Meet Phyllis Moore

 

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My guest this week is Phyllis H. Moore, author of Opal’s Story and the Sabine Trilogy. She’s here to discuss her newest release. Welcome, Phyllis!

Tell me about your new book.

My latest book is Tangled, A Southern Gothic Yarn. It is a saga of the Kirkland family, an east Texas oil tale of new money and bad blood. Nettie Randall, the newest generation and protagonist, is desperate to discover her father and try to redefine the Kirkland legacy. However, she is still tied to her dysfunctional mother, Delores Cecelia Kirkland and the haunted mansion built by Nettie’s great grandmother, Roberta. Nettie is sensitive to spirits, human and animal, and looks to these angels for guidance and information. She has choices to make, but she does not always distinguish between the heroes and the culprits.

Who is the audience for the book?

I think all of my books would appeal to women who enjoy fiction with some mystery, twists and a touch of humor.

Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

I live close to the fictional scene of my book. It is a sparsely populated rural area near the Texas coast between Houston and Beaumont. It is a productive oil field in close proximity to east Texas and the Louisiana border. When I worked as a social worker, I frequently rode the ferry from Galveston Island down the Bolivar Peninsula. I liked the birds and landscape of the area and made up stories in my mind about the families that might live in large houses down isolated roads. I am familiar with the beaches, storms and barriers to daily living in the area.

I did some research regarding life in New Orleans in the early 1900’s to formulate Nettie’s great grandparents and how they arrived in the area. The other characters I drew from my years of social work and situations I found families in during my visits.

What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Originally, I wrote the story from Nettie’s view point as a precocious child. After attending a writer’s conference, I decided to rewrite it from a third person point of view and change Nettie’s coming of age story to more of a reflection of her childhood. It was difficult to reimagine her older. I also added two characters. Weaving these characters into the story took time, but I enjoyed it and love the characters: Pup and Tess.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I envisioned people when I was writing and I clearly saw Margo Martindale from August Osage County, playing Mrs. Sophie and I saw Woody Harrelson as her husband, Joe. I am so out of touch with the young actresses, but Jennifer Lawrence or Abigail Breslin would be Nettie and DeCe would be Ashley Judd. DeCe is the most colorful character- and the most flawed.

Have you written any other books?

Yes, I have written a novel, Opal’s Story. It is set in west Texas, a place I visited often as a child. A tragic event occurs in the late 1940’s and a family has to deal with that history in preparation for the death of the central character in 2008. I have also written a trilogy, The Sabine Trilogy: Sabine, Josephine’s Journals and Secrets of Dunn House.

Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Yes, I am in three Facebook groups and talk with a group of self-published authors in my area.

Do you write every day?

I try to write every day. When I do, I write all day and I do not want to stop.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I like Fannie Flagg, Rebecca Wells, Rick Bragg, Jeanette Walls, and Kathryn Stockett. Women’s Fiction in the gothic style is what I enjoy most. Occasionally, I will pick up something my husband is reading in the thriller/suspense genre and I always enjoy it, but it is not what I am drawn to first.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

Scotland. I want to look at castles, men in kilts and sit in a pub.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write and write, then write some more. Read From Where You Dream by Robert Owen Butler and then write again.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I like the old horror movies, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? The movies before gore and blood became popular and Bette Davis wore gauzy gowns and red lips. Anything by Alfred Hitchcock. Those remind me of my childhood.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Enjoy your skin and body because it is going to be downhill . . . and pay attention to what you enjoy and do that. Follow your passion.

Describe yourself in three words.

Gardener, reader and writer.

Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?

I began writing three years ago when I was sixty. I had no idea I would enjoy it as much as I do. Then when I started thinking about publishing what I had written, I soon found I may not have time to wait for agents, editors, etc. I made the decision to self-publish. I have learned to format, design covers, and this marketing thing. The things I have learned about social media and algorithms boggle my mind and I still don’t understand it, but there are new things to learn every day. It has been a learning curve of major proportions, but a terrific ride.

Here’s a bio I’d like to share with my readers about you, Phyllis:

Phyllis H. Moore is a retired social worker. She has reinvented herself twice since retirement in 2004. Her first reinvention was to own and operate a bed and breakfast with her husband for seven years. You never know people until you sleep with them. After selling the B & B, they moved to a cabin in the country and she began to write three years ago. Phyllis lives on a small ranch with her husband and their adopted terrier, Ollie Bubba. They also claim a gopher-eating feral cat. Phyllis enjoys travel, reading, gardening, writing, and visiting her adult children on Galveston Island, Texas

Where can readers connect with you?

http://www.phyllishmoore.com

https://www.facebook.com/phyllishmooreAuthor/

http://www.pinterest.com/corazon

https://www.Amazon.com/author/phyllishmoore

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6047212.Phyllis_H_Moore

https://www.twitter.com/phyllishmoore

Where can readers find your books?

http://www.phyllishmoore.com

https://Amazon.com/author/phyllishmoore

Thank you so much, Phyllis, for visiting Reade and Write. Readers, do you have any questions for Phyllis? Please feel free to ask them in the comments below.

And before you leave, please consider lending me your voice for the release next month of my new novel, House of the Hanging Jade. I’ve set up a Thunderclap campaign. It’s like an online flash mob. It’s easy to participate. You just click on this link: http://thndr.me/RgNkzh and sign up to support House of the Hanging Jade through your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. It doesn’t cost you a cent and Thunderclap doesn’t share your information or do any other nasty thing. On April 26th, release day, a blurb hits your feed that says you support the House of the Hanging Jade Book Birthday. Thank you!

Until next week,

Amy

 

Happiness is Pineapple…and a Book Birthday!

House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today (2)

Only six more weeks until the release of House of the Hanging Jade! I’ve spent a lot of my time lately writing guest posts, doing interviews, and updating my social media sites in preparation for the new book. At the bottom of this post I’ll provide you with a list of all the places you can find me online. I hope you’ll visit!

One of the many things I love about writing is the research that I get to do. Sometimes it’s online, sometimes it’s in a library, sometimes it’s on a field trip. This time it was in one of my favorite places, the kitchen. I thought this week I would share with you one of the recipes I found while I was writing House of the Hanging Jade. It comes from Betty Shimabukuro, a managing editor and writer for the Honolulu newspaper, the “Star-Advertiser.” One of her most popular columns is called By Request, and it’s where she tries to find answers for cooks looking for old recipes, ingredients, and inspiration. I have two of Shimabukuro’s books- By Request and By Request 2, both featuring reprints of some of her most popular and requested recipes.

I haven’t even made it through the entirety of Book 2 yet, because the recipe for Pineapple Nut Bread stopped me in my tracks and I can’t seem to move past it. The best way I can think of to thank Betty for printing the recipe is to share it with as many people as I can. It’s got crunch, sweetness, and a moist cakey texture that is delicious.

Pineapple Nut Bread

1 and 3/4 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. chopped macadamia nuts or walnuts

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

2 eggs

1 c. crushed pineapple, undrained

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ loaf pan. Sift together dry ingredients. Stir in nuts.

Cream brown sugar, butter, and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients (mixture will be dry); fold in pineapple. Pour into loaf pan.

Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over loaf. Bake 50-60 minutes.

You’re welcome.

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Please note, I didn’t check my macadamia nuts for freshness and I made the loaf with rancid ones. Sooo gross. I had to spit out that first bite. It was actually my only bite.

I hope in these weeks leading up to the release of House of the Hanging Jade that I can provide you with a few more Hawaiian-style recipes that you’ll find delicious, too. In the meantime, here are those social media links I was telling you about:

Webiste: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Goodreads author page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Tumblr: www.amymreade.tumblr.com

And here’s one more thing I want to tell you about: it’s called Thunderclap, and it’s like an online flash mob. I’ve set one up for the release of the book. It’s easy to participate, and I hope you’ll consider supporting me. You just click on this link: http://thndr.me/RgNkzh and sign up to support House of the Hanging Jade through your Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. It doesn’t cost you a cent and Thunderclap doesn’t share your information or do any other nasty thing. On April 26th, release day, a blurb hits your feed that says you support the House of the Hanging Jade Book Birthday.

Once you sign up, let me know in the comments below and I’ll enter you to win a paperback copy of House of the Hanging Jade. Even if you don’t win, you’ll still get my undying thanks.

Until next week,

Amy

 

 

 

Meet Sally Cronin

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Please welcome Sally Cronin, author of a short stories, a copious and impressive blog, novels, and a number of books on health, wellness, weight loss, and media training. Her most recent book is called Tales from the Garden. I’m particularly thrilled to have Sally on Reade and Write because she is a tireless and selfless promoter of other authors.

Hi, Sally!

Thank you so much Amy for inviting me along today to talk about my books and blog.

Tell me about your new book.

My latest book is a collection of fairy stories called Tales from the Garden and the stories cover the usual fairy story themes of love won and lost, evil witches and handsome princes.

Tales From the Garden small- Cover

Who is the audience for the book?

Judging by the comments it would seem that fairy stories appeal to all ages and I was surprised by the reaction from men and women when they read the stories originally on my blog. It would seem that ‘Happy Ever After’ is still popular.

I love “Happy Ever After” stories. Tell me about the setting of your book—how did you choose it, what kind of research did you have to do, why did you choose it?

The setting is primarily my garden here in Spain in the mountains to the north of Madrid. Most people assume that Spain is hot the entire year but being at 900 metres we have alpine weather. At night in the winter it can be minus four to five but in the wind shade, with the sun out, you can sit out and tan. The garden reflects this with evergreens and colour most of the year around. We bought the house 17 years ago and the original owners had collected stone statues that were dotted around the garden and sometimes hidden in the hedges.

We have the house on the market and apart from the glorious weather and views, I will miss the large figures that are far too heavy to take with us. I realised that if I created stories for each of them, I could take those with me instead. I did do some historical research on the area in general for some of the stories based in previous centuries but apart from that it was just letting my imagination run riot.

What a charming way to take the statues with you wherever you go! What was the hardest thing about writing the book?

Probably the hardest thing was to keep up to date with the photographs as there are 80 in the book. I also took some pictures when back in the UK and Ireland in gardens of my family to enhance some of the stories and also to add more snow or grey skies when needed for a story line.

If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?

I would love to see the book as an animated film in which case I think there would need to be a central narrator with a great voice. Someone with gravitas such as Patrick Stewart… Captain Pickard from Star Trek… Make it so!

Tell me about the other books you’ve written.

I published my first book in the late 90s based on my weight loss and the programme I designed to lose that weight. Size Matters is now in its fourth edition and Ebook. This was followed by three other health books: Just Food For Health which is one for the whole family, Forget the Viagra; Pass me a Carrot which is a men’s health manual, and Turning Back the Clock which is an anti-aging guide. My fiction is a romantic comedy for ladies of a certain age called Just an Odd Job Girl and a collection of short stories – Flights of Fancy and Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, the book co-authored by our Rough Collie. I also have a Media Training guide that I have used in my training consultancy in the UK.  They have all been converted to Eversions in the last 18 months which has been a great opportunity to promote them again.

You must be a very busy woman. Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?

Actually only a personal one. My husband is a book designer and we work closely together not only on my own books, which David reads and adds constructive feedback, but also for our authors we work with.

Do you write every day?

I do write every day but not always on my current book. I find that particularly with books on health it helps to take a break and write in a different style with a more creative topic. I post on my blog at least once a day and if I am promoting another author it is more likely to be twice a day.

When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?

I was weaned on Wilbur Smith and fell in love with epic novels that brought terrific characters and adventures together. I am currently reading Bernard Cornwell again, alternating between Viking novels and Sharpe. That will probably keep me busy for a couple of years!  I also love books that explore our origins so have Jean M. Auel, author of the Clan of the Cave Bear and the rest of her books in the series about Ayla in hard and paperback.

Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?

We have travelled a lot in the last thirty-six years and I also lived in South Africa, Malta and Ceylon as a child. We have lived abroad for 22 years of our marriage although I have been back and forth to the UK for extended periods to look after my mother. Once we move back to Ireland we have one more long haul trip to make and that is to take the train across the Rockies in Canada, visiting friends and family and taking in that stunning scenery.

It sounds like your own life would provide you with lots of ideas for books and stories, both fiction and non-fiction. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t force yourself to write in a genre because you think it will sell better than another. Your first book should be about something you are passionate about, understand and can communicate well. Once you have finished the writing… At the very least spell check and then if you feel you cannot edit yourself find someone who can. If you cannot afford to pay an editor then check your local colleges or university for someone who is majoring in English or your native language; see if they will take the book on as part of their course. Read and read again and it helps if you read out loud to establish how the narrative flows. Then decide how you are going to publish the book but do not be too disappointed if you do not get an agent or mainstream publisher. That may happen if your first book is successful in time. These days there are plenty of ‘how to’ blogs and books that will guide you into self-publishing especially in Ebooks. Nothing should stop you if that is what you really want.

What is your favorite movie and why?

I have loved the movies since early childhood from “Lawrence of Arabia” through to “Mama Mia.”  If I had to pick a movie that I can watch at a drop of a hat, “The Last of the Mohicans” would be the one. From the opening scene as the three men chase a stag through the forest to the last scene as they look out over the changing world they now face, it keeps the pace and flow beautifully. The cast is magnificent with Daniel Day Lewis in the lead role, the script is brilliant and the music superb. You cannot beat an incredible story brought to life with exceptional direction and acting.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

That the decisions that you make on the spur of the moment can have long lasting effects on your life but that is not necessarily a bad thing. And to be grateful for what you have and delighted when you get more than you thought possible.

Describe yourself in three words.

Writing, music and chocolate.

A woman after my own heart! Can you see yourself doing what you are right now for the rest of your life?

Absolutely. I would like to publish a book at 100 years old and still be able to make people laugh.

Where can readers connect with you?

My blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

Social Media: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Where can readers find your books?

All my books can be found via my Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2.

Also I have my own bookstore and the books are slightly cheaper there links can be found along with reviews. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books/.

Thank you again Amy for your hospitality.

And thank you, Sally, for your thoughtful and inspiring responses to my questions. I’ve loved having you on Reade and Write.

Until next week,

Amy

P.S. My end-of-winter newsletter is now out! You can view it by clicking here. If you haven’t signed up to receive it yet via email, click here. All my subscribers are entered for a chance to win a Hawaiian Swag Bag to celebrate the release of House of the Hanging Jade. Void where prohibited.