America’s Most Haunted – The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places

America’s Most HauntedAMH Book Cover medium-4-thumb-autox350-25533:

The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places

By Theresa Argie & Eric Olsen

ISBN-10: 0425270149

ISBN-13: 978-0425270141

Berkley

Trade paper/Kindle

September 30, 2014

$16.00/$7.99

 

There are some places in America you simply shouldn’t visit alone. At Waverly Hills Sanatorium, thousands of patients died at the height of the tuberculosis epidemic in the early 1900s and their spirits never left. In the halls of Mackey’s Music World, demonic possessions were more common than musical performances. Aboard the decks of the Queen Mary in California, echoes of the cries of hundreds of lost sailors ring clear night and day. These are places that no sane person would ever truly explore – until now.

 

In America’s Most Haunted: The Secrets of Famous Paranormal Places, “Haunted Housewife” investigator Theresa Argie and journalist Eric Olsen combine spine-tingling stories, documented evidence and interviews with some of the top names in paranormal investigations, including the stars of televisions Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, and others take readers on a terrifying tour of our nation’s most haunted houses, hospitals and historic places.

 

Experience the crawl through the death tunnel, also known as the body chute, where visitors have reported sightings of an inhuman creature that creeps along the walls and ceilings. Get to know the spirits, ghosts, and other demons that wait in jails, lounge in mansions, fester in lunatic asylums, and even stay in the stately old hotel that served as inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining.

 

The evidence provided with these first-hand accounts, stories and personal testimonies will have readers sleeping with the lights on. Are you brave enough to take a look?

 

Theresa Argie is an experienced paranormal investigator who has worked with some of the field’s most respected experts. Eric Olsen is a leading journalist in the field of paranormal investigation. Together, the two host the internet radio show, America’s Most Haunted. They both live in Ohio. Visit the authors online at www.americas-most-haunted.com, www.facebook.com/amhaunted and www.twitter.com/amhaunted.

DUMBEST MARKETING STRATEGIES By Alina Adams

Remember the episode of “Seinfeld” where George starts doing the opposite of what his instincts tell him to do and suddenly his life becomes wonderful?

 

That’s the approach I’ve decided to take when it comes to promotion.

 

Everyone tells you that the best way to promote your books is to submit them for reviews to influential gatekeepers, do bookstore appearances, go to conferences and network.

 

And that’s what I did for my fist few titles, romance novels published by AVON and DELL. I had good reviews. And average sales.manloveswomen

 

Then in, 2001, I wrote a book about Sarah Hughes, an American figure-skater who would be appearing at the 2002 Olympic Games. Sarah unexpectedly won those Games, and the book went into first a second, then a third printing. Without me, personally, having done anything to make it happen. (Thanks, Sarah!)

 

In 2006, I pitched and wrote a tie-in novel to the soap-opera, “As the World Turns,” in conjunction with its 50th Anniversary. “Oakdale Confidential” spent two weeks at #3 on the NYT best-seller list. Not because of reviews or bookstore appearances or conferences (or because it was considerably better than all of my other books), but because it was on a TV show.

 

This suggested to me that perhaps there was more to book promotion than what common wisdom would suggest.

 

In 2014, all five of my Figure Skating Mysteries that had previously been published by Berkley Prime Crime, “Murder on Ice,” “On Thin Ice,” “Axel of Evil,” “Death Drop” and “Skate Crime” were re-issued as a one volume edition of enhanced ebooks, featuring not just all the text of the paperback series, but also skating videos to compliment the story.

 

When it came to promotion, I could have gone the tried and true route. Or I could have tried something out of the box.

 

FSMysteryOmnibusCoverTo promote my books, I partnered with 2-time Olympic Men’s Champion Dick Button. I produced his live commentary of the Sochi Games figure skating events on Twitter and, during the TV commercials, I put up blurbs and links to my titles. That February, sales went up 300%.

 

Now, I am once again breaking a cardinal rule of publishing. Common wisdom says that authors should only send out their very best work. They should polish and edit and revise until their manuscript is the best it can possibly be.

 

Been there. Done that. Getting kind of bored with it.

 

This summer, I launched a potentially career-sinking project. I am writing my next book, a romantic family saga, completely live on the web at: www.AlinaAdams.com/live/. Readers can literally watch me type each word. They can then watch me erase it and search for a better word. They can virtually look over my shoulder as I move sentences around and, when I delete two chapters completely, they’ll know why. (It’s because I decided that if one character was a bore for me to write, he’d be even more boring to read.)

 

I have spent twenty years (my first book was accepted for publication in 1994), writing to please editors. Now I want to write to please readers.

 

Don’t like something I’m writing? Tell me! Maybe I’ll change it.  And if I won’t, I’ll at least tell you why.

 

Editors are only guessing at what they think readers might like. I’d rather hear from the readers directly.

 

Even if that means showing them my raw first draft, my inevitable typos and misspellings, and all the wrong story roads I’ll meander down before hitting upon the right one.AWRCover

 

I’m hoping they’ll enjoy being a part of the process. I’m hoping they might learn something they can apply to their own work. But, most of all, I’m hoping this’ll be a blast for all of us.

 

Just call it George Conztanza Marketing 101.

 

 

Alina Adams is the NYT best-selling author of soap-opera tie-ins, Regency and contemporary romance novels, and figure-skating murder mysteries. Come watch her potentially destroy her career by writing her next book live on-line, typos, mistakes, sex scenes and all, at: www.AlinaAdams.com (Would you rather learn from her mistakes, or your own?)

 

 

Stages of Grey by Clea Simon

StagesofGreyrevisedStages of Grey

Clea Simon

ISBN-10: 0727883933

ISBN-13: 978-0727883933

Severn House

Hardcover, 224 pages

Also available in Kindle format

 

 

 

This is the 8th book in the Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery series. It is the first I have read and I think I want to go back and see what Mr. Grey, Dulcie’s deceased cat who makes appearances in ghostly form on occasion when needed the most, was like when alive. Her current cat-Esmee reminds me of my own cat–right down to the biting of my ankle if she is angry at me for one reason or another.
Dulcie is attempting to write her graduate thesis–her adviser is not exactly helpful. She is attempting to figure out the authorship of snippets of pages of literary writings and prove that the same author wrote them. These snippets are definitely from Gothic or Historical type romances as I am sure you will realize as you read them! Meanwhile her roommate and boyfriend–she thinks he’s a werewolf but cannot prove it.

When she takes an evening off with her friends to see a very modern interpretation of an old play things start happening. It is the tightrope walking cat that really gets her attention. Then one of the actresses gets murdered and in the ensuing fray the cat escapes the theater. It is winter and it is cold and Dulcie is worried enough about the cat to try to find him. Strange things keep happening and Dulcie keeps getting involved even though she is told not to!

This is really a tangled web of lies and deceit which can only be untangled by reading the entire book which I encourage you to do. – Reviewed by Michele Bodenheimer at Miki’s Hope

An interview with BV Lawson

BVLawson-WatercolorAuthor, poet, journalist, and blogger BV Lawson’s award-winning stories, poems and articles have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications and anthologies. A three-time Derringer Award finalist and 2012 winner for her short fiction, BV was also honored by the American Independent Writers and Maryland Writers Association for her Scott Drayco series. BV currently lives in Virginia with her husband and enjoys flying above the Chesapeake Bay in a little Cessna. Visit her website at bvlawson.com. No ticket required.

 

Other Links:

Blog

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

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PJ: How long have you been writing?

BV: I started writing stories in childhood and even won a poetry contest at the age of 10. But after a career change to music through graduate school, it wasn’t until about a decade ago that I was able to once again focus on my writing.

 

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

BV: Success can be measured in so many different ways. Certainly, having had poetry and stories published in dozens of magazines has been gratifying, as was winning a Derringer for short fiction and being a finalist for several other awards. I’m just now launching my first novel, part of a new series featuring former piano prodigy-turned FBI agent/consultant Scott Drayco, and right now, success will mean finding new readers and fans.

 

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

BV: It’s every bit as much fun as I’d expected, but it’s a lot harder. Not so much the writing itself, but the marketing, publicity, and social media that authors are expected to participate in these days.

 

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

BV: It’s about what I expected. I’ve read as much as I can about the business from experienced authors, editors, agents, and other professionals, so I think I developed realistic expectations early on. I’m not earning full-time income just yet, but I’m pleased with my progress.

 

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

BV: Not all that much, really. I consider myself a professional writer and small business owner, so I’ve developed a multi-year business plan. Part of that plan is a publishing timeline of book projects I’m working on, with publishing dates and deadlines. Writing is the main focus, but I have to factor in editing, proofing, cover artwork, and other publication tasks.

 

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

BV: I had poetry and nonfiction articles published during grad school, and in the years following, also had several short stories published. I started working on my debut novel close to a decade ago, shopped it around to a few agents at the time, but set it aside to “make a living.” Now that I’ve released it to the world, I’m planning on publishing 2-4 books each year, depending upon the specific projects.

 

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

BV: I would probably get two English degrees instead of two music degrees, even though I’m grateful for the music experiences and opportunities I had. Even keeping the music degrees, I’d have started writing part-time to full-time a lot sooner.

 

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

BV: That is quite possibly the hardest aspect of the writing business. Having a business plan with a timeline is very helpful. Creating a daily schedule (even a checklist) and sticking to it is also effective. When I’m in writing mode, I have daily word targets (even a thousand words a day will net 365,000 words a year!), and every now and then I turn off the router so that I can’t access the Internet. In general, I try to keep the promotion/social media to an hour a day.

 

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

BV: I think for any writer it’s getting that first acceptance. No matter what awards come along the way or other successes, it’s hard to beat the feeling of seeing your very first work in print.

 

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

BV: It’s difficult to pick one. Following along the previous question, it was probably that first rejection. That’s kind of a make-or-break moment for many writers—do you let it discourage you to the point you give up, or do you use it as a rallying cry to “show them” you can succeed?

 

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

BV: Every positive review, both in print or verbal, is memorable! That lets you know you’ve connected with someone, and that your vision of your work isn’t just sulking around in some writerly black hole.

 

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

BV: I approach my writing as a professional—I make sure it’s edited as best it can be, I try to make sure the covers are on par with the top echelon of published books, and I study all aspects of the publishing and writing business to continue to try and improve. Plus, the setting of my new series is unusual (the Virginia end of the Delmarva Peninsula), as is my protagonist—a former classical piano prodigy turned FBI agent/private consultant who has chromesthesia (a form of synesthesia) and plays Bach to help him puzzle through cases. But most of all, I love with I do. If you are writing merely to make money and not with passion, it usually shows.

 

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

BV: If you truly love writing, don’t give up. Write every day, and study the business to find a path that works for you.

 

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

BV: Word of mouth is always the best tool, but first you have to find readers to spread the world. Giveaways have been very helpful in that regard.

 

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

BV: Giving talks or other in-person promotion. I’m not a natural speaker, even with notes, and extemporaneity isn’t a specialty.

 

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

BV: The Washington, D.C. area is blessed with several, including One More Page in Arlington, Virginia, Mystery Loves Company in Oxford, Maryland, and Kramerbooks and Poetry & Prose in D.C.

 

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Scott Drayco Series:

Ill-Gotten Games (novelette)

False Shadows (story collection)

Played to Death, Scott Drayco Series #1 (Summer 2014)

Requiem for Innocence, Scott Drayco Series #2 (Fall 2014)

Dies Irae, Scott Drayco Series #3 (Spring 2015)

 

Beverly LaBorde/Adam Dutton Series:

Steal Away (Spring 2015)

Take Away (Winter 2015)

 

Other Short Fiction:

Deadly Decisions (stories)

Death on Holiday (stories)

Stories in Magazines:  see http://www.bvlawson.com/#!bibliography

 

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

BV: For fans of PBS and BBC Mysteries!PlayedtoDeath_BVLawson

Still suffering nightmares from his last case, former FBI agent-turned crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. Then a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town—complete with a body inside, a mysterious “G” carved into the man’s chest. To solve the murder, Drayco must dodge the seductive wife of a town councilman, a wary sheriff, and hostility over coastal development before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim.

 

PJ: Where can we buy it?

BV: The ebook version is available via all ebook retailers. The trade paperback and hardcover versions are available via online retailers and special order from bookstores. I have purchase links on my website:  http://www.bvlawson.com/#!played-to-death

 

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

BV: Part of my music background was taking piano lessons at age seven on up through college. I think part of me wanted to be a concert pianist, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Perhaps that’s why I created Scott Drayco, to be my alter ego as an accomplished pianist. But I find that music still very much infuses my work, and part of the joy of the creative process is “playing” the words in my head to compose stories. I like to think I write musical fiction!

Meet Melissa Wolff

M WolffMelissa Wolff is a graduate from Long Island University. Diagnosed with VACTERL Association, Melissa discovered her love of writing when she was sick and holed up in a hospital bed after her sixth surgery. After twenty years and twenty more surgeries, her first book was published when she was just twenty-two. All of her novels have been written during National Novel Writing Month, an event in which she takes part every year. Melissa is a member of International Women’s Writing Guild and American Writer’s Association. Part of the proceeds of her novels go to VACTERL Network, a group designed to help families and people deal with their condition.

 

Melissa is the author of four young adult novels: Sharpie Messages: The Writing on the Wall, Fated, On the Shattered Path, and Three Little Lies.

Learn more about Melissa at http://www.melissamwolff.com/

Blog URL: http://theidlemusingsofawritersmind.blogspot.com/

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Melissa-M-Wolff/136758419720879

Twitter: www.twitter.com/MelissaMWolff

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/melissa-wolff/39/3/212

 

 

PJ: How long have you been writing?

 

Melissa: I have been writing since I was fifteen years old.ecoversharpie (1)

 

 

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

 

Melissa: I felt successful as a writer when I was 22 and I published my first book. It was amazing seeing my name in print.

 

 

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

 

Melissa: The writing life is not what I expected…mostly the marketing part. I always loved to write and had stories, but being my own marketer and putting on a ‘business hat’ was new to me. It caused me to talk to new people, make new connections. It really opened my eyes.

 

 

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

 

Melissa: It’s focused on telling a story…not just to entertain people. I want to tell a story that will have people thinking. My focus hasn’t really changed because I always wanted to tell a ecoverfated (1)story. I want people to sit back and be like ‘wow’.

 

 

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

 

Melissa: The first time? About a year. I wrote the book and then used Createspace to publish it.

 

 

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

 

Melissa: Maybe become my own marketer earlier…learned the ins and outs of the business of publishing.

 

 

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

 

Melissa: I make up a ‘need to do’ list, and a ‘want to do’ list every week. I focus in each area each week, to see what needs my attention most at that moment. Then I work around that.

 

 

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?

 

Melissa: I had two articles written about me and my stories. I also wrote a blog post about Lisa Scottoline and she actually commented on it.

 

 

 

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

 

Melissa: I got to tell my story…I got to explain how I got into writing and why it has changed me.

 

 

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?ecoverpath (1)

 

Melissa: Mine are real types of stories. I don’t like the happy endings all the time…I’d rather show people that life doesn’t always have a happy ending and people have issues that they have to deal with even after they get the guy, or the job, or whatever it is that they are going after.

 

 

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

Melissa: Read your work…take a month break…then read it again. Do that about three or four times (in between the editing of course). You’ll always find something more you want to say. Also, create a cover and title for the novel…even if they aren’t the final ones, they will give you something to look at to keep your inspiration/motivation up to finish the novel.

 

 

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

Melissa: Cold Calling. You’re never going to make the connections if you don’t put yourself out there.

 

 

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

 

Melissa: Cold Calling. Haha. I’m kind of shy and talking to strangers sometimes is hard for me. But I push through and do it.

 

 

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

Melissa: Sharpie Messages: The Writing on the Wall, Fated, On The Shattered Path, and Three Little Lies

 

 

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:threelittleliesebook

 

Melissa: When her best friend goes missing, Amber will stop at nothing to find her, even if that means walking into the sticky web of a serial killer.

 

 

PJ: Where can we buy it?

 

Melissa: You can buy the ebook and paperback copy on Amazon.com. You can also special order the book through Barnes and Noble stores.

 

 

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work? 

 

Melissa: Writing has saved me. Going in and out of the hospital my whole life, I couldn’t do most things that other children could so I dove into writing. I haven’t looked back since.

Plot versus Character by Betty Webb

betty_authorAs most of my Lena Jones fans know, I not only write books but I teach creative writing. In my classes, I stress that in a mystery series, character is far more important than plot. That’s not to denigrate a good plot, you understand, because without good plotting that takes readers to unexpected places, we’d have a pretty boring book.

 

But when we think back on our favorite mystery series, what stays with us – the plot or the detective? Or to put it another way, when we go to the bookstore do we ask the clerk for the new “kidnap book” or the new “serial killer book” or do we ask for the new “Inspector Banks,” or the new “Dave Robicheaux”? And, yes, we might even ask for the new “Peter Robinson” or the new “James Lee Burke.”

 

Because in almost every instance, we identify the book by the lead character or the author — by human beings, not devices.

 

Creative writing teachers love to say, “Character is plot, plot is character,” and that’s because the character’s nature drives all the action. In the case of my Lena Jones mysteries Desert-Rage-cover(especially my new DESERT RAGE), the fact that Lena was raised in a series of foster homes and doesn’t know who her parents are makes her both tough and vulnerable at the same time. Dangerous situations that would cause the average person to head for the hills simply make Lena unholster her gun. But events that the average person would shrug off haunt Lena endlessly. Therefore, maddened with rage or sorrow, Lena initiates a course of action that impacts on everyone else in the book.

 

My creative writing students delight in arguing with me about this character-versus-plot concept. They bring up book after book heavy with high-octane plots and crazy-making twists. Many of them love to cite Clive Cussler’s action-heavy “Dirk Pitt” novels as examples. Then, when I ask them who the main character is, they look at me like I’m crazy and answer, “Dirk Pitt, of course.” Which proves my point.

 

No matter the book’s setting, whether the frigid Arctic, the middle of the Atlantic, the dunes of the Sahara, or high in the Andes, the super-curious, hyper-determined Dirk Pitt is always to be found fighting, shooting, and stabbing his way out of whatever horrible situation he’s thrust into. Think about that for a moment. If Dirk Pitt was a married, mild-mannered schoolteacher and Boy Scout leader, he wouldn’t be out there fighting pirates and terrorists, would he? Instead, Cussler paints Pitt as the almost fearless go-to guy when sunken ships or lost treasure or buried cities need to be found.

 

You’ll notice I said almost fearless. That’s because Cussler doesn’t write Dirk Pitt as an invulnerable superhero – he writes Pitt as a human being, encumbered by all the flaws and weaknesses humans are heir to.  And remember — human beings drive a series.

 

We may not always be able to remember the intricacies of plot in a particular series, but we never forget the main protagonist. Just think of Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Leaphorn and Chee, Kinsey Milhone, V.I. Warshawski, Lord Peter Wimsey, Anna Pigeon, Jack Reacher, Harry Bosch, Joanna Brady…

 

Because character is plot, and plot is character.

x x x

 

To read the first chapter of Betty Webb’s “Desert Rage,” go to

www.bettywebb-mystery.com

 

Meet J.J. White

JJ WhiteJJ White has penned five novels and over two hundred short stories. He has had articles and stories published in several anthologies and magazines including, Wordsmith, The Homestead Review, The Seven Hills Review and The Grey Sparrow Journal. His story, The Nine Hole League, will soon be published in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Volume 14. He has won awards and honors from the Alabama Writers Conclave, Writers-Editors International, Maryland Writers Association, The Royal Palm Literary Awards, Professional Writers of Prescott, and Writer’s Digest.

 JJ was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize for his short piece in The Grey Sparrow Journal. He enjoys writing, surfing, golf and tennis. He lives in Merritt Island, Florida with his understanding wife, editor, and typist, Pamela.

Website 

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

~~~

 

PJ: How long have you been writing?

JJ: It’s been about seven years now. I blew out my back playing tennis with my daughter, who at that time was twenty-years-old and had played competitive tennis. The injury laid me up for about two weeks, so to fight the boredom, I decide to write. There was no muse or life-changing event involved, I just decided to write, kind of like Forrest Gump when he decided to start running. After two weeks of pen to paper I was hooked, and I haven’t stopped yet.

 

PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?

JJ: It came very early in my career, because my idea of success wasn’t publication, money, or fame—it was validation. I think it’s the same for all new writers. You want someone with knowledge and experience in the field to praise your work, while helping you improve by gently critiquing the piece. There was no greater feeling then when I read the editor’s comments. And even though there were so many red correction marks on the pages that it looked like a chicken had bled to death on it, it still filled me with confidence. Someone else thought I was a writer, so I must be a writer.

 

PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?

JJ: I didn’t expect it to be as difficult as it was. I figured it’s easy to read a novel so it must be easy to write a novel. Naivety, though, was an asset to nascent writers like myself as I pressed ahead not knowing how damn hard it was to write, or get an agent, or get published, or sell my book in a saturated market. If I had known, I would have burned pen and paper and headed for the golf course.

 

PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?

JJ: I have attended Dennis LeHane’s Writers in Paradise eight day workshop for the last five years and at some point in the program LeHane warns, “Don’t leave this workshop with so much enthusiasm and confidence that you quit your day job.” This was good advice as few writers can make enough money in the field to do just that.  I make a few thousand each year in writing competitions but most of the income comes in bits and pieces, maybe a hundred here, a hundred there. For example, I recently sold a story to the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine and although the magazine is distributed worldwide, it only paid $200. I would suggest inheriting a fortune and then start your career in writing.

 

PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?

JJ: All the anxiety I felt trying to get published has been replaced by fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Either one can disrupt your life and place a strain on your family and friends. Still, Columbus took a chance, so my philosophy is to press on, keep a positive attitude and accept the good with the bad. Many never get into my position and I’m thankful to be here.

 

PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?

JJ: If you mean a book—seven years.

 

PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?

JJ: Yes. As soon as I had decided I was going to pursue writing, I would have read every classic I could absorb while attending night class to get an MFA. After that, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.

 

PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?

JJ: I neglect my job, my wife, and my children. Seriously, though, I’m able to do most of the things you mentioned in the few hours between Jeopardy and bedtime. It’s amazing how productive one can be when holed up in a room without distractions. I have a computer on, but I stay away from Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube, and use the computer only for research.

 

PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?Savant Cover_rgb

JJ: Having my novel, Prodigious Savant, published by Black Opal Books.

 

PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?

JJ: When I began writing, one of my heroes was, Patrick D. Smith, who wrote the classic, A Land Remembered. He lived only a few miles from where I lived and I idolized him, amazed at his storytelling and wonderful writing. I mailed him a letter explaining I was a fellow writer and I wondered if he could come to a local writers conference to talk about his work. Three days later, he called me and explained he was too ill to attend the conference, but if I wanted to ask him questions, I could come by his house, anytime. I turned him down using some lame excuse, though I thanked him for calling. Actually, the truth was that I was afraid if I went to talk to him he would realize I wasn’t a professional writer, just an unpublished fraud posing as one. He died last year and I regret every day for turning down the invitation of the great man. I would have learned much from him.

 

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

JJ: I gave a presentation at a local library where only one person showed. Rather than blow it off, I spent the next hour talking about writing with her and with the few librarians hanging around. Not only did I sell a book to my lone fan, but the librarians purchased several copies and placed them in the county library system. So it was a bad and good memory.

 

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

JJ: Well, most of them have great covers, but it’s what’s inside that counts. I believe my novel, Prodigious Savant, has the two components necessary for a good read: A strong narrative and good writing. Any book can have beautiful writing and exposition, but without a great story it’s not going to keep the reader’s interest. You may not confuse my writing with Hemingway’s, but I tell a good tale.

 

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

JJ: Concentrate on your writing. If your work is good and you submit it to the right people and the right competitions, the agents and publishers will come to you.

 

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

JJ: Word of mouth. If you can get your book into the hands of a savvy reader who has mastered the social networks, and that reader loves the book, then they’ll make sure all their friends hear about it.

 

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

JJ: Appearances. Especially in front of large audiences. If they see you’re nervous then they’ll feel uncomfortable for you and wish they were anywhere but there. Entertain them. Make them comfortable. And if they see you’re relaxed, then they’ll be relaxed. Then pull out the book.

 

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

JJ: Murder On The Beach bookstore in Delray Beach, Florida.

 

PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:death cover half

Death’s Twisted Tales

Prodigious Savant

Deviant Acts (in 2015)

 

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

Prodigious Savant:

Burlington, Vermont, 1962. Seventeen-year-old Gavin Weaver survives a dreadful explosion, six hours of brain surgery, and thirty days in a coma, to awake possessing not just one savant talent, but several, including art, music, mathematics, and memory, and all without suffering any of the usual mental disabilities associated with head trauma.

The odds are slim Gavin will survive both the internal and external conflicts that keep him from the one thing he wants most, the girl he’s loved since childhood.

 

PJ: Where can we buy it?

Black Opal Books

Amazon

 

PJ: What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

JJ: When I was in high school, I turned in my first short story I had ever written to my Composition teacher. He wrote a note on it that said, “Excellent story, John. Now please learn how to write.”