Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Interview With Author Ilil Arbel - Moses Son Of Maimon Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway

Title: Moses Son of Maimon: The Life of Maimonides, 1135 to 1204 A.D.
Author Name: Ilil Arbel

Welcome! Ready to ride?

GR: Tell us about your latest release...

Moses, Son of Maimon is a biography of the great man we usually know as Maimonides, published by 21st Publishing. I consider him one of the most important and influential philosophers/scholars in Western culture. All the books about him dwell on his work – but I am a biographer, so I have created a real life story. Since I am bilingual in Hebrew, I found extremely interesting facts about his life, his family, and the places he lived. Letters, in particular, revealed much about his life that does not exist in English. I believe anyone interested in his work would find it enriching to know more about his own story – he was the most magnificent mass of contradiction you can imagine.

GR: What inspired you to start your writing journey?

Writing is my second career. I was an artist, an illustrator, for years. But I have always wanted to write and so slowly shifted my focus. I started with illustrated articles I created for a science magazine, called Science Probe.

GR: Who have been some authors that have inspired you along the way?

There were many, but I generally think Van Loon, with his book Lives, made me want to write biographies. W. Somerset Maugham made me want to write, period. Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas Mann, Charlotte Bronte, Brenda Ueland, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens… the list is long.

GR: What is one piece of marketing advice you can give to new authors?

If you are good at marketing, go for it, by all means. But don’t let it be a burden. If, like me, you are not good at it, find help from your publisher, your publicist, or a friend you can trade services with. Not everyone is a good salesperson, and it is pointless to succumb to the pressure Indies are under to become their own representatives or perish.

GR: If we went on the ride of our life, where is one place you'd like to be sure to stop along the way?

I would go back to my mid-thirties, and rethink some of my strategies for writing and publishing.

GR: Would you be afraid to ride on the back of my bike?

Yes, terrified. I have been once on the back of a motorcycle – and vowed to never do it again.

GR: What can we expect from you in the future? Any new projects?

I am working on two projects. The biography of Hillel the Elder, named The Golden Rule. Some of it is already published as a blog on my website as “a book in progress” since I believe that feedback from readers is extremely important, and also because I suspect that many books will be done like that in the future. The second project is a book I was requested to write for the Angela Thirkell Society of North America, who had published several of my books. It is a totally different field – a historical mystery occurring in the 1920’s. The book does not have a name yet – but it is the sequel to Madame Koska and the Imperial Brooch and will be her third adventure.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you the best of success and to always leave your hair blowing in the wind!

Author Bio:

Ilil Arbel is the author of a number of fiction and non-fiction books, including biographies, memoirs, novels, and mythology/folklore. She has also written articles, short stories, and Judaic myths.

Arbel has a Ph.D. in the field of mythology and folklore but has also devoted much study to her special interest in Jewish history, biography, legends, and myths. She is currently engaged in writing the biography of Hillel the Elder, the first century B.C. leader and religious scholar.

Dr. Arbel was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. She has lived and studied in Tel Aviv, Paris, and New York and currently resides in Manhattan.

Author Links -
Publisher’s Website:

Publisher’s Facebook Website:

Book Genre: Historical Biography
Publisher: 21st Publishing
Release Date: Feb 12, 2015
Buy Link(s):

Book Description (LONG): Born into a distinguished family in medieval Cordoba, Spain, the young Moses Maimonides was quickly recognized by his teachers for his outstanding intellectual abilities and extraordinary versatility. At the age of twelve, when his peaceful world was shattered by war and persecution and his family was forced into exile, his religious and secular studies continued. Despite the years of wandering and the harsh conditions, he also developed into a writer and wrote extensively until the end of his life.

After years of wandering and relatively short stays in Morocco and Israel, Maimonides and his family settled in Egypt. The Jewish community quickly recognized his genius, and after completing his important book, the Mishneh Torah, he was recognized internationally as the chief religious and legal authority of the entire Jewish world. He produced many books on diverse subjects such as philosophy, law, religion, and medicine that are considered extremely important to this day by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. Despite experiencing loss and controversies, Maimonides rose to eminence as both the official head of the Jewish community in Cairo and the private physician to the sultan and his court.

His world was full of contradictions. A man who abhorred excess of any kind, Maimonides nevertheless lived as a member of a glittering society. Cairo of that time was full of art, music, literature, elegant fashions, priceless jewelry, and sophisticated food. He moved among the sultan’s wealthy advisors and the elegant ladies of the royal harem during the day, and among the Jewish scholars in the evening. He was accused of supporting corporal punishment for wives, and at the same time, people gasped at his revolutionary defense of women’s rights.

His fame brought controversy that is still raging—eight hundred years after his death. At certain times his books were banned and even burned at the stake. But no one could ever deny that his work was that of a brilliant innovator and scholar who could reconcile religious traditions with science and philosophy like no one else.

Book Description (SHORT): Moses Maimonides brought controversy that is still raging—eight hundred years after his death. At certain times his books were banned and even burned at the stake. But no one could ever deny that his work was that of a brilliant innovator and scholar who could reconcile religious traditions with science and philosophy like no one else.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Interview With Author, Cynthia Mock Burroughs - Remember Della #vbtcafetour

Welcome! Ready to ride?

GR: Tell us about your latest release...

Remember Della” is the story of Katherine, a sixteen-year-old girl who (on occasion) has been known to have “portentous” dreams. But the dreams she has begun to have of late are different from all the rest. Repetitive, disturbing dreams of a yellow scarf and Della, a girl she barely knows, quickly escalate into full-fledged nightmares. These nightmares not only invade her sleep, they begin to affect her waking life as well. So the question is - how far will sleep-starved Katherine go to salvage her sanity and make the dreams go away? And the answer is that she will resort to about anything to regain control of her life.
In her search for answers she discovers that Della, who seems to be all but invisible to everyone, has simply vanished; and no one, including the girl’s mother and step-father, recognizes—or will admit—the fact she has disappeared.

This story is told from the point of view of an older Katherine, who takes you back to the fifties and in turn introduces you to the colorful cast of characters who come to her aid.

GR: What inspired you to start your writing journey?

I began writing as a way to deal with my grief when my mother passed.

GR: Who have been some authors that have inspired you along the way?

I have always been a voracious reader and I would have to say that every author whose book I have ever held in my hand has been inspiration to me.

GR: What is one piece of marketing advice you can give to new authors?

I’ll share with you something another author told me not long ago. She said, “You must be your book’s advocate. Just as you were your children’s advocate when they were young - you must be your book’s advocate.” And then she went on to impress upon me how important both social media and book bloggers are to an author.

GR: If we went on the ride of our life, where is one place you'd like to be sure to stop along the way?

Maybe Antelope Canyon in New Mexico.

I’ve visited the southwest several times and quite honestly can’t get enough of it. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, to name a few landmarks, but there are so many sights out that way I have yet to see.

GR: Would you be afraid to ride on the back of my bike?


I have said numerous times how much fun it would be to travel the open roads out west on a bike. You could talk me into that in a heartbeat! But I do quake at the thought of being on a bike in heavy traffic - say like in Phoenix for example.

GR: What can we expect from you in the future? Any new projects?

I am currently working on the sequel to “Remember Della”. In fact, there is a sneak preview in the back of the book.

But . . .

Would it surprise you to learn I have been working on a manuscript (which I am dying to get back to) involving a biker? One of the bars he frequents is a favorite biker hang-out.

This book is about the biker’s son, a young boy of thirteen, who commits murder and what drove him to that point. I’m not giving anything away here, since the book opens with young Marky on trial.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today. I wish you the best of success and to always leave your hair blowing in the wind!

I thank you!

And I will most definitely take your advice to heart - both my hair and I could stand a little more “blowing in the wind”.

Title: Remember Della
Author: Cynthia Mock Burroughs
Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: November 9, 2011
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Buy Here: Amazon|Create Space

Book Description:

Kat, a “slightly" psychic sixteen-year-old, begins having disturbingly persistent dreams. Dreams of a yellow scarf - with a seeming life of its own - which taunts her and haunts her every dream. Dreams about Della, a fellow classmate, who to this point has remained all but invisible to any and every one at school. Kat eventually comes to the realization that until she unravels the mystery surrounding that “dagblasted” creepy yellow scarf and this girl she hardly knows, she'll not have another night’s rest. What Kat soon discovers is that she is the only person in Della’s life (including the girl’s mother and stepfather) who recognizes - or will admit - Della has simply vanished, gone “splitsville"! And Kat is helpless as her life becomes indelibly intertwined with Della’s – so much so, that she will carry the emotional scars for years to come.

Kat is surrounded by an extremely colorful cast of characters. You will meet: long-time friend and recent love interest, Em; Kat’s precocious eight-year-old brother, Gordy; her feisty octogenarian neighbor, Mrs. Harper and a chain smoking waitress named Clovis. All who, for various reasons, join Kat’s desperate quest to help a girl she hardly knows and to find answers to questions that, with any luck, will bring her the peace she seeks – the biggest question on her mind being, “Why me?” 

“Remember Della” - which is predominately set in the South during the mid-fifties - is chock full of facts, trivia and slang from that era. While an entertaining read, I believe this book addresses bullying - both physical and emotional - in a fresh and unique way during a time before such issues were “labeled” as unacceptable or problematic.

Author Bio:

I was born and raised in the South and to this day reside in South Carolina with my dashing husband, crotchety cat and nimble Jack Russell. My first novel,Remember Della, definitely reflects that Southern upbringing; and like Katherine, my main protagonist, I am also a child of the fifties.

I have enjoyed reading my entire life and relish childhood memories of long, languid summers spent in lawn chairs beneath shady old trees—my best friend and I devouring one library book after another. I hope to be proof of the old adage that everyone has at least one good book in them—but suppose that remains to be seen. You, the reader, will be the judge of that. 

Drawing and painting have always been passions of mine, but I had never tried my hand at writing until my mother passed away several years ago. During my grieving process I found that painting was not keeping my mind as busy as I would have liked. Painting allowed me too much time to think. So in an attempt to ease my sadness, I decided to try a new creative outlet. The result was a 24,000 word children's chapter book (as yet unpublished) and a newfound love—writing! In fact, I am in love with the entire writing process, especially the part where I get to tell really tall tales—and get away with it . . .

Author Links - 

Twitter @cmburroughs 

Excerpt One

I sat at the kitchen table while Momma contemplated what to do
with the ground beef thawing out on the counter. She settled on
goulash and was checking the pantry to see if she had all the ingredients
when it occurred to her she hadn’t heard a peep out of Gordy.
The quietude must have alerted her to his absence.

She turned to me, “Where’s Gordy—up in his room?”

I shook my head no. “He’s not home yet.”

She checked her watch and asked, “Did you hear his bus come

No’m. It’s probably running late.”

Gordy should be home by now, Katherine.” She gave me a doubtful
look and asked, “You’re sure his bus hasn’t come by?”

The look of concern on her face was fleeting, and we both cringed
as Gordy heralded his arrival by slamming the front door so hard the
house shook. Momma yelled at the top of her lungs, “Gordy!” When
he came barreling through the doorway she asked, “How many times
have I told you not to slam the door like that? You’ve already taken a
minimum of ten years off my life!”
He never even heard a word she said because he was talking louder
and faster than his customary mile-a-minute. His words practically
ran together as he said, “You shoulda seen it! Sammy Spellman
throwed up all over prissy ol’ Becky Taylor on the bus! We had beets
for lunch an’ Sammy ate a whole bowl of ‘em. I bet that’s what made
him throw up. He says he likes ‘em, but I don’t believe it for a minute.
I think he just eats ‘em to show off. But the really good part is
Sammy’s throw-up was all red—like he was throwing up blood! Then
ol’ Becky started crying an’ everything, and Cindy Walker started
gagging ‘cause throw-up splattered all over her shoes an’ then she
throwed up. It was so cool! They were sitting across the aisle from
me, an’ I got to see it all. And Becky, with her weirdo-self, told Mikey
Olson she was gonna wipe throw up on him ‘cause he laughed
at her. And the bus driver had to stop the bus an’ calm everybody
down. It was Coolsville!

I could see Momma was trying to keep a straight face as she said,
Gordy that’s enough—there’s nothing cool about someone throwing
beets up all over the place.”

Well I couldn’t be sure, but from the smell of it I think Sammy
must’ve been sick at both ends. I tell–”

Gordy!!!” Gordy was treading on very thin ice.

It’s the truth! It was gross I tell ya. Gross enough to gag a maggot!
Everybody sitting around ‘em looked like they were gonna
puke—’cept me. The bus driver made everybody get off, and
the monitor had to go to somebody’s house to call for another
bus and for Sammy an’ Becky an’ Cindy’s parents to come and
get ‘em.”

Dear Lord, I hope Sammy’s not contagious.” And in spite of the fact
we weren’t Catholic, Momma crossed herself.

Excerpt Two 

I HATED THAT despicable clock. I hated the way those two nerve-jangling,
damnable bells blasted me so urgently from sleep
every morning. I snatched the clock up, shut off the alarm
and slammed the offending thing back onto the nightstand.
Throwing the covers back and my legs over the side of the
bed, I stood unsteadily a moment before aiming my body at
the door leading to the hall. Destination—the bathroom. But as
my fingers touched the doorknob the clock began its shrill intonations
again. Oh dear Lord! That sound, so early in the morning,
was the equivalent of fingernails screeeking down a chalkboard.
Hadn’t I just turned the dad-blamed thing off? Maybe I
jarred the lever into the ‘on’ position when I, perhaps a little too
vigorously, delivered the clock back to its pocked resting place.

I retraced my steps and after turning the alarm off, again,
placed the clock on the nightstand—a little more gently
this time. And for more reasons than one, I moved a wee
bit faster for the bedroom door. I reached it a second time
and stopped cold—the God-forsaken clock was, once again,
clanging for attention! With the strangest mixture of anger,
fear and foreboding I walked back, turned the alarm off a
third time and buried ‘Baby Ben’ not only under the covers,
but both pillows as well. Then I ran back to the door, jerked
it open and took off through it.

Instead of the hall outside my bedroom door, I found myself
out on the street in front of my house—still dressed in baby
doll pajamas and walking toward my bus stop. There wasn’t
time to go home and change. The school bus had arrived
and it sat idling as a half-dozen students climbed on. I waved
and yelled for them to wait, but no one seemed to hear.

Running for the bus wasn’t even an option, for it was suddenly
as if my feet and I were slogging through knee-deep
mud. I could only watch as the door closed and the bus
pulled off without me. Oddly, I felt thoroughly and utterly
bereft—as if all my hopes and dreams had taken off with that
big yellow bus.

As the bus lumbered down the road something yellow flew
out an open window. Even from where I stood I could see it
was a scarf—a yellow scarf—lifting, floating and fluttering in
the early morning breeze.

My legs came unglued and I began running after that scarf
like my life depended upon reaching it before it touched
the ground. I caught up to it, but each time I attempted to
pluck it from the air a breeze would whisk it away, lifting it
just beyond my reach over and over again. I soon began to
tire of the game and was about to abandon the chase when
the wind picked up and blew the scarf toward me instead of
away, pressing it against the lower half of my face. Slowly,
almost as if caressing me, the scarf began to move along my
skin. It slid over my mouth, under my chin, and down my neck.
Snaking round and round my throat, it became longer and
longer, tighter and tighter—and I began struggling for air . . .