Saturday, November 30, 2013

So Thankful

Greetings All,
We trust that each and every one of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and stuffed yourselves full of great food, while hitting the malls later that night for early Black Friday Eve sales.  It is our wish that you and your family had a safe and pleasant holiday!
It shouldn't come as a surprise to some of you that we, too, definitely enjoyed our holiday, which is why we don't have a post for this weekend.  This is the season to be with family and friends and take some much needed time off and you better trust and believe we most certainly took full advantage of that!   It was great having the whole week off.  Ooooh how good that feels!
However don't fret!  You know we will be back next week.  Hopefully, we'll get in some AAMBC guest authors, and many more great books to share with you.   Hey, don't forget, you still got a little time left to get your reading challenge met for the 2013 reading year.  I'm close to my 65 books for this year, which comes as a total shock to me because normally I read 52 books a year, but I think my mother helped push me to read more. 
So, stay focused my readers and make sure you meet your challenge this year.  Remember, an educated mind is an informed mind and no one can ever take that from you!  Keep on reading and flexing one of your most important muscles--the Brain!  
See ya next week!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Grab the BULL by the Horns. . .

Wow, next week is Thanksgiving!  Where in the world did the time go?  Didn’t I just mention that last weekend?  (Chuckle) 
When you hear people say life is short, that’s such a true statement, especially as you age and you realize you really don’t have time to waste.  With Thanksgiving coming, it makes me reflect on the entire year and seeing how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go.  I’m happy to say I’m in a good place, as of now, but as the days roll on, you never quite know where life is going to take you.
As I’ve been reflecting, I took a look at all the books I’ve read for 2013, and it’s rather impressive that I’m close to 65 books this year, which is a feat in and of itself.  My mom, on the other hand, has read close to 500 books for the 2013 year, and I suppose that’s what happens when retirement comes into play.  Umm, I’ll be so thankful when I can retire and sit back and do what I love—reading!  No matter what you set your goals for this year, the key is sticking to it, and get ‘er done!  You have about five weeks left!
While we’re on the subject of reading, as we’ve discussed in the past, one of the most important things to do after you’ve read a book is to review it.  It’s great to talk with people who tell me they now see the importance of reviewing a book.  Again, it’s not hard to do, and you don’t have to be mean, rude or insensitive toward the author, but rather give a great solid review of what you thought of the book, which brings me to something that disturbs me a little.
When you go on Amazon or any website that allows you to review an author’s work, most of these sites, such as Goodreads, allows for others to comment on the review you gave.  I don’t know about you, but this sort of gets under my skin a little.  For one, listed under the book, there’s a question, “what did you think of the book?”  So, the reader takes the time to write what he/she thought, and all of a sudden, you get a notification advising you that someone has made a comment on your review.  Hmmm, that doesn’t seem right? 
You click on the comment to your review and you may find that another reader totally disagrees with your views and they certainly have no problem advising you that your opinion is wrong or slightly off.  Well of all the friggin’ nerve!  I’m sorry, the last time I checked, the box under the book said, what do you (meaning me) think of the book?  I didn’t know that extended to other readers advising me that my opinion was totally incorrect.  Are you serious right now?  Where does another reader get off telling me anything about a review that I gave?  Why does anyone else get to comment about the review I made?  This is where I think these sites need to change their practices. 
If you want readers to write reviews, I don’t think it’s necessary for other readers to comment on the review you’ve made about a book—hence, that’s why the question states, “What did you think of the book?”  Write your own damn review and leave my comments alone!  If these sites are going to allow others to beat you down with their words because they didn’t like what you said about a book they happened to like, is there any wonder that many don’t want to leave a review for fear of what others will think of what they said?
It all seems to fall in line with this new wave of bullying.  Everyone has something to say and when you don’t agree with how they feel, you suddenly find yourself subjected to harassment by some.  My thing is, when I read reviews, I take in what is being said, but I will still read the book and draw my own conclusion and write my own (let me stress this folks, my OWN review).  I don’t go on someone else’s thread/string, and tell them they’re wrong for the way a book impacted them.  Who the hell are you to tell someone else how a book makes them feel?  Where the hell do you get off even adding your two cents to something that has absolutely nothing to do with you?  The box under the book doesn’t say, “What did you and every one of your friends think of this book?  All of you comment on each other’s opinions and start a discussion.”  No, the question doesn’t say that, it says, again, and I quote, “what did you think of the book?”  There is nothing more to add.  These websites should end it right there. 
It’s such a huge pet peeve of mine when I get notifications from people telling me they didn’t like what I said, or they disagreed with what I said, as if that’s going to make me go back and rewrite my review based on how they feel.  Aaah, no, I damn sure don’t think so!   You got the wrong one.  As I’ve mentioned in several posts back, my reviews are not up for discussion, debate or negotiation.  Once I’ve made a decision and chosen the correct words to explain my feelings, that’s that!  There’s nothing else that needs to be said—and by that I mean, there’s nothing more anyone needs to say regarding what I’ve said about a book.  You most certainly are entitled to disagree with my views of a story or even agree with it, but to write under my review what you didn’t like of what I said, I’ve got a problem with that.  In other words, keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself.  I could really care less what you think about my review!  Amazon and Goodreads should do away with the “Likes” and “Comment” features underneath an individual’s review.  I didn’t ask others to comment on my review.  My perception of a story is just that—my view, not yours!
I never do that to anyone.  The only time I’ve found myself commenting was when someone totally went off-the-wall and stated something on my review that pissed me off totally.  Other than that, I don’t write under my friends’ reviews because they’re entitled to think and feel however they wish without my two cents being added.
Goodreads has thousands of groups wherein any individual may join, talk, discuss, debate and negotiate your opinions on books all day long.  That’s the proper place where those things should take place, but certainly not on someone else’s review.  I think that takes balls to do that in the first place, whether your comment was nice or not.  Writing a review is strictly that, your review and no one else should comment on what you’ve said about how a book impacted you personally.  Everyone interprets differently, but that doesn’t mean my opinion is wrong or yours is right.  It’s an opinion!  Stop harassing people about what they’ve written on a book!  You wouldn’t want someone doing that to you, so don’t you do it! 
What the hell is wrong with people anymore? I tell you, every time I turn around someone is stealing the “J” out of joy or hijacking the “F” out of fun. Come on people grow up and stop harassing others based on their reviews. If you really want to know how to deal with people who insist on putting their comments on your review, don’t respond period! I find when I ignore them totally; I’ve taken the fun out of their silly ways. I feel like I’m back in high school sometimes with these petty, idiotic childish ways of some. A word of advice, grab the ‘bull’ by the horns and toss it to the side!
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Some Things are Better Left Unsaid!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

DO Play Us Cheap!

Mello & June is always searching for the unknown Indie Author or one who has had much success and continuing to bring forth great reading material. And we’re happy to report that all our guest authors have successfully done that. Are you one of those readers that download books often? Have you noticed when you check your bank account you find many Amazon and Barnes & Noble charges for Kindle and Nook eBooks? Is it a few days before payday and you don’t have enough money to get that book you’ve been eyeing or had on your Goodreads shelf for a while?

For us avid readers, we’ve all been there and done that, and sometimes you wish there was a way to find free books or books so cheap to help us get over that hurdle until we can get the books we’ve been wanting. Well, look no further, my avid reader fans, because if you haven’t heard of these two great eBook websites I’m about to mention, today is definitely your lucky day! So listen up!


I’m sure most Kindle owners know that through their Prime membership on Amazon, you are entitled to borrow one free book a month, and there are thousands of books they offer on the Kindle Daily for free, .99¢ or up to $3.99, but even sometimes that’s too much. Don’t laugh ‘cause some of us don’t have $3.99 and that can seem like a lot of money when you want to read something, and your bank account says something entirely different. Whatever pennies you have, some of us need to hold on to them for other more important reasons—A-hem, the sign ‘o the times we are living in. (wink!)

So, if you find yourself in a bind, you need to sign up for BookBub and ReadCheaply. Say what? You’ve never heard of these two websites, well neither had I, but through my many Internet searches for great books and authors to interview and host, I stumbled across BookBub, and my mom discovered ReadCheaply and turned me on to that. Oh, and by the way, if you are wise to these two sites, don’t suck your teeth or giggle at us less-than-quick-to-catch-on. Just enjoy reading the post and don’t poke fun! (Chuckle)  

Ok, so for those of us not in-the-know, you’re asking yourself, how the hell does this work? Go to or,
plug in your email address, select your genre preferences, and voila, like magic, you will begin to receive daily eBooks sent directly to your email—it’s like receiving a gift each and every day, and when you’re an avid reader, this is a gift that definitely keeps on giving. Actually, after you sign up, they will forward you a link that you’ll need to click or paste in your web browser to prove you’re a human and not some spammy, techy, thingy-ma-jig.

What these wonderful sites do is take the guess work out of what you may want to read next, which is one thing I really detest about reading—that’s shopping for the next book. You may find that hard to believe, but I really hate trying to find books, reading synopses, checking reader reviews, etc. It just takes up so much time and that’s something, as busy as I am, never have. So anything that’s going to assist me in making great book selections, I’m all for it.

I’d like to point out that both of these sites offer you great deals for eBooks for a limited time. So each day you get your selections, make sure you check them out because you may slip up and miss a great deal. They also allow you to download your eBook in any format available, which is AAAAWESOME! It doesn’t matter what eReader you’re using, you can download away. And they offer so many free books, which are doubly awesome, especially for those times when your bank account is begging to have some substance, and you don’t want to remove anything from it. Also what I love is if the eBook isn’t free, you can get most of them for as low as .99¢ up to $1.99, but again, the majority that I’ve received have been free, which I love. Oh, and did I forget to mention that not only are you saving money, but you get to enjoy a multitude of authors you might not otherwise have known about, and most of the books I’ve read thus far, have been pretty damn amazing and impressive.


When I joined BookBub, immediately I got my first eBook selections. There were about seven in total based on the genre preferences I set. When I joined ReadCheaply, it took a full 24-hours before my books began to pour in, and I was so fine with that! Like I mentioned before, just because an eBook is “free” or “.99¢” doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, and just because you pay $9.99 or higher for an eBook, doesn’t mean it’s great. I find great books in all price ranges, so don’t turn your nose up at authors that you may not be familiar with or turn away a potential great book because the cover isn’t all fancy like what you’d expect from large publishing houses. In other words, do not turn a blind eye on the independent author. Most of the authors I’ve read through these sites are top-100 Amazon earners or have received many awards or received great reviews from major news sources. And what I found really impressive were a few of these authors were featured right here on Mello & June, so that made us feel so proud of their achievements. Which brings me to something else great about these two sites?  

AUTHORS, pay attention! You may submit your books to BookBub and ReadCheaply. Please make sure to read their guidelines for submitting because from the way I understand it, not everyone’s book(s) will be chosen, so keep that in mind. But isn’t that awesome that you can submit your books and if you’re chosen, look at the millions of readers that email will reach which can potentially turn into dollars and cents! Talk about a win-win for everybody!

So fans, for those of us who didn’t know that these great sites existed, now we have some great news to smile about and share; keep our bank accounts somewhat intact; and the best part of all, we have books galore and more to read, and isn’t that our bottom line at the end of the day! Reading is what we do, and oh how we love it! I certainly hope you give BookBub and ReadCheaply some play because sometimes being cheap has its privileges! Whooo knew? Hmmm, BookBub and ReadCheaply, that’s who!


Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
The Price of a Book Doesn't Determine if it's Good or Not -- The Writing Does!



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Better Late Than Never. . .

Hello All, we had a nice relaxing week from our daily grind and now it's time to get back into it.  We're not going to waste any time.  As always, let's give a warm welcome to our AAMBC guest Author.  Don't forget to click those buy links and get your copy of the book today!  You know how we do!  Happy Reading!
Angel McCloud is done with love after experiencing a broken heart by her deadbeat boyfriend. Vowing to take a break from relationships, now its all about her. Angel wants to have a little fun and cater to her sexual beast without commitment and drama and with the handsome, star wide receiver from the Detroit Lions, her delectable-bodied personal trainer from the past visiting town, and a coworker that's been sniffing up behind her for a while now, it seems like she will get that chance. That is, if the sexy mystery man that keeps invading her life, thoughts and dreams, stops making her feel a craving that she never has before. Future Crowne used to be Mr. Nice guy and the hopeless romantic but it only seemed to get him overlooked and misused. What a difference 5 years can make. Future is now the epitome of a player and a ladies man and to protect his heart he has no problem giving women a dose of their own medicine. Now they get only sex and great sex at that. Unfortunately he may have met his match with the sultry sexy Kandi. The one thing that he didn't plan for was what felt like fate in the form of an unknown woman, rearing its head into his plans. Follow these two seemingly different people through exciting and tantalizing paths, drama filled nights and sexual triangles as they find out their inevitable truth.



If there was one word to describe Author Johnie Jay, it would be passionate. He has always been verbally passionate but it wasn't until his first creative writing class, in 9th grade, when he found that his passion, mixed with his vast and lucid imagination could create temporary getaways. That's all a book is really, a getaway from the world, an escape. "I want every word of every sentence to be evocative. If I can't make you feel, taste or smell every scene that I create then what's the point?" Romance and passion goes hand in hand but when you add to it detailed and vivid sex scenes you're left with an explosive concoction. He has blended all three harmoniously in his first romantic novel, Inevitable. Born and raised in the small city of Inkster, Michigan Johnie Jay looks forward to sharing his imagination with the world!

1. Tell us what this book is about. 
Inevitable is a romance novel about soul mates. I decided that instead of giving you one perspective I’ll give you the entire path of the two connecting, from both the main male and female characters. You get to see what goes on in the other persons head what they are thinking what they are doing at the same time as the other. I think through looking at both you will be able to get a clearer picture of the undeniable path of the two soul mates crossing.

 2. Why did you choose to write this book?

I wrote Inevitable to show that there may very well be a perfect person out there for you but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person, themselves are perfect. If there is such a thing as a soul mate then they will be what you need as well as what you want and sometimes what we need to complete us and to make us better may be indeed a hard pill to swallow.

3. Tell us why your writing is unique.

I pride myself on keeping it real. I really don’t think sugar coating things in my writing is the best policy. Life isn’t sugarcoated which is what makes it more exciting and intriguing and it makes you take it seriously. I want real people to be able to relate that’s why my characters are imperfect and the situations and scenes aren’t always ideal. Life is unpredictable and I try to write the same way, to make readers look forward to the next page because anything in my novel is possible.

4. What can we look forward from you?

To improve. I always want to write better. I believe I owe this to the people who will read my books. No matter if they thought it was great, I want to blow great out of the water on the next book!

Find the Author:
Fb: Author Johnie Jay
Twitter: @johniejaysworld
Buy the book:
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Plant Positive Words--Watch them Blossom!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Little Rest for the Weary

Welp, this year is really coming to a close pretty darn soon, and are you as amazed by that fact as I am?  Didn't it seem like we just started 2013?  Here we are in the month of November.   Usually this weekend would mark our annual AAMBC hosting, but everyone has been so busy trying to get novels done and with the holidays around the corner, there just aren't enough hours in our days.   So unfortunately I don't have any new authors to present this weekend, but you know not to fret 'cause we're on the case!
Truth be told, we've been going so hard this year, we're just plain ole tired and in need of a little rest.  With that said, please stop back in the next few weeks as we'll be hosting an array of authors to tantalize your reading buds, and what perfect gifts a great book will add for that special avid reader in your life, or perhaps you're that special avid reader?  No matter what the case is, we will be back stronger and better than ever.  
Don't let this blog post go to waste!  There are several authors you may have missed that have been featured this entire year.  This is a great time to go to the end of our blog and re-read some of your favorite posts and featured authors.  The buy links never expire, so feel free to peruse and find something interesting to read.  In the meantime, we're taking this weekend off to get some rest.  Trust me, it is so needed.   As always, have a pleasant weekend and week, and Happy Reading!  Have you met your reading challenge this year?  Have you surpassed your challenge?  This would be a great time to get your books in order.  You still have a few weeks left before 2014 gets in.  Until next weekend, keep it moving and open your mind to the wonderful world of words! 
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Words are Brain Food!  Get YOUR Nourishment!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

BOOKS Abound. . .

Halloween is just around the corner and I hope you enjoyed last weekend's featured authors who are honing their craft on horror fiction.  But, Mello & June are always in search of new and fresh authors to present to you, and we believe you'll love her and her books.
You know how we do!  Get your download fingers ready and click those buy links and enjoy these engaging books.  As always, thank you and Happy Reading!
Proudly Presents Author,
Connie Ann Michael

Can you choose between fighting for your life and fighting for your heart? 

 Twenty-two year old Corpsman Emme Sawyer doesn’t follow rules. She’s always been the best and no one will die if she has anything to say about it.

Emme refuses to hang around the hospital waiting for the wounded to come to her and joins a Marine unit heading into Helmand Providence, the largest opium producer in Afghanistan. Shutting off her emotions, Emme focuses on what she does best…keeping her men safe. When her best friend is obliterated by a roadside bomb, Emme begins to realize she can’t save everyone. Seeking comfort from Raven, her commanding officer, Emme develops feelings that don’t belong in a combat zone where each step could be your last. As Raven reciprocates, Emme learns you can’t choose when and where love finds you.

I was born and raised in the city of Seattle but after attending Washington State University I turned into a country girl and moved to a small...very small town. I have two teenage boys that provide countless amounts of material for my books. My boys have left for college and now I occupy my time playing with my three dogs, mountain biking, kayaking, and anything else I can do outdoors.
1. How many books have you written? 

I have three books that I have written that will be published and out for purchase by the end of November. However I have four more that will be sent to editing through the end of the year.

2. What do you love most about writing?

I love getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Helps to unclutter my mind.

3. Being an author, you know that not only is it important to write, but reading is just as important. So, what types of books do you enjoy reading, when time permits?

I love reading and it is the primary reason I exercise because I can read on the treadmill and can’t do much else. I read everything. I am really into contemporary romance right now but if it is a good book I’ll pick it up. I read all the magazines and websites always looking for suggestions. Currently I read a lot of NA and Adult but have read a lot of YA in the past.

4. Would you consider yourself a perfectionist?  

No but I wish I was.

5. eBook or Paper?

Use to be paper but you can’t snub ebook if it lets you have way too many books and your husband never knows how many you really have.

6. How many years have you been writing?

I have always written, either in spirals…weird made up stories of youth, or journaling. But actual books…I started about six years ago when my kids hit high school and didn’t want to play with me anymore.

7. What changes would you like to see happen in the writing industry?

I’d really like to see the rudeness and the personal attacks that have started online to stop. The internet gives us a great avenue to produce our books and get them to the reader. As well as to connect with our fan base. But some people are using it to rip apart authors and sabotage their books. I don’t see why that is necessary. We should all support each other.

8. How do you deal with writer’s block, if you’ve ever experienced it?

I don’t get writers block. I went to a writing class once and he said people who write without a plan don’t get it. That would be me. I let the characters take me where they need to. If they aren’t talking to me, then I go for a run or bike ride, or read something someone else wrote until they get ready to tell me the next part of the story.

9. What makes your writing style unique?

I’m not sure if I am unique. I think it is unusual for a writer to write across genres and age groups. I do that. I never know what will come out next.

10. Some authors do not believe in doing “free” promotions of their books, how do you feel about that? Is it something you’d try or have done, and if not, why?

I have no problem giving my book away for an honest review.   If I don’t get it to the readers how are they going to tell their friends and so on and so on… I write for myself and if anyone wants to read it that’s just the frosting on top of the cupcake!
Barnes and Noble:
Blog Tour: I am having a blog tour through the month of November.  Check out my Author page for dates and where to find my interviews!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Give Your Mind a Workout!  READ!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Grab Your Spoooook-Tacular Reads Here!

Welcome Guys and Ghouls!  October can be a fun month, especially if you like to scare yourself silly with a great horror novel.  If you're looking for that scary book to keep you on the edge of your seat, heart thumping, nail biting, clutching your chest, well. . .we're here to tell ya, you've come to the "write" blog!  These novels are right on time for your Halloween reading!  We're all about a good read and the books you're about to see below are not only terrifyingly good, but great!
So, sit back, grab your favorite drink and get ready to feast your eyes on some spooook-tacular reads!  As always, we thank you, and Happy Reading!  Don't forget to click on those buy links listed below the interviews!  Oh, and another piece of advice, you might want to leave the lights on when reading! 
Proudly Present Authors,
Troy Aaron Ratliff and Will Alexander
In the empty Kansas countryside during the spring of 1986, farmer and widower SYLVESTER PETERSEN is dealing with the violent suicide of his wife MARIA from the previous autumn. He copes by getting lost in his routines of star-gazing, farming, baseball, and enjoying the company of his small circle of friends. Mostly, though, he spends his time blaming himself for her death and what he could have done to stop the tragedy, unsure how to move on with his life.

Meanwhile, a mysterious new neighbor has moved in next door to him, seemingly out of nowhere. Like with any small town, the local residents talk about him incessantly, curious of his origins. They prod Sylvester for answers to his new neighbor, but he is still managing his wife’s death to notice the new addition next door. Though, as the muggy summer begins, a series of increasingly strange occurrences shifts Sylvester’s attention from mourning his wife to questioning his sanity: perfectly shaped and unexplainable holes scattered around his corn, hellish noises coming from his crop, and some sinister damage to his house – all appear to point to his new neighbor. On top of this, his sleep is escaping him. He wakes up exhausted every day, anxious as to why or how to fix it.

Sylvester chooses the logical explanation and ignores the peculiar behavior, but when other oddities start to happen - the kind that affects Sylvester directly - he begins to worry that he may be in more danger than he originally believed. His reasoning dwindles and his growing fear points to his neighbor and the mystery surrounding him. After enough time, Sylvester starts to see and hear what the people of the area have been muttering about: Unexplainable blue light, corn crops moving on their own...the slaughtered cattle entirely too close to home.

At the peak of summer, and with the walls closing in, Sylvester barricades himself inside his house to understand the truth about his neighbor and, maybe, find redemption for his wife.
Troy Aaron Ratliff was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio and self educated in writing, art, and voice impersonations. When he's not reading, writing, sketching, or cooking up his next monstrosity, you can generally find him defending the galaxy from the forces of evil, feeding hippopotamuses, dining with foreign dignitaries and Zen masters, waking up to his supermodel wife, altering the space-time inter-dimensional warp or, more than likely, stuck in traffic somewhere in Southern California on his magic carpet.

1. I always look forward to October because I enjoy reading scary books all month long—so imagine my surprise when I got your invitation to your upcoming horror novel. So, Troy, tell our readers just how terrified will we be after having read it? 

I certainly hope to get a reaction out of my readers. Shock and horror are natural emotions and feelings that we’ve had to accept of life, but with so many daily horrifying realities, it’s hard to scare people with a monster when the monster is everywhere around us, like on the news. I think that’s why I avoid the news as much as I can. It’s great to be informed, but when I compare it to the things I write it becomes a two edged sword. On one side, people are constantly exposed to real-life terror which fuels some great analogies and themes into my work, but the other side is trying to convince a reader that this otherworldly experience is really happening to this character when a shooting takes place, or a country threatens nuclear war outside the book. It can be difficult. Some have argued that is why Horror as a genre has lagged over the years: why read a Horror novel when there’s enough horror in the world?

I look at it like this: the Bizarre balances the Normality in my writing and is employed as the theory of “Horror of Fiction Vs. the Horror of Reality” or “Horror Vs. Horror” for short, to balance and chisel out a good narrative and, in my mind, a more real experience for the reader. Basically, to make the abnormal real, the normal must be undeniable and solid. That’s how I like write, by getting my readers comfortable in a very normal and real setting before turning it inside-out and yet, still convince them that’s it really happening. A fellow writer friend of mine called it “T-roy’s style of ‘Heightened Reality’”.

With all that being said, I hope to dole out enough scares to leave a lasting impression on anyone looking for it. If I am, then I’ve done my job by drawing you into a real story with a twisted edge.

2. Tell us something that readers would be shocked to learn about you?
I don’t own a single pair of jeans. I haven’t worn denim since I was twelve years old. And I’m completely okay with that, thank you very much.

3. How many years have you been writing?
Over twenty years. I started writing when I was eleven years old. There was slump where the writing tapered off for a few years, but it came back to life around 22-23 and now that I’m 31 the urge to write is strong - especially after a year of prepping DIBYAN? with edits and marketing and everything else involved with preparing a novel for publication. I’m hungry to write again, unedited, and letting it all go on the page.

4. So, how does one prepare to set out to write something terrifying?
Well, for me, it comes naturally; it’s just what I like to write. I know that doesn’t sound very reassuring as far as my sanity is concerned, but that’s just par for the course in writing horror. I’ve always enjoyed stories with a otherworldly/supernatural touch, even if it’s something subtle. A novel like “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy, a violent western has the very subtle supernatural feel with the main antagonist in The Judge. It’s so faint and creepy, and I love finding those kinds of haunting aspects in writing because it’s all in the reader’s head and that just pours over into my writing.

5. When you’re not writing, how do you like to relax?

I love drawing and photography. Photography is new for me, but drawing has actually been in my life longer than writing. Art actually runs in the Ratliff blood. My website has a gallery where I display all of my latest work. I also have a little online store through that allows me to sell my art and photography to the public on various items like computer skins, wallets, and even skateboards. I’m always striving for that perpetually creative mindset to keep the brain juices flowing. If I’m not feeling my writing or I’ve hit a snag somehow and I can’t get past it, drawing is usually my imagination getting over that hump. Not always, but sometimes after I finish a drawing the ideas start to come again for the writing. It’s like a see-saw.

6. How did you come up with the title for your book?
The title, honestly, has never changed. From the first I knew it would be “Do I Bother You at Night?”. I know it doesn’t roll of the tongue, but I feel it give it that old, golden age of horror fiction feel from the 1970’s and 80’s. Think Ramsey’s Campbell’s “The Doll Who Ate His Mother” or “The Face That Must Die”. Plus, the fact it’s asking a question to the reader right at the introduction gives it a jagged feel right from the start that I want to perpetuate through the whole narrative.

7. Did you take any writing courses to help you learn to character build and storytelling?

  I took a few, but I lean more on my own autodidactic abilities. I read a lot and now that I’ve been flooding my smart phone with audiobooks, I get the narration side of the written word too, which really helps and gives me a new perspective of the writing process. I usually have a process that I go through in writing a book and then another process in marketing it. In fact, the next novel I’m going to be working on very soon already has a 25 page printed outline of character developments and traits, plot turns, themes, and even cover ideas. I’m very organic in the outlining process of my writing, but I’ve learned to separate that from actual writing to keep myself on course with the story and the goals I set for myself. If I have an outline to guide me, I have a map to help me sail the ship straight. That’s how I do it, and it works for me.

8. How do you react to negative criticism of your work?
I hurl my computer across the room and smash it until it bleeds. Kidding kidding. Bad reviews are bound to happen, and I’ve accepted that, but it still hurts when I get them. Thankfully, I haven’t gotten many. I take my writing seriously, and being able to push aside my ego and be as professional about it as possible, which is to leave it alone and quietly lick your wounds.

9. What can we expect from you in the near future?

Certainly more short stories and novellas, for sure. And, of course, I’ll be getting started on my next novel. But what I’d really like to try my hand at is a coffee table book for my art and photography. I’ve found some cool options for independents to create something like this, but I’m always open to suggestions to what other people have tried and found successful.  

10. Which of your characters gave you the most challenge to create?

I’d have to say Sylvester Petersen himself. The novel is so character-driven that for research I nearly had to become Sylvester. I grew out a crazy long beard, starved myself, and had to truly face the idea of losing my own wife, doing it method writing style. For me, that’s what makes the writing experience real for me and mores so for the reader.


Instagram: @trizzlepuffs

Twenty: A group of short stories presented in a paranormal thriller format which all revolve around a cursed twenty dollar bill. Stories range from The Subway: a banker who learns that taking people’s homes is harming innocents by being presented with the harm he has caused loved ones. Tattoo: A bank robber who takes whatever he likes is taught a lesson when he steals a piece of body art from the wrong artist. Take Out: A restaurant owner inadvertently kills his lover and figures out a different way of disposing of the body while his lover’s ghost taunts him. Destiny’s Whisper: A teenage vampire teaches us that what we know about vampires is all wrong. Six other stories that incorporate the twenty dollar bill while teaching us all lessons we never expected to learn…

Denied Innocence: A true story that took place in 1992 New Hampshire about an outcast boy escaping to college only to have his life destroyed by the first woman to tell him “I love you.” We are not talking about the typical “My girlfriend was a bitch” story. Jerri did her best to attempt to ruin Bryan’s future and take away his very freedom all to hide the affair she was having on her husband. Though the names and locations are changed, the story is true.


Ghosts Don’t Die: My most recent book. FBI agent on vacation, Proctor Ridgeway, is coerced into solving the murder of Gettysburg PA’s most detested ghost tour guide. Though most people in town don’t care who killed her and believe the killer should never be brought to justice, Ridgeway uses his sense of duty to solve the mystery while dealing with the bumbling police chief and his father the mayor, the media intent on getting a scoop, and the guide’s cult-like followers.

The Half-Share Man: Written by my great grandfather in 1972, it follows the exploits of Peter Folger, the grandfather of Benjamin Franklin, as he tries to make his way in the new world. This ranges from buying his one true love’s indentured servitude to preventing an Indian war all the way to dealing with the rich landowner that might otherwise keep him imprisoned. I penned the preface and kept the footnotes up to date and share a partial author credit for my work.

Haunted Nantucket Island: A collection of true ghost stories that all take place on Nantucket Island, as reported to me by those who witnessed them. This version also contains tales as I had acted them out while performing my ghost tour The Nantucket Haunted Hike on Nantucket Island as well as an essay I wrote for the online magazine


I was born on Nantucket Island in Massachusetts, but I prefer to tell people I am from Philadelphia, PA since that is where I “found myself” and came to understand the person I was. Philly has always been a second home to me and I miss my friends from there since I have not seen them in some time. Presently, I live in New Hampshire and am loving every moment of that existence as well. I can’t see myself living in a place I am uncomfortable.

My education doesn’t go much beyond high school. I tend to enjoy educating myself on my own. I have learned far more out of school than I ever could have in school, and I do not believe that an education has to be limited to people telling you what to believe and what to read while following a particular dogma. Education comes from questioning what you are taught and then deciding for yourself if it is wrong or right.

 As for family, I have very little. A mother, a sister, a fiancĂ©e and her son. I have a number of children I consider my own even though they have no genetic markers to me. One of my books is dedicated to three of them.

 1. What genres do you typically write and why?
I try very hard not to limit myself to a particular genre. Though I do like to write in the horror or paranormal thriller genre, I tend to find myself drawn to other ones as well. One day I could be working on a true story while the next I feel the need to work in total fantasy. I have ideas for a book series based in an alternate reality brought on by one moment in history being done in a different way. I have a book I am working on right now about the mental health industry being seen through the eyes of an adolescent. I even have ideas for a few children’s books. To limit myself to a particular genre would be to limit my imagination and creativity. I try my best to not do it.

2. How many years have you been writing?

This all depends on how you look at it. I have been writing creatively since I was in the first grade. I recall being shown a table full of photos cut from National Geographic and told to pick one and tell the story about it. I remember finding a picture of an old and severely wrinkled man standing in a desert. I remember saying he was Joe and lived in the Grand Canyon.
Later on, in the sixth grade I wrote a play I called Indiana Jones and the Planet of Roshkashawna where I had Indy pushed into a rocket and sent to another planet where he saved the inhabitants.

As I got older, I began to write more in-depth pieces. Murder mysteries and sci-fi epics where I based characters on real people and gave them exactly what was coming to them were the flavor of that particular time for me.

My first novel was finally written when I was 19 and would later come to be known as Denied Innocence though it went through many different titles and many attempts at publishing. It was declined by a number of publishers and sat on a shelf for almost 20 years until online free publishing came out. Now it is finally in print.

When I was 28, I wrote Haunted Nantucket Island as a supplement to a tour I was giving called The Nantucket Haunted Hike on Nantucket Island. It became an underground hit even though most bookstores on the island would not sell it under pressure from those with more money and influence than I who wanted to see my tour be pushed out of business. Today the book is used by Raven’s Walk ghost tour, the only tour on Nantucket that is authorized to use stories from my book on their tour.

In the past year, I have released two books, Twenty and Ghosts Don’t Die both of which are linked together, though are completely different stories in a completely different genre.

Sometime next year, I hope to have a new book called Psycho Therapy out, which deals with the real life horrors that teenagers must endure at the hands of the mental health industry as seen by a fourteen year old boy named Braiden Caine. He is incarcerated in a mental hospital because his parents have been convinced by a psychiatrist that he is manic depressive since he feels down about his surroundings. Being a minor, he has no say in the horrors he must endure and learns that in reality torture is torture but in a state sanctioned mental facility, torture is known as “therapy.”

3. How do you deal with negative reviews?

I revert to Larry Flynt’s famous saying: “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one.” I don’t let them bother me. It is one thing if it is a negative or bad review, it is another thing if it is a personal attack.

To explain: I have a family member that has always liked to see me in pain or misery. This family member is always backed up by their spouse and mother. Once on Amazon, the spouse and mother posted reviews claiming that I needed therapy and that the book in question was all about the person in question, when the character they believed was based upon themselves was a minor character, barely worth mentioning. After paragraphs of scathing innuendo and reviews slated as one star, I contacted Amazon to point them out and even they agreed that the review was little more than an attack on me and not about the book. They agreed to remove the “reviews.”

Personal attacks have no place when explaining what one thought about a piece of literary work. You are always going to have people that like or hate your work based upon their personal feelings, but when it becomes something personal, it becomes more tripe and finger pointing than the true feeling about the literature.

I have read books I got halfway through before I became bored with it. I have had books I read many times and will read again. In the end, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

Bad reviews can be taken to heart but I know that in the end, I am proud of my work and am excited to finally see it in print.

4. What is something interesting about you your readers would be shocked to learn?

I am a proud bisexual Trekkie. I don’t see sexuality as defining a person, rather enhancing their character. As for Star Trek… well that just goes without saying…

5. Is there a particular season or time that you prefer to write in and why?

No. Writing goes down on paper or into the computer whenever the muse strikes me.

6. How do you feel about self-publishing?

Self-publishing is how I have always done my work. Originally, it cost me $1000 for 20 copies and then I had to beg and plead for people to buy them. Today, it costs nothing and whenever you put it into print, you can find a typo or an editing mistake and then fix it and still be able to sell the book without a problem. All you have to do is re-upload the file.

I may not become a wealthy man due to self-publishing, but it is the easiest way possible to be certain that your work sits on a shelf with no money put out by you (today) and make sure that your dreams are realized. I wanted to be published from the age of 19. Now at the age of 39, I have five books out and a sixth on the way. If things keep going like this, I may have a full library of books in print on my home shelves. A select few people might buy them here and there, and in the end, I would love to know that a few people enjoy my work rather than no people. I think self-publishing is a godsend in that regard.

7. Who is your favorite author(s)?

They range from Stephen King on the horror side to David Sedaris on the humor side. For a realistic thriller, Steven Hildreth, Jr. for his book The First Bayonet did a fantastic job. Nothing will ever compare to Shel Silverstein or Douglas Adams. As a teenager, I absolutely loved a book called The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend. In the end, I love the Bard, William Shakespeare. His work will be read until the end of time.

8. If you could be any character you’ve created, which one would it be and why?

In my book Twenty, I have a story called The Subway where a greedy and cruel banker delights in repossessing people’s homes. He believes it to be a sport of sorts. The last man that he takes the home from is named Andrew Busch. Though he and his family become homeless, he later meets up with George Laughton on the subway in the city they live in. He teaches him that Laughton is no different than anyone else and though he believes himself superior, the real strength in life is helping others, not harming them. I like the idea that he retains his morality even given the fact that he has been forced into homelessness by someone callous and uncaring. He shows him that he is no different from anyone else, no matter what he chooses to believe. I wish I had the power to persuade people like that. I wish I could show people that kindness to your fellow man will get you far further than the greed behind destroying anyone’s life for the sake of your own avarice.
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
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