Author Spotlight – Stephanie Richmond



Please introduce yourself. 

Hello, I’m Steph, I write mystery books under the name SC Richmond, I also run a business and am happily married to my long suffering husband Keith. I’m looking forward to this interview and I hope it offers an insight into me and my work.


When did you start writing? 

I have been writing on and off for many years but until more recently I had never considered anything I had written good enough to share with anyone. ‘The Community’ was written over ten months and it came alive as soon as the characters hit the page, they did what they wanted to do and I struggled along to keep up with them.


What motivates you to write? 

This is an easy question to answer. I love to write, it’s as simple as that, it relaxes me and if I’ve had a bad day I know where to bury the bodies, It really is a perfect job.


What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I mainly write mystery/crime books, there are a few short stories around where I have played with other genres but I always seem to return to mystery.  I don’t think I consciously chose this genre it was more like it chose me. As a reader I have always loved mysteries as they seem to fit more comfortably in with good storytelling, a good story needs to twist and turn a little, I like to play with human emotions too, everyday relationships in unusual circumstances.


What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

I would like to continue writing for as long as I can, I hope that people curl up on their sofa’s and come on a journey with me, that is the main goal, pure enjoyment.

If I could set a personal, selfish goal it would be to be able to give up work and write full time, I love my work but I love my writing more.


Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

Yes but I try to think of it as breathing time, I know it’s coming when I start to get distracted too easily, that’s the time to set down my writing and do something different for a while. After a day I start to worry about it so that’s when I sit down and write, nothing in particular I just get a piece of paper and write whatever comes into my head, it’s generally rubbish but it clears a space to get back to my book.


What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

Don’t be scared, just do it. If you start worrying about all the hurdles that you’ll have to jump over you’ll never do it so jump in and give it a go, you could be the next big thing.

One of my major bug bears is all of the already successful authors that say things that scare people starting out, you must have perfect grammar, you must edit, rewrite, don’t use those words … and the list goes on. Write what feels good, we want to hear your voice not a boring sterile writer.  


Please, tell us about your work.  

My debut novel is ‘The Community’ an English Mystery and love story that spans fifty years.

Meet Jack and find out why he lives the way he does and how he takes care of those around him. It opens with a body that has been discovered in a park, a woman seemingly dead from natural causes and Jack is at the site. Why?

Then meet Alex a local journalist, still wet behind the ears but trying to make her name, she gets the story of the body in the park. How will she do? Will she find out her identity?  What will she discover about her home town that no one else knows? If she does work it out how could that effect Jack’s life or hers?

What connection could an unknown body, an abandoned baby, missing people and a triquetra have? She sets out to find the answers, unaware of how it will affect the people she loves the most. 

After it was written (too many rewrites to count) I believed in it, this piece of writing was a living breathing thing, I decided to publish as an independent author through choice, after being offered a deal from a publisher I didn’t feel comfortable with, I wanted to be able to choose what happened to this book. So I self-published with help from Completely Novel (they were great) and put it on Amazon Kindle myself. I have never regretted taking that route and now I have 5* reviews and am very happy with its progress.


Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!


It’s lovely to join you here, thank you so much for the opportunity, you have made me feel very welcome.




Stephanie_Richmond_556Contact Links: – Amazon Authors Page – The Community Paperback Amazon Link. – The Community Amazon Kindle link – Amazon Reviews page – Facebook Author Page – Buy Here too, signed copies – Good reads page


If you would like to read a free chapter and get more insights to ‘The Community’ and the writing of the next book (As yet untitled) please visit me at…




Guest Post – Jan Sikes





Luke Stone has cheated death so many times he’s lost count. He’s  been everything from a simple poor country kid to a roughneck, a singing star and a convict.


But nothing compares to the satisfaction he finds with the woman who sets his out-of-kilter world back on track. When Darlina danced her way into his heart so many years past, he never dreamed she would stick with him through thick and thin to finally, after he endures many years locked behind bars, become his wife.


And now, to have a second chance at making music, simply proves that secretly held dreams can come true.

He knows he won’t be filling the Texas dancehalls, honky-tonks and auditoriums as he did in his younger days but that doesn’t matter. He’s writing and singing again only this time Darlina joins him writing her own songs and performing with him.


But fate has other ideas and the forlorn hooting of an owl or a lonesome train whistle in the dead of night warn him not to get too comfortable.


He’s learned to pay attention to these signs as they are never wrong. Even so, he charges full steam ahead determined to leave a lasting legacy and make his family proud.


With sand in the hourglass of time running thin, Luke and Darlina draw on each other’s strengths to persevere through trials that would destroy a lesser man and woman.




ONLINE_3D_Cover_TilDeathDoUsPartThis is the fourth book in a series of true stories.


Jan’s Website 

Amazon eBook 

Texas Authors







Award winning author, Jan Sikes, writes true stories in a creative and entertaining way. Her current project is a trilogy which chronicles her life with veteran Texas musician, Rick Sikes. She also releases music CDs with each book. Jan has written songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays and novels


Jan_Dec_2016 (1)Follow Jan:











Author Spotlight – Melissa Grunow

Melissa Grunow author headshotWelcome!


Please introduce yourself.


My name is Melissa Grunow, and I am the author of Realizing River City, a memoir that was published by Tumbleweed Books in February.

My writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, River Teeth, New Plains Review, Blue Lyra Review, Temenos, and Yemassee, among many others.

I have a Bachelor of Science in English-creative writing and journalism from Central Michigan University, a Master of Arts in English from New Mexico State University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with distinction from National University.

I live and write in Detroit, Michigan. Realizing River City is my first book. 


When did you start writing?

I’ve always enjoyed stories. There are pictures of me reading books to my little brother when I was around four or five years-old. I remember watching an episode of The Muppet Babies when I was in elementary school where they created a newspaper, and I was so fascinated by the idea that I tried to create my own. I discovered very quickly that it would be difficult for the first grade me to generate the amount of text needed to fill one page, let alone an entire newspaper.

As a teenager, I wrote a lot of clichéd, overly emotional poems would very obvious rhyme schemes. My friends and I read a lot of R.L. Stine books in those days, too, so we attempted to write our own teen murder mystery short stories where the protagonist always turns out to be a deranged serial killer. In high school, I wrote more than a hundred pages of a very bad novel during my summer break before my junior year.

As I got older, I knew I wanted to do something with writing, so I studied literature and journalism in college and continued writing in graduate school. I wrote short stories then, but I was always compelled to base them on something in my life: an experience, a character, an old apartment. There’s something true in all of my fiction.

After college, I took a ten-year break from writing. It wasn’t planned or intentional. I just didn’t have the compulsion to craft anything new. In 2012, I started to feel pulled by writing again, but this time, I was moved toward personal essays. I was out of practice, and so I took an online course from Creative Nonfiction magazine in writing different kinds of personal essays, which also exposed me to contemporary writers that I’ve since come to adore. I’ve been writing and publishing pretty consistently ever since.


What motivates you to write?

I believe I have a bad memory. All of us are fallible in what we remember, but sometimes I am amazed by the events that I have forgotten. As you can imagine, this is a problem for someone who writes about personal experiences. However, the more I write, the more I remember other events, and so writing keeps my mind sharp. 

I also write because I love language. I love controlling the cadence of a sentence with syntax and diction. I adore imagery and am fascinated by the way writers can play on denotative and connotative meanings of words to add new meaning to a descriptive paragraph.


 What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

I write creative nonfiction (personal essays, memoir) almost exclusively these days. I chose this genre because it’s the most natural for me. I like to joke that I’m not a very creative person, in that I struggle with the imaginative energy required to generate fiction and poetry. With creative nonfiction, the material is already there for me to choose from, and then I get to decide what I’m going to do with it.


 What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

Above anything else, I want to keep writing. I want to experiment with form and genre and break new ground in my field. I want people to connect with my work and feel moved by what I write. I want my writing to start a revolution. 

I would also love to learn how to be a funny writer. I adore the memoirs by Augusten Burroughs, who was named one of the top twenty-five people in America two years running. He writes about intense topics using humor, and it works. I can’t do that. I would like to, though.


Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

Yes. But it’s not because I don’t have anything to say. It’s because I’m afraid that my writing is garbage. Now that I have a book out, I put even more pressure on myself to write amazing sentences, paragraphs, essays, every time I sit in the chair. I have notes and notes of ideas, but I often struggle with making sense of them. Sometimes my writer’s block is because of fatigue (I’m teaching ten college-level classes right now at three different institutions) and general disinterest. 

When I can’t make the words come, I walk away. I used to force myself to stay in the chair until something magical happened. But that’s punitive, and there was no reason that I should punish myself. I’ve learned over time to be more forgiving when I get stuck and do the thing that turned me on to writing in the first place: I read.


What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors?

Read a lot. Read good literature both in your genre and elsewhere. Come to appreciate the importance of revision. Join a critique group or take an online course. The more you learn to give feedback to others, the more you will start to see the areas needing improvement in your own work. Edit out the clichés. Don’t let dialogue carry the narrative. Build your work around memorable characters, not flashy plot twists. Set goals and work toward them, but don’t be so rigid that you overlook unexpected ideas and opportunities.


Please, tell us about your work. 

Amina Cain, author of I Go to Some Hollow, described my work best when she said, “A deeply rich meditation on what it means to be a woman in a sometimes uncertain and complicated world, in relationship to men, but ultimately, and more importantly, to oneself. Melissa Grunow’s Realizing River City raises just as many questions as it answers, circling back always, in beautiful prose and a clear, honest voice, to what it means to be alive, to love, and to be present for all of it.”  

Furthermore, memoir mimics the ebbs and flows of a river in its structure and pacing to explore the facets of desire, loss, and, ultimately, survival.  Rivers and the notion “River City” as a imaginative place have a shape-shifting metaphorical role in the book. It’s written with a poetic, flowing prose (I hope!) and is committed to unrelenting honesty, no matter what the experience. It’s less about this happened, then this happened, then this happened, and more about how do we make sense of it all? 

Relationships are a central theme in a lot of my writing and that includes Realizing River City. I also write about personal loss, failure, travel, anxiety and depression, and family, all of which are represented in a small way in the book as well. If you like carefully crafted prose, you’ll like this book. It’s been met with positive reviews so far! I have nearly forty publications in literary journals as well, many of which are available online. All of my publications are listed at, so I encourage you to check it out.


Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!! 

Thank you for having me!  It was an honor.


 Contact Melissa:


Online platforms:

Author website:

Facebook page:





Realizing River City book coverBuyer’s links:


Barnes & Noble:


Tumbleweed Books (an imprint of DAOwen Publications):



Writing a Synopsis #wwwblogs #writinganovel

Thank you very much Allison Williams for this excellent blog post on how to write a synopsis! Every bit, every word, every single advice helps us beginners. I’m grateful!

Alison Williams Writing

writing_humour_synopsis-scaled500 (1)

I’ve worked with lots of writers who can compose the most beautiful prose, bring scenes to vivid life, make me care about their characters, keep me turning the page, but these same writers find one thing almost impossible to do – they can’t write a synopsis.

What is it about a synopsis that has so many writers struggling? It doesn’t seem to matter how great a writer you are, there’s just something about condensing your masterpiece down into one or two sides of A4 that strikes fear into a writer’s heart.

And I think that’s the issue. As authors, we spend so long on our books, every last detail is important to us. A synopsis asks us to get to the heart of the story, to strip away to the bare bones – and that can be really hard when you are so close to the world you’ve created…

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Author Scams

This is an enormously helpful warning post by Aleta Kay with a link to a very interesting article on how to beware of author scams. Thanks for this find, Aleta!



Picture courtesy of:
Picture courtesy of:

The Encouragement Corner

Beware of Listopia, Indie Writers Support#Author Scams

There is no option for re-blog on this site, but Joan Stewart  of The Publicity Hound has weekly, sometimes daily advice for authors and business entrepreneurs. If you are an author and don’t want to end up getting caught in a publicity scam, please click on the link and read this article. Protect yourself from would-be promoters.

Please do your homework. Don’t get caught in the fish hooks these scammers create, pretending to be associated with Indie Books/Authors when they are not. Find out all you can before signing on with anyone.

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A new #tool to promote (your posts, tweets, videos) Co-Promote

Olga Núñez Miret wrote a useful and interesting post about “CoPromote”, a new tool to spread words about our posts, tweets, videos, and so on.
I think this is excellent and I doubt I can resist too long to use it. 🙂 Thank you Olga.

Lit World Interviews

Thanks to Unspalsh for another great image Thanks to Unspalsh for another great image

Hi all:

A quick post just to make you aware of a new tool an author shared in one the Facebook groups I belong to.

It’s called CoPromote and you can find it here.

I haven’t been using it very long, so I’m learning as I go along, but I thought you might find it interesting. You can sign with Twitter, Facebook…. (the usual suspects). Once you’ve signed, the site gives  you the opportunity to promote (boost they call it) one of your Tweets, Tumblr posts or one of your videos in You Tube or Vine (or the four of them). You’ll have to connect your accounts in those platforms, if you have them, but then if you choose to boost a Tweet, for instance, the site brings up your Twitter feed and you can choose one of them…

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Author Spotlight – Annette Rochelle Aben



Please introduce yourself. 

Hi there!  I am Annette Rochelle Aben and I am living the dream of being a published author. My world is filled with scraps of paper, journals, notebooks, pens, pencils and magic markers all to ensure that I can capture what floats around inside my head.  When I am not writing, I am blogging, cooking, hanging out with our cats, reading, making jewelry, taking pictures at the park and binge watching the Food Network on my computer.  Thank you so much for this opportunity to share my books with everyone.


When did you start writing? 

I have always written, as far back as grade school and just never stopped.


 What motivates you to write?  

Writing to me, is as natural as breathing. So I write every day and sometimes all day. In addition, I submit monthly to a digital magazine (as well as edit that publication) so I have between 3-5 pieces that are due like clockwork for them. 


What genre do you write in and what made you chose this particular genre? 

My favorite genre is poetry.  It began with using poetry as a way of expressing my feelings when I was younger and grew into ways of celebrating the world around me.  Funny, because I was thinking about this the other day. Everyone in my immediate family can draw, even my ex-husband was a talented artist. Me? Not so much. However, I found that I could use my words and ‘paint a picture’ and it gives me a tremendous feeling of accomplishment when someone tells me they can see what I am saying. 


What is your goal in writing? Do you have dreams where your writing should take you? 

Boy, I am having the time of my life putting together the books I self-publish, so I see myself always creating books. I’ve dreams of doing documentary film work and creating children’s books too. I am open to the options as well as the unknown as far as writing is concerned, let’s have some fun, right?


 Do you ever suffer from writer’s block and if yes, how do you deal with it? 

I don’t know it if is writer’s block as much as stalled progress. Let me explain. I storyboard my books, for me that process stems from writing television commercials, where I used to lay things out to get the final visual. I will actually create a homemade version of each book. When I find myself being unduly distracted it means there is a better idea about to hatch. Sometimes the better idea isn’t about changing the physical book; it’s about the release date. So how I deal with it is to do anything other than think about that book until the book jumps back into my stream of consciousness.


What advice would you like to give new, hopeful authors? 

Wow, write from your heart. Challenge yourself from time to time. Find a mentor. Allow yourself to fall in love with what you are writing. Remember there are those who will not totally get you and be okay with that. Publish that book! And by all means, hold yourself in the highest of esteems! 


Please, tell us about your work. 

At this time, I have 6 self-published works available on Amazon in print and in Kindle format.  

Choose, the 2-step plan is a self-help book which offers steps to take to reach very specific end results. This is actually the syllabus from a workshop I presented years ago and is filled with the steps that worked for me (and still do actually).

Perspective, it’s all about replacing one thought with another is the re-issue of the very first book I self-published in 2009. Filled with photographs, prose and poetry of an inspirational nature, I was seeking an outlet for creativity and someone suggested I create a book.  In 2015, I was showing a friend the out of print original and she said that I should re-issue it so I did.  It has all the original content along with some additional material.

A Haiku Perspective 2015 was born out of being introduced to creating poetry in a haiku format and not being able to stop.  Had to do something with it and thought, why not!

Then I got the idea to put photographs and poetry together again but this time I used only haiku and digitally laid the poems over photographs I had taken. Not that I originated this, but I created a title for this presentation and PhoKu, visual perspective haiku came about.

 Angel Messages, a wing and a prayer is a book I have been being asked to write for nearly a decade but couldn’t quite wrap my head around it.  I had amassed thousands of messages from Angels over the years (and these were just those I wrote down) This is a collection of photographs of Angels in my home, prayers I have written, poems and messages I have received. 

My most recent published work is A Haiku Perspective 2016 which I chose to release in honor of April being National Poetry Month.


Thank you for being my guest. It was such a pleasure to have you here!!



Connect with Annette:


Annette Rochelle Aben’s books: (Click on the cover to find them on
























Can’t Keep Up? 7 Brilliant Ways To Finish Your Story

One my favorite authors, teachers and bloggers, Kristen Lamb, has published an informative blog post about 7 brilliant ways to finish your story. The ideas are fantastic and I thought it would be great for as many writers as possible to read it.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Pedro Travassos Image via Flickr Creative Commons courtesy of Pedro Travassos

Today we have a special treat from Dr John Yeoman, PhD Creative Writing. He’s going to give us some ways to tackle one of the biggest problems plaguing writers—the inability to finish what we start.

*gets popcorn*

Take it away, John!


Do you live in a world of unfinished stories? Across the year, you’ve jotted scraps here and there, stuck an opening scene beneath a flowerpot, a closing line in a shopping list and a great cameo incident… well, you’ve forgotten where it is now but it was awesome.

Join the Club of Interrupted Scribes

Image via Drew Coffman courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons Image via Drew Coffman courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

You’re not alone.

We all know what happened when Coleridge was interrupted, when finishing Kubla Khan, by ‘a person from Porlock’. All that remains of his epic is an unfinished scrap.

More fragments, abandoned by…

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