Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Spotlight: Rast by Christoper Hoare

In Rast, magic is not a convenient parlour trick, it’s a deadly force that takes no prisoners. Those who must wield it are doomed, for it never ceases to work within the mind and nerves until it destroys its master.

And now, the time of the interregnum is here; the reigning sorcerer king, the Drogar of Rast, is struggling for a last grasp on magic power while his heir, Prince Egon, must take up the deadly mantle. Egon is fearful but courageous in his duty. Not one peril threatens Rast, but many.

While he struggles to tame the magic to his command the mechanistic Offrang adventurers arrive to seize the land for their empire. The Offrangs don’t just disbelieve in magic, they treat any attempt to discuss it with withering scorn. Then, when the Drogar falters, the North Folk sweep out in their multitudes to cover the land of Rast at the behest of their depraved Casket of Scrolls. Deepning too, a creature of earth magic in its mountain pools, stirs to gain power enough to conquer Rast.

The Prince’s sweetheart Jady does her best to support him, but she is not strong enough in the power of the lineage to bear him a magic wielding heir. She sets out to meet the caravansi of the cousin princess who is sent to be his consort with duty and anger both warring in her mind. The crisis will reveal surprising enemies, surprising friends, and as the Drogar tells Jady, “Even a Drogar may not see a future not yet determined.” While Egon goes west to spy on the Offrangs and Jady makes her way east, the oracle provided by the Pythian that lives in a cavern beneath the palace reveals, “You have no high point to see the scattered threads but must trust to those who grasp them.”

Everyone, enemy and friend, has a part to play in the preservation of Rast.

Read an excerpt!

Chapter Two

Jady pulled firmly on the reins, the tall pickaback reared to his full height and planted his aft-most claws tight into the root-born path. His long body flexed beneath her as three of his six legs pawed at the air. When his middle claws again touched the musty smelling moss she leaned forward to whisper words of an ancient language into his feather covered ears.

Pellad, Cerefrus. Dosar––let me dismount.”

The obedient animal bowed low his head to let the mail-clad maiden slip from the saddle to the forest floor.

She stood a moment, tall and slender in the shadowy forest, watching the flicking movements of her mount’s ears—noticing each glance of golden eyes into the overhanging branches. No single sound or sight held more than a momentary notice––then they were alone. The only other occupants of the small clearing lived in her memory.

Their mound occupied the center. The scavenger-chewed bones of a thousand Krachinsdecorated its surface, and at the summit sagged the bloodstained talisman of the Soulingas, the family of the first Soule. It hung tattered from its staff, waiting for an eldest son to reclaim and restore it to glory. An eldest son who may never be.

“I cannot help it, father,” she sobbed, falling to her knees before the tomb.

In her mind, he looked down at her and smiled. “I would not ask you to forsake the man you love…but your dreams are sterile.”

“I would receive him in shame––if that were the only way.”

“That can never be. You know he could not––and you deceive yourself if you think you would.”

“But Rast…without the Soulingas––?”

“Your brothers and I are patient with you, but––”

“I could never love another!”

“Have you given any other the leave to win you?”

She knelt silently for many minutes. “Am I making it hard for him?” she said, at length.

“You both know his duty.”

“And yet his father has never spoken harshly to me. Surely if the Drogar saw the error of it he would have ended my hopes.”

“Even the dead cannot see into the mind of a Drogar.”

She breathed in sharply. The thought of her Prince becoming a Drogar in his turn was frightening. Would his gentle glances become veils of ice-hard magic? Not Egon––surely not Egon!

“Do you know why the Drogar sends you at this time?”

“This time? What do you mean?”

“Your Grandfather, my father, saw omens in it.”

“He didn’t speak to me of what he saw.”

“A commission to Deepning is never given lightly.”

She opened her eyes wide to take in the evidence of the tomb. “Three times have I come. Five times if I count the journeys with you and my brothers.”

“But this time the Drogar’s words are stronger, his intent more given in detail.”

“I know not why.”

“Go, Daughter, be about your mission. We cold bones will delay you no longer, but we will ever hold your life to our charge. We will never take rest until you and a husband kneel here—until the son you shall make together can be prepared to take up our talisman.”
Without another word or backward glance she stood and walked to Cerefrus. He bent to allow her to mount. Continuing along the forest paths she rode until she could see the dark overhanging rocks of a mountain through the branches.

Here she dismounted again and set the pickaback loose in a forage dell until her return. She settled the bow of sinew, horn, and wood across her shoulders, tightened the coil of long dark hair beneath her leather helm and glided forward beneath the tangling branches into paths no mounted warrior could follow. Testing again the Vales of Deepning Pools she trembled slightly, shivered within her taught nerves. She stifled her misgivings and set out upon the mission.

The Drogar spoke of some future sons of Soule. Did he mean the words in truth, or were they mere bolsters for her courage?

She walked watchfully; stepped softly. No gentle forest animals stirred, no bird flew. The trees grew tall and twisted as if they had wrestled, each with the other, for every scrap of sunlight falling dappled into the forest. Jady knew the secrets of each. She smelled resin weeping from wounded bark, wooden tears seeping from the trunks where tree had flailed against tree in wind-borne combat. She knew the smells of every forest dweller, and feeling her soft leather boots sink to their moss covered roots, caressed them in her walking.

The Deepning Pools lay above her, in a hanging valley upon the edge of the mountain.

She bent her footsteps up through the slanting trees and followed a path made by the many feet of the only animals strong and fierce enough to live near the magic Vale—the sharptoothed Krarks. Broken branches told of the rough passages they forced with their segmented bodies. Here and there, a fallen tree lay torn in two by mighty claws. Jady reached to touch the crystal-tipped arrows at her waist, and plunged on up the path.

She walked more quickly for about a league. When she felt the magic singing—the distant hints of dangerous melody ringing in her ears—she stopped to take the gossamer net from her pack. Woven by a wraith of midnight sorcery, the heirloom was handed down from distant ancestors. It had shielded generations of warriors from the spells. Fierce, dark-haired men with arms like the roots of trees. Men who let fly the crystal tipped arrows from tempered bows of horn and wood. Brothers, fathers, uncles and grandfathers, descended in unbroken line until at last, the only watcher of the forest was this high-breasted maid—the last of the Soulingas. She carefully draped the shimmering silver over her head and wrapped its folds about her. Safe within the wispy filament from the sirens’ temptation, she stepped gently on, spells buzzing futilely against the gossamer shield as angry bees against the keeper’s net.

Few but the Soulingas could venture into the Vale of Deepning Pools. Even Drogar magic rarely clashed with the fey enchantry—except at a few intervals in the circle of time, force was blocked by force. Prince Egon knew where the Pools lay, but had never glimpsed their glowing, living liquid. Only the Krachins were drawn to the fetid swamps by their lust for sour smelling vapours. The Guardian of the Forest must mark their comings and goings, and when the moment was right thwart their fell intention. Thwart also the evil purpose of the Pool creature, whatever strange reality it might possess––and prevent it gaining living sacrifice.

Only flying crystal point could secure payment and account in such magical commerce.

Read the reviews!

"A masterfully told high fantasy novel that will wow you with its explosive conclusion is what you'll find in Rast by Christopher Hoare."

--Books, Products and More!

Purchase Rast at the MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore, at Amazon in a Kindle edition, or at in a Nook version.

Christopher Hoare lives with his wife, Shirley, and two shelter dogs, Coco and Emmie, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. As a lad he lived, breathed, and dreamed aeroplanes, won a place at RAE Farnborough learning to engineer them, but found the reality didn’t fit the dream. Did a stint in the army and then away to Libya to join the oil circus. Flying objects only appear as tools when they now appear in his writing.

His stories never take place next door to the lives most people live; the less charitable find similarity in characters who tend to be stubborn, independent, and contrarian. Perhaps there’s a connection between the worlds he portrays in fiction, and his working life in oil exploration in the Libyan Desert, the Canadian Arctic, and the mountains and forests of Western Canada.

He has written stories set in Anglo-Saxon Britain, in modern industrial projects, in the alternate world of Gaia, and the fantasy world of Rast. Sometimes known to satirize jobs and organizations he knows. Likes to write central characters who are smart, beautiful, and dangerous women who lead their male counterparts to fulfill dangerous duties they’d rather avoid. Gisel Matah in the Iskander series is perhaps the most Bond-like of these, but Jady in Rast can match her in many aspects.

Visit his website at to learn much more, and download the free novella “Gisel Matah and the Slave Ship”. You can find his blog at

Pump Up Your Book Announces Dave Zeltserman's 'Dying Memories Virtual Book Tour 2011'

Dying Memories

Join Dave Zeltserman, author of the thriller novel, Dying Memories (StoneGate Ink), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in May 2011 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Dave Zeltserman

Dave Zeltserman

Dave Zeltserman won the 2010 Shamus Award for 'Julius Katz' and is the acclaimed author of the ‘man out of prison’ crime trilogy: Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer, where Small Crimes was picked by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008, and Small Crimes and Pariah (2009) were both picked by the Washington Post as best books of the year. His recent The Caretaker of Lorne Field received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, calling it a 'superb mix of humor and horror', and has been shortlisted by ALA for best horror novel of 2010. Outsourced (2011) has already been called 'a small gem of crime fiction' by Booklist and has been optioned by Impact Pictures and Constantin Film.

His latest book is Dying Memories (StoneGate Ink).

You can visit Dave’s website at Connect with him on Facebook at

About Dying Memories

Dying Memories KindleWhen you can't trust your memories.

A woman shoots a man to death on a crowded street in Boston, claiming that he raped and murdered her eleven-year old daughter. Except he didn't, because this woman never had a daughter. Another man stabs an MIT professor to death in front of a crowd in Harvard Square, saying that he witnessed the professor running down his wife in the street. Except the MIT professor was three thousand miles away when the man's wife was killed.

Reporter Bill Conway discovers that these victims are connected to ViGen Corporation, a shadowy pharmaceutical company. When he tries to investigate ViGen Corporation and their role in these deaths, he soon finds himself framed for murder. And that turns out to be the least of his problems...

Visit Dave's official tour page at to see which blogs and websites he’ll be stopping off at during his Dying Memories Virtual Book Tour 2011!

Interview with 'The Chimp and Me' Annie Greer & Tim Vandehey

Annie Greer is a certified veterinary chiropractioner, radio host, animal behaviorist, farmer's wife and AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator who, with her veterinarian husband, Kent, runs three animal clinics and a 40-acre farm in Apopka, Florida.

Tim Vandehey is a journalist, ghostwriter and book collaborator who has written more than 35 books since 2004 in the sports, self-help, memoir, spiritual, financial, business, and healthcare genres. His recent published co-authored works include Blindsided (with Jim Cole, St. Martin's Press, 2010), Running on Faith (with Jason Lester, HarperOne, 2010), Produced by Faith (with DeVon Franklin, Simon & Schuster, 2011), and I'm Here to Win! (with Chris McCormack, Center Street, 2011). Tim lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington, with his wife and two daughters.

The Chimp Who Loved Me is Tim and Annie's latest hilarious endeavor.

You can visit their website at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Annie and Tim. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, The Chimp Who Loved Me?

Tim: Well, I’m a journalist, ghostwriter and co-author, so I’ve been writing professionally since 1987.

Annie: I’ve been writing since…what time is it? Tim’s the writer; I’m just the silly person who gets into all these half-mad situations with animals.

Tim: The book came about when we met in 2006 at a writers’ conference in Orlando, Florida. Annie told me about her experience being sexually assaulted by a chimpanzee in the shower, and after I picked myself up off the floor, I said, “I’m writing your book.” We’ve been friends ever since.

Annie: Actually, I apprehended Tim trying to shoplift a book that it turned out he’d ghostwritten. He’s very sneaky that way.

Q: I love your title…can you tell us why you chose it?

We wanted something that conveyed the humor of the book and also jumped off the page. It’s a takeoff on the James Bond movie, “The Spy Who Loved Me,” and refers to the title story where Annie deals with the amorous chimp in the shower.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Because it’s damned funny. Also, we wanted to get past the “Awww!” aspect of many animal books and get to the real world of living and working with animals: some die, there’s a lot of pee and poop and sex, and they have the ability to give us some of the most astonishing moments of wonder and grace we will ever experience. Plus, people need to know that pet owners, not the pets, are really the crazy ones.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

We started our own publishing company, so we’ve done everything. We’ve started slowly: building a strong Facebook presence, building out a great website, and pursuing reviews and PR. We’re going after some bulk sales of the book to companies in the veterinary industry. Plus, 20% of the book’s proceeds will go to animal charities, and we hope that will generate some nice press coverage. We will also reach out to book clubs at some point.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

There really aren’t many books on the market like this one. That’s why we couldn’t get a publishing deal; editors want Marley and Me, not David Sedaris meets James Herriot. Most books on animals are overly sweet heart-tuggers, and that’s not us. What makes this book special is that it gives the reader an honest look at the crazy side of working with and raising animals—in a veterinary clinic and on a farm—while still communicating the wonder of them.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

Annie: I’m on page 144, talking to a pet psychic named Laura Stinchfield on my radio show. Did I mention that I have a radio show called All Paws Pet Talk? She’s telling me that Maria, the pig I’ve just brought home, is depressed because she was held in a place where she was constantly afraid of being trampled, and that she would probably try to escape our farm at night. The thing it, Laura was 100% right. It was quite amazing.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Tim: Absolutely. We’re going to start compiling stories for a sequel in late 2011. The working title is Funny Farm.

Q: Thank you for your interview,Annie and Tim. Do you have any final words?

Support your local Humane Society or ASPCA chapter. They do amazing work. Thank you.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chat with Nell Walton - Author of The Bone Trail

Nell Walton is an avid horsewoman and also owns two wild horses, both of which came from a herd near Elko, NV. She is also the founder and managing editor of the online equestrian news magazine, The AllHorses Post. She has degrees in journalism and biology from the University of Arkansas, spent many years as a professional journalist and worked as an intern for former President Bill Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas. She lives in East Tennessee on a small horse farm with her husband, four horses, one donkey, two cats and two dogs. The Bone Trail is her first novel.


Welcome to The Writer's Life, Nell. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I wrote my first short story when I was about seven years old. It was some ridiculous tale about people on safari; they were floating down a river and the local population was chasing them, crocodiles and hippos were trying to eat them – the usual things that fascinate a seven year old. I also started a novella when I was about eleven that had a plot amazingly similar to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and this was several years before that movie was produced. I always wondered if Spielberg had some of his movie aliens dig around in the trunk where I used to keep my stories to get his screenplay! So, I’ve been a writer for a long time now. When I was in college I majored in my two loves: journalism and biology.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A: The Bone Trail is the story of journalist and horsewoman Kate Wyndham. She is sent to investigate the disappearance of two wild horse advocates in a remote area of northern Nevada. When she tries to gain information on the disappearance from the FBI and federal authorities she is stonewalled. She turns to Shoshone Indian Jim Ludlow, a local rancher and horse "whisperer" for help. During the course of their search, Ludlow and Wyndham develop a passionate, emotional relationship; one that if pursued, will alter their lives in ways neither is prepared to accept. Their search for answers soon imperils everything they hold dear and may even claim their lives.

I based this book on a couple of real events that happened last fall in Nevada. In an uneasily similar incident, a friend of mine who is a wild horse preservationist discovered a hidden trail of horse bones, and was harassed by agents of our government in a very unsettling manner. And, various extraction industries continue to put pressures on indigenous populations throughout the world. There are many legal battles being fought in Nevada right now by some of the people in Indian Country who are trying to protect both their rights as well as their very way of life.

America’s wild horse population is being wiped out, and I am convinced that one of the motives behind it has to do with the exploitation of natural resources.

What kind of research was involved in writing (please italicize book title here – no caps or quote marks)?

A: The wild horse details came pretty easily to me. I own two wild horses myself and have been active in wild horse issues for many years. I’ve also been a horsewoman for most of my life. The details as far as Reservation life and substance abuse rehabilitation and recovery took weeks of research and phone calls to several Reservations in Nevada. I spent hours upon hours watching videos of pow-wows, and also researching various successful substance abuse treatment programs being utilized in Native populations in both the United States and Canada.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

A: It is extremely difficult to get fiction published these days, and, at the advice of several successful authors, I decided to utilize the publish on demand option offered by Amazon. I was submitting the manuscript of The Bone Trail to agents, but I stopped pursuing that avenue once I offered the book for sale.

I did invest in having an independent editor go through The Bone Trail for both grammar and content problems. Fortunately, she loved the book as written and made only minor grammatical changes for the most part and gave me advice on changing the pacing in Chapter 1. I am very comfortable with computers, document layout, etc., so that part was pretty easy.

In addition, it is critical that the wild horse issues be addressed now, before it is too late. I didn’t feel I could wait the eighteen months to two years to have The Bone Trail available to the public if I went the traditional publishing route.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

A: That is the nice thing about publish on demand, you can get your work out to the public immediately. However, I would always recommend writers have a good, professional editor review their work prior to release.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: There has been some talk about film rights for The Bone Trail. If I am fortunate enough to have someone want to make a film based on the book, I will contact a good agent who is very successful at negotiating film rights.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Absolutely! I have started a new mystery series that is very exciting.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

A: Actually, I love to sit in the living room with my husband at night and work on my Macbook. The TV is usually on, but since I am rarely interested in anything that he likes to watch it just makes nice, soothing, white noise that I find very conducive to writing.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A: A major motion picture!

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

A: I think it is critical, whether you are a first time novelist like myself, or an author that has been published for many years. For myself it has been a learning process, and I am utilizing Pump Up Your Book to help me reach a wider audience. I am also very active on Facebook and Twitter, and I have a blog as well as an online equestrian news magazine.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

A: I actually did give up. I didn’t write for fourteen years because of a terrible experience I had with a writer’s group. I received stalking-type hate mail from another writer and it was devastating.

For myself I had to get to a point in my life where I was ready to take the emotional risk to tell a story successfully. And, I have reached an age where I have decided that I am going to stop letting other people define who I am.

As far as why writers give up their dreams and stop writing, the tolerance for rejection varies considerably from person to person. Some may come to believe that their work is poor, when it may not be poor at all. It’s just that someone makes a subjective decision that a writer’s work is unsellable.

There is a big difference between the two. That’s why I love it that writers have so many more options now than just a few years ago.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

A: I would say to any writer very strongly, don’t let other people define who you are. If you believe in what you are writing, keep writing and put it out there for the public to see. Someone, somewhere will totally get what it is you’re trying to say, and there is no better praise than that.

Thank you for your interview, Nell. I wish you much success!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Interview with Barbara Barnett, author of 'Chasing Zebras'

Barbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV’s antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature.

Barnett’s regular column, “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D.” features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie.

Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn’t exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing.

She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it’s not her last.

Visit Barbara’s website at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Barbara. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D?

I’ve been writing since I was around 9 or 10. My career has been pretty eclectic and it’s gone off on tangents now and then, but writing, whether or not it’s been part of my formal job, has always been important to me. I got my first professional writing gig about three years out of undergrad with a business magazine. It wasn’t quite like writing for The Atlantic, but it hooked me on the profession. I’ve been writing professionally in one form or another since then.

I’ve also always been a TV addict, and shortly after I started writing a regular column for Blogcritics (where I’m now co-executive editor), I came up with the idea to write a book on the wonderfully complex television series House, M.D.

Q: I love your title! Can you tell us why you chose it?

Chasing Zebras refers to the type of medicine practiced by House, M.D.’s central character, Dr. Gregory House. He often points out that although doctors are taught in medical school that when you hear hoof beats you think “horses” not “zebras.” But House’s specialty is to diagnose medicine’s zebras: rare and essentially undiagnosable diseases and illnesses.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

Some television series are so multifaceted they invite deeper analysis than most. House is one of those series. Hugh Laurie once described the scripts as “Faberge eggs.” He’s right. In any one episode, there are personal, ethical, medical and even religious ideas to tease out—all woven together in a medical procedural television show. The acting, too—especially Hugh Laurie’s add to the density. But most people watch television casually, and it’s hard to pick up on the series intricacies. That’s what Chasing Zebras does for readers—even those who casually (or even only occasionally) watch it.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

My publisher sent out dozens of books and press releases throughout the U.S. and Canada when the book was released. It also promotes it both on its website and its “Books on TV” blog.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

There are a few other books about House, M.D. on the market. There are a couple academic treatments about the philosophy of the series. There are a couple of books on the show’s medicine, and an official guide produced by the studio that goes into the behind the scenes. Chasing Zebras touches on all of these areas in an accessible, fun way. But this is a book for the fans—written by a fan of the show—but one who’s had some access to the cast and creative team. It also has a great six season episode guide, with lots of hidden treats that you will find nowhere else. I go between the lines and underneath the dialogue to extract the show’s takes on everything from society to religion; hypocrisy to medical ethics.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

It’s a chapter on the connections between House (the character) and Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but Conan Doyle was also a trained physician; his mentor was a man named Dr. Joseph Bell, who (very interestingly enough) was a doctor much like House, M.D.’s Dr. Gregory House. Bell would amuse his friends by diagnosing random people by simply looking at them—their affect, the way they hold their head, quirks in their manner, etc. Dr. House uses that particular gift all the time to diagnose (and amuse himself). The connections between House and Holmes are numerous. They both reside at a 221B Baker Street (in Princeton and London, respectively), Holmes and House both have drug issues, meddling best friends, and play music. House even has his own Moriarty!
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

It’s the 60th anniversary of the “TV Medical Series” genre in 2010. I’m hoping to write a book taking a look at all the great medical series and what they’ve said about us over the decades. Can’t really say any more than that at this point.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Barbara. Do you have any final words?

Thanks for the opportunity! You can find me on the Internet via Twitter, my website, or my writing home at Blogcritics.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Interview with John Ames, author of 'Adventures in Nowhere'

John Ames has a master’s degree in English from the University of Florida, where he was a Ford Fellow. After graduation, he built a rustic house and lived for several years on the edge of a spiritual community located near Gainesville, Florida. John’s search for enlightenment ended when he decided that he was too far from a movie theater. He moved inside the Gainesville city limits and taught English and film for thirty years at Santa Fe College.

He has produced and acted in numerous short films and videos, including the cable TV series the “Tub Interviews,” wherein all the interviewees were required to be in a bathtub. For ten years he reviewed movies for PBS radio station WUFT. He has appeared as a standup comedian and has designed and marketed Florida-themed lamps. He coauthored Second Serve: The Renée Richards Story (Stein and Day, 1983) and its sequel No Way Renée: The Second Half of My Notorious Life (Simon & Schuster, 2007), and Speaking of Florida (University Presses of Florida, 1993).

His recent book is a coming-of-age novel titled Adventures in Nowhere.

You can visit his website at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, John. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Adventures in Nowhere?

I have been entertaining my friends with tales of my childhood for many years. They are always amused by my descriptions of the eccentric characters I met and the scenes I witnessed. It never occurred to me that my youth could be the basis for a book because I considered my childhood too specific to appeal to a general audience. However, people kept advising me to write on the subject, so I decided to see if I could take a lot of details, large and small, from my youth and make a story using them.

Q: I love your title, Adventures in Nowhere. Can you tell us why you chose it?

As a kid, I had the impression that my neighborhood was a million miles from anywhere important. I never saw anything like it in the movies or on TV. It was like nowhere else. It had recently been a rural area, but the development that was coming its way had been halted by World War II, so it was right on the borderline between one thing and another, nowhere in particular. For me, it was indefinable, just nowhere.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

I was talking with a psychologist friend who does a lot of work with children under pressure. He is very familiar with their concerns, and he said that few people understand the depth of their analysis of the world--their attempts to determine right from wrong and to find some explanation for the experiences they have. He told me that my manuscript was the best exploration of a smart kid’s thought process that he had ever read. He urged me to publish it because he felt it would open the eyes of my readers. Also, I thought I had come up with as pretty good story.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

The publisher’s marketing staff did the usual things. They sent out advance copies to influential people to get quotes for the jacket. They sent out review copies to anyone who might review the book. They mentioned me in their tweets, and put the book in their catalog and on their website. They are a small press and cannot afford to place ads that might spur sales, and sad to say, a lot of papers don’t review books today. Worse yet, so many books come out every year that those that do review them are swamped.

The first thing I did was build my website: In addition to the conventional items like my biography and an excerpt from the book, the site gives a lot of information about the setting of the novel, which is crucial to the plot and interesting in its own right. Adventures in Nowhere is set on the Hillsborough River near Tampa and in the little community of Sulphur Springs, which started out in glorious fashion and then had a great fall. When I knew the river and the springs in the 1950s, the river was undeveloped past a certain point and Sulphur Springs was still interesting though definitely on a downward spiral. Most of the town was bulldozed in the early 1980s to make room for a dog track parking lot. The big spring that fed the swimming area is now polluted from storm water runoff and is unfit for bathing. I wanted to chronicle the place as I knew it before it is lost to living memory. My site helps readers understand what the novel is about by exploring the real Nowhere.

Another web initiative is my virtual author’s tour that is running during March and April. I have also set up a Google ad words account to promote traffic to my website.

In the material world, my friends and associates are going to local bookstores and dropping off press kits including reproductions of the Adventures in Nowhere cover, some positive reviews, and other material to call attention to the fact that a local author has been published. In the near future, I will expand that to book stores in other places, such as Tampa, which looms large in the novel’s action. I’ve done a PBS radio station talk show, which was followed by a local book signing. I’ll be doing another signing this week.

Q: What book on the market can it be compared to? How is it different? What makes your book special?

My novel is in the tradition of The Yearling and To Kill a Mockingbird in that it focuses on the world’s impact on a young mind. I can safely say that there has never been a character like Danny Ryan, Adventure’s in Nowhere’s protagonist. His analysis of his world goes deeper than any child character I have ever read. In that way, he is unique and he functions in a unique setting.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

On this page, Danny and his friend Alfred are on there way to the river, but Alfred insists on stopping by the Ryan’s failing chicken operation before they start out. The chickens look pretty dreary until Alfred comes on the scene. When they sight him, they begin to cluck and strut, following him around in a line. Danny has never had much success at endearing himself to the chickens. He thinks they may like Alfred because he has a pet chicken that he got as an Easter favor and raised from chick to adulthood. He has taught her to come when he smacks the fly swatter on the floor, which she knows means that Alfred has swatted a tasty cockroach for her consumption. The chicken’s name is Nickel because Alfred’s parents offered to pay him a nickel for every cockroach, but he was so successful that they dropped it to a penny. However the name Nickel stuck.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Right now all I can manage to do is to promote this one. I have some ideas, but who knows what the future will bring?

Q: Thank you for your interview, John. Do you have any final words?

Nowhere can be a very interesting place. You should try it sometime.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Interview with Megan van Eyck, author of 'Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress'

We're talking today to Megan van Eyck, author of the memoir, Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress.

You can visit Megan’s website at

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Megan. Can you tell us how long you’ve been writing and how your journey led to writing your latest book, Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress?

I have always loved to write, but it wasn’t until after my lover of five years died from Amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder, that I decided I wanted to write a book.

Q: I love your title. Can you tell us why you chose it?

The goal of the title is not only to grab a potential reader’s attention, but to tell a story. From the title Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress you instantly know a few key facts about my story: I had a sexual relationship with a married man, he died, and I love him enough to unapologetically consider myself an emotional widow. I believe that is very powerful and compelling.

Q: Why did you believe your book should be published?

My story is a personal story that not only chronicles my affair, but my personal struggle with love that began when I was a child growing up with a mother who was a bipolar hoarder. I believe my story will not only provide solace to other women who engage in affairs, but to people who have survived horrible childhoods. In the end, the one thing that I believe can be said about me as a person, whether you approve of my choices or not, is that I am a survivor.

While I resorted to some pretty severe behaviors in order to learn the lessons I did, the catalyst for all that is good in my life has been love. Love saved me. I believe that is a message worth sharing.

Q: We all know that publishers can’t do all of the publicity and that some lies on the author. What has your publisher done so far to publicize the book and what have you done?

Actually, I have chosen to self-publish. When all is said and done, I wanted to have control over my story and how it is represented. Consequently, I make all of the decisions related to promoting my story. Recently, I signed up with Pump Up Your Book and began a blog tour that lasts through April. For more information, please visit my website,, and click on “Guest Blog Appearances, Interviews and reviews.”

I am also about to sign with a literary Public Relations agency. I am very excited to see how they will help me promote Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress.

Q: What book on the market can it compare to? How is it different? What makes your book special?
Gee, that’s a tough one. I would say that Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress is a hybrid cross between Sickened, Loose Girl, and The Geography of Love—at least that’s what I aspire to.

Q: Open to a random page in your book. Can you tell us what is happening?

About two years into my love affair with Carlos, my mother passed away. I had many unresolved feelings: anger, hurt, resentment, longing. I had nightmares and struggled to find emotional footing after the funeral. Carlos decided that I needed to get away and offered to take me to Hawaii. This was an especially romantic idea because we had met on a flight to Hawaii.

As we sit next to each other this time, our chemistry was much different. We were not strangers. Instead we were two people who were deeply familiar with each other and who shared a very playful sensuality. As the plane coasted, we laughed and giggled as his hand slid up my skirt, concealed by a thin blue standard-issue airplane blanket.

It was a playful moment, but also a very tender one. And it was that trip to Hawaii when our affair transitioned from something simple to something deeper and more honest.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?
Yes, I do as a matter of fact. I have a concept for a series of children’s books. But for now, I am quite busy with Memoirs of a Widowed Mistress.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Megan. Do you have any final words?

Thank you so much for having me. I realize that infidelity is a touchy and sometimes painful subject. Many people get so caught up in their fear and judgments that they forget to stop and consider the emotions that go into an affair. I don’t mean the lust or rush of adrenaline you feel as you wait to reunite with your lover; I mean the loneliness that precedes the chance encounter that turns into adultery. There are many desperately lonely married people in this country—I was one of them. I know many more.

People like to believe that love can’t happen in an affair, that amidst all of the lies and deceit nothing beautiful can grow. But the mistress isn’t the one living the lie—the wife is. And yet it’s the wife who has all of the control. Many cheaters are simply waiting to feel that their spouses love them, to rekindle what once was. You have to read my story to see how it ends, but my story is a testament to this notion.

Are you a Facebook Junkie?

Pump Up Your Book is conducting a survey to find out more about you- the Facebook Junkie. Do you spend more time at Facebook than any other social network? Is Facebook the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night?

We’ve come up with a cool survey to find out more about the Facebook user. We would love it if you could fill this out for us!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion by Judi Moreo & Friends

If you have ever had a dream that you wanted to pursue but didn’t have the courage, if you’ve ever wanted to do something that you didn’t think you could do, if you have ever wanted to go somewhere but didn’t believe it was possible… read Life Choices: Pursuing Your Passion.

Twenty-six authors share with you how they pursued their passions and made their dreams become reality.

Read an Excerpt!

“It was one of the most magical moments of my life The following Monday I went back to my day job and a co-worker walked up to me and said, “Congratulations! You are so lucky to be able to get up in front of an audience and speak like that.

Lucky? I wanted to explode. Well meaning, she saw the end result. She did not see the beginning. So many people think you are born funny or not….that you are born a great speaker or not. There is that one percent that are. I hate them too! For the rest of us, it is a process.”


“It was disheartening. Even as I raised this issue with our senior leadership, no one was prepared to listen. I felt that remaining with this company was compromising my integrity. Yes, I could continue to work there but was that simply selling my soul for money???”


“The first and greatest hurdle was to allow myself to say, “I am a writer.” It took some courage. Who was I to write a book? People study or write articles for years before they dare. They enter hundreds of contests for short stories and enroll in workshops and writers groups. I skipped all that. I didn’t have time. But I did keep in mind what those brilliant Greeks said 2500 years ago,
Be what you wish to seem.”


“This is madness,” I muttered into my helmet. I raced down a dirt road, going 90 plus miles per hours, and at 53 years of age, found myself competing with people 30 years younger. The bike and I roared through the desert, a rooster tail of dust in our wake. 40 miles previously, I took a trip over the handlebars as the front wheel dug into some silt at 50 miles per hour and catapulted me to the ground. Now I was riding with a broken collarbone.


“He asked if I could sing and if I knew Marilyn’s songs. I said yes to both and started to list which of her songs I knew. He asked me to sing, “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” so I did. By now, I wasn’t even nervous. I was comfortable singing a capella. I had never really sang any other way. I had never even sang outside of the shower.”

Purchase your copy here!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Stilettos & Scoundrels by Laina Turner-Molaski Online Book Tour!

Laina Turner-Molaski is a business woman, mom, author, Professor, and a major supporter of shopping. She has an undying love for shoes and coffee, which is why she created her main character and alter-ego Presley Thurman.

With many letters after her name and a ton of student loan debt, she is always working to pay the bills. While she enjoys her day job, her passion is writing, and she uses a lot of company time writing her fiction or working on her social website for women, She is hoping to sell her book before she gets fired from her day job for goofing off.

Laina is currently living in Indiana, with her family, and is always writing something, whether it’s blogs, articles, business journals and books or ideas for her next novel. She is continuously doing what she loves which is writing or drinking coffee.

You can visit her website at

Presley Thurman, a sassy, thirty-something red-head, was looking to reinvent herself. She didn’t allow the fact she was recently fired to bother her – she was ready to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a writer. Presley is a lover of shopping and Starbucks, and even though she sometimes had bad taste in men, she always had great taste in clothes. Not looking back on corporate America, Presley decided to follow her dream.

With her feisty nature and a spirit to not “sweat the small stuff,” she was ready to tackle any challenge (even if she had no idea how she would pay the bills). When her friend Trevor offered her a job with his online magazine to interview public figures, she jumped at the chance. However, the new job turned into something unexpected when the U.S. Senator she was slated to write about was murdered – in her home town!

Presley was excited – she hadn’t seen so much buzz since the spring sample sale at Saks. She was ready for this adventure, even if it didn’t seem to fit neatly into her life. She couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be in the middle of the buzz. Presley was determined (not to mention curious) to find the killer and write her story. After all, she couldn’t afford her shoe habit without a job and she was certainly not one to shy away from danger.

The only thing standing in her way was an old high school fling, Cooper Sands, head of the Senator’s security. He was not actually standing in her way, but because of his good looks, he was the biggest distraction and one she was having the hardest time overcoming. Cooper felt it was too dangerous for Presley to look for a killer and tried to distract her with reliving the past; which Presley found more dangerous than any killer. While she attempted to resist Cooper’s good looks and charm, Presley was able to discover the Senator’s wife, Helen, had been having an affair… with her best friend’s boyfriend!

Did Helen kill the Senator? Or was it the Senator’s love of gambling that got him killed? And what was Cooper’s secret tie to the mob boss Garrison Palazzo? Presley was betting her favorite pair of Manolo’s she will find the killer… but will time run out!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

In the Spotlight: The Face of God by Bill Myers

Title:The Face of God
Author: Bill Myers
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Paperback: 368 pages
ASIN: 098260789X
Genre: Christian Fiction

“THE TERRORIST has learned of supernatural stones used by the Old Testament High Priests to hear the audible voice of God. As the mastermind of a deadly plot that will soon kill millions, he has had a series of dreams instructing him to find the stones. Everything else is in place. The wrath of God is poised and ready to be unleashed. All that is stopping him is . . .

THE PASTOR. His wife has been murdered and his faith is crumbling before his very eyes. With his estranged son, he also searches for the stones in hopes they will rekindle his dying faith and love.

With the lives of millions hanging in the balance, these two men of opposing faiths collide in an unforgettable showdown. “The Face of God” is another thrilling and thought-provoking novel by a master of the heart and suspense, C.S. Lewis Honor Award winner, Bill Myers.”


Steeling his resolve, Daniel turned and entered the darkened room. His son, Tyler, and the owner followed. But when Helen tried to enter, Nayra remained in front of the woman, her small frame blocking Helen’s larger one.
“You must wait here.”
“Your presence is not welcome.”
“What do you—”
“You are a Jew; you are not welcome.”
The tension between them was palpable. And for a moment it seemed uncertain whether Helen would back down or not. Then reluctantly she agreed. But she would not leave the doorway. Apparently, she was going to stand right there and wait. Just she and the two dozen pair of eyes stealing peeks at her.
Inside, an old man greeted them. He sat on a rug and appeared even less conscious of dental hygiene than did the restaurant’s owner. His mouth worked the end of a plastic tube that led to a hookah water pipe. The air was full of pungent, sweet smoke. Not far away two or three younger men stood, slouched in the shadows behind him.
He turned and spoke to Nayra. She nodded and translated. “Please, sit.” She motioned Daniel toward the cushions in front of him.
“Tell him we will stand,” Daniel said.
Nayra spoke to the old man in Arabic. He shrugged, then said something else.
“He would like you to come closer,” Nayra said. “His eyes are no longer good, and he would like to see your face.”
Daniel turned to Tyler, who nodded. He moved forward until he was directly under the light of a bare bulb that hung from the ceiling.
The man grinned broadly. “Shukran, shukran.” Then he spoke something else.
“He would like to see the stone,” Nayra said.
“The Levi Stone.”
Daniel kept his eyes on the old man’s. Even in the shadows he could see the milky cataracts. “Tell him . . .”—he cleared his throat—“tell him it is in good hands.”
More Arabic was exchanged. “Your hands?” Nayra asked.
The old man chuckled, then asked something else in Arabic. Nayra translated. “He wants to know if you have had any dreams?”
Daniel tried not to stiffen. “We all dream.”
The man grinned again, obviously enjoying the repartee. He answered and Nayra translated. “Yes, but how many of us dream of . . .”—she turned back to the old man to confirm what she’d heard, then returned to Daniel—“how many of us dream of the face of God?”
Daniel felt the blood drain from his cheeks. The old man saw it and cackled softly. Apparently, he had his answer. Turning to his companions, he gave a curt order. One of the young men obeyed, producing a small box of olive wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Holding it with great care, he approached the old man. It was only then that Daniel noticed the rifle dangling from the boy’s shoulder. As he stepped into the light, his two associates moved forward, making it clear that everything was being carefully observed and carefully protected.
The old man took the box into his knotted, arthritic hands. He spoke again and Nayra translated. “I too have had dreams, Pastor. The dream of a face. But unlike your dream, mine is the face of a—”
The explosion shook the room with such force that Daniel nearly lost his balance. He heard the old man cry out but his voice was lost in another explosion. And another.
“Rockets!” the owner’s voice shouted. “Helicopter gunships!”
Adrenaline surged through Daniel as another explosion pounded the room, knocking him to his knees. The light was gone but he could hear the plaster and concrete falling around him, felt smaller chunks bouncing off his shoulders and head. Dust filled the room, making it nearly impossible to breathe.
“Outside!” the owner shouted and coughed. A back door was suddenly kicked open and blinding light stabbed Daniel’s eyes. “Everybody outside!”
He staggered to his feet. To his left he saw the boy with the rifle helping the old man do the same. More explosions shattered the room. Pounding, deafening, throwing Daniel into Tyler. Somehow they kept their balance and stumbled toward the light. Coughing and gagging, they emerged into a narrow street, one end already blocked by smoke.
“This way!” one of the young men shouted, waving. “This way!”
Everyone turned and started to follow. Everyone but Daniel.
“Dad!” Tyler yelled over his shoulder. “Come on!”
“Where is he?” Daniel shouted, straining to see through the dust. “Where is the old man?”
“The old man!”
Tyler spotted him at the door. “Right there, behind you!”
He spun around to see the old man emerge into the light, clutching the wooden box, leaning heavily upon his young assistant. Daniel heard the rocket coming but had no time to cover his face before the apartment next door exploded. The concussion threw him backward, pelting his skin with rock and concrete as he landed hard on the ground. But he only remained a moment. Even as the debris rained around him, he scrambled to his feet.
“Tyler!” he shouted. “Tyler!” He squinted through the billowing dust, choking, his throat on fire. “Tyler!”
“Here!” his son cried, coughing. “Over here!”
He turned to see Tyler staggering to his feet, helping Nayra to hers. The debris stopped falling and was replaced by the distant pop of automatic gunfire and panicked cries.
“He’s hurt!” Nayra shouted. She motioned to the old man, who lay under his young assistant. She raced toward them and Tyler followed. But it wasn’t the old man who was hurt. It was the aide. He did not move. And by the way his body was sprawled in the dirt, his neck grotesquely twisted, his eyes staring lifelessly, Daniel knew he would not move again.
The old man was struggling to crawl out from under him, shouting orders.
Nayra nodded and yelled to Tyler, “Get his gun! Get his gun!”
But Tyler had frozen. All he could do was stare at the young man. As far as Daniel knew, his son had never seen death before— except in movies or video games.
The gunfire grew closer.
Again the old man shouted and again Nayra translated. “Get the rifle!”
But Tyler could not move. With some effort Nayra pushed the aide aside and pulled the rifle off his shoulder. The movement shamed Tyler back into action. He reached for the old man and helped him to his feet.
“We must leave here!” Nayra shouted.
Tyler nodded and, allowing the old man to lean on him, started off in the only clear direction.
Daniel had just moved to join them when a soldier suddenly came into view. Another youngster. Younger than Tyler. He shouted something in Hebrew, an obvious order for them to stop.
Daniel slowed but Tyler did not. Instead he turned and began hobbling in the opposite direction.
“Tyler!” Daniel yelled.
Again the soldier shouted.
“Tyler, stop!”
The soldier raised his rifle.
“Tyler!” Gripped with fear, Daniel started toward the soldier, trying to explain, trying to draw his attention.
But the soldier ignored him and took aim.
“No!” Daniel twirled to Tyler. “Tyler, no!” Then back to the soldier. “No!” He started running at him. “No! No!”
The soldier fired.
Daniel spun around just in time to see the old man go limp in Tyler’s arms. But Tyler did not stop. In fear and panic he dragged the man faster.
The soldier aimed again.
Seeing no alternative, Daniel leaped between them, waving his arms, as a second shot was fired. Only it did not hit Tyler. Nor did it hit Daniel. Instead it was the young soldier who crumbled to the ground.
Confused, Daniel turned. He spotted Nayra lowering her rifle. She stared at it as if it were some strange creature as she tried to fathom what it had just done, what she had just done.
Three armed soldiers rounded the corner. They spotted their comrade, then Nayra, and immediately shouted, demanding that she drop the rifle. She held it at arm’s length, like a poisonous snake, and released it. It clattered onto the road. The soldiers started toward her.
Suddenly a white Mercedes slid around the corner, accelerating, barreling down on them. Having no time to take aim, the soldiers realized it would be smarter to leap for their lives. They weren’t wrong. The driver missed them by inches. The car fishtailed, avoiding the fallen soldier, then skidded to a stop directly beside Nayra.
“Get in!” a voice shouted.
Nayra stood paralyzed, still in shock.
The driver reached over and opened the passenger door. The sun’s reflection off the windshield made it impossible to recognize the face, but Daniel knew the voice.
“Get in!”
Woodenly, Nayra obeyed. She had barely entered before the tires spun furiously. The car slid to another stop between Daniel and Tyler.
“Hurry!” Helen shouted. “Get in! Get in!”
Daniel turned to help Tyler, who had kneeled down with the man. But the dark, widening circle in the old-timer’s back, and the ashen look on Tyler’s face, made it clear that his son had just witnessed his second death in as many minutes.
The soldiers behind them were scrambling to their feet, shouting, raising their rifles.
“Get in!” Helen yelled.
Daniel obeyed. But not Tyler. Not before the boy spotted the box near the old man’s hand and tentatively reached for it.
“Get in!”
The first bullet sank into the Mercedes’ left rear fender with a sickening thud. The second missed the car, sending up a cloud of dust inches from Tyler’s feet. He did not have to be told again. He grabbed the box, leaped up, and raced to the car. More shots were fired as he tumbled into the backseat, as the Mercedes sped off, as he tried more than once to grab the back door until he finally slammed it shut.

Watch Bill on YouTube!

Night Knight: Interview with Parenting Book Author Emma Piers

Emma Piers is an author, wellbeing coach and narrator. She lives in rural Dorset in the UK with her life/working partner Mark Turner. Emma was born in a rambling old vicarage in Kent, in 1958. Her father was a vicar, and she had two siblings. During her early years, the family moved five times. During these years, Emma developed a deep love and sense of connectedness with the natural world around her. Walking and writing stories about mythical creatures and people became a big preoccupation, alongside a love of English that was instilled in her by two teachers who were both passionate about their subject. As a counter balance, she managed to fail her Maths ‘O’ level three times. Friendships came and went with five different schools in short succession being attended. A working year exploring the USA and France was followed by another year feeling out of place in a technical college studying pitman script, shorthand typing and profit and loss accounts. Many years and several homes later, after her younger child started grammar school, Emma started studying counselling and creative writing. After a number of years in counselling practice, and travels in Australia, Emma’s more recent studies are encompassing both traditional therapeutic and mythological storytelling. This form of storytelling incorporates understandings of the holistic ways in which human and environment interact.

Her latest book is Night Knight: Therapeutic Bedtime Stories.

You can visit her website at

Q: Thank you for this interview, Emma. Can you tell us what your latest book, ‘Rosador and the Dark Fairy,’ is all about?
This fully illustrated book takes your child by the hand to the magical land of Rosador's people.

The stories can be enjoyed just as they are, good old-fashioned and pleasurable adventure story telling, but the themes within the stories can help troubled children to feel safe to talk or think about issues in their own lives that may be disturbing them.

Rosador and her friends are faced with issues such as death, divorce and separation of parents and bullying; all issues that parents may find it hard to talk to their children about, especially when they may be feeling emotionally fragile at that time themselves.

The book has many illustrations and the pages are large with a well-spaced typeface making the book attractive to the widest audience of children. It is also suitable for parents to read to their children, and offers solace and comfort for both.

You will be following Rosador and her friends as they make their way through many adventures. Separated into four parts, with each of these comprising two stories, the book has eight bedtime stories in all. Each of these eight bedtime stories will take around 20 minutes to read out loud, and each ends with a reassuring message for the child.

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

Mark and I wanted to work and live in simpler, more sustainable ways. We asked ourselves the question: “How can we mix our skills ingredients-Mark’s love of illustrating with my counselling and writing skills?” The idea of a therapeutic children’s book was born.

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?
Before the book, we researched a great deal of statistical information to find out what overall issues are affecting youngsters today. During the writing, I learnt various elements from ‘Writing for Children’ by Pamela Cleaver, and ‘Using Storytelling as a Therapeutic Tool’ with Children by Margot Sunderland. I’ve also started learning about indigenous mythical storytelling, which is a whole world unto its own. Another great help came in the form of an acclaimed children’s author, Jean Ure.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?
A felt experience of calm and wellbeing that grows as they move through the pages.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?
Everyone was worried about Fumblekins. They knew he would be fumbling about feeling tired and scared. They knew that fultures who didn’t feel good about themselves became weak and vulnerable. This was exactly the time when their dark fairies appeared. Whenever any creatures felt bad they would be there! Their powers made creatures believe bad things about themselves that were simply not true!

Fumblekins was awake now. His dark fairy had been watching him sleeping, weighing his body down with its dark thoughts.

“You silly fool, how are you going to get out of here now?” it mocked him.

Fumblekins was in tears. He struggled to flap his wing towards his shoulder, to flap the dark fairy away.

“Go away, horrible fairy. Leave me alone,” he said out loud.

The voice was persistent. It wouldn’t stop ... it was almost coming from inside his own mind. Was the voice coming from inside his mind?

Fumblekins was well and truly alone, feeling scared and hungry. At the Fulture School, he often pretended to be stronger and braver than he really felt. Even then, he still didn’t feel like he ‘fitted in’. The other fultures were more confident than him. They would hop and jump around without a care in the world, with their beaks held high. Fumblekins didn’t feel safe or settled the way they did. He felt different.

“Is anyone going to try and rescue me?” he asked himself, his body hunched over as he drew squiggles in the sandy ground with his black claws.

“But then,” he thought, “why would anyone bother? Why would anyone bother with me? My dad’s left home. My mum says it’s not my fault that she’s sad but it must be!” Fumblekins lifted his head and looked around him. It was getting darker now. He watched the willow trees gently swaying in the breeze. The branches were dancing around each other, lit up in the glowing sunset. He took a deep breath and for a few moments Fumblekins’ dark fairy thoughts were gone as he watched everything around him in awe.

For a little while, now felt good. Now was – okay! “I wish I could feel like this forever,” he thought.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today? How did you do it?
Although our work is fictional, we had no idea what challenges lay in store, which is a good thing. It’s enabled us to take things day by day, moment by moment. Because we’re just a little twosome team, we can be very focused and infinitely flexible at the same time. We didn’t follow conventional routes into publishing, because this book is part of a broader developing spectrum of services, and we wanted to learn as much as we could about the various processes involved. For us, self publishing’s a first step. Initially, we started going down a path of having our book self published through a self publishing company. We were naive and didn’t realise the importance of things like making sure you own your own ISBN’s and having full control of your book description on the Nielsen database. All these details that at first seem largely irrelevant became more important as we went along. It was only a chance remark that made us change our minds and do as much as we could ourselves, only outsourcing the printing element. We also wanted to support a local company with values that felt right to us. If anyone out there is thinking of travelling down this path and needs encouragement, practical tips and advice about how to avoid the pitfalls and follow the best routes, join our Night Knight groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and read our blogs!

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
There really is no ‘typical’ day. Depends so much what we are up to. Can include any of the following things: waking up (can be handy!) cup of tea, 10-20 minutes or so conscious breath/reflective meditation, writing, researching, walking, driving, Waterstone’s book signing, press releasing, blogging, social networking, exploring the beautiful natural environments around us, walking to local shops, post office and brilliant community centre, mixing with neighbours and other friends, phone calls, client work, beach and coastal walks, emails, skyping, reading...the list goes on....

Q: What’s next for you?
There are various developments in the pipeline connected with other individuals and organizations that it’s too early to talk about now. We are developing complementary associated work in cd and book form; cutting back a little on the coaching work these days.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Emma. We wish you much success!