Friday, April 11, 2014

Meet Christine DePetrillo, Romance Novelist

Overlords fans, I'm sorry to say that today is the last day of the ARIA Blog Tour.  However, that still means we have one more great author to hear from! I saved Christine DePetrillo for today since I'll be her school today to whip her students into a frenzy during a wild Monster Creation session.

Mike:  Hi, Christine.  I’m happy to have yet another Association of Rhode Island Author (ARIA) to introduce to my Overlords fan base.  As with the others, we’re going to do an old fashioned interview.  Here we go!

Mike:  Christine, please introduce yourself to my Overlords fans with a little information about you and where you’re from.

Christine:  I’d like to say I’ve lived for hundreds of years and I’m from Transylvania, but sadly, that’s just not true. The reality of it is that I’ve been teaching fifth grade for the past 15 years during the day and by night, I love hanging out with my characters. I’ve lived in Rhode Island all my life, but look forward to calling Vermont my home in the future.

Mike:  What are you working on these days and what’s the current status of that project?

Christine:  Right now I’m working on my Maple Leaf Series, a set of contemporary romances set in Vermont. The first is titled MORE THAN PANCAKES and tells the story of a maple syrup company owner and a hotel designer. He’s quiet country. She’s busy city. They couldn’t be more different and yet… there’s something pulling them together. I’ve written book two in this series and am now tackling book three. I hope to release the books in quick succession this summer. 

Mike:  You have collaborated with your husband, Mike (a standup guy I must say!), in the past.  Can you tell us how that experience worked?

Christine:  My husband, Mike, is a standup guy! I’ve never met a Mike who wasn’t. Our collaboration was fantastic. We’ve worked on many projects over the years including home improvement and landscape design and those experiences have all been marked by respect of each other’s ideas and a drive to reach the finish line. Working with him on writing was no different. We each brought our strengths to the table. He’s great with plot, and I love developing characters. I’m really pleased with how our book, A LESS PERFECT UNION, came together. 

Mike:  You’re an elementary schoolteacher by day.  How do you decompress and write after dealing with young kids all day!?!

Christine:  Having a transition plan helps. When the school day is over, I come home, do any remaining school business that needs doing, then take my enormous German Shepherd for a long walk through our neighborhood. We spend about 45 minutes walking and during that time, I’m actually walking with my characters too. I hear their voices so clearly as we meander through the ‘hood and when we return home, I’m ready to hit the keyboard and write those happily ever afters.

Mike:  You have a thing for werewolves.  Please elaborate!

Christine:  Some of my best friends are werewolves! I love animals of all kinds, especially wolves, and the notion of someone being part wolf—and by “someone” I of course mean a hot guy with ripped abs and serious biceps—is really exciting to me. I actually got my all-black German Shepherd because he resembles a werewolf. 

Mike:  What genre do you enjoy writing the most?

Christine:  Adult contemporary romance is my favorite genre, but I’m easily swayed to write other things. This is part of my dilemma in branding myself as an author. I’ve got to pick something and stay there. I’m trying to do that with my Maple Leaf Series, but The Voices come from all genres and I’m a slave to the stories they ask me to write.

Mike:  Any upcoming projects we should know about?

Christine:  I’m really focusing on the Maple Leaf Series and seeing where that takes me. I’ve recently written a teaching book too, so I’m gearing up to do some professional development workshops centered around teaching writing at the elementary level.

Mike:  OK, time for some quick ones, ready?  Favorite movie?

Christine: When Harry Met Sally. My favorite line from that movie is when Billy Crystal goes to Meg Ryan at the end and says, “When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

Mike: Favorite food or dish to make?

Christine:  Pizza. Totally boring I know, but I could eat it every day. No joke.

Mike:  Favorite place you have ever visited?

Christine:  Alaska. Best trip ever. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Mike:  Favorite music band?

Christine:  Metallica

Mike:  Favorite book, and no it can’t be one of yours!

Christine:  Umm, all of them? Okay, okay. I’ll give you one of my favorite books to use with my students—TUCK EVERLASTING, by Natalie Babbitt. It toys with the notion of eternal life.

Mike:  Christine, thanks for being such a good sport!  Is there anything you would like to leave my fans with?

Christine:  Always make time to read. It’s a great escape.  Thanks for having me, Mike!

Mike:  Christine, the pleasure was all ours!  And Overlords fans, thanks for taking this five-day journey with me to meet some of Rhode Island's best authors.  Please visit Christine's websites and purchase some of her books!

Christine's websites: for teaching writing for political fiction

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Meet Kim Arcand, ARIA's Only NASA Member!

It's already Day Four of the ARIA Blog Tour and today I bring to you Kim Arcand, ARIA's resident NASA member.  Kim took some time to stop gazing at the stars to talk a little about herself and her projects.

Mike:  Hi, Kim.  I’m very excited to present the very first person who works for NASA from the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) to my Overlords fan base.  We’re going to do an old fashioned interview, ok?  Here we go!

Mike:  Kim, please introduce yourself to my Overlords fans with a little information about you and where you’re from.

Kim:  Hi, I’m Kim Arcand. I was born in Rhode Island, lived in Mass. for about a decade, and have been back in RI for about 7 years now.  I have been working for a NASA mission for about 15 years.  I am the visualization lead for the Chandra X-ray Observatory that looks at extremely hot regions of the Universe, from exploding stars to colliding galaxies. I got my undergraduate degree in biology (mostly parasitology, so I started out looking at pretty small things) before moving into computer science and then finally astronomy.  I recently co-authored “Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos” from Smithsonian Books (2013).

Mike:  What are you working on these days and what’s the current status of that project?

Kim:  I like to think about color and light.  So one of the projects I’m working on is a research study for image and meaning – how do people react to science images, particularly data that allows us to see the invisible.  I talk a lot about how we color the Universe.  There is a process that gets us from data of a celestial object that emits X-rays to a colored representation of that object that we can see, enjoy and learn about, and it involves a lot of steps.

Mike:  How did someone who works for a NASA mission ever get the idea to write a book?

Kim:  Well, it wasn’t my idea at all. I can’t take any credit for that.  My colleague, Megan Watzke, and I had been working on a project for the UN’s International Year of Astronomy back in 2009 and we were writing a lot of articles and giving many talks to help promote it.  A literary agent, Elizabeth Evans, saw one of our articles and contacted us about a possible book.  I had always wanted to write a book so this was such a great opportunity.  We wanted to tell a story about astronomy that would be accurate and up to date, of course, but also be fun and very accessible.  There are not a lot of female authors in astronomy so that was another great aspect about getting to write our book.

Mike:  With all the scientific knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years, do you have any desire to write a science fiction novel?

Kim:  I am going to confess something shocking here: I work in astronomy yet I am not a SciFi junky. I liked the X-files, and the original Star Wars, but if you look at my bookshelf you would find mostly science and visualization books for non-fiction browsing and a lot of period pieces for leisure reading (so, Dickens, Austen, Heyer, and many other authors). I do love Margaret Atwood’s work, though I think of her as more futuristic than SciFi.

Mike:  Do you find yourself silently analyzing the scientific accuracies of science fiction books and movies?

Kim:  I do! But I try hard not to do that overmuch, and just enjoy the ride.

Mike:  Any desire to write about something completely different?

Kim:  Yes, I secretly want to write a cookbook, that I would give a dorky name to, such as “Cooking with the Stars.”

Mike:  Any upcoming projects we should now about?

Kim:  I am very excited for the upcoming International Year of Light 2015, a resolution from the UN to get folks talking about the science of light.  We are going to be working on a cross-cutting program on light, from talking about brain scans, to bioluminescence, to atmospheric phenomena, to of course, astrophysics. And I am really hoping to eventually turn some of that work into a book … fingers crossed.

Mike:  OK, time for some quick ones, ready?  Favorite movie?

Kim:  I’m not a huge movie fan, can I pick a TV series? If so, Downton Abbey.

Mike: Favorite food or dish to make?

Kim:  Butternut squash lasagna. I’m like a vegetarian Garfield.

Mike:  Favorite place you have ever visited?

Kim:  Paris, in January, so there were no other tourists!

Mike:  Favorite music band?

Kim:  Radiohead. But I’m very eclectic in musical taste and I enjoy many kinds, from chorale music by Eric Whitacre to the Disney pop my kids listen to.

Mike:  Favorite book, and no it can’t be one of yours!

Kim:  Pride and Prejudice.

Mike:  Kim, thanks for being such a good sport!  Is there anything you would like to leave my fans with?

Kim:  Thanks so much for inviting me, Mike! The Universe is yours to discover.

Mike:  Kim, once again it was great to have you here today and give my Overlords fans a little science insight.  Please help Kim by buying her book and visiting her website by using the links below.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Meet Alex Kimmell, ARIA's Resident Horror Writer!

It's Day Three of the ARIA Blog Tour!  To show that we have a diverse bunch of writers, today's guest is Alex Kimmell, horror writer extraordinaire!  Alex and I shared a table at the RI Authors Expo in November 2013 and I'm happy to have him here today.

Mike:  Hi, Alex.  I’m happy to have a horror author from the Association of Rhode Island Authors(ARIA) to introduce to my Overlords fan base.  As with the others, we’re going to do an old fashioned interview.  Here we go!

Mike:  Alex, please introduce yourself to my Overlords fans with a little information about you and where you’re from.

Alex:  Hello! Thanks for having me Mike. My family moved here to Rhode Island about four years ago from Los Angeles. I have a wonderful wife, two kids and two dogs. I enjoy bread, cheese, short walks on the beach and horror. I currently have two books available through Booktrope Publishing titled “the Key to everything” and a collection of short stories called “A Chorus of Wolves”.  Gonna brag a little here, I’m very excited to say that both have reached the top ten of Amazon’s Kindle Horror list.

Mike:  What are you working on these days and what’s the current status of that project?

Alex:  I am working on a new novel called “The Idea of North”. Hopefully the first draft will go for editing in the next few months. Keep your fingers and spleen crossed! I also have two other books in progress that I’ll be diving into as soon as TIoN is finished. There are short stories floating around here and there as well.

Mike:  What drew you to the horror genre?

Alex:  I’ve always read a lot. Even as a kid I couldn’t ever be without at least two or three books going at the same time. My dad started giving me the science fiction books that he read as a kid like Heinlein, Azimov and Arthur C. Clarke. My favorite parts of those stories always seemed to be the more frightening aspects. I had recurring nightmares growing up too. So I guess when I found Stephen King and Clive Barker they made me feel at home. It was a natural progression.

I vividly remember reading “Pet Semetary” alone in the house. The cover of the paperback version had a cat on it that looked eerily similar to our family cat Taffy. I was sitting in a chair in the family room finishing the last page and she jumped on my lap. I screamed and threw the book across the room. From that moment on I think I’ve always been chasing that adrenaline flood.

Mike:  Have you created any creatures that scare even you?

Alex:  I don’t think I would write them down if they didn’t scare me. I certainly will never look at a squirrel the same way again!

Mike:  What horror author, or any writer for that matter, inspired you most?

Alex:  The author that inspired me the most growing up was Ray Bradbury. One of my prized possessions is the copy of The Martian Chronicles that he signed for me. I could make a list of authors that I love that would take days to go through. So I’ll just name a few… Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, Bentley Little, Tom Piccirilli, Mark Z. Danielewsky, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Richard Matheson, Michael Marshall Smith and on and on.

Mike:  Alex and I shared a table together at the RI Authors Expo, which we immediately dubbed the dark corner.  What are the most memorable writers conferences and/or expos you have attended?

Alex:  Since I am relatively new to this game, the only conference/expos that I’ve attended were the RI Authors Expo and the Scituate Art Festival.

Mike:  Any upcoming projects we should now about?

Alex:  I plan on releasing “The Idea of North” later this year. I’m also in talks to create a graphic novelization of my short story “A Chorus of Wolves” with a spectacular artist. And I’m hoping to work with a film company to adapt another story of mine into a short film. As I mentioned before, please cross your fingers and spleen for me!

Mike:  OK, time for some quick ones, ready?  Favorite movie?

Alex:  Sci Fi - Star Wars, Horror – The Shining, Comedy - Anchorman

Mike: Favorite food or dish to make?

Alex:  Whatever my kids will actually eat!

Mike:  Favorite place you have ever visited?

Alex:  Japan.

Mike:  Favorite music band?

Alex:  Much like authors, there are too many to name. Elbow, Mogwai, Keith Jarrett Trio, Paul Weller, The Mountain Goats, The Beatles, Olafur Arnalds, The Posies, Jellyfish, The Damnwells and on and on…

Mike:  Favorite book, and no it can’t be one of yours!

Alex:  You’re killing me here! “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski I read it a least once a year. There is always something new and exciting to find inside its labyrinthine pages.

Mike:  Alex, thanks for being such a good sport!  Is there anything you would like to leave my fans with?

Alex:  I would like to leave them all with copies of my books to read, but I can’t afford that! ;-)

Be happy, be loving, be peaceful, be giving, be kind and read independent authors! Especially horror books!

Mike:  Alex, thanks for being part of this great blog series.  Please follow the links below to get in touch with Alex and most importantly, buy his books!

Alex's website is currently being rebuilt. For the time being the address is: - Amazon Author Page

You can follow Alex on twitter @alexkimmellauth

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Meet Steve Porter, ARIA's President

Overlords fans, today I start Reading Week by bringing you five fantastic authors from my home state of Rhode Island.  All of us are part of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) and I hope that the subsequent interviews showcases the talent that we have in our little state.  Today, I bring to you ARIA's president, Steve Porter.

Mike:  Hi, Steve.  I’m very excited to present the very first Association of Rhode Island Author (ARIA) to my Overlords fan base.  And, you’re the president of the club to boot!  We’re going to do an old fashioned interview, ok?  With that said, here we go!

Mike:  Steve, please introduce yourself to my Overlords fans with a little information about you and where you’re from.

Steve:  Thanks, Mike! And with this series, thanks for helping raise the awareness of some of the amazing writers we have out here in our neck of the woods.

So to answer your question, I live in Harmony with my wife Dawn and two teenage kids. Oh, and I do mean that literally -- Harmony is a charming old New England mill village set in the northwest part of Rhode Island. Like most Rhode Islanders, I was born in RI, went to school in RI, live in RI, work in RI and now I write in RI. I've been writing since my college days in the late 80's when I was the editor of the URI literary magazine, The Great Swamp Gazette. Dawn was the editor of Renaissance, the URI yearbook, so I suppose it was inescapable we would get together. Oh, and Dawn is a published author, too, with the release of her children's puzzle book, Searching for Rhode Island, this year. And now, our son is a sophomore at URI except, that unlike me, he actually goes to class.

I knew in college I would complete a novel someday.... I just didn't know that day wouldn't come for 25 years. But once I finished it -- a coming-of-age crime novel called Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant set on the mean streets of South Boston -- it turned my life and work in an extraordinary new direction.

Mike:  What are you working on these days and what’s the current status of that project?

Steve:  I am in the middle of writing my third complete novel, a dark, dystopian tale about an art thief who lives in a futuristic society that utilizes art as currency. With luck, it could be finished by the end of this summer. What many writers find interesting about my work -- or profoundly stupid -- is that I refuse to write in any specific genre. My first book has been described as a crime thriller, while my second novel, an award-winner named Manisses, inspired by the legends of Block Island, is solidly historical fiction. When I looked at all my favorite writers -- Vonnegut, Orwell, Heller, Pynchon, Updike -- I decided that if they didn't have to write in a genre pre-determined by some jaded New York publishing desk-jockey, then I didn't have to either. If I'm going to invest this much time in my craft, I'll write whatever I want to.

Mike:  As I mentioned in the outset, you’re the president of ARIA.  Can you give my fans a little information about the association, the functions it performs, and how you came to be its president?

Steve:  After publishing my first book, twenty-five years of marketing chops kicked-in (including ten in the book industry), and I went in search of an author's trade group I could join. As a publishing newbie, I knew I needed to learn and absorb all the tips, techniques and best practices that I could to make a go of this. In my search, I discovered an inspiring array of local groups that support and promote local musicians, local artists, performing arts and even the culinary arts. And while there were a few nifty writing groups around, there wasn't anything out there that directly supported our local, published authors. In fact, many arts organizations pushed authors away. I found this appalling.

So in a rage of frustration, I emailed about a dozen other authors I found online, and six of us met for the first time around a conference table at the local chamber of commerce office. And to my surprise, not only was everyone excited to be recognized, we discovered we had all lived through the exact same frustrations -- alone. We all instantly felt the potential. The enthusiasm in our new group was inspiring.

And now, less than three years later, ARIA can boast over 80 published authors as members. We work together to promote, market, and raise awareness for the amazing books written here in our state. You'll see groups of us at fairs, expos, festivals, shows, farmer's markets, or just about anywhere they'll let us set up a table and hang a banner.
And I now have a private list of over 200 published authors who happen to live in RI. It turns out that Rhode Island is one of the most fertile breeding grounds for new and emerging writing talent in the country.

People ask me, "Who knew?" Well, um, we did.

Mike:  Any big events on the horizon for ARIA?

Steve:  Yes. In November of last year, in a last-minute, almost impetuous manner, we decided to organize and hold the first-ever Rhode Island Author's Expo at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in Kingston. And not only were we able to place over 40 authors in a room together to sell and talk about their books, but we were also able to attract over 350 excited book buyers that day. It was an enormous success by anyone's measure.  Because of the Expo, I am contacted almost every day by a group looking to connect with ARIA. That event really put us on the map. Planning for the 2014 Rhode Island Author's Expo is now underway, and is guaranteed to be even bigger and better than last year.

Then in January, we launched a new poetry reading, literary arts series in partnership with The Elephant Tea Room in Cranston. With very little promotion so far, we are already attracting as many as 35 poetry-lovers per event and attracting modest media attention.
And we are also now working with several state arts agencies to launch a program declaring 2015 "The Year of the Rhode Island Author" with the goal of sponsoring a year's worth of free events at local bookstores, libraries and museums to promote our authors and our cause.

Amazing. And this is just the big stuff.

Mike:  Does your work as an author suffer due to your presidential duties?

Steve:  Yes. Most definitely. Time is always my enemy. Between work duties, home life and ARIA, there is precious little time to write a grocery list, never mind write a book. But I have a personal goal this year to delegate more of ARIA's responsibilities to our members to free up my time... but shhhh, don't tell anybody.

Though on the bright side, being overworked, tired and in a surly mood does improve one's ability to write depressing dystopian fiction.

Mike:  What makes Steve Porter tick?

Steve:  I find an inner peace and great satisfaction when planning and completing a big project. I am driven to overachieve, and I hate it. I wish I could be one of those people who finds inner peace watching a sunset or listening to the lapping of the waves -- but I just sit there and think about all the other things I could be doing. I prefer keeping my mind and fingers engaged. I find relaxation stressful.

Mike:  Any upcoming projects we should know about?

Steve:  I was contacted by the URI Osher Lifelong Learning Program (OLLI) and asked to instruct a class in independent self-publishing. I'll be doing that this summer and fall. I am looking forward to it.

After writing my books and founding ARIA, I am continually asked for advice by others so last year, my wife and I established Stillwater River Publications as an imprint not only for our books, but for anyone who wants someone to guide them through this increasingly complex publishing process.

Mike:  OK, time for some quick ones, ready?  Favorite movie?

Steve:  The Python films, the Godfather Trilogy, same stuff as everybody else, I suppose. I don't watch a lot of movies. However, I'll admit an addiction to one Hollywood musical -- 1776. Not only have we worn-out the DVD, but we have traveled to see the stage play dozens of times, from New York to Boston. They employ a clever story telling technique. Every time I see it, they convince me that there is no way our country will ever be founded.

Mike: Favorite food or dish to make?

Steve: Rhode Island style calamari -- lightly battered, then deep fried and gently tossed in a bit of garlic and extra virgin olive oil with sliced hot peppers. Perfection. I can make a decent version, but it's much better at Camille's on Providence's Federal Hill.

Mike:  Favorite place you have ever visited?

Steve:  Dawn and I share a love for unusual, off-the-beaten path places.  So it's a three-way tie for a private claim on the Nenana River in Alaska's Denali National Park where we once panned for gold, Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico where we canoed at midnight through a mangrove forest to watch the fish glow, and the first turn grandstand at the Indianapolis 500, where we spent part of our honeymoon.

Mike:  Favorite music band?

Steve:  R.E.M. I consider myself an aficionado of 80's alternative rock, led by R.E.M. Squeeze, Throwing Muses, Smithereens, and The Pixies. And of course, The Beatles, who inspired all of it.

Mike:  Favorite book, and no it can’t be one of yours!

Steve:  Orwell's 1984. I read it when I was twelve and have been haunted by it ever since. I want to write that book someday and haunt other people.

Mike:  Steve, thanks for being such a good sport!  Is there anything you would like to leave my fans with?

Steve:  Buy books, and buy local. Visit ARIA's website ( and just click on the links down the left side of the page. I guarantee you'll have several "wow" moments as you surf through our authors, then, pick out a book and buy it. And if you can't decide, buy mine.

Mike:  Steve, its been great having you with us today.  Please help spread the word about Steve, his works, ARIA, and most importantly his novels!  You can find everything about him and his projects in the links below:

The Association of Rhode Island Authors
Stillwater River Publications:


"Confessions of the Meek and the Valiant" --

"The Kanc: A Short Story --

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Meet Jackie Hennessey, Creator of Venting Sessions

Day Two of our ARIA authors brings us to Jackie Hennessey, author and creator of Venting Sessions -- Where Mom's Can Let It Out!  Aside from her blog and book writing, Jackie is 100% mom, with stories to prove it!  

Mike:  Hi, Jackie.  I’m very excited to present another fantastic Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA) to my Overlords fan base.  Lots of questions, ok?  Here we go!

Mike:  Jackie, please introduce yourself to my Overlords fans with a little information about you and where you’re from.

Jackie:  Thanks so much for interviewing me. I would describe myself as an imperfect work-from-home-mother who finds humor in everyday, ordinary life. I’m the author of How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker, a gift book for moms filled with laugh-out-loud mommy whines and cheese dip recipes. My husband makes me laugh every day and we are both cheese lovers and chocoholics. (Thankfully, we jog.) When I’m not sneaking semi-sweet morsels from the pantry, I work as a pr consultant and blogger.

Something you might not know about me: My husband, Michael, and I met more than 26 years ago, when my family moved from Texas to East Greenwich, RI. (My dad worked for NASA, so we moved a lot.)  Michael and I went to two proms together and have embarrassing pictures (think tacky taffeta and big hair) to prove it. We got married and lived in Seattle in our 20’s. We loved it out there. But after nearly 10 years of being 3,000 miles from family, we decided to quit our jobs and move back to Rhode Island. Our son was two and I was pregnant again. The insanity that followed helped inspire me to write my first book.

I’m a native Texan with some roots and relatives in Rhode Island, so that provides me with a lot of material for my blog. My two children (soon to be 10 and 13) and over-grown Golden Retriever puppy also help inspire me on a daily basis.

Mike:  What are you working on these days and what’s the current status of that project?

Jackie:  When I’m not folding laundry, taxiing my kids around, or procrastinating on Facebook, I’m busy with my pr consulting business, blogging, speaking engagements and focusing on my second book. I’m in the process of finding a literary agent too. If you were to ask me this question last year, I was busy with a plethora of book signings and the inaugural Listen to Your Mother Providence Show. But this year, I’m more focused on my next writing project. (And sneaking chocolate chips from the pantry.)

You can check out my original reading, "The Horros of Shopping with Kids," from the Listen to Your Mother Providence show in 2013:

Mike:  Can you talk a little about your blog, Venting Sessions?

Jackie:  Venting Sessions ( is a light-hearted blog for moms, a place where they can let it out. It’s a place where I can vent about being a mom in my 40’s. Nine posts out of 10, I write about humorous things that people can relate to, from Spanx to over-40 Arm Dangle. I have a lot of moms tell me that they can relate. I love that they find my self-deprecating posts relevant. I thoroughly enjoy writing my thoughts about motherhood out loud. I can honestly say I’m living my bliss when I blog.

Mike:  What has been the most common response to your postings from other moms?

Jackie:  I love when moms tell me, “I have gone through this!” “I’m laughing my &**%% off.”“This is funny!” “Thank you for writing about this.” I’m also honored to have guest blogged on sites like Scary Mommy and BluntMoms and received thoughtful comments from women who have been in my shoes (and jeans).
I thoroughly enjoy connecting with readers in an authentic way.

Mike:  What is the biggest thing that you would like your fans to take away from your books and postings?

Jackie:  I’m just thankful that my sister-in-law isn’t the only one who reads my blog anymore. All I want is for people to enjoy my blog. I hope they can celebrate my imperfections and in turn, celebrate theirs. Parenting is stressful. Sometimes, all we need is a break and a chance to laugh at ourselves. There is no such thing as a perfect parent – thank goodness. I also get feedback from men that their wives enjoy my book and blog. Positive feedback makes me positively giddy.

Mike:  You’ve been a mom for a while now, right?  Any desire to write about something completely different other than the kids, husband, and the daily grind?

Jackie:  Yes. I have been a mother for 13 years and motherhood has been a big part of my life. I find so much joy in connecting with other women by writing about what I go through. I’m a woman who finds laughter in everyday things, from grocery shopping with kids to dealing with ever-changing tween lingo. (I’m just a Texas Valley Girl reciting John Hughes movie lines trapped in a 42-year-old mother’s body.)

I’m enjoying a new phase right now, something I like to refer to as the “sweet spot,” meaning my kids are out of diapers and I can enjoy traveling with them without going insane. I’m also over 40, which provides me with a plethora of things to write about, from back fat to never spending less than $100 at Target.

When I started out as a newspaper reporter in Florida after graduating from Texas A&M, my editor gave me my own column. I was ecstatic. And speechless. After staring at a blank screen, I asked him what he wanted me to write about, and he said, “Write what you know.” So I did, and, after building my career as a journalist and public relations professional in Seattle and pr consultant and writer in RI, I haven’t stopped. (Aside from folding laundry and taxiing my kids around.)

I hope to write about other things in the future and yes, I’d love to one day write a novel. But right now, I enjoy what I write about because it’s true and it’s totally me.

Mike:  Any upcoming projects we should now about?

Jackie:  After winning the Indie Reader Discovery Award for How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker in 2013, I felt inspired to take my dreams to the next level. I reprinted my book in color through Merrimack Media, started working with my writing coach on next steps and now I’m in the process of finding an agent.

Mike:  OK, time for some quick ones, ready?  Favorite movie?

Jackie:  I’m a movie buff. I was a movie reviewer in college at Texas A&M University, so this is a tough one. I love all John Hughes films, especially The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. I crack up at anything with Will Ferrell and John Candy. I also thoroughly enjoy serious films like 12 Years A Slave. And I cried like a baby at Bridges of Madison County.

Mike: Favorite food or dish to make?

Jackie:  My Texas queso dip. It’s easy and fun to make. And I always enjoy seeing people drool over it with tortilla chip in hand at get-togethers. I’m also known for  making chocolate chip cookies. For dinner? Texas chili or salmon.

Mike:  Favorite place you have ever visited?

Jackie:  Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was one of the most breathtaking places I’ve been in the states. My husband and I went cross-country skiing with friends who lived there after college. We passed by elk, bald eagles and other wildlife. It was amazing.

Mike:  Favorite music band?

Jackie:  There are so many! The Beatles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Neil Young, Prince, Madonna. I even love listening to Katy Perry with my daughter. I saw Paul McCartney in concert last summer and it was like a dream come true. I was a music and movie reviewer in college, so again, this question is tough for me to answer.

Mike:  Favorite book, and no it can’t be one of yours!

Jackie:  One of my favorite books is The Help. I read it way before it was turned into a movie. I also enjoy reading books by Jeannette Walls and Marisa De Los Santos, author of Love Walked In. I’m currently re-reading The Saturday Wife by Naomi Ragen because I enjoyed it so much. And my all-time favorite author is Erma Bombeck. I used to steal my mom’s Erma Bombeck books and devour them when I was in my teens. I have been a fan ever since. Her take on the Loehman’s dressing room still makes me laugh out loud. She was a legend.

Mike:  Jackie, thanks for being such a good sport!  Is there anything you would like to leave my fans with?

Jackie:  Thank you for all of this! OK…Shameless self-promotion time: I hope people remember that my book, How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker, makes a fun Mother’s Day gift! I recently re-printed How to Spread Sanity on a Cracker in color. It also comes in black and white and Kindle e-book.

Seriously, when I released my first book, I had no idea how much I would enjoy connecting with other moms. In addition to ARIA, I’m a member of Rhody Bloggers, RI Digital Media Women, The Revelation Project, Listen to Your Mother Providence and Rhody Bloggers for Good. I’m so honored to be a part of these organizations. And I encourage fellow authors to join groups that inspire you. Go where you can be inspired by others.

I also write for The Barrington Patch and have an advice column at

Mike:  Thanks for being such a good sport and sharing a little about you with my fans.  Please visit Jackie's blog and buy her books via the links below:

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Contact info: Jackie Hennessey