MEET RICK JOHNSON

My guest today is one of the very first I met on Facebook and he has been one of my most supportive friends. We have the same sense of humour and all Rick’s books are funny and off the wall. He’s written a wide range of quirky novels, including talking dogs who operate in gangs, the topsy-turvy world of black plantation owners employing white slaves, to a man who loves his vacuum cleaner. You never know quite what to expect when you open one of Rick’s books.

ricks dog

Instead of a photo of the author, here is the Dog – his owner is very shy. Over to you:

I decided to enter the world of writing a few years ago because I knew I couldn’t spend all of my time eating banana Moon Pies and waiting for Sandra Bullock to wake up one day and deciding that she was head over heels in love with me. Little did I know at the time that some days in the writing world can be as confusing as a vegetarian trying to find a bite of supper at an all meat barbeque.

rick pic 1

Luckily, I had the support of friends as I decided to venture into this world. When I told a few that I was going to write a book and title it Trailer Trash the emotional outpouring support I received was overwhelming. One friend informed me that perhaps just possibly I might make it all the way up to chapter two. Another friend mentioned that I couldn’t name a book Trailer Trash because it sounded too much like a stereotype. I kept asking my dog what he thought, but he never would say anything one way or the other. Despite the misgivings of my supportive friends, I decided to go ahead and write the book. 107 chapters and 108,000 words later, I typed The End. My dog never really said much about my achievement on that day, but he did give me a high five. In the end, I think a fairly entertaining story popped out of my head.

rick pic 2

After all the effort and time invested in the first book, I decided to write a second book, mainly for my entertainment. I decided to title it Love in the Box because the story revolved around the antics of employees who work at a fuel center. I was told by some friends who grudgingly admitted that they liked Trailer Trash that I couldn’t publish Love in the Box because the idea of a white transvestite with a black girlfriend would offend someone. Doing what I do best, which is doing the opposite of what people tell me to do, I published it. A few people finally admitted that they got some chuckles out of the book.

A DOGs BEST GOOBER MASTER COPY

By this time, my dog was taking some interest in the writing world, and one afternoon over burgers and milkshakes he suggested that we write a book together. Basically, the book was about some of our adventures, and all the posts the dog kept posting on Facebook. I let him decide the title of our book, and he came up with A Dog’s Best Goober.

By now, my creative juices were flowing, and Sandra Bullock still hadn’t discovered that she was head over heels in love with me, so I came up with an idea for another book. When I pitched the idea to my dog, he just rolled his eyes and walked away.

ric pic 4

Living in the southern part of the United States this idea almost caused a riot when I informed some people what I was going to write. I was told that I absolutely could not write this book and have it published. One person even asked if I was trying to get killed. No, not really. I wanted to write a story based on the time period of the United States Civil War. However, I wanted to turn history upside down, inside out, and every which way but loose. I wrote the book based on that time period, but the plantation owners were blacks whose ancestors emigrated from Africa to settle a new country and the slaves just happened to be white. It seems some people were uncomfortable with the idea of unpigmented slaves picking cotton out in the fields while singing gospel and rap music. I never could see what the big deal was all about because I knew that I was going to free those white cotton pickers at the end of the book, and Heirloom Plantation was born.

rick pic 5

I wasn’t ready to give up this writing thing just yet, and when I told my dog about the next book, I was planning he got so excited that he started doing back flips in the backyard and throwing banana Moon Pies at the neighbors. I wanted to write a book where all the main characters were dogs, so The Ruffians was born. It was fun to develop Butch, Empty, Jim, Dandy, and Mixer into the local neighborhood watch group. Though the humor might have been crude at times I’m really proud of it. It most definitely isn’t a child’s book. The dog would be reading over my shoulder as I typed, and in parts he would go absolutely nuts!

ric pic 6

Next came my first co-authored book with Natalie Alder. I really don’t think she knew what she was doing when she suggested we write a series. The first book, The Vacuum Chronicles, basically is about a lonely accountant who lost his virginity to a vacuum cleaner. That’s probably enough said about that. We’re currently writing our second book The Ice Cream Man Chronicles.

Currently, The Being is in the capable hands of my editor, and I’m working on The Angelic Rabble-Rousers which is turning out to be a whole lot of fun to write. I’m also still eating banana Moon Pies and waiting on Sandra Bullock to fall in love with me.

In the end, don’t let anyone dissuade you from your dreams. You can do whatever you set your mind on. It’s your dreams and your destiny. Walk that path you envision, dream big, and reach for the stars!

P.S. I’ll let you know if Sandra Bullock ever falls in love with me.

Thank you for being my guest Rick and if Sandra Bullock phones I’ll send her right over.

You can find all Rick’s books here:

https://www.amazon.com/Rick-Johnson/e/B00L0J5E10/

 

CABLE CARS AND COVERS

THE BIG TRIP ALMOST OVER

On our first full day in Singapore we did our usual hop-on-hop-off bus tour to see as much as we could and pinpoint what we’d visit later. Apparently according to the diary I was on painkillers to keep me going, but such is my mind these days I can’t remember which part of me hurt, or why.

On our walkabout, we noticed this building – not used as a church these days for sure!

I love stained glass windows. This gives you some history.

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And a couple of pictures of the cable car ride but more about that next week.

HISTORY

Now I think I mentioned that Bertie (Edward VII) was a bit of a lad as they used to say, and even though he settled down it didn’t stop him from having his lady friends and his last great mistress was Mrs Keppel.

Mrs kepple

He would visit her in the late afternoon, usually after opening a supermarket or cutting the ribbon on a new nuclear power plant and she played such an important part in his life that when he was dying the Queen asked Mrs. Keppel to visit him on his deathbed, and hold his hand. Now wouldn’t most men like an understanding wife like that?

 

COVER REVEAL

One thing I like about my blog is the interaction with readers. The newsletter goes out and that’s pretty much the last I hear of it (oh, I mustn’t forget the sign up link or I’ll never get up there with the others who have thousands on their lists – I’m still at the very bottom – sigh – http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf ) . Here on my blog I love reading and answering your comments and I do want your advice. What do you think of the cover below? Would it entice you to buy the book and what would expect the story to be about? I’d love and value your feedback as I’m hopeless at this bit of the book manufacturing process.

Amie 4 full cover v2

Till next week, take care.

MEET CEECEE JAMES

CeeCee was one of the first people I ever met through social media and the accounts of her early life are quite harrowing – she had a really hard time. I can relate to that, but her story makes you want to cry. After writing two books, on her childhood she has now broadened out into the ‘cozy mystery’ genre and doing really well.  I am so thrilled that her life changed around and she is not only successful, but enjoying her writing and well-deserved success. This is what CeeCee sent me.

I’m one of those weird people who’ve always wanted to be a writer. When I was in elementary school, I’d beg the teacher to let me read the stories that I’d written to my classmates in place of the classics she liked to soothe us with after we ran in sweaty and energized from recess. I’ll never know if the students preferred my stories to Robinson Crusoe, as I was so caught up in sharing my world of a soldier returning from war. But the students were silent and the teacher was pleased, and so I had many chances.

As I grew older, I filled notebook after notebook with vignettes and poems. In junior high, I once submitted a few poems to a contest that our local newspaper held. Imagine my surprise when, a week later, my friend thrust the newspaper into my hands on the school bus and I saw my poems won first, second and third place.

CeeCee pic

Life wasn’t easy growing up, as it isn’t for many of us. Through foster care and many moves, my notebooks became a safer world, one where I could both spread my wings, and have roots with a pretend family.  Sadly, it was during one of those moves where I lost my notebooks.

 

 

Cee books

But I never lost the stories. As an adult, the first book I published was my memoir, Ghost No More—my personal story of beauty culled from the ashes of my childhood. It was always my hope that I could validate my readers in their stories of what they’ve overcome, as well as encourage anyone who needed to hear that there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Ghost no more is a #1 best seller

The rest of my childhood imaginary worlds trickled out in several of my fiction series. Now I’ve settled down in my favorite genre, cozy mystery. And I’m incredibly thankful I still get to make up stories to entertain anyone who wants to listen.

Thank you CeeCee, a very brave and talented lady.

SINGAPORE 2 AND THE STUFF UP REVEALED

Now many people may not know much about Singapore except that’s it’s over that way somewhere, but most of us have heard of Raffles.  This is THE famous hotel and is renowned for its long bar where they serve a drink called the Singapore Sling.

I was amazed by the building and took masses of photos. I suspect it’s also well known for its high prices too. The cost of a room was astronomical!

I so wanted to visit the Writer’s Bar hoping to soak up some energy or maybe have a quiet word, one writer to another, but they were not encouraging the passing trade into the hotel itself. We had to be content in walking around the outside.

However, we were welcomed into the Long Bar and so we had to have a Singapore Sling (don’t ask how much it cost, though we did fork out for one each, it was not the sort of place where you asked for 2 straws).

IMG_0380

HISTORICAL END OF EDWARD VII

Edward lead a very healthy lifestyle. He usually smoked 20 cigarettes and 12 cigars a day. Towards the end of his life he increasingly suffered from bronchitis. In March 1910 he collapsed while on holiday in Biarritz, and back in London he suffered several heart attacks but refused to go to bed saying “No, I shall not give in; I shall go on; I shall work to the end.”

Despite the dishes piling up in the sink, and a week’s ironing waiting to be done, sadly he was not well enough to do his usual chores.

THE STUFF UP

I promised didn’t I? I was trying to think out of the box – way out, be different. So, I hit on the idea of Amie – my main character – suing me for cruelty, transporting her to Africa, throwing her in jail etc. At first I had a few emails saying how clever, and I mentioned it on a live radio interview but the presenter paused and immediately changed the subject. The ongoing story was in the newsletter with exchange of legal letters and so on.

NEW SERIES COVERS 2

Then, I began to get supportive letters urging me to get a good lawyer, and how ridiculous she had asked for £1.5m compensation etc etc. People were taking this seriously, it wasn’t funny anymore.  So I shall end the charade with a simple statement to say we have settled out of court and crawl back inside the box again.

If you want to find out what I did to her feel free to look inside any of the first three in the series.  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LWFIO5K  book 1 also available in Spanish www.amazon.com/dp/B01K7K4JHC  and in audio  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0725CYNYG

Oh and Here’s the link for my newsletter should you want to sign up – in fact please sign up and maybe re-blog this so everyone can sign up – no harm in asking.   http://eepurl.com/cBu4Sf

Till next week, take care.

WIN ALMOST 100 BOOKS

An extra blog this week to let you know that I am part of a competition to win 99 new e-books.  My first memoir Walking over Eggshells is in there if you peer closely enough. summer-book-giveaway-bundle-july.jpg

There are thrillers, romance and humour, sci-fi, fantasy and paramormal.

The competition is open until 15th August and to enter you need to click this link.

http://bookhub.online/book-giveaways/super-summer-reads-giveaway

Good luck!

 

MEET JULIE HODGESON

Now I’m thrilled to welcome Julie as I have actually met her! Yes really! We hooked up at the Readers’ Favorite Awards in Miami last November and she’s a really special person. One amazing coincidence was we’d both taught at schools in Libya, and it’s not often you meet people who’ve done that! I was also introduced to her husband John and her daughter who works with her mother on the marketing side. Julie not only writes books, she gives talks to schools and is really, really busy and very knowledgeable about the publishing world – I bombarded her with questions and she was sooo patient with me 🙂 . Sadly my plans to hijack her daughter to Spain and help me sell my books didn’t work, and they all returned to Sweden. In Julie’s own words ….

julie pic 2

Since the early 80s, I have travelled around the world, mostly with my husband dragging me along on engineering projects (willingly I might add).
I started writing poetry and short stories at the age of 9, nice way to switch off I guess. Then it just escalated from there. My English teacher at my secondary school Mrs Love was an inspiration to me. As all teachers should be! In 1985 I moved to Tripoli in Libya, and as the schools did not have any books, I started writing for the children of the local British schools. It’s amazing that when there are no books, you crave anything to read. So we all got together and made something out of nothing.
I have continued writing for newspapers, and magazines  ever since, The Times in Kuwait, Libya, Sweden, UK and lots of other countries. Although I do prefer to write books. And so the stories could go on and on…
I now live in Sweden I have had many books published in the past and have joined a traditional publisher Opera Omnia, and they published the first bilingual book back in November 2012. My aim is to hit the Swedish market this year via traditional Swedish publishers.

jULIE HODGESON I PIC

One of my favourite series at the moment is Jodie and the Library Card, I am now penning book 3! You can never have too many books! Any bibliophile will tell you that.
I feel books are important and that children should have carefree, happy, well-adjusted lives. Sadly in this world, it is not always the case. But one can hope.

My motto in life is, “Always be the very best you can be”

I had no idea that Julie had written so many books, I counted 40 on her Amazon page.

Julie pic 1

And, while I was writing this up she casually mentioned yet another award, a Bronze in the Wishing Shelf Awards 2016 for Jodie and the Library Card. And then she dropped that her books are going into extra large print for partially sighted children AND a theatre production wants to perform two of her books.

I’m always amazed at her innovative ideas.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01IH657OM/ (comedy YA book)

 

You can find out more about Julie and her books on these links.

Web page:  juliehodgson.com

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JXL6LUK/ref=series_rw_dp_sw  (Jodie 2)

Thank you for being my guest today Julie Hodgeson.

 

 

 

SINGAPORE AND A STUFF UP

TRAVEL SECTION ON THE BIG TRIP

Why did I like Singapore? It was neat, clean and well ordered, music to my Virgin Virgoan mind. One thing I noticed was the correct following distance between cars – two lengths between each while everyone managed to keep up a very respectable speed. I kept pointing this out to DH who tends to drive up other people’s bumpers but the only relpy was an indecipherable grunt.

We found this amazing place and I’m not sure we should have been in there, it was deserted, but it seemed to the entrance to flats or offices.

Gives a whole new dimension to the cafe downstairs!

HISTORY NONSENSE

Edward VII was right when he reckoned he would only reign for a short time, it was 9 years, not long besides his mother who’d been sitting on that throne for 63 – though the doctor did give her something for the chair sores.

But Bertie had a long life to look back on. In general the people though he’d not been a bad king, at least he got out and about unlike mum who sat inside and sulked.

THE STUFF UP

I’ve often said that those who got into the market place early had an amazing start, in the days before a new book was uploaded every 5 minutes. I should have been one of them as I published Walking over Eggshells in 2013, but then I knew nothing about marketing – not sure I know much now – so I sat with my book on Amazon and was surprised to see I’d sold 37 copies in that first year. I had no idea if anyone was going to buy it and I’m not sure I even thought about sales in those days. Ha, wish that was true now!

Then I saw an email address in the back of a book and as it was doing so well on Amazon I wrote to the author.

As they say, the rest is history. I joined Facebook, opened a Twitter account, put up a picture on Pinterest and devoured the blogs which dropped into my in-box. I was about to dip my toe into the world of marketing.

I decided that I had to be innovative and come up with something really different – but it backfired and I’ll tell you next week what it was. This I’m told is a cliff hanger! 🙂

Here is Walking over Eggshells, about to celebrate its 4th birthday.

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It’s the story of how my mother who suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder affected my life. I guess I should be grateful to Donald Trump as he is now described in similar terms and more people are aware of this syndrome. All I knew was that my mother didn’t love me and I thought it was my fault. She even succeeded in causing havoc from the grave after she passed on.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E8HSNDW  and available on all channels myBook.to/WoE

Till next week, take care.