Author Interview The Best of Jonathan’s Corner

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Interivew time! Today I’m interviewing CJS Hayward, author of creative non-fiction / religion “The Best of Jonathan’s Corner”. I hope you enjoy the interview.

What’s the hardest part of​ your path as an author?
Once I was trying to help a friend’s son look into colleges, and yesterday he handed me the phone, really excited, and said, “You have got to speak with these guys.” I fumbled the phone, picked it up, and heard, “—online. We offer perhaps the best-rounded of degrees, and from day one our students are equipped with a top-of-the-line Dell running up-to-the-minute Vista. We address back-end issues, giving students a grounding in Visual Basic .NET, striking the right balance between ‘reach’ and ‘rich,’ and a thorough groundings in Flash-based design and optimized for Internet Explorer . Throw in an MCSE, and marketing-based communication instruction that harnesses the full power of PowerPoint and covers the most effective ways to make use of animated pop-ups, opt-in subscriber lists, and—”

I interrupted. “Internet Exploder 6? Minesweeper Consultant and Solitaire Exp—excuse me, but what is your organization called?”

“The A-rist-o-crats.”
The joke is told ​about technology. It could also be told about the institution where I tried to earn my PhD, the hardest part of my path as an author yet and much worse, in my opinion, than cancer and chemotherapy with it.
As far as talent goes, I ranked, for instance, 7th in the nation in the 1989 MathCounts competition; I’ve been told I’m smarter than most Nobel prize laureates, and “the average Harvard PhD has never met someone as talented as you.” And I washed out of the program; my GPA was 3.386 after grading I found strange, and 3.5 was required to continue. End of discussion.
But I walked away from that with something better than a PhD; I walked away, for that matter, with something better than rooms full of silver and gold; I walked away with my life. And with all that happened, I’m not sure I should have emerged with that much.
And the fact that I’m not writing for refereed academic journals is probably good for my writing. It takes me a lot of effort to write; I might have less energy free if my effort was being siphoned by the rigors of another kind of writing competing for my energy. The Best of Jonathan’s Corner is more richly populated than if I were succeeding in academia, and the terrain I hoped to cover in my thesis is available to all in “Religion and Science” Is Not Just Intelligent Design vs. Evolution, included in The Best of Jonathan’s Corner.


Can you give us a short synopsis of The Best of Jonathan’s Corner?
 
The Best of Jonathan’s Corner is a collection of my best short works in theology, religion and spirituality across twenty years. Its contents are varied; in some ways it is more of a miniature library than a single work.
What inspired you to write this book?
 
For me, it really has been a process of inspiration, one that I can cooperate with but cannot summon. That is why I spend little time writing; I would spend more on my best works if I could, but the option is not open to me with how I create.
Let me give the inspiration process for the oldest and the newest pieces I have written this way. For the oldest, I was an undergraduate and had read Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in an Age of Show Business, and heard of Immanuel Kant’s Religion Within the Bounds of Bare Reason, and then attended a church service that was the very definition of why Postman said, “I am not worried about religion becoming the content of television. I am worried about television becoming the content of religion.” It even imitated television in having a banner above the pastor that looked like what you would see on television. And after trying to write down what bothered me (and having the preacher say “I’ll continue what I’m doing, unchanged”), there was a seed that blossomed and grew into the satire of Religion Within the Bounds of Amusement.
More recently, I had a general sense of concern about a dark side to technologies, and Vince Homan wrote, and included in a newsletter, an article about Facebook as including a significant threat to marriage. That left me almost reeling, and helped crystallize “Social Antibodies” Needed: A Request of Orthodox Clergy.
In both cases, besides any external stimuli, there was a process of spiritual listening, of sounding something out, and wrestling both to master the creation and to get myself out of the way so the creation can voice itself–which are one and the same thing, not two. Once things going, despite what I have written above, the process is much less about the external stimulus and much more about prayerfully attending to what is crystallized.

How many hours per day do you spend writing?
 
This is probably going to earn me status as a black sheep, but on the average, maybe two to three. Inspiration is a high point of my life, but it occupies a few days, maybe more, every few months. I wrote voluminously when I was in high school; now I write emails every day and will write something technical if an employer wants such, but however much moments of inspiration may be a defining moment, they are not my bread and butter. I’ve heard the famous saying that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, but in my experience inspiration carries the day when it is there, and when it is not there, perspiration without inspiration is just perspiration.
Name your top seven favorite books.
 
One would be The Best of Jonathan’s Corner. It has, gathered together, all of my favorite works, and I write the kind of works I would like to read but can’t find.
The next three are all collections: the Bible, the Philokalia, and the Ante-Nicene Fathers / Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers collections. I am presently going through the many volumes of the last collection; I’ve read perhaps a quarter of the works that interest me.
Last to mention are C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, Madeleine l’Engle’s A Wind in the Door, and Robert A. Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land. I have moved increasingly further from all three of these, as well as others like Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary, but they all, in their own ways, were captivating to me, and shaped me as a man and as a writer.

What are you working on now?

Honestly, I’m working on getting a regular job. Do you know anyone who’s looking for a Jack-of-all-trades web developer? I’d love to hear!
What do you consider the most beautiful thing you’ve written?
That’s easy: nothing in The Best of Jonathan’s Corner. I’d pick my letters to my Grandma and Grandpa, who are getting on in years, and I try to write them one letter each day. They aren’t especially eloquent, or profound, or even interesting, but I don’t know of anything I’ve written that’s better than them.

About The Book

the-best-of-jonathans-corner-front-coverTitle: The Best of Jonathan’s Corner

Author: CJS Hayward

Genre: Creative non-fiction / many genres / religion and spirituality / Eastern Orthodox

The Best of Jonathan’s Corner, newly expanded ​ after getting five star reviews​, is a collection of varied works of Eastern Orthodox mystical theology. It spans many topics and many different genres of writing, but it keeps coming back to the biggest questions of all. It is inexhaustible: the works are independent, and you can read a few, many, or all of them to suit your taste. Fans of CS Lewis and GK Chesterton will love it.

Author Bio

wardrobe_full Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward wears many hats as a person: author, philosopher, theologian, artist, poet, wayfarer, philologist, inventor, web guru, teacher.

Some have asked, “If a much lesser C.S. Lewis were Orthodox, what would he be like?” And the answer may well be, “C.J.S. Hayward.”

Called “Jack of all trades and master of many” by one boss, he also wears many hats professionally: open source / IT generalist, front end developer, JavaScript programmer, back end web developer, Pythonista, PHP and Perl user, Django developer, end to end web developer, Unix/Linux/Mac wizard, LAMP guru, SQL generalist, Unix shell (both using existing shells and implementing a new shell), system administrator, researcher, technical writer, usability advocate, UI developer, UX/IA enthusiast, and more.

Hayward has lived in the U.S., Malaysia, England, and France, and holds master’s degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC), and philosophy and theology (Cambridge).

Links

http://tinyurl.com/best-of-jonathans-corner

http://CJSH.name

http://amazon.com/author/cjshayward

http://JonathansCorner.com

Author Interview with Troubled Spirits

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I’m hosting an interview with Teri Lee, author of YA paranormal “Troubled Spirits”. I hope you enjoy the interview. Thanks for Teri Lee for answering my questions.

What’s the hardest part of being an author?

The hardest part of being an author is juggling what I have to do with what I want to do. What I want to do is write every single day. I could lose myself in my story and never stop, not even to eat!  But life in the real world doesn’t disappear. I have a husband and children (although they are all adults now) and my writing doesn’t feed me  (yet) so I work as an ER nurse. Thankfully, that’s something I love. 


Can you give us a short synopsis of Troubled Spirits?  

After the death of her father, teenaged Annie Waters moves from her home in Florida to Shady Cove, Maine.  She is quickly befriended by Harmony, a ghost obsessed teen. Despite Annie’s disbelief in anything supernatural, she joins her friends in an attempt to contact the spirit of the Caldwell School. The spirit they awaken terrorizes Annie and her friends.  But when Harmony is nearly killed, Annie realizes her only hope is to solve the fifty year old mystery surrounding two boys – one missing and one dead.  
What inspired you to write this book?
A few of my coworkers invited me to join them on some ghost adventures. I almost said no, until I decided that it might be fun to write a ghost story. Although the group fizzled, Troubled Spirits had taken root.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
That varies. I work 10-12 hour shifts 3-5 days a week. If I get home before my husband I can squeeze in about 2 hours. On my days off, its not unusual to spend 6 or more hours writing.
Name your top five favorite books.
1.  One Morning in Maine by Robert McCloskey – I love the illustrations and the story. I read it over and over to my children when they were little.
2.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – It’s just such a magical adventure.
3. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – I think I’m addicted to this story – I’ve read it at least eight times and if you set it out front of me right now, I’d pick it up and start reading again.
4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – I know it’s three books, but I’m counting it as one because how can you finish the first and do anything other than move onto the next. Tolkien was a master at creating worlds that the reader can lose themselves in.
5.  Harry Potter (all seven books) by J.K. Rowling – I read the first book to see what all the fuss was about (I’d heard that there were actually Harry Potter Book burnings!) and I loved it and moved right on to the next. I never did figure out what the fuss was about.
What are you working on now?
Im working on three stories–Whispering Spirits (a sequel to Troubled Spirits), Wijia – To Belong, which is a young adult fantasy/ adventure and I’m polishing my first story which is a middle grade fantasy. 

About The Book

troubledspiritscoverTitle: Troubled Spirits

Author: Teri Lee

Genre: YA Paranormal

Ghosts aren’t real.

That’s what Annie Waters believed before she snuck into the abandoned Caldwell School. Before the dark presence followed her home. Before she realized, her only hope was to believe.

 

Author Bio

authorteriGrowing up in Maine, Teri Lee spent most of her time reading and exploring in the woods. And that hasn’t changed. When she’s not writing, you’ll still find her lost in a book or out hiking. And if she’s not there, try the ER. But don’t worry, she’s the nurse, not the patient. Teri has three grown children and still resides in Maine with her husband.

 

Links

www.teri-lee-author.com

@TeriLee_author

https://www.facebook.com/author.TeriLee

Purchase: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/troubled-spirits

Cover Reveal Blood Phoenix: Claimed

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We’re celebrating the cover reveal for urban fantasy “Blood Phoenix: Claimed”.

Claimed cover base 2

Who knew immortality would be such a bitch.

Boot Camp for Vamps has a new prisoner, and Ria is testing her new world of rules and regulations, fighting her oldest nemesis—conformity. Her key battle is keeping her individuality and hiding her phoenix powers.

With an uptight mentor, an estranged werewolf, and an unlikely band of humans on her side, Ria must first survive her trials, designed to break her by a queen hell bent on making her suffer…let the nightmare begin.

 

Author Bio

author meAlisha Costanzo is from a Syracuse suburb. She earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she currently teaches English. Her third Broken World novel, LOVING RED, is undergoing serious edits for its 2015 release. And novelette, “Maiden of the Underworld,” will be released in anthology, DISTORTED in the Fall. In the meantime, she will continue to corrupt young minds, rant about the government, and daydream about her all around nasty creatures.

Links

Website: http://alishacostanzo.weebly.com/
Blog: http://alishamcostanzo.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brokenworldauthor
Twitter: @AlishaCostanzo
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4618491.Alisha_Costanzo

Giveaway

 There is a tour-wide giveway for 5 signed bookmarks, a signed physical copy of the book, 2 buttons, 2 magnets and a signed poster.

Go here to participate in the giveaway.

Release Day The Blue Effect

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The Blue Effect

frontcoverTitle: The Blue Effect

Author: Rose Shababy

Genre: Adult Urban Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Blue Brennan is jaded and bitter despite her pinup girl looks and quick wit. Night after night, she scours the Seattle club scene looking for someone or something to fill the emptiness inside.

When she meets the mysterious Kasey, her world stops… literally. He claims she has the ability to control time and stuns her even further when he reveals his own gifts.

Blue is inexplicably drawn to Kasey and reluctantly enters his world filled with a new breed of humanity. They’re misfits like her, blessed or cursed with powerful abilities, struggling to hide their differences from the rest of society.

Then the group discovers a nameless, faceless sociopath with nightmarish powers; and he’s coming for Blue. She’s left reeling when they discover her gifts are the key to defeating his terrible evil and saving them all.

Now she must race against the clock to harness her own powers and save her new friends. Can she be more than a renegade? Can she be a hero too?

What the reviewers say:

The best debut novel I’ve read in years. Blue is the type of unique, honest, protagonist usually only experienced in Stephen King novels. The Blue Effect was part Fight Club, part X-Men and sucked me in from the very first chapter to the very last word. Powerfully written with a compelling plot and wicked antagonist. Couldn’t ask for anything more – except the sequel! – Robert Dugoni, NY Times Best Selling Author My Sister’s Grave

Author Bio

author photoRose Shababy and her family reside in eastern Washington State. Rose grew up in the Northwest but swears she’s going to move to warmer climates someday. She’s claimed this for over 20 years, however, and has yet to move more than 75 miles away from her mother.

Rose has a deep love of all things Star Trek and yearns to travel the heavens, as well as an intense desire to be bitten by a radioactive spider. Unfortunately she sucks at science and math so she hasn’t been able bring her dreams to life, instead living vicariously through books, comics, television and film. She hopes to someday make a million dollars so she can afford to buy her way to the international space station, but she’d settle for being able to fly around the world and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rose also loves to cook and worked for years in a gourmet Italian grocery and deli where she learned to hone her skills. She prepares culinary masterpieces for her family, but fervently wishes the dishes would wash themselves. Especially now that her dishwashers/children are nearly grown and only one still lives at home.

Rose likes to use her free time wisely. For instance, she likes to daydream, will often read for hours until she falls asleep on the couch with an electric blanket and a warm tabby cat curled up on her hip, as well as spending cozy weekend days watching Syfy movies like Sharknado and Mega Piranha with her husband.

If Rose were a cartoon animal, she’d prefer to be a wise old owl or a sleek and sexy jaguar, but in reality she’d probably be a myopic mole with coke-bottle glasses.

Links

Website: http://roseshababy.com

https://www.facebook.com/rose.shababy

twitter: https://twitter.com/RoseShababy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/6063741-rose-shababy

Purchase the book: Amazon and B&N

Author Interview When All Balls Drop Tour

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I’m interviewing Heidi Safkas, author of non-fiction / inspirational / memoir “When All Balls Drop”. Enjoy the interview.

What’s the hardest part of being an author?

I find that being an author is my true calling. It allows me to do what I love: write, inspire, travel, and learn. However, that doesn’t mean that it is easy. I would say since I have been focusing of non-fiction, memoir writing over the past years, I feel that the hardest part of being an author for me is that I relive those parts of my life, all the joy and pain together. I believe even for fiction writers, there is a deep personal connection to what one writes. I also know there is a lot of hidden truth and non-fiction in fiction.

As a side note, I do want to warn other writers that today you have to do more than write to be a successful author. You are your marketing and PR team too. You need to be an expert in social media, savvy with imaging and video, and basically a Jack or Jill of all trades.


Can you give us a short synopsis of When All Balls Drop? What inspired you to write this book?

In fall of 2009, I was visiting New York’s Hudson River Valley when in a split second, a thousand pound tree limb struck me, breaking my neck and leaving me unconscious for days. After neurosurgery and release from the hospital for a multiple month recovery far away from where home was at the time, South Florida, I also discovered my husband had been living a double life. If that wasn’t enough, I received a call from my employer forcing me to resign, thus losing my professional identity. It was a triple whammy of loss. During I was writing in a journal. It was my therapy as well as walking. Through both my writing and walking, I gradually reframed my circumstances. I decided that I had lost everything, but I had the opportunity redesign my life, having it all: health, love, and career. It was nearly a year and half after the accident while on a multiple week walkabout in South America when I decided to write When All Balls Drop, using those same journal entries as foundation.

 


How many hours per day do you spend writing?

As a goal, I try to concentrate for only two hours by setting an alarm on my phone. However, I find that the majority of time, I pause the alarm to continue a thought or until it feels that I’m not making any good progress. There are days where I’m on a roll and I forget to eat, go to the gym much later than usual, and work all-day. Also, remember that I spend a good portion of each day aside from writing on building my audience, marketing, and PR.


Name your top five favorite books.

Kiss My Tiara by Susan J Gilman

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections Nora Ephron

 


What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing a sequel. It will pick up where I left off in When All Balls Drop. It will begin with revisiting my roots in small-town Wisconsin. It will continue on in South Florida where I started to rebuild my life: finding a job, dating again, and changing my home. It includes a crucial therapeutic walkabout to South America. Its main theme describes the healing components of travel whether to a foreign place or somewhere as familiar as your hometown. The perspective gained from getting away completed my life change sparked by the tree in 2009.

I plan on releasing my next book in the fall of 2015. Until then, I will be promoting When All Balls Drop in Florida, Wisconsin, Kauai, and Massachusetts. You can check out my events on www.heidisiefkas.com and my Facebook page. Don’t worry! If you are in remote area, you can attend one of my virtual events.

About The Book

whenallballsdropcoverTitle: When All Balls Drop: The Upside of Losing Everything

Author: Heidi Siefkas

Genre: Non-Fiction, Inspirational, Memoir

The true story of a survivor
who through losing everything,
redefined having it all

Heidi Siefkas was a happily married, globetrotting professional who seemingly “had it all”—until a tree limb in New York’s Hudson River Valley struck her down, breaking her neck and leaving her unconscious. Suddenly, life as she knew it stopped. She lost her independence. She lost her career. She watched her marriage disintegrate as she confronted a trail of devastating lies about her husband’s double life.

She had lost all that mattered, but she was a survivor. She fought to restore her health, repair her broken heart, and rebuild herself. Along the way, she gained clarity about her core values, ultimately coming to a deeper understanding of what it means to have it all.

Through down-to-earth, short vignettes, When All Balls Drop shows us how it’s possible to “look up” in spite of pain, deceit, and loss. Heidi’s memoir–rich with hope and humor, inspires anyone who’s had to confront tragedy and reassess their life in the wake of life-altering events.

Author Bio

Heidi Siefkas is an author and adventurer. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, she lives in Kauai and also calls the Midwest and South Florida home. Heidi is currently crafting a sequel to this memoir, embracing both her wanderlust and love of writing by documenting her many travels. You can connect with Heidi at www.heidisiefkas.com, Facebook, and Twitter.

Links

Website: http://www.heidisiefkas.com

Twitter: @HeidiSiefkas

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeidiNSiefkas?ref=hl

Book Review This Beautiful World

ThisBeautifulWorld500x750Title: This Beautiful World

Author:  Elisabeth Jackson

Genre: Romantic Suspense / Mystery

As children, RaeAnne and her sidekick King were held captive after they discovered the body of a boy their age in a crate of apples in their small town’s peculiar orchard. Now RaeAnne is grown and the mother of a troubled young daughter. After her mother is killed in an accident, she travels home to her father with her daughter. But RaeAnne finds that she is not welcomed by everyone, and frightening incidents start to happen involving her and her family. As RaeAnne unravels the mysteries of her childhood, including what happened to her older brother, who vanished on the same night RaeAnne and King found terror in the orchard, she reunites with King. The boy she knew has grown up to be very handsome and guarded. But can the two ever be more than old friends who share a terrifying secret?

The past collides with the present in this romantic suspense / mystery novel. RaeAnne and her sidekick King were the best of friends when they were kids. But an event in the past scarred them for life – the discovery of a boy their age in a crate of apples in the town’s orchard. The same night of the discovery, RaeAnne’s brother disappears.

Now, years later, RaeAnne returns to town. However, as soon as she arrives, something or someone seems to target her and her family. The incidents are related to what happened that day she found the boy in the orchard, and if she wants to protect herself and her family, she’ll have to figure out what happened that fateful day. Meanwhile, she reconnects with her old friend King, as they try to solve the secrets that’ve been haunting them.

The characters were surprising – I could connect with most of them easily, RaeAnne being my favorite though. The book relies heavily on characterization, but at the same time provides an interesting plot that kept me guessing until the end. Good writing, and a book that’ll be enjoyed by all fans of romantic suspense and the old-friends-turn-lovers trope.

Release Day Party Troubled Spirits

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We’re celebrating the release day party today for YA paranormal “Troubled Spirits” today. Happy release day!

About The Book

troubledspiritscoverTitle: Troubled Spirits

Author: Teri Lee

Genre: YA Paranormal

Ghosts aren’t real.

That’s what Annie Waters believed before she snuck into the abandoned Caldwell School. Before the dark presence followed her home. Before she realized, her only hope was to believe.

 

Author Bio

authorteriGrowing up in Maine, Teri Lee spent most of her time reading and exploring in the woods. And that hasn’t changed. When she’s not writing, you’ll still find her lost in a book or out hiking. And if she’s not there, try the ER. But don’t worry, she’s the nurse, not the patient. Teri has three grown children and still resides in Maine with her husband.

 

Links

www.teri-lee-author.com

@TeriLee_author

https://www.facebook.com/author.TeriLee

Purchase: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/troubled-spirits