Thursday, 31 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Max E Stone

Welcome to day 5 of the guest author interview blitz. Today Max E Stone tells about his work.



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Max E. Stone. I am an avid reader and a fiction writer.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I started writing at the age of nine. I always had a love for it. However, the first one to notice was my fifth grade teacher. Truthfully, I think she picked up on it before I did. Anyway, she told my parents that I had a real gift and to nurture it and they did.

What attracted you to crime fiction?
To me crime fiction is like a brain teaser. You think the story will go one way, but sometimes the mystery will go somewhere completely different.  That's why I like about it. It is unpredictable. Every page turn is like a rollercoaster ride for your mind.

If you could work with any author, who would it be?
David Baldacci. Like I said before, I love novels that surprise you at every turn. His novels definitely do that for me.

What is your favourite book?
That's a tough one. I read a lot of books. I recently finished "A Necessary Evil" by Alex Kava and it is definitely on my favorites list.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
Brainstorming. To me, getting all of my ideas out on paper before I start writing, or sometimes after, is the best part. I can see where I want to go in the story before I start. Even when the characters take me somewhere else, I can look at my notes and still keep the basic premise.

And the least?
There's nothing I don't like about writing. Even the most frustrating parts of writing are fun for me.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Look for unconvential methods to getting yourself published and get advice from avid readers. My mother actually told me about getting myself published through ebook format. Also, never give up. If its your dream and you're willing to work for it, it will happen.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I am writing my second novel, a sequel to the first. It will be released in April 2013.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest work is my first novel, August to Life. You find out more on http://www.amazon.com/August-to-Life-ebook/dp/B008E9KLV2/ or on my website, http://maxestone.wix.com/maxestone. Thanks!

Thanks to Max for sharing his thoughts with us, tomorrow we welcome Laura Libricz to the hot seat.

Featured Book - A Princess Of Fae


"If Douglas Adams had a love-child with J.R.R. Tolkien, and the child was raised by the creators of Monty Python...you'd end up with 'A Princess of Fae'," wrote a reviewer on Goodreads. (No, the author did not write that himself.)

An angel-faced young girl (looks are deceiving) recruits: (1) a famous warrior-hero (mistaken identity) who she read about in a book but found passed out under a table in a sleazy tavern; (2) an amazing wizard (amazingly awful, that is) who uses ordinary dirt for ‘magic dust;’ and (3) and a thief on the lam who is in deep [censored] for something he did back in the Malus Empire. Joined by a cowardly ogre and an eight year old stable boy with a degree from a famous university, she leads them on a special mission to a mysterious place named FaĆ«oria. Along the way they tame a dragon, steal a Magic Sword, evade Imperial soldiers, fight demons, fire their author and banish a pompous narrator. Being a bitchy little brat, she doesn’t tell them what . . .uh oh, she’s looking at me. Did I mention that her icy blue eyes can freeze a man’s blood . . .

This ebook is available on Amazon and Smashwords (if you don’t have a Kindle).

Links for reviews:

Amazon
Goodreads

Links for purchase:

http://www.amazon.com/A-Princess-of-Fae-ebook/dp/B009FAQ66S/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/241151

Interviewed On Dennis Maley's Blog

Dennis Maley has interviewed me on his blog, check it out at:

http://maleybooks.com/2013/01/30/michael-brookes/

Thanks Dennis!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Featured Book - Maureen Goes To Venice

Maureen is a fairly ordinary character who is generally blessed with good fortune.  Consequently, her life runs smoothly and without a hitch.  If that was all true, Maureen goes to Venice would probably be a dull, mundane read.  Fortunately, it isn’t true!  Maureen is a rather eccentric character and is plagued by disaster and farce wherever she goes.  No matter how well-meaning she may be, no matter how hard she tries, things just tend not to go her way!
Maureen’s break in Venice starts off badly and, well, just gets worse!  Soon after she arrives in this exquisite Italian city, she runs into William, a man she struggles to shake off for the entire holiday.  This comic novella will give you a taste of Italy and plenty of laughs as Maureen experiences Venice and faces a series of comic disasters.
Maureen goes to Venice was voted as one of the top three best short stories in The Best Indie Books of 2012 awards and selected as a recommended read of the month on the Goodreads UK Amazon Kindle forum.   I am delighted that readers have so taken to my comic character.  Maureen has been hailed as an atrocious monster, a fantastic, delightful, funny character, a cross between Hyacinth Bucket and Miranda, and Mrs Bean!  She has made readers laugh out loud but still elicited their sympathy as she struggles through her Venetian holiday. 
Readers have advised others to run in the opposite direction, should they ever meet Maureen in real life.  As the author, I would advise the very same!  However, she is just about safe enough to experience via your Kindle, so I’d be delighted for you to take a look!
You can download the book from Amazon here:
and you can find out more about my work and contact me via my blog here:
Thanks and, if you decide to get to know Maureen, good luck!

Guest Author Interview - Scott Marlowe

In day 4 of the guest author interview blitz we welcome Scott Marlowe, you can read what he has to say below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I'm Scott Marlowe. I'm an author trying to bring great fantasy to the masses. Or at least to the handful of people who read my stuff.

Just how crazy are your dogs?
Pretty darn crazy. Let's just say somewhere out there there's a circus missing a couple of its freak show performers.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Reading and a fascination with mythology. I've always wanted to indulge my own imagination by making the fantasy of it all more real through writing.

And what was your first story?
A very bad short story about a ranger and a witch. Ironic that twenty years later my first novel (The Hall of the Wood) is also about a ranger and a witch. I actually sent the short story—my very first submission—to a small press magazine which is probably long gone unless they persevered and moved online. This was pre-Internet. Say, about 1990. It was accepted. I still have the magazine and the check the editor wrote me. I think it was for $7 or something.

If you could write anyone's biography, whose would it be?
That's a tough one. There are many, many historical figures I would love to spend the time writing a biography about. However, if I had to choose, I'd go with Leonardo da Vinci. The man excelled at so many things it would be fascinating to attempt to learn the origins of his brilliance.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The act of creating the "perfect" scene. I often have a pretty good idea in my head as to how I want a scene to play out, but to actually write it out and experience it through the characters is a lot of fun. I really enjoy world building, too. I learned a long time ago, though, that the writing comes first. I only build the world enough to carry the story. Anything beyond that is too Tolkienish.

And the least?
I'd have to say editing. It would be great if my first draft was the final draft, but we all know it doesn't work like that.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Finish your novel/story/whatever before you start editing. Also, if you're an outliner, don't be afraid that it's going to limit your creativity while you're writing the actual story. Some people feel outlines prevent their characters from taking over and leading the writer down unexpected avenues. Maybe that's true for some, but I aspire to something Terry Brooks talks about in his book, "Sometimes the Magic Works", which is that he always uses outlines and thus always knows where the story is going because of it. Where some writers find themselves at a dead-end because of poor or lack of planning, he claims to have never thrown away words because the story went somewhere it wasn't supposed to. I've spent many months working on outlines for past and current projects. I'm a believer.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working away on the second novel in The Alchemancer series, The Nullification Engine, which continues the story of Aaron, Ensel Rhe, Serena, and others. It picks up pretty much where The Five Elements left off. I'm hoping to have it ready to go to my editor by March or so of next year.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest novel is The Five Elements, which is a blend of fantasy, steampunk, and what I call pseudoscience, which is basically made-up science. For example, in the novels every living creature has a certain "attunement" to the world around them. Using scientific instruments, this attunement can be measured as a frequency value. Attunement ties into magic, so there's this bridge between sorcery and science that will continue to be explored as The Alchemancer series progresses.

To find out more about The Five Elements you can visit the book page I've set up for it (http://www.scottmarlowe.com/books/TheFiveElements.html) or go straight to my web site (http://www.scottmarlowe.com). For info about the world I set my novels in check out the World of Uhl site (http://www.worldofuhl.com/).

Thanks to Scott for sharing his thoughts with us, tomorrow we welcome Max E Stone to the hot seat.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Dennis Maley

Day 3 of this week's guest author interview blitz brings Dennis Maley to the hot seat:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I was the preacher in my kindergarten’s production of “The Tom Thumb Wedding.” My mother often scolded me for being Chairman of the Entertainment Committee. To my credit, the post was merely honorary, I served without compensation, and as the title “Chairman” implies, I always collaborated. I sang and bet Phileas Fogg he couldn’t circumnavigate the world in eighty days, and played the mayor in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” I produced four short comedy films before discovering that I sing, dance, act, and tell jokes too poorly to make a living at it. People are starting to ask me to do eulogies.

I'm a flatlander and married to a killer reading teacher. I grew up in Kansas (USA) and reside in Oklahoma. In my day job, I'm a one-man-show. A tax guy. My business gives me a chance to watch people behave under stress.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I'm not sure. It occurred after my children were in college. Maybe it has something to do with leaving footprints.

And what attracted to you to historical fiction?
I read somewhere that most writers begin with history and I suppose that's because it's populated by intriguing characters and stories. That's true for me. I didn't have to do to all the heavy lifting.

Do you find that you need to do a lot of research for historical stories?
Historic fiction, yes. It mucks around with real people, places and events. History lovers – especially western buffs - demand authenticity. If a writer says a cowboy put catsup on his sandwich, he had better check to make sure cowboys had access to catsup and that they ate sandwiches.

By way of contrast, authenticity is less important in historical romances where real people/places/events are not described.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I like the feeling I get when I read aloud some passages that I've written that I think are particularly poignant. I hate to admit it, but I like hearing positive comments and seeing smiles.

And the least?
Writing is so sedentary. Bad for one's health. I don't like marketing much. I've attended meetings and conferences where I realize that I'm asking myself “am I really this pathetic?”

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Passive verbs kill. Avoid adverbs. Never ever begin a sentence with “there were, there are, there was...” and such. Comatose noun, dead verb. Exception: limericks.

Get a thick skin. Don't select a title that gets 15,000 hits at Amazon.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on my magnum opus, a historic fiction I'm calling Profane Fire at the Altar of the Lord. It's about three adventurers and their quests for fame and fortune in 16th century Europe.

This book's purpose is to entertain. The standard of its scholarship is Wikipedia. My target audience is those indolent, middlebrow woolgatherers that poke about in obscure internet sites into the wee hours of the morning. What it lacks in scholarship it makes up in irony.

Working on final edits. I need to numb my sensitivity and start looking for an agent. I'm reluctant to self-publish again.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Runaway! A literate slave boy flees for freedom on the Underground Railroad. (Teen, young adult historic fiction).
http://www.amazon.com/Runaway-Dennis-Maley/dp/1463772416/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328460819&sr=8-1
Amazon has a cool “look inside” feature, a synopsis and reviews.

Thanks to Dennis for sharing his thoughts with us, tomorrow we welcome Scott Marlowe to the hot seat.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Chris Ward

In day 2 of the guest author interview blitz we welcome Chris Ward, read what he has to say below:


Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Chris Ward, I'm 33 years old and my day job is as an Assistant Language Teacher in a high school in Nagano, Japan.  I've been writing since I was seven or eight years old and since my early teens being a professional writer has been the only thing I ever wanted to do.  Into my early twenties I wrote hard and produced some good work, but I failed to sell it and working a succession of soul-sucking office jobs eventually took its toll.  I decided if I wasn't going to break into trad publishing I would go out and see the world to get a bit of life experience.  I quit my job and left England.  I studied English teaching in Barcelona, then took a job in Italy, and a year after I came out to Japan.  That was 2004.  Last year I got married to a lovely Japanese girl and my life is completed by a cat which wakes me up at 4am every morning.  Since coming to Japan I revived my writing career and published my first professional story in a magazine called Weird Tales in 2008.  In March this year, despite interest from several literary agents, I decided to take control of my own destiny and publish a novel (actually the seventh that I wrote) on Amazon.  I now have 21 items available - two novels, a short story collection, the first two episodes of an action/comedy novella series under the pen name of Michael S. Hunter, and numerous short stories, most of which have previously been published in magazines.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I had a lot of stories to tell, and on the days when it was raining too much to go out and enact them in the garden I would sit and write them down.

What was your first story?
Wow, it's hard to remember!  I actually won a prize in school aged 10, and that story was about someone hunting for buried treasure.  I remember the central character caught the bends after ascending from a shipwreck, a problem I had read about the week before in one of those collectable magazines for kids.  Quest, I think that magazine was called.  No idea now of the name of the story, but it's in a box in my mother's attic somewhere.

Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight in to writing?
Both.  Planning is easier.  I love to just see what comes out though, that's the best part.  However, I've lost a lot of books that way.  I have an entire folder of unfinished novels and there are four or five that are 80,000 plus words that I just ran out of ideas on.  I had great fun with them though, and that's the main thing for me.  I see so many postings by other authors talking about how they plan out every scene, how you absolutely MUST finish everything you start, but that's so lame.  It's so cold-blooded.  Did Picasso finish every painting?  Hell no, he didn't.  He had hundreds of notebooks and scrapbooks of ideas.  I'm the same.  I have dozens of half-formed ideas and they're all useful.  My novel Tube Riders came from a short story I wrote five years before.  Another novel - a comedy called My Perfect Life - I started in 2001, got four chapters in and then sat on it for six years before writing the rest of it.  So many authors treat this like a business, but when I'm writing it's like I'm watching a movie only I'm in control of what happens.  It's a complete thrill ride.  And one other thing - no writing is ever wasted.  Writing half a story is better than writing no story, because you never know when you might come back to it.

If you could work with any author, who would it be?
Richard Laymon.  That guy's books are a hoot.  I'd just say, okay, I have this storyline, what shall we do?  I can guarantee that he would come up with something wantonly random.  Anyone who can write a story where the main character starts off as Jack the Ripper before emigrating and turning into Buffalo Bill is all right in my book.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The first drafts.  Definitely.

And the least?
I'd like to say editing, but that's not so bad.  Formatting.  I absolutely hate formatting.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm working on a number of things.  The big one is part two of my series The Tube Riders.  It's sitting at around 80,000 words at the moment and will probably end up close to 200k.  I like writing long books.  People talk about readers having short attention spans these days, but that's not necessarily true.  Readers come in all shapes and sizes and a lot of them still love getting into long, long books.  Why else would guys like George RR Martin be so successful?  Readers like series, they like long books.  Tube Riders: Exile will be pretty long.

In addition to that I'm also working on an accompanying novella, featuring different characters but happening at the same time as the main story.  They'll probably tie in together in TR3.  As well as these I have a romance novel on the go, something that is new to me, plus I'm doing an action novella series and hope to have episodes 3 and 4 out by January.  This is under a pen name is just pure entertainment.  It's very fun to write, plus the guy who does the covers is super-talented and they look just awesome.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
I can't really tell you much about Tube Riders: Exile because it will spoil the story for those readers who haven't read part one.  Let me just say that it's epic.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog.  Here are a few links that readers might like to check out -
My blog -
http://amillionmilesfromanywhere.blogspot.jp/
My blog writing as Michael S. Hunter -
http://beatdownonline.blogspot.jp/
My facebook page -
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chris-Ward-Fiction-Writer/268864733183769
I hope to see you around.
Thanks to Chris for sharing his thoughts, tomorrow Dennis Maley takes his place in the hotseat.

Hostage Rescue (100 Word Story)

A new 100 story has been used in the Indie Bargains newsletter - visit http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/ to sign up for the daily newsletter of  free and bargain Kindle books.
Hostage Rescue

The concussive charge shatters the window. Charge up the steps and into the living room. Other charges detonate shaking the house. Moving quickly, the blast will only stun those inside for a few seconds.

Enter the room. Vision is constrained by the face mask; tendrils of tear gas fill the room. Movement spotted, take aim. Target has a gun. Two shots fired hit him centre mass.

"Target down. Room clear."

More bangs throughout the house. Radio reports of rooms cleared. Move into the passageway. See target dragging hostage. Tricky shot. Calm breathing and shoot twice.

"Target down. Hostage secure."

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Featured Book - Z2


z2

What if you could do far more than you realize? What if you could do things that others would consider impossible? The collection of books called 46. Ascending asks this as five very different members of a family each discover that they respond to danger by developing skills that appear to defy logic. The third novel in this collection, z2, has just been released at Amazon.com.

An injury ended Alex Zeitman’s hopeful basketball career decades ago and today he coaches, teaches physics, and parents three talented quirky children alongside his rather odd wife Lola. His country school has a long history with organized hate groups and a sad tradition of bigotry, and the recent influx of Latino immigrants has brought out new intolerance. But when the administration itself looks like it wants to turn the clock backwards to an era of white supremacy, Alex can no longer sit idle.

An old friend from his own high school days reappears along with an ancient Maya mystery that Alex is uniquely qualified to help solve, and suddenly Alex has his hands full. The past and present intertwine as both sets of issues force Alex to come to terms with the tempo altering talents that he thought that he left behind years ago on a basketball court.

As he and his family find themselves in danger, it becomes obvious that Alex has to accept that his empathic wife has become a telepath and that his quiet genius son has taught himself how to alter his own appearance. Alex struggles with his definition of reality as he recognizes that he must also learn to control his special temporal abilities before legacies from long ago harm those he loves, and before his own era loses a rare opportunity to bridge the past and the future.

Visit the new blog for z2 at http://zsquaredblog.org/ to learn more.

 About Sherrie Cronin
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking that there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story in 1979 and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came,  it declared to her that it had to be whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and  explained that in a fit of practicality she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and had spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it at least mildly entertaining and ridiculously well-paying  The bad news was that the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
Apparently she was now Mrs. Cronin, and the further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved dearly, even though to be honest that is where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin  turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her sternly that it had now grown into a six book series. Sherrie decided that she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.

Other books by Sherrie Cronin

x0:  x0 is an ancient organization that prefers to stay hidden. Yet, when a young Nigerian seeking her captive sister draws upon her telepathic powers to forge a link with an unwilling Texan geophysicist, x0 reconsiders. The two women are both far more powerful than they realize, and the sister has become a strategic pawn in a conspiracy that threatens to alter the course of a nation.  http://www.amazon.com/x0-Sherrie-Cronin/dp/0985156104



y1:  y1 tells of a young man with an uncanny ability to morph his appearance who finds that not everyone who works at his pharmaceutical company wants him to knows the mysteries that the company has worked so hard to keep hidden.  As a child, Zane swore to protect all of the odd people in the world.  As an adult, he is fast discovering that everyone is odd. Can he help them all? Now that he has been charged with murder, can he even help himself?

Guest Author Interview - Nicky Peacock

Since I started conducting these guest author interviews a year ago it has proved to be popular, so much so it went from being posted once a week to twice a week. Once again I have built up a large backlog of interviews. So this week I'm having an interview blitz, I will post a new interview every day this week.

We start by welcoming Nicky Peacock to the guest author interview, you can read what she has to say in her interview below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I'm Nicky Peacock. I write both adult and YA horror & paranormal romance. I've had over 35 short stories published/ accepted for publication in anthologies with 17 publishers in 5 countries. My first lone author Bad Blood will be out early next year with the Noble Romance's YA imprint Noble & Young.

What first inspired you to start writing?
It was always something I wanted to do, but like most wannabe writers, I hadn't put a lot of research or thought into actually achieving my goal of publication. That all changed two years ago when I started my own local writers' group in the UK. I started to research publication calls, and actually began to talk to editors and publishers.

And what was your first story?
My first story was called 'Fountain of Flesh' and was a accepted by Dark Moon Books into their 'Vampires' anthology. They were asking for a vampire story with a twist, which was a challenge, but I managed to come up with something out of the box where the vampire character was both the catalyst for the bad thing to happen, and a passive participant in the story itself.

Are you a planner? Or do you like to dive straight in to writing?
I'm strangely both. I do like to plan my writing time - you need to, to meet deadlines, but I also really like to just write whenever the mood hits me. I get really excited about new ideas and so can't help letting the story unfold organically. Sometimes I don't even know the ending when I start. Sometimes I start with an ending and work back.

If you could write anyone's biography, whose would it be?
I'd like to take on the next edition of Russell Brand's Booky Wook series - I think he's hilarious and really witty - although I'm not sure I'd enjoy trying to get him to concentrate for that length of time!

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love it when a publishers says 'yes please' to my work. It means I've created something that others can enjoy.

And the least?
I actually really hate seeing my work in print. It's strange to say, but I prefer the knowledge that it's out there, just not the proof. That probably makes no sense, but my family and friends seem to get more exciting about contributor copies than me.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Write. Read. Research. Submit. Join a group. Write some more. Don't give up.

What are you working on at the moment?
I'm just in the editing stages of my first lone author manuscript. It's called Bad Blood and is, essentially, vampires vs zombies. It'll be published through Noble Romance's YA Imprint Noble & Young and should be out start of 2013.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
You'll be able to find out about me and my work on my blog: http://nickypeacockauthor.wordpress.com/ You can find me on Twitter @Nickyp_author and of course keep an eye on: https://www.nobleyoungadult.com/ for Bad Blood coming out.

Thanks to Nicky for sharing her thoughts with us, tomorrow we welcome Chris Ward to the hot seat.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Conversations in the Abyss - Coming Soon!

The sequel to the 5 * rated 'The Cult of Me' is coming soon!



Stealing Lazarus’ miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.

There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Gary Markwick

Today we welcome Gary Markwick to the guest author interview, find out what he has to share below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Gary Markwick and I have just written my first book called "Now it Begins,I am also an international professional Palmist and Psychic the last twenty years. I have read the hands of thousands of people from around the world.

I am also a Usui & Karuna Reiki Master, Teacher and spiritual healer.

I am also a qualified clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP, past life Regressionist and runs his own workshops in the law of attraction.

I have appeared on Sky TV "Your Destiny" channel and BBC Radio four with a studio audience hosted by Marcus Brigstocke of "Have I got news for you" and reading the hands of Phil Jupitus of "Never mind the Buzzcocks and QI" UK TV series.

I have also had write ups in newspapers". and was asked by a national newspaper to read the hand of a celebrity unknown to him at the time, which was Barack Obama before becoming President of the USA.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I have always been interested in writing short stories about my travels and in the past I have written lyrics and music for songs, which I have performed, after writing a course on the Law of Attraction, I then continued to write and completed my first book.

If you could write anyone's biography, whose would it be?
I would love to write a biography on Mahatma Gandhi.

Who is your favourite author and why?
I love James Redfield's books especially The Celestine Prophecy.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy most in writing the creativity and research.

And the least?My least favourite bit is writers block and trying sometimes to re-phrase a sentence.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
My advice would be to work from your heart and be an open channel to receive any information that comes your way.

What are you working on at the moment?
The book that I am writing on at the moment is part non-fiction/fiction, which is set 100 years in the past, and continues throughout the decades. This is based on my grandfather’s life who was known as the British Houdini which transforms into the mystical journey of adventure throughout the world, with illusion, magic, mysticism and wisdom.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Now It Begins is a comprehensive self-help book that draws upon personal testimony, professional guidance and the best of New Age thinking to empower people to fully take control of their lives. Split into 10 distinct "phases" it systematically tackles some of life's biggest and most personal questions about identity and interconnectivity, love and fear, and choice and destiny. At the heart the title is the simple assertion that once you can let go of illusion and draw upon a more fundamental, universal source of motivation, then you will reconnect with your true purpose on earth.

Illustrated throughout with ancient learning and short stories that gently bring home the important points being made, Now It Begins will consistently inspire and encourage people on their exciting journey to freedom and fulfilment.

The world is now on the verge of a great spiritual awakening and everybody owes it to them selves, and their neighbours, to tap into the limitless energy of the moment and bring about a lasting change for the better.

As the world is changing fast, a great shift of universal energy is taking place. Some of us are aware of this and are ready to move forward and leave behind an old world that has suffered from greed, selfishness, anger, blame and hatred. This means, raising our vibration of energy from within and connecting with one another on a higher and faster frequency that is happening now on this planet. For some this is inconceivable and for others, the transformation has already begun.

My website is http://www.garymarkwick.com
http://www.palmistryinhand.com
You can buy this on Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0063D7844 or http://amzn.com/B0063D7844
and you can order it from Waterstones, WH Smiths and all good book shops.

Thanks to Gary for sharing his thoughts with us, on Tuesday we welcome Nicky Peacock to the hot seat.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Featured Book - My Mirror Self, and I

Today's featured book is 'My Mirror Self, and I' by T James.




My Mirror Self, and I is a novella about finding courage in the face of adversity. An intimate exploration of a young woman's struggle with breast cancer and depression, it has been described as "powerful", "compelling", and "uncompromising" by readers.

Cassie is a small town girl with everyday dreams: a happy marriage, a fulfilling job, and eventually a family. In eighteen short months her life and hopes slide from her grasp - her marriage to David is failing, and her career prospects are fading fast. Already struggling with her isolation as depression tightens its grip, she is devastated to discover she has breast cancer...

Now Cassie has to choose. Does she let her downward spiral continue all the way to the bottom, or can she find something - anything - to fight for and make her future worth living?

Reviews:
You can read reviews here:

Amazon.com Reviews

Amazon.co.uk Review

Available from:
The eBook is currently available to read on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets via the free Kindle app (downloadable from the Apple App Store and Google Play), and on any Amazon Kindle compatible reading device.

To purchase, please click on the links below:

Amazon.com (US)

Amazon.co.uk (UK)

Author Links:

T. James' Blog: thewordonthe.net

On Twitter: @TJamesWriter

Other Published Work: writerandauthor.com

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Freeze Frame (100 Word Story)

A new 100 story has been used in the Indie Bargains newsletter - visit http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/ to sign up for the daily newsletter of  free and bargain Kindle books.

Freeze Frame

A friend told me something extraordinary. She said the last thing a person sees when they die is recorded in their brain.

So I thought about that and it wasn't long before I comprehended the horror of it.

Follow my thinking here. The brain is working enough to capture that final image. Now what if other parts of the brain are still functioning? If that is true then that means the mind is still active, if only for a few seconds.

How long would those seconds last with only that last image to see?

It keeps me up at night.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Tom Abrahams

In today's guest author interview we welcome Tom Abrahams, read what he has to say below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi!  My name is Tom Abrahams.  I am a lifelong television journalist and first time author.  I work at a network owned television station in Houston, Texas as an anchor and reporter.  I cover a lot of issues-oriented news from politics, to energy, the environment, and the economy.  I love what I do for a living, but I am first and foremost a husband and dad. 

What first inspired you to start writing
I've always been an avid reader.  And I think that love of reading translated into a desire to create.   I write every day for television, but I wanted to try something a little different.

I wrote a manuscript about a decade ago that was a great practice novel.  I played around with ideas on and off for a while until I found one that really inspired me.  SEDITION was it.

What was your first story?
That first manuscript was called "Random Victim".  It was a police procedural with a lot of journalism thrown into it.  It had good points, but a lot of not-so-good points.  I still have it on a memory stick.  But I'll never do anything with it.

Do you do much research before starting writing?
I do a lot of research before and during the writing process.  Because my outline is always in my head, the storyline stays very fluid.  So as I write, I'll come up with ideas that need research.  SEDITION is not only based on a real conspiracy (in 1820 England), but it is also woven into modern day reality.  There are real places, pieces of art, documents, people, and meetings mentioned at various points in the story.  They each help build what I think is a realistic, plausible world in which the fiction takes place.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I love the adrenaline rush of finishing a great passage or turning a cool phrase. And I really like it when readers get the nuance within the story.  That's really fulfilling.

And the least?
Writer's block.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Since I am new, I don't know that I have any valid advice.  Though I would tell aspiring authors to  find an idea about which they they are passionate.  That, I think, is the key to finishing the novel and making it good.  A writer's enjoyment is easily transferred to the reader.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am about 30% of the way through another political thriller.  This one takes place in Texas and follows a low level political aide as he tries to understand his unwitting involvement in a conspiracy which combines nanotechnology, energy, and secession.  I hope to have it finished and ready for publication by the end of 2013.  I'm not as prolific as I'd like to be.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
So SEDITION is my new book.  It's a new-style political thriller. 

Here's the blurb:
The President of The United States is dead. There is no Vice President to take his place.
As the nation slips into a constitutional crisis, a small group of disenfranchised neo-patriots conspire to violently seize power.
They have the will. They already have someone on the inside.  And they have the explosives.
Standing in their way is a woman who listens to conversations not meant for her to hear. She reads mail not intended for her to see.   She knows their intention. But can she stop them in time?
SEDITION is a smart, fast-paced, modern day political novel woven in reality and based on the 1820 British plot, The Cato Street Conspiracy.
It navigates the thin line between good versus evil and patriot versus traitor, proving there’s always a reason behind treason.

You can read more about it and find an excerpt at http://seditionbook.com
Here's the Amazon purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Sedition-ebook/dp/B009G76250/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348669743&sr=1-2&keywords=sedition+abrahams
And here's a feature on the book from The Houston Chronicle: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/hoffman/article/TV-anchor-moonlights-as-novelist-4058272.php#ixzz2DC3Z8tll

Thanks to Tom for sharing his thoughts with us, on Friday we welcome Gary Markwick to the hot seat.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Featured Book - Where The Dead Fear To Tread



Where the Dead Fear to Tread
A police officer and a serial killer search separately for a missing child while running a malevolent labyrinth populated by creatures they never knew existed.

Former prosecutor William Chandler, disgusted with his past inaction, spills the blood of those who victimize children to correct the ills he sees in the world. A self-admitted serial killer and uncomfortable
with his actions, Chandler attends the funerals of those whose lives he has taken in an effort to retain a true understanding of the nature of violence.

The carnage left in his wake is investigated by Detective Kate Broadband, who becomes progressively more comfortable with the corpses left by Chandler. Envying the power she sees in him, she pursues
Chandler as each search for Maria Verde, a missing eight-year-old girl.

As Chandler and Broadband draw closer to discovering what happened to Maria they are forced to confront The Devourer, an unnatural being trafficking in stolen children.

Where the Dead Fear to Tread is a tale of hard-boiled macabre, bridging numerous genres to reveal a story of horror, crime and revenge.

The Reviews are in…
“…one of the most disturbing and atmospheric things I’ve read in a long while.”
Dana Fredsti author of Plague Town

"...frantic, horrific, brutal, and without doubt the darkest thing I have read in years. Maybe in my life."
Marc Nocerino of She Never Slept

“Where the Dead Fear to Tread is an immensely enjoyable read; jam-packed with great action sequences and wonderfully horrific monsters that will chill you to the bone.”
Dark Rivers Press

"It could be a future movie or video game franchise hit that you can brag about having picked up when it was just a humble indie e-book. Give it a chance and you may be surprised to find out Where the Dead Fear to Tread."
Robert Hibbs of Ravenous Monster

"...well-thought out. The main character, like the writing, is a complex man who you’re not sure if you can classify as “good” or “bad”. The story takes him through a supernatural mystery that will leave you wanting more."
Nerds in Babeland

You can visit M.R. at http://wherethedeadfeartotread.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Where The Dead Fear To Tread

'The Cult of Me' has been featured on the 'Where the Dead Fear to Tread' blog:


Visit the link below to see the feature:

http://wherethedeadfeartotread.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-cult-of-me-michael-brookes.html

As well as featuring excellent books you will also find quality graphic novel and horror comic reviews, so make sure to pay a visit.

Music Of The Spheres (100 Word Story)

A new 100 story has been used in the Indie Bargains newsletter - visit http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/ to sign up for the daily newsletter of  free and bargain Kindle books.

The Music of the Spheres


It started with a single chord, a sound signifying the very moment of creation. The chord still plays binding the music that fills the spheres. Now stretched by time it is a bass that can only be felt, not heard.
Strings play as energy coalesced into matter. Their tones start light, building into a crescendo as suns and then galaxies are born and fade.
Into the gaps wind instruments herald the birth and death of planets and all sundry of bodies in the dark.
And what of us? The moment of the penny whistle that has only begun to play.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Keith Nixon

Today we welcome Keith Nixon to the guest author interview, rea what he has to say below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Keith Nixon and I am a global sales manager for a technology firm in the UK, in my spare time I’m a father & husband. You can find me on Twitter (knntom) and Goodreads.

What first inspired you to start writing?
It’s difficult to remember as I’ve been writing since I was about 9 years old! However I’ve always loved words & I’m usually reading a couple of books at a time. So experiencing how well others communicate their characters and situations and the emotions they evoked in me made me want to do the same. I enjoy the challenge of building a story and then seeing others read it (& hopefully like it too).

And what was the first story you wrote?
The first book that I wrote was a WWII historical fiction. My grandfather-in-law had been a merchant seaman but was captured & interred in Italy. There was an anecdotal family story that he’d escaped the prison camp, then managed to steal a train and drive it into France before making it all the way home. It piqued my interest & I put some research into this period, the regions, the experiences of people in prison camps and at war. Other than a historical learning exercise it taught me a lot about the do’s and don’ts of writing.

Who is your favourite author and why?
Wow, it’s very difficult to pick one author, there are so many that I enjoy & my tastes have shifted over the years. In specific genres there are one or two I will always pick up when they publish a new book. To be specific:

- Historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell, Seven Saylor, Robert Harris (Roman books)
- Thriller, Lee Child
- Fantasy, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman
- Sci-fi, Isaac Asimov
- Crime, Ian Rankin

I pick these guys as they all write compelling narrative, their characters are really well rounded, the dialogue is strong. I’m always pleased when starting a new book of theirs and sad when I’ve finished it.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The challenge of building a small idea into a finished article & it taking on a life of its own. Writing is, to me, the solving of a series of problems. What happens, why, who the characters are, bringing them out of dead ends. Great fun.

And the least?
Finding viable routes to readers. I’m only just starting out down the publishing route, I really want people to read my books. If they like them, great, if they don’t hey that’s life & I can learn something from their feedback. Trying to get the interest of agents & publishers is near impossible so being able to be an independent author is great.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Write, write & write some more. It’s a muscle that needs time & effort to develop. Usually what a new author first writes will be okay at best & filled with problems, dead ends and misbehaving characters but these are all opportunities for the re-draft and can spin out new ideas and ultimately a better story. The other key aspect for me is not to re-write until you’ve reached the end of your draft, I found it very easy to keep polishing a couple of pages or a chapter so I’d end up in an eddy and never complete the journey.

What are you working on at the moment?
Having put The Fix out on Amazon much of my time is currently on promotion. However I also have a series of historical fiction books in process. The first is written and the second is well into the first draft. It’s about Caradoc, an almost entirely forgotten character in British history. He spent years resisting the Roman invasion in 43AD, everybody remembers Boudica (also known as Boadicea). Caradoc was actually her inspiration, she only resisted because he did.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
My latest work is The Fix. It’s a murder / mystery novel but with a very strong leaning towards humour. It’s about a guy who hates everything in his life – job (in an investment bank!), girlfriend, social life (he has none) & friends (none of these either). It’s about relationships & it’s about lies, how everyone will do something to get ahead – some more than others.

The Fix is available as an e-book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009ZITONW

Here’s the blurb:

Murder. Theft. Sociopaths. And Margate. Just another day in banking then...

It’s pre crash 2007 and financial investment banker Josh Dedman’s life is unravelling fast. He’s fired after £20 million goes missing from the bank. His long-time girlfriend has cheats on him, then dumps him. His only friends are a Russian tramp who claims to be ex-KGB and a really irritating bloke he’s just met on the train. His waking hours are a nightmare and his dreams are haunted by a mystery blonde. And to cap it all, he lives in Margate…

Just when Josh thinks things can’t get any worse his sociopathic boss — Hershey Valentine — winds up dead and he finds himself the number one suspect. As the net closes in Josh discovers that no one is quite what they seem, including him, and that sometimes help comes from the most unlikely sources…
Part fiction, part lies (well, it is about banking) and excruciatingly funny, The Fix pulls no punches when revealing the naked truth of a man living a life he loathes.

Thanks to Keith for sharing his thoughts with us, on Tuesday Tom Abrahams takes his turn in the hot seat.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Devorah Fox

In today's guest author interview we meet Devorah Fox, you can read what she has to say below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I'm Devorah Fox, president of Mike Byrnes and Assoc., Inc. Since 1987 we have published "BUMPER TO BUMPER®, The Complete Guide to Tractor-Trailer Operations" and other textbooks and training materials for commercial motor vehicle drivers. (We were self-publishers before self-publishing was cool!) Recently we started developing the "Easy CDL" commercial driver license test prep apps for the iPhone and iPad. I also write the "Dee-Scoveries" column for the "Island Moon" newspaper and I write novels.

What first inspired you to start writing?
It feels like I've been writing my entire life. I think I tried writing a novel in the 3rd grade. But it was Faye Kellerman's "Ritual Bath" that inspired the adult me to start noveling. I so enjoyed her book that I thought "I'd like to do that!"

Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight in to writing?
The more I write, the less I plan. It seems that I dive straight in but in truth I think I've been writing in my head long before my fingers spring into action. I wake up in the morning already framing sentences in my mind.

If you could work with any author, who would it be?
I admire Randy Wayne White and Greg Iles not only for their characters but also for how they create a sense of place.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
The surprises. I like when something happens that I didn't plan, didn't expect, didn't see coming, but it is so RIGHT. I also like stepping away from a project, then coming back to it to find that it's somehow new and delightful. I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that it's better than I remembered it being when I was writing it. Sometimes I impress even me, and I'm a tough critic!

And the least?
It's exhausting. I do feel wrung out at the end of a long writing day.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
Just do it, just write. Don't worry about whether it's "good enough" or even if it's good at all. It's better than you think. And don't hesitate to put it out there. You'll be surprised at the positive reception it gets--I was. The most unexpected parts of my work resonate with the most unexpected people!

What are you working on at the momnt?
I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month 2012, working on a sequel to "The Lost King" which started as my NaNoWriMo 2012 project. "The Lost King" is now between covers both printed and digital:

on amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lost-King-Devorah-Fox/dp/0977824527
bn.com: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-king-devorah-fox/1037627030
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/The-Lost-King-ebook/dp/B006L5O1JE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0
Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-lost-king-devorah-fox/1108162505?ean=2940044954267
smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/230605, and iBooks,
etc.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
The working title is "The Changeling Prince." Like "The Lost King," it's a literary fantasy about the struggles of a man who has lost everything and has to rediscover/reinvent himself. As a reader of "The Lost King" wrote, "the tale of a lost soul trying to find himself and recover his place in the world will ring true to so many whom have been 'pink slipped'." Readers interested in learning more can check my blog at http://devorahfox.com. I'm also at www.facebook.com/devorah.fox, @devorah_fox on Twitter, GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2751371.Devorah_Fox and www.linkedin.com/in/devorahfox.

Thanks to Devorah for sharing her thoughts with us, on Friday we welcome Keith Nixon to the hot seat.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Cult of Me - Now Half Price!

The Five * rated 'The Cult of Me' is now available for less than half price.


For too long he dwelt apart, watched those who passed him by.With his unique abilities he entered their minds and inflicted terrible suffering upon them. They didn't even know who he was. The game has lasted for years, but now the game has become stale. On an impulse he decides to make a final and very public last stand. After surrendering himself to the police he enacts his plan to seize the prison for his final bloody act. 

There he discovers that he's not as unique as he once thought.

Reviews
* * * * * An excellent read
Brought this book not really knowing much about it but it's turned out to be one of the best books I've read this year.
Lots of twists in the plot and always kept me thinking about what would happen next. It's one of those books that kept me hooked and wanting to read 'just one more page'.

* * * * * Can't wait for the sequel
Excelent read a real page turner. I can't wait for the next one.

* * * * * A real page turner
Having been recommended this book by a few friends I picked it up not knowing a thing about the plot or the author. After reading the first chapter I couldn't put it down and managed to finish it off in a couple of afternoons.

The writing is accessible and leaves you wanting more. I really can't recommend this book enough and look forward to future releases from the author.

An absolute bargain.

'The Cult of Me' is free for Amazon Prime members, or only 97p!

A Marriage Made In... (100 Word Story)

A new 100 story has been used in the Indie Bargains newsletter - visit http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/ to sign up for the daily newsletter of  free and bargain Kindle books.

A Marriage Made In...

Hell. You know the place. Lakes of burning sulphur. Torture pits filled with the wailing of the damned. Not the place you'd expect to fall in love. But I did.
Our eyes met across the inferno. It was love at first sight, or at least first scream. The demons didn't approve at first, they tried to quench our love with fire and brimstone.
We endured and in the end they came round.
Lucifer himself even officiated at our wedding. Love, honour and obey, two of those things are welcome here.
But 'till death do us part could be a problem.

A Splendid Salmagundi Wins Best Anthology At The Best Indie Books 2012 Awards

I'm pleased to hear that 'A Splendid Salmagundi' has won the Best Anthology award in the Best Indie Books of 2012 hosted by the Indie Book Bargains website. See all the winners at the link below:

http://www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk/awards/


If you haven't read this fabulous collection of stories and poems (and yes there's one by me) then you owe it to yourself to do so. You can buy a copy from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Splendid-Salmagundi-ebook/dp/B009RBQSA4/

I'm sure you'll find something that is splendid :-)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Friday, 11 January 2013

Guest Author Interview - Jason Phillip Reeser

In today's guest author interview we welcome Jason Phillip Reeser, you can read what he has to say below:



Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m a nomad who spent the first half of my life traveling all over the United States, sometimes living just in a van, depending on what my parents were doing at the time. Once I settled into a family life of my own in Louisiana, I became a father of five children, supporting them by working in an oil refinery. I’m still there, but my passion has always been about writing. I just always loved to tell stories. My wife is a poet, who used the early years of the Internet to build up a network of friends and contacts, which helped her career grow quite impressively, even as she raised five children. Encouraged by her hard work and success, I kept at my own writing efforts. If I’m not writing, I’m usually reading books, or watching movies, both of which are an essential part of my training. I’ve been told my writing style often reads like scenes from a movie.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I was a voracious reader. We moved a great deal, and friends were few and far between. But I always had a book in my hands. So I suppose it just seemed natural to want to write my own books at some point. My first effort to do so was in middle school, when I sat down with pen and paper and started a science fiction story. Some of my family members found that puzzling, my grandparents heard about it and bought me an old Royal Typewriter that weighed about forty pounds. This was in the early ‘80s, when people were beginning to write on computers or very slick electronic typewriters. Once I had that typewriter, I was hooked. Writing stories was a rush. And pounding on those keys, snapping back that return bar (ding!), yanking out a page full of words—there’s nothing like that feeling.

The science fiction novel was never finished—not a loss—but my love of story-telling was firmly entrenched. I have an old box full of stories that I typed back then. Kid’s stuff that will never see the light of day. But I treasure them, and used to pull them out and read them, look at them, organize them, like a baseball card collector might do with his old Topps collection. It wasn’t until I turned twenty that I started taking it seriously. I had toyed around with being a musician, but that was just a side-line. One day I put down the guitar, and I had no trouble leaving it on the stand. I tried to do that with writing once. But I couldn’t keep away from it. I’m told that’s the way to know if you are a writer or just someone who thinks he’s a writer.

I had the great fortune to meet the author Neil Connelly at one of my wife’s poetry readings at McNeese State University. Over the punchbowl we talked about being writers. He had been published, I had not. I told him I was not sure I should be wasting my time writing since I’d not had anything published at that point. I’ll never forget his response. He said I had to ask myself one question. If someone told me that they could see into the future and they knew that I would never be published—ever—would I still want to write? I knew my answer right away. Heck yeah, I said, I’d still write. It was great advice that kept me going as I received rejection after rejection. Eventually, I finally saw my first story accepted, and I’m ever thankful to Neil for that encouragement through that wilderness. I e-mailed Neil some six years later and asked him if he would blurb my latest book, Cities of the Dead, and he enthusiastically accepted. I’ve been very lucky to know him.

If you could work with any author who would it be? Why?
Wow. That’s tough. I’ve had a story knocking around in my head (even a semi-complete outline on an old 3.5 inch disk somewhere) about a Guns of Navarone type story set in the Pirate infested Caribbean of the late 1700’s/early 1800’s. Now I can’t think of anyone who can write battle scenes better than Bernhard Cornwell. And I just haven’t spent the time necessary to research the period well enough to make it believable. So if you’ve got some really extraordinary connections, and can hook us up, I’d have to say get Bernhard Cornwell on the line. When I discovered his Sharpe’s books about five years ago, I devoured every one of that twenty-plus volume series in about a year. He is pure magic with the pen. Rarely do I read action that just knocks me down. Mr. Cornwell does this just about every time a shot is fired. But the best part of writing with someone like that would be to hear his editing comments. That would be like hacking into the CIA’s computers. A goldmine of information that you could never put a price on. What impresses me about him is his ability to seamlessly integrate historical references into a story, whether it be history itself, or just period details for set dressing. He’s not showing off the fruits of his research. He merely uses what is necessary to make his story believable. He’s a master at this.

Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight into writing?
Most of my short stories just get started by my typing out a few lines without any forethought. However, the novels I’ve written usually come from an idea. Jury Rig stared out with an idea for a character. I’m a big fan of Dostoyevsky, and he once told a friend that he had this idea of a character that was so pure of heart everyone else would see him as an idiot. From this he wrote his unforgettable novel The Idiot. I thought, wow, I wish I could do that. So I did. I decided I wanted to write about a pirate who had set his heart on finding redemption. That was sort of an odd idea. I meant a real, High Seas Pirate. But what sort of redemption? I decided he wanted society to forgive him. So I decided if a Pirate wants forgiveness, he’d probably seize a ship and force the passengers into jury duty and make them decide his fate by trial. That was a lot of fun, and it took little planning after that.

My first attempts at writing involved little planning, which I sort of took pride in. I felt I had to let the characters do what they wanted. Which seemed kind of Zen or something. But you know, those characters always led me astray. I had to learn to plan, to outline. Not always a formal outline, but I learned to plan at least several chapters ahead. With a Big Picture outline, and preplaned scenes for several chapters at a time, it seems to work really well.

If you could write anyone's biography, whose would it be?
Andre Norton. But it would be impossible to do. Let me explain.

Andre Norton was one of the most creative, prolific writers of Science Fiction/Fantasy that has ever lived. She (yes, Andre Norton was actually Alice Norton, changed her name legally to one of her pen names) has an astonishing range of novels, from Space Travel greats like Plague Ship and Sargasso of Space to her Beastmaster stories as well as her highly acclaimed series "Witch World". What fascinates me about her is the fact that all of these unbelievable stories came out of an unknown, mid-western librarian. So I would love to write a biography of her if we could get a look inside her mind, and figure out where all of this manic creativity came from. So much of the Science Fiction genre is clunky, forced, and just awkward. Norton’s world-creation and tech is so simple, so effortless, it always leaves me in awe. Would her life make an interesting biography? Probably. But what I’d be most interested in would be probing the recesses of her incredible mind. To be able to research her personal papers, the scraps of her writing, her notes. That would be mesmerizing.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
Reading my writing. No kidding! It is fun to pick up something I haven’t seen of mine in a while, and start reading it. I’ll come across a passage that I have no memory writing, and I think—how the heck did I think of writing that? Where did that come from? That’s really cool. (When I started out, I mostly cringed at what I wrote. I’m happy to say that this happens far less than it used to.) I’ve learned that I’m not alone when it comes to being a writer who struggles with his confidence, or his lack thereof. We can be a troubled group. I still read lots of books today. And when I do, and it is someone who is really good, I think—oh man, how can I even begin to think I can write? Why would anyone read something I’ve written when there are so many better writers out there? But then, when these little moments arise where I come across something I’ve written that surprises me, I gain just enough confidence to keep at it. To stick another blank sheet of paper in the old Royal typewriter, slam the return bar into place, and start clunking those keys again. (I haven’t touched a real typewriter in years, but you know what I mean.)

And the least?
Telling people I’m a writer. There are few responses that I enjoy. The simple “that’s nice”, as if I’ve just told them I got a haircut, is a response that’s a little deflating. But if someone makes a big deal out of it, well that’s worse. Then there is that half-smile accompanied by a raising of the forehead—“a writer? Oh, I see.” Which really just means—“yeah, like you’re really a writer. Whatever.” Close friends know. And my family. And they are always very supportive. But I have many co-workers who have no idea I write. Or if they do, they don’t mention it, and I don’t mention it to them. I think some people worry that I’m going to ask them to read it, and then be hurt if they don’t like it. Some of them are probably just worried that I’ll ask them to read a book I’ve written, and they haven’t read a book since High School—the idea of reading any book terrifies them.

As far as the technical aspects of writing that I like the least, I’d have to say that moment when I write the end of a scene and suddenly have no idea what should happen next. Man, that can kill a project. That’s why an outline really helps. Without it, a lull like this can leave a project hanging for weeks. I’ve even had a few early projects that just died like that. I never actually buried them, and the sight of their half-written corpses really irk me. I can’t finish them, but I can’t just delete those files either. I hate finding them in my computer files. They haunt me.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
I wouldn’t! I’m too new at this myself to be so bold. But since you asked, I’ll try. And I’ll assume I’m talking to someone who is very new, and possibly very young.

Much of the advice to writers is good stuff and you need to listen to it. When you are told to write often, you really should. I started a blog simply for the practice of writing. It has really freed up my writing, which used to be a bit awkward during the actual writing process. I could always go back and clean it up, but it was all pretty time-consuming. The more I write, the easier it gets. So write.

But there is also a lot of bad advice out there. The one line that drives me crazy is “write about what you know”, which seems so antithetical to me as a writer. Writers want to create! If Andre Norton had written about what she knew, she would have had to write about librarians. So I would tell young writers to not be afraid to write about whatever excites you. Whatever interests you. If you need technical knowledge, that can always be researched. But find something you love and then write about it. And remember, you can always make stuff up.

What are you working on at the moment?
Since I am self-publishing, I have several books in several stages. Right now, I’m actually writing a horror/mystery novel involving one of those big, early Nineteenth-Century health spas, the kind of place people visited to ”take the waters”. The story follows three friends who discover one of these abandoned resorts. It’s wonderfully creepy, in disrepair, its former elegance tattered and disheveled. To their amazement, the interior walls of the hallways of this hotel are covered in handwriting, with as many as eight distinctly different writing styles. Most of it is gibberish, but within this gibberish there is a story. One of madness. More disturbingly is the discovery that the story is still being written.

At the same time, I’m editing a non-fiction book about a trip my wife and I made to Paris earlier this year. That’s been a really fun project.

The next focus for me will be polishing and publishing (summer of 2013) the second book in a Science Fiction/Noir Trilogy that started with my novel The Lazaretto. This is really my passion. It is a world that I want so much to share with everyone. Set in a system of colony worlds in the future, a quarantine zone has been set up on a moon such that no one may travel from one planet to another without first spending forty days in quarantine on this Lazaretto. If you are found to have any pathogen during that time you will never be allowed to leave the Lazaretto. It’s a world that only government bureaucracy could create. A world of despair, corruption, and a populace that shuns physical contact. Into this world steps a Private Investigator, Gregor Lepov, and he soon discovers just how dark and cold the Lazaretto can be. Yes, the book is Science Fiction, but the city is more like San Francisco in the Film Noir era. Future tech is not prominent in the series. The first book follows Lepov’s search for a missing person, which collides with two police Detectives' search for a vicious killer. The second book involves a thirty-year-old murder and the planned theft of a priceless work of art. It’s a trilogy full of shadows, madmen, femme fatales, good guys, rainy nights, ladies in distress, and the overriding desire to find a way out of a hopeless world. In other words, lots of fun.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Cities of the Dead is my latest work, which came out just before Halloween. It’s a short story collection with each of the thirteen stories set in the famed above-ground cemeteries of New Orleans. This has been such a great project to work on. I am a cemetery nut. I’ve always enjoyed walking the paths of the death, reading headstones, wondering who was under all that dirt. When I moved to Louisiana, I discovered the wonderful world of these New Orleans cemeteries. Mark Twain first coined the phrase “cities of the dead”, noting that the tombs looked like little houses. The fact that the dead are buried above ground because if they are buried below ground they come back up is fantastic. I mean, the dead actually refuse to be buried! That really had me thinking. So after a walk through Lafayette Cemetery Number One, in the Garden District, I had an idea. I wanted to write a series of stories that were set entirely in these cemeteries. Some of them are ghost stories, but not all of them. One story follows a grave robber who develops a sudden and bizarre desire to gaze upon the faces of the dead. Another story details how a man has devised a method to bring his lover back to life. There’s even a humorous story about the Pirate Jean Lafitte which is more like a Tim Burton Claymation movie than a serious ghost story. One of my favorites in the collection is one about an artillery regiment of dead Confederate soldiers who are tormented by their Colonel’s desire to train them relentlessly, forcing them to improve their skills with their stone cannons.

As with all of my books, it is available in print as well as a Kindle edition. You can find information on Cities of the Dead at Saint James Infirmary Books, my publishing company. (Just type it all together—saintjamesinfirmarybooks.com) You can also just go straight to Amazon. This book is also available down in the French Quarter in New Orleans in many of the stores there. We were able to get it on the shelves in the prestigious Faulkner House Bookstore on Pirates Alley, as well as New Orleans’ signature bookstore The Garden District Book Shop, which is right across the street from Lafayette Number One. I hope everyone who likes a good ghost story gives it a try. I haven’t heard of one unhappy reader yet.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cities-Dead-Jason-Phillip-Reeser/dp/0615703860/ref=la_B0071BWB7Q_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357910203&sr=1-1

Thanks to Jason for sharing his thoughts with us, on Tuesday Devorah Fox takes her place on the hot seat.

My Books on Goodreads