Saturday, January 14, 2017

D.O: Welcome Jo Barney, thanks for joining us today on Authors Curtilage Novel-Profile Raising.

JO: Hello!  Thanks for having me Darmie!

D.O: What type of books do you write?

JO: My books are novels, several are what I call “Women’s Contemporary” and this last one is a thriller.  All have feminine protagonists in the midst of change:  job, marriage, aging, loss.  Each in her own way discovers that she is capable of dealing with change and in fact, she herself is changing in the process.

D.O: Is Graffiti Grandma your first book?

JO: No, I have written three others and am finishing a fifth this month.  The last three books, The Solarium, Graffiti Grandma, and the untitled one are or will be self-published as ebooks and paperbacks. The first two are “practice” novels and may remain in a folder on my computer. But I do like them and may someday rescue them from my private slush pile.

D.O: What is this novel about, tell us shortly?

JO: Ellie, a cranky  old woman who cleans graffiti off her neighborhood’s mail boxes meets Sarah, a street kid in punk garb, on a street corner.  They have nothing in common except that they each have lost a family. Neither imagines that she will soon be making her way through the town’s forest, looking for the serial killer whose victims are homeless teenagers spending time in the park nearby.  Each nearly dies in the effort.  Seems strange but the theme of this novel centers on our universal need, no matter who we are, even serial killers, for family, either the one we have or the one we create.

D.O: What inspired you to write Graffiti Grandma?

JO: I disliked the tagging and graffiti on my neighborhood’s mailboxes so much that I went out with remover and scrapers every couple of weeks and removed it from the eight or so boxes in in the area.  Scrubbing away, I had time to imagine what would happen if one of the kids who probably did the tagging came up and tried to talk to me. Ellie fleshed out from that thought, as did Sarah, Jeffrey, a five-year-old who grows up to become a psychopath, and Matt, a policeman with a autistic child. I did quite a bit of research for the book:  the drugs, homelessness runaway youth, crime.  As a former school counselor, I knew a few kids like the ones I wrote about in Graffiti Grandma. I guess I can say that the inspiration came out of my own experiences with graffiti and with teenagers.  I have never experienced a serial killer, though.

D.O: How does it feel to be published author on the right foot?

JO: The “right foot” became evident when Graffiti Grandma received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, two well-known review publications.  Then Kirkus named Graffiti Grandma to its 100 Best Books of 2013 and this recognition has been very gratifying. It is difficult for an author to know how others will respond to what she has created, and I am pleased with the positive response the book has received.

D.O: Are you a mainstream author, an independent author or a self-published author?

JO: I have had shorter pieces published in journals and magazines and when it became evident that finding an agent was going to be difficult, I decided to self-publish. The process is exciting and creative and I enjoyed it, especially opening that first box and holding Graffiti Grandma in my hand, For me, the most difficult part of self-publishing is the marketing and I work hard at it.

D.O: I wish you all the best you need to succeed in the Literary Markets.

JO:  Thank you for this opportunity to spread the word. I do appreciate it.



October  2009

           We both were shivering a little in the gray morning air as we headed towards the first mailbox, me, in my black skirt and boots, Ellie in her old lady sweatshirt and red sneakers. I carried her supplies and towels stuffed in an old garbage bag like usual, and I could tell she was still mad at me, at my knowing how the graffiti got on the mailboxes. I was thinking about that, too, but she didn’t know the whole story, not then.

           “Spray!” Ellie ordered and I stopped remembering and pointed the bottle at the box in front of me. We scrubbed, Ellie not talking to me yet. After a couple of minutes, the black polish on my nails began to melt like the paint scrawls we were working on. Ellie muttered “Good,” when she saw me rubbing at them.

           As soon as the blue metal was as clean as Graffiti-X could get it, we headed towards the next mailbox. By the time we got to the street with the big trees, I was getting hot and glad for what little shade was left, the limbs above me almost bare. Orange and brown leaves crunched under my feet.

            Rich people lived in these apartments. I could tell by the doors, polished brass knobs, and the pots of flowers beside them. They probably sat on their upstairs terraces and felt like they were living  in the arms of the trees. I was imagining eating breakfast four stories up and feeding a squirrel a piece of pancake when I stumbled and heard the heel of my boot snap. Shit, my only shoes was my first thought. I picked up the broken piece and had to walk like a cripple, one leg short, one long.

           “Take ‘em off!” Ellie said, shaking her gray head at me. “Stupid to wear boots like that; you look like a baby hooker.” She took the bag of supplies from me and I leaned against a tree and bent down and yanked. The cold from the sidewalk seeped through the leaves and into my toes. Ellie’s disgusted frown told me not to complain, so I shoved the boots into the bag. Maybe I could get the heel fixed somewhere.

           She marched ahead, not waiting up for me, calling over her shoulder, “We’ll finish up with the next box. When we get back you can borrow a pair of my old sneakers.”

           I watched where I was going, hoping I wouldn’t step on dog poop or something yucky hidden under the leaves. That’s when I saw the white basketball shoe sticking up from a pile of leaves at the curb. Someone must have lost it. Except that the shoe also had a sock in it. And in the sock, a leg.

           I grabbed Ellie’s arm and pointed. She looked back, made a sound like she was choking, whispered ”Oh no,” and shut her eyes.

           Without thinking, I made my way to the gutter and pushed sticks and leaves away from the rest of the leg. Familiar, worn denim jeans appeared. Then I recognized a plaid patch on a thigh and a hand with a small ink tattoo of a smiley face at the wrist. I was bawling by the time I uncovered his head, brushed bits of dirt from his eyes, understood that he was dead. Peter.

           Ellie came close and leaned over me, her words sharp as broken glass. “Leave him! Not our business.” She pulled me upright and, sobbing, I shoved at her against the trunk of a tree. “It’s trouble!” She reached for me again. “Nothing good ever comes from a dead body.”

           She dragged me away from Peter through a tear-blurred trail of leaves. “I’ll call 911,” she said. “When we get home. Anonymous.”

           And she did and now I’m lying here half alive in this hospital bed, wires and tubes beeping and bubbling, hoping she’s not dead somewhere....


Kirkus Reviews:  Ostensibly about a serial killer, Barney’s (The Solarium, 2011, etc.) novel is about much more than that. It’s also the story of people who are down but not out and a rumination on family, courage and responsibility—a book that reverberates long after the last page.    (3/11/2013)

Publishers Weekly review:  Barney weaves a multifaceted narrative with quick shifts in time and focus to show how flawed individuals overcome, or are destroyed by, failed relationships. The destructive impact of alcohol, drugs, and sexual abuse on children is abundantly displayed—and made stronger by the absence of graphic or exploitative portrayals. . .The grim, understated scenes of young people coping with the seamy side of life ensure that this is no lighthearted read, and Barney's convincing portrayal of ambivalent teen psychology. . .  provides a powerful glimpse of an underground world unknown to many, whose inhabitants are capable of transformation through love and acceptance. (3/1/2013)




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The revolution of electronic publishing is NOT OVER! In fact-it’s only JUST BEGUN! I want to make sure you, as a valued subscriber to my newsletter, take maximum advantage of this once-in- a-lifetime opportunity. It’s truly like being in the foothills of California at the beginning of the Gold Rush!

We’ve put together a quick presentation to show you exactly how you can boost your profile as an up-and- coming author, get yourself published, and earn a generous income to boot!

Check it out RIGHT HERE! >>>>>>

But first, let me introduce you to Amanda Hocking, who is a life-long Minnesotan resident.

She started experimenting with these methods and in less than a year has a handful of paranormal and romance titles published on Kindle –which pays royalties of up to 70% on every titles sold, shattering the rest of the industry’s 7% to 15% averages.

Most of her books sell for a reasonable $8.99.

That means she gets around $6.30 for every copy sold.

And according to the latest statistics, her monthly sales volume recently exceeded 100,000. That would be over six-hundred THOUSAND dollars from Amazon’s Kindle platform – every month.

Or take Aaron Patterson. He lives in Idaho and published two thrillers on Kindle not too long ago. He’s now selling about 4000 copies a month, bringing in an estimated twenty- eight thousand dollars per month.

And these individuals aren’t alone.

Thousands of authors are earning big money already by cashing in on the Kindle Revolution- STILL. And they’ve made it easier than ever to do so.

Years after its initial launch, the popularity of Kindle books is still exploding! Even small single titles are easily getting hundreds of monthly sales.

This isn’t a passing fad. This is the future of publishing.

And it’s never been more democratic!!

Even a relatively small book, priced at $2.99 and selling just 500 copies a month –which is very realistic when you have the right methods and strategies in place – will bring in an extra one thousand dollars a month, or twelve-thousand dollars per year.

So please, don’t waste a moment and
 check out this presentation right now!

There’s a revolution going on in the publishing world right now. Will you be part of it?

You can be. Right here. Right now. >>>>>

Let us show you exactly how!

Trent Steele, Editor
Write Street Newsletter
Part of the Self Development Network

Friday, January 6, 2017

With the DNA of a world traveler, D.J. Williams was born and raised in Hong Kong, has ventured into the jungles of the Amazon, the bush of Africa, and the slums of the Far East. His global travels have engrossed him in a myriad of cultures, and provided him with a unique perspective that has fueled his creativity over the course of a twenty year career in both the entertainment industry and nonprofit sector.

In this latest novel, Williams has written an epic global adventure filled with riveting characters and page turning twists and turns. Think Jason Bourne meets Homeland. It is a brilliant follow up to his previous novel, The Disillusioned, that garnered the praise of Hollywood’s elite, including Judith McCreary, Co-EP, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, and CSI, who said, “The Disillusioned is a fast-paced mystery…you won’t put it down until you’ve unlocked the secrets and lies to find the truth.”

With the release of Waking Lazarus, Williams is once again capturing the attention of industry veterans including Peter Anderson (Oscar Winner, Cinematographer), who has already endorsed this latest adventure, “Waking Lazarus is a captivating visual story with a colorful narrative. Once I started reading, it was hard to put down.”  
Currently based out of Los Angeles, Williams continues to add to his producing and directing credits of more than 300 episodes of broadcast TV syndicated worldwide by developing new projects for television, film and print.

D.O: Thanks for joining us today on Authors' Curtilage Book Dialogue, and welcome.

D.J. Williams: My pleasure to be here with you. Thanks for the opportunity.

D.O: You are welcome. The audience would like to know which part of the world you’re joining us from.

D.J. Williams: Sunny California!

D.O: When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

D.J. Williams: I remember at eight years old reading Treasure Island cover to cover and being captured by how the story came to life on the page. Writing was always a dream, but it wasn't a reality until I found myself standing on the shores of the Zambezi River. I was entering into a career change and that spark of being a storyteller moved me to write my first novel, The Disillusioned.

D.O: What are the various craft you've studied before the career change that you brought into the entertainment industry or do you just possess some natural tendencies to write stories?

D.J. Williams: I worked in the music business for over a decade before I found myself diving into a new career as an Executive Producer and Director in the television industry.

D.O: Wow! So you’ve been around the industry for a long while.  

D.J. Williams: Yes you can say that, and the one constant that has been part of my DNA has been to be a storyteller, whether it was through music or on the screen. I've also learned a lot from reading my favorite author's, as well as a Master Class taught by James Patterson. With that said, the best way to become more skilled in your craft is to be disciplined at working every single day to be better.

D.O: Hmm. That’s so true. Practice makes a person perfect at whatever their hands find to do. I have to say I’m privileged to have you promote Waking Lazarus on Authors’ Curtilage.

D.J. Williams: Thank you.

D.O: What are the steps you took to develop your book from a rough draft into a published novel?

D.J. Williams: Every book starts with a spark of an idea. It might be a character, or it might be a mystery that needs to be solved. Once that spark hits, then I'll work on writing a treatment of the basic story. I don't worry too much about all of the details, but just try to give myself a rough roadmap. That treatment is only a few pages long. While there are authors who outline each chapter, I've found that approach hinders my creativity. I use the treatment as a reference and let the story unfold naturally. It will take me about 4-6 months to get the first draft done. Then I take a month away from the book and let it sit before going back and working on a second draft. Along the way there's plenty of rewriting. Another 2 months and I'll have a final draft of the book finished. Eight months into it and I send the book off to my agent, who then goes through the process of sending the novel out to publishers. From there, you wait and see what happens.

D.O: You are thorough, and I think this type of writing process produce good finished product for those writers, that know their craft very well. What did you do differently in your book to make readers feel fear, concern, sadness, love and laughter?

D.J. Williams: My storytelling style is to write short chapters, like scenes in a movie. So there are plenty of cliffhangers from one page to the next that raises the tension and keeps readers guessing. My hope is that they will go on the roller coaster ride and when they flip that last page they feel satisfied, challenged, and ready to dive into the next one.

D.O: What sensitive materials does your book deal with?

D.J. Williams: In the first two books of the Guardian series, The Disillusioned and Waking Lazarus, the underlying story deals with the reality of the fight against human trafficking and the lengths one will go to end it.

D.O: What's the subject matter of your book?

D.J. Williams: In Waking Lazarus, the premise is about solving the murder of a retired District Attorney by solving a mystery of an evangelist from the 1920's. On this search for answers Jake Harris, a man who can't remember his past, rediscovers who he was called to be that brings him closer to his extraordinary destiny.

D.O: What town or city does your book story portray and what is the feeling we have in this dwelling places?

D.J. Williams: In both books, The Disillusioned and Waking Lazarus, readers are taken from the streets of Los Angeles to the shores of the Zambezi River to the back alleys of Hong Kong. Readers will be drawn into not only different locations, but different cultures and views on the world around them.

D.O: Having a unique point of view in telling a story provides a story with intention. From how many characters' viewpoint is your entire book seen from?

D.J. Williams: Following the main character, Jake Harris, I used the first person POV, but then as the story unfolds I occasionally switched to third person POV to give the readers a different perspective on what was happening that the main character might not know about.

D.O: What does the lead character of your book want most in the world?

D.J. Williams: Along the journey, Jake Harris is fighting to restore all that he's lost as he searches to uncover a past he can't remember. When he walks up the steps for one last chance he has no clue of the danger he is about to unleash on those he loves.

D.O: What does he do to achieve this goal?

D.J. Williams: He sacrifices everything, and trusts a woman he doesn't know, to help him find the truth.

D.O: In the end of your book did the story goal satisfy your lead character's ambition or did he device another method to achieve his goal or failed at achieving it?

D.J. Williams: I don't want to give anything away about the ending, but I will say that it's not what readers will expect.

D.O: [SIMLES] I expect you’d say this. It seems every author that comes here; don’t want to tell me anything concrete when it comes to this particular question. It’s okay. How do you think your book will influence reader’s growth positively?

D.J. Williams: My hope is that readers will be entertained by the story, and challenged to find ways that they can make a difference in the world.

D.O: I can bet they would be entertained, because by the interview alone, already I am entertained. So, I can imagine reading the book. Any hint about your next book?

D.J. Williams: I'm working on my next book, The Auctioneer, which will be a brief departure from the Guardian series. I've found the greatest challenge in this novel is to develop characters and a storyline that are different from anything I've written so far.

D.O: What better effort do you suggest writers, put into their writing to have great sales in the ever-changing economics of the entertainment industry?

D.J. Williams: I think the focus should always be on the craft of writing, developing characters, and building an audience. As far as sales, I think if a story resonates with readers word of mouth will be the best marketing to get sales. I will say that the challenge with the ever-changing distribution channels is that we must always be sure to work hard on delivering the very best project we can instead of rushing the process because we can get it on Amazon overnight.

D.O: Hmm. That’s a good advice. Thank you once again for joining us on Authors Curtilage Book Dialogue. We wish you the publishing best and hope that all good things come your way with your book.

D.J. Williams: Thank you for having me, and I hope your readers will be inspired to dive into one of my books, and to pursue their dreams!

Contact D.J. Williams Now! Twitter Facebook Website

Buy his New book Waking Lazarus! Amazon

D.J. Williams joined the Authors’ Curtilage Book Dialogue via email from Sunny California

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

If you’re a writer (whether you’re paid or not,) then you want to make sure that you’re producing the best version of your message possible!

If you’re hoping to get paid for your writing then
you MUST produce the best version of your message possible.

Readers have to not only comprehend your message,
but they also need to understand the tone, the voice,
the context in which your words are speaking – to THEM!

You know that English is a “living language” with new words added to the dictionary every year (over 1000 were added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015 alone- and that’s not including sub-entries…) and new phrases becoming part of the lexicon.

And communicating is a shifting landscape. 
It’s ok to start a sentence with “and” now. Given the right context. ;-)

So we’ve made it easy for you to stay completely abreast of what you need to know, when you need to know it, to get the most out of your writing. Our friend (and bestselling writer, Nick Daws) has put together a tremendous “cheat sheet” for anyone who takes their writing seriously.

You can get it right here >>>>

Come and see how much value Nick has packed into an easy to use, definitive reference guide to Writing English: The Essentials of English- For Authors.

If anyone can cut through the jungle that our language has become, it’s Nick. Let him give you your own “machete” to cut through the noise, have your voice heard, your message understood, and have your point taken.

The Essentials of English –For Authors will become any writer’s best friend. I know it’s become mine. I keep it on my desktop and refer to it daily- at least once.

Come check it out >>>>

It’s Essential for a reason!

The best in Writing
Trent Steele, Editor
Write Street Newsletter
Part of the Self Development Network

Afraid No One Will Take You Seriously as a Freelance Writer?: Do you feel like a fraud, putting yourself out there as a freelance writer? Here are some concrete steps to take to present yourself with confidence.

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About Me

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Damilola Ogunremi is a trained, talented and creative writer. Her passion to help authors in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert interviews and reviews she provides. She also blog about other scintillating contents, from health, to books, writing, film, fashion, to creative tutorials to writing ideas, and contents creative minds and fans will love. In addition she is a certified etiquette and image consultant, founder DRS Etiquette and Image Consulting, helping children, pre-teens and teens develop as individuals who standout in a good way in the world where good manners are crucial. As well as helping, big and small business rig out today’s workplace challenges, impart their employees with improved confidence that increase ROI. If your blog/business is something that fits with her blogs, She would be happy to have you advertise with her!


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