Archive: Meet & Greet Authors (M-R)

Archive Section of

Meet & Greet Authors

Authors are listed alphabetically by LAST names M through R.

*All the information/websites/links were current AT THE TIME OF INITIAL POSTING. As time passes, please be aware that the links provided might not be active .

Ken MacGregor

Name: Ken MacGregor

Genre(s) of your work: Primarily Dark, Speculative Fiction (Horror), but I write across the spectrum.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

 An Aberrant Mind (2014)

Sex, Gore & Millipedes (2017)

Those two are my books, but I also have short stories in over 60 magazines and anthologies.

Bio:

Ken has been writing since he could hold a crayon, and getting paid for it since 2012. His work has appeared in dozens of anthologies and magazines, and the occasional podcast.

He has two story collections: AN ABERRANT MIND, and SEX, GORE & MILLIPEDES. He is a board member of the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers (GLAHW). He has also written TV commercials, sketch comedy, a music video, and a zombie movie. Recently, he co-wrote a novel (pending publication), and they are working on the sequel. He is the Managing Editor of Anthologies for LVP Publications.

When not writing, Ken drives the bookmobile for his local library. He lives with his family and three cats, one of whom is dead but we don’t hold that against her.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’ve been a horror fan since I was kid. I love how there are no restrictions there: you can write anything, and no one is shocked or appalled (unless that’s your intent, though mine is always to tell a good story).

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Since I started working with publishers, I have met some amazing people, online and in real life. One of them, Kerry Lipp, and I co-wrote a short story and sold it. We had fun, so tried it again. However, it spiraled out of control and became a novel. Should be out pretty soon. We’ve become pretty good friends, too.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Neil Gaiman, Gillian Flynn, Stephen King, Paul Tremblay. All excellent storytellers. All know how to turn a phrase. Highly recommend.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

While I’d rather support, small independent stores (of any stripe), I think that anywhere people can get books is okay with me.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

My ultimate goal as a writer is to entertain you. I hope you walk away from my stories with a sense of time well-spent. I’m not trying to change the world with my fiction, but if I can give you a way to escape reality for a while, to become immersed in my world, I think that’s pretty cool.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Oh, tons. I think every writer’s work is colored by their experiences. I think it’s unavoidable. However, nothing personal from my life is ever portrayed in my work directly. I don’t use real-world events or people in my fiction. First, because it could hurt someone’s feelings; second, because I think that’s lazy writing.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Once I’ve started, I usually want to know how it ends. The best ones are when the characters take over and start doing things I don’t expect. I know it’s going to be good then.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

My own? I get bored or start something else and forget (I never throw anything away though, and have rewritten bad stories and made them good enough to sell). Someone else’s? I have no patience for badly written books. Unless I’m being paid to edit it, I’m done after a few pages of dull prose.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. I believe that art should be expressed in whatever way the artist wants. I write some pretty edgy stuff (I mean, my second story collection is completely NC-17), and I would certainly hope no one lets their kids read my adult horror, but should it be censored? Absolutely not.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Writing: the waiting. So much about this industry is time-consuming. In reading: sloppiness and failure to research annoy me. If I know a lot about a subject, and the writer clearly doesn’t, it rips me right out of the story.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon (naturally), Barnes and Noble, Ann Arbor, Clarkston, and Ypsilanti (Michigan) bookstores (and one in Gloucester, MA) and the Ypsilanti District Library.

Ken can be found at ken-macgregor.com. You can also connect with him via social media on the following platforms:

Twitter: @kenmacgregor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KenMacGregorAuthor?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/macgregorken/

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Margie Mack

Name: Margie Mack

Genre(s) of your work: Memoir

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Through the Woods (2014)

My Ship has Sails (2015) 

Leaving Camelot

Bio :

My name is Margie Mack. I am a self-published author of 2 books in a series of 4 with the 3rd book coming out at the end of the year. I have a screenplay being optioned for a movie and my books have been part of the “Chicken Soup of the Soul” series and also Oprah Winfrey’s “Leadership School for Girls” in South Africa. I have been married 47 years and have a huge family of 13 members! Life is all about living and listening and sharing and magic and I just can’t get enough!!

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I have found that the memoir genre opens so many stories for so many people. I hear all the time from my readers that they had similar experiences with their families and could really relate to the stories that I have written. Memoirs are more than just a memory they are a glimpse in time to be remembered and cherished.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Yes! I have always written since I was about 8 years old. But sitting down and getting it out on paper and then have the courage to share it has made me more confident that I am really doing the right thing by writing as I do. It inspires my grandkids to be creative and to be open with their thoughts and talents.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I love Christina Rossetti, Robert Frost and Truman Capote. A real mixed bag but they all mean something to me. Christina Rossetti and her poetry set me apart from everyday life. I fall into her poems and can imagine being where she writes about.

Robert Frost was the first poet I ever read. “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening” captured me at a young age. He taught me that words could rhyme and that they were also beautiful. Truman Capote is such an excellent story teller. He wrote a short story that was turned into a movie called “The Grass Harp.” His characters were alive and rich with soulful essence and it was based I believe on his own life as a child. His ability to write all genres has inspired me to do the same.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

They have their purpose. It is like being in a click of some sort. Everyone wants in but rarely does the self-published author get an invitation to be a part of that club. They are a necessary evil for now but I am hoping that the independent bookstores will begin to flourish.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Laughter, tears and healing. I hope that they read my stories and remember their own life with their own families. The mind is a funny thing. If it is stimulated in the right way all sorts of good things can happen.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

100%! Even the novel that I intend to write will always have something of me in it. Personal experience is what gives us our hootspa to take the steps that we are normally afraid to take and to write what we really feel down on paper.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Oh, there are times I need to sit down and look at myself in the mirror and ask what am I waiting for? I grab my headphones, turn on the music that I have chosen for that book and that usually does the trick. Sometimes I seek out a family member and start a conversation about that time in my life and then the juices begin to flow.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If it is senseless. Meaning, if I cannot be stirred or enticed to turn the page then I put it away on the shelf. I am not a book snob but I want a book that will make me think about it at night, think about it more than what I am currently writing and make me wished to God that I had all the time to just sit and read it to the last glorious page.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Not really. There is an audience for everything under the sun. For me, I stay away from graphic sex novels and needless horror stories. I love a good scare and less is always more during sex so I guess it is to each his own.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

No. I am not perfect and I do not expect anyone else to be either. I do not read a book to critique it.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon, at local libraries, my publisher, createspace, on my Facebook page and a new website that is almost finished.

https://www.facebook.com/Margiemackamazinglifewriter/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1496067215

http://www.amazon.com/My-Ship-has-Sails-2/dp/1514172208

mack.margie@gmail.com

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Terry John Malik

Name: Terry John Malik

Genre(s) of your work: Crime/thriller; mystery; psychological thriller

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Bricklayer of Albany Park. Release date, August 22, 2017

Publisher – Amphorae Publishing under imprint of Blank Slate Press

Bio:

TERRY JOHN MALIK is a Chicagoan to the core. Born and raised in

the city he loves, son of a Chicago fireman, he now explores the back streets and dark alleys of the city’s imagination.

Mr. Malik is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he majored in English, and a graduate of Loyola University School of Law.  Terry taught English for several years; designed computer systems for an international accounting firm; worked with distressed borrowers as a banker for the largest bank in Chicago; practiced law for twenty-eight years; became the president and head master of a financially troubled high school; administered a foundation that provided scholarship funds for disadvantaged inner city girls; and created websites for local merchants and non-profits.

Throughout his many careers, he has continued to hone his writing skills and never lost his passion for a story well told. Terry has two more thrillers in the works, weaving his stories of killers and cops while sitting on a beach on Sanibel Island.

Book Synopsis

Detective Francis Vincenti, a Chicago cop with an uncanny insight to a killer’s psyche, is tracking a homicidal monster—The Bricklayer of Albany Park. Driven by a mission of revenge, the killer targets victims he believes are sinners deserving of punishment. He kills without remorse, delivering a message with each kill. Wrapping his victims in a shroud of blue, he buries them under piles of bricks at construction sites in the peaceful Chicago neighborhood of Albany Park, always leaving behind a “memento” taunting police. The killer eludes Vincenti, and the body count grows.

Vincneti who left behind a troubled youth, tormented by an alcoholic father, is known for solving the city’s most bizarre and macabre murders. But in this case, the chase becomes personal as Vincenti puts his marriage—and his sanity—at risk. He turns for help to Thomas Aquinas Foster, his mentor and father figure. Foster—a gruff former Chicago PD detective with a tainted soul and his own self-righteous brand of justice—guides Vincenti through the dark, twisted paths of the human soul.

How did you start writing? 

Prior to November 2014, I had never written a word of fiction, although some judges mistakenly claimed I did (I’m a lawyer). So, how did I get here? Polite friends have called it an “odyssey.” I call it, “well-timed accidents mixed with equal measures of luck, unintended consequences and serendipity.”

After having lived my entire life in Chicagoland, my wife and I moved to Sanibel Island in 2012. After a couple of years, I grew restless and anxious to meet more people on the island and participate in its varied cultural opportunities. But, which one? There were plenty to choose from. But then I noticed that the Sanibel Library was co-sponsoring the “Sanibel Island Writers Conference,” an annual event sponsored by Florida Gulf Coast University. The list of speakers seemed impressive, so I signed up.

There were social events, breakfasts, lunches and end-of-day wine and hors d’oeuvres soirées (disappointingly, no Irish Whiskey). I met and got to know many of my fellow conferees. Seemed like many of them wanted to write the Great American novel—a noble and ambitious undertaking, but it’s been done; many wanted to delve into the meaning of life and share it with their readers—I already knew the meaning: make your deeds match your words, and your words match your values; forgive your enemies, but remember their names; and store your vodka in the freezer.

I signed up for something that looked interesting, “How to Write a Strong Narrator.” An excellent session. I mean, how can it be bad when the instructor starts the class with Woody Allen’s opening of Annie Hall? Two elderly women at a resort in the Catskills: “The food at this place is really terrible.” “Yeah, I know, and such small portions.”

 For homework, we were told to rewrite the opening of one of our manuscripts (I didn’t have one) or start a new manuscript applying the lessons of the class. Since I wasn’t serious about writing anything and I wanted to come up with something that was “in your face” to the intellectually serious attendees, I wrote five paragraphs that were, well, edgy and dark. The next morning we were required to stand in front of the class and read what we had written. The first dozen or so aspiring authors’ offerings were critiqued by the class, and the instructor also gave in-depth analysis—some good criticism some not, usually took about five minutes.

Now, my turn—let’s see what they think of the new Stephen King. I was anxious to hear their comments—I was ready with a fistful of smart alec answers for every potential comment. I finished, snickering to myself and anxious for the nightly soirée. First, a moment of silence, then applause. Huh? Didn’t they hear what I just read? Applause? None of the previous students got applause. What was wrong with these people? Didn’t they realize I meant it to be an “in your face” piece? When the applause died done, the instructor said (really), “Holy crap, I want to see the rest of that manuscript.” Huh? That’s it, buddy. Five paragraphs.

I went home and told my wife, Cathy, what had happened. She said, “So, write the damn book.” Thus, the birth of The Bricklayer of Albany Park. Like I said—well-timed accidents mixed with equal measures of luck, unintended consequences and serendipity.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Big fan of Thomas Harris.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I now live on Sanibel Island. Every day I walk the beach, but now while I walk I think of new plots, new twists and turns, more characters and more jaw-dropping endings.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Above all, Bricklayer is intended to be a psychological thriller. Interestingly enough, I haven’t really read many of that genre; maybe “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train,” but not many others.

Before I moved to Sanibel Island, my reading was equally balanced between history and biographies on one hand, and spy and crime novels on the other. LeCarre, Ludlum (rereading really), Clancy, Higgins, Grisham, Patterson, Crichton, Harris, Brown, everything Eric Lawson writes and Jeff Sahara’s historical fiction. While I was practicing law, I typically would read four books at same time (not literally), finishing two a week. I eventually got tired of it.

But as to describe Bricklayer in terms of other writers, books and TV, I’d say the book’s recipe incorporates ingredients of Thomas Harris, Lawson’s “Devil in the White City” and the television series, “Criminal Minds.”  In fact, Vincenti is somewhat similar to Harris’s Will Graham in “Red Dragon.” Both can get into a killer’s psyche with emotional detachment. Lawson weaves murder and Chicago scenes and history into a psychological thriller of murder and horror.  And, Criminal Minds focuses heavily on abnormal psychology.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Too big to give appropriate and sufficient attention to indie authors; and publishers; reluctant to host signings for debut authors.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Bricklayer is not the great American novel nor does it seek the meaning of life. I want them to walk away with insight into the psyche of troubled killers and cops.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Certain characters may resemble people in my life. I knew an older fellow named Thomas Aquinas (last name deleted); Foster, a disgraced co who aids the protagonist) has many of the same characteristics, habits and idiosyncrasies, especially his love of cigars and Irish whiskey.

Francis Vincenti’s (the protagonist) alcoholic father is in some ways like my father. Beth (Vincenti’s unfaithful wife) is based on an aggressive associate in my law firm who struggled with drug abuse, was well known to have affairs with partners and came from California. Sean Kelly’s (Vincenti’s partner) family: every Irish Catholic family in my old neighborhood and parish.

 I gave Francis an Italian last name because the neighborhood around Newland and Grand Avenue in the city, is heavily Italian, Irish and Polish. It is the neighborhood where I grew up. I placed his house and garage on 2538 Newland Avenue, which is the parking lot of my childhood parish, St. William. The description of Vincenti’s house, a typical Chicago bungalow, is actually my wife’s Italian grandparents’ house and garage. It’s located at Oak Park Avenue and Grand Avenue—three blocks west of 2538 Newland.

There are some tidbits I “planted” in the book for the true-crime, serial-killer aficionados: the address for Henry’s apartment house on Summerdale is actually the address of John Wayne Gacy; The Borderline Pub (John Matheny of Baltimore; killer of 8 women; cannibal; inspired Harris’s Hannibal “the cannibal” Lector) and The White Shutters Lounge (Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer) are actual places where those serial killers picked up their female victims; Ridgeway drove a green Toyota pickup with a primer paint spot on the passenger-side door; it’s how a witness identified him—Ridgeway confessed to killing forty-eight young girls (police say it’s more like ninety or so). There are other little items like this sprinkled throughout the book.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Shallow characters. Stilted dialogue. No action.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

The only topics that are taboo are the ones I haven’t thought of yet.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/Bricklayer-Albany-Park-Terry-Malik/dp/1943075344/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491582539&sr=1-1&keywords=terry+john+malik

Barnes & Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-bricklayer-of-albany-park-terry-john-malik/1126188495?ean=9781943075348

Website

http://www.terryjohnmalik.com

Book Signings

BookStore1 – Sarasota; August 29

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nancy-sullivan-terry-malik-tickets-36234509393

Petterino’s – Chicago; September 26

The Book Cellar – Chicago; October 18

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Chris Marchand

Your Name: Chris Marchand

Genre(s) of your work: Non-fiction, history, education, and church ministry.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas: a guide for churches and families (2019)

Bio:

I grew up in Central Illinois and I suppose a Midwestern view on life informs a lot of what I do. I’ve always seen myself as an artist who makes things and for years I wanted be a professional musician and singer-songwriter. I’ve recorded a few albums (which are available on Bandcamp) but I was never able to figure out how to make a music career work. When I was in fifth grade I won my school’s young author competition, so I guess I should have stuck with writing, because I’ve found much more success with that over the years.

After graduating from Eureka College with a degree in literature and music, and then marrying my wife Elisa, I went to Garrett Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, where I studied theology and church music. It was there, after writing a Master’s thesis and doing a special project, that I really began to learn to write. After graduating we moved back down to Peoria and have been involved in church ministry and school work ever since. We have four kids ranging from 10 years old on down to 1, so life is full and crazy. I am willing to discuss anything related to film, music, literature, and art at a moment’s notice.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

For the past few year I had been trying to figure out what my first book would look like. When I got the idea to write on the history and traditions of the 12 days of Christmas, my writing became more focused on research, education, and compacting a lot information into a format that would be enjoyable for a general audience. I’m interested in all kinds of writing, and am working on a realistic novel set in contemporary times, as well as a few books written for the church world and people of faith.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I went and got two seminary degrees, both of which culminated in a thesis or special project. It was there that I learned how to endure revising my work through multiple drafts, a process that takes months. This taught me that writing is a slow and arduous journey, that involves longterm endurance. Since my degrees were primarily research-based, they also taught me how to pursue truth and not settle for an easy answer with my writing. Great writing is born of struggle! I suppose this lesson has helped me with my normal day-to-day life as well!

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I like authors who write “serious” literature, and who yet have humor injected into everything they do. My favorites would be C.S. Lewis, Umberto Eco, David Foster Wallace, Mark Twain, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Chaim Potok, Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Cervantes, and Walter Miller.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

My wife and I were watching the film You’ve Got Mail recently, which is one of her favorite films. I observed that the film is out of date in so many ways, because the main premise, apart from the romance, is the giant behemoth bookstore puts the neighborhood boutique out of business. What was funny to me is that now even the giant bookstores are really struggling, whereas it might be more likely in today’s world for an innovative, locally owned store to find a way to thrive.

Generally speaking, I feel pretty conflicted about mainstream bookstores. I want authors and artists to have as much of an opportunity as possible to get their works out into the world, and I suppose in theory the big stores can help them do that (assuming they can get their books stocked there). I view Amazon similarly, in that they make it possible for an author’s work to be available everywhere. At the end of the day though, the best place for an author’s work is at a locally owned bookstore or a library, mainly because the people there are the most passionate about literature and will help authors to find their most faithful audience.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

The novel I am writing is loosely based on my own life, though it will be a highly fictionalized version of me and my family. The book I’ve written about Christmas is highly personal as well, as I hope my family and those in my community will take my suggestions about the holiday serious enough to want to begin implementing them into their own lives. And even though it’s a general history and advice book on the holiday, every single page is essentially an answer to my own questions about Christmas.

What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

My wife, children, and death. In 2008 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and though I was able to recover from it, it set about a course of events in my life, from having children, to moving back to our hometown Peoria, to starting a blog and podcast. I feel like there is a sense of urgency in what I create. I know I have been graced with only so many breaths in my lungs and I want to use each one of them well. I also want to leave a legacy for my children. I write based on my own interests, but I also believe I’m writing for a present and future community.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Basically no. I believe in moral writing and that our works both describe and end up shaping our culture and world. So, in some senses I believe an author should “censor” themselves according to their moral understanding of the world, but at the same time I believe they should always be able to write about what they want and it will be up to readers to determine if they want to ignore it, boycott it, or love it. Often the most challenging or “offensive” work has also been able to influence people in profound and even moral ways.

Where can people find you and your work?

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1532655339/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

https://wipfandstock.com/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas.html,

https://www.christianbook.com/celebrating-days-christmas-guide-churches-families/chris-marchand/9781532655333/pd/655333?product_redirect=1&search_term=celebrating%20the%2012%20&Ntt=655333&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCP,

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/celebrating-the-12-days-of-christmas-chris-marchand/1134053256?ean=9781532655333

https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Marchand/e/B07Z6KG9XZ?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1572379872&sr=8-1

 http://www.postconsumerreports.com

https://www.facebook.com/Chris-Marchand-8316794572/

https://twitter.com/PostCnsumrChris

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19682784.Chris_Marchand

chrismarchand.bandcamp.com

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Matthew D. Marchand

Name: Matthew D. Marchand

Genre: Christian Poetry

Title/Year of Your Work:

Love, Truth and Peace  2018

Bio:

Matthew started writing lyrics for Christian songs and over a few years of writing he had many. The songs are poetic so he put them together for the Christian poetry book “Love, Truth and Peace.” Matthew writes from the heart. He has always had an attraction to the light. When he writes sometimes he writes from the point of view of the Christ to bring the reader closer. The poems are uplifting and positive. If you are having some struggles read his book and be encouraged.

Matthew has been a rock cover band for 24 years called “Blue Steel.” He also has a recording project titled ” Incognito Souls” this band is Christian rock, where Matthew puts his poetry to music. You can download the music for FREE,. the music can be found at IncognitoSouls.com.

Matthew loves spending time with his family and his lovely wife Rebecca. When Matthew prays, he prays for God to use him as an instrument of His peace. Matthew believes his prayers have been answered. He continues down his path through life spreading love and joy to all.The poetry book can be found online at LoveTruthandPeace.com

I write Christian poetry because that is how I am inspired. I can not think of anything more inspiring than God. I pose the question where does inspiration come from? I believe it comes from a different realm, When I write I try to tap into the frequency of the unknown. Which intern my spirit grows beyond faith and into the know.

Writing has changed my life by saving it. Writing is therapeutic and has helped me through some tough times. The state of the world and condition of our brothers and sisters worldwide can bring us down. Yet God has a plan. Trust in God there are many lessons to be learned. Writing has allowed my spirit to grow exponentially. All the glory to God, it is by His grace we are saved.

My personal experience has giving me enlightenment to write what I do. Life is a classroom,we all should learn through our own experiences on this great journey called life.It is the ups and downs of life that builds character. It makes you the person you are. Be yourself, it is all you can do.

When asked about censorship, I believe nothing should be censored. Let the artists do what they do best “Create”. If you do not agree with an artists point of view, simply do not read it or listen to it. Let the consumer decide what is right for them. Are we going to burn books or have to drink the hemlock? Let the artist say what they want to say!!!

Where can people find you/your work:

The Christian poetry book can be found at LoveTruthandPeace.com

The Christian music can be found at IncognitoSouls.com.

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Susan Bass Marcus

Name: Susan Bass Marcus

Genre(s) of your work: Fantasy fiction, speculative fiction, contemporary fairy tales

 Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Former museum professional and puppetry artist, Susan Bass Marcus published her fantasy novel, Malevir: Dragons Return in 2015 with Mill City Press. She hopes to launch the sequel, Where Dragons Follow by year’s end, 2017.

Her stories have been published in After Hours (print), bewilderingstories.com, http://www.horrorseek.com/home/horror/darkfire/ficarch.html, http://www.fictitiousthejournal.org/, and the Fall Fantasy Anthology out of Cloaked Press in Autumn, 2017.

Bio:

All my graduate degrees are in the humanities, for which much writing was required; and I have spent most of my adult life writing texts for work or for performance, e.g. scripts. Having moved on from two overlapping careers, puppet theater and museum education, I am investing most of my creativity in short and novel-length fiction. I love to draw and am devoting a lot of my time not only to editing my writings but also making images of dragons based on characters in my books.

My native language is English. I am fluent in French and Italian and can manage in Spanish.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I write what I enjoy reading, although my preferences betray an eclectic taste for literature and non-fiction, too. Fantasy fiction invites the reader to suspend all sorts of disbelief. Although surely other writers in the genre have influenced the direction my imagination takes, my characters and the world I build in my novels are original. They be anything I want them to be.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Even if I have been an avid reader all my life, I did not read to dissect another author’s technique and skills. The narratives interested me more than structure. Now, especially when I read short stories, I’m always asking myself, “How did he/she do that? Why did this story work (or not)?”

On a larger scale, hmmm, in the past, people knew me via a lot of different identities—mom/sister/daughter; student; volunteer; museum professional; and puppetry artist. As a writer, my identity has expanded to embrace so much more: a writer is a student of the world (and Beyond!) whose imagination and communications can reach more people in many different ways. Writing has unlocked the gate to a much larger estate.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Too many to name, but I will say that Karen Russell’s short stories and novels gave me permission to explore surreal naturalism. Her work is quirky and terrifically engaging.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

They serve a purpose, but I love my own neighborhood indie bookstore.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Curiosity about Dragonwolder, the world I’ve been building in the Malevir trilogy.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Where Dragons Follow explores the effects of PTSD, albeit in a land and time far removed from that diagnosis. A member of my family is a therapist whose research has given me insights into a psychological state greatly affecting a large segment of our population and people I know.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

The kernel of a story germinates in my imagination. From that point on, I can’t resist finding a way to learn how the story ends.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Tedious, self-important, irrelevant writing.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No

Where can people find you and your work?

Website: www.malevir.com;

My blog: AboutSusanBassMarcus https://susanbassmarcus.wordpress.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MalevirDragonsReturn

Twitter feed: @AuthorSMarcus

And on Goodreads. I have an author page there and on Amazon.

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Elizabeth Mars

Name: Elizabeth Mars

Genre(s) of your work: it’s a love murder mystery series set in 1965 during civil rights movements reflecting back on the great depression a prohibition. Its about two sets of family’s. Jessie Alexander And Miss Catherine Hearts. In order to understand them I had to go back to there grandparents in 1870.

I started in Winchester England and worked its way over to Brighton England.  It is also set in Hannibal Mo in 1941. You see they met at a fictional place called Frankie’s Bar & Grill. A live jazz and blues club. Kind of like a dinner theater, was the heart of the town. When Catherine came over at 16 she had every hope of finding her family and re uniting them. But fate wasn’t so kind. Her father had moved on to a monster. Her name was Charlotte aka Charlie. Every time Catherine tried to get close to her father. Charlie was two steps ahead of her. They were each other’s arch animists. When Miss Catherine found out her mother was still alive, and living she tried her best to tell her father. But it was to late. He was gone. She was framed for her father’s own murder after Jessie had left to peruse his dream of being a pilot in pearl harbor. She not only finds out a lot more about her family. Finds out she has family members she doesn’t have. And so much more. She figures out that her Grandpa Jack wasn’t a very honest man as she had thought.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s): Dec 7 2018

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Because there is so much to go with from there. Not only that, it’s a little bit of a hit home for me. I found out I had a different father, when I was older. And I had gone through some things. SO, in a way this book is close to home because its like a release for me in a way. I also wanted to show my teenage daughter that dreams do come true they have to make them happen

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It has changed me to a better person. Learning to accept what is and not what was, not getting so easily tempered.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Mary Higgins Clark. She can write about anything and make it seem so dark and friendly. She has a certain style that I like. She was my favorite in high school as well as Emily Dickinson. I like how deep her poetry gets and how simple it flows.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

To many rules! It needs to be simple I think

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I want to show them that your past, is your past you can’t change it, but you can change how it ends and affects you and everyone around you. Everything you do and say, effects so many things and I don’t think people realize that

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A lot, I am a few characters in this story. Those who know me can pin point me to a tee. I did this because I have been going through a lot lately in the past few years finding out about my family and through friends and family breakups and so forth.

Being a single mom, it was rough. I couldn’t have gotten were I am today with out my parents. When I told them, I wanted to quiet crafting and write they supported me. I wrote the first chapter and said okay I’m done. But then. I listened to a song on YouTube called what are you waiting for by Nickelback. They are my favorite group. I listened to them a lot as well as creed Ed Sheeran and Eminem. For what I was going through. Everyone has days where they felt like they couldn’t go on. But my writing was all I had in high school.

I had so many surgeries. I had 32 different ones in and out of hospitals every six months. I had 12 tubal surgeries on each ear. I couldn’t hear the teacher. So, my hearing-impaired teacher made sure I got the correct notes to pass and graduate with my class. And I did. In spring of 99. We kept in touch after high school on Facebook. But she recently lost her battle to cervical cancer. Lost an an aunt my mother is a 30-year survivor and that’s why I’m donating 10$ out of the book. To Mattoon Ill Breast and Cervical Cancer Foundation Program.

Writing has helped me because in high school I couldn’t do much. Friends had a few, but who would want to pick the kid who wore a back brace in p.e? I had surgery after surgery and finally got healed up. High school was so hard for me because I felt like I was an outsider, so I turned to books and poetry. And that’s when I found my love for writing. It wasn’t telling after I was divorced in my late thirty’s when I wanted to peruse my dream as a published author. So, I took my favorite things mixed them with my favorite era and low and behold songs of whiskey was born.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

There are days when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel. I did after chapter one. But my friends and family encouraged me… there were so many days and nights I stalled didn’t want to thought it would be easier if I went back to crafting. But I new in my heart this story was meant to be told for a reason. Don’t know what that reason is, just yet!

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Loss of interest

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Well, it depends on the topic. Some things should depend on what it is

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

nope

Where can people find you and your work?

Luludotcom and on amazon. It will be I’m Mattoon Illinois the book Nook And Bobs bookstore in Charleston Illinois and some on other websites that lulu offers.

I just have one on Facebook called Songs of Whiskey.

I have 3 charities for my new book coming out this winter. Mattoon Illinois cancer center, a place in Hannibal mo called avenues a shelter for woman, & children to get sexual abuse help. And my third one is Shriners hospital in St Louis.

 

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Ronald Mason

Name: Ronald Mason

Pseudonym : R. Will Mason (I am not currently utilizing this name on my books but rather on some of my poetry and songs).

Genre(s) of your work: My book that is currently for sale on Amazon Kindle Direct is a poetry book. I am in the process of writing my autobiography book which hopefully will be available within a few more months. My autobiography will be a tell all book. An insiders point of view of the life, trials, and tribulations of a State Trooper.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Behold the Rainbow After the Rain. I published it in May 2017 on Amazon Kindle Direct publishing.

Bio:

I am a recently retired, father of three sons and married to my love of my life. I lost my youngest son this past January 2017. I worked in the law enforcement profession for almost 19 years. I was forced into early retirement due to an on-duty injury.

I have enjoyed a passion for poetry since I was in first grade and was introduced to poetry by my first grade teacher. I have written hundreds of poems during my lifetime though until recently none of which were published.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I feel that sometimes it is difficult to express certain feelings verbally. By putting pen to paper, so to speak, it is much easier for me to convey a message, feeling, or describe a situation.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It has made it easier for me to express my inner most thoughts and feelings.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Stephen King is my favorite author. I like a good thriller and in my opinion he is the master of thriller / horror books.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I still love to go into a real, honest to goodness, bookstore like Books a Million and browse. I worry that one day, in the not too distant future, real bookstores will cease to exist.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I hope that my readers will understand my message(s). I hope to convey my personal feelings and thoughts about a particular subject, whether that subject would be bullying, abuse, heartbreak, love, etc.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Everything, absolutely everything. I normally only write about things that I myself have personally experienced or dealt with. Either in my personal life or professional life. So basically when someone reads one of my poems or my books they are getting a first hand glimpse at my inner soul, which includes my inner demons, (whatever they may be), my hopes, fears, loves, aspirations, desperation, etc.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Well for the most part I normally don’t suffer from writers block so actually writing down my thoughts in poetry form is not too hard. Now my hardest part of writing my first book was the actual proof-reading, formatting, spell checking, and preparing the book for publication. That in my opinion was an absolute nightmare. But the motivation for writing a book has never been hard for me to find, I’m only telling my life story through my words.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Normally when I start to read a book I finish it. The few times that I’ve started reading a book and didn’t finish it I would say was because I became bored with the plot.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No not really. I mean I do believe that some books shouldn’t be available to youth. Some of the love story books that I’ve heard my wife mention shouldn’t be read by children.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Not really.

Where can people find you and your work?

My link to my Amazon Kindle Authors page.

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

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Bill Mathis

Name: Bill Mathis

Genre(s) of your work: Everything I write deals with family, warts and all, and usually includes a LGBTQ character(s). Genres include: Fiction, LGBTQ fiction, Historical fiction, Family saga with Psychological Mystery, LGBTQ plus disability fiction.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Face Your Fears – 2018

The Rooming House Diaries – Life, Love & Secrets – 2019

The Rooming House Gallery – Connecting the Dots – 2020 (June)

Revenge is Necessary – 2020 (December)

All published through Rogue Phoenix Press

Bio:

The oldest of seven children, I was raised a PK (Preacher’s Kid) in a tiny town in Michigan filled with large families. I spent 23 years directing YMCA camps for the Chicago Metro YMCA which included working with diverse families, children and the disabled. Following the Y camps, I directed and worked at SOS Children’s Villages Illinois, a foster care agency, in Lockport and Chicago, Illinois. I earned Associate degrees and a Bachelor’s from Northwood University and a Masters in Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University.

My writing won the 2015 Jade Ring Contest for the Wisconsin Writers Association and the 2019 First Chapter Award from the Chicago Writers Association, plus other local and state awards. I have also won local and statewide awards for my photography. I have 2 daughters, a step-daughter and 3 grandchildren, 20 nephews and nieces and approximately 40 great nephews and nieces. And people wonder why I write about families…I retired and began writing at age 65. I live with my partner in Beloit, Wisconsin and enjoy writing, reading, photography, volunteering and traveling. I have visited 42 states and over 25 countries and hope to travel more. I have 2 more books in progress and several more kicking around in my feeble mind.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I started out writing nonfiction. I thought I should write what I know. I’ve had an interesting life and have tons of stories to tell. I was working on a memoir, writing about how I came out as gay in my early sixties (not the 1960’s), how hard it was for some family members to accept, when the massacre at the Florida nightclub, The Pulse, occurred. It triggered some things I’d been told supposedly based on the Bible, so I set the memoir aside. I do have plans to finish it. However, in the process, I realized I could work a lot of events from my life into fiction. Writing what one knows isn’t necessarily telling the same thing with different names and places, but can be using the experiences, the underlying issues, sentiments, atmosphere, and people’s traits. Plus, making things up is fun! Side note: I told my then 89-year old mother (since deceased) how much fun writing fiction was and she replied, “That’s how we raised you seven kids. We made it up as went along.”

I love writing about families, dysfunctional, secrets, problem children, big families. I work in observations from all my years, plus issues I conjure up. I include diversity, DNA, and non-DNA in my families. I think that’s where most families are at or will be soon. Of the 40-some great nephews & nieces in my family, 25% are of mixed race. I like dealing with the situations families face, disability, homosexuality, religion, race, late in life kids, small towns, big city living, employment and historical issues.

Not sure that answers the question, but right now, I’m writing fiction in various genres.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s been fantastic. I had two wonderful careers and writing is like starting another one, though not a financial supporting one! Thankfully, I have a comfortable retirement plan that allows me to write without worrying about having to earn my support from book sales. I have met wonderful writers and readers. I keep in contact with them through social media, conferences and my own book events. Writing keeps me off the streets and out of the bars. It keeps my mind working and occupied. I’m continually learning new things in the process of doing research. Did you know that the pebbles of deer scat (poop) are smaller than those of a rabbit? I keep waiting for that question at our trivia group, but it hasn’t been asked yet. Someday…And I’ll be ready! No, I didn’t write a book on deer scat, but it is mentioned in my upcoming one. I have better examples of things I’ve learned. If I can remember them…

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Whatever book I’m currently reading and loving is my favorite author. I don’t keep a list. Suffice it to say, it’s a diverse group as I’m quite eclectic in what I read. My website has a list of books I’ve read, reviewed and an out of date list of some of the authors I’ve read. Prior to becoming an author, I read mostly nonfiction. Now, I read mostly fiction. There are so many wonderful books available today. My To Be Read shelves and Kindle are jammed. Yes, I read hand held books and eBooks. Love them both.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

Somewhere in between. I have friends who love them and have the ability to focus while doing something else, like driving. I’d end up in a cornfield if I was listening while driving. Guess I’m not too adept at multi-tasking. I have used them on long flights and enjoyed them. I think they’re hear  here to stay and are an important piece of book enjoyment.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

It seems that lately, independent bookstores are making a strong comeback, as some of the brick and mortar chains shrink. Hopefully the economic issues related to Coved-19 don’t ruin the independents. The online stores control the industry for most of us. Rogue Phoenix Press, my publisher, links to Amazon for Print On Demand books. So, I’m indirectly tied in with Amazon whether I like it or not.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A tremendous amount. I work in some of my personal experiences, but more than that I write the atmosphere, the traits of a character, the issues I’ve encountered either directly or indirectly or that come to mind. Some of the pain I’ve experienced in some situations is important in my writing, as are the joys, the highs and lows, the flat spots. Being raised a PK in a tiny town during the peak of the baby boom where any family with only two children were thought to have fertility problems, working with all the diversity of the Chicago YMCA in their camps, working in foster care, two divorces, kids, step, grandkids, supervising staff and volunteers, hiring/firing, nonprofit boards, and more has warped my mind to the extent that I’d be institutionalized if I didn’t write…Does that sound too dramatic?

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. Trigger Warnings should be used if the work is something that might be offensive to some.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website: http://billmathiswriteretc.com

My author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BillMathisWritersEtc/

My ‘normal???’ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/william.mathis.984

My blog: http://billmathiswriteretc.com/blog/

My email: billmathiswriter@gmail.com

Twitter: I do very little on it, trying to save the planet from excess verbiage – @billmathiswrit1

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Regina E. McCarthy

(Editor’s note: Authors can format their interviews however they wish. While most choose to do the standard Q & A, others may vary)

Regina E. McCarthy

Children’s Author

 

Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog (August 2016)

 

 

Ms. McCarthy, LCSW, in the state of Illinois, is a Holistic Psychotherapist, Advanced Clinical Heart-Centered Hypnotherapist, and a Reiki Master. She received her undergraduate degree from Boston College, Newton Massachusetts, and her Masters in Social work from Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois. She has a private practice in Elgin, Illinois. She works with her clients on a body, emotion, mind, and spirit level. She incorporates traditional and alternative processes to help her clients heal at their deepest level. Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog is her first book. 

I wrote this book as a resource for children to learn to heal themselves.  Learning to breath deeply, identify emotions and then express them in healthy ways as a child, will create well adjusted adults. Since the concepts in my book are made simple enough for a child, my intention is that children of all ages will benefit from it. Also, it takes courage to feel and tell others how we are feeling. 

I have always loved reading to my children and becoming the voice of the characters. I’ve also always loved telling stories. So when this book came to me I knew I had to get it out to the world. Writing and publishing this book has also added a new dimension to my healing practice. As a holistic psychotherapist I now have one more tool to use with my clients.  It has increased my own self esteem and pride in my accomplishment, especially as I have received 12 awards for this book. Mom’s Choice Gold Medal, Purple Dragonfly Book Award First Place, Beverly Hills Book Award, Readers Favorite Gold Medal, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, Nautilus Award Silver Medal, Next Generation Indie Book Award, Independent Press Award Distinguished Favorite, Eric Hoffer Award Finalist, Montaigne Medal Finalist, da Vinci Eye Award Finalist, CIPA EVVY Award Finalist.

My favorite childhood book was Mandy, By Julie (Andrews) Edwards (1971) . It was her first book and was given to me by my mom. It was sweet and magical. I loved that Mandy could sneak out of the orphanage and create her own little world in an abandoned cottage out in nature. What a beautiful place for my imagination.

 

I hope readers learn an easy tool or two to use when they feel angry, or scared, or sad or anxious. We live in a challenging world and need to take ownership of our bodies and our emotions and our healing.  If children can learn this at a young age, they will be happier and healthier. The bottom line is we need to feel and express our emotions in healthy ways because they really are our super power. If we don’t, they will take charge of us instead of us being in charge of them. 

 

This really is my story. I was terrified in front of the class in 4th grade and could not read my book report, I was shy and I was bullied.  I was not in touch with my needs and wants, nor my feelings. I did not know how to take care of myself or stand up for myself. I had no idea what personal resources were. I’ve since learned as an adult and wish others to learn as young as they can. 

 

This book flowed pretty easily from me. It came to me in a dream and I worked tirelessly on it for several years, to et it just right. It’s interesting how a 32 page book or 1500 words can take so long. Yet I had complete control over every aspect of it and I would not have done it any differently. I’m working on my next book and am equally excited about it too. 

 

Please visit my Facebook page, Courageous Gilbert and my website, www.courageousgilbert.com to learn more about me, see videos about my book and buy a personalized copy of my book for a friend or loved on. 

 

I also have an Amazon Authors Page.

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J.E. McDonald

Your Name: J.E. McDonald

Genre(s) of your work: Paranormal romance

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Ghost of a Gamble, Book One of the Wickwood Chronicles, 2020

Ghost of an Enchantment, Book Two of the Wickwood Chronicles, 2021

Bio:

J.E. McDonald is a writer of paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and sci-fi romance. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Canada, she lives with her husband and three rambunctious daughters who keep her on her toes. An avid reader and Minecraft junkie, when she’s not plotting her next story, she’s avoiding dust bunnies while plotting her next story.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love romance. I started reading it when I was a pre-teen and haven’t stopped. There’s something magical about a relationship that can bloom in the midst of adventure, so I can’t resist throwing my characters in fantastical plots and watching the sparks fly. And, of course, I always need my happy ending.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing is my happy place. I was always an imaginative child, always creating worlds and scenarios in my head. I’ve had a lot of odd jobs in my life, but nothing is as whole-body satisfying as writing. No matter what stage of the process I’m entrenched in, I enjoy it. It took me until my late twenties to commit to making a career of it, but since the day I decided to seek out a publisher, I haven’t regretted it. Even when a deadline is coming up and I’m cursing at my computer, I’m content. In short, if I wasn’t writing I wouldn’t be happy. It’s not that writing altered my life, but that I have altered my life to accommodate being a writer.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

How can I even choose? I’m a binge reader, I read many genres, and I go through phases. Right now, I’ve just about binged everything Lisa Kleypas wrote, but there are times I’m in the mood for works like those of Patrick Rothfuss, Guy Gavriel Kay, and N.K. Jemisin. I cut my teeth on Julie Garwood who will always be a favorite, but I’m also absolutely enthralled with new romance authors like Farrah Rochon and Helen Hoang.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

Oh my goodness, what an interesting question. Audiobooks are here to stay and I love that. Making books accessible is not a passing fad. People use audiobooks for all sorts of reasons. Reading is reading, no matter what format a person chooses to use to engage the work. I was just having a conversation with my sister, a teacher, the other day about how audiobooks help some of her students absorb a book better, reading along with the print copy while listening, and therefore growing their skills. To see my books as audiobooks someday would be absolutely lovely.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Every market has its place. One of my favorite things to do is to go to a bookstore, browse the shelves and leave with as many books as my wallet can handle. I love the smell of bookstores and shelves and shelves of books, whether it be an independent, a franchise, or a used bookstore. I love making an afternoon of it. Does that mean I stop taking books out of the library? Absolutely not. Does that mean I won’t “one click” a book I need right this instant? Nope. There are books that aren’t available in those stores, self-published works and those from small presses like mine, City Owl Press. I’ll never limit myself to only brick-and-mortar establishments. There’s too much great writing out there to do that.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

I’m still floundering with this! So far, I feel like the best thing for me has been to make connections with other writers, to support each other whether that be with cross-promotion or just overall encouragement and advice. But if you have any magic marketing tools you’d like to share, please let me know!

Where can people find you and your work?

Many places! Here are the links for where they can find me:

Website and newsletter sign up: https://www.jemcdonald.net/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JEMcdonaldSk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jemcdonaldsk/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JEMcDonaldAuthor

And here is where you can find my newest release of the Wickwood Chronicles, Ghost of an Enchantment:

Amazon: https://smarturl.it/Wickwood2Amz
B&N: https://smarturl.it/Wickwood2BN
Kobo: https://smarturl.it/Wickwood2Koo
iBooks: https://smarturl.it/Wickwood2iBooks
GoodReads: https://smarturl.it/Wickwood2GR

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Sean McDonough

Your Name: Sean McDonough

Genre(s) of your work: Horror

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Beverly Kills- 2014

The Terror at Turtleshell Mountain- 2015

Rock and Roll Death Trip-2017

The Class Reunion- 2019

Bio:

Raised on Goosebumps, the horror section at Blockbuster, and other things he shouldn’t have been exposed to at eight years old, Sean McDonough is a fresh new voice in horror fiction. His books evoke a sense of gleeful gruesomeness and dark humor, perfect for keeping the Halloween spirit alive all year long.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

It’s just the way I’m wired. I came out of the factory with a fondness for chicken parmesean, rock and roll, and savage monstrosities.  There’s nothing to be done about it.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s really come to be the trait that defines me. Writing is what I do when I get up at 5 AM on a Saturday. It’s what’s in the back of my mind throughout the day. If there’s a TV show I’m not watching, or a video game I never get to, it’s because my time is limited and writing always takes priority.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I’ll skip the Stephen King cliche, even though he’s deservedly an icon, and go with Robert R McCammon. I love writers who blend great character work with an unpretentious love for the classic horror tropes.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I don’t think they’re where you want to go for a real deep dive into the alternative horror scene, but any place that sells books is fine by me.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Mostly in dialogue. I give all of my characters their own unique perspective (or I try at least), but everyone seems to come out talking with some variation of my own smart-ass way of speaking.

What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

The investment into the characters and the story. If I feel like I’ve got something good brewing, then I’m motivated to push through and see how it ends.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

The short answer is no. The long answer is that I think the conversation gets muddied by how many hacks try to substitute being outrageous for being a good writer.

Where can people find you and your work?

You can follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/houseoftheboogeyman/

Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/houseoftheboogeyman/

And you can peruse my works at https://www.amazon.com/Sean-McDonough/e/B07SJWGX6M/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

My latest, The Class Reunion, comes out October 29th. It’s a lean, mean, slasher novella- satisfaction guaranteed for fans of 80s style slice and dice flicks.

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Frances McNamara

Name:  Frances McNamara

Genre(s) of your work:  Historical Mystery

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Death at the Selig Studios      2018

Death at the Paris Exposition 2016

Death at Chinatown                2014

Death at Woods Hole              2012

Death at Pullman                     2011

Death at Hull House               2009

Death at the Fair                      2009

Bio:

Frances McNamara grew up in Boston, where her father served as Police Commissioner for ten years. She has degrees from Mount Holyoke and Simmons Colleges, and recently retired from the University of Chicago. She now divides her time between Boston and Cape Cod.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I always read and wrote mysteries. I provided plots for mystery nights for an amateur group when I lived in Columbus Ohio. Later I drafted some contemporary mysteries in a writing group I joined in Chicago. But it was when I started a book inspired by the women who came to Chicago when the University of Chicago opened in 1892 that I got a lot of encouragement to continue. Late 19th and early 20th century was the gilded age but it was also when the seeds were sown for science, social change, and other important influences on the present day. Lots of issues resonate. And Chicago of today bears the imprint of the people of that time who were determined to build an internationally important but very American city. I really enjoy finding historical figures who are forgotten now, but who were fascinating people in their time.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and Mark Twain! But for historical mysteries I especially like Laurie King’s series about the Beekeepers Apprentice. I like the voice of the young woman who marries Sherlock Holmes. Like my books they are in first person and Mary is a woman of that time. I also really enjoy the Roman mysteries of Steven Saylor. Gordianus the Finder and his family are like figures in the foreground of a big historical painting of the historical happenings of the time. He sets the stories around the time Julius Caesar rose to power and the books skip over many years to be set with an important historical event in the background while the fictional characters deal with a murder in the foreground. I’ve chosen to move my stories along to portray some really interesting historical events like the Pullman strike and the Columbian and Paris Expositions. I read lots of other mysteries as well.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I enjoy doing the research and adding an author’s note at the back, citing books that will provide more information about the historical characters in the books. I have found some incredibly interesting characters like Ida B. Wells, Jane Addams and Florence Kelley, Wong Chin Fu (a very early Asian American activist) and others.

 For the most recent book Death at the Selig Studios I had heard that there were film studios in Chicago during the silent film era but when I actually started digging into it, I found Col. Selig, Kathlyn Williams, Olga the Leopard Lady, and other really interesting characters. I also found out there was an early silent film of the Wizard of Oz produced at Selig Studios—and you can see it on YouTube. All this happened before they moved the industry to Hollywood for better light but seems like a lot of the process is what they are still doing. The details of the past are fascinating.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

At this point, I have some faithful readers of the series and I always want to make sure I don’t disappoint them. Also, I hate not knowing the end of a story. That happens a lot in various writing groups and workshops I’ve attended. I get drawn into a story and I want to know the end. I hate not knowing. But it’s important in the mystery genre to be fair to the reader and also to tie up loose ends. I think for a lot of writers it’s the middle of the story where they bog down, me too. Once I can see the end, I start racing towards it. That’s a reason for a lot of revision and having a good editor (Emily Victorson at Allium Press of Chicago) so you get a balanced story that is fun to read all the way through. I think my imagined reader is someone sitting on a beach or cosy in a chair with a cup of tea reading the book and wanting to get to the end. But keeping it good is the challenge.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

https://francesmcnamara.com/

https://www.facebook.com/francesmcnamaraAuthor/

https://www.pinterest.com/fdmcnama/

https://twitter.com/FMcNamaraAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/francesmcnamaraauthor/

http://alliumpress.com/authors/frances-mcnamara/

https://www.amazon.com/Frances-McNamara/e/B002BO9QK8

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2728513.Frances_McNamara

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Amanda McNeill

Name: Amanda McNeill

Pseudonym: I use my name, either Amanda McNeill or A. Ramsay McNeill

Genre(s): Life Sketches is dystopian and the sequel will be too. The Haven Trilogy is mystery/paranormal, but not paranormal with zombies, vampires, etc.

Titles/Year of Publication:

Life Sketches – 2011

Oracle and Infinite Chain – 2015.

The last book of the trilogy, Link, will be published later this year…I hope.

Bio:

Rodney and I live in rural Prophetstown and have been married for 45 years. I have been the assistant director of two small public libraries. No, I did not get a lot of reading done. Library work is not what the public thinks it is or even what library boards think it is…curse them! I started writing in 1976 because I realized that if I ever wanted to write, I had to set priorities. Looking back, I discovered I could live my life or I could let my life live me. Sounds noble, doesn’t it? Practical? Someone still has to throw some slop on the table.

A music major in college, but three of my profs advised me to find something else to do and some place else to do it. That may be one reason I write…

Why do you write in the genre you do?

I started writing dystopian fiction because I was royally pissed off at the government at the time. It’s so easy to write. Listen to the news and extrapolate a possible or even probable future. It’s like sounding the alarm. Strip the blinders from the eyes of the public and force the masses to wake up. I hope my two mysteries make people think too.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’m 65. I’m mostly retired from my “real job” but as a writer, I never have to retire. I believe that through my writing, I’ve developed a deeper, personal philosophy. I’ve been exposed to exceptional persons I’d never have met had I not started writing. I even have two programs. I never imagined I’d be speaking to persons who have actually shown up to hear what I have to say about getting off your butt (technically “on” one’s butt) and putting pencil to paper or fingers to keyboard.

I’m no longer the proverbial shy wall flower. I’m a real gasbag. Through my writing I have made changes in my community. Even though I’m not popular in certain circles, I’m much happier. I’m doing what I wanted to do since I was in the seventh grade. All I had to do was show up. I’m doing something that many persons only talk about. Granted my first book was so bad that I recycled it, but I feel Life Sketches has merit and I’m proud of my first self-published effort.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I rejoice that we still have bookstores of any type. We live in dark and difficult times. The free expression of ideas will never be eradicated, but it may be forced underground. Life Sketches takes place in a totalitarian society. The only information and entertainment was what the government provided. We should celebrate that for the moment we have access to a world of ideas.

What do you hope readers will take away from your work?

I write to make people think. Some years ago I was in a critiquing group. There were several very fine writers, one who couldn’t write a grocery list, and one who had some excellent story concepts but never developed them sufficiently. She was critiquing the first chapter of LS, in which I wrote that “Simon was observing his life sketchers as they created life.” “You can’t say that,” she said. “What will people think?”

I want my work to ignite a spark in my readers that makes them question where our society is going. I hope I’m doing more than telling a story. I hope they consider how far we are from the nightmare world I’ve created. Why are we moving in that direction and how do we stop it? Too many of us coast through life oblivious to what our nation is losing.

How much does personal experience play in your work?

The Haven Trilogy is populated with person I’ve known in my “real job.” I’ve woven them together with some of my experiences and some which are total fabrication. The Universe has blessed me with have so many extraordinary persons in my life. I feel I’ve known more than my share of bad-asses too.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book?

I just keep writing until I’m done. Two years ago I wanted to have something to show at a class reunion. I was working on Haven, but I knew I wouldn’t have it done in time for the reunion, and it was already too long to publish. Earlier in the year I had read all three books in The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Eureka! Make Haven into a trilogy! I took the material I had, found satisfactory place to end books one and two with a minimum of rewriting, and had them in my hot, little hands a day before the reunion! Whew! But I’m still working on three.

What makes you not finish reading a book?

It’s rare that I don’t finish reading a book. I put a book aside when I can’t follow the thread and it isn’t making sense. Then it’s a waste of time. What I read has to make sense. I’ve read award-winning books that I wished I’d never started. I’ve read several that on completion, my reaction was, “That’s it? There’s no more to it than that?” I resent that I wasted my time.

Do you believe writing should be censored?

No censorship. Never. We must never allow ourselves to slide down that slippery slope (please pardon the cliché) for there will never be an end. Sure, there’s stuff I don’t like to see disseminated, but no doubt my own opinions and prejudices play a part in my judgment. Who would get to decide?

Pet peeves in reading others’ work?

I have no patience with someone who doesn’t have a thorough knowledge of the mechanics of writing or a writer who doesn’t have the necessary (I reiterate “necessary” meaning essential) reference materials, or someone who is too lazy to use them. This summer I read a story with a great concept, but the author didn’t know how to assemble it. I’ve read books that I felt needed editing and proof reading, only to find the author has thanked his editor and proof readers in the acknowledgements. That’s hard to take. It would have been so much better if the writer had enrolled in Fiction 101. Writing is hard work, and should be if it is to be done well.

My work can be found online through the usual places. Do not mix up my Life Sketches with the one that was written in 1929. I’m not that old! I have copies of Life Sketches at Book World in the Peru Mall, and the first two books in of The Haven Trilogy at Book World at the Northland Mall in Sterling. However, today (11/1/17) I heard on NPR that Book World is closing. So if you want my books, hurry! I also sell them out of the trunk of my car.

I will be at Book World at the Northland Mall for a book signing on December 9 from 1-4. There will be three other authors there too.

I will be at the Sterling Public Library on December 2 for an authors fair. Contact the library for information.

Amanda McNeill

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Marcia Meara

Your Name: Marcia Meara

Genre(s) of your work: Romantic Suspense, Mystery, Paranormal Cross-Genres, and Things That Go Bump in the Night

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

WAKE-ROBIN RIDGE SERIES

Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 – 2013

A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2 – 2015

Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3 – 2016

The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4 – 2019

RIVERBEND SERIES

Swamp Ghosts: Riverbend Book 1 – 2014

Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2 – 2015

That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3 – 2017

THE EMISSARY NOVELLA TRILOGY

The Emissary 1 (A Riverbend Spinoff Novella) – 2017

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody (A Riverbend Spinoff Novella) – 2018

The Emisssary 3: Love Hurts (A Riverbend Spinoff Novella) – 2020

Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love – 2013

Bio:

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years and four big cats.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?

Marcia has published seven novels, three novellas, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

My stories deal with all sorts of people in all kinds of situations, which often leaves me trying to squeeze round pegs into square holes. They just don’t fit in one genre very well, since they usually contain elements of several.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has made my life better in every way. I started late (age 69) with and now I not only write, but do presentations in central Florida monthly, usually on wildlife, which is often a significant part of the background in my books—especially my Riverbend series, which is set in central Florida where I live. I’ve met so many wonderful people and am amazed that at 77, my life is so full! Every day is an adventure.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorite author of all time is Daphne du Maurier who, wrote (among many excellent and beautiful novels) Rebecca, coincidentally my favorite book of all time. Her writing is stunning in its beauty, like dipping a pen in paint and using it to drizzle images down a page.

I’ve been reading for many years and have read nearly every genre, so I have accumulated a lot of favorite writers, including Dean Koontz, Preston & Child, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson, Larry Correia, Victoria Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater, D. Wallace Peach, Leigh Bardugo, the late Rachel Caine, Benedict Jacka, and on and on. These days, I read mostly fantasy, but everything is fair game.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I can’t really give a fair answer to that question, because I have very poor hearing, and can’t follow an audio book, even with my hearing aids. I use closed captioning when watching tv. However, I confess that the idea of words in a book being narrated by other than the voices in my own head wouldn’t appeal to me very much, even without this obstacle. I think there is definitely a place and a market for audio books, of course, but can’t imagine them taking over from the pleasure of curling up in a quiet corner with a good book or my Kindle. I guess you could put me down for “somewhere in between.”

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’m happy anywhere I can browse through books.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

Sadly, I’m completely out of my depth here, as I’m terrible at marketing, except in person at local events, where I do a pretty solid job of connecting with people and selling books. Therefore, I’ve done really well at building a local readership, but as for serious marketing? Not so much so. I know this is an area where I need a great deal of improvement, and I’m working on it. Will let you know if I hit on an outstanding tool that works well for those like me.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. Period. People can and should make up their own minds about what’s worth reading and what’s not. They do not need others telling them what to read. It smacks too much of Fahrenheit 451 for my taste.

Where can people find you and your work?

I have published seven novels, three novellas, and one book of poetry to date, all of which are available on Amazon:

Marcia’s Amazon Author Page

Wake-Robin Ridge

A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2

Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3

The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4

Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel

Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2

That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3

 

The Emissary: A Riverbend Spinoff Novella
The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody

The Emissary 3: Love Hurts

Summer Magic: Poems of Life & Love

Email:  marciameara16@gmail.com

Social Media sites:

Blog:  The Write Stuff

Twitter: @marciameara

I appreciate this chance to visit your blog, Sue, and I’d just like to let folks know that I love having guest writers on mine, too: The Write Stuff. I have two series going currently, wherein I feature guests: #GuestDayTuesday (you can share your new releases, promote an older one, or talk about writing in general, and your own specifically); and Ten Things You May Not Know About Me, a fun series that lets others get to know you better. Full info is available on my blog.

Thanks so much for having me here today!

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Daniel Millhouse

Name: Daniel Millhouse

Genre(s) of your work: I write multiple in multiple genres. I’ve been told to stick with one or use different pen names for different genres, but I write for the joy of it. I do it for me and hope that others enjoy the stories I tell.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

2014 – Old Man’s Lake (supernatural genre)

2014 – Heaven’s Darkside (action genre)

2014 – The Conjuring of M’Wait (supernatural genre – short story)

2015 – One Last Weekend (romantic genre – short story)

2015 – A Hundred Kisses (romantic genre)

2015 – 29 Pieces (general fiction – short story)

2015 – Cookies with Santa (Christmas fiction – short story)

2016 – Shadows of the Red Tree (a volume of supernatural stories)

2016 – A New Humanity (science fiction – short story)

2016 – Sol 12 (science fiction)

2016 – Adachu (children’s Halloween – short story)

2017 – The Writers’ Room (science fiction – short story)

2017 – A Night at Wonderland (general fiction)

2018 – Reach Out (general drama fiction – short story)

2018 – Simon Is Coming (action genre and book two of the Heaven’s Darkside series)

2020 – Love, For Cupid (comedy – short story)

Bio:

I’ve been a writer of some form my whole life. Lyrics and poetry as a teenager. Screenplays and short stories up until my thirties. Around my mid-thirties, I moved into books.

I wanted something physical for others to read. I was tired of telling others about a screenplay play I wrote and was pitching to producers and production companies, but there was nothing physical to show for my work.

Being a massive book reader all my life, I decided to move into books. It was because of my writing abilities that I was able to change my career path, twice. The first time, working for multiple news sources for journalism, and eventually moving into my current job with Hodson P.I., one of the most renowned private investigation firms in America.

Before that, I had worked in a variety of fields. I had owned a restaurant, worked in retail, managed properties across California and Arizona, and more.

When I’m not writing or working, I love spending time with my dogs (Bandit, Pepper, and Daisy), watching baseball games, including attending Lake Elsinore Storm minor league games, checking out antique shops and museums, and watching classic movies.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I don’t limit myself to one genre. If I have a good idea that won’t go away, I play around with the idea, outline it, and write it up. It probably comes a little bit from the fact that I read multiple genres of books.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Unexpectedly, it assisted in changing my career. Initially, I moved into local news journalism because the owner of a local news source knew I wrote books. I moved from writing local news stories to becoming a managing news editor.

It then helped further because with my current boss, my ability to write helped him choose me over other candidates applying for investigative work. I was brought on because of my social media skills and my ability to improve upon our reports. Four years later, I’m still working for him and can’t imagine myself working for anyone else until I decide to retire.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have several. Ernest Hemingway is one. I love the sense of adventure in his stories, which probably comes from the type of person he was in real life.

Out of the current authors, I like Dan Brown, Brad Meltzer, and Vince Flynn. Again, there is a sense of adventure, mystery, and the imagination they write with is amazing.

I also consider other favorites of mine to be F. Scott Fitzgerald, Steve Berry, Kevin Smith, and Raymond Khoury.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I don’t think they’ll be the sole wave of the future. I certainly believe that some people, especially those who travel or have long commutes, will listen to them to keep up with books they are interested in, but I don’t think they’ll replace books.

I can see e-versions of books eventually taking over a large portion of the industry. It wouldn’t surprise me if future generations get away from printed books and utilize tablets more.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I believe they serve a purpose to some extent. The atmosphere of a Barnes & Noble is certainly appealing to me compared to other retail stores, but I think they cater a lot to more well-known authors, or at least authors with large publishers. It may be different in other parts of the country, but in my part of Southern California, there are not a lot of options for stores carrying newer authors or local authors. I admit I get a little jealous when I see other parts of the country with local mom and pop shops that not only sell books by local authors, but they also get together with their local authors for events such as book signings and Q&A’s.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Some, but not a great deal. I don’t tend to write characters based on myself or those I know, but I do absorb life experiences like the next person and may integrate quirks or traits from those I have met in the past into my characters.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I don’t believe that writing should be censored for ninety-nine percent of the stuff that is out there. I usually believe exceptions to every rule though. Someone writing explicit child-based porn would fit under that category, in my opinion. Otherwise, I think everyone should be able to read what makes them happy. If you like spy-thrillers, have fun. If you’re into paperback romance books with Fabio on the cover, enjoy. If you’re into sci-fi, go for it. The point of reading a book, at least for those doing it recreationally, is to hopefully have some fun and escape to another world for a short amount of time.

Where can people find you and your work?

My books can be found through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and through multiple eBook sources. I have a few books through Smashwords too, but I’ve gotten away from there in the last few years because I found that this outlet didn’t really help me get any more readers.

amazon.com/author/danielmillhouse

https://www.facebook.com/DanielSMillhouse/

https://twitter.com/DanMillhouse

https://www.instagram.com/danielmillhouse/

https://www.pinterest.com/DanielMillhouse/ (you can see images, book covers, and people I’ve mentally cast for roles for parts in my books on some of my boards)

I may go back to having my own website one day, but for now, I don’t have one.

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Cait Moore

Name: Cait Moore

Genre(s) of your work: Romance, YA

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Lake City Way – Ninja Girl (2020)

Bio:

Cait Moore, studied commerce and law in Australia and pursued her career in the capital markets in London.  Since she was knee high to a kangaroo, she’s harboured a deep love for the written word.  Her fervent belief in the “one” has led her to explore in her fiction, what binds two hearts and souls.   Hers, belongs to her husband, author, Michael J Moore.   Follow her at www.facebook.com/cait.moore.5477 and caitmoorewriting.wixsite.com/website.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Actually I write because my husband Michael J Moore writes. He started me on this path and it’s not one that I would have thought I would pursue a few years ago.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has given me the ability to be a Mother and have a job that I enjoy. I now feel like I’m learning and growing as a person. Writing is one of those wonderful jobs that can be fitted in and around young children. Hence, I feel like I’m a young person again.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

That’s easy, my favorite author is my husband, Michael J Moore. His most recent book Highway Twenty was placed on the Preliminary Ballot for Superior Achievement in a Novel in the 2019 Bram Stoker Award.  I’m so proud of him.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I love audiobooks. I used them a lot when I was pregnant with my children as I was nauseous and found it difficult to read. I really like that they can be paused and easily continued, unlike the days of cds when I was constantly falling asleep and having to find my place.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’m not very fond of mainstream bookstores because I don’t have time to walk in and not find what I am looking for.  I buy all of my books on-line as it’s quick and I can browse very easily.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Actually, there is no personal experience in my writing. It’s all my imagination or ideas I’ve discussed with my husband. I don’t even used names of situations I’ve encountered. I like to live a different life through my books because as a Mother, I don’t get much time for myself and certainly not for entertainment.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I do believe writing should be censored but not heavily.  There are some topics which I believe are private and should be aired in certain places but not in every medium. That being said, I believe in freedom of speech so the question of censorship pulls me in two directions.

Where can people find you and your work?

People can find me in London, England and if I’m on holidays in Australia with my family on their sugar cane farm.  My book Lake City Way – Ninja Girl has just been published by Floricanto Press.

Social Media

https://www.facebook.com/cait.moore.5477  
https://twitter.com/CaitMoore7
https://instagram.com/caitmoorewriting  

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Michael J. Moore

Name: Michael J Moore

Genre(s) of your work: Horror, Thriller, Romance, YA

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

After the Change – January 2019 (MKM Bridge Press)

Highway Twenty – October 2019 (HellBound Press)

Bio:

My books include the bestselling post-apocalyptic novel, After the Change (published by MKM Bridge Press)the horror novel placed on the Bram Stoker Preliminary Ballot 2019 for Superior Achievement in a Novel, Highway Twenty (published by HellBound Books) and the soon to be released thriller Secret Harbor (to be published by Black Rose Writing).

My work has appeared in Blood Moon Rising Magazine, Horrorzine Magazine, Schlock Magazine, Minutes Before Six, Terror House Magazine, Siren’s Call Magazine, Black Petals Horror/Science Fiction Magazine, HellBound Books anthology “Ghosts, Spirits and Specters”, The Electric Press, has been adapted for theater and produced in the Seattle area, is used as curriculum at the University of Washington and has received an Honorable Mention in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest.  This year I also have short stories being released by Rainfall Books, Horror Tree – Trembling with Fear, Transmundane Press, Soteira Press and The University of Chicago, Awakenings Review.  Follow me at https://twitter.com/MichaelJMoore20
https://instagram.com/michaeljmoorewriting.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

When I discovered I was a writer, I became instantly obsessed with writing anything. I was twenty-nine.  Where did that stem from?  In the third grade, I found a box of dusty Stephen King and V.C. Andrew novels in a closet in my Mom’s bedroom and I used to read every Christopher Pike book I could get my hands on. The entire young adult and horror genres were major influences on me from early on.  I mix them in with my writing without realizing it.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing certainly hasn’t made me rich.  It really hasn’t altered my life at all, other than to allow me to write what’s in my head.  The stories write themselves and I’m just the vessel that puts them on paper. I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I couldn’t write down what my head is filled with.  It’s always been that way.  It’s only since I met my wife Cait Moore that I’ve been supported and able to send my work to publishers.  I guess you could say that maybe getting my wife to read one of my books (a good chat up line) changed my life because she’s my everything.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

 Early on, there was R.L. Stein, Stephen King, Christopher Pike. Then J.K. Rowling hit the scene and really raised the bar for YA fiction. I’m a big fan of Joe Hill also.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

 I’d like to believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, but they aren’t popular in the UK, where my wife is from and I don’t see many people using them. My children don’t even like them.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Oh, I love bookstores. I think anyone who loves books does.  The problem is that they lack choice and they are so expensive compared to online stores like Amazon or The Book Depository.  Also, when authors host book launches I hear that they can be expensive if books have to be returned.  I certainly know that every time Cait goes into a store to buy a book for the boys, she enjoys the experience but often ends up buying the book online.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I feel that every writer draws on personal experience of some kind.  It plays a big part in my writing and people who know me will be able to pinpoint certain stories as parts of my life. I guess for the reader it’s going to be rather entertaining for them to try and work out what is based on experience and what is based on my dreams.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Absolutely not.  But I do believe that writing should be honest to the art.  If it’s journalism, it should be honest full stop. Often writers will write what they know the reader wants to read but it’s not exactly the truth.  That bothers me.

Where can people find you and your work?

People can find me either in Seattle, USA or London, England.  My books After the Change and Highway Twenty can be found on-line on Amazon.  My short stories however can be found in a plethora of magazines, both on-line and in hard form, as outlined in my bio.

Social Media

https://michaeljmoorewriti.wixsite.com/website
https://www.facebook.com/michaeljmoorewriting
https://twitter.com/MichaelJMoore20
https://instagram.com/michaeljmoorewriting
https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-moore-28b800178/

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Patricia Moore

Name: Patricia Moore

Genre of your work:  Children’s picture books and poetry for adults

Titles of Published Works:

Please, Miss Gooding!

Just A Servant

First Winter

The Angel With One Wing

Bio:

I have been writing for over 20 years.  I have won the Writer’s Digest Competition 3 times.  The first time was the most exciting! I am married with four grown children and two grandchildren. And we have a much loved cat named Midnight.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

 I worked as a preschool teacher and found that picture books were fascinating. I was encouraged to write for children when I heard a children’s author speak at my local library. I left his talk thinking, “I can write a children’s book!”

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

 That life is beautiful and has meaning.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I dislike it when a writer can communicate something in 20 words and then expands their writing to 50 words. Too many unnecessary words!

Who are your favorite authors and why?

One of my favorite authors is Tomie de Paola. I love his art and how his picture books are uplifting.

How has writing changed/altered your life?  

 It has brought me interesting friends who are fellow writers.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

 If the beginning is very slow. I lose interest then.

Do you believe writing should be censored-that some topics should remain taboo?

 Since I write for young children I think censoring is acceptable.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website:  patriciaamoore.wix.com/home

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/justaservantboy

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Pamela Morris

Name: Pamela Morris

Pseudonym: Victoria Morris (erotica titles only)

Genre(s) of your work: Horror & Erotica

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Virgin of Greenbrier – erotica – 2006

Mistress of Greenbrier – erotica – 2007

Our Lady of Pain – erotica – 2008

Mistress for Sale – erotica – 2009

Bound To Be Bitten – erotic-horror – 2011 (currently out of print)

Secrets of the Scarecrow Moon – horror – 2013

That’s What Shadows Are Made Of – horror – 2015

No Rest For The Wicked – horror – 2016

The Witch’s Backbone: Part 1 – The Curse – horror – 2017

Dark Hollow Road – horror – 2018

The Witch’s Backbone: Part 2 – The Murder – horror – 2019

Because, Spiders (short story) – horror – 2019

The Inheritance – horror – (coming in 2020!)

Bio:

Raised in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, but forever longing for the white sands of her birthplace in New Mexico, Pamela has always loved mysteries and the macabre. Combining the two in her own writing, along with her love for historical research and genealogy, came naturally. Hours spent watching ‘Monster Movie Matinee’, ‘Twilight Zone’, ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker”, and a myriad of Hammer Films helps with her Horror obsession. She loves to read works by traditional 19th century Gothic Horror writers such as Poe, Stoker, Radcliffe, and Collins. Her modern Horror author favorites include Tanith Lee, Stephen King, Hunter Shea, and Shirley Jackson.

Outside of her work as a novelist, Pamela enjoys drawing & painting, watching bad B-Movies, remaining ever vigilant to the possibility of encountering a UFO or Bigfoot, taking road trips with her husband on the Harley, getting the occasional tattoo, feeding the local murder of crows in her back yard, and being The Final Guys cult leader. Otherwise, she’s perfectly normal.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Writing erotica was completely accidental and never my intention, but on a dare I wrote up a couple short stories and discovered I was pretty darn good at it – or so I was told. Short stories evolved into the novels and before I knew it, they were accepted by a publisher. As fun as they were to write, erotica were certainly not what I wanted to write most.

What I longed to write most was Horror. I grew up watching and reading Horror, Murder-Mysteries, and Thrillers. The first story along those lines that I wrote when I was eleven, was ‘The Strange Well’. I was no Carolyn Keene back then, but there’s certainly a Nancy Drew feel to the story.  I write Horror because I love to read it. I hope that my work creeps people out and gives them the same thrills and psychological scares that I’ve experienced reading the same kinds of work. I want to pass that Love of Horror baton off to the next generation.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing itself hasn’t changed me as I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember knowing how. What has changed for me is knowing there are other writers out there who feel the same way about their work as I do. Before Facebook and Twitter and all that, I knew maybe two other authors, neither of which wrote Horror. Now, I know dozens of them. We’re able to exchange ideas, give each other advice on all aspects of the business, and even commiserate about how horrible we are as writers. Writers can be very self-deprecating. Despite that, we’re all very passionate about our writing. It’s like breathing. Do it or die. I’d have given up long ago had it not been for the small circle of writing friends I’ve gained over the past ten years or so.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Every modern day Horror writer says Stephen King and/or Anne Rice. Yes, they’ve been a big influence and I love their work, but I hesitate to call either one of them my favorite. I don’t have a favorite. I really like the older Gothic-style Horror from the 1800s just as much. Writers like Wilkie Collins, Poe, Stoker, and Ann Radcliffe set the standard for me. More modern influences have been Shirley Jackson and Tanith Lee. Today, I’ve been reading a lot of Hunter Shea’s work and absolutely adored what Andy Davidson did with In The Valley of the Sun. That book simply blew my mind.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’m all for anyplace that promotes books and reading. I miss all the smaller bookstores that used to be around, but you can still find them if you try. B&N tends to ignore the little guy because they simply can’t move our titles as well as they can someone like King or Rice. It’s business and I understand that. Most do have a small section for Local Authors, though. Most are also open to the idea of promoting\hosting an Indie writer if you ask. But, you have to ask and you have to be somewhat persistent. I’ve been doing a book signing every year around Halloween for the nearest local bookstore for the past four years now and it’s still on me to reach out to them for that. I also do one for the public library I lurked around in as a kid where the contact me first.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

It all depends on the story really. The Barnesville Chronicles are set in the fictionalized version of my home town. For those, I draw A LOT of material from my personal experiences growing up there. Locals who read them have come up to me just giddy that they recognized a location or saw a glimpse of someone they think they recognize. Even some of the weird events that happen in Barnesville are based around similar events that took place back home.

With No Rest For The Wicked, I drew on the research I did when I was a US Civil War re-enactor along with personal experiences with the paranormal. This book is actually Part 4 of my Greenbrier Trilogy in the erotica genre – sans most of the erotica. There’s still a bit in there, but in order to make the characters work, it had to be. It’s super toned down from the trilogy though.

Shortly after the release of Dark Hollow Road, I was contacted by a reader who was desperate to know if any of it was based on first-hand experiences. The book has some pretty strong taboo scenes involving physical and emotional abuse, rape, and incest. Apparently they were so well-written this reader couldn’t help but wonder how I’d tapped into that whole thing. I assured him that no, none of it was based on personal events. I did research and, sadly, I’ve had a couple friends who were victimized in that way. I knew their stories and worked with those stories to create the dark world of the book’s main character.

What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

Oddly, it’s usually the characters screaming at me to tell their story! To a non-writer that probably doesn’t make sense. But, that’s how it works for a lot of us who do write. I’m an organic writer, meaning I seldom use an outline. I get the idea in a variety of forms – sometimes a character will come to me first, sometimes a title, sometimes just a weird random opening scene – and from there, I just follow the bread crumbs left behind by whoever is telling me the tale. I often don’t know the ending of the book anymore than a future reader will. I have to figure it out and write it down in the best way I know how because I want to know that ending, too!

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No, I don’t. Nothing should be taboo when it comes to writing a story because there are real people with real feelings and real stories behind every taboo. There are lessons to be learned, demons to expose and vanquish, and maybe even some inspiration to give to those struggling with the same kinds of situations to get out of them.

Where can people find you and your work?

Links to all my books, my blog, and some free short stories are all on my website https://pamelamorrisbooks.com/ as well as on Amazon author.to/PamelaMorris_AMZAuthor and Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/908656.Pamela_Morris

People can connect with me directly on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PamelaMorrisBooks/ and on Twitter @pamelamorris65

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Dr. Pam Munter

Your Name: Dr. Pam Munter

Genre(s) of your work: Fiction (also nonfiction)

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Almost Famous, A Life in and Out of Show Biz (Westgate Press, 1985)

When Teens Were Keen: Freddie Stewart and the Teen Agers of Monogram (Nicholas Lawrence Press, 2005)

As Alone As I Want To Be (Adelaide, 2018)

Fading Fame: Women of a Certain Age in Hollywood (Adelaide, 2021)

Bio:

Pam Munter has authored several books including When Teens Were Keen: Freddie Stewart and The Teen Agers of Monogram, Almost Famous, and As Alone As I Want To Be. She’s a former clinical psychologist, performer and film historian. Her essays, book reviews and short stories have appeared in more than 150 publications. Her play, “Life Without” was nominated for Outstanding Original Writing by the Desert Theatre League and she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Pam has an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts, her sixth college degree. She lives in Palm Desert, CA.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

All of my books have touched on Hollywood in some way. Fading Fame is the first full-length work of fiction.  It has been both fun and challenging to insert myself into the possible thinking of iconic women of a certain age who worked in an industry I adore. How did they navigate the perilous waters of the inherent sexism in show business and what were the costs? Such speculation can only life in the world of fiction.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It was a writer who convinced me to go to college at all! I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing something – a neighborhood newspaper when I was nine, a radio drama at 12. As a memoirist, writing provided a platform to explore my own history, even while discovering the surprising universality of the struggles. In Fading Fame, writing allowed me to fuse my love for an imagined old Hollywood while integrating the wisdom acquired as a former clinical psychologist.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Robert Caro: a consummate and prodigious researcher, and an expert translator of information into fascinating works. I’d read anything he wrote.

Meghan Dahm: an agile essayist with the enviable facility to superimpose a tart sense of humor on to the sadness of her life experiences.

Sheila Weller: a thorough biographer with the capacity to delve deeper into stories about famous people we thought we knew, bringing them alive in the process.

Vivian Gornick: an essayist who deftly seduces her reader into her world in New York, making us feel a lucky accompanist on her journey.

(and so many more!)

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

Technology is changing, and we are, after all, an ADD society. Will people continue to take the time to sit and listen to a book, rather than read it in increments? Perhaps in the future, audiobooks will become like newspapers, alive for a specific audience. For me, I prefer an ebook as I find a voice reading to me distracting and soporific, demanding too much of me. It’s easier to pick up and put down, too.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

With the decline in the mom-and-pop bookstores, Amazon, et al, serve a valuable function for an increasing part of the population. The pandemic has underscored their dominance. More sales will likely be done online, however, even if the website is corporate.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

Social media is the way to go. Any way a writer can instantly reach a large audience is a bonus. Print media has become almost an anachronism, serving a diminishing population and not cost-effective.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No and no. But I think when topics potentially offend, trigger warnings would be appropriate.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon.com / http://www.pammunter.com

www.pammunter.com

Pam Munter on Amazon

https://www.facebook.com/pam.munter.3

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Andrew G. Nelson

Name: Andrew G. Nelson

Genre(s) of your work: Mystery / Suspense

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Perfect Pawn (2013)

Queen’s Gambit (2014)

Small Town Secrets (2014)

Bishop’s Gate (2015)

Little Boy Lost (2015)

Cold Case: Katherine White Murder (2015)

Knight Fall (2016)

Bio:

Andrew G. Nelson is a twenty-two year law enforcement veteran and a graduate of the State University of New York. He served twenty years with the New York City Police Department during which time he served as a detective in the elite Intelligence Division providing protection to visiting dignitaries.  He retired in 2005 with the rank of sergeant.

He is the author of the James Maguire and Alex Taylor book series’, as well as the non-fiction works: Uncommon Valor & Uncommon Valor II, which chronicle the insignia of the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit.

What prompted you to become a writer?

I’d like to say that it had always been my passion, but the truth is that my writing career began as a dare. Back around 2000 my wife and I were having a discussion about books, as we are both avid readers. She said that she believed that it would be hard to write one and I disagreed. Having spent much of my law enforcement career producing investigative reports I felt that it was just a matter of ‘painting a picture’ with words. She made a bet with me that I couldn’t do it and I wrote her a brief story. She was shocked when she read it and repeatedly asked me to continue it.

Then 9/11 happened and our world was thrown into a tailspin. Tack on some other issues and my retirement and I just never got around to finishing it. Then in 2012, she finally broke me and I began writing again. My first book, Perfect Pawn, was based on the original story concept I had started over a decade earlier.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

A long time ago I heard a comment that you should always ‘write what you know’ and it sounded like great advice. I feel that having been in law enforcement allows me to open that world to the reader.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Overall I would have to say that it has given me an outlet for both the factual stories, as well as the imaginary ones, in my head. I enjoy sitting down and creating something that will last long after I am gone.

Who are your favorite authors and why? 

That’s actually a tough question, because there are so many and each has a different style of writing.  I grew up with a book in my hand, from Sci-Fi stuff by authors like James Blish (Star Trek) to Don Pendleton’s The Executioner. If I were going off of strict character development I would say my all-time favorites are Frank Herbert and Tom Clancy, who, on top of being fabulous story tellers, give their characters a lot of breadth and depth. I also enjoy earlier James Patterson stuff and Robert B. Parker.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

As a reader: Honestly, I have mixed feelings about. In my youth I had a love affair with the local mom & pop book stores. I could spend hours just browsing the shelves seeking out new worlds and places to visit. I remember my excitement of finding a new book from a favorite author. Sadly, that feeling changed with the advent of the corporate book stores. They don’t have that same feel anymore. Now I find that I am more apt to find something online.

As a writer: My thought is that only Amazon has embraced all authors, both traditionally published & indie, while the others seem to be more rigid. I had a bit of a time with Barnes & Noble in the beginning which soured me to the point that I removed all my e-Books from them and now list those exclusively through Amazon.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Well, first and foremost, I hope they enjoy the overall stories, but I also hope that they become invested in the characters. One of the greatest compliments I ever received was when a reader told me that they actually cried over one of the ‘bad’ characters. It meant a lot to me because I knew that that I had gotten them to look beyond the immediate issues and to accept that things are not always so black and white. If I can get the reader to empathize with a character that means I have given you more than just words on a page.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I would say that it is probably the leading factor in my writing. I draw a lot from my experiences, not only with the NYPD, but also my time with a local sheriff’s office. I think it gave me the ability to see things from the perspective of both the big and small departments.  There’s a certain level of comradery that I want to come through to the reader. Cops are human beings, they are not the ‘just the facts, ma’am,’ characters. They have real issues, real demons and real conversations with one another and I want the reader to understand that.

What was you reason for writing two different series?

My first book introduced the main character of James Maguire. Maguire is a former Navy SEAL and a retired NYPD detective. He is one of those ‘quiet professionals’ whom the reader grows to expect a certain response from, based on the storyline. As I was writing the sequel, Queen’s Gambit, I toyed with the idea of doing a short story for my readers. It amounted to about a 25k word novella and introduced a new character, Alex Taylor. This character was the antithesis of Maguire: brash, troubled & wholly unapologetic; the Yin to Maguire’s Yang. What I couldn’t get away with Maguire I could with Taylor and I found that I really enjoyed switching back and forth between the two.

While all of the books are technically stand-alone, parts of the stories actually interweave between the two series, including the relationship between Maguire and Taylor, who were once partners in the NYPD.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

If you are asking about a book that I am writing, once I get the plot idea I sit down and create a chapter by chapter ‘talking points’ outline. I like to think of that as the black lines of a coloring book picture. Once I have the overall story sketched out, then I go back and color it all in. Along the way I generally add some chapters, but I can’t even begin to write unless I have the overall journey from points ‘A’ to ‘Z’ fleshed out. Then when I have that completed I sit down and proceed to write it by chapter.

I know some authors bounce around, but for each chapter I have to stay in the moment. I will write for as long as the voices are in my head, but once they quiet down I have learned to walk away. In the beginning I tried to force the conversation, but I just went back and deleted it during the review phase. Now I’m smart enough to just go and play a video game or stir up trouble on Twitter until they come back.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Sadly, I have a stack of them. Generally, I give a book about three chapters. If you can’t hook me by then, or if the writing is just that hard, I’m done.  Depending on the genre I will ask my wife to try her hand at it. Sometimes a book just needs new eyes and I’m a firm believer in that not every book is going to have the same reader.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No, not at all. If we began censoring topics than I am pretty sure we wouldn’t have Nabokov’s Lolita. My personal belief is that if you want to establish a list of taboo subjects that need a disclaimer that it contains mature topics, fine. I’m not against warning a person that there might be sensitive subjects covered in a book, but I am strongly against censoring it outright.  To me it is a very slippery slope, because once you start a list it becomes infinitely easier to add to it.  As a former police officer I have seen man’s inhumanity to man first hand. To pretend that this stuff doesn’t happen is absurd.

Any pet peeves in writing?

When it comes to my writing? Hearing someone go on about how much they loved your books, yet they never leave a review! C’mon folks, hook an author up! I mean it’s not like we are making Patterson money off these books, so a kind review is probably the only joy we are going to get.

In reading other authors work? Grammar! No, not the Oxford comma stuff, but the full-fledged ‘I’ve been reading this same paragraph for fifteen minutes and it is all one sentence’ kind of stuff. I love the fact that it is becoming easier for indie authors to publish their work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone should.  I think it is one of the reasons that make it so hard for indie authors to get the respect they deserve, because most readers have come across that one abomination that seems to taint an entire group. Then again my wife was reading one of George R.R. Martin’s books and she came across a sentence that said: “Rape the windows…….” Ouch !!

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Andrew-G.-Nelson/e/B00G7T0LTI

Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/y7eo5f8m

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Andrew-Nelson-168310343376572/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Andrew_G_Nelson

Blog: http://andrewgnelson.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AndrewGNelson

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HP Newquist

Your Name: HP Newquist

Genre(s) of your work: Horror, thrillers, strange science

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

A small sampling:

 BEHEMOTH (Bloodshot Books, 2020)

  • Abracadabra (Henry Holt, 2016)

  • The Human Body (Viking/Smithsonian, 2016)

  • The Book Of Blood (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)

  • Here There Be Monsters (Houghton Mifflin, 2010)

  • This Will Kill You (St. Martin’s, 2009)

Bio:

While BEHEMOTH is my first novel, I’ve written nearly thirty books during my career. My books explore everything from brains and blood to music and the macabre. I’ve been very fortunate that publishers like my work enough to have made it possible for me to make a living as an author. In addition to writing, I also created The National GUITAR Museum, the world’s first museum dedicated to the history of the guitar.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’ve always been drawn to writing about things that interest me, whether it’s bizarre, little-known facts about things like blood and chocolate, or those scary things that we think are hiding behind the basement door. Horror, in particular, has fascinated me my whole life—from countless books to innumerable movies. There’s something incredibly thought-provoking and unnerving about not knowing why strange things are happening . . . but hoping there is an answer, some explanation that makes sense. The beauty of horror is the answer doesn’t always have to exist, or even make sense. It only has to tug at your imagination enough to make you a little nervous about going to sleep at night, all alone in the dark. Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is perhaps the finest example of crafting this kind of horror.

I got my start as a writer for computer magazines back when magazines were a big thing. Most of that was about artificial intelligence. AI led to writing about how computers were being used in music, which led to writing solely about music, which led to me running GUITAR magazine for a few years. My experience in artificial intelligence got me interested in how the brain works and biology, which led to a series of books about the human body. But I found the most intriguing parts of telling those stories were the ancient myths and superstitions surrounding them, like vampires and blood, and if the brain survives after being guillotined. That has led me, several dozen books later, to focusing on horror.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has allowed me to travel the world, see unusual things, meet incredible people, and be part of events I could not have imagined. It’s also been very useful when the rent comes due.

Do you have a writing routine?

I don’t know if you’d call it a routine, but I do all my writing late at night. All of it. Everyone is asleep, no emails are coming in, and after 11 PM the world is nearly silent. So I usually write from about 11 PM until 2 or 3 AM. I don’t like writing during the day simply because there are too many distractions. I also think writing in the dark of night helps bring out the demons that are a part of writing horror.

 

Are you drawn to a particular form of horror?

Horror has so many subgenres that it’s hard to identify any one overarching form. I enjoy cosmic and sci-fi horror all the way to a good psychopath story. That said, I find supernatural horror to be the most interesting. The things that go bump in the night—whether they are from another world or sent from the darkest pits of Hell—are great to write about because there are no limits to where your imagination can go when you’re creating things that don’t exist in real life . . . or that we think don’t exist.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain are my favorite authors, primarily because they are masters of their respective genres (horror and humor). They both had a stunning ability to create entire worlds in a few short pages. When it comes to horror, I love the imagination and prose of people like Shirley Jackson, HP Lovecraft, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, and M.R. James.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I think audiobooks are very much a part of the here and now, and will continue to be important in the future. Audio is great when you’re doing something that doesn’t allow you to hold a book (biking, running, driving) so I don’t think it will ever go away. And as long as people can still read in the future (which is not guaranteed), I think there will always be strength in printed books because—unlike the voices and effects in an audiobook—you have to conjure up 100% of the imagery and sounds in a story on your own.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Any place and any one that sells books is important. It would be nice if the world was populated by small booksellers again, but it would also be nice to be a teenager again. I think writers need to make the best of the world we live in.

 

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

Engaging directly with people about your writing is both a good way to market and a good way to get a sense of how the world perceives your work. Social media does that, although in-person events are even better. The worst form of marketing is sitting in your room talking to yourself and hoping someone will notice you.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I don’t think any writing should be censored. Censorship leads to a dangerous world. That said, I don’t think all writing is worthy of being published—or even read. In an era where anyone can self-publish whatever they want, from treasure to trash, it’s a writer’s prerogative if they decide to write, say, incendiary tomes. But it’s important that those writers realize that the same prerogative applies to other entities who may decide not to sell their work, and more importantly—to those who choose not to read or buy their writing.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website is www.newquistbooks.com

 My latest book BEHEMOTH can be found here: http://www.newquist.net/behemoth.html

 All my books can be found on my Amazon page at https://www.amazon.com/HP-Newquist/e/B003XLMPWY?ref_=dbs_p_pbk_r00_abau_000000

 And Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HPNewquist

 My Goodreads page is: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/43150.H_P_Newquist

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Victoria Noe

Name: Victoria Noe

Genre(s) of your work: Nonfiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives A Damn (2013)

Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends (2013; 2nd edition – 2017)

Friend Grief and 9/11: The Forgotten Mourners (2013)

Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends (2014)

Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle (2015)

Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes (2016)

Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community (2018)

Bio:

I’ve been a writer most of my life, but didn’t admit it until 2009.

After earning a master’s degree in Speech and Dramatic Art from the University of Iowa, I moved to Chicago, where I worked professionally as a stage manager, director and administrator in addition to being a founding board member of the League of Chicago Theatres. I discovered I was good at fundraising, and ventured out on my own, raising millions for arts, educational and AIDS service organizations, and later became an award-winning sales consultant of children’s books. But when a concussion ended my sales career, I decided to finally keep a promise to a dying friend to write a book.

That book became a series of small books. The first three – Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives A Damn; Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends and Friend Grief and 9/11: The Forgotten Mourners were published in 2013. Friend Grief and the Military: Band of Friends (Honorable Mention, Chicago Writers Association 2014 Book of the Year), was published in 2014. Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle was published in 2015 and the final book in the series, Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes, was released on 2016.

I’m currently working on a more challenging book: Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, coming in 2018. It’s a labor of love for me to recognize the contributions of amazing women from around the world who stepped up to the challenge of fighting this devastating virus.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

In 2006, I told my friend Delle Chatman that I had an idea for a book: stories about people grieving their friends. She was in remission from ovarian cancer for the second time and certainly understood my motivation. As usual, she was quite enthusiastic about my idea, despite the fact that I’d never written anything except fan fiction in high school and grant proposals for nonprofit clients. She died about six months later. I don’t think I have the imagination to write good fiction.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

This is my fourth career (theatre, fundraising and publisher’s rep) and I never expected to be doing this at this age. I knew less than nothing about writing, much less self-publishing, so I’ve had a steep learning curve. But despite having a master’s degree in theatre, not psychology, I’ve carved a niche as a go-to person when discussing grieving the death of a friend. It has also brought me back in the HIV/AIDS community after a long absence, energizing me in ways I could never have predicted. I honestly feel it’s given me a new purpose in life.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Shakespeare will always be #1. The plays – most of them – have always appealed to me, but I have a theatre background and that may be why. In fact, I think more people would love Shakespeare if they saw performances rather than start out trying to just read the plays. They’re meant to come to life on stage! As for prose writers, Dorothy Sayers, Armistead Maupin, Sara Paretsky, J. K. Rowling, W.P. Kinsella because all of them have written memorable characters with a clear sense of purpose and unique sense of place. I feel like their books are full of real people I would love to call my friends.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love bookstores, period. The only big guys left are Barnes & Noble, which has always seemed to struggle with their place in the book world. I hope they succeed. But I’m partial to indie bookstores, partly because they’ve been so generous with their support of me. In turn, I support them: I volunteer, I’m a member, I spend money at them, I offer programs that might interest their customers. And that may be the biggest advantage to indie bookstores: the opportunity to build and maintain relationships. I think that’s where the big guys fail. My favorite indie stores are Women & Children First (Chicago), Strand, Housing Works and Bureau of General Services-Queer Division (NYC), Powerhouse (Brooklyn), Left Bank (St. Louis).

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Occasionally someone looks at one of my books and says, “Oh, that’s depressing.” And though some of the stories are sad, they’re not depressing. There’s even a fair amount of humor. The Friend Grief books are a collection of stories about real people whose friendships meant the world to them. They’re men and women who struggle with their grief at times, but ultimately find ways to live their lives in ways that honor their friends. So I hope that as readers identify with the stories, they’ll find ways to treasure their friendships. Nothing makes me happier than when someone reads one of my books and says, “You get it.”

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Well, personal experience got me started. If it wasn’t for the promise I made to Delle and the ways she haunted me after she died, I never would’ve written them. But I knew from the beginning that these books couldn’t be about me. They had to be about other people, people who aren’t like me. In order to prove that grieving a friend is as life-changing as grieving a family member, I had to find people with stories to share.

With the next book, it’s the same thing. I am a straight woman who has worked in the HIV/AIDS community off and on since the early years of the epidemic. But there are thousands of us around the world whose stories have not been told. When I interview women we have that shared experience, even if our lives are very different. It helps establish trust. Telling their stories is – if I may be so bold – like Hidden Figures: women who mostly worked in near-obscurity, but whose contributions have changed the course of the epidemic and saved thousands of lives.

Maybe I was a therapist in a previous life, because the people I’ve interviewed have opened up to me in surprising and sometimes dramatic ways. If they hadn’t, there would be no books.

 How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Number one, I hate unfinished projects. I have too many of those in my personal life! Mostly I’m motivated because I feel a deep sense of responsibility to the people in my books: to share their stories and to give them the recognition they deserve. I don’t want to let them down.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If it’s fiction, I don’t finish if I lose interest in the protagonist or the plot is too convoluted.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

 I repped two children’s book publishers for 15 years. I think there is an obvious need for age-appropriate subject matter for kids, though we often underestimate their ability to understand complex subjects. In trying to shield them from the world, we sometimes hamper their ability to deal with it. Any subject can be covered in a simple, clear, non-judgmental way so kids can understand them. That said, I’m not interested in censoring anyone’s writing. I may not agree with it, I may find it disgusting or dangerous. But unless it breaks a law, it’s not my place to stop it.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Typos and bad editing – problems I find in traditionally published books as well as self-published.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website is www.victorianoe.com. I blog there once/week.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Noe/e/B00C02LTRE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/%22Victoria%20Noe%22?Ntk=P_key_Contributor_List&Ns=P_Sales_Rank&Ntx=mode+matchall

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=victoria+noe

Indiebound: https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=victori%20anoe

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=victoria%20noe&c=books&hl=en

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/victoria-noe/id1258219776?mt=11

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Victoria_Noe

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vikinoechikow/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/VictoriaNoe/

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Candace Nola

Your Name: Candace Nola  

Genre(s) of your work: Horror/Dark Fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

2019 Breach

2020 Beyond The Breach

2021 Hank Flynn

Bio:

Candace Nola is a Pittsburgh author with a lifelong passion for reading and writing. She started writing poetry as a young teen and branched out into short stories in high school. She did not begin writing professionally until early 2019 when a friend asked her about collaborating on a story for a writing contest. Four months later, Breach was finished and Candace set about the self-publishing route. As the story received more and more great feedback, she decided to give this writing dream a chance.

She signed up for a mentorship with the HWA, built a website dedicated to supporting indie horror authors called Uncomfortably Dark, began reviewing as much new horror as she could handle and began working on the sequel to Breach, called Beyond the Breach, that was released in December of 2020.  Hank Flynn will be her third novel, releasing in July of 2021.

She is a member of the Horror Authors Guild, and has appeared in the anthology, “Second Hand Creeps,” put out by Franklin E. Wales and Joseph M. Monks. She will also be appearing in two more anthologies in 2021, has a new novel in progress that is tentatively scheduled for a late December 2021 release and will continue to support indie horror with her website and TikTok following. She has plans to continue to build up her website to become a premiere site for all things horror and to make Uncomfortably Dark Horror a brand, not just a website.

She is also a freelance editor that is available for new and upcoming horror/dark fantasy authors. Follow Candace on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I have always loved the horror genre, horror movies, scary stories told around the campfire, spooky haunted houses; anything that gets the heart rate up or makes you scared to turn the lights off at night. Horror is such a broad genre as well, it includes paranormal, other worlds, demons and devils, stalkers and slashers and everything in-between. No matter what sub-genre you write in, there is something for everyone and it’s broad enough that an author can easily write in any sub-genre of horror, without straying too far.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has always been a dream of mine. There is nothing that I ever wanted more, than to be a writer when I grew up.  After having given up on my dream for so much of my adult life, it really feels good to be doing something that I really love.  As far as changing my life, not many changes yet, except I am a much happier person and my confidence has slowly been building up the more I write and publish. I can also say that I have made so many new friends and connections within the writing community that it has made it all worthwhile. I feel like I have found my tribe.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Edgar Allen Poe is my absolute favorite author of all time. I have been a collector of his works for a long time now.  Stephen King is also another favorite author, along with Bentley Little, Iain Rob Wright, Scott Nicholson, Frazer Lee, Paul Carro, Matt Shaw, Daniel Volpe, Aron Beauregard, William Holloway, Edward Lee, Christine Morgan. I could go on and on. Each of these authors have inspired me in some way to be who I am today. The vast abilities of each one to craft a tale that you can lose yourself in and be swept away to another place or time is mind-boggling.

To me, that is what writing is about, to take your reader away to some other place. To pull them into the story that you are telling, to make them fear, rejoice, squeal, squirm or cry. To make them feel stronger when they finish, or braver, or content. I read to escape my realities. I read to become a part of something else, something bigger, something new or something unexplored. These authors can do that and so much more. It’s a huge honor to know some of them and maybe one day, I will get to meet one or two of the others.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I think audiobooks are just as important to our society as the real thing. Some people are just not sit-down readers. Books don’t do it for them. Having a book narrated for them or fully produced like a radio show or play can often engage someone that otherwise would not have experienced your story.  When done well, the voice actor can fully immerse the listener into the story and give them the same effects that normal readers can achieve when reading alone by themselves. Some people also travel too much or work too much to really enjoy reading a long novel, but being able to listen in while driving, running, walking, grading papers or doing housework can often fill those hours with something other than radio advertisements.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love a good bookstore. That being said, I will say that I have found the smaller used bookstores to be the best ones, especially for horror books.  I have never gone to a bookstore and not found something new to take home, whether it’s a big or small store. I would very much like to see more large stores take on more indie authors, no matter what genre they are in.

There are so many amazing authors out here with stories to tell and the world is missing out when a bookstore only caters to the top five. There are billions of people on earth and millions of readers for each genre, shouldn’t there be at least hundreds of authors to choose from at any given time, not just the top ten NY bestsellers?

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

NO! Absolutely not, all subject matter should be open to write about. We are all humans and all are subject to the same feelings, the same crimes, the same tortures, abuses, fears, desires, etc.  Nothing should ever be so off-limits that it furthers feelings of shame, embarrassment or confusion by mis-perception by not speaking about it. When handled appropriately, any subject matter can be written about and be well-received. Writing about things only furthers our knowledge and understanding of those things, without knowledge, who are we and how do we progress?

Where can people find you and your work?

I can be found on

Instagram: cnola.author

Facebook: Candace Nola

TikTok: @uncomfortablydarkhorror

Twitter: @candace_nola

My website is www.uncomfortablydark.com

My email for book reviews/editing/mentoring is cnola.author@gmail.com

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Kristin A. Oakley

Name: Kristin A. Oakley

Genre(s) of your work: Mainstream/Contemporary Fiction, YA Dystopian

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Carpe Diem, Illinois (2014, Little Creek Press)

God on Mayhem Street (2016, Little Creek Press)

Bio:

Kristin A. Oakley is a Chicago Writers Association board member, the managing editor of The Write City Magazine, the past president and a co-founder of In Print Professional Writers’ Organization, and a UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies writing instructor. Kristin’s debut novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois, won the 2014 Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Award for non-traditionally published fiction, was a finalist in the Independent Author Network 2015 Book of the Year, and a runner-up in the 2016 Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition. Its sequel, God on Mayhem Street, was released in 2016. Kristin is currently working on a young adult dystopian trilogy.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Because that’s what I enjoy reading. I also love Stephen King’s books, so there might be some horror in my future.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’m now more open to meeting people and taking advantage of opportunities because of the research I’ve done for my books. I’m finding that everyone has a story and that fascinates me. I’ve also discovered a love for teaching and am now an adjunct writing instructor at UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Stephen King for his ability to transport you right into the story; David Mitchell and George Saunders for their mind-bending books; and J. K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins for their masterful young adult novels.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love brick and mortar bookstores because of the interactions with the community. For example, Mystery to Me Bookstore in Madison, WI is hugely supportive of local authors and offers opportunities for many events.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

It would be great if my books stretched their imaginations and inspired them to see what other realities might be possible.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A lot, particularly in my first book. I was an unschooling mom and activist so I didn’t have to do much research to create the unschooling town in Carpe Diem, Illinois. For research for my current work-in-progress, I went on a four-day trip in the mountains of Virginia to learn survival training.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Writing with friends helps as does the encouragement we give each other. Deadlines are good, too. Lately, readers have been asking when the next book is coming out, so that’s great motivation.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

When I don’t care about the characters or when the writing is so poor that it pops me out of the story.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. But that doesn’t mean I’ll read everything.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

When it’s obvious the writer hasn’t hired a professional editor. I don’t understand why, after years of hard work on a book, a writer doesn’t care enough about their book to hire an editor and ensure the book is the highest quality possible. Everyone needs an editor, even Stephen King.

Where can people find you and your work?

 http://www.kristinoakley.net/

https://www.amazon.com/Kristin-A.-Oakley/e/B00IX8Z452/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1529546774&sr=8-1

https://www.facebook.com/kristinoakleywriter/

https://twitter.com/KristinOakley

https://www.instagram.com/kristinoakley4/

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Carol Orange

Your Name: Carol Orange

Genre(s) of your work: Mystery/Suspense

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

A Discerning Eye, published by Cavan Bridge Press on October 13, 2020.

Bio:

Carol Orange has worked in the art world for more than twenty years. She began as a research editor on art books in London and later became an art dealer in Boston. She has an MBA from Simmons University and worked as a marketing manager at the Polaroid Corporation. Along with concert pianist Virginia Eskin who played Chopin’s music, she read excerpts from George Sand’s novels in three salons at the French Library in Boston. Her short story “Delicious Dates” was included in Warren Adler’s 2010 short story anthology. Another story, “Close Call,” appeared in the Atherton Review, Volume 02.  A recent article, “7 Great Heist Novels recommended by an Art Dealer” was published in Crime Reads.

Her debut novel A DISCERNING EYE takes off from the tragic robbery at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Art dealer Portia Malatesta is devastated when she learns that thirteen works of art were stolen from the Gardner Museum. To help uncover the whereabouts of the artwork, she sets out to construct a psychological profile of the thief. By analyzing the common theme linking the stolen pieces, she suspects the mastermind behind the heist is obsessed with the interplay of dark and light – not only in art, but in life.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Life is mysterious so I am naturally attracted to the mystery/suspense genre. I particularly like female sleuths.  They tend to be engaging, creative thinkers, going all the way back to Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple up to Sara Paretsky’s V.I Warshawski.  By the way, kudos to Sara Paretsky for founding the supportive Sisters in Crime organization. I also connect with Amanda Cross’s sleuth Kate Fansler. Amanda Cross is the pseudonym for the feminist scholar Carolyn Heilbrun. Her mysteries are delightful to read. I wanted to write what I like best to read.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I used to work in marketing for corporations and then I owned an art gallery. My role was a supportive one, often encouraging other people’s creativity. Now I foster my own. Writing a novel is difficult. It often takes years to write a novel and there are many revisions along the way. Writing has made me a more patient person. Now I truly appreciate the craft of other writers. There are some days when I sit down at the computer and the words just flow. That’s when I lose all sense of time and place. When I stop writing I feel at peace. Writing has given me a sense of pride in my work that I never experienced before.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorite writers are Graham Greene and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Marquez is the expert writer of South and Central American life.  He invented magical realism based on ancient folk tales. No one knows Colombian habits and behaviors better than Marquez. His book News of a Kidnapping gave me important insights into just how brutal cartel operatives could be, and I created similar painful scenes for my novel A Discerning Eye. The Colombian drug war ruined daily life in the country so it is understandable why Marquez left Colombia for Mexico. I’ve read all of his books. Marquez is a brilliant storyteller.

Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American has impressed me as well. His sense of place is extraordinary.  Place is almost as important as his characters and the plot.  The Quiet American takes place in Vietnam as the French colonialists are leaving and the American involvement begins. His main characters, Phoung, a young Vietnamese woman and the journalist Thomas Fowler are survivors in this treacherous world. While this year of Covid and political unrest has been hard to deal with, at least our country is not at war. After traveling to Vietnam three years ago I’ve come to admire the Vietnamese people. I witnessed their resilience and surprising friendliness to Americans. They explained that ordinary Americans were not responsible for the war and do not bear any grudges. Their work ethic is inspiring and they have rebuilt their country. Their Communist government does hover over the country as a negative force, although capitalism is encouraged in their business lives.  Graham Greene knew the country so well he was able to predict the end of the Vietnam war.  His descriptions of the verdant countryside and the dangers they faced gave me insights into the people’s determination to survive.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I believe that audiobooks are here to stay and will only become increasingly popular over time. They are more portable than actual books. Talented narrators can dramatize the scenes and make the experience even more enjoyable than reading from a book. Another plus is the convenience of being able to listen to an audiobook while you are driving, doing housework, walking and/or sitting in a chair. The downside to the audio experience is that I am more likely to remember characters names and important passages in the print versions.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love browsing in independent bookstores, reading the staff comments about new books,  getting help making hard decisions about which books to buy and just soaking up the ambiance. Browsing is one of life’s true pleasures.  What’s more a bookstore adds character to a neighborhood, and each store’s curation of books is different. Some bookstores sponsor community outreach to kids or other specific groups of people.  When I first moved to New York in 2000 I worked at Bookberries (71st and Lexington Avenue). What fun it was to help clients find books that they hoped to enjoy. Some Barnes & Noble bookstores have also provided this customized service for their clients. Amazon is the most efficient way to buy a book if you are looking for a particular title, but you can’t browse bookshelves online and you can’t touch or smell the books.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A Bad one?

During this pandemic the best marketing tool is zoom events. They are not easy to book, but they are interactive.  It is thrilling to reach people all over the country with one event. The Zoom experience allows participants to ask challenging questions for the author to answer.  It’s gratifying that many participants have bought my novel before they come to the event, but some are inspired to read it afterward. What’s missing are the casual chats that can happen before and after an in-person event.

A bad one? This is difficult to answer. I’m not sure there has been a bad marketing tool for me. I love the social media advertising campaign that Pubvendo has designed for A Discerning Eye using museum backgrounds and real art (with owner’s permission of course). I know how many clicks I get for each ad, but there’s no way to measure how many clicks translate into book sales.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I believe in a free press, First Amendment rights. Yelling fire in a crowded theatre is certainly not acceptable because it can lead to a riot. But as private citizens in an open society we can pick and choose what we like to read or watch. Parents have a responsibility to choose what is age appropriate for their children. I like the way the movie industry rates films as General ( for adults) or PG ( parental guidance recommended) or PG13 ( parents strongly cautioned for children under 13).

Where can people find you and your work?

My author web site is: https//www.carolorange.com. A Discerning Eye is available wherever books are sold. I have author pages on Facebook, Goodreads and Amazon.

Here’s the link to  my Amazon page: (https://www.amazon.com/s?k=A+Discerning+Eye&ref=nb_sb_noss_2).

An audiobook version narrated by actors Campbell Scott and Kathleen McElfresh is available on Audible, Google Play, Audiobooks and iTunes.

You can reach me on Instagram(@carolorange2) and on Twitter (@COrangeAntiques).

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Florence Osmund

Name: Florence Osmund

Genre(s) of your work: Literary fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Nineteen Hundred Days (2018)

They Called Me Margaret (2018)

Living with Markus (2016)

Regarding Anna (2015)

Red Clover (2014)

Daughters (2013)

The Coach House (2012)

Bio:

After a long career working in the corporate world, I retired to write novels—something I had been thinking and dreaming about for years. I currently live on a small, tranquil lake in northern Illinois where I spend most days doing just that. I strive to write literary fiction and endeavor to craft stories that challenge readers to survey their own beliefs and values. I’ve learned a lot about writing along the way, and in an effort to help new writers avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made, I developed this website www.florenceosmund.com that includes advice on how to begin the project, writing techniques, building an author platform, book promotion, and more.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I write literary fiction because that’s what I prefer to read. I love character-based stories about protagonists whose internal limits are tested when challenged by external forces. And then I love to see how this changes them. I’ve never been one to be impressed by what someone owns. For me, what someone has done with what they’ve owned is usually more notable. This is what inspires me to write the kind of stories that I do.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I published my first book at the age of 62 after retiring from a 30+-year working career. Between retirement and now doing what I truly love to do, my life has changed dramatically. And on top of it, I recently moved from decades of living in a downtown Chicago high-rise to living in a lake house in northern Illinois where I enjoy exquisite gardens and lots of visiting critters—among them skunks, opossums, raccoons, deer, coyote, beavers, turtles, frogs, ducks, and geese. I currently have a clutch of snapping turtle eggs in my yard that are about ready to hatch—something I never would have been able to witness on the thirteenth floor of a condo building.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I like Dennis Lehane for his ability to craft intriguing stories and Margaret Atwood for her outstanding character development.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Subconsciously, I have a feeling that my own personal experiences, values, and beliefs play a major role in my writing. You write about what you know, right? And while I have never intentionally crafted a character after someone I know, I believe some of my fictional characters bear some of the same traits as family members and friends. But I’ll never tell which ones—people will have to try to figure that out for themselves.

What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

My passion for writing is all the motivation I need to keep on writing. It’s what I think about when I get up in the morning and as I go to sleep at night. Well, on most days.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I believe that some writing should be rated so that parents and teachers can make healthy reading choices for children.

Where can people find you and your work?

Here is where people can find me:

Website: http://www.florenceosmund.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/FlorenceOsmund

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FlorenceOsmundBooks

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8800692-florence-osmund

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/florenceosmunda

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/florenceosmund/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/florenceosmund

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Michael Peirce

Name: Michael Peirce

Pseudonym (if you use one): When I play in bands my name is Talbot

Genre(s) of your work: War, Sci Fi, Zombie War, Military Romance, Horror

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

“Red Dirt Zombies I: The Battle for Roswell Georgia”    

November 2015

“Red Dirt Zombies II: Grace Before Battle

August, 2016

“Red Dirt Zombies III: Once I Had a Comrade”

May 2017

“The General’s Daughter”

May 2018

“African Days Hollywood Nights” (non fiction)

Planned Release for September 2018

Additional seven short stories in same time period, four of them in anthologies and one pending.

Bio:

Mike Peirce has been a musician and songwriter as well as a soldier in an African War, and private security agent. His “Red Dirt Zombies” trilogy started life as a musical and draws on his experiences in those other areas. The “Red Dirt Zombies” trilogy is available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle.

The TV show “The Walking Dead” shows the consequences of losing the war against the Zs. Peirce’s books focus on the consequences of winning, addressing veteran’s issues such as PTSD, alienation and the impact of war on families and romantic relationships.
“The General’s Daughter” has recently been released and while set in the Red Dirt Zombies world it is crafted as a stand-alone novel.

Later in the year a non-fiction book called “African Days and Hollywood Nights” is in the works as well as several short stories.

Peirce has stories in a number of anthologies with proceeds going to veteran’s organizations, primarily PTSD support.

Additionally he has two novellas about a private military company (PMC) operating in Mexico.  One of these, “The Countess Consuela” has just been accepted in a new anthology.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Partly because while I’ve been a writer in various markets over the years, a friend dreamed I’d write a z-poc musical.  So I did.  It was pretty standard z-poc fare with sixteen songs. Then I fell on hard times and had no means to promote it so I changed it so a novel format. Much harder I have to admit but once I got going my characters picked it up and ran with it and I’m very happy with the results.

I trained on screenplays many years ago so I sort of write that way.

It annoyed me that most zombie fare was about well-armed survivors searching always for an elusive can of beans. I wanted to see what a single state could do to survive the z-poc.

My zombies are possibly the nastiest you’ll encounter since I wanted to have a truly fearsome enemy, but for me it was never about that.  It was always about war.

Georgia is roughly the size of Rhodesia where I fought a war so much of how I crafted these novels is based on my own experiences and observations.  Because I lean toward British military usages my behind the scenes narrator is a female Irish ex–pat.

I also write non-fiction and I hope to release “African Days Hollywood Nights” by the end of the summer. A real life story of my adventures chasing rock stardom in Hollywood and fighting a war in the African bush.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s helped me get a lot getting some issues out that I really hadn’t known where there.  The Combined Ops Communique was something I used to hear at night during the war, where they would announce the names of my friends who were killed that day.  I used it in my fiction to try and get a grip on that.

My books are full of the dangers to people fighting a horrific enemy in an environment where even the post nuclear weather is against them. Those dangers that include insanity and PTSD, measured by the State Sanity Index.  Chill pills are included in ration packs.

Plus I’m one of those writers who can honestly say, I’ve written the books I wanted to read.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have many so I’ll just name a few off the top of my head: Craig di Louie, David Simpson, Steven Knight, Max Hastings and Trevanian come to mind immediately.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I used to like hanging around in them but there are so few left in my neck of the woods I can’t honestly form an opinion.  And I’ve gotten addicted to my Kindle.  But do intend to look at what Indie Authors call “going wide” and start reaching out beyond the boundaries of Amazon.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I certainly hope they like my stories but more importantly to me, that they enjoy my characters as much as I do.  Then there is that romance thing. I’m solidly non-graphic, and while some of my characters are pretty badly damaged, they can still find love in the midst of horror.  I hope a lot of kids read my work and see how wonderful romance can be.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Much if not most of my work comes from personal experience.  I’ve seen a dead man sit up and howl (during the war) so even the zombies don’t seem that far-fetched to me. Fighting in an African War with people from all over the world certainly influenced my outlook on things.

Additionally, for nearly ten years I played at Security Agent in some of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles where I learned much.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I lay out a landscape and then my characters start dancing.  I owe it to them to finish and besides, I want to know how it ends!

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If it’s boring, poorly written, badly edited or just plain nasty I’ll drop it.  I read very fast so I can usually get fifty pages which tells me all I need to know.  I really hate poorly written military tales where the predictable super hero special operators are pulled from someone’s fantasy world.  Even for writers will no military experience there is tons of info to be found so it’s not necessary to ham it up.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No.  If I don’t like something I don’t buy it. I should note I spent four years writing for the Libertarian Web Site called LewRockwell.com.  As you no doubt know libertarians are not much for things like people telling us what to do, what we can read and so on.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Well, cheesy as it sounds, I may go berserk the next time some writer has a character click the non-existent safety catch on a Glock pistol. And since I’m being cheesy, I wish folks would stop using the term “decimated” incorrectly.  It’s not a big deal but the Romans would be offended!

Where can people find you and your work? 

My Website / blog is being slowly put back together as I’m finally running out of excuses to duck the work.

Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Michael-Peirce/e/B018018CBO/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Facebook https://m.facebook.com/Mikepeirceauthor-157704697938574/

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/553311.Michael_Peirce

MikePeirceAuthor.com  (blog)

Twitter MPeirceAuthor@twitter.com

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Diane Piron-Gelman

Name: Diane Piron-Gelman

Pseudonym (if you use one): D. M. Pirrone

Genre(s) of your work: Suspense, historical mystery

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

No Less In Blood (2011)

Shall We Not Revenge (2014)

For You Were Strangers (2015)

Bio:

D. M. Pirrone is the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman, who works as an editor and audiobook narrator when she isn’t writing. Both books in her Hanley & Rivka historical mystery series, Shall We Not Revenge and For You Were Strangers (Allium Press of Chicago, 2014 and 2015), were named Notable Page-Turners in the Shelf Unbound Indie Novel Competition. Shall We Not Revenge was also a 2014 Kirkus Prize nominee. Ms. Pirrone’s debut suspense novel, No Less In Blood (Five Star, 2011) received excellent reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly.

A Chicago native and history buff, Ms. Pirrone is a longtime member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and is likewise a member of the Chicago Writers’ Association and the Society for Midland Authors. She is currently completing final revisions on Book 3 of the Hanley & Rivka Mysteries.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’ve always enjoyed mysteries and crime fiction—they’re stories where we get to see people in crisis, who may rise to the occasion or fail to depending on who they are. A mystery lets authors explore depths of character, relationships, and human emotion, for good or ill and everything in between. I’m also a history nerd, and what I like most about historical mysteries is making the past come alive for readers through the characters they meet and the story I tell. If they can feel the chill of a Chicago winter and hear the horse-cars and train whistles in the background while caught up in the story, I know I’ve done my job well.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I love Ruth Rendell and Sophie Hannah, for the way they take you into the minds of deeply messed-up characters and make you understand them. Also Tana French, whose gorgeous prose gives murder an Irish lyricism. I can’t stop turning pages when I read her books. William Kent Krueger is similar, writing tightly crafted stories that carry you with them and make you feel what the characters feel. Outside the mystery genre, I really enjoy Amy Tan, whose stories about Chinese women and their Americanized daughters introduced me to a culture I knew little of, while ringing absolutely true to a near-universal push and pull between daughters and mothers.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Too preoccupied with “big” authors, not willing enough to give shelf space to newcomers or authors from smaller presses who could easily find larger audiences if they had more exposure. Independent bookstores are much easier to deal with, since all their decisions aren’t made at “corporate” HQ.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Two things: a sense that they’ve hung out for awhile in a time period not their own, and the realization that no matter the era, people are still people—dreaming the same dreams, prone to the same fears, and making the same mistakes.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I like to take aspects of my personal experience and use them as jumping-off points to go places that I haven’t, necessarily. For example, adoptee Rachel Connolly in No Less In Blood feels driven to find her birth family after a personal loss, but I’ve never felt more than mild curiosity about my birth mother. I do know what it’s like to wonder about your origins, though. And in the Hanley & Rivka series, part of Hanley and Rivka’s relationship stems from my and my husband’s experience—he’s Jewish, I’m Irish Catholic, and even in 1993 when we got married, there were challenges from both our families. Nothing like what Hanley and Rivka have to navigate back in 1872, though!

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

My writers’ group (we meet weekly) and my publisher. Not having something for writers’ group makes me feel like the kid who didn’t come prepared for class, and in this business you don’t let your publisher down. Especially a terrific one like Emily Victorson at Allium Press.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If I don’t identify with at least one character, or if they all come off as cardboard cut-outs, I’ll quit even if there’s a whiz-bang plot. I don’t have to like a character to identify with her, or him. The main character, Libby, in Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places is definitely un-likable, but she’s tough and brave and walking wounded, and that was enough to draw me in.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

That’s a tough one. The freethinker in me says no, but there are certain topics I can’t bring myself to write about because I don’t want to spend time inside those experiences, even in my imagination. On the other hand, sometimes you need to think about how you’re presenting something negative or destructive in your work. Are you glamorizing violence or hatred, for example, in attempting to realistically portray a seriously damaged character driven to such things? The line isn’t always easy to draw. But I do think we have to try.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Head-hopping—giving multiple characters’ points of view in the same scene. I find this incredibly distracting and distancing, as a reader. Also, the walk-on character who’s clearly there just so he or she can deliver a crucial piece of information to the protagonist at the exact right time, but who hasn’t been integrated into the story line to make their presence, their knowledge, and their willingness to help the protagonist plausible. I never like to spot an author pulling the strings!

Where can people find you and your work?

All of my books are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online, as trade paperbacks and e-books. They’re also in libraries and several independent bookstores—for locals in the Chicago area, I particularly recommend Centuries & Sleuths, my favorite bookstore in Forest Park. For the Hanley & Rivka series, the Allium Press website has links to purchase both titles (and soon to be a third!).

As to finding me, I’m a regular attendee at Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago every June, and upcoming book discussion events in the greater Chicago area are listed on my author website. I also have a blog, though I’ve neglected it shamefully of late (family pressures, moving house, and life in general). Interested readers, feel free to check out my author page and blog—and drop me an email if you’d like. I always enjoy hearing from you.

Website: https://www.dmpirrone.net/

Publisher website, Hanley & Rivka Mysteries: http://alliumpress.com/

Amazon Author Central: https://amazon.com/author/dmpirrone

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4505541.D_M_Pirrone

Word Nerd Notes (my blog): https://wordnrd.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @dmpirrone

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/D-M-Pirrone-188103237887566/posts/?ref=page_internal

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Teri Polen

Name:  Teri Polen

Genre(s) of your work:  YA horror and sci-fi/fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):  Sarah, a YA horror/thriller 2016 and horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Quantum Wanderlust, a time travel anthology 2017, The Gemini Connection, a YA sci-fi/fantasy to be released May 31, 2018.

Bio:

Teri Polen reads and watches horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.  The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and anything Marvel-related are likely to cause fangirl delirium.  She lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband, sons, and black cat.  Her first novel, Sarah, a YA horror/thriller, was a horror finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Visit her online at www.teripolen.com

Why do you write in the genre that you do? 

I joke that my mind is that of a 17-year-old boy and why I always write from a male perspective.  Maybe it’s because I have sons.  From a very young age, I was drawn to horror and science fiction in television, movies, and books.  I blame my dad.

How has writing changed/altered your life?  

When I was still in school, I dabbled in writing and was always a voracious reader–still am.  I wrote short stories, kept a journal, and even penned the occasional dreadful poem.  I’m at the point in my life where I can focus more on what I’d like to do, but if a few days go by when other things have to come first, it gnaws at me until I can carve out that time.

Who are your favorite authors and why? 

The first young adult book I read as an adult was Harry Potter and it opened a whole new world for me, so I have to say J.K. Rowling.  Stephen King was the first real horror I dove into at the age of twelve, and On Writing is my go-to reference book.  Victoria Schwab’s world-building is wildly imaginative and breathtaking.  I’d love to spend a day inside her head.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work? 

I hope they’re able to step out of their lives for a while, forget their problems or stresses, and enjoy spending some time with the characters I’ve created.

How much does personal experience play in your written work? 

The basic idea for Sarah, my first book, came about because of my cat.  We’d moved into a new house, no previous occupants, but Shadow would sit at the foot of the stairs hissing and growling at something we could never see.  The plot for Sarah evolved from that.  I’ve also incorporated words or phrases I’ve heard or things I’ve seen.  My friends are a lot more careful around me!

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story? 

A contractual deadline is a powerful motivator!  I tend to get distracted easily and have found that lists and schedules keep me on track.  That and the characters inside my head clamoring to have their story told.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book? 

Years ago, giving up on a book was anathema to me–I’d stick it out until the end.  These days, my TBR is out of control and life is too short to spend reading books you don’t enjoy.  Usually pacing and lack of character connection are my biggest reasons for not finishing.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo? 

No.  There are plenty of books out there I’d never pick up or recommend due to subject material and conflicting values or opinions, but I’m not a proponent of censorship.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work? 

Sometimes my characters won’t tell me their full story and it takes some begging on my part–I keep telling them the story would get told much faster if they’d just talk.  With other writers, sometimes they’re in such a rush to get their book out there, editing falls to the wayside and the final product is full of typos and grammatical errors.  The occasional error is inevitable, but taking the time to proofread or obtain the services of an editor can only help you in the long run.

Where can people find you and your work?

 https://teripolen.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TeriPolenAuthor/

https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1515620936&sr=8-1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen

https://twitter.com/TPolen6

https://www.pinterest.com/teripolen/

https://www.instagram.com/tpolen6/

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Christie Valentine Powell

Name: Christie Valentine Powell

Genre(s) of your work: YA fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Spectra: Keita’s Wings series

#1 The Spectra Unearthed 2015

#2 The Spectra United 2016

#3 The Spectra Uprooted 2017 (comes out Sept 5th)

 

Bio:

Christie Valentine Powell wrote her first story in second grade, and she has been writing ever since. Her other hobbies include making toys, hobby farming, and eating at Asian buffets. She lives near the sunniest city in the world with her husband, four children, and many chickens.

 

 

 Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I enjoy the fantasy genre because I like to make things up :). I like to create and explore ideas without being bound by reality. 

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing gives me a chance to play like a child in a grownup world and gives me control in a crazy one.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I hope they see life a little richer. CS Lewis says that reading about enchanted woods make all woods a little enchanted. I hope they learn a new way to look at the world. I also like to use characters that don’t appear as often in YA fantasy in particular (realistic children, elderly, parents, etc), so I’m hoping to give them a better glimpse of other age groups that don’t always show up in YA fiction or even real life.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I wish I remember the author who said that the mind is like a compost heap. All of your experiences go in, get mixed around and changed, and stories grow out of it. All ideas come from personal experience, whether the author is aware of it or not.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

It’s fun! The more you work on the story, the more it forms into the work it was meant to be. It’s amazing to see the pieces come together and become its own living entity. 

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Personally, either inappropriate content or not caring enough about the characters. I rarely put one down.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

If you feel the need to write about something, go ahead. If other readers feel the need to read it, go ahead. But I’m going to censor some topics that I’m not comfortable with, and there are some settings (schools especially) where there should be some guidelines. 

 

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

The hardest thing for me is going back to drafting once I’ve been editing, because they are completely different mindsets. 

Where can people find you and your work?

facebook: TheSpectraBooks 

twitter: @TheSpectraBooks

website: http://www.thespectrabooks.com/

amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Christie+Valentine+Powell&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Christie+Valentine+Powell&sort=relevancerank

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Marie Powell

Your Name: Marie Powell

Genre(s) of your work: Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Medieval Fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Last of the Gifted Series:

Spirit Sight – Aug 2020

Water Sight – Nov 2020

Bio:

Marie Powell’s adventures in castle-hopping across North Wales resulted in her historical fantasy series Last of the Gifted: Spirit Sight and Water Sight (thanks to Creative Saskatchewan Book Production and Market/Export grant programs). Marie is also the author of more than 40 children’s books with such publishers as Scholastic Canada Education, Amicus, and Lerner Lightning Bolt. Her award-winning short stories and poetry appear in literary magazines like Room and subterrain, and her nonfiction in magazine, broadcast, and online markets. She holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia (UBC), among other degrees. Marie lives on Treaty 4 land in Regina, Saskatchewan. Find her at mariepowell.ca

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Well, fantasy is a favourite, maybe because I want to believe that all the stories really are true. My recent series, for example, is a chance for me to explore how some of the historical stories might have happened. It tells the tale of two siblings who pledge their magical gifts to protect their people from the invading English, with a little help from the last true Prince of Wales, after his murder. But I write in a lot of genres: fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, historical fantasy, and nonfiction. Usually I try to find the genre that best fits the story I want to tell.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have so many favourite books and authors! I read a sprinkling of everything, but mostly fantasy. Everything from the classics like T.H. White’s Once and Future King and Edgar Allan Poe to modern authors like George R.R. Martin, Cassandra Clare, Jim Butcher, Leigh Bardugo, Robin Hobb. So many! I love books with strong characters that draw me into their lives, and face impossible dangers with honest courage and their own special style. I read about 50 books a year for pleasure, over and above the research I do for my books.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I love audiobooks. Listening to an audiobook is convenient and enjoyable, especially in the car when I’m driving. It keeps my mind active, and helps me be more patient with traffic snarls (my pet peeve!) Also, my first degree was in theatre. I trained and worked as a dramaturg, and I love hearing actors bring a character and situation to life. Audiobook actors who can do character voices create another level of enjoyment for listeners, and remind me of those days of sitting in rehearsals, listening to actors work. Love it!

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

The best marketing tool is honesty, I think, and a willingness to try different ideas. Marketing can help you get your books in front of people who want to read that kind of book. So you have to do your best to describe the book accurately and then find the audience that will be receptive to it. I really love visual images, and the covers of my books reflect that. I have video trailers and lots of visual images with the books, so readers can see themselves with that book and decide if that’s a match.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Those are tough questions. I’d like to say no, that I believe in free speech. But I think that some stories can harm us: stories that promote racism, for example, or misogyny. But it’s interesting that throughout the past 500-600 years, our definitions and perceptions have changed. Stories from the early 20th Century that were loved by readers then, are considered wrong-minded now. That’s something I think writers should think about. What is our role, and what responsibility do we have to our readers (and listeners)? The thing is, readers have changed too, and most readers know what they will tolerate and what they will reject. We need to trust readers more, and trust ourselves as readers.

Where can people find you and your work?

The best place to find or contact me is my website:  https://mariepowell.ca

And on social media:

Twitter @mepowell   https://twitter.com/mepowell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mariepowellauthor

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/mariepowellauthor/

YouTube Vídeo Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiJ3JY8YIleqD6W-cJHgSwWKlz3JV_sL3

Spirit Sighthttps://books2read.com/u/3n8A95

Water Sighthttps://books2read.com/u/4A701d

For review copies and promotional opportunities, please contact Mickey Mikkelson, Creative Edge Publicity, +1.403.464.6925, mickey.creativeedge@gmail.com

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M.J. Preston

Your Name: M.J. Preston

Genre(s) of your work: Horror/Science Fiction/Thriller/Mystery

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Novel – THE EQUINOX ― published in 2012,

Novel – ACADIA EVENT ― published in 2014,

DARK PASSAGES: Six Short Stories bt M.J. Preston ― published in 2015

DARK PASSSAGES II: Tales from the Black Highway ― published in 2016

Novel – HIGHWAYMAN

Bio:

M.J. Preston’s debut novel: THE EQUINOX, published in 2012, was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Awards and rated a solid straight horror novel by a reviewer at Publisher’s Weekly.

His second novel: ACADIA EVENT, published in 2014, was inspired by his time running the world longest ice road, as an ice road trucker, in the Canada’s Northwest Territories. It was also met with praise, including an endorsement by Gregory L. Norris, a screenwriter for Star Trek Voyager and writer for the Sci-Fi Channel. Norris called Acadia Event, ‘an Epic read and a personal favorite.

Along with many short stories published in anthologies, MJ Preston is also an artist who does his own cover artwork. He also dabbles in photography.

As well, he has published short story paperback called Dark Passages II which includes many known and up and coming writers in North America.

His third novel: Highwayman, a thriller, is forecast to be published in late 2016

He resides in Alberta, Canada with his wife, Stormy.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I am drawn to the darker side of humanity or those things that frighten us. Now that I think about it, I always have had an affair with everything horror and science fiction as well as suspense. I remember sneaking in to see Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy”, when I was kid back in the 70’s. I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up writing about such things.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I don’t know if its altered my life in any way. I’m not hanging out with Stephen King or John Sandford, but I have met many talented people in the industry. From that standpoint, I guess it’s been altered. I’m not walking down any red carpets, but I believe that I have earned recognition for writing.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I started out 40 years ago as a huge Stephen King fan, but today there really are too many to name. The short list these days, Robert R. McCammon, John Sandford, Joe Hill, Michael Connelly, Joseph Heller, Frederick Forsyth, Joseph Boyden and so many more. If a writer pulls me into a story and leaves me wanting more of their work, then you have the “why?”

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love bookstores, I’m not a fan of corporations.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

We writers first tell the story to ourselves as we write it. Most would agree that we follow the rabbit down the hole and are along for the ride as we write that first draft. Once that’s done we go to work, paring it down, polishing it and eventually presenting it to readers. If the reader finishes the novel feeling satisfied with the story I’ve told, then my job was done right. I hope that hard work is appreciated not in acknowledgement of the 1000’s of hours of work that went into, but for the story itself.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Pretty much everything in life is up for grabs. My second novel, Acadia Event was inspired by my time as an Ice trucker. My first novel has many personal reflections that are told through the eyes of others. I can only speak for myself, but every day things like, insecurity, sadness, anger, happiness, sight, sense and sound all come from places of personal reflection. At least for me.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

There are always moments of lethargy, but when I find my rhythm the writing almost happens on its own. I don’t think of it as motivation or discipline, it’s just what I do. But sometimes, in the middle of a big project I ask myself, “Are you some kind of masochist?”

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I hate formulaic writing and sadly, there is a great deal of that out there. When I start seeing repetitive trends in a writer’s work. Example, they always have the alcoholic or drug addict as a protagonist and it begins to feel that they are not telling you a story but exercising some personal demon. It doesn’t just have to be the example given. Predictability can be a deal breaker.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I’m a free speech guy and one of the things writing is being scrutinized here in Canada for is cultural appropriation. There are those who believe you shouldn’t be allowed to write about a culture you don’t belong to. To me that is censorship. I think you should be able to write about whatever it is that comes into your mind, but you must also understand that you take ownership of what you write.

For instance, if someone writes about a topic as taboo as pedophilia, which I have, I don’t think it’s necessary to give graphic blow by blow details. To imply the act is far better than describing it and drives home point far more effectively. I think your more apt lose readers if you feel a need to tell them every detail. I also think you aren’t giving your readers enough credit.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Man, that’s a loaded question. (Smiles) I guess we all have pet peeves. Everyone does something that annoys someone else. I have been queried by people who want to write and occasionally I will agree to look at someone’s work. Sometimes you have people asking you questions like, “Do you think I have what it takes?” That’s a pet peeve, because what that person wants is validation without putting in the time.

Writing is a tough bloody gig and sometimes luck plays into it. Ask Tabitha, Stephen Kings wife, when she retrieved Carrie from the trash. Ask J.K. Rowling who wrote Harry Potter while living on Mothers Allowance. These people have talent, but they were also lucky enough to rise above the waves of mediocrity.

My only pet peeve in writing is when I hear established writers beat up on other writers who have found success. I’m never going to read a Stephanie Meyers book, simply because I’m not a fan of vampire romance, but I’m not going to beat up on her either. God love her, she found an audience and is doing what most writers want to do full time. Write. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. So, my pet peeve is arrogance in the field of writing and the holier than thou attitude that often accompanies it. We’re all in this together folks, let’s try and support one another.

Where can people find you and your work?

 My website: http://mjpreston.net

My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005JTQMZY

My Blog: http://authormjpreston.blogspot.ca/

My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mj.preston.9

My twitter: https://twitter.com/MJPreston1

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Georgann Prochaska

Name:   Georgann Prochaska

Genre(s) of your work:   Fiction – Mystery

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Case of the Girl Who Didn’t Smile, 2015

The Case of the Hound Who Didn’t Stay, 2016

The Case of the Ex Who Plotted Revenge, 2017

I also wrote a memoir about Alzheimer’s Disease and care-giving:  On Little Cat Feet, 2014

Bio:

For thirty-four years, I taught high school outside of Chicago.  After I retired, I became a caregiver for my mother and aunt.  They both loved to tell stories of coming to America from Scotland, and together we worked on genealogy.  After they passed, I collected those stories for a family book, Just a Memory Away.  Not done with writing, I moved on to telling the story of being a caregiver.  Then came my first love – mystery writing.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

As a kid, I read mysteries.  They fit my mindset of someone cutting through chaos. My reading of mysteries continued. Decades later my mother had Alzheimer’s Disease.  After she passed, I discovered secrets she squirreled away. I developed an understanding of some family members. After I wrote a memoir of my time as a caregiver, I followed my path back to mysteries, to the influence of hidden events.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

When I can’t sleep at night, it gives me an excuse?  Really, I’m learning about a whole new world.  I’ve met wonderful independent writers of all genres.  I’m still piecing together the business side of writing, but people are helpful and willing to share.

Who are your favorite authors and why? 

Sara Paretsky, Sarah Vowell, Walter Mosley, Sue Grafton, Anne Perry, Kerry Greenwood. I admire their storytelling but also the blending of dire and humor.

Probably the biggest influence, however, is Sandy Cisneros’s “The Rice Sandwich.”  The character reflects on people being made up of all their years.  We are like an onion.  Sometimes our decisions or reactions are true to our three-year-old selves.  One of my characters who is in her sixties, Lena, at times responds as a wild, sixteen-year-old; those decisions generally land her in trouble.  Alice, however, absorbs detail like a curious middle schooler.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’ve been able to convince a couple of mainstream bookstores to shelf my books.  It involved begging.  Seriously, I think as new independent authors we sometimes forget the other side of wanting to be published – the business.  For corporate bookstores, it must be easier to work with an agented author with a publicist getting the word out. Networking is time consuming.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

The focus of The Case of the Girl Who Didn’t Smile is a neglected child. Although she finds herself in a terrible situation, accused of arson and murder, a quiet community stands ready to help.  Lena would call that a posse while Alice’s experience sees people weaving into our lives at a time we need them most. My two sleuths can be goofy, but there is strength in bedrock friendships.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

The short answer is my friends know when they do something silly, they might appear in the next book as Lena.

But, I’ve also spent years working on genealogy.  When naming a character is giving me grief, I turn to family names. That’s also true for some story-lines and motives.  A child’s loss runs through my stories (the loss of parents, childhood trauma, neglect), and these children are shaped by the experience, sometimes becoming stronger.  In doing genealogy the surprise for me is how childhood emptiness can carry into the next generation.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

The story is in my head before I begin to write.  One author told me she never leaves the garage unless she has a destination.  I find that helpful advice.  And then there are those pesky character voices pushing me to tell their story.  I am currently working on the fourth book in the series, but five and six have found filing space in my mind.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Preaching and lengthy description.  Otherwise I read most everything.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Reviews matter. I don’t envy the work librarians do. Works shouldn’t be censored, but they should be directed to the right audience.  I don’t want gross scenes or grotesque violence shoved in my face. But other people prefer noisy, screaming writing. Not me.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I’m not a fan of simple answers. Flawed characters with messy lives are much more interesting. Order is good. Glorying in perfection? Not so much.

Where can people find you and your work?

Website: outskirtspress.com/TheCaseoftheExWhoPlottedRevenge

Blog:  weavingmysteries.blogspot.com

Facebook: facebook.com/GeorgannProchaska

Twitter: twitter.com/lenaandalice

E-books available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Dina Rae

Name: Dina Rae

Pseudonym (if you use one): Dina Rae

Genre(s) of your work: Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Historical Fiction, and one nonfiction work.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Sequel

The Best Seller

Big Agri

Big Pharma

Big Conspiracy

Bad Juju

Halo of the Nephilim

Halo of the Damned

The Last Degree

Bio:

Dina Rae has written eight novels. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs outside of Dallas. She is a Christian, avid tennis player, movie buff, teacher, and self-proclaimed expert on several conspiracy theories. She has been interviewed numerous times on blogs, newspapers, and syndicated radio programs. She enjoys reading about religion, UFOs, New World Order, government conspiracies, political intrigue, and other cultures. The Sequel, Volume 2 of The Best Seller series, will soon be released by Solstice Publishing.

@haloofthedamned
Blog: http://www.dinaraeswritestuff.blogspot.com

Trailers:
The Best Seller: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQER8wJmaf8
The Last Degree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkbg6Yy8UKU
Halo of the Damned: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4p89LXZNxOs

FB: https://www.facebook.com/DinaRaeBooks?ref_type=bookmark

Why do you write in the genre that you do? 

I love anything that has to do with aliens, the occult, secret societies, religion, Voodoo, New World Order, Nephilim, Nazis, and history.

How has writing changed/altered your life? 

It’s something that I love to do.  It’s like putting together a puzzle, except you are the one who has created the pieces.  It relieves stress and provides escape.  I also like being on blogs such as yours!

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Dan Brown, Jim Marrs, Brad Thor, Stephen King, Graham Hancock, and Joel Rosenburg are some of the many authors who I read.  I appreciate the research in all of their books.  It’s what makes them interesting.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores? 

I’ve signed at Half-Price Books before along with Chicago’s Printer Row, but Barnes and Noble are not so welcoming!  I think these stores do not have a bright future.  Especially now that Amazon is building their own book stores.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Number one goal is to provide entertainment and escape.  I also hope they learned something new.

How much does personal experience play in your written work? 

Some, but I rely on research for much of the stories.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story? 

I love conspiracy theory.  I make a fictional story about a popular conspiracy.  My motivation is what I’ve learned.  I also love the challenge.  Finally, there is a real sense of accomplishment to completing a novel.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Great question!  Usually when there are too many characters and too many action scenes I start to check out.  I am a fan of plot.  Great characterization is a bonus, but plot is everything.  When the story stops and a bunch of gratuitous action scenes take over, then I quit reading.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo? 

Absolutely not!  Never!  No way!  I don’t really care if it’s devil worship, Hitler, etc.  About the only thing that might be considered taboo and worth censoring is child torture/sexual exploitation.  However, free speech is free speech.  It’s a fine line.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work? 

My biggest errors are repeating myself and then forgetting the spelling of a character’s name and having to go back and find it – LOL.  I also tend to skip over articles and leave off the last letter of many words.  Luckily, between me and the editor, many of these kinks get taken care of.  My biggest pet peeve in others’ works is the lack of research.  Google is only a click away!

Where can people find you and your work? 

Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01G2AKGMS/ref=s9u_simh_gw_i1?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pd_rd_i=B01G2AKGMS&pd_rd_r=56MEPCVA3QAZ3D2HVFQ0&pd_rd_w=x5WHO&pd_rd_wg=xtKr0&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=&pf_rd_r=KKC6J4N3BF5G4A9NH3XP&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=1cf9d009-399c-49e1-901a-7b8786e59436&pf_rd_i=desktop

https://dinaraeswritestuff.blogspot.com/

@haloofthedamned

https://www.facebook.com/DinaRaeBooks/

************************

Kristine Raymond

Your Name: Kristine Raymond

Genre(s) of your work: Historical western romance, Erotic drama, Contemporary romance, Cozy mystery

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Hidden Springs series – historical western romance

2013 – Here to Stay

2013 – Hearts on Fire

2014 – Abby’s Heart

2014 – A Chance on Love

2014 – A Will of Her Own

2015 – Dancing in the Dark

2016 – Worth the Gamble

2017 – Coming Home

2018 – Enduring Traditions

Celebration series – contemporary romance

2015 – By Dawn’s Early Light

2017 – Reservations for Two

2017 – Under the Mistletoe

Standalones

2018 – Seasons of Love – contemporary romance

2018 – Tempted – erotic drama

Non-fiction

2015 – ‘write words’ A Year in the Life of an Indie Author

Finn’s Finds series – cozy mystery

2019 – Finn-agled

Bio:

It wasn’t until later in life that Kristine Raymond figured out what she wanted to be when she grew up, an epiphany that occurred in 2013 when she sat down and began writing her first novel.  Over a dozen books in multiple genres later, there are a multitude of ideas floating around in her head thus assuring she’ll never be idle.

When a spare moment does present itself, she fills it by navigating the publishing and promotional side of the business.  When not doing that, she spends time with her husband and furbabies (not necessarily in that order) at their home in south-central Kentucky, gardens, reads, or binge-watches Netflix.

To find out more, please visit her website at www.kristineraymond.com and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and BookBub.

Kristine is represented by Mickey Mikkelson at Creative Edge Publicity.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’m a romantic at heart (when I’m not plotting murder – fictionally speaking, of course), so it wasn’t a stretch for me to begin my career writing about happily-ever-afters.  As my storytelling evolved, so did my desire to branch out into other genres.  Or, maybe my characters are to blame.  They’re the ones who tell me what to write.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’m more willing to take chances, both professionally and personally.  I chalk this up to beginning a new career after the ripe age of forty-five…lol.  I have more confidence, and am no longer afraid to ask if there’s something I want.  Case in point – while dining with my hubs at our favorite pizza place, I saw a guy who was the embodiment of the hero in my then-WIP.  So what did I do?  I walked up and asked him if he’d like to be on the cover of a romance novel.  He said yes, and just like that, I had the model for A Will of Her Own.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

There are too many to name.  James Herriot will always be a favorite.  I absolutely adore his All Creatures series.  Dean Koontz was my first introduction into horror, though I don’t consider his stories horrific.  Twisted and creepy, yes.  I read Kathleen Woodiwiss regency bodice rippers well before I was old enough, and Sandra Brown, Karen Robards, and Linda Howard fulfilled my quest for romantic suspense in early adulthood.  Nowadays, I read everything P.J. Tracy releases and I crave Dawn Hosmer’s psychological thrillers.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

Not so much a wave but the current tide.  I don’t think they’re going anywhere, given how convenient it is to listen to a book while driving, working out, or cooking dinner.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

As far as I’m concerned, any bookstore is a good bookstore.  I know there are some that discriminate against indie authors, but there are just as many that don’t, and by filling their shelves with mainstream books they counterbalance independent bookstores.  Profits and favoritism and corporate shenanigans aside, they fill a need and I hope they’re around for many years to come.  And more independent bookstores!!

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

I’m awful at marketing on my own which is why I hired a publicist…lol.  Seriously though, there are thousands of marketing tools out there and it’s up to the author to research and find the one(s) that works best for them.  A few of my favs besides Creative Edge Publicity are Kindlepreneur, BookBub, and Bookfunnel.

Where can people find you and your work?

Check out my website at www.kristineraymond.com for links to all of my books, more about me, and previous interviews and appearances.

You can also find me on:

Facebook

Bookbub

D2D Author Page

***************************

Gregory Lee Renz

Your Name: Gregory Lee Renz

Genre(s) of your work: Upmarket fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

BENEATH THE FLAMES/2019

Bio:

I was involved in a dramatic rescue of two little boys from their burning basement. I received a series of awards for this rescue, including induction into the Wisconsin Fire and Police Hall of Fame in 2006. When I was asked to share the dramatic rescue at several awards banquets, I was moved by the emotional responses I received and was struck by the power of storytelling.

I’ve always been an avid reader and thought maybe I could craft a compelling novel if I could learn how to get these stories on the page. Ten years of creative writing courses, workshops, and conferences later, I typed The End to BENEATH THE FLAMES which is the 2019 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award gold-medal winner in fiction. The story was inspired by two adorable little girls, around eight and five years of age, who lived across from an inner-city firehouse I was stationed at for three years. Those two girls stayed in my thoughts over the years, demanding I tell their story. They are two of the main characters in the novel. I hope I did them justice.

After serving the citizens of Milwaukee for twenty-eight years as a firefighter, I retired to Lake Mills, Wisconsin with my wife, Paula. In addition to my role as an author, I am also a professional speaker.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

The best description of upmarket fiction that I’ve seen is that it is commercial fiction that brushes up against literary fiction due to important themes. My story addresses race and social injustice and is character driven with gripping action that drives a fast-paced plot. I’ve been asked why I write fiction rather than memoir since I have so many stories from my twenty-eight-career as a firefighter. From the very first creative writing courses I took, I realized I loved creating stories and characters. The story that had been resonating in my head for years and had demanded to be told was fiction and I had to go with it.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Once I began to realize the power of the creative mind and storytelling, I knew there was no going back. There was no better high than hearing from instructors, beta readers, and editors that a scene I wrote had them in tears. And now that the published book has been receiving such high accolades (78 five-star reviews out of 81 reviews on Amazon), I can’t wait to get started on my next novel.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I especially enjoy reading Wisconsin and Midwest authors because their stories resonate with me, and I think it’s important to support local and regional authors. So a few of my favorites are Michael Perry, Nick Petrie, Nickolas Butler, and J Ryan Stradal.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I hear from so many people that they just don’t have time to read and ask if BENEATH THE FLAMES is available in audiobook (it is available from most audiobook retailers but not on Amazon’s Audible). So I believe audiobooks are another way for our stories to reach people and not necessarily competition for written books.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Most of my novel is drawn from personal experiences or the experiences of other firefighters who have shared their stories with me. But I need to point out that the firehouse sex scene was not drawn from personal experience. My wife would appreciate me pointing this out.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No. Because who is to decide what should be censored?

Where can people find you and your work?

I have a website where I share information about myself and a YouTube video of a dramatic rescue of two boys from their burning basement bedroom. It’s quite moving. A personalized copy of my novel can be purchased from the website. https://glrenz.com

I encourage everyone to support their local indie bookstores, so please consider purchasing a copy of my novel at Mystery to Me or a Room of One’s Own in Madison, Books and Company in Oconomowoc, Arcadia Books in Spring Green, or Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee. Any bookstore can get a copy for a customer, just ask.

I know there are many who are Amazon Prime members and yes my book is available on Amazon.

Both Barnes and Nobel stores in Madison should also have it on their shelves. If not, ask for it, they carry it.

Website https://glrenz.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/greg.renz.9

Twitter  https://twitter.com/glrenz,

Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RNNP4HG?pf_rd_p=ab873d20-a0ca-439b-ac45-cd78f07a84d8&pf_rd_r=E2V4EN2FY4A0VP1Y9C7Z

Morning Blend television appearance   https://www.tmj4.com/shows/the-morning-blend/how-a-firefighters-life-inspired-his-first-novel

WPR Radio Interview Larry Meiller Show    https://www.wpr.org/listen/1483621

Youtube video of dramatic rescue https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TibMih2SzDo&t=33s

Madison Moth appearance   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfKSePPZGpQ

Publication and marketing of my novel have opened opportunities as a professional speaker. I’ve been asked to be the Sunday morning headliner at the UW Writers’ Institute Conference in March and invited to give a talk at the Untitled Town Writer’s Conference in Green Bay. I’ve been the keynote speaker at a fire department awards ceremony, given talks at retirement communities, Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis clubs, libraries, and local arts groups. I’m also a member of the National Speakers Association. So you never know where your writing may take you.

************************

Irene Ceder Rogers

Name: Irene Ceder Rogers

Genre(s) of your work: Non Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

July 2016 “Finding Peace is my Revenge “Memoir

Bio:

I was born in Poland Warsaw. In 1939 the Nazi regime entered Warsaw. The family of five escaped to Soviet Union Ukraine Simferopol. From Ukraine, to Andijan Uzbekistan. Tragically, my parents and little sister died from diseases.

Thanks to my teenage sister, I survived. I entered 2 orphanages one in Uzbekistan and one Poland. After 52 years, I traveled on the Silk Road, Karakoram Highway through Pakistan, Kyrgyztan, and Kashgar China and eventually to Uzbekistan to find the burial place of my parents and sister.

I arrived from Israel to New York, through the Nurses Association on exchange visa as a registered surgical operating room nurse. She lived in Berea Ohio and currently lives in Northbrook Illinois.

She marks her debut in publishing with a new memoir; Finding Peace is my Revenge, published by Balboa Press.

This book not only narrates the remarkable life journey of a Holocaust survivor but also shares a true story of the indomitable human spirit. Finding peace is my Revenge “endeavors to achieve a better world without prejudice, educate people how to live in peace and truly respect diversity.”

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Bring awareness to the people about survival during the Holocaust

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I was able to document and bring to the service the feeling that were deep inside me. I did not live by the past but it was a good feeling to document and write. I was influenced also by an organization World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors to write my biography.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Philip Ross

Domestic stories some true-life.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

In order to submit the book /books they demand an agent but do not except books from a layperson. This was my experience.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

How to survive in most troubling times, tolerance, and beauty of certain people, landscape and seeking peace for the world as I do.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I was able to share with the audience the sad and happy events of my life and maybe help someone in survival.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Once I set an important goal and purpose, it was easy to commit and persevere to the unique story. I had to let the world know about the cruel dictatorship and to expose anti-Semitism. You gain more strength to tell the story politically too.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Maybe violence, improper language. Some values do not stick with me.

Certain responsibilities, reading other literature.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Sometimes I feel that way, but we have freedom of expression everything goes.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon page, Facebook, Barnes &Noble, Google, Balboa Press, Abe Press and many more.

*******************

Jorn Jacob Rohwer

Your Name: Jörn Jacob Rohwer

Genre(s) of your work: Essays. Portrays. Biographical conversations.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s): As listed in bio.

Bio: 

Award-winning author and journalist Jörn Jacob Rohwer established a name for his analytical at-length conversations with iconic artists and intellectuals, initially published in newspapers or magazines such as Frankfurter Allgemeine  Zeitung,  Neue  Zürcher  Zeitung, Weltwoche, Tagesanzeiger, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, Die Zeit. Among many others Rohwer intimately conversed with Nobel laureates Imre Kertész and Dame Doris Lessing, with Academy Award winners Maximilian Schell and Terry Sanders, with controversial artist Leni Riefenstahl, with Arthur Miller, David Hockney, Susan Sontag, Elliott Carter, Paloma Picasso and Guy Baron de Rothschild, who granted Rohwer the only biographical in-depth-conversation in his lifetime.Rohwer’s works (essays, portrays, conversations) have been published extensively, among others with S.Fischer Verlag (Frankfurt am Main), Feltrinelli Editore (Milan), Hachette (Paris), Wagenbach, Kerber, Friedrich (all Berlin), Pearson Longman (London/ New York) and archived by the Huntington Library,San Marino, California. Designated as a “master of conversation”, Rohwer released a first collection of his works in 2005 (Hinter dem Ruhm. Steidl Publishing) by which, according to the media, he “succeeded in turning a journalistic genre into literature”. In 2011 Rohwer completed his conversation-based biography of artist Vera Countess Lehndorff (aka “Veruschka”). It was published by DuMont, Cologne,released at the Frankfurt Book Fair, presented at the Berlin Academy of Arts and listed as a bestseller for several weeks.Rohwer has been a scholar of DAAD, a fellow of RIAS at Duke University and, of Villa Aurora, Los Angeles.His work has been funded by Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung (Berlin), Rusch-Stiftung (Hamburg),Daniel Greenberg (Los Angeles), The Osher Foundation (San Francisco), the Shugrue Cultural Develop-ment Fund (New York) and the Ralph Emanuel Trust (London). He has widely given talks, lectured in Europe and the United States and taught as an adjunct professor at the University of applied Arts in Berlin. Before turning to freelance writing, Rohwer graduated with distinction from London University(UCL) and was trained as a journalist at the editorial offices of ZDF, SFB and Die Zeit where, fostered by Marion Countess Dönhoff, he worked as a biographical researcher assigned to a project by Lord Ralf Dahrendorf. In 2014 a nearly 900-pages bibliophile collection of his conversations conducted between 1995 and2010 was released by Salis (Zurich/ Berlin), containing plenty of previously unpublished material including many photographs and facsimile. The book (entitled „Die Seismografie des Fragens“) premiered at the Leipzig Book Fair and was soon after featured among the top ten German non-fiction publications of the year (ranked by daily Süddeutsche Zeitung). In September 2015 Rohwer was awarded with the German Biography Price therefore. (This book is currently in English translation). Subsequently Rohwer started to work on „Failure is what it’s all about“ – essays and biographical conversations about philantropist Steven D. Lavine, legendary president of The California Institute of the Arts (1988-2017)and founding director of Thomas Mann House in Los Angeles. Written in English, the richly illustrated and cloth-bound book was published by Deutscher Kunstverlag/ DeGruyter in October 2020 and soon after praised by Monopol art magazine. As the Los Angeles Review of Books conceded in early 2021.

II

Author Jörn Jacob Rohwer defies form, crafting a hybrid of biography and memoir. He leads Lavine through a series of interviews that move swiftly across topics: culture, family, mental health, loneliness,love, art, education, politics, racism — bringing the reader on a strange, unexpected journey through Lavine’s life. (…) Rohwer is generous with his descriptions — there’s a richness to his prose that works to engage the reader with some immediacy. (…) The style of the book’s introduction is reminiscent of The Great Gatsby as we learn who Steven is through the author’s eyes, then transition into interview transcripts — a biography à la My Dinner with Andre. (…) The real soul of the book is how Rohwer deconstructs and expands Steven’s character. (…) The spirit of Rohwer’s unsatiated curiosity drives the narrative, leaving almost no stone unturned in the course of Steven’s life. (…) Failure Is What It’s All About has diverse potential to grab the reader: the history, the profound conversation, the self-help aspect, or sheer interest in the subject, either Steven or Cal Arts. Rohwer covers a vast territory, casting a wide net to gather in a larger audience.“ With his subsequent seventh book yet to be written Rohwer intends to gather a collection of autobiographical essays. Eventually prepared to change sides, he’ll be taking a closer look at his own previous life.

http://www.jjrohwer.de

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I believe that what shapes the human mind is what shapes our universe.

Striving to comprehend the nature of a person is a comparably universal experience to me: Searching for awareness and authenticity, guided by skepticism and curiosity, questions arise that engage, inform, enlighten me. Questions shape my world of thought – like a prism sharpening the view of the eye. Poised, poignant and intuitively, they can be telling and, compared to an answer, at times be even more truthfully.

The truth of a person however, as subtle and transient as it may be, is hard to determine, even for an author of great artistry. Nevertheless, as in my work, a thoughtful conversation can explore its temper and bring about its hidden metaphors and energy. In a lavish process of work distinguishing itself from a standard interview, the oral – transformed into the written – is fashioned in a highly elegant manner and thereby a piece of literature becoming accessible to the reader.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Change to me is an ongoing process. However I should ask if it is writing that changes my life or life that changes my writing? Probably one relates to the other in an equally and reciprocally dynamic way. Overall, writing is a thief, stealing vast amounts of time – time that others share with their loved ones or their peers. But then again it can reach far out and connect you to people you normally would never have met. That is an extraordinary experience indeed. But it also certifies that along with writing comes responsibility – because more often than one might assume it can tangle – or even change – a readers’ life. After all maybe that is what writing is all about.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Listen to “Mondnacht” by Joseph von Eichendorff, set to music by Robert Schumann. Or to “Frühlingsglaube” by Ludwig Uhland, set to music by Franz Schubert. Perhaps you’ll understand why I have no words to explain what these lyrics and their music mean to me. They capture both humankind and the individual as enraptured through nature in a most beautiful, deeply moving way. I love poetry wherever it is fervent, imaginative and musical. Rilke’s works are another perfect example. As for literature W.G. Sebald and Christopher Isherwood are among my favourite authors. Sebald’s writing is masterfully mysterious and elegant in its prose; Isherwood is superior in his ways to describe and decipher life with love and irony even in its utmost tragedy.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

To me audiobooks are one way among others to bring literature to people. Some prefer to listen, others prefer to read, some love books, others love voices. To each his own. However we should bear in mind that storytelling was invented long before writing. Following the oral tradition audiobooks are a logical consequence of our digital age.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

To me the chance of a book finding a reader in a shop run by people who have pleasure in recommending it to a customer seems more likely than in a store, where a clerk’s passion ends at locating a book in a shelve and handing it over without personally engaging with it. However I appreciate distribution through the internet, because otherwise how could anyone get hold of my books in, say Latin America?

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

As with anything in life there are and ought to be limits. However as limits constantly shift and vary through all kinds of circumstances, it should be left to the moral, ethical and legal standards of any country to discuss, define, ratify, adapt or change them.

Where can people find you and your work?

Website: www.jjrohwer.de

Amazon: https://www.amazon.de/J%25C3%25B6rn-Jacob-Rohwer/e/B08NTHRHC7%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

***********************

Richard Rybicki

Name:  Richard Rybicki

Genre(s) of your work: Crime/Thriller/Mystery

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

          The Pain Game, 2016

Bio:

Richard Rybicki retired from the Chicago Police Department after 29 years of service. Throughout his career he enjoyed sharing ‘war stories’ of his and his fellow law enforcement officers’ experiences.  Those stories, many humorous, helped him and his co-workers cope with the demands of modern-day police work.

After he retired, his love for the art of storytelling continued.  He satisfied his craving for a good story by writing his own.  His first book, The Pain Game, was published in 2016 and introduced the character of Sam Laska, a disgraced former Chicago Police detective living in Florida.  He continues the adventures of Sam in the second installment of the Laska Crime Thriller series in his current work, Where the Road Leads.

Richard Rybicki served in numerous assignments throughout his career, including:  Patrol Officer, Tactical Officer, Gang Crimes Specialist, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Patrol Lieutenant, and Detective Lieutenant.  His last assignment was as the Lieutenant/commanding officer of the Area Three Homicide/Sex/Gang Crimes unit of the Detective Division.

Upon retiring from the CPD and re-locating to the west coast of Florida he taught Crime Scene Technology, sharing his accumulated knowledge and experience with his students, at a small, private university.

In 2012 he retired again, this time permanently (he hopes), and pursues his love of storytelling through his writing.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

It’s always been my favorite genre to read and, considering my bio, it’s what I have the most interest in.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve always had the itch to write but I always made excuses for not doing it. (I was too busy, I wasn’t sure I had any talent, I was afraid of the inevitable criticism).  I overcame those excuses and got down to it.  I found it gives me an outlet for ‘artistic expression’ and kind of gives me a way to ‘stay in the game’ of police work.

A lot of what I write is comes from experiences I’ve had.  It hasn’t really changed anything major in my life other than a feeling of personal accomplishment (which I’ve missed since I retired).  I’ve also had a chance to re-connect with an old friend who also writes now, Bob Weisskopf.  Our writing did that.  And it’s been great.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Lee Child – I love the Jack Reacher character.  The nomadic, thug-with-a-moral-code guy who always sticks up for the little guy.

Michael Connelly – Harry Bosch series, the perfect detective and the best writing I’ve found that truly captures what it’s like to be a big city detective.

Elmore Leonard – My favorite of all time!  His writing is concise, tight and he paints a picture without an excess of words.  And no one does dialogue better.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love them.  I love browsing the shelves looking for new authors and stories.  It’s a shame to see them going the way of the buggy whip.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I really just want them to enjoy a good yarn.  My work is not deep and is more meant to be a good beach read.  I do hope they fall in love with the characters, though.  Creating characters is the real fun part of writing for me.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Quite a bit.  I try to describe investigative police work as accurately as I can.  I also sneak in a true story or two that I or other cops have experienced.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Wow!  It is the toughest part for me.  Particularly since I go through periods where I hate my work, I love my work, my works sucks, it really sucks, no…it really, really sucks.  No…wait…it’s pretty good.  Especially that last sentence.  Hey, I think I’ll keep working on this.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If the author doesn’t grab me in the first chapter I quit on the book.  I know people, like my wife, who will start a book and finish it no matter how bad it is.  I can’t do that.  I won’t waste my time.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Not at all.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Yeah, it’s hard work.  I always dreamed it would be easy but it is really pretty difficult.  I wish it could be easier but then, if it was, everyone would do it.  The sense of personal achievement can’t be beat.

In other people’s work, I don’t want the read to be work.  I want an easy flow…enjoyment without effort.  If the writer gets in the way of his/her own work I get frustrated.  Elmore Leonard once said, “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”  I wish more writers took that advice.

Where can people find you and your work?

On Amazon and CreateSpace

Author website:  http://www.rrybickiauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RybickiAuthor/

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