Guest Post with author Jeannie Zokan

In today’s guest post (I know it’s not Friday, shut up), I discovered a kindred spirit in Jeannie and her little black book of, well, books.

books

In the summer of 2004, I started keeping track of each book I read in a little notebook. I considered making an entry about the books, but decided to keep it simple and just note the title and author. If it turned into work, I wouldn’t do it. Now, this 3-inch notebook, stored in my bedside table, has become an interesting book in its own right.

For one thing, I’m amazed at how many self-help books I go through. And how many titles I immediately remember, like names of close friends. They evoke a vivid image of where I was when I read a certain passage or the conversation I had about it for book club. There were, however, some titles that didn’t leave an impression on me. What was Three Junes about again?

The eclectic nature of the list in my notebook surprises me. I make no sense, and maybe that’s why there are so many self-help books. But how can I consider Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible as one of my favorites books when I’ve read everything scifi writer Douglas Adams wrote? I can see the links to Dave Barry and Bill Bryson, but how to explain The Fault In Our Stars by John Green? Or Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? Or Sophie Kinsella’s Confessions of a Shopaholic?

Of course, that’s the beauty of reading . The next book that finds its way onto my list doesn’t have to fit into a category. The heart wants what it wants, and I just enjoy the delicious journey a good book always provides.

And since I know you’re curious, a few of the self-help books on the list are How to Think Like Einstein, Style on a Shoestring, and The Top Ten Things Dead People Want to Tell You.

Happy Reading!

 

Jeannie Zokan’s debut novel, The Existence of Pity, was released in October 2016 by Red Adept Publishing.

You can follow her on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authorJeannieZokan/

on twitter:   https://twitter.com/JoZokan

Her blog: www.jeanniezokan.blogspot.com

And her webpage: www.jeanniezokan.com

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An Interview with ‘In The Bones’ author Renee Miller

I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded, in the interwebz sense of the word, by some pretty awesome writer types. There are a few that stand out as GREAT people and GREAT writers.

Renee Miller is one of them. She recently published her novel, In The Bones, which is a snarky, keeps-you-turning-pages-like-they’re-coated-in-crack, thriller with evil bastards you love to hate and a moose. A FUCKIN’ MOOSE.

I’d say she was nice enough to take the time to answer a few questions for my little bloggy-blog here, but the truth of the matter is, I didn’t give her a choice.

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What’s so great about In the Bones? What makes it different?

Wow, just put me out there, like we’re not friends and shit. Jeesh. Let’s see, what makes In the Bones different? I tried to combine suspense, humor and the raw appeal of the redneck. Also, there’s Larry, the moose. No one else has Larry and I think that’s a huge deal.

– If you could have coffee (or whiskey, your choice) with any of the characters you’ve written, who would it be? What would you talk about?

You’re making me choose?! Let’s see, my first choice Jackson Murphy. I think he and I would have a fantastic time and I can’t discuss what we’d talk about. I’d have to kill you. I do have a backup, just in case Jack flakes on me character that I’d have whiskey (and later coffee) with, and that’s Thomas from Dirty Truths. He’s got some skills I could really use. What skills? I’d have to kill you if I told you.

– “Self-published” to some is like a stamp guaranteeing shit between the covers. Why did you choose to walk this particular path, knowing the stigma that accompanies it?

Oh God, I really resisted self-publishing. I’m still resisting it inside. The thing is, getting an agent or publisher in today’s industry when you’re a newb (even if you’ve been writing for years) is such a long shot. I’d probably have better luck winning the lottery. (I don’t even play, so you see how unlikely that contract is.) I read a few blogs and articles about how new authors should navigate this weird and always changing industry, and there were publishers and agents actually recommending that authors try self-publishing to build their reader base. Then they all started offering self-publishing services and I had to re-evaluate my plan.

I see the sense in what they’re suggesting, but the key is to do it the same way you would with one of the Big 6: Professionally. Editing, marketing and cover design; all of it needs to be done as professionally as your wallet and resources will allow. If you can’t afford professional results with any one of these, then you should save your pennies until you can. If we are ever going to shake off this “self-published equals crap” stigma, it’s really important that we stop behaving like amateurs.

Did I do this with In the Bones? I think so. I’m sure there’s room for improvement, but I know I have a better book than many other on the Indie shelves. Is that cocky? Yeah? Fuck it.

– What is one thing you encountered with the self-publishing process that you weren’t expecting?

I had this impression that the self-publishing industry (meaning the authors in it) was this cut-throat, back-stabbing bunch of bastards that bitched, whined and ranted all the time about how it sucked that they were so great and yet got nothing in return. It’s not like that at all. This is a supportive, generous and encouraging bunch of people. There are those that fit my previous stereotype, but they’re few and the rest pretty much ignore them. I really wasn’t expecting to find this amazing bunch of people who made me feel welcome from the minute I crossed into their world.

– All writers have bad habits. I, for one, have 3 or 4 favorite phrases that appear in 75% of everything I’ve ever written. They were genius the first time. Now, well, yeah. So, what’s yours?

I have no bad habits. Well, there’s the swearing. But I think that could be called “color.” Okay, fine. I have favorite phrases too. Also, I end up having to remove at least 100 gazes out of every manuscript. I have this thing with gazing I guess. Oh! I never write setting into the first draft. I intend to do so every time, but when I go back to rewrite, it’s just a bunch of characters walking around in front of a green screen.

– Have a routine or rules that you follow as part of a writing regimen? Do tell.

A routine? Not really. Honestly, I don’t have a strict routine. I do try to write something every day. Considering my job is writing, that’s not too difficult to achieve. One rule I try to follow is to never show anyone the very first draft of anything. I did that once or twice. It’s a terrible thing to do to someone.

– What’s next?

After In the Bones, or after this interview? After In the Bones, I plan to publish the Legend of Jackson Murphy. I suspect fame and fortune won’t follow soon after, so I’ve got a couple of other manuscripts in the polishing phases to go after Jack. Probably False Prophet, which is suspense dressed in apocalyptic thriller. Dirty Truths might come next, or possibly Blind. I’ve had enough time to write a pretty solid stash of books. Sometime next year, I want to publish paranormal fiction as well, but that will be published under my alter-ego so no one gets confused. I mean, it’s not like me to piss people off and confused people are usually pretty angry.

After this interview, I’m going to bed. Because I need my beauty sleep.

– Boxers or briefs?

Briefs are skeevy, but boxers leave your junk bouncing around. Kinda gross. I like the boxer briefs. Not too loose, and not too creepy. But they have to fit. Don’t buy that shit too big.

Now go pick up the book. Now. NOW I SAY!