JeanBookNerd Storytellers BOX

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Erika Lewis


Sean Penn


J.E. Thompson


Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Jenni Fagan

LUCKENBOOTH Official Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.


Donna Jo Napoli


E.E. KNight


Robert McCaw


Gregg Olsen


Josh Duhamel


Anna Priemaza


Evie Green


Jennifer Marie Brissett


Barbara Dee


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Rachel Atwood Interview - Outcasts of the Wildwood

Photo Content from Rachel Atwood

Rachel Atwood is the author of Walk the Wild with Me. She grew up enchanted with British History. Now she writes historical fiction with enchantments. Every time she visits the British Isles, she basks in the shadows of standing stones and glories in ancient crypts while drinking in the lush accents of the people she meets. She thinks driving on the left is natural and roundabouts are efficient as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Greatest thing you learned at school. 
There is always more to learn.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
When I started rewriting Little Golden Books when I was in 1st grade.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? 
Le Morte D’Arthur by Malory is the book I return to time and time again. Outside my SF/F genre I have to say my favorite book is The Prince of Midnight by Laura Kinsale. Historical Romance. It has a killer opening line. “Hell is being a hero.” I didn’t ‘like’ either of the main characters, but I kept reading and reading. Then on the last two pages I figured out why she put the dedication at the end of the book, and I sat paralyzed with my mouth agape as it all made sense and I learned why I was crying.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
A fan letter for my first book from a 14-year-old girl. She opened the letter with “I hate to read.” Turns out I’d given my dragon the same name as her and spelled it the same. A friend gave her the book because of it. She read it from cover to cover and looked forward to the next book. If I never did anything else in my career, I knew I’d succeeded because I turned a non-reader into a reader and the world opened before her.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be? 
The Riddle Master of Hed and the sequels by Patricia McKillip. Her poetic use of language along with compelling character sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go until long after I’d re-read them twice.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Too much research. I wanted to include it all, but there wasn’t room, and it didn’t always move the plot forward or enhance the characters.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes? 
Language of the Night by Ursula K. LeGuin made me look at what I said AND how I said it. Neither is more important than the other in writing fantasy.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us? 
Human beings, maybe even the Neanderthal, have been telling stories since the beginnings of language. They are teaching tools, moral lessons, entertainment, explanations. Stories are part of what makes us human and helps define humanity.

Can you tell us when you started OUTCASTS OF THE WILDWOOD, how that came about?
When I finished WALK THE WILD WITH ME, I knew that Nick and his friends had more adventures that I needed to discover. So I went looking for something that would threaten the forest—which is more than just the trees, it is a complex ecology of parkland, fish ponds, open meadows, trees, and wildlife preserve reserved for the king’s private hunting grounds—my reading took me to charcoal burners. They could clear great swaths of woodland for a necessary heat and energy source for those who do not have access to firewood or coal. One charcoal burner with a mission could devastate 100 acres a year, or more. Then I had to find the kind of man who must live a solitary life, who would befriend him, and who would shun him. The rest fell into place behind him.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters? 
In this book I learned that sometimes, being an outcast is preferable to living within society.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from OUTCASTS OF THE WILDWOOD
“The time has come for me to pass the authority of the Green Man to the heir of my choosing,” Little John announced, making certain his voice carried to the circle of human and fae friends who had come to observe this rare ritual.

This winter Father Tuck’s outlawed friends had found a cave adjacent to his own for their winter sojourn. That cave was now empty and his informant, Blaidd the father of the wolves, told him that last autumn’s enclave near Ardelia’s pond was fully occupied. Sheltered by the cave, he had slept longer and deeper than during the decades of monastic life when the bells summoned him to Mass seven times a day. He missed the bells.

Then Robin noted the plop of dirt clods impacting soft moss behind the boar. Robin took a half step to his left. The foliage was thicker here but the boar dipped his head just so… He loosed the arrow. The thwap of his line sang against his ear. The feathers of the fletching grazed his cheek. The tension in his arms recoiled, bringing knots to his forearms. His instincts demanded he shrink into his Robin Goodfellow body. Gnomes didn’t develop sore muscles.

  • 1) I’m sorry that Robin Hood in fact is a collection of personalities from 300 years of British history and not a single person.
  • 2) King John wasn’t as evil as usually portrayed.
  • 3) The Magna Carta is a peace treaty among King John, his barons, and the Church and not a rights of man.
  • 4) the common folk can be more resilient and resourceful than tyrants.
  • 5) When motivated I can write faster than I think I can.
  • 6) My beta reading friends love me more than I thought. They actually put up with my first draft horribleness.
  • 7) “Time Team” streaming on Amazon Prime Video is an amazing resource. I had to rewrite the scenes inside the ancient barrow after two episodes of the show.
  • 8) My husband proves his love for me every time he surgically removes me from my computer and kidnaps me for a day out in the wilds of Oregon so I can refresh my brain and inspire my imagination. 9) My lizard brain is smarter than I am and knows much more about my books than I do. It lays down clues I don’t know are clues until chapters later.
  • 10) Robin Hood, King John, and the Magna Carta are the parts of history I need to write more about.
Meet the Characters
Nicholas Withybeck is an orphan raised in Locksley Abbey. He’s smart, curious, and restless. Escaping the confines of the monastic community is his greatest joy. Since King John is at war with Pope Innocent III, and no church services or sacraments may be celebrated in England, the Wild Folk of the forest are free to come out and play. They quickly become Nick’s best friends.

In the oldest folklore Robin Hood looks like Puck or Robin Goodfellow, Little John has associations with The Green Man. Will Scarlett was often called a preening bird with bright plumage. The rest of the cast of characters fall into place. I had a ball playing with them.

Your Journey to Publication
Back in the Jurassic, I thought I was writing Romance. I joined Romance Writers of America and found a critique group and my first agent through them. Then I broke my ankle in 2 places and dislocated it 90 degrees. I was laid up for months and had to give up dancing with the Ballet du Lac. I turned to writing.

All of my submissions came back: Too much plot, not enough romance. Too many ghosts and crazy woo-woo stuff, not enough romance. So, if I couldn’t write romances, and had to give up my day job of working retail, and (sob) dancing, I’d damned well do what I wanted to do. I wrote “The Glass Dragon” by Irene Radford. It took years to write while working part time teaching ballet and raising a family. Eventually the manuscript landed at DAW Books. Sheila Gilbert—still my editor—bought it and two sequels. I haven’t looked back since, though I have added several pen names. I have also branched out and published independently through the Book View Café, a publishing co-op. Between the two, I have published 49 books and am working on #50. I also edit for small presses. Several of my anthologies from B-Cubed Press have hit Amazon best seller lists.

There have been lean years when my books have not been as popular as I want, resulting in a new pen name for the next book—some strange algorithm known only to New York publishing houses. I have lost friends and family members, resulting in periods when grief kept me from writing and wonder why I try. But then an idea hits me, or I get an inspirational fan letter, or receive an award, an anthology hits a best seller list, and I find I’m cranking out the words again.

Mostly my family has cheered me on and joined my celebrations even if they don’t read my genre. For them I write cozy mysteries, the Whistling River Lodge Mysteries available through the Book View Café—4 so far. Thanks to Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions and social media my friends have evolved into writing colleagues and readers. I couldn’t ask for better or more supportive companions in my life.

Writing Behind the Scenes
If I don’t get dressed until I’ve finished writing for the day, then I’m not tempted to abandon writing and go somewhere, anywhere, away from work. I can be a workaholic or incredibly lazy nothing in between. Lunch out with my friends usually dissolves into brainstorming sessions. That’s work isn’t it?

What is the first job you have had? 
Retail clerk in a department store during Christmas break in college.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
How much do I have to eat to restore my blood sugar.

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
5 months in Great Britain my senior year of college with 24 other students and a professor. Incredible immersion in history.

What's your most missed memory? 
Dancing with a semi-pro ballet company.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today? 
Watching Watergate tear apart the government and my ideals about how it should work.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
Where I left off in the stories I tell myself in order to get to sleep.

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why? 
If I could change one thing, I’d give Mary Queen of Scots some brains so she’d be worthy of the adoration she inspires. If I could be someone in history, I think I’d like to be Eleanor of Aquitaine. Wife to 2 different kings, mother of three more, and the real power behind the thrones of Europe for 7 decades or more.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
My journey out of clinical depression and back to relative sanity after the death of my father. Dancing helped me get out of bed in the morning. Dancing gave me an outlet for suppressed emotions. Dancing was the only sane part of my life.

This second novel of a historical fantasy series that reexamines the Robin Hood legend in medieval England.

Nick, an orphan raised at Locksley Abbey has made friends with the Wildfolk: the Greenman, Robin Goodfellow, dryads, water sprites, and other paranormal creatures. He often hides in the nearly forgotten abbey crypt, where he found Elena, the goddess of sorcery, crossroads, and cemeteries. He carries her vessel and tries to learn from her wisdom.

Robin Goodfellow lives with a curse. Half of each day he must spend as a hideous gnome with a bit of magic and near immortality. The other half of the day he can live as Robin Hood, archer of legend. At the time of his curse sixty years before, an insane magician trapped Robin's love, Marian in a secret chamber that keeps her in perpetual sleep. The only way Robin can break the curse is to awaken Marian in his gnome form and have her recognize his true face.

But the magic is breaking down. Marian will die if Robin doesn't break the curse soon. He needs Nick's help, his affinity for dark underground places, and Elena's whispers to find Marian's secret chamber and decipher the clues to breaking the curse.
You can purchase Outcasts of the Wildwood at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Freddy Cruz Interview - They Canceled the DJ

Photo Content from Freddy Cruz

Freddy Cruz is the long-time radio personality of the daytime show on the world famous KRBE in Houston, TX. He is also an author, philanthropist, lover of new music and old books, and the host of the Book This with Freddy Cruz podcast. Fueled by coffee, laughter, a shared delight in his community, and love for his family, Freddy often marvels at his luck in being able to spend his days filling the buckets of all the things he values most in life.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
“It’s the little things that win championships.” Coach Brewer.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I can always tell that I’m living my purpose by the large amounts of time that seem to fly by when writing or producing. And the hours seem like minutes. I get lost (in a good way) in the craft.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why?
Can’t Hurt Me by retired Navy SEAL David Goggins should be required reading for high school students. But it’s great for anyone in a rut because it teaches you grit and embracing pain and suffering.

And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? Blame it on the Cold War, but I’ve always been and always will be obsessed with Russia. Particularly authors whose work faced (and in death, continue to face) harsh criticism. Among these is Ayn Rand. We the Living is so beautifully written and perfectly plotted.

  • 1.) The original title was She Left Me for a Jerk with a Ukulele, but I polled my friends and They Canceled the DJ won.
  • 2.) Maria, AC’s mom, is named after one of my coworkers, who won a character name in the book as a prize at our 2019 company Christmas party.
  • 3.) I wrote ten pages in the dark, with nothing but a flashlight, during the winter storm of 2021.
  • 4.) Ever since my favorite fiction author Chuck Palahniuk said he writes longhand, I started writing longhand.
  • 5.) I manifested my “pie in the sky” dream for my writing in the final chapter of the book.
  • 6.) Lecnac Grove is a fictional town. “Lecnac” being “cancel” spelled backward.
  • 7.) The RDS scene is inspired by actual events and the party involved shall remain nameless
  • 8.) Bobbi’s apartment is inspired by a HuffPo story about a Hello Kitty fan’s home.
  • 9.) Since I’ve been asked, Lilian is NOT inspired by anyone I know.
  • 10.) Nexus Lounge is modeled after Studio 104, all the way down to the busted sewage pipe—yuck.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Being told my work is like “1984 on steroids,” and being compared to the Gulag Archipelago.

If you could have written one book in history, what book would that be? 
Fight Club.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 

Can you tell us when you started THEY CANCELED THE DJ, how that came about? 
September of 2019. I was in a dark place, having allowed a negative review of my first novel get to me. After a weekend of sulking and wallowing in my own misery, I watched my favorite movie “Chef” and read an interview with Jon Favreau in the Tim Ferris book Tools of Titans. It lit me up and I started writing. The manuscript was finished by the end of the year and the original plan was to release in 2020. But then COVID happened. So instead of a book release, I used lockdown to write another manuscript, which may or may not ever see the light of day.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from THEY CANCELED THE DJ
  • Books don't consume my life. Not completely, anyway. But I love books. And I agree with Bobbi: the book will always be better than the movie. Especially if we're talking about Fight Club and The Hunger Games. No amount of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Lawrence could ever change that. And until now, my discriminating taste has all but banished the world of fan fiction.
  • "What happened to your arm?" asks Bobbi, nodding her head toward the inside of his forearm. I wanna squeeze it so hard, a river of River's blood trickles down his arm and onto the floor.
  • "New tat," River replies, holding it up. He peels the tape-covered gauze back, revealing the words "Amor fati."
  • Love of fate. Nietzsche. My dad loves him and that quote.
  • "Love of fate, as in...?" says Bobbi.
  • River pats the couch, welcoming Bobbi to sit next to him. He doesn't acknowledge me, the one assigned to interview him.
  • "As in embracing everything that happens in your life," he says. "Good, bad, or indifferent. And seeing it for all its beauty."
  • As in not avoiding the inevitable, but embracing it. Even when that inevitability takes the form of a musician with no respect for boundaries with a woman he just met. In front of her boyfriend.
What is the first job you have had? 

Best date you've ever had? 
My first date with the lady who I’d eventually end up marrying. Dinner at Cafe Papadeaux.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
If it’s not gratitude, it’s my dog Sparrow, who’s head is usually resting on my leg.

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
Nearly crashing into some mountains while flying to Mexico.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew? 
You could say that I do this every time I host someone from an animal shelter or foster group.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? Definitely true love.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
How am I gonna last an entire day when I woke up at 3 in the morning?

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
I try to think about nothing, so it’ll be easier for me to fall asleep.

If you could be born into history as any famous person who would it be and why? 
Vanderbilt or Carnegie. Or anyone of the businessmen from America’s Reconstruction Era. Not for the money, but for the influence and the legacy.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
My interviews would make an interesting documentary. I’ve interviewed the likes of NFL superstar Deandre Hopkins, rapper/actor Ludacris, Navy SEALs like Jack Carr and Rich Diviney, and literary legends like David Baldacci and Brad Thor.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
I don’t fear death. I fear having large amounts of unfinished business when I die. That…is TERRIFYING. But as the stoics say, “memento mori.”

When a hotheaded DJ is caught in a viral web of vengeance, it’s unlikely he’ll find the wisdom to quiet his inner critic. Radio jock Aubrey Cortes cares way too much about what others think. After he humiliates himself in front of a listener-turned-love interest, he’s horrified when the explosive episode goes viral. But, after the disaster turns into a first date, he celebrates with a barrage of search-and-destroy tweets aimed at torpedoing his online critics. Thrilled when his newfound viral fame lands him a nationally syndicated show, he uses his connections to arrange a backstage pass to meet his new squeeze’s legendary musical idol. Cue mayhem. Aubrey’s heart is cruelly betrayed on centerstage, and blows up big time. Again. And now he wants payback. Can Aubrey eat humble pie and take a Zen lesson or three, or will he go down in a fiery fit of revenge? A riotous romp, They Canceled the DJ is an outrageous standalone dark comedy caper packed with over-the-top antics, satirical commentary, and humorous twists

You can purchase They Canceled the DJ at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Jesse Sternberg Interview - Enlightened Dog Training

Photo Content from Jesse Sternberg

Jesse Sternberg is a mindfulness teacher, meditation instructor, and master dog trainer. The founder of the Peaceful Alpha Project, he has been working with animals for more than 30 years. He lives in Toronto, Canada.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
The greatest thing I learned in school is to be comfortable being myself. (I was jewish in a small town and definitely didn’t fit in when we first moved there at 12 years old)

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My favorite book outside my genre is a hero born, jin yong (it’s translated from chinese and is basically the harry potter meets kung fu, it’s just extraordinary)

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My most rewarding experience since being published was watching my son’s pride in me. He’s in grade 5 and is so proud. He takes the book to school and reads in his spare time.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Reading a book has definitely changed my life. The seven spiritual laws of yoga, by deepak chopra, gave me the confidence and courage to become a dog trainer 15 years ago. The rest is history.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
The biggest distraction is my emotion and inner monolog. Staying focused, determined, and vibing high became my dedication.

Can you tell us when you started ENLIGHTENED DOG TRAINING, how that came about?
I’ve known that I’m deeply creative since childhood. I used to take all my toys apart and build new ones. As a young adult I loved building businesses (for investors or myself), then eventually, I discovered writing. And I love that the most!

My favorite quotes from the book are within the table of contents. It’s just so interesting and unique and captivating for people who are into mindfulness and love their dogs. Here are a few samples:
  • The Secret Language of the Animal Kingdom
  • The Peaceful Alpha: Commanding With Respect and Love
  • Zen and the Art of Deflating Aggression
  • Healing Neurosis and Anxiety: Yours and Your Dog’s
  • Power Objects: The Source of Your Dogs Embarrassing Behaviors
Random Facts About Enlightened Dog Training
I actually didn’t think I wanted to write this book. I had never done something like this and didn’t like writing as a kid. Three years ago I sold my dog business and decided to pivot my life around. After a month of just resting and relaxing, I got an epic download. Inspiration for writing a mindfulness based dog training book hit me, and my spine tingled for hours. I knew I had no choice but to develop the skill and participate in the marathon that all writers come to know about.

Journey to Publication
I couldn’t have been luckier. My background is in business writing. Making concise, eloquent business cases is what I was trained to do in University. I hired an amazing agent who had a connection with one publisher. We wrote an amazing query letter. Three months later we heard from a subsidiary of the publisher, out in the UK. My book landed on the desk of another publisher who happened to be into mindfulness and loves animals. How amazing is that?

Writing Behind the Scenes
I try to stay consistent with my own personal practice of keeping my mind clear, my body healthy and my emotions elevated. I don’t try to write anything until I’m in that state. I’ve forced it before and it usually looks like hours of grinding with nothing decent written down. The alternative, which took me two years to master, is waiting for the flow state and the inspiration to hit. Then bee-lining it to the computer and allowing the flow to be released. The other lesson I learned is to sit on my work for a while before I release it to an editor. This gives me fresh eyes to improve what I wrote (or ditch it and start over).

Which would you choose, True Love with a guarantee of heartbreak or have never loved before? 
 I think true love with the guarantee of heartbreak sounds great, minus the ending. You have to taste life though, don’t be afraid of loving.

Which incident in your life totally changed the way you think today? 
Once while on ayahuasca I hallucinated that an octopus was strangling me to death. It felt so real, like I had a conscious death or something. My relationship to the feeling of fear has been required since. I have a lot more courage now.

Weirdest thing you’ve seen in someone’s home? 
One of my friends had a 16 year old pug. She loved it. Eventually it passed on. She took him to the taxidermy. Looking at this old stuffed real dog in her home is so weird!

First heartbreak? 
Divorcing my wife and mother of my children of 10 years after I realized that I had realized that we were no longer compatible together. I still love her and always will, but not romantically anymore. (fun question!!! lol)

A complete guide to raising and relating to your pet in a mindful way that leads to calm, intuitively-obedient dogs

• Reveals the principles of the secret language of the animal kingdom to help you communicate with your pet and read their signals

• Offers cutting-edge, unique solutions to everyday canine problems by looking at behavioral issues through the lens of your pet’s emotions

• Shares training exercises and powerful meditative practices to do with your pet as well as on your own to help soothe anxiety, overcome aggression issues, and transform tension into harmony

Are you aware of the body signals through which your dog shares his or her perspective of the world with you? Understanding the language of your pet allows you to communicate better and naturally transform your dog into a calm, relaxed companion for life.

In this guide, meditation teacher and dog trainer Jesse Sternberg reveals the principles of the secret language of the animal kingdom and offers commonsense yet unique solutions to everyday canine behavioral problems. Using case studies that resonate with every pet owner and dog lover, he explains how most of our pets’ issues arise from intense feelings caused by the environment, ourselves, or prior conditioning and how these emotions are acted out by the dog.

Combining mindfulness teachings with animal psychology, Jesse suggests training exercises and powerful meditative practices to do with your pet as well as on your own to help build a calm and peaceful mindset for both your dog and yourself, so eventually you will find yourselves aligned and able to gracefully master even unexpected situations. Enlightened Dog Training offers unique training techniques for soothing anxiety, healing neuroses, overcoming aggression issues, and transforming tension into harmony. Communicate nonverbally with your dog using the signals dogs use with each other and address problems with leash training and guarding resources and territory.

Helping you cultivate empathy, awareness, and confidence to become the peaceful alpha your dog craves, this guide shows how to strengthen your human-animal bond, communicate with actions, and command with respect and love.

You can purchase Enlightened Dog Training at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 14, 2022

Guest Post with Jenna Greene - Winston the Well-Dressed Wombat

Photo Content from Chelsea Sedoti

Jenna Greene is a teacher and author, whose hobbies include dancing, dragonboating, and napping. Her novel, Reborn, won the 2019 Moonbeam Children’s Book award.


Give us the background on your journey to publish! Tell us where and when you started. What trials you may have gone through, what the best parts were. How did your family and friends react to the news of your publication; how did they help you or inspire you?)
Having taught middle school for 14 years, I was well-emersed in the realm of YA literature and found the flow to the writing YA fantasy a moderately easy road. (Disclaimer: No writing is truly easy). However, with the arrival of my daughter, my switch to teaching primary grades, and falling in love with picture books, my writing desires changed and my flow of ideas shifted to younger audiences. Of course, I’ve seen picture books. I’ve read many. But the creation of a picture book … the manner eluded me. I could write a story, but how would it be formatted? Who would draw the pictures and how could they be matched to the character in my head? Luckily, I have the pleasure for working for and with a publishing team who are also writers. They understand the publishing ‘biz’ from both the author side and the formatting/ printing/ marketing part. I was allowed to pick my own illustrator and communicate with her to bring my vision to life.

Once my book was published, I was able to share my story with my five year old daughter. While she understands that ‘mommy writes books’, it’s always been a struggle for her to comprehend and relate to stories without pictures. I was proud and excited to present a tale to her that was at her level. I showed her the book, read her the story, and waited for her reaction. While I suspected she might tell me her thoughts about the story, or even give me a congratulatory hug, neither case was true. Instead, she wanted to know “Why I looked so pretty in my picture?” on the back cover, instead of how I normally look. I was probed on my hairstyle, clothing choices, and whether I wore makeup.

I guess you can never truly anticipate the focus of a young child, or what will pop out of their mouth. Perhaps this will be the topic for my next picture book.

Children's bookWinston the Wombat loves to share what he knows, how to clothe all his friends wherever he goes.
Take a fun little journey with Winston to see, all the dressing suggestions he gives out for free.

You can purchase Winston the Well-Dressed Wombat at the following link below:

1 Winner will receive a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Edward Willett Interview - Shapers of Worlds Volume II

Photo Content from Edward Willett

Edward Willett is an award-winning author of science fiction, fantasy and non-fiction for both children and adults.

Born in Silver City, New Mexico, Willett lived in Bayard, New Mexico and Lubbock and Tulia, Texas, before moving to Weyburn, Saskatchewan with his family when he was eight years old.

He studied journalism at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, then returned to Weyburn as a reporter/photographer for the weekly Weyburn Review, eventually becoming news editor. In 1988 he moved to Regina, Saskatchewan, as communications officer for the Saskatchewan Science Centre, and in 1993 he became a fulltime freelance writer. He still resides in Regina.

Willett is now the author or co-author of more than 40 books, ranging from computer books and children's non-fiction books to science fiction and fantasy for both adults and young adults.

His science fiction novel Marseguro (DAW Books) won the 2009 Aurora Award for best English-language science fiction or fantasy book by a Canadian author. He has also won a Saskatchewan Book Award for his YA fantasy Spirit Singer. He has been nominated for the Aurora Award and Saskatchewan Book Awards multiple times.

His most recent novels include the Masks of Aygrima trilogy, YA/adult crossover novels published by DAW books and written as E.C. Blake, and the five-book YA fantasy series The Shards of Excalibur, published by Coteau Books. He's also the author of the Peregrine Rising duology for Bundoran Press (Right to Know and Falcon's Egg).

Other novels include SF novel Lost in Translation (DAW Books), Terra Insegura (sequel to Marseguro, DAW Books), Magebane (DAW Books, written as Lee Arthur Chane), YA SF novels Andy Nebula: Interstellar Rock Star, Andy Nebula: Double Trouble, and The Chosen; and YA ghost story The Haunted Horn. 2016 will see a new YA fantasy, Flames of Nevyana, from Rebelight Books.

His non-fiction titles run the gamut from science books for children on topics as diverse as Ebola Virus and the Milky Way to local history books like Historic Walks of Regina and Moose Jaw for Red Deer Press, awarded a Municipal Heritage Award by the City of Regina in the education category and A Safe and Prosperous Future: 100 years of engineering and geoscience achievements in Saskatchewan, published by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan (APEGS). He's also written biographies for children of Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Andy Warhol, Orson Scott Card, J.R.R. Tolkien and the Ayatollah Khomeini.


When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Like most writers of science fiction and fantasy, I started out as a reader. In our public library in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, every science fiction and fantasy book bore a bright-yellow sticker on the spine, featuring a stylized atom with a rocketship for a nucleus. I methodically worked my way along the shelves until I’d read most of the books thus marked, which included, not just novels, but short-story collections, some by one author, many by multiple authors; some offering original fiction, others reprints.

Inspired (or possibly corrupted) by my reading, I tried my own hand at writing science fiction when I was eleven years old, producing my first complete short story: “Kastra Glazz, Hypership Test Pilot.” My course was clearly set: I’ve been writing science fiction and fantasy ever since.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
It’s not a single experience, but a type of experience: when someone tells me, unsolicited, that they loved one of my books. Especially for my young adult books, when that compliment comes from a young reader. That’s the best.

Can you tell us how SHAPERS OF WORLDS VOLUME II came about?
Shapers of Worlds Volume II is the second volume of an anthology series that began with Shapers of Worlds in 2020. The tale begins in the summer of 2018, when the idea came to me to leverage my experience as an erstwhile newspaper reporter and radio and TV host, and the contacts I had made in the genre, to launch a new podcast, focusing on something I love to talk about: the creative process of crafting science fiction and fantasy.

I researched the making of podcasts, decided on a hosting service, set up a website, got the necessary software and equipment, and then reached out to possible guests—and was thrilled by how many fabulous authors said, “Sure, I’ll talk to you.” That willingness spanned the writing-career spectrum from legends of the field and international bestsellers to folks who are just getting started, from writers for adults to writers for young adults and children, from hard SF writers to writers of epic fantasy. The Worldshapers podcast took off with a bang (and continues—I’m now into my fourth year, with Episode 100 going live on the first weekend of 2022), even winning an Aurora Award (Canada’s top science fiction award) for Best Fan Related Work in 2019.

In April 2019, at the annual meeting of SaskBooks, the association of Saskatchewan publishers of which I’m a member (and currently serving on the board) by virtue of owning Shadowpaw Press, a guest speaker talked about her success at Kickstarting anthologies.

Hey, I thought. I know some authors . . .

And thus, the anthology idea was born. I spun my wheels a bit at first—I’d never tried a Kickstarter and the challenges seemed daunting, and, of course, I had other writing and publishing commitments. But I garnered great advice from my fellow DAW Books author Joshua Palmatier, who has successfully Kickstarted numerous anthologies through his company, Zombies Need Brains, LLC, and more great advice from my fellow Saskatchewan author Arthur Slade, who has successfully Kickstarted a graphic novel, and, of course, it’s not like there’s a shortage of advice online (too much, maybe, since some of it is contradictory). At any rate, in the end, I screwed my courage to the sticking-place, rolled up my metaphorical shirtsleeves, and set to it.

I reached out to my first-year guests (an arbitrary decision to keep the length manageable) and asked if they’d be interested in contributing either an original story or a reprint. Many were. (Those who couldn’t, due to other commitments, were still highly supportive of the idea.) Many of the contributors, in turn, were very generous in providing backers’ rewards. I built the campaign. It ran over the month of March 2020.

Wait. Something else happened in March 2020. I can’t quite put my finger on it . . . it’ll come to me . . .

Yes, I managed to launch my first-ever Kickstarter campaign concurrent with the start of the worldwide pandemic’s North American tour. Lockdowns, people out of work, fear of what the future would hold . . . not particularly conducive to shelling out money for a collection of science fiction and fantasy, I feared.

And yet . . . people did. I’d aimed for $13,500 Canadian and ended up at $15,700. The book was a go. The stories came in, and in the fall of 2020, the book became a reality.

So, of course, I did it again. In March 2021 I launched my second Kickstarter, for the new anthology, Shapers of Worlds Volume II. The first book had eighteen stories, nine original ones and nine reprints. The new anthology has twenty-four stories: original stories by Kelley Armstrong, Marie Brennan, Helen Dale, Candas Jane Dorsey, Lisa Foiles, Susan Forest, James Alan Gardner, Matthew Hughes, Heli Kennedy, Lisa Kessler, Adria Laycraft, Ira Nayman, Garth Nix, Tim Pratt, Edward Savio, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Jeremy Szal, and some guy named Edward Willett, plus reprints from Jeffrey A. Carver, Barbara Hambly, Nancy Kress, David D. Levine, S.M. Stirling, and Carrie Vaughn.

In print, it’s well over 500 pages: an amazing collection of fiction from some of the best authors working in science fiction and fantasy today.

And I’ve already started working toward Volume III, with twenty authors already lined up from Year 3 of my podcast and a new Kickstarter in the offing in March 2022.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
I ask this question in my podcast, The Worldshapers, all the time, in the form of, “Why do you write? And why science fiction and fantasy in particular?”

Creativity is innate in human beings: its part of the brain. The theological answer is that we are created in the image of God, and since God creates things, so do we. This is Tolkien’s concept of “sub-creation.” As he put it, “We make still by the law in which we’re made.”

Evolutionarily, there’s clearly a survival benefit to being creative, thinking up new ways to do things. Our ancestors survived because they were creative, and that creativity has been handed down. And one of the ways in which we are creative is telling stories, making up things that didn’t really happen but could, for enjoyment, for education, for persuasion, for a million different reasons.

On the most personal level, I write stories because it’s fun. I thinks that’s why most writers write. After all, most writers start as kids, and what do kids do? They play. Writers go from building sandcastles in sandboxes to building castles in fantasy realms. Yes, writing professionally is work . . . but at heart, it’s play.

What is the first job you have had?
First full-time job was as a reporter/photographer for a weekly newspaper, the Weyburn Review.

First part-time job was cleaning the school building over the summer.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?

What is your most memorable travel experience?
A six-week choir tour of Western and parts of Eastern Europe in 1987, while the Communists still ruled the east and the Berlin Wall still stood.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
Not getting any younger, darn it.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
Study engineering or one of the sciences rather than journalism.

Explore twenty-four imaginative tales crafted by some of today’s best writers of science fiction and fantasy, all guests on Aurora Award-winning podcast The Worldshapers during its second year, including international bestsellers and winners of every major award in the field as well as newer authors just beginning what promise to be stellar careers.

There are brand-new stories from Kelley Armstrong, Marie Brennan, Garth Nix, Candas Jane Dorsey, Jeremy Szal, Edward Willett, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Lisa Foiles, Susan Forest, Matthew Hughes, Heli Kennedy, Helen Dale, Adria Laycraft, Edward Savio, Lisa Kessler, Ira Nayman, James Alan Gardner, and Tim Pratt, plus fiction by Jeffrey A. Carver, David D. Levine, Carrie Vaughn, Nancy Kress, Barbara Hambly, and S.M. Stirling.

A woman seeking the power to see the evil hiding within others regrets receiving it. Letters written by a wizard in the past threaten a queen’s reign in the present. Competing for Earth, a human wrestler faces an alien shapeshifter in an interstellar tournament. A guide in Tibet must weigh the good of his people when asked to lead a westerner to the fabled realm of Shangri. An activist imprisoned for illegal genetic modification works with the materials at hand and the threads of the multiverse to make the world—a world, at least—a better place. A demonic agent sent to help a human turns the tables on his summoner.

Like the “cabinets of curiosities” created by collectors of the sixteenth century, Shapers of Worlds Volume II displays a varied array of thought-provoking delights: tales of humour and sorrow, darkness and light, and hope and despair that are full of adventure, full of life, and sometimes full of regret. There are stories set in alternate histories, in possible futures, near and far, and in the here-and-now, taking place on Earth, on distant planets, or in fantastic realms. All arise from the innate need of human beings to create, to imagine . . . to shape worlds.

You can purchase Shapers of Worlds Volume II at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*
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