Friday, April 25, 2014

How the Moon Regained Her Shape - A Review

Recently, I read a great little book that covers not one but two topics: bullying and the phases of the moon. The title is How the Moon Regained Her Shape , written by Janet Heller. Let me just tell you that this book is a great tool for teachers;  not only does it address the issue of bullying and how hurtful it is, but it also covers a science topic! The illustrations are beautifully done and capture the essence of Native American artistry. The story telling is rich yet simple enough for a young reader to understand the concepts and come away having learned something valuable. This is definitely a great book to have in a library or on a personal book shelf!

I also was allowed to interview the author Janet Heller. I hope that you all enjoy getting to know her as I did! Janet Ruth Heller is president of the Michigan College English Association. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. She has published three poetry books: Exodus (WordTech Editions, 2014),Folk Concert: Changing Times (Anaphora Literary Press, 2012), and Traffic Stop(Finishing Line Press, 2011). TheUniversity of Missouri Press published her scholarly book, Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama (1990). Her children’s book about bullying, How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006), has won four national awards. I hope that you all enjoy getting to know her as I did!

Tiffany: What is the title of your book and what message does it convey to readers?


Janet - My book is How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale).  My fiction picture book emphasizes that bullies’ insults are often false, so children should not believe them.  Also, How the Moon Regained Her Shape encourages a child to tell friends and family members about bullying so that they can help him or her.  The story shows that a child can recover from bullying and regain happiness and self-esteem.

Tiffany: Give a short synopsis of your book.


Janet -The sun insults the moon, and the moon feels so badly hurt that she shrinks and leaves the sky. The moon turns to her comet friend and her many friends on earth to comfort her. Her friends include rabbits and Native Americans. Then she regains her full shape, happiness, and self-esteem, and she returns to her orbit. An educational appendix gives advice about bullying, scientific information about the moon, and ideas for related activities for children.


Tiffany: Why did you write this particular story?


Janet -I was bullied when I was a new student in elementary school, and I did not know how to handle the situation.  The abuse continued for years.  I wrote How the Moon Regained Her Shape to help other children so that they would not have to suffer as much.  I also wrote my story to help parents and other family members to assist children to recover from bullying.


Tiffany:  Are there any characters in your book that are modeled from people in your daily life?


Janet -Yes.  The moon in my story is based on me, and the bully sun is based on the girl who taunted me every day during recess for four years.  Round Arms, who helps the moon, is based on a friend who helped me to recover after I was bullied as an adult.

Tiffany:  How do you come up with your story lines?


Janet -Some of my stories have autobiographical elements, but I often change the plot to give the main character assistance that I did not get as a child or as an adult.  I also base my stories, poems, and dramas on tales that friends or relatives have told me about their own lives. 


Tiffany:  When was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?


Janet -I began to publish poetry, essays, and literary criticism in nationally circulated journals in the mid-1970s.  During this period, I also began to attend and give readings and other presentations at conferences for writers and scholars.

Tiffany:   What advice would you give to aspiring writers?


Janet -I advise people to avoid self-publishing because than you have to market and distribute your books by yourself, which is very time-consuming.  I recommend that authors join a critique group of serious writers and/or illustrators to get feedback on their work. Take classes about writing/illustrating and current literature at your local college or university.  Also, if you write for children, join the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.  It has listserves and conferences and publications that will give you information and help you network with other creative people.  Purchase the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market book.  It lists some agents and many publishers for books for children. There are also websites like AgentQuery that help you find an agent.  Then send your revised manuscripts out to agents and relevant publishers.  It takes time, but a good final product is worth the investment.


Tiffany:  What warning(s) would you give them?


Janet -Good writers get constructive criticism on their drafts and then revise over and over before getting manuscripts published.  This process is hard work, it requires being open-minded about criticism, and it takes a long time.  However, many inexperienced writers reject any suggestions for revision and expect success to come very fast, which rarely happens. 


Tiffany: What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?


Janet -I enjoy sharing my work with audiences of all ages.  I love reading my books and giving creative writing workshops for schools, bookstores, libraries, and conferences. 


Tiffany: How did you go about getting your book published?


Janet -I wrote How the Moon Regained Her Shape in 1993.  I kept sending it out to publishers and getting rejection notes.  I also brought my manuscript to writing workshops and conferences to get feedback.  Finally, Arbordale Publishing accepted my story for publication in 2004 and published it with revisions two years later.

Tiffany:   If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?


Janet -I would take a walk in a beautiful forest with my husband, and I would play games with my great-nephews.  I would also see a good drama with friends and discuss our reactions.  I would write poems, dramas, essays and stories about my experiences.

Tiffany:   If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?


Janet -I would like to meet Marianne Evans (pseudonym George Eliot), the British novelist of the late 1800s.  She wrote about a wide range of characters and ideas, and I would love to have a long conversation with her.  She was an early feminist, and I respect her writing and her bravery very much. 


Tiffany: Who inspires you?


Janet -My mother has faced growing older with courage and dignity.  I also respect Alicia Suskin Ostriker, an American poet and literary critic in her seventies who has the same attitude toward aging.  In fact, Ostriker published a collection of poetry entitled The Book of Seventy to celebrate her reaching that milestone.  The children in the classes that I visit to do creative writing workshops also inspire me with their creativity and enthusiasm for life.

Tiffany:  Most embarrassing childhood or adult moment?


Janet -Twelve years ago, I forgot to remove a tiny sewing scissors from my purse, and the security guards at Detroit Metropolitan Airport treated me like a criminal.  Ironically, they now permit people to carry very small scissors in purses. 

Tiffany:  If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?


Janet -I would like to tell the young Janet Ruth Heller that she could relax more and try more new experiences.  I would also explain to her that bullies usually don’t tell the truth and that she needed to find someone to help her with abuse.  Peer culture misjudges people who don’t conform, so young nonconformist Janet could take her peers less seriously. 

Tiffany:   What’s next for you?


Janet -I’m currently working on a memoir, a poetry book about nature, and a story about sexual harassment.


 If you are interested in learning more about Janet's work you can find her at the following links:

 website is  
 blog is 


The website for How the Moon Regained Her Shape is


The website for Coleridge, Lamb, Hazlitt, and the Reader of Drama is



The website for Folk Concert:  Changing Times is


The website for Exodus is


Janet's Facebook page is ‎


Janet's profile on LinkedIn is


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tiny Hands, Tiny Toes - To all the Preemie Mamas

As I sat outside with my son today, enjoying the sunshine, listening to him babble about the trees and birds; I took a deep breath and beheld this little miracle in front of me. Many of us take for granted the miracle that is a child, the miracle that is a baby, and the abundant miracle of a preemie baby. To the mother's who are about to embark upon the journey of caring for a preemie, let me be the first to say that in the coming weeks or months you will given lots of information on your preemie's general health, wellness, ability to breathe, eat, sleep, etc. The list of information that will consume your brain is limitless; but the one thing that no nurse or doctor can prepare your husband or you (especially you) for is the emotional mountains and valleys that you will confront daily. Many people forget that in the midst of everything, the parents and YOU, mom, are frightened. I want to be the first to tell you it is ok to cry, it is ok to have fears, it is ok to rejoice in the smallest of things; because with a preemie all we have at times are moments of triumph! I have walked in your shoes and my journey made me appreciate every single moment...even the ones that seem to tear you apart. This is my story and my advice.

 Two years ago as I was being wheeled into the hospital after finding out my water had broken at 28 weeks, I was terrified - not for myself but for my yet unborn son - my treasure. I managed to keep from going into labor until my 34th then my body could no longer meet the challenges and it was time to bring my son into the world. I remember crying quietly to myself, and thinking "God, he is so small...protect him."
I went through 12 hours of labor, came close to losing my son, and then the elation of hearing him cry...and then silence. My heart stopped...a NICU nurse ran up to my bedside with a tiny bundle...he said, "kiss your son...we have to help him...he isn't breathing right." I beheld his tiny face for a moment and my baby was whisked away. The next few hours were a hazy conglomerate of feelings. They wouldn't allow me to go see him until I had my feet back...I had to wait for the ephidurhal to wear off. Finally I looked at the nurse and said, " I have one good leg, bring me a wheelchair, and wheel me in, I have to see my son." I wasn't prepared for what I was about to see and to say that it brought me to tears would be a gross understatement. You see everyone expects to see a plump little bundle...curled up, looking babyish. As I sat by my son's bassinet, all I saw were wires, a breathing mask, tiny wrinkled hands and feet, and that's when I heard my son's whimpering cries. I knew he was being taken care of, I knew he was safe, but inside my heart all I felt was deep sadness that somehow I had failed him. The next morning, I was allowed to hold him. This small moment that most parents take for granted was heaven here on earth, a moment where time stopped, and finally my heart felt whole again.  The hardest part for me was each day having to separate and leave my baby in the sounds so easy..just walk away, they are being cared for, they are safe...but the practice of it for weeks can leave your heart torn up. Every night I would find myself crying into my pillow, hoping that my son didn't feel that I had abandoned him - sounds silly but these are the things we often worry about.
The next few weeks were full of milestones and setbacks, but the thing that astounded me the most was the resiliency of life. The amazing ability to defy the odds. See what most people forget is that preemies are fighters, big things in small packages! My son's name means "brave warrior" and in the first few weeks of his life he proved that he would bear his name well. My son was not gonna let being small downplay his big personality - and for that I am grateful.

The goal of a preemie parent is to control the stress you feel, because it can overwhelm you if you don't. One thing, that caused me undue stress, which looking back I wish someone had said "Sweetie, don't worry about it," was that my breast milk never came in. I pumped and pumped, but nothing came. My son had not learned to suck yet, and was being fed through a tube, but I wanted to somehow function normally - I didn't understand why once again my body was defunct.What I didn't know then, but came to learn is that many preemie mamas struggle with milk production. All I felt was ultimate failure as the nurses tried to help me get my son to latch and poor baby - he latched but there was nothing there to reward his hard work. The last time I let them try this, my son got so angry and was then that I determined that formula was the best thing for him...the extreme frustration he was dealing with over my inability to get over breastfeeding was not worth it. I needed to get over the idea that breast milk was best! I needed to step over the well intentioned comments..."well he will be healthier if you produce breast milk"..."you aren't trying hard enough"...and my all time favorite " well when I had my  baby I had milk coming out my ears." These things did nothing to help my son, or help me! My son needed nourishment, I couldn't provide it, BUT PRAISE JESUS I don't live in the pioneer days and there is something called formula! I could provide and meet my son's needs with that! Mom to the rescue.
May I share some words of wisdom on this topic? It took me a long time to get over the guilt of NOT being able to breast feed. People's comments about the necessity of it and how it was the best thing, did nothing to help my feelings of frustration and deep sense of failure. If there is a woman in your life who is facing this same situation, tread lightly, remember that our bodies are different, not one is made the same! Be kind and loving. Sometimes the only thing she wants to hear is that she is a good mama, and is doing what is best for her baby - and sometimes the best thing is formula. Remember that you aren't walking in her shoes, and be compassionate.

Finally, my son was allowed to go home...all 5 lbs of him. I was so elated, but then the fear crept in again. He was just a little sprout and how was I equipped to take this little bug home? Nothing I owned was "preemie" sized. From blankets, swaddlers, clothes, swings, cribs, bassinets...nothing didn't swallow up my sweet tiny baby! Thankfully, those fears subsided and life as a family began, with a few minor adjustments. Remember that there is no parenting manul for a preemie, but here are a few things that I learned that helped my son adjust! Buy a sound machine or turn a fan on, it helps with their feelings of security, and sounds a lot like the noisy NICU with all the swooshing and whooshing. And never let a day go by without lots of cuddle need it just as much as they!

I write this today, in the hope that it will give someone the strength they need to handle being the parent of a preemie. I would not have chosen this for my son, but despite my plans, God used my son to illustrate a bigger picture. Life is fragile, it is unexpected, it is mountains and valleys, and it is about learning what you are made of. No matter how small we may be, we are stronger than we ever imagined. I have heart scars, but the bandaid is now this beautiful child sitting in front of me, smelling the flowers, and holding my hand. His hands are still tiny, but those little hands taught me how to be strong.

Writer's Window Thursday Welcomes Rhonda Patton

Welcome to Writer's Window Thursday! Today we are going to meet children's book author, Rhonda Patton. Rhonda is a stay at home mother of two-  One teenager and one three year old. She feels like her cup overflows taking care of the two of them! She has over 15 books published and is currently taking  online associates courses to get her degree in Graphic Arts. Let's take a peek into this author's vivid imagination.

Tiffany: What is the title of your book and what message does it convey to readers?

Rhonda - “Grayson the BULLY Frog with Ted and Raymond” this book focuses on the feelings of one frog being bullied.  It will help younger children see the pain and stop bullying.

Tiffany: Give a short synopsis of your book.

 Rhonda - Grayson bullies Ted. Ted doesn’t like it much.  Ted also gets mad at Raymond for just watching Ted get bullied.

Tiffany:Why did you write this particular story?

Rhonda - My daughter and her friend’s get bullied daily where they do not even want to go to the school.  There is a GREAT NEED for these books.

Tiffany:Are there any characters in your books that are modeled from people in your daily life?

Rhonda - I was also bullied as a kid.  I have a kind heart and usually the kids that are kind get bullied easier than the ones that are bold.  So the characters are what I had to deal with in my life.

Tiffany:How do you come up with your story lines?

Rhonda - REAL life.  I want kids to be able to look at this story and relate to all of them.  I have many books on life. 


Tiffany:What was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?
Rhonda -Three years ago I never would have thought my dream would come true.  It is still an amazing feeling to get another book out there.  My turning point was when I saw my book featured in MOMTASTIC featured by Kristin Davis of “Sex and the City” I cried all day. 

Tiffany:What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Rhonda - If you are putting out a book and it is not selling, you are not trying hard enough.  Keep spreading your work, keep pushing forward, and keep writing.  Your first book may not become HUGE overnight, but it will get there.

Tiffany:What warning(s) would you give them?

Rhonda -Do NOT stop because you get ONE bad review.  If you make a mistake, fix them and keep going. 

Tiffany:What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?

Rhonda - I love seeing my book come into the little characters.  My husband creates my characters.  He does an excellent job in what I want to present to the kids.  I put the colors into the characters to make them come to life.  And then seeing the kids enjoys the books.

Tiffany:How did you go about getting your book published?

Rhonda - I cannot afford a lot so I had to choose create space.  I am self-published but I have had some GREAT reviews and hoping one day an animation show for Ted and Raymond.

Tiffany:If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?

Rhonda -I would work on another book about inspiring someone to fulfill his or her dreams and not wait.  Do not put your dreams in a corner.  If your dreams are to go to Hawaii and you know you do not have the money, then save $5 a week until you can go.  You can do it if you try.

Tiffany:If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?

Rhonda - William Joyce.  He inspired me to start my writing again.  He also is very talented and lives in my hometown.

Tiffany:Who inspires you?

Rhonda - My kids.  I want the best for them.

Tiffany:If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?

Rhonda - Never think that you cannot. You can.

Tiffany:What’s next for you? 

Rhonda -I have many stories coming.  I do not want to give away my projects J
Thank you for sharing with us today Rhonda! I look forward to seeing more of your work soon. If you are interested in learning more about Rhonda's books you can find them here:

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Writer's Window Thursday - Khalid Muhammad

Hello! Welcome to Writer's Window Thursday. Today we get to meet author Khalid Muhammad and learn about his debut book Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office. Khalid was born in Pakistan's troubled Swat Valley, educated and raised in the United States, he returned to Pakistan almost 17 years ago and fell in love with his country. His debut novel, Agency Rules - Never an Easy Day at the Office, is a journey behind the headlines about Pakistan, the world's most dangerous place, to deliver an intense story that will challenge the reader to question what they have been told. Let's take a peek into this writer's interesting world.
Tiffany: What is the title of your book and what  message does it convey to readers?

 Khalid - The title of the book is Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office. It’s the first in a series of 4 right now, but if people like the story, I will probably expand it.The message behind the story is quite simple – the Pakistan that you hear about in the media is not the real Pakistan. We struggle with everything that citizens of other countries struggle with, but we have it compounded with ineffective governments and terrorism. I wanted to introduce the readers to the Pakistan that I love, the one that you will find on every street and home of Pakistan. The characters are embodiments of the people that I see everyday. There is so much more to the country than what the media would like to tell you, and this is the first step in understanding it all.

 Tiffany:Give a short synopsis of your book.

Khalid - Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office takes you behind the headlines into the events that created today’s Pakistan. It is a tough look at a nation in conflict from the eyes of a young man, Kamal Khan, who is looking for his own identity and place in society. Kamal is raised in privilege, but leaves it all behind as a man to serve his nation. Once in that environment, finds himself embroiled in a complex narrative that shifts with the fiery speeches of their anointed political and religious leaders.

Tiffany:Why did you write this particular story?

Khalid - I think the motivations were multiple on writing a story, and series, like this. There are a number of motivations behind my story. First, and probably the most important motivation, was to share the Pakistan that I know with the world. The narrative that has become commonplace about my country is that it is a failed state with many players in the power corridor, but that is not all that Pakistan is. My Pakistan is a country that struggles with inept governments more interested in themselves rather than the people who elected them. It is a country whose people are extremely talented and patriotic but unable to take advantage of any opportunities because the country is run like a fiefdom rather than a nation. It is a country in search of its identity, much like Kamal, that is trapped amidst power plays from internal and external forces.

 Secondly, I grew up reading spy thrillers filled with the exploits of CIA, MI6 and KGB agents. While reading all of these stories, I always wondered why no one had ever written about Pakistan’s intelligence services, the ISI, and the challenges they face everyday. Geopolitically, Pakistan is host to numerous intelligence agencies working within its borders, a public secret here and the ISI holds it’s own against all of them. Its routinely demonized by foreign nations, and much of that is because it is so good at what it does.

Tiffany: Are there any characters in your books that are modeled from people in your daily life?

Khalid - Definitely! Every character in the book is either someone that I know, have met or mixture of people. It’s so much easier to take the people that you interact with each day and write them into the story because they make the story real, which is something that I really focused on with this book.

 Kamal Khan, the lead character, is heavily influenced by my background and those who have influenced me. He is flawed, damaged and confused, but he is also strong, dedicated and driven – what I like to call the typical Pakistani. He is someone that I want readers to feel, experience and cheer for because he really is the “every man” in the story.

Tiffany:How do you come up with your story lines?

 Khalid - When you live in a country like Pakistan, the story lines play out each day on the streets, newspapers and dinner tables. We are a country that is at war with itself but not willing to accept it because it means having to make very difficult decisions that will change lifestyles. We have had 70,000 Pakistani souls killed by terrorists, damages to property in the billions and a citizenry that is unsure whether to run, fight or surrender. It makes it easy to write when you live the story each day.

Tiffany:What was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?

 Khalid - I don’t think I am there yet. This is my debut novel, but I don’t think I will call myself an author until I have a few of them in the market and achieved some success with the stories that I write. I’m not looking to become a bestselling author overnight, I know that is a long, hard road, but I would like to see some sales and people talking about the books before I don the author cap and say that it’s not a dream anymore.

Tiffany:What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

 Khalid - Never give up – if you have a story to tell. I started writing short stories, which I never published. They spanned genres from crime to mystery, until I found my niche in spy thrillers. It’s always a learning and growing process, but you have to keep writing to learn and grow. Don’t give up, no matter what anyone else tells you…. and make sure you have a day job to pay your bills, otherwise things will get tough fast J

Tiffany:What warning(s) would you give them?

 Khalid - Don’t write for anyone but yourself. Tell your own story, your own way. Of course, you will get feedback from editors once the book is done, but make sure that you develop the story from inside yourself. The mistake that I made early on was trying to write the next bestseller, based on what was selling big, that doesn’t work. There is no formula for a bestseller, other than getting a story that touches people and makes them want to tell others about it. If you get it right, you’ll be happy and the book will sell. If not, there is always your next book. Keep plugging away at it.

 Tiffany:What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?

 Khalid - The cigarette when its over. It’s a hard process to write a book from the storyboarding and research to the drafts and revisions. Working with editors made me want to pull my hair out at times, but it’s all worth it in the end when you get to hold that book in your hand.

Tiffany:How did you go about getting your book published?

Khalid - I harbored the dream of getting a big publisher on board, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to make this a personal journey. When you work with a publisher, you lose your identity in the story to make it commercial, I didn’t work as hard as I did to write Agency Rules to lose myself for sales. So, I did it myself.

 I built a beta reader group and gave them the ability to provide feedback without sharing their names or contact information. I sent almost 100 copies of the final manuscript out to friends that are writers, reviewers and readers to get their feedback on the story so that I could make more revisions. Then, went back to another beta reader group to have it evaluated again. The whole time this was going on, I was working with two editors to clean up and improve the story line and characters. When I was happy with the story, I published.

Tiffany:If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?

 Khalid - Honestly? Settle scores. There are some people that have really hurt me in my life that I would want to tell the negative impact that they could have had on my life. There are some people that have been so supportive that I could never thank them enough for all they did, prayed or said, so I would want them to know the positive impact they had on me. I’ve lived a life without carrying regrets, so when it comes time to leave this planet, I don’t want to carry any with me into the hereafter either.

Tiffany:If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?

Khalid - There are actually two authors that I would want to meet. Stephen King because he writes fantastic characters and scenes. His books have taught me so much about how a story is crafted in the reader’s mind. The other is John le Carre. le Carre is a master of the espionage genre. He creates stories that draw you in and bury you within the world that he has created. That is masterful for any aspiring writer. I would want to pick his brain.

Tiffany:Who inspires you?

 Khalid - People inspire me. From the fruit seller in the market to the shopkeeper fighting to support his family. From the policeman that has justified his petty theft to the soldier that gives his life in defense of the country he loves and everyone in between. I try not to focus on a single person for inspiration because they disappoint you when you learn more about them and how they got to where they are. But if you focus on the people around you, you find more inspiration in them than you will in any single person.

 Tiffany:If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?

 Khalid - It gets better. I had a hard childhood. We didn’t have financial problems, but we had interpersonal problems in our home. Those problems really hampered me through most of my college years. Then, one day, I wrote a 15 page letter and let it all go. Life has been much better since. I don’t hold back anymore, I don’t let my past haunt me. It’s the past, sure mistakes were made, but that is not who I am anymore. If people want to live in their past memories of me, let them, I have moved on to better and brighter things.

 Tiffany:What’s next for you?

 Khalid - That’s easy. I think I will be spending the next few months marketing Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office, while I research the next book in the series. I have a day job running a marketing and brand management company, so that keeps me quite busy as well. The future is what you make of it, so I plan to make something awesome.


Thanks for letting me share with your audience, Tiffany! It’s always fun to answer questions about what made me write this story and why the reader should pick up a copy. It’s a great read and will have you on the edge of your seat throughout.
If you wish to learn more about Khalid and his book check out the links below.
Author Website –
Amazon –

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Writer's Window Thursday - Jami M. Brumfield

Welcome to Writer's Window Thursday. Today we get to meet Jami M. Brumfield and learn about her book "Lone Wolf Rising". Jami is not only an author of paranormal romantic thrillers, but an avid reader. She lives in Phoenix, Arizonawith her husband and two dogs. By day she hypnotizes people to work through obstacles in their lives and by night she creates obstacles for her characters to work through in her books. Let's take a peek into the world of Jami Brumfield.  

Tiffany:What is the title of your book and what message does it convey to readers?

Jami -Lone Wolf Rising is the title.  This is book one in a series of at least four books.  The message is that revenge only brings on more destruction in one’s life.


Tiffany: Give a short synopsis of your book. 

Jami -Rebecca Winters is an average teenager dealing with a deep level of guilt because she believes she is responsible for the death of her parents.  Her only lifelines are her twin sister, Savannah, her younger brother, Hunter and her best friend, Jackson.  They keep her from falling into a dark abyss of depression.  What Rebecca doesn’t know is that she comes from two powerful witch lines and she has amazing power coursing through her veins.  Power that was locked away when her parents spell bound all three of them for their protection.
The supernatural world is hidden to most humans, they choose to ignore it, but Rebecca’s DNA attracts the dangerous world.  Her best friend is psychic, her neighbor is a guardian (a branch of witches that specialize in the realm of the dead), and her grandmother is in deeper than anyone can imagine.  So when she stumbles upon a friend changing into a werewolf her mission in life is changed.  Suddenly, her only thought is to become a werewolf and avenge her parents’ tragic deaths.
Even the best laid plans have problems and Rebecca’s road to vengeance is littered with terrifying vampires, massacres, political responsibilities and other unimaginable obstacles.  Two guys join her journey, both intrigued and bent on claiming her as their own.  But Rebecca’s desire for vengeance creates turmoil and one of the most important people in her life will pay the ultimate price.


Tiffany: Why did you write this particular story?

Jami -I have been in love with the paranormal, supernatural, and mythological worlds for most of my life.  I have also been writing since I was a young girl in middle school.  It was only a matter of time that love for the unknown and my skills as a writer would combine to create this book.  It has some of the traditional beliefs in supernatural lore and also my own theories; like a werewolf suffering from multiple personalities; the human host and the wolf.  The idea of these two feuding internally while the world continues moving around them was the first area I wanted to tackle which is why this book came first.  Book two in the series takes a closer look at the myths around vampirism and takes a paranormal romantic science fiction turn with gene manipulation and multi-dimensions.  Book three will delve deeper into the science fiction aspect as well as the world witchcraft. 


Tiffany: Are there any characters in your books that are modeled from people in your daily life?

Jami -No particular character is modeled from people in my real life; however there are pieces of people I love and admire in the makeup of the characters.  If there are things I like about a person I like to take that admiration and immortalize them in characters I love.  It helps to keep the characters realistic and allows my readers to find a connection to them despite their fictional status.  You will find endearing characteristics in all the characters, even those that are antagonists.  The best baddie’s I have ever read about are those you “love to hate”.


Tiffany: How do you come up with your story lines?

Jami - I start with an outline on how I want a story to go.  It becomes a structure that I allow to be flexible.  If, as I am writing, I come up with a new plot twist I add it into the mix and go back and foreshadow it if necessary.  I also try and add current issues into my plots.  Survivor’s guilt, homecoming, drugs, depression, popularity, and a character trying to find a way to tell his father he is gay are all subplots in the bigger storyline of book one.  In book two I have already added post traumatic stress disorder and infertility.  My character’s face confidence issues and challenges involved in growing up and becoming an adult.    Mix in a little paranormal, supernatural, science fiction, fantasy and romance and you have a book that can entertain and also help people grow.


Tiffany: What was the point you realized that being an author was no longer a dream but a reality?

Jami - I think the first time I realized that writing was a reality was my first sale.  Then the second milestone was the first review.  As each milestone continues to build upon the previous milestones I realize that with each new achievement the dream has become the reality.


Tiffany: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Jami -The turning point for me was to realize that I couldn’t please everyone.  I wrote book after book; year after year and never finished or published because I worried what others would say once it was done.  What I have realized now that I am published is that not everyone will like your work.  You have a voice and they may not be able to connect to that voice, however, there will be some people who connect to that voice and they will appreciate what you did for them; whether it was helping them learn a lesson or simply allowing them an escape from reality for a short time while they read your book.
To sum it up; “take that chance!  Don’t give up!”  You will never really know until you try.


Tiffany: What warning(s) would you give them?

Jami -Not everyone is going to like your work.  Keep in mind the audience you are writing for and strive to put out the best product you can.  Accept the constructive criticism as a learning experience and use it to help create an even better product next time if you agree with the feedback.


Tiffany: What do you enjoy the most about the writing process?

Jami - My favorite part of the writing process is creating something out of nothing.  Taking an idea, building a world around that idea and creating amazingly endearing characters that will help push the story along, there is nothing like it. 


Tiffany: How did you go about getting your book published?

Jami - When I started writing the book I wrote down my strengths and weaknesses.  Then I sought out help from people that would help bring my weaknesses to the strength pile.  For example, I am not an editor so I hired an amazing editor, Michele Gwynn, who is also a published author.  Once I had my story written and my weaknesses turned into strengths I sent out a few query letters to agents.  I set a date to publish and if I didn’t hear back from an agent by that date I decided I was going to self publish.  I self published and had over 3,000 downloads in the first month!


Tiffany: If you were given one day to live, what would you do that day?

Jami -Wow tough question.  Most of us don’t have one more day to say goodbye because death comes without warning for many.  So I guess I would be thankful for the tiny warning.  I would use that time to spend with family and friends.  I would also spend time writing letters or recording videos for those important people in my life that I will not see again. 


Tiffany: If you could meet one of your favorite authors, who would it be and why?

Jami - I have many favorite authors and it is hard to bring it down to one.  But if I had to choose one it would probably be Sherrilyn Kenyon.  She made an amazing impression on me at such an important age.  Her dark hunter series really reinforced my writing urban fantasy and paranormal romance.  The way she created a world that lived under human society and spanned mythology and supernatural was and is still amazing. 


Tiffany: Who inspires you?


Jami - My husband.  He is my anchor, without him I would be in the sky with no way to touch the earth.  He keeps me grounded. 

Tiffany: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self?

 Jami - Good job!  You made the best out of difficult situations.  I’m proud of you.  Being a hypnotherapist I firmly believe that our past helps shape us but doesn’t dictate how we turn out.


Tiffany: What’s next for you?


Jami - Book two “Vampire Princess in Training” is weeks away from going to the editor and the rough draft of book three “Fire Master” is already being written.  When the Winters series is complete I have two other book series that I have already started on and will be working on as well.  One is called “Letters to my Vampire Prince” another YA paranormal romance and the other is an Adult paranormal romance with the working title “Psychopaths and Telepaths”
Thank you Jami for stopping by today! If you are interested in learning more about her books and where to find them please drop by the following links: