Author Spotlight – Sara St. John

It is my pleasure to invite to Raegyn’s World, the lovely and talented

Sara St. John

Sara is a wife, mother,  author and good friend. I had the pleasure of asking Sara a few questions  during her visit.

I’m so glad to have you here Sara! So tell us, what is the name of your book?

It’s called Beloved (Book 1).

That’s a great title. Is Beloved published, if so, with whom?

It is published by Lulu publishing.

And what type of story is Beloved, and what is it about?

It is an epic love story! (Those are the best kinds of love stories!) A young woman, Kira meets a boy in a most special (supernatural) way, in her dreams – at least she thinks they’re her dreams.

Whoa, OK! My curiosity is piqued! May we get an excerpt, pretty please?

Though my eyes were closed, I could see him perfectly like I had in my dreams. My hands caressed his coarse black hair at the base of his head. I could feel the radiance of his smile forming in the corners of his mouth as he kissed me.

It was as if the whole world stood still. He wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him. I couldn’t feel my legs anymore, and I was waging a war with my lungs trying to catch my breath again. I couldn’t hear anything else around us, just the sounds of our hearts beating.

So Sara, where did the inspiration for Beloved come from?

I had a dream similar to Kira’s, and felt compelled to write about it, and see where the characters took me.

belovedposter2

Tell me, what inspired the beautiful cover for the book? 

Oh, the woods… what mystery they’re filled with, so much life happens in the woods. Nothing like the smell of tall pines and earth.

Do you have a favorite ‘go to’ line or quote that inspires you?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13 That’s life without limitations! 

What is one thing people may not know about you that you can share?

I am a night owl! My most productive hours are between midnight and 5 am, though I am generally tired by 8pm, because of my nutty life- I often feel most inspired well into the wee morning hours. I’ve been this way since I was a kid, it used to drive my parents nuts!

 

Well, what’s important is you acknowledge and take advantage of your productive hours! OK, now for the fun questions!

How did you and I meet?

Good ole Facebook, FWG I believe… (I believe you’re right. Good things come out of the many groups to be found on FB!) 

If Hollywood cast your book into a movie, who would you see as your ‘dream’ cast of, and for which characters? Oh, for Michael I think we’d see a Zac Efron type guy. I think he would fit the part well.

Zac Efron twerks and gives lap dance on TV show - Entertainment
Zac Efron  A “Dream” guy

Kristen Stewart WideScreen Wallpapers | HD Wallpapers

                   Kristen Stewart

But….is he a dream?

And for Kira, I think I’d envision a Kristen Stewart looking gal. Those are the two that pop into my head at first thought.

I think the silver screen version would do nicely with your casting ideas! Next question,

 

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, who inspires you OR what’s a soundtrack for this book? I love listening to Bon Iver, very calming, very mysterious/ whimsical sounding. Soothing to my soul.

Nice. Not familiar with Bon Iver, but it’s good you have soothing soul sounds! Sidebar: Do you dance? Ha! I guess I used to, back-in-the-day… Gosh, it’s been a while

Anyone who knows me, knows….it’s never too late to dance! (Alfonso Ribeiro/Carlton)

What is your guilty pleasure? (something you are passionate, or a nerd about) Healthy eating (when I’m behaving myself) sustainability, I would love to have a cabin in the woods with plenty of space to have a huge garden and at least some chickens. I would love to be able to make or grow the things we’ve become accustomed to buying in the store, cut out the middle man type thing.

That’s a great idea. I love to grow things, but not great at it! You garden, I’ll help pick!

Where can people find your books? Everywhere! Lulu, Barnes and Noble, Amazon… You know, the usual places.

Fantastic! Well, Sara, I wish you all the success in your writing adventures! Continue being the amazing woman you are!

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Here’s links to –Beloved (Book 1) and Beloved (Book 1) Amazon

 

 

 

 

A Concert, A Signing, and A Play

A lot has been going on over the past week, and rather than writing three separate posts, I’ll just share it all here.

A Concert Weekend:

Friday, my good buddy Jeanne and I headed down to Portland to attend one of our favorite musicians in concert-Glen Hansard.

If you’ve never heard of him, Google him right now. He’s the front man for a long-time Irish band called the Frames, and he was the ‘guy’ in the indie Irish movie, ‘Once’. (of which the song he wrote, Falling Slowly, won an Academy award!)

Anyway, he’s doing his solo ‘Didn’t he Ramble’ tour, and it seems cliché, but it was such a magical experience. His voice, stage presence, showmanship, consideration and genuine Irish-ness made for a fantastic night. At the stage door,  he mentioned his throat was a bit sore, so I gave him a couple lozenges. That’s just the type of fan I am. I take care of my musical geniuses!

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We then headed back to Seattle, to see him again perform at the Moore! Still amazing!

Now, on to me!  🙂

I’m over the moon about my very first ever book signing! If you live anywhere near Bellevue, Washington-stop by and say hello! It’s a 15 author book signing event just in time for the holidays. There’ll be books galore and prizes to be given away. Here’s the promo piece.

BellevueSigning banner

Then there’s the play I wrote years ago. It’s called Daisy Juice, and it’s a drama about fate, choices, family and consequences. It’s had a couple of private readings, along with being submitted a couple of times, even as recent as this year. It has still not been produced yet, and I’m still hoping to change that.

An incredibly talented and dear friend of mine, Micki Selvitella, has collaborated with me in putting together a production proposal for a playhouse in Portland, Oregon. I’ll keep you posted on what happens. It’s a prospect I’m excited about pursuing! Until next time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Author A.B. Funkhauser drops by!

At Solstice Publishing, we have some pretty amazing authors, and I’m not saying that because I think I am one, I say that because I am thrilled to even say I know them. Some are very chill, some are feisty and others are just unique and quirky. Now, if unique and quirky needed a poster child, she would look a lot like my friend who though she needs no introduction, I’m going to ask her anyway.

So, guest author….can you please tell us your name?

Funny you should ask. The “B” in A.B. was recently unveiled by fellow Solstice Author Susanne Matthews. I’m A. Belle Funkhauser. You can call me Belle if you like.

Beautiful. (bdump bum tish!) Okay, Belle. So glad to have you stop by.

 

Gonzo Funkauser

Nice sunny day, outside plotting away. Rough gig, being an author! Got the gonzo thing down!

So, we know you’re an author, can you tell us about your book?

The book is called HEUER LOST AND FOUND and it’s my debut. I’m very excited about it because it’s been out since April and slowly, steadily, it’s getting some attention. It’s gratifying, given that it took me about thirty years to get it down on paper. I’m so glad that I took the plunge.

blurb for marissa party

It’s published through Solstice, which is a medium sized e publisher out of Missouri. I’m incredibly grateful to them for believing in HEUER (rhymes with “lawyer”) and me. I still can’t believe it!

I know the feeling! It’s a validation for sure. What is Heuer about?

A dead lawyer “wakes” in his litter strewn home. Undiscovered for many days, he wonders where his friends have got to and begins to question everything; chief among them, the veracity of his own existence, what it meant before death and what it will mean from now on. Once found, Heuer’s preternatural residue travels with his body to the funeral home where he ‘meets’ Enid, his funeral director and ex. He hasn’t seen her in twenty years, so there’s a lot of baggage to work through. By extension, HEUER goes from irreverent philosophical to a relationship story, but without sentimentality on the part of the protagonists. It’s not so much that they lack humanity as much as they can’t be certain about what they’ve done and what damage their actions might have caused, so they suppress their feelings until compelled to confront them. In a sense, they both go on a journey to find out what their past means and how they can make amends to achieve a fitting end. The front cover of the book features a door and that’s where he’s headed; just what is behind the door and how important it is, is left up to the reader to decide.

A journey for sure. He’s doing a lot of reflecting. It’s always been said that when we die, our life flashes before our eyes. For Heuer, it sounds like he’s getting dosed with it as he struggles to figure out his life (and death) . Wow, I didn’t mean to get so deep. I like it!

 I was always curious about the meaning of the door on the cover. It’s a cool visual, and now I know! It’s not just A door, it is kind of THE door. I like it!

With this being a decidedly unique premise for a story, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask what was the inspiration for Heuer?

FUNERAL DIRECTOR AD

This is a popular question and it has forced me to go deeper for an answer. Amazon classed HEUER under ‘humor/horror’ which was surprising and pleasing to me because the foundations of the story are rooted in a lot of good people I used to know and the good times we shared. “Heuer,” the man, is a composite character that combines fact and fiction from many sources: literature, film and personal observation. The short answer is that I lost a friend, and as a funeral director I was compelled to start a grief journal to cope with the loss. From that came imagination, humor and FICTION.

Sorry for the loss of your friend, but impressed that you worked through that process, and found a character and a world and a frankly kick-ass story that came from it.

All over my work space, I have quotes and images and phrases that speak to me, so it’s a corny, over-used question, but it is my blog, so I’m asking! What is a favorite, or go to line or quote that you like?

NOW AND FORWARD. It’s one of my own.

I like it.

Since we’ve known each other, I’ve found you to be smart, funny, talented as all get out, and generous to a fault. What is a fun ‘Belle’ fact that I, or now ‘we’ don’t know about you-yet?

I can sing!

What!? That is AWESOME! You heard it here folks. The amazing A.B. Funkhauser is a singer! So……don’t think I won’t ask for a sound byte from you next time you visit. She sings! To understand how cool I think this is, I am the person in the back of the room, animatedly and enthusiastically lip-syncing the hell out of ‘Happy Birthday!’ (Yeah, I act and dance, but don’t sing)

OK, now for the fun questions!

If Hollywood cast your book into a movie, who would you see as your ‘dream’ cast of, and for which characters?

I cast my characters from the get go because it was the only way I could choreograph the scenes and get them down on paper. I’m a cinephile—watched hundreds of films—so I had a rich treasure trove to mine from. Jurgen Heuer IS Leonardo DiCaprio in that he embodies that curious, ageless quality that hints at something almost supernatural. Heuer is physically ‘beautiful’ and makes a big deal of this after his death. Cat-like, elegant and intense in his gaze, Heuer’s qualities both attract and repel those closest to him. DiCaprio’s ‘look’ for me is enigmatic—my favorite kind of character trait. The funeral director Enid Krause had to be Kate Winslet because she and Leo have appeared so well together on film, so the chemistry was there…all I had to do was take down the electricity. Enid’s sidekick Carla Moretto Salinger Blue is a composite of two people I know, so I had to think about this a bit. She is Italian/Irish with flashing eyes and a smile that reassures and snarls at the same time – I would say–Sarah Michelle Geller (post Buffy), and with black hair. Charlie Forsythe IS Alec Baldwin, hands down. Jocasta Binns, for fans of classic cinema, IS Bette Davis, age 60+, but if I have to pick from the living I’d go with Irish actor Fionnula Flanagan (FOUR BROTHERS, THE INVENTION OF LYING, THE GUARD); she’s vulnerable and gritty.

Seriously, it would have been nice if you’d given this some thought!  Needless to say, the casting directors will have their work cut out for them securing the pool of talent needed. Really good choices though, as I consider myself a bit of a cinephile as well.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, who inspires you? Sidebar: Do you dance?

I work from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday about eight months of the year. The first thing I do after putting the coffee pot on to perk, is turn the radio on to CBC Radio FM 94.1, which plays Classical all morning and into the early afternoon, then switches to contemporary alternative. I love Mahler, Liszt, Satie and Holst.

Dance? Oh, yeah! Always! I groove. Always loved Disco. There! I admit it!

I seriously can’t stand it. You cannot possibly be human. Nobody should be that cool! Now, I’m almost afraid to ask my last question, as I fear it’ll send me over the edge. Damnit, I’m asking. What, pray-tell, do you/could you possibly have as a guilty pleasure? My personal phrase is ‘Nerding out’, so what do you nerd out about?

I will never feel guilty about my love for classic cars; specifically: Detroit muscle. I try to get to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit every other year, and I love hitting the show and shines on weekends during the summer months. I don’t own a classic yet, but when I do, it will be a Chevelle SS 4 barrel V8. That’s a promise.

And, your a cool classic car chick! I’m shocked to my very core. (giggling!)

There is abundant brilliance within the creative bones of this author, my friend, A.b, who is a former funeral director, current and forever classic car enthusiast, mom of teenagers, and lover of all the wild things (probably animals mostly, but again, this is A.B!)

GET FREAKED ADMany people have sent A.B. photos of themselves with their copies of Heuer, which is proving that there is definitely something of a movement happening, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.

Heuer: Lost and Found has received a 4.9/5 stars on Goodreads. Impressive? You bet your bottom dollar (or Toonie is it?) .

So, you cool, creative, crazy-fun debut author you, where can we go when we want our Heuer?

Paperbacks and Kindle versions can be ordered through all of the Amazons, Barnes & Noble and my publisher http://solsticepublishing.com/heuer-lost-and-found/. The geo buy link is http://myBook.to/heuerlostandfound. That will take the purchaser to the location nearest them.

Thank you beautiful lady for stopping by!

It’s all about that BRASS!

So, as you know by now, I’m a newly published author. On my blog here, I’ve featured other authors, and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. However, I am also a playwright, and I have many friends in the performing arts. I wanted to spotlight and feature those talented people here as well.

Today, this fabulous Friday, I present to you an amazingly talented friend of mine. Ladies and Gentlemen, the one, the only, John Longenbaugh!.!

I am so stoked to have you here John. For those who don’t already know you, can you tell everyone what it is you do?

Hey Raegyn, I am a writer/director, based here in Seattle.

We met through some new & mutual friends at a reading of one of your plays, (which was amazing, by the way). What do you currently have going on?

I have several projects—a couple of musicals, a thriller, some short pieces. But the all-consuming one right now is a multi-platform Steampunk adventure serial called BRASS, taking place simultaneously as a radio series and a late-night stage play, while we raise money to shoot a short independent film.

Wow, you weren’t kidding about several projects. Can you share more about this BRASS?

BRASS tells the story of a family of Victorian science-geniuses. Lady Brass is a Sherlock Holmes-level detective, Lord Brass is an engineer and inventor, their son Cyril is a martial artist savant and their daughter Gwendolyn a mistress of disguise. They’re at war with a criminal conspiracy that ranges across London and includes scores of villains. They’re also very nice people, generally.

They sound like good people to know when the world needs saving, and not so good people to know if you’re the one doing the villainous bad stuff that bad villains do.

Sounds like a great idea. How did this project come about?

I was offered a chance to pitch an idea for a TV series to a cable network, along with several other writers. While I’ve written a couple of independent films and the pilot for a web series, I’d never really thought about what it might be like to write a TV series. I knew most successful series have at their root a family—often not a biological family, but a group of friends, or co-workers, or other small community where characters would fall into traditional family roles. So I asked what sort of family I might want to write about, and the answer was unequivocal: a family of Victorian science geniuses.

(It helps that I’ve been a fan for several years of Steampunk, the multi-disciplinary art movement that imagines alternate histories of the 19th century.)

Okay, that John in and of itself, is pretty genius! I mean, who doesn’t love Steampunk? It’s history, it’s creative, it’s science and super cool gadgets and whatnot’s. (I know ‘whatnot’ is a broad term, but let me have it.)

You mentioned writing for a TV series……..

My piece wasn’t picked for the TV series, though that was a blessing—the one that was chosen ended up disappearing, along with most of the network’s creative staff—a few months later.

Proof that it wasn’t meant to be. You know, one door closing, a window…Sorry, continue John

The Brasses stayed with me. (They’re very pleasant house guests, really.) So I started to think about how I could tell their story.

In talking to my producing partners, it seemed that we could do a short BRASS film ourselves. But even a small independent film costs thousands of dollars, and while we got our heads around what it would take to raise the money (always an effort), I couldn’t stop thinking up new adventures for the Brasses family. My co-producer Ron suggested that we could produce a podcast, maybe even a dramatic series, and so after writing the screenplay for the film, I dug in and wrote a 10-part radio serial, setting up their arrival in London and their early encounters with various criminal bosses.

I love the multi-faceted idea of film, podcast, and radio serial!

When I was finished with the radio serial, I passed it on for comment to my playwright friend Louis Broome, who wrote a dynamite play a few years ago called “Texarkana Waltz.” He really liked what I was doing, and so I took a chance and asked if he wanted to co-write a stage play version of BRASS with me. He said yes, and the result, “BRASS: Oh My Azaleas!” is on stage right now at Theater Schmeater, running late-night Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 to midnight. (It ends October 10th, so if you want to see it, get tickets now.)

Wow John, it seems you are as adventurous as your family of Brasses! A stage production as well! Awesome! You heard it here folks, get your tickets now! I’ll put the information again below.

Someone who would one day love to see her own play produced, I have to ask, what has been the most challenging in this monumental feat you’re pulling off?

The idea of producing across three different mediums was supposed to create synergy. Of course, timing of various aspects of all of this didn’t match up—it took us much longer to get the radio series edited than we had planned for, as an example. As a result, in the last two weeks I’ve been rehearsing a stage show, getting the radio series out to producers, and running an Indiegogo campaign for the film “The Lair of the Red Widow,” which we’re looking to shoot this fall. Frankly I exceeded my bandwidth, but fortunately for me the show is now open and many more of my evenings are now free.

I would imagine, free to sleep! This is obviously what you are passionate about. What has been the most rewarding?

I love writing and producing radio drama and I find filmmaking fascinating, but for me the greatest reward will probably always be sharing a room with an audience seeing one of my plays. Nothing beats opening night.

Not my words, but theater is about entering as individuals, and leaving as a group. Being bound by a shared experience is fantastic. I can only imagine being the playwright, how even more powerful that is.

So John, can you talk about anything else for you down the road yet? I mean, you obviously don’t have enough going on, but I ask anyway.

We’re hoping to get a third and final workshop for the musical I wrote with Bruce Monroe, “Anybody Can Do Anything,” adapted from the hilarious memoir by Betty MacDonald. This is a wonderful slice of Seattle history, the funniest book you’ll ever read about the Great Depression, and I have my fingers crossed that we can find someone who can help us get this up on its feet for a final work-through before it gets a full production. I’ve also been commissioned to write the book for a new musical and I’m in the early stages of that. I’ve got to get back to my second novel and find a new agent for the first one, and it’s now looking increasingly likely that there will be a Season Two for the audio series of BRASS as well as another play early next year. It should keep me pretty busy for the next while anyhow.

I had to ask didn’t I! Busy for the next while? Sounds like you’ll need at least one cog & wheel machine version of yourself to keep up with all you have going on! Which, is also incredibly impressive, I have to say.

Knowing now what we do of you John, I dare ask this next question, but here goes. What is one thing people may not know about you or your project that you can share?

This year I received a “Footprints of a Giant Hound” award from my fellow Sherlockians at the Sound of the Baskervilles, a Seattle-based scion group of the Baker Street Irregulars. I love being considered a worthy Sherlockian.

Seriously, come on. You had me at Sherlockian!

OK, now for a couple fun questions! Who am I kidding, they’re fun for me! If you walked into a room (or strutting down the street), what would your soundtrack, or theme music be?

No doubt something pretty corny, though I would definitely prefer something cool. If I could choose, it’d be “Green Onions” by Booker T. and the MG s.

Nice! Corny, cool-it’s all something to move to as far as I’m concerned! Sidebar: Do you dance?

I dance. I think it’s best if we talk about something else.

Oh really ? Hmm. I’ll leave it for now, but don’t think I’m not investigating THAT comment somewhere down the line!

We all have them, and they are fun to exploit. So John, what is your guilty pleasure? (something you are passionate, or a nerd about)

Too many things. Probably the most shameful one are certain comic books, the majority of which are written by Alan Moore. I think he’s the only genius working in the medium, and his “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” was a major influence on the sort of stories I want to tell with BRASS.

LoEG is one of my favorites! You clearly don’t schlep when it comes to influencers! Where can people find you to check out your various projects?

All over the place!

For an overview of BRASS, go to: http://battlegroundproductions.org/brass/

To listen to the radio series, go to KING FM’s The Arts Channel here: http://www.king.org/pages/18163362.php?

For information about BRASS: Oh My Azaleas! Visit our Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/876828822398632/

(Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets)

And for our Indiegogo Campaign to fund our short BRASS film “Lair of the Red Widow,” go here!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brass-lair-of-the-red-widow-short-film-project#/story

If they want to know about things that aren’t BRASS related that I’ve written, they can check out my website johnlongenbaugh.com.

John, to say it’s been a pleasure is a gross understatement. I’m honored to know you, and am beyond impressed with all that you’ve accomplished. All you still have to conquer is going to be an immense privilege to witness. Thank you so much for stopping by. I wish you much continued success!

BRASS: Oh My Azaleas!

Theater Schmeater-2125 3rd Ave., Seattle, 98121  (206) 324-5801

Fridays/Saturdays 10:30pm-Midnight