Who is Azazel?

Azazel is the lead villain in my next Brodie Wade novel, but he is a bit of a mystery. Those in Christian circles have heard of angels like Gabriel, and Michael. And note their -el extensions on their names. Those are important! In Hebrew, their names reflected some attribute of God.

  •  Michael — Micha-el — “Who is like God?” or “The splendor of God”
  • Gabriel — Gabri-el — “The strength of God.”
  • Israel — Isra-el — “Triumphant with God”

My own name, Hanel, is Czech but can be traced back to Hebrew origins. In Hebrew, it was pronounced more like “Haniel” — “The joy/grace of God.”

So what does this have to do with our latest bad guy? Everything. A name is a very, very powerful thing!

  • Azazel — Azaz-el — “The rugged one of God” (or “The rugged place of God”, in some circles. Keep reading.)

Azazel is only mentioned once in all of scripture, and even then, his name his hidden, and you have to know to look for it. Seriously.

Don’t believe me? Check this out…

Continue reading Who is Azazel?

How much work goes into writing a novel?

Did you ever wonder how much work goes into writing a novel? When I was much younger (and much more naïve), I thought that all I needed to get these stories out of my head and onto paper was a pen and, well, paper. And while that is true, there’s so much more to it.

First, and foremost, there is the sheer volume of time it takes to get those words out to the paper. Let’s take the average novel length — about 75,000 words. Let’s say it takes an average of one second just to type that word. That comes out to twenty hours of constant, non-stop, fingers pressing keys.

But we don’t just get to sit and type. We have to take time to create our world and characters and to truly know them. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I type at least 10,000 words for each major character to describe their back story, current life and plot progression through the story, and it takes me four or five times as long because I have a lot of pauses between each sentence. If a given book has 5 big characters, then that’s another 50, 000 words at over forty-eight hours of nothing-but-typing. And that doesn’t count the minor characters.

Continue reading How much work goes into writing a novel?

Fort Reiley Giveaway (Free ebook!)

To celebrate getting back into the game (and to generate some buzz), I’m giving away Kindle copies of Fort Reiley for TODAY ONLY. You can get your copy by downloading it from amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NRD8R7U

Hey! It’s FREE! What do you have to lose?

Please share this with friends and family to get the word out.


Surprise! (I’m back)

After some much-needed time away, I think I’m ready to jump into writing again. God has been good to me over the past two years (wow, has it been that long!?!). I have traveled, I have worked, I have served and I have grown as a person and as a writer.

And now, I think it is time to dust of my pencil and keyboard and get back to creating worlds and expressing the truths that I have within. I have so much to say now!! It is incredible.

What can you expect from me? A book a week? Ten new worlds? A thousand new characters?

Continue reading Surprise! (I’m back)

Where have you gone?

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. From author interviews to just regular blog posts, you may think I’ve fallen off the planet. I have, of sorts.

I have pushed hard to get Fort Reiley released, published and publicized. Several months later, and I am bruised and tired. Putting all of my energy into the books has been an interesting project, and I have many plans and dreams. But right now, God has put other things on my heart that are taking precedence.

Continue reading Where have you gone?

Author Interview with Victorine E. Lieske

Today we are talking with New York Times Best Selling Author Victorine E. Lieske about her latest book Accidentally Married. Victorine has written several novels and short stories, and is a self-published superstar.


Good morning. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

Hi Jerry! I’m thrilled to do this interview with you.

You and I first met just prior to your initial release, Not What she Seems. I believe you helped me critique my first story on a website called Critique Circle. You were far gentler than many that critiqued my story, but you were right on the money with your advice. For new writers who have yet to take that first big step, how important is that kind of honest, blood-and-guts critique process?

I’m so happy you asked this question, because I feel strongly that the gritty critique process is essential to finding success in the book selling world. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s often painful. But you come out of it a much better writer, and your books are a million times better. I highly recommend Critique Circle for those who haven’t found a local critique group. It’s free, and the system over there works really well. And, like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you’re not very active over there, you won’t get as much out of it, so I’d tell anyone thinking of joining in to jump in with both feet. You learn just as much, if not more, from giving out critiques as you do from getting them.

Your first book, Not What She Seems, was an absolute hit. It landed on the New York Times best seller list, and for good reason. It was a very good book. How has being on this prestigious list changed your world?

You know, I was so surprised when the book hit the NYT’s best seller list. It hadn’t been that long since the New York Times had started tracking eBook sales, and the indie world was a buzz about it. The biggest disappointment was the small print at the bottom of the list that had said they wouldn’t count self-published books. So, when I found out it had made it, I was truly shocked. It really hasn’t changed much about me, it’s just really fun to be able to put on my books. Plus, people take my advice a little more seriously. That’s pretty much all that’s changed.

You’ve since published a young-adult, science-fiction/romance story called The Overtaking and a couple short stories based in that world. Has your trip through Science Fiction been well received by your fans?

I really love The Overtaking. It sits close to my heart. Unfortunately, my fans aren’t as in love with the idea of a world being taken over by another race, and the love affair that happens between two members of the opposite races as I am. 🙂 I have sold a few, and gained a few solid fans of the work, but it doesn’t sell nearly as well as my other novels. (Which I also love, and are dear to my heart. Whew, can’t have favorites, you know. They are like children!)

A few joint ventures later, and you have two new novels — Accidentally Married and Reluctantly Married. I’m not sure what genre these officially fall in. I like to call them Family-Friendly Romance books. They are romance novels, but not in the smutty way most people think. I, personally, really appreciate the kind of romance you generate in your stories. These seem to be going back to your roots, much more reminiscent of Not What She Seems. Is this the genre you are most comfortable with?

Thank you for saying they are Family-Friendly. I love romance, without the bedroom scenes, and I love being able to write whatever I like and share my passion for the sweet romance genre. I would put Accidentally Married and Reluctantly Married firmly in the Romantic Comedy genre. They really do read like a fun, lighthearted Rom-Com movie you’d go see with your girlfriends. (Or wife, if you’re a guy.) When I was writing Accidentally Married, my main goal was to make my writer’s group laugh when I read my chapter out loud. My favorite moment was when I had all the ladies in the room laughing so hard they were searching in their purses for tissues. That was great fun.

Accidentally Married focuses on the plight of a woman who shows up for a supposed job interview and ends up in a family situation that is over her head. What things led up to this idea in your mind?

I actually came up with the title before I wrote the book. The title came into my mind, and I thought, “How fun would it be to think of a plot in which the characters think they are faking a wedding for their family, but their family finds out about it and turns it into a real wedding.” It was great fun to form a plot around the title, and come up with crazy characters to fit the book.

When writing these kinds of romance stories, what is the number one thing you have to keep in mind as you are going through the writing process?

I always want to have plenty of attraction and tension in each scene. I also want my readers to laugh, so I try to find things that will bring on a giggle. But the whole thing can’t be funny, I like to put some serious bits in as well, to bring in some emotion. I try to put all of that into the book to make it a good read for my fans.

When you get to the end of the story, is there an overall theme that you want your readers to walk away with?

I don’t think too much about themes. My main goal is to have my readers walk away sighing because the characters professed their love, and the ending needs to have that satisfying “Ah,” moment. Yeah, it’s probably a girl thing. If there ends up to be a theme, it usually is by accident.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Before I let you go, I like to wind up on a lighter note. Humor me for just a moment: If you were an automobile — anything from a semi-truck to a moped — what kind of motorized vehicle would you be?

What an interesting question! Well, I’d have to say I’d be a Hybrid. I’m cheating, because I have a Ford Fusion Hybrid and I love that car. I love it for silly reasons. I keep my key in my purse and my car unlocks when I touch the handle, and it starts just by pushing a button. I love that I don’t have to dig my keys out of my purse. Plus, I can never leave my purse anywhere because my car won’t run without the key nearby. Silly, I know.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.



For more information on Victorine E. Lieske, you can check out the links below.


Author Interview With Sarah Lonelodge

Book CoverToday we are talking with Sarah Lonelodge about her latest book To The Everlasting. Sarah is a new author, but her writing has struck a chord with hundreds of people already, and I see her future as someone to watch.

Hello. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview.

Hello. Thanks for having me.
I understand that you are a relatively new author. Everyone has their own memories of being “newly published”, from terror to joy. How would you describe the process of publishing your first book?
It was an amazing whirlwind of excitement and fear because it all happened so fast. I submitted my manuscript to Karen at Books-A-Daisy Publishing, and we went through a few rounds of editing over as many weeks. That was exciting. The fear came in when I realized that people would actually be able to read this really intimate thing that I wrote and that some of them may not like it or understand it. That really hit me the day it was published, but overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

Continue reading Author Interview With Sarah Lonelodge

VIDEO Interview With Judi Coltman

Today we have a VIDEO interview with none other than Judi Coltman. Judi is the author of a humor book as well as two mystery/thrillers. Often compared to Erma Bombeck, Coltman sees the humor in the absurdity of everyday life and then tells anyone who will listen, as we will probably see today.

coverIf you signed up to receive Judi Coltman’s latest novel, hold your breath and check out the name below:

  • Carolyn Smith Sellers

This person will be receiving instructions to get their copy of Judi’s latest novel via email.


If you want to win free copies, register here and mark the “Interview with…” checkbox for the interview you wish to enter.
10806186_10203844346487922_2779643462051745412_nFor more information on Judi Coltman, you can check out the links below.


Next week’s Interview: Sarah Lonelodge.

If you want to win one of her amazing novels, put your name in the hat, now.

Cover image from Flickr

Author Interview With Bruce Fottler

PaladinEbookCover-smToday we are talking with Bruce Fottler about his latest book Paladin’s Odyssey. Bruce has written several five-star-rated novels including Dover Park and Chasing Redemption.


Good morning, Bruce. It’s good to talk with you today.

Thanks! I really appreciate this opportunity and your willingness to host these interviews.

In your latest book, Paladin’s Odyssey, you venture into a post-apocalyptic world where your main character has to help rebuild the fabric of society while hiding his own sins. I know that several events in my own life have led to some of my best plot mechanics. What events in your own life led you to build this character?

Not so much events in my own life — I can’t say I’ve ever been through an apocalyptic event — but of those from history, particularly in the Bible. As a kid, I was taught about all the “heroes” of the Bible in Sunday School. They often took on a superhero-like persona, which looking back I feel was an unfortunate portrayal. In reality, most were ordinary people with many of the same problems and personalities that we have. They found themselves thrust into extraordinary circumstances, stumbling, rising, overcoming while wrestling with their own weaknesses.

So true. I think we do people a disservice by not being as real about their flaws as their accomplishments. So, if the world of your story is a bit dark, how do you see the future of this world?

That’s a difficult one to answer. If some sort of global cataclysm doesn’t change our current track, as it did in Paladin’s Odyssey, I tend to think that our future could follow what’s in my novel “Chasing Redemption.” In that backdrop, the American economy eventually collapsed, taking the rest of the world down with it. A new, more global-centric economy rose from the financial chaos and there was a golden age of prosperity. Business drove the priorities, probably far more so than they do today.

I’m actually quite curious. Can you tell me how plot and overall story come into being?

It was something that I thought about every time I saw a movie with an apocalyptic event, and there have been quite a few of these made over the years. I would often ponder on their premises, finding most of them to be a bit too far-fetched or just plain cheesy. Hey, I can enjoy a good zombie flick, or some great CG mass-destruction eye-candy, but most of these movies left me yearning for a more plausible premise.

Then I remembered the Spanish Flu of 1918. It killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, which was a staggering number for that era, especially since World War I was still raging. Yet the world seemed to shrug it off and move on. That got me wondering – if something similar happened today, how would it play out? Would our world be able to handle it, particularly since we seem primed to panic over something much smaller?

You know the media has been reporting a tough flu season, and the current vaccines aren’t really effective. I hear that this sounds familiar to you. How so?

[laughs] It’s spooky. I saw this news story a couple of weeks ago. It was kinda freaky, as though the backdrop of Paladin’s Odyssey was starting to unfold in front of my eyes, right down to the month and year. I seriously doubt that it’ll lead to extremes like martial law by March, but if for some bizarre reason it does, it’ll be tragic that I can’t change professions to make a fortune predicting the stock market before it goes away.

Some people write for a paycheck, while others do it for the love of the craft or to fulfill a promise to a loved one. Can you tell me what drives you to get up and write?

While I can certainly use the paycheck, I’ve found that writing is far more fulfilling than what I used to do. My former professional life somewhat resembled the movie “Office Space.” I always had to be on top of those TPS cover-sheets while protecting my stapler. Nah, it actually wasn’t that bad, but I always wondered if the screenplay writer spent some time at the company I worked for.

Also, I dabbled in writing/directing/producing film shorts.

That’s awesome.

Nothing spectacular or I’d be in Hollywood right now, but I was always wrestling with all the frustrating limitations in that medium. Budget, equipment, and technological shortcomings always restricted the story. Writing, on the other hand, is like directing a movie with limitless resources.

They say your main character is a reflection of some aspect of ourselves. For example, Brodie Wade is the timid, scared part of me that would rather read a book than go out to a social situation. Is Joseph Paladin some aspect of your personality?

I like to think that Joesph Paladin represents an identity that many of us would be tempted to take on so people would think better of us. Walter Johnson took on his identity and ended up crafting a new, heroic reputation with it. It allowed him to leave behind a narcissistic life in which he perpetrated some questionable acts.

How far did you have to “reach” to get us from our comfortable homes and lives to establish this new vision of the world?

When facing the collapse of almost everything, my main character said it best: [opens Paladin’s Odyssey]

“I was consumed by the thought that I couldn’t survive in a world without convenience. I knew nothing of being a survivalist and never watched those outdoor reality shows on television. The closest relevant experience I had was a couple of years I spent as a Cub Scout. I was nothing more than a spoiled, middle-class kid raised in the suburbs. I needed my car, my electricity, well stocked grocery stores, drive through service, and my data-phone. There was little doubt it was all slipping away. I sat and wondered when the electricity would finally go out.”

Things get pretty grim before it gets better.

And finally… I like to end with one question that’s a bit out there. If you were a clown, what would your face paint look like?

Clowns? Um… all I can picture is that creepy “Pennywise” from Stephen King’s “It.” I suppose if you’re going to freak people out, you might as well go the distance and leave a scar.


Well, thank you for being with me today. I appreciate your time, and I look forward to finishing your book.

No problem. Thank you for having me on your blog.

Unfortunately, no one signed up to receive Bruce’s ebook.

If you want to win free copies, sign up for my newsletter and mark the “Interviews” checkbox. (You can always unsubscribe later)

BruceFottlerPressPic2014For more information on Bruce Fottler, you can check out the links below.


Next week’s Interview: A video Interview with Judi Coltman. If you want to win one of her amazing novels, put your name in the hat, now.

Brodie Wade Book #3 – Azazel Has a Child, Chapter 2

I’ve been working hard this week on BW#3. Saturday was amazing. I was able to get TWO complete chapters down, which puts me at 11 really solid chapters.

To celebrate, I’m releasing Chapter 2 of AHAC. Again, please remember that this is a draft release. Typos and plot changes are SURE to exist in here. If you can’t handle that, don’t read this. Just wait until I publish the full book.

June 15, 20003-AHAC_small13

Private Investigator, Brodie Wade sat on a cool cement bench several feet away from the smooth marble slab embedded in the dirt. The foggy essence known as The Truth had long-since left him. Instead, he came here to talk to the dead, but no longer expected answers. At least, not from the heartless, threatening visages. With his visions gone, he had turned his skills at finding facts and people into a different form of making a living. He had acquired his private investigator’s license and now solved his cases with hard work and lots of thinking. He stooped and wiped the leaves and dirt from the marble. Etched deep in the stone was the name of a long-time friend.

Det. Phillip Jonathan Dawson
Born: July 21, 1965
Died: December 17, 2010

The warm summer wind rustled the leaves of the nearby trees and soothed Brodie’s nerves. Brodie often sat on this bench, donated by the Fraternal Brotherhood of Police in Phil’s honor. He could come out here to talk with Phil about his latest cases, and to just settle his nerves. Especially when he and Jamie were fighting. Most days they were like cinnamon and apples. You couldn’t rip them apart if you tried, and they worked in unison as though they were meant to always be together. But then there were days like today. The oil and water days.
Following a huge blowout that morning, and seeking some answers, Brodie drove through his lunch hour, well into one o’clock. He had stopped at Dougal’s Coffee Emporium and picked up his friend’s favorite blend, then worked his way here where he could tell his troubles to the one man that had never let him down. Not that Brodie wanted answers. He just needed to talk, out loud, in a place where no one would judge him.
“I screwed up, Phil,” Brodie said. “She wants kids, and I told her no.” He placed a cup of coffee near the headstone. “Here. Thought you could use a warm one. It’s been a while.”
Brodie loved Jamie. She was his everything. But he wasn’t ready to bring new life into this world, especially one that may be tormented like he had been. Maybe if they could talk about it over dinner, he could present his point of view. She was a very calm, rational woman. She would understand. Adoption might be a valid path. But to have a baby of their own? No. He couldn’t.
Sitting back, he let his thoughts traverse back to the yelling match that still rang in his ears. “I don’t want any child to go through what I’ve been through. I mean, I know The Truth is genetic. Did I tell you about the day you died? About the nut-case that shot you? He saw what I used to see because he had my DNA. What if the child that I bring into this world has my problem? I couldn’t do that to a kid. To my kid. What if they had to deal with everything I used to be? What if I made them crazy?” Brodie let the thought drift away on the summer breeze. Fear and anger mixed in his chest and constricted at his throat.
He looked down at the polished marble block that denoted to whom the bench had been dedicated. Amidst the etchings, his reflection stared back at him. His hair now cut short, and his face clean-shaven, but he was still the same emotional cripple that hadn’t been able to stop the madman from killing his friend.
Brodie rested his forehead in the palms of his hands. “I can’t do this, Phil. I can’t have kids. Even though I don’t see things any more, I still feel broken inside. Somewhere in there I’m still locked away in the Garrett Institution. The big white walls. The cold, sterile sheets. I’m that kid in this big, crazy, messed-up world and I don’t know what to do.”
Several birds fluttered from the trees, flying off into the distance as a car blared its horn. He wanted to be one of those birds, soaring away on the wind. There were days when he just wanted to go anywhere but here.
“Two and a half years,” Brodie whispered. “So much has changed since you died. I have almost everything in life I’ve ever wanted. I have a great wife and in-laws that I love. They treat me like their own flash-and-blood son. They accept me just as I am, quirks and all. Jamie had me cut my hair, shave, and try a more professional image for our business. My face is plastered on billboards all over the city. Don’t ask how much that cost. I’m still not sure how we’ll pay the bill for it. The gold from the statue ran out sometime last year. And still, I feel like I’m sitting on the edge of insanity, but in a completely different way, now.” He leaned forward and picked up a rock near the base of the bench, rubbing the polished white stone with his thumb. “You know, I almost wish that I could see those things again. At least then I’d have an excuse for some of the ways I feel.”
A loud, cheerful tune erupted from Brodie’s jeans pocket, ripping him from his thoughts. He retrieved the phone and stared at the name on the caller ID. Jamie.
“Hey, J,” he said as he pressed it to his ear.
“Hey.” Her voice was soft, almost an apology in itself. “Are you okay?”
Brodie took a deep breath before answering. ‘Okay’ could be a relative state, right? He ran his fingers through his short-cut hair. It had been six months since he cut it for his new private investigator promotional advertising, but it still felt weird. He didn’t feel like himself anymore.
“B? You there?” Jamie asked.
“Yeah. I’m fine. I just needed to talk to someone. You know, clear my head.”
She didn’t say anything. He closed his eyes, bearing through the ominous silence that always followed their fights. She could be incredibly stubborn. “Look, I’ll be back at the office soon. Just give me a few minutes, okay? I need to sort some things out, then I’ll be ready to work again. Like nothing ever happened.”
“Promise?” she sniffed.
Brodie smiled. They had agreed when they were first married that they would never use the word “promise” lightly. And they would never break a promise to each other. Promises were sacred, holy, immovable things. “Yeah, hon. I promise. Good as new. Just give me some time.”
“Okay. I love you, B. I’m sorry. You know I don’t want to press you into something you don’t want.”
Brodie opened his eyes and drew a long, relaxing breath. Those words always held him captivated. To know that she loved him was all he really needed. As he thought about it, that’s why he was here, to sort out if he’d wounded her beyond loving him any more. He resolved right there that he’d talked enough to Phil. He would get no better answer today.
“I love you too, J. I just needed time to cool off. Don’t worry. I’m fine and I’m on my way back right now.”
“Okay. Thank you.” Jamie inhaled a deep breath. “We have Mrs. Connor coming in at two this afternoon. Will you be here for her, or should I take that meeting?”
Brodie stopped cold. A set of black loafers appeared on Phil’s headstone. They didn’t step onto it. They didn’t walk up. They were simply there. He looked up to see the person wearing the loafers — a heavy-set man, dressed ina cheap gray suit and a white shirt. The man smiled down at him with a friendly stare, as though they knew each other.
But… they did know each other.
Their eyes locked, and he found it difficult to speak. His breath wouldn’t come out. “J, I have to call you back. Someone’s here.”
“Who? Where are you?”
“I’m talking to Phil. Gotta go.” He pressed the disconnect button before she could respond and scrambled away from the bench, nearly falling over it as he did. There was no way this balding, red-headed man could be standing right there. It wasn’t possible.
He was dead.
“Hey, bud. Long time, no see,” Phil said.


Poor Brodie has been so tortured in his life. I almost feel sorry for what’s about to befall him.

Author of the Brodie Wade Series and Fort Reiley. Stop in and say hello.

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