Review: Against A Crimson Sky







Synopsis:

The continuation of the sweeping story of young Countess Anna Maria, introduced in the epic PUSH NOT THE RIVER, as Poland picks up the pieces and joins forces with Napoleon in an attempt to bring down Russia.

 

AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY tells the interrelated stories of four characters in the aftermath of the violent dissolution of Poland in 1794 and culminates in the doomed 1812 winter march into Russia. Countess Anna Maria Berezowska has finally married her true love, Jan Stelnicki, but life is anything but ideal. Not long into their union, Jan takes to the battlefield in the hopes of ensuring a sovereign Poland for his children. Meanwhile, his best friend on the front lines continues to pine for Anna’s cousin, Zofia, but she has her sights set a little higher…on the emperor Napoleon. 

AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY interweaves these tales of intrigue, love and betrayal as one proud nation and one strong family struggle for unity.

Rating: 5-stars 

Review:

Against A Crimson Sky by James Conroyd Martin is a stunning historical read. I loved it. I got to experience the Polish culture and the people of Poland. My grandmother is Polish so, reading this was even more exciting for me. War times are difficult and can bring much sadness. Hope, courage, love, and family life are strong themes inside this novel. A noble woman loses her son and husband to war. Pregnant again, she’s hoping for a girl. Fate has a funny way of bringing a family together and tearing them apart. Intense, well-told, and engaging. I felt like I was inside the protagonist’s shoes. Her life became my own the instant I opened the book. Adventure of a lifetime was waiting for me on the pages. Pages that moved me quickly through the conflict, emotions, and actions from the scenes. James Conroyd Martin brilliantly captured a people and their lives in his writing. Words that became three-dimensional once they were read. Uncertainty, lies ahead but the ending was beautiful. I was happy it ended the way it did. Felt right. Overall, I highly recommend Against A Crimson Sky to readers worldwide. 

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Review: The Portrait of Vengeance 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An unsolved case. A tempest of memories. The future’s at stake—and time is running out…

 

 

Gwen Marcey has done a good job of keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

 

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, her ex-husband back home is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

 

 

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks is another brilliant mystery in this exciting series. Gwen Marcey is the main protagonist who is dealing with a lot. She lost her parents at a young age. Now, as an adult she will come close to the killer. The one who killed her parents is trying to kill her and the six missing kids she found. Gwen forces herself into this new investigation. She left the crime scene where her mother was murdered. Gwen will use all of her power to uncover the truth for this cold case investigation as well as save the children…all of the, who are now, counting on her to save them all.

The Portrait of Vengeance is a thrilling rush. Adventure, action, and mystery. Themes of death, loss, and hope are found here. I was hooked. The forensic artist, Gwen Marcey, has her own demons to face as well as the struggle to survive an ordeal. She must conquer the new challenges. Strong, determined, and smart. Gwen is a character to love. I immediately connected to her. Overall, I recommend this entertaining tale to readers everywhere.

Q&A with Author Laura Trentham









Q&A with Laura Trentham





1. What inspired the novel plot?

Plots are strange things for me…I can rarely pinpoint anything in particular that triggers an idea. They usually pop into my head when I doing something else entirely like making dinner of driving the kids around.
2. What’s your favorite scene? Why?

I love the scene where Sutton gets drunk and finally propositions Wyatt for real. I hope it’s funny and sexy and the reader can feel her mortification when she thinks he turns her down.
3. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Wyatt. He’s sexy and tough, but also incredibly sweet. He loves his family and would do anything for them. My heroes are complex and most definitely not a-holes.
4. Any other books in the pipeline?

Two more Cottonbloom books! WHEN THE STARS COME OUT (1/30/2018) features Wyatt’s twin brother Jackson. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE (8/2018) is Mack Abbott’s book. Also, sometime in the fall of 2018, I’ll have a military themed romance/women’s fiction book releasing! I’m super excited about it too.
5. What led you to write in this genre over others?

Actually, my first books were historical romances, and I’ll be re-releasing two and adding a new book in my historical Spies and Lovers series this fall (Sept/Nov 2017). But, while the historical books were on submission with publishers, my agent suggested I try a contemporary. It sold to St. Martin’s Press only a couple of months after my historicals sold. I’ve set all my contemporaries in the American south because that’s where I was born and have lived most of my life. I understand the way southerners talk and think.
6. Do you have a favorite book and author?

I’m going to have to throw it back to Mary Stewart as my favorite author. I quite often reread her books. But as far as which book I’ve reread the most, it would have to be Julie Garwood’s The Bride.
7. Why and how did you decide you wanted to write for a living?

I’ve always been an avid reader, but I didn’t even consider writing until five years ago. My daughter started preschool, and going back to work doing what I went to school for (chemical engineering) wasn’t feasible. I sat down one morning and started writing. At first, I didn’t even tell my husband what I was doing. I won’t lie, it took a lot of work and rewrites to get those first manuscripts good enough. But, eventually, I signed with an agent and sold them both.
8. What’s your favorite way to relax?

Reading! (I know that’s a shocker:) I also enjoy the mindlessness of games on my phone.
9. What’s your favorite food?

Fried rice! I just learned to make it at home. My rice cooker is my second favorite appliance (behind my coffee maker!)

10. Sounds like Sutton’s fiancé’s a cheating…um…cheats. Why did you decide to use that as an aspect of your story?

Andrew is a secondary character in the first Cottonbloom trilogy about the Fournette siblings. He’s kind of a slime ball in those books too.

11. Tell us something about Wyatt that we don’t learn from the book.

 He likes to wear women’s underwear. Just kidding!! Actually, I’m drawing a blank, he’s an open, honest kind of man.

12. This book is set in Mississippi. Does this location contribute to the story in some way?

 It’s actually set half in Mississippi and half in Louisiana. I wanted a southern location. But, I also envisioned a twist on the wrong side of the tracks story. In Cottonbloom, the more affluent live on the Mississippi side and the blue-collar working class live on the Louisiana side. I wanted that push-pull and rivalry between the two. It informs the relationships between my couples.

Summary:

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .
Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .
Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Author Bio:

An award-winning author, Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she was convinced an English degree equated to starvation. She chose the next most logical major—Chemical Engineering—and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.
She writes sexy, small town contemporaries and smoking hot Regency historicals. The first two books of her Falcon Football series were named Top Picks by RT Book Reviews magazine. Then He Kissed Me, a Cottonbloom novel, was named as one of Amazon’s best romances of 2016. When not lost in a cozy Southern town or Regency England, she’s shuttling kids to soccer, helping with homework, and avoiding the Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry that is almost as big as the to-be-read pile of books on her nightstand.

Social Links:

Twitter- @LauraTrentham

Review: Leave the Night On






Synopsis:

Love, betrayal, and sweet revenge—life in Cottonbloom is about to get a whole lot hotter . . .

Sutton Mize is known for lavishing attention on the customers who flock to her boutique on the wealthy side of her Mississippi town. So when she finds a lace thong in her fiancé’s classic cherry-red Camaro, she knows just who she sold it to: her own best friend. In an instant, Sutton’s whole world goes up in flames. . .

Wyatt Abbott has harbored a crush on Sutton since he was a young kid from the other side of the tracks. He witnessed Sutton’s shocking discovery in the Camaro at his family-owned garage—and it made him angry. What kind of man could take lovely, gorgeous Sutton for granted? But then Sutton comes up with an idea: Why not give her betrothed a taste of his own medicine and pretend that she’s got a lover of her own? Wyatt is more than happy to play the hot-and-heavy boyfriend. But what begins as a fictional affair soon develops into something more real, and more passionate, than either Sutton or Wyatt could have imagined. Could it be that true love has been waiting under the hood all along?

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Leave the Night On by Laura Trentham is full of excitement. From betrayal by a best friend and from a fiancée, a false relationship, and a path to new love…I was hooked. The main character, Sutton is a strong woman. She’s more than just daddy’s little rich girl and more than a beauty. Wyatt is now, a mechanic. The best around his side of town. He can’t deny his attraction to Stutton. Something about her always had his interest. Stutton’s life was going well, until she and Wyatt find her ex cheating on her. From there, revenge, sweet lies, and a whole lot of action happen. I was intrigued with every page. I couldn’t stop reading it. Leave the Night On fits this story well. The plot was fast-paced. Entertaining, engaging, and hilariously sweet. I loved it. Laura Trentham has done it again. Creating another magical world where I got lost within the pages. Overall, I recommend this contemporary romance to all. 

Author Interview: Jean Sorrell


Interview Questions for “Shadow of Death”



What was it like studying English Literature?

Studying English Literature was like opening a gift box, a view of a world unknown to me before. The Brontes, Mary Shelley, Daphne du Mauier, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and so many other wonderful English women authors inspired me to want to be an author.

 

Should fiction authors consider getting a degree in Creative Writing like you did?

Everyone approaches the craft of writing in their own unique way. I should think writing comes more from “the doing” not just through academics. I’m glad I have my Ph.D. in Creative Writing, but I’ve learned so much more since then! I think it’s the process that’s most important.

 

You mentioned being a teacher and an art gallery owner. How have these career paths shaped your writing?

I love teaching. If I’ve imparted ideas that have encouraged others to write or just read great literature then I’ve been a successful teacher. I love Art. Maybe I should say I’m “in love” with Art, with every style from Classical to Post “Post” Modern, and every technique that artists have created.

 

How has living in Louisiana inspired your mysteries?

I search out and read mystery novels set in the British Isles, Ireland and other places in the world. Most of them offer atmosphere and images along with a plot that really appeals to me. When I decided to write mystery novels I wanted to create good stories, but also portray some of that wonderful eerie landscape I’ve enjoyed reading. Louisiana is that place and its sense of place and history inspires my stories.

 

Why is mystery your favorite genre?

Perhaps it’s because I like the puzzle of a whodunit. I also like entering a new place, seeing it for the first time, rooting for my protagonist to win the game, and ultimately her own personal stuggle.

 

When did you first begin to write?

I wrote my first story at the age of eight and I hope to still be writing at eighty-eight!

 

What advice would you give to writers struggling to find inspiration?

I tell my students all writing is personal. Search for inspiration everywhere but most often what you write about has a connection to your subjective self. Meditation helps.

 

I noticed your novel, Shadow of Death, is set during 1940 and in Louisiana. Why choose that particular time period?

I’ve been fascinated for years with the leper colony near Carville, Louisiana; the only hospital of its kind in America. In 1940 they were getting close to finding a cure for such a dreaded disease. That time frame, I decided, was important and would add texture to my story.

 

How would you describe your protagonist, Catherine Lyle?

She has just turned thirty and is a troubled woman. Her life has been filled with death and sorrow. She’s become a recluse in New Orleans, living in her own shadow world, buried beneath guilt and loneliness.

 

How many books have you written besides Shadow of Death?

One. “The Returning”
Will there be more mystery novels to come?

Yes. Catherine Lyle’s story isn’t finished.

 

How would you describe your writing using only three words?

Setting, Character, Plot.

 

Where can readers find you and your books online?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book outlets.

 

 
 

 

Author Interview with Patricia Gachagan 



Author Interview: Patricia Gachagan, Born Together
ULM: What lead you to writing your inspiring memoir, Born Together?

 

I have always been attracted to writing, keeping journals over many years as well as being a fan of the old-fashioned pen and paper letter writing as I travelled and lived abroad. I simply started one day to write down and express my deep feelings about the unexpected journey I had been taken on after giving birth to my son. I always wanted to write a book and before I knew it I had 20,000 words written and realised this was my opportunity as well as my motivation.

 

 

 

ULM: What was the journey like for you as you went through your diagnosis of multiple sclerosis?

 

There was an element that the whole situation was unreal and that surely it couldn’t be Multiple Sclerosis as I had only just had my baby and I was in the throes of adjusting to life as a first-time mum. It was also quite terrifying waking up in a ‘different’ body day by day, with my ability and mobility changing dramatically and I had no control over it. I was consumed by fear at the same time as experiencing joy with my wonderful baby. It was a real juxtaposition of my emotions to contend with.

 

 

 

ULM: What were your first thoughts when informed of your diagnosis?

 

I suppose it was disbelief in amongst the absolute panic as I had found out by accident, on my own with baby Elliot, at a routine doctor’s appointment. Even although I knew MS was the main contender, I was still shocked at the realisation that my worst fear had come true. My panic was not for just for me, but for how little Elliot’s life would be affected by my diagnosis. I was so scared to begin with.

 

 

ULM: How did you feel when writing about your journey in Born Together?

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of writing Born Together. From the very first sentence, I was hooked. My writing journey unlocked many emotions, from grief and fear in the beginning to finally the relief of accepting my ‘new’ self and abilities. It very much challenged me, but I embraced those challenges fully and seized it as an opportunity to move forward with my new life.

 

 

ULM: Was the writing therapeutic for you?

 

Writing was very therapeutic for me and serendipitously came along at the same time as the counselling sessions I had been referred to by my GP. They very much worked together. They challenged me to the core about how I had been dealing with my diagnosis and all the changes it had brought about in my life. I had to face some hard truths and painfully let go of the ‘old’ me. It was not an easy task, but it was the beginning of a much brighter and more positive future. I am very grateful for my writing journey.

 

 

ULM: How did you find the determination to get through this difficult time for you and your family?

 

That was easier than anything else I had to face physically. Just one look at Elliot, just the thought of my wonderful son with his whole life ahead of him was enough to drive me forward with lethal determination that his life would not be adversely or negatively affected by me having a lifelong diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

 

 

 

ULM: What advice would you give to others going through what you did?

 

To stay positive and learn to accept your new self and the changes to your life. That is part of a process and doesn’t happen overnight, but the sooner it does happen, the better it is for yourself and those around you. There is the need then to adapt to those changes, but to stay very much focussed on what you can do and not hold on to the past and what you can’t do anymore. Try to see it as a new beginning and not an ending and take charge of your own health. I am very pro-active in managing my MS and that has been a defining fact in my new abilities and creating a different quality of life, but still one that is enriched and fulfilling.

 

 

ULM: As a mother of a new-born with a disability, was there anyone you had for moral support? What gave you hope during these struggles?

 

I didn’t then, and still don’t now, see myself as someone with a disability. I see myself as ‘differently’ abled, but able nonetheless. I focus on what I can do and achieve and it is a lot. My husband, Allan, was an amazing support and tower of strength. He still is and he too is very pro-active and determined. My mum and sister have been selflessly committed to supporting me and Elliot and were around a great deal in those early days. Elliot, and the importance of his future, gave me the hope and the belief necessary that I could manage well and turn my life around from a path of ill-health and disability to one of positivity, achievement and ultimately a happy and fulfilled family life.

 

 

ULM: What’s your favourite quote to live by?

 

‘Do ordinary things to live an extraordinary life.’

 

 

 

ULM: Your memoir mentioned a new treatment. Would you recommend it to others?

 

This new and pioneering treatment is called Robo-Physio and is based on a ‘Spinal Approach to Health’. It is a physio therapy device which releases the stiffness in your spine. I have seen good results of this therapy, but it needs to be used on a regular basis to maintain the benefits. It helped very much with my fatigue and ability during the period I tested it, allowing me to be able to move my body better, balance better and walk better at that time. This is a private therapy, but I would certainly suggest people look in to it and consider giving it a try. It is available through Pacla Medical and you can contact them to arrange a free trial. There are no side effects which is a clear bonus and seems to make it worth trying to see if it is suitable for you individually.

 

 

ULM: What are your plans for the future?

 

I plan to continue writing and sharing my positive message as far and as wide as I possibly can. I plan to live as full and enriched a life, with Multiple Sclerosis, as I possibly can. I want to show others that a chronic diagnosis like mine does not have to be the end. We all have to take what we’ve got, whatever that may be, and turn it in to the very best we can.

I have introduced my MS jigsaw to help support individuals with MS and I plan to develop that further with a view to extending self-help ideas for living with MS. My MS jigsaw has many pieces, all of which can help someone with MS manage their symptoms and reach the best quality of life they can.

 

 

ULM: Where can readers find you and your memoir online?

 

Readers can find me at www.patriciagachagan.com for more information and to buy Born Together. It is also available through kindle and at bookstores, such as Waterstones, to order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author Interview with David Spencer




ULM: What inspired you to write your book, Dark Skinned? 

I was inspired to write Dark Skinned after listening to some people share on Youtube who had went through similar situations growing up that I did. Hearing their stories helped me heal and deal with some issues I had been holding onto. I was eager to share to so could be that motivation for someone else. I started out writing the stories for blog entries but I soon realized the content was more in depth and needed to be housed in a book. Being Dark Skinned was specifically what I had to deal with but that issues are interchangeable- one could be over weight, too short, too tall, not athletic etc. I believe talking about your issues can help others deal with theirs.  

 

ULM: Did you always want a career as an author? 

That desire came later. I always wanted to motivate and inspire people around me so I have always been in the light. Becoming an author was a natural progression to building greater influence.

 

ULM: How would you describe your writing style using only three words?

 Open. Honest. Transparent.

 

ULM: What is the message you would like readers to take from reading your novel?

You can control everything that happens to you but you can control your response to it. Don’t let dark moments make you dark. Use those moments to create light in dark places.

 

ULM: Why is it challenging to get African American men to share their experiences caused by their darker skin tone?

From youth, African American boys are told to stop crying and to man up. Showing emotions not equated to masculinity. Little boys are often forced to grow up to fast becoming man too soon. It’s easier to suppress the hurt then risk being viewed as weak.

 

ULM: Do you think the racism in America will ever end?

Honestly, I do not. I think it will become harder to openly display it. Racism is a legacy. Racist pass those ideas down to their children.

 

ULM: You mentioned holding a B.A. in Ethno-Musicology. Can you explain what it was like studying for that? 

Half of my academic career was spent in the music department and the other was spent in the history department learning about the African Diaspora. Not only were Africans shipped off like cattle but the oppressors tried to erase their history. There is evidence in the music of African American Music that supports Deculturization was not successful.   

 

ULM: You mentioned that African American men are supposed to be big and strong all the time. That they are not supposed to cry. I’ve also noticed that this stigma sticks to all men despite color of skin tone. Why do you think society view men in this way? 

We are what we see. Men have traditionally been the head of the house hold, the primary provider, and the stronger sex. That image is everywhere in history and media. Anything that doesn’t fit that norm is not accepted.  

 

ULM: How did your masters in entertainment, help prepare you as a newspaper executive, singer, songwriter and being an author?

It helped me pay more attention to presentation and packaging. A good idea will stay that if you do not connect the right people and get others to buy. We can limit our growth because of our inability to reach out. We do not have to be masters of everything.  

 

ULM: What songs have you written?

My most recent song is one called “Flawed” that sums up many of the emotions I dealt with growing up dark skinned. I went through a phase where I questioned God’s intentions in creating me flawed. I want my music to articulate feelings people are sometimes reluctant to express.

Listen Here:

Flawed (Dark Skinned)

ULM: Do you have more books planned, if so, can you share that with us, readers?

 

I want to do another book of “Dark Skinned” stories. I want to change the approach by interviewing others who have stories to tell. I also want to do a children’s book describing how great the world would be if we follow the rules we had on the playground. Be nice and wait your turn.

 

ULM: What lead you to the media and entertainment industry?

I love to create content for others to enjoy and/or scrutinize. I like tough conservations this career path welcomes those types of conversations.   

 

David Spencer

Sound of David LLC

DS Designs

910-827-2961

How growing up in a female-dominated family influenced my stories, characters, and the overall inspiration for writing the Fair Fae Trilogy.” By Patricia Bossano





How growing up in a female-dominated family influenced my stories, characters, and the overall inspiration for writing the Fair Fae Trilogy. ” 

By Patricia Bossano

In general English, Matriarchy is a form of social organization in which descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line. It is also defined as a social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.

Present day matriarchal societies include: the Mosuo (near the border of Tibet), the Minangkabau of Indonesia, the Akan people of Ghana, the Bribri in Costa Rica, to name a few, but there are also the legendary Amazons, scores of fabled early feminists, mythological sisterhoods, and of course, Faerie, which in my opinion is the ultimate form of a matriarchal clan.
Each community of troop faeries is ruled by a Faery Queen, the first of them originating in Italy—where the sun is said to shine at its loveliest. From there they spread to different parts of the world during the expansion of the Roman Empire, seeking remote locations to set up their underground realms, learning the language of their host countries and adopting the more intriguing customs practiced there, as an act of silent diplomacy.

Being that the smallest structure of society is a family unit, I looked to my own in order to write what I know. On my mother’s side, women are in the majority so I say the beauty, the experiences, and the paradoxical personalities of the females in my family, directly influenced me and inspired the magic of Faery Sight, Cradle Gift and Nahia—true story!

Through my novels, I hope to give you a heartfelt snapshot of the life-journey of my characters who, like me, are part of a grand matriarchal clan celebrating not only the onward, dynamic spirit of the family but also the magical relationship between mothers, daughters and sisters. My dreams of publication became a reality through their support and encouragement, so in return, I feel compelled to be at best, an inspiration to them, and at a minimum, a source of entertainment.
I’m doing my utmost to paint for them a realistic picture of the magical world inside of us—the realm of faerie is the place where mundane abilities can be magnified through perspective and attitude. Sure, a full-fledged faery can fly and shape shift at will, but there is no less magic in the human dimension—I think faerie is an achievable state of being we can aspire to. In the human dimension, our spirits can soar and we may reinvent ourselves as we navigate each day. Buoyed by confidence, we are driven to accomplish ordinary feats and transform them into astonishing ones—such as waking up in the morning with a word of gratitude to the cosmos, thus creating a positive mood for the day ahead. Simply smiling to cause your brain to release endorphins, because we all know how life-altering those little neurotransmitters are…

Clean out your desktop and see how clearheaded you feel afterward—seriously, Feng Shui is practical magic at its best!
Whenever I feel discouraged and like I’m a rookie at life, I choose to see the ordinary as extraordinary and focus on the brightest aspect of any given situation. That seemingly insignificant shift in attitude gives me the satisfaction of knowing I’m doing the right thing, which in turn makes me smile (see above for what smiling does), and enthusiasm bubbles up inside me.

I believe faeries are due to surface all over the planet as nurturing forces of creation and restoration. I think my troop of full-blooded, hybrid fairies is part of a worldwide movement to explore the new, unlearn some of the old, and carry on with heightened awareness.

Guest Post: Should an Author Stick to One Genre? by Kayl Karadijian



Should an author stick to one genre?
Most authors tend to stick to one genre. Fantasy writers typically only do Fantasy. Scifi lovers focus on the future and whatifs and nothing more. Romancers can’t get enough of John Smith, and on and on. As an author who started with fantasy, then did a nonfiction memoir, now doing a scifi romance, and will go back to fantasy, I wonder if more authors should explore different stories?

To give some better insight as to what I’m getting at, I want to describe my own foray into new lands. So far, I’ve written five books. Three are from my epic fantasy series Tales of Ashkar. One is from a YA Fantasy trilogy called Dragonsoul. The last is a nonfiction memoir of my great grandfather, who survived the Armenian Genocide. My sixth, which I am currently working on, is a scifi romance inspired by Nic Pizzolatto (the guy behind True Detective) that contains a giant monster rampaging through San Francisco.

So far, I can say that I am glad I’ve ventured out into the dark. Going from fantasy of the utmost caliber to nonfiction in a personal and historical sense has developed my skills as a writer in two ways. The first is that I’ve gone from making up my characters and their story to writing about a real person and his real struggles, allowing me to understand different ways to approach human emotion and conflict. The second benefit is that from taking my eyes away from writing fiction after fiction, I switched to nonfiction and am now switching back. In other words, writing the nonfiction has given me the chance to refresh my skills as a writer, and as I come back to fiction I won’t be dogged down because I’ve just written four fantasy novels prior.

It’s also nice from a voice perspective. Writing fantasy is amazing, but it can also be a challenge when trying to convey a more archaic and specific voice with your characters. For example, my scifi romance is contemporary, and the dialogue and prose is going to reflect that.

So to all the other authors out there who may want to venture into other genres and have cold feet, I say go for it. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and I guarantee that your writing skills will improve in some capacity.

 

You can find Dragonsoul, my YA Fantasy, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MCVJVIP and Remembering Avedik: The True Story of a Genocide Survivor, my nonfiction memoir, here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072526BGS



Author Bio

Kayl Karadjian’s bio: Kayl Karadjian is a lifelong fan of Science-Fiction and Fantasy books, Manga, and Role-playing games. He is the author of multiple books in the Tales of Ashkar and Dragonsoul series.
Catch updates and follow me on social media here: 
https://talesofashkar.com

https://twitter.com/talesofashkar

https://facebook.com/talesofashkar

Review: Simplify Your Life from Inside Out




Synopsis:

Simplify Your Life from the INSIDE OUT: The 7 Keys to Finding Inner Peace

“I just wish things could be simpler!” If that has been your lament, and if you still haven’t found anything that really helps…or lasts…you are not alone.
As the world gets busier and faster, your life can easily become more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In Simplify Your Life from THE INSIDE OUT: The 7 Keys to Finding Inner Peace, you will find the practical and effective advice that you’ve been seeking:
✔ How to rediscover the peaceful way to live.
✔ How to recognize and overcome the barriers to a life of simplicity.
✔ The 7 Keys that will guide you in your journey and help you stay on your path.

A Unified Plan to Address Your Problems At Their Core

Most approaches to simplifying your life focus on the tangible and visible ‘stuff’ in your life, which although important, is just not enough.
The real issues lie beneath the surface: In the false beliefs and assumptions you hold about the way life works. What you’re looking for are real solutions to your real problems, not band aids.
Discover the Way to Inner Peace – Solutions Found In Life, Not In the Textbook
Have you tried following the advice of ‘experts’ in the field, but it seemed distant and disconnected from your reality? In this book you will:
✔ Read real stories about real people…just like you.
✔ Learn how each problem was faced… and solved.
✔ Discover simple rules to apply in your daily life that work.
Unlock the Doors and Overcome the Barriers That Stand Between You and the Life of Simplicity That You Want.
Author Mark Wayne Smith shares with you the powerful, life changing lessons he learned when confronted with his own personal moment of awakening and found a way to a simpler life. The essence of that life is this:
Living in simplicity and peace is your natural state; it’s how you were created to live.
You don’t have to learn or master anything new: you only need to unlearn the years of complexity that the world has taught you, one layer at a time.
A New Look At Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction with Promising Results
Based on the real-life experiences of the author, a recovering alcoholic himself, this book offers invaluable help to those in recovery.
The lessons of the 7 Keys will work for everyone, but if you or your loved one are in recovery, these lessons will provide invaluable help in building better relationships.

A Book That You Should Read At Least Once In Your Lifetime

· Written in simple and straightforward language.
· Real life examples of how each key has been applied, and the results achieved.
· Practical ‘first steps to take’ for each key to help you get started today.
· A Christian perspective to everyday problems, found in the Scriptures.
· A clear plan for you to return to the simple and peaceful life you once enjoyed.
As you learn the lessons of the 7 Keys and follow the steps in the plan, you will discover a whole new way of living your life by discarding old beliefs and questioning the rules that never really were true.

Rating: 5-stars

Review:

Simplify Your Life from Inside Out by Mark Wayne Smith is a great tool. A must have for all. This book was wonderfully woven in a way that walks readers through different situations. It’s like getting a sneak peak into what’s really going on in spcertain circumstances as well as how to see the whole picture. It’s hard when the reader is the one in those situations but when reading the stories, it gives a clear idea. Like not being able to see and then suddenly, wham, lights are on…Simplify Your Life makes understanding easy. I felt myself connecting to both the writer and the stories he has cleverly written for me. Real world issues defined with real world situations. I loved that about this book the most. Step-by-step readers can become closer to facing their problems and overcoming them. Finding that balance that takes all the weight off one’s shoulders. Overall, I enjoyed reading the 7 keys and following the writer inside this book. I highly recommend it to all. 

Author Interview with Michael Scott Curnes






COPING WITH ASH by Michael Scott Curnes

Inkwater Press, January 26, 2017

(Reviewed and given 5 stars by Danielle Urban)

Author Interview

 

ULM: What would you like readers to take from reading your book, Coping with Ash

MSC: Loss and grief are universal human elements but how we cope with these is uniquely individualized. There isn’t a handbook for this. This story is meant to be a gift from the narrator (the deceased) to the survivors he leaves behind and a guide to helping them cope with the loss of their lover, brother, son and friend, who was a gay man they loved, named Ashton Taylor. This story is a reminder to not take a day, a person, or moment for granted. Our breathing days are finite and our chances to love and be loved are brief.
 

ULM: The emotional journey of your book was powerful. What did it feel like as your wrote it?

MSC: This story is personal for me and so I wrote it to be personal for the reader. There were many moments when I would write a passage through tears as I put myself in that vulnerable place of someone suffering from loss and abandonment and unspeakable loneliness. Every other page asks the question: how would I cope with this if I were the one left behind?

 

ULM: Coping with Ash is written through the dead character’s point of view. Why did you choose Ashton’s point of view versus his lover’s?

MSC: The overly detailed plan to distribute the cremated remains (cremains) of the deceased is a plot the deceased put into motion. In other words, he started it. It just made sense to me that he should be the one to tell the story he started, posthumously. The deceased was a novelist—a storyteller, in fact had his third novel set to be published and then he died in the middle of his morning shave, unexpectedly. He believed he understood how the news of his death would be received and his cremains managed by those around him so I made him the narrator so that he could witness the execution of his instructions.
ULM: I noticed your book held a racial and LGBT theme. What was your purpose for inserting these into your novel?
MSC: For me, the novel’s main characters just happen to be Native American and gay. I didn’t construct this to be thematic or to make any particular statement. I suppose I could say I made a point of using these characteristics as a reminder that Native Americans and gay men have life experiences and stories to tell and that they love, they mourn and they figure out how to overcome unfathomable loss—just like everyone else. My previous novels, Val and For the Love of Mother also both featured central characters that were gay. Is this because I am a gay writer or that I have a duty to increase the number of gay characters in modern, published literature? Sure.  

 

ULM: How would you describe your writing using only three words?

MSC: Intentional. Personal. Exploratory.

 

ULM: What other books have you written besides Coping with Ash?

MSC: ​Val, 1996 Brownell and Carroll Publishers

For the Love of Mother, 2011 Inkwater Press

My writing also appears in two published anthologies:

Writing the West Coast: In Love with Place, 2008

Living Artfully: Reflections from the Far West Coast, 2011

 

ULM: Any future works that you can share with us, readers?

MSC: I always have a novel or two percolating. Stay tuned.

 

ULM: Where can readers find You and your work online?

MSC: ​www.copingwithash.com 

​www.Amazon.com

Love Your Enemies Q&A with Jake Hagerman 

1. What led you to writing your book, Love Your Enemies? 

A good question, I had just finished forty years (June, 1972 – June 2012) in the field of mental health and had started my next to last job and felt a book like “Love Your Enemies” had to be written. The first section, a “corny” array of 37 short-story vignettes described situations of which I became involved throughout my career; the second section, a “how to” of organization strategies to survive the politics one encounters in a dysfunctional working environment. Writing the book was fun and I loved the tedium of the project, although it caused “trauma release” re: emotional triggers – completing the project was worth it.

 

2. What will the next book be about?

 

Again, written using my pseudonym “Jake Hagerman” with a working title:

 

“Surviving Organizational Politics: Leaving Regina when you love Saskatoon”. 

 

The working title says it all ! I will be developing a formula to help you make a competent decision about when/how to leave a dysfunctional organization. Specifically, using a quantitative formula to provide appropriate steps to follow regarding a decision to leave a place of employment – when to leave and the rationale for the time period chosen to leave.

 

3. How would you describe your writing?

 

Upbeat, first person narrative and somewhat formula-based academic. 

 

4. What are some things that you hope your readers will find inside your book?

 

First, don’t take work and the day-to-day battles too seriously and when you feel “trapped” the second section of the book provides a series of protocol to follow to survive in a dysfunctional working environment;

 

5. What would you like your readers to take with them after reading your book?

 

A collection of options to allow them a cadre of coping strategies/techniques to utilize to survive in a dysfunctional work environment;

 

6. What other hobbies do you enjoy that you can share with us, readers?

 

I love reading various topics in literature; examining the Jewish culture; personal training; watching combat sports on television and live;

 

7. Any future writing projects that your are working on?

 

As mentioned above I have just begun researching my fourth book and look forward to completing the first draft sometime in 2018-19;

 

8. What is one advice that you could share with other writers?

 

To reduce the potential for “writer’s block” complete a “story board” before commencing writing and research the topic of your book ad nausea;

 

9. What are the best coping strategies for those in the work force?

 

Learning progressive deep muscle relaxation; mindfulness meditation and diaphragmatic breathing exercises to regulate heart beat;

 

10. What skill sets do you think are the most crucial to have?

 

An optimistic outlook and a cadre of coping strategies/ techniques that reduce tension and influence internal locus of control and increased empowerment;

 

11. Where do you see the mental health services going in the future?

 

Without an increase of government financing a reduction in service provision!

 

12. Where can readers find you and your book on line?

Amazon and dr.dhutcheon@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Author Interview with M.L. Crum


ULM: What lead you to writing your first novel, Irony of Time? 

Three years ago I found myself at a point in my life where I was trying to figure out more about myself. I had just come off of participating in the Avon Breast Cancer 2-day Walk where I had been training, with my two best friends, for 6 months prior to the walk. It was a wonderful experience to do something that was more than my own world. But when the walk ended my one friend got busy with her new house. My other friend had a new job. I was now off for the summer since I teach and my two children were old enough to have their own lives, interest and summer activities all lined up. I found myself wondering what more there was to me than a teacher, mother and wife. What else could I do? I wallowed in that for two weeks until one morning I awoke from a very vivid dream. The kind of dream that makes you sit up quickly and think Wow! That was interesting! I wanted to know more about these two characters that were in my dream. I wanted to know what happened to them after the one made such a dramatic decision. I sat there for awhile thinking of this dream then Stephenie Myers came to mind and how she wrote the whole Twilight Series stemming off her dream. I thought if she could do it, I certainly could give it a try. I thought I might get maybe 50 pages, but the moment I sat down at my computer to type, that first scene from my dream poured out of me and these characters came to life. That became chapter one of Irony. It was then that I remembered I use to have a passion for writing. I wrote all the time when I was younger up until college. It was then my passion turned to teaching young children. By the end of that summer I had finished the first round of the book which was almost 300 pages.

 

ULM: Inside of Irony of Time, your character, Miriam, goes through a journey of redemption. What was it like creating her?

Miriam was exciting to bring to life. I knew her name right away. The arc of her character was fun to write because I got to show at different ages. First at the age of 26 she was an amnesiac, but living so blissfully with only the current year memories to sustain her. She had found happiness away from something tragic that had happened in her past that still haunted her dreams. She was feisty and ready to discover everything and anything about herself. She wasn’t afraid to take charge even with her lover, the mysterious physicist, Dr. Ian Stone, who was shrouded in a lot of secrets himself.  

 

Then I got to write her as a 16 year old when she traveled back in time. Not only was she a 16 year old, but this teenager with all her memories back intact, having the mind and experiences of a 26 year old, but a body of a young girl. Could you image? It was challenging to bring that to life, but fun. Now she was in a race against time trying to prevent that one tragic event that had spiraled her whole life out of control. She was on the cusp of the one event that destroyed her family-this family she now remembers and treasures.

 

The range of her emotions through this journey hit every possible level as she had to rediscover her inner self over and over again, working through the weaknesses that broke her down when utter heartbreak occurred to discovering and using her strengths to overcome the pain, betrayal and despair. She used all this to really find her true self.

 

ULM: What were your thoughts when bringing to life, Dr. Ian Stone?

 Now, this character was a little different. He wasn’t as clear to me in the dream. I knew he was there. I saw what he did, but he was a mystery to me. One I wanted to figure out. I did not have a name for him until many chapters into the book. I left blank lines or used a pronoun. I researched and made a list of mysterious male names. Ironically, his name actually did not come off that list, but all of the males (except William) from Book two, Hope With Stickers, did. I really loved the name Damian for him, but Vampire Dairies had that name for their seductive, mysterious, sometimes evil, character. I love the actor who portrays Damian, Ian Somerhalder, so finally I just decided to use his first name. To be brutally honest, I visualized Ian Somerhalder whenever I was writing a chapter with Dr. Stone in it.

 

Dr. Ian Stone is a character I wanted readers to be confused about at first, uneasy, not sure what to think kind of feelings. Maybe then a sort of liking occurs. Next all of a sudden hate his guts. Then for the rest of the story find yourself in a hate-love relationship with him. My goal by the end is for readers to land solidly on one of those feelings, but if they’re still on the fence then when they read the first chapter of Book Two and gain some clarity with what he did and what would happened if he didn’t, that seals the deal for them.

 

ULM: Inside book 2 (Hope with Stickers), readers really get to meet Hope. A mother who lost her child. What lead you to this specific plot? 

 

Hope showed up towards the end of Book one. She is only there for one and half pages, but she makes a dramatic impact as she actually detours the time traveling Miriam from a path where abuse would have entered her life again. I instantly knew there was more to this woman’s story. I thought that it would be so interesting to find out what would have happened to Hope and her run away daughter if she never met Miriam during her time traveling journey and then the complete altered path her life took because she did cross paths with a time traveler. I purposely left out 14 missing days in Irony because I knew what was going on with Miriam during that time and how Hope played a bigger part than just one and half pages, but that would not be discovered until book two.

 

ULM: Hope with Stickers is an interesting read. Can you share with us, readers, who the Novaks are? Especially, Rylas Novak. 

 Ah, Rylas. He is a character you love to hate and then hate that you love him.  

Not to give too much away concerning the paranormal aspects of this series, but the Novaks are a mysterious family of private investigators. Quade and Declan are brothers and Rylas is their cousin. They run their operation in secret out of their nightclub, Taboo, in North Carolina. They have a connection to Ian because they once enlisted Ian’s help with a case they were working on many years back. Declan is the strong leader of the group who manages everything the way he see fit for the good of their kind. Quade is the misunderstood, humorous misfit of the group. That leaves Rylas— the tortured, bruiting, cocky but handsome detective that takes an odd interest in Hope for there is something about her that begins to shatter his whole world.  
ULM: What are you other hobbies besides writing? 

I have a passion for teaching. I teach first grade and have taught for over 15+ years now. My other passions are reading and cooking.

 

ULM: How would you describe Hope with Stickers using only three words?

 Textured, memorable, heartfelt

 

ULM: What themes can readers find in your work? 

I think in the Irony of Time series there is a theme for almost anyone. There is the bond of family love with a focus on sibling love that sometimes only seems to occur either later in life or after a tragedy. That leads to the theme of making each moment count now by appreciating and loving one another. Other themes include overcoming tragedy, finding self-worth, redemption and forgiveness. Romance and passion wind itself through all the themes.

 

All my stories have a curve ball somewhere that comes out of left field when you least expect it because that is what I love to read.

 

ULM: If your novels were to become movies, who do you see playing Miriam, Hope, Dr. Ian Stone, Rylas, Declan, Quade, Carly, Lisa, and Miranda?

 

To be honest, I only ever had Ian Somerhalder in mind for Ian.  

Rylas, I feel needs to be someone new and hot, but if I had to pick then maybe a cross between Josh Holloway and Charlie Hunnam, but with black hair.

In the book Miriam describes Hope as a Cheryl Tiegs almost 40-years-old looking waitress. So, someone similar to her since she is a model and not an actress.

The rest, I simply cannot think of a current actor that would fit my visual of what he/she looks like.

 

ULM: You have a third novel coming out soon. Can you share with us, readers, what Heart of Mine is about? 

Heart of Mine is the third and final book in this series. It is divided into several parts. The beginning and the end parts comes from the point of view of a surprising character that is really the heart of this whole series. The middle is how all the stories and central characters from each book come back together in a very unique way. All three books tightly intertwine each other in so many ways that readers will encounter those aha! Moments throughout each book as scenes and events unfold which trigger a new understanding and realization concerning something from one of the previous books. Even from the biggest of moments to the smallest of minute details, there are hidden secrets being slowly revealed.

Book three wraps it all up in one big, I-didn’t-see-that-coming bow.

 

ULM: Any other projects to come out after your third novel? 

 

Yes, over my Christmas break I began writing my fourth book. It is about a young, first year teacher….go figure. Well, I wanted to write about something I know a lot about. There is romance, possibly a love triangle…hint, hint. It is humorous, but there is a central tragedy that has occurred. This form of tragedy is a worry that plagues the mind of all teachers everywhere and one in which some have endured.

 

ULM: What is it like teaching? Did this influence your stories?

 

Teaching is like having a job you can never leave. I mean that in every sense of the phrase. I mean I can’t see myself ever leaving teaching until they push me out the door. Because it brings me joy and satisfaction through interacting with children as I help them grow, learn and achieve, but also there is never a punch-out clock. Even as I type these answers I’m watching the time and thinking of my lesson plans I have to finish for next week, systematically filing through the five days and the subjects of math, social studies, science, reading and writing. Then there is the pile of journals I need to assess tonight (while I am mentally preparing for a week of two different formal individual assessments in reading, I need to give each of my 24 students). A coworker said she even teaches in her sleep, which her husband can verify because of what she says out loud.

My favorite subject to teach has always been writing. I love being a part of their growth as a writer from September through May. The magic that would happen there in their writing would be one of my joys.

Now, I don’t think the first three books where influenced by my teaching, but more of an escape. I needed to demand a punch out clock for short periods of time. Even in the summertime between online courses I had to find a way of escaping into another world with imaginary adults and events I could control. It was a way to get lost.

Now my fourth book is heavily influenced by teaching as I previously mentioned.

 

ULM: What is your advice to other writers?

Writing, editing, formatting and publishing (self-publishing) are the easy parts. It is the marketing that is the biggest challenge. Get out there now, before your book is going to be published, before the formatting, before the editing and writing. Get out there and get seen, be heard, while you are thinking about becoming a published writer. Build your writer’s platform NOW.

 

ULM: Where can readers find you and your books online?

Book one and two, The Irony of Time series, are both found on Amazon.com, my website and Goodreads

mlcrum1.wix.com/author

You can also learn more about me and what’s going on by following me at:
www.facebook.com/authormlcrum

www.pinterest.com/mlcrum71

www.goodreads.com/author/show/9018423.M_L_Crum
Amazon: M.L. Crum
 

 

 

Author Interview with Jerome Gleich (Some Thoughts on God and Other Things)


Me: What are some messages that you hope readers will take with after reading your book? 

I hope that they may come to believe that maybe there is a better place, a better existence out there, waiting for us when we die.

That it is inhabited by a being most wonderful in every way.

If we lead a good life here on earth (because that is his will), that we may in so doing make ourselves better people and the earth a better place.

 

Me: Do you think that there will ever be a time when Americans will truly forget/abandon God?

 

I pray that that will not happen and my book is an effort to try to stem and reverse that trend.

A lot of my book contains thoughts that are not really my own, that is, they just came to me, in the middle of the night, on the train, or at work (and I believe that these are inspired by God).

And I also think that things may be better than we think.

Unfortunately, the main stream news media only think that bad things are news and that there is an awful lot of good stuff going on to, whether it be with Religion or just things in general.

 

Me: If Americans continue at the rate that they are going now, what are your predictions for the future?

 

While we are a very long way from it, if we continue down the road of selfishness, division and partisanship, we could be heading for an implosion, perhaps a violent one.

And no matter what your position or beliefs, no one but crazy people can want that to happen.

And again I see signs of change and good things happening, good people happening (of all types) and that keeps my hopes alive.

 

Me: You mention that many religions have a lot in common. What are some common grounds that they seem to share.

 

That there is just one supreme being, one God and for many of us that is the God of Abraham.

That there is a heaven or paradise awaiting us.

That we all require purification and need to work on that while we are here in this world.

And as part of that, that we need to help others, especially the less fortunate.

 

Me: Would you say that your degree in Economics has greatly affected your thoughts when writing this book?

 

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, which means that while Economics was my major, I really have a Liberal Arts degree.

And that means that I had classes in Philosophy, History and Literature and those were more instrumental than Economics in writing my book.

 

Me: If you can give others advice what would it be?

We are physical beings, be more into doing than showing and/or sharing.

Try to enjoy your life as best you can (it goes by so very quickly).

You need to work but try and find something that you can take some enjoyment and pride out of and develop more proficiency and expertise (those last will help you to stay employed).

Find activities that you enjoy.

And find out what your talents are and pursue and develop them.

Travel!

 

Me: After reading your book, I am curious. Where do you see the millennials leading our country?

It is a very difficult question to answer on different levels.

First of all, I do not look at Millennials as a homogeneous group of people.

They define a generation as roughly twenty years but the truth is, that there are generational differences between people born even several years a part.

So I look at Millennials as being split into a least two groups, those being born at the being of what is considered Millennial and those born later (I am at the head of the baby boomers and my brother born five years later has some different values).

I know many of the early Millennials and probably very few of the later ones.

Those early ones seem to have values similar to mine but I have concerns about the later ones, whom seem to be to be too immersed in technology but that perception is likely more based upon their portrayal in the general Media, than personal interactions on my part.

Those I do know, whether early or later, again seem to have good values, so I do not have any concerns and feel that they will lead our country in the proper direction.

 

Me: What other hobbies besides writing do you enjoy that you can share with us readers?

You know I am an older guy and played and participated in pretty much every sport and activity you can think of when I was younger.

When I was Fifty-five, I bought a large motorcycle and was privileged to take some cross country trips, which were great adventures (unfortunately I just very recently had to sell my motorcycle – just getting to old and felt that I was maybe pushing my luck, as a very dangerous activity to partake of).

So now that leaves me with singing.

I sign (karaoke) two to three times a weeks and have sung with bands and professional performers and have actually made two CD’s and have plans to do another.

 

Me: Do you have any future writing projects at the moment that you can tells us about?

I am working on another book and it is about America.

The concept of America and what exactly it means to be an American.

It will include historical details on our founding fathers (I don’t think people understand what a brilliant group of people they were (most of them were geniuses) and what they personally risked in leading the revolution).

And it will also delve into what the Constitution really means.

 

Me: Where can readers find you and your work on line?

My work is available on Amazon, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, I-Tunes and I believe also Kindle.

I can be contacted at jeromeg7814@comcast.net.


 

 

 

Author Brittany Weekley – The Secret Life of Thomas Commons

Author Brittany Weekley – The Secret Life of Thomas Commons
I never thought I would be writer. I wrote poems and attempted a novel at the age of 14, but it quickly ended when I entered high school. I wouldn’t write again until I was in my mid-20s.

​I viewed a writing career as many others did, unpractical. I worked low paying jobs, quit college, and focused on a future that seemed so bleak. Then, something in me changed. I broke the chains that society had me trapped in, and I started my first novel, The Secret Life of Thomas Commons.

​From the moment I began writing Thomas, I have found it difficult to explain his story. I can never do his story justice through a simple five minute explanation. The themes and the issues that my characters go through in this book simply have to be read from Thomas’s perspective to be fully appreciated. Although I am the creator, it felt like I was falling away from that position. My characters seemed to take on a life of their own; they became their own person with my help.

​The idea for this book came to me after seeing the changes taking place within our society. The hardships endured today made me curious about the hardships people would have faced centuries ago. The more research I did, the more horrified I became. There were days I would weep for the innocent lives lost because of a lack of understanding and compassion.

​How the ending of this book is interpreted depends on the reader. It’s not the traditional happily ever after. I chose to do this because it’s crucial to highlight the importance of the reality of their situation as well as those who lived through it centuries ago. To put it plainly, life is cruel. We don’t always get what we want, and in the end, that can shatter the human spirit. However, not all is lost. As we have all heard more than once, with the bad comes the good. Things may not turn out exactly how we wish them to, but those hardships can lead us down a path of learning, acceptance, and necessary change.

Author Interview with John Sibley Williams 

Author Interview with John Sibley Williams 



 

Me: How does it feel to be a five-time Pushcart nominee? What were your thoughts?

I am honored to know so many magazines and presses believe in my work. It’s always a bit of a shock, but the joy never diminishes.

Me: After reading Disinheritance, a collection your poetry in one brilliant book, what inspired each piece? Or inspired you to write the poems?


Disinheritance was inspired by a few pivotal moments that occurred within a few months of each other, namely the illness and passing of my mother, a terrible miscarriage, and my wife and I’s struggles to move forward and redefine the landscape of “family”. To explore grief more fully in this collection, I adopted various unique voices, like those of our miscarried child, the hypothetical boy he might have grown up to be, my mother in her last moments, and my wife as she struggled to cope.
 

So Disinheritance shows a far more personal side than most of my poetry, though I hope the poems speak to larger, universal human concerns about how we approach mortality and what roles we play in each other’s’ lives.

Me: I noticed that you have written several other anthologies. Can you share with us, readers, what the titles are of those anthologies?


Sure. My other full length collection is Controlled Hallucinations. It was published in 2013 by FutureCycle Press. Before that, I had a number of chapbooks published through various presses.

Me: Is it difficult to put an anthology of poems together?



Absolutely. I have always struggled with organizing my poetry collections. Which poems should be included? Which cut? How to organize them to create a feeling of cohesiveness? Are there poems you love, perhaps that have even won awards, that simply don’t match the themes of the collection as a whole? Most collections go through a series of revisions before reaching a point where the poet feels comfortable submitting them to publishers. And if enough publishers reject it, the question becomes: what have I done wrong? What can I revise to strengthen it?

Me: Using three words, how would you describe your most recent anthology of poetry, Disinheritance?



Lyrical. Heart-breaking. Honest.

Me: Would you highly recommend writers to submit their works to places to win awards?

That’s a good question. I’ve read numerous articles about the pros and cons of submitting to awards, and both arguments make valid points. For example, it’s true that awards can be costly (often between $10 and $30 per submission), and these costs can add up quickly. It’s also true that any poem or book is up against hundreds (or thousands) of others, so competition is fierce. However, if you win or are nominated for an award, that does carry significant weight; award-winning authors tend to be taken more seriously by publishers and readers, and, of course, most awards carry substantial cash prizes. So it’s a mixed bag.

 My recommendation for emerging poets and writers is to hone your craft before spending money on contests. Submit first to magazines and acquire a number of notable publications. Once enough editors have shown interest in your work, then perhaps it is contest-worthy. That is not to say new authors without publication experience aren’t amazingly talented. But, as writers, we tend to have a skewed opinion of our own work. I’ve been submitting to contests for most of my writing life, winning one or two a year at most. Those years, I spent far more on submissions than I made back on prize money. Only recently have I consistently won enough awards to financially warrant the expense. However, it’s not about finances. The bottom line is not money so much as exposure. If you love your work and have spent decades honing it, in the end, I would argue it’s worth the time, effort, and expense to submit to contests.

Me: You have won several awards and credits. How does this affect your job as an editor?



I’m not sure if my own accolades, or those of my co-editor, per se affect our editorial work. Hopefully it gives authors who submit to our magazine some confidence in our ability to select powerful poetry, but many of our published authors have similar awards and credentials. 

Me: Out of all of your poems, which three are your top favorite?




I honestly can’t say which of all my poems resonate the strongest with me, but in Disinheritance the three poems that still make me tremble when I read them are “I Go to the Ruined Place,” “Teething,” and “A Dead Boy Speaks to His Parents.” 

Me: When did you first begin to write poetry? 



I’m lucky to have been passionate about books since childhood. Perhaps it’s in part due to my mother reading novel after novel over her pregnant belly every day. Perhaps it’s in part due to my own restlessness, my need to make things, and my love of words. But I began writing short stories in middle school, and I continued in that genre until my early twenties. A handful of those stories found publication in literary magazines, which was eye-opening and oddly humbling.

 I was 21 when I wrote my first poem. Before that, I had never enjoyed reading poetry and had certainly never considered writing one. It was summer in New York and I was sitting by a lake with my feet dragging through the current caused by small boats when suddenly, without my knowing what I was doing, I began writing something that obviously wasn’t a story. What was it? Impressions. Colors. Emotions. Strange images. I didn’t have any paper, so I used a marker to write a series of phrases on my arm. Then they poured onto my leg. Then I realized I needed paper. I ran back to the car, took out a little notebook, and spent hours emptying myself of visions and fears and joys I don’t think I even knew I had. That was 17 years ago. Since that surreal and confusing moment by that little city lake, I’ve written poetry almost every day.

Me: What was the first award you won for your outstanding writing skills?



Gosh, it was so long ago that I must apologize if I get the details incorrect. But I believe the first time my work was honored with an award was about twenty years ago, when I was eighteen-years-old. One of my prose pieces won Best Short Story in the undergraduate magazine Voices. I still remember the shock and honor of discovering something I created actually resonated with strangers. I hope I never forget that feeling.

Me: Do you have any works in progress at the moment, if so, can you share it with us, readers?


I have two upcoming collections, both quite different in styles and purpose. I recently completed a chapbook titled Skin Memory, which combines free verse and prose poetry to explore human connects and disconnects as they relate to culture and family. The other project, which I’m currently working on, is titled Road to the Sky.

Me: What tips would you share with other poets?




There’s a reason “keep writing, keep reading” has become clichéd advice for emerging writers; it’s absolutely true. You need to study as many books as possible from authors of various genres and from various countries. Listen to their voices. Watch how they manipulate and celebrate language. Delve deep into their themes and characters and take notes on the stylistic, structural, and linguistic tools they employ. And never, ever stop writing. Write every free moment you have. Bring a notebook and pen everywhere you go (and I mean everywhere). It’s okay if you’re only taking notes. Notes are critical. It’s okay if that first book doesn’t find a publisher. There will be more books to come. And it’s okay if those first poems aren’t all that great. You have a lifetime to grow as a writer.

 Do we write to be cool, to be popular, to make money? We write because we have to, because we love crafting stories and poems, because stringing words together into meaning is one of life’s true joys. So rejections are par for the course. Writing poems or stories that just aren’t as strong as they could be is par for the course. But we must all retain that burning passion for language and storytelling. That flame is what keeps us maturing as writers.

Me: Where can readers find you and your work online?



Thanks so much for asking. All my books are available via the usual online shops and in plenty of independent bookstores, though I have far more information, including newly published poems, on my website: https://johnsibleywilliams.wordpress.com.

Author Interview with Scott Burn

Author Interview with Scott Burn


Me: How did it feel when you finished your debut novel, The Enemy Within?

The idea of finished is something that’s hard to get my head around. I remember about a year into the process I thought it was done. I showed it to my literary agent who thought it was great – and now it was time to roll up our sleeves and really get to work. I think it was another year before I was finally ready to put the pen down. But months later, I still sometimes find myself thinking about the story, about a character I might have added, about a moment that the lead character might experience. So I think it’s one of those things like a great relationship in the past that always keeps a tiny hold in your head even long after you’ve moved on to other things. That said, when I finally did stop working on it, it felt amazing and the story was what I had always wanted it to be.

Me: What led you to writing comics?

I’m a screenwriter first and foremost, and while I had always enjoyed the comic world, I had never looked to break into it. But the opportunity to do so pretty much fell in my lap. Film producers that had sold a project of mine came to me because they were working with a comic book company developing a new sci-fi project called AGON. They were looking for a screenwriter to shape the idea and frame it in a way that it could be reverse engineered into a feature film. The comic book company let me run with my approach and we did a 5 book mini-series. Hopefully one day the movie gods smile on it and the story finds its way to the screen.

Me: Can you share with us, readers, what your science fiction comic series Agon, is about? 

AGON is story about what happens when an alien herald comes down to earth and tells us that we’ve reached a stage of enlightenment that has impressed their hierarchy of advanced civilizations. We’re invited to participate in their next series of games. But what they’re impressed by is not our technological or spiritual enlightenment, but our propensity for mass violence. The competition requires each emerging civilization to send 10 of their greatest warriors. The winning planet is gifted incredible rewards. The losers’ are wiped out. Our lead in the story isn’t a warrior, but is among them trying to discover a way to prevent the imminent destruction about to take place.

Me: What is it like going from comic book writing to writing screenplays?

I really enjoyed my experience in the comic book world. It’s a different way of thinking, where you literally have to map out frame by frame what your story is going to be. And it’s also a remarkably efficient form of writing where you have to find ways to express the story as minimally as possible while still maintaining the greatest impact. It’s a challenging adjustment and the writers who do it well are really gifted at that. Once I got my head around thinking that way, the stories came together well. Screenplay writing has certain similarities in that you want to enter each scene as late as possible and leave as early as you can so the story has a brisk pace. And while I don’t picture the way every single scene will look, I do like to have the way the basic frame will work and imagine it playing out in my head. So the comic book way of thinking helps to string those series of images together.

Me: Can you share with us, readers, some of the screenplay titles that you have done?

The interesting thing about Hollywood is you can make a living as a writer even if your projects haven’t yet been made. I have several projects in development at different studios. Hopefully one day one or all of them will wind their way through the maze into production. One of them is called COUNTDOWN – it’s about a group of astronauts who land on a distant planet and find their own dead bodies. The script is based on an old Richard Matheson short story called DEATH SHIP. Another is called Arena, about a group of Navy Seals about to die in a battle who suddenly find themselves transported to an arena where there are warriors from all different time periods. They have to figure out who brought them there and why while trying to escape. Another is called ORIGIN. It’s about what happens when a primordial black hole begins disrupting the time/space continuum around earth and the team that has to go up and find a way to destroy it.

Me: Which would you say is more difficult to do, comic books, screenplays or writing a novel?

I don’t think any of them are easy. And on different days each of them would win when I’m hitting my head against the wall on a given story. But I do tend to find that novel writing takes a certain kind of endurance I wasn’t expecting when I first set off on the journey. It’s exhausting, and if you think you can sprint through it, you find yourself spent long before you reach the finish line. It really is much more like marathon running and I had to train myself to think that way. In each of them you want there to be little treasure gems on every page that continue to pull the reader in, but never distract from the story. I found creating that balance most challenging in the novel world, but it’s also one of the reasons I’m such a proponent of rewriting. You work at a scene or chapter in a story over and over and keep finding new elements to make it better. I tend to have a greater sense of clarity about how to do that in the screenwriting world a little quicker than in the novel arena – which I found was much more about exploration and wandering down the wrong corridors until I found the right one.

Me: Do you enjoy writing comics or screenplays more?

The best thing about the comic book world was that within weeks of writing the final draft I was seeing art work connected to it. It was a pretty awesome feeling to see the words brought to life. But I tend to enjoy screenwriting more just because movies have been woven into my DNA since I was little. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than sitting in a theater and being blown away by a movie. It’s why I became a writer to begin with.

Me: Science fiction fantasy is a tough genre to write. What led you to writing a novel for the young adult category?

I had been wanting to do a story about teenage alienation for some time, and to stretch my wings on novel. One day I came across an interesting story about how NASA knows precisely how many satellites are orbiting earth at every moment of the day. I thought what would happen if we found one more than there should be. The outline for the story THE ENEMY WITHIN came together pretty quickly from there. I was familiar with some of the YA sci-fi novels out there and didn’t want mine to feel like a soap opera or a love triangle, but much more about what it’s really like to be teenagers who have always been on the outside looking in for different reasons. And I think that’s what’s led to people responding to it so well.

Me: What are your future works, if any, that you can share with us?

I’ve been working on the feature side about a story of convergence between the world of science and faith – how to the two are woven together in ways most people wouldn’t imagine. And I’ve been working on another novel whenever there’s time about a town that makes a Faustian deal, and the price they pay when they break it. Creepy fun.

Me: Using three words, how would you describe your writing style?

Pensive, playful, unexpected.

Me: Out of curiosity, how did you go from being a lawyer to a full-time writing career?

I had always wanted to write when I was young. I loved movies and novels and pretty much consumed my life with both. I started writing short stories. Most were awful, but some were just mediocre – I didn’t know about rewriting in those days. In college I started a literary journal and in law school had a secret underground newspaper. But being a lawyer seemed like a safer bet. And it was. While I never loved it, the work was perfectly fine. But I knew that I never would wake up and love it – eventually that feeling became too strong. I wrote a indie feature that got optioned for a few bucks. When that happened, I decided to take up writing full time. And fortunately I’m able to make a living at it.

 Me: Inside the, The Enemy Within, which characters did you enjoy creating the most?

He’s a satellite character, but I really enjoyed a character named Kitamura, an attache to a Colonel. Although the spotlight isn’t on him, he has a wry sophistication and rare moments of humor that really came together in my head very quickly. His voice continually wanted to be heard and I found myself trying to find other ways to explore his character because he was so interesting (to me). 

Me: As a professional writer, would advice would you give to aspiring writers?

The most important thing is make sure you have something to keep you going financially through the long journey. I knew more than a few writers who wanted to do it full time in Hollywood, went into debt and paid a really steep price. As much as time is important, I’ve found when you’re focused you don’t need many hours a day in a coffee shop.You can accomplish an incredible amount of work in 2 hours a day. But it’s really important you find a way to set those 2 hours aside, ideally at the same time each day. You need to train yourself that that’s writing time. Not writing and email time, not web surf and writing time, just writing. And whether the pages are good or bad, keep going. Don’t get caught up in the rewriting process until you’ve finished the draft, otherwise, you may never finish.

Me: When you write, what are your first thoughts when engaging a new project?

I don’t necessarily think this is the best way to do it, but for most of the projects I write, it all begins with a What if question. What if X happened or what if Y happened. From there I start to build out characters that might be the ones dealing with it. The first draft choices are usually obvious and terrible, but the more I chisel away at it, the world slowly comes together.

Me: Where can readers find you and your work online?

My website is: scottburn.xyz 

THE ENEMY WITHIN is my first novel. They can also find my comic book AGON at some comic book shops. Unless they work in development, they probably won’t get to know my screenwriting until something gets made. I’m thinking about writing a single for Amazon at some point, but I’m not quite sure when that will be. Hopefully sooner than later. I have a What if percolating… 

Author Interview & Excerpt with P.K. Tyler


You’re the head of marketing for Novel Publicity, a business woman, and an award winning author. What does a typical day work day look like for you?

P.K.: A lot like this: https://media.giphy.com/media/DpB9NBjny7jF1pd0yt2/giphy.gif
How do you find balance between working life, your family and everything else?

P.K.: Have a forgiving spouse? I don’t do everything, I can’t. It’s just not possible. Thank god for a man who loves to cook and clean! My kids are getting older now so they need less of my focus and more of my driving skills, so I do a lot of reading in the car waiting for them. I don’t know how to organize it, I kind of just do it. I’m really walking talking chaos so I’m the wrong person to give advice on this.

 

Have any tips for those of us that work from home?

P.K.: I’d say the most important thing is to accept that you can’t do it all and not only is that okay, it’s normal and good.

 

The Feral 

IT STARTED TO RAIN AS they walked, but Norwood kept an impossible pace. Julip slipped and fell more than once, but he just kept going. She guessed he was right to hurry; they had to get back before nightfall so they didn’t get caught. Ma would be furious as it was, what with them gone missing for so much of the day.

The sky darkened despite it still being midday, and clouds rolled in behind them. Back home it would be a mess. Rain put everyone in a sour mood. The sea was too volatile to risk going out when it stormed, and while the rainwater was clean and safe, the ocean steeped in chemicals that could peel a person’s skin before too long. Their father had burning water scars up and down his arms and speckled across his face from working as a jellyfisher for so long. By comparison to other men who worked the sea, he had remained pretty intact.

The Cotillion was probably having a great time. Rain meant clean air and fresh water, for a little while at least. Sometimes if the rain came at the same time as a toxstorm, it would bring the fumes down to Earth, keeping everyone inside for days, sometimes weeks. The last time that happened, Julip had been nine and was forced to stay in her parents’ dwell with no one but her brother for nineteen straight days. The damage the fumes caused still marred the walls of the bedroom they shared.

The siblings had complained, begged to be allowed outside, but nothing they said or did would convince the adults to let them go. Only her father ventured out to pick up a daily ration of food and water from the Center-of-It-All. He would bundle up, covered from head to toe in fabric and plastic. Even his head was wrapped in one of her mother’s scarves, and his eyes hid behind goggles he’d made out of extra window plastic.

Thirteen people died during that storm, and two more were blinded. For months after, there was a rash of stillbirths on the reservation. The Daughters all agreed that the fumes had come down and poisoned the babes. It’d been five years since the last bad toxstorm whipped through Greenland, so one was due to come soon. Julip loved the cool rain as it soaked through her scarf. She uncovered her head and felt the water trickle down her face and saturate her hair. Parents would take the littlest kids on the rez outside, strip them, and scrub them red. Clean rain meant a real washing, not a quick, timed wipe-down with the gray water from the sinks.

Norwood pulled a canteen from his trouser pocket and caught drips of water from the oversized leaves surrounding them. The trees weren’t much taller than him, but the forest canopy closed in as they walked. Soon they walked on dry earth, and the only remaining evidence of the rain was the heaviness of her hair and the sound of water dripping on leaves high above.

“I’ve never been deep in the Wilds,” she said.

“Ya’ve never been shallow in the Wilds.”

“True, but there ain’t even words for this back home. It smells different, dirty, but my nose ain’t pained by it.”

“‘Cause it’s real. This dirt is from the Earth, not the toxes.”

“Why do we have so much tox on the rez if this is right here?”

“I dunno, but I reckon it’s ‘cause we’re human. People made the toxes. In some way, I guess it’s only right we live in ‘em.”

A howl rose from deep in the forest, and Julip yelped and bent down, trying to blend in, hide in the underbrush. Her legs wanted to give out, but she squeezed her eyes shut and demanded her body not betray her.

http://smarturl.it/Jakkattu1

About the Book

They came as saviors to a deteriorating Earth

Julip Thorne questions whether there is more to life beyond the barren dirt, acidic seas, and toxstorms her people work and die in. Living in poverty on the withering Greenland Human Reservation, she wonders if the alien Mezna goddesses are truly as holy as the temple preaches. Julip begins to dig deeper into the history of the planet and her leaders’ rise to power. But nothing can prepare her for the atrocities she uncovers.

Meanwhile, Jakkattu prisoner Sabaal suffers constant torture and heinous medical experiments as her Mezna-priest captors seek to unlock the key to her genetic makeup. Escaping from captivity, she finds herself suddenly alone on the hostile alien planet of Earth. To survive, she’s forced to work with the same Mezna-human hybrids she’s loathed her entire life, but the more they work together, the more they realize that their enemy is the same.

When humans and Mezna collide, will Sabaal turn out to be the genetic vector the Mezna have been searching for all along, or will she spark the flame that sets a revolution ablaze?


About the Author

P.K. Tyler is the author of Speculative Fiction and other Genre Bending novels. She’s also published works as Pavarti K. Tyler and had projects appear on the USA TODAY Bestseller’s List.

“Tyler is essentially the indie scene’s Margaret Atwood; she incorporates sci-fi elements into her novels, which deal with topics such as spirituality, gender, sexuality and power dynamics.” – IndieReader

Pav attended Smith College and graduated with a degree in Theatre. She lived in New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off-Broadway. Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry for several international law firms. Now located in Baltimore Maryland, she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not penning science fiction books and other speculative fiction novels, she twists her mind by writing horror and erotica.

You can follow PK Tyler on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up for her newsletter, or visit her website here.


 

Author Interview with Rich DiSilvio

 

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Author Interview with Rich DiSilvio

ULM: What led you to writing your novel, Nazis Nemesis?

Actually two things: First, was my intense interest in history and WWII, and second, was a recurring dream I had. For almost two years after publishing my previous novel, A Blazing Gilded Age, I was having a vivid dream of an American WWII soldier and Nazi officer fighting aboard an airplane. It gets very nasty and well, I’ll leave it at that. But it made for an exciting opening. I finally committed to sitting down and crafting an outline, since my dream was merely one action scene. Therefore, an entire storyline, with motives, characters, settings etc., had to be built around that one event. A very odd way to start a story, but that was the seed that grew into a rather complex and twisted tale.


ULM: Which of the characters did you enjoy creating the most?

The protagonist was a fun character. Jack Goodwin/Hornsby is a real piece of work; charismatic, funny, clever, and a puzzle. Jack even had me on my toes, guessing what would happen next. The first half of the novel he is telling his daughter, Eleanor, about his escapades during WWII, and they were so compelling, that I truly had a hard time pulling myself away from writing. Happily, many readers also found his yarns riveting, just as Jack’s daughter had in the novel.

But several other characters had also pulled me in deep, examining their particular psyche, past, or motives, such as Veronika and Bronislaw, who play key roles in the subplot that develops. I also enjoyed crafting Eleanor’s development from an innocent teenager into a self-thinking strong woman. Yet, even small characters have their own charm in the creation process.


ULM: What other projects are you working that you can share with us, readers?

I’m currently working on a series called Tales of Titans. It features a collection of short fictional scenarios, each about a major figure of history. This first volume extends from ancient Rome to the Renaissance, and features such icons as Augustus Caesar and his wife Livia, Constantine, Dante, Columbus, the Borgias, Leonardo da Vinci and others. It also contains brief nonfictional material, making this series both informative and entertaining. And the fact that each chapter is relatively brief gives people a fast read and good taste of how these titans may have sounded in conversation and what made them tick.

Additionally, I recently released two YA books. Danny and the DreamWeaver is somewhat of a fantasy/time-travel novelette, dealing with a ninth-grade boy’s odd yet edifying dream. It’s published under the pseudonym Mark Poe, which is a gracious nod to two great American writers, Mr. Twain and Edgar.

Meanwhile, Meet My Famous Friends is a whimsical picture book that will make kids of all ages laugh, with the subtle intention of fostering an interest in great historical figures, such as Vincent van Goat, Susan Bee Anthony, Albert Eine-Stein, Queen Elizardbreath etc. Humor is a great tool to get kids’ attention. So hopefully some of “my famous friends” will become positive role models for a younger generation and brighten their future.

ULM: What inspired you to write in the historical war thriller genre?

Actually, my first book was a 750-page nonfictional tome on Western civilization, and wars are naturally a part of human history. In fact, all my previous novels include wars, whether in large measure, like in Liszt’s Dante Symphony, or even a single chapter, as in A Blazing Gilded Age. War offers a writer and readers conflict, as well as the ugly and heroic sides of mankind, hence being an intriguing topic.

However, it is keen to note that while My Nazi Nemesis takes place during both WWII and the Cold War, the main storyline focuses on the personal lives of the main characters. Their odd and harrowing situations drive them in various directions to resolve their misfortunes, and that takes them all across Europe and the United States. I think that’s why this novel is even appealing to readers that aren’t necessarily drawn to pure war novels. Additionally, these period pieces offer me the chance to write about other interests of mine, namely music and art. Each of my novels feature the arts in some capacity, giving authenticity to the time period and enlightening some readers about works of art or older music, especially classical music.

However, there are naturally scenes that relate to events during the Cold War and Nazi Germany. Having grown up during the 1960s, there were many WWII movies that were imprinted on my mind, such a The Great Escape or Von Ryan’s Express. While they were not as intense as more recent war movies, like Sophie’s Choice or Schindler’s List, they did instill in me a fascination and fear of the Nazis. As such, I was compelled to incorporate a disturbing scene where Veronika is sent to Auschwitz. What she witnesses and endures, as well as the profound questions she asks her captors, brings something new to this historical tragedy.

Likewise, the Cold War threats of Soviet expansion and a nuclear attack during my childhood also instilled a lifelong lesson. It makes one realize that whether it was the Nazis, the Soviets, or modern day Jihadists, our security and liberty is always at risk. So it is crucial to refresh our memories about these events, even in novel form, because whether it’s the Nazis gassing Jews or the Jihadists decapitating infidels, we must be cognizant of the ugly realities in life and remain vigilant at all times.


ULM: Using three words how would you describe your writing?

Entertaining, thought provoking, and intriguing.


ULM: Besides writing an amazing novel, what are your other hobbies?

I love creating, in all forms. I’ve had my hands at drawing and painting for many years, having studied at an academy under a protege of Norman Rockwell’s. Yet over the years I’ve veered away from oil painting and work primarily in the digital medium. My artwork has appeared in various art galleries nationwide and I recently released a limited edition book of my surreal and fantasy art. I have also toyed around with music, composing a number of songs, and have built all sorts of things, from furniture to all types of home renovations, large and small. I’ve managed to incorporate those hobbies into my careers, so I’ve been fortunate.

And of course I love researching, mostly about historical people and events, especially when it is newly revealed information regarding things we Americans hadn’t learned in school, such as how Soviet women were the only women permitted to fight during WWII. While women from other nations could work in weapons factories or be nurses or fly planes for non-combative operations, Soviet women, in contrast, were flying raids against Hitler. That’s why I found it imperative to incorporate that into My Nazi Nemesis as well. Writing is a powerful medium, and I don’t take it for granted. I believe it’s important for an author to share knowledge with their readers, as entertainment doesn’t have to be frivolous.

ULM: How did it feel to be an international 2016 gold medal winner for your novel, Nazis Nemesis?

Quite stunning. I recall blinking hard, then squinting to get a better look at the announcement page. I had to see if my eyes were really seeing what they were seeing. I knew it was a long shot, competing against so many writers from over a dozen countries, but in my gut I had this uncanny feeling that this novel would rise to the top. As mentioned, the protagonist, Jack Goodwin/Hornsby, even had me enthralled with his engaging tales and sarcastic wit, while also keeping me in suspense and guessing. And the twisted story, I knew, would not be easily forgotten.

Another reason for my confidence was that I had previously received five separate glowing review awards, so my spirits and belief in this work were high. Yet despite the positive feelings, in reality, it is always a tall order to win a competition of this magnitude. So “overjoyed” about sums it up.

ULM: What advice do you have for other writers?

As hard as it is, endure the insults of critics, learn from your mistakes, stay true to your artistic convictions, and keep at it! Quite oddly, besides the gold award and all the glowing accolades, My Nazi Nemesis has also received a handful of insulting reviews. We’ve all heard how some famous writers and their novels had been rejected by the so-called “professionals,” only to be picked up by another, more perceptive agent, to become block busters. So beyond lay readers, even some professionals have bad judgement.

It’s critical to realize that art, in all forms, is subjective. Even works of pure genius can sometimes not be huge commercial successes. For example, the 1974 album “Relayer” by Yes, was a masterpiece in progressive rock, yet due to its sophistication it could never compete on the billboard charts with pop songs that appeal to a broader base. So success can only be measured by your particular niche.

Therefore, the true indicator is what the majority in your particular genre thinks. If a book sells well and scores a solid average of 3 stars or better, you’re in good shape. Dropping below that, you need to do your homework. But naturally, you must always shoot for the stars, all 5 of them!

ULM: Where can readers find both you and your book online?

They can view my books and artwork at my website: http://richdisilvio.com

Twitter @RichDiSilvio

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DiSilviosBooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2953073.Rich_DiSilvio

They can purchase books and eBooks at Amazon http://amzn.com/B01ADO2UUA – Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, etc. But the only place to get autographed books and special bonuses is at my website.

 

Guest Post: Deceiving Bella 


Ethan Cooke Security and their bodyguard team return to action in Deceiving Bella – book eleven in Cate Beauman’s Bodyguards of L.A. County series. 

With over 7700 reviews and a 4.4 rating for the entire series, see why the Bodyguards of L.A. County is a multi-award winning series.

 

Buy It Now! Available on the following: Amazon | Kobo | Nook | iBooks

 

New to the series? No problem! Each book in the “Bodyguards” series is a stand-alone title. Although reading the books in order is preferred, it is not necessary. Each title features brand new primary characters and limited overlapping secondary characters. Don’t hesitate to jump right in!

Isabella Colby has always yearned for normalcy. Now that she’s settled in LA, she finally has it. Good friends, a pretty home, and her thriving career as the Palisades’ top skincare specialist are a dream come true. Bella is content until she meets her hunky new neighbor, but her attraction to the blue-eyed cutie is the least of her worries when contacting her long-lost father threatens to destroy her happy life.

Reed McKinley is more than ready to forget the past. His seven-year stint as an NYPD detective nearly got him killed. His wounds have healed and he’s starting over as Ethan Cooke Security’s latest recruit. With sixty-hour workweeks and little time to himself, the last thing on his mind is a relationship. Then he bumps into the gorgeous woman next door.

Reed and Bella become fast friends. Before long, Reed discovers that Bella is keeping dangerous secrets. Bella may have the answers to decades-old questions he’s been searching for. Reed will risk it all to uncover the truth, but he soon realizes that the deeper he digs, the direr the consequences.

Long Story Short: Grow From Rejection

 I often hear others in the industry mention their love of the written word or how they knew they wanted to write stories for as long as they can remember. In my case, neither of those statements quite rings true. I hated reading as a young girl. It wasn’t until I was twenty that I had any desire to pick up a book and read for pleasure. I also never knew I wanted to be a storyteller until five short years ago.

For most of my adult life, I worked with children with moderate to severe special needs. I loved it. Then we moved to a new state and the career I had chosen turned into a nightmare. My new job was awful and I resigned after a month of coming home in tears every day. For about two weeks, I binge ate chocolate and reread my favorite Nora Roberts novels. And then an idea clicked. I decided I was going to be a writer and tell fascinating stories just like my most favorite author.

My husband came home from work and I shared my new ambition. I think he thought I had lost my mind, but he supported me anyway and has continued to be my biggest champion. 

For weeks I sat at my computer, typing away, having no real idea of what I was doing, but I loved it and how hard could it be, anyway? For a long time, I thought I was a storytelling genius—that one person who could write down their words and would instantly be picked up for a writing contract as soon as I got my work into the right hands. Wrong!

I finished my first draft and joined an online writing community where I could trade critiques with other writers. I learned so much and realized I had a long way to go to improve my craft. I rewrote my novel twice before I sent it off for professional editing. And the editor emailed me the next day to tell me not to give up my day job and refused my manuscript.

For a good two weeks I went back to the chocolate and Nora books and was ready to give up, but my champion reminded me that an editor is just a human being with an opinion. Thankfully, I resubmitted my work to a new editor and he got started right away. While my editor helped me clean up my project, I got started on the next story, then the next. Within a year and a half, I had three completed novels on my hands and wavered on what I should do with them.

After doing much research, I decided I could spend months writing query letters or I could put my work out there on Amazon and the several other vendors available to indie authors and see what was what. This was the right decision for me.

One nail-biting weekend in October 2012, we made all three books—Morgan’s Hunter, Falling For Sarah, and Hailey’s Truth—live and by weekend’s end, they were climbing Amazon’s ranks and made the bestseller list.

Now, here I am less than three years later and I’ve begun work on my eleventh novel. I wake up everyday thanking my lucky stars that my new job in a new state had been truly wretched, that I had the courage to try something different, and that I have loyal readers that eagerly come back for each new adventure in the Bodyguards of L.A. County series.

With lots of hard work and a healthy dose of divinity thrown in, I’ve managed to become an international best seller, the runner up and winner of several very cool awards, and the writer of well-rated novels.

Long story short: never be afraid to learn, go after what you want, grow from rejection, and be thankful every single minute for your tragedies and triumphs.

  

The Official Soundtrack

 I love music! I can’t imagine a world without catchy tunes playing, especially when I’m writing. Music is inspiration. Melodies, beats, and the mood of each song help me portray emotions and feelings as I tell a story. It’s a rare day when I don’t have my headphones in place, bopping my head, while my fingers race across the keyboard. You can listen to the “soundtrack” for each book on my website http://www.catebeauman.com.

 

The soundtrack, of sorts, for Deceiving Bella:

• Favorite Song by Ben Rector

• Lay It All On Me by Rudimental w/Ed Sheeran

• Into You by Ariana Grande

• Cake by the Ocean by DNCE

• Truth by Steve Moakler

• Any Other Name by Thomas Newman

• Rock Bottom by Hailee Steinfeld

• All I Want by Kodaline

• Crash by Usher

• Stand By You by Rachel Platten

 

About the author:

 International bestselling author Cate Beauman is known for her full-length, action-packed romantic suspense series, The Bodyguards of L.A. County. Her novels have been nominated for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, National Indie Excellence Award, Golden Quill Award, Writers Touch Award, and have been named Readers Favorite Five Star books. In 2015, JUSTICE FOR ABBY was selected as the Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Gold Medalist, while SAVING SOPHIE took the Silver Medal. SAVING SOPHIE was also selected as the 2015 Readers Crown Award winner for Romantic Suspense and FALLING FOR SARAH received the silver medal for the 2014 Readers’ Favorite Awards.

 

Cate makes her home in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and their St. Bernards, Bear and Jack. Currently Cate is working on her twelfth full length romantic suspense novel.

 

SIGN UP FOR CATE’S NEWSLETTER TO BE NOTIFIED OF MONTHLY GIVEAWAY OFFERS

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FOR A LIMITED TIME: NEW SUBSCRIBERS WILL RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF MORGAN’S HUNTER AND FALLING FOR SARAH, BOOKS ONE AND TWO IN THE BODYGUARDS OF L.A. COUNTY SERIES!

 

Follow Cate:

 Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Cate-Beauman/e/B00A05KHVM/

BookBub

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cate-beauman

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/catebeauman

 

Social links:

Twitter: @CateBeauman

http://www.catebeauman.com

http://www.facebook.com/CateBeauman

http://www.instagram.com/cate_beauman_author

 
 

Special Guest: K.C. Willivee


I’m pleased to be talking some about the process of writing The Wrong Man. I was working as a therapist in a male prison and developed a long-standing interest in how people rebuild their lives after incarceration. Certainly, I was interested in the societal aspects, tasks like finding employment, obtaining stable housing, and seeking ongoing substance abuse and mental health treatment. But over time I became fascinated with how the reintegration looked on a personal level. Add a growing awareness of the problem of wrongful convictions, and I had a story I couldn’t wait to tell about love between an innocent man and his alleged victim’s sister. 

 While I wanted the book to be informed by my experiences working in the prison system, I wasn’t looking to write a book about prison. So I focused on Patrick’s life after his release, and on the ways that he and Natasha resolved their difficulties around the circumstances of his incarceration. Natasha had worked hard to put him behind bars, and that was something that they both had to live with and address. I wasn’t satisfied with that level of challenge, though, and created a shadowy conspiracy that was actually responsible for Natasha’s brother’s death and that now had her and Patrick in its sights. 

Because of that danger, Natasha had to make a very quick decision about whether or not to trust Patrick. Then they could work out the rest as they fled from their enemies and tried to unravel tangled loyalties. For me, a good romance novel is about equality and mutual support between partners, healthy conflict resolution, and overcoming obstacles together-in an entertaining, escapist way and with a heaping dose of sexual chemistry! 

 As a reader, I typically don’t want to take a break from the realities of daily chores and responsibilities to read about those same mundane things. Instead, I’m looking to be transported and to emerge from the reading experience recharged. And that’s what I hope I’ve provided with The Wrong Man. I love hearing from readers and would welcome your thoughts and comments. 

You can post on my page at Amazon (amazon.com/author/kcwillivee) or email me directly at kcwillivee@gmail.com. I’d like to take the time to thank Danielle again for the opportunity to share my thoughts on this post.

Research in Las Vegas by Jennifer Samson

Research in Las VegasBy Jennifer Samson

 Las Vegas has always fascinated me. There are so few cities on earth that have grown at the speed of Las Vegas. It’s history is full of the mafia, nuclear weapons testing, murders, reclusive billionaires, and amusement park-like casinos. What’s not to love?

 When I decided to set my book Sin City in 1960s Las Vegas, it was the perfect excuse for a trip to see “old Las Vegas”. Which was great until I’d seen the only 3 casinos on the Strip that still existed from that time (Tropicana, Flamingo, Caesars Palace).

 Downtown Las Vegas and Fremont Street preserved a little more of that time, with casinos like Fremont, Golden Nugget, Binions, Four Queens, Golden Gate and the El Cortez still standing from another era. Granted, it’s hard to picture another era with a giant TV screen canopy stretched over blocks of Fremont, and people on zip lines overhead. Even the old school was shrouded in new.

 “Old Las Vegas” is things that happened five minutes ago, so I knew it was going to take some major research to get things right regarding what it was really like in the 1960s. The problem was where to research.

 It’s only been in the last 20 years that Las Vegas has made efforts to preserve its past with museums like the Neon Museum and Mob Museum.

 Founded in 2012, the Mob Museum (http://themobmuseum.org) is located in the former Clark County Courthouse, just a block from Fremont Street. Armed with my camera and a notebook, I spent one of the hottest days in July (note: aim to visit in spring or fall if you don’t like melting to death) on a self-guided tour through the blessedly air-conditioned museum to research.

 It was pretty overwhelming, and completely fascinating.

 From the early days of Las Vegas and the early days of the mafia in Chicago and New York, to recent criminal activity, the Mob Museum has it all. Artifacts included the wall the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre happened against (complete with bullet holes), Bugsy Siegel’s sunglasses and watch, and the headstone of mafia figure Meyer Lansky, along with weapons, photos, and stories from “the good ol’ days.” Artifacts and displays are regularly swapped out and reconfigured so every trip you’ll see something new.

 The amount of information was staggering, but it gave me such a great feel for the time period. Parts of what I learned made it into the first book and will make it into sequels – from the Sheriff’s Blue Book entries on local criminals, to the skim at the Stardust, and inspiration for mafia characters.

Recently the Mob Museum hosted a talk by former Chicago Outfit associate Frank Cullota about his days working in Las Vegas with Tony Spilotro. Cullotta testified against Spilotro after being caught as part of the “Hole in the Wall Gang” – a group that robbed local Las Vegas businesses by cutting holes in the roof to gain access. Cullotta was later a consultant on the movie Casino, and had a small part in the film. Mr. Cullotta runs mob tours in Las Vegas (http://www.frankcullottascasinotour.com), and my next visit is going to include his tour, which is very highly rated. A future book of mine is set in 1970s Las Vegas, and I think the tour will be a great source of info.

 Nothing really compares to doing in-person research when you can. I originally loved Las Vegas for its crazy mix of architecture and endless places to eat (I recommend the sticky toffee pudding at Gordon Ramsay Steak), but now I appreciate so much of what came before. I just hope I’ve captured a tiny slice of 1960s Las Vegas in Sin City.

 

 

 

Author Interview with Matt Fulton


Author Interview with Matt Fulton

 

ULM: What lead you to writing your spy novel, Active Measures?

 There was no single “light-bulb” moment for this story. I first had the notion to write some sort of spy novel in May 2002 when I was in the sixth grade. Of course, twelve-year-old me had no inclination of how to possibly tell the story that was in my head, but I let it brew over time, evolve as I evolved. And, to tell you the truth, there hasn’t been a single day over the past fourteen years when these characters and the world they inhabit haven’t been with me in some form.

 ULM: How long would you say it took you to write your novel?

 Fourteen years from inception to publication. No joke. A radically different first draft was completed in November 2011 and then the manuscript went through five major revisions right up until June of this year.

 ULM: As a writer, what would be the three things that you would like to share with other writers in your genre?

 I’m not quite in a position to share advice with other writers, but there is one thing I’m trying to accomplish with Active Measures that I’d like to see proliferate.

 When he accepted the Nobel Prize in literature, William Faulkner said that the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself. I’ve always tried to maintain that as a guiding principle. Despite the guns, the “kit,” the action, the intrigue, we have to tell stories about imperfect human souls trying to find their way. Active Measures is a story about a young man coming to terms with the death of his father. That’s it. The rest is all lights and clockwork, window dressing so that hopefully fingertips will dampen the page.

 As writers, we owe it to our readers to challenge them, to provide a commentary on our world for how it is, not simply how we might wish it to be, well intentioned or otherwise; to invite them inside a fictional universe we’ve created so that they may leave with a clearer appreciation of their own. I hope our genre doesn’t lose sight of that principle.

 ULM: Other than writing a spy novel series, what other hobbies to you have?

 Writing this trilogy and the prerequisite research consumes the bulk of my free time, but I’m a big film and TV buff and like to stay well read. I also hit the gym a couple times a week and appreciate a good cigar once in a while.

 ULM: Can you briefly share with us readers what Active Measures is about?

 Active Measures: Part I is a geopolitical thriller and the first volume of a trilogy about the dangers of loose nukes, terrorism and espionage.

 The bulk of the action follows three major plotlines: In Iran, the United States’ most valuable agent since the 1960s uncovers a faction within the hardline Revolutionary Guards that has been secretly constructing a crude nuclear weapon designed to fit in the trunk of a car—and all without the knowledge or blessing of the regime’s leadership. As the full might of the American intelligence community is mobilized to sabotage it, the CIA’s new director is forced to navigate a minefield of global power politics from Washington to Tel Aviv.

 In Moscow—after an oil trader with ties to the Kremlin is found burned alive in his Geneva home—an aide to Russia’s adored and despotic president is caught between opposing powers. At one side is an eccentric billionaire with lofty dreams of reorienting Russia toward the West, and at the other is the autocratic strongman whose ardent quest for resurgence has brought Russia into an open confrontation with NATO, and threatens a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

 Meanwhile, the hasty climax of the Syrian civil war has brought the Middle East to a dangerous crossroads. Israel is set to begin peace talks with the fragile new government in Damascus, which promises to reshape the balance of power in the region. Hezbollah has been left bloodied, humiliated and exhausted with discontent simmering inside the ranks. Against this backdrop, a brilliant CIA officer in Beirut stumbles upon the trail of a master terrorist and the shadowy menace whispering in his ear conspiring to drag the world into the abyss.

 ULM: What was the hardest part in writing this first novel of your series?

 Staying atop the sprawl. There are over two hundred named characters introduced in this first volume of the trilogy and three major plot lines spread over multiple continents. And, spoiler alert, there’s still more to come. It was—and still is—a constant battle with the morass of details, faces, and places; and an even greater struggle to shape it all into a compelling story. The foundation was cemented with Part I, but I think the worst of it (for me, anyway) is still to come.

 A second problem I’m confronting is how to tackle the ending of Part III. I have ideas for two novels after Active Measures. The big question right now is if I want this universe to continue beyond the trilogy. Right now I’m leaning “no.” The end of Part III will be bittersweet with very real, lasting consequences, and that’s hard for me to reconcile if “all your favorite characters are gonna get together for a new adventure next summer!” Let me make it clear: Chances are, most of your favorite characters WILL die, and believe it or not that’s a good thing. I don’t want a series based around scenarios where there’s some super spy who goes around from one stereotypical bad guy to the next. Plenty of writers have done that, and have done it well—the genre is infinitely stronger for their work—but I’m interested in doing things differently.

 ULM: Which one of your characters did you enjoy creating the most?

 That’s tough to pick. There’s a pretty deep bench of supporting characters in this trilogy—Angela Weisel, Benny Isaac, Saeed Mofidi, and Qasem Shateri come to mind. All of those characters initially had smaller roles and only became more important players as I was writing, which is always enjoyable to see. But if I have to pick one, I gotta go with David Kazanoff. He’s always been the “big bad” of the trilogy, going back fourteen years now, but how I’ve interpreted him has changed a lot. I went through a bad depression in college a few years ago and that had a HUGE impact on his character. You know, in a way, he’s not really even a villain (in the sense that, would you call a lion a villain for shredding apart a gazelle?) but more like a virus rampaging through the DNA of this story. At the end of it all—after the politics, after the tradecraft—Kazanoff is just Death coming for everyone and everything. He’s the great equalizer.

 If you’re really a sick SOB and want to get inside Kazanoff’s mindset, check out The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and Teatro Grottesco by Thomas Ligotti, nihilistic and anti-natalism philosophy, and any sort of cosmic horror by Lovecraft or Robert W. Chambers: ingenious writers who created monsters that aren’t scary because they render us dead, but rather render us insignificant against our own universe. All good beach reading!

 ULM: When will the next book in your series be published?

 This is terrible, but I really can’t say. Part II of the trilogy is utterly massive. There’s so much ground to cover, so much story to tell. I’m doing my damndest, but I want to be certain this book is as good as I can possibly make it. So, easiest answer to your question: As soon as it’s done. But not fourteen years like the last one, I promise!

 ULM: What other projects are you working that you would like to share with us readers?

 There may be a few other things coming down the pipeline while I’m working on the Active Measures trilogy, but it’s still too early to talk about them.

 ULM: Where can readers find you and your book(s) online?

 The novel’s here on Amazon: http://amzn.to/29IT5HW. I’m quite active on Twitter (@FultonMatt), and can also be found on Facebook and Goodreads. Also, don’t hesitate to send me an email (matt@mattfulton.net). I always love to hear from readers!

The Spark That Lit My Writer’s Flame by Ed Duncan



The Spark That Lit My Writer’s Flame
 The first inkling that I might someday be able to write something worthy of publication came in the form of a few words penned by my eleventh grade English teacher, which she added to the end of a term paper I’d written. To her students she was plain Mrs. Shropshire but to me her first name, at least, was anything but plain. It was Sadie, an uncommon name then and now, which for me evoked the image of a seductive singer plying her trade in a bar on an exotic, far-away island somewhere in the South Pacific. That was because the only other woman named Sadie I’d ever heard of or seen was the temptress portrayed by Rita Hayworth in the movie, Miss Sadie Thompson.

 Mrs. Shropshire was no Rita Hayworth and I’m sure she had no desire to be. Probably it would have amused her to know that at least one of her students associated her with the fictional Miss Sadie Thompson. She was a comely, no-nonsense African-American woman I suspect in her mid to late thirties when I was one of her students. She was a stern disciplinarian with a caustic wit, but what was most distinctive about her was her absolute command of English literature and grammar. And so it was with great pride that I read the words at the end of my term paper she felt were warranted by my effort: “Your writing is seldom, if ever, equaled among our students.” Wow!

 I kept Mrs. Shropshire’s words tucked away somewhere in a corner of my mind because, you see, I wouldn’t need them for inspiration in the career I had chosen. In my senior year in college I had decided to become a lawyer. As such, I wrote an awful lot of letters, memoranda of law, and trial and appellate briefs. In the last years of my practice I even wrote a legal treatise for judges and lawyers called Ohio Insurance Coverage, which was the field of law I had specialized in. But none of this writing ever sparked my imagination or caused me to draw upon whatever it was that Mrs. Shropshire saw in my term paper now decades earlier.

 I also kept my term paper in a cardboard box with other memorabilia, and whenever the thought of writing fiction crept into my mind, I would refer back to Mrs. Shropshire’s words to make sure I remembered them correctly and that she had actually written them.

 At a high school reunion years ago I asked whether anyone knew what had happened to Mrs. Schropshire. Sadly, I learned that she had passed away. No one knew any of the details. We hadn’t kept in contact since I graduated from high school and moved away, but the news made me profoundly sad. Now that I have written my first novel, Pigeon-Blood Red, I’m doubly sad because I wish I could have told her that it was inspired by those few words of high praise she wrote on my term paper many years ago.

Pigeon-Blood Red is a fast-paced and suspenseful crime thriller by Ed Duncan. It was released in March 2016, published by Zharmae and is available for sale on Amazon.

 Duncan says, “It’s always been said that you should write what you know. I am a lawyer – as is a pivotal character in the novel who is being pursued by a hit man – and I’m excited to be able to use my legal training creatively as well as professionally.”

 Synopsis

 For underworld enforcer Richard “Rico” Sanders, it seemed like an ordinary job. Retrieve his gangster boss’s priceless pigeon-blood red ruby necklace and teach the double-dealing cheat who stole it a lesson. A job like a hundred before it. But the chase quickly goes sideways and takes Rico from the mean streets of Chicago to sunny Honolulu, where the hardened hit man finds himself in uncharted territory when a couple of innocent bystanders are accidentally embroiled in the crime.

 As Rico pursues his new targets, the hunter and his prey develop an unlikely respect for one another and Rico is faced with a momentous decision: follow his orders to kill the couple whose courage and character have won his admiration, or refuse and endanger the life of the woman he loves?

 Praise for Pigeon-Blood Red

 “Pigeon Blood Red has a dramatic and satisfying conclusion, leaving the reader nodding his head with approval.” – Readers’ Favorite 

 “In a novel with as much action as love, it is sure to be a story that will fulfill the desires of readers of all ages, genders, and areas of interest.” – Red City Review

“This charming, classically-told crime thriller is a must for noir fans…refreshingly old-school pulp, inhabited by a familiar cast of gamblers, con men and hustlers found in Dennis Lehane and Elmore Leonard novels” – Best Thrillers 

About Ed Duncan

 Ed Duncan is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years. He currently lives outside of Cleveland, OH and is at work on the second installment in the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. To learn more, go to http://eduncan.net/

 Readers can connect with Ed on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Author Interview with Jacquelyn Wiles




Author Interview 

ULM: What inspired you to write your book, Don’t Trust A Stranger?

I wanted to write something with meaning behind it. Parts of my book are true, and others are not. I want to help people who are involved with domestic violence because it’s something that happens every day. If my book can help save at least one life then I would be very happy.

ULM: Did you always want to be a writer or was that something you discovered later on in life?

I discovered around the age of 10 how much I loved writing. I would sit in my room and write non-stop poetry. I eventually had a notebook or two full of different ones. Writing has always been something I was passionate about. However, writing a book didn’t come to mind until I was in my early 20’s. The more I went into book stores, the more I wanted my own to be on their shelf one day. Stephen King is my biggest inspiration, I love his work and I think he is just brilliant.

ULM: What would you like readers to take away from your book?

I want readers to take away that life isn’t perfect. Relationships fail, and you CAN move on. Family is there for you during your darkest hour. I want them to read my book, and think about certain situations in a different perspective, kind of like an outsiders point of view.

ULM: Was it difficult in writing your book, Don’t Trust A Stranger?

Parts of my book were hard to write, because it happened in real life. But, I feel like real life situations always make that book that much better. Overall, it wasn’t bad writing it.

ULM: What are three of your hobbies besides writing great books?

Three of my hobbies include: Being with my son, he’s 6 years old and I love taking him to WWE events with me, meeting superstars, taking him to the movies.
Being with my friends, when I am not working on my books or working my full time job. And lastly, driving around listening to music.

ULM: When will the sequel to your book be ready for readers?

I am hoping to have my sequel done and published by spring of 2017, fall at the latest. I am working like crazy to get this done.

ULM: Can you share with us, readers, about any other future works you may have planned?

When I am done with the sequel, I am working on two other (single) books, one is going to be a complete thriller/horror book, and one is going to be a complete romance book. Both of these genre’s are my favorites to read, so I want to make it enjoyable for my readers as well. I never want any of my books to be extremely long, so if everything goes the way I want then I will have a new book published each year. 

ULM: Where can readers find you and your books online?

I have an author blog: here is my link. 

http://jacquelynwiles.wordpress.com

The links to buy my book is here:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Trust-Stranger-Jacquelyn-Wiles/dp/153363243X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1476916332&sr=1-1

Don’t Trust A Stranger (Volume 1): Jacquelyn Wiles: 9781533632432: Amazon.com: Books
http://www.amazon.com

Buy Don’t Trust A Stranger (Volume 1) on Amazon.com ✓ FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders

Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/5666833

Don’t Trust A Stranger – createspace.com
http://www.createspace.com

Have you ever wanted to date someone online? Do you trust people easily? Sometimes that can be a deadly thing. Never be too careful. Never settle for less than what …

Barnes and noble

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dont-trust-a-stranger-jacquelyn-wiles/1123903266?ean=9781533632432
Don’t Trust A Stranger

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Have you ever wanted to date someone online? Do you trust people easily? Sometimes that can be a deadly thing. Never be too careful. Never settle for less than what…

ULM: What is your advice to both your readers and fellow writers?

My advice is to just follow your dreams, never let anyone tell you that you cannot accomplish it. Even if you have writer’s block (believe me, I suffered with it a lot) anytime you have an idea write it down, you can always go back to it. Write until you cannot write anymore, you can always go back and change things. Take criticism with a grain of salt, do not let it discourage you. Instead let it help you with your next project. 

Author Interview with Linda N. Baron-Katz



Author Interview
ULM: What led you to writing a book about mental illness for both adults and children?

I wanted adults and children to learn that mental illness is treatable and nothing to be afraid of and that people can live normal, healthy, happy lives.

I also wanted them to know that mental illness is not the end of the world, it is just the beginning of searching for your roots once again. It is all right to still have hope for the goals and dreams that will make a person achieve success in their life.

ULM: What are some of the most common misled facts that come into association when people find out someone has a mental illness? 
Some common misled facts are sometimes having a mental illness means that their crazy or a weakness in themselves. That is not true. You can still pursue goals and dreams and make a success in your future. Mental illness is a chemical imbalance and although it requires medication, it is not the only asset to recover from a mental illness. Having support from friends and family is important, doing something productive with your life like working or going back to school.

ULM: After reading your books, what would you like readers to take from them? 

 I would like readers to realize that there is hope for people with mental illness and that recovery is possible.  
ULM: I noticed that you are an active candidate working to break the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. What are some ways others can help fight that? 
You can help fight stigma in so many ways such as involving yourself with organizations that do quality work for the mentally ill like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), working as a Certified Peer Specialist, writing articles in newspapers and journals about stigma towards mental illness, etc.

ULM: As a writer, you took personal experience into creating beautiful books for both adults and children alike. What was the journey like when writing these books? 
Very fun, interesting and also therapeutic. My memoir, especially was therapeutic for me because I was re evaluating my life once again.

ULM: Winning one award is like winning the lotto for most authors.. How did it make you feel knowing your books won not one but several awards?
It made me feel special and that my life story is of interest to them and that it gives people a sense of hope and encouragement.

ULM: For those readers who haven’t read your books yet, can you briefly tell them what they are about? 
My first book, Surviving Mental Illness, My Story is a memoir of the heartbreaks and challenges I faced growing up with bipolar disorder and how I achieved recovey. The second book, I coauthored with my husband, is a children’s story of how two adults affected by mental illness get better with medication and support by their family and friends.

ULM: Where can readers find you and your books online?
You can find my books on amazon, barnesandnoble.com , and on my website: http://www.surviving-mental-illness.com

Broken Roots by Michelle Diana Lowe

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Home Truths – Delving into the heart of Broken Roots
Broken Roots is a fast-paced and compelling coming-of-age novel about the extraordinary life of seventeen-year-old school girl, Teisha Cole. The story follows Teisha on a whirlwind journey of a lifetime, as her family unit breaks down before her very eyes, and she is forced to come to terms with some shocking home truths. This schoolgirl, uprooted, and moved from place to place, can trust and rely on no one. While she unravels her family’s myriad of lies and secrets that are on the verge of destroying her life, Teisha is put in grave danger. Her devious and calculating mother is at the centre of everything, and she will do anything in her power to stop Teisha from outing her dark, hidden life. As Teisha is put in further peril, escaping onto the streets, and into the foster care system, may be her only hope of survival.

With elements of tension, drama and bone-chilling suspense, this novel unearths some realities about what vulnerable children and young people can suffer behind closed doors. When Teisha meets her foster mother, Rachel Branfield, a rich yet lonely businessman from Mortlake, South West London, there is a chance that her life could change forever. But can Rachel be the mother she has always longed for?

In any one given year, there are 69,000 children in the UK who are in the foster care system. These children deserve to see, especially in literature, that their issues and experiences are considered relevant and important. These days, many young adult fiction books focus on other childhood related topics, such as relationships problems, body image, child obesity, family bereavement and youth crime. Whilst these topics are significant and noteworthy, it is essential to point out that child abuse and neglect have one of the biggest effects on children and young people’s mental health than any other childhood issue.

Teisha, although a fictional character, brings light to children’s suffering, whilst giving children and young people in care and other vulnerable children, a voice and hope for the future. Adults reading Teisha’s story will be able to improve their general understanding of issues surrounding children’s welfare and young mental health. This will help better protect young lives.

At the end of the novel there is a list of useful contacts that children and young people can contact, if they are worried about something or have an issue or difficulty they are struggling with. I have also included a few helplines and websites for adults and professionals who may be worried about a child they know. It is quite rare for fiction books to include these kind of contacts, however, I felt it necessary, as Broken Roots was written primarily to raise aware of issues concerning children’s welfare, and to encourage children to speak up about things that may be troubling them.

Broken Roots has been published Creativia Publishing and is out now on Amazon.

Links to book:

Amazon UK
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Roots-Lowe-Michelle-Diana-ebook/dp/B01LXBAGLO

Amazon US
https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Roots-Lowe-Michelle-Diana-ebook/dp/B01LXBAGLO

Michelle Diana Lowe

 

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Links:

My Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MichelleDianaLowe
My Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/Michelle_D_Lowe
My website: http://www.michelledianalowe.com

Review: When Pain Has Stained A Peaceful Heart

 

Synopsis:

Ann Henry had a close-knit family, a normal childhood, and a strong sense of identity. Although she had been healthy for most of her life, at the age of 27, she was stunned to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And so began a fifteen-year journey regaining her mental health, despite the many pitfalls of our mental healthcare system. When Pain Has Stained a Peaceful Heart is based on the true story of Ann’s devastating loss—the loss of her sanity, her voice, and her dignity—and how she fought to regain control over her life with courage and faith. In poetic form, Ann shares the trauma of her experiences in the mental health system through the rhythm of her words and the depth of her emotion. This is an important book not only for those in the mental health profession but also for those who suffer from mental illness and their families by providing an insider’s view of the often chilling reality of treatment facilities. When Pain Has Stained a Peaceful Heart is honest, hard-hitting, and beautifully expressed. “Ann Henry leaves me questioning our mental health system and the further damage done to individuals in an attempt to ‘help’ them and their families.” —Cynthia Barrios-Woodward, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Ann Henry wrote When Pain Has Stained a Peaceful Heart in an effort to help shine some light on the realities of the mental health system. As an artist, writer, and now author and poet, Ann opens up and shares some of her deepest wounds in an effort to help educate the general public about atrocities within a system meant for care.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

Ann Henry is indeed a talented writer and poet. Her words will capture readers’ attention from the first page. The words envelope around the readers and drag them through the journey that Ann Henry has brilliantly written. The emotional experiences, from reading When Pain Has Stained A Peaceful Heart, is phenomenal. Inside this beautiful read, readers will find one woman’s voice using poetry to tell her heartbreaking story. One that involves mistreatment within our mental health system.

This book is not a fictional piece but a real woman’s journey through a difficult time in her life. Ann Henry’s poetry flows in a way that lures readers further into her tale. Can you image having your normal life suddenly taken from you  at the age of 27? Well, Ann Henry did. Her mental health took a nose dive and the treatment she received only plunged her down further. Fifteen years of working on regaining her life again…is a sad, yet remarkable read. Ann Henry suffered but made her way through the hardships life dealt her. A strong independent woman who serves as a reminder and inspiration to readers everywhere. I can’t remember a time when a piece of poetry grabbed my attention the way this book has…When Pain Has Stained A Peaceful Heart is definitely a must read for all. I highly recommend reading this woman’s story.

Review: The Rumor

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Synopsis:

A friendship is tested in this irresistible page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.

Nantucket writer Madeline King couldn’t have picked a worse time to have writer’s block. Her deadline is looming, her bills are piling up, and inspiration is in short supply. Madeline’s best friend Grace, is hard at work transforming her garden into the envy of the island with the help of a ruggedly handsome landscape architect. Before she realizes it, Grace is on the verge of a decision that will irrevocably change her life. Could Grace’s crisis be Madeline’s salvation? As the gossip escalates, and the summer’s explosive events come to a head, Grace and Madeline try desperately to set the record straight–but the truth might be even worse than rumor has it.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

WOW! There isn’t quite a novel like The Rumor…Readers will be on the edge of their seats with suspense and excitement as the buzzing plot spins them further into drama, rumors, and trouble. Elin Hilderbrand has wowed me with her intriguing plotlines and realistic characters. Just as in real life…things go way out off control before we recognize what it is we have done. This was my first novel that I have by this talented writer. Humor on every page…enticing me further into this marvelous read. Besides who can turn down an excellent read about an author who takes what her friend says and turns life inside out…so many what ifs and what will come of it…readers won’t be able to turn away from this book once they open it.

The Rumor by Elin Hilderbrand now has me waiting for the summer and all that comes with it. Friendship that has lasted 20 years is now hanging by the threads…it’s amazing what a little fact inside of fiction about real people can do…the damage is something readers must read on to find out…A highly entertaining yet brilliantly well-written novel that will instantly grab readers. I couldn’t stop reading. This novel is indeed the most interesting one I have read in a long while. Juicy, funny, and magnificent story is waiting for readers inside of The Rumor.

Book Review: Thrill Me by Susan Mallery

Susan Mallery is a best-selling author whose novels are very popular with readers. I am a huge fan of her amazing stories and strong characters. Her addictive plots will leave readers breathlessly in love each and every time. I have not read a novel by Susan Mallery that was not as brilliantly well written as the one before it. Inside each novel there are themes of family, courage, love. They will instantly sweep you off your feet and deep into a realistic world that can have it all.

Thrill Me by Susan Mallery is a must read. A romance novel that tells of one woman and man who fall in love with each other and suddenly have doubts. Enough doubts that would send Maya Farlow running away because she thought that the one man whom she loved broke her heart. Then there’s the man she fell in love with, Del Mitchell. He went to make a name for himself only to find that he lost the woman he loved. Now, fate has brought them both back together and both are feeling heart broken. Can these two who must work together, find the strength to rebond their love that they still feel? Thrill Me will definitely thrill readers with the risk of falling in love with two incredible characters by Susan Mallery. I highly recommend reading this beautifully written story and follow the characters as their lives are once again about to change. Overall, I rate it a five out of five stars.

Meet Allen Eskens

Meet Allen Eskens

As a talented author, with two stunning novels out, what are your goals when writing a new novel?

I have, in my head, two goals, the first is to give the reader a suspenseful plot to keep them turning pages. The second goal is to draw the reader into the characters and evoke emotion. Achieving both those goals is difficult, but as a reader, that is what I look for in a novel.

Your Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Juris Doctorate degree in Law have helped shaped you as writer. When writing your novels what kind of research do you have to do, if any?

I’m always researching scenes, going to the places that I am writing about and filling my senses with what is around me. I also try to be accurate in what I write about, especially historical events that come into the novel. I do most of that research online, but have been known to hit the library to do research as well.

Can you tell us readers what it is like going through the M.F.A program? 

As a matter of fair disclosure, I didn’t finish the MFA program. I already had a law degree and didn’t plan to teach, so I studied those elements of writing that I felt I needed to become a better writer. When it came time for technical writing or classes that didn’t apply to creative writing, I chose not to take them, and thus didn’t finish my degree. But while I was there, I was inspired to become a better writer. I was particularly inspired by classes that I took from Terry Davis (author of Vision Quest). I learned important tools and gained a greater understanding of the craft of writing.

Your debut novel, The Life We Bury, is the most intriguing and suspenseful novel that I have ever read. What inspired you to write such a stunning novel?

First of all, thank you very much for that wonderful compliment. The Life We Bury came from the notion that I wanted to start with an average Joe and have him thrown into an extraordinary circumstance. I came upon the idea of a college student doing an assignment from an actual assignment I did in college. But I also wanted to tie that in with an emotional story. I knew that I would have Joe running away from home to go to college, but I didn’t know at first what he was running from. When I came up with the backstory of Jeremy, the autistic brother, I knew that I had my novel.

You have mentioned that you have written a second novel called, The Guise of Another. Can you briefly tell us readers what this new book is about? 

The Guise of Another is the story of two brothers who are both detectives in Minneapolis. Max Rupert (the detective from The Life We Bury) is a homicide detective and his younger brother Alexander is in Frauds. Alexander’s life and career are in a downward spiral and he gets a case that he believes will rehabilitate his reputation. He throws himself into the case and bites off more than he expected. When things get really serious, Max tries to help his brother survive the carnage that gets unleashed.

In your novel, The Life We Bury, who was your toughest character to create and which was the easiest?

I think Carl was the most difficult to create because I wanted the reader’s opinion of him to change over the course of the novel, but not because he does something overt to change that opinion, but because the reader gets to know him. I think Joe was the easiest, because there is a lot of me in Joe.

What are your other hobbies besides writing perfect thrillers/mysteries?

I enjoy wood working, although I have not had time to build anything lately, and I have rescued dogs in the past, but with the travelling that I’ve been doing, I’ll hold off on that for a while as well.

What is your advice to those wanting to become writers?

My advice is learn the craft. No matter how talented a writer may be, there is never a point where he or she should feel that they have finished learning. Even the most talented athlete still trains and gets advice from a coach. I see so many writers who think that once they have a good idea for a story that they can just write that down and have a novel. I think to myself that I should be able to take any simple tale—say Jack and Jill went up the hill—and, through craftsmanship, write a suspenseful tale full of rich language. Once a writer can do that, then they can tackle that wonderful plot idea.

What three things would you say writers should mostly focus on when creating their novels?

Characters: Make them complex. Everyone has a history and that history dictates who we are and what we think. Characters should have that complexity as well.

Plot: Understand the three-act arc. Understand the elements of plot that Joseph Campbell wrote about (see also Chris Vogler). These elements have been forged over ions of storytelling. Writers do much of this intuitively already, but if they understand what they are doing and why, they can expand upon their story.

Language: Make it fresh. Every now and again I’ll come across a line so well written that I’ll close the book and just think about the sentence (usually wishing that I’d come up with it). A book does not need to be rife with this brilliance (we can’t all be Sylvia Plath) but let the reader know that you have those arrows in your quiver (excuse the cliché).

Can you share with us readers on plans for new novels, if any?

Right now I am working on a three book arc for Max Rupert, The Guise of Another being the first of the three. After that, I have a plan for a story for Boady Sanden (the attorney in The Life We Bury). I also have a plan to do a sequel for The Life We Bury.

Where can readers find you and your books online?

You can find my books just about everywhere online, Amazon, B&N, KOBO, BAM.

Enid Part 3 by Lucy Mitchell

Enid Part 3

By

Lucy Mitchell

“Polly – what have done you done?” screams Enid, in my head. The realisation of what I have just done hits me hard. I let go of the phone receiver and it clatters onto the stone floor.

I can hear the operator asking me to confirm my location but I can’t bring myself to say anything. They will trace the call.

“I told you to stop Enid but you wouldn’t listen” I whimper, kneeling onto the kitchen floor. Hot tears stream down my face.

“You have made me so angry Polly” shouts Enid. “Go into the backroom now so that I can start my waitress shift and sort this mess out!”

I shake my head. Enid’s shift must not start tonight.

“Polly do what I say, I am strong and you are WEAK!” hollers Enid, in my head.

“I can’t Enid” I say, wiping away my tears with my apron.

“But I did it for us Polly. You know that!” Enid exclaims.

“I never asked you to kill all those men” I say feeling very cold and starting to shiver as their faces flash across my mind.

“Polly I killed them for a reason, you know this. I did it to get back at that nasty trucker who did those horrid things to you, all those years ago” says Enid.

A familiar dark feeling glides across me. I can smell his pungent body odour, garlic breath and gasoline reeking clothes. I can feel his grubby hands on my neck.

“I know Enid” I whisper, bringing my knees up to my chin and rocking fast to block out the images of him.

“He never paid for what he did to you Polly, there was no justice” says Enid calmly.

I shake my head and break into uncontrollable sobbing at the thought of him, lurking in the shadows outside of the diner. Waiting.

“I was there for you Polly after he left you for dead in the parking lot. I nursed you through all that. I made sure you never worked another night shift again, just to keep you safe” said Enid.

“Oh Enid what have I done?” I cry out, staring at the phone receiver. “You are right. You were there for me after he drove away in his truck, and this is how I repay you. I am so sorry.”

“Its ok Polly, he made you weak” says Enid.

“He changed me Enid” I say rubbing my face hard until it starts to burn. Anger bubbles furiously inside me as I think about his grinning face.

“Let me start my shift Polly. I will get rid of customer no.8 and then do you know what we are going to do?” gushes Enid excitedly.

“What Enid?” I ask.

“We will work out how we can track him down. If we have to close the diner and travel for days, we will do it. We will find him and make sure he never harms another waitress ever again” says Enid.

I stare up at the stained kitchen ceiling, imagining Enid and I getting in our rusted

old wagon, hitting the highway and tracking him down.  Unleashing Enid on him would give me such satisfaction. She is unstoppable at times.

After she has finished with him and he lies dying in the back of his truck I could appear. Stand over his choking body and tell him all about the pain and turmoil he inflicted on me, all those years ago.

Enid and I could return to the diner, happy in the knowledge that my agony would be over. There would no more killing. Enid would be a changed person. I can almost imagine it.

“Come on Polly, this has to end” says Enid. The word ‘end’ reverberates around my head.

Rising slowly I get to my feet and head out to the back room.

“Good girl” says Enid.

I stand by the mirror and wait for the change in waitress.

“This has to end” I murmur to myself.

“Polly what are you doing?” asks Enid.

I can hear sirens wailing in the distance. They are coming.

“This has to end” I say softly, staring at the mirror.

“Polly stop this now. Hurry! Come on we don’t have time…..wait…stop…what are you doing?” shouts Enid.

“Enid I am strong and you are weak” I say, grabbling hold of Enid’s little green bottle, containing the liquid that she has used so many times on her truckers. Flicking open the top I put it to my lips and throw back my head, tipping the cool liquid down my throat.

Enough is enough.  Sometimes you just have to let it go.

Author Interview with Jason Pellegrinni (Thriller/ Suspense Author)

jason

Your novel, The Replacement, is an absolutely addictive read. Can you tell those readers who have not read your novel, briefly, what it is about?

The Replacement is a story about two homicide detectives, Patrick Sullivan and Jonathan Hawkins, chasing after a serial killer that the public has named The Surgeon. The only problem is that The Surgeon is so good at covering his/her tracks that the police can’t seem to find any substantial evidence to lead them to their perp. This causes a lot of tension between the two partners, who share very different views on how to go about a murder investigation.

How long would you say it took you to write it?

I created the file on January 21, 2011. I was pretty much tweaking and doing some fine tuning as far as editing was concerned up until a day or two before it was released, which was January 20, 2015. So the whole process, from start to release, took four years.

You made mention of the tension between Patrick Sullivan and his partner, Jonathan Hawkins. How would you best describe the relationship between the two?

I think the best way to describe Patrick Sullivan and Jonathan Hawkins would be to say they can easily be compared to fire and water. They are two people who have, by no means, any right to be working side-by-side with each other. Yet they are forced to and, as one could guess, it’s not always smooth sailing. They share completely different views of the job, which only leads to a continuous building tension throughout the story. This adds a dynamic to the story that I don’t think could be portrayed if the two partners got along just fine.

What inspired you to write The Replacement?

Years ago, my friends and I got the brilliant idea to start writing screenplays. Our first attempt was at a comedy, and, looking back at it now, it was pretty terrible. Still, back then, we thought we were writing gold! During this time, I came up with the idea for a screenplay about a rookie detective coming in to replace a retiring veteran, and they end up working a case together; chasing after a serial killer—I swear I did not come up with this idea while watching the movie, Se7en! Haha. I also had the ending plotted out, which I’m obviously not going to discuss here.

So years later, when I decided I wanted to write a novel, that particular idea stuck out in my mind. I had toyed around with a few other ideas, first, but I eventually landed on the one that would become The Replacement.

What made you decide to become an author?

If I’m being honest, growing up, I never really envisioned myself being an author. My dream, starting in my teens and running through my mid-twenties, was to stand on stage; playing music. However, when a friend of mine published his own debut novel (The Never Enders by Michael Sonbert – Check it it!), I purchased a copy to show my support. When reading it, I found myself thinking how cool it was that he had created this entire novel just from something he thought up in his head. I had a bunch of ideas floating around, at the time, so I thought I would give it a shot. Once I got started, I loved it. The entire process; ranging from thinking up these stories, fleshing out characters, and then getting it from the imagination onto the paper is such a satisfying feeling. I have a far greater passion for it than I ever did for music.

As a thriller suspense novelist, what is your advice to other writers in your genre on how to write a compelling story with believable characters?

Well, for starters, I don’t consider myself a thriller/suspense novelist. I simply consider myself a novelist. The book I’m working on now does not fall anywhere near the realm of Mystery/Thriller. I don’t like the idea of being tied down to one genre. If anything, I am a writer of fiction. That would be my first advice to any writer; don’t become tied down to a specific genre, and don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons. If you have an idea that you think is good, go with it! Don’t become a mystery writer, or a romance novelist, or a horror writer. Just be a writer!

As far as the question you asked goes, the best advice I can give is to bring your characters to life. I know that sounds pretty vague and very cliché, so let me try to explain. You are playing God here, and you are creating characters and controlling their destinies… do your best to humanize them. If your reader doesn’t connect with your characters, they aren’t going to become invested. You could have the most intriguing storyline in the history of fiction, but if your characters do not resonate with your reader, there’s a chance it will fall flat. Give them lives, give them histories, give them emotions, and give them meaning. Don’t just have them do. Let the reader into their souls, and have them understand the actions.

Also, read On Writing by Stephen King. It was the first piece of advice ever offered to me when I started writing, and I’m thankful for that book every time I sit down in front of the computer to write.

What would you say influenced your writing the most?

I think, more than anything, living has influenced my writing. I like to think I’m pretty in tune with my emotions. I’m not afraid to get angry, upset, or even cry if I’m overwhelmed. I know what makes me happy, and I know what I’m afraid of. I also think I have a pretty good sense of human psychology. Now, I’m not saying I’d go and offer people advice and call it professional, but I think I have a well enough understanding of it that when I incorporate it into my writing, the reader can feel a connection with my characters or story. With living, also comes the burden of learning the sad and the ugly things that go on in this world. With the Internet, television and Smart Phones, the world is at our fingertips. I remember being on lunch at work when I heard the news of the Sandy Hook school shooting. I was on my phone; just browsing my Facebook newsfeed when I saw it. With no hassle at all, the world, and everything going on in it is at our fingertips. Those kind of things, indirectly, get incorporated into my writing. Not the actual events, but the raw emotions that comes from seeing the things that go on in this world. This is also the same for all the good things that happen in the world. We go down our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram newsfeeds, and we see friends getting engaged, married, having kids. Those things that bring us joy should also get poured into our writing just as much as the tragic things we are exposed to

What are your future projects that you are currently working on at the moment?

I am currently working on my second novel. The details of it, I am not ready to divulge, as I am only five chapters into it. I will say this about it… It is nothing like The Replacement. I think with The Replacement, I was getting my feet wet. Even though the storyline and characters are very original—at least I think they are!—the detectives chasing a serial killer has been done before. I just took something that’s been done and that’s popular, and I made it my own. This new project is me jumping into uncharted waters without a lifejacket! The idea is more out there than your popular Mystery/Thriller, and I’m not entirely sure it’s even been done before. At least that’s what I’m hoping!

Do you have any plans for any sort of follow-up to The Replacement?

As far as a follow-up goes, I have no plans for writing it, at the current moment. I’m diving into more uncharted waters, like I just mentioned. I will say this: I do know what happens to all my main characters once the last word of The Replacement has been read, and the book has been closed and put up on a shelf.

Do you enjoy reading a lot? And if so, what books have your read that you liked? Which authors inspired you?

I do enjoy reading. I wish I had more time for it, but sometimes life gets in the way of doing the things we enjoy. You should never shun life’s responsibilities, but they should never stop you, completely!!! I also wish I discovered my enjoyment of reading at an earlier age. I could’ve covered far more ground and discovered a lot more authors by now, if I did.

As far as books I have read go, I actually have a story to tell. In 2013, I decided I wanted to find a book that made me cry. Not feel sad. Not even get choked up. I wanted this book to make tears stream down my face. So I actively searched for books that would, undoubtedly, pull at the heartstrings. Attempt after attempt, book after book, author after author, and I couldn’t find the book that made me cry. Don’t get me wrong, I read some great works that year. Just nothing made me cry. So when the year ended and my goal had not been reached, I didn’t renew it in 2014. Well they always say when you aren’t actively looking for something is when you’re most likely to find it. One morning, I was sitting on my couch and nearing the end of The Fault in Our Stars, and by the time that book was finished, I was having myself a good cry. That story will always stay with me and I recommend to anyone.

Other title’s I’ve enjoyed and just couldn’t put down are Silver Lining’s Playbook, the Harry Potter Series, The Help, The Glass Castle, and Looking for Alaska. I’m currently reading A Dance with Dragons from the Songs of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series.

As far as authors who have inspired me go, Stephen King has to be at the top of that list. I start every year off with a Stephen King novel, and I’m a fan of most of his work. We share some similarities when it comes to writing. I would never be so bold as to compare myself to Stephen King, and say my writing is like his! My writing is like Jason Pellegrini’s, and that’s who I’ve always wanted it to be like. King and I just both have a strong emphasis on character development, and I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about pacing a story from him.

Other than King, I draw my inspiration from whatever I read that captivates me. You can learn just as much from reading as you can from writing. You learn what works for you and what doesn’t work for you by discovering methods that you love and hate.

Lastly, where can readers buy your novel?

My novel can be purchased at Amazon.com and on Amazon Kindle, currently. I’ll be getting it on other platforms, in the near future, hopefully. If searching for me on the actual Amazon site, I suggest searching me by name instead of title. There are other books with the same title, and you wouldn’t want to purchase the wrong one! On Kindle, last I checked, I was the third choice in the store when you search The Replacement.

Author Interveiw with Best Selling Historical Fiction Novelist Tony Riches

Tony Riches 2014

Today we are talking to Tony Riches, author of best-selling historical fiction novels and book blogger, who lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, Wales UK.

Looking at your blog The Writing Desk, I noticed it’s centered towards new writers with insightful and relevant information to help them succeed. What inspired you to do this, to help other authors out with their writing?

One of the great things about the writing community is the enthusiasm for sharing ideas and useful tips. I really appreciated this when I started out as a writer – and it is really rewarding when new writers tell me I have encouraged them.

You get about 12,000 visitors a month to your writing blog. That is a major accomplishment. What do you think you did that launched that? And do you have any tips for other writers out to help them gain numbers in visitors like you do?

There are several things you can do to build visitor numbers. Write uniquely informative posts that have a timeless quality, as these will have the most repeat visits, even years after they are published. Particularly successful examples are my series on the writing habits of famous authors and my visits to their houses. It really helps if you ask your favourite authors to guest post with something readers won’t find anywhere else. One of my most popular recent posts was by historical fiction author Anne O’Brien about how she writes. Finally you need to make it easy to share your posts widely—mine are all shared with over 15,500 followers on twitter (@tonyriches) as well as over 1,430 friends on Goodreads and 2,000 readers on Google+ and automatically shared on Goodreads via RSS.

I noticed a book of yours called The Secret Dairy of Eleanor Cobham. Can you tell us readers briefly what your book is about and where readers might find your book?

My wife was researching her family tree and discovered that Lady Eleanor Cobham was her 20th great-grandmother—and had been imprisoned for witchcraft and treason. Intrigued, I found that Eleanor was the Duchess of Gloucester and hoped to become Queen of England before her interest in astrology leads her enemies to accuse her of a plot against the king. Found guilty of sorcery and witchcraft, King Henry VI orders Eleanor to be imprisoned for life. I visited Beaumaris Castle where she was held on Anglesey in North Wales and imagined what she would have written if she had kept a diary—The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham. My novel is historical fiction but carefully researched and the only full account of Eleanor Cobham’s life. It is available in paperback and eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Barnes & Noble as well as Smashwords. There is a short video trailer on YouTube.

What would you say is your inspiration for writing?

Like many authors, I started writing for magazines and journals, then wrote a number of non-fiction books, including a best-selling book on project management. Since then I have been fortunate to have had some success—although it is feedback from readers that keeps me inspired. Last month a reviewer said about The Secret Diary that, “It’s been years since a book made me cry. The story of Eleanor Cobham is a powerful story that will stay with me for ages.”

What would you say helps you write the way you do?

I am lucky in that I can write full time and am free to travel when and where I want to do the research for my books. I also have the time to read a great deal, and I try to publish book reviews on my writing blog and Goodreads at least once a month. My wife is very supportive and kindly reads every draft before it even goes to my editor.

Can you tell us about some of the other books and novels that you have written? How many novels have you written up to date? And do you have any series?

I have written four novels and five non-fiction books, details of which are on my WordPress site. My first historical fiction novel, Queen Sacrifice, came from the idea of bringing a real chess game to life, with the whole of Wales as the ‘chessboard’ and thirty-two characters, kings and queens, bishops, knights and pawns, each with an interesting back-story. My only contemporary novel, The Shell, was inspired by a dangerously close encounter when on holiday in Kenya. Since then I have become fascinated by the fifteenth century and wrote Warwick: The Man Behind The Wars of the Roses, which is still the only novel about the life of Sir Richard Neville, also known of as the ‘kingmaker’.

What would you say to writers who are trying to make a name for themselves? What advice can you give?

I read once that it usually takes at least three novels before a writer ‘learns the craft’. I think I understand that now, as it does seem a little easier each time. It is worth investing a little time in building your readership, which you can do through your own writing blog and appropriate use of social media. I have a little ebook How to Build Your Online Author Platform: 100 Practical Tips which new authors should find useful. Also remember that most authors are rejected before they become famous—take a look at this Telegraph article. Finally, remember that a page a day is a book a year, so keep writing!

Beautiful woman in medieval dress on the armchair

The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham, by Tony Riches
The year is 1441. Lady Eleanor Cobham, Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, one of the richest men in the country and next in line to the throne, hopes to one day become Queen of England. Then her interest in astrology and the dark arts, combined with her husband’s ambition, leads their enemies to accuse her of a plot against the king.
The beautiful Duchess Eleanor is found guilty of sorcery and witchcraft. Rather than have her executed, King Henry VI orders Eleanor to be imprisoned for life. For ten years, she lives as the king’s prisoner in the finest palaces in the country, such as Leeds Castle in Kent, to some of the worst conditions, in Peel Castle on the windswept Isle of Man.
Finally she is taken to the Welsh fortress of Beaumaris Castle on the Island of Anglesey. More than a century after her death, carpenters restoring one of the towers of Beaumaris Castle discover a sealed box hidden under the wooden boards. Thinking they have found treasure, they break the ancient box open, disappointed to find it only contains a book, with hand-sewn pages of yellowed parchment.
Written in a code no one could understand, the mysterious book changed hands many times for more than five centuries, between antiquarian book collectors, until it came to me. After years of frustrating failure to break the code, I discover it is based on a long forgotten medieval dialect and am at last able to decipher the secret diary of Eleanor Cobham.

Henry VI. Part 2, Act 2, Scene 3:
King Henry:
Stand forth dame Eleanor Cobham, Glouster’s wife.
In sight of God and us, your guilt is great:
Receive the sentence of the law, for sins
Such as by God’s book are adjudged to death.
You, madam, for you are more nobly born,
Despoiled of your honour in your life,
Shall, after three days’ open penance done,
Live in your country here, in banishment.

The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham is available now in paperback and eBook on Amazon UK and Amazon US and in all popular formats on Smashwords
A short book trailer for The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham is available on YouTube
About the Author
Tony Riches is a full time author of best-selling fiction and non-fiction books. He lives by the sea in Pembrokeshire, West Wales with his wife and enjoys sea and river kayaking in his spare time. For more information about Tony’s other books please visit his popular blog, The Writing Desk and his WordPress website and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches.
Table of links:
Item Hyperlink
Eleanor on Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00P6SGGX6
Eleanor on Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P6SGGX6
Eleanor on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/490156
Book Trailer on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AR9EKitBSc&list=UU02nDMnhI9yN6hPoICJDeYw

The Writing Desk http://tonyriches.blogspot.co.uk/

Eleanor on
Wordpress http://tonyrichesauthor.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/the-secret-diary-of-eleanor-cobham/
Tony on Twitter
https://twitter.com/tonyriches

Tony on
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/tonyriches.author

Tony on Google+ https://plus.google.com/+TonyRiches/posts

Amazon Author http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tony-Riches/e/B006UZWOXA/

Goodreads
Author https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5604088.Tony_Riches

Have You Ever Wondered..

Have You Ever Wondered…

What it would be like to a book reviewer? Or an author? Or an editor? Or just an article writer?

Well… I can definitely say that the have many same traits. One being that they all have to learn how to write well. Why is writing well is so important? Because it is the very first fundamental that all writers need to learn before moving onto the second step.

What do writers need to learn in order to write well? First, they need to learn grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and usage.

Where does one acquire these must need skills? In school.  Or you can take a free English course that covers all the above on sites such as Alison, Coursera, Canvas, and Udemy.  Or take classes from Universal Class. Their courses are structured to teach you what you need to know. Plus, you get a certificate with documented CEU’s.  Which of course helps build up your resume! 🙂

Now, what is the second step? After learning the basics in a free or paid course writers, then move onto interning.

Why should writers apply or an internship? Because internships help build a writer’s reputation, connections, and teaches them hands-on what the ins and outs are in writing.  Some internships pay the intern and some don’t. But, I highly recommend that you complete at least two non-paying internships to build up experience, which is what you will need for a paying internship. Then apply or one that pays you while doing what you love to do!

Next, after completing several internships under your belt you now have the experiences, tools, and connections to  continue onto the third step!

If you are wanting to become an author, there are many tools out there to help you grow your full potential. Kindle Direct Publishing is a free service that allows authors to publish their work as eBooks. eBooks are the most popular reading format that readers choose. Why? Because they are easy to access everywhere and on the go! They also cost less and save the trees. Plus, they can be bought from literally every bookstore that exists today.

– It is very important that every writer is an active reader. Read, read, and read! Reading helps writers improve their thought process.

– Another thing all writers should do is practice writing. Write every day. Whether short or long. Practice, practice, and practice writing! The only way to perfect one’s writing.

These two important reminders are the sole keys or every writer whether he or she wants to become an article writer, author, blogger, book reviewer, or an editor.

What is a writer’s schedule like? A book reviewer’s, an author’s, and an article writer’s schedule is chaotic. There are always deadlines popping up that need to be finished. There are always more books to review. There are tons of articles that are 500 words in length that need to be written daily for companies’ websites. And the pressure or an author to complete his or her book is tough. Writer’s block can happen halfway through a book. So, being a writer in any field requires the utmost patience!

Book reviewer’s job: Requires that the reviewer can at least review two novels a week. Most book reviews are 300-500 words in length. A book review consists of two paragraphs. The first paragraph needs to be about the books. A brief summary o what it was like without giving away too much of the plot. Also, need to mention the author, the writing style, characters, plot, setting, the targeted audience and would you recommend it to others. The second paragraph is made up solely on your opinions of the book. What did you think o it? What could have improved the book to make it better? What did you like and not like about the book?

Article Writer: An article writer’s job is to follow all terms on what each article is to be about, how it should be formatted, and what type of article needs to be written. Whether it’s a promotion of a product, educational, or informative. Each article is anywhere from 150-500 words each. Most article writers are required to write 10 five hundred word articles each week! All articles are can be a variety of weird topics. For example dog beds.  Try writing an informative article using 500 words on the topic of dog beds. And no plagiarism! Article writers have to do a ton of research on each and every topic they are given. Being an article writer is not the easiest job.

Author Interview with Rose Senehi (2014 Indie-Reader Discovery Award for Popular Fiction Winner)

PHOTO OF ROSE SENEHI

Interview with Rose Senehi 

COVER FINAL 3 INCHES FOR EMAIL

What inspired you to start writing, especially your novel, Dancing On Rocks?

  Danielle, I studied journalism at Syracuse University and, when I was sent on an assignment to interview a mall developer, I was offered a job paying a lot more money. Fate is a funny thing. Before I walked in that office, I never would have dreamed of leaving my newspaper career, yet, for the next ten years I traveled all over the Northeast opening shopping malls. On my long drives from one mall to the next I would dream about writing a novel, but never had the time to sit down and do it. Tired of all the travel and needing to be home every night now that my son was reaching his teens, I switched over to managing a local mall until fate stepped in again. Out of the blue, a headhunter offered me a job managing a outlet center in Myrtle Beach, SC. I accepted, turned our farm that we rented out over to my son, who was now grown and newly married, and left. I remember him saying that I packed like I was running from the cops. As I drove the twelve hours from the cold upstate New York winter to the sunny south, I made up my mind. I told myself that it was never too late to follow the dream I had harbored for almost thirty years, and a couple of weeks after I hit the beach, I started my first novel. Dancing on Rocks is my seventh novel and the fourth in my series of stand alones that take place in the mountains of North Carolina where I now live.

Can you tell us readers a little bit about, Dancing On Rocks?

        This is a story of a family shrouded in the mystery of a child gone missing for twenty-five years, and the love, courage and feeling of community that helped them get through it. Simmering beneath the skin and hiding around every corner are a family’s painful memories of a child who disappeared in the middle of the night 25 years ago. Nursing her mother back to health wasn’t all that drew Georgie Haydock back to the mountain tourist town of Chimney Rock. The summer roils as her mother thrashes in her bed, insisting that the strange woman stalking her store downstairs is Georgie’s missing sister. Georgie aches to reunite with the hometown boy she never forgot. But she fears all the summer’s turmoil will force her to unveil the secret that drove her away from him 13 years earlier. For his part, naturalist Ron Elliott doesn’t care what Georgie did all those years back. She’s the one creature he’s always yearned to possess.
Anita Lock for IndieReader says: “Filled with sadness from hardship set right at the edge of hope and love, DANCING ON ROCKS is riveting from beginning to end.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY says of Dancing on Rocks: “A bit of mystery, a touch of romance, a good deal of local history, and vivid descriptions of dramatic scenery distinguish Senehi’s well-crafted fourth Blue Ridge standalone.”

Who is your favorite character from your novel? And why?

   Definitely, Ron Elliott, Georgie’s lost love. He’s a mountain man and botanist who lives a lonely life managing a 3,000 acre preserve. Publishers Weekly says: “Georgie’s beau is the sort of thoroughly decent man rarely portrayed in contemporary fiction.”

 

Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?

   Georgie Haydock was the most complex. She doesn’t know it, but it was more than her mother’s accident that made her come back to the place that all her childhood she yearned to escape. What secret is she hiding? She’s a nurse specializing in wounds, yet does she realize she’ll never be happy until she heals her own? A doctor who is a good man wants to marry her, yet she tells him she needs to think about it over the summer while she takes care of her mother’s wound. Is she running away from him, or running toward her last chance to connect with the man she’s always loved? Or, does she realize that she must heal her own wound that concerns her sister’s disappearance once and for all.

Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?

  Oh, Danielle, that’s an easy question. The mother of course. She’s spunky and it gave me a chance to portray a naughty but nice character, which is always fun.

What advice would you give to other writers in your genre?

   My genre is basically general fiction with a love story and mystery running through the plot. Whatever genre one writes in, a good plot is basic…then you find intriguing, yet real, characters to populate it. Of course, your main character has to be on some kind of journey and someone who the reader will connect with.

What tips would you give other writers, when creating a romance novel of their own? 

  In my romantic scenes, I find it’s best to put in just enough to get your reader’s imagination soaring. That way, the reader will visualize that which they find alluring more so than you might. After all, different strokes for different folks. Also, I feel that it’s more suspenseful and sexier to have the couple yearn for each other over a protracted period of time…with a few devastating bumps along the way to build tension.

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What is the latest project that you are currently working on?

   I am recording all seven books. I had someone set up a studio in my house because I can only read effectively for 2-3 hours a day and don’t want to travel to a studio every day over the winter.

Who is your favorite author? And why?

   Charles Dickens. I read him all the time. By now, I know all the plots and read him for mostly style and character development. It’s always a good lesson.

What books have you read besides your own?

   I’m pretty much hooked on John Grisham and have read all his novels. Since my books are historically accurate, I have to do a great deal of research that requires a lot of reading.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an author?

   Storytelling kind of runs in the family. My grandma used to rock me to sleep every night telling me stories of Poland during WWI. I can still remember the exact images I conjured up all those years back when she told me about how her family was working on a haystack when a Polish cavalryman came galloping on his horse to tell them that the Germans would be there the next day. They were told to burn down all the hay and the barn and take their stock to the woods. These cozy times in my grandmother’s lap imbedded a life-long appreciation for the value and impact of a good story.

Where can readers find your novel the Dancing On Rocks?

   Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com have both the paperback and eBook versions of all my novels. Your local book stores, if they don’t have it, can get it from their distributor in a couple of days.

Can you tell us readers a little bit about your next book?

   It will be another standalone that takes place in the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. It has apples, a love story and a struggle to hold on to the land.

This summer your novel was given the 2014 Indie-Reader Discovery Award for Popular Fiction. How did that feel? 

   Needless to say, I was thrilled and greatly honored. However, when my sixth novel, Render Unto the Valley, was given the 2012 IPPY Gold Medal for Fiction-Southeast, I was so thrilled that I cried so loud that my 80 lb. dog got on my lab and kept licking my face. After years of being nominated for awards, I had finally gotten one! An award is a welcomed pat on the back. It says, “You done good, girl.”

Author Interview with Science Fiction Fantasy Author, Daniel J. Darcey

1) Did you always know that you wanted to be an author? If, not what made you decide to become one?
         -Actually this was a spur of the moment that was pushed to the forefront of my thoughts in High School many years ago. In 10th grade the idea began to form in my English class as we were studying the different genres. We did the original Fairy Tales from Grimm, and Andreson. Then we moved on to Science Fiction. With the two genres fresh in my mind I began to imagine a reality of what would happen if all these various Fairy Tales characters, good and evil all of a sudden encountered Aliens, Machine, and Super Humans. But since no such story existed, at least the way I imagined, I decided to write it myself. From the old original Fairy Tales and even the Disney versions of them along with the more contemporary and first Science Fiction tales. I eventually figured out how to merge them together. I generated a new way to make a new kind of story. It has obviously gone through through a series of rewrites. The final version is the 9th one.
 
2) What is the name of your very first book that you wrote? And can you tell us readers what it is about?
         -The very first book that I ever made was called the Two Sisters. It was about Princess Asora and Queen Laxur. Their original tale was as long and was the original name for Dark Rage. Originally Princess Asora was just like any Disney Princess. She has magic and she was very plain. Queen Laxur was just plain evil and wicked. The Next book would become the Forerunner to Rise of the Federation. It was called The Red Storm. Praetor D’var was originally a Computer A.I. and a terrifying threat. He was to be the SciFi force. Eventually I was not happy with the first versions. So they go through several more rewrites.
 
3) What advice would you give to other Science Fiction Fantasy writers? Any tips?
          -When designing a convincing Alien nation. Think of everything beyond the Military. A civilization needs infrastructure. It’s okay to model your nation after an existing Earthly nation if you which. But mix things up a bit in some area’s. Like Traditions, or even Military tactics. If you want to go all out in creating a whole culture. Just remember that this is a lot of work, But it will be worth it.
4) What is the hardest part about writing within your genre?
          -To be honest. Making up all the names and coming up with ideas and things that haven’t been tried before. Like the Utopian Kingdom is an amalgam of magical races that have very Human like aspirations. The Darkcon Empire who are designed to be evil, but in fact are just disgruntled and not really bad at all. The Federation, is a Multiverse spanning power that is a very American/Russian and Roman combined. As for the Humans themselves, in fantasy I was and still am tired of Humans as the biggest pricks. So I made them more advanced technologically and just plain different.

5) How many books have you written so far? And can you tell us the the names of each book?
          -I have 13 planned for the series. I’ve completed 3 and I’m working on a 4th one.
6) Who is your favorite villain from your stories? And why?
          -Well I have 2 actually. My two first antagonists, Queen Laxur, and Praetor D’var. Laxur, I made her to be as powerful, intimidating and seductive as possible. She was alluring, smart, strong, and confident. But she is very emotional, she suffers the same problems as we all do. She moves the story effectively and is just plain fun to write about. As for D’var, he is a tough, and scary militant alien leader. But He was not evil like Laxur was. In fact D’var was in a different category. To give you a modern world idea from the media. Queen Laxur is a similar equivalent to Regina Mills from Once Upon A Time, as for Praetor D’var at first he is similar to the Didact from Halo 4. Later he changes. In fact both of them change grow and develop. Signs of well rounded characters.
7) Who is your favorite hero in your novels? And why?
          -Again I have 2. Princess Asora and Fleet Admiral Yane. My final version of Asora is so much better. Asora has the fire and knowledge of a real ruler, like Cyrus the Great of Persia. Asora a magical princess with a love for science and technology. I made her into force for positive change. Admiral Yane I like because he represents the navy side of me. Each character has a piece of me in them. Asora is the part of me that knows what to do, but is forced to keep in step. Yane is the sailor that is a leader trying to prove himself. These two work well together and help one another.

8) Name one scene in your your latest book that you really enjoyed writing about.
          -That would have to be Chapter 6 in Rise of the Federation. In this chapter Praetor D’var is introduced officially for the first time. This was the culmination of a scene that I’ve always wanted to see. Basically imagine the Borg from Star Trek or the Covenant from Halo all of a sudden appeared in a classic Fairy Tale story and wrecked havoc. The encounter between Laxur and D’var was what I would have thought that might have happened between the two types. Asora is literally a cross between a Fairy Tale Princess (Disney or otherwise) and a Tech Master like Tony Stark from Iron Man and Bruce Wayne from Batman.
9) Who would say was the hardest character to come up with? And why?
           -The hardest Character That I had to build was both Sargon and Alasia. These two are the origin of all the chaos and if you are interested, I’m making a series of Prequel novels that describe them. The reason why they were hard was because to be able to top both Laxur and D’var was hard. I also tried to avoid what I called average cartoonish super villainy. I spent years perfecting Laxur and D’var to be powerful antagonists and different from the rest. Unfortunately I ended up making average Cartoonish villains, so I tried to compensate for this with a more interesting origin story and different methods to their ways.
10) How long did it take you to finish your first novel?
           -To finally finish Dark Rage took 12 Years. I also worked on Rise of the Federation and Redemption at the same time. So 12 to 13 years all together. this is year 14.
11) When writing what inspires you most?
           -Many things actually. Many of the Grimm Fairy Tales, Hans Christen Anderson Tales, and the Disney films. From the SciFi side Mostly Star Trek (all of them), Halo (later on), Independence Day, War of the Worlds, Time Machine, and Aliens. Mixing all that together was hard, but it got easier over time. Personally Having Tinkerbell and her Fairy friends coming across the Xenomorph held a certain (if odd) appeal. Or the wicked witches all of a sudden are attacked by the UNSC or StarFleet Away Teams. (Again an odd like to see).  O.O
12) Where can readers find and purchase your books?
           -For now only on Amazon Kindle ebook downloads. I’m working on making hard copies, once I can get the money to make hard copies.

Author Interview: Joe Cosentino

-What inspired you to start writing, especially your novel, Paper Doll?
 
            As an actor I worked on stage and screen with stars like Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Jason Robards, and Nathan Lane. It occurred to me that acting is storytelling in the same way that writing is storytelling, so I decided to give writing a try. I knew my first novel would be a show business story, since show business has always been such a huge part of my life. As an avid mystery reader, it was clear to me that my novel would be a page-turning murder mystery with clever plot twists, engaging characters, romance, humor, and lots of clues leading to a surprising conclusion.
 
– Can you tell us readers a little bit about, Paper Doll?
 
PAPER DOLL is the fictitious story of Jana Lane, America’s most famous child star until she was attacked on the studio lot at eighteen years old. Now a thirty-eight-year-old beauty and mother of two living in a mansion in picturesque Hudson Valley, New York, Jana’s flashbacks from her past turn into murder attempts in her present.
The local suspects include Jana’s down-on-his-luck husband with a dislike for living off the fruits of his wife’s young labor, Jana’s sister and male friend (who both have eyes for Jana’s husband), Jana’s show business father, her deranged loyal fan, and Jana’s young Guy Friday who covets her fame and shares an uncanny resemblance to Jana.
            Forced to summon up the lost courage she had as a child, Jana visits the California movie studio she once called home. This sends her on a whirlwind of visits with former and current movie studio personnel. It also leads to a romance with the son of her old producer—Rocco Cavoto—the devilishly handsome filmmaker who is planning Jana’s comeback both professionally and personally. With Rocco’s help, Jana uncovers a web of secrets about everyone she loves, including the person who destroyed her past and threatens to snuff out her future.
 
– Who is your favorite character from your novel? And why?
 
     Jana’s agent, Simon, is my favorite character for five reasons. He is amazingly resilient, old world Hollywood, incredibly funny, loyal to Jana, and most importantly, I want to play him in the movie version!
 
– Which one of your characters was the hardest one to write? And why?
 
     Jana’s sister, Tamara, was hardest to write since, unlike most of the other characters in the book, Tamara does not have a sense of humor. Tamara is a tortured soul with a secret and painful past. She loves her sister yet at the same time envies her. It was difficult for me to get into her mindset, but once I did, I believe I represented her well.
 
– Which one of your characters did you enjoy writing the most? And why?
 
     Jana’s best friend Jackson was the most fun to write because he is so funny, smart, charming, and devoted to Jana (and her husband). I also like that Jackson is a gay activist back in 1980 when it wasn’t so popular.
 
– What advice would you give to other writers in your genre?
 
     I love reading and writing stories with engaging characters who I want to spend time with. I recommend letting your characters talk to one another and seeing what happens! An outline is simply an outline. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it.
 
– After reading your novel, I found the suspense to be perfectly thrilling. What tips would you give other writers, when creating suspense their own novels?
 
     I prefer mystery suspense novels that drop lots of clues leading to the murderer. I also recommend incorporating many other characters with secrets into the story. A writer should create an entire world of suspense above and beyond “who done it.” When a reader finishes a book, he/she should be satisfied that the various parts equaled the whole, rather than the author pulling an ending out of the hat.
 
– What is the latest project that you are currently working on?
 
     Dreamspinner Press is publishing my romance novella, AN INFATUATION, in February 2015.
     I am currently writing a comedy mystery series set in the world of academia. Since I am a college professor, I know that world quite well. I have completed the first two novels, DRAMA QUEEN and DRAMA MUSCLE. I will begin the third, DRAMA CRUISE, soon.
 
– Who is your favorite author? And why?
 
Armistead Maupin has an amazing flair for writing eccentric, loveable characters with engaging and realistic dialogue.
 
– What books have you read besides your own?
 
I’ve read all nine TALES OF THE CITY books by Armistead Maupin, every Agatha Christie novel and short story, and numerous other mystery writers like Greg Herren, Mary Higgins Clark, and G. A. McKevett.
 
– Did you always know that you wanted to be an author?
 
My career path has led me from acting to teaching to writing. I think I will continue writing for quite some time.
 
– Where can readers find your novel the Paper Doll?
 
PAPER DOLL is available in paperback and electronic versions at Amazon. Here is the link:
I love hearing from readers. They can contact me at http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
 
– Can you tell us readers a little bit about your next book?
 
AN INFATUATION is a humorous and touching story about Harold and Mario. Muscular, sexy, and tantalizing, Mario was Harold’s hero and obsessive infatuation in high school. At their ten-year high school reunion, both men are happily married: Mario to a woman, and Harold to a man. Will they reignite the old flame and set their comfortable lives ablaze? The novella will let you know, as well as bring you back to your crushes of the past, and passions of the present. Look for it in February 2015 by Dreamspinner Press!

Author Interview: Richard D. Mellinger Jr.

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– What inspired you to start writing your novels, such as Harold and the Purple Wormhole?

Each novel has had a different inspiration. When I first started writing Harold, I was working on my senior thesis for my BS in physics at Cal Poly SLO. The project involved general relativity and, as I tend to do, I spent a lot of time thinking about wormholes. One day, in response to musing about where wormholes might come from, I though “Well, to make a wormhole, clearly you need a giant worm, duh…” This is the essence of Harold and the Purple Wormhole. After I finished chucking about how silly the idea was, the story had taken hold and demanded to be written, and so it was.

– Can you tell us readers a little bit about Harold and the Purple Wormhole?

Dr. Nenad Conroy is a brilliant scientist that wants to travel by wormhole, so he creates a giant worm that can tear holes in spacetime; this worm’s name is Harold. The two of them go out to test Harold’s abilities. Due to a disagreement and a mishap, they end up in pre-Arthurian England where they get their fair share of adventure trying to get home and learn about the true origins of the myth of wizards.

– What type of short fiction do you write?

My short fiction ranges in length from 60 to about 8,000 words. Some of it is science fiction, some of it is horror, much of it is just plain silly, a few are thought-provoking; all of them, though, are character-driven, as the characters are the most important part of any story.

– Who is your favorite character from your latest novel? And why?

I love all my characters, but forced to pick a favorite, I’d have to go with Harold. Harold is this huge, super-cognitive worm that can manipulate the fabric of spacetime with his brain and visualize eleven-dimensional maps, but he acts like a huge puppy. I think it’s hard not to want to scratch his head and call him a good boy.

– Which one of your short stories was the hardest one to write? And why?

I have a hard time writing from the point of view of a woman. As soon as I realized that I was making a great deal of my characters male simply because it’s easier for me to get into their heads, I started trying to make more of my protagonists female, because I like the challenge. I have one short, Tittle Attraction (available on my blog), that was pretty tough for this reason. The narrator wasn’t only a woman, but she was also a lesbian. Getting her voice down was rough, but the harder the character is to write, the more fun I have trying to get it, so it ended up also being one of my favorites.

– Which one of your short stories did you enjoy writing the most?

This is a tough question, because I get a certain amount of satisfaction from having a clever flash fiction idea and sitting down to write it before I even finishing giggling about it (House Rules is a perfect example of this). However, like I said before, I also really love the process of digging around looking for the right way to tell a story. I think, with that in mind, that I probably had the most fun writing The Great Hat Caper and Tittle Attraction of all my short fiction.

– How many short stories would you say you have written so far?

There are about 55 short stories on my blog. I’ve written a few more that can’t be found there, but that’s mostly because they aren’t any good, so I say that they don’t count.

– What advice would you give to other writer that also write short fiction?

My advice to writers is and always has been to write. Stop worrying about how it is going to turn out, stop waiting for the perfect idea, just write and read a lot. If you decided you like some other idea better, you can always put your current project aside, but you can never go back and recapture all the time that you didn’t spend writing.

At first your writing is going to be crap, don’t worry about it. I have a whole novel (possibly two?) and a pile of short stories that will never see the light of day. These stories were not a waste, because I learned about myself and my craft while making them.
Keep writing
, it will get better. If you love writing, it will be worth it.

– From reading your short stories, I can tell the use of dialogue is perfect. Any tips for other writers?

This is going to sound a bit creepy, but I spend a lot of time watching people. Not peeping-through-the-window sort of watching, but when I’maround people I watch them. I listen to how they interact and pay attention to how and when they talk. I think this helps a lot. At the very least it’s entertaining, because people are weird.

So, my advice about dialogue is this: to emulate people’s speech, you must observe people speaking. Also notice how rarely people actually finish their thoughts or speak in full sentences. Sometimes they just…

– What is your latest writing that you are currently working on?

One of my other novels, Molehills of Mountains (currently unpublished), is about a vole that takes on a maniacal cyborg mole, a remnant of the long since passed human wars. The mole has his mind set on the destruction of all the rodents in the valley and Viktor the vole, being a rodent in that valley, doesn’t like that plan. I’m currently writing the sequel, which doesn’t yet have a title other than Neven, which is the name of the protagonist.

– When is your book, Harold and the Purple Wormhole coming out?

That’s a complicated question. I signed my contract with Divertir Publishing back in July. There is some editing and cover designing going on and it all depends on how long that takes. The people at Divertir pride themselves on putting out high quality novels, so it will take a little while still, but the wait will be worth it.
As soon as I know a release date, you can bet it will be all over my blog, twitter, and facebook.

– What genre would you say your writing falls under?

My writing is all over the place. Being a scientifically-minded person, I think that there is a scientific slant to all my fiction, but I would put very little of it squarely in the sci-fi category. Some of it is a bit fantasy, a little of it is horror, some of it masquerades as literary, all of it is kind of strange. I wish “kind of strange” was a genre.

– Who is your favorite author? And why?

This depends on my mood. I can answer with my top three though: Kurt Vonnegut, Christopher Moore, and Stephen King.
The way Stephen King puts words together just works for and inspires me. He is brilliant, and his stories are great, but his manipulation of the language to get into the reader’s head just amazes me.
Kurt Vonnegut is more of an idea man for me, his writing is phenomenal, his characters are ready to crawl off the page, but what really gets to me with Vonnegut are his overall storylines and how wonderful they are.

Christopher Moore… what more is there to say about Mr. Moore. Just go read his novels and you’ll get it. The man is a master.

– What books, besides your own have you read?

I read a good deal. I like to switch it up: sometimes I read horror, sometimes I read science fiction, sometimes I read fantasy, and I love my classics. I’ll read just about any genre as long as its well written and interesting. I also read a fair amount of nonfiction in the form of research.

I’m on Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/33253444-richard-mellinger), if anyone is interested in exactly what books I read. I only joined recently, so it doesn’t have every book I’ve ever read, but I put them on there as I remember.

– Would you say that reading is important for those wanting to be authors one day?

Yes. Reading is critical, there are no two ways about it.

– Where can we find your collection of short stories?

You can find a lot of my short stories on my blog (http://imasillypirate.wordpress.com/). I try to post a new short or comic at least once a week. Often times at 3 pm (PST) on Tuesdays. There is also one piece of my flash fiction that was featured on SaturdayNightReader.com onJune 17th.

– Where can all of us readers buy your book that is being published by Divertir Publishing?

Divertir sells books on their website (http://www.divertirpublishing.com/) and on Amazon.

I’ll post on my blog and twitter when I know a release date.

– Are there any other books you are working on? If so, can you tell us a about them?

Aside from the sequel to Molehills of Mountains that I mentioned above, there is another novel in the works. Eponym has been written and is in the beta reader phase now. In Eponym, an attempt to combat global warming by Dr Alexandros Florian goes horribly wrong and turns the earth into a desert. The novel is the story of his son, who shares his name, trying to survive in the remnants of society several years later.

–  Your characters come to life right off the pages! How did you write such stunning yet realistic characters?

Thanks! That is, in my opinion, one of the greatest compliments that you can pay a writer! As I stated before, I do a lot of people-watching, which helps, I think.

Also, when writing, it is beneficial to remember that though your story may only need some characters to do something very specific, allplayers in your story are still characters. They have a back story, they have a family, they have friends and aspirations, and most importantly, the story that they are living is not usually centered around the protagonist of the story you are writing, but around themselves. I make up back stories about anyone that I mention specifically in my writing… and people that I pass on the street… and random people that I follow on twitter… I think I have a problem...
My point is, though, that
every character has a story. Even though most of it doesn’t explicitly spill out onto the page, it’s there and I think that helps each and every character to feel more real.
I also recycle some of my characters. In most cases, nobody but me notices their presence, because I often don’t even use their names, b
ut they are there. Some of them are more obvious though, for example, Dr. Conroy is mentioned in Tittle Attraction as are the two main characters from Distinct Impression. Some characters will be in the limelight, others will play out their existence in the background, but they are all important.

– Did you always know that you wanted to be an author? 

I have always been a story teller, and I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that the creativity of a human mind can create or destroy entire universes within itself. I started writing on and off just after high school, but it was mostly for me, and a large majority of stuff I started at that time was never finished. I never really considered the idea that anyone (aside from my sister) might actually want to read anything I write until years later.

Now, though, I can’t imagine my life without writing.