Monday, October 20, 2014

Interview with 'Rhapsody' David Lundgren



David Lundgren was born in “a pokey town in Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia)” and spent the first 18 years of his life there. He grew up in an environment “that seemed to combine the best elements of both an American and English heritage with a hybrid African lifestyle.” Lundgren is also a musician, which gave him the creative spark to create the Melforger series. He spends his time in San Francisco “teaching, enjoying frequent – and often frustrating – games of tennis, trying to learn the blues on piano, attacking Sudoku puzzles with relish, and attempting to make some headway with the ever-increasing pile of books that is waiting patiently at my bedside, developing its own gravity.”

His latest book is the fantasy/science fiction, Rhapsody.

For More Information
Can you tell us what your book is about?

Rhapsody is the final book in The Melforger Chronicles trilogy. The story follows Raf, a sixteen year old forester boy, who, as you’d expect in an adventure – finds himself
whisked off on a dangerous journey. The reason for this is that his home is dying - his home in this case being the Aeril Forest, which is one of the extreme settings that I think really give the story some energy and originality. The trees are enormous – some over twenty yards wide and more than four hundred tall (the reasons for which are gradually explained in the story) – and the foresters live on a branch platform high up off the ground, inside the trees. When the Forest starts dying and people fall to their deaths through widespread collapses, Raf leaves to try to find someone who knows how to cure the tree-disease, and the first two books follow him as he is spun far off the track to some wonderful and treacherous places. They also chronicle how he discovers an ability in himself - a magic, if you will (this is fantasy, after all) - that gives him a peculiar and powerful control over certain things in nature. Rhapsody follows the final chapter of the story as he returns to the city, desperate to find a way to deal with Pavor, the malignant traitor, once and for all – and before his strange corrosive darkness can destroy everything and everyone.

Why did you write your book?

I grew up as an only child in Africa (Zimbabwe, to be exact) and we had almost no TV. Inevitably, I threw myself into reading, and found myself lost in worlds I came to love. Growing up in proximity to the stunning wilderness there and exposed to such a mix of cultures and traditions and folklore – not to mention music, with which my life has been saturated since I was born – writing seemed an obvious creative output for me. Besides, I love it!
Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Raf is a fairly typical stubborn teen, awkward and unexcited about what the post-school future holds, particularly because both of his parents are important members of the local Council. He is acutely shy and struggles to deal with having this musical, magical gift – especially the responsibility that this talent comes with. Along the way, he meets a fascinating cast of characters who help him shoulder the burden of being a ‘melforger’: from Tiponi, the loyal tribesman; to the Elder who takes him under his wing; to Sylvia, a spirited and beautiful lass from the city who ties both his stomach and his tongue in knots. In Rhapsody, we also meet the kooky cave-dweller, Keppi, and we become better acquainted with the rather unpleasant villain, Pavor, and what he’s capable of.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I think it’s very hard to not base characters on something real – or someone real, rather. I’m not sure that any of mine are molded entirely on someone I know so much as mixtures, or chimeras, of characters and personalities. Sometimes, all I need is a starting point or a simple anchor, something borrowed from a real person that’s specific and potent: a particular kind of personality trait, or a distinct driving force, or an unusual philosophy; then, when they’re put into the world I’ve created, the rest of the details grow organically from there as they act and react to everything.

Having traveled a fair amount in my life, and being an avid taker of notes and a documenter of odd and entertaining things that happen to me (which are disturbingly many), I’ve found myself in a phenomenal variety of places with wildly different people, looking out for interesting traits and qualities and features and quirks that I can collect like Lego pieces with which to build someone, later.
Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel or do you discover it as you write?

For the most part, I plan the books as meticulously as I can, reverse engineering, tying everything up and making it work – almost like a piece of music. With fantasy especially, not only do you have characters and plot to craft out in a cohesive, consistent way, but you also have a whole fictional world that needs to make sense, as well as a magic that must follow its own rules. I definitely knew the gist of the plot when I first started planning the books, and I had a solid idea of how I wanted it to end. Threading together all the elements to connect it all into a comprehensive tale was where copious planning came into it. And then re-planning. A lot.
And having said all that, there were definitely moments while writing when the story evolved under its own steam – sometimes even moving slightly away from what I’d planned. I think that that’s inescapable if you create real enough characters, and some of my favorite moments are when people do or say things that I hadn’t planned – but which they would do – and the story comes alive even more.
Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Absolutely! The Forest setting is unique and wonderful, and very much shapes Raf’s personality – not to mention being the victim of the whole problem – the disease - that triggers the story’s plot. Then there is a vast desert plain which is equally extreme, contrasted with the dense city and its teeming hordes of inhabitants, and one other intense setting which the cover of Rhapsody perhaps gives away.

I love creating the settings; they’re the canvasses on which the story is painted, and in the case of The Melforger Chronicles, they are crucial to both the characters and the plot – and the magic.
Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

There have definitely been a few moments where I struggled with writing, or with connecting parts of the stories. The only way I can get out of it is normally to take a break and do something else for a bit: go for a walk, go cycling, play tennis, clean the house – something fairly active and mindless. I find that sometimes, all your imagination needs is a little time to incubate and work on its own without you trying to force it to do something. I compare trying to be creative or trying to find that novel idea with attempting to catch a butterfly; if you chase it, it always remains just out of your reach, whereas if you relax, it will (more often than not) come to you. Other times I find it better just to write. Get it down on the page. Anything. Even if it’s rubbish. Once you have something written and tangible, you can edit or tweak or just scrap it completely. But even if it’s something you’d never lower yourself to putting in your story, it could be the spark that opens you up to a new idea or solution.
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m a keen sportsman and enjoy tennis, golf and the occasional game of cricket (it’s not as boring as you think!). I also devour books on my kindle (and in paperback form - I still enjoy the feel of a real book in my hands) and find it difficult to get through a day without doing a Sudoku puzzle. I’m also an enthusiastic – but rarely successful – pub trivia addict. I’m very much a traveler though, and as you can probably guess from the trilogy, I have a yearning for spectacular vistas and extreme environments. I just returned from a week’s hike in Iceland and have had the bar for ‘stunning scenery’ moved so high up I fear it won’t be bested by anything other than a base camp hike to Everest…





Friday, October 17, 2014

Interview with Wayne Zurl, author of Pigeon River Blues (Mystery / Police Procedural)

Wayne Zurl grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years he served as a section commander supervising investigators. He is a graduate of SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. Zurl left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with his wife, Barbara.

Twenty (20) of his Sam Jenkins mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books. Ten (10) of these novelettes are available in print under the titles: A Murder In Knoxville and Other Smoky Mountain Mountain Mysteries and Reenacting A Murder and Other Smoky Mountain Mysteries. Zurl has won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award. His full length novels are available in print and as eBooks: A New ProspectA Leprechaun's Lament,  Heroes & Lovers, and Pigeon River Blues.

For more information on Wayne’s Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You may read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Connect with Wayne Zurl:


About The Book


Title: Pigeon River Blues
Author: Wayne Zurl
Publisher: Iconic Publishing
Publication Date: May 31, 2014
Pages: 258
ISBN: 978-1938844027
Genre: Mystery / Police Procedural
Format: eBook / PDF / Paperback

Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie. 

The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality by flaunting her lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate. 

During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into how he foils a complicated plot of attempted murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”


For More Information: 


Can you tell us what your book is about?

I think the summary I used to sell the publisher on reading the entire manuscript will give you the gist of what the story is about. Beyond that, I’m getting into question 2 and why I wrote the book. Here’s the summary:

                Winter in the Smokies can be a tranquil time of year—unless Sam Jenkins sticks his thumb into the sweet potato pie.

The retired New York detective turned Tennessee police chief is minding his own business one quiet day in February when Mayor Ronnie Shields asks him to act as a bodyguard for a famous country and western star.

C.J. Profitt’s return to her hometown of Prospect receives lots of publicity . . . and threats from a rightwing group calling themselves The Coalition for American Family Values.

The beautiful, publicity seeking Ms. Proffit never fails to capitalize on her abrasive personality and flaunt her lifestyle—a way of living the Coalition hates.

Reluctantly, Jenkins accepts the assignment of keeping C.J. safe while she performs at a charity benefit. But Sam’s job becomes more difficult when the object of his protection refuses to cooperate. 

During this misadventure, Sam hires a down-on-his-luck ex-New York detective and finds himself thrown back in time, meeting old Army acquaintances who factor into his plan to foil a complicated plot of premeditated murder, the destruction of a Dollywood music hall, and other general insurrection on the “peaceful side of the Smokies.”


Why did you write your book?

Most of what I write comes from personal experiences.  I have more of a memory than imagination. But I do fictionalize and embellish everything to make it more readable and not sound like a detective’s report. Real police work is not always a thrill a minute. With that in mind, I  often conjoin two or more actual incidents to build one more interesting novel. That’s the case with Pigeon River Blues.

My books and stories are character driven. Cops are in the people business and any good detective who worked in a crowded and busy area met his/her share of quirky, story-worthy characters.

In PRB, I really wanted to incorporate the three nitwits that made up the local segment of what I called The Coalition for American Family Values—Mack and Ma Collinson and their henchman, the head case, Jeremy Goins. I really met these people. And they threw me for a loop. These numbskulls were functioning in the mainstream world, but were certified whack jobs. I felt a compelling need to introduce them to the literary world.

And I’ve been looking for the appropriate place to introduce a new regular character to the cast of the Sam Jenkins mysteries and give him a job at Prospect PD. I call him John “Black Cloud” Gallagher and this outwardly goofy and malapropic guy, who speaks a language all his own, is based on someone with whom I worked for many years. Despite all the laughs he provided me and the office full of cops, when “John” dropped the class clown act, he worked like one hell of an investigator.


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

The main character in all my mysteries is Sam Jenkins, a former New York detective lieutenant who, after years of retirement, begins a second career as police chief in Prospect, Tennessee, a small touristy city in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Sam is supported by Sergeants Bettye Lambert who Sam calls the most beautiful desk sergeant on the planet, Stan Rose, a former LAPD officer who followed his wife back to her home town and joined Prospect PD, and Sam’s wife Kate who’s spent many years acting as Sam’s Dr. Watson. Other regulars not usually associated as friends of your average policeman are FBI Special Agent Ralph Oliveri and TV reporter Rachel Williamson who often factor into Sam’s investigations.

I’ve got three pensions coming in to pay the bills and keep me out of debtor’s prison, so I don’t need royalty money to keep my happy home afloat. On the other hand, my ego (somewhat like Sam Jenkins’s) is just a bit smaller than South Dakota and I need to see stories and characters I like before I’ll put my signature on the bottom line. I try to make these regular cast members authentic to their occupation, and people readers want to know more about. If I felt ambivalent about any one, I’d lose interest in them and they would fade from the cast. So far, I even like most of the bad guys and feel sorry when they go down the tubes. Every story needs an extra spark of evil to make the good guys real heroes.


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

I write with a lot of dialogue. It makes a story read faster and it’s a better way to handle the exposition of facts in a “show don’t tell” way. And I’m compulsive and freaky about getting the dialogue to sound natural and realistic because I hate to read stilted, phony, or unnatural speech. So, if I’m not the most naturally brilliant of writers, how can I assign each character a unique voice and write their lines fluidly? I hold a casting call while I’m writing my stories. If the “real” story doesn’t have enough “real” characters to make it good fiction, I try to remember someone from my past who would lend something positive to the atmosphere—someone different, memorable, and quirky. If I can remember them, see them, hear them, I can duplicate the sound of their speech, their delivery, and write their realistic dialogue. Transposing personalities happens a lot because I transplant actual happenings from New York to Tennessee. In doing that, I can’t write a character’s dialogue with him sounding like someone from Brooklyn when my protagonist works at a police department in southern Applaachia. To have a character called Cloyd Minton and not Vito Cavitelli say, “Ey, howz it goin’?” rather than, “You doin’ aw rot t’day?” would cause me to lose credibility.


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

I once read that try as anyone may, there are only eleven basic plots or storylines to choose from. They can be used simply, enhanced by combining them, made complex or convoluted by imagination, but plots are plots. I say, “Plotz, schmotz.” I start out with what really happened—something on record in the real world. But remember what I said? Reality ain’t always that interesting. Occasionally, it may be stranger than fiction, but it’s rarely more complex or exciting. It also doesn’t always contain the internal conflict and tension publishers (and some readers) demand. So, writers must embellish, add tidbits of tension, make the reader grit his/her teeth and say, “Jeez, Sam, you’re a good cop. Why are you doing that?” It’s because the story (read modern publisher) wants it.  

Am I aware of all the plot elements before I sit down with a pad and pen and attack a story? No. Writing is fun. Outlining and excessive aforethought is too much like work. I know the basics. I rough out a book or story and then go back and “flesh out” the descriptions I forgot because I was rushing to get my thoughts on paper. I add extraneous bits of conflict and tension and perhaps, toss in a red herring or two.  


Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

I’ve tried to do for the Smoky Mountain region of east Tennessee what Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles, Tony Hillerman did for northern Arizona, and James Lee Burke does for southern Louisiana—give the places character status.

The indigenous people of the Smokies are different than those from Long Island or Manhattan or Canada, or Cedar rapids, Iowa. They are unique. Their names are different. They speak differently and in many regards, they react differently to situations. I want a local reader to say, “Boy howdy, he’s got them characters down cold.” Or an outsider to say, “I vacationed in the Smokies once and I believe he’s captured the flavor of the region.”


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

Sure, there are times when I can’t dream up a nifty connection or a believable red herring to save my life. To get past that, I usually uncork a better than average bottle of wine, grab two glasses, and invite my wife to help solve my problem. She’s pretty good.  


What do you like the most about being an author?

When the ideas are flowing, writing is lotsa fun. Ending up with what I consider a good finished product is very satisfying. Hearing a reader compliment one of my books or stories eloquently is truly great stuff.


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

Receiving your first signed contract. Even if you’re very good, before you’re on the books as a pro, you’ve just been trying or dabbling. Once you not only see the light at the end of the tunnel, but can touch it, you change your focus from finding someone to believe in you and take a chance on your writing to worrying if your work will sell and how you can assist in promoting it and you.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

The best practical advice about writing I’ve seen came from an interview with Robert B. Parker. When asked why so many people like his stories, he said, “Because they sound good.”

From writing so many novelettes destined for audio books, I know what he means. But even if you have no intention to produce your book in audio form, you owe it to your readers to make your stories sound good. It doesn’t matter if you’ve adhered to all the rules of good grammar and usage and all the maxims of structure if your writing doesn’t sound good when read.

When you think your story, novelette, novella, novel, or epic is finished, when you truly believe you’ve found and corrected all the typos and nits and it’s ready to sell, go back and read it aloud to yourself. Pretend you’re the star of your own audio book. Read it slowly and professionally as an actor would. Then, ask yourself, does it sound good? Do all the paragraphs smoothly transcend to the next? Does each sentence contain the right number of syllables? Does each word flow into the next without conflict?  Does it have a pleasing rhythm? Basically, does it sing to you? For a guy who doesn’t dance very well, I have a great need for rhythm in my writing. If you notice any “bumps,” go back and rewrite it. Smooth everything out. If something bothers you now, it will annoy the dickens out of you in the future and someone else will probably notice it, too. When that’s finished hand it off to an editor or proofreader, whomever you can afford, and get a second pair of eyes to read it. EVERYONE needs someone else to check their work.










Interview with Donald Levin, author of The Baker's Men (Mystery / Police Procedural)

An award-winning fiction writer and poet, Donald Levin is the author of The Baker’s Men, the second book in the Martin Preuss mystery series; Crimes of Love, the first Martin Preuss mystery; The House of Grins, a mainstream novel; and two books of poetry, In Praise of Old Photographs and New Year’s Tangerine.

Widely published as a poet and with twenty-five years’ experience as a professional writer, he is dean of the faculty and professor of English at Marygrove College in Detroit. He lives in Ferndale, Michigan, the setting for his Martin Preuss mysteries.

You can visit Donald Levin’s website: http://donaldlevin.wordpress.com

Connect with Donald:
AUTHOR WEBSITE
AUTHOR BLOG
FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS


About The Book


Title: The Baker's Men
Author: Donald Levin
Publisher: Poison Toe Press 
Publication Date: April 20, 2014
Pages: 338
ISBN: 978-0615968568
Genre: Mystery / Crime Fiction / Police Procedural
Format: Paperback, eBook, PDF

Easter, 2009. The nation is still reeling from the previous year’s financial crisis. Ferndale Police detective Martin Preuss is spending a quiet evening with his son when he’s called out to investigate a savage after-hours shooting at a bakery in his suburban Detroit community. Was it a random burglary gone bad? A cold-blooded execution linked to Detroit’s drug trade? Most frightening of all, is there a terrorist connection with the Iraqi War vets who work at the store? Struggling with these questions, frustrated by the dizzying uncertainties of the case and hindered by the treachery of his own colleagues who scheme against him, Preuss is drawn into a whirlwind of greed, violence, and revenge that spans generations across metropolitan Detroit.

For More Information:
AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE
GOODREADS



Can you tell us what your book is about?

Let me first say what a pleasure it is for me to be here to talk about The Baker’s Men, the second book in my Martin Preuss series of police procedurals. (The first one was Crimes of Love.) The novel is about Preuss’s investigation of a savage shooting at a bakery in his suburban Detroit community. His efforts to piece together information about the case take him geographically across the entire metropolitan Detroit area and backwards in time to come to grips with an unsolved crime from the past. He enters a whirlwind of greed, violence, and revenge as he attempts to uncover all the mysteries surrounding what happened to “the baker’s men.”


Why did you write your book?

That’s a tough question . . . I guess the most honest answer is, Because it was in me and I wanted to get it out! It emerged from two stories that I had been carrying around with me for a few years. The first was from an article I had read in one of the local alternative newspapers about a crime at a small family-owned bakery in Detroit. The article was actually about the devastation the bakery owners suffered, but the details of the crime caught my imagination. I'm always on the lookout for ideas for my books and poems, so I cut the article out of the paper and filed it away for a few years until I started writing this book, and then it became the inciting incident. I changed all the details about the crime (its location, the owners and their situation, the motive, and the victims) and repopulated it to suit my purposes.

The other source for the plot came from a tale that my parents had told me years ago about something that happened to one of their friends. I can't say much more about it because I'll give away too much of the mystery of the book . . . but like the article in the newspaper, I carried this story in my head for years because I knew it would wind up in a novel someday. And it finally did.


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

The main characters in the book are continuing characters from the first book in the series. The central character is Martin Preuss, a widower with two sons; his elder son Jason disappeared years before after blaming Preuss for the automobile accident that killed Preuss’s wife six years prior to the book’s beginning. The younger son, Toby, is a 16-year-old with profound multiple handicaps who lives in a group home near where Preuss himself lives. Preuss spends as much time with Toby as he can, and loves the boy deeply and fiercely. I took great pains to make Martin Preuss realistic and recognizable and not a “superdetective.” Determined and resourceful, he is nevertheless a flawed man trying his best to improve his world by helping people who find themselves in incredibly difficult circumstances.

The other main characters are his colleagues in the police department, mainly Janey Cahill, the department’s youth officer, and Reg Trombley, the youngest detective in the department who once looked up to Preuss as his mentor but who, in this book, seems to have a serious conflict with the older detective that Preuss cannot figure out.


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

It’s a little of both. Like an actor, I usually work inwards after starting with a physical sense of the character, and I typically base their appearance on real people I’ve seen. But the internal lives of the characters are mostly invented.

I have to say, though, that Toby is a loving and I hope precisely drawn portrait of my own grandson Jamie, from how he looks and acts to how he sounds. Jamie died three years ago after spending a year in a vegetative state. I wrote Crimes of Love before Jamie died but I had always planned to build into the book some of the amazing lessons I learned from him in his twenty-five years on earth. And now the books serve as a way for me to remember that remarkable young man. All this isn’t necessary to understand Toby as a character, but it helps to enlarge your understanding of where the character comes from.


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

I’ve heard that some writers (Joyce Carol Oates, for instance) can outline the entire novel before they start writing. For me that would never work. I start out with a very general idea of the overall arc of the story, make some notes about plot and character, and then start in writing. It’s in the writing where the story comes to life. One of the things I most love about writing longer works is discovering the story as I work through the draft . . . it winds up being an almost mystical process of entering into the story and the lives of the characters and letting the story—the individual scenes as well as the entire plot—emerge. After I’ve written the first draft, then I go back and craft and shape it all over and over again until I’m satisfied with the story, the pacing, and all the other elements of the novel. I rewrite and revise constantly.


Does the setting play a major part in the development of the story?

Very much so, not only in terms of the physical location, but also the point in time at which the story is set. The location is Ferndale, Michigan, which is an actual city outside Detroit (and also is where I live), and if you wanted to you could take my books and follow the action up and down the streets of Ferndale and Detroit. Ferndale is a city of about 20,000 people, roughly the size of the town of Ystad where Henning Mankell’s Wallander lives and works, and I use Ferndale in much the same way . . . as a location for me to express my concerns as an author: the failure of love; the cascading consequences of greed and violence, the cruelty and brutality we inflict on others consciously or unconsciously.

The Baker’s Men is also set in 2009, while the nation is still reeling from the previous year’s financial crisis. This winds up being important to the story because many of the same problems that caused the nation’s financial crisis also set the novel in motion.


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

I don’t really suffer from writer’s block anymore. I was a professional writer for almost twenty-five years before I went into teaching, and when you’re a professional you don’t have the luxury of having writer’s block. My jobs ranged from speechwriter for the commissioner of the Department of Health in New York City to freelance industrial video scriptwriter on projects for clients like IBM and General Electric. As a writer I developed very disciplined work habits that I draw upon every time I sit down to write something. I learned early on not to rely on the fluctuations of inspiration when I needed to write something; I learned how to staple my butt to the chair and get it done.

Several years ago, though, I suffered through a prolonged period where I didn’t write fiction because I despaired of getting published. I was having no success in placing anything, and just got discouraged. I’m not sure it was writer’s block (which suggests you want to write but can’t) as much as having lost my interest in being a fiction writer. Finally I came to terms with what “success” means . . . it’s not fame and riches but knowing that you are doing the best, most honest work you can. Once I realized that, it freed me up and I was able once again to let my creative drive find an outlet in writing fiction.


What do you like most about being an author?

Honestly, everything about writing for me is a total pleasure, so I love everything about it. I love to spin out a fictional world where the characters, the events, and the setting all come together to invite the reader in for an experience that engages them and leaves them changed by the end of the book. I love building houses in what Fay Weldon calls “the City of Invention.” I love using language. I love the psychomotor activity of putting words on a page, either with a pen or on a word processor. I’m not wild about rejection, but that comes with the territory; you have to focus on the joys and not the agonies.


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

I think that depends on the writer. For some people it’s when they discover their voice as a fiction writer, or a poet, or an essayist, or a dramatist. For some people it’s when they make their first sale, or when they place a poem in a journal, that moment when they are validated as the thing they’ve always wanted to be. For some people, like myself as I was explaining a moment ago, it’s when they give themselves permission to write regardless of what happens to their creations. So I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all pivotal point, and I also don’t think there’s just one pivotal point in a writer’s life . . . since creative artists are always growing and changing, there can be many pivotal points in the life of a writer.


What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Again, there are many different forms of advice depending on what a writer needs at any particular moment. In general I’d echo the usual advice writers give to other writers: never stop reading, never stop writing, and never stop growing. Many thanks for allowing me to speak with your readers!




Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Actor by Douglas Gardham Book Feature

Title: The Actor
Author: Douglas Gardham
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON

 It is 1991 when Ethan Jones finally wins the role of his dreams in an upcoming, big screen movie. With the envelope holding the script clutched in his hand, he arrives at his California apartment where he can hardly wait to tell his girlfriend the exciting news. But when he finds the door unexpectedly ajar, he has no idea that in just a few seconds, the life he has fought so hard to obtain will be shattered. Eight years earlier, Ethan is attending university in Ottawa, Canada. One evening after seriously contemplating suicide, he finds his way into a club where he meets Mila Monahan, a beautiful acting student who saves him from himself. After he watches Mila rehearse a university play, Ethan catches the acting bug and decides to pursue his own creative passions, causing a collision with his more secure ideals. But when Mila suddenly disappears, Ethan vows he will never stop chasing the dream she inspired in him, believing in a world entirely different from the one he is living in. The Actor is a gripping tale of a young man’s unforgettable journey of self-discovery in overcoming the trauma of a personal tragedy. It is a story of love, hardship, persistence and overwhelming joy where The Actor learns he can portray anything he can imagine.

  amazon

Douglas Gardham is a writer who loves music, movies, and books. He lives near Toronto, Canada, with his wife and dog. This is his first published novel.

Douglas is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends on October 17.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, October 20.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Guest post from Robert Chomany, author of BawB's Raven Feathers

Bawbs cover
Title: Bawb's Raven Feathers
Author: Robert Chomany
Publisher: Invermere Press
Genre: Inspirational
Format: Paperback/Ebook

 BawB's Raven Feathers is pure and simple. It kickstarts moments of self-reflection and inner peace, drawing on nostalgia while pushing the reader to live in the present and dream of tomorrow. Alternating brief chapters of prose with perfectly rhythmic, adult rhymes, this book holds appeal for the masses.

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You must reach for the sky. . .
. . . before you can touch it.

I was chatting the other day with a friend of mine and he said something that caught my attention, he said my readers want to know more about me, they want to know who BawB is. So I walked away from that conversation wondering who I am, really, and all I could come up with was that I’m a nobody that took some time to share his spiritual beliefs and inspiration with the world, and then I remembered my favorite saying that I have chosen to make my “Mantra” everybody that is a somebody started out as a nobody.

That’s right, I am a nobody today, I am one with the world, a being that is akin to all other beings, I breathe, I smile, therefore I am. But, now I am different than all the other wonderful nobody’s in the world because I have done something that might make me a somebody one day. I am a published author, by no means am I “like” the great published authors of the world, but I followed my dreams and I chose to try my best at something I was comfortable doing.

The more I think about it, the more I recognize all the somebody’s out there, all of my friends, all of their friends and all of their children’s friends, they are all somebody’s as yet unrecognized. How many lifetimes have we ambled our paths, wondering who we are, has anybody ever asked you about you? Have you ever had the pleasure of introducing yourself as the best you that the world has ever seen? Well, try it one day, believe in yourself that much and see how it feels to be a somebody. Take a moment in the next day or two to answer this question; who am I? And see who you come up with. What do you do? What would you like to do? What makes you happy and have you enjoyed it recently?

As for me, well let me introduce myself again, but this time as a somebody that nobody recognizes … Yet! I am BoB aka BawB, I am a writer, I have spent most of this lifetime seeking the easiest path I could find to happiness. I found it, it was right under my feet for the entire time, I just had to believe I was happy being me. I believe in life, and I feel like I am a better person inside because I share the wonders of living, I have no worries when it comes to sharing a smile and I have a million left because I AM happy being me.

Look up today and see the sky, then reach with all your might
Every cloud is a dream of yours, make it real and hold on tight.

J

BawB

Robert (BawB) Chomany is the author of the BawB’s Raven Feathers series, pure and simple inspirational books. He was born in Calgary, Alberta, with a clear view of the mountains to the west. These mountains eventually drew Bob in, and he spent many years living in the company of nature, exploring his spiritual side.   Bob pursues his many interests with passion. You are just as likely to find him twisting a wrench or riding his motorcycle, as you are to find him holding a pen, writing.   Bob still lives in Calgary, where he finds happiness by simply living with a smile and sharing his words of wisdom with others. Learn more about Robert at his website, http://bawbsravenfeathers.com/. For More Information

Living with Heart by L. Reynolds Andiric Book Feature

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Living with HeartTitle: Living with Heart
Author: L. Reynolds Andiric
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 266
Genre: Biography
Format: Ebook
 Purchase at AMAZON

  Reflections from the heart: intimate and provocative An eclectic assortment of sensitive, reflective, and occasionally spiritual short stories relates the experiences of an adventurous seeker and world traveler. Never a mere spectator of life, but always fully participating, L. Reynolds Andiric relays stories of intimate connections with nature and family as well as memorable exchanges with individuals randomly encountered along life’s way. Each tale conveys an insightful experience that broadened not only the author’s understanding of earth’s creatures—animal as well as human—but served to alter how the world is viewed. These accounts implore the reader to also appreciate and preserve the natural world and to cherish, honor, and respect all of humanity, regardless of our differences. Poignant, humorous, contemplative—sometimes a bit tense, these adventures will leave you wondering, What will be next?

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A medical laboratory scientist, L. Reynolds Andiric has had a long career in medical laboratory management. She is a world traveler with a love of people and nature and has an astute and sensitive connection to all beings. She currently lives in St. Augustine, Florida, and works as a technical consultant with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as part of the PEPFAR Project. She also owns LabCare & Assoc., a clinical laboratory consulting company.

L is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends on October 17.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, October 20.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Conscious Experience by W.H. Sparks Book Feature

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Conscious ExperienceTitle: Conscious Experience
Author: W.H. Sparks
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 164
Genre: Philosophy
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON

The fundamental principles that explain the heretofore mysterious phenomena of consciousness are:

 (1) Consciousness is energies of the environment, and energies developed in intrafusal muscle spindles are conscious experience, and

(2) the experience occurring as the developed energies, depending on purpose and intensity, are detected by muscle receptors. The conscious experience occurs as perception (the experience of the environment), imagery (imagination, memory, and dreams), feelings (emotion), or, when agreed to, the meanings of language. Consciousness and conscious experience are not subject to the interpretations of scientific and religious knowledge because consciousness is the individual experience of each and every person.

In Conscious Experience, author W.H. Sparks presents a discussion of the relationship of consciousness and experience based on his extensive research and his personal experiences. Along with a review of the development of the theory of consciousness, Sparks offers a plethora of facts and thoughts about conscious experience, including:
 • An explanation of the nature and experience of consciousness
• How the experience of energies detected by receptors constitutes conscious experience
• The idea that conscious experience is detected as the energies developed in the intrafusal spindles by muscle receptors
• How consciousness is experienced by the muscle system
• The structures of experience are the intrafusal muscle spindles
• The impulse activity transduced from the detected energies innervates the muscle system
• The recognition of the part the muscle receptors play in conscious experience is the process that finally answers the question of consciousness and conscious experience

 In the Conscious Experience, Sparks provides information that shows conscious experience includes perception, imagery, feelings, and the meanings of language—all qualities unique to each individual.
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W.H. Sparks graduated from the University of Colorado. His primary field of study was philosophy. After graduation, Sparks continued his interest in studies of consciousness. Sparks is the author of Language and Conscious Experience and The Nature of Experience. He and his wife live in Southern California.
 

W.H. is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins October 6 and ends on October 17.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, October 20.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

a Rafflecopter giveaway