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6.30.2012

Summer of Indie Talks With Erik Gustafson


Erik Gustafson, author of Fall Leaves and the Black Dragon, and My Lover, My Garden, is our next guest on the Summer of Indie blog. After spending 20 years in the United States Air Force, Erik Gustafson helps people with intellectual disabilities reach their potential and teaches psychology classes at a local college, as well as writing horror stories at night.


Summer of Indie spoke with author Erik Gustafson about the "Dark coming of age journey" Fall Leaves and the Black Dragon,and the ”Crazy, vivid short story of demons lurking in a garden" My Lover, My Garden. 


Fall Leaves and the Black Dragon:
Imagine the horrors of growing up not knowing who you are. When Liam was six, he survived a devastating fire, a horrific past that won’t leave him alone.

Literally.

Secrets that should have burned away long ago haunted him for years and ruined his childhood.

Demons want him dead.

Voices beckon to him in the night.

At the brink of insanity, Liam heads back to confront the ghosts of his past and gain control of his life.

Every step of the way something evil is trying to stop him.

This dark coming of age journey reveals a truth more horrifying than the huge fire he lived through as a child.

A truth that threatens many lives.

http://www.amazon.com/Fall-Leaves-Black-Dragon-ebook/dp/B004NIFPBO


My Lover, My Garden

Crazy, vivid short story of battling the demons lurking in the garden.

Conscious Eggplants...Razor sharp onion stalks...Killer carrots...Envious tomatoes...Jealous angry vines...is brotherly love stronger than the sick love of a demonic garden? Two brothers are about to find out how strong love can be.

You have never seen a garden quite like this.
http://www.amazon.com/My-Lover-Garden-ebook/dp/B004PYDGOO


Image of Erik Gustafson You can find author Erik Gustafson online at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ErikTiger Blog: http://eriktiger.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page:



6.29.2012

Summer of Indie Speaks To Author Brooklyn Hudson


Here today with Summer of Indie is author Brooklyn Hudson. Hudson is the author of the supernatural thriller and horror novel Wishbone. For those already familiar with the story, Hudson is currently working on Wishbone Part II, as well as a screen adaption.  

Before getting into the details of their book, we asked author Brooklyn Hudson to give us some brief details about their background:

Brooklyn Hudson was born and raised in New York City's borough of Staten Island. She currently resides in Los Angeles where she produces The Springsteen Experience, a theatrical concert event; she is a replica-rock (tribute show) concert promoter and band manager, and has been writing fiction since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She credits Stephen King for her devout adoration of adult dramatic horror and is currently fast at work on the WISHBONE screen adaption and WISHBONE Part II.

After finding out more about the author, we asked Hudson to give us a deeper look into Wishbone:

A Manhattan power couple survive a tragedy and attempt a fresh start only to be plagued by unexplained and disastrous occurrences...be careful what you wish for.

At the age of nine, growing up in the French countryside, Julien Grenier witnessed the brutal murder of his grandfather. Now, at forty-five, he continues to be plagued by horrific nightmares and reenactments of that tragic event.
Living a successful though austere lifestyle on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Julien has recreated himself, building emotional walls that even his young wife cannot penetrate.
Though somewhat moody, Julien is a good man with a heart of gold, and a great sense of loyalty and responsibility; enabling his wife, Rachael, to turn a blind eye to his tightly-kept secrets.
Rachael is thirty-two years old; an art dealer and playful free spirit, but after a home invasion assault leaves her emotionally unstable and destroys their care-free and content world, they relocate to a safer environment with the hope of a fresh start.
Kings Hollow is a quaint town, nestled in the serene Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. At first, their new home appears to be the miracle they prayed for, until a traditional children's game begins to destroy their bliss; Rachael is no longer herself and Julien is experiencing a string of bad luck and unfortunate accidents.
At the center of it all is seventeen-year-old Sarah, a part-time caretaker on the property.
Can Julien and Rachael escape the nightmare of Kings Hollow...or is this just Wishful thinking?

WISHBONE is a multi-layered thriller incorporating several sub-plots; in the vein of Pet Sematary, What Lies Beneath, Misery and Stir of Echoes. Dramatic horror at its best, Brooklyn Hudson takes you on a suspenseful roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil and shocking events.

 Available: Trade Paperback & ebook at Amazon & Smashwords

After finding out more about the thrilling Wishbone, we interviewed author Brooklyn Hudson to find out more about their work: 
Q: Can you tell us more about why you started writing?

A: I began writing at such a young age that I can only attribute this to a calling.  I think I figured out pretty young, or perhaps someone had told me, that the television shows, movies, (and books) were penned by invisible people who made up stories purely for my entertainment. I was a story teller at a very young age.  I would talk an ear off any chance I got and would openly embellish because it earned me attention and laughs from adults.  I was a dreamer…who often dreamed out loud.  My earliest memory of writing was during a first grade assembly.  Bored to tears by the speaker, I began writing these short paragraphs of fiction showcasing each of my classmates.  My teacher noticed and I thought I was about to get into trouble.  She scanned the notebook and when we finally returned to our classroom, she suggested I read them to the class for show Show n’ Tell. From there on, I was hooked and continued to write throughout life.

Q: Can you give us some more background about your books?
 A: I have thirteen novels collecting dust bunnies beneath my bed.  I’ve never done anything with them, until now.  I wrote WISHBONE and decided to write full-time. I have many ideas to get on paper but will eventually go back to some of those novels collecting dust and possibly re-work them for publishing.  Keeping a roof over my head has kept fiction writing no more than a passionate hobby for the past decades.  My aim now is to focus on writing as a career. However, writing has earned me money in the past, most often in the form of animal behavior and dog training manuals.
Q:Can you give us more details about your book?

A: WISHBONE is a supernatural thriller with horror undertones.  The message behind it is the dangers of greed, but if you delve deeper, it is a tale of love and loyalty. I chose to publish this novel first and now because in forming two groups of beta-readers (most of which were then strangers) the story caused such a strong response. People were talking about the book constantly and really interacting the way people gather around the water cooler to discuss reality shows…with passion and opinions.  It seemed to affect them to the point of being protective of the characters and even caused a few fights in the chat room.  As I watched this all unfold I couldn’t help but think…this is it! This is the one. They loved these characters as much as I did. I had entertained them to a level where the characters had felt real. I still and always will worry about my writing style and overall skill, but when it boils down, the most important thing is to create a compelling story with realistic characters.  And while I strive for perfection, everything else is what editors are for.
Q: Where can people get your book?
A: Amazon Author Page: (Print & Kindle) http://www.amazon.com/author/brooklynhudson
Smashwords: (Nook & More) www.smashwords.com/books/view/135635
Q: In your book, who is your favorite character?

A: My absolute favorite character in WISHBONE is Julien Grenier (main protagonist).  I kind of feel bad for all future men in my life because Julien is who I will now hold them up against (wink wink!). I adore him for all of his flaws.  But if you were to ask me who my favorite character is to write is; I would have to say Sarah.  Sarah was such a challenge because with no visual medium, I was forced to find a way to convey a mute, autistic’s wants, needs, and behaviors, minus the use of dialogue. Giving her a dialogue-less voice became second nature at some point, but readers have brought this up to me often, stating that they grew to fully understand her, so somehow I did step up to meet that challenge and readers noticed.
Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?

A: It’s very hard for me to pick favorites but I recently read a book called DENIED INNOCENCE by William Alexander which I found very compelling.

Q: What's your favorite book of all time?

A:  Cujo by Stephen King.  It is my favorite because it was my first adult novel and also the book that introduced me to King and the genre I wanted to write in. From there on the deal was done.

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?

A: Oh, allow me to be original here…Stephen King.  I know you probably hear that a lot, but it’s the truth.  King is our rockstar of writing and while his style and skill can be debated till doomsday, he is clearly the greatest author success story of my lifetime. The guy can tell a story and we can’t take that away from him.  If I can be 1/16th as prolific as King, I can someday go to my grave feeling a success. Peter Benchley is another favorite. Michael Crichton too. 

Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?
A: Write, write, and write some more.  And write for yourself…not to get rich, not to be famous.  Just write, and write what you love to write about.  Your audience might not be your best friend or your college professor, but I guarantee you there is an audience out there for what you like to write about, just waiting to read and dig your work. 
Q: What's next for you (in your writing)?
A: I am currently finishing up the second draft of the WISHBONE screen adaption and also working on WISHBONE Part II.  I hope to have both completed and rockin n’ rollin by summer, then move on to some of the other ideas I have sketched out in my brain. One in particular has a thread of Munchausen Syndrome (not by-proxy) running through it; another has to do with revenge and superficiality.

Q:  Anything else you'd like to tell us?
A: 1. I write, produce and direct replica-rock shows. Not unlike tribute bands, only more of a theatrical concert production.
2. I trained animals for film, television, and commercials (humainly!). I am a lover of animals and have worked with both domestic and wildlife; rescue, rehabilitation, and training, for decades.
3. I am a chain-smoking, nocturnal, reality show junky.

Author Brooklyn Hudson also gave us ten interesting facts about herself to share with readers:
1) Born: NYC
2) Currently lives in L.A.
3) Producer of theatrical concert events and replica-rock shows (Las Vegas and Touring)
The Springsteen Experience (currently) www.thespringsteenexperience.info
The U2 Experience
The Tom Petty Experience
The Neil Young Experience
...and more
4) Reads mostly writing manuals these days, but Horror/Thrillers
5) Inspired by: Stephen King, Peter Benchley, Dean Koontz
6) Is writing full time
7) Currently working on:
WISHBONE II (working title)
WISHBONE Screen Adaption
Sticks & Stones (working title)
Eye of the Beholder
Chat Room (working title)
8) Short term goal:
To complete the WISHBONE screen adaption, WB II, and relocate back to NYC
9) Long term goal:
To see WISHBONE on the big screen, own a state-of-the-art log home on the coast of Maine
10) Favorite Quote: We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams. ~Willy Wonka
To find author Brooklyn Hudson online you can visit:

Twitter: @brooklynhudson_


6.28.2012

Summer of Indie Meets Tracy James Jones


Summer of Indie's featured author for today is former actor and journalism major Tracy James Jones. Jones is a freelance writer and novelist, and is " presently a realistic human-interest writer because I love exploring the dramatic conditions of being human. Flaws and all." Summer of Indie interviewed Jones about two books: Secrets & Lies,  "A contemporary multicultural romance with a twist", and Torn: Sixty Days of Calaboose the story of " a sensitive effeminate male unexpectedly incarcerated in a room full of straight unpredictable men"



Secrets & Lies is an in-depth emotional journey into the private lives of four central characters that unfolds as a provocative multi-cultural modern romance with a twist. 

Secrets, as they are, rarely devastate the national population as a whole. They are more often limited to the individual going on about their lives. That is what this story is about, a group of not-so-ordinary people, all from very different backgrounds, whose secrets and lies leaves a trail of honest deception waiting to upset the rituals of their daily existence. 

Kennedy Jordan is a handsome young man with a secret past and a challenging future that keeps him in the balance between having what he wants versus what others expect of him. 

Camilla Vargas is a beautiful ambitious young woman with big dreams of success that she has planned to obtain by any means possible, and vows to not let anything keep her from it. 

Ulanda Jefferson is a hip outspoken fashionista with a fiery attitude. Armored with sharp-wit and an uncensored tongue, she is more than just a force to be reckoned with. 

Bren Searcy is a grown-up lost in transition, (literally from male to female). There is almost nothing she wouldn’t bear to hang onto the happiness she has finally found. 

In the end, for everyone involved, even the elements of true confessions gets lost in translation as the explicit details of who they are brings the group together in a surprising, yet necessary finale that could change the course of their lives forever…

For those who have already read Secrets & Lies, author Tracy James Jones has also published a sequel: Secrets & Lies 2 - A Family Matter.

The story is also being marketed for film. 


The novel Torn: Sixty Days of Calaboose is a fictional memoir, and a contemporary psychological drama.

 
“It is said that a mind is a terrible thing to waste…
For some, it is also a very terrifying thing to lose…”

What could possibly go wrong for a sensitive effeminate male unexpectedly incarcerated in a room full of unpredictable strangers? For Adrian Bailey, it was just about everything, and in the midst of fear, lies, prejudice, and madness, he finds more… 


Under false pretenses, Adrian Bailey finds himself arrested and locked up in the local county jail for the first time in his life. Despite all the horror stories he had read or heard of concerning life behind bars, nothing was like the actual experience. Not only was he utterly devastated and confused over the situation he was unjustly thrown into, but also lost at the mercy of whatever actions that could or would be made against him, including prejudice from someone of his own race. As the madness of his experiences take control, Adrian fears his only recourse is to succumb to whatever means necessary to survive. 
The traumatic events that occur thereafter would surpass everything Adrian thought he ever knew about real life. And then he finds what he never expected: an intense three-way interracial love affair that would test every remaining fiber of his mental stability and then some. Worst of all, there wasn’t one thing he could do to stop it. Not one damn thing at all…
 
You can find books by author Tracy James Jones online at: 
Image of Tracy James JonesOr to find out more about the author, readers can visit:


6.27.2012

Summer of Indie Discusses SICK With Author Jen Smith


Our next guest on the Summer of Indie blog is author Jen Smith, here today to talk about her memoir SICK. In her memoir, author Jen Smith discusses her own life story, and her experiences with "drug dealing, addiction, and surviving abuse," in the hopes that it will entertain, but also help empower those who are suffering from abuse.



To get a better idea of the specifics of her memoir, we asked Jen Smith to give us a synopsis:

Small time drug deals and a passion for growing pot filled my world before I met Greg. But the first time I got off a flight, strolled over to the baggage claim in my carefully chosen new outfit and picked up two brand new flowered suitcases filled with eighty pounds of Mexican swag pot, I felt like I had found my true calling in life. The adrenaline rush of getting away with something big along with the money I would make was a new kind of high I’d never before experienced. I was instantly addicted. Making money organizing drug runs around the country was intense. Greg and I were a money making duo like none other. Life with Greg was exciting for a while but it wasn’t long before it became a cat and mouse game – then a complete nightmare.

Words like belittling and narcissistic were not in my vocabulary. Later, learning these words helped me disconnect from the mental torture. The tension would build as I protected him while he isolated me from friends and family. Then there would be an incident of abuse which confused me. At first it was lying, hurtful words and actions but quickly escalated to guns at my head, knives, and using my son to manipulate and control me. The honeymoon phase would be another fabulous trip to Hawaii or resort hopping around the world. I didn’t see the cycle or even understand abuse. The drugs and alcohol allowed me to tolerate and numb the pain until my spirit dwindled down to a shadow of nothingness. How could I escape the far reaching sabotage of any attempt at my freedom? Could there be a way out? Could I find a way to spare my son from this drug infested violent existence that would surely crush his soul?

After hearing this overview of her own life story, we delved deeper and asked author Jen Smith about what inspired her to write this memoir and tell her story:
After years of debauchery, addiction, bad choices, and confusion I found recovery and began a life consistent with someone who would be considered a productive member of society. This was painfully weird for me at first and still is a bit awkward. In pursuit of a legal means to support my son, I went back to school and attained a few degrees. The most intense being a Masters Degree in Financial Economics. Soon it was time to get a job. The idea of working was also painfully weird for me but by that time in my recovery I had seen it done by others. One of my first interviews was with Sovereign Bank. They showed me the cube in which I would be working. It was a solitary dark space with high confining walls around it. I cried all the way home.
I did find work in a reputable investment company in a cube that was a little less dark with walls a little less high. It was, however, positioned down a back cold alleyway filled with stale air. Despite this I commence to assimilate into the corporate environment working my tale off learning as much as I could as fast as I could, accomplishing a lot. My boss was a tall well connected man. Before long his deep rooted low opinion of woman was unmistakable. A smart man, his detrimental belittling and minimizing of my abilities were subtle, never saying or doing anything that could be outwardly pined as sexist. This wore on my spirit and had residual effects on how my all men colleagues treated me. Finally this culminated into my boss deciding to demote me from a salary to hourly employee without reason. He said it came down from corporate but the other two men who were my equals were not affected and remained salary. I thought to myself, no matter how much money I make for this company, and I had made a lot, I’m never going to get anywhere under this man. So I began to write.
My story is one of addiction and survival of domestic violence and abuse. Through pain I've grown and recovered with hope to clear a path in some small way for other women to come up behind me. This is why I choose to tell my story. While the escapades and criminal activity may be interesting to some, the real story is the little bits of awakening woven in here and there, about the insidious devastation of abuse. My desperate attempts to understand how a human being can so deeply hurt the one they say they love were sometime futile but sometimes revealing. It’s just sick.
The other day a friend of mine stuck in the cycle of abuse referenced a part of my book where I made an attempt to break the cycle. She said this gave her strength to make an attempt to break the cycle in her life. That was it. That was all I had hoped for by writing this book. Just one person was enough for me. So anything else that happens with this book is icing on the cake!
Being in recovery I have had the opportunity to work on the situation with my boss and the resentments I've carried. At first my thought led to questions like, how could this be happening to me? Hadn't I been through enough? Didn't I deserve to be treated equally and be judged on my merits? Later my work turned towards things like, where could I have stuck up for my self more. I believe we attract what we have in our lives and there was something about me that attracted one more sexist man into my life. The process of writing my book has helped me get rid of that last little bit of victim I was holding on to. Deep into my writing my boss was replaced with a women who, although only my boss for a short period of time, empowered me. The fact that she demoted my prior boss and took away all of his direct reports was nice too. Today I have a fair respectful male boss. But the truth of it all is that from my despair came the strength and determination to follow my dream of telling my story and empowering women who experience abuse.
If you’ve read my book, stay tuned, I’m busy writing the rest of the story for you. You won’t believe what happens next…

After experiencing this glimpse into Jen Smith's memoir, we asked her a few follow up questions about her book. And to end this on a slightly lighter note, Summer of Indie asked a few personal questions as well.

Q: Please tell us more about your book
A: My book SICK is a memoir about dealing drugs, addiction, and surviving abuse.
Small time drug deals, following the Grateful Dead, and a passion for growing pot filled my world before I met Greg. But the first time I got off a flight, strolled over to the baggage claim in my carefully chosen new outfit and picked up two brand new flowered suitcases filled with eighty pounds of Mexican swag pot, I felt like I had found my true calling in life. The adrenaline rush of getting away with something big along with the money I would make was a new kind of high I’d never before experienced. I was instantly addicted. Making money organizing drug runs around the country was intense. Greg and I were a money making duo like none other. Life with Greg was exciting for a while but it wasn’t long before it became a cat and mouse game – then a complete nightmare.
Words like belittling and narcissistic were not in my vocabulary. Later, learning these words helped me disconnect from the mental torture. The tension would build as I protected him while he isolated me from friends and family. Then there would be an incident of abuse which confused me. At first it was lying, hurtful words and actions but quickly escalated to guns at my head, knives, and using my son to manipulate and control me. The honeymoon phase would be another fabulous trip to Hawaii or resort hopping around the world. I didn’t see the cycle or even understand abuse. The drugs and alcohol allowed me to tolerate and numb the pain until my spirit dwindled down to a shadow of nothingness. How could I escape the far reaching sabotage of any attempt at my freedom? Could there be a way out? Could I find a way to spare my son from this drug infested violent existence that would surely crush his soul?
Q: Where can people get your book?
A: SICK on Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords

Q: In your book, who is your favorite character?
A: Being a memoir I am the main character of the book SICK. My plight and experiences are real; there will be no question of this despite some of the outrageous and unbelievable situations I get myself into. I have two goals for my book SICK. First, I wish to entertain you. Second, I hope to give people a peek into the insidious sick dynamics of the mind of the psychopath. The physiological damage that is inflicted as well as a new look at the age old question asked of the abused person, “Why do they stay?”

The other day a friend of mine stuck in the cycle of abuse referenced a part of my book where I made an attempt to break the cycle. She said this gave her strength to make an attempt to break the cycle of abuse in her life. That was it. That was all I had hoped for by writing this book. Just one person being helped was enough for me. So anything else that happens with this book is icing on the cake!

Q: What's your favorite indie book that you've read recently?
A: Biker by Dan Mader

Q: What's your favorite book of all time?
A: I love so many, usually the one I’m reading. Right now it’s ‘A Piece of Cake’ by Cupcake Brown


Q: Who are some of your favorite authors?
A: I love to read books about human nature that help me understand how the world and people work, like Eckhart Tolle and Malcolm Gladwell. I read a lot of self help books and books about being happy like Joe Vitale’s ‘An Awakening Course’, and Andrew Weil’s new book ‘Spontaneous Happiness’.

Q: Do you have any advice for new writers?
A: Don’t quit your day job.

Q: What's next for you?
A: My book SICK is a bit of a cliffhanger. I have more to tell that includes a whole new line up of characters including shady lawyers, cops, an old hippie private investigator, tweekers, and a Hells Angles killer that slept in my bedroom with a loaded assault rifle.
Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us that we probably couldn’t guess about you?
A: I’m an economics geek. Loved Alan Greenspan’s book Age of Turbulence. 
You can find author Jen Smith online at
Facebook:
On Twitter:
Or on her website:


6.26.2012

Summer of Indie Speaks With Lynne Cantwell

Today Summer of Indie spoke with author Lynne Cantwell. Cantwell, who comes from a lengthy career in broadcast journalism, has a master's degree in creative writing from John's Hopkins University, and enjoys writing fantasy novels. Her series, The Pipe Woman Chronicles, features, "Indians, shape shifters, pagan gods and goddesses, mountains, humor, love, and super powers."


We spoke with Lynne Cantwell about the first book in The Pipe Woman Chronicles series, Seized.  
Naomi has a pretty sweet life. Respected as a skilled mediator, she has an almost uncanny knack for getting people on both sides of a dispute to agree. And her handsome boyfriend Brock has just proposed to her. But a white buffalo calf is bowing to her in her dreams. And who is the Native American man who has been following her around?
Yes, things are about to get complicated…



For a video teaser of Seized, readers can visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LfZfOUpHVw&feature=player_embedded 



The second book that we spoke with Lynne Cantwell about was her novel SwanSong, a novel based on an old Irish legend.
Rhyn, a widowed Wolleni, depressed over the death in childbirth of his beloved half-Tslyddi wife, is ordered by the king to marry his dead wife's sister. But the new wife becomes jealous of Rhyn's children -- two sets of twins, a girl and three boys -- and plots to turn them into swans. The spell goes awry, and the children are only partially transformed. Worse, they must spent 900 years in their new shapes, in ever more wild and isolated places -- and they have no guarantee that they will ever be normal again. At least they can still sing.

Based on the Irish tale, "The Fate of the Children of Lir," SwanSong is the story of how Neeve, Kennet, Corwin and Kyl cope with their transformed bodies in a land where magic is dying.
You can order personalized autographed copies of Lynne Cantwell's books from her blog, or you can find Lynne Cantwell online at:
Twitter @lynnecantwell