Meet the Author: Interview with Mariah James, author of Planez

Planez FRONT COVER

Essence Brown is a beautiful fashion magazine editor-in-chief living in New York City. Malcolm Hill is a handsome real estate agent from Chicago. When they meet on a business trip, things began to heat up. They say you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, but what happens when you do?

Planez will take you on a ride of your life; full of sex, thrill and betrayal. This isn’t your ordinary flight…fasten your seat belt and prepare for take off.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1: Check-In

As told by Essence…

I watched him walk down the aisle with such confidence. He was the epitome of fine, standing at least 6’5 with dark brown skin and a low caesar cut. Even through his charcoal grey Armani suit you could see the definition of his masculine frame. As he walked closer to me, my heart began to beat out of my chest. I squirmed in my seat, unable to sit still. My body flushed with warmth as chills went up my spine at the same time. He was moving closer, and with each step I began to melt in my seat. A stranger with such a big effect on me. How was this even possible? I just knew he’d walk right past me and I’d go unnoticed, but he suddenly stopped at my row and lifted his carry-on bag up into the overhead compartment. I could smell the Acqua Di Gio cologne seeping from his pores like a whiff of fresh air. I closed my eyes in bliss.

“Excuse me, Miss? Miss?” A deep baritone interrupted my thoughts, causing me to nearly jump out of my seat. “Whoa, I didn’t mean to alarm you, but I’m in seat D.” He laughed, showing off his dimples, as he showed me his ticket. As his hand extended forward, I checked out an empty ring finger.

“Oh, um…excuse me.” I fumbled over my words as I straightened my hair and stood up to let him over. I could see him lick his lips as he looked me up and down. I waited for him to take his seat, and I shimmied my way back into the row. I arched my back and sat down as slowly as I could. I knew he was looking at me. I could see his dimples from the corner of my eye.

“My name is Malcolm.” He reached his hand out to shake. I looked up from his neatly manicured nails to his face. His goatee was full and neatly trimmed.

I took his hand. “Essence.” I grinned.

“Ahh…indispensable,” he whispered.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

Laughing, he stated, “indispensable is the denotation of essence.”

My grin faded as I shied away, turning my face from him.

“Please don’t stop smiling.” He whispered to me as his soft hands touched my chin and gently turned my face to match his.

My breathing picked up, trying to compensate for the breath he stole away from me.

“You’re beautiful, Essence.” His big brown eyes stared deeply into mine. I went to speak, but no words would form. He detached his hand from my chin and looked forward, leaving me to stare at the side of his face in awe.

 

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Mariah James, born and raised in Rochester, New York. She is the owner of Press Three Seventeen Publishing. Her first novel, Planez was released in August 2016. Shortly after its release, Mariah was nominated for Best Author at the 2017 Roc Awards. Mariah discovered her passion for writing at a very young age. As a child she spent much time reading and writing. She uses writing as an outlet; you can feel the passion in her words as you read. For more examples of her literacy works be sure to follow her blog at www.mjayscorner.com.

Get to know Mariah:

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I realized I wanted to be a writer when I couldn’t think of anything else better to do. As a kid my favorite pastime was reading and writing. I’d get lost in a book. I would try to guess what would happen next, I would twist the plot around, and so I started writing my own stories, poems, or even two lined paragraphs.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

My interest writing quirk would be music! I get a lot of inspirations from my favorite songs, even songs that are not my favorite. There may be a lyric in the song that will spark an entire plot.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I am not writing, I like to watch movies with my son.  I also spend time with family and friends. I do a lot of reading when I am not writing as well, it keeps my mind busy!

What advice do you have for writers?

I would tell writers to write! That story you have buried inside of you needs to come out. There is someone dying to hear it. Don’t worry about the critics, don’t worry about making mistakes, don’t think about failure! Just write!

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

I considered a penname at first due to fear. I write urban romance novels, so the content can get a little juicy. I was worried about how I would be viewed by the people who know me. I decided to go with my birthname because once I completed my first novel, I was too proud of myself to hide behind a pseudonym.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would tell young Mariah to not give up on her dreams. For a long time I gave up writing, as hard as it was to fight the urge, I gave it all up. I made excuses for why I couldn’t be a writer, why I couldn’t get published, why, why, why. It wasn’t until I came to terms that, I am a Writer; my soul bleeds through words and I needed to release what was inside of me.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do not believe in writer’s block. Writer’s break? YES! It is important as a writer, to take the necessary “breaks” we need. It may seem as if ideas are hard to come by, but they are never too far away. We are so critical on ourselves, so we tend to shoot down ideas we have and interpret that as writer’s block. The truth is, we need to write out those ideas, in order to get to a better one!

Find the author:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pressthreeseventeen

Instagram: @pressthreeseventeen

Blog: www.mjayscorner.com

Email:

pressthreeseventeen@gmail.com

Purchase:

https://www.amazon.com/Planez-Mariah-James/dp/0997725206/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Meet the Author: Interview with Terri Bolds

DSC_9537-Edit-Edit-EditTerri Bolds is a Licensed Therapist, Author, Public Speaker and the Creator of Bold Visions Consulting; a business created to educate the community on mental health, emphasizing on self-esteem and self -empowerment.

Receiving a BA in Psychology and Masters in 2006 from Wright State University; she worked as a therapist for a short period of time before taking positions as an Associate Professor, Mental Health Specialist and substitute teacher over the years.

In 2015, Terri founded her business Bold Visions Consulting focusing on esteem, and empowerment as if she were addressing her younger self. With Bold Visions, Terri has been able to conduct and facilitate workshops, speak and educate on mental health in schools and churches with youth participants; and have been featured in printed publications. Having a passion for writing, Terri released her first self-published booked “Bold Love- A Letter To My Young Sister in 2016, and Bold Choices- They Say I’m Bad to follow summer of 2017.

In partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, she is helping implement the importance of mental wellness and practices of anti- bullying, not only by teaching and literature but also using visuals, interactive activities and experiences.

With more to come, Terri will continue to empower and encourage by traveling and speaking to the masses about the importance of mental health and wellness.

Get to know Terri:

Who you are and what you’re about?

I am Terri M. Bolds, Licensed Therapist, Author and Public Speaker. I am the founder/owner of Bold Visions Consulting, which was created to educate the community on mental health with an emphasis on self-esteem and self-empowerment.

Tell me why you decided on your career.Why not something else?

I made up my mind in high school that I wanted to be someone that helps guide others. I would describe what I wanted to be as a professional mentor. There were so many that helped me through tough years and I understood that if it had not been for them I could have been on the negative end of statics.

What projects are you looking to do in the future?

I’m looking forward to traveling as a speaker/author educating people about mental health with an emphasis on self-esteem and self-empowerment. I hope to get my books in schools, colleges and such where the books would suitable for their respective audiences.

How did you start writing/teaching? Or what led you to that profession?

I wrote a lot as a kid. I was timid, shy and had no other way that I felt safe to discuss my feelings. I used to journal, write stories and poems.  When I was 23 I was diagnosed with epilepsy and almost dropped out of school because my cognitive functioning was so damaged. I never thought after I completed my degree , that I would ever  be doing much more writing. I developed my passion for teaching while I was in my practicum in my graduate program. It was also there that I knew,  I would not be doing individual therapy for the rest of my life.

Your influences and goals?

I have had many influences. Bold Visions Consulting, is me addressing the needs of my younger self. Answering the questions, writing the books, facilitating the workshops I needed as a young person. I had many teachers, mentors and just kind people to help guide me. My mom was a hard worker and did more at my current age than I ever had. She had a house, three children and maintained her family since she was 20. My mom struggled, but never quit, I have a lot of her in me. My uncle is the other influence. He was that positive male role model that pushed me and had unspoken expectations for me. He is ultimately the one that coached me into being an entrepreneur. He even named the business. My goal is to be known for my passion about mental health and self-esteem/self-empowerment.  I love watching people’s stories on television, family, friends, randoms, PEOPLE INSPIRE ME.

What projects are you looking to do in the future?

I’m looking forward to traveling as a speaker/author educating people about mental health with an emphasis on self-esteem and self-empowerment. I hope to get my books in schools, colleges and such where the books would suitable for their respective audiences.

What are you currently doing now, in terms or other projects?

Currently I am contracted with Cincinnati public schools implementing my bullying program, and soon to release my second book.

3Dbook

Bold Love: A Letter to My Young Sisters is a love letter full of personal experiences, science and deliberate encouragement to help one move through the challenges related to self-esteem, absent relationships and racial challenges. This body of work is written through the eyes of the writer as if she were her younger self. Bold Love speaks to young ladies and women that may not understand the pathology of their behaviors. Bold Love uses poetry and anonymous testimony to normalize any reader that may feel like their problem is one that only they have faced. Bold Love creates a platform to encourage self-reflection and makes a plea for one to accept their reality and not live in fantasy by holding on to what one believes should have been. The love letter is to encourage a young generation to learn who they are and where they come from and to not allow unfavorable circumstances stunt the promise that was put on their lives.

Purchase at Amazon.com

Excerpt:

Dear Black Girl,

My journey is worth journaling and one that I believe

can help someone else. Learning to love myself is

a continuous process, and I humbly welcome the

growth that has taken place. Humbled because there was a time

when I thought that to look at me was to see a fat, unhappy,

girl with two birth defects on her face, also known as dimples.

Humbled because I did not let the taunts about my weight or

the fullness of my lips tear me down to the point of no return.

Humbled that despite what seemed to be a life story chronicling

dejection and self-hatred, I am a survivor of my own mind. I

made the choice to release the negative thoughts that had plagued

the mind and soul of a young woman who was yearning to feel

normal. My journey is one that I was too shy and embarrassed to

discuss: I have come from the absence of a parent, sexual abuse,

being talked about, wondering why the boys did not like me, and

hopelessly gazing at my friends and others that I felt had better

lives than mine.

Meet the Author: Interview with Kenn Bivins

Stopping by Authors & Readers Book Corner today is author Kenn Bivins. He is the author of two novels, including the best seller, Pious. Bivins is an illustrator whose work has appeared in comic books, advertising and broadcast animation. Today he shares his publishing journey, new book and the challenges and rewards he has received as an author.

Q & A with Kenn Bivins

Tell us about your publishing journey.

What began as a NaNoWriMo curiosity with a friend, has matured into a fascination with writing and sharing those creations with a myriad of others. I have delved further into the publishing journey by taking on the task of also being a publisher because I want to expand my storytelling into other mediums while retaining creative control.

What genres do you write in? Is it your main genre? Are you open to writing in other genres?

My default genre of interest is suspense although my second novel falls under the women’s fiction category. I am expanding into the realm of paranormal thrillers, crime and children’s books with future projects.

What do you believe every writer should know when starting a writing career?

Every writer should know that this profession carries with it the burden of isolation during the process and the possibility of rejection once that project is consumed by others.

Do you believe every writer should be an avid reader?

I believe that every writer, who wants to mature in the craft and reach a larger audience, should be an avid and aware consumer of good storytelling. That’s not restricted to books. Yes, reading a lot can teach pacing, grammar, style among other things, but good writing can be gleaned from a great television series, audio book or movie as well.

What has been the most challenging and rewarding thing you’ve encountered as an writer?

My ongoing challenge is to make my readers feel something when they read or view my work. If I accomplish that, therein lies the greatest reward.

Tell us about The Wedding and Disaster of Felona Mabel.

the Wedding & Disaster of Felona Mabel is my second novel. This was my first attempt at publishing so it took me three and a half years longer to produce than it took me to write Pious, my first novel.  As a matter of fact, this novel required a ton of research and eleven drafts to complete due to the sensitive nature of some of the topics that I cover in the book. This became a labor of love and has afforded me the opportunity to really grow as a writer and illustrator.

Tell us about Felona Mabel.

Felona Mabel is a layered woman who is gorgeous and successful by many people’s standards, but deep down she is sad, sarcastic and suffering. An estranged relationship with a mother who never seemed to accept her has affected her deeply. There is an unapologetic honesty about her pain.

What was your motivation behind telling Felona’s story.

‘Intended Consequences,” documentary by Jonathan Torgovnick, inspired and motivated me to tell Felona’s story. This documentary focused on 30 women who’d survived the brutality and loss of the Rwandan massacre and the children who were the products of rape during that time. This triggered something within me when I considered that children are born of atrocities. How do they grow up? How do they feel about themselves? How do their parents view them? I wanted to tell my version of that story.

Tell us about Dianne and her importance to the story.

Dianne is the foundation of hurt in this story while healing is also only accessible through her. We often romanticize the matriarch role so much that we don’t consider that mom may be broken. All that she yields may have evidence of that.

What new projects are you working on?

I’m writing a sequel to the Wedding & Disaster of Felona Mabel that will be released the end of this year, God will. I am also as writing a stand-alone novel that will be a big release next year. It’s been brewing in my head for a long time and I can’t wait to share it. Additionally, I’m illustrating a children’s book that I’ve already written. This will tease the inevitable which is that I return to the medium of comic books in both writing and drawing soon.

How can readers connect with you?

Many of my readers are found on Facebook and Instagram although I’m accessible on most social platforms via the username of @kennbivins. I can also be reached directly via my own website at http://kennbivins.com. I love exchanging with my readers individually and in groups. PS – I love attending book clubs 🙂

 

Meet the Author: Interview with Jamie Beck

Stopping by A&RBC today is author Jamie Beck. She is a former attorney with a passion for inventing realistic and heartwarming stories about love and redemption, including her bestselling St. James and Sterling Canyon series. When she is not writing, Beck enjoys dancing around the kitchen while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a grateful wife and mother to her supportive family and today she stopped by to give us the scoop on her new book, and some advice for aspiring writers.

Q& A with Jamie Beck

As a former attorney with business and real estate experience, why did you transition into a writing career?

I’d watched female lawyers try to work part-time once they had kids. They’d take a pay cut, but they ended up working nearly full-time hours (faxes, emails, etc.). That didn’t seem like a situation I could accept easily. I was lucky to have the option to stop working when my first child was born. Once my kids were in elementary school and I had free time, I finally decided to try my hand at my lifelong dream of writing.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a published author.

Writing love stories had been a long-held dream, but not something that had been encouraged by anyone. When I decided to try to write my first manuscript, I didn’t tell a soul. I’d type while my kids were at school, then put it away until the next day. It wasn’t until I had written about three-quarters of that book that I finally told my husband and mother what I was doing. It took two more manuscripts before I got my agent, and another nine months before I had a publishing contract.

Where does the inspiration for your stories come from?

Lots of places! Song lyrics, photographs, inspirational quotes, and headlines, to name a few. Sometimes even a dream. My stories tend to feature realistic struggles and people, so often just keen observation of the people around me will supply plenty of ideas.

Tell us about your favorite place to write your books?

I have a home office with two things I love. One is a handmade live-edge mahogany desk I had made as a treat to myself when I hit a certain sales milestone. I’d met a furniture maker (Tom Throop of Black Creek Designs) when I interviewed him as part of my research for the character of Hank Mitchell (Worth the Trouble). I loved his work and told him I’d be back as a customer some day. It made me happy to be able to keep that promise.

The other is a wonderful, overstuffed leather recliner that I’ve placed by a large window. It’s a comfortable spot for me to write and edit.

When I need a change of scenery, I might go to my family room (when the house is empty). I can’t work in public spaces because I get too distracted by the people, songs, and other noises.

Do you believe every writer should be a reader?

Eventually, yes. Some people are natural-born storytellers. If they have studied television and/or movies, they probably have a good sense of story structure, tension, and dialogue. However, reading widely teaches you things that are necessary to becoming a strong writer. This is especially true if you want to sell within a certain genre. There’s no substitute for reading within a genre when you want to learn the conventions (via its most popular authors and books).

Tell us two tips you have used in helping your publisher market and promote your books.

I honestly don’t know that anything I’ve tried to do has been very effective, but I try lots of things. Prior to getting my agent, I started a blog and Facebook page. I’ve participated in Facebook release parties, done multi-author giveaways and blog tours. I’ve spoken at libraries and taught workshops. I’ve created a small street team to help me with pre-release buzz. But ultimately, I know that my publisher is doing most of the work, and for that, I’m eternally grateful!

Tell us the story behind the making of Before I Knew.

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about mental illness and stigma, and how that stigma prevents people from receiving proper treatment and support. Because I have some personal experience with this topic, it is very relevant to me. I’ve seen that struggle, and how it affects others who are close to the afflicted. That gave me the seed of an idea, but I did not want to write a story featuring someone with the illness. I worried that I couldn’t do that justice, so I focused on the one left behind, and how the mistakes they made together (largely because of the fear of stigma) lingered long after he was gone.

Tell us about Colby Cabot-Baxter.

Colby is a compassionate, bright woman and child of divorce. She is the peacekeeper in her family, and the middle child (she has an older brother, Hunter, and a younger half-sister, Gentry). She grew up next door to the Morgan family, and was very dear friends with Joe (her age), and friendly with Alec (her older brother’s BFF). Following law school, she impulsively married Mark, a man she hadn’t known long but had fallen hard for. During their first year of marriage he had his first manic episode. Once he was diagnosed, he wanted to keep it a secret because of the stigma. He didn’t want her family or his coworkers looking at him differently or with fear and anxiety. Without adequate support, Colby had a hard time keeping Mark in treatment (meds and therapy).

Her marriage was crumbling at the time when Mark and Joe went hiking, and Mark’s dare cost Joe his life. Mark’s depression over that led to suicide. The story opens two years later, when Colby has left the practice of law to start a new career as the owner of a restaurant on the shores of her hometown, Lake Sandy, Oregon. She hopes that this place, where people will come to celebrate life, will help her finally move on from the grief and remorse she has for her role in her friend’s and husband’s deaths.

Tell us about Alec Morgan.

Alec grew up harboring a crush on Colby. He was always passionate about cooking, which troubled his cop father to no end. His younger brother, Joe, was macho like their dad, and Alec endured relentless mocking from them. He left after high school, studied in New York and France, and returned home to open what would become a renowned, award-winning restaurant in Portland.

However, Alec’s poor relationship with his father and brother led to a misunderstanding he refused to clear up. That happened the eve before Joe took off on the hike that ended his life. His argument with his brother coupled with another secret between him and Mark crippled him with guilt, causing him to lose his restaurant and reputation. He went away to recover and is back. When he’s hired to help Colby with her restaurant, he’s hopeful that, in some way, he can help restore her happiness, which he feels he’s stolen. I can’t say why because I don’t want to spoil some of the story for the reader.

What message do you want readers to take away from Before I Knew?

I suppose there are several themes. One is, of course, that mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of anymore than diabetes and cancer are. People need to be open and accepting, and to offer support not only to those struggling with the affliction, but also to those who are closest to them. Otherwise, everyone suffers. Another theme has to do with mistakes and regrets. We all have them, and some might be truly daunting. But we must learn to forgive ourselves and move on. To know that part of being human is making mistakes, and that we all deserve second chances. And finally, sometimes what seems like the end is actually just a new beginning. I think if you look at things that way, you can embrace change better and find happiness more quickly.

What should readers expect from Jamie Beck in the next five years?

I’m really enjoying writing the Cabot novels, and am planning another series that will be similar in tone (but probably revolve around three friends instead of a family). I like romantic women’s fiction because it allows me to explore all kinds of relationships within a single story (familial, friendship, and love). I also have a straight women’s fiction idea that I’ve outlined. It keeps talking to me, but my current schedule doesn’t allow the time to pursue it. Someday, though…

Tell readers how they can connect with you.

My website has a fun extras page where I post Pinterest boards related to my books, playlists of songs related to each story, videos, and other fun stuff. I have a newsletter, too, and offer giveaways within that realm.

In terms of social media, I’m most active on my Facebook page (facebook.com/JamieBeckBooks), but I’m also on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram at “writerjamiebeck.” I’m also on Goodreads, where I love to leave reviews of books I’m reading (and my blog feeds to that page, so you can read it there). Finally, I encourage people to follow my Amazon author page because it’s an easy way to get updates on new releases.

Thanks so much for hosting me today!