WORLD BLOG HOP…HUH?

Instead of cool dog news or updates on Tanner’s latest exploits, this week we’re doing something different. We’re joining a worldwide blog hop for readers and writers called “The Writing Process World Blog Tour.” I’m not the guy who put the social in social media but I was invited to join WWBH by a hot new YA writer, K.V. Flynn, whose debut novel, ON THE MOVE (the first book in a middle grade/YA trilogy that really lives inside the world of skateboarding and boys’ friendships), will be published in early September. Be sure to add it to your must buy” on Amazon/Kobo.iTunes/B&N (notice I didn’t say must read,” since we writers have to eat – BUY it for yourself, or you teenage son/brother/friend). K.V. lives in the Manhattan-Huntington-Malibu Beach area. His favorite ride is an 8.25″ Krooked deck, Independent trucks, and 53 mm Spitfire wheels. He is half Spanish and half Irish and has a dog. K.V. and he and his bros regularly cruise Venice, Stoner, Skatelab, and Van’s. Check out the book here:www.OnTheMoveBooks.com.

About me and my book
I live in Malibu with my wife Eugenie, the love of my life, and our rescue dog, Tanner. I’ve written for film, TV, stage, magazines and newspapers. GIMME SHELTER is my first book. When I’m not writing (which is way too often these days), I work with juvenile inmates at the L.A. County Juvenile Probation Camp Schools in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. For fun (read the book, and you’ll see the kind of guy who thinks it’s fun), I teach Okinawa GoJu Ryu (“Wax on; Wax off”) Karate and Tai Chi. In our downtime, Eugenie and I travel to Italy where we were married and where we have dual U.S.- Italian citizenship. 
                                                              ~ ~ ~
Today we’re answering four questions:
1) What are you working on? 
I’m currently juggling several projects. There’s a Stand And Deliver-style film script set in a juvenile probation camp (prison), a gritty urban short-story collection set in NYC and Northern NJ, and a stage play with music about the only soldier to ever successfully challenge the U.S. military’s ban on gays. In addition, I’m always outlining potential stories, scripts and articles that will probably go unrealized unless I live to a biblical age.

2) How does your work differ from others in your genre? GIMME SHELTER takes the feel-good dog story and stands it on its head. On my Amazon page, I say that GIMME SHELTER is… “The Sopranos meets Marley & Me: with a twist when a volatile, chronically ticked-off writer from a “Goodfellas” family struggles to help an abused, timid, big-hearted shelter dog. Unlike Marley, ours was a case of good” dog (a homeless pit bull) vs. bad owner (me). We made an odd couple and, for us to thrive, I had undergo a wholesale—and very challenging—personal transformation. Tanner, our dog, was the teacher who saved me from myself. Like me and much of my writing, GIMME SHELTER blends the raw emotion and sensibility of the street with more conventional, refined elements. This is coupled with a strong angermanagement theme, which is one of the reasons why the book has been well-received by the officials and juvenile inmates at local probation camp schools.

3) Why do you write what you write?
In the case of my film work, I usually stumble across an odd or intriguing story and then marry it to events and people from my personal experience. Since I have a darksensibility, my work is often too gritty for the YA audience. GIMME SHELTER was an exception, but then it was an accidental book. I say accidental because it started as a diary that I kept during Tanner’s first year with us. For some reason that I can’t explain, I diligently charted all of the mundane things that happened during that time. For more than twenty years, my wife, Eugenie, had bugged me to tell our story from the POV of the dogs we’d owned. Like a typical husband, I’d resisted fiercely. When she started bugging me about the Tanner diary, I said I’d think about it. Because I hadn’t planned on doing anything with it, the journal was a hodgepodge of 500+ pages with no structure or apparent theme – hardly the kind of thing to turn into a book. It took me eighteen grueling months and countless drafts to figure out that the real story wasn’t me savingTanner; it was Tanner saving me from my decadeslong battle with anger. Once I came to that realization I was able to chisel a book from the diary.

4) How does your writing process work?
I tend to let things simmer for a very long time. Then, once things reach critical mass (or my wife can’t stand it any longer), I get to work. I always outline extensively when I’m writing screenplays or short non-fiction. GIMME SHELTER was my first stab at narrative non-fiction and working without an outline (or any plan at all) caused me a lot of headaches. In the case of the aforementioned short story collection, I haven’t learned my lesson since I’m working mostly without an outline, although many of the stories have been percolating for years.  
                                                              ~ ~ ~
I’m very excited to introduce the 3 writers who will be joining the blog tour on August 19:

Shea McIntosh Ford is an author of openminded fiction.” Her latest book, THE STONE OF KINGS will be published on August 12 from Astraea Press . Shea blogs at: http://sheaford.wordpress.com/,  https://www.facebook.com/SheaMcIntoshFord 

Justine Korman Fontes has over 700 published titles, earning her the title “The Queen of Licensed Children’s Books” from Writer’s DigestJustine is the author of THE GRUMPY BUNNY series for Scholastic and the new CHEDDAR’S TALES series for Barron’s. She and her hubby Ron Fontes have written for all of the major publishers, adapted screenplays for major film studios, and created a host of original works including graphic novels. 
 http://www.sonicpublishing.com/about.html

 Teresa Howard Teresa writes several romance genres.  From historical romance, to contemporary romance, to time travel/paranormal romance, her abiding belief that love conquers all leaps from every page.  Her latest work, FOR LOVE ALONE, is a historical romance with a southern belle turned royal duchess as the heroine. It will be published on August 12 from Astraea Press. All of Teresa’s novels are available on Amazon.com and can be ordered directly from her webpage: www.teresahoward.net
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