Tuesday, November 29, 2011

She Had No Choice by Debra Burroughs Virtual Book Publicity Tour December 2011

Join Debra Burroughs, author of the women’s fiction novel She Had No Choice (Lake House Books), as she virtually tours the blogosphere December 5 – 16 2011 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Debra Burroughs

DebbieHeadShot cropped copy (2)

Debra Burroughs grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during a tumultuous time when the Civil Rights Movement was gearing up and racial tensions were mounting. Her parents moved the family to a more peaceful small town in the Central Valley of California.

Over the years, with a large Mexican family, she heard many stories about their history, particularly from her mother and grandmother. As she would relay these colorful and heart-wrenching family stories to her friends, many times she would hear them say, “You should really write a book about that.”

After continual encouragement and gentle prodding from her husband, she finally decided to do it. Now that their children are grown and gone, Debra has found a quiet place to write in their home in Boise, Idaho.

She Had No Choice is her second novel.

You can visit Debra Burroughs’ blog at www.DebraBurroughsBooks.com.

About She Had No Choice

NOCHOICE-Black-Medium (2)

This poignant and gripping drama plays out from 1918 Mexico to 1960 California, and is full of love and heartbreak, prejudice and betrayal, lovers, friends and family. It is inspired by a true story.

Follow Sofía’s journey from a perilous midnight crossing into the U.S. as a child to a life of hard labor and bad relationships with the wrong men. Hungry for love, her first lover leads to a daughter, Eva, born out of wedlock. When he abandons her and their baby, another unsavory man is quick to come to her rescue.

Sofía’s difficult, yet inspiring life unfolds over the next twenty-five years, through a series of highs and lows, with her devoted, headstrong daughter by her side. As a young woman, Eva hopes to avoid the mistakes her mother made with men, but she is not always able to steer clear of them. When life becomes dangerous and unbearable for Sofía, will Eva and her beau be able to save her, or will Sofía have to save them?

Book Excerpt:

1918, Sonora, Mexico
Pancho Villa’s reign of terror had ended a few years earlier, but now there was a new enemy to battle – and he was merciless. The Death Angel had knocked repeatedly on the Ramirez family’s door over the past few weeks. Now, it was imperative for them to swiftly and stealthily find a way to move what was left of the family to a safer place before he came calling again.
Emilio and his wife, Juanita, hurriedly made plans to flee, covertly receiving word of the time and place for the dangerous escape. They were desperate to get their family out of Mexico quickly, but now all they could do was wait.
The appointed night arrived. Tied about Emilio and Juanita’s waists were pouches filled with as many belongings as they dared to take. She had planned all day, choosing this, discarding that, filling their pouches with dollars they had exchanged for their pesos, a comb, a couple handfuls of beef jerky and an old pocket watch.
This was going to be a perilous journey for the Ramirez family. Emilio and Juanita instructed their children once more, as they had for the past two evenings, that on this trip they needed to stay close together and keep silent. Noise of any kind could draw attention and put them in danger.
“But, Mama, why do we have to go?” asked little Sofía.
“We have no choice,” Mama replied, putting an arm around her. “One day you’ll understand.”
Their friend, Señor Vega, agreed to load them in the back of his horse-drawn wagon and take them to the pick-up point. The location was the old abandoned Castro ranch. It was once a working venture, until Pancho Villa’s men plundered it during the Mexican Revolution several years before. Now, it was nothing more than a few outbuildings with sagging roofs and jagged, broken windows where lonely tumbleweeds collected. That desolate ranch was where they would begin their journey.
Juanita heard the horses’ hooves and wagon wheels crunch the dry ground outside their house and knew Señor Vega had pulled up. Her back stiffened, and she drew in a quick breath. There was no turning back now.
“Emilio, niños. I hear Señor Vega outside. It’s time to go.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
As the Ramirez and Lopez families climbed out of the back of the truck, their driver told them to huddle around him and listen up. He kept his voice as low as possible, but he was still loud enough to be heard.
“Go out into the desert. Each of you take a hiding place behind the shrubs and rocks. Try to stay out of sight until you’re given the signal to run. When it’s time, I’ll let out a loud coyote howl. Then, you all just run for the fence as fast as you can. Don’t look back – just run!”
The families quickly dispersed and found their hiding places, waiting for the coyote howl. Papa took the two younger boys and hid behind a big rock, holding little Marcelo by the hand. Mama and the two girls hid behind a clump of cactus. The older son found his own bush near Papa to shield himself.
Before long, a loud shrill howl pierced the night air and carried out over the flat land. The race was on.
They all ran with every ounce of energy they possessed, crossing the dark Mexican desert with only the light of the crescent moon to guide them. As their shoes were clapping the dry desert floor, the pounding of their hearts was resonating in their ears. Diving in the dirt for the border fence, the hopeful clawed and crawled their way under it to freedom.
Papa could see Mama and little Sofía were struggling. Sofía’s little legs couldn’t keep up and stumbled a few times. He worried they might be left behind. So, in a firm voice, not more than a whisper, he urged them on. “Άndale! Άndale, muchachas!”
Mama firmly grasped Sofía’s hand and held on for dear life, nearly dragging her to freedom as she helped her run. Papa was frantically trying to help the rest of the children under the fence before diving under himself. He made it to the other side, picked up five-year-old Marcelo, and began running, pressing the older children to get moving. “Run, niños, run! Rápido, rápido!”
In desperation, Mama shoved Sofía under the fence ahead of her, yelling at her to run and not look back. Sofía scrambled to her feet and took off running in terror. Mama squeezed through and caught up with her. She grabbed Sofía by the hand and helped her run like she had never run before.
Simply clearing the fence was not enough. The U.S. border patrol could catch them and arrest them for illegally entering the country. It was important that they ran far enough into Arizona land to reach the trucks that were waiting to take them safely to their new lives.
They all reached the other side safe and sound, their hearts pounding in their chests, barely able to catch their breath. They looked around the muffled chaos to try and find their family members amidst the clouds of dust. Fortunately, they had all gotten through without being detected. There were no guards, no lights, and no dogs. It was eerily silent.
Lifting the crucifix she wore around her neck, Juanita pressed it to her lips and gave it a quick, gentle kiss. “Gracias a Diós. Gracias a Diós,” she whispered under her breath.

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

In celebration of Debra Burrough’s tour, she will be appearing at Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including an 3 e- copies of She Had No Choice! Visit the official party page here!

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She Had No Choice Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Monday, December 5

Book Reviewed at Alaskan Book Cafe

Interviewed at Blogher

Tuesday, December 6

Interviewed at Alaskan Book Cafe

Wednesday, December 7

Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, December 8

Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, December 9

Book Reviewed at Everday is an Adventure

Monday, December 12

Book Reviewed at Krazy Book Lady

Tuesday, December 13

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Wednesday, December 14

Guest Blogging at Open Salon

Thursday, December 15

Guest Blogging at Idea Marketers

Friday, December 16

Guest Blogging at Shine

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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Caldecott Chronicles (No. 1) Online Book Tour December 2011

Bullet Banner

Join R.G. Bullet, author of the YA novella The Caldecott Chronicles (No. 1) as he virtually tours the blogosphere in December 2011 on his first tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About R.G. Bullet


R. G. Bullet was born in Berkshire, UK. After living in nine different countries he has finally settled in Miami Beach, USA.

He is addicted to tea, reading, writing, motorbikes and shamefully Call of Duty.

His middle grade debut novel: The 58th Keeper has just been released.

To learn more go to www.rgbullet.com

Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/RGBullet58
and join the fan page for the latest updates and fun competitions

About The Caldecott Chronicles (No. 1)


Caldecott, the ancestral home of the 32nd Earl of Rothshire, is besieged. The undead and certainly unwashed are traipsing across overgrown lawns intent on ripping the very flesh from the Earl’s body, scooping his brains out and eating his remaining horse.

But many of them will not make it that far as the 32nd Earl has two things in their way: A prised Purdey shotgun and an accomplice named, Saffy. Saffy is a young and simple girl from the local village. She is quick of foot at setting traps, and dispatching the undead to the afterlife. She is endlessly coming up with cunning and disturbing methods to rid the estate of disease.

Although the word zombie is never used in The Caldecott Chronicles, the undead, the ungodly, the beef squad, and stumblers certainly is.

The bizarre and gruesome details are narrated in a journal by a very Aristocratic British gent. Get a first hand look on how the Victorian upper class deal with stumbling trespassers and see how one draws ones inspiration from a teenage girl born to kill.

A truly chilling, unique and often hilarious illustrated fantasy set as a series of short stories. The Caldecott Chronicles will resonate till your dying days.

Watch the Trailer Here

Read an Excerpt Here

What Reviewers Are Saying

… the Caldecott Chronicles are what Pride & Prejudice and Zombies wanted to be (but didn’t quite pull if off – in my humble opinion). Your work has a far better droll sense humour.


I am a zombie aficionado. I have seen them all, zombies in pubs, zombies in London, Zombie kangaroos, post apocalyptic zombies, zombie Romero classics. But never zombies in an English country estate, until I read this whimsical short story. How would the English aristocracy have dealt with the ungrateful undead? I soon found out in this rollicking tumultuous romp through the English countryside – loved it! a great fun read. Recommend it highly.


“..Your book is fantastic!
The writing is excellent and you captured the period perfectly.

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Tour Schedule

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Monday, December 5th
Book Trailer at If Books Could Talk

Tuesday, December 6th
Guest Post at Book Spark

Wednesday, December 7th
Spotlight at Coffee and a Keyboard

Thursday, December 8th
Interview at Rai29BookReadNReview

Friday, December 9th
Spotlight at As the Pages Turn

Monday, December 12th
Guest Post at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, December 13th
Guest Post at InkyBlots

Wednesday, December 14th
Guest Post at A Soul Unsung

Thursday, December 15th
Review at A Soul Unsung

Friday, December 16th
Review at YouTube

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Donations to Clarity Virtual Book Publicity Tour November/December 2011

Donations to Clarity

Join Noah Baird, author of the humor book, Donations to Clarity (South Wind Publishing), as he virtually tours the blogosphere November 1 – December 16 2011 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

About Noah Baird

Noah Baird

Noah Baird wanted to attend the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College, but his grades weren’t good enough (who knew?). However, his grades were good enough to fly for the U.S. Navy (again, who knew?), where he spent 14 years until the government figured out surfers don’t make the best military aviators. He has also tried to be a stand-up comedian in Hawaii for Japanese tourists where the language barrier really screwed up some great jokes. On the bright side, a sailboat was named after the punchline of one of his jokes.

He has several political satire pieces published on The Spoof under the pen name orioncrew. Noah received his bachelors in Historical and Political Sciences from Chaminade University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He knows nothing about hoaxing Bigfoot. Donations to Clarity is his first novel.

You can visit his website at www.noahbaird.com or his blog at www.noahbaird.wordpress.com.

Connect with him at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Noah-Baird-Writer/100193913390453.

About Donations to Clarity

Donations to Clarity

The plan was simple: hoax bigfoot, then sell tours to bigfoot enthusiasts. The plan wasn’t brilliant, and neither were Harry, Earl, and Patch. The three chemical-abusing friends only wanted to avoid the 9 to 5 rat race, but their antics attract the attention of a real bigfoot. When the misogynistic Earl is mistaken for a female bigfoot by the nearsighted creature and captured; it is just the beginning of their problems.

The U.S. Government has a plan to naturalize the mythical creatures living within the U.S. borders. The problem is the plan needs to be carried out carefully. You can’t just drop little green men and Sasquatch in the middle of Walmart without warning Ma and Pa Taxpayer. The naturalization program is not ready to be set into motion, and the rogue bigfoot is bringing too much attention to itself, including a feisty investigative reporter who uncovers the truth of the government conspiracy and two bigfoot researchers. No longer able to contain the situation, government agents are tasked with eliminating the bigfoot and all witnesses.

Between bong hits and water balloon fights, Harry and Patch come up with a plan to save Earl and the lovestruck bigfoot. Where do you hide a giant, mythical creature? In an insane asylum, because who is going to listen to them?

Along the way, the three friends learn Star Wars was a government training film for children, the truth behind Elvis meeting President Nixon, and the significance of the weight of the human turd.

Book Excerpt

It takes 73 newtons of force to fracture a human skull. Roughly. Variations in bone thickness, age, and location of the blow introduce countless variables. A major league baseball player can lay wood on leather with 200 pounds of pressure or 890 newtons.

The skull was hit with 253 pounds of pressure or 1125 newtons. The blow was delivered with 20 percent more force than what a professional athlete would deliver. Over fifteen times the required force needed to crack an adult male’s melon open. The entire swing took less than half a second. A 26 inch carbon steel baton weighing 1.46 pounds was used. Contact between baton and target lasted a precious 0.02 seconds. Faster than the 0.33 seconds required to blink, or the 0.878 seconds it took the victim’s heart to pump one last time.

Ian King would have found this statistical information interesting. A welcome distraction from the butterflies surfing his own synapses. Ian even may have engaged the provider of such delicate morsels of information in conversation had it not been his skull used to provide the empirical data.

Green buds were sprouting on the tips of every branch in the forest. Mother Nature letting her hair down after the long winter. The season when children were lined up for crewcuts to prepare for warmer weather while Momma Nature was silently shaking her mane out. In three days, the buds would have opened and Ian would never have seen the footprint.

Two minutes before his last thought, Ian relaxed his pace. The sky had been full with rain and was now starting to drizzle. With the rain, the wind began to shift erratically. Ian stopped and adjusted his backpack and cracked his neck. He knew the pack would have difficulty picking up his scent with the wind shifting. He also knew the rain would mask the snapping twigs of his approach. He still needed to be careful. Eastern timber wolves were notoriously shy of humans.

Ian’s thoughts drifted. The weather was warming, and warmth brought undergrads in shorts. He wondered what this year’s batch would look like. He was in his third year of graduate work at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The curriculum required him to take undergrads out for field work. The work could be gratifying unless he had to remind the students to take their earbuds out or stop texting. At least there were the girls.

Ian noted the pack’s pace was focused over the last two days. Gone were the typical meanderings and backtracking. The wolves were moving quickly now, seldom stopping to rest. Ian knew he was anthropomorphizing, but he had a gut feeling the wolves knew they were in dangerous territory. What could be making the pack skittish? Ian rechecked the topography map and verified they were at least a half day’s hike to the nearest civilization. It couldn’t be humans making them pick up the pace.

Rain dropping on his face renewed his focus and he kneeled over with his tracking stick to pick up the stride of the pack lead. He glanced to his right and saw a familiar indentation in the mud. Nothing in nature resembles a human’s silhouette. The same can be said for a human footprint. This particular print was nearly 18 inches long and deeply depressed into the mud. Ian jerked up with the realization of what he was looking at. He just connected the dots of why the wolves were quickly moving through the area when the baton struck his head.

A man dressed completely in black efficiently wiped the baton before collapsing it. He turned to an identically dressed man, “That ape is getting sloppy. Make contact with him and remind him of our position.”

Giveaways, Contests & Prizes!

To celebrate the release of Noah’s book, Donations to Clarity, he will be attending the Pump Up Your Book Live! November Author Chat / Book Giveaway Party on Friday, November 18. This is the perfect opportunity to ask Noah anything on a one on one basis. Plus, he’s giving away a copy of his book to one lucky person who participates in the chat! Click here to find out more details!

* * *

Noah will also be attending Pump Up Your Book’s 1st Annual Holiday Extravaganza Facebook Party on December 16. More than 50 books, gifts and cash awards will be given away including a paperback copy of Donations to Clarity! Visit the official party page here!

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Donations to Clarity Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule

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Tuesday, November 1

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Wednesday, November 2

Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Thursday, November 3

Guest blogging at Reviews by Molly

Friday, November 4

Book spotlighted at Book Marketing Buzz

Monday, November 7

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Tuesday, November 8

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Wednesday, November 9

Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, November 10

Guest blogging at As the Pages Turn

Friday, November 11

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Tuesday, Novemer 15

Guest blogging at Night Owl Reviews

Interviewed at The Plot Thickens

Thursday, November 17

Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, November 21

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Tuesday, November 22

Guest blogging at Writing Daze

Monday, December 5

Book reviewed at Between the Pages

Tuesday, December 6

Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz

Wednesday, December 7

Book reviewed at Family Reads

Thursday, December 8

Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama

Friday, December 9

Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama

Monday, December 12

Book reviewed at Twisting the Lens

Tuesday, December 13

Interviewed LIVE at Blog Talk Radio’s A Book and a Chat

Wednesday, December 14

Interviewed at The Book Connection

Thursday, December 15

Guest blogging at The Book Faery Reviews

Friday, December 16

Chat with Noah at Pump Up Your Book December Authors on Tour Facebook Party!

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Noah Baird’s DONATIONS TO CLARITY VIRTUAL BOOK PUBLICITY TOUR will officially begin on November 1 and end on December 16 ‘11. Please contact Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife(at)gmail.com if you are interested in hosting and/or reviewing his book. Thank you!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Interview with Davis Aujourd'hui, author of 'Babes in Bucksnort'

Davis Aujourd’hui is the author of the Sister Mary Olga Fortitude series of hilarious satires. The first book is entitled The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. It was followed by Babes in Bucksnort.

Davis possesses a rich life experience that has enabled him to draw from it in order to create a colorful canvas upon which to paint very human lives. He is a retired social worker, having worked for Adult Protective Services in New York State for nearly twenty years. He developed the characters within his series of books in order to entertain a colleague by using the gift of humor.

As will be the case with Sister Mary Olga in his third book, he is a recovering alcoholic. He also happens to be gay as are several of the endearing and humorous characters within his novels. He can speak from his own experience. He has possessed all of the foibles of his cast of characters who are naughty, nasty, and nice.

Davis lives in Upstate New York where he is currently sharing his life with his partner of seven years. He is socially-minded and spirituality is the most important ingredient in order for him to maintain a happy and successful life.

Visit this blog for information on the series: http://bestsatireseriesofthedecade.blogspot.com

Visit this blog for information on the author: http://authordavisaujourdhui.blogspot.com

Connect with him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Davis-Aujourdhui/138584429540046.

About Babes in Bucksnort

Babes in Bucksnort is the first sequel to the highly praised The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. Once again the unconventional bourbon-swilling, chain-smoking nun will spin outrageously funny new tales about the residents of Bucksnort, Wisconsin while she tests the will of a reformed prostitute who just happens to be her Reverend Mother.

Unfortunately there’s trouble brewing in the Snortlands. The nasty and notorious town busybody, Priscilla Bunhead, goes on a crusade to stamp out what she calls the gay menace. That’s when she convinces her millionaire friend, Mildred Mayflower, to give away her fortune in order to bring the Reverend Billy-Bob Blunthead and his Born Again or Burn Forever Disciples for Jesus to town to do the job. It will be an uphill climb for them when the closet doors of many gay people in the Snortlands burst open. Billy-Bob and his wife, Pinky Poo, will have another battle on their hands when Dimples Dufus, the heiress to the Mayflower fortune, arrives on the scene to reclaim her fortune.

You’ll also meet the hilariously bumbling, pothead psychiatrist, Doctor Wally Wacky-Wacko, who creates havoc for one of Sister Mary Olga’s favorite fellow nuns. Along with Mildred Mayflower, they become victims of his multi-colored pills that only turn them into zombies. The handsome and virile gay cowboy chef, Randy Cowboy, makes an important self-discovery about his never-ending sexual pursuits when he joins a twelve-step program called Sex Maniacs Notorious.

The irascible Martha Mayhem settles down into comfortable domesticity with her new life partner who happens to be her sister-in law. Martha still manages to stir up trouble on Dinkledorf Drive with her fellow enemies and neighbors, the prudish Priscilla Bunhead and the voluptuous Lula Mae Bunsaplenty. The question that remains is whether Lula Mae’s paramour, Jules Jesslike Pappas will put up with her continuing manipulative feminine wiles.

In between the laughs, Sister Mary Olga continues to dispense nuggets of spiritual wisdom during her classes in Beginner’s and Advanced Holiness. Just don’t take seats near the flatulent child named Fartley Dinkledorf or his lecherous one-hundred five year-old grandfather, Poopsy. The bottom line is that everyone is welcome in Sister Mary Olga’s classes. Join the diverse cast of zany characters for a joy ride that will tickle your funny bone until it aches.

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

I've been writing for five years now. I have developed a series of deliciously hilarious satires about a wayward nun who loves her bourbon and her Marlboros – Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. I developed the character years ago in order to entertain a colleague when I'd been a social worker. She loved the character which spurred me on to develop others.

As I remembered the zany characters, I thought I could write a book about them. This led to my first book, The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. I still hadn't run out of ideas and, from there, I developed my series. As mentioned, my most recent book is called Babes in Bucksnort.

In it, the unconventional bourbon-swilling, chain-smoking nun continues to spin hilarious tales about the residents of Bucksnort, Wisconsin while she tests the will of a reformed prostitute who just happens to be her Reverend Mother.

Unfortunately or not, there's trouble brewing in the Snortlands. The town busybody, Priscilla Bunhead, crusades to stamp out what she calls the gay menace. That's when she brings Reverend Billy-Bob Blunthead and his Born Again or Burn Forever Disciples for Jesus to town to do the job. It's an uphill climb when the closet doors of many gay people burst open.

In between laughs, Sister Mary Olga dispenses nuggets of wisdom during her Holiness Classes. The bottom line is that everyone is welcome in Sister Mary Olga's classes. The diverse cast of zany characters takes my readers on a joy ride that will tickle their funny bones until it aches.

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

I believe we are all little children in God's eyes. That's where the word Babes come into play. As for Bucksnort, that's the name of the fictional town in which I set my series.

I believe that we, as humans, tend to take life too seriously. I have dedicated my books to all adult children who don't need to do so. I believe that laughter is, indeed, the best medicine.

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

I believe that my books contain messages of hope in addition to the zany humor that allows my readers to laugh from the beginning to their ends. It has been my hope that people will wake up to their own spiritual potential. I incorporate many teachings of today's leading spiritual authors amidst the hilarity. I believe that we, as the human race, have a greater potential than we have realized. I hope that we will come to see past our own differences and to embrace that we are all one in the spirit.

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 only thing my publisher did was to put out a press release and to educate me about the marketing process. Marketing my books became my challenging task.

I solicited professional reviews that were ecstatic. I contacted the media and I've done extensive radio and television interviews in addition to this book tour. I hired a publicist who created marvelous blogs that provide information about my books and my personal life. I've held book readings and book signings among a host of other activities.

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

My books have a similar flavor to the zany books of Carl Hiassen. They are also a continuing saga of endearing characters such as in The Tales of the City series created by Armistead Maupin.

What makes my books different are the spiritual messages contained within them. My books are special because they make my readers take a good look at themselves. By doing so, they will hopefully look at how they may be similar to my characters – naughty, nasty, and nice.

In so doing, it will give my readers an opportunity to discard characteristics which no longer serve them. At the same time, they will be able to develop virtues that will make themselves better persons.

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

The Reverend Billy-Bob Blunthead, with his piercing coal-black eyes, is descending from the heavens of his theater of the absurd in his gilded throne. As he descends, he passes by a crimson and lavender stained-glass window which depicts the fateful torment that awaits the unfaithful as he perceives them.

Standing below, his wife, Pinky Poo, with her fuchsia-colored hair, is waiting to writhe in horror as he glares at the audacious homosexuals who have dared to infiltrate his chapel. Pinky Poo cries out as she faints to the floor.

The lost lambs of his audience, who need someone to spoon-feed them their beliefs, bob their heads at the spectacle. Their leader, Priscilla Bunhead, turns and glares. How could the perverts have infected this chapel?

The proud gay people and their supporter, Sister Mary Olga Fortitude, will not be dissuaded by the band of the Born Again or Burn Forever Disciples for Jesus. As the disciples march to expel them from the church, they leave in quiet dignity. Reverend Billy-Bob has no idea what's in store for him as the final scenes of the book unfold.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

Of course I do! In fact, I've already written a total of eleven books in the series. The next one to be released is entitled Have A Heart. In it, Reverend Billy-Bob Blunthead faces his final trial when his own nasty little secret is unveiled.

Have no fear, I haven't run out of ideas yet. As long as my creative juices flow, I will continue to entice and entertain my readers with the unfolding saga of my babes in Bucksnort.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Davis Aujourd'hui. Do you have any final words?

Please visit Amazon.com where you can read the rave reviews on my first two books. As I mentioned, the first one is entitled The Misadventures of Sister Mary Olga Fortitude. You can also visit my blog which will tantalize you with tidbits about my books: http://bestsatireseriesofthedecade.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hollywood Stories - author interview - Stephen Schochet

Author Stephen Schochet
Stephen Schochet

Author Stephen Schochet is a professional tour guide in Hollywood who years ago began collecting little known, humorous anecdotes to tell to his customers. His new book Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! Contains a timeless treasure trove of colorful vignettes featuring an amazing all-star cast of icons including John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn, and many others both past and contemporary. Tim Sika, host of the radio show Celluloid Dreams on KSJS in San Jose has called Stephen, “The best storyteller about Hollywood we have ever heard." Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. For more information go to http://www.hollywoodstories.com

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

A: I’m a tour guide in Hollywood and I have been writing for about twenty-five years.  Years ago I got a job as limo driver and wrote while I was waiting for the customers.  I was asked to by some of the clients to give tours; in college I had become a bit of a film buff and I got a good reaction.  Gradually it dawned on me that I’d rather give tours because it was sharing information and using my head rather than just driving people from A to B although a lot of limo drivers are great tour guides themselves. 

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

A:  My book is called Hollywood Stories: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars And Legends of the Movies!  The title sums up what the book is about; it has over a thousand vignettes about actors, producers, directors, movies and television shows. I kept researching and telling fun little tales to tell to the people on the bus and to keep the tours fresh.  The overall reaction was so good I had the idea that they could be told anywhere.  On the tour you can’t always finish the stories; a new site will come up, someone will ask you a question etc., so writing the book gave me the opportunity to be as precise as possible.  I’d say the book was more built than written.

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

A:  I read over 500 books, talked to valets and housekeepers, and watched interviews, read magazines, the Internet, wherever I could get a good story from.  I tried to keep things fresh for example I wanted to do a story about Marlene Dietrich who knew very little about:

Marlene Dietrich found her true calling entertaining the Allied troops in 1943. The forty-two-year-old actress, who never enjoyed making movies, got a crash course in how to talk to audiences. Nothing could be tougher or more fulfilling than performing in front of young men who might die in battle the next day. The Berlin-born American citizen overcame suspicions that she was actually an Axis spy, and was proud of spurning Hitler’s request to return to Germany. After World War II ended, she enjoyed being a lusty cabaret singer for many years and tried never to take herself too seriously. Marlene, whose long list of romances ranged from John Wayne to General Patton, once mentioned to her husband that she should have married Hitler back in the thirties, and then there would have been no war. She laughed when he agreed and stated that the Fuhrer would have killed himself much sooner.  

The story about Marlene and Hitler came from a People Magazine article I found on the net; once I had the punch line it was a matter of going to other sources to find more bio information that lead up to it.  Giving tours helped me get used to being very economical with getting out a lot of information with less words; it blended over into my writing style.

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

A:  I’m self-published so it’s not bumpy as far as having your manuscript rejected but everything takes longer.  You do lose your chance to get reviewed in trade publications like Publisher’s Weekly or Library Journal unless you pay them.  Hollywood Stories, is actually my third project, previously I had done two audio only projects called Tales of Hollywood and Fascinating Walt Disney.  When I recording Tales of Hollywood, I just put a cover on it and tried to sell it, I had no idea what an ISBN was, no idea how to market it; I just was filled with enthusiasm for storytelling.  Over time I was able to get both Tales of Hollywood and Fascinating Walt Disney into bookstores and they did well though I made some very costly mistakes mostly due to inexperience. Things like changing the price without changing the bar code, and not knowing that would not read right on the bookstore scanners when people purchased the CDs. It led to tons of product being returned to me and it was devastating. I consider Hollywood Stories to be a fresh marketing and with the advent of e-books the whole industry has changed and it is thrilling for content providers. 

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

A:  Well again, that doesn’t apply because it is self-published.  Hollywood Stories is about twenty years of research and then once I actually sat down and started writing it took about ten months, then about another two for the type setting and editing.

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:  No I work with publicists from time to time, no agent yet.  I have not ruled it out.  My advice is no matter who work with plan and try to enjoy doing as much of it on your own as possible.

Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  Not yet, but I am always collecting new material so I’m sure another project will happen in good time.  I have recently written several articles for BigHollywood.com and other web sites.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

A: My living room; it’s less distracting than coffee houses.  I tried the public library but my keyboard banging disturbed some patrons.

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

A:  Some sort of infomercial where I get to tell about 4 or 5 stories that appears on National TV

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

A:  It’s everything; NOTHING beats enthusiasm and passion for your own work.  I have done a lot of radio interviews, less TV although I’d like to do more, been reviewed by bloggers and written articles.  There is not one thing. One of my marketing inspirations was reading about the book, The Shack, the writer and publishers just did non-stop promotion for about two years before the book really took off.  Some books may do better quicker, some authors may hit the lotto but I think most of us have to keep plugging along.  The trick is to get into a place where you enjoy it and to remember not to worry about immediate sales.  Every time you let someone know about the book, whether it’s a radio interview or a speaking engagement you are raising awareness, maybe it will catch someone’s fancy later on, or they’ll remember it during gift giving season.  At the same time you can’t expect to give up your day job, so there will times where you have to overcome being tired and balance your time.

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

A:  Well, fear of rejection again that didn’t apply to me in the getting published sense but when I first started I was intimidated by the idea of getting my first project, The Tales of Hollywood audio book in stores like Barnes & Noble.  How could my little CD be on the shelf next to Mark Twain or Stephen King?  Then I read an interview with Chuck Jones, the late great Warner Bros. animator that really helped me; I even wrote a story about it for my book called Be All You Can Be:

Legendary animator Chuck Jones identified more with his less-than-perfect characters. Bugs Bunny was such an invincible force that he had to be minding his own business before he was provoked. Only then could the rabbit be justified in raining down complete destruction on his enemies. Chuck Jones felt more kinship with the perennial loser Daffy Duck. Likewise, the ever-hungry Coyote was made more sympathetic than the invulnerable Roadrunner. The helpless carnivore, that was totally responsible for his own destruction, represented Jones’ personal ineptness with tools. How could someone with such an inferiority complex be a success in his own career? Chuck often told the story how when he was a kid in art school, he wanted to quit because the other students were so much more talented than he was. He changed his mind when the teacher advised him, “Just be the best Chuck Jones you can be.” 

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

A: With the advent of e books and blog promotion opportunities I’d give serious thought to self-publishing.  Read The Self Publishing Manuals by Dan Poynter.  Also get critiqued by someone honest before you attempt to publish and remember even the best go through the ringer sometimes.  When Michael Crichton wrote in an early draft of Jurassic Park he told the story through the eyes of a kid and friends hated it.  He listened and made the necessary changes; it’s better to be savagely critiqued BEFORE the book comes out.

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