Since joining RWA one of the people who has been a solid cheerleader, mentor, friend to Anna Taylor is a person who has been a solid cheerleader, mentor, friend to many of us in the writing community and is today's guest. Personally she has reached out with great information to help me with my writing career. I'm so happy she'd joined us at camp today. Always supportive and kind, I know you'll her interview.
Anna, welcome to the campfire. What can I get you? At camp the pantry and fridge are like Aladdin's lamp. Your wish is our command.
Tea for me. Red Raspberry Zinger is always in stock. Lately I’ve been experimenting with my own version of iced peach green tea lemonade.
Red Raspberry Zinger it is. Let me know how the experiment goes. Green tea is healthy but in my opinion yuck without other flavors. I've found that Constant Comment green as well as Earl Green are pretty good. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
Camped, not glamped. With a guy I was dating in seminary I hiked a trail in the Adirondacks and camped in old WPA lean-tos. Next with my husband I camped again in the Adirondack State Park, this time in a campground using a tent, cooking on a Coleman stove and reading by LED lamps.
Oh, the Adirondacks are beautiful. Can you tell us about your latest project?
Right now I’m working on several, especially a WIP I entered into a fall back category of the Great Expectations contest on the last day since the one I wanted to enter was closed. Who knew I’d win the category and the final round judge would request the full?! It’s called Kwanzaa to the Rescue and is about a woman recently separated from her husband, trying to recapture what’s important in her life. She helped in her journey throughout the story as she relearns the meaning and power of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. I'm also working on the second novella in my Haunted Harlem series entitled A Little In Love With Death. It already has a cover designed by my fabulous cover designer Dawne Dominique. I'm still revising it but I'm going to post excerpts of it on Goodreads as part of my pre-order strategy.
That sounds quite interesting. I love reading about different celebrations especially ones that help us find our way in this crazy world. I have to admit I don't know much about Kwanzaa so I look forward to reading it. Can you share a bit about what you're working on and what's on the horizon?
Today I’m talking about my first self-published novella, Haunted Serenade. I wrote it back in 2011 as part of a series with several other authors from my RWA gothic romance chapter. Nine years later I’ve improved it, had a beautiful new cover designed and released it on June 17th. It’s now the first of my Haunted Harlem series which are psychological and parapsychological ghost stories.
Wonderful! I will tell our guests today that I have read Haunted Serenade and its not only a spine-tingling ghost story but a fabulous character study about the things the character's experienced in lift that brought them to the crisis of the haunting. I highly recommend it. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
Life motto: Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly before God. Micah 6:8
Amen. That is one of my favorite verses. Can you imagine how much better our earthly journey would be if more people followed that? Are there any mentors, authors, or books, other than yours, you would like to give a shout-out to?
Shout out to Mary Buckham, mentor extraordinaire. Years ago she asked me to be on a panel she was proposing for an RWA national meeting. When I said “but I’m not published” she shot back, “you’re an author whether you’re published or not.” Thank you Mary for making me take myself seriously as a writer.
She sounds amazing. And along those lines, what does literary success look like to you?
Selling books whose stories enlighten, encourage, educate and entertain. And hopefully make me a little spending money. : D
I'd like to give a second amen to that. Speaking of mentoring do you have any Life Hacks for Authors. Tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others.
Make appointments to organize your time. Get a dollar store weekly pocket planner. Block out days that are for you and family and your day job (if applicable) and leave those blocks inviolate. Then make appointments with yourself in the unclaimed spaces to write, to revise, do marketing, network. No more than two appointments per day. That’s how I’ve been using all the time sheltering-in-place has put at my disposal.
Time is something I struggle to conquer this sounds like a good way to wrangle it. Now the fun questions...
Years ago, there was a commercial that talked about a “Kodak Moment.” It’s a moment in time you catch in a picture. One you never want to forget. What is yours?
The hug I shared with my then groom after the minister declared us husband and wife.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences.
Here’s how to count to ten in Swahili: Moja, wili, tatu, nne, tano, sita, saba, nane, tisa, kumi
What is your favorite mug or teacup if neither T-shirt?
My favorite mug and T-shirt carry a copy of the “Thank You Mitch” advertisement a number of us Mitch Pileggi X-Files fans ran in Variety to thank him for playing our favorite X-Files character , Assistant Director Walter Skinner. It’s his name plate and the wire rim glasses the character. We donated what was left over after paying for the ad to his favorite charity.
What’s your favorite fairy tale? The Bremen Town Musicians
Favorite childhood book? The Borrowers.
Last thing you googled? Why?
The last thing I googled was Beverly Jenkins guest podcasts. It was an assignment from a book marketing webinar to find where our ideal readers hang out.
Anna, thank you so much for being such and interesting and fun guest at the campfire. I know others would like to know more about you and your books. Can you leave us some information?
All the women in Anora Madison's family have lived haunted by the curse of becoming Poor Butterflies: women still longing for but deserted by the men they loved. Determined to be the first to escape a life of abandonment, Anora fled Harlem for Brooklyn, not only severing her ties with her mother Angela, but also ending her relationship with Winston Emerson, her lover and the father of her child.
Six years later, Anora comes home to make peace, but an unseen evil manifests itself during the homecoming and targets not only Anora, but her little girl Cammie.
With nowhere to run, Anora must confront the evil now trying to destroy her life. She vows to protect her daughter at all costs, but if that protection can only be found with Winston back in her life, how will Anora protect her heart?
Get a copy here
“I never understood how you and Elizabeth could stay here after Diana...” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word. My mother didn’t finish my sentence for me. Apparently she couldn’t say the word either.
We waited in the shared silence, unable more than unwilling to offer terms of peace.
“A person can will themselves to die,” my mother said. Her gaze drifted to the album cover in my hands. “It’s not so hard where unforgiving spirits reign.”
My gut clenched. “Do you really believe you’re dying, Ma?”
“According to my doctor I’m sound as a dollar. But when you’ve got more days behind you than in front of you, that’s not saying much.” She directed her gaze to me. “That’s why Cammie is so important. She’s the future. I feel better just having been in her presence a little while.”
“I should have known.” I gripped the album cover with fingers trembling with anger and disappointment. “All that display of affection...you’re only using her to make you feel better.”
“No, Anora.” My mother came over and grabbed my arm with an earnestness that surprised me. “It’s not like that. I—I want the ghosts keeping us apart to die. Don’t you?”
I wanted it so much it hurt. I grimaced, but nodded.
“Cammie took one look at this house and asked if it was haunted.”
My mother snorted. “Out of the mouths of babes.”
“Exactly what I thought.” I returned the album cover to its resting place.
The term troubled my mind. Can the spirit of anyone who dies the way my aunt died ever rest?
The question went unanswered, interrupted by my daughter’s screams.
Anna M. Taylor website: https://annamtaylor.webs.com
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