Uncategorized

A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post – Coming September 30

One week from today A Tree Born Crooked by Steph Post will be available from Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. You can still pre-order so that you will automatically receive your Kindle download the moment it is released.

Front Cover

A little over a year ago I met Steph at and online get together for Pandamoon Publishing. We are both part of a select group, what I’m sure will someday be referred to as the ‘First Gen’ Pandas. In the past few months I’ve gotten the chance to get to know her and work with her on a few projects as well as interact with her in conference calls and meetings. We have interviewed one another and and shared ideas on a number of topics related to writing. She has to be one of the nicest people I know. Having read A Tree Born Crooked a couple of times, now, I’m in awe of her skill as a writer.

Steph Post 2Steph

She is one of the rare one-third of Floridians who are native, born in St. Augustine and raised in the land of contrast: beaches and swamps, pine trees and palms, sunbathers and sunburn, alligators and ‘crackers’…well, you get the idea. Currently she teaches at a high school for the performing arts in the west central portion of the state, is married and plays mom to a couple of very cute dogs. She is obsessed with the TV show Justified and is extremely supportive of other authors and their work.

Gator lg_Kayak-Crystal-River-Florida

Her book is about the side of Florida that people may not see all that often but that doesn’t mean it’s not here. She writes in a style that is authentic to her roots developing memorable characters.

“James Hart, with a tough-as-nails exterior and an aching emptiness inside, does not want to go home. Yet when James receives a postcard from his mother, Birdie Mae, informing him of his father’s death, he bites the bullet and returns to the rural and stagnant town of Crystal Springs, Florida, a place where dreams are born to die. James is too late for Orville’s funeral, but just in time to become ensnared in the deadly repercussions of his younger brother Rabbit’s life of petty crime. When Rabbit is double crossed by his cousin in a robbery-turned-murder, James and a local bartender, the unsettling and alluring Marlena Bell, must come up with a plan to save Rabbit’s skin. A whirlwind road trip across the desolate Florida panhandle ensues as James tries to stay one step ahead of the vengeful Alligator Mafia and keep his brother alive. With bullets in the air and the ghosts of heartache, betrayal and unspeakable rage haunting him at every turn, James must decide just how much he is willing to risk to protect his family and find a way home.”

A Tree Born Crooked Promo copy 10494540_731133296933295_2942649078238852206_n

#StephPost #ATreeBornCrooked #NewReleaseBooks #Florida #GritLit

Uncategorized

A Writer’s Vicarious Experience

books

There are milestones in everyone’s life. For a writer those are inflection points, like the decision somewhere align the line to pursue writing in a serious way. Finishing a manuscript has to rank pretty high among a writer’s personal achievements. Having a publisher accept a manuscript for publication is well up the list too. But I believe the excitement of holding a printed copy of my first book in my hands was a transcending moment eclipsing all others to enter the realm or overall accomplishments like hold a child for the first time. Yeah, it’s like that.

As with one’s first child, it is an unforgettable experience but also one revisited with similar subsequent events. Books really are like children except the nurturing period may not be quite as long before turning one loose on the unsuspecting world. I can tell you what its like to hold a copy of a book you toiled over for months or years but is truly is something that until you experience it you cannot fully comprehend.

There is a certain level of immortality that goes with publishing something. Of course the life of a book depends on its success in the market place and whether it is available in bookstores and libraries swell as online. A lot of that comes after the fact and it requires an author to be a salesperson, something that is not quite a natural fit for the stereotypical reserved, reclusive sort writers are purported to be.

Over the next few weeks a couple of my friends are releasing books. Now, I’ve had several friends and acquaintances int he writing community release books over the past couple of years and I’ve been pretty supportive of their efforts to get the word out about their books. But I think the next two books present events I may experience vicariously because I am working at their publicist. The two young ladies are as different as the poles on the national political magnet, as if their writing styles and the genres of their books. And yet, I both of these books have story lines that I believe will be the key selling points. So I expect good things int he weeks and months to come for both ladies.

photo (6)_edited

Christine Gabriel’s Crimson Forest is the first of a series. We know the name of the sequel so far, Crimson Moon and that the second book is coming out in the Spring of 2015. It is a Young Adult / New Adult Paranormal Romance with elements of action, adventure and mystery as well as a goodly amount of strangeness – what more could you ask for? The characters are endearing or despicable depending on what they do int he story. And there are a lot of surprises along the way. Nothing is exactly what it seems. Inside the Crimson Forest the world had different rules. I read in in two days. It’s that sort of story. You want and need to find out how it is resolved. And there is a resolution before a hook that leads into the sequel.I’ll be posting a review in the next day or two.

Steph Post

Steph Post’s A Tree Born Crooked is a stand alone novel in the Country Noir genre. If you don’t know what that is, let me explain a little about the book. First, expect critical acclaim for this one. Steph is that kind of writer. It’s a slice of southern life delivered with a chainsaw. The characters are gritty and realistic, the sort of people you see int he small out of the way stops along the Interstate as you drive from south Florida on your way North to a world that makes more sense to Yankees. The characters are memorable and the situations and hair brained schemes might be amusing if they didn’t have such serious and potentially deadly consequences. I posted a review for the novel back in March.

I’m as excited about these two releases as if they books were my own because, in a way, I’ve helped in gaining the authors some exposure for their work. Last night I was privileged to see the covers. Crimson Moon’s cover is pretty much a final that will be revealed in aa few days. A Tree Born Crooked’s cover is a late version. It needs the author’s final blessing. Expect a reveal on that one in a couple of weeks. Feeling the excitement of both authors as they reacted to their covers was a special experience for me. And I know both ladies will remember the moment as well.

Still, I’ll be waiting for the text message with a selfie attached when each of them receives her complimentary copies of their books. Yeah, happy dance time for certain. I may get out of my easy chair and share the moment with them.

#books #publishing #ChristineGabriel #StephPost #ATreeBornCrooked #CrimsonForest #NewReleaseBooks #MustReads

Uncategorized

Response To A Challenge: Review Of Fried Windows

WP_20140613_003

From time to time I review things. Novels, music, concerts, plays and a few off the wall experiences have been fair game in the past. But I have never officially, publicly reviewed any of my own work, until now. I’m doing this on a dare, in response to a personal challenge. I will not post this review of Fried Windows anywhere like Goodreads, Amazon or anywhere else for fear of someone assuming I’m more vain than perhaps I am. I humbly submit this only because I think it might be enlightening to hear the author’s thoughts.

Of course, I’ve read Fried Windows – so many times I’ve lost count, not that I was really trying to keep track. I dare say I have read it more than anyone else ever will. I’ve read previous versions no one else has seen save for a few beta readers. I know what was deleted during the final edits and where the skeletons are hidden. What was removed and replaced in prior revisions now exists only in my memory of the original story. Also, what  triggered the creative process that resulted in the original draft is part of the story of my recent life. I’ve shared some of these insights in the past, of how I left a bad situation that was killing me and on the way produced a novel. But I have never given the work a formal, critical review.

Here goes:

Fried Windows (In A Light White Sauce) by Elgon Williams is urban fantasy meshed with various other genres including mystery and science fiction. The result is entertaining though the plot, at times, becomes complicated and twisted as the storyteller fuses the various element together and have it make some modicum of sense. Then again, does fantasy need to make sense?

Strawb is the standout supporting character. Her eccentricities are the glue that binds the amalgam, giving necessary cohesion to the storyline. Without her presence Brent, the hero, would drift aimlessly through a fantasy world he barely recalls, bouncing from one experience to the next while trying to piece together the puzzle he made of Lucy’s life.

Lucy is as an innocent child at times. After all, she is disconnected from any real world underpinnings.  This allows her to be free but she also laments what she knows is no longer within her. Brent is as attracted to her as he ever was as a child when she was his imaginary friend. But within his Carlos persona, Brent finds the desire to stay with her in the Inworld nearly irresistible. In the course of remembering things from the past Brent/Carlos realizes he was at least complicit and possibly responsible for what changed  Lucy and why she is trapped in only one world. In the process he appreciates that what he did as well as what he did not do now exposes his real world children to fates similar to Lucy’s.

Despite the seriousness underlying everything, Fried Windows was always intended to be a lot of fun. What if someone offered you a special gift of reconnecting with childhood? It’s a fantasy that perhaps we have all permitted. In a world of mortgages, car payments, bills and responsibilities, what sane person hasn’t wanted to escape for a while? In the background, as Brent experiences being a kid again it alters him. A lot of what he does seems crazy – even to himself. As readers we are left to question what is real and what is not about this curios man and his strange story. What did the mysterious organization called The Program do to him? How much responsibility do they bear for Brent’s apparently tenuous grasp on reality?

At one level we might just as well accept that Brent is bonkers and leave it at that as we go along for the ride of a lifetime. But the possibility that he is not, that what he perceives is a veiled reality that the rest of us ignore, opens endless opportunities for us to explore. And as a writer, exploring unbridled imagination is a way to find artistic expression.

I won’t give any overall star rating to my own work. I find the awarding of stars counter productive, anyway. How can one equate the works of two different authors and determine that both being excellent deserve the same rating. Also, as a reader, there are stories I like better than others but that does not diminish the effort that went into creating the story. No doubt some will find areas that could be improved in Fried Windows. Each of us might write this story differently. But I feel the book does its job, establishing the foundation for what is yet to come as the real world learns more about Brent Woods and his multiple layered fantasy universe.

There, was that so hard? At the risk of seeming self-aggrandizing, I am posting this review. If it comes off as self-promotion, so be it. I would have never written Fried Windows if I did not intend for others to read it. Certainly, I would have never gone through the extended process of publishing it if I did not believe in the story. Whether you buy it as an eBook or paperback, rent it, borrow it or whatever, I hope you enjoy the experience of reading it. I also hope you learn not to assume things about the nature around you. What we believe in is a matter perspective and perception, after all.

Me crop 2

#FriedWindows #ElgonWilliams #author #NewReleaseBooks #MustReadBooks #Writing #BookReview

 

Uncategorized

Interview With Regina West, Author of The Long Way Home

Regina West

Regina West is a romance and erotica novelist who signed with Pandamoon Publishing last year. She is a mother of two boys, plays classical guitar, lives in Lakewood, Colorado and is a huge fan of chocolate. I asked her a few questions and this is how it went.

Her first novel, The Long Way Home is due out in a couple of weeks. (See review posted July 11, 2014). Earlier this year she and I talked about her upcoming novel and her life in the Rocky Mountain state.

####

Elgon – Imagine for a moment that you’re a famous, bestselling author. They’re making a movie out of your most recent book. What do you do next to top that you’ve already achieved?

Regina West – I gotta say…if that happens, I doubt I’ll bother topping it.  I’d keep writing, sure, but I’d spend an inordinate amount of time rolling around naked in my piles of money while sipping umbrella drinks at my beach house in Tahiti.

EW – Creative people tend to be spontaneous. In particular, most people think that writers are at least a little crazy. Tell us the most unusual thing you have done in your real life that doesn’t directly relate to writing.

RW – I am way too much of a control freak to be spontaneous.  Crazy, yes.  Spontaneous, not so much.  I suppose the most unusual thing I’ve done was go-kart racing.  Most of the time, I was the only girl racing, and, believe it or not, I was good at it.  Not many women have that claim to fame.  I tend to think of myself as a NASCAR driver – driving too fast, doing fishtails in empty parking lots. Just ask the Colorado Highway Patrol.

EW – Creativity comes in many ways – for example, painting, photography, sculpture, music and theater. What other things do you do or have you done that are examples of using your imagination or other artistic talents?

RW – As a child, I took dance lessons for many years and spent a great deal of my spare time choreographing routines.  Even now, if I hear a catchy song on the radio, I can envision dance steps in my head.  In adulthood, I began taking classical guitar lessons and fell in love with that, but, unfortunately, with all the other things going on in my life, I’ve had to put it down for now.  I truly miss making music.

EW – Where do you see yourself at this moment in your life had you never decided to write a book?

RW – I think I’d be right where I am now.  Writing is a lovely, all-encompassing experience, but the pay sucks.  So, for the most part, I think I’d still be working full-time, spending time with my kids, and generally growing as a person.  I’d probably spend far less time on social media, though.

EW – Family and relationships are important in peoples’ lives. So, it is little surprise that there are relationships between characters in books. How closely do the interactions in your books mirror your real life?

RW – Well, I write romance, so I take the sexual tension everyday real-life people might feel and ramp it up about a thousand notches.  That said, there are bits and pieces of me and people I’ve known in all the characters I’ve ever created, so the interactions are similar, albeit far more dramatic.

A prime example from The Long Way Home is when my introverted main character, Twilah, meets her future best friend, Victoria.  Victoria is bold, outgoing, and has nothing to lose, which chafes against Twilah’s more cautious nature, so her first reaction is an odd mixture of curiosity and mistrust.  I’ve had the same initial response to my extroverted friends.  It can take a long while for someone who spends a lot of time hiding behind her personal inner walls to understand someone with no walls at all, but once the trust is built, these two opposites become inseparable pieces of a puzzle.

Many thanks to Regina West for taking the time to answer a few questions.  The Long Way Home, her first novel, will be released through Pandamoon Publishing on July 30, 2014.

About The Long Way Home:

Forty-two-year-old Twilah Dunn has it all – a thriving ad agency in Los Angeles she shares with her business partner who is also her fiancé. But one phone call changes everything and leaves Twilah with a dead father, a cheating fiancé, and a score to settle.

She returns to her small hometown in North Carolina determined to sell her father’s horse farm and use the money to buy her business out from under her cheating fiancé, but her plans change when she sees the farm’s dilapidated state. She can’t bear the thought of leaving it that way.

Against all reason, she trades her fast-paced, high-stakes city life for a down-home, country one to restore her childhood home to its former glory. But she knows she can’t do it alone.

She hires sexy, forty-something cowboy Aidan Perry to help her do it. Soon, she can’t keep her mind or her hands off him, but rumors of his dark past loom. Besides, she’s been burned before by mixing business with pleasure.

Will Twilah push through her fear and let herself love Aidan? Will his mysterious past prove too dangerous? Has she really left Los Angeles behind? For some, the way to happiness is the long, winding road home.

Contact Ms West on her website or the social media links below:

Blog: http://www.reginawest.com

Twitter: @ginawestauthor

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reginawestromanceauthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7223916.Regina_West

You can also learn more about her book at:

http://pandamoonpublishing.com/pandamoon/reginawest.html

regina-west-personal-note-two

 

#TheLongWayHome #ReginaWest #NewReleaseBooks #MustReadBooks #PandamoonPublishing #writing #NewAuthor #Colorado

Uncategorized

Put off that beach trip… Review of Regina West’s The Long Way Home

My advice: put a hold on the beach trip until your copy of Regina West’s new novel arrives. The Long Way Home is this summer’s must read. But you don’t have long to wait. It’s due out at the end of the July in eBook and paperback.

Twilah Dunn is a partner in a successful, LA-based, advertising firm. In fact, her ideas and skill with the clients has made the firm what it is. But one day her comfortable life is turned upside-down. She receives a phone call from her old hometown. Her father with whom she did not have the best of relationships has died. She goes to the house she shares with her fiancé needing comfort from him but instead catches him in bed cheating on her with her best friend. Suddenly, her trip back to her North Carolina roots to settle her father’s final affairs takes on a completely new purpose. In the process of getting away from her present she discovers a new potential for a future she never expected.

Although The Long Way Home is a romance in every sense, it is also about relationships. This well-crafted love story brings together two people whose pasts have all but defeated them. Drawn to one another by circumstance as well as mutual need, Twilah Dunn and Aidan Perry discover deeper connections to the people of a small Southern town and the land of her ancestors as the two of them address intense desires for one another.

The book is introduces us to memorable characters and through realistic dialogue. The pacing effectively delivers the combination of mystery and suspense along with the steamy bits you expect from the genre. The result holds undivided attention from start to conclusion. Regina West distinguishes herself as a storyteller, creating a compelling tale about friendships and family where traditional small town values collide with reality of the modern life.

Regina West

#mustreadbooks #bookreview #newreleasebooks #TheLongWayHome #ReginaWest, #newauthor

Uncategorized

What An Author Goes Through

IMG_0233

There are a lot of copies of Fried Windows In A Light White Sauce out there being read. I’m happy about that because that is the primary reason I write. I believe it is the only reason any author goes through the more difficult aspects of the writing and publishing process. The reward at the end of the struggle is reading a review from someone who read the book, enjoyed it and got the point of the story.

As many of you know, for the past few months I have been working on publicity for other authors. At times that has drawn me away from promoting my work. It has also, of necessity, forced me to schedule time to work on my upcoming books. A couple of months ago I started a job that also requires me to budget my time. Sometimes it seems like there are not enough hours in a day but usually there are if you look hard enough. Who need sleep, right?

The reason I write is because I enjoy doing it. I don’t consider creating stories as work. It’s not exactly playtime either. It is an escape into another world that i can control. Perhaps it’s a little like plying a video game except that I generate the scenes and the characters as I go.

Everything after writing the rough draft is the necessary evil of the publication process. The draft needs to be revisited. Once revised, it need to be edited prior to submission to the publisher. Even once it is accepted it need to be edited again, looking for substantive changes (sub-edits) in the story so that the detail coincide – like the main character drives a red Ford early on in the book but it suddenly becomes a blue Chevy in Chapter 11. That would be a substantive edit point..

Sub-edits require the reading of the entire story as any reader would do. Although minor editing points like typos and such may be pointed out in the process, that is not the focus. The purpose is to make a good story arc with the necessary elements of story development and conflict resolution. Sometimes it is determined that chapters need to be rewritten or other chapters added for the sake of building the story. At times entire sections are eliminated altogether – even whole chapters.

Next the book goes through content edits. This is when the typos are picked up. Also grammar, spelling and word choice are scrutinized sentence-by-sentence. Paragraph structure is adjusted. Redundancies are removed along with some sentences that just aren’t necessary for advancing the story. Some characters may disappear or be consolidated into other characters for the sake of eliminating confusion. Names of characters might be changed for the same reason. Entire sections may need to be rewritten. Before the manuscript can be called a book it must conform to accepted standards of style. There is some latitude for author’s voice allowable within he standards, but for the most part this experience is comparable to have an English composition teacher going over an assignment you turned in for credit.

Content editing is an exhaustive process that for the first time transforms a manuscript into a novel. The success of the process depends upon the working relationship between the editor and the author. A good editor improves the story without rewriting it. A good author has a thick enough skin to take the criticism as it is intended, with the purpose of making the book as good as it can be for the overall reading experience. After all a novel is designed for a reader’s appreciation not an author’s ego.

Somewhere between subediting and content editing the cover design process begins. This is a collaborative effort between several people including the artists, the author and a representative of the publisher. Usually the publisher has the final say on the book cover but it is always good if the author is onboard with the choice. Also the author can contribute his or her advice for what scene in the book might constitute a good subject for the cover.

FINAL Final Fried Windows Front Cover Only

Part of the cover design is the inclusion of a brief blurb about the book. It tells something about what the story is about but it is also a promotional pitch directed to the potential reader. Although the author usually contributes to the writing of the blurb, it may or may not resemble what the author produced at the outset. It is edited, tweaked, revised and re-tweaked and becomes a marketing element for the book more than a brief statement of what the book is about.

When the cover design is completed it is revealed publicly as one of the initial steps in the promotions process. By then the edits are finished, ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) are produced and distributed for the purpose of book reviews to coincide with the launch. Each review is critical to the success of a book as most readers look at at least some reviews prior to deciding on a purchase – especially when buying a book from an online source.

Once a book has launched the author continues with promotional efforts, attending events, book signing, soliciting interviews and attempting to spread the word through many means in order to entice people to read the book. This is the point in the process with Fried Windows In A Light White Sauce where I am at the moment. Of the entire process, this is the most difficult point for an author. The writer inside wants to write something new. But what is the point of writing a new book if the present book isn’t selling well enough to attract attention to any new book?

Sometimes it is difficult for an author to appreciate that publishing is a business. It provides readers with a product and, hopefully, the author with royalties. But there are many, many steps between the author’s inspiration to write a story and the point at which a reader opens a book and starts to read the story.

I always knew there was a lot of coordination of effort involved in the production and distribution of a book, even before my first trip around the publishing track. But each time I go through the process I am profoundly humbled. Several people worked very hard to produce the quality of product that now bears my name. To think that all this effort came from a somewhat silly idea I came up with a couple of years ago in the quiet corner of my apartment in central Florida.
WP_20140613_003

 

#writing #author #editing #publishing #promotions #newreleasebooks

 

Uncategorized

Fried Windows Comparisons

Me crop 2

I’m flattered when readers compare Fried Windows to The Wizard of Oz or Alice In Wonderland – the original books not the movies. Like those masterpieces the story has a touch of political satire and along with the playfulness there is some dark overtones. Like Dorothy and Alice, Brent is on a quest to discover something about himself as well as what the heck is going on.

Featured Image -- 193

Although the book does not contain offensive language or adult scenes it is not a children’s book. I suppose there are precocious ten year olds who would enjoy the book but I considered the base age group for the story was high school aged. There is a lot going on in the book so I feel it is intended for more developed minds. There is a pule metaphor throughout the book. I think you have to be more mature to notice and resolve the riddles.

I’m a little surprised that people think Fried Windows is a children’s book. Although I have edited some children’s and middle grade books in the past I have never really written anything designed specifically for younger readers. There is a special art to that and I’m not sure I am blessed with it. My next book Becoming Thuperman may be as close as I ever come to writing a Middle Grade or Young Adult book. The main characters are kids discovering they have some super human abilities. What kid doesn’t dream about that. But it’s really not a kids book either.

Ironically, another book that is close to being in production, Spectre of Dammerwald, started out to be a children’s book. I had completed the draft of One Pack, which is now five books. I was working on the draft of The Last Wolfcat, which is now three books. And I was editing a MG book for a friend. I did a detailed substantive edit for him and suggested adding in a couple of chapters to increase the intensity of the climax. As a result the idea was suggested that I should try to write a children’s book. I was at a point in The Last Wolfcat that I realized I needed to know a lot more about the main characters’ pasts, things that happened before One Pack begins. So I set out to do what Tolkien did with The Hobbit, writing a children’s book as a prequel to the trilogy – in my case an octology in progress. So I started writing Spectre Of Dammerwald and about two chapters into the story it was clearly not going to turn into a children’s book. As the inspiration continues it became two books that rounded out the ten books that are The Wolfcat Chronicles.

books

Brent, the main character in Fried Windows appears in The Last Wolfcat. Characters from One Over X who are friends with Brent appear in One Pack. Without giving away any secrets, there is a character introduces in Spectre of Dammerwald who is Brent in disguise, but you really don’t find out who that is until later on in the One Over X saga.

Yes, the stories are interconnected in some ways. Even Becoming Thuperman connects to the Brent Universe in a tangential way. In Fifteen Days of Danielle, a story about Brent as a college student, he mentions a cape-less superhero who talked with a lisp – Thuperman. Also in Becoming Thuperman, Will’s mother knew Terry Harper, a physicist who appears in One Over X and The Wolfcat Chronicles as well as some other books, in high school and they stayed in touch for many years after.

In general the supporting characters in one series end up being main characters in another. I figure if you are going to create an alternate universe and populate it with characters, there are billions of individual stories that can be told. I’m working on a few of the stronger associations.

#newreleasebooks #mustreads #friedwindows #ElgonWilliams #fantasy #WizardofOz #AliceInWonderland