Life has been pretty overwhelming this week, between an increased pressure regarding work/money/practical things, social obligations, trying to keep up with “optional things” like the workshop over at Writer’s Village I’ve been taking and wish I had more time for and this blog, and making time for the people I care about. I’ve been going to bed exhausted, and waking up extraordinarily early.

It’s fair to say I don’t do well with stress, because it turns me into a person I am not, a person who becomes overwhelmed by worry and anxiety and has trouble completing goals because they seem too large. You don’t have to know me outside of this blog to know that I am a bit of a bon vivante–I enjoy life and a little dash of the finer, more memorable things, and living to the fullest. When every day, practical matters get in the way, I become bogged down and overwhelmed by them. I feel as if I am carrying around a heavy burden, and my creativity level is practically non-existent. In a different era, I’m sure I’d have been the typical highly-strung artiste, but in today’s world, the kindest way to put it is that I am not the best with practical matters and a little flighty when it comes to taking care of them. It’s actually not because I’m terribly flighty by nature, as I’m not—I’m intelligent and have a pretty decent head on my shoulders— but I wish to largely avoid the stress that comes along with all those “adult problems” whenever possible. Therefore, I excel at procrastination and find it difficult to focus on goals that seem too unrealistic and large, and am rarely surprised when the things I want to happen simply don’t work out, or I screw up in some major way. In the freelancing world, this can be a challenging character flaw, because no matter how talented you are, deadlines and rule-following are typically valued a bit more. I have, sadly, had to learn this the hard way. However, I don’t operate well under deadlines—the stress of the deadline blocks out the creativity or the motivation, and anxiety keeps me from allowing my brain to rest.

I am either by nature a very type-A personality who has learned to live life differently as a coping mechanism for anxiety and what is common labeled “too many feelings”, or someone who is not at all focused and driven that’s forced to handle very challenging situations from time to time, with too few people to help. I am not sure which. Either way, since I got some news earlier this week about a lot more pressure being put onto my shoulders, I haven’t felt like myself.

Since I haven’t been writing anything myself lately, nor keeping up with promoting and networking and blogging, I’m happy to have this week’s “Literary Libations” finished ahead of time and ready to go! I’m afraid I’ve been less communicative with this wonderful author than I typically am with my interview subjects, but fortunately, she is a very level-headed and organized type who managed to send everything I needed, regardless. ;)

For the very first time, I’ll be chatting with an author in the genre of children’s fiction, the lovely Deanie Humphrys-Dunne. While a majority of my readers are single, urban types without children, I thought it would be nice o have Deanie stop by for a visit to provide a bit of a new and fresh perspective to the blog. She is friendly, creative, and quite accomplished. I, for one, am thrilled to have her here, so I hope you’ll pull up a chair on this Sunday morning (whatever time it happens to be for you), and settle in to meet her.



tailscover orignial
1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

I spent my childhood in the tiny town of Easton CT, where my parents owned a riding school. The farm was called Sweetbrier and life there was always exciting, as well as challenging. Presently, I live in New Fairfield, CT, but I lived in FL for several years as well. I miss the FL weather in the Winter, but my husband really disliked the hot, humid Summers there. I’m working on another book for the Charlene the Star series called Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog. My sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, beautifully illustrates my books.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

My newest published story is called Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes. Charlene the Star is a stunning red horse, who is becoming renowned for her jumping talents, but she and her friends are looking for something exciting to do in their spare time. They start an amazing new career, which helps other horses. The story is told from Charlene’s point of view and the animals all discuss their problems and work together to find astonishing, creative, solutions. Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes is amusing, entertaining , and it emphasizes the value of friendship, teamwork and setting goals.

3)
When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

It’s most important to me that my books promote positive messages for children. I want them to realize that they are all unique. In my book, Charlene the Star, Charlene comes from a family of famous race horses so everyone assumes that will be her forte. But what happens when she doesn’t like racing? She goes to great lengths to show her trainers that she is completely bored with running in circles! She even considers becoming a model at one point. Her career takes a completely different turn. After that, I wanted to create something different for Charlene and her friends. Some of the same characters are in both books, but they set different goals in Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes. It was fun to create the story and I certainly hope that children enjoy reading it. I make every effort to assure that each of my books is my best effort, because that’s what my readers deserve.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

I chose to self publish because I wanted to retain the rights to my work. I was aware that I would need to do my own marketing and promoting, but I don’t mind doing that. In my experience, most traditional publishers will not consider publishing your work, unless you’re already famous. Also, many traditional publishers are not accepting submissions, so I believe that self publishing was the best course for me.

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

I took two writing courses with the Institute of Children’s Literature. I learned a great deal from their excellent instructors. But I didn’t have the confidence to actually try to publish anything for some time. One morning, I had a strong intuition that I should write a story for children that would be inspirational so I created my first book, Tails of Sweetbrier, which is an autobiography of a little girl who wanted nothing more than to become a champion equestrian, in spite of her handicap. I can’t give away everything that happens, but the story does show that anything is possible if you persevere. This book was chosen “Most Inspirational” by the staff of the Pawling Book Cove in 2009. Tails of Sweetbrier was published in 2009.



Hattie in jpeg
6)
You’re the first person I’ve had occasion to interview on this site who is a children’s author. What drew you to that genre, rather than writing for young adults or an older audience? Do you illustrate your books, as well?

I love children and I thought it would be a tremendous amount of fun, as well as a challenge, to write stories that would inspire and encourage them. My goal is always to write funny, exciting, stories that would have helpful, positive messages for children.

7) What would you say is the most challenging aspect of writing for younger readers? What do you consider to be the most rewarding?

I think it’s challenging to find new ideas for stories. There are so many children’s books that it’s necessary to find different subjects and/or innovative ways to present your ideas and characters. It’s also important to have sufficient action and lively dialogue to keep young readers turning the page. Some of my readers are kind enough to send notes, telling me how much they enjoyed my stories and what they will remember most about them. That’s a huge reward!

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

I love books by children’s author, Sherry Ellis (That Baby Woke Me Up Again! And That Mama is a Grouch!) They are adorable, fun to read, and have good messages. I am very impressed with I Spy a Dragonfly and My Name May be Peanuts, but I say Nay to PB&J, by Carla Burke. Both of these authors are award-winners and they do a fantastic job. I’ve had the honor of interviewing Carla. We had a great time together discussing her books.

9) Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer?

Yes, writing is a full-time job for me. My goal is to continue to write stories that children enjoy. Of course, I hope to inspire them as well.

10)
Do you experience “writer’s block”, or a point in time when your imagination simply decides to turn itself off? If so, what do you do to get past that mental stopping point?

Yes, sometimes that does happen. I find that taking a break is helpful. If I take some time away from writing, I can look at it with a fresh perspective, and that’s helpful. Sometimes I ask advice from my family, which is often enlightening. Eventually, the creative side of my brain wakes up again so I can get back to work!

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favourite things?

I love watching equestrian events, such as jumping, horse racing, etc. Also, I enjoy watching figure skating, swimming, and gymnastic competitions. Additionally, I’m a baseball fan, especially a Yankee fan.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

I’m a Libra.

13) If you were to give advice to young or aspiring writers who are looking to write for children, what would be the most important lesson you’d wish to share?

I believe that if writing is your passion, you should pursue it, even if some of your friends are discouraging you from that. You must have the passion, in order to make your work outstanding. I think we should never abandon our dreams. Of course, it’s also important to keep writing, because the more you do, the better you become at it. I would also advise aspiring authors to remember that revising your work is essential. It’s rare that your first attempt is your best effort.

14) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.

My website is: www.dhdunne.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Childrens-author-Deanie-Humphrys-Dunne/574820065875628

Book Titles: Tails of Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse (Kindle), Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes

All of them are on Amazon.com. You may also order them directly from me by emailing; www.dhdunne.blogspot.com. Soon you will be able to order signed copies of my book from my website.

Thank you so much for speaking with me today, Alayna. I’ve really enjoyed our time together.



Charlie's cover from Amazon

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is a children’s book author with four books published at this time: Tails of Sweetbrier, Charlie the Horse, (now on Kindle) Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes (now on Kindle). All of her books offer positive messages for children. Her sister, Holly Humphrys-Bajaj, beautifully illustrates her books. She and Holly are currently working on their fifth book together,” Charlene the Star and Bentley Bulldog.”

Tails of Sweetbrier is an inspirational autobiography about a little girl whose one desire was to become a champion equestrian, in spite of her handicap. Tails of Sweetbrier will show children that anything is possible if you persevere. This book was chosen “Most Inspirational” by the staff of the Pawling Book Cove in 2009. Tails of Sweetbrier is in the process of being published in a second edition. Deanie’s other books, Charlie the Horse, and Charlene the Star, and Charlene the Star and Hattie’s Heroes, are amusing, fictional tales, which contain important life lessons.

Deanie is a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, as well as a member of Cambridge Who’s Who. She has been featured on several author websites and she is administrator of Claire Power Murphy’s group, the Pen is Mightier than the Sword and Claire’s group on Womens Radio.com, called “improve Every Year” She has completed four radio interviews on www.womensradio.com. Her last interview with Claire, “Building Character Through Children’s Stories” received top billing on www.womensradio.com.

Deanie enjoys watching equestrian events, and figure skating competitions, music and singing, spending with her family, and their dog, Elliott. She is also an avid Yankee fan.Deanie has just been selected as “Author of the Year” by Geri Ahearn. Additionally, she has been nominated for the following blogging awards: Sunshine Award, The Best Moment Award, The Dragon’s Loyalty Award, The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, The Leibster Award (twice) and the Super Sweet Award, and the Shine On Award.

*****************************************************************************************

Thanks so much to Deanie Humphrys-Dunne for stopping by to be our guest on “Literary Libations” this weekend, and I hope many of you will be inspired to check out her lovely and imaginative creations. Deanie is also part of the Goodreads author community, as more and more independent authors are, so I highly recommend checking out what others are saying if you happen to be part of the website.

Stay tuned, as I’ll be featuring not one but two other interviews this week with talented authors from around the globe, and keeping you updated on some of my own endeavours! As for me, I’ll have to bid you a fairly early good night from my part of the world, as we have a trivia tournament tomorrow and I’d like my brain to turn itself back on. ;)

Sweet dreams, and a lovely Sunday from over here at
Jaded Elegance.

They always say “Better late than never”, but in this case, it’s totally true! Yesterday’s “Literary Libations” did not appear in time due to my complete lack of motivation to be anything but a giant lump on my bed (I still blame the whole drug/health thing.), and the fact that sometimes even *thinking* too much tends to tire me out these days.

However, I feel so badly for not giving this author much-deserved timely attention! Lost Reunions by Shuhin Ali looks like a fascinating read, and I’ve definitely added it to my list.

So, sit back, grab a snack, and even though it’s Monday, take a few moments and get into that Sunday frame of mind.



Shuhin_Ali_Lost_Reunions
1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

I grew up in a small city in the north west of England. My parents are Bangladeshi so I grew up with a mixture of both British and Bengali culture, which was great. I graduated with a degree in Accounting from the University of Liverpool and later qualified as a chartered accountant. I currently spend my time living between Cheshire and London. I’m always looking to learn about different cultures and can speak English, Bengali and conversational Spanish. When I’m not writing I spend my time trying to improve my Spanish, keeping fit through running ten kilometer and half marathon races, trying to stay on my feet in Muay Thai training and watching movies, reading books and listening to music.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

My latest novel,
Lost Reunions
, is a contemporary tale of friendship, self-discovery and redemption. It explores the nature of staying true to your dreams and ambitions in the midst of the pressures and temptations of modern society. It charts the story of two friends, an investment banker and a doctor, who face very different challenges in staying true to themselves and the promises they’ve made. It’s set between the UK and Bangladesh and I’ve tried to transport the reader to those settings to give it a real world feel.

I think my writing appeals to readers because I try to write in a way that gives the reader the impression that the story could actually be taking place in the world around them, I try to do this by keeping the story contemporary and the characters’ emotions real. I like to think my readers finish the story feeling like they really know the characters.

3) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

I’ve always been quite a fan of books, movies and music finding that they are great avenues for storytelling; it was this love for story telling which inspired me to begin writing. I try to take inspiration from the world around me. My book came into being through the different mix of cultures I grew up around and my desire to tell a story that shows it’s never too late to reach out for your dreams.

4)
Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

I decided to self-publish my novel. The same as most aspiring writers, I was sending the usual letters and three chapters of my manuscript out to agents and publishers only to receive rejection letters, and at times no reply at all. I was fully aware that the publishing houses would only publish a finite number of books and so competition was fierce for their attention, but I had faith and confidence in my writing and the novel I had written. After meeting a few authors who had self-published their novels successfully this gave me the impetus to embark on the self-publishing journey, it was either that or let my manuscript languish on my laptop forever. I am happy to say that I believe I made the right choice.

The benefits of the self-publish are that you maintain control of the publishing process and get to run with your own ideas. Additionally, you also get to keep a higher portion of the royalties from book sales. Also because you are closer to the process of inception to sale of the end product I feel it allows you engage with your readers more often as you have to be more hands on with the whole process.

The main challenge of self-publishing is going from being a writer to a project manager and learning about all the different facets of the publishing process. I gave myself a couple of months to research what a publisher does and learn about the different elements of the process as best I as I could. I worked with an editor to edit the final draft of my novel, I also worked with my cover designer to pull together a book cover that would best represent the essence of my novel. I had to establish the most efficient distribution channels and decided to go with Amazon’s Kindle and CreateSpace, and also used Smashwords to distribute to all of the e-readers. The hardest part for me was the time, it can be very time consuming especially as I already had a day job, much of the time I would work through to one o’clock in the morning. This went on for about a month, but it certainly felt good when I had the finished product.

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

This is my first publication. Writing is a hobby for me, I had an idea for a novel and within five months I’d written my first draft. After a few editions of my manuscript I thought I would take a chance and put it out in the world. Luckily readers have enjoyed my novel, so far.

6) Your book deals with some serious subjects. In addition to being a work of fiction, it serves to raise awareness about the difficulties faced by those living in cultures unfamiliar to most Americans. Have you gotten positive feedback on that front, and do you think your work helps people to get out of the mindset of concentrating on “first world problems”?

Yes. So far the feedback has been positive. Some of the issues in the novel are new to some readers and they’ve enjoyed being exposed to issues being faced in our world today, and some have been inspired to look into some issues further and have got involved with charities to combat social and economic problems faced in the developing world.

7) Are there times when you experience “writer’s block”, and what do you find is the best way to get past that?

I’ve been lucky enough not have experienced writers block. I’m quite a keen runner and find that gives me the opportunity to gather up plots and narrative in my mind, ready for when I sit down at my laptop.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

My favourite author is Zadie Smith. I think her narrative is wonderful and her characters are always full of life and you very much get feeling that you could meet them out there in the world someday. Her debut novel White Teeth is one of my favourites.

The last book that really spoke to me was
One Day
by David Nicholls. The characters in the novel were so well developed that you finished the novel feeling like you had become close friends with them. I also thought the settings in the novel were great as the author used real life events throughout the novel which meant you could relate to the story and made you feel a part of it. It was one of those novels which I really didn’t want to come to an end.

9) Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer?

As I have a day job, writing is something I do in my spare time. At times it can be difficult to find enough time to write meaningfully but perseverance is key. What I ultimately hope to achieve as a writer is to tell stories that readers will find engrossing and enjoyable, and to write the kind of stories I would like to read myself.

10)
If there were one thing you’d like to improve about your life or your writing at this point in time, what would it be?

Something I’d like to improve about my writing would be to explore other mediums of writing such as screenplays. With screenplays lacking the narrative of a novel I think improving my dialogue would be my best way to successfully write a screenplay.

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favourite things?

I enjoying watching movies and listening to music. There’s so much variety in movies and music that there’s always something to keep me interested. However I have rarely found a movie adapted from a novel that has beat the book.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

I’m a Pisces.

13) One of the interesting things about you is that you’re not only well-educated, but well-traveled. What is your favourite place in the world, and why? Where haven’t you visited yet that you’d love to explore?

One of my favourite places in the world is Pulau Tioman in Malaysia. They’re two islands off the east coast of Malaysia with white sand and clear water. I spent some time there whilst backpacking around Asia. It truly was a wonderful place. Somewhere I’d love to explore is Madagascar because of the unique landscape and wildlife there, I doubt there’s anywhere else like it.

14)
Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.


Lost Reunions
is available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon. The ebook is also available on iBooks and Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and most major ebook retailers.

You can also learn more about
Lost Reunions
on the Facebook page, my website and Twitter. Links below:

*Facebook

*Twitter

*Website

Thanks so much to Shuhin for being a fascinating and wonderful guest this week. I’d also like to thank Shuhin for being so patient with the delays! I was set to get this interview up last week, when health issues kept me from completing the project. Even this week, with me not being at 100%, it is a day late…but hopefully not a dollar short!

To make up for the weekend I went missing in action, we’ll have an extra “Literary Libations” this week, with another fascinating guest author on Wednesday! Get your Kindles ready. :)

I am a little late in posting this Sunday’s “Literary Libations”, but it seems that this weekend ended up being filled with libations of other sorts! There was a lot on the social calendar for this weekend, and my Saturday went by in a bit of a blur, without much free time to be had. We planned a 1970′s murder mystery party (smaller than the one I had for my birthday, but whether it was due to the script, the venue, or the combination of people attending, it actually turned out to be more complicated to get 16 people ready to act out a game than it was for a group of 30), and although The Guy I Am Currently Dating did most of the work, murder mysteries are actually extremely complex events. People always cancel at the last minute (we had 4 friends cancel on less than 24 hours notice), and it’s really analogous to putting on a play and having cast members all call in sick.

I try very hard not to get frustrated, as I know this is going to happen at every event, but in the world of theatre, the saying “The show must go on” reigns supreme. I’ve made it through a show with laryngitis (Ricola is a temporary fix), with a few broken toes (sustained in Act 1 when a set piece ran over my foot.), with a fever of 103, with migraines, after sobbing all day because my personal life was a mess. and even when an immediate family member was in the hospital with a life-threatening injury.) I take the same approach to event planning. If I make the commitment, there are just very few instances in which I won’t show up. A few weeks ago, I was screaming and crying and having a horrible fight with my boyfriend at 7:30. By 8, I’d fixed my makeup, put on my social smile, and was hosting a dinner for 15. Even the night my pulse was so high and I was so dizzy I had a hard time standing and walking, I still made it through two or three hours of the planned event before we went to the ER.

I often feel unappreciated, because organizing events means you have to be “The show must go on” person, the person who is there and on time and organized and congenial, no matter what…but everyone else isn’t under the same obligation. People cancel when they’re sick, when they can’t afford to go out, when they don’t feel well, when they’ve had a bad day, when it rains, and when they’re tired. I’m normally a very empathetic person, but I think after years and years of a perspective of “You just have to work it out, no matter how you feel.”, I lack some of the requisite ability to understand why people cancel at the last minute. It’s just that that’s never been an option for me. Even when I was very, very ill for nearly a year, I still forced myself to plan events. It bummed me out that I couldn’t always stay out late, or drink with my friends, or go to the club or a concert…but I felt like if I didn’t hold on to the important things in my life, I really would lose everything. I felt as if, even if I were very ill and wondered if I might die, I still wanted to be remembered as the kind of person that did things to make other people happy. However frivolous, perhaps entertaining people is just my little way of trying to make my immediate world a better place. I am sometimes sad, because I wonder if anyone sees that, or thinks about it at all. I think most people just think “Alayna doesn’t really like to sit still.”

If I ever cancel anything on less than a few days’ notice, you know something really bad has happened. It’s hard for me to forget that things that, for me, require a lot of time and work and energy, are optional fun activities for everyone else. I definitely feel for professional party promoters and event planners, because getting everything in order and then counting on people to show up is a really tall feat. In the end, it almost always works out…but, I mean, people “no-show” and cancel the day of for seated wedding receptions. I’m pretty sure I would have a nervous breakdown. *laughs*

In any case, after last night’s event and some well-deserved drinks after everyone was gone (The Guy I Am Currently Dating made us leave early, which for me, is 2 AM. :P ), I managed to come home, get some sleep, and then get up to attend his Meetup. I am a firm believer in karma, because a friend we don’t see very often had forgotten to bring cash for food. I suggested to The Guy I Am Currently Dating that we lend him a few bucks for lunch, especially because he’s a young kid whose life has been in major upheaval this year, and I really feel for him. After we told him not to worry about the situation, we’d cover him, it happens…we met a bunch of lovely new people, and some of them decided to buy lunch for the entire group of people who were still in attendance at the end of the event. They didn’t tell anyone. When people went to pay the bill, the waitress just mentioned someone else had already taken care of the tab. I thought that was so incredibly awesome. It’s actually pretty rare when you see someone practice a random act of kindness for someone who isn’t a good friend, and it kind of restored my faith in the potential for people to really be genuinely nice towards one another.

However, none of this has anything to do with this week’s guest interview, except to explain why I am so late! :) I’ve certainly not forgotten, because I’m thrilled to have author Leigh Boyer as my guest on “Literary Libations” today. Leigh (which is a pen name, as the author has chosen to make the protagonist of her novel the actual author of the novel, allowing her to take on a life of her own.) is an incredibly accomplished woman in a number of different fields, and can definitely hold her own in any conversation. I’ve immensely enjoyed getting to know her via e-mail over the past few weeks, and her novel,
“From Wall Street With Love”
is well-written, engaging, and entertaining.



monogram2
I asked Leigh to chat a bit about being an author who not only is quite knowledgeable in the field of finance and economics, but a highly-educated, well-traveled Francophile with a penchant for James Bond. I have no doubt that after reading her interview, you’ll have found a new book to rush out and read.

1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

I grew up in the heartland of this great country but now I live in the most powerful city in the world. I am currently writing the continuation of Leigh’s adventures.

2)
Unlike some of the other writers I’ve profiled, I’ve actually been privileged to read your latest work, “From Wall Street With Love”. I found it to be unique, even in assigning it a genre. I’d describe it as part Wall Street expose, part James Bond, part Suze Orman, and part Carrie Bradshaw. What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

This book is a unique retelling of the life inside one of the “too big to fail” banks during the height of the financial crisis (2008- 2009). Other books have discussed this time period in an academic or analytical way, which quite frankly goes over the heads of most people…myself included. I wanted to write about the emotions, the mood, the craziness, and the real-life experiences of someone going through this period of upheaval.

3) Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being. Do you find there’s a certain level of risk in publishing a book where the title character is, essentially, modeled on your own life experiences? What type of feedback have you received about the book, especially from those who know you in real life?

I wanted to blend real-life experience with fun, inventive, fictional plot lines. So, my friends and former colleagues, not knowing what was real and what wasn’t… have often responded by saying, “Wow- does your husband know about your affair?” I then laugh and explain that that part never happened. They are usually very relieved. So, I take it as a good sign that all the experiences were rather believable… seen through the eyes of those who knew me during that period of my life.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

My past books, written in my real name (which will stay a mystery), were non-fiction. All three were published by traditional publishers. When it came time to find a publisher for this book, my literary agent was not interested in “chick-lit” and the process of finding another agent was one that I remembered to be very labor intensive. So, I decided to self-publish instead. I was actually totally impressed by the services provided. I highly recommend the experience. Before, I had no control over the book cover for example but this time around, I could control all aspects of the process.

5) Leigh is an interesting, dynamic, and compelling character. In which ways is she a pretty accurate portrayal of who you are as a person, and in which is she an exaggeration or simply a character? Did you find that your understanding of her as a character changed or grew as you moved further into the writing process?

Leigh is my alter-ego. She and I totally share the Midwestern vs. cosmopolitan issues. Her life however is MUCH more exciting than mine. I covet it!

6) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? What most made you want to get out there and share this story with the world, and what do you hope others take away from it? Do you feel you have another book waiting to be written?

I am inspired by real-life events that are stranger than fiction. I have regaled my friends and family with my life stories… and I wanted to expand the circle. I think that anyone who has an interest in knowing what it is like to work on Wall Street would want to read this novel.

7) You’re a highly-educated, driven, and successful woman in a career path that’s largely male-dominated. Do you think that our society is making it easier for ambitious and talented women to succeed, even in fields that once were considered “the old boys’ club”? What has been the biggest obstacle that you, as a woman, have encountered on the road to success?

Actually the “old boys’ club” has been quite supportive. I have found the biggest obstacles have been put up by other women. I don’t understand why more women don’t support other women. Give me a room of men anytime.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favorite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

I love all kinds of “chick lit” books. They are my guilty pleasure… like The Nanny Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, and the Bridget Jones series. But, a book I am reading now that I can’t put down is Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. Every page shocks me in some way.

9) What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer? For what would you most liked to be remembered?

I would love to be successful in melding a “guilty pleasure” book with a serious subject matter: to be able to inform while entertaining. If I am successful in doing that, I will have accomplished my goal.

10) There are still a great number of younger Americans, even those who are ambitious and focused on being successful and self-sufficient, who do not really understand the role personal finance plays in creating a secure future. Obviously, this is an issue that goes beyond being able to balance a monthly budget and pay bills on time. What is the most important advice you have to give to the 21-40 year-olds out there about creating economic stability during one of the most substantial financial low points Americans have seen in decades?

I think the biggest lesson this recession has taught us is to be prepared for the worst. The sense of permanency that our parents had is gone. No longer do most people work for the same company for their lifetimes. Workers are disposable and so are the companies that employ them. With that said, we need to reduce our debt burden and make sure our emergency savings account is adequately funded because we live in an era of instability and uncertainty.

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favorite things?

Take a look at my Pinterest site – you can see for yourself. 

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

I’m a Libra. I like things in balance and prefer to avoid conflict.

13) What’s the most memorable thing (either positive or negative) anyone has ever said to you regarding your work? If you had one piece of advice for young, aspiring writers, what would that be?

A colleague said this after reading the book, “You have a gift. I know that writing is hard, and not lucrative. I hope you are inspired to write more.” I think her comments are right on. Writers need to write because they love it. If they are doing it just for the money, they may be disappointed. But, if they truly love it and are doing it for that reason – the compensation will come – sometimes in the form of money, sometimes in other ways that are more rewarding. Another thing I would strongly recommend to a new and/or young writer is to ask for help. In my case I hired my former editor from my last non-fiction book. I knew I needed help in writing fiction, since the format and writing is so different. She was brutal in her criticism but so valuable to the final product. I couldn’t have produced this novel without her.

14) When it comes to teaching today’s young women the value of both personal and financial independence, what is the most important thing you’d like for our generation to keep in mind? Other than yours, what books would you recommend to the average 25-year-old woman who wants to take control of her financial life?

With financial independence, you have more control. People who find themselves dependent on others for their financial support are at the mercy of their financial patrons. If you desire to control your own destiny, financial independence is critical. Read “Please Send Money: A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own.” This book teaches young adults the most important money lessons they need to know.

15) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.

Oh, I’d be delighted if they did that! Anyone can purchase a paperback copy or download a Kindle version from Amazon here. But, if your readers have gotten this far – they should have a little extra treat – here’s a 50% off discount code if they purchase the paperback through CreateSpace (the Amazon-affiliated publishing format I used): Code “WSTF5282” This code is good through the end of June. Hopefully, they will want to add “From Wall Street With Love” to their summer reading lists. I’m still pretty new to the social media thing, but I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool… Here’s where you can find me online and I welcome any and all comments, friends, fans, etc:


* Website: http://bit.ly/leighboyer

* Goodreads: http://bit.ly/13XwTB0

* Facebook (me): http://on.fb.me/UVn8hB

* Facebook (the Book): http://on.fb.me/YU2CBq

* Pinterest: http://bit.ly/Y8f6zh

* Twitter: @boyerleigh

* Twitter Hashtag: #WallStLove



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Leigh Boyer is an accomplished professional with experience in the financial services domain. She is currently Asia Pacific editor for Entrepreneur Today—a magazine dedicated to helping new entrepreneurs make their dreams become reality. She is former Director Of Metropolis Financial’s Office of Corporate Citizenship and oversaw a global commitment to fund financial education projects. Prior to that, she was accepted into the highly competitive internship program with McLean Investments in New York City. She is the author of a critically acclaimed personal finance book, The Metropolis Money Guide.

Ms.Boyer received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Affairs from Stanford University and her Master’s in International Finance from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. She currently resides in Hong Kong.

It’s Sunday once again, and here in Atlanta, you’d have no idea it’s the middle of May. Happy Mother’s Day to not only my mother, but all the wonderful women out there in the world who drive station wagons and mini-vans, change clothes in the car on a regular basis, learned to tune out the sound of little people screaming in the background, and know that hot dogs and spaghetti are an impressive Julia-Child type recipe when mixed together.

Of course, every Sunday is Literary Libations, where I speak to the type of people who have children that have been loved and nurtured into publishable form. In a way, writing a book is a lot like deciding to have a child. It takes most of your focus for the greater part of a year, you make a lot of sacrifices in order to get it done, you end up slightly fat and out of shape and wanting ice cream at 3 AM, and it will wake you up in the middle of the night suddenly demanding attention. Halfway through the process, you start to doubt your ability to actually do this and know it’s going to go wrong, and when all is said and done, 10 pound boxes of something you created show up at your door. You’re then compelled to spend the next few years showing pictures of it and telling everyone how wonderful it is, even if it kind of just looks like every other book to everyone else. Fortunately, you don’t have to feed your book, potty train it, drive it to soccer practice, or wonder how you’ll afford to send it to college.

On that note, today I’ll be speaking with tireless and prolific writer Devorah Fox. In addition to writing artful and imaginative stories (as someone who grew up intrigued by all the stories of King Arthur and the world of Camelot, I look forward to checking out her works.), she also has a number of creative hobbies you can read about on her blog. Recently, she told me she was one of 100 writers invited to participate in a book-writing marathon. Participants were challenged to write a book in 40 hours. As someone who’s not sure she’ll be able to finish a novel in 40 years, I find this quite impressive.

Devorah (who goes by Dee) is here to speak about her latest book,
“The King’s Ransom”
, and about the art and craft of being a writer. Sit back, relax, and perhaps give your mother a call to chat about the wonderful books you’ve just “Dee-scovered”. :)



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1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from, where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, I’ve spent more years in Arizona and along the Texas Gulf Coast than I ever did “back east,” but still consider myself a New Yorker.

My current project is “The King’s Ransom,” a sequel to my first published novel,
The Lost King

.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that gives it a unique voice and appeals to readers?

The King’s Ransom continues the story of Robin, the dethroned King Bewilliam. He commits to restoring his kingdom and family against all odds, and they are formidable.

Something about my books apparently transcends the fantasy genre. I’ll quote a reviewer: “Being new to the world of Fantasy Fiction I was a little uneasy about buying The Lost King. I expected to be forced to wade through baroque dialog and dark scenes of witches, sorcerers, fairies and knight machinations… All my trepidations were for naught. The story could have taken place today.”

3) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.

Though The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam series is set in a medieval fantasy world, I’m inspired by contemporary dilemmas. I wrote The Lost King to explore the predicament of people who because of the economic downtown were “pink slipped” out of a career, an entire life that they had spent a decades building. The King’s Ransom looks at what happens when you defy all odds and commit to pursuing your life’s dream.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

You could say I’m both an indie publisher and a self-publisher. In 1988 my late husband and I started a publishing company so I’ve been an “indie publisher” for decades. We did and still do publish textbooks for commercial motor vehicle operators but he always wanted to publish my fiction writing. So when I decided to get The Lost King between covers, I published it under our imprint. We have had nonfiction titles put out by a traditional publisher but regardless of who does the publishing, the author has to do a lot of marketing and promotion.

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first book, or have you published before? If someone were to sum you up as a writer in 50 words or less, what would you like to have written about you?

I’ve always been a bibliophile, even as a little girl. I believe I wrote my first novel in the third grade. I got my first writing job in 1977. I started writing fiction in earnest in the mid 1990’s.

I couldn’t want for better acclaim about my writing than what one reviewer told me:
“I haven’t read anything to speak of since I was 40 except for a few inspirational books or books about politics. I suppose you are responsible for reviving my interest in reading fiction.”

6) Outside of writing, you seem to have a variety of interests and are a well-rounded person. What are some of your hobbies and interests? Do find these things help you grow creatively, or leave you in a time-crunch when it comes to meeting deadlines?

I devote quite a bit of time to the writer groups to which I belong. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned from being in the publishing field for so many years. It’s great to be able to spare someone from having to recreate the wheel. In turn, I have benefited from read-and-critique with other astoundingly talented writers.

7) In addition to being a writer, you’re also a blogger with a social media presence. How do you feel social media helps or hinders artists in pursuit of their goals? Do you spend a lot of time on social media or focus on building yourself as a “brand’, or is it something you only use on occasion?

I think I do put quite a bit of time into social media but I’m not prepared to say that it’s been time well invested in terms of reaching readers. Maybe I haven’t been doing it right! On the other hand, I have picked up a lot of invaluable information from the experience other writers have shared.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?

I wish I had more time for pleasure reading. Before I got so busy writing, I enjoyed Greg Iles, Randy Wayne White and Ian Rankin. I really admire how they create a sense of place. A reader of The Lost King found its hero reminiscent of John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport so now I’m rereading the Prey series.

9) Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer? For what would you most liked to be remembered?

One way or the other, I’m writing something every day: a blog post, a sponsored review, a newspaper column. I’m fortunate enough to have had people tell me that my writing has helped them. In some cases it’s been practical, such as via one of our training publications. Others have been motivated to be creative themselves. On reader was so inspired by The Lost King that he couldn’t wait for me to write the sequel so he wrote one himself. The Lost King has fan fiction!

10) I read something on your blog recently about you “going away to camp” in order to work on your next publication. That sounds like a truly interesting idea. Could you tell us a bit more about that?

I attended “Camp NaNoWriMo.” It’s an imaginary writers retreat. I set aside a month, making fiction writing a priority and try to meet the goal of writing 50,000 words. Camp NaNoWriMo is organized by The Office of Letters and Light which also organizes National Novel Writing Month. That takes place every November, and OLL also holds two “camps,” one in April and one in July. I’ve done two NaNoWriMos, one in 2010 and another in 2012, and two camps, one in 2011 and the April 2013 camp.

11) Do you enjoy other types of media and artistic creation, such as television, magazines, movies, music, fashion, social media, etc.? What are some of your favourite things?

I’m not much of a movie goer. I do like TV. I think I’ve seen every episode of Law and Order and CSI. When I have time, I like to crochet and do crafts like glass etching, glass painting and furniture antiquing. I’ve given watercolor painting a try and I’d like to do more of that. Recently I charged myself with restoring a mosaic table that my mother had made decades ago.

12) What’s your Zodiac sign?

Gemini

13) What’s the most memorable thing (either positive or negative) anyone has ever said to you regarding your work? If you had one piece of advice for young, aspiring writers, what would that be?

I was really moved when someone told me that after reading The Lost King he felt validated because someone understood what he had gone through in his life.

I would tell young writers or even older ones that if you think you’d like to write, just do it. It’s a talent that not everyone has. Don’t hold back out of fear that it won’t be any good. It’s probably better than you think. I don’t think we writers ever believe our writing is good enough, anyway–we’re always looking to improve.

14) Of course, we both want readers to rush right out and grab a copy of your latest book! Please tell us where we can find it. Additionally, if you have a blog, website, Facebook, or Twitter, please let us know so we’re able to follow you.

The Lost King is on amazon.com, Kindle, Nook, etc. I like to say that if you want it via smoke signal or carrier pigeon, I’ll get it there. But it’s probably faster to follow these links:

*amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lost-King-Devorah-Fox/dp/0977824527

*bn.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-king-devorah-fox/1037627030

*Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lost-King-ebook/dp/B006L5O1JE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0,

*Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-king-devorah-fox/1108162505?ean=2940044954267,

*smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/230605, and iBook

Anyone interested in our textbooks and smartphone apps can find more information here:

http://blog.bumper2bumpertruckbook.com/answers/

http://bumper2bumpertruckbook.com/sp-bin/spirit?PAGE=24

I invite people to connect with me here:

*email: devorahfox@aol.com

*Website: http://devorahfox.com

*Twitter: http://twitter.com/devorah_fox

*Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/devorah.fox

*Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2751371.Devorah_Fox

*Google+ : https://plus.google.com/115373271462004436975


“Devorah” is a weighty moniker so most people call me Dee. When not “Dee-Scovering” the dee-lights of the Texas Coastal Bend for my column in The Island Moon newspaper I’m running Mike Byrnes and Associates, Inc. We’re publishers of BUMPERTOBUMPER®, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations (the “bible” of truck driver training), authors of the Easy CDL apps for the iPhone and iPad (so much more enjoyable than the state manuals!); and last but not least The Lost King, a literary fantasy (Book One of The Bewildering Adventures of King Bewilliam). My current project is Book Two, The King’s Ransom, due out this summer.



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Thanks so much to Devorah Fox for stopping by to be our guest this Sunday, and I’ll be following up with her in the next few days to chat about her 40-hour writing marathon, and what type of results that yielded. :) I’ll also be sharing her author interview with me about “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse”, and discussing a few books that have shown up in my mailbox and on my Kindle that I simply can’t wait to read.

In the meantime, a happy Mother’s Day—or just a laid-back and lovely Sunday afternoon–to all. :)

I’ve decided to start a regular feature here on Jaded Elegance where each Sunday, I’ll provide book reviews of things I’ve read lately, post an author interview with another writer, or have a literary guest blogger lend a new voice to this page for the day. This idea came out of hanging out on some of the message boards on Goodreads, which is a fabulous community for those who love books, but even more so for those who write them. Earlier in the month, a fellow author did an interview with me regarding the publication of Ophelia’s Wayward Muse, and I was inspired by finding a community of creative spirits who are supportive rather than competitive.

My first interview is with a lovely woman by the name of Kerry Louise Connelly, and her latest work is called Observation City. I chose her as my first author to feature on here because I think she and I have very similar styles, in terms of not only how we write but the subjects that inspire us to write. Therefore, if you like reading what I put up here on a regular basis, or you enjoy my creative prose, you’re the type of person who should immediately order your copy of Observation City.



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Let’s learn a bit more about the author, shall we?

1) Please tell the readers a bit about yourself. Where are you from, where do you reside now, and what is your latest project?


I’m an English born Australian author, currently still living in Australia – but who knows, may have plans to re locate in the future. My current title ‘Observation City’ is out now and has just been picked up by some other terrific online book retailers so it is easily findable, it’s a fun and easy read that encompasses 21 pieces about human behaviour and relatable life situations, written with humour. My latest project is a non-fiction story, ‘Shaken’: A story of emotional abuse and depression, which will be due out in the coming months.

2) If you don’t mind, share a little bit about your latest book? What is it about your writing that makes it stand out from the pack?


‘Observation City’ is a fun, relatable book which was originally aimed at women but I have found a lot of men are enjoying it also which is wonderful. It is told with raw, often sarcastic, understandable humour that I hope readers will enjoy.


‘Shaken’ is a different piece all together. It is a story of emotional abuse and depression, that is not only inspired by my own experiences with the topic, but is interspersed with informative material that may help those who are also involved in a confusing emotionally abusive situation and/or are dealing with a form of depression.

By talking to my reader and being honest and raw, I hope that is what will stand me ‘out from the pack’, I also encourage readers to contact me with any messages that I aim to always respond to.

3) When it comes to the creative process, what inspires you? Tell us a little bit about how your latest book came into being.


‘Observation City’ was written over a 2 year period and inspired by my own experiences that of friends and of strangers who seem to talk a little too load about their lives in public!

‘Shaken’ has been inspired through my own experiences with emotional abuse and depression and my learning to understand and work through the experience and illness.

4) Did you decide to go with a traditional publisher, an indie publisher, or self-publish your latest work? What do you consider the benefits and the drawbacks of the particular route you’ve chosen?

I decided to take full creative control and publish myself. Writing has never been about seeking world-wide fame for me or making a ton of money – as any author or artist will know, if you are seeking only money through your craft- you are in the wrong craft!

I love having the creative control to tell my story the way I want and to reach out to readers through my very own words, instead of being censored or edited by large publishing companies. It also gives me the freedom of choice to work in the cover design process. It really is a well-rounded artistic experience. The drawback is self-marketing, it is a whole other industry in itself, however a very good learning experience.

5) Where, when, and how did you get your start in the writing world? Is this your first publication?

I’ve always loved writing, ever since a child. My favourite school subjects were English and art/ drama/music etc., and I would constantly be writing. I have worked as a casual journalist and in radio broadcasting – where I would of course formulate articles and also in the radio industry I was able to interview upcoming talent and write a 12 piece film review series which broadcast to 180 community stations Australia wide.

‘Observation City’ is my first published book title.

6) What is the part of the process that comes the most naturally to you?


Automatic writing, I just write from an idea to the page.

7) What do you consider to be the most challenging part of the creative process?


Structure. Learning how to formulate your ideas and words into a well maintained creative structure that the audience can follow and enjoy.

8) Other than yourself, of course, who is your favourite author? What’s the last book you read that really spoke to you in some way, and why?


Books themselves inspire me rather than a specific author, however I have to say author Alice Sebold’s work on ‘The Lovely Bones’ is truly mesmerising and captivating. She has such an original way of combining violent tragedy with beauty that you don’t see very often.

The last book that blew me away was ‘The Flock’ by Joan Frances Casey and Lyn Wilson. It quickly became a book I have been raving about to anyone who will listen (ha-ha). It’s an autobiography of a multiple personality. Written in the first person as the core persona AND 19 multiples. Currently I am reading ‘The Road Through Wonderland: Surviving John Holms” ,by Dawn Schiller. You can see I love true stories.

9)
Is writing a full-time career for you, or something you do in your free time? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish as a writer?

A bit of both, I work dual roles as an education assistant which I love dearly and worked very hard to break into, and of course working as an author is something that also fulfils me. I think and hope I can do both, however, still put a lot of focus into my writing career.

10) If there were one thing you’d like to improve about your life or your writing at this point in time, what would it be?

I’d like to be given the chance one day soon to relocate to an environment where I can network with other authors and creative types, and have my work widely read.

Thanks to Kerry for her willingness to grace the pages here at Jaded Elegance today. I have her Observation City on my to-read list, and I hope you’ll do so, too. While there are some really wonderful books published through traditional publishing houses that are getting a ton of press, there is exceptional work coming out of the indie scene, as well. Please do show your support!

If you’re interested in getting to know more about Kerry and her work (I have, and I must say she’s a charming, down-to-earth person who’s the type I’d certainly meet for a coffee and chat any day!), please take the time to check out her author page, follow her on Facebook, or join her lively fan base on Goodreads.



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Observation City is easily available at a number of retailers. Books can be bought through CreateSpace, Amazon, Amazon UK, Book Depository (based in the UK, but offers free worldwide shipping), and of course, Barnes & Noble

A great “thank you” again to author Kerry Louise Connelly, whose positive and authentic perspective is nothing short of a breath of fresh air. I certainly hope to hear more from her in the future, and perhaps have her back here for a guest post down the line.

Of course, if you’re a book lover who’d like to hear my thoughts on other works or occasionally follow the progress of my own creative endeavours, please join and friend me on my own Goodreads author page.

If you do read Observation City, don’t be afraid to let either Kerry or myself know what you thought of the experience. :) I’m certain she’d love the feedback!

See you next Sunday, fellow book lovers and creative spirits!

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