Archive | May 2012

Interview with Wodke Hawkinson, the talented authors of ‘Betrayed’, Catch Her in the Rye’, ‘Blue’ and more.

K-Thanks so much for joining us for a chat. I am delighted to have the writing team of Wodke Hawkinson here today. PJ Hawkinson and Karen Wodke you are truly a winning combination. I read that in addition to the writing that you do as a team, sometimes you write separately. How do you decide which stories will be team efforts and which will be sole projects and which do you prefer?

PJ- Since we began writing together we have been virtually a team on all works. We keep talking about going our own ways temporarily; I have a sequel to Half Bitten I want to write and she has an idea for a novel that doesn’t interest me very much. But, we keep coming up with ‘just one more story’ before taking a sabbatical for our own works. Besides, I think we work better together. We enhance each other’s writing, adding a little something that we don’t have separately.

Karen- As PJ said, we haven’t done much solo writing since we teamed up. We are not opposed to it, as each of us has solo works we’d like to complete. However, it seems like we keep postponing the solo projects because our team projects are so compelling. We work well together and have so many ideas; we’re not sure when we’ll have time to do them all.

K- I have to tell you- I’m somewhat envious. I think I would like having a writing partner. So many times, when I’m writing, I wish there was someone there, so I could ask, “What about this? Does this flow? I don’t know if I like it. What do you think?” As they say, two heads are better than one.

But, it’s not “all about me”, so let’s get back to you : )

The stories in the book, ‘Alone’ were all very different, but all quite bizarre and creepy. They are incredibly rich with unique characters and visuals. Just the way I like it. Where do you find your inspiration for these fabulous scenarios?

PJ- Karen and I both have very creative minds. You would be astonished at the collection of detritus we have stored in our brains; yet, when we pull it out and set it together, wonderful things seem to happen.

Karen- PJ has vivid dreams and I suspect a lot of her ideas might stem from those[KP2] . For me, anything can spark an idea: an overheard conversation, a person walking down the street, an image or picture, etc. A lot of the scary stuff probably comes from human fears and worries.

K-Balance seems to be an issue that most authors grapple with. I know it’s hard for me. How do you balance your personal life with your writing and the promotional aspect of writing?

PJ- I work my writing around my life. If my husband and I want to go fishing, we go. I just have to put in more hours at the keyboard later. As for the promotional aspect, I have to give Karen kudos for managing 99.9% of this end of our partnership. She rocks!

Karen- Thanks, PJ! Actually, I find that I neglect house chores and other duties sometimes in order to do the writing. Then I have to spend some time catching up on those. But, like PJ, when it comes to family, that’s first priority, and the writing comes after that. I hope to someday have myself on a regular schedule, a set time each day for writing. Will I ever be that organized? It remains to be seen.

K- I know that personally, I have come to resent house cleaning.  I’m quite bitter as I glare at the dust that seems to accumulate in just hours after a good cleaning.  I have so many more important things to do!

Now we’re getting to the real fun.  I have a ritual. I like to do a “writing exercise” with the authors that I interview. I give them a scene and then ask them to re-write the scene in their own special style. Are you game? I hope so because I can’t wait to see what you two will do with this scene : )

Karen & PJ- This was entertaining!

K-Okay- here you go:

Anil sat quietly in the dark room, staring down into the amber liquid in the glass he held in his hand. He quickly swallowed the whiskey, in one gulp. Then he screamed out filthy obscenities, while he hurled the glass to the floor. He grimaced as a large glass shard bounced up and lodged in his bare ankle. He reached down and grabbed the glass shard, and pushed it deeply in to his skin, and then pulled the shard through his leg, all the way up to his knee. 

“Arrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

He screamed out in pain and then grabbed the glass shard and threw it back on the floor. He didn’t notice the blood gushing down his leg and pooling on the floor. He felt a little better now. He had discovered that cutting himself seemed to calm him down. Sometimes he became so irate and agitated it took more than just a few cuts. It was starting to escalate. Like a drug, he needed more and more. The month before he was not able to soothe himself until he had sliced off his pinky finger

PJ & Karen- (We wrote this as a team since that is how most of our work is done)

Anil brooded over a tumbler of Chivas Regal in the darkened room. He emptied the drink in one gulp and threw the glass to the floor, angry his circumstances had brought him to this point. The fragile glass shattered on impact.  A shard ricocheted and buried itself into the bare skin of his ankle. Cursing with anger and despair, he grasped the sharp wedge of expensive crystal tightly between his thumb and fingers and drove it deeper into his leg. With mixed feelings, he dragged it upward to his knee, drawing a bloody gash into his flesh. The blood pooling in his shoe made no impression.

Anil howled in pain, released the shard, and it fell to the floor. He sagged in relief as the much-anticipated calm flooded over him. Cutting always brought respite from his internal distress. And though he tried to resist, self-injury had become an addiction, requiring more frequent and deeper cuts to soothe his turmoil. In a particularly intense session a month earlier, he had severed his pinky finger and had immediately fallen into a trance-like sleep, waking only when the pain became too intense. He regretted losing his finger, but relished the short-lived high it had provided.

K-Fabulous!  You brought a whole new dimension to the scene!  I really enjoy your style.  Do you have any upcoming events or book promotions?

PJ- We are working on a novel that will, hopefully, blow your socks off. At this time, we can’t release the name of the novel, and unfortunately, we really can’t tell you the plot. Suffice it to say, it is dark and has a sexy antagonist.

Karen- As PJ said, our time right now is consumed by editing and revising our next book. Once we have that accomplished and the book is published, we can turn our attention to promotions. We have some great ideas in that area.

K-Pj, Karen, thank you so much for joining us. It was wonderful chatting with you. Where can people find you and your work on the web?

We can be found at all the following sites:

Our website: wodke-hawkinson.com

Our readers/authors website: Find A Good Book To Read

Our novel Betrayed and its Alternate Ending

Our short story books! Alone  Catch Her in the Rye
Blue

Visit us on Facebook: Wodke Hawkinson

Visit us on Twitter: @Wodke Hawkinson

See our video: Tangerine (This book has been picked up by a publisher and will soon be pulled from Amazon so we can work with the publisher before releasing a new and improved version)

PJ’s website: Half Bitten

Karen’s website: James Willis Makes a Million

PJ & Karen: Thank you so much for welcoming us to your site. We appreciate the chance to share our work with your readers.

K- It was my pleasure.  I hope you’ll stop by again.


the dolls

Kindle KDP- “the curse”

Update:   When I first published my latest book, ‘The Dolls’, I chose to participate in the KDP program.  I had read great things about the great exposure it was giving indie authors.

However, as of late, I’ve stopped hearing the glowing reviews.  Most believe that the algorithm has changed.  Many feel that the promo’s have done more harm than good.

I am going to stay positive.  I had my free days on 5/15 and 5/16/2012.  I had more downloads than I imagined.  I had 33 in the UK. (yawn), but in the U.S. I had 4,799 downloads (woo-hoo!).  That was a record breaker for me.   I have not seen any sales this morning, but it’s only 9:45 am.  I’m going to remain hopeful.

Then there is that other bit of ugliness that has afflicted countless authors, when they do their KDP free days.  It seems a pattern has emerged.  It’s the curse of the one star review.  It hits the authors during or directly after their free days.

I got mine yesterday.  It was not “constructive criticism”.  It was one of those hateful, personal attacks.  But it looked familiar.  A couple of weeks back, another writer friend had lamented about his own one star review, and it looked suspiciously similar.

I went back to the ugly review and found that another writer had added a comment under it, mentioning this KDP issue.  Believe it or not- within the hour, the evil reviewer returned to Amazon, to my book page and responded to the comment!  If the book was so hideous- why would she/he return?  Within minutes, there was an additional one star review.  Again- in the same hateful tone-but this one is full of spoilers.

It’s hard not to feel bad about these reviews.  But- since I learned of “the curse”, I had to comfort myself by visiting other authors and check their reviews.  Yes, they all had “the curse”.  Mind you, some of these books have won awards, one is being made in to a movie as we speak.  These are books with dozens, sometimes hundreds of 5 star reviews.

I’d love to hear of your experience with the KDP  “Curse of the one star review”.

You can find me on Twitter  or check out  ‘The Dolls’ on Facebook- maybe you’ll “like” it : )

Kindle KDP- Is it worth it?

Update 5/17/2012

When I first published my latest book, ‘The Dolls’, I chose to participate in the KDP program. I had read great things about the great exposure it was giving indie authors.

However, as of late, I have stopped hearing the glowing reviews. Most believe that the algorithm has changed. Many feel that the promos have done more harm than good.

I am going to stay positive. I had more downloads than I imagined. I had 33 in the U.K. (yawn), but in the U.S. I had 4,799 downloads (woo-hoo!). That was a record breaker for me. I have not seen any sales this morning, but it is only 10:30 am. I am going to remain hopeful.

Then there is that other bit of ugliness that has afflicted countless authors, when they do their KDP free days. It seems a pattern has emerged. It’s the curse of the one star review. It hits the authors during or directly after their free days.

I got mine yesterday. It was not “constructive criticism”. It was one of those hateful, personal attacks. In addition, it looked familiar. A couple of weeks back, another writer friend had lamented about his own one star review, and it looked suspiciously similar.

I went back to the ugly review and found that another writer had added a comment under it, mentioning this KDP issue. Unbelievably- within the hour, the evil reviewer returned to Amazon, to my book page and responded to the comment!

If the book were so hideous- why would she/he return?

Within minutes, there was an additional one star review. Again- in the same hateful tone-but this one is full of spoilers.

It’s hard not to feel hurt by these reviews. But- since I learned of “the curse”, I have had to comfort myself by visiting other authors on Amazon, and checking their reviews. These are authors that I respect and look up to, dreaming that someday I will be in their league. Yes, they all had “the curse”. Mind you, some of these books have won awards; one is now in the filming process. These are books with dozens, sometimes hundreds of 5 star reviews.

I would love to hear about your experience with “the curse of the one star review”.