Monday, September 23, 2019

Originality by Design: An Incurable Romantic Anglophile ~ by Author Mary Ann Bernal

Originality by Design: An Incurable Romantic Anglophile ~ by Author Mary Ann Bernal






An Incurable Romantic Anglophile ~ by Author Mary Ann Bernal

I guess one would say my writing career began in the fourth grade where my teacher was impressed with an original poem of twenty-seven words, and yes, I still remember the verse. Her encouragement remained with me throughout high school when my abilities were recognized during extra credit presentations. Although my college degree is in business administration, I attended creative writing workshops throughout the ensuing years.

Required reading during tenth grade was “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott and “To Have and to Hold” by Mary Johnston. Why do I recall these particular novels? The aforementioned titles are the building blocks of my literary aspirations. 

Ivanhoe, the heroic knight who saves the Jewish maiden, Rebecca, and marries his love, the lady Rowena. This story is set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart in 12th century England. Thus began my love affair with the Middle Ages, specifically, Britannia.

In “To Have and to Hold”, English soldier, Ralph Percy, buys a wife, Jocelyn Leigh. Over the course of the story, husband and wife are separated, and Ralph Percy does go to the ends of the earth to be united with the woman he had come to love. Romantic, isn’t it? 

Blend the two tales and, behold, an incurable Romantic Anglophile finds the perfect genres to explore.

Hollywood also deserves some inspiration credit. During my formative years, period blockbusters such as “Ivanhoe” and “The Vikings” appeared on the big screen. And because these films made money, more followed from “Knights of the Round Table” to “Prince Valiant” and so on. You might recall Hal Foster created a Prince Valiant comic strip in 1937 (before my time) and continued through 1971 (Mr. Foster’s last). 

When did Erik the Viking become a spark? After seeing Kirk Douglas wield a sword, followed by King Alfred, and we must not forget Beowulf.

Of course, life has a way of interfering with literary aspirations, which kept Erik in the recesses of my mind until my son married. Erik now demanded to be heard. He was tired of being in the shadows, he wanted the recognition, he wanted his story told. 

Hold on – I needed to learn the craft because there are rules, aren’t there? Writing workshops were not enough. With the advent of the computer, more choices were open to me. I could enroll in an online course and participate when I had the time, even if it meant wearing my pajamas and drinking coffee at first light.

Success, I completed several courses, so now I could put paper in the typewriter – not really. No need for correcting tape or white-out and forget carbon paper! We had word processing software and all you had to do was backspace to delete a word, and there was Spellcheck! Wow. One drawback with Spellcheck – causes a person to not be overly concerned with possible misspellings – Spellcheck was on the ball, Spellcheck would pick up the slack if auto-correct didn’t fix the error immediately. 

Being an organized person and following established guidelines, I
created an outline, scribbling a few words next to each chapter heading including the characters controlling the story line, Erik and Gwyneth, the femme fatale, who arrived on the scene shortly after Erik dominated my thoughts. But I was not able to start writing yet. There were the supporting cast members to be named, there were locations to add, there were maps to draw and a glossary to list archaic words for historical fiction newbies.

Is it safe to assume the story starts now? Well, sort of: we do meet Erik and Gwyneth in the first chapter, and they do continue to dominate the early pages of the novel, but something unforeseen happens, and I wasn’t ready for the onslaught of the secondary and less important characters demanding, and I mean DEMANDING more “screen time”. 

What was happening here? Who were these fictional characters that had come out of nowhere as the story developed? Why should I have listened to them? It was getting out of hand and complicated because now, I had to have a map of Wessex updated frequently so I could remember which character was where at any given moment. Suddenly, I found myself fully immersed in an epic, voluminous
narrative, and my Erik the Viking novel had evolved into a trilogy. How could I, in good conscience not tie up loose ends when everyone deserved an ending, happy or not? We, the reader, want to know.

I did not wish to leave Wessex yet and decided to write a character spin-off, a coming of age story with “The Briton and Dane: Concordia”. This time I fought with the minor characters, refusing to let them “rain on Concordia’s parade.” They tried, but they failed. And I was proud of maintaining control. I was in charge, wasn’t I? Not my fictional characters.

Reflecting on Erik and Gwyneth’s role in the trilogy had me feeling guilty because the trilogy wasn’t really just their story, it was David and Helga, and Stephen and Elizabeth, and Rigr and Dalla – you get the drift. There was nothing else to do but try again with another novel, “The Briton and the Dane: Timeline.” Grant it, “The Briton and the Dane: Timeline” is a time travel romantic fantasy, and Gwyneth is transported back to England before William the Conqueror’s invasion in 1066. While they might not be the original Erik and Gwyneth in my mind’s eye, it is still their connection, a bond that transcends time. And I was successful! I finally wrote my Erik the Viking novel.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. I had to leave Wessex and move on to other projects. It was hard saying goodbye to these wonderful characters who took up a good portion of my life, but I would not change anything, because I had fun in Alfred the Great’s England.

Mary Ann Bernal
Mary Ann Bernal is an avid history buff who also enjoys science fiction. She is a passionate supporter of the U.S. military, having been involved with letter-writing campaigns and other military support programs since Operation Desert Storm. All of Mary Ann’s novels and short story collections are dedicated to fallen military heroes who gave their lives defending our freedom. A prolific writer originally hailing from New York, Mary Ann now resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska.  You can contact her at the following links:

WEBSITE
BLOG
TWITTER
FACEBOOK
PINTEREST
INSTAGRAM
LINKEDIN


Monday, September 2, 2019

Pam Lecky: A Conversation with Author Mary Ann Bernal

 

A Conversation with Author Mary Ann Bernal

Today in the Library we have Mary Ann Bernal who has dropped in to say hello and to share some insights into her life as an author.
You are very welcome, Mary Ann, please introduce yourself:
Thanks for inviting me, Pam. In addition to being an incurable romantic Anglophile history buff, I am also a Science Fiction nerd, dreaming of exploring strange new worlds the minute Captain Kirk commanded the Enterprise. Yes, I am an original Trekkie.
My grandchildren also keep me on my toes, but I am one of their staunchest supporters in all of their extracurricular activities, from sitting in the bleachers for sporting events to orchestra seating for dance competitions.
I am a passionate supporter of the U.S. military, having been involved with letter-writing campaigns and other military support programs since Operation Desert Storm. All of my novels and short story collections are dedicated to fallen military heroes who gave their lives defending our freedom.
Which genre do you write in and what draws you to it?
Since I had always wanted to write a story about a Viking prince, my genre of choice was historical fiction. After having written five novels in The Briton and the Dane series, I broadened my fan base to include contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales collection, and more recently, I have added a Space Opera, Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire, to the mix.

My writing style varies because my interests are wide-ranging. I love history but I also love science fiction, so why not pen what I enjoy? It is always good to leave one’s comfort zone to conquer new challenges. Diversity is a good thing and one should not be limited in scope. My pendulum swings from the Ninth Century to futuristic worlds.
Are you an avid reader? Do you prefer books in your own genre or are you happy to explore others?
Yes. I love to read, but I do not limit myself to one specific category. It is better to broaden one’s perspective then remain stagnant in one area. To grow, one must experience new things. What better way to discover different mindsets then to read different genres? Of course, there will always be favorites, and in many instances, it will be hard to choose the top five.
What part of the writing process do you find most difficult? How do you overcome it?
Ah, writer’s block comes to mind. Is it such a thing? Perhaps, perhaps not. But I am sure most of us have stared at a blank computer screen while our minds wander. Yes, there is the outline. Yes, you know the story, yet you’re stuck.
My solution was to not call it a day after having finished a chapter or a section within a chapter. I will write a few lines for the next section or chapter before leaving the office. The next day when I pull up the file, there are sentences to either change or expand upon. Problem solved.
What was the best piece of writing advice you received when starting out?
Write about what you love because you enjoy it, not because you have to. Some authors will write for the current trend, such as vampire stories. If you don’t love your work, neither will your readers. It does not matter if you’re out of sync. Your work will be discovered. Never settle.
If a movie was made of one of your books, who would you like to play the lead roles?
The Briton and the Dane trilogy selected cast:
Lord Richard – Jeremy Irons; David – James Franco; Stephen – Clive Owen; Erik – Chris Egan; Rollo – Ioan Gruffudd
If truth be told, I have cast the entire lead roles on a spreadsheet since I always picture my characters in my mind’s eye whilst I write.
If you could live the life of a historical figure for one day, who would you choose and what would you get up to?
Eleanor of Aquitaine – she was one feisty wealthy and powerful woman in the Twelfth Century. She was married to Louis VII of France and King Henry II of England. While married to Louis, Eleanor participated in the Second Crusade, leading her Aquitainian soldiers, not of noble birth. It was said she was dressed as an Amazon (warrior women in Greek Mythology) and that point, I would love to prove. What was Eleanor wearing as she and her ladies-in-waiting headed towards the Holy Land? How many men were shamed by her courage?
You have been chosen as a member of the crew on the first one-way flight to Mars – you are allowed to bring 5 books with you. What would they be?
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, To Have and To Hold by Mary Johnston, The Andromeda Strain by Michael Creighton, and Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier. Can I throw in my Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis DVD collections? Tough choices.
Please tell us about your latest published work. 
My next project, in development, is a historical fiction novel set during the First Crusade.
Published works:
The Briton and the Dane collection is an action and adventure drama set in dark ages England when the Vikings terrorized the world. The Briton and the Dane: Timeline is a historical fiction fantasy time travel love story.
Planetary Wars Rise of an Empire is a science fiction/fantasy romantic adventure Space Opera.
Scribbler Tales is a compilation of short stories whose genres include the paranormal, action and adventure, mystery and thrillers, fantasy, romance, drama, and suspense. A single author contemporary fiction anthology.
If you would like to know more about Mary Ann and her work, please check our her links below:



Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Crime and Punkishment compiled by Brenda Perlin - book review


My review:




Brenda Perlin has compiled a unique set of short stories reminiscing about the age of Punk when music expressed the anxieties of the world’s youth during a very unsettling time. The author has shared memories from her past as have the other artists not afraid to tell their story, and how the mores affected their coming of age. A very interesting look at another milestone in the history of the music culture. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about a generation younger than mine, and look forward to reading more from this author.

Available at:






Friday, August 9, 2019

New Release - Crime and PUNKishment compiled by Brenda Perlin






In ‘Crime Punkishment’, Brenda Perlin and her collaborators catalog in words and pictures those days of hope and rebellion... 

When punk first burst into the public consciousness, it caused the establishment to take fright. Suddenly, anarchy was no longer crouching in the shadows, but out on the streets offering disempowered and disenfranchised youth a rallying flag and a new identity.

In ‘Crime Punkishment’, Brenda Perlin and her collaborators catalog in words and pictures those days of hope and rebellion - sometimes in surprisingly touching ways. For black was not always bleak, representing as it did membership of a new family, a tribe who rejected the yoke of normality and blandness.

Read and remember!

Available at:






Brenda Perlin by Doc Ivan




Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Spotlight on artist Maria Jones-Phillips a.k.a. Little Frieda Mouse


Maria Jones-Phillips

Photographer, artist, and graphic designer
About Maria
I was born in the U.K. although I'm currently based on the East Coast of the United States where I run my art studio and Etsy store, Little Frieda Mouse. The name of my store pays homage to the wonderful Mexican artist, Frida Khalo who is one of 

Fine Art Original Print - Bridge Over the Darro River

$45.50+

Fine Art Original Print - ‘Il Duomo di Firenze’ from the series: Painted Cities by, Little Frieda Mouse - Simulated Pastel Sketch

$40.00+

Premium Throw Pillow/Cushion - 'Daisy Daisy' Collection, by Little Frieda Mouse

$38.00


Hibiscus Flower Print Bath/Beach Towel. Part of the Exclusive ‘Ruby Red' collection

$35.00

Friday, July 5, 2019

Spotlight on Voiceover Artist Michele Lukovich


Michele Lukovich

It is my pleasure to spotlight the very talented Michele Lukovich, the narrator for The Briton and the Dane: Timeline.  Her artistic interpretation created realistic characters, bringing the story to life with her vibrant, diverse and engaging narration.  

About Michele

Your Vision. My Voice.

Michele has been an entertainer and a storyteller since she was a toddler. With a history of singing and acting, she found her niche in voiceover.  Her musical background has given her a rich, melodic tone and an engaging delivery that keeps the listener entertained and enlightened. She can make the boring and mundane fascinating and memorable. Whether voicing your TV or radio spot, narrating your promo or film, hosting your E-Learning or company training videos, or anything in between, Michele makes each client her priority and makes certain they are not only satisfied but delighted.  And her stage experience gives her the ability to take your direction and run with it.

Need a seasoned pro? Michele has been doing voiceover for more years than she cares to count. In fact, she has been one of the voices of Chicago’s public television station, WTTW for over a decade. And though she can sound like a teenager, she has the experience to convincingly play the compassionate mom, the girl next door, the high-level executive, the physician, the patient, the sophisticate, the quirky best friend or the superhero. Or just narrate with authority or tenderness. She can play it straight or she can be the comic relief. Just tell her whom you want her to be. And she will find an honest way to be just that. Michele believes the best thing about having experience is that you can draw on it to convey almost any sentiment. The more you have gone through in life, the more you can be believable in almost any context. You can’t fake it. You want someone who has real LIFE experience.

Michele’s studio has a very quick turnaround. She uses StudioOne software and Most often, she will get your files in 24 hours or less (depending on the size of your project) and will give you several takes to choose from. If you need real-time recording, you can utilize SourceConnect.


Need a face to go with the voice? Michele’s on-camera experience makes her a versatile talent that can contribute to your project in many ways. Need a singer as well? You are in luck…Michele is also an accomplished singer. She has sung classical music, 40’s ballads, Broadway standards and a little pop, and most things in between. She has sung with symphonies, opera companies, regional theatres and even traveled the world singing on cruise ships.

Read more about Michele at  
Michele Lukovich's webpage

Follow Michele on Facebook     LinkedIn     YouTube

Listen to Michele's narration of The Briton and the Dane: Timeline on Soundcloud

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots: #BookReview — The Briton and the Dane: Legacy by Mary Ann Bernal

Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots: #BookReview — The Briton and the Dane: Legacy by M...: The Briton and the Dane: Legacy (The Briton and the Dane #3) By Mary Ann Bernal Whispered by the wise and the...



SATURDAY, 22 JUNE 2019
#BookReview — The Briton and the Dane: Legacy by Mary Ann Bernal #HistoricalFiction @BritonandDane





The Briton and the Dane: Legacy
(The Briton and the Dane #3)
By Mary Ann Bernal




Whispered by the wise and the learned. Talked of in hushed tones round luminous firesides. Engraved by awestruck scribes in the scriptoria of the Chronicles. Against all the odds, great King Alfred defeated a vastly superior Danish army outside Chippenham.

This victory, the sages prophesied, would guarantee peace throughout the land. Or so they thought.

Two years later, Rigr the Bastard, vengeful and seeking to claim his birthright, was defeated in the wilds of East Anglia. His blood smeared berserker warriors vanquished; no quarter asked for - no quarter given.

Now, a further two years later, the Vikings return. Noble Prince Sven instigates a seaborne invasion, fuelled partly by blind rage when he discovers that his brother, Prince Erik, has sworn fealty to the Anglo-Saxon king.

His own brother: A traitor and a fool.

Erik’s love, Lady Gwyneth, attempts to stop the invasion before it starts by uniting the two estranged brothers, but her scheming only succeeds in making matters worse. Indeed, her interference guarantees the death of thousands of warriors in the freezing, tumultuous North Sea.

So when the horns of Sven’s monumental fleet of warships are heard off the fogbound coast of Britannia, King Alfred – outnumbered, outshipped and weary of the fray - must rouse his jaded Saxon warriors and lead them to sea, to repel his most formidable enemy yet.

For a host motivated by the spilled blood of the fallen, the spirit of black vengeance, and the delights of a warrior’s reward in Valhalla, is the most fearsome opponent of all.

Alfred. Sven. Erik. Gwyneth. Amidst the ferrous reverberation of a battle royale - one or all must die, and the fate of a nation hangs in the balance, one final time.



“Why must she be forced to choose between a husband and her son…?”

God against Gods. King against King. Brother against Brother.

Years of fighting. Years of bloodshed. How many more husbands, sons, and lovers must die? However, the men from the North keep on coming to the shores of Briton. Their numbers are as seemly endless as the tide. There is no peace for Alfred of Wessex, no matter how badly he may long for it.

One more battle and perhaps the future of a nation may be decided. Alfred and his men are formidable warriors — have they not already proven that? However, this time, the battle will not be on dry land. This time Alfred must meet the invaders where they are most formidable — amongst the waves.

Only time will tell if Alfred will be victorious. May God keep them safe and have mercy on their souls.

Filled with intrigue, betrayal, hate and love, The Briton and the Dane: Legacy by Mary Ann Bernal is as breathtakingly poetic, as it is sweepingly elegant in its brilliance. This story left me so breathless with anticipation that I could not turn the pages fast enough. I was utterly enthralled from start to finish.

I simply adored this book. So much happens that at times it left my head spinning! There is a cast of very colourful and memorable characters. Some of these characters I have come to adore over the course of the series, others not so much! One thing that can never be said is that Bernal’s characters are dull. They are so unpredictable, and many times during the course of this novel, I found myself shaking my head and whispering, “What are you doing? No. Don’t do that! Please… No, you did it!” The impulsiveness of the characters and the fact that their hearts and not their heads rule many, made their stories not only believable but wonderfully human in the telling.

Like before, with the first two books in this fabulous series, Bernal has captured the very essence of the era in which she writes about. Her compelling narrative and her decision to show every possible side to the story made this book not only exceedingly engaging, but it is also one that was next to impossible to put down.

What I liked about this series the most was the way Bernal has portrayed women. The majority of authors who write their fictional stories about Alfred the Great and this era in history concentrate their efforts on the men of this time, and the women take a more sedate secondary role. Not so with Bernal’s books. The women are centre stage, which I found exceedingly refreshing.

As with the first two books in the series, I was drawn to Elizabeth. She is such a warm and wonderful woman who will do anything for her family, even if it is sometimes a little misguided. Another character who I particularly enjoyed reading about was Dalla. It has been two years since Dalla’s husband, Rigr, was killed, but her love for him has not diminished. I had high hopes that she would find happiness with Loki, but Bernal was not about to make things easy for her!

As I have already touched upon, the historical detailing of this book has to be commended. Bernal has chosen to paint a vast canvas in which to set her story. Within this canvas, Bernal allows us to walk with Kings and members of the clergy— including the Pope, Norseman and Saxons. Rich or poor, you can discover them all between these pages. This rich tapestry of life gave this story an incredible sense of depth. The depiction of the sea battle was particularly well drawn. This was undoubtedly a violent time, and Bernal has not shied away from the brutalities of the era, but at the same time, she has an author’s intuitive understanding of when to stop and change the scene, therefore, giving her readers a moment to catch their breath.

As with the other books in this series, Bernal has presented her readers with a vast and wondrous cast of characters and, for this reason alone, The Briton and the Dane: Legacy is not, in my opinion, a standalone read. This series thrives on political intrigue and complicated sub-plots, so it is imperative that you start this fantastic reading adventure with Book 1.

Having read all of the books in The Briton and the Dane series, I now feel slightly bereft that this wonderful story has come to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed not only Bernal’s interpretation of Alfred the Great but also of the women who are so often overshadowed by the men in this era. I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future. Kudos, Ms Bernal.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.


Pick up your copy of
The Briton and the Dane: Legacy



  Mary Ann Bernal
  
Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration.  Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009.  In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series. Her latest endeavor is a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars  Rise of an Empire. Originally hailing from New York, Mary Ann now resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska.



Connect with Mary Ann: Website • Whispering Legends Press • Twitter.



Posted by Mary Anne Yarde at 05:00

Monday, June 10, 2019

Red Headed Book Lover Author Spotlight - Mary Ann Bernal





Mary Ann Bernal, Author Spotlight

Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Mary Ann Bernal whose books Planetary Wars and her two Scribbler Tales books thrilled and compelled me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend these books to all of those that love fantasy and science fiction as well as entertaining stories! but really the books can be read by anybody as they are flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Mary Ann Bernal will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful Mary Ann Bernal!
Mary Ann Bernal attended Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY, where she received a degree in Business Administration. Her literary aspirations were ultimately realized when the first book of The Briton and the Dane novels was published in 2009. In addition to writing historical fiction, Mary Ann has also authored a collection of contemporary short stories in the Scribbler Tales series. Her latest endeavor is a science fiction/fantasy novel entitled Planetary Wars: Rise of an Empire.

Mary Ann is also a passionate supporter of the United States military, having been involved with letter writing campaigns and other support programs since Operation Desert Storm. She has appeared on The Morning Blend television show hosted by KMTV, the CBS television affiliate in Omaha, and was interviewed by the Omaha World-Herald for her volunteer work. She has also been a featured author on various reader blogs and promotional sites. 

Mary Ann currently resides in Elkhorn, Nebraska.


Now, how wonderful does Mary Ann Bernal sound?! Mary Ann Bernal is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Mary Ann Bernal’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself

Thank you for having me, Aimee.
In addition to being an incurable romantic Anglophile history buff, I am also a science fiction fanatic, yes, I proudly admit to being a Trekkie.  I know, opposite sides of the pendulum. My son once told me I was born too late, having missed out living in ancient times. I quickly corrected his perception. The past is a great place to visit for a day using a time machine, of course, but, alas, I was born too soon. My profession of choice is a Starship Captain, and Captain Janeway paved the way.
My priorities are and always will be family first, supporting the children’s and grandchildren’s interests and pursuits. Throughout the years, this enthusiastic aficionado cheered everyone on to victory, or for playing a great game when defeated. From baseball to basketball, dance competitions to theatrical performances. Whatever the event would find me sitting in the audience.
Remembering that freedom is not free, I have been involved with military support programs since Operation Desert Storm. My work is dedicated to our fallen heroes, we must never forget their sacrifices. The next time you see a member of the Armed Forces, please thank them for their service.
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?

Did you ever wonder why “good” girls stay with “bad” boys? Why did Eva Braun choose to become Adolf Hitler’s longtime companion, marrying him shortly before his suicide? Again, the pendulum swings. Why did Padmé Amidala refuse Anakin Skywalker’s offer to rule the galaxy together?
Anastasia Dennison, M.D. is swept off her feet by Jayden Henry Shaw, not realizing he is the terrifying dictator who rules the Empire. Once she learns the truth, there is a choice to be made, does she divorce her husband or ignore her conscience and enjoy the spoils of war? That, dear reader, is the dilemma. What would you do?
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?

To quote Commander Peter Quincy Taggart (Galaxy Quest), “Never give up, never surrender.” There will always be naysayers trying to dissuade a person to give up on a dream. It is up to you to ignore the negativity and the rejection. Do not quit. Be passionate about your work. Take classes and workshops. Learn your craft. Everyone has a book in him or her. Not everyone actually writes one. Don’t let that be you.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book? 

Telling a good story that has the reader experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon finishing the book.
Also, accuracy is important. If unsure of a date or location, be vague with descriptions. And historical events should not overshadow the narrative.
What is your writing process like?

Before setting cursor to blank screen, I set up my characters, name other worlds and make notes for future reference. Next is finding a time to write daily. I have burned the midnight oil, writing as soon as I got home from work, but since my retirement, I chose a block of time that works with my schedule, which fluctuates because of various commitments.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I am constantly researching material.  My file cabinet is filled with interesting facts on a plethora of topics ranging from ancient history to galaxy exploration. Unfortunately, no matter how prepared I am, there is always something that needs to be checked, at which point I can search the internet.  In the old days, I would have to stop at the library on the way home.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?

Once I visualize the story in my mind’s eye, I start writing.  Sometimes, however, the characters take me where they want to go.  Sometimes they win, sometimes they grumble, but they never give up trying to push the envelope.  I love sparring with my characters. 
Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?

Recently, I’ve been reading Michael Crichton, Scott Pratt, Steven Saylor, and J.B. Turner.
When can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you? 

There will be another volume in the Planetary Wars series but will refrain using titles – no spoilers here.

Before we close, would you tell us what inspired your diverse writing genres, which range from historical romance novels to contemporary short stories?
Erik, the Viking, was “born” while I was still an impressionable teenager after having seen the period Hollywood blockbusters of the time.  A few examples are The Vikings, Knights of the Round Table, Prince Valiant, and The Black Shield of Falworth, to name but a few.

My female characters are strong women, following the example of Eleanor of Aquitaine who was a woman before her time.  When Eleanor was Queen of France, she participated in the Second Crusade, was a powerful Queen of England, and as Queen Dowager, was regent when Richard I was fighting in the Third Crusade.
With this background, my original The Briton and the Dane novel became a trilogy because my secondary characters demanded more exposure.  The Briton and the Dane: Birthright is the second installment followed by The Briton and the Dane: Legacy, where all is revealed.

The Briton and the Dane: Concordia, a character offshoot from the trilogy, is a coming of age story, and is the recipient of The Coffee Pot Book Club book award.

The Briton and the Dane: Timeline, is a fantasy about an archeologist traveling back in time to meet Erik’s last descendant with whom Dr. Gwyneth Franger is obsessed, and has also received The Coffee Pot Book Club book award.

 ***
Does anyone other than myself remember The Fireside Theater, which was the first successfully filmed anthology series (circa 1955) on American television?  There was a new story every week showcasing the writing talents of a few of my favorites, such as Rod Sterling (The Twilight Zone).

Yes, the impressionable kid never left! And the mature writer remembered, creating the Scribbler Tales short stories collection comprised of wide-ranging genres: Crime, Fantasy, Historical, Horror, Mystery, Occult, Romance, Spies & Espionage, and Thriller & Suspense.

Scribbler Tales Presents: Escape from Berlin, which features Betrayal, Deadly Secrets, Murder in the First and The Ritual. Compelling stories, different, yet so familiar, since mankind has yet to learn from its mistakes.

 ***

Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Mary Ann Bernal! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the link and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,

***

Escape from Berlin
Mark Dresdner’s cover is blown, forcing him to flee East Germany, yet he refuses to leave the woman he loves. Finding the border crossing blocked, and the enemy closing in, will he evade capture or be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice?

Featuring
Betrayal
Aelia gives herself completely to the man she loves, revealing a life-threatening secret, trusting her husband unconditionally, but is he deserving of her trust?
Deadly Secrets
Lysandra seeks a new life in America, hoping to forget her past, but an accidental meeting with a man who knows her true identity endangers her happiness. 
Murder in the First
As judge, jury, and executioner, Bethel decides the fate of the man responsible for her plight, but things go terribly wrong and the predator becomes the prey.
The Ritual
Devona’s initiation into a modern-day pagan sect on All Hallows’ Eve sends the terrified young woman fleeing for her life amidst a raging storm. Escaping the sacrificial altar, will she survive the tempest?