Indie Shine – Abbie Johnson Taylor

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author Abbie Johnson Taylor.

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©Abbie Taylor used with permission

Bio:

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction appear in The Avocet, Magnets and Ladders, SageScript, and other publications. She has a visual impairment and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, she cared for her late husband, totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it? 
I write because, I, like everyone else, have an imagination, and I enjoy putting my thoughts on paper.
Tell us about your most recent work. 
‘My Ideal Partner’ describes how I met, married, and cared for my late husband at home for six years after he suffered two strokes that paralyzed his left side.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by many things, places, and events.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time? 
I don’t call any one work a masterpiece. Almost everything I’ve written is brilliant, in its own way.
What is your motto in life? The Light shines brightest, when the world is at its darkest.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
I would love to be a guest on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor hosting.
What is your favorite quote? 
“Be well. Do good work, and keep in touch.” Garrison Keillor in The Writer’s Almanac
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be known for my stylish prose and poetry and lovely singing voice.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public? 
I plan to publish a collection of short stories set in Wyoming, my home state. I started working on this last year before My Ideal Partner was published ahead of schedule. Since I haven’t had time to get back to it, I don’t know when it will be available. Meanwhile, you can read many of my poems and short stories on my website.
Where can fans purchase your work?
My books can be purchased from Amazon, Createspace, Smashwords, and other sources. On my website, you’ll find a page for each of my books that contains ordering links.
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Social Media

Blog: abbiescorner.com

Website: abbiejohnsontaylor.com

Facebook: Abbies Corner of the World

Amazon Author Page: Abbie Johnson Taylor

Indie Shine – Author L. Loren

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to ‘Shine’ the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author L. Loren!
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Bio:

L. Loren is a former call center supervisor currently based in Upstate, SC with her loving and supportive husband. Growing up the youngest of seven in a small town in North Carolina, she embraced her love of reading which helped to develop her imagination. Her desire to write lay dormant for years until she found the courage to look within and her passion could no longer be ignored.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
I am the writer of LoveRotica, love stories with an edge of sexy. I write sexy stories because I am compelled to change people’s way of thinking. My main characters are strong, women of color who have the capacity to love and are not afraid to be soft and vulnerable within their relationships.
Tell us about your most recent work.
My latest novel is a sexy adult contemporary fairy tale called Egyptian Nights. The mainPrint character Egypt Wilson is a young woman who was cursed by her other’s dying declaration that she was unworthy of love, labeling her a whore. Her life since then was spent avoiding relationships with men, only using them for one thing.
Then she meets Harper Beckmann who has the ability to see through her mask and heal her heart. He refuses her offer for a one night stand and instead offers her a relationship. Only problem is Egypt doesn’t do relationships. Egypt, aided by her Naughty Fairy Godmother, soon finds that Beckmann may be the one man who can break her curse, should she decide to let him in.
The story is like most fairy tales and ends with a happily ever after, but you’ll have to read it to see just what that is. This is a stand-alone novel – the first in the Triple Threat Series about triplet sisters and their journey to self discovery. I am currently working on Book 2, which will be out this summer and Book 3 is scheduled for a fall release.
Who inspires you? 
I am inspired by many people. As a writer I sit and observe. I keep an eye out for odd ball people who are outside of the realm of what society considers “normal”. I like to root for the underdog and that inspires me.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
I don’t think my masterpiece has been written yet. I am constantly improving as a writer so will there ever be one? I don’t know. I love all of my book babies, but I have a special place in my heart for The Layover, which is my first LoveRotica book.
What is your motto in life?
“Love is my religion”
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
My wildest dream would be turning my books into blockbuster movies staring A-list celebrities and riding that wave of success to lead to owning my own lingerie line.
What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is by my favorite poet, Maya Angelou – maya angelou quote
That quote speaks to me each day, reminding me to be humble and see people individually for who they are and treat them as I would like to be treated. Though I never had the privilege of meeting her, her words made me feel proud of who I am and loved!
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for? 
I would like to be remembered for making people feel loved.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
My next project is Book 2 in the Triple Threat Series, Model Behavior. It is a stand – alone sexy contemporary adult fairy tale all about Kenya Wilson and her journey to discover who she really is. She spent most of her life being the referee between her sisters and as Brian’s girlfriend. She finally starts living for herself and finds that things are not always as they seem and sometimes the people you thought were on your side, are the ones you can’t trust. I am still writing it, but I plan to release it this summer.
Where can fans purchase your work? 
My books are available on Amazon.

Social Media

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Author Website/Blog: http://llorenwriter.wordpress.com

Facebook: l.lorenwriter

Twitter: @rebirthoflisa

Instagram: @rebirthoflisa

Pinterest: @rebirthoflisa

Goodreads: lloren

Amazon Author Page: L. Loren

If you are an indie artist, writer, photographer, etc and would like us to shine a light on your work, drop us a line here.

Indie Shine – Michael Lackey

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to “Shine” the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author Michael Lackey!

Bio:

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©Mike Lackey used with permission

A believer in things most found silly, Michael Lackey (1973-) has always been a dreamer. He loved to pretend as a child in the forests of Alabama. Michael would find himself in a land of monsters where he was the only one who could save the world from utter destruction. In his free time, Michael would map out bike courses and fantasize about becoming the next big Hollywood stuntman. With the stunts complete, Michael would raise his sword high and proclaim himself the slayer of the mystical beasts plaguing his land. Like most over imaginative children, real life set in for Michael. Work. Adulthood. Family. He never really grew out of his imagination, but rather suppressed it to the point of monotony. Now in his forties, Michael’s stories and love for fantasy come alive on the pages of The Bad Seed. Join Michael on his fantasy-filled quest to tell the story of the brave Zachery Morely and his adventures on Amundiss. Michael is now signed by The Polyetnic Publishing Company, LLC. Find them at www.thepolyetnic.com

Q&A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
I am a playground builder by day and fantasy/sci-fi author by night. I love taking pen and paper and creating worlds and bringing my stories to life.
Tell us about your most recent work. 
I am currently working on a steampunk inspired novel titled The Key of Knowledge. It is the first in my Keys of Lazarus series. We all know the story of Lazarus from the bible, died and brought back to life four days later by Jesus. Do you know what happened after that? The death angel was inside the body of Lazarus claiming his prize when the breath of life was breathed back into him. A battle ensued for poor Lazarus. Of course, Christ won and kicked out the death angel, but not before a piece of the angel was left inside him.
This piece, this Shadow Gem can grant power over death… immortality. The priests that were there for the family witnessed the Resurrection, and they were worried the people would start to believe in Jesus with Lazarus being a walking example of his power. they set out to have Lazarus killed, get rid of the evidence. This infuriated the death angel, Lazarus was his prize and they had no right to kill him. The angel placed a curse on the five priests and sentenced them to watch over the keys that will unlock the power left behind inside the body of Lazarus.
Flash forward to the year 1854 when Ruina Baxter and her husband were on an archaeologist dig site in Constantinople when they find the body of Lazarus. When Ruina pulled the Shadow Gem from his corpse it granted her the power of immortality and to control the dead. The year is now 2058 and Ruina, who now demands to be called the Countess, is in full control of the world and all its citizens. The only way to stop her is to collect the five keys of Lazarus and make her mortal once more.
Who inspires you? 
J.R.R Tolkien of course, C.S. Lewis and Rick Riordan
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?optopn1ebook 
My first book, The Bad Seed: Battle for the Heavens
What is your motto in life? 
Work smart, not hard.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
To retire and be able to write full time.
Michael Lackey QuoteWhat is your favorite quote?
Mine- “The Light shines brightest, when the world is at its darkest.”
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for? 
My storytelling.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
The Key of Knowledge will be available fall of 2017
Where can fans purchase your work? 
Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com, audible.com, iTunes, book depository, and a lot of Barnes and Noble local stores

Social Media

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©Mike Lackey used with permission

Instagram: @mikelackey23

Twitter: @supes23

Amazon Author Page: Michael Lackey

Couch Convos w/ Lisa W. Tetting – Joslyn Westbrook

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Welcome to another episode of Couch Convos! Today we welcome new author Joslyn Westbrook to talk about her book The 52 Week Chronicles! Let’s get started.

Part I

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©Joslyn Westbrook used with permission

LWT: This being your first novel, what inspired you to start writing?

JW: I’ve always had a desire to write, since grade school. English and Journalism were my majors in college, but “life” took me in a totally different path. It was not until I lost my mom, that I realized life is too short to not live out your dreams, and I began writing as a mere hobby.

LWT: I totally understand that. I lost my mom recently and it is a wake up call. Why did you choose the “Chick Lit” style?

 JW: I was on a business trip several years ago, when I picked up a novel by Sophie Kinsella, called Can You Keep A Secret? It was then that I fell in love with the Chick Lit genre. When I started writing, I felt Chick Lit was such a natural way for me to bring my characters to life.

LWT: What is your favorite “Chick Lit” book? Is it safe to say you’re a fan of Sophie Kinsella?

JW: Anything by Sophie Kinsella would be my favorite in the Chick Lit genre. I am a total fangirl!

LWT: Your main character in your book “The Fifty-Two Week Chronicles”, Penelope is a bona fide foodie. Do you have any experience with food?

JW: Actually I do have a ton of experience with food. For the last twenty years, I have been a Business Consultant to restaurant owners, helping them operate successful restaurants.

LWT: Wow, that sounds like a fun job. I’m sure you run into some interesting people. Who was your muse for Penelope?

JW: The initial inspiration for Penelope was based on the fact that in real life, I would have loved being a Food Critic. I am a crazy foodie and what could be better than combining a love for food and a love for writing?

LWT: If this book was made into a movie, who would play Jonathan? I absolutely adored him.

JW: Without a doubt, Jonathan’s role would be played by Taylor Kinney (with dark hair) from the TV show Chicago Fire. I think he would play the perfect Jonathan Knight.

LWT: Yum! Speaking of yummy, how did you come up with the menu for the pop-up restaurant, and do you have the recipes?

JW: The Pop-up restaurant menu came to life by watching many Food Network shows. I 52 weeks artmade notes of the type of food I envisioned Jonathan to be an expert at and was lucky enough to finalize the menu over the course of a weekend of Food Network binge watching. I do have the recipes and am strongly considering adding them to the back of the novel…or maybe as a novel bonus.

LWT: Do you put a little of yourself in any of your characters?

JW: That’s a great question. I do believe parts of my personality are sprinkled here and there…especially in some of the dialogue.

LWT: I am dying to know if Sebastian will get his own book.

JW: I love Sebastian! He was a fun character to write and many readers want more of him. I am not sure if he will get his very own book, but he is making a return in the next book in the series called A Cupcake and a Gentleman, which is set in San Francisco, CA. I am happy I was able to bring him back as he helps in sister Hannah with her bakery business.

LWT:  Who is your favorite writer?

JW: I have so many favorites and I draw inspiration from all of them: Sophie Kinsella, Susan Mallery, Candace Bushnell, Plum Sykes, Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steel…to name a few.

Part II

cover updated chroniclesLWT:  Who designed your book cover and how did you come up with the concept for it?

JW: Pro_ebookcovers designed the current cover, but that is not the original cover. The original cover was created by a lovely designer from 99Designs. I was prepared to use that cover, until I discovered the girl with the pink hat and instantly saw Penelope. So I had the entire concept redesigned and fell in love with the pink cover (which also matched my brand colors). I still have the rights to the original cover design, so I will use that in a limited edition paperback giveaway very soon.

LWT: We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the contest. Which social media platforms do you find most beneficial in getting the word out for your book?

JW: Social Media is a great way to reach potential readers and I have found FaceBook and Twitter to be the most effective way to get the word out about The Fifty-Two Week Chronicles.

LWT:  Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you work with music? Do you have a little drink while writing or is smoking your thing? Give us the skinny.

JW: I have a full-time job, and am a wife and a mom. I have to be super creative in how I squeeze in time to write. So my process usually consists of getting up at 4am to write before I have to get my daughter ready for school and myself ready for work. I also wrote all of The Fifty-Two Week Chronicles on my iPhone…using a writing app. This allowed me to write wherever and whenever I had free time, even if it was only 10 mins on line at the grocery store, on a lunch break, while sitting in traffic (lol), or late at night before bed. I do not typically drink, but I think I may have had a glass of wine when I wrote the sexy scenes in the book. 🙂

LWT:  Girl, you wrote that on your iPhone? Dang. Well, what does your writing nook look like? If you could make it into anything you wanted, what would that look like?

JW: I have a loft-style office that I created specifically for writing. It has a cozy fireplace, and is away from any distractions. But, I never use it for writing! If I had the opportunity, I would have a room with my desk facing a huge bay window, overlooking the ocean. That is my dream writer’s nook. Dreams do come true, right?

LWT: Oh yeah. I’m a big believer of dreams. What was your editing process like?

JW: I edit as I write. And I do not move on to the next chapter until I have chosen all of the “right” words. It can take a week for me to complete a single chapter, sometimes. I have two beta-readers who I send a chapter at a time to for feedback or suggested revisions to the storyline. After all of that, I send the completed MS to my editor who takes me through two rounds of edits before it’s sent to a proofreader. I love the editing process!

LWT: I can’t say I look forward to editing, but it is necessary. Please give other indie writers 3 tips/tricks that you learned and used during your first writing experience?

JW: Ooooh! Okay three tips:

1)Write what you love to read because it will come more naturally.

2) Do not get discouraged if your friends / family show little interest in your writing.

3) Join writer’s groups because you’ll find writer’s will become your biggest support system when you need it the most.

LWT: Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

JW: I created three book trailers for “fun”, while suffering through episodes of writer’s block. Those trailers had actually been viewed by so many more than I expected, giving the book a great deal of funky exposure.

 

LWT: Funny, I think that’s how I found your book. Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

JW: I can not live without my writing app, a thesaurus, and Google (haha).

LWT:  All great choices. Do you use an outline when writing and do you stick to it?

JW: I am in no way the type of a person who outlines. I do mentally plan the ending, but I just write and allow the characters to take me where I need to go. Sometimes they do surprise me. Take Jonathan for instance: I had no idea he rode a Harley until that chapter and I was like…what? A Harley? Um, okay.

LWT:  I love it when a character takes over. Do you belong to any writer’s groups or associations? If so, which ones?

JW: As a matter of fact, I just applied to Romance Writers of America and Alliance of Independent Authors. I’m really excited!

LWT: Will you be participating in any conferences this year? If so, which ones and when?

JW: Unfortunately, this year I am so tied up with my job as a Business Consultant, I will not be able to attend any writer’s conferences. However, I plan to attend at least one next year.

LWT:  I love the graphics on your author website. Who designed them for you?

JW: Thank you! I designed my website and most of the graphics are paid licenses of photos from Shutterstock.

LWT: Get out! We need to talk. What are you currently working on?

JW: I am happy to say I am currently working on the next novel in the series that should be released later this year as well as a short story that will be released in July. Yay!!

 

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©Joslyn Westbrook used with permission

Joslyn Westbrook has been creating stories since grade school. Her passion for writing often lead to teachers and college professors reading her stories to the class, showcasing her creativity. Putting her writing on hold, Joslyn pursued a career as a Business Consultant as she raised her children. While she enjoyed working with business owners, she craved what she believed to be her true calling—writing. During her free time, Joslyn began writing her romance novel and series of chick-lit style novels to curb her passion for writing. Her work as a Business Consultant has spawned the concept of several characters featured in her books. Joslyn is a self-proclaimed foodie, enjoys shopping, cooking, binge watching shows and movies on Netflix, and spending time with her husband and children at home in sunny California.

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Twitter: @Joslynauthor

Indie Shine – Yecheilyah Ysrayl

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In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to “Shine” the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome author Yecheilyah Ysrayl.

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©Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

Bio:

Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the author of Young Adult, Black American Literature, and Poetry. The author of eight books (most notably, The Stella Trilogy), Yecheilyah is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story”. Renaissance: The Nora White Story Book One is due for release July 15, 2017. Revelation: The Nora White Story Book Two is due for release December of this year. Yecheilyah is also a Blogger and Book Reviewer. Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it?
Thank you, Lisa, for having me. I am an Independent Author of Black American Literature, a Poet, Book Reviewer and Blogger. I do what I do because I believe my voice is important to the restoration of truth into the world. I do not write for me alone, but for the lost souls who cannot write. In other words, I speak for the lost sheep. I hope to shine a light on the so-called African American experience, his struggles not just in America but in the world in general and to shed light on why those struggles exist and how to overcome them. I write simply because it’s necessary. I write to restore love back into the hearts of mankind. I write to be unapologetically truthful and fair.
Tell us about your most recent work. 
WanderlustMy most recent work is Book Three in The Stella Trilogy, “The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story”. It’s sort of a prequel to Book Two and surrounds the son of Stella from Book Two (granddaughter of Stella from Book One) who passed for white and changed her name to Sidney McNair and raised her children as white. For this, Joseph McNair is unaware of his African American lineage and seeks to discover more about why blacks are treated the way they are in America. After a fight with his brother Edward in his mother’s living room in Book Two, Joseph leaves home. Book Three explores his adventures when he left. With a group of friends, Joseph attempts to travel to Atlanta for an SNCC conference but encounter many trials on the way. They think they are on the road to becoming part of the movement but they are discovering more about themselves. This self-awareness, unknown to them, is their freedom.
Who inspires you? 
I’m not much of an R. Kelly fan, but he is a great writer, lyricists if you will. He has a song, “The World’s Greatest”. In that song is a lyric: “I’m that little bit of hope with my back against the ropes.” I’m not the greatest, but I am inspired by the opportunity to instill hope into the lives of others. It motivates me to motivate others and to have some kind of influence over their lives, however small.
People ask me how I came to be so “put together”. They ask me because after hearing about my life and the things I’ve been through, it’s hard to believe I am the person I am today. I would say it’s not that I am put together, just that I know what it’s like to be broken and to want to cease from existing. I know pain. I also know love, and I believe my ability to still love and to open myself up to be loved has kept me sane. Love inspires me.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
I would consider “Beyond the Colored Line”, Book Two in The Stella Trilogy to be my masterpiece, because it challenged people’s concept of race and forced them to think about the role it’s played in our society. It lifted America’s skirt and showed us that her panties hadn’t changed much. She is still the same image of bigotry that she’s always been. But more so than this, it started conversations that surpass Jim Crow and digs deeper into the nationality and culture of a people.
What is your motto in life? 
My motto in life is to “Paint poetic justice against the backdrop of heavy keystrokes”. To paint poetic justice means to use my writing as an underground railroad to freedom. If people can’t be liberated in their own lives, I hope that my books can provide a road-map. Of course, this isn’t easy to do considering the heavy misinformation, deception, and religious ideologies that have enslaved us for so long. These are the heavy keystrokes.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true.
My wildest dream is to travel the world. I mean the whole world lol. I’d like to start in Egypt and then go on from there. I cannot imagine covering all land but I would love for this to come true.
What is your favorite quote? 
My favorite quote is by George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without changeGeorgeBernard Shaw 1 and those that cannot change their minds cannot change anything”. The mind is the most powerful organ in the human body. Over time it has the ability to correct and re-correct itself. Many people seek change around them, external. They seek to change their living conditions, seek to raise awareness about discrimination and racism. People seek to change all the time and in different forms. These attempts will always fail if a person does not first seek to correct his mind. It’s not always about race and politics. It’s about the way that people think. It reminds me of an African proverb that says “When there’s no enemy within, the enemy outside cannot hurt you.” It’s our perspective. Change the way that you think first and then everything around you changes.
When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for? 
I want to be remembered as a servant of the Almighty YAH who loved fiercely, and spoke truthfully for the purpose of changing lives and establishing hope for mankind.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public?
Book and E-Reader- Nora W.My next project is a two-part series (a duology), Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One) and Revelation: The Nora White Story (Book Two). I intended for this to be one novel but I do not like my books to be extremely long so I broke it down into two books. The story is about a young woman who, like many of her time, is not interested in her family’s land and despite graduating High School is not interested in College either. Nora decides she wants to go to New York to be a writer and against her parents’ wishes, she does. She becomes part of The Harlem Renaissance Movement and learns the North is not all it’s cracked up to be. Nora must decide for herself about who she is and what she wants.
Where can fans purchase your work? 
Fans can purchase my work in paperback on my author website or in eBook through my Amazon author page.

Social Media

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©Yecheilyah Ysrayl used with permission

Website: yecheilyahysrayl.com

Blog: www.thepbsblog.com

Amazon Author Page: Yecheilyah-Ysrayl

Goodreads Author Page: Yecheilyah_Ysrayl

StumbleUpon: Yecheilyah

Twitter: @ahouseofpoetry

InstaGram: yecheilyah

Linkedin: yecheilyahysrayl

Couch Convos – Colleen Chesebro

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Part I

LWT: Welcome to Couch Convos! Let’s get started. How did you get the idea to write about the swamp fairy?

CC: Thanks, Lisa. I’m happy to be here with you. I love this big comfy couch. Now hang on, because I am going to tell you how I met a real life fairy!

While on a walk during a warm, foggy morning in November 2014, I had a close encounter of the fairy kind. At the time, we were living in Pensacola, Florida. I still remember the day, as if it has been carved into my memory; something I will never forget.

Road I took on my walk

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

As I walked along the road, I heard a sound that instantly caught my attention. At first, I considered the possibility that the sound might be an injured bird rustling in the thick underbrush. I peered into the foliage and drew back in surprise. At first glance, I thought I saw a ruby-throated hummingbird with brilliant green feathers. However, that was not so.

Instead, appearing in front of my eyes was a tiny green swamp fairy fluttering on delicate wings that looked like transparent leaves. She had hair the color and consistency of corn silk. Bottle green leaves adorned her small body. The heady fragrance of lavender, patchouli, and sandalwood wafted on the air.

I stood there at the edge of the road transfixed by the vision. I realized then, I had witnessed a miracle. I had been given the gift of fairy vision.

The petite winged-being stared at me with eyes as green as the leaves she was hiding

Spot where I saw the Swamp Fairy

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

in. I must tell you, this meeting felt something akin to a spiritual encounter. An overwhelming feeling of peace and love surrounded me and held me within its grasp. In an instant, she was gone. The swamp fairy vanished into the fog that swirled around me.

I shook my head and continued my walk. My feet felt lighter that day. I knew something had changed. The swamp fairy had ignited my imagination. I knew what this fairy encounter meant. I had been granted the ability to become a fairy whisperer.

Soon after, I started to write stories about the swamp fairies which I posted to my blog. The stories came in quick succession. Next, the dreams started. I began to channel the stories of the fairy nymphs that had inspired me that day long ago. Each day on my walks, I observed the real swamp as it was crowded out by the building of new homes. The natural wetlands were disappearing at a rapid rate. Slowly, a story began to form in my mind.

By the fall of 2015, we moved to Colorado. The dreams continued and grew even stronger. The stories changed. The fairy nymphs wanted me to tell their stories. And, that is exactly what I have done. The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy is that story, which I published this year.

LWT: Wow! What a great experience. Was Abby’s character based on someone you know or is she entirely imaginary?

CC: Abby Forester is a combination of myself, my daughters, and my granddaughters. I borrowed a little of something from each of us. I was a foster child as a teenager. Those emotions and memories never leave you. So, I decided to use those experiences for something good. Abby Forester is the outcome.

LWT: Tell us about the area in Florida where you first came across the swamp fairy?

CC: We were about ten miles inland from the Gulf Coast. It was a rural setting with houses nestled in between fields and wooded areas. Much of the area was natural wetland swamps or sloughs. In fact, we had the best neighbors living in the field behind our house. The horses would visit and beg for carrots which I describe in the story. The photo below is depicted in the book. See the strange tree trunk? That was the magical portal between the fairy realm and our human existence that  Abby slipped through daily to visit her friend Savanna.

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©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

LWT: When I write, I have a picture in my head of who I want my characters to look like. Who was the muse for Abby?

CC: I did a lot of research on female YA characters. Most of them had dark hair and wereAbby Forester drop dead gorgeous. I wanted Abby to be the image of the girl next door. She had to be kind and sweet but still, have the usual teenage angst. I imagined her with amber strawberry blond or red hair with fair skin. I found a picture on Pixabay.com that I have used to portray her.

LWT: I have to know, who was the muse for Rafe Cobb? I really wanted to hurt him.

CC: LOL! I couldn’t help it but, I used the 45th President as the physical image in my mind of Rafe Cobb. You know, the bad reddish comb over? Actually, years ago, I worked as a legal secretary in South Florida, and we had a client that was as evil and conniving as my character. Rafe Cobb is based loosely on that man.

You know his name was hard to come up with. Finally, I researched the names of deceased Civil War soldiers to find a name that would sound southern enough. I hope I haven’t disturbed the spirit of the real Rafe Cobb.

LWT: Let’s just hope the real Rafe Cobb was nothing like the one in the book or you’ll be in trouble. For such a young girl, Abby had a lot of spunk. Why was this an important part of her personality?

CC: I gave Abby my birthday (April 18). That meant she had to mirror some of my characteristics and faults. I used astrological research on the sign of Aires, to make her stubborn but also loyal to her family and friends. Abby had to have that sense of responsibility that she carried on her shoulders for her to help the fairies. The loyalty to her mother and her heritage were important to the story and to make Abby come across as a real person.

LWT: No wonder I liked her so much. In the book, it is said that “the wrath of God will bring about the destruction of humankind.” Explain why this is so relevant in the book and in today’s society?

CC: The main theme in the book is that humans and the expanding population were destroying precious wetlands. Rafe Cobb was building a housing area that backed right up to fairy swamp. If he could buy Abby’s land (or take it), he would have destroyed the swamp where the precious Pink Sundew plants grew. If that happened, the fairy nymphs and Abby would have failed in their responsibilities to preserve the plants which contained a “magical” substance found in all antibiotics. The gods (I used the Greek gods) would destroy us all for our folly. Of course, this is a fantasy novel… but you never know. This could be a fact. (wink, wink)

Climate change and how it is devastating our world is the central message the fairy nymphs want us, humans, to understand. It is up to us to save our world. Even though my novel is based on fantasy elements, the addition of current events gives credence to the message.

LWT: How long did it take to complete this masterpiece?

CC: Lisa, I think I’m a slow writer. It took about a year to create, write, edit, and format this book.

LWT: Sometimes slow is better. How important is Aunt Magnolia’s character in Abby’s development?

CC: Aunt Magnolia had to step into Abby’s mother’s shoes. She had no children of her

Aunt Magnolia

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

own and wasn’t sure what to do with Abby. I created the aunt as a strong, educated woman who was not afraid to take on the responsibility of raising a teenager. Aunt Magnolia has quite a bit of my grandmother in her.

Besides, Aunt Magnolia had to accept Abby for what she was – a fairy whisperer. It was that link to the family that kept their relationship strong. Abby is different, just like many kids are. The fact that her aunt accepts her also gives her courage to meet her responsibilities.

LWT: Who are some of your influences in paranormal writing and why?

CC: I have always been attracted to the strange and unusual. I’ve had a few unique experiences. I don’t feel that my experience meeting the swamp fairy was paranormal. It was more of a spiritual encounter. I know I’m empathetic and more receptive to the vibrations of nature. I feel things many people can’t. Nature is the catalyst that really gets my imagination going.

Part II

LWT: How do you choose your book covers and who does them?

CC: I was lucky to have met my dear friend, Wendy Ann Darling, through the WordPress 2016-07-15 14.48.40blogging community. When I moved to Colorado, I found out she was only a couple hours away from me. Once we met, we became fast friends. Wendy is a graphic artist. I described the swamp fairy to her, and she drew the fairy. I gave her a photo of fairy swamp, and she added the calcite heart stone and the image of the hummingbird (since the fairy was a shapeshifter), to create a fantastic cover.

Wendy designs book covers for Bookxeedo Book covers. Her prices are reasonable, and she is easy to work with. She will be designing my future book covers.

LWT: Do you use social media and does it help with sales?

CC: I use social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. From what I can tell, I have not sold any books from those forums. It is the blog and interviews like this where I notice a spike in sales. It just goes to prove that we writers are also readers and buy each other’s books. Our blogs are a powerful marketing tool.

LWT: Tell us about your writing process. Do you need complete silence or do you listen to music? Do you have a drink or write sober? Etc. Spill the tea.

CC: I write with music playing, usually Pandora. I love Enya, Classical piano, and all new wave sounds. Sometimes I play nature sounds while I’m writing. I think I’m clairaudient like my character, Abby. No, I can’t function if I drink, let alone write! LOL! But I do love tea!

LWT: What challenges have you faced as an indie writer?

CC: As an indie writer, I’ve had to teach myself how to write YA fiction, how to edit, and how to format the book to CreateSpace.

I also had to learn to ask for help. I have an author friend that I asked to help me with the first edit. I learned more from her than I thought possible. She took me under wing and helped me with plot holes and sentence structure. The only way I could thank her was to do the same for another author. It is important that we help each other as beta readers and first draft editors.

LWT: What is your experience like with editing your work?

CC: Initially, I hated the editing process. It was tedious as all get out! I did purchase Grammarly, and that has helped to keep me in line. Eventually, I understood that the editing process is where you do the actual writing. Once I figured that out, I liked the editing because I was making the story better, and could see the results. I still have a lot to learn. I will be using an editor on future books. P. C. Zick from The Manuscript Doctor is my choice.

LWT: Please give other indie writers 3 tips that you learned that help you to be successful?

CC: The first tip is to read every book in your genre you can get your hands on. The next is to keep learning about how to write. The last tip is to set a goal and keep working towards it. Don’t give up!

LWT: That is great advice! Share one unique thing you’ve done to market your book?

CC: I contacted my friend and fellow blogger, Irene, from IreneDesign2011.com to design a calcite fairy pendant like the one Abby wears in the book so readers could feel the magic of the fairies. I sell the books, and Irene sells the necklaces. We both benefit from this relationship. By the way, Irene’s prices are the best!

Would you love to own your own calcite fairy stone pendant like Abby Forester wears in the book? Here’s how to get yours:

small calcite for sale IreneDesign2011

Here are the links to Irene’s Etsy site where you can buy your large calcite for sale IreneDesign2011own SMALL pendant or the LARGE pendant

LWT: Tell the readers the one resource you can’t live without as a writer?

CC: My favorite resource is Thesaurus.com. I love that site! I use synonyms extensively in my writing, especially when I am editing.

LWT: What does success look like for you?

CC: Success for me is accomplishing my goals and reaching for the stars. I feel like a success because if I say I’m going to do something… I do it! It might take me awhile to get there, but I seldom give up. Success is gained with determination and perseverance.

LWT: That is a wonderful outlook. What’s up next for Colleen?

CC: Lisa, those fairy nymphs are whispering in my dreams every night. Currently, I am working on the second book of the series called, The Meadow Fairy. Here is a brief synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old Abigale Forester journeys from Blackberry Ridge, Florida to Bent Grass, Colorado when her Aunt Magnolia accepts a job as a researcher working for an author who specializes in writing about myths and paranormal activity.

 Abby, along with her deceased mother’s most sacred possession, a calcite pendant, continues her legacy as a Fairy Whisperer to the primordial fairy nymphs who inhabit unique places scattered about the world.

 In Colorado, Abby meets two young friends, Crosby and Landon Miller, who along with their family are beekeepers on a small farm under the shadow of Pike’s Peak. Abby is summoned by a primeval nymph who asks her to resolve the secret of why the bee population is disappearing from the prairie meadows. 

 With the help of Nate Bannock, a Native American Ute rancher, Abby learns the astonishing truths behind the decimation of the bee population.

Does Abby have what it takes to save the bees and the Meliae Meadow Nymphs before it is too late?

 Thank you for inviting me to Couch Convos. I loved getting together with you, Lisa. I appreciate your help in spreading the magic of the fairy nymphs! ❤

And I loved having you. Well folks, that’s another Couch Convos in the can. Until next month… In the meantime pick up Colleen’s book, The Heart Stone Chronicles on Amazon by clicking HERE!

colleen

©Colleen Chesebro used with permission

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017. A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative.

To connect with her please click the links for her Social Media.

Website: colleenchesebro.com

Facebook: @CMChesebro

Twitter: @colleenchesebro

Indie Shine – Dr. KE Garland

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indie-shine

In this edition of Indie Shine, a place for rebirthoflisa to “Shine” the spotlight on indie artists, we welcome award winning author Dr. Katherin Garland.

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©Dr. Katherin Garland used with permission

Bio:

Dr. Katherin Garland is an award winning writer, whose work has been featured in the South Florida Times, Talking Soup, and For Harriet.

Q & A

What do you do and Why do you do it? 
I write creative nonfiction in order to inspire social change.
Tell us about your most recent work. 
TUWcover2My most recent book is titled, The Unhappy Wife. It is a collection of short stories based on real women’s marriages. Though the stories are inspired by real events, I’ve fictionalized parts of the women’s stories in order to protect their anonymity.
Who inspires you? 
I’m very self-motivated. I’m not inspired by a person, but more so an idea, a concept. I believe that we are all connected and can do whatever we set our minds to. Therefore, my inspiration comes from listening to my inner voice and believing that what I need to actualize those dreams is always within reach.
What do you consider your “Masterpiece” at this time?
A story that I wrote about my father called, “The Transition” is my masterpiece. It is a short story that describes the softening of my heart for a father who, in a sense had abandoned me. I won first place at the Royal Palms Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction for this piece, so at this point, it validates my writing ability.
What is your motto in life?
Anything is possible.
Name your wildest dream. The one you can not imagine achieving, but would love for it to come true. 
I honestly don’t have a wild dream that I cannot imagine achieving 🙂 I believe everything I can think of is possible.
What is your favorite quote? 

PHOTOGRAPHY

When it is all said and done, what would you like to be remembered for?
My hope is that people will remember me for being inspirational, whether it is because of how I lived my life or because of something I wrote.
Tell us about your next project and when will it be available to the public? 
My next project is called Daddy. It is an edited collection of women writers who’ve opened their hearts to talk about their father-daughter relationships. It will be available June 2018.
Where can fans purchase your work?
Fans can buy my work from my website: www.kegarland.com and also Barnes & Noble online.

Social Media

Twitter: kegarland

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©Dr. Katherin Garland used with permission

Instagram: kegarland

Facebook: kegarlandwriter

Author Website: kegarland.com