Authors Talk About It

Book Award Contest & Indie Support

[Author Interview] R. M. Villoria – Tales from the Mind Field

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

RM Villoria

RM Villoria

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Bob: Well, I’m finally retired and doing what I love…writing.

I’m extremely lucky to have truly wonderful support in my endeavor which allows me to chase the dream.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Bob: If you count the many song lyrics I’ve written, I guess I’ve been writing since I was about 15. I didn’t get into serious writing though until 1992

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Bob: In 2015, I published my first book of short stories which I began writing in 92’

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ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Bob: Seeing my ideas come to fruition on paper. I love the thrill of a good story as it unfolds before me.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Bob: Discipline. I really have a hard time setting a writing schedule like so many others do. I just do it as the mood hits me which can be frustrating a times. That and the fact that I can sometimes have two, even three stories working at once.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Bob: Again, I wish I had a pat answer for that as well, but the truth is, I haven’t got the slightest idea. They just pop into my head. Sometimes it may be a song on the radio, or a person walking by. No rhyme or reason really.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Bob: Generally, I scribble down notes, ideas on paper, a restaurant napkin, put something down in the notepad on my phone and then transfer them to an opening page on my laptop from which I can embellish upon them.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Bob: My characters general do what I tell them to do, but sometimes…

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Bob: When I write a scene that sends goosebumps up my arm and I have to actually get up and walk away for a few minutes. I LOVE THAT!

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Bob: I just finished Vol Two in my series of short stories and am going about getting it published right now. Shortly, however, I will be starting Vol Three. I believe this will be a four part series, but who knows.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Bob: Well, of course, they can go to my website at www.rmvilloria.com or they can follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well. Those links are on the website.

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Bob: Well, first I’d like to thank you for this opportunity to talk about my work and offer this tidbit to anyone who’s thought about becoming a writer…perseverance pays off.


*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.

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The Rite of Wands – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Mackenzie Flohr

In Mackenzie Flohr’s The Rite of Wands, twelve-year-old Mierta McKinnon is looking forward to his Rite of Wands ceremony, which will cement his role as a warlock. However, during the ritual, he experiences a haunting vision of the future – and of his own terrible demise. Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Orlynd is another warlock, the soothsayer to the king, capable of seeing visions of the future. He’s not always taken seriously, though, to the detriment of those around him. Around them, a terrible plague is looming over the land, one that could devastate them all if it is not stopped.

In the beginning, it is a bit difficult to get the hang of The Rite of Wands, as in most fantasy novels as complex as this one. It takes a few chapters to get used to the dialects, pacing, and shifting perspectives, but the inclusion of language and dialect guides in the beginning of the book will help with that. Once readers get acclimated to the unique style of this book, they’re in for a treat. The Rite of Wands is much like the Harry Potter series in that it prominently features magic and is written for all ages; however, this book is also much different than Harry Potter in that it is more traditional and ethnic, though still unique.

The Rite of Wands is such an enchanting fantasy novel partly because of its complex, relatable, and believable characters. Mackenzie Flohr avoids the clichés of the genre, instead crafting a story that is so detailed, honest, and immersive that it’s hard to put the book down. Also, the descriptive language used is wonderful; although not extravagant, the words used paint a clear and vivid portrait for readers, and a very enjoyable one at that. The Rite of Wands is a great read for beginners or seasoned fans of the fantasy genre alike, and a promising start to what will inevitably be a phenomenal fantasy series.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Gone North – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

Gone North

John McIlveen

Not yet available on Amazon.

John McIlveen’s Gone North follows two African American sisters from New Orleans, Emma and Thalia Holden, as they recount their youth in the 1960s. Emma, the older of the two, receives a great opportunity to work for a well-to-do family in Boston, with the added bonus of a college education while she’s there. However, once there, a blooming romance with a white man breeds uncertainty and passion. Thalia, epileptic and shy, remains in New Orleans with her parents – until tragedy strikes and rips the family apart. Even miles apart from one another, the sisters have an unshakable bond until the last of their days, when they sit down to finally tell their stories.

For a good portion of Gone North, it’s a bit unclear as to what the plot of the book actually is. Though entertaining, the Holden sisters’ narratives didn’t seem to have much rhyme or reason to them. This could be detrimental, as some readers may grow tired of this book long before the main storyline ever presents itself. However, it does prove to be interesting and captivating, largely because of the colorful, complex characters and their so-very-human stories.

What makes Gone North so fascinating, though, is the unique style in which it is written. John McIlveen wrote the sisters’ narratives as if they were reminiscing to their family members; Gone North is casual enough that it could pass for dialogue as they’re telling their family about their lives, but it is also formal enough to undoubtedly be a straightforward memoir-style book. This ambiguity is especially interesting, and certainly an effective approach. Gone North also tackles issues like race, disability, and culture, but does so in a subtle, tasteful manner that doesn’t overshadow the sister’s energetic tales. Gone North is a heartwarming, relatable story about love, sisterhood, and life’s treasures that readers of all walks of life are sure to enjoy.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Always Darkest – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Jess & Keith Flaherty

In Jess and Keith Flaherty’s Always Darkest, angels and demons alike are consumed with the Emerald Hill prophecy, which foretells the birth of a girl with amazing abilities. The demon Ronoven is hiding on Earth, investigating the prophecy, disguised as a drifter named Ben. There, he meets Chris, who is also hiding secrets of his own. Then, “Ben” finds Malin, the subject of the prophecy and both the daughter of an angel and the last living descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. There’s a lot in store for Mal, but she wants to be in control of her own destiny – which is easier said than done.

There are some aspects of Always Darkest that seem a bit too cliché, such as the prophecy in general, the angels vs. demons conflict, and the improbable, against-all-odds love story. Also, some parts of the story tend to be confusing, as the pacing is often jumpy and uneven. Other portions of this book seem to focus far too much on tedious exposition and foreshadowing and not nearly enough on moving the plot forward (it takes nineteen chapters for the three main characters to even be in the same room together, let alone get anything actually started).

Nevertheless, Always Darkest is quite an entertaining read. There’s a ton of great descriptive language and lighthearted humor in its pages, which serves to hold the reader’s attention even in the slower-paced portions of the book. Jess and Keith Flaherty have inserted a lot of fantastic creativity, religious imagery, suspense, and mystery into their work, making Always Darkest an interesting literary concoction in itself. Always Darkest is a unique combination of epic fantasy and contemporary romance, which is an intriguing recipe guaranteed to delight its unsuspecting readers.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Recognizing the Real Me – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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T. Lynn Tate

An African American novel with romance at the core, Recognizing the Real Me, focuses on two main characters throughout. Confidence (or Fi) Fuller and Nina, her sister, go through a number of ups and downs with their romantic relationships. In the midst of the love stories, author T. Lynn Tate, weaves in a touch of mystery as Fi’s boss seems to have a deep, dark secret. The two sisters always have each other’s backs whether dealing with their mother, their romantic relationships or difficult curve balls that life has a habit of throwing at them. In the end, they come out on top and stand strong in making decisions that are best for them. They ultimately do come to recognize their real selves.

T. Lynn Tate offers a refreshing perspective on the edge of being a romance. Recognizing the Real Me’s characters come across as real and relatable, which will likely help readers feel a bond with Fi and Nina. Unfortunately, there are numerous plot holes and large jumps in the timeline. This is a big drawback for the story. If Tate would tighten the story up and share less unimportant details, she would have room to paint a more colorful picture, so that readers become absorbed into the story. Tate has excellent potential with the core storyline, but it could use some work. Better pacing and more depth within the scenes as well as within the characters would add a lot to the story. T. Lynn Tate’s Recognizing the Real Me has a strong realism to it that, if tweaked a bit and fleshed out more, could cause readers to sing its praises to all of their girlfriends while anxiously awaiting the another book of Tate’s to be released.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

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Sojourner McConnell

An adorable chapter book for young children, Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas? (The Dolcey Series) gives young girls a powerful life lesson while allowing them to step into a fantasy. Sojourner McConnell brings to life a young fairy who has powerful magic that she’s only just begun to start using to help others. When Dolcey here’s a child in need, she has been taught by her mother how to implement her powers to offer guidance and assistance. Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas? is her first experience in actually getting to help. She hears a young girl named Emily and rushes off to not only find her but help her get through the challenging time she is facing.

The colorful imagery within Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas?, illustrated by Ellie Barrett, add an additional element of fun and fantasy to Sojoruner McConnell’s story. These occasional images help bridge a gap between young students who are ready to read more difficult books and embrace more complex concepts with readers who aren’t quite ready to give up the picture book feel. Who’s That in the Pajamas? is a very well-written story and has a fun story line all while sharing a message of hope and a lesson on how to cope with big life changes that are out of one’s control. Sojourner McConnell’s Who’s That in the Cat Pajamas?, the first in her The Dolcey Series, would make for a wonderful tool for parents who are looking for something to help their children deal with a big move away from family and friends. It’s simply a must read!

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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[Author Interview] Mercedes Samudio | Shame-Proof Parenting

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

Mercedes Samudio

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Mercedes Samudio: I am a licensed clinical social worker and parent coach on a mission to end parent shaming. I work primarily with parents (with children of all ages) to help them feel confident on their parenting journey. A lot of the work I know focuses not just on a child’s behavior and the parenting strategies used to help raise healthy children, but also on the journey a human takes while becoming a parent. I have found that while we know that children need love and support to grow, we often forget that parents need the same to grow and become the parent they really want to be. As a writer, my first book expands on the idea of ending parent shame and supporting parents as they develop a healthy parenting identity.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Mercedes Samudio: I have been writing for over 20 years in various arenas. I started my professional writing in 2013 with a blog for my business and wrote a short ebook in 2015. But, to be honest, writing has been a huge part of my identity since writing my first poem in junior high school and then my first full length book in 2017.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Mercedes Samudio: My most recent release is Shame-Proof Parenting: Find Your Voice, Feel Empowered, and Raise Healthy Children released in April 2017. This book is a culmination of a 2 year campaign to end parent shaming, and introduces the idea that parent’s are humans who need space to develop a healthy parenting identity. I explore the effects of shame on parenting and the parent-child relationship and lay the foundation for parents to manage this shame on their parenting journey.

Click here to get your copy!

ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Mercedes Samudio: What I’ve always loved about writing is the ability to get all the ideas out of my head and on to paper (or the computer). We all have so much for say and writing has allowed me the space to share my thoughts and explore ideas with others in healthy discussions. I truly believe that writing has the power to change the world.

Along the notion of changing the world, I believe that when we write we can heal people, help them see ideas from new perspectives, and even move them into changing aspects of the identity that need to evolve. Writing has such an ability to move others and to help others not feel alone on their journey.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Mercedes Samudio: I find it the most challenging to bring ideas from inside your head into a cohesive narrative or perspective. While writing my first book, I found that I think a lot. Although that’s a good thing, it can be a hurdle to overcome when trying to share a complete idea or teach a new concept. The struggle for me was being able to keep my voice while also being clear and concise in my writing.

Another challenge has been being disciplined in writing. While writing my first book, I was working with a coach to help me stay focused and hit my word count each week. I didn’t realize the amount of stamina and perseverance needed to not only write but stay invested in the topic you are writing about. After working with a coach, I found some great strategies on writing that can help me organize my ideas and stay focused on my end goals.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Mercedes Samudio: My ideas come from the work that I do with clients, the current trends in my niche/field, and from ideas that I want to contribute to the niche/field. When I first starting writing blogs, I began to write articles that answered common parenting concerns I was hearing in the field and with my clients. As I got more prolific in my writing, I began to also include my own ideas about supporting parents and commentary on current trends on parenting. Since my aim is to address the shame that surrounds parents and child-rearing, I don’t offer lots of steps nor do I bash other parenting experts who do so. Instead, I focus on sharing my voice in the areas that we are not formally and consistently talking about. I also tend to get ideas from people sharing their parenting stories with me and asking me how they can be more effective in their parenting.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Mercedes Samudio: Before writing my first book, my writing process consisted of: idea generation, writing blog/article, proofreading, and then publishing online. This was how I became a consistent blogger and was able to produce a lot of content to enhance my branding and my voice. After writing a book, the process has changed a bit: idea generation, free-writing, organizing, planning, writing draft, proofreading, editing, re-wrtiting draft, and then publishing. There may be a period where between planning and writing I let me ideas simmer and/or another bout of free-writing to get more of my actual voice in the piece, but this is not often. I know also think about other publications where my writing can be featured since I have a longer process that includes editing the piece.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Mercedes Samudio: I write non-fiction. I feel that one of the best ways that helped me hone my message and voice was blogging. I’ve been writing content for my blog on my professional website for 5 years. In this process, I have learned to be more concise, clear, and honest in how I discuss concepts and opinions. That set a good foundation for writing my first book – and I know it will be a great basis for future books that I write. Now, I don’t feel like my messages gets away from me because I know what I want to say, I have proven writing process that helps me organize my thoughts, and I know how to get support when I need another pair of eyes on my content. I will say that going through several rounds of editing (both developmental and copyediting) taught me a lot about how our ideas are experienced by others. There were times when I really hit the nail on the head in how I presented an idea, and others where I spend too much time explaining that I lost the editor. This editing process made me more aware of the journey you want your reader to go on and where you want them to be by the end of reading your work. That revelation has helped me be more streamlined in how I share non-fiction concepts.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Mercedes Samudio: If I had to pick just one part of the book that’s my favorite, I’d have to say it’s the discussion on parenting defense mechanisms. In this part of the book I share a concept that had been brewing in my mind for a while, and one that I would bring up in sessions with my clients. However, this was the first time that I wrote about them in a concise and clear way so that others can also learn how parents protect their parenting identity. I have since talked about this idea in trainings and workshops where it has been well received and even used by other colleagues. That’s the best feeling ever: to know that a concept you created is helping others understand aspects of their life and their experiences.

ATAI: What are you working on next?


Mercedes Samudio: Currently I am working on speaking and taking the concepts of my recent book to the masses. I enjoy sharing the book’s concepts with parents and professionals so that we can get to work on ending parent shaming. I am also working on gathering content for the next book I want to write, which will introduce the idea of having a parenting renaissance in our culture.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Mercedes Samudio: I’m all over the internet. Hahaha. But, you can get started on my site: http://shameproofparenting.com. From there you can find all my social media links and a contact form to reach out.

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Mercedes Samudio: Thanks so much for allowing me to share my process with your audience. If you’re reading this and wondering if your ideas or concepts would make a good book, don’t worry about that yet. Just start writing and let the ideas flow. You never know who might need to hear your ideas with your voice to help them move into a healthier part of their life.


*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.

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[Author Interview] Joe Ferguson | Reflections of a Scurvy Bastard

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

Joe Ferguson

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Joe Ferguson: Before self publishing, I was in a variety of small press, regional, and national publications I also wrote propaganda for a living for some 25 years. My latest book is Reflections of a Scurvy Bastard, a collection of poems. My previous works include two short story collections – Southbound, and Shillelagh Law, and a spoof of “how-to-get-a-job” books, Dave Doolittle’s Resumes That Work, So You Don’t Have To.

I’m a former editor and critic for Hudson Valley, ran the Fiction Workshop for the Poughkeepsie Library District, and have reviewed books and videos for Climbing, The American Book Review, Kirkus, and a number of other publications.

I also sell rock climbing t-shirts through my website: http://www.bumluckhome.com/

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Joseph Ferguson: Long as I can remember. As a child, I specialized in comic books (laminated with Scotch Tape) that usually involved Godzilla-like creatures wreaking havoc on major municipalities.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Joseph Ferguson:
A collection of poems entitled, Reflections of a Scurvy Bastard.

Click here to get your copy!

ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Joseph Ferguson: The initial inspiration and finishing. The rest is hell.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Joseph Ferguson: Trying to get what you want to say from your head onto the page.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Joseph Ferguson: Mostly my life. I practice the old saw, “write what you know,” with extreme predjudice.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Joseph Ferguson: Basically, since I retired three years ago, I am finishing all the unfinished stuff I started over the years. Usually have a few in-progress things that I fiddle with while watching TV. Eventually, after enough fiddling, one or the other takes off; and I run with that.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Joseph Ferguson: Always. In fact, I’d venture to say, that if a character doesn’t take over at some point, I might question their validity. Nearly all my non-fiction writing was in my role in either public relations or as a freelance journalist. I’ve never had a press release get the best of me; though some of the more featurey stuff might have dealt a surprise or two.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Joseph Ferguson: My books so far are short story and poetry collections and a parody, so my favorites vary depending on mood. Of course, when self publishing you have to be your own editor, so by the time I release a book, I’ve reread it so many times, I utterly despise every word of it.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Joseph Ferguson: I’m trying to write enough new stories to fill out another fiction collection; and if that fails, I have enough poetry for two or three more collections. During my working life, poems were pretty much the only things I managed to finish.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Joseph Ferguson:

On Amazon

On Twitter

On Facebook

www.bumluckhome.com

On Goodreads

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Joseph Ferguson: Thank you, Janelle, for giving me this opportunity. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.


*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.

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[Author Interview] Anthony Custode Jr. | Vanity’s Price Tag

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

Anthony Custode Jr.

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Anthony Custode Jr: I’m a graduate of Buffalo State College, where I received my bachelor’s in journalism. I’ve covered sports and soft feature stories for local newspapers, and now I decided to venture off into the world of fictional writing. I also have a son, who is 11 and really keeps me on my toes.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Anthony Custode Jr: I’ve been writing my entire life, really. I remember in grade school, one of my teachers called my writing “a riot” and it drove me crazy because I wasn’t sure if she meant it as a compliment or not. Years later, I’m still considering it a complement.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Anthony Custode Jr: My most recent release is titled, Vanity’s Price Tag, which is a realistic story about moral vision. The main character finds his girlfriend cheating on him, and decides to do something about his body image. Unfortunately, he becomes obsessed with his appearance, which leads him down a road of bad decisions. I wanted to write this book because I personally have had weight issues, so I can relate the main character in a sense. Jackson, the main character, is faced with a choice to make about HGH, and eventually gives in to the temptation and I really wanted to point out the dangers of using supplements like that because it’s far more common than people may realize.

Click here to get your copy!

ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Anthony Custode Jr: I really love just building a story. If I get gripped into the story while writing it, I feel like I can grip the reader as well. I also love the freedom to convey the message in any manner that I want. It’s not like journalism, where you have to be aware of your audience and have to worry about what the general public may find offensive. My books so far have some language to them that some may find offensive, but to me, that’s OK. I like writing on the edge and I kind of enjoy the “shock” factor with certain words or situations.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Anthony Custode Jr: Time, to me is the biggest challenge. I have an 11-year-old son who takes up a lot of my time. I coach his hockey team and I’m very involved in everything that he has going on, so finding time between work and home to write something substantial is difficult.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Anthony Custode Jr: My ideas come from anywhere, really. Vanity’s Price Tag was inspired by a generic personal experience of weight loss and people watching at the gym, which I was able to mold a fictional story around. I think anyone can relate to it because it really focusses on a person’s insecurities, which we all have. Andrew’s Journal, which is my first book, was really just free-writing that was indirectly inspired by a book I read in high school titled Chinese Handcuffs.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Anthony Custode Jr: Well, that’s an interesting question because when I wrote Andrew’s Journal, I really didn’t have a process. I was really just trying to get something I could be proud of on paper and get it published. But, after doing that, I found a process that really worked for me with Vanity’s Price Tag. I like to know the ending of the book, very specifically. With Vanity’s Price Tag, I had a series of events that I wanted to make sure that I covered in chronological order. So really just mapping out the story in my head and hitting certain checkpoints, I guess you could call them, on the way to the destination. I like to develop characters loosely in my head as well, but I won’t stick to that strictly if the story dictates otherwise. I try to keep an open mind and let the story kind of flow on its own.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Anthony Custode Jr: My characters always take a life of their own. Sometimes, they are based on actual people, or a mix of people. Other times they are based off of characteristics that I try to form a character off of. But as I said prior, I try not to stick to a specific parameter for a character. I think that would be narrow-minded and would hurt the overall development of the character. Just as I like to let the story flow on its own, I do the same with the characters. I think it allows a certain unpredictability to the characters because now they’re becoming real people in a sense.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Anthony Custode Jr: I would have to say the suspense portion of both Andrew’s Journal and Vanity’s Price Tag. I had a friend tell me that when she was reading Andrew’s Journal, that she felt like she didn’t breathe a single breath while reading the final few chapters. That to me was one of the biggest compliments I could get. Just knowing someone was so dialed into something I’ve written like that is so gratifying. When I’m writing the story, and I’m building the suspense to something, I often wonder if the suspense is real for the reader, because I know where I’m going with it, so there’s no true shock value for me as a writer. But if I can put that shock and suspense in the mind of the reader, there’s really no better feeling.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Anthony Custode Jr: Well, I released Andrew’s Journal in February and Vanity’s Price Tag in June, so I’ve been pretty busy. I’d like to market these two for a bit before I really decide my next work. But, I will say that I have it narrowed down between a thriller about domestic violence, or a comedy that revolves around a call center. I’m sure I’ll end up publishing both eventually though, because once I get an idea I can’t help but expand upon it.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Anthony Custode Jr: I’m on Twitter as @Uncensored_ant and Facebook as Anthony Custode Jr. I also just launched a website, anthonycustodejr.wordpress.com. I will say that I’m still trying to find my presence on social media and I don’t particularly care for Twitter. But, by all means, if anyone feels the need or want to Tweet me, go for it! I will certainly respond.

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Anthony Custode Jr: I really do appreciate you giving me this opportunity to talk about my book and I hope that if anyone in the audience does check out one or both of my books, that they at least take something positive from them. Also, I just want to say to anyone accessing this interview that you are in control of your own life, so if there is something that you want to do, find a way, and do it. Thank you so much for your time!


*NOTE: ATAI does not edit the responses of the authors.

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Damn Mind – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

5 Stars

Click here to get your copy!

Jacqui Letran

Jacqui Letran’s second book in her Words of Wisdom for Teens series is another shining light for young adults. I would but my DAMN MIND won’t let me!: A teen’s guide to controlling their thoughts and feelings is a book written to help teenagers break patterns and gain a better understanding of how their mind works. Coming from the view point of clinical psychology and science, Damn Mind is an excellent secular resource. Letran not only breaks down technical scientific and psychological concepts into understandable chunks of information, but she wraps up the educational chapters with what she calls 60-Second Readers, which are bullet-poined summaries of the content from each chapter. In the last third of the book, she offers case studies. At the end of each of those chapters, she offers a tip and a self-reflection exercise. She also offers “free stuff” including the audiobook through a link on her website. Therefore, she gives readers the opportunity to explore further once they’ve read Damn Mind.

Written in language that is relatable to teens, Damn Mind is a quick and fairly easy read. Occasionally, some of the chapter sections are a bit heavy or complex in their wording, but Jacqui Letran quickly offers simpler language within the text. Throughout the the educational sections of the book she shares interesting information and unique ways of looking at things. For example, Letran shared and pulled out in a highlighted section that the conscious mind can only take in 1% of the information that it is being fed at any given moment. She also compared the importance of thinking in positive terms to doing a Google search – the mind nor Google pays attention to words such as “don’t”. Jacqui Letran asks deep and powerful questions in I would but my DAMN MIND won’t let me! I highly recommend Letran’s Damn Mind for teens everywhere.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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