Inside The book with

Inside the Book Interview with Naomi Robinson, Artist of Greeting Card Series: Sister to Sister

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Article first published as Interview: Naomi Robinson, Mixed Media Artist of Sister to Sister Greeting Cards on Blogcritics.

Hello Everyone,

How are you doing?

Welcome to Inside The Books. This is JMcManus with another post for you. Today’s post will introduce you to mixed media artist Naomi Robinson.

Born in Notting Hill, West London, United Kingdom, Naomi Robinson always loved drawing. Her mother said she started drawing as soon as she could pick up a crayon. Around the age of six she remembers getting a box of 36 oil crayons and an oversized sketchbook and nearly finishing the entire sketchbook in one day. She loved to draw clowns and was fascinated with the colors, clothing, and face painting.

Now she’s a mixed media artist who mainly illustrates greeting cards, book covers, and merchandise such as t-shirts as she builds up her clientele in the children’s sector. She has two main styles that she works in. The first style includes mixing dip pen, ink, tea-stained/textured papers, watercolor, and scanned images that are finished in Photoshop, and the second style includes computer-based scanned sketches which are re-drawn in Illustrator and finished in Photoshop.

First let me thank you for taking time to do this interview. You have a very vibrant and fun illustration style that really lends itself to greeting cards. Where did that style come from?

My style is a work in progress and developing with each project. I think my style comes from my love for drawing. All my ideas come from constantly sketching. I like to focus on a strong line, pattern, complementary colors and playful compositions.

What was the first greeting card series you worked on?

I have worked on a few greetings card series some of which I self-publish. The most popular was my cupcake range, a series of 11 card designs. It’s still growing and a US card publisher has now licensed them.

Can you describe for us your start-to-finish process when working on a greeting card series?

Once commissioned by a publisher, you will receive your text or concepts. I’ll do some image research for theme or topic, then brainstorm and sketch out ideas. I may at this point send the publisher some roughs before I start final artwork. I create artwork and finally send the final artwork to the publisher or directly to their printer.

One of my favorite cards is part of the Sista to Sista collection: “Keep your head up, Never let them see it hanging low…” A beautiful card with a beautiful woman smiling. Can you tell us about the Sista to Sista project and the process you went through for creating each card?

Sister to Sister was such a special collaboration between Hudson & Brown and myself. The project was perfect for my style and the work I love to create. A brand focused on empowering women – written by women, designed by women and for women. I received the text and it instantly spoke to me visually. Hudson & Brown gave me free range to create whatever I liked because they loved what they had seen from my portfolio and truly believed in me as an artist and card maker.

I wanted the cards to be beautiful, bold, colorful and contemporary. I also aimed to keep them coherent as a series by keeping my palette limited with a neutral undertone.

Do you ever get to write the verbiage for the greeting cards or is it always given to you?

With Sister to Sister I was given most of my text, and I was lucky enough to write some of their cancer support cards such as the card entitled My Hand.

Is there any project you would like to illustrate in the future?

This year I’m eager to work on more children’s book commissions so that is my focus. I love pattern and surface design so will be doing some projects towards that also. And I’m sure I’ll create some more illustrations for Sister to Sister/Woman to Woman Greetings.

What has been your favorite project to work on?

My favorite projects are the ones that help me develop my thinking as a creative and push me to be a better illustrator. I like a challenge and when reviewing my work it is important to me to see growth and improvement.

You’ve been working as an illustrator for years; has the new technology affected how you work on new projects?

I’ve been lucky because I was growing up in the age of the computer. I first created art on a computer when I was 10 years old and as I have developed as an artist in turn computers and packages have improved, making everything easier. I think my day job as a graphics designer really helps because it always ensures I am up to speed with the latest creative applications. Although working “traditional” is great because you can’t beat the feeling and ease of drawing in a sketchpad or painting on canvas; everything ends up digital so it is very important to be versatile.

Are you currently working on any projects that we can look forward to?

I’m working on a few, a secret little book for little girls, an alphabet book project and a new online card and t-shirt shop.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank you for asking me to do this interview.

Thank your for sharing some insight on your talent. Where can people find out more information about you and your work?

My website is a good starting point as it has links to everything.

If you want to see how I work or ideas come, where I’m exhibiting or my latest achievements, my blog is very good.

I have a little Etsy shop where you can buy a few limited edition cards and products.

And finally you can all pop by and say hi via Facebook.


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Inside The Book of Ellen's Broom w/ Kelly Starling Lyons by JMcManus

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Hello Everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well in this New Year!

Welcome to Inside The Books. This is JMcManus with another post for you. Today’s post is part of Kelly Starling Lyons blog tour for the release of her new book Ellen’s Broom, a wonderful book about a young girl’s experience of freedom.

Ellen always knew that the broom resting above the hearth was special. Before it was legal for her mother and father to officially be married, the broom was what made them a family. But now all former slaves who had already been married in their hearts could register as lawful husband and wife.

As part of the blog tour Kelly Starling Lyons will be giving away a grand prize to anyone who leaves a comment on any of the tour stops. So please read the interview and review below and leave a comment for your chance to win a decorated wedding broom courtesy of Stuart’s Creations ( and a poster of the Ellen’s Broom cover. The winner will be drawn on January 16.


1. As a writer myself, I’m always interested in the creation of characters. Can you tell us about Ellen and how she became the character of your book?

While researching family history, I saw a Virginia cohabitation register that listed formerly enslaved couples, the dates of their marriages and the names and ages of their children. Though their marriages – sometimes celebrated by jumping a broom – weren’t legal during slavery, they were finally in 1866 protected by law. Freedmen’s Bureau officers registered the couples and even issued some marriage certificates. Ellen was the result of my imagining what it would be like for a girl whose parents finally have their marriage made legal.

It took an editor’s encouragement to see my research had potential for a story. Once I started working on it, I envisioned Ellen and her family and tried to imagine how they would feel to go from slavery to freedom. I could see her mama wanting to make sure the story of what they survived was not forgotten. The broom was a symbol that Ellen came to see as a special part of their history. It’s something she vowed to pass on.

2. During a time of change, from slavery to freedom, one constant in Ellen’s life was the broom her parents jumped during slavery. Can you tell us why it is so important for children of today to understand the history of brooms in marriage during that time period?

Today, it’s not unusual to attend an African-American wedding where the couple jumps the broom. But many children have no idea why they’re doing it. Ellen’s Broom helps give them a sense of the history. It shares what the broom ritual meant to enslaved families who could be torn apart at any time. Through the story, they see that even as Ellen’s family celebrated new freedoms – like finally having marriages of former slaves legalized — it was important to remember that past. I hope it helps children understand why jumping the broom is done by some couples in memory of that history now.

3. I was delighted to receive a small broom with my copy of Ellen’s Broom. Is that something that will ship out with every copy?

There’s a fun craft kids can do to make their own miniature broom out of a pencil. Directions are in the Ellen’s Broom craft and discussion guide created by author/educator Debbie Gonzales. Here’s the link: EllensBroomDiscussionActivityGuide.pdf.

4. Can you share with us an unknown fact about the book? Like something that appeared in the first draft that was edited out by the final draft.

One fact few people know is that I chose the name Ellen for the main character in honor of my maternal grandfather’s mother, Ellen Hairston Starling.  It was through researching her side of the family that I stumbled across the cohabitation register that inspired this story. I also learned that Ellen is a family name. Her grandmother, who likely was once enslaved, was named Ellen too.

Something that was edited out of the story were the names of the songs Ellen, her family and the rest of the congregation sang in the church. I mentioned Follow the Drinking Gourd, Wade in the Water and Go Down, Moses. Those songs gave enslaved people hope and in some cases instructions for escape. Once free, the songs were a testament to what they survived and a reminder to cherish their freedom. You can still hear those spirituals in some churches today.

5. As an author, what inspires you to write?

I’m inspired to write children’s books by the memory of being a child who rarely saw herself and her history reflected in stories for young people. I write to help create a different reality for kids today. I write to give back.

I still remember the story that inspired me to write for kids, Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth. It was the first time I saw an African-American girl featured on the cover of a picture book. Right then, I decided to add my voice.

6. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I’m so grateful for the chance to share this story. I wrote Ellen’s Broom as a celebration of family, love and freedom. I was amazed by how illustrator Daniel Minter reflected those themes in his art. People can learn more about Ellen’s Broom and find printables for kids at my site, If you want a peek inside the book, you can watch the trailer for Ellen’s Broomhere. Thanks again for all of your support.


Thank you Kelly for a wonderful interview and some insight in the making of Ellen’s Broom.

Ellen’s Broom is a delightful book about how a broom that was once used during the time of slavery for marriage becomes a tradition. Readers will journey with Ellen as she carries the broom her parents once jumped over during slavery to bind the family, to a courthouse where her parents will be officially married.

Kelly has a wonderful and delightful way of creating characters that connects with young readers. And that connection takes you on a journey through a moment in time. It’s like the characters hold your hand as they tell you about history…what a way to learn.

And let me just say, from someone who is big on illustrations, Daniel Minter did a wonderful job with his block print illustrations. When my eight-year-old daughter saw this book lying on my table she asked if she could have a poster.

Ellen’s Broom is a great book about family traditions and I can’t wait to read more books from Kelly Starling Lyons.

Inside The Book of Mama's Boyz w/ Jerry Craft by JMcManus

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Article first published as Interview: Jerry Craft, Creator of Mama’s Boyz on Blogcritics.




Welcome back everyone!


This is JMcManus with another Inside The Book interview. My interview today is with Mama’s Boyz creator Jerry Craft who was born in the Washington Heights section of New York City. He won his first art contest in third grade and remembers as a youth creating comic strip versions of movies he saw to send to his brother who was a marine stationed in Japan.

He has worked on various comics and graphic novels including six issues of Sweet 16 for Marvel Comics, four issues of New Kids on the Block, three Mama’s Boyz graphic novels/anthologies as well as illustrations for seven children’s books. He has also had his work in two Chicken Soup for the Soul books as well as the newly released Moving Diversity Forward published by the American Bar Association.

The first comic he worked on was with Barbara Slate who created the “Sweet 16” series. She taught him a lot of what he knows today.

In 2006 he decided that it was time to work on his own series. He left his job as an editorial director of Sports Illustrated for Kids and started his Mama’s Boyz series.

List of awards:

  • Three African American Literary Awards for Best Comic Strip
  • Profile Magazine Award of Excellence (2009)
  • 2007 “Conversation Starter Award” from the DC Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy
  • Two ADA Outstanding Supporter Awards from the American Diabetes Association
  • National Cartoonists Society Award Nominee (2000)
  • Glyph Award Nominee

First let me thank you for taking time to do this interview. You have a very vibrant and fun illustration style. Where did the style for Mama’s Boyz come from?

It actually was a long time in the making. For years I didn’t have a style of my own because I always had to match someone else’s style. Then it just evolved over time. The way the characters look in my first book are really different than how they look now.

Can you describe for us your start to finish process when working on a comic strip?

I start with the idea, which usually just pops into my head as I’m going about my day. I never sit down to actually think of ideas. Then I do a rough sketch where I work out the dialogue and what pictures I’m going to draw. Then I do my final version on a nicer grade of paper. Finally, I scan it and color it in Photoshop. Then I email it each week to newspapers around the country. And I’m always looking for new clients.

What is your hope for the Mama’s Boyz series and are you working on starting any new series?

I’m currently starting my fourth Mama’s Boyz book. So far each one has been better and more popular than the last. In fact, Mama’s Boyz: The Big Picture was written up in the School Library Journal. That was a really big deal for me. I’d love to eventually see it animated, either on TV or for a DVD, but that may still be a while for that to happen.

Tell us about Mama’s Boyz: The Big Picture.

Well I used the basic premise of A Christmas Carol and had Yusuf, who is 16 years old, be visited by four phantoms. But these are all versions of how he COULD turn out if he doesn’t start to see his life as “The Big Picture.” One version has a weight problem because he eats poorly and doesn’t exercise (too much Xbox). The next version is a seventy year old who still wears his pants hanging off his butt and has multiple tattoos. Next is a version who tells him about the importance of family, and the last is how he could turn out if he drops out of school.

I like the old Fat Albert style of using humor to teach positive life lessons.  I just want to show kids from 7-19 that the decisions they make today can affect them for the rest of their lives. That tattoo that you get on your face not ain’t gonna be so cute when you’re 80!

I think that’s great and one of the reasons the characters of Mama’s Boyz has been featured as spokes characters for various organizations. Can you tell us where they have been featured and what it meant for you?

I’ve used my characters to teach kids about childhood obesity for the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition; to educate them about diabetes for the American Diabetes Association; and even in conjunction with the DC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.

I love to be able to use my characters to do more than just make folks laugh. Plus it encourages even reluctant readers to read. That’s why I’ve had so many schools and libraries ordering my books. I even did work with Donate Life! America to educate people about organ and tissue donation.

Along with producing your comic strips you also illustrate books for others. How has the experience been for you?

I LOVE doing children’s books. It seems as if my niche is becoming someone who works directly with authors to help them produce their books. I’m about to start my eighth children’s book. I work directly with the author and do all of the illustrations, some editing, the coloring… and even the layout. So I’m a one-stop shop. All I need is the story and I’ll give you back a finished book that’s ready to be sent to the printer.

It’s been great working directly with the authors. Especially when they see their book for the first time. For some of them, it’s been a lifelong dream. I’ve seen smiles, I’ve seen tears of joy… it’s awesome to be a part of it all. A few, like Lori Nelson (Hillary’s Big Business Adventure), have hired me to do a second book. And Sabrina Carter has come back for thirds (Please Don’t Yell at We!; My Hair is Curly; Please Won’t You Listen to Me?)I may be stuck with her for the rest of my life!

I like the fact that these books have all been near and dear to their hearts. Margo Candelario wrote a book about her three daughters dealing with the loss of their dad called Looking to the Clouds for Daddy. It’s a great book for any kid who has lost a loved one. But a big publisher may never take a chance on a book like that since it probably won’t sell a million copies. But it’s an important book.

And Dr. Courtney Davis wanted to teach people about all of the great things about where she lives with A is for Anacostia, a really cool community outside of Washington, DC.

What has been your favorite project to work on?

It’s really hard to pick one since I love to draw and I don’t take on any projects that I don’t like and won’t be proud to show to my own kids. I have two sons who act as my editors. I also have fun doing Flash animation, check out Confronting the Black Superheroes of My Childhood and The Randy Moss Driving School on YouTube.

You have been working as an illustrator for years, has the new technology affected how you work on new projects?

Definitely. The cartoons I just mentioned are done in Flash. I drew all of the artwork directly on the computer as opposed to on paper, then scanning it. And with the Looking to the Clouds for Daddy book, I used photographs along with my illustrations. Plus I can do an entire book on my own, without help from anyway. That’s great!

Are you currently working on any projects that we can look forward to?

I just finished writing two novels aimed at the middle grade/young adult market. And these are full chapter books. The one that I did on my own is over 50,000 words. I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. The second was written by networking superstar George Fraser ( and his sister Emma about their lives growing up in the foster care system. Both have just been completed so I’m in the process of shopping for either an agent, or submitting directly to a publisher. So I’ll take any advice that your audience would like to offer.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Well the biggest thing is that people like me can not exist without support. It’s not enough to say “keep up the good work.” All of the money that I make goes back into creating new products. I’d eventually like to have 10 Mama’s Boyz books! So it’s important to keep us in mind when shopping for birthdays and the holidays, or just in general. And if you like it, don’t keep it a secret, ask your friends to by them of their kids. And as people of color, we need to stop feeling nervous about giving books about “us” to kids outside of our race. People give my kids books based on white characters all the time without thinking twice. But it almost never works in reverse. But not only does it help the authors, but it helps kids see us as regular people and not always just as historical figures such as Rosa Parks or Dr Martin Luther King, jr. The more they read about just regular kids, the easier it is for them to expand how they look at people who are different than they are.

Where can people find out more information about you and your work?

You can follow me everywhere except around my house. On Facebook I’m Jerry Craft, same for Twitter. And my website is  I even have a monthly newsletter you can sign up for.

You can also reach me directly via email at

Thanks for your support!!!

And thank you Jerry for taking time to share with us about your projects.


Mama, When Will I Be Popular Book Giveaway

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I’m back with another book giveaway. This one comes from Thomasina F. Johnson with Mama, When Will I Be Popular.

Thomasina sent me a paperback edition of Mama, When Will I Be Popular for a free giveaway. To enter this giveaway click here and fill out the entry form before the end of the day Friday, October 28, 2011. In order to be eligible to win, you may enter the giveaway only once. Once a winner has been chosen I will post the winner’s name on twitter as well as send the winner an email for shipping information. This giveaway is for the US only.

For more information about Thomasina F. Johnson, Mama, When Will I Be Popular, you can visit her website. To read JMcManus interview with Thomasina F. Johnson click here. To find out when new interviews, reviews and books are posted please follow us on


A mother and daughter talk, that provides insight into how today’s struggles will teach her daughter to triumph in her future endeavors. It’s the concept of, what people mean for evil now will eventually work out for the good in you! Don’t give up!


Inside The Book of Mama, When Will I Be Popular w/ Thomasina F. Johnson by JMcManus

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Article first published as Thomasina F. Johnson, Author of Mama, When Will I Be Popular on Blogcritics.

(Don’t miss out on the book giveaway of Mama, When Will I Be Popular! Ends Oct. 28th 2011)

Welcome back everyone!

This is JMcManus with another Inside The Book interview. Today I’m going inside the book of Mama, When Will I Be Popular with author Thomasina F. Johnson.

Born in Washington, DC, Thomasina F. Johnson now lives in Maryland with her husband and 7 wonderful home schooled children and has found writing as a calling and a great way to give to others.

But it all didn’t start off that way. As a way to escape the mean words that were being said about her when she was younger she attempted suicide. Fortunately she failed in her attempt and in 2000 started writing whimsical and rhythmic books that help children build character.  From that experience she started writing her first book The Bully, which she is currently working on illustrations for.

Thomasina, can you give us a summary of Mama, When Will I Be Popular?

A mother and daughter talk. That provides insight into how today’s struggles will teach her daughter to triumph in her future endeavors. It’s the concept of, what people mean for evil now will eventually work out for the good in you! Don’t give up!

On the first page we find out that the character wants to be popular. What does she think popularity will bring her?

Acceptance, sadly that is all most kids want. Most just want to be liked and not judged for who they are.

I noticed right away that you didn’t give your character a name. Was this intentional?

Yes, and that’s really neat that you noticed that! When you are bullied you don’t “feel” like you have a name. However, that was why I intentionally put the “titles” of roles you will be called upon to fulfill later in life.

Through out the story we found out different things that character building can prepare someone for. My favorite was being an astronaut. What do you think the character would choose?

She chose to be a teacher. Her experience gave her a heart for children just like herself. And being an educator gave her that opportunity to help shape and mold those who were in her classroom.

“Or maybe you’ll have character like an astronaut who has to spend a lot of time alone, out in space, for months, just communicating by phone.”

What is your favorite part of Mama, When Will I be Popular?

The crying scene, when she is in her bed. It is a tender picture of what I have seen at times in my own life/home.

Is Mama, When Will I be Popular the first in a series?

Yes, I have several more coming that talk about bullying, true friendship, geography and dance, a princess story and a crying little brother. I have many stories that I have written over the years that I can’t wait to share!

That’s great! Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects?

I touched on “The Bully” project so I will talk about my project after that which is Amber & Emily! This is a book dear to my heart that talks about interracial friendship. It’s the true story of my daughter and her best friend Emily!

“These two friends are special what could they possibly not share? Amber is as dark as chocolate and Emily has blonde hair.”

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Well, being a mom I just think it’s important to have children build strong character morals’ and a huge secured sense of their value! My hope is that we can end child suicide by building up our young people up. And stop bullying by getting to the heart and anatomy of the bullies in our grade schools before they end up in our colleges.

Where can people find more information about you and your books?
Our website is at  Please don’t forget to join our Google Friend Connect and to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@booksbytj)

I also have a blog spot that focuses primarily on the personal side of me being a wife and mommy of 7 children called Mommy Writes it on my web page under the tag label blog.

Thank you Thomasina for taking time for the interview. I wish you much success with your books.


Inside The Book of Nalia and the Potion Maker w/ Queenbe Monyei by JMcManus

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Article first published as Interview: Queenbe Monyei, Author of Nalia and the Potion Maker on Blogcritics.

Welcome back Everyone. This is JMcManus bring you another Inside The Books inteview. Today I have an interview with Queenbe Monyei author of Nalia and the Potion Maker.

Los Angeles born author Queenbe started writing as a child, but the idea for her debut novel, Nalia and the Potion Maker, didn’t spring to mind until she started blogging to promote a book she and another writer was working. It happened one night in November 2010 while she was sitting in her room thinking about what she would love to be reading if she were reading about a young girl who was special and powerful but thought she was anything but, and the girl turned out to be Nalia.

Now let’s found out some things about Nalia’s adventure.

Nalia very early on notices strange things happening around her although she can’t pinpoint what is going on. Then she finds out she is an Amemora. Can you tell us what an Amemora is and how you came up with the concept?

Well, I won’t give it away, because that’s part of the fun of the book trying to find out what she is exactly, but I will say that Amemoras are very powerful and have a unique gift.

During Nalia’s journey, she meets the potion maker Poto who is one of the key people in her story. Can you tell us a little bit about Poto and his role in helping Nalia on her journey to face Agithara?

Poto is a genius potion maker who also has a story of his own. He is a key person in helping Nalia discover all the different lands in Aetheria, and takes her on an adventure that will shape who he is. He becomes an important person in her life and will be for the books to come.

One thing I enjoyed was the riddles. As a writer, do you like creating riddles are did riddles just become part of Nalia and the Potion Maker?

Well, riddles are very important to Aetherian culture. Aetherians believe that life’s lessons shouldn’t just be handed to you. You should take the time to figure them out or else they will have no meaning in your life. Also, I love playing with language, so I wanted this to be a part of the book.

For those who like riddles, see if you can figure out one of the riddles Nalia faces during her journey. Please give your answer in the comment section. In a few weeks I will post the answer.

It comes easily enough in times of distress,
Giving the beholder no chance of any good rest.
It knows no distinction between evil and good.
And leaves not when the bearer wishes it would.
It is a thief of all things good, for sure.
But, alas, for this curse there is no quick cure.
All great and small will eventually find.
It is not easily lost whether mean or kind.

Lyris is another great character in your novel and is a great friend to have around if you’re going on a dangerous adventure. His ability to heal is extraordinary. He also lives in a very welcoming place, the land of Amoen. Can you tell us a little bit about the land of Amoen and Lyris’s ability to heal?

Amoen is a guarded city. They don’t really experience pain or sadness and it’s very different from the world that Nalia is familiar with. It is probably one of the most beautiful lands in Aetheria.

During Nalia’s adventure she travels to many different lands in the other world like the River of Caedes, the Forest of Dark Deeds and Gubland to name a few. If I could visit any of the locations I would visit the Land of the North so that I could stop by Poto’s Potions. Which location would you visit and why?

I would love to visit Amoen because it is the most beautiful and it is virtually impossible to feel pain or discomfort there.

If I could have Nalia make something for me I think I would have her make an Amoen star. What would have Nalia make you?

A Toyota Prius. No question.

What is your favorite part of the story?

Well, I love when Nalia discovers Poto’s secret and when we see Agithara’s childhood.

This book definitely leaves you wondering what other journeys Nalia will go on. Are you working on any other books?

At the moment I am only working on the Nalia series.

Since we know you are working on another book, can you tell us if Nalia’s father will be making an appearance in book 2 and if we will be seeing more of Lyris?

Nalia’s father will remain out of the picture for now; this may change in the future. Lyris will definitely be a big part of all the books. And there is a possible love triangle in Book 2, Nalia and the Rise of the Marés.

Where can people find more information about you and your books?

For all of you who are looking to get a sneak peak of Nalia and the Potion Maker please read the excerpt below.

From chapter 10 Sarp the Grogin, after Nalia learns about Poto’s Secret:

Nalia quickly took her hands away from Poto, as she didn’t want to see anything he didn’t want her to. She still wasn’t used to seeing other’s memories, and she felt sorry for what she had done. She sat there motionless for a few minutes, staring straight at him, still transfixed on what she had just learned.

How could Poto have done such a thing? He didn’t seem evil in any shape or form. Quite the contrary, Poto was gentle and kind, and his eyes gave him away easily enough. This, coupled with what she had just seen, made her all the more confused.

Sensing that he was being judged, Poto finally spoke.

“You cannot understand what she did, what it took. No,” Poto was trembling as he said this. His eyes were filled with tears, but he was fighting back the urge to let them loose. “Only one who lost all that is good inside him could truly understand how she became what she is today.”

Then, he did something that took Nalia by surprise; he held his hand out to show Nalia the memories that had been hidden for so long, memories that he was thankful Agithara had stolen and those that he was not eager to have so soon returned.

“Please…don’t see me for what I was then,” he said softly.

Nalia agreed and took his hand.


I want to thank Queenbe for taking the time to tell us more about Nalia and the Potion Maker. And I hope you enjoyed finding out about Nalia and the Potion Maker. If you have any suggestion please don’t hesitate to email me at Info (at) InsideTheBooks (dot) com.  To keep up with interviews please follow me on twitter @InsideTheBook.

Sneak Peak of what’s to come: Nalia and the Potion Maker

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I’m working on an interview with Queenbe Monyei’s Nalia and the Potion Maker for Inside The Books. Here’s a sneak peak of what the book is about.

Nalia and the Potion Maker
By: Queenbe Monyei

Paperback: 328 pages

ISBN-10: 1461094852
ISBN-13: 978-1461094852

Buy at: Amazon
Buy on:


About the Author

A Los Angeles native, Queenbe Monyei shuffled between England and the U.S. as a child. After graduating UCLA she taught English for a year in Turkey then earned her graduate degree in Education in England. She enjoys writing fantasy novels with a hint of romance.



In the once beautiful Aetheria, a spreading evil stems in the great Land of The North. It is a world that has been ravaged by vengeance and fury. But Nalia knows nothing of this world. She doesn’t even know that she bears one of its most coveted and sacred gifts, a gift that has killed many and forced others into hiding. But when an unusual visitor escapes from the other world to find her, he claims that her gift is vital in order to save his world. Her task won’t be easy: find the great potion maker whose memory has been stolen, if he’s even still alive. There, Nalia meets the strong yet gentle Lyris who can heal anything with his touch. Soon she discovers that his powers run deep as he slowly begins to mend the pieces of her heart, shattered by her own tragic family and a haunting secret; a secret stemming before she was even born. A heart wrenching tale of death, betrayal, and the dark side of unrequited love.