Saturday, March 24, 2012

Author Interview with Ella Medler (Martin Little, Resurrected)

A hearty welcome to all readers.

Today we welcome the exciting new author of the light-Fantasy novel: Martin Little, Resurrected; Ella Medler.

Thank you for joining Ella.

So, I understand you hail from the land of vampires and Dracula? Tell us about your memories of growing up in Transylvania?

I grew up on the gentle slopes of the West Carpathian Mountains, in a small town at the foothills of a medieval castle. I used to climb the hill to the very top and play amongst the ruined walls – that is one of the best, most treasured memories of my childhood. There was a play area at the bottom of the hill – swings and slides and other play equipment – but I never wanted to spend time there. I remember one day I ran ahead of my granddad and took a longer route up, one that wound in and out of dark caves with water seeping down the mossy walls. I loved these mystery-filled caves; a child’s imagination doesn’t need much more than that to come up with fantastic adventures. Well, that day was a little more exciting than usual. That day a viper crossed the path not fifteen inches in front of me. It slid quickly into a bunch of dead leaves, more scared of me than I was of it, but it did make my heart pump faster as I backed down the path, my eyes locked onto the leaves the snake disappeared into for as long as I could keep them in sight, and then flew back down to my granddad’s side where I stayed for, oh, probably a good ten minutes. My childhood was a fun time, a free time and I absolutely loved it.

Where do you live now, and is this your last stop?

I live in Cornwall, England, surrounded by much more nature than should be logically possible in such a ‘busy’ country. I have to say, it took a while to find somewhere that felt so good, so right, somewhere where I could pretend to be the only person left on Earth, or at least one of the few, if I so wished. I can walk along craggy cliffs overlooking the Atlantic any day I choose or stand on the top of a hill from where I can see both the South and North coasts of Cornwall in about ten minutes. That’s got to be pretty close to heaven. There’s only one other place like this in the UK, and it keeps calling to me – the top West coast of Scotland, almost off the map.

When the kids fly the nest, I dream of downsizing to a small cottage on top of a cliff overlooking the sea, with very little scope for visitors. I’ll have a guest room, of course. Just not a very comfortable bed in it!

You are a mother, a wife, a novelist and playwright. Tell us your favorite parts of each.

Wow. That’s a question and a half! The best part of being a mother is seeing your children grow and blossom and find their own way. The best balm for a mother’s heart is to see that those small persons who needed the bike held steady as they learned to ride are not afraid to grab their own lives by the scruff of the neck and make their own decisions. The best part of being a wife, I think, is the knowledge that with your husband by your side you can weather any storm.

As a novelist, I get to live as many lives as stories in my head. I am blessed with a vivid imagination – when I write, I literally see what’s about to happen in my story next; it’s as if I’m watching a movie. I have to hurry to catch it all and commit it to paper. Well, word document, really.

Writing plays is what I do to relax. The clue is in the name; it’s called ‘play’ for a reason. For me, it’s just a game, a way for my mind to download conversations, jokes and situation comedy. I am lucky to work with a hugely talented bunch of amateur dramatic actors in my spare time. They make my job so much easier – I can just picture one of them on stage and I instantly know what they would say and how they would react. Watching people speak the words I write is tremendously satisfying.

What inspired you to begin writing?

If you mean way back, right at the beginning, it was watching comedy sketches on TV. I was just a kid, but I started work right away and wrote a sequence of comedy sketches to be played out by me and my friends to an audience of parents and other willing adults out in the playground. I used the playground as the backdrop, the trees and shrubs, everything was my stage. I remember being a little disappointed when the flowers that were all out one month disappeared by the next. That’s when I first started taking notice of the passage of time and the changing seasons. I’ve never stopped writing, though life did push it way down the priority list. It took a serious accident and three weeks stuck in hospital staring at the ceiling in the trauma ward to really make me think. I spent a lot of time writing to pass the time and also, I guess, to subconsciously take myself away from the hospital setting. Nothing major changed in the general set-up of my life – I learned to walk again and went back to work, but this time I started carrying my laptop around everywhere I went and just wrote and wrote every spare minute of the day. Writing clawed its way up that priority list higher and higher every week, every day, until it reached the top spot.

Tell us about your premiere novel: Martin Little, Resurrected.

Premiere is such a grand word – you’d probably floor poor Martin Little if you so much as whispered it in his ear! He’s not a very strong man.

Martin Little is a series of full-length novels, and Martin Little, Resurrected is the very first bead on the string. The best way to describe it is to use the words of one of my readers: pure escapism. It’s an adventure story written in first person from a male perspective, but not just that – it’s a journey of discovery in more ways than one. Imagine your life changed direction, 180 degrees, all at once, imagine your emotions assaulted by feelings never experienced before, and add to that a fantastical element that just about wipes off all that you knew and took for granted in your life – all knowledge, all logic, all expectations. I won’t say much more than this: the whole plot is one cliff-hanger after another, it is relentless, quirky, it’s original, and probably not everybody’s cup of tea. Oh, and I make fun of the British lifestyle and societal rules in the background, in particular bureaucracy, the modern CCTV obsession, health and safety rules and the legal system.

What has been the most exciting part of being a published author?

It all happened so fast, I barely had time to take it all in. I remember the day I was sent the cover – oh, that cover says it all! If I had to paint the whole book on one sheet of paper, that would be it. It just couldn’t be improved upon. Yeah, seeing that – the cover, the pdf, market-ready copy was just amazing.
What has been the worst part of being a published author?

Ha, ha. I don’t think you’ll be too surprised to hear this. Marketing and promotion. I had absolutely NO idea what that entailed, not the foggiest clue. I’m only just starting to comprehend the sheer scale of things I must get involved with in order to do this book justice.

What books have influenced your writing?

Way back in my childhood, I read a lot of cowboy stories – the whole ‘hero wins, evil guy loses’ idea appealed to my immature sense of justice. Going through school, we were given lists of books we should read, mostly classics, at the beginning of each school year. We had to read and summarize at least ten novels per school year, and there was no internet to help with research, so I did a lot of reading. My parents made sure my own bookcase was well-stocked. The more I read, the more I wanted to read some more. I loved Isaac Asimov. I used to have to read by the flashlight under the blankets because my mum would spy me through the keyhole and get angry if I didn’t get a good sleep. Unwittingly, she turned my attention to detective stories. I had to become sneaky and ingenious in order to make more time for reading. Even now, mystery seems to seep into each one of my stories. And love – pure, unconditional love, in any guise I may be able to weave it in.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?

Loads, actually. There are quite a few on twitter, I noticed, so maybe I should start with them. But if I were to meet just one, I’d like to shake Roddy Doyle’s hand. ‘The Giggler Treatment’ brought a lot of laughter into my household just about the time the kids started reading. You should try it. It’s a kids’ book, but you will laugh out loud, guaranteed.
If you could talk to your former self, what advice would you give her?

“Don’t take quite so long getting to where you knew you were heading all along, Ella!”

I hear that you used to train and spar in martial arts. Tell us about your matches, your training and whether any of that training comes into play during your daily life now?

Talk about ferreting out all my secrets! That time of my life is a closed chapter. I embraced it, I lived it, I loved it. But all that’s left of it now is the discipline, self-confidence, knowledge and a good grasp of a culture that I wouldn’t have been able to gain by just reading about it in books. And yes, in my upcoming thriller, Blood is Heavier, and possibly in future novels too, I will be drawing on that experience.

You speak over 7 languages, what is your favorite language to speak or hear? What language do you dream in?

I’m essentially a lazy person, so English suits me just fine. I dream in English. I can’t give you precise figures, but I guess I’ve spoken more English in my life than any other language. That said, I have traveled a lot and in most cases I didn’t have the luxury of an interpreter (in fact I can recall a few occasions when I was glad I didn’t need an interpreter’s interpretation). I had to get by on what I knew, and that helped me absorb more of these countries’ cultures as well.

As you would expect, this cultural knowledge reflects in the characters I create. There’s an additional layer I can give them simply by looking back at family relationships, the way they live and work, even the way people perceive themselves when in a foreign country – I’ve seen it first-hand, so it’s effortless.

There’s another aspect to being able to speak several languages, and it’s something I always wanted to ask others about. I love pretending I’m one of the crowd when I’m visiting a country whose language I speak. I can pass for a local in many cases, and that almost feels like I’m a different person. It’s a different identity, one with limited lifespan, but different all the same. I feel different and I don’t shy away from doing or saying things my English self would never do or say. Hmm, there’s an idea for a book, right there…

What are your pet peeves?

Oh, there are a lot of things that grate on me, but most of them I’ve learned to tolerate. I have always had high standards for myself and therefore I expected the same of everyone else around me. Experience has given me a different perspective, though. Now, I find it easier to glide over small irritations – my best strategy is to make fun of them.

Still, there is one clear, definite thing that I cannot forgive, and that is emotional dishonesty. People lie for different reasons and most of them are easy to work out and even understand, like for example when you tell a child Santa won’t bring them presents if they don’t tidy their room at once. But when you lie for the sheer sake of it, or worse, out of malice, when you play with a person’s feelings, that to me is the highest crime.

Are you currently working on any other projects?

I’m currently busy producing a POD version of Martin Little, Resurrected. Createspace is an experience I haven’t had before. Luckily, my publisher has agreed to let me use the same cover as the e-book version of the book, so I’m really happy about that.

At the same time, I am going through the final edit on my thriller, Blood is Heavier. I’m looking for a cover artist, so do tell me if you know a talented one.

I’m about ten percent of the way through a Martin Little sequel and as soon as I finish that I’ll be jumping straight into a conspiracy-theory-type espionage thriller set in the seventies, which led to the crumbling of the Eastern Block.

The most recent idea I’ve had, though, seems to have a really loud voice in my mind right now – it’s a sci-fi thriller with a touch of theory of evolution in it. A perfectly ordinary mutation in the human species becomes undesirable as it threatens to become the longest lived, Arian race of the future. If this idea wins the top spot, the conspiracy theory may have to wait till later in the year.

Oh, and I spend evenings producing a play I wrote for the junior members of a local theatre. The entire cast and most of the production team are under eighteen, so it would be fair to say there are a quite a few challenges here and there.

What is the last thing you read? Did you like it, hate it?

I’ve just finished reading ‘Triple’ by Ken Follett. I realized half way through the book that I’d actually read it before, but I just couldn’t put it down. I had to take it all the way. It’s not a modern book, and some of the details don’t fit anymore, but it is one of those perfect novels that you just can’t fault. It has the perfect voice, the perfect story, perfectly-formed characters… it’s a perfect five star.

Read it if you get the chance, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

What was the last movie you watched? Did you like it, hate it?

Ocean’s Eleven, and I thought it was a cleverly set plot, but nothing was going to come anywhere near the Bourne series, which I’ve watched right before that. Oh, I absolutely love the action. Another movie I love, well, two actually, are the new Sherlock Holmes ones directed by Guy Ritchie. I think Guy Ritchie is a very talented man.

Where can readers find your works and follow you?

The easiest way to find my books would be by using the links on my website My publisher has done a brilliant job with distributing Martin Little, Resurrected electronically – it is available on pretty much every platform you can think of.

If you are interested in my book reviews (I review indie authors for free) and my inane ramblings on publishing and writing in general, you can subscribe to my new blog (which you can also access via my website).

I also spend quite a bit of my time on twitter: @EllaMedler and facebook author page: and personal page:

Or you could look for me on Goodreads and the World Literary Café. I’m a friendly person, come and say hello. 

We'd like to thank you for sharing a bit of your time and life with us here Ella.

We wish you all the best on your current and future projects and we hope you will stop by again at some point and update on your many successes. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

eNovel Reviews: Rave Review of DSOM

"Derrick Thomas is a government agent who lives in a dystopian, albeit just as crime-ridden, distant future. After awakening from his sleep pod, he receives a cryptic message from his father, who has gone missing, asking for his help.

An adept investigator and forensic expert, Derrick seeks out his father's whereabouts and the meaning of his plea for assistance. Though his investigation is immediately hamstrung by obstacles and obstructions, which seem to emulate from the very government he works for. To exacerbate his search, his mother and sister also go missing.

Derrick uncovers a "prisoner rehabilitation program", originally located on Mars, but due to a catastrophic failure, the program is being relocated to the Moon. The "rehabilitation" utilizes a breakthrough drug to erase the memories, and also the criminal tendencies, of the individual. Thereby replacing their persona with a new identity, one that can be docile, law-abiding, and could exist in the society as a productive person, who will not question the government or their actions. Such a program could also be used to eliminate opposition, dissent, and political enemies, without actually having to kill them. As Derrick moves closer to the source of the program and those who control it, his life, and the life of his mother and sister, is in jeopardy.

Ahmad Taylor, a first-time author, is a former New York police officer who now lives in Florida and works as a security consultant. His debut novel Dark Side of the Moon, is written from a law enforcement perspective, though there seems to be a human side reflected in the story as well.

This is a sci-fi thriller that does not disappoint. It has all the action, adventure and cool gadgets of the future, though the iPad has been relegated to a "digital writing tablet". What is most chilling, is how Taylor taps into the sinister side of human nature, the desire to control people, whether they be petty thieves or political dissenters. There are underlying themes and subtexts that reach far beyond your standard futuristic tale of laser shaving devices and plasma blade knives.

Dark Side of the Moon is a quick and fast read, that excites your imagination and quickens your pulse. There is also a clever and surprising twist at the end. If you love sci-fi that is relevant to our present society, this is a book you must read."

Friday, March 16, 2012

SciYourFi Online: Author Interview w/ Ahmad Taylor

Government agent Derrick Thomas awakes from a disturbing dream to find a message from his father asking for help. As he sets out to lend his assistance he quickly discovers that not only can he not find his father, but that a clandestine government agency is out to derail his search before it can begin. After the murders of two of his father’s colleagues and the further disappearances of his mother and sister, Derrick is thrust into a fight for his own life and a struggle to uncover details of a secret government experiment which his family may be part of. Will he be able to save them and uncover the truth before he becomes the next victim of an organization bent on keeping him silent? 

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a Leo: a fire-sign. I like champagne and long walks on the beach (just a little levity to kick things off).

I am a 35 year old writer living in South Florida. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. and lived in NYC until I was 29. I was a cop briefly, and then gravitated to private security consulting. I am a huge sports fan except for soccer and NASCAR, because they aren’t real sports!

My debut Sci-fi/Suspense/Thriller: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was published in January 2012. I am a Christian, and while I do not write about my faith, it definitely shapes how I write.

What are your pet peeves (dislikes) in life?

People who eat with their hands and then don’t wash them after. I feel it’s like; “Really? I need the remnants of your prior meal and back-wash in my general vicinity? Just keep your grimy, saliva-covered fingers away from me!”

Messy people, though I have my moments of laziness, I hate seeing others being slobs.

I genuinely do not enjoy people who preach their particular opinions at the expense of others and their views. It’s very arrogant and obnoxious and only serves to validate someone’s ignorance when they act like they are the “all-knowing”!

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My father was and still is the greatest influence on my life. Before he passed in 2004 he was a constant source of strength and inspiration in my life.

Though he did not get passed a year or two of college, he was a very learned man, who read and educated himself constantly.

He lived a very stressful life, tortured by many illnesses, but he showed me and the world that one does not have to be a victim of their circumstances.

He never gave up on anything in life, and fought hard to the end, always giving hope and encouragement to others, and that is what I and most will always remember about him.

Who is your hero / heroine and why?

My mother is a true heroine.

As a young mother, circumstances did not allow for her to complete her college education either. This however, did not stop her from becoming a teacher or from supporting her family and being the best person-of-faith a person can know.

She raised 3 children, took care of a sick husband, served her fellow church members, educated and raised hundreds of children in her nearly 30 years as a Pre-K teacher and all this with joy in her heart and a resiliency matched by none.

After a recent slew of medical issues, one would think it would have been time for her to retire and take a break. One would be wrong in that assumption. She was back out there molding young minds only weeks after a long hospital stay. She is the consummate definition of hero and heroine.

The best thing about being a writer is…

The boat-loads of cash and tremendous notoriety you get almost immediately. It’s like; “Why didn’t I think of doing this sooner?” (Insert sarcasm here…)

Of course that is the exact antithesis of being a writer. It’s neither a vocation that affords the majority of its members much wealth nor appreciation for their hard work and dedication to the craft as the majority of your readers already know.

The best part is being able to create something that is solely yours from start to finish, and the pride you feel when it is complete.

No matter how much money you don’t make, or how much respect and appreciation you do not receive, no one, not even a reviewer who nails you to the wall, can take away the pride you feel when you have poured your heart and soul into a piece and it is complete. That feeling is yours and yours alone and no one can take that away from you.

In one sentence, what is your book about? (Dark Side of the Moon)

When former government agent Derrick Thomas awakes to find his family missing and in harm’s way, he must do battle against a clandestine organization intent on keeping him from discovering the truth about a global cover-up and the whereabouts of his family.

What gave you the idea for this story?

A dream, honestly.

One night last March I had a crazy dream about my sister. She and I were working aboard a ship in outer space when suddenly she went missing. The rest of the dream was filled with me trying to find her and trying to convince all those around me that she actually existed and was not a complete figment of my imagination – typical Twilight Zone episode.

When I woke up from the dream I had quite a sweat going. After a few hours of unsuccessfully trying to fall back to sleep, I finally grabbed a pen and pad and jotted down a plot-outline. At first I was only writing down quick thoughts and ideas, but when it was all said and done, I had 8 pages of detailed notes on character development, plot flow and had something I genuinely could turn into a story, so I grabbed my laptop, my outline and began to create.

How long did it take you to write it?

I pulled several 18+ hour sessions and had a first draft in 27 days.

After another 2 ½ months I had a 90% complete manuscript. Unfortunately, I put it down for several months after that, and therefore did not complete it and publish until January, but in actual writing, editing, proofing time… 4 months total.

How do you want your readers to feel when they finish your book?

Excited, apprehensive concerning the well-fare of some of the characters, and on-edge waiting impatiently for the sequel.

What’s your next writing project?

You guessed it; the sequel to: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is next on-deck.

No specific date has been set for release, mainly because I am still in the process of writing it (big wink and smile).

Favorite Song?

Can’t pick just one, but here’s a few faves:

§ Close to you – Carpenters
§ #41 – Dave Matthews Band
§ Full-Fledge Strangers – Jonatha Brooke
§ Breathe – Telepopmusik
§ So What – Pink
§ Story To Tell – Notorious B.I.G.

Find Ahmad at:

Twitter: @AhmadDarkside
Facebook: DarksideAhmad
Purchase "Dark Side of the Moon": Amazon

Check Out Interview at SciYourFi:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest Post by Brian Holers author of: Doxology

Not just for Christians: A Guest Post by Brian Holers, Author of Doxology. Plus, $450 in Amazon Gift Cards & a Kindle Fire up for Grabs!

Please enjoy this guest post by Brian Holers, author of the literary novel, Doxology. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Not just for Christians

One of the beauties of self-publishing is that the gatekeeper has been fired. In this new world of books made possible by the Internet, no one is left to guard the door. To tell the reader what is what. This state of affairs may introduce an element of confusion for dogmatic readers, but the good news is, new breeds of literature are being created.
Self-publishing allows literature to cross over in new ways. Traditional Christian fiction publishers, for instance, disallow most references to sex, and even the most juvenile profanity. Self-publishing changes this. Not to suggest a writer should ever debase a genre—as writers we are obliged to choose our words carefully. But the old Christian books kept many readers away. “I’m not going to read that. That’s Christian. It’s boring.”  Still, nearly every Christian I know periodically swears, fights, and even becomes amorous from time to time. Christians like good stories too, with depth of character, excitement, whimsy, action. The success of a book like The Shack shows the need for stories of real people dealing with real problems, in a faith-based context. It doesn’t even have to be good literature.
As humans, we all look for answers. Stories are stories. Conflict builds to crisis, which leads to a form of resolution. Sure, some people never doubt their faiths, even in the face of horrible tragedy. Others do. Some never ascribed to a faith in the first place, and instead  spend their days casting about for a context to this condition we call humanness.  The problem with much traditional Christian literature is this; when a character is pushed to a crisis, and the only change we read is “he fell on his knees, then and there, and accepted Jesus into his heart,” that incident may describe a beautiful sentiment, and may have value to a real person in real life, but as a reader, it doesn’t tell me anything. A reader wants details. He wants to see the sweat break out.  She wants to hear the thoughts and words that accompany the character’s condition. Literature is literature. We want to see development. We want to get inside the characters. We want to get to know them. That’s why we care. Regardless of the genre label put on the book.
Doxology is a story in between. The book has a religious message; given its primary setting in rural north Louisiana, that message is Christian. But the characters are just people. They experience the same emotions all people do—love, joy, loss. Their conflicts grow and grow until they must be resolved. Like real people, they go astray, take paths of separation from God, or just from what is good for them. They experience desires that can never be fulfilled, want things that can never be had or even understood. They discover the traits in their lives that aren’t working, and set out to find new habits that will work. Many Christian values are universal—a belief, despite evidence to the contrary, that our lives are worthwhile.   An understanding that letting go, and learning how little we are in charge, makes life more manageable.  A certainty that the kindness and compassion we offer to others is returned to us a hundredfold.
Some say God. Some say the universe. But we all–when we’re honest, and when we pay attention, have a sense of something looking out for us, giving us what we need. Putting people we need into our lives. We give credit for these gifts as we see fit.  Good literature promotes a point of view by showing the reader how a character’s modes of operation and beliefs work for her (or don’t). Good literature, whatever its genre, lets the reader inside. Lets the reader do part of the work. Doxology, in this vein, is a story at the crossroad of God and man. It presents God as the characters experience God, and as real people experience God, looking out for them, giving them what they need.  Coming to understand how God has been there all along.
Doxology is a love story. Faith plays a role, as it helps the characters find answers and resolution, improves their lives.  Like Jody and Vernon and the others, we all look for redemption from brokenness of the past.  They and we find it, as people both real and imaginary alike do, in family, friends, productive work, a sense of place, a faith in something greater.  Doxology is a story, first and foremost. Its characters face problems. Their conflicts grow. They look for resolutions and ultimately find them, imperfect as they are.  We the readers get to know them, and we care. We sympathize. They matter.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Doxology for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
Help my blog win:
The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.
About the book:  Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author:  An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Excerpt from Brian Holer's: Doxology (Read for Giveaways)

An Excerpt from Doxology. Plus, $450 in Amazon Gift Cards & a Kindle Fire up for Grabs!

Please enjoy this excerpt from the literary novel, Doxology. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

Sunday is Vernon’s wash day. And though he has enough money to buy a dozen of the nicest washing machines known to man, Vernon Davidson washes his clothes by hand. For his washing, as for everything else Vernon does, he has a system. As far as Vernon is concerned, his clothes come out looking cleaner and newer than any machine could get them. He wears all of his clothes during the week according to the schedule he has printed in black marker on the insides of the garments. Five sets of work clothes, three sets to rotate before or after work on those five days, and two sets for the weekend. When he wakes each Sunday and slips off his underwear, his drawers and closet are completely empty. If the morning is cool, Vernon goes out and washes his clothes wearing only a cotton robe. But if any warmth hangs in the air, as it often does by the first of March, Vernon goes out in the yard and washes his laundry naked.

Vernon wakes on the first Sunday in April with a nagging headache. He rubs his temples and lies thinking about Leonard. Finally he shakes it off, opens his eyes and stands up. Though spring is well along, a touch of chill is in the air, so he puts his robe on after kicking his underwear into the giant laundry pile, then goes into the kitchen to start breakfast.

For the last dozen years, since he quit going to church, Vernon starts Sunday mornings with a large breakfast of eggs, bacon, French toast, orange juice and coffee. He could have started working Sundays years ago if he had wanted, just to fill the time, but he never has. Sunday is the only day of the week he eats anything besides fried bologna and cheese sandwiches, which he makes twice a day for himself in the same greasy cast iron skillet he uses on Sundays to make his breakfast.

Once the coffee is going and the bacon and eggs, Vernon walks back into the bathroom. Though he usually doesn’t stop by the mirror in the hallway, this time he does. He turns and looks at himself face on. He opens his bathrobe, stands and flexes the long, corded muscles that still run through his torso after sixty years, pats the flat part of his stomach. In the bathroom he grabs a comb, comes back to the mirror and quickly whips it through his long gray hair. He works the comb through, notes again that he hasn’t lost a single strand. Then he combs through his thick gray beard and fluffs it just a bit. He smiles at himself wide, taps his perfect teeth

Better to turn gray than turn loose, he says to the reflection as he pulls on a chunk of his hair. I’m still looking good.

He goes back to the kitchen, takes his squeezable jar of yellow mustard from the refrigerator and squirts a quarter inch of the oily yellow substance into a glass. Then he unscrews the lid of a bottle of Jack Daniels, smells it out of habit, winces, and pours in three fingers’ worth. His stomach gags, as it often does, with the first sip. Vernon lowers the glass, catches his breath, and raises it again. This time it all goes down, and the bitterness radiates out through the hinges of his jaws, his stomach, the top of his head. He slams the glass down on the counter, proud of his effort. After a minute the sour taste goes away, and the whiskey begins to do its work on the rest of him. Everything starts to settle. By then the food is ready, and he slides it all onto a plate, pours a large cup of coffee, and sits down to eat.

By the time the food is gone, the good part of his drink is leaving him, as it seems to do earlier and earlier these days. He goes back to the kitchen for another round of the whiskey and mustard. Then he clears the dishes from the table and, with the sink already full, puts them on the counter. “Leave those for the cleaning woman,” he mutters to himself. He eyes the mess in the rest of the house, papers all over, dust on the floor. Vernon likes to pretend.

Back in the bedroom, he picks up all the clothes and places them in the proper piles. Then he carries them all to the rear door, steps outside, and looks across the creek running through his back yard. Vernon smiles. Everything in his yard is the deep, rich green of spring, and not a weed is anywhere to be found. He’s thought about planting flowers once or twice, something to break up the single note hue that soon enough will turn to brown. But, though everything outside is as it should be, nearly all color is missing from Vernon’s yard.

Nevertheless, things are looking good on his side of the creek. On top of that, a few days earlier someone showed up while he was at work and cut the grass at the Baptist church camp on the other side of the creek. Funny how things work out. Vernon sold that property to the church fifteen years ago, back when he was still part of it.

The arrival of spring means a lot of things. It means the mill where he has worked for thirty six years will bring some young guys in, guys Vernon will harass into doing his work for him. It means the bullfrogs that sing their throaty songs as he lies in bed at night will be back in tune any time now. And it also means Easter, and the Baptists he loves to terrorize will be showing up for lunches on the grounds at their camp across the creek starting next Sunday afternoon. And when they come, the men to stand around and talk about fishing or hunting over fried chicken and beans, the women to compliment one another on their new dresses, the boys to run around the playground and wear grass stains on their new Easter pants, Vernon will be there washing his clothes in the yard, in all his bearded, gray haired glory, as naked as the good lord made him. And that’s exactly what he’ll say to whichever one of those do-gooder men comes to the edge of the creek to complain about it in response to the shrieking of their children or the pecking of their wives.

“This is the way the good lord made me!” he shouts into the air, shrugs off his robe to the ground and spreads out his arms. Practicing for the first confrontation of the season. He can already picture the guy standing over there, usually Jerry Reeves or Tom Staples or Donnie Lyles. One of them is who they usually send. He just loves to see the looks on their faces as they stand there in their Sunday best, striped or polka dotted choke chains hanging from their necks, trying to look him straight in the face and not to let their eyes wander downward.

They always say the same things. “Come on Vernon, it’s kids over here. Come on Vernon, put some clothes on brother, my wife…” Sometimes they even try to guilt him. “Look at you brother Vernon, look what you’ve turned into, you orta be ashamed of yourself.”

But Vernon Davidson cannot be guilted. Not after what he’s been through. And certainly not after the four or five glasses of whiskey and mustard he’ll have in him by Sunday noon.

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Doxology for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
Help my blog win:
The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME.
About the book:  Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author:  An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with Author Brian Holers: Doxology

Please enjoy this interview with Brian Holers, author of the literary novel, Doxology. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book.   1. Why did you choose to write about characters who set out to rediscover their faiths? The characters in Doxology don’t really set out to rediscover their faiths—they simply rediscover them when everything else is lost. My two central characters, Vernon and Jody, uncle and nephew, are just living life as the story begins. Jody has a pretty good, interesting life, he has a stable job working for a nice family, he’s in love with the daughter of that family and works for the son and father. He has totally inserted himself into this family, and his life has promise. Only when he learns that his father is dying does he decide to return home, deal with things he has successfully avoided, and discover the great role faith has played in making him who he is. Vernon, conversely, is making his way through life, but just barely; the tragic loss of his son has made him a mere shell of the man he once was, and the greatest joy of his current life is his ongoing endeavor to show his disdain for God. Only when he fails in the one pitiful thing he has left, when he is broken down to absolutely nothing, is a return to faith possible. The story is entirely fabricated, without really a shred of reality, though I can recognize parts of myself in many of the characters. Particularly Jody’s girlfriend. 2. What was the inspiration for this book? The inspiration for Doxology was the longstanding concept of “my brother’s keeper,” superimposed on the Jewish concept of “dayeinu”. Dayeinu is what Jews say during the Passover seder in contemplation of the many things God has done for us—the concept of “it would have been enough.” “If only God had led us out of the desert, dayeinu, it would have been enough. But no, God did something more.” In 2005, when I finally started writing, I worked on short stories and met twice a month with a group of other writers. When my wife and I decided to leave the country for a year, I figured, well I won’t be meeting with a writers’ group anymore, maybe I’ll just write a book. And I wrote the first several drafts of that book while we were traveling, from a smelly dive-shop hotel in Zanzibar, where I had to drag a rickety wooden table into our room and kick my wife and son out for the afternoon, to a beachfront room in Phuket, to the lobby of a YMCA hotel in Jerusalem, to a coffee shop with stale cookies in Malaysia, where my family and I helped build a Habitat for Humanity house during the day. And really that trip cemented for me the idea that anywhere you go, the stories are the same. We all care most about our families. There are so many good things God does for us. 3. What surprises did you encounter in writing Doxology? The greatest surprise I encountered when writing Doxology was the way Vernon kept trying to take over. When the story began, it was all about Jody. The problem was, Vernon’s conflict was more immediate right from the beginning—dealing with the death of his only son, his constant drinking and self-destructive behavior. He just kept taking over—maybe Jody’s struggle was so much harder to portray, since he seems to be doing pretty well in his current life, unlike Vernon. I overcame this problem by letting go—I stopped fighting it. I let Vernon take over, and then struggled to really work my way inside Jody, which took a long time. I overcame the problem by deciding the book was going to be done when it was done, and I couldn’t rush it. 4. Why did you decide to become a writer? I discovered my passion for stories at a young age—I have always been filled with stories. It took me awhile to begin to try and write them down. It also took me a few years to discover that trying to tell people the stories I imagined just made everyone think I was weird (which is a fair assessment) and that I talked too much. I’m glad it worked out this way though—if I had discovered my passion for writing at a young age, I would probably have struggled in a losing battle to make my living that way, and I’d be discouraged and burned out by now. What I discovered instead, in my twenties, is that for a guy so animated by imaginary stories, I’m surprising adept at negotiating the physical world. A dozen or so years of self employment allowed me to strip away a lot of detritus, have a lot of time alone to think. Once, a consultant I hired to help me manage my tree service told me that the world inside my head was more vivid to me than the world outside, and that’s when I decided I had to get serious about my writing. 5. What is the most effective resource you have found for writing? The only effective resource I have come across to hone my craft is time. And the best advice I received is not to rush. Even when you think you’re done the first or the first several times, put the book away for awhile and come back to it. Don’t rush. I wish I had kept track of how much time I spent on this book—I would guess between 3,000 and 4,000 hours. For one little book! But the advice goes deeper—don’t rush, make a schedule and sit there and write. Give yourself the time and then sit there and do it. If you’re like most of us and have a job, don’t try to commit too much of your day to it. Give it an hour a day, two hours, whatever. Just commit to it. It’s so much easier to come home from work, have a few drinks, go to the bar, and sit and stare at the stories in your head and say “I’m a writer.” You’re only a writer if you’re writing. As for bad advice, I am totally self taught in this craft—the only bad advice I have received is regarding publishing. A lot of people told me even a year ago not to self-publish. However, I have one thing now I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t decided to self-publish, and that is a book. 6. What is your favorite writing ritual? My favorite writing ritual is to go to my desk at night after my son goes to bed, have my wife put on her headset if she wants to watch TV or listen to music or whatever, just make it very quiet, and sit there until I really need to go to bed. 7. What do you like about writing? My favorite part of the writing process is the feeling I get each step of the way, which comes from deciding what I can do that day is good enough. Lately I’ve been writing essays. I start with jotting down notes—I write a lot by hand, I think better that way. I’ll write down in my sloppy scratch all the ideas that come to mind on a subject. Then the next session, I’ll organize all those notes, expand a bit, put them all in order. Again, all on paper. Next time I’ll write a draft, and even as I’m writing I know there will be a lot I want to change. Then I’ll print it, make changes, and write again. But I decide each step, and each draft, is good enough for what it is. My least favorite part of writing is that it’s always late and I’m always tired and have to get through it, which I do by setting short-term goals. The greatest of which is brushing my teeth and going to sleep. 8. Why did you decide to self-publish Doxology? The traditional, old-school publishing world is in total disarray, which is why writers like me have to take things into their own hands. For a lot of us, especially first time or unpublished writers, our hope to be published is simply that, hope. We look at getting a publishing contract as our best chance of being somebody. Now that I’m out here, I have a better sense of how books are sold, and I am here to tell you it is not easy. Possible, yes, but not easy. There are a zillion other forms of entertainment that require much less effort. A publisher really has to sell several thousand copies of your book before beginning to break even. And if you’re just a regular Joe like I am, and nobody’s heard of you, that’s a tall order. Then the other piece is, even if you do get published, you have to do all the work to sell the book anyway. There’s just not enough money in this equation for a publisher to do any real work for you, not until you’ve begun to prove yourself. Personally, as one with good business sense, I like this new model—there is no one between me and all my potential customers—no one saying it’s not good enough, no one saying we can release your book in 18 months. 9. What advice do you have for aspiring authors? Advice to aspiring authors—writing may well be the hardest thing you will ever do. At one time I had tons and tons of business debt, customers calling me daily, six highly-paid guys showing up at work every day looking at me for their instructions. I paid through the nose for liability insurance, workers’ comp, and every tool imaginable. Then I waited for the guys to start calling me to say why the jobs couldn’t be done, while I drove around scrambling for more work. All of that was downright easy compared to writing books. But there’s no joy like it. And while I am normal person who has made a lot of mistakes in life, I have found that the more my life is straight, the better my art. The old concept of the tortured writer or tortured artist with various addictions only goes so far. If you want to write clear, clean prose, make yourself as good a person as you can be, and the words will flow. Keep your head up. Be entertained by your writing. Rejoice in the little things. Ultimately writing should be something you enjoy, that gives you passion. I have read that 10,000 hours pursuant to any activity is required to make one an expert, and writing is no exception. 10. What can you say about this book that we wouldn't learn from the synopsis? I am grateful to say, Doxology is a beautifully written book, filled with symbols and layers of meaning. It is so much more than I set out to write, and I am proud to say it is so much better than even I thought it would be. It’s not Dostoevsky or the Holy Bible, no, but it is a sweet, moving, inspiring little story of love, loss, and redemption. All told in a Southern accent so thick it just oozes out of the pages.   As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Doxology eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include $450 in Amazon gift cards, a Kindle Fire, and 5 autographed copies of the book. All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment--easy to enter; easy to win! To win the prizes:
  1. Purchase your copy of Doxology for just 99 cents
  2. Fill-out the simple form on Novel Publicity
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event
Help my blog win: The tour blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card. When you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME. About the book: Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss, and the healing power of community and family. Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. About the author: An arborist by day and a novelist in every moment he can steal, Brian makes up stories from the treetops. Visit Brian on his website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Jess Resides Here Online: Author Interview of Ahmad Taylor

Today’s interview is with author Ahmad Taylor. Ahmad is a great guy and has written a book that I must say has me very interested. As soon as I’m back to accepting new reviews Dark Side Of The Moon will be on the must read list.

Here is blurb on Dark Side check it out and please say hi to Ahmad. I really enjoyed this interview and hope Ahmad will be back on the blog soon.

Government agent Derrick Thomas awakens from a disturbing dream to find a message from his father asking for help. As he sets out to lend his assistance he quickly discovers that not only has his father gone missing, but that a clandestine government agency is out to derail his search before it can begin. After the murders of two of his father’s colleagues and the further disappearances of his mother and sister, Derrick is thrust into a battle for the lives of his family while attempting to uncover details of a secret government program which may hold the key to his family’s whereabouts. Will he be able to save them and uncover the truth before he becomes the next victim of a government bent on keeping him silent?

Please tell us about yourself –

Hi Jessica. I am a Leo, I like long walks on the beach, the wind blowing through my hair, and champagne bubbles that tickle my nose.
Truly a “LOL” way to start things off. I am actually a 35-yr old former NYC police officer who has taken his “talents to S. Beach” (see Lebron James for shady reference).
I am a writer by day, writer by night and hanger-outer by weekend.
I love watching and more importantly playing sports, all except soccer and NASCAR which I don’t even consider a sport, and if any of your readers saw the shenanigans that went on at the Daytona 500, they will understand that the “sport” makes no sense whatsoever and simply manages to put the drivers and public in extreme amounts of danger for no real benefit. However; now that I am reading what I just write I can see that the last part of my statement is exactly why it is so popular.

Please tell us about your book Dark Side of the Moon –

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (DSOM); is the story of a former government agent who stumbles upon a 40-yr old cover-up by a clandestine organization. He must piece together clues about this cover-up in order to help him find and save his family who are somehow involved in the cover-up and have gone missing.
This suspense-filled, action-driven, thriller takes you on the journey with Derrick Thomas to rescue what matters to him most. Will he find them in time? Will he sacrifice his sanity and his safety to save them? Only one way to find out…

You self-published, did you try to publish through a publisher if so what was that like and if not why not?

When I first wrote DSOM, I was extremely excited and full of naïve expectations concerning the publishing process. I had wild ideas that “if you write it, they will publish it”, I could not have been more off-base.
The “traditional” publishing industry is what you might call a “club”. It has very regimented rules for admission, and it does not allow for much innovation. The major publishing houses, “Big 6” as they are known, have a very tight hold on the literary industry and they decide who and what is allowed in and eventually out. Literary agents also play a major role in vetting who may or may not have a seat at the table so to speak.

When I was done, or what I thought to be done, with writing, and had a few rounds of edits, I read up on the processes for admission into this club. I began ferociously writing and sending Queries to agents everywhere. I was driven and motivated and I just knew that I was the next “big thing” to come out. So I sent a couple hundred queries out and then sat back and waited patiently for the flurry of responses. Dot, dot, dot: no responses. I then went back to the well, and got out my formatted letter, made a few tweaks, and sent out another slew of invitations to agents asking for a chance to submit a “partial” of my manuscript. Dot, dot, dot: no answer.

This went on for the first 2 1/2-months after I had finished writing, all with no response. I then chose to try and go straight to the source, so I sought out the very few houses that allow writers direct access. I formatted according to their requirements, sent out the packages of partials, and waited once more. Dot, dot, dot: nothing.

It was at this point that I had reached my capacity for silent rejection and decided to sit on my novel ‘til I could muster up more strength to try for rejection once again. So DSOM sat on “the shelf” for the next several months, not seeing the light-of-day.

Somewhere around Christmas of 2011, a friend gave me the best gift I could ever have wished for. He sent me an email. This was not just any ordinary email. This email contained information that would essentially pull DSOM off the “shelf” and finally get it out into the hands of those who should have had access to it all along: the reader. In the email, was a link to a story about a woman who had been writing for several years with no publishing deal to speak of.

At the time of the article she had written 6 books, been at the “game” for 7-yrs, and had accomplished nothing in regards to getting an agent much less a publisher. The article went on to talk about her foray into the world of self-publishing. It told her story, in great detail, about the steps she took, the barriers she came up against, and her eventual extraordinary success with it (she had sold tens-of-thousands of books at that point). I read the article, marveled at her success and started to wonder to myself: “Was it truly possible? Could I, and should I, even dare to try it this way?” I sent the link to a friend who was also very amazed: amazed that I had not started to process already. We talked about the idea several times and he basically shot-down every excuse I had for not doing it. So after another week of being doubtful, I finally woke up one morning and said; “To hell with it, I’m gonna’ publish”.

I won’t bore you with all the steps I took, but on January 24, 2012 Dark Side of the Moon became available for purchase on

Is writing a new interest? –

I’ll start by saying that I have not always enjoyed writing. I was not an avid reader when I was younger. I liked school, and always did very well in my subjects, but I was not big into book-reports or reading novels at all. My mother used to make my sister and I read one book every summer and write a book-report for her while other kids were outside playing and having fun. My sister loved it, as she would go through several books in a few weeks. I always struggled to get through just the one, and would write the briefest synopsis I could.

Once I got to college, I became intrigued by poetry and what I assumed to be the complete “lack of rules and structure” that poetry allowed the writer. As any poet will tell you, and as my teachers had to explain to me many times while I was debating my grades with them; “There are certainly rules to writing poetry, and it is only after you know these rules and their importance that you can consciously make the decision to break them for your desired effect”. I fought tooth-and-nail, but I eventually saw their logic and began to write both structured and free-verse poetry. I was published in a poetry anthology in the early 2000’s and that was it for me, I wanted to write and more importantly, I wanted to be read.

What are you reading now? –

I am in the middle of: Martin Little, Resurrected, a light fantasy novel written by a talented author named; Ella Medler. It’s quite sarcastic and has many intriguing characters. I’ll be writing a review which may be posted by the time the interview is live, so check it out.

What do you do when not writing? –

I worked as a security specialist for several years, and now I do off-and-on consulting in the same industry.
However, since publishing my book, I have been spending large quantities of my days marketing and promoting, trying to get the word out, and trying to build sales.

What has your experience been like since publishing your book? –

Emotionally it has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever gone through. It’s an old cliché that says: “enjoy the ride”, well I have truly been trying to enjoy this ride. I have never had a greater sense of pride over what I have managed to accomplish, both writing and publishing my novel. This particular book is very personal to me because the characters, while fictional, are drawn from people in my life, so to have been able to tell the story that I wanted to tell, the way that I wanted to tell it, has been very fulfilling for me.
The flip-side to all of that satisfaction is having to deal with negative criticism, because no matter who you are, and how well or long you have been writing, there will always be someone out there who does not “get it”, or who just doesn’t like you work. I was warned about this many times once I had published. That being said; when I got my first “less than positive” review, I was close to tears. It was as if this person, whom I had never met, and who knows nothing about me, my life, or my motivations, decided to kick-in my front door, enter my unannounced and uninvited, take a dump on my living room floor, steal my most prized possession, and then spit at me as they were leaving. Now that is a bit over-the-top, but believe me, the feeling of someone taking something very personal to you and criticizing it is not a happy feeling at all.

What do you have planned for the future? -

I am of course still promoting DSOM, which I have so much passion for, but am also currently working on the sequel. Spoiler alert, the first story leaves our main character in a very precarious position, and while I love “cliff-hangers”, there must be an end to it all. So I am working to get #2 out to the readers by mid to end of 2012.

I am also working on a project with a writer friend to create a blog-series where we will have several characters interact across our separate blogospheres, engaging in whimsical dialogues, having extraordinary adventures, and just living out their lives in the most comically inappropriate ways possible. I invite all your readers to check it out sometime towards the middle of March 2012.

Followers will also have the chance to post comments about the current storylines and vote for future events as well.

Where can my readers find out more about you and your work? -
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON is currently available at:
Also stay tuned for the upcoming paperback version to be released end of March 2012.

Also check out and feel free to follow my webpage:
There are Free giveaways there and a schedule of my upcoming events.
Friend me and “Like” my FB page:
Follow my weekly musings:
And follow me on Twitter:
Thank you Jessica for having me, and thank you to your readers for their time and interest. I certainly look forward to hearing from you all here as well as on my various outlets. I promise to try and entertain you at every step of the way.