Monthly Archives: April 2014

Audio Interview with Authors Anne Montgomery and Randi Zohr

AudioWelcome to what is going to be a new feature here on the blog. It is the inaugural voice interview with authors who had their books featured. This first audio interview features authors Anne Montgomery and Randi Zohr. The original interview was about 30 minutes but to help those checking it out I have cut it down to the 6 pieces you see below. Take a listen to what you want to hear as we discuss several topics.

If you have feedback on this feature you want to share please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Things such as:

  • Their books The Magician and Confessions of a Cyber Slut
  • The importance of characters and experience.
  • Amtrack
  • Allure of fiction and writing tips.
  • Teachers
  • What a bubbler is and is it pop or soda.


Part One

Meet the authors and learn about their books, and put a voice to a name.


Part Two

Characters and importance of more than one and allure of Fiction.

Part Three

Writer suggestions and getting out there.

Part Four

Teachers and a gaining of understanding the things you did not know, and finding time.

Part Five

Reading and dyslexia each have an impact, along with how mothers like to spell check.

Part Six

A goodbye but first question about their bucket list.

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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Interview


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Ten +1 Questions with Author Randi Zohr

Randi Zohr is the author of Confessions of a Cyber Slut. She is from rural Wisconsin and after leaving the relatively flat state she moved to Alaska. There are many similarities between Randi Zohr and her books main character. If you want to find more about Randi you can check the questions below or her website.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Confessions of a Cyber Slut?

I’ve always loved writing.  Using some of my experiences as fodder gave me something interesting to write about.  Once I started writing and some friends read it they said I needed to finish the story.


Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

The names have been changed from the original people I have met.  There is a reason for each different name, but not one pattern that would cover all the characters.  Some are interesting stories and I love to tell stories.


Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

Of course, the book is based on actual events so as I was writing I did a lot of remembering.


Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

Reading started with Dr. Seuss – I still use How the Grinch Stole Christmas as a teacher besides mentioning it in the novel.  I also enjoyed fairy tales – with my long hair I had a connection with Rapunzel.  When I moved to chapter books I got into paranormal stories – like a boarding school of vampires and and homes where residents never leave even after death.


Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

The first thing most people ask is when the next book will be coming out.  One coworker said she could relate to the way the protagonist’s childhood is described as she also grew up in rural USA, moved to a big city and experienced some of the same culture shock of the main character.


Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

Seeing the first copy, an actual book with my name on it, was somewhat surreal.  Thumbing through it and seeing the words I wrote gave me a real sense of accomplishment.


Question 7: Do you continue to write?

Yes.  I have another book – more in the young adult line – well underway, the beginnings of a sequel to this book, and a folder full of other story lines ready to be fleshed out into novels.  My teaching duties don’t leave much time to write but writing therapy helps me relax during school breaks.


Question 8: What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?

Sometimes you need to just jump in and do it.  Not everything will work out the way you would like, but if you don’t try something different nothing will change.


Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

The subject of books number two and three.  They won’t be based as much on actual events but still a wild ride.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

The words of the dedication say it all.


The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

My ideal book tour would have to include a stop in Wisconsin to celebrate with family and friends and end in Alaska where I would spend the rest of my days.



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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Interview


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Ten +1 Questions with Author Anne Montgomery

Anne MontgomeryIf the name Anne Montgomery seems familiar to anyone it could be that she has had quite the career.  The place many might remember her name from is her time on ESPN’s Sportscenter being one of the first woman anchors. She has worked for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns as a studio host as well.

She now has turned to writing and is also a teacher. Another interesting fact is that she has a thing for zebra stripes. What do I mean, well she referees High School Football games.  So now that you have a brief background here are those questions on her book The Magician from Musa Publishing.


Question 1: What inspired you to write The Magician?

I was commissioned to write a magazine article about ancient ballcourts. People in Central and South America were playing a ballgame when Columbus arrived, and he was fascinated by the contest, which resembled modern-day ice hockey or basketball. While visiting a northern Arizona ruinthat had a ballcourt, the archeologist I was interviewing pointed up the hillside and said, “That’s where The Magician was buried.” I later wrote a magazine article about the man they call The Magician, in which I was tasked with uncovering where he might have come from, since he was different from the people who buried him in a fabulous tomb 900 years ago. The research entailed learning about pottery and weapons and trade routes and textiles, the ancestors of the Hopi, the art of pueblo building, ancient farming practices, and – believe it or not – sword swallowing. The reporter in me loved the research.


Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

Kate Butler is my alter ego. My surname is Butler. (A TV station made me change my name because I anchored with another woman who had the last name Butler, which, of course, wasn’t her real name either.) My first name comes from Latin and means “grace,” and this is one of those cosmic ironies. I have bad feet, and while I’ve done pretty well at sports where I don’t have to run – swimming, skiing, ice skating – I have a tendency to trip and fall over cracks in the sidewalk. In my early years, this resulted in a lot of family eye rolling. My mother was often heard to remark that she wished she’d called me Kate instead of Anne.


Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

The present day story of The Magician is pretty much true. Kate struggles to get the story done in exactly the same way I did. Kate learned and grew along the way, and so did I.


Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I hated to read when I was a kid. I now know that I am a bit dyslexic, which made school and reading difficult. Back then I was called stupid and lazy, which made me resent most anything with words. Even when I was in college, my mother would correct any letters I wrote home – yes, way back when we put actual stamps on mail – and she would return them with all of my mistakes marked in red pen. Books held no allure.

I recently got an e-mail from a woman who was my best friend when I was growing up which said, “Who would have ever thought you would be a writer.” She read constantly. I didn’t read a book for pleasure until I was 18. It was The Once and Future King by T.H. White. It remains one of my favorites.


Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

            The Magician has only been out a couple of months, so I’m still waiting. Patiently.


Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

Um…it’s an e-book. So I have nothing to feel accept the screen of my Kindle.


Question 7: Do you continue to write?

I am working on a novel based on the polygamous towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, which together are called Short Creek. Warren Jeffs is still running the community from prison. I have visited the area – pretending that I had no idea where I was – and interviewed people that have been involved with the cult members. It’s all pretty awful. I have to put the book away sometimes, because what’s happening up there is so depressing. I’m telling the story through the eyes of a young girl and doing my best to give the child and the readers hope.


Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

First, I want the readers to understand that human beings haven’t changed all that much over the centuries. We all want to be accepted for who we are. We want love and security.

I also want the readers to realize that we need to put an end to archeological looting all over the world. I’ll let the archeologist in my story, Dr. Jerrod Crane, explain: “Once you’ve moved an artifact from its setting, you’ve destroyed its sense of time and place, something you can never get back. Dig up a pot and drop it on the surface, and we’ve lost any perspective of its significance historically. So what you have is a pretty piece with no meaning.”

Finally, I’d like historians to admit that our beliefs about the way man populated the earth need to be updated. Let’s look into those gaps in the historical record and the apparent anomalies with open minds.


Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

Kate will become comfortable without being on television. The girl has a massive ego. (I should know.) She will learn that a job is what we do, not who we are.


Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

Ryan Pickard is my boyfriend. (Yes, a really silly word, for someone my age.) We have been together 20 years. As it says in the dedication, he loves history as much as I do and we often do verbal battle in regard to historical issues, making never to be paid dollar bets on the outcome. We are polar opposites in some things – like religion and politics – still we laugh and argue and never get bored with each other. He has also been a great sport about accompanying me on my research trips. He is adored by dogs and little children and is an exemplary chef. And we both love football and scuba diving. What more could a girl ask for?


The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

This one is tough. I have been fortunate in that I have traveled extensively. That said, I especially love Australia. Ryan and I attended the Australian Mineral Symposium in Perth in 2005. I’m a rock collector, so we went mining with a group of Aussi “rockers” and brought back about 75 pounds of rocks in our suitcases. It was fabulous. They made us feel like family. So, I think I’d like to go back.

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Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Interview


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Confessions of a Cyber Slut by Randi Zohr

I first havCybere to say don’t let this title scare you away from this book or bring you to the wrong assumptions regarding its subject matter. The book instead tells how a conservative woman gets out of small town America and into the big city and starts experiencing life. The book does have some suggestion language but overall the book is written in a safe manner, and includes some great humor.

Confessions of a Cyber Slut will take the reader into the fictional world of its main character Randi, or Miss Randi. Those with kids in daycare, or school, will get the Miss Randi comment and yes the main character is a teacher. She is not just a teacher but also does volunteer work that brings her to Alaska.

Author Randi Zohr writes the book so it almost reads like a diary. As you turn the pages you learn more and more about who this Miss Randi is. You get to learn how she grew up as a country girl and did not have the greatest self-esteem. She is a woman in her early 30’s that still has her purity intact in more ways than one.  Also a woman who never saw herself as beautiful and attractive and although living in a warm climate still enjoys layering her clothing to have ample protection from the men she will meet.

As the reader begins reading the book they will get an introduction to the character. There will be information on how Randi first starts in the cyber world through dating sites. There will be men of all types that she will meet while online, and some she will meet in person. It’s those interactions and how she learns to deal with the real and cyber world that is truly told within the pages of this book.

The author does a great job in developing not only the lead characters but the men who enter her life. There is even a small primer at the beginning of the book that will give the reader a brief introduction to the men. The one thing I want to add is a comment from the back of the book jacket that does a great job in giving a description of what will be found in the book. This is not a direct quotation but is rather close. In simple words the reader will find how Randi kissed many frogs but finds out that many are just horny toads.  It’s a sad statement but does give an insight into the online dating world.

Confessions of a Cyber Slut, does a great job into taking the reader into that online dating world. As you read this book you will get to see how the realities of life outside of a conservative world may not have prepared Randi for this new world. However, the reader gets to see how well she will adapt to this world through tongue and cheek humor and great storytelling by author Randi Zohr.

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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Reviews


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The Magician by Anne Montgomery

MagicianThe one thing any reporter loves is a mystery. The ability to cover secrets others have not been able to find will bring a reporter to the edge when it comes to getting the story. It’s what entices Kate Butler to her current assignment of uncovering information about the magician.  This mysterious man was found with more than your common funerary items around him when found in 1939. He was also found to be taller than most for the period, which raised questions about his heritage. The Hopi tribe that was helping with the dig almost knew immediately how important this man must have been when the Moochiwimi sticks were found.  Those sticks meant only one thing; this man had been a magician. This is the story that will be uncovered in author Anne Montgomery’s book aptly titled, The Magician.

Who was the magician? Where did he come from? Why was he so important?

These are questions Kate will try to uncover as she searches into the man’s past. Her only problem is her main source of information, Dr. Perkins, suddenly will not work with her. Dr. Perkins had been a great asset on her story of the Native American ball courts but now he was nowhere to be found. There had been requests for a DNA source have been routinely turned down by those who wish to protect Native American remains. The Hopi tribe had refused her request as they wished to protect the remains not see any part destroyed for a DNA test. It is possible Dr. Perkins had received pressure not to help Kate, and thus she had to find other sources.

Her friend Jack Cooper had come along with her on this trip and it’s possible his skills as a police officer would come in handy.  She will also be assisted on her quest by Dr. Jerrod Crane and colleagues of his that will help point her in other directions. There is one problem, as Kate visits the museum for the first time another takes interest in her, and her quest to find out about the magician. This man may be up to something and able to get information she cannot.

Along with the quest to find out who the magician was, there are other elements weaved into the book. These elements take us back to the life of the magician. The way the people of the era lived is explained, and they actually come to life.  We will also get to see who this magician was and his impact on the people of that area.

Names such as Woodrat, Deer Runner, Mul, and others will be discovered to belong to those who are central characters in that second feature of the book. The book will intertwine the two stories in such a way that they will complement each story contained within the book.  Montgomery uses as much realistic facts and content as she can during the writing of the book that helps bring the story to greater life.

There is drama, secretive plans, and subterfuge in both stories in the book.  The book reads in such a manner that you will not find yourself confused over the facts in the story. You will instead find yourself holding your breath at periods as the story switches from one period to another. You wonder should I skip a chapter and read a head. The answer is simply NO! The Magician is a book meant to be read and enjoyed by those who are fans of History and I have to add Mystery. The elements add up to a great book that tells not one but two great stories. As a bonus the article that Kate is writing even toward the end of the book. So you will see Kate gets her story, but the events to get there are not easy as most reporters will tell you.

As an additional note on this great book it was selected as an Editor’s Top Pick by Musa Publishing.

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Posted by on April 14, 2014 in Reviews


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Dangers of First Impressions (Opinion by Shawn Micallef)

GraphicArt_firstImpressionsAs many know a first impression is the mental image a person forms regarding another person when they first meet. This is usually is something that comes from a first face to face encounter, but today I’m sure can be formed through internet interactions were people never see each other. Well, I should add never see each other at first.

I’ve written about my Multiple Sclerosis a few times on the blog and it ties into this along with another actual life experience I encountered while on vacation. So let me start with the first one that had me feeling lower than dirt at first but shows one reason on why we shouldn’t judge so quickly. Also this left me feeling a bit nervous and wondering did I overreact. Nah I do not think so.

The setting a small strip mall with about six businesses within the location, and one was a pet store. The store sells nice sized bags of cat litter at a reasonable price and I went in to purchase two bags. I was having an off day with the MS as my arms were shaky and I had problems lifting things earlier in the day. I did not tell anyone about that as I walked in and asked to purchase the two bags. I asked the small girl behind the counter if someone was available for carry out. I then told her I feel terrible asking but I was having some problems that I could not lift at this time. She said she would be happy to help, and I was thinking to myself, girl has some guns I bet she can. I will admit I first thought she might have issues but then I remembered where she worked and the other items they had to carry around. Oh look I didn’t jump to a conclusion I thought about it first.

I paid for the items and the just over five foot girl, who if she weighed 120 pounds had to include her clothing, went over grabbed the bags and headed outside to the parking lot. Yeah, I wanted to find my man card and give it to her after that but I at least held the door for another group coming out behind me. They had parked next to my car and as I opened the back of my Explorer I happened to hear one of the women say, “No wonder he looks like that, he makes that small girl carry the litter out for him.” Ok, yeah I think to myself I heard that you bitch.

I thanked the girl for helping me out with the litter, closed the tail gate and turned to the other car. I then said, “I hope you don’t tell all people with a disability like Multiple Sclerosis that they are lazy. It just so happens I’m having an off day and trouble lifting things.” I watched her stunned face, at first it was a “how dare you” look and turned to an OMG he heard me moment. I didn’t wait for a response instead got into my car and left.

You see her impression of me was that because I was overweight, and a bigger guy that I must always take the easy way of doing things so was fat because of that. Yeah, she needs to live a day in my life and see what it’s really like, but I am not one to call others out normally. It was just that I felt bad enough having to ask the young girl for help but I also understood I needed the help that day. So my hope is she thinks about watching her mouth in the future. Oh did I forget to mention they had a young woman inside also carry out their dog food?

So that is one thing people who make first impressions don’t realize. The person they are judging may have a great reason for being who they are. It might be their choice on how they live, or it may be something forced on them beyond their control. As a warning remember that when you first jump to a first impression and talk to a person first before judging.

The second story deals with what some like to call “Breastaurants”. These are establishments that fall under the heading of Hooters, or in my case a Tilted Kilt. So here is a chance for you to grab a first impression of me, going what a pervert he goes to a place like that? Don’t over think it folks; I enjoy the Tilted Kilt as they have GREAT food. My wife also will occasionally go there with me, and even has suggested the restaurant. I’ve also gone in and seen families enjoying a mood, but why am I defending my choice of eatery? It was my choice and I had a great chicken sandwich with a salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumbers) while there.

Oh, I guess before I continue I should be honest and state that to me it’s not the breast part of their uniforms, as my wife knows, I’m a legman. I also remind myself that some of these girls could be my daughter in a different world and are just trying to make a living. Ok so if you are wondering what the place is like I suggest an internet search, now back to my story.

I had been on vacation for several days, went in a bit disheveled as I had an older pair of jeans on, a shirt and hadn’t shaved/trimmed my beard in several days. I felt a bit redneck to be honest but didn’t care. I was hungry and had a gift card to use. I got greeted well, but after I got seated things got “odd”. The waitress seemed a bit standoffish and stayed over an arm’s length away, but still was nice. So, after a while the manager came around and I started talking with him. He and talked for a good ten minutes or more before he got called away and noticed my waitress noticed. I will add the place was slow at that time as the dining room only had four other tables.

So after the manager left she came over and asked how things were going and if I needed anything. I looked at her and smiled and told her all was good and that not to worry I was not talking to the manager about her. She blushed a bit at that as you could tell she was nervous. I told her I was just talking about the place, the food and how I’ve seen some other waitresses get harassed by other “guests”. This is where the light went off on hey he may not be a bad guy. It was here when she opened up, I hit a talking point. She stated she hadn’t wanted to bother me as I looked like I didn’t want to be bothered. I’m like no I’d have liked to chit chat a bit and we did.

She found out I wasn’t that redneck I may have appeared to be. I wasn’t the guy who came to just look at the “scenery” but instead came for a good lunch. I told her point blank that I have seen how other men treat the waitresses and some forget the eyes are attached to the head and not a foot lower. I said it’s all about respect, and last thing I want to do is make the person bringing me my food mad. It was a good conversation and it came down to another of the first impression of how not to judge a person how they look. I mean how many times have you heard stories about how a tough mean looking guy/gal actually has a heart of gold?

I like to think that is me, as I am the big guy, but not rough and tough looking. Granted due to my size I can be a bit “scary”, but if people take a moment to talk they find out I’m a great listener, I am open minded and most of all I will not judge. I’ve learned through life we cannot judge another person’s life as we have not been in their shoes. Heck do you want to share their shoes? I mean they could have smaller feet, sweaty feet, or stinky feet. J Yeah I had to go for a joke there.

As for the internet side, I have no real stories there as I don’t spend my time racing across the internet. I just have heard stories from those who have tried dating on how dangerous it can be. You can get to know someone; love them for who they seem to be, but then you see them. They had gotten this romantic notion of how they looked but when they finally got face to face, or a photo, it was a letdown. They lost interest as they went for the physical and forgot about that mental stimulation they had gotten for so long. It’s sad in away, but we visual creatures and do need to feel attracted to those we care about. It’s just too bad that our mind, heart, soul, cannot play a bigger part than our libido.

The point of this opinion piece of mine is that with our fast paced world first impressions can be a bad thing. If we use that short first look at someone as a way to judge a person you could be missing out on a friend for life. You could miss out on that special someone that would make your life whole. A person that could talk you down that moment you are so hurt at life you want to end it. A person that is there to help you and be there no matter what life brings. In ending, the simple truth is that first impression may not always be right. There is a reason many games have say four downs, four quarters, three periods, and a second half. It’s because the first isn’t always the one they want so there are other chances, just like there should be in life.


Posted by on April 11, 2014 in Multiple Sclerosis, Personal


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On Vacation

OH NO!!!


Yes there will be a slight stop in blog activity as I take time to rest the eyes and just relax. Being an avid reader opens the mind to many new worlds, but sometimes they start to mesh together.

However, truth be told it’s more a vacation from the day job then it is from reading the great books I get from the authors. It’s just a period to relax and just not worry about anything for a good week.

I have a few books already lined up for my return and there “may be” a new feature when the blog starts back up in.  I’m looking into the possibility of adding AUDIO to the interviews. Yes that’s right, I wrote that word AUDIO.  You’ll have to check back to see how that works out but for now it’s our little secret.

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Posted by on April 2, 2014 in Personal


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