Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Interview with Seth Mullins, author of The Edge of the Known Trilogy



Q: Please tell us about The Edge of the Known trilogy, and what inspired you to write it.

A: The books are narrated by Brandon Chane, who at the onset is the archetypal self-destructive artistic prodigy, a young musician whose wounds runs as deeply as his creative gifts. He meets Saul, an older man who’s described as “a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man” and begins a far-reaching healing journey. I was inspired to write the saga from a lifelong love of music, creative expression in general and inner exploration.

Q: What themes do you explore in The Edge of the Known trilogy?

A: I absorbed a lot of lore about artistic geniuses throughout history, noticing how often pain and self-destruction married with their inspirations. I questioned whether this was really inevitable. Could another answer be found? And the answer that Saul puts forth is that “we are the authors of this dream” – meaning that we form our own lives from the inside out. So, creativity, self-knowledge and self-empowerment are all core themes in the story.

Q: Why do you write?

A: Writing is my way of connecting with the world around me. I have such a strong desire to reach people in this way. Also it’s a way of connecting more deeply with my own inner self also.

Q: How picky are you with language?

A: Because this trilogy is written in the First Person, it was crucial that I get Brandon’s ‘voice’ right. That was much more important than grammar; but because he’s described as a poet I figured he could justifiably express himself with eloquence, at least occasionally, even when telling his own story.

Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?

A: I mentioned Brandon’s voice: There were times when it was really prominent in my head, when I had to kind of “get back to myself” afterwards to feel clear and functional. But to use the term “manipulation” would give the experience a diabolical slant, I think. Giving voice to our characters can get us more deeply in touch with ourselves as well.

Q: What is your worst time as a writer?

A: The afternoon hours, when my consciousness typically hits a lull.

Q: Your best?

A: Late night and early morning.

Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?

A: No.

Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?

A: Finishing this trilogy was my most fulfilled moment. The vision that I’d been carrying around inside me was what ended up on paper, which is about the most gratifying experience a writer can have.

Q: Is writing an obsession to you?

A: It’s a response to inner need. But I feel drawn by my love for it, not compelled.

Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?

A: Mostly in the way that they revolve around themes and subject matter that I spend a lot of time thinking about anyway. The fiction provides a space within which these ideas can live and hopefully expand to reach some sort of culmination. Like Brandon, I was a performing musician; and like Saul, I have a deep interest in exploring the inner depths.

Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?

A: The ideal thing is to reach a place where your inner life and your experiences in the world are congruent; then you don’t need to worry about being “destroyed”. I think this is the path that art invites us to take. In the meantime, yes, use writing as an outlet for what your inner being cries out to express and also as a bulwark against the waves of the world.

Q: Where is your book available?

A: Mostly on Amazon: What Casts the Shadow? (The Edge of the Known, Volume I) http://amzn.to/1rkhffS
Trust in the Unseen (The Edge of the Known, Volume II) http://amzn.to/UBw3bw
Humanity’s Way Forward (The Edge of the Known, Volume III) http://amzn.to/1CfWtPr
Readers can also obtain signed copies by contacting me through my author site.

Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?

My author site, Humanity’s Way Forward: http://www.humanityswayforward.com



Title: What Casts the Shadow
Author: Seth Mullins
Pages: 240
Genre: Metaphysical
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 A troubled young rock musician, a mystic mentor, and a generation of lost souls longing for a new voice to emerge from the wilderness... When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing - one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss - begins.


  For More Information:
  What Casts the Shadow is available at Amazon. Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Title: Trust in the Unseen
Author: Seth Mullins
Pages: 234
Genre: Metaphysical
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 "We'd all thrown our fates to the wind, trusting in the unknown - in the Unseen, as our EP so proudly proclaimed - and that leap had thus far landed us in a place where we couldn't even grope our way forward in the dark anymore." Brandon Chane was beginning to realize that discovering his voice was only the first step of the journey. Now he must somehow learn to trust the depths from which it comes, and the unknown horizons that it may sweep him away to, even as every part of his personal world seems to be falling apart.

 For More Information:

  Trust in the Unseen is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Humanity's Way ForwardTitle: Humanity's Way Forward
Author: Seth Mullins
Pages: 246
Genre: Metaphysical
Format: Paperback/Kindle

 "The echoes of those scars can clearly be heard in Edge of the Known's music. But one can also discern, quite distinctly, that other inexplicable thing that is within us all, the undying flame that transcends our wounds and sufferings..." Brandon Chane had always seen life through the eyes of an outcast, a misfit, a young man at odds with the world and with himself. Now they're calling him a wounded healer; a shamanic Pied Piper for the throngs of alienated youth; a thief of fire. He wonders if he and his band can escape the claims that the world has suddenly laid upon them. But what about the cherished dream that he's struggled so desperately to fulfill, the dream that finally seems to be coming to fruition?"

 For More Information:

 Humanity's Way Forward is available at Amazon.
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.

Seth Mullins first conceived of his dream to write novels in his early teens, and this one desire has stayed with him throughout all the other myriad twists and turns of life. His inspirations include methods of inner exploration such as dream-work and shamanism and his experiences as a songwriter and performing musician. He studied creative writing at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico and Lane Community College in Oregon. Seth has lived in Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon and (currently) Vermont.

For More Information
Visit Seth’s website. Connect with Seth on Twitter.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Principium: The Stone Prophecy Series by Alexandra Lamarre Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon GC!

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Principium Title: Principium: The Stone Prophecy Series
Author: Alexandra Lamarre
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Kindle

 Ever since her mother’s death twelve years ago, fourteen-year-old Kiarra Johnson wonders if she is a good witch or if she is doomed to a lifetime of evil. Her life is anything but mundane as she lives in a rented room in her father’s home in the village of Kiamika, a magical society hidden from mortals who would persecute them for their gifts. For many years, Kiarra has lived across the lake from Kasy Sheridan, a girl who has led a life vastly different from her own. They both have been accepted to attend the magical Hollow Institute for Gifted Young Women. During this time, their lives become intertwined as they study magical theory and learn rituals that will change their view of magic and give them insight into the mystery of dying familiars. Kiarra wonders if she will be able to uphold her mother’s legacy of helping to save the world. She and her friends are faced with that challenge when they encounter the evil Feuer, a vampire-demon hybrid. What chance do these teens, with just one year of magical training, have against creatures who are more than three hundred years old?

To Purchase Principium

amazon
Alexandra Lamarre earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Carleton University with a double minor in French and history. She began writing this book when she was thirteen years old, using inspiration from both her high school and college experiences. Lamarre lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with her three roommates.  

Alexandra is  giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 
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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins April 20 and ends on May 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Bookwright: Book One of the Vanir Trilogy by George R. Dasher Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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BookwrightTitle: Bookwright
Author: George R. Dasher
Publisher: iUniverse
Genre: Science Fiction
Format: Kindle/Paperback/Hardcover

 With his ship crippled and his crew dead, Jarl Hawkins fights for survival in space as his dying spaceship, the Cassiopeia, drifts out of control. But there is nothing he can do, and his own death is certain. Oddly enough, rescue comes in the form of an old wizard named Kvasir, who offers Jarl his chance at a new life on Vanir, a planet unlike anything Jarl has ever encountered. There, the King fights his rivals for control of his kingdom, wild nomads roam the northern Ghost Plains, wizards and witches use magic, and an all-powerful church viciously suppresses independent thought through prison, torture, and fire. Once on Vanir, Jarl befriends the Kettlewand Rangers and is drawn into a war that he doesn’t truly understand. Separated from Kvasir, he patrols with the Rangers, witnesses the murder of a Ghost Raider, and travels to Tyr, the capital city, to locate Kvasir or another wizard. But he instead finds himself on the wrong side of the Church, and his modern weapons are taken from him and he is imprisoned for being a sorcerer. Once inside the prison, however, he finds a friend and protector, a samurai-like warrior. After a pardon from the king himself, Jarl and his new friend returns to Tyr and makes a startling—and dangerous—discovery: a translated Vanir bible. Determined to break the church’s hold on the citizens, Jarl begins to print the bible, infuriating the church leaders. His time on Vanir becomes even more dangerous, and it is only with the King’s protection that he and his printing company can survive. But Kvasir is still missing, and without the help of the old wizard, Jarl is powerless to make his way back into space.

To Purchase Bookwright

George R. Dasher has worked as an EMT, paramedic, and a coal and oil-and-gas geologist. Now an environmental geologist, he oversees the remediation of contaminated groundwater sites in West Virginia. His hobbies include diving, skiing, hiking, mountain biking, camping, and caving. He is the editor of a state-wide caving newsletter and the author of eight books on caving. He lives in West Virginia  

George is  giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 
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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins April 27 and ends on May 15.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 17.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

No Crystal Stair by Sarah Smith Ducksworth Book Blast - Win a $25 Amazon GC!



Title: No Crystal Stair
Author: Sarah Smith Ducksworth
Publisher: Trafford
Genre: Poetry
Format: Kindle

 Each poem in this collection is a reflection upon the author’s personal life or is a response to her vicarious interactions in the lives of characters she has met in real life or in books. Through the critical lens of poetry, she has looked for deeper meanings inside those experiences. Though the writer ends with an understanding that her life has not been a “crystal stair,” alluding to the hardships the titular character in Langston Hughes’ Poem--“The Negro Mother”-- faced, the writer feels that these poems, all together, reflect her world view and personal Truth.

To Purchase No Crystal Stair


For most of her life, Sarah Smith Ducksworth has seen herself as a teacher who writes. She has had a teaching career spanning nearly forty years and has taught language arts in New York and in New Jersey middle schools, high schools and universities. This current book of creative writings represents a reversal in the way she has begun to identify herself and launches her intent to spend the rest of her life pursuing her love of writing. 

Sarah is giving away a $25 Gift Card!

 
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 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins April 20 and ends on May 1.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on May 3.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Interview with Scott Richard Lord, author of 'The Logic Bomb'



Scott R. Lord has been a highly successful criminal and civil trial lawyer for 35 years and is active in the practice of law with the law firm of Cohen & Lord, a P.C., located in the Century City area of Los Angeles. Scott is a devoted student of Italian language and literature. He is the father and step-father of six children and lives with his wife and children in Santa Monica, California.

His latest book is the thriller, The Logic Bomb.
For More Information
Can you tell us what your book is about?
     
The Logic Bomb tells the story of Tom Tresh, a skillful but unsuccessful lawyer, who is lured by the promise of a huge payday to become involved in a scheme to steal and sell a mysterious new computer program.  Tom soon discovers that the program is not the harmless financial services
program he was led to believe but is instead a "logic bomb" an incredibly powerful cyber weapon capable of destroying vital computer systems.  He must fight both in and out of court to save himself, his friends, and his family the criminals and terrorists involved in the scheme.  Tom enlists the aid of a beautiful but deadly former cop, the head of a murderous gang, and a brilliant computer wizard.  The story races towards a fierce and violent showdown.

Why did you write your book?

I wanted to write a book that I would like to read:  Fun, interesting, exciting.  During my career as a trial lawyer, I met so many interesting people and learned so many great stories, it was always a dream of mine to write a novel using some of them.

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

Tom Tresh, the main character, is a skilled lawyer who has not enjoyed the success he thinks his talents merit.  He has watched as other lawyers, far less able than he, earn the rewards he thinks he deserves.  One such lawyer. Charlie Papadoukas, asks for his help completing a deal and promises him the moon if the deal goes through.  When, predictably, the deal goes sour, Tom turns to a former client, Skip Williams, the leader of a Los Angeles gang, for help.  Skip is humorous, intelligent, decisive and almost completely amoral.

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

I tend to base my characters on real people.

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

A mix of the two, I think.  I knew how I wanted The Logic Bomb to end before I started to write.  I outlined the plot but then felt free to improvise as I wrote.  I find that if what I am writing has merit, good ideas tend to flow.

Your book is set in Los Angeles.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular? 

I live and grew up in the Los Angeles area and I know it better than any other city.  And as many superb authors have shown, it is a great setting for a mystery thriller.

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

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?  Page 69 is the beginning of Chapter 9.  Tom and Charlie have just discovered that two of the guys who helped them steal the logic bomb software have been gruesomely murdered.  They realize they are in over their heads and need help if they are to survive.

Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?
Yes, I have.  And the only cure that works for me is to force myself to write something, anything, no matter how terrible it seems.  Invariably, it gets me back in the groove.

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

What a great question!  Out of many options, the answer is read for pleasure. 

Which holiday is your favorite and why? 

Thanksgiving.  All the fun of food, family, and football, without the pressure and expectations of Christmas.

If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go? 

I live in Santa Monica, California and there are several beach cafes and restaurants that are ideal of sitting and talking.

Can you tell us about your family? 

My wife and I, between us, have six children, two of whom 12 year-old twin boys, are still at home.  My wife, Susan, owns and operates a wonderful restaurant, the Bel Air Bar and Grill.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors? 

As a first-time novelist who first published later in life, I would say, it is never too late to write the book you always dreamed of writing.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Interview with Gaylon Kent, author of The Diary of a Nobody

The Diary of a Nobody Book Banner




The Diary of a Nobody From earning a living to getting the dog to poop to running for the United States Senate, The Diary of a Nobody chronicles the life of Sparrow, a funny, average man passing an average life. In addition to Sparrow, you’ll meet The Wife, the cat, the dog, his friend Bonser and his rug rat Matt and Brian, Sparrow’s co-worker at the Doily Delivery Company.

 The Diary of a Nobody is a real-time novel, updated daily at www.writersshack.com. It begins in October, 2013 and was inspired by a 19th century British novel of the same name. Gaylon Kent, 49, is an American writer. In addition to The Diary of a Nobody, Gaylon has written the novel The Regular Guys and Backstairs at the Monte Carlo: A Vegas Memoir. He also writes the columns The Daily Dose and The Bottom Ten. All of Gaylon’s work is available exclusively at www.writersshack.com.

Q: Please tell us about The Diary of a Nobody and what inspired you to write it.

A: The inspiration came from a 19th century British novel of the same name. It is set in 1885 and is about an average British bloke with an average clerk’s job, an average wife and a no-load kid who just lost his job and moves back home.

I found it completely brilliant, a captivating read, and saw no reason why I couldn’t produce a funny 21st century version.

The Diary of a Nobody starts in November, 2013 and continues to this day. It is updated daily at www.writersshack.com and 2013/14 is available in hard cover and paperback. Succeeding years will be, too.

Q: What themes do you explore in The Diary of a Nobody?

A: The joys of everyday life. The pleasures of a good marriage. The futility in trying to get the dog to poop when it’s 20 below. The thrill and satisfaction of accomplishment even if a billion Chinese couldn’t care less about your accomplishment.

Q: Why do you write?

A: It is what I was meant to do with my time on this planet, and I genuinely believe I have something to say and your readers are better off for having read it.

A writer, any artist, really, must believe this with every fiber of their being. If I am not writing so you will remember it the rest of your life, why am I even bothering?

Now, you may or may not remember something I wrote forever and ever, but I am wasting everyone’s time by not trying. I would merely be typing.

Q: How picky are you with language?

A: Quite, especially with dialogue. Every word must count, must move the story forward, must not waste the reader’s time. Naughty words must fit and be appropriate to the character and circumstance.
This is funny because ages ago I served our country on an old diesel submarine, the USS Blueback. I received a Master’s degree in swearing with special emphasis on the Holy Trinity and I still swear, as a matter of course.  

Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?

A: Afar, no. Within, yes. Which conceptually is probably the same thing.

While I hope every single one of your readers goes and buys my book, or better yet, books, I do not write for money. I write because I have something to say. So I sit down and write what I feel needs to be said first, then go and find readers for it.

Q: What is your worst time as a writer?

A: With regards to actually writing, it is when I am tired. My mind does not produce readable material when it is tired.

Another bad time is right after finishing the first draft of a novel. You put so much work into it and it was so much fun and now it’s all over.

Q: Your best?

A: Right after finishing the first draft of a novel!

Seriously, it was so much fun and so much work it is supremely satisfying to have the first draft finished because now you can look forward to the fun of polishing and editing it.

As far as actually writing, I prefer to write first thing in the morning, when the mind is freshly rested and caffeinated.

Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?

A: Death. That’s about it. We were all put on this planet to do something.

Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?

A: Every day I get to sit down and write what is on my mind is satisfying. The best is yet to come, however.

Q: Is writing an obsession to you?

A: No, in that I do not let it interfere with other things. When it is time for dinner, I eat dinner with my wife. When it is time to earn a living, I do that. When it is time to go and umpire a high school baseball game, I go do that.

However, if I am not writing I am probably thinking about it. It never ends. So perhaps the answer is yes.

Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?

A: Oh, very much so. A writer who does not have at least a contextual connection with what he writes is not writing, he is typing.

The Diary of a Nobody is, to a great extent, on my life. I’ve tried to get the dog to poop when it was 20 below, and I have a funny wife, though I am actually farther along in my officiating career than Sparrow is, but I’ve been in his shoes.

Q: Sparrow ran for the United States Senate in 2014. Have you ever run for the United States Senate?

A: Yes! As Sparrow was running as the nominee of the Minor Party I was the Colorado Libertarian Party’s nominee.

Sparrow’s campaign paralleled mine closely. We both made TV appearances and both came in third in a six-person race.

And we will both run again.

Q: How did you like running for the United States Senate?

A: It was a lot of fun. I had wanted to run for the US Senate since I was a boy with no guarantee it would ever happen. It was satisfying.

It is tough to get taken seriously as a third party candidate, though. More than once someone would say “you know, I like what you stand for, too bad you have no chance to win”.

Q: Remembering this is not a political blog, what is your platform?

A: In a nutshell, liberty is the solution to every problem this nation faces.

Q: Fair enough. Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?

A: Yes. There is a lot of reality out there to distract you, mainly in the form of amusements and other distractions that take you away from the keyboard.

There are a thousand ways and a thousand excuses to not write. When I was younger I made every single one, probably twice. Not writing is the biggest battle a writer faces. Our job is to avoid them. We can only get ready to write so much before we have to dive in and start putting one word next to another.

Q: Where is your book available?

A: At my website, www.writersshack.com. You can subscribe and read my books in a pretty neat-o flipbook format, or you can by the actual books themselves.

Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?

A: www.writersshack.com. The Diary of a Nobody is updated daily there, and you can also read my other books plus my columns, The Daily Dose and The Bottom Ten.



 In past lives Gaylon has been, among other things, a radio announcer and a newspaper reporter, as well as working security at the Monte Carlo and Venetian/Palazzo hotels in Las Vegas and working a Brinks armored truck. Gaylon was the Colorado Libertarian Party’s nominee for United States Senate in 2014, finishing third in a six-person race with a bit more than 52,000 votes. He is a two-time graduate of the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires and is an accomplished high school sports official. Gaylon served on an old diesel submarine, the USS Blueback, in the Navy and still like his grandfather, Gaylon C Kent, commands his American Legion post. Gaylon and his wife Marian live in Hayden, Colorado. He is originally from Los Angeles. He enjoys a wine pairing from time to time and is known to not wash his coffee mug.

  For More Information

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Guest post by Joel Fox, author of 'The Mark on Eve'

How important blurbs are on the cover of books is not a settled issue amongst writers, but I believe they could be very helpful especially for a first time novelist. At least, I figured a blurb couldn’t hurt.

Or could it?

Take my extraordinary case for my first mystery novel, Lincoln’s Hand.

I did not know any nationally known mystery novelist who’s name on my cover would give the high sign to legions of his or her fans that my novel was worth a read. However, I did know someone famous who had a reputation for picking good stories. He might, despite his extremely busy schedule, take the time to read the book and give me a cover blurb.

I made contact with his office and asked if this world-renowned person might read my book and offer an encouraging blurb. I was told that it was unlikely because requests like mine came to him all the time but … send the book and we’ll see.

A couple of months later, I got an email that said I would get the blurb. Short and sweet it was, an affirmation from someone who had been associated with story telling informing the world that I had written a good story.

Here’s the blurb that appeared on the cover of my first mystery novel:

Lincoln’s Hand is a great story, a page-turner from start to finish” –
Arnold Schwarzenegger

Being involved in politics, I knew Schwarzenegger in my role as a policy advisor to him both during and after the recall election that made him governor of California.

I was thrilled to get his endorsement. I felt the blurb would tell readers that appreciated the stories he made on film to take a look at Lincoln’s Hand. I also knew that a blurb from a film action star was not the standard fare on the cover of mystery novels, but I thought it was worth the risk.

Then, however, the story of Schwarzenegger’s personal transgression surfaced. His wife left him and the whole ugly mess was played out in the tabloids and in the mainstream media.

But his blurb had been printed on the cover of copies of my book. Does the blurb now hurt, help, or have little consequence?


The fact is the blurb cannot be erased so I pushed forward, adding a new dimension to the discussion of my novel, hoping not to take the focus off of what is between the book’s covers rather than what is on the cover.

//////////////////////////

 Title: The Mark on Eve
Genre: Suspense
Author: Joel Fox
Publisher: Bronze Circle Books
Purchase on Amazon  

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Joel Fox has spent over 30 years in California politics, serving on numerous state commissions, working on many ballot issue campaigns, and advising candidates. An adjunct professor at the School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University, Fox has authored hundreds of opinion pieces for numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal,Washington Post, USA Todayand Los Angeles Times. Joel Fox is also the author of the Zane Rigby mystery series—Lincoln’s Hand and FDR’s Treasure— in which an FBI Special Agent must solve a puzzle from the past of an American president to solve modern day murders.  A native of the Boston area, Joel Fox lives in Los Angeles.