Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Brief Bio
Mary Ann Bernal, author of The Briton and the Dane novels, is an avid history buff whose area of interest focuses on Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain during the Viking Age.  While pursuing a degree in business administration, she managed to fit creative writing classes and workshops into her busy schedule to learn the craft, but it would take decades before her “Erik the Viking” novel was ultimately published.
Mary Ann is also a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter writing campaigns and other support programs since Operation Desert Storm.  She has appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work.  She has also been a featured author on Triangle Variety Radio, The Phil Naessens Show, and The Writers Showcase, and has been interviewed extensively by American and European bloggers.
Mary Ann is a New York “expat,” and currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Briton and the Dane: Timeline  - excerpt

The lobby was empty when she walked into the quaint building, a replica of an Anglo-Saxon lodging, which also happened to be her favorite inn.
“Dr. Franger, it is so good to have you back,” Edna Harris said.  “Will you be having dinner with us this evening?”
“I would prefer to eat in my room if I may.  I seem to be unusually tired.”
“That is understandable, the tiredness,” Edna replied as she beckoned the night porter to escort Gwyneth to her quarters.
As soon as Gwyneth was alone, she pulled the drapes back and stepped onto the patio, her eyes transfixed upon the solitary Keep that had been miraculously preserved.  The radiant red and orange hues of twilight, coupled with the distant sound of waves breaking against the rocky shore, added to the mystique of the crumbling walls.  She suppressed the urge to climb the tower before darkness set in.  She wanted to glance upon the beach, just as Lord Erik would have done in another lifetime.
Fortunately, a gentle tapping on the door kept her from acting impulsively.  She smiled at the night porter as he pushed the cart inside the room.
“Ham, peas, pudding, honeyed cakes, and a cup of mead, Dr. Franger.”
“Tell Mrs. Harris I am delighted with her choice,” Gwyneth replied as he left.
Gwyneth sipped the intoxicating brew, sitting on the settee as a soft sea breeze caressed her face.  She closed her eyes, dreaming of a past she had never shared with the one man who held her heart.
“I will discover the truth,” she thought.
“I know you will,” whispered the wind.

5 Questions for the author

What do you write and why do you write it?

My area of interest focuses on Anglo-Saxon Britain during the reign of Alfred the Great when the formidable Vikings terrorized all of Christendom.  I am fascinated with the time period, for which there is scant documentation, leading to speculation and “filling in the dots” as to what actually happened in the late Ninth Century.  The Briton and the Dane novels weaves controversial themes throughout the series, such as religious beliefs, violence, treachery and betrayal.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

One of the themes running through The Briton and the Dane series is the plight of the warrior and his family.  My stories shed light on the effect a warrior’s “career” has on the family, and the sacrifices made by loved ones.  My subtle inferences are seen in today’s society, with our deployed men and women serving their county and preserving our freedom.  Thank a service person and/or veteran for their service.  Freedom is not free.

There are religious undertones in this series.  Why did you take on such a controversial topic?

One of the terms of the peace treaty, after King Alfred defeated the Danish King Guthrum, was that the pagan Norseman was to be baptized into the Christian faith.  When King Guthrum returned to his lands in East Anglia, his subjects were forced to accept Christianity, upon pain of death.  I was curious as to how these people felt about being forced to deny the gods of their ancestors.  Horrific stories of torture and death are very persuasive, just as they are today.  The point being, would you give your life for your religious beliefs?  Just how strong is your faith?  Not an easy question.  And, what of the guilt, if you choose to deny God?

Which one of your books from the Briton and the Dane series would you like to see as a film adaption and who would you have play the main characters?

The Complete Trilogy is an epic adventure - a great period mini-series that can hold its own against such epics as Pillars of the Earth, Camelot, Game of Thrones, et cetera.  I would have an all-star cast that would need to work for union scale lest the cost to produce such an epic becomes prohibitive.  I have cast every character in the story, but since space is limited...  Chris Egan as Erik, Richard Armitage as Cerdic, Jeremy Irons as Richard, James Franco as David and Clive Owen as Stephen.  And they all know how to wield a sword!

What prompted you to write The Briton and the Dane: Timeline?

When I first set pen to paper when writing The Briton and the Dane, the storyline was about Gwyneth and Erik’s relationship, and the problems they faced in a land ravaged by war and conquest.  Gwyneth was a Christian Saxon and Erik was a pagan Danish Viking.  Would their love survive the obstacles they had to face?

However, as the story evolved, the ancillary characters started demanding more representation, wishing to have to have additional “screen time.”  Suddenly, there wasn’t enough room to satisfy everyone in one novel, which gave birth to the trilogy.

To me, Gwyneth and Erik shared the stage with too many players, and I do believe they felt cheated.  I was toying with the idea of a standalone novel dedicated to Gwyneth and Erik, but what if fate had kept them apart, centuries apart?  How would a 21st century Gwyneth fare in 11th century England?

Science Fiction and Anglo-Saxon England, two of my favorite topics in one novel.  It cannot get any better than this.





New Release - The Briton and the Dane:  Timeline
Amazon US

Amazon UK

youtube trailer

Friday, February 21, 2014


I'd like to thank Rebecca Scarberry, author of the popular children's series Jumper for taking some time out of her busy day to sit down with us.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Rebecca: My husband and I wrote a screenplay many years ago. I didn’t start writing fiction again until 2009. I posted two short stories on my blog in 2011, and many told me I should improve them and self-publish. I haven’t stopped writing since. Before I started writing again in 2009 I was an artist. I made a lot of extra money selling my scrimshaw.

. Who or what inspires you?

Rebecca: Reading fiction is what has inspired me to write ever since I was a child.

. Who’s you favorite author?

Rebecca: Nelson DeMille

. Do you have a favorite time or place to write?

Rebecca: I don’t have a favorite time when I like to write. I live on a secluded farm in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. My favorite place to write is by my waterfall. I usually have at least three cats by my side, and often read my work in progress aloud to them. They make a great audience. They never criticize and I can hear them purring as I read to them. Ha!

. Do you have a favorite food or drink while you write?

Rebecca: I’m usually snacking on cheese flavored popcorn. I think I’m addicted to it. I drink Fresca with it.

.What do you do to relax?

Rebecca: When I’m awake, I never really seem to relax. I’m either writing, marketing my books, cooking, cleaning, or tweeting. Even when I go to town I’m meeting new people, and usually end up handing them one of my signed book markers.

. As writers, we all have to deal with writer’s block, what do you do when that happens?

Rebecca: I delete a portion of what I’ve written last, and take the story in a new direction. Adding a new character helps me too.

. If you could ask one question of any writer, who would it be and what would you ask?

Rebecca: Since you haven’t specified whether the writer is dead or alive, I would ask William Sydney Porter (O’Henry, the famous short story author) if my twist in Rag Doll surprised him.

Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about your book.
. Would you like to share something from you latest project with us?

Rebecca: After self-publishing five books in four different genres (mystery, crime drama, children’s picture books, and romance), I’m very excited about continuing to write my children’s picture book series. My most recent release, Jumper Bounces Back is book two in the kidlit series, and I’ve already started writing book three.

. Where do you draw your artistic inspiration from?

Rebecca: This is a very tough question for me to answer. To sum it up I’d have to say that my artistic inspiration comes from my desire to write stories about places I’ve never been, people I’ve never met, and have my characters do and say things that I never would do or say.

. Of all your characters, who is your favorite?

Rebecca: Without a doubt that would be Henry. Henry is a hero homing pigeon, trying to save his owner from death by the hands of her kidnapper. I’m aware that many people don’t like pigeons, but readers have told me that after reading Messages from Henry; they like them a whole lot more.

What authors have had the strongest influence on you as a writer?

Rebecca: People might find it shocking, but three self-published authors had the strongest influence on me as a writer. Those authors are Des Birch, Micheal Rivers, and Scott Bury. Des Birch was my writing coach/mentor for a while, and then Scott Bury was my writing coach/mentor for Messages from Henry. Micheal Rivers is now traditionally published. All of them taught me how to write fiction properly by my reading their books, and listening to them. I’m not certain any of us authors feel we’ve learned every trick in the book. We learn more as we read and write.

. Do you use an outline or do you let the story emerge as it goes along?

Rebecca: After I wrote my debut novella, Messages from Henry and my short story, Rag Doll without an outline, I started using one.

. Are you traditionally or self-published?

Rebecca: I’m still self-publishing. I don’t really see many advantages to being traditionally published.

. What has been your biggest challenge?

Rebecca: My biggest challenge was learning to write what the reader would like to have my characters do and say, not necessarily what I wanted. Readers like characters in a book that they feel are believable and entertaining. What might be entertaining and believable to an author isn’t always the case.

. What have been your greatest rewards?

Rebecca: All of the rave reviews I’ve gotten for all of my books, and children begging me to send Jumper to TV producers. Wow! To write children’s books that little ones find that entertaining is a huge reward!

. If you had one professional wish, what would it be?

Rebecca: To win a prestigious award for one of my books.

That wasn’t so bad was it?  But before we go, do you have any last words of wisdom to offer those reading this?

Rebecca: If you’re a new writer, use beta readers as often as you can. Be sure to listen to them. Don’t allow what they tell you to get you down. Their feedback is invaluable. And the more fiction you read, the better you’ll get.

Thank you so much! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed answering your questions, and I wish you the best.


Jumper Bounces Back: http://tinyurl.com/pjylxzo http://tinyurl.com/nluhk3q
Messages from Henry: http://smarturl.it/58as19
Rag Doll: http://smarturl.it/9qb5qq
Jumper: http://smarturl.it/ij1p4x
Where Love Takes You: http://smarturl.it/jjmlsa
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Scarberryfields
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Scarberryfields  


I'd like to welcome author, editor and founder of Master Koda Select Publishing, Kim Mutch Emerson and thank her for taking time out of her busy day to sit and talk with us for a few minutes.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? Yes

Funny. I guess I should say please tell us about yourself. My life is not nearly as exciting as the lives of the characters in my books. Believe it or not, I am pretty shy. I think most writers are shy at the foundation of their being. We turn to writing because we are introverted. The only reason people see me as outgoing now is because I forced myself to act confident as survival tactic in jr. high. I had my share of sharks at that time in my life and I knew if I didn’t do something quick I would be devoured.

Who or what inspires you? The human condition inspires me.

Who’s your favorite author? Too many to name just one.

As a writer do you have a favorite time or place to write? Wherever I happen to be.

Do you have a favorite food or drink while you work? No, but I do prefer to have my bowler hat and music.

What do you do to relax? I used to read to escape and relax. That is not the case now as my business is to read. Today I would tell you that being with my grandson’s. although, not relaxing, is my favorite pastime.

That leads right in to what I wanted to ask next. you’re not only a writer but a publisher, editor and marketer as well.   How do you balance all these facets of your career? I rode a unicycle when I was a kid. It was great training for balance in all things.

I have to say I can’t picture you in the circus. You didn’t know me when I was 13.

How did you get involved in publishing? I own a book promotion service for indie authors and while building relationships with that business I saw a need for a quality small publishing house that would offer better editing, more marketing and real support for indie authors who don’t want to go it alone, but want more say in the creation and promotion process.

I agree with you there. I know a lot of authors would benefit from a successful partnership. Have you been successful in doing that? For the most part yes. We have had a few growing pains as any new business will have, but our feet are on solid ground. We saw great growth in our first year and look forward to creating more best-sellers in 2014. 

As writers, we all have to deal with writer’s block, what do you do when that happens? I believe if a writer practices every day as if they are studying an instrument they will not get stuck as often. I find that if that type of writer is stuck it usually means that there is something wrong with the scene they are trying to write. Perhaps it needs to be told in a different POV, perhaps the setting is wrong, perhaps it is in the wrong place in the story, or perhaps it doesn’t belong in the story at all. Any time I find myself stuck I try writing the scene from a different POV and it usually gets things rolling again.

Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about your work.

What genre do you write? I write in a lot of genres and my books are usually a mix, but one thing I try to incorporate in any genre I write is a little humor. I believe laughter is good for the soul.

Where do you draw your artistic inspiration from? Answered above

Of all your characters, who is your favorite? That’s a difficult question for me. I like them all. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses that make them very real to me. This question is like asking what child is my favorite.

What authors have had the strongest influence on you as a writer? John Steinbeck, Wilson Rawls, S.E. Hinton, Sylvia Plath, Sir Noel Coward, Cynthia Voigt, Kurt Vonnegut, Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Bronte family, Chris Crutcher, Walt Whitman, F. Scott Fitzgerald,  Mark Twain, Boris Pasternak, Richard Adams… Should I go on? J

Do you use an outline or do you let the story emerge as it goes along. I plan and plot and plot and plan. I outline, I do in depth character sketches and then I write and I go off on a tangent if something or someone leads me there.

What has been your biggest challenge? Conquering the many voices of fear and jealousy that stand in the path.

What has been your greatest reward? I have been blessed to be in the audience while my writings were preformed. To be able to sit back and melt into the group where no one knows I am there and hear them cry or laugh has been extremely fulfilling. Also, to know I have made a difference in someone’s life fills my heart with joy.

If you had one professional wish, what would it be? Just to continue to help other authors see their dreams come true.

That wasn’t so bad was it?  Nope, I have had a great time and want to thank you for having me on the blog today!

But before we go, do you have any last words of wisdom to offer those reading this? It’s not about the final destination. Life is a grand adventure, enjoy the ride.

You can find  K.D. Emerson at http://www.amazon.com/K.D.-Emerson/e/B00AV1L0HU 
Or follow her on twitter at http://twitter.com/mstrkoda 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Author Spotlight: Y. Correa

                    Today's Author Spotlight:
                                           Y. Correa

Monday, February 3, 2014

Author Interview:
Melissa Foster

New York Times & USA Today
Bestselling  & Award-winning Author

Today I have the privilege of sitting down as it were with best selling romance author Melissa Foster.  Thank you Melissa for taking time out of your busy day to sit down answer a few questions

. Can you tell us a little about yourself? I'm a perpetually happy person. I love reading, writing, family, friends, and chocolate, and it takes a hell of a lot to bring me down.

. Who or what inspires you? This sounds cliche, but life inspires me. The generosity of others, unexpected kindness, music, love--they're all inspirations. Readers inspire me to write more and write better, and aspiring authors inspire me to learn more so I can pass it on to them. Friends inspire me to be a better person and to give unabashedly, and my husband inspires me to love and be loved.

. Who’s you favorite author? I have favorite books but not favorite authors (I realize this is odd). I read across genres and have so little time to read that I want to experience as many authors' work as I can.

. Do you have a favorite time or place to write? I absolutely adore my office, and I'm a creature of habit, so I take comfort in settling into my office for several hours each day. Every hour is my favorite hour to write :-)

. Do you have a favorite food or drink while you write? Um...yes... Chocolate and coffee. Yes, seriously. Then when I need real food grapes are a fave, and anything I can eat fast.

.What do you do to relax? I am not very good at relaxing these days, but when I do relax I'm usually reading while sitting with my hubby, or playing Scrabble if I can wrangle someone into playing. More often, though, my relaxation is spent planning my next book.

. As writers, we all have to deal with writer’s block, what do you do when that happens? Usually I do a lot of bitching an moaning :-) I call one of my close writing friends, take a walk, exercise, eat ice cream and chocolate and chips, and then I complain a little more. Basically clearing my head and brainstorming helps a lot.

. If you could ask one question of any writer, who would it be and what would you ask? Gosh, there are so many authors that I'd like to talk with. Probably Jodi Picoult and I would like to thank her for being personable when I wrote to her in 2009 rather than ask her a question.

Now that we’ve got the easy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about your book.
. Would you like to share something from you latest project with us?

My latest project is The Remington series, the third installment in the Love in Bloom series. Readers met the Remingtons in Bursting with Love, the story of Savannah Braden and Jack Remington (The Bradens series). The Remingtons are a close knit family similar to the Bradens, but the family dynamics are very different, as are the heroes and heroines. They're younger and edgier with real-world problems, but they're also warm, loving, and fiercely loyal. I think readers will enjoy them.

THE REMINGTONS are a  5-book steamy contemporary romance series features alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They're flawed, funny, passionate, and relatable to readers who enjoy new adult romance, contemporary romance, and women's fiction. While each book may be read as a standalone, you might enjoy reading the entire Love in Bloom series (The Snow Sisters, The Bradens, & The Remingtons)

. What genre is it? Contemporary Romance (adult and new adult crossover)

. Where do you draw your artistic inspiration from? I'm very emotional and also very real-life oriented, and the things that I draw inspiration from are real-life situations - people, issues, families, feelings (good, bad, healthy and not).

. Of all your characters, who is your favorite? That's like asking me who my favorite child is. I don't think I can answer that because there are things about each of them that I adore.

. Do you use an outline or do you let the story emerge as it goes along? I am so bad at outlining that I run from them like a rebellious child. I always try. I start out with a general idea of where my story is headed and how it will end, but during the writing process the characters drive the story, and I often end up in a very different place than I anticipated.

. Are you traditionally or self-published? Self-published.

. What made you pick that route? I'm a little bit of a control freak when it comes to my writing. I want to get my work out to readers quicker than traditional publishers can keep up with, and I like my stories to move in the direction that I feel is right for each character. I work with a competent team of editors who have traditional publishing house experience, and feel confident that I am bringing the best stories I am capable of  writing to my audience.

. What has been your biggest challenge? I think the biggest challenge has been striking a balance between family and writing. Working from home has many advantages, but it also comes with challenges, and pulling away from a scene when I'm right in the middle of writing it can be difficult. 

. What has been your greatest reward? Without a doubt, receiving emails from readers telling me how much they are enjoying my writing.

. If you had one professional wish, what would it be? To be able to write until the day I no longer breathe.

That wasn’t so bad was it?  But before we go, do you have any last words of wisdom to offer those reading this? Thank you D. John for sharing your time with me today. To aspiring authors, don't give up and don't doubt your abilities. Keep writing and reading and honing your craft. To readers, thank you for taking a chance on my work and thank you for reaching out to me on social media and email. Please keep it up!

At Amazon.com
I look forward to hearing back from you.


Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, contemporary women's fiction, romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary's Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest or her personal website.

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Melissa Foster at Amazon.com

Artistic Reflections