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Overcoming Our Fears And Challenges

E. A. Coe Author Interview

Pedaling West follows a recently unemployed and single woman who decides to ride her bike across the country in the middle of a pandemic. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

For my previous two published books, I backdated the stories to avoid the issues associated with COVID-19-mandated protocol during the era. Finally, for Pedaling West, I decided to take the pandemic on. I hoped the book would resonate with readers because of the interesting characters and exciting story, but also because of our common challenges with COVID-19.

Carrie suffers several blows to her self-confidence and through this ride rediscovers her own inner strength. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

My goal was to create a character with whom many could identify, who had a full basket of recognizable qualities and familiar flaws. Metaphorically, Carrie represents each of us who uses our unique talents and skills to stumble forward positively, overcoming our fears and challenges, to create successful lives. Like Carrie, we usually find we don’t have to do everything ourselves. Others will help us if we take the initiative to ask.

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

The imperative for determination and resilience.

The critical nature of our human connection to each other and the common bonds we share.

The power, beauty, and majesty of nature versus the fragility of its environment.

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

At my publisher’s urging, I plan to follow up Pedaling West, with another crime fiction novel featuring the partnership of agents Marina Butnari and Doug Hill. After the escapades of Pedaling West, they are back to addressing the most heinous criminal activity in our world: human trafficking. Crime unfortunately creates staggering wealth and power which makes the battle between good and evil much closer than it should be. The working title for the novel is “All In.”

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Website

When Carrie loses her job and boyfriend during the opening weeks of the pandemic, she’s determined to reset her life in a positive direction. The answer? A solo, two-month, cross-country bicycle trip from Virginia Beach to Mendocino, California.
Yet dangers lurk that she’d never anticipated. During Carrie’s idyllic journey across the continent, her greatest danger comes not from her encounters with angry animals, road hazards, or the elements. Something much worse stalks her—something much too human.
EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS a novel that’s part literary suspense, part women’s fiction, part crime thriller, part travel fiction, and one hundred percent fun. A young woman’s journey of adventure becomes one of profound self-discovery.

The Best Plan Of Attack

Carly Brown Author Interview

The Celine Bower Story: Chronicle Two follows two people, one a vigilante the other a man with a desire to harm others, whose paths intersect. How do you balance story development with shocking plot twists?

I find it easiest to balance the story development with plot twists if I grow each character and what they are a part of by suspending them in time away from each other, until they are needed again. For example, I didn’t even consider Celine and her actions while I was creating Troy and what he was doing. The best plan of attack is to have a solid outline planned out before you even begin then slowly work your way toward the action.

Which scene or chapter in the book is your favorite? Why?

My favorite scene in Chronicle Two is the ‘juice lady’. I could just hear her shouting so loudly as she was running to help. It made me feel like we are all connected in some way, and no matter your circumstance, there is always a way to help another person.

What do you think makes a story memorable to readers?

The stories I remember most are the ones where I actually felt like I knew the characters. I think it helps readers connect when you feel like you can reach out and touch someone, like you’ve developed a connection with them even though you will never meet in real life.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors out there?

My advice to aspiring authors would be this: don’t quit your day job. The only other advice that I could give is to read everything; read things that aren’t in your genre, read articles, old library books, and try to read the things that other people recommend to you. And, don’t give up; there will be times when the only person that cares is you, and that’s okay, just don’t give up.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads | Website

Mosaic Press published The Celine Bower Story: Chronicle One in 2020 which established Carly Brown as an original voice in this genre. She was awarded the Winner Readers’ Choice Niagara Falls Review, 2020, The reviews were unanimous in their overwhelming critical praise. The highly anticipated Chronicle 2 is schedule to be published in 2022.

“I couldn’t put this book down! It kept me on the edge of my seat…Can’t wait for Part 2.” —Kara Foster

“I devoured this book! If you love a badass female protagonist overcoming all odds, this book is for you! From start to finish, this book keeps you riveted on Celine, her palatable need to over come her trauma, and on what will happen next. Can’t wait to see more from this author.” —Nicolle McKinnon

Pedaling West

It’s no exaggeration that life can change in the blink of an eye, and no one knows that better than Carrie Brinkley. IT Manager of Pilgrim Burgers, LLC, Carrie, is shocked to find her position is being eliminated. Doubtful as to her boss’s real intentions, she heads home only to receive a citation for an expired inspection sticker on her way. But, unfortunately, her string of bad luck doesn’t end there. Her boyfriend Trey is waiting in her driveway to announce that he is leaving town to return to Alabama and consequently breaking up with her. All Carrie wants at this point is to run away from it all, and when her bike calls, she answers.

Pedaling West, by E.A. Coe, follows the journey of one woman impacted in multiple ways by the 2020 pandemic. The face of the world, as Carrie Brinkley knows it, has changed, and she wants more than anything to run away from it all. So she concocts a plan to bike across the country, and even her parents’ words of wisdom can’t stop her from setting out to cover the nation from coast to coast between June and October.

Carrie’s story is unique in many ways yet typical of far too many others since 2020. Coe does a fantastic job of covering the mania that ensued when COVID-19 hit the United States. From misused funds to the countless ways our day-to-day lives changed at the drop of a hat, Coe covers it all in a short amount of time.

Carrie is a true force. She represents strength and determination on an entirely different level. Coe’s depiction of a woman on a mission is one to behold. As Carrie encounters one roadblock after another on her journey west, she meets each head-on and with renewed confidence. Her character development is unmatched. Though Coe’s story is fiction, I can easily picture this as a true story and one that would definitely inspire much-need confidence during the pandemic.

There exists within Coe’s writing an ideal amount of intrigue and mystery. It is difficult to peg Pedaling West as part of any one genre–it contains all the best parts of several. I enjoyed the blend of current events, action sequences, and the focus on Carrie’s character development throughout the book.

We won’t soon tire of reading about the many ways COVID has impacted our world, and E.A. Coe has gifted readers with a fantastic version of events in one neat package. I highly recommend Coe’s work to any mystery fan who appreciates a novel grounded in current events and is driven by a strong female main character.

Pages: 366 | ASIN: B0BTM1KRWF

Buy Now From Amazon

He Became My Muse

Patricia Elliott Author Interview

Her Lover’s Face follows the widow of an abusive man who starts putting her life back together only to discover her new boss looks like her late husband. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

“I used to work the night shift and it was often very quiet, so I started reading romance novels to help quell the boredom when I was in my mid twenties. After reading one, I was like, “hey, I can do that.” Writing was always a passion of mine, but I hadn’t yet written a full-fledged novel.

It wasn’t long after that, that an idea hit me full force. What if a woman’s abusive husband died, and she ran into a man who looked exactly like him? What would she do and how would she respond? The inspiration for the idea came from my high school days where I dated someone who was a twin. He became my muse as I wrote the story.”

Laryssa and Alex both have a lot of baggage to work through in this novel. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

“For Alex, he’s a gentle honorable man. Honor drives him to do what’s right even if that puts him in harm’s way. Honor and need were what drove him to provide for Laryssa, even if that meant stepping into a hospital for the first time since he lost someone special in the past. He’s a gentle soul, even though much of his soul is tormented, and he responds to his pain in ways that could be mistaken for callousness.

Laryssa spent so many years suppressed by a cruel man and vows to never be treated that way again. So she’s learning how to make her own choices again, but ends up having to do that around a man who looks like her abusive husband. This causes her to find strength and power in her convictions to never ever be treated like she was before. But like every mother out there, sometimes you don’t learn how to grow for yourself in your mindset, until you have someone you’d give your whole life for. In an attempt to give her kids a good life, it forces her to grow in her own self-worth.”

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

“The biggest theme that I based my novel around was to never let pain define you, your life, or your decisions. That pain doesn’t have to control you and you can rise above it. People have a tendency to close themselves off to things that can make them happy when they don’t think they can handle any more pain if things don’t work out.

Some people throw themselves into their work, becoming work-a-holics, to avoid the pain of their past and never truly facing what they went through…never growing as a person, choosing rather to avoid life. So this was the concept that I decided to explore because life is wrought with pain, but it can also be full of beauty if we know how to look for it and be willing to step outside the cocoon that we sometimes build around us.”

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

“I’m currently working on a psychological thriller romance duology which follows a young woman as she experiences just how horrible the world can be at the age of 19th when she gets pulled into a nasty game in the middle of the woods. The working blurb for book one is as follows:

“In the middle of a forest, in an unknown location, is a game. A psychological game designed to play with the mind until it breaks.

The man responsible wants fresh meat. Someone who hasn’t experienced the horrors of the real world. He wants to see how long it would take to make them fall apart, to make them wish for death.

Combing the city of Surrey, he spots his next target…a young librarian named Jenna McCay.”

The cover has been created and the story is going through its last round of editing, so I’m aiming to have the first story out June 1st. Book One is called “Her Prison, His Game,” and Book two is called, “Beneath His Hands.”

I do have a number of irons in the fire, including book two of “Her Lover’s Face,” which is currently with my publisher and will hopefully be released in the near future as well. It’s called “His Sweet Addiction,” which follows the lovely Joanne from the first book.”

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website

Laryssa Mitchell is one of the lucky ones. The death of her abusive husband finally allows her to live again on her own terms, making her own choices. Her first official decision is to take back what was lost – her independence and her old job. But she soon finds herself in a living nightmare when she meets her new boss. If her husband is rotting in hell, then who is the man standing in front of her with a dead man’s face?

Alexander Richards doesn’t expect to catch an unconscious woman in his arms on his first day of work, nor does he envision himself willingly setting foot in a hospital again, reliving his painful loss. But that’s exactly what he chooses to do when Laryssa needs his help. Why?

She has a story to tell. He has a mystery to solve. In the midst of danger, passion sizzles between them, taking them by surprise. What will happen when all is brought to light? Will they be able to overcome their traumatic pasts and find love in each other, or will their ghosts have the final say?

Her Warrior Spirit Rises

Phyllis A. Still Author Interview

Palisades of the Heart follows a troubled young woman in 1776 who moves to Western Virginia and falls in love for the first time. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

Returning Mary and her family to the Cooks Fort settlement merges the fictional story with the factual location where William’s and Mary’s love story began.

Mary has shown great growth from the earlier novels; what were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Thank You. I’ve shown Mary’s developing survival skills throughout the series, but now she is weary and vulnerable. Her lifelong goal of security hasn’t changed, but her love for William challenges her determination to remain safe. When the danger she fears comes for her and those she loves, her warrior spirit rises and solidifies her destiny.

What is your background and experience in writing, and how did it help you write the Dangerous Loyalties series?

A Junior High teacher identified my writing talent, but my outdoor adventures as a child developed my imagination. When I learned of the tribulations Mary and William endured during the American Revolutionary War, the spark to write a fictional account of Mary’s teen years ignited.

With this series ending, what is the next book project you are working on? 

I’ve ended the young adult series as happy for now, and I’ve explored how young Mary developed the survival skills needed as an eighteen-year-old to keep herself and young son alive in the future. Now I’m writing her biography, The Story She Couldn’t Tell: The True Account of DAR Patriot Mary Shirley McGuire.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“A curse on your firstborn son if you return.”
Loud Hawk’s warning gripped Mary Shirley by the throat and wrenched her heart.She vowed she’d never settle in Kentucky.
When fifteen-year-old Mary and her family arrive at Cooks Fort in the Greenbrier Valley of Western Virginia in August 1776, she is strong-willed and resilient but in need of peace from traumatic events. She hopes for a fresh start and courtship from William McGuire.
William is a rugged, no-nonsense scout for Cooks Fort, who dreams of raising fast horses on the fertile meadows of Kentucky with Mary by his side—when she’s ready to trust in his and God’s protection. Yet his love for Mary remains travel-through-blizzards boundless.

Another man seeks her affections, but only William’s love can conquer the palisade of fear protecting Mary’s heart.

When a vengeful shaman’s lie endangers all she holds dear, her warrior spirit rises into action. She will no longer live in fear.

Inspired by Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Mary Shirley-McGuire.
Palisades of the Heart is a sweet emotionally riveting Young Adult Historical Romance is the fourth and final book of the thrilling award-winning Dangerous Loyalties Series.

If you enjoy an emotion-packed romantic story packed with heart-racing and gritty scenes of life or death, this Young Adult Historical Romance is for you.

Buy Palisades of Heart and enjoy your dangerous adventure … Let me know you survived.

This Forgotten Chapter Of History

Mariana Vernieri Author Interview

The Two Castles is a captivating historical novel that tells the journey of a young woman fighting for love and equality in 13th century Catalonia. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

The inspiration for the setup of “The Two Castles” is deeply personal and rooted in my own family history. When I learned about the Cathars and their history, I felt a strong connection to them that I couldn’t explain. As I delved deeper into my genealogy, I discovered that my ancestors, the Counts of Foix, had supported and protected the Cathars in times of religious persecution. This realization, coupled with my discovery that I was related to historical figures like Ermessenda de Castellbó and Esclarmonde de Foix, gave me a profound sense of connection to this forgotten chapter of history.

As a direct descendant of Ermessenda, who was a major supporter of the Cathars and a protagonist in an incredible love story, I felt a responsibility to share her story with the world. This sense of responsibility, coupled with my own personal connection to the Cathars and the Counts of Foix, inspired me to write “The Two Castles”. My travels to Europe, where I visited the castles of Foix and many Cathar sites, deepened my connection to this history and helped me realize that I was meant to tell this story. Through this story, I hope to bring the history of the Cathars and the Foix family to life for readers and share the incredible story of my direct ancestor, Ermessenda de Castellbó.

Ermessenda is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

As a direct descendant of Ermessenda de Castellbó, I felt a responsibility to bring her character to life in a way that was as accurate and true to history as possible. Through extensive research, I gained an understanding of her beliefs, values, and experiences, which informed her character development in the novel, based on the known facts about her life. 

I wanted to give voice to a female historical figure who has been largely overlooked by history. Ermessenda was a powerful and influential figure in her own right, and she used that position of power to help those who needed her the most, even when that meant risking her own life. I wanted to show her courage, intelligence, and resourcefulness through the pages of the novel.

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

There were several themes that were important for me to explore in “The Two Castles”.

First and foremost, I wanted to explore the theme of love and its transformative power. Ermessenda’s journey is driven by her love for a forbidden man, and her determination to fight for their love despite the challenges and obstacles they face. Their love inspires them to take risks and make sacrifices, and ultimately helps them to overcome the difficulties they encounter.

In addition to her romantic love, Ermessenda’s love for the Cathars as a spiritual community is an important aspect of her motivation for spiritual growth and character development. Her commitment to protecting the Cathars reflects her strong values and beliefs, and underscores the theme of justice and equality that is another important theme present throughout the novel.

Ermessenda is a powerful and influential figure, but she must navigate a world that is dominated by men who often seek to undermine her authority. Through her struggles, the novel highlights the challenges faced by women throughout history who have fought for equality and justice.

Another important theme in the novel is the concept of “Paratge,” which is deeply ingrained in the culture of Occitania, where the story takes place. While the term has a complex and multifaceted meaning, it is essentially a set of virtues that any person can aspire to. It encompasses the ideas of honor, nobility of spirit, and equal dignity for all human beings. Through the character of Ermessenda and others, the novel explores the importance of these virtues and how they contrast with the prevailing societal views of the time. The association of Paratge with the Cathar movement is also examined, as it represented a spiritual community of good Christians who needed protection against oppression, and whose members were often exemplars of the Paratge code.

Finally, “The Two Castles” explores the theme of legacy and transcendence, the power of memory and the importance of preserving history. By bringing back to life the forgotten history of Ermessenda and the Cathars, the novel highlights the different ways in which we can survive death, oblivion, and the passage of the centuries: through our deeds, through the little and big good things that we give to others during our lives, through what we write, through our example and inspiration and through our descendants. 

Overall, these themes are interconnected and weave together to create a multi-layered story that explores the human experience in all its beauty and complexity.

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

I’m happy to include that information. As for my next book, it’s titled “The Exile of the Good Men” and it’s the second installment of the Ermessenda trilogy. In this book, Ermessenda’s happiness with her new husband is short-lived as war separates them. After the brutal sacking of Béziers, the ruthless Simon de Montfort and his troops turn their sights on the lands of the Viscount Trencavel. Ermessenda is determined not to let her friends and allies suffer the same fate as the people of Béziers. While her husband prepares for war, she risks her life to save as many Cathars as possible. If Montfort’s men intercept them, the cruelties they’ll face are unimaginable. As the northern enemy threatens to exterminate them, a personal threat looms over Ermessenda’s relationship. In the forced separation, both she and her husband will forge new alliances and be exposed to temptations that will test their love, awakening passions that could be as deadly as the war itself. The expected release date for this book is in 2024. 

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

La apasionante historia real de Ermessenda de Castellbó: una mujer dispuesta a todo en nombre del amor y de la libertad.

¿Podrá sobrevivir a una despiadada purga religiosa?

Cataluña, 1202.

Única heredera de dos poderosas familias, Ermessenda se prepara para gobernar su vizcondado con justicia e igualdad. Sin embargo, su sueño se hace trizas cuando su padre le impone un matrimonio arreglado en una tierra lejana.

En su destierro, halla consuelo y pertenencia gracias a su floreciente amistad con la acogedora comunidad espiritual de los cátaros. Cuando finalmente encuentra el amor verdadero, la violenta oposición de la Iglesia amenaza de muerte tanto a su relación como a los miles de cátaros de la región, poniendo en riesgo todo lo que ama.

¿Hasta dónde será capaz de llegar Ermessenda en su ferviente lucha contra la opresión?

Inspirada por la extraordinaria vida de una mujer que dejó su huella en el mundo medieval, su descendiente directa, Mariana Vernieri, evoca el intenso peligro, intriga y trascendencia de una lucha que pervive hasta hoy.

Desde un romance prohibido hasta la atroz persecución de almas pacíficas que sólo buscaban la libertad religiosa, esta historia épica de amor y valentía te atrapará de principio a fin.

A Transformative Experience

Beth Harkins Author Interview

The Possibility of Everywhere is a story of a woman’s global journey to discover the transformative power of feminine storytelling and self-discovery. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I was fascinated thinking about the first stories young girls tell themselves about themselves—and about the impact childhood stories have on shaping our adult lives.

My opening chapter was inspired by my sketchy memories of living in Casablanca, Morocco at age six. I chose to place my protagonist, Cindy Hollingworth, at the same age living her life surrounded by the magic of Morocco while she imagines herself becoming a queen or a goddess.

I show this spunky young girl all horizons are open to her until the day circumstances create a colliding story convincing Cindy that because she is a girl, her life is destined to be one of invisibility and inferiority. In my own life I lived with the self-doubts that became embedded inside the tension-filled story Cindy moves inside of until I found my transformative story. A transformative experience that Cindy must also discover if she is to become who she is meant to be.

Cindy Hollingsworth is a compelling character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Cindy hears her mother say she has “sand in her shoes” about the same time when her family must leave Casablanca to return to Oklahoma City. As Cindy departs, she does so carrying the spark of a desire to see and to know the whole wide world. This desire she holds while not yet realizing that what she actually seeks is to find her voice and her value.

Cindy’s wanderlust I used as a path to show the ideals that propelled young Cindy before she could understand or name the deeper seeking propelling her journey forward.

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

One important theme I wanted to explore can be summed up by saying: Your story, my story and our stories matter, and how we tell our stories to ourselves and others shapes our lives and can shape the world.

A second theme explores the rise of the feminine that Cindy discovers as she listens to women’s stories and hears ancient goddess myths in places far away as well as close to home.

A related theme involves the importance of the Sacred Feminine for a deep and balanced understanding of the Divine. The theme propelled me through two decades spent writing this novel.

Thirdly, I was excited to explore the theme of “Transformational Travel” with its potential to change hearts and minds and thereby to change the world—from the inside out.

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

I have a chapter included in a composition of women’s stories entitled, “Midlife Awakening,” curated by best-selling author Cathy Derksen, due out in April of 2023 from Action Takers Publishing.

Since it took two decades to complete my first novel, I laughingly have said my next book would be entitled, “How to Write a Book and Transform Your Life in Twenty Years or Less”. However, since most people seek quick solutions rather than decades of searching, I have decided to write short pieces in blog posts about the themes that touch me most. This provides time for launching “Feminine Quest: Transformational Travel.”

I will facilitate travel that offers both inner and outer exploration of old stories and new possibilities. While traveling in a small group, participants are invited to leave their ordinary world to explore the extraordinary beyond everyday tasks and responsibilities. In the process, and through connection with those from other cultures—especially connection with local women and their stories— wider perspectives about the world and about our individual lives can arise.

“Feminine Quest: Transformational Travel” to India is now scheduled for late January 2024.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Website

Casablanca, French Morocco, 1953-precocious six-year-old American Cindy Hollingsworth imagines all horizons are open to her-until her father shuts her out without acknowledging her voice or value. She concludes that his world belongs to men and her world contains a map of invisibility and inferiority.

As a college girl in Spain, Cindy encounters duende and the mysticism of Saint Teresa of Ávila. As a jet-setting Pan American stewardess she discovers the influence of Isis in Egypt. From fierce and tender Kali in Nepal, from strong voices heard beneath a mango tree in Kenya, from wild hearts met along the backroads of the USA-Cindy senses feminine power rising as a transforming balm.

Yet forces want to crush the emergence. When her boss cruelly dismantles the international women’s empowerment program Cindy creates, she searches for feminine power within herself and watches it touch her husband’s aching heart.

In The Possibility of Everywhere through adventure, love and loss, we experience how much women’s stories matter and realize that how we tell our stories to ourselves shapes our lives and the world.

My Own Disastrous Dating Life

Gracie Cooper Author Interview

Loving Whiskey follows a successful bar owner who crosses paths with a busy single dad who challenges her self-imposed love ban. What was the inspiration for the setup of your story?

I’m a huge fan of romantic comedies and though being a single parent or running a busy is nothing to laugh about, sometimes life throws you a funny bone and gives you something to chuckle over. I can’t really say what in particular inspired the storyline. Maybe it was my own disastrous dating life. What I do know is finding your person, is not always easy, but when you do, it is so worth the wait. 

Willow and Colton are interesting and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character’s relationship?

I love the idea of friends supporting friends. Being loyal, truthful, independent and honest with each other even if it hurts. That to me is the value of friendship. It doesn’t matter their background, race or how they identify. “Ride or Die” like the saying goes. I believe both Willow and Colton have this trait for both their friends and family and for each other. 

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

Besides the instant attraction between Willow and Colton, I wanted to explore the idea of sun-plots with the story itself. It would give the readers an idea of what the next possible book would be. I also like the idea of “Easter Eggs” hidden within the book…like they do in the movies. Did you catch on to Wes playing scrabble with a certain nurse? Know who the nurse could be? (Wink wink)

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

I am wrapping up Book 2 of Martini Girl Bar (Luna & Levi) and have started a few scenes on Book 3 (Mila & Beck). I hope to have book 2 out later this year. 

I’ve also have two other stand-alones that I am excited about (paranormal rom-com). More on those at a later date.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Tired of dating, Willow Lawson gives up on love and focuses on the expansion of Martini Girl Bar. She is officially on a man-strike – until she meets Colt. Colton Royce has his hands full raising his four-year-old niece and seventy-two-year-old grandmother. But when a chance encounter to play music again knocks on his door, he takes it. Lightning strikes when Willow and Colt are around, proving love enters when they least expect it.
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