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Books by Julie L Spencer

                       

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:
https://www.pinterest.com/juliespencer199/

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?

Yes!

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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Interview with the Author: April W. Gardner



After reviewing Bitter Eyes No More, I had the opportunity to interview April Gardner and ask her a few questions about her writing. (Read my book review here!)


How long have you been writing?


Oh, I think it's been close to thirteen years now, but there was a stint of a few years where I hardly wrote a thing due to illness. I never stopped though, just pecked away at the keyboard slow and steady. Praise God that's behind me!


Have you always wanted to be a writer?


Nope! I remember being five and my mom telling me I was going to go to college. I said, "No, I'm not. I'm going to be a mommy." It was all I ever wanted to be, so I did! My kids are 15 and 13. The writer in my came out all the same.


How do you come up with your ideas for stories?


I rely heavily on history's structure, building my plots around historical events. That helps a lot! As far as characters, I try to come up with opposing interests for optimum conflict, such as Phillip Bailey, (the army captain assigned to subdue a fort controlled by runaway slaves and return the slaves to their owners) paired with Milly, one of the runaways who can pass for white except for her African hair. That's the premise of The Ebony Cloak.


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


If being a mommy counts, then yes! :-)


Let’s talk more about your new release, Bitter Eyes No More. Tell me about it:


Bitter Eyes No More is number one in my Drawn by the Frost Moon trilogy, which is set during the first days of the First Seminole War and the last days of Spanish rule in Florida.


Give us a Synopsis for the book:


Spanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.


Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child’s father, a ruthless don. All the while, he’s to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name—simple labor compared to dodging the army’s noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.
Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two…


What was the inspiration behind this story?


In my stories, the inspiration is always the history behind it. In this case, it’s the events surrounding Spanish Fort San Marcos. Today it’s little more than rubble, but the circumstances surrounding it changed the course of American history.


Tell us about your main character:


Lillian McGirth spent the first three books in the series creating trouble for herself and the protags of those books. Now, she’s paying the piper and trying desperately to free herself of the pit she’s dug. She’s beautiful, sensual, bold, and devastatingly weak. She’s also fiercely loyal and sacrificial, and she loves with her whole being. Once she realizes her worth isn’t found in men and God’s strength can fill her weaknesses, she’ll make for a rather fine woman.


Which is your favorite minor character and why?


My favorite minor character is Don Diego López de Aragón, viscount of Apalachee. He’s the antagonist, but how can you not be impressed by a guy with such a wowzers name? There’s also his cool 1800’s Spanish wardrobe to take into consideration: “pink velvet breeches, double-woof sleeves, and gold vest. A green cravat and matching sash at his waist completed the ensemble, making him the archetypal rich majo. Bold, conceited, defiant of conventions.”


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


Lillian would probably be holding one of Santa Teresa de Jesus’s memoirs. It’s required reading as part of her imposed canonical penance. In addition, she must spend “long hours in prayer and in a fast meant to purge her of fleshly desires.” Poor Lillian has it rough!


Please share a few favorite lines or one paragraph:


Marcus shoved the medical case under his arm. “Until tomorrow, Miss McGirth.” He wavered in a hungry study of her, then swiveled to Diego.


Fearlessly, he drew his weapon, raised it in a swordsman’s salute—cross guard brought horizontal beneath his eyes—and waited for Diego to return it. At its absence, he strode from the hacienda, bag in one hand, bared sword in the other.


Lillian’s heart tripped, lost its footing, and fell after him. With a sharp intake, she scrambled after the treacherous thing, fumbling miserably. Even while she admonished herself to keep after her heart, to lock it back in place, she was forced to admit that there was nothing to do with a man like Marcus Buck. Except lose her heart to him.


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


The time period is unique, and with my books, like it or not, readers always come away having learned about a little-known historical event. Also, the content isn’t glossy or pat. My novels always have a solid edge of realism to them. I portray life in all its beautiful grit. No sugar-coating. That may or may not appeal to readers, but that’s what I look for in a book, so in my opinion, it’s a plus! ☺


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


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


Ah, music, I can almost not function without it. I have a subscription to Slacker for my Sonos and write to spa music. Don’t laugh! It’s soothing and often Native American in flavor, which is perfect for my theme!


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


Yes! I named my heroine’s little brother after my own little brother Charlie. One day, he’ll probably get his own story. ☺


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


When I decided to go fulltime, but that wasn’t until about two years ago when I went indie. Hmm, I’m just now realizing that going indie was, oddly enough, what made me feel like a REAL writer. You’d think it would be if I got a contract with a large house, but nope. It was when I cut ties with my small houses and took the reins myself. No regrets. Not one.


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


Merriam-Webster.com. I’m in it all day, every day. A girl shouldn’t love the dictionary so much. It’s kinda nerdy.


What project are you working on now?


I’m starting book 2 of the Drawn by the Frost Moon trilogy. It’s always fun sitting down to dig into a new world, new lives, new romance!
Have you always liked to write?


Actually, I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was a kid. Reading came very hard for me. Writing, naturally, followed that pattern, but I’ve been creating stories in my mind since first grade. I didn’t discover the joy of writing until I was sixteen. The CALL to write didn’t come until I was in my late twenties, but I haven’t looked back since!


What book are you currently reading?


I’ve been on a classics kick lately, so I’m reading My Escape from the Auto de Fe. It was written in the 1800s and is set during the 1500s Spanish Inquisition. An eye-opening read for sure. Did you know the Spanish Inquisition lasted over 300 years? I’ve researched it a bit for my recent release Bitter Eyes No More, and even though I grew up in Spain, I had no idea about most of it. The level of depravity man can reach is simply astounding.


Do you write/read every single day?


I do without fail. Sometimes, though, my “writing” is plotting or editing. It all counts.


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


My fluffy buddy, Jackson (White German Shepherd), is usually nearby. He’s a rescue dog and fearful of everything, so if something has been added to the room (a bag or coat on a chair), he runs to his safe corner upstairs. He’s such a basket case! Which is ironic because the objects he fears most are laundry baskets. ☺ Can’t help but love the crazy dog!


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


Follow April W. Gardner on social media:


Twitter--@AprilWGardner OR https://twitter.com/AprilWGardner

Other books by April W. Gardner:



Who is Ian Taylor? Find out here!