Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Announcing THE BRAND DEMAND book launch

You are cordially invited to attend...

Book Launch and Signing Shindig

Saturday April 18th, 2015
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


1104 East 2100 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84106

Thursday, March 19, 2015

THE BRAND DEMAND - Different Demons

“Writers are the exorcists of their own demons.”    ― Mario Vargas Llosa

My third published novel, THE BRAND DEMAND is on the eve of life. I’ve heard rumors it’s already slipped its cage and has been seen for sale, at least electronically in some places. It heralds my entrance into the mystery genre. I’ve had a heavy horror, a literary YA and now I have a mystery. A political mystery.

This is going to freak out some of my fans.

I write in all kinds of genres. What? You didn’t believe me when I said “I write what like what I like to read?” I read LOTS of things. I love them all. I want to try them all. So if you think all I do is spooks and supernatural stuff, you’re going to be brought to earth a little when Galen Reed, the protagonist of THE BRAND DEMAND uses wit and guile instead of spells and demons.

Then there’s the politics. This is a political mystery but not in the vein of high stakes maneuvering to save the world from terrorists or nuclear disaster. No. THE BRAND DEMAND is decidedly personal in its politics. It’s critical. It takes sides. Galen is a lefty struggling to make a difference in conservative Utah.

My model was Edward Abbey’s THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG, a wonderful environmental adventure from the 70’s that helped birth the Environmental Movement. Sadly, few people know this pivotal book today. I recommend you read it. It’s very cool.

What Abbey did was show resistance to greed. That’s what Galen and his crew are doing in THE BRAND DEMAND: resisting the greed and corruption that threatens the happiness and welfare of everyone. Instead of caltrops and sabotage, they use embarrassing facts to surgically take out hypocrites and liars. 

Being a liberal in Utah makes Galen and his friends a distinct minority. Their view from across the cultural divide might be surprising or disturbing to those readers on the other side. I’m sure I’m going to get letters.

However, this is still my book. I say that insofar that if you know my work, you’ll recognize a literary method to my madness. I hope. Though I won’t deny that this book was inspired by some of my own political frustration, the polemics in BRAND define a lonely man who’s dedicated his present to making a better future while really having neither. The justice Galen seeks is noble, but empty. Ultimately the story is about Galen’s transformation.

It’s also a real neat “who-dunnit,” a “what the hell is going on thriller” with romance and local color and an ever tenacious underdog fighting forces that don’t have his ideological limitations. It’s got a bit of sex in it too. Good stuff.

In THE BRAND DEMAND I envisioned calamity and invented hope when I felt hopeless. I exorcized a few of my demons in it, so... oh. Wait. Uhm. Well, okay, yeah,... I guess I haven’t changed genres too much then. It seems I’m still writing about demons.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

BEAST CHARMING Of Frogs and Fairy Tales with Jenniffer Wardell

Jenniffer Wardell Fairy Tales and Frogophopic
Jenniffer Wardell is a frequent guest at the Blog Mansion. I challenged her on her first visit to defend her preference of The Monkees over the Beatles (I know, right?). The second time, we discussed life after a book launch. Today we’re discussing a new book from Jenniffer’s classic but twisted imagination. In the same vein as her highly praised FAIRY GODMOTHERS, INC. comes BEAST CHARMING

Johnny: I think it’s so cool how you bring old fairy tales into the modern world. They’re classic tales, full of ancient wisdom and moral truth.

Jenniffer: The originals are hundreds of years old, but people haven’t changed all that much.

This one made my legs go numb
Johnny: I think there’s secret truths contained in the old tales. To prove my theory, I’ve been kissing frogs.

Jenniffer: Ewwww. Do you have to do that now? That’s kind of gross in real life.

Johnny: I only need one of them to become a prince or a princess and I prove my theory and will win a nobel prize.

Jennifer: Suit yourself.

Johnny: Want one?

Jenniffer: No thanks.

Johnny: You don’t know what you’re missing. So tell me about BEAST CHARMING. What’s it about?

Jenniffer: Beauty’s father has been trying to stick her into various fairy tale situations for years – he’s hoping for rich in-laws – when she runs away and joins a temp agency. Her latest assignment brings her to James, who’s been cursed to live life as a beast and has therefore decided to give up on pretty much everything. After that, everything kind of explodes in a hilarious way.

Johnny: Does it take place in the same universe as Fairy Godmothers Inc.?

Jenniffer: Yes. I actually make a quick little reference to that in the book.

Johnny: This one is bitter.

Jenniffer: Some frogs are poisonous you know.

Johnny: Okay, I’ll stick with the toads. This one’s local. Colorado River Toad.

Jenniffer: Do you have to put the whole thing in your mouth?

Johnny: No.

Jenniffer: Okay.

Johnny: Ah booo doh ack rnl maer fa imratn?

This is a fun one.
Jenniffer: Take the toad out of your mouth, Johnny.

Johnny: Oooo, that was a good one. We might have the right one.

Jenniffer: What was your question?

Johnny: Oh. I said do you go back to the original material for your inspiration?

Jenniffer: There’s no real “original” material when it comes to fairy tales, but I love making references to all the different versions of the story. They’re like little inside jokes for all my fellow fairy tale geeks out there.

Johnny: Look. The toad. It’s changing.

Jenniffer: What? No it’s not. It looks like it did before, maybe a little peeved at having you suck on it, but the same.

Johnny: No, don’t you hear it singing? It’s glowing! Don’t you see it?

Jenniffer: No, afraid not.

Johnny: You’re glowing too.

Jenniffer: Must be my creative side shining through.

Johnny: What do you do to get in touch with that creative side?

Jenniffer: I just have to let myself get playful. Stories are like toys, and it’s fun to take them apart and put the pieces together in different ways.

Johnny: What’s your writing process? Do you ever use hallucinogenics?

Jenniffer: Sadly, no. Clearly, giving a writer hallucinogenics is a terrible mistake.

Johnny: I can see your words like streams of colors. Ooooooooo

Jenniffer: Do you want to ask me about marketing?

Johnny: Okay. You’ve had a year with Fairy Godmothers, Inc. How’s your marketing been? What’s worked?

Jenniffer: I’ve found that targeted marketing is really important, which is where the Internet is really helpful. I can connect to fellow fairy tale fans.

Johnny: You get along with Jolly Fish Press. Jolly Fish! That’s a funny name. Oooooo

Jenniffer: I don’t know whether to be envious or worried right now.

Johnny: When and where is your official launch for Beast Charming? Will there be munchies?

Jenniffer: It will be March 28 from 2-4 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Layton (1780 Woodland Park Drive). And of course there will be munchies.

Johnny: Sure you don’t want to try a toad? Really good. Ooooooooo

Not as tasty as it looks
Jenniffer: Ah, I’m good.

Johnny: Awesome cover, by the way. Really comes alive. Ooooooo colors…...

Jenniffer: Maybe you should put the frog down now.

Johnny: The frogs are speaking French. I don’t understand what they’re saying. I know it’s about me. Amphibians are not to be trusted.

Jenniffer: Or put in your mouth.

Johnny: You’re one to talk with all your glowing jiggling multi-color faceted tentacles.

Jenniffer: Maybe I should go

Johnny: No, wait. I’m fine. Beast Charming. Great book. Where can people find out more about you and it.




Beast Charming





Johnny: Do you have a giveaway going?

Jenniffer: I do. Readers have the chance to win one of five copies of Beast Charming.

Johnny: I’m telling you Jenniffer, there’s weird stuff happening with that toad.

Jenniffer: I think you’ve poisoned…. Oh…. Oh I see it.

Johnny: Yeah that one.

Jenniffer & Johnny: All Glory to Hypnotoad!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Salad with L.K. Hill author of The Botanist

L.K. Hill
friend or rival?
An author after my own heart, L.K. Hill (Liesel) returns to the Blog Mansion with a new book. You might remember her first visit last year when she talked about Citadels of Fire and rocket cats. This time, she’s here to talk about her new mystery The Botanist and salads.

Johnny: You’re like me Liesel, you are productive and write in a variety of genres for the same publisher, Jolly Fish Press.

Liesel: Yup! And like you, I appreciate a good tie-dye.

J: I thought I was the only one doing that.

L: Nope.

J: The Botanist is a detective mystery. I thought I was the only one writing those. You know I have The Finger Trap coming out from them next fall.

L: I heard something about it, but no you’re not the only one.

J: I’m not even first.

L: Again no.

J: Care for some salad?

L: What was that look for? That scary envious evil look.

J: I’ve had the flu.

L: Okay.

J: So while I dish up something scrumptious, tell me about The Botanist. What’s it about?

L: It's set in a small, fictional town in southern Utah called Mount Dessicate. A small-town cop stumbles upon a mass grave in the desert outside the town, and with it comes a serial murder mystery that's been going on for some time, only no one realized it.

J: Did you learn a lot about plants and flowers in your research?

L: Not especially. Most of the botany stuff I used, I already knew, but I did some research to fine tune the details.

J: That'll make things easier. When is it coming out?

L: It was supposed to be the end of March, but it got pushed back to the end of April. Jolly Fish Press believed pushing it back by a month would give it fairer shot at a good initial run. Not so rushed, you know?

J: Is there a giveaway I can help you publicize?

L: Always! When I have the date for the launch party, I'll let you know. I'll also be doing an online launch party. I'll be giving away free copies, other books, gift cards, and maybe even some seeds for spring planting. You know, just to freak my readers out. :D

J: Do you like rhubarb? I’ll add some rhubarb leaves to the salad.

L: Leaves? Not the stalks?

J: Tell me about Mt. Dessicate. What was your inspiration?

L: Years ago, I had several younger siblings who worked summers at a dude ranch in southern Utah. The town, about three feet north of the southern Utah border was called Antimony (also known as Back Country, Hickville, and Where?) Anyway, it's 5-6 hours south of where I live, depending on if I feel like abiding by the speed limit. The point is, during those summers I had many long car rides driving through the dusty, tumbleweed country of southern Utah, and--what can I say?--I'm a writer. My mind wandered. The Botanist was born. Ta-da!

J: Raw vegetables are so nutritious. I’ll just add in some raw lima beans and red kidney beans. Nummy nummy.

L: They are nutritious, Johnny. Thank you! (You do have a bathroom close by, yes?)

J: You won't need it. Is The Botanist launching a series or is it a one off?

L: It's a stand alone. It's funny because I'm such a long-winded story teller that I generally write series. This is actually the first stand alone I've published. And I definitely could write sequels, but I didn't envision the original story that way. We'll just have to see how it is received.

J: How has Citadels of Fire been going?

L: Great! It's been selling pretty well for a historical fiction, and the reception has been spectacular. Book 2 is slated for release this fall.

J: How has your marketing gone? What’s been your favorite part of it all?

L: As a newbie writer, I think like most of us, I was just afraid of marketing. Now that I've got some experience, I find that the discovery is my favorite part. I like to try new things--new websites, new promos, new ideas--just to see how it works out. The journey can be more exciting than the destination.

J: Isn’t it a great feeling to find your book on the library shelf or in a bookstore?

L: Oh yes. Definitely! It's especially great during the times that you weren't the one who walked in and put it there.

J: I’m glad you had a chance to experience that.

L: You make it sound like I never will again.

J: Did I? I’m sorry. I’m just so happy to have you here. In my clutch–, I mean, kitchen. Apple seeds for some crunch and I’m brewing some green tomato leaf tea. What a bonny meal.

L: You said bonny like people actually say bonny.

J: The Botanist is your second book with Jolly Fish Press. How has it been working with them?

L: I love JFP! I've worked with other traditional publishers before and I think the thing that stands out most about JFP is how much wiggle room they give their authors. I've had traditional publishers that make it almost impossible to sell your own book. JFP isn't that way at all. They just say, tell us when and what, and we'll help you make it happen. It's very refreshing.

J: So they’ll miss you if you if something were to happen to you?

L: Yeah, sure.

J: And I’d be sad. I like this friendly competition we have with them, both writing series and stand-alones, both with detective books coming out this year, vying for resources, fame, fans.

L: I don’t think it’s like that.
Foxglove is pretty. Pretty Deadly!

J: Your cover is really fantastic. I’m envious.

L: Thank you! JFP's art department is phenomenal. I've gotten nothing but compliments, and that's not even the part I worked on. (I'm happy to take credit for it though.) Luckily JFP has worked on your covers, too, Johnny. They are equally as stunning.

J: Cherry, almond and plum leaves toss up so nicely.

L: It’s a beautiful looking salad.

J: Wait until you taste the dressing; I distilled spring flowers in honor or you and your book. Foxglove. Purple and lovely. Just smell it.

L: Hold on. Foxglove? Digitalis? That’s poisonous.

J: Oh, no. You’re right. What was I thinking? That was a close one. Luckily I made another essence of Oleander. It’ll be just perfect.

L: Er--right. Okay.

J: Where on the internet can fans send flowers?

L: Send flowers?

J: In honor of your new book, The Botanist. A celebration of the book. And your short life.

L: Perhaps flowers of the digital variety would be best. We could celebrate the amazing ebook version. (Cheaper for the fans that way too.) They can send them to any of online platforms. They're listed below.
AMAZON (Author)
AMAZON (The Botanist)

J: Now eat up. Get those veggies in you. The natural world has so much bounty. Nothing like a big mixed green salad to celebrate spring and a new book.

L: It’s bitter.

J: Yes. Bitter.


Liesel K Hill is a novelist who writes across three genres: scifi/fantasy, historical fiction, and crime fiction. Her scifi and fantasy, including dystopian, are written under her full name. Her crime and historical fiction are written under her initials, L.K. Hill.

She comes from a large, tight-knit family and resides in Northern Utah. She loved to read and write at a young age, and her earliest memories consist of her father sitting in the doorway of her room at night, relating stories of Frodo, Gandalf, and the One Ring of Power. Her mother also read to her every afternoon as a child, sometimes for several hours a day.

Today she is an award-winning author. All of her published works thus far have won manuscript awards in the prestigious League of Utah Writers annual fiction competition. Persistence of Vision was the winner of the Silver Quill Award for Published Books in 2013, while Citadels of Fire also won the Silver Quill in 2014.