Sunday, October 20, 2013

Front Porch Romance Tailgate Blog Hop

My publisher, Front Porch Romance, is having a Tailgate Blog Hop featuring their fabulous authors, including me. Please check out their blog for information on incredible giveaways!! My book, Charity's Heart, will be one of the prizes, so go to the Front Porch Romance Blog to enter!!

Here's a brief blurb about Charity's Heart:

Charity Llewellyn, 19, looks forward to her wedding, but upon learning that her intended groom is Mathias Baptiste, the immoral son of a wealthy banker, she runs away from home to avoid the betrothal. Angry at her attempt, her father appoints a handsome and mysterious man, Alexander Sutton, as her constant chaperone.

Furious, Charity plots an escape with help from her friend Lillian, although that leads to involvement in an unsolved 20-year old murder and a shallow burial of human bones. As she tries to unravel the secrets of the old murder, she meets a frightening man who could be Jack the Ripper.

But that’s not her only obstacle. As she and Alexander grow closer, she learns a dark secret he’s been keeping and when Mathias finds them together, he’s overcome with rage and will stop at nothing to get her back, not even murder.

Here is just one of the reviews posted on Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars The Purity of "Charity's Heart" June 20, 2013

Format:Kindle Edition

Charity's Heart
"Charity's bedroom windowpane was chilled and wet from the cold evening air . . .she was locked inside the house like a prisoner . . . [h]er position was to marry well and provide an heir to the Llewellyns."

Sofia Diana Gabel's opening lines to "Charity's Heart" grabbed me and kept me wanting to know more about Charity, her stifling life, her friends, her enemies, and life in 1880s London.
I cannot say enough positive comments about this novel and the author. I wished I could read it through in one sitting, but other components in life forced me to break it up in segments, to read when I knew my time would be interrupted.

Gabel's writing style is perfect for this type of romance novel. She writes with clarity, beautiful descriptions, correct tone, and she conveys her characters' emotions so well that the reader experiences the controlling nature, cruelty, intrigue, heartache, the up-and-down-adventuares, true friendships, and love right along with them. One -- one of many -- passages haunts me, yet is in a way, comforting: "When the clouds, parted, the scant moonlight revealed sadness in Alexander's eyes." I saw this, I felt this. The emotion came through perfectly in the overall description.

Gabel has 1880s London down pat: the societal structure, language, the current events, clothing, and character names. Indeed, this novel briefly reminded me of Anthony Trollope and his novels of British society.

Indeed, I felt I was right there with Charity, Lilian, Hiram, James, Alexander, et al, through good and bad. I did not feel like an intruder to this novel, but rather, an invisible participant.

What I most liked about "Charity's Heart" is how Gabel showed every emotion, every scene, every problem, every resolution with such beauty that the reader is left to form the picture in his/her mind; enough was left to the imagination to make this a truly lovely romance novel -- and the surprise ending was the piece de resistence! I smiled and was happy with that sparkling ending.

I highly recommend "Charity's Heart" by Sofia Diana Gabel. I have it set aside, ready for another reading this summer; but this time, I'm setting aside enough hours to read it through straight!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Interview with Children's Book Author Sharon C. Williams

I’m honored to have today’s interview with Sharon C. Williams, author of the children’s book Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure. Welcome, Sharon!
Can you give us a brief bio so the readers can better understand you and your background?
Growing up, I never thought of becoming a writer. To me, it was for people who had the skills to transfer amazing ideas onto paper. My husband, however, mentioned to one of our friends that he felt I wrote really well. Soon, I started thinking of a story in my head, and it just would not go away.  In 2009, while recovering from two surgeries, I started placing my thoughts on paper. It’s been a wild ride since then.
I tend to write long hand. The low-tech method is harder with my disability but I feel more creative and the flow works better for me this way. I have used this technique to complete a multitude of short stories, a novelette, and a children’s book. It still amazes me how writing has taken over my life.
Two of my short stories were published in the anthology, Cassandra's Roadhouse. My children's book, Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure, was released by Fountain Blue Publishing, on Sept. 7th of this year.
I love to read, take pictures, sketch, walk, exercise, go to the movies, and listen to music. I’m a budding bird watcher, and knit on the side. I am a huge fan of all sports, and especially of baseball, basketball, hockey, and football.
I’m a native of New England, raised in Northern Maine and live in North Carolina with my husband and son. I’m owned by a flock of eight birds and have a B.S. Degree in Chemistry.
What inspired you to write the book?
Hearing for the longest time, “Write on what you know” I came up with an idea of writing a book based on my Amazon parrot, Jasper.  Having been with us since 1999 I have had years of learning how this animal ticks and his quirks around us. He gave me so much material. All I had to do was write the story and infuse Jasper into it.
What was your approach to writing it
I write everything by long hand. I have found my creativity truly flows better this way.  I didn't create an outline or worked on my character development. In the Fall of 2009 I had two unrelated surgeries within weeks of each other. Being stuck in bed for a while I decided to take the time to start writing. There was no rhyme or reason or scheme of things. I just started and kept at it until I wrote the famous words, The End.
How long did it take to write the complete novel from first draft to edited final?
It took me under three months to write the first draft which consisted of a little over 3000 words.  Once it was completed I let it sit there for a few months. Not being in a writer's group at that time or knowing any writer I started to seek any potential groups in the Spring of 2010.  It did not take long as a writer's group was soon forming out of the local library.  Soon afterwards a second group formed in town. Sharing a few chapters of my manuscript with the members I started the tedious job of editing and revising my manuscript while starting on volume two. Months went by as suggestions and rewrites came and went. By the end of 2010 I was nearing my final revision.  The year 2011 prove uneventful as life took over and I had to concentrate on more pressing matters.
Deciding to test the open waters, in 2012, I started to submit the book to potential publishing houses in hopes of getting a nibble. What I got was rejection letters but they were laced with compliments and encouragement. But one stood out. A publisher had requested the entire manuscript saying I would know in 4-6 weeks since they were a small press. Three months came and still no word.
Reaching out to the company they stated that it was taking so long for they were going back and forth on whether to pick it up. But in the end it was a no. In that rejection letter there were listed three reasons why the book was turned down. I was encouraged to work on the areas mentioned and to resubmit.
I did just that. What happened was a manuscript that started out at just a little over 3000 words ended up as one that was slightly under 10,000.  That meant more revisions and editing to get it in the place it needed to be.
That brought me to July of 2012.  I took a small break from this book and started to work on other projects. Starting fresh in 2013 I started to actively submit the new and revised book. It was picked up by a small press out of San Francisco in March of this year.
Congratulations! Can you tell us a little about your book and if you have had book signings or readings?
The title of my book is Jasper, Amazon Parrot: A Rainforest Adventure. It is a children's chapter book.
Synopsis: Jasper, the Amazon parrot, is no ordinary bird. He lives within the rainforest, whose secrets he’s eager to explore. He loves his life, his home, and his family - grateful for the blessings he’s discovered. Learning how to fly, he learns to appreciate the world around him. When he meets a spider monkey with a penchant for food and a laid back attitude named Charlie, he realizes he’s in for an adventure he never thought possible. Exploring the boundaries of the forest, Jasper soon understands that there is more to the world around him. Most especially the strange new creatures that have come to live there
My book came out September 7th of this year however I have the possibility of two book signings in the upcoming months.  One of my writing groups was meeting at a coffee shop. When it was over the manager asked what the meeting was about. When we told him we were authors he asked if any of us had a book coming out. When I told him I did, he mentioned his coffee shop had hosted in the past book signings and asked if I would be interested. A few weeks later two fellow writers were meeting at a different coffee shop. Again the manager asked them what they were discussing. They brought up my name and book and he wondered if I would be interested in hosting a book signing there.
So I am in the process of making those happen.
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for budding writers?
Don't be afraid to write outside the box or your comfort level. Explore photo and
written prompts. Any critique you receive, always remember you can take some or take none. At the end of the day it is your story.  And for me a rejection letter is a badge of honor.
What are you working on now? Is it in the same genre?
I am working on a paranormal short story. The first attempt at this genre. The writing group that I started is putting together a book of short stories to publish hopefully later this year.  But I am also preparing for NaNoWriMo 2013. This will be my third straight year of participating. I won in 2011 and 2012.
What is the best time for you to write and does it ever interfere with your day job, if you have one? Also, how long on the average do you write each day?
The best time for me to write actually varies. I keep a small notebook with me always just in case an idea or the mood hits me. I don't have a set time to work. However, when I am writing for NaNoWriMo I tend to write early in the morning so I can get it out of the way. Else the day and life will take me away from it being successful. How long I write varies. However, if there is a thought or scene in my head that needs to be written down, I can write for hours.
Is writing, to you, a lonely occupation?
Absolutely. What doesn't help is I am the only writer in my family so it is hard for them to understand what one goes through when one is an author.  What has helped me is the writer groups that are located in my area. Plus I also started my own. Who better understand what you are going through than another writer? It helps break the monotony but it also gives me a chance to exchange ideas and encouragement.
What is your website and where can readers purchase your book or books?
My website is:
Where my book can be purchased:
Fountain Blue Publishing:
Signed copies are available here
Soft cover/e-book:
Print hard cover:
Barnes and Noble:
Hardcopy and e-book:
Author social media
Amazon page: