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Archive for the ‘Virtual Book Tour Guests’ Category

the-brass-compass

About the Book:

Title: THE BRASS COMPASS
Author: Ellen Butler
Publisher: Power to the Pen
Pages: 362
Genre: Historical Thriller/Suspense

A beautiful American spy flees into the night. On her own, she must live by her wits to evade capture and make it to the safety of the Allied forces.

Lily Saint James grew up traveling the European continent, learning languages as she went. In 1938, her mother’s abrupt death brings her back home to Washington, D.C., and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lily comes to the attention of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Her knowledge of German, French, and Italian makes her the perfect OSS Agent, and her quick thinking places her as a nanny in the household of an important German Army Colonel, where she is able to gather intelligence for the Allies. After her marketplace contact goes missing, she makes a late-night trip to her secondary contact only to find him under interrogation by the SS. After he commits suicide, she flees into the frigid winter night carrying false identification papers that are now dangerous and a mini film cartridge with vital strategic information. In order to survive, Lily must make it out of Germany, into the hands of Allied-controlled France, through a path fraught with peril.

Pre-order Links:

To Be Notified for Pre-Orders Follow Ellen on Facebook, Twitter, or Join her Newsletter:

https://www.facebook.com/EllenButlerBooks/

http://www.ellenbutler.net/contact-ellen/

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Book Excerpt:

Chapter One

Into the Night

February 1945

Germany

Was ist sein Name?” What is his name? The SS officer’s backlit shadow loomed over his victim as he yelled into the face of the shrinking man on the third-story balcony. “We know you’ve been passing messages. Tell us, who is your contact?” he continued in German.

Lenz’s gray-haired head shook like a frightened mouse. With his back to me, I was too far away to hear the mumbled response or the Nazi’s next question. I pulled my dark wool coat tighter and sank deeper into the shadow of the apartment building’s doorway across the street from where my contact underwent interrogation. The pounding of my heart pulsated in my ears, and I held my breath as I strained to listen to the conversation. In front of Lenz’s building stood a black Mercedes-Benz with its running lights aglow, no doubt the vehicle that brought the SS troops. None of the neighboring buildings showed any light, as residents cowered behind locked doors praying the SS wouldn’t come knocking. This was a working-class neighborhood, and everyone knew it was best to keep your mouth shut and not stick your nose in the business of the Schutzstaffel.

Their presence at Lenz’s home explained why my contact at the bakery was absent from our assignation earlier today. I dreaded to imagine what they had done to Otto for him to give up Lenz’s name … or worse, mine. Even though I’d never told Otto my name, a description of me could easily lead the SS to their target.

Lügner!” Liar!

I flinched as the officer’s ringing accusation bounced off the brick buildings. A young SS Stormtrooper stepped out onto the balcony and requested his superior look at something in his hand. I should have taken their distraction to slip away into the darkness and run; instead I stayed, anxiously listening, to hear if Lenz would break under the SS grilling and reveal my identity. Clearly, they suspected he was involved in spying and would take him away. They probably also knew he had information to spill and would eventually torture it out of him, which was the only reason he hadn’t been shot on sight. It was only a matter of time before he gave me away. My friends in the French Resistance had been directed to hold out for two days before releasing names to allow the spies to disband and disappear. I wasn’t sure if the German network applied the same rules, so I remained to see if he would break before they took him.

“Where did you find this?” the officer asked.

The trooper indicated inside the apartment.

Zeig es mir.” Show me. He followed his subordinate through the doorway into the building.

Lenz turned and braced himself against the balcony. I watched in horror as he climbed atop the railing.

Halt!” a bellow from inside rang out.

Lenz didn’t hesitate, and I averted my eyes, biting down hard on my cold knuckles, as he took his final moments out of the hands of the Nazis. Sounds of shattering glass and buckling metal ripped through the darkness as his body slammed into the SS vehicle. In my periphery, a neighboring blackout curtain shifted.

Scheisse!” the SS officer swore as he and his subordinate leaned over the railing to see Lenz’s body sprawled across their car. “Search the apartment. Tear it apart!”

The moment they crossed the threshold, I sprinted into the night.

My breath puffed out in small plumes of smoke as I dodged through alleys, in and out of darkened doorways, moving on the balls of my feet. Silently, I cursed the cloudless sky as the moonlight bounced off the cobblestones, its brightness clear enough to land a plane. Unless waiting at midnight at a drop zone for needed supplies, a spy preferred the inky blackness of cloudy skies. Especially when escaping the enemy.

A few kilometers from Lenz’s apartment, I paused behind the brick rubble of a bombed-out building. My gaze searched the area for any sign of movement. Standing alert, I held my breath, attuning my senses to the nighttime sounds, and listened for the whisper of cloth, the click of a boot heel, or heaven forbid, the cock of a gun. The thundering of my heartbeat slowed, and I balled my fists to stop my shaking hands. All seemed quiet … for the moment.

My fingers curled around the tiny film cartridge, filled with information vital to the Allied cause, nestled in my coat pocket. Dropping down to one knee, I slipped the heel of my right boot aside and tucked it into the hidden cavity. The coded message I’d planned to pass to Lenz would have to be burned, but I couldn’t take the chance of lighting a fire right now. It would have to wait until morning.

About the Author

ellen-butler

Ellen Butler is a novelist writing critically acclaimed suspense thrillers, and award winning romance. The Brass Compass was inspired by the brave women who served in the OSS, British Special Operations Executive and French Resistance. Ellen is a member of The OSS Society and her fascination with WWII history originally piqued when her grandfather revealed his role as a cryptographer during the war. Ellen holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing for dry, but illuminating, professional newsletters and windy papers on public policy. She lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Hugh Aaron, born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts, was a Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he graduated from the University of Chicago where his professors encouraged him to pursue a literary career. However, he made his living as CEO of his own manufacturing business while continuing to write. He sold the company in 1985 to write full time. To date he has written two novels, a travel journal, a short story collection, a book of business essays, a book of his WWII letters, a child’s book in verse and a collection of movie reviews. The Wall Street Journal also published eighteen of his articles on business management and one on World War II. He resides by the sea in mid-coast Maine with his artist wife.

His latest book is When Wars Were Won.

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

About the Book:

Hal Arnold, a professor of English, returns to the Philippines after forty yewhen-wars-were-wonars yearning for the unity, spirit and optimism he knew as a 19- year-old member of a Seabee battalion in the South Pacific theater during World War II. Trying to recapture that experience, he writes this story, vividly portraying members of the battalion who impacted his life. Searching for his own identity, he finds it in the warm, rich culture of a small Filipino village where love and dignity thrive among a people who have suffered under the Japanese yoke.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes, I consider myself a born writer. Both in high school and college teachers encouraged me to become a writer.

What was your inspiration for When Wars Were Won?

My inspiration for When Wars Were Won derived from the men I served with as well as the natives I come to know, and in one case fell in love with.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing? How long did it take you to complete the novel? 

I concentrate on relationships, fate, and both successes and failures.

I took two years to write the complete manuscript. It was reduced during editing.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I wrote the novel from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm six days a week, then rejoined the family afterwards. I’d call this being disciplined.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book? 

Most challenging: Writing about people I have known throughout my lifetime. Each book poured out of me, as if it wrote itself.

What do you love most about being an author?

I simply love writing, both stories, plays and essays.

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? 

I both self-published and used small press publishers. I am happy with some publishers and not happy with others, but self publishing was consistently rewarding..

Where can we find you on the web? 

Most of my books with reviews and reader comments can be found at www.StonesPointBooks.com.

 

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sealed-up

Title: Sealed Up
Author: Steve Dunn Hanson
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 402
Genre: Action/Adventure/Suspense

The Da Vinci Code unsettles. SEALED UP shakes to the core!

UCLA anthropologist Nathan Hill, in a funk since his young wife’s death, learns of staggering millennia-old chronicles sealed up somewhere in a Mesoamerica cliff. This bombshell rocks him out of his gloom, and he leads a clandestine expedition to uncover them. What are they? Who put them there? No one knows. But, self-absorbed televangelist Brother Luke, who funds the expedition, thinks he does. If he’s right, his power-hunger will have off-the-charts gratification.

Striking Audra Chang joins Nathan in his pursuit and brings her own shocking secret. As they struggle through a literal jungle of puzzles and dead ends, she finds herself falling in love with Nathan. Her secret, though, may make that a non-starter.

When a shaman with a thirst for human sacrifice, and a murderous Mexican drug lord with a mysterious connection to Brother Luke emerge, the expedition appears doomed. Yet Nathan is convinced that fate—or something—demands these inscrutable chronicles be unearthed.

And if they are . . . what shattering disruption will they unleash?

Intricately layered and remarkably researched, this enthralling suspense-driven and thought provoking tour de force begs a startling question: Could it happen?

Pick up your copy at:

Amazon

First Chapter:

Thursday, December 21, 2000

NAJA, CHIAPAS, MEXICO

Nacom was dying.

Guanacaste trees filtered the twilight into gold slivers that shimmered across Laguna Naja. The lake bore the name of the Lacandón Maya village nestled against it. Kish squatted on the ribbon of beach that framed the giant pond and stared at the darkening blue water. His black hair hung like string around his face, and his white tunic draped him like a sack. Koh Maria told him to wait there. She said her grandfather wanted to speak with him.

Kish knew what Nacom wanted.

“Who will follow a nineteen-year-old shaman,” he groused. Guttural growls of howler monkeys sounded like mocking laughter, and his shoulders slumped. A sharp tug on his tunic pulled him from his petulance.

“Now,” Koh Maria said.

Kish followed her to Nacom’s hut where she pushed open two square-ish boards hinged to weathered posts. Inside, roughhewn mahogany planks of random widths formed the walls. The shaman’s shriveled body lay in a hand-loomed hammock of faded palm-green and corn-yellow stripes. He cracked open his eyes as Kish stood beside him. With the back of his hand, he dismissed Koh Maria.

“You. Chilam.” Nacom whispered. “Itzamná speaks.”

“Priest? Me?” Kish stuttered as he shook his head.

“Obey!” Nacom responded, and his finger pointed to the arcane mahogany box beneath his hammock. Kish did not know what was inside, but something about the box unsettled him. The old man moved his fingers back and forth. Once. Twice. Kish was to pick it up. His hands quivered as he set the box on the simple table by the hammock’s side.

Nacom mumbled something. Kish bent closer. Nacom spoke again. “What day?”

Kish replied in Hach T’ana, the pure Mayan tongue: “Lahca baktun. Bolonlahun katun. Uuc tun. Canlahun uinal. Uuclahun kin.” December 21, 2000—winter solstice.

“Yes,” Nacom slurred. “You prepare. Lahca baktun. Bolonlahun katun. Bolonlahun tun. Uaxac uinal. Hun kin.” In four-thousand-one-hundred-eighty-four days. His hand moved to a thin cord around his neck. He labored as he pulled it from under his white tunic revealing a small key. Kish was to remove it.

With care he raised the old man’s head and slipped the cord over it. For a long moment Nacom lay still; his breath hardly there at all. Then the index finger of his right hand pushed toward the box and wiggled. Kish fought his anxiety as he inserted the key.

“Should I open it?” His voice was high, tense. Nacom’s head bobbed a little. Kish turned the key and raised the lid. A rectangular-shaped object on top was enfolded in white cotton cloth. The one on the bottom, shaped the same but thicker, was wrapped tight in the black pelt of a jaguar and bound with four cords. Kish reached to pick up the white one.

“No!” Nacom’s fingers lifted an inch as he forced out the word with startling firmness. “You. Prepare. Listen Itzamná.” His breath was heavy. “You. Keep box. Sacwa’an (white). Study. Follow. I’ic’ (black). No you. Give. Lahca baktun. Bolonlahun katun. Bolonlahun tun. Uaxac uinal. Hun kin.” In four-thousand-one-hundred-eighty-four days. His breath was a gasp and almost ceased. For a long moment there was no movement; no sound, except for Kish’s own nervous panting. Then Nacom whispered, “Not fail. Lock box. Koh Maria.”

Kish closed the lid and fastened it. His hands shook as he put the cord with the key around his own neck. He scrambled to the doorway and motioned to Koh Maria. She entered, opened her eyes wide at Kish’s ashen face, then went to her grandfather and held his hand. His face puckered into a tiny wrinkled smile. With effort he lifted his eyes to reveal red-veined film, and words like a ghost-rustle parted his lips. “The box. Kish.” Koh Maria nodded.

With a gurgle, Nacom breathed in.

Breathed out.

Then no more.

About the Author

steve-dunn-hanson

I’ve lived in places that grew me . . . from a small Idaho farm town, a run-down neighborhood in St. Louis, and a middle-class southern California community, to Sydney, Australia, and Bucharest, Romania. My experiences are as varied as the places I’ve lived. I have a hopper full of “reality” including being a volunteer jail chaplain and flying with a U.S. presidential candidate in his small plane when an engine conked out. And all of this is fodder for my writing.

My latest book is the action/adventure/suspense novel, Sealed Up.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

 

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rani-st-pucchiThirty years ago, Rani St. Pucchi took the bridal world by storm, despite having no formal training in fashion. She is an award winning couture fashion designer and founder of the world-renowned bridal house St. Pucchi. A passionate and dynamic entrepreneur who launched her global empire in the United States in 1985, Rani’s vision was to create an avant-garde bridal and evening couture line with modern styling and classic details. That vision has been realized today.

Renowned for infusing her creations with touches of magnificently colored jewels, exquisite hand embroidery, delicate beading and sparkling crystals on the finest silks and laces, these inspired designs with innovative draping evoke the timeless elegance every woman desires. As one of the foremost designers to introduce exotic silk fabrics and hand embroidery, Rani is applauded for being a pioneer in bringing color to the United States bridal scene, having learned that white does not flatter everyone.

Rani has been recognized and nominated on multiple occasions for her design talent and won numerous awards as a Style Innovator. In addition, she has been honored with the Best Bridal Designer Award at the prestigious Chicago Apparel Center’s DEBI Awards (Distinctive Excellence in Bridal Industry).

Rani is famous for designing the wedding dress worn by “Phoebe” as she captured the hearts of millions when she said “I Do” in a unique St. Pucchi Lilac corset bodice A-line gown on the finale of the hit television show Friends.

Her range of avant-garde designs are worn by the world’s most discerning brides, including celebrities and style icons such as New York Giants’ player Aaron Ross’ wife, Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards; Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo’s wife Candice Crawford; Actress Tara Reid; Jason Priestley’s wife Naomi Lowde; actress Candice Cameron and Grammy Award winning country music singer Alison Krauss, who donned a specially designed Chantilly lace and silk gown at the Country Music Awards.

Rani has enjoyed much media attention. Her signature designs have been recognized in high profile media such as Entertainment Tonight, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, Town and Country, Bride’s, Cosmopolitan Brides, Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot.

Rani’s real passion other than the world of design is to help women who have suffered abuse and those who are struggling to find themselves. On her quest to empower women to be their best selves, she is passionate about helping them find their voice through building their self-confidence. She believes that confidence must start with a woman’s love and acceptance of her body.

Renowned for her savvy knowledge of a woman’s form and fit, Rani is eager to share her knowledge of more than three decades with all women so they can make better styling choices. In addition to the book you are reading now, Rani is the author of four upcoming books: The SoulMate Checklist: Key Questions To help You Choose Your Perfect Partner; Seven Types of Men To Avoid: Recognizing Relationship Red Flags; Designing with Heart: A to Z Guide to Bridal Designing; and Unveiling: A Celebrity Fashion Designer’s Story, a Memoir of her Life Journey.

Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Rani now happily lives in Los Angeles, California.

Her latest book is Your Body, Your Style: Simple Tips on Dressing to Flatter.

WEB & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE

About the Book:

Rani St. Pucchi, a trend-setting designer whose designs have been recognized in Entertainment Tonight, Harper’s Bazaar, WWD, Town and Country, Bride’s, Cosmopolitan Bride, Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot, can help define the style that flatters you most — no matter what age or stage of life you are in or what your body type is.

your-body-your-style-amazonWomen from all over the world have clamored to have a private consultation with Rani so they may benefit from her expertise and regain their self-confidence and shine.

In Your Body, Your Style, Rani shares with you her knowledge of the female form and guides you to find simple solutions to your most pressing body concerns. The focus is on you — and how you can make yourself more confident and appealing in almost every situation — simply by making a few changes and different choices in planning your wardrobe.

Once you embrace your unique attributes and dissolve your bad relationship with your body, you’ll be amazed to find how irresistible you are to others!

This simple and friendly guide reveals:

* What clothes and silhouettes are best for your specific body type

* Simple techniques to determine which colors flatter you most

* Solutions to common lingerie issues and the importance of fit

* The one dress that is a chameleon, and how to transform it into different looks

* How to travel stress free by planning your wardrobe well

* 101 styling secrets, professional tricks and fashion tips

RANI ST. PUCCHI  is an award-winning fashion designer, an author and relationship expert. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post.

PURCHASING LINKS:

AMAZON   *   B&N

Hi Rani.  Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Hi, I’m Rani St. Pucchi, award-winning designer and founder of the world-renowned Bridal house St. Pucchi which was established in 1985.

Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?

I write on subjects that are based on my personal experiences. It’s a methodical process and similar to designing a wedding gown. I first plan the outline, chapters, content and in what order to present them so they flow perfectly. I write from my design studio that opens up to a beautiful landscape.

Can you tell us about your most recent release?

Your Body, Your Style teaches you simple tricks on how to dress your body in a way that will enhance your best assets and camouflage areas you feel uncomfortable about or find lacking in any way, so that you may elevate your self-confidence and become clear on how you wish to be seen in the world.

How did you get the idea for the book?

It was a thought I had for a very long time, one that came from working with more than 15,000 women in my 30 plus years as a designer, and seeing the challenges they faced with accepting their bodies and always wanting to change it.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have three more books that I am writing which will all be published next year. I am also an Inspirational Speaker, a Coach and a Jack Canfield Certified Trainer. And of course, I continue to design my St. Pucchi collections, and in the process, I have the privilege to dress amazing women!

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

As any writer and author will tell you, the first book can be the most challenging one. Editing, and re-writing several times even, to make sure that your readers will understand is key. Most information exists in our heads and, as in fashion, much of the lingo is so second nature to us and those in the know in our field that we tend to forget that the general audience, for the most part, is clueless about what we may be referring to. So I suggest that when you write you think carefully about your reader and try to understand from their perspective to make sure that everything is clear and easy to follow. Your subject must be either entertaining to keep your reader engaged (in the case of fiction) or solve a problem your reader has (in the case of non-fiction).

 

 

 

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cat-o-nine-tales-banner

krystal-lawrenceKrystal Lawrence lives in the Pacific Northwest. She is the author of three novels—— two vampire stories, Risen and Risen II: The Progeny, and a trilogy entitled, Be Careful What You Wish For which is currently under consideration to be turned into a television series. Cat O’Nine Tales is Krystal’s first and much anticipated collection of short stories. Her books are available through Amazon and all major book retailers.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

About the Book:

What evil dwells within the pretty lady next door or the ordinary house cat?

cat-o-nine-talesWhat happens when you pursue your dreams into the desert after dark?

Beware the man borne of your imagination. He could seek vengeance on the one who created him.

Visit a bookstore offering a most alluring and sinister service.

Journey to the dark side with ten twisted tales of horror, malevolence, and the truly uncanny.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Would you call yourself a born writer?

I’ve never been asked that question before. I think I would call myself the born vessel. When a story wants to be told, it sinks its teeth into me and won’t let go until I tell the tale.

What was your inspiration for Cat O’Nine Tales?

The fun part of Cat O’Nine Tales, was that it was not just one inspiration…it was ten! I call this endeavor my accidental book because my previous three releases were all full-length novels. This one was very different. When I first began writing the stories in this book, I had no idea that I would write so many short stories over the course of the last year. I certainly never dreamed there would be enough to fill up an entire book and release an anthology.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

Scary things that could actually happen in real life. My characters are very authentic and in many cases very likeable. I try to create personalities that might remind you of someone you know or actually be friends with. And the situations they find themselves in have just enough fact based evidence wafting about to lend the subtle air of reality, dropped into the middle of the completely outlandish.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

These stories were all written over the course of the last year.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I write when the inspiration strikes and I don’t stop until the tale has been told. The stories don’t give me a lot of choice in the matter. If I don’t get the idea committed to paper it will rearrange the furniture in my head and bang around until I do. I don’t know…Is that discipline?

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

Because this was written in shorter blocks of time than a full-length novel, it was quite possibly the easiest of the four books I have written. Fortunately I faced very few challenges with this one.

What do you love most about being an author?

Having the ability to transport people out of their everyday lives, and share both the magic of mystery and the dark side of human nature in a finely crafted web.

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?

All four of my books have been released by Telemachus Press, a small boutique publishing house. I have been very happy with them.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.bewitchingtales.com

 

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doug-hewittD.A. Hewitt is an award-winning author of four novels and over a hundred short stories. One novel was awarded a gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards for best regional fiction. He attributes his success to hard work, honing a skill and providing an outlet for his passion for writing.

Born in Michigan, he lived for 25 years in North Carolina before returning to live in his home state. In addition to enjoying sky diving and mountain climbing, he is a proud veteran of the US Marine Corps and has earned a degree in mathematics.

Mr. Hewitt admits to a fascination with the work of Carl Jung and of the Gnostic religion. He’d always thought intertwining these topics in a science fiction novel was a stretch, but one day the storyline of Dominion came to him. He wrote the novel in a stream of consciousness. “It makes sense, tapping into the collective unconscious,” Mr. Hewitt says, “very much like Carl Jung might have predicted.”

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

About the Book:

It’s the year 2075. Lunar mining and processing facilities have prospered near the lunar south pole, where the Moon’s largest city, Valhalla, rests on the rim of the Shackleton Crater.

dominionDominion Off-Earth Resources has beaten the competition into space and is ready to establish its monopoly with the opening of the orbiting space resort Dominion. But Pettit Space Industries has a secret plan to emerge as a major contender in the commercialization of space. The upstart company is training the first space rescue squad at a secluded off-grid site in Barrow, Alaska.

The rescue squad gets nearly more than it can handle when its first mission involves the Pope, who’s traveling to the Moon to establish the Lunar See. During the rescue attempt, they discover Earth is imperiled by an asteroid large enough to cause mass extinction. Using the unique skills taught during their training, skills emphasized by the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, these Jungi Knights must elevate their game if they are to save both the Earth and the Pope—while not getting killed in the process.

Purchase at Amazon

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes! But in all honesty, it wasn’t until the seventh grade. That’s when I wrote a 57-page short story for an English assignment. The goal was for to fill out 1 page. Maybe 2. I wrote 57. Well, that was an excellent exercise in which a young 12-year-old realizes he is destined to be an author. It was a self-realization.

What was your inspiration for Dominion?

I asked myself the question, what if the colonization of the Moon brought about the need for a space rescue team, and that rescue team practiced unique skills that were honed by psychological means. Could that be the birth of a sort of Jedi Knights? Now, my guys (and gals) are called the Jungi Knights after the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, so although there’s a resemblance, it’s purely coincidental.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

I typically go for big themes like saving the planet, saving human-kind, or saving a group of people from certain death. It’s the bad guys I find interesting. Why do they do such things? I try to explore the darker sides of the human psyche.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

I thought I was finished after a year, but it took two and a half years. I added 20,000 words and a big finish.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

I try to write at least 30 minutes a day. What happens is, though, when I sit down to write, I get very much into my writing and will go on for hours and hours. I write every day. I’m very disciplined about that.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

I introduce the Process Map of Consciousness in Dominion and the hardest part was not getting too preachy or didactic. The Process Map has very much helped me out in my day-to-day activities and I wanted to share with others so they could benefit from the work I’ve done.

What do you love most about being an author?

The act of writing itself. I’d either die or go nuts if I didn’t write.

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?

I went with small press. I came close to getting a literary agent for this book, and I think an agent is necessary for getting signed with any sizeable publisher. And so I went with a small press, Double Dragon. They’ve been very professional.

Where can we find you on the web?

www.StinkyUniverse.com

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kali-kuceraKali Kucera is an American lorist and short story writer living in Quito, Ecuador, where he also rides and writes about bus and train travel. Since he was 9 years old he has been composing plays, operas, short stories, and multi-disciplinary experiences. He has been both a teacher and performer as well as an arts mobilizer, and founded the Tacoma Poet Laureate competition in 2008.

His latest book is the mythical realism novel, Unawqi, Hunter of the Sun.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Would you call yourself a born writer?

Yes, I would, but the writing took different forms.  I started writing songs at nine years old, then poetry, then songs with poetry, then somewhere in adolescence that spread out to short stories in verse, which became musicals and plays and operas by sixteen….you know, kind of like wisteria, you have to watch it or it will grow all over everything.

What was your inspiration for Unawqi?

unawqi-hunter-of-the-sun-by-kali-kuceraUnawqi had two beginnings, like trails in two separate forests that merged together in an open plain that was more or less the a-ha moment.

The first inspiration came while sitting on the front porch of my good friend Thomas Merton Brightman at his retreat center near Hampstead, Maryland. It was a beautiful morning looking out over the rolling hills, but there was something odd standing right in front of me that I couldn’t look past: a dead tree in whose limbs were resting a bunch of freshly picked sunflowers.  It was such a striking thing, I couldn’t help bring it up to Thomas.  He responded in his usual soothing and philosophical manner. “Oh yes, old man with sunflowers in his arms.”  That phrase was so beautifully packed with symbolic meaning, it unleashed a trove of instant and profound creativity deep within me that would stay with me and with my pen for a very long time, and out of that pen came the questions about why an old man would have sunflowers in his arms; what melancholy was his backstory (dead tree) and why did he cling to the contrast of something so bold and beautiful (sunflowers)?

The second strand of inspiration answered my first set of questions in an existential way. In 2011 my fiancé from Colombia, Julio Garcia, rather suddenly took his own life. Like everyone else, I was at first stunned and looked for empirical answers as to what was ‘the news’ that brought this about.  I was looking for the forensic answers that would leave no doubt so we could all bury him in our minds and move on with life.  That was until the very character of that search bothered me, and I realized any answers found would not be adequate, nor do any justice to his life.  I came to believe he took his own life because its beauty so clashed with the suffering he lived with from his birth and could not separate himself from.  I believed his story is what made him beautiful, and it was richly complex, adventurous, magical, and needed to be told in a way that suited the largeness of who he was. Julio was a different prism of both the dead tree and the alive sunflowers, but he had the trajectory of life events that filled in the backstory. 

So the two inspirations merged over time, but as I base my writing in the recovery of ancient folklore and mythical realism, the way the story unfolded took a distinctive mythological form and drew upon equally magical places I have lived, in Tacoma, Washington, and in the Andes of South America.

What themes do you like to explore in your writing?

The intertwining of nature and humanity, and how there is danger and love between them at all times.  This is the constant theme of mythology that I stay close to in my own writing.

How long did it take you to complete the novel?

Somewhere around five years, but because I’m a writer of lore, smaller stories within the bigger story were done and told along the way.  The smaller stories tell me and teach me what the bigger story is going to be.

Are you disciplined? Describe a typical writing day.

Well, disciplined is a judgment I’ll leave for others to decide, but I will say I have a routine. Sundays are writing days.  I love to go to church in the morning just to hear the old stories and epic themes in such short powerful sentences. Then I do a lot of walking, thinking over past chapters I’ve written, talking them through in my mind, seeing what kind of emotion they invoke. Yes, sometimes I’ll be sobbing on the sidewalk for no apparent reason that others can perceive, but they are invigorating sobs, they springboard me into settling down in some café or on my back patio under the shadow of Cayambe. And there I sit with some coffee…maybe from which comes nothing, but then maybe comes a lot.

What did you find most challenging about writing this book?

It was the moment after I thought I was finished writing it. I read it through again, wanting to congratulate myself and move on, and instead ended up with a pit in my stomach feeling sadly that it was not done, but didn’t at that moment know what was missing.  Eventually that passed, but it was a terrible feeling of being surprisingly stuck.  At least in all the moments previous, it was much clearer I wasn’t finished.

What do you love most about being an author?

Making the unreal real, I guess. There’s also the aspect that words, once written, have immense lasting power.  They outlast you, they come back to you when nothing else will.

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?

I’ve done a full circle from self-publishing, to pursuing traditional publishing, and then coming back to self-publishing. I learned along the way of pursuing publishers how far they have gone into the gutter and it’s basically impossible to get considered by anyone serious, and in direct contrast, how the self-publishing option has increased the quality and respectability of its own game over the past five years.

Where can we find you on the web?

http://papakali.com

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