Tag Archives: author interview

It’s Really Up To Each of Us

creator's child

Like many authors, I tackle everyday issues in my work–everything from dog fighting, hate crimes, serial killers, human trafficking of children to LGBT rights. All of these issues are close to my heart. I love dogs; I believe we all have a responsibility to stop human trafficking; I have worked with street kids; and I have spent a lifetime fighting for human rights in one way or another–the first time at the age of fourteen.

Like many lesbians, I had hoped that marriage equality would pave the way for acceptance of LGBT rights–not special privileges as some seem to believe–just human rights enjoyed by any heterosexual person. Unfortunately, the fight for LGBT rights is not over.

Why should this concern my readers?

The words of Martin Niemoller, (1892-1984) a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken foe of Hitler, and consequently spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camp, say it more eloquently than I can:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

For those living in the beautiful state of Washington where #HumanRights is more widely accepted than some states this may seem like a dead issue. I truly wish it were, but the advent of I-1515 places grave doubt that the fight for human rights for LGBT people, even in Washington state, is over.

According to The Atlantic in January, 2016:
“Twenty-eight. That’s the number of states where it’s not against the law to discriminate against a gay person who’s looking for an apartment, applying for a job, or buying something from a store. Five more states have protections, but with exceptions: New York, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin don’t forbid discrimination against transgender people, for example, and Massachusetts and Utah don’t protect all LGBT people in all situations in which discrimination might arise. The federal government does not protect against this kind of discrimination, either, except in limited cases. Although Democrats have proposed legislation that would change that, the chances of it successfully sliding through a Republican Congress in an election year seem slim.
The irony of gay marriage becoming legal in the United States is that it has made discrimination against LBGT people easier. For example: Many newlywed couples may be asking their employers for spousal benefits for the first time. Depending on where they live, it may or may not be illegal for that employer to respond by firing them—something that happened in a number of states in 2015.”

(see full article http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/01/lgbt-discrimination-protection-states-religion/422730/)

Conservatives are using the #FirstAmendment to attack LGBT rights. The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;….
While this Amendment originally pertained to establishing places of worship and worshipping without fear of violence, conservatives are using these words to bring back Jim Crow segregation laws that will at first be used against LGBT people.” (emphasis is mine)

Essentially what it boils down to is that I may have the right to marry the one I love, but I may not have the right to take her out to dinner (anyone remember a time when black Americans could not sit in certain restaurants?), or have our photographs taken, or to order a cake to celebrate our anniversary.

Several states have bills to allegedly “protect religious freedom”, but which in reality allows commercial businesses and organizations, including taxpayer funded organizations and governmental workers, to refuse services to LGBT people by simply saying it is against their “sincerely held religious beliefs” to serve certain individuals.
These same people frequently do not adhere to the rest of the tenets of whichever faith they are hiding behind, such as Christianity. If one decides that their “sincerely held religious beliefs”–almost always based on Christianity and the Bible–says they should not serve homosexuals because the Bible condemns homosexuals, then why are these people still divorcing, having sex outside of marriage, wearing cloth made of two different kinds of threads, not closing their businesses on the Sabbath, and so on? Why should they be allowed to cherry-pick which so-called sincere beliefs they have so that they can justify discrimination against a particular group of individuals?

According to Huffington Post, these bills—AKA Religious Freedom Restoration Acts—are popping up all over the place.

“Conservatives are putting forward state-level RFRAs to let people claim religious liberty as a justification for denying services to LGBT people. So you’ve got the evangelical Christian bakery that refuses to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, for example, or the photographer who refuses to provide services to a gay couple. In some cases, these bills are written so broadly that they also allow discrimination against single mothers, interfaith couples and interracial couples.
Seven states have active RFRA bills: Colorado (HB 1180), Hawaii (HB 1160), Iowa (HF 2032, HF 2200, SF 2171), Michigan (SB 4), Mississippi (SB 2093, SB 2822), North Carolina (HB 348, SB 550) and Oklahoma (HB 1371, SB 440, SB 723, SB 898)

As if that is not enough to worry about there are other classes of bills aimed at limiting the freedom of LGBT people.

Marriage-Related Religious Exemption Laws: these bills provide a religiously based exemption regarding same-sex marriage. Some only apply to religious organizations; others apply to commercial and government officials.(our tax dollars hard at work to discriminate against a group of people)

First Amendment Defense Acts — These bills, in essence, allow any person, business or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage. Yes, it’s as sweeping as it sounds. It not only discriminates against LGBT people, but can extend to single mothers and anybody with a sexual relationship outside of marriage. A state-contracted counselor, for example, could deny services to a single mom. Taxpayer-funded adoption agencies could refuse to place children in the homes of same-sex married couples. Government employees could decline to file official forms for gay couples (remember Kim Davis?). Three states have active FADA bills: Hawaii (SB 2164), Illinois (SB 2164) and Oklahoma (SB 440).

Pastor Protection Acts — These let churches refuse to perform marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. The First Amendment already covers this right, but sometimes lawmakers like to pass bills just to send a message. So, we have Pastor Protection Acts. Fourteen states have active PPA bills: Arkansas (HB 236, SB 120), Colorado (HB 1123), Kentucky (HB 17, HB 28), Louisiana (HB 597), Maryland (HB 16), Michigan (HB 4732, HB 4855, HB 4858), Minnesota (SF 2158), Missouri (HJR 97, SJR 39, HB 2000, HB 2040, HB 2730), Mississippi (HB 587, HB 737), New Jersey (AB 1706), Ohio (HB 286), Oklahoma (HB 1371, SB 811), South Carolina (H 4446, H 4508) and Tennessee (HB 2375, SB 2329).

Government-officials-using-your-taxpayer-funds-against-you bills — Some bills let judges and clerks refuse to perform same-sex marriages or issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Four states have active bills like this: Kentucky (HB 17, HB 14), Minnesota (SF 2158), Mississippi (HB 586, HB 1342) and South Carolina (SB 116).

No-wedding-cake-for-non-straight-non-white-heathens bills — These allow businesses to refuse to provide goods or services related to marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. That could mean a frame shop refusing to sell pictures frames that are going to be used for a same-sex wedding, an interracial marriage or an interfaith marriage. Four states have active bills like this: Kentucky (SB 180), Minnesota (SF 2158), Missouri (HJR 97, SJR 39) and Ohio (HB 296).(It isn’t just LGBT people these bills can be used against!)

Other marriage exemption bills — These bills provide yet other kinds of religious exemptions relating to same-sex marriage. Five states have active bills in this category: Kentucky (HB 31), Michigan (HB 4733), Missouri (HB 2754), Oklahoma (HB 1125, HB 1599, SB 478, HJR 1059, SB 973) and South Carolina (H 3022, H 3150, H 4513).

God-Doesn’t-Want-Gay-People-To-Raise-Kids Bills
These let adoption and foster care agencies refuse to provide any services that conflict with their religious beliefs about marriage, such as same-sex couples. This is regardless of what is in the best interests of a child. Three states have pending bills like this: Alabama (HB 158, SB 204), Nebraska (LB 975) and Oklahoma (HJR 1059, HB 2428).

Other Generally Terrible Anti-LGBT Bills
It turns out there are too many categories for all the bills out there, but there’s a few more of note: Two states have bills (AB 1212 in California; SB 210 in South Carolina) that require public universities to provide funds for student organizations, regardless of whether the organization discriminates against LGBT people based on religious beliefs. Three states have bills (HB 325 in Arkansas; HJR 1059 in Oklahoma; and Tennessee’s HB 566, SB 397, HB 1840 and SB 1556) that let health professionals deny services to LGBT people by citing religious objections. And there’s one bill in Oklahoma (SB 1289) that prevents local governments from passing nondiscrimination protections, including LGBT protections, that go further than protections at the state level, such as the law proposed by North Carolina.”

Here is something to remember:

In 1933 Hitler began his reign of terror by first targeting the Jewish people. He proclaimed them inferior (and therefore undeserving of the rights of other German citizens) and began a systematic stripping of their rights, beginning with firing them from their jobs and not allowing them access to services enjoyed by the general German public.

July 14, 1933, Hitler began targeting other groups, namely Gypsies and African-Germans. He stripped them of their rights by using some of the same arguments for taking Jewish rights.

October, 1934, Hitler began targeting LGBT people. Again, he stripped this group of people of the German-citizen rights by using the same arguments as he used against Jews, Gypsies and African-Germans.

When a tyrant, whether they clothe themselves in political or religious rhetoric, begins to strip away the rights of any group of citizens then all citizens need to fear for their freedoms.

As a pagan, I am very much in favor of protection of my religious/spiritual practices; however, that does not mean that I should be allowed to engage in discriminating against other citizens. If I am engaged in public commerce–such as running a restaurant, bakery, photography studio, selling books, or any other business—then I need to serve ALL of the public. If I do not want to serve all of the public then I should not be in business.

Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, black Americans could not sit at the counter of just any diner. Now, there are certain groups of people who want to bring back those laws of segregation by cloaking them as religious freedom restorations and protections. Segregation is segregation regardless of how you clothe it and regardless of which group of people you target.

If left unchecked, these laws could easily be applied to any group of citizens—
–You are Muslim and it is against my religious beliefs to serve you
–You are black and God said you are inferior and therefore I should not serve you
–You are a single mother or an unmarried couple. God does not permit sex outside of marriage and so I will not serve you.
–You are interfaith or inter-racially married and God does not want us to mix the faiths/races, so I will not serve you.
–You are Native American and therefore a heathen and since you don’t believe in my God, I will not serve you.

Here in the beautiful state of Washington, you can do your part by working against I-1515. Discrimination protects no one’s rights! Discrimination has no place in a free country.




1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Sketch-Murder-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook /dp/B00KU6AIPQ 4.7 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sketch-of-a-murder-aya-walksfar/1120343370 5 star rating $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/441938 5-star rating $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/sketch-of-a-murder-1 $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Street-Harvest-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00KVREDIC 5 star rating FREE
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/street-harvest-aya-tsi-scuceblu-walksfar/1118849222 5-stars FREE
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445873 FREE
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/street-harvest FREE

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Gone-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00OICBEV0 5 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/old-woman-gone-aya-walksfar/1121173795 $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/516479 $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/old-woman-gone $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Backlash-Special-Crimes-Team-Book-ebook/dp/B00W7UJAWA 5 star rating $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Run-Die-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00KV8BK5A 4.7 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/run-or-die-aya-walksfar/1119913874 5 star $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/511441 $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/run-or-die-2 $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Men-Cats-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00NH0PI0C 5 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dead-men-and-cats-aya-walksfar/1114142759 $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/269625
5 star rating $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Artemis-Warriors-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B0158NZ1L6 5 star rating $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Hard-Road-Home-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00TLCRUFQ 4.5 star rating $0.99
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hard-road-home-aya-walksfar/1121256838 $0.99
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/519473 5 star $0.99
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/hard-road-home $0.99

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Good-Intentions-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B00OLZYKPQ 4.7 star rating FREE
2. NOOK http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/good-intentions-aya-walksfar/1117075745 FREE
3. SMASHWORDS https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/445205 FREE
4. KOBO https://store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/ebook/good-intentions-19 FREE

1. AMAZON http://www.amazon.com/Black-Wind-Aya-Walksfar-ebook/dp/B01328771G 5 star rating $0.99




In this brave new world of literature, all the old rules have been tossed aside. #Ebooks have been blamed for this phenomenon, but the ebook revolution is only guilty in that it allowed more books to reach the public. According to Bowker, a respected name in publishing industry, over 3500 books are published each DAY! Currently,there are literally millions of books available.Competition for reader attention is fierce.
So, authors are reinventing the novel. A novel used to be defined as a complete story –with a distinct beginning, middle and end–consisting of seventy thousand words, more or less. In today’s world, novels may have as few as fifty thousand words or they may have over a hundred thousand words; the reader might reach the end of the book only to discover that the last page is a cliff-hanger and the second book–which may not yet be available yet–must be purchased to continue the story without any guarantees that book two will provide a satisfying climax and ending. This type of book is usually not labeled as a ‘cliff-hanger’.
Personally, this is when I am sorely tempted to fling the book at the wall then stomp it for good measure! (Unfortunately, I read a lot of e-books and reading devices do not like being bounced off of walls!)
Serial novels are another device designed to hook a reader. These books have an ending, but the main storyline has not ended–much like a television serial. These books are sometimes labeled as a ‘series’, or less often they are labeled as a ‘serial’.
Book series–not to be confused with books that actually belong to a serial story–are frequently written. With some series–like Kay Hooper’s earlier books in the Bishop series–the individual books can be read as stand-alone novels and/or read out of sequence without compromising enjoyment of the individual or of the series.
As a reader, I enjoy the flexibility this offers. This is reflected in the fact that as a writer my Special Crimes Team series (found at http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar) follows this model–the books can be read out of sequence.
Length and endings are not the only things rapidly changing. Gone are the days when romance novels stop the action at the bedroom doorway and mystery novels hint at the blood and gore, yet leave the details to the reader’s imagination. Scenes containing sex and violence have become increasingly graphic and prolific.
At a romance writer’s conference that I attended this summer, one publisher stated that readers not only wanted more graphic sex scenes, but that they were bored with plain vanilla sex. At one time, writers would have regarded such a statement as bordering on the demand for pornography. Today it is more along the lines of ‘business as usual’.
I read one of a well-known writer’s recent works in which I finally defaulted to skimming pages of the novel because various graphic sex scenes were endlessly repeated with a variety of partners. I never did find an actual storyline, unless the sex was it.
Then there are the novels that grossed a huge profit in very recent times, but have been called by some people in the BDSM community a bad example of true BDSM, but a good example of the glorification of domestic violence. (Actually, the Fifty Shades of Gray series follows the warning signs for the entire cycle of domestic violence. In my other life as a counselor, I referred young women like that to psychologists or therapists who specialized in treating victims of domestic violence.)
As a reader, I find graphic sex and violence that is not intimately tied to furthering the storyline boring, at best. On the other hand, as an author I write novels in which graphic sex and violence occur; however, I work diligently to be sure that those scenes are necessary for the development and movement of the storyline. As a reader, I enjoy novels that adhere to this general rule.
Another striking difference in novels of bygone years and novels of today is the level of profanity. In the past a writer who used “crap!” was considered racy. Nowadays, books contain a large variety of words considered to be profanity.
Again, as a reader, I look for novels where the word types used are congruent with the characters speaking. A rough and tumble detective in a hardcore mystery or crime novel might very well curse while an amateur detective in a cozy mystery might be skating the line by murmuring, “Oh, poo!”
Even in the face of changes that they do not like, readers frequently feel that they have little to no influence on what is written and published. In reality, readers are the key element in a novel’s success.
The reader’s input is mainly measured in four ways: 1. Sales numbers 2. Reader reviews 3. Personal feedback from beta readers and from the general public 4. Word of mouth recommendations.
Of those four methods that measure the reading public’s reactions to a novel, reader reviews and word of mouth recommendations are the most important ones. People browsing to find another book to read will often look for “social proof” that the book is worth their time. Reader reviews and word of mouth recommendations are that “social proof”. Unlike word of mouth recommendations, reader reviews can be directly linked to sales increases. An increase in positive reader reviews will increase the sales of a book.
Because readers,like everyone else in our busy society, have a large number of demands on their time, reviews are sometimes difficult to obtain. As a reader, I will often end my day by sitting down to read for a while before I go to bed. As a voracious reader, it is not unusual for me to read anywhere from five to ten books per week.
Each review requires approximately five minutes to write and post on Amazon or Goodreads–the sites most widely used to find new books. Five minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time to invest in such a worthy cause, but when time to relax is at a premium it can feel like ‘one more chore’.
In order to combat this feeling, while supporting authors whose work I enjoy, I keep a pad of paper and a pen handy. While I read I jot down notes on the points I liked best about the book. Authors love long, detailed reviews, but a two-sentence review that summarizes what a reader enjoyed most–one reader’s review focused on her enjoyment of the character Grandma Greene in the novel Old Woman Gone(http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Gone-Special-Crimes-Team-ebook/dp/B00OICBEV0). In Backlash (http://www.amazon.com/Backlash-Special-Crimes-Team-Book-ebook/dp/B00W7UJAWA), a woman identified with the struggles faced by several supporting characters–is deeply appreciated (especially if the star rating is four or five! As an author, those reviews make the long hours of writing, editing and rewriting worth every minute spent).
There you have it–with a few minutes of your time you, the reader, decide whether a novel succeeds or fails. In so doing, you ultimately choose everything from the length of future novels to the amount of profanity used to how graphic the scenes containing sex and violence will be written. You are the future of literature.
Do you enjoy:
1. Short novels of less than 200 pages?
2. Do you feel short-changed by a novel that does not contain over two hundred pages?
3. Do you like cliff-hanger endings?
4. Do you buy serial novels, with serials defined much the way television serials–such as Special Victims Unit–are defined?
5. Would you rather have a series of novels connected by the characters, but still able to be read out of sequence as a stand-alone novel?
6. Are you comfortable with graphic sex scenes used in romantic situations during which sex would be a natural progression?
8. Do you feel violence should be depicted graphically in the more hardcore crime and mystery novels, if it is a natural occurrence within the storyline?
9. Are you comfortable with the use of profanity by characters depicted as people who would likely use such language?
10. What would you like to see different in the development of novels?

katrina leavereview



I write about, blog about, tweet about and facebook about strong women, women who make a difference in the world. Just as women impact the world, the world—especially the world of words—impacts women.

One part of that world of words is novels. Thousands of #women read, daily. After a difficult day at work, they go home, grab a cup of coffee, toe off the mandatory high heels and kick back with a good book. Unfortunately, many novels depict women as weak, unsuccessful without a man, unhappy when not involved in a relationship, indecisive and in need of rescuing.

Print on demand and ebooks have blown open the publishing industry. There has been a great influx of #indie #authors. Will these authors simply repeat the same formulas that undermine women’s self-image or will they redefine female characters?

This week, I asked my guest, John Dizon, indie author of several books, how he portrays the role of women in his novels.

John's avatar

Aya: John, I noticed in your books that the women play a definite secondary role to the men. Many male authors seem to have strong male leads in their novels, with very few strong female characters. How do you choose the gender of your lead characters?

John: It all depends on whether a major female protagonist can support the novel. I take pride in the fact that most of my novels feature strong female protagonists, and that more than a couple are recognized as women’s fiction. Obviously I won’t create an unrealistic world in which women are stronger than men, especially in action/adventure. I came close in “The Brand”, in which the pirate queen Belen and the Mohawk princess Nightshade were feared by most of the males they interacted with. Sabrina Brooks of “Nightcrawler” has everyone thinking her masked alter ego is a male. These are exceptional woman, however, and I don’t write novels about Amazon worlds. I deal with reality and make a strong female as realistic as logic dictates.

Aya: On the subject of strong female characters, I noticed in Vampir that Celeste is portrayed as an attorney with some strong moral codes about helping her client, yet in the end she divulges all of his information. Throughout the book, Celeste gets herself into some bad situations, and she is rescued by others, usually her boyfriend, Shea. Why did you choose to have her rescued rather than having her rescue others?  And why did she go against her original code of ethics?

John: We’re dealing with a number of different narratives in “Vampir”. From Page One, Radojka commits suicide and leaves Celeste holding the bag as she’s accused of smuggling the weapon into his cell and possibly even doing the deed. At the least she may end up being disbarred. Plus the fact that Count Radojka is being revealed as a serial killer and mass murderer after she had taken him on as an elderly client needing his estate issues resolved. She’s treading deep water, being held in psych care at the MCC, and is hoping her boyfriend can save her. I could have had Shea as the lawyer and Celeste as the cop, but a lot of it wouldn’t have worked, especially in the partnership with Bob Methot as an NYC detective. Ninety percent of the women I personally know (and I know some tough women) would have never condoned such abuses of authority and police brutality. 

Aya: In the end Celeste is judged mentally unstable and hospitalized.  Was there a reason for that as versus having one of the male characters seen as mentally unstable? Could there have been a different way of handling that line of story logic that would show her as a stronger, rather than a weaker, character?

John: Again, if we reversed the roles we would’ve had Celeste going way over the top in condoning Methot being Dirty Harry on steroids. Another thing is to consider the genre. Whether we like it or not, there’s a lot of sexual tension in the vampire genre, which would have been released had it been about Shea as a ‘gentleman in distress’. As far as the hospitalization, it can be seen that Celeste’s personality begins changing drastically throughout her incarceration, and in the last line we find out that she has actually been possessed by one of Radojka’s demons. That was my prompt for “Vampir II” if I can overcome my critics! (big grin)

Aya: How do you define a strong female character? What attributes would she show in a novel?

John: She’s got to be very attractive and physically gifted (which is all about self-confidence and capability), above average intelligence, eager to compete in a man’s world and have a kind heart. Princess Jennifer of “Tiara” is probably my most feminine heroine, but even though she’s kidnapped and nearly killed, her spirit never breaks. Bree “Nightcrawler” Brooks is very feminine, but when she pulls on that balaclava she’s the toughest of all. At the other end of the spectrum, Debbie Munson of “Hezbollah” and Bridgette Celine of “The Fury” are hell on wheels. They would give Belen and Nightshade the fight of their lives.

Aya: Which of your female characters do you believe display the traits of a strong female? And why? Which traits make her as strong?

John: I’ve got to go with Bree Brooks. She is America’s oldest virgin (at 24) despite the fact she was a party girl and a police academy trainee before she took over Brooks Chemical Company after her father’s death. She’s ridiculously old-fashioned but, paradoxically, is street-wise and has the charm and people-smarts to excel in a man’s world. What makes her a role model is her indomitable will and her desire to help others. She can sit on a pedestal and have the world at her feet, but she continually risks her life to save the planet, one person at a time.

Aya: Do you believe that words matter? If so, what impact do you feel the portrayal of women in novels as being physically in need of protection, mentally unstable even when they are telling the truth, has on the self-esteem, on a subconscious level, of women who read those novels?

John: This is where authors encourage readers to discuss works of redeeming social value, and raises the bar for us to write such works. This interview, in itself, has been a litmus test and a wonderful opportunity to discuss my work from a female perspective. I would hope that women engage in discussion of my female protagonists and determine whether they are realistic, and whether novels such as “Nightcrawler” and “Hezbollah” qualify as women’s fiction. Most importantly, I would want the work to be recognized as portraying women as overcoming obstacles in male-dominated environments. I would be walking on air if I got an e-mail from a female reader telling me she resolved an issue by asking herself “What would Bree Brooks do?” or “What would Debbie Munson do?” Belen or Nightshade — not so much.

One novel that deserves particular mention is “King of the Hoboes”. Veronika Heydrich goes undercover and is forced to live on the streets to infiltrate the Hobo Underground. Her boyfriend, Evan, desperately tries to keep track of her, but is nearly killed in the process. The dynamic in this novel is showing the continuing ordeal that homeless women in New York City deal with on a daily basis. There are enormous discrepancies and gender discrimination within the homeless community as well as the City’s attitude and levels of accommodation. People have no idea how dangerous it is for homeless women and children in NYC, and Roni’s experience helps people understand that situation. They are in great need of special attention and this must be addressed and resolved in the very near future.

Aya: How can we as novelists help increase female self-esteem?

John: I don’t think you ever want to portray any of your protagonists in a weak light unless you’re trying to make a point. Rummaging through my anthology, the only ‘weak’ female protagonist is Jana Dragana in “Wolf Man”, and she’s portrayed as such because she’s been victimized as a beautiful woman who finds work as a model and ends up in a downward spiral through drug addiction. Yet she grows stronger as the story unfolds, and at the end it is Steve Lurgan who fails the test. She’s able to overcome her addictions, but Steve ends up committing suicide because he can’t endure living with the werewolf curse.

Whoops, did I just lose a couple of sales with that spoiler???

Thanks for the invite!

Aya: The views expressed in this interview are exclusively the views of author John Dizon. What did you think of John’s answers?

What do you think of John’s definition of a strong female character (see definition below)? Do you agree/disagree with his definition?

John: “She’s got to be very attractive and physically gifted (which is all about self-confidence and capability), above average intelligence, eager to compete in a man’s world and have a kind heart.”

Leave a comment!  I appreciate hearing what you think. What readers think is important to me!


Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/John-Reinhard-Dizon/e/B00DU9JNUQ/ref=s9_simh_gw_p351_d0_al1?_encoding=UTF8&refinementId=618073011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=0AB5Z09XS0QSWD2JXD0Y&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1688200382&pf_rd_i=507846

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/johnreinharddizonUSA

Blog: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JohnReinhardDizon

Don’t miss out on future posts! Click and FOLLOW!

Join the conversation with Aya on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

Check out Aya’s latest work: http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor



Today, I have the pleasure to #interview a man whose storytelling style has been compared to Mark Twain’s.  A. G. Moye became a #novelist fairly late in life, and has produced a number of works that cross several genres.


Interviewer: Writing is a solitary profession, in my opinion. How do you feel about it?

A.G.: #Writing may be solitary but every writer needs to gather with people to get ideas, character personalities and so forth. “No man/woman is an Island”. I go to the local taverns to gather with people and socialize while taking a break from writing so I can become refreshed in my thinking.

Interviewer: What has been the single most important thing to occur in your life? What changes did it bring?

A.G.: Besides my children, the biggest change in my life occurred when I married my current wife. Besides bringing me happiness and being my best friend, she read one of my books and encouraged me to publish. I had been writing my Lightning in the Tunnel series for twenty years along with other stories.

Interviewer: What genres do you write in and why did you pick those genres?

A.G.: I write in several genres, publishing first in Dystopian/apocalyptic genre first followed by my one mystery book. That was followed by my only time travel story. I write mostly Science fiction now but took a break to write my first fantasy, Sasha. When a story comes to my head, I write it not caring what genre it is in.

sabolcompfinal2 (1)(1)

Interviewer: What one person has had the greatest influence on your writing and in what way?

A.G.: Robert Heinlien comes to mind. As a teenager I was captivated by his books. Tunnel in the Sky being my favorite. Maybe the name of my first book was because this book was my favorite.  I took part of it for my series’ name. The first two books have Lightning in the Tunnel in the first of their names.

Interviewer: List four things that make your novels unique and tell us why/in what way?

A.G.: In my Lightning in the Tunnel series, I take the reader through the destruction of the world and governments. The heartache and heartbreak of all this.Then I add hope as the main character helps unite the world in peace–no countries and no fighting–supported by his wives that help develop this new world.


Even after my character retires from public spot light he is called back into action, going into space. So this is different than most other writers that leave the reader in the black cruel world these type of books portray.

In my Chronicles of the Marauder, I take my main character that has everything in his life go wrong then he wins the lottery and can live his dreams of going into space. I give hope to even those that make mistakes in their lives that with a lot of hard work and a little luck, they can change the direction of their lives.


Interviewer: How many books have you read this month? Can you name them?

A.G.: I have read and reviewed six books this month. The Harvest by Anne Ferretti , Life II by Scott Stopson, Troubles by Ian Miller, Arousing the Legacy by A.J. Raven, In the Beginning by Jane Dougherty, Angels and Aliens by Chryselle Brown. Since this was answered at the start of the month, I used those I read in February to answer this question. I am currently preparing to read Endless Sky by Stuart Land ( I think I have his name right)

Interviewer: Give us a three short sentence review of the LAST book you read.

A.G.: The Harvest. Very seldom does a book make me stay up most of the night to reach the ending like this one did. Normally, I only stay up late to write when the story is really flowing. All I can say right off is “WOW” Anne Ferretti’s The Harvest kept me locked into reading most of the night. It took hold of me and I had to even read while eating my dinner.

Interviewer: Do you live through your characters or do your characters live through you?

A.G.: I tend to live through my characters such as in the Lightning in the Tunnel series, I was Brad in my mind. In the Chronicles of the Marauder, I was Neil. In the Stranger Comes Crawling, I was Rip in my head. In some books where the female is the lead, obviously not; she lives through my head.


Interviewer: What is the first element of a new novel that comes to you? (plot, character, etc.)

A.G.: The first thing that comes to my mind is the story beginning and then the characters create themselves as the story unfolds. Many times, I have no idea where the story is going or how it will end. I let the characters and their actions guide me through telling the story. Only in my mystery did I know the solution before I ever came to the end and that was the hardest part of writing the book. By the way, the mystery is called “Brandi’s Nightmare.

Interviewer: What value do your books give to readers? Otherwise, why should readers read your books?

A.G.: The first thing is escapism reading and to entertain the reader while reading the story. Each book shows problems the characters face and how they dealt with them. I know not all their solutions to problems can be dealt with in the same way, but they can see themselves facing the same problems in life.

Why should anyone read my books? That is a good question, I think they should to escape from problems and concerns of everyday life since I write fiction about other worlds, other places and to see how these people (They are alive in my mind) deal with problems of living and with relationships.

I may never be the best writer in the world, but I feel I am a very good story teller. I had one person on GoodReads say that after reading my book “Brandi’s Nightmare” that I tell a story like “Mark Twain” style and for me not to let the editors change that. I find most editors want to change it to the acceptable format of writing. I balk at that.

A.G. Moye was born in the cotton fields of Arkansas. He is married with seven children, twenty-two grandchildren and three great grandchildren. A.G. starting writing seriously in 1987 when he got his first computer; long hand before that. Hayloft filled with old stories.

Published in 2011 after being prodded by his wife when she read the first of the Lightning in the Tunnel series.  There are ten books in the Lightning in the Tunnel series. A Stranger Comes Crawling was his first SiFi.  His time travel/love story, T.T. Gristman, followed. Brandi’s Nightmare came next. They were all followed by the highly successful series called “Chronicles of the Marauder”. Book three of the trilogy is due out some time in 2014.

To find A.G.’s books:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/323360 Chronicles

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/214021 Stranger

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/268840 Begins

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/302271 Gristman

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/306274 Bullet

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/312016 Brandi

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/327192 Need

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/341678 Rescue

His social media links:

google https://plus.google.com/112198287464668940516/

linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/pub/a-g-moye/53/850/628

goodreads http://w.w.w.goodreads.com/agmoye

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Author.A.G.Moye

website: http://sites.google.com/site/booksbyagmoye

One of A.G.’s blogsites http://booksbyagmoye.blogspot.com

on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/author/agmoye

on Mars http://marsocial.com/groups/Lightning-Chronicles/

WordPress blog http://lightningbooksbyagmoye.wordpress.com

New WordPress blog http://booksbyagmoye.wordpress.com

email address is  agmoye.moye406@gmail.com

Always more exciting news and posts. CLICK AND FOLLOW!

Check out Aya’s author page for the latest news: http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

Visit with Aya on http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

Loved having you drop in! Catch ya later!




#Author Aya Walksfar put on the Spot….

author spotlight from Allisons blog

Check out Allison Bruning’s Blog and see her put me on the hot spot….er….I mean, the spotlight!




Today I have the pleasure of #interviewing Jaimie Wolfwalker, #psychic, member of #Missing #Children’s Rescue, Pacific NW Chapter, who recently worked with the Special Crimes Team in cracking a ring of #human #traffickers and saving the lives of a number of children.

ayastreet harvest

Interviewer: Jaimie, I’ve always been curious about people with special gifts. When did your abilities first manifest?

Jaimie Wolfwalker: I was six weeks away from high school graduation when my mother’s car was hit head-on by a drunk driver. My mother was killed immediately. Apparently, that triggered my ability to See children who are lost.

Interviewer: I’m very sorry to hear about your mother. When your ability manifested, did you have anyone to guide you in dealing with it?

Jaimie: My grandmother on my mother’s side was Native American. She helped me understand that I hadn’t suddenly gone insane and begun having hallucinations.

Interviewer: How did you get involved with the Missing Children’s Rescue?

Jaimie: After I graduated, I moved to Bow, Washington to live on Gran’s alpaca ranch. Gran was best friend’s with Eleanor Hasting who was the head of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of MCR. Gran introduced us.

Interviewer: What type of job do you have that will allow you to leave at a moment’s notice to search for a missing child?

Jaimie: Gran died the summer after I moved to Bow. She deeded me the ranch and left a small legacy for me, as well. I sold the ranch. And, when I’m not searching for children, I’m pretty handy with carpentry so I pick up odd jobs like building kitchen cabinets or cute doghouses. That kind of thing.

Interviewer: What can you tell us about the case you worked with the #SpecialCrimesTeam?

Jaimie: It was a heart-breaking case. Especially the little girl, Becca. I don’t know what we would have done without the medicine man, Traveler. All the case details can be found in Street Harvest, Book 2, Special Crimes Team. You can find the case study at http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

Interviewer: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jaimie: Wherever Creator would have me go.

Interviewer: If you could tell people one thing, what would it be?

Jaimie: Cherish the children, all the #children. They are the future.

Street Harvest boyGirl Street Harvest

(Some children walk down a lonely road, or leave school smiling at their besties……

Street Harvest kids gone    And some of them never make it home)


Interviewer: Thank you for being here today.

You can read all about the Special Crimes Team and the case of the missing children (Street Harvest, Book 2, Special Crimes Team) at: http://www.amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

For the latest updates on the Special Crimes Team visit Aya at:  http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor

To see the latest posts from Aya go to:  http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar

Be sure to CLICK the FOLLOW button so you’ll be informed of the latest news about the Special Crimes Team as well as Aya’s other books!

Aya loves feedback. Please click on the comment button and tell her what you think! Or visit her on her facebook pages and join the conversations!

IMAGES COURTESY OF: Images courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net