Plus One Plus None (HUGEOrange Publication Review)

HUGEOrange Publication Review
Plus One Plus None, by Emica Mao

Plus One Plus None is filled with good advice with wit and humor to boot.  There is nothing better than finding a book that offers helpful practical advice and is fun to read in narrated story form. 
Author Emica Mao talks about her life with a focus on her introvert personality through a character named Zita. If you’re an introvert, you will instantly connect with her upstream swim through life and growing older. If you’re not an introvert, there will be insights and ah ha moments when you recognize how introverts you know must feel. Extroverts feel there’s something wrong with women who do not crave the spotlight, the married life, and kids underfoot. Many make it the focus of their friendship (or if family, relationship) to change anyone who can’t yet understand why these things are essential. Well, they’re not, really, are they?
One thing I learned about making decisions is sometimes deep within us, we have a secret answer already even before we seek advice (though we would probably never admit this).  
This is a must read for single women and a recommended read for everyone else. From dating tips to relatable and funny stories, Plus One Plus None will offer a juicy gem of something to remember on every page.
It’s empowering and motivates you to embrace the single life for all it has to offer.  After reading this book you will be happily content in your own cozy cocoon.
Maybe as the number of people who remain unmarried increases generation after generation, more people would realize that being single is as mainstream as being married.
Entertaining from front to back there isn’t a dull moment.  Zita is a fun character to follow, blunt and no holds barred.  The story, like it says from the start, is about breaking the linear path we all feel we are on as we grow up.  School, job, kids and happily ever after.  She writes about her attempts to find Mr. Right and get on the path she’s ‘supposed’ to be on. Many women get on that path knowing that’s not what they really want. Zita will not be one of them, she is true to herself and frank about what she wants and it’s not diapers and commitment. She’s happy with herself, her life, and her future. Anyone wondering how to get off the hamster wheel of expectations will find resolve and motivation with this wonderful book.
You are fully accountable for your life. How your life has turned out so far and how it is turning out to be, that is on you.  There is nothing or no one else to blame.   In as much as there are a lot of external factors in your life, the primary driver of your life is no one else but you.  
I found myself relating in some way, either directly or indirectly through a friend, to all of Zita’s ups and downs.  I think the main thing I got out of it was comradery.  I didn’t feel alone in being single or that I’ve made the wrong choice anymore. You have to be brave to make the right choice sometimes and this lady is as brave as they come. Introverts do not like to share information about themselves, but she shows the good and the bad, the ups and downs, successes and failures. She’s a success in my book!

Money Maters (Author Interview)

Money Matters looks like an intriguing mystery novel. Any plans to turn it into a series?  

Initially Money Matters was written as a novel that stood on its own. Since publishing it one or two friends have suggested ways it might be followed up, especially by complicating the lives of Jenny, the young protagonist and her new boyfriend, the director of an immigrant rights organization. Money Matters ends with them reaching an agreement to share their working and personal lives together, something that is fraught with dangers. There is an obvious opening for another novel that describes their fight to defend an immigrant threatened by the system while saving their relationship. But I remain open-minded and will write next whatever most catches my imagination.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In my early twenties I tried writing a couple of novels that adopted a pose of gloom and despair. As I was essentially an optimist the novels sounded posed and were miserable failures. I put them in an attic and they are still buried in my current attic. After I was employed by London University in my early thirties I started writing book reviews which led me to write my first book about the later work of Samuel Beckett, a writer whom I still admire enormously. After that I chose to write a biography of Christopher Isherwood (his Berlin stories were turned into Cabaret). Research for that book brought me to Southern California where I now live and won me the James Tait Black Memorial Award. After that there was no stopping me from writing nonfiction.

How did you come up with the story in Money Matters?  
This is really hard to say. I began with an outline, but the content of that outline seemed to rise up from my unconscious. Looking back on it I now realize that one of its major themes has to do with immigration in modern America. Well, I was myself an immigrant in modern America and spent a long time freelancing among various Southern California universities before obtaining a tenured position at California State University Long Beach where I am now a Professor Emeritus. So I felt a natural empathy for immigrants, although those in the book face more serious issues of not just employment but deportation, unlike me.

What will readers get out of your book?

I hope readers will be intrigued by the book’s multiple genres that leave them guessing till the end how matters will unfold. The book is part amateur sleuth, part late coming-of-age, part social issues, especially those of immigration and wealth inequality, and towards the end part romance. So the book is simultaneously a page-turner while raising serious social issues. Incidentally it is a Finalist I. the 2019 American Fiction Awards.

What inspired you when writing Money Matters?   

Jenny, the narrator and protagonist of Money Matters, is a millennial and still uncertain of herself and what she wants to do with her life. As an older man I found entering the perspective of a character so different a challenge. However, once I found her voice, writing the novel seemed to come almost instinctually. Looking back I believe that for Jenny I drew on what Jung called the anima, the feminine side of a man’s self. Releasing that buried self is probably what helped make speaking through her voice so relatively easy, even inspirational.

Dream Dimension (Author Interview)

Dream Dimension looks like a great fantasy book.  Any plans to turn it into a series? 
Yes. I have plans for further books to explore the story behind the different characters in the story.

When writing Dream Dimension did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  
 Coming up with a storyline that would be believable and also be able to draw readers into this imaginary world.

How did you come up with the story in Dream Dimension?  
Several years ago, in the early 1980s, I remember watching an episode of Ripley’s “Believe it or not” in the United States. The story was told of a man who had a dream about an air disaster, and the air disaster happened exactly the way he saw it in his dream.

What will readers get out of your book?
A fantasy thriller of an unexplored paranormal universe.

What inspired you when writing Dream Dimension?   
I have had a couple of occasions where dreams I have had would come true. It was very uncanny, so I decided to explore that in fiction.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I have wanted to be a writer for a very long time. Since my childhood actually. I have just never been able to actualize this until now.

What do you like to do when not writing?
When I’m not creating fictional worlds, I enjoy writing software code, I play chess and I do watch movies, especially sci-fi.

Where can readers find out more about your work?
Amazon kindle bookstore.

The Bachelor President

The polictical arena in south africa was a tough one. He knew he would need an edge but even those are hard to come by. The challenge was convincing them to vote for him. But in the distance a danger was rising, one he could not avoid. It searched for a moment when it would destroy him. Only time would tell whether he survived them both.

MA'SITTER (Author Interview)


Ma’Sitter looks like a great mystery thriller.  Any plans to release similar books or turn it into a series?   
Yes, MA’SITTER is a four-part series. So, we are just warming up with the first book.

What will readers get out of your book?    
I hope entertainment! It’s a fiction book yet my main character Victoria Lewis is relatable to anyone who has struggled to make ends meet. While working for privileged individuals or super rich snobby corporate bosses. Every night millions of people dream and pray for a fruitful life. Or to sing and dance like Beyoncé, act like Hallie Berry, produce movies like Steven Spielberg or have an all-time best-selling book, movie and so much more like J.K. Rowling.

What inspired you when writing Ma’Sitter   
I started writing MA’SITTER in 2011 and I buried it not long after. My motorcycle accident on March 9, 2018 made me immobile, depressed, hopeless and bored. Therefore, my love DeLeón and sister-cousin Toroda encouraged me to complete MA’SITTER. Once, I started back writing I couldn’t stop. Writing and creating people (LOL) truly makes me happy. I love it!!!!!!
 I also kept hearing my 8th grade teacher Mr. Lewis telling me you’re going to be a writer one day.
Side note too teachers: MOLD AND ENCOURGAE OUR CHILDREN.
The words of my 8th grade teacher Mr. Lewis at Chastain Middle School in Jackson, MS have stuck with me all these years!!

When did you decide to become a writer?
I was ordained at the young age of 13. Summoned into an imaginary world where I could be whoever I wanted. And speak my mind to whom ever I felt. It wasn’t until my motorcycle accident that I pursued this career.

When writing Ma’Sitter did anything stand out as particularly challenging?   
I cried as I wrote about the character Zaka.

How did you come up with story for Ma’Sitter?   
Well, since you asked! LOL 
At the age of 23 I started my own private care sitting service. Therefore, I have seen and heard many things. Some of the people who signed my checks became the best inspiration and motivation. And not because they personally encouraged me but more so because they looked down on me. Therefore, I emptied my rage, feelings, thoughts, dreams and crazy ideas into MA’SITTER.

Rhapsody in Dreams (Author Interview)

Rhapsody in Dreams looks like a complex and interesting story.  Any plans to turn it into a series?  

No. This story is complete.

How did you come up with the story in Rhapsody in Dreams

This story is a result of my fascination with the subject of human memory and dreams. Being a musician and a history buff, I knew that my story could be set only is my favorite city of St. Augustine, the Oldest City, and that one of my heroes must be a pianist.

What will readers get out of your book?

That love is eternal, that each of us has a very unique and special purpose on this planet, and that family is everything 

What inspired you when writing Rhapsody in Dreams?   

Music and my family

When did you decide to become a writer?

I always wanted to write. I wrote short stories, plays and poetry since I was in elementary school.
But I didn’t consciously decided to become a writer: it kind of happened quite naturally after I dreamed about red-haired girl with a baby in a middle of the airport. She was scared and lost; behind her was a banner “Welcome to the United States of America.” And I knew her name, and her story, and I wanted to write it down. That’s how my first story, my Rostoff trilogy “Once & Forever” was ‘born’.
The rest is history.

When writing Rhapsody in Dreams did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  

Nothing comes to mind. I enjoyed writing this story.

What do you like to do when not writing?

Reading and listening to music. Literature and music are my two great passions in life.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

And my Facebook page-

Til Death Do Us Part: A Promise Kept Novel (Book 2) (Author Interview)

Til Death Do Us Part looks like a fantastic suspenseful romance story.  How far along is book three?

I’m working on the outline for the third book right now. I tend to write the first few chapters then step back to create some structure which helps me complete the final product. I’d say I’m about half-way there but I’m also putting the polishing touches on another novel which I hope to publish in December.

How did you come up with the story in Til Death Do Us Part?  
The title, Til Death Do Us Part, is driven by the evolution of Jack and Quinn’s relationship. They’ve gone form being best friends to lovers and more. The title also gives you a little hint about the antagonist in this story, but I won’t reveal any more than that.

What will readers get out of your book?

Hopefully readers will get a compelling story full of suspense, romance and hope.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was in high school and published my first novel in 2015. I find myself consumed when these stories fill my head. I have to get them out on paper. After a while, I had so many stories outlined that I decided to challenge myself and finish a full novel so I wrote and published Storm Winds.

When writing Til Death Do Us Part did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  

It’s always challenging trying to maintain a balance between the romance and the suspense. On-one-hand, there’s a problem to solve or people will get hurt. At the same time, the passion between this couple must keep going which means the dial on the romance has to be turned up a higher and hotter but one can’t overshadow the other. I want to keep the readers interest from page one through the end.

What do you like to do when not writing?

I love taking long walks. I read a lot. I’m also a true crime junkie so I’m either searching for a new podcast or watching some crime show.

Where can readers find out more about your work?

Readers can check out my other eBooks at Amazon or visit my website:

Order of the Eye (Author Interview)

Order of the Eye looks like a great mystery/supernatural thriller. Any plans to turn it into a series?  
That's the plan, I wrote it with the that intention. I won't leave the readers in suspense, already working on the next one.

What will readers get out of your book?   
They will get to explore a different kind of world of supernatural.  A world of Psychic's, Mystery, betrayal and customs passed down for generations. All happening in the largest continent Africa. The reader will get to see psychics in a new perspective often not see in Fiction.

What inspired you when writing Order of the Eye?   
Well, I saw a random post online about psychics and just like that, my gears went into a world I like. I quickly started putting a draft on my phone using "JotterPad"app. Now we are here! I'm just thrilled.

When did you decide to become a writer?
In my early twenties, many ideas about writing came to mind all different genres. It's actually interesting that Fiction is my entry to this world.

When writing Order of the Eye did anything stand out as particularly challenging?  
Creating the world, framing the direction of the story and character paths.

What do you like to do when not writing?
Listening to music, Drawing or Painting and playing with my 1 year old. These creative activities energise me,and keep pushing me forward and my new family addition has been a great motivation to pursue my dreams.

Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
You can grab a copy on Amazon Kindle. Also available with Kindle Unlimited.
Below is a link to the book


Forever People (Author Interview)    

Forever People looks like a great science fiction book.  Any plans to turn it into a series?   
I’m sure Forever People is a complete story. As much as I love the characters and the world, I don’t think it’s the right candidate for a series.
What will readers get out of your book?    

A lot of readers told me that Forever People offered a preview of possible future technology and its ramification for society. Some reviewers have said Forever People challenged their views of morality and the afterlife.

Forever People is a tale unique to our near future. It’s the story of what happens to a life-altering technology once the creators of the technology are long gone. Who steers the car when the driver dies? My goal was to have readers think about that question.

I also want my readers to love my characters because I love them.

            Forever People has an interesting concept. What inspired you when writing it?    

I read an article on emerging technology meant to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. The technology will store their memories in a digital format so the memories can be accessed after the disease progresses. The tech brought up so many questions – What’s the difference between a person’s memories and their consciousness? If memories can be stored, why not a whole mind? And what would the world look like if we could save our minds forever?

The last question led me to develop Forever People. I wanted to explore what society could look like if we were a digitally immortal. I realized the creators of the afterlife tech would have had to create a system to pass down once they were gone.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been writing stories since I was a small child. I wrote my first book when I was seven, it was about a girl whose imagination was so strong all her dreams became real. Fingers crossed; you know.

I’m Glad You’re Dead (The Preternatural Chronicles Book 1) (Author Interview)

I’m Glad You’re Dead looks like a great urban fantasy book.  What was your inspiration for your series, the Preternatural Chronicles?   

The books are dedicated to, and starring, my best friend and doppelgänger, John. He always enjoyed my writing and one day made me promise to write a book about him. We grew up reading authors like Anne Rice, so when asked what he wanted to be, he told me he wanted to be a vampire. I promised — then he pulled a party foul and died, leaving me with no choice but to honor his memory, so I wrote I’m Glad You’re Dead.

After I finished book one, my brain raced and was already coming up with ideas for its follow up. I had no choice but to continue.

Why is your first book titled I’m Glad You’re Dead?    

This is the question I get the most when I tell people the story behind the series. Seems kind of odd to dedicate a book titled I’m Glad You’re Dead to your dead best friend, doesn’t it?

I’m Glad You’re Dead plays on a few levels. First: it’s a direct quote from the 1989 Batman from the man, the myth, the legend: Jack Nicholson. Batman is my — and was John’s — favorite movie of all time. We used to say it all the time to each other at random times. Honestly, our entire friendship was built on the foundation of movie quotes; and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Well, except…you know… the being dead part. I’d probably change that.

And B: John is a vampire in the series and he had to die to become immortal. But mostly that first thing I said.

How is your take on vampires different than what we have seen before?

Being urban fantasy, I wanted to do a different take on vampires. I was tired of the “hiss hiss bite bite” theatrics that have been played out. Instead, I gave John the ability to infuse his blood with his preternatural energy and create blood manifestations, like weapons and even armor. For example; instead of him biting someone’s neck for every kill, he can will a blood-dagger into his hand and stab the bad guy in their blood soaked liver to exsanguinate them. I also try to explain most supernatural abilities in a scientific way for the reader, to make it more believable. Why do vampires need blood to survive? What’s the difference between supernatural and preternatural? Did I leave the oven on? All this will be explained, and more, if you exchange your paper with words on it for my paper with words on it.

How many books do you plan for the series?    

There will be 13 novels in the series with a novella or two thrown in for good measure. I have all the books planned out, which is seriously a lot of fun because it allows me to sprinkle in breadcrumbs here and there. That seemingly inconspicuous action that happened several books ago surely won’t have consequences later in the series…right?

When did you decide to become a writer?

One does not just “decide” to be a writer. The Ghost of Halloween Past chooses you from one of those rotating cages that bingo players use — the name escapes me. You perform a series of quests with increasing difficulty, only to face your final task. Write a book. Then bam! You’re a writer.

When writing I’m Glad You’re Dead did anything stand out as particularly challenging?   

I suck at editing, and I’ve had terrible luck with editors; but enough is enough. I recently hired five editors to tear my novella, Deliverance, apart. I paid their fees and told them they will be competing for my love. I’m calling it the Editor Games. Five enter; only one leaves. The rest will be executed by firing squad…or never used again. Definitely one or the other.

How did you come up with the story in I’m Glad You’re Dead?   

I have listened to over 200 books on Audible from amazing authors like Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Dennis E. Taylor, Richard Kadrey, Neil Gaiman, Keith C. Blackmore, and Craig Alanson. I pay attention to story structure and dissect things that make me go “holy sh*t! I loved that!” I’ve also watched hours of YouTube and Masterclass videos from authors who describe their entire process from story ideas to publishing. Over the past few years, I have tried several different methods before finding what works for me.