I could not be happier for my friend and writer, Barbara Conrey. Her eagerly-anticipated debut, Nowhere Near Goodbye, launches TODAY.

Author Name: Barbara Conrey

Book Title: Nowhere Near Goodbye

Book Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: Releases August 4, 2020

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

Congratulations, Barbara! Please tell us a bit about Nowhere Near Goodbye.

Nowhere Near Goodbye is a story of family, failure, and second chances.

What sparked the idea for the book?

Years ago, a friend lost her granddaughter to a brain tumor called glioblastoma. It’s supposed to be extremely rare, yet I know four people personally who have died from this tumor. My friend suffered greatly while her granddaughter struggled to live and I felt powerless when her granddaughter died. I knew that someday I wanted to write a story where the tumor didn’t win. 

Thank you for sharing that. What a heartbreaking time for you and your friend. How did you go about researching the topic matter?

It took five years to write this book, but in my defense, I didn’t know what I was doing for the first two years.

I researched this tumor to the point where I received monthly newsletters from several cancer organizations with the latest findings on new techniques and clinical trials. I actually watched the removal of a tumor online and discovered a site where you could buy all of the tools needed to perform brain surgery – which just totally creeped me out.

As a novice writer, I was attracted to women’s fiction because there seemed to be guidelines that I could follow, or maybe it was because after I joined Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), there were so many helpful and talented authors who wrote WF that I fell into that genre. 

Yes, I love WFWA! Such a supportive community. For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?

For me, starting is the hardest part. Coming up with an idea and then putting it on the page.

And what do you love most about it?

I love it when I’m writing my rough draft, or even in the revision stage, where a thought sort of takes off, and even I don’t know fully where my initial thought will take me. It’s almost magical.

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

That’s a wonderful question and one I worry about. There are so many wonderful books to choose from. What inspires a reader to choose an unknown debut? I don’t think I know the answer to that other than this: I wrote this book because of the issues it addresses. Not just cancer and dying, but mothers who don’t fit the mother-mold. Mothers who are judged for their choices when fathers never would be. I wrote this book because second chances are so, so important, and I wish everyone could have a second chance. Maybe even a third. So maybe I’m hoping readers will find my book because they are interested in the same issues.

Are you working on a new project?

Yes! A new project! I find it challenging to be releasing my first book and knee-deep into the second. It kills me that I’ve had to put writing my second novel on the back burner temporarily. 

 My new novel is also about second chances and right and wrong. Just as Nowhere Near Goodbye is located in Intercourse, Pennsylvania, so is my new, as yet untitled, story. Two female friends fall in love during the early 1960s in one of the most conservative parts of the country. The story reflects their innocence. What they are forced to give up because of their feelings for each other. And a secret that threatens to destroy one of them. I love secrets! And second chances.

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

Facebook: Facebook.com/baconreywriter

Twitter: Twitter.com/@barbaraconrey

Instagram: Instagram.com/@barbaraconrey

Website: Author/Story Teller – Barbara Conrey

A mother’s love vs. a doctor’s oath.

Oncologist Emma Blake has dedicated her life to finding a cure for a rare brain cancer. Twenty-five years ago, Emma’s childhood friend Kate died of glioblastoma, and Emma vowed to annihilate the deadly disease. Now, Kate’s father, Ned, is pushing her to work harder to fulfill that promise.

When Emma discovers she’s pregnant, she’s torn between the needs of her family and the demands of her work. While Ned pressures her to do the unthinkable, her husband, Tim, decorates the nursery. Unwilling to abandon her research, Emma attempts to keep both sides of her life in balance. Emma knows she needs to reconcile her past with her present and walk the fine line between mother and physician. But Ned has a secret, and when Emma discovers what he’s been hiding, the foundation of her world cracks.


 Barbara Conrey worked in the health care industry for many years before opting for an early retirement, which lasted all of three months. She then accepted a position in finance, for which she had absolutely no background, and four years later, she decided to write a book. But not about finance.

Travel is her passion, along with reading, writing, hiking, and exploring antique shops. Her greatest love is Miss Molly, her rescue beagle. There are stories to be told about beagles, and Barbara hopes to incorporate some of them into her books.

Barbara lives in Pennsylvania, close to family and friends.

Calling all cozy mystery fans—best-selling author, Abby Vandiver, joins us this week to talk about her latest book, A Deadly Inside Scoop. Welcome, Abby!

Author Name: Abby Vandiver (writing as Abby Collette)

Book Title: A Deadly Inside Scoop (1st in An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series)

Book Genre: Cozy Mystery

Release Date: Out Now

Publisher: Berkley

How would you describe your latest book in one (or maybe two) killer sentences?

Ice cream and murder!

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

I do lots of research for all of my books. I always say I mix fact with fiction. But the research on my latest series, An Ice Cream Parlor Mystery, was so easy—I got to eat ice cream! And for writing a book, I can write pretty fast. I can finish a book in about three weeks to a month.

Wow! That’s amazingly fast. What drew you to the mystery genre?

I have always loved a good mystery. I love the idea of trying to follow clues or interpret what people are thinking or doing and why. The intrigue pulls me in, makes me think and for me that is exhilarating!

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

Oh! That’s a hard one. All my books are good depictions of my writing, and for my series, each book is a standalone so you can read them in any order. Still I would say, you should pick the first book in one of my cozy series to read. I guess I would recommend: Bed & Breakfast Bedlam, A Tiny Collierville Murder, Secrets, Lies and Crawfish Pies, or of course, A Deadly Inside Scoop.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love to binge watch Netflix (think Outlander, Umbrella Academy, Just Add Magic, and Lost in Space). And I love to travel. Sometimes I wake up and decided to get in my car and hit the road!

Are you working on a new project?

I am lucky enough to be a full-time writer, so that means I’m always working on new projects—trying to come up with new ideas, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing my job!

Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)? Feel free to include any upcoming, live/online events, too!

I have lots of events coming up. Many have changed from in-person to virtual since the world was turned upside down, so the best way to keep up with me (and stay in touch) is to follow me on my social media platforms.

Website:     www.authorabby.com

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/authorabbyl.vandiver

Twitter:       www.twitter.com/abbyvandiver

Instagram:  www.instagram.com/abbylvandiver

Wonderful! Thanks so much for the interview, Abby! A Deadly Inside Scoop is available NOW and her next in the series, A Game of Cones, will launch March 2, 2021.

This book kicks off a charming cozy mystery series set in an ice cream shop—with a fabulous cast of quirky characters.

Recent MBA grad Bronwyn Crewse has just taken over her family’s ice cream shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and she’s going back to basics. Win is renovating Crewse Creamery to restore its former glory, and filling the menu with delicious, homemade ice cream flavors—many from her grandmother’s original recipes. But unexpected construction delays mean she misses the summer season, and the shop has a literal cold opening: the day she opens her doors an early first snow descends on the village and keeps the customers away.

To make matters worse, that evening, Win finds a body in the snow, and it turns out the dead man was a grifter with an old feud with the Crewse family. Soon, Win’s father is implicated in his death. It’s not easy to juggle a new-to-her business while solving a crime, but Win is determined to do it. With the help of her quirky best friends and her tight-knit family, she’ll catch the ice cold killer before she has a meltdown…


WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY and internationally bestselling author, Abby L. Vandiver, who also writes as Abby Collette, has always enjoyed writing, combining that with her gift for telling stories and love of mystery she became an author. A hybrid, she has written as an indie as well as a traditionally published author. Abby has penned more than twenty books and short stories. Her new cozy from Penguin Berkley, A DEADLY INSIDE SCOOP, is the first in the new Ice Cream Parlor Mystery series.

Abby resides in South Euclid, Ohio and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and facilitating self-publishing and writing craft classes at her local library.

How exciting is it to host Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi on the blog today? I, like many, many writers, keep their Thesaurus series within arm’s reach. The Occupation Thesaurus is their latest. Welcome Angela and Becca!

Author Names: Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

Book Title: The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers

Book Genre: Writing Guide

Release Date: July 20th, 2020

Publisher: Jadd Publishing

Authors, please introduce yourselves and tell us a little bit about your books that help writers.

Hi everyone! Becca and I are an author duo that are basically attached at the hip, and the miles between us don’t matter. Becca resides with her family in Florida, USA and I (Angela!) live in Alberta Canada. We’ve known one another for about 15 years, written eight writing guides together, co-founded Writers helping Writers and One Stop for Writers…and yet we’ve only met in person four times!

What was the spark behind your latest, The Occupation Thesaurus?

The spark behind The Occupation Thesaurus is that we are on a mission to help writers strengthen their storytelling by thinking more carefully about every piece of description they include in a book. If more of the details we use are doing more than just paint a picture for readers, we give our stories depth. This depth is what stands out to readers and it will bring them back book after book. A character’s job is one of those details that sometimes writers give little thought to, and yet it is stocked with hidden power. It can be used to characterize, amplify theme, deploy conflict, and provide a natural environment for character arc transformation…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

How much time and research goes into each book in the Thesaurus series?

This really varies, depending on the subject. For occupations, an entry might take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to research. Other topics that tie deeper into psychology like emotions, personality traits and emotional wounds, can take much longer. And this is just to draft them, not refine them, of course.   

From your perspectives as both writers and writing coaches, what’s the hardest thing about writing? And what do you love most about it?

I think the hardest thing is probably learning to have patience because there’s a learning curve. The more you grow your knowledge of storytelling the more you see all the moving pieces and realize there’s still so much more to know and master. We’ll never master it all, but learning itself is a lifelong gift, I think. This ties to the best thing about writing, which is being able to use that knowledge in creative ways, and to live the lives of others through our characters. We experience new worlds, challenges and perspectives through our writing, and have an incredible opportunity to connect with readers, sharing our own beliefs, insights, and ideas. What an amazing job we all have!

Any new projects in the works?

After this book launch, sleep is my main project, lol. Some time off. After that, onward to the next book (not sure which it will be just yet), and we are always building more tools and resources at our One Stop for Writers site.

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

Becca and I love writers, and love connecting. Our main hubs are Writers Helping Writers ® (a helpful blog that supplies help with all things writing and especially description) and One Stop for Writers ®, a portal to resources and tools that turn writers into powerful storytellers. (One Stop has a free trial, if you’d like to know more.)

A few more places to find us:

Twitter @beccapuglisi

Twitter @AngelaAckerman

Twitter @OneStop4Writers

Becca’s Facebook

Angela’s Facebook

Angela’s Instagram (writers_helping_writers_angela)

Thanks so much for all the great questions!

Thank you, Angela and Becca! The Occupational Thesaurus is available NOW.

What if you could fast-track the reader’s understanding of a character without chunky paragraphs of description that kill the story’s pace? And what if you could use a common element of daily life to explore story goals, relationships, themes, and even the character’s internal growth? You can. It’s time to activate the power of your character’s occupation.

Whether a character loves or hates what they do, a job can reveal many things about them, including their priorities, beliefs, desires, and needs. The Occupation Thesaurus will show you how a career choice can characterize, drive the plot, infuse scenes with conflict, and get readers on the character’s side through the relatable pressures, responsibilities, and stakes inherent with work.

Author Q&A Archives