Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Jan Selbourne and her New Release

Jan Selbourne was born and educated in Melbourne, Australia and her love of literature and history began as soon as she learned to read and hold a pen. After graduating from a Melbourne Business College her career began in the dusty world of ledgers and accounting, working in Victoria, Queensland and the United Kingdom. On the point of retiring, she changed course to work as secretary of a large NSW historical society. Now retired Jan is enjoying her love of traveling and literature. She has two children, a stray live-in cat and lives near Maitland, New South Wales.

2020 Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Andrew: Andrew Conroy, although that wasn’t always my name.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Andrew: Kent, England.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Andrew: 1918 to 1919.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Andrew: World War One was raging and like millions of men I enlisted. Not out of patriotism, to avoid arrest for assault. I was shipped over to the bloody battlefields of France, and on the eve of the Battle of Amiens, I got talking to a bloke of similar colouring and build. Like me he had no family. Next day, in the thick of battle a shell exploded killing him and wounding me. In front of me was the one chance of a new life. It was a hanging offence, but I was past thinking clearly. I swapped identity discs.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Andrew: To survive, I cannot make one mistake because my new identity pushed me into a life of family greed and murder.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Andrew: I’m in the middle of a family at war with each other. And, to complicate things more, a young woman desperately needs help.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Andrew: Not making one mistake is essential, but planning is impossible when I don’t know what will happen next.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Andrew: That one desperate act pushed me into a life of lies and now, as I grow closer to this young woman who needed my help, honesty is the only way forward. What will she think of me when I tell her I stole the name of a man who died for his country?

Blurb for The Proposition

They met on the eve of a battle. One enlisted to avoid prison, the other enlisted to avoid the money lenders. On the bloodied fields of France, Harry Connelly collapses beside the corpse of Andrew Conroy. It is a risk, a hanging offence—and his only hope for a future. Harry swaps identity discs.
Now as Andrew, he is just another face in post-war London until a letter arrives with a proposition. Accepting is out of the question, refusing pushes him into a nightmare of greed, blackmail and murder. To survive he must live this lie without a mistake. Then he falls for Lacey and her secrets. Will the truth set them free or embroil them even further in the webs of deceit that surround them?

Excerpt from The Proposition

It took many seconds before his eyes told his brain the craters were dark red and littered with dozens of bloodied, twisted bodies. Some stared up into nothing, some face down. Harry looked behind him, he’d been pinned beneath bodies submerged in the crater still smoking from an exploded shell. The entrails of one body oozed into the bloodied soil and the other body, oh God. Harry’s stomach heaved, he was covered with blood and guts. The ground shook again making him cringe. In the distance, a thick pall of black smoke was covering the rows of men fighting furiously while shells pounded around them, but it was eerily silent. Like the films at the picture house without the words on the screen. 

Harry struggled to his knees and almost fainted from the pain in his leg. Closing his eyes, breathing deeply, he reached down to feel the blood oozing through his trouser leg.

“Come on, move, move.” He dragged himself forward until he came to a mound. “Give up,” his mind screamed, then his eyes settled on a water canteen half buried in the earth. Pulling it out, he unscrewed the cap and drank. Nectar. Spitting the dirt out of his mouth he gulped the water greedily, feeling it flowing through his body and clearing his mind.

“Oh, Jesus.” The mound was a pile of bloodied bodies with sightless eyes. He couldn’t crawl over them. He couldn’t do it. Wheezing with the pain in his leg he inched around them and looked back. The crater was barely thirty feet behind him. He had to stop. Why crawl to the trees? Stay here. Rest.

The throbbing in his leg forced Harry’s eyes open. If he could crawl to the little rise ahead of him, he’d stop there. Using his elbows to propel him, he inched forward and without warning, the earth gave way. Tumbling down the small slope he fell against a solid lump. A lump in uniform whose blank eyes stared directly into his. Jerking back, he clutched his head as excruciating pain tore through his ears. Moaning, he rocked back and forth until it eased and when he opened his eyes bile ran into his mouth. Insects were taking up residence in the gaping, oozing chest cavity while the neck and chin, mouth and nose were strangely untouched. The scalp had gone. Harry turned away as his stomach heaved again. Move, move. Inching forward, his fingers touched a shiny object in the churned soil. He stared stupidly at the unscathed cigarette case.

“Oh no!” he turned back and leaned closer to read the name on the identity discs. Andrew Conroy, his service number and C E. The poor scared bastard with no family. He wanted to move away but his feeble strength failed. He’d rest here for a while.   Holding the cigarette case with both hands, he lay back against the crumbled mound. He was so damn tired.   Voices, shouting. Blinking, he squinted at the hazy moving objects, oh yes, the Red Cross stretcher bearers and wagons were picking up the wounded before the ghastly task of removing the dead.

Harry looked at the cigarette case in his hand and its owner lying next to him. It was a hanging offence. If he did, there would be no turning back. If he didn’t...

He had no strength; his fingers wouldn’t work. Do it, for Christ’s sake, do it. His chest wheezed, and his weak hands fumbled with the effort of pulling Andrew Conroy’s discs over the gaping skull. His arms ached with the mammoth task of removing his. When it was done, he lay beside the body. He wanted to say something, beg him to understand, but he couldn’t find the words. 

His tears dripped onto the soil. “Mate, you are in a better place.”

Buy Link for The Proposition

The Proposition - Kindle edition by Selbourne, Jan. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @

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Monday, May 3, 2021

Best-Selling Genres

What genre do you write? Is it one of the best-selling categories? I was curious as to what was the best-selling genre, especially since Covid. And apparently, there are a thousand different surveys and best-selling lists. I checked out a couple.

The first one said the best-selling genres were:

Memoirs and Biographies.

Self Help.

Religion and Spirituality.

Health, Fitness, and Dieting.

Politics and Social Sciences.

The next one was similar:

Religion and Spirituality.

Biographies and Memoirs.

Business and Money.

Self Help.

Cookbooks, food, and vine.

Wait a minute – where are the fiction books? Here they are. This is where I found them.

1. Romance – Contemporary

2. Literature Fiction – contemporary fiction – Women

3. Romance – New Adult

4. Literature Fiction – Coming of Age

5. Romance – mystery and suspense

6. Science fiction and Fantasy – Paranormal and Urban

7. Erotica

And this Fiction one comes from


Science Fiction




Detective and Mystery




Historical Fiction

Young Adult (YA)

Children’s Fiction

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Gayle M. Irwin and her Latest Novel

Gayle M. Irwin is a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books and the author of many inspirational pet books and stories for children and adults. Her clean, contemporary romance series, Pet Rescue Romance, consists of Rescue Road, released November 2019; Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, released in May 2020; a 2020 novella, Rhiann’s Rescue (the series’ prequel); and My Montana Love, sequel to Rescue Road that released March 2021. She subtly weaves the importance of pet rescue and adoption into her novels and novellas. Learn more about Gayle and her writing here:

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Gayle: I’ve written in three genres, including children’s fiction, Christian devotions, and sweet contemporary romance. The latter is what I now focus on, although I have ideas stored away for the other two in the next year or two. I enjoy writing all three genres, as my goal as an author is to entertain, educate, and inspire. My romance novels and novellas incorporate pet rescue and adoption, a passion I’ve held for years. When you pair a sweet romance with the rescue and adoption of animals, can a reader really resist? I know I can’t! Additionally, I donate a percentage of my book sales to pet rescue and adoption groups, and I enjoy giving back to those wonderful organizations that tirelessly work on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Gayle: I studied journalism and creative writing in college, and as a teen, I used to write short stories. I don’t think any one person ‘influenced’ me to write, for some reason, it came naturally. However, two college professors certainly encouraged me in the craft: Arlene Larson, who taught journalism at my community college, and Lois Melina, who taught writing at the University of Idaho when I attended. I even worked part-time for Lois, a specialist in adoptive families, during my final year at the University. Although I worked as a reporter and editor for many years, I found freelance writing for magazines and newspapers more freeing, and when I decided to write my first book, I wanted to encourage readers through my stories. I’m happy that I’ve continued the path of author and freelance writer, and I look forward to creating more books and stories in the coming years.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Gayle: Spending time in nature and reading other authors’ books. I enjoy walks in the woods, wildlife watching, and nature photography, and I relish being in the tranquility of nature. I feel refreshed and inspired taking such adventures, and when I’m relaxed, my creativity flows like a river. Once when my husband and I visited Grand Teton National Park and I’d been mulling a holiday novella to become part of my Pet Rescue Romance series, the idea for a title hit me as I observed the majesty of the Teton Mountains. That novella, In the Shadow of Mount Moran, will release late autumn 2021. Additionally, reading other authors’ works helps me hone my craft, learning from their styles and ideas, as well as inspires me to continue my path as an author. Their influence and inspiration are welcomed – I think writers can learn great things from each other.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Gayle: I think it would be Underdog, which I watched as a child. Not only is he a hero and a dog, but many times I’ve felt like an ‘underdog,’ and yet this spotted pup can do amazing things – we all can if we believe in ourselves.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?

Gayle: Betty White – I love her passion to help animals and I’d so love to sit down with her and talk about how people can best to that kind of work, whether as a profession, a volunteer, or just your average community member, and I’d like to learn how she became such a passionate person for animal welfare. Plus, she’s so funny – listening to her would likely have me laughing a lot, and who doesn’t need more laughter in their lives?

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Gayle: I’d load up my husband and our dogs in the car and travel to a national park or monument or a forest land close by. Take a picnic lunch, go for a long walk in the woods, and sit by a river, stream, or lake. And I’d do some writing while my husband fished. I hope to do that this summer when the weather warms up!

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Gayle: I’m finishing up In the Shadow of Mount Moran and I’m updating my other novels and novellas for re-release. I plan to create a boxed set of my first three books in the series: Rescue Road, Finding Love at Compassion Ranch, and My Montana Love, and create a giveaway of what was my holiday novella last year, Rhiann’s Rescue. I’m working with my book cover designer to not have the cover look so ‘Christmassy’ (it’s set more in January and February anyway) and re-release that book, too. I hope to have all that ready by mid-June. Stay tuned to my website,, for when those projects are complete and available!

Blurb for My Montana Love:

Crisis and Chaos in Paradise –

Rhiann Kelly married Levi Butler five years ago. Their blissful life on a Paradise Valley, Montana property, operating an animal sanctuary and a horse ranch, is challenged after Levi experiences a health crisis. When the nephew of a criminal the Butlers knew in their past shows up for a job during Levi’s recovery, Rhiann faces critical decisions. Can she keep the ranch and sanctuary operating or will past incidents and Levi’s suppressed fears cause chaos she cannot control?

Excerpt from My Montana Love:

Levi rose from the kitchen table, balancing his unsteady body by placing a hand on the table as a brace. His reddened face contorted.

“Like hell he’ll work here!”

Rhiann flinched. He took a deep breath and tried to steady his voice.

“He’s the nephew of the man who tried to take this land. There’s no way I’ll allow him to work our ranch.”

Levi again sat down. He put a hand to his head. “Of all the men from here to Bozeman and west to Harrison, this guy had to answer the help wanted ad.”

“Maybe it’s a sign,” Rhiann responded in a low voice.

He looked at her. “A sign? What are you talking about?”

She sat in a chair next to him.

“I think we both have been carrying unforgiveness toward Dallas Patterson ….”

“For justified reasons. He meant to kill you, Rhiann.”

“We don’t know for sure,” she protested. “To scare me, yes, but we don’t know his real intentions. He certainly didn’t say he wanted to kill me. Even Dave said at the trial he didn’t know for sure….”

Levi stood again. “Ever since we brought Dave on, things haven’t gone as well for us, even between us.”

He looked at Rhiann and saw her ashen face.

“What do you mean by that?” she asked, her voice cracking.

“Our disagreements, our not being on the same page about things.”

Rhiann stood in front of him. “Levi, people don’t always agree on things. And Dave has turned out to be a great ranch hand.”

“Yeah, but why? Maybe he and Patterson’s nephew have been conniving all this time, spying on us for some loathsome purpose.”

Rhiann placed her hands on her hips. “Like what?”

“I don’t know! Something!”

Levi hobbled toward the kitchen sink and leaned against it.

“How come you’ve become so suspicious, Levi?” Rhiann asked.

He faced her, and she continued, “As far as our disagreements, we’ve had them before, but we always found a compromise.”

“Yeah, involving me giving in. I’m getting tired of it.”

He watched as her eyes first bulged and then narrowed.

“Levi Marcus Butler, what’s gotten into you?”

“Rhiann Elizabeth Kelly, maybe I’m just weary of being the dog in the fight.”

“You used my maiden name.”

His wife’s soft voice startled him. Their eyes locked.

“You don’t want to be married to me anymore, do you?”

Levi’s gut tightened, and he nearly doubled over. He reached out to her.

“No, no, that’s not it at all.”

“Of course it is. You just couldn’t come out and say it.”

Rhiann turned her back on him, and he watched her shoulders shake. He attempted to walk to her, but one leg wouldn’t budge. He stumbled and fell to the floor. He heard Rhiann’s deep intake of breath just as a deep, male voice rumbled, “I guess that’ll teach you to be such a jerk.”

Levi turned his head to see his friend Phil standing in the kitchen’s entryway, arms crossed over his chest, and a deep frown furrowed on his face.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Character Development Tips

There’s always the discussion about what’s more important, the plot or the characters.

No matter which side you agree with, the character development is important to any story. If your reader doesn’t connect with the characters, they’re not going to care what happens to them in the story.

Writing relatable characters takes work. Here are a few tips.

- Create a character document. Give each character their own section. List their physical characteristics, age, height, weight, hair color, eye color age, skin color, and any distinguishing marks.

-Next list education, family, siblings, occupation, marital status or relationships, likes and dislikes, religion, hobbies, vehicles, favorite food, favorite color, clothing likes, and styles, etc. Anything you can think that helps you know and write about that person.

-Now expand your descriptions with internal and emotional information, their goals, fears, desires, successes, and losses, addictions, any that help round out the character shows how they might react to the various situations you might put them through.

-Then do an interview. Most writers interview their characters. You can write your own questions, or google and you’ll find questions of all types from 2 or 3 pages to ten or twenty pages. Listen to the answers but also the tone of voice, pauses, anything that can give you an insight into the character. The above are ideas and hints. Get to know your character. You need to be able to write them like you’ve actually met them and spent time with the person.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Nadia L. Braeckel and her New Novel

Nadia L. Braeckel loves reading and writing romance with spice and suspense. The daughter of a Lebanese father and German-American Mother, Nadia sees the world through a unique lens and has a vivid imagination that gives life to her steamy romance characters. Taking inspiration from real-life scenarios, Nadia spins passionate, dramatic stories that leave readers breathless and wanting more, even as they root for the characters to get their happily-ever-after. Torn Ties is Nadia’s first book, and she’s already busily at work on the second series. She resides in Tulsa Oklahoma with her husband and son.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why? 

Nadia: Romance, Steamy romance, suspense, and mystery. I have read a lot of romance and mystery books growing up and the authors I have looked up to inspired me to write in that genre as well.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Nadia: My mom and grandmother.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Nadia: The most random times, such as driving, taking a shower, jogging, sitting outside. My juices flow when my blood is flowing too.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Nadia: Mickey Mouse, since my son loves him, the cartoon has grown on me.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why? 

Nadia: Nicholas Sparks or Lisa Jewell. They both are phenomenal writers, and I would love to spend a day with them and see how their brain works

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Nadia: Go on an adventure outside

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Nadia: The sequel to Torn Ties, called Tangled Ties.

Blurb for Torn Ties

How can a relationship that starts for all the wrong reasons feel so right?

That’s the question Natalya Zaher keeps asking herself. After all, her daily routine isn’t usually so dramatic…or so damn hot. By day, she works at a local men’s clinic, fending off advances from dirty old men and dealing with her boss’s angry tirades. By night, she sits at home, watching Twilight. Life has been remarkably routine—and lonely—until a chance encounter with a handsome man at the gym turns unexpectedly steamy. The only hang up? He’s already in a relationship. And Natalya wants more…much more.

Alex Bowman isn’t sure what he wants. His long-term relationship has been slowly losing its luster. The sex is dull, and he’s growing frustrated with feeling controlled and demeaned. So when he meets the alluring, radiant young Natalya at the gym, he’s intrigued by her charm and upbeat nature. And when he discovers her sexually adventurous nature, he can’t stop thinking about her…and just how right their relationship seems to be.

But Alex’s girlfriend doesn’t intend to let her man go without a fight, and she’s certainly not going to play fair. Even worse, Alex has been keeping secrets that threaten not just to destroy two reputations…but threaten to break Natalya’s heart too.

Set in the heart of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Torn Ties is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the last steamy page.

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Tips for Audiobooks

Are you published, probably self-published?  Are you  considering whether to publish an audiobook?

Okay, I have not published an audiobook. I’ve considered it but I’m not convinced that I want to spend the money yet. I have done some research and thought I’d share a few tips on what I've discovered on publishing your audiobook either by yourself or with a publisher.

1. Complete your manuscript, and put it through your editor, beta readers, and proofreader. Just like you do before you publish.

2. Print put the chapters to use for the narrator when reading the book.

3. Do you want to narrate it? Do you produce it yourself? If you choose to have some else narrate it you will need to hire a narrator. My understanding the cost varies with the narrator. An experienced narrator could be about $1500 for an eight-hour book. For a non-union narrator, it could be $150-$200 an hour.  I have also seen posts where the narrator could receive part of the profits of the book. Research your options.

4. If you want to produce it yourself you will have to purchase or have the appropriate equipment. Recommended is a a USB microphone costing from $150 US; a swivel mount studio microphone boom arm costing from $100 US; a shock guard for above the microphone to prevent picking up vibrations about $40 US; a pop filter to prevent popping sounds on some words or letters like P or B; maybe $25 US  and audiobook editing software. There are several options and they are free.

You’ll also need a quiet room, a computer, headphones and maybe background music for the beginning and end.

You should also hire an audio engineer.  That could be around $300.

5. The alternative would be to hire an audiobook producer. One example could be ACX. Check the cost relative to doing yourself.

6. Proof your audiobook

7. If you produce your own book send files to the professional audio editor  about $200

8. Upload your audiobook, possibly to ACX.