Monday, January 16, 2012


~~~~~~Dreaming of Books Giveaway Blog Hop & Interview~~~~~~

Welcome to the Second Annual Dreaming of Books Giveaway Hop.

The dates for this hop are Friday, January 13th to Wednesday the 18th. 

Thanks to Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf for co-hosting.

Nearly 200 blogs are each hosting a giveaway for something a reader, author or blogger would enjoy! Just click the Dreaming of Books Giveaway Picture on the right hand side of your screen for a list of all the wonderful authors, bloggers, readers, reviewers and more that are giving away some awesome prizes!! 

Yay! I’d like to thank Axel Howerton for joining us today on The
Demon Side!

Thank you very much for inviting me!

Before we get to the nitty-gritty, tell us a little about yourself?

Well, I'm an Aries. I like long walks at the bottom of the Ocean and
peanut butter cups... Seriously, I'm just a dudeist monk with a glorious
head of hair, a lovely wife and a couple of great kids. I've been writing
for decades, but only recently got back into fiction after spending 10+
years as an “entertainment journalist” rock and film writer.

Did you wake up one morning and say “Hey, I think I’ll write a book
today!” or has writing always been a passion for you?

I've had stories running through my brain every minute of my life. The
real challenge is finding the time to get them down on paper and then
finesse them into something good enough to entertain someone else.

Can you tell us what Hot Sinatra is about?

It's a detective story, first and foremost, about a modern day P.I.. None
of the traditional “finest mind in America”, “expert on esoteric what-
have-you”, “former Navy S.E.A.L.” stuff, just a Marlowe-style wiseass
who spends most of his time following cheating husbands and trying
to live up to his grandfathers legacy. His grandfather was the template
for all of the hardboiled detectives of the 40's and 50's, a real ladies
man, tough-guy, Dick Tracy. He gets hired by a miserable old record
producer, who may be senile, to find a stolen Sinatra record that
may or may not be worth a fortune. From there it becomes a buddy-
comedy, a mid-life crisis, an action piece full of Mafiosos, bad cops
and Yakuza thugs, and a love story about a va-va-voom redhead who
gets stuck in the middle of it all.

What inspired you to write Hot Sinatra?

I believe it started while driving home from work one summer evening.

The sun was setting, but blasting a volcanic reflection off of a glass
building as I emerged from an underpass, sunglasses and porkpie
fedora on, Cake's “Frank Sinatra” blasting on the stereo. All of a
sudden I had a daydream rolling out in my mind of a half-assed P.I
wandering into an abandoned-looking hospital to the strains of a
trumpet, wailing and echoing through the empty halls. Eventually he
came to a room with an old man playing a Sinatra record. That one
sequence stuck in my brain pan for a week or more, before I started
jotting down notes for a story. That story evolved into a few chapters,
which then evolved into the novel. It's a short novel by modern
reckoning, but the old pulp novels were frequently thinner than the
more “literary” selections of the day.

When you write do you draw from your personal life or experiences?

I think I tend to infuse my writing with personal interests or things
going on around me. I'm kind of like a sponge that way. I think most
writers are. I pick up snatches of conversation, tidbits of other people's
lives. Sometimes I steal peoples anecdotes outright, Chuck Pahlaniuk
advised me to do that. Other times it's a character's look, a speech
pattern, how they hold their kid's hand, how they slurp their coffee
at the Starbucks. 
You have to be aware of everything. As to putting
my own life into stories? Not so much. I'm sure there are issues I
subconsciously work out by having characters go through similar
situations or relationships, and there's always the requisite “horrible
ways to kill my unholy scumbag of a boss” plotlines, but everybody
does that, right? Right?Oh God! What have I said?

I know I can't write a word without my IPod, a Pepsi and a bag of
Hershey kisses. What must you have while writing?

If it's nice out, I can usually be found lounging on the patio in my
threadbare plaid bathrobe, board shorts and a fancy hat. Most
important is a beverage. Coffee or Irish whiskey or both. Not enough
to cause impairment... In fact, most of the time, the drinks go cold (or
warm) and sit for hours at a time. Sometimes I need a little music, but
it's usually something instrumental that fits the mood. I soundtrack
most of my stories, but not when I'm actually writing.   I'll pick, say,
a Ramones song for a raucous scene, listen to it a dozen times over
while I'm at my day job, driving in the car, cleaning the kitchen...
while I'm listening to it, I'm daydreaming the scene out like a movie
in the ol' Cerebellumplex. Then, when I'm ready to sit down and write
it, it's all down to describing the scene. Consequently, there's a lot
of mention of music in my writing. Hot Sinatra is chock-full of Jazz
references and Punk songs, but they're woven into the story like they're
woven into my own life.

How do you manage your writing career and life outside of the
computer desk?

Poorly, at best? With a time-intensive dayjob, an hour commute and
two small kids at home, writing time is increasingly hard to find. To
be honest, a lot of the time that does present itself gets wasted, just on
account of being exhausted or emotionally drained. I need a large-ish
chunk of quiet time to focus. I know a lot of writers can just sit down
and plow in for whatever five minute window they find. I envy those
people. If I can't schedule a couple of hours straight, it ain't happenin'.

For me, inspirato needs to be worked up to. I have mad rushes of
creative energy, where I'll run off to the bathroom and lock the door to
scribble down two or three pages of illegible notes on a new idea or a
new story arc, but if I need to actually write, I'm usually screwed ;) In
my perfect world, I'd have a big house in the country, just far enough
in the boonies to be left alone, but just close enough to have net access
and BBC reruns of Sherlock and IT Crowd. Then I'd build myself a
little bunker just for writing, with a nice big wood desk and a comfy
chair, and a shelf full of real, honest-to-goodness paper books. And a
Ferris Beuller security system to trick my kids into thinking I'm still in
the house.

I also find it difficult to have to spend 6 hours a day on Facebook
and Google and Twitter and Goodreads and Amazon and blah blah
blah. How anybody finds time to write is beyond me. The only one I
really look forward to is Coffin Hop. That week in October was an
absolute blast last year, and Julie Jansen is every writers best friend.
I can think of no one I'd rather partner up with to manage that kind
of madness. Hopefully this year will blast last years out of the water
and we can bring in artists and writers and, most importantly, readers

Can you give the readers a little taste of Hot Sinatra?

The first few chapters are available on my site - http://
It's an older draft, but only a few minor changes have been made so

How can we get more of you and Hot Sinatra?

I can always be found on where I post all
my news and reviews. Facebookers are cordially invited to “like” my
page which is

Preferably, go to my Amazon page and pick up some of my stuff, check
it out and let me know what you think. I have been known to respond
with witticisms, banter and sometimes super secret special prizes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Nice to meet you Axel. 'Hot Sinatra' sounds like a fun and interesting read.

  2. Hey Axel, good to hear from you. You sound like a real fun person and Hot Sinatra looks great!