Category Archives: virtual book tour

Closing Out the Blog Tour, and More

If you read yesterday’s blog entry about The Hungry Heart Stories virtual book tour, you know that I am giving away a copy of the book to the best comment or question by a reader along the tour stops. I will be awarding this prize on Friday, March 2, so there is still time to make your mark and add a comment to any of the stops.

Here are the stops for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES Blog Tour:

“Writing – Art – Metaphysics” by Shelley Szajner, her interview can be found here.

“Becca Butcher’s Blog” by Becca Butcher, you can check out the tour with Becca here, here, here, here and the interview here. Yeah, Becca rocked the house when it came to promoting this tour. Thank you! ((hugs))

“Gilbert Curiosities” by Marie Gilbert features the author interview here and the review here.

“The Author-in-Training” by Mieke Zamora-Mackay has an interview with Fran about inspiration here.

“A Reference of Writing Rants or “Learn from My Mistakes”” by Jennifer M. Eaton, you can find her unique and entertaining interview here.

“The Dream Between” by Robin Renee, see her thoughts here.

“Literary Debauchery” by Krista Magrowski, the review can be found here.

And here at Welcome to Hell, I talk about Fran, the book, and the blog tour here, here, and here.

And make sure to check out all of the above blogs, and not just for the tour. They are all by terrific, talented writers and artists with much to say.

THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from the publisher Wilderness House Press.

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Fran Metzman and The Hungry Heart Stories

Okay, if you’ve been paying attention, you know I’ve been running a virtual book tour throughout eight different blogs for the last ten days. Yeah, I know, holy heavy rotation, Batman, especially if you also follow me on the various social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Tumblr, Gather, LiveJournal, and the rest. The name of the book is THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES and it’s by my friend, mentor and fellow writer Fran Metzman.

Now if you’ve been with us for the whole ride, you’ve learned a lot about Fran and the book from reviews, interviews, and press releases, and it’s all true. I’d like to say I have some deep dark secrets about her, but I don’t. It’s on the page. Her mind, her talent, even bits of her life, they are all on the page. So if you haven’t already, think about purchasing a copy of “The Hungry Heart Stories,” and get to know Fran a little better. You’ll be glad you did.

I think I might have an interesting perspective on this short story collection, as I am the only man on this blog tour, but I think agree wholeheartedly with everyone else. Now as a member of Fran’s Rainy Tuesdays writing group for over a decade, and the guy who organized this blog tour, you might guess that I’m a Fran fan. But just ask Ms. Metzman herself, and you’ll find I don’t mince when it comes to critiquing. I personally think some members of that group have actually planned my demise on occasion because of my razor sharp critiques. Let’s sum it up to say that if I didn’t like these stories, I wouldn’t be promoting them. Enough said.

These are stories of women in transition, women in crisis, and as you’ve been told along this blog tour, the thread of cooking and food runs through them all, some stronger than others. My favorite, “The Right Seasoning,” holds a particular memory for me. We workshopped it in our Tuesday night writers group some years ago. As we went around the room verbally giving our critiques, we all began to get hungrier and hungrier. Reading the story, with such wonderful olfactory imagery, hit our stomachs as well as our heads! I loved it.

All of the stories in this collection will hit the reader hard and make them feel. If you read them and walk away unaffected in some way, I don’t know what to say. I think this is what literary fiction should be about – soliciting a feeling, a reaction, making the reader think. And if you want to really understand what Fran is doing, I can’t recommend enough the last work in the collection, an essay called “Writing and Healing.” It says it all. All writers should read that piece.

Buy the book. Read the book. Can I be any more forward than that? I guess not. Now here’s where I bribe you. Next week, next Friday, I am going to go through every stop on this virtual book tour, and pick one lucky commenter and award them a free copy of the book. All those affiliated with the blog tour are ineligible (sorry, ladies). Now let’s see some comments!

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The Hungry Heart Stories Blog Tour Continues

The Virtual Book Tour for The Hungry Heart Stories by writer Fran Metzman continues today at The Author-in-Training, Mieke Zamora-Mackay’s blog. Mieke talks about the book and interviews Fran about her writing and inspirations. Check it out here.

Tomorrow the tour continues at Jennifer M. Eaton’s blog, “A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers or “Learn from My Mistakes””, and thereafter here:

Sunday, February 19th
The Tour makes a return trip to Gilbert Curiosities

Monday, February 20th
And then the Tour makes a return stop at Becca Butcher’s Blog

Tuesday, February 21st
“The Dream Between” by Robin Renee

Wednesday, February 22nd
“Literary Debauchery” by Krista Magrowski

Thursday, February 23rd
Finally we return here to Welcome to Hell for the close of the Tour.

And don’t forget to check out all the blogs on the tour, and not just on the tour stops. These ladies are some of the best bloggers and writers around. The previous stops on the tour include Writing – Art – Metaphysics by Shelley Szajner, and Marie Gilbert’s and Becca Butcher’s blogs, check them out.

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Luck

I’ll watch any drama on HBO. There is simply a level of quality that is always present. And it doesn’t matter what a given television series is about, there is always amazing writing, direction, and performance, always.

My mother-in-law notoriously dislikes science fiction, fantasy, and horror. That genre stuff just turns her off. It’s too ‘creepy’ to use her word. Yet last summer she was sucked into the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones.” She even watched several episodes one right after the other to catch up. That is the magic of HBO drama. It doesn’t matter what it’s about, it matters how it’s done, and the quality and care with which it is done.

That brings us to “Luck.” I really couldn’t care less about horse racing. It does less for me than genre television does for the mom-in-law, but the HBO drama rule pulled me in. The sneak peek of the pilot back in December hooked me and made me wait with baited breath for the series debut a few weeks back. This show is fabulous.

The HBO drama rule is not all it has going for it though. Oh there is a slight “Sopranos” vibe going on, but that’s not the kicker. What drives this show is the acting. You’ve got some heavy hitters here with Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, and Dennis Farina, as well as an ensemble of some of the best character actors around. Most notable are Kevin Dunn, Richard Kind, and one of my faves, from the much missed “Dirt,” Ian Hart.

The series, created by writer David Milch who also worked on the network’s terrific and also missed “Deadwood,” follows the events and characters tied to a particular race track, and it’s all done with class and in the slick style of executive producer Michael Mann. These two allow the big three actors to be as big as they want on the small screen and it’s a good thing – all are at their best here.

There are only nine episodes in this first season, and with the fourth coming this Sunday, there’s plenty of time to catch up. This is yet another HBO show you should not miss.

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Just a reminder, The Virtual Book Tour for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is featured today at Shelley Szajner’s blog with an interview with the author Fran Metzman, and continues tomorrow on Becca Butcher’s blog. Don’t miss it!

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The Hungry Heart Stories Blog Tour

Welcome to The Hungry Heart Stories Blog Tour. For the next eleven days, various blogs across the internet will be talking about THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES and talking with author Fran Metzman, and it all starts right here.

THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is a short story collection that deals with the universal search to fill a void. Fran Metzman, co-author of UGLY COOKIES, serves up a plate of quirky and disparate characters in these captivating stories. A grieving husband in the darkly funny Right Seasoning conjures up his deceased wife’s presence in the beloved kitchen they once shared. From My Inheritance that tells of a grown daughter, trying to find the love and peace she has always craved with her dying mother to Getting Closer, the story of a woman left with the violent legacy of food that defined her life – we find the characters reaching the low points and triumphs of human emotions. Particularly poignant is the story, The Reunion, about a woman born into poverty who reaches the pinnacle of success but with questionable sacrifice.

Each of the twelve stories and one essay incorporates food as a means to some end or fulfillment. In Metzman’s sure hand we get these fully realized worlds, leavened with passion and sprinkled with humor. THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from the publisher Wilderness House Press.

I’ve known Fran for a long time, more than a decade actually. We met at her writing workshops at Borders Books in Marlton with the writers group that soon became known as Rainy Tuesdays, and still meet on a weekly basis for critiques and writing discussion. She knows her stuff, especially writing, and has taught me so much, and folks who know me know I can’t be taught easily. Today I consider Fran a mentor, a fellow writer, and most of all a friend. Simply put, she rocks.

And THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is a book that rocks too. And I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t believe it, not even for a friend. Over the next eleven days you will get to know Fran better and learn more about this short story collection, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

I also want to say a few words about the wonderful lady writers who are helping me with this project. From Robin whom I’ve known since high school and is also a fantastic musician, to Shelley who writes great young adult fantasy, to Becca who I know from The Writer’s Chatroom and my online group Writer Circle, to all the terrific women in the South Jersey Writers – they are all fabulous writers, and you should not just check out their blogs on the days of the blog tour, but every day as well. Always great content from great writers. Don’t forget to comment on everyone’s blogs and make new friends!

Here are the stops for THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES Blog Tour:

Tuesday, February 14th
“Writing – Art – Metaphysics” by Shelley Szajner

Wednesday, February 15th
“BeccaButcher’s Blog” by Becca Butcher

Thursday, February 16th
“Gilbert Curiosities” by Marie Gilbert

Friday, February 17th
“The Author-in-Training” by Mieke Zamora-Mackay

Saturday, February 18th
“A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers or “Learn from My Mistakes”” by Jennifer M. Eaton

Sunday, February 19th
The Tour makes a return trip to Marie’s blog

Monday, February 20th
And then the Tour makes a return stop at Becca’s blog

Tuesday, February 21st
“The Dream Between” by Robin Renee

Wednesday, February 22nd
“Literary Debauchery” by Krista Magrowski

Thursday, February 23rd
Finally we return here to Welcome to Hell for the close of the Tour.

Everybody ready to roll? Let’s do this! See you tomorrow at Shelley’s blog!

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My Review of Death Masks


Having been a writer and hanging around writers for quite some time now I realize there are folks who talk the talk and those who walk the walk. It’s rare to find someone who does both. Author Kim Richards is one of those folks. When she talks about writing, she’s not only serious, she’s passionate. And that passion comes through in her writing. Her words are alive.

Her words are alive, just as alive as protagonist Bill Cristo is in Death Masks. He is an identifying character in the Stephen King mold, he is us. We are frustrated at his job and happy with his girlfriend. We feel for him and with him. Just as many of us approaching that nether zone of not old but not young any more the doctors have come down on him hard. He’s overweight and needs to do something about it – or he won’t get much older.

So Bill decides to start exercising, maybe a walk or a jog in the park. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention there’s a nutjob stalking the park with a syringe? Yep, and that is when, as they say, hilarity ensues. As the mystery deepens so does your interest. The author has a stranglehold on your attention and never fails you.

This thriller is always on. When we’re not on the roller coaster of suspense, we’re exploring the psyches of Bill or our killer. As I said, Kim Richards is a writer with passion, and that passion propels the reader through the story at an alarming pace. I read Death Masks in one sitting, not because I wanted to or intended to – but because I had to. Kim’s prose wouldn’t let me do otherwise. Highly recommended.

For your copy of Death Masks, check out Eternal Press.

And don’t forget to hit the last two stops on this Virtual Book Tour, with Sheri McGathy on Sunday and Arwen Spencer on Monday.

An Interview with Kim Richards

The following is a recent interview with Death Masks author Kim Richards on the Eternal Press blog:

EP: When did you seriously sit down, and say to yourself, I’m going to write a novel?

Kim Richards: I’ve been writing in one form or another most of my life. After my first marriage broke up, I decided I wanted to take writing seriously. Then I found out how much I still needed to learn so I went back to school and took journalism, started attending conferences and reading everything how-to I could get my hands on. I’ve been lucky to have found mentors online and some great critique groups along the way.

EP: What do you find the most difficult to write? Dialogue? Back story?

Kim Richards: The most difficult for me are transitions from one scene to another. I often get my point of view mixed up there in the first draft.

EP: Have you ever found that you didn’t like your Hero or your Heroine? If so, what did you do to change that?

Kim Richards: I’ve never experienced that. I have had a secondary character end up being my protagonist after I got to know the characters a little better.

EP: If you were to start again, with the knowledge you have now, what would be the first thing you do?

Kim Richards: I wouldn’t let anyone discourage me and I’d not let making money replace the writing. For me writing is something I need to cope with depression so it’s more than just an occupation. It’s my life and I need it.

EP: Do you have the support of friends and family? Meaning, do they understand when you are writing that you cannot be disturbed? Or do you have friends that think since you’re home, you don’t work?

Kim Richards: I do now and it’s wonderful. My previous mother-in-law used to ask when I was getting a ‘real job’ and I took business classes because I believed others who did not find writing an occupation. I’ve had to make it important to ME and shrug off what others think. And yes, when my sons were young, many of their friends’ parents would send their kids to my house after school. You simply learn to deal with it. I figured at least I knew where my sons were at, even if the house regularly got trashed.

The best thing I did for writing is get a ‘do not disturb sign’. I haven’t had to use it in years but it does get the point across when you can hang it on the door and just point to it when you are interrupted. At first people laugh; then they get the point.

EP: What was the biggest hurtle you had to overcome in your career?

Kim Richards: Taking myself seriously and believing my writing worthy.

EP: What genre do you write? Do you write more than one, if so, what?

Kim Richards: I write mainly horror, fantasy and some science fiction. However, if an idea comes, it doesn’t matter what genre it is. Sometimes you don’t see it in your story. I wrote a children’s book back in 2000, thinking of a fantasy market. It was another author who saw it as a kids book. It was published that way.

Death Masks is a thriller. When I wrote it, I had horror in mind. It wasn’t until I started to submit it, that I realized where it best fit. You have to write the story and then worry about what mail slot it fits in.

EP: How do you research for your books?

Kim Richards: I love research and have to be very careful or I spend more time doing that than writing the actual story. I start online but am picky about my resources. If a website doesn’t list resources of its own, I tend to skip it unless there’s a bit of information I think I need…but I focus the research on finding supporting documents (or the lack thereof). I always end up with new books on my shelf when I research. I’m full of what my sons refer to as “useless trivia”.

EP: How do you develop your characters?

Kim Richards: My stories usually start with a what if. When I start worldbuilding and researching, the characters form on their own from the culture, the setting—it often falls into place naturally.

EP: Are any of your characters a person you’d like to be? If so which one?

Kim Richards: Lots of them. They’re usually stronger or smarter or more admirable than I am.

EP: Who inspired you to write?

Kim Richards: Many, many people. An 8th grade teacher who taught me to write my dreams in a notebook; a high school teacher who taught me to journal; authors I’ve met; hokey stories I thought I could write better. It amazes me how there are many more people who do inspire me to write than discourage me, yet in the past it was the negative ones I listened to. Maybe they talk louder.

EP: What is the most humorous writing experience you’ve ever had?

Kim Richards: Meeting a man in an elevator at World Horror Convention. He saw my name tag and had read my science fiction novel out at the time. He lectured me on how I killed off his favorite character.

EP: If a new writer came to you for advice what would you tell them?

Kim Richards: Perseverence. Wrap it around your shoulders and tie it tight.

EP: Do you have a book coming out? If so what? Do you have a web site? Do you have a blog? My space?

Kim Richards: Death Masks is available from Eternal Press. I also have a story out in an anthology of dragon stories by another publisher.

Check out the trailer for Death Masks. The metal band is from my home town, Roswell, New Mexico. You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp2zpDNMfmM

My website is: www.kim-richards.com. I’ll be doing a virtual book tour in June, 2008 so check there for the blog visit schedule. There will be prizes!

You can find me at Myspace, Livejournal, Facebook, Blogger, Good Reads and Writer’s Chatroom. All under the username Kim Richards.

I do have one announcement I’d like to make. I’ve just accepted the position of Marketing Manager for Eternal Press. I’m thrilled to be accepted on the team and excited about the upcoming possibilities for me and for the publishing house.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions for the Eternal Press blog. Good luck with your writing.

An Excerpt from Death Masks

Here’s an excerpt from Kim Richards’ Death Masks:

“Shhh. Please listen.” Her words dropped to a trembling whisper.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m scared.”

Bill hesitated a moment, thinking she might go on.

“Bill?” She sounded so small and vulnerable. He immediately wanted to reach out through the phone and pull her close. He longed to make whatever it was better.

“I’m here, Hon. What’s going on?” He shut down his computer as he talked.

“Someone keeps calling me.” Once she started speaking, her words came fast and clipped. “At first he kept hanging up. No heavy breathing or anything so I decided it must be those kids next door.”

“He? How do you know it’s a guy?” Bill used one hand to hold the phone and the other to begin stuffing his things into his carry bag.

“Because…” Dampened, low sounds came over the phone.

Oh God, she’s crying.

“Because I know what a man’s voice sounds like. This last time, just a minute ago, he said I’m next.”

“Next for what?” As Bill said the words, he’d already guessed the answer. All the clues were in place, the footprints on the porch, the maniac figuring out Bill knew about him, and now the calls to Dix. He didn’t hear her answer.

——————————-

About the author:

Kim Richards lives in Northern California; with wedding plans for May 2009. She writes horror, fantasy, erotica and science fiction, as well as non-fiction chapters and articles. She has seen one children’s story published and Death Masks is her first thriller. For more information on all of her published works, check out her website at www.kim-richards.com.

Kim is an avid costumer and amateur bellydancer. She loves her coffee. She works as an editor for MyShelf Reviews and for Eternal Press as an author, editor and marketing manager. You can find her at Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal and Goodreads under the user name Kim_Richards

Death Masks by Kim Richards

Kim Richards is a friend, and although we’ve never met in person, I consider her as dear a friend as one could know through this wild magic known as the intranets. She’s been wonderful support for me as a writer and hopefully we’ve both been able to learn from each other in our time in The Writers Chatroom. When she asked me to be part of her virtual book tour for Death Masks, I jumped at the chance. So for the next few blog entries here at Welcome to Hell, we’ll be taking a look at her terrific new novel.

Here’s the book trailer from YouTube:

Here’s the super-cool back cover blurb:

Bill Cristo takes up walking a per his doctor’s orders to lose weight and improve his health. While at the metro park, he witnesses an assault. The assailant turns on him and he wakes in the hospital with a nasty bump on his head, wondering why he isn’t dead.

The news reports nothing on any attack in the metro park but Bill can’t let it go…not when he realizes there are other young men missing from the same area. He digs up what he can on his own, drawing further attention from the murderer. Will he be able to figure out who the killer is before it reaches his live-in girlfriend?

Interested in picking up Death Masks? Check out Eternal Press for details.

Kim Richards Virtual Book Tour

If you’ve never done a book tour before, this is how it works: on the date listed, visit the corresponding blog where you’ll find reviews, interviews, information regarding Kim Richards’ thriller, Death Masks. We will also be promoting the anthology Firestorm of Dragons, containing Kim’s story, “Dragonfruit.”

Whenever you visit a blog, be sure and leave a comment. For each comment, your name is put into a weekly drawing for prizes such as pdf copies of either book, t-shirts, music from the band, Children of a Lesser God (who provided the music for the Death Masks video book trailer) and more.

Kim will be visiting the blogs so feel free to ask any questions you may have. It’s all about having fun and talking about books. Consider yourself invited!

June 9, 2008
Sandy Lender
www.todaythedragonwins.blogspot.com

June 10, 2008
Ginger Simpson
http://mizging.blogspot.com

June 13, 2008
Mike Philbin http://mikephilbin.blogspot.com/

June 15, 2008
Heidi Martinuzzi w/Pretty Scary
www.pretty-scary.net

June 16, 2008
Lea Shizas
http://thewritingjungle.blogspot.com/

June 18, 2008
Billie A. Williams
http://printedwords.blogspot.com/

June 19, 2008
Eternal Press Blog
http://eternalpressauthors.blogspot.com/

June 20, 2008
Lisa Haselton
http://lisahaselton.tripod.com/reviewsandinterviews/

June 23, 2008
Pamela K. Kinney
http://PamelaKKinney.blogspot.com

June 24 2008
Diana Castilleja
http://dianacastilleja.blogspot.com

June 25, 2008
Val Griswold-Ford
http://www.vg-ford.com/blog.html

June 26 & 27, 2008
Joyce Anthony
http://joyceanthony.tripod.com

June 28, 2008
Glenn Walker
http://www.monsura.blogspot.com

June 29, 2008
Sheri McGathy
http://sherimcgathy.com/sheri/content/blog/

June 30, 2008
Arwen Spencer
http://labingi.livejournal.com/

Other places promoting the book tour include Jordan Dane, Kathy Ptacek @ Gila Queen, Starmerrow @ LiveJournal, Karina Fabian, The Writers Chatroom and Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Please patronize them for their kindness.