Introducing Author Joe Harwell

The Legend of Michelle Sands - In the spring of 1958 Michelle Sands has everything going her way. The pretty Howe Oklahoma freshman is a cheerleader, straight A student and minds all the rules set out by her parents. Like most teens, Michelle also has secrets. Her biggest secret is the strange dreams she shares with her grandmother about Indian Rock, a nearby monolithic stone with symbols carved into its face.

A few weeks before her fifteenth birthday Michelle catches the eye of a seventeen year old star athlete named Ronnie. When he calls to ask her out, Michelle bends a parental rule of no dating until she's sixteen by inviting him to Sunday night youth group. She asks Ronnie to be an hour early with the intention of skipping out with him for an adventure at Indian Rock.

When they meet on Sunday evening Ronnie eagerly agrees to the change of plan. Their youthful passion at Indian Rock awakens the spirit and power of Glome, an powerful Viking king banished to site hundreds of years ago. As Michelle inherits and shares this new found power with others she begins to influence the economic and political power structures of southeastern Oklahoma and eventually the world. This is the beginning of The Legend of Michelle Sands, The Indian Rock Vampire. 176 pages. 80,000 words.

Upside Down Heart - Upside Down Heart follows beautiful Michelle Sands and the sisterhood of The Upside Down Heart Society as they continue using the power inherited from the ancient Vampire Glome. Religious and political leaders and the powerful group L’ordre de l’Aigle are determined to possess their power or destroy them. Each member of the growing sisterhood brings her own unique ability to protect herself and the group.

Michelle's financial and political power expands from Oklahoma onto the world stage in the 1960’s including London, Paris and Copenhagen. Upside Down Heart brings the group to New York City on New Year's Eve 1969 for the beginning of a new decade and the start of a global battle for their survival.

Historical events such as the devastating tornado which struck Howe in 1961 and a Presidential visit to southeastern Oklahoma the same year add to this unusual, character driven twist on the classic Vampire story. Power and how it is used in all levels of society including love, politics, business, religion, The Little Dixie Mafia and Wall Street continue throughout this series. 327 pages, 130,000 words.

One Drug - By the middle of the 21st century China is the worlds most prosperous economy. As a debtor nation facing economic collapse, America is forced to end payment of Social Security, Medicare and all safety net benefits. With little debate or moral objection in Congress, the United States also legalizes and encourages assisted suicide to relieve stress on society in caring for the elderly, sick and dying. Now called V.T. (Voluntary Termination), families of people ending their lives in this way are paid a stipend for usable organs and tissues harvested for transplantation from their loved ones.

While America and the rest of the world suffer in decline, advances in gene therapy and nanotechnology in China result in a true medical miracle. Called ONE DRUG, it prevents disease, prolongs life and treats injury. As a result of being tested on their troops, the Chinese military is quickly becoming the most powerful and feared armed force on the planet.

Financed by international smugglers and the still powerful Little Dixie Mafia, a breakthrough in ONE DRUG technology is underway in a lab near Fort Smith, Arkansas. Chinese and domestic spies are closing in on the facility to prevent this covert development of ONE DRUG. Hang on for this roller coaster race against time to save America and the life of a brave young woman. 110 pages, 41,000 words.

The inspiration for my writing came in 2005 when my late wife Becky was told her kidneys were failing due to diabetes and she would have to start dialysis. She'd been admitted to the hospital in October after reoccurring kidney infections. We were waiting for a doctor to come around and I was just trying to think of anything except the situation she was facing.

For reasons I cannot explain, two unrelated things from the past crossed in my head to create an idea. They were, the Dark Shadows TV series from the 1960's and a landmark near our hometown in southeastern Oklahoma called The Heavener Runestone. The symbols were proven to have been carved into the stone by Vikings, but were originally attributed to native Americans by early French explorers.

The idea of the symbols as a warning about an ancient Vampire rolled around in my head through the ups and down of the next three years. Becky did OK on dialysis at first, but our life revolved around the three day a week schedule. Early in 2008, she began to have more health problems and died unexpectedly in the hospital on Thanksgiving morning.

Several things came to an end for me in the last quarter of 2008. The collapse of the economy put me out of work as a metals buyer, my latest career twist. I spent the month of December going through Becky's things and sending out resumes in the down economy, getting no response. I sat down at the computer in January, 2009 to create something out of my own soul and energy and finished the 85,000 word first draft of The Legend of Michelle Sands in four months.

I finally got a job in May, 2009 which I really didn't like, but it kept me going. After talking to more than 200 agents and publishers, I decided to self publish, just to finish what I started. Drawing on my experience owning a newspaper, I laid it out with a plain cover and had a few copies printed and bound by a UPS store down the street. Not pretty, not really a product which could be sold, but I accomplished my goal.

After meeting my graphic artist through another local writer, I moved up a notch on the quality scale with the cover image now on the book, and contracted with a local company to print it. I set up a web site and sent out a press release to all Oklahoma newspapers in the summer of 2009, which was run much as I wrote it in more than a dozen papers in the state.

I joined south Tulsa Writers in 2010, which was an eye opening experience. My little project to prove I could accomplish something was poorly self edited. The wise, kind people in the group told me the story was really good, but still needed work if I hoped to market it. So, with the second book of the series well underway, I re-edited The Legend of Michelle Sands, chopping almost 5,000 words without losing the story. Since then, it's been edited again and is a much better read. As you will see in the descriptions below, The Indian Rock Vampire is a very different take on the genre.

After finishing Upside Down Heart, I had an idea for a futuristic thriller set in the middle of this century with China as the dominant world power. I wrote the 40,000 word first draft of ONE DRUG in seven weeks, then spent the next 7 months of 2012 vetting it to 4 writers groups in Tulsa. It's very fast paced and is my first male, lead character. I enjoyed writing it and may come back to the story line next year.

I have the final two novels of the Indian Rock Vampire series well underway. The series starts in the small, very real town of Howe, OK in 1958 and moves forward in time. Upside Down Heart ends on New Eve of 1970. Millennium will take the story just past the year 2000 and Return to Indian Rock brings the characters back to Howe at the end of this century. Millennium and Return to Indian Rock will debut on October 13th at a festival at the Heavener Runestone Park. By the way, I donate copies of The Indian Rock Vampire novels to the gift shop at the park which lost state funding last year in a budget cutting move by the state. It is now operated by a local citizens group.

I have two other novels in the works which I plan to launch about the same time. The titles are, Dragline and Payne County Weekly. Dragline is set in the western Arkansas coal industry of the 1960's. It's built around a fiery redhead named Sissy MacKenzie who is a real fun character to write. As part of my very diverse and seldom boring career, I worked in the coal industry as an analysis lab tech in the 1970's. You would think it would have been boring, but it was a real soap opera all the time.

Payne County Weekly is also drawn on my experience owning a weekly newspaper in the 1990's. Set in the Stillwater and Perkins, Oklahoma area, it's about the way things operate in small towns with the good ole boy network, political corruption, drugs, love and lust. I couldn't set it in southeastern Oklahoma because too much is based on real events. The funny this is, when I contacted people in the Stillwater area doing research and told them the premise of the story, they said the same kind of stuff happens there too.

I just release The Legend of Michelle Sands free on Smashwords to build readership for the series. My goal is to have 100,000 new readers for the series when the last two books come out this fall. I'm out to make Howe, OK as famous for being the setting for my series as Forks, WA has become from Twilight. LOL

Through September of this year I am also donating a book to an Oklahoma Library or the gift shop at the Heavener Runestone Park for every book purchased directly from me through an offer on my web site. This is also to build readership and help Oklahoma libraries whose budgets have suffered in the economic downturn.

I began using Create Space for my printed product last year. My graphic artist does the formatting for Create Space and all the eBook platforms. I'm living a life I could have never imagined while married to my high school sweetie, Becky. We have two sons, two daughters and she was a stay at home mom. She told me that was her goal right after we met in 1972. I wanted to be President of the Untied States. Really glad I missed that train wreck.

I've been doing my writing full time for the past year. Not making a lot of money, but no corporate B.S. and I now have a killer pony tail. LOL One more change is coming to The Legend of Michelle Sands. The cover image is one my graphic artist found and we purchased the rights to use. My oldest granddaughter is 13 (going on 21) and has Becky's beautiful green eyes which are the inspiration for Michelle Sands green eyes. My graphic artist also does photography and will shoot pics of my granddaughter Jordyn over spring break to re-do the cover with her image. It's kind of a big deal for both of us, as I'm sure you can imagine.

The necklace on the cover of Upside Down Heart was designed by my graphic artist Pam Fox from a description I gave her. A friend from high school owns a jewelry store in my hometown of Poteau, OK has agreed to start producing the necklace for me. It will also debut on October 13th, or maybe a little sooner. One last thing, two of my female friends are characters in Upside Down Heart. Several more friends from southeastern Oklahoma, mostly female will be characters in Millennium and Return to Indian Rock. It will be a lot of fun to have them at the launch in October.

Contact me via email or phone if you have questions.

Thanks again for this opportunity,

Joe Harwell, Author/Self Publisher
Joe Harwell Publishing, LLC
P.O. Box 54213
Tulsa, OK 74155-0213

Apryl Baker

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