Thrilled to welcome Adele Holmes to The Spotlight to discuss her Southern gothic novel, Winter’s Reckoning

Author Name: Adele B. Holmes, M.D.

Book Title: Winter’s Reckoning

Book Genre: Historical, Literary; Southern Gothic

Release Date: August 9, 2022

Publisher: She Writes Press

Welcome, Adele! How would you describe Winter’s Reckoning?

In 1917, when a narcissistic new leader comes to herbalist healer Madeline Fairbanks’s dying Southern Appalachian town, she does not bend the knee but continues in her socially progressive ways—and finds herself accused of witchcraft and targeted by the KKK.

What sparked the idea for this book?

The deep divides that have gripped our country in the last few years broke my heart. In my effort to understand, my mind went back to the grandmother who raised me during my formative years. She ingrained a hope for the future in me, despite trying circumstances.  I channeled her for my protagonist, Maddie, who struggles against the very issues we are again facing today: racism, suppression of women, regression in education.

What drew you to historical fiction?

At first I began a contemporary medical novel, but quickly fell in love with the backstory of an herbalist healer with a certain gift for healing—one which had been inherited from the women in her lineage. And then in turn, the backstory for Winter’s Reckoning took me even deeper into history. I simply fell in love with the genre.

The historical ways of the craft of healing complement modern medicine. I’ve gone all the way back to Scandinavia in the 1500’s as the start of my research. Then the healers were called “cunning folk” and they basically used spells from a grimoire called a “Svartebok,” which I reference in Winter’s Reckoning. How fascinating is that! Gives me goosebumps.

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

As I said before, there is the original story, which will now serve as a sequel—a tie-together of a long line of women who seem to have inherited a certain “gift” for healing. There will be a (fictional) medical answer found; of course, I can’t give that away yet.

But first, there will be a prequel explaining the origin of a box of secret papers in the possession of the protagonist Maddie in Winter’s Reckoning. This will be the sequential tales of four maternal ancestors in Norway, Prague, France, and New England. Women who, like Maddie, are all persecuted for their good deeds of healing. As always, and in every society, things that are not understood are feared.

Where can readers find you?

https://adeleholmes.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22075158.Adele_Holmes

https://www.facebook.com/Adele.Holmes.MD/

https://www.instagram.com/adeleholmesmd/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/adeleholmesmd/

Thank you, Adele! Winter’s Reckoning is out today!

Forty-six-year-old Madeline Fairbanks has no use for ideas like “separation of the races” or “men as the superior sex.” There are many in her dying Southern Appalachian town who are upset by her socially progressive views, but for years—partly due to her late husband’s still-powerful influence, and partly due to her skill as a healer in a remote town with no doctor of its own—folks have been willing to turn a blind eye to her “transgressions.” Even Maddie’s decision to take on a Black apprentice, Ren Morgan, goes largely unchallenged by her white neighbors, though it’s certainly grumbled about. But when a charismatic and power-hungry new reverend blows into town in 1917 and begins to preach about the importance of racial segregation, the long-idle local KKK chapter fires back into action—and places Maddie and her friends in Jamesville’s Black community squarely in their sights. Maddie had better stop intermingling with Black folks, discontinue her herbalistic “witchcraft,” and leave town immediately, they threaten, or they’ll lynch Ren’s father, Daniel. Faced with this decision, Maddie is terrified . . . and torn. Will she bow to their demands and walk away—or will she fight to keep the home she’s built in Jamesville and protect the future of the people she loves, both Black and white?

Author Bio:

Adele Holmes graduated from UAMS medical school in 1993, and from residency at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in 1996. She practiced general pediatrics in central Arkansas for over twenty years. While she loved every moment of it, a serious travel bug, a need to put the voice of her soul onto paper, and a call to give back to the community led her to an early retirement in 2017. Her debut novel Winter’s Reckoning, a southern gothic set in the Southern Appalachians of 1917, will be published on August 9, 2022. She continues to write, travel, and serve in her community.


Good friend and gifted author, Margarita Montimore, returns to The Spotlight to discuss her latest book, Acts of Violet

Author Name: Margarita Montimore

Book Title: Acts of Violet

Book Genre: Book Club Fiction

Release Date: July 5, 2022

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Welcome back, Margarita! Please tell us a bit about Acts of Violet.

Thanks for having me back!

Acts of Violet is about a famous magician, Violet Volk, who vanishes in the middle of a performance, leaving her sister Sasha to make sense of the disappearance and their turbulent relationship in the ensuing decade. The novel is comprised of narrative chapters, podcast transcripts, news clippings, letters, and other media.

What drew you to the idea of writing about a very famous magician?

I wanted to explore celebrity culture, but in a unique way. There are plenty of stories about famous musicians, actors, writers, and artists, so I considered creative fields that aren’t represented in literature as frequently. I also wanted to put a new spin on the missing person story and give it a surreal twist, so it made perfect sense to write about a magician who pulls off the ultimate vanishing act.  

This is also a story about the close and often fraught relationship between two sisters. Can you tell what inspired you to write about this specific relationship?

Being an only child, I often wished for a sister when I was growing up. Like Sasha says in the novel, I thought it would be a way to have a built-in best friend. As I got older, I realized sibling relationships are far more nuanced and complicated, and I wanted to explore what that might look like for a pair of sisters who are vastly different but also often blind to the similarities they do share.

I imagine you had to do a lot of research to make the performance and magic elements ring true. Would you mind elaborating on that?

I read up stage magic quite a bit and watched performance videos as well as clips revealing how effects are done. I also listened to a number of podcast interviews featuring women in magic—once I discovered men make up over 90% of the population of professional magicians, it became that much more important to understand and faithfully portray the female perspective in this industry. Shezam was a great resource for this, and I was fortunate that one of its creators, magician Kayla Drescher, was kind enough to allow me to interview her as part of my research—getting firsthand insight from her was invaluable.

Any current books, TV shows, movies on your radar these days?

Severance is the best TV show I’ve seen in the past year, hands down. Everything Everywhere All at Once is the best movie I’ve seen in the past decade. As for books, Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir In the Dream House, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, and Tana French’s The Likeness are a few titles that have recently blown me away.

Can you tell us about what you’re working on now?

An idea I’ve had in the works for over eighteen (!) years now. Without giving too much away, I believe it’ll appeal to fans of The Measure and The Midnight Library.

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

http://montimore.com

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook 

Thank you, Margarita! Acts of Violet is available everywhere NOW.

Nearly a decade ago, iconic magician Violet Volk performed her greatest trick yet: vanishing mid-act. Though she hasn’t been seen since, her hold on the public hasn’t wavered. While Violet sought out the spotlight, her sister Sasha, ever the responsible one, took over their mother’s salon and built a quiet life for her daughter, Quinn. But Sasha can never seem to escape her sister’s orbit or her memories of their unresolved, tumultuous relationship. Then there’s Cameron Frank, determined to finally get his big break hosting a podcast devoted to all things Violet—though keeping his job hinges on an exclusive interview with Sasha, the last person who wants to talk to him.

As the ten-year anniversary approaches, the podcast picks up steam, and Cameron’s pursuit of Sasha becomes increasingly intrusive. He isn’t the only one wondering what secrets she might be keeping: Quinn, loyal to the aunt she always idolized, is doing her own investigating. Meanwhile, Sasha begins to experience an unsettling series of sleepwalking episodes and coincidences, which all lead back to Violet. Pushed to her emotional limits, Sasha must finally confront the most painful truths about her sister, and herself, even at the risk of losing everything.

Alternating between Sasha’s narration and Cameron’s podcast transcripts, interspersed with documents that offer a tantalizing peek at Violet herself, Acts of Violet is an utterly original, propulsive story of fame, deception, and forgiveness that will make you believe in magic.

Author Bio:

Margarita Montimore is the author of Asleep from Day (2018), Oona Out of Order (2020), and Acts of Violet (2022). Oona Out of Order—a national bestseller and Good Morning America Book Club pick—is currently being adapted for television by Amazon Studios.​

After receiving a BFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College, she worked for over a decade in publishing and social media before deciding to focus on the writing dream full-time. Born in Soviet Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, she currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog.


Shameez Patel Papathanasiou is here to talk about her the first in her fantasy series, The Last Feather

Author Name: Shameez Patel Papathanasiou

Book Title: The Last Feather (The First Book in the Selene Trilogy)

Book Genre: Fantasy

Release Date: 19 July 2022

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Welcome, Shameez! Please describe The Last Feather.

A sword-and-sorcery hidden world fantasy where a dangerous curse is spreading across a magical realm, ruled by powerful and immortal beings. Cassia Khan needs to help her best friend resist the curse and get back to her family before she’s trapped in his realm forever. 

What sparked the idea for this book?

A different version of this book was born during NaNoWriMo many years ago during a pantsing session. This version of the book came from the need to escape during the pandemic. 

How long did it take for you to write it? Did you need to do any research?

Writing the first draft goes quickly. Once I have the idea, I can’t stop thinking about it until the story is written, which is why NaNoWriMo works very well for me. Editing on the other hand… Well, that took a few months and plenty of revisions to get it to where I needed it to be. 

What drew you to the fantasy genre?

The simple answer is that I love magic. I love that it breaks all the rules and creates its own. I love that it allows for possibilities far beyond anything we can experience. Magic aside, I enjoy that the genre generally allows for good to defeat evil and that always leaves me feeling hopeful. 

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?

I love telling stories. Writing the first draft is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable experiences for me. Edits and revisions are far more challenging, but with each revision it is rather rewarding to feel the story getting even better when I had already thought it was as good as it was going to get. 

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

While there are amazing fantasy novels out there, The Last Feather offers diverse representation and fills the gap in fantasy that I rarely come across. An easy epic fantasy written in a contemporary style. What would you be like if you were transported into a world of magic and monsters? 

What about the writing/editing/publishing process has been the most surprising to you so far?

The time it takes! I had no idea it took such a long time to get published and as someone who enjoys instant gratification, it’s been torture. That being said, having been through the processes, I understand the care that goes into each step and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?

Keep dreaming. Your dreams turn into stories and your stories turn into novels which will inspire readers’ dreams and so the process continues in the best of ways. 

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

Book 2 in the Selene Trilogy and I can’t give you anything without spoiling The Last Feather. But don’t fret, the adventures of Cass and Luke hasn’t ended yet. 

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

I’m easy to find. @shameezwrites on twitter and IG, or sign up to my newsletter for some interesting stories about my cats and kid, www.shameezwrites.com

Thank you, Shameez! The Last Feather is out NOW.

South African born, debut author brings a threat-and-danger, hidden-world fantasy with touches of Suzanne Collins which fans of VE Schwab or Sarah J Maas will love.


Twenty-two-year-old Cassia’s sister is dying, and she doesn’t know why. Cassia wakes up in another realm to find her missing best friend, Lucas, who knows how to save her sister.

Lucas is part of a community of Reborns, people who were born on earth and after death, were reborn in this realm with magical abilities. The original beings of the realm, the Firsts, rule over them.

To keep the Reborn numbers manageable, the king of the Firsts releases a curse to cull them. Cassia needs to break the curse before her time runs out and she is trapped there forever.

BIO:

Shameez Patel Papathanasiou was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. She lives there with her husband, child and two cats named Turbo and Charger. During the day she juggles her time between singing Baby Shark to her daughter and working as a civil engineer where she designs roads and analyses traffic, but at night she writes fantasy worlds with magic, monsters and someone to fall in love with.

She considers herself a professional binge-watcher and fangirl. Don’t be surprised to bump into her dressed as a Hobbit or Lady Loki. Should you need anything from her, offer a choc-chip cookie and her heart is yours forever.

Shameez fell in love with fiction, especially fantasy fiction at a young age. Her parents fondly recall receiving her first handwritten story before the age of ten, titled The Treasures of Zombie Island, which surprisingly featured no zombies at all. She has been writing ever since.

Her fantasy novel, The Last Feather is set to be published in 2022 by Flame Tree Press – it, at the very least, features a feather.


Romance author, Erin La Rosa, joins us this week to chat about her novel, For Butter or Worse

Author Name: Erin La Rosa

Book Title: For Butter or Worse

Book Genre: Romance

Release Date: July 26, 2022

Publisher: Harlequin

Welcome, Erin! How would you describe For Butter or Worse

Enemies-to-lovers, fake dating, cinnamon roll hero, spicy goodness. If Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood from The Great British Baking Show were hot thirty-somethings who had to fake date in order to save their careers.

What sparked the idea for this book?

I really wanted to write a book about a woman trying to succeed in a male-dominated field, and I read a fact about how only 7% of kitchens in America are run by women, which seemed wild to me! When I did more research, I discovered that sexism in the food industry is rampant, and I wanted to depict a strong, successful female chef navigating that world.

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

Oh my, this book was a journey! The first draft I wrote in four months but, after sending it to readers, I realized it wasn’t working, and needed to do a full re-write. That re-write took another six months. Because For Butter or Worse is about two reality show hosts, and the cooking world, I got to watch a lot of food documentaries and reality TV (poor me!), and also researched the LA food scene heavily (including some taste testing, again, poor me!). I did additional research into sexism in the food world, which was helpful as well.

What drew you to writing romance?

Romance has been such an amazing genre for me to escape into, as a reader. I remember picking up Jasmine Guillory’s The Proposal and feeling so soothed, and comforted, and just happy! And during the pandemic, especially as a new mom, all I wanted to consume was media and books that were uplifting and brought me to a new world. So many romance books (specifically audio books) helped me to get through this wildly difficult time. If my book can bring joy to people, that’s the greatest gift.

What’s your favorite part about writing/being an author? What do you find challenging?

I really love hearing from people who connected with the story, or just found joy from reading the book. Those sentiments make me feel like I’ve done my job! And, on the flip side, hearing from people who really didn’t love the book can be extremely difficult (especially as someone who has constant anxiety and panic attacks…thankful for my therapist, y’all!).

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

For Butter or Worse is fun, playful, and has a ton of witty banter. If you loved the dynamic between the love interests in Bridgerton Season Two, then Leo and Nina are going to give you more of that.

Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?

All of the hours you put into writing will be worth it someday, but you have to keep going.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I love cats, celebrity pop-culture, cooking, and am pretty obsessed with my two-year-old daughter.

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it.

I am working on Book Two in the series, which will be about Sophie Lyon (Nina’s little sister). This book will be brother’s best friend, only one bed, grump meets sunshine goodness.

Where can readers find you?

IG: https://www.instagram.com/erinlarosalit/

TikTok: https://tiktok.com/@erinlarosawrites

TW: https://twitter.com/erinlarosalit

Fans of Kiss My Cupcake by Helena Hunting, You Had Me At Hola by Alexis Daria, and On Location by Sarah Echavarre Smith will love what would happen if a younger Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood from The Great British Baking Show had to fake a relationship in order to save their careers. 

Nina and Leo go together like water and oil. Nina finally has a big shot to make it as a successful chef after being under-estimated in a male-dominated field by hosting a competitive cooking reality show… Unfortunately, she has to share the show with Hollywood jerk Leo, who continues to make Nina bristle while the cameras are rolling. When Nina quits on live TV after he takes a joke too far, everything is jeopardized – until the two are caught in what seems like a compromising situation. Fans love what they think they’re seeing, which inspires Leo and Nina to fake a romance to save their careers. It should be easy as pie to not kill each other and not actually catch feelings, right?

BIO:

Erin La Rosa has written many highly engaging… tweets, as a social media manager. But on her way to writing romance, she’s also published two humorous non-fiction books, Womanskills and The Big Redhead Book. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three daughters (one human, two felines). Find her on Twitter and Instagram @erinlarosalit and on TikTok @erinlarosawrites.


Staci Greason joins the Spotlight this week to discuss her debut contemporary novel, All the Girls in Town

Author Name: Staci Greason

Book Title: All the Girls in Town

Book Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Release Date: July 26, 2022

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Welcome, Staci! Please tell us about All the Girls in Town.

Three smart, sexy, slightly messed-up women join forces to wreak vengeance on the rock star who destroyed their lives. All the Girls in Town explores the cost of loving the wrong person and the true power of friendship in reclaiming the self.

What sparked the idea for this book?

There were a number of sparks that led to the creation of All the Girls in Town. It first ignited when I had a personal experience about the power of women’s shared stories. Many years ago, I used to write about my dating experiences online. (Never using the person’s real name.) After a particularly terrible breakup, several women whose hearts had also been broken by the same person, reached out to me. They’d heard about the writing through mutual friends. During our conversations, we discovered similarities in the way this person emotionally-abused women. It was very healing to learn that I wasn’t alone and that I could also comfort others. It helped me let go of the blame and shame, so that I could focus on transforming the parts of myself that prevented healthy love.

It was a mystical experience. Because I was writing another novel at the time, it didn’t occur to me to write about it.

Fast-forward a decade later, and I’m working on a story about the effects of unhealed trauma in a woman’s life after a painful divorce. This was Dani. She came to me very easily, her internal struggles with food addiction, her poor self-image, a terrible childhood, and an abusive ex-husband, Peter, who’d stolen her lyrics to make his band The Disasters famous. When we first meet Dani, she’s broke and angry, shoving her resentments down with donut holes. After her OA sponsor suggests journaling as a way to process feelings, it hit me that Dani could write a revenge blog about Peter. (My blog had not been about revenge.) It was so much fun to create a character who reveled in being a literary assassin. I let her go full scorched earth. And then I started exploring who might be reading her blog. That’s how Red, Peter’s on-and-off again lover, and his wife, Sasha, were born.

When we first meet them, each woman is so unique and battling different internal and external challenges. It doesn’t appear they’d ever be friends. They can’t stand each other. Peter left Dani for Sasha, his gorgeous backup singer. Red and Dani are both jealous of gorgeous Sasha who also got the house, the money, and the babies. Sasha has a thriving yoga lifestyle brand, but she hates herself. Red has a drinking problem even though she is a counselor. Dani has trouble owning her power.

This novel and its characters are complete works of fiction, but I loved being able to draw from the wisdom of my personal experience to show the power of women’s friendships. It was satisfying to explore how three seemingly very different people could become allies and realize justice together.

I was deep into writing the first draft of All the Girls in Town when the #MeToo movement broken open, and it definitely sparked an urgency to continue in that direction. I wanted the book to be a love letter with an ending that real women deserve in the world.

After the most-recent blow to women’s rights in America, I’m hoping that this story will not only offer solace, but inspire and empower women to unite and not give up on our rights for equality, dignity, and happiness.

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

It takes me about three years to write the first draft of a book. I plot out screenplays, but not novels. I usually having an image in my mind about how I’d like the book to end, but I’m open to exploration on a theme. I let the characters lead me wherever they want to go – into cul-de-sacs, dead-ends, and off on grand adventures that often change where I imagined we might be headed to arrive at the desired destination. Sometimes, a lead character disappears, and I realize it’s another character’s story entirely.

My novel The Last Great American Housewife (2011) was actually about two young people living with a group of eco-terrorists in North California trying to save the last redwood in the world. Very apocalyptic, very dooms day. My writing mentor, the talented and generous writer, Jim Krusoe, read the first four–hundred-page draft. His main note was something along the lines of, “the housewife in the fourth chapter is interesting.” He got me thinking about juxtapositions, interesting ways to express a theme without hammering it over the reader’s head.

Based on that note, I went back and wrote a simple human story about an unhappy housewife living in a tree by the mall to save it from destruction and how she learns about her connections to all things. It was a much better way for me to talk about environmental grief.

That novel was optioned and then I began writing the screenplay adaptation TREED. TREED has gone on to place in numerous prestigious film festivals as well as residencies. I add this to highlight that every book has its own journey.

What drew you to women’s fiction?

Often when strangers find out that I’m a writer their first question is, “do you write romance or women’s fiction?” Why in the hell would I write romance? Ask my husband, he’s the romantic. And, women’s fiction? This publishing industry label for books about women, written by women, really gets my goat (as my granny used to say). As if women’s stories aren’t interesting or valuable to male readers.

One of the novel’s advance readers, who happens to identify as a man, wrote a five-star Goodreads review.

We didn’t create the publishing industry’s model for labeling and marketing books. Writing is a business. Based on my recent publishing experiences, I hope the industry continues to expand its consciousness, even as the big houses gain more control over what the public reads.

Any words of wisdom you give your pre-published writer self (or to a new writer)?

Finish college and get that MFA to make industry connections. Keep writing.

What are your interests outside of writing and reading?

I’ve been very active in my SGI Buddhist community for almost twenty-years. Currently, we chant and study locally on zoom, but I’m hoping soon we’ll be back in the same living rooms.

I grew up in the wilds of Colorado. I’m a big tree-hugger. Spending time with nature is another form of prayer. When I lived in Altadena, CA, I hiked a specific trail in the San Gabriel Mountains almost every day. But then, I fell in love. And he, and his almost-grown teens, lived at the beach. Love triumphed and we were married. Now, we mostly cycle near the water together. I miss forest bathing, and am determined to get back out to the trails after the release of this novel.

During the first wave of the pandemic, I took up gardening, like many others. I hail from a long line of poor farmers who grew their own food and livestock to sell and eat. What I discovered is that I love eating my own fresh food, but if I have a writing project, I’d rather have my head stuck in words than my hands in soil. I do make a point to get outside every day and soak in some nature.

There’s so much scientific evidence that we suffer due to a disconnect from nature. It’s a disconnection to life itself. Buddhism believes that everything is interconnected and this realization gives rise to wisdom for how to live in better harmony with the earth and others.

Lately, I hold this visualization while I’m chanting:  I see people stepping outside of their homes, rubbing their eyes like they’ve just awakened from a long dark dream, and looking up with surprise to see blue sky. Then, someone shouts a friendly greeting,” Oh, hello! It’s you!” “Where have you been?” and then another cries out, “Oh, my friend! How I’ve missed you!” Individuals shake their heads wondering, “What overcame me? How did I forget that this person is my friend? Where have we been?”

I think of other nations where this separation caused sufferings we can’t imagine: Bosnia and Serbia, the Tutsi and Hutus, and Nazi Germany. The terror of what happens when neighbors start to see one another as enemies. We have to fight against this human tendency to blame others for our challenges without working together to listen and talk and find a better way. We must forge a place inside of ourselves to expand and not contract. To keep seeing each other. I want to find the courage to believe that Americans will awaken from this dark slumber, this malady of delusion, that has us in its grip, and set ourselves free to be citizens working in harmony again. We don’t all have to be the same to live with peace together.

So, right now, I spend a lot of time each day writing about this, praying about this, and encouraging myself and others. It’s hard not to lose our courage to hope and work for solutions.

I also like to rescue animals. Cook. Travel. See friends and family. And watch good TV with my husband.

Are you working on a new project? Please tell us about it. 

My latest novel is about two agoraphobics who join a survivalist cult located in the California desert at the turn of the millennium. They think they’re fighting to build a more just America, but what they realize is that they must fight to create better lives for themselves.

I wrote the story before 9/11, but it didn’t gain traction. Unfortunately, today, it’s more relevant. It’s a modern-day take on Bonnie & Clyde, but with a happier ending.

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

You can find it all on my website stacigreason.com

Thank you, Staci! All the Girls in Town is available for preorder!

THREE SMART, SEXY – AND SLIGHTLY SCREWED-UP – WOMEN JOIN FORCES TO WREAK VENGEANCE ON THE RISING ROCK STAR WHO HURT THEM ALL.

Dani, Red, and Sasha have absolutely nothing in common, except the trail of tears bad boy rocker Peter left in his wake. That is, until Dani starts a blog about killing her ex and unwittingly sets the wheels in motion for the women’s paths to collide.

Bonding over past and present wounds, self-realizations transform the three heroines in a trifecta of twelve-step new age therapy that only L.A. can provide.

In a city where discarded muses are a dime a dozen, All the Girls in Town explores the cost of loving the wrong person and the true power of friendship in reclaiming the self.

BIO:

STACI GREASON’s literary achievements include award-winning television pilots and screenplays. Her short stories and essays have been published in Brevity, Slate, Lunch Ticket, AFLW, the
Same
, and Huff Post. In her past life, she played the late Isabella Toscano Black on Days of Our Lives. Staci lives with her husband in Southern California.


Thrilled to welcome author and agent extraordinaire, Tina P. Schwartz to The Spotlight this week to chat about her non-fiction guide for teens

Author Name:  Tina P. Schwartz

Book Title:  Depression:The Ultimate Teen Guide

Book Genre:  Non-fiction/Health/Teens+

Release Date:  2017 paperback version (also available in Hardcover & E-book)

Publisher:  Rowman & Littlefield (Scarecrow Press)

Welcome, Tina! Please tell us a bit about your book.

This is a book that is conversational, not using overly medical/dry language, to help teens and older cope with depression. It gives healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms, along with what to do when a friend confesses unhealthy thoughts, how to help. It inspires people to open up about their feelings and seek help when necessary.

What drew you to write a book about this topic? What inspired you to tell this particular story?

I struggled with depression as a teen, and an adult, and this book poses the questions I wanted answered, and the thoughts that were on my mind. I wanted to help people be able to cope with their depression and to see that things do get better, and there is help, and hope, out there!

What was your research process like for Depression: The Ultimate Teen Guide?

I interviewed many young people who struggle with depression (and anxiety) about ways that help them get through the process of coping with such a hurdle. They gave interviews, poetry, photos, and essays about their feelings. It was enlightening to see what feelings were there, and things that helped them to feel better.

From your perspective, what’s the hardest thing about writing and researching? And what do you love most about it?

It can be hard to keep all the footnotes straight from where I found my facts and research, to keeping subjects who participated anonymous. I really liked connecting with the subjects who were involved. They felt better sharing their experiences, and I was privileged to have heard their stories.

What’s capturing your imagination these days outside of reading and writing?

I love spending time with my family, going to the city to see my two older kids thriving, and rediscovering Chicago, as it has so many wonderful qualities. As for new projects, I am finishing final edits on a Young Adult novel I wrote, getting ready to submit it. Also, I started my own Writing Coaching business to help writers go “From Laptop to Bookshelf”. It basically teaching them “what to do next” once they have a manuscript, and don’t know how to send it out and promote it.

In addition to being an author, you’re also a literary agent and book coach. What made you decide to get into the business of helping authors see their projects in both the drafting stages as a book coach and submitting to publishers as an agent? 

So many people have written something, but don’t know how to get it in the hands of someone who can publish it and get it into bookstores. That was my biggest hurdle when starting out as a writer. It is very satisfying to see something that has come to my inbox as a “manuscript” then a couple years later find it in my local Book Store! I feel like in some tiny way, I’ve helped people achieve their dreams!

Where can readers and writers find you?

I have two websites that feature both my writing, and my services:  www.tinaPschwartz.com and www.ThePurcellAgency.com. My personal Twitter was hacked, unfortunately, but I still have my company handle @Tpurcellagency, I’m very active on LinkedIn @/tinapschwartz, for Instagram, @Schwartzie17.

[FYI, People can get my book at Amazon.com, BN.com, Target.com, and local independent bookstores. It’s available in hardcover (library bound), paperback, and e-book versions.]

** I also have a published book called WRITING & PUBLISHING: The Ultimate Teen Guide that shows all types and styles of writing and how to do it, the careers you can go into if you like writing, such as novelist, stand-up comedian, poet, political satirist, editor, etc. It shows what schooling is needed, and what kind of money you can expect to make. I hope this helps your readers, as well. It is also available at Amazon.com, BN.com, and Indy bookstores.

Thank you very much for sharing my work and business opportunities for writers in need!

Thank YOU, Tina! Depression: The Ultimate Teen Guide is available everywhere.

Nearly one in six people will develop major depression, and teens are just as susceptible as adults — if not more so. Serious depression afflicts more than two million teenagers each year in the United States alone, but it can often be difficult for teens to recognize their ailment and get help. Clearly, teens with depression are not alone, and it is important that they realize the condition does not have to be “forever” but is something they can work toward overcoming.

In Depression: The Ultimate Teen Guide, Tina P. Schwartz helps teens and young adults learn how to deal with this often debilitating affliction. Throughout the book, teens tell their personal stories of living with depression and other mood disorders, describe which treatments were successful, and share how they are coping today. Topics covered in this book include:

* warning signs and symptoms

* internal and external triggers

* coping mechanisms

* stigmas of mental health issues

* preserving relationships

* helping a sibling, parent, or friend who suffers from depression

Aimed to support teens and young adults who might otherwise feel helpless and hopeless about their situation, Depression: The Ultimate Teen Guide.

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