Joe Vampire and Author Steven Luna


Who is Steven Luna?  That is the question I was asking myself after doing my initial research for this interview.  Not much is said about the man behind Joe Vampire, and I was determined to find out.  Although some of these questions are like the ones I usually ask some of my authors, I like to change them around a bit, and whittle them with my chisel to fit the author I am interviewing.

This week, when I received the answers to my questions, I found myself literally laughing out loud.  Steven Luna, is funny, however, I tend to believe that behind every “funny guy” lives a heart of gold.  Steven Luna is one of them.

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The Interview

How would you describe yourself with 5 words using the letters J, F and C?

Jovial, jackass, fun, creative, cooperative

When and why did you begin writing?  

I’ve always been language-minded, and I started writing poetry and simple stuff in grade school.  I moved on to short stories – horrible short stories – in high school.  And all along, I worked on illustrated story books that I hoped to publish for children.  But I didn’t really get the hang of writing a full-on novel-sized story until about eight years ago.  Once it clicked, I realized I have no choice but to write.  I write something every day, even if it’s just a few lines.  I write in my head all day long.  It’s totally a state of being for me.  It is me.  And I love it.

Do you have a specific writing style? 

Prior to Joe Vampire, I wrote only for middle-grade readers, and everything had an element of fantasy or magical realism.  I didn’t know if I could manage writing for grown-ups without having it sound awkward.  Then Joe came along, and I figured out a method for doing it, which really has carried into other stories.  So if I had to call it a style, I think I’d go with “sarcastic dude-lit”, since my main characters tend to be snarky, honest, contemporary guys stuck in complicated situations and handling them with humor and heart.

Tell us about your book Joe Vampire and Who is Joe Vampire, really? 

Joe Vampire is about a regular guy just getting back in the swing of things after a bad break-up.  Through a misunderstanding on a group date, he ends up becoming a vampire and ultimately decides to blog about the truth of it, to tell the world that nobody sparkles and girls don’t clamor to hang with you once this happens.  It’s not a traditional vampire novel…it’s really not a vampire novel at all.  It’s just a story about a good guy who gets dealt a bad hand, and who’s determined not to let it keep him from having a happy life – even as everything starts falling apart for him.  And Joe himself is the “everydude”: Joe Anyone, Joe Average.  Joe Vampire.  He’s honest to a fault, and a little too sensitive at times.  He considers himself a people pleaser, but he also tends to call out the bullies and try to knock them down a peg or two.

I asked Mr. Luna to compare himself to Joe Vampire:

Joe Vampire loves to keep a low profile and hide in the crowd compared to Steven Luna who loves to open his big mouth and make a fool of himself whenever possible.

What are your current projects and latest news ? 

I just finished writing Joe’s sequel, Joe Vampire 2: The Afterlife.  It’s with some beta readers right now and will soon be turned into my awesome publisher Booktrope for editing.  But first, we’re gearing up for the Booktrope re-launch of the first Joe Vampire sometime mid-summer.  He’ll be in paperback for the first time.  And I’m throwing down notes for a story about a rock star alien abductee.  Totally different stuff, but just as much fun to write as Joe.  Hopefully as much fun to read, too.

I see you have a new cover for Joe Vampire tell us about it? (feel free to plug your friend LOL)

Ha! A friend of mine named Ryan Ashbaugh plays the role of Joe Vampire on the new cover.  Ryan’s a really cool guy who had thrown in some plastic fangs and slapped on a set of Ray Bans for a Joe Vampire release party I had at work back in February.  He was a great fit for the part, so I asked him if he’d be willing to star on the new cover.  Another friend, the lovely Shannon Motley, agreed to play Chloe working away in the background.  I think they’re just the new blood Joe needed (that’s probably a pun).

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing, and how do you keep it so witty? 

The most challenging aspect of writing for me – especially when writing Joe – is to separate his voice from mine.  A lot of what he says is based on real-life occurrences, and it’s easy to start sounding like Steven Luna when I have him rattle off one of his philosophies or smart remarks.  He is not me, and I am not him, but we’re very similar.  This makes it really easy to just roll with whatever he’s talking about at the moment.  And thank you for considering what I write to be “witty”!  That sort of sharp-tongued, sarcastic patter is sort of a second language for me.  If we were to have a conversation, you’d hear a lot of JoeSpeak from my side of things.

What inspires you? 

As far as writing is concerned, I’m inspired by the psychology of people and how it plays into their interactions with others around them.  I love flawed characters – reading them, writing them and watching them work their way out of big situations.  As far as life in general, I’m inspired every time I see someone with a dream to follow and the determination to let nothing stand in their way in making it come true.   That never fails to push me to work harder to make mine come true – and I love putting that same energy into trying to help others achieve theirs as well.

What do you do when you are NOT writing? 

I’m hanging with my wife and kids, each of us saying and doing completely ridiculous things in an attempt to be funnier than anyone else.  It’s great exercise for when I get back to writing.  I’m a big movie fan, and I’m usually in front of a screen somewhere, digging into whatever DVDs I can wrangle up.  I usually try not to read while I’m writing – out of superstition, mostly – so I’ll catch up on all the great stuff being pushed by indie and small-press authors.  And I like naps.  Like, a lot.  Good stuff.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

The book – which actually began as a character blog – was very much intended as satire, and was originally meant to be much less literary than it ended up.  But as I wrote Joe and figured out his motivation, he emerged as a very likable and relatable character – very real.  As the surrounding characters interacted with him more and more, they become grounded in reality as well.  And then the book became something more than a satire; it became a real novel with a genuine story, sweeter and more touching overall than I thought it would be.  The humor was always intended, but the emotional depth it ended up having was a pleasant surprise.  So I think what I learned from all of it is that no matter what your plan is, and regardless of what you think you’re trying to do when you tell a story, you should always be open to letting it unfold and seeing where it takes you.  It might be cooler than the one you planned on writing.

Do you have any advice for new writers young and old? 

Jump in.  Write every day – something, anything: a sentence, an idea, an image.  Just write.  Read everything – EVERYTHING – you can get your hands on, and study what a story actually looks like, and sounds like, and feels like.  Eventually, it’ll become ingrained in your creative process, and you’ll be able to create better stories because of it.  Let others read your work and keep an open mind to their critiques; they are your audience, and you want them to get what you’re trying to say.  Don’t be afraid to self-publish; electronic media has made it ridiculously possible for you to turn your story into a book all on your own.  Be ready to push your work to the world.  It’s not going to sell itself.  And, most importantly: keep your sense of fun.  If you’re not writing because you love to write, then why are you writing at all?

Fun Questions: 

What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Leftover enchilada casserole; grapefruit and orange juice; a can of ReddiWhip with a clogged top;  many, many bottles of flavored coffee creamer.  And a boatload of vegetables.  I think there must have been a sale…

If you had to give yourself a “theme song” what would it be and why? 

Not that it’s a particular favorite, but “Joker” by Steve Miller Band seems to sum up my personality.  There’s rarely a moment when you’ll get a proper answer from me without some sort of smart-alek stuff preceding it.  It’s sort of bred in my DNA.  I just go with it these days.  Makes for good book material.

How do you compare apples and oranges, truthfully? 

It’s all about the juice, kids.  It’s all about the juice.  (I have no idea what that means. I’m happy with my answer, though.)

Who is your favorite super hero and why? 

Superman, hands down.  He was the template for all the other superheroes, and he knows the right thing to do and doesn’t waver from it.  He’s about the only unflawed character I can accept.  He might want to rethink the red Speedo thing by now…I guess that’s kind of a flaw, huh?

Favorite pizza toppings?

Thai chicken, especially whatever the magical sauce they put under the toppings is.  That stuff can make you see into the future.  It’s incredible.

Where to purchase your book Joe Vampire? 

Amazon   Barnes and Noble

Steven Luna was relatively quiet when he was born; that all changed once helearned to speak. Now? Good luck getting him to shut up. He’s also known for not giving straight answers, but those around him are accustomed to ignoring him anyway, so it all works out.  He’s currently writing another book…really, though, aren’t we all?

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kFind Steven Luna and his work on:

Amazon  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  GoodReads  *  Barnes&Noble

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Tomorrow, Friday June 29th, is the launch of my new website.  

Yes Muse In The Valley is moving!  

There will be giveaways! You can find the prizes HERE.  So be sure to log on to https://bestisyettocome.wordpress.com and I will provide the detour.   You can also follow my FACEBOOK page for the play by play.  Looking forward to seeing you!

Until tomorrow!

I Say Goodbye, and I Say Hello!


This will be my last personal post here at https://bestisyettocome.wordpress.com.  Friday I am switching over to a “secret” location.  A blog with my own domain, a more personal and sacred place which better reflects my readers and the work I have done.
Don’t you worry, I will Tweet, Facebook, and even come to this address Friday to redirect you to the new site.  I will keep this blog open for a year, since Pattie Lee, the lovely woman behind all the work on the new place, has imported all my archives to the website I call my sanctuary.

THANK YOU PATTIE!!!!

Pattie Lee, find her blog here, is one of the most kind-hearted, funny, loving, and hard-working women I have met online.  I, Kim Larocque, thank Pattie with all my heart.  Not only has she put up with me fooling around at the new site, to then later have to clean up my mess, she has guided me throughout this whole experience.  She even made a personal tutorial through ADOBE to show me the ropes of html and all those codes I have no clue about.  I message her at least once or twice a day with a question and she always happily answers me.  Pattie generously gifted me the new site and domain.  I am grateful for her love and support throughout this transition.

It’s all about moving forward!

Speaking about transitions, I honestly feel a bit nostalgic writing this last personal post.   It is not really about saying goodbye to you, my readers…. we will all meet on the new site, however, it’s about  leaving this comfortable place which began to feel like a cozy pair of old shoes you never want to throw out.  Getting out there, out of my comfort zone, and truly saying hello to something completely new and quite scary, is truly symbolic of embracing my new self, my new life, and my new friends.  Furthermore, to witness and experience all the new “zones” which have come up in my writing.  The dream interpretations, the articles, the guest posts, and now as J.M. Richardson, author of The Twenty-Nine,  has recently honored me with the title:  Literary Blogger.  Really?  I am so excited!

BUT There is one more post to come tomorrow.  It is Author of the Week Thursdays!

I interviewed Steven Luna, author of Joe Vampire.  You really do not want to miss this post, as I laughed my head off just reading the answers to his questions.  Yes, there is some really serious stuff in this interview, however, I love Steven’s sense of humor and I am sure you will appreciate it too, plus you get to discover a super awesome vampire like no other!

So no goodbyes, we will meet Friday June 29th on secretdomain.com (hahaha).  The launch will be shared on Twitter, Facebook, and here.  So be sure to follow me on one or all of those sites.

In the meantime, GO check out what Muse In The Valley’s contributors have to give away  for the Launch Party:  

Launch Party GIVEAWAYS

Love and blessed light!

Taking ” The Artist’s Way ” Out – The Date


Think of yourself as an incandescent power, illuminated and perhaps forever talked to by God and his messengers.

~Brenda Ueland

Last week in my post Taking The Artist’s Way Out. I promised I would discuss my journey through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  I must admit the first week was a bit low-key, however, I managed my morning pages, writing out my thoughts and worries, first thing in the morning 5 out of 7 times.  I am proud of this, as sometimes writing that early in the morning feels like pulling at a hangnail, however, what I enjoyed about was I didn’t have to edit or think about what I was writing all I had and have to do write what is on my mind as I wake up.

This week, I want to talk about my artist date. What is an Artist Date you ask? Julia Cameron describes it as:

“a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.  In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.  You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist, a.k.a. your creative child…” p. 18

Planning for me is quite difficult.  I am still practicing making commitments and sticking with them especially when it comes to myself.  Also, in my defence, I would like to state that on this journey of self-recovery I give myself permission to change my mind. The key here for me is balance, so I am adapting my dates.. allowing myself to change it on a dime,  if it feels right for me.

This week I had planned to go by the Rivière des Milles Iles with a sketchbook and spend time contemplating the ducks, the free flow of the water, and the enjoying the sweet sound of the waves.  I never made it on that date since the weather was way too hot.  I had to come up with another plan and quick!! Sunday (the end of the Artist week for me) was coming fast!

As I woke up Sunday morning, I grabbed my usual cup of coffee and sat on the balcony to watch the birds find their morning worm (yes I do that).  As I was observing a black bird digging into the ground, a voice came into my head.  “Go to church!” I quickly dismissed the thought and continued watching the show below.  Then it kept coming “Go to the church, GO TO THE CHURCH”.  I was like:  “Shut up! I don’t go to church!” The the voice continued “but you’ve gone to the french church years ago, go to the english church!”

Going to church? Ya right!!

I quickly washed my face, grabbed a decent blue tee, threw on a matching skirt, and ran to out the door. I had 20 minutes to get to the 10 o’oclock mass.  Now mind you, my Sunday mornings have always been, get up, have coffee, watch birds, sit down, go on the computer and play, write or read.  Never, in a million years do I get up and go anywhere, mind you a church, so this was new for me!

As I walked in the church, I was greeted by the priest and the welcoming committee. They all said “Good morning” as I found myself a spot at the far back-end near the pillar and the candles, oh ya and the door (ahem).  A couple up front, a nice looking man with a guitar and his wife I presume,  were singing this song about “welcome, belonging and worthyness” and immediately I started to cry.  I hadn’t even taken a seat, and I realized I forgot to kneel and make the sign of the cross before I actually sat down.  I was desperately seeking Kleenex (which of course I didn’t have), trying to hide the warm flow of tears steaming down my face.

I made it through the service, however, I did experience a huge anxiety attack and almost left.  As I was trying to “keep it together” I kept on focusing on the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who looked like she wanted to give me a hug with her open arms..  I prayed for calm to get through the service. As part of me was enjoying the art, the energy, and the music around me. It was, after all,  MY artist date.

When it was time for “communion” I decided (even though I did have my first communion) to get a blessing, which again, brought tears to my eyes.  I walked back, lit two candles, one for me and one for my brother.  Then I left.

I am so grateful I listened to my inner voice because although I am spiritual and do not practice in the Catholic faith anymore.  I received the message I needed to hear.  You are worthy and you are welcome.  My art is worthy and it is welcome.  My purple hair is worthy and it is welcome.  My children are worthy and they are welcome.  You get the picture?

We are all worthy!

Worthy enough to take myself out for coffee and a muffin afterwards.  I sat for a while with this experience before going home… and I know I will do it again.  Maybe not this church, but there are 3 or 4 other churches to explore.  Not really for their particular “faith” but for what messages of love and acceptance that come with almost any faith.

God is love, and God is creation.

This is what Julia Cameron speaks about in this book.  God could be anything or anyone to you, I call him God because I am comfortable with it.  She explains that through God we find our creativity.  She states to repeat:

“The Great Creator has gifted us with creativity.  Our gift back is our use of it.”  p. 44 week 2

So, this week I will remind myself of these “Rules of The Road”

  • Show up at the page. Use the page to rest, to dream to try;
  • Remember that it is harder and more painful to be a blocked artist than it is to do the work;
  • Choose companions who encourage me to do the work, not just talk about doing the work on why I am not doing the work;
  • Remember that it is my job to do the work, not judge the work;
  • Remind myself “Great Creator, I will take care of the quantity.  You take care of the quality.

Also this coming week,  I do plan to go to the river, and draw.  Lets hope the weather permits.  Also, if you wish to follow Leslee’s journey (my Artist Way partner) you can find her latest blog post here.

BE AWARE!  Go to THE BUTTERFLY LAUNCH PARTY for details on the UNVEILING of my New Website on June 29th 2012!   My peeps are giving gifts to those you enter!  Details on how to enter click HERE!

 

 

Love and Light

Between These Two Unknowns – Dreaming about death


designswan.com

Birth and death; we all move between these two unknowns.

Bryant H. McGill

You wake up screaming, full of sweat,  and find  your screams mixed with uncontrollable sobbing.  Once you are able to finally focus on the sunlight coming through your window, you realize that you ARE awake, and it YES, it was just a dream.  Yet, you wonder, why you still feel afraid?  Why is the urge to cry lingering? AND why oh why is it so important you call the person you’ve just dreamed about?  You’ve just had the dreaded “death” dream:  You fear the worst.

I had that dream, almost 20 years ago I am sure.  I do not remember the details surrounding the dream, however, I remember seeing my brother (as if I was high up on a ledge observing him) walking through a parking lot, keys in hand, towards his car.  He looked like he was coming back from a work meeting, he was dressed in his suit (my brother, at the time,  had his own business in the works) and had his briefcase in hand.  He approached his car and as soon as he put the keys in the passenger door to unlock it, IT EXPLODED!!! He was dead!

I woke up at that instant crying so hard I almost threw up.  I immediately came back to my senses, but picked up the phone immediately! I was sure I had a premonition dream and I had to save my brother.  Obviously I didn’t, he’s alive and well today, however, why did I have that dream?

My daughter this week, as I mentioned on my Facebook Page, had a dream I died.  She was very upset, she said when she woke up to the point of crying.  In her dream, after I died and the feeling of loss subsided, she decided to go to the house where we lived in our dream and clean it up.  Once the house cleaned, she told me, she started making a list of things she needed to fix up (to take care of).  Then, she started getting ready to take a boat trip.  Her X step-father was in her dream, telling he it was time to get out of the house.  She said his voice was a reminder that it was time, not malicious.  She quickly got her bags, she said, after saying goodbye to her friends on the computer, and hurried to get out.  The boat ride was waiting.  End of dream.

Note my daughter has had a long term relationship with boats, especially as a young child.  She drew them often.  Sailboats in particular.  She was always standing in her boat on calm waters going ahead towards the sun. Thus, the boat symbolism is very personal to her.  It means, freedom, growth and smooth and safe sailing!  

Of course both my daughter and I experienced a bit of panic when she described her dream to me, BUT really do death dreams mean real death?

Birth!

Often, when we draw the Death card in Tarot, we see the worst, until we read the meaning of the card.  In her Tarot book, The Dreamer’s Journal, Barbara Moore describes the Death card in her deck:

“This card can, but rarely does, refer to physical death, which is some comfort.  Death, though, whether physical or metaphorical, is not an easy experience.  This card implies the end of something, perhaps a job, a relationship, a situation, or an organization.  The actual ending will likely be hard, but once it’s over the cycle continues and something new will come. On the other hand, it may be a welcome closure, such as ending a bad relationship, quitting an unhappy job, or selling a house to get a new one.  On a spiritual level, this can mean a symbolic death where you eliminate old beliefs that no longer work for you and perhaps were holding back.  Death is usually hard, but it must happen before transformation or resurrection occurs”  p. 71

Basically, my daughter’s dream makes a lot of sense if you look at it.  She just finished her 3rd year in high-school, she’s taking charge of her life, she follows house rules more often than not, and is coming into her own!  She studies harder, works harder, makes wise choices, and to top it off, this year I told her that my nagging stops, and her choices begin!  

In fact, her dream is a positive one, where  as in she is growing up, learning to depend LESS on me and MORE on herself. This is a great sign or her maturity.  Another way to look at this dream, according to Craig Hamilton-Parker:

“If you dream about your mother dying… it could represent the death of the “motherly” side of your own nature” A more caring and maternal attitude MAY be needed, according to Hamilton-Parker. There may also be a hidden wish to be independent of the mother.
(Source:  www.dreamsleep.net)

The dream about my brother, at the time, seems to mean about the same.  We were very close and depended a lot on each other.  He was always there for me, and I called him constantly when I needed something.  I think the urge to detach myself from him was in a way to A.  Become independent and B.  detach myself from my “jealousy”.  There was a time my brother’s success with EVERYTHING (women, clients, work, sports, etc..) was something I wanted (not the woman part mind you.. but you get the drift).  

Sometime it takes a big explosion to wake you up!

The next time you have the dreaded death dream.  Take a moment to gather your thoughts and write them down.  Look at what changes you have recently made in your life, or new plans coming up.  You may be experiencing troubles in your relationship, or looking to quit your job for a more interesting one.  Whatever experiences you are having, note the old adage: “out with the old and in with the new”!  

If you have had a death dream recently or in the past, jot it down in the comment section.  It will be my pleasure to help you find the meaning.

Have a great weekend!

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The Twenty-Nine – J.M. Richardson


If you look at J.M. Richardson’s profile picture the first thing you notice is his smile. It screams gentleness with a touch of wittyness and whimsy.  However, there is MORE to him than his picture.  J.M. Richardson is the author of The Twenty-Nine and the up-and-coming book The Apocalypse Mechanism – August 2012.

The Twenty-Nine described by Glenda Bixler:  “A remarkable tale of the potentiality–the reality of our future!”

So humor and whimsy aside, The Twenty Nine is a serious book written by a serious author. Thus, I am very excited to introduce you Mr. Richardson today as Muse In The Valley‘s Author of the Week:

The Interview

What 5 words describe you best?

Educator, writer, husband, father, (boy, this fifth one kills ya) intellectual

Tell us your latest news?

I have two events/signings coming up this summer: one at the Barnes and Noble in Sundance Square in Fort Worth, TX on July 21 at 1 PM, and one on August 18 at the Franklinton, LA library. I will be signing copies of The Twenty-Nine, but also promoting my upcoming August release, The Apocalypse Mechanism.

When and why did you begin writing?

Oh, I think I wrote my first poem in about first grade, and I also remember trying to write a “novel” at the age of about 12. It was a little western bound in brown construction paper that I had frayed along the edges to make it look old…and…western… I’ve wrote poetry and short stories competitively in high school. I tried to start a couple of novels in college, but I did not start serious writing until about six years ago when I began writing The Apocalypse Mechanism. I came to love writing more than I ever knew I could. It’s therapy for me. Helps me release inner frustrations and demons.


What inspired you to write your first book?

The Twenty-Nine is my first published book, but not the first I wrote. It’s inspired by political turmoil that is very much in the news every day. It’s also inspired by Rick Perry, the governor of Texas–a former candidate for President of the United States, who once mentioned that Texas should secede. But the first book I wrote, The Apocalypse Mechanism, is inspired by my love of ancient theology and the connections of those old Middle Eastern religions. It’s also inspired by my fascination with the sophistication of ancient technology.


Do you have a specific writing style?

Kind of. It’s always sort of morphing. I love description, almost to the painfully slow stuff that Steinbeck wrote. But not everyone likes that. Some abhor it. My novels have some deep, slow moments, and I use a lot of description there. But other parts are more fast-paced adventure, and so I cut back on the description and let it flow along. So I use a hybrid of literary fictional word-painting and the pace of an action novel.

Who inspired your main character, Derek, describe him a little?

Derek, to me, is the same kid as millions of other young men that come from broken homes, impoverished, but hard-working families, and an ever-increasingly difficult American economy to live in.  He grows up in rust-belt Cleveland, where his mother was laid off, his father was a dead-beat, and he was just doing what he could to take care of he and his mother.  His mother’s sick, and they have no health insurance, so he ditches the mechanic job for a military career, hoping to make a better living.  he has no idea he’s about to fight in the second American civil war.  Overall, though, he’s a good kid.  He’s a born leader; has a good head on his shoulders.  He’s a little damaged, and we all are, as he comes from a rough family life.  Just striving to find his place in the world.

Give us a blurb about your book The Twenty-Nine, why the title?

Counter-productive partisan politics in Washington have begun to cross the line, and some leaders take drastic measures.  Twenty-nine states out of the fifty secede as they did in 1860, and form a new country called The Republic of America.  Soon, the Republic and the US begin down a path into civil war–American killing American in burning US cities.  


What books have most influenced your life?

I don’t know that I could say that a specific book has ever really influenced my life. I could name several books I like. I love Fahrenheit 451 and Anne Rice‘s Queen of the Damned. I’m a fan of Steinbeck and Stephen King, but I can’t say that there was a book that made me say, “Hey…wow…I’m a changed man.”


If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Anne Rice, and it’s not a vampire thing.  I was way into vampires before this recent mainstream Twilight, True Blood, and Vampire Diaries era.  I love Anne Rice’s writing and her style.  I love the complexity of her stories, and how, though it’s supernatural, it all seem to make so much sense.  It’s all so plausible.  I love her darkness.  And it doesn’t hurt that she’s from New Orleans, which is the area I grew up in.


What are your current projects?

Well, The Twenty-Nine got published before The Apocalypse Mechanism, so I had to put the sequel to that, a book I call The Barataria Key, aside to write the sequel to The Twenty-Nine. I’m currently at about 75,000 words with that book, which is called A Line in the Sand, for now at least.


What do you do when you are NOT writing?

Well, I’m a teacher, and I still need the day job for now, so aside from summer and holidays, I’m doing that. I have a wife and two young daughters, so I spend a lot of family time. I play guitar, I like to watch football and baseball. I’m a lover of good beers and enjoy deep intellectual, political, and social discussions. Oh, and I like long walks on the beach…and puppies…


If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Nope, it was pretty air-tight. The Apocalypse Mechanism is going through edits right now, and I’m pretty sure, since it was my first and written quite some time back, that I will be changing a good bit about that one. I don’t know that I could name any specifics at the moment, but they’ll come to me once I get into editing mode.


Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Maybe not from writing the book, but I definitely learned a lot from the process of finding a publisher. This industry is cold and cut-throat. It’s so difficult to get the attention of ANYONE that will take you seriously. I think it’s cool that the e-book revolution has inspired so many new, fresh publishers to pop up and challenge the big New York and London publishers. At the same time, the ease of just anyone being able to upload a manuscript to Amazon and Barnes and Noble has flooded the market, and publishers have had to become more selective than ever. This industry is crazy.


Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing is art. So when you hear anyone say that a book was “poorly written” or that some one doesn’t know how to write, don’t listen. That’s like a Monet fan telling Pablo Picasso that his portraits of people were terrible and that it looked like a Kindergartener did them. There is not definition of good art, and there is no definition of good writing. These people sit on their high horses like sentinels, standing watch for “different” styles of writing, ready to defend the language like some holy relic. When it comes down to it, every reader likes a certain type of writing, and rather than say they didn’t care for a book, they pass judgment on it as being a badly written book. So take constructive criticism for what it is, and learn from it, but when it comes to just plain criticism, let it roll off of you.

If you had to give yourself a “theme song” what would it be and why?

The Walyon Jennings song from the Dukes of Hazzard. I grew up in the deep south–southeast Louisiana–and despite the fact that I really don’t listen to a lot of country music or have a pickup truck with a gun rack, there is a part of me that is a fun-loving, light-hearted country boy just floating through this life.


Name three items which need to be with you at all times?

My cell phone, my keys, and my wallet–pretty simple.


What would we find in your junk drawer right now?

Beer coozies, batteries, random buttons and screws, and a million drawings my five-year-old have done because I haven’t had a moment when she wasn’t looking to get rid of some of her masterpieces to make room for the twenty she will draw tomorrow.

Hulk, Spider Man or Iron Man?  Why?

Iron Man. Not only is he virtually indestructible and cool-looking, but he’s also, underneath…what’s the line from The Avengers…a genius, billionaire, philanthropist, playboy.


If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?

To be the most popular best-selling author in the galaxy.

If someone wrote about in the newspaper, on the front page, what would the headline say?

Man’s head explodes due to too much thinking!

Where to we go to buy The Twenty-Nine?

Amazon  Barnes and Noble and just about any website that sells books.

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J.M. Richardson is a native of southeast Louisiana where he studied education and social sciences, earning his degree from Louisiana State University.  He has been writing for leisure nearly all of his  life, wrote competitively in high school, and had intensive writing coursework in college.   He now resides in the Fort Worth, TX, area with his wife and two daughters where he teaches geography, history, and sociology. ( source:  Winter Goose Publishing )

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Find Joshua on:

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I want to thank J.M. Richardson for this delightful interview.  Please come back to Muse In The Valley in August when The Apocalypse Mechanism comes out.  It will be my pleasure.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed here please contact me at:

 kim.larocque@sympatico.ca

Where The Butterflies Go – Heather Grace Stewart


“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.”  ~Rabindranath Tagore

Butterflies have been my “sign” lately.  I have them everywhere:  On my windows, as jewelry, on shirts, as stickers, letter stationary on my journals and even clothes.  Just the other day I received a free box of kleenex from my local grocery store, and on it, YES butterflies.  When my friend was shopping for her first house a few months ago, she showed me the one they put an offer on,  and on the front door’s glass window, there were 4 butterflies etched in the glass.  I told her it was a sign she would get the house.  One butterfly for each child (there were 4 going from biggest to smallest).  She’s moving in next weekend!  Also,  My children have recently made me Mother’s day cards and gifts with butterflies on it. Show’s they know their mama.

Last week , when Heather Grace Stewart ,-a fellow Montrealer, author and poet, approached me about the release of her book Where The Butterflies Go, on Kindle, I had to say YES!!  On March 29th, Heather graciously answered a few questions for Muse In The Valley, she was my 2nd Author Of the Week, which in fact became a weekly event due to the enormous success of the interviews.    ( You can read our interview here.)

Where The Butterflies Go is now on Kindle for $2.99 with half the proceeds going to UNICEF!

However, for 3 days only:

Thursday June 21st, Friday June 22nd, Saturday June 23rd it will be free!

You can get it through Amazon.com just click here!

Natasha head reviews Where The Butterflies Go, she writes:

“The first part of the collection, aptly entitled Pain, takes the world face on. Heather’s words trigger sadness, loss and incomprehension, but, these very same words, also inspire hope. This is, in itself, a testament to the quality and strength of her craftsmanship.  The poem ‘Golden Days’, stands out strongly for me.  It’s final lines, looking back to the release of the collection from now, almost rings of prophecy…..

There are dark clouds/Across this Canadian sky

The second part of the book, simply entitled Growth is where you can really see the voice of the poet evolve. The questions that so many of us have; the where, the why of this world, tackled head on with no fear and honest pen.”

~Natasha Head, for The River Review

FREE stuff is always fun, if I had a Kindle I would be right on it!  So go, get Where The Butterflies Go while they are free of charge, and share this WONDERFUL NEWS with your friends.

Love and light