Category Archives: Interviews

Anthony Mondal – Poet

Anthony Mondal, poet with Laddie, his wife's dog..
Anthony Mondal, poet with his wife, Karen’s dog, Laddie.

“Anthony Mondal, Poet” by Joan Y. Edwards

Anthony Mondal has been a subscriber to my blog for a long time. I thought it would be fun to interview him as a poet. He agreed to be here with us today. Thanks for coming Anthony.

Anthony: You are welcome. I am excited to be here!

Joan: Let us begin:

1. Where did you grow up? Was this in the city, suburbs, or country?

          I grew up in a small town outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

2. Have you traveled a bunch?

          Yes. I have travelled all over the mainland USA and to  Canada, UK and in parts of Asia. I love traveling and would love to see more of the world but the Pandemic has put a serious question mark over that!

3. What is one of the hardest things to overcome as a writer?

I am still working on establishing myself as a Writer/Author. I self-published one book, “Dialogues with Myself” and had one book published through a hybrid publisher, A Burst of Sunshine. I have had a slew of blue collar jobs to keep myself afloat.

4. When did you start writing poems?

A long time back…way back in New York City (Manhattan) around August 1995.

5. Do you have any poems that would inspire people to never give up?

I consider my whole body of work as a testament to the indomitable Human Spirit!

6. What are the rules you follow for your poetry?

          I am not very fond of rules, period! In poetry even less so but after writing a poem, I keep reading and rereading my poems till an internal nod happens in my head and then I know it is done.

7. Who are 3 of your favorite poets? 

          I have love and admiration for many poets. It is extremely difficult and unfair to the others to narrow it down to 3. However, I choose these 3 poets:  Charles Bukowski, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Arthur Rimbaud.

8. What advice do you have for people who want to get their poetry published?

           I think I am the wrong poet/writer to give that advise because I myself am  still looking for a proper true publisher and a home for my body of literary works. Also being a Poet/Author for over 2 decades I realize that it is individual luck and circumstances that plays a huge role in your life…which is unique to each individual poet. But do not be discouraged. Keep submitting!

9. What resources did you find helpful to you in getting published?

          When I lived in NY city I went to the library and opened  up the latest literary digest and wrote down the names of the publishers or literary grants folks. I sent them query letters.

10. What resource was most helpful to you in writing your poetry?

          I am very image driven so I definitely use                    YouTube to watch poet/writers and author documentaries or for that matter anything that I am drawn to that holds my interest and fascination.

A Burst of Sunshine” by Anthony Mondal

“Dialogues with Myself” (ISBN 1-58915-022-8)  out of print now.

Visit Anthony at his website: https://www.anthonymondal.com

Thank you very much Anthony Mondal for sharing your love of writing poetry with us.

***

Please leave a comment to encourage  Anthony Mondal and other writers. I wish you all good luck in getting your work published.

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 262 subscribers and over 1,575,363 visitors. Thank you.
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 Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2022 Joan Y. Edwards

Interview with David Parle, Author and Artist

David Parle signing book
David Parle, Author
Pen Name: Roger Rapel Autographing book

I am excited to have David Parle, Author and Artist visiting on my blog for an interview today. Hello, David. It’s great to have you here.

I would just like to thank you for the opportunity to take part in your blog and answer your questions.

It is a pleasure to share your story and hints for writers and artists. It’s fascinating to me to learn about others and their journeys.  

Let’s get started

  1. Where were you born? Scotland UK
  1. Where was your favorite place to live as a child?
    My father was Irish and mother Scottish as a child spent many school holidays on a farm in Ireland, Great fun driving a tractor and milking cows; plus all the other farm duties, such as hay making.
  2. Did you read a lot of books as a child? I wasn’t a book reader really, but enjoyed magazines and comics.
  3. Did you draw and paint as a child? I loved to draw and paint, but was never any good.

5. How do you keep yourself physically fit?  I love to swim. In my younger days I did martial arts and was very fit.

6. You were a policeman for 30 years. Thank you for doing that. What kept you going? Phew! Hard question. Like most jobs and careers it’s difficult to provide for the family and support them while you work. Sometimes, even when you do your best,  you’re still criticized. That’s when the adage is true; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I see pictures these days on news reels that only tell one side of the story. Sensationalism seems to sell newspapers and news. They only use pictures that  show the angle they want to emphasize. But hey-ho the public gets the press they want.

7. What was the hardest thing about being a policeman? The hardest thing? Too many to answer, but here goes. Long arduous hours. Leaving home never knowing what time you’d be back home. The expectation that as soon as you go to work no matter about your own home life, they expect 100%. The public expects you to deal with them as if they were the only person that mattered. The list goes on.

8. What was the most fulfilling thing about being a policeman? The most fulfilling? Again many answers but here goes:
Obtaining a confession from a hard criminal. Trying to be empathetic to victims of crime. But one of the most fulfilling was the comradery with colleagues and of course the humour. Some would say sick humour, but that was the only way to overcome and live with the everyday scenes you witnessed and dealt with. All of the emergency services use it as a means to stay focused, for without it you would crumble.

I always remember delivering my first death message to a family as a young officer of a few months, I was told:  “Get in and get out, Do not get involved because you have to finish your shift and deal with lots of other situations.”

I knocked on the door and a woman answered. In hindsight, I should have asked a neighbor or a relative to come a couple of minutes after I went in, but I didn’t.

“Hello, are you Mrs. Jones..”

“Yes, oh no, please no.”

“I’m sorry to tell you that your son has been killed in a road accident.”

Tears flooded as she looked at me. I let her cry on my shoulder. That was it. I had a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball. I finished the rest of my shift, and dealt with the people who needed my attention. I felt awful. That is why after that day when I delivered a death message, I got in and out, as callous as it may seem. That had to be the way.

9. You give great advice to people who have lost a loved one. What helped you find ways to comfort others. Over the years I have witnessed and been involved in family bereavements. You build up a shield around you and look at life from within that shield. In that way you don’t become personally involved but you can see the grief and sorrow that people are feeling. Death is never an easy matter to deal with especially if it is a close relative or friend. But over the years of dealing with victims of crime you tend to build an expertise on how to handle people. They are skills learned over many years. Trying to say the right thing at the right time; there is no easy answer.  I think many of the emergency service members have their own way of dealing with it.

One of the best ways to help someone is to get them to talk, and you listen, or get someone to write down their feelings. There has to be an expression a release to allow emotions to come out.  As a Detective Sgt for many years the main skill of any investigator is to look and listen. Allowing a grieving person to talk and cry is a great release for them. 

10. What do you do when you think about giving up?Sometimes I just sit and think. But there are times when it all comes on top, I sometimes say that’s it; no more. I give up. I walk away and  talk to myself for a couple of hours, sometimes days. When the cloud of self-doubt has gone, I get on with whatever it was that I packed up. It’s never easy. We all go through it; the day when it all goes wrong and you feel like kicking the door or the cat (not really, but you know what I mean) sometimes shouting. After a coffee or a swim, I calm down and on I go. But no easy answer, I’m no expert.

11. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why?
Not really I tend to consider the outcome before jumping. Although as a young dad, my two girls would drag me on the fastest scariest rides in Disney and Busch Gardens in Florida. Although great fun, but now my kids are older, at the age I was then. They say they wouldn’t go on those rides now.

12. If you go to an amusement park, what do you ride first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? I think I would go on a scary ride, but, you never know I might back out.

About David and His Writing

13. When did you decide to become an author? As a police detective you had to compose long and chronological case reports for the prosecutor. When an investigation is being conducted, the information never arrives chronologically. What seems unimportant at first could be vital later.

It was after I retired that I began to think about writing, and used the skills I learned writing those reports to help me. 

14. Which authors and artists inspire you? Why? I like James Patterson, also Chris Ryan. I like authors that don’t use unnecessary embellishment just to make the pages longer and the books thicker.

What does his auntie’s Australian cousin who wears a green dress have to do with the story set in London? I have to admit that I stop reading books when they become boring with over embellishment.

15.  What is your favorite genre to write? My obvious genre is crime.

16. Why did you choose to write under a pen name?       I used a pen name so as it wasn’t associated with me, personally. My pen name is Roger Rapel. Rapel is an anagram of my surname and Roger for Roger and Out when using the radio on a police call.

17. Do you set goals for yourself for your writing? No, I don’t.

18. Who has been the most help to you as a writer and an artist? My partner, Anna, has been a great asset with my writing and as an artist. She has read and loves all my books.

19. Are you writing another book? I am currently writing a short thriller/horror story entitled “The Headless Horseman.” It is about a woman who is researching ghost stories in the UK.  While in a secondhand bookshop, she buys The Headless Horseman and begins to read it. She finds herself being drawn into the medieval times of feudal England. She is captured by the headless horseman and held captive. She sees another woman getting her head cut off by the headless horseman. It doesn’t look good for her.

20.  What has been your biggest challenge as a writer?The biggest challenge was finding a publisher.

21. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far? Being published.

22. Do you outline and plot first or let the characters develop their own plot as you write? Some stories just fall into place others meander.  I thought Gift or Curse was going to be a murder mystery but ended up as a spy thriller. It involved a Tarot Card reader.

One day while in a bank in Spain, I met a woman who spoke English. She was a Tarot Card reader. To help me with my research for my book, she gave me a reading.

“When turning over one of the cards, she said,  “Ooh, there’s a woman coming into your life from abroad.”’

I didn’t pay any notice. I was skeptical.

The next week whilst in the community pool where I live, a new Dutch woman was there. We talked in the pool and exchanged email addresses. That was Anna. She is now my partner and has been for four years. Indeed a woman from abroad came into my life!

23. Here are a few tips for writers:

  • I have rushed to get manuscripts out and have been horrified at the mistakes that I found. Read the manuscript once. Re-read. Read again.
  • Give to a proof reader to read for you and mark the errors he finds. Now read it again. You will be surprised what mistakes you pick up. Put the manuscript down. Leave for a week then read it again. After this break you will  see with “new eyes.” You’ll catch the things that are missing and get rid of the things that shouldn’t be there.
  • Research your subject.
  • Ask yourself are you interested in what you’re writing and more importantly will others also be interested in it.
  • Don’t expect to be an overnight success; it can take years. I chose to write in order to keep my mind active when I moved to Spain.
  • Select your characters real or fictitious and mold them. I chose the central character for my crime books (Jim Broadbent) from my colleagues I had worked with and created his persona from three or four of them. Jim Broadbent is not a knight in shining armour; he is a womanizer and likes his drink, but he is a good hard working no nonsense detective. His downfall was a nice looking woman to the detriment of his marriage. I didn’t want to create another super hero; I wanted someone true to life who has personal problems like we all do. Asked if I’m in the character, I plead the fifth-amendment on that one.

About David and His Painting

Here are a few of David’s paintings:

lake with mountains and trees
Lake with Mountain and Trees “Solace”
Sunrise or sunset
Mountains with beautiful skies “Pondering Peace”
Flowres in vase
Flowers in Vase
by David Parle
Flowers
red flowers
Still Life Flowers
by David Parle

24. How did you get interested in painting? Painting, good question. Until I met Anna,  I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush other than decorating since I left school. Anna and I went on a long road trip, from Spain through France and Belgium to Holland, Anna brought back loads of paint brushes and arty things she had collected while going to art school in Amsterdam.

I watched Bob Ross, American artist, on UK TV and on YouTube.  With paintbrush and paint in hand, I followed his instructions and tried to emulate his style. I painted what I called “rubbish.” Slowly, I improved after many paint-overs and start overs. I’ve learned to adapt a style of my own.

I use Acrylic. I love landscapes and seascapes but have begun to push myself out of my comfort zone to try my hand at still life.

I want to try portraits but will need to go to lessons for that.

I never reward myself. I’m never satisfied. Like being back at school, I could always do better, ha ha.

25. I think it’s fascinating that you and your partner are both artists. Do you help encourage each other? 

David Parle and Anna
David Parle and His Partner, Anna

Anna and I use separate rooms for our projects but always show each other our work and make hints to each other on various aspects to improve.

26. Do you have any tips for artists? I’m sorry, I’m not qualified to answer that, I’m still learning and class myself as an infant in the adult world of art.

  • Art as they say is in the eye of the beholder, some I like, some I don’t. Not everyone will like yours.
  • Don’t feel a failure because it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it.
  • Don’t be afraid to start again.
  • Practice, practice and practice.
  • If it doesn’t work,  go make a coffee and come back to try again.

26. Who designed your book covers? They are exceptional. I would also like to thank my daughter, Amy who produces all my book covers.  www.amyparledesign.co.uk

Here are a few of the book covers:

woman with long hair wit finger in front of mouth saying sh
Retribution by Roger Rapel
bad feeling
Bad Feeling by Roger Rapel
Missing by Roger Rapel
Missing by Roger Rapel

Roger Rapel books on Amazon

Cindy, Where Are You?
Bad Feeling

Who Is She?
Gift or Curse
My Caroline
Seat 3F

Abducted
Missing
Wallet
Retribution

David, thank you for being here with me on my blog today.  You are an intriguing person.

Please feel free to ask David questions or leave comments for him.

Auto-Biography of David Parle

I was born very young, in Scotland. I lived most of my life in Oxford, UK.  I went to a local school, leaving at 15 with no formal qualifications.

I was born shortly after World War II, in the years of having very little. Those were the days of make-do and mend rather than throw away as now.

To be fair I hated school and couldn’t wait to leave. I always wanted to be a mechanic but my father persuaded me to work in an office. I hated it. I was good with my hands and wanted to use them.

Anyway after a couple of more jobs I joined the Merchant Navy, sailing with P&O on passenger liners as a steward in the restaurant on the SS Oriana. I sailed to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii, Canada sailed the west coast of the states to Frisco, LA and Acapulco. Then through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean Islands.  Florida then back home. I was 18 and it was a great life for a young man (say no more)

I joined the UK Police and stayed for 30 years spending most of my time as a detective sergeant. I investigated murders, rapes, child abuse, serious assaults and many others. I also served as a tactical firearms officer and worked with the drug and crime squads

I married and had two lovely girls and now one grandson. My wife and I separated after our kids left home. We wanted different things from life so separated on good terms and still talk.

I now live in Spain in the sun with my partner, Anna.

That’s me.

Connect with David:
David Parle, Facebook Personal
Roger Rapel, Website
Facebook Page, Author, Roger Rapel
Email, Roger Rapel

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2021 Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to help caregivers and elders find solutions.

SALE $2.15 each Crossword and Wordsearch Puzzles with Gospel-Based Devotions

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Interview with Author of Flip Flap Floodle, Award-Winning Humorous Children’s Book

“Interview with Author of Flip Flap Floodle, Award-Winning Humorous Children’s Book”https://amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/ 

Oh my goodness! I am still very excited. Flip Flap Floodle won two Firebird Book Awards for 2021:
1st Place,  
Children’s Book Humor
3rd Place,  
Picture Books Ages 4-8 

As a follow-up to winning the Firebird Book Awards, Pat Rullo did a fun interview with me on her radio show.  The link below takes you to my photo and biography page on the Speak Up Talk Radio site. 

Pat Rullo  created the Firebird Book Awards to give colorful pillowcases to help the women and children in homeless shelters across America. An awesome way to help give joy to others!  

Firebird Book Award
Children’s Book – Humor
Picture Book for Ages 4-8

Here’s Flip Flap Floodle’s Song! I hope it makes you smile.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2021 Joan Y. Edwards

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 234 subscribers and over 1,162,177 visitors. Thank you.

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Paul Peditto, Award-Winning Screenwriter and Playwright Shares Ways to Improve Writing

Paul Peditto, Award-Winning Screenwriter and Playwright
Paul Peditto, Award-Winning Screenwriter and Playwright

I took a playwriting course with Script University in November 2020 with Paul Peditto, award-winning screenwriter, playwright, and director. I learned a lot. He has a way of making you feel great about your writing and showing you ways to make it even better.

I am very honored that he agreed to let me interview him on my blog!!! Feel free to ask questions or leave comments for him.

Welcome, Paul. Thanks for letting me interview you today. My readers and I are excited you are here.

You’re welcome, Joan. I’m glad to be here with all of you. Let’s get started.

1. Where were you born? Where do you live now? Where would you like to travel and why?

Born in Ithaca, New York. Living in Chicago since 1988. I would SO love to travel right now, but there’s the little matter of COVID. When I get two shots in my arms, it’ll be wings up. Europe? South America?

I almost don’t care, so long as it’s out of this Twilight Zone episode of a cage I’ve been living in since March.

Travel, yes!

2. How did you get interested in writing screenplays?

I wasn’t school trained. I wrote a play about my drug-addicted girlfriend who died. That was well-received in Chicago and elsewhere. My brother, Christopher, wanted to make it into a movie(with him in the lead role, of course!) so I was tasked with writing a screenplay for the play. There were no computers then so I counted out the spacing on a screenplay and made those scene, action, character tabs on my manual typewriter to adapt the play in screenplay form. It got made years later with Calista Flockhart in the lead role. She got famous with Ally McBeal shortly after and our little movie–which started out in our tiny theater in Chicago–ended up on Entertainment Tonight. Made over 2 million though we never saw that money. That’s another story!

3. Who helped you believe in yourself as a writer?

My brother, Christopher, ran Igloo theater in Chicago so the instant I wrote a new play he put it up. Without him, I would have had no idea if the plays were any good. Seeing the effect your writing has on an audience is an incredible experience and one of the true joys of being a playwright. Every night, it’s new. So yes, that helped me develop my own style and compass. If you don’t have faith in your own stuff, who else will?

4. What are you writing now?

Not much. COVID era, very little getting made. No theaters are open here in Chicago. I made some Xtranormal movies (animated) on YouTube this summer. Check ’em out on my Youtube page.

5. Which is your favorite genre and film?

Don’t have a fav genre but TAXI DRIVER is my fav movie. And that says everything you need to know about me!

6. What is your favorite screenplay you wrote and why?

CROSSROADERS was the most complete script. This was about casino thieves. Although it never got made, it won semis at Nicholl Fellowship and was optioned by Haft Entertainment–makers of Dead Poets Society. it came very close to being made. There was a budget and a director attached to it.  It looked good to go. Unfortunately, ROUNDERS came out just before it and the producer got cold feet. Now it makes a really effective door stop.

Just shows you with Hollywood, how close you can come and it still not happen. This goes back to the writer’s compass I was talking about.

I know that’s a good script and if it was cast with name talent it could and probably would win awards. But without an agent to push it and needing millions, it sits on the shelf. It’s what drove me crazy about the L.A. movie scene and why I eventually moved into writing micro-budget stuff like CHAT, the last movie I made in 2015. There comes a point where as a writer you just want to make SOMETHING without needing the money or approval of others. So you write a play you can produce yourself or a micro-budget film you can make for low money.

7. What is the difference between a novel, a stage play, and a screenplay?

This isn’t a question that can be answered in a nifty short paragraph. maybe the better question is the difference in how these formats communicate.

Film is a VISUAL medium. Juxtaposing images for emotional impact. The Novel has INNER MEANING and MONOLOGUES that film can’t have(not without voice over, anyhow) so all that has to be turned into images if you write for the screen. For instance, a 30-page passage in AMERICAN PSYCHO about business cards plays as TWO pages, two minutes in the screenplay.

Stage plays are about the WORD. You suspend disbelief. We’re not in China like a movie, we’re just implying it. But all that stagecraft is to support the words of the playwright. 

Playwright, for me, has always been higher on the priority pyramid than screenwriters. Screenwriters drive up in clown cars. Tennessee Williams will forever be Tennessee Williams.

8. What questions do you ask when deciding which screenplay contest to enter?

I concentrate on major contests. Nicholl Fellowship, Sundance Lab, Austin, maybe Page awards. Go to moviebytes.com to see a master list of all the contests.

Nicholl Fellowship is the Academy Awards of screenwriting contests. Easily the most important.

When I got semis at Nicholl (which means your script is down to 150 out of 10,000+) I had 25 producers, managers and agents email me the next day. They hawk the Nicholl list. This is how it works in the usual L.A. system. Get the agent, get the manager, get assignments, etc.

Screenplay contests are good because you don’t need an agent to apply. Anything you can do proactively, without permission from L.A. is a good thing.

9. How do you decide to write a new screenplay?

I am THEME driven.  I write a script because the subject matter means something to me. Someone near me was arrested recently for marijuana. (Yes, can you imagine that in this day and age?) They’re trading weed stocks on Wall Street and people are rotting in jail for growing marijuana. This bothered me enough that I spent 5 months writing a screenplay about it. This is my sole concern when organizing characters and story. It’s the only way I can justify spending months on a project because it means something to me. And hopefully, it means something to the audience. That universality–that it impacted me and, therefore, will impact the audience is really the key for new screenwriters and playwrights to consider.

10. What three craft books do you recommend screenwriters study?

SAVE THE CAT, Blake Snyder, is the big structure book these days

SCREENWRITERS BIBLE, Dave Trottier, is the format book.

ONLINE RESOURCES, nofilmschool.com, indiewire.com, johnaugust.com

11. What are the steps to writing a screenplay?

To answer this would take 15 weeks of a 3-hour per week class. The cute fast answer would be to read as many screenplays as possible on IMSDB.COM, learn the craft. Also, understand that it’s never done, even when they’re paying you. There will always be rewrites, even when they’re shooting the movie!

12. How is writing a screenplay different than writing a novel?

I’ve only written one novel so I’m not qualified to answer this. This goes back to what i said before about film being a VISUAL medium and a novel being a place of WORDS and INNER THOUGHT. 

13. How many sentences is too many for a line of dialogue in a screenplay?

This question reminds of that scene in AMADEUS when the King tells him his opera had “too many notes.” And Mozart responds there were exactly as many notes as was necessary to finish the opera. There’s no one model for creativity. If it works, it works. You know it, too. Sure, you have to concern yourself with length more in a screenplay–how many four-hour movies did you see lately? While with a novel, it’s a novel at 300 pages or 1300? There are no 1300 page screenplays.

14. What writing exercise do you use to to help you write a scene ?

I outline my screenplays extensively. It might take weeks, but I figure out the story beats ahead of time, and get them down on paper.

When I start writing I’ve basically already written it in my head. If I get stuck anywhere, I can move to the next scene in the outline. While I’d recommend outlining, that’s my process. Writers have to do what’s natural for them so outlining might not be right for some. You could argue that you want more spontaneity, You want your characters to speak to you organically. And that’s fine…as long as they keep speaking to you! Nothing worse than getting to page 23 and they stop speaking to you!

15. Different screenwriting books talk about beats. I get confused. Would you please explain what a beat is and how it is helpful.

The definition of a beat is the smallest actable unit in a scene.  There could be multiple beats–which means which character is driving the scene, dominating it. So, beats within a scene, scenes within a sequence, sequences within an act, acts within the screenplay. These are structural units. like Russian nesting dolls.

16, What is subtext and how can writers use it to deepen the impact of their writing?

Subtext is saying it without saying it. it’s saying everything BUT the thing. it’s the opposite of exposition where you tell the audience exactly what the character is thinking. 

17. What does it mean when they say the writing is on the nose?

It means exposition. Means it’s too on the head, too obvious, too stated and predictable. Always try to surprise your audience.

18. If screenwriters would like for you to critique a screenplay, what questions do you ask yourself to help you evaluate it? 

Every script has different upsides and down. Some scripts are genre-based, meaning bigger budget thriller, action, etc. Some are character-driven–more Art House, movies you’d see at Sundance, smaller stories told in a drama, dramedy or comedy.

Commerciality matters, of course, but a good story rules the day in the end. Characters too, gotta “give a shit” and care about the journey, have an emotional investment or just plain fascination. Originality by definition means I’ve never seen it before. That’s rare indeed. in the end writers should NOT be worrying about what others are going to say about their work. They should be writing down to the core of what matters to them. You can’t go wrong if you stay close to that honesty.

Paul, thank you very much for answering my questions. My readers will be very excited to meet you and learn from you.

Links to Paul Peditto’s movies and book

Chat https://www.amazon.com/Chat-Rush-Pearson/dp/B076D1YJZW

Chat https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/chat/id1046842034

Jane Doe https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Doe-Calista-Flockhart/dp/B00000JWVX

cover of The DIY Filmmaker - Life Lessons for Surviving Outside Hollywood by Paul Peditto
The DIY Filmmaker – Life Lessons for Surviving Outside Hollywood

Paul Peditto and Boris Wexler’s book: The DIY Filmmaker: Life Lessons for Surviving Outside Hollywood

How to Find Paul on the internet

Paul Peditto’s Website https://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/

Interested in getting Paul to evaluate your screenplay?  Check out his Consulting Services https://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/screenwriting-services/

Contact Paul Peditto: https://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/contact-us/

Articles about Scriptwriting by Paul Peditto https://scriptmag.com/script-gods

Youtube https://www.youtube.com/user/paulyvegas/featured

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Script-Gods-Must-Die-115364311814682/

Linked-In https://www.linkedin.com/in/paul-peditto-94236930/

Biography:

Paul Peditto is an award-winning screenwriter and director.
His low-budget film Jane Doe starring Calista Flockhart won Best Feature at the New York Independent Film & Video Festival. Six of his screenplays have been optioned including Crossroaders to Haft Entertainment (Emma, Dead Poets Society). He recently wrote and produced the micro-budget feature Chat, currently distributed on iTunes, VUDU, YouTube, and Dish Network by Gravitas Ventures.

 

Over the past decade, Mr. Peditto has consulted with over 1,000 screenwriting students around the world. He has been Featured Speaker at Chicago Screenwriters Network, Meetup.com, Second City, and Chicago Filmmakers. He has appeared on National Public Radio and WGN radio, and reviewed in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, L.A. Times, and the New York Times.

 

Peditto is an adjunct professor of screenwriting at Columbia College. Under his guidance his students have written and produced films that have appeared in major film festivals, have semifinal placings at Nicholl Fellowship, and have won awards and screened at film festivals around the country.  His new book, The D.I.Y. Filmmaker is available through Self-Counsel Press on Amazon.

 

Thank you for reading my interview with Paul Peditto.  He is willing to answer your questions, so please leave your comments and questions. We look forward to reading them. Feel free to share his interview with your writer friends.   

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2021 Joan Y. Edwards

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 231 subscribers and over 1,139,837 visitors. Thank you.

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Interview with Professional Copy Editor, Beth Crosby

“Interview with Professional Copy Editor, Beth Crosby” by Joan Y. Edwards

Professional copy editor Beth Crosby empowers female entrepreneurs to reach their ideal clients through storytelling. She helps them mine and write about their unique experiences, education, and abilities.

Welcome, Beth Crosby.  Thank you for coming. I am excited to have you here with us today. My readers and I will learn a lot and enjoy every minute of our time with you.

“Thank you for inviting me, Joan. I can’t wait to get started.”

“That sounds good. Let’s begin.”

A. Where were you born?
Charleston, SC

B. Did you enjoy school? Why?
I enjoyed school because I am curious by nature.

My grandmother was instrumental in teaching me grammar and punctuation, and I enjoyed reading and learning. My seventh-grade language arts teacher, Mrs. English, secured my love for language. (Her name really was Mrs. Elizabeth English!)

I continued to enjoy learning and considered becoming a perpetual student several times, but the call to journalism won after I earned my degree.

C. What is your favorite hobby now?
When I have time, I enjoy reading southern and women’s fiction.

D. Where do you like to read?
When the days allow, I enjoy reading outside. Communing with nature while reading is a perfect day to me!

A friend got me a pillow that says “Reserved for Beth and her Book,” so the couch is my second comfy spot to read.

E. How did you get started editing?
As I mentioned, my grandmother excelled in English, and she taught me grammar rules early.

A high school English teacher failed any student who erred with a sentence fragment. While I was not in her class, she instilled in me the importance of accuracy.

In college, students took copy editing as a junior or senior. Unlike most students, I excelled in editing and pursued it as a career.

F. What genres do you like to read? Why?
I don’t mind reading for research, but because a good portion of my day includes nonfiction reading, I prefer fiction when reading for myself. Sometimes I need a break from input, and fiction lets me simply enjoy the story.

An added benefit of reading well-written fiction is the example of exceptional writing. Even nonfiction can evoke emotional responses and paint vivid pictures if the author has the desire and skill to draw readers into the story.

G. Which are your favorite genres to edit? Why?
Editing short-form nonfiction is my favorite.

I work with women who tell their stories through articles and posts to build rapport with their ideal clients. These are my favorite editing pieces because I support women through asking questions and helping each individual mine her experiences for reasons she is ideally suited for her field. In addition, I edit the writing so my clients deliver clear, concise, correct, and consistent pieces to their targeted client group.

I get to see every client grow and accept herself, appreciating how her unique experience, knowledge, and expertise make her the ideal person to provide a specific service or write a particular work.

Often, blogs and articles can be combined to prepare a book, making the author an expert to many. I edit those as well.

H. How can authors find the right editor for their manuscript?
Most important, an author needs to see what kind of manuscripts an editor accepts.

    1. Look on the copyright page of books like yours to see if an author is mentioned. Often, Amazon lists the editor.
    2. Consider visiting sites such as ACES: The Society for Editing to find professional editors.
    3. Ensure the editor enjoys editing in your genre. Ask for previous examples of manuscripts edited and ask how they were published: self-published or with a hybrid publisher, traditional publisher, or vanity press.
    4. Talk with the editor during a discovery call to see if you’re a good fit for each other. Listen to how the person speaks. Do they use proper grammar?

I. What is developmental editing?
Developmental editing comes after the writer finishes at least the first draft. These editors look for holes and inconsistencies in the characters, plot, and narrative, as well as characters’ arcs and flow.

A substantive editor meets with the writer before they begin writing. A publishing company often pairs this editor with an author who has a publishing contract and needs to be consistent with a second or third book in areas the publisher deems important.

J. What is an editorial assessment?
Author services companies or hybrid publishers often offer editorial assessments at a charge to see if the manuscript is viable for publication.

The assessment offers feedback about what the writer did well and how s/he can improve the work. This advice can span from changing the protagonist’s name to reworking the subplot or changing the ending. Those insights should help writers improve.

As with any editor, verify the skill and experience of the editor and for whom they have edited. Has the editor worked with your ideal publisher, whether traditional publishers, self-published authors, academic texts, or periodicals?

The editor should have a strong idea of what your target audience wants, but if you strongly disagree with feedback, discuss your concerns.

K. What is structural editing?
Structural editing looks into the manuscript’s structure, from organization to plot, character development, and marketability. Both developmental and substantive editors are considered structural editors.

L. What is a copy edit?
Copy editing is also referred to as line editing.

This specialty involves making sure the words (copy) are clear, concise, correct, and consistent. Clarity and concision are difficult for many writers, and a good copy editor generally cuts the word count significantly when eliminating unnecessary words such as that, there is, and would have.

Consistency is important in style and spelling, but also in names, dates, locations, and other facts used more than once in the manuscript.

Professional copy editors also know and use a specific style manual and dictionary to ensure consistency. I use The Chicago Manual of Style, Ed. 17, and The Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Ed. 11. These are the newest print versions.

Ensuring correct information is the most difficult part of a copy, or line, edit because it can be the most time consuming. I verify all facts that the writer doesn’t assure me are unquestionably accurate, and I check all footnotes and endnotes for style and active links.

M. How do you quote the price for copy edits?
To quote edits for manuscripts, I look at samples from the final manuscript to determine the amount of work to be done and estimate the time required. Unless something unforeseen comes up, I charge the quoted price. If a problem arises, I contact the client immediately.

Manuscript edits start at $1,500. Short-form edits begin at $100.

N. How do you determine what price you should charge?
My rates are based on years of experience in writing, editing, and a wide range of subjects and topics. People are often surprised when I pick up on spacing errors or the misspelling of names and wonder how I know miscellaneous facts.

O. What is line editing?
Line editing and copy editing are used interchangeably. See  Section L for more information.

P. What should an author look for when they search online for an editor who’s right for them?

    1. The editor should have a presence online, ideally a website.
    2. If the editor has only a LinkedIn profile or other social media account, look for evidence that the person edits full time.
    3. Look or ask for work samples and references. Also ask for contact information to talk with references.
    4. Search Amazon and the internet for any references to the person. If they support an organization opposed to your book’s theme, they probably will not provide an unbiased edit.

Something to consider is what service the editor provides. A copy editor should have exceptional skills in grammar, punctuation, and sentence flow. At the same time, a substantive or developmental editor thinks creatively, so his or her grammar isn’t as critical.

When interviewing a copy editor, ask how education and experience prepared him or her to provide detailed edits of grammar, punctuation, point-of-view, passive voice, parallel construction and other rules in grammar. (You can search the internet for terms if you want to ask them during the interview and know if the answers are correct.)

Additional questions are answered in a blog post on my website: https://editorbeth.com/hire-a-qualified-editor/

Q. What are three danger signs that indicate an author should not use a particular editor?
I caution people to avoid editors who cannot show examples of previous work, have typographical, grammar, or language errors on their sites; or whose sites are unclear.

R. What are the ten most prevalent errors you find in manuscripts you have edited?
Most editors have pet peeves and idiosyncrasies. Mine are, in no particular order of importance

1. Errant spelling that should have been caught with a spell check
2. Double spaces after a period. Word processing programs space words for easy reading, so the second space was eliminated in the early 2000s. Search and replace can be used, but I wish writers understood that the rule now is single spacing.
3. Excessive use of “that” and “there is,” along with other pet words that might be “so” or “I”
4. Writing from several points of view (POV) throughout the book, or “head-hopping” without a clear reason
5. Failing to vary sentence structure
6. Settling for bland descriptions
7. Using linking verbs instead of action verbs
8. Writing for themselves instead of their readers. A writer must consider what the reader wants to gain from spending the time and money on a book instead of what s/he needs to say. I recommend people write what they need to say then save the work. From there, cull what’s unimportant and rewrite to fill in the characters, plots, and arc for an engaging read.
9. Sending the work to an editor without proofreading or having someone else proofread their book. Having a beta reader review a manuscript and give feedback is an even better way to improve your work before engaging and paying an editor.
10 a. Expecting the editor to fix all errors without taking an interest in his or her own work to get it to its best state. Working with critique groups and beta readers can help improve the work. If the amount of work to be done before I can provide a quality edit, is extensive, I don’t accept the work.
10 b. Not taking an interest in improving their work in favor of “just” getting it published or any other reason

S. Do you have a word limit on the length of manuscript you will edit?
As I mentioned, I use many of these strengths in working with short-form editing, but I do not edit anything longer than 50,000 words.

T. Why do editors charge so much?
Editing takes a lot of time. I work only with the finished manuscript, and I usually edit at least twice before proofreading and returning the work to the writer.

In addition to paying an editor for her time, you also are paying for her knowledge, education, and experience. She often can refer you to editors, designers, marketers, virtual assistants, and others who can improve your product and sell it quicker, better, and sometimes for more profit.

U. How long does an edit take?
Short form editing requires about a week. Longer works take six-to-eight weeks.

V. Do you edit the manuscript after I make changes?
No, I work from a final manuscript with a specified word count. My edits should not require changes that require rewrites, so an additional edit should not be necessary.

W. What is a proofreader’s job and when you need one?
When a manuscript is deemed ready for print, a proofreader is necessary to catch any oversights or changes in a manuscript. The proofreader should be exceptional in spelling and know the style guide your publisher desires. Often, a proofreader will review a manuscript after it is laid out to catch odd hyphenation, widows, orphans, and irregular spacing. A publisher sometimes provides this service, and they should send you a proof copy or an advanced reader copy (ARC) to review before the book is published.

X. Should I give a copy of the book to people who worked on my book, such as editors?
Common practice is to provide those who worked on your book at least one signed copy of the book. If the person can help you promote your book, provide another copy that she can give or show to someone else.

Y. If I am publishing something other than a book, is it pushy to send my editor a link to my published work?
Not at all! Your editor is delighted to work with you and support you by celebrating your success. She might also share your work on social media, especially if you include a note about how much she helped you reach this goal.

Books and Articles by Beth Crosby

Free E-Book Written by Beth Crosby

Don’t Publish Your First Draft by Beth Crosby

Don’t Publish Your First Draft (free ebook) https://www.EditorBeth.com

Article by Beth Crosby
Linked in: “Show Your Expertise” describes developmental and substantive editors and talks about self-publishing: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-articles-show-your-expertise-beth-crosby/

Books Edited by Beth Crosby

You Map

You Map: Find Yourself. Blaze Your Path. Show the World! by Kristin Sherry
https://www.amazon.com/dp/1684331439/

Your Team Loves Mondays

Your Team Loves Mondays…Right? and other books by Kristin Sherry,
https://www.amazon.com/Your-Team-Loves-Mondays-Right-ebook/dp/B083587JGC/

The Power of Creativity: A Three-Part Series for Writers, Artists, Musicians and Anyone In Search of Great Ideas and other books by Bryan Collins
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Creativity-Three-Part-Writers-Musicians-ebook/dp

The Poisoned Glass

Poisoned Glass by Kimberly Tilley, and Cold Heart, to be released soon:
https://www.amazon.com/Poisoned-Glass-Kimberly-Tilley-ebook/dp/B

We Demand the Right to Vote

We Demand the Right to Vote by Meneese Wall
https://www.amazon.com/We-Demand-Right-Vote-Amendment/dp/1734901004

Unclaimed Blessings

Unclaimed Blessings and other books by Diana and Hany Asaad
https://www.amazon.com/Unclaimed-Blessings-Accessing-Gods-Goodness-ebook/dp/B01N17RPUQ/

About Beth Crosby

Website: www.EditorBeth.com 
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/groups/TheWritersCircleGroup
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethcrosby/

How to Contact Beth to edit your work:

Email:  Beth@EditorBeth.com
In an email, send a summary of your manuscript, final word count, specific needs of the edit, and your ideal time line. Emails with attachments or manuscripts will not be opened or considered.

Joan: Wow! What a wealth of information you shared with us, Beth Crosby. Thank you very much.

Beth Crosby: You’re welcome Thanks for the opportunity to be here and share with you.

Please feel free to ask Beth questions in the comment area. I’ll add pertinent ones and her answers to this interview post.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2020 Joan Y. Edwards

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 223 subscribers and over 1,062,000 visitors. Thank you.

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Pat Rullo’s Speak Up Talk Radio Interview of Joan Y. Edwards

“Pat Rullo’s Speak Up Talk Radio Interview of Joan Y. Edwards” by Joan Y. Edwards

Yesterday, I had the honor and privilege of being interviewed by Pat Rullo of Speak Up Talk Radio.  We discussed all of my books, but focused on the how and why I published the Crossword and Wordsearch Books along with Flip Flap Floodle. We also discussed my love of butterflies.  I hope you’ll listen to the interview. It’s approximately 29 minutes long.

In 2016, Pat Rullo of Speak Up Talk Radio interviewed me and we talked about how and why I wrote Joan’s Elder Care Guide. We discussed how caregivers can use the book to help them care for themselves as well as their elder. I hope you’ll listen.

Thank you for reading my blog and listening to the podcasts!

Below are free download links for a crossword puzzle and a wordsearch puzzle. Both of them are for the Memorial Mass for one of my favorite saints, St. Anthony of Padua. He helps you find lost things and missing people.  He preached to the fish in Italy because the people there wouldn’t listen to him.  Each of my crossword and wordsearch puzzles has a short story with it. 

  1. Free Wordsearch Puzzle Finder of Lost Things, Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua Wordsearch Puzzle with Mini-Devotional
  2. Free Crossword Puzzle Listen to the Word of God, St. Anthony Crossword Puzzle with Mini-Devotional

I hope you’ll consider leaving a review in my shop or on Goodreads.

I’m so glad you’re here! You make me smile. Please leave questions or comments.  

Thank you to all who read this post and especially the following people who left a comment on this post before midnight, June 18, 2020:

  1. Carolyn Howard Johnson
  2. Pat Rullo
  3. Bob Rich
  4. Billy Kwack

Random.org chose number 3, therefore, Bob Rich won a free copy of  one of my puzzle books. I will email him and see which one he chooses. Congratulations, Bob!

Thank you again to all of you who read my blogs!.

Look at all my books! Oh my goodness!

Easy to Print PDFs

All Six Crossword and Wordsearch Series PDF Editions by Joan Y. Edwards

Paperbacks

Flip Flap Floodle and Joan’s Elder Care Guide by Joan Y. Edwards

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2020 Joan Y. Edwards

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for new articles of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 200 other subscribers and over 1,000,000 visitors. Thank you.

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Shawn Simon, Author of Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms

Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms by Shawn Simon

“Shawn Simon, Author of Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I  have the great pleasure of interviewing author, Shawn Simon.  Welcome, Shawn.

Thank you, Joan. It’s wonderful to be here with you. Congratulations to Sarah Maury Swan. She won a copy of my book by leaving a comment before midnight April 28, 2020.

That’s awesome. Thank you. We’ll put the details of the drawing after your interview. Everyone’s anxious to hear about you and your new book, “Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms.” Let’s get started.

  1. Where were you born? Inglewood, CA (Yep, I’m an actual Southern California native. Lol

  2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? I actually enjoyed living in our apartments in Santa Monica, CA. My brother and I played with all the kids who lived in apartments nearby. We like to say we grew up playing in the alleys behind the apartment buildings in Santa Monica.

  3. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why? No particular favorite place, but I was definitely, and still am, a book worm. My dad and I were just saying the other day how this isolating time is probably much easier for avid readers. I have read so many books during these last few weeks.

  4. How do you keep yourself physically fit? I have three small dogs, so I walk them a few miles every day. I also take barre classes and I love Orange Theory, a newer cardio and strength training workout in our area.

  5. What do you do when you think about giving up? That’s a good question. What makes we want to give up is feeling over-whelmed. So, I try to chunk all I need to do into smaller sized pieces. If I break things down into manageable bites, so to speak, I can typically accomplish what I set out to do.

  6. Do you set goals for yourself as a writer? What helps you reach them? Do you reward yourself when you reach them? I do set goals for myself. I mark them in my calendar as my “to do list.” I also belong to three writing groups. We read to each other when we meet, so knowing I need to read a story keeps me accountable. I haven’t rewarded myself when I reach a goal, but I like that idea. I’ll have to think of a good reward.

  7. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why? In certain areas, yes. I think setting out to write a book, actually completing it, and then jumping through the hoops needed to get it published is all fairly risky. I’m proud of myself for reaching this milestone.

  8. If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Which ride do you ignore at all costs? At my age, the only amusement park I like is Disneyland. I love the feel of Disney and the old rides, like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, etc. The rides I avoid are any that spin. Those make me sick every time.

  9. What is your favorite genre to write? Why? I love to write non-fiction inspirational stories. It started with writing my stories about my experiences as a stepmom, but when I met other stepmoms struggling with similar challenges, I thought, “Why not write their stories, too?” I enjoy talking with people and hearing their stories. It’s therapeutic and supportive. I think of my book as a stepmom support group in writing.

  10. What’s your favorite book? Why? Picking just one is hard. I suppose my favorite children’s book is Shiloh. I cry every time I read that one. A favorite classic is To Kill a Mockingbird. Three favorite newer books are The Fault in Our Stars, A Man Called Ove, and Don’t Let Me Go. I also love the Chicken Soup Series. I find the stories to be uplifting and inspirational. I liken my book to that series, except my stories are emotionally deeper. And they’ve never published one for stepmoms, so…

  11. When did you decide to become an author? I’ve always toyed with the idea of writing a book. But when I became a stepmom and shared my challenging experiences, I kept hearing, “You should write a book. Your stories are so inspirational.” I believe when you hear something several times, you need to listen. So, I listened.

  12. Please name Authors or Books that inspire you. As I said, the Chicken Soup books have inspired me. I also like reading memoirs, such as the heart-wrenching book, The Glass Castle.  My favorite fiction author is Catherine Ryan Hyde. I find her writing style to be refreshingly unique.

  13. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer? My husband has supported and encouraged me on this journey, believing in me every step of the way. My writer friends I’ve met have been an incredible source of positivity. All of my friends believed in me when I told them I planned to write a book. My pups are my muses when I write, snuggling in next to me, snoring lightly. Somehow that spurs my creativity.

  14. Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms, your first book has been released by 4RV Publishing. Tell us the story behind your book. I foolishly thought being a stepmom would be easy because I work with kids. Kids love me. When I found myself single again at the age of thirty-eight, I figured I’d most likely meet someone with children. I never felt the need to have kids of my own, so I thought being a stepmom would be ideal. Did I mention it was a foolish thought? Step-mothering was not easy at all. Many factors never crossed my mind: the grief the kids felt due to their parents’ divorce, them not wanting another mother figure, me being further proof their parents would not be getting back together. None of those concerns entered my mind. When I looked for books to help, I found several self-help, academic type books, but I don’t care for books like that. I prefer stories from real people struggling with similar issues. I want to hear first-hand how they handled the challenges they encountered. I found no books with stepmom stories, so I decided to be the first to write one.

  15. How many places did you submit to before being successful? I think I queried around twenty-five agents and four publishers that do not require an agent.

  16. How long did it take to get it from submission to publication? That’s a good question. It took much longer than I expected. My contract tentative release date was February 2016. And here we are, four years later. However, I must say, I’m actually happy to have had the extra time. During these four years, I have joined many writing groups and have learned new writing techniques and styles, all of which have improved my writing. Because my book’s release was delayed so long, I was able to revise and edit several times before the publishing date. Had they not taken so long, I would not have been able to do so. My book is much better for having had the time.

  17. Tell us about the book cover.

Stepping into a New Role: Stories from Stepmoms by Shawn Simon

The book cover was designed by Aidana Willow-Raven from 4RV Publishing. I love that it is not academic looking, that it’s more fun and playful. To me this reflects the style of the book. The cover relates to the first story that launched the book.

  1. Links to purchase Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms: The best price is from 4RV directly, but it is available on my website, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, as well.

Purchase at:

  1. Shawn Simon’s website: StepmomShawn.com,

  2. Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Stepping-into-New-Role-Stepmoms/dp/1940310962/

  3. Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/stepping-into-a-new-role-shawn-simon/1136816236?ean=9781940310954

19. Are you writing other books? Tell us about them. I’ve already written a book for stepdads that needs to be edited and revised.  I’m also working on a second book for stepmoms. In addition, I’ve just started working on a book about people with differences. I was born with one arm, so I know what it’s like to feel odd and left out. From working with kids with learning differences, I realized their stories are similar to mine. This prompted me to include all kinds of differences in this book, which will be a similar style to my step-parenting books. It will include my stories as well as the stories from the people I interview. My goal is to shed light on people identified as different in the hopes of helping the world see we are more alike than we realize.

20. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far? Seeing my book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and on the 4RV site. Even better, holding my book in my hand. It’s quite an accomplishment to go from thinking about writing a book to actually completing it. And then having it published feels pretty darn good. 

  1. Do you outline and plan your plot first or let the characters develop their own plot as you write? Since I’m writing true stories about people’s experiences, the stories unfold from what they share. I record the interviews and then transcribe them to help with the process. Some people hand me gift-wrapped stories just in their telling. They are naturally gifted story tellers, which makes my writing process easier.

  2. How do you know your manuscript is ready for submission to an editor or agent? That’s tough to answer because as writers we never feel our manuscripts are ready to submit. But I’d say it is essential for the manuscript to be well edited before submitting, and I’d highly recommend the editing be done by someone other than the writer.

  3. Do you plan to self-publish or are you going the route of traditional publishing with an agent?  I’m not sure what my plans are for my next books. I did meet two agents at a writers’ conference who are interested in my differences book. I plan to follow up with both when I’m further along with the writing and when my book proposal is completed.

Shawn Simon, Author

About Shawn Simon

Shawn Simon, MA, is a Board Certified Educational Therapist who works with children. Therefore, when she met the man of her dreams, who just happened to come with a couple of kids, she thought being a stepmom would be a breeze. She was wrong. However, as someone born with only one arm, she’s learned to overcome obstacles. Thus, she knew she could face the challenges of step-mothering. Shawn is published in the Association of Educational Therapists’ Journal and is an award winning inspirational speaker in her field. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two step-kids, three rescue dogs, and one sixteen-year-old cat. Shawn is currently at work on more books for stepfamilies.

Website: https://www.stepmomshawn.com
Twitter @ShawnSimon44

Thank you for letting me interview you today, Shawn. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to talk with Shawn and me. 

Thank you to the 143 people who read this blog post. Three readers left a comment on Shawn Simon’s interview before midnight April 28, 2020:
1. Melanie Robertson-King
2. Sarah Maury Swan
3. Paulette Hannah

Random.org chose number 2, therefore, Congratulations, Sarah Maury Swan, you won a free copy of  Stepping into a New Role, Stories from Stepmoms! Hip Hip Hooray for all 3 commenters and those who read  Shawn’s interview.

Sarah, I will give Shawn your email address so she can get this book to you.

Be safe.
Stay well. 

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2020 Joan Y. Edwards

Subscribe to Joan’s blog for newsletters and new posts of inspiration, information, and humor. Receive free gifts. Join over 198 subscribers and over 970,000 visitors. Thank you.

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Writing Advice from Intriguing Author, Sarah Maury Swan

Sarah Maury Swan

“Writing Advice from Author, Sarah Maury Swan” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you for coming today, Sarah.

I am so glad to be here, Joan.

Our readers are going to love hearing about your adventures writing  your exciting books. So, let’s begin.

Sarah, you’ve written three books now.  Their titles intrigue me. Where can our readers get them?

All of my books are available through my website: https://sarahmauryswanlovesbooks.com,

or

https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Maury-Swan/e/B01E9GGQ58?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060

Earthquakes is also available through https://www.ingramspark.com  It is also available in the Sarasota, FL, public library and, I hope, soon the Craven County, NC, public library system.

All three books are available at Next Chapter Books and Art in New Bern  https://thenextchapternc.com/ At the moment, until we get COVID-19 under control, order books from Next Chapter Books and Art from Michelle Flye through her website. She will arrange for you to pick them up and pay for them online.

The three winners of the Giveaway are listed below the interview.

Give us a short summary for each book. And tell us a little history about why you wrote each one.

Terror’s Identity by Sarah Maury Swan
Sable Books, 2015, Ages 12 to 18, $7 pb., Ebook $2.95
ISBN: 978-0-9968036-3-2

Sixteen-year old Aidan Knox’s life turns upside down when he, his sister and his mother enter a witness protection program and begin a dangerous new life because of his father’s work investigating a terrorist organization operating in the U.S. How will he remember the details of his new life with a new name and a made-up past? And will he be able to settle in to a new school and all that entails? Whom can he trust and can he keep his mother and sister safe?

Terror’s Identity – The story came to me because after 911 people in the U.S. equated Muslims with terrorism. That is not true, so I wanted to make that point.

It required a fair amount of research because I didn’t know much about witness protection and who investigated terrorism. Fortunately, my back-door neighbor was in the Secret Service and able to give me most of information.

Since I had read that one should get the main character into trouble and then make the trouble worse, I had Aidan and his family living in Lake Forest, Illinois, to begin with, because it is very posh. So, I called the Lake Forest Chamber of Commerce and asked the woman who answered whether any of the houses that backed onto Lake Michigan were situated so that the owners could moor a boat behind them. I explained that I lived on a horse farm in rural Baltimore County, Maryland. That I wasn’t coming to visit and all I wanted was a yes or no answer. With a sneer in her voice and, I’m sure, her nose in the air, she replied, “I can’t possibly tell you that information.” I’m also sure she sighed at the end. “Listen lady,” I said, “I’m not coming to Lake Forest. I live on a horse farm in Maryland.  All I want is the answer to my question.” “Oh, all right,” she sniffed. “Yes, there are a few.”

Though I know a bit about sail boats, I researched boats I wanted to use in the story, including whether you could anchor a boat close to shore. When I called the sewage plant further up the lake to see if a small schooner could anchor off shore there, the worker was much friendlier.  The people in Dundalk, Maryland, where Aidan ends up, said “Sure, come on in. What do you need to know?”

I picked the last name for Aidan/Brent’s new best friend from Baltimore/Dundalk history. I wanted to have his new friend be African American. There was a boy from a slave family who helped alert the soldiers in the inner harbor’s Fort McHenry that the British war ships were coming up the Chesapeake Bay and just entering the mouth of the Patapsco River on their way to the fort. I used Da’Wan as his first name.  The funny thing is a couple of years ago when I was selling copies at the New Bern Farmers’ Market, a fellow came by with his family and stopped to look at my books. He was so excited when he learned that the sidekick’s name was Da’Wan, because that is his son’s name.

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Emily’s Ride to Courage by Sarah Maury Swan
2017, Ages 8 to 12, PB $13.95, Ebook $2.95
ISBN PB: 1978170173; ISBN Ebook: 9781978170179

When Emily and her sister move to their grandfather’s farm, Emily dreams of having a horse of her own. She wants to buy Gemini, the patient horse she uses for riding lessons. However, Grandpa refuses to buy a horse with four white hooves. Emily’s plan to get Grandpa to accept Gemini is only one adventure. Emily also learns the value of math, supports her sister during a difficult time, and even helps her mother all the way in Afghanistan. Gemini proves his value when he helps Emily rescue Grandpa during a grass fire.

Emily’s Ride to Courage – I knew quite a bit about horses, however, I had to make sure of my facts on illnesses, conformation, horseshoeing and other relevant information.

Was it believable that Emily’s mother could be setting up medical clinics in Afghanistan? How did the Army communicate with its personnel there? I also had to make sure I had the correct edition of Black Beauty for the code Emily and her mother use.

What type of math should Emily study to be ready for seventh grade? Would there be a problem finding a dance studio for her older sister to join? Thanks goodness my vet and my horse shoer and my friends who had children in dance class all knew the answers to my questions.

I insisted that the horse on the cover be a blood bay with four white hooves. The reason I picked a bay was to honor my husband’s never fulfilled dream of owning a bay horse. I’ve always loved the coppery-red-brown color of a blood bay. (To be considered a bay the horse must have some shade of brown coat with a black mane and tail and black on his legs)

What is now KDP publishing did this book while it was still CreateSpace. They did some things well, but they could not understand that it was crucial to the plot that the horse have four white hooves. The first horse they put on the cover only had three, even though I had sent them a photo of a bay with four white socks.. They charged me more money to photoshop in the fourth white hoof. They had a tendency to charge extra for every change they made.

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  1. Earthquakes, by Sarah Maury Swan
    2020, Ages 14 +, PB: $15.95, Ebook $4.95
    ISBN: 978-1-734-5094-0-3

    Jonathon Thomas’ father and maternal grandfather are Marine Corps officers stationed somewhere in the Pacific Theater of WWII, which is stressful enough, but now he’s dealing with real and imaginary earthquakes. To make matters worse, his high school principal warns him and his fellow students of potential spies in the neighborhood. How’s he supposed to recognize a spy? And why are his neighbors being murdered? And why are people sneaking into his house to search for something? The only comfort Jonathon finds is when he talks to his girlfriend, Jennifer Murphy. What’s he going to do when he’s banned from leaving his house? Will his recurring nightmare of being swallowed up when an earthquake splits the ground open under his feet turn into reality?

Again, Earthquakes, came from a lot of personal history and memory. But, on the other hand, since I was only a year and four months old when the story takes place, I had to know what cars were available. And research where various roads and avenues were in relationship to Van Ness Avenue, the street where Jonathon lives.

Plus, I had to research spy activity in this country, especially about German spies on the West Coast. Were any Germans in the Pacific Theater? How much Communist activity was there during the war?

What science experiment might a 1942 high school senior be doing in his class? When I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo, I used a simple experiment of melting potassium over a Bunsen burner and then adding vinegar to see what happens. Of course, I had to make sure this was a viable experiment for Jonathon and his lab partner to do. Turns out, it’s not that easy. Potassium is very volatile, but a science friend of a science friend of a friend of my personal friend put me on the right track and it fit right into the story line.

This book came to me because people keep telling me I should write my mother’s story. I don’t think I can do that since I’m not my mother. But part of her history is incorporated into her role as the mother in this story.

In 2018 I saw a writer’s prompt suggesting a 50,000 word novel cozy/noirish mystery. At least that’s what I thought it said. Turns out they only wanted a 5,000 word short story. Oh well.

So, I signed up for the 2018 NaNoWriMo challenge and wrote the first 50,000 words. I’m not an outliner type, but I do think my stories out in my head before I start putting them on paper. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, it’s pretty much imperative to do an outline.

I finished the first draft and sent it out to my critique groups. A lot of edits later I sent it to my trusted editor and friend, Teresa Crumpton, who, as usual, helped me get on the right track for the final edit. I used a different company to publish the book. It was recommended by a friend who has used them. One of the good thing about Jera Publishing is that it has access to IngramSpark sources for getting your book into libraries and schools. I’ve been very pleased with the outcome.

The other thing that was different about this book was that I was able to put in my personal family history, such as my mother being a “Rosie the Riveter” model because she was Lockheed’s first female tool and dye designer. At the end of the book I have family photos of my mother christening a ship and collecting used rubber with my sister as they walked around our neighborhood. The earthquake nightmare Jonathon keeps having in the book came from my own childhood nightmare. For my author photo, I used a photo of me when I was two or three years old.

2. What experiences did you have after you published the first two books that filled you with joy?

The first was a sense of accomplishment. That I actually was able to put down coherent thoughts that others found compelling.

Seeing the cover and book designer come up with appealing covers. And, in the case of Terror’s Identity, having him come up with a useful map at the front of the book.

Seeing unsolicited good reviews made me burst with pride. Still does.

Having people come back to buy my next book.

Just the pride of saying that I’m an author.

I’m not much of a researcher, but I have enjoyed finding out what I need to know for my stories.

What inspired you to publish your books on your own?

The first book I finished was Emily’s Ride to Courage which I sent to my editor friend at Dutton. He likes my writing and was looking forward to reading the book. He passed on up the editorial line where it eventually got to the marketing meeting. The marketers liked the story, but said they wouldn’t buy it because they had a historical fiction set of horse books and didn’t want to competition. Still, it was nice to know it had gotten that far.

So, I sent it to Peachtree in Atlanta. That editor liked the story line and my writing but didn’t relate to Emily. She told me to rewrite and submit again. I did that, changing to POV from 3rd person past tense to 1st person present tense. Again, it made it all the way to marketers who said, “Good story, but we have a horse book in the works.” Very discouraging, but at least I knew they liked my writing.

Emily then languished in a corner and I wrote Terror’s Identity. Bottom line is I tried several different stories that were well liked, but not picked up for various reasons.

Fast forward a few years and I’m in my 70s, so I decided that self-publishing is my best option and now here I am with three published books. BTW, my now retired editor friend says he thinks that self-publishing is the way to go, but then he is my friend, so take that with a grain of salt.

 What advice would you give writers who are not published yet?

  1. We all tend to try to rush our stories to print. Keep a tight rein on that thought and get yourself into a critique group or two and hope that at least one member of the group has experience.
  2. Make sure you have a least one up-to-date style book and, if you’re writing to young children, a dictionary of what words each grade level uses. If you are using a single person subject at the start of a sentence, please find a way to not use a plural noun or pronoun as the object. An example is: Mary slumped into her room and slammed their backpack on their desk. Instead write Mary slumped into her room and slammed her backpack on her desk. If there is no easy way to use a single subject and object noun or pronoun in both places, rewrite the sentence so you don’t need an objective noun or pronoun. If nothing else, your sentence will be stronger for it.
  3. Whatever your genre, join the national group where you’ll find lots of advice and guidance. Rewrite your story until you can hardly stand to look at it again, then let it sit as others comment on it and edit it. Find a professional editor—there are loads of them out there—research them carefully and make sure they’re legit. Ask for references and see what is said about them throughout the industry.
  4. Try to get an agent and go the trade route first. You’ll learn a lot if nothing else. Submit to as many places as you can.
  5. If you write novels, try writing shorter stories. You’ll be amazed at how much tighter your writing will become. Poems and picture books are a really good way to learn to winnow the words.
  6. All of us have “pet” words we overuse. “So” is one of mine.
  7. Develop a very thick skin. You’ll need it. Let what your critique people tell you settle before you respond. Some of what they say might hurt your feelings. After all, your writing is perfect, right?
  8. If you don’t get picked up by a trade company, take heart and make your stories as perfect as can be. Ask your writer friends who’ve self-published what companies they’ve used and what they liked or didn’t like about them.
  9. Go to conferences. You’ll learned tons and make many friends. That’s how Joan and I met.
  10. As a children’s books writer, I find it very helpful to review books through the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database https://www.clcd.com. It will give an idea of what the industry is looking for and will give you material for the blog you’re going to start.

 Are you in a writing group? How do they help you?

There are many levels of writing groups.

A. First of all are the overarching groups of your particular genre. For children’s books is the SCBWI https://www.scbwi.org , which is full of so much pertinent information and encouragement. They have regional conferences and national conferences. Plus, they have professional agents and editors attending who are dying to find the next superstar writer. On their website they have what they call the Blue Boards where you can post questions, submit your blogs, brag or whatever. You can have your own personal page on which you can post your work and let the world know who you are. I’ve yet to meet an unpleasant person through SCBWI. The view is that we’re all in this together. That includes well known authors and beginners alike, plus giving you access to editors and agents, who if you meet one at a conference, you will most likely be given access to sending them queries of your work.

B. Then there are the regional groups. I belong to North Carolina Writers’ Network which is another font of information and will let you promote yourself on it.

C. After that are the more local groups where you can attend informational meetings usually once of month. Find one or two of those to attend. This is where you’ll meet people from your area with whom to form critique groups where you work to make your story as close to perfect as possible.

The ones in the Coastal North Carolina area are: Carteret Writers, www.carteretwriters.org which sponsors an annual writers’ contest from January 1st to the second Wednesday in March. Contests are an excellent place to hone your skills and get feedback. Then there is NEXUS POETS, https://nexuspoets.com/, which meets in New Bern once a month. They also have a contest.  The North Carolina Writer’s Network lists what’s going on in each county every month.

D. The critique group or groups you join will remind you to keep true to your story line among other things, and they will also become close friends. But do learn to let them help. Sometimes it goes against your grain. For instance, I named my third book Earthquakes because of all the tumult in Jonathon’s life and because California does have earthquakes. But I only had one description of his recurring nightmare, which is like the ones I had as a child, and then let the symbolism of the turmoil in his life make up the rest. One of my critique friends in one of my groups kept reminding me that I needed to make more of an effort or the title had no meaning. She was right, but it took me a long time to come around to her view point. Now the story starts with a real earthquake and is a much stronger story because of it.

How do you check your manuscript for errors?

That’s one of the reasons that writing a novel in a short period of time is not the right thing for me. I tend to type too fast and if I don’t constantly correct my errors, I’ll end up with too many mistakes. I need to check as I go along.

I also rely on my critique groups to find errors and I also depend on my handsome devil, a.k.a. my husband, to read my stuff for errors. I promise I won’t get mad at him. And, as I said earlier, I also have a professional editor go over the manuscript for content editing but also line editing. It really is impossible to find enough of the errors that crop in the manuscript if you edit it yourself, because you know what you wanted to say, so you’re sure you’ve written correctly. But the whole process is fun in the end and gives me, at least, a great sense of achievement.

It is helpful to use a program like Grammarly which will help you keep your grammatical errors in check. Though I must admit at times I have heated arguments with it. It has a more modern view of grammar than I.

It is also very important to let your story sit a few days before you reread it for errors, flow, believability, etc.

Thanks, Joan. As usual, you’ve given me a great deal to write about. Stay safe in this time of physical uncertainty. Sarah Maury Swan

You’re welcome, Sarah. Thanks for coming to visit my blog today.

Thanks to all who read this blog post and left comments. Carol Baldwin said she had a copy of  Earthquakes so congratulations to: Melanie Robertson-King, Maggie, and Carolyn Howard-Johnson, all three of you won a free Kindle copy of Earthquakes. 

About the Author
Sarah Maury Swan’s stories frequently place in the Carteret Writers’ annual contest, as well as the Pamlico Writers’ Group contest. When she’s not writing or volunteering, Sarah reviews children’s books for the Children’s Literature Comprehensive Database, https://clcd.com. She thinks it’s a good way to see what’s being published.

Connect with Sarah

Blog Sarah’s Book Reflections
Website: https://www.sarahmauryswanlovesbooks.com/This is a work in progress, but check it out. In the future my hope is that you will be able to buy copies of my books there.
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Maury-Swan/e/B01E9GGQ58?ref_=pe_1724030_132998060
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OldLadyWriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/
SCBWI: https://www.scbwi.org/members/sarah-swan/
Carteret County Seascribes blog: Seascribes.wordpress.com

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2020 Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to solutions for caregivers
80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year B Fun for Children’s Liturgy

Tips from Robert T. Hunting, Awesome Author of Historical Fiction

 

Robert Hunting and his wife, Carrie

“Tips from Robert T. Hunting, Awesome Author of Historical Fiction” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today it is my honor to interview author, Robert T. Hunting.

Thank you for coming to visit, Robert. My readers are anxious to hear all about you and your writing. Especially your writing tips.

I’m excited to be here. Let’s get started.

1.  Where were you born?  Munich, Germany. I live in Canada now.

2.  Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Visit, but not live in the Bavarian mountains with their natural beauty, clean air, pure waters and lots of elbow room.

3.  Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why? Anywhere quiet.

4.  How do you keep yourself physically fit? Exercise and walking.

5.  What do you do when you think about giving up? Take a break, leave whatever bogs me down, and come back to it later.

6.  Do you set goals for yourself as a writer? What helps you reach them? Do you reward yourself when you reach them? No, other than I treat writing like a job and commit myself to its daily tasks.

7.  Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why? Like it or not, to live, to breathe, to finish out the day, every day is its own risk.

8.  If you go to an amusement park, which ride do you go to first? Now it would be a carousel. As a young person, the roller coaster, I suppose.

9.  What is your favorite genre to write? Why? Historical fiction. As silly as it sounds, I think it chose me.

10. What’s your favorite book? Why? One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich. The human condition, the struggle for human dignity is universal and always under attack—by fellow humans.

11. When did you decide to become an author? 12 years ago, although I never decided “to become,” but rather evolved.

12. Authors or Books that inspire you. Far. Far too many to mention.

13. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer? The inner drive that affects all writers, to share something by way of story.

14. What are you writing now? A novel about the shot heard around the world, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914.

15. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far?Seeing my first book in print.

16. Do you outline and plan your plot first or let the characters develop their own plot as you write? Somewhere in-between: I have the story in my head, and go from there. In particular, I never know how it will end until it does  end.

17. You’ve been a Pub Subber since December 16, 2015. How has Pub Subbers group helped you? Connection, and especially knowing you’re not alone, that others are struggling with their craft too, including having their voices heard.

18. How do you know your manuscript is ready for submission to an editor or agent? You have to figure it out for yourself, but never after the first draft. The second or third will usually bring a sense that it’s time and that you can’t do any more.

19. Do you plan to self-publish? Why?  No, but it’s not one size fits all. Me, I’ve never self-published or used a vanity press. I’ve always believed in my stories (and sometimes it’s as much as 300 or more queries before I find a home for my book).

20. Are you going the route of traditional publishing? Indies.

21. Do you plan to get an agent? No. I flew the flag of surrender years ago, and have managed without one.

22. What is your Facebook Author page?  https://www.facebook.com/Literary-dimensions-779535308897741/

10 Tips for Writers from Robert T. Hunting

In no particular order…

1.     Read, read, and read. Anything; everything you can.

2.     Work on your craft; improve, get better.

3.     Following from that, learn and follow the rules of grammar.

4.     Learn to toughen your skin. Success isn’t for wimps. You’ll get tons of negativity before you find the hopefulness and assurance.

5.     Join writing groups/forums.

6.     Even if you’re successful, don’t take yourself too seriously.

7.     On your way to being published, brace yourself for meeting a lot of charlatans.

8.     Pay it forward. No one, no one ever became successful without the aid of others.

9.     Write each day. Treat writing like a job.

10. Always remember a bad story is always better than no story. You can always improve a bad story. The same can never be said for no story.

Bio
Robert T. Hunting writes historical fiction (not exclusively). He first picked up the proverbial pen about a dozen years ago and has never stopped since then. He is the author of 8 books. Here are 7 of them..

  1. A Soldier Far Away: A Historical Novel of the Swedish Campaign of the Thirty Years War Merriam Press
  2. The Value of Men: A Novel of the Great Depression  Open Books
  3. High Metal Fences Black Rose Press
  4. Never a Good War: A Novel of the International Brigades Educational Publisher at Smashwords
  5. How Things Unravel Line By Lion Publications

Two latest books: Published after this blog post. Hurray for Robert!

6. To Bear Hard Things
https://www.amazon.ae/Bear-Hard-Things-Robert-Hunting/dp/B08JF17PWM/

7. The Misguided Thief
https://www.amazon.in/Misguided-Thief-Robert-T-Hunting-ebook/dp/B08HLDTQDQ

Robert, thank you for sharing information about you and your great writing tips with us. 

Thank you for reading this blog post. If you have questions or comments for Robert Hunting or me, please leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2020 Joan Y. Edwards

Flip Flap Floodle Will this little duck’s song save him from Mr. Fox?
Joan’s Elder Care Guide A guide to solutions for caregivers
80 Gospel-Based Crossword Puzzles for Year B Fun for Children’s Liturgy

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Violette Early, Author of “Blacklisted in America”

Violette Early, Author

Today we are honored to have as our guest, Violette Early, author of Blacklisted in America and editor of Reflections. Welcome, Violette.

Thank you, Joan. I am excited to meet your readers!

Great, Violette. Let’s begin.

  1. Where were you born? Chicago, Illinois
  2. Where is your favorite place to visit? Nantucket
  3. Did you ever want to hide when you were a child? Only when my father came from work. He always stopped to visit with mom. After settling in a bit,  he would make his rounds. My room was his first stop. If mom still had all her senses and hadn’t pulled all her hair from her head that meant I’d been a good girl. However, if I’d been bad, I’d have to pay when dad made his rounds. Then the next day, I’d go easy on mom.
  4. What are your favorite places to read a book now? Lying down.
  5. Why did you decide to write Blacklisted in America? Jon passed in 2005 and it wasn’t until about 2014 Jon’s oldest living cousin contacted me on Facebook Chat. After introducing himself as Rev. Dr. Alfred Early, he wanted to know what happened to Jon? Magazines like the Billboard stated that “A New Star Has Risen.”

“Because of quarrels with his father over his major at Notre Dame University, he left the university in the summer. He was eighteen and had no where to go. Jon noticed on a huge window, a picture of Uncle Sam pointing down at him saying “We want you.”

Alfred asked, “Do you have Jon’s discharge papers? Have you noticed anything unusual on his papers?

I said, “Yes, as-a-matter-of-fact all along the bottom of the paper are  numbers mixed with letters.”

Alfred said, “Please read them to me.  Meet me back here on chat in twenty minutes.”

When we went back, Alfred asked, “Are you sitting down? Jon was Blacklisted by the US Army.” This is why I began my research and began to write his story.

6. Why did you write this book?  This is my main purpose for writing our story, Blacklisted in America. I want people to know the truth about my husband, Jon Early’s life. No one knows the details better than me. I was an eyewitness. People may ask, “Is Jon Early’s biography the truth, the whole truth?”

My answer to them is, “Yes,  Jon Early’s biography is the whole truth.”

Jon Early
Jon Early
Jon Early loved to train dogs.

7. Writing, reading, researching, and revising this story has helped me deal with the facts with which Jon and I lived. I wrote it to help others who may find themselves in similar situations. No one deserves to live a lifetime of uncertainty.

Going back to the Army: They were very confident of their ability to fool the world. There was never a doubt with the Top Brass that they had the right man for their job. However, they  didn’t know how to manage Jon.

I decided people deserve to know the facts and in turn, may improve life for themselves, as well as others.

One of my favorite quotes is: “Never heard another singer sound more like Belafonte than Jon Early.”

Violette Early

8. Did you cry while writing Blacklisted in America? Yes, I did in Chapter 33 where I talk about Jon’s kidney failure. Most of the time I was too furious to cry because Jon abused his body a lot. Although Jon abused his body a lot. Amazingly he always seemed to pull out.  Each time it seemed like it would never happen again, however, it did. Only after Jon died on the third of March 2005 was he out of pain.

9. What do you want people to learn from reading Blacklisted in America? That the farthest possible reason why all of a sudden, the art world rejected Jon. It went so far as to deny him the theme song to a big movie that he actually recorded by United Artists, but they denied it. To us that meant he was blacklisted in America.

10. Who designed the cover for your book?  April Agbayani, our daughter, Sula Early, and I designed the cover.

11. Who edited it for you? Chris Morris and I edited it.

12. Who has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer? Besides my late husband, Jon Early, Joan Y. Edwards, John P. Weiss, and Tony Black have inspired me.

13. Do you plan on writing another book? I plan to write a children’s book and a novel.

14. What has been the most exhilarating moment for you as a writer? When Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing accepted “Blacklisted in America.”

15. What was your husband’s stage name? Jon, was his stage name. His regular name was John. In my first edition of Blacklisted in America,  I used Jake for his name and Isabella for mine to protect our son and grandson named John Early.

15. What happened to Jon in the military? It’s quite a long story but true that the military planned and expected Jon to perform. Jon was just short of a genius. He was able to learn another language like a speeding bullet. It’s all in the book details. Jon’s oldest living cousin Rev. Dr. Alfred Early D, Min., Ma, BS, discerned from a code on Jon’s discharge papers that the military had blacklisted him. We always thought his dark complexion was the problem, but everyone seemed to love Jon and his talent.

17. Were you able to find proof of Jon’s music and movies? It took me two to three years to locate his music and movies he was in. Everything seemed hidden or destroyed. United Artists and other recording studios denied his recordings.

In 1964 Jon recorded for United Artist the theme song to The Best Man.  Here’s a picture from Billboard Magazine. Jon Early with Edie Adams April 18, 1964 Premier of movie, The Best Man. Jon is the new United Artists Records singer who recorded the title song, “The Best Man” by Mart Lindsay and Noel Sherman.

Billboard Magazine. Jon Early with Edie Adams April 18, 1964 Premier of movie, The Best Man. Jon is the new United Artists Records singer who recorded the title song, “The Best Man” by Mart Lindsay and Noel Sherman.

The recording label for Jon Early’s song, “The Best Man” theme song for the movie of the same name. https://www.discogs.com/composition/14cb38b6-8db0-42b3-a9b6-ae6f0fa8814d-The-Best-Man

Reviews of Blacklisted in America by Violette Early

  1. 04/10/18 by Owomi Oduburu, an artist, writer, performer and singer from Nigeria, West Africa said, “Undoubtedly, the didactic works of John Early should be compared with that of notable writers like Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, etc. For his impeccably highly educative analytical works of arts. Blacklisted in America by Violette Early is dedicated to her noble husband, Jon Early, who contributed immensely in the entertainment industry before his demise in 2005.”
  2. Mr. Harry Belafonte noted “A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor, determination, and a leader of vividly colorful figures. A colored person’s Elegy has defeated his downfall. The story of a patriotic young American and his disappointment at becoming disillusioned with despair from their lies and deception. After all, when they had no more use for him their plans where to shoot him in the back and call it ‘an attempt to escape.’ Though Jon was very young and ignorant in the ways of U.S. Military, his family and all very influential friends needed-to-step-up and save him from the unknown. Instead, he was fed to the wolves.”

Blacklisted in America by Violette Early
Reflections by Jon Early edited by Violette Early.

About Violette Early

Violette Early (1943) grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago. After attending one year in a nursing program Eastern Airline’s flew her to New York City to work in their Manhattan Reservation Office. Then in 1974 after being married for six years, she had a daughter, Sula and six years later a son named John. Subsequently; following her husband passing in 2005, she returned to school majoring in English Creative, Writing, Research, and Literature in 2012. Violette was added to the President’s Honor Roll at Mt. San Jacinto College in 2014, for her outstanding academic achievements.
Violette Early’s family: her brother Jim and to his right, his wife Marie Pacetti, 5 children and many grandchildren. They live in Naperville, Ill.
Picture of Violette Early’s Grandchildren
Thank you for reading my blog. Thank you, Violette Early for stopping by for this interview.

The Giveaway is over. Thank you to those who participated.There will be other giveaways. I hope you’ll come back.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2019 Joan Y. Edwards

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