Friday, August 24, 2012

Interview with SM Blooding: 'This book was the hardest one I've written'

SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, and Ms. Jack, who’s a real bird. She’s still learning to play the piano and guitar, which is going marginally better, and for those of you looking for an Arabic update, she has successfully learned one word, “Yalla, people yalla!”

She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.

Her latest book is the YA steampunk, The Hands of Tarot.


Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I’d just killed the main characters for another series. We’d made it through books 1-3 and were half way through 4. I love these characters, and we ended up failing because I didn’t push them hard enough. I was fed up, frustrated, weeping huge alligator tears. Two years worth of writing, gone!

But I couldn’t quit. I came up with a game plan for that series and decided to write something else. I needed a break. It was a little like splitting up with a long-time boyfriend, only these kids/characters were my best friends. I needed something totally different to write.

So I thought and thought.

Different. Hmm. How different? A different planet? Sure. I mean, I had several solar systems growing in my head, and I had this one that was ready for a book. What else? How about a male main character? All my main characters before were female. Mmm! That could be neat! Aahhh-ha-ha! What about the villain? I could have a supremely psychotic, vicious villain! YES!

This was going to be an adventure story of fantasmic proportions. *cue hero music* It was going to be epic. There were going to be fantastical discoveries, and Nikola Tesla was going to be the heroic inventor that he always should have been. I was excited! This was going to be the best book EVER!

Now, that’s all great, grand and glorious, but it’s nowhere near a plot, a character arc, or a setting. Not only that, but Sactuary was thinking the exact same thing and made Tesla, not only a hero, but a vampire. I just can’t compete with a vampiric genius hero. I had to find something else.

I set this to churn-mode, letting it run in the background. I made a solar system out of Styrofoam, hung it from my ceiling and watched it turn for long…well, minutes because I really can’t sit and do nothing for hours. I slowly built this world in my mind. I watched how my little planet coexisted with its solar system, and imagined the seasons.

Then, I bought a tarot deck. Why? Because I needed an eighth deck, obviously. I was kicking myself for buying it as I thumbed through the cards, getting familiar with the deck.

My brain exploded with ideas! I saw my villain. All of a sudden, there was a plot! I’d been working on this setting for so long, wondering if I was ever going to have a book to go with it, and boom! There it was with the Queen of Wands, The Devil, 3 of Wands, 10 of Swords and the Knight of Cups.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

This book was the hardest one I’ve written yet. There was so much world building I had to do before I wrote a single word.

World-building isn’t just something that you should wing. You should do your research well in advance so that you understand how your world affects your characters and your plot.

In The Hands of Tarot, for instance, we have seasons that last years. We have almost a full year of complete daylight. However, the biggest impact is the three to five year winter. We’re about to embark on a war. Queen Nix has decided she wants to dominate the world, and in order to do that, she’s going to decimate the Seven Tribal Families.

That’s all great and wonderful, but we can’t really fight in winter; not in the kind of winter we have on Ilona (the planet). We literally have an Ice Age that hits the planet for three to five years once every turn. So, whatever Nix is going to do, she has to move quickly. The Families could lie in hiding and regroup, re-build their technologies, and come out stronger.

If I hadn’t invested so much time in building my world, I would never have realized this. Also, the setting wouldn’t be as clear as it is. The world just is. It’s just there. The characters interact with it, and there aren’t copious paragraphs and pages to describe it. I wasn’t discovering it as I was writing. I was able to keep a lot of my surprise and awe off the page.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published this book.

I have another series contracted with a publisher. After going through some of the stumbling blocks of trying to get a book off the floor with them, I decided to try it on my own.

It’s been a learning experience. I’ve made a couple of mistakes. I looked like quite the newbie more than once. I’m sure it’ll happen again as I try new things, but I’m having a ton of fun with it! It is scary though. Wow! With a publisher, there’s at least that sense of comfort, like having a favorite blanket or sweatshirt. When you self-publish it is all you!

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I had a ton of them! I had thought it was all about writing and editing a book. It’s so much more than that! There’s formatting, designing the cover, setting up a website, Tweeting – but not too much Tweeting. There’s Facebooking, and interviewing, and guest blogging, and…

I think the thing that surprised me the most was that there’s so little time spent in writing!

Q: Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?

Oh my word! I was so happy and excited! I couldn’t stop giggling. There’re just so many possibilities. It felt like my dreams were finally becoming reality.

Holding my book in my hands for the first time was breathtaking. Literally. It was a little like holding my daughters for the first time. It seems silly, but it’s true. Each book feels the same way. I get so giddy knowing my book is about to arrive. Then it does and I can’t breathe right for about an hour.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Right now, I’m working on book 2 of the Dreamland Stories, The Nightmare. I’m having so much fun with it! It should be ready to share with everyone around Christmas.

Then I’ll be working on book2 of The Hands of Tarot, The Knight of Wands. I’m really excited to start it. There’s so much research and I’m having so much fun with it! This book is screaming at me to write. It should be ready to launch to the public next year.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

This book is about finding courage. I want to challenge my readers to be better than who they were yesterday, to be different, to change our world. I want my readers to find the courage to exist. Make our world a better place. You matter. Dare to make a difference.
  
Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

I had so much fun writing this book! I really hope you enjoy reading it! I love hearing what my readers have to say, even when they don’t like it. Please feel free to contact me on Facebook or on Twitter. My site is very comment friendly as well. I try to respond to everyone.

Thank you so much for having me!


Visit SM Blooding on the web at  www.smblooding.com.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with Kate McGuinness, author of 'Terminal Ambition' - WIN A KINDLE FIRE!


Kate McGuinessABOUT KATE McGUINNESS

After leaving the corporate world, Kate was determined to master writing and riding, pastimes that often led to confusion in the telling. Her studies of creative writing proved to be more successful than her horseback adventures which included a broken leg! However, her love of horses remains. Kate also took the opportunity to be more fully involved with her son’s life – too involved, he would say. She enjoyed watching scores of soccer games and cheering his team on to a divisional state championship. All grown up now, her son lives in Eastern Europe and teaches English as a second language. In addition to Terminal Ambition, Kate writes on women’s issues for a number of online sites. Her essays have appeared in Role/Reboot, Jezebel, Fem2pt0, Women’s Media Center and Ms. JD. You can follow her on Twitter @womnsrightswrtr. Kate lives in a utopian community in the Midwest with her husband, dogs and innumerable squirrels. To learn more about Kate, visit her website: www.womensrightswriter.com You can also find out more about Terminal Ambition at http://www.terminal-ambition.com

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

 A. I grew up singing protest songs and have retained my passion for civil rights. Although progress has been made on many fronts, women’s rights have largely stagnated. I decided to combine the skills gained during my legal career with the desire to advance these causes. I’ve dreamed of being a novelist since middle school. When I left the corporate world, I studied creative writing at UCLA. Terminal Ambition is my first published novel. Several short stories and another novel are tucked away in my bottom desk drawer.

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

 A: Terminal Ambition is set in a leading Wall Street law firm. Maggie Mahoney, a partner at the firm, battles to stop harassment and discrimination of female employees but her fight jeopardizes the goal of the firm chairman to be named United States Attorney General. Unlike most novelists who begin with a plot or characters they want to explore, I started with the goal of educating women about their workplace rights in an entertaining context. I chose a fast-paced legal thriller with a female protagonist to reach a broad audience. Women continue to suffer sexual harassment and discrimination regardless of how prestigious or humble their occupations. I have encountered women who shrugged off these problems and women who became suicidal because of them. Many reviewers call Terminal Ambition a “page turner” so it seems I’ve achieved my goal of entertaining readers. I know I’ve achieved the educational objective because the book contains an appendix laying out steps to take when confronted with harassment and discrimination.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it? 

A: Although I thought my years of legal drafting would give me a leg-up in writing fiction, I found the opposite was true. The exquisite precision required to craft a three billion dollar agreement – and I’ve written a few of those – results in stiff, unwieldy fiction. Also, I had to learn how to create believable dialogue and portray emotion. I’ve been blessed with wonderful instructors including Janet Fitch whose novel White Oleander is brilliant in every respect.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV? What are your upcoming plans for doing so? 

A: I have spoken to groups about Terminal Ambition and have events scheduled in the coming months. Like many authors today, I have a YouTube channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/womensrightswriter

Q: 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. I don’t presently have an agent. My sense is that traditional publishing is in decline. There are a number of reputable literary agents who now act as “consultants” to those who self-publish. There simply isn’t enough work to go around. I decided to self-publish for several reasons including the relative ease of creating the paper and digital versions of the book. Also, traditionally published authors complain loudly about the lack of support they receive from their publishers in marketing. It seemed foolhardy to cede revenue to a traditional publisher for marginal benefits.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it? 

A: I focused my media efforts prior to publication on obtaining cover blurbs for Terminal Ambition. Because my goal in writing it was more than simple entertainment, I sought endorsements from academics about the book’s value to working women and other professionals. I was delighted when Susan Estrich, a feminist law professor and Fox News commentator, called Terminal Ambition a “must read.”

Q: Do you plan subsequent books? 

A: I plan a series of legal thrillers centered around Maggie Mahoney and issues confronting women today. The first chapter of the sequel Erotic Capital is included at the conclusion of Terminal Ambition.

Q: Thank you for your interview, Kate. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book? 

A: Readers can contact me at http://womensrightswriter.com/contact.php or http://terminal-ambition.com/about-the-author/. Terminal Ambition is available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle.

TerminalAmbition_160ABOUT TERMINAL AMBITION

Maggie Mahoney wants justice for women at her law firm. The firm chairman wants to be Attorney General. Only one can win. Sweeny, Owens & Boyle sits at the top of Wall Street law firms. Brilliant and beautiful, Maggie Mahoney became a partner and the trophy wife of its managing attorney. Her husband's death renders Maggie an outsider with the firm's male establishment and creates a power vacuum. Obsessed with his dream of becoming the next Attorney General, firm chairman, Andy Anderson, chooses a surprising replacement: Jack Slattery, a reputed sexist. Jack's background hardly qualifies him for such a prominent position. Maggie suspects Jack has something on Andy, but what is it? Andy's ambition drives him to desperate measures. With proof of misconduct in hand, Maggie demands justice, but it comes at a high price. If ambition rules, can justice prevail?

Watch the Trailer


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Pump Up Your Book and Kate McGuinness are teaming up to give you a chance to win a Kindle Fire!

Kindle Fire

Here's how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn't set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries. This Kindle Fire promotion will run from August 13 - November 16. Winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on November 17, 2012. Each blogger who participates in the TERMINAL AMBITION is eligible to enter and win. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. If you would like to participate, email Tracee at pumpupyourbookvp(at)aol.com. What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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One lucky person who comments the most on Kate's blog stops will receive a $50 gift certificate. The blog host who receives the most comments through the tour will also receive a $50 gift certificate! Woot!

If you would like to be a host, email Tracee at pumpupyourbookvp(at)aol.com.



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Interview with Darlene Pitts, author of "Let's Talk Intuition"



Darlene PittsABOUT DARLENE PITTS

Darlene Pitts is an intuition consultant, speaker, and author of two books: Discover Your Intuition and Let’s Talk Intuition. She is also the creator of the “Abundant Living Cards” designed to help people use their intuition to create financial success.
She discovered her own intuition in 1994, after an angelic encounter during sleep and several prophetic dreams. She teaches people how to use their intuition in twenty-eight areas of life, including career, finances, health, personal relationships, and spiritual growth. Her mission includes spreading the joys and benefits of living the intuitive way.
You can visit her at : www.inspirationandintuition.com
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Darlene. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I started writing poems and songs as a child growing up in TN. In a quiet rural environment, I wrote about joy, hope, injustice, and oppression—dynamics I witnessed and experienced. My poems about enduring love touched my classmates and teachers the most. I continued writing just for the “love of it” throughout high school, in the military, and in corporate America where my IT jobs included technical writing. My favorite genres are inspiration and horror. As an adult, I decided to write about intuition because it makes room for both genres and others. It also supports my goal for my writings to be educational, inspiring, and entertaining.


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

A: I wrote Let's Talk Intuition to help people understand how to use their intuition every day and in twenty-eight areas of life. The top five areas of life that grab people’s interest are their career, family and friends, finances, health, and relationships. The 121 questions in the book are based on what clients have asked me about their intuition and intuition in general.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: The biggest challenge I faced when writing Let's Talk Intuition was maintaining my focus and energy to get back on my computer at home and continue to write, after spending several hours on a computer writing technical documentation at my corporate job. I set my intent to keep writing and paced myself. I wrote more on some days than others.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: My press kit includes my photo, bio, and book’s fact sheet and press release. It also includes links to my TV/Radio appearances, articles and reports, intuition top ten lists, intuition facts, and intuition tips sheet. My press kit is located at http://www.inspirationandintuition.com/press.htm

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: Yes, I have spoken to different audiences about Let’s Talk Intuition and recently appeared on realtalk-tv.com, an Internet-based TV show. My plans are to continue promoting my book and speaking about intuition and intuitive experiences through other radio and TV programs.

Q: 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: I don’t have a literary agent and have never had one. I believe a literary agent is beneficial for interactions with traditional publishers.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: I didn’t prepare a media blitz before my book was published. I promoted Let’s Talk Intuition through word-of-mouth and email/website/social media marketing campaigns.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: I am revising my book Discover Your Intuition which will be published later in 2012. I am also writing an ebook about the Afterlife because many people ask questions about their loved ones who have passed away.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Darlene. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: You can find me on my main website: www.inspirationandintuition.com and my blog site: www.inspirationandintuition.com/dpblog. Both sites include information about intuition and intuitive readings. You can view my intuition tweets on my Twitter site: www.twitter.com/andintuition. You can purchase Let’s Talk Intuition at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com or your local bookstore can order it. You can also purchase my Abundant Living cards at www.intuitionconnection.com.

Let's Talk IntuitionABOUT LET’S TALK INTUITION

How do I trust my intuition? Can my intuition help me reduce stress? How do I use my intuition to find a good relationship? In Let’s Talk Intuition, intuition consultant Darlene Pitts answers these questions and many others clients have asked her over ten years, to show you how quick and easy it is to use your intuition at home, work, school, and play right now. She describes the ways your intuition helps you save money, time, and energy in twenty-eight areas of life, including career, finances, health, and relationships. Included is her three-step process to ask your intuition questions about any life situation and sense accurate answers.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Interview with Lyle Prouse: 'The most difficult part was reliving the horror, shame and disgrace'


Lyle Prouse was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1938. He is part Comanche and grew up in an alcoholic home in a World War II housing project. He was active in his Native American community. After graduating from High School in Wichita, Lyle joined the Marines as a private but made the rare transition from enlisted to officer grade and ultimately Captain, a jet fighter pilot flying combat missions in Vietnam.
After his discharge from the Corps, Lyle became an airline captain for Northwest Airlines and flew for nearly 22 years before the same alcoholism that killed his parents almost destroyed his life. He was the first commercial pilot ever arrested and sent to prison for flying drunk.
The blistering media coverage was relentless as he was fired, stripped of all flying certificates, tried, convicted, and sent to Federal prison for sixteen months. The trial judge added sanctions on top of the conviction to guarantee he would never fly again. In spite of all the seemingly impossible obstacles, Lyle got sober, experienced many breathtaking miracles, returned to Northwest Airlines and retired as a 747 captain. In January of 2001 he received a full Presidential pardon from then President Bill Clinton.
Today, Lyle is a husband, father, and grandfather. He has been sober over twenty-one years and has devoted his life to helping others overcome alcoholism. He is still flying and has participated with all the major airlines in their ongoing alcohol programs. He remains active in Native American sobriety movements.

His latest book is Final Approach: Northwest Airline Flight 650 Tragedy and Triumph.

You can visit his website at www.lyleprouse.com.

About the Book:

This is the story of the first airline pilot ever arrested and sent to prison for flying under the influence. He was fired by his airline, stripped of his FAA licenses, tried, convicted, and sent to Federal prison. This was a first. It had never occurred before.

Lyle Prouse came from a WWII housing project in Kansas and an alcoholic family where both parents died as a result of alcoholism. He rose through the ranks of the United States Marine Corps from private to captain, from an infantryman to a fighter pilot. He made his way to the pinnacle of commercial aviation, airline captain…then lost it all.

Today he is a recovering alcoholic with nearly twenty-two years sobriety. This story describes his rise from the ashes of complete destruction from which he was never to fly again. It is full of miracles which defy all manner of odds.

In a long and arduous journey, he eventually regained his FAA licenses. He never fought his termination; he considered it fair and appropriate.

Miraculously, after nearly four years, the President/CEO of his airline personally reinstated him to full flight despite the adverse publicity and embarrassment.

In effect, the President/CEO gambled his own career by taking such a risk on a convicted felon and publicly acknowledged alcoholic pilot.

In another stunning event, the judge who tried, sentenced, and sent him to prison watched his journey and reappeared eight years after the trial. He became the driving force behind a Presidential pardon although he’d never supported a petition for pardon in all his years on the bench.

Lyle retired honorably as a 747 captain for the airline he’d so horribly embarrassed and disgraced. He lives with his wife of nearly forty-nine years and has five grandchildren.

He continues to work with all the major airlines in their alcohol programs. He is also active in his Native American community, and he provides hope to those struggling with the disease of alcoholism, no matter who they are or where they are.

Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Lyle.  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

The incident at the core of the story was a national media event that captured the public’s attention for weeks and months on end.  It was the first time a crew of commercial airline pilots had been arrested for flying impaired, i.e., after a hard night of drinking.  I was the Captain of that flight crew.

As the days unfolded after my arrest, with all the media sensation, I watched the story reported with very little regard to the facts or truth.  Some of it was accurate but most was not.  Speculation, sensationalism, the desire to scoop competitors, all of this became the driving force behind the headlines.

I’ve written the full story, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and all of it is truthful; I’ve had four people read it who were there at the various times in the story and fact check it for accuracy.  I wanted it absolutely dead-on for truth and accuracy; no exaggerations, no embellishment, and no skewed images.

I returned a lucrative half-advance payment from a publishing company when they insisted I alter the story for their purposes in a way that affected the story’s integrity.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

The most difficult part was reliving the horror, shame, and disgrace as I slowly plodded through that part of the story.  I was reading source documents such as the trial transcript, my prison journal, and all my military records as I constructed the story and put it all together. 

As far as the mechanics of book writing are concerned, I doubt I’d do it again.  But this was a story I owed to my grandchildren, my friends, and my family, so I did it.

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

CreateSpace was recommended to me by another person who had used them for self-publishing.  I can’t say enough good things about them; they were just great from start to finish.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

We had two TV movie offers before I wrote the book.  In both cases the movie people wanted expansive creative license to dress up the story for commercial purposes.  I was not willing to do that regardless of the money offered.  I was told that the only way to get the story out truthfully was to write it myself.  I had no idea how hard it would be to get someone to actually read it and provide publishing information.  What I encountered primarily were those who wanted to quick scan the book, sample some reading here and there, and completely miss the entire point of the story.  That was both surprising and disappointing.

Q:  Can you describe the feeling you had when you saw your published book for the first time?  

Relief.  I was glad it was finally done and over.  I had no idea the reaction from the Reader Reviews on Amazon.com would be as surprisingly enthusiastic as they’ve been.  I was just glad to have it finally finished and done with.

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I’m not working on anything.  I’ve been told by several others in the writing field that I probably have more books in me but I have not pushed in that direction – yet.  Nor do I expect to although I suppose it’s always a possibility.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

That we can come back from situations stamped with the word impossible, that there is a place within us we can reach when the darkness seems it can get no darker, and when all hope is reduced to the seductive attraction of suicide.  All we need is the help and guidance of others who have traveled down dark paths themselves and who can whisper those magical words of hope we all need to hear and believe in.  But we must be able to listen…and hear.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Only that my life has never been better and that it came from a situation I never thought could ever be worse. 




Monday, August 13, 2012

Interview with Gus Pelagatti, author of THE WICKED WIVES

Gus Pelagatti is a practicing trial lawyer with over 47 years of experience trying civil and criminal cases including homicide. He’s a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum, limited to attorneys who have been recognized as achieving a standard of excellence as a trial expert. He has spent years researching the true story of the 1938 insurance scam murders, interviewing judges, lawyers, police and neighbors involved in the trials. Gus was born and raised within blocks of the main conspirator’s tailor shop and the homes of many of the wives convicted of murdering their husbands. His latest book is The Wicked Wives.

 You can visit Gus’ website at www.guspelagatti.com. To get your paperback copy of THE WICKED WIVES by Gus Pelagatti: http://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Wives-novel-based-story/dp/1936780631/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1315865476&sr=1-1  

To purchase an e-copy of THE WICKED WIVES for your Kindle for $2.99: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wicked-Wives-novel-ebook/dp/B005784LB4/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1315865476&sr=1-1  

To purchase an e-copy of THE WICKED WIVES for your Nook for $3.99: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wicked-wives-gus-pelagatti/1013204282?ean=2940013218611  

Follow Gus Pelagatti on Twitter: https://twitter.com/guspelagatti  

Like Gus Pelagatti on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/guspelagattiauthor Welcome to Between the Covers, Gus. Why was writing The Wicked Wives so important to you?
In the year I was born, Philadelphia was rocked by the poison murder scandals of 1938. 17 women were arrested for murdering their husbands for insurance. A like number of male co-conspirators were also nabbed. The males would seduce a lonely wife, persuade her to insure her spouse, and then teach her to poison the husband without arousing the suspicions of the doctors and police. The main male conspirator had a tailor shop two blocks from our family row house in South Philadelphia. The shop was the scene of the seductions. As I grew older, I would eavesdrop on adult conversation concerning many of these wives. My mother knew quite a few of the characters and filled me in as to the facts as I grew older. I vowed I would write about these wives and their lovers one day.
What was the experience like writing The Wicked Wives? Was it a true labor of love?
Yes. As I wrote I continued to research ascertaining new facts for the novel That was exciting
Your book is based on Philadelphia’s infamous 1938 murder scandal. How much of the book is fact and how much is fiction?
The major part of The Wicked Wives is based on truth.
How many years of research did it take to get all the information for your book?
When I became a lawyer in 1964, I interviewed judges, lawyers, police and neighbors who were all involved in the 1938 scandals. I researched the book between 1964-2008.
Can you tell us about the characters in the book?
Cast of Characters in “The Wicked Wives” The Wives
Lillian Stoner: The beautiful, blonde, snobbish society wife abandons her bankrupt husband Reggie to exchange sex for money with Bill Evans, her rich political uncle. She depends upon her lover Giorgio to feed her opium habit, and she conspires with him to murder her husband for insurance money.
Eva Russo: The risqué redheaded nymph loves sex with men, the night life and gambling. In fact her unpaid gambling debts lead to punishment by the mafia. She buries two husbands for insurance money. But the one thing she desperately desires she can’t have…Giorgio.
Joanna Napoli: The bosomy gift shop owner is madly in love with Giorgio and is willing to do the unthinkable to marry him … join Giorgio in a conspiracy to murder her drunken husband.
Rose Grady: Another of Giorgio’s playmates who conspires with him to bury three husbands and leaves the fourth to die at home before fleeing the city to avoid arrest. Her past earns her the name “Kiss of Death Widow.” She always wears mourning black and a veil.
Sadie Lamb: She owns a boarding house with her husband and rents rooms to three male borders. Sadie loves to play musical beds with her borders for a fee. Eventually all three borders and her husband have to be treated on the same day by a physician for a venereal disease. Giorgio persuades the borders to join a conspiracy to murder Sadie’s husband for insurance money. The Bad Guys
Giorgio DiSipio: He is a mastermind conspirator — a stunning lothario and local tailor who preys on lonely, disenchanted and unfaithful wives by convincing them to kill their spouses for insurance money. He is known to sexually service at least four women on the couch in the rear of his tailor shop in one day.
Boris “Rabbi” Feldman: A colorful flimflam man and Giorgio’s number one co-conspirator. He introduces many lonely wives to Giorgio and helps to seduce them. He knows where most of Giorgio’s skeletons are buried.
Bruno Bianchi a/k/a “Giant”: The Giant is a tall man with gray hair and a mustache who sits in the passenger seat of a Buick driven by a mysterious lady in black dressed as though in mourning. She wears a thick black veil over her face to hide her identity. Giant systematically assassinates the poison conspiracy witnesses while the lady in black drives the get-away car.
Deputy Mayor Bill Evans: He is the corrupt head of the Philadelphia Republican Party who is hell bent on protecting his niece Lillian Stoner from murder charges. He hates first Assistant Tom Rossi who won’t help him to protect his niece Lillian from murder charges. The Good Guys and Gals
Tom Rossi: He is the First Assistant D.A. assigned the job of arresting and prosecuting all conspirators including wives in the poison murders. He also wants to be elected D.A. but incurs the wrath of Deputy Mayor Evans when Rossi refuses to protect Evans’ niece Lily from murder charges. Evans sets political machinery in motion to have Rossi disbarred as a lawyer.
Hope Daniels: She and Tom Rossi are in love and want to marry. But Hope is part Negro, which Evans uses to incite bigoted Philadelphia voters against Rossi’s quest to be elected D.A. Evans has Hope fired from her city job as a nurse for lying about her ethnic heritage on her job application. This action creates a dangerous crisis in her relationship with Tom.
Mike Fine, Chief of CountyDetectives: Mike is a lean and mean fifty-five year old Jewish detective who had to grow up tolerating anti-Semitism. He is willing to protect the life of his best friend Tom Rossi at all times.
Lynn Sullivan: She is Tom Rossi’s stenographer who is hopelessly in love with her boss although he does not realize the depth of her affections for him. But she never gives up trying to win the man she adores.
District Attorney Pat Connors: Pat is about to retire and lends advice to his heir apparent Tom Rossi.
Bertha Brooks: Bertha is another colorful character who is Lillian’s neighbor and an eyewitness to critical facts involving murder.
Can you open to page 25 and tell us what’s happening?
Eva, one of the wives was a gambler. In February, 1937, She bet $1500.00 with a mafia bookie (the cost of most row houses) on Seabiscuit to win the Santa Anita Handicap. Seabiscuit lost by a nose. Eva knew she couldn’t pay the bookie and knew that he would punish her by giving her a severe physical beating. The anxiety caused her to vomit into her kitchen sink.
What about page 65?
Joanna attempted to shoot her drunken husband as he lay snoring in bed. She placed the barrel of a .32 to his head and covered her eyes with her left hand. When she pulled the trigger the gun misfired. However, the gun went off on the second attempt. Joanna felt a burning, excruciating pain. She looked down and saw blood gushing from her fleshy thigh. “Oh my God,” she screamed. “I shot myself.”
Now that The Wicked Wives is published, what’s next for you?
The sequel to “The Wicked Wives… “Benito’s gold”

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Interview with Donnie Ray Whetstone, author of 'Fit to Kill'



donniebenchABOUT DONNIE RAY WHETSTONE

Donnie Whetstone resides in Rochester, Washington with his wife Diane. He is a full time personal trainer with over twenty years of experience and more than 70,000 training hours in homes, gyms and his own private training studio. Donnie is currently the co-owner of Fit Stop 24 Fitness Centers located in both Olympia and Yelm, Washington.
Though Fit to Kill is his first novel, he is no stranger to writing, having written numerous articles on nutrition, weight training and fitness; appearing in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. In Fit to Kill, his experience as a trainer allowed him to truly immerse the reader into the world of fitness in this detective thriller.
Donnie also has 13 years of military service in both the US Marines and US Army serving as a platoon sergeant and acting first sergeant. His experience as a trainer and veteran was extremely helpful in writing Fit to Kill. He is currently in the process writing a new novel with the working title of Night Spear. It combines both the supernatural and military drama.
For more information about Donnie please visit www.donniewhetstone.com.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Donnie Whetstone.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

A: I’m a professional fitness trainer, a co-owner of two Fit Stop 24 fitness centers and a national level master’s competitive bodybuilder. I’ve been writing off and on since high school, mainly articles on training and fitness. Fit to Kill is my first effort at writing a novel. 

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

A: My book is about an elite fitness trainer, who fantasizes about killing his clients, and acts out the fantasy on a proxy in one of the nation’s fittest cities, heralded for its trainers. Tara Tanner is a top notched detective, wife and mother who must solve this baffling case, while grappling with a past case in which she feels responsible for its tragic outcome, as well as her insatiable desires for her own trainer. The story is filled with conflict, twists and turns and an amazing finish. It was a project I’d been on the fence about for years. I just decided one day to just do it.  

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: For me, the biggest challenge was writing the storyline. That took a little over a month to write. A lot of authors can write on the fly, letting the chips fall where they may. I have to at least have some sense of where I’m going.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A: Most of my networking is via my website and social sites like Face Book, My Space and Twitter.

 Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: I spoke to a group of people about my book at my book signing party, which had a very good turnout. We attended a packed outdoor book festival in Portland in which I talked to several patrons and fellow writers, with more scheduled this year. I’ve never appeared on radio or TV, but I’m definitely planning on creating a buzz loud enough to get their attention.

Q: 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: To answer the first part of your question, no, I don’t have an agent. To answer the second part, again no, but it wasn’t like I didn’t try. I sent out a hundred query letters, only to get rejected by the ones that even decided to respond. I knew I had a good story, so I self published. As of now, Fit to Kill is a semi finalist for Kindles 2012 indie book of the year. On the last part of your question, I’m going to hold on answering that until I see how this turns out.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: Well, my wife Di did our media blitz, but we discovered our process was backwards. The media blitz, in terms of press releases, book party dates, reviewer requests and book trailers starts a few months before the launch date. That way, any positive reviews will be on your book cover on launch day, live and learn. 

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Yep, a suspense thriller entitled Night Spear, I’m on chapter 12.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Donnie.  Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Sure thing, go to www.donniewhetstone.com. Fit to Kill is available in print and eBook editions. You can read the first 3 chapters for free, and it only gets better from there.


Fit to KillABOUT FIT TO KILL

How do you stop a personal trainer, who fantasizes about killing his clients, then carries out his gruesome desire on someone else? Making matters worse, how do you stop desires for your own trainer, jeopardizing your marriage? More troubling, do you want to? That’s what Detective Tara Tanner must solve in this crime thriller.
La Flore is renowned for its elite personal trainers. This model city however, faces a crisis. Someone is on a killing binge. The killer is vicious and cunning. He harbors a profound irony for one of the nation’s fittest cities, and the way he selects his victims makes him untraceable, but this predator has a weakness.
Fit to Kill is a non-stop thriller of fantasy, temptation and redemption, a deadly game of chase, in which the line is marred between predator and prey, a game that reveals how far one will go to kill, and how far the other will go, to survive.

Interview with Pat Silver-Lasky, author of 'Ride the Tiger'


Pat LaskyABOUT PAT SILVER-LASKY

Pat Silver-Lasky wrote as a team with her late husband, the well known Hollywood screen writer and author, Jesse L. Lasky, Jr., son of the film pioneer. Jesse Lasky, Sr.’s company, Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company produced the first full length motion picture in Hollywood, The Squaw Man. Jesse, Jr. wrote 40 films, 8 for C.B. DeMille, including The Ten Commandments, and Samson And Delilah. With Jesse, Pat wrote 4 books (including the American best seller historical novel, The Offer), 8 produced films, nearly 100 produced TV scripts, (including the award winning 'Explorers' series ('Ten Who Dared' in U.S.A.). Their verse play, 'Ghost Town' won several awards in the States. In 1984/6 their TV series, 'Philip Marlowe' won three awards in the USA, and in Holland. Jesse Lasky Jr. died in 1988. Born in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., Pat attended the University of Washington as a Drama Major, Stanford University and Reed College, where she produced and directed their first play. She produced, wrote, directed, and acted (as Barbara Hayden) in the first live TV drama series from Hollywood: 'Mabel's Fables', for KTLA (Paramount), appeared in feature roles in films (Sammy Fuller's The Crimson Kimono) and played leading and co-starring roles on television, and directed for the theatre in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. As an A.S.C.A.P. writer, she wrote lyrics for 14 published and recorded songs, including "While You're Young" for Johnny Mathis's album, "Portrait of Johnny". She wrote the lyrics for two films at Columbia Studios. Pat has lived in London since the early 1960’s and has duel citizenship. In 1987 she and Jesse wrote the play, 'Vivien', based on their book, "Love Scene", the story of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. Pat directed its highly acclaimed first production at the Melrose Theatre, Los Angeles, 1987 and directed the London Rehearsed Reading of 'VIVIEN' in 1992. Pat served as a Story Editor on the second MARLOWE series (see credits), has written articles and interviews, contributed to various British antique journals, written short stories for international magazines including a 1999 series of romantic short stories for the magazine, A World of Romance. She has lectured on script writing at several American Universities, was Script Consultant and guest lecturer at the London (International) Film School for eight years until 1999. Her book, SCREENWRITING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY was published for B.T. Batsford Books (Chrysalis Publishing) in March, 2004. To find out more visit her website at : www.Pat Silver-Lasky.com or her blog at: http://pat-silver.blogspot.com

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

A: : My life’s a triptych punctuated by celebrities. I’ve been married three times and it has brought me into three different worlds, but always in some area of the creative arts. It has introduced me to the domain of entertainers, entertainment­­­­ - and entertaining. My first husband was singer, Tony Romano. My second Jesse Lasky, Jr. was the son of a film pioneer, whose Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company produced the first full-length motion picture in Hollywood, in 1913. Jesse, Jr. had written 30 films including The Ten Commandments, and Samson And Delilah. As a team we wrote another 10 films, 4 books including American best seller historical novel, The Offer, 8 films, nearly 100 TV scripts, the award winning docudrama, Ten Who Dared, several of The Avengers series, and served as a writers and Story Editors on the Philip Marlowe series. Our verse play, Ghost Town won several awards in the States. In 1987 we wrote the play, Vivien, based on our book, Love Scene, the story of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh. the most romantic film couple of the day (think  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt).
I directed its highly acclaimed production at the Melrose Theatre, Los Angeles, 1987 and directed the London Rehearsed Reading before an audience in 1992.

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

A: As a one-time actress and writer and part of the international film world, I wanted to tell the story of an actress who gets involved way over her head - with fame, money and sex. I've known many stars and directors personally: Orson Welles, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Sheridan, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and dozens more. I've spent time in Las Vegas with my first husband, singer Tony Romano, and knew Frank Sinatra. Jesse and I wrote a film on location in the Swiss Alps for Omar Sharif. I understand how the industry affects people who give their lives to it. Ride the Tiger was the result. The character, Madelaine Brent is a survivor in the film world, the Las Vegas show-time scene and in the art of love. She wants everything life can offer and doesn't foresee the consequences her actions will have on the men in her life and her beautiful daughter Cathy, who has taken a dangerous path. Maddie's agent once warned her with an ancient Chinese proverb: ‘She who rides the tiger better not dismount.’ Is Maddie about to fall off?  Maddie’s path leads her to a place she didn’t expect because sometimes, everything is too much and somebody gets murdered.

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A: After years of experience as a published writer with knowledge of the film world, I wanted Ride The Tiger to be exciting to entertainment insiders and as well as general readers. This is a story for film buffs, thriller fans, and maybe Freudian analysts – although, would it be the characters or me they would analyze? I wanted to test the newest market which is certainly ebooks. So far, reviewers have liked my book so I'm hoping the press will be on my side. That's the biggest challenge: finding a voice in the marketplace.

Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A:Yes. My press kit can be found and down-loaded from: http://patsilver-lasky.com/presskit.pdf
It includes an information about Ride The Tiger an excerpt from the book, my biography and my credits.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A: Jesse Lasky, Jr. and I toured and did many TV and radio shows in the States and the U.K. with The Offer (Doubleday, 1982) and also with our biography, Love Scene, for (Crown 1978).

Q: 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: Jesse and I were with William Morris in the States many years ago for films and books. In the UK we had a series of excellent agents. I now have an agent in New York for one historical novel (as yet to be discussed) and another in California for a book of 460 letters from Jesse Lasky, Sr. to Jesse Jr., that explores the story of early Hollywood. I didn't submit Ride the Tiger to an agent I wrote it since I moved to Orange Country and wanted to test the new market for eBook readers - which so far, really doesn't interest agents. We're all on a learning curve. We are into the age of  readers on ebooks, Eventually, I would like the book to be filmed. I would happily write the script for a cup of coffee and a smile.

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: We are now on a virtual ebook tour with PumpUpYourBook to make readers aware that Ride The Tiger will to be available on all eBook formats: Sony Reader Store, Kobo, iPad, Nook, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie for only $2.99. but they can still order the trade paperback from Amazon or Barnes and Noble for $12.95.

Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A: Do I stop? Hopefully, I'm going to have $cam$ $cheme$ $cumbag$ out for this Christmas, which I've created with Peter Betts. It’s a light-hearted look at conmen through the ages. I'm also working on a book called Hollywood Hotpot, Little Meals for Big Wheels - My days with the stars. It's a cook and tell story - about people like Jack Lemmon who used to come to our New York apartment to play our baby grand and eat, and Orson Welles who invited me to tea, and Marilyn Monroe for whom I shared a vocal coach - and Stan Laurel who lived next door and seemed to live out of tin cans. There are a few other books still in the brain wave stage.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, pat silver-lasky. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Wikipedia seems to have given me a bit of space. It can   now be ordered from all the ebook websites as well as Amazon.
        BLOG:  pat-silver.blogspot.com
        FACEBOOK; pat.silverlasky
        TWITTER: @PatSilverLasky

Thanks so much for investigating Ride The Tiger. I'll look forward to conversations with my readers. My long ago friend Barbara Taylor Bradford, a busy best seller, just wrote me on facebook that she is going to try to read the book. She felt let down by 50 Shades of Gray.


Ride the tigerABOUT RIDE THE TIGER

Fame, money and sex, that’s what tinsletown is all about. Madelaine Brent wanted them all and she always got everything she wanted. But sometimes everything is too much and somebody gets murdered. Maddie remembered an ancient Chinese proverb her agent told her as a warning, so long ago: ‘She who rides the tiger better not dismount.’ Was she about to fall off? This is the deeply penetrating story of a film star who puts her career and her erotic desires above all else. Madelaine Brent is willing to undergo the tortuous beauty treatments that will keep her on top - a survivor in the film world, the Las Vegas showtime scene and a survivor in the art of love. But Maddie does not foresee the consequences her actions will have on the men in her life: her British film director husband Charles who is devoted to her, the one-night stand she thought she could dismiss, the French film star who fathered her child, the young writer-director she seduced and the actor who holds her spellbound. Her beautiful daughter Cathy, alienated from her mother, has taken a dangerous path that leads to prison. Maddie’s path leads her to a place she didn’t expect - and a trail of murders.