What not to do when interviewing a potential employee

Want to know how to be an excellent business interviewer? Sign up to my online course now. Read more here.

If you are seeking dynamic employees, you need to step up and be dynamic interviewers.

It is interesting how many managers and senior staff members are asked to be on panels and conduct interviews when they have never received any training on how to interview.

When a person attends an interview, the interviewer is not the only one interviewing the candidate, the candidate is also interviewing the interviewer and the final decision lies with the candidate to accept the job.

Melanie Toye’s online course, ‘How to be an excellent business interviewer’ is here to guide and steer you in the right direction to win the great employees that you want to help propel your business further.

This online course covers:

  • Pre-planning & preparing for interviews.
  • Question Time – All about questions to ask, what not to ask and five specific questions to ask to find out in depth if the person would be a good fit for your company, match the pace, fit the culture and be able to do the work.
  • Interview Time – How to assess candidates during the interview to be able to choose the right one at the end of the interview and tips on how to listen.
  • How to sell your company to get the right candidate.
  • The importance of giving feedback.
  • Referrals
  • When to hire a recruitment consultant

Sign up to my online course now.

Inspirational Woman of the week – Community of We

I was honoured to do an interview with Fiona from Community of We for Inspirational Woman of the Week. Read the full interview here: http://thecommunityofwe.com/portfolio/interview-with-melanie-toye-author-and-freelance-writer/



When an opportunity comes

In my latest eBook, How do they do it? 16 Business Mums share how they juggle life, I sought Mums who owned their own business to find out the truth on how they juggle it all.

Here is a sneak peak into one of Business Mums, Tennille, who was interviewed about her business:

Elena (62 of 114)How long were you in business before you had a family or did you start your business after you had children?

“I started my photography business when my son Cooper was born. I just kind of fell into it. I took some photos of him wearing a cloth nappy and a business owner saw them and asked if I could do some more. That is when I realised I had an opportunity.” ~ Tennille Flanagan, Tulip Flare Photography in How do they do it?

For Blog 2

Are you a business Mum? How do you feel trying to juggle it all? I would love to hear from you through supportive comments below, for other Mums to read.

Read more from Mums in all various industries about how they juggle running their own business and being a Mum and wife here.

How do they do it? 14 Business Mums share how they juggle life

On character writing with Claire Varley

On character writing with Claire Varley: How did you come up with your characters for The Bit In Between and how did their personalities evolve throughout the writing of the book?  

From the start the book was meant to be an awkward love story and my two central characters, Oliver and Alison, were the starting point for the story. I knew who they were from the very beginning but as I worked over each version of the story I took the time to anchor them more firmly. By this I mean sharpening their motivations, desires and drivers, and trying to find that unique balancing point of genuine, flawed and well-meaning.

Alison in particular took the longest because I wanted a character who wasn’t sure what she wanted from life but she still needed motivation or else she seemed like this stagnant floundering nothingness compared to the rest of the characters. Her relationship with Sera helped define her motivations and evolved to encompass both a personal and professional element. When I finally figured this out it seemed really obvious and was a bit of a face-palm moment. Throughout the whole process of writing this book, every time I worked out a plot link it was like ‘Of COURSE! Clearly that’s what needs to happen!’ I had a lot of solo micro-Eureka moments with this novel.

In this book I write about a country and culture that is not my own and from the start I felt an incredible sense of responsibility to do this in a way that didn’t diminish, cheapen or rob the humanity from my Solomon Island characters. In my Arts degree Said was my staple and my Masters explored indigenous knowledge and decolonized methodologies, so I was very conscious of avoiding the romanticism and ‘noble savage’ lens through which the Pacific has so often been cast. I was so conscious of ensuring every character in this book was a whole character that had their own backstories and motivations, rather than simply being some kind of furniture for the central characters to navigate around.

Throughout the book there are little vignette’s that provide a momentary glimpse into the lives of passing characters. I decided on this early on because I wanted to provide a story that had central characters yet still engaged with the complex web of people we may only notice momentarily, but who each possess their own story. So in a way it was very much like real life: each character was themself right from the start but the more I got to know them, the more I understood all the things that had come before and made them who they were. 9781743535608

The Bit In Between by Claire Varley, Macmillan Australia, $29.99’

Thank you Claire for sharing how you came up with your characters for your novel, The Bit In Between.

Guest Speaker for Pandora Parent Group

I was thrilled to be asked by Melissa Bailey to present my eBook – ‘Activities for Babies – when toys are not enough’ to a large group of Mums and bubs.


With the adorable babies present, I was able to show the babies (and parents) how fun it is to use every day items around the home and bring a smile to their cute faces.

From nappy box fun for creating obstacle courses or castles. To smaller boxes for making imaginative games such as ‘what’s in the box.’ To water and ball play and explorations outdoors. Activities for Babies – when toys are not enough is a fun and interactive eBook for parent and child. It is a building block to aid the parent to ‘take a simple item from around the home and think how best to use it for some fun with their baby.’ The main objective is to get bubs and their parents, smiling and giggling.

Test out this fun musical activity with your baby:

Music Time

Get out the drum kit

What you will need:

  • Measuring cups
  • Tin food from pantry
  • Small sized bucket
  • Spoons


  1. Set up your drum kits and show your baby how to tap the drum kits (cups, tins, buckets etc) with the spoons.
  2. Place one spoon in each of your baby’s hand. And let them tap away, listening to the different beats.

Spice it up with some jar lids to create different tunes.


Image:  © Sborisov | Dreamstime.com

Purchase Activities for Babies – when toys are not enough here: http://www.amazon.com/Activities-Babies-When-toys-enough-ebook/dp/B00961P0XG/ 

If you are looking for a personable, interactive, engaging speaker, be sure to email me at: melanie.toye@hotmail.com for any paid speaking opportunities.

To download a free e-reader app to your mobile, PC or iPad click here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=sv_kstore_3?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771

Having access to activities or children’s eBooks at your finger tips is much easier when you can see the eBook from your mobile or other hand held device.

Interview with author Jessica Kong re ‘A Forgotten Kitten’ latest book

Let me introduce you to Jessica. 

Image 1

Jessica A. Kong is an avid reader of all things fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys puzzles, arts and crafts, crocheting, horror movies, and video games. She created the Sea-anan Saga out of inspiration provided by her love for movies like Star Wars and Deep Space Nine, along with an avid appreciation of romance novels. She makes her home in Somerset, New Jersey, with her loving husband of twenty-two years and their teenaged triplets.

About ‘A Forgotten Kitten’, Jessica Kong’s latest book in her Sea-anan Saga: 

A Forgotten Kitten front cover

Many readers enjoy Star Wars-esque stories of conflict on faraway planets, while other readers tend to stick to epic romances. Few authors have managed to combine the two genres in such a seamless way as Jessica A. Kong has in her Sea-anan Saga. She has created a highly complex story with fully developed characters, and the themes explored here are inarguably adult, yet the reading level required is no more than eighth grade.

A Forgotten Kitten zips along at just the right pace, allowing the reader to digest the complexity of the plot and interrelation between the characters without having to think too hard. The story revolves around Sev, a young, handsome prince and member of a royal family who rises to become king of the Oceanan race. Sev is raised in the midst of a vicious family feud, but all seems worth it when his adoptive aunt gives birth to a beautiful little girl whom Sev falls instantly and irrevocably in love with. But when Sev’s planet collides with its own sun and collapses, he must bear the loss of his entire family, including his love as well as any memory of her.

Areo, the heroine of the story, is that little girl that Sev fell for during his childhood. She is a human-feline hybrid who has grown to hate the royal family that her soul mate hails from. She undergoes a destructive event and space travel episode similar to Sev’s, and it is not too long before she has settled her new planet and with her fellow half-bloods, created a strong, thriving society. When she is brutally attacked by Daehog, everyone in her empire is scattered throughout the universe. Where does she land but the planet that Sev is currently occupying.

What follows is a continually building conflict interlaced with one of the most fervently passionate love stories seen in these kinds of novels. Kong chooses not just to write about space travel, or war, or love, or family, or even racism; instead, she chooses to combine all of these classic literary themes into one amazing story. The result is a mysterious and ultimately deeply satisfying story that only leads to the craving for more from this gifted and astoundingly creative writer.

Reading should always be enjoyable, especially when reading escapist literature, and Kong has remembered this and accomplished it without sacrificing plot or characterization. The task of any science fiction writer is to take alien, unbelievable concepts and present them in a way that convinces the reader they are plausible in reality, and Kong has certainly hit the mark with her second novel in this delightfully mystifying series.

Let’s get down to the interview. 

Jessica, what other titles have you written?

I have also self-published a paranormal romance with science fiction elements entitled ‘A Lost Kitten’.

  • When did you realize you wanted to create a career from writing?
  • I officially decided to start writing 13 years ago, when my kids were two years old, even though, I had tested the waters when I was 16 years old.

What has been the toughest part of your journey?  Promotion.  I would rather spend my time writing, even editing instead of spending so much time promoting.  It’s a necessary evil, I guess. On the upside, I get to meet great new authors, whom I interview and post their replies on my blog Newbies Unite.

What was a funny joke you heard recently?

A lot of the jokes I hear are too dirty to repeat.  J

What is your favorite read in 2013?

Oh my gosh, I love the ‘Trauma Junkie’ series. It was filled with sarcasm and plenty of EMS drama.  I just love it.

If your book turned into a flick, who would you want to play your main characters?

I already have that taken care of since I use images of real people (either actors/actresses or models) as inspiration when I am writing in a character’s POV.  If it’s a model I’m using, then naturally I will love an actor or actress with similar features to play the role.  My main characters in ‘A Forgotten Kitten’ are Sev and Areo McCall.  The inspiration images are Fabio and Jessica Biel.

Why should we read your book?

My books are not your ordinary romances.  I love to mix and match elements into my series–science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and horror.  You just never know which combination you are going to get until you read the story.  So for anyone who wants to try something different, pick up one of my books and let me know what you think. J

Support Jessica in her writing career by following and liking her pages below. Most importantly buy her books!  

Website/ Blog is Newbies Unite: http://www.seaanan.com

Facebook Book Page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-World-of-Sea-ana/462338863811603

Facebook Fan Page:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Kong/155150417957328

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AreoMc

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6533956.Jessica_Kong

Linkedin:  http://www.linkedin.com/home?trk=hb_tab_home_top

Tumblr:  http://jessicaakong.tumblr.com/

Google +:  https://plus.google.com/113667786275043784213/posts?hl=en

 Purchase A Forgotten Kitten via the below links: 

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Kitten-Sea-anan-Saga-ebook/dp/B00EYS46HC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378312471&sr=1-1

B&N:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-forgotten-kitten-jessica-a-kong/1116373585?ean=9781482713480

CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/4197263

Books A Million:  http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Forgotten-Kitten/Jessica-a-Kong/9781482713480?id=5787726506385

Interview with Author of Burnt Promises, Brenda Perlin

For my very first interview for 2014, please welcome Brenda Perlin.


Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author.   Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style.   Her latest book in the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfillment.

Ever since Brenda was a child, she has been fascinated with writing.  She draws her biggest inspiration from Judy Blume.  This sparked a passion in Brenda to pursue personal expression through writing.  Once she was old enough to go to coffee shops alone, Brenda recalls losing herself in the world of writing, all while documenting her ideas on paper napkins.

“There is really no creative process, I just write,” – Brenda Perlin

 Shattered Reality (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book One) was published with Master Koda Select Publishing.   Within a short time, the book developed a strong fan base and is continuing to grow as it both entertains its readers and leaves them in a state of profound reflection.  In the near future, Brenda would like to have Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles expanded into a trilogy in order to tell the untold stories of her characters.

Shattered Reality-cover-2-FINAL

Book Titled: Burnt Promises (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book Two)   

Burnt Promises-cover-FINAL

The main character, Brooklyn must learn many valuable lessons about herself, not without making many costly mistakes along the way. Now that she has found what she considered, her “soul-mate” in Bo, she would have to continue to defend herself against even her closest of friends, family members, and Bo’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Ruth.

This first person account chronicles the inexhaustible struggles she faces with the man that she loves. Brooklyn must learn a thing or two about patience as Bo’s divorce settlement seems to be never ending. Throughout her journey, Brooklyn shares some of Ruth’s intimate emails to Bo and gives you a good look into the mind of a woman scorned.

Brenda, what other titles have you written? And which was your most favorite to write?

My first book is Shattered Reality which is a part of my trilogy. My third book has not even gone through the editing process but I hope to have it released mid year. I really enjoyed writing the third book because it is not based on my life where the other two are. This one is a coming of age story from a male’s perspective. It wasn’t as close to home as the others.

What does writing mean to you?

Writing is really my creative outlet. Not only is it that but it is therapeutic as well. I am not as expressive in life as I am in my writing. In my books I lay it all out on a silver platter. In life I am much more secretive.

What has been the best part of your journey so far?

I love knowing that my story has touched other people. There are positive messages throughout the story even if you have to look at a lot of negativity. This is a story of survival which makes me proud.

I have also really enjoyed getting to meet other authors from around the globe. Wonderful people such as yourself Melanie. It has been such an uplift to be involved with so many supportive people. Thank you Brenda!

If you had a choice of living the life as one of the characters in a famous children’s book, who would it be? Snow White, Goldilocks, Little Mermaid or another character of choice:

I have always been a big fan of Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin’s soft nature has always touched me. He is non-judgmental, understanding and kind. I admire those qualities.

Do you find you are more likely to read deep, dark and emotional reads similar to your own books?

I do like a story with depth. I like to be able to relate to the characters, if possible. There has to be some humanity that pulls me in.

Why should we read your book?

These books are based on my real life and I have gone through many challenges and survived many losses. I have come back fighting and gained insight to life. I think my story allows others to be feel blessed for their own lives and maybe on some level relate in some way. Also, I don’t hold back at all so I spill the beans on just about everything. All my deep dark secrets are revealed. 😉

For more about Brenda and her awesome reads, be sure to follow and like her pages listed below: 

Website: http://www.brooklynandbo.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrooklynandBoChronicles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrooklynandBo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6468331.Brenda_Perlin

Blog: http://brendaperlin.com

Pinterest  http://www.pinterest.com/brendaperlin/

 Book trailers:

Shattered Reality Brooklyn and Bo chronicles (Book One)


Burnt Promises Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles (Book Two)


Purchase Brenda’s books here: