Monthly Archives: March 2016

Interview with Novelist G.G. Collins (Reluctant Medium)

My thanks to Matthew Toffolo and WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival for the interview.

Novel Writing Festival

Having walked several beats, G G Collins has racked up a lot of column inches, a few awards and a fellowship. An avid reader since childhood, she started her reading career with Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle. From there, Stephen King was a small leap. The day she discovered the Hopi ceremony to call back the dead, she just had to ask: “What would happen if the wrong spirit returned?” Read it for yourself.

Books:

http://amzn.to/1t2z6Eu     Reluctant Medium

http://amzn.to/1PuwQix    Lemurian Medium

http://amzn.to/1RpatNv    Atomic Medium

http://amzn.to/1T8JYAD   Murder, USA: A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation (anthology)

Blogs:

https://reluctantmediumatlarge.wordpress.com/

https://paralleluniverseatlarge.wordpress.com/

 ggcollinsInterview with G.G. Collins: 

Matthew Toffolo: What is the general theme and tone of your novels?

G.G. Collins: Weird with a twist. That twist would be humor and horror together. Rachel Blackstone is a reporter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She lives in…

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Interview: Kristen Elise, PhD, Writer, Editor & Now Publisher

Cancer Fighter by Day; Murder Mistress by Night

Interviewed by G G Collins     (Copyright 2016)

Kristen had an idea: Invite crime fiction writers from all over the U.S. to take part in an anthology. Big undertaking—and perhaps a bit bigger than she expected. It’s not like she doesn’t have enough to do; important day job, writing books, two websites and her family. But she gently herded 31 writers from every region, slaved over uncooperative technology and voilà, Murder, USA: A Crime Fiction Tour of the Nation is a reality. Here’s how she did it.

  1. What possessed you to put together the mystery anthology Murder, U.S.A.?

Book Murder USA FinalI got the idea for Murder, U.S.A. from a few anthologies that I have seen recently. Typically, anthologies are short story collections, and they do a great job of offering a sampling of the work from multiple authors to readers. However, I’m not a short story writer. Never have been, and doubt I ever will be. So it got me to thinking: what if, instead of a short story collection, we created an anthology of sorts that is just snippets from the novels of novelists? It might be a great way to offer that same sampling of work without asking novelists to come up with short stories to tell. And it might be more representative of what those authors really write.

  1. Tell us something about yourself. Was there anything in your experience that prepared you for this undertaking? Also mention Murder Lab. It’s a terrific website.

Thank you for the compliment! Hmmm… well, I’m a “drug hunter” by day. I work for a biotech company, and my job is to look for molecules that will eventually become cancer medicines. It was in this work that I got the idea for The Death Row Complex, which is featured in Murder, U.S.A. Murder Lab is a website (http://www.murderlab.com/) that I put together a few years ago with the goal of uniting authors, readers, and basically anyone with an interest in crime fiction. You can see my experience from my day job in the website as both are basically a series of “experiments” — except that in my day job, I’m running experiments to identify the right molecules, whereas on Murder Lab, I and the Murder Lab community are constantly experimenting in what makes good crime fiction, how to sell crime fiction, and other such questions. Murder, U.S.A. was another experiment, by the way!

  1.  How did you reach out to other writers to participate?

I posted the idea on Murder Lab, reached out to my mailing list, and reached out via Facebook, Twitter, and whatever social networks I’m a part of. There was quite an amazing response! I’m so pleased with the finished product because it’s exactly what I had in mind—a very diverse collection from a wonderful group of authors. There is something in there for everyone. If you like to read mysteries, thrillers, or suspense novels of any breed, please download your free copy! http://amzn.to/1TBcjir  (Also available wherever eBooks are sold.)

  1.  What are some of the issues you experienced in compiling the excerpts and publishing the book?

    Author Kristen Elise, PhD

    Author Kristen Elise, PhD

Haha! Well, I’m not gonna lie—it was much more work than I thought it would be. I had pictured that since the excerpts were all from published works, there would be no editing and it would just be a matter of putting them together and publishing. Not so much. There were actually a lot of technical difficulties I had to overcome, mostly based on the fact that everyone’s excerpts came in a different format, and I’m not skilled enough with software to just make them all magically become uniform. There were also some publishing difficulties since this was the first work I ever offered perma-free. And the first anthology with multiple authors. And the first book that was filled with links throughout the text. Etc. etc. etc. Having said that, it was a labor of love and I’m SO glad I did it! And the authors are all super cool, and I made a lot of new friends. So… worth every minute of effort.

  1.  Why is the book always free?

I wanted this book to be perma-free across all channels so that it can be available to anyone. The real goal of Murder, U.S.A. was never to sell it as an entity of its own, but rather, to expose the authors and their works to as many readers as possible. It’s a marketing tool, not a product in and of itself. It is my hope that the authors will help to get the book out there, and that readers will buy the books they like based on the excerpts. It is for this reason that there are easy buy links for every book featured in Murder, U.S.A., right there at the end of the excerpt.

  1.  Explain how the book cover came to be. Why did you choose Damon Freeman’s cover company Damonza.com?

I have now used Damonza for four books—both of my full-length novels, Murder, U.S.A., and a fourth book I’m doing as a fee-for-service for another author. I keep going back to them because they do excellent work for a reasonable price and they are highly professional. For this cover, we asked them to come up with a few concepts, which they did, and then I basically took a vote among the authors in the anthology. The cover with the most votes won. Simple as that.

  1.  What would you want readers to know?

Blog Murder Lab ButtonI’d like readers to know that if they sign up on my Murder Lab mailing list (just click the icon in the upper left corner of the page), I’ll send them a free copy of a spreadsheet I put together which a lot of authors are finding very useful. In short, I once spent a giant sum of money on just about every paid advertising site I could find, and then I kept track of which sites really led to sales and which didn’t. Readers can just click that link for further details. I’d also like readers to know about my personal author site, www.kristenelisephd.com. This site is a bit different from Murder Lab in that while Murder Lab is geared toward readers and authors of all crime fiction, my author site is dedicated to topics featured in my own novels—which, by the way, are historical and medical mysteries and thrillers. AND, last, I’d like your readers to know that if they sign up on THAT website’s mailing list, which is separate from Murder Lab since they have different focuses, I will send them a free copy of The Vesuvius Isotope.

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Book Review: “Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure” by Shirley MacLaine

Not What We’ve Come to Expect

By G G Collins          (Copyright 2016)

Book Above the LineIf you’re expecting a real spiritual journey like MacLaine’s exceptional books Out on a Limb or The Camino; Above the Line: My Wild Oats Adventure will be a disappointment. But if you’re interested in the behind the scenes on a film set, it might be appealing. Sadly, the back-biting, broken promises and how special actors are wasn’t what I was interested in.

I bought it with the promise of insight into Atlantis and an exploration of the Canary Islands. Neither really happened. In fairness, MacLaine is in her 80s and probably isn’t the fearless explorer she once was. No shame in that. We’re all lucky if we make it to the Third Age. Had this book been represented honestly by the publisher as a memoir from a movie set—I would have passed.

What I really wanted was more connection to Atlantis on the Canary Islands. Some believe that Atlantis existed where the Greek island of Santorini is now, so perhaps it was just the wrong location for the wisdom I was looking for.

If only the last portion about her injury and subsequent treatment had been left out: Thud! What did it have to do with the movie shoot? It’s a whole other story. And memories of life on Atlantis are suddenly pouring forth? I would have enjoyed reading these intermixed with revelations on the Canary Islands.

MacLaine has a lot to offer and I hope her next book is more astute and less aggrandizing.

Atria Books, 2016

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