Friday, March 8, 2013

Black Lion Book Tour & #Giveaway: Coinage of Commitment by R. Costelloe

Here comes 2008 National Indie Excellence book award's finalist, Coinage of Commitment.

From a hardly typical romance writer, that is R. Costelloe we have a story where characters are looking for something higher, richer, and longer lasting...

Welcome to BK Walker Books Etc. I'm so happy you could join me today.

BK: Please tell us a little about yourself...

I wrote a few stories as a kid, and then after college I wrote a first novel that I submitted to publishers. But it was of such poor quality that I left fiction writing and got absorbed into career and raising a family. But then, whole decades later, I came back to fiction after reading an audio book whose ending was so abruptly despairing, I felt outrage on behalf of so many punished readers. Twenty months later, after two query campaigns and three rounds of professional editing, Coinage of Commitment was print published by Saga Books. Coinage finaled in the National Indie Excellence 2008 Book Awards, and I was hoping that distinction would help get my second novel, Pocket Piece Cameo, published by a major. But it was not to be. Since I was blocked on plotting a third novel, I took a break from fiction writing to become a reviewer and a writing contest judge for the RWA chapters. To my utter amazement, this work actually improved my fiction writing skills. Once I realized this, I knew instantly that I would rewrite Coinage of Commitment. Why? Because Coinage is a special story, garnished with a dramatic surprise ending. The thought that I could make the story substantially better for readers, better than what the Indie Excellence judges saw in 2008, made the rewrite mandatory. The second edition was published as an eBook in January of this year. The rewrite took seven months of full-time work.

BK: Please tell us a little about your book....

Wayne and Nancy grow up on opposite sides of the country. And they are different in so many ways: different class and economic backgrounds, different political and religious beliefs. And on top of that, he goes to blue-collar Drexel, and she attends Ivy League Penn. But the campuses are next to each other, and in 1968 they meet in a campus tavern situation. Despite being physically attracted to each other, it could never work for them except for one factor. Each happens to want love that’s higher and better than what others will settle for. This is love soaring enough that it must have an intellectual as well as an emotional basis. Once they realize this ambition in each other, the stage is set for a love story unlike any other, and they set out to overcome the obstacles in their path, one of which is opposition from both families. On top of that, fate will hand them the cruelest test of all, one that lets loose an unusual love triangle that will come to dominate the story and set the stage for the book’s surprise ending.

BK: What inspired you to pen this particular novel?

My inspiration for writing fiction has always been my wife’s love. It’s always been a source of wonder to me that anyone could love another the way she does. In a way, Coinage is a gesture of gratitude, an effort to spread the word that, yes, love of stratospheric quality is possible, and it’s also possible to sustain it through time.

BK: How do you keep your story flowing?

Coinage was easy in that regard because it has a fascinating love triangle, that tumbles the plot toward a dramatic surprise ending.

BK: Do you ever run into writer's block, and if so, what do you do to get past it?

Plotting is what I get blocked on so let me describe the technique I use to overcome it. First, I go to my source of inspiration. For me that is film, so I watch movies similar to the type of story I have an interest in. Then I use a written outline technique to test various plotting ideas and combinations. In a way, it’s a lot like writing a letter to yourself, suggesting and testing plotting possibilities.

BK: What is your writing process like? Do you have any quirks, or must-haves to write?

I’m at my creative peak when I awake in the morning. I capitalize on this by rising at 5 a.m. and putting in a writing session that lasts as long as my schedule allows.

BK: Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?

My ambition is to write a story that’s even better than Coinage of Commitment.

BK: What do you hope readers will take away from your books?

First and foremost, I want readers to enjoy my stories. But beyond that, I’m hoping they’ll realize that the higher love described in my books is possible for anyone willing to plan and work for it.

BK: What is one piece of advice you received that you carry with you in your writing?

Great prose is concise and brief.

BK: What is one piece of advice you would give to new and aspiring writers?

Be prepared for 12-14 hour workdays!

BK: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can we expect from you in the future?

My newest book will feature a teenage star of independent films who goes incognito in a small Pennsylvania town after suffering a nervous breakdown on the set of her latest movie. While there, posing as a high school senior (she actually already has a GED), she will get involved in romantic currents of some intricacy—given her secret identity and the career she hopes to return to. The story will carry beyond its original setting to something (hopefully) of even more complex proportions.

I don’t have a schedule for completion, but the project is proceeding well.

BK: Where can readers find you?

Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today. It's been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.

Quick Facts
Release Date: January 6, 2013.

Genre: Romance(1960´s)

Formats: Kindle, Smashwords, Epub, PDF

The book is PG-13 rated.

Book Synopsis
Wayne and Nancy grow up on opposite sides of the country, each certain they must have love better than what others will settle for. Something stronger, something richer, something worth searching for. During the turbulent nineteen-sixties, they meet while he is attending blue-collar Drexel, and she is at neighboring, Ivy League Penn. Although irresistibly drawn to each other, they must overcome obstacles posed by the class and social differences that separate them, as well as opposition from both families, and later, a twist of fate that will be the cruelest test of all. Can they reach the emotional heights they seek? Can they overcome time's downward pulling inertia? Coinage of Commitment is dedicated to all who ever wondered about the altitude love might soar to.

Setup: Late Friday night, 1968, at Philadelphia’s 30th St. Subway Station. Wayne is looking from the trolley station, where he stands, to the adjacent subway train (El) platform.
As he watched absently, the girl from Sullivan’s came down the El station steps opposite him. She paused at the foot of the stairs, getting her bearings. Although adequate lighting bathed the platform, most riders took stock of others in the vicinity for safety’s sake. It was a natural precaution, instinctive for most, and especially important this late at night. She saw him, signaled recognition by a parting of her lips that was not quite a smile, then she lowered her gaze, turned, and strolled slowly out of sight to the other side of the stairway.

Seeing her again pricked him with an off-kilter joy, uplifting and refreshing, partly because she recognized and acknowledged him, but also because she seemed so buoyantly out of place down here, her bright beauty undefeated by the dank-smelling gloom of the subway. He smiled, turned away, and sauntered to the south side of the trolley platform. The minutes dragged, but no trolley car arrived. He began mentally composing a theme paper for his International Politics course, the only non-technical one he had that semester. Ideas came to him, prancing, and he thought of getting a notebook from his bag.

“Police! Help! Help me!” A woman’s screaming and it came from the El platform.
Thinking frantically of the girl, he ran to the north edge of the platform and jumped the foot or so that got him down onto the trolley tracks. A steel grate fence separated the two transit systems, but it had seen better days. A section was ajar, just ten feet to his left, and he swung it open enough to squeeze through.

Now things got difficult. The El platform was too high and far to jump to. The train tracks gleamed below him, the electrified rail closest, then the two steel tracks. He saw only one way to get there and didn’t slow down to analyze the risk. He threw his bag onto the opposite platform, then leaped forward, over the electrified rail, and down into the square trench that ran a foot and a half below and between the steel tracks. The platform loomed just above him, and the smell of ozone was stronger this close to the electrified rail—the one he must not fall back against. With his momentum still carrying forward from the jump, he kept moving, aware his footing and balance must be perfect. He reached up and grabbed the El platform edge, stepped up on the rail before him, then used his grip on the edge to lever himself up and onto the platform, landing on his right shoulder and side. Feeling no pain, he got to his feet and sprinted west down the platform toward the woman’s screams.

As he ran, he recalled what he had seen: the girl from Sullivan’s, a nondescript man, and three black youths: teens with their heads wrapped in dark bandannas, signifying…he knew not what. They were what fueled his urgency. Where was she? The commotion was still ahead of him.
He ran at top speed past the central vending area and spotted figures near the far steps. He could see her blond mane, somewhat disheveled now, and she stood with her arm across a shorter girl’s shoulder. The nondescript man ran up and joined them.

“He took my purse,” the other girl wailed. “I can’t believe I was so careless to let him get my purse that easily.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the blond girl said, her arm still across the smaller girl’s shoulder in comfort.
“All my ID. A credit card. And I just got my paycheck cashed today. How stupid can you get?”
Another woman came down the steps and joined the group. As Wayne approached and slowed, a balding, thirtyish-looking man passed him from behind, joined the scene, said he had heard the commotion from above, and that a companion had gone to the toll booths to get help. Then two of the black youths he had seen earlier ran up from the west.
“He high-tailed it onto the tracks,” said the shorter of the youths. “He’s got choice of Thirty-third Street trolley or Thirty-fourth Street El station, so it looks like we kiss that one good-bye. You know what I’m saying? The Fuzz’l never collar that dude now.”

As though on cue, a police officer, complete with German Shepherd, came down the steps and assumed authority. The third black youth also joined the crowd. Wayne held back, not seeing what he could contribute by his late arrival. The blond girl had seen his running approach. Or had she? Her gaze had flicked briefly in his direction, then back to her charge. The tension eased with collective relief, and the officer started questioning the stricken girl, unpacking a notebook as he spoke.

Wayne thought of how the blond girl continued to be too distracted to notice him, and he felt bemused by the irony of his situation. He had arrived about 7.2 seconds too late to be of any use, even to the wrong damsel in distress. His breathing slowed. Still not seeing anything he could contribute, he turned and walked slowly in the direction he had come. He needed to retrieve his bag from where he had tossed it onto the platform. When he got there, he picked up the bag and looked out over the gleaming tracks toward the trolley station. No way, he thought, realizing with a shiver the danger he had risked. The price of another transit token wasn’t nearly worth the peril. And then, as though to underscore the irony, his trolley arrived and then quickly departed. Oh well, might as well climb the stairs to the mid-level pay booths so he could get back down to the trolley station. He took his sweet time since he probably had at least a twenty-minute wait. He approached the corner of the stairway, trying to remember whether the trolleys discontinued service during the wee hours. Suddenly the blond girl stood in front of him, her eyes wide, her expression anxious.
“It just dawned on me,” she said. “How did you get over here?”

The Author
Rob Costelloe wrote fiction as a youngster, and completed his first novel a few years after college. But then the demands of family and career intervened, and his writing was mostly business or technical. But then in 2005, he read an Anita Shreve novel whose ending was so abruptly despairing that he felt outrage on behalf of so many abused readers. The result was two books, Coinage of Commitment, which became a National Indie Excellence Book Award finalist, and Pocket Piece Cameo, both published by Saga Books in the next three years.
Again he went off into nonfiction pursuits, but in 2012, he elected to rewrite both titles for the simple reason that he could make them better stories for his readers. Both titles have been published digitally, and are available from Amazon and other outlets.
Learn more about the author at:


Tour Schedule 
March 1: Black Lion Tour Blog: Introduction.
March 2: Kimberly Lewis Novels: Guest Post.
March 3: Makayla's Book Reviews: Guest Post.
March 4: 
Jody's Book Reviews: Guest Post.
March 6: Bunny's Review: Interview and Guest Post.

March 7: MK McClintock Blog: Interview.
March 11: Laurie's Non- Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews: Top Ten List.
March 13: Tina's book Reviews: Guest Post.

March 15: A Writer's Life: Caroline Clemmons: Guest Post.
March 19: Bookworm Lisa: Review and Guest Post.
March 22: My Devotional Thoughts: Guest Post.
March 24: A Novel Idea Live: Live Interview.
March 25: Laurie's Non Paranormal Reviews: Interview.
                 A Novel Idea Live Blog: Guest Post.
March 26: Books, books, the Magical Fruit: Interview and Guest Post.
March 30: A Book Lover's Library: Guest Post.
March 31: Bl​ack Lion Tour Blog: Wrap-up.


BK said...

Thank you so much for taking time to chat today Rob. It's been so much fun having you :)

Teddy Rose said...

Wonderful interview and excerpt!

Unknown said...

Looking forward to having you

Michelle Cornwell-Jordan said...

The story sounds fascinating! I wish you well on your tour:)