Monday, October 22, 2012

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway - Demos City Blues by Jonathan Lister

Welcome to the first stop on Jonathan Lister's Demos City Blues Virtual Book Tour.  Please be sure to leave a comment or question below for Jonathan, as he will be giving away one ebook copy of Demos City Blues to a randomly drawn commenter from each of his stops.  I was intending to have a review of this up today also, but I've been sick so it will be up sometime this week. 


Writers and Writing: Why We Suck So Much by Jonathan Lister 

Had my landlord not flooded my bathroom in a stunning display of either plumbing prowess or outright buffoonery, this post may have ended up on my own blog. This article landed here because of the book the spate of indoors rain destroyed – Anne Lamott’s “Bird By Bird.” This work is instantly my most reliable resource for writing. I panicked, wheezed, pretended everything was okay, pleaded, passed out, revived myself, soldiered on – all on the inside of course. I attempted to dry its water-soaked pages in my oven (good plan? I thought so). As I did so, my mind went over all the useful chapters I’d leaned on throughout my writing life. 
One chapter jostled to the front of the line:

Shitty First Drafts.

As a writer, you have to accept that you’re never going to get it right the first time. Failure is an important part of the game, as is the ton of crap lines you have to write just to get through to the good stuff. In her book, Lamott calls the image of a great writer sitting down at her desk and penning a bestseller on the first try a “fantasy of the uninitiated.” Writers are like baseball hitters: we fail much more than we succeed and the home runs likely lead to million dollar contracts. Seldom have I ever known what I’m doing as a writer until I’ve finished the work. Despite all my best efforts, I may lay multiple bad eggs before one turns out to be golden. That’s the process, love it or leave it.

When I was writing Welcome to Demos, and its sequel, Demos City Blues, multiple characters ended up differently on the second and third draft. I even wrote an entire different version of the first book with an entirely different storyline! Sometimes, you just have to take the shiny little nuggets of goodness from that first draft, and scrap the rest. As you build the narrative, the shiny bits become larger, and the story becomes leaner on fat. Anne Lamott taught me there are no mistakes in writing, only drafts. She also taught me a few other things:
  • Quiet those voices in your head - they'll only censor you and prevent the work from taking shape.  Even if it takes all day, and a few drinks, calm yourself.
  • Don't Panic! You never have to get it right on the first try.  Write whatever comes to mind.
  • Keep writing no matter what - don't allow the voices in your head to convince you to stop.  The unusable text has to come first before you can harvest all that sweet plot arc goodness.
  • You are not perfect, and neither is your writing. 

That’s it! Simple right?


Demos City Blues
Book Two Demos City Series
Jonathan Lister 

Genre: Urban Fantasy


Number of pages: 232 (approx)
Word Count: 83,735

Cover Artist: Nicholas Kay

Purchase Links: Amazon

Book Description:

War is coming to Demos City -- in more ways than one. Leon Gray struggles to balance a new job with helping his daughter Shauna navigate the landmine life of a full werewolf. Further complicating matters, a new Alpha has arrived in Demos, laying claim to the territory as her own -- including Leon. Meanwhile, the political information David Hastings unearthed may reveal a much darker truth than anyone expected. Demos City's corruption has deep roots, older than the bones of the town itself.

Can Gray and Hastings keep the city from tearing itself apart long enough to discover the source? Can it wait until Leon sees Shauna's high school play? As the first snow falls, the flakes may only have bloody footprints to greet them on the earth below.


Short Excerpt Demos City Blues

My cab ride home ended with the sight of Brad Morrow tearing ass out of Water Terrace Apartments. He tumbled onto the sidewalk in front of me. If I hadn’t stepped onto the street when I did, the kid would’ve kept on skidding into traffic. The cab driver took the opportunity to speed away without an offer to make change for the fare. I glared after the cab’s bumper, knelt down to check on the curtain rod of a teen. Shauna’s best friend was red in the cheeks and puffy, but otherwise unharmed.
“Hi Mr. Gray,” Brad said lifting his auburn head up. “Shauna’s having one of her episodes again. It really wasn’t my fault this time, I swear.”
“You’re forgetting something,” I said hoisting him up by a freckled arm. “Shauna’s on her way to being a woman now. The days of you being right are long gone.”     
“Better hurry in there,” Brad said as he straightened his hooded sweatshirt. “She was barely keeping it together when I had to run. She might tear the whole apartment down this time.”
“Great,” I broke into a run without another word. The two flights of stairs leading up to my apartment blinked past in the longest seconds ever recorded. Prickly bubbles of nervousness careened through my chest as I reached my apartment door. No sound came from within. That isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Shauna could have herself under control and simply be trying to take a nap or braid her hair or kill a rabbit with her bare hands. Stay calm, Leon. She may need you to help her mind come back. Across the open-air hallway, Cyrus Landry poked his head out from his own apartment. He’s holding a phone in one hand and the doorknob in the other. At least the retired detective didn’t think to grab a pistol.  
“Leon, thank God you’re here,” Cyrus said in a harsh whisper. “The way that boy flew out of your apartment I knew something was wrong. Your girl’s really having a tough time growing into her new self.”
“I’ve got this under control,” I said. “Don’t bother calling an ambulance. If shit really does hit the fan, a hospital won’t do her any good.” It’s damn near impossible to get a werewolf in full bestial form to fit into the back of an emergency vehicle. That’s not factoring in all the violence that would most likely ensue leading up to that. Cyrus disappeared back into his apartment, left his door open as I turned to open mine. The tangy flavors of sweat and an angry kind of hunger raked an elbow across my nose as I entered. I prepared myself for anything: to see my daughter unable to bring her human mind back from her bestial self or enraged into a stalking lust where anything that moved was prey. What caught me by surprise was how normal the apartment looked. All the furniture was in one piece, no claw marks were in the walls and Shauna was sitting as calm as a monk in my recliner. She was even reading some gossip magazine. Yet, the telling scents remained in the air.
“Where’s Hastings?” Shauna asked looking up from her reading. “Aren’t you supposed to babysit him or something?”
“That’s Mister Hastings, babydoll,” I responded with squinted eyes. “Saw Brad downstairs. You want to tell me why he ran out of here like the building was on fire?”
 “Who? Brad? He probably had to meet his Dad for something. You know Brad, always running away from things.” Shauna gave a nervous laugh, turned a page in her magazine. Outwardly she appeared very much her teenage self, dressed in jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt. Her shirt was hanging a bit loose, and she wasn’t wearing her usual Chuck Taylors. She was going through this size phase – every article of clothing had to be some measure of form fitting. I supposed it was part of a continuing teen aged plan to leave me bald before I turned forty. That gave me an idea.
“Stand up,” I said in my deepest, most commanding voice.
“Dad, stop being weird,” Shauna said. “I’m comfortable right where I am.”
 “God!” she exclaimed throwing down her magazine. “Fine, I’m getting up okay?” She stood, keeping her arms close to her sides. Shauna didn’t fold her arms in disgust as she usually does when she disagreed with me.
 “What’s wrong with your shirt?” I asked.
“What? It’s my softball t-shirt,” she responded. “The school gave them all to us when we won remember?” That’s right. Shauna’s softball team won a state championship. I was a solid ray of giddy stupid sunshine watching her on the mound, having idle conversations with college scouts pretending not to be college scouts. I actually had to shake my head to jostle my thoughts back into the present. Shauna thought that little comment would be sufficient to allow her escape. Oh, not this time.  Dad has gotten wise to his daughter’s ninja tactics. Pride cometh before the werewolf teenager freaks out and eats some human’s baby.  

About the Author

Jonathan Lister lives in the Philadelphia area and is a full-time writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University. His work has appeared in outlets of USA Today, The Houston Chronicle, Matter, Square One and Image Magazine among others. He wrote his first two books in 2009 from midnight til 4 a.m. while waiting tables during the daylight hours. DEMOS CITY BLUES is his second urban fantasy novel. Jonathan drinks too much coffee and appreciates your time.

Book Facebook: Welcome to Demos

Good reads: Author Page

Author Blog: Demos City


Please be sure to leave a comment or question below for Jonathan, as he will be giving away one ebook copy of Demos City Blues to a randomly drawn commenter from each of his stops. 

Here are some of Jonathan's additional stops this week:

October 23 guest blog   BelleBooks 
October 25 interview and review    Happy Tails & tales  
October 26 promo   Sapphyria's Book Reviews
October 27 Promo  Book Dream Land


  1. I'm not big on UF but every once in a while I like it. I'll have to put this on my UF list. Thanks for the post!

    1. Hey Taryn,

      The first book in the series, Welcome to Demos, will be available for free from Amazon this week so you can grab both at little to no cost. Thanks for checking the work out! -Jonathan