Friday, November 20, 2020

Book Launch Q&A: JC Miller Author of They Call Me Gomer #booklaunch

 JC Miller lives in the scenic Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with her husband, children, and floppy-eared Bassador pup.

Raised by a single-mother in the Bronx, JC pulls from early experiences to showcase the soul of the ghetto through faith-based novels. She also dedicates much of her time uplifting women via her blog and creating content with partner MR Spain, through their publishing company, Jess, Mo’ Books LLC.

On her days off, you can find JC whipping up her famous Red Velvet Cake and listening to songs from her impressive vinyl record collection.


“Dear Diary, On 
September 3, 1982, two things happened that I’ll never forget: I acquired an older sister, and I fell in real love. But tell me, what does an eight-year-old know about love?”

For nearly a decade, Hosea Felix and Gomer Williams were inseparable. She loved him from the moment she laid eyes on him. Their friendship was iron-clad until temptation rocked Gomer to her core. Somewhere along the way, she fell for another guy and traded young love for instant pleasure. Not only is Jeri Cole fine—he is a bonafide gangsta, unattainable, and off-limits. Jeri was all Gomer could think about, and the only thing she thought she wanted. Despite her big sister already laying claim to him, not much could stop Gomer from clawing at the possibility of love and diva status. Getting with Jeri felt right…but at what cost?

Gomer never backed down. She is the original bad girl—ratchet, bougie, and insatiable. Feel like you wanna dislike her? Well, get in line.

They Call me Gomer… JC Miller’s sophomore spin-off novel enthralls readers with a deeply woven, emotionally heart-tugging take on the Book of Hosea. By examining rape culture, drug addiction, family secrets, and the vulnerabilities of young Black girls in pursuit of fortune and fame, this contemporary tale gives those in search of a good dra-mance all the feelings!


Amazon →



After your book was released, what was the first thing you did when getting ready for your book launch?

I reached out to Blog Tour Organizers and PR agents. One man is not an army. You need as much help as you can get to spread the word.

After that, what was your next step?

I started soliciting help from companies with an extensive email newsletter list.

Did you do anything different to spice up your website in lieu of your upcoming book release?

I'm pretty much sold on the color purple, and I intend to keep my site adorned in it, but we did give Miss Gomer a page of her own--playlist and trailer included.

Did you ever consider using a PR agency to help you promote your book or did you prefer the DIY route?

Did I ever?! Yes, and still do. I can use as much help as given. But with the way that the economy is set up right now, DIY is the way to go. Of course, wherever my budget can afford it, I do seek the help that I need.

Were finding reviews a top priority for you and, if yes, how did you approach that?

This time around, yes. Let's face it, people want to know what they're getting into, and reviews from avid readers help. I had assistance loading an ARC on NetGalley and received promising, early Goodreads reviews. 

What are your views on social media for marketing your book?

Get in where you fit in! It's a jungle out there, but being an optimist, I believe there's enough room for everyone. Find your niche, and embrace your tribe of readers.

What social media has worked best for you?

Instagram and Facebook are my go to's.

They still seem to work well for me, and I love the interaction.

Did you write a press release and do you think it worked for you?

We have written press releases in the past and intend to continue to use them until we hit pay-dirt. The only failure is in giving up.

Did you revamp your author’s page at Amazon in any way to prepare for the launch (

Why, yes, of course! Diva's love makeovers. We changed the author's profile pic and added a new trailer and mockups for the upcoming release.

Did you have other books you offered for free in order to help sell your present book?

If you would be so kind as to subscribe to my website, you will receive two sample ebooks. One on my favorite cake recipes from my motivational cookbook, Finding God in the kitchen, and the other on lost scenes from my trilogy, I Am Rahab: A Novel.

Did you create a book trailer?

Yes, trailers are super fun. We have a teaser premiering November 5th on YouTube for the new release; They Call Me Gomer..., and other trailers available on my channel.

What was the best money you ever spent on your book launch?

We attended the Circle of Sisters Expo last year in New York City. We had so much fun meeting the readers and exposing our work to new readers. Meeting people makes the whole process worthwhile.

Any tips for those authors wanting to set up a successful book launch?

Do your homework--research the companies that you are interested in, check out their social media presence, and, when possible, reach out to former clients.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020



Larry Alex Taunton
Fidelis Books

The belief in “American Exceptionalism” is under attack, declares Larry Alex Taunton, an award-winning author, columnist, and cultural commentator. “A battle rages for the heart and soul of America.”

For Taunton, the question comes down to: Is there a better place to live than America?

To explore the idea of “national greatness,” Taunton went on a global odyssey, visiting some 26 countries. He records his discoveries in his new book, AROUND THE WORLD IN (MORE THAN) 80 DAYS: DISCOVERING WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT AND WHY WE MUST FIGHT TO SAVE IT.

If all of this sounds like a slog over some serious philosophic and political terrain, it is, but Taunton’s wry humor leavens the loaf.

In a chapter on Sweden, for example, the author hears, on a boat tour of Stockholm, a litany of Swedish accomplishments from his guides: “America? We discovered that. Skype? We invented it. The flat screen? You’re welcome. IKEA? You guessed it.”

Taunton’s mix of socio-political observations and cheeky wit in AROUND THE WORLD IN (MORE THAN) 80 DAYS opens the book up to a large and diverse group of readers.

The online publication The Federalist says of Taunton’s work: “The social elites want evangelicals to be as dumb as they suspect they are. But when a person comes along who proves that tale false, which Taunton clearly does…they simply don’t know what to do.”

In advance praise for AROUND THE WORLD IN (MORE THAN) 80 DAYS, Paul Reid, co-author with William Manchester, of THE LAST LION: WINSTON SPENCER CHURCHILL: DEFENDER OF THE REALM, 1940-1965 observes:

Larry Taunton—historian, columnist, and a man of abiding Christian faith—traveled (often at great risk to himself) to twenty-six nations in order to hold a mirror up to the United States of America and ask: Is America Good and is America Great? Mark Twain did much the same more than a century ago. Twain’s and Taunton’s conclusions are identical: There is no place—literally No Place—like home. “Around the World in (More Than) 80 Days is fabulous.”  It’s going on my shelf next to “The Innocents Abroad.”

AROUND THE WORLD IN (MORE THAN) 80 DAYS is a book for all seasons.

“America—the freest, most tolerant and inclusive nation on earth—is under siege by radicals who make no effort to conceal their determination to destroy it. Larry Alex Taunton has provided patriotic Americans with a powerful weapon to defeat our enemies. Buy this book to arm yourself for the defense of your freedoms. Buy a second copy for a friend.”

— David Horowitz, author of Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America

“To truly understand how and why America is exceptional you could travel to country after country and see for yourself. You might even want to write a brilliant book about it! But lucky for you my friend, Larry Taunton has done all the traveling for you—think of the money you’ve saved!—and has written that brilliant book, making the case so clear that you owe it to yourself to grab a copy and read it! Please do!”

— Eric Metaxas, host of The Eric Metaxas Show; author of Bonhoeffer and If You Can Keep It

“The problem with being an American is that familiarity too often breeds contempt because we see our faults up close and take our virtues and blessings for granted. Larry Alex Taunton has provided a cure by lifting us up out of America, and taking us on a long and insightful tour of the world to see how other places actually stack up. Take the tour with him, and gain some very much needed perspective. You may find—as he did—there’s no place like home.”

— Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., author of 10 Books That Screwed Up the World

“Larry Taunton—historian, columnist, and a man of abiding Christian faith—traveled (often at great risk to himself) to twenty-seven nations in order to hold a mirror up to the United States of America and ask: Is America Good and is America Great? Mark Twain did much the same more than a century ago. Twain’s and Taunton’s conclusions are identical: There is no place—literally No Place—like home. Around the World in (More Than) 80 Days is fabulous. It’s going on my shelf next to The Innocents Abroad.”

— Paul Reid, co-author with William Manchester, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965


Amazon →

Larry Alex Taunton is an American author, columnist, and cultural commentator. A frequent television and radio guest, he has appeared on CNN, CNN International, Fox News, Al Jazeera America, and BBC. You can find his columns on issues of faith and culture in The Atlantic, USA Today,, and The Blaze. Taunton has been quoted by Rush Limbaugh, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, TIME, Vanity Fair, and NPR, among others. He is the author of “The Grace Effect” and “The Faith of Christopher Hitchens.”


Sunday, November 1, 2020

First Chapter Reveal: 'River Aria' by Joan Schweighardt

Genre: Historical fiction

Author: Joan Schweighardt


Publisher: Five Directions Press

Purchase on Amazon

About the Book:

River Aria is narrated by Estela Hopper, who, as a ten-year-old girl living in the impoverished fishing village of Manaus, Brazil in the early 20th century, is offered a twist-of-fate opportunity to study opera with an esteemed voice instructor. During her years of instruction, Estela, who is talented, passionate and dramatic by nature, dreams of leaving Brazil to perform in New York. But as her beloved instructor is not able to convince the managers of the great Metropolitan Opera that they should bring on a mixed-race immigrant who grew up on the banks of the Amazon River to become an elite performer, Estela accepts what they do offer, a position in the sewing room, and leaves Brazil on a ship with her cousin JoJo in the year 1928.

The challenges that befall Estela and JoJo in New York are plentiful. Estela’s father, an Irish American who came to her village nearly twenty years earlier (at which time she was conceived), has a plan for what her life should look like once she is settled. Her relationship with JoJo changes drastically when he learns he was lied to about his own parentage, and again when he takes a dangerous job working for the owner of a speakeasy. And of course her personal challenges of finding some modicum of success in a place like New York are not only enormous but crushing to her once robust sense of self.



December 1928

When Tia Adriana’s tearful outbursts first began, JoJo thought it was because she would miss him so much. And surely that was part of it. But the bigger part was that she had lied to him, long ago when he was a little boy. And as there didn’t seem to be any harm in her deception at that time, as it made JoJo happy in fact to hear her build on it, Tia Adriana had done just that. She’d embellished her lie; like clay, she kneaded it and stretched it, working it until it was as high and as stalwart as the tall ships that sometimes came out of the night to rest in our harbor, until it was as vast and mysterious as the river itself. She even made it official, hauling it up the hill to The Superior Tribunal of Justice building to be recorded and made public for anyone who cared to see.

Many times in the weeks before JoJo and I left for New York, Tia Adriana tried to tell him the truth. But every time she opened her mouth, her effort turned to sobbing. Dropping her head into her hands, she would cry with abandon. And when JoJo crossed the room to lay his callused palm upon her heaving back, she would only cry harder.

She wept so much that not two weeks before our departure JoJo said he wouldn’t be coming with me after all, that he would rather stay in Manaus and live the life he had than break his mother’s heart. He made a joke of it; he said if his mother kept crying, the flooding that year would be twice as bad and everyone in the city would drown, and it would be on him, and he would be forever cursed and become a corpo-Seco when his days were up, a dry corpse, because the devil would return his soul and Earth would reject his flesh. He was joking, yes, but he was also toying with the idea of changing his mind.

It was then that the other two got involved, my mother, whose name was Bruna, and Tia Louisa, who were sisters—in heart if not in blood—to Tia Adriana, and to each other as well. “Is that what you want for your son?” Tia Louisa scolded when JoJo was not around. “You want your only child should grow up here, fishing for a living in a ghost town? Dwelling in a shack up on stilts and likely to flood anyway? Every day a sunrise and a sunset and barely anything worth noticing in between?” My mother would chirp in then, adding in her quiet way, her coarse fingers extending to cover Tia Adriana’s trembling wet hands, “Adriana, wasn’t it because you wanted more for him that you lied in the first place?”

The three of them would become philosophers once my mother and Tia Louisa had calmed Tia Adriana sufficiently that she could think past her grief. They weighed JoJo’s future, how it would unfold if he stayed in Manaus, and how it might unfold if he left. Would and might: they might as well have been weighing mud and air. Could he be happy, they asked themselves, eking out a living on the docks for the rest of his life? Blood and fish guts up to his elbows? Endless squabbles up on the hill trying to get the best price for his labors? Drawing his pictures on driftwood—because between us all we couldn’t keep him in good paper—or on the shells of eggs, or even our shabby furniture? 

Was that what was best for our beloved JoJo? Or was it the alternative that promised more? America! America! O my America! My new-found-land! In America he would be attending an art school—the grandest art school in the grandest city in that country—not because he, our JoJo, who had grown up ragged and shoeless, had ever even considered that he might travel to New York, but because a man by the name of Felix Black, the protégé of a famous American artist and a former teacher of art himself, had come to Manaus to study our decaying architecture some months ago. And as The Fates would have it, he wandered into Tia Louisa’s restaurant and saw JoJo sitting in the back booth with some paints he had paid for with money he’d made scrubbing decks on one of the locals’ boats, painting the young woman sitting across from him (me, as it happens) on a canvas so scruffy it could only have come from someone’s rubbish pile. Senhor Black watched for a long while and then bent over JoJo and whispered in his ear—startling our dearest JoJo because, except for his eye and his breath and the fingers holding his brush, he was barely there in his own body when he painted—to say that he was a benefactor at an art school far away in New York, and if JoJo were to come, he would help him to realize his full potential—a message I quickly translated as JoJo did not speak much English at that time. 

Mud or air? Foot-sucking muck from the bottom of the river or the breath of the heavens, sweet and suffused with bird song? Stinking dead fish or full potential?

We knew what was best for JoJo all right; and we knew that JoJo, who was fearless—though he could barely read or write—would never get an opportunity like this again. And as I would be traveling to New York too, what could be better than sending us off together, one to watch over the other? But the fact remained that Tia Adriana could not bring herself to tell him about her deception, and he could not be permitted to arrive in New York without knowing about it.

I didn’t know the lie was a lie myself until the week before our scheduled departure. Being more than a year younger than JoJo (and loose-lipped, if my mother and as tias could be believed), no one had been foolish enough to trust me to keep a secret of such consequence. I had even participated in the lie—albeit unwittingly—which was nearly as exciting to me as it was to JoJo. 

And so it was that when my aunts and Mamãe first began to look for ways to throw light on the truth, they didn’t include me in their conversations. But when they failed to find even a single solution, they called me into Tia Adriana’s shack and sat me down at the table and told me the whole long story from beginning to end. 

While they spoke, interrupting one another with details as was their way, I slouched in my chair and leaned back, until I was looking up at the ceiling. Our images were up there: Me and Tia Adriana and my dearest Mamãe, and Tia Louisa and Tia-Avó Nilza, who was Tia Adriana’s mother (and JoJo’s grandmother). Three years earlier, JoJo had painted all of us on a large rectangular ipe wood table top that Tia Louisa was throwing out from the restaurant because rain from the roof had leaked on it a time too many and it had begun to blister and crack. When JoJo claimed the piece of wood for himself, Tia Louisa scolded that his mother’s house was far too small to hang a thing that size. But then an out-of-towner who’d been listening to their conversation over a bowl of fish stew told JoJo about The Sistine Chapel, which JoJo had never heard of. And so impressed was JoJo with the stranger’s story of how the famous artist (Michelangelo, whom JoJo hadn’t heard of either) had come to paint on the ceiling of the Pope’s chapel, that JoJo decided he would nail his painting up on his mother’s ceiling, where no one could say it was in the way. And there it remained. But instead of scenes from the Bible depicting man’s fall from grace, JoJo had painted us floating through our labors, all smiling as if we were saints already—me and Tia Louisa at the restaurant, serving rowdy wage earners, and my mother and the others sitting shoulder to shoulder all in a row on the wooden bench outside Tia Adriana’s shack, repairing fishing nets and singing their favorite fados with strong voices and extravagant gestures.

Usually when I looked at the painting it was to marvel at how young I was back then, how much I’d changed. But now I was thinking that with the exception of myself, JoJo had unintentionally painted the very women who knew about the lie from the beginning, who had most probably helped to shape it, knowing them. I felt my face grow hot, with anger first and then with embarrassment and then with despair. And then Tia Louisa, who was just hoisting the story into the present, changed her tone and snapped, “Estela, are you listening to what we’re saying?”

I straightened at once.

“This is important, young lady, so please pay attention,” she said in Portuguese. She knew a little English, but we always spoke in our native tongue when we were all together. “Once you’re safe on the ship on your way to America, you need to tell JoJo about the lie—”

“And the truth it was meant to hide,” Tia Adriana broke in, nodding excitedly.

“And the truth it was meant to hide, yes.” Tia Louisa closed her eyes and sat in silence for a moment, perhaps in prayer. Then she went on. “You’ll be almost four weeks traveling, the two of you sharing a cabin. He’ll have nowhere to escape to! When you arrive in New York, we’ll want your full report, your letter saying he knows and has accepted…”

“And that he loves me…us…in spite of…,” Tia Adriana cried, her eyes filling with fresh tears.

I looked at their faces. Only my mother was leaning forward, waiting anxiously for me to respond. The other two trusted me better, especially Tia Louisa, who was sitting back now with her arms folded under her ample breasts.

I let them wait. I looked beyond them, at the cast iron skillets hanging from hooks over the wood stove, the clay dishes out on shelves, the cot in the corner where Tia Adriana slept, the old tin washtub in the opposite corner, the curtain—worn to gauze from years of handling—that separated the kitchen from the back room where Tia-Avó Nilza and Avô Davi (who was Nilza’s husband and JoJo’s grandfather) and JoJo slept. 

“Yes, of course,” I mumbled. 

They chuckled, all of them, with relief, and in that moment it occurred to me that I would have to lie to them, mamãe and as tias, in the event that JoJo was unforgiving. 

About the Author:

Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria, which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy, as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter.

Find out more about Joan!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Book Launch Q&A: E.M. Power Author My Lions' Den #booklaunch

E. M. (Eva Marie) Power, was born and lived for the first nine-years of her life on the
Island of Guam.  She was adopted at birth and raised by a single Guamanian woman, Alfonsina Manyanona Duenas from the Southern Village of Talofofo, Guam.  E. M. (Eva Marie) Power moved stateside to Southern California at the age of nine and it is where she currently resides.  She is the mother of six children and the grandmother of four.  Just like she describes in this book, if ever in a Lions’ Den (life trial) she will always choose Faith! 





This is my personal story of my trial with Domestic Abuse.  This book was not intended to sensationalize Domestic Abuse.  It is not to portray my abuser in a bad light or as an enemy.  Abuse has no prejudices.  Abuse may occur no matter a person’s religion, non-religion, race, economic income level, profession, culture, gender, or age.  Abuse may happen at any time and to anyone.  Yes, that means you too.  If you think you would never be the victim of abuse, you risk being gravely mistaken (pun intended).  Domestic Abuse may take place within any relationship type.  There is no formula, medicine, vaccine, proven theory, amount of therapy, answer or cure.  The abuser is not always someone that had ever been a victim themselves.  The abuser is not always someone that has witnessed violence or abuse.  By sharing my personal story, I hope to give you a better understanding of abuse in order to prevent this life trial to be your story too.


Amazon →


After your book was released, what was the first thing you did when getting ready for your book launch?

I created a landing page for book orders to be placed and posted the release on both my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

After that, what was your next step?

I reached out to a reputable online book review company to write a review.  Due to capitalizations and incorrect verb tenses, the book received 3 out of 4 stars.

Did you do anything different to spice up your website in lieu of your upcoming book release?

No, I did not.  I do not have a current author website.  I just have a landing page.

Did you ever consider using a PR agency to help you promote your book or did you prefer the DIY route?

I had not considered a PR agency.  Cost is a factor, so I will opt to do as much myself and to the best of my abilities as much as possible.

Were finding reviews a top priority for you and, if yes, how did you approach that?

I was anxious to receive the initial reviews because it was my first book.  I wanted unbiased reviews, so I reached out to a reputable online book review company.

What are your views on social media for marketing your book?

I believe social media and the internet in general is the future of all mass information.  It is very important to utilize all platforms of information technology.

What social media has worked best for you?

Frankly, I only have accounts on Facebook and Instagram.  I have had my Facebook account for over a decade and am most familiar with that platform.

Did you have other books you offered for free in order to help sell your present book?

This is my first book.  I did not have any offers.

Did you set up booksignings and, if so, how did that work for you?

I am unable to set up in person book signings, due to the pandemic.

Did you time your book launch around a certain holiday?

No, I did not.  I did time the virtual book tour for October which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

What was the best money you ever spent on your book launch?

I only spent money for the online book review and for the upcoming virtual book tour.

Any tips for those authors wanting to set up a successful book launch?

I would research successful book launches and try to implement all concepts like in a checklist format.