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Interview with Phyllis Staton Campbell

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My guest today, on Rainne’s Ramblings, is Phyllis Staton Campbell.

Phyllis, who was born blind, writes about the world she knows best. She calls on her experience as teacher of the blind, peer counselor and youth transition coordinator. She says that she lives the lives of her characters: lives of sorrow and joy; triumph and failure; hope and despair. That she and her characters sometimes see the world in a different way, adds depth to the story. She sees color in the warmth of the sun on her face, the smell of rain, the call of a cardinal, and God, in a rainbow of love and grace.

Although she was born in Amherst County, Virginia, she has lived most of her life in Staunton, Virginia, where she serves as organist at historic Faith Lutheran church, not far from the home she shared with her husband, Chuck, who waits beyond that door called death.

 
Phyllis Staton CampbellHi Phyllis, welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.

Would you like to start by telling us how your journey as a writer began…?

I think my journey as a writer began before I could actually write. My sister and I made up stories, and acted them out before I even started to school

 
… So have you always been a creative soul?

Yes, I have.

 
What is your top writing tip?

Set realistic goals, and stick to them, raising the bar for yourself, as those goals are reached.

 
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just to see where an idea takes you?

It depends on what I’m doing. I completely outline an article. When working on a book-length project, I do a beginning, decide where the conflict at the beginning is taking the end, and then often the middle, the how we get to the end sort of finds itself.

Do I stick to this beginning end middle method? Not always, sometimes things become clearer as I work.

 
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Which, if any, of your personality traits did you write into your characters?

Probably my determination. Kate, for instance, in Who Will Hear Them Cry, once she gets started, so to speak, is determined to get to the bottom of the deaths at the school, and protect the children.

 

 
Which writers inspire you?

That’s really hard to say. For my recent title, Where Sheep May Safely Graze was definitely inspired by Jan Karon.

 
You write columns for the National Braille Press, and for The Blind Post. What subjects do you cover?

I do a crafts column for both The Blind Post, and NBP. and a sort of general column for NBP. It covers hobbies, interesting people, book reviews, origins of holiday customs, almost anything.

 
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written six books, with both traditional and self-publishers. I’ve also done a true-crime book, under contract to the victim’s family. I’m not sure that I actually have a favorite.

 
Out Of The Night -Book coverWhich of your books was the most fun to write… ?

I think probably Out Of The Night.

 
…And which of was the hardest?

Friendships in the Dark, my memoir. It took me back to walk in memory with many whose voices I’ll never hear again on this earth.

 
When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

In a general sort of way, to live out the rest of my life with dignity and peace. As a writer, I’m not foolish enough to wish for a bestseller, but I wish for a really successful book.

 
What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t take life, and myself so seriously.

 
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I wanted to teach, becoming a writer came later, although I think it was lurking there in the background.

 
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

To be able to talk again to those afore mentioned people who walk in my memory, to tell them again that I love them, and ask forgiveness for hasty words or things not done.

 
If you could be any age again for a week, which would you choose?

Not so much a particular age, but the time between adolescence and adulthood. A time when life stretched before me with its hopes and dreams untarnished by life; a time when to a degree, life is ruled by passions; a time when the senses are sharper, the taste of wild strawberries, the scent of lilac and honeysuckle, sweeter; and a time when friendship and love rule one’s life.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Only to thank you for giving me the chance to do this interview, as well as to say thanks to those who read what I’ve said. You and the readers are among the best.

 
Thank you very much, Phyllis, and thanks for dropping in to talk with us today.

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You can catch up with Phyllis on Facebook, and find her books on Amazon

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Teaser Tuesday

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by The Purple Booker.

  • Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    -BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

27405116As I opened the curtain slightly I could see that the grey sky above looked menacing and threatened rain. I looked down, and there, standing alone in the deserted street looking straight back up towards me was the gentleman from last night, his eyes piercing mineas we caught each other’s stare.

~D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret by Chris Turnbull

 

Interview with N. Lombardi Jr

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My guest today is N. Lombardi Jr.
Nicolas is the author of The Plain of Jars, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, and the soon to be released, Justice Gone.

Hi Nicolas, would you please begin by telling us how your journey as a writer began?

author pic N LombardiI wrote my first novel in 1985. It was a catharsis for a broken heart, and it was therapy for getting over what I considered, at the time, the loss of the love of my life. It’s also a story about cultural confusion in East Africa. In the 1980’s it was much easier to get an agent, which I did, but after she submitted the manuscript 15 times, with rejection after rejection, I put it on the shelf for 30 years. It was finally published in 2014 as Journey Towards a Falling Sun, a romance adventure set in Kenya.

I began my second novel, The Plain of Jars, in 1998, and worked on it for 15 years while working as a groundwater geologist in various countries. I had no intention of writing again, but when I visited Laos and learned about the secret war the US waged against that small country (without an official declaration of war) and discovered that more bombs were dumped on that country than all the munitions dropped in World War II, I felt I just had to write about it. The novel was published as my first, in 2013.

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Relaxing and pondering about the story, certainly not while in the mechanical process of writing. I might be sitting with a glass of wine, and start daydreaming, and that’s the state I’m in as the narrative takes form.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

In the process of creating the story, I inevitably find myself getting lost in it, as if I were watching a film, and this gives me a very pleasant buzz which I carry around throughout the day.

 
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What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?

My latest novel is Justice Gone, and was inspired by a true event, the fatal beating of a homeless man in a small Californian town. This was such an extreme case, and one which did not include any racial elements, that it exposed the utter abuse of authority in which an outraged public reaction was inevitable.

 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

When I get the idea to write a novel, I know what it’s generally going to be about, but often my initial ideas are wiped out as I go along and the story takes on a life of its own.

 

Do your characters ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

I guess I can interpret this question as “do my characters ever get away from me, following paths I can’t control?” This is difficult to answer, but there have been occasions when they do seem to do something in my head that I hadn’t planned on. This happens when I’m daydreaming about the story.

 
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Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?

Journey Towards a Falling Sun contained many of my own personal experiences, but this is not true of anything else I have written.

  

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Justice Gone could be considered a mystery/thriller combined with a courtroom drama, and such stories are usually categorized as legal thrillers. However, I wanted this book to have broad appeal because many topical issues such as homelessness, troubled vets, and the legal system are imbedded in the story.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Watch an intriguing film, or just sit in my backyard gazing at the mountains.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Marketing is really tough. I feel like I’m in the Land of the Giants, competing against the Big Five publishing houses, leave alone the thousands of Indies who are trying to get their book noticed. While a writer has to go with what works, the book has to stand out on its own as a unique entity.

 

Thank you for joining us today. Best wishes for the release of Justice Gone.

Justice Gone is available for preorder and is due to be released on February 22nd.
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Saturday Spotlight

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D: Darkest Beginnings by Chris Turnbull

(Prequel to Whitby’s Darkest Secret)

 
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What makes a young boy turn to the darkness?

What turns an honest man into a monster?

In this prequel to Whitby’s Darkest Secret, journey back and learn about the life of the boy, who grew up to become known simply as ‘D’

Amazon • B&N

 

 

 

 

My Review:

D: Darkest Beginnings is the background story of the man known only as D!

It’s a quick and easy read chronicling the life and misfortunes of a young, nameless, orphan boy, left to the harsh regime of a workhouse at the tender age of five.

He’s bullied from day one in the workhouse, and by various antagonist as he grows up, and then finally hit by tragedy the day before his wedding.

I will definitely be reading the other books in the series, and have already started D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret, as I am curious to know what becomes of this young man!

 

About The Author:

13781487Chris has always been a keen reader and writer, he loves the feeling of been drawn into a good book and the escapism into another world after a long day at work.

In 2013, after finishing his first full story Chris decided that he wanted to get it professionally edited in the hope to print it out for himself. After very little persuasion Chris finally released time travel story The Vintage Coat on Amazon and had a successful book launch in Leeds.

Chris was born in Bradford, West Yorkshire in England.

The eldest of two sons Chris originally wanted to become a dog groomer and trained in this field before working on a farm in the grooming room as well as helping with the dog hydrotherapy.

After a few years, Chris moved on and found a job at Bradford University working with PhD students in the Biology labs. Chris enjoyed nearly 7 years there before moving over to York University to take on a similar, be it more senior role.

Chris now lives on the outskirts of York with his partner and their Jack Russell terrier.

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Four on Friday

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Following on from yesterday’s interview, today I bring you four books by Ann Harrison-Barnes:

 
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A Journey of Faith

A Stepping Stones Mystery

Ann Harrison

A Journey of Faith ebookTwenty-eight year old Becca Martin witnessed a tragic accident at the age of twelve. Sixteen years later, she embarks upon a journey that she believes has somehow been chosen for her by God. During this journey, she hears a voice in the back of her mind crying, God help me!, as memories she didn’t understand as a child begin to resurface in her nightmares and during the journey itself. Was this tragedy a freak accident, or is there more to the incident that meets the eye? Can Becca conquer her fear of mountain climbing while she embarks upon this journey? The owner of Sweet Water State Park calls Zac Johnson and Jason Miller of the Tensiltown Police to investigate various incidents out on the bike and foot paths. During their investigation, Jason meets Becca along her journey and they both feel strongly drawn to each other. She longs to help the police of this small village investigate these incidents, but in order to do so, she must face her fear of climbing the rocks at Sweet Water Park, while caring for her ailing aunt and helping her uncle to run the diner. Jason vows to stay close beside her every step of the way, but can she fully trust him and the girl in the white robe that seems to pop up out of nowhere when trouble arises? Who is the real bad guy? How does God reveal what happened on that unforgettable day on the rocks with her family? Does the memory of the incident help the police solve this rock climbing mystery? Find out more as the author pulls you into the first novel in her spine-tingling, heart-warming Stepping Stones mystery series.

 

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Stories Outside the Box

Ann Harrison

box.jpgA charming little book filled with magic, ferries, music, an angel or two, and even a bit of mystery.

Fly away on the wings of a simple drop of rain with Anna as she follows the music that fills her heart.

Have you ever had a breakdown in the middle of the road and wondered how you’d get home? Read about the miraculous end to what could have been a perilous journey for Bill and his family.

Mystery buffs and techno geeks will love An Unusual Glitch, a story about a county wide technology glitch that threatens to ruin the county’s computer infrastructure, if the problem isn’t resolved before it’s too late. Enjoy a couple of new mysteries along the way.

You may be enchanted by a Christmas miracle that starts with a child’s prayer and a tinkling bell.

Ride in a sleigh carried on the wings of a snowflake, ride the wind on the wings of an autumn leaf or fly away on a swing!

There’s an adventure waiting for readers of all ages in each delightful little story.

 

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Inner Vision

An Electric Eclectic Book

Ann Barnes

InnerVisionEEcover“The past is but a whirlwind of memories,
there are those you want to capture,
and those you want to forget.
Hold on to the precious ones and let the rest spin away into the abyss.”

These are the words Kelly Dobson wrote after learning how to use her Inner Vision in order to do the creative work God has called her to do.

After awakening in an unusual hospital from an operation she never had, Kelly and her physician, DR. Markey Andrews, work together to find the reason why she ended up in a hospital resembling a hotel, rather than a medical facility.

During the process of solving the mystery at hand, Kelly has strange dreams of being carried away in a whirlwind to places which hold memories she’d rather not relive. In order for her to face her fear of her Charles Bonnet syndrome and the accident that caused her blindness six years before.

After being released from the hospital, Kelly gets a brilliant idea to draw the images she sees in her heart and mind. As she does so, her mother stands in awe as the talent her daughter once had as a child returns in full swing, regardless of her blindness.

Even though Kelly’s father doesn’t want to believe in her talent at first, through the power of prayer and her faith in God, she teaches him how to use his own inner vision.

 

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Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure

An Electric Eclectic Book

Ann Barnes

Maggie's gravy train adventureWhen a young girl takes a ride on a gravy train with her mother, she finds unexpected adventures and mysteries waiting for her as they glide down the cookie track.

What happens to the track, and why do the biscuit wheels crumble at one point, and turn to mush near the Ferry Land station?

Who is behind the mayhem in the land of Eat-a-Lot?

Find out as this charming children’s adventure unfolds before your very eyes.

Ann also has short stories in the Anthologies; Awethology Light, December Awethology – Light Volume, and Gems of Strength.

 

 

 

Author Bio:

About me:

my profileI am the proud single mother of a beautiful daughter, who is often the inspiration for many of my stories featuring children. I have three nieces and a nephew whom I love from the bottom of my heart.

I have found music to be a great source of healing throughout rough and painful times in my life. I also find it to be a great source of inspiration through traditional means and through the world around me. 

About my blindness:

Although I was not born prematurely, I was placed in an incubator and given 24 hours of oxygen, when I should have only received eight. This excessive amount of oxygen caused my optic nerves not to develop properly, resulting in my blindness. I have light perception in my left eye, and none in my right. The right eye was removed when I was eighteen months old and I have worn prostheses since then, until recently. I have used a cane since I was about five years old, accept during the period from April 2006 to March 2009, when I worked my one and only guide dog named Star. She was a black lab Golden retriever mix from Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Where I live and work:

I currently live in Rochelle, Georgia near my parents and one of my two brothers, when he’s not working on the road. I have worked from home for various freelance clients, while writing my novels. These clients include Mia Bysinger from Rushcube, a web development company and Earnest Dempsey’s Word Matters Blog.

Why I write:

First of all, I love creating stories that will entertain my readers. Through these entertaining stories, I also hope to either share the message of God’s love or bring back childhood memories, through my Children’s books. I journal for healing and brainstorming. I am writing non-fiction to help aspiring authors self-publish their own books through Amazon

Hobbies:

My hobbies include listening to music and podcasts, reading, crocheting and sitting out on the front porch on a warm day.

Music I enjoy: I love listening to classic country music, instrumental pieces such as classical, new age piano pieces and film scores. I also find that the environment is filled with natural music.

Podcasts I find educational and entertaining: I have a variety of podcasts I listen to on a daily basis. Some of my favorites include: The Author Stories Podcast with Hank Garner, The Creative Penn, I Should be Writing, Ditch Diggers, Eyes On success, how do you Write and Writing Excuses.

My favorite authors and genres:

I love to read books by Karen Kingsbury, Janette Oke, Hope Callahan, and I love finding new authors. My favorite genres include: Christian fiction, cozy mystery, sweet romance and Romantic suspense. I’ll also read the occasional memoire.

My Faith:

I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus died on the cross to save my soul. In God’s word, Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6, KJV)

~ In the words of Ann Harrison-Barnes, January 2019

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Electric Eclectic Books

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Interview with Ann Harrison-Barnes

Publication1I’m delighted to welcome my guest for today, Ann Harrison-Barnes.

Ann has published four books, so far, under the names, Ann Harrison and Ann Barnes; A Journey of Faith, Inner Vision, Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure and Stories Outside the Box. She also has short stories in the Anthologies; Awethology Light, December Awethology – Light Volume, and Gems of Strength.

Hi Ann, welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to kick off by telling me a little about yourself and your background?

my profileI’m am a writer who is blind. I am also the single mom of a ten-year-old daughter who talks all the time about being taller than her mom. I have taken college courses in the field of communications, and I love to write Christian mysteries with a bit of a romantic twist.

 
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Although I’ve been writing since I was in about fifth or sixth grade, I came to the realization in 2003. The introduction to New Stories from the South 2001 was the inspiration I needed to kickstart my writing career.

 
What motivates you to write?

Sometimes the characters in my story can be motivation enough, while at other times I need music, a specific podcast or something else to get me going.

 
What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

The easiest part about being a writer is creating a story, but this can also be the hard part. I say this because there are times when my story eludes me. The hardest thing I’ve found about being a writer is the revision stage, although this is becoming easier and fun too.

 
Tell us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?

It depends on the time of year. In the winter I’ll get up, go have a cup of coffee and breakfast, take care of my normal morning routine, turn on some music and sit down to write. However, in summer, I love to take some time out on the front porch to muse first thing in the morning, as it gets quite hot in the afternoon. Then I get started on my writing day.

 
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

Yes, because if you don’t have a cover that highlights your story, readers will overlook your book and move onto the next big thing. Although I’ve been told “don’t judge a book by its cover”, all my life, many people do the very thing I’ve been advised against.

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

A Journey of Faith ebookThat depends on what novel you’re talking about. In A Journey of Faith, I want people to know that no matter what happens in their lives, God will get them through these situations. I also want them to take away the message not to give up on accomplishing their goals and don’t let fear hold them back from the things they love to do. Each novel has a special message.

 
For those of us who are thinking of reading A Journey of Faith, could you tell us what to expect?

In A Journey of Faith: A Stepping Stones Mystery, the protagonist takes her own heros journey to discover why she has had so many nightmares the past sixteen years of her life. You’ll find intrigue, mystery, and more. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, so you’ll have to read to find out what tragedy she witnessed.

 
Tell us about your favorite memory related to reading or writing?

When I was about five-years-old, I remember getting my first three talking books from the library for the blind. My favorite book was King Emmitt’s Pig. I don’t remember how he got his live pig, but I do remember that Emmitt had glass pits, paper pigs and pigs of all shapes and sizes. I am surprised I still remember that book nearly 40 years later. LOL

 
When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

I have to be honest, I’m working on making my future happen now, because I’m doing what I always dreamed of doing or at least the second dream I had. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a professional singer when I grew up. Although I love music, it turns out that I like writing even better.

 
Which, if any, of your personality traits, did you write into your characters?

InnerVisionEEcoverIn my novelette entitled Inner Vision, An Electric Eclectic Book, my character Kelly has my attention to detail and she learns how to use her inner vision as I have done.

 
How do you spend your free time?

Reading, listening to music or podcasts, spending time with my family, singing in my church choir and crocheting.

 
What is your biggest fear?

Getting lost in an unfamiliar place.

 
Which fictional character, book or film, would you like to meet and why?

This is not one character, but I’d like to meet the Bjorklund family from Lauraine Snelling’s Red River series and other books that she wrote featuring this family and their relatives and neighbors. They seam like such a wonderful family. As I read their stories, I fell in love with them.

 
A genie grants you three writing-related wishes: what are they and why?

I would ask for a stand-up desk, a front porch alcove with windchimes hanging nearby and someone to drive me to a café or gathering place where I can hang out with other writers.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m currently working on two projects. One is a nonfiction book written to help writers self-publish their books on Amazon and the other is a sequel to my full-length novel. Thanks for having me on your blog and I look forward to chatting with you soon.

 
Thank you for your time, Ann. It’s been lovely talking to you.

Pop back tomorrow to find out more about Anne and her books on my Five on Friday post, which for tomorrow will be Four on Friday! 😉

Soul by Mary Duke

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Title: Soul
Series: Of The Faye Series book 3
Author: Mary Duke
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy
Publication Date: February 13, 2019

 

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Sno has never had more decisions to make in her life, nor has she had consequences of each weigh on her so heavily.

Though in her heart she knows that she can’t back down from the decisions she faces, there is no looking back.

With the help of Zavery, Illiah, and Thanatos, they’re going to put an end to the war between the Faye and Demons but not in the way you would think.

Will Sno and Zavery survive this newly waged war with the Gods, or will Zavery’s hatred for his mother destroy their one chance at a new life?

Amazon
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Watch for Mary’s newest series to be released soon.
Coming to Crazy Ink April 16th!

College For the Supernatural Elite
Alyce Eryx Academy

 
Each Book in the Alyce Eryx Academy will be a stand-alone novel.

Fated Alliance follows Roselyn as she and her friends are drafted into one of the hardest programs at the Academy: the Ambassador program.

She’s going to have to figure out how to overcome her hatred for the Luther family as well as convince others that if they want their way of life to continue diversity has to be left in the past!

Preorder coming February 2019!

 
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About the Author:

FB_IMG_1549996750802As far as anyone needs to know, Mary comes from a small town in rural Ohio. With a husband, three kids, a dog, a cat, and two beta fish (Fuzzy Blue, and Red Fish, if you were curious about their names,) her hands are kept busy. However, when she finds a way to escape reality, she twists words into worlds, fueling her alter-ego as the Realm Wrangler!

With her debut series, Bloodline that launched in August 2018, she has a full schedule of launches lined up to grab ahold of her readers, and drag them with her through several different adventures in 2019!

Watch for her Of the Faye Series, The Dark Soul Hunters Series, and The Alyce Eryx Academy Series!

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