I am very excited to introduce a local author and poet to my blog. Author Juhi Kunde has written a truly lovely collection of poetry dedicated to and celebrating motherhood in Expressions of Milk. Whether you are a mom or have/know a mom that you love- this is the perfect mood-lifter and makes a thoughtful gift.
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I was fortunate enough to meet Juhi at our local chapter of the California Writers Club, the Trivalley Writers Club. Her joy and humor is instantly engaging. Once I opened her book I knew she had accomplished something special and I wanted to help share it with the people in my world.
I’ll let Juhi introduce herself through our interview.
Again, Juhi, thanks so much for agreeing to appear on my blog. I just loved your book and I know others will, too.

1.) Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? What fills your life and lights up your days?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It’s in my blood. My grandfather wrote novels, my grand-uncle is a famous Indian poet and playwright, and my aunts are editors and poets… The list goes on and on.
I have two brilliant, mostly all-consuming, lights for my days – my two girls (ages 3 and 7).
2.) Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? Are you agented? Self-published?
I am self-published.
3.) What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? Pitfalls to avoid?
It was difficult to find a publishing house that was open to publishing a book of poetry from an unknown poet. So I just cobbled together money and did it myself. But if I could do it again, I think I would try harder to shop it around. At the time of choosing a publisher, I was dealing with thyroid cancer, so I was easily fatigued and discouraged. Don’t get discouraged – look hard for a publisher because self-publishing and self-marketing is exhausting and difficult. Also, join writers’ groups and ask lots of questions. I was working in a bit of a vacuum and I think that made the process more difficult.
4.) How long have you lived in the TriValley? What do you think of the area for authors? And why?
I grew up in the Tri-Valley, moved away for a while and then moved back when it was time to raise a family. I think it is just the right size for emerging authors. There are some great bookstores that are open to carrying books from new authors, and you can always travel to Berkeley or San Francisco for the big conferences.
5.) I was so touched by your poetry. It must have been a huge undertaking. As a busy mom yourself- what made you decide to dive into this project? Would you do anything differently (writing-wise, that is)?
Thank you so much! Actually, it was just the most natural thing in the world to me. I pay my bills by being a freelance science writer. I found that often I would have some time between assignments or late at night after the girls had gone to sleep. So I would take a little “me time” – a catharsis from my avalanche day – to write, to emote, or even to be a little silly sometimes. After several years, I ended up with over 40 poems. I culled, sifted and organized until I had the best 20 poems that showcased universal themes of motherhood. I edited these poems a lot – it is important to me that this book is easy-to-understand and relatable. So, the poems are as tight and thoughtful as I could make them. I think if I could change the subtitle, I would make it: A Gift Book for Mothers. The word ‘poetry’ sometimes scares people off.
6.) Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer?
I am definitely a computer typer. For longer pieces, I sometimes will use index cards, but for this one, it all went straight into the computer. Then before I submitted the manuscript to the publisher, I did some old school cutting and pasting of mock-ups so I knew what I wanted for illustrations, formatting and layout.
7.) Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent?
Inspiration waits for me in the quiet. My days are full and noisy. So, when I pull away from all that chaos and allow myself the time to breathe, I often discover Inspiration is sitting quietly on a lotus pad wondering what took me so long to show up.
8.) Looking at parents, and moms in particular, what do you think we judge ourselves too harshly on? What do you think we should take a hard look at in our parenting roles?
I think that with so much social media influencing moms, we often have unspoken or even unconscious competitions with other. On my personal news feed, I have one mom posting about her amazing weight loss while another is bragging about her kid’s swimming prowess and a third is always off on some fantastic vacation. And if I allow myself to get into the competition, I will feel badly about my own body image and my kids’ athletic skills and my summer plans. I think we all just need to slow down and keep clear priorities. If we can just find the time and energy to routinely talk to our kids and spend quality time with them, we will win a big chunk of the parenting battle.
9.) Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you?
I always thought that corporate moms were somehow superhuman. They manage the demands of work and home in ways that I have never even attempted. And they do it so well that I often think of them as being intimidating or at the very least, difficult to relate to. So I was surprised when a corporate CEO mom read the book and ended up in tears. Her husband sent us a picture of her sitting on her chair with the book in her hands and text said: “What did you do? She never cries!” That was when I realized how truly universal motherhood is. And now I don’t hesitate to share the book with mothers and grandmothers from all walks of life, because I truly know that each one of them could be touched by the poems in the book.
10.) What makes you laugh? What makes you cry?
My husband makes me laugh, more than anyone else in the world. I love dark humor, puns and political satire these days. I cry easily – so anything from Hallmark commercials to singing Que Sera Sera will set me off!
11.) If you could be a fairy godmother for one night- what three people would you visit and what would you bestow upon them?
Such a fun question! I would visit Adolf Hitler and bestow a black mamba snake on him. I would visit my grandchildren on their wedding days and bestow them with lifetimes of happiness and love. And I would visit my daredevil daughter and bestow the gift of flight, because one of these days I am pretty sure she is going to try to jump off the roof.
12.) Can we ask what projects you have currently in the works? Where can readers find you, both virtually and in the 3D world?

I have a couple of short stories in the works… Email me and I will keep you posted!
I am on LinkedIn, and I have my website: http://www.juhikunde.com
For book orders, you can email me at expressionsofmilk.com, or you can order on etsy.com and get free domestic shipping. The book is also available in paperback and electronic versions on Amazon.com
When I am not typing on my computer or taxiing my girls to their activities, you can find me getting my hands dirty in the garden.

Juhi, again, I can’t thank you enough for your time and your talent! It was awesome to share you with my readers!!!

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Juhi Kunde, a lifelong poetry lover and a published writer, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two kids. She dabbles in gardening, dreams of laundry-folding superpowers, and delights in giggling with her family before bedtime.
She would love to hear from you. Contact her at expressionsofmilk@gmail.com.
To keep up with the latest book news: https://www.facebook.com/expressionsofmilk/
To buy a fantastic gift for a special mom in your life please go to: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ExpressionsofMilk
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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.
 

Let’s face it. The news has not been good. I wish to be clear on my politics:

  • The news makes me cry. Just about every day now it seems.
  • I support our brave police forces. They lay their lives on the line every day. I thank them and salute them.
  • I believe black lives matter- yes, they all matter, but if I’m a mother of a black child… I’m a little more nervous. And rightly so.
  • I want to be informed, but the information I glean hurts.

This past weekend my sweetie and I went to a wedding. It was the marriage of two people I’d never met. The groom works with my boy. I like the groom. I like the bride. It was a delightful gathering with fun people. We danced. I adore dancing.

Before we go any further… I have to say… these are LOVELY people. I mean really, lovely. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, Heather and Brent, for reminding me of what humanity’s greatest defense against hate, intolerance, and flat-out idiocy has always been…

LOVE. KINDNESS. COMPASSION.

Every day people living every day lives… opening a door, giving a hug, smiling while making eye-contact. We survive because of a shared warmth, a community, and desire to better ourselves.

Heather and Brent- As your song, your first dance played, I immediately teared up. I had not yet met you, but I felt a profound connection with you. And that’s our shared connection… that’s humanity. And that is why we’ll get better, we’ll do better. The news has been dark before but we have survived, even thrived. We will do so again… so long as we have someone to Lava

Go… Hug someone…I mean it! Go….listen and find someone to Lava.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh4dTLJ9q9o

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

I’m thrilled to introduce you all to the fabulous Abbey MacMunn! Abbey is a fellow author at my publishing house, Tirgearr Press. Her first novel, Touched, a paranormal romance. was released July 13th, 2016. Coincidentally we both stumbled on to our publication deals the same way- through a Twitter Pitch contest!

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When inquisitive antique dealer Cami Wilson learns she’s the revered offspring of an immortal mother and a mortal father, it’s not just her hybrid status that has her all flustered. The title comes with her very own super-sexy guardian.
Jaded immortal Joseph Carlisle has only one thing on his mind; his sworn duty to protect the hybrid from those who wish her harm. Anything else would be complicated. That is until they meet.
Chemistry sizzles between them but there’s a problem—the hybrid’s curse. Cami’s touch, skin to skin, proves near fatal to her and all immortals, Joseph included.
But the fated lovers discover her curse is the least of their concerns when a friend’s deadly betrayal threatens to tear them apart forever.

 

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Abbey has been gracious enough to do an interview with me about her, her thoughts on writing, and a bit about her new release, Touched. Welcome, Abbey!!!

Thanks you, Erika, for having me on your blog today – it’s great to be here.

1.) Easy stuff first- tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you begin writing? I only began writing four years ago when I packed my last child off to school. I have four kids, so a little free time to myself was very welcome! What fills your life and lights up your days? My family.
2.) Can you tell us a bit about your publishing process? When I first started writing, I wasn’t sure what genre I wanted to write. I tried short stories and children’s books before I realized that most of my stories had romance in them – except the children’s books of course. The best thing I ever did was join the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme – they’ve been incredibly supportive.
3.) Have you published anything with other publishers than Tirgearr? One of my short stories, the first one I wrote, was runner up in a sci fi short story competition. Sadly, the promised prize of publication never materialized.
4.) What were the benefits and challenges that you found along your journey? Benefits: Learning new things every day. Challenges: Balancing family life with needing quiet time to write.
And do you have any words of advice for your fellow writers- things to do? I would say join a writing group and get you work critiqued even if you don’t think it’s ready. Develop a thick skin, take the good comments with the bad, and learn from them. Pitfalls to avoid? If you’re an aspiring writer I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but don’t make the mistake of submitting your work too soon.
5.) Where do you live? I live in Hampshire, UK.  What do you think of the area for authors? My area has a few local writers’ groups but I’ve never been brave enough to join them!
6.) Do you write long hand first, or does it go straight into the computer? When I have a new story in mind, and if I’m at home, I write the main characters’ traits, the plot outline, snippets of conversation, or scene descriptions on notepads. If I’m out, I type it into my phone, and then, by the power of modern technology, my notes appear on my laptop.
7.) Where do you find your sources of inspiration? Films, books, eavesdropping on conversations, meeting new people—inspiration comes from all sort of places, but I have a vivid imagination so most of my stories pop into my head without any help at all.
Does your muse vary from project to project or do you find the well-spring is fairly consistent? I’ve been lucky so far that it’s been consistent.
8.) Have you learned anything from your readers? Or had a response that especially touched you? My first five-star review will stay with me forever. “I flew through the pages and finished reading it in one day. The story is fast-paced with lots of twists and turns. If paranormal romance is your genre, then you should absolutely read TOUCHED.”

9.) If you could be a fairy godmother for one night- what three people would you visit and what would you bestow upon them? First, I would visit my younger self to give myself the willpower to resist chocolate! Second, I would visit my husband and tell him not to marry me – just kidding! He puts up with a lot! And thirdly, more seriously, I would visit my kids and bestow upon them a long, healthy, happy life.
10.) Can we ask what projects you have currently in the works? I’m working on the follow on to TOUCHED, the second book in the Immortal Ties series, a contemporary erotic romance, and I’d like to finish a sci fi romance that I’ve been working on for a long time.

Where can readers find you, both virtually and in the 3D world? I love to connect with readers, so you can find me on Twitter or Facebook most days, and there’s my website, too.

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Pinterest
Goodreads

Abbey MacMunn writes paranormal, fantasy and sci fi romance. She lives in Hampshire, UK with her husband and their four children. She is a proud member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
When she’s not writing, she likes to watch films and TV shows – anything from rom-coms to superheroes to science fiction movies.

To purchase Touched on any of your eReaders please see:

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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Hi folks! This week I’ll be promoting, talking and generally sharing all things The Dragon in The Garden on my blog tour with Goddess Fish. Here’s a schedule of where I’ll be all week.

July 11: It’s Raining Books
July 12: Long and Short Reviews
July 13: Kit ‘N Kabookle
July 14: HarmonyKent
July 15: The Avid Reader
July 15: The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – review only

I hope you enjoy these fun posts all about Dragon and even a bit about me. You can also enter to receive a free copy of the book! However, in honor of the Tour I’ve discounted the book on Amazon to just 0.99 ALL WEEK so you should probably just buy it! Enjoy your fun summer reading!

 

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Dragons rock coffee’s ass. Seriously. No, really, hear me out. I’m embarking on a blog tour with the fabulous Goddess Fish Productions. So this is important. The reason being for the duration of the tour YOU can purchase my novel on Amazon for 0.99. You can’t get coffee that cheap. True story.

Please see the reviews and then purchase the adventure your summer is begging for🙂

I don’t mark my book down very often, I think that this is the third time since it was released in February. You put something on sale too often and the whole “sale” thing loses its mojo. That said, it’s on sale this whole week! And it’s sooooooo better than a cup of coffee!!!

Here’s why…

1.) Flaming dragon breath- gives everything that longed for grilled taste. Not mention, so handy on chilly evenings,

2.) Coffee gives you bad breath! According to my fellow author, Wendy Spinale, one does not need a mint after spending time with a dragon. The same cannot be said about our clever little java cups of “joy.”

3.) You always hear it, coffee makes you jittery.

4.) Okay, dragons may make you jittery, too. Fair enough. But not MY DRAGONS. They are the champions of mankind. In this book that’s all you know… but in books two and three we see WHY dragons champion mankind… could we be… related? I know… one’s a mammal, one’s a lizard, but we’re talking about more than meets the eye. Never judge a hero by their cover.

5.) Kids love Dragons. Hello? Did no one listen to Puff The Magic Dragon?

 

6.) Coffee involves child labor. Fairly certain that’s illegal in the land of Honnah Lee

http://www.foodispower.org/coffee/

That’s… icky. And I’m NOT making light of child labor- not EVER. I am just saying though. Dragons are better. No child labor. Promise.

7.) Dragons are shiny. Shiny is better. Ohh, squirrel!

8.) Now, coffee? Coffee is not shiny.

9.) You never need to “grind” a dragon.  In fact, I strenuously advocate against it. That said, you do need to grind coffee. So much work.

10.) Everyone is trying to go green. Coffee is not green. Daisy from The Dragon in The Garden IS green.  Soooo eco-friendly! See picture for proof.

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Note- GREEN Dragon.

Mic drop. BOOM!

Please check out The Dragon in The Garden

Sooooo… that happened.

 

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 This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

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