Category Archives: reviews

Meet Wade, he’s a writer

The Lincoln Park Horror

Blurb for “The Lincoln Park Horror. A Richard Dick Mystery.” Untreed Reads Publishing, 2011

Private investigator Richard Dick encounters his most challenging case yet when a prospective client unexpectedly appears in his office. Percival J. Buttersnipe is a multi-millionaire, an incorrigible snob, and thoroughly dead—that’s right, Percy is a ghost!

In this latest, rollicking release in the worldwide bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series, Percy hires Dick to evict a group of cutthroats from his deteriorating mansion in Chicago’s stylish Lincoln Park. An uproarious tale of ghosts and gangsters, Dick unveils previously unknown secrets of life in the afterlife as he encounters ghosts around every corner. Will Dick become a ghost himself when gunfire erupts during a daring daylight bank robbery?

A new, hilarious novelette from the author of Bite This!, Witches Which?, Naughty or Nice?, and Flying Solo.
Meet Wade J. McMahan, creator of the bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series

Thanks, Kim, for interviewing me on your blog. I have your list of questions, and…oh wait. First, let me say how important sites like yours are for new as well as established writers. It gives us a chance to pick up a few pointers from our peers—not to say writers will pick up any gold nuggets here today. I suppose the downside is that readers can see how whacked-out writers truly are.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, your list of questions. Allow me to begin.

I didn’t begin writing because I wanted to become an author. Seriously, I didn’t! In fact, I still fumble around, or hang my head and drag my toe through the dust at the very mention of the word. To me it seems, okay I’ll say it, pretentious to refer to myself as an “author.”

Very simply, I’m a writer. I write things—dark things, scary things, funny things, upside down things, right side up things, all manner of things that capture my interest. My writing is not intended to change the world or the lives of my readers. Nor do I aspire to reach lofty heights of literary distinction (as if that was in the cards, eh?). I write purely for entertainment—to entertain myself, and hopefully, my readers.

Why would I do such a silly thing? The primary reason behind why I began writing is simple. I wanted to see if I could. I don’t mean just write, but write to a standard where an established editor would read my work and say, “Holy cow! We have GOT to publish THIS!”

How hard could it be to write a book, right? I embarked on my writing career by spending a year tapping away on my first novel, “The Cave of the Gods.” I wrote, and wrote, and researched, and re-wrote, and edited, and wrenched it and tore it and sweated buckets over it until I finally had my first completed novel shipshape and ready for public viewing. I packaged it neatly, typed up a synopsis, and zinged out query letters to agents and editors across the land. Then I waited for an acceptance from somebody, anybody, and waited, and… Um, don’t go searching for “The Cave of the Gods” at bookstores or online. It resides comfortably on my bookshelf inside a three-ring binder. You guessed it. The book was a total piece of crap.

What did I learn from my first writing experience? I couldn’t write! Honestly! I couldn’t write, and that’s the dog dirt truth of it! I pondered my miserable existence for a while, and finally came to the dazzling realization that I had to get better.

I didn’t want to write another novel only to discover after another year of struggling that I’d created, “Return of Crap.” Therefore, I decided to write short stories and allow them to serve as my training ground. I could whip one out fairly quickly, and get a pretty quick response back from editors. You get it, stimulus-response. It’s kind of like when a doctor taps your knee with a hammer and immediately your foot flies up into the air, stimulus-response.

I stimulated a lot of editors before I received the response I was hoping for. “Vengeance of the Wolves,” a short dark fantasy was accepted for publication by “Crows Nest Magazine.” I think it’s out of business now, but it was an online magazine, one of those digital story mills. In fact, I believe I’ve contributed to killing more than one e-magazine.

If there is a moral to all of this, and you’re an aspiring writer, I suppose it’s to just start writing. No excuses, no more hedging, start writing now! Start this instant!

Um, hello? Are you still with me? If you are that aspiring writer I was just talking to, you don’t take direction very well, do you? That’s okay, I’ve never been one to take direction well myself.

If there is one thing every writer needs, it’s pure dumb luck to be at the right place at the right time with the right product. There are thousands of outstanding writers out there constantly snatching and grabbing at publishers. Let me tell you, boy oh boy, did I get dumb and lucky!

I had just completed my first Richard Dick Mystery, “Bite This!,” when I discovered a brand new publisher, Untreed Reads Publishing. I dangled my little tale in front of their editor and he bit! They not only took the bait, they shipped the story worldwide where “Bite This!” rapidly climbed bestsellers lists at e-bookstores around the globe! That little yarn earned 5-star reviews everywhere, and stayed on the overall Top 10 Bestsellers list at OmniLit for months! Later, Untreed Reads published my fantasy spoof, “Flying Solo,” as well as my subsequent Richard Dick Mysteries, “Witches Witch?,” “Naughty or Nice?” and now, “The Lincoln Park Horror.” Be watching for another novelette in the series, “Fanged!” when it arrives on e-bookshelves this fall—I really entertained myself writing this one.

The above works are available at the Untreed Reads Store—click the book cover above, it’ll take you there. Otherwise, go to your usual e-bookseller and download them to your Nook, Kindle or other reading device. If you’re a Sony user, look for my “Richard Dick Mysteries” bundle at the Sony Reader Store—you know how to do it. Don’t have one of those new gizmos? Not a problem, you can download them in standard pdf format directly to your laptop or PC.

I’m currently working on a full-length fantasy novel, tentatively titled, “The King of Stones. An Irish Ballad.” Soon, I will begin sending out a few sample chapters to my new, dedicated group of beta readers who collectively serve as my “Crap-O-Meter.” How will they react to what they read? I don’t know, but I’m edgy; let me tell you, I’m edgy.

Thanks again, Kim, for allowing me to visit with your audience. We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Wade’s Bio;

Wade J. McMahan has published five stories with Untreed Reads Publishing. In addition to his bestselling Richard Dick Mysteries series, Untreed Reads also released his fantasy spoof, “Flying Solo.” Furthermore, his stories have been published at such places as The Ampersand Review, Crow’s Nest Magazine, the df_Underground, and Pine Tree Mysteries.

More Richard Dick works are already in the pipeline, or under construction. Wade is also currently writing a fantasy novel based upon an ancient Irish legend.

Owner of a forestry consulting firm, Wade and his wife Glenda live in the green rolling hills of Tennessee where they enjoy an active life filled with family, friends, sports, travel and three spoiled dogs.

Track Wade on his website and blog, “The Incorrigible Liar” at Wade McMahan
and you can also find him on Facebook.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, information, reviews


The Creation of Return Engagement

The idea for Return Engagement bounced around in my head for a great many years. You see, I always wanted to be a writer. My childhood playmate was my cousin who was a great artist. I envied her ability, but I always thought that if I had my choice I’d rather be a writer. Oh, the thrill of putting words on paper! The joy of creating my own private reality and peopling that world with characters of my own imagination!

But I never did anything about it even though the characters were crystal clear in my mind and the plot was fairly well developed. My husband encouraged me. “Try it,” he urged. “You can do it.” Well, you know how it is when you’re a young mother with children who need to be transported from activity to activity. On top of that I’m a teacher who has to spend time grading papers and planning lessons.

So, what motivated me to bring my dream to life? I have to give credit to my son. He’s my inspiration because he’s the reason I started writing in the first place. He came home one day and dumped a thick manuscript in my lap. “I wrote a book,” he said. “You can read it.”

Words can never express a mother’s astonishment and pride. At that moment, I was slightly in awe of this child that I had raised. “I make up stories in my head to amuse myself,” he told me. “I decided I might as well write them down.”

Wow! I had always done the same thing. I decided on the spot to write a book myself, but when I sat down in front of my computer screen, I didn’t have any idea how to begin. There were so many ways I could start the book! It finally occurred to me that it didn’t matter. If my words didn’t sound right, there was always the delete or backspace keys. From that moment on, I’ve been hooked on writing.

Don’t think that Return Engagement is my first book, though. It isn’t. My first book A New Leaf won the Timeless Love contest sponsored by Oak Tree Press, and they published it. It was a good story, but I wish I had the chance to rewrite it. I could make it so much better today. Why did I wait to write Return Engagement? Too scared. I wanted it to be perfect, and I wasn’t sure I could do it justice. I’d been writing for several years before I attempted it.

Now back to Return Engagement… Creating my characters was no problem at all. I’d thought about them for years. Everyone has his or her own personal hero, and Richard Lovinggood, the hero of Return Engagement, has all the qualities I’ve learned to admire in a hero. What qualities? Let’s see.

First, I want a hero with a little fire to him, a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Second, he has to be loyal and faithful because I’d never be willing to share. Third, I want a man with a little romance in his soul, a guy who isn’t afraid to bring you some flowers for no reason, call you to ask how your day is going, or hold your hand while you walk on the beach. Fourth, and I know this is silly, I really do love a nice pair of shoulders!

And then there was my heroine. I like women who aren’t afraid to follow their dreams no matter where those dreams may take them, and that’s just what my heroine does. She always thought with her head not her heart, but when she meets Mr. Right it’s her heart that engages, not her head.

With my two main characters created, I fleshed out the story, giving family and background for my hero and heroine. And then I had to write the book.

I wish I’d kept the original draft of Return Engagement. It would make you laugh to see how bad it was. I rewrote that book until I could practically quote it in my sleep, but each time I revised it, it was better. After several years of work, I submitted the book to Whiskey Creek Press and held my breath for several months until I heard back from them. I swear it took me ten minutes to get up the nerve to open the email, and then I jumped up and down for ten minutes when they accepted the book. Having this particular dream come true was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be.

Here’s a blurb about Return Engagement.


Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.

Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.

If you’d like to read an excerpt from the book, you can do so at my web site at The book is available at
Thanks, Kim, for having me here at Book Madness.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, information, reviews, Uncategorized

Playing to the Room

By Lisa M. Campbell

Those of us who write undoubtedly have a passion for it. Why
else would we put ourselves through the difficulties of
creating a cast of characters with seemingly insurmountable

As an author of historical romance, I have noticed the high
volume of paranormal books lining the shelves of our local
bookstores. Publishers and readers alike clamor for these
stories and though the saturation level is high, there doesn’t
seem to be any sign the genre is tapering off. Moreover, it’s
not just bricks and mortar stores packing them in. E-book
sites all over the internet display page after page of
paranormal titles and what once thought a fad is now a
cornerstone of the billion-dollar a year romance industry.
No doubt, it sounds as if I’m opposed to such books. However,
I write erotic paranormal under the pen name Marie March and
have four titles due out this year. As well, I eagerly await
the next Sookie Stackhouse adventure from Charlaine Harris,
and the last installment in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series.
What I enjoy about these authors is their ability to create
stories in which I’m able to suspend my disbelief and immerse
myself in an all too real fantasy-world.

This brings up the question of writing strictly for profit of
playing to the room. Should an author who stands out in his or
her own category write to a specific market? From what I have
read and heard, most Editors view this as a no-no. Yet, how
many publishers out there, big and small, have calls out for
paranormal manuscripts above anything else? With werewolf,
vampire and shifter stories in demand the conclusion may be
any submission will have a better than average acceptance
rate. Such logic will set anyone up for disappointment and

As a romance writer, you have to enjoy reading what you set
out to write. With a paranormal, you have to believe in the
unbelievable yourself otherwise the rudiments of your story
just won’t work. Therefore, I believe success in any form of
writing depends on the blend of two essential elements…your
talents and interests.

Author Info follows:
Insatiable releases July 28th with Red Rose Publishing and Chasing the Nymph releases Sept. 17, 2010 at Whispers Publishing

Insatiable by Marie MarchCavyn Sinclair is a centuries old vampire in search of conquest, but women are scarce in the wilds of Montana’s Glacier National Park. Then he discovers a faint light trail left in the wake of an exotic creature he never thought to encounter.To stay amongst her kindred, Loveday a Nymphomaniac in service to the House of Triune is forced to pay tribute to Medb on Beltane by participating in sexual revelry with any male she encounters, climaxing in Medb’s name.When Cavyn and Loveday come together the sex is raw and explosive. However, will they be able to sustain their passion or will Loveday fulfill her needs with Cavyn’s nest mate Priscilla?No matter how decadent the sex, Loveday longs for the freedom to choose her own destiny. Cavyn aids Loveday’s bid for freedom, yet the payment Medb demands may be more than Loveday is willing to pay.

Superstition’s Desire, Wild Horse Press 2009
The lush landscape of the Scottish Highlands holds great beauty, but also great peril. Therefore, when Lady Arabella Wyndmere is spirited away from her English home, she is right to fear for her heart and her welfare. Held to a deathbed vow, Laird Connal MacRae is honor-bound to deliver Lady Arabella unsullied, to his deposed older brother, as a prize to soothe his ego. Nevertheless, Connal cannot deny the burning ache the spirited beauty has awakened in him. However, something far more dangerous stalks from the shadows. And in a climate of treachery and betrayal; the greatest risk of all could be surrendering to the depth of feelings of unexpected love.

1 Comment

Filed under authors, books, information, reviews, Uncategorized

Doorman’s Creek

by Lea Schizas


Although I feel as old as the Acropolis at times, I started writing way back in my mom’s womb, where I mistook the umbilical cord for some cool writing implement. I write in various genres but seem to go back to the Young Adult target group. This age group is so full of spunk and dare you just never know what the characters will do next and that is why I love to write and have a teen as my main character. Also, it keeps me young. Some of my favorite authors are: Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Robert Ludlum, J. K. Rowling


Teens have a knack for getting into trouble and that’s why most of my stories are for young adults. I love to add mystery and some entity of the paranormal for this target audience to figure out the puzzle.

Doorman’s Creek uses a town legend and manipulates this legend with hypothetical questions, murders, missing teens, and a slew of characters that are all suspects. The interesting factor is that although there is an unknown entity in this book who this person is isn’t revealed until the very end and what part he plays.

Kyle Anderson, the 15-year old teen who is the main character and boy with the visions to see through the eyes of the killer and sometimes the victim, was fleshed out as a leader, but alos a boy who feels ‘housed-in’ by his over-doting and worrisome mom. The need to prove himself mature is always there and when the visions begin he fears his mother will now seclude him at home to protect him. With the help of his two best friends, Kyle, Shawn and Bradley will slowly begin to put an old ten year old case to the forefront and investigate the disappearances of two new girls.

However, I needed to add a building block to have Kyle prove his maturity to his mother. A murder of someone close to them finally puts these two on the same path and their lives suddenly take an unsuspecting turn when both have similar dreams mixed with visions that lead them to a few suspects.

At the end the one person they never thought would be the one to help them out comes to their aid…in a very strange way.

Because of the nature of the crime, and the suspect, there is some foul language and graphic scenes.
Doorman’s Creek is available in e-book and print at eTreasures:

And in Amazon:

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, information, reviews, Uncategorized

Guest blogger, Pembroke Sinclair

Coming from Nowhere was originally conceived when I was a junior in high school, which was a long time ago. The main story has remained intact, but the book has gone through four MAJOR revisions. If you were to see the very first draft, you wouldn’t believe it turned into the final version. I was inspired by many different things, but mainly movies. The main ones were Star Wars (Episodes 4-6) and Blade Runner. It’s pretty evident how those two films shaped my book.

Like Star Wars and Blade Runner, my book focuses on the characters, mainly JD. Told in third person limited perspective, the reader learns about the world the characters live in through JD’s perspective. I chose to focus on her because she doesn’t understand her world. I have to build a new world on Mars and in the rest of the galaxy, one that the readers can understand. By using JD’s perspective, nothing is taken for granted. The reader learns, as she does, the different nuances of the places she goes and how to survive. She has the help of the other characters, but everything is fresh and new, just like it is to the readers.

One thing I strive to do in my books is to make my characters life-like. They have some characteristics that make them slightly above average, but they still have emotions and feelings. Even though JD is trained in a military academy, she still reacts to situations like a normal person: she gets angry and she even cries. She experiences love and loss and what it’s like to be betrayed. The other characters have flaws, too, and sometimes the line between the good and the bad is blurred. My hope is that readers will find a character they can relate to, which will make the book that much more enjoyable to read.

You can buy Coming from Nowhere on Amazon here, to learn more about me visit my website at, Or you can visit my publicists website at

Coming from Nowhere
by Pembroke Sinclair

I am a HUGE sci fi geek, but I also really enjoy fantasy and horror. I always figured all of my books would be either science fiction or fantasy, but I’ve found that I’ve been branching more and more into horror. I really enjoy horror, but I never thought I wrote it very well. After all, it takes a lot to scare me, so I don’t think my writing is very scary. Coming from Nowhere has dark undertones, but it isn’t a traditional horror novel. I don’t have monsters (in the mythical sense) popping out of dark places and devouring people, but I do have very evil bad guys who can be considered monsters. Coming from Nowhere is more psychological horror than in-your-face blood-and-gore horror. The following is a list of the things that I think make the book dark and even a little scary:

1) People are afraid of the unknown, and there is nothing more frightening than not knowing where you came from.

2) Sometimes the most dangerous thing in the galaxy is you, even if you don’t realize it.

3) Even the people you know the best and love can have some of the darkest secrets.

4) There will always be people who want power and authority over others, and they will do anything to get it.

5) There aren’t always happy endings.

Things I Learned while Writing Coming from Nowhere
by Pembroke Sinclair

Coming from Nowhere was originally conceived when I was a junior in high school. Between then and the time it finally was published, it went through four MAJOR revisions. It was the first book I’ve had published, but I am constantly working on short stories and another novel. Writing is a process that you can constantly learn from, but the first book seems to be the roughest road. The following are the things I learned while writing Coming from Nowhere:

1) Revisions are a never-ending process. Even when you think you’re done, you can always make more changes. Eventually, you just have to say enough is enough.

2) Even though it’s good to be influenced by outside sources, especially classics, don’t try to copy them in your work. There’s a reason they are classics, and rehashing them won’t do them justice. Let your own voice come out.

3) Not everyone is going to like what you write, but that shouldn’t stop you from writing it.

4) Most writers write for the reader, and if the reader doesn’t get what you’ve written, then you’ve failed.

5) Rejection is part of the writing process, and you’d better learn how to accept it if you’re going to make it.

6) You don’t have to like your characters, but you have to believe in them. If you don’t, your readers won’t either.

7) Making up names for other places in the galaxy is hard, and spell check hates them.

8) If the reader is surprised when they read the big twist in your book, you’ve done a good job.

9) Hearing from readers who have enjoyed my book can make even the worst day better.

10) I really enjoy writing and creating new worlds.

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, information, reviews

Jane Beckenham, romance author

Meet Jane Beckenham, author of fabulous romances.

Tell us the title of your book and where we can buy it?

Well I’m really excited because my ebook, Desperately Seeking Santa is going into print for Christmas…and you know that’s only 13 weeks away – scary thought!

What is your book about? What genre is it and will you be writing another one in that same field?

It’s a holiday romance, contemporary. My heroine, Mandy Brookes who works as assistant manager of an upmarket store, is required to dress as Mrs Santa for the store’s Santa Grotto. Trouble is the normal 90year old Santa is drunk, so there’s a replacement. Then, they get locked in the store, and Santa isn’t who he appears to be, but the man she dumped at the altar five years earlier.

What inspired you to write your book?

I love holiday stories, and I wanted to write something fun and flirty, and Desperately Seeking Santa is the result.

How long did it take you to write it?

I normally take about 2-3 months, depending on what other writing stuff is going on, edits etc, for my other books.

How much time do you spend editing and what is your method?

I write a really quick first draft, and then do at least five full read throughs, editing, editing and more editing. I also have two great critique partners who will read chapters for me.

Do you belong to a critique group? What is your opinion of critique groups?

Yes, as I mentioned above I have two partners, we swap a chapter a week mostly, but more if required when we’re in deadline mode. I like having crit partners, but I must say that you have to have the right ones that work for you. And I personally believe that I need to have partners who are aiming at the same line as myself, or at least have a very very clear understanding of the that line.

How do you market your book?

I mostly do yahoo groups, a little bit of advertising, but do public appearances, libraries etc. And I’ve been asked to speak quite a few times at different writers’ groups, so that’s nice. I’m in New Zealand, so it’s a small market and very difficult. All my books are in ebook format first, then print, but NZs for the most part don’t even know what an ebook is, so that does make it harder on the home front.

Do you have an agent? Was the process you went through to gain an agent difficult?

No agent at the moment, but I am trying. I recently pitched to Melissa Jeglinski of the Knight Agency and she requested a partial – that went off yesterday actually, so fingers crossed.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you believe reading is important for writers?

Love Sandra Hill, Sophia James. Yes, I think writers must keep reading, but that said, I’m struggling to keep up with that at the moment.

Do you have any advice geared toward the writing, or publishing of a book for our members?

Only that try and remember when you’re deep in edits, and it’s midnight, why you do this. It’s because you love it. Because you have to. It’s kinda funny, because this morning I just finished edits for my book Hiring Cupid – Samhain – and I sent them back then found myself sitting at the computer, thinking, what now? I feel lost without a writing project on the go.

Thought I’d give you a small teaser for Desperately Seeking Santa



Jane Beckenham

Holiday/ Contemporary
ISBN: 978-1-60435-249-8

Santa leaned against a railing of silky teddies and thongs, all pink fluff and feathers along with black lace and faux fur. Mandy blinked several times. The guy didn’t move. The look on his face, humor and downright daring indicate he knew exactly what he leaned against. But still he stayed there. His arms crossed his chest, pulling the red suit across his broad shoulders. The fabric stretched and Mandy’s eyes widened. This was no weasely old man Santa and she wondered for the first time, what lay beneath all that fake Santa stuff?
“The phone lines are down,” he said, suddenly breaking into her heated thoughts.
Mandy shook her head, tendrils falling loose across her face. It tickled and she roughly brushed it away, tucking it behind her ears.
“Don’t do that.”
Her hand stalled, a strand of hair still between her thumb and forefinger. “Pardon?” Had she heard right, the guys voice was kinda muffled beneath all those whiskers.
“I liked it like that.”
Her brows puckered. Liked? Mandy snapped her thoughts closed. “The phone,” she prompted.
“The phone lines are out. Must have hit the mobile phone tower too, because can’t get a signal on my phone. The storm has struck so it looks like we’ll have to stay the night.”
“You want to what?” Shocked, Mandy gaped at Santa. “Sleep here?” She took a quick inventory. Not a bed in sight. “You’ve got to be joking. Besides, it’s Christmas Eve.”
“Got anywhere else to go?”
Mandy’s jaw dropped, but no words came out while a stain of heat scalded her cheeks. She didn’t have anywhere else to go No family. No life. Christmas as far as she was concerned was a non-event. But she wasn’t about to admit that. She tucked her suddenly fidgeting hands behind her. “Don’t you?” she questioned as a counter-defense.
Desperation hiked up ten-fold. “But we’re locked in, everyone’s gone home. What’ll we do?”
“Told you. Sleep.”
Mandy stared into the dimness all around them, expecting, praying a security guard would walk out of the increasing darkness. “”You can’t sleep here. This is a department store.”
“Sure I can. There’s a bed, isn’t there?” he said pointing towards the Santa grotto.
“That’s Santa’s sleigh!”
“Bed, sleigh, what’s the difference?” He shrugged and his bushy white brows wiggled. “You’re a mite picky for someone stuck in a department store, don’t ya think?” He strode towards the sleigh and without thinking she found herself following him. Santa was in full force tossing out presents…well boxes of various sizes and colors intended to grant every child’s desire, as she side-stepped the elve’s mushroom stand.
“Which side do you want?”

Happy reading everyone and many thanks to Kim.
Jane Beckenham

Leave a comment

Filed under authors, books, information, reviews, Uncategorized

Interview with Diana Rumjahn

Charlie and Mama Kyna

Diana Rumjahn received her bachelor’s degree in social science from San Francisco State University and has worked at the university for over the past two decades. She is currently an administrator at College of Creative Arts, where she received the “Star of the Month Award.” She wrote, directed, filmed, produced and edited the international award-winning film Going Home, which has been shown worldwide. Charlie and Mama Kyna won The Best Short Story for Children Award from 39th Annual Marin County Fair, Marin County, California, USA, 2009.


Tell us about yourself. Please share a short bio with us.

I am a filmmaker and published author. I have been writing ever since I was 5 years old. The book is about stuffed animals so I must share with you that I just love stuffed animals. They are so cute and bring a smile to me. I like films of different genres such as comedy, drama, action, documentary, science fiction, fantasy, and special interest.

Tell us about your book and where it can be found.

Charlie and Mama Kyna is a charming book with beautiful illustrations for children. The story and illustrations are based on my internationally acclaimed film, Going Home, which was shown worldwide, including 45 film festivals and London Film Festival.

The story is about a little stuffed animal frog, named Charlie who runs away in fear after accidentally breaking his mother’s favorite vase. Charlie makes his way to the city and meets a stuffed animal Lion, named Leo and a stuffed animal giraffe named Joe outside Mrs. Cupcake’s Bakery. The three become best friends and live inside a little orange tent outside the bakery.

After awhile, Charlie becomes homesick, misses his mother, Kyna, decides to go home and invites Leo and Joe to live with them. On the next sunny day, Charlie, Leo and Joe, journey to find Mama Kyna’s home.

Charlie and Mama Kyna can be found on

What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?
When I was very young, I was interested in writing in biographies and romance novels. My earliest work is unpublished.

Who has inspired you as an author?
I think many authors over the years have inspired me. I really can not say just one.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

One comment said that my book is similar to the story of the prodigal son which I have not read. Another comment said that it’s a very childlike interpretation of an adult world filled with guilt, justice and punishment.

Do you have a specific time or place that you write?

I write whenever the thought enters into my mind.

I am currently working on a new film.


Filed under authors, books, information, reviews, Uncategorized

Meet Shobhan Bantwal


Shobhan Bantwal

When I was offered a second two-book contract by Kensington Publishing after the first two books, THE DOWRY BRIDE and THE FORBIDDEN DAUGHTER did well in the fiction market, I was just beginning to emerge from writing on serious women’s issues like dowry and female feticide in India. I had been focused on combining social themes with a romantic twist. Weaving the two elements into interesting stories that would appeal to a wider audience had been both emotionally and mentally exhilarating yet exhausting.

Therefore for my third book, THE SARI SHOP WIDOW, I decided to step down from my soapbox and tackle an equally interesting but different subject closer to home – the Indian-American immigrant experience. With so many immigrants pouring into the U.S. to follow their dream and make a life for themselves, a unique Indian-American culture has evolved over the past 40 plus years. As a result, second generation Indian-Americans straddle both cultures and the process can put many of them on a rollercoaster ride.

Children of immigrants who belong to a conservative culture are more deeply affected by the conflict involved in meeting their own need to fit in with their peers while fulfilling their parents’ expectations. In THE SARI SHOP WIDOW, my protagonist, Anjali Kapadia is a classic example of a young woman born and raised in the U.S. by her old-fashioned parents who live in Edison, New Jersey. She is constantly trying to maintain the balance between preserving her independence and making her parents happy.

Anjali owns an upscale sari boutique in partnership with her parents. When the business suddenly starts to go downhill and bankruptcy becomes imminent, Anjali’s rich and dictatorial old uncle arrives from India to bail them out. But the old man comes with a few surprises, one of them being a mysterious young Indo-British man named Rishi Shah. Sparks fly when the stubborn and proud Anjali is told that Rishi and her uncle have big plans for her store, none of which she approves of. However, she can’t deny the strong attraction she feels for Rishi, and turbulent emotions she hasn’t experienced since she became a young widow ten years ago at the age of 27.

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW offers a rare glimpse into not only the Indian experience in America, but also a look at the Indian-American fashion industry. With a protagonist who is a fashion designer and boutique owner, I was able to indulge in vivid descriptions of lush saris, salwar-kameez, lehengas, cholis, and sadras – a colorful spectrum of ethnic clothing from India.

THE SARI SHOP WIDOW is available at all U.S. and Canadian bookstores and online booksellers. To contact me or learn more about my books, author events, book trailer video, recipes, short stories, and sign up for my newsletter, visit my website

Thank you for hosting me on “Book Madness.”

Shobhan Bantwal

About the Author

Shobhan Bantwal calls her writing “Bollywood in a Book,” romantic, colorful, action-packed tales, rich with elements of her own Indian culture — stories that entertain and educate. She is an award-winning women’s fiction author of three published novels and contributed to an anthology of short stories.

Shobhan writes for a variety of publications including The Writer magazine, India Abroad, Little India, U.S. 1, Desi Journal, India Currents, Overseas Indian, and New Woman India. Her short stories have won honors/awards in contests sponsored by Writer’s Digest, New York Stories and New Woman magazines.

You can visit her website at


Filed under authors, books, information, reviews

New Twists to Old Tales


by Kathleen Cunningham Guler

Thank you so much for inviting me to write a guest post. I am honored!

Have you ever wondered, as more and more books are set in the same historical periods, are the authors really coming up with any new ideas? How many books are about the Tudors: Henry VIII and Elizabeth I? An endless string of them. How many about Richard III? As many as there are theories about whether he killed his nephews.

Way back in the beginning of time when my interest in Britain’s early history and Arthurian legend started to develop into the Macsen’s Treasure Series, it seemed that few well known modern Arthurian novels existed. Of course we had Mary Stewart’s best-selling Merlin trilogy and its sequel, T. H. White’s Once and Future King, and a few others. Then in 1982, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon was published. Ever since, like the Tudors and Plantagenets, one Arthurian-themed book after the next has popped up. Single books, trilogies and longer series have been published by the truckload. Some are straight up historical fiction, others are fantasy, most are somewhere in between.

As writers of this sort of fiction, we all draw on the same sources: the historical facts, the legends, the archaeology, the theories, the mythology. The question taunts: what if I don’t want to produce yet another story detailing Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin or any of the other legendary characters’ lives? Or another book told from some obscure monk or retired warrior recounting Arthur’s life?

How do authors keep from writing the same old thing? Enter imagination.
And how to poke the imagination into action? Start asking the “what if” kind of questions. In digging through the trenches of history (literally if you’re an archaeologist!), questions will constantly arise that the characters must answer in the course of their lives.

My brainstorming asked these questions: What kind of hero could have existed to meet the challenge of that time? What if my hero was someone who cared tremendously about his country’s freedom and integrity? What if his upbringing was ordinary, but something happened to him that deeply influenced his thinking and impelled his need to make things right? What if he had a reason to believe the prophecy that Merlin had made of a great king to come? What if he met a woman who shared the same beliefs and reinforced them through her actions? What would he do about it? How would he go about fulfilling all of this?

All of those “what ifs…?” evolved into iron-willed, blunt-talking Marcus ap Iorwerth: master spy, master of disguise and master swordsman—Braveheart, MacGyver and James Bond all rolled together. And with him, his true love, Claerwen, strong-willed, stubborn and gifted with second sight. Through these two characters, I’ve offered new voices for the fifth century. And perhaps as a bonus, a new sub-genre—the historical spy thriller!

About the Author

Novelist Kathleen Cunningham Guler is the author of the multi-award winning Macsen’s Treasure Series. Drawing on a long background in literature and history as well as her Welsh and Scottish heritage, she has published numerous articles, essays, reviews, short stories and poetry. The author is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the International Arthurian Society and participates in various writing organizations.

You can visit her website at


Filed under authors, books, information, reviews, Uncategorized

A Pure Double Cross by John Knoerle

by john knoerle

by john knoerle

I love finding new authors with great books, and this one is at the top of my list today. A Pure Double Cross is the most fun book I have read lately, with colorful language, and non stop action following a character that I just loved.

Set in Cleveland in 1945 OSS spy Hal Schroeder tries to work for the feds and the mob at the same time. He plans a pure double cross, but will he succeed? There in lies the rub.

author photo

author photo

About the Author:

John Knoerle’s first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox for a TV series. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction. His new novel, “A Pure Double Cross,” is Book One of the American Spy Trilogy. John lives with his wife in Chicago. You can learn more about John Knoerle at

About the Book:

Cleveland, Ohio, 1945. Hal Schroeder returns from a two-year stint behind German lines as an undercover agent for the OSS. The horrors of war have left him bitter and cynical. He is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate a local mob that is pulling bank heists. The feds have concocted a sting operation to capture the head of the gang and they want Hal to execute it. He agrees. But Hal Schroeder is no longer interested in being a hero. Hal Schroeder is interested in a fat payday.



Tell us about yourself. Please share a short bio with us.

John Knoerle wrote the screenplay Quiet Fire, which starred Karen Black and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, and the stage play The He-Man Woman Hater’s Club, an LA Time’s Critic’s Choice. He also worked as a staff writer for Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Knoerle moved to Chicago in 1996 with his wife Judie. His first novel, “Crystal Meth Cowboys,” was optioned by Fox TV. His second novel, “The Violin Player,” won the Mayhaven Award for Fiction.

Tell us about your book and where it can be found.

“A Pure Double Cross” is book one of the American Spy Trilogy, which follows the adventures of former OSS spy Hal Schroeder. In this book Hal is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the Cleveland mob.

What age did you discover writing? What is your earliest work about?

About 20 or so. I worked as a deejay in college and got involved with a comedy troupe, the DeLuxe Radio Theatre. My first scribblings were radio skits.

Who has inspired you as an author?

Raymond Chandler primarily. I also greatly admire John Cheever, Walker Percy and the Rabbit books by John Updike.

What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your books?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. One editor said my books have “a great sense of place.” I consider that a great compliment.

Do you have a specific time or place that you write?

Not morning, that’s for sure, even though it seems that many great writers prefer the early hours. And not at night, though Michael Chabon wrote about ‘the midnight disease.’ I’m an afternoon writer.

What’s next for you?

“A Despicable Profession: Book Two of the American Spy Trilogy” will be published sometime in the next year.


Filed under authors, books, information, reviews