Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Ceylon Black Tea and we’ll get started. Please help yourself to an egg and olive finger sandwich. We’re having Lemon Pound Cake for dessert. Readers may find your recipes at the end of the interview.
Thank you for having me, Nancy. I just love having afternoon tea. I’ve been looking forward to having a chance to sit down and talk with you.
Tell me about your tea set.
The tea set was my grandmother’s. This is a good example of how a genealogist confirms or discredits a family story.
The story that went with the tea set when my mother gave it to me was that it was the set given to my grandmother by her mother when she was married in 1914. I found a contemporary newspaper article which said that her mother had given her a teapot, and people had stuffed money in it for their wedding gift to her. That much was right. Then I checked the bottom of the teapot and traced its origin. The codings identified the pattern, its date of production and the place of production. The date ended up being 1945; therefore, it wasn’t the same pot. My great grandmother died in the 1920’s. She couldn’t have bought it for my grandmother.
At least that one I could solve. One I’ve yet to clarify is the family story about my great great aunt who either sang in New York City in the opera or burlesque, depending on which side of the family we consult. 

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Leander, TX currently. I was born and raised in Central New York where I met my husband.
Our daughter graduated from the same school district as I did. Once she was off on her own, my
husband pursued his dream of becoming a school administrator, and I followed him to downstate New
York and later out to rural Eastern Oregon where lived for 13 years. During that time I wrote daily,
developing the novel series I am now publishing.
Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?
I am an Indie author.
What are your hobbies?
I’ve been an active gardener, traveler, and cook.My main hobby now is genealogy. For 47 years I have chased down information on ancestors, mainly
in New York and New England, but I have traveled as far afield as England, Scotland, Canada, Italy
and Barbados to research. I have put together an extensive family tree which I am now publishing
on a blog at It’s been a satisfying hobby, and I’ve been able to view history in
some sense through my ancestors’ eyes. I love their stories.Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

My current book, Ysabet I: The Two-Edged Sword, is science fiction. I was inspired to write it because
of a fascination for the character of the empath, one who senses emotion. The first I ever heard the
term was in a Star Trek episode. A number of authors have treated the subject since. Ysabet is my own
interpretation of that psychic ability.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

As a child I told stories and wrote poetry. I didn’t begin seriously trying to write a novel until long into
my adulthood. I remember thinking to myself… What would happen if…, and it flowed from there.
Once I started, I didn’t stop.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Years… It went through many, many rewrites, and sequels and other novels filled in between. As I
learned the craft of writing, I knew I wanted to share it with others.

Where do you like to write?

I have my own library/den where both the genealogical and novel writing take place. It’s quiet at
home with a minimum of distractions, and I have all my tools at hand.

Favorite author(s)?

In historical fiction, I have always loved Walter Edmonds. His most famous novel was Drums Along the
Mohawk. I watch for new books from mystery writers such as: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s,
Michael McGarrity, James D. Doss, Lee Child and Janet Evanovich. Of authors’ of science fiction/
fantasy, I like Sharon Shinn, George R. R. Martin, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Moon, and I’m currently
reading Michelle Sagara. I think it’s the idea of the series that attracts me to them. That’s why I like
your character, Jillian Bradley. We really get to know her over the course of the series.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

In the Ysabet series I have completed five and am working on a 6th. I also have a fantasy completed,
and another science fiction.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

It’s available in paperback and the Kindle version on:

What about a link to your website?

You may also find the links at:

It has been such a pleasure to have you over for tea. Thank you so much for sharing about your new book. I wish you every success!
Nancy Lanni’s Recipes:
Hard boiled eggs diced   
Green olives, sliced
Mayonnaise for binding


Cream together:
2/3 cup solid shortening (if using butter, cut milk to ½ cup)
1 ¼ cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon peel
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
Beat in:
2/3 cup milk
2 ¼ cups flour
3 eggs, one at a time
Place in buttered loaf pan. Bake 300° 1 ¼ hrs.





Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Prince of Wales tea and we’ll get started. Please help yourself to my version of your Captain Harvey’s Steak Sub Sandwiches. I made sliders for tea! We also have the Turtle Chocolate Cake you like for dessert.

M.P. Thank you so very much for having me. I don’t believe I’ve ever been a “King of the Week” before, so I consider this an honor!

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Home, sweet home is currently Gilbert, Arizona – a growing suburb of the Phoenix area. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland – youngest of two children.  I have been married to my wife, Bonnie, for 27-plus years. We’ve had three daughters – Emily, Lauren and Kimberly.

I’m an absolutely huge sports fan – especially, baseball and college football. I’m also a little bit of a movie geek.

I’m a fan of food as well. I love Maryland steamed crabs or crab soup! It they’re not readily accessible, a really good, back-home cheesesteak or cheeseburger sub with loads of hot peppers and grilled onions. Probably not the perfect compliment to tea, but they sure are yummy!

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I’m very proud to say I am a self-published indie author! Given the current publishing and economic climate – any and all marketing efforts an indie author is performing on their own behalf is also going to be required by a traditional publisher. I’m a very hands-on person and would prefer to make the call on certain aspects of my book(s). At the end of the day if I have anyone to complain about – it’ll boil down to the fella I see in the mirror.

What are your hobbies?

I’m reasonably boring fella. I read, listen to audio books, try my hardest to work out, watch college football and write. Boy, after writing that I have to say – I’m not a reasonably boring fella. I’m a VERY BORING fella!

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

I’d be happy to. My Emily was released in late November/early December of last year.

My inspiration? My daughter – Emily.  The actual idea for the book came from a newspaper column I wrote almost 20 years prior.

Emily was born with Down syndrome and just two years later was diagnosed with leukemia.  I try to take the reader by the hand and walk them through our journey with our little one – from birth, diagnosis, treatment, her eventual passing and our efforts to move on without her.

I’ve been so very touched by the wonderful response to our story.  Numerous readers have shared notes containing such heartfelt words of encouragement as to how Emily’s story has affected them. It’s been truly humbling, considering many of these notes come from families with special needs children or those who are actually fighting the fight with cancer/leukemia. It’s been quite an emotional and gratifying time.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

I have a background in journalism and marketing communications that totals some 20-plus years. I’ve written everything from straight news stories and columns to news releases and annual reports. Thing is, I really don’t believe I became a “writer” until I sat down and tried to write my first book. So, I have to say I have two answers – 1986 and 2010, but let’s go with the latter.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

It would kill me to say 20 years, but I have to agree the timing was right for when it finally came to pass.  In actuality, it took me three to four months to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit and finally have friends say, “Let it go for crying out loud.”

Where do you like to write?

As funny as it may seem – I prefer to write at our public library here in Gilbert. It’s quiet. I have a large table to work from and I have any and all the comforts of home.

Favorite author?

This is an easy one – Mitch Albom.

He has such a simple and clean delivery to his work. He creates the perfect blend of humor, sensitivity and spirituality (without being preachy) that truly makes you laugh, cry and be inspired. I have to say I try to pattern my writing after his. When I grow up – I want to be Mitch Albom.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

I have written one book – My Emily. Yes, I have two books on the horizon – one, which will be co-authored with my wife Bonnie and the second will be a book about how men deal with grief.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

The easiest link, offering the most options, is most likely on the My Emily website:

What about a link to your website?

I invite folks to stop by and visit and learn a little bit more about our little girl and our story.



Twitter: @myemily_thebook

Facebook: Matt Patterson, Author  &  My Emily 

Matt, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us – I’ve admired your courage and wonderful spirit from afar. So good to finally connect! 

This week’s winner of Matt Patterson’s book “My Emily” was won by Paulette Harper Johnson. CONGRATULATIONS PAULETTE!!









Greetings Jill, and thank you for having me today.

My pleasure! Let me pour you a cup of tea and we’ll get started. I’m serving your lovely Tostado Salads today with the Berry Shortcakes for dessert. Thanks so much for including the recipes that readers can find at the end of the interview.

1. Where do you live and tell us a little about yourself?

Currently we, my husband, myself and chocolate lab Sandy live in Bremerton, Washington which is across the sound from Seattle. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas and brought up with two brothers. Herb, five years older and my 11-1/2 month younger brother John. Most of my family is no longer in Texas but scattered around. My older brother lives in Wyoming with his wonderful wife Diane while my younger brother John lives in Colorado at the top of the Grand Mesa with his wife Lucinda. Our beautiful daughter Kecia and husband Jonathan also live in Colorado far too far away! My husband, Douglas and I just celebrated our Twenty fourth (24th) wedding anniversary last week on the 6th of August. Doug has been the extraordinary man in my life always standing by my side and caring for me while ill without ever a complaint. He recently retired just before our extraordinary journey to Ireland and keeps reminding me what retirement is suppose to mean! Doug, Mamie, Kecia, Jonathan. Together we have owned a candy store where we manufactured all our own chocolates to include 33 flavors truffles, founded the American Diabetes Association where we held fund raisers one of which was aboard the USSCarl Vinson and the first of it’s kind in history and after retirement, started Imported hand knit Irish Woollen knits while finishing my first book.

2. Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I am an Indie author. I own all my own rights, bought my ISBN and am not connected to any publishing house. I contracted out my layout, professional editing, and finally found my own printer for my books. A lot of work but I am in control of my own destiny.

3. What are your hobbies?

The only hobby I have is quilting. The last quilt I finished was about six months ago but one year I got ambitious or crazy-made 13 quilts for
Christmas gifts and burned myself out for a while. Now, my hobby is writing and I love it. Fortunately, I can write whenever I want as long as I have time after promoting, blogging and answering e-mails!

4. Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration? 

My book, Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler started out as a journal. My husband and I have been married twenty (24) four years and most of that time, I fell ill to the crippling effects of Diabetic complications. The complications were tremendous and I was unable to work for years. He never once complained taking are of me with every kind emotion anyone could have. One day I woke up and felt like I was new again. God had granted me a whole new life. After seeing my doctors they agreed that it was unbelievable and yes I could plan a vacation. That is what I had asked them because I wanted to surprise my husband with a retirement vacation like we had not been able to take before. Secretly, I planned this trip keeping a journal with where to go and tours to see. My friends had ask me if for Christmas (after we had taken our trip) to gift them a copy of my journal with photographs we had taken in Ireland. As I was rewriting the journal for this one friend Cathy, I decided to turn it into my dream to write a book. So my book was born. Douglas, my husband was my inspiration. My book takes you on a journey to Ireland for a three (3) week adventure that tells you what we found for the best value for your money, where to stay, tours to take, what to pack, weather, rental cars, and an in-depth history of each location we visited so you can decide if that is where you want to spend your vacation dollars. I have included over 160 color images and 249 plus pages in a 6 x 9 format. I also negotiated special offers exclusive for the owner of my book that will save them hundreds of dollars.

5. How did you become a writer? When did you start?

I have always loved to write and started in high school writing poetry. I did not ever follow up on it but tried over a fifteen (15) year period to write a book about a tough subject. I could not get the words out so I laid it down many times. My book about Ireland has now given me the courage to get my original book finished and I believe I have finally found my voice.

6. How long did it take you to finish your first book?

It took me two (2) years from the time I started researching Ireland to the time it was published. I hired a publishing coach, Patrick Snow and attended his classes beginning in late October 2011 and with his help, put my work together, had it professionally edited by Tyler Tichelaar, book published and in my hands by December 31, 2011 for distribution in January 2012!! And so excited!

7. Where do you like to write?

My favorite place to write is at the beach or ocean side but mostly, I sit in my recliner with my IPad and write out my notes. Then, I sit and hand write out my thoughts before transferring them to my computer where I then spend hours writing.

8. Favorite authors?

I do not have a favorite author. I have not been a real good reader except for short stories for years until I began my research for my Ireland book. Now, I enjoy reading history. I also belong to an authors group and am enjoying reading some of the fine books written by my friends.

9. How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

This was my first book Jill, but yes I do plan to write more. I am currently writing a book whose title I believe will be Mamie also a follow up on Ireland to include Northern Ireland and try my hand at short stories in between. I am also toying with another book I will title The Man I Married.

10. Would you like to share a link where you can purchase your books?

Oh yes, thank you I am delighted you ask! My book can be purchased in a few locations. The paperback copy can be purchased at my web site which is: I have a PayPal account set up for convenient ordering.

My book, Extraordinary Dreams of an Ireland Traveler is also available anywhere E-Books are sold. Amazon for Kindle, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Readers Store for Sony Readers, Apple iBookstore for IPad, KOBO, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie.

Here are a few of the links:
Barnes and Noble:
Readers Store for Sony:

11. What about a link to your blogs?

Thank you for asking Jill. I would like to invite anyone to visit my blogs at: 

I would sincerely love to thank you for this opportunity to talk about my book. In giving talks with a Toastmasters group, it is not hard to fill up my time allowance talking about my book-it’s just so exciting, almost like visiting Ireland all over again. I hope to do that in 2013 leading a tour group and writing my second book about Ireland. Thanks again, and someday, I would love to serve you tea peach tea!

Sounds delightful! Rosemary, it was a delight to have you today and I wish you great success in all your writing endeavors.

We’d like to thank you for joining us today by giving away a free copy of Rosemary’s book. If you’d like a chance to win a hard copy of EXTRAORDINARY DREAMS OF AN IRELAND TRAVELER, please leave a comment with your email and follow “Queen of Afternoon Tea.” The drawing will be held Monday, August 20, 2012 and the lucky winner will be notified by e-mail. Good luck!

Here are Rosemary Adkins’ recipes.

 Mamie’s Tostado Salad


1.50 pounds 85% lean ground beef
1-large can Refried Beans
Iceberg Lettuce-1/2 chopped
Butter lettuce-3 leaves chopped
Mini bell peppers-3 each red, yellow,
orange cut in long strips
Small White onion-diced
4- Tomatoes- diced
1-Bunch green onions
2 Avacados-Scoop out and in a bowl smash until creamy
4 Tostado Shells
Grated Cheddar Cheese
Guacamole Package mix
Juice from fresh lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Basil leaves-fresh (3)
Taco Seasoning Mix- follow package instructions
Mexican sour creme

To Prepare:

In a skillet add olive oil and brown 3/4 of the onion. Add the ground beef and cook until well done. While the meat is cooking, slice and dice all the vegetables above. Cut the avocados in half and scoop out the contents into a bowl adding the juice of one lemon and mash until creamy then adding 1/2 diced tomato, a small amount of the diced onion and 3 tablespoons of sour creme. Cover tightly and refrigerator. We have a favorite restaurant we buy freshly made large tostado bowls and you can usually find a deli in Safeway that will cook them for you or a restaurant.

In a microwave/oven safe sauce pan add refried beans, 1/4 of the diced onion. Add 1 diced tomatoe, add 3 tablespoons of salsa and a handful of cheese. Cook in microwave until hot. Then place in preheated oven until ready to use. Now that everything is cooked and diced, take the tostado shells and place on dinner plates and fill the bottom in a thin layer of shredded cheese followed by refried beans and ground beef -about 6 tablespoons of each. Now Add chopped lettuce mixing the two lettuces until tostado bowls are 3/4 full. Divided for the 4 tostado bowls top with cheese followed by bell peppers, green onions, diced tomatoes and top with a large tablespoon of guacamole.

Jill, I love fresh ingredients so for dessert today I thought it would be nice while fresh blueberries and strawberries are in season to buy the small cakes sold in the grocery stores for shortcakes.

Mamie’s Fresh Fruit Shortcake

Peach low fat yogurt
1-medium box fresh strawberries
1 small box of blueberries
Canned whip cream
Raw sugar
Watkins vanilla-1tbsp-optional

Rinse your berries together and place in a bowl. Then reserve 4 strawberries to top the finished desserts. While they are wet, dip in the raw sugar and refrigerate. Cut the remaining strawberries lengthwise in quarters and add to the whole blueberries and cover with raw sugar adding the 1 tablespoon of vanilla (optional). I use raw sugar as it taste a bit like honey and the natural sweetness of the fruit comes alive. After it sets up for a couple of hours, it is ready to use.

Now comes the fun! Take your cakes and place one on each dish and using a butter knife smooth the peach yogurt inside each cup allowing it to spill over. Now add fruit mixture and top with whipped cream. Repeat again so it is two layers high. Finish with whip cream and top with the refrigerated whole strawberry.

Now enjoy!

Thank you again Jill for having me.





Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Lemon Lift tea and we’ll get started. I made your favorite eggplant finger sandwiches. I’ve included your recipe at the end of the interview. Hope they turned out like yours! And we have custard pie for dessert.

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in New York, but grew up in Puerto Rico. I moved to Atlanta 10 years ago. Although I miss the beach, I have made Atlanta my home.

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I’m an indie author.

What are your hobbies?

Do writers have time for hobbies? LOL! Seriously, I like to read, I love to cook, and visit museums. I like all forms of art.

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

My last published book is The Road Home. When I was writing this book I was going through a transition of faith, from a believer to a committed relationship with Christ. The book is not my personal journey, but Desiree’s (my main character) journey to finding true love.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

I started writing when I was 14 years old. I just had so many stories that would come into my head that I needed a way to get them out. I have always loved writing; it was the one thing that made me happy. After my college I stopped for a while because life took over, but God showed me my way back and I’m not leaving it this time.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Although I published a devotional in 2010 (Growth Lessons), my first book is The Road Home and it took me two years to get it ready for publication.

Where do you like to write?

I need a view to write. I have a chaise in my bedroom near a window. Recently I rearranged my office and now I have two windows, one in front of me and one next to me, so that has become my new favorite place, but as long as I have a window to look out of I can write anywhere.

Favorite authors?

I have a few, but I can think of Elizabeth Elliot, Precarious Yates, Nicholas Sparks.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

I have published two, but I have written a total of 12 some of which are in the process of being edited. Yes, I plan to write as long as God gives me the energy to do so.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

Here are all my books on


Barnes & Nobles

These are the links to the book

What about a link to your website?

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Naty. It was a real pleasure to have you over for tea and we wish you great success with your books.


2 slices of bread

1 Eggplant

1 egg or ½ cup of egg substitute

1 slice of Swiss cheese

Alfalfa Sprouts



Salt & Pepper to taste.

Non-stick spray



Peel and slice the eggplant. On a bowl beat the egg or place the egg substitute. I put salt and pepper to the egg mixture. (Sometimes I would also add garlic powder). Spray a skillet with the non-stick spray. Submerge the eggplant slices and cook on med-high until they are golden. Once the eggplant is cooked, build your sandwich with the bread, cheese, lettuce, tomato, eggplant slices and alfalfa sprouts. (1 eggplant is enough for 3-4 sandwiches depending on the size) Enjoy!




Nancy Jill’s Cozy Custard Pie

1 9″ unbaked pie shell

1  13 oz can evaporated milk                                       

7 oz milk

3 eggs

3/4 c. sugar

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla

ground nutmeg 

Directions: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine evaporated milk and milk in a microwave safe container (such as large glass or plastic measuring cup) and microwave for 3 minutes until milk is scalded. (A film will form when it is.)

In a mixing bowl (or stand mixer if you have one) beat the eggs until lemon-colored. Gradually add sugar, mixing well. Add salt and mix in. While mixing, slowly add the scalded milk until blended. Add vanilla and mix in. 

Slowly pour mixture into unbaked pie shell and dust with nutmeg to taste. (See picture.)

Bake at 400 degrees until firm or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. About 40 minutes.





MARY ANN BERNAL             


Welcome! Let me pour you a nice cup of white peach tea and we’ll get started.                

Please help yourself to a finger sandwich – I’ve included smoked salmon and dill, too. I heard it was one of your favorites. And we have fruit tarts for dessert today.                                                                             

Where do you live?

I currently reside in Omaha, Nebraska, having moved from New York several years ago to be closer to my son and his family.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a very energetic senior citizen, having started my dream career as a published author upon my retirement from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010.  With years of experience in time management, it is not difficult to juggle writing, volunteering in various programs supporting the U.S. military and spending time with my children and grandchildren, especially cheering in the stands at sporting events and dance competitions.


Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?


My first novel was traditionally published, but my subsequent novels went the Indie route.  I prefer being an Indie author with its perks, specifically retaining all rights in addition to having complete control over content and the look of the book (cover design).  In today’s economy, the traditional publisher expects the author to provide a marketing plan to sell his/her book, and there are little, if any advertising funds available for unknown authors.  If the author is aggressively promoting/marketing his/her work, then he/she should receive higher royalties, which is only possible through self-publishing.


What are your hobbies?


Since retiring from the work force, I have been able to travel to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy, and am planning a trip to Greece later this year.  Reading and period movies are also favorite pastimes, but I also love science fiction, James Bond and solving murder mysteries.


Tell us about your current book.


“The Briton and the Dane: Legacy,” the final installment of the “The Briton and the Dane” trilogy, is an action-packed adventure, sprinkled with a dash of romance, where deception, treachery and betrayal impacts not only the reign of Alfred the Great, but also the lives of Lord Richard and his family in the ongoing struggle to keep the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex free from Viking rule.


What was your inspiration?


My inspiration comes from the Hollywood blockbusters of the sixties, when Vikings roamed the seas and King Arthur defended the realm, and from Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe,” which was required reading in my sophomore year of high school.


How did you become a writer? When did you start?


After reading numerous historical fiction novels over the years, I wanted to create my own characters in historical settings of my favorite century – the Dark Ages.  Erik, the Viking, found his way into my psyche, demanding a story, but it would take years before I could find the time to write his epic adventure.  In the meantime, I attended creative writing classes and workshops, and also completed online novel writing courses.


How long did it take you to finish your first book?


My first book took about ten months to complete, and subsequent novels have taken the same amount of time to write, edit, and publish.


Where do you like to write?


In my home office, which is a great commute, especially during inclement weather.


Favorite author(s)?


Stephen King, James Patterson, Josephine Tey, Frans G. Bengtsson, Jacob Abbott, Thomas Carlyle, Steven Saylor, Derek Wilson,


How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?


The third book of the “The Briton and the Dane” trilogy was launched earlier this year.  I am currently writing “The Briton and the Dane: Concordia,” which will be available in 2013.  My next project will be “The Briton and the Dane: Timeline,” which will be available in 2014.


Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?


Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Literary Underground

What about a link to your website?

Book Trailer

Mary Ann, it was such a pleasure to meet you today. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I wish you wonderful success with your writing!





Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Raspberry Zinger tea and we’ll  get started. Please help yourself to a zucchini bread and cream cheese sandwich and a raspberry scone and we’ll get started. We have one of your favorites – lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi, Nancy, I live in a suburb of Minneapolis with my husband, one geriatric white German shepherd, one 6-month old Aussie puppy, and one cat who’s convinced he’s a dog. We used to have two horses and a pony, but as the kids grew older, we traded the horses in for a pool. I was a clinical psychologist for 31 years and worked primarily with young women with character disorders: borderline personalities, anorexics, bulimics, etc. and retired in ’92 to begin my second career as a writer. My writing career is what I refer to as “The dessert of My Life.”

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I’m traditionally published. My primary publisher is Prometheus Books, but I’ve also had two books published by CSS Publishing, and my newest book coming out later this year is published by Royal Fireworks Press.

What are your hobbies?

When I was younger, my favorite hobby was exhibiting at horse shows—English Pleasure Classes, Horsemanship Classes, and Hunter Classes. Now that I’m older, I prefer activities where I can keep both feet on the ground. During the summer, I swim half a mile every day and our Aussie puppy RAZZ (short for Razmatazz) and I have just begun her second set of obedience classes. She’s doing well and is obviously more “with it” than her owner. I finally had to give up using the clicker because I couldn’t coordinate all my body parts to click the clicker in sync with my verbal commands and reward her behavior all at the same time. As I already mentioned, she’s doing really well—me, not so much!

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

My most recent book They Stood Alone!: 25 Men and Women Who Made a Difference is a collection of  brief biographies of  25 men and women who refused to conform to the societal beliefs and expectations of their time and, by stepping out and away from the crowd, they changed their world and ours as well.

While doing my school visits, I met so many students who had already given up their dreams and no longer had any personal aspirations. I wanted to restore their hopes and their dreams by showing them that one person can indeed make a difference. Each of  the 25 men and women in my book made a unique contribution which changed and shaped the course of history, and they were not afraid to take a risk even when it meant standing alone.
They Stood Alone!  received the 2011 Mom’s Choice Gold Award for Young Adult Nonfiction and was the 2011-2012 DIY Book Festival Winner for the Teenage category. The Pennsylvania School Librarians Association (PSLA) also selected it for their annual list of best selections for young adults in the nonfiction category.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

I’ve always loved to write and back in college my Spenserian Stanza about Endymion won a national award. I was majoring in English at the time, but I wasn’t sure what I would do with a degree in English, so at the last minute, I switched my major to psychology. I did no more creative writing for 30 years, but I think I can safely say that I was the only psychologist who “enjoyed” writing up diagnostic assessments and court reports. When I retired in ’92, I began writing short stories for children’s magazines and also began writing the first book in my What Would You Do? series.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

It actually took two years because my first publisher asked me to rewrite it for a younger readership which I did. Then, as luck would have it, the editor retired and I had to begin looking for a publisher all over again.

Where do you like to write?

My husband and I share a study and my desk and computer are between his desk and the door, so every time he goes in or out of the office, I have to get up and let him by. If I had my druthers, I would have my own little office with plenty of windows (which someone else would wash)  and where my creative juices would just bubble over!

Favorite author(s)?

I have so many favorites, but some of my favorite favorites include C.S. Lewis, Og Mandino, Judy Blume, Joan Bauer, Jay Asher, and Jodi Picoult.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

I have eight books published so far and my tween problem-solving book Making Bad Stuff Good is scheduled for publication by Royal Fireworks Press later this year.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

What about a link to your website?

My website:

Sandra, it’s been such a pleasure to have you for tea. It was an honor to meet you and I wish you all the success with your books.

Sandra McLeod Humphrey is a retired clinical psychologist, a character education consultant, and an award-winning author of eight middle-grade and young adult books.  She’s also the recipient of the National Character Education Center’s Award for Exemplary Leadership in Ethics Education (2000) and the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. You can learn more about her books by visiting her Web site  at
Connect with Sandy at:
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YouTube Channel:



CELEBRITY AUTHOR                                                                                


Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Red Rose tea and we’ll get started. I have an assortment of finger sandwiches, but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to make the peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But I do have your Peanut Butter and Banana pie for dessert. I’ve included your recipe at the end of the interview. Thanks for sending it!

Q  Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A  I was born in sultry South Carolina and raised in sunny Southern California.  Growing up, I divided my summers between Huntington Beach, California and Surfside, South Carolina, so I’ve always considered myself a beach gal.  I was living the good life in Huntington Beach with my husband of twenty-four years when, six years ago, an inner desire surfaced to return to my southern roots.   Now, instead of waking up to palm trees and the Pacific Ocean, here we are, waking up to pine trees and a pond in our back yard in Lexington, South Carolina.  Besides my children, a few accomplishments I’m proud of is finishing a half marathon and living to tell about it—that small victory gave me the confidence that I could accomplish anything; receiving a degree in theology when I was sixty; and publishing my debut novel, Lady and the Sea, at sixty-five, proving that it’s never too late to fulfill another dream.

Q  Are you a traditionally published or indie author?

A  After much research and prayer, I indie-published because it empowers me to have more control of my book.  Instead of waiting months (or years) for my book to be accepted, then waiting one (or two) more years for publishing, Lady and the Sea was published in seven months.  The whole process is on my time schedule—including the marketing—which is a plus for me since I find myself moving a bit slower at sixty-six.

Q  What are your hobbies?

A  I love to travel—by boat, plane, train, car, bike—as long as I’m moving.  Since turning forty, I have traveled to over fifteen countries, including living in Sweden for a year while attending Bible college, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, trekking through Israel, and volunteering on a World War II ship that allowed me to sail the seven seas and a few oceans along the way.  Our last three-week trip took us to Sweden and Istanbul.  Other hobbies:  reading, writing, watching my favorite movies over and over, spending time with family and friends, and drinking lots of coffee.

Q  Tell us about your current book, Lady and the Sea.  What was your inspiration?

After volunteering fourteen months on the World War II vessel MS Restoration in 1994-95, I knew I had to tell the story of this miracle ship—her story was my inspiration.  When the government put the lock-knot ship in mothballs after the war, she thought her glory days were over, until forty years later when a retired Alaskan sea captain bought her, then gave her to a church in Sweden to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel.  God saved the best until last for the old gal, showing the reader that the best is yet to come for us 40+ gals and guys.

Rosie Atkisson is the main character in Lady and the Sea, a novel based on a true story.  After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie struggles through the process of rebuilding her life with husband, Jesse, in Southern California.  But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS Restoration.  A special mission to transport Russian Jews from Sochi, Russia, to Haifa, Israel, means an adventure of a lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life?  In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the ship, Rosie says yes to that inner Voice that is saying GO!

After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship—from a hurricane to symptoms of a heart attack, from miracles to the M word – menopause – and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa harbor—Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.

Q  How did you become a writer?  When did you start?

A  In sixth grade when my mother gave me a diary for Christmas.  I’ve been writing ever since.

Q  How long did it take to finish your first book?

A  After finishing a half marathon some twenty years ago I was inspired to write my first book which took five months to finish on my Smith-Corona typewriter.  I dropped the phone when Zondervan called to announce that they were considering publishing Lady on the Run, a story that parallels running your spiritual race with your physical race.  A week later I dropped a few tears when they called to inform me they had chosen a well-known author’s manuscript with a similar theme.  Due to several personal events, I had to shelve the manuscript, but now I’m dusting off Lady on the Run so she can run the race that is set before her.

Q  Where do you like to write?

A  In my cozy office on my iMac that my husband gave me, on the back porch overlooking the pond on hubby’s Book Air; in local coffee houses on my man’s iPad; on the west coast, on the east coast, and anywhere in between, on my little iPhone.  I guess you could say I live in an Apple orchard!

Q  Favorite author(s)?

A  Bodie Thoene is my all-time favorite because I love historical fiction, sprinkled with adventure and romance. I devoured the Covenant Chronicles series while I was a volunteer on the MS Restoration for fourteen months because the purpose of our journey was to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. Her books gave me tremendous knowledge of Jewish events surrounding the holocaust.

Q  How many books have you written so far?  Do you plan to write more?

A  I have written three books.  Lady and the Sea was published September 2011; I am rewriting/editing Lady on the Run, and Victory Run (YA), and somewhere in between I will write a sequel to Lady and the Sea.

Would you share a link where we can purchase your books?,,

What about a link to your website?


Here’s the first chapter from Lady and the Sea

Chapter One ~ July 1995

Within minutes of the MS Restoration entering the Haifa Harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel.  As two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the ship, another shouted instructions in Hebrew through a loudspeaker.

The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship’s radio, “Please, speak to us in English!”

Rosie grabbed the rail.  “Do they think we’re terrorists?”

Jesse touched her arm.  “Rosie, calm down.”

“Do they think we’re pirates?”

“Just calm down,” her husband repeated, holding out his hand.

“Will they make us jump overboard?  I don’t have my life jacket,” she spoke fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.

“Rosie, you must get hold of yourself.”

Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who had brought her on this unpredictable journey.  Jesse’s right; what’s come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn’t have to go to the bathroom.  She didn’t dare leave his side.

The ship, her fellow crewmembers, and their special passengers—the Russian Jews—had finally reached their destination.  No more troubled waters.  No more hurricanes.  No more delays.  On this hot July morning, they were home free—or so they thought.

Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck.  “Isn’t this ironic?  We’ve traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get.”

“Stop your engine!” the soldier shouted.

Within seconds, they were dead in the water.

Rosie’s stomach churned.  She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip.  After wiping her mouth with a hankie, she grabbed hold of Jesse’s arm.  She’d heard stories about people who had experienced close calls.  Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war.  “At that moment, my whole life passed before me,” Talmage said.

Now feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie knew that this was her moment.

Here is Sharon Leaf’s favorite dessert recipe:

Peanut Butter & Banana Pie       


1 ready-made piecrust (found in the frozen section)

5 large bananas (found in the produce section)

2 large jars of peanut butter—smooth or crunchy, depending on if you have dentures (found in aisle 6)

Smash bananas, then stir and smash in peanut butter; pour into pie shell; eat immediately before bananas turn brown—a good excuse to eat the whole pie in one sitting.

Serve with banana tea (slice half banana into your favorite tea).

All I can say is “YUM!!”

FYI: This recipe is also my favorite tea sandwich–just serve on crust-less bread!

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