Saturday, October 27, 2018

Interview With Author Jeff Kelly



Photo courtesy of: Jeff Kelly

Jeff Kelly is a devoted father and husband. If you ask him what his super power is he'll proudly tell you it's converting people to renewable energy sources. He may also add a grumble about his unwavering support for his favorite Philadelphia sports teams. As a Philadelphian, I understand. The struggle is real!

Jeff finds joy in his profession and understands the challenges facing our planet. Thanks to caring people like him, we have a chance to conserve our natural resources for future generations. 

Now that I've introduced you to Jeff let's get to know him a little better.


Pin Me Please!



Hello, Jeff, and welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?
When my first son, Oliver, was born I really enjoyed reading him stories and was surprised how interactive and engaged he was with them at an early age. It was then that the gears were set in motion to write a book for him.

As I sat down to write, I realized I was more interested in creating a chapter book than a picture book geared for infants, so while the main character is named after my son he must wait a few years to enjoy it for himself!

Is writing your full-time profession?
I’ve spent my career in the renewable energy industry helping the world convert to clean energy sources such as wind and solar. Waking up every day to save the planet has been a rewarding career. I’ve been fortunate to help spur many others to join the clean power revolution.

How long have you been writing?
I started writing around three years ago when Oliver was born.


Photo courtesy of: Jeff Kelly


How many books have you written?
I’ve written two books, Trick or Monster Treat and The Ghost of Indian King Tavern, both part of the Haddonfield Horror series I’m creating.

Which genres do you write?  
Middle-age horror/suspense/adventure for now, but leaving my options open for the future!

What do you find most challenging about writing for these genres?
The most challenging thing is keeping in the mindset of your audience. It’s easy to stray in either direction of your target readers so remaining disciplined is essential.

I sometimes may stretch the plot in ways that older audiences may appreciate more, but the books I write are intended for young readers to enjoy. Keeping a balance of what’s fun to write and what my readers will respond to can be tricky.


Photo courtesy of: Jeff Kelly


What are you working on now?
I’m in the creative phase right now and thinking of another book for the Haddonfield Horror series. I can only write when I’m really, really passionate about the story.

Anything short of me being obsessed about the story won’t get me to put pen to paper. I have a lot of ideas, but haven’t been able to sow them together enough to make something wow me—yet!

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
Having thousands of people read my books and to hear a wide range of age groups tell me how much they’ve enjoyed them has been a blast.

Also, hearing my son, Oliver, brag for the first time about his dad writing books starring him!

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Write about something you’re passionate about. Anything less will feel like a chore and unlikely to be completed.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
I’m a Philadelphia sports fan, which for most of my life has been a lesson of endurance boarding on masochism.

What message are you sharing in your books?
The art of resiliency, teamwork, and problem solving to resolve conflict.

What are your favorite books?
I love anything Joe Queenan writes, but my most recent reads have been Stephen King and Dan Brown.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
Casablanca, The Big Lebowski, Breaking Bad, Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Silicon Valley.

When you aren't writing where can we find you?
Chasing my two boys around Haddonfield!

What inspires you?
To wake up every day and make the world a better place for future generations to enjoy.

Do you have a new release coming out soon?
No, likely a year away from a release.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
Yes!

Where can we find your books?

Thank you, Jeff, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success in the future and lots of luck!


Photo courtesy of: Jeff Kelly


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Interview With Author Angelia B. Manley


Photo courtesy of: Angelia Manley

Angelia Manley knows exactly who she is. She defines herself as a modest, somewhat shy, and analytical person. She is also a spiritual soul who finds meaning in the scripture and shares the wisdom gleaned from these writings with those she loves. This spirituality is echoed further through the lovely photographs she takes of the landscape.

A native of Philadelphia, PA, Angelia now lives in New Jersey with her husband of 30 years. The couple's greatest joy is seeing their three grown children go after their own dreams.

Now that I've introduced you to Angelia let's get to know her a little better.



Pin Me Please!

Hello, Angelia Manley, and Welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.


What inspired you to be a writer?
I said many years ago, “I will write a book one day.”

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my 1st outline in August 2015 (mentally written for over 30 years).

How many books have you written?
One, book two is in progress, and an outline is written for #3.


Photo courtesy of: Angelia Manley


Which genre do you write for?
My 1st book is a cross genre, mainly drama  (Fiction)

Has your work as a medical assistant influenced your writing? If so, how?
My chief Cardiologist is a novelist, and he encouraged me. Also, working in the medical field put everything into perspective.

What are you working on now?
Book 2 is a generational love story

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
Knowing I had the courage to do it. I am a behind-the-scenes type of person; I push others to pursue their dreams. It took my mother dying and my eldest daughter telling me it was time.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
I would tell them, “It starts with an idea, write an outline first and go from there.”


Photo courtesy of: Angelia Manley


Can you tell us a little about your photography business?
Taking pictures has always been a passion. I print and frame them with or without borders. I started doing this after I took part in an art fair at work three years ago after seeing my picture hanging on a wall. 


Photo courtesy of: Angelia Manley

When you're not writing where can we find you?
I still work full time; my commute is an hour long. When I’m not at work, I’m at home.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
The beach/ocean is my happy place, I feel closet to God there. My husband, three children, & my dogs are my life. I am blessed in all the ways that matter.

What message are you sharing in your books?
Life is too short to be negative. Love and laugh as much as possible. Let go of the hurt, it can be toxic.

What are your favorite books?
Wow, too many to mention. I love anything by James Patterson or Danielle Steele.


Photo courtesy of: Angelia Manley

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
Gone with the Wind, The Sound of Music, The Best Man…..I LOVE the movies.
Current shows: This is Us, Green Leaf, Queen Sugar, Love Is, A Million Little Things, L&O SVU, Ray Donovan, Power

What inspires you?
Life

Do you have a new release coming out?
In a few months

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
IG: mrsabmanley

Where can we find your books?
Amazon.com Barnes & Noble.com
Book fairs/festivals

Thank you, A.B., for spending time with us and sharing your story. 

We wish you continued success in the future and lots of luck! 



Photo courtesy of: Angelia Manley



Friday, October 19, 2018

Interview With Author Yusuf El

Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El


I met Yusuf El at the Fifth Annual Independent Authors Book Expo. Although a prolific writer, I found Yusuf to be composed and one who doesn't squander his time with silly chatter. 

He is confident enough in his own skin, that clogging up the silence, instead of appreciating it, is time wasted on self-reflection. When he has something to say, he expresses it through his poetry and many books.

Yusuf was born in Chicago and grew up in Pembroke, Illinois. He received a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and a Master's Degree from Governor's State University.

He is passionate about poetry and enjoys speaking in many locales about his work and experience.

Now that I have introduced you to Yusuf, let's get to know him a little better. 


Pin Me Please!


Hello, Yusuf, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary.
Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer? 
My first poem found me. I had given no thought to becoming a writer nor was I impressed with my first fruits.


Is writing your full-time profession?
My full-time profession comprises writing, publishing and selling my books, and public speaking.


Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El


Have you won any awards?
My latest book, Thank You & Please, won the IABX award last year for Best Children’s Book. This book also placed as a finalist in the Best Book Awards for Hardcover, Children’s Book, 2017.

How long have you been writing?
Since 1967. I have published since 1973.

How many books have you written?
Twenty to twenty-one, including editing and publishing five anthologies.


Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El


Which genres do you write?
Poetry, short stories, self-help.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genres?
Nothing.

What are you working on now?
My Father Knows, a children’s book heralding the wonderful world of fatherhood.


Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El


What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
Interacting with the people who tell me how a book or poem of mine spoke to their souls or told a part of their story.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Be true to your muse. Be true to yourself.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
I am self-taught. I have never taken a poetry class. I write what comes to me the way it comes to me.


Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El


What message are you sharing in your books?
My books are pages from an ongoing memoir.

What are your favorite books?
My books are my favorite books.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
I have no favorite TV shows unless I binge-watch. I could never discipline myself to sit in front of a TV at the same time each week to see what my show is doing.


Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El


When you aren't writing where can we find you?
Simply living. I have no time set aside to write. I write when things come to me.

What inspires you?
I need not be inspired. I write what comes to me. A poem that comes to me inspires me. I have no way to attract it, so a poem itself is an inspiration.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc.?
Yes. My website is www.rawtears.com. You can find me at Yusuf Ali El on Facebook.


Thank you, Yusuf, for spending time with us and sharing your story. 

We wish you continued success in the future and lots of luck! 


Photo courtesy of: Yusuf El

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Interview With Author William Howard

Photo courtesy of: WIlliam Howard


William Howard and I have known each other for a few years. We belong to the same writer's group and sometimes we share a table at author events. William is a warm and caring person with a wonderful imagination. He pays special attention to his readers and is eager to speak with them about his fantasy novel or any fantastical story.

He loves words, world building, and creating colorful characters.

Now that I've introduced you to William, lets' get to know him a little better.


Pin Me Please!


Hello, William, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary.
Thank you for having me.


What inspired you to be a writer?
I had a few good school friends when I was growing up in Northeast Philadelphia but there were many times I played alone in my room. My sister and I were latch-key children so my parents preferred that we remain close to home.

When I came home from school, I finished my homework quickly since my elementary school career occurred in the 70s long before the era of lengthy homework assignments.

After completing my work, I would play with my action figures, read, and watch television until my parents came home.

During these hours of play; something I believe is a luxury that has sadly become unavailable to the current generation, I would make up stories for my mixed cast of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Wars action figures.

When I entered my early teens, I wrote some of these stories down as fan fiction. In addition, I discovered that my fertile imagination, which my father referred to as my excessive daydreaming, produced original stories about werewolves, robots, Martians, and superheroes.

Is writing your full-time profession?
Sadly, I am still in the process of, hopefully, becoming an overnight success which someone has told me takes a great number of years.

I received a glimmer of hope when my sister spoke to Susan Stoker about my writing. When my sister informed Ms. Stoker that I was a writer, she told my sister I was on the right track, not to give up my day job, and to take advantage of every opportunity to write in my spare time.

For now, I work as a Special Educator in a preschool classroom for the special needs agency, Northeast Growth and Development.


Photo courtesy of: William Howard


How long have you been writing?
I've been making up stories since I was 8 years old.

My mother gave me her manual typewriter when I was 13; after my father purchased an electric typewriter for the household. On this old typewriter, I started a few novels I came close to finishing.

It wasn’t until I joined the Neshaminy Writers Group in 2015 that I found the determination and persistence to finish my first novel.


Photo courtesy of: William Howard


How many books have you written?
I have written a single novel, The Eye of Hermes, and hope to write additional novels within that same literary universe.

Which genre do you write for? 
Fantasy

What do you find most challenging about writing for this genre?
Making the characters believable and sympathetic amid fantastical events occurring around them.

What are you working on now?
I am working on a novel entitled Marigold, which takes place in the not-too-distant future. It‘s about an android named, Marigold, who has been sheltered her entire life. She wakes one day to find that her creator has disappeared, and that someone has accused her of a murder she didn’t commit.


Photo courtesy of: William Howard


What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?
Having a small slice of celebrity as a published novelist; especially when people ask me, “did you write this book?” or “are you the author?”

However, connecting with other published authors, as well as aspiring authors, and learning about their literary journey has been even more rewarding.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?
Keep writing every day. Even if you only write a page or two, a paragraph, or a single sentence. It will bring you that much closer to having a finished story.
Also, always care a notebook with you or use the note section on your phone because you never know when inspiration will strike.

Is there anything else you'd like your readers to know about you?
If you meet me in person, I might inadvertently give you detailed information about my literary universe. I’ve noticed that when this occurs I suddenly see a confused look, come over a readers’ face. If this occurs, my advice is to provide the complement, “that sounds extremely interesting,” and purchase one of my novels so you can find out more fully what I was talking about.

What message are you sharing in your books?
Tolerance. There are people in this world who don’t look like you, don’t think like you, and may live their lives in a way completely different from you, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are as human and imperfect as anyone of us.

I hope through my literary work people might stop to think, that given how brief our time on Earth is, it is more beneficial to celebrate the commonalities among others rather than searching out reasons to hate complete strangers.


Photo courtesy of: William Howard


Who are your favorite authors?
I am a huge fan of Frank Herbert, William S. Burroughs, Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Diana Gabaldon and Terry Pratchett.

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?
I gave up on TV because all the stuff I like never gets renewed. Still heartbroken over Timeless not getting renewed for a 3rd season.

But if I was locked in a windowless room and had a remote control surgically implanted in my hand — you see how my mind works — then I’d probably watch The Walking Dead, Timeless, Maniac, Lost in Space (1967 and 2018), the X-Files, Star Trek and Dr. Who.

When you aren't writing where can we find you?
Thinking about what I will write next, but at my day job working with preschoolers with special needs.

What inspires you?
Random acts of humanity and kindness. Thinking about how we are such a small part of the universe, but also that it is a miracle we are here at all.

Do you have a new release coming out soon?
Hopefully, my new novel, Marigold: the Chlorophyll Chronicles, will becoming out in early 2019.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?
Yes. My Facebook fan page is The Eye of Hermes: A Minerva Novel by William Howard, http://www.amazon.com/author/howardwilliam, http://montag34.wix.com/website

Where can we find your books?
Barnes and Noble.com, Amazon.com. Andorra Bookstore in New Hope, PA and Classic Books and Gifts in Trenton, NJ. If you ever get down to Savannah, GA, there are copies of my novel at the historic E. Shaver bookstore on Bull street.


Thank you, William, for spending time with us and sharing your story. 

We wish you continued success and lots of luck in the future. 


Photo courtesy of: William Howard

Monday, October 8, 2018

Five Reasons To Read To Your Child



Photo courtesy of: 2081671; courtesy of Pixabay
https://pixabay.com/en/child-fun-family-love-play-baby-3046494/


Learning to read is a skill every child must master to advance in school and in life. Over the years, many parents have asked me when they should begin reading to their child. My answer is always the same, at once. 

I read to my children before they were born. I was a tad overzealous, but it helped me prepare for the traditional bedtime story.  

After my kids were born, I read them simple board books and pointed to the pictures while identifying the objects on the page. I also shared family photos to support facial recognition, and the names associated with them.


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As they grew, I made environmental print books from old cereal boxes, Dunkin' Donuts cartons and Burger King bags. Environmental print is the writing we see in our daily lives; examples include street signs and logos for products and stores. 

Most children can "read" the STOP sign and the McDonald's or Wal-Mart logos. When your child does this applaud their efforts and nurture their growing skills by "reading" more environmental print together.   


Photo courtesy of: Picsea; courtesy of: Unsplash
https://unsplash.com/photos/EQlTyDZRx7U

So, why should you read to your child?

1. It builds vocabulary.
A well-rounded vocabulary is a precursor for reading achievement. Children with a wide vocabulary better comprehend stories read to them. This sets the stage for future independent reading.

The average two-year-old is expected to learn 50 words, compare that with a three-year-old who should know 200 words a year later, and you begin to understand why vocabulary development is so crucial. An excellent way to expand your child‘s vocabulary is to read, sing, and play.

2. It teaches fluency.
Fluency is the skill of reading a text smoothly, accurately, and with a meaningful expression. When children listen to stories, they internalize the reader‘s inflection. 

These vocal nuances teach children the expressions good readers need: like when to pause at a comma, when to stop at a period, and how to modulate their voices for question marks and exclamation points.

3. It develops a lifelong love of reading.
Reading provides a safe atmosphere to discuss the topic of a book. During these conversations, parents can ask their children questions or engage in meaningful dialogue. 

This interaction will strengthen a child's communication and comprehension skills. Ultimately, these positive moments will create pleasant memories and foster a confident attitude toward reading that will last. 

4. It fosters writing development.
Good readers make good writers. A youngster who listens to stories gains a strong awareness of the concepts of print.

Concepts of print are an elementary set of skills that beginning readers require and may include the following characteristics: distinguishing text from illustrations, demonstrating left-to-right directionality upon viewing a text, or identifying individual letters within a word.

Children who have these skills understand that print conveys a message that has meaning. They also comprehend the ideas of letter recognition and letter sounds. In tandem, these qualities help children learn to write.

5. It creates positive relationships.
Reading is a wonderful way to bring people together. When children learn correct reading behaviors, they can listen to and enjoy stories in school. 

After a large group read-aloud, my students flocked to the library and engaged in spirited conversations about the characters in the books I had read to them. Many classroom friendships began this way.

The joy and creativity that reading brought to my children and my students was a wonderful thing to witness. All it took was a little time, a little laughter, and lots and lots of books.

Books for young readers:



Photo courtesy of: jutheanh; courtesy of: Pixabay
https://pixabay.com/en/boy-reading-book-glasses-books-921807/

What books do you read to your children?