Who’s That Indie Author? Pat Spencer

Author Name: Pat Spencer

Genre: Thriller, Historical and Literary Fiction

Books: Story of a Stolen Girl (international thriller) and upcoming Golden Boxty in the Frypan (Historical Fiction) to be released in 2023 by Pen It Publications, and Sticks in a Bundle: The Early Years (Literary and Historical Fiction).

Bio:  Besides six states in the U.S., I lived in Canada and Germany. I love traveling and getting to know people and their cultures. When not writing or traveling, I golf, read, walk the beach, hang out with family and friends or frequent book clubs

What got you started as a writer? My second-grade teacher pinned my Christopher Columbus report on the bulletin board for parents’ night and then bragged about what a good writer I was. I was hooked. But then my career counselor in high school shared reports about how little money the average writer earned, so I went into education.

What is your writing routine? I write almost every day. I carve out time in the mornings and then again after lunch when I am home all day.

What route did you take to get your books published? I was pretty successful with my nonfiction writing. I published a textbook with the first and only publisher that I queried. Imagine that! I also served as a columnist for a large newspaper and as a columnist, reporter, and editor for a tabletop magazine. I also freelanced for a trade journal. I self-published my first novel, Story of a Stolen Girl. For my second novel, Golden Boxty in the Frypan, I sent out queries and accepted a contract offer from Pen It Publications.

What things do you do to promote your books? My favorite promotional activities are events: signings, book fairs, book club meetings, public speaking at community and service groups. I also post on my website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

What is your favorite genre to read and why? My favorite genre is generally a crossover of literary and historical fiction because these books typically provide the depth of character development and insight into the past that I enjoy.

Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? I prefer to write emotions and the six senses. Both can be conveyed in either dialogue or description.

Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Did this change the plot of your book The main character of my Sticks in a Bundle Trilogy surprised me by revealing more than I expected about her life and coming-of-age under the oppressive rule of apartheid. I thought she would tell me enough for one fairly thick novel, but her life was far too complex for that.

What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? Earning a Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside while being a wife, mother, and full-time professor at Riverside Community College.

What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? Many people and experiences have contributed over time, too many to list here.

What would you tell your younger self? Finish college while you are young. I completed my Ph.D. when I was 50 years old and that was hard. Then go out into the world and be bold—travel, see the world, meet people different than you.

Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? I have not met up with a bear, but if I did, I would toss all my food to him or her, and back away quickly.

You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? If I only have water, I’d chose a candy bar, but not necessarily Snickers. I prefer a Heath Bar, Payday, or $100,000 Bar. If I happened to have a beer in my backpack, I’d choose Nacho Doritos. Why? Because I don’t like to eat salty things while drinking water. It reminds me of all the water I swallowed when I surfed and snorkled.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? Probably 6 or 7. I like small kitchens and eating out.

Closing thoughts: I thank Book Club Mom for allowing me to share with you. Writing can be an isolating endeavor, so I appreciate opportunities such as this to talk with other readers and writers. If you would like to receive the traditional recipes my characters love to cook, log on to my website and send me a note.

Website and social media links:
Website: patspencer.net
Twitter: @DrPatSpencer
Facebook: Pat Spencer
Instagram: drpatspencer


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

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Are you a Rogue Reader?

READER BEWARE! I’m all over the place with this post – I was going to delete it because the more I think about things Im not exactly rogue. But I’m going to leave it because I really want to know what your TBR style is:

I often get myself into a bit of a reading conundrum because I go a little rogue when I select books to read. Some can be clunkers. But I never research books or read reviews ahead of time (except for my library job). I’ll never change the way I do things because, first of all, I’m stubborn and second, I think it’s fun to randomly pick books based on my gut reaction to the cover, title or very brief description. (Slight exception: I do have trusted friends and bloggers whose recommendations are ones I follow, but I never research the book beyond that). I guess I like to be surprised! That said, I’m occasionally disappointed, but you know what? You can be just as disappointed after reading a book receives hype.

My Kindle is still loaded with books I quickly picked to read during a recent trip. I’ve read three of them and I’m working my way through the titles. That’s as close to a TBR that I’ll ever use. Normally, I don’t like the feeling of having too many books waiting for me to read. Too stressful and not fun!

Here’s a contradiction: I love to hear and talk about what other people are reading and have read. I guess what I don’t want to do is build a long TBR that’s based on hype. I also guess I’m getting to know myself by writing this post 🤷‍♀️

Everyone is different and I know some readers love to have a bookshelf loaded with unread books. Or a long list of books to read. So today, I’m asking: What’s your TBR strategy? Leave a comment!

Currently loaded Kindle!

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Who’s That Indie Author? Grace Blair

Grace Blair

Author Name: Grace Blair

Genre: Teen & Young Adult Historical Fantasy, Self-Help Personal Development

Books: Einstein’s Compass a YA Time Traveler Adventure; Do You Have a Dream Workbook 5 Keys to Realize Your Dream; 5 Keys to Courage, Confidence and Creativity

Bio: Grace Blair is an award-winning self-help and motivational author, and a podcast host who has assisted thousands to find their spiritual wisdom to solve everyday challenges.

What got you started as a writer? I watched the television series Murder She Wrote. The main character, Jessica Fletcher was a writer who traveled and I thought I would also like to be a writer who traveled.

What is your writing routine? I write when my creative cup is full of the characters and stories who are ready for me to put on paper. When the cup is empty, I get up and do something else.

What route did you take to get your books published? Modern Mystic Media is my company where I self-publish. Bublish assists me to edit, publish, market, sell and track my sales.

What things do you do to promote your books? I launched Einstein’s Compass with a book blog and audiobook blog tours. I also submitted book listings on all on-line bookstores, including Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, and Google Play. I create promotions through Mailchimp and Bublish sends out tweets each weekend to 800,000 Twitter users. I use social media daily, specifically Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I also have a nationwide books distribution with Barnes & Noble through Bublish. In addition, editorial and book reviews for Amazon and Goodreads help spread the word. I participate in book signings in local bookstores and book fairs. I created a three-minute video to be shown on our local television station. I’m currently in a shopping agreement with a Hollywood producer who is assisting me with Einstein’s Compass to become a television series. Finally, I advertise twice a year on Kindle Daily Nation Kids Week book promotion.

What is your favorite genre to read and why? I love history. Through historical fiction I can be entertained and learn history.

Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? Both. I like writing descriptions as the background of story with dialogue to show the depth of the story and characters.

Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Yes, all the time

Did this change the plot of your book? Yes

What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? Overcoming an abusive early family environment

What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? My spiritual teacher, John-Roger, my husband, John Blair and Kathy Meis of Bublish.

What would you tell your younger self? Go to college

Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? No, I have never met a bear on a hike. If I did, I would growl bigger and chase the bear away.

You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? None. I do not eat sugar so not Fudge Pop Tarts or Snickers. I am lactose intolerant so no Doritos.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? Twenty

Closing thoughts: Einstein’s Compass received multiple awards in 2020, including the Best Sci-Fi Audiobook Review and the Indie Author Best Book Award and was awarded 1st Place in the Royal Dragonfly Book Award for Historical Fiction.

Website and social media links:
Website:ModernMysticMedia
Book: EinsteinsCompassBook
Linktree: @gracethemystic


Are you an indie or self-published author?  Do you want to build your author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

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Grammar check: further or farther – do you get it right?

I recently hesitated when I wrote the phrase “look no further,” referring to a search for Thanksgiving recipes. Was that correct? I thought back to the old rule reminding me that farther meant physical distance and further, well it’s different, but I couldn’t remember exactly why.

Jump to Grammarly, which explains it in detail, yet I’m still a little confused. Here is what seems clear to me about further and farther:

Farther connotes distance, but it can also refer to a more advanced point.

Both further and farther are adverbs, but further can also be a verb, as in, “She furthered her career” as well as an adjective, such as, “pursuing further information.” Still okay, but now things get murky:

Grammarly poses the question, “How do the definitions of farther and further overlap? Can you use further or farther away in the same way?” The answer:

“Some usage guides disagree, but both terms have been used interchangeably to describe physical distance.”

The following examples of confused me even more:

“The further from one another, the nearer one can be.”—August Strindberg, The Road to Damascus

“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now . . . Come further up, come further in!” —C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle

I felt a little better after I read further (haha, get it?).

The Chicago Manual of Style defers to Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary, which says:

“Farther and further have been used more or less interchangeably throughout most of their history, but currently they are showing signs of diverging. As adverbs they continue to be used interchangeably whenever spatial, temporal, or metaphorical distance is involved. But where there is no notion of distance, further is used.”

Their final tip is to remember that only further means moreover.

I’m probably going to do what I usually do when I’m unsure of correct usage, which is to rewrite the sentence so I don’t have to deal with it!

Do you have the further/farther rule down? What’s your secret?

By the way, when I ran the Spelling & Grammar check on this post, Microsoft Word gave me a 90%. That’s one of their new, annoying features.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Jackson Browne songs, Farther On.

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Book Review: Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara

Clark and Division
by
Naomi Hirahara

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I was interested in reading this crime fiction about the Itos, a Japanese American family that was sent to the Manzanar internment camp in 1942, after the Pearl Harbor bombings. Manzanar was one of ten American concentration camps, where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II, a shameful period of American history. While at Manzanar, the Itos and others lived in cramped barracks surrounded by barbed wire and wondered what they had done to be treated this way.

Source: Wikipedia

In 1943, U.S. government relocated “loyal” Nisei (2nd generation Japanese) to the Midwest and east coasts and the Itos were sent to Chicago. When twenty-year-old Aki and her parents arrive, they expect to meet Aki’s older sister, Rose, who had settled ahead of the family. Instead, they learn that Rose was killed the day before by a subway train at the Clark and Division station. Though the police rule Rose’s death a suicide, Aki refuses to accept that her sister, a beautiful and confident young woman, would take her own life.

Right away, Aki and her parents must plan Rose’s funeral. In addition, although the War Resettlement Authority found them an apartment, they must immediately find jobs to support themselves. Many other Issei (1st generation) and Nisei live in the Clark and Division neighborhood, including people the family knew in Los Angeles and at Manzanar. These connections help the Itos get settled.

Soon, Aki begins her investigation, talking to the police, the coroner, and friends. When she visits Rose’s roommates, she is sure they are hiding something. Can she trust family friend, Roy, who had hoped to marry Rose? Who are the rough-looking men in zoot suits who show up first at Rose’s funeral? Although determined to learn the truth, and emboldened by the memory of her sister’s fearlessness, several of Aki’s decisions endanger herself, her family, and friends. The story is a classic mystery in this sense and raises suspicion in several characters, leading Aki down a few wrong paths. An unexpected romance further complicates Aki’s investigation.

Told through Aki’s voice, readers learn about her family’s hardships, how they were forced to leave their homes and belongings behind, about the Japanese culture and their resettlement in Chicago. I was very interested in this part, which makes the book, in my opinion, more historical fiction than mystery. Through her characters, the author provides a look at Chicago’s multicultural neighborhoods and highlights the unique situations that arise during World War II. Hirahara, the daughter of Japanese immigrants, based her story on thirty years of research of Japanese American history.

I enjoyed reading Clark and Division. As I mentioned, I would describe it as a light mystery and heavier on the history, which was okay with me. I have read a lot of historical fiction set during World War II, but never one about the Japanese American experience.

No playlists today, but here is a song (Kenji by Fort Minor) that I immediately thought of when I began this book:

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Blog Views and Other Obsessions – What’s new?

Here’s a mishmash of my current blogging experiences:

In my last post about blogging, I announced that I was tentatively happy because my spam comment problem seemed to be resolved. You may remember that my blog had been inundated with spam and it was even spamming email accounts connected to blogs that follow me. That was horrible. To fix it, I turned off pingbacks and trackbacks and closed comments after 30 days. IT’S WORKING! What a relief. Now I don’t have to spend time deleting spam. If you are having problems with spam comments, I highly recommend you turn off pingbacks and trackbacks and close comments after 30 days.

Have you noticed that the fonts have changed in draft mode? It doesn’t affect the final post so not really a big deal, but you know…change.

How’s everyone doing with the block editor? Are you using all the features? Have you converted your old posts from the Classic format? I’m doing pretty well and don’t find it hard to use, but I don’t use nearly all the features. I do like using the “Resuable” blocks when I write a post, though, and forced myself to learn how to create them. It saves a lot of time. As for converting from the Classic format, I have had mixed results. I’m not on a mission to change them all, but if I’m linking to an old post, I like to update it.

Did you notice that the Reader layout is different? At first, I thought, “Whoa, WordPress, enough with the changes” but I actually think it’s an improvement. IMO it’s easier to get an idea about the post and honestly, everything looks more attractive.

Now here’s something that I wish would happen. When I link my blog to something else, I have to manually set the link to open in a new tab. I would love that to be a default setting. Does anyone else think about this?

That’s about it for me. What are some of your recent blogging observations? I hope you’re having a good Saturday!

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Book Club Mom’s Author Update: News from Richard Fulco

Hi Everyone, Happy Friday! I recently caught up with author Richard Fulco to learn about his newest book, We Are All Together. Learn more about it here:

Author name: Richard Fulco

Genre: Literary Fiction

Books: We Are All Together and There Is No End to This Slope

News: We Are All Together by Richard Fulco, on sale November 2022

It’s 1967, the Summer of Love. When twenty-one-year-old guitarist Stephen Cane’s promising band falls apart, he is forced to move back home with his Christian mother. Unwilling to give up on his rock and roll dreams, however, Stephen flees to New York so he can patch things up with his former friend and bandmate, Dylan John, a pioneer of psychedelic rock whose band is on the verge of making it big. When Dylan unexpectedly quits Red Afternoon to be a civil rights activist, Stephen is handed the opportunity of a lifetime.

Lured into the trappings and pitfalls of celebrity and confronted with a dangerous secret, Stephen spirals into self-doubt and misplaced loyalties. Against the backdrop of a nation in turmoil, Stephen questions his dreams, his parents’ loyalties to a bygone era, his inability to choose wisely in love, and the unfortunate legacy of racial discrimination. 

We Are All Together addresses a nation struggling with its mythological past and the effects it has had on the integrity of the individual. Does the artist owe the world anything? Does the ailing world need another rock star? 

Website/blog link:  www.richardfulco.com


Are you working on a new book? Have you won an award or a writing contest? Did you just update your website? Maybe you just want to tell readers about an experience you’ve had. Book Club Mom’s Author Update is a great way to share news and information about you and your books.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

Open to all authors – self-published, indie, big-time and anything in between

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Gone with the Wind playlist on Spotify!

Hi Everyone,

One of my Top 25 favorite books is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Today I’m sharing a Spotify playlist of songs I selected to complement your reading experience! Even if you’re not on Spotify, you can still see the songs I selected. I had fun putting it together and hope you’ll check it out!

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Book Review: Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Good Company
by
Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I knew this book was going to be good before I even started it, and it wasn’t because I thought I’d relate to the characters’ professions or to the setting, but simply because I loved Sweeney’s characters in The Nest and was confident she would write another good story! The main characters in Good Company are two married couples who have been best friends since their early days. Three of the four are stage actors (one is a doctor) who move from New York to Los Angeles and undergo west coast career and life changes. I’m neither a New Yorker nor an Angelino and my last stage performance was in my school’s fifth-grade production of You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. The reason the book is good is because Sweeney draws you in with her characters, who are really just regular people who face typical life problems. The title, named after the actors’ New York theater company also looks at old friendships, family, love and marriage and forces the characters to question if they are indeed in good company.

The story begins in Los Angeles, when Flora Fletcher finds her husband’s lost wedding ring in the back of an old filing cabinet. Thirteen years earlier, Julian had told her the ring had slipped off his finger while swimming and, despite searches, they had declared the ring lost forever. So, what’s it doing in the cabinet?

Flora’s discovery puts a cloud over their daughter, Ruby’s high school graduation party that night and leads to an unraveling of her life and marriage as she knew it. How can this be? She and Julian are in a good place in their marriage and careers. She’s a voiceover actress for a popular animated show and Julian stars in a successful seventies’ series. Also at risk is Flora’s relationship with her best friend, Margot, now a regular on a popular medical drama.

This is a book about transitions and the stresses that pop up, a super-interesting topic to me. I love how the author writes about how big life changes force you to reassess.

While Los Angeles is their current home, New York City and Good Company’s upstate performance venue figure prominently. The author jumps back to New York, when Flora and Julian first meet, marry and have Ruby. I liked the realistic dynamics between Flora and Julian in during these times, what they disagreed about, how they soldiered on, despite not having regular work. And while readers know Flora and Margot, who are very different from each other, are best friends, I liked learning how they became that way and what Margot brought to the relationship. Readers also learn about Margot’s marriage to David and why he gave up his practice.

I could say a lot more about this book, but readers are better off enjoying it first-hand. Told from several points of view, readers get a look into the minds of Flora, Margot, Ruby and later, Julian. Sweeney tackles the universal tough questions, writes with humor, and gives us authentic and likable characters.

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Looking for indie, self-published and hybrid authors – is that you?

Are you an indie, self-published or hybrid author looking for a way to tell the world about your books? Who’s That Indie Author is a great way to introduce yourself to readers. It’s also an opportunity to connect with bloggers and expand your network through connections on WordPress and social media.

Take advantage of a chance to show your talents. Submit an author profile and see your name travel from blog to blog and tweet to tweet!

Check out these recent Who’s That Indie Author profiles:

Jacqueline Church Simonds
Jacqui Murray
J.Q. Rose
Heather J. Bennett
Priscilla Bettis

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for more information.

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