New Release: The Passing Of The Night by Joanne Van Leerdam

People experience all kinds of night: loneliness, grief, depression, anxiety, fear, pain, and countless other darknesses. 

This newly released collection of profound lyrical poems explores the poet’s own experiences and observations of both dark and light, revealing her determination to not only survive, but to conquer whatever tries to overcome her. 

At the end of it all, the poet demonstrates that the smallest sign of light is enough to help a wandering soul find hope in the passing of the night. 

The Passing Of The Night is available on Amazon and all other major digital stores.

Author Interview: Betty Mermelstein

Interview Red

Hi folks! I’m back again with another fantastic Indie author interview. Today, I’m chatting with multi-genre author, Betty Mermelstein. Welcome, Betty!

Thanks, Squirrel!

Tell me, Betty, what inspired you to write?

I have always loved to read and was interested in learning vocabulary and grammar even in elementary school, so I decided I wanted to tell my own stories with the written word.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Gone With the Wind: oh, the drama!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Since I was nine, I wanted to be a teacher because of my love of learning. I kept that desire and got my college degree in teaching. I retired after having taught preschool, elementary, and junior high.

Wow! Kids of all sizes!

That’s right!

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

You have to be willing to find the support as you struggle to format your books to get them self-published (especially as an ebook), find a means to advertise your books, and work your way through technology as you set up and maintain a website/blog. However, you don’t give up!

That’s right! Don’t give up!

*Betty and Squirrel give each other high fives*

What’s your favorite season?

It’s a toss up between Fall and Spring. I was born in the Fall, and it feels comfortable to me: the smell of leaves on the ground, the brightness of the foliage, the crispness in the air (of course, I haven’t lived in a climate that supports that for many years, but the memories make it palpable!). Spring makes me shiver inside with anticipation of newness and opportunities. It shows its beauty in its blooms and rejuvenates my soul with its breezes.

Oh! I love fresh blooms! It’s like… every bush is a salad!

Right…

Yeah. Back to the interview…
What the best book you’ve read this year?

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. I love historical fiction, and this one is set in WWII in France and New York, following characters who are part of the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

What’s your favorite thing you have written?

That’s a hard one. I also write poetry and short humorous essays, some of which have been published. I guess I feel most accomplished in putting together my collection of short stories that deal with relationships, entitled Seven for Reflection.

What are you working on now?

I mostly continue with my short humorous essays for my blog on Tumblr. There’s always something I experience in my life that I can poke fun at.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled in Canada, Europe, and around the U.S. One of the best trips was last year when I returned to our family’s summer cottage on a lake in Michigan with my husband and sisters. We connected with extended family and proved that you can go back!

What are two things in life that you wish were easier?

I wish my expectations (which covers a wide range of situations) could be met more than they are. I always tell myself my expectations make me delusional! I also wish I could learn things more quickly, especially in technology. In my twenties, I thought I could learn anything: again, delusional!

Thanks for joining me today, Betty! 

Thanks for having me, Squirrel!

Betty Mermelstein’s books can all be found at Amazon, and you can follow her blog on Tumblr

‘The Truths We Tell’ by Sarah Northwood

Sarah Northwood gives voice to thoughts and feelings commonly experienced, but often not so thoughtfully expressed, by people in all walks of life.

Divided into three sections – fear, contemplation and love, The Truths We Tell explores the ways in which we respond to the situations and feelings that challenge us and those things that fill and complete us. The reality of being haunted by regret and the “what ifs” of life is contrasted with the whimsy of fleeting happiness and the irresistible, transforming power of love.

Through all of this is the reminder that life is what it is: “Feeling the breeze on her cheek she knew, the wind can never be the sun.” (Unique)

Without the fear, we cannot fully feel bravery or confidence. Without grief, we can fully experience neither love nor joy. Life is the sum of all its parts.

That is the truth that these poems tell. 

Author Interview: Debbie Manber Kupfer

Interview Cobalt

Hey everyone, your favourite squirrel is back with another fabulous author interview!

Today I’m talking with Debbie Manber Kupfer, author of some great books all about paws!
Hi Debbie! Obviously I’m all for promoting great paws… tell me about your books?

Hi Squirrel! P.A.W.S is a series of Young Adult fantasy books, which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis.

Oh. Not about actual paws then… that’s a little awkward.

I also have stories in several anthologies, including FauxpocalypseStardust, Always,
Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past, and I’ve published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with my son Joey.

Hey, that’s awesome!

Thanks!

That’s a cool accent you have there. Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself?

Well, Squirrel, I grew up in London, but since then I’ve lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis.

Hey, I’ve got a cousin in St Louis! What do you do there?

I work as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. I live with my husband, two children and a very opinionated feline.

Cats, huh?

Yeah.

So, Debbie, you sound busy! When do you find time to hoard your food for winter?

*laughing* I believe that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything. I’ve been writing ever since I was small and find that many of my everyday experiences end up in my stories. Also I’m an avid people watcher and often write interesting folk I see into my books.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Probably P.A.W.S. As it was my first published book it definitely holds a place in my heart. It was where I first was introduced to my characters who have since become old friends.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

E.A. Copen’s Guilty by Association, an awesome urban fantasy. I’m currently on book 2 of her series.

What are you working on writing now?

I’ve got book 4 of P.A.W.S. which is going to be called Londinium out with my beta readers at the moment, so in the meantime I’m getting a start on book 5. I wrote the first 30K words during Camp NaNoWriMo and hope to continue writing at least 1K words a day.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

The best, but also the saddest, was the last time I traveled with my father before he passed away. My daughter and I traveled to London (where I grew up) and met my parents there. (They lived in Israel at the time). For my dad it was his last hurrah. He knew it too and he loved that trip and especially getting to spend time with his granddaughter.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a journalist. I went on to do a gazillion different things including teacher, secretary and market researcher, but writing was always in the back of my mind. I never did work in a newspaper, but I’ve been a puzzle editor for Penny Press and today divide my time between writing fiction and writing puzzles so I’ve sorted ended up in the field I wanted as a kid.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring and autumn. Not fond of extremes in either heat or cold. Missouri’s weather this year has been rather odd though. We didn’t have much of a winter and have had some really hot days in March and April. Global warming, I guess.

That climate change stuff is bad news.

It sure is!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

JK Rowling, Douglas Adams, and Terry Pratchett.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It takes a village to publish any book. You need an editor, beta readers, a cover designer, and a support network of friends to keep you grounded. You can’t do this on your own.

It’s fun, truly it is. And really rewarding too. I started off traditionally published at a small press. It was a good start, but switching over to indie was the best decision I could have made. I love having control over my work. Release dates, prices, covers, sales. Everything. Yes it can be frustrating too, but it’s truly worth it.

Plus the indie author community is beyond awesome. I’ve made so many good friends since I started this journey. Writing can sometimes feel like a lonely pursuit and it’s true that a lot of the magic takes place behind closed doors. But once your books are out there having a network of author friends to cross-promote with is invaluable.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Getting more readers and getting more reviews!

If I had a nut for every time I heard a writer say that, I’d be a happy squirrel!

I hear you.

 

Where can we find your books? 

The P.A.W.S. Saga – P.A.W.S., Argentum, Umbrae

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N34LR1F

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N34LR1F

And paperback everywhere – if they’re not in your local store or library, you can ask them to order them.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

Paws4Thought: http://debbiemanberkupfer.wordpress.com/

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor

Twitter: @CiciCat42

Author Interview: Nancy Quinn

Interview Red

Nancy Quinn Go West

 

Hi, booklovers! It’s great to be back!

Today I’m interviewing Nancy Quinn, author of ‘Go West, Young Woman’. 

Hi Nancy, it’s great to have you here.

Hi, uh… Book Squirrel? Squirrel?
What should I call you?

Sure. You can call me anything except late for dinner.

Haha , okay!

Tell us, Nancy, what inspired you to write?  

Books have always been such an influence in my life; I secretly wondered if I would ever write one. I had greatly admired the books written by James Herriot, and being a wildlife artist and having a love for animals, I enjoyed the stories of his encounters and relationships with dogs, cats, and livestock.  As I grew older and began to have my own experiences with both domestic and exotic wildlife, I often thought my own true stories might make an interesting read.  When my husband and I moved our family from Washington, D.C., to a rural mountain in Montana, I felt I finally had a story worth sharing in written word.  My debut book, Go West, Young Woman! tells of our adventures living with our new neighbors – wolves, cougars, and grizzly bears.

Wow. Scary! Any squirrels over there that haven’t been eaten yet?
You bet there are.
Phew! Okay, sorry for the distraction. Next question…

What are you working on writing now?

I am currently writing the sequel to our story.  It covers the next five years of our western experience.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

I still adore the pioneer stories like Little House on the Prairie and the Nancy Drew mystery series, so much so that I read them with my daughters.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?  

I enjoy writing about nature and the behavior of animals, so I try “painting” a picture with my words.   I think some of my best writing describes the weather and climate here in Montana – thunderous summer hailstorms, water-colored sunsets of ever changing hues, and autumn frost twinkling on golden brown leaves.  Other favorite topics include my “conversations” with animals, and their discussions with each other.  It’s fun to describe their unique personalities by expressing their thoughts in words.

What’s your favorite season? Why?

Summer!  Summer in Montana is warm and dry.  We don’t have much humidity here, and I can stay outside for longer periods of time.  The rolling mountains have shed their blankets of snow, the green grass is cool underfoot, and we can pick wildflowers throughout the meadows.  After the morning rain passes over the mountains, we can see a rainbow or two.  I get to spend more time with the horses, enjoy a different sunset every evening, and marvel at the night skies so intense with stars.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Prior my husband retiring from the United States Air Force, we were investigating where we wanted to live, so we decided to take a trip out west and see a part of the country unknown to me.  We rented a mini-van for a month, and spent that time exploring Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.  We traveled at our own pace and explored countless towns, looking for one to call home.  The feeling of freedom from not having a schedule, combined with the scenery of the wide-open spaces and the self-reliant and self-assured people we met along the way, are memories I hold very dear.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

Spy Handler, a Memoir of a KGB Officer. I enjoy true stories and this book is a fascinating memoir by the Soviet agent who recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, two of America’s’ most infamous traitors.  I also am a fan of Sherlock Holmes, so any story, book, or movie involving the fictional sleuth is a must read or see for me.  Did you know there’s a recent book about Holmes and Watson visiting Montana?

Really? That’s quite a fascinating idea!

I know! That’s why I mentioned it.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I love the movie Overboard with Goldie Hawn.  It has some hysterical one-liners and situations that make me laugh every time.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a vocalist and win a Grammy Award!  As a young woman I studied voice and learned opera with a retired instructor from Julliard.  I used those skills to sing in night clubs, much to her chagrin.  I sang professionally for a few years and even generated some mild interest from MCA records.  Since I was never offered a contract, and it was hard juggling music with a job in law enforcement, I decided to pursue my art, and later my writing, as a career.

 Name two things in life that you wish were easier. 

I wish marketing my book was easier!  I also wish I didn’t have to be so careful with my diet; I used to be able to eat anything without gaining weight.  Now, I find myself passing up some of my favorite foods (is chocolate a food group?) for the sake of my health.

I’d love to know more about your book…

You could watch my book trailer!

Great! Where’s it hiding?

It’s on Youtube!

It’s on SquirrelTube?

Uh… I’ve never heard of that.

Oh. Awkward….
I’m keen to read your book, Nancy. Where can I get a copy? 

It’s available on Amazon or at Hellgate Press, where it’s currently on sale!
Or, you can get personalized autographed copies at www.quinnwildlifeart.com .

Hellgate Press… is that a fire sale?

Haha, no!

Okay. Where can we find you online?Social Media Logos Cutout

My Website: https://nancy442.wixsite.com/quinn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nancyquinn0/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nancyQauthor

Thanks for being here with me today, Nancy.
See you soon!

Bye for now, Book Squirrel!

 

 

Nuts About Writers – Eva Pasco

Interview Orange

Welcome to the Book Squirrel’s “Nuts About Writers” series of author interviews.  

The Book Squirrel sat down recently to interview Eva Pasco, author of “An Englightening Quiche”. It was his first real interview, so he was a little nervous, but he found Eva so charming that it didn’t take him long to feel as though he’d known her for months.

What inspired you to write?

Already a proficient typist by the age of nine, courtesy of my mother, the catalyst which served as my writing inspiration occurred when I was 12 years old.  A malfunction in the electrical wiring caused our doorbell to ring automatically. This prompted me to compose, “The Mystery of the Midnight Doorbell,” a short story involving secret codes and a smuggling ring.

My overactive imagination soon spurred several mysteries and serial spy thrillers under the auspices of a fictitious organization—I.N.T.R.I.G.U.E.  Who knew I had a leg up on the popular Sixties TV series, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.!

In high school, I wrote a romance novella which earned its place on a library shelf.  The book, a sheaf of orange typing paper fastened together with mod magazine cutouts on the cover, caused quite a stir until it disappeared.  The bulldoggish librarian who reluctantly allowed my Chick Lit in the library at the urging of several classmates, told me it was stolen.  Years later, when thinking back, I believe she trashed my enterprise.

The rigors of college, and the demands placed on a rewarding teaching career, shelved further creative writing ambitions until I retired from the profession. With time on my hands, midlife restlessness reactivated my dormant imagination. Thus far, as a result of that revival, I’ve written two books in the genre of Contemporary Women’s Fiction.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

At this point in time, it’s my second novel, released in September, 2016—AN ENLIGHTENING QUICHE. Life’s hairpin turns predisposed me to put the manuscript aside, resume where I left off in spurts, and at one point, I’d contemplated scrapping the project altogether.  Fortunately, I got perturbed with myself because I’m not a quitter and my characters deserved the life I’d planned for them. No small feat to pull off a novel resonating with small-town life and an assortment of characters, I bask in the sunshine of reader reviews, most of which highlight this aspect—“ I felt like I could walk down the streets and actually have a conversation with some of the characters.”

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

My all-time favorite book is ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë for its intense and brooding portrayal of the tragic and consuming nature of love.

 What are you working on writing now?

Not so much writing, but conceptualizing the characters and plot twists and turns as they fabricate and incubate in my mind for my third Contemporary Women’s Fiction novel with the working title, ‘Aida’s Fishing Season.’

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My kind of vacation is day-tripping, alluded to in one of well over 100 Memoirs I’ve written, “Day Trippin’—“My fondest recollections growing up in the Sixties settle upon those day trips taken during my father’s two-week summer vacation. Thinking back, it was hardly a vacation for my parents. My mom would load the picnic cooler with utensils and food staples road-ready for my father to cook on the portable stove at a campground enroute to our destination.  Throughout most of the decade, from our Rhode Island point of origin, we traversed all over New England and beyond in our Plymouth Suburban station wagon.”

There’s nothing like a day trip by car, setting out early in the morning and stopping for breakfast before navigating oneself along the highways and byways off the beaten paths.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Without any hesitation—‘Casablanca,’ which, incidentally, plays an integral part in ‘An Enlightening Quiche.’ The characters are not cookie cut and come into their own morality over the course of the film, something I try to achieve with the main characters in my novel.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love autumn for its spectrum of colors and crispness in the air.  Whether by coincidence or synchronicity of chance, many of my most sacred moments in life have occurred during this season.

Oh, me too! And the nuts… oh! the nuts! Erm… where was I?
Ah, yes.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

Straight from the Acknowledgement page of my second novel:

My mother and namesake, Eva, for her unwavering faith and pride in my literary accomplishments cultivated by reading stories to me when I was a toddler.

My late father and namesake, Pasco, for the independent streak he instilled in me.

My sister, Gina, for encouraging me to pursue my dreams along untrammeled paths.

 What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

From my perspective: Being an Indie author allows me the freedom to write about any subject matter in the manner I see fit without editorial censorship. That aspect is very liberating.  Be prepared to struggle to sell “one” book a day, week, or month at a time despite working your butt off to do so through various marketing strategies. Be prepared to spend more money than you’ll ever earn because you believe in the merit of your book and want people to read it.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

1 – Surviving on one’s own.  There’s very little wiggle room for screwing up when there’s no backup.

2- Coping with changes that may not necessarily be for the better.

 2016-10-22-11-58-05
Where can we find your book?

Amazon: https://amzn.com/B01LX9UXWV

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/hm23t6w

Authors Den (Signed Copies): http://tinyurl.com/jkmqhpa


Where can readers follow you on social media?

Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/evapasco

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/EvaPasco
Thanks, Eva! You’re amazing! 

New Release: Stained Glass by Joanne Van Leerdam

‘Stained Glass’ is a eBook that presents a collection
of  22 poems for  and about women, by a woman Promo Stained Glass Coverwho is striving to live, love, work and make sense of the world she lives in.

‘Stained Glass’ is poetry that reflects the light and shade of life, and all the colours in between.

The poems celebrate the strength and extraordinary resilience of women through the exploration of diverse issues, including love, loss, social expectations, self-awareness and personal integrity.
In rare moments the glass is rose-coloured; elsewhere, the window is astonishingly clear.
There are 7 brand new poems in this collection.
Some of these poems – roughly one-third – are in Van Leerdam’s first collection, ‘Leaf’, and others – another third – are in her recent release, ‘Nova’.
‘Stained Glass’ will be permanently priced at 99c, and is available on AmazoniBookskobo and other digital stores.