Thursday, April 23, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'Silk' Chris Karlsen

Chris is a Chicago native. Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was in her late teens where she later studied at UCLA. She graduated with a Business Degree. Her father was a history professor and her mother a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books.

Her parents were also passionate about traveling and passed their passion onto Chris. Once bitten with the travel bug, Chris spent most of her adult life visiting the places she'd read about and that fascinated her. Her travels have taken her Europe, the Near East, and North Africa, in addition to most of the United States. She most frequently visited England and France, where several of her books are set.

After college, Chris spent the next twenty-five years in law enforcement with two agencies. Harboring a strong desire to write since her teens, upon retiring from police work, Chris decided to pursue her writing career. She writes three different series. Her historical romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters.

Her latest book, Silk, is book one in her mystery/suspense series, The Bloodstone series. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs. 

Purchase 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've always been an avid reader and being an only child developed a vivid imagination. From the time I was a teen, I would rewrite scenes and book endings in my head. I wanted to be a writer but didn't have the courage when I was younger. I went for a more practical profession in law enforcement. Once I retired, I decided to try to fulfill that secret desire to write. I sat down and wrote a story I had in my head for decades. At the same time I began taking courses to learn the craft.

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?

The perks are bringing different characters to life. World  building for them. Fleshing out the people in the story in such a way the reader feels what they feel. Creating a setting that makes the reader feel like they are walking the same path with the characters.

The demands are: sitting you tush in a chair and writing, committing to dedicating the time it takes to craft a good tale.  Also, developing a tough skin. Unless the book is a rare exception it's bound to get rejected by many agents and editors. The majority of well known, successful writers can tell stories about all the rejects they had when they started. Once it is published, accept there will be some negative reviews. Not everyone will love your story. A writer has to be tough enough to move on and continue writing.

Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like? 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 tried for almost five years to get noticed by the New York Publishers and agents. The process was demoralizing and frustrating. After all the disappointment, a dear friend who has a small indie publishing company that represented short stories at the time took me to lunch. She asked if I'd be willing to give her company a shot at publishing my full length novel. I decided it was time to stop beating my head against the NY wall and gave my manuscript over to her. I've been with Books to Go Now, her company, ever since.

I know a number of writers published by the traditional NY houses. Many have no say in their covers and release dates. I personally work with the cover designer of my books and I choose the date for the release and base my promotion accordingly. I still give my cover choice and my trailers to my editor for final approval but she lets me have almost full rein on my work.

I am a slow writer. I don't want the stress of having an NY editor or agent looming and troubling me over deadlines in addition to not having artistic control.

My husband is very good about supporting my work. He has taken upon himself to cook most nights so I can stay writing. He is also a Beta reader for me. I give him my final draft before I send it in. That said, he does feel neglected some days and lets me know. I remind how important my writing is to me. He's a baseball agent and I compare my dedication to his for his job. Generally that works to help keep the problem from getting out of hand.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

I have five wild and incorrigible rescue dogs. They know when it's dinner time and they gather at my desk. A couple just stare and one they designated will start bumping my elbow. I don't get to write too much more once that starts.

Are your plants actually still alive?

I have a few plants. They are still alive but they are not fussed over. We live on a large property and I have several flower beds. I am a terrible gardener. Every spring I buy several lovely flower containers and plant them in the beds. The majority die then I buy more.

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 am lucky. I am retired so I don't have a boss at my throat. My step children are grown and live out of state. And as I mentioned, my husband has started cooking more and more. When the phone rings, I'll take the call but unless it's a good friend, I cut the conversation short. I have the dogs running in and out all day as they have a dog door to the yard. I no longer hear it. The times my husband is on the phone talking loudly in the other room or the dogs are barking and playing, I put on a playlist and just keep typing.

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

Several years ago I had a Russian lady email me. She told me how much she liked my first book, Heroes Live Forever. She had the English translation, which she hoped was close to the original as her translation was from the Russian edition.  The thing is-there is no Russian edition, not then, not now. She had a pirated copy of course. I never told her that. Instead, I sent her a print copy of the book and the sequel as she could read and write decent English. She loved having signed copies. I thought at least she has the correct versions if she wants to read them.

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

I am probably one of the worst people to ask that. I am what my husband calls a cybersaurus. I am terrible with cyber anything so I don't use all the networks available. I do not Tweet. I don't know all the weird little symbols or abbreviations and although I have a Twitter account, I don't do anything with it. I also don't blog. Honestly, I feel to do a blog right, I'd have to spend more time than I'm willing, time that takes away from my writing. I use Facebook and Pinterest, and I've just signed onto Tsu. I also have a lot on my website. I have a PA that tweets for me on her network and she updates my web page and I handle my FB page and author central at Amazon. I might be part of a newsletter that will come out quarterly with three other authors. We are in discussions about that right now.

I avoid chat rooms on some of the large romance sites. They're very time consuming as well and all too often I am one of a dozen authors and it's hard to get noticed.

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

Sales can be very weird. I will hit a period where a backlist book that hasn't moved in a year will suddenly take off. For me the summer is always slow. Everyone is on vacation and outside doing sports or BBQs rather than inside reading, and sales reflect that, at least mine do.

I do a lot of tours. I buy a fair amount of ad space on Kindle oriented sites mainly. I do different types of tours. I will sign on for Blitz, blog, Review, and trailer tours, sometimes cover reveals. I've only done two FB parties with mixed results. I don't know yet whether I'll do another.

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

The difficulty in writing in different genres, especially for female authors. I have three series. The first two are romances or have a romantic subplot. My Knights in Time series books are historical romances. My Dangerous Waters series books are romantic thrillers. My latest book Silk is not a romance by any means. It is a suspense/thriller set in Victorian London. 

When I told my writer friends I wanted to do this thriller set in 1888 England with a detective inspector as the protagonist, some warned that I had to use a different pen name.  I shouldn't write in any other genre but romance under the name Chris Karlsen as no one expects anything but that from me. I decided against that advice. I felt and still feel readers are perfectly capable of reading different style stories from the same author.  After all, Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and the late David Gemmell write different genres and readers are fine with that. Why not me? I know it's a risk, but I had a character I wanted to write into a story I wanted to tell. I am terribly fond of Det. Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and plan to bring him back.

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 getting lost in a book, a story that takes to someplace else entirely. I have characters that creep into my consciousness or story ideas that beg to be brought to life. I want to share the story and bring the characters to the page to show them off. I can't imagine what I would do if I had to stop. My dream is to have a television series or movie of the week done around a book of mine or a series. If I keep writing, maybe one of the books will find its way to a Hollywood producer's desk:) Fingers crossed.



A Bitch Slap to the Experts: My Painful Initial Journey into the Realms of Publishing by James Mace

Soldier of Rome Book Banner

Soldier of Rome Rebellion in JudeaTitle: Soldier of Rome: Rebellion in Judea
Author: James Mace
Publisher: CreateSpace
Pages: 430
Genre: Historical
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 In the year 66 A.D. the Roman province of Judea exploded in rebellion. Far from being a revolution of unified peoples, the various Jewish factions of Sadducees, Zealots, Sicarii, and Edomites are in a state of civil war; as anxious to spill the blood of each other as they are to fight the Romans. The Judeans find hope when the Romans commit a serious tactical blunder and allow their forces to be ambushed and nearly destroyed in the mountain pass of Beth Horon. Following the disaster, Emperor Nero recalls to active service Flavius Vespasian, the legendary general who had been instrumental in the conquest of Britannia twenty-three years before. In the northern region of Galilee, a young Judean commander named Josephus ben Matthias readies his forces to face the coming onslaught. A social and political moderate, he fears the extremely violent Zealot fanatics, who threaten to overthrow the newly-established government in Jerusalem, as much as he does the Romans. Soon Vespasian, a tactical and strategic genius who had never been defeated in battle, unleashes his huge army upon Galilee. His orders are to crush the rebellion and exact the harshest of punishments upon those who would violate the Peace of Rome. Lacking the manpower and resources to face the legions in open battle, Josephus knows he will need plenty of cunning, ingenuity, and, perhaps, even the intervention of God Himself, lest the once proud Kingdoms of Judah and Israel should become a kingdom of the damned.

For More Information

  • Soldier of Rome: Rebellion in Judea is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads
A Bitch Slap to the Experts
My Painful Initial Journey into the Realms of Publishing

My publishing journey began in February 2006, at a time when the world was changing (seriously, I can hear Galadriel’s voice in my head as I write this). The first generation of Amazon Kindle and other eBook devices were still a year or so away, and the big publishing houses still ruled the literary empire. I had recently finished my first book, Soldier of Rome: The Legionary, and was about halfway done with the sequel. I figured now was the time to find a publisher.

Since there is no ‘Publishing for Dumbasses’ guidebook, I was completely clueless where to even begin. All I knew was that I had written a pretty decent story about the Roman Legions that people seemed to like. Deciding I needed help from the experts, I joined several online forums for authors and freelance writers. Every last one of them emphasized that in order to succeed as an author, you must get a literary agent, and you must get picked up by one of the big publishing houses. Otherwise you were nothing but a wannabe and a failure. I figured, “fair enough”. After all, these were the experts, I was the clueless rookie.

As I started to put together my letters to literary agents, every source I researched stated that you needed to mass-blast queries out, because for every hundred you send, you might get two responses (kind of like internet dating). First giant red flag that popped up while going through the various lists of agents, was that over half of them did not use email, but instead required you to send your query, and sometimes a portion or all of your manuscript, via snail mail. Seriously? I mean, this was 2006, not 1906! Did these Guardians of the Literary Gates also use vintage typewriters for their correspondence, and an abacus to calculate their royalty payments? Alright, whatever, these people are the professionals, I am the amateur, so I’ll play their game. A hundred query letters, along with envelopes of my manuscript (some of them wanted the whole bloody thing, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, so they could mail it back), a hundred dollars or so in postage, and lo and behold, I actually got about twenty responses back. A number of literary specialists told me this was quite impressive; however, given that every last agent who bothered to reply told me to sod off, that means I was still selling just as many books as the poor shmuck who got zero replies.

What I found interesting was that none of the agents, who actually read some of my work, said they didn’t like it. What every last one of them did say is, “There is no market for this”. Either they were just being nice, or (and here’s where Red Flag #2 went up) they were utterly clueless. Really? No market for novels about the legions of Rome, eh? I guess they had never heard of this little-known Russell Crowe film called Gladiator, or the highly-acclaimed HBO series, Rome, which had come out just the year before.

Disillusionment began to set in, and I started looking into the possibility of self-publishing. Oh wait, “You can’t do that!” the experts warned. Every last forum post from the sages all stated explicitly that, unless you got an agent and published with one of the big houses, you were an abject failure as a writer. And yes, I was called a ‘failed author’ by a number of these self-professed savants. I then had an epiphany, and decided to research these demagogues, and see just how successful they were as writers. After all, they were either the owners of these websites, or the top posters, as well as being about twice my age, so I’m sure their actual experience was immense.

So exactly how many published books had these literary authorities produced? Here’s a hint: It was somewhere between zero and nil. With a spark and a loud pop, the proverbial lightbulb came on in my brain. These so-called ‘experts’ were really nothing more than failed writers and bitter old wankers, who instead of following their art for its own sake, penned enough demeaning posts about aspiring authors on web forums to fill a ten-volume encyclopaedia. For once, I did decide to take the high road, rather than telling these old tossers to bugger off. My journey as a self-published author was an arduous one, full of painful lessons-learned, but that is a rant for another time. Suffice it to say, I decided that it was the fans and readers who would decide whether my works were any good, not some insufferable ‘experts’, or soon-to-be-extinct literary agents (seriously, do these even exist anymore?).

Mind you, I feel I must throw this caveat out there, and say that yes, a lot of what gets self-published these days is complete and utter crap. But then, so is a lot of mainstream garbage that passes for literature. Of course it all comes down to different preferences. Personally, I thought Fifty Shades of Grey was the most vapid, insufferably boring, and horrifically written piece of soft-core to ever be vomited onto the psyche of the reading public. Of course, I’m sure my assessment is bound to hurt the feelings of E.L. James, as she cashes here multi-million dollar / pound royalty cheques. And of course there have been plenty of readers who have written similar descriptions, regarding my own books. But hey, you can’t please everyone.

Had I listened to all the sages and self-proclaimed mentors of aspiring authors, I never would have produced a single book, and my dream of becoming a professional writer would be buried away, while I toiled along in the proverbial Rat Race. No one who had actually made it as an author wasted their time on the internet message boards. Personally, I avoid them like the clap now. Once people find out you’ve actually made it as a professional author, they want to know how many millions you’ve made, and what the ‘secret’ is. Here are the answers: I may be able to make a living as an author, but I am by no means rich. Granted, I’m certainly nowhere near the ‘starving artist’, but nor am I eating caviar on a yacht. And Newsflash: There is no bloody secret! So much of making it as an author amounts to nothing more than dumb luck.  Follow your passion for its own sake, and piss on what the ‘experts’ say.


Although, if I may be allowed a very brief moment to gloat, becoming successful is the most effective way of bitch-slapping the naysayers, far more so than if I had screamed at them all to bugger off. Thirteen books (#14 and #15 are both coming very soon), with five ancient history best-sellers, helps assuage my hurt feelings over being regarded as a ‘failed author’.

James Mace James Mace is the author of twelve books and the CEO and Founder of Legionary Books, which he started in 2006. He developed his passion for history at a young age and has made Ancient Rome a life's study. He penned the initial draft of his first novel, Soldier of Rome: The Legionary, as a cathartic means of escapism while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq. He spent a career as a Soldier, and in 2011 left his full-time position with the Army National Guard to devote himself to writing.

 His well received series, Soldier of Rome - The Artorian Chronicles, is a perennial best-seller in ancient history on Amazon. With his other favourite period in history being the British Empire, his writing has branched into the Napoleonic Wars. He is currently working on a new trilogy about the Roman-Jewish War of 66 to 73 A.D., along with a side project about the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

Official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/legionarybooks Blog: http://legionarybooks.blogspot.com/ For More Information

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of Sands Hetherington, author of Night Buddies Go Sky High



Title: Night Buddies Go Sky High
Author: Sands Hetherington
Publisher: Dune Buggy Press
Pages: 144
Genre: Children's Book
Format: Paperback

 Young John Degraffenreidt and his red crocodile buddy, Crosley, show up at the Pineapple Cheesecake Factory and find Big Foot Mae lying on the floor, staring up at her Great Star Puzzle on the ceiling. Crosley only wants a new supply of pineapple cheesecakes, but what Mae points to on her ceiling will start the Night Buddies on a totally new fantasy adventure. A suspicious white dot has passed through the Corkscrew Constellation and is now moving underneath the Hound Dog Stars. Across the Borough, Crosley s brother Crenwinkle sees the same curious speck in the sky. It looks to be a long night for sleepyhead John, but thanks to the time spreader dingus with its sleep retardant setting, he gets right into their next escapade. Join the Night Buddies as they embark on another Program, this time taking them all the way into the stratosphere in their racing blimp.

For More Information

  • Night Buddies Go Sky High is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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? 

 Easy. It was in tenth grade. I handed in a rather sappy poetical piece in English class, and the extremely foxy student teacher gushed over it. Her name was Ellen and she was an older woman and spoken for, but that did it for me right there.

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? There are two main perks: (A) When you read to a group of kids and really get to them, and (B) When somebody asks you what your vocation is and you get to tell them (not that very many are impressed!). The demands remind me of star college athletes who have to deal constantly with sports writers who always ask the same stuff. These are kids who aren't public speakers (yet) but have to be polite. I get a lot of inane questions, this list excepted, of course!

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

 Self-published. For the Night Buddies series, anyway. I published some grown-up stories in magazines a hundred years ago, and that process was relatively easy except for finding the magazines. Finding publishers can be extremely difficult and disappointing. That's why I chose self-publishing for the Night Buddies books. I'm getting on, and I didn't want to spend years sending manuscripts around to publishers and agents. So I got myself published right off. But gosh, I'm responsible for EVERYTHING: book designing, artwork, editing, printing, distributing, promoting---the list goes on and on. Producing a physical book and then getting it out there is terribly complicated.

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 people family have long since flown, and I live with my short-haired Saint Bernard dog Maggie. Maggie demands long walks, food and water, and twice-daily brushings, but so far she hasn't said a word about how I spend the rest of my time.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word? 

Maggie was born famished and would weigh 300 pounds if I let her. I could get nothing done if I were late with her feedings.

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?

Never a problem. Maggie and I live alone, as I just related. I don't have a boss. Never have. And I never answer the phone till the caller identifies himself on my old answering machine. Those awful robo calls ARE annoying---I have to run over to the machine and listen, but this is minor and does make me move a little faster.

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

When this outfit who sold stuffed animals called "Night Buddies" sued me. They backed off when I proved that I had come up with the name first.

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

I couldn't say. I've hired that part out to professionals.

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

I can't think of a pet peeve now that George Bush is out of the way. Maybe those robo calls? I will tell you about when I was up on the roof a few years ago. I was blowing out the gutters and accidently knocked the ladder over. There was no other way down, none of the neighbors were home, I didn't have a cell phone, and it was cold and getting dark. I had to figure out how best to jump off. I must have set a record for that sort of 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 don’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way? 

Isn't Chamomile tea something Beatrix Potter gives one of her characters as punishment? I had the impression it tasted nasty and was a purgative. Okay, though. Right. It will all be worth it if Miss Ellen should happen to come across my stuff! Thanks for having me. It's all on nightbuddiesadventures.com.



Sands Hetherington, the creator of Night Buddies series of chapter books, credits his son John for being his principal motivator. Sands and young John developed the Crosley crocodile character in the series during months of bedtime story give-and-take. They collaborated many nights on escapades starring John and Crosley, until eventually it occurred to Sands why it was that Crosley was bright red. That was when the first book came together.

 Sands raised his son as a single parent from the time John was six. He read to him every night during those formative years: all of the classic children’s stories from Aesop through the Grimms, Lewis Carroll, Frank Baum, Tolkien and Dahl, with a lot of Dickens and Hugo thrown in. When school was out they got in the car and toured Alaska, Canada and most of the contiguous states. John still gets around. So far he has lived in Germany, Scotland, Russia, England and Spain.

 Dogs have always been a part of the author’s life, beginning with Whiskers, a cocker spaniel. When his wonderful boxer Hube died, he despaired of finding a boxer who could match him, and instead got a Saint Bernard. He ended up breeding Saints for a number of years and at this point has had twelve as house pets. Sands says dogs can do you a power of good, and if you lose one, go out and get another the next day and you will be surprised at how fast your grief goes away.

 Sands is also a Civil War buff. He would like to spend a month of evenings with common soldiers from both sides to see how they felt about the business. And eccentric generals like Jackson, Sherman and Forrest, and most of all Lincoln. Because Lincoln never gets to smile in his pictures.

 The author was born in New York City but was transplanted a year later to Greensboro, North Carolina, where his maternal grandmother lived. He never really left the area and has a lot of the South in him. His grandmother was a prominent educator and became a great friend and mentor.

 Sands majored in history at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) and has an M.F.A. in creative writing and an M.A. in English from UNC-Greensboro. He lives in Greensboro now, and hangs out with his longtime friend Ann and their Saint Bernards Dudley and Maggie. He likes visiting ancient Mediterranean sites in Turkey and Italy, and most of all Greece.

  For More Information

Friday, April 17, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'A Mark on Eve' Joel Fox

A native of Massachusetts, Joel Fox is the author of A Mark on Evea modern day paranormal suspense with a historical background. A spell cast by an 18th century witch has condemned Eve Hale to an endless life. Centuries later, her secret could unravel and doom the election of the first female president when Eve dives in front of an assassin's bullet to save the candidate's life. 

He is also the author of the Zane Rigby mystery series. He's spent over 35 years in California politics, serving on numerous state commissions appointed by governors and assembly speakers from both major political parties, working on many ballot issue campaigns, and advising candidates. He is an adjunct professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University, and has authored hundreds of opinion pieces for many national and state publications including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today and Los Angeles Times.

Find out more about his book, The Mark on Eve, 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 liked the idea of storytelling. I like a tale that grabs hold of you and takes you for an unexpected and satisfying ride. I wanted to see if I could do that.

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?

Time and concentration are the demands. You must focus on so many aspects of writing, the plot, the characters and their evolution, sentence structure—the way the words come off the page to a reader. As Thomas Mann once wrote, “A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” The perks come with the self-satisfaction that you got it right. (And, maybe a financial reward if you are successful and a bit lucky.)

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’ve tried both. My current book is self-published. Since I got minimal support from my publisher and had to do much of the selling myself, I figured I should get a larger share of the profits. However, that means I have the sole responsibility for the cover, editing and other functions that the traditional publisher takes care to do.

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 don’t have any problem in these areas. First of all, I do most of my writing when my wife is sleeping. I tend to write as soon as I get up when I’m fresh, from 5 to 7 a.m. And, my wife is my biggest fan. She pushes and encourages me to do these things: Have you edited yet? Have you polished so we can get the manuscript out?

This is for pet lovers.  If you don’t own a pet, skip this question, but do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

My dogs eat on time. Dogs have an internal clock and they know when its time to eat so they keep nudging you. Best to feed them and put that past you so you can get back to work. If you don’t respond the nudge they don’t give up. And, when you have a 120-pound dog he can nudge pretty well.

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?

Again, most of my writing is done in the early morning hours before any of that happens. I like to sleep on my ideas and attack them in the morning. I’m not so good at the end of the day. However, toward the end of a project I could be writing around dinner time. If I’m called to dinner, I’ll say, “I’ll be there in a minute.” Sometimes a minute is actually 15 minutes long.

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

I once had an editor at a publishing house write that she was excited about my work and wanted to publish it. She said she needed the OK from the top brass at the publishing house. Soon she sent a note that they turned it down. She drew teardrops on the letter to show her regret. Some time later the publishing house was sold but that editor remained. I asked my agent to send the book back to the editor to show it to her new bosses. She returned it almost immediately saying they don’t publish books like mine. The same editor who gushed over it a couple of years earlier turned it down flat as if were a completely new and unwanted submission. Makes you want to scream.


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

I’m not a web-extrovert so I really wish I could avoid them all. However, all the experts say you must engage and interact on social networks so I try to do so. I think you can be a little more personal connection on Facebook.

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

I find I do pretty well at book fairs. Talking to readers and explaining the book has led to good sales at these types of events.

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

I use history in my novels. I think history is important to learn how we got to where we are. I also think it is full of compelling stories and drama that people should be attracted to. So why is it ignored? I once heard a high school history teacher say that he taught the second most despised class in school after calculus. I don’t get it. That’s not the way it should be.

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?

Writers need to write, so we keep at it. On the occasion that someone tells you how much he or she enjoyed the story you created out of your imagination it all seems worth it.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy' Graciela Limón

Graciela Limón, born in Los Angeles, California, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants.  She attended public and Catholic schools in her hometown, and continued on to university after which she became a professor of Latina/o Literature.  Parallel to her teaching, she has been an activist in Latina affairs, gender studies and Trans Border issues.  Limón has published nine novels, including her latest work, The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy.


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?

It’s tough to describe the deep desire that I’ve always had to write stories but that’s what it is.  Writing takes me to a world inhabited by people that maybe are a combination of friends and probably even enemies, or they may be purely imagined.  Writing puts me in another world, one I don’t want to leave to return to my ordinary one. 

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, it’s all it’s cracked up to be (for me, that is).  For the reasons I’ve just told, there’s great happiness in creating other worlds, although writing isn’t free of pain.  Writing is a lonely, solitary pathway, but one that for me is seductive.  However, its demands diminish in light of the satisfaction writing brings me.  The main perk is to see what was not there come into existence, and I, as the writer, am instrumental in that act of creation. 

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 chose the traditional path (searching until I found a publisher).  It was a bumpy road, one filled with the down-deep hurt of rejection after rejection.  Yet, I hung in there, always hoping that there would be at least one publisher that would recognize the worthiness of my work.  And when I was just about to give it all up in desperation, the miracle happened!  The University of Houston Press (Arte Público Press) read my first manuscript and agreed to publish it.  The rest is history, as the old saying goes. 

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?

Everyone around me: family, friends, the mail person, everyone, thinks I’m out of my mind when I embark on a new writing project.  In the beginning it was a mystery to them, but no longer.  Now they just scratch their head knowing there’s nothing to do except wait until the novel is completed, and we break out the champagne.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

I have a pet.  Her name is Lolita (a cocker spaniel).  She’s the only being on the planet that understands my funny behavior while I write a novel.  She never complains, but then, she knows that even if only a little late, she will always be fed and loved.  Without Lolita’s understanding this author would die! 

Are they actually still alive?

Although I love green, living things, I don’t consider myself an authentic plant person -- real gardener.  Do you know what I mean?  All I do is make sure that the sprinklers work so that my grass doesn’t die. 

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 ignored everything:  bells, whistles, complaining, whining – everything.  I lived only in the world of my novel until I finished it.  Only then did I emerge as if out of a cave. 

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

Really, I can’t remember of think of anything that would fit this question.  Perhaps the fact that I’m a writer in the first place is already too insane in itself to find a comparison. 

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

Aside from my website, I don’t participate in the social networks.  I don’t have the time to waste on gossip or useless prattle, and I certainly am not in the mood to let the masses in on my private life.  In our digital age this is pretty dumb, isn’t it?  But there it is.  That’s me, Graciela Limón! 

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

Oh, this blessing happens only with the help of a wonderful agent, a forward-looking publisher, and an excellent publicity person.  Of course, I hope my work merits the attention and willingness of someone to spend money on my books.  For that I need readers.  They’re the ones that make it happen. 

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

Happiness for me is the one reader that takes the time to email me to let me know that s/he has read my work and likes it.  That makes me scream with joy, and jump up and down, even on the rooftop. 

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 don’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

I wouldn’t have it any other way because writing is in my DNA.  Being a published author, of course, is the icing on the cake, but the world of books has always and will always take me to heaven.  And to think that I’ve been able to contribute just a little grain of sand to that immense ocean makes me indescribably happy!  So, let’s enjoy those beautiful waves, and thanks so much for the nice cup of Chamomile tea.





Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of Gaylon Kent, author of The Diary of a Nobody

The Diary of a Nobody Book Banner

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 write because Mother Nature planted the seed in me. I never made a conscious decision to be a writer. It was made for me.

I have followed my heart and trusted my instincts my entire life. Almost – almost! – interesting is as a kid I wanted to be a radio announcer. I was an avid reader, of course, and I did well with writing projects in school, but I never dreamt of being a writer growing up.

I was a radio announcer for a few years, but I wasn’t all that good at it and after getting laid off from a job with a baseball team I lost interest.

I then found work as a newspaper reporter and that was when the writing bug bit.

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?

Oh, go ahead and tell.

The God-honest truth is writing is supremely satisfying.

For a writer. If you’re not a writer and you try to write, you may not like it, just like if I tried to make a living at auto repair or pole vaulting  I would starve because I have some zero interest in either auto repair or pole vaulting.

Fortunately, my mechanic has a high level of interest in auto repair.

The perk, life’s ultimate perk, really, is spending your life doing what you were meant to do. There is no greater satisfaction.

And it really doesn’t matter what that is. For me it happens to be writing. For others it might be building a chair or being a doctor or painting. We are all different and we all have something we can do well.

The demands, though, are there are times your wife might want to go out and you have something on your mind that needs to be said. My wife, however, understands this. She may not like it, but she understands it.

You also have zero spare time, because all your time is either spent writing or thinking about writing.

Not that I am complaining. It is nice to have a worthwhile purpose for your life.

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 publish my own work. Many years ago I tried to get an agent, but I could never interest one and ultimate I decided to stop banging my head against the wall.

Looking back, I probably couldn’t find an agent because my early books stunk. Now that I am America’s Foremost Humorist, though, I find I enjoy doing it myself. I like the control over the process I have and I like writing for myself, writing from the heart, then finding an audience for what I’ve done.

The publishing and promotional part of it, however, has been a lot of trial and error. You must remain patient and never quit, because there will be lots of opportunities to do just that.

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’re probably glad it keeps me out of bars.
Seriously, they like that I have a purpose for my life. It keeps me happy because if Daddy ain’t happy, well, then Daddy ain’t happy. Big deal. It’s not as if Momma ain’t happy.

Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word?

Our cat Bonfiglio gets fed before almost anything.

Here’s the morning drill: I wake up, very early, around 4am. I am older now and usually I have to go to the bathroom at this time. After the morning constitutional I will put the coffee on. This is inviolable. I must have coffee. Even when I’m well rested I need coffee.

Then the cat is fed. She has dry food 24/7, but I will give her a can of yummies. Her anticipation of yummies is as great as her expectance of them.

Then I write. The cat has lobbied for yummies, then Daddy’s constitutional, but Daddy isn’t going for that.

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?

No one calls me! I am like my dad: not the type of person people like to bother for something as trivial as saying hi. My phone seldom rings and if you do call me, it is for a good reason.

Besides, I do most of my writing very early in the morning, before the wife is up and before polite folk are working the phones. Presuming people called me. Which they don’t.

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

I like Facebook, a lot, but have never really taken to Twitter, so to speak. I find the 140 character limit annoying.

What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?
       
“WE HAVE ONE CHANGE AT THIS LIFE, FRIENDS. THE PEOPLE WHO ARE HAPPIEST, LIKE ME, ARE THOSE THAT SPEND THEIR LIVES FOLLOWING THEIR HEARTS AND TRUSTING THEIR INSTINCTS, BECAUSE THEY WILL INVARIABLY TAKE YOU WHERE YOU WANT TO GO!”



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?

Thank you. I like watching the waves.

The best part about being a writer is writing, sitting down every day and doing my work.

Of course, it is nice selling books and it is really nice when someone says they like your work. But books don’t write themselves and every good thing stems from sitting down and actually writing.

It’s a long life and it took many years to realize this. When I was a young writer I would have said “phooey” if someone tried to tell me this, I want to sell books and be famous.

Now, while I would present no violent objection to selling 40 million books and being famous, I would rather sit down and put the work in required to make that happen.

Thank you for the tea.  




The Diary of a Nobody From earning a living to getting the dog to poop to running for the United States Senate, The Diary of a Nobody chronicles the life of Sparrow, a funny, average man passing an average life. In addition to Sparrow, you’ll meet The Wife, the cat, the dog, his friend Bonser and his rug rat Matt and Brian, Sparrow’s co-worker at the Doily Delivery Company.

 The Diary of a Nobody is a real-time novel, updated daily at www.writersshack.com. It begins in October, 2013 and was inspired by a 19th century British novel of the same name. Gaylon Kent, 49, is an American writer. In addition to The Diary of a Nobody, Gaylon has written the novel The Regular Guys and Backstairs at the Monte Carlo: A Vegas Memoir. He also writes the columns The Daily Dose and The Bottom Ten. All of Gaylon’s work is available exclusively at www.writersshack.com.

 In past lives Gaylon has been, among other things, a radio announcer and a newspaper reporter, as well as working security at the Monte Carlo and Venetian/Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas and working a Brinks armored truck. Gaylon was the Colorado Libertarian Party’s nominee for United States Senate in 2014, finishing third in a six-person race with a bit more than 52,000 votes. He is a two-time graduate of the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires and is an accomplished high school sports official. Gaylon served on an old diesel submarine, the USS Blueback, in the Navy and still like his grandfather, Gaylon C Kent, commands his American Legion post. Gaylon and his wife Marian live in Hayden, Colorado. He is originally from Los Angeles. He enjoys a wine pairing from time to time and is known to not wash his coffee mug.

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