Monday, July 28, 2014

Interview with Calinda B, author of 'Looks Like Trouble To Me'

An award-winning web designer and certified SEO specialist, Calinda B has worked in the Internet industry as a web page designer/developer since the early 1990's. She has also explored crazy adventure including rock climbing, bending rebar with her throat, breaking boards with her hand, and firewalking. In addition to writing, Calinda B creates fine art and music, and enjoys scuba diving, kayaking, and havoc wreaking. Calinda B makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two red-headed cats.

Her secret mission is to inspire the planet to be chock full of loving passion and she's doing her part by working on the fourth book in The Wicked Series, tentatively entitled A Wicked Ending, or the third book in The Beckoning Series, The Beckoning of Badass Things, or maybe those are done and she's working on.... She loves to write sexy books and does it daily.

Her latest book is the erotic romance/romantic suspense, Looks Like Trouble To Me.

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About the Book:

"Last name's Savage -- it means wild and uncontrolled," Jace, a party boy, yacht builder and skilled photographer with a quicksilver temper, tells the pretty waitress at Chica Rios. He's desperate to get laid, but there's something in the way of his driving, overactive libido and the girl standing before him - trouble...big trouble, and a whole lot of it, from the trustifarian prick who works by his side, to his messed up twin sister, to the secret hiding at his house.

He sets out to woo Marine Dubois, keeping her away from his trouble at home, encouraging her to let go of her inhibitions and live “Savage style,” riding with him on the back of his motorcycle, exploring the great outdoors in a variety of oh, so delectable and naughty ways.

He ends up with way more than he bargained for. Turns out she's the kind of woman who demands the truth...and that's just not the way he rolls. He uses his sexual experience to teach Zoe how to surrender. She leverages his love for her to get him to let her in - something he's not used to. Their passionate, erotic, romantic connection keeps them bound together while the trouble he brings threatens to tear them apart at every turn.

(Mature content for audiences 18+ only.)

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Q: Thank you for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about your writing background?
My dad’s a super intelligent, extremely creative guy, so I must have inherited his genes. In high school, I was in Advanced Placement English, a class for smart kids. My English teacher loved the way I wrote. She told me I’d be a writer someday (and believe me, I hate to be told what to do (laughs)). Shy, insecure, angry about life, I wanted nothing to do with such a boring avocation. I chose a more adventurous life, pursuing adrenaline junkie sports in my off-time and a creative variety of jobs—working with differently-abled kids through movement therapy, teaching dance, aerobics and hip hop, teaching firewalking, working in the health industry, graphic arts, and web design—to pay the bills and keep my bright, active mind stimulated.

When given the opportunity to write, I’ve often been praised. Once, I got a job writing for a financial website called Red Herring. They were wowed by my writing. I was surprised by their Wows. I’ve written website copy for corporations, individuals, companies large and small. Still, I didn’t see myself as a writer until a few years back when I challenged myself to write a book. Once I started, I’ve never stopped. I write every day. 

Q: What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I don’t see myself as a big deal. And, I’ve done amazing things in my life—so much so that you’d think I’d be egotistical or full of myself. I retain a heaping dose of humility and gratitude for life. One of my friends used to say, “You can’t have done all the wild things you’ve told me—you must be making it up.” I assure you, I haven’t made up my crazy, wild and passionate life. But, since it’s normal to me to live in such a manner, I don’t make it, or me, out to be anything out of the ordinary. I suffer from insecurities, doubts and sorrows, just like anybody.

Q: What scares you the most?

Since I’ve already experienced near-death (see below), I can cross “fear of dying” off the list (laughs). I can handle death – its criticism that sends me spinning (more laughter). I have to say, I hate it when a reader criticizes my work and goes out of their way to point out the flaws in a book, as if they’re doing the world a favor. It stings every time, no matter how many great reviews I have for a book—the barbs always sting. And, we’re advised, as authors, to let those snarky comments roll off our backs, that they make our work look more realistic, etc., etc. Seriously? I haven’t yet found the Teflon coating that makes criticism simply bounce from my mental musings. I can grow from useful, constructive feedback, but that snarky, negative stuff? Ouch. 

Q: What makes you happiest?

When I’m immersed in the creative process, I’m seriously happy. Certifiably happy.

Q: What are you most proud of in your personal life?

One of my personal taglines is: It’s not what happened to you, it’s what you do with it that counts.

I’ve overcome a lot in my life – two abusive relationships (one, physical and emotional, the other emotional abuse), date rape, troubled past, lots of turmoil. It’s taken intense commitment and perseverance, being willing to take responsibility for my actions, self-reflection, and hard work, but it’s been worth it.

In my worst relationship ever, married to a controlling emotional abuser, I had a brain aneurysm, in a coma for six weeks, trying to decide whether to check out or stick around. I was utterly miserable in my life. I tell people, somewhat jokingly, I tried to leave him by dying. I’m so grateful to have lived. I recovered, left him three years later, and have built a happy, satisfying life with my partner of 10+ years. I’ve got two amazing kids, both young men finding their way in life. I live surrounded by beauty in the Pacific Northwest, grateful, grateful, grateful. I’m proud of not giving up on myself, taking a chance on happiness and a better life, instead of misery. Misery can be very seductive! I continue to grow and push through whatever obstacles are placed in my way, with a good man by my side.

Q: What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Writing is easy. I get lost in the stories I create. I haven’t pursued getting traditionally published very much, enjoying being an indie author (a publisher is currently interested in my work, though, which is a great confidence booster). Marketing has its ups and downs. Sometimes, it’s extremely difficult. Since I am my own marketing team, it’s difficult to know which avenue is going to bring in the most sales. While it’s immensely satisfying to create, in the end, we’d all like to make a living selling our writing.

Q: Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? 

Success in writing comes from a multitude of factors. First, being able to write well, to tell a story that moves people and makes them think, feel, emote—now that’s an art form in itself. Since readers are moved to write both glowing and scathing reviews, I believe I can check this measure of success off my list!

Being able to earn a healthy income through writing fiction would be excellent. I’m not there yet. A recent survey revealed that 54% of traditionally-published authors and almost 80% of go-it-alone writers are making less than $1,000 a year (I make more than that). A tiny proportion – 0.7% of self-published writers, 1.3% of traditionally-published, and 5.7% of hybrid writers – reported making more than $100,000 a year from their writing. 

Q: Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?

Most of my books deal with a theme of overcoming inner turmoil as well as using sexual connection as a means of transformation – sort of a side effect, if you will. These have been a major theme in my life, as well. 

Looks like Trouble to Me is about a sexy guy—Jace Savage, a yacht builder, photographer and party boy. He’s had his share of trouble in his life, starting with being raised by extremely judgmental, bible thumping parents who criticized and condemned him and his twin sister, praying for their souls. They both left home at age sixteen, as a result, heading out West to live with their Aunt Molly. Jace acted out, got into more trouble, got in with a bad crowd. His sister fared worse, becoming a drug addict. 

Jace has been in love once—and got his heart badly broken in the relationship, several times. He’s a handsome man with an overactive libido, out for a good time when the book begins. When he meets Zoé Dubois, he gets way more than he bargained for—he might actually have “f-f-feelings” for her. He tries in vain to keep her from the trouble he’s got at home, and boy, does he have loads of trouble! He really wants to step up to the plate and be a stand-up guy, but his past keeps getting in the way. 

Zoé demands honesty. She’s got insecurities. She’s has a dark secret that’s prevented her from pursuing her dreams. And now, her lust for Jace Savage may be in the way as well.
The story is passionate, full of angst, romance, hot sex and loads of trouble.

Q: When you are not writing, how do you relax?

As mentioned, I’ve always been an adventure junkie and outdoor enthusiast. I find the wilderness both calms and lets me clear my mind. Currently, my sweetie and I are assistant scuba instructors. We scuba dive nearly weekend (except lately as I’m recovering from a broken foot). I love being in the water, being weightless. I also enjoy kayaking, as well. Being in and around water is my form of heaven.

Q: Please tell us why we should read your book?

My editor and I worked our tails off to create a conflict laden, edge of your seat, passionate, angst-filled, erotic book. I had to laugh when one of my critics said, “there’s too much trouble and conflict to be believable”. I took much of the book from real life incidents that I, or people I know, have experienced. Truth is often stranger than fiction!

Q: What kind of advice would you give other authors just getting their feet wet?

Learn to let the critical reviews roll off your back, savor the great reviews. By all means, don’t let the snarks get you down. I really need to take my own advice (laughs). Above all, keep writing, learning, growing. Take classes. Hone your craft. Persist.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Post: The Story Behind ‘Shiloh’s True Nature’ by D.W. Raleigh

Becoming an author was something I always hoped would happen, but I never dreamt of being a fiction writer.  Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Delaware, I discovered that works of philosophy didn’t have to be strictly boring dissertations, like something Kant or Wittgenstein might write.  It was acceptable to convey philosophical ideas through storytelling, like Sartre or Kierkegaard.  Still, I saw myself constructing the former and not the latter.
Doug Raleigh PicFor the longest time, I believed I would earn a PhD in Philosophy, teach at some university, and go on to write groundbreaking works that would change the field.  That would be my life and it would be sensational.  However, when reality hit and it became clear that teaching was not my destiny, I began contemplating a future as an author.
My first attempt at fiction began with no plan, nor anything resembling an outline.  I just sat down and tried to put something together.  Upon completion, I tried to tell myself the finished product wasn’t so bad, but that wasn’t true.  The story was weak and the writing was dreadful.
Once I accepted the truth, I realized I had a lot to learn.  Never one for doing things the easy way, I decided to jump in and give it another shot without actually addressing all the things that made the first story crumby.  The result was slightly better, but slightly terrible is still terrible.
It was at that point I realized I needed to read more fiction to help myself become a better writer.  After all, how do you create a fantastic fairy-tale if you’ve never really read one?  So, I studied every book I picked up that didn’t completely turn me off by the end of the first chapter; how the stories were constructed, the writing styles, etc.
Oddly enough, it was two non-fiction books on mythology by the late Joseph Campbell that helped me the most.  The Power Of Myth and The Hero With A Thousand Faces became my blueprints to create something wonderful.  While they provided no specific subject matter, the books explained thousands of years of successful storytelling.
Motivated by Campbell’s works, I began sorting through my notes, deciding which story ideas I thought readers would appreciate the most.  I then took those ideas and began constructing the mythological framework that would become my novel.  That process took place over the course of a couple years as the story grew and evolved.
Having a meticulously constructed outline was the most important component of the whole process for me.  People will forgive mediocre writing if they’re reading a great story, but all the flowery articulation in the world won’t save a bad one.  So, once I had the story outline completed, the next task was to convert that outline into a novel.
I found the transition from outline to novel a little difficult.  I’m a daydreamer by nature, so, while the outlining process took a while, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The actual writing was more of a rollercoaster ride.  I frequently agonized over how to properly convey what was in the outline.  However, there was great satisfaction when I could clear a linguistic hurdle and move on to the next challenge.
When I finished the first draft, I remember having a sense of elation.  My future as an author went from highly unlikely to possible.  Even though I didn’t realize how much more work I had ahead of me, perpetual editing, finding a publisher, etc, I felt good because I had finally accomplished what I set out to…and that’s how Shiloh’s True Nature was born.
About the Book
Title: Shiloh’s True Nature
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Author: D.W. Raleigh
Publisher: Hobbes End Publishing
When 12 year-old farm boy Shiloh Williams is sent to stay with his estranged grandfather, he discovers a mysterious new world inhabited by ‘Movers’. The Movers live in symbiotic harmony with one another, except one extremely powerful Mover who has stolen the town’s most precious artifact, the Eternal Flame. Shiloh investigates his supernatural surroundings, makes new friends, and begins to think of the town as home. However, just as soon as he starts to fit in, he realizes his newfound happiness is about to come to an abrupt end. One decision and one extreme consequence are all that remain.
 About the Author
D.W. Raleigh was born in the Delaware Valley and has spent most of his life in that region. He has attended multiple colleges and universities collecting several degrees, including an M.A. in Philosophy. After toiling away for many years in various unfulfilling jobs, he began to realize that what he really wanted to do was write. Scribbling down ideas and little short stories he eventually came up with something he wanted to share with the world. Thus, Shiloh’s True Nature was born. D.W. currently resides in Newark, Delaware with his longtime love, Judy, and their two cats, Lovie and Cheepie.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Interview with Horror Author Paul DeBlassie: 'Life is an undending trip leading to one state of enlightenment after another'

PAUL DeBLASSIE III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.

His latest book is the psychological/paranormal thriller, The Unholy.

Visit his website at or his blog at

Please share a little about yourself, your genres, any other pen names you use.

I am a psychologist and writer. Psychological thrillers set in the mythopoeic realm of Aztlan are my specialty. They delve into dark regions of mind where good encounters evil, battle ensues, and darkness threatens to overcome light. In The Unholy, as one reader described it, things get going and then they get going stronger and faster and scarier. That’s how I write and how I enjoy
telling stories.

Tell us a little about your latest or upcoming release.

The Unholy will be followed up by The Dark Goddess. In The Dark Goddess the question of whether bad love is better than no love is asked. It takes place in the phantasmagoric realm of Aztlan where dream, visions, and natural magic are everyday happenings!

Are you a dad (or parent)?

Kathy and I have been married thirty-six years, have four grown children, two writers and two artists who grew up with the tale of The Unholy. Each of them has said that it’s been strange reading on the page what was told them years back while the novel was in formation. They’re creative individuals with a keen eye and sharp who readily picked up on the shades, shadows, and moments of enlightenment in The Unholy.

Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?

Oh my gosh…the characters in The Unholy are a compilation of so many folks. These are people who suffered under the reign of organized religion. Despair and mental torment threatened their existence. I treated them in psychotherapy, others I knew as associates and friends, and was privileged to witness the unfolding drama of their courageous lives.

Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect to?

Yes…definitely. The theme of The Unholy is Religion Kills. This refers to the dark side of religious experience that is terrifying and can be experienced in the novel as a young woman struggles against overwhelming odds. Religion has stolen from her the very foundation of her emotional life. She witnessed her mother’s murder. Dramatically, this is enacted and stated at the end of the novel as headlines of a news publication reads--Religion Kills!

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

The greatest pleasure for me is in my marriage and family life. Three of our children are married. Getting to know them and their spouses in a new way is an exciting experience. My wife and I are getting to know each other in a new way after having spent so many years raising them. I really dig music, play folk and blues, and am an avid yogi! Life is an unending trip leading to one state of enlightenment after another!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Interview with Michael Matson, author of The Dancing Boy

Michael Matson
 Michael Matson was born in Helena, Montana, and was immediately issued a 10-gallon Stetson and a pair of snakeskin boots. After formative years spent in New Jersey, North Carolina, New York, California, Hawaii and Japan, Michael earned a journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. Following a brief military stint in Oklahoma, where he first encountered red, sticky mud, heavy rain and tarantulas, he returned to Seattle and worked as an advertising agency copywriter, creative director and video producer.

In 2007 he (regretfully) left Seattle for Mexico to have time to write and has since published The Diamond Tree, a fairytale for all ages; Bareback Rider, an inspirational adventure for children; and Takeshi's Choice, a mystery novel. His short story “Gato” was selected for inclusion in Short Story America’s 2014 anthology. His second mystery novel: The Dancing Boy, was released by Dark Oak Mysteries, a division of Oak Tree Press in April 2014.

He lives with his wife María Guadalupe (Tai), in Morelia, the colonial capital city of Michoacán, where, despite all the bad publicity given the area by U.S. news media, he has never seen a narcotraficante.

Connect with Michael Matson:

About The Book

The Dancing Boy

Treat Mikkelson is not exactly a burnt-out case but he’s grown tired of his life as a criminologist, weary of memories of a marriage gone wrong and of his time in Vietnam. Trying to burn the bridges to his past, he finds and remodels a cabin on a small Pacific Northwest Island, settles down to enjoy fishing, setting his crab pot, digging for clams and documenting the lives of his island neighbors.

When an elderly woman in the nearby tourist town of La Conner is found dead however, the victim of what appears to be an accidental fall, Mikkelson is persuaded to look into her death. The discovery that it was murder leads to something even more shocking: the human trafficking of young boys brought into the US and Canada.

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Author Interview

Can you tell us what your book is about?

The Dancing Boy is a mystery that relies on historic fact and current realities to fulfill its objective. For more than 2,000 years some Middle Eastern countries have exploited young boys for sex. Afghanistan today still continues to commit this crime against children. There, pre-adolescent boys are trained to dance, dressed as women, to entertain men. Sometimes they are sold into sexual slavery.  The Dancing Boy uses the fact of this practice to tell a story of human trafficking and murder.

Why did you write your book?

The Dancing Boy is my sixth book and grew out of my desire to write a mystery strongly linked to locations in the Pacific Northwest using current events. Many readers from that area have commented that the book brings the locations to life and that the story brought back memories of living there. One has merely to go on the Internet to discover how current the problem of child exploitation is today.

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

Aside from the title character, the main protagonist is Treat Mikkelson, a former criminologist, tortured by the long-ago break-up of his marriage and his memories of Vietnam.  He has retired to a peaceful life of fishing and writing on a small Pacific Sound island but is drawn into an investigation that leads to the discovery of child smuggling.

Suniko Yamada is a strong secondary character, a free-thinking, motorcycle-loving, computer whiz.

A retired college professor, an apparent burned-out drunk, plays a critical role in the story’s conclusion.

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

Just as all politics is local so all writing, I think, is personal and based on empirical knowledge.  All of the characters in The Dancing Boy are totally made up of whole cloth. And yet, who knows what level of personal experience created them from my shelves of dusty memory?

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

I strongly recommend all writers thoroughly outline their stories before putting words on paper.  Other writers, that is.  I seem genetically indisposed to the idea. I generally have a good idea of the plot and of the ending I wish to arrive at, but the development of the story grows in its own way and at its own pace like some mutant plant, at times totally independent of my wishes.

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

The setting for The Dancing Boy plays a central part in the story. Where the main protagonist lives and why he lives there explain his character. The island-dotted inland waters of Canada and Western Washington have been used by smugglers since the days of prohibition when rum-runners relied on them to mask their movements from the authorities.

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

Most writers at one time or another reach a stalling point, I think. A “where do I go from here” moment that seems to last too long. One cause probably is that the story itself is at fault. Somewhere the writer has taken a wrong turn and is subconsciously aware of it. At moments like these, one needs to review what’s been written and resolve the conflict.

What do you like the most about being an author?

I believe writers are different than doctors, mechanics, firefighters and others.  Those are chosen professions.  A writer is a writer whether he or she likes it or not.  Just as a fish is a fish. And perhaps the answer to the question could be best answered by your finny pet. Ask your goldfish or neon tetra what it likes most about being a fish and it might tell you, “Well, I like being able to swim around and not having a boss.” That answer works for me too.  I like swimming around in my mind to find ideas to develop and, since I react badly to authority, I enjoy not having someone tell me what to do. Of course, like the goldfish, there is that bowl thing to deal with.

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

I certainly can’t speak for all writers.  Writers are individuals and I’m sure every one of them would offer some different event or life experience that they considered a prime motivational point. Some of them, like myself, would possibly cite a childhood filled with books that stirred their imaginations and inspired them to create stories of their own.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

Read.  Write. Edit. Ask friends to read manuscripts and make suggestions. Edit.  Read. Write. Edit.

Interview with Stephen Martino, author of 'The New Reality'

Stephen Martino holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a neurologist in New Jersey. When he is not working, he can be found with his five children doing homework or cheering them on at a soccer field, basketball court, or dance recital. Martino is a member of the Knights of Columbus, a Cub Scout den leader and is an active public speaker, helping to educate the local community and healthcare professionals on the signs, symptoms and treatment of stroke. THE NEW REALITY is his first novel.
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About the Book:

Alex Pella, an acclaimed neuroscientist and the hero of the new medical thriller, THE NEW REALITY, finds himself racing across the globe to find a cure for a rapidly spreading illness threatening to end all of humanity. To combat this worldwide pandemic, Pella and his colleagues must use modern science in an attempt to decipher a code hidden by God within the original pages of the Bible.

THE NEW REALITY is the first book in a projected trilogy starring Alex Pella, created by New Jersey-based neurologist Stephen Martino. With his mixture of medicine, politics, biblical riddles, and futuristic science, Martino joins such masters of the medical thriller genre as Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, and Robin Cook. 

Martino's villain is a deadly retrovirus accidentally unleashed on the world in the year 2080, a time when no country is financially equipped to deal with such a disaster. It's up to Pella and NIH expert Marissa Ambrosia to lead the search for a cure while fending off an elite foreign military unit sent to stop them. The scientists, guided by an ancient code concealed within the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, traverse ancient lands in an attempt to solve a biblical riddle and save humanity from total extinction.

Martino says he wrote THE NEW REALITY “more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance, like (Brown's) THE DA VINCI CODE or (Crichton's) JURASSIC PARK. These books not only tell a fantastic story, but they also make the reader think.”

In THE NEW REALITY, Martino has included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic manipulation, gene therapy, unprecedented economic debt, and the rise of big government, combining them with more esoteric subjects such as the Bible Code and the mysteries hidden in the Book of Revelation.

The Bible Code, Martino explains, does exist and was discovered by Dr. Eli Rips, a mathematician in quantum physics. The code has been confirmed by mathematicians at Yale, Harvard, and Hebrew University, as well as by peer-reviewed mathematical journals and the Pentagon. The code, Martino continues, is found in the original Hebrew version of the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Torah, and only in its untranslated, Hebrew form.

All of these elements, Martino maintains, separate his book from the pack. He calls THE NEW REALITY “issue-oriented fiction. There are real concerns facing society today that threaten both the sovereignty and prosperity of our future generations. Though fictional, my novel addresses some of these issues and predicts the potential consequences we face as a nation if they are not properly addressed today.”

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Can you tell us what your book is about?

The New Reality is about a deadly, manmade virus that inadvertently gets released upon the planet. In order save humanity from extinction, the acclaimed neuroscientist Alex Pella and his colleagues must decipher a code hidden within the original pages of the Bible and search the planet to solve an ancient biblical riddle before time runs out.

Why did you write your book?

I wrote The New Reality more than just to entertain the reader. I really wanted to create a novel with substance, like (Brown's) The Da Vinci Code or (Crichton's) Jurassic Park. These books not only tell a fantastic story, but they also make the reader think.

In The New Reality I have included such hot-button contemporary topics as genetic manipulation, gene therapy, unprecedented economic debt, and the rise of big government, combining them with more esoteric subjects such as the Bible Code and the mysteries hidden in the Book of Revelation. Hopefully, these subjects will resonate with a wide audience and create awareness of issues that have serious consequences for generations to come.

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

The main character of The New Reality is Alex Pella. The man is a high tech genius who owns his own Neuro-Tek company. Though a high-tech geek by nature, Alex is also a thrill seeker always on the lookout for the next best, challenge. And he certainly gets this challenge when he is called upon by the man by the name of Jonathan Maloney. Now Jonathan, by nature, is a scholar who has been studying the Bible Code for most of his life. What he has determined from this code is that he has to find Alex and somehow use the code to discover the cure for the disease.
Trying to stop Alex and his colleagues from finding this cure is a fascist megalomaniac by the name Ari Lesmana who wants the cure all for himself. And if it means killing Alex and condemning humanity to extinction, then so be it.

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

I believe life is much too interesting just to rely totally on my imagination to create a character. During my day, I encounter so many interesting people with both commendable and no so commendable traits, flaws and even quirks. When I built my cast of characters for my novel, I was able to draw from my experience to create fictional people that are believable.

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

Before typing the first word into the computer, I’ve researched, outlined and even graphed the entire novel on paper. However, as both the plot and characters gain greater life with each chapter, I constantly make small changes in the plot in order to keep the novel flowing in an exciting and coherent manner. When writing, my novel becomes almost like a living being with a life unto itself. Though I created it, I feel that I must nature it to maturation.

Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Turn to any page in the novel and you will be confronted by a mixture of action, suspense and humor all rolled nicely together. Though thrillers are meant to keep the reader at the edge of their seat, I also wanted the reader to laugh while sitting there.

Is it hard to get a fictional thriller book published?

I believe getting a fictional novel published is extremely difficult. What I’ve discovered is that the market in inundated with literature, and for every one book printed by a traditional publisher, there may be another fifty that were not. Rejection is just the simple truth in getting a fictional thriller published. It’s like a badge of courage all first time published authors wear. I certainly don’t discourage anyone from writing. However, I would suggest you have the determination needed to see your work through to fruition.

Is it hard to promote a fictional thriller book and where do you start?

Actually, as a neophyte to the social media outlets, blogs and other author-centered sites on the web, I was completely amazed by how much out there that is available to promote my novel. Honestly, I could easily spend ten hours a day just on publicity and still not feel as if I had enough time. However, with a full time job, five kids and other commitments, I must strategize where I place my efforts.
From my experience, what I would suggest to any first time author would be to start a blog and become an active social media user. Through Goodreads, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and other blogs that are geared to your novel’s theme, you can build a fan base and create an effect venue to publicize your book.

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

Writers block does occur and can be very frustrating. I remember at some times I just wanted to throw my computer out the window when I couldn’t perfectly describe a scene or create the dialog needed to convey my point. However, I’ve learned that stepping away from the computer for a movement or simply holding off on writing that particular scene for a day may be the most effect method to deal with a block. Eventually, the scene or dialog came, and I was able to move on with my novel as if nothing happened.

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

Though Einstein said time is just an illusion, I find that it still moves by too quickly. With five kids at home growing up quickly, I would certainly want to spend that extra hour with them. Whether it’s simply talking to them, playing a sport, watching them in an athletic event or simply helping them with their homework, I would certainly cherish the extra time.

Which holiday is your favorite and why?

Christmas is the ultimate holiday at my house. It’s the time when the entire family gets together. There are presents, games, food and laughter starting Christmas Eve and lasting until the day after Christmas. Plus, can you imagine the complete chaos of five kids coming downstairs on Christmas day to all their presents under the tree? Their excitement makes me feel as if I were a kid again.

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

There is a quaint little restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ with a Manhattan feel and the best food. Though expensive, they have a very inexpensive lunch menu with the best selection of food. Plus, they serve the most outstanding and juiciest hamburgers I’ve ever eaten. Between the food, atmosphere and selection of alcohol, the conversation will be good no matter what the topic.

What do you like to do for fun?

Honestly, despite my different careers, I’m really just a kid. I feel as if I still am in college and believe every day can be new and exciting. When I’m not working, at a meeting or writing, I enjoy simply playing with my kids and their friends. Whether it’s kickball, Nerf, baseball, Wii or a board game, I’m the first one to be involved. Yes, I do have grown up friends and play golf or have a beer watching Monday Night Football with them. However, each night my most fun thing I like to do before going to bed is just sit in quietness for about a half an hour and read. It is my time to decompress from the day and keep my sanity.

What do you like the most about being an author?

There are many aspects I like about being an author. However, the one that tops the list is the inner feeling of satisfaction that I was able to write a book and bring it to publication. With all the distractions in life, it is all too easy to stray from the final objective. However, holding my completed novel in my hand, really provides a sense of pride that I accomplished something significant.

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

The most pivotal time in my career is when I received my first positive, unsolicited review. Despite having the book published, the biggest question is always will someone actually like it. Despite all the rejection that occurs bringing a book to the market, the first positive review seemed to make me forget all that previous criticism. It is such a wonderful feeling to have someone enjoy my work as much as I enjoyed writing it. I think a writer could ask for no more.

What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors?

I think every person has a great story to tell. Whether it’s about their own life, their experiences or just something they simply dreamt up, the story is there. It just takes faith in what about you are writing about and a true commitment to your work. If you can get over the rejection and frustration of actually bringing the book to publication, the experience and rewards are definitely well worth the time spent.