Posts Tagged With: books

#Motownwriters: Independent Bookstores in #Michigan

I just found a great resource for independent bookstores in Michigan and I couldn’t be more excited.

You know in my quest to be all things Michigan, this is a valuable find.

They also have a list of all Independent bookstores in the United States as well.

You’re welcome!

To see more resources in The Detroit Literary Network, click here

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#MotownWriters: Upcoming Book Events In #Michigan and Midwest Area for 2018

2018 Book Events in Michigan and Midwest. If there are events I’m missing, please  


Detroit, MI: Detroit Book City African-American Family Book Expo 2018
Date: February 25

Akron Family Reading Festival
Feb 2018 Dates Unconfirmed | Akron, OH

Kalamazoo Valley Museum Storytelling Festival
Feb 2018 Dates Unconfirmed | Kalamazoo, MI

Book It
March 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Chicago, Illinois

4th annual A Weekend with the Authors
March 16–18, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA
for readers, not romance specific

Michigan Reading Association Annual Conference
March 17-19, 2018 | Detroit, MI

biennial Spring Fling Writers’ Conference
April 20–21, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA
for romance writers

University Spring Literary Festival
April 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Athens, Ohio

Chelsea, MI: Midwest Literary Walk
Date: April 28

Dayton, OH: Dayton Book Expo
Date: April 28

7th annual Barbara Vey’s Reader Appreciation Weekend
April 27–29, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA
for romance readers

The Festival of Literary Diversity (FOLD)
Thursday, May 3, 2018 to Sunday, May 6, 2018 – Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Printers Row Lit Fest
June 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Chicago, Illinois

14th annual Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together (RAGT)
June 7–9, 2018; West Chester, OH, USA
for romance readers

23rd annual Romance Slam Jam
June 14–16, 2018; Kansas City, MO, USA
for romance readers & writers

2nd annual Detroit Festival of Books!
July 15, 2018 | Detroit, Eastern Market

The Soulful Chicago Book Fair
July 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Chicago, Illinois

Once Upon a Book
August 10, 2018 | Frankenmuth, Michigan

Toronto Urban Book Expo
August 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Toronto, Canada

Kerrytown BookFest
September 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Ann Arbor, Michigan

5th annual Penned Con
September 20–22, 2018; St. Louis, MO, USA
for readers & writers, not romance specific

annual American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference
September 20–23, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA
for inspirational writers, not romance specific 

5th annual Indie Romance Convention (IRC)
October 2018 – Dates to be Announced; Lebanon, TN, USA
for romance readers & writers

Twin Cities Book Festival
October 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Minneapolis, Minnesota

Books by the Banks
October 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Cincinnati, Ohio

International Festival of Authors
October 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Toronto, Canada

Vancouver Writers Fest
October 2018 – Dates to be Announced – Vancouver, Canada


The Great Midwest Book Festival
November 2018 TBD | Chicago


If there are events I’m missing, please  



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#MotownWriters Feature: Denise Bryson @OneBlackRoseDJB, Author of In The Footsteps of A Killer #Detroit #Suspense

Where are you from? Born, raised and still live in Detroit Michigan, pretty sure I’m not gonna leave.

Tell us your latest news? I am signed with a new up and coming publishing company called Artistic Words Publishing. It’s exciting to get in at the beginning of something new.

When and why did you begin writing? I started in the fourth grade it was a class assignment.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I finished my first book, Dark Reflections in 2011. It’s self-published but I’m most excited for my newest release In The Footsteps Of A Killer by Artistic Words Publishing.

What inspired you to write your first book? I used to have trouble sleeping at night. So I would sort of telling myself a bedtime story until I got sleepy. I would always pick up wherever I left off the night before. Eventually, I was sleeping with no problem. The story would come as a dream. It didn’t come every night but when it did it would pick up wherever it left off before. Until one night all I saw were white lines moving like movie credits and I woke up and thought…maybe I need to write that down. I also dreamed most of In The Footsteps of A Killer. I dreamed the beginning, some of the middle and for sure I dreamed the end.

Do you have a specific writing style? I like to write horror but I can write romance as well.

How did you come up with the title? I dream some of them and others I lose myself in what I want to say about the story and the title usually pops up.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I didn’t start out with a message but I grew to want my horror to scare but to remind people that God is present even in the midst of horror and to look to Him for help and salvation. He comes through. At the end of “Footsteps”, you see some Devine movement and I think that was something that AWP Artistic Words Publishing saw and liked.

How much of the book is realistic? It depends on if it’s my horror or romance (yet to be released) but in the horror, the possibility of reality is more real than the reality itself.

Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life? Parts are again depending on what I’m writing. There is a little of me in each story or someone I know and love.

What books have most influenced your life most? Robert R Mccammon and his book Swan Song. It’s more apocalyptic but I remember being mesmerized by it.  Then there was anything written by Stephen King, John Saul, and Dean Knootz.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Stephen King by far is the master of terror.

What book are you reading now? At the moment I’m more focused on promotion but I have several waiting on my kindle for pc so as soon as I slow down I’m grabbing one.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? There are so many I am finding through Facebook and social media. I am amazed at all the talented people writing. But no one comes to mind.

What are your current projects? I am working on a sequel to In The Footsteps Of A Killer. It’s called Through The Eyes Of A Killer.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. A lot of my Flight Attendant friends (before my current airline) who would answer passenger call lights while I sat on my jump seat and wrote. And of course Artistic Words Publishing…they saw my work, believed and took that chance and I’m not about to let them down.

Do you see writing as a career? For sure. I want to write until the well runs dry then look for new ideas to write about and yes quit my job and get paid to do it…lol.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Maybe I would tone down some of the killings. But what else does a serial killer do…he hunts the innocent.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? Well, when I wrote my class assignment in the 4th grade I wanted to write then. My teacher didn’t give me a good grade so I never wanted to write again. It would be another twenty years before I would even try.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? My sequel finds my heroine once again up against dark forces, now she and her unborn child are in danger.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Making the insane and crazy seem possible. In horror, a lot of what happens is not always based in reality. Again the reality of making it seem real.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Stephen King because he can take reality and bend it, twist it so that your mind begins to believe that it is possible for a girl with hidden powers to kill half the high school. Carrie. Or a dog Cujo can be bitten by a bat and turn into a vicious killer…poor puppy.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I’m a flight attendant I get all the traveling I need. Lol…but I would if I had to and I do a lot of research on the computer. Yeah, computers.

Who designed the covers? For In The Footsteps Of A Killer my publisher Carla Dean at Artistic Words Publishing used someone that they deal with.  And if I say so myself this book cover rocks!

What was the hardest part of writing your book? The hardest part for me was writing the killings. It is unfortunate that in our society women are by far the first and most times easiest targets. And for the most part, the serial killer is almost always a man. Is it wrong? Yes. Does it make for good fiction? Maybe.  I can only write what comes to me and in this case, this is what came to me and I had to write it to be true to my new found passion.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I learned that writing is a hard task master that you will love. Ideas come to me in dreams and in everyday circumstances. They force me to get up and write. Ideas come sometimes at the most inappropriate times and places and force me to seek out something to write on. I usually have a pen and I have started carrying a pad of paper so I am not forced to write on napkins or toilet paper.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Write. Write when your happy write when you’re sad. Write when you don’t feel like it writes when you have nothing to say. Get it on paper you never know what will come out and where you can use it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Writing for me has been a journey. It has made me make decisions like should I go out and party or stay in a get a few chapters done. Writing almost always wins out. You do have to make time to refresh, relax and have a little fun. That helps free your mind to the next set of book ideas. I enjoy the fear factor of writing horror because my mom was a horror nut. She and I would read, then discuss, then go watch something spooky on TV. She always loved a good scare. And I’m not talking about blood and gore, just for the sake of blood and gore but the kind that made your mind bend. Old school horror up to the horror of Final Destination. Yeah, there was a lot of blood ( in Final Destination) but the idea that it was all somehow what Death wanted to turn it into something different for her. She set my feet on the path of horror and I will always be grateful to her. And I will continue to write in memory and honor of her.

  1. In the email with the questions, please send the following information:



Albert waited for the squealing and squeaking from the bedroom to stop. Then he waited for two hours more before creeping up the stairs. Slowly, he opened the door. He held his breath waiting to see if they had heard him enter or not. No sound and no one stirred. So, he walked into the room. They slept deep with the help of sex and alcohol. Both of which he could smell; it was an ugly smell, harsh and pungent. It made his stomach turn, and for a moment, he thought he might throw up. He swallowed hard and continued further inside the room.

On the table next to their bed lay his father’s cigarettes and on the floor sat the half empty bottle of booze. He picked it up and examined it. Why on earth do grown-ups drink this stuff? He sniffed the contents and wrinkled his nose. It stank. He timidly turned the bottle up to his lips, spilling its dark contents into his mouth. He only took in a little, but it was enough to make him gag and spit it on the floor. He almost ran because his gagging sounds caused his mother to move in her sleep, but she was only turning over. He knew he had to do it and do it now or he would never have the nerve again. He took the bottle and quietly poured its contents on the floor. Next, he reached over his naked parents and poured it on the bed between them. The sight of them in their all-in-all made his stomach turn again. They stirred but didn’t wake up. Then Albert Cain Macarthur took his dad’s cigarette, put it to his lips, exhaled, struck a match, and inhaled slowly. It was the second most awful taste he had ever tasted, second only to the Scotch. Nonetheless, the cigarette end glowed as he held in the coughs that were welling up in his chest.

He placed the lit murder weapon in the bed next to his father’s hand. The bed soaked with the liquor caught fire immediately. Taking the remaining liquor, he poured it on his parents. An insane smile crept across his face. It was the same smile that would follow him into his adulthood. He smiled as he watched first his father and then his mother catch fire. Their drunken, feeble attempts to wake up and save themselves proved futile. The alcohol they had consumed and the smoke from the flames overwhelmed them, and neither could escape their fate. He stood in the doorway smiling and watching. Their screams were deafening, as they quickly understood what was happening to them. He didn’t care; he was about to be free.

“Boy!” his father screamed while flailing about in an attempt to put out the flames and stumbling back onto the bed. “Help us, boy! Go git some help!”

Albert startled but didn’t move. His mother began laughing the laugh of the damned. She could barely move as the smoke started to overtake her. In so much pain from the flames, she barely seemed to notice.

“That boy is trying to kill us, Al.” Catherine tried to sit up but couldn’t. Her arms were beginning to burn. “He’s killing us, Al.”

In a last ditch effort to save herself, she rolled off the bed and hit the floor with a thud. With that, the room became an inferno of smoke and fire.

Albert Cain Macarthur didn’t know how he had known it, but he knew that day would be the last day he would wake up from one of his mother’s beatings. It would be the last day anyone ever called him Al. He hated that name. No more. That day she would die. That day they both would die. Albert Sr. was just as guilty for not stopping Catherine during her many tirades and abuse. Little Al had carried out the unspeakable and killed his parents.

He watched, and then suddenly, he heard the shrill sound of sirens from the approaching fire trucks. By that time, the room was in a full blaze. He had to think. He needed to look like a victim, too. He ran back into the bedroom and over toward the window. No one would ever call him Al again.


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Event: Blue Water Author Event June 24th! Port Huron Convention Ctr! 60 #MichLit Authors! $2tix @ door! #MotownWriters

The 2017 Blue Water Author Event is being hosted by Breigh Forstner in downtown Port Huron right along the St. Clair River, directly under the Blue Water bridge. With over 60+ authors including some locally known and some from out of state, we expect to see a great turn out with many different genres of books!


Author, Sylvia Hubbard, Founder of Motown Writers Network, will be there with Tanner’s Devil and some special swag for all her readers who bring paperback books for her to sign, buy a book or show her you have any of her paid books downloaded to your account.

(Just show your e-reader with Tanner’s Devil on it!)

Swag will include a personalized pen and journal, a special readers button, a special story and more!

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A Book Review: “N” (The Compass Series) by Stephen Santos


I never ask for more than I deserve/You know it’s the truth/You seem to think you’re God’s gift to this earth/I’m tellin’ you, no way.

-Janet Jackson, What Have You Done For Me Lately

     There are two ways to think about Stephen Santos and his new novel, N: The Compass Series, and the differences of how we interpret a failed marriage between two people whose worldview is inharmoniously synched with spirituality, practicality and conventional wisdoms that always seem to betray even the most decent of amorous intentions.

     Joshua and Bridget are married, and Bridget wants (and is eventually granted) a divorce from her husband. She moves with her children into a new marriage which she feels will provide her with a better sense of emotional and financial security.  Joshua is understandly devastated, torn with anguish, and is forced to accept the way his wife feels, and he thus spends the remainder of the book laying the bulk of his problems at the winged feet of his wife (whose voice in the matter seems controlled, choked and regulated, but more on this later). At times, Joshua seems delusional and romantic about marriage and women. He seems ironic and contradictory, believes he knows what Bridget wants, yet he is unable to hear her for sake of his own veiled conceit:

We were young, and she had so much life in her. I loved her with all of my heart, but I didn’t have concrete plans as to where I was headed in life. She, on the other hand, had a plan, a purpose and a desire to be free from uncertainty about things. She kept dragging her feet when I would ask her about our future. She knew that I couldn’t change, and that she would have to be the one to. That sounds bad. It’s not that I didn’t want to change for her, it’s just that I had discovered what everyone really wants (63-64).

     But Bridget did seem to know what she wanted in life and marriage, if only Joshua had listened. The novel is full of these moments, Joshua is steady with his blame-game, and Bridget struggles to find happiness and a sense of marital fulfillment. All is difficult mostly because Joshua cannot bring himself to think in practical terms regarding the breakdown of his marriage, the problem of arrogance, and the limitations of spiritual/religious panaceas. He spends too much time ministering to us (in first-person), undervaluing his wife, and, fatalistically, seeing the world through romantic lenses.


Sing your praises, hold your hand/Tell the world that I think you’re grand/I’ll do any, thing for you, (he-he) but slave.

-Ray Charles, I’ll do Anything But Work

Much masculinity, particularly when it is aggressive and overbearing and hostile and unrelenting, is really a mask for the innate puerile frailty most men suffer. This is why it is so important to repress oppress suppress and  control women. This is why it is difficult for men to listen to women, husbands their wives. It is difficult for a man to respect a woman’s independence and self-assurance, but particularly her right to control her body mind and soul.  And religion undergirds this male persistence simply by way of its own support and confirmation of female subjugation (Ayaan Hirsi Ali is still on the run last I heard). Throughout the novel, Joshua never accepts responsibility for his failed marriage, only insisting that Bridget has fallen from (his) grace like in a biblical scene, thus it is his righteous duty to rescue and rehabilitate her. Her dreams and ambitions (which he has taken for granted and/or is unable to bear) is never really the focus of Joshua’s concern, just that he must save her from herself. More of Joshua’s sermonic hubris:

I refused to worry about things, and I was ok with the ways that life changes direction. She figured she needed to control her life so that nothing was left in the air. I know why she did this, but I knew she would always be nagged by the fears of her childhood unless she followed me. She knew deep down her desire was to live with me, but she kept wondering how she would function in reality? She used to always tell me she thought I lived on a cloud somewhere, and she was trying to make things work down here in the real world (64)

     “Why did she have to do this? Why now? Why ever? For comfort. That’s her reason. So that she could feel more comfortable, that’s what it boils down to. She was tired of being a journey. Well, did she really think that life was supposed to be easy?” (23) Ironically, the answers to Joshua’s questions – which he cannot see because of his evangelical preoccupation with all that is wrong with Bridget – is revealed in the futile soliloquies where he finds himself suffocated by his own romanticism.

     In a scene that is quite revealing, Joshua asks Bridget pointedly if he is the reason to blame for her leaving the marriage. Bridget says yes. “If you  would’ve just provided a safe place for us, a place where I didn’t have to worry about the things I was worried about, then I wouldn’t have felt like I needed to go look for it elsewhere” (44). Bridget is redolent with reason, trying desperately to lift her voice above Joshua’s impassioned sentimentality, hoping he will see the importance of financial and emotional security a woman needs and desires from a husband. She tries to explain what is practical in a marriage and what security means for her: “Josh, you know just as well as I do that whether you worry or not, there are still bills that need to be paid, people who get sick and things that were outside of our financial reach” (44). Again, Joshua misses his chance to learn something about women and how they view marriage. Here he cloaks his personal inadequacy in ignorant romanticism: “Yeah, but life is more than just paying bills. It’s more than just paying bills. It’s more than a feeling of safety” (44).

     In his great novel, Baldwin wrote: “We all commit our crimes. The thing is to not lie


Stephen Santos

about them – to try to understand what you have done, why you have done it. That way, you can begin to forgive yourself. That’s very important. If you don’t forgive yourself you’ll never be able to forgive anybody else and you’ll go on committing the same crimes forever” (79, Another Country).   Joshua’s burden is that he cannot forgive himself for his inadequacy as a provider. He cannot forgive Bridget (in the real sense) because forgiving her would place a deeper burden of confrontation: to excavate hidden pain; to look at the man in the mirror, to challenge all that he has come to know about life, love, and about people. Perhaps this is partly the inextricable burden Santos, too, confronts inasmuch as why he avoids the subcutaneous questions pervading the entire novel:  Why is Bridget’s character so condensed, paralytic, voiceless, and solely dependent on Joshua’s holy mercy and righteous wisdom?


     The biblical meaning of the name Joshua is “a savior; a deliverer.” The American meaning of the name Joshua is “a savior; a deliverer.” The Hebrew meaning of the name Joshua is “Jehovah is generous. Jehovah saves. In the Old Testament, Joshua was chosen to succeed Moses as leader of the Israelites for their journey to the Promised Land” ( So perhaps that is Joshua’s real problem: He thinks his job is to save Bridget. He thinks he is on a righteous crusade of biblical importance, to rescue the fallen woman, the harlot, from imminent self-destruction and eternal doom – this, he believes, is his sacred calling. He ministers when he should seek counseling; he analyzes when he should accept; He proselytizes when he should be silent.

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EyeSpecs- Post #7

Are you an author, writer, blogger, book promoter, book marketer, book coach, or publisher? Drop in weekly on the Motown Writers Network site where Eyeology INC will post snippets, tips, videos, quotes, and Q/A’s to bring value to whatever it is that you do.

Today’s #Q&A



eyespecs  A.  great question, with a loaded answer! Here is the short of it. You should be looking for individuals and companies that can represent your brand well. Their personal and business brands must be complimentary to your growth, expansion and brand identity. They specialize in your area of business and or seem to have a deep interest in developing niches as well as have the capabilities of helping you get to your desired destination. Their helping you though, does not absolve you of any effort to do your part. You are seeking individuals and companies that are professional, business saavy, and can work together with other individuals and companies to maximum your image, identity, and reach. There are a number of individuals and companies who can do all three but sometimes its hard to know if you’re both a good fit for one another. Start off with a shorter contract/ agreement that allows you the time to see if it is exactly what you need. Hope this helps!
#branding #brand #brandcoaching #entrepreneur #coaching #lifecoach #businesscoach #brandstrategy #companies #business #brandidentity #contracts #agreements #growth #expansion #books #ebooks #bookcoach

Have any questions? Contact us at Eyeology INC


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EyeSpecs- Post #5

Are you an author, writer, blogger, book promoter, book marketer, book coach, or publisher? Drop in weekly on the Motown Writers Network site where Eyeology INC will post snippets, tips, videos, quotes, and Q/A’s to bring value to whatever it is that you do.

Today’s #Q&A

social-media-outletA. Yes, using only one social media platform can hurt you. For new authors and writers each social media platform is the equivalent of television, radio, print advertisement, and other forms of marketing. Utilizing only one source is like saying “All my readers live on one block so I’m going to put up a billboard at one end of the block.” Well, that’s great, but what if they drive the other way? The other end of the block could either be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,, Snapchat, Pinterest, or Tumblr depending upon your target market. If you’re concerned that you won’t be able to manage them all then start out with one, get a rhythm going, master it, and then make sure to add another social media platform as you become comfortable. Remember, you want to be everywhere that your readers are and different social media platforms give you the opportunity to be found as your readers are able to narrow their search by using hashtags. #books #readers #authors #writers branding #marketing #promotions #coaching #brandstrategy  #businessstrategy #instagram #facebook #twitter #snapchat #musically #socialmediastrategy #socialmedia #socialmediacampaigns #socialmediacreation #socialmediaidentity #socialmediastrategy



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EyeSpecs- Post #3

Are you an author, writer, blogger, book promoter, book marketer, book coach, or publisher? Drop in weekly on the Motown Writers Network site where Eyeology INC will post snippets, tips, videos, quotes, and Q/A’s to bring value to whatever it is that you do.

Today’s Q/A

facebook_1473614682691If you are an author your goal is to spend quality time on social media to build your reach and engage with potential fans. The one thing commonly felt by most authors is that they lack the time to do quality engagement. Time is the one most valued commodity that you MUST invest when building your voice and image. It is your responsibility as an author to ensure that your authentic voice and image is represented accurately and consistently. Not some of the time, but EVERY time. In the case where you are unsure of where to start there are plenty of branding, social media, and marketing firms like Eyeology INC that are more than capable to assist you in the creation of that unique voice and specified image. This is however the first step to marketing and must not be taken lightly. Again, your first impression must be your BEST impression because your fans will forever define your Brand by it.
#bookstrategy #business #marketing #coaching #lifecoaching #businesscoaching #brandcoaching #lifestrategy #businessstrategy #brandstrategy #socialmediaidentitycreation #socialmediastrategy


At Eyeology INC, we believe that Innovation Necessitates Creativity and our main goal is to help you reach the world NOW!

Eyeology INC



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#EyeSpecs – Post #2

Are you an author, writer, blogger, book promoter, book marketer, book coach, or publisher? Drop in weekly on the Motown Writers Network site where Eyeology INC will post snippets, tips, videos, quotes, and Q/A’s to bring value to whatever it is that you do.

Today’s #EyeQuote



At Eyeology INC, we believe that Innovation Necessitates Creativity and our main goal is to help you reach the world NOW!



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[NEW VIDEO] What Stops you from #Writing? #TimeManagement #WritingDoubts #WritersBlockNoT #Inspiration

Talking how I overcome and get to #Writing despite daily life, benefit jobs, Mommying and so forth.

Subscribe on my youtube for more updates… More videos to come

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What is Your Michigan Author Amazon Page?

We love authors and we want you to share your amazon author page in the comments


So click this link and add your page to the comments.


  1. Must be a Michigan Author!
  2. Must be to an Amazon Author page and NOT your book page.

Thank you!

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MWN Author Feature- Ms. Hen

Amy HenricksonThis week the Motown Writers Network features Ms. Hen. Ms. Hen has been writing all her life, but has been writing children’s books since 2011 when she began to annually attend the Iowa Writers’ Summer Festival.
She began writing the Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist books when she worked as an elementary library supervisor and was disappointed in the offerings for girls and boys. She — and her students — wanted to read books that featured a smart, spunky, principled, and interesting protagonist. Ms. Hen says, “Girls can be anything: scientists, mathematicians, astronauts. Girls are so much more than glittery princesses; they are self-reliant problem-solvers.”
John Ball is a biography of the man who donated the land to establish the Grand Rapids, Michigan park and zoo that bears his name. His life was amazing — he had Christmas dinner with a king, traveled across the United States, and walked unannounced into the White House to have a chat with the U.S. President.
Mackinac Island is a place that many wish to visit. Even those who have been there may not know how it’s history helped to shape the United States. The book includes a walking tour, travel tips, and a bit of a scavenger hunt as well as historical and current information that will prove interesting and helpful for visitors as well as students who are writing a report on the special island.
Ms. Hen lives in Michigan, the Mitten State. She has two grown children, two grandchildren, and two kitties. Her favorite color is orange and she loves to travel.

Where are you from?  

Grandville, MI
Latest News
I just published “Let’s Explore Mackinac Island,” and will be speaking at the Michigan Reading Assoc. Conference in Detroit — March 2016
When and why did you begin writing?
I was an English major in college and taught English for a couple of years.  I also did some proofreading and editing. I had never written creatively but always wanted to, so in 2010, I went to the University of Iowa for the Summer Writing Festival and have been writing creatively ever since.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?  
When my first book, Lucky Lottie, was published in 2012 and my library (KDL Grandville) hosted a book-signing party.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Originally, I thought I wanted to write Memoir, but found that I have a knack for writing for children.  As all authors do, I incorporated some of my own story into the character of Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I enjoy writing fiction and poetry, but I think my forte is researching and distilling information in non-fiction.
How did you come up with the title? 
The Lottie Gunderson, Girl Scientist books are a series of 4 books with rhyming(ish) titles that give a hint of the story:  Lucky Lottie, Spotty Lottie, Rocky Lottie, and Lakey Lottie.  My great aunt’s name was Lottie and I loved her to pieces.  My writing group helped with the series title.
Is there a message?
Each book has not only some nuggets about science, but also information about Michigan and some character lessons, delivered in a light-hearted way.
How much is realistic?
The Lottie stories could happen to any curious child.
Experiences based on someone or events?
I believe every author inserts some of him- or herself in all of their fiction writing.  I would say that Lottie is the girl I wish I had been.
What books have influenced your life most?
The Bible, My Antonia, Pippi Longstocking, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Blessing, The Gifts of Imperfection, To Kill a Mockingbird, Whistling in the Dark, One True Thing
Which writer would you consider a mentor?
Willa Cather
What are you reading now?
Sapphira and the Slave Girl; The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up; The Torah
New authors who have grasped my interest?
Katie Van Ark, Wendy Booydegraaf
Current Projects?
Just published “Let’s Explore Mackinac Island.”
Entity that supported you outside of family members?
My writing group:  FLAG (Four Ladies and a Gent)
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, but not a dependable financial path
Would you change anything in your latest book?
No — but it’s fresh.  I’m sure I’ll see/think of something as time goes on.
How did my interest in writing originate?
I loved books and reading for as long as I can remember.  I’m sure that influenced my interest in writing.
Share a little of current work?
I’m revising a novel that has been in the works for a few years.  It’s a project close to my heart. That’s all I can say about that right now.
Anything particularly challenging in my writing?
I get impatient to publish, but I find if I let the manuscript simmer a bit, the revisions are better.
Favorite author/why?
I would have to say that Frederick Buechner is my favorite author.  He writes beautifully with great candor about life, faith, doubt, and hope.
Do you travel much concerning your books?
I have traveled in West Michigan to promote my books at various author events and libraries.  I traveled to Mackinac Island to research and take photos for my latest book.
Who designed the covers?  
I illustrated the books and took the photos, but my daughter, Abby Bedford, is a graphic designer and she professionally formats the covers.
What was the hardest part?
Ignoring distractions of life to hunker down and get ‘er done.
What did you learn from writing your book?
I learned to trust my “muse.”  The stories unfold and characters appear and sometimes I’m surprised to see what I’ve written.  That’s the best!
Any advise for other writers?
Write as much as you can,  keep a notebook for ideas (you never know when something will inspire you), join a writing group,  engage in social media,  be an extrovert about your writing, read, be a constant observer/listener, don’t quit.
Anything specific to say to readers?
In my work in elementary libraries, I found that many books for children are pretty silly or fluffy.  That’s okay in small doses, but in the Lottie books, I wanted to portray a girl who wasn’t a princess or a fairy, but spunky, real, and full of curiosity.  Science is not only interesting, it’s important.  Kids can enjoy reading fun stories that also teach.
Lucky Lottie
Rocky LottieLakey LottieSpotty Lottie
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#MotownWriters @Meetup Group Topic:Finding Readers|Make money in 2016 Dec12th 10am @DetroitLibrary


  • Saturday, December 12, 2015

    10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

  • Detroit Library – Main

    5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI (edit map)

  • 3rd flr
  • (Please forward this to a friend and bring several friends with you.)


    Whether offline or online finding readers is a hard job for Writers. Get ready to take notes as we discuss how to find your readers to sell more books.

    We’ll also touch on how to make money as a writer while increasing readership and SEO. See ya Sat and please bring a donation to help us out.

    Also bring your literary challenges, new books to announce and achievements.

    Networking is key to our survival as writers and authors! This is your chance to learn, network and connect!




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MWN Author Spotlight –Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen)

Michael KitchenCome with us as we spotlight yet another great Michigan author, Do Haeng (Michael Kitchen).

Michael Kitchen is a writer who practices law, or a lawyer who writes. Whichever way you look at it, Kitchen has been writing for numerous years with a list of varied credits from a comic book story to church newsletter articles to hockey articles.

Kitchen is a graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, and obtained a Business Administration degree at Eastern Michigan University. He co-authored “Down Through the Years: The Memoirs of Detroit City Council President Emeritus Erma Henderson” (Authorhouse, 2004). His short fiction has appeared in “Written in the Mitten 2013” (Heron Bay Books) and Legends, Summer 2013 (Grey Wolfe Publishing). He won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story Contest.

If not in court, Kitchen enjoys writing, reading, wandering and/or shopping in a book store, bowling, or watching soccer.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Plymouth, MI.  I currently reside in Chesterfield Township, MI.

Tell us your latest news?

My daughter and son-in-law began foster parenting three kids in August making me a foster grandfather.

When and why did you begin writing?

Back in college, I worked at the Greyhound Bus Station.  The manager was a comic book fan and could draw, and he encouraged me to write.  I was more the math/science type, but in my first English Comp class at EMU the professor told me the essays I wrote were of the quality he read in newspapers and magazines.  The bus station manager and a friend of his started a comic book fanzine and I became a contributor to it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Thirty years out of college, I’m still wrestling with calling myself a writer.  I grew up in a practical family background.  Reading was not encouraged by my parents (it wasn’t discouraged, it just wasn’t part of their lives), so the thought of going to school for a degree in literature or writing would have been frowned upon, whereas an accounting degree was more in-step with parental expectations.  Also, because it is not a full-time profession for me, I stumble in acknowledging myself with that title.  Even though I had one short story published in a commercial magazine in 1993, even though I won the 2009 Michigan Bar Journal Short Story contest, even though I’ve co-authored a self-published book and had my first novel published with a hybrid publisher, I don’t think I’ll actually consider myself a writer until I see that traditionally published novel sitting on the shelves in bookstores across America.  That will be the day that I’ll say that “I made it!”

What inspired you to write your first book?

I saw the movie “The Razor’s Edge” starring Bill Murray in 1984 when it was released.  I was in the early stages of exploring my writing skills and fell in love with the story.  I later read Somerset Maugham’s novel that the movie was based on, and saw the 1946 movie starring Tyrone Power.  My desire was to be able to write that kind of story.  Fast forward to 2007 and that’s when I decided to write something inspired by the novel/movie, making it more contemporary.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I try to keep it simple.  I don’t like reading a paragraph that describes a blade of grass blowing in the wind, so I do my best not to write that way.  Nor do I want my reader to have to have a dictionary sitting next to them.  However, I hope that whatever I write has an underlying purpose or theme.

How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t have a working title until I got to the point where one of the characters revealed it to me while writing the first draft.  That’s when it all came together.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The underlying theme is that life is a question to be lived every day.  Question everything.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it.  Current events in American history gave my characters the elements necessary to propel them.  In “The Razor’s Edge,” World War I, the Roaring 20’s and The Depression affect the characters significantly.  I use The Battle of Seattle, the New Millennium, and 9/11 to influence my characters.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Not exactly.  Are there characteristics of people and events within it?  Definitely.

What books have most influenced your life most?

“The Razor’s Edge” by Somerset Maugham; “No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America” by Ralph Nader inspired me to go to law school.  “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg and two of Lawrence Block’s books on writing; “Telling Lies for Fun & Profit” and “Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction”.  “Taking the Path of Zen” by Robert Aitken and “Stumbling Toward Enlightenment” by Geri Larkin regarding Zen Buddhism.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Unfortunately, I have not had the fortune to have a mentor.  Cima Starr was my editor in the correspondence course I took in the 1980’s who started me off.  I learned a lot from Lawrence Block’s writings about writing.

What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading Book One of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle.”  I’m also reading Amanda Palmer’s “The Art of Asking” and Charles Baxter’s “Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction.”

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Angela Flournoy and Ottessa Moshfegh are two that immediately come to mind.  I’ve read their short fiction published in current issues of The Paris Review and have both of their first novels on my to-read list.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on my next novel which is going through its second revision as I battle test it with my writer’s group.  Got a few short stories circulating, too.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Early on it was definitely Detroit Working Writers.  They had some awesome conferences back in the 1990’s when I was developing my writing skills and learning about the profession.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would like it to be.  But for now it shares time with my law practice.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No.  As writers we grow and change over time.  That novel is written from my experience and knowledge during  those six years.  If I had to write it over again, I’m a different person and the novel would likely be written differently than how it currently is.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Probably from playing Dungeons & Dragons in high school.  I had always read comic books, but the creation of characters and settings and conflicts that came from playing D&D with my friends sparked the interest.  I was also inspired by television characters who were writers – Ron Harris (Ron Glass) of Barney Miller and Carl Kolchak (Darren McGavin) of The Night Stalker.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

It’s a literary novel about two young men who fall in love for the first time.  They meet their first loves while in jail.  Thematically its about the mental jails – both good and bad – that we create for ourselves.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Everything.  Through grade school I was not strong at all in English and Literature classes.  I always had an active imagination and could piece together a good story.  It’s the execution of putting it down in a proper way and to avoid charges from the Grammar Police that is a challenge for me.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lawrence Block.  I took a correspondence course back in the 1980’s after graduating college.  This was the old days, where assignments and critiques were done through the US Mail.  I believe I used a typewriter, too.  Anyway, the editor that had been assigned to me said that based on my writing style I should read Lawrence Block.  I’ve been reading him ever since.  He tells a story straight without the flowery description and uses language that doesn’t require a dictionary to be near at hand.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No.  Would I love to?  Sure!

Who designed the covers?

I did.  It was from a photo I took at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The time it took to write it.  And the point of view.  The first version was first person from Darryl’s POV.  Then I tried third person, but that didn’t work.  I went back to Maugham’s novel and found it was written first person from Maugham’s POV.  That’s when I created Mac, Darryl’s cousin, to tell the story.  He was perfect for the job.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

There comes a point where you have to say it’s finished.  I feel like I could keep revising it, but then it would never make it to book form.  I had to accept that there isn’t a book out there that’s perfect, and each reader is going to have their own impression and experience of it.  It taught me to approach writing like a practice, like Zen practice and law practice.  There will be good moments and bad, but no sustaining and constant perfection.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Know what your vision is for your writing.  If you have dreams of being published traditionally, know that it is extremely difficult, and that you not only have to write but read a lot and learn a lot about the business.  And develop a thick skin because you’re going to need to battle test your work with other writers, some of whom, if they are honest, will pull no punches in order for you to develop the piece your working on to be the best that it can be.  If you’re going to self-publish, you better be prepared to put as much effort in promoting and marketing the book as you did writing it.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Many many bows of gratitude to those who have taken the time to read my work.  There is so much out there to read (I know, I have shelves of books that I may never get to in this lifetime), to watch, and to do that I am truly honored.  My hope is that what I’ve written was worth your time.

The Y In Life


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MWN Author Spotlight –Melanie (Hooyenga) Swiftney @MelanieHoo

Melanie HooyengaThis week, the spotlight is on Melanie (Hooyenga) Swiftney;

Melanie Hooyenga first started writing as a teenager and finds she still relates best to that age group. She has lived in Washington DC, Chicago, and Mexico, but has finally settled down in her home state of Michigan with her husband Jeremy. When not at her day job as a writer/designer, you can find Melanie attempting to wrangle her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with Jeremy.


Where are you from?

I live in Grand Haven, Michigan, just a few minutes from Lake Michigan. I’m originally from here, but I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Tell us your latest news?

The third book in my YA trilogy, the Flicker Effect, came out in June 2015. Also, I’ll be at the Grand Rapids Comic Con this October and the Kalamazoo Book Bash. I can’t wait!

When and why did you begin writing?

I first started writing in middle school, but stopped once I graduated college and started my career as a graphic designer. It wasn’t until I was living in Mexico and not working that I started writing again. It’s been eight years and I haven’t stopped since!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a writer about a year after I started writing, so once I’d finished my first full-length novel. I considered myself an author when I published my first novel, Flicker, in 2012.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first novel was about a teenager trying to sneak across the US border from Mexico. (You could say I was influenced by my surroundings.) I enjoyed including the day-to-day details I learned about Mexico, but that novel is buried safely in my computer.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I prefer to write in first person, present tense. My first two novels were third person past, but I feel much more comfortable in first present. It’s sometimes tricky because you can only tell the story from your character’s perspective–there’s no narrator to add details for the reader–but the immediacy to that voice resonates with me.

How did you come up with the title?

My main character, Biz, uses sunlight to travel back to yesterday. She calls it flickering after the way the sunlight filters through the trees like a strobe light, so it seemed logical to name the first book Flicker, and the series the Flicker Effect.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Try to see beyond yourself. There’s a big world out there and each of us can help others in our own unique way.

How much of the book is realistic?

It’s contemporary YA, set in modern day, so aside from the time travel element, it’s completely realistic.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are snippets from real situations or jokes that I have with friends, but very little is taken from actual events. There is a scene in Faded (book 3) that is similar to something that happened to me, but I can’t go into detail without spoiling it.

What books have most influenced your life most?

I’ve read voraciously since I was very young, and my tastes have varied over the years. Because of that I can’t say that any one book or books have had a bigger influence than others. I devoured the Sweet Valley High books in elementary school, so those certainly sparked my interest in the relationships between people — something that plays a strong role in my books.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I’d love to spend time with Stephanie Perkins, author of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. Her books blow me away. The storylines aren’t overly complex but I want to be best friends with her characters and I’d love to get inside her head to learn how she does it.

What book are you reading now?

Nothing at the moment but I recently finished SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT by Sarah Strohmeyer. It’s about three wickedly smart high school girls who realize there’s more to high school than just good grades. My current WIP is about a girl who moves to a new school so I’m devouring books about teens going through big changes (which is pretty much all YA) and this one was great.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Linda Budzinski is fantastic. Her debut novel, THE FUNERAL SINGER, is phenomenal and I cannot wait for her next novel, EM AND EM.

What are your current projects?

I wrapped up the Flicker Effect series this past June, so now I’m working on a book about a girl who loves to downhill ski and moves from Vermont to Colorado. And of course there’s a swoon-worthy boy.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My teachers, for sure. They’ve always seen my potential and pushed me to be better than I thought I could be.

Do you see writing as a career?

Someday. Right now I still have a day job, but I recently switched from being a full-time graphic designer to having more of a focus on writing.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope. I’m really happy with the way I concluded the series.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I still have a short story I wrote in first grade, so I’d have to say writing has always been a part of me. My mother is an avid reader, something I got from her, and that turned into storytelling for me.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

This scene takes place right after Cally wiped out doing a ski trick. Blake helped her, and now she’s being examined at the lodge:

I texted Dad after Blake convinced me to call ski patrol, and now he’s pacing behind me while a snow patrol guy in a blue ski jacket appraises my knee. My snow pants are shoved as high as I can get them up my leg but they keep sliding down. Blue Jacket touches his chin before making eye contact with Dad. “Snow pants have to go.”

A fresh wave of humiliation sweeps over me. Of all the days to wear my long underwear with little bunnies hopping all over them. I unsnap my snow pants and shimmy them to my ankles, then slide the bunnies over a knee that is considerably larger than it was when I got dressed this morning.

“Christ, Cally.” Dad forces out a deep breath and rests a hand on my shoulder. “What were you trying to do?”

If I admit I was upside-down without an adult within fifty feet he might not let me out of his sight the rest of the vacation. “Nothing crazy. Just my usual three-sixty. I caught my edge when I landed.”

Blue Jacket pokes my knee and I suck in a breath.

Please don’t let it be serious.

“Looks like a sprain. There’s a med center in town that can tell you for sure, but I suggest you stay off it for a few days.”

I whip around and face Dad. “A few days? That’s our entire trip!”

Trilogy_full covers


Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Right now, I’m still working on staying in the voice of this new character. I wrote Biz and her friends for five years, so I have to remind myself that Cally reacts to things differently.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Lisa McMann really stands out for young adult, probably because her two series, WAKE and VISIONS, are similar to mine. They’re both about a normal girl who has a weird quirk in her head that makes her do something supernatural.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I would LOVE to, but no. Fortunately the internet makes it easy to research far-away places. I have traveled across west Michigan for different book events, and hope to attend an event in Detroit in spring of 2016.

Who designed the covers?

I did! The benefit to also being a graphic designer is I’ve designed the covers and interiors of all my books.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Deciding it was finished. Most writers will agree that you could keep editing forever. There’s always one more thing to change, one detail to clarify, or one scene that could be tightened, but at some point you have to step away and decide it’s finished.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned that it’s very important to keep a character bible while writing. When secondary characters pop up, or they go to a restaurant, I name it and keep writing. If they go to that restaurant later in the book and you haven’t noted the name, you’ll have to search the entire document to find the name. Notes are good.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up! Writing a novel is a solitary endeavor and it can take a really long time. It’s easy to get inside your head and let self-doubt take over, but if you want to write a novel, sit down with your computer or pen and paper and do it. You are the only one who can stop you.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for reading! I love hearing from my readers and I especially love getting reviews. They are gold to writers.


Name of Author: Melanie Hooyenga

Name of Book: The Flicker Effect trilogy (FLICKER, FRACTURE, and FADED)

Author Website:











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