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Things Can Be Overcome

Author Interview
C.J. Hudson Author Interview

Destiny Lives on Fairhaven Street is a sentimental memoir detailing your eight year preparation to return to the love of your life. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important for several reasons, but I think there are two primary ones:

1) The first is my boys, Collin and Maximus. One of my goals throughout my life, from the point of

meeting Danielle to the time after our reunion was to make sure she and my children never had to experience what I went through with abuse. This was accomplished, but I realized as I got older that ending the cycle was only half the battle. Obviously I’m not going to be around forever, and ending the cycle means nothing if the next generation starts it back up after I’m gone. The only way to accomplish that was for them to feel with it was like without it actually happening to them. I had to make it as raw and graphic as I could pull from memory to get the point across so they can see why I made the decisions I made. This is no different with whomever reads it. The shock value drives home the point. But the most important message the book has is that such things can be overcome and the future you’ve always wanted is always possible, even if the road getting there doesn’t go the quite way you thought it would.

2) The second was for Danielle. Even at ten years old, I had found my match. She was my better half who always believed that I would be nothing like my father, so much so that she wanted to marry me when we grew up.

I knew as I was forced away from her that I needed to do something to show her how much I still loved her. It had to be something huge, something most men would never do. So, I decided that I would not date anyone until I was able to get back to her. I wore my half of the half-heart pendant and never took it off for eight years until I was able to return to her. I also broke 100 years (three generations) of abuse for her. It was when I went to Paris that I figured out the best way to show her how much she meant to me was to write a novel about it. My goal was to return, have us get to know each other again over time, and when the time was right to tell her everything…that she had been right about me all along (about not being like my father) and my heart was always hers and hers alone.

The cool thing is that now I can tell her that our story has become an award-winning novel. (which it has already won three…with more to come)

I appreciated how candid you were in the book. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?

It’s difficult to really put a finger on which part was the hardest, because the whole journey was hard. From the abuse, to leaving her and the loneliness that came with the eight years that followed, it was all challenging to paper. I had to re-write the entire novel eight times over four years using only an Iphone, which meant re-living the whole thing over and over…but I did it.

What were some ideas that were important for you to share in this book?

First love never dies. Even if life takes the two of you in different directions, the love you have for each other will always remain, no matter how many years go by.

It’s okay for men to sacrifice for the right woman. It’s okay for them to do something crazy, like willingly sacrifice 1/10 of their life for them just to show them how much they are loved. I’ve met other men both online and in person who were in similar circumstances, but they felt compelled by society to stay quiet because it wasn’t a “manly thing to do”. The manliest thing to do is to love someone and not be ashamed to admit it. That’s something I want my boys to learn.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?

Your future is not dictated by your past. The person you are destined to become is the one you choose to be.

BTW, the book launches on New Year’s Eve this year. Thanks!

Author Links: Facebook | GoodReads

Artist: Awakening the Spirit Within

Artist: Awakening The Spirit Within is a life-changing book by acting teacher and writer Jocelyn Jones. The book covers many different topics within the few key ones that revolve around us as humans, art and how we view it, and the freedom and spiritual uplifting that comes with it as well as the law of attraction.

Jones is an acting teacher who comes from a family of artists with her father being Broadway actor Henry Jones, her mother being a photographer, and her stepfather a writer. She has taught many different people throughout her life from world-renowned actors to people who have never set foot on stage before coming to her classes. The book is written from her informed point of view and includes life lessons that she has learned as well as many different techniques, exercises, and meditations that she uses in her classes that are helpful for everyone, not just artists and actors.

In this enlightening book the author talks about goals, spirit, knowing that we know, happiness, and our vibration and connects that with her own life and different tales of Hollywood in a beautiful way. The author teaches readers that we first and foremost need to find peace within ourselves and know that we are one with the spirit to go on and live a life on a higher vibrational frequency.

Since the book is quite literally an homage to the muses, myths, and anything and everything spiritual and creative Jones’ simple yet elegant style of writing compliments the topics she covers perfectly. Reading this book is a lovely experience as it was a pleasure reading something written with so much love and passion. The way she writes about art and artists is touching, and will resonate with anyone who has ever been moved by art. The writing is easy to follow and the author’s passion and knowledge is evident throughout the book.

In the book, Jones mentions that you may find this book or it may find you because it needs to find you. So true. I found myself reflecting on what I read for hours after I put the book down. Being an actor myself, this book resonated with me on many different levels and opened my eyes to many things connected to my craft. I recommend this book to actors, artists, musicians, art lovers, and anyone who wants to feel free, happy, and more at peace with themselves.

Pages: 267 | ASIN: B0B2VDH84H

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Shatter the Stereotype

Hermione Lee Author Interview

The First Buds of Spring follows a teen girl who befriends the new boy in school, as their relationship grows mysteries and secrets are revealed that will change their lives. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wasn’t inspired by anything in particular, though I have always wanted to write a romance novel. Here’s something funny: I’m an aromantic. But I always want to challenge myself to new heights. So far I’ve written fantasy, adventure, psychological horror, and romance, and I want to write a book of each genre. Different from the shy-girl-meets-rich-cool-boy-trope, though, I made my protagonist Azalea a bit mean and phony at first, although readers will learn later that it’s simply a façade to retain her popularity. I thought it would be cool to have a male protagonist (Bruce) help her recognize her inner beauty and encourage her to be herself instead of shaping her into who or what he prefers. And then the story formed in my mind. I aimed to write a novel that was cute, refreshing, lighthearted, and fun to read, unlike my previous works, of which were mostly dark and heavy in tone. Read the Otherworld trilogy and one of the companion novels, Helen’s Tale, and you’ll know what I mean.

Azalea and Bruce are both interesting characters with a lot of growth. Did you create an outline for the characters in the story before you started writing or did the characters’ personalities grow organically as you were writing?

Yes, I wrote an outline for the characters. I outline every novel project before starting it to give myself confidence and convince myself I know what I’m doing. Having detailed chapter outlines is important for me because I never write according to the sequence of chapters. Chapter 2 was the first chapter I tackled in The First Buds of Spring. Then chapters 10, 3, 1, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 6, 16, 8, 9, 11, 19, 18, and finally, 20. I remember the sequence because I keep track of them in my iPad.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Love and life are the main themes. I wanted to shatter the stereotype that romance novels are soppy, sentimental, and totally pointless. I imbued plenty of life philosophy in the story, stressing how people always hurry through and fast-forward their lives. If they stop long enough to feel, they’d see the magic around them. Azalea and Bruce bonded through their common belief in slowing their pace in life.

Another theme I hinted at (but will be explored in depth in the future books in the series) is racism and tribal rivalry. Taking advantage of races with weaker magical powers, as evidenced by the Fireflamers and Aquamarines’ tormenting the Woodlanders.

Apart from those, I also wanted to stress the importance of being oneself. Too many people lose themselves in hope of blending into the society. They erase their individuality due to their choice of conforming to mundanity. However, neither Azalea nor Bruce conformed to the crowd. On the other hand, they remained true to themselves. Sometimes “strength” refers not to physical power but rather to spiritual dominance over the shallow, foolish majority.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The First Buds of Spring is my third-published novel. I released it in June, while I had three releases in July—War of the Chaotic Worlds I, War of the Chaotic Worlds II, and Heart of the Forest. The former two are the third books of the Otherworld Trilogy. Apart from the titles mentioned above, I also have three other books contracted—Once Upon an Enchantress, Helen’s Tale, and Eric’s Tale, the latter two being companion novels to the Otherworld Trilogy. While Zack’s Tale and Eileen’s Tale, also companion novels, are awaiting contract, I finished another book yesterday titled Where the Magic Lies, a YA fantasy romance about a girl being forced to marry a fairy prince to atone for her mother’s sin. I’m hoping to self-publish it in August. Right now I might start a novel about a lost siren finding love.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Seventeen-year-old Azalea Wood is everything the girls at Lakebay High aspire to be—popular, beautiful, and perfect. Yet deep down, she desires someone who adores her for whom she truly is rather than the façade she displays on the outside. Fortunately, the arrival of a new boy by the name of Bruce Green flips her fate. Creative, caring, and considerate, he is everything Azalea has wished for. Embarking on a rocky journey of friendship with more than its fair share of bumps and bends, the two of them soon become more than friends. As their relationship solidifies, however, Azalea finds herself dealing with conundrums and dilemmas she never imagined she would be facing. When the revelation of the Greens’ family secret propels her to confront a difficult truth, Azalea learns to grasp and appreciate the meaning of love and makes a decision that will change her life forever.

No Peace with Hitler

Winston Churchill is best known for his role as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940-1945 during World War II. But Churchill did not just walk into that role. He spent many years as a soldier and war correspondent before his election into Parliament. His passion and tenacity are two qualities that made him the leader England, and arguably the World, needed during WWII. His masterful leadership during WWII solidified him as one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century. His writing also earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.

No Peace with Hitler, by Alan I. Saltman, is an exceptional biography that thoroughly chronicles Winston Churchill’s life from the moment of birth to the moment of death. This illuminating book explores Churchill’s struggles through childhood, when he was regularly neglected by his parents, and into his teen years, when he was rebellious and bad at school. The engaging narrative follows Churchill into adulthood and his struggle to join the English political landscape and make a name for himself outside of his father’s political legacy.

The author certainly leaves no stone unturned in No Peace with Hitler. The book is crafted with a sharp attention to detail. Since Churchill has such an important place in history, Saltman has taken it upon himself to make sure that readers understand the struggles Churchill experienced that brought him to the success and renown he received later in his life.

This enlightening biography is just over 700 pages, which a casual reader may find daunting. However, fans of history, specifically World War II buffs, will love the breadth and depth of this lovingly crafted narrative. The author’s knowledge and research is on full display throughout the book. I highly recommend No Peace with Hitler to anyone looking to dive deep into Winston Churchill’s life and legacy.

Pages: 784 | ASIN: B0B8TDNQ44

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Dancing Deepa

Deepa is a fourth grader who loves to dance. One day the school announces there will be a talent show for anyone that wants to participate. Deepa is afraid that her style of dancing will not be received well and is afraid to show it because it is not like ballet or tap dancing. Deepa’s dance style is from India and is called Bharatanatyam. She is afraid that because she is different, people will not understand or make fun of her. So out of fear, she does not try out. On the day of the talent show, she is amazed by all the different things her classmates can do, and she regrets not sharing her style of dance with them. Her teacher realizes something is wrong, and together, they come up with a plan to share the beautiful dancing style of Bharatanatyam with the class.

Dancing Deepa, by author Suchi Sairam and illustrated by Vidya Vasudevan, is an educational and captivating picture book that is perfect for young children. Parents and teachers will love how different vocabulary words are explained and highlighted in the text. It is a motivational story about overcoming your fears of being different and sharing your culture.

This wonderful children’s book would be perfect for multicultural lessons in school and for lessons on different kinds of dance. The children in this well-written book all show acceptance and excitement when learning about Deepa’s dance style and culture. Dancing Deepa is a charming kids book that shows young readers how important it is to share their passion and culture with others.

Pages: 38 | ASIN : B0B2VC1GVP

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Mindset Unlocked

Author Cici Castelli’s book Mindset Unlocked tells the story of her life from when she had little to how she became successful. Cici Castelli details every crucial step she took in life and the impact it had on her future. In addition, the author shares tips, advice, and lessons about running a business, excelling in your career, and finding purpose in life.

Readers will feel the author’s enthusiasm in her writing. She writes about her personal life, experiences as a first-generation immigrant, her connections, failures, and the successes she has enjoyed. I applaud the author for being authentic and for being logical in all her discussions. Cici Castelli lays her life bare and is not afraid of being vulnerable to the reader. Through her story, you learn the significance of candidness and how to use your strength to overcome life’s challenges. 

Cici Castelli gives solutions to readers that can be followed. The author is solution-oriented, and that is what makes her stand out. Mindset Unlocked directs readers to take a different path in life from where they are now. The discussions in the book are warm and eye-opening. I appreciate the author for the gems in the book and life tips that will help me in the near future. One of the best pieces of advice I got from Cici Castelli was on planning. The author advises readers to think beyond today. Plan in advance, plan for a day, plan for a week, and even plan annually if you can. With examples, the author shares the advantages of planning and how to easily achieve your set goals

The writing style in this educational book is easy to follow and understand. The author does not use a lot of advanced terminology without offering explanations. She writes in a language that young readers and experienced readers can understand. While reading Mindset Unlocked: Do What Others Can’t, Won’t, or Don’t Do for a Successful and Balanced Career, and Life, readers can feel a shift in perspective as they take on a more positive attitude.

Pages: 202 | ASIN : B09WHFJQRS

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The Ghost Comes Out

The Ghost Comes Out by The Sisters Spurlock tells of Grayton’s small, mysterious town. Its occupants are evidently separated from the rest of the world and yet are increasingly progressive concerning 1960s attitudes. The children of this small town set up a summer school, and all the children are invited, regardless of race. There is one person in the town however, that takes an issue with this arrangement, and he makes his feelings known.

Taking advantage of children’s remarkable nonchalance around the affairs of racial, religious, and social differences, the Sisters Spurlock spins a moral tale into a suspenseful drama, creating conflict even within the reader’s mind as to who or what might be the cause of the mysterious summer of 1964.

The concept and setting it developed were perfect for the moral messages the authors intended. I was instantly engaged from the first chapter – at first, I was under the impression the story would throw me headfirst into the action; however, I happily discovered it was merely a ploy to entrap me into the writing. Instead, the book was fantastically brought together from carefully chosen words to neatly described scenes and small, seemingly irrelevant yet desperately essential events.

Although very little to criticize, the apparent ‘stage direction’ Esq sentences such as “In Charles’ Office” were a new concept to me when reading and initially disconnected me from engaging empathetically with the book and its characters. However, this minor style choice does not draw down the overall presentation of the book. Therefore It was a delightful read, and I was left desperate for more.

The Ghost Comes Out is a riveting historical mystery filled with thrills and suspense as the characters try to figure out what is happening to their close-knit town. Covering topics of racism, biracial romance, kidnapping and murder, there is enough action to keep readers engaged and hooked from the opening paragraphs to the last page and still wanting more.

Pages: 352 | ASIN : B094YVLPL7

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Hope and Love

M.J. Jones Author Interview

Black Star is a thought-provoking and spellbinding story that I enjoyed immensely. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My inspiration for Black Star was my daughter and a recurring dream that I had about her for a week when I was on furlough from work. When I told her about the dream she said, “Mommy, that dream is better than some of the movies we’ve seen…” I wondered if she was right. Yet, my dream was so real; so intense and profound, that I could not stop thinking about it. She had no idea at the time, but I had secretly scribbled down what I could recall of the dream. As she went on and on about how I should make a comic book or a graphic novel, I sheepishly showed her my scribbles and she said, “Mom, are you crazy? No one can read your handwriting! Maybe you should type it up, and–here’s an idea–write a real book so everyone can actually read what you wrote,” while grabbing my crinkled papers and throwing them in jest! I was like, “No one is going to read or even care about my book…” But I was wrong.

For many years, I lost the passion and drive that I had for writing. I lost the spark. But the dream reignited the part of me that I thought had died just like a Black Star; a Supernova! No matter how much the light dimmed, it would return, brighter and brighter. This dream spawned the Black Star Trilogy: an imaginative, alternative reality that has one underlying theme: Hope and Love. It triumphs even over the darkest days. Becoming an Indie author has probably been one of the hardest things that I have done in my life, besides raising my child alone. She pushed me to follow my dream and to become what I was meant to be: a writer. She inspires me to never give up, even when I have wanted to quit. Art imitates life and she is truly my very own little “Ashe.”

Ashe is an intriguing character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Ashe is brilliant but naïve, full of hope but at the same time is a teenager dealing with the struggles of finding her own way in life while still holding on to the ideals ingrained in Ashe by her mother. One of the philosophies that she holds dear is, “Everyone is special and everyone deserves love and respect.” Easily said, but not easily implemented in real life. Her mother Mia works on the premise that one of our greatest purposes is to uplift future generations. All of these beliefs color who Ashe is. She is indeed a pop culture, K-Pop, BTS-loving, kind, and sympathetic child who grows into such a beautiful reflection of qualities inherently passed on to her from Mia.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

This book deals with profound loss, mental health, insecurities, and growth; yet it stays true to the undying spirit of humanity through a mother’s love. Mia embodies hope while Ashe embodies the future, all with the backdrop of science fiction. I wanted to write a story about people becoming everyday heroes and defying the odds; Becoming a Black Star. The characters encounter real-life consequences never experienced before in their world. We send our children out into this world and hope that they remember and apply the things we have taught them. Yet, what happens when our children become the evil that we have spent a lifetime shielding them from? Mia taught Ashton that it is selfish to only think about one’s own impact on society. We are responsible for the decisions that our children make and in turn the people they ultimately become. Therefore, this book attempts to balance the struggles of parents while at the same time educating children to be leaders, while still staying true to the lore of comic books, and fantasy, all rolled up into a fantastic tale of hope.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am actually working on finalizing the last book of the trilogy. The second installment of the Black Star Trilogy, Black Star Eclipsed, which continues following this epic saga with Ashton and her mother Mia is available on all major platforms in eBook and printed form.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

In this psychological sci-fi thriller, a single mother discovers that her daughter has disappeared without a trace. Was she to blame for her daughter’s disappearance? Did she hold on too tight? As she searches for the truth, her past and sanity collide. Can she take back control of her life, and find her daughter, before it’s too late, or will she too, become a mindless drone? Follow Mia Black in this alternate reality, where things are not quite a mirror image of our world.

A Black Star is a supernova… an exploding star. Some people believe that when it dies, it disappears. Yet in reality, it shines through the darkness…just like Mia Black.
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