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The book is a collection of produced plays that I transformed into narratives. Many people ask me if there is any truth to my first story the “Curse of the Blue Vagina”, and the answer is yes and no. After all, aren’t most fictional works loosely based on a single grain of truth?
        For me the event that triggered “the curse” was when I found out my then ex- boyfriend was courting numerous chicks behind my back. He lived with me while I worked and paid bills. He also used my computer, and on that same computer was where I found countless emails to other women. In some cases women knew about me and didn’t care. Some told him outright  that he was doing was not ok. Others simply nonchalantly ignored his obvious flirtatious comments. And the few that grew tired of him pursuing  would put a stop to it all together even when his response was “My girlfriend is ok with it.” It was total bullshit. It was one thing to want some attention but it was an obvious disregarding of my feelings.  You want to do that stuff don’t live with me.
I was not clear why he would stick around if he was obviously not into me. I decided to research and learn about myself as a result and I became determined to get to the root of why I was attracting a person who had bad character when I myself really believed I was the straight up type.  Then one day while riding the subway I heard someone say it clearly.  “You allow people to abuse you as much as your willing to abuse yourself.” I thought Hmmm, I wasn’t valuing myself in my relationships and it was showing up all over the place particularly in my intimate relationship.  You teach people how to treat you. And that was it. My eyes were opened – but that wasn’t enough to leave and that bugged me.
Although the ex claimed that nothing happened with those women, I wondered why he didn’t leave either?  Was he waiting for them to make a move?  Or just avoiding failure by keeping what he had?  Fast forward and I still continued to attract this type of tactless character.
It was then that I decided to look toward my created character Cassandra to support with getting over the pain of another heart break.  Only this kind of heartbreak was odd feeling. So Cassandra went on a journey through time to figure out the answers for herself.
 Writing  this book  was a healing experience for me because I found  we are all genuinely responsible for our own happiness. Yet oftentimes so many of us put our hearts into the hands of another expecting them to be that person that would make us whole.  Thing is that person is committed to doing whatever makes them happy in the moment.  Especially if their fulfillment is based on ego. It was an epiphany I realized through the character of Cassandra.  She taught me that it was never anyones job to be your hero.  Thus Cassie’s journey takes us on a funny ride where she discovers that for herself.
The second story is based on an experience I had with while living with my aunt that had cancer.  This story was my dedication to her.  And the third piece, well that is my love letter to my girls. I interviewed several different women over the years and was inspired to write this loosely based on some of the stories they shared.
Overall, the inspiration for my pieces in this book, stemmed from heartbreak, loss of a loved one, and the empowerment that only comes from surrounding yourself with awesome female friends.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jonisha Rios is an accomplished screenwriter, author, director and actress that currently resides in California. She teaches Solo-show workshops to adults and kids. 

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Hi all,

It’s been a while since my last post…

I’d like to announce the release of my parody/satire novel, SUNSTRUCK, just published by Twilight Times Books! I really like the cover. Just looking at it makes me want to run to the beach–almost impossible in the middle of Brussels. It is a light, fun cover for a light, quirky summer read.

To celebrate the book’s release and for a limited time, the book will have the reduced price of $2.99 (instead of $5.95). You can find it at:

Amazon | Barnes&Noble | OmniLit

I’m offering a special gift for those of you who purchase a copy: just send me proof of purchase at mayra.calvani@gmail.com and I’ll give you a coupon to get my supernatural thriller, DARK LULLABY, free from Smashwords! You can learn more about the book here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94529

As part of the book’s release, I’m having a One-Day Blitz at Enchanted Book Tours andBewitching Book Tours. There will also be a virtual blog tour starting tomorrow and running until September 15th.

You can read reviews about the book on Amazon and also read a chapter HERE.

Cheers and happy summer reading!

Mayra

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Comfortably Awkward is Kenny Scudero’s debut self-published novel. He is a twenty-two year old author from New York City who looks forward to a bright future in writing. Kenny recently graduated from St. John’s University where he majored in Sport Management. At St. John’s, Kenny was Sports Editor for the University newspaper. He is currently working on his second novel which will be out in the fall of 2012. Visit kennyscudero.com for more information.

About the book: For Albert Ferenzo, life is a series of ironic events that may or may not have a reason behind them. While struggling to find a niche for himself, Albert blames the corporate world for hindering his dream of making money and living a prosperous life. After playing the good guy his entire life, Albert decides that the only way to get ahead in the world is to be the bad guy. Albert questions his own fate as he drives himself to insanity in an effort to find happiness. The destinies of Albert and everyone around him intertwine as he finally realizes what life is all about or at least, he thinks he does in this revolt against normality.

Interview:

What was your inspiration for Comfortably Awkward?

I wrote the entire book before I picked the title “Comfortably Awkward.” I wanted to have a title that embodied the overall feeling of the story. The characters in the book are always in weird, awkward situations. Albert Ferenzo, the main character, seems so used to these awkward occurrences that he just about becomes comfortable in them.

Tell us something about your hero and/or heroine that my readers won’t be able to resist.

Albert Ferenzo is not perfect and he knows that but he just wants to make people happy. He wants the good people to be rewarded and the bad people to be punished. He believes in justice and he wants to make the world a better place but most of all, Albert wants to be rich so he can spoil the people he loves. He has a lot of mean things to say about people but he always has a reason for his words and actions.

Is there a villain or villainess in your story? Tell us about him/her.

There is one main villain named Clifford Feinman who pretty much symbolizes the evil that exists in the world. Clifford represents greed, envy, and temptation. All of the things Albert learns to hate in this story are all characteristics of Clifford Feinman’s lifestyle.

Who is your favorite character in the book and why?

I love Albert because I’m definitely like him in so many ways, but my favorite character is Brody. Brody is Albert’s cousin and he is just so crazy and neurotic, it’s hard to hate him. Brody is outrageous in every way and he does things that no human would ever do in real life but he means no harm, all Brody wants to do is laugh.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?

That’s a tough question because there are a few scenes that really stick out to me. I think my favorite scene is most of Chapter Fourteen titled “The Party.” Albert’s crazy uncle Jeffrey has a party in his house, which has a casino, and a lot of defining things happen for Albert. There are a lot of intriguing people at this party to add a few laughs but it’s a turning point in the story because Albert realizes what he has to do and begins putting his master plan into effect.

What do you love most about being an author?

I love being able to write wherever I am. I can go out to a bar or out to a store and I’ll see something or someone who gives me an idea for a story. Wherever I go, I see stories and meanings and ideas. Most of all, I love the feeling I get when I write something which I perceive to be great. Whether I’m venting about something that happened to me or creating a new world or point of view, I am truly happy to read it back and know that someone else might read it and appreciate it.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

Anyone who has ever had a dream or wanted to be something great will love my book. All I ever wanted was to be happy with my profession while being able to take care of my loved ones. I revolved my story around this message because I feel that it is the most important thing in the world. What’s all the money worth if you aren’t happy or if you’re alone? I hope people will read my book and improve their own lives after experiencing what it’s like to be comfortably awkward.

Author’s twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/KennyScudero
Author’s facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=759844044
Link to excerpt: http://www.kennyscudero.com/readchapterone.htm
Link to purchase page: http://www.amazon.com/Comfortably-Awkward-Kenny-Scudero/dp/1467989053/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328831065&sr=8-1

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CS DeWildt lives in Tucson Arizona with his wife and sons. His novella Candy and Cigarettes was recently released by Vagabondage Press as an ebook. His short stories can be found online at Bartleby Snopes, Word Riot, The Bicycle Review, Foundling Review, and Writers Bloc.

About the book

In the face of revenge, innocence is meaningless.

Death is omnipresent to small-town loner Lloyd Bizbang. Today proves no exception. After being attacked yet again by a pair of sociopaths who have targeted him since childhood, Lloyd stumbles upon a sight he wishes he could unsee in the town junkyard. Now as he just tries to live through another day, the bodies are stacking up in the town of Horton, and Lloyd finds himself connected to each of them via the drug-and-drink-addled, unhinging police chief, yet another person who has an old score to settle with Lloyd. A game of revenge and survival is underway, but will there be a winner at the day’s end?

Interview

Thanks for stopping by The Dark Phantom. Tell us a bit about your novella, Candy and Cigarettes, and what inspired you to write such a story.

The setting initially. I wanted to set something in a fictionalized version of the town I grew up in, something dark, something that explored the nature of revenge and redemption. So I got to work and put my main character, Lloyd Bizbang, on shoulder of the main highway that ran through town and the story just took over from there.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

I don’t outline. I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me. I work better without a plan so I start with a vague idea of where I’m going and then take the scenic route. I find interesting stuff along the way and if I get lost it doesn’t matter, I always end up someplace.

Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

Ah, the muse. So easy to dismiss unless you’ve really tried to create something true.
I wait, plain and simple. My muse is wild and runs out on me often, like a bad-for-you lover you just can’t break free from. She’s high maintenance, but she’s mine and I know she’ll come back to me eventually. She knows I’m faithful to her. I just keep at it and she returns, tearful, remorseful, and full of sweet surprises.

From the moment you conceived the idea for the story, to the published book, how long did it take?

I spent two months getting a quality draft together. Then I submitted it to a few appropriate small presses, waited for the rejections, got them, and then finally received word Vagabondage Press was interested about nine months after I finished it. From there it was almost another year for editing and finally publication.

Describe your working environment.

I try to keep it sparse with as little distraction as possible. I try. But most of the time it’s a mess. I just moved to a bigger place and now I have a room just devoted to my writing. It’s the first time I haven’t had to share my space with a houseguest or washing machine or the accumulated crap of my three plus decades as a good consumer.

They say authors have immensely fragile egos… How would you handle negative criticism or a negative review?

It goes with the territory, so you better get used to it. If someone says something especially spiteful, well that says more about them than the work. And you just have to realize that writing is a highly subjective art form. Take any great work of literature and read the reviews on Amazon.com. No matter what it is some people will love it and some people will hate it. That said, I take constructive feedback, but in the end it’s my party and if you don’t like it, you can go someplace else.

Are you a disciplined writer?

More than most, less than some. It’s tough to say. My goal is to get something on paper every day and most days I succeed. But I’m sure there are other writers who would consider me lazy if we’re talking word count only.

How do you divide your time between taking care of a home and children, and writing? Do you plan your writing sessions in advance?

I solved that problem by waking up earlier than everyone else. I love to write in the early morning, when it’s still dark and the world is quiet. It’s as if I’m the only person alive and I’m doing exactly what I want to do.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, so put in the time.
I think I saw that on the television.

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David Pérez was born and raised in the South Bronx in New York City of parents of Puerto Rican descent. Growing up in the Millbrook Houses in the 1960s and navigating his way through Catholic school comprise much of the storyline for his memoir Wow! (11B Press, 2011). David has written hundreds of published articles for newspapers and magazines and is also a skilled editor. As an actor, he has appeared on stage, film and commercial print. He currently lives in Taos, New Mexico with his wife, poet Veronica Golos, and is the father of two adult children, Belinda and Jase.

Thanks for this interview, David! Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write it?

Wow! is a memoir of a smart, funny and somewhat naïve Puerto Rican boy (me) growing up in the South Bronx in the 1960s, living in the projects and navigating his way through a Catholic elementary school populated by a trio of desperadoes known as the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.

Wow! is not the typical “boy grows up in ghetto, survives despite drugs and violence” story. This childhood reads like an adventure tale with David and his somewhat wacky friends: Julio’s constant queries in Religion class (“What if you only steal bubble gum?”), and Chino’s challenges to authority (“I ain’t afraid of no Brothers of any heart!”). David’s brother George is worried about junkies stealing boxes of potato chips in broad daylight. Mom loves the Funk &Wagnell’s Encyclopedia. Dad has just discovered credit.

I called my book a “memoirito” because of its novella length (128 pages). Its episodic writing style also reminded me of the telenovelas that Latinos watch, or those popular pocket paperback novelas in Spanish with illustrations. Wow! has illustrations too, done by my brother George Pérez, an internationally acclaimed comic book artist. He drew the cover as well.

As far as inspiration goes, I’ve always been a storyteller, whether as an activist journalist, writer or actor—and especially as a father. Seeing my kids become adults so quickly made me think of my own growing up, how cool it would be if I could capture each moment as if with a pause button. Reviewing my coming-of-age eventually resulted in my memoir.

How would you describe your creative process while writing this book? Was it stream-of-consciousness writing, or did you first write an outline?

It was a little of both, actually. My process began several years ago at an Ashram in upstate New York. Reminiscing on what an eventful life I’ve had, I took out a little notepad and began jotting down names of family and childhood friends, names of streets in my neighborhood, memorable events like first dates, each entry only a few words long. I filled several pages and only got to high school!

Months later I took an entry, for instance St. Luke’s or running track, and just free wrote whatever popped to mind. And that’s how Wow! sprang to life. Eventually, I made chapter outlines and began pulling the narrative together. Thus the writing became more structured, more focused, with intent.

How long did it take you to write the book?

My book took about seven years to complete. I wrote it in spurts because there’s so much else in my life that I enjoy doing—spending time with family, going for hikes, acting in community theater, and other freelance writing and editing gig that I regularly get. So by necessity Wow! had to grow organically. My process also included sending sample chapters out to magazines, going to writing workshops for group critique (a must for all writers), and doing public readings, which I enjoy immensely.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?

Prior to Wow!, my main writing had been journalism, which I still do. This is a field where you don’t have time for writer’s block. You have deadlines to meet, other assignments waiting to be done. Journalism also requires that you get to the point quickly and concisely, and that’s similar to all writing—at least it should be.

That said, I did have moments with my book when I stared at a blank page for hours, or when I just couldn’t get beyond a first sentence. I struggle with beginnings a lot. It’s important, I feel, to draw the reader in quickly, to get them hooked into your story right off the bat. But since I had no deadlines beckoning, my writing blocks would kick in big time.

In addition, this was about my life. Given my primary training, this was much harder to write than some article about another person or event. Plus I didn’t have a word limit; there was nothing I couldn’t write. I could follow my writing plan or chuck it all together—which I once did, only to find myself frantically combing my computer to retrieve my original chapter outline. No question: Wow! was a challenge to complete. It was fun, yes, but definitely a lesson in how to keep your eyes on the prize.

How was your experience in looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?

Publishing has been interesting; I did tons of research about the various options. I started off by submitting directly to small and mid-sized presses, rather than seeking an agent. There are plenty of quality presses that don’t require an agent, Graywolf and Algonquin, for instance. Anyway, my manuscript was accepted by a small press two weeks after I submitted it; pretty incredible, I thought, and quite the confidence builder! Then I got other “we’re interested” bites from noteworthy presses.

As I was deciding what to do, I met with my brother George at his home in Orlando, Florida to discuss the cover and interior illustrations. He wondered if I should just publish it myself to “make most of the money and maintain all artistic control.” It was an option I was also considering, especially since I wanted to keep the book’s price at $10, a hard thing for a traditional press to accept since they would make little money—and me even less.

Soon afterwards, a friend of mine who’s into the film business discussed with me the idea of starting a press, and having Wow! be their launch book. As she put it, Wow! had cinematic elements well suited to the entertainment goals of her company, 11B Productions. We discussed terms and cemented a deal. Thus began 11B Press. I’m very pleased with my decision.

In terms of advice, the main thing I can offer is that you should explore each and every possibility, and then find out what works for you. At the same time, keep yourself open to the unforeseen and the unexpected. Seek out other writers and immerse yourself in the creative community as much as possible; many doors can open that way.

But all in all, keep things in balance. At a recent “21st Century Publishing” panel held in Taos, New Mexico (where I currently live), I emphasized that everyone has to seek his and her own journey. Why do you want to write? How important is a book to you, really? What other creative things give you pleasure?

Everything boils down to being true to yourself. It sounds metaphysical but it’s true.

What authors or type of books do you read for fun?

I read many different types of books, and since I work part-time at Moby Dickens Bookshop in Taos (25 years in business as an independent bookstore) my reading list is totally out of control. I like books on politics and the economy (the more left the better), science fiction, humor, mystery, world history, science, new age, and memoir. Within this vast list of genres, authors I’ve enjoyed include Arthur Clarke, Chris Hedges, Michael Pollen, Graham Hancock, Elizabeth George, Naomi Klein, Vine Deloria, David Sedaris, and Michio Kaku. Recommended Taos authors include Summer Wood, Veronica Golos, John Nichols, and Frank Waters.

Among the many Latino authors I admire are Eduardo Galeano, Junot Diaz, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, Cristina Garcia, Juan Flores, Julia Alvarez, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Esmeralda Santiago, Abraham Rodriguez, playwright Jose Rivera, and almost all Latino spoken word and slam poets.

Not every book I seek out to read is fun. Yet even when a book is difficult to read because it exposes realities like war and violence and suffering, I still get a keen sense of fulfillment in feeling my worldview expand, in simply knowing. I get a rush out of truth, and good writing always does that to me, no matter what its content.

Do you have a website/blog where readers may learn more about you and your work?

I only have a website, which is www.davidperezwow.com. There you can hear audio clips from Wow!, find samples of my other writing, and learn of my editing experience, among other goodies.

Do you have another novel on the works?

Wow II—The High School Years!

Thanks, David, and best wishes in your writing career!

About the book:

Wow!
128 pages
$10.00 print version
$3.99 Kindle ebook

Click on the cover below to get your copy!

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nyI read this book while vacationing on the Turkish Riviera this past summer. It was an entertaining, delightful read — the perfect companion for those relaxing days under the sun. That said, this is a novel that will be enjoyed by chick lit fans anytime of the year and at any place.

The story begins in London, with twenty-something Angela Clark discovering at her best friend’s wedding that her fiancee has been cheating on her for some time. What’s worse, everyone somehow already knew about it — everyone except Angela.

Filled with rage, unhappiness and disappointment, Angela flies to New York City and rents a hotel room for a few days. There, a lot of unexpected things happen. She befriends one of the hotel clerks, who introduces her to her group of interesting friends. She meets two very different men who each in his own way sweep her off her feet. Of course, she also does some serious shopping (It’s New York City, right? Plus, she has a credit card). But most excitingly, she’s suddenly offered an opportunity to do what she likes best: write.

Through a series of adventurous escapades, Angela does some growing up and takes a closer look at herself and her life. Will she go back to London, as her family and friends are urging her to, or will she stay in New York and fulfill her dreams?

The writing is light and fun, making this a quick read. The author brings the city to life, with its exciting coffee shops, night clubs and stores. But the best part is Angela. With all her defects, she comes out as a very real and endearing protagonist.

Warning: I Heart New York will make you want to take the next plane to New York.

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