Author Feature – Next Therapist Please by Laurie Finkelstein

Janie goes through therapists like leased cars. Every few years, she trades in for a new one. Blessed with anxiety, depression, and OCD, Janie has encountered a menagerie of therapists. She has experienced the funky, the scholarly, and the incompetent. In a chance meeting, Janie and ex-hypnotherapist Dr. Rob begin a friendship that could be everlasting. With a paintbrush in one hand and a cocktail in another, Janie navigates through her complicated life. From her cottage on Balboa Island to the Doc’s home in Palm Springs, can Janie manage her quirks and hang-ups with the help of the Doc? Find out in this funny, heartwarming, and at times heart wrenching, read. Grab a cocktail, make a toast to Janie, and enter her world.

Buy it today on AMAZON   or   SMASHWORDS

What inspired you to write Next Therapist Please?
Next Therapist Please started as separate stories I wrote pertaining to my personal journey with living with mental illness as well as raising a special needs child. They were meant as a means to move beyond the accumulated emotions I experienced. When I finished, I had all these interesting and often rather amusing tales to read. With my love of romantic comedies, I decided, “Hey, lets take these stories and interweave them with fictional characters and a storyline in true chick lit fashion.”

What do you think the average reader without challenges will walk away with after reading?
First, I want readers to have a fun read. Second, I want readers to experience a life they may not understand or ever think about. Raising a child with special needs is daunting, confusing, and during the time my son was growing up, services were limited and inadequate. I want people to understand that mental illnesses do not define a person. Nor, just go away. These are lifelong disorders. And, I want people who are quietly suffering to know they are not alone and there is help for them

How do you think reading a romantic comedy will help people understand some aspects of mental illness?
My first purpose is to humanize mental illness and my second goal is to break down the stigma mental illness carries. 42.5 million Americans suffer some sort of mental illness. That is roughly 1 in 5 people. It is time to bring the discussion of these disorders to the forefront of our dialogues of health care management. Humor and happy endings make most circumstances acceptable.

Who has influenced your writing?
First, the love of reading began with picture books and as I learned to read, books like My Father’s Dragon, Island of the Blue Dolphins, and A Wrinkle in Time fed my imagination. Today I love to read traditional and Indie authors mainly in the rom com vain. Sophie Kinsella tops my list of traditionally published creative, funny, fabulous writers. I also love to read Plum Sykes, Cathryn Michon, and Geralyn Corcillo. My favorite Indie authors are Eileen Thornton, Lizzie Chantree, and J. R. Barrett. I have a weakness for all of Augustin Burroughs books.

Do you have any more books you are working on?
Yes I do! My next book is called Dying to Play Mah Jong. It is a romantic comedy but with the added element of supernatural occurrences and a mystery to solve. That’s all I’ll say for now. It is fully written and I am on the second round of edits. I also have a non-fiction book to finish. I am doing the illustrations for that one and you will find it in the humor section of books. The title is a secret for now.

**

Laurie Beth Finkelstein lives far enough north from Los Angeles to enjoy a slightly slower pace, but not far enough away to escape the traffic. Laurie shares her life with a husband, two grown sons, and two cats, thankfully not all living in the same house.

Laurie splits her time between painting and writing. Her debut novel, ‘Next Therapist Please’ took years to write and while fictional, mirrors many aspects of her life. Living with depression, anxiety, and OCD, has challenged her as well as provide occasional comic relief in her life. Laurie hopes to help smash the stigma of mental illness one laugh at a time.

“This book is both funny and poignant.” Amazon Review.

Here are some fun facts about Laurie:
~ She does not like pie.
~ She secretly watches SpongeBob Square Pants.
~She worked as Warner Brother’s characters at Six Flags Magic Mountain. For one month. Those costumes were heavy.
~She can’t whistle.
~She straddled the shoulders of a performer on a unicycle whipping around the stage as he juggled. In a dress hiked up beyond her comfort level and screaming during the whole “performance”.

Next Therapist Please received a 5 star review from Reader’s Favorite from Jack Magnus

“Laurie Finkelstein’s romantic comedy, Next Therapist Please, has its light and breezy moments, as romantic comedies invariably do, but there’s a lot more to this well-written and enjoyable novel. Janie’s social anxiety leads her to encounters with six different therapists, and the author deftly guides the reader through the varying types of therapy a person with anxiety may encounter.”

Connect with Laurie at lauriebethart.com

 

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Author Feature – Brian Hagan

Welcome to this week’s feature with fellow Pittsburgh author Brian Hagan! Brian has been kind enough to sit down and offer his answers to a few fun questions.

When have you felt your biggest adrenaline rush?

I think my biggest rush comes when I’m sword fighting. Either in a choreographed performance, or competitive fencing with rapiers, daggers, and the like. In both, unexpected things happen and it’s those moments when training and reflexes kick in that give me a huge adrenaline rush and leave me grinning afterwards.

What’s the craziest thing you have ever done and would you do it again?

Appropriately enough, the craziest thing I’ve ever done was volunteer for my first choreographed sword fight… an hour before the curtain went up on opening night.

It was a production of Macbeth being put on by my college. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) and I had volunteered to help with the sound & lights, so we showed up early to run through the program before audience members arrived. As we walked in, the director looked at me and says my name in that real friendly way when you need somebody to do you a favor. Apparently, the prior day one of the actors jumped off the stage and broke her ankle. She was able to still go on & do her lines, but she couldn’t move well enough to do her part of the big battle at the end. They needed somebody to fill in for her, as the whole thing was intricately choreographed and they couldn’t just remove her part.

So, over the next two hours I received a crash course in stage combat and was taught the choreography that the regular actor had spent four months practicing. Did I mention that they couldn’t change anything? That also meant that if I screwed up, the whole battle could get thrown into disarray and people could get seriously hurt.

Thankfully everything went smoothly and the curse of the Scottish Play didn’t feel any need to manifest further.

I would do it again in a heartbeat, but preferably without anyone breaking their ankle.

If your job gave you a surprise three day paid break to rest and recuperate, what would you do with those days?

Spend time watching good movies, reading, and snuggling with my cats. These are ingredients chosen to create the perfect inspiration. But Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: Everyday Life. Thus, a to-do list of shopping, cleaning, and spending time with my awesome family, was born!

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife. What would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?

My sword, because my friends will be incredibly disappointed if I showed up without it (also, a piece of string tied on the end makes the best toy for playing with cats, and they would be disappointed too). My instruments, because I love playing music and as heavenly as the angels’ songs surely are, I’ll be sad if I can’t play along. Finally, I want to be buried with a library, because then I can be sure my afterlife will be heaven.

What advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

Write. Write well, write poorly, and with all manners of spelling and grammar. Write what you love to write, write what you don’t love to write, and learn from both. Most importantly, meet people, because they are what stories are made of.

**

Brian’s background is varied and curious, starting with an interest in science and language, before moving into animation and game design. Most recently he’s been working with gemstones, and experimenting with bonsai and carnivorous plants. But of all his many hobbies and vocations, he loves telling stories above all else. His first novel, The Horrible Plan of Horace Pickle, was completed for NaNoWriMo in 2008. Brian currently lives in a notoriously haunted house in Pittsburgh with his wife, daughter, and a menagerie of cats and rabbits.

Connect with Brian on his websites: www.windsmithcity.com and  www.horacepickle.com or be social on Facebook and Twitter.

Author Feature – Educate Him by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle

 

Young, but not so innocent, maybe she can teach an old professor some new tricks.

Davis
I’ve always looked out for her, but she didn’t know it.
She came back into my life and made me want what I shouldn’t have.
Once she learns the truth, it will show her so much, but will she forgive me.

Julia
When everyone else in my life let me down, he made sense to me.
I returned with a plan in mind, but one night with him and plans changed.
The professor can teach me because I’m ready to learn.

Davis and Julia can’t deny their attraction despite the secrets of their past. Will it bring them closer together or reveal how forbidden their love is and tear them further apart?

Educate Him is an unconventional second chance romance by Sydney Aaliyah Michelle. If you enjoy a sassy, confident young woman, a smooth talking sexy professor, and a connection that reminds you why you love romance, you’ll love Sydney Aaliyah Michelle’s latest stand-alone HEA romance.

Click HERE to get your copy today!

An excerpt from Educate Him:

“What are you doing here, Jules?”
“I wanted to see you. We haven’t talking in a few days, and I just wanted to check in.” I laid my hands flat against the books; they offered comfort.
“You should have called.” He stared off toward his desk.
“Are you excepting company?”
“No. It’s been a long week; I’m tired and I have a headache.”
I stepped toward him, stood a few inches away, but he didn’t drop his hands.
“You should let me rub your temples.” I reached up, and he grabbed my hand and stepped away.
“Don’t.”
“You don’t even want me to touch you?” I asked over the grapefruit size lump in my throat.
“Jules, please just go.”
“No. Why?” I asked. “I just want to be near you. Why is that so bad?”
“It’s not bad, but I just can’t.”
“Why? What is it?”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“Then make me understand.”
His eyes flashed, and he stepped toward me. I welcomed the warmth. His demeanor softened for a split second. I saw it. I felt it, but then it was gone, and he slumped back on the bookshelves with his chin to his chest.
“I can’t,” he said.
The words crushed me yet his tone scared me. I stood in front of him. He shuddered but didn’t look at me. I bent down, so I could see his eyes.
“Why?” I asked. “What are you afraid of?”
He lifted his head. He reached up and ran the back of his hand down my tear-soaked face.
I shuddered.
“I’m afraid if I tell you, if I show you what I am and what I’m truly like, then you’ll stop looking at me like that.” His hand dropped to his side. “I’d really miss that.”
“How do I look at you?” I asked. I knew the answer but wanted to hear how he saw it.
“Like I’m a king. You have the ultimate faith in me. I don’t deserve it.” His head dropped again.
“Then earn it,” I said, my tone stronger than I felt on the inside. Inside, I felt like I might crumble any minutes if he didn’t touch me.
“Oh, Julia … How?” He raised his head.
I spotted a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
“Keep it simple. What do you need me to do?”
His eyes grew dark as he approached me. I backed up into the bookshelf, and he placed his hands on either side of my head.
“Do as I say?”
I nodded. My heart raced, and I was sure he could hear it thumping like crazy. He placed his hand over my heart, and I drew in a sharp breath. His fingers tapped against my sternum.
“Look at me.”
I turned my head up and stared into his eyes. His hands rose and surround my throat. He didn’t squeeze, but panic set in.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Jules.” He pressed a little tighter. “I need you to trust me.”
“Okay.”
“Do you trust me?”
I nodded.
“Say it.”
“I trust—” Before I finished the sentence, his lips were on mine.

Let’s learn a little about the author, Sydney Aaliyah Michelle:

Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up?

Not really. When I was a kid, I always kept a journal and I loved to read and tell stories, but when I was a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer. I didn’t see writing as a practical career path. I went to law school and worked for a little over a year in Bankruptcy Litigation. Then I got the opportunity to go to China and I had time to write more.
Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What is your favorite book of all time and why did it speak to you so much?

The Great Gatsby is my favorite book of all time. It is such a drama filled, angsty romance with so many levels and layers. The way the setting is captured in words is nothing short of brilliant. Gatsby, Daisy, and Nick as characters are relatable and at the same time tragic and sad. I read the whole book at least once a year and I read some of my favorite setting passages when I’m blocked with writing good description around my own characters.

What’s an ideal weekend for you?

On one hand, getting 5,000 words is a perfect weekend for me. haha.
If I’m not working, enjoying a new restaurant for dinner or brunch. Hanging out with family and friends either at my parents house or out at a park is a fun. Sunday is all about relaxing and binge watching my favorite shows. I record everything and watch it on the weekends.

What’s on your bucket list this year?

On my bucket list for this year …I want to run a 10K and travel to one new place.

What writing advice would you offer an aspiring writer?

It all starts with getting the words on the page. I’ve heard a lot of people say, I have a great idea for a book. I ask them have they put that idea down on paper (or on a word document). If a whole book sounds overwhelming, I suggest they break it down into manageable chunks and write until it’s finished.
You have no idea what a sense of accomplishment it is to look at a document with 60,000 words and saying you wrote it.
Don’t write with the idea that you have to have it published. I wrote three full length novels before I felt confident to publish the fourth manuscript I wrote.
That first one is so embarrassing, but I take it out every once in a while and celebrate how far I’ve come.

**

Sydney Aaliyah Michelle is a Contemporary Romance writer, a voracious reader, tattoo lover, and movie fanatic who hails from Texas

After surviving 5 1/2 years living in China, she had the courage to finally pursue her passion and become a writer.

She identifies the sci-fi action flick “The Matrix” as the best representation of her life in the past. She is now blessed to be awake and doing what she loves.

She can recite the entire script from the 80’s teen comedy/drama “The Breakfast Club” and loves any and everything associated with the Avengers Movie, especially Tony Stark.

When it come to books, Sydney reads different genres, but some of her favorite writers are Stephen King, Alex J. Cavanaugh, J.A Huss, M. Never & Emily Bronte. Under the Dome, The Great Gatsby & Wuthering Heights are her favorite books.

Email Sydney at sydney@sydneyamichelle.com.

Connect with Sydney Online:

Website 
Blog 
Facebook Page
Goodreads Page
Amazon Author Central
Bookbub
Twitter 
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Author Feature – Fantasy Island by Y.M. Sheree

“Forgive my fingers for when they find your body they will lose themselves.”
          – Tyler Knott Gregson

If you were given the opportunity to fulfill all of your fantasies, would you take a chance of a lifetime? Are you in need of a spark of excitement in your life again? With the possibility of winning a trip to Fantasy Island you realize that there is more to this island than just its name. Four unsuspecting winners of the contest are about to embark on an adventurous journey that will forever change their lives.
Meet the Contest Winners: Melody Edwards, Johanna Michaels, Makayla Washington, and Jacob Winters. Melody is a wife of three years who has found herself having self-image issues. Johanna, is cursed with not being able to sustain relationships. Makayla is the soon to be wife, yet she never seems to be satisfied with her life. Jacob, is the widower who longs for love again but unsure if anyone would be able to fill that void. Although, their reasons may vary they all have one goal in common: escaping reality. Can this luxurious island fulfill all of their desires or will it leave them craving for more? Fantasy Island is full of twists, turns, and sensual moments to keep you on edge….

Get your copy of the book today by visiting the links below:

Amazon Ebook     Amazon Paperback     Barnes and Noble Ebook     Barnes and Noble Paperback     Books A Million

Let’s get to know a little about our featured author, Y.M. Sheree…

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I think I would to live in another country. I was stationed in Germany for two years and it was beautiful. Maybe Greece or Rome.

What would you sing at Karaoke night?

I usually do Prince songs because I am a huge fan. I have sung Kiss, Darling Nikki, and When Doves Cry.

Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not?

I love surprises because I feel the person took out enough time to think about me to go to all the trouble to do so.

Tell us a little about your favorite scene from your most recent novel.

My favorite scene from my latest book Fantasy Island would be between Makayla and her partner. He shows up at the bridal shop with food to show her support as her friend and her partner on the job.

If you could offer any advice for an aspiring writer, what would it be?

Something I had to learn is that not everyone is going to enjoy what you write. That is okay because you should write because you of all people love to. Also do your own research on everything as far as publishing, cover artists, how to perfect your craft, editors and etc. I have numerous people who contact me on Facebook asking me questions and I try to help always. If I don’t know the answer I always find I for them. With that being said, when you get a team surround yourself with like minded people in this industry.

How did you come up with the idea to write Fantasy Island?

I came up with the idea of this book from watching the old tv show Fantasy Island but I put an erotic twist on my story. When I write erotica I try to touch on subjects that the world may think are taboo but deep down some individuals may want to try. I let them live vicariously through my characters.

**

Y. M. Sheree is an Army veteran who currently resides in Portsmouth, Virginia. She is a proud mother of two daughters, one a CNA and currently in College and the other is serving in the U.S. Army. A graduate of Colorado Technical University she has received two MBAs, one in Business Administration and the other in Project Management. While in High School a short story written about, King Author gained attention of the librarians. She switched her knight to a female and the damsel had been a male. Her best friend co-authored a book when they attended High School together.
While stationed in Germany, she tried her hand at poetry that she sent to a publishing company that turned her down stating her writing was journal entries and not poetry in 2009. Her spirit crushed she put her pen down and stopped writing until 2015. Mary B. Morrison challenged aspiring writers to write a book in ninety days on Facebook. Y.M. Sheree took the challenge as a hobby to pass her time not knowing that later on that year her first published work Purple Haze would release in October 2015. She now has three published books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Purple Haze, Purple Haze 2, The Switch Up, and Fantasy Island.
In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music, playing video games on her Xbox one, and she is a diehard Baltimore Ravens fan and Golden State Warriors. Known for writing Erotica she plans on being versatile and write in different genres.

Connect with Y.M. at the following links:

Y.M. Sheree’s Website    Goodreads     Pinterest     Instagram     Twitter     Author Go     Email     Facebook Page 1     Facebook Page 2     Facebook Group

**

Thank you, Y.M. Sheree for being my Friday Author Feature!

Curious who is up next? Please refer to the Upcoming Events to the right. 🙂

If you are an author interested in featuring a new book, feel free to fill out the contact form HERE.

Friday Feature – The Redcliffe Novel Series by Catherine Green, British Paranormal Romance Author

The Redcliffe novels series follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she meets a man and falls in love, only to discover the hidden werewolf secrets of her close friends. Who knew the Cornish coast could be so deadly?
 Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) is about a young woman
who runs a bookshop in Cornwall with her best friend. She falls in love with a
local police detective and later discovers that he is a vampire, and that his
identical twin brother is a werewolf. She is dragged into their complicated and
dangerous lives, to her detriment, where secrets are told and lives are lost…
 
 
Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel) is book 2 in the
developing Redcliffe series. In the quiet Cornish seaside town of Redcliffe,
Jessica Stone recovers from an horrific werewolf attack and comes to terms with
revelations that her lover, Jack Mason, is a vampire, his brother, Danny, the
werewolf pack leader, and her best friend, Simon, is a werewolf.  Add to that her discovery that she is a witch, and life is suddenly a whole lot harder than it used to be. Jessica has
to fight for her own life and Jack’s when faced with his jealous vampire master
who wants her old lover back. But things are never easy, and a vampire master
is not so easy to defeat…
 
 
Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel). Life has changed forever
in Redcliffe, Cornwall. Jessica Stone used to be a normal, happy human. Now she
is an angry, conflicted and confused witch. It all happened when she met
Detective Jack Mason and his identical twin brother Danny. Jessica almost died
twice, fell into a love triangle, and she became a murderer. Now she faces the
ultimate challenge as she continues the fight to save the man she loves, while
simultaneously struggling with her lust for his werewolf brother and their
vampire friend. Can she survive, or will love finally end her life completely?
 
 
Eye of the Tiger (A Redcliffe Novel).
Jessica Stone used to be a normal human. Then she fell in love with a vampire, met his
identical twin werewolf brother, and her life fell apart spectacularly. Meeting
Detective Jack Mason, and his brother Danny, brought about a powerful change,
and Jessica’s magic was released. Now, in Redcliffe book 4, she must learn to
control her ethereal animal familiar, who lusts after the alpha werewolf, and
will stop at nothing to use her human mistress as a tool… Or is that a
weapon?
The Redcliffe novels are widely available in paperback and ebook formats from UK
bookshops, your local library (UK only), and online with retailers including
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords and more. See buy links HERE.

 

Find Catherine Green and her British paranormal novels
in the following places:
 
 
Have you discovered the Redcliffe novels? Sign up today, and receive your fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, my vampires do not sparkle, and my wolves will
bite!)