Monthly Archives: October 2016

Interview with Emre Gurgen, author of Don Quixote Explained

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Inside the Book:

Don Quixote Explained
Title: Don Quixote Explained
Author: Emre Gurgen
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Genre: Literary Criticism
Format: Ebook/Paperback


Don Quixote Explained focuses on seven topics: how Sancho Panza refines into a good governor through a series of jokes that turn earnest; how Cervantes satirizes religious extremism in Don Quixote by taking aim at the Holy Roman Catholic Church; how Don Quixote and Sancho Panza check-and-balance one another’s excesses by having opposite identities; how Cervantes refines Spanish farm girls by transforming Aldonza Lorenzo into Dulcinea; how outlaws like Roque Guinart and Gines Pasamonte can avoid criminality and why; how Cervantes establishes inter-religional harmony by having a Christian translator, on the one hand, and a Muslim narrator, on the other; and lastly, how Cervantes replaces a medieval view of love and marriage―where a woman is a housekeeper, lust-satisfier, and child begetter―with a modern view of equalitarian marriage typified by a joining of desires and a merger of personalities.


Question 1- How long does it take you to write a book?

At first, when I was learning how to write a book, when I was absorbing the rules of good grammar, proper syntax, and fitting diction, when I was expanding my vocabulary of concepts—by looking up definitions and applying words to different contexts—the writing process was much slower. During my early years, when I was learning how to write, I wrote, and rewrote, sections of my book, over and over again, so it read more smoothly.  But, now that I am a practiced writer, with a large vocabulary of concepts, and an impresssive mastery of grammar, the actual process of writing is much easier.  It flows more smoothly.  Words just pour out. I do not have to rewrite as much, since my base drafts are better to begin with.  And, though, I am a much better and faster writer today because of all my writing practice, still I am not a particularly fast writer, though, I am not a slow and plodding writer either.  My pace, I would say, is average.  But the quality of my writing, at least the writing I take pride in, is exceptional, primarily because I value quality over quantity in all things, especially writing.  Whether I write a book, a short story, a novella, a piece of poetry, or just an e-mail, I try to write it as imaginatively, clearly, and concisely as I can, since effective communication, to me, is the ruling principle of my writing life.  If my readers understand what I am writing about, then I have done my job as a writer. If they do not, then I need to go back to the drawing board, until they do.

Strictly speaking, then, though writing Don Quixote Explained took me four years to complete, I have written other books that took more or less time, depending on their simplicity or complexity, their longevity or shortness.

For me, a brief, easy book can take 6 months to a year to write, while a long involved book can take multiple years to finish.  Personally, what determines how long it takes me to write a book varies, according to the subject matter of the book, the intricacy of the plot, the simplicity, or complexity, of its theme, its’ narrowness or broadness of topic, and, of course, its length. Is it 150 pages?  300 pages?  800 pages?

Also, for me, writing a book is not merely the mechanical act of actual writing, however rewarding this may be. It also entails a great deal of prewriting consisting of: outlining different plots and themes; writing about my characters beforehand; setting up my scenes.

During the prewriting stage, I detail various natural and man-made settings.  I document the goals of my heroes and villains.  I trace the conflict of my characters. I develop dialogue by tapping into my emotional subconscious.  Then, once all of this pre-thinking and pre-writing is done, I combine all this together into a book.  Then I edit, and re-edit.  And so on.  Until the book is polished and publishable.

So, for me, writing a book is no easy job.  Frequently, books take me years to write.  They take a great deal of research, brain storming, and trial and error, to think of a good story before I actually write one.  For me, writing a book is not just the actual process of fixed writing, (which, can be relatively fast once I have my ducks in a row) but it also includes the prewriting, contemplation stage, which, I find, can take as long as writing the book itself.

I am sure, with practice, I will get faster, over time, so that I can compose one book a year, as most publishers want.  But, for now, I would say that writing my books takes me two years, or longer, on average.

Question 2 – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

As someone who proudly embraces the title writer and eccentric, I have a number of quirks that probably seem odd to the non-writing world.

I pay attention to everything:  When I see a stranger with a particular walk, or an interesting look, I take mental notes.  When I overhear a fascinating conversation, or experience something wonderful / terrible / awe-inspiring / terrifying, I hold it in my mind for use in my writing.  When I experience different climate patterns, like white-out snows, driven rain, blustery wind, or water spouts, I try to note these weather conditions, in case I need them for my books.  When I am in a bustling city, a developed town, or a sleepy village, I try to note its characteristics, in case I need to explain it later.  I do all this so I can create a plausible mini-world for my readers that corresponds to the larger real world they know.  In my everyday life, I try to focus on and retain every detail I can, no matter how minute:  Since, to me, it is supporting details, that makes a story believable.

By paying attention to everything − I pack my subconscious with a storehouse of useful information − I store of sights, sounds, smells I may use later − I summon images that I have filed away in my mental database for later use.

Because I am a daydreamer, there are few things I think about more than the worlds and characters that I am writing about.  Therefore, my primary writing quirk is to live in worlds that I create even when I am not writing about them.

Question 3 – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Though, I did not complete my first book until I was 33, currently, I have written two books.  Now, I am conceptualizing a third.

To write my first book, then, I drew from all of my previous writing experiences (i.e. high school essays, college term papers, undergraduate and graduate theses, legal briefs, and various memoranda, as well as e-mails, missives, and notes, I wrote).

Honestly, I wish I had started writing sooner since the longer you write, consistently, on a daily basis, the better you write, explicitly, over time.  In my view, years of early writing practice would have not only enabled me to produce better fiction, right now, in the form of short-stories, novellas, and novels, but also the long established practice of writing everyday, consistently, would have cultivated stronger relationships with people in the publishing world.  In my view, the earlier you begin to write, the more polished an author you become in the long term, since writing, like any cultivated skill, takes practice. The more the better. For this reason, I wish I had started writing poetry, prose, fiction, and non-fiction, from an early age, so that now I could produce creative fiction with ease.  But, I didn’t.  So now I have to work hard to learn the craft.

Actually, what enabled me to write my book(s) was:  my systematic learning of thousands vocabulary words; my voracious reading of many different books (including books on how to write); my methodical study of grammar guides and style manuals; and, most importantly, my systematic practice of writing itself.

The good news is I am still relatively young. So I still have time to improve my writing.  I just have to work hard every day to write a novel that tells a great story, one that others will pay to read.

Question 4 – What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?

Surprisingly, I learned that some of my worst writing could produce something greater, if I ignored all those doubts in my head telling me to remove what I had written.  Instead of cutting out what I had written, entirely, sometimes I attempted to improve upon my drafts by rearranging them.

As a novice writer, one of my greatest challenges was building confidence in myself and overcoming self-doubt of writing something wrong.  In other words, writing a lot of awful prose lead me to realize that nothing is ever perfect at the outset, in the first stage.  That it is possible to transform terrible writing into something good, by changing around paragraphs and sentences, deleting unclear or redundant sections, editing a document for word choice, spelling and grammar, and incorporating outside suggestions.

Question 5 – What do you think makes a good story?

A good story, I think, consists of a timely theme, a tight plot line, believable characters, realistic place settings, and believable conversations that are highly probable.  Good writing also has a central purpose, manifest in goal directed actions that can only be accomplished after overcoming a series of hurdles, devised by a main nemesis, an antagonist that makes a protagonist’s accomplishments improbable, and, therefore, impressive.  That all elements in a plot—from character development to personal descriptions to conflict, setting, and dialogue—must be smoothly integrated in a story’s plot, not randomly placed there, haphazardly, for the heck of it.

Question 6 – What would you like readers to know?

That my book sold at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.  That Gerald G Davis, a recent translator of Don Quixote, endorsed my book. That I lectured on the Renaissance in Don Quixote at the 41 st International Symposium of Hispanic Literature. That I have an 11 page personal author website, replete with:  a book proposal; a CV; a blog; a guest book; an annotated bibliography; a u-tube video of my conference presentation; as well as links to my FB fan page, twitter page, account, and books on Amazon.

Meet the Author:

Emre Gurgen, the author of Don Quixote Explained: The Story of an Unconventional Hero, has a Bachelor’s degree in English from Pennsylvania State University. Currently, he lives in Germantown, Maryland, where he is writing a follow-up Don Quixote essay collection and study guide.

Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 28 – Interviewed at PUYB Virtual Book Club
Wednesday, June 29 – Interviewed at  at I’m Shelf-ish
Thursday, June 30 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure
Monday, July 4 – Interviewed at The Review From Here
Tuesday, July 5 – Guest blogging at My Bookish Pleasure
Wednesday, July 6 – Guest blogging at Voodoo Princess
Thursday, July 7 – Guest blogging at The Literary Nook
Friday, July 8 – Guest blogging at All Inclusive Retort
Monday, July 11 – Guest blogging at A Title Wave
Tuesday, July 12 – Interviewed at The Writer’s Life
Friday, July 15 – Guest blogging at As the Page Turns
Monday, July 18 – Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind
Tuesday, July 19 –  Guest blogging at Write and Take Flight
Wednesday, July 20 – Guest blogging at Harmonious Publicity
Thursday, July 21 – Interviewed  at Bent Over Bookwords
Friday, July 22 – Guest blogging at The Dark Phantom


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Book Feature: Altered Starscape by Ian Douglas


Inside the Book:

Title: Altered Starscape

Author: Ian Douglas

Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Galaxies collide in a thrilling new series from bestselling author Ian Douglas, as the last humans in the universe face off against a new threat 2162.
Thirty-eight years after first contact, Lord Commander Grayson St. Clair leads theTellus Ad Astra on an unprecedented expedition to the Galactic Core, carrying more than a million scientists, diplomats, soldiers, and AIs. Despite his reservations about their alien hosts, St. Clair is deeply committed to his people—especially after they’re sucked into a black hole and spat out four billion years in the future.Civilizations have risen and fallen. The Andromeda Galaxy is drifting into the Milky Way. And Earth is most certainly a distant memory. All that matters now is survival. But as the ship’s Marines search for allies amid ancient ruins and strange new planetary structures, St. Clair must wrap his mind around an enemy capable of harnessing a weapon of incomprehensible power: space itself.


Q: Please tell us about Altered Starscape, and what inspired you to write it.
A: Four billion years from now, the galaxy M31 in Andromeda
will be colliding with our own Milky Way galaxy, in a maelstrom of stars and
(presumably) civilizations. Altered Starscape
takes a million 22nd century humans and drops them in the middle of this
“altered starscape,” where they must explore godlike technologies,
separate the good guys from the bad guys, and make difficult decisions about
how they will govern themselves in this radically post-human future.
Q: Why do you write?
A: How can I not?
Q: How picky are you with language?
A: I’m quite picky about my words. Dialog, in particular,
shapes the characters in the minds of the readers, and characters (as people)
don’t always speak in the complete, grammatically correct sentences that
professional editors prefer.
Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you
were being manipulated from afar?
A: No, I’m wearing my tinfoil hat.
Q: What is your worst time as a writer?
A: When I finish writing a book.
Q: Your best?
A: When I finish writing a book.
Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
A: Death. Really. I will write until I can’t write any more.
Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
A: The first time I hit the New York Times bestseller list.
Q: Is writing an obsession to you?
A: No, it’s more of an addiction.
Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some
A: I have loved science and history from very young age. In
my youth I was a Navy hospital corpsman (Marine medic) and a laboratory
technician, and I employ my Navy experience in all my military writing.
Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on
writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?
A: I prefer to stay well grounded in reality so that my
inherent insanity can show through.
Q: Where is your book available?
A: At any bookstore (if they don’t have it in stock, they
can order it for you), and at your local library.
Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find
out more about you and your work?
A: My website is whkeith dot com. (There’s a page there
which explains why I, William H. Keith, use pen names such as Ian Douglas.)


Meet the Author:

Ian Douglas is one of the pseudonyms for William H. Keith, New York Times bestselling author of the popular military science fiction series The Heritage Trilogy, The Legacy Trilogy, The Inheritance Trilogy, Star Corpsman, and Star Carrier. A former naval corpsman, he lives in Pennsylvania.


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Book Blast: Spaces Between Notes by Kristina M. Sanchez

Inside the Book

Title: Spaces Between Notes
Author: Kristina M. Sanchez
Publisher: Amazon
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Nikolai Amorosa is one of those men’s men. You know the type—allergic to feelings, couldn’t have a heartfelt discussion if he tried, which he never did. Then, he lost his voice, and any chance of communication went out the window.

Unable to speak or otherwise interact with anyone, Niko’s anger was off the charts. It could’ve been worse; he could’ve been in jail. Instead, he found himself doing construction on Carys Harper’s house. Carys talked—a lot—both with her voice and her hands. She was also at the beck and call of her deaf little brother, Benny, which drove Niko nine kinds of crazy. Not that he would’ve said anything, even if he could.

Something else that drove him crazy? Carys was stubborn. She wouldn’t let him wallow. More than that, she seemed to hear all the things he couldn’t say. She understood him like she understood music. She heard what existed in the spaces between notes. She knew that sometimes silence screams the loudest.



Meet the Author

Kristina Sanchez is a lifelong insomniac whose creative career began when she used to make up stories about Bugs Bunny in her head while the rest of the house slept. She’s a Southern California native who can frequently be found at Disneyland because it’s easier to park there than go to the beach, sadly. Although writing is her first passion and only love, she finds fulfillment working in social services with the county of Orange. Currently, Kristina is the mother of a grumpy old man-cat named Mutt and a strange flight risk named Sirus Blackcat, who is, indeed, a black cat.You can find Kristina easily enough on most social media platforms, where she will share her viewpoint on all the taboo subjects: religion, politics, and Supernatural, with the odd cat video thrown in for flavor. Prolific. Opinionated. Nerdy as all get out. Have fun, because you can bet she will.





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Book Feature: Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes


Inside the Book:

Title: Of the Abyss

Author: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Release Date: September 27, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Genre: Dark Fantasy/Horror
Format: Ebook
After decades of strife, peace has finally been achieved in Kavet—but at a dark cost.  Sorcery is outlawed, and anyone convicted of consorting with the beings of the other realms—the Abyssi and the Numini—is put to death. The only people who can even discuss such topics legally are the scholars of the Order of the Napthol, who give counsel when questions regarding the supernatural planes arise.Hansa Viridian, a captain in the elite guard unit tasked with protecting Kavet from sorcery, has always led a respectable life. But when he is implicated in a sorcerer’s crimes, the only way to avoid execution is to turn to the Abyss for help—specifically, to a half-Abyssi man he’s sworn he hates, but whose physical attraction he cannot deny.Hansa is only the first victim in a plot that eventually drags him, a sorcerer named Xaz, and a Sister of the Napthol named Cadmia into the depths of the Abyss, where their only hope of escape is to complete an infernal task that might cost them their lives.


Meet the Author:

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is the author of seventeen young adult novels and three short stories.  In addition to writing, she has a full-time job teaching high school special education English, and is the mother of a brilliant baby girl named Becks.
Yes, it is possible her daughter’s nickname came from a favorite zombie trilogy (Newsflesh, by Mira Grant).  That there probably tells you more about Amelia than anything else I have to say.
Amelia started publishing novels when she was a freshman in high school.  As she tells her students, she knows every excuse to get out of doing homework because she got away with them all.  These days she works a bit harder to balance her responsibilities, which means she is sometimes a terrible web-mistress, but she still loves to write.
The Atwater-Rhodes household also includes two cats, Chivas and Morgan, and some goldfish in an aquaponics system set up for book research and maintained for yummy indoor home-grown food.
If you want to chat with Amelia, you can reach her through Facebook or Twitter.  She maintains her social media and website herself, which means she’s currently writing in third person and isn’t that kind of odd?What can I say – I’m an odd duck.

Website | Twitter



Tour Schedule

Monday, October 3 – Book featured at A Title Wave
Tuesday, October 4 – Book featured at Write and Take Flight

Wednesday, October 5 – Book featured at Literal Exposure

Thursday, October 6 –  Book featured at The Dark Phantom
Friday, October 7 – Book featured at The Literary Nook
Monday, October 10 – Book featured at Don’t Judge, Read
Tuesday, October 11 – Book featured at CBY Book Club
Wednesday, October 12 – Book featured at Bound 2 Escape
Thursday, October 13 – Book featured at Perfect at Midnight

Friday, October 14 – Book featured at The Bookworm Lodge

Monday, October 17 – Interviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt

Tuesday, October 18 – Book featured at I’m Shelf-ish

Wednesday, October 19 – Book featured at The Review From Here

Thursday, October 20 – Book featured at From Paperback to Leatherbound

Friday, October 21 – Book featured at Voodoo Princess

Monday, October 24 – Book featured at The Hype and the Hoopla

Tuesday, October 25 – Book featured at As the Page Turns

Wednesday, October 26 – Book featured at Bent Over Bookwords
Thursday, October 27 – Book featured at Harmonious Publicity
Friday, October 28 – Book featured at My Bookish Pleasures

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Cover Reveal: Guarded by the Warrior by Eliza Knight


Inside the Book:

Title: Guarded by the Warrior

Author: Eliza Knight

Release Date: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Knight Media LLC
Genre: Historical Romance
Format: Ebook
A lady in need of protection…Suffering through a short marriage to an enemy of Scotland, Lady Emilia MacCulloch manages to escape just before her husband dies. But the Ross clan will stop at nothing to get her back, for she plays a big part in their plans to thwart Robert the Bruce. She fears for her own family being labeled traitors and for her life. Placed by her king as a governess in the household of a devastatingly handsome warrior, Emilia finds herself drawn to the man, when she had previously sworn off love all together. His passion, charisma, loyalty and strength shake the very foundation she’s built around her heart.

A warrior in need of saving…

Ian Matheson has spent his entire life trying to prove himself. To belong. When his father passes away and his mother takes her vows at a nearby abbey, he is suddenly left in a position he was wholly unprepared for. And then his father’s dozen illegitimate children arrive on his doorstep in need of a father figure of their own. They are adorable and reckless, and he’s certain they’ll drive him mad. Just when he thinks he might actually need to find a wife to help him, Lady Emilia is presented to him by the king. She needs his protection, and he needs her help with the bairns. Ian is tempted by her angelic face, her fiery tongue, and the secrets that surround her. He must resist the growing desire that’s laying claim within him. He must prove to his clan that he is a worthy leader. But maybe, just maybe, he can have the respect of his people, and Emilia, too.


Meet the Author:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a princess…

Growing up, I was a proficient story teller, with most of my plots encompassing princesses and princes and dreams coming true. Now as an author, some of my stories are still about royalty, knights, duels, ladies, intrigue, betrayal. History fascinates me and I try to bring history back to life in each of my stories.

My favorite time periods are medieval, renaissance and Regency eras of Europe. Growing up, I was lucky to have grandparents who lived in Paris, so many a summer was spent exploring medieval ruins and historical sites.

One of my all time favorite books is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, and I am of course Jane Austen fan, my two favorites being Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I love the in-depth, emotionally riveting and intriguing works of historical author, Ken Follett. I am also a fan of Shakespeare, and you will find in a lot of my writing reference to the literary God and his work. Not only Shakespeare, but other period poets and literary notables of history are on my keeper shelf. My love affair with the romance genre started young. I picked up my first romance novel, The Bride, by Julie Garwood when I was in high school, and I haven’t been able to stop reading or writing romance since.

When I’m not reading or writing I am usually doing research for fun. If you love history, come visit me at History Undressed, where we discuss all the wildly fascinating and titillating facts of history! Recently I’ve started to post reviews of historical fiction and romance novels as well.
You can visit her website at

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