Guest Blog: Author and Illlustrator, Carmela Dutra talks with Pat Mcdermott

background_txtToday  Author and Illustrator, Carmela Dutra talks with Pat McDermott

Today I’d like to introduce you to my guest, fellow author Pat McDermott. Born and educated in Boston, Massachusetts, Pat McDermott grew up in a family full of music and myths, these have found their way into her stories. When she’s not writing, her favorite activities include cooking, hiking, reading, and traveling, especially to Ireland. She lives near the New Hampshire seacoast with her husband and their three talkative Tonkinese cats.

When did you decide to become a writer, and why? No decision came into play, since writing is, and has always been part of me. My family included some talented storytellers, especially my father. His bedtime tales often kept me awake for hours, and in a good way: they made me want to tell stories too. I’ve attended writing classes over the years, but my own children were nearly grown before I started putting ideas on paper seriously. I entered a short story in a Writer's Digest Annual Writing contest and received an Honorable Mention for children's fiction, an award that gave my confidence an enormous boost.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I try to write every day, usually early in the morning when it’s quiet. Whether I’m struggling with something new or revising pages I've already written, I find mornings most productive. If I'm not working on a story, I'll promote either my own work or the work of other writers (I have a book blog for that). Reading and domestic chores fill the afternoons. Most Monday evenings, I meet with my writing group, which gives me the incentive to spruce up a chapter or two each week.

A writing group, how encouraging is that! Writing can often time be a lonely road, but when you share that with fellow writers it can be extremely encouraging. How do you think you’ve evolved in your writing? Although I still have a long way to go, I have more confidence than I did when I began. I’m better at making words do what I want them to do, and I’m less reluctant to break the writing rules I’ve learned so well. The publishing aspect of storytelling is less of a mystery to me since I regained the rights to my books and went indie. I’ve also acquired a better understanding of the befuddling marketing aspect of publishing books.

Could you share with us what you have written? The eight books I’ve written across several genres, including fantasy, action/adventure, sci-fi, romance, and paranormal. My Band of Roses Trilogy is alternate history fiction serving up a modern Ireland that might have existed had High King Brian Boru survived the Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The young adult Glimmer books, which I like to call Adventure for Young Adults of All Ages, add magic to this “what if” Ireland, courtesy of various fairy clans. County Mayo provides the backdrop for The Rosewood Whistle, an adult contemporary romance filled with “music, myth, laughter, and love.” My most recent work is Unholy Crossing.

I asked Pat to give us a blurb about her book Unholy Crossing. Unholy Crossing is a paranormal novella set in Boston and Ireland’s County Sligo around 1912. Here’s the blurb: It’s 1912, and America has lost its charm for Noreen Carbury, an educated young lady from Ireland. For five long years, Noreen has looked after the children of Boston’s well-to-do. Homesick and vexed by the gentry’s demeaning views toward immigrants, she schedules a voyage to visit her family in County Sligo. Beneath the clothing and gifts she packs in her steamer trunk, Noreen conceals a wooden box whose grisly contents she’s promised to transport to Ireland. She boards a splendid new steamship expecting a crossing fit for a queen, yet her trunk has somehow harbored a spirit who plagues her during the week-long trip. She believes that once she delivers the box, the phantom will leave her alone. Although she keeps her promise, the visitations grow more sinister, pitting her strict Catholic upbringing against Ireland’s pagan past. To protect the reputation of the man she loves, Noreen says nothing of the mysterious incidents. For decades, she bears the burden alone, until the elderly woman she becomes confesses the spine-chilling tale of the Unholy Crossing.

I must say, Pat, this gave me goosebumps. You captured my attention. Now is there anything that you are working on right now that you would like to share with us? I’m having fun working on a sequel to The Rosewood Whistle. The story, untitled for the moment, will be another contemporary romance set in Ireland.

One last question before you go, what is your favorite cuisine? Probably Italian, though I enjoy eating and preparing many ethnic foods. My cooking blog, Kitchen Excursions, explores several international cuisines. Thank you so much for joining us today Pat, we really enjoyed it! I also want to thank my readers for coming back this week. I truly appreciate your following my weekly blog and staying tuned in. Please leave your comments below, and we'll be sure to respond. If you would like to know more about Pat and her works, you can visit her at the links below.
Pat McDermott Website

Character Quotes: Another one from Janoose The Goose

Character Quotes: from Janoose The Goose by J.D. Holiday

"We had a volunteer farm watch program once, but everyone kept forgetting to be on the look out for problems just like this,"  Austin reminded everyone.
"Well, as long as Janoose is here we can all rest easy knowing she'll sound the alarm,"  Gertie said.
"That's right,"  Catcella said.
Janoose frowned. "Oh, but I won't be here. I have to go home. And the last flight is tomorrow," she told them. "Maybe you can be the security guard here?" Molly said.
"No," Catcella said knowingly, "There is no money for that job."
Book Trailer for Janoose the Goose, a children’s picture book by J.D. Holiday
More about the book at:

Latest Painting for Fun!

Painting In Blue!

I just felt like painting something different than my picture book paintings.  

Celebrating Book Lover's Day on 9 August

August 9th is Book Lover's Day! on 9 August!

My Author pals and I are having fun by sharing all the ways we adore reading today. Please join me and my friends listed at the end of this post who as we have a bit of fun sharing our love of reading.

I can read just about anywhere!

In the Garden!
In my favor chair!

With my best pal!

All comfy in my bed!

With my legs up!

Sometimes WHAT I read
 makes me want to drink!

This is one of my favor spots to read in!

Thanks for stopping by! 

For more blogs celebrating books, please visit these #BookLuvHop #Gr8Blogs bloggers too!

Cat Michaels, 
Cat's Corner
Auden Johnson, 
Carmela Dutra

Julie Gorges,
Baby Boomer Bliss
K. Lamb,
Author K. Lamb Blog
David Chuka,
David Chuka - Children's Book Author
Rosie Russell,

If you blog about books and reading, post your 
family-friendly link about books in the comments section, and I'll hop over to your blog and celebrate with you!    ~JD

Special thanks to all the artists whose paintings and drawings I used here.

A Talk with Author & Book Reviewer Fran Lewis

Author and Book Reviewer Fran Lewis
worked in the NYC Public Schools as the Reading and Writing Staff Developer for over 36 years. She has three masters; 
Degrees and a PD in Supervision and Administration. Currently, she is a member of Who’s Who of America’s Teachers and Who’s Who of America’s Executives from Cambridge. In addition, she is the author of three children’s books and a fourth that has just been published on Alzheimer’s disease in order to honor her mom and help create more awareness for a cure. The title of my new Alzheimer’s book is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey; Ruth’s story and Sharp as a Tack and Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Because We Care, Faces Behind the Stones, Bad Choices and my two latest YA books: Bertha and Tillie Friends Forever and Bertha and Tillie, Sisters Forever.
Fran reviews only print copies and her reviews are detailed, honest, stand as written but never have spoilers. She was the musical director for shows in her school and ran the school’s newspaper. Fran writes reviews for authors upon request and for several other sites. You can read some of her reviews on and on under the name Gabina. 

Fran Lewis and I have been friends for many years. I admire Fran greatly and am happy to interview her.

Hi Fran, Thank you so much for being here.

Tell us about your latest book, Hidden Truth And Lies?
Hidden Truths and Lies is told from the point of view of the deceased person behind the gravestone. The person has either done something wrong and or has been wronged. In the first story 27 minutes and Silences Maria D has been wronged but it is only time that will tell if Tony her husband is guilty of her death or if there are other reasons. In the second story the main character did something wrong and definitely belongs behind the stone. This is my fourth in the Faces series but the last two stories are my attempt at writing horror and a touch of science fiction. Faces Five will be told from the viewpoint of three people based on real life events plus five or more that need to learn a lesson in life. I hope that all of my books in this series teach young adults and adults lessons to make sure they do not wind up behind the stone in Golden Gate Cemetery.

When did the storyteller in you surface?
I have always loved writing since I think I was five. But, writing books started as a dare from my sister, Marcia. My mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and I had to retire early to make sure she was taken care of at home. So, my sister dared me to not only review my first book, which was a cookbook, and Fran does not cook but to write a children’s book about our antics growing up in the South Bronx. Of course she managed to edited the book and critique it too and that she did. By the time I got it published I think she read it ten times and wanted me to change some of the endings of the stories but I told her everything or every ending does not always end happily ever after and that what I wrote was what really happened making the stories authentic and real.

What was your ambition for your writing career to start with, and what is it now?
I started to write short stories in 2003 and published them on a great site : Writing .com and was able to get some valuable feedback. It is great for writers and authors to publish stories and see what other writers think. I started there and then I took all of my Bertha and Tillie stories and created my first children’s book never thinking that I would continue on to write even more. But, when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s I decided to do some major research and then create a book that would honor her, let everyone hear her voice and help caregivers and families understand how important it is to take care of someone if they can at home and provide outside help to give you a chance for some type of freedom.
What do I hope Now? I hope that I will continue to review books for a long time. I find that I learn a lot from the writing styles of all of the authors and even more from the informational books, historical novels, memoirs and at times even the self-help books. Reading is power and power gives you the knowledge to make choices in life.

Do most of your books usually convey a theme or message?
My Bertha series deals with bullying, mean girls, skating lessons that went sour, being overweight and friendships. My Faces series I hope teaches teens, young adults and  adults lessons that they need to learn. For example in Bad Choices one of the stories deals with suicide and being overweight. Another deals with mean girls at a sorority party who treat some of the not so pretty girls in a mean way and what the boys do is even worse. Hard lessons are learned in these books along with the pressures of school and too much homework. Each story is different and each one presents it own theme.

Are there parts of your life in your stories?
In every one of the Bertha Stories you will read about me, Bertha and some of the things that I went through trying to take dancing lessons, ice skating and dealing with a teacher that was cruel and insulting. Winning a writing contest and having the teacher say she would not submit it to the principal even though the teachers on the grade said I came in first. My aunt was a teacher in the school and although the assignment was given in class and done in class she thought my aunt told me about it before and that I had rewritten what she told me even though I started like everyone else with a blank paper. Needless to say it was the first time I ever talked back and spoke up for myself in a different way.

Fran, you are a book reviewer. How did this come about and what can authors expect from your reviews? The first book I reviewed was a cookbook by Martha Cheves and I had no idea where to go with it or how to review a book. But, I managed to come up with something unique and funny. As a result someone else read it and invited me to join a site just for authors. For some reason many of the authors asked for reviews and I have not stopped yet. I love Tess Gerristen and I took a chance and emailed her and she sent me her book to read and was my first New York Times best selling author to interview on my radio show. She is doing an on air with me in October.

I am always tense when I review a book for an author who asked me to. I feel I have to get it done right away. It’s nerve racking for me. Is there pressure on you knowing that authors are awaiting for your review of their books?
From the moment I get the request whether it is a new author, Indie or internationally famous author or New York Times best selling author I read the book at my own pace, try to find something different to start the review and let the author know beforehand that my review stand as rated and written, I am honest, straightforward, don’t claim to be perfect but I will give them an honest review. However, if the book does not warrant at  least 3 and a half stars I won’t review it. I will create a short summary for the author for promotion purposes and will not post it on Amazon of Goodreads. I never pan a book. Just because I do not find it four or five stars someone else might. I do not want to cloud anyone’s judgment.

Tell us about your other books? 
My Bertha and Tillie series focuses on my real life experiences growing up with my sister in the South Bronx. We both took dancing lessons, ice skating lessons and I shared some stories about mean girls in school, getting bullied and how Bertha created a peer mediation group to deal with student differences in Bertha Fights Back. The series is supposed to promote understanding, tolerance and hopefully teach kids to work together in a respectful way. Bertha and Tillie are totally different and one story also focuses on how we dealt with the fact that my mother, in this case I used my grandmother, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and how we all came together to care for her. Memories are Precious, Because We Care and The Vanishing Mind of Ruth Swerdloff provided valuable information for caregivers, families, Alzheimer’s stages and short pieces where you can actually hear my mom’s voice and understand what she went through. The Faces Behind the Stones series is told from the point of voice of the deceased person behind the gravestone. Each story in this series teaches a lesson the person behind the stone should have learned before committing crime, hurting someone else, or generally failing at life. “We’re about to enter Golden Stone Cemetery, where these unfortunate people are buried so deep you can barely find their markers. Their crimes are so heinous and their deeds so cruel that family members buried them here because they want to forget they ever existed.”

What advice would you give your younger self, Fran?
Always stay true to who you are and never let anyone put you down or make you feel less that you are no matter what. All too often kids find themselves in a position where they are unsure, lack self-confidence and tend to want to conform to the thinking of others. Within my Bertha series this theme comes through loud and clear until Bertha realizes that she is smart, intuitive and does not need to be like everyone else because she is BERTHA. My sister was always thin and I was always, not anymore, overweight and battled to just stay below 170. With the help of my grandmother, Katie and my doctor, Dr. Ballot I was able to combat the problem and learn the cause. Till this day, I am not overweight by any means, I still battle with my weight and eat healthy al the time. Living up to your own standards and finding your own niche is important. I learned not to be a follower and to use my musical talents in playing both the violin and piano as my strong suits and eventually they helped give me the confidence I needed back then and even now my book reviews and the fact that authors want my opinions and reviews is really gratifying and great. To anyone young, teens, young adults find something you like doing and go for it. Be who you are and being different is okay.

Who influenced your writing?
My sister and my aunt Tova played important roles in my writing. My sister encouraged me to write what I know about and that of course if me. I write about school, friendships, Alzheimer’s and areas that can be researched and of interest to teens and young adults. I love writing the Faces Stories and that came from visiting my family’s cemetery and wondering as I looked at the headstones what each person would say if they could speak to me and what my sister would want me know that she never got to tell me before she passed away. I took walk around the cemetery and wondered what the stories behind each stone were and what some of these people might have accomplished in their lives if they could speak to me and what others would like to confess.

Who do you read?
I read different authors: Brian Freeman, Jon Land, Tess Gerritsen, J.D. Holiday and her great children’s books, Marsha Casper Cook, Robert Dugoni, Allan Topol, Linda Fairstein, Daniel Palmer and Christoph Fischer to name a few. I love reading Carole Roman’s historical series for children. I enjoy reading memoirs and biographies. One of the best books I have recently read is The Progeny by Tosca Lee, and Ink and Bones by Lisa Unger.

What is your next project?

I am currently working on a piece for my Magazine: MJ 9 on obesity and the causes to make people aware of the need for parents and children to be more vigilant about their health and the pitfalls of falling into binge eating. I am working on MJ9 and coming up with new ideas for Faces 5 and have started to create titles for the book such as 21 shots and designated driver. 

Thank you Fran! I honored you read my works. ~JD

Find Fran Lewis' books and Reviewers:

All Fran Lewis' books and her magazine can be found at


My review of Hidden Truth And Lies by Author And Book Reviewer Fran Lewis: 


Did you ever want to have revenge on those who have harmed you in some way? Reading Hidden Truth and Lies, I was able to feel a little substitute pleasure with my thoughts. I smiled through this collection of Edgar Allan Poe-like sci-fi short stories. The author’s characters are vivid and fascinating  throughout these clever, dark and captivating stories of crimes and heinous choices. Fran Lewis is a superb storyteller. A quick, fun and delightful, (Yes, I said fun and delightful,) read!  
5 VERY Large Stars!

An Interview with Award Winning Author, Ica Iova

Author Ica Iova has several Award Winning booksShe Never Got To Say Goodbye, won bronze
Ica Iova
at World's Best Story, 2015, and 
Boundaries, was a finalist at WBS, 2014. In her former life, Ica Lova had a few successful jobs including a former Examiner at, but it’s writing her own stories that lit her fire. Ica believes being passionate is about curiosity, stepping out of comfort zone, pushing your limits, filling the void that you know is there. Ica doesn’t just create stories; she travels with her characters and creates worlds that she wishes existed.

An avid reader, Ica is also a Reader's Choice Official Reviewer. When she is not writing, editing, or marketing, she's a proud wife, mother, and grandmother, with a substantial sense of humor. She loves spending time with her family and pets, shopping for shoes, or just lazing around with a good book.

Hi Ica, 
Thank you so much for being here and telling your writing story to us. I appreciate you being here, my Friend.

What is your book She Never Got To Say Goodbye about, who are the main characters, and how did you come up with this story?
She Never Got To Say Goodbye is a two-part paranormal romantic thriller. 
The main characters are Brandon—a successful lawyer, and Olivia an aspiring lawyer, fresh out of law school. They meet, they fall in love, they marry, and they have a baby. But their happily-ever-after ends abruptly when Brandon falls prey to alcohol and drugs following the tragic death of a client. One minute Olivia is thinking of leaving the marriage, the next she floats at the foot of her son’s bed. Dead. Murdered. Confused and angry, she comes back to find justice for her premature death.

I can’t tell for sure where the idea behind She Never Got To Say Goodbye came from. I woke up one morning with the phraseShe Never Got To Say Goodbye, swirling around my mind. It could’ve been the remains of a dream, it could have been something that I’ve heard somewhere, I’m not sure. As the day went by and the words continued to hammer my previously quiet thoughts, my writer’s mind kicked in, and as a plot began to sprout inside my skull, involuntarily, I started to take mental notes. I’m glad I did because, in 2015, She Never Got To Say Goodbye won third place at World’s Best Story.

Ica, tell us about your other books; Boundaries, Resilience – The Sequel, Unsung Victims – The Prequel, Whispers.
Boundaries is a romantic thriller that was a finalist at WBS 2014. 
Gabriela Parson joins a prestigious law firm in Vancouver expecting the usual discomfort of starting a new job. Instead, she is faced with her one-night stand from years ago—none other than her new boss—Landon Godchild. 
Old sparks reignite, but Gabriela has principles and one dating rule: absolutely no office romance. Landon, in contrast, is determined to continue what they started if only he could convince Gabriela that rules are meant to be broken. But an anonymous letter brings his efforts to a halt and sends Gabriela searching for the truth. 
Up against the unknown, she must navigate through a minefield of frustration, fear, and mistrust as her pursuit for innocence propels her deep into a bizarre vortex, where reality blurs into illusion, and evil looms in the shadows. 
The question remains; is any love strong enough to withstand such dynamics?

Whispers, is a short novella in the chick-lit genre. 
Sofia Bellrosi wakes up in the hospital following a car accident which kills both her parents; she has amnesia, a string of unexplained nightmares, and a husband she doesn’t remember. She wants answers but what she finds are more questions. 
Adrift in a marriage she can’t remember, Sofia struggles to understand where her nightmares come from, and why they are mingled with sensual dreams about her husband. Sure, she knows their story, but it’s a story told by Marcus, and his memories are not hers. Some pieces from his story seem to be missing, and Sofia believes that somehow he, her nightmares, and the missing pieces are all connected.

Unsung Victims – The Prequel is drama surrounding divorce and all the craziness that goes with it. 
During divorce people behave in a way that they wouldn’t normally behave under any other circumstance, and the family courts are simply not equipped to deal with these situations. Johanna is a successful, career-focused, young woman who considers herself intelligent and well-educated. Louis is the youngest detective in the police force, who takes part in triathlons and eats multi-color vegetables with his lunch. Two ordinary people with both feet planted firmly on the ground, but once Johanna makes the decision to part ways, all hell breaks loose, because Louis is not the forgiving type. He uses his power and the couple’s children to punish Johanna. Add to the mix a conniving mother-in-law and lawyer determined to win at all costs, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Resilience – is The Sequel to Unsung Victims. 
After years of court battles over custody of their young children, Johanna finally wins in court, but her joy is short-lived. Louis is found dead, his girlfriend is missing, and Johanna is the prime suspect. To top it all off, the detective working the case is Louis’ old partner and he’s not even looking for another suspect. Johanna’s only chance is to hire a highly skilled attorney, and the best she knows is a man from her past, but who likely despises her. 
The question is, will he set aside his contempt to defend her? And then, if she didn’t kill Louis, who did?

Resilience hit Amazon UK top 100 bestselling list in the first couple of weeks of publication.

When did the storyteller in you surface and you began writing them down?
I think God has blessed me with the power of story-telling from a very young age. I always wrote various stories—some I completed, some are still collecting dust—but I chickened out and never thought of publishing any of them until 2012, when I finally decided to give it a try. 

What was your ambition for your writing career to start with, and what is it now?
For the longest time, I wrote because I loved to write without setting any goals. I chose the path most traveled and worked for a paycheck. After I began publishing and received positive feedback from my readers, I dreamed of adding award-winning author to my resume. Now that I have accomplished that, I’m working on adding best-selling author to my author bucket list. 

What is the plotting process for your stories like?
I’ve authored a total of 10 books and not a single one of them followed my direction. In other words, I plot but not obsessively; when my characters take charge, I simply go with the flowI’m, by the writing world’s definition, a platnser.

Who gave you help and guidance along the way?
My family, especially my husband, were—are—my biggest cheerleaders, but when it comes to guidance, I have my group of author friends—Lisa Vandiver, Linda Barton, Taabia Dupree, Carrie Vaught, and of course my talented editor, Sandra Kay, whose combined, invaluable advice helps polish my stories to a crazy shine.

What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey?
Every day, every story, every new experience is rewarding in its own way, but I’ll never forget the feeling when the announcement was made that She Never Got To Say Goodbye won the award. I think I jumped before I even registered why.

Besides the stories themselves, do your books convey themes or messages?
Each one of my books brings to life captivating relationships that embrace family with all its ups and downs. The intended message is that genuine relationships are not only about what goes on in the bedroom. Genuine relationships need attention and effort, and yes, all actions have consequences.

Is there pressure knowing that readers are eagerly awaiting your book's release?
Of course, but I have learned my lesson not to rush. Quality over quantity will always be appreciated by readers.

What advice would you give your younger self starting out?
Do what you love doing. Life is too short to worry about what others might think or say.

Was there any particular book or author who influenced you?
Stephen King is my hero.

Who do you read?
I am an avid reader, but I love everything romantic best. Right now I’m reading Bridge Back—a hilarious, well-plotted, hard to put down, Christian romantic suspense by bestselling author Stephanie Parker McKean.

What is your next project?
I just finished writing another paranormal romance titled, Angelic Measures. This one is about a handsome doctor who doesn’t believe God exists, a best-selling author, who thinks all men do is make a mess and leave the toilet seat up, and a little angel who is determined to prove them both wrong.

 Thank you so much, Ica for coming on my blog. I'm honored!
Sincerely, JD

You can find Ica Iova at any of the following sites: