Who Is The Hook, Really? by Robert Hookey a.k.a “ The Hook ”

I’m taking control of The Writer’s Lift today as part of my ongoing quest to achieve Multiversal domination.

I have to thank the whole Writer’s Lift crew and founder Dona Buenaseda for taking a chance on a 51-year-old bellman-turned-writing-hack with a dream.

Check it out, and as always, be kind.

The Writers Lift

Hello there, friends, my name is Robert Hookey, but you can call me The Hook, everyone else does. I’m here today to give you a peek behind the curtain of my life as a writer.

If this was an episode of Friends it’d be titled, “The One Where The Hook Talks About His Process”.

So now that you know why you’re here, let’s get to it, shall we?

The Hook is the author of one million critically-acclaimed novels – in his head.

Into The Dark: Book, One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, is his first attempt at committing one to the paper/computerized medium.

He hopes you enjoy it. (But if you don’t… please keep it to yourself.)

The Hook lives in the bustling metropolis known as Niagara Falls, Canada, with his wife, daughter, and houseful of pets and ghosts.

Now for something a little less impersonal. I was a Niagara…

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The Hook Has A Bone To Pick With Stevie Spielberg…

There is a difference between heroes and superheroes. The hero is an ordinary person who is faced with a serious fact and acts to modify it. A hero is a person who, walking down the street, see[s] a car on fire and runs [to] help the person who is in the driver’s seat, attached to the seat belt to loosen it. [A] superhero is a person who, on the same scene, would fly to the car and try to turn it upside down and shake it using his super strength, until the driver is released.

Steven Spielberg, at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

My personal feelings about Hollywood’s greatest momma’s boy aside, this assessment of superheroes is narrow-minded, hateful and just plain stupid. And lest we forget, back in 2015, Spielberg was certain the runaway popularity of superhero films was part of the cyclical nature of the industry. He said superheroes would go “the way of the Western” and enjoy a “finite time in popular culture.”

It’s 2021, Steve, would you like some wine with that crow?

But seriously, (kind of), it amazes me that accomplished individuals like Stevie, Martin Scorsese and even Tom Hanks can be so cruel and elitist when it comes to my chosen genre.

 “News of the World might be the last adult movie about people saying interesting things that’s going to play on a big screen somewhere, because after this, in order to guarantee that people show up again, we’re going to have the Marvel Cinematic Universe and all sorts of franchises.”

Tommy Hanks in 2020.

You might be wondering why I’m raging against the haters of superhero cinema, especially when none of them are going after my chosen genre of superhero fiction – with a ton of other genres thrown in for good measure – and you’d be justified in asking.

Oh wait, you probably want an answer, right?

The truth is, I take attacks against the heroes of my youth, and even my so-called adulthood, pretty personally, especially now that I’m building my own superhero universe. I constantly refer to the superheroes of Into The Dark as “unconventional”, but that doesn’t mean they don’t share the same capacity for doing good and standing against the forces of evil as the Alien, the Bat, and the Amazon Princess.

They just do it in a vastly different and distinct manner.

Nemesis: Our MC (main character for those of you who, like me, had no idea what those initials meant in this context), walks the walk. With a Green Hornet domino mask, a green leather jacket and a t-shirt with a red lightning bolt insignia, he’s put his own spin on superhero wear. And he’s determined to stamp out any and all evildoers in his path to The Dark at all costs – and that means he’ll cross lines most heroes won’t.

Fun Fact: I made the decision to have my heroes kill after I remembered a question my daughter asked me when she was a mere eleven years of age.

“Why does Batman keep capturing the Joker, so he can escape again and again and kill more people? Isn’t Batman as responsible as the Joker for all those deaths? Those people, including one of the Robins, would still be alive if Batman had just killed him the first time they fought, right?”

Yes, the kid was a genius even then. So not only does Nemesis have a unique power set (limited invulnerability, a sonic scream, the power to turn night into day, teleportation and telekinesis, and a few yet-to-be-revealed surprises) he’s willing to sacrifice his own soul to put his enemies down. His motivations are deeply-personal, but he started this journey simply to do the right thing for its own sake.

Knight Shield: He may not wear a costume, but this hero (who was named by my non-nerd bride) also has a unique power set. He’s discovered a million uses for his ability to generate energy shields around himself and others. KS is a little bit Damon Salvatore of The Vampire Diaries mixed with every cool uncle you ever had.

Worm Man: Yes, Worm Man. My daughter’s contribution to the Infinite Crossover Crisis universe, this happy-go-lucky wrangler of red wigglers is the hero the bad guys won’t see coming – until it’s too late…

Blue Atom: Dan Garret became a costumed hero in 1939, after his father was killed by a gangster’s bullet and he discovered he could accomplish more as a superhero rather than a NYPD cop. His original moniker, the Blue Beetle, is owned by DC Comics, as is the name “Dan Garrett”, so I’m utilizing the original Dan with one “t” and rebranding him as the Blue Atom and bringing him from his native time to a world he never made for the next two installments of the Infinite Crossover Crisis. And that’s how you make good use of the public domain, kids.

As for the the Blue Atom’s bag of tricks, he can… well, that would be telling, wouldn’t it? Buy Into The Grey and Into The Light and find out for yourselves, friends.

And the rest…

The remainder of the heroes you’ll meet in Into The Dark aren’t clad in costumes as such (though there are two earthbound angels who wear battle armor when things get hot and heavy), so they may not qualify for Spielberg’s hit list – but they each have their own powers and are more than ready to take on the bad guys.

Scorpio the master strategist, Taurus the vampire, Cancer the manipulator of time and bio-chemistry, and so many others, are ordinary people who happen to possess extraordinary abilities and who are acting to modify a serious fact. And by “serious fact”, I mean the corruption of the Balance, a set of natural laws put in place by God Herself to keep mankind’s capacity for good and evil in check.

My heroes are of the super variety in my mind, but they certainly don’t resort to the sort of collateral damage Stevie is convinced all superheroes wantonly indulge in.

My superheroes represent the best – and sometimes the worst -humanity is capable of.

My superheroes stand, not just in the place where they live, but anywhere the little guy is being oppressed – and they… will… not… move… until the day is won.

I hope we meet in person someday, Mr. Spielberg, so I can congratulate you on all your success – and hold you to task for your shortcomings.

See you in the lobby and the virtual bookstores, kids…

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Boomers On Hook’s Book.

The hardest part of being an indie author – besides scrolling Thesaurus.com for alternates versions of “dark” – is getting press. Spreading the word about Into The Dark has been more difficult than locating Jimmy Hoffa while blindfolded.

Okay, so that analogy fell apart pretty quick. Shut up.

At any rate, I had the great honor of being featured on Boomer On Books today. Boomer Vince Stevenson and his team have featured hundreds of authors on their YouTube channel and in doing so, have become an invaluable resource to self-published scribes like myself. Vince and I chatted about Into The Dark, The Bellman Chronicles, and various topics related to this topsy-turvy world we all find ourselves living in these days.

Check out our chat below and if you feel the literary spirit move you, you can leave a comment on the Boomer YouTube page and help raise their fortunes.

That’s it for today, folks. (I can’t always drone on in a highly-entertaining fashion.)

See you in the lobby, the virtual book aisles and the halls of YouTube, friends…

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Chat (Of The Virtual Variety, Of Course) With Lisa Haselton.

Lisa Haselton is a writer of fiction (like that time she tried to make me seem interesting) and favor mystery, horror, romance, YA, poetry, and more. She shares amazing book reviews and phenomenal author interviews on her site.

Like this one with yours truly, during which she was a gracious host and an excellent example of how a gifted interviewer can elevate an otherwise unextraordinary subject to greatness.

Or pretty close to greatness, at least. Like, in the ballpark next to the Museum of Greatness. At any rate, check out our chat via the handy-dandy link below. Do it fast, before Lisa realizes just what she’s done…

When The Hook Met Lisa.

(Yes, this is a perfect example of how a man utilizes his innate sense of understatement, ladies.)

Enjoy my online chat with Lisa and have a great day, friends.

See you in the lobby and the virtual book aisles, kids…

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Monday Thoughts.

Clearly my mind is truly functioning like it’s a Monday, hence the clever, inspired title.

Contrary to my greatest hopes, I have not acquired super powers from two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and to make matters worse, my mortality has become impossible to ignore. You see, my friends, we purchased a a sizeable tree for our front yard last Thursday (don’t ask me what variety, I’m a nerd, not a horticulturist, Jim!) and while lifting it from the garden center to its home at Hook HQ didn’t seem to bother me at the time… it certainly caught up with me the next day.

Now I’m moving around like an old man with more days behind him than ahead, I had to miss two days of work (it felt extremely bizarre to call into work after being off for most of the last 16 months), and my lovely bride has been left with the lion’s share of the duties necessary to keep our little household humming. So I’m going to keep this short and somewhat sweet, okay?

I’ll be a guest on Lisa Haselton’s corner of the web tomorrow. Not only is she a versatile author in her own right, Lisa also interviews scribes like myself and reviews their work. And she has impeccable questionable taste, obviously.

And on Thursday I’ll be making a rare “live-action” appearance on Boomers On Books, a ridiculously-cool YouTube channel that spotlights emerging and established authors. Vince Stevenson and Mark Schultz run this channel and they’ve decided to honor me by opening their cyber-home for an hour of mirth, merriment and maybe even an intelligent sentence or two from yours truly.

Hey, you never know, it could happen…

These opportunities couldn’t come at a better time; my self-confidence has hit an all-time low. I truly believe that Into The Dark has what it takes to be a huge hit – but I’m up against so many overwhelming obstacles.

  • I have too much to learn about self-promotion to be successful at the moment.
  • I’m the first to admit my first work of fiction needs some fine-tuning. (I had to pay a company to format my book and so there was no money left to pay an editor. That’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation.) But I don’t have Adobe software and so editing a PDF is a challenge, to say the least.
  • There are a lot of gifted, more experienced indie and commercial writers out there, so competition has been cutthroat – and I’m losing badly.
  • Sites like Superhero-Fiction have refused to promote my work, stating the cover doesn’t meet their standards. Take a good look around their site and tell me if you agree. Being shunned by a site that specializes in my genre really hurts.
  • This platform itself has turned against me. I don’t have the cash to upgrade to WordPress Premium, so I’m stuck with the free option, which no longer includes video importing and does include “free upgrades” which suck rocks.

But enough whining! Check out Lisa’s blog tomorrow and watch me on Boomers On Books on Thursday and then feel free to get on with your lives. Now check out this cool mockup the amazing Candy Cow whipped up for me, one of many, in fact.

t-shirt-mockup-of-a-man-holding-a-book-while-leaning-on-a-wooden-door-28499

And yes, this guy looks like he’s your little brother’s weed dealer, but he gets it; not only is he wearing a Blue Atom t-shirt (he’s going to be one of the breakout stars of Into The Grey, trust me) but he’s chosen Into The Dark as his preferred choice of superhero fiction/escapism.

You can see what all the fuss is about by purchasing your copy of Into The Dark here.

Have a great day, my friends. Stay safe, stay real, and stay cool.

See you in the lobby and virtual books aisles, kids…

book-mockup-featuring-a-middle-aged-couple-reading-at-home-31702(1)

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Book Review: Into the Dark (2021)

As reviews continue to soar in for Into The Dark, I fond myself humbled and most of all, inspired to do better the next time around.

Check out Rebecca Crunden’s review of my debut work of fiction and let us both know what you think.

Thanks!

a writer's blog.

Into The Dark: Book One of the Infinite Crossover Crisis by Robert Hookey

Despite what you are about to read, I am not the hero of this tale.

Into the Darkis like if you mixedSuicide SquadwithGood Omens, and added a dash ofThe Boys. And it’s so. freaking. funny.

Luckily, my best friends included Taurus the vampire, Scorpio the master strategist, a rock ’n roll apparition known to everyone (but Mama Shaw), as Rockin’, and a cast of characters that make the Suicide Squad look like almost angelic.

This is a very witty novel by Robert Hookey! So many one-liners left me giggling and I kept being reminded of the humour ofGood Omens. Looking forward to more by this author!

FYI: There is a very handy glossary at the back that I didn’t realise was there, which I definitely should have checked…

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Free Stuff! (The #FindNewHeroes Contest.)

(Sure, it’s pretty simple, but it was either that or “SEX!”. You gotta hit people where you know they’ll feel it, kids.)

As I write this I’ve already been awake since 5 am with unbelievably painful cramps; IBS is a delightful condition, if anyone’s interested in signing up for a dose.

Yes, I may be oversharing, but this reminder of my mortality has stirred something in me – besides the contents of my stomach, that is.

I’ve started working on the next chapter of the Infinite Crossover Crisis, and while the work is progressing as quickly as a snail with arthritis, it is progressing and that’s all that matters. I’ve introduced all new characters like Godfree, the man with an uncanny “sense of things’, and Zeus Howlett, media mogul and wielder of indoor lightning (it’ll make sense eventually). Several public domain heroes and villains have already begun to crop up as well. There are dozens of amazing characters languishing in fictional limbo that deserve a better fate and I aim to give it to them.

I’ve also rebranded the original Blue Beetle Dan Garret (he remains in the public domain if I only use one “t” and don’t call him the Blue Beetle) as the Blue Atom. Here’s his all new logo:

My original gang of unconventional heroes, and there a lot of them, admittedly, are all arriving in Vegas as Into The Grey begins and yes, I have a plan to deal with the fact I have a cast of characters as long as Plastic Man’s arms. What I didn’t have a plan for, until recently, was how my main character was going to confront his fallen best friend and brother-in-arms, Rockin’.

Yes, the lines between fact and fiction are unmistakably blurred in my world, but it’s all in the name of a higher purpose. And if I can work through some deep-rooted issues in the process, what’s the harm? I’m happy to report the healing has already begun; I’ve worked out a motivation behind the fictional Rockin’s suicide (oh, how I hate that word), that makes sense in terms of the story and will even help resolve at least one of the many subplots I’ve laid down in Into The Dark.

This may sound inappropriate to some, but I know wherever he is, Ronnie’s happy to be included in this journey. He may not have made the mark he wanted with his music, though many would disagree, but I’m determined to ensure the world never forgets the man he was.

And now onto the first book in the franchise. All of you know how difficult it can be to draw attention to one’s work in this horribly overcrowded social media landscape – especially since I won’t let you forget it, right? Well, my buddy Austin Hodgens had an idea to help me connect with my target audience, and I’m hoping it can strike a nerve with “non-nerds” as well.

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

Okay, so I’m not asking you to don a spandex outfit and go out and hunt down bad guys.(Especially since these days you’d have to go after the men and women in blue and in office in order to really take down the villains terrorizing our society these days.)

No, this is about searching the depths of your creative wells and pulling out a superpowered champion – or even a villain if you prefer. After all, we measure the hero by the scale of the obstacle he has to overcome. Would Batman be as revered if the Joker wasn’t so terrifying? I think not.

You can come up with a codename and powers and leave it at that or you can take it further and engage in some cosplay and bring your creation to three dimensional life.

If ever there was an age in desperate need of heroes, this is certainly it, kids.

Heroes inspire us to dig deep and find courage we never suspected we had.

Heroes help us find the spark of imagination necessary to build our own worlds and hopefully inspire others to follow suit.

Heroes, quite frankly, are just cool.

So why not channel that feeling you get when watching Avengers: Endgame (or when reading Into The Dark) and create your own paragons of heroism? Share your specifications and possibly photos/videos here where the world can marvel at your brilliance. Flesh out your character as little or as much as you like. Go wild!

The winner will receive an autographed copy of Into The Dark and if they’re agreeable to the idea, their character will appear in the next two installments of my epic superhero crossover trilogy, Into The Grey and Into The Light. I’ll leave the next thirty days open and hopefully a few of you will take part. So have your heroes or villains show up for roll call by July 24, 2021.

What do you think, folks? Is this a brilliant marketing move? Or the biggest PR debacle since WKRP dropped live turkeys over Cincinnati? Let me know if I’m going way off course here or if I’ve struck marketing gold.

And here’s the latest review of Into The Dark from GoodReads.

See you in the costume aisle of Wal-Mart or the virtual bookstores, friends…

Here’s the Amazon link for Into The Dark if you want to learn more about my new world.

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Boomers On Hooks.

Yeah, the title is a little weird (and slightly pornographic), but it’ll all make sense soon, trust me.

In my ongoing push to become the true master of all media – and sell more than ten books in the process – I’m pulling a Frozen and jumping headfirst into the unknown.

What? You got it, don’t pretend you didn’t.

I’m still new to the livestream interview thing, but I’ll be a guest on Boomers On Books on July 15th at 8pm UK, 3pm EST and 10am Pacific – or anytime you like if you have a time machine. If you’re not familiar with this magnificent YouTube program, don’t be too hard on yourself, you’ve had a lot on your mind lately. Boomers on Books, hosted by the well-read Vince Stevenson and Mark Schultz, provides a vital service to indie authors like me who could use more than a little help in the self-promotion game.

I’ll be burning through an hour with my patented blend of snark, unique insight and all those other qualities that make me The Hook.

And this is where you come in, friends.

If you have any questions about Into The Dark I’d love you to share them here and I’ll happily pass them along to Vince and Mark. Maybe you’ve always been curious about my process, or just why I’ve put so much of myself and the people around me (like Rockin’ Ronnie) in the Infinite Crossover Crisis? Maybe you’re wondering just why I suck so epically at self-promotion so far? (I’m pondering that one myself, truth be told.) Whatever your query, I’d love to answer it online on the 15th.

A writer is nothing without an audience, so all of you have been and will always be an integral part of my journey as an author. Which brings me to my next point…

I’ve been giving this a lot of thought and I’ve come to an inescapable, irrefutable conclusion about my writing.

I’m not a writer at all.

A writer uses their skill with the language of their choice to draw you into a world of their creation. A writer is a master of creation, a god really, who forms entire worlds from nothingness and brings them to  life in the reader’s mind. I admire writers like John W. Howell and so many others, but I don’t feel I belong in the same category as them. I’m just not good enough.

I’m not a writer… I’m a storyteller.

I’m the guy at the party everyone gathers around as he spins a mesmerizing tale that will resonate long after the last drop of booze is gone and all the cheese doodles disappear. People have commenting that Into The Dark has a very conversational tone rather than the usual literary delivery method. And that makes me very happy.

Nothing against actual writers; I envy the hell out of these folks. I admire their skill and their gift. My literary voice is my actual voice, complete with my “unique” sense of humor, my jaded-yet-still-slightly-optimistic view on world events and  of course, my innate love of comic books and pop culture. Figuring just how to categorize my “gift” is a milestone.

Now I have to keep plugging away. I still need a ton of reviews to qualify for Amazon’s “Customers Also Bought” feature, but I’ll get there. Additionally, I’d love my Twitter pals to use the hashtag #BookTheHook to help me land a spot on local TV station CHCH’s Morning Live program. I’ve been chipping away at their resistance for months but could use some back-up.

That’s all I’m going to ask of you today, my friends. I’m back at the hotel this weekend in the morning delivering bills. Management is going to start offering optional bell service starting Saturday. I’m optimistic but realistic; the clientele we’re getting in right now isn’t likely to take help over doing it themselves for free – even if the bellman in question is devilishly handsome and equally charming.

See you in the lobby and the virtual bookshelves, folks…

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The Hook Reads: John W. Howell

Some writers tell stories and some build worlds.

John W. Howell is a writer’s writer; he truly plays God and infuses life into his characters and gives them entire realities to inhabit, rather than just going through the same motions we’ve all read a mllion times before. He’s so dedicated to his craft that John even trained with Seals to add a layer of authenticity to his espionage thrillers. Of course, it was at Sea World with actual seals – but it still counts.

Some authors worry about living up to the standards set by their idols, and so they’re constantly asking thmselves, “What would Stephen King do with this chapter?”

I often think, “What would John Howell do with these characters?” or “I wonder what John will think of this direction I’m taking my characters in?”, and of course, “I wonder if John will ever pay me back for that 50k I loaned him for that grey market kidney?” (Incidentally, the grey market is the Canadian version of the black market, where the participants are geniuinely sorry about their participation.)

Here’s John bio in his own brilliant words:

John is an award-winning author who, after an extensive business career, began writing full time in 2012. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. He has written five other books that are on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. The paperback versions are also available in the Indie Lector store.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas, with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Told you he was cool. Let’s get on with this show, shall we? Take it away, John.

It is so great to be here with you today, Robert. I certainly appreciate you having me here to talk about the writing life. I must say it is a tad chilly for a Texan up here.

True, but it’s a dry cold, John. Let’s proceed while I fetch you a sweater.

ONE)  You’re a master of your chosen literary field, but is there any genre you’d like to tackle but have always been hesitant to explore?

 I have been slowly exercising my genres. (notice the development) I started as a pure thriller writer for the first three books. Then I decided I needed to throw a little paranormal. Why? Well, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. After doing the supernatural, a dear friend (Gwen Plano) and I took a swing at a thriller that also had some spiritual and romantic elements. My last book Eternal Road – The Final Stop, is a multi-genre work covering several, including thriller, paranormal, religious, and historical fiction.

As you can see, I’ve been playing with genres almost since I started writing. Oh, what? Yeah, I guess I didn’t answer the question. I think I would like to do a science fiction book but have been hesitant due to the conventions involved in that genre. I would not want to make a glaring mistake. I did put a little Sci-fi into my last but not enough to be nailed for inaccuracies.

TWO)  If you could hang out with any of your characters, John, who would you choose and why?

I have two that I would love to be able to spend some time. The first is Stephanie Savard. She is now John Cannon’s (My protagonist in the John Cannon trilogy.) wife and a person I came to respect. She is a Navy pilot and no-nonsense woman. She has no fear, and even when shot as a warning to John, she showed true grit.

The other is Samantha Tourneau, who is one of the main characters in Eternal Road – The last Stop. She was murdered as a child and waited seventeen years for her childhood friend to join her in the eternal phase of life. She spent the time learning and studying and then became the guide to her friend’s eternal home. She has a great sense of humor and seems comfortable in any situation.

(That premise sounds awesome, doesn’t it?)

THREE) I’ve always admired your commitment to forging relationships with our fellow authors; what have you learned about our craft from these interactions?

The biggest thing I’ve learned in these interactions is those fellow authors are the people to turn to if you need help. I’m not talking about craft help because that is available everywhere on the internet. I’m talking about those times when an author reaches the limit of endurance and is ready to kick it in. Most writers have reached that critical point in their writing lives, and it is excellent hearing shared experiences from others. Also, I find the more support I give to other writers, the more I return.

(John really is the biggest suporter of fellow authors I’ve met yet, though the entire community is amazing.)

FOUR)  In your opinion, what is the most important element in creating a gripping, intriguing work of fiction? Well-developed characters? A strong plot? Plenty of technical knowledge of the subject matter? Gobs of sex?

All of the things you mentioned go a long way to form a gripping, intriguing work of fiction. I believe, though, that the writer’s voice goes furthest with the reader in making a piece of fiction unforgettable. So, what do I mean by voice? I’m talking about that easily recognizable narration that the reader immediately falls into a state of trust. It could well be the point of view of the story.

Let’s just say the author takes the first-person approach to the point of view. The story becomes an intimate relationship between the character and the reader. The reader is drawn into the story as if they are on the stage with the other players. Once the reader is part of the ensemble, none of the action can occur off stage. Every little surprise or twist the reader experiences along with the main character. It makes for a thrilling ride. Not to blow smoke, but I think your conversational method of telling a story as you do in Into The Dark goes a long way in creating the environment for a gripping tale.

(Aw, shucks.)


FIVE)  Did you ever have one of those lightning bolt moments when you knew being a writer was your destiny?

I never had a lightning bolt moment but knew I wanted to write for a long time. I started writing my first novel while working and spent ten years trying to make something compelling. I finally finished the 121,000-word manuscript and decided to print it off so that I could edit it while traveling. I got 50 pages into it and had to make a note in the margin. This is the worst crap I have ever read.

The manuscript is now at the ready in the garage to hold the back door open in case of wind.

I realized that I needed to devote myself full-time to writing. When I turned 70, I decided to retire and have been writing ever since. That was ten years ago, and I have six books published and a nine-year-old blog with a new post every day.



SIX)  When should a fledgling writer like myself consider themselves successful? To that point: Are you at all concerned with achieving “fame and fortune” as a writer, or are you in it for the sheer joy of playing God and creating new worlds?

“What is success?” is a question which every new writer asks. I try to answer it this way. If you care about your writing and create stories that you find satisfactory, you are a success. If you think your success is measured by how many books you sell or how well known you become, then you are in for a rude slap of failure.

Writing is a lonely job.

If a writer not happy writing for its own sake, then the writer has to hope to score a big contract to offset the misery. If there is no big contract and just misery, then it is time to quit. So how much time should go by before a writer decided to call it quits? Until a writer has written one million words, there is no need to worry about success.

Thank you again for having me and I wish you all the best on Into the Dark.

John is a true gentleman, isn’t he?

Here is where you can fmake contact with John W. Howell if you don’t have telepathic abilities like Professor Charles Xavier.

Blog Fiction Favorites – http://johnwhowell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Amazon Author’s page – https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

I want to thank John for providing some insight into his process, his thoughts of the writing game and for just beng himself.

John’s someone I’ve turned to many times over the past few years as I’ve struggled with my always waning self-confidence. There have been days I want to chuck my new book into the virtual trash and just give up on writing completely. And there have been days I want to just give up and let my grief over the losses I’ve experienced wash me away.

But John and so many others have always been there to lift me back up.

Lose yourself in John’s work, you won’t be disappointed.

See you in the lobby and the virtual bookstores, friends…

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The Hook Reads: Frank Thomas Croisdale.

There’s the family you’re born to and then there’s the one you that finds you, the one you were meant to be a part of all along.

My familial journey has been a long, complicated, and often painful one – and I’m vastly underselling it here, trust me – but now that I’m in my Fifties (man, it’s painful to type that), I’ve found the people I was destined to be linked to all my life.

Frank T. Croisdale, author of Niagara Falls Into Darkness, is one of those people. Here’s why:

  • We’ve been in the hospitality trenches together for over twenty years and let me tell you, we’ve seen stuff.
  • We’re both hardcore nerds, specifically, comic books.
  • Both our moms were named Karin. (If you’re a Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fan, you’re losing it right now.)
  • Rockin’ Ronnie was one of our people and so we share the weight of his loss with a select group of others. Pain shared really is pain reduced.
  • He’s a gifted writer who channels his ucanny ability to sell anything (watcing him pitch tours as the director of tours at our mutual home-away-from-home is a master’s class in salesmanship) to tell stories that will resonate with you forever.
  • He knows how to cast; there’s a certain bellman who appears in this book that you’ll find very familiar – because he’s me.

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Frank is also the person I bounce ideas of off whenever I find myself wrestling with conundrums involving superheroes or anything comic related for my own work. He’s like a girl I knew in high school; always availiable and open to anything. Of course, the circumstances are vastly different – but I stand by the analogy.

But enough of this bromance stuff. The best way to get to know someone is by peeling back the layers of their consciousness and seeing what oozes out, so here’s the blurb for Niagara Falls Into Darkness, followed by Frank’s A’s to my brilliant Q’s.

A madman serial killer is on the loose taking lives on both sides of the border at Niagara Falls. Newspaper Editor Mick O’Malley and Detective Sally Wendt are the only two with a chance of catching him before he kills again. Will they succeed or will Niagara fall into darkness forever?“

Dean Koontz, John Grisham, James Patterson – make way for the next great American crime thriller author, Frank Thomas Croisdale. Not only is Niagara Falls Into Darkness a page-turning masterpiece, it features one of the greatest protagonists ever created for the written page.”

ONE) 417HJ91svcL Any thriller/action adventure worth it’s salt lives and dies (pardon the pun) by its villain. What makes your antagonist, Law, so compelling?

With Law I wanted to create an antagonist who was not only unhinged, but had a greater purpose. Law is driven to his heinous acts by his distain for what he perceives as neglect to protect the beauty of Niagara Falls. Because of that he feels very righteous in the murders that he commits. That, combined with his intelligence and sociopathic nature, provide him with a gravitas that one will not soon forget.

TWO)  You have decades of experience as a tour director/master salesman. (Honestly, I’ve seen you metaphorically sell ice to Eskimos and convivne them it’d increase their body temperature.) Do you think that helped you bring a wholly-unique persepctive to the world of Niagara Falls Into Darkness?

There is no doubt that my 25+ years of work in the Niagara Falls tourism industry on both sides of the border had a great influence on Niagara Falls Into Darkness. One of the things that I love most about my work in tourism is that we service the entire globe. People come from everywhere to get an up-close view of our waterfalls. And there is a commonality that runs within them: they want to absorb as much knowledge and information as they can and they want to bask in the beauty of one of God’s truly great creations.

I sort of resonated with Law’s desire to always protect the beauty of the falls as a pertains to tourism. Obviously, he took it to a bit of an extreme.😀

THREE)  This book is screaming to be adapted into a film or better yet, a Netflix mini-series, so let’s talk dream casting. Who would star in the filmed version of Niagara Falls Into Darkness?

I am surprised at the number of people that say that they envision it as a film or a Netflix series. One person has even offered to act as my agent in that regard. As for casting, I see Law being played by Anthony Hopkins. He might be a bit old for the role at this point, but I think he would bring just the right panache to Law’s demented character.

I envision John Krasinski as Mick O’ Malley. I think he would be able to get the nuances of Mick’s character growth throughout the story just right.

For Sally Wendt, ideally a young Ann Margaret (circa The Cincinnati Kid) would be ideal. Because that’s not possible Amy Adams will have to be the choice. And how about Anthony Mackie to round out the cast as Darnell Morgan?

I’d watch that. Twice.

FOUR)  The hardest thing about writing for most new authors is maintaining a regiment (I’ve been clicking away to work on my new book and check various comic book sites this whole time). Do you have a strict writing schedule you stick to or do you write whenever the diving hand of inspiration you? 

Once I commit to writing a novel I keep a pretty strict regimen. I use the 3 x 5 index card method. I sketch out each scene from beginning to end with one on each card. Only then do I begin the actual writing of the book. Each day I pick up the next card and commit to finishing the chapter. I find that pretty much eliminates writer’s block and helps everything move along smoothly.

FIVE)  Not to get too spoilerish, but the exploitation of Niagara Falls, specifically the Falls themselves, is touched upon heavily in this book; is this an issue near and dear to your heart?

Yes, absolutely. I am very fond of a saying that I put into the mouth of Law in the book. “We do not own Niagara Falls. We have simply borrowed them from our children. We are honor bound to turn them over to the next generation in better shape than they were handed to us.”

There is a fine line that needs to be adhered to. Obviously, I make my living in tourism and I believe it to be both the present and the future of both cities named Niagara Falls. However, we must remember that the falls are a 12,000 year-old living organism and they have many thousands of years left. No generation should be the one to spoil that amazing legacy for those yet to come.

SIX)  I’ve heard a rumor that some of the characters in Niagara Falls Into Darkness wil be appearing in your next book, The Benefactor. You know I’m a huge fan of this practise based on my love of comics; does this decision spring from your love of comic books as well?

Absolutely. You and I both cut our literary teeth on the offerings of the DC and Marvel companies. Having characters crossover and make cameos in other works is a staple of the comic book industry and one that I love. So you will see Mick O’Malley and Sally Wendt making an appearance in The Benefactor even though the larger story will center on a new cast of characters.

SEVEN)  Self-promotion has proven to be a major challenge for me and I know I’m not alone. Any advice in that regard for you fellow indoie writers?

I think that’s the best advice that I can give is to think long and hard about who the readership is for your work. Once you have a good handle on that think about where you might find that group of people in social media outlets? Then you need to continue to promote your work on every platform where you find them as often as you can.

The executives at Coca-Cola one stated that it took 100 impressions for a person to instinctively reach for a can of Coke over other pop brands when they were standing in front of a cooler in a convenient store. So that means that someone needs to hear of your book 100 times before they might actually pull the trigger and make the purchase. Perseverance is the key. As Winston Churchill so famously said “never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never.”

EIGHT)  Buffalo Soul Lifters was your first book and it proved to be a major success because, as promised, the stories lifted people up. You’re one of the most upbeat souls I’ve ever known; where does this eternal optimism come from?

I was a philosophy major in school and one of the things that I loved most about that discipline is that it teaches you that everything in life is a choice. Is the glass half full or half empty? Am I half done or half just begun? Does this bag contain 12 donuts or 12 holes?

At the end of the day the choice is yours. I choose to always bet on myself. I choose to believe that happiness is a better state of being then sadness. I choose to believe in God despite there being no empirical evidence of his or her existence. I do so because it’s too romantic of a notion to discard.

So, that is why I am an optimist. That and the fact that I have the great fortune of having an amazing wife who picks me up on the rare occasions that I find myself down.

My favorite band ever is the Beatles. So, I’ll finish this question and the interview by quoting the final line from their final song, “The End.” Truer words have never been sung and I try to make it my manta.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

Gosh, I hope that’s true.

The Bio Thing: 

Frank Thomas Croisdale was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York. In 2000, he began writing for the Niagara Falls Reporter. He soon became a featured columnist and contributing editor. He wrote for the paper for 13 years and produced hundreds of feature articles.

In 2004, his book Buffalo Soul Lifters was published. It quickly became a best-seller as people connected with his stories of hope and perseverance that define the great people of Western New York.

In 2020, his novel Niagara Falls Into Darkness was released to great fanfare. The crime thriller not only kept readers on the edges of their seats, it also captured the many nuances of the twin cities that flank either side of the world’s most famous waterfalls.

The Linky Thing:

Before I release you back into the wilds of the interweb I’d just like to say that Niagara Falls Into Darkness is a brilliant book with a smart, unique premsie (something most books cannot claim these days) and it’s part history lesson, part thriller, part page-turnng mystery and all fun.

I can never thank Frank enough for all he’s done for me, the least of which is being here today, but I hope this virtual offering has done some justice to this cool author and human being.

See you in the lobby and virtual bookshelves, friends…

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