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Joab Stieglitz was born and raised in the Warren, New Jersey. He is an Application Consultant for a software company.  He has also worked as a software trainer, a network engineer, a project manager, and a technical writer over his 30 year career. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Joab is an avid tabletop RPG player and game master of horror, espionage, fantasy, and science fiction genres, including Savage Worlds (Mars, Deadlands, Agents of Oblivion, Apocalypse Prevention Inc, Herald: Tesla and Lovecraft, Thrilling Tales, and others), Call of Cthulhu, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Pathfinder.

Joab channeled his role-playing experiences in the Utgarda Series, which are pulp adventure novels with Lovecraftian influences set in the 1920’s.

Website Address: http://joabstieglitz.com

Twitter Address: @joabstieglitz

Facebook Address: https://www.facebook.com/rantingsofawanderingmind

About the Book:

An Innocent Favor for a Dying Old Friend…

Fifty years ago, a group of college friends dabbled in the occult and released a malign presence on the world. Now, on his deathbed, the last of the students, now a trustee of Reister University enlists the aid of three newcomers to banish the thing they summoned.

Russian anthropologist Anna Rykov, doctor Harry Lamb, and Father Sean O’Malley are all indebted the ailing trustee for their positions. Together, they pursue the knowledge and resources needed to perform the ritual.

Hampered by the old man’s greedy son, the wizened director of the university library, and a private investigator with a troubled past, can they perform the ritual and banish the entity?

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Interview:

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I have been writing all my life. I wrote stories for myself as a child. In college, I excelled at classes that had papers (as opposed to tests). In my various jobs in the computer networking world, I have gravitated toward writing tasks, such as requirements, training, and policies and procedures.

My writing career really started when I decided to hunker down a write a chapter a week. I was reasonably successful, writing and publishing my first three books in roughly six months each. The constraints of my day job reduced my time over the last year or two, so book four took about nine months, and book five is still in progress.

What was your inspiration for The Old Man’s Request?

I am a big role-player and have written numerous adventures, character backgrounds, and other material for a variety of genres. I took notes of the games I ran over the years, and ideas from some of those became the inspiration for my books. I am also a history buff, especially with respect to the 19th and 20th centuries, which provide source material as well.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I like to introduce obscure historical figures and events into my stories. Other than that, my works are pulp escapism.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Writing and publishing a novel was a life goal. I had started writing a Tolkeinesque journey tale in the 90’s in dribs and drabs “when the muse hit me.” Twenty-five years and 300 pages later, that story had changed in terms of plot, tone, and style. I considered revising or even restarting it, but instead I decided to start fresh with another idea that had been on the shelf all that time. So I sat down and wrote one chapter a week. Using that method, I published my first three novels in six months each from start to finish.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I try to write a 1500-2000 word chapter each week, but that is constrained by the requirements of my day job, running/playing in several games each week (which does provide inspiration for future projects), and my family.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Writing the books was the easy part. I outlined the plots in terms of 10 chapters each. As I composed, some chapters expanded to two or three. I followed my outlines fairly closely. The most challenging aspect of this enterprise has been promotion.

What do you love most about being an author?

I enjoy the creativity, but also hearing that people have read and enjoyed my work.

Did you go with a traditional publisher, small press, or did you self publish? What was the process like and are you happy with your decision?

When I wrote the first book, The Old Man’s Request, I didn’t write it to sell. I wanted to achieve publication. So I went with Createspace. The publishing process was simple and I am happy with the product.

Where can we find you on the web?

My books are all available in Kindle, paperback, and audiobook formats on Amazon. Readers can also follow me at joabstieglitz.com.

 

 

 

Inside the Book:

Title: The Secret of the Woods
Author: Sara Beth Harper
Publisher: XLibrisUS
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Leaving their rough street life behind, five children escape into the forest, which turns out to be more dangerous than their former life had been. Evil goblins, the orcs, and their dogs track them through the wilderness, desiring the magic piece they unwittingly acquired when Michael promised a dying boy he would deliver it to Camelot. They didn’t know the danger that dogged the footsteps of the person that possessed it! Scared, lost, and confused, they stumble through the days, trying to find answers though they could trust no one. They find their inner strength and determination and vicious will to survive. They find friends when they need them the most, and they find love and happiness at the most unexpected places. They overcome fear and hate and finally know they are here for a reason when their unexpected, surprising identity comes to light.



Purchase Here

 

Meet the Author:

Sara Beth Harper lives in the hills of south eastern Ohio with her big family. Was inspired to write by sleepless nights and a vivid imagination. Loves anything nature, cooking, friends, family and Jesus. She holds Him and her faith closely and knows she could not have written without Him!

Giveaway

Sara is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins March 4 and ends on March 19.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on March 19.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

 

Title: THE DESIRE CARD
Author: Lee Matthew Goldberg
Publisher: Fahrenheit Press
Genre: Crime/Suspense

BOOK BLURB:

Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the Desire Card gives to its elite clients. But if the Card doesn’t feel like they’ve been justly compensated, the “price” will be more menacing than the clients could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton learns this lesson all too well. Harrison has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street along with a fondness for alcohol and pills, and a family he adores, yet has no time for. All of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his executive job and discovers he has liver cirrhosis with mere months left to live.

After finding himself far down on the donor list, Harrison takes matters into his own hands. This decision sparks a gritty and gripping quest that takes him to the slums of Mumbai in search of a black market organ and forces him under the Desire Card’s thumb. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and put a stop to the Card.

THE DESIRE CARD is a taut international thriller that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires. It’s the first book in a series followed by PREY NO MORE that focuses on other people indebted to this sinister organization, where the actual price is the cost of one’s soul.

PRAISE:

“Careful what you wish for, especially from a nefarious shadow organization, in this gripping start to Lee Matthew Goldberg’s fast-paced, highly compelling, buzz worthy new series. If you love characters morally compromised, richly drawn, and constantly surprising, you’ll love THE DESIRE CARD. I burned through the first book and can’t wait to get my hands on PREY NO MORE to see where this endlessly exciting story takes me next! Loved it!” – Daniel Palmer, critically acclaimed suspense author

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

Chapter 1

HARRISON SAT OUTSIDE THE OFFICE OF THE MANAGING DIRECTOR AWAITING HIS FATE. The end of the month meant slash and burn time, but he had successfully avoided the axe for twelve months now. Something told him this wasn’t going to be lucky number thirteen. After almost twenty years of dedication, he swore he wouldn’t beg, wouldn’t give that fucker Thom Bartlett any satisfaction in letting him go. Thom, with his faux British accent even though he lived in the U.S. since he was two, his nose up the CEO’s ass at every chance, his chastising of Harrison’s “extracurricular activities,” even though Thom was just as guilty of similar vices. Harrison stared at this fucker’s door, as if by monitoring he could will it to stay closed and ensure that he’d forever remain a part of Sanford & Co.’s Mergers and Acquisitions team.

A sharp pain in his abdomen caused him to pitch forward. His stomach churned as a flood of bile crept up his throat. Thom’s door now appeared so out of focus that for a second Harrison forgot where he was.

“Bad lunch?” his buddy Whit whispered, from a nearby seat.

Thom’s ancient secretary glanced up at them from her fury of typing and went back to punishing the keys.

Harrison clutched his stomach and let out a stifled belch. The air now smelled like he’d been dining on garbage. His chronic halitosis had only been getting worse. He could barely recall the last time he’d kissed Helene like when they were young with an appetite to devour. At most he received a peck while she held her breath. It’s not like her body hadn’t also changed, and yet he still found her a knockout: whip-smart and sophisticated, alluring whenever she was in deep thought and chewed on the earpiece of her reading glasses. Only once had he participated in a particular “extracurricular activity” outside of their marriage. It was something he instantly regretted—but she had been treating him like a pariah in the bedroom for almost a year, and he found himself in the arms of another. So now he let her give those little digs about his hygiene, one of the small pleasures she seemed to have during the scant few hours a day when he was home.

Whit seemed to inch his chair away from Harrison’s death burp and occupied himself with the new Breitling hanging from his wrist. Here the two were about to be sliced up and gutted and Whit had spent last weekend dropping $10K on a watch. Sure Harrison indulged in more luxuries than most and hated his old Tag enough to go splurging, but unlike Whit, he had two kids in uptown private schools to worry about.

“Drinks at Mobeley’s later tonight?” Whit asked, placing his hand on Harrison’s shoulder. “Whatever the outcome of this summons might be?”

Harrison nodded with tired eyes.

“You’re a VP here, Harry. Higher up on the rung than me. You’ve got a better chance of surviving.”

Whit’s hand still massaged Harrison’s shoulder, but his encouragement was not convincing. He had probably expected a similar consoling reply, except the room was spinning too much for Harrison to care.

“You’re not looking well,” Whit said. Thom’s secretary seemed to glance up from her typing again to nod in agreement. The two of them caught each other’s eye, as if they were conspiring against him. Well, we couldn’t all look like Whit. Just a few years younger but still with a full head of thick black hair only slightly graying at the temples, something that made him appear even more distinguished. Pecs and abs that he never shut up about. A terror on the racquetball courts who slaughtered Harrison every time. The son of a well-known surgeon at N.Y.U Medical with a hot Japanese wife barely out of her twenties whose goal in life was to be at his beck and call. Whit had been made an Associate two years earlier than Harrison and was able to maintain a rapport with the higher ups that Harrison could never manage: calling the CEO Dougie to his face instead of Mr. Sanford and still having a job the next day.

The secretary picked up the phone on her desk while still typing away.

“Certainly, Mr. Bartlett,” she chirped into the receiver, and then turned her disapproving gaze to Harrison. “Mr. Bartlett will see you now, Mr. Stockton.”

Harrison gathered up his briefcase and overcoat. He had to hold onto the seat as he stood, his feet pivoting and almost sending him to the ground.

“Gotta watch those martini lunches,” Whit said, slapping Harrison on the back and pushing him toward his doom.

Harrison put one foot in front of the other slowly, avoiding Thom’s inevitable decision for as long as possible.

Even if he wound up getting let go today, an outsider looking in might assume that his life was still going well: two decades of marriage, healthy kids, and a fantastic New York apartment; but he felt like he’d just been going through the motions for too long. A major chunk had been missing, a spark of excitement, adventure, and meaning. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was, just that he desperately longed for it to exist.

As he put his hand on the doorknob and turned, he tried to think of what would make him happy, something he wanted more than anything that would cause him to shoot out of bed every morning with a smile.

He squeezed his eyes shut, willing this desired vision to appear, but all he saw was darkness.

Who in their right mind didn’t covet Thom Bartlett’s office? High floor with downtown skyline views, fluffy clouds outside of the windows, a wet bar that Harrison eyed. Some good Scotch had already been opened. Harrison had forced himself to keep sober during a gobbled lunch of an Italian sub without his trusty flask to chase it down. Now his hands trembled at the thought of that Scotch burning his throat.

“Can I offer you something?” Thom asked, indicating the bar with a grand sweep of his arm, as if to say, yes, I have a bar in my office, which you, dear sir, never had here and regrettably never will.

“I might as well,” Harrison coughed, scooting over and pouring two shots worth into a glass. He sat across from Thom and put the comforting drink to his lips.

Thom fiddled with a stack of papers in a folder on his desk. He looked up at Harrison through the thick frames he kept low on his sloping nose, almost touching his top lip.

“So Sanford & Co. has become swollen lately. We’re too big for our own good right now and need to restructure–”

“Just spit it out,” Harrison said, knocking back half the glass of Scotch.

“I’m sorry, Harrison. We’re going to have to let you go, effective today.”

Thom delivered this news while fixing his Windsor knot, which Harrison figured had taken him numerous tries that morning to perfect. Harrison wanted to grab him by that knot and choke his tiny little bird head until it popped off.

“I’ve given practically twenty years to this firm,” he said, running his hands through his thinning hair. “I sleep here, I eat here. I barely exist at home anymore.”

“It’s the same for all of us, mate.”

“I’m not your fucking mate,” Harrison said, finishing the rest of the Scotch and starting to sway.

“Old boy, I am not the villain here. Every firm on the Street has been feeling this strain since the economy collapsed. Now we are offering you a solid severance package, which I think is more than generous. I’ll also save you the spectacle of having security escort you out.”

“What was Sanford’s reason?” Harrison asked quietly, not wanting to hear the answer but knowing that he’d be unable to leave without one.

Thom had already started pushing the folder across the desk, shutting Harrison up, getting this over with. His face looked exhausted from delivering executions.

“We’ve heard from some clients,” he said, taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Heard what…?”

“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately, huh, Harry?” he asked, his voice rising to the level of an uncomfortable squeal. “Your skin, mate…sorry, but you’re looking rather yellow, and your eyes, well there’s this permanent creaminess to them… I’m just using the client’s words–”

“Which client?”

“Which one hasn’t mentioned this is more like it.”

Harrison went to respond but now Thom was on a roll.

“As a VP, this is a face-to-face business. I go for manicures, mate, you think I like it–it’s a requirement. Maybe if you cut back on the drink….”

“I’ve advised some huge mergers here over the years.” Harrison pointed at Thom with his empty glass. “I didn’t realize this was only a pretty boys game.”

“You’ve let some messy pitchbooks slide through recently, as well.”

“Shouldn’t the analysts be blamed for creating them?”

“Don’t think they haven’t been dealt with, too.”

“So maybe I’ve gotten lax with a couple of pitchbooks for smaller clients, but never any of the big ones.”

“When…was the last time you’ve been to a doctor, Harry?”

“Doctors,” Harrison said, brushing them all away with a flick of his wrist. He had always believed that no matter what, doctors tried to find something wrong with you so you’d give them more business. And yeah, his skin had developed a yellowish hue as of late and sometimes his gut felt like it was rotting. Varicose veins had multiplied along his thighs and there were moments when he’d lose balance and have to go and dry heave in an empty stall once no one else was around, but he was a professional drinker just like his dad had been, and that son-of-a-bitch had put back a liter of gin and a pack of smokes a day up until the ripe old age of eighty-eight. Hell, who needed to live longer than that anyway? Life could be brutal, and if some booze, some smokes and some pills provided a relief from the banality of it all, then screw any doctor who’d tell him otherwise.

Thom tapped on the folder to indicate that it was time to wrap this up.

“I have to make sure that you understand what’s in the package,” he said, pushing it closer to Harrison until it practically fell off the desk.

Harrison opened it up and flipped through: six months pay, benefits as well, blah, blah, blah. He closed it shut and went to throw it in his briefcase.

“Tut tut,” Thom said, wagging his finger. “There’s something you missed that Mr. Sanford wanted to make sure you saw.”

Harrison re-opened the folder and spied a card clipped to the first page.

[]

“What the hell is a Desire Card?”

Thom reached over and un-clipped the card.

“You have been a valued employee here. Mr. Sanford wanted to make sure you understood that we’re not parting on bad terms. This is what’s best for everyone.”

Thom handed him the card. Harrison turned it over and over with his stubby fingers.

“It’s like…a phone or something too?”

“Of sorts, just to keep their network as secure and exclusive as possible. We didn’t include this in everyone’s package, so you know. This is an organization that Mr. Sanford has a long history with, very hush-hush obviously, very elite. If you want something…anything…they have the power to make it happen.”

“Can they get me my job back?”

“Cute, Harrison, don’t ever lose that charm.”

Thom reached over to take the empty glass away.

“So tonight, Harry, instead of drowning your sorrows in a bottle, give the Card a try and have them ring you up a girl I guarantee you’ll enjoy. Or whatever else you wish. We promise we’ll give a glowing report to any future job prospects so consider this the start of a paid vacation.”

Thom stuck out his hand to shake, the nails manicured, no rogue cuticles to speak of; but the hand was delicate and unassuming, not someone with the power to hold Harrison’s life in his palm, just a meager messenger. Harrison slipped the Desire Card in his pocket and shook Thom’s hand, squeezing hard as Thom grimaced.

“And see a doctor,” Thom replied, giddy now that this ordeal was over.

“Watch out, you’ll be gutted next,” Harrison said, rising and feeling his legs give out. He collapsed back into the chair as Thom let out a spurt of a laugh.

“You all right there, mate?”

“Piss on England.”

Harrison gave standing up another try. He gripped Thom’s desk for support. Thom looked worried that Harrison might take the whole desk down with him, but Harrison was doing his best to maintain even though it felt like he was viewing Thom through the wrong end of a telescope.

“You can go ahead and send Mr. Carmichael in,” Thom said, fixing his Windsor knot again that had become slightly askew. “Best to Helene and the children.”

Harrison slung his coat over his arm and gripped his briefcase as he headed for the door. After a few steps, his vision became cloudier and he could feel the creamy tears falling from his eyes. They stung his cheeks as he grappled with the doorknob and lurched into the hallway.

In the front office, Whit was leaning over the secretary’s desk; the two engaged in hushed words that stopped once Harrison emerged. Harrison ran his finger from one side of his neck to the other. Whit gave him a solemn nod back, but Harrison couldn’t hold it in any longer and puked up the barely digested Scotch.

“Oh my!” he heard the secretary say.

He stared at his sickness bubbling on the floor, a mix of half-chewed capicola and salami in an amber soup with specks of dark red blood throughout, the clots of blood so dark they looked like tar. He wiped his mouth and trudged past all the onlookers toward the elevators outside, glad that a part of him would remain embedded in Sanford & Co.’s carpet.

As the elevator arrived and he stepped inside, he wished for the undoing of everyone involved in his termination, knowing that only their collective downfall could get him to shoot out of bed with a smile.

 

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of SLOW DOWN and THE MENTOR (St. Martin’s Press), which was acquired by Macmillan Entertainment with the film in development. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The first two books in a thriller series, THE DESIRE CARD and PREY NO MORE, are forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in winter 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, Essays & Fictions, The New Plains Review, and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at www.leematthewgoldberg.com and @LeeMatthewG.

 

 

Inside the Book:


Title: Fuji, Sinai, Olympos
Author: Michael Hoffman
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com
Genre: Essays
Format: Ecopy /Paperback

Travel companions on my journeys are four in number: Odysseus, Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn and Basho.” (Travel) “He walked in priestly garb. Arriving towards evening at a town or village, he’d chant sutras until passersby gave him, or flung him, enough money for a flophouse bed, a little food, a bath and enough saké  to induce a measure of forgetfulness. ‘A beggar,’ he admonished himself, ‘has to learn to be an all-out beggar. Unless he can be that, he will never taste the happiness of being a beggar.’” (Walking) ‘“The pleasantest of all diversions,’ said the fourteenth-century Japanese priest Kenko,“ is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.’ Reading is inseparable from reverie. ‘Sitting alone under the lamp,’ I was soon not alone at all, but hosting, I venture to say, as vivid and varied a company as ever gathered under one roof. (Genji, Myshkin and Jones) “Everest is nothing, mere seismology.” (Fuji, Sinai, Olympos) 

  PURCHASE HERE

MEET THE AUTHOR

Michael Hoffman has lived in Japan since 1982. His columns appear regularly in the Japan Times, irregularly elsewhere. His previous books include “In the Land of the Kami: A Journey into the Hearts of Japan;” “Other Worlds; Little Pieces: This Side of Japan;” and “The Coat that Covers Him and Other Stories.”

 

 

Inside the Book:

 
Title: From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed
Author: Douglas Baign
Publisher: Virtualbookworm.com
Genre: Biographies/Memoirs
Format: Ecopy /Paperback

From Straight-laced to Cross-dressed tells the story of a disturbed adult in therapy seeking to understand and prevent his desire to commit suicide. Douglas starts by knowing that it has something to do with sex but soon discovers that he can’t talk about his sexuality without first discussing his religious beliefs and drift away from strict Christian Fundamentalism.The overlapping issues dredge up a confused morass of anger and love, abuse and sex.

  PURCHASE HERE

 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Author Or The Book.

  1. Writing this book was definitely a form of therapy. I was going through normal talk therapy while writing it anyway, but there were several times when I had to lay aside the book while I worked through issues.  Once done, I incorporated them into the book.
  2. The entire process was emotionally grueling.  I wept several times while keyboarding and talking or writing about it now still brings an ache to my heart.
  3. The abuse and self-abuse the book describes was actually much worse in reality.  In fact, my editor refused to work with the original manuscript because she thought the material was too sensationalist. I had to censor it quite a bit before editing even began than we toned it down further at least twice more before the final draft.
  4. The 1975-80 dates are real, as are the love letters and I still have the pen-and-paper originals. Yup. I really did cart all this stuff around every time I moved (lots) for 30 years under the theory that I’d need it someday to write a book.  I did and I did.
  5. I keyboarded everything from 1975-80 into the computer to use as reference material.  This ran into a hundred pages or so, which means I was very selective about what actually got included.  That material still exists, so I suppose I could use it somewhere else. But it’s doubtful
  6. I tampered with most dates written after 2000. I wrote this material piece-meal, one entry at a a time in no particular sequence then shuffled the pieces into different pictures as I drafted.  I tried tracking this but gave up, and simply re-dated everything once I completed a draft.
  7. The only person in my family who knows I’ve written this book is my wife. She commented that she was glad she didn’t play a large part in the book and that I respected her privacy when she comes on stage.
  8. The book contains several ‘easter eggs’ – hidden puns or references. Sorry!  I won’t tell you what they are. My test readers caught most of them but there’s at least one they didn’t catch and it may well stay hidden for a looong time.
  9. I prefer to stay anonymous for two reasons.  The most important is that the book is deeply personal and discusses my mental illness. I don’t want to be pointed at or singled out as crazy. I have enough problems dealing with crowds as it is now. Secondly, these are real people in the book.  There’s no reason to violate their privacy.
  10. I avoid participating in writing groups partly because I’m crowd adverse and partly because I don’t feel like my viewpoint is close enough to share.  BTW, the success of the writing classes I took as an undergrad depended more on the teacher and on my fellow students than on the subject studied (poetry, short story…).

MEET THE AUTHOR

Coming from a long line of teachers, Douglas Baign has a Masters degree in Education but spent his career testing and documenting low-level software. He likes looking at anything basic then challenging assumptions. Doug also has a BS in Cognitive Psychology and a deep and abiding interest in History and Physics.

Douglas’ super-power is breaking things, especially computer code, but he prefers to create books, poetry and music. He also enjoys travel and photography.

Tour Schedule

Monday, February 4

Guest blogging at Confessions of an Eccentric BookaholicTuesday, February 5

Book featured at Lover of Literature

Wednesday, February 6

Interviewed at As the Page Turns

Thursday, February 7

Guest blogging at The Literary Nook

Friday, February 8

Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom

Monday, February 11

Book reviewed at A Title Wave

Tuesday, February 12

Guest blogging at Bent Over Bookwords

Wednesday, February 13

Interviewed at Review From Here

Thursday, February 14

Book featured at The Zen Reader

Friday, February 15

Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity

Book reviewed at C’est La T

Monday, February 18

Guest blogging at She Writes

Tuesday, February 19

Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight

Wednesday, February 20

Book reviewed at Voodoo Princess

Thursday, February 21

Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, February 22

Guest blogging at The Revolving Bookshelf

Monday, February 25

Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth

Tuesday, February 26

Guest blogging at Inkslinger’s Opus

Wednesday, February 27

Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, February 28

Book reviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

 

RievesImageDwaine Rieves was born and raised in Monroe County, Mississippi.  During a career as a research pharmaceutical scientist and critical care physician, he began writing poetry and creative prose.  His poetry has won the Tupelo Press Prize for Poetry and the River Styx International Poetry Prize.  His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Georgia Review and other publications.  He can be reached at www.dwainerieves.com.

INTERVIEW:

Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Shirtless Men Drink Free. To begin with, can you give us a brief summary of what the story is about and what compelled you to write it?

A: The book is a work of literary fiction, which I began as a form of a really long poem, one that played out on the stage belonging to a success-driven Atlanta family in 2004.  I like to say the book is about “souls and the bodies that won’t let them go,” which is a perhaps an all too nonspecific way of saying the book is about three Atlanta professionals who change their lives in response to the death of their parents.  The book deals with a deep need for personal and family redemption, a need that I think pervades the lives of so many Southerners, myself included.

Q: What do you think makes a good literary fiction? Could you narrow it down to the three most important elements? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

A: Literary fiction lies at the opposite reading pole from twitter messages.  That is, literary fiction is created to provide more than a single, focused message (“dumb as a rock” as Trump said not so long ago in a twitter dart directed to a former cabinet member).  There are so many great examples of literary fiction—As I Lay Dying loomed in the back of my mind while working on my Shirtless novel.   I (along with most of the world) find much of Faulkner challenging, but I don’t think literary fiction has to be challenging.  For example, Carson McCullers’ The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is delightful, readable literary fiction and a post-hoc inspiration for my Shirtless novel.  I’ve often wondered whether all poetry should be called “literary.”  I doubt it, but I also suspect some bumper stickers and twitter messages actually could be called “literary.”  A major purpose of art, I think, is to help create empathy.  Perhaps empathy-making distinguishes  “literary” from “non-literary.”  Hmmm…sounds ominously all too political.

JPGFrontFinalCover300Q: How did you go about plotting your story? Or did you discover it as you worked on the book?

A: I started Shirtless Men Drink Free much as I start a poem—with images and mystery.  I was naïve though, in that I didn’t really appreciate how such an unstructured approach to a novel was a sump of time, angst, pain, frustration and rare joy.  It took over twelve years to finish the novel—that is, to get to the point where I felt the story had told itself.  In the process, I completed three novels, trashing each after multiple re-writes.  Ultimately, a very gifted editor by the name of Billy Fox helped steer the narrative along a plot line that got the story to where it was supposed to go.  The lesson is—when you’re lost or down-and-out, get help!  There’s great value in recognizing when you need help, especially if the help must be a rescue-effort.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist and how you developed him or her. Did you do any character interviews or sketches prior to the actual writing?

A:  I did many character sketches for my characters.  I even collected their pictures (fusing clipped headshots from magazines and newspapers with character profiles).  I learned the kind of underwear they prefer, who wears pajamas, who does yoga in the nude.  Intimacy was essential and, thankfully, the characters had little modesty—probably because they knew these details might never make it to the page.  I still admire their bravery.

Q: In the same light, how did you create your antagonist or villain? What steps did you take to make him or her realistic?

A:  The Shirtless novel has a trio of key characters, one of which is pivot point for the entire story.  Jackson Beekman is a derivative of a man I encountered one evening in a gym steam room—a towel falling provocatively, heat unbearable—even to a politician.  Combining this situation with Talk Radio chatter and a star-speckled Alabama night produced the cauldron for Shirtless Men Drink Free

Q: How did you keep your narrative exciting throughout the novel? Could you offer some practical, specific tips?

A:  Eudora Welty said plot was emotion acted out.  I believe that’s true, but I also believe emotion evolves from a disturbance of some sort—a catalyst that actually causes the emotion.  In short, something has to happen to create an emotion and to portray it, even if that “happening” is simply a change in a character.  In my Shirtless novel, the catalysts are the deaths of parents, one due to cancer, the other suicide.

Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?

A:  Shirtless Men Drink Free is set in an Atlanta of 2004.  This setting was a natural because the initial image for the story was gifted to me during the Talk Radio I listened to while driving across Alabama in 2004.  If you remember, 2004 was a presidential election year and, largely thanks to the threat of the homosexual agenda, George W. Bush was re-elected.  Of course, things turned out very differently for the gubernatorial candidates in Georgia—that’s the lesson within Shirtless Men Drink Free.

Q: Did you know the theme(s) of your novel from the start or is this something you discovered after completing the first draft? Is this theme(s) recurrent in your other work?

A:  I have to say the final theme of the novel didn’t solidify until twelve years after I started the novel—and after trashing so many novels before the definitive story appeared.  This theme—the need to know, to understand, to matter—pervades most of my writing, especially my poetry.

Q: Where does craft end and art begin? Do you think editing can destroy the initial creative thrust of an author?

A:  In poetry, I definitely think craft can devitalize an original work.  The devitalizing risk is there also for prose, although I think prose is probably less vulnerable to “over-crafting.”  That said, I remember how Gordon Lish turned some of Raymond Carver’s work into far more adventuresome creations with what I sometimes view as “over-editing.”  Still, I think having an engaged, concerned editor is a gift from heaven!  The writer can always take or leave the editing suggestions. 

Q: What three things, in your opinion, make a successful novelist?

A:  Creation of a novel that speaks to the authorial “self”—that’s three things, isn’t it?  Yes. A 1) novel that 2) speaks to 3) the “self.”  Remember the critic Cyril Connolly said something along the lines of,  “Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self.”  On this point, I definitely agree with Mister Connolly.

Q: A famous writer once wrote that being an author is like having to do homework for the rest of your life. Thoughts?

A:  I think most writers of creative projects adore doing “homework”—otherwise, they wouldn’t persist with writing.  Isn’t that fascinating—someone who enjoys “homework.”  The key here is that the “homework” is defined by the writer—not demanded by a teacher or other outsider.

Q: Are there any resources, books, workshops or sites about craft that you’ve found helpful during your writing career?

A:  I’ve taken innumerable poetry workshops and several workshops in fiction—all geared to the working woman/man.  By which I mean that I didn’t start writing until I was nearly 40—late.  Thank goodness there are card-carrying writers in this world who get early starts.  I’m not one of them—I came from a world where survival depended more on physical work than meta-physical creation.  My calluses have colors.

Q:  Is there anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the craft of writing?

A: Write whatever gives you the greatest pleasure.  Share the work.  Treasure your critics and learn to make the best of their offerings—never underestimating the value of the “self” within your work.

About the book:

In Shirtless Men Drink Free, Doctor Jane Beekman has seen her dying mother’s soul, a vision above the bed—a soul struggling with a decision, some undone task, something in this world too noble to leave.  The question that lingers—why?—prompts a shift in the doctor’s priorities.  In this election year, Jane must do what her mother, an aspiring social activist, would have done. Soon, Jane is embroiled in the world of Georgia politics, working to make sure her dynamic younger brother-in-law Jackson Beekman is selected the next governor, regardless of what the soul of the candidate’s dead father or that of his living brother—Jane’s husband—might want done. 

Indeed, it is a mother’s persistence and a father’s legacy that will ultimately turn one Beekman brother against the other, launching a struggle with moral consequences that may extend far beyond Georgia. Set amidst 2004’s polarizing election fears—immigrants and job take-overs, terrorists in waiting, homosexuals and outsider agendas—Shirtless Men Drink Free makes vivid the human soul’s struggle in a world bedeviled by desire and the fears that leave us all asking—Why?

Engaging, beautifully written and resplendent with realism, Shirtless Men Drink Free is a standout debut destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.  A meticulously crafted tale that showcases an outstanding new voice in Southern fiction, Shirtless Men Drink Free has garnered high advance praise:

“This is brilliant and rare work, as attentive to an absorbing plot as it is to a poetic, chiseled cadence.”—Paul Lisicky, award-winning author of The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship

“These characters are all too real. Rieves, as Faulkner, McMurtry and Larry Brown, writes people and story that will worm, burrow into you.  Change you even.” Adam Van Winkle, Founder and Editor, Cowboy Jamboree

“Vividly sensuous, this novel is full of textures, sounds and smells.  Rieves tells a terrific story with the sensitivity of a poet.” —Margaret Meyers, author of Swimming in the Congo

Published by Tupelo Press joint venture partner Leapfolio, Shirtless Men Drink Free will be published in trade paper (ISBN: 978-1-946507-04-4, 326 pages, $16.95) and eBook editions.  The novel will be available where fine books are sold, with an arrival on January 22, 2019.

 

3D-bigTitle: It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! My Journey to Self Discovery

Author: Jean Paul Paulynice, MBA

Publisher: PAULYNICE CONSULTING GROUP, LLC

Publisher’s contact info: INFO@PAULYNICECONSULTING.COM

Website: https://www.jeanpaulpaulynice.com/

Genre: Self-help/Inspirational

Publication Date: February 28, 2019

Price: (print, ebook, audio)

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-0-8 (Paperback) $12.99

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-1-5 (eBook) $6.99  

ISBN: 978-1-7335601-2-2 (Audiobook) $9.99

Do you feel as though you’re on autopilot, going through the motions every day—wake up, go to work, come back home, have dinner, sleep, repeat—without real meaning, depth, and purpose in your life?

Even if you have a fulfilling job and earn a good salary, that doesn’t mean you’ve found your passion in life. The problem is, finding your passion can be elusive, especially in our present society where we are constantly seeking external validation from others and are being judged in public platforms more than ever (i.e. social media). Perhaps the wisest statement in this book is that “the moment you start to listen to yourself, you can start shutting out all the noise.” This little book is all about soul-searching, self-analysis, and reflection. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and seek out your passions. Sometimes you have to change your mindset and shift your perspective about things in order for transformation and growth to take place. Likewise, it’s also about the choices you make, not so much the major ones but the little ones you make on a daily basis.

In his light, honest, and engaging prose, Jean Paul Paulynice encourages you to do some introspection so you can begin your path toward finding your passion and bliss in life. For those who journal, the reflection questions he asks make very good journaling prompts. A very quick read, under fifty pages, It’s Time to Start Living with Passion! is a little morsel of goodness and wisdom that will help on your journey to self-discovery.

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