Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fifteen Minutes of Fame - Cover Reveal!

Cover reveals are always a fun event to enjoy among writers. It usually happens when your release is just around the corner, and it's the perfect chance to whet your readers' appetite for what's to come. So with that in mind, allow me to present the cover art for fellow RHP author Julie Young's novel "Fifteen Minutes of Fame!"

For those of you who have yet to be introduced to Julie, you can read the interview I had with her by clicking HERE.

And here is her official press release. All the best on the launch, Julie!

April 1, 2014

Contact: Julie Young
(317) 861-7236



INDIANAPOLIS: After six books on local history including The Famous Faces of WTTV-4, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, Historic Irvington and A Belief in Providence, local author Julie Young has branched into fiction teaming up with St. Louis-based Rocking Horse Publishing to release an exciting YA title Fifteen Minutes of Fame on April 11.
Written as a first-person memoir, Fifteen Minutes of Fame is the story of Megan Taylor, a young girl who was plucked from obscurity at the age of 15 and transformed into the mysterious rock icon MonAmi. At the height of her fame and on the final night of her farewell tour, the singer runs from the career that made her a superstar and back to her hometown where she sorts through the complexity of living a double life that the rocker says “was hardly the best of both worlds.”
“I was inspired by a lot of young artists, both past and present who hit that super-stratified level of fame at a young age,” Young said. “The pressure is enormous. People are promising you the moon and in a few years it’s all over or they are a train wreck and nobody knows what went wrong.”
Part Hannah Montana, part Roman Holiday, Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a madcap behind-the-music fantasy that will thrill fans of Meg Cabot and Jen Calonita. Young said that after writing several non-fiction titles over the years, it was time to do something different.
“This one is for the kids,” she said. “I wanted to write a story that would remind me of the rock and roll dreams I had when I was a teenager.”
Like her main character, Young began performing at a young age and longed for the musical lifestyle she writes about in the book, but is quick to point out that is where the similarities end.
“I never could have lived MonAmi’s life,” she laughed. “My parents never would have signed the contract!”
Young said that she is excited to have partnered with Rocking Horse for her first YA publication and is currently working to schedule personal appearances throughout the country this summer.
“Fifteen Minutes of Fame is ready to rock, are you?” Young said.

Fifteen Minutes of Fame (ISBN: 9780991969576) is available in both hardcopy and ebook format at, and other major retailers. For more information or review copies, contact

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Newsletter Contest - Week 5

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Killing the Two-Headed Monster for Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten Season. It is a time when many people decide what they will give up for the next forty days and forty nights. Last year, I gave up something for the first time in years; I gave up self-doubt.

Now, that may sound like something very easy to give up, but I have to tell you that it's not. Self-doubt is like wrapping yourself up in a security blanket as you think to yourself, “Whatever people have to say to me is nowhere near as bad as what I say to myself.” You're basically beating critics to the punch by saying, “Oh, I know this is shit and that I'm shit.” Well, like any other destructive habit, the more you indulge yourself in it, the more it's going to hurt yourself.

So for Lent last year, I reminded myself over and over that I was giving up self-doubt. It was like denying myself chocolate (or, in my case, chocolate and peanut butter), where I was tempted over and over to just be down on myself. But each time I refused to partake in that “fun” little exercise, I felt myself instead occupying my time with learning why I made certain mistakes and making sure not to make them again. After that, I felt my work improve, which improved my self-esteem and reduced the opportunities for self-doubt.

In the past few months, I've felt that self-doubt work its way back in, and with that came the other half of the two-headed monster that I deal with every day: procrastination. As the self-doubt lingers, the urge to procrastinate gets bigger and bigger, and this week, I decided that enough was enough. I had to do something about this. I had to slay the two-headed monster that's taken up residency in my head.

Therefore, in honor of Ash Wednesday, I have decided to give up both procrastination and self-doubt for Lent. I have way too much on my plate – rewrites for “From Parts Unknown,” recording of the “Excelsior” audiobook, writing “Ever Upward: Part Two of The Excelsior Journey,” the new weekly newsletter, etc. - and if I do away with procrastination, I'll get some of it done during this 40-day period. That feeling of accomplishment will then stifle the urge to give myself grief; it will give me what I need to kill this two-headed monster once and for all!

So what are YOU giving up for Lent?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Newsletter Contest - Week 4

Monday, February 10, 2014

Newsletter Contest Week 3

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meet RHP Author Dawn Hawkins!

Thank you again to last week's subject, RHP author Julie Young! After reading the excerpt of "Fifteen Minutes of Fame" on her website, I'm really looking forward to the release of her book.

And now, please allow me to introduce another new Rocking Horse Publishing author, Dawn Hawkins, who is celebrating the release of her novel, "Danny's Grace." Here's the official synopsis, as written on her website, and then we'll jump right into the author bio and interview...

Danny Rush is a master manipulator with an ego the size of Texas. He lives a secluded life in a cozy beach house, with nothing but his thoughts to keep him company. His whole life, he has avoided facing the issues that threaten to destroy the remainder of his sanity.
Danny will lead Grace, and his subconscious, through a maze of lifelong injustices, horrifying revelations, bad decision-making, twisted ethics, and his unconventional means of survival: his childhood, his sudden rise to fame, his disgraceful and tumultuous fall to the depths. His narrative is like no other, evoking both sympathy and outrage, often simultaneously.
But remember, Danny is an expert at misdirection...

Dawn Hawkins was born, raised, and continues to reside in her hometown in Maryland. She tried several job options prior to the realization that writing was the only viable opportunity for her. She postponed that dream until three years ago, when she first began her adventure with Danny’s Grace. Dawn is a freelance writer who has worked in accounting positions, as a cashier, and as co-lead in the GM/HBA department of a large grocery store chain. Although grateful for the opportunities, she could not deny her true passion. Her greatest pleasure comes from her grandchildren.

What inspired you to become a writer? - I always loved to read, even as a child. Writing seemed the natural next step. Mark Twain is one example of the types of authors who inspired me and made me think “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.”

What is this story about? - Danny’s Grace is about a man who is being interviewed by a novelist. He was a teen idol who fell from grace; however, there is a lot more to his story and his life. The interviewer hears stories that make her blood curdle, but, Danny also reaches her sympathetic side. He’s seen it all, but there are secrets that only Danny and his close group know. The stories aren’t all his either. There are some secrets that should never come out. Danny lets his guard down a little bit too much with Grace. It could be his final downfall.

What was it about this story that made you want to tell it? - The injustices in the world, particularly injustices to children. It started out as a story about drug abuse and trying to get clean. It turned into a story about child abuse. Every type of abuse is covered throughout Danny’s story. Again, it isn’t just about Danny though. He’s holding on to secrets for people he loves too. The story switched gears after a little girl in my county died after an unspeakable abuse at the hands of someone she trusted. The story is not about her, but, that is what inspired me to rethink Danny’s Grace.

Do you have a favorite secondary character? - Yes! Janelle. She is Danny’s sister. You would think it would be Grace, but she’s fairly quiet throughout the story. We don’t get to know her much. Janelle, she takes nothing from anyone. She learned how to take care of her business early on and nobody is going to trample on her and get away with it. She’s a force to be reckoned with and I would definitely like to have her as a best friend.

Do you normally work with beta readers or a critique group? Why or why not? - I did have some help with it. I joined a site where writers post their work for critiques. I was a little nervous about doing it at first because I liked my writing just the way it was. It turned out to be a huge help in developing the story.

How did you come across Rocking Horse Publishing? - Ah, I actually stumbled across it. I have known Robin Tidwell for quite some time via several other websites. I sent her the story before I realized that she had a publishing company. I wanted to get her opinion of the story to see if it had any merit. She wrote back and said she wanted the story. Thus, the publisher/author relationship began. She has been an absolute joy to work with.

Is there an underlying message that you feel applies to all of your writing? - There probably is and if you read between the lines, you probably will come up with your own formula for what the message is. I’m not sure that I would know how to write anything at all if it weren’t for trying to get some type of message across.

Is there anything you would like to plug? (Add whatever links you want.)
This is my blog for Danny’s Grace
Readers can get an autographed copy by ordering from the blog. There is a post for it.
I can be contacted via Twitter by the handle @DDH63 and my Facebook author’s page here
The book can be order through Rocking Horse Publishing at

Sunday, January 19, 2014

RHP Author Interview: Julie Young

For the next several weeks, I will be opening the floor here to various fellow Rocking Horse Publishing authors. So allow me to introduce Julie Young, whose novel "Fifteen Minutes of Fame" will be released in both paperback and eBook formats in April 2014.

But first, a little about Julie in her own words:

"It all started because I wanted to be bigger than the Beatles.

Seriously, I did.

Unfortunately, no one told the record companies about my plan, so I settled into a "traditional life" (read: Working at a dead end job.) In 2000, I landed on the Oprah Winfrey Show which led to my going back to school and obtaining a B.A. in Professional Writing, I broke into journalism with a job at the Associated Press, did a stint as an associate editor of a local community paper and ultimately began my own freelance writing business in 2004."

1. To start us off, tell us about what first attracted you to writing in the first place?

I became a writer because that rock star thing didn’t work out. No, seriously…I’ve been performing since I was three-years-old. I grew up wanting to be bigger than the Beatles and had all kinds of plans to take the music world by storm and become a great songwriter…but life has a funny way of changing those plans. So in the end, what started as songs became poems and eventually prose and that’s when I knew my “voice” would be heard one way or another.

2. To follow up the first question, what was it that first attracted you to music? Do you have a particular favorite genre?

I don’t remember ever not being a fan of music. I saw Elvis’ last concert when I was Five-years-old here in Indianapolis and I always felt a responsibility to that moment in rock history that I witnessed. My favorite music is rock and roll but I like other genres as well. I like the freedom of music and the various ways that artists can express themselves both lyrically and instrumentally.

3. The excerpt mentions how fans consistently say the wrong things to an artist they love, and it reminded me of when I saw MC Hammer on the streets of New York in 2001 and two people behind me said hi to him and said, “You were the best!” What do you think it is that gets people to say something stupid like that to someone?

Meeting your hero is that moment you’ve dreamed of for years and years that you never think will actually happen…until it does. I think most people have thought about what they would say to someone famous if and when they meet them, but usually the moment gets there, people freeze and nothing comes out the way they plan it. Several years ago, my oldest son met Michael Jordan and when I asked him how it went, he said, “I said the dumbest thing!” Evidently, they were on the same basketball court and MJ was wearing a pair of green original Air Jordan shoes (according to my son, they were never released in that color.) Without thinking, my son blurted out, “Hey, where did you get your shoes?” which caused Jordan to come over and ask him to repeat the question. Jordan eventually explained that he could get them in any color he wanted and after relaying the story to me, my son said, “Wasn’t that stupid?” I told him it depended on how he looked at it. More than likely Mj had heard variations on “I love you” and “You are the best” more times than he could count, but he felt compelled to at least follow up with a kid “dumb” enough to ask where he got his JORDAN shoes. In the end, I asked, “Were you dumb enough to get his attention or smart enough to get his attention? The choice is yours.”

Famous people get it…they are famous and when I have the chance to meet someone I really admire, I definitely tell them how much I like their work, music or whatever…I get it out of the way so that we can have a regular conversation and then I don’t walk away wishing I’d told them all the things I wanted to say.

4. How do you compare getting on the stage and performing with a band to getting on the stage as a guest speaker / mentor?

It’s the same business…it just looks different. Every musician is only as good as his or her next album/song/gig and every writer is only as good as his or her next project. Some writers are not good with the public speaking thing, but being a ham comes naturally to me, and booksellers/groups like having someone who doesn’t freeze or look uncomfortable on stage. My advice is to develop your stage presence a bit, learn a few key stories, tell them the same way every time and it’s like memorizing lyrics to a song.

5. What is your opinion on the current state of pop music?

That’s a tough question. If you would have asked me that back in the 80’s I would have told you that Duran Duran would last forever and that U2 was overrated…could I have been more wrong about either? I’m really not good at this game. It does seem that the industry is full of forgettable music being made by unforgettable “personalities” rather than true artists and I would like to see that change. There are current artists that I like, but only time will tell if they have what it takes to outlast their “fifteen minutes of fame,” muddle through the inevitable backlash and be embraced by an older audience in the future. Bon Jovi managed to do it. Madonna has had her ups and downs, but despite his genius, when was the last time we heard from Prince? The recording industry is a fickle business.

6. Reading the excerpt made me think of the thousands of people in their teens and early 20s that want to do whatever possible to get on American Idol, even if they’re going to do something stupid or sound terrible at the audition. What do you think Megan would say to them?

Good question… and you may get an answer to that in a future novel. (I love encore appearances by characters in non-sequel projects!) Even though Megan/MonAmi prides herself on getting her contract “legitimately,” her story really isn’t any different than that of a contestant on American Idol, The Voice or whatever. She wasn’t playing in clubs for ten years. She didn’t record three demos. She didn’t have a pile of rejections too numerous to mention and my guess is, if her parents would have let her audition for one of those reality competitions-she would have done so in a heartbeat! That being said…given everything that happened to her, she might have a few words of caution for someone else coming along…but she’s not stupid. When you are on the cusp of your dream…you aren’t going to listen to anyone.

7. Tell us about your plans to take this story to as many different multimedia levels as possible. What do you see for this story in the future?

FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME offers musicians and artists the chance to have their work showcased as part of the promotion for the book. I am soliciting original music from bands that want to get their mp3 files/cds in the hands of new fans to come aboard and help cross promote the book. I have had a lot of interest from musicians in many genres who have signed up to get MonAmi’s “endorsement,” donate some swag and be highlighted. After the book is released, there will be a song-writing contest in which people can write one of MonAmi’s songs and it’s possible that it might even be recorded! I would also like to let artists design the official FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME playlist album jacket as well as enable fashion designers to take a crack at some of MonAmi’s outlandish clothing…I believe in using this platform and this book to help give others their big shot…that’s what FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME IS ALL ABOUT.

8. How did you connect with Rocking Horse Publishing?

Well I connected with Robin on Facebook and I knew she was a writer but I didn’t know that she was a publisher. There were several agents and publishers who had requested to read the book, but then passed on the project. I had a lot of great feedback (for rejections) and several best-selling authors who said “this has an audience…don’t give up!” Eventually I asked Robin if she would mind looking at it and, if she didn’t want it to please tell me what was wrong with it so that I could re-evaluate it. An hour later I got a message saying “Where have you BEEN????”

9. Before we close out, is there anything else you would like to plug?

Feel free to connect with me at

Follow my blog:

Follow MonAmi’s Tour Diary for exclusive deleted content, contest announcements and all things FMOF related. It is the companion piece to the book:

Connect with me on Facebook:

Thanks so much for having me!!!

And thank you Julie, for taking the time to answer these questions. Join us next week for another RHP author!