Meet a Reader: Sharon Aguanno

  • Sharon Aguanno Reader interview
  • Here on Reade and Write I’m trying out a new idea- I’ve had such a great response from my interviews of authors that I thought it would be fun to interview readers, too! My first reader interviewee is Sharon Aguanno, a woman I met just after my first book, Secrets of Hallstead House, came out. She sent me a message on Facebook asking a question about the book and we’ve been in online contact almost every day since then. If you read the comments after each post here on my blog, you’ll notice that Sharon has been a faithful commenter every week. I’m so grateful for her friendship. Welcome, Sharon!
  • How often do you read?
    I try to read daily. If I am not reading a book, I am reading blogs, which I love!
    What is the name of the last book you finished?
    If audio counts, I just finished listening to Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction, by Amy Metz. Although I had previously read it, I wanted to hear the southern speak. And I just finished Maggie King’s Murder At The Book Group.
    Audio books definitely count! What are you reading now?
    I just downloaded Memory of Light, by Mollie Cox Bryan (This is outside of my genre, but I love Mollie’s writing style, so I am going to read it.)\
    I’m also looking forward to reading Memory of Light. What is your preferred genre?
    Mysteries, Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction, Crime, Detective stories and Law and Order.
    How often do you venture outside your preferred genre?
    That’s a good question. A year ago I would have said never. However, last year I read 75 books- 40 new (to me) authors and many genres. The only genre I will stay completely away from is horror. I am a big
    What was the last book you read outside your preferred genre?
    The Retreat, by Chariss K. Walker.
    Are you in a book club?
    No, I don’t have the patience to read a book at a slow pace. However, I do like when an author adds discussion questions at the end of the book.
    Where do you obtain most of the books you read- from a bookstore, online, the library, borrowed from a friend, etc.?
    Online, and occasionally someone will send me a book via mail.
    How do you decide which books to read?
    I follow lots of author and Facebook pages. When I need a book, I go out to the blogs and pick one.
    What is in your To-Be-Read pile?
    I was upset in January and I discarded my TBR. I figured I would never get to them. Now it’s July and I realize I should have kept it… LOL. There are a handful of books that I downloaded when they were free. Mostly cozies! Kathi Daley, Mollie Cox Bryan, Sarah Hobart, just to name a few. Also, my TBR usually contains authors and books. I see an author on a blog or Facebook page and I go out to Amazon and check them out. For example, if it’s a series, I like to start with the first book rather than their Work-in-Progress.
    Do you pay attention to especially bad reviews of books when deciding whether to buy or read them?
    Absolutely NOT. I have found that bad reviews usually come from people who haven’t even finished the book. A little criticism or suggestion of what a reader would like to see is one thing, but rudeness in a review is unacceptable!
    Amen to that! Lots of people don’t have a favorite book for a variety of reasons. Do you have a favorite? What is it?
    Reading is my passion; I don’t have a favorite book, but lots of favorite authors. When I find somebody I like, I will read everything they write!
    Where is your favorite reading spot? 
    My bedroom. I have a cozy chair and I face a big window looking out onto the street. Since I am on the second floor, I look at roof tops and trees, and I love the sunrise as it comes over the homes in the morning.
  • Anything else you want me to know?
    Yes; since reading is my all time favorite thing to do, I follow many authors and blogs. Occasionally I will come across one that I disagree with and I don’t have a problem stating that. Having said that, I want you and all authors to know that I have the utmost respect for your profession. Being able to create characters, dream up a plot and tie it all together is a talent that the avid reader, like me, only dreams about!
    Thank you! That’s such a nice way to end the interview. I loved having you on Reade and Write! Sharon didn’t mention it, but she has her own blog where she talks about all things books. You can check it out by clicking the following link:
  • I’m looking for more readers who would like to share their love of reading! If you’re interested in being interviewed, let me know in the comments below and I’ll be in touch. Authors, you’re welcome to put on your reader hats and join in!
  • Until next week,
  • Amy
  • P.S. You may have noticed these bullet points throughout my last several posts. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to get rid of them. I’ve tried everything.


The Disease of Being Busy

This is a beautiful post about unplugging and spending more face-to-face time with our family, friends, neighbors, and community. I encourage you to read it, as well as the thoughtful comments which follow. How is your haal today?


I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.”

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Meet Patricia Gligor

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Today on Reade and Write I welcome Patricia Gligor, author of the Malone Mystery series. She’s here to talk in particular about her newest book, Mistaken Identity. Glad you could be here, Pat!
Tell me about your new book.
In Mistaken Identity, the fourth book in my Malone mystery series, my main character, Ann, and her two young children leave Cincinnati to vacation on Fripp Island in South Carolina with Ann’s sister, Marnie. While going for an early morning walk on the beach the day after the Fourth of July fireworks, Ann finds the body of a young woman in the sand.
Mistaken Identity
Who is the audience for the book?
A tough question. Although my main character is female, both men and women play important parts in the series and my characters encompass all ages from children to senior citizens. However, if I have to pick a specific audience, I would say “women from nineteen to ninety.”
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?
In order to write about a place, I need to have a “feel” for it and I’ve visited (and loved) Fripp Island and Beaufort, South Carolina, the settings for the book. As I always do when I travel, I took lots of photos while I was there, and picked up pamphlets and maps to bring home with me. (I never know what places will one day end up in one of my books.) Of course, in addition to first-hand experience, I do some of my research online.
What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
I think the hardest part, the toughest decision for me in writing the book, was how much actual southern dialect to include because I wanted my readers to “hear” the characters speak.
Tell me about your other books. 
As I mentioned, Mistaken Identity is the fourth in the series. The first three are Mixed Messages, Unfinished Business, and Desperate Deeds. All three take place in Cincinnati, my (and Ann’s) hometown.
Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?
I am. I belong to the Queen City Writers Critique group and I wouldn’t trade the other members for the world.
Do you write every day?
Normally, yes. I usually write between two and four hours every morning. Sometimes though, “life” gets in the way and family obligations have to be the priority.
When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?
I love mystery novels, from cozies to suspense. Mary Higgins Clark and Joy Fielding are two of my favorite authors and there are so many small press authors whose books I enjoy that the list is too long to post here.
Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?
Just about any tropical Spanish speaking country with gorgeous beaches. Two of my favorite vacations were to Mexico and Puerto Rico.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Develop a social media presence BEFORE you submit your manuscript to an agent or a publisher. Set up a blog and/or website, join several social media groups including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Post on your blog and on the sites regularly and participate in the discussions. In other words, get your name out there FIRST because agents and publishers are sure to Google your name. If they come up with a blank, even the greatest novel of the century will most likely be rejected because they won’t even bother to read it.
That’s always the advice I give people, too, because it’s the best advice I ever received.
What is your favorite movie and why?
If I absolutely have to pick just one, I’d have to say Delores Claiborne starring Kathy Bates.
Describe yourself in three words. 
Gorgeous, sexy and brilliant. (LOL) I’m sorry, Amy, I couldn’t resist. I know I’m honest, loyal and determined but that sounds so boring – more like a cocker spaniel than a person.
Great answer!!
Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
Yes. I’d like to mention my WIP. I’m currently (slowly but surely) working on the fifth Malone mystery. If all goes as planned, Marnie Malone will be published before the end of the year.
Where can readers connect with you?
Where can readers find your books?
My books can be ordered from any bookstore and they’re available at several online sites in paper and eBook versions. The link to my amazon author’s page is:
Unfinished Business  Mixed Messages  Desperate Deeds
Thanks for being here today, Pat!
Until next week,

Meet Marja McGraw


  • Author Photo Newest
    This week I welcome Marja McGraw to Reade and Write. Marja is a prolific author of two mystery series and two standalone mysteries. She’s here to discuss her latest novel, Choosing One Moment – A Time Travel Mystery. Thanks for visiting, Marja!
    Tell me about your new book.
    Choosing One Moment – A Time Travel Mystery is a departure from the norm for me. Carrie McFerrin travels from the present back to 1909 where she has to figure out who’s trying to murder two sisters. In the process, she learns more about her ancestors and develops relationships that she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life. Being in a different time period is quite an adjustment for Carrie, and simply trying to speak as though that’s where she belongs is an issue while she tries to track down a killer. There’s a little romance in the air, but I’m not a romance writer, so it’s secondary to the mystery of the day.
    Who is the audience for the book?
    With the story taking place in 1909, it’s about as clean as a book can be, so really, readers of any age might enjoy it. I would imagine those who enjoy mysteries and a bit of history and a slight touch of humor would also enjoy this story.
    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 a fictional small town in 1909 Washington. I recently moved to a small town in Washington and I’m so taken with it that I wanted to use it in a story. My research was more of 1909 general history than this area in particular. Thanks to the historical society in Vancouver (Washington) I even learned what the name of the first theater in Vancouver to show silent movies was, and used it in the book.
    What was the hardest thing about writing the book?
    The hardest part was remembering how far technology has come and not using modern appliances and jobs in the story. I also tried to be careful about the vernacular of the era. Since the character, Carrie McFerrin, has traveled back to her ancestors, keeping the relationships straight was no small issue, either.
    If your book were made into a movie, who would you like to see playing the main characters?
    I haven’t got a clue, to be honest. I’d like to see actors who can be true to the time period play the parts. In the era of the book, people were generally smaller than people in the present, so size might even be an issue.
    I know you’ve written other books – can you tell us about them?
    I write two series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries, plus I have one other standalone story, Mysteries of Holt House, totaling fourteen books when I add the new one. The Sandi Webster series is about a young female detective, and the Bogey Man series is about a Humphrey Bogart look-alike who’s an amateur sleuth. All of the books are light reading with a little humor.
    Are you in one or more critique groups or partnerships?
    I have three people who critique for me, and two of them aren’t authors. I critique for the other one, Dorothy Bodoin, also a mystery writer.
    Do you write every day?
    Pretty much. Having just finished Choosing One Moment, I’ll probably take a break and take care of personal issues, while still trying to market and promote. It’s a never-ending job, but I love it. My day usually starts around nine o’clock in the morning and ends whenever it ends.
    When you read a book, what authors do you like best? What genres do you like best?
    I’m a diehard mystery reader, and enjoy books with some humor more than others. There are several authors whom I enjoy – too many to name here.
    Where would you like to go more than anywhere else on earth?
    I’d probably say Australia, but I’ve already been there (and loved it). My second choice would be Scotland, but I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe I just enjoy the Scottish accent? I have no idea why it fascinates me.
    What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
    First, don’t talk about writing a book – do it! Secondly, grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to like what you write, so don’t take things too much to heart. At the same time, often there’s a little pearl of wisdom in criticisms, so after you get over your hurt feelings, reread the comments just in case there’s something that might be helpful.
    What is your favorite movie and why?
    It’s a tossup between “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Secondhand Lions”. There was a made-for-TV movie with Mary Tyler Moore titled “Secret of the Rose Garden,” too, which I enjoyed. Now that I think about it, I really enjoyed “Red”, too. And “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Hmm. Once again, too many to name.
    What advice would you give to your younger self?
    Everything happens for a reason. Wait for the future to see where things will lead you. Life is good, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.
    Describe yourself in three words.
    Tenacious, stubborn, soft-hearted.
    Is there anything I haven’t asked that you wanted me to?
    Not really. This has been an interesting interview, and I appreciate that you touched on so many subjects.
    Where can readers connect with you?
    I have Marja McGraw Mysteries on Facebook (click here for the linkand a public email at I’m on Twitter, too, but I’m so non-techie that I have no idea what I’m doing there. I also have a website at, which will soon be completely rebuilt.
    Where can readers find your books?
    They’re available on Amazon (click hereand you can request them at your favorite bookstore.
    Thank you for having me as a guest, Amy. I hope you’ll visit me on my blog and do a guest post
    I would love that!
    Marja McGraw was born and raised in Southern California. She worked in both civil and criminal law, state transportation, and a city building department. She has lived and worked in California, Nevada, Oregon, Alaska and Arizona. She wrote a weekly column for a small town newspaper in Northern Nevada, and conducted a Writers’ Support Group in Northern Arizona. A past member of Sisters in Crime (SinC), she was also the Editor for the SinC-Internet Newsletter for a year and a half. Marja writes two mystery series: The Sandi Webster Mysteries and The Bogey Man Mysteries, which are light reading with a touch of humor. She also occasionally writes stories that aren’t part of a series. Marja says that each of her mysteries contains a little humor, a little romance and A Little Murder! She now lives in Washington, where life is good.
    Choosing One Moment Final
    Thanks for visiting, Marja!

    Until next week,

  • Amy


Book Recommendation: “Trials Elsewhere” by R. Matthias

Steve Jobs once said, “The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” The author of today’s book recommendation is one of those people.

I don’t normally read non-fiction, but a while back I saw a blog post about R. Matthias’s book, Trials Elsewhere: Stories of Life and Development in West Africa, and I thought it sounded interesting. And when I actually sat down to read the book, I was not disappointed.

The author of Trials Elsewhere is a Canadian IT specialist who travels to the Gambia in West Africa to make the world a better place. The book offers an up-close look into his life in a place that is vastly different from the West.

The book is divided into two parts: the first part is about the author’s life as an NGO (non-governmental organization) volunteer in West Africa. After his stint at the NGO, Matthias takes a job with an internet service provider (ISP) and the second part of the book shares the story of his experiences as a manager in the ISP office.

Matthias’s path from idealistic fresh-faced volunteer to jaded office manager is strewn with stories ranging from burglaries to a run-in with the secret police, to a jungle trial, to corrupt officials to a tyrannical boss and his subversive secretarial sidekick, to his invitation to a local wedding as the “expert” photographer.

What impressed me the most about Matthias’s tales was the insight he gains from the time he spent in the Gambia. He understands why he becomes bitter and frustrated and more importantly, why the people of the Gambia don’t share his initial enthusiasm about bringing change to West Africa. He understands that Western ways are not always understood or welcomed in the Gambia, and he changes his managerial methods to dovetail with the attitudes toward work shown by his employees and colleagues. He presents his ideas clearly and concisely, with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure.

There is quite a bit of technical jargon in the book, and I had to skim through some of it because I simply don’t understand it. That being said, I think such sections would be very intriguing to someone with an IT or other technical background.

Thanks to R. Matthias for this glimpse into a world I have never seen!

Until next week,