Sunday, April 27, 2014

An Interview with Tina Jordan, author of Red Veil

You've likely only just blinked and we're already on to our next author interview. We're going to totally switch gears here and this time speak with Tina Jordan, author of Red Veil, a collection of poetry and prose based on the dreams, daydreams, and musings of the author with themes ranging from the historical and romantic to the slightly amusing and somewhat bizarre.
-Hi Tina. Thanks for joining us today on Holy Cow I’m Writing A Book?!. What can you tell our readers about your book, Red Veil?
TINA: My book, Red Veil, is poetry and prose, largely based on dreams and daydreams with some "dressing up" of each scenario. There are pieces which some would classify as romantic, a few that have a comical twist, and some which are a bit mysterious.
-This blog is meant for writers who are new to the publishing world and are just starting to explore getting their own works published. Is this your first book and what can you tell us about your journey toward becoming a published author?
TINA: This is my first attempt at publishing a book, and I have found the journey to be quite rewarding. My goal in publishing was personal achievement and a simple wish that others might find pleasure in reading my thoughts.
-How long have you been writing?
TINA: I have been writing for about three years now, and have found that my writing is evolving with me as I grow emotionally and spiritually.
-I’m a high school English teacher and for years I’ve been asking my students to try and come up with their own definitions of “poetry”. How would you define that word?
TINA:  To me poetry is the essence of the soul expressed in written word. As you read Red Veil, you will note that I have chosen to stay away from strict form and guidelines. I write from the heart and with the intent of painting scenes in the reader's mind.

-What kind of readers would most enjoy Red Veil?
TINA: I think readers who are looking for a read that tugs at the heartstrings a bit and those who like to conjure up their own versions of what might happen next will enjoy this collection. My hope is that the book will appeal to a wide audience.

-Can you talk a little about how you came up with the cover design for the book?
TINA: I had an image in my mind's eye of what I wanted to portray on the cover. Since many of these pieces formed from recollections of dreams, I chose trees to represent the forest of the psyche and the red hue to invoke a certain mood. Kathryn Monson is the talented artist who provided such a brilliant cover.

-Here's a sample from the book:



I balance myself with my gloved right palm firmly pushing against the

Coldness of the stone wall as I rally what grace I possess, then descend.

The walkway is veiled by a thin layer of snow, packed tightly by the

Afternoon's foot travelers, and left as a formidable challenge to one such

As myself; in retrospect, I think that I have selected my footwear poorly.

I cannot turn back; there will be no train back to the country until late

Morning tomorrow, and the night air is growing more frigid with each breath.

To remove my heeled boots and walk in stocking-clad feet would be dangerous

Folly as well, so I navigate each move downward with concentrated caution.

Something heavy has attached to my eyelash, causing me to stop and curse

The latest assault of swirling snowflakes as they drift downward like ice fairies.

Two minutes and thirty-one steps later, I grossly miscalculate my bearings.

The fall is so sudden and decisive that I haven't time to grasp at what isn't

There anyway. My head comes to rest with the hardened snow just as my

Heart acknowledges that the empty street will be sole witness to my debacle.

A sob escapes my throat, floating out into the darkness and transmuting into

A million and one tiny shards of crystalline pain. It echoes in cruel teasing tones.

The onyx curtain falls on my consciousness and a stray cat sings into the void.

I drift upward and float, alternating between the dulling ache emanating from

The base of my skull and the scent of something or someone deliciously familiar.

My cheek is rubbing against something that gives way to a tickle affecting a

Tentative opening of one eye.....I surely have died..... cradled and carried

By an Angel....or perhaps I am dreaming that this nightmare has turned tide.

I hear a door closing behind me....or was that the throbbing in head once more?

The light is nearly unbearable for an instant as I feel something soft at my back.

I fully adjust my focus and see, kneeling before me, a mixture of fear and

Relief in your weary eyes before you remark on my choice of winter fashion.


Copyright 2014 Tina Jordan All Rights Reserved

-Where can we buy it?
TINA:  Red Veil is available on and

Thanks so much for talking with us, Tina! READERS: If you like poetry, this one's for you. Make sure to pick up a copy of Red Veil as soon as you click away from the blog today.
More interviews. More authors. More books. More hilarity. Find it here and on my twitter pages:
@BookTalkGuy and @RimerTom

An Interview with author, musician and 4-time Emmy-nominated writer & producer Barbara Hall

I've been busting at the seams since I found out about our next author interview and I'm thrilled to finally be able to bring her unique insight to our little blog. Our guest today is author, musician, and 4-time Emmy-nominated (Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy, Homeland) writer and producer, Barbara Hall. To avid readers she’s a novelist with 11 published works whose imagination has been honored by numerous institutions, including the American Library Association in both their Best Books and Notable Books categories. She's currently working with Morgan Freeman on a pilot of Madame Secretary.  Barbara's work can all be found on her website,, and on Amazon. Her most recent novel is Charisma.
-We’re so incredibly excited to have you here for an interview, Barbara. Thank you for joining us, today. Over your lifetime, you’ve published a number of books. Is there any one work which you are most proud of?
Barbara: I’m probably most proud of a novel I wrote years ago called Close to Home.  It was the moment where everything I wanted to say dovetailed with the editor I needed at the time to support it.  Second to that, I am incredibly proud of a book I did with this same editor at a different publishing house (Algonquin) called The Music Teacher.  It was a book about music and physics and all the worlds I cared most about came together in that book.  My latest novel, Charisma, is something I’m also quite proud of.  But I published that book in an entirely different business model.  That said, I worked with a brilliant editor and am really proud of the result.  I’ll take a moment here to talk about how important a great editor is to a writer.  A great editor doesn’t, actually, edit but instead guides conceptually and offers a big picture view.   I have been quite lucky with my editors.
-Are you currently working on any new novels and when might we expect to see those hit shelves?
Barbara: I am not currently working on a novel. My entire backlist has recently been published on Amazon so it’s like being published for the first time.  If you’re curious about me, want to know about my books?  Go on Amazon.  It’s all there.  I’m not saying I’ll never write a book again but until the public catches up to what I’ve already done, I don’t feel the need to write another book.
-Most of our readers are aspiring authors, many in the midst of developing their first manuscript (me included). Considering the huge amount of success that you’ve had, what advice can you give to those of us who are just starting out and learning to navigate the publishing world?
Barbara: The publishing world is an ever changing one.  In keeping with my character, I never have advice about how to get published or how to succeed.  I have tons of advice about how to be a better writer.  Sadly, very few aspiring writers ever ask me about that.  I give lectures often and at the top of the event I say, “I have almost no advice for you about how to succeed as a writer.  I have tons of advice for you about how to be a better writer.”  Sadly. aspiring writers almost never offer such questions.  This clues me in that aspiring writers don’t want t learn about writing, they just want to learn about how to be perceived as great writers.  I have less than no time to teach about that.  In fact, I have no wisdom to offer about that. If you want to be a better writer, I’ll sit at your knee and lecture you.  If you want to know about how to be perceived that way, I have tons of time consuming hobbies to get to.
-In addition to writing books, you are also a successful musician and a 4-time Emmy-nominated writer & producer (Joan of Arcadia, Judging Amy, Homeland). How can you possibly manage to juggle all of these aspects of your life? Do you have room for anything else?
Barbara: I juggle it all because I want to.  I have things I want to do and so I guess the best answer to this question is that I understand time management.  If you have a billion things you want to do, then you have to cut out some time sucks.  If you have lots of things to say, stop staying them for free on Facebook and blogs.  If you really value your POV, stop giving it away.  The time you use going to parties or just generally hanging out is time you could use getting your work done.  I don’t like parties.  The time I’ve saved not going to parties has added up to time I’ve used getting work done.  If you like parties, stop apologizing.  Go to parties.  If you want to use your time worrying about what people think of you, just know it’s time away from working and heading toward a bigger goal.  I guess the bottom line is that I prioritize.  I don’t judge people for not doing that.  If you want to swing from the chandeliers, go for it.  But that’s time you could have spent working on your craft.
-You’re currently working on a new project with the great Morgan Freeman. What can you tell us about Madame Secretary?
Barbara: I can’t tell you much about Madame Secretary because it’s still in its nascent state.  It’s Morgan Freeman’s company but Morgan isn’t in the pilot as an actor.  It’s good and we’re still waiting for the official pick up.
-Your albums Bad Man and Handsome are both currently available for purchase. What musicians, bands, songwriters, etc. have had the most influence on your work?
Barbara: Bruce Springsteen and anyone who ever influenced Bruce Springsteen.  Post that, I have been influenced by Gillian Welch/David Rawlings and Wilco’s record, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.  
-Your writing for television has spanned generations. You’ve written for Family Ties (in 1983) and for episodes of Homeland (in 2013). Those are two wildly different shows. Is this simply an illustration of how far you have come or do you have crazy range/interests as a writer?
Barbara: You have identified it—I am crazy.  But seriously.  I started out as a comedy writer and I haven’t changed much.  I switched to drama writing because I so hated the process of comedy writing—which amounted to comedians in a room performing their ideas.  I’m really a writer—by which I mean I have no acting bones—so I just hated being in the spotlight that way.  I never feel comfortable as a writer until I’m alone in a room with just me and the blank screen and drops of blood forming on my forehead.  It’s not like I haven’t examined avenues of escaping that.  But end of the day, I always end up alone in the room with a blank screen, prompting me to make something out of nothing.  It’s what I do.  I can’t escape it.
-Where can we buy Charisma and any of your other books and music?
Barbara’s website:
-Teaser/blurb for Charisma:
Barbara, it's been a pleasure having you. Thanks for the chat! Everyone else, please make sure to check out Charisma and the rest of Barbara's library of work.
For more info and insight on the publishing universe, from fo-realsy authors, please keep checking back here and on my twitter pages @BookTalkGuy and @RimerTom

Saturday, April 19, 2014

An Interview with R.J. Wellington, author of Raiders of the Lost Happiness

Welcome back! I am very excited to introduce you today, to R.J. Wellington, author of Raiders of the Lost Happiness.

-Thanks for joining us today, R.J. So, what made you decide that you wanted to write Raiders of the Lost Happiness?
R.J.: Thanks for having me here! My decision was primarily based on my own experience with the principles laid out in the book, as well as the success I have been having with my coaching clients. I decided to share some of the most important principles I teach in a book. I know that some people cannot afford coaching sessions; therefore I want to give these people a chance to experience part of my system. Obviously I cannot synthetize the whole of my system in a book because in individual coaching sessions I work with my clients’ personal issues and feedback. However, I made sure to create a book that is self-sufficient and can be put into practice immediately.  

-Is this your first book?
R.J.: No. I have a couple of other books both in English and Portuguese, however I can call this one my best book to date. I also share a couple of free e-books online at my official coaching website: One of these free e-books, actually an e-booklet, called “the mental alchemy report”, has been helping people build their “prosperity muscles” and actually attract the amount of money they set their minds to, starting small and then gradually increasing the amount.

-What can you tell us about the process of developing this book? How long did it take you to write Raiders of the Lost Happiness?
R.J.: I believe the hardest part of writing a book is actually reviewing and editing it. The book itself was drafted in a couple of months, but it took me over one year to have it ready for publishing. During my writing process I always ask myself: What would I like to see in a book? What would really make me say that I loved a book? Then I try to do my best to create such a book for my readers.

-It sounds like you’ve accomplished quite a lot in your life. Is that true?
R.J.: The most important thing that I am accomplishing is the confirmation of my own convictions; the proof that we DO have much more control over our realities than we can imagine. Material accomplishments and personal success are part of it and I’m getting those gradually, however, my biggest accomplishment is to be able to contribute to the field of personal development and make a difference in other people’s lives. I measure accomplishments in terms of fulfilling your life’s mission, doing what you’re passionate about, being unique and making a difference, no matter how big or small it is. So I can truly say that each day I am accomplishing more and more, and the exciting thing about it is that it is a never-ending process; life CAN be exciting and full of accomplishments every single day, until our last day in the “theater of life”.  

-Your book asks the question “Is there a formula for happiness?” Well, we want to know… is there?
R.J.: I gave you a hint in the previous answer. But there’s much more to that. Fulfilling your life’s mission is actually the result of using the right formula. However, If you think about a “formula” in terms of: step 1, 2 and 3, you may be trapped in a dogma or closed-ended system. I see my version of “the formula” as the application of certain universal principles. Principles are unchangeable, and for a formula to be effective, it must be based on the right principles, then, and only then, we develop various methods.  What I see today are various coaches and authors being trained only on methods, not really being taught or mastering principles. That’s one of the reasons why many people are becoming suspicious of “self-help” books. There’s a lot of hype but no substantial life-changing information. If you know a method, you will apply that to your clients all the time, it may work or it may not work because individuals are different, and there’s no such a thing as a “cookie-cutter” method that works for all. A Master, however, knowing the principles, will develop individual methods for his apprentice, client or patient. Therefore, I can guarantee you that there is a formula for happiness, and I try to lay the principles out as clearly as I can in my book so my clients will be able to even create their own individual methods. I have refined it to be very simple, but to be as universal as it can be.

-Since this is a blog centering around books and writing, are there any works of literature that have influenced you to be the person and author that you are today? What are you currently reading?
R.J.: Sure, I am a big fan of self-development literature since my early teens, especially the “old school authors” like Joseph Murphy, Neville Goddard, Jane Roberts, U.S. Andersen and H. Emily Cady, among others. To me some of the best principle-based books were written in the past century, and I always go back to those as a source of inspiration. I am currently reading books on the new developments of Quantum Physics. 

-If you could give me one piece of advice on living a happy life, what would you tell me?
R.J.: Stop underestimating yourself, stop waiting for a better future, stop trying to be like someone else or pleasing others in search approval. Stop listening to the advice of people who are not successful at what you wish to accomplish. Follow the wise Buddhist advice: “Have no attachment, have no aversion to anything”. Let others be who they are, be who YOU are, don’t apologize for being yourself. These are the first steps. In my book I elaborate on those topics and teach what I call the “Master Key” that opens all doors. So, please do yourself a favor; invest less than $20.00 and learn the Master Key; that is less than two movie tickets. If the book does not please you, you can always send it back for a refund. It can’t be any easier, right?

-Ok, R.J. Sell this thing to us. Why should we go out and buy Raiders of the Lost Happiness, right now?
R.J.: If you want simplicity and straight-forwardness you should take a look at my book. If you can’t afford a 5 day, $10,000.00 self-help retreat on an “exotic location” or expensive private coaching, I bet you that my book will give you the same value for a much smaller price. I cannot make promises because I don’t know if the reader will finish the book or practice the suggested methods, but I can say that if they do it, this may be the best book they have ever read in their lives. If you are disappointed with all the “self-help hype”, try Raiders of the Lost Happiness. It may change your life radically.

-Anything else at all that you’d like us to know about your book? Where can we buy it?
R.J.: It can be found at Amazon, B&N and through my website –

Those who buy it directly from my website link to Lulu Publishing will receive a free gift e-book. All I can say is that this is not just another self-help book; it is Raiders of the Lost Happiness, written with passion, by someone who has walked his talked, someone who has helped real people accomplish real results. You’ve got nothing to lose by reading it, and a lot to gain if you apply its advices and methods.
Thanks, R.J.!!! Great interviews! I have a feeling people are going to be lining up to read this one.
 Check back soon for more awesome author interviews here at on my twitter page @RimerTom

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

An Interview with Philip Tolhurst, author of George and the Dragon

I have a really good feeling about our next author interview. As I see it, this is a guy (and book) that look primed to burst onto the scene on April 23rd. Mark my words: There will be a movie. I said it, right here. You heard me. This one's gonna be BIG. Whenever I finally do finish my, as of yet, untitled YA sci-fi adventure, I hope that I am as excited then as I am now about this dude's book.

Today, I would like to introduce you all to Philip Tolhurst, author of the soon-to-be released, George and the Dragon.

-George and the Dragon is your debut novel. Where did the idea for this story come from?
PHILIP: A simple what if question that nobody, that I could discover at the time, had written about; “What if there were dragons in World War 2?”

-This is the first book in a series. Is the story already entirely plotted out or are you still figuring out exactly how many books it's going to take to finish this thing?
PHILIP: Book 2 is planned out and I’ve started work on it already.  Book 3 I have worked out mostly in my head but I should really write out a chapter synopsis for it.  I think there’ll be two more books after that, so there will be at least five books in the Knights of the Sky series, maybe six.  We shall see where George’s adventures take us as each novel comes to life.

-Have you always liked dragons?
PHILIP: Yes.  I have no idea who would have been the first dragon I encountered as a kid but I was playing Dungeons and Dragons before I was a teenager.  I have a fondness for all dragons, not just the fearsome fire breathing ones; like Chorlton, the Soup Dragon or even Elliot.  My favourite dragon is Draco from the movie Dragonheart.  The work they did to make him believable was amazing for the time.  I guess he is also the closest in style to the dragons I write about.

-It's really interesting to have fantastical characters living and breathing during actual historical events. Would you say that you are both a history buff and a lover of fantasy?
PHILIP: Absolutely if I could quit my day job and become a full time writer I would take the chance to also study a degree in History.  I prefer ancient history to more modern times though.  I think you can’t like Fantasy such as Tolkien without liking History and Mythology. If you look now you have writers creating myths from the myths, like Percy Jackson, that opens up a whole new audience to what we can learn from History which I think is cool. 

-What books had the greatest influence on your desire to become a writer? If we could go back in time and sit down with Philip Tolhurst, the teenager, what would we see him reading?
PHILIP: Wow interesting question, I’m guessing books like The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia but also I had a great love of The Fighting Fantasy and The Way of the Tiger adventure game books.  In my late teens I read a lot of my sister’s books particularly those by Robert Ludlam.  My sister also introduced me to the Black Tower books by Stephen King, although I still haven’t finished reading them all.

-This blog is dedicated to new writers who are taking their baby steps in the publishing world. What advice can you give to fellow fresh authors, who are currently working to finish their inaugural manuscripts? 
PHILIP: 1.  Remember your first draft doesn’t have to be a masterpiece.  Finishing the first draft is a major accomplishment no matter how good or bad you might perceive it to be.  Once you have reached that stage you can then go back and edit what you have written and refine it further.
2.  Have faith in your work.  I think it is very hard to say; “Okay I’m finished I can now publish my book.”  Mainly because anyone who then reads the work will have an opinion about what you could have done differently. 
3.  If you intend to self publish you can never start too early building your online presence because books do NOT sell themselves.  Think about social media, your own websites, creating a blog, but don’t spread yourself too thinly at the same time.

-Can you tell us anything about your journey to becoming a published author? Anything you wish someone had told you ahead of time?
PHILIP: I have never been the sort of person that ‘always wanted to write a book’.  Rather I have always had a great imagination.  I started writing George and the Dragon to prove to myself, and those who doubted me, that I could do it.  I think I’ve surprised a few people along the way.

I wish I had heard of Scrivener earlier.  Most of my early writing was written in Word.  But I tend to write in chapters and so I have 30+ separate word documents.  Scrivener allows you to break down the chapters without the need for the separation.  I can’t imagine writing without Scrivener now.

Don’t be afraid to get advice from other authors, join Facebook groups, get involved in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  Writing does not need to be a solitary experience, which for me, for a long time, it was.

-Who would you recommend your book to? Who can you see reading George and the Dragon?
It would be a cliché if I said anyone.  However, I do think we pigeonhole books because that’s how the big publishing companies like to do it.  Based on their system the book is aimed at 10-14 year old boys or girls.  So it is on the cusp of what the American’s would describe as Middle Grade and Young Adult. 

 I do believe that, regardless of your age or sex, if you enjoyed the likes of The Chronicles of Narnia, dare I say it Harry Potter, or Eragon (and the rest of the Inheritance books) then you will probably like George and the Dragon.

-Okay, here’s your chance, Philip. Make me want to go out and buy it even more than I already do. Anything else at all that you would like readers to know about your book?
PHILIP: Imagine you were a 13 year old boy at the start of World War 2 and you encountered a dragon who insisted you give it a name. After you’d gotten over the shock of meeting the dragon, what name would you choose?

Find out what name George chose when you read George and the Dragon.
-No pressure, but… when you’re rich and famous and there’s a movie being made of George and the Dragon (‘cause it sounds like it’d make for a awesome flick), will you remember me?
PHILIP: Absolutely, I’m a true believer of helping people that help me.   It’s a big world out there and we all need all the help we can get to concur it.

Blurb/teaser for George and the Dragon:
World War II has broken out. The Battle of Britain has begun and the Germans have new weapon, a weapon so powerful it could end the British war effort before it has even started.
With bombs falling dangerously close to their home George Atkins’ mother, Mary, decides they will go and live with his uncle in the heart of English countryside. George’s whole world is turned upside down when his uncle’s house is destroyed by Luftwaffe dragons and he finds himself befriended by an emerald green dragon with revenge on his mind. 

George becomes the dragon’s rider and the pair and are reluctantly recruited by the RAF. As the first dragon and rider fighting for the allies, they face the biggest challenge of their lives; to save the country from defeat by the Luftwaffe and the commander of the German dragon forces; the evil Colonel von Vogler.

Where can we buy it: It will be available on the 23 April (St George’s Day) on all major eBook formats; Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Play etc.
Awesome! Thanks so much for the interview, Philip! Everybody else, make sure to check out George and the Dragon, set for release on April 23rd!!! Don't miss it!!!
And please keep checking back for more interviews here and on my twitter account, @RimerTom !!!