Monday, September 24, 2012

Forbidden Bible meets Horror. The Book of Paul by Richard Long

Please enjoy this interview with Richard Long, author of the nail-biting supernatural thriller,The Book of Paul. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.

1. Tell us about the spark of inspiration that eventually grew into The Book of Paul.
The initial inspiration for The Book of Paul came when I wrote the first line of the first chapter calledExercises: “He practiced smiling.”  I wanted to explore a character who had been so damaged by childhood trauma that he could no longer feel compassion, joy, affection, and had, accordingly, committed all kinds of horrible acts. I wondered if such a person could ever regain his emotional capacity and be redeemed by love.
2. What was the research process like for this book (which can at times deal with some pretty heady and—frankly—grotesque goings-on)? Any horror stories to share?
There are many aspects to the story, so the research was really extensive. I love doing the research almost as much as the writing, so it’s a joy for me to read and learn so many new things. The creation mythology literally goes back to square one and builds from there, tracing the history of Hermetic and Gnostic philosophy, alchemy, druidism and pagan mythology–particularly Egyptian, Greek and Celtic traditions. There’s also a strong science fiction element involving quantum physics, artificial intelligence, life extension and what’s known as The Singularity. Other lines of exploration involved Irish genealogy and what I call the pain culture: tattoos, elaborate piercings and body modifications.
I made some gruesome discoveries along the way. The most disturbing was the Extreme Body Modification website I stumbled upon, which is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen. I first saw it in the early days of the Internet, which is pretty amazing in itself. I checked recently and it’s still there, though I didn’t have the stomach to peek inside again. I’m actually as squeamish as some of my readers about certain things, which is probably why the horror comes across so vividly. If something scares the hell out of me, it’s easy for me to convey that fear and revulsion.
3. Tell us about Paul. Who is he and what is his book about?
The Book is a 4th century codex, the only one of it’s kind. How and why it was made and what it contains is one of the central mysteries of the series, so I’m not going to spill those beans. Paul is every bit as mysterious. When he is first introduced you might think he’s a serial killer involved with the occult in some way. As the story progresses you discover some really unexpected things about him. One thing is clear from the outset – he is one very nasty piece of work. I’ve always felt that any horror novel or thriller is only as good as the villain. I definitely aimed for the fences with Paul.
4. There is a strong tarot undercurrent to this novel. The protagonist even makes his living by reading the cards. Why did you decide to work it into The Book of Paul, and how does it surface throughout the course of the story?
I actually did tarot and numerology readings when I lived in the East Village many years ago. The tarot led me to a lot of dark occult explorations, which are mirrored in William’s journey. I was lucky enough to pull out of that nosedive and hop over to the Buddhist side of the fence. William is not so fortunate. The reader gets drawn into William’s world through his first person narration as he talks about becoming a collector of ancient occult manuscripts, which leads him to the tarot. Then he gradually reveals more through his journal entries, which contain the meat of the mythology and all the Hermetic and Gnostic lore. Finally, he discovers that the tarot is actually related to an apocalyptic prophecy, which Paul is determined to fulfill by any means necessary, which is very bad news for Billy.
5. At almost 500 pages, this is not a short novel. From start to finish, how long did it take you to write, revise, and ready for publication?
I’ve written over 2,000 pages for The Book of Paul and the series. The first draft of this volume was close to a thousand pages long. I cut out eight characters and their storylines in the second draft, which netted my first agent. She wanted a lower page count, so many of the narrator’s interior musings were cut. Those were actually some of my favorite sections. Then I moved to another agent and he wanted more of the mythology put back in, so it grew close to this size. After six months he hadn’t sold it, so I got sick of the whole process, wrote it the way I wanted, and published it.
6. The concept of synchronicity plays heavily in this novel. What attracts you to it, and has it proven a heavy influence in your own life?
I’ve always been a spiritual seeker. I was raised as a Catholic, but the nuns effectively beat those beliefs out of me quickly. Even as a kid, I couldn’t accept the idea of God as the big guy in the sky with the white beard. Science and mythology and my own imagination showed me all kind of possibilities. I first noticed synchronicity when the number eleven kept showing up for me all over the place–addresses, hotel rooms, etc. Someone suggested I get a book on numerology and I discovered that eleven was my “name number” and also a power number. I started noticing all kinds of things after that, coincidences that were just too weird to brush away. Then I read some Jung, and when I got into quantum physics that sealed the deal. Synchronicity for me now is the manifestation of interconnectedness in the universe. There is nothing you can perceive that isn’t connected to you. As the Buddhists say, “no separate self.”
7. Paul is… scary (we’ll leave it at that). How were you able to effectively become this deranged character, and how did you hang on to your own humanity after the fact?
I would imagine it’s much the same as when Anthony Hopkins played Hannibal Lecter. He was very disdainful of method actors who got all caught up in identifying with their characters. There’s a famous story about Laurence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman was a method actor and he stayed up all night before their torture scene together and Olivier said something like, “Why don’t you try acting, dear boy?”
That being said, I’m not immune to being disturbed by these things. When I wrote the traumatic scenes of him and Martin–well, I cried when I wrote them and they stayed with me for days. So maybe the method is working for me too.
Paul is great to write because it’s like letting my Id out of a cage. I get to play out my most evil imaginings and nobody gets hurt. I also had to find Paul’s humanity to make him really interesting for me. I didn’t want him to be some cartoon monster. Paul is also in a lot of pain; he was traumatized as a boy and his life was changed forever. By the end of the story you get to see many other sides of him. And of course, there’s a lot more to come.
8. Irish mythology is woven into The Book of Paul, and at one point, Paul even makes a sarcastic quip about the luck of the Irish. Why Irish, and how all does its culture influence the story?
When I’m writing, I go into a daydream state where I imagine the character and what he or she looks like and where they are and what they’re doing. No outline usually. I sit back and watch and listen. If it’s great the way I imagine it, then writing the dialog is like taking dictation. When I wrote the first chapters with Paul, I was surprised because I kept hearing him speak with an Irish brogue, but his accent went in and out – sometimes really thick, sometimes a little lilt, sometimes no accent at all. So I’m thinking, what’s that about?
I come from Irish American stock, but my parents told me absolutely nothing about their parents other than to say they were cruel. So that’s the starting point with Paul. He’s the ultimate bad dad. The more I explored Paul, the deeper it led me into Celtic mythology, Irish genealogy and history. I suppose I’m trying to find the missing links of my own heritage. My grandmother was born in Ireland, so I have dual citizenship, even though I haven’t been there yet. I’m thinking I’ll go next year when I’m writing the third sequel.
9. The Book of Paul is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and in that way, it can be difficult to classify. So tell us, who is your target audience for this novel?
Given the fact that there are some rough episodes in the story, you might think that the so-called target audience would be men who are into horror, thrills and mayhem. But women actually seem to be my biggest, or at least, my most vocal fans. I’ve been getting some really enthusiastic reviews from men, but even more so from women, who surprisingly seem less squeamish than some of the male reviewers.
The Book of Paul doesn’t fit into any neat, tidy genre. It’s very complex and like you say, unlike anything I’ve read before either. There’s a Pulp Fiction element to it, with quirky characters in a seedy environment. There’s a major religious/mythological mystery for the Dan Brown crowd. It’s very funny, but incredibly poignant. It’s very disturbing, but there are lots of fast-paced action scenes. There’s romance and kinky sex. Something for everybody.
10. Why did you decide to self-publish The Book of Paul, and how has the journey been so far?
Read above. The traditional publishing industry in general is like a boxer on the ropes in the tenth round. For fiction it’s even worse. Add first-time novelist to the list and sprinkle on an unclassifiable genre for a little seasoning. I had two agents who were well known and successful, and very enthusiastic about the book. But the editors they reached wouldn’t take a chance on it. I could have kept trying, but frankly, I ran out of patience.
How has it been so far? The book is out in the world and it’s just the way I wanted it. I have complete control over everything I do, including the cover art, which is also exactly how I want it. The marketing is a lot of hard work, particularly the social marketing, which I had never done before. But that’s turned out to be a lot of fun too. I’m meeting so many great people–other authors and readers–and getting such a strong response on the book that it feels like a vindication. See? I told you so. Nyah! Nyah! Nyah!

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Book of Paul eBook edition is just 99 cents this week. What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes. The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $300 in Amazon gift cards, 5 autographed copies of the book, and a look into your future through a free tarot reading performed by the author.
All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes isRIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!
To win the prizes:
3.      Visit today’s featured social media event
About The Book of Paul:  A cross-genre thriller that combines the brooding horror of Silence of the Lambs with the biting humor of Pulp Fiction.  Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
About the author: 
Richard Long is the author of The Book of Paul and the forthcoming young-adult fantasy series The Dream Palace.  He lives in Manhattan with his wonderful wife, two amazing children and wicked black cat, Merlin. Visit Richard on his websiteTwitterFacebook, or GoodReads.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Forbidden Mind by Kimberly Kinrade

If you could read minds or control others thoughts, would you?  Your first response might be ---hell yes.  But give it some more thought. This is a hard question for adults, even harder for young adults who have been sheltered, or is it locked away, in a school designed for paranormal kids.  They have all the things any child or teenager could want, except freedom.  They are the Rent-a-Kids, hired out to normal people who need their abilities for private or governmental purposes. The subject of Kimberly Kinrade's Forbidden Mind-- Book 1 of the Forbidden Series.

They are drugged when transported to and from the school to their “assignments” and so have no idea where they are living.  And yet, Sam, Lucy and Luke try to live like normal teens forming bonds of friendship to see them through until they are liberated into the real world at eighteen.  
But as Sam approaches her 18th birthday, things start to unravel. But in the midst of destruction and sorrow, she sees a young man in her dreams. When she connects with him telepathically, she finds her possible soul mate and salvation.  But others have different plans for the couple.

Kidnapping, murder and twisted genetic engineering keep this novel racing forward.

This is a wonderful edition to the YA genre that will be enjoyed by adults as well. The first in a trilogy, I look forward to reading the other two books. The characters are well developed and written to sound their age. The plot is well developed with twists and turns that keep you interested. The hints at the larger plot and players leave unanswered questions that are perfectly staged to bring you back.
There were a few editing issues, but none which detracted from the overall story. 
I give it 4-1/2 triskeles  

I have the pleasure of getting to cyber-meet Kimberly Kinrade during a joint blog tour she had with Zoe Winters. Through that, I found her writing.  I recommend her as one of the bright lights of the YA and NA genre.

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal novels Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire and her illustrated children's fantasy chapter books Lexie World, Bella World, and Maddie World all on Amazon.
She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they're humans, her two cats who think they're gods, and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Legally Pinterested

Once again we welcome my good friend John Bermingham to the Grove. He and I were discussing the rise of Pinterest and the concerns about posting images to the boards. He, as tireless champion of the arts, jumped right in with another great introduction to the issue of fair use and Pinterest.

Legally Pinterested.
By John A. Bermingham, Jr. Esq.
Growing up our mothers always told us it was nicer to share with others.  So how come when we get into the adult world we have to worry about whether sharing something is legally permissible?  With the rise of the internet we are brought closer together with others and we have the ability to find and share information with the click of a mouse.  Nevertheless, it would only be a matter of time until lawyers got involved and for courts to begin ruling on what we can post and share on websites.  Pinterest®, founded in 2009, allows users to collect and post findings from the internet or “pin” them where users can repost and re-share.  The website has virtual scrapbooks that users create and maintain with articles and pictures that have been created by others.  The issue for lawyers and the courts now becomes whether this is legal or an infringement of intellectual property.[i]
Intellectual property (IP) can be an “idea, an improvement, or an emotion one can touch, see, hear, and feel.”[ii]  Depending on what the intellectual property is, there are legal protections the originator can file for which will stop others from using their IP for various uses.  The legal protections for IP can be a patent, trademark, trade secrets, and copyrights. 
Just last week, Samsung® had to pay $1.05 billion dollars in damages for patent infringements to Apple® Computers as awarded by a jury for infringement of “Apple® patents with a wave of older devices running Google's Android operating system.”[iii] 
Moreover, Napster®, a music sharing website, was shut down years ago for copyright infringement by allowing users to share music that artists had legally protected under copyrights.  Copyrights mean one cannot legally reproduce the literary work without the written consent of the creator[iv].  The law can be confusing when all someone might want to do is share.
Pinterest® and other websites are going through the same legal scrutiny that Napster® went through years ago for copyright infringement; specifically, when users post things in their scrapbook on Pinterest® that are legally protected by the original creator.    
However, in the law, as in life, there are exceptions to the rule.  The “Fair Use” is an exception to a copyrighted work, which means one, other than the originator, may reproduce the copyrighted work for certain limited purposes without any legal liability.  The United States Copyright Office defines “Fair Use” as for “various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.”  Factors to be considered in whether something is fair use are the following:
1.      The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2.      The nature of the copyrighted work
3.      The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4.      The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work.[v]
Therefore, when a court looks at whether something can be reproduced or “pinned” under “Fair Use” it will not look at how many words were reproduced; but it will look at what the purpose is when reproducing it.  Additionally, the court will look at what is being copyrighted by the originator, how much of the original is being reproduced and whether the reproducer is making any sort of profit or limiting the originator’s potential capability to profit him/herself.[vi]
As tedious as it may be, it is always wise to read the “terms and conditions” on Pinterest® or any social media website when sharing potential copyrighted material.  Pinterest® states under its “term and conditions” that the users who share something that violates IP laws will indemnify Pinterest for any losses it incurs[vii].  This means that if Pinterest® is sued, loses their case for copyright infringement, and has to pay money damages, the user will be responsible to reimburse Pinterest®.
Most users of Pinterest® use the website to share ideas they find on the web and articles or recipes they would like to recommend to others.  If one decides to share something that is not one’s own creation and that something is copyrighted, that user must know positively that sharing this creation falls under the “Fair Use” exception to IP use to avoid liability; otherwise one should consult an attorney.  Although the intention may be to share something exciting with friends, if the person does not own it, lawsuits may follow.  The law promotes creativity and those who create an original piece of work have legal remedies against those who reproduce without exception or without permission.  While our mothers have told us sharing is good, the law may look at it differently and consider it an infringement on another’s rights. 

[i] Poletti, Therese (2012). Is Pinterest the Next Napster? The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Edition Home, Technology.        Retrieved from
[ii] United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) (2012) What is intellectual property? USPTO Museum. Retrieved from
[iii] Elmer-DeWitt, Philip (2012). Apple targets the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note. CNN Money. Retrieved from
[iv] Borland, John (2000). Judge expands on Napster shutdown order. CNET News. Retrieved from
[v] The Library of Congress (2012). United States Copyright Office: Fair Use. Retrieved from
[vi] The Library of Congress (2012). United States Copyright Office: Fair Use. Retrieved from
[vii] Poletti, Therese (2012). Is Pinterest the Next Napster? The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Edition Home, Technology.        Retrieved from

John A. Bermingham, Jr. Esq. is a licensed attorney in the State of New Jersey.  He is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of New Jersey and all other state courts of New Jersey and is admitted to the District Court for the District of New Jersey.  He is a Member of the American Bar Association and the New Jersey State Bar Association.

John received his Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies from Arizona State University in 2000
and obtained his Juris Doctor from the Catholic University of America in 2004.  Currently, he is working on his Masters in Business Administration with a Concentration in Criminal Justice from Saint Leo University and needs two more classes, graduating in 2013.

John works for Johnson & Johnson as the Director of Pharmacovigilance and Alliance Management where he drafts and negotiates contracts specializing in international law and U.S. federal regulations.  He is also an adjunct professor at Centenary College, Saint Leo University, and Kaplan University where he teaches business law, ethics, and may other legal courses.
Additionally, John Bermingham has his own law practice where he represents several individual entertainers and professionals regarding contractual agreements and representations as an agent in the entertainment industry.  
John is an expert, specializing in contractual matters as it pertains to business agreements, agency agreements, articles of incorporation, asset transfer agreements, buy-sell agreements, sales contracts, joint ventures, various types of leases, confidentiality agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and other types of contracts.
Mr. Bermingham has represented clients ranging from entertainers such as rock bands, actors, and authors, to corporations, partnerships, sole proprietors, and limited liability companies.   Recently, Mr. Bermingham, attorney for rock band Palisades, led the negotiation and signing of a multi-record deal with Rise Records.
Other areas of law practice include criminal law, trusts and estates, and health law.
Additionally, John is a motivational speaker as a victim’s rights advocate and volunteers his time as Legal Director for the non-profit International Writers Guild.  He is on the Board of Trustees and is the Agent of Law for the non-profit Proprietary House Association.
John is married to Laura Bermingham where they live in Port Monmouth, New Jersey with their dogs, Bode and Benji and cat, Kitty.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Can Demon Save the World and Get the Girl?

I have just finished Life Cycle by Zoe Winters. It is Book 4 of her Preternaturals Series, and while reading the first three books would be equally pleasurable, it is not necessary.  I will warn you that once you read Life Cycle, you will want to devour everything she has written.

Immortality can be a bitch… 

Tamara has lived nearly two thousand years, trapped by a spell of her own creation. Hunted by her enemy and former lover, she knows there is only one man strong enough to release her from the curse. But will Cain honor her death wish, or keep her for himself, whatever the cost?

Two ancient souls. Two weary fighters, torn between love and hate, forced to decide if the other could be worth living for.

Heat Level 3 of 5.
Some sexually explicit content and innuendo.


“Are you sure this is how you want to engage with me, Tam? Do you know what my demons would have done to you if I hadn’t stopped them? They are very loyal. You don’t attack me here. Maybe in your silly human world, but not here.” He spoke without raising his voice at her. His tone was level. His eyes didn’t even glow, but they didn’t have to.

The energy ball faded and died in her hand. “You promised you’d kill me. Before you got to my house, I was going to come find you because I thought you’d do it.”

A look of surprise crossed his face, but he covered it. “And that promise still stands.” He moved toward her and stroked her cheek. “I will kill you when I tire of you. And there is nothing you can do about it. Throwing energy balls at me will only make me disinclined to put you out of your misery. Just enjoy the ride, sweetheart. You’ll die soon enough… when I get bored. Believe me, that’s never taken longer than a week. Surely you can struggle through a week of passion with me.”

Every fiber in her being screamed to kill him, not that she could. The second best option would be to seal him in a jar and bury it in the middle of his desert where no one would ever find it—an option she was considering.

“I’m not going to be your concubine.”

A smirk. “Of course you are. What other option do you have?”

Smug bastard.
In case my introduction didn’t tip you off, I loved this book. It is tightly written, the characters are well realized, and the plot flawless. I found no editing issues. No spoilers here. So even though I thought I knew how it would all end, I wanted to go along for the ride and experience it through the eyes of Tam and Cain. Zoe takes a Preternatural approach to the Jack the Ripper story with a light but deft hand that puts a paranormal twist to the story without over-reaching or over-doing the connection.  Jack, the antagonist is crazy and love stricken, which makes him even creepier. Cain is a doomed demon in more ways than one. Tam is smart and snarky and tough and tormented; all the things I love in a female character. The energy between Cain and Tam is fun and sexy.
I give it 5 triskeles!

Zoe Winters writes quirky and sometimes dark paranormal romance. Her favorite colors are rainbow and clear.
To receive updates on new releases from the author, send an email to: zoewintersbooks AT gmail DOT com with "Subscribe" in the subject line. Newsletters go out only when there is an actual new release or a big contest. Your inbox will not be cluttered, newsletters won't go out more frequently than once a month, and you may unsubscribe at any time.
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Be sure also to visit for some fun supplemental material.