Combine two parts young adult author, one part Marian the Librarian and add a generous dash of modern day smart-chick cool. Mix liberally with a flair for gripping stories full of vividly real characters. Brighton, Michigan author S. J. Lomas has mastered the art of drawing the reader into the story, offering us characters we feel like we know as we follow them on their journey riddled with danger, romance and adventure. Lomas' recently published Dream Girl is a great read. The only downside once you've devoured Dream Girl? Waiting for the sequel (yes, there is one in the works!). Kiss of Death, a creepy young adult short story, might sate your appetite until then.
S.J. Lomas is a cheerful Michigan girl who writes strange and somewhat dark stories. She has a special fondness for books by Michael Lawrence, Beth Revis and Eve Marie Mont. Lomas admits her writing fulfills a secret wish she has to live an extra life in a dreamworld, especially if she could dream her way to England. Like many writers, S. J. Lomas embodies several characters herself in the course of any given day: Mother, Librarian, Author, among others. She finds that late nights are prime writing hours and her commute to and from work is perfect for working out plot points. Lomas is also of the pen-and-paper ilk, feeling most connected to her fiction when she begins longhand in a notebook before transitioning to the computer once the story is really up and running.
And then there's the music. Like me, Lomas works best when her characters have a soundtrack for their story. The author's playlist varies greatly depending on scene, tone and what exactly is happening at the moment. One Republic, Owl City, Christina Perri, Moby and Paul McCartney are a few of the eclectic mix in the background while Lomas is crafting intriguing young adult plotlines.
Dream Girl Teaser:
So many stars shone overhead that I could see our arm of the Milky Way extending from beyond Earth and into the vastness of space. I raised my arms to the sky, letting the universe wash over me. It was so dark it was easy to imagine I was floating in space, not unlike another wonderful evening I'd had. If I hadn't been so absorbed by the beauty around me, I might have realized where I was.
"I wondered if you'd be back."
Dream Girl (Amazon): http://tinyurl.com/AmazonDreamGirl
Dream Girl (Barnes & Noble): http://tinyurl.com/BNDreamGirl
Who quits a good job with a Fortune 500 company to follow a dream? Monica R. Sholar does. A Detroit author with a new series that is taking off like wildfire, Sholar recently made the transition to full time writer. While the decision wasn't an easy one, the author already knows it was the right one. Sholar eloquently describes the move: after so many years in a great company, in a great job, she'd begun to feel like she was living every day under water, holding her breath. At the end of each long work day when she sat down to write, the sun came out, her lungs expanded with air, and she basked in her element -- until the next morning. After much soul searching and seeing signs everywhere she turned, Sholar made the leap. Now she breathes easy knowing she can devote ample time to the thing she was meant to do.
A Detroit native, Sholar was raised in a musical family and grew up singing in the choir and taking dance lessons. Though modern dance was her storytelling platform, the Detroit School of Arts graduate discovered she had a passion and talent for writing. Sholar spent time studying many great American authors and honing her own skill, with a resulting first novel, No Pie In The Sky, in 2009. Loves Me, Loves Me Not was published soon after. Monica R. Sholar's breakout novel, The 24th Letter, followed by 2015's Esoteric Truth, holds a 5-star review rating on Amazon and Goodreads in her Michigan-based Suspense-Thriller series aptly named Belle Isle Heights.
In today's saturated market, creating gripping fiction isn't always enough, and Sholar knows that. Monica R. Sholar combines literary talent with accessibility and visibility, participating often in events to widen her reach. From appearances at the upcoming Ann Arbor Book Fest and All Things Detroit to showcasing her work at Sunday's Eastern Market, Sholar is a delight to meet and speak with. And if there's any question as to what's so special about her books, a recent interview with author S.J. Lomas is especially enlightening. As Sholar puts it:
"As a reader of suspense-thrillers myself, I like to be transported to a world that allows me the thrill of danger -- from the safety of my own sofa! I want to give my readers a walk on the wild side and have their pulses pound with anticipation." The Belle Isle Heights series certainly does that and more!
Find Monica R. Sholar:
Amazon page: http://tinyurl.com/AmazonSholar
Review of The 24th Letter: http://www.angelaamman.com/2014/10/24th-letter-review.html
Author Interview: http://tinyurl.com/InterviewSJLomas
The inaugural feature for Made in Michigan is, fittingly, Detroit visual artist Janna Coumoundouros of Lilacpop Studio. The city of Detroit harbors a culture that has its own sense of grittiness paired with the unique and elegant; it is a place where creative minds are finding fertile ground, not despite, but rather because of, the city's rough edges. Designer/photographer Coumoundouros features her own dress and jewelry designs for her photo shoots, and combines her fine arts background with experimental lighting techniques, editing and art direction to craft each cohesive, stunning piece. (Solis Magazine, 2015)
Eclectic, diverse and supremely talented, Coumoundouros doesn't stop at fine art photography and occasional gigs as band photographer for The Fillmore Theatre. She has honed an almost magical skill in taking apart vintage machines and utilizing metal work to create one of a kind pieces that are cutting edge and perfectly on trend. Coumoundouros is also a co-founder of Dinner Club Pop Up, curating the artwork for delicious gourmet dining by chef Matt Baldridge in various locations around Detroit. Her fashion styling clients include Ford, Audi, and Lincoln. She is the creator of Inteva Products' automotive dresses seen at the NAIAS 2015 Detroit Charity Preview and the winning dress from the Detroit Institute of Arts Samurai Design Competition. Her work can be found in Vogue Italia, Styleline Magazine, Hour Detroit, Metropolitan d'Etroit, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, among many others.
In spite of so many high profile credits, it's the attitude behind the art that is really impressive. Coumoundouros exudes a humble gratitude for every success she's experienced. Down to earth, driven, accessible, able to capture and portray beauty flawlessly in a variety of mediums, Detroit's own Janna Coumoundouros is one to watch. Check her out here, and get a quick preview below:
Dinner Club Pop Up: http://lilacpop.wix.com/4coursesdinnerclub
Lilacpop Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilacpopstudio?pnref=about.overview