• Virtual Book Tour

    No Innocent Affair by Edward F. Mrkvicka Jr.

  • Science Fiction

    Renegades by Sara Mason

  • Inner City Strength by Dwight Slaughter

    Sometimes the game is all you have to save your life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

VBT Pit Stop & Giveaway with Robyn Bradley - Forgotten April

Please welcome Robyn Bradley author of Forgotten April. She is currently on tour with The Virtual Book Tour Cafe' and today she joins me on Nauset Beach in Orleans. Welcome Robyn and thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today.

Robyn Bradley is a Short Story Seductress and Novelist Ninja with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University. Her work has appeared in FictionWeekly.com, Metal Scratches, The Breakwater Review, Writer's Digest, and The MetroWest Daily News, among other places. In 2007, she won a short story award for “A Touch of Charlotte.” Forgotten April is her first novel. When she's not writing or sleeping, Robyn enjoys watching Law & Order marathons, drinking margaritas, and determining how many degrees really separate her from George Clooney. Learn more at www.robynbradley.com.

BK: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
RB: I've known I wanted to be a writer ever since Mrs. Shea gave me four red stars on a short story I wrote in the fourth grade. The whole experience -- drafting the story (in pencil), finalizing the story (in pen), and sharing it with an "audience" of fellow fourth graders -- was magical from start to finish. I knew I wanted to do that for the rest of my life, although it took some time to get where I am today (and I took a few detours as well).

BK: What inspired this particular story?
RB: For me, like so many writers, it started out with a question. What if someone was given up for adoption at birth and when she finally finds her birth mother, decades later, mom can't reveal the "why" because she's suffering from Alzheimer's disease? I know people who've been adopted, and the question of "why" is one that haunts them. The story grew from there. In the book, Maggie is the person who had been given up for adoption. She's in her early fifties when she decides to find her birth mother, and when she does, she finds she has a half sister, April, as well as a birth mother suffering from Alzheimer's.
BK: Tell us a little bit about your main character April, and what was it like to write her story?
RB: April is a fighter. She's suffered many losses in her life -- the death of her father when she was only five and then the deaths of her husband and young son when she was in her twenties. When the story opens, April is also dealing with her mother's descent into Alzheimer's. But despite all this, April has hope, deep down. It's this hope that pulls her through. I think she's a character people will be able to relate to, because we've all heard the saying "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." April knows some of this is out of her control. And despite all the heartache, she doesn't give up, and she eventually takes a chance on forging a relationship with her half sister, Maggie. I enjoyed getting into April's head, but I also enjoyed getting into the other three main characters' heads as well (the story is told in multiple first-person viewpoints), since this device showed April from different perspectives.

BK: Will we be seeing more of April?
RB: April's story feels "done" to me. But never say never, right? :)

BK: What have you learned about yourself as a result of becoming a published author?
RB: I've learned how valuable my day job as a self-employed marketing copywriter has been in helping me market my fiction. I've approached this publishing venture as a business, which I realize might make some fellow writers cringe. Writing is an art, but once the book or short story is finished (and I realize a story is never really "finished"), the writer has a choice: let it "be" and be satisfied with whatever happens. Or treat the book like a product and do everything in your power to get it out there to your audience. I've been self-employed for almost a decade, so starting up this second business wasn't as daunting as I sometimes hear it is for other writers. I know how to market (and I know it takes time, thus the "drudgery of marketing" that you'll hear about). I'm willing to take risks. And I'm not afraid of falling, or failing.

BK: What is a day in the writing life of Robyn Bradley consist of?
RB: My day starts with strong coffee and scratches behind Dorian Gray's ears (my cat). Then, I check email, my FB page, my Twitter account, Goodreads, and KindleBoards. I don't check sales, believe it or not, but I do check my rank on Amazon and on B&N and see if there are any new reviews. From there, I divide my day between writing, reading, marketing my books, and client work for my copywriting business.

BK: Do you have any writing quirks or must have's that you need to write?
RB: Coffee. Red Swedish fish for a treat. I prefer silence to music, although background noise (like what you find in a coffee shop) can be a nice change of pace. Otherwise, all I need is a computer (I'm not a longhand writer, mainly because my handwriting stinks).

BK: What do you hope your readers take away from your writing? Is there a hidden message?
RB: I want my readers to be entertained. I'm a storyteller first and foremost, and I love it when readers tell me they couldn't put the book down. If someone loses sleep because he or she is reading my book, I've done my job well. There are no hidden messages per se, but some threads are perhaps a little more subtle than other threads.

BK: What is one piece of advice that you have received that you always carry with you while you write?
RB: I like Stephen King's "write with the door closed, but revise with the door open" advice. The hardest part, for any of us, I think, is just getting it down. Don't censor. Don't judge. Turn off your inner critic. Write with the door closed and know it's you and only you right now. Be fearless in your drafts and know you can always go back later and change things.

BK: What can readers always expect from you, regardless of the covers of your books?
RB: Readers can expect a story -- I'm not looking to be cute or precious or to introduce a new form. I just want to tell stories, ones that make people laugh, cry, think, feel.

BK: Are you currently working on any projects now?
RB: My next novel, What Happened in Granite Creek, is coming out in October. I'm working on final revisions now as well as the marketing plan and cover art.
BK: Where can readers find you?
RB: I love connecting with readers! I'm proud of the community my readers have helped me create on my Facebook page, so if you're on FB, I hope you'll stop by and join in on the conversations: http://www.facebook.com/RobynBradleyWriter

I'm also on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RobynBradley

My website has links to my blog and Goodreads: http://www.robynbradley.com

For April Sullivan-LaMonica, the last ten years have been hell: her husband and young son were killed in a car accident, and soon after, her mom descended into the darkness of Alzheimer’s. So when broadcast journalist Maggie Prescott shows up claiming to be April’s half sister and tries to capture their reunion on film, April outwardly regards Maggie with much suspicion. In reality, she’s simply afraid to grow close to someone again, only to have that person leave — or worse.

Maggie, meanwhile, is battling her own demons: figuring out why her biological mother gave her up, facing a secret she’s kept from the one man she’s loved all her life, and giving herself permission to follow the dream she’s had since she was a child.
Separated by nearly two decades and radically different life paths, April and Maggie must decide if pursuing their sisterhood is worth it…or even possible.
A story of loss, love, survival, and redemption, Forgotten April will speak to anyone who’s experienced the pains — and riches — of an unexpected friendship that emerges from family ties.

Thank you so much for chatting with me.
Thank you! :)


I'm happy to give away one paperback (mailed in US) and 5 ebooks (Mobi or ePub files).

Thank you so much Robyn. To enter, simply leave a comment for Robyn, telling her one life struggle you've overcome. Don't forget to leave your email address so we have a way to reach you should you win.

Extra Entries:
Follow Robyn on Facebook
Follow Robyn on Twitter
Follow Robyn on Goodreads

(you will have to visit her site to go to Goodreads)

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Monday, July 11, 2011

VBT Pit Stop with Chloe JonPaul - This Business of Children

Please help me welcome Chloe JonPaul today. She is a phenomenal woman which you will soon learn and is here today on tour with her new release, This Business of Children. Check this out...

Thank you for taking time to chat with us today Chloe. Please tell us a little about yourself......

As a teacher for 35 years, I taught every grade except kindergarten.  My teaching experience extended to Adult Ed in Maine and Maryland, high school English in a Maryland psychiatric facility, and to inmates in the Maryland state prison as well.

Teaching and writing have always been my passions.  I retired early from teaching and turned to writing full time when the death knell sounded on my creativity in the classroom.  We were being forced to “teach to the test” and that was something I refused to do.
Everything people read in my bio has been accomplished since the age of 50. I’ll simply share a few things I’ve accomplished since the age of 50.  Otherwise it would be too lengthy (smile). I have three published books since 2003: 2 non-fiction, 1 fiction I won the Title of Ms. Maryland Senior America 2003. In 1996, I was the recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa I was Lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years I was State representative for the National Family Caregivers Association’s caregiver community action network 2006-2008 I have traveled to all 7 continents of the world –fulfilling a lifetime goal in 2005.

What inspired you to pen your first title?

My philosophy of life is: find a need and fill it.  I had been a caregiver to my parents and grandparents.  When I finally had to make the decision to place both my parents in a long term care facility,I began to see the problems other caregivers were facing so I took a survey to find out what they needed to know.  That information, along with my own personal experience, developed into a book.It subsequently took me across the U.S. giving workshops to family and professional caregivers.

How long have you been writing?

I have always loved to write – even as a young child but I never really thought about doing it seriously.  As an adult, I wrote occasional articles for small magazines and newspapers.I started writing my first book in 2002.  

What was the hardest part about writing this particular novel?

Perhaps the most hardest part was being able to get “inside the skin of the male characters – capturing their thoughts, words, and actions.

Have any dreams been realized as a result of your writing?

Yes!  When I look at those three books displayed on a bookshelf in my den, I can say I’m the author!  Don McCauley selected me for his book, 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading.  I feel honored to have been selected.

Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?

I think that Sandy Fivecoat, one of the people who wrote an endorsement for the book says it best:
This Business of Children is a gripping tale that should not be missed!  Whether you are a teacher, parent, policy leader, or interested citizen, this inside perspective, positioned in a realistic novel, is a must read! Sandy Fivecoat Founder, WeAreTeachers.com.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?

1. I would like to see This Business of Children made into a movie.
2. I would like to continue writing my personal memoirs.
3. I may decide to do something with the 2 manuscripts that are still lying around: The Untold Story of the Alphabet Alessandra Teresa Petrucci: The Little Girl with a  Long Name, Both stories require illustration.

What advice do you have for writer's just starting out?

My advice is simply this:
* Identify your target audience.
* Network with like-minded people.
* Prepare an outline of what you want to accomplish.
* Set a date for completion.
* Think POD: persistence,organized, determined

Anything else you would like to share with us today?......
I would love to hear from anyone of your readers.  They can visit my web site: www.chloejonpaul.com and drop me a note.

Chloe Jon Paul, M.Ed., is a retired educator and writer of several published articles and a previous book entitled "What Happens Next: A Family Guide to Nursing Home Visits" and More... 

Her many achievements since the age of 55 include: 
- Title of Ms. Maryland Senior America 2003  Recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship 
- Seminars Abroad award to South Africa, 1996
- Volunteer internship during the 2005 Maryland legislative session as a Legacy 
- Leadership Institute graduate Lead facilitator for the Alternatives to Violence Project in prison and community workshops on conflict resolution for ten years State representative for the National Family Caregivers Association's caregiver community action network 2006-2008 Advisory board member: MD, Healthcare Commission and the Interagency Commission for Aging Services: Maryland Dept. of Aging Hospice and homeless shelter volunteer Coordinator for the Good Samaritan Project at her church World traveler - all 7 continents.

“…because the story that claws at my brain and keeps me awake nights has to be told.”~ Vera Harriss

Vera Harriss Vera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read.

Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South? Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through. Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school, struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre. What causes Stu Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Wonderful fun read!June 29, 2011
Susan Fletcher (Henderson, NC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: This Business of Children (Paperback)
This is a great book that I couldn't put down until the end, and then, I wanted it to continue. I got so wrapped up in the main characters' lives. I felt like I knew them personally. As a teacher of 27 years, this was a wonderful book that pinpoints many problems that teachers encounter in their daily lives, both at school and home. I really enjoyed this book, and I'm sure you will too. I was also impressed that the author answered my e-mail.

I just wanted to throw this review in to show that Chloe will answer your emails. She loves her fans and wants to hear from you. Leave her a comment today. Thank you so much for stopping in during your tour Chloe. I wish you much success in the future.