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Interview with Ron Parsons, author of ‘The Sense of Touch’

Ron ParsonsRON PARSONS is a writer living in Sioux Falls. Born in Michigan and raised in South Dakota, he was inspired to begin writing fiction in Minneapolis while attending the University of Minnesota. His short stories have appeared in many literary magazines and venues, including The Gettysburg Review, Indiana Review, Storyville App, The Briar Cliff Review, Flyway, and The Onion. His debut collection of stories, THE SENSE OF TOUCH, was released by Aqueous Books in 2013.

You can visit his website at or

Can you tell us who or what was the inspiration behind your book, The Sense of Touch?

When I was attending college in Minneapolis, a friend of mine loaned me copies of two short story collections: “Like Life” by Lorrie Moore and “The Watch” by Rick Bass. I think I read both books on consecutive nights and they really affected me. I thought they were just perfect; collections of small, brilliant gems. I resolved that someday, somehow, I would publish a short story collection of my own. It took a long time and a lot of good fortune, but eventually I was able to make it happen.

The theme of “The Sense of Touch” is the importance of connecting with others and how we are inevitably changed, for better or worse, by those encounters. The book’s epigraph is from a wonderful Wallace Stevens poem called “It Must Change,” and The Sense of Touchthe cover, designed by my publisher Cynthia Reeser, depicts a butterfly, which is a symbol of transformation.

Is this your first published book and if so, can you tell us your experiences in finding a publisher for it?

This is my first publication. I started by submitting short stories to literary reviews. After many rejections, a few acceptances began to trickle in. My first true success was placing “Hezekiah Number Three” in the Spring 2008 edition of The Gettysburg Review.

When I felt that I had enough good stories to try to publish a collection, I began submitting the manuscript to potential literary agents. Those that responded politely recommended that I try contacting independent publishing houses directly. Almost randomly, I chose ten publishers, sent off the manuscript, and then forced myself to forget about it. It took almost a year, but the first to respond was Aqueous Books with an offer to publish my debut collection.

Where do you live and if I were coming to town, where would we go to talk books?

I live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a beautiful, growing metropolis located in the fertile Missouri River Valley at the gateway to the Great Plains of North America. When you come to visit me here, we will first stop to browse at Zandbroz Variety, a great independent bookstore located on Phillips Avenue in our historic downtown, and then we’ll settle in at one of the nearby cafés and find a table outside in the sun. So be sure not to visit in January!

When you’re not writing, what do you do to relax and have fun?

I like softball and baseball. I like to read. And I really traveling. I especially love to take plenty of quick trips to other cities to catch a particular concert, play, or sporting event that I want to see. And I love dogs.

Do you make a living off your books or do you have another job?

I wish! Actually, I am an appellate attorney, a job that I love very much. I spend most of my working hours reading, writing, and crafting arguments. And every now and then, I get to present oral argument before an appellate court, usually either in Pierre, where the South Dakota Supreme Court is located, or in St. Paul or St. Louis, where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has its chambers. I once had a First Amendment case that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where I was privileged to sit at counsel’s table with Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, who argued the case. I remember all of the black-robed Justices walking into the vast marble-columned courtroom, and after we were instructed to sit, I found that I was looking directly into face of the great Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who gave me a warm and reassuring smile. But that didn’t stop her from voting against our client!

In your opinion, what makes a good book great?

In my opinion, a book is great when it stays with you and comforts you with wisdom and companionship long after you set it down.

Psychologists tell us the thing we think we’d most like to grow up to be when we’re ten years old is our avocation. What did you want to be?

Almost throughout my entire childhood, I wanted to be a cartoonist. I could always be found drawing both at home and during school. I wanted to be the next Gary Larson. I continued to draw “Far Side” or New Yorker type cartoons well into college. A few of my single-panel cartoons were syndicated in a feature called “The New Breed” and appeared in newspapers across the country, including one that was published in the Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times. But after entering law school, I just never had enough time to do that and continue to write fiction, which I decided was my true passion.

Can you give us a short excerpt from your book?

They were relaxing at the top of a waterfall, in a small, still pool where the mountain waters hit an upward slope of folded granite. It was sort of a rounded bathtub, carved out of the rock throughout the centuries by the rushing river, a river so hidden that it was without a name. Just below were the falls, about a 30-foot drop into another, much larger pool of clearest water that was gathered for a respite, a compromise in the river’s relentless schedule downward, between split-level decks of flat rock. Further on, the river reanimated and released into a sharp ravine, pulling westward, down through the rugged mountains and faceless forest – the Black Hills National Forest – gaining force until it joined with the rush of the Castle River, near the old Custer Trail, and was swallowed into the Deerfield Reservoir to collect and prepare for the touch of man.

From “The Black Hills” in The Sense of Touch.

What’s next for you?

I am continuing to work on short stories to submit to literary views. It’s the form of writing that connects with me most. But I am also in the process of trying to develop a novel. Thank you for this opportunity. I am grateful to you and your readership for having me here.

Interview with ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’ Colette Harrell

Colette HarrellColette (Ford) Harrell the author of the debut novel The Devil Made Me Do It is passionate about the written word. Holding a master’s degree, she is a director of human services. Her creation and implementation of a health and energy medical program stands as a best practices model. Her philosophy of service is compassionate care through a spirit of excellence. A motivational speaker, she specializes in customer and human service workshops on state and national levels.  She is cofounder of COJACK Productions, a Christian entertainment company. As an active member of her church, Kingdom Christian Center, she serves in several ministries.

Colette is a wife, mother, author, poet, songwriter, and playwright. Her novel is a delectable read, where romance, suspense, humor, and the supernatural all come together to entertain, educate, and inspire.

A Detroit native, she currently resides in Ohio, writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest book is the inspirational fiction, The Devil Made Me Do It.

For More Information

About the Book:

The Devil Made Me Do It 7The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it.

Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness.

Esther and Briggs meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them.

When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?

For More Information

  • The Devil Made Me Do It is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
  • Read Chapter One here.

Thank you for this interview! I’d like to know more about you as a person first. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m director of social services at a nonprofit. I love working with people and guiding people in fixing their problems. Along the way, I learn lessons that help in fixing my own.

I also love to read. By any means necessary. I use Kindle, my Nook, my tablet, and good old-fashioned books. There’s still something about the feel of the pages beneath my fingers. . .

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I would love to go to a place where I could sit out on a veranda, sip something fruity, and write, write, write. A morning walk and weather in the high seventies would be nice. It doesn’t matter where, I’m only going in walking distance from the veranda. No distractions, no interruptions. Just me, my laptop, and no writer’s block.

What do you find fascinating about the Inspirational genre?

It’s a genre where it is necessary that you have a good solid story to tell, because there is a limit to gratuitous scenes. It takes skill to tell a riveting page turner and keep it meaningful, intriguing, and positive.

When was the adrenalin rush—writing that first chapter or the last and why?

Wow. When I wrote the first chapter, I felt this incredible rush. I loved Esther Wiley’s opening in The Devil Made Me Do It. Then I wrote the last chapter and did the happy dance. Both were a thrusting, down-the-ski-slope, wind-in-my-face great moment in time.

What is the most important thing about your book that we as a reader should know?

I worked as hard as I could in making it real. Illustrating people in their states of vulnerability, as well as their heroic thoughts and deeds. In the end, it’s a book about the complexities of us as people, and the choices we make. Esther Wiley’s life is a romantic journey of someone who works to always do right, but sometimes still somehow gets it wrong.

Your best friend is an aspiring author and his book really sucks. What would you say to him or her?

“I love you, this book needs work, and you are capable of doing better. Work on it.”

You’re sitting at a dinner party and seated next to NY best-selling authors. They are intimidating indeed, and one of them remarks that your book sucks. What would you say to him or her?

“You bought my book? Really? Thanks! I appreciate your feedback.” Colette sniffles, lifts her head, and blinks away her tears.

Later at home while sobbing, she calls her mother, and is given really good advice. “So you tried, and you slipped and bumped your head. Now you know you can survive a fall. It was one opinion. Go write another bookyou can do it!”

You catch someone sitting on a park bench reading your book whether on a e-reader or the real McCoy and you walk over to him or her. What do you say?

“I couldn’t help noticing that you’re reading The Devil Made Me Do It. I’m Colette Harrell, the author. Thanks for purchasing the book. I hope you’re a new fan.”

I would then wait for any indication from them that they would want the conversation to continue. I know when I’m reading a good book I hate to be interrupted, even by me.

You’ve just been offered the Pulitzer Prize. Who do you thank?

My husband, my children, my mother, my best friend, the Dream Runners (my support group). Everyone! Even, the paramedics who resuscitated me on-site when they announced me as the winner.

Any final words?

Of course—I’m a writer! I’m hoping you buy the book The Devil Made Me Do It. It’s page-turning bliss. I’m Colette R. Harrell, the author, and I would love your support. And I approve this message.


Dark South by William Stewart Book Blitz – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Dark SouthTitle: Dark South
Author: William Stewart
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 458
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

In the mysterious dark South, strange old ladies, killers, hucksters, deceivers, and the unhinged lurk in the shadows where they are forced to confront inexplicable forces they do not understand. After a couple books a room in the famous Hotel Le Grande in New Orleans, one of them disappears, leaving the other to follow a bizarre trail to a sealed room where a gruesome murder took place some fifty years earlier. Uncle Poot, who has always been strange and eccentric, transforms after a board hits him on the head. Now he is a harbinger of death who sees entirely too much. A great swamp in Louisiana holds secrets-some beautiful, some sinister. But when two boys enter a forbidden, treacherous portion of the swamp, they face a crisis of conscience when they discover a serial killer’s treasure. Aunt Lootie, already known for her oddities, believes fireflies signify a bad omen. No one believes her-until her predictions begin to come true. Dark South shares a collection of mysterious tales that offers an unforgettable look into the minds of the odd people who inhabit a world that appears to be what it is not.



William Stewart is an educator who works for National University and Brandman University. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Texas and a master of arts degree in speech/drama from Sacramento State University. He is the author of two reference books. William and his wife, Vita, have two daughters and live in Fair Oaks, California.


William is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!


Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins July 21 and ends on August 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, August 4.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

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