Thursday, April 17, 2014

Playing Book Trivia with L.H. Cosway, author of 'Still Life With Strings'


It’s time to play... 


Periodically, we scour the Internet for interesting authors who would like to play Book Trivia with us.  By answering our book trivia questions, we get to learn things about the author no one else knows!  So, let’s get ready…let’s play…Book Trivia!


Today our guest author is L.H. Cosway, author of the contemporary romance, Still Life With Strings.

In the movie Castaway, if Tom Hanks unearthed a copy of Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie's Story, how would that help Tom find a way off the island? 



Well, they say listening to classical music makes you more intelligent, and there’s a lot of it in my book. So perhaps Tom Hanks would imagine the music and it would help him open his brain enough to think of a clever way to get back home.


You have a chance to appear on the hit talent show for authors, American Book Idol, and the mighty judges will determine whether your book will make it to Hollywood and become a big screenplay.  What would impress them more – your book cover, an excerpt or your best review – and why?  



If we’re talking about quick first impressions I would say the cover, because who can resist a handsome guy with a violin?


A man was caught stealing your book out of a bookstore.  When asked why he did it, he opened the book and pointed a passage out.  What was that passage? 



“Well, the straight answer is that it’s an artist’s club. It’s open to all, and you can use the rooms for practice space. On the weekends they throw big shindigs like this one. The urban legend says that the house was bought by a homeless street performer in the late eighties. A guy named Bob Farrell who used to sit on O’Connell Street with his dog and play guitar for passers-by. One day after finishing up, he looked in his hat to find the usual bits of change, but there was also a crumpled piece of paper that turned out to be a lottery ticket. Can you see where I’m going with this?”

Shane’s golden-brown eyes dance in the darkening light. “Sort of.”
“So Bob goes to check the numbers, and lo and behold, he’s won the jackpot. Keep in mind this was the late eighties and the jackpot was probably only a couple hundred thousand at the time. Still, he managed to afford to buy this house smack dab in the middle of the city and opened it up to his fellow struggling artists. When he came to view it for the first time, he found two little ladybirds on the windowsill in a room on the second floor. From there on out he christened the place ‘Ladybirds,’ and it’s been a haven for art ever since.”

You have been told your book has won one free year on a billboard in any one state.  What state do you feel would be best for your book and why? 



Well, I live in Ireland so I’m not so clued in on the different states. I suppose Massachusetts would be a good one because all the Irish people in Boston could support my book, lol.




 


L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. 

Her latest book is the contemporary romance, Still Life with Strings.

Visit her website at www.lhcosway.com.

Connect & Socialize!






My name is Jade Lennon and I stand still for money.

The night I saw Shane Arthur watching me everything changed. A man in a suit always catches my eye, but it was the way he looked at me that was different. Like he knew me or something. He didn’t know me, especially not in my costume. My sobriety rests on staying away from men, but there was something about him that made me throw caution to the wind.

After all, I was never going to see him again, right?

Wrong.

Standing still isn’t the only way I make my money. I also bartend at a concert hall. Never in my wildest dreams did I think Shane was going to show up there. Not only that, but he’s the most recent addition to the orchestra. So now on a daily basis I have to resist one of the most beautiful men I’ve ever met and he plays the violin. For me that’s one hell of a deadly cocktail.

He wants me to teach him how to live. I’m not sure how much a twenty-six year old recovering alcoholic who works in a bar and moonlights as a living statue can teach a world class concert violinist, but I’m sure going to try.

Still Life with Strings is a story of music, art, sex, magical realism, and romance that you will never forget.

Purchase your copy:

AMAZON




Interview with Sheila L. Jackson, author of 'Where Was God?'



Sheila L. Jackson lives with her family in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is an anointed speaker, teacher, and writer that utilize her gifts to carry the Word of God to those in need of spiritual soul food. Sheila has penned two, inspirational non-fiction books, The Enemy Within and Through the Eyes of God. She has also written several inspirational and social articles for a local newspaper and magazine. 

Her latest book is the Christian fiction romance suspense, Where Was God? (Their Hearts Burned to be Together).

For more information about this author and books, visit her website at www.sheilaljackson2.com.

Can you tell us what your book, Where is God?, is about?

Where Was God is a book that deals with many of the issues we are faced with today. Fayth Angelica Hope is a young woman who, her mother despised since birth. She is physically, mentally, and emotionally abused, which carries over into her adult life. She turns her back on the church and her family who she thought was supposed to protect her, her faith, and love. In a nut-shell, it’s about redemption, with the help of a young man, by the name of Jasion McCoy who teaches her how to love again.

Why did you write your book?

I wanted to bring many of the issues most families sweep underneath the rug to light. Parents don’t realize how they scar their children for life. Some are able to rise above the abuse, while others succumb to it, never able let go and live a normal life.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Fayth Angelica Hope (Heroin) wants to live a normal life, but she is crippled by her past abuse and failed relationships. Jasion McCoy (Hero) falls for all the wrong women in his search for Mrs. Right. Unfortunately, for him, he may be serving prison time for embezzlement. Nicole Swaggart (Antagonist) is   self-centered. She plays by nobody rules, except her own. There are more shady, hilarious, and dramatic characters inside the pages of, Where Was God.

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I discover the plot as I go. Just like the readers, I want to be surprise of how the story will turn out. Knowing the plot beforehand, bores me, I love the not knowing until the juices of creativity starts flowing.

Your book is set in Port City, Louisiana. Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

Port City is the name, native Louisianans use to refer to Shreveport. I choose this name, because I wanted a little bit of home in my book.

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I’d go hide somewhere and sleep. With two teenage, active daughters, one who plays high school varsity basketball, juggling a husband, and a career, leaves little time for me.

Can you tell us about your family?

I have the best family in the world. I am extremely close to my daughters, they love handing out with me. My husband supports my dreams. No matter what I want to do in life, he’s onboard with it.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I love touching people lives with the words God breathe into my spirit. Knowing that lives are changed and life lessons are learned through the stories I tell, is a blessing as well as rewarding.

What is the most pivotal point of a writer’s life?

Knowing a publishing company believes in my story and me as an author enough to sign me to a contract. To me, its validation for all the doors that were closed in my face and that one person believed in my work to get behind my project to bring it to the public.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

If writing is your passion, never let anyone stop you from doing just that. Know that it takes only one yes to fulfill your dreams. Rejection will come but use it as a teaching tool to better your craft. Don’t wallow in it; keep moving and one day someone will see your hard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review & $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway: ‘Mind Games,’ by Christine Amsden


MindGames_medMind Games is the much awaited third installment in the new adult mystery series, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Talented author Christine Amsden keeps delivering a great story filled with interesting characters, romance, mystery, and the paranormal, lots of it.
In this episode, Cassie still doesn’t know why Evan broke her heart two months ago, and the mystery gnaws at her big time. She decides to keep busy and make herself useful at the sheriff’s department. She also meets charismatic mind mage Matthew Blair…much to Evan’s distaste. At the same time, Eagle Rock is teeming with hate from the religious community, a reaction to the recent murder of a much-esteemed pastor’s wife by what the people believe was a sorcerer. The town is about to snap, with tensions between the magical and non-magical communities.
And in the center of all this, is Matthew, whom Cassie finds irresistible. But can she trust him? According to Evan, no way. But then, Evan isn’t the most objective person when it comes to Cassie. Evan and Cassie have a history, as well as a secret connection, that keeps them bound in spite of themselves.
Will Cassie discover the real culprit or culprits behind the pastor’s wife’s murder, as well as the real face behind the anti-magical propaganda and demonstrations? Most importantly, will she wake up and see Matthew for who he really is…and find the courage to face Evan for what he did to her—when she finds out?
I love this series and thoroughly enjoyed this instalment! There’s something about Cassie’s voice that makes her really likable. She has a good heart and is witty, too. But best of all, she is just an ordinary girl next door trying to do her best in spite of everything that happens around her—which is usually pretty remarkable, as is often the case in paranormal stories.
Her relationship with Evan keeps evolving organically and there’s a major revelation in this book about their connection and the secret behind their rival families. Matthew is a great addition to this episode, adding tension with his charismatic personality and inciting sparks of jealousy from Evan. The conflict between the religious and the magical communities is also well done.
Mind Games kept me reading late into the night, wondering what would happen next. If you haven’t read any books in this series before, I urge you to pick up book one first, Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. The books are best read in order. You won’t be disappointed.
Purchase links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
Connect with the author on the web: 
My review was originally published on Blogcritics
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!!!
*The giveaway begins on April 15, 2014 at midnight and ends on July 16, 2014 at midnight.

Book Blitz! Invitation by Christina Hoffman


 We welcome Christina Hoffman, author of the contemporary romance, Invitation!





Title: Invitation
Author: Christina Hoffman
Publisher: Christina Hoffman
Pages: 187
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Format: Paperback/Kindle

BUY LINKS:

Available at Smashwords in epub, mobi, pdf and doc.

Book Summary: 




Madison Spencer is a serious medical student, focused only on work and hiding her beauty and her once-passionate spirit behind a quiet plain-Jane facade. Since she was drugged, stripped, assaulted and photographed by a vengeful ex, she has stayed away from men and kept her heart and body safe.

But when heart-stoppingly gorgeous Dr. Liam Mason walks into her world, she knows she's in trouble. After finding out about her devastating past, Liam offers to bring her back to life with physical passion.
Madison thinks she should be repelled, but she's intrigued and can't turn him away. Together they explore days and nights of pleasure, and slowly develop into something more than bedmates.

Deep inside they each wonder if they've found their perfect match. But with Liam's fear of being dragged down by commitment, and Madison's fear of being hurt by another man threatening to destroy the world they’ve built together, will they each be strong enough and brave enough to risk their hearts to have it all?



Excerpt



I can't even blame it on the booze. There wasn't any, or at least there wasn't any for me. I was with Chloe, my bodyguard. Okay, actually she was my friend, but a really overprotective friend who knew all about what I’d been through and wanted to make sure it never happened again. So, no alcohol.

But, what she and I hadn't counted on was him being there. There I was, minding my own business, putting in my time at the Med School Social, more than ready to head home for some studying, then Chinese food and a movie. And suddenly, him.

I was inhaling when I caught sight of him, but my breath just stopped. It felt like being punched in the chest. I kept telling myself, look away, look away! But it was impossible. I was paralyzed. His beautiful face and magnificent body were magnets, and my eyes were locked on them.

I hadn't felt this kind of physical attraction since, well, ever. I had never felt like that. I had stayed away from men for two years. I was pretty much terrified of them, to tell the truth. But there he was. Unavoidable and irresistible.

I saw him in profile. Oh, that hair. Thick, almost curly, falling into his eyes. The kind of hair you need to gently push off of his face right before you kiss him. Or, the kind of hair you grab really hard right before you're about to...

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The point I'm trying to make is that my mind very clearly recognized all the dangers ahead and was saying, “Turn around, go, get out of here! Before it's too late.” But then he turned around to look right at me. It was already too late.

We held each other's gaze a second longer than politeness required. Something inside me went click, and for the first time in almost two years, I felt young and alive, and really, really turned on. Every part of me suddenly woke up, and all the best parts started to tingle. I was breathing harder. My lips parted slightly, already begging to be kissed.

It was a little overwhelming. I was out of practice. No, actually, I had never had the kind of practice you would need to stay controlled in a situation like that. I think maybe you can have a soul mate for your mind, and also one for your body. And my body was saying “Get me over there right now!”

But I was still too afraid. I smiled a little and turned away.

I had to stay for a while, to look sociable, so I went over to the food table and stared at the snacks, which were already stale. Nothing looked very good, and my throat was too tight to eat anyway.

I was starting to formulate a plan for escaping without the other students or the teachers noticing when I felt the air move behind me, the softest caress against my bare shoulders. Then, a hand on my back, an electric shock to my body, wildly pleasurable. I gasped and spun around. Right into the arms of...

“I'm Liam.”

Liam. Right into the arms of Liam. Oh, he was even more beautiful up close. My hand rose all on its own to push that wonderful floppy hair from his face. I stopped suddenly, embarrassed, but he caught my wrist, and held my palm gently to his face. We looked at each other and knew.

“Wanna get out of here?” he asked, and of course, foolish, foolish woman that I am, I said, “Yes.”

          I saw him my first day at the new hospital. I'm a medical student and had just finished the lecture part of things where we sit around learning about chemical reactions and body parts. That was over, at last, and we were moving on to seeing real live patients in the hospital.

The orientation was step one in getting us ready for our new roles. We each got a short lab coat and a tour of the locker rooms. We received our ID tag photos.

I'm not sure why I first noticed Liam.

Since the bad thing happened, I keep my head down and make eye contact with pretty much nobody. I wear my hair in a tight bun at the nape of my neck and my clothes are dull and loose. On that particular day, I was trying very hard to concentrate. I was excited to be starting work in the hospital, but I was mostly terrified. There was so much to take in and remember. My head was reeling after only two hours. The last thing on my mind was men. So, who knows why I took that second look as he walked by our group.

Well, actually I do know why. He was gorgeous. Ridiculously gorgeous. Dark wavy hair, just slightly overgrown so he looked like a happy surfer who'd tumbled out of bed. Smiling eyes. Sparkling, mischievous, movie star eyes. A little bit of stubble, likely because he had been on call all night. The rest of him looked pretty much immaculate. He wore light wool pants and a sky blue shirt. No tie, but the white lab coat made him look professional enough. 

I was dedicated to maintaining my nun-like lifestyle, but, seriously, it was impossible not to look at him. Even Chloe noticed him. She looked at him, then at me. She shook her head lightly and whispered, “No”. I laughed a little because she sounded like a mom telling a toddler that she couldn't have any candy. Well, that was pretty much what was happening, so I guess Chloe nailed that.

She was absolutely right. I didn't want any trouble. Certainly not that awful, frightening feeling of falling in love. No time-consuming romance. And certainly not all the time I had lost trying to recover from the trauma of what had happened before. Even a plain old tiny heartbreak could set me back, and put me way off course in my career.

No, I didn't have the time or energy for any distractions. Nothing. Just work and school.

So I ignored the stunning resident with the black hair, and tried to focus on the tall blond giving us the orientation spiel. This was much easier because I felt no attraction to him at all. He was really handsome, too. But something about him seemed mean. Or maybe arrogant. It's hard to remember what I thought of him that first time, because the memory is so clouded with all that came after. I'll just say he was a tall, slim blond who should have caught my eye, but didn't.
About the Author:





Christina Hoffman was born in London, England. She moved with her family throughout Canada and the US, and has finally put down her suitcase, for now, in San Francisco.
She believes that everyone has the right to feel both smart and sexy. We don't have to be one or the other! She writes stories about characters who live in the real world and who, somehow, still believe in love.

She's starting a mini-revolution. She writes sexy stories, but hasn't lost the romance from her Romances. Enough with whips -- back to lips!

She hopes you enjoy her stories and see yourself in her characters. After all, they are based on smart and sexy people, just like you.

Christina’s latest book is the contemporary romance, Invitation.

Visit her website at www.christinahoffman.com.

Connect & Socialize!

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A Conversation with 'Broken Family' Kevin Hopson #crime #mystery



Prior to hitting the fiction scene in 2009, Kevin Hopson was a freelance writer for several years, covering everything from finance to sports. His debut work, World of Ash, was released by MuseItUp Publishing in the fall of 2010. Kevin has released several other books through MuseItUp since then, and he has also been published in various magazines and anthology books. Kevin's writing covers many genres, including dark fiction and horror, science fiction, and crime fiction.

His latest book is the crime/mystery, Broken Family.

You can visit Kevin’s blog at www.kevin-hopson.blogspot.com.


Can you tell us what your book, Broken Family, is about?

The following is a blurb, which sums it up best.

Sheriff Joseph Mauro is summoned to a local lake in Stone County, having received a
report of a dead woman along the water’s shore. With foul play a possibility, he utilizes the help of his two female deputies in questioning family members and friends. As the three of them search for clues and possible motives, the case takes an unexpected turn, and Sheriff Mauro must rely on his instincts if he is going to weed out the killer.

Why did you write your book?

I have written crime fiction before, but those stories involved an element of science fiction. As a result, I wanted to do a straight-up crime/mystery piece for a change – one that is more realistic – and I believe Broken Family delivers in this regard.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Joe Mauro is a 40-something male who is in his third term as Stone County Sheriff.  Both of his deputies are minority females. His right-hand deputy, Janelle Bowden, is an African-American woman who has worked with Joe for several years. Her understudy, Ira Batista, is a Hispanic woman fresh out of the policy academy, and this is her first year (probationary period) as a deputy.

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

It’s usually a combination of both. I might create a character from scratch, but they almost always remind me of someone in real life, whether it’s someone I know personally or someone I’ve seen on television.  

Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

I try to plan out as much as I can in advance, but my writing usually takes an unexpected turn at some point and branches out on its own. Very rarely does it end up being the story I initially imagined. That’s the fun of it, though. More times than not, the story will end up writing itself.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

Yes. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered from writer’s block in some form. The thing that works best for me is to get away from the story, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I do some of my best thinking during mundane activities, such as house cleaning or taking a shower. Great ideas will come to me at times like these. 

What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I would spend it with my son.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Halloween. I’ve always enjoyed a good scare and, though I’ve recently made the jump to other genres, I wrote a lot of dark fiction and horror when I started out as a writer.

What do you like to do for fun?

Anything that stimulates my mind, whether it’s reading, watching movies, or interacting with my son.

Can you tell us about your family?

I have been married to my wife for almost 13 years. We have two sons. Our first son, Aydin, passed from stillbirth on August 28, 2010. However, our second son – Skyler – was born healthy on October 23, 2011, and he’s become the joy of my life.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Keep writing. As cliché as it sounds, writing on a regular basis (whether it’s an actual story or just a blog post) keeps a person sharp and improves their craft. It makes jumping into your next writing project that much easier.




 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Interview with Glenn Ogura, author of 'Startup'



Glenn Ogura earned a degree in electrical engineering from Queen’s University in Canada. He is currently the executive vice-president for a New Hampshire-based laser micromachining company. Glenn lives with his wife in California.  In addition to his love of writing and talking technology and the study of business ethics, he plays tennis. Startup is his first novel.

Visit his website at www.glennogura.com

About the Book:

Set in California’s Silicon Valley, STARTUP follows a young idealist/entrepreneur, Zack Penny, as he strives to achieve his dream of creating a new company that will launch an international revolution in technology through the creation of wallpaper-thin displays that will completely surround a viewer. Zack works for a highly successful company called Display Technik, run by CEO Allen Henley, whose vision is based on a success-at-all-costs philosophy.  Zack sees Henley as a mentor, but Zack’s philosophy favors high morals and values over Henley’s ruthless, end-justifies-the-means model of doing business.

Zack’s dream takes root one morning when he discovers an important paper has been taken from his office. Someone has exposed Zack’s secret plan to break away from Display Technik and start his own company. Henley gives Zack another chance to pledge his loyalty to the firm, but Zack resigns instead, more determined than ever to realize his vision. Soon, the optimistic if naive Zack steps into his new facility with high hopes for success. Henley, however, has already launched a plan to destroy Zack, his company, and Zack’s relationship with Henley’s daughter, Mary Anne.

Can you tell us what your book is about?

Startup is a story about greed and corruption in California’s Silicon Valley. It addresses the broad issue of morals and ethics in business. Are there any? And what happens to a young man who wants to take the high road but has to deal with the harsh realities of the rich and powerful who do not play by the rules. Can good overcome evil? Startup is a classic David versus Goliath story. It is the pursuit of the American Dream against all odds. Startup makes you want to cheer for the little guy.

In some ways, my readers and I believe I may have created a new book genre that one major critic, Kirkus Reviews, likened Startup to the immensely successful book The Firm by John Grisham. Startup is not a legal thriller or a science thriller but a business thriller. What is a business thriller? We spend a third of our lives working. The majority of us work for a company. We work for
someone who signs our paycheck. In simple terms, a business is a collection of people. Drama unfolds when people are brought together for several hours per day in a compact space, especially when a crisis occurs.
Why did you write your book?
When I started writing the business thriller Startup, I was working in California’s Silicon Valley. Everyday I would meet with people in Silicon Valley. You would see bizarre events unfold in front of you. You would see the pain on people’s faces. You would hear them talking on the phone to their families about how they lost their job. You would see a tenured employee being escorted out of the office, dismissed on a trumped charge that was not right. You witnessed meetings of CEOs treating employees as cattle. You listened to conversations in the elevator, after work in a bar about the eroding morals and ethics of people. People were facing moral dilemmas of keeping their job to support their families or to take the high road and quit.

There was a story to be told.

And once I started to research the book, I met lawyers who told stories of corrupt CEOs and what they did to their employees. And soon it became obvious that for every public story of a corrupt business practice, there were ten-fold more stories that were not disclosed—and my guess more horrific and shocking than anything I could write.

Startup is a blend of fact and fiction. Although the actual companies DisplayTechnik and Imagination are fictitious, many of the events in the book did happen.

Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?
Structurally the book is about each character facing a moral dilemma and how each character deals with it. Whether the character decides to take the right fork or the left fork doesn’t really matter because both choices have a distasteful consquence. There is no right or wrong choice. In some cases, the actions resulting from a character’s decision conflicts with another character and this makes for a delicious, rollercoaster storyline. Some readers agonize over the character’s decisions which is exactly the response I am looking for. I want the readers to be engaged with the characters. The reader can love them or hate them. One reader couldn’t finish the book because the antagonist Allen Henley upset her so much.

Zack Penny: He is the main protagonist. He is a young smart engineer who has the lofty picture in his mind that he can start his own dream company to design wallpaper-thin television sets yet run his company with high morals and principles that his ex-boss did not conform to. He felt that he and his fellow employees could realize the American dream without the sordid trail of betrayl and deceit left in the wake of other notable startups.

Allen Henley: He is the main antagonist. Allen is a very successful business entrepreneur who runs a mega-million dollar display company. Zack Penny was his young protégé. Like many successful CEOs, Allen is driven, powered by an ego that was created through years of success. His British background makes him appear aloof and cold yet he is passionate about success and will do practically anything to protect his kingdom. He recognizes that Zack’s new product may make his company’s  products obsolete so the entire book follows Allen as he attempt to destroy Zack and his fledging design team before they get off the ground.

Mary Anne Henley: She is Zack’s girlfriend and she is also the daughter of Allen Henley. She  works at her father’s company. She stands between Zack and her father. She faces a difficult moral dilemma  of whether to help her father protect his fifedom, a man she respects for his accomplishments or to side with her boyfriend whose new startup company would compete against her father’s. At the climax of the book, she has to make a life-changing  decision with the two most important men in her life.
Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?
Since I lived this story, it was easy to write the first draft. When I wrote Startup, I wrote a storyline and a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline. I knew exactly how the book would start and how it would end. In the course of writing the book, new ideas came to mind (sometimes too many!) and I had to revise the chapter outline repeatedly, often going back to previous chapters to edit them. Yet the beginning and ending of the book did not change and I believe such plotting, sometimes tedious at times, made the book easier to write because I knew where the book was going. And hopefully the reader will see a storyline that is clear and consistent. Every major character faces moral dilemmas and their personalities evolve. Without a detailed outline to guide you, it would be easy to get lost.
What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?
That’s easy. I would spend more time with my beautiful wife. She’s my best friend and best supporter of my writing.
Which holiday is your favorite and why?
When I was kid, I loved Christmas because I was an only child and an only grandchild. I had so many presents that we needed to build shelves under the tree to stack them. Now that I am older, my wife and I like to go somewhere warm and tropical during the Christmas holidays. The trip is our gift to each other.
What do you like the most about being an author?

I have always loved to write. During college, I would write a novel, three-act play, poetry, anything. Writing a fiction novel is like producing, directing and starring in a film shot in your head. It’s an opportunity to use the left side and right side of your brain. You have tremendous freedom to create what you want. It’s very exhilarating. You can play out the dialogue between characters—and my wife can attest to hearing multiple voices coming from my office when she knows I‘m alone in there. I think Hitchcock made a movie about that.
What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

I read somewhere that ninety-eight percent of authors sell less than 500 books. You don’t write to sell books; you write because you love it. Learn the mechanics of the profession. Plot very diligently before you write a single word. Enjoy the quiet satisfaction of finishing the first draft. Savor every little success that comes after. Selling the book is, by far, the hardest part of the writing profession.