Category Archives: Guest Blogs and Interviews

Author Interview with Brent Nichols

Hello again everyone. It has been quite a while since I hosted an author interview. With that in mind, I went out searching for some of the best independent authors out there. I have several interviews lined up for the coming weeks, and I hope that you appreciate them all.

Today, I would like to introduce you all to Brent Nichols, author of Lord of Fire

Author: Brent Nichols
Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis:
It was a simple assignment. Deliver a little blue orb to the monastery at Boot Mountain. But no one told Brother Godfrey that the orb was the key to unimaginable power. No one told him that others would be coming after it.

For that matter, no one told him about the demonic guardians, either.

He never intended to assemble a team, but they kept showing up. A witch without any powers. A bearman who just wanted to be liked. A stableboy with dreams of adventure. Together they will face powerful and desperate men, men who will kill, and worse, to possess the orb.

And then there’s the squirrel. The one with the glowing red eyes. It’s hunting them.

They are an unlikely group of heroes, but they are the only thing standing between an unsuspecting world and the devastating rise of the Lord of Fire.

So, let’s get started. Good morning, Brent. 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?

Compulsion? Obsession? Lack of other marketable skills? I’ve been pursuing the dream of authorial success for so long that I can’t really imagine stopping. If I had to sum it up, I would say that I write because I’m a writer.

I love story telling, and I love the idea that people will be entertained by my stories. Complete strangers will spend hours caught up in worlds of my imagining, caring about people I invented.

What is the first book that you can remember having a true impact on you?

Treasure Island is probably the first book that really captivated me. The adventure, the exotic strangeness of it all, the exciting story that was so different from my dull, ordinary life. I loved that book.

What is one quirky thing about yourself… something that no one outside of your friends and family might know?

I did stand-up comedy for 10 years. I never make a living at it, but it was a really cool, occasionally lucrative hobby.

What is your current project about?

I’m writing a novel about a kingdom with a very bad king and the desperate men who decide to depose him. It’s loaded with action, but it is also a serious examination about how we become who we are, and the degree to which we can choose what kind of person we become. I took a lot of my inspiration from stores like The Prisoner of Zenda and The Man in the Iron Mask. What happens when a king gets replaced? I look at some serious issues, but I’m also keeping the tone of swashbuckling adventure that made those stories so much fun to read.

How did the plot and overall story for that project come into being?

On the one hand, I was inspired by classic adventure stories. At the same time, I’m fascinated by the nature of identity. I wanted to tell the story of two young men, each of whom could be King, and how each of them is changed by responsibility and pressure.

Do you have any other projects on the burner somewhere (that you can talk about)?

I want to write a classic sword and sorcery trilogy in the time-honoured style of Tolkien and Tad Williams. Not a single word has been written, but I’m working on characters and plot lines in my mind.

Quick!… without thinking, what are the first five words that come to mind?

Sorry, dude, I got nothin’.

What do you think those five words say about your personality?

I’m an incurable smart-Alec, even under pressure.

Haha… Okay, then, do you have any pets? Can you tell us about them?

No pets. I would love to have a cat, but I can’t persuade my wife that it’s a good idea.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions. Before I let you go, I have one more question. If the world were to one day have your name as a household name (aside from your writing career) what would you want to be known for?

Writing is really the only area where I can see myself becoming well-known. I would like to be known as an entertainer, someone who made people laugh, someone who provided excitement and drama and entertainment.


If you would like to know more about Brent, you can find his book on Amazon or Smashwords.

Author Interview with Jack Murphy

Good morning, everyone! I’m still hard at work at my day job, so writing has been difficult for me. Luckily I’ve found a couple more people who were willing to sit with me to do an author interview to keep the blog going. I promise to get more writing done very soon… as soon as I can work a normal day instead of 12-hour days.

Until then, let me introduce you all to Jack Murphy, author of PROMIS.


PROMIS
Tell us about yourself. Who is Jack Murphy?

Up until a year ago I was a Staff Sergeant in the US Army, having served in 3rd Ranger Battalion and 5th Special Forces Group. I spent eight years in Army Special Operations to include three combat deployments. While in the Rangers, I held several duty positions to include Anti-Tank Gunner, Sniper, and Team Leader. In Special Forces, I was the senior Weapons Sergeant (18B) on a Military Free Fall team. As the senior 18B it was my responsibility to be the chief adviser and trainer to an Iraqi SWAT team. In 2010, I decided to part ways with the military and am now pursuing a degree in International Business.

How long have you been writing, and what have you learned from it?

I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, mostly just short stories that I would share with friends. I’ve learned a lot from the research I have conducted for short stories and novel, uncovering military operations that Americans are completely unaware of. This is especially true of the Special Forces missions carried out by South African and Rhodesian forces during the 1970’s and 1980’s. I think the act of writing, in of itself, has taught me how much work really goes into creating a quality piece of work and has given me that much more respect for those who do it for a living.

Do you ever find yourself lost in your writing world trying to figure out some plot or action scene?

Sometimes. I think what tends to trip me up the most is figuring out how to reconcile history with my fictional reality. What I write could be thought of as “contemporary historical fiction” as it has a heavy basis in fact. When I find black holes or gaps in official history is where I feel free to exploit unknowns and insert my own plot devices. This is where things get tricky and I often find myself lost in another reality, trying to fit the puzzle pieces together.

What is your latest book about?

“PROMIS” is a short story that follows the trajectory of Sean Deckard, a soldier serving with the very secretive Studies and Observations Group (SOG) in the Vietnam war. SOG conducted highly classified cross border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam, executing prisoner snatches, search and destroy, intelligence gathering missions, and other various activities. Sean’s Recon Team gets paired with a CIA funded scientist who has a few ideas that could end the Vietnam War and together they discover far more than they bargained for.

Do you have any new projects that you can talk about?

I have a proof reader going over my novel, “Reflexive Fire” which takes place in current times. You can sample both PROMIS and RF at my blog, about two thirds of a rough cut of the novel is there for free. Currently, I’m doing research on the Rhodesian Special Air Service for the second issue of PROMIS. I intend to write a series that follows Sean’s career as a mercenary, fighting the dirty little wars the happened in the twilight of the Cold War.

What’s one thing that you think your readers “expect” from your work?

First and foremost, I think they expect a great story. Secondly, they want a reasonable degree of realism and plausibility. Readers want to see the details and expect writers not to do a hatchet job on military units or on history itself. In addition, I try to provide both tactical details and plot elements that even jaded readers have never seen before.

Do you use social media (Facebook, twitter, etc.)? If so, how often do you post, and what do you post about?

I am on Facebook and post once and a while. Overall, I don’t care much for social media, I guess because it strikes me as kind of superficial. I suppose it’s rare for someone my age (late 20’s) but at the moment I don’t even own a cell phone or have cable tv and I like it that way! I do have a blog which I’ve found myself having more fun with than I had ever expected. I think the most surprising thing about having a blog is all the cool people you get to meet. I’ve posted a lot of pictures from my deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq as well as commentary on other military issues. You can take a look and sample my writing at: http://reflexivefire.wordpress.com/

I enjoy books from so many different genres — from Christian fiction, to fantasy, to the paranormal. But when I look back at my choices, I see that there’s always a dark theme to them. What is one theme that you enjoy reading?

The deus ex machina theme, or plot device rather, is something I find myself drawn to again and again. The idea that one person, talented and determined enough, can save the day is always something that resonated with me. To me it’s also an expression of rugged individualism. It means that the individual matters and is more important than a collective that is, by it’s nature, incapable of making rational decisions.

Does this theme make it into your writing? Can you give us an example?

Absolutely. My characters often work in teams, be they military or freelancers, but they are teams of individuals who find a mutual benefit in working towards the same goals. My writing supports the idea that an individual human being matters and that one person can make a difference by doing something that has never been done before.

Thank you for your time. Before I let you go, I have one last question: If you could have any meal, with any spread across the table, what would it be?

I would settle for a nice juicy hamburger and fries. What can I say, I’m easy to please.

Author Interview with Kevin Domenic

Before I get started, I have to give full disclosure. While I enjoy many of the books I blog about, I am a HUGE fan of Kevin Domenic. His writing is very clean and his trilogy is very compelling.

A couple of days ago I had the chance to interview Mr. Domenic and here is what he had to say…


Key to the Stars Alliance of Serpents Eye of the Tornado

How did you come up with the plot crisis for Arus? Was it an analogy for something in your own life?

To an extent. I’ve always defined Arus’ character as “the person I wish I was.” There are things in my own life that have shaped who I am in a negative way. I can be a bit of a cynical pessimist at times, so I wanted Arus to be the exact opposite. In essence, I was writing my own role model. From there, the story kind of built itself around him.

Were any real-life people the inspirations behind any of your characters?

I guess Arus’ mother is a lot like my own. But other than that, not really. Not in The Fourth Dimension series, anyway. I wrote another book years ago where I defined the main male character as “the person I really am.” But that book needs a lot of editing and rewriting before I’ll be ready to share it. For The Fourth Dimension, most of my inspiration came from movies, video games, and oddly enough, WWE wrestling. The Undertaker’s character, in particular, provided some inspiration for Kitreena’s more cold-blooded moments.

I found the space scenes just as full-fledged and believable as the village scenes. Were any real-life settings the inspiration behind any of the scenes in the book?

Until just a few years ago, we had a beach house at Point Pleasant Beach in New Jersey. I used to go there every summer, and the thunderstorms there were amazing because you get such a clear view of the sky. I always felt that would be a cool backdrop for an epic battle scene. So at the end of Eye of the Tornado, I used that setting to start out the final battle.

Oh, and for the record, what you see on TV is NOT an accurate representation of the Jersey shore.

How old were you when you started writing the 4th Dimension series, and how long did it take you to write three full-length novels?

I started writing the first one when I was fourteen years old. I never envisioned writing as a career back then; it was more of a hobby. It wasn’t until I was twenty-two years old, working full time and attending community college, that I really made the decision that I wanted to pursue this as a career. I had written a few books outside of The Fourth Dimension, but I knew I wanted this story to be my “baby.” So I took the basics of the original manuscript and completely rewrote the story, this time dividing what was once a single book into three. I started work on that sometime in early 2006, I think. Between going to work full-time, school part time, and trying to make time for the lady in my life, I didn’t get much done.

In May of 2007, I got laid off from my job. I had built up a bit of a savings, so I decided to take the rest of 07 off and dedicate every day to those books. I finished the early drafts just before Christmas that year. At that time, my goal was to send them to traditional print publishers. But after sending out over a hundred submissions and receiving plenty of those rejection letters that we all love, I found myself getting a bit discouraged. My fiance was friends with Anne Rice online, and she convinced her to read a couple chapters for me. Anne told her that she saw no reason I shouldn’t be published and suggested self-publishing through Kindle and Smashwords. A few years later, and here we are!

Wow… so, did you have any problems keeping the facts straight across all three books over such a long timeframe?

Oh yeah! I usually type little notes to myself at the bottom of the document, but this time I had to create a whole separate text file for all the different storyline and character threads that I was weaving. It was the only way that I could remember where and when I wanted to bring them together.

Who was the most difficult character to write?

I would have to say Kindel was the toughest to write. I believe that every good villain needs to honestly believe that he or she is actually the hero. Though I’m a big fan of Star Wars, I never understood how the Sith could follow an ideology called the “Dark Side.” That’s pretty much proclaiming yourself to be evil. And evil, by its very definition, is wrong. It doesn’t make sense.

Take the different world leaders out there. Most of them, though we may not agree with them, honestly believe that they are acting in the best interest of their countries and their people. It’s the clashing of those ideologies that causes conflict. That’s what I wanted to recreate. The difficulty came in writing a convincing viewpoint that I personally don’t agree with. That was hard.

Do you have any new projects in the works that we (ahem, I) can look forward to purchasing?

Always. I’m currently writing something completely different from The Fourth Dimension. It’s a Christian young adult book, which I realize won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. My intention is to show how the negative events of our lives help us to grow and mature. Don’t worry, though. This isn’t going to be something you’d find on the Lifetime Movie Channel. Aside from that, I have two other books that need revisiting. And there’s much more to come from The Fourth Dimension, too.

Are you a member of any online or real-world writing groups?

Actually, for any indie authors interested in connecting with each other, there’s a group on Facebook that I just joined called “Indie Writers Unite.” Everyone has been really friendly and helpful so far, and I think it will be a good place for advice and support from others!

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_182561635089661

Do you use any other social media?

Oh yeah. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, myspace, Digg, Stumbleupon, and a number of others. I’m most active on facebook, though. I actually have three separate facebook pages. There’s one for me, one for The Fourth Dimension series, and one for my Retail Ramblings blog. Links to all of my sites can be found on my website, http://kevindomenic.blogspot.com. Just scroll down a bit and you’ll see them listed on the right sidebar.

The website is fairly new, so there’s not much in the way of real content yet. But I guarantee that there’s lots of great stuff to come! I’ll be posting blogs, updates on my work, random thoughts, and maybe even an author interview or two. Know anyone that might be interested? (hint, hint)

Where can my readers find more of your work?

Currently, I’m self-published on amazon.com, Smashwords.com, and most other ebook sites like Barnes & Noble and Sony’s Reader Store.

I also run a humor blog about experiences with crazy customers during my 11 years of retail work. It’s called Retail Ramblings, and can be found here: http://retail-ramblings.blogspot.com

On Smashwords, I’m currently running a Buy 1 get 1 50% Off sale on The Fourth Dimension books! Details can be found here: http://tfdworlds.blogspot.com/2011/03/sale-buy-1-get-1-half-off.html

Do you intend to continue writing more books in the Fourth Dimension world? Or do you think that storyline has run its course?

Arus and his friends have only just begun to explore the stars. There’s plenty more to come! I hope to begin work on Volume IV later this year once I finish my current project. I’m not sure how long the series will run, but I’ve got the basic plots for the next three volumes planned out.

And for something totally frivolous. Describe the perfect meal. What food makes do you crave at the mere mention of the name?

*chuckles* If you’d asked me that a couple of weeks ago, I would’ve said the boneless buffalo wings from Longhorn Steakhouse! But I just found out they discontinued them, and thus, my reason for eating there. A piece of me died inside on that day.

But at home, it’s anything with Frank’s Red Hot sauce! My fiancé created a dish that I really love. It’s a breaded chicken breast with hot sauce and Italian seasoning mixed into the bread crumbs. It’s my favorite!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions and for humoring a fan.

 

An Author/Character Interview Combination

Today, I’ve got a very special treat for you. We are interviewing Jennifer Rainey, Author of These Hellish Happenings. But it seems that Jack Bentley, one of her characters, has opted to sit in on the interview. I figured it would be a good chance for us to get to know both of them, so I asked them both several questions.


Jerry: What was the most challenging part of working with this character?

Jennifer: The most challenging part of working with Jack Bentley was taking into consideration his age. I never outright say it in the book, but he was born 1366. Not only that, but as a vampire, he’s been about twenty-five for over six centuries. It was a balancing act; I had to think about his age, his experience, how he would be jaded in certain ways, but at the same time, I had to make him relatable and human and think about how he would react to the situations in the book that are entirely new to him.

Jerry: So, Jack, what do you think Jennifer should have changed about you when they wrote you in?

Jack: I wish I had more of a spine. I mean, I’m not asking to be bloody Superman or whatever, but for Satan’s sake, I feel like I’ve spent half my life running from things. I’m not at all athletic, so I shouldn’t be running this much. Can’t be good for me, I imagine.

Jerry: What are Jack’s most endearing qualities and what are the worst?

Part of what makes Jack endearing is how human he is. He’s not your tall, dark and handsome brooding vampire. He’s not sexy, he’s not mind-numbingly sophisiticated; he’s a slightly dorky, cowardly vamp with an almost obsessive love of music and a few vague hopeless romantic tendencies. But throughout the novel, he begins to overcome his cowardice and his tendency to repress memories he doesn’t want to face, and I think that makes him very likeable, as well.

His worst quality? He’s a complete slob.

Jerry: Do you think you were represented well in her portrayal of you?

Jack: First, I want to say I’m not that messy. There is a system to my… organizational techniques. I just have to remember on what part of the floor I last saw whatever it is I’m looking for.

But yeah, I think I was represented well enough. Jenny certainly dug into my mind a little more than I wanted her to, but in the end, I think it made for a good story. All that probing paid off. … Not… not that kind of prob… you know what I mean.

Jerry: Did you get into arguments with Jack when writing him into the story? How long did it take you to resolve any arguments and get back to the task of getting your story out?

Jennifer: Of course. I unfortunately can’t think of any specific ones at the moment, but he can be very stubborn if he wants to be. Normally we’d work it all out in a day or so, though, and carry on with our work.

Jerry: Jack, from your perspective, what is this story about?

This is a story about me never, ever catching a break. I go through more torture in this novel than all the torture in the Spanish Inquisition combined.

But really, it’s about me going to Hell and working there and getting involved in Hell’s society and politics, which are absolutely nothing short of awful. And I pick up a demon lover along the way, but Jenny told me that’s a spoiler and I shouldn’t talk about it.

Jerry: Jennifer, I guess it’s only fair I ask you the same question. What is this story about from your perspective as the author?

Jennifer: At its core, These Hellish Happenings is dark comedy about a man who has to go to Hell to figure himself out. Jack may not want to admit it himself, but he experiences a kind of rebirth when he goes down to the underworld. The Hell he encounters is far from Dante or the fire and brimstone most think of, and is actually quite a lot like Earth. He finds himself getting wrapped up in the affairs of Hell, in demonic politics, and indeed, even in romance, and through all that, he begins to figure himself out after 600 years of not quite being able to on Earth.

Jerry: Do you intend to write a sequel?

It’s actually the first of a trilogy, so yes, I’m working on the sequel right now. It’s tentatively called When Hell Freezes Over.

Jerry: Jack, how do you feel about that, hearing her say that she intends to write more about you?

I’m up for it. I’m not shutting up just yet. She knows if she didn’t write a sequel, I’d just kick around her brain. Drive her bonkers. … Which doesn’t sound too bad, actually.

Jerry: So, Jack, how are you adjusting to the publicity? Do you enjoy being known by potentially millions of readers?

It’s really nothing new to me. I am, after all, the famous vampire from the Registration Office of Hell. Seems like everyone on Hell’s Administrative Level is aware of me at this point. Some of them aren’t too pleased that a “leech”, as they’d say, got such an important job. Anyway, it’s prepared me for any publicity coming my way, I’d imagine.

Jerry: And finally… What other projects do you have in the works? Anything you’d be willing to share about at this point?

Jennifer: Like I said, I am working on the second book in the These Hellish Happenings series. It takes place three years after the first one ends, and I can’t tell you much more about it, sorry! I also have a rather dark comedy that’s on hold right now called Green-Eyed about a young wannabe archaeologist who gets wrapped up in a plot to find a cursed artifact. And he goes a little mad by the end, haha! But it is very rough right now.

Character Interview with Lord Arkus

So, I’m taking a new spin with interviews. I thought it would be a great idea if we could skip right past the author and ask the author’s characters a few questions to get to know them. The first author willing to do this with me was Laura Lond. She has taken the time to allow me to interview this strong, “evil” man from her book My Sparkling Misfortune.

I hope you enjoy them.

–Jerry



Hello. Who are you?

Greetings. I am Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle, a professional villain. You are safe though, I am on vacation now.

What do you know about the author that penned you into existence (if anything)?

She didn’t pen anything, I did. I thought it was about time a villain had his say, so I wrote the story of my adventures (perhaps “misadventures” would be a better word). Ms. Lond helped to make it available to the public, that’s all.

Do you enjoy the exposure to the world?

Yes, very much. I’ve got fans now, from what I hear. I read reviews of my book and sometimes even post comments on this thing called Facebook.

What is one conflict that you had to resolve by the end of your story?

Oh, there were so many. One thing led to another… It all started with Prince Kellemar backstabbing me in a very creative and most treacherous way. Naturally, I wanted to pay him back, so I decided to capture a Gormack, a powerful evil spirit, who would be of great help in that project. Well, you see, I hadn’t had much experience with spirits before. I grabbed the wrong one…. Ended up with a goody-goody spirit called Sparkling that normally assists heroes. Not only would this exasperating creature hinder me in my quest, he was bent on making me do heroic stuff!

I see… Without spoiling anything for the reader, did it get resolved the way you wanted it to? Or was there a twist that changed things?

It did get resolved, but there was a sad twist, yes.

Is there anything from this adventure that has left a mark on you for life, mentally, physically, or otherwise?

Well, I keep hearing that somehow I am not that bad of a villain anymore. I even read that in some reviews! That’s outrageous and preposterous. I am still a prominent member of the Villains League, thank you very much. Yes, I have formed a couple of friendships and maybe done a couple of things villains don’t normally do, but I’ve always been eccentric. It doesn’t prove anything.

Tell me about one good friend or one opposing character from your story. What do you think about them?

Quite unexpectedly, Jarvi the Sparkling proved to be a true friend. That doesn’t make him any less annoying, and he will still have to answer me for some things, but when I was in a tough spot, he helped. He didn’t have to; he had all the reasons not to. Yet this impossible, sharp-tongued, orange-haired pest chose to stick his neck out for me.

If the author were to decide to pen a sequel to your story, would you be opposed to it?

Like I’ve already said, I am the author, and yes, I am working on a sequel.

If you could change any one aspect about yourself, what would it be?

Becoming invincible would be very useful. That’s what I wanted to begin with.

What would you “fix” about someone else in your life?

Sigh. I would fix Jarvi. You’ll need to read the book to know what exactly I mean, I don’t want to spoil it.

If the readers of my blog were to try to find your story, where could they find it?

My book is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and in other online stores, both as an ebook and in paperback.

Ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004JXVYR2

Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/My-Sparkling-Misfortune-Laura-Lond/dp/1460922360/

Author Interview — Morgan Gallagher, Author of Changeling

Today, I am proud to introduce you to Morgan Gallagher, author of Changeling. I’m excited to introduce all of you to her.

So, Morgan… Tell us about yourself. Who is Morgan Gallagher?

Depends who you ask. Some people will say she’s that nice woman who can usually find someone to help you if you need some help. Others will say she’s an annoying and persistent fly in their ointment, they wish she’d go away. I’ll say I’m Scottish, hurtling through her 40s, wondering how she still feels 25ish, and has a lot of things to get done in a day. Oh, and that I’m someone who was born to be very very rich, and is annoyed the universe hasn’t caught up on that yet.

How long have you been writing, and what have you learned from it?

I’ve been writing for over 30 years, and I’ve learned that it’s a craft, and you do get better at it, the more you do it. You keep the tap turned on, and write every day, otherwise the tap can rust up. That, and that sometimes you need to be a bit older in order to get the depth into your work.

Do you ever find yourself lost in your writing world trying to figure out some plot or action scene?

That’s my normal experience with books – both reading and writing. I’ve had to learn to control myself into NOT doing this all the time. I fall into the page and disappear. Or, actually, the rest of the world disappears.

What is your latest book about?

A human female who is taken by an ancient vampire. He plays with her the way a cat plays with a mouse. Then decides he is going to Turn her. She thinks he’s just a mad human, and isn’t sure how to cope with his claims of being a vampire. As the battle between them progresses, we see more of him, and how the vampire world he describes, may not be as clear cut as he suggests. Does she succeed in escaping him, or will she too be vampire?

Do you have any new projects that you can talk about?

Changeling launches a trilogy, so the next project is Lucifer’s Stepdaughter, book two. I can’t say too much, as I can’t give away the ending of Changeling. But Changeling is an interior book, with two people battling it out on their heads, as much as anything else. Lucifer’s Stepdaughter opens it up to a much wider story, with a lot of other characters, all vampires. It’s the wider vampire society that Dreyfuss exists with, in an uneasy peace.

What’s one thing that you think your readers “expect” from your work?

Brutal honesty and strong intelligent females. I have a lot of readers from my non-fiction and political work, and they know the territory is dark, and that I don’t flinch from speaking unspoken truths. It’s been very useful, as we’ve all been on another long journey together, in another context. It’s been quite interesting, to see them trying to adapt to reading my fiction writing, especially with vampires in it. On the whole, they’ve been wonderful. I have told everyone I don’t expect them all to read my fiction work. But I do expect them to buy it! 😉

Do you use social media (Facebook, twitter, etc.)? If so, how often do you post, and what do you post about?

I’ve been on social media sites for years. I have a journal site, that’s locked and private, just my friends. I’ve used Facebook for years, to network my non-fiction work and share friends. I hated Twitter, and gave up on it. The past few weeks, I’ve been testing the waters on using social media for my fiction work, and it’s been an interesting ride. I’m quite comfortable with Twitter now, and have joined several new boards. It’s tricksy, trying not to do too much promoting, whilst keeping in touch with people on a real level. So I’m still working at it. I always post about my life, and my day and sprinkle it with references to writing. It’s just the way I want to do it. Internet contact is about meeting people, and that’s the core attraction for me. I post a lot, but always have.

I enjoy books from so many different genres — from Christian fiction, to fantasy, to the paranormal. But when I look back at my choices, I see that there’s always a dark theme to them. What is one theme that you enjoy reading?

I’d say darkness, but actually, that’s not quite true. I love Jane Austen, for instance. What I love most, is close examination and documentation of humans, how they act and how they think. So anything that is observational about humans, in any situation. Therefore I adore Austen’s detailing of the lives of women, at that time. Similarly, LM Montgomery, Laura Ingles Wilder and Louisa Alcott. And observational comedy that is about how humans live their lives. So I adore Victoria Wood, a British comic who does stand up on stage and sketches on television. I have some of her comedy scripts in book form, and take them down and read them now and then. Alan Bennett, for the same reason. You can gain so much, from small human lives observed well. I think the darkness, is that when you do look at people around you closely, there is a lot of darkness to be found.

Does this theme make it into your writing? Can you give us an example?

Yes, it forms descriptive structure in my writing. In Changeling, there are two sections where the main female protagonist is moving through large cities, and looking at everything around her in great detail. And how she presents herself in those situations, changes how people react to her, so there is a sense of the other people, observing her, and trying to work out who she is, and what she is after. Much of my ‘show’, not tell, is by describing how she interacts with strangers, and what she sees, and what they do. It’s all based on close observation, and understanding, of human interaction in large groups. Some readers might wonder what’s going on, if they are not used to simply looking at everyday people, and their lives.

Thank you for your time. Before I let you go, I have one last question: If you could have any meal, with any spread across the table, what would it be?

Steak. Perfect, sublime, melt in your mouth, steak. Blue. With the red juices running out. (Blue is the phrase in the UK, for the rarest of rare. Not sure if it’s used elsewhere.) I could eat it with a full meal, or just with fried eggs. But steak. Every time.

Thank you for interviewing with me today. I wish you the best with Changeling. I hope that my fans will give it a spin on April 10th, on it’s release date.

Demonspanwn by Glenn Bullion

He is part demon. And the supernatural world won’t leave him alone.
A very interesting paranormal ride. Alex is forced to come to grips with the fact that he’s not quite human. The characters in the book are very vivid and real, and the storyline is nearly perfect, taking you from mundane teen life through so much more (I don’t want to spoil it for anyone). Some people have mentioned that there are typos in the book. I only noticed three, and I’ve seen more than that from “best-seller” books. There may have been more, but I was too engrossed by the story to notice, and they didn’t really bother me.

The language used and subject matter lead me to suggest that this NOT be given to your teen kids. This isn’t young-adult-harry-potter fiction, people. As the name implies, there are some disturbing things in the book, and the author doesn’t hold any punches. He really is what the name implies, and the issues he deals with require some maturity to understand and deal with. But if you’re of consenting age, wanting a good, dark, paranormal book… this one is a great read.

I would rate it a 5+ out of 5. I rarely read a book a second time. After all, I know the ending, so why read it again? This is one of those books I’ll probably read again. It’s not the ending that makes this book great (although, there’s nothing wrong with it), it’s the ride getting there.

Pros: Dark & twisted (in a way that I really enjoy), fast-paced, amazingly-defined characters.
Cons: A couple of typos, but nothing that takes you out of the plot. Not for the young reader.

Interview with Patricia Rockwell

I have another interview with another independent author. Her name is Patricia Rockwell, and she is the author of the mystery novel Sounds of Murder.
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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?

I’m retired, so writing for a paycheck is not obviously what drives me. My husband spends his retirement watching television and loafing, but I just can’t stand being so unproductive. Writing mysteries gives me something to do that I enjoy doing without having to answer to a boss.

What is the first book that you can remember having a true impact on you?

The first book that I remember having a huge impact on me was Leon Uris’ Exodus. I remember reading it in junior high school (when I wasn’t supposed to be) and how it made me think about things going on in the world that were bigger than me. It really got me interested in WWII and the founding of Israel (although I’m not Jewish) and it made me question many of the things my parents had taught me. Quite a bit for a book to do for a young girl.

What is one quirky thing about yourself… something that no one outside of your friends and family might know?

I have a lot of quirks. My family tend to tease me about my fear of flying, my love of Amtrak, how I put raisins in everything I cook, and most often and particularly appropriate for a book site—how I committed sacrilege when I brought a book (!) to a Nebraska Cornhuskers’ football game once (in case I got bored).

Yes. They do take their football seriously. What is your current project about?
My current project? If you mean what’s on the market, it would be my first cozy mystery Sounds of Murder which I am promoting and marketing on a daily basis (on places such as your site). If you mean, what’s up next? I have finished the second in my Pamela Barnes acoustic mystery series, FM For Murder and I’m working on getting it formatted and illustrated and out later this year. If you mean, what am I currently writing, my third Pamela Barnes mystery Voice Mail Murder is finished but will be undergoing a lot more editing.

How did the plot and overall story for that project come into being?

The plot and story line for Sounds of Murder developed both from my long time love of mysteries—particularly cozy mysteries—and my own personal work experience. I spent my life (before retirement) as a college professor. Much of my research involved investigating how we communicate and the impact that the human voice has on our communication success. I often utilized acoustic technology to study human vocal behavior and I’ve incorporated my knowledge and much of my research findings into my main character’s adventures.

Do you have any other projects on the burner somewhere (that you can talk about)?

The only projects on the burners (assuming that my stove has only four) are the present book out (Sounds of Murder), the one coming out this year (FM For Murder), and the one that will be out next year (Voice Mail Murder). I guess that leaves one burner, which probably is the burner where I’m concocting another murder in the future. I’d like to kill off a politician in that one (wouldn’t we all?) but I still have to figure out how to tie in the acoustic aspect. I’m thinking I may have it be connected to a political speech that is imitated by a rival and my heroine Pamela has to step in to determine which speaker is the genuine politician. Not sure how I can get a murder in there, but I’m working on it. If anyone has any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

Quick!… without thinking, what are the first five words that come to mind?

Five words—optimist, dog, blue, happy, sun

What do you think those five words say about your personality?

What do these words say about me? Oh, my gosh, I’m afraid they say that I’m a raving Pollyanna.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell us about them?
I used to have a wonderful Pomeranian named Coquette (she appears in my books under a pseudonym to protect her identity). She died on February 1, 2010, and I miss her like crazy every day.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions. Before I let you go, I have one more question. If the world were to one day have your name as a household name (aside from your writing career) what would you want to be known for?

I’d love to be an actress on Broadway—particularly in musicals—or, if not that, a voice-over actress. I also wish I could make a living playing the concert violin. Of course, it would certainly be fun to be a spy.

(laugh) Yes… it would. Thank you for answering the questions today.

You’re welcome.

Interview with John H. Carroll

Today we have John H. Carroll, author of Rojuun.

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?

I love writing. I really, really love writing. When I was a kid, I would spend days wandering around in the desert where I grew up just imagining different worlds. I’ve never grown out of it. When I became an adult, I realized that I could make a living writing it down. Now that I’m 40, I actually have the discipline to do so. Writing could be called daydreaming on paper. As far as the paycheck part, I’m desperately hoping that I can get that too. (laugh)

What is the first book that you can remember having a true impact on you?

The first book? There have been a lot of books that had true impact. *thinking* Ahh yes. “Where the Wild Things Are”. I hate that they made a terrible movie about it and that it suddenly became everyone’s favorite childhood book.
I feel like it should be mine as it was always a personal, secret thing for me. My sister used to read me that story and I would stare at the pictures for hours. It was an excellent story for anyone who liked to use their imagination.

What is one quirky thing about yourself… something that no one outside of your friends and family might know?

Only one? (laugh) I like emo bunnies. We got together one day and took over the world, but it made us sad so we gave it back. It was a secret of course, that’s why no one knows about it.

What is your current project about?

I just finished the first draft of my second book “Anilyia”. At the moment I’m doing what I call a ‘focused edit’ where I try to get the missing words, homonyms like “their/there/they’re” and duplicate statements where I repeat something I said in an earlier paragraph or chapter. Then it will go on to friends for further editing.
Once done with that edit, I’m writing the third book in the series “Kethril”. It’s a series about a group of four adventures who are each a bit more than human. In the first book they find out more about a new race called “Rojuun”. In the second, they rescue a princess. In the third, they try to figure out what to do with the princess. Princesses are difficult individuals after all.
Honestly, My books are about the characters. They aren’t normal people and listening to them talk to each other is an adventure in itself.

How did the plot and overall story for that project come into being?

I proceeded with this story differently than I have in the past. Before, I would always outline a story then try to write it. The problem is that I became easily bored and set it aside. My success finally came when I stopped planning things and just wrote. Even on the third book I still don’t know how it’s going to go. I know where they’re going next, but not what’s going to happen. My books are now at a point that every new occurance is just as much an adventure for me as it is for the reader.

Do you have any other projects on the burner somewhere (that you can talk about)?

I have two projects, though they won’t be worked on for a couple of years. The first is called “Pelya”, about an orphan in a city of heavy magic. It’s a book I started writing years ago, but never finished. It’s set in the same world as my current books, but needs to be re-written.
The second project is a series of science fiction books. I have about 100 books conceived of in that one, but it’s going to take a bit to write that much. (laugh)

Other than that, I plan on writing the occasional short story. Those are a little more difficult for me to write, but they can be fun.

Quick!… without thinking, what are the first five words that come to mind?

umm, emo, mabibble, egads, and sigh

What do you think those five words say about your personality?

That I’m slightly touched in the head? (laugh) I don’t know, really. I tend to get weird under pressure . . . or even when not under pressure.

Do you have any pets? Can you tell us about them?

My personal pet is ‘Emo’ a rabbit. She’s a big lop eared bunny and lives in a palace. She acts like a princess too. My wife has two dogs, Molly and polly. My kids have two cats, Rosie and Missy, who I like to call ‘Fetish’. We have two goldfish too; Zombie Bob and Beetlejuice.

Hmmm.. I’m seeing “Emo” as a theme here. (laugh) Okay, before I let you go, I have one more question. If the world were to one day have your name as a household name (aside from your writing career) what would you want to be known for?

Interesting question *thinking* I don’t really want fame aside from writing, but if I had to be a household name, I’d want it to be for something like rushing into a burning plane and rescuing all the passengers single-handedly.

I think that wraps it up.

Thank you for inviting me to do this interview.

Interview with Phillip Chen

Today, we have Phillip Chen on board. He is the author of Falling Star.

Welcome. 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?

I wrote Falling Star in 1990-1991 in response to a series of horrifying nightmares that I had in 1990 about gangs of ordinary-looking Americans wreaking apocalyptic horror on our people and institutions. In these dreams, flaming buildings came crashing down carrying its residents to their death. I felt that this was a story that had to be told. The book was copyrighted in 1991.

What is the first book that you can remember having a true impact on you?

Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage in high school. After all these years, I can still remember Maugham’s description of Mildred’s skin color which he described as having a greenish cast.

What is one quirky thing about yourself… something that no one outside of your friends and family might know?

Despite my public persona, I am extremely shy.

What is your current project about?

I am currently writing the sequel to Falling Star.

How did the plot and overall story for that project come into being?

As I discussed above, Falling Star resulted from my series of horrific dreams in 1990. I was carrying a laptop at the time and making extensive trips to Europe. I started typing the story on the long red-eye flights (augmented by weekend sessions at home) and within one and one-half months had a 560 page story about mysterious objects found buried deep in the ocean and what happens when they wake up and start sending signals to outer space. Mike, a successful banker pulled back into a clandestine world to help decipher these signals, is attacked by gangs of ordinary-looking citizens. On top of all this Mike learns that a very important friend has died. The sub-plot about gangs of ordinary-looking citizens attacking Mike and his colleagues were the direct result of my nightmares. In the story these people are foreign agents hiding in plain view fo decades, marrying innocent Americans, raising children, holding down mundane jobs, buying homes, and stealing the identities of dead babies. For years literary agents and publishers told me that my story wasn’t “strong enough”. I now understand that what they were saying is that the sub-plot that foreign agents could live among us for decades was preposterous. After all, this is America; things like that just can’t happen here! Until they did, of course, in June 2010 when Russian spies were found to be doing exactly what my fictional spies had done for almost twenty years. The only difference between my fictional spies and the Russians was that my spies did not grow hydrangeas. One of my undercove spies, a gorgeous female, even used being a financial consultant as a cover. Because of the disclosure of the Russian spies, I felt that I had to self-publish before any more of my book got played out on prime-time news.

(laugh) No kidding. Well, do you have any other projects on the burner somewhere (that you can talk about)?
I always have a lot of ideas floating around my head, but they need to ferment and come to fruition before I can actually transcribe them.

Fair enough. Okay, quick!… without thinking, what are the first five words that come to mind?

I like people who read.

What do you think those five words say about your personality?

Recognition that my writing is totally wasted time, unless there are people willing to read or hear them.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions. Before I let you go, I have one more question. If the world were to one day have your name as a household name (aside from your writing career) what would you want to be known for?

Having an eclectic mind.

Thank you, Phillip for visiting with us today.