A Perfect 10 with Joy Lennick

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Joy Lennick for this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert EggletonPaul Scott Bates, P.C. Zick

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Damon 025

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It does both at times! I experience pockets of pure excitement, happiness and a certain, tenuous, fulfillment; but also of frustration and despair!

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I tried using a male pseudonym with some short stories as a test. Noticed no difference.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I think it does and only wish mine was more pronounced. I’m an extrovert/introvert….

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

On travelling, because it really does broaden the mind and offers so much for our minds to digest and play with.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

My first two books (factual) sold really well; reaching so many people was a novelty for a novice, and the financial reward was a pleasant surprise, BUT I would love to write a worthy novel, so a yes/no reply…

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I do whatever research is required. When in the UK (I now live in Spain) I’d haunt the library. Now  I ask questions, read books and check out Google. I tend to plan more in my head and make notes before I start a book.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

Names seem to present themselves.  So far, I’ve not had a problem.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I’m not keen on gratuitous violence or sex – believing that less is more…and find sex scenes a little tricky as I don’t want to dilute the passion. I’ve labored over a few scenes but felt satisfied at the outcome.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

What a hard question! There are a multitude I’d love to dine with! It would have to be Charlotte Bronte, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and John Steinbeck. I’d ask them if they ever thought they’d be famous and if they had second thoughts about continuing writing.(Steinbeck especially was rejected so much!)

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

In the 1980’s, I couldn’t have asked more of the mainstream publisher Kogan Page Ltd., of London. They had long tentacles… Now, one has to be a wizard or rich re self-promotion and technical know-how. I use Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and LinkedIn, but it”s a slow slog.

Find Joy’s Books:

Angelsanddevils_final

WHERE ANGELS & DEVILS TREAD

My Gentle War Front Cover - Copy

MY GENTLE WAR

 

A Perfect 10 with P.C. Zick

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author P.C. Zick for this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan HudsonRobert Eggleton, Paul Scott Bates

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


AuthorPhotoNew

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It can do both. After a good day of writing, I feel energized. That’s a day where the writing comes easily, and I write a complete scene or at least know where I’m going the next day. When it doesn’t come as easily, and I’m pushing myself because of a deadline, I can feel exhausted at the end of the day. That doesn’t happen very often. Mostly, I’m revived by writing.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I use my initials before my last name instead of my full name of Patricia Camburn Zick. So, I suppose P.C. Zick could be considered a pseudonym. I have thought of using something completely different if I ever wrote in a genre at odds with what readers expect from me. But I’m not giving up any secrets today!

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

A big ego can get in the way of becoming a great author. A big ego is easily deflated or tends to ignore advice. As an author, I view myself as a life-long learner, and I keep an open mind to discover new ways to tell stories. A writer must also listen to an editor and be able to take constructive criticism to improve the work. A huge ego can get in the way of that process. Authors must be humble to handle reviews as well. I read my reviews—good and bad—and attempt to learn from them, if it’s constructive. If not, I ignore it. A huge ego will only interfere or be so deflated that the writing ends.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

This question is difficult to answer. I know I’ve wasted a ton of money on advertising that didn’t work and pie-in-the-sky claims of workshops that will change my writing career forever. Spending money on good computers makes life easier. And there are some books that have been great investments because I refer to them with every book I write. Here are three I use all the time: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, On Writing Romance, and Structuring Your Novel.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

My view on writing success has changed over the two decades I’ve been writing fiction. At first, I thought it meant a call from Oprah. Then I realized how many other authors wished and hoped for the same thing and how many got that call. And would that really define my success? I view it differently now. I feel successful if I finish reading one of my novels and find myself in tears at the end. I know I’m successful when I hear from a reader that one of my books touched her or him. Sales are always nice, but are dependent on other things besides writing. I do feel I’ve achieved success as a writer, and it’s more inward than outward. Others may not be able to see it, but I know I have achieved a level of success that sustains me and inspires me enough to keep at it.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I draft and research as I go since I’m a “pantser” type of writer. Often, I come up with a new direction while writing the first draft and that sends me to research. I have a large library of books I use, but I am very dependent on the Internet. Things have changed in that way. When I first began, I would compile lists of things to research and then spend days at the library seeking sources. I’m careful on Internet sources and make sure they are respected sites—universities or articles in reliable media.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I brainstorm for characters and sometimes change them several times while writing a novel. A name has to fit the personality I’ve created, so I go more instinctually. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted using any names. I try not to repeat names, especially of main characters. That becomes more difficult the more novels I write.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I find the conclusion or resolution the hardest to write in a novel. That seems silly because it should be the easiest. But endings are the hardest because I never want to sound trite or sound as if I’m in a hurry to finish the novel. I’ve sent off drafts to beta readers without the final chapter or epilogue and asked for suggestions.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

I’m going literary!

1-bkBarbara Kingsolver – I would ask her about her next project. She writes passionate tales about conservation issues, and I so admire the knowledge that goes into her fiction. I learn a tremendous amount from each of her books. I would want to know where her focus will go next.

1-chCarl Hiaasen – I know where Carl gets his material—he lives in South Florida. I’ve heard him speak several times, and his tales are hilarious. I would like him to discuss how he manages to walk the line with his humor, satire, and sarcasm while still making a point about Florida and what has been done to its natural beauty.

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John Steinbeck – If I was in a room with John Steinbeck, I would probably be too tongue-tied to ask anything. But if I could, I would ask him if his metaphors from the natural world were easily constructed or did he agonize over finding the perfect analogy for the story he was conveying. His symbolism and metaphorical use of language inspired me to begin writing.

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Harper Lee – She fascinates me because she wrote one of the most classic pieces of literature to hit the twentieth century. Then the book published posthumously seemed to tear apart the iconic figure she created in To Kill a Mockingbird. I would ask her if she really wrote Go Set a Watchman, and if she did, why did she change so much in her interpretation of Atticus Finch from one novel to the next. I love both books, but I’m very curious that these were the only two major pieces of literature she created in her lifetime.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Putting my books in Amazon Select and taking advantage of promo free days has brought me the greatest success. I’ve never been accepted into BookBub, so I don’t know what that success looks like, but I know other authors have done very well with that experience. I buy advertising slots and do guest blogs when I’m doing a promo. And when it’s for a book in a series, I try to have the other books on special sale as well, but not free.

About P.C.’s Books:

FacebookCoverNewBehind the Love Contemporary Romance Series

Behind the Altar, Behind the Bar, and Behind the Curtain, Behind the Door

Behind the Altar, Book One – A TATTOO ARTIST ON A HARLEY. A DO-GOODER BEAUTY. A FORBIDDEN PASSION. Leah Bryant lives a quiet life helping others. When her future mother-in-law, Geraldine, threatens her causes, she’s left confused by the hypocrisy and befuddled by a stranger who roars into town on a Harley.

Behind the Bar, Book Two – HE WANTS A BREAK. SHE WANTS A RING. LOVE STANDS ON SHAKY GROUND. Susie Williams yearns for a romantic wedding with her boyfriend of five years. Reggie Barker runs from demands to marry any woman, including Susie.

Behind the Curtain, Book Three – SHE WANTS TO BE A STAR. HE WANTS HER. ONLY A QUEST FOR STARDOM STANDS IN THE WAY. Lisa Williams has discovered a way to achieve her life-long goal of becoming a famous actress by bringing a reality television show to her hometown. Tommy Jackson despises the idea of exploiting the town and hates it even more when his editor assigns him to cover the show for a Tampa newspaper.

Behind the Curtain, Book Four – A VOLUPTUOUS WOMAN UNLUCKY IN LOVE. A WOUNDED PSYCHOLOGIST ON A MISSION. AN UNDENIABLE ATTRACTION WITH AN ETHICAL DILEMMA. Sally Jean Compton is in love. And this time it’s with a man who isn’t in love with someone else.

Connect with P.C. Zick:

Behind the Love series – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06ZY5WSYH

Amazon Central: http://www.amazon.com/P.C.-Zick/e/B0083DPN4E/

Website: www.pczick.com/

Blog: www.pczick.wordpress.com

Facebook: https://facebook/PCZick

Twitter: https://twitter/PCZick

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5989135.P_C_Zick

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/114232083554517874771/posts

Editing Blog – The Manuscript Doctor:  https://pczickeditor.wordpress.com/

About P.C. Zick:

Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.

The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. “Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife—both human and animal—supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.”

Her contemporary romances in the Behind the Love series are also set in Florida. The novels in her most recent series, Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in in Murphy, North Carolina. She is currently working on a new romance series, Rivals in Love. Join the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers. All of her books are stand-alone reads, even if they appear in a series.

Her novels contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.

You can keep track of P.C. Zick’s new releases and special promotions by signing up for her newsletter by clicking here. For more immediate information, sign up for P.C. Zick’s Lovers of Romantic Tales on Facebook by clicking here.

 

A Perfect 10 with Paul Scott Bates

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Paul Scott Bates on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci TroiloAllan Hudson, Robert Eggleton.

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Bio PicDoes writing energize or exhaust you? 

At the time of writing it often energizes, particularly if I’m pleased with the result.  I wrote one poem, Lament that when I’d finished it I actually couldn’t remember writing it.  It just flowed for maybe an hour and came straight out, few interruptions, it just seems to appear before me.  I’m very proud of that piece.  I find writing very cathartic, it can act as a vehicle for my emotions and, as essentially a very socially inadequate person, it helps me express myself without being out on a pedestal.

 Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not? 

I haven’t yet.  I’m not sure why I would want to.  Its difficult getting your name out there so to start again seems counter-productive.  Some writers write under a different name to distance their work from something else they have written – I’m thinking about J.K. Rowling here – and that’s their prerogative and fine but at the moment I’m not sure it would work for me.  That said, I am working on another project which involves my poetry that I’m keeping quite separate at the moment.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not? 

That’s a difficult question.  A big ego can help a writer to promote their work but it could possibly lead to self-destruction.  I think with any profession it’s easy to become complacent.   A new writer with a big ego would struggle as I don’t think the public would connect with them.  I think it’s important to appear real and approachable particularly with poetry as it seems to be a very misunderstood genre.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? 

As a new writer, the best money I have spent is buying my initial batch of books to sell!

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

In many ways, having a book published was success in itself.  I started writing over thirty years ago in my teens and dreamed of having a ‘real’ book.  Whist e-books seem like the current fad, I’m still very keen on holding a paper bound book in my hands.  I’d love greater success of course, selling more copies of the book and getting recognition but that’s probably more cognitive than a requirement.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use? 

I just study life, feelings and expressions.  Some of my poetry is fictional, some of it not, the goal for me is to leave the writer wondering which is which – then I have succeeded.  Poems can be influenced by life events, TV programmes, even a line in a song, anything that affects me in a strong way can potentially find itself in a poem.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why? 

Many of the names I have used have been fictional and just names I liked the sound of – Andrewina, Josephine for instance.  I wrote a trio of poems about a character called Sarah-Jane, a partner who had passed away and I struggled to let go even after death, at the time it was fictional but I now know a few SJ’s and I have to tell them they aren’t the influence!

What is the hardest type of scene to write? 

I tend not to write something that I find difficult.  I don’t force myself to write, only writing about things that I know will come to me.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them? 

1-dinnerOh goodness, that’s really difficult.  I’ll probably name four and then think of another fifty afterwards!  I’d love Yoko Ono to be there, she’s amazing woman and so forward thinking, sure we’d have lots in common and could talk for hours.  I think she’s very misunderstood as a person in her own right.

A comedian like Spike Milligan or Tommy Cooper – I suspect that they were quite dark personalities so very different from their stage personas although I’m sure they would keep me amused as their senses of humour matched my own.

3-dinnerI’d like my Grandads to be there too.  I never knew one of them and the other died when I was 9 so never really had a relationship with either.

For people that are still living maybe an actor like Anthony Hopkins, or Stephen Fry they could tell some fascinating stories I’m sure, and maybe my wife as she’s my rock and means so much to me, she would contribute a lot to the whole situation.  I wouldn’t want to have such an enthralling dinner without her being there.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books? 

I’m still new to the world of books so at the moment it has been family, Twitter and Facebook. I’d love ‘word of mouth’ to spread and people to buy the book on recommendation and maybe via good reviews.  I have a friend who has also been leaving a few copies of my book on the London Underground for people to pick up!  Anything is worth a try!

Scott’s Book:

My current book, Hitting the Black Wall is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

HITTING THE BLACK WALL DRAFT1 USE THIS ONE 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=hitting+the+black+wall+paul+scott-bates&sprefix=hitting+the+black+wall+paul+scott%2Caps%2C896&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahitting+the+black+wall+paul+scott-bates

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hitting-theblack-wall-paul-scott-bates/1123941647?ean=9781534701670

Connect with Scott:

https://twitter.com/hiapoetry

https://www.facebook.com/hiapoetry?_rdr=p

http://hiapoetry.blogspot.co.uk/

A Perfect 10 with Author Robert Eggleton

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Robert Eggleton on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan HallStaci Troilo, Allan Hudson

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


roberteggletonDoes writing energize or exhaust you?

The act of writing energizes me. To apply mental health terminology, I sometimes feel hyper, manic, or obsessive / compulsive about finishing a scene before exhaustion sets in and the quality of my work declines. Afterward, I recoup and do it all again.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

No, I’ve never considered writing under a pseudonym. I’m a retired children’s psychotherapist and half of author proceeds are donated to the prevention of child maltreatment. My background adds to the credibility of my fiction. When I decide to write in a different genre, such as romance, I may use a pseudonym.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

The marketplace is so schizophrenic, encouraging of entry and involvement but with so few real success outcomes to sustain, a strong ego is probably essential to maintaining a role as a writer. Of course, if one’s ego gets so big that criticism is rejected by the writer without consideration, such would hurt the product, and ultimately deflate the ego.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

With the exception of postage for mailing a paper manuscript a decade ago, I’ve never spent a penny on writing. Rarity from the Hollow was published by a traditional small press that incurred all upfront costs, for everything.  I don’t enter writing competitions that charge an entry fee. I’ve never paid for promotions. The status of my involvement with writing is not a brag nor a recommendation to other writers. Just like any other business, I’m not opposed to investing in one’s work. The fact of the matter is that after paying into the U.S. Social Security fund for fifty-two years, forty of which involved working for small community-based agency which paid low salaries, I’m broke. My wife and I live on a low-fixed-income. We’ve cut expenses to accommodate and now very rarely do anything close to extravagant, such as going to a movie or eating out. If I had more resources, I would gladly pay for marketing so that I could concentrate on creative writing during whatever time that I have left on this planet.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

By a couple of measures, I have achieved writing success. First, my debut novel was published by a traditional press, a lifelong dream. Secondly, a couple of prominent book reviewers have found that my novel could outlive me, my biggest measure of success.  “…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling….” http://tabbyafae.com/rarity-hollow-robert-eggleton/ “…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” https://marcha2014.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for-rarity-from-the-hollowby-robert-eggleton/

I also feel a measure of success from sticking with my writing style, as opposed to caving in to mainstream. “…The author has created a new narrative format, something I’ve never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene O’Neill’s play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended…partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….” Jefferson Swycaffer, Affiliate, Fantasy Fan Federation. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1QI8J7NME5GE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B017REIA44

On the other hand, this project has not been successful in the sales department. With respect to art appreciation, I believe that the most beautiful painting that was never hung, and the most meaningful poem that was never read, are not Art. I suspect that, absent a miracle affecting sales, and one could happen that I don’t want to prematurely mention – an interest by a major player in the field of science fiction, one of the best selling authors of all time – I will continue to feel a mere measure of success.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Nowadays, I use Google searches, probably like most people who now use search engines to research all kinds of interests. Since my writing is not technical, it doesn’t require that type of intensive research. I did an exhaustive search of similar titles for my next project, but this was to make sure that a similar story line didn’t already exist. Influences can be subliminal and I strive to produce unique content. I’ve written dozens of articles and guest posts that were published on blogs, and on various topics. Each has required research. For example, for one article about genres in confusion, I needed to research at what age children experience their first romantic crush, and at what age people first fall in love. http://literogo.com/2016/10/01/young-adult-new-adult-and-adult-entertainment-genres-in-confusion-by-robert-eggleton/ An upcoming article to be published next month, “Subliminal Seductions in Fiction,” required research on the success rates of different advertising strategies in America.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I like to select simple names for characters, even if they are popular or common names. One of my pet peeves about fantasy literature has been the use of unusual names for characters that I had a hard time identifying with, sometimes getting them confused as I read the stories. Of course, similar to The Color Purple, I love to write home-spun, colloquial voices. One of my characters is named, Faith. The name was selected as a metaphor of the concept, “Faith is not Dead.” You’d have to read Rarity from the Hollow to see why. Anyway, I once regretted picking that name. After superficially checking out her book blog, I submitted a review request and, on approval, the ARC of my novel to this reviewer. Faith is a sexually abused child who plays an annoying and comical ghost most of my story. It turned out that this book reviewer had a younger sister named, Faith. The reviewer subsequently disclosed to me that she was a survivor of childhood victimization and that my character’s name was just too much for her to handle. I later apologized as the sister’s name had been mentioned in the profile section on her blog all along.  

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

For me, a scene that is intended to convey satire is the hardest to write. While I appreciate subtlety, sometimes it can fly over the heads of readers. Finding the balance can be difficult for me. The Advance Review Copy of Rarity form the Hollow received considerable attention, including twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews published on Amazon by independent book bloggers. Only one of them caught a piece of my intended political satire, and this one stated in her review that she was half-way through the story before the idiosyncratic spell on the name of the planet, Shptiludrp, dawned on her: Shop Until You Drop. This little known book reviewer wrote a compelling review about the impact of my story on her thinking concerning our consumer obsessed society. As I was writing the story, I thought that this was obvious.

Once Donald Trump became a household name, the political allegory in Rarity from the Hollow became obvious. There is no political advocacy in this novel, one side or any other. With respect to allegory, this novel was the first if not the only science fiction adventure to predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power. You may be interested in this press release:  http://www.pr4us.com/pr-2618-trump-presidency-predicted-in.html, but you would have to read the novel to find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation (a part of the plot that some reviewers of the ARC found to be “silly”); extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp, a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. A similar press release: http://www.pr.com/press-release/695122.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

Apologies, but I’m going to answer this question on a personal level rather than picking famous authors, philosophers, religious leaders…. The four people that I would pick to ask questions while having dinner would be:

My deceased father: “Why did you never tell us what happened to you during World War II and what actually happened?”

My deceased grandmother: “Where did you find the inspiration to write to your incarcerated son every single day for nine years?”

My deceased / murdered foster daughter: “After getting off the streets for almost a year, what compelled you to turn another trick that night?”

My deceased aunt: “After your son was abducted and tortured with lit cigarettes, was the perpetrator ever caught? Why would you never talk about it and why did you pretend that it had never happened? Did you try to get David some help, such as counseling?”

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

The first quarterly sales report for the final edition comes out late next month. Preliminary data based on sales of the ARC has been disappointing, so I’m not sure that any platform has been very successful in marketing my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. Except for paid promotions which I can’t afford, I’ve tried and am trying every pro bono option that I have and will identify. I’m skeptical that posting in Facebook book groups has had any impact, although I’ll continue. It’s free and easy. There’s too much competition by people more skilled in marketing than me, some with software programs that automates their posts. My best hope is that articles and interviews, such as this one, will reach people who will share and retweet my updates. Frankly, my posts have received tons of “Likes” but I’m skeptical that such translates into actual shares. I’m confident that I’ve driven a lot of folks to book blogs, however, because I’ve received feedback.

Half of author proceeds are donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for the prevention of child maltreatment. A very touching audio about this nonprofit agency is available: http://www.childhswv.org/  A listing of specific services supported was included as part of this early review of the Advance Review Copy: http://mountainrhinestones.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-giveaway-rarity-from-hollow-by.html.

About Rober’s Book:

1 Rarity Front Cover WEB (2)

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

  • Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

“…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm.’ I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list.” — Marcha’s Two-Cents Worth

 

A Perfect 10 with Allan Hudson

This week, I have the pleasure of featuring Author Allan Hudson on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s installment of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. ClairJoan Hall, Staci Troilo

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing has not yet gone beyond being a hobby for me at this point so I find it very soothing, very relaxing to be able to sit at the keyboard and wrap myself up in a story. There is only myself and my characters and their antics. I love that feeling. So in that sense I guess I find it energizing.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

I have never contemplated a pseudonym. Perhaps you may think it vain, but to see my name on a novel I’ve written has been a dream for many years. With the completion of my first book, the box with the first copies arrived and when I lifted that first one out, the title stood out dramatically and there in smaller print on the bottom was my name. What a feeling of accomplishment. I’ll never forget it. So, no pseudonym at present.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I don’t think you need a big ego to write well or if being humble makes you a better writer. I know a few authors that perhaps hold themselves in high regard and they do write neat stories but in my opinion, as a person, they don’t garner the same respect as someone who presents their efforts as a work of love for the enjoyment of the readers.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Hiring an editor has absolutely been the best move financially I’ve made and I feel that any author must. I prefer to self-publish and would never consider going to print without this professional service. It’s as important as an experienced cover artist. I made many mistakes with my first novel but it has been a tremendous learning experience and with my second novel, I will spare no expense in having it properly edited.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

We all measure success differently, of course. Seeing my book in print, the most gratifying thing for me in my writing is having a reader buy my book and tell me how much they enjoyed it. So in that sense, yes I believe I’ve been successful. I honestly would like to be able to support myself financially with my writing and I’ve not achieved that yet. Perhaps someday.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

I do very little research in the beginning of a story. I have a very brief outline of what I want to write about and how it might end. When I do need to research something I do it when the subject comes up in the story. The internet has been a tremendous help in researching as well as Google Earth when I want to visit different locales. I also take advantage of my local library which is most helpful. I am presently writing an historical fiction which requires much more research than my previous novels and I enjoy digging into the past. I would like to be able to visit the countries that I write about but that is not always practical.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

When I create a character, I can already envision them in my mind and I try to find a name that seems appropriate for that image. Sometimes I use friends and family names if the name is complimentary to the character and the person I take the name from. My first novel takes place mainly in Bangladesh and I was very fortunate to meet a photographer online that was very helpful with the story, both with his photos and advice, so as a way to thank him, I named a minor character after him.

There have been a few times that I regretted the choice I made with a name because as the character developed, the name didn’t seem to fit. That’s an easy problem to remedy by changing it to something more appropriate.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I find fight scenes the most difficult, where to draw the line whether  the aggression goes on too long. I’ve read some stories where the fights have gone on so long that I wonder how the hero is still standing. I feel that the fight sequence must be realistic enough to keep the reader involved, not too long and not so short as to be unbelievable. This one I worry over.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

Image result for bryce courtenay

Number one would be Bryce Courtenay. Mr. Courtenay started writing when he was 55 and went on to pen 20 best sellers before he passed away last year at the age of 80. I love his stories, how he tells a tale. He is my favorite author. I always wanted to write and it was his beginnings that inspired me to get started. I would want to ask him about his writing habits.

Image result for jj cale

I would treasure an afternoon with musician JJ Cale. I have been listening to his music since the early seventies and always have one of his discs on the spinner. JJ has been called a musician’s musician. He has been covered by many others, most notably, Eric Clapton. Very humble, not much is known about him. I would ask him to tell me about his childhood.

motherI would like to spend time with my mother again. She was a school teacher and taught me to read and write even before I started to attend classes. She brought home the Dick & Jane books and then I discovered the Hardy Boys and she never said no if I wanted a book. I’d like for her to know of the stories I wrote.

Image result for clint eastwoodI’d like to meet Clint Eastwood. I think he is one of the top directors alive today. It would be a treat to talk about the early spaghetti westerns he starred in and the aggressive attitude he developed in so many of the characters he portrayed, the tough unbeatable hero.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Interesting enough, it has been the local stores and book stores that have sold the most books for me. I have not been overly successful with online sales. My blog has been helpful in getting readers to my amazon pages. I use Facebook a lot as well as Twitter. This has been a new experience for me and with my second novel being published soon I have developed a more thorough sales plan of getting on the road and selling my books everywhere I can. I want to write better stories which appeal to a larger audience and keep my fingers crossed.

Allan’s Book:

wall-of-war4Wall of War.

In 1953, an amateur rock climber makes a startling discovery while scaling a sheer cliff in Ollantaytambo, Peru, not far from the mountain fortress of Machu Picchu. The discovery is not only extraordinary in the monument that has been created but that it has been built and left in a giant cavern where no one can see it.

The rock climber is a priest. Confused and amazed, he hurries back to his parish to document his find. The hour is late and weariness prevents him from finishing the details. Before he can complete his instructions, he dies in an auto accident. The secret remains hidden for another 51 years.

In 2004, Miguel Pisconte, recovers an artefact and an unfinished manuscript. The discovery is beyond belief. But not to others whose greed supersedes common sense. Pisconte is soon on the run with a lost treasure and a dead body in his closet. He needs to reach Drake Alexander, the man that he grew up with. Alexander is a Canadian ex-soldier with no qualms of taking the law in his own hands.

A Perfect Ten with Staci Troilo

This week, I have the distinct pleasure of featuring Author and Blogger Staci Troilo on this edition of A Perfect 10.

Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda BradleyLuna St. Clair, Joan Hall

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Troilo

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me. I love when a seed of an idea bounces around in my head and I get to cultivate it and watch it grow on the page. Editing, however, exhausts me. Editing for my clients isn’t a problem, but when I’m revising my own work, it takes a lot out of me. I don’t think that’s unusual, though. I think most of us struggle to edit our own work—that’s one of the many reasons writers should work with an editor.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym? If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

No, I don’t, nor do I think I ever would. I’m a multi-genre author, so I did consider it. But I have enough trouble maintaining a single platform. Maintaining two or more would be a nightmare. Besides, I do see some cross-over in my audiences, so it doesn’t hurt me to have a single name as a brand. And I used my real name, not a pen name. I’m not embarrassed by the genres I write in, and I’ve noticed that some people from my past recognized my name and became loyal readers. In my case, name recognition was a benefit. So, no, I’ll never use a pen name.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

While I do think you have to be confident to publish, I think there’s a difference between confidence and ego. And ego is a huge detriment. When you think you’re above reproach, you won’t take constructive criticism. And we can all benefit from the informed opinions of others. That’s how we learn and grow.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Scrivener. The price is laughably low for a program, especially when you compare it to, say, Microsoft Word. And writing in Scrivener lets me keep all my information in one file—research, character sketches, scene descriptions, outlines, and the text itself—rather than in several documents that I have to print out or switch back and forth to view. I can’t say enough good things about it. I write faster now, and I think better, because of it.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

Success would be earning a regular income that could replace a fulltime job or my freelance work. I have not achieved it yet, but I’m working hard toward that end.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

Like I said, I’m a multi-genre author, and research is largely depended on the genre. For my Medici Protectorate series (a contemporary romance saga with a paranormal element), I did a lot of online research on the Medici and on alchemy. For my Cathedral Lake series (a contemporary suspense/family drama with medical and legal aspects), I did a little research, but I mostly asked doctors, lawyers, police, and military veterans questions. I tend to only do minimal research before I write, but as I’m writing, I’ll dig deep into situations that present themselves. Yes, it takes time out of my writing, but it does enable me to get the most relevant details answered and saves me a lot of time by keeping me from investigating things that I won’t need.

How do you select the names of your characters? Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

I decide if I need a modern name or one more appropriate for a different time period, then I start looking at online name generators, baby name books, even sports rosters, family/friend names, and film and television credits. I don’t think I’ve ever regretted a choice. By the time I start writing, that character’s name fits perfectly with who the character is.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I think I’d have to say the intimate scenes in romance novels. It’s hard to make sure they are evocative without being cheesy and still manage to impact both characters’ arcs and advance the plot. There’s a lot to accomplish with such a small yet impactful scene.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1jFirst, Jesus (yes, I know that’s cliché, but come on… He’s Jesus!). Because His words are already so powerful on the page, but hearing them aloud and in person would have to be life-altering. I’d ask Him if I’m going to make it to Heaven, and if not, what can I change to assure my place there.

2gSecond, my grandfather. Because I lost him when I was too young, I miss him every day, and I’d love to catch him up on everything he’s missed and see his reaction to it all. I’d ask him what Heaven is like, because I know he’s there.

Iron Man 3Third, Robert Downey Jr. Because he is one of the best talents on the planet, and I would love to exchange ideas with him as well as experience his humor first-hand. I’d ask him if there was a chance on earth for us to collaborate on anything, particularly on a script based off one of my works. (But I’d settle for working on any project with him. He’s brilliant, and I know I’d learn a lot.)

4bjAnd finally, fourth, Billy Joel. Because his music has always spoken to me. If I was lucky enough to be eating at a piano bar, I would ask him to play something for me. Sometimes it’s not about learning but rather just experiencing beauty in the moment.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

Marketing is hard. If there’s a magic formula, I haven’t found it. I’d have to say my newsletter has been most beneficial to me. I have signups on my website, some social media platforms, even in my email signature. Getting those names and communicating with these fans has been the best thing for me, because those people have confirmed that they are interested in my work, and cultivating my relationship with them keeps them interested.


About Staci’s Books:

I’d like to promote my Medici Protectorate series. Books one and two (Bleeding Heart and Mind Control) are already out, and book three (Body Armor) comes out this summer.

dual adSeries Premise: The four Notaro sisters are the secret legacy of the Medici, famed rulers of Italy. Michelangelo promised his Medician benefactor that he’d always watch over the family, and as such, he formed the Medici Protectorate to guard them throughout the generations. Now, Italy is in political turmoil and revolution is imminent. The people are calling for new rulers, and the Notaros are poised to assume control. But a nefarious opposing faction wants the power for themselves. Never was the family in more jeopardy. The four sisters are protected by the Brotherhood—four elite warriors of the Medici Protectorate prophesied to keep the family safe until they fulfill their destinies. They journey around the world in an effort to keep the family safe and the future of Italy secure.

Book One, Bleeding Heart: Gianni, a warrior destined to defend the secret legacy of the Medici, protects his charge Francesca from a prophesied assassin. Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and he must conquer her fears and his demons in time to save them both.

Book Two, Mind Control: Vinnie copes with his own identity issues while he struggles to protect the one prophesized Medici descendant, Jo, who refuses to embrace her heritage. With lives in peril, can they find the strength to overcome their tragic pasts, or is it too late?

Book Three, Body Armor: Nico works to increase his powers and save the Notaro family matriarch, but his private agendas put his charge Donni’s life at risk. When secrets and lies result in three abductions, the group will need to place their trust him to save them all.


 

About Staci:

Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was a young girl. Today, her interests are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.

As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.

When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com/.

Connect with Staci:

Web

Blog

Newsletter Signup

Twitter

Amazon

Additional Social Media Links

A Perfect 10 With Joan Hall

This week, we sit down with author Joan Hall. She will give us some insight into her inspiration and her writing.

Please enjoy this week’s edition of A Perfect 10

If you want to check out past interviews, you can find them in the following links:

A.C. FlorySteve BoseleyKayla MattMae ClairJill SammutDeanna KahlerDawn Reno LangleyJohn HowellElaine CouglerJan SikesNancy BellNick DavisKathleen LopezSusan ThatcherCharles YallowitzArmand RosamiliaTracey PaganaAnna DobrittKaren OberlaenderDeby FredericksTeri PolenDarlene FosterRobert Rayner, C.C. NaughtonSherry RentshlerLinda Bradley, Luna St. Clair

Also, if you are an author and you want to be part of this feature, I still have a few slots open for 2017. You can email me at don@donmassenzio.com


Joan Hall 9

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both. On those days when I struggle to write the words, it’s exhausting. But most of the time, I’m energized by writing. Seeing the thoughts in my head come forth on the computer screen is exhilarating.

Do you ever write under a pseudonym?

No, I use my real name.

If not have you considered it? Why or why not?

Back when I was a want to be writer, I considered using a pseudonym, but once I began to write decided to use my own name. I just want to be.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers? Why or why not?

I believe a big ego is harmful to anyone, especially writers. The bigger the ego, the harder the fall. And no matter how good a writer is or how successful they are, there will be times of failure. I also believe egos are a detriment to learning. We should all strive to constantly improve our writing and if our egos tell us we’re the best, then we deceive ourselves.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Before I actually began writing, I invested in some online writing classes. Those courses helped me to learn the basic techniques of writing. The encouragement from instructors and fellow students was extremely helpful in crushing self-doubt.

What does writing success look like to you? Have you achieved it?

To me, success is having the courage to write and publish. It took me a long time, but now that I’ve done it, I feel successful. I’m not making much money as a writer, but that’s okay. Someday, I would like to see writing supplement my income, particularly when I retire from my regular job. But I would write without making penny because it’s something I love to do.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? What sources do you use?

In my novel Unseen Motives, there is a case of embezzlement. I spent time on the Internet researching and reading true stories of embezzlement. Even though I didn’t go into a lot of detail about the crime, I wanted it to be realistic. For the sequel, which I’m writing now, there is an arsonist on the loose. Again, I searched the web for true stories as well as purchasing a book written by an arson investigator. A few years ago, there was a series of church arsons in the area where I live, so I read about those crimes in great detail.

How do you select the names of your characters?

Often a character name will pop into my head or I’ll see a name I like in the course of my job. When that happens, I’ll put it into a list on my iPhone or PC. I’ve also used name generators and I try to match the name with the character age by searching for popular names from the time period my characters would have been born.

Have you ever regretted choosing a particular name? Why?

In Unseen Motives, the first book in my Driscoll Lake series, I have a minor character named Vince. I later decided he will be a main character in book three of the series, Unclear Purposes. Had I realized that before beginning to plot the storyline for Unclear Purposes, I would have probably chosen another name like Brett or Cade. But I can live with Vince.

What is the hardest type of scene to write?

I sometimes struggle when there are scenes with multiple characters using dialogue. I try to avoid overuse of dialogue tags and instead use dialogue beats. But even that can get a little tricky when you have multiple characters talking.

If you could have dinner with four people, living or dead, who would they be and what would you want to ask them?

1dMy fourth great-grandmother, Joanna White McCorkle. I would love to know what life was like in the late 1700s and how she felt about her husband (my fourth great-grandfather) fighting in the Revolutionary War. I could also name dozens of other ancestors, but I’m drawn to this one probably because of the similarity of our names.

3-Abraham-Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln. I would ask him about the pain and heartbreak of seeing a nation divided.

3d

Neal Armstrong. I would ask how he felt when he took that first step on the moon, knowing he was walking where no other human had ever been.

4d

Amelia Earhart (assuming she could come back from the dead). Probably because I enjoy a good unsolved mystery (and wanting to see them solved) I would ask her the location of her plane. If she didn’t crash in the ocean and landed on another island as some theorize, I would ask if she was taken as a prisoner and what the final days of her life were like.

What platform has brought you the most success in marketing your books?

I’m still learning this game, but at this point I would say word of mouth and Facebook. Friends and family have been very receptive and although I try to keep my personal page personal, it gets more traffic than my website page. Guest posting is also generating new interest in my mailing list, so I’m hoping to build up a list of devoted followers.

About Joan:

Joan Hall likes to create character-driven fiction with strong, determined female leads and male characters that are sometimes a bit mysterious. Her favorite genre is mystery and suspense—often with a touch of romance.

When she’s not writing, Joan likes to take nature walks, explore old cemeteries, and visit America’s National Parks and historical sites. She and her husband live in Texas with their two cats and a dog.

About Joan’s Book:

D2DUnseen Motives

Stephanie Harris is no stranger to mystery and suspense. The author of several best-selling thrillers returns to her hometown of Driscoll Lake twenty years after her father’s suicide when her great-aunt Helen dies.

She hopes to settle Helen’s affairs as quickly as possible and leave behind the place where she suffered so much heartache. Soon after her arrival, Stephanie stumbles upon information that leads her to believe that all is not as it seems.

When she digs deeper into secrets long buried, she begins to receive warning notes and mysterious phone calls. The threats soon escalate into deliberate attempts to harm her. Stephanie soon finds herself caught in a web of deceit and danger.

Who doesn’t want her to stay? And why? What are they afraid she’ll learn?

Undaunted, Stephanie searches for clues about the scandal surrounding her father’s death. But discovering the truth places her in the path of a cold-blooded killer.

Connect with Joan:

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Twitter

Amazon Author Page