Archive: Meet & Greet Authors (M-R)

Welcome to the Archive Section of

Meet & Greet Authors

All of the writers on THIS page 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 anymore.

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 (later this year)

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

Pseudonym : NONE

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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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 here 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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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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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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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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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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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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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  awaiting publication.

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/

 

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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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