‘KICK’ back and relax in my fabulous interview session with John L. Monk!

kick

“Right now “Kick” has 65 reviews on Amazon, and a 4.7 star rating out of 5. When I first published, I’d hoped people would like the book, but I never expected the reaction I’ve gotten. I had a top 500 Hall of Fame Vine Voice reviewer say it was “one of the more entertaining and unique books” he’d read that year. Another Vine Voice reviewer also gave me a great review, and multiple reviewers made statements requesting a sequel. Over on Goodreads, I have a 4.3 rating (43 ratings/16 reviews), which is pretty good for Goodreads. I’m hugely flattered.” John L. Monk

I know I’ve whetted your appetite for this for far too long! Here it is folks,
John L. Monk rocks the house with our very first Loganesque interview.

*cue music as John enters*

So John, are you as stoked about this interview as I am?

John: Uh huh…

I’ll take that as a WAHOO!

I know you want to talk about your book Kick and we’ll get to that in a minute, but first relax man, have a seat, a drink, and tell us a little about your real life self. What cooks your noodle? Aka, what do like to do for fun, maybe tell us if you live in any special place, treehouse…what have you.

John: If I had to describe my hypothetical perfect day, it’d be coffee at 8:30am, reading 10 or so 5 star reviews on Amazon, going “wow” at the 300 or so purchases since last night, then opening my email to find notes from my author friends asking me “what’s your secret?!” Then I’d sit down and do some writing—and it’d all flow out of me like water! My wife would make me breakfast at some point (in a perfect world…), she’d feed the dogs, she’d walk the dogs, she’d yell into the room at some point, “hey you got 10 more 5 star reviews!” to which I’d reply, “Uh, yeah…kinda late, huh? Pssht…” Around Noon-thirty I’d take a nap, then wake up for more coffee and a few more emails, then I’d write some more, then play some video games, then maybe grill something outside. In other words, everything I do on Saturday, minus the reviews, sales, wife-made breakfast, and Noon-thirty nap. Man I’m boring, huh?

So what you are saying is that you want my life? *blinks*

We love your book Kick! But let me ask you a bit about your writing process. Yes, we want to know all about that too because lots of writers out there are just starting this gig and need to know what it takes. So, give us some info about how you come up with your ideas.

John: I get my best ideas usually right before I fall asleep. Then I have to get up, go downstairs and write them down or I absolutely will forget them. When I’m writing, I don’t normally get new ideas about plot changes. I just write out the events of the story as best I can (it’s usually awful), and occasionally I have little flashes of creativity that turn “awful” into “possibly fixable.” Generally, I re-read my chapters as a way of kick-starting my daily writing session, and I tweak it a little here and there, shape it. When I’m done with the first draft of the entire manuscript, I re-read it about 50000 times and cut/chop it into something hopefully better. My general philosophy is that every scene has to be interesting. If it’s not, I either fix it or nix it.

Kick-starting…? Get it? Had to point out that little pun to our readers…with a blow horn.

How do you get pumped for writing?

John: I’m very rarely pumped for writing. When I am, it’s usually after a really good movie or TV show like “Justified” where the writing is simply incredible. Good books do the same thing, but obviously they’re more of a time sink (and yet, you must dedicate time to reading good books if you want to succeed). I’m usually pumped when I first start something—the words come flying out of me. This is one of the reasons why some people have described “Kick” as episodic. It’s basically three consecutive “adventures” by the same character. Very easy to write because I got to write “something new” each time.

That’s actually quite a neat idea! An episodic market maybe?

Editing. What are a few must do’s for a writer in this portion of the craft?

John: I’m currently reading a book called “It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences” by June Casagrande. It’s dense, meticulous reading, but it’s absolutely brilliant. Before that, I read “How not to write a novel” by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. Before that, it was another book on grammar that Stephen King recommended. Before that it was a book on self-editing. I have a bunch of links on my blog to various sites that talk about editing. Whatever a writer can do to make sure their work is perfectly polished, they should. Can we break the rules? Sure, but it’s good to know the rules so that any breaking is our idea. Before I submit the sequel to “Kick” for professional editing (a must), I will re-read Casagrande’s book again, just to shore up my basics.

I think you summed that up quite nicely.

Okay, Kick it is! Go: (tell us about your awesome book!)

John: Kick is a vigilante story with a supernatural twist. It’s about Dan, a guy who commits suicide in college, who’s able to come back into the world of the living by possessing the bodies of bad people. He pops up in their body, in full control, and basically lives his life the way he pleases. He eats at restaurants, reads novels, goes to the movies, goes fishing, and when he’s not too busy, he helps people in need. After about 3 weeks, he’ll start to get kicked (kind of like a sneeze, without the tissues). Before he’s kicked completely out of the body, he makes sure his “ride” can’t hurt anyone. It’s a little like Dexter meets Quantum Leap.

If your book had a broadcast alert how would it finish? Beeeeeeep, beeeeep, beeeep, warning this book:

John: This book will make you hungry. I’m actually not kidding. The main character doesn’t have any friends, so he tends to focus on food for enjoyment. People always say, “enjoy the little things.” But for Dan, all he has is the little things.

Ok, now that I LIKE!

Any R rated parts of your book?

John: There’s bad language, but mostly by others, and not the main character. There’s gruesome murder and sexually suggestive (and dark) material, but nothing explicitly X-rated. I’m not into the “blow by blow” analysis, if you follow me…

Got it. Your answer is nearly R rated for my blog…if you follow me.

When I googled your book, it did come up first. However, there was another similar named book below it. Tell me, have you contacted them and asked them to change it?

John: Nope. There’s a book called “Kick” about a soccer player. That’s two different kinds of Kicks, which is allowed under the Geneva Convention. If it becomes an issue one day, I’ll deal with it then.

Let us know when you do! I have a new video camera.

What’s next? Besides being poised for stardom, I’d love to know what else we should expect to come our way.

John: Sometime in October I’ll be published in an anthology called “For Whom The Bell Trolls”. Other than that, I’m working on a sequel to “Kick”. I’m trying to limit any short story writing and/or excessive blogging until I’m done with the first draft, because it’s easy to get sidetracked.

Lady Gaga calls her fans “Little Monsters”, can we start calling your fans “Little Monksters”?

John: It’s funny, I had a blog post that talked about that. I wanted to call my fans “Lava Demons” but everyone thought “Monkeys” made more sense. I still like Lava Demons…just saying.

Monkeys it is!

Where is your blog?
http://john-l-monk.com

Where can we buy your book?
http://amzn.com/B00DSPPTA0

Where can we show up unexpectedly with our luggage?

John: The airport! Hah, wasn’t that a clever answer? That’s the kind of clever you can expect if you buy my book. Except in my book, everything is even more clever. But to answer your question (less cleverly): I live in Virginia.

I think you monkeys know how to do your own stalking so…now you have a reference and state!

Thanks again, John! I know I enjoyed having you and wish you luck. Let us know when the second one comes out so we can question you again, even harder 😉

John & Family!
John & Family!

So that’s all, people. Check out John’s book and stay tuned as I hunt (cough) search out my next author to put on my trophy wall!

L

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Fogland Episode 3: House Call on Queasy Street

I think I shall have to try this out! LOVE THIS!

John L. Monk

Mark Capell, an author I learned about through Lindy Moone, has produced a podcast of a story I submitted for his Fogland project.  You can listen to it for free at the Fogland website. It’ll also be available on iTunes.

Ladies: if listening to Mark Capell’s sexy British accent doesn’t do it for you (it did for me), you can download the ebook for 99 cents on Amazon.

Anyway, what else?  Oh yeah, here are the links:

Podcast on Fogland Website (free/sexy)

eBook on Amazon (99 cents)

Amazon UK (.77 in pieces of eight)

john_l_monk_fogland

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“STATE YOUR OCCUPATION!”

Brilliant.and turned around Tnaillirb

Belly-up!

Just signed the tax forms. Where it said “occupation,” I put “writer,” but only because THIS wouldn’t fit:

“I take those stupid fb tests, you know, the ones where you’re supposed to find out which ’80s action hero you are (John McClane), or which Harry Potter character you are (Hermione, duh!), or which famous writer is your soulmate, even though she’s dead and you’re not a lesbian (Virginia Woolf) or which kick-ass character you are from a TV series (RIVER SONG, alias Harmony Pond.  I get to marry The Doctor, who, by the way, has also kissed me mum).”

You know what else wouldn’t fit under “Occupation”? This:

“I turn sentences around. That’s my life. I write a sentence and then I turn it around. Then I look at it and I turn it around again. Then I have lunch. Then I come back in and write another sentence. Then…

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Nobody makes me bleed my own blood…NOBODY!

white goodman

So today I show up for my first day of physical therapy. Yes, it gets better.
I can’t just up and write a blog like some folks. My most killer blogs (ones that get a whole three plus reads) seem to come from realizations, so here is one I had today.

I show up and at first I’m really nervous cause I know it’s going to hurt. I’ve been warned. This guy does Military peeps, and my shoulder is frozen so they have to draw and quarter me and blah blah blah. He warned me grown men have cried and then since I sniffed at that, now I am a conquest. Well, whatever, this means war then Mr. Mustache.

Anyway, I show up and this ole dude is like warming himself up. I know it cause I can hear the neighboring room echo with the cries of dying patients. Heh.

So I have to pee a lot when I’m nervous…sue me. My third time to the bathroom (remember I’m pumped right) and I push on the unlocked door—and—only someone pushes back. But my instinct is to like buck the man still, ya know? So I’m like dude…you are so going down! For a moment I push back totally not even thinking!

Then my sense of reason returns and I back away slowly from the door like, “Oh, hell, what have I done?”

Sure enough the pisser comes out in five and it’s a lady and she is pissed (haha pisser pissed). She scours the room for the “pervert”. I’m not the embarrassed type so I look right back at her and say, “Hey, I’m so sorry.”

Nothing. No answer. Nada.

Whatever then, FINE THEN! I shrug it off.

Only, for the rest of the visit we are like bunk mates. Her glaring at me, and me being mentally like, “Calm down chick, I didn’t see your hoo-ha or nothing, sheesh.”

Ok, fast forward.

I’m laid out after being toasted on both sides and he starts pushing and prodding and pulling and yanking and askin me with a twinkle in his devilish eye, “You still with me?”

I nod, tight lipped, a few cusses under my breath. And then while he is stretching my arm over my head that hasn’t seen the light of that day since August of last year (I’ll get to that in a second) my vision flickers, but still no tears, ha, suck on that pirate phys-therapist-fakey-doctor!

And right when I am about ready to knock the brakes off this guy and say sayonara, it dawns on me. This is my conflict. I mean, for now, this is my struggle. I’ve had my dreams stolen, crushed, and spit on, and now I am being tortured as well. What greater fodder for my books is there than that?

Ok, dramatic, maybe, but let me scale back a bit.

In august of last year I was about a month away from the qualifiers and one competition away from the championships. To keep my lovely anonymity I’ll just say it was Dodgeball,,,,

So I get into an accident playing…Dodgeball. Like ambulance to another city away for the trauma-center accident. Only, they decide not to do surgery.

Picture gloved hands that set my bones giving me a thumbs up with smiles underneath their masks. “We say it looks alright, Miss Keys!”

And so the healing process begins.

I’m thinking yeah, so, six to eight weeks, no big deal. This ain’t my first ball left un-dodged, I know the drill. I’ll be as good as new in eight–ok fine make that ten weeks for the age factor this time round…

But then I’m not.

I show up and get my casty thingy off and the nurse leaves and then the doctor comes in with my charts.

“Mrs. Keys, we gotta talk,” he says and I get the sense that he means business.

Doctor Cholo (anonymity remember?) pushes his dirty white coat back to place his hands on his hips. He comes over to stand before me but then shakes his head and turns away.

I just know something isn’t right. I mean besides the dirty coat and soap opera actions.

He sighs and says, “I’ve looked at your x-rays,,, and…and…”

“Yes?”

“You mind?” He holds up a cigarette and lighter and I shrug.

In fact, I snag one of those puppies. If this ship is going down, she’s gonna have one last stogie!

We both puff a moment before he approaches me again placing the cig in the corner of his mouth to free up his hands, his one eye squinted up to avoid the smoke.

“Have a seat,” he says quietly and I do. My own cigarette is left forgotten now in the ash tray. Don’t ask.

The doctor’s hands are warm as they trail up my arms. He squeezes one shoulder, and then the other, and then the one again, comparing.

“These bones,” he mutters. “these strangely beautiful bones.”

No wonder he’s a trauma surgeon. He is fascinated by them.

“What is it?” I whisper.

Now I know what you are thinking. Logan, if you keep making it fictional how are we to tell what is the truth? Psshh, I plan on making a very good living on my non-truth so let me practice, sheesh.

Anyway. “What is it,” I whisper huskily and softly and quietly.

“They’re all wrong, Mrs. Keys. No good. The bones, they’ve moved during the time you’ve been laid up, and I think we need to do the surgery.”

“Okay…how long before I can throw a ball again?”

“A year, or more…I don’t know for sure.”

And then he catches me as I fall. To the ground I go, the earth spinning, no I mean more than usual around me.

A roar of sound is in my ears before I realize that the noise is my own yell of negation. “Nahoooooooooooooooooooooooooooo”

But yes, Ladies and gentlemen. Yes. Seven hours of surgery and over twelve months of not doing anything athletic in the least with my upper body. (let’s get that part clear. Wat? I meant I can still be a professional gym bike rider where I lean back and read).

I was devastated. I’ve been competing for over twenty years. I was actively active for about five out of seven days a week! I trained…hard. And now what? Nothing?

So then as most of us on Obamacare, just kidding, but we are on government insurance, and now you too get to be on the funny plan! Schmucks. Read on for more information about that little doozy.

I got passed to another doctor for my surgery. And then another. And then another. Literally. For like six months. There is like a call center who refers you and they just go by a vague list of places that are overfilled, or unable to do my type of surgery, or can’t provide my care. Welcome to the DMV of health coverage, impersonal and presto! I got left on the back burner so long that: “Um, we can’t do surgery now that you’ve sat this long without any mobility blah blah blah. You’ll never be able to move your arm again.” Tada!

So off to physical therapy I go since the scar tissue now is enough to hold a baby elephant in my socket…

Oh right, so how does this work together with writing? Well since I’ve been living in this bomb shelter from august till now, unable to do much of anything other than blog like a loser (yes, it is proof you don’t get laid for the most part… sorry peeps). Now, I know that I’ll not only finish my novels, but with so much more time and effort put into them that they will even be legible!

Having my dreams ripped away might force me to be a real writer yet. Inspiration? Absolutely. Blind rage can be concentrated and used people!

(half-smile)

L

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