Monday, May 16, 2022

­čôľAuthors To Watch: Andrea Matthews Author of Thunder on the Moor #authorstowatch #interview



Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen-hundred-year-old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.

Her latest book is the historical time travel romance, Thunder on the Moor.

You can visit her website at or connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Maggie Armstrong grew up enchanted by her father’s tales of blood feuds and border raids. In fact, she could have easily fallen for the man portrayed in one particular image in his portrait collection. Yet when her father reveals he was himself an infamous Border reiver, she finds it a bit far-fetched—to say the least—especially when he announces his plans to return to his sixteenth century Scottish home with her in tow.

Suspecting it’s just his way of getting her to accompany him on yet another archaeological dig, Maggie agrees to the expedition, only to find herself transported four hundred and fifty years into the past. Though a bit disoriented at first, she discovers her father’s world to be every bit as exciting as his stories, particularly when she’s introduced to Ian Rutherford, the charming son of a neighboring laird. However, when her uncle announces her betrothal to Ian, Maggie’s twentieth-century sensibilities are outraged. She hardly even knows the man. But a refusal of his affections could ignite a blood feud.

Maggie’s worlds are colliding. Though she’s found the family she always wanted, the sixteenth century is a dangerous place. Betrayal, treachery, and a tragic murder have her questioning whether she should remain or try to make her way back to her own time.

To make matters worse, tensions escalate when she stumbles across Bonnie Will Foster, the dashing young man in her father’s portrait collection, only to learn he is a dreaded Englishman. But could he be the hero she’s always dreamed him to be? Or will his need for revenge against Ian shatter more than her heart?

Book Information

Release Date: October 30, 2019

Publisher:  Inez M. Foster

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1733337557; 432 pages; $19.97; E-Book, FREE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED


Can you tell us about your most recent release?

The Thunder on the Moor series is about a twentieth century college student, who travels back to the sixteenth century Anglo-Scottish Borders after discovering her father is himself one of those infamous Scottish Border Reivers. Though enchanted at first, she soon learns that blood feuds and border raids are a very real part of Border life, and the mere mention of being attracted to an Englishman can set off a deadly raid, while marrying one can be a hanging offense.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I was doing some research into my husband’s genealogy and a friend gave me a book entitled, The Steel Bonnets, which indicated that the Foster was a well known Border Reiver surname. (Andrea Matthews is my pen name) Of course, I wanted to learn more, and while doing the research, began to weave the story of time travel and forbidden love that became the Thunder on the Moor series.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

Probably Betty Foster, because though she lives in a time ruled by men, both her husband and sons won’t dare cross her. She’s spunky, with a big heart, and knows how to let her menfolk feel like they’re in control. Obviously, there are some decisions she has to concede on, but she’s a realist who knows what battles are within her power to win and fights them with just as much gusto as her menfolk when they ride to the frey. Graham may be the surname’s heidsman, but Betty is its heart.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The research because not all the material was easily located. When I started writing the series, back in the early 1990s, not many people had heard of the Border Reivers. The one book I had, the one that apprised me of the fact that the Fosters were Border Reivers was The Steel Bonnets. I became my go-to book from that moment on. Gradually, I began to send to Scotland in an effort to locate material, and as the Internet grew, documents became more easily accessible. As I wanted to be as historically accurate as possible, I gathered everything I could find. More authors began to write about the reivers, records became accessible, and gradually a picture appeared. Of course, it is a romance, so although historically accurate, there is a bit of a romantic slant. Hey, if Sir Walter Scott could get away with it, why not?

What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished book 3 in the Thunder on the Moor series, entitled Shake Loose the Border, last November. The third book in my Cross of Ciaran series, which is a paranormal romance, is due out on May 25. It’s entitled the Cave of R├║in ├ürsa. And I hope to release a historical romance, Murder on Oak Street, at the end of August.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

In the words of Winston Churchill . . . “Never, never, never give in” or something to that effect. If you love to write, if you’ve a story to tell, then do it. And don’t let the naysayers discourage you.


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

­čôľAuthors To Watch: Damone Bester Author of Mendel #authorstowatch #interview


Damone Bester was born and raised on Chicago’s Southside to blue-collar parents who were married 49 years, and one older brother, whose backyard scuffles taught Damone one lesson: “Never quit.” He wasn’t just a student at Mendel; he lived and breathed “Blue Smoke,” the mantra of his track team brethren. A brief conversation with another Mendel alum stoked the fire to pen his first novel about the school he so loved.

Damone is an author, poet, aspiring screenwriter, and voiceover artist. He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Illinois State University and has spent most of his profession in the Social Services sector. He currently lives in the Twin Cities area and enjoys fishing, bowling, basketball (watching, not playing), bean bags, and bragging about his nephew and nieces.

You can visit his website at or connect with him on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Imagine the mid 1980’s, last day of school, summer break. A teen rushes to meet his mother, who is being released from the hospital after cancer surgery. When the teen arrives, he finds out his mother is dead, but his ex-gangbanging dad, who has been in jail the last seven years, is at the hospital ready to take the teen home.

Mendel, is a coming-of-age story about a senior at Chicago’s legendary Mendel High who must learn how to forgive as he navigates life without his mother. Things come to a head when the teen accidentally finds his mom’s diary. In the journal, he discovers his mother’s dreams of becoming a collegiate track star were derailed due to getting pregnant with him. To honor his mother, he joins Mendel’s track team and excels, but before he can cash in on any scholarship offers, his father’s thuggish past catches up with them when a gun toting nemesis comes seeking revenge. The teen must decide between saving his own life or sacrificing it all to save his estranged father.

Book Information

Release Date: April 26, 2022

Publisher:  The Story Plant

Soft Cover: ISBN: 978-1611883268; 288 pages; $16.95; E-Book, $7.99


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We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?

Thank you so much for having me. The question brings a smile to my face. One can get lost in fiction and never want to come out. Ever read a book or see a movie that you didn’t want to end? That’s what fiction does to me. I want to create storylines that people never want to leave. I want to create that place of escape from the often-cruel world we live in.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

Usually I “see” several scenes first. Two people having an argument. A fight scene or chase scene. I accumulate these to reference later. Sometimes, I might not even use them, but it's just the process of getting it out of my head onto the page. When I have enough interesting “scenes” I come up with the ending, then the beginning. Next, I think about characters, locations, settings, genres. If ideas come at any point in here, I write them down. Again, just accumulating what I can. Then comes the research. I research and find as much as I can on my own first. Then, I make a list of the people I need to interview. I do my own research first because it helps me find appropriate questions. If I interview the “expert” first, there may be a question out there that I don’t even know to ask. But, if I research it first, it helps me formulate more questions to eventually get “from the horse’s mouth.” I’ve found that “experts” in their fields are willing to discuss more in depth about a topic when they see I’ve already done my own heavy lifting. They take me more seriously because they know I’m willing to work and they are not just supplying me all the answers. I try to get all of my interviews done, then I outline. I try to outline all the plot points, twists, and turns. Then, I outline the actual story. After that, I might take a little time away from it. When I return, I usually have more ideas, or I can see clearer what works or what doesn’t work. Then I start writing it out. Nope, no special place where I write. I never wanted that to handicap me. I want my brain to feel as though “we” can write anywhere, anytime of day, with any utensil. I’d write my ideas down with a crayon, if that’s all I had available. I don’t need a special hat, or pen, or mug. And, I don’t believe in writer’s block either. If I stumble or have trouble with something, it’s because I need a break. Not that I have some sort of mental block.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Sure, I can. This is it! Mendel is my very first published book. I’m on a roll now.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I love track and field. And, I love movies. The inspiration for Mendel came about after one of my best friends from high school and I were reminiscing over our “glory days” running track together. We discussed how there were so many movies and books about baseball, football, basketball, even hockey, but there weren’t any that we could think of about track. One of the most popular sports on the highest stage of the Olympics was track and field and we couldn’t readily name one movie or book about it. The closest we could think of was the awesome film, Cool Runnings that had a sliver of track scenes. So, from that conversation, the idea of Mendel came about in the year of 2009.

Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?

My main character’s father, Brandon James Sr. (Keko) is my favorite. Keko is my favorite because he tries so hard to make amends for all the horrible rotten things he’s done in his life. He wants to be a good father, but his past keeps coming back to bite him, yet he doesn’t give up in pursuing a relationship with his son (the main character).

What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?

The most fun yet most challenging parts of the book to write were the action sequences during the track meets. It was exciting to come up with different ways to describe teenaged boys running around an oval. I had to dig deep into that creative well to build excitement and drag out suspense, all the while making sure that the reader who is not the track aficionado could keep pace through all the track terminology. It was a blast.  

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently under contract to write a sequel to Mendel. I also recently finished recording Mendel the audiobook, which will be coming out soon.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?

Dream bigger! If your own idea doesn’t knock your socks off, other people’s socks will stay on too. After you get that BIG idea. Get a mentor who isn’t afraid to tear you down and isn’t too prideful to build you up.