Tag: promote your book for free

An Interview With Writer Chris Minnick

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Chris Minnick is the author of Ferment; here is a link to his website:

http://ferment.chrisminnick.com/

 

Q: What is Ferment about?

 

A: Ferment is about a guy who grows up in the circus, and then spends his adult life running away from it.

 

Q:  What made you want to write about carnival life?

 

A: I spend about 5 years writing the first chapter about a depressed and scared guy who drinks too much. Then I got over myself and decided to just have fun with it and write a novel. The first thing that came into my mind was a fireside scene I had a dream about that involved dwarfs. I just took off from there.

 

Q: You decided not to do any research for this book; what was the reason for your decision?

 

A: I wrote the book in short bursts every morning right after waking up. Many of the chapters are based on dreams or whatever I happened to be thinking about at the time — eating, showering, going to the bathroom — these things are all featured prominently in the book because these are the things that go on early in the morning. It wasn’t so much a decision to not do any research as it was a decision to not slow down my writing to think about what I was doing. Once I had a few hundred pages written, I went back and spent several months editing it, rearranging it, and chopping out the lame parts. But, when I was editing, I liked how it was coming together and how you just didn’t know whether to believe the narrator or not. It added a level of depth to the book that I never intended, but that I’ll happily accept when it falls onto my lap.

 

Q: Your biography says you have been compared to Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski; who compared you to these authors and what was the basis of the comparison?

 

A: My sister’s husband’s mother was the first to make these comparisons. I thought it was cool that I could say that I’ve “been compared to” Vonnegut and Bukowski and that it doesn’t really mean anything positive or negative to have been “compared to” something, so I ran with it. I’ve certainly been influenced by both, and I think they are good points of reference for anyone who might be wondering if they’ll like my writing. But I would never go so far as to claim that I’m in the same universe as either. I haven’t been compared to John Steinbeck yet, but while I was writing this book, I was reading nothing else and I became pretty obsessed with his writing.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and does it help or hinder your creative efforts?

 

A: I make a living by teaching computer programming and writing computer books. Until 3 years ago, I ran a website development company. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked for myself (I haven’t had a boss) for the last 20 years, but it wasn’t until the last 3 years that I really figured out how to not be a jerk to myself all the time and to let myself have creative efforts that weren’t related to my money-making efforts. Writing computer books has taught me to be disciplined with my writing time and to stick with it and finish big projects. But, lately, I have to travel pretty often to teach and that throws me out of my writing routine. So, I’d have to say that my day job both enables my creative efforts and hinders them.

 

Q: How would you describe your creative process?

 

A: The only way I can get anything done is by making it into something that I do habitually and that I feel superstitious about not doing. Once I convince myself that if I don’t finish writing 3 page every morning someone I love will get sick, I’m unstoppable. It’s messed up, but that’s my process. If I’m writing, things come out and I enjoy the process. But, sticking to it and doing it every day takes extraordinary efforts.

 

Q: What is the best and worst advice any instructor has ever given you about writing?

 

A: Best advice: You can’t edit what doesn’t exist. This wasn’t actually an instructor, I think it’s from Stephan King’s book ‘On Writing’.

Worst advice: Wait until you’re older and you understand life better before you write a novel. I spent a lot of years waiting and I eventually figured out that I’d never know anything. I wish someone would have told me that would happen.

 

Q: What trends in literature annoy you?

 

A: I wouldn’t say that I’m annoyed by anything, but I generally don’t like magic or supernatural things or rare diseases or overly sappy stories. I’d like to see a trend towards people ignoring trends, but that’s probably not going to happen!

 

Q: What are some of the things you have done to promote yourself as a writer?

 

A: Lately, I’ve been reverse shoplifting. I bring my book into bookstores and put it on the shelf in the appropriate place. I don’t know how effective of a promotional technique this is, or what would happen if someone tried to buy it, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something to be seen by more people.

 

Q: In what ways is Los Angeles like a circus?
A: I haven’t spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, actually, so I can’t speak to it too much except to say that the old saying about the grass is always greener applies everywhere you go. Any sort of job or lifestyle — whether as a clown or an actor or an electrician — can get to be a routine that you need to run away from. Running away to the circus used to be the ultimate escape hatch dreamed of by kids growing up in small towns everywhere. Running away to California replaced the circus dream at some point. But, for people who grew up in the circus or in show business in L.A. — where do they go when they can’t stand their environment? Do they dream of having a quiet desk job or a stable family? This is the main idea that Ferment tries to explore. The book is also a lot of fun — like the circus should be, but probably really isn’t all the time.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

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An Interview With Writer J.J. Hemmestad

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J.J. Hemmestad is the author of Visions of a Dream; here is a link to her website:

 

http://jhemmestad.wixsite.com/justine-j-hemmestad

 

Q: What is Visions of a Dream about?

A: My story begins after Alexander the Great is king and as he takes his army to conquer the Persian King Darius III in Asia Minor in order to liberate the people from his oppressive rule.While there, he begins a spiritual journey that takes him through the universe of his mind, and answers as well as questions are revealed to him through his closest, most intense relationships (one with his closest officer Hephastion, and one with a Persian girl named Baphomet, who is fictional). He was inclusive of all people, and immersed himself in each culture he liberated, dressing like them, worshiping their god in their temples, and allowing them the freedom to retain their beliefs. He believed that each religion ultimately worshiped the same god. The end rift with his Army came when they insisted on spreading the Macedonian/Greek culture and were offended that he adapted to other cultures; and they mutinied.

 

Q: What made you interested in Alexander the Great?

A: I watched an A&E Biography about Alexander in the 90’s and I found his perseverance and persistence so familiar that I began to research him (especially through Arrian). In one of his battles he was hacked on the head with a cleaver that split his helmet in two, but he persisted.

 

Q: What made you start writing in the first place?

A: Writing was and is therapy for me. In 1990 (I was 19) my car was hit by a city bus – I sustained a severe brain injury, was in a coma, paralyzed, and the doctors thought that I would never recover. Within months I was walking again though and my husband and I eventually had seven kids (when the doctors told us we wouldn’t be able to). Reading was especially hard for me to learn again. In addition to my injuries I had severe PTSD and writing helped me cope. I used to have several stories going at one time, but my Alexander the Great story was the one I gained the most from. After my TBI I was essentially personality-less and the traits that I admired in someone I found myself adapting, which was the case with Alexander.

Q: What kind of day job or income source do you have and how does it influence your writing?

A: I’m a mother of seven kids, so I had to write through any turmoil and amount of noise. I learned to have intense focus, which was also something that was not supposed to have been possible with my severe brain injury. Sometimes I got up very early in the morning to write, too. Now three of my kids are adults and I only have four at home and I have a good routine I stick with. I’m also on disability due to my brain injury and my husband works full time.

 

Q: Who are some of your favorite characters from literature?

A: My ultimate favorite characters are Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights because they have to fight through so much and though their love gets warped in the end, it extends beyond death. I also love Frankenstein by Mary Shelley because people freak out so much when they see the creature and he’s banished, which is therapeutic to read because I felt very much like that after my accident.

 

Q: What have you done to promote your book?

A: I’ve hired a publicist, who has gotten many interviews; it’s a new thing for me but I’m very glad I did it. I was interviewed last year by a newspaper for my novella, Truth be Told, and I found that publicity is the most effective tool to gain readers.

 

Q: What made you chose Turtle Shell Publishing?

A: I spent 20 years writing, but only a few years trying to get published (split into different time periods), and I often felt belittled or taken advantage of by the publishing world. I knew I wanted to have a small publishing home which was run by a woman, which is exactly what I found with Turtle Shell Publishing. I can also talk to her about how exactly I would like my books to appear and my oldest son Bradley Hemmestad has the freedom to create the cover art for my books (Truth be Told was also published through Turtle Shell, formally Faith by Grace Publishing).

 

Q: What makes your writing style unique?

A: I write what I feel, from my heart, and I write in the sense of the story that I’m telling, so my writing styles shift because I want to be faithful to the characters and the story itself.

 

Q: What is the oddest piece of advice anyone has given you about writing?

A: No one has ever really given me advice because I’ve been writing on my own, not connected to people who may otherwise advise me. But I’ve taken many writing courses through the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (I’ve earned a BLS from The University of Iowa and am currently working on my Master’s Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University), and what I’ve learned about writing has been invaluable.

 

Q:  If Alexander The Great could meet Donald Trump, what advice do you think he would give him?

A: Great question! I think Alexander would give the advice that he lived himself, which is that sincere, pure interest in a culture other than your own overcomes any fear of that culture. Also, he would advise Trump to think less about his pride and how favorably he’s seen as a leader and find his center (the source of his inspiration), and let that be his guide. Alexander knew his spiritual core and was willing to learn even greater wisdom than what he thought he had. He was never stagnant in his beliefs, but he was always evolving.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Drew Glick

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Drew Glick is the author of the upcoming novel, The WheelHouse; here is a link to the book’s Amazon page:

 

https://www.amazon.com/WheelHouse-True-Story-about-Dogs

 

 

Q: What is The WheelHouse about?

 

A: In order to describe what the novel [The WheelHouse] is about a reader must first know what is a Wheelhouse? A Wheelhouse is a metaphorical term that is used to describe the human mind, or psyche rather. Think of it in terms as you would Yin and Yang. Being that the human brain is divided into two hemispheres the ideology of Yin and Yang is the most logical way to define how our brains function; one side is light and the other is dark. Essential the novel [The WheelHouse] a constant struggle against light and dark wherein the character must be aware of his choices before he makes them so that he can predict what, if any impact his choices will have on his reality. Sounds like science fiction, right? The shocking truth is that the novel is a true story which depicts a man who struggles to understand his humanity only to learn what it means to human through his two dogs, Sasha and Gabbie…and, yes, that man would be me.

 

Q: What gave you the idea for the book?

 

A: The idea for the book started off simply enough as a short novella about a “boy and his dogs.” However, as I began to write it I concluded that I wanted to write a meaningful and heartfelt novel that would not only pay tribute to my beloved dogs, Sasha and Gabbie but immortalize them as well.

Q: What makes your characters worth reading about?

A: Well, for starters Drew is the sweetest asshole you will ever meet…and he is also one of the strongest people you will ever have the pleasure to know. However, let’s not forget that Drew would not be Drew if not for his two dogs, Sasha and Gabbie. It is because of their strength, love and loyalty that Drew was able to overcome incredible hardships such as: suicidal thoughts and tendencies, crippling depression and paranoia, constant disappointment, sickness, and, even, homelessness.

 

Q: Your biography says that you are full time as a red carpet camera operator and video editor . For what company do you work?

 

A: Yes, I work primarily for Watson Headquarters and The French Reporter. I have been with the company since December 2015. However, I will begin a full time position this summer with AfterBuzz.tv. Though, when I’m not on the red carpet I spend much of my time editing and designing titles and graphics for OMGossip.tv and other organizations as well. I am also a contributing writer for Downtown Weekly LA, and head writer for the fashion magazine, Compulsive.

 

Q: How did you get the job in the first place?

 

A: Getting the job as a red carpet camera operator (and video editor) was much harder then it may sound. I had to network, network, network! Actually, let me re-phrase that – getting the job was relatively straight forward but keeping the job was a whole other story. Filming red carpet is not like filming a scene for a movie or even a commercial. It is an incredibly fast paced environment where media is constantly fighting to get the shot of their favorite celebrity and by the time its over you just want to go home and sleep. Sadly, you can’t sleep because you have a twelve hour turn around time to get the piece up; no piece, no pay. However, with that being said it is also a fun and exciting job that lets me meet and mingle with some of Hollywood’s elite A-Listers.

 

Q:  Why do you think Hell is such a popular setting for books?

 

A:  Never forget what Keanu Reeves said in the movie, The Devil’s Advocate, “I’d rather rule in Hell then serve in Heaven.” I think Hell is intriguing, even empowering…but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I find the Devil attractive. In fact, I think the Devil is a total prick. Though, in many regards I agree that experiencing Hell can make a person mentally indestructible, not physically, of course (no one is Superman). I used to think that all those horrible events (like those I speak about in the novel) were punishment of some sort wherein I was being forced pay for my sins. It wasn’t until recently that I concluded that those events were in fact mere obstacles which God had put before me to make me stronger; to be a leader, a poet, and an inspiration (as many people have called me)…and don’t forget the old saying that goes, “God works in mysterious ways.” I think that to some degree I experienced Hell so that I may better understand God and what it is I meant to do while on this earth.

Q: What other kinds of writing do you do?

 

A: My published works range from sci-fi, fantasy, suspense and self help. I also recently started a personal blog where I write primarily about topics which relate directly to the entertainment industry as a whole. Occasionally, I publish “how-to” articles on video editing where I cover novice, intermediate and elite techniques and tricks such as Rotoscoping, Advanced Green Screen Tutorials, Color Correction and more. Periodically, I will also take time to write a short article about life, love and the pursuit of happiness (which can be found exclusively on my blog as well). I guess you could say I’m still trying to find my “niche.”

 

 

 

Q:  How do you go about selecting cover art?

 

A: The cover art for The WheelHouse was hand drawn by a good friend of mine, Eric Hunn. Both Eric and I wanted to convey an image of a man who is one with his thoughts; who knows who he is and who knows his purpose. To accomplish this we decided to recreate the iconic image of the bronzed sculpture known as, The Thinker (by Auguste Rodin). We felt that by re-creating an image depicting a modern day “thinker” we were able to capture the true ideology of the WheelHouse.

 

Q: What is the most successful thing you have done to promote your book?

 

A:  Well, currently the book is only available for “advance” purchase (it will be available worldwide April 7th, 2017). However, so far the book has been mentioned in a number of well known magazines which are distributed around the globe, and has been dubbed, “a must read!” In April of 2017 I will be speaking on LA Talk Radio to answer questions about the book and to further promote the idea of The WheelHouse. 

Q: If you had to go to Hell for some reason, who would you take as your guide? Please assume that Virgil is all booked up.

 

A: Let me start by saying that I have been to Hell many times throughout the course of my life. As I guide I am the best man for the job! Yet, if I had to choose someone to be my guide I would have to say Ronnie James Dio. Call it what you will but I love his music!

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer A.C. Greenlee

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A.C. Greenlee is the author of Genesis: The Awakening; here is a link to her Amazon page:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Genesis-Awakening-Paranormal-Fantasy-Adventure-ebook/dp/B01MFE154P/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Q:  What is Genesis about?

 

A: Genesis is about a young woman who is quite literally a walking anomaly, her relationship with a “grounded” Grim Reaper and their battle to not only save his world, but to keep each other alive. The main character Victoria Bouchard has a super brain and absorbs information like a dry sponge, even supernatural information that makes her quite the dangerous weapon should she fall into the wrong hands. And she does, finding herself at the mercy of the most heinous being to ever walk the earth; the Devil himself.

 

Q: What events in your life inspired you to write the book?

 

A: I was heavily influenced by an impromptu visit to the Villisca Axe Murder House in Villisca Iowa. Learning about the gruesome murders that took place there and imagining a bunch of supernatural situations definitely played a role in the books creation and is even a major plot point.

 

Q:  What is Victoria’s most unique characteristic?

 

A: Victoria is unique in the way that she’s a multi-faceted character with feminist ideals. She exemplifies the feminist ideology in the way that she’s not afraid to do whatever she wants and deal with the consequences in her own way. She’s outspoken and brash, but still has the capacity to be soft, yielding, and emotional. Victoria is the truest character I’ve ever written because she is literally an amalgamation of every strong, unabashedly brave, woman I’ve ever met.

 

Q: What separates your book from other paranormal fantasies?

 

A: I would like to believe it’s my characters. Anytime I’m interviewed I will often go on and on about the people I create, mostly because they are just that in my mind; people. I want my readers to take away more than a good story when they read my books, I want them to have an experience. Experience the rich, vivid worlds and the vast array of characters that inhabit them. I want you to walk away from my books having made a new best friend or even a book “boyfriend” you’ll never forget.

 

Q: Who are some of your writing influences and how can we see those influences in your book?

 

A: Anne Rice was one of my biggest influences growing up as an aspiring writer. You’ll see traces of her in the fact that my characters take on lives of their own. And they’re often annoying enough that they’ll have you thinking about them months after you’ve already put the book down.

 

Q:  What kind of day job or income source do you have?

 

A: I am a graphic and web designer by day, video game addicted nerd by night.

 

Q:  Do you think it helps or hinders your writing?

 

A: I think it absolutely helps my writing. From making graphics for my books that give visual representation to whatever wacky activity my characters are a part of or sending my readers on virtual treasure hunts through websites I design; it’s just another faucet through which my creativity can flow.

 

Q: What made you interested in writing erotica?

 

A: I was never really interested in it to be honest, but my readers fell in love with my romance scenes and demanded I give it a shot. And it took off. Luckily they believed in me more than I did, otherwise it never would have happened.

 

Q: What trends in the genre do you find annoying?

 

A: The billionaire bad boy and stepbrother trends annoy me. I understand that they’re popular because of the demand, I just personally don’t like them. Don’t get me wrong, fantasy smut is something I think is healthy and wholly support being written and read, it’s just the overtly common tropes that make me itch. I also strive for originality in my writing and what I enjoy reading, even though everything has already been done before, so I tend to stay away from things that are trending.

 

Q:  How exactly does a Grim Reaper get banished from Hell?

 

A: Well, Kaizer was banished from the Guardian Realm, an alternate dimension that is home to others of his kind. Reapers are essentially bureaucrats; everything is executed concisely and is backed up by a crap ton of paperwork. And, when those Reapers step out of line, they face extremely harsh punishments, one of which is “grounding”. They are then sent to earth to live amongst the mortals they reap and atone for their sins. Let’s just say that Kaizer isn’t the most…cooperative Reaper in his realm. He’s prone to disobedience and flat out insubordination, which lands him in hot water just as much as you’d think.

 

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

An Interview With Writer Jaie Vee

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Jaie Vee is the author of Getting her to YES; here is a link to the website:
https://www.createspace.com/6653395

 

Q: What is, Getting Her to Yes about?

 

A: THIS BOOK IS EXCLUSIVELY FOR MEN.  This book is exclusively for MATURE men, showing average men how to get ladies or the wife to give SEX. It details a lady’s mind-set, so men are clear why such cheap and simple tactics are effective. It includes erotic sex stories that can excite dominant male, and submissive female emotions. One can preview the first seven pages at eden3000.com/yes.html and see Reader’s Favorite 5-star review at the link attached there.

 

Q: What made you decide to write it?

 

A: I started tinkering with writing about sex many years ago, because I was always helping men I knew “get sex”. Just a few basic “tips” changed their entire sex lives from no sex to lots of sex. Men know so much about a lot, but nearly nothing about female’s motivation for sex, or how to get sex.

 

But I couldn’t write a complete “understanding” till I was in a relationship with a gorgeous talented, self-driven amazing man. He was so wonderful to me each time I came back to him, then fairly quickly removed all MY gifts, leaving just the sex. I’d hint about this and that, but like many females, I couldn’t flat out tell him stuff. I left the last time feeling “used”, though I know he believed he was really trying. Then is when I realized, no matter how smart a man is, men really have no clue what ladies get out of the sex dance. And no woman will ever tell them.

 

As a strong woman, it took me “a lot of guts” to write that females choose the submissive position in sex, and why we ladies biologically have to. I reveal all the secrets we ladies will never tell our man. I had to, because, though those secrets are of short-term benefit to ladies, in the long run, ladies lose because men have not any clue what makes us want sex.

 

Q: What qualifies you as an expert in this area?

 

A: Having never desired children, and never needed a man’s money, company, or help, I got to observe the relationships of others with some emotional distance. And emotional distance is what a lady would need to state some of this stuff.  I got all the attention a lady could want when I worked as a dancer (in states where the men could not touch). Also, as an engineer and inventor, I tend to know stuff others want to learn, so I always get plenty of “feeling needed” attention.

 

My mom just read the first 24 pages and said she’s,  “finding it hard to stop reading.  So far, a very interesting book and I do agree with you.  Good job, I think you have sorted things out pretty well.” I never expected Mom to read it, but that was a great compliment.

 

Q:  What kind of day job do you have and how does it effect your ability to write?

 

A: I run a small business, mostly involving the sales of my top-rated Silent Sleep  Snore Stopper(R) nasal inserts. When on Amazon, the Slim/Avg. size was the 593rd best selling product on all of Amazon. I sell less than that volume now on my eden3000.com website, but I also get friendlier customers, like half of which write me thank you emails.

 

When selling on Amazon, large-nosed men would buy the most popular Slim/Avg. size, then write “doesn’t work” one star reviews. I’d have to convince them to return the insert for the correct LARGER size, then I’d wait the painful weeks for them to change the review. Sometimes they would not return it because it cost so little money, it was not worth their time, so they’d leave the bad review. The issue was more due to the way Amazon set things up, to let the customer stab the seller with a bad review, versus having the customer contact the seller first. Such size issues are important for products like mine.

 

I’ve also spent the last few years renovating two houses, entirely replumbing, rewiring, adding gas, fixing foundations, rebuilding rotted floors, changing walls, etc all myself, using mostly free or used supplies. That gave me lots of time to think and write the most concise and clear book I could, as well as work on other non-physical projects.

 

I take on new odd projects every year. Last year I did a property conversion to business for someone else, which required knowing all the building codes, drafting, and “how to build stuff”. That was great fun.

 

Q:  If your tips don’t work is there a money back guarantee?

 

A: Well, I don’t know how Amazon runs the book end of things, but I have a Twitter account listed in the book, for men to ask me questions, and I will do my best to reply. But, frankly, men know so little about how to get a woman to want sex. Often, only one tip of the hundreds I state will fix a man’s sex life. Simply reading the “why” will help men the most. I write the book in a conversational style with lots of examples from my own life, and those of others I know, so to give some dimension to the tips.

 

Q: Who are some of your writing influences?

 

A: I read mostly just technical and biological stuff, no novels. I learn best by experimenting and tactile work, and searching out those who are willing to give negative feedback.  Like, I found a guy who does reviews, who suggested putting “yes” in the title. What a great tip! I put requests up on Craigslist to read a draft of my book, and got lucky that an editor type guy volunteered to comment on the first 40 pages. Without his advice, my book would not have been something most men would actually listen to. He suggested the conversational style and adding my own stories. Great advice!

 

Q: What makes your book different than other sex tip books?

 

A: That’s easy! Most sex books focus on the PHYSICAL aspects of sex. The physical aspect of sex is what the MAN enjoys. It is the emotional and fantasy part that excites the female. It is a complete reverse thinking than what is out there in books. Some books might say doing chores can help get a lady in the mood. That’s way too boring and abstract for a man to “understand” the “why”.

 

Q:  What are some common mistakes that men make when trying to seduce women?

 

A: I go through most of them in the book, but saying they are “very passionate”, touting their manly sports as a main focus of their free time, and thinking just “being friendly” or “giving her stuff” will move ladies towards sex.

 

Q:  What is the weirdest thing a man has ever said to you when hitting on you? 

 

A: No man has ever said anything “weird” to me. The sickest thing a man ever did was, after my sister divorced my brother-in-law, he actually tried to kiss me at Thanksgiving. Gross.

 

Understand, I most often dress in paint-covered, multi-layered sweats, mostly wear two hats and never wear make-up (but for photos), so men cannot quite define what “I look like naked” to “hit” on me. I also don’t even glance at men as if I am “looking”, cause I’m not “looking”. (“Glancing” is the only thing men are good at spotting). Men instead talk to me as the source of information that I am, especially on construction, code issues, patent writing, etc.

 

I find “being hit on” to feel like someone wants to take a bite out of me, and that is NOT a good feeling. Because I have confidence in my physical appearance, I do not need or desire others to boost my ego by flaunting myself. (That body shot I took of myself this September, when I got in the mood to “make a book”.) The few men that dare hit on me? I give them tips on how to get sex from someone else.

 

 

Q: What have you done to promote your book? 

 

A: YES just got published Nov. 2, 2016, a few days ago. I got a Reader’s Favorite 5 star review, saying my book will “revolutionize the way most men view sex”. I am trying to get a review in a chosen male-oriented magazine. I’ve investigated the politics with the magazine, its owners, and other stuff like how reviews are distributed, publisher’s issues…  I am looking for the loose mortar no one else is targeting in the brick wall that is in front of “getting noticed”.

 

It may come down to want versus NEED. I have two 5-star rated children’s books. No one needs another children’s book. But men really need my YES book. It’s like my Snore Stopper inserts, where I did zero advertising to get to ranking 593 on all of Amazon. Once the word gets out about my YES book, I hope every man on earth reads it.

 

Women might never see anything interesting in my book, because they know this stuff. The problem is, men don’t know ANY of this stuff. Ladies, if you accidentally buy my YES book, PLEASE, give it to your dad or uncle! There is ZERO romance in the book. There is nothing of any value at all for the ladies in my book.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

 

An Interview With Writer John Ramaine

 jrm

John Ramaine is the author of the novel, “A long Time Ago”; here is a link to the Amazon page:

 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Long-Time-Ago-Dreams-Sometimes/dp/1469948907/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&keywords=john%20ramaine&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&qid=1475582735&ref_=mp_s_a_1_1&sr=1-1#

 

 

Q: What is A Long Time Ago about?

 

A: The essential premise is plainly expressed in this axiom, ‘What if the mistakes you’ve made could be erased creating a path for you to fulfill your destiny’?  This question crosses many lines and is capped with a ‘what if I’ or ‘if only’.  Many books and stories have been penned using this idea.  The way I went about making it my own was through the influence of films and the iconic images they leave in the human psyche.  I used the paradigm of time travel to convey a personal story, using the film industry as a backdrop.

 

Q: What made you want to write about time travel?

 

A: Time travel allows us to fulfill our deepest desire in having personal involvement with a particular period, setting or era long since gone.  It’s also an interesting way of correcting your mistakes while retaining the memory of why you made the mistakes and how you never want to repeat them.  But as in any time travel story, just because you correct a mistake doesn’t mean that the alteration doesn’t have its own set of problems.  Probabilities and dimensions come into play.  It’s discovered in A LONG TIME AGO that mistakes are a part of who we are and how we’ve become who we’ve become.  It allows the reader to travel with the writer and experience the unexpected that comes about in trying to work out what happens in fixing the very thing that led you to the time machine in the first place.  And if you try to fix the mistake, do you still find the time machine and try to correct the mistake that essentially never happened?  It can play with your mind a little.

 

Q: What would you say the theme of the book is?

 

A: When you open the cover of the book, there is a caption written at the bottom of the first page; ‘Dreams never die, they just sometimes get put on hold.’  Every dream and desire we have as individuals is plainly attainable through our imagination.  But just because you get a dream or a vision to create something or be someone, it doesn’t automatically fall onto your lap.  It may take time…years even, to reach a glimmer of what you see inside of yourself.  You face delays and setbacks that are constantly screaming at you to give up and that it’s never going to happen.  But the impediments along your path are maturing you in ways that nothing ever can.  Time permits the lesson of patience and experience.  Nick Webb, the main character in A LONG TIME AGO goes through this on a constant level.  Numerous setbacks and personal problems are the theme of life for every character ever written.  It’s how they come out of it that’s worth the price of admission.   And also, after the dedication, I added a page long quote that icon, James Dean said during his struggling days as an actor.  It is a very satisfying passage and lends largely to the theme of the novel.

 

Q: Who inspired the character of Nick Webb?

 

A: This being my first novel was originally birthed from a screenplay.  And like anything that’s first, it’s born from you.  Every experience the character feels and goes through is in some way my own.  Broken dreams and disappointments that cascade on Nick are merely a reflection of myself, save for the heightened sense of his environment.  Nick has a strong moral background and impression of what’s good and what’s evil.  He is also a movie guy who has an appreciation for the cinematic arts and hates to see it succumb to the banal influence of social media and the demographic pie chart.  Nick is a man who knows he has a destiny to fulfill.  He is a man of principle and like myself, a dreamer with purpose.  When I read the book and the description of Nick, I see myself.  Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be able to separate the two.

 

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?

 

A: In addition to writing, I am also an actor.  I was just hired to play Banquo in Frog and Peach’s Main Stage production of Macbeth here in New York City.  It’s wonderful but doesn’t pay squat.  Like any creative person trying to break through, I have had numerous jobs in my journey to help make ends meet.  Anything from census taker, theater usher, dog walker, furniture mover, vacuum cleaner salesman, flower shop delivery boy, ice cream scooper, envelope stuffer and pen salesman to name a few.  I’ve also done film industry jobs working as a production assistant, first AD, casting assistant, hand model and photo double to name some.  As of last week, I worked as a greeter.  All of these jobs keep me hungry in pursuit of success in my field.  They don’t require a heavy mental strain, which allows me to concentrate on more important matters.  The experience of meeting new people in these positions adds a myriad of characters and circumstances that feed the writer in me.  It’s all cataloged quite well.  But mostly, and I would be remiss in not mentioning that it is my wife Julie who is the main breadwinner.  Her indissoluble spirit of faith in me, as an actor and writer keeps her doing what she does in helping me get to where I need to go…for now.

 

Q: What sort of educational background do you have?

 

A: I never took a novel writing class but I did take various seminars along the way on screenwriting.  I attended the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU for a year before dropping out but that was for film productions mostly.  A LONG TIME AGO was born from a screenplay I wrote.  In a way I was very pleased that it didn’t get produced.  Despite a wonderful stage presentation and some interest from film producers, it just didn’t get off the ground.  But I could not, for the life of me, let the story go.  It was too personal and important to just die on the shelf.  The story needed to be expanded but I had no idea how to do that.  One day, while taking a walk, I was presented with a choice.  My heart spoke very clearly, ‘Write the novel.’  I had an epiphany.  This was the answer in taking the story to places that a screenplay could not go, while at the same time reaching deep into the character’s motives and intentions.  I knew a screenplay could only skim the surface.  It made all the sense in the world but the problem was that I’ve never written anything like this.  I had no idea how to start.  Through Julie’s encouragement I simply jumped into the process, mistakes and all.  I began writing A LONG TIME AGO, using the screenplay as a template.

 

Q: What are some of the writing influences and how is this evidenced in your book?

 

A: The voice in the book is my own.  During the process of writing, I would read out sections to Julie to get her reaction.  She noticed a gist of Mickey Spillane in the narrative, the way things were being set up and resolved.  I really appreciated that since I read a few of Spillane’s books, which obviously seeped into my subconscious.  I also thoroughly enjoyed reading Vonnegut, so he may have gotten in there as well.  I would say that my main influence is the movies.  Filmmakers tell the story through pictures.  As writers, we tell our story through words.  When people read our stuff, they have to see it.  It has to be visual.  This is the link to the imagination, taking the reader where the writer wants them to go.  I do believe that this is my gift as a writer, in that I describe everything to a visual term.  I take you there, making the story all the more enjoyable.

 

Q: What are some of the things you have done to promote your book?

 

A: First of all, the book is a self-published work on Amazon.  I never ran it through an editor nor did I take it to publishers.  I never really saw it beyond my ability to self-publish and just put it out there.  A LONG TIME AGO is a near diary of my life, not to the events that surround the main character but his emotions and the sacred oaths he takes in pursuing the high road.  My intention was to get this novel on the record.  It was a challenge I’m glad I reached.  There are also particular intricacies that I wanted secured in my name, which includes a high level of science acumen regarding the time traveling device.  Should the book ever get optioned, I will have secured the actual idea.  In the meanwhile, like everyone else, I created A LONG TIME AGO Facebook page that is accessible for view.  Every once in a while I will promote my book on my regular Facebook wall.  The first couple of years I did receive residual checks, although that’s kind of dried up now.  I also read the favorable reviews on the Amazon site, which are amazing.  In the years since its availability, I have had many friends who expressed interest in reading it.  In return I simply asked for an honest review.  Good or bad.  Yet, I have not received any reviews from the people who said they bought it.  The book does run a tad over six hundred pages, so there is a commitment to it, but because it involves films, science, romance and action, I was counting on reaching the better nature of my colleagues.  I’m still waiting.  I do have grander plans for the book; I’m just not able to articulate them now.

 

Q: Why do you think old Hollywood fascinates people?

 

A: The movies of our past and I include anything before 1980, left indelible impressions that have found their place in our vernacular.  Images of Bogie, Marilyn, Wayne, Liz, Brando and Cagney, et al, exist in our subconscious.  They live and breathe in our movements.  We quote them, enact them and watch them repeatedly.  Books rarely do this and television never.  Movies built our myths.  They are the foundation of our dreams.  They are handed down generation after generation because they still speak to us.  We don’t judge or ever get weary of them.  Also, the movies exhibited a tone of class and elegance.  This is surely lacking in today’s cinematic culture, which distributes soon forgotten and rarely quoted content.  Actors don’t carry the same impact that the old actors emanated.  This is an ongoing mention in A LONG TIME AGO, a sort of personal frustration on my end.  Also, old Hollywood appears remote and otherworldly, as seen through the prism of its current state.  It’s unattainable.  The character of Nick Webb goes back there and finds a spirit of renewal.  This is the reader’s opportunity to go with him and feel refreshed.

 

Q: If you had a time machine what would you change in the history of film?

 

A: Great question and it is answered in the book.  The character of Nick Webb is rebuffed in going back through a documentary to change history.  I hope this doesn’t give away too much.  I will share that the most recognized film in history is the Zapruder film, which documented the assassination of JFK.  Like Nick Webb, I would eagerly figure out the most accessible way to stop the assassination.  And I would do it over and over again until I got it right.  But part of the problem comes back to alternate dimensions and outcomes.  Are things meant to be?  Can we really correct the past?  In A LONG TIME AGO, the movies play a big role in answering that question.  But this very dilemma is presented in the book and for anyone interested in the assassination; it is a fascinating approach to an event that we, in our imagination, still try to solve.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.

 

An Interview With Writer Ilanna Sharon Mandel

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Ilanna Sharon Mandel is the author of The Bridge of Haunted Souls; here is a link to her website:

https://www.amazon.ca/Bridge-Haunted-Ilanna-Sharon-Mandel-ebook/dp/B01BAXHM6A

 

Q: What is The Bridge of Haunted Souls about?

A: The Bridge of Haunted Souls is an action-adventure in magical realism inspired by Jewish mysticism and a belief in the enduring need to hope for an afterlife. It’s a novel that explores the importance of friendship and loyalty, especially for young teens. In the story, Tamar is contacted by her young cousin Gabriella who recently died in an accident. Tamar and her two friends Rachel and Diana brave an adventure through an ancient cemetery, and the bridge between the world of the living and the afterlife. Their guide is Bruria, the Guardian of Souls. The three friends learn the terrible truth about what happened to Gabrielle and how she plans to re-enter the world of the living, so that Tamar will take her place in the world of the dead.

 

Q: What experiences in your life inspired you to write the book?

 

A: I have been writing practically my entire life. I published my first poem when I was 16 and never looked back. It has been my dream to publish novels. I recall being a young girl in Regina, Saskatchewan, when the famous writer W.O. Mitchell (Who Has Seen the Wind) came to our school and gave a reading. I was transfixed. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a writer. This novel in particular was inspired by my own childhood experiences with my friends when we found an ancient gravestone out on the prairies. We concocted an entire story for the gravestone, although we never did learn the truth about it.

 

Q: What makes Tamar an interesting character?

 

A: To me Tamar is interesting because she’s not a caricature of someone; she’s a full person. She is smart, adventurous, funny and kind, but she also worries and always feels she has to be in charge. Tamar finds it hard to hold back; she’s always interested in moving forwards. From her parents, who are archaeologists, she gained a love for adventure. But, she has an incredibly open mind, and so although the wonders of the afterlife are revealed to her, she’s ready to see them. Tamar is also a loyal friend and is always watching out for Rachel and Diana. Ultimately, her sense of responsibility and love for Gabrielle set her off on the adventure to begin with. So, she’s very brave, but in many ways also a regular teenage girl.

 

Q: Why do you think people are so fascinated by the afterlife?

 

A: Because it’s the ultimate question in life; what happens after we die. We all want to know. Some people have a deep-rooted belief that when we die, our souls live on, while others believe that death is nothing, and still others don’t know what to believe. It is one of the most enduring issues of our human existence.

 

Q: You work as an instructional designer; what does the job entail?

 

A: As an instructional designer, I do a lot of different things; I write curriculum, training, courses, workshops, create e-learning, interactive learning, and write live action and animation scripts. I have had the opportunity to work for a broad spectrum of clients and a huge range of topics. I focus a lot on the healthcare and education sectors, and am a specialist on disability-related issues.

 

Q: What is the least effective thing you have done to promote your book?

A: I think the least effective thing I have done is announce it on Facebook. People just don’t seem to pay any attention because there is so much going on all the time, the information just gets lost.

 

 

 

Q: What famous writer would you most like to meet?

A: I would love to meet Ursula K. Le Guin. She is truly my idea of a complete writer. Ursula has written in fantasy, science fiction, academia and practical, informative articles. She’s a brilliant woman whose work in science fiction is some of the most seminal writing that exists today. As a writer she brings a strong social conscience to her stories, and always develops deeply complex yet relatable pieces. She is one of the reasons I began writing in science fiction.

 

Q: What is the best advice you have gotten about writing?

 

A: Find your own voice and don’t give up. I believe strongly in these twin principles. It’s imperative as a writer that one doesn’t try to mimic or sound like anyone else. All writers are inspired by others, but don’t try to emulate them. Take the time to find your voice and your stories. Write about the topics and situations that are most meaningful to you. And, don’t give up. I’m in my 60s and publishing my first novel.

 

Q: What are you working on now?

 

A: I’m currently three quarters of the way through my second novel, entitled Prairie’s Edge. The novel is quite a departure from this novel as it’s far more adult in nature, although the protagonist is a 16-year-old girl named Lesley who lives in a small town in Saskatchewan, Canada. Lesley copes with a plethora of challenges – her Mom is an alcoholic and has brought a strange, drifter to live with them, and then her dying grandfather comes to stay so he can die with his family around him.  Lesley feels her world closing in on her and only wants to escape the prairies. Her mother ends up in rehab and the drifter named Grant becomes a seminal figure in her life, who helps her to take care of her dying grandfather.

 

Q:  If you could bring anyone back to the land of the living, who would it be and why?

 

A: I would bring back my Mom. We lost her young and it was quite shocking as she died of a brain aneurysm no one knew she had. My father came home to find her in a terrible state and called the ambulance, but she passed away quickly. We were extremely close, and her way of raising me was to tell me stories. Whenever I asked her a question, she invariably had a story to tell me. She was also a talented writer, as was her brother (who won major awards for his poetry). My Mom was writing her own first novel when she died, so sadly, it was never finished.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.