Interview with Suzanne Burke

sooozI have been overwhelmed by the beauty of this author and the warmth she has for people in spite of her personal past. She should be a cold, unfeeling woman with nothing to share with the world. Instead she has the most giving spirit and it comes across in all she does. There is a graciousness about her and trustworthiness you feel at first contact.We have never met in person, but she herself would be a compelling reason to visit Australia. If I ever have the opportunity to do so, I know we will be friends. This is my take on the person and I cannot say enough about her as an author. Her talent is extraordinary.She writes with truth and her characters are so complex yet perfectly right for the book she has written. I am referring in this case to Acts Beyond Redemption.

My review-https://joannwentzel.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/book-review-of-acts-beyond-redemption-by-suzanne-burke/

“Please say hello, to my Aussie Friend-Suzanne Burke. Thanks Soooz for allowing me to do this interview and the honesty with which you answered my questions.”

 

 

Question #1- Suzanne tell us about yourself. Can you tell us a little bit about your childhood and past? How has it affected your writing?

Firstly, I would like to offer my personal thanks for your kind interest in my work, and by extension the things that sparked my need to write.

We are all such complex creatures, Jo. We all have layers of protection that are utilized whenever the need arises. It took me almost five decades before I decided to remove that shield, before I was brave or bold enough to write the words that my heart ached to set free.

As for my childhood? I didn’t have one. The innocence of that time, that precious time, was stripped away by those that should have given their own lives to protect me. Child abuse, physical abuse, and the emotional abuse that happened day-in and day-out every day, took away that childhood. I spent fifty years of my life seeking to find it again, but we can’t go back. Once I learned that precious lesson, it freed me to pursue a future. That future of course would always be colored by the textures of darkness that my past brought forward. That is an inevitable factor in all our lives, the joys, the heartaches and the memories cling to us like perfume, some rich and fragrant, some sour and bitter.

I discovered that that bitterness was an odor that prevented me from moving forward. I made the decision to rid myself of it, and I believe absolutely that the decision to do that saved me from the continuous hell I was allowing myself to be enslaved by.

I’ve lived with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for my entire life, but I refuse to allow it to dominate. I fall prey to it more often than I’d like, especially when writing my memoirs. The nightmares and flashbacks can be horrendous, and I have resorted to alcohol as a memory salve more often than I ever should have. I am currently a recovering alcoholic and well aware of just how fragile I can be.

The decision to write my memoirs was a difficult one, I had no way of assessing just how tremendously difficult it would become, but I will never regret writing Empty Chairs or Faint Echoes of Laughter. The people I loved most in the world were dying one after the other, all of them deserved to be remembered. They took their own lives for the most part. That would never have happened if they had not endured the nightmares that no child anywhere should be subjected to.

I am now in my Sixties, my health is bad. I have so much more I need to accomplish. I am happy now. I am safe. I am loved. No one can ask for more than that. I have lived long enough to see my own child grow and blossom into a marvelous, strong, and loving woman, and I have the utter joy of living with her and my delightful young grandson. I am content with that. Yet I know that I have still one more memoir left to write. That is currently in progress.

 

Question #2 – Suzanne, when you choose what to write what influences your decision? Does it reflect those things most important to you? Does your choice come from another place or result from an altogether other reason?

I have covered what inspires me to write non-fiction. My fictional books are written to entertain. Reading has always offered me a means to escape. I find it the most relaxing of all the places in the world to escape to. I love the thriller/suspense/mystery genre above all that I have read thus far. I guess primarily because so much of it could be easily grounded in fact, yet it’s fact that makes complete sense in a world that is crazy. I have written in several different genres, with paranormal being a close second of my chosen genres. People (Characters) that take a strong stance for what they believe in inspire me. Even the wickedest amongst them are usually inspired by what they utterly believe to be truths.

I escape happily into my characters’ lives and they take control of the words that I write. I find myself to be uncompromising in writing of their actions, for they are the actions rightly or wrongly, of men and women who do not bow down.

I have to laugh as I read this. It really does expose my underbelly. I’m okay with that.

 

Question #3 – We know you wrote at least two books under another pen name? Was the reason for that the personal nature of those books?

Absolutely. I write my non-fiction under the pen name of Stacey Danson. Why? Simple really, those that I write about have private lives. Many of them discussed this undertaking with me. They were to a person all happy that I was doing so, but by choice, many of them had chosen to never reveal the hell that they had come from to the loved ones that now peopled their lives. I promised them anonymity. I will never break that promise. Despite the fact that one of the Big Five publishers approached me when Empty Chairs was first published. They required confirmation. I refused to give it. I will continue to protect the very few that remain, and the blessed memories of all that have passed. End of story.

 

Questions #4 – Briefly describe each of your books. What was your message or what was the purpose for writing each selection.

Great questions, I’ll try to be brief, but brevity is never going to be my strong point when I’m so passionate about what I do.

Empty Chairs … Was written because despite the passage of time (Four decades) I found that the naivety that existed about the evils of child abuse to be unbelievable. I just couldn’t understand how ordinary folks could remain so unaware, or be so unwilling to open their eyes to what could be happening right under their noses. In their own neighborhoods, their own streets. The general consensus appeared to be that this horror simply couldn’t exist in well to do families from upper crust areas. They needed to understand just how very wrong they were. I came from a wealthy home, I lived in a wealthy neighborhood, my abusers were well to do, and a few of those highly respected members of that community were the most abusive and sickest human beings of all I encountered. I wanted to help people understand that Child sexual abuse in all its perverted forms, knows NO social, political or religious boundaries.

Faint Echoes of Laughter… I ended Empty Chairs too abruptly. I should have continued with it. I allowed myself to be under contractual obligation to a publisher, and to be fair I also had reached a point in the writing when I fell too ill to continue at that point. I felt I had cheated those who deserved their stories to be told. I wrote Faint Echoes of Laughter to continue my promise both to them … and to my readers and myself.

Acts Beyond Redemption … Was written initially as a means to escape the nightmares evoked in my life by my non-fiction work. That’s how it began. Then I discovered to my absolute delight that I LOVED writing fiction. I immersed myself wholeheartedly into that adventure, the research, the characterizations, the whole nine yards. I found it to be a rewarding emotional experience. That book unleashed the writer in my soul.

Acts of Betrayal. The first book wouldn’t let me go. It deserved a sequel. I enjoyed the creating of it more than I can ever express.

 

Question #5-We know you recently released your sequel to Acts Beyond Redemption. The title is Acts of Betrayal. Therefore, will you take a breather between books or jump right back in? Do you break from writing at all?

No time left for breathers, Jo. I have too much left to do. Why take a break from the thing that fires my passions and nourishes my soul. I’m already well into my third book in both Non-fiction and fictional works.

 

Question # 6 – What are your next projects? Do you know what you wish to write next? Can you give us a teaser to increase our anticipation?

Next projects in rough order.

Non-Fiction: Book 3 in my Standing Tall & Fighting back series. Titled “Still Sassy at Sixty.” This is about an third completed. I discovered I had so much more to say. This will in all probability be the final book in the memoir. But then of course, I could always write again, when I hit seventy. Life has a way of adding to the book count. “Still Sassy at Sixty” is due for release early July 2017.

Fictional Works. Book 3 in my Unintended Consequences thriller series. Working title “Acts of Reckoning.” Newly started, and I have no idea just where it will lead me. I love the fact that it has such a plethora of possibilities for my imagination to run with. I hope to have ‘Acts Of Reckoning” out by January 2018.

Other Fictional works: Genre Romance. Yes, I did say romance. Eeek! Working Title: “Priceless” a Romance that will take the reader from Outback Australia to the glittering and shallow world of Hollywood.

Basic Synopsis:

Maddison Howard lost both her husband and their unborn child in a horrific car accident. Maddison a country girl from a small Australian country town is grief stricken and takes herself off to the farthest reaches of the Australian outback. Working on a large cattle station as a ‘Jillaroo’ she rides the enormous open spaces with the Jackaroo’s herding cattle to market, spending long hot months in the saddle and sleeping under the stars. Located finally by Lawyers acting for a Los Angeles based law firm she is stunned to discover that her dear childhood friend Carol Landers who has become a huge star of screen and stage has tragically died from Cancer. Maddison, together with the rest of the world is stunned to discover that Carol had a child out of wedlock. A three-year-old daughter named Danielle who has been hidden away on the late stars’ multi-million-dollar estate in Malibu under the care of the household staff sworn to secrecy by their late employer. Dannielle (Danni) has no idea that the pretty-lady that visited her from time-to-time was her mother. Maddison is further shocked to find that she has been named as the child’s sole guardian and beneficiary of the multi-million dollar estate, and an even larger trust fund.

The story covers Maddison’s journey to Los Angeles where she is met by the lawyers and hurried away to meet her new charge. She must decide within three-days whether to accept the guardianship and all it entails; or leave the little one to be cared for by the law-firm and a succession of Nannies and strangers.

The story covers Maddison’s initial arrival, her meeting with a sad and frightened little girl, plus the feeding frenzy of the crowds of press hungry for photographs of both she and the child. She is under the protection of three superbly trained bodyguards, headed by an ex-Navy seal in the shape of the disenchanted Tyler Bradford.

A kidnap attempt ensues. To ensure Danni’s safety Maddison decides to bring her to Australia where she and the bodyguards must secrete the child and themselves from detection. Can Maddison learn to open her heart again? Or will she continue to distance herself from a pain-filled-world? I anticipate “Priceless” to be out by Mid-2018.

As for a teaser? Sorry, Jo. It’s too soon yet to reveal more from any of the new works.

Thanks so much for having me here. I have rarely enjoyed an interview more.

 

 

Book Review of With Angel’s Wings by Stephanie A. Collins

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With Angel’s Wings is a book about having children that are not as healthy as we expect them to be when they are born. Though children come with no guarantee that they will be healthy, or geniuses, beautiful or outstanding in any way, they are our children. We trust that they will be perfect in our eyes. They are born of our bodies and are gifts from God. Most of us greet pregnancy with excitement and pleasure, as did this mom. Her dreams of a smooth pregnancy and labor followed by the birth of a happy, healthy baby are immediately crushed just a short time after delivery. This story is about that never-ending ordeal. She meticulously relays the medical problems and details. Even more important though is the fact it is a testament to courage and unconditional love. This mother displays both and eventually a future husband joins her and displays these same qualities.

Besides medical procedures and operations, everyday struggles to care for two children, she is trying to save a failed marriage and keep up enough strength to just survive.

This couple is both steadfast in their putting the children first and very creative in ways to keep up an impossible schedule. The logistics necessary for such a feat are overwhelming. The saintly patience felt throughout the book makes this couple, heroes in my eyes.

In an act of faith, she ordered the doctors to do go through with an operation to do some difficult heart surgery. Her entire family was against it. Those folks would have chosen another path, an easier path, which would certainly mean the ultimate death of a sweet, innocent baby

There comes a time when the story takes a darker turn and the unthinkable is discussed with such honesty that this author must again be commended for sharing her personal memoir.

This is a highly recommended book about amazing people who struggle against all odds. You will not be disappointed.

Personal-Help us Stop Child Sexual Abuse

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These novels were written since the problem is so widespread the whole world needs to know and try to stop it.

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This book was written after decades of foster care and working with challenging children. It was then we discovered at least 50 % of those kids had been sexually abused.

Dan and Jo Ann Wentzel have been retired for a couple years but even after working with challenging children and dysfunctional families for decades decided they wanted to do something more. As Christians, they prayed about it and recently found their answer.

They never made much money as they spent most working years in foster care or in programs designed to help kids and families. With no money, they decided if they wished to retire, it must be on a very small budget- just social security. The one way they could do this was to live full time in a small and old RV. This motor home works for living but never runs too well. They are presently living in New Mexico since it is one of the least expensive places to live.

They feel their proposed mission is God inspired and will follow his command but need money to replace or fix this vehicle. There will also be other types of expenses from gas to office supplies in order to accomplish their goal. Their mission is to drive to places to speak or train as parenting and foster parenting experts. Some organizations have tiny budgets and can more easily afford speakers or trainers who do not need to fly or live in fancy hotels. They hope to earn money for these opportunities and sell books. Jo Ann has authored four books on related topics. The past two novels introduce the fact that sexual abuse of children is very widespread not only in this country but also probably among your own neighbors.

If you love children and wish to help stamp out child sexual abuse we ask you that you please support our mission. We believe God is leading us to do this work and to start a Go Fund Me Campaign. We will appreciate any help you can give us. To learn more about the Wentzel’s please visit our website at authorjoannwentzel.com

Can you help our cause?

 

Dan and I feel uncomfortable asking people for money but Go Fund Me said we should start with our everyday contacts to make them aware of our new mission.

Our mission is a challenging one. It is to spread awareness of a taboo subject. We hope to be the voice of children who in the past have and presently are experiencing sexual abuse. They are alone, frightened and confused as those they trust hurt them. Often times, they are not believed and even ridiculed for such accusations. This means they are victimized again.

After decades of working with children and families, we know at least 50% of the kids suffered sexual abuse and endured this indignity. Many were broken individuals who could not function in a normal relationship. They could not trust, love or be loved.

We have set up a Go Fund Me campaign to collect donations. We are not a non-profit so the government looks at these donations as Gifts of Love. Please help us help stop this heinous crime. Help us save children. Help us bring this topic into the light. It cannot continue to be a dark, hidden secret if it is ever to stop.

If you can donate, we need it to start our mission. Once we reach the goal, the project will be self -sustaining. Either way we ask you to share this message with all your contacts across all your social networks.

Dan and I thank you so much for taking the time to read this message.

https://www.gofundme.com/fmyfgx

Just Released Ultimate Obliteration

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Ultimate Obliteration is the sequel to Ultimate Betrayal by Jo Ann Wentzel.

My first ever novel is Ultimate Betrayal. It is a “What if book” set in the time just before End Times when the Bible signs appear. The book’s genre is a sci-fi and dystopian combination. It examines an explosion of one criminal element and a technological advance happening at the same time that offers an unacceptable solution. Those making the choice to use this unholy answer as the best possible solution think they are doing something so right that they feel justified. It is their last resort to save the children.

Andrew Zenith, a local TV reporter became aware of the situation when an unbelievable story comes his way through a usually reliable source of his. The story seems like it could never be true, but another infallible source confirms it.

After a short time, Zenith decides he must join the fight against such behavior and takes on the warrior position of fighting good versus evil. The book explains the widespread nature of the problem and the mission to save the children. The good in people of faith give the story the hope needed.

The second book, the sequel, is Ultimate Obliteration and takes place in a time still just before End Times when a faction of society take matters into their own hands. It goes on to describe the violence that is the result of the continuing spread of this problem with no solutions in sight. The books name describes the mission to rid us all of all the criminals hurting and killing children. The answers this time are final as this group considers themselves to be doing God’s work and have no guilty conscience as they complete their mission.

I value all my readers and hope to connect with them to learn their opinions about these books. Please feel free to comment at joann@authorjoannwentzel.com and visit our website authorjoannwentzel.com

You can read these books on Amazon in print and e-book formats.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BA441Q8

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N39S6HN

 

Note: This is a topic close to our hearts. Dan and I have decided to try to get opportunities where we can help spread awareness to others about the problem of Child Sexual Abuse.

Book Review of Acts Beyond Redemption by Suzanne Burke

 

Acts  Beyond  Redemption by Suzanne Burke is a must- read book. You will not want to miss this psychological thriller, clever mystery, exciting adventure novel and page-turner. The complicated plot with many turns and twists, keeps you on the edge of your assumptions throughout the whole story.

You will enjoy the covert operation scenes written with such credible believability in this thriller. The expertise adds to your feeling that you are inside the story and truly part of it. Perhaps S. Burke has a secret life other than just being an author!

She handles the characters in such an authentic way that you really want to know some of them better in real life. You find yourself identifying with them. Her character Sheila is quite memorable, but this woman is one you probably will not want to get to know better.She is a seriously scary person. Be warned-keep your distance from that woman. There are moments when you can almost admire this character’s cunning and ability to fool so many experts and prominent men of the world, but then her cruelty and inhumanity make you cringe. For a book however,  she is an exciting character. Be prepared, as she will evoke a variety of emotions from you as you read.

Burke weaves a web of facts and lies to tease and seduce you until you are obsessed with rushing forward to discover the answers. Reading while offering you more insight into the amazing mind of Burke makes you even less sure of your deductions as to the conclusion of this mystery. She leaves you guessing right up until the end. Good thing there is a sequel. In several days look for the release of Acts of Betrayal at Amazon. Getting anxious to grab a copy of my own and continue this frightening but addictive journey.

 

 

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Book Review for Pearseus/Schism by Nicholas C. Rossis

 

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This is a Prequel to the Pearseus Series. If you heard of the Perseaus Series by Nicholas C. Rossis you know how popular it is and for a good reason this work blends so many things together flawlessly. It is a combination of fantasy and Sci-Fi. It includes Greek mythology and history. Rossis has also created a most perfect study of human nature.

The plot starts with the crash of a spacecraft of humans from earth. One minute the Earthlings were celebrating New Years and the next they were counting survivors and grieving over their dead. The planet they now live on is amenable to their human physiology and they sincerely believe the original inhabitants are also not a threat.

Instead of concentrating on their great luck at surviving the crash and still being alive their human nature took over and they began to put into practice all the things that have killed off civilizations since time began. They began to quarrel and set up separate factions politically motivated but, not without the thirst for revenge. Of course, greed and power were the driving force in the struggle to come out on top and have their will imposed on others. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

The prequel is an introduction to the new world, its creators as well as those who wish to replicate Earth along with all its mistakes. The power struggle is evident as in any kingdom where all want to be in charge and reign.

A very good novel. I highly recommend it and the series that follows sounds very compelling to follow.

 

 

 

 

RRBC FIRST VIRTUAL WRITERS’ CONFERENCE & BOOK EXPO!!!

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Did you hear about this great event? You didn’t? Oh no, where have you been? This is the most exciting thing that ever happened to RRBC and that’s saying a lot because the Rave Reviews Book Club offers excitement every day. You really need to check out this club. You will be amazed at all it does but, that is nothing compared to the support our members give each other. Want a place to fit in, a family who works toward your success, not just theirs? Here is the link to check out      https://ravereviewsbynonniejules.wordpress.com/     This is the place you want to be but, I digress.

This virtual conference is open to writers and readers. It will be helpful for the most experienced authors and be a Godsend to the inexperienced beginner. The most successful writers will be presenting the sessions. Their long time experience will be evident as they explore topics like marketing. Now which author doesn’t need that information? Another topic will be how to format easily. Am I the only one who needs to confess to uttering a few not so ladylike words when forced to do that task? For those of us that blog, the session on that topic should be invaluable. There are so many more sessions to choose from but, register now. Here are the links you need to check it all out

*Conference Dates: December 1st thru 3rd

*Registration Deadline: November 23rd

*Registration Link: https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo.wordpress.com/registration-general-information/register-now/

*Pricing Link: https://rrbcwritersconferencebookexpo.wordpress.com/registration-general-information/registration-packages-pricing/

*Offered Sessions: Blogging For Success, Marketing 101, Formatting Made Easy, Social Media Dos & Don’ts (More sessions can be found on the website, if you would like a full listing.)

This conference is going to be all online so you can even come in your pajamas. It will be casual, fun and informative just like any other conference without the cost of travel and staying in an expensive hotel room. The sessions will be presented in different ways so it should never be boring and keep you interested.

If you only go to one writer’s conference this year-let it be this one. I invite you to check it out. Hurry and register since time is running out.