Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Tour and Giveaway: Bottle Toss by Howard Odentz

Title: Bottle Toss 
Author: Howard Odentz 
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 
Publication Date: October 29th 2019
Print Length: 239 pages
Genres: Horror, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
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A beer bottle thrown carelessly at the windshield of a passing car sends the vehicle careening off the road, and the lives of high school seniors Denny Ford, his foster sister Jen McKnatt, and her sometimes boyfriend Brody Erwin, spinning out of control.

Over the next several days as the three experience increasingly bizarre, frightening, and seemingly unrelated events, they are forced to examine the ramifications of their actions and how their lives have been irrevocably altered.

What they've done can never be undone.

After all, it only takes one bottle toss to turn their world cockeyed forever.

Author and playwright Howard Odentz is a lifelong resident of the gray area between Western Massachusetts and North Central Connecticut. His love of the region is evident in his writing as he often incorporates the foothills of the Berkshires and the small towns of the Bay and Nutmeg states into his work.

In addition to The Dead (A Lot) Series, he has written the horror novel Bloody Bloody Apple, the short story collection Little Killers A to Z, and a couple of horror-themed, musical comedies produced for the stage.

- Why do I write?
Writing is part of me. It’s in my blood. I’ve been writing ever since I could hold a crayon. Sometimes I write to sort out my emotions. Other times I write because I can’t find anything good on TV.

I knew from an early age that I wanted to write for a living. I took a long, windy road to get there, but I ended up as a director of communications in a large company where I was afforded the opportunity to stretch my creative skills while honing my craft.

Now, I’m deep into writing psychological and supernatural thrillers for older teens and adults.

- Where do my ideas come from?
My ideas come from everyday life. I have a slightly wry sense of humor, so I sometimes find inappropriate things amusing. I’m definitely not one who will laugh at a funeral, but you can bet I’ll be writing about the person who does.

In addition, I’m a total wuss—which means I’m basically scared of everything.

I’m scared of the woods. I’m scared of the ocean. Basements freak me out and barns are the absolute creepiest thing I can imagine, especially when they have sharp tools hanging from the rafters.

I find scary ideas everywhere. Oranges are just fruit until you peel back the skin and see something staring back at you. Pencils are just writing implements until one of your characters murders another with one.

AND don’t get me started on kids. Sometimes the younger set can be so cringe-worthy, I even wrote a book about them. Check out ‘Little Killers A to Z’ when you get a chance. It’s filled with twenty-six short stories about kids who kill.

Yeah – nothing scary about them at all.

- What motivates me when the going gets tough?
Coffee.

Chocolate.

Sometimes Chinese food, but lately, Kung Pow chicken makes me blow up like the blueberry girl in the Willy Wonka stories, but with sodium instead of blueberry juice.

In the end, almost anything can motivate me to write even when I don’t want to put words down on the page. However, when the going gets really rough, self-imposed deadlines do the job.

I often give myself a minimum word count of 1000 words a day then mentally berate myself if I don’t get them written.

There’s something sort of creepy about a voice inside your head that won’t let you rest until you paint a page with words.

- What's the most discouraging part of writing? How do I overcome it?
You don’t need me to tell you that the writing industry has changed. When I was a kid growing up in a suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts, one of my neighbors was a rather well known author.

I remember him telling my dad what his advance was for his first book. The number hovered around figures that I couldn’t even comprehend.

Now, many decades later, with the advent of self-publishing, on-line publishing, the disappearance of brick and mortar book stores, and our brains being pulled in a million different directions because of technology, it seems like authors no longer see sustainable incomes from their writing.

That makes me sad. It also makes me more motivated than ever to succeed.

I write for the passion of writing and the positive reviews from people I don’t know who encourage me to keep producing more. I write for the possibility that I can make a difference to someone out there because of my writing.

I write because I have to.

- What's one piece of advice I want to give to writers just starting out?
I have a million bits of advice to give new writers, but it all boils down to a few important things: Be true to yourself in your writing. Never write for others—write for yourself.

Never compromise what you think is a good piece of work because others say it’s not saleable.

Never, ever, ever give up. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a portfolio of writing. Be in it for the long haul even if, at the end of the day, your mother is the only person who ever reads your stuff.

When you are old and gray, you want a shelf in your house filled with your writing so you can say, “I did that. I was here and I created all of that.”

You won’t have that if you quit.

Never quit.

- Why do I write exclusively about New England?
I like writing about this part of the world. There are so many interesting and mysterious things that go on here that it’s a goldmine of opportunity for someone who writes in my genre. Of course, I change the names of people and places to protect the innocent.

Mostly.

- What are my characters generally like?
When I write I am very inclusive. I use straight characters, LBGTQ characters, and those of all races and ethnicities. Our world is very diverse. I feel the people who populate my fiction should be, too. I also mostly use kids and teens as protagonists. They tend to handle horror in interesting and unique ways, whereas adult characters are often more rigid.

- Why horror?
I blame my mother. When I was in grade school, she would bring home Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Peter Straub and more from the library. While my friends were reading Dick and Jane, I was reading about Danny Torrance from THE SHINING with his creepy finger, Tony.

- What horror stories scare me the most?
I think LORD OF THE FLIES is the freakiest thing I've ever read. It scared me as a child and it still scares me, especially because of what happened to Piggy. Of course, JAWS scarred me for life so I can never put my big toe in the ocean again. Also, I grew up during the time when the real Amityville Horror took place, so when the book and the movie came out they just plain freaked me out. There is something about a little girl who talks to an invisible, demonic pig that gives me the chills.

- What about movies?
The original ALIEN with Sigourney Weaver gave me nightmares for weeks, mostly because watching it back when I was a kid was like being on a rollercoaster that wouldn’t stop. The adrenaline in that movie is crazy.

These days, I’ve watched enough horror that I can almost tell what’s going to happen next by the camera angles. Still, I’m an avid WALKING DEAD fan, as well as AMERICAN HORROR STORY. Of course, I love BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, too. I still like giggles with my scares

- When I write do I ever scare myself?
Absolutely! I only write during the day, and I can’t write in my basement or with my back to a door. You never know what’s going to sneak up behind you.

- What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about you?
This question made me laugh. I know I’m considered a horror author, but that’s only my daytime persona. I don’t live in a scary mansion or own a black cat. I don’t pray to the horned-footed god or lick toads when no one is looking.

Sure, I wear black a lot, but that’s only because black is slimming and trendy and I can use all the help I can get.

In short, I’m not creepy.

I’m not creepy.

I’m not.

Okay, my writing fingers are creepy. That’s all.
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25 comments:

  1. Thanks for featuring Bottle Toss. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!!! Happy Holidays!!!

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  2. I find the cover to be intriguing. If definitely makes me wonder about the book.

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    1. Definitely one to read with the lights on!!! Happy Holidays!!!

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    1. A big thank you to my awesome publisher Bell Bridge Books for the cover design. Happy Holidays!!!

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  4. How many books do you write a year?

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    1. Hi Caryl - I always have one that I'm working on. My goal is to write two a year but I think one and a half is more realistic. It's all about getting that first chapter right then knowing the ending. Happy Happy Holidays. Check out the rest of my work at www.howardodentz.com

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  5. It's like they say, that stuff'll kill ya.

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    1. Just be very careful where you toss the empties. Bad things can happen ;)

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  6. I think the cover is creepy/cool! Love that Stephen Kingish grin on your face :)

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Regarding the grin, it's about as creepy as I can get. I only wish I could lift one eyebrow at a time. Now THAT would be cool!!!

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  7. Thanks so much!!! Happy Holidays!!!

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  8. the book sounds interesting. thanks.

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  9. The cover art is vivid and eye catching. I am very interested in reading this book.

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  10. I think that the book cover is both colorful and unique.

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. Hi Jamie - Like most people who write in my genre, I was hooked the first time I opened up a book by Stephen King. Not only did I like his stories, I was amazed at the way he wrote. I think King's writing is unique enough that when he wrote as Richard Bachman, readers could still see his signature style behind his words. Other than King, I'm currently inspired by my dog. I can't hold his gaze for long without realized he's forcing me to hurry up and write so I can finish and take him for a walk. Now THAT'S pressure!!! Happy New Year!!!

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  12. I like the cover, it's kind of fun.

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  13. I have read Dead, Snow, Dead End, Bones and a couple more. Thank goodness for Goodreads because I have learned of a few more I want to read.

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  14. the cover catches the eyes and that is what you need with a good cover.

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