Saturday, July 28, 2012

Around the World Kindle Fire Blog Hop

The Summer Olympics are here and as a way to celebrate, authors Courtney Vail and J.L. Campbell are hosting the Around the World Blog Hop. There are many wonderful authors, books and places to discover as well as lots o’ prizes!

There are only 16 blogs, so have fun hopping around and entering the contests on each one.

As part of the hop, I’m hosting an interview with Leslie DuBois, author of The Queen Bee of Bridgeton.

What title are you highlighting in this blog hop?

The Queen Bee of Bridgeton


When fifteen-year-old Sonya Garrison is accepted into the prestigious Bridgeton Academy, she soon discovers that rich girls are just as dangerous as the thugs in her home of Venton Heights. Maybe more so. After catching the eye of the star, white basketball player and unwittingly becoming the most popular girl in school, she earns the hatred of the three most ruthless and vindictive girls at Bridgeton. Can she defeat the reigning high school royalty? Or will they succeed in ruining her lifelong dream of becoming a world class dancer?

What gave you the idea for the book?

I confiscated a note from two of my students one day during class. The note described some lewd things that happened at a party the weekend before and how the girl was so embarrassed about it. That note became the seed for the major event in the book. I still have the note today.

Who are your main characters?

Sonya Garrison is an aspiring ballerina who is growing up in poverty. She can’t afford to attend her local ballet studio so she works out an agreement to clean the dance studio in exchange for lessons.

Will Maddox is the popular, yet troubled school basketball star who instantly falls for Sonya, but will he be good for her or her career.

Who is your favorite character and why?

Sonya is my favorite character because she reminds me a lot of myself.

Share one quirky trait of your charactersWill is obsessed with the number three. He always carries three Jolly Ranchers in his pocket.

Sonya is obsessed with the Russian Ballet.

What was your biggest challenge writing this book?

Actually, I think the hardest part was trying to keep out the profanity. I’ve been around teens for a long time and I know how they actually talk even though parents like to believe their kids do not have a potty mouth.

Spill a secret, mystery or hidden thing in your book:

The Queen Bee is not who she seems.

Where do you live?

Charleston, South Carolina

What's a cool, unknown spot?

Runaway Bay is a little known, fantastic Jamaican restaurant right by the water in Riverfront Park

What's the most well known city in your country and why?

Probably New York City. At least, it seems like the most well known city since every action movie always takes place there. Why is it aliens only want to take over New York?

What's a little known fact about where you live?

Charleston was the start of the Civil War.

Name two famous people who've been sighted in your corner of the world.

Bill Murray and Reese Witherspoon.

What is the one thing tourists must do?

Carriage ride tour.

What's your favorite restaurant and what type of food do they serve?

Wow. There are too many Amazing restaurants in Charleston to choose from. But if forced, I think I’d go with The Library at Vendue Inn. They serve Contemporary Low Country Cuisine.

What are you giving away on your blog?

$15 Amazon Gift Card

Who is the author you are highlighting on your blog?

Jennifer Laurens, author of Grace Doll

Where can readers connect with you?
@sybilnelson on Twitter" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Interview with author, Michael Thal

Welcome to author, Michael Thal

Tell us something about yourself and how you became a writer. I had an interest in writing since college. I was a History major and had many papers to write. I enjoyed the challenge of finding information and putting it together into a cogent document that was fun to read. After college and grad school I became a teacher. I taught middle school for 28 years. During my summer vacations I wrote articles and short stories. I even started a novel.

One morning, after teaching for 21 years, I awoke to a profound silence. Hearing aides helped, but hearing has since been a chore. Six years later, my “good ear” went deaf after the virus attacked again. I tried to teach for another year, but the job became a nightmare trying to comprehend what children and teachers were saying to me. After the doctor signed my disability papers, I decided to write full time.
Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy. Since my retirement from teaching, I wrote four novels. Two were published this past winter.

The Legend of Koolura, published by Solstice Publishing, is the story of a sixth grade girl who was injected with cool powers as an infant. Since that time, a homeless man bent on Koolura’s destruction has stalked her and her father. The book is a coming-of-age novel about the importance of friends, family, and self-reliance. Here are its links: Barnes and Noble:

Goodbye Tchaikovsky, published by Royal Fireworks Press, is a young adult novel about a deaf teen. A twelve-year-old violin virtuoso, David Rothman, is plunged into a deaf world, necessitating him to adapt to a new culture and language in order to survive.
The book can be ordered here: The book recently won Honorable Mention in the 2012 Hollywood Book Festival.
What have you had published to-date?  I have had over 70 articles published in print magazines like Highlights for Children, Writer’s Digest, Shine Brightly Magazine, San Diego Family Magazine, and The Jewish Journal, to name a few.

Tell us a little about your road to publication. Was it a long one? Do you have an agent? In your opinion are they even necessary? After I completed The Legend of Koolura, I contacted 160 agents and publishers. Two agents accepted me, but they went out of business a few months after I signed their contracts. Goodbye Tchaikovsky was submitted to 37 agents and publishers. It took Royal Fireworks Press (RFP) three years from the signed contract to publishing the book, where Solstice Publishing took a year to publish The Legend of Koolura.

If I had an agent, I would have gotten an advance on both my books. So they are important because they ensure fair treatment of writers. However, agents won’t look at a writer until he has a track record of selling books. Which brings us to marketing.

How much of the marketing do you do? Both of my publishers have good marketing departments. RFP has Rachel, their publicist who has been wonderful. Solstice has a team of professionals working night and day to get their books on search engines and websites for sales around the Internet. I promote by writing press releases, blogs, e-mails, and messages to my readers on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I also write a bi-weekly column for the Los Angeles Examiner, so I make sure to give my books a plug every opportunity I get.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book(s)? It is extremely important to link blogs and websites to each other to get noticed by search engines. For example, this interview should be linked to my website at and I need to set up a link to it.

Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience with that process? The Legend of Koolura is available as an e-book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in print. Solstice Publishing took care of the entire process, so it was real easy for me. Goodbye Tchaikovsky is only available in print.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? In Goodbye Tchaikovsky David Rothman is plunged into the deaf world overnight. The novel shows how teens can cope with adversity. If a person has a willingness to learn and an open mind to explore all possibilities, he can find a way to succeed.

The Legend of Koolura shows the importance of friendships and family and how people need each other to survive and be successful.

Where can readers find you?
Readers can find me at my website:

 About The Legend of Koolura

Koolura isn’t an ordinary girl. She has what every child dreams. She has the COOL.
But, like all preteens, Koolura has doubts about herself. She and her father have relocated so often she has few community ties. Now, at her new school, she feels right at home for the first time in her life.
The Legend of Koolura tells the story of a sixth grade Armenian girl and how she obtained the cool powers. She has the ability to dematerialize at will and reappear where she chooses. She can move objects with her mind and she can even defy gravity!
But will these powers be of any use in stopping a stalker intent on her destruction? The stalker is determined to retrieve Koolura’s unrealized cool powers and hurt any of her friends who get into his way.
As the hour approaches for Koolura’s final confrontation with her nemesis, she may finally find vengeance to the man who killed her mother.