“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley

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Épouvantail Press Release: August 4th, 2020

MY READING ADDICTION INTERVIEW

“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley

 

Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

In Black Veil, the two main characters are both determined to keep their secrets draped in darkness. For movie producer Florentino Urbino, he keeps his greed and madness and hunger for fame behind a black curtain that he can draw across his mind. The other main character, SeaBee Danser, has taken to wearing a funeral black veil to protect others from seeing the full extent of her steely resolve to survive, no matter what she must do. How and what we all hide is the primary theme, be it good or evil, light or darkness.

 Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Because Black Veil is about the real and tragic Donner Party, I had two concerns. The first was to treat all members of the party with respect. The second was to find a balance with the amount of factual detail so that the Black Veil story remained true to itself.

 How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

I’ve written twenty-five Danser novels. Eleven of them are slated for future publication and the others are on hold for future rewrites before I decide if they will see the light of day. I suspect they will. I love every member of the Danser family – and their stories – too much.

If You had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

 I would cast the evil and bizarre Florentino Urbino to be played by Johnny Depp, who would certainly bring to it his own quirks and style. My second choice would be my pal, film director Justin Diemert, who is brilliant with darkness, if he could be persuaded to move to the other side of the cameras.

 When did you begin writing?

When I was in my mid-twenties, an excellent age to wade into the waters of the art and craft of novelists.

How long did it take to complete your first book?

 Approximately a year and a half. Those were the days of draft after draft, before I developed a bit of confidence and learned from a lot of trials and errors. These days, the writes are a lot smoother. It helps a great deal to write seven days a week. It also keeps me sane and my life balanced between the world of craft and imagination and the real one.

 Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

Yes, Richard Brautigan, which is funny because he was as much a poet as a novelist. His experiments and wit and honesty, as well as his minimal prose, lit up my imagination like only a few others (J.D. Salinger, Peter S. Beagle and later, Elmore Leonard).

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

The months of research and gathering of ingredients for each book. These are characters, locations, questions, photographs, quotes and vignettes, all loosely gathered. With Black Veil and the other books, I’ll typically have ten to fifteen thousand words before I start to write the novel. Of course, a lot of this material is cast overboard, as it should be. There is a true delight in the important act of killing our little darlings. 

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

 A suspenseful cinematic nightmare.

Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

 Two weeks ago, I started the novel Small Lunatics which promises to be a fun and challenging write. The book is cast almost entirely with children – Florida street urchins. While I’ve barely started, I do know it’s a story of survival in a world gone crazy because, unfortunately, the adults are still in charge.

 

 

Please visit My Reading Addiction at: https://bit.ly/39XWfEL

The “Black Veil” Team

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Hi ya’s,

I’m so pleased by the reception of “Black Veil.” Now it’s time to offer all my gratitude to the amazing team I work with.  First of all, there’s my amazing editor, Nicki Kuzn, who breathes so much lucidity into the novels. Thank you also to the brilliant and creative publicist, Cami Hensley Owner, RABT Book Tours & PR. Thank you Vellum for the wonderful interior design. And to Fay Lane Graphic Design & Book Covers, your creative cover design still moves me.

Quite simply, these four women are invaluable partners in the “Black Veil” success.

One of the recent reviews:

“This was a really great book. The storyline pulled me in from the start and I found the story and characters well written and developed. The story had me in suspense and I didn’t want to put down. A really great story that I would recommend reading.”

All the best,

Greg

A Life Through Books: Greg Jolley Interview

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A LIFE THROUGH BOOKS INTERVIEW

“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
For Black Veil as with all off the Danser novels, it’s the work with my private editor before the book goes to my publisher. We have an amazing relationship based on a lot of trust and she is a true professional when it comes to grammar and punctuation. We always go through a book three times before either of us is satisfied and while the work is not hard, it is often humbling and a challenge because I treat punctuation as the song’s rhythm section, which is often breaks a lot of rules.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?

For this write, it was Los Lonely Boys and The Hellecasters.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I don’t work with beta readers (and I stay a million miles away from writing and critique groups), but I did work closely on Black Veil with my two favorite partners in crime. The first is the brilliant professional editor, Nicki Kuzn, who corrects my abuse of grammar and punctuation rules. The second is Robert Jolley, who is amazingly gifted at continuity edits. I love it when he says, “The gun was in the glove box. How did it get on the kitchen table?”

What book are you reading now?

Candide by Voltaire and The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montello (a Mary Shelley – Frankenstein study)

How did you start your writing career?

Like most of the best adventures, with a dare. Having a deep love of language and word play and stories since I was a child, and being a constant reader, I simple said to myself, “Why don’t you write one?” That was the spark for Distractions, published about two years later.

Tell us about your next release.

The next novel is Thieves, a Molly and April Danser story. It is scheduled for release by Épouvantail Books in December of this year. The sisters have lived a life of crime, mostly thefts from those they believe deserve it the most – social vultures such as 1-800 lawyers.  Things turn dark and twisted when an innocent man dies and an ex US Marshal decides that he has to put them down, permanently. Thieves is more of a roller coaster than Black Veil, which is actually more like a haunted house ride.

 

 

 

 

 

The Avid Reader Interview

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The Avid Reader Interview

“Black Veil” by Greg Jolley

7/13/2020

 

  1. For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start? There are many brilliant non-fiction titles that tell the tragic story of the Donner party. For a similar fictional book, you could do no better than enjoy The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West.

 

  1. How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book? I joined the Broken Television Film Company to both learn the craft and art of movie making and to research Black Veil. I was always interested in the tragic story of the Donner party and wanted to research it and retell it from a movie perspective. The themes of greed and evil are recurring in a few of my books, as well as exploring the light and darks sides of all of us.

 

  1. What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  

My goal with each Danser novel is always the same: Grinning with amusement and satisfaction while typing those two fine words, “The End.” I find each journey, each write, to be an adventure. I also love the fact that while I do miles of research and believe I know where the book is headed, the road is always full of surprises and the cast and events always take over. The writing is often like constructing a roller coaster while you’re riding it, hoping to get enough track laid out to support the journey to the end.

 

  1. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans? As always, write to me and let me know your thoughts and reactions, as well as questions. I always learn so much from readers and have a tough hide for those who want to take me to task for why this or any of my novels don’t work for them.

 

  1. What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Building the skeleton while doing the research, months before the start of Black Veil. The skeleton is somewhat like a badly disfigured outline where ingredients such as the locations, cast, motivations and passions play off each other. I will typically have ten to fifteen thousand words of the skeleton and ingredients before I type a single page of a novel. Such was the case with Black Veil. Because this effort is unstructured, I delight in letting imagination and facts run riot.

 

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future? The next novel is about Molly and April Danser and is titled, Thieves. It is scheduled for release in December of this year. The sisters have lived a life of crime, mostly thefts from those they believe deserve it the most – social vultures such as 1-800 lawyers. Things turn dark and twisted when an innocent man dies and an ex US Marshal decides that he has to put them down, permanently. Thieves is more of a roller coaster than Black Veil, which is actually more like a haunted house ride.

 

  1. How long have you been writing? Oh, jeez. Since 1984. That’s when Distractions was published, the very first Danser novel. It also began my love of passionate eccentrics who have little regard for social norms and laws.

 

  1. Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in (Please insert name of book here)? In Black Veil, Film producer Florentino Urbino is a very dark man driven by jealousy, madness and rage, determined to ascend his second-rate status within the movie company filming the Donner Party story. Opposite him is six-year-old SeaBee Danser in her first acting role, up against tremendous odds, but also determined to win out in the end, albeit her motivation is to simply survive and lead the others to safety.

 

  1. If you could spend the day with one of the characters from (Please insert name of book here) who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do. It certainly wouldn’t be with “Flor” Florentino – laugh. I have to go with SeaBee Danser, enjoying that strong and smart-assed little girl. I imagine lots of surprises from her as well as much shared laughter. I think I’d take her surfing followed by an ice cream lunch.

 

 

 

Ten Things You Didn’t know about “Black Veil”

 

Rainy Day Reviews

Published 7/8/2020

 Ten Things You Didn’t know about

Black Veil by Greg Jolley

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  1. The book was started while on the set of Broken Television’s filming of “Memoirs of Wroth City” where I learned so much about the behind-the-scenes magic.

  2. Justin Diemert is both a brilliant film director and an inspiring couch in the art of movie making.

  3. Because I didn’t yet see the theme of Black Veil, the dull and simple working title was “The Movie Book” during the first draft.

  4. There was a struggle to tell the Donner Story respectfully, all the while knowing how such events are often treated in films.

  5. Yes, I researched the gruesome details and effects of eating human flesh and the mental and emotional and spiritual impacts of doing so.

  6. For Black Veil, the use of alternating storylines was taken on as a creative challenge and to share the good and evil behind the player’s veils.

  7. The brilliant cover artist, Fay Lane, actually let me have a small voice with the amazing cover design.

  8. Unlike the cast in Black Veil, without exception I’ve found that actors and actresses are hardworking and dedicated to their art and craft.

  9. Black Veil is another of my ‘slender’ novels. I don’t worry about word counts with any of the writes, but they always seem to end themselves at around 60,000.

  10. I truly enjoy hearing reader’s thoughts and questions about Black Veil or any of the Danser novels. Engaging with readers is one of my main motivations.

All the best,

Greg

Blurb for “Black Veil” by Greg Jolley launching on July 1, 2020.

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Épouvantail Book Press Release

June 19, 2020

Blurb for “Black Veil” by Greg Jolley launching on July 1, 2020.

Murder and Madness in the High Sierras

The tragic and gruesome story of the Donner Party is being made into a movie, a tale of cannibalism and treachery high in the snowbound mountains. The cast is made up entirely of children. One by one, they are dying. The series of deaths are haunting the production, each one of the “accidents” at the hands of Florentino Urbino. Driven by greed and jealousy, he is killing off the film’s stars to line his pockets by selling off the gruesome footage of the accidents.

Six-year-old actress SeaBee Danser in her black veil is his next target. She is the only one who can see through the black curtain that Florentino Urbino drapes over his deranged and murderous heart.

Can she survive?

Can he be stopped?

Will any of the children be left standing?

Why Write Suspense?

May 4, 2020

Press Release: Logikal

http://www.logikalsolutions.com/wordpress/

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Why Write Suspense?

Greg Jolley, author of View Finder

Have an hour? I’ll buy the espressos. Writing each Danser novel has been an opportunity to explore human motivations through storytelling, which takes precedent over thematic concerns. The personalities of the cast for each book dictate the novel’s structure (i.e., wordy or smart ass? POV, levels of details). That said, the writes are really about turning these dear friends loose and scurrying as fast as I can to transcribe their antics and struggles. Quite simply, it is a helluva lot of fun and if it wasn’t, I would find another use for the seven days a week I spend with them.

A while back I answered the question from another angle.

Because of the dance. Who will lead? Who will follow? Or will they embrace?
           

The Danser novels are about individuals and their choices, as well as their instincts, passions, goals and compulsions. But always there is the dance, the suspense: Good or Evil?

What are the mechanics of suspense?

Let’s start with a decent, formal definition:

            “Pleasurable excitement and anticipation regarding an outcome…”

 ~ Source: iThesaurus.

Not bad.

The definition that I work with is from a good and interesting conversation with my brilliant and wise publisher, who said, “When you know who the protagonist and antagonist are.”

For the Danser novels, I’ve been working with my interpretation of that definition of suspense, “When you know the devil and who its perusing.”

Unlike the mystery genre, where the villain or devil are often not known until the cliff hanging, who-dun-it reveal, the suspense genre offers the opportunity to share both faces and minds of good and bad. In effect, make their light and dark paths viable for my readers. It is also a helluva lot more enjoyable for this writer. And this reader.

So, what is the attraction to books of suspense?

The dance.

Good and evil out on the floor, under the soft lights, the music swaying.

 

 

Interview with Greg Jolley, author of “View Finder”

 

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MY READING ADDICTION

Press Release: Thursday, April 23, 2020

The interview and other material can be viewed at:

https://myaddictionisreading.blogspot.com

 

Interview with Greg Jolley, author of “View Finder”

Is There a Message in Your Novel That You Want Readers to Grasp?

Often, crime does pay and pay well, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty. In the case of View Finder, that meant BB Danser deciding to dig up his father’s corpse to retrieve the suitcase of cash buried at his feet.

The other side of that coin is the moral challenge that a person can experience when greed and the need to survive cause them to act in dreadful ways. In BB’s case, these worries are few, but always tugging at the back of his mind, coloring his struggle to balance right and wrong, good vs. evil.

The other message in View Finder, is the warning to be careful of the dreams you chase. In some ways, View Finder is a cautionary tale as BB Danser pursues his cinematic vision and career, finding success, but dogged by a conscious he can’t quite kill. During a life often lifted by brilliant work behind movie cameras, his crimes tarnish his soul and twist his mind.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Staying dedicated to the current write while other interruptions like PR and correspondence and editing my other books need to be taken care of. It helps to write seven days a week and to put all of that aside for five hours, staying immersed on the new story. I can then handle the other sides of an author’s life with care and focus.

 How many books have you written and which is your favorite?

 I am one month into my twenty-fifth novel, Izzy on Ice. With each book being about a member of the Danser family, the novel Cream of the Wheat is a favorite. In it, I gather most all of the family in one place and let them run amok; their passions, obsessions, crimes and of course, their loves. Cream of the Wheat is scheduled for publication by Épouvantail Books in 2022. Since the Danser novels are not a series, it will fit right in.

If you had the chance to cast your main character from Hollywood today, who would you pick and why?

Gregory Peck because he physically resembles BB Danser and both have the capacity for expressing a wide range of good and evil, sanity and madness. Johnny Depp is tempting for many of the same reasons, ever turning left when all the street signs point right. Ideally, I would talk to film director Tim Burton to move to the other side of the viewfinder, for looks, style, quirkiness and his beautiful visions.

When did you begin writing?

 When I was twenty-six. I was a compulsive reader since I was a boy and one summer day, quite simply, a voice in my head said, “I dare you.” Grinning, I took the dare, buying two packs of index cards and a few fine tipped Pilot pens. Months later, I had a hundred or more cards filled with what I still call Ingredients, talking to theme, structure, cast, locations and a lot of snippets of dialogue that pleased me and sparked my character’s personalities. The next step was also a dare, “Stop thinking. Jump on in, no more toe tips into the water.” I stared the novel Distractions that same day, not sure where it was going, but loving the fact that it was out on the road.

 How long did it take to complete your first book?

 After filling an open cigar box with the index cards, all standing up for easy reference, I spent ten months writing the first draft of Distractions. That was unfortunately in the days when I wrote a dozen or more drafts, so that took up the better part of the second year. When I typed “The End” on the last draft, my next step was hiring a professional editor, something I still do this day. Quite simply, I learned the importance of having my grammar decisions challenged and I loved it when she asked, “Greg? The gun was in the glovebox. Now it’s on the kitchen table?” It is seriously cool to have continuity issues repaired by an editor vs, readers. All in all, the first book took twenty-two months to complete.

 Did you have an author who inspired you to become a writer?

Somerset Maugham, JD Salinger, Truman Capote, John Cheever, Richard Brautigan and Peter S. Beagle were invaluable inspirations, each with a rare, fresh and brave voice and love of making the story more important than anything else.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

 I love doing the research, spending months at that before I start a novel. This is an ongoing process as I’m always gathering ingredients for future books while writing the current work. The ingredients will often be about 15,000 words before I start the novel, focused mainly on structure, theme, the characters and locations, along with lots of vignettes of dialog that might or might not find their way in the book, but provide windows into each character’s personality and motivations.

I also enjoy the lift of typing “The End.” I consider each Danser novel to be a daughter of mine and take delight in watching them each leave the front porch, often barefoot and with a battered suitcase, as they move out into the strange and interesting world.

Describe your latest book in 4 words.

A twisted roller-coaster ride.

 Can you share a little bit about your current work or what is in the future for your writing?

 I’m currently writing Izzy (w.t.), a story of revenge and justice. This novel is based on my coverage of the Joey Bova murder trial in 2019, where, after six years lost discussing his mental competency, he was tried for the first-degree murder of Zuheily Roman Rosado, a vibrant and hardworking mother of six children. As is so often the case, much of the focus was on the killer, a reality I find repulsive.

During the trial, my intent was to tell his victim’s tragic story in a non-fiction book: The Murder of Zuheily Roman Rosado. Prior to the trial, I read all the court and investigation reports. I viewed all the still photographs and security camera footage. I interviewed Bova as well as members of the Rosado family, the press, attorneys and investigators. And yes, I studied the autopsy reports. These more than anything revealed the full impact of Bova’s cruel and senseless crime.

He was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to forty-five years in prison, no parole. The Rosado family took some comfort in the verdict, but faced a lifelong loss of Zuheily. I was struck by the fact that no matter how much the non-fiction work would focus on Ms. Rosado, some light would be cast on Bova. Quite honestly, he is both unimportant and undeserving. I decided to do a fiction book about justice, involving this and similar senseless murders, where the scales are so often weighed to the criminal’s benefit.

All the best,

Greg

 

 

 

A LIFE THROUGH BOOKS Interview with Greg Jolley

April 17th, 2020 Press Release: View Finder by Greg Jolley

A life Through Books Interview

Please visit us at for more on this title:

http://authoreverleigh.blogspot.com

 

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A LIFE THROUGH BOOKS Interview with Greg Jolley

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Hoping I don’t run out of espresso. That and staying dedicated to the write while other interruptions like PR and correspondence and editing my other books need to be taken care of. It helps to write seven days a week and to put all of that aside for five hours, staying immersed on the new story. I can then handle the other sides of an author’s life with care and focus.

What songs are most played on your Ipod?

Lately it is a blend of Little Feat and Los Lonely Boys. I like music playing while I work, but it can’t be a distraction, so I don’t listen to songs where the lyrics cause a pause. For my needs, I want up-tempo music that quickens the heart without pulling my attention away.

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

Before a novel goes to my publisher, I work closely with a professional editor. While my publishers have a fine editing staff, I insist on paying my own to ensure a clean, grammatically correct draft with all questions of continuity, fact checking and story pace worked beforehand. I can’t speak highly enough of the importance of professional editing and in my mind, editors should get equal billing with the author.

What book are you reading now?

I read almost exclusively non-fiction, mostly about crimes and trials during the 1800s. The rare exception is James Ellroy and a few others. I stay far away from any works of fiction that are in my genres. I find it best to avoid possible influences that might be harmful to staying with my own voice and style. I feel much the same about reviews, which I also don’t read. Laurell K. Hamilton said it best:

I seldom, if ever, read reviews, so it doesn’t impact me. I’ve found that even good reviews can mess with my muse and me, so I’ve learned that simply not reading is the only sane way to go. My publisher will occasionally send me reviews to read and I will look at those, but beyond that I see almost none of them. Haters are going to hate, trolls are going to be trolls, there is nothing you can do about them, except not feed them.

There’s also this:

The artists who want to be writers, read the reviews; the artists who want to write, don’t.

~ William Faulkner

How did you start your writing career?

As a child and teen, I was a compulsive reader, consuming whatever I could get my hands on. While finishing the collection of John Cheever stories and with a head full of the lyrical Richard Brautigan, the idea of writing came to me causally, but stayed around. Quite honestly, I heard myself say, “I dare you.” Grinning, I accepted, starting in with a stack of blank index cards, collecting what I call ingredients. After a few months and with a hundred or so cards capturing themes, structure, the cast and locations, I started in, still not sure where I was headed, but curious and jazzed. To this day, I think that diving in without doing too much planning is vital. While I’m not a fan of company logos, I do love Nike’s.

“Just do it.”

Tell us about your next release.

Black Veil

By Greg Jolley

Épouvantail Books

 

Murder and Madness in the High Sierras

The tragic and gruesome story of the Donner Party is being made into a movie, a tale of cannibalism and treachery high in the snowbound mountains. The cast is made up entirely of children. One by one, they are dying. The series of deaths are haunting the production, each one of the “accidents” at the hands of Florentino Urbino. Driven by greed and jealousy, he is killing off the film’s stars to line his pockets by selling off the gruesome footage of the accidents.

Six-year-old actress SeaBee Danser in her black veil is his next target. She is the only one who can see through the black curtain that Florentino Urbino drapes over his deranged and murderous heart.

Can she survive?

Can he be stopped?

Will any of the children be left standing?

 

 

 

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Editing

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I was recently asked to write an article about the my publishing experiences, namely the editing processes.

Java John Z hosted the article. The full release can be found on his excellent site at:

http://www.javajohnz.com/2020/04/view-finder-book-blast-guest-post-and.html

April 10, 2020

Java John Z “View Finder” Book Blast, Guest Post, and Giveaway

 

The Publishing Experience: Editing

Revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”

~ Stephen King

Kill our darlings, indeed.

When View Finder was published, many fine and creative people played important roles: the cover designer, the interior designer, the pre-launch reviewers and most important in my mind, the editors.

Being a firm believer in the value and gifts a book receives from professional editing, I want to talk about that important of collaboration. From my first novel, Distractions (1984) through the following eleven Danser novels, I have been graced to work with passionate and creative and professional editors. This second set of eyes, with the gift and crafting skills of revision and questioning, are invaluable.

As a novelist, I live within each work for months; a daily dance of choices blended with imagination and all that I’ve researched. Therein lays the rub and the siren call – there are times when I can no longer see a plot glitch and yes, a misused word. 

Part of the delight in writing seven days a week is in the exploration of language and its musical tools: punctuation. Voice is constructed with these, but sometimes the musician is off key, having a grand old time and so immersed in the storytelling that the weed field of, say, semicolons or “ands” he or she has developed a jones for are tripping up the readability of the book.

In rides the editor, with a fresh and exacting view, who can take a scythe to that field of word grass, cutting for clarity and focus without nicking the flowers.

And let’s face it, no matter how many drafts a writer works through (I typically do three before a novel leaves the front porch), sometimes we can be blind to the fact that the 9mm Glock has somehow teleported from the kitchen table to the glove box in the sedan out back. Don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have this pointed out by an editor than a reader.

The final vital ingredient in the relationship is trust: the belief that both author and editor have the singular focus on the readability of the story. Not much else really matters.

I am currently working on the revisions of the next the next Danser novel, Black Veil, which is in the capable (and brilliant) care of Nicki Kuzn, quite simply one of the best editors on the planet. She and I will go through the book at least three times before my publisher and their editor gets it. As always, I’m looking forward to her ideas and revisions and suggestions. And making sure I don’t leave any guns laying around unfired.

All the best,

Greg

 “A very good editor is a collaborator.”

– Ken Follett