Friday, February 05, 2016

A Bookish Conversation with Effie Kammenou, author of 'Evanthia's Gift'

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog,, you can find her cooking for her family and friends.

Her debut novel, EVANTHIA’S GIFT, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her recent interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the book.  

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.

For updates on the release of Book Two of The Gift Saga 
Follow Effie on Twitter @EffieKammenou, 
Contact Effie at
For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Evanthia’s Gift
Author: Effie Kammenou
Pages: 548
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Contemporary Romance


In the year 1956, Anastacia Fotopoulos finds herself pregnant and betrayed, fleeing from a bad marriage. With the love and support of her dear friends Stavros and Soula Papadakis, Ana is able to face the challenges of single motherhood. Left with emotional wounds, she resists her growing affection for Alexandros Giannakos, an old acquaintance. But his persistence and unconditional love for Ana and her child is eventually rewarded and his love is returned. In a misguided, but well-intentioned effort to protect the ones they love, both Ana and Alex keep secrets - ones that could threaten the delicate balance of their family. 

The story continues in the 1970’s as Dean and Demi Papadakis, and Sophia Giannakos attempt to negotiate between two cultures. Now Greek-American teenagers, Sophia and Dean, who have shared a special connection since childhood, become lovers. Sophia is shattered when Dean rebels against the pressure his father places on him to uphold his Greek heritage and hides his feelings for her. When he pulls away from his family, culture and ultimately his love for her, Sophia is left with no choice but to find a life different from the one she’d hoped for.

EVANTHIA’S GIFT is a multigenerational love story spanning fifty years and crossing two continents, chronicling the lives that unify two families. 

Magnificent 5 Stars
Exceptional, outstanding and award worthy were the first words that popped into my mind after I finished reading this book. A surface description of this story could be easily stated by saying; it’s a 50 year generational Greek family saga that’s filled with multiple love stories, devastating betrayals and heart breaking secrets. That depiction alone would be enough for anyone to be drawn to this book. But the essence of “Evanthia’s Gift” is held within each character created in this masterpiece; that is the true heart and soul of this book. I could feel the struggles within each to come to terms with their past mistakes, recognizing their self-worth, all the while staying steadfast to their beliefs and for some, finding inner peace. I started reading this book late one evening with the intent of reading a few chapters and then going to bed. I found myself incapable of putting the book down… several hours later I was wiping away the tears to get through the last chapter.
This superbly written emotional story comes full circle in the end, which reminds us all just how precious love and family really is.

--Stephanie Lasley, from The Kindle Book Review

For More Information

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

The idea to write this story came from a couple of sources, but it was my mother’s passing that put me on the path to writing in the first place.

In 2012 my mother passed away after battling pancreatic cancer for two and a half years. Attempting to be the strong older sister, a compassionate mother and aunt, and a supportive daughter to my grieving father, I never really let myself crack. One night I sat down at the computer and just started writing. It was my way of working through my grief.

I’d had a story in my head for a long time, one I kept developing over the years. I began to write a story inspired by my mother’s life and turned it into a saga when I combined it with my original plotline.

I’d heard stories all my life of my mother’s childhood in Athens, and her experiences during WWII as a child. My father had his own recollections growing up in NYC, his tales of how his family came to America and for what reason, plus his own experiences as a flyer in WWII. I took all those stories and gave life to several characters.
Although the story is fictional, pulling from true stories was my inspiration, as well as a legion of emotions running through me. There were some vey difficult chapters where I sobbed every time I wrote, revised, or edited them. But I honored my mother, and our Greek heritage that she was so proud of.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing the actual story was not difficult at all. It seemed to flow out of me. I had a basic plotline, but I remember thinking to myself that I would never get a full book out of it. Five hundred-forty eight pages later, I not only had a nice little romance, but also a family saga with substance.

As a writer, I had so much to learn. I wrote the story and thought I was finished. I told the story I wanted to and it was all down in black and white. I started submitting to agents. Was I ever naive! Little did I know that I had many revisions to go before the story was told properly.

I found beta readers to give me feedback, as well as a critique partner. I connected with other authors, who were all generous with their advice. And after may rewrites, I hired a professional editor, and that made a world of difference. It was a long process, but it took patience and perseverance.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published Evanthia’s Gift. I tried to get an agent, but other than being an unknown in the publishing world, I had other strikes against me. My book is long—much longer than any agent or publisher would take a chance on with an unknown author. I was advised to split the book into two books. I believed in the story the way it was, and although the book is written in two parts, I don’t believe the book could be split and make the same impact. Part one supports part two and the whole story comes full circle in the end.

I’d known other authors who self-published successfully, so why not me? And how does one measure success? For me, completing it, being happy with the final product, and seeing it in print meant success. I feel a great sense of accomplishment when readers contact me to tell me how much they loved the book, and that they related to one or more characters. The positive feedback is my reward.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Yes. How much I had to learn! The steps to get the work published, and then getting it noticed by the women’s fiction loving population, was more work than writing the book. I had never even heard of a blog tour before I published Evanthia’s Gift.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Evanthia’s Gift is the first book in a trilogy. I am currently working on Book Two in The Gift Saga. I would like to aim for the fall to publish the second one, but if the process takes longer, so be it. I will not rush to get the book on the market before it is exactly where I want it to be. I love the characters too much not to give them a continuing story, which is true to who they are.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I joined a Greek facebook group over a year ago. I came upon it accidently, and through it I’ve met many wonderful people from around the world. The Group is named Greeklish, and the members are all of Greek heritage who can converse in English. On any given day I can speak to Greeks all over the US and Canada, as well as the UK, Australia, Germany, and Greece. It’s been quite an amazing experience to compare stories and traditions with other Greeks who live all over the globe.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

I write mostly at night because I have a day job. I’m a night owl and I often stay up until two in the morning, writing. I get so energized that I can’t possible go to sleep, so I sit on the couch and watch a little television. That puts me to sleep, and I wake up a couple of hours later and drag myself to bed. My neighbors think I’m a vampire because my lights are on all night and they ask if I ever sleep at all.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

There are so many messages in the saga, including the importance of tradition and the love for where you come from. Family dynamics and how parents must toe the line between what they want for their children and what their children want for themselves is another theme. In the subplots, there are messages of morality, humanity, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Ultimately, the message is of love, in every context of the word.
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

It was my pleasure. Yes. The Greek community has embraced Evanthia’s Gift, and I am so grateful for that, and elated that I was able to share our heritage with those who know little about us. But this is not a book geared only to the Greek reader. The themes are universal. The Greek history and backdrop simply make the story more interesting.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

In the Spotlight: The Daffodils Still Grow by Sherri Elizabeth Tidwell + T-shirt Giveaway!

Title: The Daffodils Still Grow: A Book for Grieving Daughter
Author: Sherri Elizabeth Tidwell
Publisher: Mascot Books
Pages: 38
Genre: Children’s Picture Book 

The Daffodils Still Grow is a full-color illustrated book that portrays life after a loved one dies as seen from the observations of a motherless child. “Beautiful and inspiring.”

For More Information

  • The Daffodils Still Grow is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Watch a narrated video of the book at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Sherri Elizabeth Tidwell is giving away a The Daffodils Still Grow T-shirt!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one The Daffodils Still Grow t-shirt
  • This giveaway begins February 1 and ends April 29.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on April 30.
  • Winners have 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Interview with Dede Barbanti, author of 'TRANSFORM: The Secret to Unlocking the Perfect You'

Dede Barbanti is a renowned fitness & lifestyle coach, certified soul memory discovery facilitator, author, motivational speaker and single mother of three. Once weighing over 200 pounds, Dede has dedicated her life to developing innovative methods that have literally changed the face of weight loss, fitness, dieting and lifestyle!

Through the creation of her first format Boogie Box (BBX) and the “Un-Diet” nutrition and weight-loss program; Dede lost over 70 pounds in less than 6 months and has since helped countless people from all over the world. Since forming BBX, Dede has released two groundbreaking workout DVD's "Boogie Box LIVE" & "BBX Hardcore."

Her groundbreaking techniques and work have been featured on shows such as: Dr. Oz, Shark Tank, Fitceleb, OnAir, Good Day Utah, ABC, KTLA and FOX News, as well as several media productions. Dede was also named one of OC Metro Magazines "Top 20 Women In Business."

Dede's passion, training and experience has helped countless people from all over the USA transform their bodies and lives through her unique and “straight shooting” methods.

Pulling from her years of experience, Dede has written a complete lifestyle guide, TRANSFORM: The Secret To Unlocking The Perfect You. In it, she shares her three principles to obtaining the body and life of your own design!
For More Information
About the Book:

Title: TRANSFORM: The Secret to Unlocking the Perfect You
Author: Dede Barbanti
Pages: 257
Genre: Self Help/Lifestyle/Health/Weight Loss

Finally, a book that will provide you with the answers that change your body and your life! TRANSFORM really is the SECRET TO UNLOCKING THE PERFECT YOU. Once weighing over 200 pounds, Fitness and lifestyle expert Dede Barbanti not only gives you the tools to achieve your weight-loss goals, but helps you dig deep to fix the core issues that keep you from lasting success and your true potential.

This is not your traditional weight-loss book. Most diet books focus on the outside by changing your eating and exercise routines,but they fail to find the root cause of your bad habits: what, why, and where they all started. These band-aid treatments never treat the problem, only the symptom, and most people find themselves back at square one, frustrated and defeated. Dede's no-holds-barred approach gets your booty into gear by tackling the real issues of your weight loss merry-go-round; so you can stop the madness and unlock the perfect you.

You can continue reading all of those other diet and lifestyle books that ultimately keep you repeating the same old story and never seems to get you anywhere, or you can get real with yourself and finally bring about the changes that you have always wanted...permanently!

For More Information

  • TRANSFORM: The Secret to Unlocking the Perfect You is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I love it when people ask me this question because although they would like one, the truth is; there is no short answer. There were several factors that led up to me getting into fitness, speaking and writing; nothing is coincidence or happens randomly. From the time I was a child, up until this point; every moment and every experience shaped the person I am today and who I will become in the future. That is the way it goes for every person in this world. It’s just that many times people never put the puzzle pieces together, or do so later in life.  I had an incredible 15-year career as a professional dancer and choreographer up until I was 28 years old, it was my passion and I believed it would be my career forever. However, life throws you a curve ball and I fell in love, got married, had three incredible children and left the dance world because I knew that I could not raise a family while traveling or spending 40 hours a week at the dance studio. During this time, I got into Real Estate and had a tremendous amount of success; but at the same time I found myself living the life of a single working mother because my ex-husband left me to handle being the primary money maker, housekeeper and parent. I also didn't seem to get along with his girlfriends, so that definitely didn't help the marriage. During this time, I had gained over 70lbs and found myself in a deep depression. I lost my voice, my dreams, my passion…myself! After some time, I realized that nobody could change my circumstances but me, so I picked up my three kids, who at the time were 2 weeks, 2 years and 4 years old; and I left my husband. I knew I had to get myself together physically so I could feel confident and strong again. I started going to the gym for 2 hours every day after work; but nothing was coming off. Not only was I frustrated with the fact that I could not lose the weight, I hated knowing that some daycare was practically raising my children.  One day, a friend of mine gave me the idea to return to my dance roots and create my own fitness format. It was from that day forward that my life completely changed. I began to research all of the popular group fitness formats, pulling from what I felt worked and what was lacking and combined it with my 15 years’ of experience as a professional dancer. It was during this time I lost over 70 lbs. in 6 months and created my first fitness format Boogie Box Fitness (also known as BBX). From that moment in time until now, it has been a whirlwind. I ran several test groups and saw incredible success with each person I worked with, eventually having it University tested three times to prove its effectiveness. I studied food and how it works within the body; creating the healthiest plan that I felt would provide the most effective and permanent weight loss results. As a single mother of three, “save time and money” was my motto. That is what most women, especially with children, worry about right? “How can I get to where I need to be in less time and without having to shell out a ton of money?” Over the course of several years I have had the privilege of helping countless and incredible women. What I didn’t expect was to learn that the issues most people had with weight had absolutely nothing to do with eating and exercise, but had to do with what I now call “core barriers.” It was during this time that I realized the “BIG LIE” of the diet industry, Band-Aid treatments, and the misconceptions people had about health and weight loss. It was through all of this experience that I was drawn to write my book and speak out about what I had learned and developed. It became my mission! “TRANSFORM: The Secret To Unlocking The Perfect You,” was written so that I could inspire people to realize their true potential and power they all carry. While giving them the exact steps they need to take in order to discover the spark and power they all possess, to achieve the body and life of their own design.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

Writing the book came naturally because it was a passion project based on my own experiences, as well as those of personal clients. What was I didn’t realize was the importance of hiring a great editor that would be true to my voice. After a lot of research, I was very lucky to find an incredible editor with “My Two Cents Editing.” However, the editing process was a much longer process than I had anticpated….so be prepared!

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
I self-published

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
Currently, I am not working on any other books because I plan on taking “Transform” on a live tour. However, down the road I will be writing a self-help book on the adventures of being a single mom.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?
To be honest I am old school. Although I understand the importance of social media for business purposes; that is pretty much what I use it for. Apart from my business, I really don’t hang out online. I’d rather watch a good movie.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?
As I always say, I am a straight shooter and tell it like it is; so here I go. From 6:30am until 9:30 at night my days are jam packed with my kids, classes, errands, chores and building my company. So once 9:30 hits, it’s all about mindless television. My brain is on constant overdrive; especially when it comes to the growth of my company, book and speaking engagements. The only way I can get myself out of my own head, is to watch something that will literally suck me out of that place in order to “not think” and just relax. Some people find it in a good book, I am a fan of great stories through great actors.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
“Transform” isn’t just for people that want to lose weight or get healthier. This is an overall health and lifestyle book, and it can be just as powerful for those who want to rediscover themselves, gain perspective, and find that passion in their lives. There are many so-called experts out there that will tell you what to do, as if we live in a society where everything runs perfectly in Wonderland. Umm, no. Reality check, people! I live on this planet, and I know and have experienced the difficulties and crap life throws our way. Heck, with all the stuff I have been through, I’d like to say I am quite the expert. My life is not and has never been perfect. I thank God for that, because I know that every difficulty I have encountered has taught me major lessons and helped shape the person I am today. You don’t have to love to work out. You don’t have to love eating healthy or become some fanatic. But you do have to love yourself enough to change on the inside and exercise and eat right to take care of the outside. My hope is to show people their true potential and inner strength and to know that every obstacle can be a stepping stone toward changing their lives for the better—forever! I want to show everyone that there really are no boundaries, other than those that people unintentionally create on their own. Nothing is permanent, everything CAN be changed!

Inside the Mind of Time-Travel Romance Author Chris Karlsen

Chris Karlsen is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. The daughter of a history professor and a mother who was a voracious reader, she grew up with a love of history and books.
Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. Her travels have taken her Europe, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States. She most frequently visited England and France, where several of her books are set.

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters, and he latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series.

She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.


What is so great about being an author?
Giving a character the story they deserve. For example, the hero in my latest book, In Time For You, was the antagonist in the previous book. He wasn’t a villain though and he had heroic qualities. I knew I wanted to give him a story of his own. So, this was his book, his opportunity to be a hero.

When do you hate it?
I struggle with love scenes. I worry about making them flow naturally and I want them to be sensual. It takes me forever to get through one. I have friends who can just write them with such ease. Not me. I fuss over the choreography and the language and the sights and sounds. I just dread them.

What is a regular writing day like for you?
I try to do all my regular chores in the morning, shopping or doctor appointments, that sort of thing. I sit down to write around midday. I write until 4, when I feed the dogs, then I write for an hour more and quit for the night. I try to write every day. I take breaks as I write. I get up and make tea or walk around to try and stay fresh. It’s a battle not to troll the internet, of courseJ.  

Do you think authors have big egos?
I’ve met some authors who are rather full of themselves but you find that in any industry. I don’t know that authors are any worse than others. If I were to paint authors with a particular brush, it would be that as a whole they are well read, articulate, and knowledgeable about their fields of interest. On a more personal level, I’d say most I’ve met were gracious and many had a great sense of humor.  

How do you handle negative reviews?
It’s hard not to let them ruin your day. It truly is hard not to, but I generally call a writer friend or two, whimper and have a good grumble about it. I kind of sulk all afternoon, have a glass of wine or two, and finally let it go. I have to just move on. What’s the point of holding onto the bad feelings? I can’t change the fact. Someone didn’t like the story. That’s bound to happen.

How do you handle positive reviews?
I’m all atwitter with those. I have two FB pages, one is strictly my author page and one is me as an author and with other bits and bobs. I post the good reviews on both. I have a publicist and ask her to post on my website and on my Amazon page as well. I need to start posting on Pinterest. I keep forgetting to do that. My publicist posts on Twitter. I’m not really good with some forms of social media, Twitter is one I’m not good with so she does that for me.

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?
People are generally very interested. They ask a lot of questions about what I write and where I get my ideas for stories. They like to know all sorts of things like how covers are designed and even how I choose character names. People have a genuine curiosity about writing, which I am delighted to share.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
On the rare days I don’t write, I hang out. If the weather is good, I putz around the house or the yard. Sometimes, we go to the movies. I will go shopping with a friend or go to lunch with friends. I don’t usually force it unless I am really trying to finish a book by a certain time.

Any writing quirks?
I am not superstitious so I don’t think I have quirks, per se. I don’t have a lucky doll or idol that I rub. I usually do an outline, which I rarely, if ever follow.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?
Ignore them. I’m at an age where I no longer feel like I have to justify who I am to anybody or what I do. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement. I retired and proud of my time as a detective. Now I am doing something different that I always wanted to do. I don’t owe anybody an explanation.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
No, not really. If I ever felt that it was getting me down, that I was stressed in the way I was the last years I was as a detective, I’d stop writing. I don’t need that aggravation anymore.  

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?
Absolutely not. My husband said it so well to me several years ago when I finished my first book. He said, it doesn’t matter whether you get published or not. The fact that you said you always wanted to write this story and that you sat down and did write it, that’s what matters. Everyone says they want to write a book but you did it. I’m so proud of you. My mom said the same thing. She told me that she only wished my dad were still alive to see that I did finish the book I dedicated to them because they always encouraged me to try.

What had writing taught you?
I have more discipline and dedication and butt endurance than I thought. 

Leave us with some words of wisdom.
Don’t lose heart by rejection. Steve Berry said his first story was rejected 80X. Stephen King said Carrie was rejected so much he threw it in the trash. His wife, Tabitha, saved it and wouldn’t let him throw it out. Harry Potter was rejected over 100X.

That said, when or if your story is accepted keep an open mind when working with an editor. The editor is generally not making suggestions to ruin your story but to make it flow better and to make it more marketable. 

About In Time For You, by Chris Karlsen

While horseback riding in the English countryside, sisters, Electra and Emily Crippen find themselves trapped in a tear in time. Thrown back to 1357 England and caught by a local noble, they are in a place that is home but as frightening and unfamiliar as an alien world would be. With no idea how the tear in time came about, the one thing they do know is: they must stay together and stay near to where the event took place in hopes of discovering the way back to their modern life. That certain need to stay together is the first certainty taken from them when one sister is forced to remain in England and one is sent miles away to Wales by royal order.

There is one other hope for help the sisters don’t know exists. It’s Electra’s lover, Roger Marchand. A time traveler himself, he never told her of his past. When he realizes what has happened to the sisters, he enlists the help of a scientist friend to help him open the suspected passageway through time. Any effort to save Electra and Emily will likely cost him his life. This was the time Roger came from, a time when his country, France, was at war with England. If he is discovered on English soil while searching for the sisters, he will either be killed or taken prisoner of war. Any risk is worth saving the life of the woman he loves.

Buy links:

Interview with Daniela I. Norris, author of 'Recognitions'

 We're happy to be hosting Daniela I. Norris on her RECOGNITIONS virtual book tour throughout the month of February with Pump Up Your Book!

Daniela I. Norris is a former diplomat, turned political writer, and with age and wisdom - inspirational author and speaker. Her award-winning stories, articles and essays have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
Published books include -
- Crossing Qalandiya - Exchanges Across the Israeli Palestinian Divide (Reprtage Press, 2010)
- On Dragonfly Wings - a skeptic's journey to mediumship (Axis Mundi Books, 2014)
- Collecting Feathers: tales from The Other Side (Soul Rocks Books, 2014)

Recognitions, part of a trilogy, is her first novel.

Daniela lives with her family near Geneva, Switzerland, and is co-director of the Geneva Writers' Conference and part of the International Grief Council panel (

For More Information
About the Book:

Title: Recognitions
Author: Daniela I. Norris
Publisher: Roundfire Books
Pages: 200
Genre: Inspirational/Women’s Fiction

Amelia Rothman, a foreign-rights editor from New York, has a turbulent personal life. She juggles a divorce and two teenage kids, and decides to seek hypnotherapy to help her deal with insomnia and anxieties. But when during the session an unexpected event emerges, she tries to understand how it is relevant to her current life and why it suddenly triggers a series of synchronicities that take her on an unexpected personal journey to the depth of her subconscious. 

At once a spiritual and psychological novel, Recognitions explores the concepts of past lives, recognition of people and their roles in our present lives and life lessons. 

Praise for Recognitions:

Think Cloud Atlas, a classic story of rebirth, many lives, and reincarnation on a level that involves protagonists in other lives – but take it a step further in Recognitions, the first novel in a trilogy, which presents a woman under hypnosis who sometimes encounters a French girl on the cusp of marriage and sometimes an African shaman facing a village’s struggles with illness and slavery.
Then take these diverse lives and weave them together in the story of a modern-day woman, Amelia (who must deal with these other lives and her own daily challenges, and who faces her own struggle to understand the connections and messages that lie in her dreams and hypnotic state), and you have an emotionally charged saga filled with three threads that lead back to one tapestry of wonder.
Under a different hand, this saga of birth, death, and afterlife could have easily proved confusing: it’s no simple matter to create three disparate, very different lives, and weave them together with purpose and discovery; no easy venture to bring all these pieces to life and then meld them into one… a story that is quietly compelling: a moving saga highly recommended for any reader interested in predetermination, past lives, and how three disparate worlds weave together.

-- Midwest Book Reviews

For More Information

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

Recognitions has several themes – starting with the possibly pre-destined role of people we meet. This is something I always wondered about – why do some encounters feel as if they were ‘meant to be’. Recognitions is my first novel, but I’ve written other ‘inspirational’ type books in which I always had to be careful about how I write about the mysteries of life, as I always wanted them to be grounded books – as I consider myself a grounded person who needs proof before I can believe in anything.

But in Recognitions, I felt free to explore concepts such as past lives, and the connections we have with people who are important on our life journeys. After all, it’s just a story, right?

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

My main tip is: let your stories write themselves. Allow then to come out on paper, or on the screen, and then worry about shape and form and publication. At least that’s the way things worked out for me – I now write only about topics I am passionate about, and trust that the right kind of readers will find my book, or it will find them.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

My publisher is John Hunt in the UK, and I actually met John Hunt himself at the Geneva Writers’ Conference - in Geneva, Switzerland, where I live.

I was impressed by the man and by the publishing company he created - which is forward thinking with its online publishing communication system and authors’ forum and community, and as it offers not only publishing contracts that have relatively generous royalties but also publishing services to authors whose books do not make the cut but who’d like to improve them. And now – after John Hunt’s retirement, John Hunt Publishing is run by a community of authors-turned-publishers, editors, proofreaders and even publicists! They know that it is very difficult to make a living out of writing and offer their authors extra gigs such as editing, proofreading and promoting books for other authors. This creates a wonderful sense of community.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Recognitions is my first novel, but my fourth published book – so I was surprised by how a novel does feel like first book in many ways. It is very different from publishing non-fiction or short stories, because it is such a unique and different writing process.

I was also surprised by how the characters in the novel feel as if they’re real people – especially as Recognitions is part of a trilogy and I am now working on the sequel, Premonitions. I really enjoy spending more time with these characters and see how their story develops while I write it.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Premonitions, the second book in the trilogy, will be publishing in 2017 and Transmissions, the third book, will be out in 2018.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I am a Facebook addict, as I have friends all over the world and it’s a great way to catch up with them and with what’s going on in their lives. I try to limit my facebook time so it does not get in the way of my writing, but it’s not always easy!

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

Read, read and read some more.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

In the end, everything works out for the best…. whether you believe in Karma or whether you don’t!
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I am always amazed by how open minded people are to concepts such as past lives and contact with the other side – things which I wasn’t very open to myself until life forced me to stop and look into them. I hope readers of general fiction enjoy Recognitions as it was meant for them, and not written as a particularly spiritual novel, although it does touch on some spiritual themes.

Interview with Angelina Goode, author of 'The Average Girl'

 We're thrilled to be hosting Angelina Goode, author of the romantic comedy, THE AVERAGE GIRL, on her Pump Up Your Book virtual book tour!

Angelina Goode began writing as a teenager. Though her first works were poems about love-struck teenagers, she grew her craft while earning her degree in Journalism and Creative Writing. A former grade school teacher that loved teaching children to write, she enjoys finding creative ways to present everyday events. Now she primarily writes light-hearted contemporary women’s fiction. She lives in Los Angeles where she enjoys the occasional celebrity sighting and year-round sun.

Angelina started gaining first-hand fan and celebrity experience as a devoted follower of her generation’s boy band. Her experience shifted in college when she interned in the promotions department for a Los Angeles based radio station and for the public relations department of a network television station. There she was able to learn about the ins and outs of promoting celebrities and all the backstage activities that are rarely seen by the public eye. She was also able to observe fans’ behavior from an objective perspective, seeing what it looks like to an outside observer

Now she combines her experience as a loyal fan attending numerous concerts and meet and greets every year, her brief but educational stint in the entertainment industry, and a highly active imagination to create fiction for celebrity lovers of all ages. 

Her latest book is the romantic comedy, The Average Girl.

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About the Book:

Title: The Average Girl
Author: Angelina Goode
Publisher: Beach Blanket Publishing
Pages: 228
Genre: Romantic Comedy

Being average can lead to wonderful things…
Olivia Fowler, helper of the star-struck, runs a successful business helping average people meet celebrities in everyday ways. Flawless at what she does, the celebrities don’t have a clue they’re part of a pre-planned meeting. Business is booming and Olivia knows everything there is to know about Hollywood’s famous and their behavior. Her clients trust her because she is just like them, not famous.
But when Olivia accidentally meets the super-famous Alexander Young at the grocery store, her world is flipped upside-down. She can’t possibly resist those charming eyes and sexy arms. As their romance blossoms, Olivia learns she may not know as much as she thought she did about celebrities and their ways.
Then Olivia’s most important and loyal client requests to meet Alexander. Suddenly, Olivia is forced to choose between her love and her business.
Will Olivia be able to keep her booming business a secret from her soon-to-be boyfriend? Will her clients still trust her if she is no longer the average girl?

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Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I first came up with the idea for The Average Girl when attending concerts for my generation’s boy band. I am always fascinated with the loyalty and dedication the fans have. The experience got me thinking about how fun it would be if there was someone that helped facilitate “accidental” meetings between fans and celebrities. That gave me the basis for my novel. Then I thought how complicated it would be if she herself fell for one of the celebrities.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

I had a great time writing The Average Girl. Since it is a topic I enjoy thinking about, it came very naturally to me. I’ve also lived in Los Angeles all my life, and that’s where the story takes place. It was nostalgic to be able to incorporate different locations I have visited throughout my life and exciting to learn about new places I’ve never been to in my own hometown. The best tip I can pass on is to write what you know. Or if you don’t know about what you’re writing, learn everything you possibly can. It sounds clichĂ©, but I think the best way for your work to be authentic is for you to know your topic well.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

While I was writing The Average Girl, I wasn’t sure where it was going to take me. When I finished it, I decide to self-publish. I have always wanted to be a writer, and I just felt like this was a good way for me to get a real feel for it. I did want my book to look as professional as possible, though, so I hired an editor and a book cover designer. I have learned so much in the process. I would like to go the traditional route in the future.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was surprised by the amount of marketing that needs to be done just to get people to notice your novel. It really is a constant effort to get it in front of the right people. When you self-publish, your book is only as available as you make it. You don’t get the automatic marketing of having it sitting on the bookshelf of a major bookseller where people that are there for the purpose of buying a book can come across it. It has been a very educational journey.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I am currently working on a novel about a conservative single mom that takes a job pretending to be a Hollywood bad boy’s girlfriend to help boost his reputation. I’m having fun writing the two main characters that couldn’t be more different from each other. It should be out within the next couple of years.

Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

Maybe I shouldn’t admit this publicly or people will unfriend me, but I love browsing Facebook. I love to read what’s going on in other people’s lives, then twist it around in my head and see what kind of storyline I can come up with. There’s quite a bit of inspiration out there.

Q: What’s your nightly ritual before retiring for the night?

I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, so I’m usually up much later than everyone else in the house. Once the house quiets down, I’ll think about what I need to accomplish the next day, both in writing and life in general. Once that is all sorted out, I either get to writing, or I sit down and lose myself in a good book. If I’m reading a really good book, I’ll be lost for a few hours.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
I just want to be able to help people escape from the real world, if only for a little bit of time. If someone does take a message away with them, I hope it is that you should follow your dreams. Whether it’s starting your own business that’s different from what’s already out there, appreciating a celebrity, or following your heart; and to think of others. Our actions affect other people and we should keep that in mind.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Thank you for interviewing me and I hope you enjoy The Average Girl.