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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.


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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 : )

Monterey County- an experience of a lifetime!

ImageMonterey County is legendary for its breathtaking views and incredible wildlife.  The way that weather, earth, and ocean combine together make it a dream come true for nature lovers or anyone who just wants to slip away into the area’s quixotic charms. There’s more to the county than one might think at first glance. Sure, the cool ocean breezes, evening fog, and moderate temperatures are all staples of the area, but to view the region as all following the same weather pattern would be far too simplistic. Diverse soil types, varying amounts of wind and fog, as well as generally increasing summertime highs from north to south, mean the appellation has the ability to produce a wide variety of wines.

Commercial wineries have flourished in Monterey beginning in the 1960’s The Grand Blue Canyon, as Monterey Bay is know in wine circles, has a great influence over the viticulture of the region, which covers a great area, stretching from the edge of San Luis Obispo to the top of Paso Robles. In between, there is a great amount of variety, and those who grow grapes, have taken full advantage of it. There are currently 42 different varietals being grown within the nine different American Viticulture Area (AVAs) of Monterey County. Each AVA has its own unique set of growing conditions that contribute to the county’s Thermal Rainbow. In the north, it’s generally cooler and more heavily influenced by the bay. Down south, closer to Paso Robles, the temperatures are generally warmer, with the bay’s influence coming in the form of afternoon breezes. We’d like to share the “personality” of each AVA so anyone unfamiliar with the region can start to understand just what a one-of-a kind place Monterey County is and just how many different wines there are to try when you travel along the Thermal Rainbow

Over time, certain areas of Monterey County have been found to have their own distinct characteristics. Within Monterey County, there are now eight smaller AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), each one with its own unique identity, giving visitors a chance to compare and contrast the types of wine each produces.

Today, approximately 85 vintners and growers are established throughout Monterey County, between them growing over 40,000 acres of wine grapes.

Link to wine map:  http://montereywines.org/monterey-wines/find-your-favorite/

 Distinctions

The Blue Grand Canyon

  • One of the world’s deepest marine canyons
  • Only marine canyon that directly impacts a major wine growing region
  • Deep, cold waters influence weather throughout Monterey County

Hidden beneath the surface of the Monterey Bay is an enormous submarine canyon that is sixty miles long and two miles deep. The largest and deepest on the West Coast, this canyon is also unique in its close proximity to the shoreline. Comparable in size and depth to its more visible counterpart in Arizona, this Monterey geologic wonder has been nicknamed the “Blue Grand Canyon™.

From jellyfish and sea otters to oak trees and grapes, everything in Monterey County is directly influenced by the Bay and Canyon. The wines of the Blue Grand Canyon are no exception.

Formed two million years ago, the Blue Grand Canyon’s influence is felt from the coastline at Del Monte Beach to inland San Antonio Valley. The wines of the Blue Grand Canyon deliciously express their birthplace – their style and structure are a reflection of their vineyards’ “sense of place” in relation to this unique meeting of land and sea.

Eight Primary Soil Types

  • Over eighty percent of the vineyards are comprised of eight, optimal soil types
  • Soils: Oceano Loamy Sand, Lockwood Shaly Loam, Chualar Loam, Garey Sandy Loam, Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam, Rincon Clay Loam and Placentia Sandy Loam
  • Alluvial, porous, granite and limestone rich-perfect for grapevines

Thermal Rainbow

  • Forty degree temperature variance, north to south, on a summer day
  • Ocean air/winds act as an “air conditioning system”, mitigating temperatures and extending growing season
  • Dictates the proper varietal planting choices for each sub-appellation

The Thermal Rainbow gives a succinct, visual representation of the Blue Grand Canyon’s™ influence on the temperatures and subsequent varietal selection throughout Monterey Wine Country. The coolest districts are to the north, closest to the ocean and the warmest areas are to the south of the county, furthest from the ocean.

This is an experience not to be missed!

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Montery County-Wine Making Heaven

ImageMonterey County is legendary for its breathtaking views and incredible wildlife.  The way that weather, earth, and ocean combine together make it a dream come true for nature lovers or anyone who just wants to slip away into the area’s quixotic charms. There’s more to the county than one might think at first glance. Sure, the cool ocean breezes, evening fog, and moderate temperatures are all staples of the area, but to view the region as all following the same weather pattern would be far too simplistic. Diverse soil types, varying amounts of wind and fog, as well as generally increasing summertime highs from north to south, mean the appellation has the ability to produce a wide variety of wines.

Commercial wineries have flourished in Monterey beginning in the 1960’s The Grand Blue Canyon, as Monterey Bay is know in wine circles, has a great influence over the viticulture of the region, which covers a great area, stretching from the edge of San Luis Obispo to the top of Paso Robles. In between, there is a great amount of variety, and those who grow grapes, have taken full advantage of it. There are currently 42 different varietals being grown within the nine different American Viticulture Area (AVAs) of Monterey County. Each AVA has its own unique set of growing conditions that contribute to the county’s Thermal Rainbow. In the north, it’s generally cooler and more heavily influenced by the bay. Down south, closer to Paso Robles, the temperatures are generally warmer, with the bay’s influence coming in the form of afternoon breezes. We’d like to share the “personality” of each AVA so anyone unfamiliar with the region can start to understand just what a one-of-a kind place Monterey County is and just how many different wines there are to try when you travel along the Thermal Rainbow

Over time, certain areas of Monterey County have been found to have their own distinct characteristics. Within Monterey County, there are now eight smaller AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), each one with its own unique identity, giving visitors a chance to compare and contrast the types of wine each produces.

Today, approximately 85 vintners and growers are established throughout Monterey County, between them growing over 40,000 acres of wine grapes.

Link to wine map:  http://montereywines.org/monterey-wines/find-your-favorite/

 Distinctions

The Blue Grand Canyon

  • One of the world’s deepest marine canyons
  • Only marine canyon that directly impacts a major wine growing region
  • Deep, cold waters influence weather throughout Monterey County

Hidden beneath the surface of the Monterey Bay is an enormous submarine canyon that is sixty miles long and two miles deep. The largest and deepest on the West Coast, this canyon is also unique in its close proximity to the shoreline. Comparable in size and depth to its more visible counterpart in Arizona, this Monterey geologic wonder has been nicknamed the “Blue Grand Canyon™.

From jellyfish and sea otters to oak trees and grapes, everything in Monterey County is directly influenced by the Bay and Canyon. The wines of the Blue Grand Canyon are no exception.

Formed two million years ago, the Blue Grand Canyon’s influence is felt from the coastline at Del Monte Beach to inland San Antonio Valley. The wines of the Blue Grand Canyon deliciously express their birthplace – their style and structure are a reflection of their vineyards’ “sense of place” in relation to this unique meeting of land and sea.

Eight Primary Soil Types

  • Over eighty percent of the vineyards are comprised of eight, optimal soil types
  • Soils: Oceano Loamy Sand, Lockwood Shaly Loam, Chualar Loam, Garey Sandy Loam, Arroyo Seco Gravelly Sandy Loam, Rincon Clay Loam and Placentia Sandy Loam
  • Alluvial, porous, granite and limestone rich-perfect for grapevines

Thermal Rainbow

  • Forty degree temperature variance, north to south, on a summer day
  • Ocean air/winds act as an “air conditioning system”, mitigating temperatures and extending growing season
  • Dictates the proper varietal planting choices for each sub-appellation

The Thermal Rainbow gives a succinct, visual representation of the Blue Grand Canyon’s™ influence on the temperatures and subsequent varietal selection throughout Monterey Wine Country. The coolest districts are to the north, closest to the ocean and the warmest areas are to the south of the county, furthest from the ocean.

This is an experience not to be missed!

 

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