Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Great Adventures of Peter the Fish, by Glenn Thorpe

Attention readers! I have a new children's book for you all to check out. The reviews are fantastic and it's definitely one you should try and pick up soon. The book of the day is The Great Adventures of Peter the Fish, by Glenn Thorpe:
Meet Peter: he is the most outgoing, loving, and brave little fish in a little pond that sits in the middle of a charming and bright enchanted emerald forest. Dreaming of a beautiful and magical lake, Peter sets out on an adventure to find it. Along the way, Peter encounters many surprises--he meets friends of all shapes and sizes and learns what it really means to set out on an adventure, take risks, trust others, and make dreams come true.

Peter The Fish is about friendship, and about learning to love and accept others for who they really are. Through the obstacles he faces and the friends he meets, Peter shows us all what it means to have a good heart and a positive attitude.

Will Peter find the large, beautiful lake of his dreams? How do Peter and his friends triumph over the obstacles that are presented to them every step of the way? What is true friendship really about? These are all answers that you’ll find from reading Peter The Fish.

The Great Adventures of Peter the Fish is now available on I know a lot of you who peruse this blog are writing children's book of your own, so I encourage to check out this unique tale. Glenn Thorpe has brought us this beautiful story, which reviewers have called "heartwarming", "awesome", "engaging" and "inspirational".

Here's what the author, Glenn Thorpe, had to say about his book:
I created the story many years ago when I was having trouble getting my two daughters to go to bed on time. Everyday I would come up with a new scene of the story to tell them when I got home. Which made it a bedtime cliffhanger story. Each day before I got home the kids were waiting to find out what was going to happen to Peter the Fish. This went on for weeks. It worked like a charm, they went right to be on time. I believe your kids will also love this story as mine did, while teaching great morals. This is a must read story to any child. I think reading Peter the fish may bring a little inspiration to all of us that have dreams. With persistance,courage and determination I feel we can all make our dreams come true,like Peter.

So, check out The Great Adventures of Peter the Fish today... the perfect bedtime story for your little one.

And, as always, check back here at Holy Cow... I'm Writing a Book?! for many more author interviews and new book suggestions, coming soon!

Find as @BookTalkGuy and @RimerTom

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An Interview with Dyal Bailey, author of The Artisan: An Artistic Assassin Thriller

Are you ready for one of our most complete and insightful interviews yet? Buckle your seat-belts, all you aspiring writers out there. I can say that I, personally, have already learned quite a lot from our next author interview. I plan on incorporating some of her suggestions into my own writing process, particularly the helpful advice she gives regarding her use of I never before thought of using the site in that way, but I realize now how beneficial it could be for my own work. Please pay close attention to the words of this next author. Today, we are speaking with Dyal Bailey, author of The Artisan: An Artistic Assassin Thriller.

-Thanks for joining us today, Dyal. We’re all extremely excited to hear about your book, The Artisan: An Artistic Assassin Thriller. What can you tell us about this book?

DYAL: First off, it’s fun. Most readers read for amusement and diversion, so I really worked hard to take the reader on an enjoyable ride.

Secondly, it’s a fast read. I’ve formatted this book very specifically for rapid eye movement on and across the page. I frequently separate a single sentence out for emphasis. Most paragraphs are fairly short, except for the one-sided and very humorous phone conversations between Antonio and Gunter.

Third, there are no cardboard characters. Everyone to me is interesting and I like creating very unique, quirky characters that stand out. I want readers to remember all my characters long after they finish the book.

-It this your debut novel?

DYAL: This is my debut novel that I’ve published. I wrote and tossed a mystery called Murder-on-the- Half-Shell (very wretched, very therapeutic) and I’ve written four screenplays.

This book actually started as a novel, was converted to a screenplay—keeping only about 30% and that was mostly just the Gunter scenes—then I converted the screenplay back to this novel.   

-Now, this blog is dedicated to new authors, many of which are still trying to make it in the publishing world. If you could speak directly to them, what advice would you give them in terms of what they’ll need to do end up a published author?

DYAL: Write. The way to become a professional writer is to become proficient and to become proficient you need to practice. They say it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert at anything. But I think you can become a good writer much faster than this, because we use our language every day. You are essentially composing every time you open your mouth. 

But at some point, you must actually write, so start with baby steps. Write to your mom or your friends, just 20 to 2000 words worth in an email every day. Type your thoughts about your most trying moments of the day into your iPhone. Get on Facebook and leave very “honest and detailed” responses to pictures of puppies and babies and kids winning trophies.  

Stop comparing yourself with others. Stop kicking yourself for not being like some 18-year-old you heard about that wrote their bestselling vampire book in three days while riding the school bus. 

Don’t let people say you are too old. Someone once said, “No one has anything worth saying until they’re fifty.” 

Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too young. What you lack in wisdom, you can make up for in freshness and individuality.

And go ahead and start that book - NOW! 

Don’t try to be perfect and don’t over think it. Allow yourself to write a “sloppy, horrible” first draft. And write quickly. With rapidity is honesty.  

When I’m feeling stuck, I pop on my microphone headset and use my (only $50.00) Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software. This really speeds up the process and keeps me from stopping and editing too much.

When you’re done with your “beautiful monster” of a draft, spend a few days (or maximum a week) going over it and editing it yourself. . And don’t worry if your very thin book manuscript is topping out at 60 pages, it will fill out in time.

DO NOT give it to friends or relatives to read or correct. This is a fabulous waste of time.

Instead, buy multiple proofreading and editing gigs on “” and send it through a minimum of “three or four” editors at once. The reason you should buy “multiple editing gigs” at the same time is because you always, always want to get a consensus. Much of editing is opinion, but if two or three people tell you to make changes, then you most likely need to adjust something. And by doing it this way, you kind of soften the blow. Having anyone critique “your baby” (even when it is a barely-formed youngling) is going to hurt. By having multiple editors, it will help you to realize that making changes is just a process—a very necessary process. And is great for this, because most of the editors are also writers.

Then as the cliché goes, rinse and repeat. Go through the editing suggestions, update your manuscript (I use an extra video monitor attached to my laptop so that I have two editors notes on one screen and my original manuscript  on the other screen), and make the changes to your plot or grammar or characters. Then play with is for a couple of days and send it through another three or four “totally new” editors. I do reuse the same editors over and over again, but only after I’ve let them skip two rounds.  I want their brains and their outlook to be fresh.

-How do you think readers will react to your heroine, Dr. Rafaela Ramos? How did you originally envision her and did she evolve from that initial idea as you wrote the book?

DYAL: My readers really dig Rafaela, probably because she’s hot, smart, and sexy, but she’s also deadly. Guys want her and women want to be her. Your second question made me laugh, because Rafaela started as a man. She was Nicolas Carteret and his love interest was a bartender named Rachel. But it just wasn’t working for me. Then I saw how they had converted the screenplay “Salt”, meant for Tom Cruise into one for a Angelina Jolie, and I realized that my hero needed to be a heroine. Things that are incredibly bad-ass for a female character for some reason don’t come off as well for a male. As soon as I made those changes, the plot really started to flow.

-Talk to us about Gunter. How is he different from the killers that we’ve seen in movies and other books? How does he stand out when compared to Hannibal Lector, Dexter, and the rest who came before him?

DYAL: Gunter, my metrosexual serial-killer-like assassin is very, very lovable, but just when you fall head-over-heels, he’s terrifying. In the past, I have joked and called him Hannibal Lector wearing a mauve leotard. But Gunter doesn’t eat his victims. Instead, he uses them as the stars of his performance arts videos. The finale, of course, is their rather bloody deaths. People ask how in the world I created such an unusual character as Gunter and all I can tell them is that he (like most of my characters) kind of popped out fully formed.

Having said that–it didn't take me long to realize that my subconscious mind had created a kind of caricature of my father.

Daddy was a surgeon, but beyond that he grew up hunting and fishing on the Satilla River - so he was truly amazing with a knife. He could fillet a fish in seconds, it was beautiful to watch.

My father was slightly effeminate, but he was a very heterosexual, metrosexual. And just as Gunter prefers blondes, all of my father’s wives were blonde. He was such a mess. He used to answer the front door wearing nothing but his underwear. It really never occurred to him to not do exactly as he pleased.

He had served in World War II and afterwards fell in love with German and French culture. He spoke both languages with great fluency. Languages are something that seems to come easily to our family.

-I hate it when I read a book and the author seems to have no idea what he/she is writing about. With your book, that certainly isn’t the case. You seemed to be as knowledgeable about the science behind the crimes as Dr. Ramos, herself. Do you have a background/experience in a similar field? I’d be shocked if you didn’t.

DYAL: I confess. I am such a nerd. I do a lot of in-depth studies on a variety of subjects. These have taken me anywhere from 20 and 200 books until my curiosity is satisfied. 
When I first started studying biotechnology, the only books available cost anywhere from $500 to $1000 dollars and the really good magazines were free, but reserved for only people in the field. So I did kind of a naughty, naughty. I pretended that my restaurant was a bio-lab, subscribed to Genetic and Engineering News and other magazines, and had them all delivered to Rhinehart’s Laboratories. Those periodicals were amazing and everything in them was cutting edge. Now, you can even buy Biotechnology for Dummies, but when I started my study, up-to-date information was a lot harder to find. With the Werther Algorithm, I kind of cheated. The last time I’d done an algorithm or a flow chart, I was programming in Basic on a TRS-80 (like thirty years ago). So when my main editor Judy in New York asked me to expand the algorithm arc, I wanted to send her nasty, anonymous emails.
But, I relented, and got on YouTube. After going through several video lectures from a multitude of sources, I found this awesome course on Beginning Algorithms taught at MIT by two rotating professors. I immediately fell in love with Dr. Devadas who is such a love kitten of a teacher (he throws out a free stadium cushion to anyone who answers a tough question). And Erik Demaine (who looks about 15-years-old) was so fabulous and accessible. When I got to (I think it was) Lecture 24 (the one with the Fibonacci Numbers), I found the algorithm I was looking for. So I created a sort of etched-in algorithm for Werther with a plethora of memoized equations, then the flow chart, and had my brother (who’s a mathematician and programmer) check my math. He said I was good, but he was appalled at my use of passé math lingo (like reoccurring when I should say recursive). At his insistence, I listened to the lectures all over again until I could “speck modern math” well enough to stop him from cringing.

-Does this story continue? Will there be a sequel? Without giving anything away, I was, personally, surprised about Gunter’s final scene.

DYAL: Yes, I have four more books outlined (and I’m toying with an outline to insert a fifth).

I’m 25% of the way through with the second book in the series, called The Nicodemas Project. You can see the finished cover on and in June I’m uploading an excerpt.

The series (at this point) goes like this: The Artisan, The Nicodemas Project, The Nephilim, the Municher, and The Joshua Algorithm.

-Anything else at all that you’d like our readers to know about The Artisan: An Artistic Assassin Thriller?

DYAL: Please download a free sample. If you read the first few pages, you’ll want to read more. And the pace of the book only quickens from there. I’m planning to put the first chapter (or a bit more) on my website: later today.

-Brief teaser for The Artisan: An Artistic Assassin Thriller:

DYAL: She’s beautiful. She’s the CIA’s biochemical assassin. She thinks she’s untouchable.

-Where can we buy The Artisan: An Artistic Assassin Thriller?

DYAL:— it’s on both the kindle and in paperback. 

Ok, so... I don't need to state the obvious here, but I'm going to. Not only was this interview a fascinating and educational read, but you've got a great little book on your hands here, Dyal. I read it myself and I want to urge all you readers out there to pick it up today. I promise you will not be disappointed.

I'm so serious about this that I plan on having Dyal back very soon to speak to us in even more depth about her experience in writing this novel.  Thanks, Dyal!

As always, find us and our interviews @BookTalkGuy and @RimerTom

Sunday, May 11, 2014

An Interview with Tony Carnival, author of Over Odyssey: Yellow

For those of you who have been following my recent struggles with writer's block, I've recently hopped back on the writing train and we're now moving in the right direction again. That was easily my worst run-in with writer's block, to date, and I have seemingly survived it. To all of you fellow writers out there who responded with helpful advice and/or offers to do some beta reading, it was much appreciated. That's what this little community is all about. 

Ok, so here's what you're all actually interested in. I've been teasing this interview for a few days now because I am particularly excited about sharing it with you. We recently had a chance to talk to Tony Carnival, author of Over Odyssey: Yellow, the first book in a new epic fantasy series.
Hi, Tony! We’re so excited to have you here today to talk to us about your book, Over Odyssey: Yellow, the first of seven books in an epic fantasy series. What can you tell us about this new universe that you have created and your protagonist, Exodus?
TONY: Over Odyssey: Yellow is the first of six books, not seven, but I suppose---depending on where the story takes me---there very well could be seven books – perhaps even more. As for the universe I have created: Without giving anything away, the story revolves around a boy who is leading a seemingly average, misfortune-riddled life. Exodus Magaba is a bright light amidst a series of dark, sometimes droll events…until he discovers that the world he comes from is anything from ordinary. Since his memory loss three years prior to the time when the story begins, Ex’s mother has been hiding the truth from him and his younger brother; the reader is just as in the dark, and together with Exodus, they embark on an extraordinary journey of discovery.

-I’ve read a great deal of epic fantasy, myself. My favorite is the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan. The first book in that series, (The Eye of the World) to me, is one of the best introductions to fantastical realm that I have ever seen. Would you compare Over Odyssey: Yellow to anything else that you’ve read, or do you think it stands alone as something completely new and unique?
TONY: Over Odyssey is a unique story, doubtlessly, but like every other piece of fiction it has its roots in its author’s inspirations. Readers may find a nostalgic similarity between the TEKU fighting style in my story and that of the Jedi in Star Wars. The world I have created revolves around its six natural elements, so gamers---especially RPG-lovers---will find the Kingdom of Odyssia to be a diverse and exciting realm.

-Can you talk a little about the significance of the color yellow in your book’s title? Are we to assume that the other six books in the series will also have a color associated with each of them?
TONY: Yes, every book in the series will be subtitled with a color. Figuratively, this has to do with the significant role the rainbow plays in the story, but there is a literal relevance as well: the narrator, Ex’s baby brother Gadget, is supposedly writing his brother’s story in a set of empty tomes. These veritable “ancient journals” are differentiated only by the color of their bindings, and so Gadget marks each installment of Over Odyssey with a color. The next book will be Blue (which I am working on now), then Red, Purple, Orange, and Green.

-How long have you been writing and from where did the concept for this book first emerge?
TONY: I have been writing since the first grade, but it was during my ninth year that Exodus came to me, so to speak. The concept for this particular book, however, emerged just after my father passed away from a sudden heart attack in late 2009. It was then I decided to merge my love of fantasy with my characters from Ex’s world.  The final product thrills me and, I hope, will thrill all who read it.

-A great deal of readers of this blog are new authors, just starting out, trying to find a home with a publisher. What can you share with us about your experience getting this book published and do you have any advice for those of us who are still new to all of this?
TONY: Getting published can be an extremely frustrating and discouraging process – no news there. In the end, a doctor friend of mine knew someone who knew someone who got me in after almost a year of rejection, including a rejection from Random House. I was told, however, by the top fantasy editor at Random House that I was a clear and fluid writer with great potential. That gave me a wonderful sense of validation.  In the end, an author has to believe in himself and push, push, push. Never give up, and never be ashamed of self-publishing.

-The cover design for your novel is striking. It immediately grabbed me when I saw it. Can you discuss the process of creating the cover art and how did it feel when you finally saw it in all of its finished glory?
TONY: I worked with a wonderful artist who gave me many options. The cover you see is the one I chose, of course, but I had to make many edits to its source material before it struck me as “the one”. Seeing the completed version for the first time was an experience I can only describe as invigorating. Over Odyssey: Yellow, the BOOK, was finally real for the first time after four years of effort, and this was a magnificent feeling.

-Ok, here’s your chance. Sell this thing to us. Why should we all run out now and buy your book?
TONY: Simply put: my book breaks all the rules. It’s an experience rather than a read; you go on the journey of fantasy and discovery with Ex – you aren’t just told about it through a meandering narration.

-When will we be able read the second book?
TONY: Gadget is working on the second installment of his brother’s epic story, Over Odyssey: Blue, as we speak. (Just a joke.) It should be done within the next year, though my muse is nothing if not capricious.

-Brief teaser for Over Odyssey: Yellow:
What begins as a story of an American teenage boy named Exodus Magaba and a groundbreaking new video game quickly becomes so much more, and what erupts goes beyond the limits of fantasy storytelling and imagination itself.”

-Where can we buy, Over Odyssey: Yellow?
TONY: Over Odyssey: Yellow is available in paperback, kindle, or nook formats on ,, and my personal author website, The first eight chapters are available in a special trial download for kindle and nook at amazon and b&n for only 99 cents!

Wow, Tony! Such a pleasure to have you in to talk with us. As a true fan of this genre, I cannot wait to read this book. It has all the makings of a seriously amazing epic. To the rest of you jokers: I mean it when I say that this is a book not to pass up. Pick up a copy today. Mark my words, you will be hearing about this guy, and this series, soon.

As always, find us on the Twitter thang, @BookTalkGuy and @RimerTom

An Interview with Gwendolyn Taunton, author of Primordial Traditions

Good morning to your all! Today, I am thrilled to bring you a little chat that we had with Gwendolyn Taunton, author of Primordial Traditions.
Hi, Gwendolyn! So happy that you stopped by today. You’ve published a number of books, most recently Primordial Traditions. What can you tell us about yourself, as an author, and the books that you write?
GWENDOLYN: I’ve been writing professionally now for eight years. The majority of my writing has been non-fiction, but I sometimes diversify into poetry and fiction pieces. A great proportion of my work is on Eastern Spiritual Traditions or philosophy. At the moment I’m trying to put out 1-2 titles a year. This goal was shattered somewhat by a series of earthquakes in 2010-2011. After 2012 however, I’ve managed to get back on track with this target.
What is Primordial Traditions about and who might enjoy picking up a copy of this book?
GWENDOLYN:Primordial Traditions is my first project which began as a home- made free webzine. It quickly grew a following online and in 2009 a collection of the best articles was published in a book. This was the first book I made, and it had quite a few things in it which needed to be corrected. So I decided to bring out a new edition with a completely different layout and revised content. Articles from the first book have been replaced with new chapters also. So in essence, this isn’t just a second edition – it’s an improved and enhanced version of the earlier book.
You are a previous recipient of the Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence (2009). Can you talk to our readers a little bit about this award and why it was given to you?
GWENDOLYN:I was very surprised to win that. I actually read one of the other contestant’s books and thought her book was much better than mine. One of the reasons Primordial Traditions won the grand prize was due not so much due to its content, but the practical application of it as a philosophy. The Ashton Wylie Award has a humanitarian element to it, so the money is awarded to people who are likely to use it to advance society. In the case of the Primordial Tradition, it’s obviously a philosophy that can unite different strands of faith and belief for the purposes of ending religious persecution and creating greater understanding of religions. Rather than merging Traditions together, it adds a sub-layer of philosophical pretext that permits them to communicate with each other, no matter how different they are. In essence, what I have tried to do is to render religion and spirituality into a format which is logical in its approach and more suited for delivery to a modern audience.
Many readers of this blog are new authors, some of whom have still not even approached publishers with their finished manuscripts. How was your experience as a first time author and can you give us some pointers in dealing with publishers, agents, editors, etc.
GWENDOLYN:I’ve actually never once approached a publisher…I’ve been very lucky and they all came to me. This probably has something to do with the fact that I was already publishing my own work online for free though. My best advice here is to use the internet and put things online for free to attract interest. Publishers have a way of searching for talent online, and if you are good they will come to you. Getting publicity is an important aspect.
We’re very interested in this one: can you talk a little bit about your book, Mythos: The Myths and Tales of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard? What was the driving force behind writing that?
GWENDOLYN:I felt like doing something different there. I’ve always enjoyed Lovecraft’s work, and thought it would fun to work on a book in this genre. There’s a lot of interest in his books at the moment. It was definitely a fun project to work on. I’d like to do some more work along this line later.
We notice that you’ve published frequently with Numen Books. How difficult was it to find and feel comfortable with a publisher and how did you know that they were the right fit for you?
GWENDOLYN:John handles the business end of Numen and he is great to work with. I like to write, but don’t enjoy the business or administrative side of things, so it’s a great relief to have someone else handle that side of things. Numen also publishes some other great books, such as Occult Traditions and Alchemical Traditions. They specialise in spiritual texts for the intellectual practitioner so it’s a good fit.
Our readers tell me that they enjoy it when I ask this question, so I’m going to do it once again: What are you currently reading?
GWENDOLYN:Currently I’m reading The Aristocratic Ideal in Ancient Greece. A bit different to my usual topics, but I’m working on writing a piece about the idea of the ‘Good’ and ‘Virtue’ in the works of Plato. So far it’s a very good book and I’m picking up some new information from it. I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in Greek philosophy or classics. I’ve also been reading lot of Plato’s material on the trial and dialogues of Socrates to see how it relates to his other ideas. So basically I’m reading lots of Plato and Greek history at the moment.
Any new work on the horizon? What’s next for Gwendolyn Taunton?
GWENDOLYN:After this I plan to finish The Tantrik Tradition which is reasonably close to completion. I am hoping to release this in November. This book will be my most significant work, as it combines ideas I have been researching for over a decade and includes some very hard to source content on the topic. Instead of concentrating on the usual over-sensationalised elements of Tantrism, I’ll be looking at its original Hindu form, and attempt to explain this to people in Western countries, who often have very odd opinions on Tantra. The way Tantra is perceived by the East and the West is very strange…almost opposite in fact. There’s probably a good case for arguing they are not even the same Tradition and that the ‘sacred sex’ element that seems to dominate Western thought on the topic is almost a quirk of Western culture.
Anything else at all that you’d like us to know about Primordial Traditions or any of your other books?
GWENDOLYN:Firstly Primordial Traditions will be back as a regular publication. Secondly, I’d like to say that the content of this book is not the same as the first edition. Some pieces which I thought could be improved on (most of which are ones written by me) have been removed and replaced with different content. A new chapter at the front of the book has also been written by me. In essence I’ve taken a book that was already an award winner and tried to make it even better. And I very much hope people will enjoy the change. I’d also like to thank Goatcraft for providing a wonderful soundtrack to the promotional video.
Brief blurb/teaser for Primordial Traditions:
GWENDOLYN:Primordial Traditions, the recipient of the $10,000 Ashton Wylie Award for Literary Excellence, is finally back in print after a long hiatus. Originally a free quarterly periodical dealing with spiritual and metaphysical philosophy, Primordial Traditions was reprinted in book format in 2009, and received the award for its potential to unite the different Traditions of the world by postulating a core under-lying philosophy.
Unfortunately the original plans for the book were waylaid by a year long sequence of large earthquakes in the author’s country of residence. Following this, the original plans for the book became untenable and the author, Gwendolyn Taunton, relocated and the series halted.
In 2014, Primordial Traditions is back in a second edition, with new and revised content. Now writing under her real name instead of the previous non de plume, Gwendolyn Taunton has assembled and impressive book of over four hundred pages with an excellent design and research.
With subject matter as diverse as religious philosophy, Middle Eastern Mysticism, rites of Ancient Greece and Rome, Norse Berserkers, Tantra, and altered states of consciousness in yoga, Primordial Traditions covers an extremely diverse range of topics, some of which are clearly intended to be aimed at an audience of highly educated readers. This is tempered however, by some less intense and more relaxing articles on Celtic & Viking history, Mayan astrology, and even some dealing with law and finance. These articles, though not as hefty, are equally fascinating and add to the quality of the volume by virtue of their unique topics.
After sitting down and reading the book cover to cover, it’s easy to see how such a philosophical approach to religion could benefit humanity by teaching a sensible, moderate, and logical approach to faith that ends religious conflicts and prevents dogma and fundamentalism from damaging spiritual movements. All in all, Gwendolyn Taunton’s greatest achievement here is perhaps a philosophical victory rather than a literary one, because this is a concept I could easily see changing not only the way religion and spirituality are conceived, but also the very nature of the concept itself. By reading and spreading the philosophy of the Primordial Tradition, I already feel secure that this book will make the world a better, happier, and safer place.
Gwendolyn Taunton, Primordial Traditions Volume I, Numen Books, 2014.
Where can we buy your books?
Thanks, Gwendolyn! Check back soon for our next interview!
@BookTalkGuy and @RimerTom