Sharon's INSPIRATIONAL Short stories of Faith and Romance can be found HERE or visit her
Facebook Page, which also has the links in the comments.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Interview with Tami Winbush

Today I have another special treat. Tami Winbush, Co-Founder from You Gotta Read Reviews is my guest. Tami is such a busy woman she makes my head spin. Not only is she a reviewer and co-founder of an awesome review sight, but she is going to college for accounting. And if that isn’t enough, Tami has just earned the title of Promotions Manager of Champagne Books. Let’s hear it for Tami Winbush. Welcome, my friend!

Tami: Hi Sharon, cyber hugs to you darlin'! Sorry it's taken me so long to get over here.Champagne has been keeping me very busy, along with You Gotta Read, the garden, the kids, the boyfriend, and.....phew, now where was I? Oh yeah, I'm so excited about my new position with Champagne!

Sharon: Congratulations on this wonderful achievement! Let’s talk a little about that. Pull up a seat and grab a glass of sweet tea. So tell us all about Champagne Books. What will being the products manager entail?

Tami: Mmmmm......Sweet tea.....girl you know me too well. Hope you got it from McDonalds. Did I ever tell you that when I moved to NY I told my dear boyfriend that I wouldn't move if they didn't have McDonald's sweet tea? He almost went into a panic, but luckily for him, they carry it everywhere but Canada! But again I digress.....
Well lately I have been working on setting up a blog specifically for readers to
get to know our Champagne authors. We have excerpts, interviews, publishing and writing
tips, promo days and Friday free-for-alls! You should stop over sometime and visit
us. ( And I am also very busy getting together something that is very exciting for me,and new for Champagne, podcasts!

Sharon smiles and holds up the Golden Arches.

Sharon: You have it going on, girlfriend. Doing podcasts will be a real crowd pleaser! How exciting. Now, I can’t help but wonder where you find the time to do all these things. What’s in that sweet tea? Iron? Mega energy boosters? Pass me a glass! So how about it, Tami. How do you fit it all in? Any Wonder Woman secrets you’d like to share? Inquiry minds want to know!

Tami: How do I do it? Not quite sure. Massive doses of caffeine, lack of sleep, hours
on my laptop, insomnia, and the fact that everything that I do isn't a thing like
work. I have WAY too much fun doing it. I enjoy reading, reviewing, talking to authors,
making friends, and just being out there and getting things done!

Sharon: Amazing. Now being a reviewer, you read quite a lot of books by a lot of different authors and genres. Do you have a favorite genre? And was this genre something you have always enjoyed reading?

Tami: Favorite genre, geez, that's very unfair of you to ask. You have to promise not
to tell the other genres this, but I love paranormal romance the best though I try
not to show it. I love anything that bites, shifts and casts spells! I've always
loved things that were "otherworldly"! I guess that stems from being a little off
myself. LOL

Sharon: One more question about reading and then we’ll move on to writing. When you read a book, either short or full length, do you prefer reading it as an eBook or a print book? And why is that?

Tami: Again a toughie. I really don't mind either print or eBook anymore since I have
my iPhone. I have Stanza on there and can convert any of my eBooks to that program
and take it on the road with me, but I always, always have a paper book in my purse
in case the battery runs low on my phone. I used to like full length books, but
now that I am so busy, I prefer the shorts or novellas. I just don't have time for
full length anymore. But sometimes when Champagne and YGR isn't looking, I sneak a full length book and close my laptop, just don't tell them, OK?

Sharon: The FBI couldn’t bribe it out of me. LOL All right. I always ask that question because of the variety in answers. We’re all set in our ways to a certain degree. I personally like sitting in the sun with an audio book. I find it very relaxing. Now let’s move on to writing. You and Val are working on a book, a WIP. Can you tell us a little about the story? The setting? The plot? And where did you come up with the idea?

Tami: Yes, we certainly are. But unfortunately, I am a little slow in the groove right
now. But for some reason I think that the powers that be are trying to tell me to
get off my butt. I went to our local library which is only a block or so from the
house and told the librarian about the book, and he happened to be the president
of the Colton Fire Department and agreed to give me a tour. Since then he has been
ordering books on arson investigation for me without asking. It's great living in
a small town.

So, from that little bit, you can tell that it's going to be a firefighting story.
We still have to nail down the female character but there is going to be some question
as to why mysterious fires keep happening and someone from her past. The handsome
fireman that she doesn't want to get involved with is the key to stopping all the
fires and all the inner turmoil that she is facing, if only she will let him in.
But will she?

Val and I brainstormed the concept up from a submission call that I was given by
a dear friend of ours, Kissa Starling! **waves** She's trying to get me more motivated
in my writing and is very helpful with sending things along that spark my interest.
(No pun intended.)

Sharon: I’d call that doing your research well. I imagine two authors writing a book together might be challenging. Hmmmmm. You girls must be on the same wave length to write on the same page, literally! I’ve heard of critique groups that write a story together, chapter by chapter. One person will pick up at the end of the next chapter and flow with it. Is this the model you and Val will use?

Tami: Val and I have decided that we are going to do it this way: One chapter is in the
POV of the male lead, the next in the female lead. She will be the female lead and
I the male and we will edit each others work so it flows together smoothly.

Sharon: What a novel idea! Sounds like a recipe for success! Don’t look now, but here comes the snacks I ordered, a cheese tray, just for you! But I must admit cheese is my personal weakness, too—next to potato chips. How about it, Tami, what other foods do you have stashed in your computer desk or kitchen for energy boosters? We all have our food fetishes. Do share! And which of these is your favorite cheese?

Tami: Mmmm mmmmmfff mmmffmmmf ....... **clears throat** Sorry about that, I really like
Muenster cheese the best! When I was a kid I loved to eat the orange "skin" off of
it. It was just the best. Well I don't really stash things, I am more of a craving
kinda gal. If you didn't know better you would think that I have been pregnant for
the past 18 years of my life. I will get in the mood for something and I will crave
that for weeks and then switch. It's rather odd. Right now it's orange, yellow
and red bell peppers and cherry tomatoes. I have a taco thing every once and a while
and a BIG grilled ham and cheese thing every couple of months.

Sharon: A girl after my own heart. Hmmm. Pass me a big ol’ hunk of that Muenster cheese with one of those wheat crackers. Oh and we have your favorite peppers and cherry tomatoes as a special treat! Dig in. Now you like to crochet. I must say I admire anyone who has this gift. My aunt once tried to teach me to crochet and after one big tangled web, she politely told me perhaps I’d best find a new hobby. LOL So tell me about crocheting. How did you get started and what kind of things do you crochet?

Tami: Oh, that's a good question. When I was pregnant with my son 14 years ago, I was
put on bed rest because I was going into premature labor. So the ladies from the
church went to WalMart and got me some yarn, and a hook and went to the library and
got me a How to Crochet book. I sat down and taught myself to crochet. Since I
couldn't do anything else for over a month I got pretty good at it.
My favorite things in the world to crochet are stuffed animals. I also crochet sweaters,blankets, and scrunchies. Here's a pattern I actually came up with a very long
time ago.

Sharon: Well there you have it folks. What a talent Tami Winbush is! Now another one of your hobbies is photography. This is such a window to life’s many adventures. What kind of things do you like to take pictures of? And don’t animals love to ham it up for the photo! What is the sweetest photo you ever snapped of your dog?

Tami: I like to take pictures of nature. I've always found a peace there when I get stressed out and a little on the frazzled side. So I tend to look to nature photos to calm me down. Sweet pictures of the dogs? I don't know about that one, LOL. They are
only sweet when they are sleeping, but I do remember when I was a kid, I took a picture
of my mother's dog yawning and when the picture came out (back in the day before
digital cameras) the tongue looked like it was about 2 miles long. We all had a
good laugh at that one. Now the cats on the other hand, I get all kinds of cute
ones of them pretty much telling me off, especially after their baths. I do want
to include a picture of my Kurgan who we had to put down recently. This picture
made her look like an angel before her time. We miss you darling.

Sharon: How adorable! Look folks, isn’t Kurgan just the sweetest thing? (Sharon holds up the photo)

Sharon: I’m sure you have this one framed as a treasured keepsake. Now let’s talk more about Tami Winbush, the inside scoop. What is your strongest asset? Your weakest? What is the message you’d like to leave behind as your own special footprint on this earth?

Tami: My strongest asset? My loyalty to my family and friends. Those that have been there for me through thick and thin, good and bad, they are the ones that deserve that
undying loyalty. And oddly enough, I have a lot of those friends from online. You
are counted among them!

My weakest point? I tend to believe the goodness in everyone. I know that sounds
like a good thing, but I will believe the best in everyone and get stomped on. I
have been hurt too many times over that one, so I am learning to make people earn
that trust a little bit more instead of just trusting in the inherent goodness in

The message to leave the world. Let those that you love know that you love them.
Every single day. Do not let a minute go by in their days that they might doubt
that you loved them. Almost 5 1/2 years ago I lost my husband to a heart attack.
We were talking at 9:00am and at 11:15am he was declared dead. You never know when
your last moment, or your loved ones last moment will be. So as the song goes, Live Like You Were Dying. Love with all your heart and soul!

Sharon: Beautiful words to live by, Tami. Now let’s talk about your great sense of humor. There’s nothing like a great belly laugh to change our mental health and well being, is there? Tell us something that still makes you laugh, no matter how many times you’ve heard or told the story?

Tami: I was driving down the road with my daughter and a friend of mine and the song GetDown On It by Kool in the Gang came on the radio. The person I was riding with didn't want to listen to the song and turned the station. My daughter (5 years old) screamed at the top of her lungs, "Turn that back, I wanna Get Down On It!"

Sharon: Out of the mouths of babes! LOL! My side is hurting, stop! That is too funny! Now how about movies. Do you like to see comedies? Sad stories? Love stories? Are you a hopeless romantic? What is the most romantic thing a man has ever done for you?

Tami: I love romantic comedies. They are the best. I do also like suspense, and action,
but not horror. Oh I get nightmares badly. I remember sitting in the theater for
Dreamcatcher and hiding behind my husband's coat the whole time hiding! It was horrible.He laughed at me the entire time.

Oh, that's EASY! My boyfriend, he's the sweetest ever! He wanted me to see Battlestar
Galactica with him. So we started with the mini series. For some reason we couldn't
get the closed captioning to get off the screen. After a while you just ignore it
and I just forgot it. We were watching, and I said, "Hey, rewind that! My name was
on there!" He looked at me like I was nuts.

"No, seriously, rewind it!" So, he willingly obliged. I told him to stop, and on
the screen it said in the closed captioning:

Tami: Do you know that I love you? Rob

Sharon: (reaches for a tissue) Sniffle sniffle. That’s romantic with a capital R. Rob sounds like one in a million. Now let’s reverse the situation. What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for a man?

Tami: I brought my husband velvet roses to his job. He didn't like real flowers because
they died and fake ones would last forever. I have something really romantic planned
for Rob's birthday/Valentines (same day) next year though. But I can't tell you,
he might find out!

Sharon: (crosses her lips with an x) Mum’s the word. Can’t wait to hear all about it! Well, Tami. Time flies when we’re having fun. Our time is just about up. But before I let you go, I have three trivia questions for you. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? If you could live in any era in history, which would it be and why? If you could play the leading lady in any literary fiction, who would it be and who would you pick as your leading man?

Tami: Crete - and I don't know why, but always wanted to go there since I was 16 years
Knowing what I know now, I would stay in this era only because I don't want to live
without my electricity and music and indoor plumbing. :)
I would be Janie (I know I'm not black, but the work was so well done) from Their
Eyes Were Watching God, and Taye Diggs would be my leading man cause he is just whew.....

Sharon: Great answers! Well, thank you so much for the awesome interview, Tami. I hope you come back again. I love you and everything about you and can’t wait to read your books. Best of luck with your new job and mega congratulations my friend. You deserve it. Here’s wishing you all good things. Cheers!


Sharon Donovan said...

Hello and welcome, Tami! Here's a big tall glass of McDonalds sweet tea for ya. Grab a cyber seat and kick back and have fun. Let the good times roll!

lastnerve said...

whoooohooooo Tami! you ROCKED that interview! The pictures were so pretty ...... so what's next? You gonna do book covers now? Be a National Geographic photographer? LOL ..... I can just see you now on your phone checking in with Champagne while listening to an audio book while writing a review while taking a picture! LOL And you say I'm busy?

Stephanie said...

Hey Tami! You did good. You didn't tell me you and Val were working on a book. I'm so proud of you!

Miss Mae said...

Hi Tami!

It's so nice to meet you! I also crochet (well, I used to, now I type! LOL). Do you still remember sc, tr, all the shorthand you had to learn? LOL

And that's the cheese I like too, though now I'm enjoying extra sharp cheddar. :) My hubby is really the cheese nut, but I'm liking it more and more. :)

Interesting concept about you and Val doing the differeing POV's in the book. Can't wait to read it! :)

Miss Mae

Sharon Donovan said...

Welcome Val, Stephanie and Miss Mae! Sweet tea's on the menu today so grab a glass and we'll wait for our guest of honor to come on by! Funny thing, Miss Mae. When you were talking about the shorthand in the crochet pattern, it took me back to my shorthand days when I took dictation! And BTW, I love sharp cheddar. But then I love cheese period. Pass the cheese and crackers this way, please!


Marianne Evans said...

What a wonderful interview, Sharon, and it was so great to get to know Tami better. Best of luck with the continued success of both Champagne and You Gotta Read Reviews! Keep it going on, Tami! We appreciate all that you do to promote romance!!!

Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marianne! Grab some sweet tea and take a load off. Tami's a busy woman and my hat's off to her!


MarthaE said...

Great, fun interview, Sharon and Tami! Its always good to learn more about the people we "hang out" with even online! I didn't realize how very busy you are Tami! Hope you still take some time for you!! Sounds like you take photos to help relax... what do you do special or fun for you? Have a great day ladies!

Debra St. John said...

Hi Tami! WOW! You are really a busy lady. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts here with us today. Good luck on the sounds like a great idea. I love the concept of alternating POV with different authors writing each.

Laurean Brooks said...

What an exciting interview! Tami, you are a gal after my own heart with that hilarious sense of humor.

And doesn't Sharon ask the most interesting questions?

Sorry to hear about your loss. I haven't lost a husband (except the one I wanted to lose...through divorce. LOL) But I've lost a brother and a Dad. Both were painful.

Good luck with your and Val's upcoming book. I had no idea you two had teamed up on that. Congrats with your new position, too.

Oh and thanks for requesting to put my book trailer, "Journey To Forgiveness" on You Gotta Read. You wouldn't believe the number of women who are fighting over a chance to meet the dreamy-eyed Austin!

Tami said...

Mmmmmm.....sweet tea....after the day that I've had, I need all that I can get. Hand that over

Tami said...

Val - I would love to be a National Geographic photographer, but if I do that, you will have to be my assistant, cause I can't do it all. (Even though I like to pretend I do!)


Tami said...

Stephanie -

Yeah, Val can't seem to get me off my butt to get writing, but since I will be in the van for over 24 hours this weekend, I will have plenty of time for writing and researching. :)


Tami said...

Ms Mae - Yeah, I do remember all the shorthand crochet. Actually that's the only way I can do crochet. I tried it one time with the graphs and got totally lost. My boyfriend looks at the patterns and says, "How do you read this $hit?

Got to love it,


Tami said...

Marianne - I don't know what in the world I would do without romance. And luckily for me Champagne is getting into a little bit of sci-fi and Southern Country! :) That way I can sneak a peek at the other genres that I like even if romance is my first love!


Tami said...

Well today I took an emergency run to the pain doc! So very sorry for being late to the post gals. One of these days I will have one day without the doc or PT. But just not sure when that will be. :) Thanks for being patient. Really, something fun for me? Mmmmm.....Yeah, baking. Banana bread with chocolate chips. I made 8 mini loaves about a week and half ago. Oh and Mexican beef stew. And homemade mac and to get a snack....brb.

Tami said...

Debra -

Changing the POV with Val will be easy, it's just getting out of the POV will be my problem. I have issues getting into something and not letting go. I want to stay in it and not leave. But once I let go it's hard to get back in. Am I the only one who does that?


Tami said...

I've been told that I have something resembling a sense of humor, but as long as it works for you! :)

Val and I are going to have a blast with this book. I'm not sure we are going to make the submission date, but I know we will end up with it published, so look for it. And I know who will be doing our trailer! :) DK Renders y'all!

Sharon, need a refill after all that talkin'. You got some more cheese too....that snack didn't tide me over at all.

Sharon Donovan said...

Elbows everyone, coming' through. Here's your sweet tea, darlin and another cheese tray. Got your Muenster, sharp cheddar, brick and my personal favorite--hot pepper cheese. Mmmmm! Sorry to hear you had to go see the doc today. Sure hope the visit helped. And oh, about the pov. I hear ya. Gotta love it when you get so deep inside the character's mind you just don't wanna let go. I do it all the time and go on and on with it. LOL
So grab a seat and relax, Tami. Plenty of sweet tea and cheese. And stick around...Taco Bell to the rescue a little later on!


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Wonderful interview Sharon.

Nice to meet you Tami - boy, I thought I was busy LOL!

Good luck and God's blessings.

Cinnamon said...

I started a crochet dinosaur for my daughter once when she was still incubating. ;) She's almost two now and the thing has a head, body and tail but sadly no legs. It's a dinosnake thing. The legs are done but still sitting in the box next to it. Sigh.

Tami said...

I'm sorry I had to go to the doc too! Darn doc, darn insurance, darn pharmacy! Well went to get scripts filled and they don't have enough of my pain meds (only one who has the script in the entire database!) to fill it! The other 2 meds need prior authorization and the doc office is obviously closed.....ARGH! So Sharon, pour me a double and bring me a Mexican Pizza with sour cream please!


Tami said...

Thanks for stopping by Pamela! I'm not really busy, it's just a fig newton of your imagination!


Tami said...

Cinnamon -

You sound like me. I started a cross stitch birth announcement for my daughter right after I found out I was pregnant. And according to the birth announcement she isn't born yet. (Tell that to my annoyingly always correct 16 year old driving teenager!)


Sharon Donovan said...

Thanks for stopping by to chat with Tami, ladies! Is she a hoot or what? It was a lot of fun. Tami, girlfriend, something so good is gonna happen real soon resulting from all these doc visits. You're in my thoughts and prayers, darlin! Take care and all good things...

Elaine Cantrell said...

That closed captioning thing is super romantic. Sounds like something in a romance novel!

Mary Ricksen said...

I loved this post! Lots of insight, funny I am the same way with cravings. Lately I need strawberries, strawberry anything.
How do I get you to review my book? Ha!
I hope you are feeling better today. Being a victim of pain management doctors myself, I understand how awful it is. And the pain is worse. Ugh, just feel better.

Tami said...


He did something even sweeter for me last night. The new iPhone software has a "find me" feature and he accessed it and conveniently lost my phone. When I went to pick it up it said, I love you so much Tami! Got to love being in love with a computer geek.

He's going to melt my heart yet.


Tami said...

Mary thank you so much for "feeling" my pain with the pain docs and the pain. Some days I just want to strangle some of the docs. :(

All of my twitter followers love my doctor antics. Tomorrow is my allergies and asthma doc. He tried to kill me a couple of times last time. :)

To get a review from YGR, please send an email to:

Include the following information:

Page/Word Count:

Then we will put it through the loop and see who grabs it out of our hands. :) Thanks for asking.


Tami said...

Oh and if anyone is desperate enough to want to follow me on twitter to see what happens tomorrow at the doc my user name is:


Talk to you all later.


M.Flagg said...

Hi Tami. Very interesting interview. You certainly have a lot going on. It's nice to meet you. Best of luck to you and Val on the book. Let us know when it's ready to read. Oh, and I used to love to make up my own crochet patterns. Still knee-deep in cool afgans :) I tend to get carried away.

Tami said...


I've never been very good at making up my own patterns. Now the scrunchie was another story only because it was so small and easy. :) I don't think I could do like the free form masters, but I can dream. Thanks for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

So sweet and wonderful! Love it!

Tami said...

J Kaye -

Thank you for stopping by and for tweeting about this. I love stopping by Sharon's. Though I am upset she never stopped back by with the Taco Bell. Hmmmm.....


Sharon Donovan said...

Cyber door flies open and in rushes Sharon with Taco Bell bags, sweet tea from the Golden Arches and a frazzled look. "Whewwww! What a thunder storm out there. Power lines down all over the city of Pittsburgh! Complete black out and lack of electricity in parts around here. But good hostess that I am, I ventured out in the wind and rain, just for you, Tami! Now dig in before this pizza with the sour cream etc. gets cold. Doesn't it smell delicious? Hmmmmmm!"


Tami said...

Bout time...LOL! Thanks for the great time here Sharon! You and your blog readers are the best. I have had so much fun! I can't wait to come back again!


Sharon Donovan said...

A warm thank you to Tami! You've been a great guest and I hope to have you back on cyber stage real soon.