Saturday, November 21, 2015

#MMBBR Showcase: Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton @roberteggleton1





Rarity from the Hollow by [Eggleton, Robert]

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn't great. But Lacy has one advantage -- she's been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It's up to her to save the Universe.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is being schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. Some of these courses tell her how to apply magic to resolve everyday problems much more pressing to her than a universe in big trouble, like those at home and at school. She doesn't mind saving the universe, but her own family and friends come first.

Will Lacy Dawn's predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children's story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

Robert Eggleton's humorous science fantasy follows in the steps of Douglas Adams, Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett.

“…In the space of a few lines we go from gritty realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip." -- The Missouri Review

“…utterly compelling…a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot…. In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn.” -- Electric Review / Midwest Book Review

"…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)


Robert Eggleton

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next -- never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Today, he is a recently retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.




Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. It doesn’t take much to inspire me to write. Almost anything can trigger it. Maybe I’ve got Attention Deficit Disorder because if I don’t force myself to stay on-topic, my creative juices just start flowing. I begin to fictionalize dialogue and scenes. Looking back, I’ve had this sometimes annoying attribute at least since winning the eighth grade short story contest at school in 1964. For example, some people scribble or doodle when bored, such as during staff meetings. I write fiction in the margins that I save and then later incorporate it into stories. Do you think I need medication for this condition?

After winning the short story contest that I mentioned, I began to dream of becoming a rich and famous author. As it often does, life got in the way. I worked and went to school and then worked some more for fifty-two years. I never finished any more stories that I’d started until recently when I incorporated some of those unfinished stories into Rarity from the Hollow, my debut novel.

I don’t suffer from a deficiency in inspiration to write, quite the opposite. I’ve been the victim of too much inspiration to write. It got in the way and interfered with the self-discipline needed to produce finished literary products. I’ve been a professional social worker for over forty years. During this time, I’ve met many people from all walks of life. I’ve created a huge cast of great characters for stories that have been screaming to get out and meet the world. Even though these voices have gotten louder and more demanding over the years…. Uh, huh, now you think that I need medicine.

Two things happened that inspired me to find the self-discipline needed to become an author: I met a very inspirational person and I dedicated half of any author proceeds from my writings to the prevention of child abuse.

I recently retired as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. It was an intensive day program Most of the kids in the program, like myself as a child, had been traumatized, some having experienced extreme sexual abuse. One day at work in 2006, I met a little girl during a group therapy session that was especially inspiring. Rather than focusing on her victimization, she spoke of dreams – finding a loving family that respected her physically and spiritually. She inspired me to make my own dream come true — to do whatever was needed to produce marketable fiction. That little girl, unknowingly, inspired me to write Rarity from the Hollow. My wife named her Lacy Dawn.

In honor of Lacy Dawn, at the beginning of the Lacy Dawn Adventures Project, I dedicated author proceeds to the prevention of child abuse. It turned out to be the best medicine of all to reduce the symptoms of overactive inspiration writer’s syndrome (OIWS). Now, anytime that I get distracted,

tired, or just want to take a break from working toward my dream of making Lacy Dawn a household name, all I have to do is to think about maltreated kids and I get inspired all over again. I highly recommend this medicine to you and all of your readers if they suffer from OIWS or any other condition that obstructs the opportunity to care about children in need.

QWhat is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. It’s difficult to pick a favorite thing about being a writer. The voices that I talked about before are quieter now that a few of them have gotten out of my head, and the others seem to be patiently awaiting their turns to come alive. I like everything about the actual creative writing part of writing, especially when someone tells me that she has appreciated what I’ve created.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A. The toughest part about being a writer, no close competition here, is the self-promotion following publication. It’s so tough that sometimes I feel like just giving up. When discouraged, however, all I have to do is to remember my inspirations – to think about Lacy Dawn and all those child victims who don’t need much to put a smile on their faces for a minute. It’s amazing what a difference that a new pair of sneakers can make to the self-esteem of a child who lives in an emergency shelter. Hinthint….
Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A. I’m a human rights advocate at heart, and not just concerning children’s issues, but as affected by: race, gender, sexual orientation, poverty, trauma, mental health…it’s a long list. I’d like to think that if I wasn’t working more than full-time writing and promoting my fiction, that someone would pay me for working in an advocacy position. These jobs are hard to come by and I might be a little to old to get one. Since I’m having a hard time paying our bills – my wife is a retired Chemist – I just applied for a job as a mental health advocate. The job involves helping folks with mental health concerns assert their right to be treated in the community instead of being “warehoused” in big institutions. I don’t know if I’ll get the job and my overactive inspiration writer’s syndrome may come back if I do. LOL
Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A. The story of my life would be entitled, Welcome Back, Kotter, after a series of novels written by William Johnston in the ‘70s and which became a popular television comedy show. Your readers may not be familiar with it, but if you get a chance to check it out, you will know a little more about me and I guarantee a laugh even though it’s dated.
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t pick a favorite all-time book if you would guarantee me a spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote Rarity from the Hollow. I read in all genres, including romance and westerns. I enjoy nonfiction if it’s not so specialized that the subject is over my head. I like literary fiction except when it’s pretentious. I guess that I’ve stalled for as long as I can. If forced, I’ll say that Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Collins would come close to my all-time favorite story, subject to change at any moment.

Q.  Which character from ANY book is you most like?

A. Don’t hold it against me, but I’m probably most like the character of Tom Sawyer in those famous adventures. I’m always looking for ways to motivate others to help me get important projects accomplished.

Q.  What character from your book are you most like?

A. Since Rarity from the Hollow is my debut novel, you might think that I could easily identify the character in the story that I’m most like. Not. A piece of me is in every character in the story, including Lacy Dawn and the android. I might be a little more like the subterranean Manager of the Mall on planet Shptiludrp (Shop ‘till You Drop), a giant cockroach who is a metaphor of humanity’s ongoing and recurrent denial of its genesis, because Mr. Rump empathizes with the misunderstood and consequently despised occupants of the underground. On the job as a social worker, I’ve demonstrated skill with the homeless and sometimes spat upon members of our society.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. I would love to take a weekend vacation with Alice in Wonderland – what a trip! Do you remember Jefferson Airplane’s song, “White Rabbit” from 1967? That’s the kind of weekend vacation that I think it would be.

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. My favorite season is spring. I live in West Virginia. Recent winters have not been harsh, but I especially hate the anxiety caused by wintery conditions. Spring represents a reduction of anxiety to me. I love to soak up the first strong rays of sun that sneak through in the spring of a drab winter. 

Q.  What inspired your book cover? 

A. The cover for Rarity from the Hollow was done by Adam Lowe, the owner of Dog Horn Publishing, which published the novel. There were two others before this, one of which was donated pro bono by comic book artist, Jag Lall, because he wanted to help out. Each of the covers has captured essences of the story, but the story is so multi-faceted that none of them have been able to capture it all. I love the cover, but some days I love it less because it does not reach out to a target audience. When you look at the steamy cover of a romance novel, you know what the author will try to achieve with words in the story. There’s not enough blank space on a book cover to depict what’s going on in Rarity from the Hollow.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while promoting your book.

A. We were just talking about book covers. There’s an award winning book cover artist named Bob Eggleton. He has done the covers for several science fiction novels, and always comes up with great book covers. Well, I went by the name “Bob” Eggleton for years before I wrote Rarity from the Hollow. One day I got an email from a woman who was sure that we were the same person. She had read my story and went on and on in subsequent emails about how great, yada yada yada. It seem that the more I denied that we were the same person – Bob Eggleon the artist, and me, Robert Eggleton, the author, the woman seemed increasingly convinced that I was trying to trick her, or that I was lying.

Bob Eggleton, the artist, and I have emailed each other over the years. He’s a very nice guy and we both got a kick out of the situation of having the same name. Of course, I changed my name to “Robert” to prevent confusion, but, especially when Rarity from the Hollow was first released, there were some people who thought that we were the same person. It was kind of funny then. Maybe you had to have been there. LOL (privately)

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes, I always have several works in progress at the same time. Since I’ve recently retired, the difference is that I’ve become productive. Instead of ideas, partially developed and then abandoned because life has always seemed so complicated, I’m reaching closure on a ton of older half-baked stories. A new short story just got rejected by a major science fiction magazine, so I’ve got some work to do on it, especially since I agree that it was prematurely submitted.
Ivy, my next novel, is almost ready for professional editing. I’m holding off, trying to build name recognition before I submit it to the publisher for consideration. My dream with respect to writing fiction is to get to the place where I no longer need to request book reviews, but instead book reviewers ask the publisher for a copy of my work to review. I’m hopeful that I’ll get to that place with Rarity from the Hollow and then have the release of Ivy perfectly timed so that I can concentrate on writing instead of promotions.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  First, thank you very much for inviting me to be interviewed, Emily. You have a great blog that I’m sure your readers enjoy. I would also like to thank your readers for checking out Rarity from the Hollow. After reading about it, if you think that it is the type of fiction that you would appreciate, a taste of the text is available from the Amazon Look Inside feature.



From chapter 13, Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé:
            …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn's name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.
            I hear her voice. Why won't she answer me? 
            “Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods. 
            Nobody responded. The trees weren't supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.
            I will always love you guys. 
Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.   
            Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 
            Jenny looked to the left of the path.
            There ain't no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 
            She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn't exit and into a blue light that did.
            “All right, you mother f**ker!”
            “Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you're supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story)."
            DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.   
            "Grrrrr," emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn's dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.
            “Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”
            “You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.
            Stay between them.
            “Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I'm old enough -- like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend -- what you call it -- my fiancé.” 
            “You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce. 
            “MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”
            Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.
            He ain't got no private parts, not even a little bump.   
            “DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”
            Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.  
            “Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.” 
            I will need much more training if I'm ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.
            “Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”      
            Jenny's left eye twitched. 
            DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…    
            …(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There're a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You can see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain't complained since the shots started -- not even with an upset stomach.”
            "He's a doctor?" Jenny asked.
            “What's your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that's different -- even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”
            “Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.
            “So?”
            Mommy's right. Maybe I need a different argument.
            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.
            "What's that?" Jenny asked. 
            She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.
            “But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.
            “Mommy, I'm so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn't talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he'd be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain't had no chance to talk. All I know is that he's home and I'm sooooo happy.”
            “Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more…. 
            It's unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that's a good sign. Maybe she's right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They've been together for a while and I ain't seen a mark on herThat's unusual too. He ain't got no private parts and that's another good thingHell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I'd better play it smart. I don't want to lose my baby. 
            “What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.
            “I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”
            “My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition -- the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said. 
            They both glared at him. 
            "Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said. 
            “Okay, Mommy.”
            “I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her. 
            “I love you too,” DotCom said.
            Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile -- at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.   
            Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”


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