Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen: Blog Tour Launch and Book Giveaway

Monday, March 02, 2015
Afraid of Everything is a touching and expertly written book about the life and experiences of Helena Carr as she explores an intriguing new world.

Helena Carr is afraid of everything. After a crisis at work, she quits her job and feels lost. It’s time for a serious change, to beat the extreme anxiety that has plagued her since childhood. Something different, unplanned and radical. Sell her house, move to a foreign location, turn her life upside down in an effort to end the emotionally paralyzing fear.

Before Helena can act on her options, however, she has a terrible accident on a Southern California freeway. Instead of going on an exotic vacation, she is in a hospital, in a coma, traveling to strange worlds in another dimension, meeting people who seem to know more about her than she knows about herself.

As Helena explores this intriguing new world, she realizes the truth about her past and the purpose of her future. And she is no longer afraid. She is at last ready to live. But first, she must wake up from the coma.

Paperback: 285 Pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (October 7, 2014)
ISBN-10: 1937178595
ISBN-13: 978-1937178598

Twitter hashtag: #AfraidGowen

Afraid of Everything is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Afraid of Everything please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Friday, March 6th at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!

About the Author:
Born and raised in central Illinois, Karen Jones Gowen now lives and writes in Panajachel, Guatemala. She and her husband Bruce are the parents of ten children. Not surprisingly, family relationships are a recurring theme in Gowen's writing. Her children’s stories have appeared in the Friend, and her essays in the Jacksonville Journal Courier. Gowen's published books are Farm Girl, Uncut Diamonds, House of Diamonds, Lighting Candles in the Snow, Farm Girl Country Cooking: Hearty Meals for Active Families and Afraid of Everything. She blogs at her website, and at Coming Down the Mountain. You can email her at karenjonesgowen[at]gmail[dot]com.

Twitter: @KarenGowen


-----Interview by Crystal J. Otto

WOW: Karen, I’ve heard you’ve been influential in the writing careers of others, but who has been the most influential in your writing career?

Karen: I have many family members who’ve been amazingly supportive and influential, from my sisters to my mother, then my husband and several of my children. But it’s my grandmother, Julia Walstad Marker, who was the first and strongest influence on my writing. Her poems and stories about the homesteaders in Nebraska inspired me at a young age to want to be a writer like her. In fact, the first two stories I ever sold, “The Dust Storm” and “Pioneer Sisters,” were based on actual events she remembered as a young girl, that she recorded as stories later in life. She had a true and simple writing voice which went straight to the heart. Once I started writing, I realized how much work and practice it takes to write like that and make it sound so easy and effortless.

WOW: I’m sure your grandmother is proud; what a great story! Speaking of where it all began, what advice would your current self offer to your previous self?

Karen: I was extremely busy during the ages of 20 through 40 having my ten children and raising this very large family; the years which are often the most productive for a writer. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a writer and it bothered me how I never seemed to be doing it. What my current self would say, and it’s what I’d say to any woman or man who is so busy with life and family there doesn’t seem time to devote to any kind of creative endeavor, is this:

Never give up on the dream or the opportunity to explore and expand your creative side. Many elements go into writing, beyond simply putting the words down. It is living and growing and thinking and being the best person you can be, doing the work you are meant to do. I was meant to be a mother of many children, and while doing so, I also read voraciously, shared my love of reading with my children, and kept writing as I could. I wrote in a journal, wrote short stories and essays. I got into blogging when it became a thing. During all those years as a busy mom and frustrated writer, I was building and growing my creative side and refining my voice. Then when the time came, I was ready.

WOW: As a busy wife and mother, I needed to hear that (and I’m sure others did too). Thank you for that wise advice!

What is something readers may not know about you?

Karen: How old I am! It’s shocking really, compared to how young most writers are now. It is why I feel strongly about people never giving up on their dreams. If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. The timetable my turn out to be much different than expected, however.

WOW: I noticed you didn’t give a number – you’re a girl after my own heart, Karen. Don’t forget, we are all as young as we feel and your smile doesn’t give anything away either!

I’ve heard many opinions on writer’s groups. I believe you use the word caution when referring to them; could you share more on this particular topic?

Karen: I would advise people to approach writer groups with caution. I had a very bad experience with one that I ended up writing about in my novel House of Diamonds. One of the members turned out to be a villain in that novel (haha)--revenge is sweet for a writer! Generally, I don’t recommend writer groups because of what the Hemingway character said in Woody Allen’s film Midnight in Paris (which every writer needs to see!): “Don’t give your work to another writer to critique, because if it’s worse than his, he’ll dislike it and if it’s better than his, he’ll dislike it. Either way, you won’t get a fair critique.” (This isn’t an exact quote but that’s the gist of it. Go watch the film!)

However, I do think they can be helpful in getting a person motivated if they need a push. But if it’s hurting you instead of helping, then quit the group! For me, the Internet works as a powerful motivator. I follow many writers’ blogs, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well, because seeing what other writers are doing and saying about their work inspires me.

WOW: Such valuable advice for life! If it’s not working, it’s okay to stop doing it! You brought up the point of a fair critique, so as a published writer, how do you deal with rejection or a negative review/critique?

Karen: I deal with rejection and negative reviews by first getting depressed and discouraged. But that’s an unhappy, unpleasant state, so I have to work through it and get over it. I’ll pick myself up, make cookies and then if it’s rejection, I’ll find another way—an open door instead of a closed one. For negative reviews, I remind myself at least someone read my work and felt strongly enough to write a review. If I get too down about it, I’ll go read all the negative reviews on well-known, best-selling authors I admire. That always makes me feel better. Everyone gets negative reviews, even the best books and the best writers.

WOW: You’re awesome Karen! One of the reasons I was so excited about your tour is our similar passion for cookie baking. My husband always knows when things are a bit stressful, because I’m busy passing out cookies to the mailwoman, the milkman, grandpa, and anyone who happens to come to the farm. It’s a great stress reliever and really helps with one’s popularity!

Cookie baking aside, what’s next for you?

Karen: To write as much as I can, as many books as I can to make up for lost time when I couldn’t write due to being busy doing other things of great importance!

WOW: Well I’ll be first in line to read what you’ll be busy writing. Thank you for trusting WOW! to handle your book blog tour for Afraid of Everything and we can’t wait to hear more!

----------Blog Tour Dates

Monday, March 2 (today) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview and book giveaway!

Monday, March 2 @ Romance Junkies
Check in at Romance Junkies blog today and learn more about author Karen Jones Gowen and her latest book, Afraid of Everything.

Tuesday, March 3 @ The Lit Ladies
See what author Margo Dill has to say after reading Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. There will also be a giveaway of Afraid of Everything for one lucky winner; Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 4 @ All Things Audry
Fellow author Audry Fryer reviews Karen Jones Gowen's latest work, Afraid of Everything. Stop by and hear from Audry and get in on a giveaway for your own copy of this fabulous read!

Thursday, March 5 @ Choices with Madeline Tasky Sharples
Madeline Sharples reviews the fabulous new novel by Karen Jones Gowen. Learn more about Gowen and Afraid of Everything and one lucky blog reader will win a copy of the book in a giveaway.

Friday, March 6 @ Create Write Now
Mari McCarthy reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. Fellow author reviews are always the best - stop by and see what Mari has to say!

Monday, March 9 @ Hott Books
Don't miss today's giveaway and book review for Karen Jones Gowen's Afraid of Everything! Guest author Melissa Bennett will be reviewing this fabulous novel and one lucky winner will walk away with their own copy to read (and hopefully review)!

Tuesday, March 10 @ Bring on Lemons
Join educator and guest blogger Cathy Hansen as she shares her thoughts after reading Karen Jones Gowen's latest book Afraid of Everything. Be sure to complete the Rafflecopter form and see if you'll be the lucky winner of the giveaway for your own copy of this great book!

Wednesday, March 11 @ Nutshell Newsletter Press
Join Sheila Gazlay as she reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen.

Thursday, March 12 @ Lauren Scharhag
Avid reader and book enthusiast Cathy Kirby Contino reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. Readers of Lauren Scharhag's blog will also have an opportunity to win a copy. This is a blog stop you won't want to miss!

Friday, March 13 @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Catch up with Karen Jones Gowen as she is interviewed by Cathy Stucker about her latest work Afraid of Everything. Don't miss this WOW! Women on Writing book blog tour stop at Selling Books!

Monday, March 16 @ Katherine Hajer
Katherine Hajer reads and reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen. One lucky reader of Katherine's blog will also win the giveaway and take home their very own copy of this great book!

Wednesday, March 18 @ Renee’s Pages
WOW!'s own Renee Roberson reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen and will host a giveaway for one lucky winner to go home with their very own copy of this page turning novel!

Thursday, March 19 @ I’d So Rather Be Reading
Find out what the lovely Kelli at I'd So Rather Be Reading has to say after reading the latest work by Karen Jones Gowen. Find out more about Afraid of Everything and get in on the giveaway to win your very own copy!

Friday, March 20 @ Author Ava Louise
Fellow author Ava Louise reviews Karen Jones Gowen's latest work, Afraid of Everything and offers a giveaway for one lucky reader!

Monday, March 30 @ Memoir Writer’s Journey
Join Kathleen Pooler at Memoir Writer's Journey as she reviews Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen

Keep up with blog stops and giveaways in real time by following us on Twitter @WOWBlogTour.

Get Involved! If you have a website or blog and would like to host one of our touring authors or schedule a tour of your own, please email us at


Enter to win a copy of Afraid of Everything by Karen Jones Gowen! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. We will announce the winner in the Rafflecopter widget THIS Friday, March 6th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Karen Jones Gowen said...

Crystal, thanks so much for being my host with the blog tour. It was great working with you, and with all of the participants!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Your grandmother would be thrilled.
Clever you turned that person into a villain.
And very wise advice to your younger self.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Thanks for stopping by, Alex, and yes I think she would, too. It was so satisfying turning him into a villain. In fact, he was a combination of 2 people who deserved to be villains so doubly satisfying!

DeeBee said...

This sounds like my kind of story, Karen! I'm looking forward to reading it. I also love your positivity -- and your baking-as-therapy, both of which I share with you!

Arlee Bird said...

I'm no woman, but this sounds like a pretty great story that I'd like. I'll sign up for the giveaway for sure and spread the word about the book. Hope you sell a billion.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Karen Jones Gowen said...

DeeBee, Baking makes everything better, and especially cookies! Lately I've been craving oatmeal..

Arlee, You are awesome, thanks so much for the support!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I wish I could learn about baking cookies from you, Karen; at least then the chances of me accidentally burning myself (like all the other times I tried to make/cook something) would be much lower.
And good for you for not giving up on your dream of becoming a writer! A lot of writers start writing later; look at Frank McCourt, the Irish author of Angela's Ashes. I think he didn't start writing until he retired from teaching.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Neurotic, I've burned myself along with the cookies more than once, especially when I was doing it full time as our business. Leaving out the baking soda, my leavening agent, was worse than burning though, because then I had to toss out the entire batch instead of just a couple trays.

dolorah said...

I go back and forth on writer's groups too. I'm active when I have completed projects and just need someone else to see the holes, but I don't like to submit anything in the draft stages.

I like your advice about never giving up on the dream; life can get in the way, but I believe all things happen in the proper time. Karma and all that nonsense. I like that you have used some real personal experiences in your writing. Makes it authentic.

That is a very busy schedule Karen. Good luck on your tour :)

Judy said...

I love the cover of this book!!!
It also looks like a very good read that I would thoroughly enjoy. Thanks for the opportunity to win and read it.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Karen, you're such an inspiration! A mother of ten, and you still managed to find time to write six books. I only have a cat to worry about and I still can't manage to finish one. ;)

I LOVE the title "Afraid of Everything" and was intrigued immediately. Did you always know this would be the title for your book?

Thanks for the wonderful interview and I'll be following your tour.

Pearson Report said...

I wish you great success, Karen, with this blog tour. I think it's a wonderful idea to go "professional" and have WOW working for you.

I really enjoyed the interview portion as well. Particularly your advice regarding writer's groups. I joined one, it was very disappointing, and seriously lacking in direction - a free for all - which does not work with my control-freak personality. LOL

I'm looking forward to checking this book out.

Cheers, Jenny
Write Brain Challenge

Crystal Otto said...


It was my pleasure!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Delorah and Jenny, I was a little nervous when I read over my response in the interview about writer groups and not having other writers review my work, because I know that many swear by them and have great success with having other writers critique their manuscripts. Maybe it is just me, I don't know, but I was reassured by Hemingway's thoughts on the matter!

Judy, Thank you, and I too love the cover. It came together very quickly with the designer WiDo uses and although a stock image (the original had fairy wings) it perfectly reflects one scene especially in the novel.

Angela, I had the title before I wrote the book. It came with the concept about how being in a coma might be a good thing for someone who is afraid of everything, because you're not dead but you are not engaged in life either. It's a protected state. For awhile, I was thinking of calling it "Waking Up" but it just didn't have the same ring to it.

Carol Kilgore said...

I loved this interview - great questions and thoughtful responses. I wish I liked to bake cookies. Sadly, I much prefer eating them :)

Rebecca said...

I am such a book a phobe (is that a word??? book a holic???) anyways that I love to read everything...I even have scores of authors books about their upbringing..thanks for letting us in your world a little bit

smilekisses said...

Sounds like a great read. Love the cover!

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