Recommend It Monday–The Unseen, Eleanor by Johnny Worthen

Last week, Johnny Worthen stopped by to tell us about his newest novel, The Unseen, Eleanor.  Since then, I’ve had a chance to dive into it.

The book is fantastic.  The one element that I appreciate the most throughout the entire novel is the fear.  Eleanor has never known a life without fear.  What Worthen does a beautiful job of is layering that fear, so she’s physically afraid of the humans that killed her family and of people in general who would harm her if they knew the truth, but she’s also emotionally afraid: to love, trust, and not be afraid.  The one person she can trust with her truth is dying more every day, so now she has the added fear of what will happen to her once Tabitha is gone.  There are moments in the novel when Eleanor wants to trust so badly and it’s heartbreaking to watch.

Eleanor and Tabitha are hiding in a small town, and Worthen does a wonderful job of showing the tradeoffs of that.  On the one hand, when she’s not required to be at school and doesn’t need to go into town, she’s free to live her life without interference.  Except for the social worker who drops by every month to check on them, they’re pretty much left alone.  On the other, the town is so small that if something unusual happens, the twisted version of it spreads like a wildfire that can never be fully extinguished.  Eleanor sacrifices so much in order to remain unseen.  The book is a wonderful fit for everyone from young teens to adults.



Guest Post–Johnny Worthen

Yesterday, Johnny stopped by the blog to discuss his latest novel, The Unseen, Eleanor.   Today he stops by to give authors some advice about what to do when your work-in-progress stops being “in progress” and starts being “your work.”


Some advice for authors

I’ve been a writer my entire life, keeping journals, making newsletters, blogging and creating, but it was until recently I decided that I would be an author.

Writing is easy. It is a solitary experience, it’s creative and personal. Authoring however, needs the involvement of lots of people and people require compromise. This is the hardest part of the being an author. You need alpha readers, beta-readers, publishers, content editors, line editors, cover designers, reviewers and of course, readers. All of these people will pass judgment upon your work.

Even before it’s for sale, the work is out of your hands. If you’re lucky, you’ll work closely with your editor. If you’re not, you’ll be lucky if they tell you what changes they made. If the stars are aligned properly, you might have a say in the cover design, but probably not. All this makes a creative person cringe. Too many cooks. Too many critics.

I knew all this before I got my first my book picked up. I braced myself for the worse, feeling helpless and defensive as if my own child were on trial. I’ve been lucky though. My experiences with Omnium Gatherum and Jolly Fish Press, my two publishers so far have been awesome. However, just in case they weren’t before I sent out a single query letter, I formulated a plan.

Fellow writers and authors, let me tell you my secret plan for handling all this meddling in your work. A way to get past the trolls who give you one star. Let me tell you the only remedy you have, the only part of your career that you truly control, the answer to the question of what now:

Write another book.

That’s it. Make it better than your last one. That’s really all you can do. Give yourself another swing at the ball. Take your experience and your talent and go again. Look ahead as much as possible, not back. Write another book.

Check out my new book, ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN.

“A riveting supernatural character study wrought with the pains of first love and the struggles of self-acceptance.”

— Kirkus Reviews   ELEANOR (THE UNSEEN)

ELEANOR on Amazon


And to see love made real with Magick, do not miss  BEATRYSEL

— Unsatisfied with the ancient grimoires, the Magus made his own. Unsatisfied with the ancient demons, the Magus made Beatrysel. She was a creature of love, but there is no love without hate, no light without darkness, no loyalty without betrayal. And demons covet flesh.




Author Corner–Johnny Worthen

eleanor-blog tour-banner


E: Hey, Johnny!  Welcome back to the blog.  How goes things in the land of tie dye?

J: Exciting and vibrant. Colorful and casual.

E: You have a brand new book.  What can you tell us about it?

J: ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN is my new young adult paranormal novel. It’s been called a romance and a horror because there’s a monster in it, but just one little one. I think of it as a fable.

It is the story of a fifteen year-old girl growing up in a tiny Wyoming town. She quiet and unassuming, average and easily ignored. But is not as she seems. She is a sea of contradictions; lost but found, old but young, malleable but fixed. She is most human and not.

It is a character study of a confused but loving little girl who has to face some real challenges. It is centered around a metaphor that change is hard but necessary. It is a book about things not being as they seem and the challenges of growing up. It delves into some serious issues; Bullying, prejudice, love and forgiveness. Courage and cowardice. Trust. It is a haunting tale that will stay with the readers long after it’s finished.

It’s getting great reviews and I’m very proud of it.

Eleanor Cover

E: The Unseen Saga is at three books so far.  What can we expect from future books?

J: ELEANOR is a stand-alone title. I want to make that clear. I always feel a little tricked when I buy a book only to find out an ending isn’t included. My publisher put “Book 1” on the cover, but it stands wholly and completely on its own.

However, if you love Eleanor as much as I and are curious to continue her tale, it does so in the next book CELESTE and the third book  DAVID which again has an ending.

Without spoiling anything, I can say that in these later books the stakes get higher – much higher. Eleanor’s struggles on, still afraid but feeling her potential. Her secretes still haunt her and she has to come to terms with her own prejudices and fears. Danger and discovery wait around every door and catastrophe is but one slip up away.

E: Do you see the Saga going beyond the three books or will you stop here?

J: The three books are written and at the publisher, so if I die, Eleanor’s story will still be told. I’m happy about that. If THE UNSEEN is popular enough I have some ideas on the progression of the story, but I am very satisfied with the conclusion of the trilogy as it stands now, as I am the conclusion of the first book. 

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc?

J: The official date of release is July 1, but I have a June 28th launch date at the biggest Barnes & Noble in the state. Check this out.

I’m doing all kinds of conventions and book stuff all summer, including teaching at the League of Utah Writers and going to Comic Con. I’ll fit as many book signings in as I can. Lots and lots I hope. Check my website. 

E: Jolly Fish Press is doing a giveaway for Eleanor.  What formats are up for grabs?

J: Jolly Fish has this give away:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I have this one:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m not sure what Jolly Fish is giving away, but I’m giving away a signed paperback copy from my own stash. Enter both. 

E: Do you have any other projects going on?

J: BEATRYSEL and DR. STUART’S HEART are still going well. I’m promoting them to readers with darker tastes. In 2015 look for another complete change of gears from me when THE FINGER TRAP, a comedic noire detective mystery/social commentary comes from Jolly Fish and my comedian slacker detective Tony Flaner is unleashed upon an unprepared populace.

E: What has been the most memorable part of your publishing journey so far?

J: Getting to talk at conventions and conferences. I love the attention and I can share my scars so other people don’t have to get them to get where they’re going.


Recommend It Monday–Beatrysel by Johnny Worthen

Since I knew I would be spending a lot of time trapped on an airplane (which didn’t crash afterall), I loaded up my current ebooks and got some reading done.  I don’t like reading ebook format.  It has nothing to do with the quality of book.  It’s a sensory thing, like eating pears.  Sure, they taste good but they feel like I’m eating grit.  That said, I’ve had this copy of Beatrysel for a long time now and it’s one that I’ve really been wanting to read, so I did.  It’s wonderful.

In the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I will say that Worthen is a friend of mine.  That said, this is still a damn fine book and I wouldn’t be reviewing it otherwise.

He did a good job creating characters that I cared about.  The opening scene was a little disorienting until you read further along.  I thought it was an interesting choice to give us the scene and then later on (more than a few pages) give us the context for that scene.  I think that choice made the scene more meaningful.

He writes beautiful prose.  Seriously, never underestimate the value of a well crafted sentence.  There were a couple of places where I, personally, would have worked it a little differently for smoothness and flow, but there weren’t very many of those.  His writing is engaging and keeps you interested from start to finish.

I’ve always been fascinated with the occult, so this book was great for that.

If I had to sum up Beatrysel, it would be:

If light, then dark; if love, betrayal; if joy, pain.

Author Corner–Johnny Worthen

E: Hey, Johnny!  Welcome to Erindipity!  Take a seat, have a beverage.  I realize it’s no Blog Mansion, but I do what I can.  Charlie!  Don’t be rude.  Greet our guest.

Unintelligible corpsy sounds.

J: I have a Charlie, too. Well, bits of one anyway.

E: You’ve just had a novel release from Omnium Gatherum Media, BEATRYSEL.  I can’t wait to get some time to actually read it.  Tell us a little bit about it and what inspired you to write it.

J: BEATRYSEL is the tale of a demon, created by her Magus lover, rent from him but seeking return. It is the tale of the Magus who made her and lost himself in the act. It is a tale of jilted lovers, betrayals and loss; power and Magick. It explores modern occult theory as practiced today and the manifest power of love made real.

BEATRYSEL arose from a distinct moment in my life. First I couldn’t find modern occultism treated accurately or sympathetically in fiction. Having studied it for years and understanding its potential, I wanted to incorporate that belief system into a story with like-minded characters.

Then there was the issue of love and a hate, betrayal and affection. BEATRYSEL was born at a time in my life when my friends were all hit with a plague of divorces about the same time. It was frightening and contagious. I watched best friends suffer pain and anguish like I’d never thought possible. The raw emotion took on an almost living form and it was an easy step for me to visualize it just that way, as a spirit. And thus, I made BEATRYSEL.


E: This is your debut novel.  What has been the best part of the experience and what has been the most terrifying part for you?

J: Seeing it done has been the best part of it. I started my writing career late. Then I made the mistake of seeking publication in the traditional way of having a great book and seeking an agent. That way lies madness. Thus, I got an even later start. Once I went straight to publishers and editors I got picked up in short order and for multiple titles and have kicked myself ever since.

And so finally, after trying to get published for so long, seeing my book in print was a life-affirming event, an unparalleled thrill. But now, of course, it’s out there. And anyone can see it. That’s the terrifying part right there. I’m exposed. Or rather, my baby is exposed and there’s nothing I can do now. It’s like sending a kid to college, really. I know because I did that this year too. I’m all worry and powerlessness now. I can only hope that I did a good enough job that my baby can succeed on its own.

E: You’re also in the process of releasing another novel.  Well done, Sir!  What is the title and what can you tell us about it?

J: “Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.”

ELEANOR begins a young adult paranormal trilogy. It’s a story about a young girl growing up as inconspicuously as possible in a small Wyoming town.

ELEANOR is a very different book and very different experience than BEATRYSEL. Where BEATRYSEL is terrifying, ELEANOR is emotional; where love drives people to madness in BEATRYSEL, it redeems them in ELEANOR.

E: Today is also the cover reveal.  Well, don’t just sit there!  Show it to us, man!  How did you choose this cover?

J: The cover reveal is early. My publisher’s catalog is set far in advance. ELEANOR will not be released for months still. I’m looking at the summer in fact. That’s alright though. Eleanor is patient.


E: How was the process for this new book different from the first one?  Did you learn anything from the first book that made it easier with this new one?

J: I was more disciplined with ELEANOR. I wrote BEATRYSEL before I made writing a career and so it was took years to write. With ELEANOR, I made it my life’s work to see the story through and worked diligently and straight on until the third book was done. It was intense but wonderful.

I tend not to censor myself in regard to theme and language in my stories, and knowing I wanted ELEANOR to be for young adults I struggled for a while on how to “dumb it down,” so to speak. Then I realized the only change I needed to make was to curtail my potty mouth. Young adults are more than capable of handling the big themes of love and change, fear, belonging and loneliness, life and death as are adults, perhaps more so. Once I realized this, I was free to write ELEANOR as she needed to be written.

I should say that I am not a fan of books that drag it into a series whether you like it or not. Therefor, ELEANOR, the first book in the series is actually a complete stand-alone title. The next two in the series continue the story, and I encourage you to read those too, but the first book, ELEANOR is thematically and structurally complete. 

I’m not sure why I felt I needed to mention that.

E: What are you currently working on?

J: I’m in edits with another literary horror called WHAT IMMORTAL HAND and I’m shopping a mystery thriller called THE BRAND DEMAND. As of today, I am 15,000 words into a book I know only as XANDER, a near future dystopia of haves and have-nots inspired by my recent readings of THE HUNGER GAMES, and Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES.

E: Do you have any upcoming events, book signings, etc., that you’d like to share with us?

J: I wish I did. I’ll be at Wordharvest, The 2013 Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference in Santa Fe from the 7th to the 10th of this month. After that, I’m back in hermit mode. I’ll be lining up book signings for BEATRYSEL but I haven’t yet. I’ll have to wait until Spring for ELEANOR events. I’ll keep you posted.

You can find Johnny on his blog, his website, on Facebook, and on Goodreads.

Book Signings and General Updates

I’m very excited to announce that I am in the planning stages of my first-ever book signing.  Dates and locations will be announced once I have that information, but I am aiming for September dates.  At this point, I am planning one event, but depending on turnout and stock I might have additional events.  People who already have the book can bring it to be signed, and those who want to purchase a book to have signed will be able to do so.  Also, don’t forget to visit Authorgraph if you have a digital version of the book that you want signed.  Each digital autograph is personalized by me.

This week is Spring Break, and I have so many things to do.  First, I am alpha reading the brand new novel by the wonderfully talented Johnny Worthen titled The Brand Demand.  So far, I’m loving the story.  I had hoped to be finished with it by today, but I’ve been spending time with my kids so it’ll be a few more days.  I’m also the new web mistress for the IU-South Bend Creative Writing Club.  I have an Informatics minor, so I decided to put my education to use.  I built the social media platform and am posting the writing prompts, advice blogs, etc.  It’s a lot of extra work, but I’m enjoying it and we’re getting some really great conversations going.  If you’d like to play along, visit the blog and post what you come up with in the comments section of the post or on our Google Groups page.  Introduce yourself, make some friends, and let’s write together.  I have a few more pieces I want to work on for my poetry chapbook.  The more new material I write, the more I’m deciding the bulk of the old stuff needs to go.  I’m also looking into setting up some freelance writing gigs.  I may or may not pursue that option, but I want the information anyway.  I won’t be able to get back to Enraptured this week, which makes me sad, but I have some homework assigned over break that needs to get done first.  Notably, I need to read Taming of the Shrew and write a paper on the Wife of Bath’s tale in Canterbury Tales by Chaucer.

The time is flying and in around six weeks I will be awarded my degree in English Creative Writing.  I hope I have time to get everything done.