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Books by Julie L Spencer


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Interview with the Author: Nadine C. Keels

After reviewing Yella’s Prayers, I had the opportunity to interview Nadine C. Keels and ask her a few questions about her writing.

How long have you been writing?

Since around the time I learned the alphabet! Give or take a year.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Not exactly. When I was a child, I thought for a while that I wanted to be a singer. I think I’ve always had a decent voice, but it was probably the thought of glamour and accolades I was more interested in than the actual singing part. Around the age of eleven or so was when I took a look at all the library books I kept checking out and all the pages full of original tales I’d penned, and I caught a clue: I was much more in love with stories than vocals.

Let’s talk more about your new release, Yella’s Prayers. Tell me about it:

Well! I started writing it toward the end of my senior year of high school, and I finished the first draft a few months after graduation. It was the first full novel I’d written, and it was basically seventeen to eighteen years of life spilling out all at once.

Give us a Synopsis for the book:

She awoke with a gasp, sitting up. “God? Was that You?”
A pivotal year awaits Bless, a young woman who hides her passion: her music. She’s not exactly friends with T’meal, a talented athlete who won’t explain why he’s passed up the chance of a lifetime. Nor is Bless too close to Lamall, a boisterous playboy with a broken private life that’s spiraling out of control.
But Bless knows she’s meant to help these two young men. She can’t deny the Voice that told her so.
A coming of age story of compassion, the awakening of love, and knowing when it’s time to step out of the shadows and shine.

Tell us about your main characters:

Truth be told, the three main characters —Bless, T’meal, and Lamall—are all me. Well, all based on me. They’re different aspects of “Nadine” and my experiences from around that time in my life, with some fictional ingredients added in for flavor. (Two of the most obvious fictional ingredients being that T’meal and Lamall are guys, although Nadine is a girl.)

Which is your favorite minor character and why?

If I had to pick a favorite minor character, it’d probably be Lamall’s brother, DeMarkus, on account of the assorted mixture that makes The Mark up. He’s a blend of fun, compassion, simmering rage, and helplessness. In some ways, he’s just a spirited teenager, excited about sports and driving and girls, and in other ways—well. He’s already had to grow up too fast.

Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one? (What makes your book stand out from the rest?)

The prayers, I’d say. The majority of them probably aren’t happening down on bended knees, with hands folded and eyes pinched shut. And, hey, they might not even have official openings and closings like formal letters, with a “Dear Lord God” at the beginning and a “Sincerely Yours and Amen” at the end. In general, the prayers are a reflection of ongoing connection, everyday communication that stems from a close relationship. They’re meant to show that “praying without ceasing” has to do with a consistent attitude of the heart and mind, not necessarily how much bended-knee and folded-hand time you put in.

What other project are you working on now?

Hahaha! I’m rather overdue in my process of writing a sequel to my contemporary romance, Love Unfeigned. But I’ll finish it. I’ve also got a spin-off from my Movement of Crowns series started, and I just released the new edition of my literary love story, World of the Innocent, based on true events.

Nadine, thank you for joining us today and for sharing your stories and your writing experience! -Julie L. Spencer

Author Bio:

Nadine. A French name, meaning, “hope.”
With her lifelong passion for life-enriching fiction, Nadine C. Keels enjoys reading and writing everything from short stories to novels. Her fiction works include Love Unfeigned and The Movement of Crowns Series, and select pieces of her lyrical poetry can be found on her spoken word album, Hope. Lyricized. As the founder of Prismatic Prospects, her communication company, Nadine has served as editor for a number of titles, and through her writing, from her books to her blog posts, she aims to help spark hope, inspiration, and genius in as many as she is privileged to reach.

Follow Nadine C. Keels on social media:

Any other Social Media account not previously mentioned: Faith, Hope, and Book Love group on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FaithHopeBookLove/

Make a list of all the books you have published and available on Amazon:

Dream Debbie |

Book Review of Yella's Prayers by Nadine C. Keels

There were a lot of amazing things to love about Yella’s Prayers by Nadine C. Keeles. I loved the emotion, the growth and complexity of the interaction between the characters, the dynamics of personalities, and the complexity of the story itself. It gets slow at times but in a powerful way.

I like omniscient point of view (POV), but the story got confusing frequently when the POV hopped mid-scene and sometimes mid-paragraph. There were some confusing parts near the beginning of the story, but I recognized them as foreshadowing and tucked them to the back of my mind for future reference. If a story is unpredictable and surprises me, that’s refreshing. It’s also rare.

I would strongly recommend Yella’s Prayers!

There are several things by which I evaluate a book.

1) Is it well written? Yes, Yella’s Prayers was well-written and I found very few typos.
2) Does it deliver what it promises? Yes, it was clean and inspirational.
3) Is it the kind of book that captures my attention with that ‘can’t put it down’ feeling? Yes, I wanted to read it non-stop.
4) Is the story predictable and cliché? (If a writer can shock me or have a twist that I didn’t see coming, that deserves super high marks.) Yella’s Prayers was a little bit predictable, but had a few good twists.

Have you read Yella’s Prayers by Nadine C. Keels? What’s your opinion? -Julie L. Spencer

Check out my Interview with the Author: Nadine C. Keels here!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Book Review of Pinterest for Authors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Lisa Shea

As an author, this book was of special interest to me, or should I say ‘Pinterest’?

Previous to reading this book I already had a Pinterest account, but I had done very little with it. I took Lisa’s advice and followed the steps she laid out. I think it turned out really well. I’ll share a link to my updated Pinterest account below the book review.

One thing I really appreciated about Lisa’s book was the insider information, the behind-the-scenes things that are not really in most how-to instructions about Pinterest.

Another thing that was good about the book was that it was really designed for beginners. If  you have never had a Pinterest account, this will help you start from scratch.

The big thing I did with my Pinterest account was to create a Board for each one of my novels and pin photos of places and people who look like the characters in my books. This was not a specific suggestion from Lisa, but I’ve found that other authors have done similar things with theirs.

Here is my main page:

Here is the Storyboard for my novel, The Cove:

A few stumbling blocks I ran into: you have to refresh your Pinterest screen over and over whenever you make a change, in order to get the changes to show up. There are also a lot of pretty confusing things in Pinterest that I’ve stumbled through trying to learn.

I feel like this book should really be split into three books: one for authors, one for artists, and one from entrepreneurs. There was a lot of focus on art, including some confusing art terms that had little to do with my learning and pulled me from the book. I really don’t remember anything in the book specifically focused toward entrepreneurs.

Anyway, all in all, it was a great learning experience. Lisa has several other books designed to help us learn Instagram, and Twitter. I have read them and will probably study them further when I get a chance. I’m not sure I’ll ever embrace Instagram, but I try to use Twitter. (Old dog here, new tricks aren’t easy!)

Have you read Pinterest for Authors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs by Lisa Shea? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Check out my Pinterest Account:

Other Books in the Author Essential Series by Lisa Shea:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Book Review of Falling for the Beast by Victorine Lieske

I was hooked on Falling for the Beast by Victorine Lieske from page one and couldn’t put it down. The storyline is like the classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast but with a contemporary twist. The main character, Arabelle is just trying to make ends meet after losing her father, and hopes to finish college.

But, the only job available is cooking and cleaning for a grumpy old man. The problem was, he wasn’t as old as she thought he was. He was just mean and beastly and angry and there was something very odd about him. Thankfully, she is able to break through his walls and help him through some tough times. Like in any Romance story, inevitably Arabelle finds that she is able to love him through his faults.

Victorine’s writing style is great and the character development was well-done. Victorine is one of my favorite authors.

I loved Falling for the Beast by Victorine Lieske, and highly recommend it.

There are several things by which I evaluate a book.

1) Is it well written? Yes, Falling for the Beast was well-written

2) Does it deliver what it promises? Yes, it was a sweet clean romance based on a fairy tale.

3) Is it the kind of book that captures my attention and I ‘can’t put it down’? Yes, it captured my attention and I read it very quickly.

4) Is the story predictable and cliché? If a writer can shock me or have a twist that I didn’t see coming, that deserves super high marks. Falling for the Beast was predictable but because it was based on a well-known fairy tale, I didn’t mark the story down for that. Rather I give it high marks for staying true to the fairy tale.

Have you read Falling for the Beast by Victorine Lieske? What’s your opinion? –Julie L. Spencer

Other Books by Victorine Lieske:

There are many more books by Victorine Lieske, but this blog post is already too long! Enjoy!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Interview with the Author Liwen Ho

After reviewing Of Buds And Blossoms, I had the opportunity to interview Liwen Y. Ho and ask her a few questions about her writing.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve loved writing since childhood, but started regularly pursuing it when I started a blog in 2011. I started writing fiction for adults in 2014.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always wanted to publish a book, so I guess the answer is yes. ☺

How do you come up with your ideas for stories?

A lot of my inspiration comes from real life, from my own experiences or those around me, as well as the TV shows I watch.

Do you have/Have you had any other careers besides writing?

Does being a stay-at-home mom count? ☺ Before I had kids though, I worked in Human Resources at a biotech company and later on as a therapist at a couple of non-profit organizations and an elementary school.

Let’s talk more about your recent new release, Of Buds And Blossoms. Tell me about it:

This story is about one of my favorite themes of best friends falling in love. I just adore the familiarity of “old love” and how someone right in front of you can turn out to be “the one”.

Give us a Synopsis for the book:

Librarian Chloe McAlister finds solace in her books—and hats—but doesn’t know where to turn when her longtime crush gets engaged. On a whim, she signs up for a speed-dating mixer and convinces her best friend, Dill Thomas, to attend. All goes as planned until she realizes Dill means more to her than she thought ... and he goes and falls for someone else.

This 10,000-word short story is perfect for your lunch break, workout, or while you wait in line at the mall. Read it today to experience a hint of spring any time of the year!

What was the inspiration behind this story?

The male MC, Dill, was a very minor character from the second book in this series. He had one line in that story (“Men were made to appreciate fast cars, cool electronics, and hot girls.”), but intrigued me enough to give him his own story.

Tell us about your main characters:

Dill and Chloe met in college. He’s an ex-football player and a social butterfly. She’s a librarian and an introvert. They’re perfect opposites in the sense that they complement one another well. Chloe also has a cochlear implant as a result of losing the hearing in one ear after she got meningitis.

Which is your favorite minor character and why?

Macy, Chloe’s cousin, has shown up in two of the books in this series so far and is a fun and faithful friend. Spoiler alert: she’ll be getting her own story next!

Your character is at a bookstore. What book is in his/her hand right now?

Oh! Chloe works as a librarian, so this is right up her alley. She’d be holding Nicholas Sparks’s A Walk To Remember.

Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph:

“Does this help?”

She stilled as a minty breeze blew across her forehead. Swallowing slowly, she opened her eyes to see Dill leaning over her with his lips puckered. It was a sight to see—a 170-pound brawny man, brows drawn together in concentration, blowing soft, gentle puffs of air over her. Air that caressed her skin like the cool side of a pillow. Wowsers. She couldn’t believe her eyes … or the way her heart was melting at his sweet gesture.

“You all right?” Dill brushed some hair off her face, the ends of which were damp with sweat. He studied her, remarking with concern, “You look confused. What’s on your mind?”

Honestly? She had a crazy urge to smooth the lines on his forehead and hold his face in her hands and kiss him, bristly beard and all.

Of all the books out there, why should readers choose this one? (What makes your book stand out from the rest?)

It’s the perfect short read for when you need a quick pick-me-up in your busy day. ☺

Let’s shift gears and talk more about your writing.

What is your favorite song(s) to listen to while writing?

I usually listen to love songs—emotional, slow, upbeat or hopeful ones, I love them all.

Have you ever named a character in honor of someone you know?

Yes, actually I do it quite often, but shh! ☺

At what moment did you feel like you could say, “NOW, I'm an author?”

Wow, great question. I think I finally felt like a real author after I was asked to join a boxed set last year. Also, more recently when a parent of my daughter’s classmate came up to me and said, “I overheard you’re an author!” I was both amused and shocked that someone was talking about me!

What is one of your favorite/go-to writing resources?

The thesaurus!

What other project are you working on now?

I have one more story (the summer one) to write in my Seasons of Love series. I also have two other books I need to write, which I’ll be able to share about later on this year!

Have you always liked to write?


What book are you currently reading?

I wish I had more time to read. The last book I read was Someday With You by Ines Bautista-Yao (it’s a good one!).

Do you write/read every single day?

I do some writing-related thing every day, whether it’s brainstorming or marketing or actually writing.

Do you have any furry writing buddies? (Or scaled or feathered?)

Haha, we only have a guinea pig now and she is not a snuggler.

Liwen Ho, thank you for joining us today and for sharing your stories and your writing experience! -Julie L. Spencer

Author Bio:

Liwen Y. Ho writes sweet and inspirational romance infused with heart, humor and a taste of home (her Asian roots). She lives in California with her techie hubby and their two munchkins.

Follow Liwen on social media:

Twitter account: @2square2behip

Website and/or Blog: http://www.2square2behip.com/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/liwenho

Other Books by Liwen Ho:

Taking Chances Series:
Straight To You

True To You

Drawn To You

Seasons of Love Series:
The More The Merrier

A Spoonful Of Spice

Of Buds And Blossoms

Puppy Dog Tales

Tropical Kiss or Miss