#Read about Guest #Author Robert Eggleton.

roberteggletonI didn’t have a choice about whether or not to write Rarity from the Hollow, my debut novel. Nobody put a gun to my head, but same as — the psychological need to begin and follow through on the project had become so intense that my physical health was affected. I had difficulty with sleep, frequently awakened in the middle of the night with unresolved recurring dreams of scenes. I had concentration difficulty which affected every daily activity.

Before publication of this novel, I was driving past planned interstate exits because the untold story was in the back of my mind. Fortunately, I didn’t cause any car accidents. I was making technical mistakes at work because the story was intruding. Fortunately, I didn’t get fired….  Rarity from the Hollow demanded to be shared and it gave me little choice but to do so.

If you have an interest, here’s how the benevolent cancer know as creative wring metastasized, invaded my being.

I was born into an impoverished family in West Virginia. My alcoholic and occasionally abusive father suffered from PTSD. He had been captured by the Nazis during WWII and had night terrors. My mother did the best she could, but I had to begin working as a child to feed my family. I started paying into the U. S. Social Security fund at age twelve, dreamed of a brighter future for my family, and have continued work for the next fifty-two years.

In the 8th grade, I won the school’s short story contest. “God Sent” was about a semi truck driver so consumed with theological debate that he caused a terrible accident. As it often does, however, life got in the way my dream of becoming a rich and famous author.

I worked and went to school, never finishing any more stories that I’d started, mostly because I was just too exhausted.

I started college in 1969, and except for a poem published in the state’s student anthology and another poem published in a local alternative newspaper, my creative juices were spent writing handouts for civil rights and anti-war activities, and on class assignments.

I graduated in 1973 with a degree in social work. Afterward, I worked in the field of adolescent substance abuse treatment as I attended graduate school. My creative writing was still on hold — suppressed / repressed.

After earning an MSW in 1977, I focused on children’s advocacy for the next forty years.

My heartfelt need to write fiction was dissipated somewhat by the publication of social service models, grants, research, investigative and statistical reports about children’s programs, child abuse, and delinquency.

In 2002, I started working as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center.

It was an intensive day program and most of the children had experienced some type of trauma, some had been severely sexually abused.

One day at work in 2006, I met a skinny little girl who had a very mean daddy. She sat a few feet away from me around a table used to complete written therapeutic exercises.

Rather than focusing on her victimization, she spoke of dreams – finding a loving family that respected her physically and spiritually.

She inspired me to make my own dream come true, to finally write fiction.

I haven’t stopped writing since I first met her that day during a group therapy session. It had all clicked together.

The Lacy Dawn Adventures Project was born — an empowered female protagonist overwhelming the evil forces that victimize and exploit others to get anything and everything that they want.

While my protagonist is a composite character based on real-life kids that I’ve met over the last forty years as a children’s rights advocate, this girl was especially inspiring.

She was the catalyst that prompted me to address my need to write fiction.

If I hadn’t met Lacy Dawn that day, who knows whether I would even still be breathing because, frankly, until I “pushed the pedal to the metal” I hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep for years.

The next day after I go home from work, my wife, Rita, named the protagonist Lacy Dawn. Rita explained that because the protagonist’s mother couldn’t afford to buy Lacy Dawn pretty things in life, she wanted to give her a very pretty name at birth.

I recently retired as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. For the last four months, Ive been writing and promoting my fiction, at last.

Three short Lacy Dawn Adventures have been published in magazines, and more have been submitted and are pending consideration. Many more are still in my head and fighting to get out.

1-rarity-front-cover-web-2

Author proceeds from Rarity from the Hollow have been donated to Children’s Home Society of West Virginia for its child abuse prevention programs.

Since a victim had empowered me to write fiction, I figured that it was the least that I could do to help out if I could – a strategy that has fueled my compulsion to introduce the world to Lacy Dawn.

Rarity from the Hollow was published by a traditional small press in Leeds, a long way from my home in West Virginia, U.S., and someplace that I will likely never afford to visit.

At the time that my novel was ready for professional editing, the publishing industry was in an uproar. Of course, the doors to each of the Five Big Publishers had been chained shut to aspiring authors for decades.

It wasn’t simply a matter of finding an agent to speak to one, the agents knew that the doors were shut and most were also aspiring, looking for that lucky break or to finding the hiding for the forgotten key to the locks. Some aspiring authors at that time had turned to what was called “vanity presses” — the kiss of death.

The eBook technology was pretty new, and a few companies had sprung up as an alternative to paper publishers. Also at that time, eBooks were not considered by many to be “real” books.

I looked for an agent by sending researching cover letters and emailing them. I couldn’t afford postage costs to mail the manuscript, so it wasn’t long before I turned to the new eBook companies as an option.

I found one, Fatcat Press. I did my research beforehand and found that it was owned by the Acquisitions Editor for the University of Michigan’s Ancient History Library. Her name was Ellen. She didn’t charge to read manuscripts, accepted them electronically, and was otherwise a traditional press because she charged no upfront costs and paid royalties. I contacted her and after six months of editing, including symbols in the margins of paper manuscripts that she had paid to mail to me and which I had to look up to understand what they meant, Rarity from the Hollow was published as an eBook. However, eBooks were not yet viable, much less popular. A month later, this eBook company folded, but I was paid a couple hundred dollars, half of which I sent to the nonprofit agency that I mentioned before.

Talk about being discouraged! I felt like I’d not only lost a dream, but that I’d let down the kids who I’d cared about for decades. By 2010, self-publishing has achieved greater respectability. It was no longer considered the equivalent of vanity, but it cost money that I didn’t have and knowledge that I didn’t possess.

Sure, I check into it, but was disheartened and expressed such in a chat room. I met a person who not only listened, but who was in a position to help. His name is Adam Lowe and owns Dog Horn Publishing. After a few more months of editing by a staff member, Rarity from the Hollow was published as both an eBook and a paperback in 2012.

However, while the press was traditional and didn’t charge any upfront costs, and pays royalties, it doesn’t have a budget for advertising or promotions anywhere near competitive with a Big Publisher. After coming home from working with abused kids all day, I was too exhausted to learn, much less accomplish much in the way of self-promotion. I felt that I had a great novel that almost nobody had heard about. That’s still true.

After the original release of Rarity form the Hollow, I was successful in getting the attention of a couple of notable book critics and authors who wrote glowing reviews of or blurbs.

Four months ago, I retired from my job and have been working more than full-time on writing and promotions of this novel.

That’s why I’m here today – to tell you about a social science fiction novel that is not intended for the prudish, fainthearted, or easily offended, an alternative to Young Adult science fiction written for adults who appreciate grown-up satire and who expect more from reading a novel than simple escapism. Rarity from the Hollow is scheduled to be republished in 2015 because the paperback stock has been depleted.

After holding back on writing fiction for so long, the activity that I enjoy the most is writing fiction. My other interests include civil rights and corresponding political debates and occurrences, such as related to children, race, gender, sexual orientation, and legalization of marijuana.

Adam Lowe, the owner of Dog Horn Publishing, is very active in the GLBTQ movement in England, and the press publishes a popular magazine which targets that community. I feel very proud to have even a limited association with him.

My other interests are pretty boring. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always loved to get anything practical done. I get a sense of accomplishment. The longevity of the accomplishment also means a lot to me. For example, I enjoy building construction and love working with stone, concrete, and block because it last so long. Every time you see a completed project, it’s another sense of accomplishment. I enjoy vegetable gardening, reading, going to movies, and I have a huge old rock music collection. I love to find obscure LPs, especially psychedelic rock, at Goodwill or yard sales to add to the collection.

Unfortunately, I’ve not been involved in very much of these enjoyable activities because I’ve been self-promoting Rarity from the Hollow. It’s a piece of the whole. If one enjoys creative writing, one has to pay the price by promoting it or, otherwise, nobody will read your creations, and that’s not nearly as much fun. Contact me and we will chat. That sound fun.

Online Links:

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28 thoughts on “#Read about Guest #Author Robert Eggleton.

  1. Thanks for the amazing post and discussion about Rarity from the Hollow and how a science fiction novel helps to prevent child abuse. A lot has been going on. Following are some of the highlights about the novel since we last communicated:

    As you know, the novel was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine to be laugh-out-loud funny in some scenes. Long-time science fiction book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” http://thebaryonreview.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T0… A former Editor of Reader’s Digest found that, “Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve read in several years.” http://warriorpatient.com/blog/?p=58

    Rarity from the Hollow was referred to as a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and awarded a Gold Medal by Awesome Indies: “…Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most fans of sci-fi will thoroughly enjoy.” http://awesomeindies.net/ai-approved-review-of-rarity-from-the-holl… With respect to the story’s treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: “If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go.” http://www.onmykindle.net/2015/11/rarity-from-hollow.html

    A prominent book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015. http://codices.info/2015/12/top-5-for-2015-ventsi/ On January 20, 2016, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by another popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/rarity-from-the-hollow.

    An Affiliate of Fantasy Fan Federation, an international organization that has been around since the 1940s, posted on Amazon: “The author has created a new narrative format, something Ive never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene ONeills play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended. Rarity from the Hollow begins with some rough stuff, hard to read, involving child neglect and child abuse. But it soon turns the corner to satire, parody, and farce, partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….”

    “…There is much here worthy of high praise. The relationship between Lacy Dawn and DotCom is brilliant. The sense of each learning from the other and them growing up and together is a delight to read. The descriptions of DotCom’s technology and the process of elevating the humans around him again is nicely done. Eggleton reminds me very much of Robert Heinlein at his peak….” http://sfcrowsnest.org.uk/rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleton

    The novel is currently in the process of being republished. The 2016 Amazon U.S. link is: http://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/dp/B017REIA44/ The book cover was changed a little to emphasize that it is adult literary science fiction (attached). I’ve gotten better at posting in Facebook and just about anything that I post now is getting fifty or so likes. A post on KBoards that requested input on a revised “blurb” (product summary) for the Amazon listing received almost 6K views.

    Thanks again, everybody.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for creating a way to help those abused children in a state that is very dear to my heart. My husband’s family is all from West Virginia, and at my first view of those mountains from an airplane window, I knew it was my heart’s home. Reblogged on thekingskidchronicles.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s such a pleasure to meet you, Robert. We have so much in common. And how generous of you to donate author proceeds to the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. Although it can be draining at times, keeping one’s heart open offers many rewards. I wish you the best of luck with your writing. Shared on all my social network pages 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reblogging the post, Sally. I bet that your grandmother, Georgina, would approve that you have helped move this project forward. Since you used that first name for your first early books, you must have loved and respected her very much. I had a wonderful grandmother too. Her name was Mattie, and I have moving stories that I’ve shared about her and her life. One proved so powerful that I used it during psychotherapy sessions with teens, especially those who had been severely abused. The title of the inspiration is, “The only time I ever heard my grandma cuss” and its theme is “don’t let the a**holes get you down.” After I told the story during a session, I would prompt the kids to come up with specific coping skills to manage and to diminish the occurrence of flashbacks. My great niece (14) is named Maddy in remembrance and respect for my grandmother. Is this a good time for a moment of silence? Thanks again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Pleasure Robert and looking forward to your post on Monday here. I never knew my grandmother as she died in 1945 but my mother obviously listened to a lot of Gracie Fields so Sally it was and Georgina was my second name. I was fascinated by her story however and as I researched our family tree I realised that the woman I was told was sickly and took to her bed a great deal was actually heartbroken. My grandfather served all through the First World War and despite being wounded three times was sent back for the final push. He was killed on November 2nd just 9 days before peace. I accessed letters from the archives from her asking why they could not tell her if he was missing or killed in action as the street parties were being celebrated outside her front door. I certainly gained a new respect for her. My mother was only 18 months old at the time and I know that although she had a loving step-father from the age of 7 there was a huge gap in her life especially as she knew how much it impacted her mother’s health. I also discovered how past generations have a way of infiltrating our own lives as behaviours are passed down through the decades. I am sure that Maddy carries her name with pride as I do.. I often have a moment of silence and reflection.. so sorry that I never knew many of those who came before. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Sally

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for caring, blondieaka and noelleg44. I would love to give you two a HEA ending, like the one used in Rarity from the Hollow, or in Romance novels, but….

      After Lacy Dawn finished the intensive component of the mental health program where I worked, she came into the center every now and then for individual therapy. We would speak in the waiting room. Since it was a public place our conversations were not open. She had been placed on the caseload of a female therapist and was in foster care the last time that I saw her…. Her night terrors had stopped, she was making good grades in school, and had a crush on a boy. Her father went to prison, where I hope that he rots. Sorry.

      I wonder about Lacy Dawn too, but I take it as a positive sign that I’ve not seen her for a few years. Some folks who start out as children in the mental health system finish growing up in it, and then I would see them in the waiting room as adults. I’m hopeful that Lacy Dawn escaped into the world that she deserved, one filled with love, relative safety, and promise.

      Since Lacy Dawn is real, I can’t write a real HEA ending for you or me, as much as I might wish for that power, or not. She was one of only two kids that caused me to shed an unprofessional tear during an individual therapy session in over forty years of child advocacy. Lacy Dawn didn’t notice the tear, maybe — another scene from Rarity from the Hollow, Chapter 13, when the android shed’s his first tear. Of course, that doesn’t count the tears that I shed after work….

      It would be totally uncool for me to try to track down the real Lacy Dawn to check on her well-being, but I would reply in a heartbeat if she ever gets on the Lacy Dawn Adventures website and emails me.

      If there’s anything that you can do to help the Lacy Dawns of this world…. Maltreated and exploited children diminish the concept of humanity. A new pair of sneakers means a lot to a child who is living in an emergency shelter. In Rarity from the Hollow, a Barbie doll was used for target practice as a metaphor of the impact of poverty on the self-esteem of children and who receive imitation Barbies for Christmas.

      Does anybody remember this, or am I showing my age?

      “Well I said goodbye to Rosie Rooke this morning,
      I’m gonna miss her bloodshot alcoholic eyes,
      She wore her Sunday hat so she’d impress me,
      I’m gonna carry her memory ’til the day I die.

      They’ll move me up to Muswell Hill tomorrow,
      Photographs and souvenirs are all I’ve got,
      They’re gonna try and make me change my way of living,
      But they’ll never make me something that I’m not.

      Cause I’m a Muswell Hillbilly boy,
      But my heart lies in old West Virginia,
      Never seen New Orleans, Oklahoma, Tennessee,
      Still I dream of the Black Hills that I ain’t never seen…”

      –The Kinks, “Muswell Hillbilly,” RCA, 1971.

      Liked by 1 person

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