Monday, August 10, 2020

Interview with paranormal romance author Jeny Heckman

Fantasy-paranormal romance author Jeny Heckman joins me today to chat about The Warrior’s Progeny.

During her virtual book tour, Jeny will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Award-winning author, Jeny Heckman, was born in Bellingham, Washington, and was the youngest of two daughters. She met her husband, Jeff, in August 1992, and eloped three months later, at Magen’s Bay, on St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.

She wrote her first book, the Catch, in a few short months but took several years before she gained the courage to self-publish it at her son’s urging, and her love for writing began.
In 2018, Jeny knew her next project would be a series that showed adults could have adventures in the paranormal-fantasy genre too. So, she created the Heaven & Earth series, a story of doomed Greek gods and their only salvation, their modern-day descendants. Her first book of the series, the Sea Archer, was immediately picked up by the New York publishing house, the Wild Rose Press, and won, “Best in Category” from the 2018 Chanticleer International Book Awards.

In the year 2020, Jeny released, Dancing Through Tears, a short story from the anthology, Australia Burns: Volume Two, highlighting the Route 91 massacre from the perspective of one family at the concert, and at Mandalay Bay. She also intends to release, the Warrior’s Progeny, and Dee’s Cornucopia, in 2020, continuing the Heaven & Earth Series.
Jeny lives in Washington State with her husband of over twenty-eight years.

Welcome, Jeny. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Colton Stone is a newly traded tight end whose reputation is as battered as his football helmet. When he receives a vacation invitation from his new teammates, he accepts. There he collides with Dr. Lillian Morgan, a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon, and doesn't know what to think.

A widow with two children, Lilly is looking forward to her friends' wedding. When she meets Colton Stone, his arrogant attitude only makes her long for the love she took for granted. Lilly struggles between letting go of her perfect past for an uncertain future.

Strange events occur, out of the realm of normal consciousness. When black energy touches their world Colt and Lilly become the pawns of the immortal Greek gods. Is the love developing between them natural, or part of a larger prophecy?


Excerpt from The Warrior’s Progeny:
Colt’s body temperature heated until his helmet, now that of a Trojan, melted and became part of his skull. Painful, thick, fire plumes ignited from the sides of his head and curved toward the sky, until they solidified in a solid line down the middle of the helmet. Black snake-like smoke wafted up from the earth and encircled his ankles and wrists, locking him into place.

He looked over at Lilly, who now knelt helpless as her skin became dusky, then turned a brilliant shade of blue. However, the color became an iridescent hue that reminded him of something just outside the confines of his mind. Her skin bubbled, separated, and formed into thousands of compact hairs. Small points protruded from her shoulders and down her arms until they freed themselves from the surface of her skin, as she screamed. Several long, hollow shoots grew, lengthening into the elegant, arching rods, as more buds sprouted from them and turned into thready feathers. As the feathers lengthened, green and blue eyes opened in intervals. At a screech of transformation, Lilly turned into a peacock, whose tail plumed out in a perfect fan. A feathered diadem lifted from her skull and the beautiful eyes all blinked at him. He wanted to mate with her, devour her, possess her, and bellowed out an unearthly warrior battle cry. Breaking his bonds, he charged at her.



What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ll be finishing up a side novella on a fan favorite from the series, Dee Taylor. Afterward, I’ll start on book three of the Heaven & Earth series. I’m also working on a separate genre political thriller

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got picked up by my publisher in New York, The Wild Rose Press. I self-published my first book and had no idea what I was doing, because I’d never written anything before. When I went to a writing conference I pitched this idea for the series. I didn’t have anything written, just pitched the idea to a New York agent. She loved it. And even gave me some tips on what to do. When I came back the next year, she wasn’t there but I pitched to four other agents, editors and publishers from New York, and they loved the book. I’ve been writing ever since.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write part-time, and also work for our family business doing office work. I generally write in the morning and then tend to stay up late at night, especially if I’m on a roll.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I get started everything needs to be in its place, all clean and organized. It’s usually a mess within a couple of days, but for some reason, I’m more centered. I also need quiet or just music that’s instrumental and no words.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
So many things!!! An actor, an engineer, a writer, an entrepreneur, a mother, a hairdresser, and a nurse

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I hope you like the book! Thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate your time! And a huge thank you to Lisa for hosting me today, it’s been an honor.

One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from the movie Hope Floats, with Sandra Bullock. I feel like in these trying times it’s relevant.

“Beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it is the middle that counts the most. You need to remember that when you find yourself at the beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up, and it will.”

Links:

Thanks for joining me today, Jeny.


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Monday, August 3, 2020

Interview with historian Lindsay M. Chervinksy

My special guest helping to kick off a new month and new week is Lindsay M. Chervinsky, Ph.D.. We’re chatting about her historical book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution.

During her virtual book tour, Lindsay will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Lindsay M. Chervinsky, Ph.D. a historian of Early America, the presidency, and the government – especially the president’s cabinet. She shares her research by writing everything from op-eds to books, speaking on podcasts and other media, and teaching every kind of audience. She is Scholar-in-Residence at the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies and Senior Fellow at the International Center for Jefferson Studies. Previously, she worked as a historian at the White House Historical Association. She received her B.A. in history and political science from the George Washington University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis. She has been featured in the Law and History Review, the Journal of the Early Republic, TIME, and the Washington Post. Her new book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, was published by the Belknap Imprint of Harvard University Press on April 7, 2020.

The New Criterion recently said of her book, “Fantastic…Unlike many works of popular history, The Cabinet never feels like hagiography. It lacks the reverence of works like Joseph J. Ellis’ Founder Brothers or the revisionist obsequiousness that now greets Alexander Hamilton’s name on stage…Chervinsky exemplifies the public-history ethos in her new book. The writing is clear and concise…She takes what could have been a dry institutional and political history of the Early Republic and transforms it into a compelling story of people and places.”

When she isn’t writing, researching, or talking about history, she can be found hiking with her husband and American Foxhound, John Quincy Dog Adams (Quincy for short).

Welcome, Lindsay. Please share a little bit about your current release.
The US Constitution never established a presidential cabinet―the delegates to the Constitutional Convention explicitly rejected the idea. So how did George Washington create one of the most powerful bodies in the federal government?

On November 26, 1791, George Washington convened his department secretaries―Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Knox, and Edmund Randolph―for the first cabinet meeting. Why did he wait two and a half years into his presidency to call his cabinet? Because the US Constitution did not create or provide for such a body. Washington was on his own.

Faced with diplomatic crises, domestic insurrections, and constitutional challenges―and finding congressional help lacking―Washington decided he needed a group of advisors he could turn to. He modeled his new cabinet on the councils of war he had led as commander of the Continental Army. In the early days, the cabinet served at the president’s pleasure. Washington tinkered with its structure throughout his administration, at times calling regular meetings, at other times preferring written advice and individual discussions.

The book reveals the far-reaching consequences of Washington’s choice. The tensions in the cabinet between Hamilton and Jefferson heightened partisanship and contributed to the development of the first party system. And as Washington faced an increasingly recalcitrant Congress, he came to treat the cabinet as a private advisory body to summon as needed, greatly expanding the role of the president and the executive branch.

What inspired you to write this book?
I couldn’t figure out where the president’s cabinet came from, so I decided I’d try and answer that question. I was so surprised that the last book on the subject was published in 1912, so something new was long overdue!


Excerpt from The Cabinet:
When Washington and Knox arrived at Federal Hall at 11:30 a.m., the doorkeeper announced their arrival. Washington sat at the front of the chamber, and Knox took the chair to his right. Washington handed his remarks to Knox, who in turn handed them to Vice President John Adams. Adams read the statement, but as Senator William Maclay from Pennsylvania recalled, the senators could “not master . . . one Sentence of it.” Adams wasn’t known for his public speaking skills, but the senators’ struggles weren’t entirely his fault. The Senate gathered for their work in the large chambers that occupied the first floor of Federal Hall. Because of the August heat in New York City, the doorkeeper had opened the windows in search of a cooling breeze. But along with fresh air, noise from Wall Street’s pedestrians, carriages, peddlers, and horses flowed into the Senate chambers. The clamor overpowered Adams’s voice, so few senators could make out the words that Washington had carefully crafted. After a few complaints, Adams repeated the speech from the beginning. Washington’s remarks offered a brief synopsis of the current diplomatic state between the United States and the Southern Indians, and posed seven questions for the Senate to answer with an aye or a no.

Adams finished his recitation and sat. The seconds ticked by as the senators remained in awkward silence. A few shuffled papers or cleared their throats. Maclay speculated in his diary that his colleagues were so intimidated by Washington’s presence in the Senate chamber that they cowered in shameful silence. Eager to show that they could be active participants in the creation of foreign policy, Maclay stood up and suggested referring Washington’s seven questions to committee for discussion in detail. Washington lost his temper, stood up, and shouted, “This defeats every purpose of my coming here!” The senators fell into a stunned hush before Washington acquiesced to Maclay’s suggestion and offered to return to the Senate a few days later. Although he did return the following Monday, his first visit to the Senate was an inauspicious start to the executive-legislative relationship. As he returned to his carriage, Washington muttered under his breath that he would never return for advice. He kept his word—August 22, 1789, was the first and last time he visited the Senate to request guidance on foreign affairs. Unfortunately, the diplomatic challenges facing the United States during the Washington presidency were just beginning...


What exciting story are you working on next?I can’t quite get cabinets out of my system. I’ve become convinced that they are the best way to evaluate a president’s time in office and they reveal so much about leadership. So I’m comparing the cabinets of John Adams (one of the worst cabinets) and Thomas Jefferson (one of the best). But really, it’s a story of power, ego, and ambition and how presidents manage those things at the highest levels of government—so it should be very relevant for today.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t really consider myself a writer until I got my book in my hands. I know that sounds crazy, but I thought of myself as a historian and story teller, which I generally preferred to do with my voice because that came easier to me. Writing seemed like it was secondary or a requirement. But now I can’t get enough and I’ve fully embraced it as part of my identity!

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work as a historian full time, so a big chunk of the day is spent writing, whether that’s opinion editorials, articles, blog posts, or books. But I also spend a lot of time reading, researching, and working on other projects (like podcasts). I generally try and put my intellectually intensive work in the mornings when I’m sharpest, then save meetings, emails, and other busy work in the afternoon. I also try and block off at least one day a week to work on my book projects. Otherwise they will get pushed down the list in favor of smaller, easier-to-complete tasks.

But I’m also a big believer that if you have a flexible schedule, you should take advantage of it! Some days I just really need a break or need to work only half a day, then I’ll work in the evening or on the weekends if I’m feeling more motivated.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love to write with noise. At home, I’ll listen to music, often with lyrics, and I love writing in coffee shops. The business and white noise really creates the perfect environment. In fact, silence is super distracting for me!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
First, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I love animals of all kinds and had a knack for caring for them. But I was terrible at biology, so that didn’t work. Then I wanted to be a lawyer (my dad, brother, and now husband are all lawyers, so that’s in my blood). But I realized that would actually make me really unhappy. So I started to explore what I could do with history, since I had been passionate about the subject since I was super small.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I really appreciate their support! I didn’t realize until I published my own book how much time and effort it takes, nor how much it would mean to me to engage with readers and receive their reviews. I now try and leave a review for everything I read because I know how important they are! So I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to meet and chat with new readers!

Links:

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!


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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Interview with historical novelist Jean Gallant Marcoux

Today’s special guest is historical novelist Jean Gallant Marcoux chatting with me about his new WWII romance, Our Time Will Come, war, separation, and a daring attempt to reunite.

During his virtual book tour, Jean will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Bio:
Jean Gallant Marcoux was born in Quebec City Canada, where he earned an MD degree from Laval University. As a board-certified allergist, he practiced in Quebec City from 1970 to 1977 after which he continued his career in Houston Texas until his retirement in 2007.

Passionate for history, he has published articles for historical society magazines in his native Quebec. This is his debut novel. Dr. Marcoux lives in Houston with his family.

Please share a bit about your current release.
After a year in Paris studying painting at l’École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Hélène Simard returns home to Québec City in 1939 with a secret. She has a German fiancé. She can conceal his identity but not the baby she carries. Hans Werner, her lover, was drafted in the German army, and his dreams of ever reuniting with Hélène are shattered with WWII escalating. In 1942, a bold opportunity arises for him to cross the Atlantic. Hounded by the Canadian police and Nazi assassins, the lovers’ hope for a new life together becomes intertwined with a plot to kill Winston Churchill.

What inspired you to write this book?
Years ago, I learned about the two WWII Québec Conferences of 1943 and 1944, where President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and their military advisers met in Québec City, my hometown, to make plans for D-Day. I even saw newspaper pictures of Churchill touring the city in an open-convertible limousine. At one point, the limo stopped in front of City Hall, and Churchill stood in the car to salute the dignitaries and the immense cheering crowd filling the street. I wondered why the Nazis didn’t use the opportunity to assassinate the British Prime Minister. Or did they try?

     Once I retired from practicing medicine, I planned to write a spy novel on the subject, and I read all I could find about the events occurring in Europe and in Québec, just before and during WWII. I also read online, French and Canadian newspapers of the era.

     I soon realized that a typical story of a Nazi spy coming by U-boat from Europe to assassinate Churchill during the Québec Conference, didn’t make historical sense. The planning of the Conference was kept secret almost until the day it started, and Churchill was NOT supposed to be exposed to the public. It’s only the Prime Minister’s daredevil nature, coupled with daily hordes of Quebecers in front of the Chateau Frontenac hotel clamoring for Churchill, that produced the last-minute decision of the open-convertible tour.

     My spy novel became a love story, and I’m glad it did, because “Our Time Will Come” is a story that fans of historical novels should enjoy, as it explores a Canadian angle on WWII. Romance being a central theme of the book, it should also satisfy readers of that genre.


Excerpt from Our Time Will Come, war, separation and a daring attempt to reunite:
Paris, May 19, 1939: 4:00 A.M.
     It was dark outside. Hélène was in Hans’s small furnished apartment, in his bed, crying silently. Her love, her lover, the man she wanted to be with for as long as she lived, was leaving for Germany. They said the war was possible and Germany was calling its men to serve. Hans letter had come after Hans had called his mother to inquire about its arrival. When she said she had received it, he asked her to forward it to him in Paris. At first Hélène could not believe it was true.
     “There must be some mistake; this is not you they are calling. It must be someone else.”
     He took her in his arms and said, “It is me. This letter was expected, and as hard as it is for me to be away from you, I must go. Hopefully, this war will be over in a few months, and as soon as I am discharged, I will come to you in Québec. We will never be apart again.”
     Why did you sign up for the military? You’re an artist, not a warrior,” she said with a flare of anger in her voice. “Why, why, why?” she yelled, pulling away from his arms. Her hands involuntarily formed fists and her eyes filled with tears.
     He pulled her back to him and said, “I was drafted; I had no choice.”
     “I have a plan,” Hélène said, regaining some of her poise. “Let’s leave now. In a day or two, we can be on a ship to New York, Halifax, or Québec. The Germans will never find you in Québec. We will get married and be together forever.”
     Hans took her hand and led her to the kitchen table where they both sat down.
     “Darling,” he said, “I must serve my country. I saw my father come back from the war, in 1918, as a crippled man. He was gassed in the trenches and the last years of his life were a long agony. He was always out of breath, coughing and spitting. He could only sleep for a few minutes at a time, until the next coughing spell. When he learned of the conditions imposed on Germany at the Versailles Treaty, he wept and told me Germany had surrendered without having fought on its territory. We were not invaded, but betrayed; we were stabbed in the back by our leaders, under pressure from the French, British, and Americans.”
     “Despite my young age,” Hans continued, “I understood my father suffered for years, dying little by little, for a cause he believed in. His suffering and death were in vain. I see this new war as a chance to defend the honour of my father and all those who fought for Germany and died for nothing.
     He stood, took her in his arms, kissed her, and said, “I don’t want to leave you, but I have to go, I must go. I promise you I will do all I can to get back to you as soon as possible. Our time will come.”


What exciting story are you working on next?
I am currently writing a sequel to Our Time Will Come, occurring the following year, 1944, during the second Québec Conference. Once again, the Nazis try to blackmail Hans Werner into killing Churchill, this time by kidnapping his and Hélène’s 5-year-old son.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I first held in my hand a copy of Our Time Will Come, my first published novel.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Since I retired from practicing medicine, I have no other gainful occupation. However, I do not write every day. My wife and I enjoy traveling, (before COVID-19) playing golf, and spending time with our grand-children. I read all the time, fiction and non-fiction books which help fashion my own writing.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I tend to let my characters go where they want. Once I started a short story about Edmond. Halfway thought, a minor character Gabriel, took over. At the end, it became Gabriel’s story, where Edmond was not even mentioned.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Long ago, when I was a child, doctors did house calls. One day, my grandfather, who lived with us, got sick, and my parents were visibly worried. The doctor came, spent a few minutes in grandpa’s bedroom, came out and declared, “it’s just a bad cold, he’ll be back to normal in a few days.” Immediately, my parents were relieved. I decided then, I wanted to be a doctor, and help people feel better. That’s why I became a physician.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
All writers love to hear from their readers, and find out what they liked, or didn’t like about their books, and answer any question they might have. Do not hesitate to contact me.

Links:

Thanks for being here today.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Interview with dark fiction author Matt Carter

Dark fiction author Matt Carter joins me to chat about Bennytown.

During his virtual book tour, Matt will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

The book will be only sale for $0.99 during the tour

Bio:
Matt Carter has used his lifelong love for writing, history and the bizarre to bring to life novels like Almost Infamous: A Supervillain Novel, Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir, and the Prospero Chronicles young adult horror series (all co-authored with Fiona J.R. Titchenell). Bennytown,is his first solo horror novel.

He is represented by Fran Black of Literary Counsel and lives in the usually sunny town of San Gabriel, CA with his wife, their pet king snake Mica, and the myriad of strange fictional characters and worlds that live in his head.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Bennytown is a horror novel for adult audiences, centered around a major American theme park with a dark history.

For 60 years now, Bennytown has been America’s favorite and most exciting theme park experience, bringing to life iconic cartoon characters, including the world-famous Benny the Bunny. Featuring rides, shows and other themed attractions at the cutting edge of technology, Bennytown is a place of innocence and joy for the whole family. On the surface, anyway. Behind its family-friendly façade, Bennytown is a place of darkness ruled by eldritch magic, where ghosts, masked cultists and monstrous scientific experiments roam freely, and nothing is as it seems.

The story follows Noel, a 16-year-old new hire who believes he owes a lot to Bennytown. Though initially excited for his new job, he soon begins to discover that the dark forces that live within Bennytown might have designs for him…

What inspired you to write this book?
Bennytown is kind of a book I always knew I was going to write in one way, shape or form. I have always been something of a horror writer at heart, and living in Southern California and having reasonable access to a number of the greatest theme parks in the world, I’ve always been a bit of a fan. Growing up, I was fascinated and enthralled by a number of the morbid true stories and urban legends that surrounded a lot of the more popular parks, and that information never thoroughly left my mind. Then, when I was 16, I got my first ever summer job at Universal Studios Hollywood. Between my fascinations and the two years I spent working there, it feels like this story was an inevitability.


Excerpt from Bennytown:
Darkness is all I can see in any direction. I see shadowy, moving shapes I know to be buckets around me and maybe an outline of the escalators but nothing in complete detail.

I am abandoned.

No, no, no. I can NOT be abandoned. Somebody has to know I’m here. Somebody will look for me. Any second now. Any second…

I grip the railing and scream, “HEEEEEEEEEEEY! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELP!”

My cries are pitiful against the wind and the rain. I doubt anyone can hear me from thirty feet away, let alone from the distance of the station. Despite that, I’m too scared to stop screaming.

Someone has to hear.

I scream again.

This time there’s a scream back.

Not a person. Not an animal.

I don’t know what.

It’s low, mechanical and almost organic. Only something large can make a sound like that.

Briefly, I hope that it’s the motors starting up, ready to pull me to safety.

I’m not that lucky.

And maybe it’s a good thing I’m stuck here. There’s something about that scream I don’t like, something that reaches into the furthest, most primitive recesses of my brain and tells me that whatever made that noise is hungry.

The wind picks up, and the steel cables above me creak and groan in protest.

A bolt of lightning flashes close enough to light up the sky. It’s so bright it burns my eyes, and the thunder sounds like the whole world is exploding around me. With spots and stars in my eyes, I wonder if I’m going blind, as the electricity in my bucket turns on again. The light is dull and yellow, flickering, and the speaker briefly comes to life. The voice whispers right into my ear.


What exciting story are you working on next?
I’ve got a few horror projects in the pipeline at any given moment, but my current next one is a gothic haunted house tale that my wife and I are co-writing. While I can’t give a lot of details about it, we’re having a lot of fun with it.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have always been a writer in some capacity, but it wasn’t until the later end of college that I realized it was something I wanted to focus my life on. For so long it was something I considered to be a fun hobby, one that I could dream of making a life out of someday but one that would never actually get that far. However, once I got my degree and spent a good long while soul-searching, I realized that it was my path all along. And so, I write!


Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Short answer: I try to. Life circumstances have allowed me to write full time, but with my attention span very easily distracted by anything remotely shiny, some days take more effort than others. All the same, I do love to write. Most days are a combination of a few rounds of coffee and hours spent staring at a screen trying to make words happen. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, but I shall always try.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am incredibly long-winded when writing fiction, and it’s only editing that makes what I say remotely readable. Anything I write is more than likely to be cut by 30-40% from first to final draft, without losing too much of the story in the process.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
For the longest time, I wanted to be a paleontologist, and yes, it was because I was obsessed with Jurassic Park. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a teacher, and this was close to happening, actually, but as noted, after college I was in one of those soul-searching meets epiphany moments, and this is where it took me.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?Nothing that I can think of off the top of my head, but I hope you check out Bennytown for a good, fun scare. Thank you for having me on your blog today!

Links:

The book will be only sale for $0.99 during the tour

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Interview with Jerry Hack about Memoir of a Hockey Nobody

My special guest writer today is Jerry Hack. We’re chatting about his memoir, Memoir of a Hockey Nobody: They Said I Couldn’t Make the NHL So I Went Out and Proved Them Right!

During his virtual book tour, Jerry will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!

Welcome, Jerry. Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Burnaby, British Columbia. My sisters and I were raised by hard-working blue-collar parents. We were and are a tight knit family. I grew up loving sports but hockey most of all. In fact, it was my passion. I read about it, watched it and played it. I was an average student and a good athlete. I could play most sports without looking out of place. But I was born to be a goalie. I graduated from high school in 1979 and a year later began my journey playing ice hockey. 40 years later, I am happily married with a 12-year-old daughter and loving life more than ever.

What inspired you to write this book?
First of all, let me thank you for having me on your blog. I am thrilled to be here. It really started out as a lark. I was just posting funny stories on Facebook about my younger days when I played some “serious” hockey. The stories were getting quite a positive response, and more than a few people suggested that I should write a book. I had never even considered the possibility of doing such a thing. I had not written much since high school, and that was a billion years ago. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt I had a story to tell that’s never been told before. As far as I know, nobody has ever done what I did. Also, my parents had passed away in recent years and I realized that I didn’t know their story. I knew bits and pieces, but I realized that I would like to know the story of their lives, and they are gone now, so I can’t ask them. I thought about my own daughter and how one day she might want to know my story. I didn’t want to leave this life without her being able to find out. Now she will.


Excerpt from Memoir of a Hockey Nobody:
“Just one final note about my senior hockey career. I’ve never been a big believer in statistics. I like the quote from Bobby Bragan, who was a baseball player in the early 20th century. I’m paraphrasing but I believe he said, “The problem with statistics is, if you have one foot on fire and the other in a bucket of ice, according to the statisticians, you should be perfectly comfortable”. In the 4 seasons that I played for the Rebels, I won the Best Goalie trophy every year. 11 other goalies came and went during that time, some specifically to take my spot. I also won the league trophy for Best Goals Against Average every year. In 35 years of playing competitive hockey, I won a lot of trophies. The danger of winning that many is that you can start to think that you’re better than you are, (I call it “The Red Light Lonnie Syndrome”). I only kept one trophy from all those years and my wife is under strict instructions to show it to me if my head starts to get too big. I assumed that when the league bought the trophy that year, they sent it out to be engraved in a shop that didn’t employ sports fans. When I won the Best Goals Against award and it was presented to me, I read the inscription and it read:
“Best Average Goalie” “Jerry Hack”
How apt is that?”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m not a writer, I’m actually a forklift driver. While writing this book, I figured that this would be a “one shot deal” and I would most likely never write anything else. But the book has had such an overwhelmingly positive response and people seem to like not only what I write, but the way I write, so I feel I have to consider the possibility of doing it again. I have an idea for a novel banging around in my brain and the thought of putting pen to paper again excites me. I have a really twisted sense of humour and I think it would be fun to put some of my ideas into a make-believe world. But for now, I’m just going to enjoy the attention I’m getting from this one.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never have. Even after publishing my memoir I don’t consider myself one. I tell people that yes, I am an author, but I’m not a writer. I once saw a movie where a family has an author over for dinner. Their teenage son is just in awe of him as he wants to be a professional writer in his future. The author asks the teenager “why does a writer write?” The teenager answers without much hesitation, “to make money”. The author replies to him, “no, a writer writes to write. It is something he is, not something he does.” If I write another book, and it is published, maybe then I might consider the possibility that I may be a writer.

Do you write full time? If so, what’s your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I most definitely do not write full time. I am a total blue-collar worker bee. I drive a forklift for a lumber company. I am a shipper. I enjoy my job even though I have to do math every day. I have what I call “the loner gene”. I like myself, and I like being by myself, which I figure is why I enjoy writing (although this is a recent realization). I don’t know if it’s like this for writers, but I like the fact that when I am typing into my computer, I am the master of my domain. I am the dictator of my world and everything in it. I find the best time to write is after my wife and daughter have gone to bed and the house is quiet. My brain never really shuts off and the ideas and memories flow easily from my mind into my fingertips. Then the dog will bark and all is lost (not really).

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I haven’t been writing very long (a matter of months) so I’m not sure what quirks I have developed. This might be a better question for my wife. But if I had to pick one, I would say that it’s my ability to have complete and total focus on what I’m doing (part of being a goalie I guess). I will be plucking away on my keyboard and my wife will be trying to get my attention from across the room. I will be completely oblivious and totally absorbed in what I’m doing. She will finally throw something at my head (like a pillow, not a hammer). Sometimes when I’m writing I will even answer her questions without knowing that I’m doing so. Then later, she will ask me about the matter, and I will have no idea what she’s talking about. Also, I have a habit of using parentheses (I quit for a year, but I gained a lot of weight).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Not a writer. Again, if you are going to make me choose one, I would say professional goalie. It was my passion, bordering on obsession, for almost as long as I can remember. But also, there was a laundry list of others. At one time or another, I wanted to be a lawyer, football player, train engineer, stuntman (didn’t work out because I’m afraid of heights), sculptor, actor, astronomist, zoologist, park ranger, stock broker, psychologist, medical doctor, helicopter pilot (again, afraid of heights), or a professional golfer. It depended on the day which profession I wanted to be.

Anything additional you want to share with readers?
The book is not just for hockey fans. This is not only my opinion. Many different people have read it so far. Some hockey fans, some not. Male, female, young, not so young. Some who know me and some who do not. They all have said pretty much the same thing. It’s an interesting and inspiring story that will have you laughing out loud at times while maybe shedding a tear at others.

This is a review from a female reader named Trish C.
Reviewed in Canada on June 3, 2020
You don’t have to play hockey, heck even like hockey, to enjoy this book. It’s about the pursuit of a dream and the ups and downs of that pursuit. You will feel like your travelling along with the author through their journey. You’ll cheer, you’ll feel anguish but mostly you’ll laugh, a lot. It’s a a lighthearted, easy to follow memoir that will have you flipping page after page to see how their journey unfolds. Highly recommend.

Thank you, Lisa for having me on your blog. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. Just one last thing, partial proceeds from the sale of my book go to help my friend Suzanne who is fighting stage 4 cancer. Some of the treatments that are helping her are not covered by insurance or the government. For the first 1,000 books sold, I am donating $3.00 from each one. So, if you buy my book, you help Suzanne. If you would like details of Suzanne’s Go Fund Me page, they are on the Memoir of a Hockey Nobody Facebook Page. Thanks everybody and stay safe!!

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Thanks for being here today.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Interview with novelist A. Gavazzoni

I’m happy to host author A. Gavazzoni today. She’s here to chat about her new action and mystery placed in a historical background, Sketches of Life.

During her virtual book tour, A. will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too.

Also, the book will be $0.99 at Amazon during the tour.

Bio:
A. Gavazzoni is a Brazilian writer, a former professor of law and has been a practicing lawyer for 28 years. Her first series of self-published novels, Hidden Motives: Behind the Door, Lara’s Journal, and The Brilliant Game, won several writing contests, gathered five gold medals, one bronze medal, five honorable mentions and was finalist of many great contests: B.R.A.G. medallion (Gold Medal); Book Excellence Awards (Two Gold medals); e-lite awards (Gold medal), Golden Book Award (Gold Medal); IPPY AWARDS (Bronze Medal), Readers Favorite (three honorable mentions); Paris Book Festival (Three honorable mentions); Eric Hoffer Book Award (Finalist); American Fiction Awards (Finalist); Indie Excellence Awards (Finalist); Independent Author Network (Finalist); Indie Excellence (Finalist); The IAN book of the year awards (Finalist); The Kindle-book award (semi-finalist).

Adriana speaks Portuguese (her native language), English, French, and Spanish and she loves to travel. Adriana loves to cook for her friends, to dance the tango, to work out, she is a voracious reader and a proud dog's mom of two girls, Juno and Charlotte.

Please share a little bit about your current release.
Sketches of Life is an action-mystery-romance that takes place in an historical setting, and it tells the story of people trying their best to survive in a world in turmoil due to World War II. Facing unfamiliar circumstances and days filled with challenges, the characters need to learn to adapt or die. Inspired by spy stories I’ve read, the book is filled with mysteries the reader needs to decipher and deals with complicated matters such as losing people you love, dementia, and fulfilling your dreams.

What inspired you to write this book?
Sketches of Life is the story of the grandmother of one of my main characters in my trilogy Hidden Motives. When I created Emma, I knew I had to write about her life because she was the perfect grandmother, and it is clear she has a mysterious past. I simply needed to tell about her life. Also, I was inspired by spy stories I’d read, and by the Mossad, which is a subject I love to read and watch movies about.


Excerpt from Sketches of Life:
Having nobody else in the world and nothing to lose is terrifying, but it’s also liberating. No matter what I had to do, I would have the courage. I couldn´t disappoint anybody, nobody would cry over my actions, and I had nobody to please.

Things are as big as your proximity to them, and if you keep your distance, nothing can scare you or threaten you. Everything is just a matter of perspective, and the secret to surviving was to keep my heart safe and never expect anything from anyone. In the end, all feelings, good or bad, are only as powerful as you allow them to be.

I learned to live day by day, planning but not living for my plans, trying to solve just the problems I had in front of me and not worrying about things that hadn´t introduced themselves yet. As life had shown me, and Malena once told me, we had no control over the future, and it was as unpredictable as the ocean—it could drown a person if they thought they could tame it.


What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working in the sequel to Sketches of Life and another book about life in Brazil.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When my first novel was published, that was one of the best days of my life.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
No, I’m an active lawyer, and I have to divide my time between my clients, my legal profession, and writing. I organized my schedule in a way that allows me to write every day. I also have other hobbies, such as amateur astrology and dancing. I love to cook for my friends, and I love to socialize and share a good laugh. I think it’s possible to do many different things; it’s all a matter of staying organized.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I’m away from computer and have an idea, I send notes to myself. I’ll use my phone to send myself an email or text.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
So many things. A race car driver, a writer, an astronaut, a scientist, an engineer, a ballerina— all those things at once! But since I’m a writer, I can be all those things in my mind.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m a very positive person, and I try to see the bright side of everything. Life is much easier when you do that.


The book will be $0.99 at Amazon during the tour.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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