Friday, September 27, 2013

Real Vampires Don't Sparkle

Review, Interview & Giveaway!

Traitors by Carrie Clevenger

Vampire Xan Marcelles and his band, Crooked Fang, have been sitting idle for almost two months when Xan's given a job offer he can't refuse. Only it is not a music gig -- it's a multiple hit in a Texas town called Bartlett. Given no details except six names and a location, Xan hits the road. He's always worked alone at this sort of job, but now there's no way but to have Nin riding shotgun. Can Xan take out his marks and keep Nin out of trouble or have the years out of circulation blunted his edge?

File Size: 761 KB
Print Length: 78 pages
Publisher: Katarr Kanticles Press; 1.25 edition (September 15, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

My Review: In this fantastic addition to the Crooked Fang series, Traitors delivers hard hitting adventure when vampire Xan Marcelles is called out of retirement. He hits the road with Nin, his hot but not-so-trustworthy sidekick. Chemistry brews as they make their way through one mishap and into the next on their way to a small town in Texas to carry out a hit on some unsavory bloodsuckers. Xan and Nin will make you laugh, think and squirm in your seat as they barrel at breakneck speed toward a climactic ending that will leave you gasping for more. Disclaimer: Xan doesn't sparkle in the sun (he catches on fire) and he doesn't court teenage girls. 

I recently had the opportunity to buy Xan a drink and grill him a little about his new book and the latest haps in the world of this yummy, bass playing vampire. He dropped a few coins in the jukebox and we settled into his favorite booth in the back of the bar. The ensuing convo went something like this:

Jan:  Hey, Xan. Its been awhile since I've had you in the hot seat. Are you ready? *laughs*

Xan: Ready as I'll get. If I get stuck, I'll take volunteers from the audience.

Jan:  Traitors is out in the wild now. I read it in one sitting; my compliments to the chef. Youve been living rather quietly since Crooked Fang was released. How did you feel about being dragged back out to do the dirty work?

Xan: A part of me was after it, to be honest. I mean, sitting, bored. Get used to the excitement, you know? It's like a lifestyle, and then I get to thinking maybe semi-retirement. Not for the money, but like, maybe to do something that counts for something. Be useful, I guess. Like to be useful.

Jan: Ah, yeah, doing your part to make the world a better place. *smiles* Nin is your nemesis turned ally in Traitors. The tension between the two of you is delicious. Will we see more of her?

Xan: God, I hope not. But probably.

Jan: I have to admit that I cringed at the beating your beloved Camaro takes in this book. Is it all fixed up now?

Xan: Yeah, a few dents, some busted glass. It wasn't totaled, probably because the deer came from the goddamned sky instead of getting embedded in my grille.

Jan: In Traitors, we see a different, darker side of the fun loving, whiskey drinking vampire featured in Crooked Fang. Did you enjoy venturing into the not so pretty world of vampire assassinations? 

Xan: I thought I was the whiskey drinking vampire in Crooked Fang. Oh. You mean me. Why third-person? Nevermind. Uh, yeah. The bloodsucker hits aren't really heavy on the conscience. I guess I still view others of my kind justified to exist on a conditional basis. They aren't good people. They aren't even people, to tell the truth. Taking out a couple of faceless vamps doesn't bug me one bit.

Jan: You're such a smartass. I'll wait until we conclude this chat to punch you. That being said, its no secret that Im a fan of your book Crooked Fang, but Im also a fan of the band. Any plans to find a new singer and get back together?

Xan: Serv is gonna be a bitch to replace. I haven't even tried holding auditions. It's too soon. He's only been gone a few months. Story-wise. Just not ready.

Jan: Totally understand. Youre big on playing music on Twitter. Any particular songs inspire your muse this time around?

Xan: Traitors took cues from 70's and 80's rock, pretty much. Been into Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top and some songs made it in the story. Funny how every story has like it's own music environment.

Jan: Your stories are the only ones I've read that pretty much feature their own soundtracks. You've turned me on to a lot of fantastic artists. So, Crooked Fang is a series now. Thats pretty cool. Tell us whats next for you and your franchise?

Xan: More stories. The next one is tentatively titled Jungle Rot, which puts me in Belize on a manhunt (or vamp-hunt) for Six McAllister, one of Jack's favorite thugs. The name of the story is pretty fitting, considering there's more in those jungles besides bugs, bloodsuckers and birds.

Jan: Ooh, Belize. Crooked Fang goes international. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for Jungle Rot. Okay, time for the lightning round for the fans. Tell us your favorites:
Band: Don't have a favorite. But this moment is Led Zeppelin to listen to.

Drink: Whiskey, duh. Unless blood counts as a drink. Does to me.

Flavor: Isn't that the same as drink? Fav flavor? You.

Movie: Don't have a favorite movie either. But I like westerns, gangster flicks, stuff with explosions, fire and tits.

Car: Mine, of course. '67 Camaro RS. Old Charger, Nova, Stang, muscle cars, you know. Big metal vehicles that aren't made of plastic.

Xan: Thanks for letting me have you. And for the people reading this, I got a spare copy of Traitors in digital format, mobi or ePub, PDF if you really want it that way, just for answering one dumb question:

What's the three things you can't live without?

Not that anybody would take the rest away, but those three things that just make life livable. *Any answers over a week from the date of this interview posting won't qualify*

Jan: I didn't punch him after all. Probably because of that vampire voodoo charm thing he does. And it doesn't hurt that he's real easy on the eyes. Anyway, leave a comment answering his question to enter to win a copy of Traitors or you can go buy it on Amazon and Smashwords. It's only 99 cents, y'all. Trust me, that's a steal for this much fun. Check out the Crooked Fang website for links to all things Xan, including books and really cool merchandise.  

Follow Xan on Twitter
Follow Carrie Clevenger on Twitter
Check out more of Carrie's work on Mindspeak

Monday, June 24, 2013


Black Crow Candle

Time is closing in on Synde’s big move. To sweeten the pot, we’ve decided to do a virtual raffle.  Everybody likes to win something, right? Here goes! Gift cards, candles, coffee mugs, jewelry, books, OH MY!
We have two fabulous gift baskets to give away. Some of the items included are Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Amazon gift cards and autographed books by Melissa Ecker and Carrie Clevenger.

Cemetery Cat Jewelry
Synde has donated some beautiful handmade jewelry from her Cemetery Cat Collection valued at over
$200 and an awesome black crow candle. My personal favorite is the Day of the Dead coffee mug!

Here’s how this works:  For every $5 you donate to the Help Synde Move fund, you get one raffle ticket. Donate $10, get two tickets, etc. We will conduct the drawing at the close of the fundraiser and the gift baskets will be shipped to the winners via US Mail. Good luck and tell your friends!

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Slept With Joey Ramone!!

I Slept With Joey Ramone

A Punk Rock Family Memoir

By Mickey Leigh with Legs McNeil

When the Ramones recorded their debut album in 1976, it heralded the true birth of punk rock. Unforgettable front man Joey Ramone gave voice to the disaffected youth of the seventies and eighties, and the band influenced the counterculture for decades to come. With honesty, humor, and grace, Joey’s brother, Mickey Leigh, shares a fascinating, intimate look at the turbulent life of one of America’s greatest—and unlikeliest—music icons.  While the music lives on for new generations to discovery, I Slept with Joey Ramone is the enduring portrait of a man who struggled to find his voice and of the brother who loved him.

Photo by Deborah Feingold
Like most girls, I fantasized about sleeping with Joey Ramone. I mean, who didn't? I loved the tall, brooding, rebellious, rock star persona that was Joey Ramone. I wondered what he hid behind those sunglasses and the long, dark hair that obscured his identity. I wonder no more. 
Now, the title of this book is a bit misleading. Mickey Leigh is actually Joey Ramone’s little brother and, yeah, he slept with him but not in the way you probably thought. I sure had different ideas when I picked up this book.
As a longtime Ramones fan, I was excited about this book. Mickey takes us on the journey of Mitch and Jeff Hyman who later become Mickey Leigh and Joey Ramone, respectively. My heart strings were immediately pulled reading this story. Jeff aka Joey was tall, gangly, awkward and the target of every bully in the neighborhood growing up. It’s no wonder he became the poster child for everyone who felt like they didn’t quite fit in, myself included. He defied the odds and became one of the most respected musicians in the rock industry. 
The relationship between the two brothers was strained at times but the love was always there. Mickey gives us a glimpse into the intense obsessive compulsive disorder and paranoia that Joey lived with long before anyone had labeled this as a disease. I was completely entranced from beginning to end and cried my eyes out on the last page. This is a gritty and realistic portrayal of Joey from birth all the way to his last day, when he succumbed to lymphoma and left an empty spot in this world.
Joey was a fascinating and talented musician, friend and brother. I wish I had had the opportunity to know him personally. This book made me feel as if I did. It left me as more than a fan of the Ramones, it left me a fan of Jeff Hyman as well. Pick it up and give it a try. You, too, should sleep with Joey Ramone. 

One of my favorite songs from Joey's solo work is "Waiting for that Railroad." 

Check out Joey Ramone's posthumously released album"...Ya Know?"  and his classic music as lead singer of the Ramones

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ava Riley Brings the Spooky and the Heat

Ava Riley is the Amazon bestselling author of erotic romance. She writes the dirty stuff that keeps you up at night, longing for that kind of romance. Her latest releases are Triple Shot, the the third book in her hot doctors series and Leesea’s Books and Babbles, the first in her paranormal Camric Series. I’m lucky enough to be a personal friend of Ava’s, so nabbing her for an interview was easy as pie. *smiles*

To celebrate her success, I'm giving away a copy of Leesea's Books and Babbles. Read to the end to find out how to enter. 

JJ:    Hi Ava!  Thanks so much for making margaritas and taking some time to chat with me. I know you bring the heat in your stories. Tell us where your inspiration comes from. Real life? Imagination?

Ava: Thank you for having me, Jan. I appreciate you letting me stop by.  Where does my inspiration come from?  Hmmm, I’d have to say a little of both worlds.  The imagination inspires the real life stuff then in turn flows onto the pages.
JJ:    I’ve read your books. You like the sexy men in medicine. However, you recently branched out into the paranormal realm. What prompted that and what can we expect from this new venture?

Ava: I read a lot of paranormal and really enjoy that genre.  I was always a little afraid of writing it for fear of my writing sounding copycatted.  I actually found that I am more comfortable writing paranormal (with a touch of erotic) than I am straight erotic romance.  My readers can expect the same heat in the bedroom (or the bookstore as they will see in Leesea’s Books and Babbles), as they have in my other series.  Romance is just as strong an element as the paranormal.

JJ:    You’re a mom, a wife, a full time student and a writer. I know coffee keeps you moving. What’s “A Day in the Life of Ava Riley” like?

Ava: Oy vey!  I literally go non-stop from six am to usually eleven or twelve at night.  Between dropping kids at school, my own school schedule of being on campus 5 days a week for 5 ½ hours, then soccer, cooking, cleaning, homework daily, it is a pretty crazy life.  Plus, I still have to find that time with the husband (who by the way is amazingly supportive).  I usually don’t get to write until late at night.  I love wearing all the hats I am at the time though and can’t imagine my life any other way. 

JJ:    When you have precious down time, what entertains you?

Ava: Downtime?  What’s that? LOL  Actually, usually when I have downtime (or at least make time to relax) I read or spend time with the family.  I set a goal this year to read 50 books and I have almost reached it.  I think in order to be a good writer, you have to read.

JJ:    You write super hot sex and deep, realistic characters. Tell us about your writing process? Any rituals or habits?

Ava: Well, thank you!  Coffee is the beginning of my writing process.  Some writers consume alcohol to get in the mood to write, but I need a good cup of coffee.  I have also found (and this is odd, I know) that in order for me to get the literary juices flowing I need to have my hair in a ponytail.  Other than that, I just sit down late at night and write.  I need it to be quiet and that doesn’t happen in my house until after 9 pm.

JJ:    Who are your favorite writers? Any particular authors influence your writing?

Ava:  Lara Adrian is the only writer I go/have gone fan girl over.  I love her writing, but I also enjoy my good friend Melissa Ecker’s books as well.   As far as influencing my writing, I’d have to say that Lara and Jeaniene Frost have had the biggest impact on my writing.  They always write very strong heroine characters and very hot hero characters.

JJ:    When can your fans expect a new book from you? Anything in the works you can share with us?

Ava: My next book, which is a paranormal romance novella – Leesea’s Books and Babbles – is now available.  This is the first in the Camric Series and I am working on the following books in the series (as my school schedule permits).

JJ:    Any last words of wisdom?

Ava: I would just like to say to those aspiring writers out there that if I could bestow on you one bit of wisdom from my journeys as a writer, it is to first and foremost stay true to yourself and write what you write.  Sometimes people will come along and try to dissuade you from following your heart, don’t let them.  And secondly, a lesson I have had to learn (and am still learning) is that in this business you have to have thick skin.  People aren’t always nice about your writing and sometimes it hurts like hell, but you have to take the constructive criticism and leave the rest of the junk behind.

Lightning Round Favorites:

Drink:  Coffee
Color:  Purple
Season: Fall (used to be summer, but now I’m old & get hot easily)
Flavor: Coffee
Book: Just one?  Darker After Midnight by Lara Adrian
Movie:  A Christmas Story
Band:  Chris Young (although he’s just one person)

Thanks again, Ava. You always warm my heart with your genuineness.  I’m giving away a copy of Leesea’s Books and Babbles. To enter, leave a comment at the bottom!

To keep up with the latest happenings of Ava Riley, follow her on Twitter @AvaRileyRomance and check out her website.
Her books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble as well as other outlets. Go get ‘em! Good stuff, y’all! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Inkarna Will Steal Your Soul and Your Heart

Click here to purchase
Ashton Kennedy wasn't a nice guy. He cheated on his girlfriend, knocked up a powerful drug lord's sister, and abused vast quantities of illegal narcotic substances. Whoever ran him over with a big shiny SUV was doing the world a favour. His very male, tattooed body is the last place Elizabeth Rae Perry--a member of an ancient Egyptian cult--expected to reincarnate in, instead of the three-year-old girl she'd been promised. Not only must she now come to terms with her new existence in the body of a disagreeable man, and clean up the mess he made of his life, she also has to unravel the mystery of why House Adamastor's chapter house is standing empty and find a way to protect a dangerous secret she had no idea she was supposed to keep. As if fate couldn't deal her another blow, she has also attracted the attention of a malicious and potentially dangerous ghost. And to top it all off, she must deal with the consequences of finding love in a most unexpected place.

Inkarna is, by far, the best book I’ve read this year. Ashton Kennedy is hot and bad and one of those characters you love to hate or hate to love, either way. Nerine Dorman transfixes the reader with a believable story steeped in Egyptian mysticism and what it means to be Inkarna. When Lizzie’s plan to inhabit the body of a three year old girl goes awry and she wakes up in the body of Ashton, we are taken on a gender bending journey where she acclimates to being Ash and battles her/his feelings toward Ash’s timid girlfriend. Through Lizzie, Ash is able to redeem his past misdeeds and through Ash, Lizzie is able to set things right with Inkarna. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat with magic and mystery. The ending is breathtaking and will leave you yearning for more.

After reading Inkarna, I was totally start struck and had to chase Nerine down for an interview. Not only is she a fantastically talented writer but she’s funny and gorgeous. See for yourself and read to the bottom for details on how to win a free copy of Inkarna!

JJ:    Hi Nerine!  Thanks so much for agreeing to sit down with me for a few questions. As you can see from my review above, I loved Inkarna and was fascinated by the Egyptian mysticism. Tell us where this story came from.

Nerine:    Hey, January, thanks for having me over. Inkarna sort of seeped up from my subconscious, for lack of better description. The year 2010 wasn’t a particularly good one for me. I was battling with severe depression, and two people who meant a lot to me passed away. The death of the first was accompanied by vivid dreams which sparked off the “what if” scenario that eventually drove me to outlining the day I attended the funeral of the second. Death and questions of what happens after fuelled this, as well as playing on gender identity and my love of Egyptian cosmology. Who are we really?
JJ:    I’ve read a few of your books and you seem to have a fondness for the tall, dark and looming men. Are these yummy characters inspired by someone in particular?

Nerine:    I get my inspiration from a bunch of tall, dark and looming, but anyone who takes a look at my Pinterest board, “Beautiful People” will probably get a good idea of the main culprits. Peter Steele, Carl McCoy, Trent Reznor – all beautiful men.

JJ:    Ah, Pete and Trent *sighs* As a musician, editor and writer, you are a master multitasker. What’s “A Day in the Life of Nerine” like?

Nerine:    Six thirty AM is the absolute latest I can lie in unless I want to miss my train in the morning. During that hour-long commute I crochet and read before I plunge headlong into my day job as a newspaper sub-editor (doing layouts and subbing for the commercial features). If I’m lucky, I have time during my lunch hour to write. I try to get out to meet a friend for coffee at least once a week. I also try to wrap any editorial I’ll be submitting during that stolen time. Five PM sees me back on the train for another hour back to the far south. People often ask how the hell I cope with travelling the distance each day, but to be honest, I love the train when it’s running smoothly. It’s “me” time to read, and by the time the train reaches Muizenberg, I get to ride on the sea shore, sometimes spotting whales and dolphins, or gawking at surfers.

Night time I have to obviously do my wifely duties of washing dishes and cooking dinner, but then, before I even open my netbook, I practice my classical guitar for about an hour. After my bath, I’m in bed with my computer, and catch up on the day’s quota of editing and writing. The last thing I do before lights out is to write a thousand words. Less than six hours later the whole merry-go-round starts again.

Structure is very important when juggling a hectic schedule. I’ve recently cut back on my editing commitments (I only take on very limited amounts of freelance work) so that I can concentrate on my own writing.

Weekends or on days that I take leave, when we’re not off on film or photo shoots (my husband is an indie filmmaker), we’re usually at home, and I get more reading done. The dogs, of course, insist on their late-afternoon walk on days that I’m home. I just have to *look* at my shoes and they won’t stop barking until they’ve had their 30-minute trot around the block. I love being at home – for me that’s like being on vacation. Sometimes I get to travel, usually through my day job, and have been to Zambia and Ireland, among other destinations.
JJ:    When you’re not writing and editing, what’s your idea of fun?

Nerine: I might potter in the garden a bit. Occasionally we go out to see music, or have a braai (barbecue) with friends. I recently started crocheting, mainly as a way to release tension and do something completely out of character. My husband and I sometimes treat ourselves by visiting the very bohemian seaside town of Kalk Bay and go for coffee. This is a dangerous occupation as we usually end up buying secondhand books.

JJ:    Music seems to be a common thread in your stories.  What’s your writing process like? Does it include music?

Nerine: I listen to music while I write, and find myself gravitating to particular artists. Of late this includes a lot of post-rock and world music, as well as gothic and doom metal. My tastes are quite eclectic, however, and the husband has recently introduced me to the rather enigmatic late-195os to early-1960s exotica. I’m equally happy attending a jazz gig as I am seeing my friends in the South African industrial metal band, Terminatryx, perform live. Experiencing Rammstein live last year was one of my musical highlights, and I’m very excited for mates of mine who’ve started a psychobilly band called Th’Damned Crows. At some point I might start collaborating with other musicians again, but probably mainly in an “unplugged” format. There is talk.

All this seeps through into the mood of my writing. I need the filter music provides, to help block environmental noises (the husband plays a lot of PS3 games and I need to drown out the screaming and gunshots). I also suffer from severe tinnitus, and some days are worse than others, so the music helps distract me from the ever-present screeching in my ears (no doubt a result of years of playing bass in grunge, goth and black metal bands).

Readers will encounter plenty of musical references in my writing. Sometimes I pay tribute to the artists who have meant a lot to me. I’ve even indulged in a little satire when it comes to some of those who’ve annoyed me.

JJ:    I’m a huge fan of the horror genre. Share with us your involvement in the much-anticipated Bloody Parchment anthology.

Nerine: Bloody Parchment is now in its third year as an event. We gather at an indie bookstore, Book Lounge, in Roeland Street, Cape Town, and celebrate dark fiction, usually with a group of genre fiction authors. Last year we had a few readings and a panel. This year we’re doing drabbles.

The anthology and short story competition grew out of the event, during a time when there was no local market for horror fiction. The anthology and competition is open to international entries, and the current issue has a selection of authors from all over, including the UK, US, Botswana, South Africa and Australia. Once the judges have made their final selection, I step in as editor and put the contributors through their paces—so they gain from considerable editing. The winner of the competition not only has his or her story appear as part of the title of the anthology, but receives a comprehensive round of edits on a novel or novella-length work.

Entries for this year’s competition close on October 31, and you’re welcome to mail questions to or check out the blog at

JJ:   There’s been some talk about a sequel to Inkarna.  When can your fans expect more of Ash?

Nerine: Yes, I’m writing the sequel. I’m not going to say a helluva lot on the matter except that in book two I tie up a few of the loose ends left at the end of the first, and poor, dear Ash is out of the frying pan and into the fire. Some pretty nasty things happen, and Ash is kept on the run. And his life become a bit *too* exciting. I almost feel sorry for him but then again, if he had things easy, then there wouldn’t be much of a story now, would there?

JJ:   It's no secret that I'm an avid fan of your work. What else is out there that readers should know about?

Nerine:    Many folks have gotten to know of me via Inkarna. While I’m in the process of rebooting my Khepera series (rights reverted to me) and will re-launch those titles soon, I do have novellas that are worth dipping into if you like tales of the fanged kind.

The Namaqualand Book of the Dead is the tale of a young woman who hitchhikes up the South African West Coast to find out the truth behind her ex-boyfriend’s apparent death:

What Sweet Music They Make tells of the meeting between two musicians who dwell in very separate worlds, and the complications that arise from their mutual fascination. Lots of vampiric intrigue here:

Both these two are my little unsung heroes, and I’d love for them to grace a few more kindles out there. Even better, if you’ve read them, do leave me a review. I love reviews. Most authors do. [smiles]

Lightning Round Favorites:

Drink:  Earl Grey tea, 100% pure pomegranate juice or good coffee. Then again, there’s a cafĂ© in Cape Town – Roxy’s on Dunkley Square – that makes the most nommilicious chocolate milkshakes in the whole world.
Color:  Black (well, of course) but trimmed with green or purple.
Season: Autumn or spring.
 Flavor: chocolate or lemon (you’ll see I can’t make up my bloody mind)
Book: Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien and the Sandman graphic novels by Neil Gaiman, Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu novels.
Movie:  Star Wars, Highlander and Ladyhawke
Band: Type O Negative, Nine Inch Nails, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees, film soundtracks by Hans Zimmer.

Thanks again, Nerine. I really enjoyed chatting with you and I can't wait to get my hands on the next installment of Ash.  

Inkarna is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

To keep up with the latest happenings of Nerine Dorman, follow her on Twitter @NerineDorman and check out her blog

** Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a digital copy of Inkarna**

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Music is Darkest Just Before Dawn

I really tried to keep my fan girl excitement under control when I booked this interview. Y’all know how excitable I can get. Okay, I won’t tease you anymore. Please welcome the very talented and charming Hagen Schneevoigt to the blog. Hagen is the vocalist and bass player for Tunes of Dawn, one of today’s most versatile rock bands. If they’re not already on your playlist, you’re missing out.

JJ:    Hey, Hagen. Thanks so much for indulging my journalistic and musical curiosities. Tell us a little about the inception of Tunes of Dawn and your unique sound.

Hagen:   Thank you for discovering us! It all started out back in 1993 with lots of dreams of becoming rock stars and rich and famous, but with less know-how :o)

Death Metal was very popular at that time, so we gave it a try. But we got bored over the years with the guitar-shredding all the time. When we were on a trip to Paris in 1998, we decided to make a new start with the band; new name and new music. At least we had improved our ability to play music. And it’s cool to say, “Hey, we founded the band in Paris!” Over the years, we tried lots of sounds to develop our style, becoming more rock-based than metal. It was a long road but I think we’re all pleased with it today.

JJ:    Who are the biggest influences on your musical style and why?

Hagen:   Every one of us has so many different influences that sometimes it’s hard to combine everything into a song. The range reaches from metal, of course, to rock, blues, classic and even jazz music.

There are also personal influences like Black Sabbath, Type O Negative, AC/DC, The Ramones and all that classic stuff, but also Beethoven and pop music as well. Not only music influences us, but also daily things in life, like love, death, happiness, despair and life itself.
JJ:    There is so much feeling in your music. One of my all time favorite Tunes of Dawn songs is A Warm Sigh at 6°C. What is your writing process like?

 Hagen:   Thanks. That’s also the song we like the most. It all starts with a melody growing in my head. After thinking, “Hey, it’s good!” we all work together forming it into a song. The lyrics are written afterwards, mostly to fit the words into the song. Sometimes, we also dig out some old stuff and re-, de-, or mis-compose it again. It can take as little as hours or as long as months to create a good song (in our opinion) and we’re not done with it until everyone says, “Yeah, that’s good.”
JJ:    When you’re not doing the band thing, what do you do for entertainment? Any hobbies?

Hagen:   Well, we all love to go to concerts or to the cinema or just hanging around and having a beer. Some of us have a family so there’s not that much time left to spend together. There are also other musical projects going, like playing in a cover band to earn some money. Besides that, we all have regular jobs to pay the rent.

JJ:    What’s “A Day in the Life of Tunes of Dawn” like?

Hagen:   Nothing special, I think. Like most bands, when on tour or something, we’re checking our equipment, writing new stuff, drinking beer, talking rubbish and looking forward to the next show. When rehearsing, we concentrate on exercising the songs or making plans for the future, if there is one…. Ha ha…..

JJ:    I recently picked up the EP Basement Goodies. Your cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt is amazing but I have mad love for the hauntingly beautiful track Upon My Grave. What’s next for Tunes of Dawn?  

Hagen:   Thanks for purchasing our product ;o) Hurt was recorded during our latest album production. It’s just an adaption of Johnny Cash’s version. The piano version of Upon My Grave felt totally different from the original one, so we decided to record it as well and put everything on that EP.

At the moment, we’re in the writing process for our next album, which will hopefully be done in the middle of next year. But first we have to find a new record label to work with. So, things are not that easy right now. But nevertheless, we’re looking forward.

JJ:  Any upcoming tours or appearances where fans can catch a live show? Any chance you’ll be in the U.S?

Hagen:   It’s getting harder and harder to get gigs. We’re not that well known in Germany, so it’s almost impossible for us to play at festivals or bigger events. That’s the very sad thing about the music business. No money = less shows. Often you have to rent the whole club to do a show or you pay to tour with a bigger band.

Unfortunately, we haven’t got that much money. So it’s even harder for us. Once we had an invitation to play some gigs in New York, but it was cancelled by the organizers because they didn’t want to pay for the flights anymore. So I think we’ll never play in the U.S. unless we win the lottery or some other wonder occurs. We’re sad about that.

JJ:    I’m so glad I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with you. Not only do I appreciate your taste in music but I really admire your graciousness. I had a great time.

Hagen:   We would like to thank you for your interest and for interviewing us. Spread the word and the music, maybe we will meet one day if we ever make it over the ocean. Thanks to everyone who listens to our music. 

JJ:    Thanks again, Hagen. If our paths cross, I’ll buy you a beer and you can sing to me. *smiles*
Hagen's Lightning Round Favorites:

Drink:  Beer
Color:  Mostly dark ones
Season: Summer and Winter
Flavor: Bittersweet
Book: Lemmy: White Line Fever
Movie:  Harold and Maude
Band: All-time favourites – Elvis Presley, Type O Negative, Muse

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Their fabulous EP Basement Goodies is available on Amazon. Go get it! Check out their website  for more purchasing options.