Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'A Sandy Grave' Donna M. McDine


Donna McDine is an award-winning children's author, Honorable Mention in the 77th and two Honorable Mentions in the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions, Literary Classics Silver Award & Seal of Approval Recipient Picture Book Early Reader, Readers Favorite 2012 International Book Awards Honorable Mention, Global eBook Awards Finalist Children’s Picture Book Fiction, and Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2010 Top Ten Children’s Books ~ The Golden Pathway.

Her stories, articles, and book reviews have been published in over 100 print and online publications. Her interest in American History resulted in writing and publishing The Golden Pathway. Donna’s 2013 releases of Powder Monkey and Hockey Agony and the 2014 release of A Sandy Grave will be joined by an additional book to be published by Guardian Angel Publishing, Dee and Deb, Off They Go. She writes, moms and is a personal assistant from her home in the historical hamlet Tappan, NY. McDine is a member of the SCBWI, Children’s Literature Network, and Family Reading Partnership.

Visit Donna online at www.donnamcdine.com or her blog at www.donna-mcdine.blogspot.com


Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you! Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I’ve always loved books. My fondest childhood memories surround books. Often times curled up in the living room with my family or under the shade of a tree I always enjoyed immersing myself in a book, especially the Nancy Drew Mystery Series. After many years of working in Fortune 500 companies, I was longing for something more fulfilling and I ventured into writing. I haven’t looked back since.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be? I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

At times, it’s not at all. The image of a writer spending their days writing with the warm rays of the sun gleaming through their window without another care in world is truly a far cry from reality. Staying focused at the task at hand can become daunting with so many other aspects of the writer’s life screaming for them. Such as, marketing, networking, research, and critique groups. I know for me I need to get my writing done before anything else or before I know it the day is gone. The perks are wonderful! The connection with fellow writers is essential. Writing is solitary so concerted efforts to connect with others helps the creative juices flow.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?


I went with a traditional publisher. Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc., is a small publisher, and the guidance and one on one attention is spectacular!

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My family is extremely supportive. I’ve worked from home for over 16 years as a personal assistant, so my writing career worked seamlessly into the family routine. When my office door is closed, they know it’s not time to interrupt.

Out of all the people involved in getting your book published, which one would you say did the most for you?

Hmmm...so many people have helped me to the road of publication that it is difficult to name just one. So to be on the safe side I’m going to give a shout out to one and all who I have met along the roller coaster ride of publication and thank you for your never ending support!

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I tend to be an early riser, making it easier to write before the rest of the world gets moving and grooving.

How about the social networks? Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Don’t get me started. I long for the days of no technology. When someone called you and your line was busy they had to keep calling back till they caught you. Now if someone calls, we have call waiting, cell phones, texting, and email so I find if someone doesn’t get you the first time they start bombarding you several different ways. I find it way too exhausting at times. I know I’ve jumped on my soapbox and I will hop down now. As for social networks, I find yahoo group chats on specific subject matters and Facebook to be the most beneficial for me.

Book sales. Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)? How are you making the sales happen for you?

Author visits to school and libraries have been instrumental in my book sales.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

I’m an award-winning children’s author!

Okay, too much sugar for you today! Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in. Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I enjoy the interaction with children during author visits and engaging in lively discussions as to what they think an author’s life is like. I’m a firm believer in we are all where we are suppose to be and our experiences shape who we are today.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'They Call Me Superman' Michael Goffinet



Michael Goffinet was born and raised in Southern California. After earning his Masters of Health Administration degree, he worked in the health care industry for the last two decades.  He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with his wife of twenty years and his teenage son. He is an avid golfer and when he’s not reading or writing he can be found on the golf course.

His latest book is the action thriller, They Call Me Superman. 

Visit his website at www.michaelgoffinet.com.

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

Simple. I love writing novels. If you do it for any other reason, you’ll probably be very disappointed.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 

This is my first full length novel, so I haven’t seen any perks yet. Writing a novel is a lot of work. It’s also an emotional rollercoaster. You think your book is in good shape, then the editing process brings you back to reality. There are dozens of stupid typos you missed. Your plot doesn’t flow as well as you thought. Rewrite. Rewrite. Rewrite.
                                
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I used a small publishing house for They Call Me Superman. Overall, the experience was good. The timing wasn’t always what I expected, but they did a great job of producing the book. You do lose a lot of control, especially over pricing and placement. I won’t know for a while if I made the right decision or not.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.) ?

The anxiety over rejections letters and the loss of control over your novel.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 

I’m pretty good about family first. There are times when I’d rather be writing, but I suck it up and spend time with them. It’s important to have balance.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process? 

Nothing crazy happened. Sorry.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid? 

Again, it’s my first full-length novel so I’m still learning what works best. You should have your own website, Twitter and Facebook account.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 

Still learning. It so soon, I don’t even know how many sells I’ve had yet.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about? 

That’s easy. Every time I would read my novel, I would fine more and more typos. Just when I think they’re all gone, the editor proves me wrong. Not fun. Also, the many repeating words. We often use the same words over and over. Very frustration.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 

Overall, I loved it. It feels great when you read the final product. I’m currently working on my next Marcus Evans novel. You can go to michaelgoffinet.com and request my free short story “Karma’s A Bitch.”


Monday, March 10, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'Queen Vernita ' Dawn Menge

Dawn Menge has a Bachelors in Human Development, Masters in Special Education and a Clear credential as an Education Specialist. She is currently a doctoral student specializing in Curriculum and Instruction. 

She has worked with the Severely handicapped population for the past fourteen years. Her experiences include from teaching the elementary level up to adult education in special needs. She has been nominated for teacher of the year by SBCSS, awarded a Learning Leader by Leapfrog, served as a Lead teacher and has been a BTSA support provider. The disabilities she has experiences with include but are not limited to Autism, Visual Impairments, ADHD, Seizure Disorders, Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disabilities, Emotional Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairments, and Down Syndrome.

Dawn Menge has won fifteen national awards as a self-published author of the Queen Vernita's Educational Series. Queen Vernita's visitors has won; Reader Views, Readers Favorites, First Place Evvy, Scooter Award and A+ rating from the American Children's Book Society, and a Purple Dragonfly award. Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains has won Finalist in the Readers Favorite and a Purple Dragonfly award; Queen Vernita Meets Sir HeathyBean the Astronomer has won an Evvy, USA Best Book Award, Readers Views and a Purple Dragonfly award, Queen Vernita Visits the Islands of Enchantment has won a Purple Dragonfly award, Readers Views and a Silver in the Mom's Choice award.

Dawn Menge is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren.

Purchase her books on Amazon



Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

    Yes!  I love being a children's author. I have had some great experiences that I would never have had if I had not chosen to try this avenue.  I don't find it demanding, I only wish I had more time to invest in researching them.  I have six books lined up to write and many more I would like to write. I find it to be very exciting and fun.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?  

The demands are placed on myself as I am a self-published author.  I choose this route to begin with to have the freedom to write about whatever subject I would like to write about.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

     My family is proud of me, they also do a lot of the traveling with me, so they are very supportive of my projects.  My mom just set up a trip to sail on a paddleboat to follow the Louis and Clark trails. She said "Happy Birthday and you can write a book about it!"  Also the characters in my books are my family and friends.  In my first book I included the children in my book, I figured they couldn't protest too much.  

Afterwards I had adults asking to be in the books.  I was really surprised and thrilled.  I have now included family, friends and co-workers.  In each book Queen Vernita travels though the twelve months of the year, each month she travels with a new friend, learns a new subject in a new region.


In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

    Luckily my children are all grown and they can feed and water themselves :}. My grandchildren are very self-sufficient.

   I take breaks in between months as I am writing so I can think about what I am going to include.  I am the kind of person that I write and rewrite in my head for a long time before I attempt to put it down on paper.  The actual writing process is very short for me because I have already resolved most of the issues before I even start.


What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

     I had a publisher from France contact me about my books. That was a great compliment.  I had an award winning author who is very reputable tell me that my books were incredible and I should get an agent.  My response was to stop writing the book I was writing and go watch the Disney channel with my granddaughter. I think she shocked me. My editor told me she loves Queen Vernita and enjoys editing them.   I think having people really like the books and ask what is next is the craziest thing I feel at this point. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

   I have a  facebook page and a website.  That is all of the social networking that I am doing at this time.  I also teach full time, have five grandchildren and am working on my PHD. 


Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

      My most successful books sales come from the author signings and presentations at the libraries. I am focusing more on my researching and writing now and am having time constraints getting out into the community and promoting my books.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

        I thankfully have a beautiful life.  I had wonderful parents growing up, my three children have all grown up to be people I am very proud of, I have five beautiful grandchildren, who I get to spend a lot of time with, I travel quite a bit, I love teaching severely handicapped students and I have a whole lot of really great friends.  You did say just one thing?

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

     I love traveling and researching new areas.  Each new place just adds more ideas and places I'd like to go and see. The draw is getting more intense the more books that I am producing.  I am currently working on three and have six already scheduled to write.  I will be exploring the Volcanic Islands with sea Captain Jeff, Paradise Reef, sailing with John Alden and walking the Cherokee Trail. I would like to write a second series titled "Where in the world is Grandma?" It would be based on the seven plus wonders of the world.  I would of course need to do all of the research personally.

       I love reading my books to the children when I am at a library or at a  school site.  I love including other people in my readings and writings.  I love the fact that other people think they are interesting and it gets them involved in trying new things or going new places.  I love when people suggest places for me to write about.  It's all just exciting and fun filled.

       I love the fact that my friends and family are excited to be in the books. Especially the adults, I was really surprised when they said that they wanted to be.  I love it when the friends in the book go to the book readings and read the book or they join in on the interviews.  I think that if there are any sacrifices they are minimal and its all just very exciting and fullfilling.
         



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'Storytelling' Rudy Mazzocchi



Rudy Mazzocchi is both an award-winning author and entrepreneur with a history as an inventor, venture capitalist, angel investor, and founder of over a dozen new technology ventures throughout the U.S. and Europe. He's been fortunate to have the opportunity to see the newest innovations in healthcare and work with some of the most brilliant researchers, scientists and physicians in the industry.
Authoring over 50 patents, he has been influential in pioneering new companies involved in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurosurgery and even embryonic stem-cell development. Through these efforts, he has become the recipient of many technology and business awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Healthcare (2004), Businessman of the Year Award (2005), and Global Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2013).
Combining these experiences and opportunities, he also found the initiative to start writing a collection of medical thrillers based on true events, now known as The EQUITY Series. The first book in this series, EQUITY of EVIL has received numerous literary awards since its release in March of 2012. http://www.rudymazzocchi.com

Amazon Link to Book:  http://amzn.to/19jY1vN

Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I believe it was just the challenge of finishing another journey. While on a 10-day cruise with my wife down through the Panama Canal, I was bored out of my mind… pacing the deck of the ship after the third day. She suggested that I go to the ship library and find a good book to read, and I’d replied, “I would rather write one, than read another one.” She basically dared me to, so within the hour I was madly
scribing the outline for my first novel, EQUITY of EVIL. Once the manuscript was completed (nearly a year later), I then was determined to see it through to publication. The journey included three editors, a literary agency, a publisher and various publicists.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

My novels are based on real medical sciences that might not be commercially available for another 8-10 years and include several controversial themes that will force our society to re-think our moral, ethical and political views on many topics; e.g. abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, and the rewiring of our brains (neuroplasticity). These are confidential, secret developments that I’ve been privileged to get a sneak preview to, but cannot disclose in the normal business arena. By converting them into fictional themes in my thrillers, I can unleash my knowledge of these bold, new and exciting technologies in such a way as to not get me into any trouble! It’s very rewarding to incorporate all of this into an entertaining and educational format.
Unfortunately, I find the most demanding (and frustrating) part of publishing is in the promotion and branding of your labels. I had simply expected to see all my works sitting on the bookshelves of those small stores in the airport terminals throughout the country. Hah! Rather than flying from city-to-city for book signings, I’m spending hours a day on social media trying to get the word out ‘one-reader-at-a-time’!

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I was emphatically told by my initial editor that I should make every attempt to identify a traditional publisher to minimize the heavy lifting required to self-publish. Given the demands of my day job as a Chief Executive Officer of a medical device company, this made a great deal of sense. We both agreed that I would not have the time and energy to self-publish. He’d also indicated that I would have to make room in my garage for all the slow-moving inventory. So, I went old-school and started by soliciting the representation of a literary agency – which took nearly six months to accomplish. After convincing the Trident Media Group in Manhattan to take me on as a client, it took another 4-5 months to identify and negotiate the terms of a publishing contract with Twilight Times Books.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

Snarky? Cool word… I’ll have to use that somewhere in my next book. I guess, the snarkiest thing would be the lack of strong marketing and distribution support. Don’t get me wrong, I am very fortunate to have the engagement of my publisher, but it is my impression that regardless of the size of the publisher, it is still up to the author and their publicist(s) to promote and market the book. It’s a challenging business model that requires a great deal of investment by the author – of both time and money.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

They have been extremely supportive, but for me, it’s all about the timing in my life. I’m now 50-something and the kids are all off doing their own thing; i.e. working, college, graduate school, etc. I wouldn’t have had the time and energy to pursue my writing interest when I was a younger business man, obsessed with establishing new companies while raising a family. They all now think it’s very cool and they’ve become my biggest fans!

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

The craziest times have been over the selection of titles and book cover designs. I can appreciate the importance of both, but I was overwhelmed with the amount of input and scrutiny I received regarding these two elements of getting published. I mean… it was easier to get book reviews than to get my agent, editor, publisher, publicist and wife to agree to the title and cover design!

For example, my first thriller was originally titled Harvest of the Unborn, a novel based on true events that includes the pirating of aborted fetuses and the harvesting of their precious organs that are hydroponically grown to support a multi-billion dollar organ transplant market. None of the top publishing houses would touch such a title by an unknown author. It took several months to come up with a new (appropriate) title and cover design… now EQUITY of EVIL. We had similar issues with my third book, STORYTELLING – The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism, a non-fiction business book that reveals one of the key essentials of being a successful entrepreneur. Weeks were lost during the debate of the cover design. A publicist was fired over an argument regarding the use of the word “indispensable” in the title. It was absolutely crazy!

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

Given the medical/business elements of my books, I’ve found that I get the most traction with LinkedIN. Here I can reach a vast network of not only individuals, but societies, organizations and “clubs” that communicate openly on a daily basis. Twitter is okay, but it’s been tough to expand the amount of followers. Unfortunately, I find Facebook to be the least effective for me. Maybe there’s just too much noise out there for it to be a valuable place to promote these types of books.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

There are different challenges in promoting fictional thrillers compared to this non-fiction book, STORYTELLING. Fortunately, this book has been positively reviewed and recognized to address a critical element of business that has been overlooked by the business and entrepreneur programs in universities throughout the country. Therefore, we have been making a big push to inform the top thirty universities/colleges in the U.S. that this book is available. Many have already implied that this should be mandatory reading in their curriculum and I’ve been asked to give either guest lectures or keynote presentations at their schools.

         
What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

“Hello America! Do yourselves a favor and turn off your damn TVs and Xboxes and read a book!”         

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

Hmmm… I guess what I love is the fact that I am now ‘a published author’. I’ve accomplished some great things in my career, been an accomplished athlete, raised two wonderful kids, proud to be considered a loyal friend to many, and have a den full of awards and certificates. However, there is something extremely rewarding about being ‘a published author’. It’s the cool factor! When I’m now introduced prior to giving a keynote presentation or a guest lecture at a university, the audience lights up when the moderator finally says, “… and on top of that, Mr. Mazzocchi is an award-winning published author of both non-fiction and fictional novels.” How cool is that? www.rudymazzocchi.com

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons' Angela Fiddler



Angela Fiddler wrote her first erotic novel as a birthday present to a friend who had requested kneeling and vampires.  While the vampires come and go in the story, the kneeling remains.  Angela likes smut, dark humor and stories that mix erotica with raw emotion.  She talks about writing and her characters at www.angelafiddler.com.

Her latest book is the paranormal erotica, The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons.


Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I wrote my first novel at eleven and honestly could not imagine any other career path. I decided over a decade ago that any other job I did would just be as a life-support system for my writing and luckily I have a very understanding spouse.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

I think in order to get over that hump between I have a story I want to tell and I have a story I want to tell with enough of an emotional payoff for the reader to want to read, an author has to be internally motivated. So many people line up to tell you that they don’t want to hear what you have to say. To make it through the gauntlet, you have to have another reward pushing you to get better. Writing contracts and huge royalties are awesome goals, but they are at the end of the race, not at the beginning. The contracts may trickle in here and there, but the huge royalties aren’t going to come without hard work. I figured out a long time ago that an audience is not a natural part of learning how to write. And thank god for that.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

I’m a die hard traditional-publishist…Is that a word? I think too many people focus on getting their stuff out there and not enough on whether readers want to read it. I think that if you tell a story that just clicks and are people are willing to put aside all other distractions to get through it from start to finish, it doesn’t matter what path you take to get it in their hands. I think the self-published authors out there that are succeeding are the ones who have been writing long enough to know how to put a story together. My heart breaks when I hear a first time author talking about self-publishing. Yes, there is a very small chance they will make it, but they may win the lottery just by buying a ticket, but success doesn’t come by chance to a book that does not appeal to a very large audience’s needs, and that doesn’t happen by chance. The authors that make it are the ones that keep writing past their third book.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)

When you’re just starting out, don’t spend your royalty check in your head until you get one. Don’t even think about the money. I have a formula in my head where the more things cost, the cooler it has to be and there is an awful lot of free or already paid for entertainment like cable or internet out there already that you have to directly compete with.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

My wife is incredibly supportive. I took some time off from writing for a while. Then in 2012, I told her I was going to quit my job and write full time after not writing anything for three years. I try to write for one reason, and that is to make her smile. That’s incredibly stupid, but when I see her grinning down at the screen, I know I nailed what I was trying to say. She accepts that endless edits are going to make me cranky, but she’s has a regular schedule that I try to keep to it as best as I can or I’d be up all hours of the night puttering on something. 

When I was eleven, I gave my parents the book I wrote. My dad said, in total, “it’s a bit purple” and my mother said, “you know you still have to get a real job, right?” They never asked to read anything else and I never shared anything else I wrote until I was an adult. It gave me a lot of time to master my own voice without the influence of others. Learning how to develop a unique voice is most of the challenge of writing.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

I was in Boston in 2005 for the Worldcon. I had a novel that was almost-not-quite-but-nearly-there (you know that book?) it was my penultimate book, the last book I wrote before I started selling. I was in Salem, Massachusetts and I had to get my tarot cards read. The reading itself was absolutely fabulous. I was going to be a huge success and have all the support I needed. My head was huge. The reader said I could ask one question and of course I asked if my book was going to sell. He studied the cards and said no. I was shocked. The book was almost nearly there! He looked down again and said “You won’t sell it unless you massacre it.” On the plane ride home I reread the draft and saw exactly what he’d somehow saw. It was a good book but the execution was flawed. I did massacre it last year in my year off, but I haven’t done anything with it yet.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I think everyone needs a blog somewhere on one of the big platforms and a facebook for their networking, but I don’t like twitter any more than a late night update. I think all networking sites need to be avoided until the writing is done, though. They’re such massive timesucks.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

In 2006, I went in publishing my first book Castoffs, book one of Master of the Lines thinking m/m bdsm erotica wasn’t going to fly off the shelf and I was truly shocked by how well it actually did. The only way to make it is to consistently tell stories that are interesting and engaging and grind away at it until one book takes off and then you’ll have a pretty decent backlist.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Oh, my god. Filter every sentence through your point of view character. If you want description that absolutely nails what something looks like, read Madame Bovary until your eyes can’t focus. Then go back to how your character FEELS about what is happening around him rather than trying to transcribe it as objectively as possible. Objectivity is boring.


Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I figured out during my hiatus that writing stories are more than just having interesting things happening to characters. You still need to say something about the human condition as entertainingly as possible. I wrote The Care and Feeding of Sex Demons as a response to all the stories I’d growing up from the Xanth books onwards that talk about having a sexual companion who can’t say no as the ultimate fantasy. It might be a nice fantasy, but the reality is, we already have words for people who are unable to refuse sexual contact. No magic is involved.

The book is a sexy romp about the hijinx a man and his best friend gets into while trying to save the world and maintain his relationship at the same time, but it still speaks to sex trafficking and the fact that gay relationships are no easier in their maintenance as a straight one.

I love being able to say things. I may not like the four or five passes to take out all the words that detract from the important words, but the final result is always worth it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Straight from the Mouth of 'Deeds of a Colored Soldier during the Rebellion, Volume 1: From the Beginning to Chickamagua' F.W. Abel


F.W. Abel was born in the city of New York, long ago enough to have not even been a teenager at the beginning of the Civil War Centennial.  He escaped from Fordham University with a degree in psychology into the U.S. Army.  The army had him function as a psychologist for a while, until he escaped from that into “the real army” that is, the infantry.  After postings in Berlin, Tokyo and the southern United States, he left and became a junior executive in the insurance industry.  He now labors diligently for the American taxpayer as a federal bureaucrat.  He currently resides in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.  As many of the most important battles of the Civil war was fought within a relatively short distance, he has taken advantage and visited most of them, as well as several in the so-called “Western Theater.” 

Purchase the book on Amazon

Questionnaire:

Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

I read a lot, mostly history and for real pleasure, good (don’t be offended, but my local public library includes books of the “bodice-ripper” genre on this shelf) historical fiction.

While I certainly don’t include myself in the class of George MacDonald Fraser, Bernard Cornwell or Dewy Lambdin, I thought I could write a piece of historical fiction that, if not as good as theirs, at least not bad.

On the other hand, I also read authors like Christopher Moore, but don’t have near the imagination to write what he does.  Historical fiction is easy be comparison.  History has provided the plot line, and all the author has to is dramatize the dull parts and dress up the already dramatic parts.

If nothing else, sometimes writing it down is the only way to get the idea out of one’s head. 

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

First, let me say I’m not a writer.  Beckett, Joyce – they’re writers.  I’m merely a story-teller.

But to make any kind of writing more than just a hobby (or therapy) takes some self-discipline.  I wrote by first two novels which becane, with much, much polishing, Deeds of a Colored Soldier during the Rebellion, Volume 1, when I was between jobs.  If I could turn out five fairly decent pages in a day, that, to me, was a successful day.

Of course, getting it published takes writing to a new level.  No matter how many times I go over it, I will miss something that requires editing, either just copy-editing or something to make what is clear in my own mind understandable to the reader.  So, friends who are willing to read my stuff and don’t pull any punches in their critiques are a godsend.

From there, we go to professional editors.  My publisher had two go over Deeds, and I appreciate the embarrassment they saved me because, remember, I wanted to write good fiction.

Then there is further polishing, to deadlines, because publishing is a business, not an art form.  My publisher is a delight, not demanding, but gently ensuring that I get things done in a timely fashion, and is gratifyingly enthusiastic and encouraging.

So, a person who writes as hobby has to be prepared for writing as a business, with all that entails, including criticism.

As for perks, well my book isn’t quite out yet.  However, I am of course expecting the standard rich and famous status when it does.
 
Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

Traditional.  It’s hard to break in.  (If you don’t believe me, I’ll show my inch-plus thick folder of rejection letters.)  Publishing is expensive, so just like Hollywood and Broadway, publishers would rather deal with known quantities rather than take the chance on discovering the “next new big thing.”

I was lucky in that a friend of four decades, Scott O’Connell, published author of the Yankee Doodle Spies series, gave me an introduction to Lida Quillen, publisher of Twilight Times Books. 

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

Sometimes they get annoyed.  The writing can become obsessive.  This was especially true when I started my first novel, because it appeared to just be a hobby.  Remember, I started on it when I was between jobs.  However, my wife, Kathy, held things together financially and let me continue with it.  It’s no wonder the book is dedicated to her.

In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

I simply ignored them all.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

Nothing I can recall.  I guess my life is just dull.

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

I am a product of my generation, and so far, have managed to avoid them all.  However, I suppose that will have to change when the standard rich and FAMOUS kicks in.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you?

Hasn’t happened yet.  But I’m willing to make someone “an offer they can’t refuse.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

The present state of politics in these great United States.  I really want to go up on the roof and push a few pols off. 

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  


Friday, February 14, 2014

Straight From the Mouth of 'The Black Song Inside' Carlyle Clark



Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.


He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.

His latest book is the mystery thriller, The Black Song Inside.

Visit his website at http://carlyleclark.wordpress.com/.


Thanks for letting us interrogate interview you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author? 

Sure. I was driven by the stories that I constantly make up in my head. Umpteen people had told me I should be a writer and it finally occurred to me they may be right. So I gave it a crack and people really enjoyed the stories I came up with. Since I enjoy writing them I set about trying to become a professional.

Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands? 

My experience with Thomas & Mercer has been fantastic; Last year they hosted their first annual On The Lam conference in Seattle and they paid for all the authors they published that year to fly to Seattle for three days, all-expenses paid. There I met several authors who had been traditionally published many times and they said the trip as well as the speed with which T&M responds to authors and the power they give authors in the publishing process is unheard of. So my experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The demands are locking yourself away form your loved ones to enter the world of make-believe.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 

I started out small press for the novel I co-wrote with my wife, Suki Michelle, then went self-publishing for The Black Song Inside since there was only one publisher I would have been interested in signing with and I had no agent or way to reach them. Then, lo and behold, an editor from that publisher, Thomas & Mercer, discovered my novel, loved it, and offered me a contract which I was thrilled to accept. My experience was phenomenal. T&M is super fast, friendly, and professional.

What’s the snarkiest thing you can say about the publishing industry (e.g. rejections, the long wait, etc.)?

Having experience with only one publisher and having that experience be first-rate, I just don’t have anything snarky to say.

Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you? 

Well, since I moved far away from my family it’s just my wife, Suki, and me and but she is not thrilled when I lock myself away and type for hours but fortunately she is also a writer and she understands.

What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process?

The craziest thing was something I already mentioned which was having the only publisher I wanted to sign with magically find me out of the thousands and thousands of self-published novels on Amazon. Getting that email was one of the great thrills of my life, even though at first I was sure it was scam. I checked it out every which way I could before making the fateful phone call to the number in the email. And then getting flown across country to stay in a great hotel and eat at wonderful restaurants and given perks, and all of the wonderful things T&M did that didn’t have anything to do with On The Lam like letting me pick my book cover, etc . The whole process was unreal. 

How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid? 

I think most social networks work as long as you aren’t trying to use them to sell things. What I mean by that is I have seen established authors use them well to create a buzz about an upcoming book and then to let fans know when the book is released. The most important thing is you have to enjoy using them for their own sake because just sending out tweets and posts constantly that basically say “Buy my Book” is counter-productive because then you are a spammer. I sort of avoid Twitter because I’m always afraid I’ll say something badly and it will go viral in a bad way.

Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 

Fortunately, T&M does a good job of promoting. They just got me into the 20 Kindle Books for $2 for the month of January. I certainly loved that month because even though the novel was half price I sold fifty times what I normally sell in a month so I’m still basking in that afterglow. As for what I personally do it’s blog tours and working on sequels.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

Just what a great time it is for readers and writers! So many authors who had failed to break into traditional publishing are having great success with self-publishing. Some are sticking with that, others are switching to traditional and some are going hybrid, publishing some traditional and some Indie. It’s great for readers and writers because the more successful their favorite authors are the sooner they can quit their day job and write more and thus churn out more good books.

Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 

It’s a real thrill to get fan mail and reviews from readers who enjoyed my novel the way I enjoy novels from my favorite authors. So just getting confirmation that there are real people out there that I gave a good read to is just immensely satisfying and it makes the whole struggle worthwhile.