Sarah Lane on The God of My Art: a portrait of the artist as a young woman.

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Sarah Lane is the Canadian author of The God of My Art: A Novel, long listed for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She grew up in rural British Columbia on the Canadian west coast and has lived abroad in France and the USA and travelled around Cameroon, Mexico, and Europe. She has a M.A. in comparative literature, and her short stories and poetry have appeared in a number of literary magazinesShe currently lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she is mom to two energetic toddlers.

Sarah has kindly honoured us with a visit today to chat about her writings.

Hello Sarah, thank you for coming in. Tell us what compelled you to write THE GOD OF MY ART.
Many things, but one in particular. I did part of my B.A. in France, where I studied political science. Social classes often define people’s options for careers and the like in France, and I realized that, even if we like to pretend they do not exist in Canada, they enmesh us here as well. My novel shows how being born into, for example, the “welfare” class has repercussions that can follow a woman into adulthood.

Sarah Lane, Canadian author of The God of My Art. "My novel shows how being born into, for example, the “welfare” class has repercussions that can follow a woman into adulthood."

Sarah Lane, Canadian author of The God of My Art.
“My novel shows how being born into, for example, the “welfare” class has repercussions that can follow a woman into adulthood.”

“The novel’s title is a twist on the traditionally female muse or goddess of art.”  What made you decide this approach?
I thought it would be fun to look at how a female artist might find inspiration for her paintings in her male lovers.

“It explores the protagonist’s obsession with her lover as her source of inspiration in becoming an artist and for creating art.” Besides techniques, what, in your opinion, will generate great art?
That is one of the questions that the novel asks: where does art come from?

“The novel is set in British Columbia: Prince George and Vancouver.” Share with us your Vancouver. 
I wanted to show the two-faced underbelly of Vancouver. In the novel, it is a city divided between affluent neighborhoods full of do-gooder globetrotting outdoor adventurers and gritty neighborhoods full of streetwalkers, homeless people, and other misfits. It is also a city with certain liberties, like the nude beach, and a natural beauty that changes with the seasons.

“Helene’s underprivileged background with her prostitute mother and biker father.”  How did you decide this background?
Please see the question on my motivation for writing the novel, regarding social class.

“Helene and Matthew’s relationship really takes off…” Tell us why Matthew is special.
Matthew is Helene’s muse. The novel explores her obsession with him, first as a lover and then as the object of her art.

“The novel follows Helene’s process of moving on from the relationship.” What makes this a charming read?
I think the novel is more gritty and urban than charming. It is divided into three sections, each representing one of the primary colours. Blue is the second section and in it she learns of his betrayal.

“At the core of this coming-of-age tale are the shifting faces of Helene—teenage runaway, university student, and budding artist.” How involved were you with the art world or artists’ life?
I am a writer and so involved in the art world that way. When I lived in Europe I visited the major art galleries in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, and Berlin. I drew on those experiences a lot while writing the novel.

How real are your storyline and your characters Helene, Matthew, Hana and Laurent? 
The storyline and the characters are completely fictitious.

Yet you have created a convincing novel! Would you share with us a memorable moment in completing this novel?
Walking along the boulevard of the lake in Annecy, France, every evening at twilight after a full day of writing. Those were the days before my sweet toddlers, when I could fully concentrate on writing.

Could you please give our readers a one-paragraph sample of your short fiction and poetry?

From my story “Breaking Up,” published in the Antigonish Review:

Clement doesn’t tell this Canadian woman that he was in the Congolese army.  He says the scars are from soccer, which they are, and doesn’t mention the AK 47 under his arm that night in Katanga.  He doesn’t describe the bloodshot eyes of the intoxicated soldiers in the gleam of headlights, the loud shouts penetrating the darkness to ward off terror.  What the body remembers is a single gunshot.  Tied to a tree, an albino rebel slumping forward in front of the military truck, a long row of trees, long as the night can be dark, multiple shots in the dark to ward off treason.  In the same instant as he fires, he recognizes this albino to be his maternal cousin. 

A poem in French, published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine:

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Thank you, Sarah.
“She began writing in high school, penning her first poem for circulation in the school newsletter.”  When did you first know you just had to write?
In high school, when I was fifteen. I wrote a poem about a boy in my class. I guess he was my first god of art, in that sense.

“She did her B.A. in international relations and her M.A. in comparative literature at the University of British Columbia.”  What is it that really strikes you about the work of your favourite authors?

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigerian Author)
I love this book because you could remove the love story from the historical setting and it would still be an amazing book. But when you add in the historical element, it becomes so much more. The novel as a whole is absolutely devastating and more so, because up to today nothing has changed in terms of how the Western word views Africa.

 

Dancing in the Dark by Caryl Phillips (British Author)
This is my favorite novel by Phillips because it is rich and subtle and adds up in little bits and pieces all the devastating effects of racism on Bert Williams’s life. There are videos on YouTube of Williams’s acting and they are difficult to watch after reading this novel.

 

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (Russian-American Author)
I took a few years to get past the first few chapters of this book as I couldn’t get into it. When I did, I fell in love with Nabokov’s writing. This book is the best written novel I’ve read, in terms of poetics and style. Nabokov draws you against your will into the world of a pedophile and that is both the beauty (he writes so well) and the horror (he writes so well you start to sympathize with his character) of his novel.

 

L’Ingratitude by Ying Chen (Chinese-Canadian Author)
I love the dark, hopeless feel of this novel. I read the French original, and I’ve been told the translation is not as good.

 

The Lover by Margerite Duras (French Author)
This is a dark, coming-of-age love story, tragic and moving.

 

The Man Outside by Wolfgang Borchert (German Author)
I love the style of the writing in these stories (I read the English translation). He writes in repetitive, crispy short sentences, which are rather hypnotic and give the mundane events of his stories a poetic feel, most of which are set against a background of war.

 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (American Author)
I liked this story because I thought it was a well written and compassionate account of an American family in the Congo.

You have studied with acclaimed writers Tom Wayman, Crystal Hurdle, and Sharon Thesen and studied literary translation under Rhea Tregebov and George McWhirter. Any writing tips?

Write specific not vague and concrete not abstract. Avoid adverbs in any shape or form. Translation taught me to look at writing from the sentence level up, rather than the other way around. There are many ways to say the same thing. The poetics of writing are as important as the meaning the words convey.

Thanks, Sarah. What are you writing now? Share with us your latest news. What’s next?
My writing projects include finishing my second novel about an international love affair that may or may not have a happy ending and starting my third novel about a doppelganger who seeks recognition from her original self, with tragic consequences.

'My novel shows how being born into, for example, the “welfare” class has repercussions that can follow a woman into adulthood.'

‘My novel shows how being born into, for example, the “welfare” class has repercussions that can follow a woman into adulthood.’

Good luck with those. Now, let’s talk abou you. What did you learn from writing your novels?
That writing is hard work.

“She has lived abroad in France and traveled extensively in Cameroon, Mexico, and Europe.” What’s your favourite place, and why?
I loved France because it is such a beautiful country in terms of history, architecture, and countryside. I also liked the culture and the cuisine.

You’re also a foodie. If I came to your place for dinner, what would you prepare?
Spicy fusion cuisine. Depending on how adventurous I thought you to be, I might serve Ndole with boiled-plantains (Cameroonian dish), Mung Bean Curry with chapatis (Indian dish), or Chilli soup with corn bread (North American dish).

The first one sounds interesting 🙂 
Thank you so much for your time today. Best wishes with your writing!

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting Sarah. Come check out her   BlogGoodReads, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for her latest updates. Her book is available from Kindle EditionAmazonChapters, & Barnes and Nobles.

 

Book Trailer for The God of My Art: A Novel by Sarah Lane from Purpleferns Press on Vimeo.

 

 

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Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma


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Author Jeff Provine honors us with a visit today. A professor of Oklahoma University, Jeff also runs the university’s ghost tours. Jeff has compiled spooky ghost stories and recently released Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma. Let’s ask Jeff about this exciting new book.

 

Hello Jeff, thank you so much for coming in. You say, ‘While backpacking around Europe and attending every ghost tour I could find…’ Why ghosts? What triggered this fascination?

Ghosts have always fascinated me, as I’m sure they do anyone who wonders what goes bump in the night or what happens to the human spirit when the body gives out. There seems to be so much more at work in the world than just the material realm, and I’ve always wanted to learn more about it.

You say, ‘I mentioned to a friend of mine the only local ghost story I knew, the “Ellison Hall Ghost”.’ Please tell us a bit about the “Ellison Hall Ghost”

The story goes that a little boy was out roller skating one day in the early 1930s when he was hit by a car (or had an asthma attack, the story differs). With the university infirmary the nearest hospital, they rushed him inside and up to the third floor where the surgery suites were. He did not make it, but apparently he’s still up there. People have heard the sounds of wheels rolling up and down the hall and, sometimes, the bouncing of a ball. The motion sensor lights are famous for going off when nobody’s around.

Wow! That is scary.

You say, ‘She suggested I do a ghost tour of OU; I chuckled and said, “There aren’t enough stories! “Well, I was very wrong.  Turns out there are so many stories I picked the best.’ How and where did you discover these stories?

Stories came from a wide variety of sources. My first look was at Internet forums telling local legends about Norman. Once I had a few leads, I dug into old newspaper archives on microfilm, books written about OU, and old yearbooks. Most useful of all was simply strolling from one building to the next, seeing if anyone had experienced something weird. Good ole Oklahoma folk are often quiet, but once they get to telling stories, it’s amazing what we can find out.

Ellison Hall, where a rollerskating ghost boy makes mischief. Across the street is the site of the old Tri-Delta House, where an exorcism was performed in 1973.

Ellison Hall, where a rollerskating ghost boy makes mischief.
Across the street is the site of the old Tri-Delta House, where an exorcism was performed in 1973.

You say, ‘Since October 2009, I began informal walks around campus telling the tales.’ How did this start?

It started simply as an imitation of the other ghost tours I’d been on. We met outside one of the buildings and walked along the sidewalk from one story to the next, pausing to tell tales. Over the years, word of mouth, social media, and OU’s Visitor Center have been instrumental in filling up the tours.

You say, ‘My walking tours are seventy-five minutes and open to the public.’ Please share with us some memorable moments.

Since OU is a public space, it’s only fair to tell the stories without charge. Anybody walking by can stop in and listen. At about the hour-mark, people start getting worn down, but there are so many stories to tell!

You say, ‘A voluntary donation is collected on behalf of the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Oklahoma.’ Tell us about this cause.

CACO is an organization that operates multiple-bedroom homes where kids from troubled backgrounds can go into a safe place. Each kid gets his or her own room and, often for the first time, their own individual toys. With Halloween being a kids’ holiday, I thought it’d be the best recipient for donations, which give the Ghost Tours all the more reason to go on.

 

Jeff Provine's new nonfiction book CAMPUS GHOSTS OF NORMAN, OKLAHOMA is a collection of ghost stories.

Jeff Provine’s new nonfiction CAMPUS GHOSTS OF NORMAN, OKLAHOMA is a collection of ghost stories.

Since Norman’s inception more than 120 years ago as a college town, it has gathered a shadowy history and more than a few residents who refuse to leave. Ghostly organ music and sinister whispers fill school buildings in the night. Patients walk the surgical suites of the old infirmary, which was once a quarantine ward for polio victims. Long-deceased sisters still occupy their sororities—one even requiring an exorcism—and dorms are notorious for poltergeists and unexplainable sounds

About the book. It’s new  from The History Press’s Haunted America line’. What prompted you to write Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma?

The History Press caught word of the tours, and they suggested I write a book. It was my first major nonfiction work, and I was excited to tackle it.

What, in your opinion, are the best ingredients of an excellent scary tale?

First, the author needs to establish a setting or character that is relatable. Show that it can happen to anyone or anywhere. Then, introduce the weirdness, go outside of the comfort of normality. Finally build to a crescendo where the mortals and the spirits face-off.

Please share some memorable moment/s from when you wrote this.

While I was writing about the poltergeists believed to haunt students in some of the dorms, unseen spirits tearing posters off walls and shoving students, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, the bedroom door behind me slowly, almost silently, open. I jumped out of my chair to find my wife peeking in to check on me and show me a funny YouTube video for a break. I definitely needed a break after that.

Hahahahaha! The book must be scary to have affected you like that!  You say, ‘It has all of the scariest stories from the OU Ghost Tour, plus more from around the college area of town.’ Why is this book a must-read? What makes your collection special compared to the available ghost stories?

My stories are collected with at least two independent sources. Rather than spinning a yarn, I exercised my Journalism degree in making it as factual as possible. The stories also show a good deal of history, which gives a deep perspective on places we often just walk by. If this is what happens in a few blocks square in a town in Oklahoma, imagine what happens around where you live.

You have true ghosts as characters!

Cate Center, a beheaded basement ghost. More information at Channel 9's link of David Burkhart’s film.

Cate Center, a beheaded basement ghost.
More information at Channel 9’s link of David Burkhart’s film.

And you say, ‘Strange sounds, secret societies, and spectres… all just a part of the darker side of OU.’ Aren’t you supposed to be scared? Are you an expert in scaring your tour guests?

Generally the tours are rated PG. It gets freaky when we talk about the choking ghost who repeatedly attacked a student before being exorcized, and people love to share that thrill. I know it’s a good tour when people gasp and, after the story, whisper nervously and excitedly to one another.

You must be an excellent speaker! ‘Professor Jeff Provine sheds light on some of the darker corners of this historic campus and the secrets that reside there.’ I can see your deep love for this campus. Share with us your historic OU.

Even though I didn’t know it until I graduated, I’m a fourth-generation OU student. My great-grandfather went there for his pre-med degree, my grandfather for mechanical engineering, my mother for accounting, and finally me. Since I finished my degree, I returned for a Master’s and have been teaching there every year as an adjunct professor. It is a vibrant campus with lots of history and possibility.

The Mysterious and Macabre of the University of Oklahoma. A noisy ghost in Cafe Plaid, chittering sorority spirits in the basement of Casa Blanca, and a Pioneer Woman wandering the Duck Pond.’ Do you have any interaction with these secrets? Any medium ability, or have you ever sought a medium’s assistance?

I’ve never seen a ghost, and I’ve never heard or witnessed anything that, as a skeptic would say, is scientific proof. On the other hand, I have tagged along on an investigation, and there have been some unexplainable happenings. I’ve talked with several folks who claim medium abilities, but I’ve never been with them while consulting with a spirit.

If you could, which character/ghost did you want to meet the most, and why?

Mex the Dog, buried at the 50-yard line in the football stadium. He sounds like a good dog.

If you were to interview a ghost, which questions would you be curious to ask?

First and foremost, I’d have a lot of questions about the death process and the afterlife. Once my curiosity there was settled, I’d like to learn more about the specifics of history. What was Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency like? What do they think of cultural norms these days?

Would you like to elaborate on any of these tour talks of yours?

 

Holmberg Hall

Holmberg Hall, home of organ-playing ghost, Professor Mildred Andrews Boggess, eternally displeased with renovations.

Mildred Andrews Boggess was our Professor of the Organ from 1938 to 1976. She was a very type-A personality who got things done. She established the Master’s organ program, holds the record for most students winning nationals, and started the fund for the cathedral-style organ that is today named in her honor. When the music hall was renovated, they moved out all of the old organs, and apparently prompted her to come back to the school. They say you can hear organ music playing in Holmberg late at night from her.

Ellison Hall is our most haunted building on campus. The little boy is the most famous, and from the paranormal investigators I’ve interviewed, he’s not alone. There is a nice nurse with an EVP saying she’s from Memphis, a stodgier nurse, a female ghost, and a trickster. A pair of psychics who went into the basement (which was once the morgue when it was the hospital), said that there was something bad beyond the hatch leading to the steam tunnels. One said she wouldn’t go in there even if they paid her.

In 1986, a fourteen-year-old there on a summer program got into in the basement of what is also known as “Cate Cafeteria.” He was playing with the dumbwaiter, the little elevator used to take things up to the ground floor so they wouldn’t have to be lugged up the stairs, apparently trying to ride it. He was too big, however, even if he squeezed in backward. Unbeknownst to him, someone upstairs hit the “call” button, and the elevator began moving up even with the doors open. He tried to escape, but got caught by his neck and was decapitated as the elevator moved past the wall shaft. They say his spirit is still down there.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Campus Ghosts is the product of asking people their stories. The world around us is jam-packed with amazing history that we rarely think about. Pausing to look deeper into our surroundings and those around us makes our lives so much richer. There are stories everywhere!

Thank you so much for your time, Jeff. Best wishes for the book and the tours!

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed our chat with Jeff Provine. Meet  his  true ghosts, Campus Ghosts  is available at WalmartBarnes & NobleAmazon, and more ~ a very entertaining nonfiction!

Meet Author Greg Pavlosky And Learn To Save Money!

read-tellAuthor Greg Pavlosky has honored us with a visit today. Greg has written books on homesteading which focus on practical tips towards money saving, being frugal, parenting, being self-sufficient and self-reliant.

 

 

Greg Pavlosky, author the Homesteading series

Greg Pavlosky, author the Homesteading series: “I am just a simple person and I am trying to help others.”

Hello Greg, thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Let’s introduce you, and I’m sure besides in the US, many people in Australia and other countries would be interested in your how-to books. 

I want to thank you for asking me to be interviewed.  I am honored since you are such a wonderful author.

You can call me an author, Greg is fine. I am just a simple person and I am trying to help others.

 

Thank you! Your books contain valuable tips for money savings and self-reliance. Would you be so kind to give readers the summary of each book?

HOMESTEADING: A 21st Century Beginning of Self-Reliance

HOMESTEADING: A 21st Century Beginning of Self-Reliance:

My first book is often described as the best place to start if you are interested in homesteading. I try to give a very broad overview of what homesteading means to me.  I also try to provide readers with enough information for them to think about what their homestead may encompass.  I am using information that I compiled over 30 plus years that Teri and I had wanted to do this.  We always thought that this is what we would make our lives about.  We also never wanted to be caught up in the rat race where people are constantly struggling to pay for all of that stuff that we really don’t need or feel the need to “keep up with the Jones’”.

I don’t have all of the answers and I certainly don’t want anyone to think that I do.  One of the biggest things that people that have read the book told me was “there were so many things that I never considered.”  I also give the complete lists that we compiled over the years from talking to so many people and asking what they had and used years ago.  Many people tell me that these lists made them realize things that they had never thought about needing for their homestead.

A homestead does not have to be a country property with 10 acres.  People tell me that they are growing food while living in an urban apartment building.  Some live in a suburban location and others live in a rural area.  You basically can make your home wherever you want.  Then try to incorporate a self-reliant or self-sufficient lifestyle where you live.  The idea is to become less reliant on outside sources for as many things as you can.  Growing food is usually where most people start and then go from there.

The early homesteaders in the US often came here with little and then got land from the government to build a place on.  They learned most of the skills necessary to do the work there on the homestead.  You did not jump in the car and run to the store every time that you needed something.  This is why I also suggest to build an extensive library of information so that you will have reference materials when you first start out.  We probably have close to 200 books in our library of information.  We talked to many family members and friends years ago and they provided us with a wealth of information.

 

HOMESTEADING: Money Saving, Frugal Tips and Recipes:

HOMESTEADING: Money Saving, Frugal Tips and Recipes

When I started this book I was asked how people can start to save money and cut their expenses so that they can begin to simplify their lives.

Many people were hurt bad by the economic crash in 2008 and they have not recovered.  The politicians think it is all better and yet the lower unemployment doesn’t account for the large number of people that simply gave up on trying to find a job.  Any people lost their homes along with their jobs.  Many people were still chasing the American dream and just pushing themselves and their family further in debt.  Then jobs were lost and the debts were so bad that they had nowhere to turn.  Their mortgage was underwater or upside down.  This means that they could not sell it for what they owed on it.  So I talk about how to establish a budget, since you will need to see where all of your money goes.

I then talk about ways to earn some extra money, and this can be selling off the stuff you accumulated over the years and turning it into cash.  I also go into the idea of using coupons, shopping at yard sales, secondhand stores or scavenging.  If you are faced with a difficult situation, you will fight and find every way to win or you will give up.  Most people will fight and win, others will not.

If you want to take care of your family, what would you do?  I have not had an easy life and we have struggled much of our 34 years to get by.  We also know that you don’t keep charging things on the credit cards just to have them.  When I became sick 10 years ago and we lost my business (my job and income) and almost everything we owned, I never lost faith that we would get by.  We did and it wasn’t easy and we just get by now.  But, things are better.  I look for anything to scavenge that I can recycle for cash and that makes some extra money for us.  Would we like things easier, yes!  But we have that survival mentality that we will find a way to get by.

I also provide some simple recipes that will help to save money and some tips about grocery shopping, eating healthier, and using natural remedies.

 

WHAT We Should Know and Should Be Teaching Our Kids:

WHAT We Should Know and Should Be Teaching Our Kids

WHAT We Should Know and Should Be Teaching Our Kids: “The picture was a stock picture that I used in the cover creator. People ask me if it is my daughter and grandchild.

This book is the book that I always wanted to write.  I felt that there are so many people that just don’t seem to get it.  They don’t understand how we are hurting the future generations with the behavior we exhibit.  All of these reality shows are just such nonsense and people hang on every word people spew.  This is not what we need to be doing.  If we don’t get serious and change our ways then we are hurting the future generations.

I also provide a dedication to my dad and convey a story about him.  I lost my dad on June 12, 2013.  I had started the book and then he passed.  It was unexpected and it was difficult to handle.  He was a big supporter of my books and was always encouraging me to keep writing.

I cover a variety of topics about things that are so prevalent in society today and they are hurting society overall.  The kids today seem so soft compared to us when I was growing up.  We did lots of stupid stuff, but some of the things kids do today just drive me crazy.  This constant texting, this thing called sexting, bullying kids to the point that they commit suicide.  This is why I felt the need to write this book.  I have received some great messages from readers about what they thought of this book.  Many people don’t understand what sexting is and that it goes on.  I talk about some of the peer pressures kids face today and how harmful they can be.

Your explanation really makes me want to read the books and copy your examples, Greg. I’m sure our readers will find them very useful too. You wrote that for a long time you and your wife have longed for living in a rural area and building your homestead. Would you tell us what inspired you? Why rural, and why homestead?

The idea of living in a more rural location always seemed attractive to me and then to Teri.  I think I always liked the visits to farms of family and friends, and how different it was compared to where we lived.  I have nothing against my neighbors but I would prefer to have some extra land and more distance between us.

We often talked about living further out in the country and just doing our own thing.  Not being pressured by daily routines of constantly rushing from one place to another.  We are also animal lovers and have always had dogs.  We have also rescued and helped a variety of animals over the years.  The thought of being more self-reliant and self-sufficient has always appealed to us.

I can fix almost anything.  I have saved us thousands of dollars over the years by being able to fix things that broke.  This has included our cars, house and almost everything else we owned.  I have also built many things over the years. So that was also a part of becoming more self-reliant.

We wanted a rural location with lots of trees, off away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Privacy is one of the reasons, and it is not that we are trying to hide anything.  We just want to grow some food (fruits and vegetables) and raise some animals for meat.  We also wanted a very simple home that we could enjoy with family and friends.

Your years of researching and reading lead you to write your first book in your HOMESTEADING Series. Would you share some memorable instances?

I think that the most memorable instances that I enjoyed were the stories of what it was like growing up during the depression and then what it was like living during the time of the second World War.  The stories we were told of how people did so many things to survive and get by made me long for those times.  It was simple and also very hard.  These stories helped to shape our dreams of a simple more self-sufficient life.  My grandmother talked about how they made meals and used everything that they could to make the most of the meal.  Using beef and chicken together to make the broth for soup and then roasting the beef and chicken for other meals later in the week.  Soups included lots of homemade noodles and vegetables.  These filled you up since there was no actual meat in the soup.  The talks about how they had to walk everywhere since they didn’t own a car and with winter and the snow, cold, etc.

The book was a collection of thoughts.  I didn’t write the book out in long hand.  I basically wrote the book looking at my notes and composed it in my head as I went.  Teri does a great job when she sits down to edit it.  I will tend to ramble and she can often make sense of what I am talking about.  I also don’t use much punctuation when I write, so she has to add much of that.  She will tell me that I wrote an entire page and there was only one period.

Thank you, Greg. Could you please tell us about the KISS principle?

The KISS principle is actually Keep It Simple Stupid.  I have used that for years as a way to not overthink some of the problems that I have encountered.  I have always had a tendency to do much more than I needed to, so I try to remind myself by having KISS in my head.  You don’t need to complicate everything in your life, just try to keep it simple…

Starting your homestead couldn’t have been easy. Would you like to share a few challenges? How did you overcome them?

Some of the most difficult times were when we found a particular property and made several visits to it.  Then starting the process of getting things ready only to be told there was an offer or some other reason.  We would specify that it would need to PERC for a septic system and the owner would reject that as a contingency.  We were not going to buy a piece of property and then be stuck without a septic system.

We actually lost our place that we had thought we had bought.  We had been told it was going along and that the owner was out of the country and would accept the offer.  This lasted for months and then we were told that someone else had placed a deposit with another realtor and the owner accepted that offer.  Very disheartening with the number of trips we made to that land, the number of times we walked the land and had invested so much into it.

You just have to believe that there was a reason that it didn’t happen.  Otherwise you would go crazy.  There was no recourse for us.  I believed when I wrote the books that it was going to happen and that the realtor was being totally honest with us.  He admitted that he dropped the ball and used several excuses that were plausible.  I now know to only deal with the actual listing office and agent.  I felt like a fraud as I had already published both books and then we find out it wasn’t going to happen.  So we keep looking for that right piece of land.  So the moral is, don’t get discouraged.  In the meantime we continue to downsize our possessions, work on our home to sell when the time comes and keep adding to our lists of tools, equipment and household items we will need.  We keep researching, reading the books in our library and adding an occasional title we feel will benefit us.  I have also been picking up various building materials that we will need for our home and buildings.  Teri says that I am building my own hardware store.  We just look for bargains and if it is something we will need then we get it.

You are very lucky to reap benefits by growing your own foods which also help to make you healthier with hours outdoor in fresh air. What story would you share about the joy of homesteading?

Gardening is great, and that is something that we did for years.  We went into raised beds this year as a way to hopefully increase our yields.  We do enjoy being outside, and people ask if I use a tanning bed.  I work outside as much as I can, and often without my shirt.  I don’t get burned very often and hold my tan for a long time after fall gets here.  Our site that we lost was so nice due to the amount of wildlife and we looked forward to sitting on the porch and enjoying the views.

You have received very positive comments and reviews from a broad section of people on your third book. Would you tell us why this book is a must-read?

Some of my friends that read most of the book prior to completion just raved about it.  Others that previewed it for me told me it would be called a must read.

Their reasons seemed so different from one another and I think that is what I liked most about it.  These friends all came from different areas and professions.  So it touched on many things to different people.

I think that the biggest compliment was a friend that said it was “like an updated version of ‘Life’s Little Instruction Book’due to the various areas that I covered.  I remember when that book came out and just how popular it was.  I actually never read it.  That comment blew me away.  This was the first time I had ever allowed anyone other than Teri to read my book.  I was kind of skeptical with how it would be received and decided to ask my friends on Facebook if anyone wanted to preview it.

I can honestly say that the majority of my 800+ friends are actually people that I know.  I have about 25 that I am friends with due to our love of the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The rest are friends and family.  I don’t remember the actual number that read it but I told them to be tough and that I wanted genuine feedback.

That’s wonderful! Now, you grew up in a family food business and were bitten by the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age. You also learned that hard work is necessary to achieve anything in life. How much of this background influenced this third book?

I see so many people that don’t get that hard work is the only way to get anywhere in life.  People seem to look for the easy way out.  I think this is one of the things that bothers me the most about these reality shows.  Many of the people don’t really work at their jobs and most of those shows are scripted.  This gives people the idea that anything someone does should be on TV.  Then they get paid big salaries after the show becomes a hit and become more outrageous.

My dad told me I had to start at the bottom even though I was his son.  So I scrubbed pots and pans, while my sisters started later in their lives and worked as waitresses and cooks.  I always thought that I would own the business when dad decided to retire.  But, I always had so many other interests that I thought about owning other businesses.  Hard work was the only way any of it was going to happen.

Thank you, Greg. On writing, when did you first know you need to share your knowledge?

I had been talking to people about simplifying and becoming more self-sufficient for years.  Then one day I was talking to some people at some kind of gathering when someone said “How do I get started?” I started explaining where I felt that they should start based upon my own experience.  I talked about learning skills and building a library of information.  Then someone said, “Why don’t you write a book about this and how to start from square one.”

I thought about this for a couple of months and researched publishers.  Then I discovered self-publishing and Amazon.  Teri had been working on her book for a year or so and wasn’t ready to get back to writing in spite of the encouragement that she had been receiving.  She was sharing chapters as she completed them and everyone was hanging on waiting for the next chapter.  We talked about where her story was at and that we could self-publish her book.  She had actually sold a short story to a magazine years ago.  So I told her that I was going to write a book about homesteading.  She encouraged me to write and I actually completed and published it before she was done.

Who gives you the most encouragement, Greg?

Teri was a big supporter and she spends the hours after I am done getting it ready to read.  My dad was a big supporter and always asked me how it was doing in sales, and when I was going to write the next book, etc.  When he passed in June I didn’t want to think about finishing the third book.  But after 2 months to the date, I asked my friends on Facebook if they wanted to preview what I had written to that point.  Their words and the words of my mom were what I needed to push me through to the finish.

What would you like to share about the writing process?

My father-in-law was a writer for newspapers and then many books that were never published.  He did sell stories to magazines, etc.  He told me years ago that every person has at least one good book in them. This was back in the early 80’s and it always stuck with me.  At the time I was writing a book about my experience in the fire company.

I am probably so different in the way that I write to other writers/authors.  I work from notes and basically compose the page as I write it.  Sometimes a single word in my notebook can turn into several pages.  Teri marvels at the amount of information that is in my head.  My style probably won’t work for others. I tell her that editing my words is probably the toughest part of my books.

Tery has been your wife for over 3 decades and she serves as the editor for your books. How lucky! How wonderful! Tell us about Teri.

We met in January 1979 on a blind date. Her friend was dating one of my friends and I asked if she had any girlfriends that she could set me up with for a date.  My dad would throw a big party every January since his business was slow and invite family, friends, employees and business associates.  He would make all of the food, hire a band for dancing, and we would all have a good time.  So anyway this is how I came to meet Teri.

She was very stunning when I picked her up and we had such a great time together.  I knew when I took her home that she was the one.  Everyone at the party thought we had been dating for months and told us what a great couple we made. It turned out that we graduated from the same school, same year and didn’t know each other.  We had almost 700 kids in our class.

That was Saturday night and I went after work on Monday and bought the engagement ring.  We were engaged on Valentine’s Day that year and married in July on her birthday.  We had planned a big wedding for November but neither of us actually wanted to wait. We decided to head out west and see what it was like to be on our own.  We loaded my truck and drove to Phoenix 4 days after we were married to begin our life.  We returned to Johnstown two years later and then began a family.

Teri was working at the lab in the hospital and she did that in Phoenix.  She is a hard worker and a wonderful person.  She decided at 37 to go to college for accounting and business.  She started part time due to the kids and then went full time and completed the courses in 4 years.  She worked 3 part time jobs at one point while going to school and I was working a full time and part time job.  She graduated Cum Laude and I was very proud that she was able to be a good mother and still get her school work done.  With 34 years of marriage under our belt and all that we have been through we remain supportive and in love.

Teri and Greg

Greg and Teri Pavlosky. “This is me and Teri at The Mother Earth Fair at Seven Springs. We were interviewed for their blog. We look forward to attending this year as well.”

“She works for an insurance company as a customer service rep now and hopes to make the jump to writing full time at some point.  She released her first book “Sometimes” this year under the name Bobbi Rice.”

Her father passed away 10 years ago and His Name was Robert Rice.  She chose her pen name as a tribute to him.

What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

I actually have three books started and they will be the rest of the Homesteading series.  I am still not sure which one will be released next at this point.  I decided that with the third book done and people asking if I was going to write more I should return and complete that series.  I also want to get a web page up and running and hope to get a blog started once we find that piece of land so that I can blog about the day to day chores of building the homestead.  I also have so much other work to get done as I have some medical issues that will require a hospital stay and a recovery period.

Thank you, Greg. Let’s talk about you. You were born in Chicago, IL and was raised in Johnstown, PA where you lived with your parents and 3 sisters. How was it like to grow up in a houseful of girls?

It was very difficult since dad worked so many hours and couldn’t be there.  But, I had a great group of friends that I hung around with.  Several of them were the only boy in the family, so they could relate even though they didn’t have as many sisters.  I also had sports to also keep me busy with baseball, football, and motorcycle racing.

You grew up in your father’s restaurants, bakery and catering operation, and you graduated from Greater Johnstown Vocational-Technical School in Food Service and Preparation. Wow! If I came to your place for dinner, what would you prepare for me?

Since I don’t know much about you I would probably go with some of the family favorites and ethnic foods from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.  I know lots of “Hunky” and “Slovak” recipes. I also like grilling and also make award-winning chili.  I won trophies at Chili Cookoff’s with my own recipe.  I also like crockpot cooking since it is put everything in and let it go.  I am also known for my chocolate-chip cookies and bake a ton of them at Christmas time to give away.

They all sound delicious! You certainly love cooking.  But you also spent years as a member of Geistown Volunteer Fire Co. as an Emergency Medical Technician and as a volunteer firefighter. Would you like to share a memorable event from your time there?

I saw some really horrendous stuff on the ambulance and fought some big fires.  The thing that most stands out to me is the 1977 flood in Johnstown.  The damage was so bad, I helped to rescue so many people, and lost an aunt and two cousins.  Family members lost everything, my dad lost his business and I was on the go for 4 days straight before I got to sleep.  I had bought a new truck and received it one week before the flood.  I was then using it to the water and mud to rescue people and deliver food and supplies to people.  I drove it in very deep water and against rushing water that was up to the hood.  It never let me down and the 4-wheel drive was so great.  I never got stuck and pulled others vehicles that were stuck.

Also, September 11, 2001 is always fresh in my mind.  We were all in the fire company (Teri, Erin, Ryan and myself) and the fact that Flight 93 almost landed here and crashed 14 miles away.  I remember the radio chatter and the dispatch for a plane with terrorists at the controls and a bomb on board en route to our airport.  I was working at a business next to the airport and was already aware of the other 3 planes being hijacked and crashed.  Knowing the loss of life at the World Trade Center Towers, especially the firefighters from FDNY, we (my family) organized a prayer service for all of the victims and brought together firefighters from 20 fire departments to pray for the firefighters.  We also organized a collection and raised nearly $6,000 for the FDNY Widows and Children fund.

How did you come to serve in the US Navy?

My dad had served in the Navy as did his brothers.  I decided after high school and an argument with my dad to join the Navy.  I didn’t know that an old injury would allow me to only serve a few months before problems occurred.

You’re married and you have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. What would you like to share about the kidlets?

Rachael, grand daughter of Author Greg Pavlosky.

Rachael, granddaughter of Author Greg Pavlosky, with her motorcycle helmet.

My kids are great, Erin is almost 32 and Ryan is 26.  Being a grandparent is much better than being a parent.  Rachael is 8, Bella almost 4, Frankie is 18 months and James is two months.  Rachael sees us every other week and lived with us for a time and she loves to be with Pappy.  They are all out of town.  Rachael loves to ride in my truck since we are up higher, and also loves to ride on the tractor with me since I let her steer.  We Skype with all of them to stay in touch.  Rachael is a very technology oriented and understands so much about all of these different technologies.

Rachel, granddaughter of Author Greg Pavlosky.

“Rachael at the Children’s Museum earlier this year.
She had to show Pappy that she was a firefighter.”

Lovely! You enjoy the outdoors, sports and motorcycles with your wife. Wonderful! Tell us more about this.

greg's bike

“This is our 1977 GS-750 Suzuki.  We love to ride it and try to get out as much as we can.  I also use it for trips to the store when I don’t need a lot of stuff.  It’s old and for me it’s easy to work on.  I always worked on my own motorcycles and enjoy it.”

We have not been on it much this year with so many things going on and I want to replace a few things before any trips on it.  People ask me why I ride an old bike and I always tell them “I am old.”

Teri’s Scooter

Teri’s Scooter

You spent years competing in a variety of off road motorcycle racing events. Would you like to elaborate?

I don’t have any pictures to share from those days.  We had lots of fields around our neighborhood and having a dirt bike was very popular.  From our riding we began racing and would travel all over to race. We also tried almost every form of off road racing.  I raced on dirt flat tracks, motocross, dirt drag racing, hare scrambles and endures.  Races were on Sundays and my dad did not work on most Sundays.  That enabled him to take me in the races, and a few times my mom did drive me.  There were usually 5-8 of us from the neighborhood that would race so it was great to have friends there.  Most of my friends rode in the 125cc class and I rode in the 250cc class.  I was taller and a little bigger so that was why I rode a bigger bike.

Tell us a bit about who and what matters to you.

My wife and my family are the most important people in my life.  I am also an animal lover, although we just had to put our German Shepherd down due to her hips.  This is the first time in a long time that we don’t have a pet.  We have served as foster parents to dogs for the area shelters when someone was needed to care for a dog that was injured or abused.  Our dogs always got along with the other dogs and that was good.  We always get our pets from the shelters to give a dog a good home.  I am also concerned about the ecological aspects of the country as well as the economy and the other problems facing the US and the world.”

What one thing is important for your audience to know about you? Why?

I am not a trained writer and have no real writing experience prior to my books.  I find that very important for my readers to know.  I am not someone trying to write and make a fortune off my books. I hope that I am actually helping people and get emails and messages of thanks. I write as I talk and that is kind of in a very laidback style.  I loved when one of the reviewers of my first book said that I was like the guy next door, easy going.  That is real and not a particular front.  I am very calm in any kind of emergency and that comes from all of my time on the ambulance and in the fire company.

What you’d like people to know about you apart from the questions above?

I was stricken with some form of degenerative nerve disease in 2003.  That led to the closing of our business and losing almost everything.  I have suffered 4 heart attacks and 6 strokes since then.  In 2004 the doctors told me that my body was failing and they couldn’t give me more than 5 years.  Rachael was born in May of 2005 hat really made me fight even harder to live. The tests they were doing every 6 months were worse every time they did them and I decided after 5 years to quit going for their tests. In June of 2009 I hit the 5 year mark and told Teri that every day from here on out was a bonus. That was the day I went and bought the motorcycle.  I have told that story to other people that were given months or years to live.  They tell me that it was inspiration to them to fight on.

We live in the house and neighborhood where I grew up in for the last 14 years.  All of my friends from childhood are gone but many of their parents are still here.  I look after them and check on them.  I also help with chores, repairs, and taking them to doctor visits, the store, etc.

That’s so wonderful for you and of you, Greg. Wishing you the best of health and good luck in helping others! Thank you so much for your time and the very interesting chat.

And readers, I trust you have enjoyed meeting Greg. Come visit TheScavengersHomestead on Facebook where Greg shares what he is doing any of his book promos.  Greg also shares ideas for recycling and repurposing items. Visit also Greg’s Amazon’s authhor page on Amazon. The books are available by clicking the book covers above.

 

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Meet David M. Green: Purveyor Of Fine Humour

read-tell

David M. Green, an accomplished TV & radio comedian, writer and MC from Adelaide who is now based in Melbourne, Australia, is with us today.

The 26-year old is the host, head writer & producer of TV game show 31 Questions, syndicated on C31 Melbourne & Geelong, TVS Sydney, 31 Digital Brisbane, WestTV Perth, Adelaide’s Channel 44 & Face Television New Zealand.

Busy David is also a radio panel operator for Crocmedia’s “AFL Live”, and occasionally pops up in print and webseries with Shane Crawford and Alex Williamson.

Hello David, thank you so much for coming in. First let’s visit your TV SHOW  31 Questions

 

You are the host, head writer & producer of 31 Questions. Such a hilarious quiz show! What compelled you to run this?

I’ve wanted to do comedy on TV ever since I first saw Shaun Micallef in a sketch show called “Full Frontal” back in the mid 90s. Back in Adelaide, I got involved with Flinders University Student Radio and made comedy shows for Radio Adelaide 101.5FM. But I really wanted to try TV, and there weren’t that many opportunities in Adelaide, so I moved to Melbourne in 2010 and got involved with RMITV Student Television.

It was almost all over before it even began. Very early on I was kicked off RMITV’s flagship comedy show “Studio A” for writing a review of a stand-up comedian’s Melbourne Comedy Festival show. Turned out that comedian was one of the cast members of Studio A and they didn’t like what I wrote. I learnt my lesson though. I don’t write reviews any more.

Being kicked off the show was a traumatic moment. The producer yelled at me over the phone: “Everyone here thinks you’re a dick!” and, “You’re not good enough to make it in television!” etc. The funny thing is the producer hadn’t even read the review.

So I wanted to do comedy on TV. But RMITV already had a comedy show. They didn’t, however, have a game show. And it turns out it’s much easier to make a funny game show than a funny comedy show.

And I’ve always loved game shows. I used to watch Sale of the Century with Glenn Ridge religiously when I was growing up and I love trivia. I also just like all the game show paraphernalia that we make fun of on “31 Questions”—the sparkly lights, the sound effects, over-use of the word “fabulous”. That stuff is so hilarious just on its own.

 

DMG_IMG_9047

David M. Green, 26, the host, head writer &
producer of TV game show 31 Questions,
“I write because I love to write. I host because I love to host. But I only produce because I love to write and host.”

 

Share with us your journey in producing the show. How difficult is it to secure the sponsors?

This is how I feel about producing: I write because I love to write. I host because I love to host. But I only produce because I love to write and host.

Producing a television show is a lot of work. Often tedious, thankless work. Doing it in a community TV environment is even more challenging because there’s no money, so anytime anyone involved gets a better offer, they’re outta there! But if I wasn’t producing 31 Questions, it wouldn’t exist today. It’s hard. It means I have to do a lot of crap I’d rather someone else do, and which no host of a network TV show would ever have to do, but it means I’ve got a show.

We found getting a sponsor very hard. There are more rules in community television than commercial television regarding sponsorship, so there are more restrictions and that means there’s less you can offer a potential sponsor. For example, you’re not allowed to have any in-program product placement in community TV. But commercial shows do this all the time, to the point where it’s comical just how many aspects of a TV show can be sponsored. “Today’s weather is brought to you by…” “Punctuation marks provided by…” “In-studio oxygen made possible by…”

For our first season, we didn’t have a sponsor. We didn’t even bother looking for one because we knew it would probably be a waste of time. For our second season, we were lucky enough to get “Mind Games” on board. They’re a chain of stores in Victoria and Queensland that specialize in board games and puzzles. They even did a deal for their customers where if you went into one of their stores and could correctly answer a question from that week’s show, they gave you 20 per cent off your purchase. How good is that?

 

Wishing you success in getting more sponsors, David. Now, tell us about Anthony McCormack and Sophie Loughran. Just pretend they’re not listening.

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I love working with Anthony and Sophie. I’d never say this to their faces though. Just behind their back. I always insult them to their face. It’s a power thing.

And whose ideas are the witty hairstyles and fashion?

"Those sideburns = Pure Anthony McCormack. My mullet = Pure the idiot barber who wasn’t fucking listening when he cut my hair 2 weeks before we started shooting Season 2."

 “Those sideburns = Pure Anthony McCormack. My mullet = Pure the idiot barber who wasn’t f(bleep) listening when he cut my hair 2 weeks before we started shooting Season 2.”

 

I didn’t actually ask where Sophie got her clothes. Not bad though, aren’t they?

 I didn’t actually ask where Sophie got her clothes. Not bad though, aren’t they?

We are grateful viewers—thank you for the good laughs! Why comedy? How did you know you just have to be a comedian?

My Dad always told me I could do anything I wanted in life. The only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do more than anything is make people laugh. And to do that in a way that fulfills me creatively and allows me to write and perform my own material on radio and TV. There aren’t many people who do that for a living. That’s the big challenge.

I worked at a horrible office job last year, at a digital advertising agency. It was my first proper “full time” job that wasn’t just a casual job with full time hours. I hated it. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I hated having to get up at 7.30. I couldn’t sleep properly. I would fantasise about horrible things that would have to happen that would prevent me from having to go into work, like a fire in the building, or a car accident, or a death in the family. These are signs you’re not on the right career path.

And it was really at that moment that I realized my mind and my body will not physically let me give up on being a comedian.

Which comedians you admire the most? What is it that really strikes you about them?

download#1 Shaun Micallef. When I was growing up, there was just an instant appreciation. His elaborately worded monologues, and messing with convention. He’s a brilliant physical comedian. I liked the fact he parts his hair. And when I found out he was from Adelaide and actually went to the same school as me, it was an incredible epiphany. The idea that if he could do it, then I could too.

 

Tony_Martin_(comedian)

#2 Tony Martin. He just makes me laugh. I liked his glasses when I was younger and would see him pop up on shows like “The Panel” and in “The Best Bits of The Late Show” on VHS. But when he started doing a radio show called “Get This” on Triple M in 2006, that was just when I was starting radio myself and there was nothing else like it. The sketches they did on that show were hilarious.

There are many others, but those are the 2 important ones.

You were a South Australian Raw Comedy semi-finalist in 2009 and 2010. What in your opinion are the ingredients for a great comedy?

Success in Raw Comedy is not an accurate measure of comic ability.

Great comedy? It depends on the format. Material that makes a stand-up audience laugh is usually different to material that will make a TV audience laugh. With stand-up, the goal is to get an instant laugh from the live audience. That’s not necessarily the goal of a TV comedy. Single camera sitcoms don’t have a studio audience. Great comedy there usually comes from great editing.

Your facial expressions are so funny! Yet your impressive list of radio shows and the award for “Best Station ID” confirm your voice talent. Which one do you prefer, radio or TV? Why?

I didn’t actually voice the ID that won that award at the 2007 South Australian Community Broadcasting “Bilby” Awards. It was spoken by Shaun Micallef. All I did was hit record and edit out a couple of breaths. Yet that is to date the only media award I’ve ever won. And I won it for producing, which I don’t even really want to do!

I like both TV and radio. You can do things on one you can’t do on the other. But I can use my voice on both.

Your bio shows such a long list of experiences and accomplishments, what a busy young man you have been! Share with us  the followings:

Creating radio comedy in 2006 with The Green Room on Flinders University Student Radio, Radio Adelaide 101.5FM and other shows including Brain Damage (autumn 2007), Pow-Wow (summer 2007/08) and On The Yacht (summer 2008/09).

On_The_Yacht_Cast_500x375

I had a great time at Radio Adelaide. I think I most enjoyed the collaborative comedy shows “Brain Damage” and “On The Yacht”. Listening to a sketch for the first time that I’m in but someone else edited, hanging out at the radio station at 3AM making prank phone calls to petrol stations and hookers with a Bas Ruten soundboard. These were times I literally cried I was laughing so hard. There are few occasions since then where I’ve laughed as much, and I really miss it.

You conducted several high profile interviews (real, as well as fake). Which one left the strongest impression and why?

Interviewing comedy writer and radio personality Richard Marsland in December 2007 left the strongest impression. He was the panel operator on “Get This” with Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee (my favourite radio show). It was over the phone at Radio Adelaide and he was another example of a guy from Adelaide (like me) who started in community radio (like I did), who worked at SAFM (like I did) and who loved Shaun Micallef and Tony Martin (you get the idea), moving to Melbourne and making it in show biz.

He committed suicide just under a year after that interview, which made our chat even more treasured. Being fired from SAFM, kicked off ABC local radio and Richard’s death all within a couple of months in late 2008 led me to bite the bullet and finally move to Melbourne to pursue the dream.

Appearing on Adelaide’s FiveAA, Perth’s 6PR, 891 ABC Adelaide, Adelaide’s Fresh 92.7FM and Melbourne’s SYN 90.7FM.

David at ABC in Adelaide. He had meticulously chosen his scarf to match the wall, "But I have yet to match the fun I had at Radio Adelaide."

David at ABC in Adelaide. He had meticulously chosen his scarf to match the wall, “But I have yet to match the fun I had at Radio Adelaide.”

As a professional voice-actor in video games and radio commercials all over Australia. What do you like about this? Share the fun.

It’s fun. I just wish I had more of it. Or it paid more.

Becaming the panel operator for “The Steve Vizard Show” on Melbourne Talk Radio MTR1377, 2011—March 2012.

Now that was something. I’m very appreciative of my time at MTR. I learnt a lot and I was very close to running out of money when I finally got a casual job there as a panel operator, after applying to something like 76 jobs since finishing journalism at RMIT University.

Working on “The Steve Vizard Show” was a valuable experience. At times I couldn’t believe what I was doing. I’d press something like 1,000 buttons during a shift and 99 per cent of the time I pushed them all exactly at the right moment. And I had a front seat view of a rotating series of celebrities and important people as they walked into the studio. One time I was walking through the reception area and there was former Governor-General Dr Peter Hollingworth just standing there on his own, waiting to do a pre-recorded interview with Steve Vizard. I had to escort him to the studio and make small talk for a few minutes. The first thing I said was, “I’m not even sure how I should address you?” He said, “Call me Peter”.

But also, it was a ridiculous amount of work. A lot of it unnecessary, which I found frustrating and pointless at times when the show rated so poorly. When they changed my start time from 9AM to 8.30AM that really threw off my sleeping schedule. I’m just not a morning person. And I should have been paid more than $20 an hour for the work I was doing. I never took a day off the whole time I was there and comically signed a lease on my own conveniently-located apartment just 2 days before the station shut down and I lost my job.

Panelling syndicated radio for Crocmedia, including their flagship program “AFL Live”. Okay, is this sport reporting or comedy about AFL LIVE? And tell us about these legendary sports broadcasters: Rex Hunt, Sandy Roberts, Peter Donegan, Shane Crawford & Craig Hutchison.

Crocmedia is all sport. I’m a panel operator for their flagship show “AFL Live”. I love everything about the job: the hours, the people, the product, the culture, the location, the conditions, the penalty rates. I’m probably the luckiest panel operator in Australia. All the broadcasters are great to work with and it’s just a great environment.

Rex Hunt in particular is a lot of fun to work with. He’s like a big kid. We have a sort of “sixth sense” relationship, because I have to be in his mind in order to anticipate the sound effects he wants me to play (although we don’t do so many sound effects these days—people were getting a bit sick of them). The last 18 months have been quite surreal.

Written and producing content forThe Science Showon ABC Radio National and “Mornings with Jon Faine” on 774 ABC Melbourne.

I’ve enjoyed the handful of things I’ve done for the ABC and I would like to do more. I did a story for “The Science Show” on ABC Radio National last year about a play based on Carl Sagan and the famous “Pale Blue Dot” photo of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a very long way away. I’m not particularly passionate about news (apologies to my journalism lecturers), but I am very interested (and well read) in science and space, so it was great to actually do a news story about something I’m very interested in.

Writing/co-hosting for THE Big Show on the Triple M Network in 2009.

David's Radio Adelaide team in 2009 THE Big Show on The Triple M "The only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do more than anything is make people laugh. And to do that in a way that fulfills me creatively and allows me to write and perform my own material on radio and TV."

David’s Radio Adelaide team in 2009 THE Big Show on The Triple M.

Back in 2009 I entered a competition called “Semi-Pro Radio” that was open only to people who worked for an advertising or creative agency. The finalists were given the opportunity to record a once-off 2-hour comedy show to be broadcast at 11PM on a Sunday night on the Triple M Network across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. I bent the truth a little and entered as a representative of a voice-over agency I belonged to, and included my old Radio Adelaide buddies as part of my team. We were one of the 13 finalists and the only team from Adelaide.

One of the guys was in Sydney but he took 2 weeks off work and came to Adelaide (at his own expense) so we could record it together at the Adelaide Triple M. But the people at Triple M Adelaide burdened with the task of holding our hand through this competition had better things to do, and were more concerned about their Adelaide audience (Triple M Adelaide has a less masculine demographic than its Triple M counterparts on the east coast).

They gave us very little to work with. We had to prerecord our show (THE Big Show) in a standing room only voice-over booth, not a studio. We were given limited time and could only record 75 per cent of what we had planned for our 2 hours. Once you take out all the ads and the music, our 2-hour show only ran for 23 minutes. Yet one of the other finalists from Melbourne had a show that ran more than 60. Why were THEY given three times as much air time? That’s bullshit.

I worked with the production guy to edit down a few of the “longer” segments, but then those same segments were then further edited again after I had gone home. The most frustrating cut was made to a very funny prank call I’d actually recorded a year earlier at Radio Adelaide, and that I thought was so funny I’d use it again on Triple M. The call was initially 5 minutes, but I found I could make it even funnier if I cut out some of the flab and got it down to a tight 3. I’d introduced it on Triple M as “probably the funniest soundboard prank call you’ll ever hear”, but someone at Triple M had cut that 3 minutes down to 2, editing out a lot of the running gags that “built” towards the big pay off at the end. It effectively ruined the whole call. It was very disappointing.

But the REAL frustration came a week later when I got an email from someone at Triple M with some feedback on our show. One of the criticisms was that we had “over sold” the prank call, and that it wasn’t as funny as we had set it up to be in the intro… Gee, my mistake. If only I had known I was introducing a much shitter prank call, the segment might have worked…

But hey, no hard feelings. It was a great opportunity to learn firsthand how commercial radio works.

"The only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do more than anything is make people laugh. And to do that in a way that fulfills me creatively and allows me to write and perform my own material on radio and TV."

“The only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do more than anything is make people laugh. And to do that in a way that fulfills me creatively and allows me to write and perform my own material on radio and TV.”

And hopefully next opportunities will give you better results! You can do it! You completed a Graduate Diploma in Journalism with Distinction at RMIT University and have written for mX, Mamamia, The Punch, The Drum, Popular Science and Video Education Australasia. What story would you like to share about the joy, challenges, or hardships of writing?

The hardest thing is getting any of them to pay you. Some of these places, if you even ask them whether they pay their contributors, it’s like you’ve just spat in their face and killed their puppy.

How inconsiderate of them! Have your vengeance man, write them into your show 🙂 By the way, what’s the most rewarding: being the host or writing the show?

Getting a big laugh on your own is very rewarding. But it’s also very rewarding seeing a joke you wrote months earlier being delivered perfectly by someone else, and knowing you couldn’t have done it better yourself if you tried.

You’re too kind. And what inspires you the most, David?

Real life events. And Wikipedia.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I like to nurse a soda or a tea when writing.

Any writing tip?

Carry a notepad and a pen everywhere. And make sure your favourite pen you’ve had for 10 years doesn’t fall out of your pocket while you’re walking around Hawthorn.

Oh I used to carry my drawing pen to the mountains, because drawing ink didn’t fade or get blurred in the rain. Now I write on my phone, looking like a texting addict. Oops, getting sidetracked. David, tell us about  Too Easy and about Alex Williamson.

Too Easy is a webseries about a nerd and a bogan who live together. It stars me and Alex Williamson and for some reason, it’s extremely popular.

Perhaps because people relate to your topics. What are you working on right now? Tell us your latest news.

Aside from crafting responses to the most comprehensive interview in history? Still working on 31 Questions. We’re not done with it yet.

Hahahahaha!  Wasn’t my fault that you have a mile-long bio!  But I’m glad you aren’t done purveying fine humour. Good luck with 31 Questions! Now, let’s talk about the person you are outside the shows.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Telepathy. The power. THE POWER!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve googled?

Food porn.

Your endless energy and positive take on life are so inspiring! What drives you?

You’re not getting any cynicism in any of these responses? I just want it bad enough that nothing is gonna stop me. I’ve got no choice anyway because I just won’t let myself work in another dead-end office job again.

What song best describes your work ethic?

Tears for Fears – Head Over Heels.

Who gives you the most encouragement?

A lady named Van Badham.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Wake up around 10, if I’m paneling at Crocmedia I’ll work 11-6, either make some dinner or go out with a friend, dabble in social media throughout the day, read some stuff online, write down some ideas, go for a walk around Hawthorn, watch an episode of something and go to sleep 1-2AM.

Why Melbourne?

It was closer to Adelaide than Sydney, cheaper than Sydney and has more media opportunities than Adelaide.

Share your dreams with us. What’s next? You going to leave our beloved Aussieland to create fame across the pond like some of us have done?

I have the ultimate goal of moving to the US and doing writing and TV there. Though I currently have no plan as to how I’ll actually do it. I figure keep the momentum going with 31 Questions and see what happens. There are a few things on the horizon.

Connoisseur of fine soft drinks, you also enjoy golf, motion pictures, cranberries, light-rail, booth seating, tea, Scrabble, cycling, collecting obscure ’80s New Wave records, loitering with friends, and generally having a laugh. Care to elaborate on any of these hobbies?

Yeah, if Subway could put cranberry sauce back on their menu, that would be great.

Okay, I’ll be sure to notify Subway. Now, if I came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for me?

You like cereal?

But, but David…  I have my cereal long before you wake up!  Oh well, stop by for a cooking lesson next time you’re in Sydney. For now tell us a bit about who matters to you.

People I like.

A keen-ish environmentalist…What one thing is important for your audience to know about you? Why?

I once killed a guy.

Ohh why did you bother to do that? Next time just show your enemy how successful and cool you are, that will kill him slowly and painfully.

Anything else you’d like to share?

You’ll never take me alive!

Of course 🙂 Okay, here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let’s hear your shout outs.

Obviously my Mum and Dad for raising me right. I liked growing up in Adelaide, for the most part. And I have a lot of great friends and the rest of my family who are still there. I miss all of them very much.

In Melbourne, the great people I work with at Crocmedia. The great people I work with on 31 Questions and at RMITV and Channel 31. They all do great work.

And my mentor Van Badham for her constant advice and friendship.

Thank you so much for your very precious time, David. Best wishes for your work!

And readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting our talented guest and learning about the production of non commercial TV shows.  Come visit David’s website and follow his latest news on Twitter @David_M_Green. Watch 31 Questions on YouTube and show your support on its Facebook pageIf you aren’t in Australia, remember to subscribe to the YouTube channel and you will be notified of each new episode of David’s 31 Questions. Enjoy!

 

David M Green's comedy quiz 31  Questions

 

 

Meet KOPI SOH—Crisis Counselor, Therapist, Author, Cartoonist

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Kopi Soh, Malaysian artist and author, goes out of her way to ease the sufferings of those around her. A healer of hearts, crisis counselor, teacher of an adult school, Kopi draws cartoons for sick children and writes self-help books to help children and teens. We are honoured that Kopi visits with us today.

Hello Kopi, so glad and honored that you’re here. You always draw funny cartoon and you fairly ooze with positive vibes. Come teach our readers how to maintain happiness. Tips?

Kopi Soh, Malaysian artist and author

 

The way to maintain happiness is to know that nothing is permanent, sadness or happiness, nothing last forever. Live for the now, look for happiness in the little things in life (blue skies, fresh air, a good book, a delicious fruit, chocolates!!!)

 

You’re a psychologist and a counselor whose specialty is in working with children, adolescents, couples and families.What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of your day job?

My work with rape survivors is often unpredictable, when we get the call we never know what to expect. Nothing much I am able to share here because everything is confidential. That is actually my night job. In my day job I teach seniors social media such as Facebook, twitter, iPad.

With night and day jobs, when do you find the time to write?
Haha, I suppose when there is a will there is a way. The desire to help others through my writing always gives me that unexpected second oomph to push through.

Best wishes for your writings. What are your other hobbies?

I draw for terminally ill, sick children and various charities such as orphanage for free. I also design t-shirts and do various illustration gigs.

Tell us a bit about what matters to you.

What matters to me is making a difference in this world, not just merely taking up space.

What one thing is important for your audience to know about you?

That I care, may it be through my art or writing, everything I do is done with heart in hopes of putting smiles on people’s faces.

Would you like to tell readers about the joy of Malaysia and its fabulous food?

Malaysia is my homeland. I always will have a special place in my heart for her regardless of where I live. As far as food is concerned, my taste buds are not of the highest caliber, I like almost everything so I can’t comment much on the fabulousness of the food.

On work and writing, what drives you the most?

The desire to help people.

Tell us about your charitable work for the hospital patients. Care to elaborate? Why is it important to you? Share with us some experiences with them.

I would not consider it “charitable work” I consider it a privilege. Those children are the real heroes. I am blessed to have crossed paths with them in the virtual world and they have taught me what is the true meaning of courage. They are the real heroes in life.

What a great view! And your books are written for them. What’s the age range?

Ages 9 and up, although if a parent or caregiver wants to, they can also use it as a guide for much younger children. That is the reason why I loaded it with illustrations. If the child is much younger, you can use that to help them identify and express their feelings.

What compelled you to write Oh I Thought I Was The Only One?

To make people feel less alone. Asians are brought up to not “wash their dirty laundry in public”, therefore many people experiencing depression or other life stressors often suffer in silence. They do not talk to anyone else about their problems and even if they do, they are often told to just grin and bear and count their blessings. Many of us feel alone and lost, unable to confide in anyone. This book was written so at least if nothing else happens, when you read it you know you are not the only one who feels this way. That feeling that you are not alone in and of itself I am hoping can somehow give us the courage to heal.

Would you share a short synopsis for each of your books?

Kopi

 

 

Oh I Thought I Was The Only One was written with the hopes of easing your pain by letting you feel less alone in dealing with the troubles in life. Through little insights, the book shows us how to live fully in every moment and how to be successful without compromise– the deep soul searching for harmony and happiness we all can achieve.

 

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Oh I Thought I Was The Only One 2 is filled with 30 plus pieces of delightful artwork and was written for the kids ages 9 and up. This book was written specifically to help today’s kids deal with stressors in their daily lives, like bullying, shyness, friendships, exams, studying, divorce, etc.

 

Share with us the story behind your second book

After I wrote my first book, I told myself, I do not ever want to write again. Reason being there was so much involved in writing it is like writing using your blood and soul. You pour your heart in it, you immerse yourself emotionally, trying to empathize and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. So that was it I thought, I was happy it was on the best seller shelves in all the bookstores in Malaysia and in Singapore.

Then …Arizona Tan, happened, he was my friend’s teenage son. Arizona Tan, age 17, took his own life because he was depressed over not doing well in his studies.

For those who do not know about this case you can read/watch it here:-http://www.ntv7.com.my/7edition/local-en/DEPRESSED_OVER_STUDIES_STUDENT_FOUND_HANGED_IN_BEDROOM.html

Initially I thought of writing about how parents push their kids but then again I thought we cannot just jump to the conclusion that it was the parents’ fault, this is NOT the time to play the blame game, there are many many factors involve when it comes to suicide. More importantly is how does a person get through this feeling of hopelessness and helplessness? Let me share something very personal, at one point in my life I had also thought the balcony of a high rise building looked really inviting after my father’s death. So I too am not immune to this feeling which I feel is a strength, that perhaps I can share and understand. Only a person who has sunk to this depth and come out is able to truly understand how it feels like at that MOMENT when checking out seems like a good idea.I kept thinking what can I do, what can I do, I can’t just sit here and just accept things. Thus I was compelled to write again, and “Oh, I thought I was the Only One 2” was conceived. It is my deepest hope that together we can reach the children that needs this. No one truly knows, this can be the lifeline to a child.

Oh, I thought I was the only one 2 from jtwong on Vimeo.

Oh, I thought I was the only one 2 from jtwong on Vimeo.

What are you working on right now? What’s next?

1175158_209831302518627_1496229745_nCurrently just focusing on my T-shirt business at The Kopi Shop and continue drawing healing art for terminally ill children through this Facebook Page. I also work as a crisis counselor and advocate for survivors of assault, and teach seniors at an adult school.

Drawing healing art by Kopi Soh

Anything else you’d like to share?

There really is nothing much to know about me 😀

Thank you so much for your time, Kopi, and best wishes on all that you do!

And readers, I hope you enjoyed meeting the fabulous yet humble Kopi. Come follow Kopi on Twitter. Visit her sites above and support her work.

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Douglas Corleone Exposes Organized Human Trafficking in Good As Gone

Read & Tell

Meet Douglas Corleone, author of “Good As Gone“, an international thriller exposing the heinous world of organised human trafficking. You may have heard of this crime often, but you won’t get the full picture until you’ve read this newly available crime mystery. Introducing private investigator Simon Fisk, this book is masterfully written by the award-winning author of  One Man’s Paradise, a finalist for the 2010 Shamus Award for Best First Novel and won the 2009 Minotaur Books / Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, 1975-born Doug now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is currently at work on his next novel.

Doug’s contemporary crime novels are published by St. Martin’s Minotaur, or in Australia by Pan Macmillan . I’ve had the honour to review this masterpiece and my review is attached at the end of this interview.


Hello Doug, thank you for coming in. First, congratulations on producing a marvelous story with such impressive characters and settings. Tell us, what compelled you to write Good As Gone?

As a society we tend to shy away from difficult issues like child abduction. But avoiding a problem has never helped solve a problem as far as I know. I’m under no illusion that my book is going to change the world, but if it sheds even a hint of light on the subject, I’ll feel as though I’ve done my job.  

Yes, you’ve successfully exposed to us the shocking world of organized human trafficking. Your book is so powerfully moving. You ripped readers’ hearts apart from the opening chapter. And along the way we can see you. How could you stand the bleeding of writing Good As Gone? Would you share this with us?

Writing this novel was difficult at times.  By the end of the day I usually found myself mentally and emotionally drained, which was an entirely new experience for me while writing.  I started this book around the time my son Jack was turning two and already developing this wonderful, unique personality.  In the morning I’d try to imagine what it would be like if he was suddenly taken from me, and I used those emotions to bring the character of Simon Fisk alive.  It took a lot out of me, but I think the depth of those feelings shows on the page.   At least I hope they do.

Yes they do, some parts are deeply harrowing, making readers think of the victims, of Simon/the families, and of numerous other people you described throughout the book. The kinds of lives they have are simply haunting.

Douglas-Corleone

“I’m under no illusion that my book is going to change the world, but if it sheds even a hint of light on the subject, I’ll feel as though I’ve done my job.”
~ Douglas Corleone, Author of Good As Gone.

 

Simon is decent, smart, and ruthless. How real are your characters?

When I set out to create Simon Fisk, I wanted to magnify the contrast between his outward appearance and his internal conflict. To other characters, Simon may appear stoic, but inside readers know he’s brimming with rage and anguish.  And only when he’s confronted by monsters who would cause children harm do we really see that rage spill out and when it does, it’s genuine and pure, and you wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of it.  I think we all can relate to having bottled-up feelings while wearing a brave face in front of others.  I think that’s what makes Simon real.

Your experiences as a criminal defense attorney inspired parts of this story. Would you like to share some highlights from that time?

Unfortunately, highlights in the career of a criminal defense attorney are generally considered lowlights by the rest of society.

Oh right, I was imagining your formidable Anastazja Staszak! 🙂

GOOD-AS-GONE-final-673x1024

 Good As Gone, crime mystery and international thriller by Douglas Corleone, introducing private investigator Simon Fisk, former fugitive hunter, retriever of missing children, the next hero to fall in love with.

Would you share with us a memorable moment in completing this novel?

The most memorable moment for me, when writing any novel, is when I first come up with the idea. For Good As Gone, the idea arrived while I was thousands of miles from home in New Haven, Connecticut, working on one final federal criminal case. That morning I’d spoken to my literary agent, and she said that my publisher would like to see something new from me (as opposed to a fourth Kevin Corvelli novel).  I’d read this one-page article online two years earlier about a private investigator from Tampa who specialized in retrieving children abducted by their estranged parents and taken overseas to countries that don’t recognize U.S. custody decisions, and that’s what immediately popped into my head. I spent most of that day creating Simon’s backstory, and most of the plane ride home deciding what would cause him to break his rule of not getting involved in “stranger abductions.”  That’s when Lieutenant Davignon of the French National Police was created.

Congratulations on creating these interesting characters! They sure are strong hooks for the next installments your Simon Fisk series.
Now, you’re currently at work on your next novel. What’s cooking?

The next Simon Fisk novel is under contract and I’m awaiting an editorial letter.

What’s the proposed title?

The second novel in the Simon Fisk series will be released next year. It’s titled “Payoff”, and it’ll take Simon from Los Angeles to the Caribbean and Central and South America in search of the teenage daughter of a Hollywood movie mogul.

Why is this a must-read?

If you enjoyed Good As Gone, I’m confident you’ll enjoy the sequel.

We’re looking forward to that!
Now, on writing. As a master in this art, what, in your opinion, are the most important elements of a great mystery thriller? 

I think the combination of deep characters and moving the story forward (which are often at odds with one another) is what makes a great novel, particularly in the mystery and thriller genres.

Thank you! Who gives you the most encouragement, Doug?

My readers. There is nothing that motivates me more than an email from someone who just finished one of books and tells me that they loved it and asks me to please keep writing.

Any writing tips?

Just the usual. Persistence is key to succeeding. Oh, and steer clear of anyone who tells you to write only what you know. One of the greatest joys of being a novelist is researching new settings and learning about new cultures and professions.

Thanks again! And you sure have done a marvelous job in learning. And personally, what did you learn from writing your novels?

I love writing, but not so much the business end of things.  I’m active on social media, but I’m not entirely comfortable tweeting and posting.  I love that I can interact with my readers, but I’d prefer that interaction to be one on one, in an email or letter, rather than holding conversations in front of thousands of other users.  I’m just as honest, but probably far less open when the conversation can be seen by others.

Where did you grow up? I’m imagining a lovely Italian home with lots of affection and endless yummy food—is this true?

No. I think if I had, I’d be writing something much different and certainly less noir. I might not be writing at all.

We are what we have overcome. The past have made you a great person, Doug, but I’m glad the past is over. Share with us your Hawaii home.

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“I love consistency, especially while I’m writing, and Hawaii gives me that.  I live on the leeward side of Oahu, where the weather is consistently brilliant and the people are consistently friendly.  It’s a remarkable place to live and work.”

Nice. Tell us a bit about who or/and what matters to you.

Above all, my children. I have three. Jack is 4, Maya is almost 2, and Kyra is 3 months. They’re my world; they’re my everything.

You are so blessed! Enjoy the kids, they’re young only once, and only for a short time.
Thanks again for chatting with us, Doug. Best wishes for Good As Gone!

And readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting the fabulous crime author Douglas Corleone. Come follow Doug’s latest news on Facebook and Twitter. His amazing new book Good As Gone is available from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million iBookstore | IndieBound ~ and in Australia online from Pan Macmillan or from the shops beginning September 1, 2013.

Following is my review of the book.

 

GOOD-AS-GONE-finalThe Heinous World of Human Trafficking: “Good As Gone” Reviewed by Ia Uaro

 

Book title: Good As Gone
Series: Simon Fisk Novels (Book 1)
Author: Douglas Corleone
Publisher: Minotaur Books; St. Martin’s
ISBN-10: 1250017203 ISBN-13: 978-1250017208

 

6-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears in the middle of the night from a Paris resort-style hotel room. The National Police doesn’t want a media circus which will endanger Lindsay’s life as well as the country’s reputation; therefore Simon Fisk’s expertise is quietly sought.

 

Simon is a former fugitive hunter who now works privately retrieving children abducted by non-custodial parents. He is a very kind and sensitive man with nothing to lose. Carrying a heavy burden of loss, Simon agrees to take on the assignment to retrieve Lindsay so that there will be two less parents in the world walking aimlessly through their own hell on earth.

 

Simon’s clarity of mind and thought processes is astounding. He is focused, disciplined, systematic, thorough and meticulous. Like an eagle with the sharpest eyes he spots tiny details that other trained investigators have missed, while his brilliant logics connect dots with amazing precision. And all the while he hurts. He knows what the parents are going through and he feels for them. Genuinely worries about Lindsay’s welfare, Simon puts her priority in the foremost of his mind when making abhorrent decisions, such as, having to end his opponent’s life in self defence, even though, personally, in getting himself killed he has nothing to lose.

 

Good As Gone is masterpiece crime thriller that will keep readers on edge as Simon races against time to save an innocent life, from Paris to various international cities and alleys, dealing with dangerous lowlifes from smelly street thugs to the vilest professional criminals, and of course, corrupt law enforcers and treacheries.

 

Don’t mistake this as just another Madeleine-McCann-inspired story: Good As Gone is a highly original fast-paced ingenious suspense, and you will never mistake Douglas Corleone’s writing style with anyone else’s because Doug’s work is supremely above today’s other crime writers’. He is a lot like Simon Fisk:

  • Doug’s clarity of mind and thought processes is astounding, delivering the exceptionally complex plot in a clear voice and easy-to-follow methodical narration, which is a high achievement considering the fast pace of the intricate twists and turns.
  • Doug is focused, disciplined, systematic, meticulously thorough and logically brilliant, leaving no chance for readers to get confused in a convoluted maze, taking them along with him through dangers, action, and heart-wrenching pain.
  • Doug has perfect knowledge of the content, either from his professional research or experiences as a former defense lawyer.
  • Like an eagle with the sharpest eyes Doug spots tiny details to the tee, and this applies in both his superbly comprehensive story and flawless English, such as, though I received a review copy marked “uncorrected”, I could only spot a few tiny errors.
  • And unlike the majority of today’s men-fic, Doug isn’t afraid of honesty. He shows us how men too feel, and feel deeply, even those who often have to act with ruthless brutality. He is witty and he is polite in his speech, with very rare use of strong language. (Who did say, never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary?) In Fisk, you can see Doug clearly: he is caring, and he respects women.

 

Don’t miss reading this book, even though I’m sure a movie deal isn’t too far away. Simon Fisk and the story are that good you’ll be glad this is going to be a series.

 

 

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Meet RJ Mirabal, Rio Grande’s Author, Retired Teacher, Rider, Musician.

 

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RJ Mirabal, Southwest Contemporary Fantasy author of The Tower of Il Serrohe, a retired award-winning teacher of  Los Lunas High School in New Mexico, is with us today. Former president and rally chairman of the Land of Enchantment BMW Riders, RJ remains active in the club. RJ is a board member of the New Mexico Dulcimer Association which puts on a yearly dulcimer music festival.

 

RJ Mirabal, Southwest Author of The Tower of Il Serrohe

“People tend to put themselves in little groups and the groups come into conflict with each other… I think people from different cultures are a bit suspicious of each other. The clans in the book have some elements of New Mexico, but they are also universal; they could be from any part of the world.”

Hello RJ, thank you so much for visiting. First, congratulations for the accolades from your readers so far. They’re all fascinated by your home the Middle Rio Grande Valley, where you have lived most of your life. Please share this this place with us.

The Middle Rio Grande Valley is located in New Mexico midway on its journey from the Rockies of Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico. The river itself is small in terms of volume, but rather exotic as it works its way through mountains, across deserts, and deep canyons all while nurturing its bosque: a narrow band of mostly cottonwood trees, willow bushes, and countless species of plant and animal life. I grew up along the Rio Grande in the small towns of Peralta and Los Lunas and couldn’t think of any better setting for my writing.

You are a retired teacher of the award-winning Los Lunas High School. Come tell us about this school and your time there.

My life’s work was teaching high school students English, Speech, and Drama in Los Lunas, New Mexico. I enjoyed the challenge of helping students communicate more effectively and explore their world. The difficulty was getting students to appreciate their role in their own education. I was able to succeed some of the time, but I occasionally wonder about those I couldn’t reach. I was active in the National Education Association (NEA) at the local level because teachers have to have an equal voice in the direction of education in America. I was humbled when I earned the NEA-New Mexico Excellence in Education award in 2006 two years before I retired.

That’s wonderful! Congratulations!

And past president and rally chairman of the Land of Enchantment BMW Riders, you’ve remains active in the club. How nice! Share with us your adventures with the club.

Being able to ride throughout this beautiful state, country, and world on a motorcycle is an experience for which I’ll always be grateful. And the people I’ve worked and ridden with are among the best!

After retiting, you have pursued writing and music. Playing the hammered dulcimer is a big interest for you and you’re a board member of the New Mexico Dulcimer Association which puts on a yearly dulcimer music festival. Tell us about playing hammered dulcimer, and the music festival.

Hammer DulcimerThe hammered dulcimer is a rather unique and little known instrument of ancient origins. It has a very charming and exciting sound because, coupled with the singing strings, there’s a strong percussive element that makes playing and listening great fun. Our New Mexico Dulcimer Festival is a wonderful opportunity for many people to learn more and appreciate the beauty of these unique instruments including the mountain dulcimer which is actually a different instrument.

You enjoy exploring New Mexico’s wilderness areas on his four-wheeler and travelling with your wife, Cheryl. When you’re not writing or promoting your book, you explore back roads and wilderness trails throughout the state on your Polaris RZR four-wheeler. Tell us more about the wilderness trails and the four-wheeler. Which one interest you the most? The wilderness or having fun with the car?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoth the 4wheeler (which is something like a micro-Jeep with a motorcycle engine) and the wilderness are equally attractive. It’s great to get away from civilization and humanity to simply enjoy nature. It’s also fun to go fast, climb hills, and cross difficult terrain. It’s a wonderful blend of the man-made and God-made. Of course, I also believe in preserving the environment and sticking to official trails so wildlife can go about its business without some crazy guy on a Polaris RZR (the brand of 4wheeler I ride) disrupting their day!

What a way to enjoy life! Now tell us about your novel The Tower of Il Serrohe. What compelled you to write this book?

The Tower of Il Serrohe is the result of a lifelong interest in fantasy and fiction stories that have unexpected plot twists. I also wanted to place the story in the landscape of the Southwest where I grew up and now live. It’s fun to find mystery and wonder in the “ordinary” places of our everyday lives. Thus I call it a Southwest contemporary fantasy.

Fantastic! Would you be so kind to tell us about The Tower of Il Serrohe?

Wrenched from a deteriorating lifestyle when his promiscuous wife kicked him out, anti-hero Don Vargas rents a dilapidated casita which – unknown to him, of course – is actually a portal to another world. Vargas takes readers through a dusty portal on a Southwest contemporary fantasy quest into a larger-than-life alternate Rio Grande Valley, where local clanspeople expect him to save them from the wily Soreyes’ mysterious Tower.

Will Don find purpose to his pointless life? Will he find love and friendship in a place he wouldn’t have believed possible? Where will his next beer come from?

The Tower of Il Serrohe front cover final

The Tower of Il Serrohe follows the misadventures of Don Vegas—who reluctantly passes through a portal—on a quest to help the clans of the Valle Abajo, a valley in another dimension that resembles the Rio Grande Valley of present-day New Mexico.

 

Please share your favourite paragraph in this book.

This paragraph ends chapter “fifty two” summing up the nature of Don’s personality and still to be revealed abilities to take on the quest to save the clans of the Valle Abajo. It also makes me laugh visualizing it:

“His (Don’s) departure seemed to create an enormous vacuum in the room. The two clanspeople (Raquela and Nersite) felt this was the closing of a big circle. Don had to be the one to save the Valle. Just look at his heritage and his abilities. That is, in spite of the fact—though they had no word for it—he seemed to be a bit of a prick.”

How long did it take you to write this first volume, RJ?

In total from initial idea and a couple of short stories that gave birth to the much more complex novel it took 30 years to complete this story. Of course, I wasn’t working on it that whole time. I actually spent the last three years writing, editing, and then getting it published by 2012. But the story ideas and my writing style improved over those years. I, of course, read continually taking inspiration and tips from every author I read.

 “The places and the people are fully realized and totally involving, and become friends you want to continue to know.”

How real are your characters?

Some of my characters are obviously fantasy, but based on interesting human peculiarities of most every person I’ve ever met. Even Don, though a regular human, is not based on any one person, but a collection of individuals I’ve known and other characters I’ve encountered in literature. I’ve tried hard to “test” my characters—even the fantasy ones—against reality so that I hope readers will find them believable given the setting and plot I’ve created.

RJ, you have said,  “People tend to put themselves in little groups and the groups come into conflict with each other… I think people from different cultures are a bit suspicious of each other. The clans in the book have some elements of New Mexico, but they are also universal; they could be from any part of the world.” What message would you tell the world? Does this book have an agenda?

The message is: “All of what we perceive to be reality is a function of our perception which is informed by our normal senses and our emotional and philosophical states of being.” And, as always: evil is bad, kindness is good, and love is essential to life.

No big agenda other than entertaining my readers who will share in my imagination as they read the book.

On the sequel, do you accommodate fans’ requests on your sequel?

I’m trying, but I’m taking some risks, too. I can’t be specific because I like readers to be surprised when they read my work. The main thing is that the story continues. I had originally intended this to be a self-contained story, but I’m enjoying the challenge of developing the story and characters further.

Why is this sequel a must-read?

I want readers to learn more about the clanspeople and the evil Soreyes. Plus, I love sharing more about the landscape.

What is the proposed title, RJ? And how did you come up with this title?

The title is: “Extreme Dust Storms May Exist”. This title is a slight variation of a very strange sign near the setting of the novel along the highway past the real Los Lunas (Rio Luna in the book). Dust and dust storms are a constant reality in New Mexico plus the implications of dust and wind play a part in the story. Also there is a key event at the beginning of the story that involves a dust storm.

Right. In Australia it will be a sign of extreme fire danger 🙂 

When is the proposed release date of this sequel? Tell us your latest news.

No idea on a release date. I’m still working on the first draft and haven’t sent it to my publisher to gauge his interest in publishing it. I’m continuing to market and publicize The Tower of Il Serrohe by attending book fairs, signings, presentations to the Southwest Writers (my professional writing association) and doing media interviews like this!

Good luck with your marketing efforts! About writing. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of a good fantasy?

A good fantasy has to take the reader away from the “real world” into a place and events that fascinate, hence the term: fantasy. Yet at the same time, the world and characters of the fantasy story has to be believable and follow its own internal rules and the normal rules of what it means to be a human being. If a character is totally out of the realm of humanity, then we can’t relate and the story loses relevance.

When did you first know you just had to write?

When I was a kid, I used to entertain my friends making up stories as we rode the bus to school and back home. I didn’t know that meant I was to be an author, but that’s where the impulse started. Plus, I’m an only child, so I had to create stories when I played since I didn’t have siblings.

RJ, you said, “When you have a story, once you’ve developed it into a manuscript, get an editor.  No matter how good you think you are, you’re not. Somebody else should look at it who knows what they are doing. You need to have people read what you’ve written, especially people who will be honest.” Now, how did being an English teacher prepare you for criticism?

Being a teacher prepares one  for all kinds of criticism from students, parents, administrators, politicians, media pundits, etc. Since I graded writing for a living, it’s not hard putting myself at the receiving end of criticism. I actually welcome it as long as it’s honest and constructive.

How much do you have in common with your protag?

Few of Don’s major characteristics are shared with me such as alcoholism, constant cynicism, being so out-spoken, etc. It was a great challenge to create and maintain a persona very different from me. However, some of the small ways and things that annoy him annoy me, too. Nersite is most like me in my opinion.

Tell us a bit about who and what matters to you.

My wife, my late parents, and the great family of friends I have are most important. Also, enjoying life and spending most of my time doing what is fulfilling to me. I enjoy some attention, but not a lot. I would like more attention paid to my writing which is what I’m working on now.

Yes, I can see you are a very people person with real interest in those around you. Thank you so much for the wonderful chat, RJ. Best wishes on writing Extreme Dust Storms May Exist!

And readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting RJ Mirabal. He can be found on  rjmirabal.com  or his current main site rjmirabal.blog.com. Check out the latest news from RJ on Facebook,  Google Plus, and  Goodreads. RJ’s book The Tower of Il Serrohe is available from Amazon.com and  Barnes and Noble . I will let you know when the sequel will be available.

What readers say on The Tower of Il Serrohe:

  • Mirabal does a fine job of capturing the spirit of the Rio Grande Valley and transporting you to a new dimension with likable characters… What a fresh style for fantasy.

  • Man, Mirabal sure has some imagination! … I was able to picture so much of it in my mind, even the house north of Rio Luna. The map was a great idea and helped me with my vision as I read.

  • A fascinating journey to the desserts of New Mexico and the alternate world that parallels it. The whimsical characters remind me of the Hobbit, only with a New Mexico twist. Mirabal’s descriptions of New Mexico sunrises and sunsets are beautiful…The mystery of the other world is carried through to the surprise end, and a satisfying conclusion that stays long after you put the book down.

  • This book creates a solid new world with the feel of the Southwest, and yet with a difference: The alternate world is strange but haunting—and mysterious. Like the protagonist, you sometimes wonder whether it is real or just hallucinatory. But then, when you get to an explanation of sorts—WOW. Totally unexpected and made me rethink—and want to reread it all.

 

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My Review of “Good As Gone” by Douglas Corleone


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“Good As Gone”, crime mystery and international thriller by Douglas Corleone, introducing private investigator Simon Fisk, former fugitive hunter, retriever of missing children, the next hero to fall in love with.

 

“Good As Gone” Reviewed by Ia Uaro 

Book title: Good As Gone
Series: Simon Fisk Novels (Book 1)
Author: Douglas Corleone
Publisher: Minotaur Books; St. Martin’s
ISBN-10: 1250017203 ISBN-13: 978-1250017208

 

6-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears in the middle of the night from a Paris resort-style hotel room. The National Police doesn’t want a media circus which will endanger Lindsay’s life as well as the country’s reputation; therefore Simon Fisk’s expertise is quietly sought.

 

Simon is a former fugitive hunter who now works privately retrieving children abducted by non-custodial parents. He is a very kind and sensitive man with nothing to lose. Carrying a heavy burden of loss, Simon agrees to take on the assignment to retrieve Lindsay so that there will be two less parents in the world walking aimlessly through their own hell on earth.

 

Simon’s clarity of mind and thought processes is astounding. He is focused, disciplined, systematic, thorough and meticulous. Like an eagle with the sharpest eyes he spots tiny details that other trained investigators have missed, while his brilliant logics connect dots with amazing precision. And all the while he hurts. He knows what the parents are going through and he feels for them. Genuinely worries about Lindsay’s welfare, Simon puts her priority in the foremost of his mind when making abhorrent decisions, such as, having to end his opponent’s life in self defence, even though, personally, in getting himself killed he has nothing to lose.

 

Good As Gone is masterpiece crime thriller that will keep readers on edge as Simon races against time to save an innocent life, from Paris to various international cities and alleys, dealing with dangerous lowlifes from smelly street thugs to the vilest professional criminals, and of course, corrupt law enforcers and treacheries.

 

Don’t mistake this as just another Madeleine-McCann-inspired story: Good As Gone is a highly original fast-paced ingenious suspense, and you will never mistake Douglas Corleone’s writing style with anyone else’s because Doug’s work is supremely above today’s other crime writers’. He is a lot like Simon Fisk:

 

  • Doug’s clarity of mind and thought processes is astounding, delivering the exceptionally complex plot in a clear voice and easy-to-follow methodical narration, which is a high achievement considering the fast pace of the intricate twists and turns.
  • Doug is focused, disciplined, systematic, meticulously thorough and logically brilliant, leaving no chance for readers to get confused in a convoluted maze, taking them along with him through dangers, action, and heart-wrenching pain.
  • Doug has perfect knowledge of the content, either from his professional research or experiences as a former defense lawyer.
  • Like an eagle with the sharpest eyes Doug spots tiny details to the tee, and this applies in both his superbly comprehensive story and flawless English, such as, though I received a review copy marked “uncorrected”, I could only spot a few tiny errors.
  • And unlike the majority of today’s men-fic, Doug isn’t afraid of honesty. He shows us how men too feel, and feel deeply, even those who often have to act with ruthless brutality. He is witty and he is polite in his speech, with very rare use of strong language. (Who did say, never underestimate the seductive power of a decent vocabulary?) In Fisk, you can see Doug clearly: he is caring, and he respects women.

Don’t miss reading this book, even though I’m sure a movie deal isn’t too far away. Simon Fisk and the story are that good you’ll be glad this is going to be a series.

 

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Meet Harper Dimmerman—Lawyer, Professor, Author of JUSTICE HUNTER

 read-tellOur guest today is Harper Dimmerman, Esquire, a leading trial lawyer who is also a frequent lecturer to other attorneys, long-standing columnist with a seminal legal publication on the East Coast and an adjunct professor at Temple University. After obtaining his degree in English literature from Vassar, he went on to found his own law firm. Following his passion for fiction and drawing upon his own experiences from the courtroom, Harper writes legal thrillers devoted to the precarious exploits of the Chicago transplant, the dashing and cerebral Hunter Gray.

Hello Harper, thank you for visiting. Your debut novel JUSTICE HUNTER was released mid-April of 2012 to great fanfare, with Hunter’s plight disproving the pithy pearls of wisdom bandied about by Clarence Darrow, “There is no such thing as justice—in or out of court.” Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of JUSTICE HUNTER?

JUSTICE HUNTER is a legal thriller set in my hometown of Philadelphia. A successful big-firm lawyer is on the verge of making partner but his plans are derailed by an explosive first amendment case.

JUSTICE HUNTER is a legal thriller set in my hometown of Philadelphia. A successful big-firm lawyer is on the verge of making partner but his plans are derailed by an explosive first amendment case.

Set in the City of Brotherly Love, this series is devoted to the precarious exploits of the dashing and cerebral attorney Hunter Gray, with whom you spend every available millisecond. How real is your character Hunter?

Hunter Gray is friend I never had, a big-hearted lawyer who sort of fell into the practice of law. He represents the large-firm world I never knew firsthand either, so I suppose he’s largely a product of my imagination.

One of the best criminal lawyers in Pennsylvania has heralded you, comparing your no-holds-barred style to that of the late fiction icon Mickey Spillane and the novel as “an electrifying, chilling page-turner.” As its author, please share your favourite part in this book.

I really like Dillon Wright these days. He’s naughty and I suppose that’s where I am in my life right now.

You have completed three novels and is currently wrapping up your fourth, the third installment in Justice Hunter series. What are the titles? Would you be so kind to give readers a one-sentence synopsis of each?

 

I wrote a spy thriller first, a manuscript I shelved very early on. That title, TOKYO GHOST, brought me back to my days living in Tokyo, where it was set. I quickly realized that finding your voice as a writer is an exercise, probably one not worth sharing with the free world.

 

JUSTICE HUNTER is the first in the Hunter Gray series. That was based, very, very loosely on a case I’d worked on involving civil rights in Philly.
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The next in the series is DIE BEFORE WE WAKE, basically a serial-killer thriller starring Hunter as well. It’s about a very bad guy killing kids, some sick pedophile type with a bunch of nasty psychological conditions. It’s ugly yet suspenseful, hopefully.

 

The third is STRIPPERS INFERNO, which I guess is sort of self-explanatory. Hunter takes the lead there too and comes face to face with a sociopath lawyer who gets off chopping up dancers of the sexual variety. It’s very dark and disturbing.

 

I started the fourth in the series too but haven’t made much headway yet, lost in a dark comedy I started around the New Year. This one, at least I hope, will be read by every reader out there. It’s about a loser dying of cancer whose sexual fantasies become reality. Naturally, considering he’s terminal, the notion of fantasy has changed pretty dramatically in this dude’s mind.

Why are they a must-read series?

Did I say that? Shit that’s bold! I guess, if I try to justify that one, and I’m not so sure those were actually my words, some momentum would be good. It might help my agent score a couple big sales. All kidding aside though, I think they’re pretty entertaining. They’re true to Philly and the legal scene. I guess there’s some value in a lawyer writing about law. I suppose that’s worth something (I would hope).

No, Harper, not your words—you must be a good lawyer! That was me, being a punishing interviewer 🙂
So, how long did it take you to write each of them? What story would you like to share about the joy, challenge, or hardship of writing? Please share some interesting moments.

This is another tough one. The first one was a real bitch. It took a couple years, I think. I sort of last track. It was right around the time I got married I think. My life was a big blur unfortunately. A very lonely time. You’ll have to take my word for it. After that, I started writing two solid pages a day. I tried to take weekends off at first because I was still so busy with building my law practice, something I still do every day with the help of a couple other people though. Lately, I’ve realized that I cannot not write, unless I’m with my kids because I don’t see them very often these days.

It’s a drug and compulsion I suppose. I’m always thinking about it and have never been more intrigued with the way everything looks. Every detail on every face on every street. So two good pages, with constant re-writing, is how I do it. Sometimes I get lost and I never outline.

I have a sense of the characters as I go and certainly they develop. If they don’t mix or work, I frequently nix them altogether and start again. What they say and how they see things is important. Mannerisms, quirks, stuff like that. I tend to gravitate to blonds (joking).

Some days feel unproductive and there are certainly intervals where I wonder whether I’m going to make the words match with the ideas that are important to me at the time. I try to make things as timeless as I can and that can be a real bitch.

Overall, it’s who I am and if I died today I’d be happy as hell, knowing that I did what I loved every day for a while.

That’s wonderful!
Now, the series was inspired by your own experience as counsel to the city of Philadelphia, where you played a key role in one of the most racially and politically charged cases in the city’s history, a case which gripped the nation for its first amendment implications.
Would you like to elaborate on this?

Not really. Intolerance persists the way it does. It’s dressed up and better concealed. But the concepts at the root of the case in that book are still everywhere.

After obtaining your degree in English literature from Vassar, you went on to found your own law firm. When did you first know you just had to write?

I think I’ve always known but I was in denial a while, like most things in life I guess. Aside from my folks and a handful of friends, I had no real encouragement. It’s a long story but I was trying to fit in to a new world and sort of felt behind academically. My self-confidence took a toll. Vassar was a boost and I had this one teacher who really helped me. Mr. Amodio. I’ll never forget the lessons he taught me, especially the import of the words matching what you want to say. Never just assuming words that seem to do the trick, the recycled ones, actually do. Say it your way and make sure the reader’s impression is what you intend. It’s not easy but it’s an idea worth holding on to.

Great tip, thank you! Now, one top mystery editor has said that your work is “easily on par with John Grisham and Scott Turow.” Who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

That was actually an editor I worked with so that was a big deal. Hands down, I would say Martin Amis. He’s a genius, a badass, an innovator and he’s got balls as writer. Love him or hate him, he does it his way and for that he will always be remembered. I like artists, writers, musicians, strippers (not strippers) who take chances. 

Who gives you the most encouragement?

I guess all the writers out there who are doing it every day and grinding it out, working through the blue periods. But having said that, Martin Amis is an inspiration. I think about him and know that I’m on to something to. I have my own voice. You’ll have to trust me on that.

Here’s the email I wrote to his people when I published my first book (seriously):

“From: “Harper J. Dimmerman, Esq.” <harper@hjdlaw.net>photo
Subject: Inspiration/Martin Amis
Date: February 28, 2012 11:00:40 AM EST
To: mailto:mail@wylieagency.co.uk, keulksg@wou.edu, capeeditorial@randomhouse.co.uk

 

Sir/Madam,

 

As cheesy, in every American sense of the word with all its commercial and crude connotations, as this note may seem, I must extend my debt of gratitude to Mr. Amis. He’s been inspiring me for years.  And although the subject of my inevitable death may seem a bit morbid, before I kick the bucket, I must get something off my relatively hairless 30-something chest.  I am more and more of an ass every day and have never felt so comfortable expressing this in my hack writing because of him.  He’s given me the power to be a prick and for that I will always be grateful.

 

All bullocks aside, or whatever hackneyed British saying is being spread these days amongst the masses, he is the greatest.  I am a law professor and have my own law firm.  Within a matter of days, my second novel, a legal thriller, is set to be published, assuredly to be followed by a lukewarm reception, my closest friends and family uniting to celebrate my masochism and pretending to give a rat’s ass hair about the words drizzled off my fingertips.

 

The third, a completely fucked up serial killer recount, starring my protagonist, the only character my mind is capable of cultivating beyond the size of his cock or regimen of SSR’s, is under first edit.  The fourth is even more deranged and is under works, going swimmingly.  Strippers are mutilated.  How obvious and delightful.  Finally, in case you give a shit, my first was shelved, perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made, especially in light of the onslaught of self-publishing, the great equalizer promising to make even bigger hacks out of the existing hacks, massaging their denial like a prostitute going to town on an enlarged prostrate, fixing to steal an organ once the medicine kicks in.

 

Anyway, assuming this email is not disregarded by a hater and somehow manages to pass discretionary or non-discretionary muster as the case may be, please take the liberty of sharing this compliment with him.  He is one of the only writers, still alive, whom I would care to meet.  I do not expect a reply naturally and have no desire to publish with you.  I also generally despite lit agents, something I can say with utter confidence considering I nearly made the unfortunate mistake of becoming in Hollyweird.  This is not a disguised attempt to get anything.

 

Just wanted to get this off my chest.  The time felt right.  You only get published a first time once I suppose.

 

Sincerely,

 

/s/ Harper J. Dimmerman, Esq.                 ___

“How’s that for inspiration? He didn’t reply but I suppose I wasn’t really expecting one. I just had to do it.

Yes, I can hear your voice loud and clear 🙂
Any writing tips?

Write what you know, love and keep writing. It’s not a race. Do a little everyday, however shitty you think it is. Also, don’t be delusional. Don’t let the pressure of commercialism trick you into thinking every word you write is saleable. It ain’t that easy.

JUSTICE HUNTER will be published in mass-market paperback later this month, after breaking onto the Amazon Kindle Hot New Release List on April 27th. Congratulations! And when are you going to release the installments? Tell us your latest news.

I got this great agent last summer so I am sort of laying low. I’m about to have a third manuscript completed and ready to be purchased. I am deferring to them. They believe in me and I’m confident they will get the Hunter Gray series into the mainstream before I’m dead. As for this dark comedy I’m finishing, I think this one may actually get my name out there for real. It’s unique and angry and honest. People might not love me but they’ll know me. This one is the closest one to the way I want something to be. Maybe I’m just getting old…

Good luck with that. How much do you have in common with your protags, Harper?

By definition I guess they’re all part of me in a way. But hopefully not too much. I try to pick people I want to learn about, learning something from. I try to make it a party in my head because I think I’m a much lonelier person than I want others to believe. And of course writing this here probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do as far as keeping that a secret. But what the f—

What are your hobbies apart from writing?

Reading and other adult recreational activities. Soccer sort of. Not exercising my body really. And painting. One of them is actually hanging in someone else’s living room, which could mean a few things I guess. Its owner is too kind not to or maybe she takes it down when I’m not around and puts it back up before I come over. It’s actually not bad really. Bloody and full of angst, a lot of angles and force, but not bad.

Ohh your novels must be  funny 🙂 Tell us a bit about what matters to you.

Honesty and personal growth. These are major for me. I have these amazing little girls and a super beautiful girlfriend too but they are a given. If you’re not learning, might as well be pushing up daisies somewhere in a graveyard of stupidity.

So true.
What one thing is important for your readers to know about you? Why?

 That I’d rather be dead failure than a living fake success.

Anything else?

I think I’ve covered it. Or at least as much as any reader can stomach about one writer, especially me. I’ve gotta be making someone sick somewhere. Someone is spitting I’m sure. I see a lot of that. 

Thanks for the interesting chat, Harper! My best wishes for your books!

And readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting our celebrity guest Harper Dimmerman. You can click on the book cover above for JUSTICE HUNTER purchase link. Come follow the latest news from his Twitter, and watch out for this upcoming book:

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Praise for JUSTICE HUNTER: 

Whether you’re looking for yet another legal/crime thriller or want to try it out, JUSTICE HUNTER is a fantastic representation of the subgenre that will keep you interested and engaged.

– Reviews by Annie


“Harper Dimmerman has penned a truly captivating story, that you’ll want to go back and read over and over, leaving you anxious for his next release.”

– Dewain Johnson

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Meet Uvi Poznansky, California-based Author, Poet and Artist

 read-tellOur guest today is the awesome Uvi Poznansky, who earned her B. A. in Architecture and Town Planning from the Technion in Haifa, Israel. At the age of 25 Uvi moved to Troy, N.Y. with her husband and two children. Before long, she received a Fellowship grant and a Teaching Assistantship from the Architecture department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where she guided teams in a variety of design projects; and where she earned her M.A. in Architecture. Taking a sharp turn, she earned M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan and became a software engineer, software team leader, software manager and a software consultant with an emphasis on user interface for medical instruments devices.

Uvi wrote and painted constantly, and exhibited in Israel and California. In addition, she taught art appreciation classes. Her versatile body of includes bronze and ceramic sculptures, oil and watercolor paintings, charcoal, pen and pencil drawings, and mixed media.

Uvi published two children books, Jess and Wiggle and Now I Am Paper. For each one of these books, she created an animation video. She won great acclaim for her 2012 novel, “Apart From Love”, and for her poetry book, “Home”.

Welcome Uvi. Could you pease share with us an interesting moment while writing your contemporary fiction book, Apart From Love?

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My novel, Apart From Love, gained speed and purpose when right in themiddle of writing it I stopped, and turned to write the last chapter, called ‘Editorial Notes’ which is appended at the end of the book. In this chapter, a character called Mr. Bliss comes to visit the Santa Monica Apartment after Ben and Anita have left the place for good. The description given by Mr. Bliss provided the ‘stage set’ for the last scene: the white piano is gone, and the mirror lies broken on the bedroom floor. How would these things happen? I did not know yet, but now I had the end waiting for me.

You wrote “Home” in tribute to your poet and writer father, Zeev Kachel. Share with us about your father, your interaction with him, and your book Home.

933969_581130818594733_1139084828_nI started telling stories and composing poems before I knew how to hold a pen between my fingers. My father, who was a poet, writer and artist, would write these for me, and even quote words I invented. He would also ask me to ‘help’ him rhyme his poems, and so he opened the door for me to a world of creativity.

When he passed away, I went back home for the traditional Shiva-a, the seven days period of mourning. It was then that I discovered his poetry, which he had never shown anyone, because it had come out of a place of pain. It took me six years to sort through this body of work, translate it, and add my own poetry and prose. I hope the readers will be awakened to the same questions that haunted me. At the core, what does home mean to you? When you close your eyes, what image comes to mind? What memories?

Perhaps the grief did something to change the way I viewed things, or else it was sitting in that space—my childhood home—in a spot I rarely sat before, discovering it from a new angle, observing how light penetrated the far reaches of this place, how the furniture signified

relationships in the family. I drew what I saw on a napkin; wiped my tears with it, and later discarded it. This image later became the inspiration for my book, and the cover art for it.

Tell us about your new-release, “Twisted”. And what a great artwork you have created for the cover!

Twisted, by Uvi Poznansky, US author, poet, artist

In this unique collection I bring together diverse tales, laden with shades of mystery. There are four of them: I Am What I Am; I, Woman; The Hollow; and The One Who Never Leaves. Here, you will come into a dark, strange world, a hyper-reality where nearly everything is firmly rooted in the familiar-except for some quirky detail that twists the yarn, and takes it for a spin in an unexpected direction. The word Twisted related both to the yarn of the story and to the mind of the writer. Reviews are coming in almost every day. Here is a quote from one of them, written by Top 1000 Amazon reviewer Sheila Deeth:

“From lilting poetry to feline’s fearsome claw, these pieces draw the reader in, enticing with intriguing depths and surprising with sudden light. Twisted, puzzling, but perfectly put together, the collection has the feel that it was meant to be this way, no random grouping of fiction but a twisted exploration that turns and returns this reader to the singular question: What is woman?

Share with us your Get-Twisted event.

Well Ia, I learn from the best… Several months ago I attended one of your launch event and it was so much fun, so sparkling with creative ideas that I took it as as a model for my own book launch events. Right now there is a fabulous happening on facebook: the launch event for my newest book, Twisted.

I believe that it’s the journey that matters, so unlike any other facebook events you might have attended, this one is happening every day between now and August 21, the end date. Every day there is a something new, such as a cover reveal, or sharing the inspiration for the writing, or a voice clip of the actress narrating the audiobook edition.

Also, there are ongoing activities in the event, for example a Writing Contest as well as an invitation to Come Into My Twisted Universe. The first is a competitive activity, the second—a cooperative one. Both of them are hugely popular with everyone and a great fun for me to orchestrate!

Good luck with the event! And your audio books are impressive, congratulations! Now, who would you say have been the most influential authors in your life? What is it that really strikes you about their work?

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I appreciate the nuances, the overloading of words, and the musical rhythms used in the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, the sonnets by Shakespeare, and the lyrical descriptions of Virginia Wolfe, to name but a few. I love American authors as well as authors from around the world, for example The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky, and Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger, for their expressive use of ‘stream of consciousness’.

Any writing tips?

Read your story aloud in front of a live audience, and listen not only to their comments and suggestions, but more importantly—to their breathing pattern while the story is being read. Are they holding their breath at the right moment? Do they burst out laughing, or wipe a tear when you intended? If not, you must go back to the drawing board and adjust your sentences.

What’s cooking? Tell us your latest news.

I am writing my next novel about the life of David. At this stage, I am still considering what the title should be: perhaps ‘A Crown Within My Reach’ or else ‘Larger Than Life’. Either way, the novel might well be developed into two or three volumes, because this is a richly dramatic life, rife with vices, sensuality, pride, and deadly ambition. Here he is, serving as an entertainer in the royal court, watching King Saul:

“No longer do I ask, what was it in him that allowed him to become who he is. Instead I wonder, whatever it might be, is it in me? Do I have what it takes to become a leader? A king, even? And on my way up, how do I overcome my shortcomings? How does a kid like me—who is too young to grow even a single hair on his chin, let alone a fancy beard like his—find a way to project himself into an iconic role, a role that will become memorable for ages to come? In short: how do I become larger than life?

Intriguing! Best wishes with David. Happy writing! But before you go, what one thing is important for your readers to know about you?

You may have seen my art, and you may have read my books, or at least excerpts from them. Perhaps you even know that I design my own book covers, based on my art. But do you know that I combine my writing and art to create animations? If you visit my Amazon Author Page,you will find two of them under the subtitle Author Video (on the right-hand side, about the middle of the page.) Check it out.


Thanks you so much for your precious time, Uvi!

Readers, I hope you have enjoyed meeting the great Uvi Poznansky. Come follow her blog,  Twitter and pInterest; and visit her art siteFacebook pageAmazon PageGoodreads PageAUTHORSdB and Audible Author Page. Click the followings to purchase Uvi’s books:

TWISTED:   AudiobookEbook,  Print
A FAVORITE SON: Audiobook Ebook,  Print
APART FOM LOVE: Audiobook  Ebook,  Print
HOME: Audiobook,  Ebook, Print

And readers, here is my review of Uvi’s book of prose and poetry, which was cowritten with her father:

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“HOME” ~ Reviewed by Ia Uaro

 

Book Title: Home

Poetry and prose by authors: Zeel Kachel and Uvi Poznansky

ISBN: 978-0-9849932-3-9

 

Zeev Kachel, son of a Russian Jewish family, was born in 1912, on the eve of the First World War. When German declared war on August 1, 1914 and its army marched into Russia, his parents bundled him and his sister into the wagon, leaving behind their store and worldly belongings, to escape for the lives.

“Ma, why did you fool me,” Zeev was still bleeding as 70 years later his pen dripped “We Were Born in Darkness”,

“what was it for,

When you sang me a lullaby, not a song of war?

Oh why did you hide the fateful truth from me

We were born in darkness, our life—not to be?”

Welcome to the poetry world of Zeev, beautifully rendered into English by his daughter Uvi Poznansky. He was a man of passion with the ability to capture it in his work, as Uvi aptly calls it. You can’t but be emotionally affected by Zeev’s powerful laments of loss. Of a child after his mother has departed,

“I had travelled to a place so alien, so cold

How bitter it had felt, to you I never told.

How you waited to receive a word from me, a letter…”

I feel a very special connection to Zeev. To me his moving words provoke long-forgotten memories, tucked away because they were too painful to remember, or to share. I could just imagine his agony as he wrote,

“You’re asking me to record, on paper to pour

All that I lost, my esteemed counselor?”

And bravely he wrote, and wrote and wrote and wrote. Of very beautiful things that are only beautiful while they last, “Lie to me boldly, don’t misgive”

Poetry is cruel honesty—and here is Zeev baring his soul, driving us to share his pain of the well-captured memories,

“For that lost moment, how I pine!”

of his confusion,

“Is this really the path I envisioned?

Then why is the night here so black?”

And yet even as he anguished over his loneliness, “In a night with not a friend, all’s bleary,” his daughter had understood him. His lucky daughter, in whom he has carved: “I am a poem, I inspire

Five stars.

 

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