Saturday, December 31, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

As we say goodbye to 2011, I decided to share a faux memorial that my father, Ken Johnson wrote after reading the famous chimp Cheetah recently passed away. My father said he thought the story on Cheetah's passing may be a hoax or not accurate but decided to pay tribute anyway.

Some who know me well, know my cracked sense of humor. Below is a sample of my father's humor and my mother Ann Werner, well, she writes thrillers about serial killers and a career criminal who pickles his toenails and eats them. It's no wonder I find humor in odd places.

Happy New Year!!

Hollywood is in mourning today as another one of it's own passes on. Cheetah the Chimpanzee, 80, died peacefully at Cedars Sinai Medical Center after choking on a banana. His long time friend and agent Cecil the ferret said, "The primate community lost someone special today, no animal star could throw his own feces as far as he could." Cheetah is survived by his 623rd wife LuLu, who currently tests vaccines for the CDC. She will speak through her attorney, a rat of no fixed address who has not been found. 

Among Cheetah's memorable films was "Bed Time For Bonzo" with Ronald Reagan, Shakespeare's "Richard The Third" and a short , "Coming Home" co-starring himself masturbating. It won an honorable mention from "SWP"(sex without partners) in 1978.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Excerpts from CRAZY - A Thriller by Ann Werner

ARK Stories will soon be releasing CRAZY.

It's a book about a serial killer---with a twist. You haven't seen this story before.

Look for it on Amazon (paperback and kindle) in May 2012.

Upon it's release,  a Kindle version will be FREE on Amazon for ONE DAY ONLY!!!!

Stay tuned.......


Emily Simonson is a successful chef, store owner and has an eatery on the trendy side of West Los Angeles.
She is six feet tall, blonde and after giving up a career in acting, found her bliss writing cookbooks and running her two related businesses. She has a problem though. Someone out there doesn't like her. Someone out there is looking to make her life a living hell...for the time Emily has left on this earth.

Here is a glimpse into the next ARK Stories release:

         The Guardian was talking again. It had been a long time since he had had anything to say but now he was back. The Guardian had always been the means to control the world, because the Guardian knew. He knew everything, things that were hidden from others. The Guardian knew when parents and siblings lied. Knew when teachers and employers were plotting behind your back. Whenever this happened, the Guardian stepped in with a warning and a plan of action. And now the Guardian was back. 
            Nobody else knew about the Guardian. He was private, a voice meant only for deserving ears. This had been made plain. To reveal his existence would be the ultimate betrayal and so he was kept secret. As long as he was secret, the protection would continue. The protection and the insights and the solutions. 
            It was hard to remember when the Guardian had first appeared. It was almost like he’d always been there: hovering, protecting, sympathizing when no one else cared. Now the Guardian was a part of everyday life again. He’d gone away for a while, chased by the medication that had made life so unbearable, so bland. It was a relief to have him back. Especially now, when that bitch was everywhere.
            “Have you been keeping up with your lessons?” The voice of the Guardian, soothing and welcome, a reminder of things to remember for self-preservation.
            “Yes. I’ve taken karate, judo and kickboxing, as well as firearms training.
            “Good. Such skills can come in handy in times such as these.”
            “What else can I do? How else can I defend myself?”
            “There is nothing right now. That woman.... That bitch is out to get you. You know that, don’t you?”
            Head bowed, eyed closed tight against tears that would indicate weakness. A whispered answer, “Yes.”
            “There is no need to fear. She is a weak creature. You are strong. She feels a sense of false security because she spends her days surrounded by people. But we know her weaknesses and her vulnerabilities. We know where she lives.” Silence now as the import of that last statement is allowed to settle in. “I liked what you did with the note and the phone call.”
            A feeling of pride swells from within, for this was an original idea, not formulated and suggested by the Guardian. A smile. “Thank you. I thought it rather clever myself.”
            “Don’t get too cocky!” The Guardian was never one to appreciate self-aggrandizement.
            Then, in a more conciliatory tone,  “But it was rather clever. However, not nearly severe enough. She’s always envied you, you know. And now she’s out to show you that she’s better than you could ever be. But we both know she’s wrong, don’t we?”
            A nod of the head, no words are needed to answer, for the answer is clear. 
            “But it is annoying, is it not, that she gets all this attention? Especially since she’s so unworthy. You should be the one on television. The one being interviewed in the Times. You’ve got more talent in your toenail than that bitch has in her entire body.”
            Beaming, basking in the adulation that is so damned deserved and never forthcoming from those who should bow down and kiss the earth blessed by the touch of such talent.  “She probably fucked the producer of the show. Probably sucked the interviewer.” Warming now to the subject.
            “And that stupid twit Cassandra trying to put her together with that oh-so-pretty-co-host. What in the hell would he see in her anyway? She’s so tall. Looks like a giraffe!”
            Laughing now, at the thought of Emily Simonson with large orange and brown spots all over her big, ugly self.
            “I think she should pay. How about you?”
            “Oh yes. What shall we do?”
            “Oh, we’ll think of something.”

            It was in a 9 x 12 brown clasp envelope. When Emily pulled it from the tight slot of her mailbox, she hardly noticed it, thinking it was just another piece of junk mail. But then she saw the carefully printed address. In pencil. With no return address.  
            She held it in her hands, remembering the first envelope and then that phone message. Almost without thinking, she checked to see if there were any suspicious bulges or too much tape or anything out of the ordinary, remembering stories seen on the news about letter bombs. There was nothing. It was a perfectly ordinary envelope. Except for that printing.
            She stood there, motionless, in front of the bank of mailboxes, staring at it. All of her other mail slipped unnoticed to the ground. Her stomach clenched into a knot and a ripple of foreboding crawled up her spine, raising the fine hairs on the back of her neck
            A car turned into the driveway, jarring Emily out of her trance. Quickly she gathered up her dropped mail and went back along the walk to her apartment. Inside, she threw the other mail on the small table next to the front door, then turned her attention back to the brown envelope. She didn’t want to open it but she had to know what was inside. Again she found herself checking if it contained some sort of harmful device but all that she’d been able to remember from the news stories she’d seen told her this wasn’t a bomb. Still, there remained an irrational fear. 
            She took it into the kitchen and laid it on the counter as she searched the drawers for a pair of tongs and a long knife. She held the envelope in place on the counter with the tongs and slit the flap with the knife. Nothing happened. She inserted the knife into the envelope and held it in place as she opened it with the tongs. From inside she withdrew what looked to be a piece of folded newspaper. Satisfied now that she wasn’t handling an explosive device, Emily put down the knife and tongs and unfolded it.
            It was the cover of the Calendar section from the Times. The one where they’d done the story on her and the Kitchen Witch. Staring back at her was a picture of herself, the name of the restaurant captioned beneath her. Only the person who’d sent this had taped a B over the W in witch. Around her neck a noose had been drawn and a red tongue was painted onto her mouth, hanging out in a cartoon parody of a person strangling. On the front of her blouse a bull's eye had been drawn over her heart and in the center was a dagger, thrust up to the hilt, the blade buried deep. At the bottom of the page was a neatly printed message. “Hey, Kitchen Bitch. I’m watching you!” She went to the phone and dialed the West L.A. Police Station with trembling fingers.           

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Virgin Diaries & The Adult Virgin

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Anthony Tarquinto,  and he shared what it feels like to be a 42 year-old male virgin. Anthony read my book The Virgin Diaries and expressed gratitude that someone wrote a book for him. It was a wonderful thing to hear! I wanted this book to be helpful and informative to virgins because people who've never had sex, have questions about it. I did. The Virgin Diaries has the answers to what it feels like the first time, for any virgin of any age.

TLC aired it's controversial new show The Virgin Diaries (no relation to my book) on December 4, 2011.
Hype about the "first kiss" of a couple who just married was all over Twitter. From the tweets and comments I saw, TLC is being accused of exploiting virgins.

I watched the show. I personally do not believe TLC was exploiting anyone. They followed the lives of a group of adults who have chosen to either "reclaim their virginity" or wait until marriage to become sexually active. It is an odd thing in modern day society to be in your 30's and still be a virgin. Whether you think these folks are to be revered or ridiculed is not the point. Abstinence is their personal choice and TLC just captured a glimpse into their lives.

One thing that struck me is the fear and emotion displayed by the bride talking with a friend about her wedding night. As an adult who's never had sex, the expectation was extreme. She specifically stated that she didn't know what to expect and it was then I then shouted to the television "HELLOOOOO!!! I CREATED A BOOK FOR YOU!"

The older you are and the longer you wait to have sex puts more and more pressure on what it will and should be like. After consummating their marriage, The groom stated it wasn't what he was expecting and that it wasn't like the movies. The bride said it was painful. Well, this is no surprise to me. A.) I am not a virgin so I have real life experience here and B.) There's more than one story in The Virgin Diaries where the author states how the media glamorizes first time sex and how their first time was nothing like what they've seen portrayed in TV and film.

When I came up with the idea to collect stories of what it felt like to have first time sex, I focused more on targeting teens. Anthony Tarquinto and TLC opened my eyes to the fact that there are plenty of adults who have yet to take the leap and they have their own specific set of questions, fears and expectations. Perhaps the prolonged build-up of anticipation creates a more urgent sense of curiosity?

When Anthony thanked my mother and me for making The Virgin Diaries, it really made me think about who can benefit by reading 72 people's accounts of what it felt like, both emotionally as well as physically to go all the way. TLC's show convinced me that those who choose abstinence, for whatever reason, would like to be able to utilize the information I've collected.

Nothing compares to first-hand experience but to fill the gap while waiting, The Virgin Diaries promises to help answer whatever questions may arise. Of the 72 men and women who shared their story, a good portion were 20 and older before they lost their virginity.

Watch a Youtube of an animated avatar reciting a story from the book: VIDEO
***As a result of the TLC premiere, the video has gotten over 8000 hits since 11/29/11.

The Virgin Diaries is avaiblable for purchase on Paperback and eBook.
See more information on

Monday, November 28, 2011

Interview With Anthony Tarquinto: The Real 42 Year-Old Virgin

Anthony's Blog:

A while back I was contacted by Anthony Tarquinto. He is a 42 year-old virgin who wrote a book titled The Real 40 Year-Old Virgin  and found my book The Virgin Diaries online. He expressed an interested in somehow working together.

I was not sure what to think initially. I read a little bit of his book online and saw that he not only wrote of being a virgin but he included a very conservative political ideology. My book The Virgin Diaries has no agenda, political or otherwise other than to provide virgins with the tools to make an informed decision.

The Virgin Diaries doesn't encourage or discourage anyone where first time sex is concerned. I just remember being a virgin and I had questions - even when I wasn't ready or willing to engage in sexual activity.

Below is a thoughtful and very interesting post from Anthony. I am very grateful he reached out to me and my mother and assured us that he would only focus on the subject of virginity. Thank you Anthony! We both appreciate your eloquence and candor.


*My name is Anthony J. Tarquinto. My friends call me Tony.

I am an independent financial consultant and investment advisor based in Aliso Viejo, CA. My best friend is Robin Basner. She lives in a town called Diamond Bar.

I’m also a volunteer counselor at All Experts in the category of Abstinence/Celibacy. I’ve gotten questions from people all over the world about dealing with this.

My birthday was a few weeks ago. I’m now 42.
I am a Roman Catholic.

**There are two main reasons that I am 42 and still a virgin. First is because of the choices that I have made at various stages in my life:

- When I was in high school I was pretty much a geek. I was skinny with bad acne and a bad haircut. Just a big zero.

- When I was in college, I was a total recluse – shy, always studying and always alone in the library – kind of a bookworm. I just didn’t try hard enough.

- In the 1990’s, I was very insecure in my career and always worried. I didn’t have much going for me in those days and my self-esteem was very low.

- In the 2000’s my career finally took off and I started making money. I worked in outside sales and I was always on the road. I traveled, saw new things, experienced all kinds of cool stuff, and sort of “gave up” trying to find a woman. It was almost like I boycotted women. Call it a “girlcott”. This period of my life (the good times) is when I should have found a relationship and finally had sex. But I didn’t. I kept putting it off and delaying, and saying to myself, “maybe next year.”
This was the biggest mistake of my life. I had so many chances to be with so many quality women and I JUST PLAIN BLEW IT. It haunts me to this day. There were women with whom I was genuinely compatible and had a realistic chance of developing something long-term. Shame on me for not going for it when I had the chance.
The second reason I am still a virgin is because of the overarching edict of the Catholic Church, which forbids having sex outside of wedlock. From a young age I was told in Sunday School and CCD that Catholics must wait until marriage to have sex. I have preached this my entire life, but now I’m having doubts. Here’s why: At the end of the day, I am on the losing side of the intellectual argument for celibacy because as a Catholic, my first and foremost guidance comes from the Bible, specifically the Book of Genesis. In Genesis, Adam and Eve have sex.
Adam and Eve were not married. This throws the entire dogma out the window. 

***If I had to do it over, I wouldn’t have been such a narcissist during the good years. I wouldn’t have been so arrogant. I was totally wrapped up in my work and I didn’t think about the future. 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 were phenomenal years for me and I got blinded by my success. Then when the 2008 financial crisis hit, I lost everything – my job, my career, my house, my company car - everything but my virginity.
 I’ve picked up the pieces since, but I now have the “virgin” thing to deal with, which started when my book came out in last year – The Real 40 Year-Old Virgin. It’s about business, politics and religion, which are hot topics these days. My positions are controversial and extremely conservative.
Also, if I could do something over, I wouldn’t have been so harsh and acerbic in the book. I was angry when I wrote it and it’s pretty obvious.
Now I’m toxic. It’s all out there now. Any girl that reads my book finds out that I am a far-right, fire and brimstone conservative (pro-life, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, etc.) and I can’t hide it. Most women that I meet nowadays are repulsed by Sarah Palin, yet I identify with her. I’m a loose cannon. No girl wants a guy that thinks and talks like I do, and that’s just reality. I said what I said and wrote what I wrote, and now I have to deal with it. The book has been out two years now and I’m just finding this out.
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I don’t want “sympathy” sex. But If I ever do find a girl now, despite everything that’s happened to me, at least I know it will be real. At least I know that she’ll know everything about me and I won’t have to worry about hiding anything. I won’t have to spring it on her that I’m a virgin.


****There are between 110,000,000 and 115,000,000 adult males in the United States according to the 2010 U.S. Census. I know of only two virgins – me, and another guy Jason who asked me for advice at All

That’s it.

But it can’t be. There’s no way out of 100,000,000 or so guys that there are only 2 virgins. There have to be more. That’s where Kimberley and Ann come in.

I was surfing the web one night when I came across The Virgin Diaries and I couldn’t believe it. Finally! Somebody actually cares about virgins! A book dedicated to….me!

I don’t feel alone anymore. The Virgin Diaries is a must read for the mature teen (or any virgin for that matter) who wants a broad insight into what it’s like to have sex for the first time. I learned a lot.

            Now I know what others were thinking right before they had sex for the first time, and what it was like after. The profiles in The Virgin Diaries are anonymous, so it’s no holds-barred. It is very honest and up front.

The Virgin Diaries totally changed my thinking on losing virginity because of how the respondents in such detail recall how they lost their virginity, the name of the person they first did it with, and the time, place, and other meaningful circumstances in their lives. There must be something very special about sex if people can recall it this vividly. The respondents seemed as if they really enjoyed conveying their stories - like it brought back fond memories of a more innocent time in their lives. The book is a compendium of the most intimate aspect of peoples’ lives. I used to think that losing my virginity was not going to be a big deal or all that important. Well, it is important. This is my life here, and Kim and Ann prove that.

*****I wish this book was available when I was younger. It would have been an enormous help. If I had read the The Virgin Diaries, it would have taken me in a different direction because I wouldn’t have taken my future for granted. I always thought I would eventually find a girl and fall in love and have sex and maybe even get married. Life is too short to be a virgin and I wish I would have thought about these things ten years ago.

******Ultimately, the benefit of The Virgin Diaries is that it lets a person who has never had sex know that it is OK to wait. There are so many profiles from people from all walks of life that the reader will connect with at least one of them.

“I would tell virgins to make sure that the person you are going to do it with the first time is as happy and satisfied as you are. If you’re going to do it, make sure you know that the person you’re going to do it with is someone you can trust and continue to have a relationship with when you’re done.”

This is from a 45 year-old male who did it for the first time when he was 24. I can relate to this. Twenty-four years old is a late-bloomer, and I’m a REAL late bloomer. This is just one of the many essays that had an impact. Maybe there is hope for me!

“As for advice from religious figures, I was in Catholic schools for twelve years. Sex is something that was never brought up.”

            From another 45 year-old male who was raised Catholic. I can definitely relate to this.

*******I believe that 18 should be the minimum age before engaging in sexual activity, especially sexual intercourse. Women in their early teens haven’t fully developed their bodies yet, and sex could do damage (both physically and psychologically). I’m no doctor, but this is what I have heard from various healthcare professionals and psychologists over the years. Boys are more prone to be damaged on the psychological side by having sex too soon. Many counselors say that male expectations of sex are different than a female, and early sexual activity can distort things and perhaps even warp the male mind.

*******I feel like being a virgin is a liability for me at this point because when you get to a certain age, it’s as if women are thinking, “OK. Something must be wrong with this guy. He’s 42 and hasn’t had sex yet?”

- Like red flags go up when they find out about all of this.

            This is a sign that there is some serious fundamental problem with me. There must be something seriously wrong with a guy who’s 42 and never been laid.

            If I were an average guy with a wife and kids and a normal job, and I heard there was a 42 year old virgin, I’d think the guy was a real loser – like a mental case or something.

*********There are pros and cons to being celibate and honestly, I would not encourage any guy to abstain from sex just for the sake of being a virgin. The right girl may never come along and life is too short. The bottom line is this: Being a male virgin in my forties benefitted me because of the movie.
The 40-Year-Old-Virgin (Universal Pictures 116 min.) was a precursor to my real-life story, and it was sheer coincidence that I turned 40 shortly after it came out. Everything that I have now I owe to Steve Carell, and I’ve never even met the guy. The whole thing sort of happened by accident.
            But being a virgin stinks. I wouldn’t recommend it for any guy in his thirties, forties, or any age, because you’re different and being different is difficult. I don’t want to be a virgin anymore. I just want to find a girl, do it and get it over with. My fifteen minutes is up now. I just want to get on with my life.

*********While I have not been told outright by a woman that she doesn’t want to be with me because I’m a virgin, I get the feeling that that’s the reason. Seems obvious, don’t you think? Maybe they’re freaked-out by the whole thing.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Independent Vs. Traditional Publishing: Why I'll Stay Indie!

As mentioned in the first of this series, I have had some interest from a mid-sized publisher for my blog Here She Comes.

At first, I was very excited that my work was considered worthy and still am. The publisher that expressed interest specializes in books with photographs and illustrations. They are located on the East Coast and focus on regional distribution. I would prefer not to have any illustrations for this project and I also don't wanted to be limited with where my books are available.

From what I have found, many small to mid-size publishers require the author to purchase a fairly large quantity of their own books, and though there are many authors out there who love being with their publishers, I have decided to stay independent.

I make Reality Books. This means I rely on other people's submissions to keep me going. I have three blogs up now with the intention of turning them all into books. The stories come in waves. Sometimes I get a lot; other times, I get busy and focus on other aspects of being an author. The stories will come in their own time and I don't want to feel pressure to have it done on someone else's watch. I want the quality of the entries to be worthy of the final product. This may take more time than a traditional publisher would permit.

I happened upon an article today that Penguin Books has now joined the self publishing game. Read the article: Here. They claim to respect the new wave of independent publishing and while that may be true, the truth is the Big Six are realizing their industry is being dramatically and quickly changed by the onset of authors getting fed up with all the rules being forced upon them. They know they now must be a part of this wave in order to stay competitive and in business.

When reading the interviews with the authors who have traveled both forms of publishing, it is clear that staying independent is the right choice for me. At least it is for now. I will admit, if one of the Big Six were to offer me a deal, that would be a whole other ball game and of course I would be a fool to decline.
It would give me the "credibility" that takes much longer to achieve when you go it alone. But I can guarantee that once I was able to make my living solely as an author, I would go back to self publishing. That's where the money really is if you have a decent following.

I would like to thank everyone for participating in the interview process and celebrate all the authors out there who help to entertain, inform and inspire!

Read all of the interviews:
Author Interview Sally Franz: Click Here,  Author Interview: Dorinne Davis  Click here,  Author Interview Geoffrey Hopf  Click Here ,  Author Interview: Betsy Balega Click Here,  Author Interview: Debra Ann Pawlak  Click Here

Visit to learn more about my works.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Excerpts From Ain't No Sunshine: Men Reveal The Pain Of Heartbreak

What sorrow lurks in the minds of men suffering from a broken heart? Ain't No Sunshine knows!

How do men feel when they lose someone they love? Do they cry? Do they obsess? Do they call psychics? Under the protection of anonymity, thirty-eight men describe in detail how they've dealt with the pain of heartbreak. Whether it's because of divorce, betrayal, death or simply getting dumped, the raw honesty of these men may surprise you.

Modern American society so often discourages men from admitting to emotional pain, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. From an early age men are taught to "suck it up." Women often think men have it easier when it comes to the pain of heartbreak. But is that really the case? Ain't No Sunshine
provides an opportunity to unlock those mysteries in this informal collection of stories.

Interviews with therapists, psychics and bartenders are included and provide informative insights into how men react to a broken heart.

Love is never easy. Loss of love is always difficult. Here is proof that not only do men struggle, sometimes the struggle is more difficult than it is for women.

Ain't No Sunshine is a rare glimpse into the elusive male psyche.

48 years old.
"...The problem was money. My wife and I could not afford to move out. Our money was tied up in the business and our home that had lost value and we had to figure out what to do. We decided to continue living together and tried to stay out of each other's way...

...I met Diane through a mutual friend at a dinner party. I was honest about my living situation but I made it clear I was interested in her and I wished to see her. She agreed to be my friend...After about six or seven months, we gave in and had sex. It was great...but then she pulled away...

 ...It took about seven or eight months before I was divorced, moved out and ready to go. I did what she asked. There were plenty of times when I wanted to call her and tell her I was moving out in three weeks---but she said she wanted me to be free. So I waited...

...When I contacted Diane, she seemed surprised and told me she was seeing another man..."

27 years old.
"...The breakup was so hard because it came out of the blue. I thought we were TOGETHER. I got COMFORTABLE! She ruined my world. I hate that the way I feel has anything to do with her. I want so much to get back with her. It's ALL I think about.

I sobbed, I drank, I sat alone all day on the weekend. I actually did call a psychic. She told me this woman was moving on and that she started seeing another guy. I was told that I should start dating again and that I will meet someone within a year. This pissed me off and it's the last time I will ever call a psychic...

...I am not over her. I found out she is seeing someone. I asked her about it and she confirmed it. SHE ACTUALLY HAD THE AUDACITY to ask my advice...

...I think the most embarrassing thing is how pathetic I am. I want her and she doesn't care about me. I'm not suicidal but I do feel desperate. WORST feeling ever!..."

76 years old
"...I met my Grace when I was in first grade...When we were fifteen, our school had a dance and I asked Grace. Fortunately for me, she agreed. This was a real coup as Grace was the first in our class to develop breasts and all of the boys wanted to go out with her. She was a great beauty...

...Five years ago, she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor...Two months later I had to bury her and that was the most painful day of my life---harder than the day she passed...

...The next six months were the loneliest and coldest I have ever lived. Every night I would cry myself to sleep. Every morning I would wake up and feel I had nothing to live for. I begged God to take me...I just sat in my chair and mourned my great love...

....I met a wonderful woman who has helped ease the pain...I have come to love her and I believe she loves me too. But I think both of us miss our respective mates..."

Reviews:  Click Here
Read Two Full Stories:  Click Here
Purchase The Paperback $8.95:  Click Here
Purchase The Kindle Copy $2.99:  Click Here
 Purchase On Smashwords $2.99:  Click Here
Please visit to check out all of my works.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Independent Vs. Traditional Publishing - Author Interview: Betsy Balega

The questions posed to each author are at the bottom of the first part of this series. To see the article and questions, please click here:  Independent Vs. Traditional Publishing
Betsy Balega
My publisher is O-Books of the UK. I was blessed to find them because my book, Being Mystic, is too New Age-y for a Christian publisher and too Christian for a New Age Publisher, such as Llwellyn. I searched, Googled and searched again, until I finally found the right publisher for my manuscript. The best thing is, unlike traditional publishers, who may make you wait six to eighteen months to get a reply, my proposal was read within twenty-four hours and a contract offered within seventy-two. At the time I signed my contract, February of 2010, each author received the same contract with no advance. 

Being Mystic launched June 16, 2011. I was fortunate enough to have a book tour with Chapters-Indigo of Canada.  I traveled throughout SW Ontario, on my own dime, and met wonderful staff and customers. It was a truly great experience. I took a diary with me and collected everyone's name and telephone number, to thank them personally and keep in touch. The notes may be used for a future book.

I have a free newsletter at my website,
I have a free podcast:, Tuning in with Betsy,, since 2006, with over 90,000 listeners.  Now, whether they all buy my book is up to them. I am on Facebook, have a Facebook page for Being Mystic. Everyone who "likes" my book is automatically entered into a monthly draw to receive a free psychic reading.

O-Books has two wonderful marketing personnel, Catherine Harris and Sarah Dedman. They take care of sending out review copies to book reviewers and the monthly newsletter for O-Books, which details what authors are up to each month. As a result, I have been asked to contribute to several UK magazines, which I wouldn’t have known of otherwise. Catherine and Sarah do a great service for all O-authors.

I sent press releases prior to each book signing. As a result, I was featured in local papers. Since returning from my book tour, I have been interviewed by one Canadian entertainment weekly in Calgary, the University of Saskatchewan, The Daily Trojan at USC, the Daily National in NYC, featured as the 'Author of the Month' by Mindi Anderson of Chicago, interviewed by Rob McConnell, host of the #1 Paranormal Radio Show in Canada, as well as two more radio shows in mid-November. Rogers Media did a magazine cover promo picture for me just before my book launch.

I will stay with O-Books because they believed in me when no one else did. John Hunt, the CEO, used his money and invested in me. I’ll return the favor. I’m a very loyal person.

Sales are going well. I have deliberately declined all royalties until later in 2012. The last time I checked Being Mystic landed on the Best Seller List. My writing is about Truth, not money.

Author Interview Sally Franz: Click Here
Author Interview: Dorinne Davis  Click here
Author Interview: Debra Ann Pawlak Click Here 
Author Interview Geoffrey Hopf  Click Here 
To  see more information about my books, please visit: 

Excerpts from The Virgin Diaries

There are other books that have collections of virginity stories. The Virgin Diaries is not the first nor will it be the last. People are interested in sex. Especially virgins and that is why I made this book. I remember being a young girl, a bit of a prude and had zero interest in having sex but because our culture is so obsessed with it, I had a healthy interest. "What is all the fuss about?"

Before compiling the stories, I was unable to find any other collection that had such a diverse mix. The people who shared their tale range in ages 20-77. They are gay, straight, male and female. The majority state they got NO advice from parents or anyone.

It was important to me that when collecting these stories, they were not too sexually graphic. I didn't want to make a soft porn book, I wanted a source for curious virgins so that when sex starts to become a real issue and possibility, they could make an informed decision on what to expect emotionally as well as physically.

Last, I didn't want any commentary. No history, no comparison - not to other stories in the book or my own experiences. I trust the reader can make up their own on what to think and how to feel.

Here are some excerpts from the book. The Virgin Diaries is only $2.99 on Kindle and the paperback edition is $12.95

Female. 77. I was 15 years old.
"...Looking back, it was very sweet and a very important time of my life because I had somebody to hold, to be with. I was relatively insecure in myself. It just made me feel close to somebody and that I needed to be a part of somebody's life. That's what it did. We had boyfriends then, we didn't have parties where people switched partners and it was just different. You went steady and eventually you had sex. You loved each other, whether it was real love or not. It was something you did to be close...."

Female 46. I was 21 then---nearly 22.
"....The best part was being that close to another person. The worst part was the pain...
The only thing that I'd change now is that I'd have told him I was a virgin. I think I sold him a little short on that one. And it would've been nice if we'd have both shared the experience of my first time as such together. Perhaps it was my withholding the truth that ultimately led to his withdrawing his affection and backing away. Now I'll never know if that little while lie cost me dearly..."

Male 43. I lost my virginity when I was 18 to a girl I didn't even like.
"...I remember getting drunk and taking this girl into my friend's bedroom, as I had many times before. I didn't know what the hell I was doing and luckily, because I was drunk and did not care about her, I wasn't embarrassed...
I found out later that night that she was a virgin too and really liked me a lot. I didn't care one way or the other, not because that's my personality, I just had a world of other more important things on my mind, like what the hell I was going to do with the rest of my life...."

Female 20. I was just 17.
"...Looking back, my worries were not really what stopped me. I just was not ready. I worried about it changing our relationship, pregnancy and the pain of the first actual time and Jim. However when we did have sex for the first time, I did not even think twice about any of these things....
Physically, my first sexual experience was painful. I don't remember him having trouble getting it in but I felt as though my body was being ripped in half. In an overwhelming mixture of physical pain and unfathomable emotional connection, I cried. With every tear that fell out of my eyes, Jim kept kissing me and telling me he loved me...."

Male 26. At the time I was a sophomore in college.
"...I was a Nervous Nelly. I had no idea what to do and I didn't want to look like an idiot...
I was happy, scared, sad, all of it. It happened so fast, so all of the emotions were pouring out of me at the same time. I was respectful and gentle and sweet..."

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Independent Vs. Traditional Publishing - Author Interview: Geoffrey Hopf

The questions posed to each author are at the bottom of the first part of this series. To see the article and questions, please click here:  Independent Vs. Traditional Publishing.

Geoffrey Hopf
Book: Doggieville

I first started out looking at publishers for my book. Most I found online were not even accepting unsolicited manuscripts. I found that to be very disheartening. I then started to look for a literary agent, thinking that would be my in with a publisher. That again proved to be slow and unproductive. I then came upon an article about how many authors I was aware of started out by self-publishing. I was amazed by the list. I then started to look more into the self-publishing route and found some interesting things. My personality is one that I am a get it done kind of person. I do have a problem with waiting and waiting, and if I really wanted my book out I felt I needed to get it out there. I know many other writers and authors and they know the importance of momentum. I was losing my momentum waiting to go the "traditional" route. After careful thought, I finally made the decision to self-publish. I took my time to research and finally found what I felt was the perfect service to assist me in self-publishing. From concept to having the finished product in my hand took four months. I know without a doubt going the other route would have taken a year plus.

I am happily using Createspace and have really enjoyed the self-publishing route. It is impossible for me to know how things would be otherwise, as I don't have anything else to compare it to. What I love is my publishing happens as fast as I can get my books completed, proofed and uploaded. After having my first book out for only two weeks, I decided to have a Spanish version. Within one month that book went live and for sale. If I had a traditional publisher, that would not have happened.

I use social media a lot. My book has its own page on Facebook and it connects with others on Facebook. I like using it as a means to notify and update my fans.

As of right now, I am enjoying my success so far going it alone. My sales have been good and I have booked interviews, readings, radio interviews and reviews all by myself. I do use a small PR firm but I know the cost of them is less than had I had a publisher. So to answer honestly, I am not looking for a publisher at all.

I have had only one rejection and that was by a library. Otherwise I haven't seen any rejections from media. 

The self-publishing route is a lonely road. You must be prepared to do it all. If you are the personality type that needs or feels you need support or someone to help, then self-publishing may not work. Self-publishing works well for those that are super energized, motivated and entrepreneurial. In the end, when you are successful as a self-published author the publishing houses then will take note and come to you. I have to applaud all authors out there who are risking everything and putting themselves out there. Just completing your book is a huge success, getting it published is another; everything after that is icing on the cake.

Author Interview: Dorinne Davis  Click here

Author Interview Sally Franz: Click Here
Author Interview Debra Ann Pawlak: Click Here 

Author Interview: Betsy Balega Click Here


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