Sunday, September 27, 2015


I am a lineal descendant of a Knight of the Bath, Sir Geoffrey V Plantagenet. I read nearly forty books before I wrote Sprig of Broom, wanting to know as much about the man as possible. He married King Henry's daughter, Matilda, and fathered the long line of Plantagenet kings of England.

While history was not as kind to him as I was, I wanted readers to see Geoffrey's human-ness and understand the duress he must have had when constantly belittled and befuddled by his lady wife. I wanted readers to understand that even though he was a great warrior, he could also be remorseful and weak.

I hope I pulled it off. The novel has been released in all formats. If you are inclined to read it, please leave a review. Reviews are appreciated even if short. Please "like" it on my Facebook page and also on my author page there:

Here's a short excerpt to whet your appetite:

An ominous sound unexpectedly penetrated my thoughts and a cold fog washed over me like damp wool. My view disappeared as mist eddied and locked me in its cocoon of eerie dankness, alone. I reached for my blade to cut through it, hoping to open it up like a boar hog’s hide and step out into the light. No opening presented itself. I stopped in my tracks on the rocky road. I knew steep ravines were poised on each side, waiting to beat me to a pulp as I plummeted to the bottom. I could see nothing, but an unworldly and putrid smell invaded my nostrils.
“Blou? Hardouin? Paieri?”
I heard no response from my men, but a low moan grew louder. Did I hear sinister laughter? Could that be possible out here far between two kingdoms? Surely no other fools ventured out at dawn’s first light without due cause.
“Jacquelin? Is that your laughter I hear?”
Jacquelin did not respond.
There! Again I heard it. Menacing laughter. I grabbed the hilt of my dagger with determination as an ominous humming sound came closer to me. Could someone . . . or something see me through the fog? I began to shake from dampness or fear of what brought the laughter.
The cackling turned into a low groan and a hag chewing a brown plant appeared just out of my reach, wearing tattered clothes and displaying ragged and rotten teeth, ghastly wild hair, a prunish face, and foul stench.
“Listen and heed,” it warned.
More shrill laughter and another voice came from a different direction. I turned in a circle and tried to determine from which way the voice came.
“Mesh becomes chain,” a squeaky voice proclaimed behind me.
I blinked, understanding nought. I spun until my lightheadedness dropped me to my knees at the sound of yet another voice.
“Dark of moon brings realm of gloom,” a deeper raspier voice disclosed.
“Heat of broom becomes his doom,” yet another voice declared. I was surrounded.
“Gloom and doom for man of broom!” This deafening pronouncement came in unison from all the ghastly voices encircling me, making my bones creak.
“Who are you? Show yourselves, old crones,” I bellowed, trying not to display fear. But I heard no answer and the fog and the one apparition I could see dissipated. I again had a clear view of the next village, no being of any kind in sight. Where were the barons who had accompanied me from my home land and walked with me only seconds ago?
I turned when I heard a commotion behind me and saw the men running to catch me, Blou in the lead, sword drawn.
“Where did you go, my lord?”
“I have the same question for you, Blou.”
“We walked along the road with you until you disappeared into a fog. We nought could find you or hear you. We called out but no answer came.”
“You did not hear me call to you?”
“No, my lord.”
“Witches surrounded me and separated me from you,” I explained.
“For what purpose, my lord?”
“I have no answer, Blou, only riddles that made no sense.” 

Early review:

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mary Deal on September 21, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sprig of Broom, by Susan Whitfield, gives us a unique peek into the fertile mind of this award-winning author. While researching her genealogy she recognizes the life of the man from whom she descends, one gallant Sir Geoffrey V. Plantagenet, could be turned into a slightly fictionalized but also true accounting of his long and beleaguered life, its heartaches and satisfactions. Sir Geoffrey was the original Plantagenet who started the Sprig of Broom usage.

Whitfield’s ability to establish unique character personalities is well honed. The settings as described made me feel a part of the story, the action. I fought beside Sir Geoffrey in long and bloody battles, cringed at his wife's cruel taunting and treatment. I despised yet understood the Dowager Empress Matilda. So many diverse lives fill this story and make it an exciting and satisfying read. I am still amazed at how much history is packed in here.

Sprig of Broom is an historical novel that I didn’t wish to see end. But it had to because all of Sir Geoffrey’s life, from teen years and on is included in this exciting portrayal of life circa. 1127 in Great Britain. I don’t want to say much more about this book that wouldn’t end up being a spoiler. So, suffice it to say, I wholeheartedly recommend Whitfield’s Sprig of Broom to historical aficionados, for both the fiction and nonfiction of it. It’s difficult to tell what’s fiction and what’s not. Sir Geoffrey’s life makes it a most exciting read for any reader. Whitfield has paid a magnificent tribute to her ancestor.

Why, thank you so much, Mary Deal!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Linda Weaver Clarke's Lost Love

Linda Weaver Clarke is from Color Country, which is located in southern Utah. It’s a beautiful area full of red mountains, which sits likes an oasis in the middle of the desert.
She travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the mother of six daughters and has several grandchildren. Clarke is the author of several historical romances, a mystery/adventure series, a children’s book, and a cozy mystery series. All her books are family-friendly.

Welcome, Linda.
How many books have you written?

I have written 18 books and am working on book number 19. I have written cozy mysteries, mystery suspense, historical romance, children’s, and non-fiction. Each genre was fun to write but my favorite is cozy mystery.
Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book.

Her Lost Love: Amelia Moore Detective Series is the fifth book in this cozy mystery series. Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Julie Anderson feels a need to find the man she fell deeply in love with during her youth. When Julie went off to college to become a lawyer, she lost contact with her high school sweetheart. She now wants to know what became of Joey and why he stopped writing to her? This is an assignment that intrigues Amelia. The thought of finding a long-lost love seems quite romantic.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?

One of the challenges an author faces when writing mysteries is to not divulge too much information and make it too easy for the reader to figure out. I have to give just enough to the reader to make him want to read more, but not enough to have him figure it out too soon. So far, I have been able to fool most of my readers. One reader said an author has never fooled her before, and she was able to figure out the mystery every time. Then she went on to say that I was the first author who surprised her. This book is my fifth cozy mystery and I was able to fool her every time.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

I travel on the Internet if I can’t go there in person. Because of the intense research I do, I have had people tell me that my descriptions were so well done that they thought I had visited that country. People who actually went to Ireland said I had portrayed it perfectly in The Shamrock Case. I not only research the landscape but the history in that area so I can bring a bit of Ireland to my reader, or a bit of Bali Island in The Bali Mystery, and so on.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

Absolutely! This cozy mystery series is going to be on audio and I’m so excited about it. The narrator is fantastic and she portrays my characters so well. The accent she uses for someone from another country is impressive. I’m so pleased. She just finished the first book in this series and is about to begin with the second one. As I listened to the audio, I could see everything unfolding before my eyes… or inside my head. Haha.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

You can visit my website called Make Believe at to read sample chapters and that will lead the reader to a purchase page. I also have a blog where I write articles about my books at and another blog where I interview authors and have book giveaways at

Are your books available in print and ebook formats?

My books are available in print form and e-book at Barnes and Noble and at Amazon. If you go to, then that site will lead you to the correct bookstore with one click.

Best of luck with all endeavors, Linda!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I made history!

I have submitted my first historical fiction for publication. WHEW! 
Writing this novel about a medieval ancestor was challenging and rewarding. I got to know so much about Geoffrey V Plantagenet, who married King Henry's daughter, Matilda, and fathered the long line of Plantagenet kings of England.

I researched every account of the real events I could find, and wove my imagination into the dialogue and gaps in history. I hope it will be a fairly accurate account of that time and these people.

I decided to title the book Sprig of Broom because Geoffrey wore a sprig of broom bloom in his cap whenever it was available. I designed my own book cover, letting my imagination spin away from using real broom and instead using glass and metal. I like it and I hope readers will be drawn to it.
 What do you think?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Robert Uttaro, rape counselor and author, giving hope to survivors

I love Italian food and so does my guest, so I'm serving up chicken parmesan and a fresh romaine salad from my garden while I interrogate this cutie. LOL.

Robert Uttaro currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts and is in his eighth year of working as a rape crisis counselor, public speaker and community educator. Inspired by his undergraduate studies in Criminal Justice, Robert continues to embrace a life-long commitment to activism and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence. Robert supports rape survivors and their significant others through various health, legal, and case management issues. He also facilitates workshops aimed at education, prevention and exposure of the realities of sexual violence. He has written a powerful book titled To the Survivors.

Robert, first of all, welcome to my home. Grab a plate and some sweet Southern iced tea and let's sit on the deck.

Cool! I'm hungry and this looks delicious.

(After we settle  and have a few bites of food, I begin the interview):

Your background is very interesting. Give readers a short synopsis of your first published book. 

To the Survivors is a deeply-moving book about my journey as a rape crisis counselor with true stories of sexual violence shared by survivors. The survivors are diverse in age, gender, and ethnicity, yet each gives a similarly raw and heartfelt account of his or her victimization and recovery. The authenticity and vulnerability with which survivors speak resonates profoundly. Messages within To the Survivors are very hopeful -- to the pleasant surprise of many readers -- and I am humbled to find it continues to positively affect people’s hearts and minds.

I am so glad to know that the book offers hope. We need to get the word out and I hope everyone who reads this blog will pass on the information to anyone who needs it.

What challenges did you face while writing this book? 

I faced many challenges while writing this book, including sometimes struggling to find the right words to use, or struggling to bring myself to write at all. My biggest challenge was fighting my own insecurities around my abilities to write well about such a deeply serious topic. Thankfully, I managed to overcome all of these challenges by being patient with the process, continuing to write, and praying my way through it all.

That's probably the best response I've ever had with this question.

Now that you've been through the process, what advice can you give other new writers? 

The greatest lesson I have learned about writing is that our words can meaningfully connect with and impact people in positive ways. My advice to other writers is this: write, write, and write some more. It is imperative to not be nervous, to not fear anything, and to fight through whatever blockage one may have. Also, write from your heart. Believe in yourself and your abilities, and don't stop writing if you have the desire to write.

Great advice! It's obvious that you're writing from the heart.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online? 

I get the word out about To the Survivors and issues connected to sexual assault by teaching at high schools and colleges and by spreading the word in conversations in my daily life. Word of mouth is truly a powerful vehicle as many people share the book with others. In terms of online communication, I outreach to schools, rape crisis centers, and domestic violence shelters through emails. I have also been very fortunate to be listed on blogs and magazines.  I have also shared information through interviews on national and international radio programs.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events? 

People can go to my website at or check out To the Survivors and read the reviews at

Are your books available in print and ebook formats?

Yes. To the Survivors is available in Paperback, mobi (Kindle), epub, PDF, rtf, lrf, and pdp.

I hope folks are paying attention to the content of your book and that you continue working on a second book. Now let's finish off this food and have some strawberry shortcake.

You're talking my language, Susan.

Sunday, August 30, 2015


Andreé Robinson-Neal got bit by the writing bug in the 1970s and despite a career in education has never been cured of her penchant for speculative fiction. Find her at She writes under the name AR Neal, who will hopefully one day be identified as a famous NaNoWriMo participant.

Welcome to the blog, Andree'.

How many books have you written?

I have published one novella, one collection of short stories, and one novel. I also write flash fiction on my blog and have a flash fiction novel written and awaiting review/editing, which should happen sometime in August of this year.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I think there is some of my attitude in every character in the book. I think if I could be one character in After, it would be Uncle Vern – he’s the most feisty.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

Since I work in education, I am all about the research. I typically have the internet open, along with tons of books and articles as I write. I would love to travel, but work and other responsibilities don’t allow.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

The greatest lesson about writing is one that I knew when I first started as a child, but forgot as life got in the way: keep writing. No matter what, it is important for writers to write regularly, even if it’s not on a major work like a book. The action of writing is important – just like working out is important to keep physical muscles in shape, writing keeps the related mental muscles working.

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?

I keep story ideas just about everywhere. I have multiple notebooks, sticky notes, pads, and electronic documents. I use Scrivener for more detailed organization of my stories and books because it allows me to keep a running log of research materials (articles, links to appropriate websites, and such). I try keeping story ideas in my head, but they get lost in there.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I have a flash fiction novel awaiting editing and I have a number of partially completed possible novels. My next goal is to connect with a literary agent. I am also developing a sequel to After.

Are your books available in print and ebook formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility)

Yes! All my books are available. My novella, Adventures in Cargo City ( and novel, After ( are available at Amazon in print and eBook formats and the collection of short stories, From Reality’s Edge Volume One (, is available on FastPencil.

Good luck with all endeavors, Andree'!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Stacey Marcus: from struggle and abuse to a beacon of light for others

I seldom have poets as guests on the blog, but I am delighted to have Stacey Marcus share her courageous story with you. 

Stacey Marcus is the product of a lifelong struggle with obstacles, battles and turmoil and has spent her life trying to find solutions and a spiritual connection that helps explain the things she has gone through.  She brings the sense of desire and adventure to her writing.  Stacey is mom, a wife and a survivor of practically every abuse imaginable.  She has become a beacon of light to others.  

Stacey is a humanitarian, a champion for women, children, elders and animals. She believes in a higher power and finds solace in its presence. Beyond sharing the poetry of her life, Stacey has written two children’s books, both teaching children about the idea of love and the love a parent feels for a child while teaching them the A.B.C.’s.

Welcome, Stacey. 
How many books have you written?
          Three and I am working on my fourth one now.

Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book.
After hiding in the garage on a dusty shelf for nearly 20 years, Stacey Marcus has finally found the courage to reveal her painful truth with the release of her first book of poetry, Revelations Of The Anonymous.   In transcendent, simple words, Stacey has found a way to tell the story of her dark journey through tragedy into triumph.  Written over a twenty-five year period, this collection of poems and thoughts is the voice of one anonymous woman’s genuine power to stir, inspire and provoke one’s peace of mind.

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?
I don’t think much of myself is hidden.  I reveal a very personal look into the journey of my life through my poems.

What challenges did you face while writing this book?
          Fear of exposing my authentic self.

Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?
I usually write in the park, on a hike or on the beach.  I like to find places where I can actually hear my honest thoughts.

What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?
The first thing I have to say is never give up writing.  Use it as an outlet for your dreams, hopes, thoughts and ideas.  I believe the most important thing for a writer to do is just write!  Even if it’s a journal entry to start, at least it’s something.  And as you begin writing on a daily basis, you will find that the words just pour out onto the paper and your fingers can’t stop hitting the keys on the computer!

Where do you store ideas for later use: in your head, in a notebook, or on a spreadsheet?
I usually keep a small journal with me so I can jot thoughts down as they occur to me.

We all know how important promoting our work has become. How do you get the word out both off and online?
I must say that I have been blessed in the promoting department.  Many people have come upon my poetry book and then found themselves buying the children’s books on-line.  People like you are kind enough to allow me to spread the word on their websites.

Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?
I am working on “Kosher Crack,” a memoir and story of one nice, Jewish girl’s fall into the pit of hell and her journey into the light.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
My website is where I write my short stories.  You can find me at  Also, here are a couple of links to my current books.

“The ABC’s Of I Love You”

“Mommie, What Does Love Mean?

“Revelations Of The Anonymous”

Are your books available in print and e-book formats? (please provide the buy link for easy reader accessibility) 
          You can purchase Stacey’s books on e-book format on her website,

Stacey, thanks for coming over. I wish you great success!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

American novelist and screenwriter Marti Melville answers questions

Marti Melville is an American novelist and screenwriter known for her debut novel series, The Deja vu Chronicles.  Marti has expanded her writing to include screenwriting with each of her books adapted for film.
Before Marti found her true calling as a successful author, she had long established her career in the medical field, specializing in Emergency and Trauma nursing. Marti spent several years working between Utah and California in various ER's, as a Mobile Intensive Care Nurse and medical personnel for the 2002 Winter Olympics, all the while raising her five children as a single mother.

She has a background in dance, music and acting as well. She continues to write novels, introducing the idea of fictional probability linked to historical events. Marti currently resides in Southern California.
Welcome, Marti. It's great to have you on the blog.
Thanks for having me, Susan.

How many books have you written?

I have written three of four in the Déjà vu Chronicles.  I’ve been a co-writer for several others that have been published under a different author’s name.  My writing also includes several screenplays that have been taken to Hollywood for consideration.
How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

People who know me state that Kathryn’s story is really my own.  That was never my intention writing the novel series.  However, I write what I know and so much of what happens (particularly in the ER) is from my experience.  Kathryn is a combination of my daughters – their feistiness and beauty.
Do you travel to do research or for inspiration? Can you share some special places with us?

I travel extensively to do research for my novels.  This series takes place in the Caribbean, which is a great place to do research.  My favorite island is Grenada, which had many interesting and fun cultural and natural elements I would not have been able to use in the books.  Did you know Grenada has tree frogs that whistle at night?  I’ve used these frogs in Onyx Rising to make it more authentic – as well as other interesting elements exclusive to the Caribbean islands.

 What do you think is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about writing so far? What advice can you give new writers?

I’ve learned that my ideas and imagination has value – to myself and now to others.  Doubting my ability to write would have stifled the opportunity to share it with others.  I never aspired to write novels (or screenplays) but taking the risk has made for a wonderful career.  My advise to anyone who aspires to write is to simply do it.  Wherever the impression hits and whenever you can, — write.  Don’t’ doubt yourself and certainly don’t stop.  Every single day, write something — whether it be a chapter, a page or just a sentence – write!
Can you tell us your future writing goals/projects?

I am currently writing the fourth (and final) book in The Déjà vu Chronicles series.  I am also co-writing a medical thriller, as well as a horror novel.  I find that writing several projects at once keeps my creativity from becoming stagnant and keeps me interested in the stories.  In addition, I co-write screenplays with my writing partner – the first in the series, Midnight Omen, recently won the Life Fest Film Festival 2015 in Hollywood, CA. 

 Congratulations! That's super!

 Give a short synopsis of your most recently published book, Onyx Rising.
Obscurity conceals the moon and the black omen rises.  Maelstrom and dark deeds follow those who sail Caribbean waters.  Their captain is presumed dead, which leaves the crew of the Revenge to seek other ways to survive and fresh ships to plunder.

Kathryn must also find her way through the darkness and discovers a hidden treasure lay buried in secrets hidden within the dead.  Magic and mysticism weaves through the Caribbean Sea as the Onyx Moon hovers.

Set in 1723, the third novel in The Déjà vu Chronicles, Onyx Rising continues the paranormal adventures of Kathryn, Seth, Archer and Calico Jack Rackham – as well as Captain John Phillips – an actual pirate known for his ruthless history pirating the Spanish Main from 1721-1724.