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Hello&Welcome back, Joey!

 

Bookworm’s Nook: Would you like to share a bit about yourself?

Joey Pinkney: Thank you so much for inviting me to be interviewed for Bookworm’s Nook, RH. I really appreciate it.

My name is Joey Pinkney. My love of books lead me to promote books, authors and publishing companies to a global readership using my growing digital footprint in social media. I do author interviews and book reviews for my main website JoeyPinkney.com. The “JoeyPinkney.com 5 Minutes, 5 Questions With… Author Interview Series” is over six years old and counting and features authors of various genres and levels of experience. They talk about the story behind the story.

I recently started a new book promo service at JoeyTweets.com which harnesses my huge following on Twitter to connect readers with books and with authors that they may have never heard of.

I’m also an author of short stories and essays. I have a few interesting works-in-progress that are under wraps. (What “author” doesn’t, right?)

Oh. I’m a nerd. And I love chocolate. A lot…

BN: Do you remember your favorite places to read throughout the years?

JP: The airplane is not my favorite place to read, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that as the “most productive” place to read in terms of reviews. What would normally take about 8 man hours to complete, I can do during a 5 hour flight, including layovers.

I’m trying to think of places that had the best ambiance for reading throughout the years. I can’t think of any. Do you know why? Because reading can be so engrossing. Once a story gets good, the world around you dissolves. I’ve burned food or just left it sitting in the microwave. I’ve overfilled bathtubs. I’ve unknowingly agreed to stuff from my kids because I wasn’t really listening. I’ve missed bus stops. I’ve came to and left from the last stop on the Metro in DC only to have to go up a stop and switch trains, come back and actually GET OFF.

I like to lie back and flop around like a single sock in a dryer while I read. So shout out to all of the couches, beds, closet floors, loveseats and futons I’ve lied on while reading. If I didn’t mention you by name, charge it to my mind and not my heart. (Whatever that means.)

BN: How much attention do you pay to book covers? What attracts you, what do you consider a turn-off?

JP: Some book covers are really “book art.” When I look at book covers, it’s not always to see if I want to read the story. I look at them to take in the art that the graphic designer put into the world. I try to reverse-engineer how the graphic designer achieved a certain effect. I mentally critique whether the font type, size, color and placement came together to easily get across a message consistent to the feel of the story.

When I look at book covers, I drink in the color schemes. Sometimes whether the colors match or not on a book cover attracts my attention before I actually realize the words and images on the cover. Hues, tints and shades can take an average-looking layout on a book cover over the top and make it resonate with you. I recently helped Burnita Bluitt promote her book “Quiver of the Pure Heart” through JoeyTweets.com That book cover is a perfect example of how imagery and color schemes can come together to make a book into a piece of visual art.

Sex sells. A “beautiful” woman on a cover can catch my attention, but not completely for the obvious reason. I also look to see if the woman fits the story or if she is just eye candy. It’s a turn-off to see scantily clad women on book covers (stay with me) that don’t match the women they are portraying in the story. I hate it when there’s a luxury car on the cover, but the main character drives something mundane and run down.

A true test of a book cover’s power is its ability to catch the eye of a reader who is scrolling through a sea of book covers. One book cover whose imagery and layout stood out to me while I was scrolling through Amazon is “When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan. A black background. A White woman with red-tinted skin. Simple, thin white letters. The visual made me ask, “What is this book about?”

BN: I read a great meme about “e-books versus paperback” … do you have a preference, or do you think it is silly that people can’t simply agree that both are great in their own way?

JP: As an avid reader and a professional book reviewer, I have come to prefer ebooks. They are more convenient to me because I can fit a library and a half into a Kindle app. And the Kindle app is much lighter than a ton of paperbacks. That Kindle app is on my phone, my tablet, my laptop and my computer. Being able to search for a specific word to find a particular passage to review is very handy when writing about a specific aspect of a story. So, for me, practicality can be found in ebooks.

Yes, I miss the smell of the books. I miss being able to thumb the outer edge of the pages and go to a specific place in the book. I miss the book cover being right there. But I don’t miss pages falling out. I don’t miss the awkwardness of trying to carry a bunch of books in a backpack. I don’t miss cringing when I unintentionally put a Dorito stain anywhere on or in a book.

I’ve come across quite a few people who are extremely passionate about paperbooks to the point where any love expressed towards ebooks is met with indignant comments. I’ve been sucked into a few debates after stating I preferred ebooks. I think that it is silly to get emotionally charged to the point where you have to argue or put somebody down, directly or indirectly. It’s not that serious. I’ve had people actually want to argue with me about the virtues of paperbacks over the evil ebook empire. I can’t. I like both.

The most important thing the printing press did for authors was make their literary expressions available for mass consumption. That’s all ebooks are doing: taking stories and making them digital as opposed to inked on paper. Readers read. They may have preferences, but a real reader will read a good story because it’s good first and foremost. A quality book in digital or paper format is still a quality story.

BN: How has writing changed the way you read?

JP: Writing has caused me to read more like a writer. I look at the way the author uses literary effects or flat-out good storytelling. I read to discern whether or not the dialogue and the narration supplement and complement each other. I look at misuse of words that can be mistaken for misspellings.

Writing has done something else to the way I read. I read with more respect. It takes a lot of time and effort to write, edit and publish a full-length novel. Even if an author’s story is low quality, I respect the fact that it’s published. There is a lot to be said about that. Yes, self-publishing has become fairly easy. No, everyone shouldn’t publish just because they can. But a published author is the one who stopped thinking and started doing.

However, I know so many highly-intelligent, unpublished authors who obsess over quality to the point where they are stagnant. They don’t want to publish because other authors are putting out “trash.” They are afraid to publish because they aren’t good sales people. All of these reasons lead to many great stories not being seen and read because of over-thinking.

BN: Do you have a favorite genre, or do you like to explore any and all books?

JP: I wouldn’t say “any and all,” but I’m definitely open to a wide range of genres and subject matters. Doing book reviews has exposed me to many books that I may have never taken the time to explore on my own. If I had to choose a genre, it would be Urban Fiction. A great Urban Fiction book has sex, violence and drugs, but it also has a compelling story.

With that said, I’m more open to a “compelling story” than partial to a particular genre.

BN: Have you ever found a book so disturbing, that you couldn’t finish it, or had to leave it and come back?

JP: Yes! I read and reviewed a book a few years ago that caught me totally off guard. It was about a young man figuring out that he was homosexual during a time when he was in a relationship with a woman. This characters experiences with the different gay cultures was unsettling at times. The author’s intent was to teach people about different gay lifestyles and activities while also teaching people what to look out for with men on the downlow or sexual predators that focus on boys.

I interviewed the author prior to reading the book. The interview didn’t give any impression that the book would be so graphic. Since I was paid to review it, I wanted to finish it to give a thorough and honest review of the whole book. I had to stop a few times to give myself room to deal with the images and situations that were presented. I wrote the review based on the quality of the book and not my personal preference.

BN: What question would you ask your favorite author, if you had the chance to ask only one question?

JP: There are so many great authors out there. From great personalities to great storytellers. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite.

If I could gain access to someone considered to be “one of the greats”, I would pose this situation and see how that author would answer:

If you had a choice, would you take a lot of money for writing books you didn’t like to write? Or would you take less money and huge readership who respect you for writing the books that are in you?

BN: Who are some of your favorite supporting characters? Antagonists?

JP: This is a great question! We get so wrapped up in the hero and/or the heroine that we tend to forget the little people who really make the stories pop: the supporting characters.

Off the top, Gabby from “Where Did We Go Wrong?” by Monica Mathis-Stowe. Oh man… If scheming was beauty, she’d at least be Miss America if not Miss Universe. It was a thoroughly guilty pleasure to watch her scheme and plot against her two best friends, of all the people in the world.

Along the same lines of scheming characters is India from “V.I.P.” by Azarel. She was the ultimate hustling groupie, but she wasn’t the smartest. Flawed and evil made for a great mix that made for a better book.

Simony Chiavary from “An Emotional Affair/Intimate Rivalz” by LaMont Wright is another powerful supporting character whose presence made a great story even greater. Sexy, exotic, intelligent and dangerous, Simony is that woman that would catch your eye whether you are a man or a woman. Amidst all that, she was just wanted to love and be loved…

Last, but not least, one supporting character that made a deep impression on me was Paula from “A Whisper to a Scream” by Elissa Gabrielle. Paula was Queen’s, the main character, best friend. Paula was Queen’s voice of reason during a time Queen simultaneously dealt with an abusive ex-boyfriend and her conflicts with dating a man outside of her race. I loved Paula’s no-holds-barred conversations with Queen. I had a crush on her while reading that book. Without her, the story wouldn’t have had nearly as much of an impact on the readers of “A Whisper to a Scream.”

BN: Have you ever absolutely adored an author, gotten to know too much about them or watched the writer in interviews, and been completely turned off? Even from reading their books?

JP: Yes.

BN: Whatcha’ workin’ on?

JP: I have a few writing projects in motion that I’m excited about. I’m going to keep them under wraps until they are almost ready to be published. I’ve been jinxed by announcing working titles and plots publicly, so I’m going to be quiet until I put the work in to finish these stories. Maybe I can come back and be interviewed about one of these upcoming publications.

BN: Do you have any excerpts you would like to share? (From books that are currently available, or works in progress.)

JP: From the short story “Like Father, Like Son”, featured in “Soul of a Man: A Triumph of My Soul Anthology”:

When I first met Mary, everything was cool between her and I. Andre made it obvious from the very beginning that he wanted his mother to have no parts of me. But what little man did? I wasn’t offended. In fact, I gave a silent ovation to his desire to protect the only person that had protected him. I never felt provoked to challenge his bond to his mother. Simply put, I was a stranger invading his space.

I went from courting Mary to actually marrying Mary. I proposed to Mary after church one hot Sunday afternoon in July. All of her family and friends present in the parking lot praising the King of Kings and appraising the engagement ring. Six months later, we married with those same family and friends in that same sanctified church. Hands down, it was one of the best days of my life even though Andre practically ignored me.

I remember hugging him and praying that God help him come to accept me as the man I was. In time, I wanted him to realize that I seriously loved his mother and had the same love for him. He showed no signs of appreciation. Instead, he pushed the buttons on his new Game Boy Pocket that he successfully begged Mary for.

I understood that position when he was a little boy. I gave him room to figure things out. He had to get used to having a father-figure after eight years of just having a mother. I took the lead and remained the adult. I didn’t embarrass him in front of his friends, I never laid a hand on him that wasn’t warranted and I never talked down to his mother during our disputes.

Over the years, the tension continued to build. At sixteen, Andre was where he was at day one: I was still a stranger invading his space. Despite all that resistance from Andre, I continued loving Mary like there was no turbulence, by the name of Andre, interrupting our relationship. I struggled against the strain of juggling life with an enamored wife and an egocentric son.

From “Swiggers”, featured in “Independent Author Index Short Story Compilation, Volume 1”:

Theodore Roosevelt Washington, known to everyone as Teddy, sat up from his sleep with a grunt. He squinted his elderly eyes at the analog clock perched on a shelf across the room, trying to see through its dusty face to the time.

He glided his thin, knotty fingers over his nightstand until his fingertips bumped into his glasses. He was pretty sure it was about three or four in the evening. That was about the time he usually got up from his noon nap.

“Dang, 3:47,” he exhaled. “Let me go see what these jokers are up to.”

Teddy sat up causing his bed to squeak and creak under his shifting weight. He rocked back and forth while rubbing his knees to warm up his old bones before standing.

Although he was physically sitting in his home, his mind was dead set on sitting in front of Pee Wee’s Market with other dirty old men, drinking liquor, cracking jokes and watching the “pretty young thangs” walk by.

***

“Theodore Roosevelt Washington!” Little Sammy smiled when he saw Teddy approaching their bench. Everyone called Samuel Jenkins, Sr., “Little Sammy” because of his short stature, his baby face and the handsome smile under his neatly manicured moustache. Although Little Sammy was the youngest member of their crew, he was well into his fifties and still worked at the paper mill as a second-shift supervisor.

“Man, get’cho tail in that store, get’cho drank and get on back out here,” Lomax growled. Lomax was as black as tar and as big as a house with a voice to match. Talking trash was the only way Teddy and Lomax communicated. From the outside looking in, they might have been mistaken for enemies.

“Forget you, you ol’…” The crew started chuckling in anticipation of whatever randomness was about to come out of Teddy’s mouth. “Old hairy… Son-of-Kong-looking joker! Y’all remember that movie?”

“I remember it,” Little Sammy said as he laughed.

Before stepping into the corner store, Teddy turned and asked the other men, “What time y’all got to take Funky Kong back to the zoo?”

He beat his chest with his fists as the door slowly closed behind him. Even Lomax laughed at Teddy’s unexpected monkey jokes.

Pete Johnson sat in silence among the crew. Confined to a wheelchair after being injured in the Vietnam War, Pete was the most reserved person in the group. He rarely spoke and started bringing his own pint of Crown Royal to the gathering. Pete Johnson stopped buying his Crown Royal from Pee Wee’s Market since Pee Wee passed away about a month ago. Before his death, Pee Wee sold his store to Abdul, an African Muslim whose father owned the other corner store in the neighborhood.

Awesome interview, beautiful excerpts. Thanks so much for stopping by.

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Here is my latest interview, and a quick reminder to click&enter the >> Like Shards of Glass Giveaway

You could win a pre-made book cover, a bookmark, a $10 Amazon gift card, custom made jewelry, 2 signed print books, and more!

3. Are there any ways in which being a military spouse has informed what you read and write?

The topics I write about are never light and fluffy and pretty. I think that, even as a child, my imagination went to darker places, my heart went out to people who seemed sad, and I always appreciated substance. That said, no matter my lifestyle, I would be writing about the tough stuff. Awareness through art, letting people know they are not alone in their struggles, making it clear that no matter what, they do have something to relate to. Military Spouse Book Review Interview

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Interview: Q. How did writing this book affect you?

I would have to say, the book affected me in the same way my other novels did – ignited that passion of wanting to bring light to dark topics, bring awareness and empathy to the things we don’t often connect with. But what really affected me, was taking the time to focus more on details.

I wanted to create something that was detailed, but not in a way that a reader would want to turn the pages to get to the point – just in a sensual slow-building sort of way.  I think that in doing this, I evolved a bit as a writer. Details are something I struggle with.

Q. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part of writing, for me, is paying attention to details. I tend to focus on the bigger picture, the emotions, the character development. Colors, scents, time, and setting, are a lot more difficult than, say, dialogue for me, personally. Bibliophilic Book Blog

Like Shards of Glass Amazon

This was a short, sweet, concise, and very lovely article, written over the weekend. Thank you so much, Oklahoma Writers&Authors:
(Here’s a brief snippet)
Ramsey describes herself as “very passionate about and dedicated to awareness — giving a voice to the silenced, silencing those who judge with no intent to understand.”  Her efforts are beginning to be noticed.
The needJBTSforbasement but ever reshaped by modern stresses, gives her writing a reality and passion.  “In my novel, Just Beneath the Surface: Landon’s Story, readers learn the pathology of the abuser.”
“Readers see that domestic violence does not always mean physical scars. It is also vital to me that those who are hurt do not fall into any particular category of race, personality, or social class. Many say what they would do if they were abused (mentally or physically) yet many do not understand that abusers are just as manipulative and ingenious as they are tyrannical; they chip away at their victim until he/she does not know who or where they are. It breaks my heart that people are critical and judgmental.”

How did you choose the genre you write in?

*I don’t think I chose it. I feel as if it chose me. Believe it or not, even back in the day, as a little girl playing Barbie’s (don’t laugh .. stop it .. I can hear you) I was creating very mature storylines. I never cared about buying the next trendy doll, so that I could pretend to be her, or treat her like a precious collectible item … I was, literally, writing stories in my mind, in elementary school.

Why did you feel you needed to write Like Shards of Glass?

*I was inspired by a number of things, some very personal to me: Addiction, dysfunction and co-dependence, stonewalling – a very dangerous form of emotional abuse, depression, and a recurring theme with me, blurring lines between monsters and ‘heroes’.

As I said above, I wanted to educate people about another form of emotional abuse: stonewalling. This can drive a person out of his/her mind, cause them to lash out, and make them look as if they are the one with “the problem.” Sadly, Monroe experiences this throughout her marriage, and comes to accept and thrive off of the pain her husband causes. Up until, and after, his death

In Like Shards of Glass, you tell the story through the viewpoints of multiple characters. Which characters were forthcoming with their story? Which characters were a bit more stubborn about telling their story?

*Oh, excellent question. Taking me a minute. My most stubborn character was Karter, the husband. I actually couldn’t too much stomach him, because of what he did. It was difficult for me to want to get into his head, and so, I described who he once was, instead of what he did. Also, Dominique, Monroe’s young lover, left me stumped every now and then, because I wanted to create someone who appeared to be one thing, and by the end, he was something completely different. Read More >> Lusty Penguins Review Interview

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And in the beginning, there was Monroe, her husband, and her sons. This was a family unit which was broken to begin with. No, I don’t mean broken in an obvious way, but in a way that is felt, never seen, and at times, not heard.

The home is described as a glacier. There are signs and signals, such as Carter, Monroe’s husband’s appetite. These signals make it clear to Monroe whether or not she exists, for in Carter’s mind, she is a poisonous masterpiece. He loves her, yet distances himself without explanation. And as many mothers/parents do, Monroe does not realize that this deeply affects Karter, her oldest son.

I was inspired by a number of things. Some very personal to me. One of them being, wanting to educate people about another form of emotional abuse: stonewalling. This can drive a person out of his/her mind, cause them to lash out, and make them look as if they are the one with “the problem.” Sadly, Monroe experiences this throughout her marriage, and comes to accept and thrive off of the pain her husband causes. Up until, and after, his death.

Even thinking about the way Carter took the lives of innocent people, and the lives of his own (younger) children, is sickening. I know I wrote the book, but I was a bit skittish about the way I approached this aspect of the book. It was in the room, always present, hovering, ominous, but no details leaked into the atmosphere of the story. It just wasn’t on my heart to include those details. The details I did include, where the fragile, horrifying state of mind, of a woman who’d lost everything she had. Read More >> Like Shards of Glass Guest Post

 

C’mon. Won’t you give a (somewhat) new author a try? Download a free sample? Here >>Like Shards of Glass (Amazon)

Download a free novel >> Just Beneath the Surface (Amazon)

 

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Sometimes, you have to go with it. I mean, literally, just jump in. Leave your negative thoughts and self-talk, watching, gawking, and dead wrong as you power through your fears. That’s what I did last week, and that’s what I’m learning works best for me. Thinking and planning leads to over-thinking and talking myself out of things. If I just go with it, and abandon my insecurities, instead of letting them lead me, I make the right choices. This is what I did to put myself out there, and prepare on short notice … in short.

1.  I reached out to a local television show, The Brett and Sierra Show, and shared with them my books, my passion, and why I felt as if I had something to share with their viewers.

2. I got no response, and so, I reached out, again.

3. And again.

4. And guess what? I got a response – the producer of the show kindly requested 1 chapter of my book, to see if it was something that they would be willing to interview me about.

5. Once I picked myself up off of the floor, I shared with a few loved ones what had happened. That I was considering keeping the chapter to myself, as they probably wouldn’t be interested after reading my writing. I told my loved ones that even if they liked the excerpt, it would be pointless for me to send it in the first place, as I’d only make a fool of myself on television. My publisher/friends and loved ones got me out of my head, and reminded me that the worse thing they could say was, no. They reminded me that, it was irrational to knock on doors and run away when someone answered them …

6. I sent the chapter, and the show producer promptly responded, saying that they had an opening in less than five days. Sure, it was only a 3-minute segment. But to me, it was huge. And in LESS THAN FIVE DAYS!!!

7. Once I picked myself up off of the floor a second time, I told my husband what had happened. I told him I was too shy to do this. I told him that I Resampled_2014-08-08_10-23-45_922-1-1never thought they’d respond, let alone invite me – IN LESS THAN FIVE DAYS!!! After an embrace and congratulations, he told me to cut it out, and to let them know I’d be there on Friday. And that was that …

8. That wasn’t that. After I let them know I’d be there, I continued to panic. I told my mother and friends that I had no idea what to do. That I was too awkward to sit in front of a camera. That I’d stammer and ramble and repeat myself. I’d look at the ceiling and forget what I’d planned to say. How could I let people see me fidget and ramble and .. there I go. One friend reminded me to breathe, reminded me to think of the reason why I do this, to think of the love of writing, to let the joy and love of art shine through – and it helped IMMENSELY. I asked my friend of twenty-two years, who has lots of experience behind a camera, what I should say, how I should say it, where to put my hands, and she set me straight: “You’re focusing on the wrong things. Think about what you want them to walk away knowing about you. Think less about where you’ll put your hands and how many times you’ll say ‘uhm”. Concentrate on speaking clearly the things that you want the audience to know about you and your books.”

9. I began rehearsing in my mind what I should say. I tried to come up with long thorough answers, and I always forgot them. As I sat with my mother and husband, who pretended to interview me, I practiced short-to-the-point answers … but I always got the words all scrambled. I considered writing down what I wanted to say, but for some reason, it just didn’t seem like the right thing to do. I wanted it to be authentic, for the conversation (albeit a brief one) to be organic – ‘uhms,’ and all.

10. Once my mother and husband helped me sift through my thoughts and nerves, and verbalize the very thing I’d been saying in written interviews for the past two years, I had the basis of what I wanted viewers to know. And it clicked: I’m not the rehearsing type. I’m not the planner. In order for me to connect, it has to flow. I have to disconnect, stop thinking, visualize the best outcome, the awareness aspect, which is what I feel is my purpose. Oddly, once the morning came, I felt calm. Too calm. Calm enough to know what I wanted to say, and to feel comfortable with the unexpected – not know what they’d ask. I shared with the interviewers that through writing, I wanted to give a voice to the silenced, lonely, and brokenhearted, and to silence those with a lack of understanding. I can only hope I reached someone. (And that no one could see how out of place I felt!!!) Resampled_2014-08-08_11-14-56_733

And that … that is the quiet frenzy of my first time on a local television show. Now that it’s all said and done, I’ve learned that I have to dive in, before my self loathe and negative self-talk kick into play. And I’m reminded that I’ve got an amazing husband, beautiful friends and family.

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Mommy and me