Saturday, November 17, 2018

COUNTERPART goes Paperback and Audio!

I have good news! COUNTERPART is now available as an audiobook. If you've never signed up with Audible I have even better news... you can get COUNTERPART free when you sign up for the first time. Here's the link Counterpart as audiobook.
Great news #2... COUNTERPART is available as a paperback now. This has been my dream since I published it back in 2011, but I refused to buy 500 copies to sit in my garage. Now thanks to Createspace (now merged with Amazon's KDP) you can buy my book, they print it, and then it's shipped to you. Isn't that crazy?
This is exciting for me on several fronts. COUNTERPART is my first published novel. This is where I introduce the much loved characters; Sean McGee and Sport Warrick. This devilish duo was a blast to write about. They are intense, funny, smart, have anger management issues, and they are stuck together--24/7. The conspiracy unravels as they run for their lives, always one step ahead of their enemies.
The Russian accents are handled masterfully by Voice-Over expert, Jim Foster. His interview can be found here. I interviewed him after he narrated my second novel, EL TIBURON. In that case he nailed the Spanish accent. Foster even gives the meowing felines personality! He's done many audiobooks and you can check those out here: All books narrated by Foster.
If you are interested in reading my second book in the McGee series, EL TIBURON, you can get it at Amazon also as an audiobook, ebook, or paperback.
As for me, you can follow me on Instagram and Facebook, or you can check out my blog: A Dashing Bold Adventure

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Pamela Ackerson Interview


H. Schussman interviews Pamela Ackerson:

Heidi~
First, Pamela, I have to say I am excited about this interview. You are a tremendous help to the writing community. So, tell us a little about yourself.
Pamela~
I'm a wife, mother, bestselling author, and time traveler. Living on the Space Coast of Florida, I follow the areas mantra "Reach for the Stars." I'm also the V.P. Marketing and Advertising director at Affaire de Coeur Magazine.

Heidi~
What genre do you write?
Pamela~
I'm a multi-genre author. I love history, so almost all of my books have historically accurate information. I write sci-fi, time travel, historical fiction, non-fiction, and children's stories.

Heidi~
When did you start writing?
Pamela~
I started writing at a very young age. I entered a short story contest at the age of sixteen. It took first place in my age category and was published in a sci-fi magazine. I took a short break from writing and about twenty years ago I decided I wanted to write books.

Heidi~
What are you working on now?
Pamela~
I'm writing a time travel stand alone which has a small, wet your appetite taste of romance to it. It's a bit of a cozy mystery with the two main characters searching for a serial murderer.

Heidi~
Who is your favorite character in your stories?
Pamela~
My favorite character is from the Wilderness series and is actually a real person, Sitting Bull. The other would be Jennifer Standing Deer from book 5 of the Wilderness series. I still shake my head at her and face-palm. She's a trip. LOL

Heidi~
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Pamela~
I think there's a little bit of me in all my characters.

Heidi~
Where do you write? Describe your workspace?
Pamela~
I write best on my screen porch. We're surrounded by trees and have a 3 acre property full of animals. I do have an office that I write in, especially when I need to get lost in the story and seriously concentrate without interruptions.

Heidi~
Who are your all-time favorite authors?
Pamela~
Oh boy, so many... Ms. Rowling. Isaac Asimov, M. Night Shyamalan, Jude Devereaux, Catherine Kean, Kat Martin, Jodi Thomas ( I really could keep going)

Heidi~
Did you find writing a query letter a challenge? If so, how did you overcome it? Do you think there was a key phrase or idea in your query letter?
Pamela~
Oh dear. The dreaded query letter. It's my kryptonite.  Fortunately, I had someone take my query letters that I had been sending to publishers, destroy them, rewrote them for me and tada, I was with a publisher. Now, years later, honestly, I'm still horrible at it.

Heidi~
What advice do you have for a writer aspiring to be published?
Pamela~
Don't give up. Start working on promoting yourself as soon as you decide you want to publish. If you can, attend workshops and small conferences. Get it professionally edited before you send it out. The publisher will still edit it, but as an aspiring author, you need to stand out and look as professional as possible.

Heidi~
Would you like to acknowledge someone for their help/assistance/faith in you/etc?
Pamela~
My husband. He's cheered me on and encouraged me from the very beginning.

Heidi~
How can your readers learn more about you and your books?
Pamela~
There are several places where you can find me. I love hearing from my readers.
home page:  www.PamelaAckerson.com

The magazine: www.AffairedeCoeur.com

Friday, October 6, 2017

Carmela Martino Interview

Carmela Martino
 
Heidi~
First, Carmela, tell us a little about yourself.
Carmela~
I’m a novelist, freelance writer, and writing teacher. I have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and I’ve taught writing classes at the local community college since 1998. I also teach summer writing camps for ages 9-12, which is great fun. I was born and raised in Chicago and now live in the suburbs. Like the main character in my first novel, Rosa, Sola, I’m the daughter of Italian immigrants.

Heidi~
What genre do you write?
Carmela~
My new novel, Playing by Heart, is a young-adult historical romance that is also inspirational. My middle-grade novel is also historical as far as kids are concerned (it’s set in 1960s Chicago), but I’ve also had contemporary stories and poems for teens and tweens published in anthologies. And I freelance by writing nonfiction articles for adults. For example, I’ll have two in the 2018 edition of the Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market.


Heidi~
When did you start writing?
Carmela~
In sixth or seventh grade. I started out writing poetry and keeping a journal. (Oh, how I wish I'd saved those journals!) I was published for the first time around age sixteen, when my seven-line poem, “My Sanctuary,” appeared in an anthology of creative writing by Chicago public school students. The thrill of seeing my writing—and my name!—in print inspired me to dream of being a professional writer.

Heidi~
You have a new release. Tell us about it.
Carmela~
Playing by Heart is a historical romance inspired by two amazing sisters who lived in 18th-century Milan and who were far ahead of their time—one was a mathematician, the other a composer. Unfortunately, they had a domineering father who put his ambitions ahead of their happiness. The conflict in the novel centers on how the sisters strive to follow the paths they believe God wants them to take while their father tries to use their incredible gifts to advance himself to nobility. The story is from the younger sister’s (the composer’s) point of view. Here’s a summary:

“Emilia Salvini dreams of marrying a man who loves music as she does. But in 18th-century Milan, being the ‘second sister’ means she'll likely be sent to a convent instead. Emilia's only hope is to prove her musical talents crucial to her father's quest for nobility. First, though, she must win over her music tutor, who disdains her simply for being a girl. Too late, Emilia realizes that her success could threaten not only her dreams for her future but her sister's very life.”

I LOVE the tagline the publisher came up with for the cover: “She could compose anything . . . except the life she wanted.”  In fact, I love the whole cover. I’d seen pictures of it early on but when I held the book for the first time, it was even more beautiful than I expected.

The publisher also came up with a great ad that includes excerpts from the Booklist review of the book. You can see it at: https://youtu.be/IVUxM3CwgJs

Heidi~
What are you working on now?
Carmela~
I’d really like to write a companion/sequel to Playing by Heart. Right now, though, I’m working on a short story set in the same time and place as Playing by Heart that I plan to submit to an anthology.

Heidi~
Who is your favorite character in your stories?
Carmela~
Wow! That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. I have to say I love them all, each in their own way. 😊

Heidi~
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Carmela~
My first novel, Rosa, Sola, was loosely based on an event from my own childhood, so the main character, Rosa, and I have a lot in common. But when I was working on that story, I made sure there were significant differences between us. I wanted the book to be Rosa’s story, not my story.

Heidi~
Where do you write? Describe your workspace?
Carmela~
I converted a bedroom into an office. I have a desk for my computer, lots of bookshelves, and an old kitchen table that I use for my work surface. The table comes in handy when I’m pouring over books for research. Note: the photo I’ve provided was taken several years ago. I’ve updated my monitor and computer from the big old clunky ones you see.

Heidi~
Who are your all-time favorite authors?
Carmela~
I have too many to list! But one of my all-time favorite books is Pride and Prejudice, so Jane Austen is definitely on the list. When it comes to middle-grade and young-adult fiction, Katherine Paterson is another favorite. She’s probably best known for Bridge to Terabithia, which is an excellent book, but my favorite of hers is The Great Gilly Hopkins. It was recently made into a lovely movie starring Julia Stiles, Glenn Close, Kathy Bates, and Octavia Spencer.

Heidi~
What advice do you have for a writer aspiring to be published?
Carmela~
I tell beginning writers to Read! Read! Read! I think we learn best by studying what others have done. When I was in grad school struggling with how to weave backstory into my novel, my teacher gave me some great advice. She suggested I take a paperback copy of a novel I admired and use a highlighting pen to highlight the backstory. That was a real eye-opener! The book I chose was Katherine Paterson’s The Great Gilly Hopkins. I was amazed to discover she wove backstory throughout the novel, even in one of the last chapters! Before that, I thought you had to provide all the backstory right at the beginning.

Another bit of advice: write what you like to read. Don’t try to write a dystopian novel just because you think that genre sells easily. When you enjoy what you’re writing, it shows. And the reader will enjoy it, too.

Heidi~
Would you like to acknowledge someone for their help/assistance/faith in you/etc?
Carmela~
My husband has been very supportive. He’s an engineer and doesn’t read fiction himself, so he doesn’t really understand my love of writing. Yet, he’s never pushed me to go out and get a “real job,” as some of my friends’ husbands have done. He also happily plays chauffeur and assistant, driving me to speaking engagements when they’re far from home and helping with book sales.

Heidi~
How can your readers learn more about you and your books?
Carmela~ 
First off, I want to thank you for hosting this interview, Heidi, and for kicking off the Playing by Heart Blog Tour, which runs Oct. 6-Oct. 16. The tour includes the opportunity to win a copy of the novel, too! So, I invite your readers to visit this page of my website for the links to all the tour stops and to enter the giveaway:


And for chances to win not only Playing by Heart but seven other great books, they can participate in my virtual Launch Party on Facebook, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 7-9 p.m. Central Time. There will be giveaways every 15 minutes, so readers need not attend the whole 2 hours to win a prize! See details here: www.facebook.com/events/1926037200756000

You can also find more about me and my books at:
I’m also part of a group blog by six authors who are also writing teachers: www.teachingauthors.com

To watch a 45 second trailer for Playing by Heart, see: https://youtu.be/IVUxM3CwgJs

Finally, as my characters in Playing by Heart would say, arrivederci (until we meet again), Everyone!
And mille grazie (thanks very much) to you, Heidi!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

PLAYING BY HEART, by Carmela Martino

Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino
Published by Vinspire Publishing, LLC/Ingram 9/30/17
Genre: Young Adult Romance.
Review by H. Schussman (Author)
5 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Reader’s Point of View:
Well, I’m certainly not a young adult, but I do enjoy YA novels. I prefer to read old literary classics or YA because I find them unencumbered with the modern twist on romance. This book fulfills both of these to perfection. The historical setting of Milan is secondary compared to the setting within the household of the Salvini’s. Some things are timeless, and Carmela Martino masterfully intertwines the teen angst with the beauty of music and science.

As a young adult, you will be drawn into the seeming hopelessness of Maria and Emilia’s fate. The desires of these brilliant girls are all but ignored. The family is torn by grief, yet they persevere. As you read you will find yourself hurriedly flipping the pages to find out if Emmi gets to marry her true love, and does Maria get to follow her calling to do something her father disdains.

The fashions, the palaces, even the hairdos of the nobility in 1700’s era Italy are fun and interesting. The gossipy nobles keep it light and entertaining. I love Milan, and have friends who are Milanese, so it was fun to read about things I’d seen in museums while visiting.

I highly recommend this book to adults also. It is a lovely read.

Writers POV:
Excellent book. It is geared toward the YA only in that it is about young adults. Otherwise it is written with sophisticated language. The sentence structure varies in length to fit the mood being portrayed. I felt Martino did a good job of making this a suspenseful romance… not because she is dropping sexual innuendos, but because she creates tension within the various couples. The father is well handled. I wanted to hate him, but he somehow seemed too human and conflicted to blame him for his selfish decisions. I’m glad she didn’t follow the real father of this historical family.


Clearly a lot of research went into this novel. The historical details aren’t shouted at the reader, but are delicately interwoven into the fabric of the story. Brava Carmela Martino!

Monday, May 15, 2017

H. Schussman Interviews Delia Latham



Heidi~
First, Delia, tell us a little about yourself?

Delia~
I'm a mother of four adult children, nanny to four grandchildren -- a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. I live in East Texas, although that's happened very recently. I was born, raised and lived in California's San Joaquin Valley up until my husband retired, and we suddenly became gypsies... moving first to Oklahoma, back to California where we enjoyed a pleasant stint in Tehachapi, and then to Texas to be nearer our grandchildren. One never knows where life will eventually take them.

Heidi~
What genre do you write?
Delia~
I write inspirational romance -- mostly light-hearted, but I like to throw in the occasional dose of deep, wrenching pathos.

Heidi~
When did you start writing?
Delia~
I was born writing. lol  Actually, I'm not sure how far that is from the truth. My earliest memories have me toting some type of notebook and a handful of pencils with me wherever I went. I wrote little stories, poems, songs...whatever came to mind -- and my mind was always busy!

Heidi~
What are you working on now?
Delia~
Right now, I'm mostly promoting my most recent series, Paradise Pines, which is set on California's Central Coast, in Cambria. I've taken a little hiatus from writing, but will be diving in again right away to write a novella for a Christmas collection with a few of my dearest writer pals.

Heidi~
Who is your favorite character in your stories?
Delia~
I can't even imagine trying to choose just one! In Paradise Pines, it's probably Summer. But I really loved Spring Raine, as well...and Autumn, and oh, yes -- Winter! See what I mean? I did love all of my seasonal heroines. Shay Light, one of the secondary characters, was another favorite.

Heidi~
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Delia~
Many times. I think all authors tend to write a bit of themselves into their characters. We can't help but do that! Who we are is bound to come through in our characters actions and reactions, even when we try not to let it happen. 

Heidi~
Where do you write? Describe your workspace? 
Delia~
I do have an office... but I often write in my living room. My loveseat, with the center console brought into full use as storage, has become my "lazy writer's desk." I've recently found, though, that I was reclining too much and causing problems in my legs. So I'm trying to write at my desk more, even though I enjoy being where I can see my children and grandchildren when they come traipsing through my house at odd times. I do find it necessary to actually hide away in my office at crunch time, when I'm desperately trying to meet a deadline.

Heidi~
Who are your all-time favorite authors?
Delia~
I grew up reading Grace Livingston Hill, and she had a huge influence on my writing style. Janette Oke is another favorite from years ago. I also enjoy some of the more modern, humorous Christian authors like Mary Connealy and Vickie McDonough. I also love a good suspense story, and even those with a touch of the paranormal. So many good authors...so little time!

Heidi~
Did you find writing a query letter a challenge? If so, how did you overcome it? Do you think there was a key phrase or idea in your query letter?
Delia~
Oh, I love writing query letters...said no author, ever! Query letters are the bane of most authors' existence. For me, the key is to not over-think them. I try to make my queries sound as natural as possible, and I try to have some fun with them. Even editors enjoy a little humor now and then. Of course, there's still a certain core format that needs to be followed, but originality is a wonderful thing!

Heidi~
What advice do you have for a writer aspiring to be published?
Delia~
All the usual things~ Don't give up. Do your homework. Write every day. Yada, yada, yada. Add in one more thing, and push it right up to front of the list: PRAY. Pray long and hard about your writing career before you commit to having one. And then pray before every writing session, inviting God into the pilot's seat, while you slide gracefully into the co-pilot's corner. Having the right hands on the controls goes a long way toward successful landing at your desired destination.

Heidi~
Would you like to acknowledge someone for their help/assistance/faith in you/etc?
Delia~
My dad's brother was my pastor as a child and throughout my teen years. His wife was an amazing woman...talented, funny, anointed, and completely unforgettable. She saw potential in me when I saw none. She knew before I did that I should be writing, and encouraged me in that direction. Without her influence, I doubt I would ever have found the courage to write a book, much less get it published. My only regret is that she didn't live long enough to see it happen. But somehow, I think she knows... :)

Heidi~
Any new releases coming out?
Delia~
Yes! Summer Dream, which releases May 19th. Here's the blurb:

Summer Callahan isn’t in Cambria for the beach or the ocean or the pine-scented air around Paradise Pines Lodge. She’s there as a companion to her flighty cousin, Deah—with the understanding that they will have separate agendas the entire time. Summer just wants to be left alone to dream up the romance novels she writes under a pseudonym.

But never in Summer's wildest writer's imagination does she dream of being caught in an undertow and almost drowning, only to be rescued by a wealthy artist. And when Logan Bullard proves hard to shake, Summer fears for her heart—especially when Deah sets her sights on Logan.

But at Paradise Pines Lodge, what's meant to be has a way of happening...at the best time and in the best way. Miss Angelina Love—who may or may not own the place—has an "in" with Heaven's own "department of romance." And she's determined to see Summer and Logan together.

Heidi~
How can your readers learn more about you and your books?
Delia~
I'm not hard to find, but here are a few key online locations:

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

H. Schussman Interviews Susan Lantz Simpson

Susan Lantz Simpson Interview

Heidi~
First, Susan, tell us a little about yourself.
Susan~
I live in Southern Maryland. I have degrees in English/Education and Nursing. I have taught students from pre-k through high school. I currently work as a community health nurse and write every chance I get. I have two wonderful daughters and three cats.

Heidi~
What genre do you write?
Susan~
I write inspirational fiction. Plainly Maryland is an Amish romance series.

Heidi~
When did you start writing?
Susan~
I wrote my first poem at age six. I have been writing poems and stories ever since.

Heidi~
What are you working on now?
Susan~
I am currently working on two 3-book series for two different publishers.

Heidi~
Where do you write? Describe your workspace?
Susan~
I'm one of those strange writers who writes in long hand, so I write everywhere--at home, in office waiting rooms, wherever I find a few minutes to work. Then I have to find time to type everything later!

Heidi~
Who are your all-time favorite authors?
Susan~
There are so many authors whose books I always read that I can't pick a favorite. I always read novels by Kelly Irvin, Mary Ellis, Dana Mentick, Shirlee McCoy, Vanetta Chapman, Amy Lillard, Ruth Reid....

Heidi~
Did you find writing a query letter a challenge? If so, how did you overcome it? Do you think there was a key phrase or idea in your query letter?
Susan~
The query letter is a bit intimidating because that letter is usually the first contact with an agent or editor. It is the agent's or editor's first glimpse at your writing, and you want them to be impressed enough to ask for more. I communicated with several authors who I trust and respect and got lots of support and guidance from them. I'm thankful my agent, Julie Gwinn at the Seymour Agency, liked my letter, proposal, and book. She took me on as a client right away.

Heidi~
What advice do you have for a writer aspiring to be published?
Susan~
Keep writing! Write every day even if it's just a few paragraphs. Keep reading, especially read the genre you want to write. You can learn so much from published authors.

Heidi~
Would you like to acknowledge someone for their help/assistance/faith in you/etc?
Susan~
My mother always believed in me and encouraged me from my school days on. She always enjoyed reading my stories. Many authors offered me a lot of encouragement, support, and advice. I'm especially grateful that Vanetta Chapman, Kelly Irvin, Mary Ellis, Amy Lillard, Shirlee McCoy, and Dana Mentink took time from their busy schedules to answer my endless questions.

Heidi~
How can your readers learn more about you and your new book (Plain Haven) scheduled to release on 5/15/17?
Susan~
There’s lots of ways to follow me! Check out my: 
Vinspire: http://www.vinspirepublishing.com/plain-haven