Interview with Geoff Armstrong, Author of Moments That Made America

Geoff Armstrong began his teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967 where his major field of study was history. Armstrong credits writers such as Bruce Catton, and Thomas B. Costain, as well as the encouragement of his father who had little formal education, but a deep love of reading and of history, as the inspiration for his own life-long interest.

Throughout a 25-year teaching career he taught history at several grade levels and learned quickly that to reach the hearts of his students, history had to be made immediately and deeply relevant and accessible: that some event that took place centuries before those students were born had a direct and profound influence on every aspect their lives. He also learned that talking down or writing down to his students was a recipe for defeat. It is this awareness, shaped by a quarter century of teaching and countless questions by thousands of intelligent young people that has informed and shaped his writing.

His latest book is Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo.

You can visit his website at www.MomentsThatMadeAmerica.com.

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Although the story of America begins in geological time, the three book series under the general title: Moments That Made America does not chart the usual course of a pandemic history, with event following event based on the date of its occurrence. Instead, it focuses on those events and circumstance that had they not occurred exactly the way they did, the America we know would not exist. This means that the life of not only every American would be different, so would the life of almost everyone on the planet.

From its geological birth during the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent millions of years ago, through America’s political independence from the British superpower Moments That Made America illuminates and explores the specific defining moments that profoundly shaped the nation and its people – crucial turning points that worked inexorably to mold and make America. These critical “tipping” events formed America’s geographical, sociological, political and historical landscape. The first part of the story culminates just before the Civil War. The second volume: “From Civil War to Superpower” takes the story from the bloody civil war that ended slavery and killed more Americans than all its other wars combined, through to the 20th Century. The final volume takes America’s story through the twentieth century, the most destructive and dynamic period in human history.

Why did you write your book?

The presidential election of 2016 exposed a gaping wound in the soul of America and a dangerous lack of understanding among Americans about what it took for their remarkable nation to come into being. Too many fail to understand that except for a extraordinary set of circumstances, some of them bordering on the miraculous, their nation shouldn’t exist at all: that in the entire five billion year history of this planet, their nation is unique. It is a lack of understanding and self-imposed ignorance that endangers the very survival of the United States. At this moment, America teeters at the edge of a precipice. Around the world, hate-filled, malicious enemies are watching and waiting for the misstep that sends America and its democracy over the edge.

What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?

That democracy isn’t easy and that freedom isn’t a guarantee.

Who influenced you to write your book?

The young people around me who don’t understand what a miracle their country is and how easy it to lose the freedoms so many sacrificed their lives or fortunes to achieve.

Is it hard to publish a nonfiction book?

It is incredibly difficult. It has taken me 75 years.

Which author(s) do you admire?

Too many to include in this write up, but they include authors from the brilliance of Shakespeare and Mark Twain to the depth of John Steinbeck and the creativity of Ray Bradbury as well as the amazing historical writers such Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote, James McPherson, Canadian author Pierre Burton and James A. Michener.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

I suspect that everyone experiences writer’s block. When I’m working on a project, I set myself a goal of writing something every day. It might be a single sentence or a paragraph, but I will not shut down or go to bed without fulfilling the DAILY goal I set myself. That single paragraph or sentence goal can go on for days, at some point, I have discovered that just having to sit down and write, suddenly blows that goal away and it turns into a thousand or two thousand words.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

Hang out with family and friends or my cat if everyone else is busy. If my cat is busy I’d read.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Easter, not for the holiday itself, but because it means that spring has arrived in Upstate New York.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?

To the picnic pavilion I built in the woods behind my home in Upstate New York.

What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH: (Capitals were my choice.)
  2. Enjoy what you are writing about.
  3. Find a different way to tell your story.
  4. Write because you really want to – forget about paying the mortgage.
  5. If you choose a controversial topic, talk with people who disagree with you.

 

 

 

 

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The Story behind ‘Blood on the Chesapeake’ by Randy Overbeck

The Story Behind the Book

You could say Blood on the Chesapeakehad two parents. First—for let’s say, the mother—my extensive experience in education, at all levels, has given birth to my fiction. I’ve found with the diversity of individuals I’ve encountered—parents, kids, teachers, principals, board members, administrators—I can draw on a vast reservoir of characters BloodontheChesapeake_w12700_750to populate my novels. Besides, I discovered that everything happens in a school. Most of the time wonderful things happen like opening kids’ minds and helping children succeed and giving students a chance at a better life. But you’ll also find everything from political sniping to saving children’s lives (both literally and figuratively), from victimizing kids to greed and even theft. Add to that, the public school is such a common experience for millions of readers and I’ve found it a good place to start.

If the mother of the tale is my experience as an educator, the father…

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5 Questions with Victoria Landis, Author of ‘Jordan’

VickiSF15HeadshotVictoria Landis is a professional writer, editor, and artist. A 16-yr member, and former board member, of Mystery Writers of America, she Co-Chaired the SleuthFest Writers Conference from 2015-2018.

She’s taught at SleuthFest, the Authors Academy at Murder on the Beach, and the Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University.

Her newest novel, JORDAN, is a thriller with a magical realism/paranormal element and a cautionary tale of human nature and how it hasn’t changed in thousands of years.

Q: What’s inside the mind of a thriller/magical realism author?

A: A million story plots I’ll never get to. I keep a list of titles and ideas in a little notebook and sigh every time I add another. I’m always imagining what if? Even standing in line at the grocery store, I’ll observe what people are wearing, their body language, how they speak to each other, and make up stories about them on the spot. Sometimes, they’re amazing and talented people we want to be friends with, and, other times, they’re murderers.

Q: Tell us why readers should buy JORDAN.

A: It’s so relevant to our world today. Imagine. Really imagine for a minute—what would happen if someone appeared who could heal people just by touching them? How long before videos go viral and the world comes stampeding in? How long before absolute chaos erupts? People mean well, but they can’t help themselves.

JordanFrontCoverFeb12019Q: What makes a good thriller?

A: Well, JORDAN is kind of a mash-up, genre-wise. It’s part thriller, part magical realism, and probably, the best way to describe it is as general fiction. But the thriller element can speak to this question. A classic thriller is fast-paced. It has great consequences at stake. So, the world demanding to see Jordan and stampeding into South Florida creates both of those.

Q: Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

A: My website, www.VictoriaLandis.com, is chock full of information about my books and design work. I also have ‘character interviews’ for Blinke It Away and Alias: Mitzi & Mack—but be sure you’ve read those books before reading the interviews. There are some spoilers otherwise.

Q: What has writing taught you?

A: So very much, but patience is the most important one. Writing novels is a slow process to begin with. Rewriting and editing them happens at least once, but with most of the really good ones, they get rewritten/tweaked multiple times. The second most valuable thing I’ve learned is to get my ego out of the way and listen to those who know writing and the business of writing.

Thank you so much for having me here!

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An Interview with Author Louis R. Negrete

Dr. Louis R. Negrete was born and raised in Los Angeles. During his distinguished career, Dr. Negrete served as Director of Project Head Start for the Council of Mexican American Affairs and was also a founding member of the new Chicano Studies Department at the California State University in Los Angeles. He served as professor of Chicano Studies for some 35 years at Cal State LA. CHICANO HOMELAND is his first book. Dr. Negrete makes his home in Los Angeles, California.

Web site for book at www.ChicanoHomeland.com

Face Book: https://www.facebook.com/Chicano-Homeland-Louis-R-Negrete-1657612917852351/?fref=ts

 

1: Can you tell us what your book, Chicano Homeland, is about?

My book is about activist Chicano organizations that fought against anti-Mexican racism in Los Angeles during the 1960’s and the 1980’s. It describes how they opposed police mistreatment, schools that didn’t teach, and general discrimination in society. The organization and struggle of the united farm workers for just salaries encouraged community groups to oppose injustice. At the same time, reports of unfair rates of killing of Spanish Surname and Afro-American soldiers in Vietnam generated anger expressed in open opposition to the war. The Chicano movement, as activists called themselves, became an important part of the national civil rights movement. A younger generation of activists formed the Brown Berets to confront police mistreatment and the Chicano Moratorium Committee attracted thousands of supporters to movement events. Much protest events expressed defense of immigrant families. Other activist groups included in the book were also part of the growing movement.

2:         Why did you write your book?

I believe that all minority groups must fight back against racism in local and national politics. The Chicano movement was successful as evident by an increase in Mexican Americans and other Latinos now employed as police officers, teachers, government workers, medical staff, nonprofit agencies, business, all across the range of employment and careers, including election to public office. But persistence of continuing poverty and homelessness in Latino neighborhoods must compel the younger generation of activists to keep the movement alive. Anti-immigrant government policies popular today pose a major threat to democracy. The Chicano people and Latinos, especially younger generations, must fight racism. They must know about the Chicano movement as part of their own national history.

3:         What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?

All people who immigrant to America face hard times. They manage to overcome economic and social barriers to become true Americans. They also resist racial prejudice and assist other immigrant communities to survive as Americans. The national civil rights movement involved people from many immigrant origins, including Mexican Americans. My book tells the history of how Chicanos fought to claim an American identity like other minority groups. This is an important part of American history.

4:         Who influenced you to write your book?

No one in particular influenced me to write my book. My teaching experience as a university professor made me realize that I should write about what I learned based on what I observed and experienced. I marched with community activists and attended protest events off campus. I also dedicated much time to building the Department of Chicano Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.

 

5:         What kind of advice would you give to other non-fiction authors?

Enjoy your writing. Be honest in what you write about based in part on your own experience.

BOOK BLURB:

Los Angeles author-educator Dr. Louis R. Negrete lived and now tells the compelling, dynamic story of the movement for the rights of Mexican-Americans in the USA, particularly those In California.  In his riveting, powerfully written historical book, CHICANO HOMELAND,  retired college professor Dr. Negrete vividly describes the issues that sparked the Chicano civil rights movement, that saw unbridled police brutality, institutional poverty (that still even exists today, he says), demands for better schools, the  anti-Vietnam war protests and the support for undocumented immigrants.

Mr. Negrete’s CHICANO HOMELAND captures in its historical pages the early Mexican settlement in Los Angeles to the 1950s Zoot Suit riots in L.A. to where Chicanos stand today in the California culture. He gives us a colorful, vivid history of a people that every Hispanic should read, especially as he says, “Chicanos and Chicanas, so they can know where they came from, how they got here and be inspired to chart a course to a genuine, lasting political power for what is now the largest ethnic minority in the United States.”

Commented author Dr. Louis R. Negrete on his book, “I believe that Americans must fight back against racism and national politics. The Chicano movement was a success but resistance to racism must continue, especially with the anti-immigrant policies popular today. I wrote the book based upon my experience growing up in Los Angeles, aware of persistent demands for justice and an end to racism. Younger Mexican-Americans and other minorities should know this part of United States history.”

ORDER YOUR COPY:

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Sheila Roberts on Success, Relaxing and Advice for Authors

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Best-selling author Sheila Roberts has seen her books published in a dozen different languages and made into movies for both the Hallmark and Lifetime channels. She’s happily married with three children and lives in the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not hanging out with girlfriends, speaking to women’s groups or going dancing with her husband she can be found writing about those things near and dear to women’s hearts: family, friends, and chocolate.

Her latest book is the women’s fiction/romance, THE SUMMER RETREAT.

Website Address:  http://www.sheilasplace.com

Twitter Address:  http://www.twitter.com/_Sheila_Roberts

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/funwithsheila/

BOOK BLURB:

Celeste Jones has plans for a perfect summer with her boyfriend (and hopefully soon-to-be fiancé)—until he dumps her to be with the woman he’s had on the side for months. Heartbroken and furious, Celeste resolves to move on. When the going gets tough, the tough…okay, the not-so-tough go to the beach.

As soon as school lets out for the summer, she waves goodbye to her first-graders, packs up her bikini and heads for Moonlight Harbor, where she knows her big sister, Jenna, will receive her with open arms. Jenna could probably use some help at the Driftwood Inn, and Celeste is happy to do chores around the place in exchange for a relaxing summer escape. She just needs something—or someone—to distract her from her troubles.

Finding The One can be tricky, and Jenna is determined to make sure Celeste gets it right this time around. Not that Jenna’s an expert. She’s still trying to sort out her own love life. But if both sisters listen to their hearts, eventually they’re bound to discover that life—and love—is good at the beach.

PICK UP YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Retreat-Moonlight-Harbor-Novel/dp/0778369404/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549301194&sr=8-1&keywords=the+summer+retreat+by+sheila+roberts

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-summer-retreat-sheila-roberts/1129125875?ean=9780778369400#/

 

Q: Thanks for stopping by, Sheila! Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?

I’ve been writing stories since I was a little girl. Looking back, I feel sorry for my classmates, who were a captive audience. (My teacher thought I was the next Jane Austen and always made them listen to my stories.) I majored in music in college but took a ton of English classes and loved creative writing. Sold some articles to magazines when my husband and I were newlyweds. And then, somewhere along the way, I got an idea for a book. And that was that!

Q: What fact about yourself that would really surprise people?

I used to own a singing telegram company. Great fun!

Q: How do you define success in regards to writing and publishing books? 

That definition changes throughout a writer’s career. There’s always one more mountain to climb. At first it’s “If I could just get an agent,” then it’s “If I could just sell a book,” Then it’s “If I could just make a best-seller list”… “get a movie deal”… “make more money.” I think for me, now, it’s just, “Have people know who I am.” J Success is an elusive thing. Satisfaction, however, that’s a different animal. Satisfaction comes with having written a story well. Satisfaction comes when a reader tells you how much she enjoyed your book. Satisfaction lies in doing something you enjoy. Every author may not find the success she craves, but every author can find satisfaction.

Q: Can you tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

My new book is set in the fictional beach town of Moonlight Harbor, and gives a character who’s made several guest appearances the center stage. Celeste Jones, who’s kissed way too many frogs has run away to the beach. And there, she meets the perfect man. He’s a minister, for crying out loud. They don’t come any more perfect than that. But then there’s “the killer in room twelve.” And the town gossips. And … that’s all I’m gonna tell you.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

Reading, of course! Traveling with the hubs, hanging out with girlfriends and playing games. Loooove games.

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

For fun!

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

Wade in hip deep, work hard, and enjoy the experience. This can be a frustrating business, but the rewards of being able to bring characters to life makes it all worth it.

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Talking Craft with Literary Author Dwaine Rieves

The Dark Phantom Review

RievesImageDwaine Rieves was born and raised in Monroe County, Mississippi.  During a career as a research pharmaceutical scientist and critical care physician, he began writing poetry and creative prose.  His poetry has won the Tupelo Press Prize for Poetry and the River Styx International Poetry Prize.  His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review and other publications.  He can be reached at www.dwainerieves.com.

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Shirtless Men Drink Free. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: The book is a work of literary fiction, which I began as a form of a really long poem, one that played out on the stage belonging to a success-driven Atlanta family in 2004.  I…

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Review: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery, by Jean Paul Paulynice

3D-bigTitle: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery

Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA

Publisher: PAULYNICE CONSULTING GROUP, LLC

Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM

Website: https://www.jeanpaulpaulynice.com/

Genre: Self-help/Inspirational

Publication Date: February 28, 2019

Price: (print, ebook, audio)

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-0-8 (Paperback) $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-1-5 (eBook) $6.99  

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook) $9.99

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.

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