Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of Barry Rudner, author of 'Silent Voice'

Barry Rudner has been an author/poet of self-esteem books for children for over thirty years, dealing with universal truths such as, reaching for your dreams, homelessness, undying friendships, disability awareness, always being yourself, autism awareness, hope and utter silliness. He firmly believes that we cannot educate our children unless they feel good about who they are; and ultimately, as they grow up, they will not feel good about themselves unless they educate themselves.

Thanks for letting us interrogate you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

In the late ’70s while in graduate school, I read Shel Silverstein’s, The GivingTree, and it changed the direction of my life. I thought it was the most linear thought that has ever been committed to paper for children. I have been chasing after it ever since.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

It is the hardest business you will ever love. But once it gets into your blood, there is no remedy for it. Writing is no different than a beating heart. It beats whether you think about it or not. It is visceral.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

My writing career has been a hybrid of both. But the one thing I never did was take rejection personally. In fact, I thrived on it because it meant my manuscripts were being circulated. 

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I am sure if my parents were alive today they would be very proud. I have a surviving sister that has always been there to encourage me throughout my career. I also have a dog that probably understands things better than I do.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

I once received a letter from a child and she asked, “Are you and Frankie the only animals who live in your house?” We have been together for eighteen years. I am at her beckon call. She deserves it. Although I am not proud to admit this, I have not had relationships that have lasted eighteen days. :)

What about your plants? Are they actually still alive?

Only outside they have surviving chance. I leave it to nature’s care. 

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I have been a bachelor all my life. So most meals are eaten right over the kitchen sink. I am barely technical enough to answer my smart phone, and I only answer to my dog. She is the boss.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

Just once in my entire career, I walked into a major bookstore chain. I meandered into the children’s literature section and there, sitting on the floor was a young girl sitting cross-legged reading one of my books. I was so stunned that I was insane enough not to introduce myself and sign it for her. (She probably would have asked for proof of identification, anyway.)

How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

To be honest I do not know enough about them to comment intelligently about them. I know how important they are. The publishing company did contract with a professional organization that specializes in social media: Facebook, Twitter and google+.

Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?

We have a website nickoftime.us which is selling various electronic formats on line of the current release, Silent Voice, and the other nine previously published books. The first nine books will also be re-released in hardcover. Since most of the my themes are very target specific we do a lot of events connected to their specific causes.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Shakespeare: ‘TO THINE OWNSELF BE TRUE!”

Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

If I may quote Thomas Paine, “I am a far better religionist than I am a religious person.” But with that being said, I truly believe that this is the way God drew me: to love science and poetry equally. I believe this intelligent design gives me a certain insight into the minds of children. In other words, as a scientist, I know the leaves fall from the trees in autumn because the trees are retaining their nutrients to survive the winter months. But, as a poet, I believe that a child would think that the trees drop their leaves to the ground like tears of paper because they mourn the passing of another year to await winter's end.

I am not a teacher. I am not an educator; and, to be quite honest, I am not even a parent. But it should be apparent to everyone how much I love what I do.

This is why, in the “scheme of things”, I “wouldn’t have it any other way”.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of Gulten Dye, author of 'Semi-Coma: Evolution of My Intermittent Consciousness'



Gulten Dye was born and raised in a small town in Turkey and moved with her family to Istanbul as a small child.  It was there that she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and worked as a nurse at a local hospital before moving to the Philippines with her boyfriend.

After being there a little over a year, they got married and a short while after that moved to
Shreveport, Louisiana where she immediately began her studies to be able to work as a Registered Nurse. While studying for her boards, she was allowed to work as a scrub technician in an operating room at a nearby surgery center. She passed her boards and worked in an operating room for many years before moving to Las Vegas, Nevada there she worked at a busy University Medical Trauma Center as a staff nurse for several years until she earned the position of Charge Nurse.

By 2001, she was divorced and living with her two young sons.  Her desire to make more money became her impetus to start her own business, which soon became her sole source of income as her success grew.  She has never looked back.

Gulten found her talent and passion in creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and sold them to well-known people, such as Celine Dion, Rachel Ray and Mary Higgins Clark.  She became an international success when her work showed on Entertainment Tonight and Insider and was for sale in the high-end casinos in
Las Vegas and on high-end cruise liners. She then created a jewelry line called Metamorphosis, a line of interchangeable jewelry that brought her even greater success.

Gulten is also an author and self- published her first book Semi Coma - Evolution of my Intermittent Consciousness in 2011, currently selling on all digital media as well as in hard copy.  Her second book “The Missing Link” is awaiting publication in 2013.

In 2013, she opened her new concept store where she not only sells her own designs, but includes many local artists of different medium, including a local authors section.  In turn for being able to sell their artwork in her store, all artists have agreed to teach others their medium for the future generation free thinkers.

Gulten lives and creates in
Las Vegas, Nevada.

Visit her website at www.gultendye.com.

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?


I really don't have a juicy answer for that question for as long as I can remember I always liked telling stories, and because I could not always remember what I said, I also wrote them down so that I could remember them if I wanted to re-tell them.  In later years, it kind of took its own shape for I now write to express myself, especially whats in my heart, and share that with others.


Tell us (we wont tell promise!) is it all its cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?


The perks of writing a book has been a paradox for me. On one hand, it is a self-fulfilling feeling to accomplish something that you set your heart out to do.  On the other hand, once it is completed, it loses its importance.  I find myself moving onto the next, and what I have completed becomes nothing more than one more thing I have finished. As for the demands, I suppose it's like the demands of anything else; it completely depends on how much of it you take on.


Which route did you take traditional or self-published and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on whats that like?


I chose to self-publish.  Although there are many companies to help an author self- publish, its like any industry - you have shop around to find what fits your needs.


Whats the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)?


I believe that there are many great publishing companies, but I also understand that underneath it all, they are a business and to be able to stay in business they have to be smart as whom to publish.  In other words, they may choose the ones that can benefit their bottom line the most. I think many great authors get overlooked because they don't have 30,000 or more people following them on social media.


Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?


Honestly they think its wonderful.  They are not only proud of me, but they do anything in their power to stay out of my way so I can write.


What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?


I had to print the proof four times before they got it right. In the process, I was so frustrated especially since as soon as I sent it to the printer I thought I was done.  However, it took me another 3 months before I would finally get a copy that was good without any major errors showing up even after I had approved my last proof.  Yet, when it showed up in my hand a few months later, 1000 copies had been printed on a completely different paper than I had ordered. During that time I remember writing an e-mail to Mary Higgins Clark to tell her how disappointed I was that I wouldnt be able to send her a copy of my book yet because they had got it wrong for the third time.  She replied, "Don't worry; even a publisher like mine often has to do more than two proofs for any book." That e-mail not only made me feel better, but it also gave me courage to submit my book once again to get yet another proof.


How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?


I believe all social media helps, but for any of them to really work takes total dedication, and it really needs to be consistent.


Book sales.  Dont you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?


That has to be my biggest challenge.  During a seminar I once took called, Writing from Your Soul, Wayne Dyer said, "Now that you published a perfect book, 10 percent of your work is done. Now you need to really get started."  He meant selling of course. No truer words were ever spoken.  Most of the work is about marketing, and because I self-published, I am the only one who's really marketing it.


What is one thing youd like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?


Buy my book now!


Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Heres a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Nowcan you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesnt matter because its all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldnt have it any other way?


Writing is an amazing feeling just like designing and creating my jewelry is for me.  The creation process itself of writing is very fulfilling as is seeing my jewelry being worn by people.  It feels great to get passages from my book sent back to me with a commentary from my readers saying I really loved what you wrote because it makes me feel this way or that way. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'To Live Forever' Andra Watkins



Andra Wakins is a native of Tennessee but calls Charleston, South Carolina, her home for the last 23 years.  She is the author of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809. 

You can visit her website at www.andrawatkins.com or follow her on Google+,Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Goodreads.
 

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you
wanted to be an author?

Sheer idiocy.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

There’s nothing like hearing voices in one’s head and transcribing them every day. They’re demanding. And perky.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

Word Hermit Press, a small press, published my novel. It’s EXACTLY what I wanted my book to be. I don’t know many authors who can say that about their books when they’re released.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

In more than two decades in professional positions, where I dealt with numerous small business owners, I never, ever ran across the level of unprofessional behavior that i did in the publishing industry. The. Most. Unprofessional. People. Anywhere. (I’m generalizing. About a tenth of didn’t fit that description.)

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My husband was the most supportive person in my life. Without him, To Live Forever would never have been published. He’s completely supportive of the time it takes to get a book right.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

An agent told me she couldn’t see Meriwether Lewis as a guardian angel for a little girl, but she was excited to point out that she represented the book that turned Abraham Lincoln into a vampire slayer.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

They’re all necessary. They do different things for an author if they’re employed correctly.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

To launch my novel, I’m the first living person to walk the 444-mile long Natchez Trace as the pioneers did. Fifteen miles a day. Six days a week. I will finish in Nashville (entirely uphill trek) in 34 total days of walking. I started March 1 and finish April 3.

An event like this gives me all kinds of opportunities to talk about the book without saying, “Buy my book.”

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

How much my feet hurt right now. Ha.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I love interacting with readers. Meeting readers. Hearing stories from readers. I write first for me, but I hope I craft worthy stories for readers. I never tire of hearing from them.

Straight From the Mouth of 'Directory of Federal Prisons' Christopher Zoukis



Christopher Zoukis is an impassioned advocate for prison education, a legal scholar, and a prolific writer of books, book reviews, and articles.  His articles on prison education and prison law appear frequently in Prison Legal News, and have been published in The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, Blog Critics, and Midwest Book Review, among other national, regional, and specialty publications.

Mr. Zoukis is often quoted on matters concerning prison law, criminal law, prisoners' rights, and prison education.  Recently, he was the focus of an article at Salon.com concerning America's broken criminal justice system and potential solutions to the current crisis.

When not in the thick of the battle for prison reform, prison education, or prisoners' rights advocacy, Mr. Zoukis can be found blogging at PrisonLawBlog.com, PrisonEducation.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com


Q) Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

To start, I am currently incarcerated in a federal prison.  As a federal prisoner, there really isn't a whole heck of a lot that I can do either for myself or for others.  With this understanding came the realization that I could research my current situation, write about it, and hopefully help others through my writing.  And that's exactly what I've been doing for the past several years.  I've taught a number of courses in my prison's Education Department and I have written extensively on many prisoners' rights and prison education topics.

Over the years I created and developed PrisonEducation.com, PrisonLawBlog.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com.  Through my work on these three websites, an understanding grew in me of the power I had to effect meaningful change.  It was this potential that led me to write and publish both Education Behind Bars (Sunbury Press, 2012) and the Directory of Federal Prisons (Middle Street Publishing, 2014).

Q) Tell us (we won't tell promise!) is it all it's cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

 It is and more.  Even though I might be incarcerated in a medium security federal prison, I can still make a difference in the lives of those around me and those incarcerated elsewhere.
     
As for the perks and demands, there are some perks -- mostly concerning seeing my name in print and being able to impact public policy decisions.  And it is nice when staff here slide up to me and tell me that they read my latest posts or whatever, that I am reaching them, too.  The demands are probably more pronounced and concrete.  PrisonEducation.com, PrisonLawBlog.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com all have to be fed on a regular basis.  That takes a lot of time and energy.  Also, I'm being called on more and more to contribute to other websites and print publications.  

These certainly take a healthy amount of time.

Q) Which route did you take -- traditional or self-published -- and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what's that like?

Education Behind Bars was published by Sunbury Press and the Directory of Federal Prisons was published by Middle Street Publishing.  While Sunbury Press is a traditional publisher, Middle Street Publishing is a smaller publisher, which focuses mostly on online social justice advocacy.  As such, when we signed with Middle Street Publishing, we did so with the understanding that we would be a big part of the Directory of Federal Prisons' production and promotion.  While this has been exhausting, we have seen much better results with this book than with others.  There truly is no one more dedicated or devoted to a book than its author.

Q) What's the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g., rejections, the long wait, etc.)?

You know, I only have two true gripes: low quality publications and overpromising.  It always astounds me when I buy books that just aren't top quality.  You'd think that the authors -- or even their publishers -- would insist upon a quality product, but sometimes it seems as if authors and publishers emphasize quantity over quality.  This is a big mistake and a plague upon the industry.

As for overpromising, I can't stand it when a promotional outlet or a publisher promises the world, then delivers next to nothing.  There are so many smart, inexpensive ways to promote a book these days that there really is no excuse for someone cutting corners or worse, misleading authors.

Q) Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

I think that only a writer could understand the passion, time, attention, and effort which goes into publishing a quality product.  With that being said, my family has been very supportive through my writing efforts and have done everything they can to help me along in my path.  They understand that this is my passion and that with my passion for the written word that I'm trying to make the world a better place.  And this they can get behind completely.

Q) What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I'm sorry to say, but we had a contractor really drop the ball several times.  They were supposed to engage in several tasks but completely failed to do so.  We had to really push them to do the job they were paid for.  This was quite a headache.

On the positive side, within two weeks of the Directory of Federal Prisons' publication, we had 9 five-star reviews on Amazon, including one from Alex Friedmann, the managing editor at Prison Legal News.  We absolutely love those guys and the difference that they make in the lives of prisoners and their families the world over, and to have their approval, that is terrific.

Q) How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

We are on Goodreads, LibraryThing, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  Of all of these, we've had the best response on Facebook and Twitter, but have high hopes that the Goodreads outreach will prove to be the best investment of our time, effort, and advertising dollars.  Only time will tell, but we have high hopes.

Q) Book sales.  Don't you just love them (or lack of)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Sales are certainly coming along.  But that isn't the primary goal of this project.  The primary goal is to connect families, friends, attorneys, journalists, and others with those currently in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  And I have no doubt that we will succeed in this goal.
     
As to how we're making this happen, we do lots of outreach through PrisonEducation.com, PrisonLawBlog.com, and Christopher Zoukis.com.  We also have low cost advertising campaigns active on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and StumbleUpon.  And, of course, we are currently engaging in a blog tour through Dorothy Thompson at Pump Up Your Book.  So, our message is being heard loud and clear.

Q) What is one thing you'd like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Just because the road is tough or people tell you that you can't do something, it doesn't mean that you can't.  That only means that they think that you can't.  When roadblocks block the road, find a way over, under, to the side of, or through.  If there is a will, there is a way.  The fact that I, a federal prisoner, managed to create several very popular websites, write an ebook, and effectively advocate for prisoners' rights, prison education, and social justice really show that if there is a will, that there is a way.  It's all about finding the way.

Q) Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here's a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn't matter because it's all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn't have it any other way?

Life is good, I'm not going to lie.  And this is even the case inside a federal prison.  When I have a mission, a purpose, life is good.  And when I can help others avoid the mistakes that I've made and side-step the roadblocks that I've experienced, then it is all worth it.  All of the work becomes worth it in an instant.  I can't wait to start working on my next text about prison survival.  I think that that book will help even more people in prison.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'A Sandy Grave' Donna M. McDine


Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership.

Visit Donna online at www.donnamcdine.com or her blog at www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com


Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always loved books. My fondest childhood memories surround books. Often times curled up in the living room with my family or under the shade of a tree I always enjoyed immersing myself in a book, especially the Nancy Drew Mystery Series. After many years of working in Fortune 500 companies, I was longing for something more fulfilling and I ventured into writing. I haven’t looked back since.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

At times, it’s not at all. The image of a writer spending their days writing with the warm rays of the sun gleaming through their window without another care in world is truly a far cry from reality. Staying focused at the task at hand can become daunting with so many other aspects of the writer’s life screaming for them. Such as, marketing, networking, research, and critique groups. I know for me I need to get my writing done before anything else or before I know it the day is gone. The perks are wonderful! The connection with fellow writers is essential. Writing is solitary so concerted efforts to connect with others helps the creative juices flow.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?


I went with a traditional publisher. Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., is a small publisher, and the guidance and one on one attention is spectacular!

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My family is extremely supportive. I’ve worked from home for over 16 years as a personal assistant, so my writing career worked seamlessly into the family routine. When my office door is closed, they know it’s not time to interrupt.

Out of all the people involved in getting your book published, which one would you say did the most for you?

Hmmm...so many people have helped me to the road of publication that it is difficult to name just one. So to be on the safe side I’m going to give a shout out to one and all who I have met along the roller coaster ride of publication and thank you for your never ending support!

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I tend to be an early riser, making it easier to write before the rest of the world gets moving and grooving.

How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Don’t get me started. I long for the days of no technology. When someone called you and your line was busy they had to keep calling back till they caught you. Now if someone calls, we have call waiting, cell phones, texting, and email so I find if someone doesn’t get you the first time they start bombarding you several different ways. I find it way too exhausting at times. I know I’ve jumped on my soapbox and I will hop down now. As for social networks, I find yahoo group chats on specific subject matters and Facebook to be the most beneficial for me.

Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?

Author visits to school and libraries have been instrumental in my book sales.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I’m an award-winning children’s author!

Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I enjoy the interaction with children during author visits and engaging in lively discussions as to what they think an author’s life is like. I’m a firm believer in we are all where we are suppose to be and our experiences shape who we are today.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'They Call Me Superman' Michael Goffinet



Michael Goffinet was born and raised in Southern California. After earning his Masters of Health Administration degree, he worked in the health care industry for the last two decades.  He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife of twenty years and his teenage son. He is an avid golfer and when he’s not reading or writing he can be found on the golf course.

His latest book is the action thriller, They Call Me Superman. 

Visit his website at www.michaelgoffinet.com.

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

Simple. I love writing novels. If you do it for any other reason, you’ll probably be very disappointed.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 

This is my first full length novel, so I haven’t seen any perks yet. Writing a novel is a lot of work. It’s also an emotional rollercoaster. You think your book is in good shape, then the editing process brings you back to reality. There are dozens of stupid typos you missed. Your plot doesn’t flow as well as you thought. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.
                                
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I used a small publishing house for They Call Me Superman. Overall, the experience was good. The timing wasn’t always what I expected, but they did a great job of producing the book. You do lose a lot of control, especially over pricing and placement. I won’t know for a while if I made the right decision or not.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.) ?

The anxiety over rejections letters and the loss of control over your novel.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 

I’m pretty good about family first. There are times when I’d rather be writing, but I suck it up and spend time with them. It’s important to have balance.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process? 

Nothing crazy happened. Sorry.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid? 

Again, it’s my first full-length novel so I’m still learning what works best. You should have your own website, Twitter and Facebook account.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 

Still learning. It so soon, I don’t even know how many sells I’ve had yet.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about? 

That’s easy. Every time I would read my novel, I would fine more and more typos. Just when I think they’re all gone, the editor proves me wrong. Not fun. Also, the many repeating words. We often use the same words over and over. Very frustration.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 

Overall, I loved it. It feels great when you read the final product. I’m currently working on my next Marcus Evans novel. You can go to michaelgoffinet.com and request my free short story “Karma’s A Bitch.”


Monday, March 10, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'Queen Vernita ' Dawn Menge

Dawn Menge has a Bachelors in Human Development, Masters in Special Education and a Clear credential as an Education Specialist. She is currently a doctoral student specializing in Curriculum and Instruction. 

She has worked with the Severely handicapped population for the past fourteen years. Her experiences include from teaching the elementary level up to adult education in special needs. She has been nominated for teacher of the year by SBCSS, awarded a Learning Leader by Leapfrog, served as a Lead teacher and has been a BTSA support provider. The disabilities she has experiences with include but are not limited to Autism, Visual Impairments, ADHD, Seizure Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairments, and Down Syndrome.

Dawn Menge has won fifteen national awards as a self-published author of the Queen Vernita's Educational Series. Queen Vernita's visitors has won; Reader Views, Readers Favorites, First Place Evvy, Scooter Award and A+ rating from the American Children's Book Society, and a Purple Dragonfly award. Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains has won Finalist in the Readers Favorite and a Purple Dragonfly award; Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer has won an Evvy, USA Best Book Award, Readers Views and a Purple Dragonfly award, Queen Vernita Visits the Islands of Enchantment has won a Purple Dragonfly award, Readers Views and a Silver in the Mom's Choice award.

Dawn Menge is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren.

Purchase her books on Amazon



Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

    Yes!  I love being a children's author. I have had some great experiences that I would never have had if I had not chosen to try this avenue.  I don't find it demanding, I only wish I had more time to invest in researching them.  I have six books lined up to write and many more I would like to write. I find it to be very exciting and fun.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?  

The demands are placed on myself as I am a self-published author.  I choose this route to begin with to have the freedom to write about whatever subject I would like to write about.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

     My family is proud of me, they also do a lot of the traveling with me, so they are very supportive of my projects.  My mom just set up a trip to sail on a paddleboat to follow the Louis and Clark trails. She said "Happy Birthday and you can write a book about it!"  Also the characters in my books are my family and friends.  In my first book I included the children in my book, I figured they couldn't protest too much.  

Afterwards I had adults asking to be in the books.  I was really surprised and thrilled.  I have now included family, friends and co-workers.  In each book Queen Vernita travels though the twelve months of the year, each month she travels with a new friend, learns a new subject in a new region.


In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

    Luckily my children are all grown and they can feed and water themselves :}. My grandchildren are very self-sufficient.

   I take breaks in between months as I am writing so I can think about what I am going to include.  I am the kind of person that I write and rewrite in my head for a long time before I attempt to put it down on paper.  The actual writing process is very short for me because I have already resolved most of the issues before I even start.


What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

     I had a publisher from France contact me about my books. That was a great compliment.  I had an award winning author who is very reputable tell me that my books were incredible and I should get an agent.  My response was to stop writing the book I was writing and go watch the Disney channel with my granddaughter. I think she shocked me. My editor told me she loves Queen Vernita and enjoys editing them.   I think having people really like the books and ask what is next is the craziest thing I feel at this point. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

   I have a  facebook page and a website.  That is all of the social networking that I am doing at this time.  I also teach full time, have five grandchildren and am working on my PHD. 


Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

      My most successful books sales come from the author signings and presentations at the libraries. I am focusing more on my researching and writing now and am having time constraints getting out into the community and promoting my books.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

        I thankfully have a beautiful life.  I had wonderful parents growing up, my three children have all grown up to be people I am very proud of, I have five beautiful grandchildren, who I get to spend a lot of time with, I travel quite a bit, I love teaching severely handicapped students and I have a whole lot of really great friends.  You did say just one thing?

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

     I love traveling and researching new areas.  Each new place just adds more ideas and places I'd like to go and see. The draw is getting more intense the more books that I am producing.  I am currently working on three and have six already scheduled to write.  I will be exploring the Volcanic Islands with sea Captain Jeff, Paradise Reef, sailing with John Alden and walking the Cherokee Trail. I would like to write a second series titled "Where in the world is Grandma?" It would be based on the seven plus wonders of the world.  I would of course need to do all of the research personally.

       I love reading my books to the children when I am at a library or at a  school site.  I love including other people in my readings and writings.  I love the fact that other people think they are interesting and it gets them involved in trying new things or going new places.  I love when people suggest places for me to write about.  It's all just exciting and fun filled.

       I love the fact that my friends and family are excited to be in the books. Especially the adults, I was really surprised when they said that they wanted to be.  I love it when the friends in the book go to the book readings and read the book or they join in on the interviews.  I think that if there are any sacrifices they are minimal and its all just very exciting and fullfilling.