Thursday, October 31, 2013


Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.  I love scary.  Scary movies, scary TV shows, and best of all, scary books.  There is nothing quite so cozy as hunkering down on a cold night, all alone, with a scary book.

Of course by all alone I mean with my two dogs, my two deaf cats, my two kids, and my one husband somewhere in the house.  The girls are teen and pre-teen age, so I don’t see them much when they are home.  We live in a split level. The second story was designated the Barbie suite when they were younger, two bedrooms painted pink, a bathroom decorated in cherubs and angels, and a foyer full of shelves with books, games, arts, and crafts.  Back then they used to insist I go upstairs and play with them, help them drag out doll houses and Barbie hotels and paint and chalk and baby doll beds.

Now, I’m not quite sure what I would call the upstairs suite.  They’ve gotten rid of most of the toys, but not all.  The Pepto pink is now light lavender in one room and cream in the other.  The angels and cherubs were replaced once with penguins, and now the bathroom is in a neutral state of Waiting to See What’s Next.  The teenager has walls with collages of alternative musicians, posters, mementos, a shrine to Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day, and dozens of strands of Christmas lights.  She no longer has a footboard or headboard on her bed, but does have a cluttered desk, a full bookcase of books, vinyl albums nailed to her walls as decoration, and a record player like the one I used to have.  My old Rocky Horror Picture Show souvenirs are glued to her wall next to her ticket stub from the musical Wicked and the stubs from the Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragon concerts we missed school to go to last month in Houston. 

The pre-teen, just turned twelve, wants to get rid of the old queen sized bed, which is still newer than the bed I sleep on myself, for a futon bunk bed.  She has just cleared her room of her old toys and wall hangings (included some we got from Disneyworld years ago) and now has one memory wall, which consists of a picture of the new Miley Cyrus, a program from Wicked, and a photo of herself with Clifford the Big Red Dog from when PBS visited the Pre-K class at her school several years ago.  She has a bigger flat screen TV than her sister, but wants an even bigger one for Christmas.

Neither one of them will bother with me while I curl up on the sofa with  my whipped cream-topped hot decaf with peppermint cocoa creamer and read my newest scary book.  Neither will the hubby, who will fall asleep around 8:30 because I’ve intentionally made a honey-do list for him, knowing it will make him sneak off to to sleep earlier.

Our big deaf cat will stay upstairs with the girls, because he doesn’t like our smaller dog playing with him.  Our small deaf cat will curl up on the chair with me. The big dog will sleep with my husband, probably in my spot, because she can’t seem to get enough attention from him.  The little dog, she’s about 20 pounds, a mix of Schipperke and Pomeranian (not a good mix necessarily) will move around because she has a crazy metabolism and will not sit still for too long.  She’ll lay on the sofa next to me, then move to the chair, then go behind the chair, then next to the chair, never for more than twenty minutes.  At some point, she’ll scare the life out of me by popping up in my face and barking at me, her sign for she wants to go outside.  She’ll then sit at the back door when I open it, jump in circles, and force me to trick her or push her to get her outside, because she just won’t go on her own.

But then, when she’s finished, and everything is quiet, I’ll get to read, uninterrupted, until I feel like stopping.  If it’s really scary, I’ll read fast, trying to get through the scary parts quickly. If it’s too scary, I’ll put it down for a minute, make myself a snack, get another drink, and then force myself to read it. 

At some point, I’ll hear a noise I can’t account for.  I’ll check to see who is still awake, which animals are where.  I’ll sit back down and continue reading.  If the little dog barks at the door or the window, I’ll assume it’s an animal, or maybe a lizard.  She does that.

If she growls, I’ll get nervous, because she usually only growls at people, and by the time I’m reading, it’s way too late for people to be hanging around outside my house.

If the big dog comes out of the bedroom and barks or growls, I’ll get up and see what it is, because she only barks at people.  Twice she growled and barked and I ignored it, and both times someone ended up stealing a gun out of my car.  (I know, I’m stupid for leaving my gun in an unlocked car twice.)  The driveway is almost outside my living room window, so that is a real reason to fear, especially around Halloween time where people around here are crazy anyway.

But if nothing else happens, I’ll settle into the deliciousness of reading a terrifying novel, one that keeps me awake and keeps me checking the door locks the rest of the night.  A perfect ending to my favorite holiday.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Stephen Brayton- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I welcome Stephen Brayton to Twelve Question Tuesday. 

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
I'm witty, lovable and romantic. Okay, so those are the attractive attributes for potential girlfriends. Actually, I don't know how important they might be to others, but I am a Fifth Degree Black Belt in takewondo. I'm also left-handed. (See, not too important in the bigger scheme of things.) The third thing...well, I guess I'll have to fall back on witty, lovable and romantic.

 2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person? 
I have a 13 pound cat. I'd love to have one of those Maine Coon monster cats. But of course, I love dogs, too. 

3.  Tea or coffee?
Definitely, without question, no regrets tea. Who first decided to scam millions of people that bitter filtered dirt tastes good? 

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Actually, I wear the boxer-briefs. 

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
Other than my name? I wrote a short story about discipline. It was sort of an autobiographical story. I think my mother still has it somewhere. 

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?I guess I've thought of myself a writer since I started writing. Short stories, journal entries, blog posts, novels. It's been a progression of writing projects. I think if you're writing, then you're a writer. You're an author when you have something published.

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written?
All of my published books. The first one because it was the first one. The second one because it was the first in the Mallory Petersen series. The third one because it was the first in print rather than just an eBook. 

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Talking to a pretty girl. Seriously, do you realize the heartache I suffer psyching myself up to ask  a girl for a date? Give me a wild car ride around a precarious mountain and I'll be okay. Give me standing on the edge of a thousand foot high cliff. No problem. Give me two muggers with knives. I can use my martial arts skills. Give me a pretty girl who I'd love to take out to dinner? Scared out of my mind. 

9.  How did you end up getting published?
Do you remember the scene in The Godfather with the horse's head in the producer's bed...Uh, in reality, I submitted two novels to four publishers after a Nashville writer's conference in 2009. A month later, three had rejected me. The fourth sent an email and accepted both books. In February of 2011, Night Shadows was published and later in October of the same year, Beta came out as an eBook. 

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen?
I'd fight as long as I could. Probably, I'd try to join up with a band of survivors who had heavy artillery. 

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
Didn't you read the answer to question 8? 

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
I think the answer would depend on the circumstances. Now, if we're referring to my books, I think fame would be good. Some people may think I'm stroking my ego or have a big head, but I want to be known in the literary world. I want people to enjoy my books. I want to go on a national tour and speak at colleges and books stores and conferences. I want to be the 'special guest' at Killer Nashville or Bouchercon. Beyond the ego boost, I think it would be fun. Plus, I'd get a chance to share my experience and knowledge and hopefully help other writers.

If we're talking in general, I have to go with rich. Because with money, I think I'd have more freedom to explore different areas of life. Travel, martial arts, as well as continue writing. Seriously, who likes working for a living? If you have the financial resources and you choose to work, fine, that's your choice. But to be financially set to have those choices is the way to go.

By the author:

 Alpha: On a rainy October morning, Mallory Petersen, private detective and martial artist, discovers the corpse of her boyfriend, Bobby Furillo, in front of her office in Des Moines. Bucking police authority and continually attacked by unknown adversaries, Mallory uncovers Bobby's devastating secrets. Each new revelation puts Mallory in deeper peril from powerful and dangerous people. And just what are those enigmatic RSVP cards that keep showing up in Mallory's mail?

Book review blog:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bad Reviews or Why Prisoners Like Grits

Human beings are unique individuals, with unique tastes and likes.  And dislikes.  Anyone who has ever tried to feed a child vegetables knows that everyone likes different things.  There is no universal anything that appeals to everyone.

Case in point– born and raised in New Orleans, I like seafood.  Fried, boiled, and in the case of oysters, raw.  I like frog legs and barbecue alligator.  My sister, who shared my upbringing, is a picky eater, and says she’s “allergic” to seafood, a euphemism for she doesn’t really like it.  She doesn’t eat gumbo or etouffe and when we were little girls, would eat a bowl of Fruit Loops on Thanksgiving day instead of any of the vast offerings my Cajun relatives had prepared. 

So why do we get so upset when someone doesn’t like what we’ve written?

I suppose not liking your book is more akin to someone not liking your baby than not liking your favorite color or favorite meal.  It’s so much more personal.  But really, the same logic should apply. 

Not everyone may appreciate your character’s dry wit, fondness for Shakespeare, or the rum and Coke your character needs to make it through the day.   If someone doesn’t like your character, or your plot, or even your locale, he might dislike your book.  Maybe one of your characters reminds the reader of someone he knew in real life. While it’s a great compliment that your character is that realistic, it does little too salve the wound of the reader turning on you because of it.

I had a girl give me a scathing review because she didn't like my character.  I still try to take it as a good thing, that she saw so much to hate in my protagonist she must have really viewed her as a real person.  Here is the link to her Amazon review, the worse review I've ever received.

Did I cringe when I read this review? Of course. I still do.  I just cringed when I saw it again when I clicked the link above to test it to see if it worked.  It's a terrible, horrible review.  The girl was kind of mean and maybe a tad immature.  Or am I just projecting here? Either way, when things like this bother me, I keep in mind a story from my old D.A. days.

When I was a new Orleans prosecutor, the public defender in one section of court I was assigned to would let me speak to the inmates before the judge took the bench.  With their rap sheets in hand, I would go through the docket and figure out if there were any deals to be offered.  We had a huge docket, and deals were a primary way of moving it.  The D.A. has always multi-billed everyone in New Orleans, meaning we enhanced sentences based upon how many prior convictions the defendant had, similar to the 3-strikes law.  It clogged the docket and sometimes put defendants in jail for really long periods of time for relatively minor crimes.

I remember one particular defendant who had 7 prior auto burglary convictions.  That’s right, seven.  On a fourth felony conviction of ANYTHING, a defendant is looking at 20 to life.  I’m not a fan of getting my car broken into– it has happened several times in my lifetime– but I also can’t stand the thought of how much it costs to keep someone in prison for life for breaking into cars.  (Especially when I’ve seen killers walk away with much less because they had a paid attorney.) 

So after I told the defendant he needed to switch to a new crime because he obviously sucked at car burglaries, I asked him how much time would he be willing to serve if he could get a deal.  My supervisor had to approve every deal and I knew my office would still be looking for a lengthy sentence.  The defendant was a little wishy-washy, but I got him to commit to twelve years.  I thought that would be fair, if my bosses would approve it, and I could move the case.

Before we finished our discussion, the defendant looked at me earnestly and said, “Miss, you don’t know how bad it is in here.  In the morning, we get grits.  Plain grits. Not even no butter or salt or pepper, just plain grits.  I got to get out of here, even if it is in twelve years. I can’t go the rest of my life without butter and salt and pepper on my grits.”

Now I was thinking, hmmmm, I’ve never put salt and pepper on my grits before, but it sounds good. So the next time I ate grits, I tried them the defendant’s way, and they were delicious.  They were not something that would keep me going in jail for twelve years, looking forward to having them when I got out, but still good.

Grits meant way more to the defendant than they ever could to me.  Given the chance, they would not be my first choice of food, not even for breakfast, not even after a twelve-year incarceration. 

But like my defendant willing to plead guilty to twelve years so he could have his buttered grits with salt and pepper once again, readers come to your book with a host of experiences and expectations, as well as their own preferences and prejudices, which can make them hate your book or love your book.  Most of the time, you will never know the reason– you can only accept that you can’t even expect to please them all.

As for the defendant, I was moved out of the section before his next court date, (common practice at the D.A.'s Office), so I never did find out if he got the deal or not, or if he ever got his grits the way he liked them again.  Clearly, there are much worse things than bad reviews. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guest Blog- Writing Authentic Characters by Pete Klismet

Today I welcome Pete Klismet, former police officer, Special Agent, FBI profiler, and college professor, who tells us about writing authentic characters.

One of the questions I’m often asked is, if a novelist wanted to create a criminal profiler as a main character, what things would be important to include in the character’s abilities or tendencies to make the character realistic?

There is one common thread I’ve seen in the best criminal profilers I’ve ever worked with, including two of my mentors – Robert Ressler and Roy Hazelwood.  Bob was one of the brightest and quickest people I’ve ever known.  He was a brilliant guy who had the foresight to see into the future and understand the potential of criminal profiling.  Bob’s approach was somewhat ‘shoot from the hip,’ but the neurons in his brain operated at a speed unlike anyone I’ve ever seen.  He had a unique ability to assess information and very quickly make connections which were invariably correct.

Roy, on the other hand, was like a pit bull, doggedly determined, patient, methodical and thorough, almost to a fault.  I told him one time that he reminded me of a kid who would take a radio apart and have pieces laying all over the place. However, what made him different was he could take the parts and put ‘em all back together, and the radio would work!

They were two of the best ever, yet completely different personalities.  The one thing I saw as being common to both Bob and Roy was they had the ability to apply ‘common sense’ to situations that seemed to be overwhelmingly complicated, and suddenly all of those things made sense.

John Douglas completed the triangle of what I still call the ‘Top Three.’  Douglas was probably the best profiler ever.  John, however, possessed an ability to see things very few could see, and using great common sense, could determine the ‘why’ of a crime better than anyone.  He’s still called the “Modern Sherlock Holmes.”  Deservedly so.  The character Jack Crawford in “Silence of the Lambs,” was based on John, who himself has authored quite an impressive number of books.

As an example of how common sense played into a major investigation, one case comes immediately to mind: In Atlanta in the 1980’s, young black boys were being killed at an alarming rate.  Ultimately the death toll reached 33.  During the investigation, Roy Hazelwood was brought down in an effort to provide a profile of this prolific serial killer.  The common belief was the killer was white, probably a member of the KKK.  Roy was with 3 detectives, looking around the area where most of the kidnappings occurred.  All of the detectives happened to be black. 

Suddenly, Roy noticed that all activity stopped and people were looking at the four of them.  He asked a detective what that was about, and the reply was “There’s a white guy (Roy) in the area.”  From that, Roy concluded the killer had to be black, a person who could move around freely without being noticed.  This was not a popular opinion, but it turned out to be correct when one Wayne Williams was arrested and ultimately convicted for the murders.
Here again, there was no psychic insight involved.  Simply assessing a situation, seeing it for what it was, and applying common sense to come up with a solution and answers.

During the investigation, John Douglas came to Atlanta to help Roy.  After the coroner made a public statement that they were getting good forensic evidence off the bodies which had been found, John made a prediction to investigators.  He said, “The next body will be found in a body of water.”  So, surveillances were established in likely places.  Sure enough, about a week later, an officer on surveillance under a bridge over the Chattahoochee River, heard a big splash.  He then saw a car leaving and stopped the driver. 

With no further evidence to go on, the officer took the driver’s information and description of the car.  A day or so later, the body of Nathaniel Cater was pulled from the river.  Sure enough, the person who threw the body over the side of the bridge was Wayne Williams.  This was the critical link in breaking the case, all because of a criminal profiler’s experience, knowledge, and the use of common sense in his assessment of the overall situation.

The point of this would be – when you’re writing an article about a profiler, don’t give him or her supernatural or psychic powers, because a true profiler relies on his or her training, experience and common sense.

Buy FBI Diary Profiles of Evil at

Pete's Website: 


Pete served two tours in Vietnam on submarines, attended college in Denver, then was a police officer in Ventura, California for ten years. He was appointed a Special Agent in 1979 and retired 1999 after 30 total years of law enforcement service. Pete was one of the original ‘profilers’ in the FBI, serving in four FBI offices. He was named the 1999 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by a national organization. Having recently retired as a college professor, Pete and his wife Nancy live in Colorado Springs, CO.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Billie Johnson- Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I welcome publisher Billie Johnson, owner of Oak Tree Press, to Twelve Question Tuesday.

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.
I believe the smartest, most clever people are the ones who laugh at my jokes….2) while I am a total workaholic, I DO have a long list of guilty pleasures I partake of regularly, and 3) I don’t suffer fools gladly…I find it really hard to be nice to stupid, ill-informed people. 

2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A hard choice, since I love ‘em both…but I’ll say CAT, since Frida Kahlo, my darling girl, is probably reading this over my shoulder. 

3.  Tea or coffee? 

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando? (Either what you prefer or what you prefer on others.)
Boxers…although we really should talk to Jeana (OTP PR Manager) and see what it is that her man sports…I’ve had that view and ….wow! 

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
In junior high, I wrote, directed and was a performer in a short play for our school’s Talent Show. It was a homage to some I Love Lucy episodes, kind of a mish-mash of several of them. Yolanda (who once worked with me at OTP) was my good pal then and portrayed an actress in the Lucy-like part, and I played her director. Amazingly, the audience loved it and roared with laughter…and I was hooked!

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer? 
About half way through my first novel… 

7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written? 
I had barely gotten started with writing fiction when I veered off and created OTP, so I can’t really say that I wrote something that makes me swell with pride. However, a few months ago, as I sorted through things to prepare for my move back to California, I came across the opening few pages of a novel. Reflexively, I started reading it and immediately thought, hey, this is good. It was funny, and well-set up to feature an engaging and quirky character. However, there was no author name on the pages. I was stumped for a moment before I realized this was the start of the novel I began just prior to launching OTP….amazing!

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
When I was 28, I faced a health crisis that scared the be-jeepers out of me. At a routine doctor’s appointment, I got sudden, unexpected and stunning news that there was a serious problem with my heart. Life took on a surreal quality as I schlepped from medical exams to tests to consultations, the upshot of which was that I had to decide between an invasive surgery and a health decline without a happy ending. Looking back, it always seems scarier that this process stretched on for several months…made me a total proponent of the ‘yank off the band-aid fast’ philosophy!

9.  How did you end up getting published?
Unless you count all the things I’ve published on behalf of Oak Tree Press, this thrill is still ahead of me. I never wanted to chance it that OTP would be considered a ‘straw man’ publisher, one set up to legitimize the principal’s self-publishing, so when I got the biz rolling, I back-burnered all my own writing. I often tell myself that when I know I must cease to run OTP, I will publish one of my manuscripts as the final title. We’ll see. 

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen? 
Hmmmm….I’ll have to ponder this.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
As a life-long proponent of the Schlitz philosophy (‘you only go ‘round once, so grab for all the gusto you can…’) I have taken many sharp turns in my life. Most recently, I decided to pack it all into a 17-foot U-haul truck and move back to California. However, to select just one most-daring-thing, I would choose the launch of OTP. I had no money, very little knowledge of the book business, no design skills, and mastery of only the most basic consumer-level computer stuff…all I had was this crazy idea that I could put it together as I went along. And amazingly, I did. Now we are in our fifteenth year. I have watched a lot of publishing houses, all sizes and abilities, start, stumble and fade away, and we are still here. We have attracted some detractors, and most of them have faded away too…and we are still here. I saw a one-man play years ago where the refrain was “When you come back, I’ll be here…” That works for me.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?  The fame would be based on something good, not something like being the best serial killer or anything like that.
I’d rather be rich, since money often equates to power and influence in our culture, and I could probably lever that into fame, if fame was a goal. Also, I’d love the option of being wildly benevolent, and money could make that possible. And I could pitch a feature article on Holli and her novels to PEOPLE or THE NEW YORKER, and if they declined, I could just buy the mag and fire the guy who said ‘no’….now THAT’s entertainment!

Billie Johnson is the publisher at Oak Tree Press. An independent book publisher since 1998, OTP has 200+ titles, half mystery/crime fiction, some romance, westerns, paranormal, self help, how to and memoir. Also some children’s books, and travel books. 

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Writing Difficult Topics by Claire Rogerson

Today's guest blog is by writer Claire Rogerson and includes a topic near and dear to the heart of my protagonist Ryan Murphy in Gumbo Justice and Jambalaya Justice. When the mystery series begins, Ryan has begun drinking somewhat excessively to cope with some issues from her past.  Read what Claire has to say about writing about this and other sensitive topics.

Late Nights, Not After School: Writing Difficult Topics
There are some topics which have to be handled with respect - not necessarily the kind of respect you’d give royalty, but the kind you give to volatile chemicals. One wrong move and you can explode the hard work you’ve put into the rest of your novel, leaving the reader feeling cheated, used, and thoroughly disengaged from the story. Call them the after-school special topics: addiction, rape, abuse, and mental illness. They’re the big guns a lot of beginning (or just subpar) writers reach for when they want to create drama without doing the work, using them as a cheap shortcut to sympathetic characters, “gritty” plots, and a general sense of edginess. Not only does this disrespect the people who actually live through these things, they’re easily sniffed out by disappointed readers. Of course, there are ways of avoiding using these topics lazily; all it takes is knowledge, consideration, and understand the story you’re trying to tell. 

Do The Research
Before you start writing, start reading. Although almost all stories require - and definitely benefit from - research, we can extrapolate from our own lives for most emotional states. Yet with so many cliches, incorrect tropes, and “everybody knows” ideas around these topics, it’s particularly important to let go of what you think you know and start fresh. You can do everything else right, but your story will feel hollow unless you start with facts and lived experiences. It’s fine to have a character with OCD, but there’s a world of difference between one who just washes their hands a lot and one who struggles realistically with intrusive thoughts.

Read everything: websites, books, and forums where people who live with these things gather to talk. (For the latter, it can be helpful to introduce yourself; not only is it polite, but you might find people you can ask specific questions.) As a way of ridding yourself of misconceptions, one trick is to write down everything you believe about the topic and then making notes on each belief as you learn more - some of them might be true, but even those will likely have much more to them.

Where Are They, And Why?
One of the rookie mistakes writers make when writing these topics is to use them as high drama, placing their character squarely inside the most intense moments. While this is a legitimate story, it can also be a major distraction (and a source of cringe-worthy melodrama) if it’s not applicable to the actual plot. Instead, it’s possible to acknowledge these topics as part of life and examine the subtleties instead of the shouts.

Take addiction, for example. It’s possible to have believable, appropriate characters who are deep within their addiction, but it’s also effective to have their addiction be only one part of their complex whole. They might have gone through alcohol addiction recovery a decade earlier, or they might be on the cusp of addiction - those months or years when it’s anyone’s guess whether it will one day be something to worry about. Particularly for the latter approach, sometimes it’s something you know (that in ten years they’ll be regular AA attendees, for example) that doesn’t need to even be mentioned; it informs the way they are now, but might not ever be said outright. Considering your character’s addiction - or mental illness, or abuse - in the context of their life will bring a new sense of truth and solidity to its inclusion, allowing your words to ring true even to people who have experienced what you’re writing.

How Does It Fit?
Finally, it’s critical to examine why you’re including one of these topics. Is it because it makes sense in the context of the plot, does it add to characterization and deepen your story, or is it being used for shock value or another reason? There’s some genres where shock-value inclusion is valid, but for most stories it will have the opposite of the intended effect: instead of deepening the reader’s interest, they’ll see it for what it is and roll their eyes, pulling them out of your story. Not really the reaction you’re looking for, is it? By getting a handle on why you’re including one of these topics as background, a plot point, or anything else, you’ll be closer to recognizing the best way to write it.

These topics shouldn’t be taboo - in fact, it’s the much-maligned after-school specials which helped to bring them into mainstream conversation. Yet we’re a lot way from the days when they automatically brought an exploitive thrill simply by inclusion, and they should be treated with dignity and healthy respect. With those in place, you’re well on your way to writing something with real bite.


Claire Rogerson is a freelance writer, who made a career change after giving birth to her first daughter. She now enjoys the perfect, if busy, combination of researching her passion for helping people overcome addictions with writing and at the same time looking after her family. When not doing all of that, she's an avid volleyball fan and gardener. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beryl Reichenberg: Twelve Question Tuesday

Today I welcome Beryl Reichenberg to my first Twelve Question Tuesday interview. 

1.  Please tell me the three most important things people should know about you.

I’m an artist, author and illustrator of children’s books, and happy.
2.  Are you a dog person or a cat person?
I am both; I’ve had cats and dogs. Love them both. I’d like to have one of each now, but that is not possible.

3.  Tea or coffee?

I used to drink coffee, but now I drink tea. I dislike Starbuck’s coffee; it’s too strong.

4.  Boxers, briefs, boxer-briefs, or commando?
All are fine.

5.  What was the first thing you ever wrote?
I’m sure I wrote stories in school, but the first serious piece I ever wrote was a sketch about my experience in England during the 60’s when I lived there for a year about my first experience shopping for food, English style.

6.  When did you finally decide to call yourself a writer?

 After Billie signed me up to publish my first book, Ants on a Log.


7.  Which of your works are you most proud to have written? 
Probably that first OTP book, Ants on a Log, because it was an actual story about my son and his dislike of vegetables.

8.  What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Having my finger mended when it was caught in a car door when I was about four years old.

9.  How did you end up getting published? 
I self-published a number of books with I met Billie at a writer’s festival in San Luis Obispo several years ago, just about the time she was thinking of publishing children’s books. She signed me up, and I now have five books with OTP.

10.  Would you be food or fighter if the zombie apocalypse were to happen? 
Oh dear, that’s a hard one. I think “food”, although one never knows when confronted by such prospects.

11.  What is the most daring thing you have ever done? 
Becoming an author.

12.  Would you rather be rich or famous--and you could only have one-- and why?
 I’d rather be famous! Being rich seems hollow at my age. Having enough money to live on for the rest of my days is sufficient. I’d rather do something meaningful with my life.


Links:  website:

My books are available from Oak Tree Press (, Amazon and a number of bookstores, children's stores, toy stores, and museums in California (view my webs site for this list).