Lily Iona MacKenzie's Blog for Writers & Readers

MY BLOG POSTS COMMENT ON SOME ASPECT OF WRITING & READING.

The Ripening
The Ripening:
A Canadian Girl Grows Up

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Tillie’s grit and ability to face life’s challenges are inspiring, the seeds for later discovering her artist self. Tillie takes readers on a wild ride. Join her if you dare! "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Curva Peligrosa
Curva Peligrosa

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

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FLING!
Fling!

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

"Fling! is both hilarious and touching. Every page is a surprise, and the characters! I especially loved Bubbles, one of the most endearing mothers in recent fiction. A scintillating read."

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
Freefall
Freefall :
A Divine Comedy

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" These fascinating characters will fill your imagination, defying expectations about aging, art, and what truly matters in life. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
All This
All This

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" Indicative of the title, the poems in All This range from the conventional lyric/narrative that captures an intense moment of emotion, an epiphany glimpsed briefly out of the corner of the eye, to the more experimental. "

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
No More Kings
No More Kings

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

" A wildly inventive, consistently engaging, and amusing comic novel, but under its bright exterior lurk darker undertones and truths.... "

Each finely crafted poem in this powerful collection comes alive on the page while she traces the days’ journeys with a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and the deft pen of a poet.

Lily Iona MacKenzie Books
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Category: Guest Authors Page 2 of 3

The link between visual arts and writing: Interview with guest artist Betsy Kellas!

Kellas_ copyIf you’re used to me posting something about reading and writing, you may be wondering why my guest interview today is with the visual artist Betsy Kellas. The reason? I think there’s a strong link between painting, sculpture, art installations, and written art, poetry and prose. Both use the line intensively though differently. Both intensely explore our everyday reality. And both use layering to create their effects and to add texture to a work. Here, then, is my interview with Betsy, but I urge you to visit her website and view the range of her artmaking: betsykellas.com

Read this interview on my blog with guest author Terry Tierney who believes “Writing is breath. Never stop breathing.”

0Terry’s bio:

Terry’s stories and poems have appeared in over forty literary magazines, and his poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, will be published in May 2020 by Unsolicited Press. He taught college composition and creative writing, and he later survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineering manager. Lucky Ride (Unsolicited Press), an irreverent Vietnam-era road novel is set to release in 2022. His website is http://terrytierney.com.

Meet author Terra Ziporyn in this fabulous interview: “We should stop worrying about genres, reality, and imagination, and think instead about telling good stories.”

Terra Snider_WhatsUp Headshop_No SSL Button_April 2019Meet my guest author Terra Ziporyn, fiction and non-fiction writer.

  • When did you write your first book and how did it come about?

It’s hard to answer this question because I’ve been writing “books” since I was a kid, and the trajectory of my fiction and non-fiction is very different. I guess I completed my first novel during college, but it’s still in a drawer, along with various other novels I’ve written since then that may never go anywhere else. That first novel was inspired by the life of a troubled friend who life story needed telling. Whether or not it’s worth publishing remains to be seen—I’m a bit afraid to unearth it from my file cabinet. My first published book was an adaptation of my PhD dissertation, a historical study of the way medical research gets communicated in the popular media (Disease in the Popular American Press). That was back in the late 1980s. The first novel I published was Time’s Fool (2001), a historical novel that drew on my academic work in the history of science, centered on a 19th century utopian community.

Thanks to Writer Unboxed contributor Ann-Marie Nieves for these 8 marketing tips for writers

Writer Unboxed: Consider these 8 Marketing Tips in 2019


Consider these 8 Marketing Tips in 2019

Posted: 26 Jan 2019 06:17 AM PST

We are so excited to welcome our newest contributor to Writer Unboxed—-Ann-Marie Nieves! Ann-Marie is the founder of the highly respected company Get Red PR, with expertise in PR, advertising, marketing, copywriting, community relations, social media, and more! From her bio:

Ann-Marie is a communications generalist grounded in traditional media and proficient in accessing the power of social media. Within traditional outlets, she has garnered placements in media as diverse as: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, CNN, NPR, Fitness, Parade, Working Mother, Fox Business Network, Life & Style, InStyle, E!, New York Magazine and The Oprah Winfrey Show.

 

Welcome, Ann-Marie!

It’s my 20-something year in PR, my 10th in social media, and good ole lucky 13 as a tiny business owner. While I’m thoroughly enjoying the wisdom of my 40s, I can honestly say that each day at my desk, seated in my well-worn chair, feels brand new.

You’ve seen the substantial changes in the media world in 2018—several magazines will cease printing or reduce print schedules. (We’ll miss you Glamour!) You’ve experienced the seismic shifts in social media world. (I can follow #dogsofinstagram hashtag?!)  While much has been written in the marketing communications sphere about highlights for 2019, here’s what I’d like my colleagues in words to pay attention to:

  • What’s your story? Sure, you write stories, but what stories are you telling about your past and present self? What stories could help sell you to say CNN or The New York Times? “People forget facts, but they never forget a good story,” says Esther Choy, founder of Leadership Story Lab and author of the book Let the Story Do the Work.
  • Think holistically about your marketing communications So you’ve written a book, and the scene from the Lion King when Rafiki lifts Simba above his head and all the animals bow at the new prince of the pride – plays in your head on continuous loop. You want your book to get the most exposure as possible. We do too. There’s a but here. But you will write another. And another. Sure, a meaty project can be adrenaline pumping, but stepping in and then saying goodbye often makes me feel like we missed considering you.
  • Pay attention to what’s going on in the media world. Having learned my field working in-house at PR firms, I spent my hours making one pitch call after another. I was hung up on, cursed at, laughed at. I would learn which reporters had left, who changed beats, and who preferred a certain kind of story. I don’t expect my clients to know these things, but I do expect them to have a working knowledge of the media that they could get exposure in. Also, understanding the shifts in the media world—vast layoffs at digital outlets and newspapers alike—gives the client a better understanding of how hard our work is to bring their stories to light.
  • Consider the inbetweens. What are you doing in-between your book launches, initiatives, and projects? You should be (in no particular order): updating your website, editing your bio, cleaning up the “about me” sections on your social media, making sure mastheads on social media are up to date, and reviewing insights and analytics on your platforms.
  • Embrace a platform. I’m not an all-or-none type of girl. My life—professional and personal—are not well-documented. Truth be told, I forget to take pictures of my kids. (I like to think I’m truly experiencing the moment!) Social media is not just about the #tenyearschallenge; these platforms are also about business, sales, messaging, spin, and building meaningful relationships. Determine which social media platforms you genuinely enjoy and learn the hell out of that platform.
  • Find your voice. As you learn the ins and outs of Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook, be able to describe your social media voice in a sentence. One of the biggest issues most of my clients have with their social media is content development, and it’s because they haven’t determined their voice.
  • Create a big impact with a tiny idea. Sharon Rowe, founder of Eco-Bags Products and author of The Magic of Tiny Business, offers this sage tip. She brought the first reusable bags to the marketplace some 30+ years ago as a new mom with the desire to rid the streets of single-use plastic bags. I want you to think about something outside of your book that you can share with the world. Make it part of your story.
  • Be generous. This may come as a shock, but the social media platforms we frequent can be places of true kindness and generosity. Be a part of that. Take a moment of your day/week/ month to give a shout-out to another member of the writing community. Share a sale, buzz a launch, shout-out a book you devoured.

So, tell me, where will you begin?

About Ann Marie Nieves

Ann-Marie Nieves is the founder of Get Red PR, and an award-winning communicator with experience across a broad range of industries in both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business sectors. She has experience within all communications platforms including public relations, advertising, marketing, copywriting, website development, community relations, and social media.

 

In his memoir VOICE FOR THE SILENT FATHERS, guest author Eddie Knight speaks eloquently from prison of fathering a gay son

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MEET THE AUTHOR MONDAY: In today’s blog post, and in celebration of Women’s History Month, you’ll meet the talented writer LESLIE LEHR, A BOLD VOICE FOR FEMINISM

Leslie Lehr’s Bio:

Leslie Lehr is a prize-winning author whose latest, A Boob’s Life: How America’s Obsession shaped Me… and You was featured in People Magazine, Glamour, Good Morning America, and in Entertainment Tonight’s short list of books by “trailblazing women changing the world.” Salma Hayek is producing a comedy series based on A Boob’s Life for HBO Max. In addition to her novels and nonfiction books, her essays have been in the New York Times Modern Love column (narrated by Katie Couric for NPR). Leslie is the Novel Consultant for Truby Writers Studio.

Here is my interview with Leslie:

What inspired you to write A Boob’s Life?

One night when my husband and were about to celebrate our first home together, I got out of the shower and noticed my breasts didn’t match. I’d just completed breast cancer treatment and was grateful to be alive. But I was also upset. My husband accused me of being obsessed. As a feminist, I was insulted. Then a comedian on TV made a boob joke, proving it wasn’t just me. I couldn’t sleep.

Next to my bed was my favorite picture of my mom and sister and me in matching red bikinis. It makes me laugh because my baby sister couldn’t keep her nipples covered, I was three and I already knew that nipples were taboo. How can this not be a huge influence about how we feel about our bodies?

I went to my computer to find an answer. There were books about breast cancer and breastfeeding and of course lots of porn, but nothing that put it all together. I could track my whole life by my breasts – wanting them as a girl, hiding them to work, showing them to date, breastfeeding, breast implants, breast cancer… I had to investigate further. Turns out that the way we view breasts, the part of a woman that enters the room first, has influenced both men and women in profound ways.

How do you come up with book titles? Do you know them from the beginning, or do they evolve?

Titles are super important, so I always decide at the beginning. It’s the easy part for me, and the most fun. A good title can also remind me of my story goals as I write. When I consult or teach, I suggest that writers brainstorm titles based on character, setting, plot, and theme to come up with options. Sometimes the publisher changes it, but at least I’ve had my version.

As people learned about your book, what unexpected things happened along the way?

The most unexpected was having a producer want to make A Boob’s Life into a TV comedy series. That was before I even got a book deal. It’s in development now with Salma Hayek’s company for HBOMax. I also am always surprised at the letters I get, and the real opportunities I have supporting related causes that help people. From cancer to breastfeeding to parenting, divorce, and domestic violence, I’ve been able to have a voice to attract support and fundraising. Different themes of the book really speak to all kinds of readers. And recently I’ve had one fan sending me her favorite lines – a lot of them! Writing is lonely, so this is a best result.

What is your preferred genre to write in?

I write to explore the lives of contemporary women. I think that’s why reviewers have called me a “bold new voice for feminism.” I use whatever genre works best for the story I want to tell. I usually start with personal essays that evolve into books, from nonfiction (Welcome to Club Mom) to drama (66 Laps, Wife Goes On) to thriller (What A Mother Knows) to this pop culture memoir (A Boob’s Life).

Where do your ideas come from for stories/books?

You know that old saying, write what you know? I write what I want to know, to find ways to understand the divide between sexy and sacred, the way women are challenged and defined and limited when we are truly complex and doing our best. This passion drives all my work. And, of course, I want to have fun and entertain readers while doing it.

What have people most liked or found most meaningful/funny/creative/ challenging about your book?

Readers of all ages are relating to my personal experiences because all of us with boobs get up in the morning and decide what to do with them. We all get judged by them and have feelings about them. I get letters from both women and men, mothers and daughters, teens and seniors, because it’s A Boob’s Life for all of us. That’s why the subtitle is How America’s Obsession Shaped Me… and You. The mix of memoir is woven with anecdotes and songs and fun facts about how our culture was defining women at each stage. This unique combination made it hard to sell. But it’s also what makes the book so popular, especially now, for Women’ History Month. It’s the history of how America has defined women by our breasts for decades.

Why do you write?

I write to have a voice. I started with essays to figure things out and have my opinion on record. I wrote the NYT Modern Love essay to show something that truly surprised me about love. I had no intention of going deeper. Then one day I knew I had to write a book related to it and go much deeper. It’s incredible to start with an idea and make it real, to work hard and create something that can move and delight others. It’s magic.

What’s the hardest part of writing or publishing?

Writing is the fun part for me. Not the first draft but revising. It’s like having a puzzle and playing with the pieces. Publishing is all hard. It’s such a gamble. Writers have no control unless we do it ourselves and publish independently. But that is not my strong skill set. I just want to write!

What are you currently working on or have future plans to write?

I’m currently working on a novel based on real events that I’ve been trying to approach from different angles for decades. It’s a historical novel combining love story and drama. Just recently, I found a notebook from high school saying I needed to write this story before I was 25 and “over the hill.”  Ha!

What is your most bizarre talent?

I don’t know of a bizarre talent, but I sure have a bizarre lack of talent: typing. I was forced to take typing in high school because girls needed to have a fallback career as a secretary. I was not interested, so I nearly failed. (I wasn’t planning to be a writer.) I still type with four fingers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In WHEN WE WERE SHADOWS, Janet Wees shows how to explain the Holocaust to a child

 

When We Were Shadows, for middle-school students, is based on the true story of a Jewish boy and his family hiding from the Nazis in WWII in Holland. It traces his journey at the age of 5 from Germany toWWWS_cover8 - front cover Holland in 1937, where the family thought they would be free of the persecution happening to Jews in their home country, only to have their haven invaded by the Nazis 3 years later. The story describes how the family fled from one hiding place to another, aided by people in the Dutch Resistance, until they found refuge in a hidden village in the Veluwe forest. For 18 months they lived in fear of discovery, and were assisted by local villagers and the Resistance, and trying to make the best of their situation. After the village was attacked, the boy and his family had to take on new identities and continued to hide until liberation in Zwolle by the Canadians in 1945.

Read about THE ATOMIC CITY GIRLS, everyday people who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II

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GENRE: Historical Fiction

In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes this riveting novel of the everyday people who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

Welcome to KPFA Women’s Magazine host Kate Raphael who discusses her writing journey with me!

vivtoria secret my 07

vivtoria secret my 07

After being interviewed twice by Kate Raphael on KPFA Women’s Magazine program, I turned the tables and invited her to share her writing journey on my blog. Her second interview with me will be aired on 1/8/18.

Kate Raphael is a long-time feminist and queer activist, mystery novelist, and office worker. She is a founding member of Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) and San Francisco Women In Black and a member of the editorial collective of the quarterly queer newspaper, UltraViolet. She is a former board member of San Francisco Women Against Rape and was a 2004 LGBT Pride Parade Community Grand Marshal. Kate’s interviews with Syrian and Honduran feminists have been broadcast nationally. Click here to read her blog.

Interview with guest author Meg Dendler, who has just published a new book—BIANCA

 

Bianca_kindlecover_6-21-17Bianca: The Brave Frail and Delicate Princess, published, 12/1/2017

Genre: Middle Grade

Editions, ISBNs, and Pricing:

Paperback 978-0692920411 $9.99

Hardcover 978-0692938294 $24.99

Ebook 978-0692938300 $2.99

Check out this exciting guide for fantasy and sci fi writers on how to create imaginary worlds!

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Randy_Ellefson_2013-0265_300dpiAUTHOR Bio and Links:

Randy Ellefson has written fantasy fiction since his teens and is an avid world builder, having spent three decades creating Llurien, which has its own website. He has a Bachelor’s of Music in classical guitar but has always been more of a rocker, having released several albums and earned endorsements from music companies. He’s a professional software developer and runs a consulting firm in the Washington D.C. suburbs. He loves spending time with his son and daughter when not writing, making music, or playing golf.

An interview with Jeanette Watts, author of JANE AUSTEN LIED TO ME: HOW COULD MY HERO BE SO WRONG?

 

Jane Austen Lied To me Cover

GENRE: Humor

BLURB:

What college girl doesn’t dream of meeting Mr. Darcy? Lizzie was certainly no exception. But when Darcy Fitzwilliam comes into her life, he turns out to be every bit as aggravating as Elizabeth Bennett’s Fitzwilliam Darcy. So what’s a modern girl to do?

Welcome today’s featured author, Julie Christine Johnson, author of The Crows of Beara!

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The Crows of Beara by Julie Christine Johnson

Genre: Fiction, Climate Fiction, Eco-Lit, Women’s Fiction

Along the windswept coast of Ireland, a woman discovers the landscape of her own heart.

Russia is much in the news these days and a Russian was the first governor of Alaska: Learn more in MASTER OF ALASKA!

master of alaska blog tour.pngAbout Master of Alaska

The detail and research that author Roger Seiler used—from biographies to actual letters and reports by the Governor Baranov himself—creates a riveting story.

Master of Alaska – a compelling Historical Fiction about the first governor of Alaska sent to the colony by Russia in 1790 – George Washington was President at the time. Master of Alaska starts in October 1790 when Aleksandr Baranov left his family in Russia and sails across the North Pacific to Kodiak to become the chief manager for Tsarina Catherine the Great’s colony in the far Northwest of North America. Baranov is shipwrecked, saved and adopted by the Aleut natives. Later he is forced to marry Anooka the daughter of the tribal chief, despite still having a wife back in Russia to save his men from starvation. Only slated to serve five years, Baranov spends the next 28 years in Alaska, surviving natural disasters, a massacre of his people at Sitka, meddling competing Russian authorities, a British attempt to undermine his colony and an assassination attempt. Interestingly, Baranov’s native wife and teenage daughter play an intricate role and contribute much to his success and survival in Alaska. Baranov built an empire and sought peace with the warring Tlingit, and thanks largely to his efforts Alaska is part of the U.S. today.

Excerpt:

Baranov Meets Anooka (p. 82)

INTRO: After Aleksandr Baranov had reached the Russian settlement at Three Saints Bay on Kodiak Island, he took command of the colony. The Aleut village chief, named Grigor by the Russians, had learned to speak Russian and invited Baranov into his longhouse to confer. As they sat in front of the central fire, Baranov took from his pocket a bright copper plate engraved with Tsarina Catherine’s coat of arms and gave it to Chief Grigor as a gift.

Chief Grigor’s eyes widened in amazement as he examined the copper plate closely. “This is important,” he said.

It was exactly the reaction Baranov wanted. He continued, “I look for a long future of friendship between us. We can help each other in many ways. I must explore Montague Island, over here, and need some of your men as guides.”

“Great Nanuq, do you have a woman?”

Baranov was taken aback. “I have a wife in Russia.”

“In Russia? What good is that? Take my daughter for wife. Then I be your father, and we work together as one. This way we make powerful alliance.”

Before Baranov could react, Chief Grigor turned and called out to his daughter in his Native tongue, “Anooka, come here!”

From a dim recess of the lodge, a slender seventeen-year-old in deerskins approached with unusual youthful dignity. She had glistening long, black hair flowing over her shoulders, and set in an oval face were the high cheek bones common to many Natives. Her big, warm, brown eyes looked out from under lovely arched eyebrows. Clear, tan skin, a straight, pretty nose, and a mouth with soft lips completed her. To Baranov, Anooka was strikingly beautiful. Though reserved, the self-confidence of her rank allowed her to glance at the strange Russian in front of her, and then she faced her father.

In the Kenaitze dialect of the Alutiiq language, the chief told her, “Turn around and face the great Russian Nanuq.” She did so. With no hint of shyness, she looked Baranov right in his eyes. Her intelligent dark eyes held his stare as an equal for a long moment, until she yielded a slight smile, revealing perfect white teeth, and looked down.FrontCover0823Bmasterofalaska

Nanuq quickly collected himself and, wanting to get back to the negotiations for guides, replied, “Chief Grigor, your offer is most generous. But as I said, I already have a wife in Russia.”

Grigor insisted, “But not here. How long has it been, great Nanuq, since you’ve had a wife at your side?”

Baranov stared at him in silence. He didn’t want to offend the man, but the proposal was absurd.

The chief tried once more. Certainly an alliance with this Russian Nanuq would greatly benefit his own stature in the eyes of his people—and especially their southern enemies, the hated Tlingit.

“I see. Well, you need a wife here! And we need a strong alliance.”

“A Russian can only have one wife.”

“Poor man! Poor man!” said Grigor in mild disappointment. He knew that making such alliances, especially with one as strong as Nanuq, could take time and much negotiation. But just how strong was Nanuq, anyway? Maybe he should be tested. There was more than one way to impress the Tlingit with Kenaitze power. Grigor motioned to Anooka to return to her work.

“Well, then, the least I can do for you is give you the guides you need.”

Anooka sat on a blanket in the back of the longhouse, where she had been making a bear claw necklace for her father. Why did Father want to give her to this man? Though short, he looked strong and intelligent, but strange. Could she ever want him? She knew what she wanted would count for nothing. Her father would decide, and she had to trust him to choose well for her. She would ask one thing: that her father wait until he really knew a man before he made his choice. As his daughter, she deserved at least that, and the chief had only just met this Nanuq.

Baranov looked into the shadows for Anooka, straining for another glimpse of her youthful beauty. Grigor noticed.

About the Author Roger Seiler

Award-winning filmmaker and author Roger Seiler grew up in Alaska from age three.  His love of adventure comes from both his parents. His father Edwin was a civil engineer eventually becoming an Alaskan bush pilot. His mother Josefina was born in Puerto Rico and was a writer and Alaskan sport-fishing lodge manager with the hobby of Flamenco dancing.  In his late teens, Roger was a king salmon sport fishing guide on Alaska’s Naknek River, and also a commercial salmon fisherman in Bristol Bay.

He attended Deep Springs College and graduated With Honors from UCLA with a BA in Theater Arts – Film. His first film work was for UCLA’s Automotive Collision Research project, including a film for TV, “Safety on the Road,” which he wrote, produced and directed. While attending UCLA, Roger also worked with actor Karl Malden and famed director Francis Ford Coppola.

Roger worked for IBM for several years as an in-house filmmaker involved largely in producing and directing motivational films for employee conventions. He has made over 30 documentary films. His IBM film, The Inner Eye of Alexander Rutsch had a special screening at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and won the CINE Golden Eagle Award, as did three of his other films, Frontiers, Challenge Over the Atlantic, and Strategy of the Achiever.

Roger currently lives in South Nyack, NY with his wife Sally. Roger is a devoted reader and supporter of libraries. In 1977 he was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Nyack Library (Carnegie funded in 1879) and has continued to serve for 40 years, 16 as Board President. Master of Alaska, a historical novel, is his second book and whose publisher North Face Publishing is a subsidiary of Motivational Press Publishing.

Interview with Roger Seiler 

How do you come up with book titles?

 A title must grab attention and be easy to remember. The subtitle should suggest what the book is about, with a bit of a hook – intriguing but not giving away too much.

What have people most liked or found most meaningful/funny/creative/ challenging about your book?

They love the dialog and the way they hear what is going on inside the characters’ heads. Then they say they were gripped by the adventure, the conflicts, and how the confilcts are resolved.

Why do you write?

 I love making characters come to life on paper. Seeing them, hearing them, thinking how they think, feeling what they feel, and putting it all down on paper in words that make it all seem real gives me a thrill.

Where do your characters come from?

I focus on the historical novel genre, so my characters come from history. Mostly they are people who     actually existed or could have existed at the time of my story. My fictional people help to draw out and support the character exposition of the true-to-life protagonist and antagonist. The protagonist has to be someone we can identify with and admire in some way – maybe not all the time, but most of the time. The antagonist and bad people are bad because they have no empathy for anyone. I try to show that the greatest conflicts between people can be negotiated with empathy.

At what moment did you decide you were a writer?

When I won an American Legion writing contest in the 8th grade. I still have the silver medal I won, but the essay I wrote on some patriotic subject is misplaced somewhere. It led me to historical fiction, usually focused on some time of conflict in American history. I love telling stories about real people who were unique, fascinating, conflicted, and who tell us something about the human condition that is useful in our own lives. My first story came in 1987 — a sci-fi story about a scientist who discovered the origin of Dark Energy and the ordinary composition of Dark Matter.

How do you start a novel/story?

I do historical research about a subject that interests me, first online and then in books and letters. Then I sketch the story by hand on paper as scenes based on history in a rough outline, using the guidelines of the three act structure, the inciting incident, and the ups and downs within the story arc. I leave a lot of space between scene headings for me to add notes later. I look over the sketch and then start filling in details, though not in any particular order – just as ideas and visions of characters, events, and things come to me. Once the sketch is fairly fleshed out, I key it into my laptop. Then I start writing – a little bit here, a little bit there, as ideas come to me. At first, writing is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. As for the start of the story, I come back to do that last after I really know my characters and what the heart of the story is about. I can almost never know this at the beginning of my process. I’ll typically do at least 100 rewrites of the first page to get it right – which I could never do at the beginning of the process because I don’t really know enough then about my characters and story which have had to evolve throughout my writing process. Sometimes a rewrite of the first page can involve a change of just one word or a punctuation mark, which can make a remarkably significant difference. Just like panning for gold – a constant flushing out of the sand to reveal what has value.

What feeds your process? Can you listen to music and write or not… can you write late at night or are you a morning person… when the spark happens, do you run for the pen or the screen or do you just hope it is still there tomorrow?

I rarely listen to music as I write because its mood can distract me from the mood of my story, as I concentrate on thinking, imagining, and writing. I start writing right after breakfast and just keep going until I run out of steam that day – sometimes that’s not until 11 at night. But I do have other things to do, so sometimes I’ll stop writing after 2 or 3 hours in the morning, then come back to it in the evening. Mostly, once I have an idea about how some characters are going to interact in a scene, I write continuously until it feels like I’ve got something meaningful happening between them, or a particular character has been more fully revealed.

What writing mistakes do you find yourself making most often?

 I tend to overwrite, especially in “showing” the story. I’ve learned that it’s often best to “show” just the high points and low points of the story, but to “tell” what happens in between so as not to bog down the reader in unnecessary minutia, and to move the story along in a way that keeps the reader engaged. Too much “showing” can be boring. “Telling” has its place, like stepping on the accelerator to get in the fast lane. There needs to be a rhythm between show and tell, and once you find the right rhythm, you keep up its proper tempo.

Who is your favorite character from your book(s)?

In Master of Alaska, my favorite character is Baranov’s wife Anna with their daughter Irina a close second, because of their success in showing empathy for others. Baranov is fascinating, but he has had to learn from Anna how to succeed in dealing with adversaries. She showed him how to develop a different kind of inner strength than ever had before. Without her he would have failed.

If a movie was made of your book, who would the stars be?

Daniel Craig or Jeremy Renner would be Baranov; Ariel Tweto (1/2 Alaskan Native) as Irina, Baranov’s part Native daughter, unknown Alaskan Native as Anooka/Anna; James Franko as Kuskov. The film director should be Ali Selim.

Important Links:

Roger reading from his book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBgh3nraTrY&feature=youtu.be

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/MasterAlaska

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=master%20of%20alaska

Website http://MasterofAlaska.com

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/2qrLNQQ

On B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Master+of+Alaska?_requestid=312472

On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31921257-master-of-alaska?from_search=true

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For magical realism lovers, be sure to check out the novel Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat!

TourBanner_KasperMutzenmacherKeith R. Fentonmiller will be awarding a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Please click here to enter to win $50 Amazon/BN GC: “http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2276.

You can follow the tour and comment by clicking on this URL: http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2017/04/blurb-blitz-kasper-mutzenmachers-cursed.html. The more you comment, the better your chances are of winning.

Kasper Mützenmacher’s Cursed Hat, by Keith R. Fentonmiller

Berlin hatmakers threatened by a veil-wearing Nazi known as the “stealer of faces” must use the god Hermes’ “wishing hat” to teleport out of Germany during Kristallnacht. They won’t be safer in America, however, unless they break the curse that has trapped them in the hat business for sixteen centuries. Set in the Jazz Age, Nazi Germany, and World War II Detroit, Book One of the Life Indigo series is a family saga about the fluidity of tradition, faith, and identity. It will appeal to fans of Everything is Illuminated and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. 

Excerpt:MediaKit_BookCover_KasperMutzenmacher

Kasper plunged his hand into the safe’s darkness and retrieved the hat. When he put it on, the warm scaly leather conformed to his skull like a blanket of heated wax. He closed his eyes and recalled his father’s instructions: First, think of the place. Then make the wish. Not the other way around. Kasper breathed deeply and then exhaled as much air as he could, a precaution to stave off the overwhelming nausea that surely would follow. Before the next inhalation, he thought, Take me there. In an instant, he was compressed to a point, drained of all material substance. The world went dark and silent. He felt only a sensation of impossible acceleration and then nothing at all.

Kasper wished himself from cabarets to booze cellars, concert halls, and boxing venues all over Europe and North America. Although hat travel made him queasy and headachy, whiskey took the edge off. Then, after a week of around-the-clock hat travel, the nausea and head pain receded, and he began to enjoy the rush of compression, expansion, and acceleration.

Well, labeling the experience “enjoyable” would’ve been a vast understatement. The nascent drug addict doesn’t merely “enjoy” a shot of heroin or a puff of opium; he relishes it, embraces it, becomes one with it. Using feels like an act of self-creation—conception, gestation, and birth wrapped into a singular, lightning-strike moment.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Version 2Keith is a consumer protection attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. Before graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, he toured with a professional comedy troupe, writing and performing sketch comedy at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic States. His short story, Non Compos Mentis, was recently published in The Stonecoast Review and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His short story Exodus was just published in the Running Wild Anthology of Stories.

 

Find Keith Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Purchase At:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble

 

 

 

 

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