You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Barbara Watkins’ tag.

by Dame Betty Dravis

betty with jack black bottles big smile 10 2012I was laughing like crazy when this picture was taken. Happy because mine and Barbara Watkins’s Six-Pack of Fear was just launched and doing very well. It was Halloween and I had some skeleton-head rings to dress my fingers and found some Jack Black bottles with skeletons on them. Since both books in the Six-Pack series have skeletons on the cover, that amused me…to put it mildly.

This photo gave me the idea to ask some authors what made them happy. I think you’ll enjoy their stories. And do get copies of their books. I also request comments at end of this blog and on their various sites, if you have time in your own busy schedules. 🙂

www.bettydravis.com

http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Dravis/e/B002BLJJIU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

https://www.facebook.com/betty.dravis?ref=tn_tnmn

Betty-Dravis-Facebook-Banner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Inglath Cooper Is Most Happy When…

Inglath Cooper

Inglath Cooper

Maybe we’re happiest when we’re with the people in our lives who know us best. Over the years, I have made many friends in different periods of my life. Many wonderful and amazing friends… But I am never more comfortable, more free to just be me than when I am with my mom and sister. We share so much history, so many good times, and our conversations are always peppered with those memories.

Here I am at dinner with them during a recent vacation to Palm Beach, Florida. It was a carefree week with much laughter and teasing. Another memory I will treasure.

www.inglathcooper.com
www.facebook.com/inglathcooperbooks

1a inglath banner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Laurel Rain-Snow Had “Miles to Go”

Laurel Rain-Snow

Laurel Rain-Snow

Picture the setting:  Circa 1970.  The world is our oyster, to coin an old cliché.  In this photo, I am in love and cooking Christmas dinner for my new man, who would become my second husband within a few days.  Shortly after he flashed this photo, I would drop the pan of gravy on the floor, but no worries…  I salvaged most of it.  And I kept smiling.

It was our very first Christmas dinner together and I was still a novice at big feasts.  He was teasing me about my domesticity (or lack thereof) and I laughed because I was nervous, but also happy.

Now imagine a scene from my novel Miles to Go when Lindsay and Jack are brand new and loving every moment of their lives together.  They would not begin to realize what would come charging around the bend within a very short time.  But in that moment, they are happy and in love.

In this photo, I was living parts of that story, one that I would create more than thirty years later.

www. http://laurelrainsnowauthor.com/

PicMonkey Collage-stories in feb

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Ashley Fontainne, Mother of the Bride

Ashley Fontainne

Ashley Fontainne

This photo of author Ashley Fontainne was taken at the rehearsal dinner of her middle daughter the night before her wedding. Ashley and her husband Michael were happy campers that night and throughout the wedding ceremony and celebrations. They were absolutely delighted to see their daughter and her groom so obviously in love, committed and glowing with happiness.

The entire family was there to celebrate the wedding. What a fun night! (This is a fun blog and I thank Miss Betty for inviting me to participate.)

Website: http://www.ashleyfontainne.com

Radio Show: http://www.artistfirst.com/ashleyfontainne.htm

3a ashley new book banner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Lin Stepp Enjoys “Miles” of Smiles

4 smile picAuthor Lin Stepp stands smiling at the beginning of a hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park; happy for Spring to be here at last and happy that her fifth Smokies-set novel, Second Hand Rose, was just released this month and that her hiking guide The Afternoon Hiker will soon follow this summer.

To read more about Lin’s books and to see beautiful Smokies photos, see her website at: www.linstepp.com

http://www.amazon.com/Second-Hand-Rose-Smoky-Mountain/dp/0982905475

4a lin step banner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What Makes Barbara Watkins Grin from Ear-to-Ear?

barbara smileOh yeah – that’s me sitting in my writing room with a big grin on my face! All you have to do is look closely at the photo to understand why. I’m sitting smack dab in the middle of two extraordinary directors–Armand Mastroianni to my right and Dimi Nakov to my left–and behind me is none other than the one-and-only…my sweetie, Johnny Depp! No such thing as ‘writer’s block’ when you’re surrounded by this much inspiration.

In 2012, I was thrilled to collaborate on a book of short stories entitled Six Pack of Blood with the legendary Betty Dravis, and then I struck gold again in 2013 when we released our second installment, Six Pack of Fear. pure gold! In 2011, I wrote my first novel, Hollowing Screams, and am confident it, too, will bring home the gold in the near future.

“Good things do come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”

 https://www.facebook.com/barbienell.watkins?fref=ts

http://www.barbarawatkins.net

5b Barbara Watkins montage for Blood1

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Young Wayne Zurl… The Story

Wayne zurl as a kid...Here’s a picture of little Wayne, the erstwhile sheriff of Brooklyn, New York and part-time singing cowboy, smiling as he remembers a fond moment from his younger days. Travel back to 1955, and stare into that twelve-inch, round, Dumont console TV. It’s Saturday night at . . . maybe 9 o’clock. James Arness (Matt Dillon) just shot Arvo Ojala (the bad guy in the black hat) in the opening credits of Gunsmoke. Every boy in the audience pulled out his Mattel Fanner 50 cap gun and twirled it on his trigger finger. Little Wayne was no exception.

The scene shifts to the Long Branch Saloon on the main street of Dodge City, Kansas. Doc Adams (Milburn Stone) is leaning against the bar sipping a whiskey and Chester Goode (Dennis Weaver) is holding a mug of beer. US Deputy Marshal Matt Dillon walks through the swinging doors and sizes up the barroom. Dillon is six-and-a-half-feet-tall. He stands with his legs moderately spread, his thumbs hooked over his gun belt, but he’s ready to pull out a long-barreled Colt if some hombre makes a false move. On that day, the outlaws of Kansas were busy robbing stage coaches on the prairie and all looked peaceful in Dodge.
Matt joined his friends, asked the bartender for a beer, and tipped a ten-gallon Stetson back on his head. The camera panned left as she descended the main staircase. Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) wore a dark, low-cut silky dress, the color of which was anyone’s guess; it was black and white TV. She stood on the ground floor for a long moment before joining those three characters at the bar.

Ninety-nine percent of the young cowboys in the TV audience shrugged and kept twirling their nickel-plated six-shooters, showing no interest in the woman, but not little Wayne. He looked at Miss Kitty and smiled. The kid was in love and prepared to face off against Dillon if the marshal tried to keep him from scooping her up into the saddle as he galloped down Main Street on his Appaloosa.

But Dillon didn’t have the nerve to let the kid draw first and he turned his back as little Wayne and Kitty rode off into the sunset.
Author website: http://waynezurlbooks.net
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/waynezurl
B&N author page: http://barnesandnoble.com/s/wayne-zurl
Mind Wings Audio author page: http://mindwingsaudio.com/?s=wayne+zurl

6a wayne's banner... no book pics

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Author Adelle Laudan Had Fun Viewing Old Photos

Let me start by saying, I was, and still am very camera shy. It was a chore trying to find a photo of me laughing. I had my daughter look through some older pics and she came up with this one. It was taken twenty-seven years ago at a surprise wedding shower. I remember being less than impressed at being caught with no make-up and wearing comfy clothes. By the looks of me in this picture, I got over it and had a fun time! LOL

What fun it was taking a trip down memory lane with my youngest. Thank you, dear Betty, for inviting me. I wouldn’t have had this special time, chatting

and giggling at pictures from years gone by if it wasn’t for you. I think next time I have my kids together, we’ll do it again.

Wishing You All Miles of Smiles

DOD Happy Author blog april 17 2013

Website – http://adellelaudan.com
Blog – http://adellelaudan.blogspot.com
Facebook – http://facebook.com/AdelleLaudan

It’s release day for the 6th installment of my Women of Strength Series. It is titled Dani and you can take a sneak peek on my blog. http://adellelaudan.blogspot.ca/2013/04/new-release.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Former Playboy Bunny Victoria Taylor Murray is Happiest When Writing

vickie 2I was happy when this picture was taken; I was celebrating signing the contract for my first four-book series, The Lambert Series: Thief of Hearts,” Forbidden, Friendly Enemies, and Le Fin.  Since then I have written eight other books, Passed Down Through  Four Generations, The Shadow of Her Smile, Exposure Behind Closed Doors, The Scarlet Ribbon, and The Hall of Mirrors Series: The Hall of Mirrors-Book One, The Hall of Secrets, The Rock of Ages, and The Hall of Veils.

My current writing project is on the second book in my Passed Down Through  Four Generations series of cookbooks.  I’m from a family that consists of  four generations of male chefs and I must admit each and every one of them is a far better cook then the females in my family (smile).  Some of the family recipes are truly to-die-for.  I also have a book of poems…a work in progress.  I have won numerous awards and honorable mentions for some of my poems and song lyrics.  I have written two songs to my credits as well as 200 poems, long before I even penned my first book. 

Funny story about why I even started writing books.  What started out as a joke between two sisters and my sister’s favorite soap opera turned into a series of four books.  Who knew?  No one was more surprised than I.  I was visiting my sister one day during her favorite soap opera (Days of Our Lives) and she was angry over the storyline the show was heading in. She looked at me, shook her head and said, “Anyone could write a better storyline then the writers they have now.”  She cleared her throat and then said, “Hey, I’ve got an idea,,, Why don’t you write a soap plot and send it to them.”

 

I rolled my eyes and responded, “Thank you, I think.”  To our mutual surprise, I did just that! As it turned out, she loved the first book so well it turned into afour-book series.  Like I said before. no one was more surprised than I.  Anyway that’s how I began writing books. 

vickie's bookMy newest novel, The Hall of Mirrors, is my first attempt at writing a paranormal-suspens, a new genre for me.  I usually write romantic-suspense (my favorite), so my newest story has some romance in it. And I just can’t seem to stay away from the suspense or intrigue of a storyline.  My characters are always colorful and never dull.  In The Hall of Mirrors I have a few past lifetimes interfering with the present and what a delicious blend of past and present it is.  Hint: What does the son of darkness have to do with the daughter of light? Guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out.

Facebook.com/victoriataylormurray

Authorsden.com/victoriataylormurray

Librarything.com/victoriataylormurray

Advertisements

by Betty Dravis

Many of our readers grew up with TV series like Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, Tales of the Crypt and Dark Shadows, not to mention Alfred Hitchcock’s horrific heart-attack scary movies which are masterpieces of the craft.  I love all those shows, as well as the horror/thriller movies directed by our top-featured guest today, acclaimed Hollywood Producer/Director Armand Mastroianni.

In the 1940s, I recall the thrill of being in the front room with my parents and siblings as we listened to a very popular radio series Inner Sanctum. The program’s familiar and famed audio trademark was the eerie creaking door which opened and closed the broadcasts. Himan Brown, the originator, got the idea from a door in the basement that “squeaked like hell.” The door sound was actually made by a rusty desk chair. The program did originally intend to use a door, but on its first use, the door did not creak. Undaunted, Brown grabbed a nearby chair, sat in it and turned, causing a hair-raising squeak. The chair was used from then on as the sound prop.

Looking back on those shows, I can vouch that that creaky door made the hairs on my neck rise and stand at attention; it was just as effective as the immensely expensive high-tech sound effects of this new millennium. I had already started to write a few little things by then and I like to think those shows all contributed to my desire to one day write some horror of my own.

I recently teamed up with the noted “Queen of Terror,” author Barbara Watkins, to produce an anthology of six horror stories titled Six-Pack of Blood. Due to the success of our first Six-Pack, we are now working on Six-Pack of Fear which will be released in a few weeks. Six-Pack of Blood had the honor of Armand Mastroianni writing the foreword; it also won Best Paranormal/Horror award from Producer/Director Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment and placed No. 2 in Germany Occult, No. 1 in U.S. Horror and No. 34 in UK Horror, thus qualifying it for international best-seller. Barbara and I thank all who helped along the way.

Don’t forget, Six-Pack of Blood is still FREE through tomorrow, Monday. If you already have a copy, please get one for a friend and please pass the word that it’s FREE. We are pushing it like crazy because we were at No. Six in Amazon Horror/Occult this morning and have our eyes set on being No. One. Are you with us? 🙂

Barbara Watkins’s most prominent links:

http://facebook.com/barbienell.watkins

http://www.barbarawatkins.net

Betty Dravis’s most prominent links:

https://www.facebook.com/betty.dravis

http://www.bettydravis.com

Now it’s Halloween and the perfect time to share some “ghost stories” (paranormal is the preferred “lump” word of today) from friends in the film and literary industries. Don’t scream too loudly, but do enjoy!

**********************************************************************

The Case of the Dirty Window

by Movie Director Armand Mastroianni

Producer/Director Armand Mastroianni

We were shooting a night scene (of course) for my latest film Dark Desire and it involved a man sneaking around the property of a mansion, looking to gain access with deadly intentions. I had the art department clean all the windows and doors with glass cleaner so that I could get a clean shot of the stalker approaching the house through the windows.

We shot most of the approach successfully until we reached the study which had two large French doors with glass panes as its exterior entry. The art crew kept cleaning one of the panes with little success. There was a stain on the glass that looked like the outline of an old woman hunched and holding a cane; at least that’s what the outline of the stain appeared to look like after staring at it.

No matter what they did with Windex and other cleansers the stain seemed to be embedded in the glass. I framed it out of the shot and the shoot went off successfully, but it wasn’t until a week later when we spoke with the owner of the house and thanked her for the use of this location that she mentioned how much she enjoyed our company…

She was feeling quite lonely because her ninety-two-year-old mother had died several weeks before. She lived there with her daughter and died in that room we were shooting with the stain in the glass.

One other thing: the owner mentioned her mother had arthritis and used to walk with a cane.

DARK DESIRE  (formerly titled A Dark Plan) – Mastroianni’s latest film coming soon
https://www.facebook.com/ADarkPlan

A sneak peek at the pre-poster for DARK DESIRE, coming soon.

A small portion of the many feature films and TV films directed by the acclaimed movie director Armand Mastroianni.

For more about award-winning movie director Armand Mastroianni’s latest movie DARK DESIRE, check and LIKE this Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ADarkPlan?ref=ts&fref=ts

For more about Armand and all his movies, check here:

armand.mastroianni@facebook.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0557857/

**********************************************************************

Seattle, Haunted

by Author Emily Hill

Author Emily Hill

Midnight on Seattle’s Greenwood Avenue and I wrapped my coat even more tightly around me as the wind howled.  Not a soul in sight. The cabbie had just dropped me off at the entrance to my neighborhood and zoomed off–the taillights of his cab became glowing red eyes, taunting me.  My fingertips hurt from the cold.

I realized, for the first time, that the land in the Greenwood District does go downhill into what–a hundred years ago–could have been, as the cabbie said, a cemetery.

I rued uttering the words, “Drop me off here,” as I walked east.  My high heels clipped against the sidewalk.  The sound bounced between the houses, revealing my whereabouts.  The smell of musk hit my nostrils–turned earth.

A wave of arctic wind whipped around me, tangling my hair.  My eyes were tearing, and blurring my vision.  As I blinked toward the distant street lamp I saw the most curious thing: an orb of light moved across my vision.

My first reaction, “Fog?”

I heard a skittering noise behind me, like a rat scratching its way up a retaining wall, a frantic noise.  It was that sound that drove me forward, toward the orb.

I squinted as the vision took the shape of a woman.  A milky white “presence” dressed in a turn-of-the-century gown, she was proceeding across my path.  I hid in a neighbor’s shrubbery, fascinated.  She never noticed me; she just stared straight ahead as she moved.  What had been a “fog” was now a full apparition, unaffected by the cold.  The spirit of a woman who had lived in this same neighborhood–my neighborhood–going about her business, just as I was going about mine.

Only she was on The Other Side of the Great Divide.

SPECIAL NOTE: Emily Hill is an author of ghost stories, and a publishing coach for A.V. Harrison Publishing.  Her story, Seattle, Haunted, is a true story based on an experience she had while living in Seattle’s Greenwood District.  She has since moved from Seattle, and now lives in Edmonds, Washington…a safe distance from that city’s cemetery.  http://www.emilyhillwriter.com/ghost_hunters_page.html

The Ghost Chaser’s Daughter in Paperback (Full Collection) and e-book (five New stories)

http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Chasers-Daughter-Emily-Hill/dp/147915931X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348085180&sr=1-2&keywords=the+ghost+chaser%27s+daughter

**********************************************************************

839 Agnes Street: A True Haunting

by Barbara Watkins

Author Barbara Watkins

Forty-five years ago, in 1967, I experienced my first encounter with the paranormal. My family and I (Mom, Dad and older brother and sister) settled into our new home at 839 Agnes Street. I was so excited to finally have my own room and a huge backyard to play in.

But my feelings of excitement soon turned into fear.

I slipped into my Winnie the Pooh pajamas, kissed my mother and father goodnight and crawled into bed. I closed my eyes when I felt the presence of someone, or some thing, take a seat on the foot of my bed. When I opened my eyes, I saw an indentation in the mattress as if someone had just sat down, but no one was sitting there. Frozen with fright, I pulled the blanket over my head and screamed for my mother.

My mother tried to assure me that it had only been a bad dream, but I knew better. Exhausted, she kissed me goodnight and tucked me back into bed. I curled up into a ball at the head of my bed and watched and waited for it to happen again. Although the strange occurrence did not happen again that night, it did many times after. Many nights I would get up and sleep in the corner of my closet because I did not feel safe in my own bed.

A few months after we moved in, my father was killed in an accident at work. Almost immediately, on a nightly basis, lights in the house began to go on and off by themselves. We saw dark shadows lurking about the house and often awoke to our names being whispered in our ears. Closed doors would mysteriously open and slam shut. Various items disappeared only to reappear somewhere else. I awoke one night to see a hooded figure dressed all in black standing over my bed starring down at me.

My mother tried desperately to make some kind of logic out of what was happening, but could not. We were frightened to stay but could not afford to move…

The house has since been demolished, but the ghostly events that we all encountered there will forever be imprinted in our minds.

Above are all of Barbara Watkins’s books. Congratulations to this author for the success of HOLLOWING SCREAMS which will soon be in pre-production for a film by up-and-coming, award-winning film producer Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment in New Zealand.

For more about this author’s literary works, visit:

http://www.barbarawatkins.net

http://facebook.com/barbienell.watkins

**********************************************************************

Why the Ghosts in ‘White Heaven Women’ are Blue – A True Story

by Jessie B. Tyson

Author Jessie B. Tyson

We were two teenagers, miles from civilization. The last bus had left long before schedule.  Home was eight miles away. There were no street lights. We couldn’t see the road to walk…but walk we must. A white car pulled up beside us and a cold ominous feeling ran through me, as if I’d been thrust into a freezer or a new ice-age. The driver offered us a ride home. As we arrived at Barbara’s village, I exited the car to see her safely across the now-busy main street.

A firm voice said, “Do NOT get back in that car!”

I turned to see who’d spoken. No one was there… Tired, I ignored the warning and climbed in. The car slowed, turning deeper into the countryside.

“You’ve turned the wrong way.”

“No, I haven’t,” said the driver with a distasteful snigger.

I felt frightened.

The voice spoke again. “Stay calm. Do not panic and do exactly as I tell you!”

The car halted in an unlit lane with no buildings nearby. The driver groped at my firm young body. I cried and beseeched God to help me, not wanting to lose my virginity through an assault.

“God will not help you, girl!” laughed my vile attacker.

Suddenly, a brilliant burst of blue light lit the lane. I noticed a female hovering three feet from the ground, her arms outstretched toward me. She was glowing blue! Electricity seemed to burn through my veins. I felt fortified with the strength of an army. The voice dictated what I must do. “Turn in your seat, pound his face with your feet, exit the car, break the car aerial off, pretend it’s a knife, push it against his gut and say, ‘Touch me again and I’ll stick this knife right through you!’”

All the while, the glowing blue female hovered, arms outstretched toward me. I did everything the voice told me. Speechless, the man returned to his car and drove away.

Trembling, I headed toward my village as the brilliant blue light guided my way.

The voice returned. “He’s coming back.  Quick, jump into the meadow, crouch down and hide.”

Strangely, I felt no pain as long thorny spikes ripped at my clothes and face as I dived through the bushes headfirst as if into a swimming pool.

The man yelled, “Come on, girl. I will not hurt you. I’ll take you home.”

“Hush.  Stay quiet ‘til he’s gone, then amble toward the main street. You know the way. You played here as a child.” I wondered how the voice knew this.

I scurried alongside the hedgerow ‘til I reached a solitary house and pounded on the door, “Help, I’ve been attacked.  Please call the police.”

An elderly man let me inside. My attacker drove away.

The voice whispered into my ear, “Bye, my dear. You’re safe now.”

I turned, hoping to see my unearthly adviser and saw no one. I glanced down the lane…but the lady in the blue light had vanished!

To view video of Jessie B. Tyson reciting this story, go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGnp9nX7HyU&feature=plcp

This author’s Facebook link:

https://www.facebook.com/jessie.b.tyson?ref=ts&fref=ts

For Free promo copy of White Heaven Women visit Jessie’s Amazon link on October 29th and October 30th:

http://www.amazon.com/White-Heaven-Women-ebook/dp/B008SDDGV6/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1350794260&sr=1-1&keywords=white+heaven+women

**********************************************************************

Children Playing
by Christy Bradshaw, M.Ed.

My family moved into a 1960’s-built home. A man that was wheelchair bound and his wife built this home. She passed away from brain aneurysm rupture, and then later he passed of cancer. We lived in this home for eight years.

There were paranormal occurrences in this home over the time that we lived there. About six months after we moved in, I had a brain aneurysm rupture (stroke). I suffered through all of the recovery from that and then one afternoon I saw our elderly neighbor outside so I walked over to speak with her. She told me the story about the previous owners. I thought that was extremely interesting, of course: the brain aneurysms that we two women had shared in that home.

Not long after this conversation with the neighbor, the lights in the house began to come on and go off by themselves at times. Once again, I stopped to think… hmmm…but again I passed it off in my mind as I was imagining things. You see, always the children and I would see these things and the children were very young. I never had a credible witness or anyone that could confirm things that were happening. A couple of years passed with occurrences of the children’s toys playing by themselves with no batteries in them. The lights flashing really often, and then it finally happened…

My daughter was around four years old. I had put her down for a nap and closed her door so I would not wake her. Doing dishes with the baby monitor on I thought that I heard something through the monitor. I stopped for a second to listen. Then boldly I heard children laughing through the monitor. It sounded as though they were playing. I dropped the dish in the sink and listened some more. Of course I was thinking that I really didn’t hear what I thought that I heard.

Quietly I stood at the sink, waiting to hear the sounds once more–and then all of a sudden the laughing began again, so loud that I grabbed the monitor and turned it off quickly. The laughing of these children playing did not sound harmful in any way. It was just really loud and very creepy knowing that the sounds were coming from my baby’s room. I slowly walked to her bedroom door…

I stood at the door with my hand on the door knob, listening for a second or two, but hearing nothing. I was afraid of what I would see when I opened the door. Finally, I used the courage that I could muster and opened the door:

There she was, quietly sleeping, the room was still and I was relieved. That was the very day, that I stopped using baby monitors in that home. From that point forward she took her naps on the sofa in the living room.

For more about Christy Bradshaw, visit her at:

thebradshawchronicles@facebook.com

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5087798/resume

http://www.christybradshaw.webs.com

**********************************************************************

A Ghost Named Kermit

by John Zunski

Author John Zunski

Some say our little town is haunted. I can say that the little ol’ bar that sits on the main drag has things that go bump in the night. I’ve heard them… I’ve felt them… I may have even seen something…

The weirdness started the week my wife and I took possession of the multi-dimensional watering hole. After closing one night, I was going about my business when I was overcome with a heaviness, like distant eyes pressing down upon my shoulders. I stopped what I was doing and turned around. Surprised faces stared at me. My heart stopped. It took me a second to realize it was my own reflection in dozens of mirrors. I took a deep breath and shared a nervous laugh with the room before burying myself in work. The feeling persisted. Every time I turned around, my freaked-out face returned my stare.

“It’s like the old-timers were watching me. Checking out the new guy,” I told my wife.

And that was it–for a while. Then my wife complained that five or ten dollars would be missing from her till. She would walk away before returning and recounting only to find it all there.

“Big deal,” I can hear you say. I agree, but it happens to me all the time. We decided it was Kermit, our name for the ghost. Kermit was also a customer who had passed away a few months after we bought the bar.

One night, years later, I had closed the bar. I thought everyone had stumbled out the door when in the casino, a Keno machine printed a ticket, footsteps marched across the floor and the Men’s Room door slammed shut. I didn’t think too much of it, reasoning that I had somehow missed a lingering soul.

Minutes passed… No one came out… I investigated…

The Men’s Room door was open and I was alone.

“Okay, John, they climbed out the bathroom window,” you say.

I would agree, if there were windows.

That incident has repeated itself over the years; twice with me and thrice with other bartenders. I don’t tell new bartenders about Kermit. When they report the weirdness, I share my experiences, including the one that leaves me with gooseflesh with each retelling:

It was a late summer morning… The sun was shining… I was opening the side door and securing it when legs walked past me into the bar. I stood up, turned around and said, “Excuse me, can I help you?”

I was answered by a compressor kicking on. Nobody was there…

This past May, a bartender asked: “Why didn’t you tell me about the ghost?”

“What did you see?” I asked.

“I was closed and I heard a Keno machine print. I looked up. A man in a long beard was staring at me and then he faded away.”

Did I mention Kermit had a long beard?

“What do you see in this picture? I see our ghosts helping Tammy and me celebrate the installation of the palm tree at my Sportsman’s bar. The picture was taken the first night the palm tree was lit. The person taking the picture was smoking a cigarette, so the wispy stuff is smoke–or could it be ghosts? The pic is what the pic is… I show it to people in the bar when conversations about ghosts come up. There are a few things in the ‘Rorschach test’ in the picture that relate to the town.” – John Zunski

For more information about Zunski and his literary works, visit him at:

www.johnzunski.wordpress.com

by Betty Dravis

Happy Halloween from the latest star in cyberspace–the skeleton on the cover of our Six-Pack of Blood!

Before formally announcing the name of our “baby boy” skeleton and the contest winner, my co-author Barbara Watkins and I would like to announce that this is your last chance for three months to get a FREE copy of Six-Pack of Blood. Yes, my friends, our six-horror-stories anthology is FREE on OCTOBER 27th, 28th and 29th. Pick yours up at  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007Q7FG68/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_alp_GwjEpb0DVJ6RQ  While there, we’d appreciate it if you’d push the LIKE button and consider taking an extra second to Tweet it. Amazon makes it easy to help its authors. 🙂

Now bear with me while I tell you the latest news about our skeleton’s name and how he got it.

When Barbara Watkins and I wrote this book we had no idea our cover boy, designed by Matt and Danielle Drake, would be so popular…or that we would feel so much affection for him. He’s an ugly little ghoul, as monsters that grace covers of horror books are meant to be. (Please don’t tell Barbara I said that.)

Barbara surprised me when she began calling him our “baby boy of horror,” speaking of him as though he were our baby. I joined right in and he “grew on us” just as a child would do…well, almost. (You know how real-life mothers think their children are the most beautiful and gifted in the world? Well, that’s how we talked about that bony critter on our cover! And I blush to admit we even baby-talk to him. You know, like Goo-goo, Ga-ga… Ugh!)

Overlooking the fact that he’s just a bag of bones and all skeletons look alike, we love that cover boy (monster or no monster). Could it be because the book he adorns is sprinkled with stardust by so many acclaimed people: Movie Director/Producers Armand Mastroianni and Dimi Nakov, Actress/Producer Katherin Kovin Pacino, Screenwriter Lia Scott Price, Amazon Hall of Fame Top Reviewer Grady Harp, Publicist Paul Payer, Authors John Locke, Janet Beasley and more?

Or is it because this book made international best-sellers of Barbara and me (No. 1 in Horror, U.S.; No. 2 in Occult, Germany; No. 34, Horror, UK)?

Whatever the reasons, over time we came to care for our poor, sweet skeleton with the hole in his brain… We tried to come up with a name for him, but just couldn’t do him justice, so we decided to ask our Facebook friends for help.

On August 16th I wrote a blog, requesting your participation in a “skeleton-naming contest” with the winner winning all e-books published by me and Barbara. To our delight, you eagerly submitted sixty-eight names. We couldn’t believe how versatile and creative you all are. I won’t list all sixty-eight, but you would ROTFLYAO if you read them. Instead I’ll explain how Barbara and I selected the ultimate name:

We each chose five that we liked best and decided to chat on the phone about those names. The five I favored (in order of preference) are: James Bones, Bone Wild, Indiana Bones, Bone-Chilling Bobby and Bloody Johnny. Barbara favored these: James Bones, Jack Marrow, Rib Van Winkle, Bone-Chilling Bobby, Mr. E. Bon-E-Fide.

From that list, it’s easy to see we both favored James Bones and Bone-Chilling Bobby. I told Barbara I could picture our boy bowing as he repeats that famous James Bond introductory line. So even though we agreed on James Bones, we decided to seek his opinion. When he read our narrowed-down list, his bones rattled from laughing so hard when he came to Bone Wild, Indiana Bones, Bone-Chilling Bobby and all the ones referring to Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow character. But when he came to Catherine Zeta-Bones he would’ve split a gut by laughing so hard–if he had any guts left, that is.

We knew he had chosen right, though, when our endearing skeleton stood, bowed suavely before us and said, “My name is BonesJames Bones.”

And when he grabbed a top-hat and joined me and Barbara in the Happy Dance, we puffed up with pride… Like mothers, like son? 🙂

Congratulations to long-time Canadian friend Pierre Anthony Tremblay for submitting the winning name for James Bones! He wins copies of all of mine and Barbara’s e-books. Happy reading, eh?

So there you have it! Our baby boy now has the distinguished name of James Bones. Oddly enough, the name was one of the last to be submitted and it came from Pierre Alexandre Tremblay of Canada. Congratulations, Pierre. Please send me your e-mail address so we can get copies of all our e-books gifted to you from Amazon. (Send it to bettydravis@gmail.com) and I’ll forward it to Barbara too.

And that’s not all, folks! Since Joanna Lee Doster, author of Maximum Speed: Pushing the Limit, sent in eighteen names, she deserves honorary mention. With that in mind, we are each presenting one book to her. Please check our list of books on our Amazon Author Central pages to choose one from each of us, Joanna. Let us know your choices and we will then send to you via Amazon.

Happy reading to Pierre in Canada and Joanna in New York…and thanks to everyone who entered, making this the most fun contest I’ve ever had.

Author Joanna Lee Doster with her special dog Jumping Jack Flash who has performed in three New York Metropolitan operas.

And how do you like my enhancement of the Jack Black bottles; just had to put our boy”s name on the bottles for a bit of Halloween fun. (Note my skeleton rings in various colors,) 🙂 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

And one more for the road: Wanted to show you the bottles and the rings up close. You like?

by Betty Dravis

Barbara Watkins and Betty Dravis, authors of “Six-Pack of Blood”

Unless you’re related to Johnny Depp, the sexy, lovable star of Pirates of the Caribbean, I bet you have never been asked to name a skeleton before.  Well, there’s a first time for everything and I hope you decide to hang around to help me and Barbara Watkins, my co-author of Six-Pack of Blood and its upcoming sequel Six-Pack of Fear. We’re looking for a real cool name for our hot little skeleton boy.

The cover boy on our internationally best-selling, award-winning Six-Pack of Blood, as you know, is a skeleton created by graphic artists Matthew and Danielle Drake. At first, our skeleton comes across as pretty gory–that horrible wound in his head and all–but once you get to know him, he’s really a lovable guy. He’s not all evil; only on his bad days. On those days, he’s putting on a monster act, anyway, to lure millions of you into reading our books. Don’t begrudge him that. It’s his job and he’s a killer at it; bringing in all kinds of horror/thriller/paranormal/supernatural/ghost and occult fans.

In fact, he’s so good at promoting that we’ve even had a movie offer and are anticipating an original feature film on the order of Twilight Zone. It’s even been rumored that the dream actor Johnny Depp is scheduled to play our “skeleton” to serve as host for the six segments of this upcoming movie.

I’m here to put that rumor to rest! That would be Barbara’s dream—she’s nutso about Depp–but it just isn’t happening that fast, folks.

And I can’t give all the credit to our skeleton boy for grabbing the attention of the award-winning producer/director Dimi Nakov and encouraging him to award Six-Pack of Blood the Best Paranormal/Horror award. To give credit where credit is due, Barbara and I are working ourselves to the bone (pun intended) promoting this book and the skeleton, by extension. And our loyal friends, like you, are pushing it too.

Look who’s peeking over Johnny’s shoulder. Isn’t is fantastic that he has our own Barbara Watkins hanging out on his wall? 🙂

The first skeleton I ever saw was in an anatomical school book where we were studying the human body (and snickering, as youngsters will). It looked something like this and seemed creepy to me at the time. The only real skeleton I ever saw was in a doctor’s office and that thing actually scared me.

Time and experience changes people and I’ve matured into a woman who can write about skeletons with abandon and joke about them without cringing. In fact, I came to love skeletons and all kinds of creepy monsters when reading my first horror book by writer John Saul. Then I went from books to movies, from Saul to Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz and more. (Of late, you’ll most likely find me with my nose planted in my Kindle Fire reading newer authors like the Queen of Terror Barbara Watkins, Mark LaFlamme, Scott Nicholson and Jeani Rector, the popular founder of Horror-Zine.

Skullduggery Pleasant

In my search for skeletons, I found two that were rather dapper: Skullduggery Pleasant who is a skeleton/detective/magician in a popular book series by Derek Landy. Another lovely skeleton who won my heart is in an exquisite oil painting Late Lover by the genius artist and author Uvi Poznansky. This work of art and other pieces by Uvi can be viewed at http://uviart.com/

Although I adore the romanticism of the cape-wearing, flower-bearing skeleton in Uvi’s masterpiece, none of those skeletons are as pretty as mine and Barbara’s “baby boy of horror.” That’s our temporary name for our “boy,” but it doesn’t do him justice. (Well, you know how “mothers” are about their kids.)

“Late Lover,” oil on canvasette, used with special permission from artist Uvi Poznansky

Our “baby boy of horror” is begging for a good name. Please come through for the poor kid.

AND THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN: A few weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook about having a name-the-skeleton contest and many of you were in favor of it. Some even gave your name choices. So now, dear reader, Barbara and I are inviting you to help name our horrific (but most often angelic) boy. Please post your name choice in a comment at end of this blog for a chance to win e-book copies of all of my books and all of Barbara’s.

Are you with us?

And now for a bit of humor in closing: Another reason we love Johnny Depp, outside the fact he loves playing eccentric characters, is his sense of humor. I got a kick because he didn’t “get” Al Pacino’s joke in the following anecdote. (Don’t feel bad, Johnny, I didn’t get it at first, either. Our cover boy had to explain it to me. And isn’t Al a real living legend?)

Here’s the story, as reported in AceShowBiz.com

Johnny Depp will always be tickled remembering his time working with Al Pacino on Donnie Brasco because the Hollywood great told him the same joke over and over again. The actors filmed the mob thriller together in 1997 and the Pirates of the Caribbean star admits Pacino’s sense of humor made it one of the most memorable shoots of his career–even though it took Depp a while to figure out the gag’s punch-line.

Depp says, “Al’s fantastic, he’s a legend. All I knew about Al prior to shooting was that he was certifiably insane. He’s a joker, but he’d like to tell me this one specific joke over and over. And I really didn’t understand it. I didn’t get the joke! He thought it was my problem. He inflicted it upon me and I could feel my IQ points drop.”

“I finally figured it out. He’d lean over and he’d go, ‘John. Skeleton goes into a bar. Orders a beer and a mop.’ On a loop. He would howl every time he told the joke.”

Still with us? If so, then get busy thinking of a name for our cover boy and leave the answer in a comment on this page (not on my Facebook page). Remember, we’ll select the one we like most and the person who wrote it will get four of my five e-books and four of Barbara’s. Go for it, kids! Barbara and I have been doing the Happy Dance ever since “Six-Pack” released because it’s been very good ot us. This book put us into the international best-seller category by going to No. 2 in Germany horror and in the 30s in the UK and it was No. 1 in the U.S. for a day or two when it first came out. Go, baby boy. No matter what we end up calling you, your Mommys will always love you and think you are the most beautiful in the world. 🙂

by Betty Dravis

As you might know, we Dames take turns posting first chapters (and/or excerpts) from our books from time to time. Dame Maggie Bishop reminded me that it’s my turn to share something from my latest e-book Six-Pack of Blood. I’m honored to be joined by the talented, award-winning author Barbara Watkins as co-author of this book. I love her writing…

This book just hit the market when it ranked No. 1 for a very short period of time on U.S. Amazon Kindle/horror; No. 5 in Germany/occult, and if I recall correctly No. 53 in the UK/horror. Since then it has done even better: Last week it was No. 5 in U.S./horror; No. 2 in Germany/occult; No. 34 in the UK/horror. We are humbled and pleased.

We’re also delighted that our book has been awarded the coveted Best Paranormal/Horror by award-winning filmmaker Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment and the foreword was written by the acclaimed movie director/producer Armand Mastroianni (TV’s Dark Shadows and Friday the Thirteenth; movies Pandemic, The Celestine Prophecy and many, many more). Thanks, gentlemen, for your faith in us.

Now, without further fanfare, let me share an excerpt and an illustration from “The Collector,” the first story in our Six-Pack of Blood; it happens to be one of mine. I hope you are enticed by this offering that gives a peek into the “other side” of my funky (at times whimsical; at times malevolent) mind. 🙂

As a young boy, The Collector had an innocent collection of items he’d crafted from Popsicle sticks. His current collection was far from innocent…

He had always been an odd child, but developed into a likable adult…a bit weird, but sexy and mysterious, as most Italian men are. His favorite food was Italian. His drink, California Red… His cigarette, Marlboro… His most revered singer was Luciano Pavarotti.

And he definitely favored large-busted women with red hair.

The Collector was a tit man!

~~~

His wife, Bianca, was small and dark with boobs as lumpy as cottage cheese, but he’d married her for her practical homemaking skills, her meekness and for child-bearing. (“Must marry Italian–keep those fine Sicilian lines going, y’know,” his father had insisted.) The Collector’s wife was simply a figurehead to give him a show of respectability, giving him children…

Yeah, Bianca’s Italian all right–from her frigid crotch to her crooked nose. And the kids are nothing but pawns–boys to cater to the Mob, girls to wed into The Family, The Collector mused bitterly.

Forty years later, he was still longing for “the love-of-his-life,” the beautiful, auburn-haired, Irish lass he’d been forced to give up to please the Mob. “Ah-hhh…” The Collector sighed as he thought of his lost Katie.

Then: But who the hell needed love? Everything he needed could be bought.

~~~

The Collector–legal name, Frank Joseph Fitelli–was generally in a good mood when he had a collection to make, but not that night. It was Friday and he was trying his usual method of priming himself by gorging on his favorite things, but it wasn’t working.

After rutting with his latest whore–dyed red hair, he’d noted contemptuously–he had paid her off and kicked her out. Then he sat at his desk in the custom-designed library of his luxurious Scarsdale mansion, nursing a crystal goblet of vintage rose flown in from his Uncle Sal’s California vineyard.

“O Sole Mio…” Pavarotti’s lush tenor burst forth with grandeur from the large speakers of a built-in CD system. The talented Italian’s voice brought back memories of The Collector’s mother who had always played Mario Lanza records–the volume sky-high–as she bustled about the kitchen of his childhood Jersey home.

A wry smile curved the man’s lips as he inhaled deeply of the harsh, calming tobacco of a “real man’s” cigarette. He’d switched from Camels to Marlboros years ago when Tom Selleck was The Marlboro Man, and fantasized they were the same macho breed of man.

Beneath the huge skylight that dominated the dome of his library, the man was locked in an inner struggle. There were no phones, no computers and no windows in this private room, but glancing up at the sky-light, The Collector saw that it was completely covered with snow––the worst blizzard of the year. Could he make it to Miami?

His thoughts about the weather were not idle thoughts; they figured heavily in his plans. He had a collection to make and it was different this time. The dastardly deed had to be done that night, and he planned to use his private plane. There could be no witnesses!

Procrastinating, his cold, cruel, brown eyes absently trailed gray wisps of cigarette smoke as they curled up to the skylight. He fancied this room to be a gigantic snow-dome–like the small ones he passionately collected–and he was the lone figure inside. In this room, surrounded by all his favorite things, nothing could touch him, he told himself.

The walls that flanked the man’s desk were floor-to-ceiling bookshelves–over twenty feet high–that contained books on every subject…impressive, but mostly unread. Behind the desk was a portrait painted in the stately parlor of his childhood home; it depicted him, at age twelve, with his mother and father. He gently ran a diamond-adorned, pudgy finger along his mother’s portrait, muttering, “I’m sorry, Madre mia,” then glanced at the surrounding smaller photographs. Most were of his father with other infamous Mafia chieftains–“Lucky” Luciano, Al “Scarface” Capone, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel–and several showed The Collector with his Godfather, Joseph “Fruitcake” Borelli.

The fourth wall, the one facing his desk, was dominated by an elegant green marble fireplace, and also held his priceless collection of snow-domes.

Setting aside the wine goblet, the man crossed to the cherished display, flicked on the custom lighting, captured his favorite dome with a well-manicured, shaky hand, and carried it to his desk. Placing the precious object reverently in the center of the blotter, he rocked it gently and watched the snow drift down to caress the pleasant scene: a lovely, red-haired mother and a dark, dashing father with four smiling children, two dark, robust boys and two dainty, copper-haired girls. The father was reading an article from the Wall Street Journal to the sons, while the mother was reading a fairytale to the attentive daughters.

That could’ve been me and Katie with our big, happy brood, he mused darkly.

The Collector played with the dome for several minutes, swiveling in his chair to watch the small family in the sanctity of their home, their private, pristine world. Then he leaned back to peer across the room at the lights reflecting off the rest of his collection. The chair tilted backward, squeaking noisily–infringing on the stirring music–as it took the full bulk of the man’s enormous weight.

The Collector prided himself on this beautiful collection, but jealously guarded his other one–the ghastly, secret one–hidden behind the others at the back of the intricately designed revolving shelves. Rising slowly, he crossed the room, replaced the family dome, then pushed a button to release his “real” collection–the one he was paid to collect.

As he lifted the first gory snow-dome, he heard loud pounding coming from the hallway.

Thunk! Thunk! Thunk! Thunk!

End of excerpt! Barbara and I hope you enjoyed it well enough to want to finish it and read the other five creepy stories in our collection. Here is the Amazon order link:

http://tinyurl.com/7ew24ql

And here is the link to my Amazon Central page where all my books are listed, along with a bio, book trailers, and more…

http://tinyurl.com/7ezca

Thanks for your time and happy reading.

by Betty Dravis

Betty Dravis

Betty Dravis: Welcome to Dames of Dialogue, Dimi. It’s a pleasure to have such a talented man from the film industry with us today. In case any of our readers haven’t heard of you yet, I want to tell them you’re the producer/director of an award-winning New Zealand Filmmaking company, Zodiac Entertainment.

I met you through your friend and colleague author Barbara Watkins, who, as you know, is my co-author on Six-Pack of Blood.  Barbara is known as the “Queen of Terror,” but my short stories in Six-Pack are my first venture into the dark and macabre. That’s why it blew my mind when you read all six stories and awarded us your coveted Best Paranormal/Horror award. Please know how grateful Barbara and I are by your faith in us and your encouragement.

Dimi, I usually start off by asking questions about how my interviewees first got started, but I’ll get to that later this time. I’m too excited about your recent humongous achievement to keep it in for long. So tell us all about your short film BlindSide being accepted into the Cannes Film Festival! I’m sure our readers will cling to every word about your first trip to Cannes and what happened there when BlindSide premiered. I especially want to know about your Cannes personal highlights…your favorite moments! Feel free to tell a little about the submission process filmmakers go through, also.

Producer/Director Dimi Nakov of Zodiac Entertainment

Dimi Nakov: Thank you so much for having me here, Betty, and giving me the chance to share some insights about BlindSide and what Cannes means to everyone involved with the film. Also, if I may I’d like to mention some of my outstanding co-workers on this amazing screenplay written by Chantal Rayner-Burt and Sean O’Connor: co-producer Graeme Cash and actors Tonci Pivac, Paul Thomas Lewis and Sarah James, to name a few. I could not have done it without them or any of the crew.

And it was my pleasure to award Six-Pack of Blood the award; those stories are all so original and blood-curdling, like the title implies.

BlindSide is a short dramatic thriller which highlights the issues that often flame within broken and troubled families. Issues like family violence and sexual and mental abuse. BlindSide has a gentle yet deep way of presenting those issues which will leave the audience free to think and watch the entire film without closing their eyes because of graphic scenes or moments. What I wanted to achieve with BlindSide is to keep the audience engaged by pulling them into the characters’ heads and not shocking them with the violence of each issue. I hope it will make at least one person think about any signs of abuse they might have seen and I hope they can do something about it to stop the suffering of the victims who are trapped in that vicious circle of pain.

About Cannes, I personally didn’t expect to be accepted into the Cannes Short Film Corner 2012 and even less to attend this huge and prestigious Festival event. It’s a dream come true and was not possible without the help of family and friends: my parents, brother and sister and friends such as Kay Rayner, Phil Greeves, Jonathon Rayner Burt, Chantal Rayner Burt, Barbara Watkins, Christy Bradshaw, you, Betty, and many more. Thanks to the strong and constant effort of everyone we managed to raise half of the funds I needed to get to Cannes and attend the Festival.

This was a perfect opportunity for me to promote BlindSide and a few other projects we have in the works, including some of Barbara Watkins’s stories which I plan to make into motion pictures. I hope to show what an amazing writer she is and share her words with the world on the big screen.

I am very pleased with the result I achieved going to Cannes. I have interest from distributors for all my short films and now I am talking to a few about more projects I have in development. Meeting these helpful contacts is one of the highlights I can mention; the result of hard work while I was there.

Other highlights were the educational workshops, industry meetings and events. Networking with so many filmmakers, producers, directors, distributors, festival organizers etc. was unforgettable. I got interviewed by Festival’s TV about BlindSide and also experienced the Festival in its full glory as much as I could. There is so much to do and it depends on what purpose an attendee has that determines what they experience. I was overwhelmed how many people attended Cannes. The place is amazing and the food and people are awesome. You can find out about each day of my experience on the links at bottom of this interview.

Betty Dravis: Cannes! That and winning an Oscar are every filmmaker’s dream! Wow, that’s so awesome, Dimi. I’m elated for you and your entire crew. I bet they think you walk on water about now… (laughs) I know you are no stranger to awards, since your short film Lockie and Love was the coveted Documentary Award Winner at the Filmaka Competition and another short documentary For Alan was a finalist at the 2010 Wanaka Mountain Film Festival, was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2011 British Independent Film Festival and screened at the 2011 Heart of Gold International Film Festival in Gympie, Australia. But BlindSide at Cannes must have been the frosting on the cake!

I read the daily reports and viewed the remarkable photos you sent back. I think those would make an interesting e-book, if you ever find time to do that. That’s the writer in me talking; knowing you, you’ll probably turn it into an award-winning documentary. (laughs) For now, I’m dying to hear the other good news you received while you were at Cannes. Tell us about that, Dimi.

Dimi Nakov:   I don’t know about “walking on water,” Betty, but the cast and crew are as happy as I am. (laughs) The other good news is that in addition to BlindSide premiering at Cannes, all three shorts we’ve filmed in the allotted Festival times–Playmates, shot in February 2011; BlindSide, shot in March 2011; and The Psychologist, shot in April 2011–have been officially selected by four International Festivals, including Cannes!

Given the facts: 1) All three shorts were shot during the allotted Festival times; 2) all are within the $600 – $700 NZ budget; 3) and all three were shot a month and a half apart, we are amazed to be selected in so many festivals and that it happened so fast. Since I edited all three at the same time with three different editors, running from editing suite to editing suite every week and making a living and paying the bills and planning the next projects, it was crazy times. I am very, very happy I managed to complete the three shorts by the festival deadlines in order to submit them properly.

The breakdown: By June 28, 2012 BlindSide was in Cannes Short Film Corner as part of 65th Cannes Film Festival and is officially selected for Denver Underground Film Festival 2012. Our biggest surprise is that both BlindSide and Playmates are official selections for the 7th Cyprus International Short Film Festival 2012. And our third short The Psychologist is official selection in competition for BuSho – Budapest Short Film Festival 2012.

The cast, crew and I are absolutely thrilled that our hard work and effort and time can be seen by others and appreciated by professionals who are selecting them for the festival programs. We just might be doing something right. (laughs)

In addition, I have submitted the three shorts to more film festivals worldwide and I have all my fingers crossed that we can keep receiving the good news of official selection which goes hand in hand with the rejection emails as well. At the end of the day I look at both rejection and selection as just a way of life, realizing that a selection would not be as sweet and more celebrated and appreciated without a number of rejections. Rejections always make me work harder to improve myself as a person and filmmaker. I know it sounds cliché, but hard work really pays off and I would not be able to do anything without the hard years and sacrifices. We all must work hard and sacrifice to achieve what we dream of and get where we imagine ourselves in the future.

Betty Dravis: Four film festivals! That’s huge, Dimi! Really huge! I’m astonished and delighted for you and the crew. You certainly have some great actors to work with…and outstanding cooperation from all involved. 2012 seems to be a magical year for Zodiac Entertainment. You’re certainly climbing the ladder of success and it couldn’t happen to a nicer man. Do you mind telling us how old you were when you knew you wanted to make movies? We would also like to know where you studied and some of your internship credits.

One of Dimi’s favorite places in Cannes: Cinema Cannes

Dimi Nakov: Betty, I was eight years old when my grandfather gave me an old Russian still camera. I can’t recall the camera name, but I knew that I absolutely was fascinated by the fact of taking stills and seeing them develop in the dark room. My granddad was a teacher of chemistry, physics and mathematics, but he also took older students to camps in the mountains and taught them photography in his photography workshops. That is where I got into the magic of making the black-and-white photos come alive in front of my eyes. I was mesmerized by the whole process and how the photo paper reacted with the chemicals after it was exposed by light coming through the frame of each shot I took.

Then I became a teenager and started to watch lots of movies and the camera was forgotten for a while. But my love for movies was growing stronger and stronger until the moment my family immigrated to New Zealand in 2002. Three years later I enrolled in Auckland University where I studied Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Film, Television and Media Studies. I finished two years and then decided to go to South Seas Film and TV School in Auckland. I graduated with a Diploma of Documentary Direction in 2008.

During my studies at South Seas, I did work experience on Wheel of Fortune, New Zealand’s Got Talent and other shows. One challenging project where I learned a lot was when I scripted, directed, shot and produced a series of corporate training videos for Coca Cola, Amatil, NZ.

After graduating I was out in the world doing what I love and making shorts, music videos, working on TV shows and feature films. I have done extra work on multi-million dollar productions and learned how big budgets function from a close look; I got the feel for it. In the meantime, I was building my production company, Zodiac Entertainment, with the help of friends and family. All of this is just a step forward into my future… I’m learning how to function better and more efficiently while building a network of people around me who love film and TV and I am also sharing my love for film with others far away.

Betty Dravis: What a stellar background you have, Dimi. I’ve always been fascinated with movies, so it sounds wonderful to me. It must have been great fun to work on Wheel of Fortune and all those other popular shows when first starting out. Your pre-credits are outstanding.

This might seem like a dumb question, but what’s the description of a short film and why did you decide to do shorts? Will you progress to long films in the near future?

Dimi Nakov: Yes, Betty, working on real shows was a lot of fun. As for making shorts, it is really a good learning experience, a starting point (a future calling card) and a step towards making feature-length films. All full-length films are built upon short, small chunks of stories within the big story of the film, so learning and crafting those little chunks is very helpful for a filmmaker in order to gain experience and confidence towards the big one.

Also, not everyone has the necessities–access to money, equipment, cast and crew–to pull off a feature film when they start in this industry. So starting with shorts and using them as business-cards to gain interest and potential investors for the feature-film projects is a good way to start. It doesn’t always work, but it’s the smartest, most successful path for a filmmaker to take towards his/her filmmaking future.

As for long films, Betty, I am definitely looking forward to making my first feature film in late 2012 or early 2013.The first feature, given the fact that we can’t afford big-budget will be a low-budget, full-length film. After that, I intend to make one of Barbara Watkins’s stories into a motion picture. The one we are looking to make is Hollowing Screams and I would be looking into the two-million-dollar budget. Filming the low-budget film before Hollowing Screams will be very much to my advantage when we have the talks with distributors and investors. After that I will be making all Barbara’s stories into motion pictures. Her writing is just amazing and I have been blown away since the first page of Hollowing Screams and all other short stories.

Betty Dravis: That’s all so interesting to me, Dimi, and I’m doing the “Happy Dance” with Barbara about Hollowing Screams. (laughs) To have one of our books (or more) made into a movie is every author’s dream. I’m delighted to pair up with someone of her talent on Six-Pack of Blood and thrilled about your filming her stories. She’s a wonderful person to work with; we have a lot of fun.

How many short films and documentaries have you done; how many in 2012 alone?

Dimi Nakov: Well, Betty, so far I have produced and directed three short documentaries, three fiction short films, five music videos, and four corporate videos for Coca-Cola since 2009. I have a number of feature films in development and also registered a non-profit film organization to help amateur and beginning filmmakers here in New Zealand (hoping to go worldwide later). Also I was a DOP for a feature film, Journey of a Story, which premiered in April 2012 in New Zealand and will be circulating festivals in 2012 and 2013 worldwide.

In 2012 I have done one music video, for a Girls Trio TNT; the song is called Casa Del Tango. The music video will be coming out in July 2012 online on YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook. Like you said above, Betty, 2012 has been a magical year, starting with going to Cannes and the selection of three shorts into international film festivals worldwide and now preparing for my first feature film in late 2012 or early 2013.

Betty Dravis: Wow, I’m still stunned by all those festivals…and excited for you. Amazing, but then you’re an amazing man…

Now I’m curious about Zodiac Entertainment. I’d like to know how long it’s been in business, if you are the founder, do you have partners, why you chose the name, etc.… Just little things like that… (laughs)

Dimi Nakov: I founded Zodiac Entertainment in 2009. I wanted to have a name which symbolizes more then just a motion production company when reading the company title. Zodiac is more than just a film-making production house because we combine innovative thinking, filmmaking experience, new technology and production skills to make the best motion picture products for our clients. Zodiac represents the bigger picture behind the art of film-making: the universe and the diversity of people, talent and, overall, the life around us and what makes us like what we like and how we make art based on our origins. It’s our belief that what we have been exposed to throughout our lives gives us the tools we use to create art. So Zodiac is a combination of all signs we read and use to make art and achieve the best results we can. Entertainment (in our name) is self-explanatory, meaning that we will keep our clients happy by entertaining the audience seeing the product.

Betty Dravis: Thanks for explaining, Dimi. I understand that one of the hardest things in show business is to get financial backing to produce a movie. I realize that the larger studios call in the money backers with millions of dollars to spare, but how does a smaller studio go about it? I see some using the Internet… What’s your procedure for procuring funding?

Dimi Nakov: You are absolutely right, Betty. It’s really hard to break through the no/small budget and get into the mid- and high-range, but not impossible. Innovative thinking and adaptation of today’s filmmaker is absolutely essential to get noticed and gain a fan base and attract investors or distributors. Overall is the talent and quality of work, which is marketable within a targeted audience. What that means is that each studio and filmmaker has to know who his target market is, how to target that audience and then make a product geared for them, which will make them the returns they need. There are stat-funding schemes, private-funding options and online fundraising sites which, with a good strategy and lots of hard work and time, will meet its target if done very well. So there are options, and even then it’s very hard to get through that big obstacle: funding. It is possible, and I am currently pursuing all options available.

Betty Dravis: I love the way you express your “feel” for your industry, Dimi. I feel the same way about writing… When you dream, you dream BIG! You know what you want and you go for it! And you’ve proven that the road to success is hard work, but also fun and rewarding. Tell us what’s your ultimate dream for your chosen career?

Another shot from Cannes where one of Dimi’s Big Dreams came true

Dimi Nakov: Thank you so much, Betty, for the warm and absolute lovely words of encouragement and support. My ultimate dream is to direct and produce all movies I can–until my last breath–and make each story a justice (with the budget and capacity each screenplay deserves) and get its potential on the big screen for the world to see and enjoy.

There are so many stories I want to tell and I plan to make as many films as I can. I wish the money wasn’t the only way to achieve the best quality. That’s not the only reason for a great movie, but in this world having the financial backing will help a film to be seen worldwide on as many platforms as possible, which includes online, theaters and DVDs. My dream is to be able to achieve the quality I imagine–every time I undertake a project–and give it a proper farewell before it takes on the world and becomes part of the world and it’s out of my hands.

Betty Dravis: I wish you best of luck with the financing, Dimi, but I have faith you’ll get it. Getting off the subject for a while, I know that filmmaking takes a lot of stamina, so how do you stay in shape to withstand the long hours and travel schedules? Do you eat so-called “health foods” and what are some of your favorite foods?

Dimi Nakov: Yes, Betty, like any other activity filmmaking takes a lot of energy and it requires healthy foods and nutrients. I couldn’t say that I am the healthiest person, but I do like healthy food and I manage to eat three times a day when I can. Most times I get so submerged into work that I have to be reminded to eat and stop for a while. (laughs) Everyone on my set when we are filming has to eat. That is one of my requirements because I believe that hungry stomachs will not do well and creativity drops down to half (or none) when there is no food, water and soft drinks on the set.

My favorite food at the moment is salmon teriyaki sushi and miso soup. Love it and it’s very healthy. I also love chocolate, as well, when I can.

Betty Dravis: Many people I’ve interviewed told me that their own families didn’t support or encourage their dreams, which made it much more difficult for them to succeed. Has your family been supportive? Tell us a little about them, if you don’t mind, and we would also enjoy hearing about your mentors, those who encouraged you most.

A shot of Dimi with supportive friends at Cannes

Dimi Nakov: I have been so lucky and blessed to have the best family and friends one can dream of. My parents are just so strong behind me, even when they are trying to secure their retirement and working hard to do so. My brother and sister are the best siblings I can imagine. I am just speechless by how much they have been there for me and how much they have helped me and keep supporting and encouraging me with what I do. I can see they really enjoy doing it. My sister is also working in the industry; she worked for four years for the TV Drama Shortland Street made by South Pacific Picture who made also Outrageous Fortune and Almighty Johnsons here in New Zealand. My brother is an IT administrator and he is a huge fan of film and we all enjoy going to the movies. My dad and mom are huge fans of films as well and they watch movies all the times when they can.

Support from family and friends gives me strength in moments I feel I am down or not sure what to do. It is a huge help and can be the difference between keeping going or giving up, in some cases. The people who succeeded despite the family support, they have used the negative energy and discouragement and turned it into positive energy and a reason to focus and prove them wrong and make it happen and that has been a drive which can be as powerful as anything else we can find within ourselves and turn it into productive and positive outcome.

It’s all up to us and we have only ourselves to thank for making the decisions which lead us to the final chapter of our lives. At the end of the day, we make decisions and others can influence them, but we make our own choices.

Betty Dravis: I’m happy to know your family supports you so well, Dimi, and I agree that in the end, it’s all a matter of our choices and how we handle things.

I have a lighter question this time: Who is your favorite director (living or dead) and if it were possible to spend the day with him or her, how would you spend it? And do you have a favorite movie?

Every wall at 65th Cannes Film Festival was lavishly adorned with participating feature-film posters, while the short corner was dedicated to Dimi and his peers.

Dimi Nakov: My heroes in film are Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez, Ridley Scott and James Cameron.

I would love to spend a day with Orson Welles. He is just someone I want to learn from. He achieved so much without the technology we have at our disposal today. I would just spend a day and talk about life and where his passion comes from. My second choice would be Christopher Nolan and I’d talk to him about the things I would talk to Orson about. I wouldn’t waste a day talking about making movies, but just have a normal, every-day conversation and enjoy each other’s company, given the fact we share the same passion for films. I am sure we would drift towards talking about movies anyway. (laughs)

Betty Dravis: That’s a great answer, Dimi. I’m sure most people would choose Welles or Nolan, too, but I’d love to spend a day with Quentin Tarantino. He really has his finger on the pulse of what people his age like.

And now, Dimi, here’s another “fun” question. Most people have had embarrassing moments at some time in their lives. Have you? If so, please share one of them with us. As we all like movies, we also like a good laugh from time to time.

Dimi Nakov: Well I am kind of embarrassed to say this, Betty, but one night I was dancing in a club and did the splits and my pants ripped in the back. When I noticed, after a few minutes, I had to rush home. I thought I would have to run to the depths of the earth. I didn’t know if anyone noticed my ripped pants, but who knows? I was sure someone saw the ripped pants and my boxers, so I was very embarrassed. (laughs)

Betty Dravis: Aw-ww, that’s not so bad, Dimi. You should hear some of the embarrassing things others have endured. (laughs) But moving on, tell us a little about what you enjoy when not working. Do you have favorite hobbies or sports?

Dimi Nakov: At the moment for me it’s 24/7 work and I am completely absorbed. I do enjoy going to the movies, playing table tennis and swimming. I would love to do skydiving and bungee jumping and, also, I would love to travel. One of my dreams is to travel and work at the same time. I hope to one day make movies in different countries, on location. I love mountain climbing. I used to go with my grandfather when I was small; seeing the mountains and nature is just an overwhelming feeling of freedom.

To prove that Dimi does, indeed, take time for fun on occasion, here’s a pic of him being attacked by some of the actors on location…all in fun, of course.

Betty Dravis: I know what you mean by 24/7. I often get that way with my book promotion, and have to remind myself to take time for other things. I’m glad to hear you do other things from time to time.

Well, all good things must come to an end, and we’re nearing the end of this interview. Before closing, I hope you don’t mind sharing what you’re working on at this very moment. Since we’ve discussed your long-range movie plans, is there any more news you’d like to share with our readers? Is there anything I’ve missed that you would like to share?

Dimi Nakov: At the moment I am in pre-production for a very low-budget, feature-length film with working title Human Stag. The film is an action/thriller and it will be my first feature film to direct and produce before I get into bigger-budget production based on Barbara Watkins’s story Hollowing Screams that we discussed above. Also, I have created a non-profit organization called FilmMakers Generation Next to help amateur and beginning filmmakers. The organization has a Facebook page and soon will have a web-site.

Betty Dravis: That’s exciting, Dimi, I look forward to seeing your short films and your feature-length ones too. Of course, I’m dying to see Barbara’s… Be sure to keep us updated. Now, one final question: What advice do you have for newcomers just starting in the filmmaking business?

Dimi Nakov: I hope advice from someone like me who is still learning would be appropriate. Since you ask, I would advise them not to give up their dreams. Follow them… Take a longer path if obstruction comes along, but don’t give up. I know it’s a cliché, but hard work really pays off. And don’t just work hard, work smart as well.

Follow Your Dreams. Never Give up. Be happy with what you have and give yourself credit for the smallest thing you have achieved every day.

Betty Dravis: Well, that may be short, but it’s good, solid advice, Dimi. It’s been a real treat to chat with you. You’re inspiring! I certainly learned more about you and the movie business; I’m sure our readers will enjoy you as much as I do. We will be watching for your new movies.

I like this line from your website: I am a filmmaker based in New Zealand at the moment. I enjoy making movies, directing and producing them. I also believe that everyone has a story to tell and my dream is to be able to take as many stories to the big screen as possible.

That’s a beautiful thought about filmmaking, Dimi, a thought that all authors like to hear, as it’s our biggest dream to have one or more of our books going to film. Thanks for inspiring us.

Concluding on that happy note, this is the perfect place to share more links where fans and friends can reach you:

http://zodiacentertainment.co.nz/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/BlindSide/…

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3961109/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1677535/

http://www.vimeo.com/user1828245

http://www.youtube.com/user/Dimisim1979#uploads/0/5c7Gjd_4XPo

Thanks again, Dimi, for this open, honest interview. Best of luck at those other film festivals… You deserve all the breaks. We look forward to seeing your movies hit the big screen in our cities. Please keep us informed.

Dimi Nakov: Thank you so much for everything Betty. For being a friend and for supporting  and encouraging me in all I do. This is why I keep going, because people like you give me all the energy I would ever need. I think to love what you do and who you are and what you have is the biggest gift besides good health and we all are responsible for if because we have the power to make it happen and take it away at the same time. Farewell for now. See you at the movies.

End note: If you are interested in reading Dimi’s fascinating diary and seeing more photos of his time in Cannes, here are the links:

Cannes Film Festival Pre-Opening Day 15th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-pre-opening-day.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 1 – 16th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-2012-day-one.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 2 – 17th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-two.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 3 – 18th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-three.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 4 – 19th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/day-four-cannes-2012.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 5 – 20th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-five-2012.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 6 – 21st May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-six-2012.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 7 – 22nd May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-seven.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 8 – 23rd May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-eight-2012.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 9 – 24th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-nine-2012.html

Cannes Film Festival Day 10 & 11 – 25th & 26th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/cannes-day-ten-eleven-2012.html

Rotating Back Home from Cannes – 27th May 2012:
http://diminakov.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/rotating-back-home.html

With so many wonderful writers in various groups to which I belong, it’s only natural that we get into some fascinating conversations. The hot topic for over a year now has been The E-Book Phenomenon, of course. Everyone has such diverse opinions that I decided to pose the question of how e-books have changed their lives to eight of the finest writers I know. But before they share their reasons, I’ll relate mine.

I can honestly say that e-books have made my writing journey easier, quicker, more fun and much more economical. I now get more royalties for one small book than I got for a full-length novel from traditional print publishers. All that and there are no dead trees, no ink and no postage.  The postage alone used to kill any joy I had in getting a meager ten percent royalty. Yay for e-books and double yay for the e-readers. Love my Kindle Fire too.

http://www.bettydravis.com

http://tinyurl.com/83sghb9

Author Wayne Zurl: A Dinosaur Rolls Over

I’m a dinosaur and proud of it. I worked long and hard to attain that status and wear a lapel pin to prove it.

Electronic publishing is advanced technology and I’m techno-phobic. I shy away from anything new. I still use a spinning reel purchased in 1964 and wish I had never bought a personal computer. (laughs)

What does this have to do with how e-books changed my life? I’m getting’ there…

When I finished my first full-length novel, A New Prospect, I began the epic chore of querying agents—a dozen or so at a clip. Agents spend hours a day writing blogs telling potential clients how busy they are. The process of getting their rejection letters took ages. After a hundred of those buggers sent me “not interested” notes, I attacked publishers willing to accept submissions directly from writers. That process was even slower.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I began writing shorter stories, novelettes, for practice. I needed a creative outlet in my retirement and manuscripts seemed a lot easier to store than model airplanes or oil paintings. Somewhere along the line, I ran across a publisher who wanted novelettes, stories between 8,000 and 11,000 words, to create one-hour audio books and e-books. I submitted something called A Labor Day Murder and a month or so later, I received something new and different—an acceptance letter. That began my career as a fiction writer.

So far I’ve seen twelve novelettes accepted, recorded by a professional actor and simultaneously turned into Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony and other e-book formats I never heard of. The things I’ve written can be listened to or read on eReaders, personal computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, blueberries and gooseberries. (laughs)

Thanks to all the formats available and the low prices, ($1.99 or less) e-books outsell the audio versions. Thanks to e-books, the Sam Jenkins mystery series made it to the publishing map. Eventually, I found a small publisher who would take a chance on A New Prospect. It’s not only in print but in all variations of e-book, too.

This dinosaur rolled over and accepted a bit of technology that helped boost his ego and kept him interested in writing.

http://waynezurlbooks.net 

http://amazon.com/author/waynezurl

 

 Ann Swann Never Dreamed Her First Book Would Be an E-book

Who knows what future opportunities lie in store for authors and readers? All I can say for sure is that we’ve arrived in the era of e-books ever after–lucky us!

I first discovered e-books three or four years ago when my handsome hubby, Dude, bought me a Sony reader for Christmas. I fell in love with it because I have so many books that I am always dusting, needing to dust, or sneezing my head off while complaining about the dust. (laughs)

Mind you, I do miss turning pages late at night when Dude’s working and I’m reading in bed with my dogs at my feet and my cat, Maggie May (yes, that Maggie May), curled up under my arm. It just isn’t the same when I doze off and the e-reader—I’ve graduated to Kindle now—falls over on my face and bonks me in the nose. Paper books don’t bonk, they just sort of slither. But enough bonking already, Betty asked how e-books have changed our lives as readers and authors.

As an author, I never dreamed my first book would be available just as an e-book. When I sent it in to Cool Well Press, I was so used to rejections that when the acceptance e-mail came, I could scarcely read what it said after the line “We like it! We want it!” (Okay, maybe it didn’t say that exactly , they are professionals, after all, but that’s how my brain interpreted it.)

So, was I disappointed when I learned that the novella-length Phantom Pilot qualified only for e-book status? Perhaps for a moment, but after we discussed the possibility of a series of Phantom books, I was satisfied. I’ve just signed the contract for Book Two: The Phantom Student. It will be novel length, thus qualifying it for both print and e-book status.

So, Betty, I guess the main way digital changed my life as an author and as a reader is this: it made me a little greedier. Now I want all my books, the ones I read and the ones I write, to be available in print and digital. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you? (laughs)

http://annswann.blogspot.com

http://facebook.com/annswann.author

Author John Zunski: Invigorated by Writing E-books, Loves the E-readers

Easy as A, B, C…    You know, another blog concerning d’em e-books. (laughs)

“ ‘ey hair farmer,” he cried stomping snow from his boots. “Put down that library machine and get me a beer, huh ennit.”

Translation from Montanan: Mr. Bartender, when you finish with that portal into worlds infinitely more interesting than drunken prattle, would you find it in your heart to pour me a fine, mass-produced libation, please?

Somewhere I’ve heard that the customer is always right, and in this case, he is! It’s wonderful carrying a library in the palm of my hand. E-readers have reinvigorated my reading experience, or more accurately, have provided literary crack-cocaine to a once on-the-wagon book junkie.

On-the-wagon not only because I was running out of shelf space, but the words on the page were harder to read. So, why don’t I build another shelf and get reading glasses?

The short answer – I’d rather live with my wife than bunk with the librarian and my ego had a difficult time admitting needing glasses.  E-readers, you have given me the best of both worlds: I can resume collecting books and never have to worry about losing my glasses. Font control is a wonderful thing.

Plus I will never get back strain from lugging around the equivalent of the New York Public Library. Yes, how great is life that with a push of a button one can go from shivering on the soaked streets of London to baking in the Egyptian desert, or go from experiencing the world of an innocent child to understanding the motives of a mafia don?

E-readers are better than any TV remote control I know; not only do I control the picture, but there’s no flippin’ commercials. But, what is really cool, in someone’s portal, a reader is slipping into a world I’ve created and is experiencing it through the eyes of my characters. That has truly rocked my world.

http://www.JohnZunski.com

http://facebook.com/jzunski

Author Barbara Watkins Changes Mind about E-books

 I have to admit when I first heard of e-books I thought to myself, this concept will never fly. Boy was I wrong!

My publisher insisted that it was the wave of the future. Boy was she right!

My first full-length novel Hollowing Screams was released in e-book format October 31, 2011 and sales fared quite nicely. The print version was released a few weeks later with disappointing sales. Not much has changed…

When a reader can purchase an e-book copy of their favorite author at a fraction of the cost of the print version, more times than not they will choose the less expensive path. For me, as an author, having these options of selling in e-book format, as well as print, improves my odds tremendously when it comes to sales.

What does this all mean for the readers? A reader can place a book in print in their hands, turn the pages, and when finished, strategically place it on the shelf. However, a reader that purchases an e-book can download that same book onto their kindle, iphone, nook tablet, computer, ipad, and other electronic devices…again for the fraction of the cost.

There will always be a place for paperback and hardback versions of your favorite authors. Imagine for a moment that you could no longer purchase the best-selling book in the world in physical print: the Bible. However, having the choice to purchase literary works in physical form or as an e-book download to your electronic device… Well, it’s a win, win situation for both reader and author.

http://www.barbarawatkins.net/

https://www.facebook.com/barbienell.watkins

Husband-and-Wife Writing Team Matt and Danielle Drake

Founded Kourageous Kids for Ill Children to Star in Own Books

 Danielle: When Matthew and I first started writing we finished our first manuscript, then set out to find an agent. We were excited, until the dreaded query letter came along.

Matthew: We were part of several writing groups, forums and critique clubs. It seemed everyone had the “right” way to do a query letter. However, none of the “right” ways agreed. Felt like religion or politics…

Danielle: (laughs) Don’t encourage him. It was rather painful. We wrote and re-wrote the query what… ten times…?

Matthew: Closer to thirty, I think!

Danielle: We only got form rejections, so we trunked the novel. Gave up…until we discovered e-publishing… That first novel still rests in the back of the hard drive, but we are now learning everything we can about editing, writing and being our best.

Matthew: Most days I would be happy to never admit that first manuscript even exists. The grind really made me hate that book. (laughs)

Danielle: After so many changes…yeah… It’s toast. Honestly, I prefer the freedom to write the stories I want to, not the ones that agents think they can sell.

Matthew: I do think that e-books will revolutionize writing in much the same way that Youtube revolutionized indie film-making. I have really enjoyed the exposure to artists I would have never had an opportunity to discover on my own.

Danielle: It isn’t about selling; it’s about reaching readers. We have amazing stories to tell. I don’t want an agent to tell me they “love the idea, but don’t think they can sell it.”

Matthew: Also I wanted to say it seems fitting that our “coming out” interview is on Betty Dravis’s blog.

Danielle: She inspired us to be our best. She put us in our place, but did so in a kind manner and helped us get better.

Matthew: When she told us how horrid our writing was, she took the time to explain why and get us the writing guides to fix it.

Danielle: Matthew! No, you are right… (laughs) It was horrid, but those are your words, not Betty’s.

Matthew and Danielle: Couldn’t have done it without you, Betty!

Special Note from Betty Dravis: Since Matt and Danielle wrote the above, they have shelved their former books until they can have them properly edited, but something magnificent came out of this delay: They had been reading about terminally ill children and came up with the idea to write books for each individual child, making them the heroes of their very own picture book. They named their group Kourageous Kids and have already written several books that they’ve presented to some of the kids whose parents contacted them…or vice versa.

Needless to say, Matt and Danielle’s project has already blessed a number of children and their families. I’m so proud of them and encourage all our readers to check their websites and perhaps join their efforts. And please send them the names of ill children you think would like their very own book. Following is the Kourageous Kids Storybooks Mission statement:

Our goal is to bring hope, joy and laughter to children fighting cancer and other terminal illnesses. We write picture books for children and their siblings depicting them as the heroes and heroines they really are. Whether they are braving the pouring rain, or being part of a heroic Search and Rescue team, or learning sign language to befriend a lonely girl, our stories carry messages of strength, love, compassion and courage. To personalize the messages, the main characters’ names are those of the children who are living with and fighting their diseases. Included in the short stories are these brave youngsters’ favorite foods, their dreams and their aspirations. We want to give the children an opportunity to live through the stories we create for them.

Matt and Danielle are also gifted book-cover designers, graphic artists and illustrators. Check out both their websites.

http://www.wix.com/kourageouskids/storybooks

http://www.covercreations.blogspot.com

Tess Thompson Hardwick’s ‘Riversong’ No. One at Barnes & Noble

 As a writer, the rising popularity of e-books has helped me tremendously. Last October my debut novel, Riversong, rose to the #1 spot on the Nook Book bestseller list. As an unknown author, without the popularity of e-books, I would never have had the opportunity to have such success.

As a reader, ironically, although I own a Kindle and love it, I still find many books at the library.  As a mother of two on a strict budget, I love the library; I still feel like an awestruck child when I enter a library and realize I can take any book home I want. When I was young and single and making more money, I used to buy a lot of books, feeling that it was important to support writers however I could. Now, similarly, I love my Kindle because I can find all my favorite indie authors and read their novels, which are almost always less expensive than a latte.

Bio: Tess Hardwick is a novelist and mother. She lives in western Washington with her husband, two young daughters and their puppy, Patches. She writes a blog called, Inspiration For Ordinary Life at and is currently working on her second novel.

http://www.tesshardwick.com

http://www.booktrope.com

Author Melanie Saxton: ‘It’s a Smorgasbord Out There’

What isn’t there to love about e-books and the wonderful tools we use to read them? After all, the advent of e-books has loosened the stranglehold of traditional publishers, allowing emerging authors across all genres to bloom and e-publish. The number of books available to readers has risen exponentially, almost all at prices we can afford. Without even owning a Kindle or Nook readers can still download books in PDF format right off Smashwords, while iPad owners can simply download free Kindle and Nook apps. Perhaps people are reading more than ever due to this phenomenon . . .and that’s always a good thing!

E-reading devices are near and dear to my heart, especially since they also work with many magazines. As a contributing editor for six publications, you can bet this delights me. We are still in the Wild-West days of e-books and e-publishing and the only downside is the minor risk involved in buying an e-book that hasn’t been properly edited. But then again, I’ve read hardbacks that could use some help in that department. The point is that works we’d never, ever otherwise read are now available without the blessing of the brick and mortar publishing houses. We can choose our books all by ourselves, and it’s a smorgasbord out there!

Link to Melanie’s interview of former First Lady Barbara Bush:

http://houstonlifestyles.com/?p=4302

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1700954844

Author Joe Perrone’s E-books Earning Big Bucks;

E-reader Saving His Eyesight

When I published my first novel, Escaping Innocence (A Story of Awakening) I’d never even heard of e-books.  It wasn’t until my son-in-law, Brad, told me about them that I decided to investigate them, which I did—extensively!

Now, nearly four years later, I have published a total of five books, and all of them are available as e-books—in both Kindle versions and multiple other formats through Smashwords.com.

Thanks to e-books, my life will never be the same.  I am earning in excess of $25,000 a year in royalties, more than 80% of that coming from—guess where?—yep, e-books!  Just last weekend, I elected to offer Escaping Innocence and my latest Matt Davis Mystery, Twice Bitten, as free downloads through the Kindle Select Program.  In two days, readers downloaded 2,132 free copies of the books.

As for reading, I am so grateful to have my Kindle.  I have had two detached retinas, which left me with some minor double vision.  Thanks to my Kindle, I am able to read for hours on end by utilizing the font size option.

So, my answer is that e-books and the associated reading devices have changed my life forever—and for the better!

Joe’s Website

Joe’s Author Central Page

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,894 other followers

Beloved Woman by CC Tillery

Appalachian Journey Book 4

Beloved Woman by CC Tillery

The Search for Bobby McGee by Betty Dravis

The Search for Bobby McGee by Betty Dravis

The Search for Bobby McGee by Betty Dravis

Obsolete by CT French

Obsolete by CT French (Christy Tillery French)

Obsolete by CT French

One Shot too Many by Maggie Bishop

One Shot too Many by Maggie Bishop, mystery

One Shot too Manyby Maggie Bishop, mystery

Interior Designs, by Laurel-Rain Snow

Front Cover-resized-small
%d bloggers like this: