Friday, March 30, 2018

New interview with author Peter Davidson

Helping me wind up the week, and the month, is author Peter Davidson. He’s he to share a little bit about his humorous personal experience and advice book, Marital Advice to My Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won't throw out of the window in the middle of the night.

Peter was last here at Reviews in Interviews in July 2017 when we talked about his humorous book, Penny.

Peter Davidson is the author or co-author of twenty-nine books published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, Perigee/Putnam Publishers, Northwestern Publishing Company, Sweet Memories Publishing, Haworth Press, and others. His works include fiction, non-fiction, college textbooks, children's picture books, and training materials for business and industry. Davidson is also a songwriter and one of his songs was used in a television series in The Netherlands.

For more than two decades, Peter Davidson was one of America's most active writer's seminar presenters, having presented over 625 one-day seminars in a fifteen-state area from Minnesota to Tennessee and Colorado to Illinois. 

Davidson has been a professional recording studio owner, college professor, and retail store owner. He trained over 700 real estate agents, something that he believes he will have to answer for on Judgment Day.

He is the recipient of the prestigious Leavey Award granted by Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Davidson and his wife life in the Lake Okoboji resort area of Iowa in summer and in Arizona in the winter.

Please tell us about your current release:
When my grandson, Joel, got engaged, I decided to jot down a few words of marital advice for him, based on my vast experience as a husband. Then I thought, why share this wisdom with only one person when I can share it with the whole world. So, I started a blog and listed new marital advice every week. As the popularity of the blog grew, people suggested that the material be turned into a book, and, well, here it is!

What inspired you to write this book?
This started out as a few words of wisdom for my grandson for him to get a few chuckles from and maybe to pick up a few helpful hints about his role in his marriage - and then it just evolved into the blog and then evolved into the book.

One of my favorite parts of the book are the more than twenty short quotes that each occupy a whole page and that summarize some of the major points in the book or provide a little philosophical message to ponder. Here are a few of my favorites:

As the marital bus rumbles down the highway of life,
there cannot be two people wrestling for the steering wheel,
or surely the bus will crash. Know when it is your turn to drive
and when it is time to quietly sit in the back seat.

When your wife gives you that steely-eyed, clinched-jaw scowl,
known as “The Look,” it means that you have obviously
done something wrong, but what?
You will find out as soon as she gets you alone.

“Buy me flowers, candy, jewelry, clothing, perfume, a card,
or nothing at all -
but do not ever buy me an implement of work as a gift.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have a manuscript completed that I was working on when my grandson got engaged and the idea for Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel took off and occupied a lot of my time. Right now, I'll be working on promoting this book for several months. Then, I hope to get back to pitching the other book to literary agents. It deals with making your mark, leaving a legacy, and when the time comes, going out with a bang.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was a youth, I always had a paperback in my pocket and read every chance that I got. The thought about writing a book someday was in my mind at a young age. I didn't take the thought seriously until I got to college and got a few nice compliments on some of my written assignments by my professors and even more than that, when I got some nice comments from my college friends when I wrote to them over the summer. I actually considered myself to be a writer when I got my first work published.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like?
I pursued various ventures in addition to writing for many years, as described in my bio, above, but writing has been a major and constant part of my life for over four decades. Right now, writing is my only work-related activity.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I suspect that a lot of writers do this same thing, and a lot of people use it to help clarify or solve problems in their life: I “sleep on it.” When I am having difficulty figuring out how a scene should go in a novel or how some material should fit together in a non-fiction work, I fall asleep thinking about the issue and when I awake in the morning, the solution is there, after my subconscious mind has mulled it over while I slept.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don't recall any aspirations until I became a teenager, and then I wanted to be a Rock 'N Roll star. That didn't happen, but the professional recording studio that I owned along with three partners was inducted into the Rock and Roll Halls of Fame in Minnesota, Iowa, and South Dakota, and us along with it, so I got a little taste of it and got to hang out with a lot of musicians along the way.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Although I was involved in various activities and pursuits during my life, the one constant was writing – I was always writing something. Sometimes I wrote only for my own pleasure, but usually I had an eye on potential publishing. Not everything that I wrote got published, but every one of those manuscripts that didn't get published, and never will be, were a labor of love and I'm glad that I wrote them. To aspiring writers, I have only one piece of advice: “Keep writing.” When I'm working on a book, I like to work on it every day. I don't necessarily have a set schedule and I have never had writer's block, so I can write about anytime and anywhere. We have a summer home and a winter home, and I have completely staffed offices in each home.


Thank you for being here today, Peter.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Interview with fantasy author C. Penticoff

Fantasy author C. Penticoff is here today and we’re chatting about her new adult novel, Weathering the Wicked.

Welcome, C. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! I go by C. Penticoff in the book world. I’m a fantasy author and I’m also the owner of A Novel Connection. I started creating books the moment I could pick up a pen and write with it. My first book, Weathering the Wicked, is one I started writing at the age of 12. After 14 years of throwing crumbled up pieces of paper in the trash and going back to the writing board, I finally had the masterpiece I had dreamed of publishing since middle school.

When I’m not writing, I am homeschooling my two young boys and day dreaming of worlds beyond our own.

Please tell us about your current release.
Weathering the Wicked, which is book 1 in the Chronicles of Folklaria, is different than most fantasy stories you will read. Sure, there is spell casting, wizardry, and fairies; but, what sets this fantasy story apart from most is its clear spiritual message. When I say, “spiritual,” I do not mean that it’s religious; rather, it focuses on a more universal and progressive approach to spirituality that most of the younger generations will be able to relate to.

During June’s time in Folklaria, you can expect to see June’s fear and anxiety get in the way of her destiny. June learns that she is prophesied to save an entire magical land from wicked magic, but is scared to death. She can hardy keep a job, let alone rescue an enchanted land from its impending doom.

What inspired you to write this book?
The plot was inspired by my grandmother when I originally started writing this story at 12 years old (believe it or not). The world that it takes place in was inspired from my favorite book, The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.

You will also notice that June, our main character, struggles with anxiety and seems to live her life in fear. This was inspired by my own battle with depression and anxiety. I wanted to make a character that was relatable to people, so I felt that giving her a character trait, in which many people can understand personally, would help people connect to June.

What exciting story are you working on next?
My current works in progress is book 2 of the Chronicles of Folklaria.

This is a 3-book series. I have BIG plans for this series! There are lots of twists and turns throughout the entire series, as there are in Weathering the Wicked.

In books 2 & 3, you will see the ups and downs of June and Ryder’s romance; you will also see it really take off and blossom.

You will find out what happened in Folklaria to bring on the wicked magic that is taking it over.

You will figure out Tristara’s past, along with finding out who she is. I don’t want to give too much away, so I will leave it at that!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve been since before I can remember, but I officially considered myself a writer when I started writing my first book, Weathering the Wicked.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full time, but I do write most days of the week.

I run a business called A Novel Connection full time, which takes some of my writing time way. Either way, I find time to slip my writing in. Not only do I need to continue releasing books at a reasonable pace, but writing is therapeutic for me; so it’s important that I make time for this on a daily basis.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t know if you call this a writing quirk, but I love listening to native American music while I write. I usually put my headphones in, turn on my native music, and can write for hours!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I wanted to be an author and an actress! My dreams were anything but small. I’m very proud to be able to say that I have fulfilled one of my childhood dreams.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I want readers to know that the best way to keep up with my work is by subscribing to my mailing list. You can do so by heading to my website, and clicking “Subscribe” on the main page.


Thanks for being here today, C.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Interview with children's author Peta Lemon

My special guest today is Peta Lemon. We’re chatting about her children’s picture book, The Fed-up Cow.

Peta Lemon is the author of beautifully illustrated children’s picture books, published under the imprint Quirky Picture Press.

Her books are always funny, written in rhyme and illustrated by Maria Dasic Todoric. 

Welcome, Peta. Please tell us about your current release.
The Fed-up Cow is a funny picture book, written in rhyme, and aimed at children aged 2-5 years. It is vibrantly illustrated and is about a cow who is fed-up with being a cow. Surely, it’s better to be a glamorous sheep, which get haircuts? Or a pig which has a lovely curly tail and gets to eat all day. Or even a chicken – with their sumptuous feathers and ability to sit on eggs.

So, the fed-up cow decides to become a sheep, a pig and finally a chicken before learning an important lesson: be happy with who you are.

What inspired you to write this book?
I walked past a field with a cow in it that looked really fed-up and was looking at a sheep in an adjacent field. I wondered if the cow was looking enviously at the sheep and wishing she could be one. The idea amused me and I turned it into a story.

My favourite page is when the cow has a light-bulb moment when she decides to become a chicken:

“That’s it!” she cried “that’s what I should be!
Being a hen is perfect for me.
Their feathers are simply sumptuous to touch.
And sitting on eggs? I want that so much!”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m in the final stages of my next story – Timmy on the Toilet. It is about a boy who saves a fairy on the way to school and is granted a wish that will come true straight away. The boy is so excited but can’t choose what to wish for. He is then caught unaware when he accidentally wishes he could fly when sitting on the toilet at school. There is a little twist at the end – the pictures are done by the same illustrator as the Fed-up Cow and are hilarious.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always written stories – ever since I could write at aged 4. This is the first book I’ve published.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work 4 days a week and have 3 very young children so only write during those rare quiet moments, or after 9pm when everyone is asleep.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My stories all rhyme, are all funny and very original and quirky. I’ve therefore published under the imprint Quirky Picture Press.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Annie (the orphan with red hair), then a witch, then an architect. I didn’t end up being any of these!

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m very happy to free copies in the UK to anyone that wants a signed copy.

Thank you.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Interview with Peachill founder, Jeff Hortman

Today is a bit of a different interview. It’s with Peachill founder, Jeff Hortman about the historical fiction, Hannibal Barca: The Lion of Carthage.

Peachill is a new publishing company that brings together a collaborative team of creative professionals to build books in full view of a community of supporters. We believe that authors, and those with a great idea, deserve the opportunity to receive all of the resources, support, and coaching that their story needs to find its voice in the world today. Every untold story has the right to be heard.

My name is Jeff Hortman and I am the founder of Peachill, as well as the creator of this book. Although six creatives came together from all over the globe, in various roles, to bring this book to life, we consider “Peachill” to be the author. We will also publish books under an individual author’s name, if that author both is the creator of the project and the main writer. If you have an idea for a book, please submit on our website.

Please tell us about your current release.
Hannibal Barca is the story of history’s greatest African general. A genius tactician, Hannibal crossed the Mediterranean Sea to pose the last serious threat to the city of Rome, before it grew to become the sprawling Roman Empire. But Hannibal was much more than a footnote in military strategy. He came from the most proud and storied clan of ancient Carthage and was motivated by a deep sense of duty to his family and his city. Inheriting a mistrust of Romans due to their role in his father’s death, Hannibal was quick to action when the standing treaty was broken. He left his mother and wife to represent the family in the Carthaginian Council and marched his army of men and elephants through modern Spain, France, and down through the Alps to surprise Rome on its doorstep. This true story of the Second Punic War pits Hannibal against a legendary and worthy adversary, Scipio Africanus, and tests the strength of the Barca women at home, as they fend off the political vipers from the shadows of the council chamber. Friends become enemies. Prisoners rise to command. And sacrifices are made on altars across the known world. Hannibal is the fire that seals the fate of the Mediterranean.

What inspired you to write this book?
I’m fascinated by history, by the lessons that seem to apply time and time again with different contexts but the same results. I’m particularly intrigued by historical perspectives that flip-the-script on the traditional western narrative. What better script to flip than the classic tale of Greco-Romans as the brave heroes of the ancient world. In Hannibal’s story, Rome is the aggressor. The betrayer of their word. They are also the proud and the dumb, as Hannibal spends the initial stage of the war wiping the field with any army the Latins march his way. But human nature is a tricky beast to master. Hannibal’s success across the sea tempts jealous rivals at home and certain victory turns into a self-destructive tailspin for the city of Carthage. Despite the hatred of his enemy, Hannibal finds common ground with the young general, who finally rounds the Roman forces into form, and fights to preserve his family and civilization.

Excerpt from Hannibal Barca:
241 BCE, Battlefield Outside of Carthage
            Carthage, the prize of the Sahara, was blanketed by a smoky haze. The watchtowers that still stood gazed through the cloud and over the smoldering bones of the fallen city. The skeletons of the shops, baths, amphitheater, temples, and villas gasped their final smoky breaths, and the streets lay desolate, teeming only with blood and the last hungry wisps of fire.
            The carnage of the city pointed north to a great battlefield, where the city’s purple-clad protectors had fallen. Only a few were alive enough to crawl away, struggling on shaky arms and legs past the bodies of their comrades and enemies alike.
            Spears stood on end, buried in skulls and hearts. A legionnaire’s head rested several feet from his corpse. Another man gasped under the weight of his dead horse, moments from death. Whether clad in Carthaginian purple or Roman red, they had met the same end. Every breath of wind seemed to carry another plea to Eshmun or Apollo, another soldier’s final breath. A moan leaked into the air and floated away.
A boy walked methodically through the battlefield, weaving his way through the armored mayhem surrounding him. His younger brother followed a few paces behind him.
            A lion fed on a corpse nearby, unnoticed by the boys.
            “Close their eyes,” the boy said. “Take any metal you can carry.” He lifted the bronze armor from the dead man at his feet, pulling until the body rolled over and gave up its breastplate. He stumbled under the weight of the heavy armor, but he didn’t drop it. He was stocky and strong. He placed the armor over his own shoulders and straightened the breastplate.
His eyes carried an expression of grim determination as he folded the purple-cloaked soldier’s arms over his chest and closed the eyelids. He worked with keen focus, surveying his surroundings with every movement he made.
            His brother pulled a knife from a fallen soldier’s belt with thin, shaking hands. His handsome features wore a mask of bravery, but his eyes flickered with fear as he looked down on a pale-skinned Roman whose face had frozen mid-contortion.
            Spying the younger brother, the lion began to creep near. When the boy finally looked up, panic flashed across his face.
The lion crouched low to lunge at him.
            “Hannibal!” the boy shouted for help, closing his eyes.
            The lion sprang forward.
[End excerpt]

What exciting story are you working on next?
The next story is also historical fiction. Our collaborative team is nearing completion of a tale about the fall of Constantinople in 1453, as told from the perspective of an Italian mercenary paid to help defend the city from the Ottoman Turks. The mercenary’s past comes back to haunt him as rival factions in the city jockey for power and riches ahead of the inevitable defeat at the hands of the superior Turkish force.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing in various formats, so, in that sense, I’ve identified with being a writer as long as I’ve identified with being much of anything. The first time I felt validated as a writer was when I was signed by an agent in Los Angeles for a screenplay I’d written. The screenplay never sold, so there’s a lesson in putting too much stock in validation. I find myself most motivated by the possibility of the blank page, a new world to jump into and help create – and find myself taxed to exhaustion during the final edits. Like something has been pulled out from the inside, bone by bone. That being said, I would describe ‘story’ as my true passion. Story includes writing, but I’m just as fascinated with structure and process and analysis. Story is also much larger than the written word and I follow that passion for story in other elements of my life as well.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do not write full-time and that is by choice. At various times, I have tried that lifestyle and I find myself less productive. I continue with my day-to-day and let the story brew in the subconscious, down in the back of the mind, and then when I get an hour in front of the computer…it just pours out. I find it very helpful for both initial drafts and for getting the proper space to execute honest editing. You have to be able to step away to gain a reader’s perspective for the edit.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Sometimes when I’m a bit stuck, or want to feel the rhythm of footfall, I’ll walk around the house and dictate a few pages.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I never had a single dream career in mind, but rather several interests that I dreamed of pursuing. I was always a bit jealous of those who had a one-track mind, but I guess we all have our way.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Are you looking for a publishing partner? I hope you’ll reach out at We build communities around stories, help authors navigate the complex and over-crowded world of self-publishing, and dedicate ourselves to being a true publishing partner.