Today’s Featured Author – Melissa-Sue John

Today, I welcome author/publisher Dr. Melissa-Sue John to my blog. Her children’s book, A Guide to Things We Wear, came out in September of this year.

Interview

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Dr. Melissa-Sue John. I am a professor of Psychology with expertise in Social Psychology. I conduct research on academic achievement and intergroup behavior. One of my projects is about the development and testing of an engineering curriculum for diverse, often economically disadvantaged, pre-k school students. The curriculum uses literature to teach problem solving. My research team noticed that children’s books are not very diverse in that there are few representations of girls, persons of color, and disabled or gifted children. Rather than complain, my daughters and I decided to become a part of the solution. My daughters, Alyssa Simone and Olivia Lauren, and I established a publishing company called Lauren Simone Publishing House to recruit diverse writers and illustrators to tell their stories and help close the diversity disparity, especially in STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art and math).

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in a beautiful island called Jamaica. I moved to the U.S. when I was 18 years old. I lived in NY and then moved to Connecticut, where I have made a home with my husband, Matthew and our two beautiful children. Alyssa Simone was born in NY and Olivia was born in CT.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

In addition to the lack of diversity in children’s literature, my daughters inspire me to write. My first book Occupations A to Z was inspired by my daughter, Olivia Lauren, who is a working child actor and model. During her auditions she met people of many different occupations. The occupations were uncommon to us since I led a very academic life and my daughter attends a STEM academy. It was lovely to learn about all the different professions in the entertainment industry. Olivia Lauren inspired me to write a reference guide for children to explore both traditional and contemporary professions and jobs.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Although I write empirical articles, I did not consider myself a writer until I saw my first published book on Amazon and held a printed copy in my hands. This was February of 2017.

How much of yourself, your personality, or your experiences, is in your books?

A lot of our personality is in the books. The main character is based on my younger daughter, Olivia Lauren. But the style of writing is that of a teacher. Although they are stories, they are educational and cultural.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?

This year we published 5 books in the Olivia Lauren series. I have other books written, but I am not ready to illustrate or publish them as yet. Right now, we are focused on publishing the works of other kid authors: Imani Ariana Grant, Brazil Dowe and Princeton Dowe (twins) and Madison Bishop and Elijah Bishop (siblings). I enjoy helping others realize their potential and making dreams come true.

What is the best and worst advice you ever received?

Many people have stories to tell. Many people may have drafted several novels but perfectionism, fear, lack of confidence, laziness, or busyness may prevent them from finishing their manuscript. The best advice I ever received came from John Maxwell (I think!) and I am paraphrasing, “Your last book will be better than your first.” You will never have a last book until you write the first. Writing is a talent that gets better with practice. So, we shouldn’t wait on the perfect book to publish, but do our best and put it out there.

What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?

I enjoy writing the story, researching the characters and the accuracy of the content. I even like formatting the books. Basically, I love putting the book together from start to finish. What I dislike is marketing and promotion. I do not have a business degree and am not much of a sales person. I believe our work is high quality, but I struggle knowing how to get others to see that too. This is why some people seek an agent or publicist to do the harder or “worst” part.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I read all my book reviews and share them on our website. Not everyone will like your product or services. That is part of life. Most of my reviews are positive, mostly 5 stars and a few 4 stars. Once I got a 3 star and it actually motivated me to reflect on what I could do different to make my books better. Constructive criticism helps us to grow and make progress. It may hurt your feelings for a bit. It hurts more if the review is from a family or friend. But eventually the hurt dissipates.

Please tell us about your current release.

The last book is entitled Things We Wear. It was published September 13, 2017. It was written because I love culture and different cultures don’t always wear the same things. One day Olivia Lauren, Alyssa Simone, and I were coming from a park in Brooklyn, NY. We had passed Muslim women wearing hi-jabs and Orthodox Jews. I overheard a child ask their parent, “What is that the women have covering their hair?” The mom was either embarrassed or ignorant to answer. I thought since we live in a multicultural and diverse world these are things kids ought to learn in school or early learning at home. So Olivia and I wrote it, and kid illustrators Simonne-Anais Clarke and Zachary-Michael Clarke illustrated it.

Did you base any of your characters on real people?

The main characters of Olivia Travels is based on our family of 4- Mom, dad, Olivia Lauren and sister, Alyssa Simone. As the book teachers different modes of transportation using rhyme and rhythm most of the illustrations are based on our actual holiday vacations.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

My favorite book is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I read it in the third grade. This past summer, Olivia Lauren who was entering 5th grade and I read it together. It took us 3 days. After watching it, we watched the part 2 edition on Hallmark.

Book Blurb

Olivia Lauren’s Things We Wear is a story about a child model and her friends exploring the different things people wear. Olivia Lauren and her friends tell us about the when, where, and why regarding the things we wear. Children will increase their vocabulary and curiosity about fashion, tradition, and the significance of clothing.

About the Authors

Melissa-Sue John, Ph.D. is a wife, the mother of Alyssa Simone and Olivia Lauren, and psychologist. She is a Jamaican born and proud Alma Mata of Harrison’s Preparatory School and Holy Childhood High School. After high school, she moved to the U.S. where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hunter College, CUNY. She then later pursued her Master’s and Ph.D.  from the University of Connecticut. Currently, she teaches at Eastern Connecticut State University and works as a Research Associate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. These professional roles led her to write children’s literature with her two daughters and she now serves as the Chief Executive Operator of Lauren Simone Publishing House.

Olivia Lauren, born November 5, 2007 in Farmington, CT, is the co-owner of Lauren Simone Publishing House. She enjoys acting, modeling, reading, and writing. She is an intelligent and hardworking student who loves science, technology, engineering, and math. Her most recent achievement is the establishing of Lauren Simone Publishing House with her sister, Alyssa Simone.

Alyssa Simone, born October 31, 2001 in New York, NY, is the co-owner of Lauren Simone Publishing House. She is a teen actor, model, violinist, athlete, author, and kid publisher. She was also a Girl Scout, a member of her school’s Drill Team and Stage Crew, working behind the scenes for camera, lights, and background. She has been playing violin since the third grade, and participated in over dozen orchestra recitals. She enjoys running indoor and outdoor track and field. Most recently, she co-authored a book with her mother called Olivia Connects. Olivia Connects is the 3rd book of the Olivia Lauren series. She also works as editor and literary critic, helping Olivia and her mom review manuscripts submitted to their publishing company.

You can find out more about Melissa-Sue, Olivia and Alyssa on their website. You can also purchase their books there as well as on Amazon.

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Today’s Featured Author Natalya LaBauve

Today author Natalya LaBauve stops by my blog as part of her spotlight book tour. She is promoting her book, What It Do!, and her upcoming book, Bow Down! 

Excerpt – What It Do!

When we finally arrived at the concert, I walked in with Ronald and his friends, Pete and Vic.  Rhonda was behind us with Wayne and since I heard music coming from inside the coliseum’s arena, I figured we must have been missing one of the acts.  People were walking around the outer part of the coliseum’s corridor, talking about the act that was on before.  I punched Ronald in the shoulder and said, “see, we missed one of the acts because of you.”

Ronald jumped back.  “Be cool girl.  Don’t be hitting on me!  It ain’t my fault.”

Then from the back of us, Rhonda and Wayne yelled, “yes it is!”

“Just keep walking.”  Ronald directed.  “Let’s find our seats.”

As we continued walking, suddenly, a crowd started stampeding straight toward us.  Quickly!  I didn’t know what to do.  My heart began pounding.  My neck went stiff.  My body tightened up.  I guess I just panicked.  I didn’t know what was going on.  For some reason I couldn’t move.  I just froze in place.  I heard someone yell, “they fighting!”

My mind quickly saw Faye’s face.  I thought about what Faye said, then I thought, oh no, I’m supposed to be running!

Still unable to move an inch, I looked all around for Ronald or Rhonda.  I must have gone into shock.  Oh my God, where are they?  I didn’t even see Vic or Pete.  Not even Wayne.  But one thing I did see and it was coming right for me, the guys that were fighting.

I closed my eyes, clinched my fist tightly together and held them as close to my cheeks as I could.  Right when I knew I was about to be run over by the fight, I was grabbed by the arm and firmly placed up against the wall.  Because of the strong snatch, I assumed it was Ronald.  Oh thank God, Ronald.

I grabbed hold of his arm as tight as I could and with my eyes still closed I started saying my prayers.  “Our father, which art in heaven…”

The heavy voiced asked, “you alright?”

I quickly cut off my prayer.  That didn’t sound like Ronald’s voice.  I slowly opened my eyes to see who it was that I had grabbed on to so tightly.  When I did, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  It was that guy.  That, that, that guy!  For a moment I forgot what was going on around me.  I quickly thought back to the first time I had seen him before.  It was the afternoon after I had first arrived in Oakville.

I never brought the subject up to Rhonda or Ronald, but every time he would pass by the house, I wished I could have gotten up enough courage to speak to him.  He would stare, even speak, and I’d just freak out.  I’d go run into the house or something, play like I didn’t see him. Rhonda would come chasing behind me, “why you running girl?  He likes you.  You better get with that!”

Just then I heard the smooth midnight voice again, “Hellooooo.  You alright?”

His name was Terrance, I did know that much.  His voice snapped me back into the reality that I was still at the concert.  I hadn’t realized that I had lost all consciousness, I turned and looked at him.  We were standing way too close together.

He searched my eyes.  “Are you okay?”

“I…I…I lost my sister and brother.”  My stomach was nervous.

Still holding my arm, but a lot gentler now, Terrance began looking around the crowd as if he were trying to find them with me.

He asked, “Ronnie’s your brother right?”

I took a deep breath, exhaled, and then smiled, “yes.”

Then he appeared to give me a mischievous smile, “I don’t see him.”  He let my arm go.  “But if you want me to, I’ll walk you to your seat.”

An instant hot flash rushed through my body.  What should I say?  But before I could really think it out, my mouth opened.  “That’ll be nice, thanks.”  My sandy brown cheeks turned beet red.

I just wanted to die.  I could not believe I was walking with, as well as talking to, that guy Terrance.  As we continued walking, security passed by with about five young guys that they were escorting out of the concert.

Terrance pulled me close, “be careful.”

The guys were putting up a fight with the security guards now.

“What happened,” I asked, thinking Terrance might know.

“Just some knuckle heads.”

“You know them?” I asked, looking into his strong black eyes.

He laughed.  “Yeah…I know em.”

As we proceeded inside the concert arena toward the seats the tickets had designated on them, I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to Ronald and the others.  I was getting a little nervous.  Terrance kept touching me and, don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad touches, they were good touches, very good touches, it was just, the touches were freaking me out!  Every time we needed to turn, Terrance would grab my hand and pull me or guide me.  Grab my waist or place his hands on my shoulder.  Then the final thing that got me was when he whispered gently in my ear, “you alright?”  I felt the heat of his breath on the back of my neck.  I know that he knew that he was just too darn close!  I was feeling things that I had never felt before.  I didn’t know any way not to let it show.  I tried my best to stay calm…

Book Blurb – What It Do! 

For most seventeen year olds, graduating from high school is something to look forward to. But not for Victoria Johnson, who has just learned, two days before graduation, that she has been living a privileged and sheltered life in the gated community of Laketon, with ‘adopted’ parents. “What It Do”, is the story about what life does to a young girl of class and prestige, when her biological mother arrives and wants to spend time with her. The weekend after graduation, Victoria finds herself being driven from the happy world of two story homes with Mercedes Benzes parked out front; to the mean streets of Oakland, where being naive and simple-minded, are just not allowed. With the help of a street wise younger brother; a strong willed little sister, and the admiration of a handsome young street thug, Victoria learns very quickly – What it do!

Book Blurb – Bow Down!   

Victoria thought her wedding day would be the happiest moment in her life, but strange coincidences and enigmatic guests hint at a mystery that will reveal distressing secrets about her new marriage and the man she’s given her heart to.

It took some smooth talking, but Victoria’s parents have finally accepted Terrance Seals as their son-in-law. Their summer wedding is beautiful, but Victoria begins to believe that something isn’t quite right. It would be one thing if the only problem were Edward Bordeaux, Victoria’s old beau. Edward’s mere presence might cause Victoria’s whole body to heat up, but she knows she can handle him—even after he coughs loudly when the minister asks if anyone objects to the marriage. The real problem is a strange woman with some connection to Terrance.

When Victoria can’t get answers from her new husband, she turns to her girlfriends—her best friend, Jana; new girl Meagan; and self-professed psychic Jennifer. With their support and encouragement, Victoria starts trying to get to the bottom of Terrance’s strange behavior. With the help of prayers, miraculous coincidences, and even psychic visions, Victoria discovers something unexpected about her husband and their shared future that will change everything.

About the Author

Natalya LaBauve was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Oakland. She studied at Ohio State University, UC Berkeley Extension, and Laney Community College’s theater program.

LaBauve spent twenty-eight years working for the US Attorney’s office. She has resigned from her work in the federal government to pursue her dream of becoming an author. LaBauve has written five novels about good girls, bad boys, and the love they share.

LaBauve lives in the Bay Area with her two children. She’s hard at work on her next book!

You can find more about Natalya on her website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

You can purchase What It Do! on Amazon. Her book Bow Down! will also soon be found on Amazon.

Featured Author Recap of Fantasy Authors

Here is is November, and I don’t have an author scheduled for today so I am highlighting three past authors featured on my website that write fantasy novels.

(If you are an author and would like too be featured, I have openings in November, December and beyond. Click here for more information.)

 

Diana Rubino

Her time-traveling romance novel, Dark Brew, was released in July 2016. You can check out her interview here.

Amy Elizabeth Davis

Her humorous book, Darcy Bites: Pride and Prejudice with Fangs, came out in 2015. To read an excerpt and check out her book trailer, click here.

 

H M Sealey

She is currently working on the twelfth book in her Kingdom Rising series. Book 11, Deception Rising, was released last year. To find out more about this series, check out her interview here.

 

I hope you check out these authors. And if your an author who wants to be featured, contact me!

Today’s Featured Author – Tonya Barbee

Please welcome Tonya Barbee as she stops by my blog as part of her virtual book tour promoting her book The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain. 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Tonya

She’s a singer.

She could dance all night.

She loves to burn candles.

She’s a neat freak but has a hidden junk area.

She’s very sensitive but working on that.

She wanted to be a DJ when she was in high school.

She was a drum major for two full years as well.

She also wanted to be an actress and write plays.

She dropped out of college in her early years.

She loves cooking new things.

Book Blurb

The Little Girl Inside is a prolific story of triumph and discovery of inner peace. With each page, the reader will be captivated while the author uses the writing pen as a sowing tool-seaming a garment of praise, banner of victory and fabric of joy. With imaginative color, the book is a perfectly designed combination of patterns expressing the maturation of a woman.

A uniquely designed transparent jewel every woman should own in her jewelry box. The Little Girl Inside is a ministry resource tool for women in search for transparency in the human heart. The author shows us how to overcome the inner battle of doing the right thing the wrong way, going from finding love in the wrong places to allowing love to be revealed in the right time and in the right place.

About the Author 

TONYA BARBEE is a novelist and aspiring playwright. Tonya grew up in Durham, NC, a family of four daughters and one son. Her father, Woodrow served his country for twenty years as an Army officer, retired then taught ROTC for another twenty years and her mother, Doris, a college administrator. She is a proud 1980 graduate of Frank W. Ballou High School in Washington, DC. She worked in operations and management for Department of Agriculture for twenty years. For the past ten years, she’s worked as a project manager for Department of Defense in Washington, DC. She studied at National-Louis University where she earned her Masters in Business Administration in 2009.

Although she’s worked her way up the ladder in the federal government, she had no idea she would end up writing professionally however she has always enjoyed sharing her personal life through story telling with those she thought she could help. Then something clicked. As she writes, she is in hopes that her work reaches her readers that have been through something and have contemplated giving up. Her goal is to enable her readers to become empowered to keep moving forward to accomplish their dreams no matter what challenges they have been faced with.

Tonya resides in Bowie, MD with two of her youngest children, Christian and Zachary. Her eldest two, Andrew and Jessica left the nest years ago and have blessed her with seven beautiful grandkids.’

You can find more about Tonya on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase The Little Girl Inside: Owning my Role in My Own Pain Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Rosie Christie

Please welcome author Rosie Christie to my blog. Her book, As Tears Go By, was released last year. She is currently working on a sequel to it.

Interview

Please tell us about your current release.

As Tears Go By – Inspired by True Events – An eye-opener to treatment of Indigenous Children lost in the system.

The emotions portrayed by Maria, a beautiful Cree woman raised in residential school, attempting to save her children from the same demise as herself, tears at your heart strings while Kate, the overbearing foster mother rules with an iron fist, a wicked mouth and a razor strop. This book is compelling which makes it a very hard book to put down. Follow the journey as the fate of Maria’s children, Dolly, Jacob and Rayen, hang in the balance.

What inspired you to write this book/series?

This story is something I have had extreme difficulty with for over a half century which is when it all began. It is only by the grace of God that I am still here on this earth. This is why I felt it was a testimony that needed to be heard. This story even to myself seemed so unbelievable that it needed to be shared.

How did I come up with the title?

“As The Years Go By” was what I was typing with lightning speed when the title “As Tears Go By” emerged. It proved appropriate to the content and it stuck with me.

If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?

“Rayen – More Than Enough” is the second book of what I now call the Rayen Series.

Rayen leaves the house where she has been abused for the past 12 years.  At the tender age of thirteen she discovers the name she is using is not her own. Nothing she has been told is real. She hates herself. The streets can be cruel for a naïve preprogrammed little girl. Pedophiles and violent men swarm to her in droves. Would death be kinder?

What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?

“As Tears Go By” and “Rayen – More Than Enough” have both invoked so many emotions that each page has been difficult to write. These stories need to be told. It is my hope that other people can find inspiration in these survival stories and that in some way I can help them.

 Book Blurb

I changed their names. I shaped their minds. I was judge, jury, and executioner. No one could stop me. No one! To anyone looking in, we were just a normal church going, family. No one was aware of the dark secrets we held within the walls of the tiny house by the swamp. I was the woman with the razor strop and I made sure every blow connected. That was until the day the sheriff handed me my subpoena. I felt the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Abuse? What? The one-word ringing in my head drowning out anything and everything else that might have been said. I felt I might just pass out right there on the step. I kept my composure until he pulled out of the driveway and then my anger quickly exploded into rage. Those ungrateful little bastards. After everything, I did for them. This was my thanks. A bolt of straight adrenaline shot through my veins and I grabbed the gun….. I had instilled the fear of god in them. I am not a woman to be tampered with. How could this be happening? My one mistake…and I don’t make many… was not realizing that these stupid children would grow up.

About the Author

My name is Rosie Christie and I am from the Thunderchild First Nation in Saskatchewan. I am a Canadian Author. My inspiration came from author V.C Andrews. “Flowers in the Attic” was a major influence in my life when I realized that I was not alone in my plight. This author gave me the strength to continue on and to eventually escape from the nightmare that I lived.

In reform school I was taught to write down my thoughts and feelings that were too indescribable to speak about. We would burn these writings on the fire. I continued to use this mechanism as a release for many years and I did not elect to publish any writing until 2016.

My writing is slated as Fiction but only for legality purpose. I feel it is anyone’s inherent right to write or speak about their own history without repercussion but this is not so when abuse is involved.

You can find out more about Rosie and read the first chapter on All Author.

You can purchase As Tears Go By on Amazon.

 

Today’s Featured Author – Paulette Harper

Today I welcome author Paulette Harper to my blog. Her book, That was Then, This is NOW, was released in August. 

Excerpt: Walking in Purpose

How can I live in my purpose? While it is important to define what purpose is, I believe purpose must start with God. When I began to recognize my purpose for living, I realized it was about producing a life that was fulfilling, complete, and satisfying. As a believer in Christ, I believe that I am in a place where I am fulfilling the purpose for which I was created.

What I find most rewarding is making sure I’m doing what I believe the Lord will have me to do. I’m a strong believer in the fact that if God wanted me to do something else, I would be and if He wanted me to be somewhere else, I would.  True happiness comes when a person identifies his purpose and lives his dreams with God in the center of everything he or she does.

Inside each of us is a yearning to know why we are created and for what reasons we exist. I don’t believe we will be satisfied in life or even enjoy the life we have been given apart from walking in our divine purpose.  Finding your purpose in life should be one of your greatest goals. For one to fulfill his role and assignment here on earth, one must be aware of his own skills, talents, passions and abilities. Once those qualities are identified it makes doing what we love easy.

Some of my life’s challenges and struggles lead me to God’s divine purpose and plan for my life.  I found that in my own personal struggles there were ideal and dreams that God had birth inside me that where pulled out when I went through the most challenging times in life.  I learned that God’s purpose and will in my troubles were being fulfilled through my life’s experiences.

I live by my own motto…”Intentionally Living Life on Purpose.”

Book Blurb

HOW COULD GOD HAVE A PURPOSE FOR ME AMIDST THIS MESS?

WHY DO SUCH BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE?

If you’ve recently asked yourself these questions, Paulette Harper’s That Was Then, This is Now has the answers. Struggling to recover from a broken marriage and disappointed dreams, Paulette Harper gropes for meaning and understanding. And through her searching, God reveals Himself to her in ways she never before imagined possible. By sharing her struggles with transparency, she illustrates how a heart attitude of surrender allows God to use a broken vessel for His ultimate plans of glory.

That Was Then, This is Now, minsters to hurting hearts in every season in life, reminding them that God restores shattered lives, intent on using them for His sovereign purposes.

About the Author

In addition to being an award winning author of Completely Whole and Secret Places Revealed, Paulette is an inspirational speaker, as well as a writing workshop instructor. Her literary works have been spotlighted in a growing number of publications, including CBN, Real Life Real Faith Magazine, The Sacramento Observer and Black Pearls Magazine. She has also appeared on numerous local and online radio shows.

Paulette resides in Northern California.

You can find out more about Paulette on her website or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase That Was Then, This is NOW on Amazon.

Today’s Featured Author – Jo Carey

Today, author Jo Carey visits my blog. Her book, Winter, the first in her Seasons de Santa Fe series, came out in July.

Interview

Where you were born and where do you call home?

I was born and raised in Ohio, but have lived in 7 states. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to live and work in Ireland for 3 years. That was a great experience. My husband and I now call Texas home.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

My husband started writing to relieve stress. I read and edited his books so that we could discuss them. It was something we could share. We found that my editing took a lot less time than his writing, so he suggested I try writing. With one story under my belt, I was hooked.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?

I write in a number of different genres and many of my books are set in the League of Planetary Systems—a universe Frank created, and we now share, but when I write non-scifi I often set my stories in locations I’m familiar with. The first book in my Cassie Carter Cryptid Hunter Series—The Thunderbird Op, is set in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I lived for a few years. Book two in that series, The Black Fly Op, is set in the Connecticut Lakes of northern New Hampshire, a place I visited often when living in New England.

What do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?

I have a full-time job in government compliance.  After self-publishing our first few books, Frank and I decided to dedicate all our free time to writing and self-publishing. We still make time for family and friends, but we’ve given up all our other hobbies to ensure that we have time to write. I usually get an hour or two of time to work on writing or publishing each night and then several hours on the weekend.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

Since starting our author journeys Frank and I have tried various methods for planning our books. I don’t outline. When I get close to finishing the rough draft of a book, I decide what I’m going to write next. I usually make a few notes about the main story line and list the major characters, then start writing.

Please tell us about your current release.

I recently published the final book in a traditional romance series called Seasons de Santa Fe. There are four books in the series—Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, each based around the staff and guests who stay at the Seasons de Santa Fe Hotel in New Mexico.  Now I’m working on a new YA scifi mystery series called ORBS. It follows four young people as they find their own paths in life while solving mysteries in the League of Planetary Systems.

How do you select the names of your characters?

We have a lot of whiteboards in our living space. One of them we use to write character names. We hear names or words and think it would make a good character name. Sports on television provides a lot of ideas. We sometimes change a letter or two or use a last name as a first name or vice versa.

Which of your characters is your favorite?   Do you dislike any of them?

That’s an interesting question.  Each of the books in my Snapdragon Ladies series focus on one particular woman. The main characters of the first two books Ciara and Nebulon are both characters my husband, Frank, created in his books. I liked them so much that I used them, but the third book in that series is Melicity—featuring a character I created for a scifi holiday book. Melicity is my favorite, though it’s hard to choose.

 If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I think it would be Cassie Carter from the Cassie Carter Cryptid Hunter series. She’s smart, strong, and unique.

If you could jump in to any book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Definitely my Galactic Cruise Lines Series. It’s a traditional cozy mystery series set in the League of Planetary Systems.  There’s an elf who is the Chief Sleuthhound (detective), a sexy Venlanten ship’s security officer, and they both are vying to win the heart of Kat, the cruise director. There are exotic ports, interesting characters, and lots of fun on board.

Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you right?

There’s always a small bowl of Coffee Nut M&Ms on my desk beside my glass of water. At least with a small bowl, I have to get up often to refill it.

 Book Blurb

Ellie’s life hasn’t gone the way she expected. Forty something, divorced, she’s moving to Santa Fe to help her dad run the family’s art gallery on Canyon Road. It’s another big change in a series of changes that has Ellie doubting herself at every turn. Right now the only two men she wants to focus on are her son, Tristan, and her dad, Gene. Romance is the furthest things from her mind.

Rod has enjoyed the time he’s spent in Santa Fe overseeing the building of his family’s newest boutique hotel, the Seasons de Santa Fe. He’s finally found a place in the family business that suits him. If he could just get his mom to stop fixing him up with women, his life would be darn near perfect.

When fate throws Ellie and Rod together, neither of them is ready for what happens next.

About the Author

Jo Carey grew up in the Midwest but her curiosity and gypsy-spirit has kept her on the move. She’s lived in eight US states and spent three years living in Ireland. She has always loved creature movies, so creatures and bugs often show up in her books.

Jo, a former information security compliance guru, writes fast-paced, character-driven stories in a variety of genres from medical thrillers to space operas and cozy mysteries. Her novels are filled with humor, romance, and sometimes creatures or aliens, or maybe even all of the above. She often builds her stories around a strong female lead character surrounded by plenty of hunky male heroes.

Jo’s been under fire on a golf course and climbed out the roof of an elevator in the Netherlands. Life hasn’t been boring. Now residing in Texas, setting often plays a huge role in her stories. Jo was intrigued by the League of Planetary Systems, a world her husband, Frank, created for his science fiction books, and she now writes mysteries and other types of tales sets in that world. Jo was bitten by a cat, a fire ant, and a snake, before succumbing to the bite of the writing bug.

Jo is currently working on a romance series set in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The four-book series has a story set in each of the four seasons. Jo hasn’t had personal contact with a cryptid or an alien, but it’s never too late. Jo and her husband, Frank, produce a podcast—Xtreme Self-Publishing—which details their self-publishing efforts.

You can purchase Winter on Amazon.