Friday, December 25, 2015

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Thursday, October 8, 2015



Derik Barnes was born and raised in the inner city of Baltimore, Maryland. He can be described as ambitious, focused, and intellectual - a go-getter.

Despite early exposure to the struggle for balance that all young men face, Derik overcame. Through struggle in his personal life, he felt it his responsibility to assume the position of "man of the house" at an early age. It was not always an easy task to choose the right path when so many of his friends chose another direction, but continued on, knowing it would somehow pay off in the end.

After graduating from high school, he became active in both the prison reform programs and community cleanup to help restore some of the very inner streets he often traveled. Much like most of the city, those areas were no "walk in the park" and were considered some of the most crime and drug infested. Derik's strong sense of personal security later landed him a career as a Maryland State Correctional Officer. During his eight years of employment as a correction officer, he was required to secure various institutions throughout the state. With the respect and trust gained by those around him, including his colleagues and the inmates, Derik became very familiar with the patterns of the young men entangled in the prison system.

As his desire to help others grew, Derik increased his efforts and later moved on to become a Baltimore city firefighter. By no means did this desired career move come easy, but it proved to be most rewarding. Moving about the city streets once again at a different capacity gave Derik a unique perspective on the issues concerning young men.

With his book, The Science of Manhood, Derik hopes to reach and inspire young men by sharing life experiences and strategies not only to revitalize these young men, but also to help generations of men to come.

APRI (KD): Favorite quote.


APRI (KD): How did you get started as a writer?

DB: Writing started for me as an outlet to help myself and others facing hardship in life.

APRI (KD): Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.

DB: I'm an outstanding cook. I listen to Stevie Wonder's son "LOVE'S IN NEED OF LOVE TODAY" everyday. Video games relax me & help me to think.

APRI (KD): Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family members.

DB: Manhood training class.

APRI (KD): Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?

DB: Events in my own life.

APRI (KD): What was the hardest part of writing your book?

DB: Sharing my personal situation with my children.

APRI (KD): Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

DB: Anyone who has lost their way in life and want to get back to the path of greatness.

APRI (KD): What can readers, who enjoy your book, do to help make it successful?

DB: Share the information; sponsor a book for someone who needs it. Stay in touch!

APRI (KD): If you could speak to all the youth of tomorrow in one setting what would you tell them?

DB: That everything they need to achieve their dreams and goals are already inside them. Fight like hell to protect it.

APRI (KD): Can you name one person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?

DB: My highschool teacher, MR. HEMPHILL, he would take time out to address me in my loss, self-destructive condition. He suggested books, lectures and various streams of information that ultimately started me on a life saving journey.

APRI (KD): What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?

DB: Study the successful ones, learn their habits, identify what you have in common with people who shake up the world.

APRI (KD): What do you like to ask other leaders when you get the chance?

DB: What they do to relax? How they start their day?

APRI (KD): What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?

DB: First with CLEAR VISION, LLC, it was born out of the obstacles that I've faced and had to overcome. To help empower others to stand and face the fears within themselves. CULTURE ESSENCE, QUALITY, NATURAL SKIN CARE was born to provide a need, first in my community and then the world. Both were born to INSPIRE!

APRI (KD): What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?


APRI (KD): Describe/outline your typical day?

DB: I awake between 4 am - 6 am, meditate, choose a hero for the day and embed a quote from them in my heart and mind. From 7 am - 10 am start telling the world of social media about my brand. 11 am - 1 pm workout Boxing, breathing mental combat. From 2 pm - 4 pm study and family time. 5 pm - 10 pm public access media, interviews, speaking engagements, etc.

APRI (KD): What makes you smile?

DB: Watching my family enjoy themselves.

APRI (KD):  How do you build a successful customer base?

DB: By handling people properly and giving them the best you can. Create a contact list and going door to door.

APRI (KD): If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?

DB: Dr. Charles Drew (INVENTOR OF BLOOD TRANSFUSION) because he embodied such a wide blessing to a narrow minded world. THAT TAKES EVERYTHING!!!

APRI (KD): Who has been your greatest inspiration?

DB: My mother hands down. She always reached for more in life and I was her #1 fan. I strive to live my life the same way.

APRI (KD): What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?

DB: A level of self satisfaction deep within themselves. The courageous drive from taking a risk and a job could never give you that.

APRI (KD): What are you hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?

DB: Watch interviews of people I admire, cook, play video games and family times.

APRI (KD): What question have you always wanted to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

DB: Still waiting on it!

Derik Barnes - Author of Facebook

Cultural Essence on Facebook

Website for Cultural Essence

Derik Barnes on Amazon - The Science of Manhood: Steps To Self-Improvement

Website for Clear-Vision Inc

Author Derik Barnes on Twitter

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Jody Ballard


A connoiseeur of the human by profession, globe-trotter by choice, a woman of pure commitments by heart and always a free spirit from Montana. Everything she does, she does with love! Jody writes with the deep knowledge and experience gained from being a licensed clinical therapist for over thirty years. Raised with the forthright values and ethics of a Montana cowboy. Jody now lives in the Middle East after living in eight Countries. She and her husband raised three intelligent, kind, and thoughtful global nomads. 

APRI: What happens when you feel home everywhere and nowhere at once?

JB: I feel home when I am with my love. We travel frequently and have lived in many, many places. So when we snuggle to go to sleep that is home. I also feel 'home' when I feel a welcoming warmth from people around me.....this usually must be initiated by me first.

APRI: Can you tell us about a time that you seized an opportunity and really took the ball and ran with it?

JB: I am not a person confirmed by fear. If I find something interesting and challenging, I will take the ball and run. This occurs right before I begin an extensive research. Once I have made up my mind I want to achieve something it is as if it is done. Most recently (well five years ago) I moved to a place foreign to me. I had been living in Poland, a predominantly Catholic country, whose cuisine is laden with pork products. The women are fashionable and not afraid to express their femininity with revealing clothing and the countryside and climate was dominated by four distinct seasons and verdant rolling hills. I moved to the exact opposite environment and found myself in a 'new section of the library' I was excited, enticed and challenged. Not understanding the language was the least significant obstacle.

I began to read everything, study the pool and customs and courtesies. I was immediately enthralled.

Two months after my arrival I opened the National Newspaper in Abu Dhabie to see a half page photos of Adrian Hayes and two other gentlemen on camels entering the island by way of a historic route over the Matqaa Bridge. I was interested to learn about a yearly migration to Al Ain and a courageous expedition of Wilfred Thesiger. I was interested but curious and understood how the women of this region had faired in this Bedouin process. I decided I needed to walk this 140 kilometers across the desert. Five years later I led 33 women in this endeavor which has become a year trek.

APRI: Just as you inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

JB: Hemingway, the Old Man and The Sea (to dare to speak the unspoken fears of the mind in a clear concise manner); Henry James (to dare to focus our minds on the darker elements of man's existence that only by bringing into the light can we normalize human sexuality). Garth Stein, the Art of Racing in the Rain (to dare to give such a very different perspective); So African writer Nadine Gordimer (incredible character development; and Faulkner (psychological understanding, great prose).

APRI: What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

JB: My best and most enduring accomplishment is my loving, intimate relationship of 35 years. At the end of my life this will be my joy; the connection at the heart, the heated passion, and selfless support of each other and the enduring depth of love and admiration we have for each other.

APRI: What's integral to the work of an artist?

JB: Pushing boundaries, setting fear aside to create that which comes from your intuition even when it is not validated by others.

APRI: What role does the artist have in society?

JB: To touch the hearts and minds of those around us. To tell a story or paint a scene to which people can learn and identify.

APRI: What's the strongest memory of your childhood?

JB: The overall pervasive feeling of being loved and nurtured.

APRI: What work do you enjoy doing the most?

JB: Nurturing or educating others.

APRI: What's your scariest experience?

JB: Three hours one night when I thought my daughter had been lost to me.

APRI: What is an artistic outlook on life?

JB: Artists look at the world in a different way. We take the time to not only appreciate the colors of sunset but to define the depth of hues interacting with each other or seeing a tree's leaves being blown by the wind and see it as soft or a grandfather's beard in the greying play braces of a tree.

APRI: What superhero do you have and why?

JB: My father....he was my super hero. He was kind and had the emotional intelligence of the most gifted therapist. He was morale and lived the values he exposed. He was a Montana Cowboy!

APRI: What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

JB: If you want something badly enough, do what is necessary to achieve it. Hold on and never give up.

APRI: Why do people ask stupid questions?

JB: Because we can never know everything adn you are wise if you are courageious enough to admit you do not know and seek answers from those who do.

APRI: What is essential to successful communication?

JB: Listening and connecting to the person to whom you wish to communicate.

APRI: What is your perception of life?

JB: Life is good and people are equally so.

APRI: When you have time to sit back and relax, what do you find yourself doing?

JB: Learning

APRI: If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read your work, what might you tell them?

JB: These are stories about life, you will see yourself in this work and might even find some answers to relationship questions you have.

APRI: When did you realize you were a writer?

JB: After years of working in a clinical setting as a therapist, then more years teaching and giving seminars, a lady approached me and said, "You need to write this stuff down. It will help more people." I realized most people appreciate a good story and we all learn from listening or reading about other individuals' trial and tribulations.

APRI: What makes you smile?

JB: Genuine playful outbursts from children. They are so pure in their reactions to a joyful event....adults can do this as well but have learned to suppress these spontaneous outpourings of joy.

APRI: What is your favorite word? Why?

JB: Kindness: something completely underrated in the world.

APRI: How would you describe your writing style?

JB: I write like I speak, I am What style would that be?

APRI: What question have you always wnated to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

JB: I don't believe I have ever not articulated what I wanted to say. Somehow I always find a way to get the message across...and always in the moment - by the seat of my pants. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Author Lisa Glenn


Marsocial Author of the year, "Runner up" Lisa Glenn, the author of The Leftovers.
I am currently a part time college student. I was born in Montana, but currently live in the panhandle of Florida where I am working on my second novel. I am the Mother of 4 and a Grandmother of 2. I have always wanted to write but never had the courage until now. I love to read and have thousands of books, so I guess it was destined to be. I am known for my shyness but I let it all come out in my writing. I write, I guess what you would call mainstream fiction. My books have a little bit of romance, action, and mystery with some inspirational thrown in. I stay busy taking care of my one child still at home, and a beagle mix named, Jasper. I work full time and attend college part time. I have two novels in the works right now. The sequel to Shelby an inspirational YA, and The Fisherman, a fantasy romance. I love coffee and chocolate, preferably Hershey's.

APRI: What do you do when you are not writing?

LG: Getting into trouble, well some of the time. I work part time at a local store, along with raising a 12 year old. She keeps me on my toes. I also sell Avon and design book covers. I currently, along with four other authors, am diligently putting together a book signing event in the panhandle of Florida.

APRI: Do you have a day job as well?

LG: Yes, I guess I kind of answered that one already. I do have a part time 9-2 Monday thru Friday job.

APRI: How did you choose the genre you write in?

LG: I am still trying to find my niche. I write YA and Fantasy but I'm currently working on a paranormal. I believe I will be sticking with YA in the future. I think my flow works better with that Genre.

APRI: Do you ever experience writer's block?

LG: Yes, I recently had a hard time of it due to this heat here in Florida. I felt like it drained my creativity. I couldn't write for two weeks. Writer's block hits me during periods that I cannot concentrate -- too much going on around me.

APRI: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

LG: Yes, Johanna Lindsey is my all-time favorite author. I read her books as a young teen. I still to this day love her writing. I was about 13 when I picked up Harlequin romance, and never stopped reading since.

APRI: Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

LG: Not knowing how or where to go was my biggest challenge. Then, finding out that the formatting was all wrong. It took me a good week to work it out. I read up books that gave detailed directions.

APRI: What's the biggest mistake you've made as a writer?

LG: Signing with a fraudelent publishing company.

APRI: If you had to convince a friend or colleague to read your work, what might you tell them?

LG: First off, I would suggest my young adult book - Shelby. This book is a heart wrenching read with unique characters. It's for any reader 13 and up. I think it's my best work to date.

APRI: How would you describe your writing style?

LG: Fast paced. I don't like to drag out my scenes. I want to hurry and get to the next adventure.

APRI: What makes you smile?

LG: Coffee, a good joke, and friends. My first cup of coffee of the day always puts a smile on my face. And I must not forget my daughter. She always makes me smile.

APRI: Take us through a day in your life...what does an average Monday look like for you, both professionally and personally?

LG: I wake up at 5 am, take my dog out to his kennel. Make a pot of coffee. I check my emails, post on my blog and FB pages. Do some marketing. At 7 am get ready for work. 9 am off to work and 2 pm home. Then do chores and then start dinner. After clean up back on computer. I check messages then get comfortable and write for 2 to 3 hours. Spend an hour or two with my daughter before bed.

APRI: What is your favorite word?

LG: Flipping. When I was younger I use to cuss so instead of cussing I would slip the word 'Flipping' instead. To this day I love that one.

APRI: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

LG: I post to 5 or 6 social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, TSU, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. I also use Yahoo and Google groups. I use my website for blogs and information. I have my book on a lot of free sites like - iauthor and bookbud. I published my books over many platforms. I haven't really found any better avenues yet for my Young Adult but still striving to find what fits me.

APRI: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

LG: The characters in my novel, The Leftovers, are actually based on family members. My book, Shelby, also has the characters based on my family. The setting of all my books are places that I have lived.

APRI: Tell us about your process: pen and paper, computer, do you write?

LG: I don't use an outline. It just comes to me. I write as if I am telling my daughter a story. When I finish the MS I read through it and fix the many mistakes and add more details. I usually write the beginning and the end first then add the middle.

APRI: Which writer would you most like to have a drink with and why?

LG: James Patterson. He switches genres. I want his secrets.

APRI: When was the first time you felt "Wow, my work actually has an impact on someone else?"

LG: When I released Shelby. The reviews started coming in and readers were asking for book 2.

APRI: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

LG: Toughest criticism - That my work was too fast paced was a tough one but that's me, that's how I write. It hurt at first but not everyone reads the same. Best compliment - The best compliment was again with Shelby. That my characters came to life in a heartfelt way.

APRI: What were you like at school?

LG: I was the class clown.


APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Author Brendan Landers


Brendan Landers is an award-winning journalist, short story writer and 
novelist. His short fiction has won prizes in the Dunlavin Arts Festival Short Story 
Competition (2006), the James Plunkett Memorial Award (2004), the Sunday 
Tribune/Education Matters Short Story Competition (1996) and the Toronto Star Short 
Story Competition (1995). Other accolades include Canada's Off The Wall Award for 
Fiction (1993) and the Ontario Women's Press Club Award for Excellence in Writing 
(1989). His short stories have appeared in publications such as Whispers & Shouts 
(Ireland), The Sunday Tribune (Ireland), Ireland's Own (Ireland), Ireland's Eye 
(Canada), The Celtic Connection (Canada), The Toronto Star (Canada), The White Wall 
Review (Canada) and Storyteller Magazine (Canada). Brendan writes regular columns 
for Suburbia Magazine and Upside Dublin. His journalism has also been published in a 
wide variety of Irish, British, Canadian and US publications, including The Irish Times, 
The Globe and Mail (Canada), The Vancouver Sun, This Magazine, Compass Magazine 
and Emmy Magazine (USA). He has guested on Sunday Miscellany and the Ryan Tubridy 
Show (RTE Radio),  Hearts and Minds (BBC TV), Newstalk Radio, CBS News (USA) 
and the BBC World Service. He is the former Publisher/Managing Editor of Ireland's 
Eye, a magazine for Irish Canadians, and the former Editor of the Irish Canada News, a 
Toronto-based monthly newspaper. He has written for a number of other publications 
that cater to the expatriate Irish community and people of Irish ancestry, including 
Irish America Magazine (New York), The Irish Post (Great Britain), The Irish Echo 
(Australia), The Celtic Connection (Vancouver) and The Toronto Irish News.

APRI: Do you have a specific writing style?

BL: I'm a Gemini and this may have something to do with why in my craftwork I have more than one writing  style. My published novel, Milo Devine, which is now available on Amazon as an e-book, is a political thriller with a protagonist who is a private detective. My writing style in this genre is crisp, sharp, fast-moving with short sentences and paragraphs, inspired very much by Film Noir and old-school crime writers like Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and James Elroy.

I am currently working on a literary novel and in this, and in my short stories I tend to employ a more expansive, descriptive prose style and more extensive use of metaphors and similes and suchlike.

And in my journalism, well, the market dictates that I adapt my style somewhat to the medium or publication for which I am writing.

APRI: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside family members.

BL: Ghosts. It's ghosts who keep me going at times when the spirit wavers and I get to thinking of trees falling in forests and wondering if anyone out there is listening to my noise. Mostly the ghosts of dead writers. The ghost of John Steinbeck, who warmed himself up for his writing day by writing letters to friends and colleagues (my predilection for writing first manifested itself in my early habit of writing letters to anyone and everyone who would read them). The ghost of William Butler Yeats ( appropriately enough in this year when we celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth) whose talent for evocative language and imagery was dazzling, wide ranging and breath-taking. The ghost of Frank McCourt whose gift for writing only spread its wings and was widely recognized when he was in his sixties. And the ghosts of all those writers, such as James Plunkett, Solzhenitsyn, Lorca, Marquez who worked to illuminate the human spirit, resist injustice and change the world.

APRI: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

BL: I always wrote. Letter. Diaries. Limericks. Poems when I was in my teens and tweens. It was an innate thing, an irresistible force in my makeup, and I did it almost without thinking of the impulses that were driving the engine.

APRI: Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

BL: Unique talents - does this mean that I'm allowed to shamelessly brag and boast and sing my own praises? Well, so - I think I have a bit of a talent for loving and I like to love large. This is not a philanthropic urge; it's selfish. Selfish is the best sense. I only really identified its nature when I heard a talk by a Dublin-based priest, Peter McVerry, who has devoted his life to working with the homeless; when a person in the audience commented that this was a great sacrifice and the homeless should be grateful to him, Peter shook his head and said no, God is Love and it's he (Peter) who should be grateful because by accepting him into their lives those people offer him the chance to work and love among them. I'm an agnostic but I totally get what the man was saying. And so I must be grateful for this little talent of mine. I think it finds its ways into most of my work, especially my newspaper and magazine columns about family and relationships.

APRI: What can we expect from you in the future?

BL: I have written a sequel to the Milo Devine novel and am hoping to do a series of books featuring the Milo Devine character. I am seeking a publisher. The novel on which I am currently working is about life in Ireland in the age of austerity. It's called Buster's Last Stand and it's about a man grappling with his ambitions for himself and his loved ones, set against the backdrop of a community dealing with the havoc wreaked on it by the implementation of the neo-liberal agenda that is so much in vogue nowadays.

I also continue to write newspaper and radio columns and blogs. I have a number of short stories written about fatherhood and at some time I would like to do a story collection on that subject.

APRI: Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

BL: Do the work, keep trying and heed Beckett: Fail, Fail again. Fail better.

APRI: What are the most important elements of good writing? According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers?

BL: What do you mean by good? It's such a subjective thing. Must-have tools are a stout heart, something to say and persistence. And practice!

APRI: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

BL: Getting started, avoiding distraction and staying the course. In my earlier years the frequent rejection that is part and parcel of the writing life was painful but now I don't give a shite about that.

APRI: If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?


APRI: What triggers your story ideas?

BL: Life.

APRI: What impact, if any, do you feel the advent of e-readers has had on increased interest in short stories?

BL: I suppose e-readers make everything more accessible. The short story does seem to be enjoying some popularity now. I don't know if this is because of the brevity inspired by technology and the attendant shorter attention spans - e.g. flash fiction - or if short stories are just coming into fashion. If you live long enough, you see everything come back for another run around the block. Flash fiction is supposed to be new but sure isn't the Bible full of it. The most conscise and full sentence ever written is in there - "Jesus wept".

APRI: Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

BL: Yes. It's an old Native American saying - "He who is about to tell the truth should have one foot in the stirrup."

APRI: Do you have a favorite writing space or a place you go to for inspiration?

BL: I complete the act of writing in my office at home but I find that a lot of inspiration occurs to me when I'm mellowing out in the sauna and Jacuzzi at the gym.

APRI: Is there a specific short story that made such an impression on you that you have never forgotten it?

BL: I can answer those questions together. I have two favorite short stories, both of which I first read many moons ago and both of which are both just bursting with humanity - The Confirmation Suit  by Brendan Behan Guests of the Nation by Frank O' Connor which, I think at least partly inspired the plotline of the Neil Jordan movie The Crying Game.  I am also a fan of the short stories of the great New York writer Damon Runyon - showing my 62 years here. On a more contemporary note, the collection  The Deportees by my fellow Dubliner, Roddy Doyle, is brilliant.

APRI: What are the things you're most proud of having written, from any time in your life?

BL: I was chuffed when my first published short story appeared in a publication called Ireland's Own  back in 1984. And again when my first novel first appeared in shops in 2001. But there are two pieces of which I think I am most proud. When I was 14 years old I wrote a letter to the newspapers complaining about the use of corporal punishment, which was then in use in Irish schools. The letter was published and caused a bit of ruckus and its publication lit a fire in my heart which was never extinguished. Then, in 2009, I wrote a column in the Irish Times about my anger and disappointment at the corruption and incompetence which I had perceived in Irish governance since I returned in 2001 from 17 years living in Toronto; the positive response to this piece by Irish exiles from all over the world was phenomenal and I was immensely touched and pleased to have articulated their feelings.

APRI: What's the strangest or most interesting thing you've ever written about or researched for a writing project?

BL: Probably the most emotionally intense subject I have written about was the Irish famine graveyard on the island of Grosse Ile in Quebec, where millions of the refugees who fled the Irish Great Hunger of the 1840s landed - and where thousands of them died horrifically, as did many of the wonderful Canadian volunteers and officials who tended them. The Irish President Mary Robinson mad an official visit to the island in 1994 and I covered the occasion for the magazine., Irish America. The experience had a profound effect on me and actually shifted my sense of identity so that now I identify myself as not just Irish, but of the Irish Diaspora.

APRI: How do outside forces influence or shape your writing?

BL: Falling in love. Fatherhood. Injustice. Fun. Such things give my work substance and passion.

APRI: Why do you write?

BL: As the Irish playwright Hugh Leonard said, "Writing is a disease.". I'd go along with that. And it's a disease with no cure.

APRI: What's your take on blogs and the burgeoning onilne media culture?

BL: I blog. It's great craic.

APRI: What do you do in your spare time?

BL: I hang out with my wife and my 20-year-old son. I read. I love movies, music and the theatre. I hill-walk in the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. I body-board in wild waters of the Atlantic, mostly in Dingle, County Kerry.  I enjoy a few pints in the pub and the occasional sing-song. I am currently undergoing treatment for prostate cancer (my prognosis is very good), so in recent months I haven't been pursuing some of those activities as much as I would like but I am looking forward to getting back to them with gusto.

APRI: What question have you always wanted to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

BL: That's a great question. I suppose the question would be 'What's the point?' And the point is - writers are driven to write. It's a vocation. Can't be denied. Some writers just need to write to get it out of their systems - it's almost like therapy for them. That's not enough for me though. I write for people to read my work and when my words touch them in a meaningful way in the core of what they are, when it makes them angry or cry or get so and at an injustice or an unfairness that they do something about it - well, what could be better than that?


APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Author Amy Rachiele

Bio for Amy Rachiele

Amy Rachiele is a Reader, Writer, Tea-er, Werewolf-lovin', Sci-fi Junkie, who won't survive the Apocalypse unless she has a tailor made Iron Man suit.

Amy is a military spouse and brat who spent many years volunteering and on staff for the Army National Guard, and who has a propensity for writing about alpha-male mobsters. Her first self-published book is Mobster's Girl and it made it to Amazon's bestseller list for romance and family saga.

She devoted 10 years to teaching at-risk students at the secondary level and watching reruns of Star Trek. She holds a Master's Degree from Rhode Island College in English and Secondary Education. Besides writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, sewing, traveling, and pretending to know how to knit. Amy lives in Massachusetts with her son and husband.

APRI: What do you see as the most important first step in considering self-publishing a book?

AR: Commitment. You must be committed to completing your project. We all have good intentions, however, once you start you realize how much work it is to follow through with your endeavor. Many people abandon projects.

APRI: How significant is book design in contributing to book sales and self-publishing?

AR: I have wrestled with book cover design since I started self-publishing in 2012. I have made a few covers myself and have paid for most of them. I find with my genre niche of Mobster Romance, an alpha-male on the cover usually draws the most attention.

APRI: How important is self-promotion when self-publishing a book?

AR: Self-promotion is critical because I am not only the writer but I am also the marketer, cheerleader, and publicist. I have to dedicate a great deal of time in developing my platforms. No one will find me if I don't advertise. Indie-publishing is a small business venture and I must treat it that way. I have developed a business and marketing plan to keep me focused.

APRI: What avenues of self-promotion did you find to be most effective and accessible?

AR: The most effective avenues of self-promotion for me have been advertising on Facebook groups dedicated to books and authors, and a website. Developing a mailing list of dedicated followers has also been instrumental in continuing to build a fan base.

APRI: What advice would you give self-published authors about book tours?

AR: I have only participated online book tours. They seem to help get the word out about a new release. i always notice a spike in sales after I have been to one.

APRI: What was your greatest challenge in self-promoting your book?

AR: My biggest challenge in self-promoting my book has been taking the time away from writing to promote my currently published works. There has to be a balance. Hiring people to do advertising is helpful, especially if they are familiar with the inner workings of the Internet that you aren't, but no one will take care of your small Indie book business better than yourself.

APRI: Where do you get your ideas?

AR: The word "ideas" is a very broad term. Usually, the action or plot of the story is taken from a story I may have heard about while growing up and taking it and making it ten times bigger. The characters though are what some authors like to call muses. They are characters in my head that want their story told. Many are inspired by people in my life or have appeared in my head spontaneously.

APRI: Are you a romantic?

AR: I am definitely a romantic and find enjoyment in reading romantic stories that have a great deal of action and adventure mixed in. I love paranormal romance and historical romance even though they are not the main genre that I write in.

APRI: Where do you write?

AR: I do not write in one specific place. I use my mac desktop, laptop, and my phone to write. I take my work with me wherever I am going in case the mood strikes or I have an epiphany for one of the projects I am working on.

APRI: What do you do in your spare time?

AR: I love to travel in my spare time, and I take my writing with me always. At home, I enjoy such crafts, such as quilting and needle felting. I have recently purchased a spinning wheel and learned how to spin raw fiber into yarn. I am currently learning how to weave on a loom. I truly love to learn how to do new things.

APRI: How would you describe your writing style?

AR: My writing style is defined as a "panster" which means I do very little planning. I have some idea of where the story is going and how it will end, but I do not sit and plot every scene and chapter like a "plotter" does. I let the story and the characters lead me. I have attempted to plot but the story always takes me in a different direection than what was plotted out. I would like to be a combination of both plotter and panster because I feel that it would strengthen my writing. Being a writer is similar to being a painter, the more you do it the better you get. I believe that is true with all of the arts.

APRI: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

AR: I first started writing in the 7th grade. I wrote a story about some family drama that was going on. The title of it was The Will. I never finished it nor do I have it at this point in my life, but I will never forget writing it. The biggest influence in my writing has not been my own, but the writing of others. As a child, I was a huge reader, even now in adulthood. I believe you have to be an avid reader to be a writer.

I began to seriously consider self-publishing a book in 2008. I never finished it and tossed the original draft in the trash. I still am planning on completing that book because I love the characters. I have restarted A Walk in Hell three times. I hope to have it published in 2015-2016 under the pen name A.T. DeWinter.

My first self-published book, Mobster's Girl, came out in June of 2012. It made it to several best-seller lists on Amazon and I was shocked. It became a series and there are now five books currently available in the Mobster Series (All of my books can be found on all major book sites. Kobo, Ibooks, Googleplay, Smashwords, etc.)

APRI: How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

AR: The best avenues for marketing the Mafia/Mobster genre are the major social media sites, and teaming up with other authors in the same genre niche.

APRI: What project are you working on now?

AR: I am currently working on four projects. A short story called "Enforcing Fate" for a  for a Mafia/Organized crime anthology that is going to be published by Limitedless. The short story will be the beginning of book 2 in a new series I have coming out called The Chicago Mob Series. Book 1 is Mobster's Angel and Book 2 is Mobster's Fate. I also have A Walk in Hell that I am trying to finish.

APRI: Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

AR: My favorite character is Vito and he is in all of my Mobster Series books. he became a very popular character, and I wrote his story in Mobster's Angel. He exemplifies a larger than life mulit-leveled character that is an anti-hero.

APRI: How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

AR: I was given advice from another author that the title should make it obvious about what the book is about. I felt using the word mobster in each title would help readers who enjoy that genre to find me.

APRI: What question have you always wanted to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

AR: What do I like to read? My genre is not one I would pick up naturally. It comes naturally for me to write, but not a first choice for enjoyment reading. I am a vampire, werewolf, sci-fi romance reader. I love a great shifter story. I am thoroughly enjoying Laurann Dohner's New Species sci-fi series--each book never disappoints.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Author Kristal McKerrington

Bio for Kristal McKerrington

Kristal McKerrington is from Scotland, UK. She has a love for Scotland and the Vikings. She writes erotica, young adult thrillers and all different kinds of romance books. She is the former writer also with Calling Spots Magazine. She works with her co-author Joe E. Legend on a line of books, which started in 2013.

Kristal McKerrington has been a professionally published author since 2010. She writes for Reem Vision and is the former writer of Bishop-Lyons Entertainment. She is published worldwide. She has been a commentator for TMZ. She is an award winning marketing and promoting author. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America's Association and recently joined the Erotica Guild. she's represented by the Gilbert Literary Agency. She is building a strong media presence with over 1,635 fans on her fan page and she is climbing on Facebook too.

APRI: What makes you smile?

KM: Well that depends upon what I am doing. A perfect wrestling show or a really good book is my go to happy items. My husband is always making me smile and my best friend Debbie.

APRI: What do you think most characterizes your writing?

KM: I think people read my books and walk away with an emotion of some kind. They feel absorbed into the storyline or there is always an element they can relate too. I think that is what makes a good book.

APRI: Tell me about your writing process. How do you come up with the characters? What about plot?

KM: Some books come from my own life and me working out closure for things I didn't get closure from. That's apart of it. Sometimes the ideas come to me in my sleep or when I'm watching and show or listening to music. My characters come with those ideas or things I need to work out with the plot forms as I break down the chapters into a series of notes.

APRI: How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

KM: A friend talked some sense into me after I stopped dancing and spent three months in hospital. The world changed before me and I started to write all the stories tht had been living in my head.

APRI: What inspires you?

KM: Life and those who are in it. A lot of the time I think my story ideas come from God.

APRI: Why did you choose to write more than one, how do you balance them?

KM: Well each story comes in a queue that I form at Christmas time every year. I write each out the book breakdown once a week which I call a planning day. Then I work through books that are queued up unless an emergency comes in that needs to be done first.

APRI: What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

KM: I see that it helps people work out their problems or helps others to leave their problems for however long they get to read. I think we are a calmer world when we are able to escape life for a while and enter another person's world. Some books help to teach people how to handle their own crisises in their own lives. I think its a very important part of culture to be honest.

APRI: Why did you start writing erotic fiction?

KM: I have gotten into this genre to express my sexual side. It was a good place to let out my own feelings towards the world of sex, love and life. I think that people enjoy the stories that I have discovered on my own adventure with my husband.

APRI: Do you think anyone can write erotic fiction?

KM: I think they need to have a good understanding that erotic isn't about just sex and all the different things that you can do with the human body. Its about the romance, love and what leads to that. A plot is highly important and I don't think that people should go into the genre unless they have a good understanding of the romance genre first.

APRI: What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

KM: I don't think there is anything that they don't know about me as I'm a very open author. There isn't many of them out there.

APRI: What process did you go through to get your book(s) published?

KM: I have so many I go through so here is the standard one. i write the book; then I send it to Amanda for editing; then I go through it and then send it to my agent who goes through it. She then decides on which publisher it goes too and its sent off to them. When one accepts it then it goes to an editor of the publishing company. The books are proofread before its sent to the publisher who then publishes the book. During that time I have gotten together with Amanda and created a one off cover for the book. That is sent to the publisher then its released to the world.

APRI: Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

KM: I write through logic and emotion. Those two things drive my break down of the book; then I let the music, emotions of the characters to drive my writing style of that book. I break down the book, write out the blurb then I go through each chapter to writing the book; then I check each chapter meets my notes; then adjust the notes to keep me right.

APRI: What do you like to read in your free time?

KM: I read everything. Mostly the genres that I'm writing in is what I will read during the month.

APRI: Do you find there are recurring themes in your books that you seem to keep coming back to?

KM: Romance mostly which sometimes annoys my amazing co-author Joe E Legend. Romance has been at the center of my heart for so long.

APRI: Do your leading men come from any place in particular? Dreams? Movie stars?

KM: Sometimes I don't realize that the people I'm writing are movie stars or TV stars. Most of the men I write are based off someone I see on TV or in the movies. Sometimes its just based of the people I meet in real life. I'm just luck enough to have met several stars.

APRI: When you walk into a book store, where do you head first?

KM: I love Fantasy and Paranormal romance so I go through then head to the romance section which is (General Fiction) in the UK. I then head over to erotica to see wht is out. I always start at the Best Sellers shelves to see what is hot in my industry. I also check out USA Today.

APRI: Are you a morning or night person?

KM: I'm such a night person. I can't do mornings even if I was paid to.

APRI: If you could live anywhere on the this planet, and take everything you love with you, where would you choose to live?

KM: I have to say it would be somewhere in the US for sure.

APRI: What is the scariest thing you have ever done for fun?

KM: I climb cliffs that were considered danger. At another time I jumped off an unmeasured sea bed to see how far I would let myself go.

APRI: What is the best thing you have done in your life?

KM: Meet Ian and become common law husband/wife.

APRI: What question have you always wanted to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

KM: I'm usually asked the same questions over and over again. So I don't think that there is a question that I would love to be asked. I would properly want to talk more about wrestling. 


Sunday, August 23, 2015

APRI PRESENTS: Interview with Author Anna Kristell


Anna Kristell is a small town gal from Southern Indiana with a passion for romance. She has lived in Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, but returned to Indiana in 2005 where she resides with her husband. An avid romance reader since her teens, it has always been her dream to create love stories of her own.

When she is not writing, she can be found at her day job in the billing department of a local community mental health center, reading, traveling, or spending time with family and friends.


Isabella Kole lives in southern Indiana, where she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Always an avid romance reader, she began writing several years ago and although she has several sweet romances published under a different pen name, Accepting His Terms is the first erotic romance in her collection.

When not writing, Isabella can be found traveling around signing books and meeting her readers, working at her day job, or simply enjoying life.

APRI: What's your writing process. How did your book(s) get from idea to something submission worthy?

AK: I work a full time day job, so my writing process is somewhat erratic, to say the least. Ideas come to me at all times and when I have time, they become books. I usually write out an outline and the blurb first, from there I begin the book, a lot of times straying from the original outline during the writing process. To get to submission worthy status, I have beta readers who go over the book, word by word, with a fine tooth comb. I go over it myself several times before submitting it.

APRI: When did the fact that you sold become "real" to you?

AK: Probably the day I received my first book cover. Seeing my title, my characters and my name on that cover spoke volumes.

APRI: If you had one specific piece of advice for people pursuing publication, what would it be?

AK: I say it all the time to aspiring authors. "Don't give up." It took several years for my first idea to actually become a published book. I hit the ground running after that, but only because I never gave up. I researched publishers, I submitted and I waited. I was rejected. I researched more publishers and I submitted. I wrote another book and I submitted to another publisher. Three days later, I had a contract for the second book. One week later, the contract came for the first book from a different pub. And so it began...

APRI: What's the hardest part of the writing process?

AK: For me, I'd have to say it's coming up with a believable conflict. All romance storylines have to have a conflict, something keeping the hero and heroine apart. I can dream up all kinds of scenarios, but are they going to be believable to the reader? I have an active imagination, but will others like the idea? Luckily, I have people to bounce my ideas off of. They don't hesitate to tell me if an idea stinks.

APRI: What is erotica all about?

AK: There is a debate about the difference between pure erotica and erotica romance. What I write, under my second pen name, is erotic romance. Those stories delve deeper into the sexual relationship of the couple. My sweet stories leave the sex scenes behind the bedroom door, so to speak, and are implied. If described, it is in mild terms, more of a sensual scene than an erotic scene.

APRI: Why did you start writing erotic fiction?

AK: I belonged to a group on Facebook, where most of the authors were erotic romance authors. They, along with my publisher, encouraged me to try it. I tossed the idea back and forth for a while and finally agreed to try one book, under a different pen name. I struggled with it, had a lot of help from other authors and from my publisher, and finally finished it. It was my intention there would never be another. The book sold more than any of my other books (at that time) combined from the get go.

APRI: Do you think anyone can write erotic fiction?

AK: No, I don't. For some, it comes as naturally as breathing. For others, it is pure agony. You have to feel comfortable with what you're writing. It took awhile for me to feel comfortable with it. It was only with the help and support of many of my author friends and a wonderful and patient publisher that I was able to overcome that feeling and to on to create erotic romance stories that people actually want to read. I currently have six out and a seventh one submitted. They have done extremely well.

APRI: What's your favorit line from any movie?

AK: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Rhett Butler, Gone With Wind.

APRI: If you were to create a slogan for your life, what would it be?

AK: "Set aside a moment in each day for words, whether read or written, and no matter what the day brings, there is that one brief moment of pleasure to see you through anything."

APRI: What was the unique about the setting of the book and how did it enhance or take away from your story?

AK: All of my stories take place either in a place I have lived or visited. I think that enhances the story, because I know the area firsthand. I can name real places of interest, which I feel makes the story more unbelievable.

APRI: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

AK: I started writing as a child, but my first novel began in the year 2000. It was stopped several times and finished in 2008, put on the back burner, and picked up again in 2012. I rewrote it and I received a contract for it in August of that year.

APRI: How did you come up with the title?

AK: My titles sometimes just come to me and other times, my daughter or one of my beta readers come up with an idea. My first book, Crossroad to Love, was decided upon because each of the four female characters in the story was at a crossroad in her life. The rest of the books in that series have the word Road in them to go along with the first one. Hence, my logo, Road to Romance.

APRI: Are the certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you'd love to work with?

AK: I love to go back to my characters. My first book became the first in The Fab Five series, published with LazyDay Publishing. Another favorite of mine, Remember Our Promise, became the first in the Promises Trilogy, released by Rebel Ink Press. I recently wrote a ghost story novella, which will be the first in a series for Mystic Books. Even my spicy side turned her first book into a trilogy. As far as a theme, I'm seriously considering trying something with a racing race car driver or crew chief...

APRI: How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

AK: Another great debate! I prefer print books for my own reading pleasure, however, I understand the concept behind ebooks. It's much more economical to publish an ebook, and many people prefer reading on a device. When traveling, it's much easier to pack a week's worth of reading onto a device rather than take along a handful of paperbacks.There are pros and cons to both.

As far as the publishing part of your question, wow. That's a biggie. For me, I waited so long and worked so hard to get picked up by a publisher, the idea of self publishing doesn't appeal to me. That's not to say, I won't try it at some point in the future. I've considered it and I'm sure I will again.

There are a lot of successful authors who self publish. Right now, I write for four different publishers and I don't have time to even think about self publishing, which entails a lot of work. In a few years, I hope to retire from my day job, and devote my days to writing full time. At that time, I may revisit the idea, as I would have more time to devote to the details. In a nutshell, what works for one doesn't always work for another, so I think each author should do what works best for him or her.

APRI: What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

AK: Audio books are becoming very popular. I think we may see an increase in the sales of those. People will always read and they will always write. Genre preferences will change from time to time. What's selling the most right now may not sell as well two years from now. It's important to stay informed and to know what your readers want.

APRI: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was your reason behind writing under two different pen names - one for romance and one for erotica romance (ex: were you planning to write multiple fiction genres)? Why?

AK: My reason simple. I already had a following as Anna Kristell, many of whom were family and friends. Some of Anna's readers would be offended by erotic romance as opposed to what they were used to from Anna. So, if I was going to enter the erotic world, it would have to be under a different name. That way, my readers would have a choice. If they wanted sweet romance, they knew to purchase Anna's books. If they liked spicier type of story, they went to Isabella Kole. It's no secret that Anna and Izzy are the same, although some folks don't realize it. Isabella has always been promoted as the "spicy side of Anna Kristell."

APRI: What question have you always wanted to be asked during an interview? How would you answer that question?

AK: Q: Where do you see yourself in five years? A: In five years, I hope to be splitting my time between writing full time and traveling to author events, signings and conferences all over the country. It would be a dream, combining my two loves, writing and traveling. The conferences I've been lucky enough to attend in the past two years have given me access to valuable workshops and the opportunity to meet and become friends with a multitude of readers, authors, publishers, bloggers, reviewers, models and more. I've visited cities I never thought I'd ever see. If I had the time, I would see so many more. Writing has opened up a whole new world for me. I love every aspect of it, from creating the story, to stalking the rankings on release day and finding that I am bestseller, to sharing it with people from all over the world. To meet a reader at a signing who tells me she has read every one of my books melts my heart. Of course every author dreams of hitting the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists. Yes, that would be awesome, a dream come true, but even if it never happens for me, the fact that there are people out there anxiously awaiting release day for an Anna or Isabella book makes it all worthwhile.