Friday, December 3, 2021

20 Questions with CT Liotta, Author of 'No Good About Goodbye' #20Questions @CTLiotta

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Today's guest is CT Liotta, author of the YA/Coming of Age/LGBTQ, NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE. CT is here today to answer 20 questions about his life, writing and goals.


1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer? 

I write YA spy books in the afternoon after work. It’s never enough time, but it’s all I have. I used to write at 5 AM. Then, my husband got a dog. More on that in a minute. By 10 PM, my brain has shut down, and I’m as sentient as a potted fern.

I write my newsletter on weekends, but I want it to be about travel, and right now I’m going nowhere.

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster?

I pants various scenarios and details, but outline stories before writing. I can’t pants a three-act story with multiple plot threads. I end up re-writing entire sections enough as it is. Pantsing is one reason why it took years for NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE to take shape.

3. Which comes first—plot or character? 

Characters, like wine, are excellent servants but terrible masters. Everything must serve the plot. Characters, dialogue, details, locations. Easier said than done, but plot comes first. I’ll die on that hill.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript? 

I can work most anywhere - airports, train stations, public bathrooms, commuter trains, and on long-haul flights. Coffee shops are my favorite. If I’m at home, though, it has to be silent.

5. Favorite TV show? 

Of all time? It’s tough to do better than Deadwood or The West Wing. I’m a big fan of K-dramas, too. If ever I do drag, it will be as palace lady Choi in Dae Jang Geum.

I’m a seasoned world traveler, and I’ll never recover from the death of Tony Bourdain. Parts Unknown is a masterpiece. I’ll sometimes watch reruns and savor them, sad in the knowledge the show is already slipping into obsolescence. We need Bourdain now more  than ever. His death still makes me angry and sad and fills me with a profound sense of loss.

6. Favorite type of music? 

Favorite band ever? Pink Floyd. Gilmour’s guitar licks are pure sorcery. But, I like jazz, chillwave, and dreampop in the background.

7. Favorite craft besides writing? 

I got my start in film, and still love videomaking and photography.

8. Do you play a musical instrument? 

Not well, though I had nearly 10 years of piano lessons. Sorry, mom.

9. Single or married? 

Married to my husband, Ardi. He’s remarkable.

10. Children or no? 

Absolutely not. Being an uncle is more than enough.

11. Pets? 

A little under a year ago, Ardi got a Frenchie, Winston. I both love and resent him. He wants continuous attention, as puppies do, but it’s decimated my time to research and write. I can’t work at home anymore. The moment I sit to write, Winston eats a plant or jumps on the sofa.

I can’t imagine having children.

12. Favorite place to write? 

I like Capital One Cafe in Philly. People who irritate me won’t go there for moral or ethical reasons, so I feel unencumbered when I’m there. During the pandemic, they sent me a gift box filled with coffee and treats. My soul sells for cheap.

13. Favorite restaurant?

There’s an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood called Bomb Bomb, so named because the mob blew it up twice in the 20th century. It ranks up there. My favorite cuisine is Indian, however—both northern and southern.

14. Do you work outside the home? 

I work in medicine, so I have to. Insofar as writing goes, the aforementioned Frenchie demands attention as long as I’m home, so I’ll head anywhere there’s WiFi.

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw?

I just watched No Time to Die—my first cinema experience since the pandemic began. It was good to be out. They make James Bond to be seen on the big screen.

16. Favorite outdoor activity? 

I love camping. I have a tent and everything. My family also has a hunting cabin in the hills of Western Pennsylvania. I don’t hunt, but we’d go up there and hike and shoot guns when we were kids. I still love it up there.

17. Pet peeve? 


18. Your goal in life? 

Tough question! At midlife, I’ve hit a bunch of them already. I want to travel more. Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos are on the short list. I have a deep desire to reconnect with friends I made in New Delhi and Seoul. I really want to go to La Paz and Bogota, too, but I can feel myself gasping and turning blue in high-altitude cities, and I don’t want to give my critics the pleasure of witnessing it.

19. Your most exciting moment? 

When I was 17, the day before my senior year of high school began, I flew my first solo flight in a Cessna. I remember the wheels hitting the runway and thinking, “holy crap! I just landed a plane by myself!” Nothing else mattered from then on. I could do anything.

20. The love of your life?

Second to Ardi? I have a crush on Justin H. Min that won’t quit, but I’m probably too old for him. Does red wine count? It never tells me I’m too old.


CT Liotta was born and raised in West Virginia before moving to Ohio for college, where he majored in Biology. He now uses Philadelphia as his base of operations. You can find him backpacking all over the world.

Liotta takes interest in writing, travel, personal finance, and sociology. He likes vintage airlines and aircraft, politics, news, foreign affairs, ’40s pulp and film noir. He doesn’t fear math or science, and is always up for Indian food. His favorite candy bar used to be Snickers, but lately it’s been 3 Musketeers. He isn’t sure why.

He is author of Relic of the Damned!Death in the City of Dreams and Treason on the Barbary Coast!

No Good About Goodbye is his latest book.

Visit him on the web at

Sign up for Liotta’s newsletter at


Fifteen-year-old Ian Racalmuto’s life is in ruins after an embassy raid in Algiers. His mother, a vodka-drunk spy, is dead. His brother, a diplomat, has vanished. And, he’s lost a cremation urn containing a smartphone that could destroy the world.

Forced to live with his cantankerous grandfather in Philadelphia, Ian has seven days to find his brother and secure the phone—all while adjusting to life in a troubled urban school and dodging assassins sent to kill him.

Ian finds an ally in William Xiang, an undocumented immigrant grappling with poverty, a strict family, and abusive classmates. They make a formidable team, but when Ian’s feelings toward Will grow, bombs, bullets and crazed bounty hunters don’t hold a candle to his fear of his friend finding out. Will it wreck their relationship, roll up their mission, and derail a heist they’ve planned at the State Department?

Like a dime store pulp adventure of the past, No Good About Goodbye is an incautious, funny, coming-of-age tale for mature teens and adult readers. 308p.


“So many treats are in store for the discerning reader of CT Liotta’s brilliant YA novel NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE. There’s a diverse array of multi-racial/cultural characters, organized criminals with complex political goals underway, and keystone-cop humor/blunders often sparking from the evergreen enchantment of a push-pull romance between two young people, neither of whom have yet decided to identify as ‘gay.’ Rich with often realistically crude boy lingo, NO GOOD ABOUT GOODBYE is an utterly charming teenage LGBTQ falling-in-love adventure while simultaneously rocking an international crime storyline.” – C.S. Holmes, IndieReader

★★★★★ “Sharply observed and sarcastic as hell, CT Liotta’s debut is the gay teenage spy thriller we have long needed.” -Matt Harry, author of Superkid and Sorcery for Beginners.

★★★★★ I found this YA spy novel to be an utter delight! Fast-paced and witty, we traverse the globe with Ian, who just lost his mother and is charged with stopping a war with China. All the while he’s 15, enrolled in a High School from hell in Philadelphia and struggling with his identity. The author offers his own particular take on the importance of friendship and found family. He also very cleverly features different viewpoints, so the reading experience never feels stale. Honestly, I did not know what to expect going into this story – I however finished it converted into a fan! – Thomas S., Netgalley

Thursday, November 25, 2021

20 Questions with Cassie Sanchez, Author of 'Chasing the Darkness' #20Questions @CSanchez_author

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Today's guest is Cassie Sanchez, author of the romantic fantasy, CHASING THE DARKNESS. Cassie is here today to answer 20 questions about her life, writing and goals.


1. Are you a morning writer or a night writer? Morning with lots and lots of coffee. My brain is mush by the evening.

2. Do you outline or are you a pantster? A bit of both. I use C.S. Lakin’s technique from her book, Layer Your Novel. This gives me a bit of a roadmap and then I go off-roading from there.

3. Which comes first – plot or character? Character. I usually have one character talking to another in my head and this becomes a scene.

4. Noise or quiet when working on your manuscript? I need instrumental music. Absolute quite makes my eye twitch.

5. Favorite TV show? I’m not a huge TV watcher. I do love movies though (Star Wars, Marvel, romantic comedies)

6. Favorite type of music? I’m really into 80’s rock and roll right now.

7. Favorite craft besides writing? Is napping considered a craft?

8. Do you play a musical instrument? I played the violin when I was young and took piano lessons a few years ago. I’d like to learn the drums or the electric bass.

9. Single or married? Married, almost 26 years.

10. Children or no? Two men-children, ages 20 and 22

11. Pets? Two labs; Gunner (9) and Bullet (7 months)

12. Favorite place to write? My office or outside on my patio.

13. Favorite restaurant? Changes depending on my mood. I’m a mood eater, but always love pasta.

14. Do you work outside the home? Nope. I’m a retired stay-at-home mom.

15. What was the name of the last movie you saw? In the theaters, Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds. I recently re-watched Iron Man 2. Love me some Robert Downey JR.

16. Favorite outdoor activity? Is napping an outdoor activity? Just kidding. I enjoy golf and have recently taken up Pickle Ball (And no, it’s not just an old person’s sport even though I do have to ice my knees when I’m done).

17. Pet peeve? Bad drivers (which actually means slow drivers).

18. Your goal in life? Ummm. I’m not a huge goal person. Currently, I’d like to get a handle on the sequel to Chasing the Darkness and maybe loose the Covid 10.

19. Your most exciting moment? When I first held in my hands a copy of Chasing the Darkness. Also, riding The Rise of Resistance at Disneyland when it first opened. Best Star Wars ride ever!

20. The love of your life? My husband and my boys.

Growing up, Cassie Sanchez always wanted superpowers and to be a warrior princess fighting alongside unlikely heroes. Suffice it to say, she lost herself in books, from fantasy to sci-fi to a suspenseful romance. Currently, Cassie lives in the southwest with her husband, Louie, while pestering her two adult men-children. She can usually be found drinking too much coffee while working in her office with her dogs warming her feet. When she isn’t writing about magic and sword fights, she enjoys golf, spending time with friends, or partaking in a satisfying nap.

Her latest book is Chasing the Darkness.

You can visit her website at or connect with her on TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.


Pain is inescapable. Suffering is a choice. 

Azrael, the Angel of Death, knows pain. The deaths of his mother and sister, as well as his harsh experiences in the Watch Guard at age twelve, have brutally shaped him into the most feared assassin in all of Pandaren. Azrael’s role as a Hunter requires him to search for those with magic, called Spectrals, which he is happy to do. Hunting allows him to pursue his true goal—exacting revenge on the Fire Spectral who altered the course of his life.

Azrael’s obsession with revenge and power leads him to undergo an experimental procedure that gives him magic, but when this procedure has unexpected and dangerous side effects, he becomes a liability to the Hunters and the Watch Guard. Rescued by the people he has sworn to eliminate, Azrael finds himself questioning everything he once believed as years of secrets and lies are exposed. His very nature is challenged as he battles unfamiliar emotions and navigates relationships that contradict the heart of a killer.

Can the Angel of Death have a conscience? Can Azrael?

Chasing the Darkness is an escape to a land of magic, sword fights, and love, with memorable characters who must face the darkness within and journey down a path of destruction or redemption. 


Monday, November 22, 2021


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Create your professional roadmap to find the job you love or love the job you have…

By John Neral

YOUR MID-CAREER GPS, Nonfiction, LLH Publishing, 281 pp.

Are you considering a career change but doubt yourself or get easily overwhelmed by the entire process?

Are you a mid-career professional ready to level-up, but unsure of what steps to take?

What if there was an easy and supportive way to plan your next career destination?

Your Mid-Career GPS will guide you to create your own professional roadmap so you can find the job you love or love the job have. John Neral, Certified Professional Coach, will help you strategically position yourself in the marketplace while teaching you how to leverage your unique skills from a place of value and service for any organization.

Learn how to prepare, position, and promote yourself as you create a tactical and strategic plan by building Your Mid-Career GPS. Let this book be your guide to answer many of the current questions you have about creating your next advancement opportunity.


“This book is for those of you who feel like you know everything and nothing about what’s next, you can’t fathom writing yet another cover letter, and you wonder “why bother” when it comes to updating your résumé. If you are feeling alone on this journey, bring this book, and all of the insight and tools it contains, along with you. You will have John’s company along the path and you will be one step closer to finding your way!”–Natalie Siston, Best-selling author of Let Her Out: Reclaim Who You Have Always Been and Founder, Small Town Leadership

“John expertly guides readers through the trials, tribulations, and common pitfalls of mid-career professionals and managers. He also provides information on the effective career strategies and mindset needed to be successful. This book is a must read if you are looking for professional support and could use a career GPS! — Porschia Parker Griffin
Founder and CEO of Fly-High Coaching Millennial Coaching Institute

“LinkedIn is the most powerful tool to help you network, build professional relationships, learn, search for jobs, and much more. I always say if you are not on LinkedIn you might be left out. Your Mid-Career GPS provides valuable tips and guidance to help you navigate LinkedIn and start growing your network and create your next advancement opportunity.”— Rhonda L. SherLinkedIn Specialist, Author, Speaker

“I picked up this latest book after enjoying John Neral’s previous book, SHOW UP – Six Strategies to Lead a More Energetic and Impactful Career. In Your Mid-Career GPS, John Neral provides clear, actionable steps to put his six strategies into play quickly and effectively. I really enjoyed his conversational writing style as well. As a mid-career professional, I love that my cohort is the focus of his attention and expertise. He demonstrates throughout the book that he knows the benefits mid-career professionals bring to an organization and his thoughtful observations and exercises will help anyone define their professional value and market not only their skills but themselves. Reading and employing the strategies in this book can position you to be a more valuable resource to your current employer or challenge you to spread your wings and find your next, great career opportunity. The underlying message is one of empowerment and encouragement and that’s a message everyone can benefit from.”Victoria A. Bourgeois

In this book, I will ask you to define certain moments of your career. One of the most defining moments in my career happened in my 11
th year as a middle school mathematics teacher. I loved where I was working, the people I was working with, and I certainly had a fantastic time with the students I got to teach every year. One day, as I was beginning to teach a lesson on multiplying fractions, I looked at 25 students' faces staring back at me, and the voice in my head said, "You can't do this anymore." It was as if that voice came out of nowhere, but it was loud, and I needed to listen to it. I felt happy. I enjoyed what I was doing. But I wasn't satisfied knowing that this could be it for the rest of my career. I wasn't ready to settle. As I continued to deliver the lesson, I gave myself permission to question what I was doing with my career and why I wanted more from it. Have you ever had one of those moments?

What transpired over the next few months was an opportunity to honestly evaluate where my career was going and what I wanted. I had a fantastic consulting relationship with a Fortune 500 company along with a successful tutoring business outside of my teaching duties. I was learning that I wanted to shift my focus from teaching students to working with teachers. This would look like some kind of administrative position or an opportunity to level up, but I was unsure of what that was.

I talked to my closest friends and colleagues and told them I was considering making a significant career change. I had my résumé professionally written. I updated my LinkedIn profile. I started networking, looking for jobs, and sharpening my interviewing skills. And then the rejections came.

I got to several last-round interviews for a handful of positions that I not only wanted but also believed I would've been great at, only to learn I wasn't the selected candidate. If someone were kind enough to give me some honest feedback, I would hear things like, "You made it a difficult decision for us, but we went with someone who had more experience." These are comforting words amid disappointment and perhaps something you also have experienced recently.

My opportunity to make such a change came three years later, when I was 40. I accepted a position as a Professional Development Specialist for the District of Columbia Public Schools. In this role, I would work with and supervise 21 instructional coaches across 13 middle schools. I was going to help teachers be better teachers. I got the job I wanted and a fantastic opportunity to stretch and grow. While the job came with an advanced title, it also came with a pay cut. I relocated from New Jersey to Washington, D.C., for a professional and personal opportunity. My husband and I had been dating long distance for two years, and because he was happy with his job, I decided I would be the one to make a move since I was looking for a new job. Yes, you could say I made a move for love, but it was not only for the love of my husband but also for the love of my career. Relocating wasn't part of my plan, but it was a welcomed detour and new destination for my Mid-Career GPS.

That move over 10 years ago accelerated my career. It gave me opportunities I would have never had if I decided to stay in my previous position. I had an opportunity to work as an administrator in a larger and high-profile district. From there, I went to go work at the State Superintendent's Office. From that position, I leveled up to take a job at an educational nonprofit as a Training and Staffing Director. And then, I took an even bigger leap into entrepreneurship. I have never regretted any of these moves, and I continue to have an exciting career. I get to go to work every day. I get to coach amazing clients and help them figure out what's next for them professionally by helping them create their mid-career roadmap to find a job they love or love the job they have. I've launched two podcasts. The first is called #SHOWUP2020 and highlighted everyday people who do extraordinary things because of how they choose to SHOW UP. My second podcast is "The Mid-Career GPS Podcast," and it's an extension of this book. You can listen to it wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.



is available at:

John Neral, MA, CPC reawakens, energizes, galvanizes, and innovates the mind think of employees, corporations, associations, and systems. A celebrated executive/career and professional development coach and in-demand, mindset-shifting public speaker, John’s professional walk included a 25-year career in education and a longstanding corporate consultant for Fortune 500 giant, Casio America, Inc. He now leads John Neral Coaching, LLC, one of the most progressive, mindset-shifting professional and organizational coaching and public speaking firms in the U.S. He is the author of Your Mid-Career GPS – Four Steps to Figuring Out What’s Next and SHOW UP – Six Strategies to Lead a More Energetic and Impactful Career and the host of “The Mid-Career GPS Podcast.”

As a Master Practitioner in the Energy Leadership Index, John’s experience has made him an impactful and valuable coach to his one-on-one and group coaching clients and organizations. With Energy Leadership™, John identifies where people perform at their optimal levels and when they are under stress. Combining the Energy Leadership™ principles, a client’s workplace strengths, and their “unique professional value,” John helps his clients create their career GPS so they can take action toward achieving their professional and personal goals.

A former church organ prodigy, John is an avid traveler–having sojourned to 5 of the 7 continents, a professional bowler and the winner of a Professional Bowlers’ Association Regional Title (2010), and a game-show fan, having appeared on previous episodes of GSN’s Chain Reaction and Make My Day. John is happily married and lives with his spouse and their rescue cat, Amy Farrah Meowler (named after the Big Bang Theory character), in the heart of Washington DC’s Dulles Technology Corridor, Tysons Corner, VA.

You can visit his website at or follow him at TwitterFacebook and Goodreads.


Sponsored By:

Sunday, November 21, 2021

📚 10 Things You Might Not Know About Children's Book Author Cheryl C. Malandrinos @ccmalandrinos #AChristmasKindness #10things

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Cheryl C. Malandrinos
 is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A member of SCBWI, she is blogger and book reviewer. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married.

Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at

Connect with Cheryl on Twitter and Facebook.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Children's Book Author Cheryl C. Malandrinos


1.      Cheryl used to be the baby of her family … but after her mother passed away and her dad remarried, the family added two boys, so she is now the middle child.

2.     Cheryl and her family live in a small town 20 minutes away from the city where she and her husband, Paul, grew up.

3.     Cheryl started writing as a teenager. She still has many of her stories hidden away. Maybe one day she will take them out and see if anything is worth sharing.

4.    Cheryl never intended to write for children. Her first finished manuscript was a women’s novel about three sisters, which she co-wrote with her middle sister. She hopes to publish it in the future … after a rewrite and many edits.

5.     A failed NaNoWriMo project and a discussion with her pastor led Cheryl to reconsider her writing plans. That failed project turned into her first children’s book, which was published in 2010.

6.    Cheryl is an acquisitions editor for 4RV Publishing.

7.     Cheryl was named Best Book Editor in the 2020 Critters Annual Readers Poll.

8.    Cheryl’s book, A Christmas Kindness, was named a Top 10 Finisher in the Best Children’s Book category in the 2020 Critters Annual Readers Poll, garnering second place.

9.    When 4RV originally released A Christmas Kindness in 2012, Cheryl used a pen name. When the digital version came out in 2014, she switched to her real name. The publisher released a second edition, with additional content, in 2020.  

10.                        In 2021, Cheryl became a licensed real estate broker in Massachusetts and earned her real estate license in Connecticut and North Carolina. 

Author: Cheryl C. Malandrinos
Publisher: 4RV Publishing
Pages: 52
Genre: First Chapter Reader

Eight-year-old Robert is eager to share his wish list with Santa at the mall on Christmas Eve. When he meets Glenn, who only has one request for Santa, Robert is confused about what he should do. Can he cast aside what he wants and ask Santa to bring his new friend a special gift?


It is not often that a simple children’s book can nearly bring me to tears, but this one succeeded. There is nothing better than reading a story at Christmastime that reminds you that there are still good people and good kids in the world. This is one heartwarming Christmas story that you and your kids can read and enjoy. It will remind you of the true meaning of Christmas, and I believe that the author’s purpose is accomplished.

– Ruth, Amazon Reviewer

Robert can’t wait to see Santa. He’s got a pile of stuff he wants to ask for. Then he meets Glenn in line, and Robert himself gets to play Santa. I was touched by the main character’s transformation after he came in contact with someone in real need. The glow he walks away with can’t be bought, and he’ll never find it under the Christmas tree, but it’s the heart of the season that he’s found. Nicely illustrated, enjoyable story for readers of all ages. 

– Jude, Amazon Reviewer

  • Pick up your copy of A Christmas Kindness at Amazon.

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