familiar to keep writing about them. In fact, Tosh, the main character from The Search is also one of the main characters from my The Elemental trilogy so it was a breeze to write, too.

Do you consider yourself a pantser or plotter?

I would say a little of both. I do plot out a rough outline but then as I write I don’t always stick with it. I let the story develop and just try to go with the flow.  You never know where your characters will lead you.

I feel exactly the same way.  What about the title; how did you come up with it?

The title for The Search came pretty easily. The STACs, which a telepathic cats that can sense people who possess elemental power, have been on the search for the one person destined to save the Land.  They refer to this as “The Search” so that of course became the title for this short story. 

What are your current writing projects?

I am just finishing up Destiny, the third book in my The Elemental trilogy. It should be out by the end of this month. After that, I will begin work on a stand-alone book called Alexandria.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I would say write because you love it. And don’t take criticism to heart. Not everyone is going to love your writing no matter how good it is.

Your writing space: neat or messy?

For as organized as I am in most parts of my life, my desk is awful messy. I just hate filing so everything ends up in piles on my desk.  And there is always at least one notepad sitting out for me to write down other things I need to do.

That’s so true for me, too!  What genre of books do you read, or do you stick with the genre you write in?

I of course read fantasy but also enjoy romance, mysteries and suspense.
 
What do you do to unwind and relax?

Reading is my favorite way to relax though I sometimes don’t have enough time to do that.  I also like to watch a little TV sometimes. Once Upon a Time and Arrow (hmm, both fantasy based shows) are my favorites.

Haha, figures!  Thanks for joining us, Susan!

My pleasure, Ray.  Thank you for having me!

You can find Susan at the following links:

Readers can find more about me by visiting my blog, Into Another World, (http://susanleighnoble.wordpress.com/) or by checking out my author page on Independent Author’s Network.  (http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/susan-leigh-noble.html)

You can find Susan’s books at the following links:

The Search can be purchased exclusively from Amazon.  http://amzn.com/B0098PHNW6

Soapbox Spotlight: Tallis Piaget

Thank you for joining me for another Soapbox Spotlight!  Today’s guest is Tallis Piaget, author of Black Boogiemen.  Tallis has spent most of his professional career as–get this–a biochemist, but has spent the last two years honing his creative writing skills.


Tell us about yourself, Tallis.

I am the author of the critically-acclaimed book, Black Boogiemen.  I am the executive editor of the Insight2Incite Magazine, as well as a co-host of the Insight Radio Show.  Though Black Boogiemen is my first published material, I’ve has been refining my craft for over 20 years.

I have undergone strenuous training in proper scientific, technical writing, and I’ve written creatively for years.  These two skills culminate into a unique writing style that’s leaving readers unable to close this book.  I am now earning my Masters in writing and plan on becoming a college professor.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Yes I do.  In my fifth grade class I was introduced to an idea called “creative writing”.  Before then, I only remember writing papers in more of an essay format (i.e. book reports, history papers, civic papers etc.) Well, in this creative writing class, we were shown how to free write, and we were encouraged to create our own worlds with our words.  I loved it!  Not only did I love it, but I excelled at it.  My teacher constantly commended me on my writing and imaginative mind.  The rest is history.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

The hardest part of writing is the editing process.  For a true writer, writing is actually quite easy.  It’s having to reread your work and seeing all of the mistakes that’s agonizing.  Also, getting the critiques from your beta readers can really hurt your feelings.  So the editing process is the most arduous part of the writing process. 

Did writing this new book teach you anything, and what was it?

Yes indeed.  If it is one thing I learned from writing this book, it is that we can truly do anything we set our minds to.  I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but for some reason I believed it to be out of my reach and more of a dream.  So accomplishing this writing feat has shown me that I can truly reach the stars if so choose.  I can truly live my dreams.
 
What is your greatest strength as a writer?

My greatest strength as a writer would be my analytical skills (intellect), and my ability to relate to almost anyone, and my unique way of thinking.  That relator skill allows me to build characters that leap off of the page and cause the reader to feel as though he knows my characters personally.  My analytical skills allow me to build scenarios that seem plausible and believable as opposed to situations that lack a logical flow.  And my unique mind forces me to think of stories that are extremely original which is important for any good author.   

Can you tell us about your main character?

My main character is Dr. Branch.  He is a PhD biochemist that was raised in the worse parts of the inner city.  He grows to become a world renowned scientist and of course leaves the impoverished community in which he was brought up.  He soon suffers a horrific calamity which causes him to become the leader that this country so sorely needs.  His tragedy becomes the catalyst needed to morph him into one of the most powerful people in history’s tomes.  He is somewhat a genius, he is a prolific speaker, and he believes himself to be extremely honorable.  Mainly, Dr. Branch truly represents the dichotomy of man: a really good person, that can do some really bad things.

How did you develop your plot and characters?

This may sound weird, but the plot developed as I wrote.  There were times when I didn’t know what my characters would do next or where the story would go… I merely listened to the muse whispering in my ear and wrote the information I attained from her sweet, wispy voice.  Amazingly the story coalesced into the finished novel “Black Boogiemen”.   Apparently my muse was at the top of her game while speaking to me 🙂

What genre of books do you read, or do you stick with the genre you write in?

I prefer sci-fi and fantasy.  The worlds those writers build are just majestic, and it is such a pleasure visiting those ancient, mythical realms or visiting those distant future planets.   I do force myself to read non-fiction; I consider that exercising my brain.  But I prefer to read some good fiction.  

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The hardest part about writing this book was airing black America’s dirty laundry.  When a person expounds on their ethnic group’s issues, usually they are ostracized and are considered pariahs.  The older you get the more you realize that people hate to hear the truth.  Though this book is fictional it is still filled with tons of truth.  To write some of the horrific statistics and to divulge some of the inner city machinations was really hard to do.

Would or have you considered writing in another genre?

Absolutely… I am an original thinker, I can not confine myself to one mode of writing.   So I am writing a mythical book, and I am also working on a great scifi novel.  I do not want to bore people with the same ideas over and over.  So I try my best to think outside the box.  I want to be known as a prolific writer and that will never happen if I stick to one genre.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There is certainly a message in my book.  It is actually a universal message.  It basically states that if the proletariat ever wants their lifestyle to improve they must be the ones to initiate that process.  To expect the government to change anything is being naive.  It’s the systems job to keep status quo, and if we the people want a better life we will have to be the ones to get it.  We can not wait for any outside source to help us, we should and we can rely on ourselves.

And one final message is that each individual has the power to be something great, they just have to believe.

 Thank you for joining us, Tallis!

You can find Tallis at the following links:

Facebook and twitter name is simply “Black Boogiemen”.
Blog website: Blackboogiemen.authorxpress.com  
Book’s website: www.blackboogiemen.com
You can find Black Boogiemen at the following links:

www.blackboogiemen.com
Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Soapbox Spotlight: J T Baroni

Thank you for joining us for another Soapbox Spotlight!  Today’s guest is my good friend J.T. Baroni.  He has written an amazing horror novel by the name of The Legend of Rachel Petersen.  I was given the honor of reviewing the book, so what a fitting way to start our Halloween…

Welcome, Jim!  Let’s get right to it.  Your main character is Christian Kane, a journalist who writes a novel about a creepy ghost girl after being inspired by a cemetery tombstone.  Needless to say, I’m seeing quite a few similarities between you and your character.  Were these references intentional or mistakenly transposed?

Being an avid outdoorsman, I had stumbled upon a lone grave in the middle of the woods, and thought to myself, “How strange! Why did this person end up out here?” Talk about inspiration! A story immediately came to mind, which I was compelled to write.

Now, if you read the blurb on my book, “Outraged when The Pittsburgh Post Gazette overlooks him for a promotion, 39 years old Sports Writer Christian Kane quits and moves to the country to write fiction. Inspiration flows from a grave he stumbles upon in the woods. Driven, he compiles The Legend of Rachel Petersen, a fascinating and horrific story revolving around the dead twelve-year-old girl laid to rest beneath the weathered tombstone. His book quickly becomes a best seller, which Hollywood then turns in to a blockbuster movie. Kane becomes rich and famous, but does Rachel Petersen become more than a figment of his imagination?”

You will see these references were definitely not a coincidence.

The Legend of Rachel Petersen is an incredible blend of humor and suspense, a rare talent for sure. How do you achieve this?

 By using everyday occurrences, I strived to make this novel touch on every one of the reader’s emotions, feelings, and senses. I want readers to feel Kane’s anger when he was not granted the well-deserved promotion, and to feel the love between the Kanes.

This happily married couple has a sense of humor, so I also wanted a few chuckles, for an example, when the choking partygoer coughed up the stuffed mushroom appetizer that bounced off Shelby’s forehead. While on the other hand, readers will wince at the maggot-infested, gut-wrenching stinking rotting corpse, while wondering when Rachel will show her evil little face next.

Most writers fit into one of two categories: pantsers, who write only when inspired by an idea (and are typically identified by a desk covered in post-its) or plotters, who tend to organize their thoughts and story lines in well-graphed notebooks or bulleted Word files.  Which best describes your style?

My writing style would be a ‘plotting pantser’, minus any post-its or notebooks. I keep it all in my head, when inspiration makes me write. I don’t use an outline; instead, I write a few pages and then I edit that, and then I write some more pages and re-edit every word from the start. Each time I sit down to write, I usually start reading and editing from the beginning of the book until I’m at least five chapters into it.

I also like to envision my story mentally as if I’m watching a movie, and then I do my best to describe the scenes and characters by putting words to paper.

The movie thing resonates with me; I do that, too!  You mentioned your book took a year and a half to pen. Was that length of time due to research, and what else lengthened your writing time?

Having a daytime job is a huge, but necessary, burdening obstacle in this starving artist’s life! Add to that, a family, a dog, gardening, hunting and fishing; all take time away from the typewriter.

Not only did I research The Civil War for correct dates and places, I found it necessary to go online and brush up on my grammar and punctuation skills. The Legend of Rachel Petersen is the first book I have ever written, and I have been out of school for three and a half decades. I had forgotten what a dangling participle was.

Writing this novel is one more item scratched from my bucket list.

A portion of your book proceeds go to Leader Dogs for the Blind. I know that charity is dear to you; can you tell our readers more about that?

I am donating a portion of my book’s proceeds to The Leader Dogs for the Blind, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. This organization has been training Leader Dogs and sponsoring them to blind people, free of charge, since 1939, and they have achieved this amazing feat all from donations. The reason I want to donate to Leader Dogs is because my older brother, Gene, blind since birth, is currently on his third canine companion. In addition, I am the Vice President with the local Lions International Club.

I know all too well, both their generosity and the impact of their invaluable services. Furthering that statement, I also understand first handedly how strongly the visually impaired faithfully depend, trust, and rely on their dogs, whereas Gene is on his third leader dog.

Thanks to everyone who helps support my cause! Raising a puppy to Leader Dog status is extremely expensive, averaging forty five thousand dollars per sponsored dog.

Thanks for joining us, Jim!

I would also like to give a big hug and a thank you to Raynetta for reviewing my book and having me as a guest on her beautiful blog!

RJS Book Review
 
I was a little nervous about reviewing The Legend of Rachel Petersen, typically because I tend not to like horror books.  Unless you’re Stephen King, they’re just not scary.  If I’m going to bother picking up a genre book, it had better deliver what that genre should–for horror books, I want to be scared.  It’s a simple as that.
 
Let’s just say Rachel Petersen delivered–in a BIG way.  There were significant moments in the book where I literally jumped.  Baroni’s imagery is so vivid that you found yourself right there with the characters, running from a phantom through the woods or desperately brushing crawling bugs from your body.  The suspense was phenomenally breath-taking, and I had several moments where I took a note from Joey [on Friends] and hid my e-reader in the freezer.
 
If I had one criticism, it would be that the story drags in the middle.  There’s a lot of set-up once Rachel’s story is introduced.  And since the novel is a story within a story within a story, I really had to pace myself to keep up.
 
4/5 suns: This book was a page turner for sure!
 

 

 
You can find J.T. at the following links:
 
 
You can find J.T.’s books at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.