20 Questions: Poet Daniel von der Embse

..and once again wonky formatting. Sorry. I’m currently under the weather. I don’t have the patience to try and figure it out. Someone pass the whiskey. That might change my tune. At this point, just roll the bus over me, and let’s be done with it. I’m such a breath of contagious air. This isn’t about me though. This is about Daniel. He is a delight. Read on to find out more.

Daniel von der Embse wasborn and raised in Mansfield,Ohio, educated in Catholicschools, and graduated from
Ashland University with a B.A.degree in Theatre. He beganwriting poetry after a four-decade career as a copywriter for
advertising agencies in NewYork, Chicago, Los Angeles,Seattle, San Francisco, and SaltLake City. His poems appear The
Missing Slate, Across The Margin,Harpoon Review, Decanto, PoetryPacific, and Poetry Quarterly.

He blogs at


20 Questions: Daniel von der Embse

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other

side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell the tale? I have ahard time staying in one place, so I’d probably be a short stint in Wonderland.

2. Happiness is _____ writing poetry. I am truly happy when I am writing poetry.

3. Can we have happiness without sadness? For me it is strictly a co-dependent relationship.

4. An author with whom you would like to have lunch? Kurt Vonnegut if he were alive. So I’d go with David Sedaris now. I like a funny lunch.

5. If you were a drink. What would you be? Why? Old Fashioned. I’m that

6. Once, the movie. Are you familiar with it? Yes, love it. The song “Falling Slowly” was the only Oscar winner I picked correctly that year.

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you? Sitting or lying in darkness isvery soothing. But having to make my way in the dark is frightening because

8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?

Frank Zappa if he were alive. John Cale – as long as he is

9. What makes you nostalgic? Listening to vinyl records.

10. Narnia or Never Land? Well, I’ve actually been to Narnia – it’s in Umbria in Italy. It’s not that great so I’d probably go with Never Land.

11. Do you remember your dreams? Only the bad dreams. They make the best

12. What’s your favorite time of day? Lunchtime.

13. What’s your favorite season? Spring. When everything begins.

14. Does pressure motivate you? I use self-induced pressure to push myself to do better. But I’m used to the external pressure of deadlines. It has made me work faster and not overthink things.

15. Would you rather live to write or write to live? I’d rather just write to write.

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written? Anything by Raymond Carver.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected? Not paranoid, but easily excitable. Under pressure, very collected.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams? People watching at the Pitti Palace in Florence.

19. Are you more like the sun or the moon? Definitely the moon. I move in cycles. Currently, I’m going though male menopause.

20. Do you hear voices? I have constant ringing in my ears. It’s called tinnitus. I hear lines of poetry in my ear over the ringing.

21. Please tell our readers about your upcoming projects. Thanks for asking that! I’m working on a collection of poems. It might be the most challenging thing I’ve ever attempted. And thanks for asking me 20 questions! Make that 21


Jon Stewart, Jimmy Fallon, and Who????

Tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:00EST, I’ll be a guest on my own podcast. That’s not weird at all, right? My co-host and friend Niles, aka James, has decided to interview me about my new little book of poetry, Confessions of a Reformed Southern Belle: A Poet’s Collection of Love, Loss and Renewal. I’m honored.  If you don’t have anything more pressing to do (like cleaning your dryer filer or rearranging your pantry), we’d be happy if you tuned in. I have it on good authority Jon Stewart and Jimmy Fallon will be calling in. That’s if you consider my cat “good authority.”

You can click the link below to listen.


The Fox on The Run. Twenty Questions with NY Times Best Selling Author- Sylvain Reynard


My thanks to SR. I apologizes for the formatting. WordPress is being cankerous. (GRR)


1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell the tale?
Wonderland would be fascinating but I’d have to return to the real world.
2. Happiness is _____the satisfaction of all our deepest longings.

3. Can we have happiness without sadness? On occasion. But certainly not without marmalade.

4. An author with whom you would like to have lunch? Saul Bellow.

5. If you were a drink. What would you be? Why? A shot of Laphroaig Scotch. Neat.
I’m afraid the only answer to the ‘why’ question I can come up with is rather rude so I’d best leave it unanswered.
6. Once, the movie. Are you familiar with it?
No, I’m sorry to say.
7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?
Both. It depends on the kind of darkness and whether I’m carrying something that could be used as a defensive weapon.
8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?
JS Bach. Or Sting.
It’s a toss up, really.
9. What makes you nostalgic?
Classic children’s literature.
10. Narnia or Never Land?
11. Do you remember your dreams?
Yes. I dreamt of being a writer, once.
12. What’s your favorite time of day?
Morning, after I’ve had my first coffee.
13. What’s your favorite season?
14. Does pressure motivate you?
It can but it can also demotivate. So a balance needs to be struck. Speaking of which, when I lack demotivation, I turn to this helpful website: http://www.despair.com/demotivators.html
15. Would you rather live to write or write to live?
Live to write.
16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?
The Brothers Karamazov.
17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?
Oh, I’m definitely paranoid. (Looks over shoulder)
Technically, one is not paranoid if there really are people who are trying to get you.
18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?
To spend the day in Florence at the Uffizi Gallery and then dine in a piazza.
19. Are you more like the sun or the moon?
20. Do you hear voices?
They swear a lot.
Please tell our readers about your upcoming projects.

Thank you for inviting me to answer 20 questions and thanks for asking about my projects.

I have a new series coming out, which is set in the underworld of Florence. The first work, “The Prince,” is a novella that links the Gabriel Series with the new series. “The Prince” releases January 20th



Then “The Raven,” which is the first novel in the new series, releases February 3rd.




Twenty Random Questions with Children of the Canyon’s Author-David Kukoff

  1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to tell your story?


  1. Do you sing in the shower?


  1. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?


  1. An author with whom you would like to have lunch?


  1. Do you wake up at night to read or write?


  1. Do you feel anxious or excited when you start to write?


  1. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?


  1. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?


  1. What makes you nostalgic?


  1. Does love dry up your creative juices or make them flow faster?


  1. Do you remember your dreams?


  1. What’s your favorite color?


  1. What’s your favorite season?


  1. Does pressure motivate you?


  1. Would you rather live to write or write to live?


  1. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?


  1. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?


  1. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?


  1. Are you more like the sun or the moon?


  1. Do you hear voices?



I’d like to thank David for taking time out of his busy life to participate in this blog post. I do have to wonder why he felt the need to yell at us. (Kidding) Here’s a little more about David and his poignant coming age novel Children of The Canyon.


About David:
“I put every syllable of a novel through the wringer hundreds of times to measure everything from connotation to rhythm.”

“A native Angeleno and graduate of Columbia University and UCLA Film School, David Kukoff has eleven produced film and television credits to his name (including the hit Disney movies “Model Behavior” with Justin Timberlake and Kathie Lee Gifford and “Switching Goals” with the Olsen Twins). Following a spec screenplay sale that made the front page of Variety, he went on to write for every studio and network in Hollywood, publish two books on film and television writing, and be the subject of numerous features in Variety, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, and KCET’s award-winning “Life And Times Tonight.”

Mr. Kukoff has also taught writing at Northwestern (where he was elected to the university’s Faculty Honor Roll in his first year), UCLA, and NYU, served as a guest editor for UK academic publisher Palgrave MacMillan, and been featured as a guest lecturer at UCLA’s Faculty Lecture Series at Lake Arrowhead.”

Children Of The Canyon

Children of the Canyon tells the story of David, a boy growing up in LA’s fabled Laurel Canyon neighborhood as the 1960s counterculture is coming to an end.

David’s record producer father works with the reclusive former leader of a surf music band on an album that promises to elevate the legacies of both men to immortal status. His distant, peripatetic mother rides the waves of activism and feminism in and out of David’s life. The elusive Topanga, named for the city’s last remaining Eden, whom David meets on the beach the night of his parents’ separation continues to elude his futile attempts to reconnect with her throughout the decade.

Through David’s eyes, we bear witness to the fallout from the California Dream’s malfunction: the ruined families, failed revolutionaries, curdled musical idealism, and, ultimately, the rise of the conservatism that put the country on its present path.


Twenty Random Questions with Philosopher Extraordinaire Mark Kingwell.

Mark Kingwell was kind enough to agree to answer twenty random questions, posed by yours truly. If you aren’t familiar with the Professor, please check out his bio at the end of this post. I have an innocent and platonic fascination with his mind. He’s my Glenn Gould. Mark will get that, and so will those of you familiar with his books. If you haven’t read Kingwell’s work, I promise once you do you’ll be just as intrigued. As an aside, Mark will on my podcast La Literati on Jan. 12th. You can find the details at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/laliteraticarpelibrum We’re excited to speak with him. In the meantime, check out his insightful and humorous answers to total randomness.

1. If you were Alice, would you rather stay in Wonderland on the other side of the mirror, or come back to the real world to share your story?

Well, it’s a psychedelic trip, isn’t it? So I would come back, but I wouldn’t tell anybody about it. And I’d figure out a way to get back there at some point.

2. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?

“Everyone hates a sad professor.” (Yes, I stole that.)

3. If you were a drink, what would you be? Why?

That’s easy, because I once published a book about cocktails and I like to mix them for friends. So I’d say I am a dry gin martini, served straight up, with one of those big olives stuffed with a piece of blue cheese. Cold and clear, then some salt and pungency waiting for the right moment to show itself.

4. What childhood fear do you still have as an adult?

Failure. And since you ask, I’m still not too crazy about wasps. Also frozen hockey pucks to the face.

5. If you could choose just one thing to change about the world, what would it be?

No religious zealotry, thank you.

6. What’s your favorite poem?

John Donne, “The Ecstasy.”

7. Does darkness soothe you or frighten you?

Very soothing stuff, darkness. Except when it isn’t. You know, that noise that doesn’t immediately make sense…

8. If you ruled your own country, who would you get to write your national anthem?

Cole Porter. Or maybe Hal David.

9. What makes you nostalgic?

This will sound weird if you aren’t, like me, an air force brat: seeing any military airplane. They make me think of the bases where I grew up, the funny houses with the same floorplan no matter where you were in the country, the kids you knew for a few months before their fathers got posted somewhere else. Games of Post Office in somebody’s garage. Sandlot baseball. Soundtrack by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, and Alice Cooper.

10. Clowns., creepy or cool?

You’re not seriously asking that, are you? Creepy of course. Creepy creepy creepy. Also, see Question 7. Bart Simpson had it right: “Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.”

11. Do you remember your dreams?

About once a week. They are usually extremely violent, David Cronenberg or Quentin Tarantino violent. I have no idea why.

12. What’s your favorite song?

That’s easy: “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” any version, but maybe especially the Platters (1958) and Keith Jarrett (2009). I’m going to cheat and add that my favourite album of all time is Glenn Gould’s “A Consort of Musick Bye William Byrde And Orlando Gibbons” (1984); this just edges out Keith Jarrett’s sublime “Köln Concert” (1975) and “Armed Forces” by Elvis Costello and the Attractions (1979).

13. What’s your favorite season?

Autumn. Especially here in Ontario, where everything looks better when the leaves begin to change colour. Also: playoff baseball.

14. Does pressure motivate you?

Absolutely. The self-applied kind is the best, though.

15. To what extent do you shape your own destiny, and how much is down to fate?

I will quote Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise: “There is no fate but what we make.”

16. What published book do you secretly wish you had written?

A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. Also, The Republic.

17. Are you the paranoid type or calm, cool and collected?

I’m not paranoid, but I usually disguise my intense misanthropy under a facade of easygoing amiability. Does that answer the question? Maybe not… Might make sense of Question 11, though.

18. What would qualify as the afternoon of your dreams?

Well, there has to be sex with my sweetie in there somewhere, plus music, and art, and then cocktails at some point before dinner. Also a baseball game or a walk in the woods or some fly fishing. Hmm – I guess it matters whether I’m alone or not. Am I alone? Oh no…

19. Are you more like fire or the earth?

Can’t I be both? And also wind? I always wanted to play in the horn section on “Got To Get You Into My Life.”

20. Do you hear voices?

Just my own, incessant and various, about deadlines and ideas, quotations and turns of phrase, things to say and things I wish I’d said. Wouldn’t want it otherwise.

Bonus question:
What are you currently working on?

A new collection of essays about democracy and culture, to be published next year

About Mark kingwell:

Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine in New York. He is the author or co-author of seventeen books of political, cultural and aesthetic theory, including the bestsellers Better Living (1998), The World We Want (2000), Concrete Reveries (2008), and Glenn Gould (2009). His articles on politics, architecture and art have appeared in many academic journals, including the Journal of Philosophy and the Harvard Design Magazine, and in more than 40 mainstream publications, among them Harper’s, the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, Utne Reader, BookForum, the Toronto Star, and Queen’s Quarterly; he is also a former columnist for Adbusters, the National Post, and the Globe and Mail.

Mr. Kingwell has lectured extensively in Canada, the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia on philosophical subjects and had held visiting posts at Cambridge University, the University of California at Berkeley, and at the City University of New York, where he was the Weissman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Humanities in 2002. Mr. Kingwell is the recipient of the Spitz Prize in political theory, National Magazine Awards for both essays and columns, the Outstanding Teaching Award and President’s Teaching Award at the University of Toronto, a research fellowship at the Jackman Humanities Institute, and in 2000 was awarded an honorary DFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design for contributions to theory and criticism. His most recent book is a collection of political essays, Unruly Voices (2012); he has also recently published two illustrated pamphlets, Frank’s Motel (2013) and Democracy’s Gift (2014).


Twenty Questions with New York Times Best Selling Author- Sylvain Reynard

Sylvain Reynard, author of the Gabriel’s Inferno Trilogy and the upcoming paranormal romance The Raven, was kind enough to answers twenty random questions, posed by yours truly. In addition to being a good sport, an amazing author and a friend to humanity, Reynard has a stellar sense of humor. Check it out. And, be sure to check him out at. http://www.sylvainreynard.com/

1. If you were going to write an article about yourself, what would the headline be?

Anonymous Author Writes Article About Anonymity.

2. Describe your current mood using a color?


3. What’s the theme song of your life?

The Long and Winding Road by the Beatles.

4. Do you take selfies? If so, care to share? 😉

I don’t. I have been known to photobomb, however.

5. Favorite sound. Least favorite sound?

My alarm clock.

6. What’s your favorite SR quote?

“Kindness is never wasted.”

7. What was the last film you saw?


8. Do you sing in the shower?


9. If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?

I wish I were more patient.

10. Can you impersonate anyone famous?

I’m really good at impersonating anonymous authors, especially at parties.

11. Describe your dream sandwich.

There’s a sandwich shop in England called Prêt a Manger. https://www.pret.com

I enjoy almost all their sandwiches and could eat their daily. Their Ham & Cheese Baguette is my favourite.

12. What’s your favorite smell/scent?

I like the smell of coffee and oranges.

13. What was your first car?

A horse and buggy, actually.

14. How old were you were you discovered your love for writing?

I can’t remember, but I was writing with crayons…

15. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be? Why?

I’d like to be an elf from the woodland realm, as described by Tolkien.

16. Innie or outie?


17. Clowns. Creepy or cool?

Not really a fan of clowns …

18. What your favorite poem?

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

19. Do you prefer ponytails or pigtails?


20. Tell us about your upcoming novel?

Thank you.

I’m writing “The Raven,” which is the first in a new series. It’s a paranormal love story set in Florence, Italy, and it will feature a cameo with the Professor. It’s possible other characters from The Gabriel Series will also appear …

Here’s the description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Gabriel Series comes a dark, sensual tale of romance in a city shrouded in mystery…

Raven Wood spends her days at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery restoring fine works of Renaissance art. But an innocent walk home after an evening with friends changes her life forever. When she intervenes in the senseless beating of a homeless man, his attackers turn on her, dragging her into an alley. Raven is only semi-conscious when their assault is interrupted by a cacophony of growls followed by her attacker’s screams. Mercifully, she blacks out, but not before catching a glimpse of a shadowy figure who whispers to her …

Cassita vulneratus.

When Raven awakes, she is inexplicably changed. She returns to the Uffizi, but no one recognizes her and more disturbingly, she discovers that she’s been absent an entire week. With no recollection of the events leading up to her disappearance, Raven also learns that her absence coincides with one of the largest robberies in Uffizi history – the theft of a set of priceless Botticelli illustrations. When the baffled police force identifies her as its prime suspect, Raven is desperate to clear her name. She seeks out one of Florence’s wealthiest and elusive men in an attempt to uncover the truth about her disappearance. Their encounter leads Raven to a dark underworld whose inhabitants kill to keep their secrets …

I have a cover design and a release date for “The Raven,” but we haven’t announced them yet. Look for an announcement soon.

Thanks again Tosha for inviting me to join you and your readers.
It’s a pleasure,

All About Paul Sampson. The life, the times, the movie. NOTT

This interview was done with the sole purpose of getting into the talented chaotic mind of actor/director/writer/producer, in particular, his film Night of the Templar. One of his friends once told him that he wanted to get into his mind. Paul responded with “we would never let you leave”. This interview you are about to read is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

When did you discover your love for writing and acting?

That’s a two-part question, so I’ll answer it in ‘two-parts’, ‘a’ and ‘b’.
Writing: I don’t love the actual process of writing whatsoever. I don’t like to sit in front of a computer in seclusion for days, weeks, months at a time. If I were a cat, I’d be an alley cat, so the whole inside house cat thing kills me. but I love thinking and creating. I began writing only as a vehicle to get my thoughts on page (and out of my head). …. I wish I could magically get my thoughts (and scripts) on page without ever having to sit in front of a computer. You know, just blink like the chick from ‘I Dream of Jeanie” and wham, they magically appear.

Acting: I’m often hired to portray (on stage and in films) some very ‘peculiar’ off-beat, disruptive, and completely unhinged characters that seem to have gone far around the bend… and they pay me… what was the question again? Yeah, who wouldn’t love that….hahhaahhahahaa

Describe yourself in three words?

Someone very close to me once described me as ‘Fast, Reckless, and Lucky.’ However, I would say ‘Cute, Cudlee, and Adorable.” Why are you laughing?

What a typical day like for Paul Sampson the writer?

It usually begins with a Human Sacrifice, followed by Sex, Drugs, Rock n’ Roll… it’s basically the same as any other day for me….and, yeah, I knock out as many pages (writing) as ‘inhumanly’ possible before passing out from exhaustion.

How did Night of the Templar come to be?

I was doing research on ‘Jack the Ripper’ and the White Chapel murders for several months, and the conspiracy theory of its connection with the Free Masons kept on popping up (everyone loves a good mystery and scandal). And I was intrigued enough to start researching the Free Masons. Lo and behold there were links, or mention that they were possibly an ‘extension’ of the Knights Templar, which at the time I knew very little about. That all changed. I became somewhat obsessed with their history. And then a thought popped…and I began to write the ‘medieval’ part of Night of the Templar…the rest followed. Sometimes the wand finds the wizard. I don’t know what that last line means, but I’ve been waiting to use it for quite some time so I’m just throwing it in now.

Do you ever sing in the shower?

Yes. I sing everywhere. If I went to your house, I would sing in your shower.

Night of the Templar is a mixture of many different genre, action, drama, murder mystery, horror, comedy, which is adds to its appeal. Was that your plan all along?

I’ve been asked that before, and it’s strange, Tosha. When I wrote Night of the Templar, I didn’t have a specific genre in mind. It just came out. I’ve written many scripts and for the most part, there may be a dose of ‘zany’ sprinkled in there for good measure, but they are usually somewhat ‘definitive’ in their genre. But Night of the Templar is just a journey. One minute you’re intrigued with a medieval dramatic scene, the next you’re watching pure adrenaline action, and a beat later you’re holding your eyes from a tongue being pulled out of someone’s head….and then a jolt of dark humor comes your way. And all along it’s kind of murder mystery, but not. It just fell out of my head that way. Luckily, it flows nicely and people keep writing to me every day of how much they enjoy it….most of these letters are from ‘institutions’ …

Do you have any hidden talents?

If I told you, they would no longer be ‘hidden.’ It’s like telling a secret, kind of defeats the purpose, right.

Night of the Templar was David Carradine’s last feature film, how did this last line of dialogue affect you emotional?

‘Well, old friend, I’ll see you in the next lifetime’, and he goes, ‘Old friends, old soulmates…’
Well, when we actually exchanged the lines it was not as big a deal, because obviously, he was still alive. But in the editing room, after he had passed, I was looking at the footage and was like, ‘oh, shit, how strange, how very strange’… and there were several other things in the movie that were like that. Very strange ‘after the fact’ or rather ‘before’ that I captured during shooting that occurred after. As they say, there is nothing stranger than the act of Life imitating Art. And yes, that last statement I just said is another one of those sayings I wanted to get in that I’ve been trying to work into a conversation all day long.

How did you go about getting the rest of the great cast of my favorites, including Udo Kier, Norman Reedus and Billy Drago?

It seems like you’re referring to the ‘modern day’ cast. Norman was the first person on board. We were doing a film together in Bulgaria and I showed him the medieval footage, and told him the overall premise….and he said he was in. So it was only the two of us for a while. When the time came, he suggested Udo Kier, so I sent him (Udo) the script and he wanted to meet with me to discuss. And then there were three. Max Perlich came about next. Norman and I are both friends of Max. And then there were four. David Carradine was next. He knew who I was, I got the script to him, and within 24 hours he said yes. Billy Drago came last, actually last minute. I had met Billy briefly some time before hand and I had him in mind. However, I originally had someone else playing the role of Shauna the Chef. They ‘fell through’ last minute….very last minute…and luckily Billy was available and was gracious enough to help out. He really saved the day. I love that guy.

You seem to work with your friends…Norman in 4 films, Max Perlich, , Robert Miano… Would you like to do other projects with them?

No, I never want to see these people again. Ever! Is that even a real question? hahahaha. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to work with their friends? (That’s a rhetorical question, Tosha, it doesn’t require a response on your end…just clarifying….that’s all)

What coming up for Paul Sampson? What are you currently working on?

Since Night of the Templar has been released, I had five (5) other script concepts in my head that I had either already started writing or needed to begin (writing) from scratch. And now, four out of the five of them are in at least a rough draft form (I’ve been very very busy lately, secluded in a dark room, doing my due diligence to say the least). I’ll begin the last one (script) next month. After that, I’ll have all the concepts (and hopefully voices) out of my head and I can just go and act for a long time. I’ve been asked to do a couple of movies coming up soon in the year. But just a little insight, one of the scripts I polished is ‘Captain Invincible’ and the one I’m going to start next month is the feature for ‘Shamus (the Clown)’. It’s time to Rock!

Pudding or pie?

Pie. Definitely. I like Pie. I like Pie with a delicious Crust. I like Pie like most of us. I like Pie it’s a must. I like pie while riding the bus. To have it with cream is a dream. Pie is fun, oh my, oh my….take my pie and I’ll punch you in your … throat…

What’s your favorite movie?

Why, Night of the Templar, of course. Like ‘duh.’ And yes, to see how to view simply go to http://www.NightoftheTemplar.com hahhahhahaaaaa

You can also find Paul on Twitter @realpaulsampson

The Weight of Words author, Georgina Guthrie. on writing, wine and love in an elevator.

Our guest today is The Weight of Words author, Georgina Guthrie. GG can write her socks off and she’ll have you reading yours off. Georgina was kind enough to talk to us about writing, the critics, lust and red, red, wine. Apparently, it does go to her head. Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the class, the sass and a bit of smart ass that is the lovely Georgina Guthrie. Oh and buy her book! Yes, you!

1. What compelled you to write The Weight of Words?

Compel is a strong word. What actually happened was a convergence of timely events. I discovered an on-line writing community at a point in my life when I’d changed jobs and had extra time to genuinely pursue a hobby I’ve always enjoyed, but never actually shared with others. The Weight of Words is a story that’s been rattling around in my head for over 20 years, since my own days at Vic. *winks*

2. What kind of research did you do for the book?

I didn’t do much in the way of research, with the exception of rereading Antony and Cleopatra, just to refresh my memory of the dynamic between those two characters in preparation for one of the scenes. I don’t really consider reading Shakespeare to be “research” though. Research sounds laborious. I don’t find the Bard laborious. You probably figure that out. 

3. How much do you think about your readers when you write?

That’s an interesting question. When I was posting on-line, I thought about readers’ responses a great deal. Not that I pandered to readers, but I did sometimes think about what they might like to see characters doing. In the edit-for-publication stages, there’s certainly consideration of readership, but not as much room for scenes designed merely to “please audiences.”

4. In the novel, desire is a huge theme. The longing between the main characters Daniel and Aubrey is palpable. They yearn so much for one another but can’t be together. Why do you think the forbidden is so enticing?

Daniel and Aubrey don’t want to be together because their relationship is prohibited—they want each other in spite of the forbidden aspect. Having said that, we live in a culture where delayed gratification is becoming less and less the norm, in all the things we do, relationships included, and the reluctance to delay having sex in relationships is certainly a part of that.

As far as Daniel and Aubrey go, their desire to be together is inspired by their circumstances, too. Daniel is desperate for a meaningful human connection after having a miserable year. When he meets Aubrey, he almost hears something “click” in his brain—his heart, wherever that type of epiphany lives.

5. The Weight of the Words is the first in a trilogy. When can we expect the next book to come out?

I’m about to move into the editing stages with Better Deeds than Words. I think it’s safe to say early summer (but don’t hold me to that. LOL).

6. Shakespeare’s work factors heavily in your novel. Have you always been a fan of the Bard?

My first exposure to Shakespeare was reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a ninth grade English classroom. And yes, I was blown away from the outset.

7. Who are you reading? Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books? Who did you read while writing this book?

I have a very eclectic reading taste. I love Canadian Lit—Margaret Atwood, Ann-Marie Macdonald, Timothy Findlay, Robertson Davies. But I also love world literature—books that teach me about life in other cultures. My favourite books in that vein are A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. We all need escape though, and I love YA books for that very reason. Unfortunately, when writing and editing, reading goes on the back burner.

8. Do you read reviews of your writing? How do you react to particularly good or bad reviews? Do you incorporate criticism or praise from reviews into your learning process as a writer?

I struggle with self-confidence, so I’ve found reading negative reviews, or stumbling across people bashing my writing in a public forum to be difficult. (I’m not referring to constructive criticism—more so to thoughtlessness and nastiness). I was more bothered by it when I was posting on-line. I don’t understand the compulsion some people have to react so negatively and harshly to something that is free.

Now that I’ve published, it’s a little different. I try to take a useful kernel from even the nasty reviews. Obviously, I want to become a better writer. If someone’s negative review helps me achieve that, then great!
(You’ll notice that I only addressed the negative part of this question. LOL. I need to do a better job of feeling bolstered by the positive reviews instead of allowing a few negative reactions to rise to the top. Working on it!)

9. You’re able to evoke strong emotional responses from your readers, what advice can you offer writers wanting to forge that same kind of connection with their readers?

When I write, I do my best to keep the characters real. They’re not superheroes, or porn stars or fairy tale characters. They’re real, and because of that, they’re flawed and possibly more recognizable. People are more likely to connect with those kinds of characters and to identify with them…to say, “yep, that’s totally something I would do…”

1. Describe yourself in three words
Kind. Self-deprecating. Um…sleepy?
2. Kindle or traditional read?
Both. Sometimes at the same time, sometimes alternating.
3. Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with James Purefoy or Sylvain Reynard?
Sadly, I had to Google James Purefoy. I guess that answers that question…LOL.
4. What’s your theme song?
I don’t think I have one. I can tell you this—whenever New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle comes on, it doesn’t matter where I am, I drop everything to dance and lip sync. Does that count as a theme song?
5. I say pudding. You say…
Treacle. (Oh man, now I’m craving treacle pudding. Damn you!)
6. Beer, wine, or hit me with the Jack, baby?
Wine. Unequivocally.
7. What would you title your memoir?
That’s a toss-up. If it were about writing:
In my Write Mind.
If it were about life in general:
How Red Wine Saved my Life

You can find GGon the web being fabulous at:


and check out The Weight of Words, available at Amazon.com


Interview with Faith in a Box Author-Rick Greenberg

Today’s featured guest is Richard Greenberg, author of Faith in a Box, a memoir of faith and renewal. It was the early 90’s and Rick Greenberg had it all, a beautiful wife, adoring children, and a great career. Rick, a marine, had seen his share of trying times. He had fought in two wars, Vietnam and Iraq and lived to tell the tale. Life was beautiful, but on a fateful weekend, during a Vietnam vet reunion, his perfect world was turned upside down. Tragedy would strike, taking from Rick his dearest and leaving Rick, himself, near death and in a coma. Doctors gave no hope to the family. However, thirty days later, Rick awoke. His doctors were stunned. His family knew it was a miracle. Rick wanted no part of it. All he knew was that his wife was gone and so was his faith.

Faith in a Box chronicles Rick’s grueling recovery, his journey into the abyss and how miraculously he found his way back toward the light and a faith he thought was long lost. It’s a story of love and courage, inspirational and uplifting. I dare you to read this book and not be moved.

Rick was kind enough to consent to an interview via e-mail below is our exchange.

1. Rick, your story read like a testimony (and a powerful one at that). In the book, you hold nothing back. You’re very honest about your loss, your struggles, your doubt in God, and your journey into the abyss and back. How difficult was it to put your life on display like that?

This was perhaps the most difficult thing I have ever done. In the book, you read how I gave a few testimonials to my church congregation and thought I was done. It was more than twenty years later before I felt compelled, by God, to write the book. When I gave my testimonies in church, I had to confess that I was a non-believing sinner. I felt, if I’m going to do this, then I must tell it all, leave nothing out, no matter how embarrassing or hurtful it was, and is to me.

However, the thing that I most agonized over was how my children would react after reading the book. They were unaware of most, if not all that went on during my trip into the abyss. My youngest gave me five stars, the middle one said how he enjoyed knowing a lot of what was happening and said, “Well done Dad.” My oldest said that she was proud of how honest I was about telling all, and commended me on my bravery to do this. However, perhaps the best came from my stepson who said, “This was like a love letter to your family.” Overall, though I still cringe when someone I know is about to read the book, I believe I have done exactly what God has wanted me to do.

2. You truly are a walking miracle. By all accounts, you should not be here right now. What do you say to doubters or people who discount your story?

Unbelievably, no one has. Those that have read the book find that it is not my memories that tell the story, but those who witness it. . Each family member telling how the doctors all agreed, I was dead. How my brother testifies, in his own words about the neurologist who came in the middle of the night and says, “He is brain dead. You must consider removing him from life support.”

If anyone discounts the truth about this story for reasons they cannot accept what seems impossible, then to them I say what the doctor who removed my breathing device said the day I awoke. “This isn’t possible. No one goes from the sate he was in to where he is now in three hours. Yet here I am. Sometimes Faith is all we have.

3. What compelled you to write Faith in a Box, and for our readers, could you please explain the meaning behind the title?

First, I need to tell you how I came up with the name, “Faith in a Box.” I already knew that the book would be about my blaming God for what happened to my wife, Cindy, and me. I knew I was writing about a journey of little to no faith, to total faith in Jesus Christ. I prayed on what to name the book. Then on one particular Sunday while attending church services, my Pastor’s sermon was talking about, “As hard as you try, you cannot keep God in a Box.” I grabbed my wife Kim’s arm and said, “That’s the name of the book, Faith in a Box.”

The meaning behind the title is this. I knew there was a God. I believed this from childhood, but my faith in Him was very weak. My family and some medical staff all declared me a miracle. I woke from a coma thirty days later struggling with a medically induced addiction and paralysis. I could not read, write, tell time, nothing. The rehab doctors all agreed, it would take years for me to recover. I needed to blame someone or something. That was going to be God. But my Faith in God was something I did not want to deal with. I could not believe in a loving, good God. Yet my family kept reminding me of their faith. I didn’t want to hurt them. So, I took that faith, took God and put it in a box. I closed that box lid and it was gone.
As I have already explained, I did not want to write this book. I felt I had given three testimonies and that was all God wanted from me, wrong. God wants me to tell the world about this miracle. He wants everyone to know he is here with us, and he’s still doing miracles.

After putting off the book for more than twenty years, I had forgotten all about it. Then in November 2011 my wife Kim is diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer. The doctors all say they need to act quickly if she is to have a chance. Kim is crying and I’m scared. After the original shock subsides, memories of the loss of Cindy return. The pain of going through another wife dying has me begging God for his help. Praying for an answer of why Kim. With all that pain from those years long ago resurfacing from my fear of losing Kim, it struck me. I need to write this book, I knew immediately that God was going to be there with me. That every word I write He will guide me.

So I began to write. I talked with the hospitals and asked for anyone who had anything to do with that time in my life to come forward and write down what they remember. I would sit downstairs while Kim was receiving her chemotherapy, writing. I wrote day and night until the book was finished. In August 2012, Kim was declared cancer free and has remained that way ever since. God did not give Kim cancer, but He did cure her, praise Jesus. In His infinite wisdom, God knew this was coming to Kim. He used it to give me a kick in the pants to start writing.

4. There are themes of forgiveness, survival and renewal resonant throughout the book. What do you hope your readers walk away with after reading Faith in a Box?

Very simply, first, I hope they will come away with a truth that God does exist, and he is still in the business of doing miracles. He is in our lives, guiding us. He is there when we laugh and when we cry. If we hurt He comforts, if troubled He stands with us. He will never abandon us, even if we tell him to get lost. His love for us in endless, and there is nothing you can do that will shock him into abandoning you. No sin is too big for Him to forgive, which is why Jesus died on the cross.

Second, I hope that anyone who suffers the loss of a loved one will understand they are not alone. There are people out in this world that can, and will help them, and there is a loving, and good God, ready to be with them. To know that one day they will see them again.

Third, for anyone suffering through an accident or an illness and find they are in pain, paralysis, or mental disorder, and all they want is to regain a life they once had, there is hope. Through God, all things are possible.

5. Are there any more books in the works?

Yes there are. I am near completing my book on Vietnam. The book is based on my life experiences while serving with the First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division from September 1969 to September 1970. This book began before Faith in a Box and I started writing it because I felt I had forgotten too many things. Friends, places, incidents I needed to remember.

It is not about heroes, or famous battles. Most of us in Vietnam were not heroes. We saw combat, some more than others, but all we wanted to do was get back home. The story is just about an average Joe trying to do his job for his buddies and get home to his wife and baby. There are battles that never made the news or the military history books, but nonetheless, they’re fought with the same ferocity and bravery as such places as Hamburger Hill and the battle for Hue City. Every event in the book actually took place in Vietnam. It covers an entire twelve-month Tour of Duty and that is its name, “Tour of Duty.”

When Tour of Duty is finished and published, I hope to start a sequel to Faith in a Box. This book will cover a faith tested beyond what most of us could endure. Yet, this faith only grew to become a faith so big, so beautiful it stands today as a beacon in the sky for our family to follow.

To learn more about Richard and his amazing life and book, please go here: http://rickgreenbergauthor.com/

The Fox Who? A Night with the Snarky Narrator from Gabriel’s Inferno

Disclaimer: the narrative is pure fiction. The letters that follow are very real and from readers who wanted to express their appreciation for the Snarky Narrator and Sylvain Reynard. My thanks goes out to “both” for indulging my tom foolery or perhaps tolerating is a better word.:)
To learn more about The Snarky Narrator, Sylvain Reyanrd and their latest work, The Raven, .please go here.
Please feel free to scroll down to the good part where SN steals the show. He does not disappoint.
The Fox Who? A Night with the Snarky Narrator
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of interviewing Sylvain Reynard, the author of the Gabriel’s Inferno trilogy. The series is a must-read, by the way. Reynard was delightful and most accommodating. I’m in awe of his word-building expertise. We met for coffee and had a lively discussion about the characters in his novels. Lovely guy, but still all throughout the interview my mind kept wandering to another man deeply rooted in Gabriel’s Inferno saga; a man who knows his way around parenthesis and a turn of phrase; a man so witty, so intriguing that even The Most Interesting Man in the World pales in comparison; a man known only as the Snarky Narrator. I, myself, being a long-time proponent of snark and a lifetime user of parentheses, knew I had to meet him. Could Reynard be my in with Mr. Snarky Pants? Would he introduce a girl to the snark of her dreams? As our interview was coming to an end, I casually dropped the Snarky one’s name in hopes Reynard would take the hint. He merely scoffed it off and excused himself to the men’s room. That was the last I saw of the kind one. He did pay our tab and left a note that read “O’Malley on 53rd Street, at midnight, come alone, wear a beret and ask for Pepé Le Pew” (Mon Dieu!)

Later that night dressed in a hounds tooth sheath, black leather high heels boots and a friggin’ beret (which I hope screamed of understated elegance), I found myself walking down a dark alley in search of O’Malley’s. It was pitch dark, aside from one flickering street lamp. The whole area gave out a creepy, Jack the Ripper vibe. Was this the Reynard’s idea of a joke? To add to my woes, my feet were killing me, and I’d already tripped twice. High heels be damned. I was cursing Reynard, The Snarky Narrator, and his blasted parentheses; mumbling to myself about mysterious authors and their snotty neighbor when I spotted a sign for O’ Malley’s and a tall leggy redhead who looked like she stepped out of Vogue magazine, standing guard at the door. I would like to say I sauntered over to her. But it was more of a step, trip, step. She gave me the once over and clearly found me lacking. In a bored voice she said, “How can I help you?”

Feeling foolish, I mumbled, “I’m here to see Pepé Le Pew.” She laughed, rolled her eyes and told me to follow her. She led me down a long, dark, narrow hallway, and again I found myself questioning just what Reynard had gotten me into. I was so busy imagining my impending doom that I ran slap dab into the back of Red who had come to a stop. Apparently we had reached our destination. Doing my best impression of a Von Trapp singing the Cuckoo Cuckoo song, I looked around her and saw the most gorgeous, hunk of male standing behind the bar. Ladies, I would love to describe him to you, but there are no words to convey the depths of his beauty. I was speechless. He winked at me, asked Red to give us a few, and offered me a drink of my choosing. Of course I said something lame like when choosing my poison, I always opt for Diet Dr. Pepper straight up and on the rocks. He just smiled and poured me a cold one. He said, ‘So Reynard sent you here?” I stammered, “Yes, he said to ask for Pepé Le Pew and wear a beret.” At that, the Adonis threw his head back and laughed and said, “Reynard has a sense of humor after all. Allow me to introduce myself, I’m the Snarky Narrator, but you can call me SN, my dear. I hear you have some questions for me, pull up a bar stool and let’s have a chat, shall we”?

Now folks, I would like to tell you that I wowed the Snarky Narrator with my sassy snark; that he was blown away by my Southern charm and sweet social graces. However, when confronted with Snark excellence, my false bravado went out the window. All I could do was stare like a starry-eyed teenager mooning over her first crush. My inner sassy snark was screaming at me, “Get it together, woman!” But my 16-year-old self was drowning her out with, “He’s so hot!” (Apparently, my 16-year-old self isn’t very articulate). Luckily for me, I had come prepared. I always get by with a little help from my friends. A group of women I like to call Reynard’s Angels had given me notes and questions to ask SN. I passed the notes over and watched and listened in awe as he read and answered the questions. (This is where reality kicks in. The following are actual letters from some of the kindest women on the planet)


“My Dear Sexy SN, thank you for answering some questions for us. You’re so kind.
You have become quite popular with the ladies. How does SR feel about this? Has he said anything about your story? If so, who would narrate it?
Thank you. Some people have trouble sharing the spotlight … I think readers enjoyed my narration and that’s why they’ve responding so well.
If my story were to be told I’d have to narrate it myself. I couldn’t leave a tale like that to SR.

In Chapter 35 in Redemption, the Emersons encountered at the Uffizi a young, fair-haired man with strange gray eyes who spoke to them about the Botticelli’s illustrations with irony. He seemed very mysterious. Gabriel asks Julia to stay away from him… Do you know who this man was? Is he perhaps someone we’ll see in The Raven?
Yes, I know who he is. But I can’t tell you. You’ll have to bribe me

Btw, that chocolate body paint is still waiting.”
This sounds like an excellent tool for bribing. I’m interested …
Dear SN,
In my opinion, the parentheses on SR books are masterpieces! I think you are genial, intelligent, beautiful, charming and your words are the touch of humor in SR’s books. But you need to know, there are rumors that you are a character from the SR’s books. A privileged character. What you have to say about it?
Thank you Renata. There are lots of “characters” in my apartment building, but trust me, I’m not one of them. I’m the narrator.
You think being a SR’s neighbor may have been a predominant factor for you to work with him in the books? How is work with SR? Have you thought about going solo? Your comic timing is wonderful!
In the beginning I was just trying to help SR out. But now I think it’s clear that I need to tell my own story.


Dear SN,
Thanks so much for answering our questions, while your snarky character is just adored; your kind generosity is also commended.
My questions to you are:
The Raven will make the fourth novel by SR you have narrated, for budding storytellers aspiring to the ultimate ‘ Snarky Narrator’ status, do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share?
Never trust a thin chef.
You recently said in a ‘Bookish Temptation’ interview (December 1, 2013) that you were about to become a model for Calvin Klein. As a self confessed Henry Cavill look- a-like, one can only imagine that business must be ’blooming’ I mean ‘booming’. Is this working out for you and has your ‘snarky edge’ been an advantage?
When Henry Cavill and David Gandy weren’t available, I was the obvious choice. (Even though I don’t wear underwear in real life)
The SR twitter account is a delight to visit; the tweets are always charming, positive, supportive & sometimes hilariously funny. The expressed charity and kindness from SR and his readers is inspiring and I love to escape the reality of everyday life to chat with like minded SR readers.
May your next adventure be snarkier then the last!
Best Wishes
” Je vous adore et si un jour vous voulez venir sur la côte d’azur, je me ferais un plaisir de vous faire la visite :),
Oui, Alexandra. Certainement.
How important is the point of view of a writer?
I think it’s very important. The “voice” of a writer is what the reader hears in his or her head and it should be unique and hopefully, pleasant to listen to. I think that’s why I, as the Snarky Narrator, have garnered so many admirers. Readers love to hear me talk.
Hello SN! Thank you so much for your time. Perhaps, we can play some video games after you answer my questions… (Grinning & crossing my fingers.)
I think that a man who is intelligent, have a good sense of humor & cooks is extremely sexy. Do you cook? Any signature dish?
When I cook for myself it’s simple comfort food like chili. I’d never serve it to a date, however. For you, I’d make spaghetti and meatballs … and then we can play Grand Theft Auto.
If you were to take me to a date, were would you take me? (Duck my head blushing & smiling.)
I’d take you to a Botanical Garden so we could admire the beauty together.
BAE xx
(Cue silly narrative) and then I handed SN one last letter. I watched with nervous anticipation as he began to read.
Dear SN,
I wrote this note just in case the unthinkable happened and I was so overcome by just the snark of you, that I was rendered speechless. I want to thank you for agreeing to this interview and for being the snarkiest of snark. Please give SR my regards, and tell him, Pepé Le Pew and I have a beret full of sugarless gummies with his name on it. If you see the dashing Gabriel, please give him a kiss for me, on the cheek of course, anything else would be unseemly. I do have one question for you. What would you title your memoir?
Snarky: My Years in Captivity.
Stay snarky, hunky and parenthetical.
-Tosha Michelle
Thank you, ladies. It was a pleasure to be with you, SN.

This one goes out to the Snarky Narrator.