Another Cup of Coffee with Author Barbara Hinske

June 2020 – I had the pleasure of getting in touch again with Barbara Hinske, author of The Christmas Club, which was recently adapted into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, premiering as part of the “Countdown to Christmas” of 2019. She became the first interview for my blog, and now becomes the first one to come back for a second interview! Read our first interview here

Author Barbara Hinske

Barbara has been recognized as Amazon and BookBub bestselling author. She has now 10 published books, including 6 for The Rosemont Series, The Christmas Club, The Night Train, Deadly Parcel, and recently released Guiding Emily.

She is from Cleveland, Ohio, and has been living in Arizona with her husband. She had the amazing opportunity of visiting the set where the movie The Christmas Club was filmed, and shared some moments with the actors and the filming crew. Read about her experience here

Here’s our delightful conversation:

Welcome back to Full of Coffee, Barbara! I already know you enjoy black coffee, so I’ll go to my next question. You recently published a new murder mystery novel with Deadly Parcel. What inspired you or how did you get the idea for this new story?

  • I’ve had an over-active imagination since I was a child. I was always thinking up things that would scare me. That trait –difficult in a child who is afraid to go to bed, but helpful in an adult novelist– has stood me in good stead. When I’m going about my daily business, I’ll see a place or situation and think “wouldn’t it be scary if… “. The basic idea was born when I used to go to my car in a dark, deserted parking garage after work. I’d think “wouldn’t it be scary to step off the elevator in the parking garage to see a man carrying a dead body?” I had the idea and started writing it, and it just released as Deadly Parcel.

Quite interesting! Is there a possibility to make it a series, like you did with Rosemont?

  • Yes! The next book in the collection is ready, Final Circuit, and it will be out in August 2020.

Your newest novel Guiding Emily: A Tale of Love, Loss, and Courage has finally been released! How did you get the inspiration and idea to write this story?

  • I’ve lived down the street from The Foundation for Blind Children for decades. I’d never been inside. The Foundation’s Development Director, Steve Pawlowski, encouraged my husband and I to come for a tour with such enthusiasm and pride that we felt we couldn’t decline. The Foundation provides education, tools, and services for “children” from birth through one hundred and four. From observing teachers working one-on-one with students with multiple disabilities, to seeing the six-year-old child from Canada running and hugging staff even though his parents had been told by their Canadian doctor he would never walk or talk, to photos displayed on the wall of the group of blind teens and young adults who had climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, I was moved beyond measure.
  • Choking back tears, I asked Steve how I could help. What did the Foundation need? His answer was simple and straightforward: (1) funding, and (2) to raise awareness of problems that visually impaired people face within the sighted community. I’m an author and knew that a novel could address both of these issues.
  • The story line of my new series was born in that moment. Guiding Emily is the first book in a series and is a love story between Garth, a guide dog, and Emily Main, his handler who loses her eyesight on her honeymoon. It’s the heartwarming/heartbreaking/poignant tale of their journey together. 
  • The Foundation for Blind Children provided me with invaluable support in my research. I interviewed many of the staff members and clients. I will never forget the newly-blind adults who shared their mental and emotional journeys in the process of regaining their independence. 
Barbara participated of the “white cane training” at the Foundation with Gnocchi, black lab on the left, and inspiration for guiding dog Garth in her novel.

Wow! What a great experience! To think that the Foundation is so close to your house and the visit gave you an idea for this book, that is amazing. Any other future project you want to tell us about?

  • Book 7 in my Rosemont series will be out this fall. I’m itching to write book 2 in the Guiding Emily series. Readers are already asking for it and have suggested some great new plot twists! I’m also feeling the pull to write another affirming, uplifting Christmas novel.

You decided to donate part of the proceeds to The Foundation for Blind Children:

  • Yes, half the profits from Guiding Emily will be donated to the Foundation. For the price of a book, every reader receives a novel that will provide a welcome respite from daily life and supports a remarkable organization that believes vision loss is a diagnosis, NOT a disability.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get a great book and help an organization that provides such great services to so many people. The book is available on Amazon here

I thank Barbara Hinske for coming back and sharing her story with us again. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about other writers, and I hope is an opportunity for you reading to expand your interest in reading and get to know about the authors behind these books.

Please, visit Barbara’s blog here Also follow her on Twitter @BarbaraHinske, on Facebook, and on Instagram @barbarahinskeauthor.

I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! Thanks for reading. Until the next one. It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!

Para versión en español, vea

A Cup of Coffee with Author Robert DeFinis

May 2020 – I found another author that I want to bring to your attention. He just published his first book. I became interested immediately, as his book presents an idea that I think many parents and teachers have had to deal with since the crisis of the pandemic caused by the Coronavirus has affected everyone, everywhere: how to tell our younger kids about the situation that’s going on in our communities, in the world.

The thought of dealing with the health crisis that COVID-19 has caused brings many of us adults to feel stress and anxiety. With having to stay safe, not being able to visit family, towns in lockdown, kids not able to go to school, and many of us working from home or losing jobs, it brings a lot of worrying to most of us. I wrote a post about living with anxiety, read here

If you are a parent or a teacher, and you are worried, imagine the kids that understand enough of what’s happening around them. They start to worry too. You must find a way to address children’s concerns about this situation. They notice what’s going on around them. They rely on us adults to explain to them what’s happening. We, as adults, have to answer their questions in a way that doesn’t cause stress. We have to be cautious so that our children don’t worry too much.

Author Dr. Robert DeFinis with his kids

Meet Dr. Robert DeFinis, author of “How to Defeat the Icky, Filthy, Creepy, Slimy CORONA MONSTER!“. He started playing games with his kids, and looking for the right way to answer all of their questions. That’s when he came up with the concept for his book.

The book cover!

Dr. DeFinis received his Doctorate in Organizational Leadership and Development and a Masters in Education while acquiring several certifications in Sports and Performance Psychology. He recently launched his web page and is working in self-publishing his stories. He created RDF Books in 2020, and he has been writing children’s books about how to deal with contemporary issues.

He is the Men’s and Women’s Head Soccer Coach at Cecil College in Maryland. He is also a Mental Performance Consultant, creator of Total Optimal Performance Solutions (TOPS), and host of Rising to the TOP Podcast. Here’s our conversation:

The name of my blog is Full of Coffee, so first question: do you like coffee? If so, how do you like it?

  • Thank you for the opportunity to share my story. Interestingly, I just started drinking coffee during this whole pandemic. Before, I might have had a cup of coffee after dinner once in a blue moon. However, now I’m actually selecting different brands and trying new ones each day. At the moment I’m going through a bag of French vanilla. I don’t take cream with my coffee, but I like two packets of sugar. For some reason I never finish the whole cup either. I’m a coffee rookie, what can I say. 

Interesting indeed! I drink coffee since I was a child (family upbringing, a Puerto Rican thing). I’m always curious if others like coffee and how they like it. French vanilla is a great option (I love French vanilla flavor). Where did you grow up? Do you have any siblings?

  • I grew up outside of Philadelphia, in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Great little blue color town where my four siblings (three sisters and one brother) still live. We also have some really terrific schools in the area.

Did your childhood have any influence in your interest in reading or writing?

  • For me, I had difficulty reading at a young age. It prevented me from really enjoying books. That changed however around fifth grade. Shel Silverstein, Judy Blume and Jerry Spinelli were some of my early favorite authors. I think I could still recite verbatim most of the works in “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

When did you decide to give professional writing a try? Did it affect your personal life, your profession? 

  • Writing has been something that I’ve always enjoyed. The personal side… the expressive side, is the fun side of writing. When I entered my doctorate program, the academic side took over and that can be draining. After my dissertation, I felt like I didn’t want to read or write anything, so I took a break. Worked on other projects, and more recently started to revisit my writing goals once again. 
  • Some of my writing projects intertwine with my professional and personal passions. I work in education, have my own business, and coach. I keep a very active schedule and decided long ago to pursue all that life has to offer. I think many people negotiate internally with what they will and won’t pursue. I choose to pursue it all.

Oh, I understand the draining feeling. When I completed my Master’s Degree, I thought I’ve had it with writing, so many papers and essays I had to write. But then, I started missing it. I recently decided to give professional writing a try. I love reading and I’ve been loving the writing process. And I agree with you: I think everyone should pursue all that life has to offer, or at least find one thing that produces inspiration and go for it. Now, tell me about your first published book! And you also have started your own publishing adventure (self-publishing)! How has that experience been?

  • Yes, the Corona Monster is my first published book. I was working on two others, and then the pandemic hit. After a few days of playing around with some rhymes with my son and daughter, I decided to put something to paper. It was fun! That’s when you do your best work. When you aren’t trying to appease others and you’re just having a good time making your own children laugh, think, and take action!
  • The nature and timelines of the book required self publishing. I wanted to get the message out to educators, parents, and children quickly. Having complete control in doing so was important. There were a few bumps and bruises, but then it took off and had over 10,000 downloads in the first three weeks. I get requests everyday for it to be recorded, read aloud, shared, and distributed to groups from all over the world. Just recently, a college student from Spain asked to translate it into Spanish and Portuguese for children in their community. I don’t say no, and I offer it to anyone wanting to support the central theme – assisting children with understanding their role in COVID-19.
Dr DeFinis with his kids

Any other future project you want to tell us about?

  • I feel like I’m always in a project. Yes, I actually have two other books in different stages. The first is called Lady P’s First Day. It tells the story of a very independent little girl on her first day of Kindergarten. I had it almost finished, but now I’m revisiting it because there might be another way to tell the story based on everything that is happening.
Lady P’s First Day, to be released later in 2020
  • The other project is due out next year, in 2021. It’s called Dexter and Dalton Play Baseball. It’s the first in a four part series that will introduce children to the fun, and challenges, of trying a new sport. 
Dexter and Dalton Play Baseball, to be released in 2021

I cannot wait for these projects to be released. I think that both are very interesting topics. To find out more about Dr. DeFinis and his projects, visit and contact him on his web page; find him on Twitter @DeFinis or on Facebook

I asked Dr. DeFinis if he had any special offer, and he kindly announced that he is offering a free copy for teachers! Visit the website (you’ll have to create login name and password). Use Free Coupon Code: BN37K

The book is also available on Amazon here

I hope you all enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed writing it. It’s a great deal for me to get to know all of these amazing writers. Getting to know other writers helps me find my own inspiration and create my own process.

I’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing, I’ll keep dreaming! Thanks for reading. Until the next one! It’s time for my tacita de café. Salud!

Para versión en español, vea