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Samantha Heuwagen, author of the Starless Series, is on the blog today to chat about her inspirations, influences, and allowing her work to fuel her muse. Welcome, Samantha!

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Author Name: Samantha Heuwagen

Book Title: The Starless Series: Fading Starlight (Book II)

Book Genre: Feminist Science Fiction

Release Date: June 17th, 2019

Publisher: Trifecta Publishing House

Please tell us about your latest release.

With the #MeToo movement in full swing, I wanted to add to activism and be involved. By creating an open discussion about mental health and helping a loved one dealing with sexual assault, Fading Starlight was born. As a therapist, I work with survivors all the time and I wanted to offer my thoughts on what happens to a system (ie family, friends, community) after such a life altering event. Fading Starlight examines what happens when misunderstandings and mistrust explode during an already stressful time and how people can come together to support and love one another.

Did you come up with the title on your own? Or did you get some help?

One of my dear friends actually thought of it after hearing a few of my ideas. He hated what I had (with a passion) but offered Fading Starlight as a great alternative. We both stopped what we were doing and had a moment of silence––that’s when we knew it was a perfect fit for this book!

I’d love to hear more about your process–how long did it take to write and what sort of research did you do, if any?

It took about six months, which was extremely fast for me. My debut novel, Dawn Among the Stars took years, but something about Fading Starlight felt right and it flew by quickly.

The only research I had to do was about their final destination in the book. Without giving away too much, I realized my memory was very poor about Mackinac Island and, thankfully, I had time last summer to visit and take a lot––a lot––of notes! I was really lucky and it helped create the setting for the finale and following books.

For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?

At first I thought it was about moving the story along in an interesting and insightful way, but now, it’s just finding the time! As a therapist with a private practice, if I’m not careful I can go days without writing, which just feels awful! I have to be mindful about creating time and space to write. It fuels my soul to be a better therapist, too.

What do you love most about it?

I love the creativity it brings to my life and how it’s my way of making the world a better place. It’s my own form of activism.

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read your books?

Science Fiction is known for being a male dominated genre. I take that idea and flip it on its head by showcasing independent, smart, and sassy women kicking ass and taking names. Gone are the days of heroes fighting aliens. Now, females are getting a piece of the action. Plus, if you want to see mental health done right, The Starless Series is for you. I’m very proud of the fact many of my readers have told me they felt for the characters in more ways than one and saw themselves reflected in the pages, whether it be because they also live with mental illness or because they could relate.

How does your day job inform your novel writing?

There are so many ways my work as a marriage and family therapist influences my writing. From the depictions of mental health to the way sexual assault is discussed by the characters, nothing I do is untouched by my work. I really believe the best way to educate and change the stereotypes of therapy is by showing how it works and fiction offers that ability.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love hiking with my family in the North Georgia Mountains and yoga.

What are you working on now?

I am working on two projects. I’m working on the third installment of The Starless Series, Stardust Emerging, which is a lot of fun since I feel like I know the characters so well. My second project is a memoir about my life and feminist ideals. It’s a body positive look at going braless and what I’ve learned about myself in the process. I’m really excited to see how it turns out.

Where can readers find you?

Website: https://samanthaheuwagen.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samantha_heuwagen/ (I’m over here a lot and we have a ton of fun!)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sheuwagen

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/609493369396318/about/

Thank you, Samantha! Fading Starlight releases on June 17 and is available for pre-order NOW.

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Even the stars mourn . . .

Earth is but a shadow of itself as three Humans begin to pick up the pieces of war-torn Earth and their shattered lives.

Kayin Aves finds herself on Selucia with no word on whether or not she’ll be able to return to her beloved planet. With such uncertainty, her fears cause her to push away any La’Mursian that might help her fight for Earth. However, her inner strength gives her hope that she can put an end to this war.

When Beenishia set up a base camp for survivors, she knew it would be a target––but she didn’t calculate the full cost. Because of this, Henry and Melissa realize that war is more than just gunfire and explosions. Psychological tactics threaten to tear the survivors apart and end the fragile bond forming between what’s left of the La’Mursians and Humans.

Can they save Earth, or is this just the beginning of the end?

BIO

Samantha Heuwagen works as a Marriage and Family Therapist that specializes in Sex Therapy in Atlanta, GA. She is a graduate of Mercer University School of Medicine where she earned her second Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her first Master’s degree is in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of South Florida where she first realized her passion for sex education and the power of the written word. When she isn’t working with clients, she writes about faraway places and tries to change the world through fiction bridging mental health awareness and social justice together.


Today, I’d like to welcome my author friend, Cindy Fazzi, to the blog. She’s a journalist who also writes historical fiction and romance novels. I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her latest book, My MacArthur.

Author Name: Cindy Fazzi

Book Title: My MacArthur

Book Genre: Historical Fiction

Released: Nov. 1, 2018

Publisher: Sand Hill Review Press

How would you describe your latest book?

It’s a fictionalized account of General Douglas MacArthur’s tumultuous, interracial relationship with a young Filipino actress named Isabel Rosario Cooper in the 1930s.

What sparked the idea for My MacArthur?

I was born and raised in the Philippines, where MacArthur lived for 13 years. He spent a quarter of his military career there. My parents’ generation revered him, so when I first read about his relationship with Isabel Rosario Copper, I was really intrigued. Almost all history books about MacArthur mentions her, usually in the footnotes, because there’s very little information about the relationship. My curiosity persisted, so I just had to write this novel.

How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?

My MacArthur was 10 years in the making. I spent a lot of time looking for reliable primary sources and even more time building up my self-confidence to write about someone as iconic as MacArthur. But I couldn’t get Isabel off my mind, so in the end, I wrote the book because of her.   

If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read My MacArthur?

The world knows Douglas MacArthur as a maverick general and World War II hero, but few people know his private life. My novel gives readers a glimpse of the hidden part of MacArthur’s life. It’s the first book to focus on his relationship with Isabel.

How does your day job inform your novel writing?

I used to be a journalist and now I’m a marketing content writer. Writing has always been my source of income. My day job gives me a paid opportunity to practice my craft every single day, and for that I’m very grateful.

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

Website: https://www.cindyfazzi.com/

Twitter: @CindyFazzi

Facebook: Cindy Fazzi

Instagram: @cindyfazzi

Thank you, Cindy! My MacArthur is out now.

My MacArthur

The year is 1930. The place: Manila. Douglas MacArthur is the most powerful man in the Philippines, a United States colony.  He’s fifty years old, divorced, and he falls in love at first sight with a ravishing young Filipino woman. He writes her a love note on the spot. Her name is Isabel Rosario Cooper, an aspiring movie actress. One glance at his note and she thinks of him as my MacArthur.

MacArthur pursues his romantic obsession even though he’s breaking numerous taboos. She reciprocates his affection because he could open doors for her financially struggling family. That MacArthur happens to be handsome compensates for the fact that he’s as old as her father.

 When MacArthur is appointed the U.S. Army chief of staff, he becomes the youngest four-star general and one of America’s most powerful men. Out of hubris, he takes Isabel with him to America without marrying her.

Amid the backdrop of the Great Depression, MacArthur and Isabel’s relationship persists like “a perilous voyage on turbulent waters,” as she describes it. In 1934, after four years of relationship, MacArthur leaves Isabel for fear of a political scandal.

The general goes on to become the iconic hero of World War II, liberating the Philippines and rebuilding Japan. Isabel drifts in Los Angeles unable to muster the courage to return to Manila. As he ascends to his special place in American history, she plunges into a dark place.

BIO

Cindy Fazzi is a Filipino-American writer and former Associated Press reporter. Her historical novel, My MacArthur, was published in November 2018 by Sand Hill Review Press. My MacArthur was chosen as a quarterfinalist in the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book contest. Fazzi also writes romance novels under the pen name Vina Arno.


Please help me welcome a fellow women’s fiction author to the blog today, Heather Frimmer, who wrote Bedside Manners. Welcome, Heather!

Author Name: Heather Frimmer

Book Title: Bedside Manners

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction/Medical Fiction

Release Date: Out Now

Publisher: SparkPress

Please tells us a bit about Bedside Manners.

In this gripping and emotional mother-daughter story, an unexpected breast cancer diagnosis causes both Joyce Novak and her medical student daughter, Marnie, to evaluate their priorities and question the future course of their lives.

How does your day job inform your novel writing? Did you do have to do any research?

I work full time as a radiologist specializing in breast imaging. I interpret mammograms, discuss results with patients and perform breast biopsies. Because I really did write what I know, no research was necessary. That allowed me to focus on figuring out how to write a novel!

What sparked the idea for Bedside Manners? Is the mother-daughter relationship in the novel based on your relationship with your own mother?

Joyce’s story was inspired by the thousands of breast cancer patients I’ve had the honor of caring for. I used my observations to make Joyce’s journey as authentic and emotionally resonant as possible. Many people have asked me whether Joyce and Marnie’s relationship is based on my relationship with my mother. The funny thing is, I didn’t consciously model Joyce after my mother. But now that the book is released and I have a bit of distance, I see a surprising number of similarities in their personalities.  I explored this topic in an essay on the SparkPress blog:
Preserving My Mom In Writing: Behind the Book with Heather Frimmer, author of Bedside Manners

How long did it take for you to write the book? 

I wrote the first sentence in June 2014 and it was accepted for publication in the summer of 2017. The timeline may seem fast, but there was a lot of blood, sweat and tears in those three years. 

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

When I’m not interpreting X-rays, performing breast biopsies or writing my next novel, you’ll find me reading. I usually read about 100 books a year and I review the books I love on my blog and on the Books, Ink website.

In my limited free time, I love to attend the theater both in New York City and around my Connecticut home. My husband and two sons are all actors, so we often see shows together. When they are on stage, I show my support for them as an enthusiastic audience member.

What a creative family–I love it! What are you working on now?

I am currently deep into editing my next novel. In this story, a male neurosurgeon with an addiction to pills makes the decision to operate on his sister-in-law’s brain. It wouldn’t be a novel if everything went smoothly, now would it? My publicist describes it as “a complex tale of addiction, love and survival on the operating table.” I’ll take that!

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?

Website: heatherfrimmer.com

Social media:      Facebook: heatherfrimmerauthor

                                    Twitter: @heatherfrimmer

                                    Instagram: @heatherfrimmer           

Thank you, Heather! Bedside Manners is available NOW.

BEDSIDE MANNERS

As Joyce Novak’s daughter, Marnie, completes medical school and looks ahead to a surgical internship, her wedding, and a future filled with promise, a breast cancer diagnosis throws Joyce’s own future into doubt. Always the caregiver, Joyce feels uncomfortable in the patient role, especially with her husband and daughter. As she progresses through a daunting treatment regimen including a biopsy, lumpectomy, and radiation, she distracts herself by planning Marnie’s wedding. 

When the sudden death of a young heroin addict in Marnie’s care forces Marnie to come face-to-face with mortality and her professional inadequacies, she also realizes she must strike a new balance between her identity as a doctor and her role as a supportive daughter. At the same time, she struggles with the stark differences between her fiancé’s family background and her own and comes to understand the importance of being with someone who shares her values and experiences. 

Amid this profound soul-searching, both Joyce and Marnie’s futures change in ways they never would have expected.

BIO:

Heather Frimmer is a physician by day, specializing in diagnostic radiology and breast imaging, and an avid reader and writer at all other times. A published book reviewer across multiple websites and a member of the Westport Writers’ Workshop, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and two sons. 


Huge welcome to another #Authors18 alum, Jaycee Jarvis. She’s on the blog today to chat about her latest novel, Deadly Courtship.

Author Name: Jaycee Jarvis

Book Title: Deadly Courtship

Book Genre: Fantasy Romance

Release Date: May 1st

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Please tell us about your latest book.

A kick-ass warrior woman and her cinnamon roll ex-lover must work together to create a safe home for his brother’s orphans.

What sparked the idea for Deadly Courtship?

It’s kind of a strange story–I was reading a book by a beloved author, and the heroine was getting pushed around a little too much. Madi (my heroine) kind of sprang fully formed into my head as someone who wouldn’t put up with any nonsense–from anyone! It was a lot of fun fleshing out a hero who would challenge her, and a properly meaty murder mystery for her to solve

What sparked the idea for Deadly Courtship?

It’s kind of a strange story–I was reading a book by a beloved author, and the heroine was getting pushed around a little too much. Madi (my heroine) kind of sprang fully formed into my head as someone who wouldn’t put up with any nonsense–from anyone! It was a lot of fun fleshing out a hero who would challenge her, and a properly meaty murder mystery for her to solve

For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?

I have a really hard time letting go of a story and calling it good enough for the world. I have some perfectionist tendencies, and can always see ways to tinker with a story.

What do you love most about it?

It’s incredibly satisfying to see all the pieces come together, and to really bring my characters to life. I’m a character first writer, and try convey authentic emotional experiences. When my characters resonate with a reader, I feel like I’ve accomplished my job as a writer.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love to travel and experience new places and cultures. I’m very curious about the world in all its wonderful verity, and love to try new things, especially new foods. I’m an adventurous eater, with a huge sweet tooth. I would travel a lot more but unfortunately my budget is limited. Instead I make do with going on adventures between the pages of a book!

Where can readers find you?

Website: http://www.jayceejarvis.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjayceejarvis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JayceeJarvis

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jaycee-jarvis

THANK YOU, Jaycee! Deadly Courtship releases TOMORROW!

Han-Triguard Magdelena turned her back on her heritage and her family in order to pursue life as a Hand, honor bound to serve as a Protector in the tropical market town of Trimble. She never regrets putting duty first, until a string of brutal murders changes everything.

Her former lover, the attractive musician Jasper, stands accused. Madi knows the gentle empath could never kill anyone, but her word alone is not enough to protect him. Even worse, one of the other victims is a member of her old clan, for whom justice is entirely out of reach.

As Madi begins to question the demands of her work, Jasper asks her to give safe haven to his brother’s orphans. With the children, Jasper has the family he’s always wanted, a dream Madi has never shared. Living in close quarters, their attraction combusts while Madi is beset by unwanted tenderness for the children. When a new threat looms, Madi vows to protect their future, make peace with her past and maybe find a love worth fighting for.

If only she can stop the killer in time…

BIO:

Jaycee Jarvis has been an avid romance reader since devouring all the Sweet Dreams books her middle school library had to offer. Also a fantasy fan from an early age, she often wished those wondrous stories had just a bit more kissing. Now she writes stories with a romantic heart set against a magical backdrop, creating the kind of book she most likes to read.

When not lost in worlds of her own creation, she resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children and a menagerie of pets.

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018. Blurb:

Jaycee is a Golden Heart® finalist and author of the Hands of Destin series. The first book in that series, Taxing Courtship, released in June 2018.


Previous Interviews:

April 16, 2019: Cathie Dunn Q&A

April 9, 2019: Maureen Connolly Q&A

February 26, 2019: MV Ellis Q&A

February 19, 2019: Elena Mikalsen Q&A

February 12, 2019: Sara Ackerman Q&A

January 29, 2019: Melissa Sercia Q&A

January 22, 2019: Danielle Haas Q&A

January 15, 2019: Negeen Papehn Q&A

January 2, 2019: Mike Chen Q&A

December 18, 2018: Bonnie Donigan Q&A

December 11, 2018: Clarissa Harwood Q&A

December 4, 2018: Anne Armistead Q&A

November 27, 2018: Nancy Jardine Q&A

November 20, 2018: Eloise De Sousa

November 13, 2018: Angela Wren Q&A

November 6, 2018: Suanne Schafer Q&A

October 30, 2018: Jess B. Moore Q&A

October 23, 2018: Lorraine Reese Q&A

October 9, 2018: Laura Heffernan Q&A

October 2, 2018: Melissa Sercia Q&A

September 25, 2018: Joan Livingston Q&A

September 18, 2018: Alan Rubin Q&A

September 4, 2018: Lizzie Chantree Q&A

August 28, 2018: Heidi Catherine Q&A

August 21, 2018: Jennifer Klepper Q&A

August 14, 2018: Megan Mayfair Q&A

August 7, 2018: Lissa Linden Q&A

July 31, 2018: Diane Freeman Q&A

July 24, 2018: Willa Ramsey Q&A

July 17, 2018: Rachel Dacus Q&A

July 10, 2018: Randee Green Q&A

July 3, 2018: Carolyn Walker Q&A

June 26, 2018: Joy Norstrom Q&A

June 19, 2018: Joan Livingston Q&A

June 5, 2018: Elizabeth LaBan Q&A

May 22, 2018: Dawn Ius Q&A

May 8, 2018: Alice Castle Q&A

April 24, 2018: Isabella May Q&A

April 14, 2018: Margarita Montimore Q&A 

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