Friday, March 1, 2024

Revisiting Lisa Haden (previously Thomas)


I last chatted to Lisa Haden (who was Lisa Thomas at the time) in July 22 (click here to read) and loved her book, Unprecedented times. A lot has happened since then, including a name change, so I was keen to catch up!

'In our chat, we talked about my debut novel “Unprecedented Times”, the first book in the “Alternative History Trilogy”. Since our chat, I’ve had a lot of personal-life issues to contend with, including the loss of two very close family members. As a result, I haven’t released the second book in the trilogy (and the follow-up book to “Unprecedented Times”) as I had planned. 
I have, however, started to write the second instalment and now have a book title and a cover. So far, I haven’t shared this with anyone, but I would love to give your readers a sneak preview of book two, so I’ve attached a copy of the book cover for “New Normal”, which I hope to release this year (2024, time permitting). Oh, and you can now read “Unprecedented Times” free on Kindle Unlimited!
 
Although I haven’t finished writing book two, I have expanded my creativity in other ways. In October 2022 I released my first music single “Rainbow After The Storm”, available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and Amazon Music, to name a few. Over the last 15 months, I have released a total of 7 music singles and I have another song coming out in February, which I am very excited about. I have gained a massive 1901 followers on Spotify, where I have between 600 and 700 monthly listeners. Across the 7 songs I have had almost 40,000 streams on Spotify alone, which I am both shocked and thrilled by. 
 
I have also featured on songs from another artist, loaning my vocals to their tracks. This has been a massive step for me in building my confidence, releasing music was something I had always wanted to do, but never had the confidence to see through, until more recently. I have included a graphic of my songs and the songs I have released… feel free to stream my music, which (FYI), you can also use as background music for reels and ads on social media. 
 
In other news, my GIF range (which we discussed in my previous interview) has now reached over 70 million views, which is just completely amazing and totally baffling to me! I now have over 50k followers on X (formerly Twitter), over 8000 followers on IG and I almost have 1000 followers on TikTok, which is incredible given I don’t use TikTok much. 

Also, since our last interview, my divorce has been finalised, I am officially a single mom of three. As a result, I recently changed my surname, back to my maiden name of Lisa Haden. I’ll be honest, I was nervous about rebranding myself from Lisa Thomas, back to Lisa Haden, but I’m thrilled to say so far, it’s going well. My music moved over pretty quickly on Spotify (Apple Music still has half of my songs under the name Lisa Thomas, although the
artwork has been updated to my maiden name), and my book “Unprecedented Times” is now showing as Lisa Haden on Amazon, I had the cover edited, so I’ll share that with you here too. Of course, I still need to get my name out there (my new name that is), but so far, so good. 
 
I’ll be honest, it’s been a difficult 18 months since we last spoke, but I finally feel like I’m regaining my life.'

Oh wow, what an 18 months, but I'm so glad to hear things are starting to get better! What does Lisa have planned going forward?

'I have lots of exciting things in the pipeline. As I mentioned in my last answer, I am currently working on book two in the “Alternative History” trilogy, this is going to be called “New Normal”. And book three in the trilogy is thoroughly planned out so I intend to start writing this up as soon as I’ve released the second book. However, I do need a title for this final instalment in the trilogy, so if anyone has any suggestions, please pop your ideas in the comments in this blog… I’d love to hear them!
 
I also have another song coming out in February called “Masquerade Ball”, I believe this song will be available to stream by the time this interview has been published. “Masquerade Ball” is a song about being in a relationship with someone but not really knowing who they were. When you fall for the idea that they loved you, then realise you are in a toxic relationship and you’re being taken for a fool. 
 
After this song has been released, I’m then working on the vocals for someone else’s song, which I’ll add into my “Featured On” playlist (this is pinned to my Spotify profile). I’m constantly writing new lyrics and adding these to my website… so take a look and tell me which lyric you’d like me to turn into a song next!
 
As well as my book and my music, I also have some work to do behind the scenes. Changing my surname has resulted in me having to change my domain name to www.lisamariehaden.com (was lisathomasauthor.com). I’m in the process of updating my website, adding new lyrics (which I’ve written over the last few months), and adding some more personal information about me and my journey. 
 
I’m also (along with my children) creating new GIFs for my GIPHY brand, because all my old GIFs have my old website displayed, therefore, I need to replace these. 

So yes, it’s a busy time, a lot to do, but it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to share this new work with you.'
 
I love this, Lisa's energy seems boundless! To finish up, I asked if there was anything else she'd like to share:

As well as losing family members and getting divorced, I’ve had a lot of other personal issues over the last couple of years, including fighting for support for my son (who is now on the waiting list for an autism assessment), financial problems and almost becoming homeless (due to my landlord not paying his mortgage payments). 
 
Until recently, I’ve kept all of my personal problems pretty much to myself. But the support I have received from people on social media and my ‘fans’ for my music etc. has really helped me through the darkest time of my life. 
 
I recently shared and pinned a new post to my X (Twitter) account, and I’d love to share that here with you, so I can thank all of YOU for the support you have given me throughout these last couple of years, you genuinely don’t know how much you have helped me:

Dear all, please note my new surname and handle!

I’m now using my maiden name Lisa Haden, following my divorce (was Lisa Thomas). My handle is now @lisamariehaden (was lisathomasbooks). http://Linktr.ee has also been updated: https://linktr.ee/lisahaden

Here you can find links to my #website, #book, #songs and my #GIPHY profile (among others). Most of my work has been moved across to my maiden name-some old #bookreviews and #Apple music still use my old name of Thomas.

These last 3 years have been the hardest years of my life, I could not have gotten through it all without the love and support I’ve received from YOU. Over the last decade+ I’ve had my confidence completely stripped away and I’ve been made to feel utterly worthless and entirely useless. I saw nothing good in myself. But I’ve managed to regain some confidence, rediscover myself and have learned to love myself (somewhat). I now value and have more belief in myself than I ever have done before, and that is thanks to my supporters here.

I am forever thankful to each and every one of you. I can’t thank you all enough, but I will continue to show my gratitude by giving back to this wonderful community as much as I can, and by supporting and loving you all 😘 You’re the best #family a girl could ask for. 

Ps) in case you’re wondering how to pronounce my surname: Ha-y-den. And yes, my middle is Marie, I was raised on #Elvis.'

What a wonderful, inspiring lady - I wish her all the best in her new endeavours and I hope you will support her too. To find out more, please click on the links in the post above and below:

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Sunday, February 25, 2024

Tweetables is nearly two years old!

🎉I can't believe that Tweetables is 🥳
two-years old at the beginning of March
- where has the time gone! 
45 wonderful authors have given interviews! 
The blog has nearly 50,000 views!
😍   WOW   😍 
Thank you all!
  
To celebrate, I'm revisiting five wonderful authors, and finding out what they've been doing since we first chatted. They all have wonderful news, so here's a sneaky peek at who's coming up:
 
1st March - Lisa Haden
 
6th March - Duane Simolke

12th March -  Kelly Miller

18th March - Helen Sedgwick

24th March - Laban T M'mbololo, Esq
 

Please join me in my celebrations and keep an eye out for these great interviews! Also, and this is a big one, thank you so much for continuing to follow the blog and support these wonderful authors. You're amazing 😍💖

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Thursday, February 15, 2024

Author interview with Michelle Garcia

This week's interview is with the very popular Michelle Garcia who writes as M.G. Cobbett and has nearly 50k X (Twitter) followers. You may well have seen her there as she's a huge supporter of fellow authors and her follower trains are extraordinary! But before we get into all of that, let's meet her:

'I’m a 52 year-old Scouse grandma. I have one furbaby called Bella. I live on a mountain in Wales UK.'

She first published in 2017 and writes romance which can be set in YA, paranormal or crime genres. She has four indie books to date.

Returning to her X presence, I am in awe of all the work she does there, but it must take a lot of her time. Why does she do it? 

'I LOVE IT! And that's why I do it. If I had the option to sit on X all day and share people's work, I would.'

Wow, that's some passion! It's interesting, because her follower frenzies state they are ‘just for fun’ and she makes a point of stating 'non-political', so has she had issues in the past?

'I have had fights break out on threads, predominantly with American politics. Which, considering I'm not American and as a priest not political, is frustrating. I don't run the frenzy for anything other than fun and follower gains, and if people can't respect that, then I block them. 

I still get the occasional one but in all fairness it’s usually an error, and the poster removes it when asked, but now and again I get someone who has 

- A, put it up to cause a rut or 
- B, refuses to take it down because “They can post what they want.” 

Yes, you can post what you want on your own threads, but not on mine.'

Well said! She continues,

'In the UK, we don't do that as a general rule of thumb. Mostly, apart from the extremes of either side, Brits are quite quiet about their political leanings, so it's also a culture thing. 

Sometimes the sheer hatred makes me feel sick. I saw one woman of one political bias who had lost a child, offer support to anyone who was going through the same as long as they were not of the opposing political opinion. That kind of insensible hatred is vile. 

Because I can see both sides, I see they're actually not that different. Sure they want different laws passed, but in the day-to-day things, they're people, they have the same worries, the same heartaches, the same likes and loves, they read the same books and watch the same movies. I wish people would look for the similarities in others instead of the differences. But, in the most, people get along better on X than they do in the real world.

I’ve also had threats about my religion. I don’t post any religious posts even though I’m a pagan priest. But, I've had religious responses which have erupted in the DMs, and when I ask them to remove it, they refuse because their God is the only true God, and we deserve to die unless we convert to the one true religion, so when I point out that I’m a priest of a different denomination then I get a stream of abuse. But this has happened maybe 3 times in 7 years. Again, people tend to get along better on X than in the real world.'

Okay, she's mentioned it so I have to go there. I'd heard she was a 'witch', is this right and what can she tell us?

'YES! I am the pagan High Priestess of the Aurora Chandra Coven. I don’t hide it, I’m not ashamed of my belief system, (hence my profile pic).

I’ve had problems, but few and far between. I find most people just want to get on with their lives, and while we’re seeing the world gearing up for war I wonder why the outside world can’t be more like X where for the majority of the time we all get along great. There are the odd one or two hardliners but most people put their differences aside to have a good time, so I wonder why the outside world can’t be more like X? I have had some amazing conversations with priests of other denominations, and as a pagan it thrills me.'

I could ask a lot more just about this, but as we're really here to chat about her as an author, I'd better get back on-track 😄 

What inspired her to become a writer?

'I started writing to escape. Then, a couple of times, I got close to getting published and my writing became all about getting published. It took the fun out of it. It took the escapism out of it because now it was another mound of stress on my already full mountain. It also caused writers’ block. I lost the love of writing and my flood of creativity dried up. When it looked like AI might take over, I practically gave up.

Then I remembered the reason I started writing. I wrote for myself. My friends and family enjoyed my writing. So, even though I have my timetable, I’m once again doing it for the love of it. If I get a traditional publishing contract, then great. I know there are many honest agents and publishers out there. I’ve met a few, so I’m not going to stop trying. I’d say to any writer out there, write because you love it. Anything else is a bonus.'

Oh dear, stress is so destructive, but I'm glad she's back on track and I love her message to other writers - wonderful! As Michelle has mentioned AI, and I've seen her tweet about it, I wondered if she'd share her concerns?

'With the advent of AI I would imagine getting published is going to be nearly impossible. I’m annoyed because I have spent a lot of time and money perfecting my art, including a writing course at Oxford University.'

That is concerning for writers but hopefully readers will be savvy enough to continue supporting authors. She mentioned she had a timetable, does she also have a daily writing routine? 

'I am a stickler for time management. If I don’t manage my time I get nothing done. This is my daily routine.' (see photo)

Wow, I have to admit, I would love to be that organised! How long does it take her to write a book?

'That’s a tough one because I do an outline novella and then build so it could be 3 to 6 months.'

And which of Michelle's four books should readers try first, and why?

'Two Houses. It’s the first Verona College novella and it introduces the reader to Beswick Stanton where most of my books are or will be set. Beswick Stanton has a map on my website which is available via the Cobbett’s Books link (at base of post).'

And a tweetable of Two Houses (tweet here):

'https://amz.run/7C1i
Todd is a posh bully. Carmel hates him until a dance at The Venue Nightclub changes everything. Now, she’s falling in love, but he’s getting blackmailed to stay away.'

Can she give us an extract from one of her books?

‘Pervert.’ An old woman screamed from the changing room. Stark naked. Nipples pointing the way to the floor. Not making any attempt to cover anything.

‘Oh, puhhh-lease. I’d have to be a necro—Arghh.’'

She admitted that out of context this scene won’t make much sense, but it did make me laugh! Does she read reviews of her own books?

'All the time. Good reviews are great. Bad reviews, take the criticism, use it as a learning curve and build on it.'

Sound advice! Has she had any writing-career highs?

'Working with Terry and Steve at Greenhills Chats.'

Good to know, you can find their link here! Does she have any plans for future books?

'I am researching using a book manager. Eeva Lancaster came highly recommended to me by Terry and Ken Stark. I am currently reading her book ‘Being Indie’. The woman is a marvel and a mine of information.'

I’ve not come across the term ‘book manager’ before – what does she do?

'I've not used her yet. Her book, though, is a guide to indie publishing, and it's full of fantastic tips.'

Ooh, that sounds interesting, I'll have to investigate! What does Michelle consider a common trap for aspiring writers?

'Not learning the trade. I worked with an executive editor and attended courses and I’m still learning every day. I use proof readers and try my best to get my work on point. 

It saddens me when someone wins the competition (see below) to have a read and review and they’ve put 'The End' on the manuscript and uploaded it straight to Amazon. It’s not a nice reading experience. 

There is more to writing than putting words on paper. I’m not perfect, but I do make an effort. It’s when people don’t, I get annoyed. It makes me want to stop reading then and there.
The flip side of that is that indie writers don’t have access to expensive editors the way traditionally published authors do. That’s still no excuse for not asking someone to proof read it.'

And talking of her monthly blog competition – how does she pick which books to read?

'I pick by the one that grabs me. The one I like the look of the most. If I see one that I've not read before but I see they've entered several previous months, I will choose that one, but other than that, it's what sounds good at the time. 

As I mentioned above, the ones that disappoint me haven't been proofread or edited. It puts people off buying indie and I get that traditionally published authors get the whole nine yards when they sign on with an agent, but make an effort, you're letting the side down. Your bad work reflects badly on all of us. I have a couple of proofreaders, but I'm always in the market for more 😀'
 

So there you have it, an amazing lady who speaks a lot of common sense! If you'd like to find out more about her, please visit her links below and do take a look at all the books she's reviewed on her website to support even more authors!

Website: https://www.cobbettsbooks.co.uk/
Twitter: @M_Cobbett71
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/XanBorWid/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.g.cobbett/

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Thursday, February 8, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with Michelle Garcia


My next author interview is with the popular Michelle Garcia who writes as M.G. Cobbett and has penned four novels to date.

We have a fascinating chat about her weekly follower frenzies, her monthly book-reading/ review competition and her life as a pagan High Priestess. 

It goes live on the 15th February but if you'd like to find out more about her, please visit her links below:

Website: https://www.cobbettsbooks.co.uk/
Twitter: @M_Cobbett71
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/XanBorWid/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/m.g.cobbett/

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Thursday, February 1, 2024

Author interview with Bethany Bauerle


This week's interview is with author Bethany Bauerle who indie published her first book in 2022. She writes fantasy for Middle Grade & Young Adults, as well as penning children's books. So let's meet her:
 
'I'm a neurodivergent (AuDhd, Autism and ADHD) mom of two, a boy and a girl, who are the inspiration for my first children's book "My Brother is AU-Mazing!" 
 
I enjoy spending time with my family as much as I can, but when I get some time to myself you can find me reading, writing, listening to music, or watching movies. 
 
I'm a huge Swiftie and addicted to coffee, Starbucks is life.'  
At this point I had to ask what a Swiftie was - in case you don't know, it means she's a huge Taylor Swift fan! 'I love her music. She always tells a story. It's therapeutic and relatable.' 
 
Good to know! What else does she enjoy?
 
'I love watching Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel & DC movies, and basically anything Sci Fi/ Fantasy related. However, when it comes to books I'm pretty eclectic. I will read any and all genres if the book piques my interests.

I want to travel more and would love to live near a beach someday. However, I love the fall here in Indiana, so I would probably miss it too much.'


Can she give us a tweetable (tweet here):

'My books are more than tales; they're tools for empathy, celebrating neurodiversity, & spreading kindness.

Join me in this  beautiful journey of storytelling and making a difference!'

What made Bethany want to become a writer?
 
'My second grade teacher. I had always loved reading and started to write short stories here and there. I wanted to be a writer from the moment I opened my first copy of Chronicles of Narnia, but my teacher helped me truly realize my passion for it and inspired me to keep going. She read every story I wrote, even the bad ones, and I will never forget her kindness towards me. I grew up pretty poor so I couldn't to afford but books I went to the library A LOT. I'll never forget my incredibly kind teacher who gave me brand new books for Christmas and some journals for writing.'
 
Isn't it amazing how important good teachers are to students. Does she know Bethany's published 2 books?
 
'Honestly, I don't know. I haven't been able to find her. I hope that she does!'
 
I hope so too! What does she enjoy the most about writing?
 
'It's always been therapeutic to me, a way to let out my emotions, but I enjoy getting to know my characters and their personalities and struggles. I love that I can create a story that others can relate too or escape to another world. 
 
I want to spread the joy and excitement of reading to all ages. However, I think my favourite age group to write for is definitely children's books because they are just beginning to find their love for reading.'

So now she's paying it forward, I love that! Is she working on a new book, and how long do they usually take to write? 
 
'I have so many ideas in my head but I'm currently working on three books, one is a half finished upper YA fantasy romance and the other two are being drafted right now. The second is a children's picture book I'm writing with my seven year old daughter, and I'm also writing a middle grade fantasy adventure series. They usually take about 6 months to write.'
 
Gosh, that's a lot of ideas on the go at once - I couldn't do that! Does she have a daily writing routine, so she can meet all her targets?

'Usually I'm running around with Mom Life, but when I do get to sit down and have a moment to myself I light a candle, grab some coffee, and just pour my soul into the story I'm writing.'

What has she found the hardest part of her writing journey?

'Finding the time, and every writer struggles with self doubt. As for publishing, being an indie author you have to literally do it all. It's not easy, but to me it's all worth it!'

I'm glad she enjoys it! Does she read reviews of her books and how does she handle them?
 
'Sometimes, but not often. If I receive a bad review I've learned not to take it to heart. Utilising constructive criticism is a must as an author and your reader's suggestions do matter, but you should also write what you want. You will find the right audience it just takes time and patience.'

Good advice! So let's talk about 'My Brother is AU-Mazing!' Can she give us a synopsis?

'It's a heart-warming story and revolves around Addy's unwavering admiration for her big brother, Noah. 
 
Noah, a joyful and vibrant boy, perceives the world in a unique way due to his autism, a difference that often sets him apart. Despite these challenges, Noah's infectious joy and laughter significantly enrich the lives of those around him. 
 
Determined to showcase Noah's extraordinary world, Addy embarks on a mission to share with everyone the wonders of having an autistic sibling.Through their adventures, readers are invited to explore Noah's distinctive perspective and join the siblings on their remarkable journey of understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love. 
This narrative is a celebration of the special bond between siblings and a testament to the beauty of embracing differences.'

And a tweetable (tweet here):
'"My Brother is AU-Mazing!" is a touching tale of Addy's love for her autistic brother, Noah. A story of understanding, joy, and the special bond between siblings, it invites us to see the world through Noah's unique eyes. Join their journey of love and acceptance.'

Is it a stand-alone book?
'It will eventually be part of a series! I've been working on a few ideas for the next books. The series will be called "The AU-MAZING stories collection"'

Did she need to complete any research?

'I didn't do much research since I have personal experience and the story is inspired by my own children, but I did ask my daughter a lot of questions about how she felt and how she sees her big brother.'

Before we finish, is there anything else Bethany would like to share?
 
'My new publishing name will be MindGarden Books. I will still publish under my author name, of course, but Mindgarden Books is going to be dedicated especially to creating stories with neurodiverse characters and stories in mind and teaching children of all age groups about kindness, empathy, acceptance, and the joy of reading!

I'm hoping that in the future I can open this up as a publishing company for fellow indie writers.'

How wonderful! Can she tell us more, including whether authors should contact her yet?
 
'I'm so excited about it! Right now I'm still working on things. I'm filing an LLC soon and there's a bunch of other things I have to get setup with first. 
 
However, I can do reviews and share them with my followers for now until I open up a waiting list. Yes, they can DM if interested 😀'
 
So there you have it, if you'd like to work with Bethany, or find out more about this exceptional lady, please follow her links below:


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