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Goddess Fish Promotions has organized a virtual "name before the masses" tour for Less Than Human by Allen Long, a memoir available now from Black Rose Writing. Please enjoy author Allen Long's interview and an excerpt from the book.

Be sure to follow the tour and comment. The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. Click on the banner below to see additional stops on the tour.



Less Than Human
by Allen Long

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GENRE: Memoir

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BLURB:


In Less than Human, Allen Long tells the story of his often nightmarish childhood in the wealthy suburbs of D.C., the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, his ill-advised journeys into corporate America and a hellish marriage, and ultimate breakdown. And yet, his story is mostly one of triumph. He draws strength from the joys of fatherhood, he finds true love in his second marriage, and through working with psychotherapists and leading a life rich in self-examination, he overcomes both child abuse and the resulting PTSD, finally learning that instead of being less than, he is, indeed, human.


Less than Human follows an unconventional path, arranged as much by theme and association as by chronology. These stories take many forms, from driving narrative to lyrical reverie, at times evoking mythic overtones, and this variety, along with an unflinching confrontation with the conditions and consequences of childhood abuse, create its own form of suspense--in what direction will this book take us next?
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EXCERPT:


When I was in my twenties, I frequently wished my father would die and I had nightmares in which I yelled at him, telling him how much I hated him. As I aged and made progress in psychotherapy, these dreams became more violent. In addition to shouting at my father, I stabbed or strangled him to death. Eventually, I stopped dreaming about my father. 


However, in 2012, Jamie, one of my brother Danny’s two sons, told me that he and his twin brother Rick hated going to our parents’ house alone on weekends when they were kids because invariably my father harshly spanked them. I was outraged my father was still hitting children while in his sixties and my mother did nothing to protect them, just like before. Had they learned nothing over the decades?


With this outrage came a new series of nightmares. In the most vivid one, I’m yelling at my father in the living room of my childhood home. My father looks at me with eyes of utter evil and spreads his arms and shoulders in an odd and unnatural way that causes them to transform into a large pair of black wings. While I look on with horror, my father morphs into a giant vampire bat and I wake up terrified.


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AUTHOR INTERVIEW:




Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Less than Human: A Memoir is intended for adult readers who would like to read about a real person overcoming considerable adversity to find true love and happiness. The book captures the major dramatic high and low points of my life, and my life story is unique. Also, this is not a single-note book that just hammers on childhood abuse, divorce, and recovery. The book takes many interesting side trips. Subjects include greed and corruption in the business world, the wonders and mysteries of teenage love, the joys of fatherhood, and a hospital psych ward stay triggered by a nervous breakdown. Also, the book contains an undercurrent of myth and fairy tale that adds an intriguing dimension to the story. Finally, the book is fast and enjoyable read because I tried to surprise the reader as often as I could, and I think I succeeded in leaving most or all of the boring parts of my life out of the book.



How did you come up with the title of your book?
The chapter of my book that most directly addresses the child abuse my brother and I suffered is entitled “Less than Human.” That’s how we felt we were treated. I also experienced a fifteen-year-old nightmarish first marriage in which my wife verbally abused me and cheated on me. I feel she, too, treated me as if I were less than human. In addition, I consider my parents and my first wife as less than human because of their inhumane treatment of yours truly. Finally, the animals in the book are portrayed more positively than the abusive humans. The title ended up being kind of a cool triple play on words.


Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

The cover was designed by Dave King, an extremely talented book cover artist, based upon my input. I suggested the alligator image. When my brother and I were in elementary school, our negligent parents encouraged us to swim in a Florida lake inhabited by an adult alligator while they visited inside with our grandparents.


Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book:

If you go to my Amazon sales page, you may wonder why Amazon directly sells the Kindle version of my book but asks readers to buy print copies from lesser-known distributors. The reason is that Amazon likes to print the books it sells via an arm of the company called CreateSpace. However, my publisher, Black Rose Writing, designed a sophisticated “duplex” cover. On the front is the title, my name, and the alligator image. On the back is the description of the book. Inside the front cover is advance praise from reviewers, and inside the back cover is an author photo and bio. As I understand it, CreateSpace is not capable of duplex cover printing, so Amazon asks interested readers to buy a correctly printed version of the book from these lesser-known distributors. I’ve ordered books from several of them. You receive a correctly printed copy of the book quickly. Don’t be afraid to order from these distributors.


How can we contact you or find out more about your books?


I can be reached by email at allenlongauthor@gmail.com

I can also be reached at www.facebook.com/allenlongauthor/

My Amazon sales page is http://www.amazon.com/Less-than-Human-Allen-Long/dp/1612966381/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461729264&sr=1-1

My Barnes & Noble sales page is http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/less-than-human-allen-long/1123318074?ean=9781612966380


What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I’m writing magazine-length memoirs and short stories. Eventually, I may come out with a memoir or short story collection or both.


What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Spread the word via word of mouth, social media, and enthusiastic reviews on Amazon.


Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?



Here’s the story of how I published Less than Human. Hopefully, this story will provide some valuable guidance to writers working on their first book. First, I wrote the first eight chapters of the book as standalone pieces and published seven of them in magazines. This took me 3.5 years. Then I hired a professional editor and spent 1.5 years writing the final chapter of the book and completing five additional cover-to-cover drafts of the book, for a total of six drafts. Also, I wrote a few more drafts after that of the first and last chapters of the book to really make them sing. I had what I felt was a complete and perfect draft of the book in July 2015. I sent my book out to small presses and had a book contract in hand by August. I initially sent only the first chapter to Black Rose Writing. The Editor-in-Chief read the first two pages, liked the way the book started off with a bang, and requested the entire manuscript, which was then read by a team of acquisitions editors who recommended that Black Rose purchase the book.

One lesson here is don’t rush to publish. Polish the living daylights out of your work until you can’t possibly make it any better. Seek professional guidance if you feel you need it. Once you have a killer piece of writing, the publishing will take care of itself.

Also, when you feel your book is perfect, send it out to a bunch of small presses at the same time. I sent my book out to 40 small presses simultaneously. I combed through issues of Poets & Writers and The Writer for lists of small presses that were interested in memoirs. I also used the Duotrope Digest online database and a Poets and Writers online database. As soon as Black Rose accepted my book, I withdrew it from all of the other small presses that were considering it.


Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thanks so much for hosting Less than Human and me on Readeropolis!

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Allen Long was born in New York City and grew up in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Virginia Tech, an M.A. in fiction writing from Hollins University, and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from the University of Arizona. He has been an assistant editor at Narrative Magazine since 2007, and his fiction and memoirs have appeared in a wide variety of literary magazines. He lives with his wife near San Francisco.



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GIVEAWAY 


Allen Long will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Mayor Sonni

Reader extraordinaire. Mayor of Readeropolis. Lover of books, lists, sweet tea, and vacations. Well, not necessarily in that order.
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24 comments:

  1. You have put your heart and soul into this book. I really think it is something I shall have to read.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, MomJane. This book began with me writing a memoir about the greed and corruption I experienced in the business world. A writer/editor friend encouraged me to write additional memoirs. The rest of the book just poured out of me.

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  2. That was great in-depth interview! I am really enjoying this book tour! I wish you continued good luck with it! :)

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    1. Thanks, Clojo. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

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  3. Thanks to Mayor Sonni for hosting me. Readers, I look forward to addressing your questions and comments.

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks, Rita. I hope you'll give it a try.

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  5. This book sounds like it's going to be all types of emotional - I'll definitely be reading it!

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    1. Thanks, Victoria. As I said above, the book contains the most dramatic and important moments of my life, both good and bad. There is a wide range of emotion expressed in the book. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for your interest.

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  6. Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

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    1. Becky--I like to write on my PC in my quiet study when the house is empty or my wife is absorbed in a cooking project downstairs. I'm a hospital nurse, so I get one random day off during the week and every other weekend off. I write during whatever empty time slots I can find every day that I'm off. I don't think writers need to write every day, but I believe they should write on a regular basis during the time slots available to them.

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  7. I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Nikolina. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

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  8. Congrats on the tour and I enjoyed reading the excerpt and interview :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. Glad you enjoyed them.

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  9. Shared on G+, have a great day!

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  10. Congratulations on the book and good luck with the rest of the tour

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ami. Just one more stop to go. Hope to see you there.

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  11. Shared on Facebook to help spread the word! :)

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