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2021 New Releases for SWW Authors #4

Linda Davis-Kyle, Mary A. Johnson PhD, Sharon Vander Meer, RJ The Story Guy (RJ Mirabal), Léonie Rosenstiel, and John L. Thompson represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with books published in a variety of genres in 2021. Their new releases couldn’t fit in this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews/updates for most of these authors in 2022.

A list of interviewed SWW authors with 2021 releases is included at the end of this post.

Getting Ready to Write: Reviewing English Grammar (March 2021) by Linda Davis-Kyle. This colorfully illustrated e-book shares a useful, but fun, way to help pre-teens, teens, and beyond teens review grammar, mechanics, and writing basics. It shows beginning writers nine facets of writing they can control to strengthen their courage to write. It also fosters a “Never give up attitude” to help wordsmiths stay on track. Getting Ready to Write is a treasure of supplemental ideas for educators, writing coaches, and homeschoolers to add to their own lesson plans. The activities and exercises will also be handy for parents, grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents, and mentors who are tasked to teach.

Visit Linda on and on Amazon.

Love and Asperger’s: Jim and Mary’s Excellent Adventure (Atmosphere Press, November 2021) by Mary A. Johnson PhD. What do you do when the man who courted you turns out to be different after marriage? When Jim began to behave strangely, Mary thought she had made a huge mistake. She had fallen in love and left all that was familiar in New Mexico, to marry and move to Oregon with this man she met online. One day, she had a surprising epiphany while doing laundry. How had she missed the obvious cause of his quirky behavior? In this memoir, readers experience the possible unraveling of the marriage ties. The future rests on Jim’s willingness to accept his diagnosis of Asperger’s. Come along on Jim and Mary’s adventures—some fun, some difficult, some comical, but all loving—as they eventually work together to engineer an excellent solution!

You’ll find Mary on her website at and on Amazon.

Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry (November 2021), A Collection of Works by Northeastern New Mexico Writers, is edited by SWW member Sharon Vander Meer (who is also a contributor). Tapestry: Tales, Essays, Poetry showcases thirty-two writers and sixty-nine distinct works of poetry and prose, truly weaving a tapestry of life and creativity. There is no duplication, proving once again that the art of writing is as diverse as the people taking up a writing implement or sitting down at a computer, and turning on their imaginations. This first collection from Las Vegas Literary Salon lets us know there are many writers in our communities with stories to tell. We share their stories here with gratitude to those represented in these pages.

Tapestry is available on Amazon. For Sharon’s other releases, visit her Amazon author page.

Trixie: Round Brown Ball of Dog (November 2021) by RJ The Story Guy (aka RJ Mirabal). Trixie’s adventures continue as she learns to have more Dog Fun with her people and looks for new things to do. Then everything is put aside when the Brown Dog takes on an unexpected challenge. Sure, Trixie likes fun, sniffing, walking, running, and playing, but those have to take a back seat for a while. Trixie still can’t talk like you, but she can get across what she wants and how she feels when she grunts, whines, whistles, barks, growls, wags her tail and body while singing her Dog Opera. Fortunately, RJ The Story Guy has interpreted all this for your reading enjoyment. Big things to overcome, toys to chew and tug, new people to bring into her life, places to go, lots of exploring, and a new fantasy adventure await inside.

Visit RJ’s websites at and Trixie: Round Brown Ball of Dog is available on Amazon.

Protecting Mama: Surviving the Legal Guardianship Swamp (Calumet Editions, November 2021) by Léonie Rosenstiel. Léonie, whose mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, struggles with an implacable, court-appointed guardian against the backdrop of centuries-old family myths and miscommunication. Mama wants their story told, but the courts demand that secrecy enshroud all guardianship records—forever. After years of struggle and Kafkaesque frustration, and with the help of a brilliant, unconventional attorney, Léonie goes to war with the establishment in an attempt to help others find their way through the swamp of legal guardianship.

You’ll find all of Léonie’s books on her Amazon author page.

Monkey Wrench (Truck Stop Book 2, April 2021) by John L. Thompson. George Olsen’s life is one big lie. As a witness in a mob money embezzlement operation turned deadly, he lives within the WITSEC program and has had plenty of trouble adapting to life. Never look back. It’s one of the sacred rules within the WITSEC program. But when he hears an old flame has moved back to New Mexico, he takes a chance and returns to his old stomping grounds only to discover that decision could prove to be fatal. People are looking for the half-million in embezzled mob cash buried somewhere in Torrance County. The same money Olsen and his friend found years earlier, the same money people have died for, and the same money wanted by an army of killers who will stop at nothing to get it.

John L. Thompson also published a nonfiction book, It’s a Lonely World: An Indie Author’s Journey (Writing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them), in August 2021. Are you the new guy trying to learn this self-publishing gig? Have you tried to self-publish your book and wonder why it has failed to gather sales and reviews? You got a book script, but don’t know where to start? Do you feel like self-publishing will mark you as an amateur? You and thousands of other Indie-Authors are not alone. For decades, the stigma of the term “self-published” has meant bad book covers, bad interior formatting, and a bad story in general. Back in the old days, there were no viable services accessible to the self-publishing author. You were lucky if you knew a guy who knew another guy who was an editor. This is no longer the case.  Thousands of editors, artists, and promoters are out there in the land of the internet to help you. With Amazon publishing thousands of titles per week, there is no reason why you, the Indie-Author, should fail in launching your book with, at the least, moderate returns on your hard work.

Visit John’s Amazon author page for all his releases.

SWW Author Interviews: 2021 Releases

Jeffrey Candelaria
TORO: The Naked Bull
Marty Eberhardt
Death in a Desert Garden
Melody Groves
When Outlaws Wore Badges
Holly Harrison
Rites & Wrongs
Robert Kidera
BR Kingsolver
Soul Harvest
Marcia Meier
Face, A Memoir
Victoria Murata
The Acolyte
Barb Simmons
The War Within: A Wounded Warrior Romance
Gina Troisi
The Angle of Flickering Light

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

An Interview with Author Sharon Vander Meer

Retired journalist and editor Sharon Vander Meer is a poet and author of five novels, a book of daily inspiration, and two poetry chapbooks. Her contemporary fiction and sci-fi novels feature strong female protagonists. Sharon’s latest release is Thunder Prime Hunter’s Light (2019), the sequel to her 2009 novel The Ballad of Bawdy McClure. You’ll find Sharon on Facebook and her website Visit her Amazon author page for a list of available books.

What is your elevator pitch for Thunder Prime Hunter’s Light?
In Thunder Prime Hunter’s Light, sci-fi action and futuristic politics combine in the story of a young transport captain in search of her mother who has been missing for more than 20 years. Pella Soames believes Trish is alive and will not stop until she brings her home, even when she realizes her own freedom, perhaps her life, is at risk.

What sparked the story idea for the book?
It is the sequel to an earlier book, The Ballad of Bawdy McClure. At the conclusion of the first book, Pella Soames is twelve, an orphan it would seem, the victim of circumstances beyond her control. She has no intention of remaining a victim. She is now an adult with a transport business of her own. Pella uses all resources available to find out if her mother is alive and a captive of the ruthless Chandorian slave trader Brutus Tauk.

How did the book come together?
It was 10 years between publication of The Ballad of Bawdy McClure and Thunder Prime Hunter’s Light. I wrote a couple of contemporary novels in between, but Pella kept coming back to me. I wanted to tell her story, which has taken shape in the years since Bawdy was published. I published a digital literary magazine for a time, and used it as a platform for telling Pella’s story through serialized episodes. Consequently, when it came to writing the book, it was a matter of deciding what to throw out.

What unique challenges did this work pose for you?
Expectations. Character development. I expected the story would be about a young woman and her quest to find her mother, which it is, but I wanted the story to be linear—getting from point A to point B. It isn’t, because (as happens in life) the characters connected to the protagonist have their own agendas, which impact her decisions. Each of these influencers are unique and have their own stories to tell. The difficulty came in knowing how much to reveal without going off on tangents.

Tell us about your main character and why readers will connect with her.
We all want the stability of knowing the people we love are trustworthy and that they will always be there for us. Helplessly watching the rape of her mother and the destruction of her village when she was a child was heart wrenching enough, and then Pella learns of her father’s betrayal. Every decision she makes from that point forward drives her to find out if her mother is alive, and if so, to rescue her. Pella surrounds herself with a crew she can trust. Her goal is singular. She has no time for anything that will interfere with her quest, especially the attentions of a man she only wants to think of as a brother.

What was the most difficult aspect of world building for Thunder Prime Hunter’s Light?
The Ballad of Bawdy McClure was based on the idea that in 500 years, religion as we know it will not exist. So, what might the world—earth and beyond—look like? This set the stage for the human race going off-planet and seeding the galaxy with human DNA combined with the DNA of other species on planets far and wide. How religion as we know it is preserved, and how humankind perpetuates a different religiosity, is a thread that runs through both books. The Bawdy setting was Earthside because the main character, a transport pilot, had no desire to travel beyond Earth. Many of the characters or species were introduced in Bawdy. Thunder Prime reintroduces a character from the earlier book whose aim is to prove himself worthy of being named Chosen, the deity of deities. Keeping the storyline of Pella’s quest and the political machinations of the sect leader and other galactic leaders, which impact that quest, are the cogs that keep the wheels of the story turning. In terms of difficulty, my goal is to stimulate the reader’s imagination. I hope I’ve accomplished that.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together?
Character development and keeping each one true to who she or he is, and telling Pella’s story.

Of all the books you’ve written, which one was the most challenging, and which was the easiest (or most enjoyable) to write?
Thunder Prime was the most challenging. At the beginning, I spent too much time trying to tie it to Bawdy. Thunder Prime Hunter’s Light is the continuation of a Bawdy character — Pella — but is its own tale. I had to let go of Bawdy and start fresh with Pella’s story. The easiest and most fun to write was Finding Family, the story of a widow whose quiet life is interrupted when an estranged niece arrives on her doorstep with three children and a dog of questionable breeding in tow. From the moment they blow into her life on a windy fall night and the dog pees on her carpet, Lilly Irish begins a life-changing journey.

What first inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always loved to read and am utterly flabbergasted that a gifted writer can use words to wrench every kind of emotional response by putting those words together in just the right way. I’m not there yet, but hope it happens from time-to-time.

Looking back to the beginning of your writing/publishing career, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Never apologize for your art. Mistakes happen. Correct them when you can. Move on. Persist. Learn from criticism but don’t be hampered by it.

Do you have a message or a theme that recurs in your writing?
Nothing is easy; be ready for surprises.

What writing projects are you working on now?
I blog regularly at and will begin posting episodes of Future Imperfect, a futuristic novel about nature gone wrong. It was previously published, but is no longer in print, nor is The Ballad of Bawdy McClure. I have copies of both if anyone is interested. Bawdy is available on Smashwords under the title Thunder Prime Fog Island. I’m also working on a third novel in the Thunder Prime series featuring members of Pella Soames’ crew. And more about Bart. Will Pella’s relationship with Bart blossom? Stay tuned.

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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