Welcome to the campfire everyone. I'm so glad you joined us today. Before we get to today's amazing guest let me fill you in on our trip post the debacle of a lost axel. Head over to https://www.dvstoneauthor.com/d-vs-guest-blogs-reviews-and-so-much-more.html if you're intersted on the before. We finally got 2Hoots (my camper) back and were able to get to Mystic Connecticut for the final days. Oh my goodness it's so beautiful there. We met fabulous fellow campers, toured ships and the museums. We visited the Mystic Aquarium www.mysticaquarium.org/ and Pete got doused by a Beluga Whale and even squeezed in a winery stoningtonvineyards.com/ . This weekend we're "driveway camping" with my grands. We'll sleep in the camper, have a fire in the chiminea and spend some time playing games. Now with out further delay let's get a beverage and hunker down around the fire with today's guest. Today I’m welcoming to the Campfire Mark Rosendorf, author of The Witches of Vegas.
Thank you for having me, it’s a pleasure to join you at the campfire.
So Mark, what’s your preference, coffee, tea, cocoa, wine? The camp fridge is like the Starship Enterprise, you speak it, you get it.
Hmm…I’m up for an experiment, how about we mix all four of these up and see what we get?
Ha, adventurous but ah- No. Let's leave the mixing up to me. We'll have mochas. Mix the coffee with the hot chocolate. Tell us have you ever camped, or as I call what I do, Glamp.
I camped a few times back when I was a kid (around 13 and 14). My father used to take me camping along with my uncle and two friends. We went two years in a row to camping grounds…but being honest, in both cases, the grounds were near civilization and showers. Today, I prefer an actual bed when I sleep.
As do I. Hence the Glamping. You have some news about a recent release. Can you tell us about your latest project. What book are you talking about today and what’s on the horizon
“The Witches of Vegas” is the story of teen witch, Isis Rivera, her family of witches and their vampire mentor who use their powers openly on the Vegas stage as magicians. Isis had a rough life until the age of nine when The Witches of Vegas found her and saved her from a foster family who tried to kill her out of fear of supernatural abilities they just didn’t understand. They’ve trained her in the use of her powers so she can join them on the stage in front of their sold-out audiences.
It is also the story of Zack Galloway, a fifteen-year-old magician’s assistant to his uncle after the witches’ show dominates Las Vegas and inadvertently runs most of magic out of Las Vegas due to an inability to compete. Zack’s uncle can’t afford to pack up and leave, but if his show keeps having weak attendance, they could end up living in the streets.
Neither Isis nor Zack are the evil of this story, they’re just on opposing sides. But the evil is coming in the form of Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a grudge against humanity. Isis and Zack will need to bring their families together before its too late. In fact, it may already be too late.
Ah, a Romeo/Julietesque starcrossed love. I love the twist. Do you have a tagline? Life Motto?
My favorite classic tagline: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”
My new life motto: “Everyone should check out ‘The Witches of Vegas,’ whether you’re a teenager or simply one at heart.”
How long did it take you from conception to publication?
“The Witches of Vegas” hit me one night, at about 2 in the morning, as if the voices of the characters were speaking to me. They told me their story so I could share it with the world. For several nights, I was taking notes with a pen, notepad and flashlight, trying hard not to wake my wife (I was successful at this…mostly). Soon, the story came together, a lot faster than any other story I’ve written. As always, the editing process takes about as long as the writing process.
Publication-wise, as any author will tell you, it’s a long and daunting task. It was especially for me because it had been a few years since I wrote professionally. I thought that life was behind me. But, like the mafia, “Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pull Me Back In.” With “The Witches of Vegas,” it’s an entirely new genre and audience (young adult fantasy). So, it was literally like starting over. But I do believe it is my best work, by far.
Good for you. Never give up. Never surrender. I think people are born with the need for creativity. It would be a shame if we gave it up because it might be daunting. Tell us, are there any mentors, authors, or books, you would like to give a shout-out to?
The first book that really made me want to be a writer was “The Time Ships” by Stephen Baxter. It was a direct sequel to HG Wells’ “The Time Machine.” Every chapter was short, but ended on a cliffhanger that kept me turning pages. It was the kind of story I fell in love with and wish I wrote. I knew then that, someday, I’d write a story that would make others feel the way this one made me feel.
I read his Time Odyssey series which he wrote with Arthur C. Clarke. Loved it. I'm going to have to go back and revisit Stephen and his works. Now with The Witches of Vegas out and I hear getting fabulous reviews, what does literary success look like to you?
I’ll let you know when I achieve it. Ha ha. In all seriousness, literary success is hard to judge. An author wants everyone to read our work, but no matter how many do, there’s always an audience out there that hasn’t. So, we keep promoting, trying to reach as many people as possible. We can have the greatest story ever, but it doesn’t matter if people just aren’t aware it exists.
Life Hacks for Authors. Do you have any tips, tricks, or anything you specialize in that you would share with others. I’m also interested in how you have been managing your life and writing with COVID-19.
As far as writing, the best advice I give is to read your work out loud. Just like in a song, a story flows, and if it any point sounds awkward, it’s not structurally correct.
Regarding COVID-19, I’ve been lucky that no one in my family contracted the virus. However, the need to quarantine has actually given me more time to write. I am working at home and my work hours haven’t changed, except when my day ends, I can start writing (no pesky drive home from the office). Plus, being unable to go out on my free time has also provided additional time to write. This is the same situation with my editors, so “The Witches of Vegas” came out ahead of schedule.
Lemonade from lemons, good for you. Now the fun questions. What is your favorite mug?
For Valentine’s Day, I bought my wife a mug that reads “Those who fart together, stay together.” We both found that one hysterical and it’s now her go-to mug for hot cocoa.
Teach me something I don’t know in two sentences.
It’s impossible to hum while holding your nose. You just tried it, didn’t you?
What do you think the headlines will read 40 years from now?
Based on the direction our news media has gone, I would expect in forty years, there won’t even be news in the headlines, just a notification on why you have to be angry or upset today. By then, they won’t even bother telling you “why.” We can see with each passing day the news becomes less detailed and more emotional manipulation. And that’s on all sides of the political spectrum. There was a time when the news would report the facts and we would ask ourselves how we feel about it. Today, they tell us how we feel, and we ask ourselves if what they’re reporting is actually what happened.
Favorite childhood book?
When I was four years old, my mother wanted to give me a head start on my reading before going to school. She tried to teach me how to read, but I just wouldn’t sit down long enough for her to finish a lesson. So, she came up with another idea. My mother took construction paper and made books for me about a fat cat named Pat who sat on a hat. After I learned the “at” words, the books moved onto “it” words. Once I mastered those, the words became more complex. I would wake up each morning to find one of those books scotch taped to my wall. They had pictures of Pat the fat cat. The last page always read “The End, Mark’s Book.” I guess her strategy to get a wild kid to sit down and learn to read worked. Because now he’s a published author.
(awwwwwww, I love your mom) What weird talent do you have?
I used to be a professional magician (which would be noticeable to anyone who reads “The Witches of Vegas.” I performed in college and now, as a guidance counselor for special needs high school students, I teach magic as part of our performing arts program.
If you could eat anything in the world right now, what would it be?
I’m a meat and potatoes man. Any type of meat and potatoes…but my favorite meat is rib eye…or any meat that’s on the bone.
What's the last thing you really geeked out about?
On random chance, I sent a copy of “The Witches of Vegas” to Penn Jillette (from the world famous magician team, Penn and Teller). Frankly, I was amazed and a bit disturbed about how easily his home address came up on google, but I figured I had nothing to lose by sending it. The worst case scenario was he wouldn’t receive it.
Penn sent me an e-mail thanking me for the book, telling me how great it looks in concept and cover design…and since it’s young adult, he’s giving it to his teenage daughter, who is a magician herself, to read first. I was so excited about this, I barely slept that night. I certainly hope that they, and everyone else around the world enjoys “The Witches of Vegas”…it is geared towards teens and anyone who enjoys witches, vampires and magic.
That's an amazing story, Mark. Good for you in taking the initiative to send it. I'll bet she'll love it. If you could leave us with a bit about the book and yourself and where readers can find more, I'd appreciate it.
Where can Witches and their vampire mentor practice their powers without being discovered or persecuted?
By using their magic, the Witches of Vegas become the number one act performing on the Las Vegas Strip--a great achievement for them, but not so much for the magicians--who can't possibly keep pace.
Isis Rivera is the adopted fifteen-year old daughter of The Witches of Vegas. Zack Galloway is the teenage nephew and assistant to the last magician left in the city. Although they should be rivals, when Valeria, a four-hundred-year-old witch with a long-seeded grudge against humanity arrives in Sin-City, both teens act to bring their families together to stop the evil hag in her tracks.
But can the combined witches' powers and the ingenuity of the magicians be enough to stop Valeria from taking over the city and possibly the world?
Mark Rosendorf 's writing is based on the personalities and experiences he has come across throughout his life, coupled with his own wild "if only I could do that" imagination. He is the author of the young adult series, The Witches of Vegas. He is also credited with The Rasner Effect series, a suspense/thriller trilogy published between 2009 and 2012.
Born November, 25th, 1974, and raised in Queens New York, Mark holds a Master's Degree from Long Island University's Human Development and Leadership program. He is a licensed Guidance Counselor for the New York City Department of Education's special education district. He began his counseling career in September, 2001. Prior to that, he worked in the hotel industry.
Mark has also moonlighted as a professional magician. Today, he teaches magic and Illusion to his students in order to teach teamwork while developing their confidence.
Having accomplished his goals of becoming an author, Mark decided on an early retirement from writing. Then, one night, at two a.m., a new and unique story shot into Mark's brain like a lightning bolt, screaming for him to write it. Mark found himself spending several nights taking notes on the characters and their stories. That is how The Witches of Vegas was born.
This is Mark's first young adult novel