Thursday, April 22, 2021

Straight from the Mouth of Thriller Author Amy Rivers

Name: Amy Rivers
Book Title: Complicit
Find out more on Amazon 

But Don’t Take It Personally by Amy Rivers

You spend all this time creating a book—your own personal masterpiece. The first time you let someone else see it, you might quake with anxiety. Maybe it’s your sister or your best friend. Maybe your husband or your girlfriend. And they love you, so they’re encouraging. They heap on the praise and you feel like a gold medalist in the Olympics. 

Then, you publish the book. Maybe you self-publish and the process is fast. Maybe you go the traditional route, get an agent, sell your book to a Big 5 publisher and you’re on your way. It may take months. It may take years, but the first time you hold a print copy in your hand, the feeling is unforgettable. You ride high on that elation—right up until the reviews start rolling in.

Now, it doesn’t matter if you’ve written one book or a hundred. You could be the most gifted, prophetic writer of our time, and someone is still going to hate your work. Unfortunately, the people who hate it seem to be the most likely to go public with their opinion. Between notes of love and approval, you start to hear “It wasn’t my thing” or “I couldn’t connect.” Occasionally, you get a good old fashioned “this is the worst book I’ve ever read.” Read it. Don’t read it. But move on. 

My personal favorite, of course, are the people who give you a one-star review and then say “I hated it so much I stopped reading.” That’s right, fellow authors. They didn’t like the book enough to finish reading it but they DID feel the need to give you a terrible rating, which will now affect the way that your book shows up in search results, and will probably have you pouring another glass of wine ASAP.

And it’s not just the written reviews that sting. 

Consider the agent whose rejection email includes the line, “sorry, but I’m looking for the next big thing and this is not it.” 


Or the seasoned author who entered the publishing industry at a completely different time in its evolution and isn’t being the least bit ironic when he says he was hoping for more from you as a storyteller. He may even have a point, but establishing yourself as an author today requires a whole different set of skills. In the age of social media, readers have instant access to thousands of books that fit their preferences. And the ability to praise and pan authors is at their fingertips. 

It should probably come as no surprise that authors react the way any proud mama would when someone points out that her kid’s hair needs a good brushing. 

But you can’t feed the trolls.  

Practice your death glare. Mutter creative curses under your breath. And for God’s sake, learn a few new hair styling techniques before heading out into public again. 

But don’t take it personally. 


Monday, November 9, 2020

Straight from the Mouth of Historical Novelist Joan Schweighardt

Open Letter to a Grammar Blunder Hunter (or, Speak for Yourself)

Dear “Book Blogger” Who Once Said Poor Grammar Hurt My Writing:

Most of the novels reviewers and bloggers are likely to be asked to critique will be written in third person. This means that someone outside the parameters of the story—presumably the author—is telling the story. A third-person narration in a novel might go something like this:

Frank came out of the hardware store and realized his car was gone. He’d seen some boys on his way in, but his only thought at the time was that it was Monday morning and those kids should have been in school. Now he wondered if they were the ones who stole his car. “Crap!” he cried. “Them kids musta done it! They musta!”

The reader knows two things right off the bat. One, Frank believes his car was stolen by some boys. And two, Frank’s grammar leaves something to be desired. Very few book reviewers or bloggers would make the mistake of attributing Frank’s bad grammar to the author because that grammar is in quotations. It is dialogue. The author is building character by showing us how Frank talks. 

The confusion for some book reviewers and bloggers begins when the novel is narrated not by the author but by someone who is actually in the story, which is to say, one of the characters. This is called first-person narration. What if Frank was telling his own story? Frank’s first-person narration might go something like this:

I went into the hardware store that morning to buy a new showerhead, because the wife was bellyaching the old one didn’t put out enough water. And I come out and find my car’s gone! I seen those darn kids off to the right just before I went into the store. Had to be them. Had to be.

You can see the attraction for the author to have Frank tell the story in his own words. The fact that he refers to his spouse as “the wife” speaks volumes in itself. And if we need further proof that Frank is imperfect, we have his “I seen them.” And there is a switch from past tense (I went) to present (I come) right in the middle of the paragraph too. This writing reeks of bad grammar, right?

Actually, no; Frank has poor grammar, true, and on top of that, he is flippant in the way he talks about his wife. But it would be a mistake for someone reviewing the book in which this paragraph appears to attribute the sin of bad grammar to the author as well. The author has simply given Frank permission to speak for himself. 

Here’s one more example of first-person narration to consider:

Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the stars over us was sparkling ever so fine.

Yes, there are grammatical errors here too, but that is only because Mark Twain is allowing his character Huck Finn to tell his own story. Huck lacks an education. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is necessarily full of grammatical blunders. The tradeoff is that by having Huck speak for himself, the author gets to “show” us exactly who Huck is, rather than describing Huck’s quirks for us. We’re right there with Huck, as close as a reader can get. 

Overzealous blunder hunters need only ask themselves who is narrating the book they plan to review or comment on. If it’s one of the characters, they can put down their red pens and relax and go with the flow—or read something else.  


An author who frequently lets her characters speak for themselves

Joan Schweighardt is the author of River Aria (which is both a standalone novel and the third book in a trilogy), as well as other novels, nonfiction titles, and children’s books. She is also a freelance writer and ghostwriter. Visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Straight From the Mouth of Western Author Curt Orloff

Inside the Book:

Title: Thunder in the Wind
Author: Curt Orloff
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Fiction/Westerns
Format: Ebook

Purchase Here

Thunder in the Wind is a historical novel concerning the assimilation reservation American Indians underwent at the turn of the twentieth century. The first part of the work describes how the Assiniboine, and one family in particular, deal with the onslaught of a society that not only was technologically superior, but also thought itself so morally superior it treats the tribe as if it was a hopeless dependent. The second part follows the exploits of the main character as he tries to unite the Plains, Great Basin, and Southwestern tribes in revolt, not to defeat the whites, but to scare them so badly they would restore to the Indians the selfhood they had stolen. Miskaw deals with the same trials Tecumseh experienced early in the previous century while uniting the tribes east of the Mississippi and, in dealing with them learns several truths about himself and the human condition. If not for hubris, the outcome of his endeavor may have been dramatically different.

I'm a Yankee who became a damn Yankee when I wouldn't leave the South. When I did leave it, was for overseas where I comfortably acquired the moniker of "yank". I have two bachelor degrees. The one in geology I use to support myself, the one in history just showed I am curious about human nature. This curiosity culminated in Thunder in the Wind after I found out about a Cree named Almighty Voice while I was engaged in geologic fieldwork in Montana. His revolt almost united the tribes. I was an Army 1st Lieutenant, lived for golf as a youth and got to play on the University of Houston golf team, and was an Eagle Boy Scout. I've been writing books for over two decades, getting only to the agent level. At present, one agent is peddling a novel I wrote about the oilfield. I was a well-site geologist for fourteen years and a petroleum engineer, mostly overseas, for seven years.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Straight From the Mouth of Thriller/Noir Author Lee Matthew Goldberg

The Inspiration Behind Slow Down

By Lee Matthew Goldberg

Slow Down is being reissued with a new publisher so it was written a long time ago. I’d been fired from my first job after college at a production company that was quite abusive, and I put that into the
start of the novel. I heard the song “Yellow” by Coldplay and imagined if many people had the same tattoo of a yellow circle. Without a job, I would write every day in the park, and it made me realize that writing was what I wanted to do full-time.
After finishing, I sent the book out to agents but it really wasn’t ready. So I stuck it in a draw and wrote a different book that landed my agent. We tried sending Slow Down out, but editors found the main character too “mean and unsympathetic”. It wasn’t until we found an indie publisher that liked the book for that very reason. It was exciting to have Slow Down be my debut and now three novels later, it’s even more exciting for it to be re-released and find a whole new audience. 
The theme of the novel is that the characters are moving at too fast a pace and will have to slow down to save their lives. They exist in a wealthy, Hollywood bubble that rewards them for their bad behavior. But the novel is a love story too between the two main characters, Noah and Nevie. To be together they must give up all the glitz and fame and escape to a place where they can just live simply. The question is, Do they make it out alive?
About the Book
How far would you go to make your dreams come true? For budding writer and filmmaker Noah Spaeth, being a Production Assistant in director Dominick’s Bambach’s new avant-garde film isn’t enough. Neither is watching Dominick have an affair with the lead actress, the gorgeous but troubled Nevie Wyeth. For Noah’s dream is to get both the film and Nevie in the end, whatever the cost. And this obsession may soon become a reality once Dominick’s spurned wife Isadora reveals her femme fatale nature with a seductive plot to get rid of her husband for good.

Slow Down, a cross between the noir styling of James M. Cain and the dark satire of Bret Easton Ellis, is a thrilling page-turner that holds a mirror up to a media-saturated society that is constantly searching for the fastest way to get ahead, regardless of consequences.

Here’s what readers are saying about Slow Down!

“Slow Down is a frenetic first novel…full of unedifying characters scrambling for the elusive, perhaps imaginary, brass ring.”
Publishers Weekly
“Lee Matthew Goldberg writes like a young Bret Easton Ellis doing a line of uncut Denis Johnson off the back of a public urinal. Memorable in the best possible way, also mostly illegal, Goldberg’s Slow Down is a mad man’s tour of Manhattan’s vices, follies, and ultimate betrayals.”
–Urban Waite, author of The Terror of Living and Sometimes the Wolf
What would happen if one of Raymond Chandler’s 1940’s femme fatales were to join forces with one of Jay McInerney’s enfant terribles? Lee Matthew Goldberg wrings every delectable trope imaginable out of this mashup while still managing a fresh spin. A writer to watch out for.”
–David Kukoff, author of Children of the Canyon
“Slow Down starts fast and gets faster quick, gunning through yellow streetlights on its way to a full collision with your shattered soul. Lee Matthew Goldberg takes on the American Zeitgeist in this stunning debut.”
–Stephen Jay Schwartz, LA Times bestselling author of Boulevard and Beat
Slow Down is a brilliant rush of a work charting the rise and fall of Noah and other pretentious losers. Savor this book.”
Foreword Reviews
“Dark and hard-boiled writing that grabs you by the throat. Slow Down is one of those rare novels that’s so good you want it to go on forever!”
–Nick Pengelley, author of Ryder: An Ayesha Ryder Novel
“The plot takes off…there’s no denying it’s fun to watch rich snots destroy themselves.”
“Goldberg’s portrayal of the New York demimonde is one of the book’s strengths and brings to mind Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero. He also succeeds in marshalling a complicated plot.”


Amazon →

About the Author 
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming, along with his Alaskan Gold Rush novel THE ANCESTOR. He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press, Monologging and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.



Friday, July 17, 2020

Straight from the Mouth of Memoirist Marilea C. Rabasa

Putting pen to paper is a journey that leads many of us to unexpected levels of self-discovery, full of delights, surprises, and sometimes, dismay. Often I feel confused or I want answers to a particular problem that is getting in my way. And when I write about it, the mud often sinks to the bottom and I can see things more clearly. Writing becomes a clarification process.

Sometimes I start a piece, and by the time I’ve finished it, I’ve answered some questions. And oftentimes I change my mind about some preconceived notions I had been unsure about. Writing down my thoughts is a way to shine a light on things that had been hidden—things that perhaps, upon writing about it, become ready to see the daylight.

In Lillian Hellman’s wonderful collection of remembrances she wrote in 1973, Pentimento, she points out how artists sometimes paint over what they had painted before. They changed their minds; they “repented.” It’s sort of like, as she said when she described the term “pentimento,” so too in literature, she adds, “my old conception, replaced by a later choice, is a way of seeing, and then seeing again.

Many times I’ve written stories that ended up nowhere I had intended. I thought I wanted to write about one thing, but ended up writing about something else. Sometimes another story is unearthed in the process. It’s a real excavation process, as we mine our depths often coming out so much richer in self-knowledge than we were in the beginning.

About the Author

Marilea C. Rabasa is a retired high school teacher who moved west from Virginia eleven years ago. Before that, she traveled around the world with her former husband in the Foreign Service. She has been published in a variety of publications. Writing as Maggie C. Romero, Rabasa won the International Book Award, was named a finalist in both the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards and the USA Best Book Awards, and earned an honorable mention in The Great Southwest Book Festival, for her 2014 release, A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  She lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for a number of years and now resides in Camano Island, Washington. Visit her online at: 

About the Book

Addiction is a stealth predator. Unrecognized, it will grow and flourish. Unchecked, it destroys.

Marilea grew up in post-WWII Massachusetts in a family that lived comfortably and offered her every advantage. But there were closely guarded family secrets. Alcoholism reached back through several generations, and it was not openly discussed. Shame and stigma perpetuated the silence. Marilea became part of this ongoing tragedy.

Her story opens with the death of her mother. Though not an alcoholic, it is her inability to cope with the dysfunction in her life that sets her daughter up for a multitude of problems.

We follow Marilea from an unhappy childhood, to her life overseas in the diplomatic service, to now, living on an island in Puget Sound. What happens in the intervening years is a compelling tale of travel, motherhood, addiction, and heartbreaking loss. The constant thread throughout this story is the many faces and forms of addiction, stalking her like an obsessed lover, and with similar rewards. What, if anything, will free her of the masks she has worn all her life?

Read Marilea’s inspiring recovery story and learn how she wrestles with the demons that have plagued her.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Straight from the Mouth of Author David Armstrong: "It's All About Timing"

Name: David Armstrong


Book Title: The Rising Place




Buy book: The Rising Place by David Armstrong


Shortly after I completed my second novel, The Rising Place, I read an article about a film premiere by a Mississippi director/producer that was being held in Jackson, Mississippi, not far from my hometown of Natchez. As I read the article about his film, I was struck by the similarities between my novel and what his movie was about.

I got the crazy idea (or so it seemed, at the time) that Tom (the director) just might be looking for an idea for his next film (This is what I mean by “crazy”—directors and producers are always inundated with ideas and scripts!).

So, I got in my brand new, Mercedes Benz (yeah, right—actually, it was an old Toyota Tercel) and drove to Jackson with my polished manuscript, The Rising Place, in hand.

After the showing, which was well attended, Tom stayed and answered various questions from audience members. I didn’t ask Tom anything; I was waiting for my chance to meet him, personally, and pitch my manuscript for his next film.

Well, after all the questions and answers were finally over, and Tom was leaving the theatre, I cornered him before he made it to his waiting car and introduced myself.

His natural response was, “Who the hell are you, and what the hell is that you’re holding in your hand?” (Film directors and producers, I’ve noticed, use the word, “hell,” a lot—must be a Hollywood thing.)

I told Tom my name, that I was an attorney, former Natchez mayor, and that I once ran for the U.S. Congress.

Tom was quite gracious and replied, “So, what the hell am I supposed to be—impressed, or something?”

“No,” I told him back, “but I do think you’ll be impressed with this manuscript I brought you.”

“I doubt it,” Tom informed me, “but, hell, why not. Give it to me, and I’ll try to read it on the plane when I fly back to L.A. It’s a helluva long flight back, you know.”

So, I handed Tom my manuscript. He got inside his friend’s BMW, and they drove away into the night, without even honking goodbye (which is the polite thing to do in Mississippi).

A whole year passed. Then, one night, I got a phone call from Tom (When he told me his full name, it didn’t even register with me.). “Hey, David, this is Tom.”

“Tom who?”

“Tom, from Hollywood. I finally finished reading your manuscript, and I loved the hell out of it!”

“Great!” I said.

“I want it to be my next film.”

“Great,” I told him, again. “I never doubted that. So, Tom—how much you gonna’ pay me for it?”

And that was the start of an eighteen-month collaboration between Tom and myself for the filming of The Rising Place. The film won sixteen film festival awards and opened in both L.A. and New York before going to DVD.

Unfortunately, I naturally assumed that selling the book rights to a publisher would be a cinch since there was already a great film out about the story. Boy, was I wrong! Most publishers weren’t interested because they couldn’t acquire potential film rights, as well. The rest seemed to be put off by the epistolary, writing style that I used (where letters tell the story, as in that wonderful novel, The Color Purple). Anyway, I never could find a publisher. So, I stopped trying and wrote another novel, The Third Gift, which will be released this summer, in addition to four screenplays.

Fast forward several years. I decided to try to sell The Rising Place, again, and was blessed to find a great Indie publisher, The Wild Rose Press, that loved it. The novel was released on April 27th on Amazon, and my editor at The Wild Rose Press and I are busy editing The Third Gift, before its upcoming release.

As I said above, it’s all about timing….


Monday, May 11, 2020

Straight From the Mouth of J. Richman Author of A Man's Late Night Thoughts

A Man’s late night thoughts did not start as a book. In the beginning it was a daily journal that I wrote each night I wrote a review of my days active and added my reaction and if I learned anything. I put that into a very short thought.

Then strange things happen. If during the day I would hear a odd word I found myself forming a raw thought that was a reflect of my past and that word---I made a note and placed the note by my computer and held in place by a plastic chunk of dog poop
From time to time late at night I review those raw ideas and started to rewrite them. Clean them up and shorten by removing unnecessary words---many of these were reworded a dozen times over time. Some were crap, some were great---I started to share these with friends and my kids---and when they added up to over a 100 I stared to think ---book---now 344 original  thoughts
These thoughts were about forgiving our self and others for deeds that could only fit into a nightmare.
Many were observation of screw ups that all men yes all of us do, but do not express our inter reactions. but should. Many our negative thoughts  come from the actions and words of other people that effect us---guilt trips that a boss or wife or so call friends try to give us, lesson is we do not to go—not required trip.
Forgive your self---few other will. One can say to yourself or other—that was before I knew better.
When women read the 344 thoughts and they gain knowledge of their man’s thinking and can change their reactions to how they handle problems in a way that will not further hurt their man and make every far worse.
At the same time many of the thoughts will give insight to all ladies problems and perhaps alter their life and how they think of themselves. Can I unwound you—Can you unwound me
Every man and every women or every teenager will like them self better after reading these thoughts

About the Book 

A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS by J. Richman is a creative and life-affirming collection of ponderings that expose the deep thoughts and feelings of a man who has lived a life full of diverse experiences and challenges. This uniquely constructed compilation of more than 300 reflections focuses on several areas of living, including intimate relationships and acceptance of human frailty, as well as the author’s internal conflicts.

A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS homes in on the complications inherent in intimate relationships from the opening pages of the book: “Problems accrue when we confuse how a woman looks with who she is.” Richman brings the perspective of a mature man to the lessons on love presented in the book, including, “Exploitation of another depreciates both parties,” and “The reason we fall in love with flawed people is that that’s the only kind of people there are.”

In addition to offering a brief study of intimate relationships, A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS probes human frailty and offers readers guidance in accepting this fact. “We must learn to be strong enough to be gentle,” brings into focus the need to deliberately work at treating people well. The author also encourages readers to show self-compassion when dealing with their own baggage: “Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the wreckage of our lives, but we must! Take heart! We are more than our mistakes.”

In A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS, Richman further challenges readers to take the reins of their lives when he says, “Name those things that you would do if you had no fear then do something about it.” He offers words of caution regarding political rhetoric: “Beware of politicians who whip up emotions to make us suspicious of others unlike us.” And rounds the book out by sharing his internal conflicts: “The world has bent me more than I have bent it”; “too often my logical mind and my emotional mind are hostile enemies”; “every time I look in the mirror, I expect to see a younger man.”

A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS began as a series of notes that Richman wrote to himself. “I found that if I do not write out my true, and often painful, thoughts and feelings, I do not deal with them.” Richman wishes a book like this one had been available when he was a boy because the knowledge enclosed could have assisted him in navigating his teenage and young adult years. He hopes A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS will assure men that they are not alone in their quiet musings. For women, Richman believes the book will provide a window into men’s unexpressed emotions.


Amazon →

 Barnes & Noble →

About the Author

Richman is the author of A MAN’S LATE NIGHT THOUGHTS, a collection of thoughts about life, relationships, and humanity.

Richman’s work history includes his service as an undercover intelligence officer in the US Air Force; later, he established a thriving business in real estate investment. For 16 years, Richman owned and operated Modify My Mortgage, a company that worked with homeowners to prevent foreclosures. His business success allowed Richman the time to pursue his passions, which included serving as the president of Nova, a workshop that provided work and life skills training for clients with disabilities; cofounding A Way Across, a drop-in center for teenagers with emotional and substance abuse problems; and fundraising for several more public service groups.

Richman enjoys writing and editing at night after allowing his ideas to blossom and expand during the day. The author is married with three sons and five grandsons.