Saturday, November 21, 2009

Interview with Author and Publisher Rose Jackson-Beaver

Join us as we chat with award winning author and publisher Rose Jackson-Beaver about her book Back Room Confessions, her publishing company and her new releases. And don't forget to leave a comment. All those that enter comments between now and the end of December will be entered to win a copy of one of the book we have in our book collection. See side panel for contest details.

1)Tell us about yourself? I am a middle child considered an oldest child because I am the first daughter after a series of boys, yet I am the first daughter of four girls born back to back. If you study birth order and understand the traits, I am considered a leader. As a leader, I often had to entertain my siblings, so I told stories. I found that I was a good storyteller. Since I loved to tell stories, write poems and just loved to talk, it was not a coincident that I won Ms. Ann Landers in college, or that I was pegged with that name throughout high school. What it said to me was that I had something to say and that people wanted to hear it. So it didn’t surprise me to find that I wanted to write and tell stories. What probably surprised most was that I did not go into journalism, but pursued the field of social work/social service. I believe it gave me the ability, and the opportunity to gather all kinds of stories that would later come in handy as I begin to explore the world of writing and publishing. I am married and have been for 25 years and have a daughter who is 21 years old. I also own two companies, Priority Books Publications and The Family Enhancement Center.

2)How long have you been writing? I have been writing since the age of ten. I wrote in journals and notebooks and wrote letters for enjoyment.

3)What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I began to write letters to relatives, friends and pen pals around the age of 10, by the age of 12 I was writing to inmates. Often times, I would look in the back of magazines like Black Beat, etc. to find someone who needed a friendly letter. Once I wrote a letter, the recipient would beg me to write again. They loved receiving my letters, especially inmates who I described the sun, flowers and beautiful landscape too. I wrote letters and received them until my mom found out and stopped it. The inmates were very nice and never said anything out of the norm to a young kid. They just appreciated the letters. When I think of that and whether I would do something like that now, the answer would be a strong no. Writing for me started because of two things. I loved to read and loved to play with words on paper

4)Tell us a little about your book Backroom Confessions and the plus size character in this book. What is it Backroom Confessions about? Who is the plus size character in this book? What role does she play in the story? Is her size a major part of the story as a whole? Backroom Confessions is the compelling tale of five devoted social workers brought together to assist those in need. The fab five quickly realize that within the walls of the backroom lie infinite answers, plentiful problems and scandalous skeletons. Despite their affinity for helping others, each have their own struggles and demons to exorcise. Their often-candid backroom sessions commonly cause clash, camaraderie, connivance, cheerfulness, curiosity and mass-confusion. As the lives of these office professionals intertwine, their journey together will take you on a thrilling expedition; including love, lust, embarrassment, backstabbing, infidelity, hilarity and steamy sexual encounters.

The lead character in the book is Jericka Parker who is the director of a social service agency. She is educated, a great dresser and she is very attractive. But she is a size 16. So busy being a mom, wife, supervisor and friend, she was simply happy with who she was. Though she was plus size, it didn’t stop her from having a good relationship with her husband or being the go to person on the job. Her plus size just gave her style, confidence and the ability to look at issues and problems with an objective eye.

5)Tell us about your publishing company, Priority Publications. How long have you been publishing? What types of books do you publish? How can writers contact Priority Publications? The name Prioritybooks Publications, LLC came from my need to be first in my life. I wanted my writing to be my first priority. I wanted to control my own work, to publish what and when I wanted, and to feed my need to write. I later took on other authors who asked me to publish their work. We are dedicated to providing the best service available to our authors and increasing the interest of reading to all generations through our many literary pursuits. Founded in 2004, our publishing interests include inspirational, autobiographical, poetic and fictional materials relating mainly to teens, young adults, and women. Writers can contact us by visiting our website at Our contact information is posted there.

6)When will your next book be released? Tell us a little about your next book? Will it feature a plus size character? I recently released my second book for teens. I co-wrote it with my nephew Edward Booker. The book, Caught in the Net of Deception, is a collection of short stories about teenagers facing danger while meeting strangers on the Internet. As these teens look for love, fun, and opportunities to make money, they will face many problems. Most teens are familiar with Facebook, MySpace, and spend time surfing the Internet, but if not careful they could be sucked into a world of horror.

Sometime in the near future, I will feature another plus size character. But right now I am finishing up a Christian novel, A Sinner’s Cry and another teen novel, Attacked by Love.

7)What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? I am reading Mama Dearest, by E. Lynn who was one of my favorite authors. I also am reading Kim Roby’s A Deep Dark Secret, another favorite, as well as several novels that I am reviewing for my newspaper column.

8)How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? They can contact me via my website at or email at

9)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I am also a motivational speaker who has been on the circuit for years motivating and encouraging students, teens and adults. I speak at conferences, mostly educational ones, churches, schools, etc.

10)If you could tell one thing to every aspiring writer what would it be? Write every day and hone your skills. I must add this one too: get a professional edit of your completed manuscript.

About Rose Jackson-Beavers: Rose is a motivational speaker, trainer and the owner of Prioritybooks Publications. Prioritybooks is a publishing company that helps first time authors achieve their dreams of becoming published. Currently a columnist for The Spanish Lake Word newspaper, she has completed four books through her publishing company; one which she co-authored with 15 year old Edward Booker, “A Hole in My Heart”. She has also written and published, “Backroom Confessions, and Summin T’Say as well as co-authored a quilt and poetry book will a nationally known fabric artist, Edna Patterson-Petty. Mrs. Beavers received her Bachelor and Master degrees from Illinois State and Southern Illinois Universities. Rose Jackson-Beavers is married and have one daughter.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Interview with Author & Playwrite Charles Lovett

Join us as we chat with Charles Lovett, author of the program and one of the most interesting interviews we have had to date. Take a minute a learn more about Charles Lovett and his literary career. And please feel free to leave a comment on this interview for a chance to win a copy of The Program. Thank you Charles Lovett for generously offering a copy of your book for the contest. Contest ends December 12, 2009.

1) Tell us about yourself. (Bio can be found at the end of interview don't skip it it really gives you a feel for Charles Lovett the man, the writer, the husband, the father. I have never been this entertained by just reading someone's bio.)

2) How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I began writing seriously in the early 1990s, but as early as I can remember I’ve been intrigued by the idea of being a writer. In college I did some creative writing—in our Modern Drama class we had the option of writing a term paper or a play: I chose a play. I wrote a few short stories during and after college and then began to write academic nonfiction as I became interested in Lewis Carroll in my twenties. My first two books were Carroll studies. Then, in the early 1990s, I was going through a major change in my life—divorce, moving to a new state, closing down my antiquarian book business—and I decided to pursue writing more seriously. I began taking classes and eventually enrolled at the MFA program at Vermont College (now Vermont College of Fine Arts). While there I wrote lots of short stories, and a book length memoir.

3) Tell us a little about your novel The Program and the plus size heroine featured in this novel. When I had been out of graduate school for a couple of years, I decided I wanted to write a novel, and also that I wanted it to be accessible—not highbrow literary fiction, but a good rip-roaring read that would keep people guessing and make them want to turn the page. I hit on the idea behind The Program (an evil weight loss clinic and a small band of friends who try to bring it down) and began to write. The novel that was published several years later is the result of many re-writes, and changes, but I still think it fits my original vision. After several drafts, I tried to decide what the novel was about (on a deeper level than just plot) and decided it was about the facades we all put on at times. This focus helped me with subsequent drafts and, I think, gives coherence to the story.

The heroine of The Program, Karen Sumner, is a “plus sized” woman whose weight has a major effect on her self-esteem. She has a hard time believing that other people could love her and, at the beginning of the book, she dreams of being thin. Part of the arc of The Program is Karen giving up those dreams and accepting herself for who she is.
(Click on here to read the first chapter of The Program: ">Book Buzzer Link)

4) Why did you chose to feature plus size heroines in your novels? The original impetus for The Program goes all the way back to when my older daughter (now out of college) was in grade school. The school had an education program about drugs and alcohol, which is perfectly noble, but as I looked around at the young girls in our neighborhood, I realized that eating disorders seems to be at least as big a threat to this demographic as drugs, yet nothing was said about body image in the school. So, The Program began as a way to help people accept their bodies and realize they can be both healthy and beautiful in a variety of shapes and sizes.

5) Your body of work is vast and very diverse. Tell us a little about your literary journey leading to writing and then the publishing of The Program. Is The Program your only fiction novel? I began my writing career writing mostly non-fiction, but I always wanted to write fiction. I wrote my first novel as part of a creative writing class, and it will, I hope, remain unpublished forever. It wasn’t much of a book, but it did help me believe that I could write a book length piece of fiction, so it was a worthwhile exercise. I wrote a lot of short stories during graduate school, but also began to explore memoir writing. I’ve written two books of creative no-fiction: a memoir about my mother who died of breast cancer when I was two years old (Love, Ruth) and a book about a pilgrimage I took through early Christian sites in Britain (Sparrow through the Hall). Since The Program, I have written another full-length novel (Marginalia) for which I am currently seeking a publisher. I’ve also written a dozen plays for children which have been published and performed in over 2000 productions around the world. I really enjoy different types of writing—the personal emotional journey of a memoir, the act of discovery in a work of academic non-fiction, the complexity of the narrative novel, and the fun of children’s plays. I don’t think I’d be as happy as a writer if I just wrote one type of work.

5) Do you plan to write more books featuring plus size characters? I am actually just finishing the first draft of a young adult novel featuring a plus-sized heroine (The Fat Lady Sings). I had the idea for this novel a few years ago and wrote out some notes but never pursued it. Then, this past summer, I was part of a panel discussing “Fat Friendly Fiction” moderated by my publisher Peggy Elam (Pearlsong Press). One of the issues that came up was the dearth of good young adult novels with plus sized heroes and heroines. I thought about those notes in the drawer and realized that that was what was missing from my idea. As soon as I made the heroine plus-sized, the book just fell into place. I’ve spent the last two months working on the first draft and hope to have it polished enough to show Peggy by the end of the year.

6) When exploring your website I came across The Lovett Foundation. Please tell readers about the Lovett Foundation and the great work you are doing. The Lovett Foundation is a small family foundation that makes grants to non-profit organizations in areas as diverse as homelessness, AIDS support, the environment, education, the arts, and women’s and family issues. Next year, we hope to establish the Lovett Fund for Elementary Theatre, which will make small grants to schools to support the production of plays at the elementary school level. So much research these days is telling us of the importance of arts experiences in education, and I feel that most of schools’ limited theatre budgets tend to go to middle and high school productions; we’d like to encourage doing plays at the elementary level as well.

7) What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general? I read pretty widely. This summer I went on a classic English novel kick and read Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, and Pride and Prejudice. At the same time, I was reading Edwardian boarding school novels for fun. Last night I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which I had heard a lot about. I’m also currently reading a long experimental novel called 2666. I like literary mysteries like the Book of Air and Shadows or The Thirteenth Tale and quirky non-fiction (I’m also currently reading a book by a friend of mine about Sasquatch encounters). I like classic English novels, anything funny (P.G. Wodhouse, for instance). I like good children’s books like Harry Potter (I’m less enamored of the Twilight Books, I’m afraid. Just not as well written as Rowling). In general my favorite books tend to be well written and tell great stories. Beyond that, I’m not too concerned if they’re fiction or non-fiction, contemporary or classic. I do have a soft spot for books set in England.

8) Who are your favorite authors? Some of my favorites are Tom Sharpe, Robertson Davies, David Lodge, Eric Kraft, Charles Dickens, J. K. Rowling, P. D. James, and John Irving.

9) Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal? The best way for readers to connect with me is through my website or on Facebook. Anyone who is in the Winston-Salem area is welcome to come to the world premiere of my new play, Rude Mechanicals, at Summit School on November 19.

10) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? My website,, includes a book club guide for The Program, as well as a long article about the path The Program took between the first idea and publication. You can also find out about my other publications, including my plays. I love it when readers contact me through my website, and I try to respond to all my e-mails.

11) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I am a regular guy. There is nothing mysterious about being a writer. Like anything else, it takes a little innate skill and a lot of hard work.

About Charles Lovett:

Charlie Lovett was born in 1962, shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event for which he disavows all responsibility. He suffered in early childhood from an older brother and sister who enjoyed subjecting him to what they appropriately called “tickle torture.” Charlie has nearly recovered from the emotional damage and is thinking about forgiving his siblings in the next few years.

Charlie entered Summit School in 1966, and hasn’t been able to find his way out since. He is currently Writer-in-Residence at Summit and has recently published Onward and Upward, a 75th anniversary history of the school. This was his first coffee table book, which he actually has a copy of sitting on his coffee table. Charlie’s love of drama began in the first grade when he played the role of the Gingerbread Boy. The New York Times said, on the occasion of the premiere, “Cloudy tomorrow with a 40% chance of rain.” Charlie has ignored the critics ever since.

Charlie went on to play the title role in Tom Sawyer in fourth grade, a part his father said he had been rehearsing for all his life. Other roles at Summit included the lead in Rumplestiltskin, the Badger in Toad of Toad Hall, and his unforgettable turn as Bad Bart Banana Peel in his second grade play (though his part was unforgettable, he has completely forgotten the name of the play.)

In 1977 Charlie entered Woodberry Forest School and began a serious career as a long distance runner. After three years of high school he had been unable to outrun his passion for the theatre, so he spent four years at Davidson College studying theatre. He acted in dramas, comedies, musicals and children’s plays. During college Charlie also wrote two plays, which have thankfully remained hidden at the bottom of a box of old papers ever since. He directed three plays and graduated with a degree in theatre and absolutely no prospects of gameful employment.

After a careful study of career options, Charlie chose antiquarian book selling (a narrow victor over air traffic controller and toll booth attendant). With his first wife, Stephanie, Charlie operated Lovett & Lovett Booksellers (which he foolishly forgot to declare a non-profit entity) in Winston-Salem. Soon he was volunteering on the stage of Summit School once again. In the late 1980s, Charlie began to publish scholarship on Lewis Carroll, drawn partly from his massive collection of Carroll items, which he continues to assemble. He has since published five books on Lewis Carroll yet Carroll refuses to return the favor—he has published NO books about Charlie Lovett.

After a move to Kansas in the early 1990s, Charlie rediscovered his passion for the theatre, playing such roles as Feste in Twelfth Night, Brabantio in Othello, and the lead role of the Duke in Measure for Measure. Charlie later discovered that these plays were all written by the same person, a William Shakespeare who somehow managed to become a playwright without ever having played the role of Bad Bart Banana Peel.

In January of 1997, Charlie received his M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College in Montpelier Vermont. Unfortunately, it was so cold at the time that the diploma was presented to Charlie’s cryogenically frozen body. After thawing out in England for six months with his wife, Janice, and stepdaughter, Jordan, Charlie returned to America and prepared for a move back to Winston-Salem. Jordan entered Summit School as a sixth grader the year that Charlie’s daughter Lucy began the first grade there. Within days Charlie and Janice were helping out with the sixth grade play.

In 2001, Janice was offered the job of third grade drama specialist at Summit. She had all the talents necessary to wrangle 60+ third graders and train them to perform a Broadway-quality masterpiece. All she lacked was a Broadway-quality masterpiece. To fill this need, Charlie shamelessly stole several of Janice’s ideas and wrote the script for Twinderella—his first children’s play. He has since written twelve other plays for performance at Summit in both the third grade and the junior high. twelve of his plays have been published and more are on the way. His plays have been performed across the country and around the world.

For those publishers out there who happen to be reading this, in addition to his twelve published books, Charlie has written two other novels: one will rightly remained buried in the same box with his college plays, the other is a bestseller waiting for a publisher to realize its potential. His published works are detailed elsewhere, but his yet-to-be-published works also include a brilliant sequel to A Christmas Carol written in the style of Charles Dickens (who, Charlie later discovered, actually wrote the original story as well).

Charlie continues to write and act. He has recently played roles such as the Duke in Big River and Marcellus in The Music Man. He is puzzled by this, since both these characters are tenors and he is a bass, but hey, that’s acting. His rendition of “Shipoopi” in The Music Man will be remembered by all who saw it—many of them are still in therapy because of the nightmares.

Charlie’s novel The Program, published in May 2008, will no doubt take the country by storm. Or maybe that’s just another hurricane . . .

With Jordan in college, Lucy in high school, Janice continuing to act and direct, and his dog Sophie asleep on the couch, Charlie believes the best parts of this biography are yet to come!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Interview with Author Caramel Vixen aka Alisson Deese

Join us as we chat with Allyson Deese, author and a sister with curves doing her thing and letting her readers know that curvy is sexy. Please feel free to comment on her interview. Leave a comment on this interview before November 28th and be entered into a drawing to win a free book of your choice.

1) Tell us about yourself? I am a native of Western North Carolina, where I reside with my family. I also juggle being a full time student majoring in Medical Office Administration and computer lab tutor on campus.

2) How long have you been writing? I have been writing poetry since the age of 11. I began writing short stories and essays briefly in high school and then I picked it back up three years after that. So almost 14 years in total. Wow, I had never really thought about how long I had been writing.

3) How long have you been writing about plus size women? I have been writing exclusively about plus size women ever since 2006 when I first started writing with the intention of being published. My mission is to push the envelope of plus size acceptance and make it clear that we as plus size women are just as sexy and have just as much to offer as our thinner counterparts.

4) You write under both Allyson Deese and Caramel Vixen. What is the difference in your two literary identities? The main difference in my two literary identities is that Allyson Deese is my birth name and I mainly write inspirational and contemporary pieces under that name. Caramel Vixen is the diva that Allyson Deese was too shy to become when I first began writing. I love writing romance and erotica exclusively for and about BBWs under that name.

5) Your latest paperback release, Office Affairs featured a plus size heroine? What other works do you have featuring plus size women? Office Affairs is my first paperback release as Caramel Vixen, originally Office Affairs was an e-novella published under Lady Leo Publishing. Currently at Lady Leo Publishing you can find: Ready for Love, No Matter What and Mr. Magic Fingers

6) You have a number of e-books featuring plus size women? Why did you decide to go the e-book publishing route for some of your books? E-books gave me my start in the writing industry. I will always be grateful for Lady Leo Publishing for initially giving me a chance. The majority of my e-books are short stories, and I’m currently working on turning some of them into novels for print.

7) Why did you choose to feature plus size heroines in your novels? I am a plus size woman and I wanted to see more women like myself in romance and erotica and it was hard to find positive plus size heroines, so I decided to create some.

8) Do you plan to write more books featuring plus size characters? All of my books of all genres will have a woman who’s at least a size 14 as the main character.

9) Tell us about Office Affairs and the plus size heroine we will meet in this book.
Office Affairs is an erotic romance about the discovery of love, self worth. The main plus size heroine that you will meet in this book is Allysia Donaldson, a BBW who at only 30 years of age, owns her own clothing company, Ample Delights, which is centrally located in beautiful Manhattan. Allysia is very successful in her business endeavors but when it comes to love, she’s batting zero.

10) What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general? Right now, unfortunately I’m reading “Beginners Medical Transcription” (a textbook) but, I’m looking forward to digging into my book wish list and reading quite a few books over winter break. I generally read contemporary fiction, romance and erotica. I,ve always been an avid reader.

11) Who are your favorite authors? Just a few of my favorite authors are (in no particular order) Linda Herman, Hazel Mills, Victoria Wells, and Zane. Just to name a few.

12) Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal. November 28th I will be doing a signing in Atlanta signing copies of After Dark Delights, the latest of my anthology features. Readers can always contact me via email and request to see or talk to me at :

13) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Readers can reach me at the above email address and also at my websites; and

14) What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? That I get just as excited about meeting a famous author as they do. Or I still get giddy whenever I receive a new book to read.

About Caramel Vixen - Allyson Deese is an author and a poet as well as a student majoring in Medical Office Administration. She resides in North Carolina. Although only in her twenties, she has been writing poetry for most of her life and has now began penning her poetry into the pages of her fictional stories of multiple genres. "Discovering the Joy Within" is the author's first work of fiction to be published. You can find “Discovering the Joy Within” featured in Elissa Gabrielle’s anthology “The Triumph Of My Soul” available now, look for Ms. Deese and friends, in the third installment of the Triumph series. Ms. Deese is currently working on the novel version of Discovering the Joy Within for a 2010 release with Xpress Yourself Publishing