Book Trailer for Josh Mohr’s FIGHT SONG

Posted by admin on January 25th, 2013

I love when authors find creative ways to bring their book into the spotlight. A book trailer can often feel lifeless and flat when it becomes simply a reading of the book’s description with stock images interspersed. Josh Mohr has created an original, humorous and entertaining trailer for his novel FIGHT SONG.


The K Street Affair by Mari Passananti {Interview}

Posted by admin on January 14th, 2013

1. What was the inspiration for The K Street Affair?

I’m a bit of a political junkie, and I’ve always been fascinated by the nexus of money and politics. At this point in our nation’s history, large corporations hold unprecedented sway over laws and lawmakers. Which is problematic, because as Lee Raymond, the CEO of Exxon/Mobil famously said, his multinational corporation isn’t a U.S. company, so he doesn’t make decisions based on what’s good for the United States. Think about that. These are the people with nearly bottomless resources. They employ armies of lobbyists and spend mind-boggling sums to shape the laws of the land in their shareholders’ favor. Since the Supreme Court decided Citizens United, there is no way to prevent corporations and even foreign interests (whose agendas may conflict directly with our economic and national security interests) from making enormous donations to political causes. In writing The K Street Affair, I set out to answer two questions: What if a politically wired multinational corporation set out to start a war to advance its own economic interests? And if one relatively ordinary citizen stumbled upon their plans, should she risk everything, including her life and the lives of her family members, to stop them?

2.     The K Street Affair is very different from your debut novel, The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken. What inspired you to go in this direction?

I actually wrote a draft of the novel that would become K Street Affair before I wrote The Hazards. The most interesting rejection that manuscript received said something along the lines of “You can write, but the world isn’t ready for a female Jason Bourne. Try something less far fetched.” I shelved the project and focused on The Hazards, which is a less quirky women’s novel. Once The Hazards was published, I decided to dust off K Street Affair. It was a fascinating exercise. Plots involving secret offshore money laundering and terror finance (whether witting or unwitting) by politicians and their corporate friends somehow seem less far fetched that they did five years ago. Ultimately, both novels feature a young woman protagonist forced to find her backbone through a series of unwanted events.

3.     Did you do extensive research into politics and corporate America while writing The K Street Affair?

Yes. I cite some of the books I devoured in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. I had extensive conversations with a private equity executive, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous. He was the first person to whisper the words “offshore money laundering” to me, and for that I am grateful. The central crimes in K Street Affair wouldn’t have been feasible without the series of blind trusts and blocker corporations the villains set up outside the reach of the IRS.

4.     What is your typical writing day like?

Sometimes I wish I had a typical writing day. I usually write while my son, a newly minted three-year-old, is in preschool, which gives me twenty uninterrupted hours a week (if I’m lucky). I wish I could say I’m one of those people who can work late into the night, but I’m exhausted by the time my son goes to bed. Whenever I work during the wee hours, I write the most awful drivel, which I inevitably end up deleting. Once in a while, if I’m on a roll, I’ll hire a sitter. I get nothing done if I try to work while watching my kid. Because he’s three, he’s permanently set to self-destruct mode. I’m pretty sure that any parent who claims to work while minding a preschooler either gets accomplishes very little. Small kids are wired with invisible antennae that alert them to rivals for parental attention. In our house, my work is my son’s nemesis.

5.     Can you tell us about your writing process? Do you outline? Are you a planner?

I always know how things will end for my main characters when I start writing, but I don’t write extensive outlines. The downside of this method is that I write myself into corners every so often. I suppose that’s part of my process. If something a character does isn’t working, I go back, unravel and re-write until the scene makes sense.

6.     What is the best writing (and/or life) advice you have ever received?

Failure isn’t an option. If you suffer a set back, you dust yourself off, maybe even lick your wounds a little, but you always get back on the metaphorical horse.

7.     What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE — My book club’s pick this month tells the intertwined stories of two young people from the Italian Alps who emigrate to America before the First World War. A well researched novel, told in a charming voice and presented on a nearly epic scale. The Constant Gardner—John LeCarre’s best spy novel ever, in my humble opinion. I saw the movie years ago but never read the book until this summer. DRIFT—I confess I’ve been waiting to read this look at the military-industrial complex until the galleys for K Street Affair shipped, because when it released in May, I was making the last edits to my manuscript and I was terrified this critically acclaimed book would inspire another massive re-write.

8.     What do you think is the biggest myth of being a novelist?

I think there’s a perception among many non-writers that if you publish a book, you’ll make a good living. While that certainly happens for some authors, it’s not the norm.

9.     What advice would you give to an unpublished writer?

You need thick skin. Writing involves a staggering amount of rejection and criticism. As to process:

(1.) Write a draft.

(2.) Put it away for several weeks.

(3.) Take it out a revise ruthlessly.

(4.) Show the manuscript to an editor or writers’ workshop—people other than your mom or best friends.

(5.) Revise again.

(6.) Repeat steps 2 through 5 until satisfied.

10.  What are you working on now?

I’ve started work on my third novel, about a woman who sacrifices her legal career in order to follow her celebrated humanitarian husband to the third world. If he works tirelessly to save countless children, but treats his own family abominably, is he still a great man? In aid to the developing world, do appearances matter more than results? Does modern marriage have room for two big, ambitious personalities, or does one partner always end up yielding? I also have an entirely different book percolating: a courtroom tale about a big firm lawyer assigned to a capital case. I want to look not only at the legal system, but at the personal toll a case with such stakes takes on the lawyer, a young wife and mother.

Read more about Mari on her website and be sure to pick up a copy of THE K STREET AFFAIR.

Headline Hitters: Video Games Are Good For You!

Posted by admin on January 7th, 2013

Video games continue to grow in popularity and widespread use. Genese Davis knows this world well. She is a gamer. She’s also a writer, a pilot, a horseback rider, an athlete, a model and a manager in a financial organization. In other words, she is a highly accomplished, well-rounded woman. She also loves video games. Genese gives us 6 WAYS VIDEO GAMES CAN IMPROVE OUR LIVES.

1) Life Skills Acquired Through Video Games

Video games improve comfort level with professional and social expectations. They require strategy skills, team leadership, problem solving, quick decision-making, delegating responsibility and raising awareness. Building these skills in games can be easily transferred into professional life. Work skills will be enhanced, confidence will grow and leadership skills will develop.

2) Video Games Build Confidence

In video games, the player is the hero. Women must learn to be the hero of their lives. So often, women relinquish this role or downplay their successes. Storylines in video games empower women to believe in themselves and give direct and immediate feedback, i.e., “We couldn’t have won without you,” and “Thank you so much, you saved us!” As simple as this sounds, this positive reinforcement can do wonders for your confidence.

3) Video Games Benefit Relationships (Shocking but True!)

Healthy and content relationships blossom when both partners take a proactive interest in each other’s lifestyle. Even if video games are not your “cup of tea” right now, give one a try. You may be surprised how many positive and artistic attributes are uncovered. Video games offer couples a hobby to explore together. Time playing a video game together is time well spent. Couples can bond while playing video games because they are interacting on new micro and macro levels. Communication improves when playing video games together much more than when watching television or movies. Video games require adaptation and quick decision-making. Video games will constantly challenge the player and can significantly improve brain function.

4) Video Games are NOT Just For Men

When we hear the term “video game players,” people often think of a throng of children, or a group of men. However, the average age of every video game player is thirty-three. Video games are an important form of entertainment for all ages. In fact, video games offer crucial validation for women and men.

5) Video Games Enhance Social Behavior

Video games are a way for women to discover new perspectives, meet new people, hear new theories, and discuss new topics.

6) Video Games Are Healthy

All humans need time to unwind. When we relax, our minds have the chance to process our daily stress and to rejuvenate. Additionally, more and more video games are being created for overall health and wellness Video games give people the means to enhance their lives.

A 2011 study conducted by scientists at Brigham and Young proved that video game exercise can help achieve physical wellness. Active video games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Boxing allow players to experience enough exercise to meet recommendations for physical health. Georgetown University researchers conducted a separate study on overweight teenagers in Washington, D.C., using the Wii version of Sports Active. They found that children who played various games felt better about themselves, lost weight and developed increased focus necessary for academic achievement.

Genese Davis’ debut novel The Holder’s Dominion (Beaver’s Pond Press, March 2013) explores the world of video games from an outsider’s perspective. She has been working in the world of video games for the past few years and has started the online movement, The Gamer in You. More information on Genese can be found at her website,



Headline Hitters: Meningitis Explored in TEN DAYS

Posted by admin on January 3rd, 2013

Dr. Janet Gilsdorf’s brilliant debut novel, Ten Days (Kensington, September 2012) is an emotional novel that opens up the world of medicine from all angles.

Dr. Gildorf’s novel explores something she is quite familiar with in her work as a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, a topic that has been making tragic headlines recently, meningitis:

  • The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has counted 419 cases of meningitis in 19 states linked to tainted steroid injections. At least 30 people have died. Hearings have been held on the deadly U.S. outbreak.
How can Dr. Gilsdorf use her expertise to help the general public while gaining name recognition?
  • Dr. Gilsdorf can advise people of the signs to look for and the realities of this terrible disease. She can also calm people by explaining the rarity of such cases and real statistics of meningitis.
  • Dr. Gilsdorf can explore the doctor patient relationship from both sides. With healthcare being a primary concern of U.S. citizens, it is important to understand the best way to communicate with your doctor and your family.
  • Dr. Gilsdorf can provide a window into a world that few know but many are fascinated by, the world of modern medicine and its impact on our lives.

In her novel, Ten Days, Dr. Gilsdorf portrays the world of medicine from both sides, that of a parent and a physician. What if a parent doesn’t recognize an illness in their child? What if they don’t seek medical attention quickly? What if one of the parents is a physician?

Ten Days introduces the reader to Anna and Jake. Although Anna and Jake Campbell interact with the world in very different ways, she as a cautious worrier and he as an optimistic realist, they successfully navigate the everyday problems that percolate through their marriage until the night their young son, Eddie, becomes ill. Anna has a bad cold and longs for the peace of evening and Jake, an orthopedic surgery resident, spends the night at the hospital, taking care of other people’s sick wives and children. As a result of their irreversible, achingly regrettable inactions, Anna and Jake face losing their child.

The characters in Ten Days represent the many parents and physicians Dr. Gilsdorf encounters during her work as a pediatrician. Dr. Gilsdorf is the Robert P. Kelch Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan, Director of Haemophilus influenza research laboratory, Director of the Cellular and Molecular Biology in Pediatrics Training Program and Co-Director of the Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases.

Visit Janet Gilsdorf on her website and read her blog for insight into the world of medicine.

Interview with Jan Surasky

Posted by admin on January 2nd, 2013

We are kicking of the New Year by bringing the fascinating lives of our authors to the Kelley & Hall blog. We will be featuring interviews with our authors and giving readers a glimpse into the writer’s life. Today we start off with Jan Surasky. Jan has worked as a book reviewer, movie reviewer, and entertainment writer for a San Francisco daily newspaper. Her many articles and short stories have been published in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers. She has also taught writing a t a litterer center and a number of area colleges near her home in upstate New York. She is graduate of Cornell University and has studied English literature in the graduate department of the University of Rochester. Her novel Rage Against the Dying Light has won the Eric Hoffer Award for commercial fiction. You can find her at

Q:     Tell us the story behind the story. How did Rage Against the Dying Light come to be?

While I was researching an entirely different topic, I came across the entry on Boudicca to which I was immediately drawn. I was impressed with her courage and the beautiful and tragic life she had lived. I knew I wanted to tell her story.

Q:     What was the most challenging aspect of writing Rage Against the Dying Light?

Imagining Boudicca’s story based on the very few facts available and trying to get it right was the greatest challenge. I wanted to do justice to the society and culture in which she lived. Also I wanted to depict the beautiful English countryside which so inspired her courage.

 Q:     What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

I want readers to see that although Boudicca was a queen, she was also under the same constraints as any human. I want to show that courage lies in all of us to be tapped when necessary.

Q:     Describe your background.

I have worked for a San Francisco daily newspaper as a book reviewer, movie reviewer and entertainment writer. My many articles and short stories have been published in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers.

 Q:     Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I write every day. I do not outline but for this book, I had a one word chapter heading for my use only as a guide. I edit my work daily.

Q:     What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

The book on my nightstand is a book of Hemingway’s letters recently released from Cuba and so far unpublished. The book I have enjoyed the most this year is The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramango.

 Q:    Which authors inspire you?

Many authors have inspired me including the authors of the many fairy tales I have read, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Thomas Hardy and Ernest Hemingway.

Q:     What have you learned from this experience?

I have learned that a woman who summoned her courage inspired so many.

Q:     What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to hang in there, be true to your work and believe in it, and never give up.

 Q:    What are you working on now?

My second novel Back to Jerusalem is in the launching stage and I am working on a third novel.