Judith Rook  (with Alison Dere)

Guests and Friends

This page features people with whom I am in contact in one way or another.


28th October 2016

I have become increasingly aware of the interesting and often highly useful information which appears on other people’s blogs, not to mention things that they write which do not appear on the selling platforms.  Therefore, on this page you will find mention of blogs that interest me, not only for their practical information about many topics but also for the high quality short reads which they often contain.

Also on this page I include references to people with whom I am in closer contact.


11th November 2016


I have come into contact with Steve Atkinson, an English author who has written a rather intriguing book, offering another slant on the Battle of Hastings in 1066. His storyline begins in the Middle Ages and ends in the 20th century, but a 20th century which is rather different from the one we have known because, according to Atkinson, in 1066 it was William of Normandy who got killed, not Harold Godwinson.

But I won’t go on about the novel because it has led me to Steve’s short stories, which I have reviewed on Smashwords and Goodreads and posted on the “Reviews” page on this blog.


I rather pride myself on being a connoisseuse of short stories, especially if they’re the type that used to appear in that wonderful anthology “Amazing Stories”, sadly now defunct.

In “Reflections in a Hub Cap”  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/462291   Steve writes stories on a wide range of subjects, and does so with considerable flair and style, but they all have one thing in common, and that is a slight “sting in the tale”, an ending which is not quite exactly as a reader might have come to expect. Not all short stories have this feature, but it’s one that I particularly enjoy.

There’s another anthology of Steve’s, and when I can get it without paying zillions in shipping, I’ll read that as well.


Karina's Author Assist Logo


Blog:  https://urbanhype101.wordpress.com/


KARINA KANTAS   is a person with outstanding marketing flair.  I don’t know how she would be with vacuum cleaners, but as a marketer of books, she is first class.

I hired Karina to help me with the online publicising of my novels.  During the two months when she successfully promoted my books and helped me to develop my author identity, she introduced me to skills and understanding which have been my mainstay ever since.

Thanks to Karina, I make my own way now in the demanding world of book marketing, but if I had the money, I would turn the whole marketing/publicising thing over to Karina and do nothing but write.

PS:  Karina is an outstanding, published author in her own right.


28th October 2016

Hallowe’en and Beyond

HELL’S KITTIES  An anthology edited by April Grey



An editor with whom I have worked is April Grey.  She has recently released an anthology of short stories written by a number of excellent authors, and I have found that the collection offers very good reading indeed.

One of the contributors to the anthology is Phillip T. Stephens.  I am more than pleased to be able to feature a brief interview with this experienced and stylish author.

Phillip’s biography:

Phillip T. Stephens lives with a Hell’s Granny and is proud to do so. [Hell’s Grannies is the title of an earlier anthology also edited by April Grey.]   She kicks his ass into shape daily, otherwise he would lounge in bed all day and watch alternating episodes of Fringe and the X-Files.

Phillip and his wife Carol foster cats for austinsiameserescue.org and have successfully adopted more than 300 rescues in the last fifteen years. Twenty percent of the proceeds of his latest novel Seeing Jesus will be donated to rescue.   His other novels include Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell and The Worst Noel.   @stephens_pt ptstephens.com gdimonday.com .

The Interview:

Q.  What was your inspiration for your story in Hell’s Kitties?

A.   The story is an extension of the Raising Hell universe. Since my wife Carol and I rescue cats for Austin Siamese Rescue http://www.austinsiameserescue.org it wasn’t a far leap to the idea of riffing on Lucifer making a punishment from a cat rescue.

The Raising Hell universe was inspired by working with several organizations whose mission statements were dedicated to empowering their clientele, but whose management structures undermined the autonomy and self-identity of the employees (and, to some extent subverted their mission statement as well). I had the misfortune to work directly with the CEOs, and my supervisors contributed to the vision of hell as well.

I remember having to leave my office for a meeting and receiving an email that I must have lied about the meeting because my supervisor saw my car parked on the street and it was pointed in the opposite direction of the way it should have been parked it I were really going to that meeting. She wrote me up in an official report for lying to a supervisor. (In reality I had simply parked in the only opening on the other side of the street.) The reprimand remained on my record until I left.

This became my vision of hell, a regular job, minutiae wearing you down forever with Lucifer as a petty minded bureaucrat.

Q.    What project(s) are you currently working on?

A.   I’m doing a screenwriting workshop with Aaron Sorkin, a class at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and preparing the adult version of my novel Seeing Jesus, which I’ll release in 2017.

Q.   What is the scariest or funniest thing that has ever happened to you?

A.   I was watching the Republican primaries thinking how funny they were that people were letting Trump upstage the serious candidates, even though none of them seemed especially strong. The debates got funnier and funnier with the three stooges Trump, Cruz and Rubio trading blows like the slapstick serials and suddenly only Trump was left. That was pretty scary.

Q.   What does the near future hold?

A.   I’ve been housebound with severe osteoarthritis and compressed lower spine for years. But I’m having a second knee replacement before Christmas and treatment for my lower spine. I’m already walking farther than I’ve been able to walk since 2009, so increased mobility is in my future. I hope to do some appearances for my books.

Q.   Why did you become a writer?

A.   I’ve always been a writer. I started writing in junior high school(which doesn’t exist any more)—really bad novels, comics and TV scripts and slowly improved.

If anyone has more questions for Phillip or April, please post them below.  And do give yourself a treat and read Hell’s Kitties.



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