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Category: Society & Culture

Indie and small press authors speak about the writing craft and their support for each other’s work.

November 15, 2022

Halfway through NaNoWriMo 2022 with Wrimo Experts

NaNoWriMo authors Jean Davis, Vera West, and host of For the Love of Books Podcast Emma Palova take you through the first half of the 50K writing challenge in this special episode. Their combined total log-in was just under 80,000 words.

Find out what they did to reach their writing goals on their journeys to publishing new books in 2023. Keep on writing past the challenge, and make it a daily habit, these experts say.

Watch for their books in 2023.

So listen in and jump on the NaNoWriMo roller coaster, because you can't edit a blank page.

Copyright (c) 2022 Emma Palova

November 3, 2022

Nikki Mitchell’s Nightshade Forest

In case you missed this summer episode with author Nikki Mitchell about her Nightshade Forest release.


October 28, 2022

Horror authors take you where you’ve never been before

So, step aboard this terror ride, with no harnesses allowed or sunglasses, you need to see it all. Psychic Liotta's crystal ball shows the way; from a caged monster, death by beast Wendigo, lightning, and by the angry waters and the northern woods.

Horror authors Andrew Allen Smith, Craig Brockman, Matthew Hellman, Robert Williams, and ghost author Stacey Rourke drag you deep down the rabbit hole, where there is no light. But be careful, you might like it there. 

In this special Halloween episode, Smith read from his 'Another Slice of Fear', Brockman from 'Dead of November', Williams from 'A Yooper's Tale', Hellman from 'The Biting Cold' and psychic Liotta came alive from Corpse's Queen by Rourke.

Find out what inspires these authors or if anything at all will stop them from taking you over the edge. Participating in the panel discussion were authors Diana Plopa and editor-publisher Victor Volkman.

A sincere thank you to everyone who made this possible.

October 26, 2022

Author Kathryn Den Houter pens psychological thriller ’Prison Shadows’

Psychologist turned author delivers it all in this disturbing novel set in Marquette State Prison in Michigan's U.P. inspired by real-life stories of inmates told in her practice, and by her husband's stories.

Protagonist Clifford Ratz is a small-town drug dealer who gets caught near Mason by an astute cop.

"It's a tale about his life," Den Houter said, "because he was passive he became a target of other prisoners. I wanted to convey that prisoners are human beings."

Several strains run through this meticulously crafted psychological suspense novel; from Ratz's passive humanity, his daughter's rebellion, and the police & correctional systems at work, to loving beyond betrayal.

As a psychologist, Den Houter knows what makes her characters click, in fiction and in real life. And the cover eloquently captures Ratz's humanity.

"It's a very real face of someone who was down on his luck," Den Houter said.

And all of us have a dark side. Some of us just don't manage it well. So what do we need from each other so that we can go on living?

The novel answers that question. Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of 'Prison Shadows.'

Sponsored by Doc Chavent, The Lowell Ledger, and author Kathryn Den Houter.

October 19, 2022

J. Walitalo ’Woodburnings’ Highlights from the First Five Years

To-day……I will be chatting with author, and artist Joanna Walitalo who will announce the details of her book giveaway of Woodburnings after the reading at the end of the interview.


When did you move to the UP? And are you a full-time Yooper?

Joanna Walitalo grew up in Oil City Michigan, taking art classes in middle school and high school. She attended Central Michigan University, where she earned a BS in Biology and Environmental Policies. From there, she moved to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where she earned a Master's in Forestry at Michigan Technological University. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Forest Science at MTU and continues to live in the UP with her loving husband and son.

J Walitalo Woodburnings, Highlights from the first five years" is a book of fine artwork done in pyrography. It captures the range of artwork that the Walitalo's have created, and promotes environmental ethics through the use of scrap wood as the platform for the artwork, as well as through the images they create. "Our goal is to help spread appreciation and love for our natural environment and wildlife by sharing the beauty of it through art."

Sponsored by Doc Chavent, The Lowell Ledger and Modern History Press.



October 13, 2022

T.J.London pens prequel ’Man of War’

It was actually fashion that got T.J. London interested in the American Revolutionary War as a young author as simple as it may seem.

"I was getting into my persona," she said. "The look got me interested in that time period. Now it draws attention to my books."

Yes, it was the red coats and tricorne hats that sparked the imagination of a young mind, and later served well as a counseling tool during a period of grief. Rather, than writing a journal, T.J. London went the whole way and wrote 'Man of War.'

T.J. London is an expert at digging out little-known facts in history and asking herself questions. She was referring to battles in upstate New York that T.J. London didn't know about.

"Why don't we learn this stuff," she said.

What fascinated T.J. London were all the changes that were happening at the same time.

"It was this incredible cataclysmic moment in history," she said. "But in fiction where were those stories? I felt like I needed to know more."

And the prequel is not just about the revolution, but also about digging deep into the roots of what was going on T.J. London's life after the loss of her father.

It took her four years to write 'Man of War' backed up by solid research about the Royal Navy.

Come along on a journey with ambitious captain Merrick and revengeful India for a chance to win a signed copy of 'Man of War.'

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger.

October 13, 2022

How to survive NaNoWriMo 50k word challenge ending up with a rough draft of a novel

That is the million-dollar question that today's panelists authors Jean Davis, Vera West, and Emma Palova will attempt to answer. There is not a one size fits all guideline to win the 50,000-word challenge coming up in November.

At times, the challenge reminds me of final exams in college, when you had to pull it all together in one month, and in four different subjects. As authors, we each have a different approach to getting it done. I like to have some kind of pillars to rely on kind of like a suspended bridge, not necessarily a full-blown outline, but rather a synopsis as Davis suggested.

Davis has been participating in NaNo for 17 years, which has increased her productivity immensely. Out of that, she won 15 times. West enters every year but does not always win. So far, she has won once.

"For me, any progress is better than none," she said.

True, if you enter and get 10,000 words written, that's 10,000 words more than you had before entering.

These experienced NaNoWriMos offered invaluable tips in the special episode: Have two projects in the works in case you get stuck on one, and work hard in the honeymoon phase at the beginning before exhaustion settles in.

Don't go back to fix anything, keep moving forward even if you don't like the way the story is evolving; you might not like it two hours later either.

"There are two ways to go about it," Davis said. "First you can outline that you have to write 1,667 words a day, secondly you can just work on something like I do."

Whichever way you pick, just stick to your commitment.

Find out what to do when you do get stuck. And we all do, indeed.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger


September 30, 2022

Author Ash Bishop pens Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc.

In his first book, author Ash Bishop teleports protagonist Russ Wesley into another galaxy with a sugary cookie in his pocket, in this light-hearted sci-fi novel.

Listen in for the keywords for this week for a chance to win a signed personalized copy of Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc.

When Wesley finds an unusual artifact in his grandfather’s collection of rare antiquities, the last thing he expects is for it to draw the attention of a ferocious alien from a distant planet. Equally surprising is the adventurous team of intergalactic exterminators dispatched to deal with the threat. The exterminators specialize in “ecosystem preservation”— a thankless job that involves hunting down alien predators of all shapes and sizes. They’re so impressed with Russ’s marksmanship that they insist he join their squad . . . whether he wants to or not.

"Russ is an interesting fella," said Bishop. "He doesn't have close family, and his grandma needs money."

So Russ goes off and works for a galactic space group.

"It's heartfelt," Bishop said. "Fifty percent of the story has to do with the characters."

Based on the success of Intergalactic Exterminators, Bishop landed a deal to publish his previous book in 2023.

"They're completely different books," he said.

But, switching genres comes to Bishop easily.

Listen in for some tips on how to switch genres and for the keywords of the week to win Bishop's book.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger


September 23, 2022

Author Franklin Wilson pens Hearts of Fire, fantasy novel

What happens when you mix humans, centaurs, war, relationship challenges with family friends, and magic in a fantasy land of forests, villages, and castles?

Hearts of Fire is an exciting and engaging fantasy especially written for young people that tells a beautiful story of a young girl who has to deal with the untimely death of her beloved father, a long and dangerous journey through unknown territory in search of her mother and brother, and encounters with soldiers of war and enemies out to capture her.

This fascinating book is filled with exquisitely detailed descriptions of the different landscapes and locales encountered by the heroine as she deals with her emotions and makes often difficult decisions about loyalties to family and friends past, present, and future.

All of the imaginative characters in the story are so very well thought out and described that readers can make a complete picture in their minds as they turn each page.

"You write what you read and I love fantasy and sci-fi," said Detroit author Frank Wilson about his Heart of Fire, book no. one in the three-part series. "Let the characters tell you what to do."

Listen in for a chance to win signed copies of all three books in the series.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger


September 15, 2022

Author Mark Love pens The Wayward Path

This is the third book in the Jefferson Chene mystery series, in which author Mark Love follows the case of the retired mobster Leo Agonasti based on popular demand. Love lived for many years in the metro Detroit area, where crime and corruption are always prevalent. Working as a freelance reporter, Love came across interesting situations and discrepancies between police agencies.

Victim Charity Gray was an intelligent, inquisitive teen who disappeared fifteen years earlier. When her body is discovered, it should be a typical cold case. Before the Detroit police can get started, the FBI commandeers the investigation, with a prime suspect in mind: retired mobster Agonasti.
When Agonasti slips through their grasp, he reaches out to Sergeant Jefferson Chene. Their unusual friendship draws Chene into the thick of the case. Burdened with two reluctant FBI agents, Chene is working against the clock and the feds to find the real killer.
Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy of The Wayward Path.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger