Friday, October 21, 2016

Cover Reveal: Guarded By The Warrior by Eliza Knight


Inside the Book:

Title: Guarded by the Warrior
Author: Eliza Knight
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Knight Media LLC
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook

A lady in need of protection...

Suffering through a short marriage to an enemy of Scotland, Lady Emilia MacCulloch manages to escape just before her husband dies. But the Ross clan will stop at nothing to get her back, for she plays a big part in their plans to thwart Robert the Bruce. She fears for her own family being labeled traitors and for her life. Placed by her king as a governess in the household of a devastatingly handsome warrior, Emilia finds herself drawn to the man, when she had previously sworn off love all together. His passion, charisma, loyalty and strength shake the very foundation she's built around her heart.

A warrior in need of saving...

Ian Matheson has spent his entire life trying to prove himself. To belong. When his father passes away and his mother takes her vows at a nearby abbey, he is suddenly left in a position he was wholly unprepared for. And then his father's dozen illegitimate children arrive on his doorstep in need of a father figure of their own. They are adorable and reckless, and he's certain they'll drive him mad. Just when he thinks he might actually need to find a wife to help him, Lady Emilia is presented to him by the king. She needs his protection, and he needs her help with the bairns. Ian is tempted by her angelic face, her fiery tongue, and the secrets that surround her. He must resist the growing desire that's laying claim within him. He must prove to his clan that he is a worthy leader. But maybe, just maybe, he can have the respect of his people, and Emilia, too.

Meet the Author:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a princess…

Growing up, I was a proficient story teller, with most of my plots encompassing princesses and princes and dreams coming true. Now as an author, some of my stories are still about royalty, knights, duels, ladies, intrigue, betrayal. History fascinates me and I try to bring history back to life in each of my stories.

My favorite time periods are medieval, renaissance and Regency eras of Europe. Growing up, I was lucky to have grandparents who lived in Paris, so many a summer was spent exploring medieval ruins and historical sites.

One of my all time favorite books is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, and I am of course Jane Austen fan, my two favorites being Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I love the in-depth, emotionally riveting and intriguing works of historical author, Ken Follett. I am also a fan of Shakespeare, and you will find in a lot of my writing reference to the literary God and his work. Not only Shakespeare, but other period poets and literary notables of history are on my keeper shelf. My love affair with the romance genre started young. I picked up my first romance novel, The Bride, by Julie Garwood when I was in high school, and I haven’t been able to stop reading or writing romance since.

When I’m not reading or writing I am usually doing research for fun. If you love history, come visit me at History Undressed, where we discuss all the wildly fascinating and titillating facts of history! Recently I’ve started to post reviews of historical fiction and romance novels as well.

You can visit her website at

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Talking Books with 'Born to Resist' Ember Raine Winters

Ember Raine Winters is a single mother of 2. Living in Bakersfield California. She has an Associate’s Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the Local Junior College and she loves to read. Anything she can get her hands on, but mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. She self-published her first book in March and hopes to publish many more in the future.

“I never thought one moment could change my life forever. In an instant life as I knew it was over. My new life was the stuff of legends. I just hoped I was strong enough to survive it.” 
A series of what were called The Immigration Wars changed the way of life for the former United States. It was thrown into chaos and a dictator came into power. 
On the eve of Alexa's sixteenth birthday her world changes forever. Her father is arrested for treason and she finds out her mother is really alive. She and her best friend Jacob must travel across country to meet her so they can free her father from the tyrannical leader of the government. Everything is not as it seems in the resistance and secrets and lies will be revealed along the way. 
They must rely on each other and their new friends to be successful. But, trust isn't easily given in the resistance and Alexa must find a way to save her father and keep her friends safe while on the run from both the government and the resistance. 

Pick up your copy at

Thank you for this interview!  I’d like to know more about you as a person first.  What do you do when you’re not writing?

When did you start writing?

I have always loved to write. When I was in like first or second grade my teacher would let us write our own “books” and bind them. We would draw little covers for them and everything. In high school I went through the whole teen angst thing and wrote dark poetry. I had one of my poems published in some anthology that I can't even remember the name of anymore. I was always writing speeches for school and won a couple of awards for those as well.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?

I think the moment I get the order of paperbacks that should be here tomorrow will be the most pivotal. To actually have that in my hand. I think that will be the moment that I actually created something that's out in the world. I think it's going to be a great moment.

If you could go anywhere in the world to start writing your next book, where would that be and why?

I would go to Ireland. I have always wanted to go to Ireland. I have seen pictures and planned trips with all of the places and things I would love to see. It's a magical beautiful place and I think it would be an extremely inspirational place to be. I have read somewhere that traveling helps with the writing process.

If you had 4 hours of extra time today, what would you do?

I am in the beginning stages of a contemporary romance about living with PTSD I would have spent that extra time writing that story.

Where would you like to set a story that you haven’t done yet?

Ireland, I have been thinking about writing some Epic Fantasy novels and I couldn't think of a better place than the home of the Druids to set the story for it.

Back to your present book, Born To Resist, how did you publish it?

It was completely self-published through Amazon. I had it available on Smashwords for awhile, but it didn't work out and I like having it on Kindle Unlimited. So it's sold exclusively through Amazon and createspace.

In writing your book, did you travel anywhere for research?

No, I did some research on the internet when it came to stops along the way from California to Washington DC, but that was pretty much it.

Why was writing Born To Resist, so important to you?

It's my belief that some writing should have a moral to it. I wanted to show people that in a blink of an eye our whole way of life could change and it won't always be for the better. Alexa's life changed in a moment, but it's what she did with the hand that she was dealt that was the most important thing. She didn't give up no matter how impossible her task seemed.

Where do you get your best ideas and why do you think that is?

The funny thing is I think I get my best ideas from life. What's happening around me or random stuff I hear on the news. I often think, hey that would make a great story. I have an active imagination and I have always heard writers say to write what you know. 

Any final words?

Thank you for the opportunity to promote Born To Resist. I hope everyone enjoys reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Born For War the second book in the Born Series comes out October 25th! Check it out too.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Feature: Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Inside the Book:

Title: Of the Abyss
Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Format: Ebook

  After decades of strife, peace has finally been achieved in Kavet—but at a dark cost.  Sorcery is outlawed, and anyone convicted of consorting with the beings of the other realms—the Abyssi and the Numini—is put to death. The only people who can even discuss such topics legally are the scholars of the Order of the Napthol, who give counsel when questions regarding the supernatural planes arise.Hansa Viridian, a captain in the elite guard unit tasked with protecting Kavet from sorcery, has always led a respectable life. But when he is implicated in a sorcerer’s crimes, the only way to avoid execution is to turn to the Abyss for help—specifically, to a half-Abyssi man he’s sworn he hates, but whose physical attraction he cannot deny.Hansa is only the first victim in a plot that eventually drags him, a sorcerer named Xaz, and a Sister of the Napthol named Cadmia into the depths of the Abyss, where their only hope of escape is to complete an infernal task that might cost them their lives.


Meet the Author:

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is the author of seventeen young adult novels and three short stories.  In addition to writing, she has a full-time job teaching high school special education English, and is the mother of a brilliant baby girl named Becks. 

Yes, it is possible her daughter's nickname came from a favorite zombie trilogy (Newsflesh, by Mira Grant).  That there probably tells you more about Amelia than anything else I have to say. 

Amelia started publishing novels when she was a freshman in high school.  As she tells her students, she knows every excuse to get out of doing homework because she got away with them all.  These days she works a bit harder to balance her responsibilities, which means she is sometimes a terrible web-mistress, but she still loves to write. 

The Atwater-Rhodes household also includes two cats, Chivas and Morgan, and some goldfish in an aquaponics system set up for book research and maintained for yummy indoor home-grown food. 

If you want to chat with Amelia, you can reach her through Facebook or Twitter.  She maintains her social media and website herself, which means she's currently writing in third person and isn't that kind of odd? What can I say - I'm an odd duck.

Website | Twitter  


Tour Schedule

Monday, October 3 - Book featured at A Title Wave
Tuesday, October 4 - Book featured at Write and Take Flight
Wednesday, October 5 - Book featured at Literal Exposure
Thursday, October 6 -  Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Friday, October 7 - Book featured at The Literary Nook
Monday, October 10 - Book featured at Don't Judge, Read
Tuesday, October 11 - Book featured at CBY Book Club
Wednesday, October 12 - Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, October 13 - Book featured at Perfect at Midnight
Friday, October 14 - Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Monday, October 17 - Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
Tuesday, October 18 - Book featured at I'm Shelf-ish
Wednesday, October 19 - Book featured at The Review From Here
Thursday, October 20 - Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound
Friday, October 21 - Book featured at Voodoo Princess
Monday, October 24 - Book featured at The Hype and the Hoopla
Tuesday, October 25 - Book featured at As the Page Turns
Wednesday, October 26 - Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords
Thursday, October 27 - Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Friday, October 28 - Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Read More »

Monday, October 17, 2016

Interview with Greg Levin, author of Sick to Death - 99 Cent Sale!


Inside the Book:

Title: Sick to Death Author: Greg Levin
Release Date: September 3, 2016
Publisher: White Rock Press
Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Dark Humor
Format: Ebook/Paperback


When Gage Adder finds out he has inoperable pancreatic cancer, things really start to look up for him. He leaves his soul-crushing job, joins a nice terminal illness support group, and takes up an exciting new hobby: Beating the hell out of bad guys.

Gage’s support group friends Jenna and Ellison don’t approve of his vigilante activities. Jenna says fighting never solves anything. Poison, on the other hand… When the three decide to team up and hit the streets, suddenly no rapist, pedophile or other odious criminal in the city is safe.

They are the sickest of superheroes. Their superpower is nothing left to lose. But what happens when one of them takes this power too far and puts at risk the lives of hundreds of innocent people? Where does one draw the line when dying to kill?

Now through this Wednesday (Oct 19th), the Kindle version of Greg's new novel ‘Sick to Death’ is available for just 99 cents! (For U.S. and U.K. customers only. Sorry everyone else -- Amazon's rules.) 

The Interview:

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

In my life life, I'm most proud of having helped raise a healthy, creative, open-minded and confident daughter. In my writing life, I'm most proud of my dedication to the craft, which has enabled me to continuously improve – and to discover what many readers have told me is a unique and engaging voice. I'm also proud of having carved out a career in which I can work in just my underpants -- or less. Oh, and having HBO option my last novel, The Exit Man. Definitely proud of that, too.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

I had a pretty happy childhood, which normally dooms a writing career, but I managed to overcome all the unconditional love and support and still become a tortured writer of twisted tales. That’s not to say my upbringing didn’t help me at all. I was a very talkative kid (still am), and when all my family and friends finally got sick and tired of listening to me, I turned to the written word. Nobody can shut you up when you're alone in a room typing... except for my cat, Dingo, who loves to sit on my laptop keyboard.

When and why did you begin writing?

As I just mentioned, I was overflowing with words as a kid, and those words had to end up somewhere. So I took to writing stories at a pretty young age. I think I was five when I wrote my first novel, and seven when I finished my first screenplay. Kidding. But seriously, from the day I was born I was anxious and moody, so having a creative outlet as a kid was key for me to not go crazy. Okay, crazier. 

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Dr. Seuss infected me at a very young age. I blame him. For everything. Especially whenever I receive a royalty check and can’t decide whether to laugh or to cry.

When did you first know you could be a writer? 

Well, like I said before, I’ve always written. But I didn't think about becoming an actual writer until after college, when I realized how unhireable I was and how poorly I got along with other people. Not being able to tie a tie also contributed to my decision to go for it. 

What inspires you to write and why? 

Living. Being alive is so beautiful and agonizing and mesmerizing. Capturing it all with words is impossible, but that doesn't stop me from trying. Life is hell, but fortunately hell is great for fiction. 

Reading also inspires me to write. Whenever I sit down to read a great book, it’s only a matter of time – usually about twenty minutes – before the author in me catches fire and I have to head to my writing nook. Before I starting writing novels, I read them voraciously. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I finish reading five a year. 

What genre are you most comfortable writing?

None of the usual ones – unless you consider Dark Humor or Transgressive Fiction “usual ones.” I don’t adhere to any popular genre norms or stay in a lane. That said, if I had to choose a genre for my books at gunpoint, I’d probably say Suspense, or Thriller, or Contemporary Fiction. Then probably get shot anyway.        

What inspired you to write your first book?

Delusions of grandeur. I thought writing a dark comedy about a mad poet would sell like gangbusters. But it was published in 2011, not 1911. In hindsight, everything I put into that thinly-veiled autobiography (it’s called Notes on an Orange Burial), I should have just saved for my shrink. That said, the book has developed a cult following among my immediate family and a couple of people in England.   

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

Once I began? That I don’t recall so much. But I can tell you what authors have had the biggest influence on my own writing since I started taking this seriously. They include Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, and Hubert Selby, Jr. They are each masters of dark comedy and transgressive fiction. Yet as big an impact as they’ve had on me as an author, and as much as I idolize them, none of them will return my phone calls or Facebook messages. Not even the ones who are still alive.   

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?

I’ll answer the first part. The biggest challenge for me when writing a novel is remembering to feed my cats. Also, remembering to kiss my wife and hug my daughter every now and again. What I’m saying is I REALLY get into the writing process. So much so, I often forget about the living process. 

Another challenge is figuring out the best way to format the handful of text messages that appear in my novels. Someone seriously needs to write a how-to book on that. I’m considering switching to historical fiction just so I won’t have to deal with text messages in my stories.

Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?

Yes – it taught me that if you spend time interviewing a poison expert as part of your research on how to discreetly kill people in your novel, you’d better not forget to THANK that expert on your ‘Acknowledgements’ page at the end of the book.  

Do you intend to make writing a career?

Oh, are you implying I haven’t made it a career already? You cut me, man. You cut me real deep. 

All joking aside, yes, I do intend to continue writing for a living. And all joking aside again, trying to make a living writing is a joke. 

I’m very fortunate to have a highly supportive wife who insists I keep at this fiction-writing thing, and who insists on paying most of the bills. She’s amazing and, as you’ve probably guessed, not right in the head. 

Have you developed a specific writing style?

Yes. I call it “playfully irreverent contemporary transgressive minimalism.” But that sounds ridiculous and pretentious. And not very minimalist. Which is why I prefer to have people simply take a look at some sample pages of my books (via Amazon or my website) and see/judge my style for themselves. (Several readers have said that my fiction reminds them of Chuck Palahniuk’s – and I didn’t even pay them to say that. But I would.)   
What is your greatest strength as a writer? 

I would say it’s my ability to bring humor to controversial and dark topics while simultaneously revealing the heart and humanity of very flawed protagonists. I love getting readers to root for a sociopath or a serial killer or just a plain loser, and laugh and cry while doing it.  
What is your favorite quality about yourself?

My ability to say, “Next question, please.”

What is your least favorite quality about yourself?

Don’t get me started. There isn’t enough space here.

What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” –Pablo Picasso. I came across this quote just last year. It really resonated with me because I used to be big into all the rules of writing and grammar, until I realized how ignoring them at times can truly elevate your prose and set your story on fire.     

Meet the Author:

Greg Levin is an award-winning author of dark comedic fiction.

Greg's first novel… meh, nobody but Greg really cares about his first novel.

His second novel, The Exit Man, was optioned by HBO for development into a TV series and won a 2015 Independent Publishers Award (a.k.a., an “IPPY”), earning a silver medal for Best Adult Fiction Ebook.

Greg’s third novel, Sick to Death, is out now and is being hailed by critics everywhere as one of the top three books he has ever written. Author Craig Clevenger (The Contortionist’s Handbook)calls Sick to Death “a tour de force dark comedy.”

Greg resides with his wife, daughter and two cats in Austin, Texas, where he reportedly is wanted by local authorities for refusing to say “y’all” or do the two-step. He is currently working on his fourth novel.

Visit him at



Tour Schedule

 Monday, September 26 - Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Tuesday, September 27 - Book featured at Books, Dreams, Life
Wednesday, September 28 - Guest blogging at What Is That Book About
Thursday, September 29 - Book featured at CBY Book Club
Friday, September 30 - Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge
Monday, October 3 - Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures
Wednesday, October 5 - Book featured at Write and Take Flight
Monday, October 10 - Book reviewed at My Book Addiction and More
Wednesday, October 12 - Book featured at Book Cover Junkie
Monday, October 17 - Interviewed at I'm Shelf-ish
Wednesday, October 19 - Book featured at Confessions of an Eccentric Bookaholic
Thursday, October 20 - Interviewed at Literarily Speaking
Monday, October 24 - Book featured at Mello and June
Wednesday, October 26 - Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, October 27 - Book reviewed at Natural Bri
Friday, October 28 - Book reviewed at Fundinmental
Monday, October 31 - Book reviewed at Falling Over Book Reviews
Read More »

Friday, October 14, 2016

Interview with Bobbe Palmer, author of Can This Be Home? And Four Other Stories



Inside the Book:

Can This Be Home
Title: Can This Be Home? And Four Other Stories 
Author: Bobbe Palmer 
Publisher: iUniverse 
Genre: Fiction 
Format: Ebook

Annie has just suffered an unimaginable loss. While she spirals into the darkness of grief, her rancher husband, Ray, appears to lack emotion. But as a storm approaches their Wyoming ranch, Annie finally sees something in Ray's blue eyes that transforms everything.

In a compelling collection of stories, Bobbe Palmer shines a light on five women of different ages and circumstances as each faces unique challenges. After little Ally witnesses a fight between her father and another farmer over water, she soon discovers what happens when a man thinks he can do everything for himself. Janie was once happy with Brad. But that was before he let the drink overtake his life. Now all she worries about is which one of them it will kill first. Odd Ida does not like boys. But when one appears at her door, she invites him into her home-and unwittingly, into her life, where she learns loneliness can be cured. Sandy knows something is visiting her farmhouse at night. Now all she has to do is determine its identity and what it wants.

Can This Be Home? is a compilation of tales that offer powerful descriptions, tormented characters, and heartbreak as five women bravely confront their trials.

Do you listen to musc while writing? If so, what do you listen to?

I sometimes do listen to music.  I choose the classics, especially symphonies and piano compositions.

2.  Do you have any suggestions for upcoming writers?

Read, and read, and read.  And then try it yourself.  Write about something you love, and then do it over, and then do it over again, refining it.  Have someone read it who will be honest with you, and try out what they suggest, but then do it so that it reflects your values and what you believe.  Then go back many times to refine it, till it rings true to you

3.What is it you like to do when you are not reading/writing?

I like visiting with friends who love to talk about real things, exchanging views so that I grow in  understanding.  I like listening to music, especially the classics.  I like cooking.  I like some of what’s on TV or at the movies.  I enjoy keeping up a correspondence through writing letters, a dying art. I work on genealogy.  I enjoy the mountains here in Colorado and the times that I can be deeply  in them to enjoy the beauty.

4.  Is there an author/authors that have inspired you?

I find inspiration in many authors. For example, Emily Dickenson,  Robert Frost, Jane Austin,  the Bronte sisters,  Hemingway, James Herriot, Jessamyn West, Maya Angelou, Barbara Kingsolver, James Michener, John, Irving, --and many, many more, each bringing something uniquely theirs. 

5.  As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?

It depended in what I had been reading or seeing in the movies.  I wanted very much to be cowgirl at one point, when the Lone Ranger was part of every afternoon.  I read that Heidi wanted to be a violinist so I aimed for that for while.  I dreamed of being a pioneer and living in deep woods after reading stories of people who did that.  Movies about the Spanish Main made me sure I wanted to a pirate, or a pirate’s girl friend.  An early movie version of the Jungle Book convinced me that I would be a jungle girl and swing orom tree to tree on long jungle vines,  I did not dream of being a writer till high school, though each of these imaginary roles became stories to act out at least in my mind..

6.  How would you react to a bad review of your book?

I’d be sad and disappointed and probably believe that I’m a poor writer, and not try to write for a while. It would be a struggle to get beyond that for me. My confidence in my writing is fragile.

Meet the Author:
Bobbe Palmer attended Grinnell College in Iowa and the University of Denver. After teaching school one year in Kansas, she married a Presbyterian minister. She assisted him as he served churches in Wyoming, and then in mission work in Alaska. Now a widow, Bobbe lives in Estes Park, Colorado.

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Interview with Emre Gurgen, author of Don Quixote Explained

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Inside the Book:

Don Quixote Explained
Title: Don Quixote Explained
Author: Emre Gurgen
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Literary Criticism
  Format: Ebook/Paperback

  Don Quixote Explained focuses on seven topics: how Sancho Panza refines into a good governor through a series of jokes that turn earnest; how Cervantes satirizes religious extremism in Don Quixote by taking aim at the Holy Roman Catholic Church; how Don Quixote and Sancho Panza check-and-balance one another’s excesses by having opposite identities; how Cervantes refines Spanish farm girls by transforming Aldonza Lorenzo into Dulcinea; how outlaws like Roque Guinart and Gines Pasamonte can avoid criminality and why; how Cervantes establishes inter-religional harmony by having a Christian translator, on the one hand, and a Muslim narrator, on the other; and lastly, how Cervantes replaces a medieval view of love and marriage―where a woman is a housekeeper, lust-satisfier, and child begetter―with a modern view of equalitarian marriage typified by a joining of desires and a merger of personalities.


The Interview

Question 1 - Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what do you listen to?
To produce strong writing, sometimes I listen to classical music from composers like Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach, and Beethoven.  In truth, just hearing classical symphonies from these artistic geniuses unleashes my creative juices, so that I can complete my manuscripts on time. 
Another reason why I listen to classical music when I write is because it does not have distracting words.  Lyric free music, I find, is soothing, not jarring, because they relax my mind, instead of jolting it with words.  Conversely, when people are singing, when they are voicing words, I cannot think clearly, since, typically, singer’s lyrics distract me from writing. 
Other people’s words, I find, draw my focus away from my own internal dialogue, my own inner voice, which I rely on to say what I want to say, to write scenes.  Instead of focusing on my internal voice, I end up listening to what singers sing.  This, to me, is very unsettling.  Thus, if I listen to any music at all when I write, which happens, once in a while, it is always instruments, not words. 
Besides listening to classical music, sometimes, when I am very excited, I listen to Chinese Fung Shui music, to calm down, to quiet my mind, particularly an album called “Calming the Emotions.”  This, I find, restores my psychic writing  balance. 

Question 2 - Do you have any suggestions for upcoming writers?
Persist.  Never give up.  If you want something bad enough, and work at it intelligently enough for long enough, eventually, you will succeed.  You will do what you set out to. 
Also, do not worry about being rejected by book publishers.  It is normal.  Take heart.  It is part of the process.  Many famous authors, like Charles Dickens, for example, or Victor Hugo, for instance, where rejected by publishers. Do not take it personally.  It is okay to be rejected. If you are rejected, find courage.  Keep at it.  Eventually you will find a publisher. And if you cannot, view your first book as practice.  Then write another book.   

If you do face rejection, if you are not signed right away, become your own Guerilla Publicist.  Market your own books.  Sell your own novels.  Then approach publishers, different publishers, again. 
Go guerilla, like I did.  Set-up your own personal author website.  Create a blog with great posts.  Sell your books to independent book sellers.  Rove around the country selling books out of the trunk of your car.  Convince independent book stores to stock your books on consignment.  Develop a platform, like I did, so you are more credible.  So people will listen to you.  Speak wherever and whenever you can about your books (local libraries, professional conferences, wherever).  If you are a staff-writer for a magazine, or newspaper, convince publishers that you have a network in place that will help you get a book review.  Create a meet-up group for writers who want to become authors, just like you, since this could be an invaluable source of moral support, intellectual feedback, and honest criticism for your work.  Post your books on Amazon.  You may be able to get a prestigious endorsement from it like I did. 
After completing some, or all of these activities, you can try again with different literary agents, with different commercial publishing houses.  This time you can tell them that so and so endorsed your book. That such and such independent book stores bought your books and sales where good there.  That your blog gets a lot of traffic, as shown by a high click through rate.  That you have a lecture circuit on writing that provides a forum to promote your book.  Agents and publishers like hearing these things. 
Also, try to show publishing professionals that what you do in life (i.e. your occupation) connects to the topic of your book.  For instance, if you wrote a nonfiction book on the environment, note that you work for the United States Geological Survey.  If you wrote a novel that focuses on the conflict between scientific research and stem cells note that you are a cellular biologist.  Or, if your job, or your career, does not connect to your book, speak about how your life experiences do. Doing so will help convince the literary world that you are a qualified author who promotes what he writes effectively. 

Question 3 - What is it you like to do when you are not reading / writing?
When I am not reading and writing I like to observe people.  If I am eating at a restaurant with friends and family, playing trivia at anonymous meet-ups, singing karaoke at my local watering hole, or hiking with friends in parks, I try to take in and store information about the qualities particular to that experience:  data that may help me write a best-selling novel one day.
I find that a big part of writing is character development and setting up scenes.  To me, practice makes perfect.   So when I am out, I pick people and write about them.  I take what I observe about this person, whether they were sitting across from me on a bus or bumped into me when I was leaving the coffee shop, to develop fictional characters.  Questions I ask myself are:  What is his name?  What does he do?  Where is he going?  Where is he coming from? Is he shy or social? What is going on in his head? I try to cover everything from his family to his inner struggles.  This, I find, tests my creativity.  It helps me develop archetypes for my characters. 
During my social life, I also observe scenes.  All kinds of scenes.  If I am eating out, I ask myself questions.  What does the place looks like?  What type of food does it serve?  How is the food made?  What does it look like?   Who eats there?  Is the cliental sophisticated, or seedy? Upper class?  Middle class? Or lover class?  What evidence is there of this?  Prices?  People’s clothes?  Do they wear nice suits?  Fancy dresses?  Torn jeans?  Soiled, pock-marked, tee shirts?  Are the waiters snooty, cheerful, depressed, or chipper?  Why?  What does this tell me about the place?  What does the ambiance look like?  By coming up with accurate answer to these questions, I store details in my mind that I may need one day to write restaurant scenes accurately. 
Also, during trivia, for instance, I learn what people do, what their educational background is, what state or country they come from, so that I can match a person’s field of expertise, with how they walk, talk, and function, in case I need to base one of my characters on them. 
When speaking to stranger, with thick foreign accents, I make mental notes about their pronunciation.  Tone of voice.  Their inflections.  Do that if I describe their speech patterns in my novels, I do so accurately. 
When I am not writing, then, I record information for my writing. 

Question 4 - Is there an author / authors that have inspired you?
Over the years, the best-selling novelist and philosopher, Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, writer of The Fountainhead, and founder of the philosophy of objectivism, has profoundly impacted my thinking and writing. Her ideology, which elevates the individual over the collective, rational egoism over altruistic selflessness, and intellectual objectivity over hyper-emotionalism, is compelling, I think.  This is why I tried to weave it into my book Don Quixote Explained. 
Besides honing my ideology, Ayn Rand’s books on the Art of Fiction and Nonfiction have also taught me about:  writing and the subconscious; literature as an art form; how theme and plot relate; what a good climax is; how to develop my plot ability; what good conflict in a story is; how to move the narrative arc forward; the use of my emotions to write; how to develop consistent characters; how to write effective love scenes;  writing about nature and cities vividly; and particular issues of style, like exposition, flashbacks, transitions, metaphors, descriptions, dialogue, slang, and obscenities. 
Furthermore, reading and listening to Ayn Rand taught me how to:  choose an appropriate subject and theme for my novels; judge my reader accurately; tailor a unique message; apply philosophy to my books without preaching it; the art of writing effective outlines; the usefulness of writing a discovery draft; what effective titles for different books are; when, and how, to edit my books; and more.
If it was not for this great woman’s profound insights about writing, life-and-living, I would not be able to write as clearly as I do.  Nor would I feel as happy as I am. Thus, I owe her a debt of gratitude.
Because I deeply admire Ayn Rand for her personal integrity, clear thinking, and indefatigable persistence, I read all of her screen plays, novellas, and novels.  All of her philosophical treatises and ideological works.  Because AR has such a dynamic and persuasive personality, I spent many years learning her philosophy of objectivism and how she incorporates it into her books.  Doing so taught me to write more clearly, speak more effectively, and think more critically, in terms of essentials.  
To me, she is the greatest novelist of all time, the single author who has influenced me the greatest throughout my writing career.  In brief, her analysis of writing, art, and literature is very helpful to me.

Question 5 - As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a literary critic and a fiction author.  For this reason, growing-up, I read classical books from famous authors, from Ayn Rand to Fyodor Dostoevsky to Victor Hugo to Leo Tolstoy, dissecting them to see what a good book consists of.  Sometimes, when I could not understand what an author meant in a particular passage, I would underline words, then look them up later.  This equipped me with a broad mental-dictionary, an extensive conceptual vocabulary that every good writer needs. 
To practice the craft of writing, first, I wrote simple short-stories to learn how to: construct realistic plots; write about believable characters; simulate virtual settings; convey multiple points of view; create conflicts between my characters; develop symbols that echoed my theme. Then, after practicing short stories, I wrote longer novellas, to see if I could sustain a moving story.  Then, once I could write novellas, I wrote full length books, sometimes, as short as 100 pages and sometimes as long as 300 plus pages.  Though, some of my early work was pretty bad, at least it taught me how to develop characters, set scenes, organize my plots, structure my writing into chapters, keep my reader’s interest by using action verbs, clearly describe people, scenes, and the way things work, by using lucid, supporting details. 
This early practice, I found, is one of the main reasons why I am a decent writer now.  And, though, I still have a lot to learn, as most of us do, about the craft of writing, I feel that with my great energy, firm discipline, and tenacious dedication, I will learn soon enough. 

Question 6 - How do you / would you react to a bad review of your book?
If a review of my book was bad, and, I agreed with the criticisms, I would actually be happy, because a bad review would enable me to improve my future books (per the reviewer’s suggestions) so that my next book would merit praise from this person.   
In cases where I think a review is unjust, sometimes I try to convince the appropriate parties that these criticisms are inaccurate. 
If I am upset with a review, I try to cool down, and talk it over with someone neutral, and carefully craft my reply when I am more rational.  Since emotions, such as anger, usually cloud my objective judgement, never, will I fire off a heated response in the spur of the moment. 
In some instances, a review may not warrant my reply.  To make this judgement, questions I ask myself include:  Does this person continually spew negativity on blogs, or in print publications, because they are bitter?  Is the person using bad language?  Is their message clearly weird?  Does the reviewer personally dislike me, or my book, for reasons other than my writing. 
On balance, I try to accept constructive criticism, at face value, even if it is difficult for me to agree with.  Criticism, however, that is not meant to be helpful, but is written from spite, vitriol, or bitterness, does not concern me one iota.  I just ignore it.  Then go about my business, leaving it to others to decide if it has a valid basis, or not.  Usually, people recognize a flawed review when they see it, which reflects negatively on the reviewer, not me or my work.
In sum, if what reviewers say about my work is true, I try to quietly acknowledge it, and produce better writing in the future.  If it is not true, I dismiss it, and move on. 

Meet the Author:
Emre Gurgen, the author of Don Quixote Explained: The Story of an Unconventional Hero, has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Pennsylvania State University. Currently, he lives in Germantown, Maryland, where he is writing a follow-up Don Quixote essay collection and study guide.

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28 - Interviewed at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Wednesday, June 29 - Interviewed at  at I'm Shelf-ish
Thursday, June 30 - Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Monday, July 4 - Interviewed at The Review From Here
Tuesday, July 5 - Guest blogging at My Bookish Pleasure
Wednesday, July 6 - Guest blogging at Voodoo Princess
Thursday, July 7 - Guest blogging at The Literary Nook
Friday, July 8 - Guest blogging at All Inclusive Retort
Monday, July 11 - Guest blogging at A Title Wave
Tuesday, July 12 - Interviewed at The Writer's Life
Friday, July 15 - Guest blogging at As the Page Turns
Monday, July 18 - Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind
Tuesday, July 19 -  Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight
Wednesday, July 20 - Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity
Thursday, July 21 - Interviewed  at Bent Over Bookwords
Friday, July 22 - Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Talking Books with 'Ghost Hampton' Ken McGorry

Ken McGorry has been writing since third grade. (He learned in first grade, but waited two years.) He started a school newspaper with friends in seventh grade, but he’s better known for his 23 years as an editor of Post Magazine, a monthly covering television and film production. This century, he took up novel-writing and Ghost Hampton and Smashed are examples. More are in the works, like the promised Ghost Hampton sequel, but he’s kinda slow.

Ken lives on Long Island with his wife and they have two strapping sons. There are dogs. Ken is also a chef (grilled cheese, and only for his sons) and he enjoys boating (if it’s someone else’s boat). He has a band, The Achievements, that plays his songs (try Back at Manhattan College (English major!), he was a founding member of the venerable Meade Bros. Band. Ken really was an employee of Dan’s Papers in the Hamptons one college summer, and really did mow Dan’s lawn.


Author: Ken McGorry
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 450
Genre: Paranormal Thriller

Lyle Hall is a new man since his car accident and spinal injury. The notoriously insensitive Bridgehampton lawyer is now afflicted with an odd sensitivity to other people's pain. Especially that of a mysterious young girl he encounters outside a long-abandoned Victorian house late one October night. “Jewel” looks about 12. But Lyle knows she’s been dead a hundred years. Jewel wants his help, but it’s unclear how. As if in return, she shows him an appalling vision—his own daughter's tombstone. If it’s to be believed, Georgie’s last day is four days away. Despite Lyle’s strained relations with his police detective daughter, he’s shocked out of complacent convalescence and back into action in the real world.

But the world now seems surreal to the formerly Scrooge-like real estate lawyer. Lyle’s motion in court enjoining the Town of Southampton from demolishing the old house goes viral because he leaked that it might be haunted. This unleashes a horde of ghost-loving demonstrators and triggers a national media frenzy. Through it all strides Lyle’s new nemesis in high heels: a beautiful, scheming TV reporter known as Silk.

Georgie Hall’s own troubles mount as a campaign of stationhouse pranks takes a disturbing sexual turn. Her very first case is underway and her main suspect is a wannabe drug lord. Meanwhile, Lyle must choose: Repair his relationship with Georgie or succumb to the devious Silk and her exclusive media contract. He tells himself seeing Georgie’s epitaph was just a hallucination. But a few miles away the would-be drug lord is loading his assault rifle. Berto needs to prove himself.

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We welcome today Ken McGorry, author of the new paranormal thriller, Ghost Hampton.  Just in time for Halloween, too!  Ken, I’d like to start out by asking you how did you get started writing paranormal thrillers?

Well I'm not your "paranormal type"! However, my wife and I were driving down a shady residential lane in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, one summer day a few years ago when she gestured at a nicely restored old colonial house. As we passed, she said, “I know the man who bought that house. He says it’s haunted.” Oh, really? “Yes. And they told him it was once a brothel.”

This was a few years ago. I was shopping my first novel, Smashed, and also looking for a new project. By the time we got out of the car, I had my title: Ghost Hampton. And I was hooked. And I decided I'd better move the fictionalized action out to Bridgehampton. I also needed to contact my grown niece who's in fact had a lot of experience with the paranormal world. 

What’s your favorite paranormal thriller movie of all time?

The Exorcist

 Your book, Ghost Hampton, is the perfect book for Halloween.  I’d like to discuss the characters first.  Can you tell us a little about Lyle Hall?

Lyle Hall is Ghost Hampton's central character and, you might say, based on his level of difficulty (he's got a bad history with women, drink, his greedy law practice, and weak parenting skills), he's also the reason this book was published independently. Traditional publishing professionals often used Lyle as the excuse to recuse themselves from getting behind Ghost Hampton. But in our world of pop anti-heroes (Tony Soprano, Walter White, anybody in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) I felt strongly that the days of Father Knows Best and White Hat = Good Guy are well behind us. My concept for Lyle was that of a modern day Scrooge. But our Lyle has already had his comeuppance prior to meeting any denizens of the underworld. His "inciting incident" was a violent car crash that took the life of Bridgehampton's kindliest old lady and left Lyle Hall paralyzed, despised and beset by incorporeal voices. It's this "new" Lyle who decides he must remake himself as a better, more giving person. But none of the locals who've known him for decades can see him any other way. And it's Lyle Hall, reviled both by real-life publishing executives and by his own fictional friends and neighbors, who's turned out to be a favorite new character with the many, many new readers and book clubs who have contacted me (and most of them are women)!

Can you tell my readers who Jewel is?

Jewel is a mysterious young girl in Victorian dress who speaks only to Lyle Hall and only in a language he cannot understand: Italian. She appears in front of an abandoned mansion, "Old Vic," and captivates Lyle, who memorizes her haunted face and (phonetically) her soulful plea. Of course, Lyle is the last person to be able to decipher her message and truly understand his paranormal experience so he implores others, including a researcher who's an old frenemy, to help him. Soon hordes of paranormal enthusiasts descend on Lyle's home, camping out, hoping in vain that Lyle will introduce them to Jewel. Most interested in Jewel is a scheming TV reporter who sees Lyle as susceptible to suggestion, and as a stepping stone in her career. But Jewel's true identity remains a riddle until Ghost Hampton's climax.

Tell us about this Victorian old house that Lyle finds?

Everybody in town knows "Old Vic" -- a big, old rambling mansion. It's an eyesore and a threat, both to property values and to those who might venture inside. It's rumored to have been a brothel back in the 1800's -- and it's widely believed to be haunted by someone, or some thing. As we see in Ghost Hampton, sometimes rumors are true. The structure itself is three stories high with a badly damaged cupola atop a Mansard roof. Its upper floors are a warren of small rooms. Its windows are all broken, including the cupola's oculus. The only furnishings inside are a few plastic milk crates. Everything else, including the moldings, have been burned over the decades by trespassing teenagers in the parlor's huge "walk in" fireplace.

And who is Silk?

Miranda Silkwood has made a name for herself as "Silk" -- the gorgeous and tempting purveyor of paranormal news on the Fearcom website. She wants her career to grow beyond the unwanted attentions of a legion of nerdy fanboys, and Lyle Hall and his paranormal extravaganza, smack in the middle of the Hamptons, presents her with a perfect opportunity. Her scheme is to play off Lyle's obvious fixation on her to get the most out of him in live TV interviews, despite his obviously unstable temperament, and ride his sudden fame to new heights as a network news host. 

What would you say is one of the scariest parts of your novel?

Well, there's something that "possesses" a few unwary characters when they enter, or get too close to, Old Vic. This unknown entity can transform a healthy, likable person into something hateful and dangerous. This happens a few times as the story progresses and we don't know if some favorite characters will survive the ordeal.

Do you plan on turning this book into a series or do you plan on writing other paranormal thrillers?

Yeah! I got hooked on Ghost Hampton early on and built the foundation for two(!) sequels into this first book. I miss my characters and can't wait to get them out on the page again. 

Now’s your chance.  Do you have anything you’d like to say to my readers about your book?

You don't have to know about Ghost Hampton's buried plot line to get a kick out of the characters and their antics. But let's think about our old friend Scrooge again for a minute. What if Scrooge, after his Christmas Eve ghostly visits, ventured out in the real world only to find that no one believed he'd changed his ways? What if his well earned reputation informed how everyone perceived him, no matter what? 
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