Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Guest Blogger: J.E. Holling

https://www.amazon.com/Falcons-Revenge-J-E-Holling-ebook/dp/B06XCP92TX


Please tell us about your latest book.
I just finished writing An Evil Among Us. It’s the sequel to The Falcon’s Revenge, published last year by Solstice Publishing.


What can we expect from you in the future?
I have two works in progress, a Mystery/Thriller and a Mystery novella.

How do we find out about you and your books?
I post updates on my Facebook Author’s Page at https://www.facebook.com/J-E-Holling-191918837909300/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
My Amazon Author’s Page at https://www.amazon.com/J.-E.-Holling/e/B06XCX6MVQ
AuthorDB at
The Directory: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/23960-j-e-holling
and the Bookshelf: http://authorsdb.com/bookshelf-war-and-military/23993-the-falcon-s-revenge
and Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34444329-the-falcon-s-revenge?ac=1&from_search=true#other_reviews


Why did you decide to write Fiction/Thriller/Mystery novels?
I like the challenge of starting with factual things, places and events and weaving them all together into a fictional story.

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
What I know the most about is me and what I’ve done and experienced. I begin there and, based on my research, expand into other areas all the while trying to keep it sounding real.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first MS?
I’ve always wanted to write a book because I like to challenge myself. I admired people who could create a compelling story from doing research and combining the results with the thoughts in their head. I did a great amount of technical writing during my engineering career and decided to challenge myself by writing a book. Now I’m hooked.

Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
It took me longer than I expected to write my first book. I tried to squeeze it in with to many other things going on. That endeavor took three years, but I learned many lessons along the way. My second novel took about a year. My goal is six months.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I’m most productive in the morning. I need a fresh mind so I try to get all my writing in before noon. My mind turns to mush as the day progresses.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I start by doing research and a little writing. When the writing overtakes the research I try to write 1000 words a day.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
It’s a mixed bag. Family comes first so I will defer writing in deference to family obligations.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I go outside and do something; cut the grass, take a walk, or jog.

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
It’s all about the challenge and the self satisfaction of knowing I’m in control of my destiny. During my engineering career I sought out high risk high reward projects. I’ve applied the same dogged determination to my writing.

Where do your ideas come from?
My ideas come from a mixture of historical and current events, technological innovations and an active imagination. For example terrorism, weak borders and new weapons.

Do you feel humor is important in Fiction/Thriller/Mystery and why?
Humor is a part of life. If you’re trying to write a believable story it has a place. It keeps the story real. For example in my latest novel four of my characters are enjoying a cold beer after work and are trading good natured jabs.

What are your thoughts on love scenes in romance novels, do you find them difficult to write?
Love like humor is a part of life. My second novel contains a loving relationship, but no explicit love scenes. The couple’s relationship is not the focus of the novel, but it is an important part of it. I don’t write Romance novels.

What kind of research do you do?
Mostly via the internet. In some cases it’s based on my personal travel and/or work related experiences.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
Maybe a Thriller/Mystery with a Sci-Fi twist.

What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?
My wife is very supportive and my biggest fan. She is an extrovert and compliments my introvert personality. She promotes my book every chance she gets. She pushes me “to get out there”.

Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
I discuss story lines with her, but she’s not interested in the genre.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I’m married and have a grown son and daughter. My wife and I live in NJ. I retired four years ago after completing a 45 year engineering career and am looking forward to keeping my mind and body active through writing. I would like to do more in-person research. Aviation started as a hobby when I was a child and became my career after acquiring a Bachelor degree in Aeronautics and a Master degree in Engineering Management.

Fill in the blank favorites –
Dessert – Anything chocolate
City – San Diego
Season – Summer
Type of hero - A real-life person who accomplishes great things under extraordinary circumstances
Type of heroine – Same as hero
What are some of your favorite things to do?
Fly, jog, travel
Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
Tom Clancy. Red Storm Rising.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
Dan Brown. W.E.B. Griffin. Steven Coonts. Michael Crichton

What do you think of critique groups in general?
I have no opinion. Never used them. I do believe in using Beta readers.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’ll still be writing; still promoting and marketing and learning.

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing all my life, but writing novels began four years ago. I wanted to be an engineer who happened to write as a part of the job, and now I’m a writer who used to be an engineer.

How many books have you written, how many have been published?
I’ve written two books. One was published last year and the other is at the publisher for review.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
I purchased a bulk order to have a supply for book signings and other events. I purchased an ebook for myself and look at it from time to time. I see so many things I would change knowing what I know now.

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
The first one was the hardest. None of my previous writing involved dialogue. I thought I knew the rules because I read many books with dialogue, but I was wrong. I had a wonderful and
patient editor who helped me through the process. The second one was easier because I applied the editor’s suggestions from the start. Both were fun to write.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
The basic story comes first. The characters and settings flow from the story line. I don’t have the complete story figured out when I start. In The Falcon’s Revenge I didn’t know how I was going to end it until I had it half finished.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
Writing the story is the easy part and the most fun. The hard work starts with the editing and continues with publishing and marketing.

Have you experienced writer's block? If so, how did you work through it?
If I get stuck on something I put it aside and take a walk or jog. It’s amazing how a little physical exhaustion can stimulate the brain cells.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
I find it rewarding to be able to challenge myself by setting goals and working towards accomplishing them. The ultimate reward is getting my book published and seeing it in print.

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Working with my hands building or repairing something. Reminds me, my old truck needs some attention in the near future.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Don’t give up, persistence pays off. After I finished The Falcon’s Revenge I began the search for a publisher or literary agent. Five months and eighty rejections later Solstice Publishing offered me a contract.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Guest Blogger: John L. DeBoer




Q: Please tell us of your latest book.
A: The Telltale Tattoo is the story of a young Vietnamese boy whose mother is killed by a soldier who is part of a platoon that attacks his village, mistakenly thinking it a Viet Cong base. The image of a gruesome tattoo on the arm of that soldier haunts Nguyen Chinh for decades until he has attained the resources to hunt for this man and confront him. The man has become wealthy as well and has no idea Chinh is after him, but he has serious problems of his own that he wants to escape by disappearing. The hunt and the escape plan are the conflicts in the novel.


Q: What can we expect of you in the future?
A: I’m working on a novel involving Russian agents trained to pose as Americans as they work to affect U.S. elections. The tentative title is Deep Cover.


Q: How do we find out about you and your books?
A: You can go to my Amazon author page – www.amazon.com/author/johnldeboer or to my website – www.novelsbyjohnldeboer.com


Q: Why did you decide to write thriller novels?
A: Thrillers are what I most like to read, so I was naturally drawn to that genre.


Q: How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing.
A: There are parts of me in all my books. I just won’t say which parts. J


Q: When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
A: I’ve always enjoyed writing, going back to high school when I won a Chamber of Commerce essay contest. My surgical training and subsequent career didn’t leave much time for creative writing, though I did publish articles in surgical journals (different requirements and format!). But I did go creative with our annual Christmas letter instead of the usual blah-blah, we did this, we did that. Friends and family were amused and said, “You should write a book!” So I did. After failing to land an agent, I self-published
it. When I retired I had plenty of time to devote to writing and I learned one didn’t need an agent to submit to a publisher! My third book got picked up, and I’ve been going strong ever since.


Q: Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
A: My first book came out in 2009, and my last in early 2018. Nine novels, nine years. So, on average, it takes me about a year to write a novel.


Q: Do you have a set schedule for writing?
A: No. Some days I write all day, but most days I don’t write a lick – though I’m always thinking of where to go next with the story.


Q: Where do your ideas come from?
A: I don’t know! They just come to me. Sometimes current events inspire me, as with my WIP and my novel-before-last, When the Reaper Comes.


Q: Do you feel humor is important in thrillers?
A: Humor is a part of the human condition, so no matter the genre, if the characters are to be real, humor should be included in their interactions.


Q: What kind of research do you do?
A: I research everything! From geographical locations to foreign names, to weaponry, law enforcement procedures, whether a car model was available in the time setting of my story, etc. Most of my research is done on the Internet. Google has been a tremendous boon to the writer. When I need to describe Kuala Lumpur, which I had to do with my last novel, for example, I don’t have to get on a plane and go there! I also consult folks who have had the jobs I write about so as to make the characters’ actions plausible. My critique group, composed of writers from all walks of life, helps a lot in that regard.


Q: Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
A: I’ll confine my answer to relatively recent history. Back in the day I read the epics of Michener, Clavell, and Wouk and enjoyed them. But now I pretty much confine my reading to thrillers and
thriller/mysteries. John DeMille has to be my favorite current author, and his Plum Island is my favorite book of his. Other authors I read are Lee Child, Harlan Coben, John Sandford, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Clive Cussler, Robert Crais, Elmore Leonard (RIP), John Lescroart. I could go on and on!


Q: What do you think of critique groups?
A: I’m in favor of them – at least the one I belong to, consisting of over a thousand would-be and published authors . I’ve workshopped all my novels there and found the critiques invaluable for polishing my stories. There’s a modest annual fee to join, but the “free” editing it provides is well worth it. I post a chapter at a time to the site, get reviews and comments, and revise accordingly. By the time the novel is done, it’s already gone through an extensive editing process. And reviewing the works of others helps me with my own writing.


Q: What book for yours has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
A: I have physician characters in several of my books, and those are probably the easiest, since it cuts down on the research I have to do. The hardest was probably The Side Effect, even though it had a physician protagonist, because the research required was extensive. The most fun novel I wrote was The Flame, featuring a femme fatale antagonist who is a woman you love to hate.


Q: Have you experienced writer’s block? If so, how did you work through it?
A: I get writer’s block with all my novels. Mainly, it involves trying to figure out how to logically get my characters in the situations I need for my plots. I think about it in bed at night, in the shower the next morning, and as I stare at the blank sheet of paper (Yes, I write drafts longhand.). Eventually it comes to me. At least it always has, so that gives me the confidence I need to keep plugging away at it.


Q: If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
A: Good question. I’m retired, so there’s no day (and night!) job anymore. Hmm. I guess I’d play more golf – perhaps I’d get better at it! – read more, and do more cooking experimentation. But one thing for sure: I wouldn’t go back to wasting my time playing Candy Crush and Ruzzle. I broke my addiction by quitting them cold turkey!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Guest Blogger: A.B. Funkhauser



                                   
                                                       




You’ve written three novels so far, each with semi-obscure titles. What do they mean?

Lol. The first one, Heuer Lost And Found, gets adjusted all the time by editors. They either want to stick a comma after “Heuer” or they want to knock the capital “A” in “And” to lowercase. I get it. I’ve knocked the “A” down a couple of times myself! But I wasn’t trying to be obscure. Maybe the title is representative of the main character who, more often than not, walks outside the boundaries and does so on purpose.


Scooter Nation references the main character Scooter Creighton. He is at the center of a group of people linked by community but divided by competing interests. There are also some very aggressive antagonists who roar around on motorized scooters. They’re terrors with a capital “T”!

Shell Game, like the ages-old game of chance, moves the characters from one alliance to another in a mad pursuit to find meaning and order in a disorganized society. A recent review called it “Crazy. Dark. Twisted. Excellent.” I’m rather proud of those tags!


Tell us about your self-styled gonzo mortuary revenge blended genre.

It really was an evolutionary thing. When I started writing a million years ago, I thought I was crafting a heart-felt paranormal romance with a tissue box ending. And certainly, Heuer Lost And Found has those moments. But by the third draft, it became obvious that more was going on. The characters took me to dark and unexpectedly humorous places that horrified some and had others rolling in the aisles. It won horror prizes when I was hoping for romance prizes. I blamed the character Jurgen Heuer, who reviewers have called a “fascinating bastard” and “bug.” But then it happened again with Scooter Nation. I thought “maybe because it’s set in a funeral parlor?” but then readers liked the chemistry between Carla and Hamsi. I didn’t win any romance prizes, but I did win twice for humor.


People tend to die in your books.

Yes! Blame that on the mortuary and the fact that I love action suspense films with a twist of noir. People die in my books accidentally and through homicide, but it is never gratuitous. They die for good reason and if readers are sufficiently hooked in, they cheer. That’s the revenge component of the blended genre. The gonzo runs with the subtext. When the characters range outside the fence, it’s because I’m trying to call attention to something important. Things like identity, self-worth, and behaving like a decent human being.


Tell us about the cat book.

If you could see me, you’d know I’m smiling! I took my kitty to the vet the other day and had to explain to him how Shell Game came about. Basically, I received a letter from Animal Control warning that if I didn’t keep my self-determining kitty indoors, I would be fined $5,000 and / or lose him to a shelter that would adopt him out to people who’d keep under lock and key. That
letter really ticked me off, so I wrote Shell Game, a book about a community with a lot to hide and a mysterious black cat that brings about its downfall so that it can rebuild. I feel better every time I talk about it. My cat is fine. His shots are up to date and he still roams free and without harassment.


This is also mortuary revenge?

Lots of revenge with a happy ending. No mortuary this time. I needed to get away from all that formaldehyde.


You go to great lengths in interviews to stress the importance of confidentiality in your day job. How do you reconcile your convictions with fiction writing?

That’s a fantastic question! Thank you! First, it’s important that I clarify my work status to date. Although I maintain an active license to practice in the province of Ontario, I have taken a break from embalming/funeral directing to write full time. That doesn’t change a thing where confidentiality is concerned. Funeral directors are bound both legally and ethically to protect the privacy of the deceased and the survivors ad infinitum. I’ll never forget what my ethics professor said all those years ago in school: that the deceased are the most vulnerable people on this earth, infants included. They cannot cry out. They cannot defend themselves. Therefore, it’s on the director to protect their privacy, maintain their dignity and at all times show respect. In writing about my fictitious funeral home, the dead are sacrosanct. I focus comically on the daily lives of the directors and work colleagues they come into contact with through cross disciplines (fire, police, pathology, to name a few). And in the case of Heuer Lost And Found, I took great care to give my deceased Jürgen Heuer a voice and spiritual body that not only wreaks havoc and extracts revenge but commands the grudging respect of his tormentors. In that, he is anything but defenseless.


A. B. Funkhauser is currently working on The Heuer Effect, a prequel to Heuer Lost And Found.


Books by A.B. Funkhauser
Available through Solstice Publishing and Amazon

Heuer Lost And Found

Unrepentant cooze hound lawyer Jürgen Heuer dies suddenly and unexpectedly in his litter-strewn home. Undiscovered, he rages against God, Nazis, deep fryers and analogous women who disappoint him.

At last found, he is delivered to Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home, a ramshackle establishment peopled with above average eccentrics, including boozy Enid, a former girlfriend with serious denial issues. With her help and the help of a wisecracking spirit guide, Heuer will try to move on to the next plane. But before he can do this, he must endure an inept embalming, feral whispers, and Enid’s flawed recollections of their murky past.

Winner Best Horror, Preditors & Editors 2015
Medalist Winner “Horror,” New Apple EBook Awards 2016

Scooter Nation

Aging managing director Charlie Forsythe begins his work day with a phone call to Jocasta Binns, the unacknowledged illegitimate daughter of Weibigand Funeral Home founder Karl Heinz Sr. Alma Wurtz, a scooter bound sextenarian, community activist, and neighborhood pain in the ass is emptying her urine into the flower beds, killing the petunias. Jocasta cuts him off, reminding him that a staff meeting has been called. Charlie, silenced, is taken aback: he has had no prior input into the meeting and that, on its own, makes it sinister.


The second novel in the Unapologetic Lives series, Scooter Nation takes place two years after Heuer Lost And Found. This time, funeral directors Scooter Creighton and Carla Moretto Salinger Blue take center stage as they battle conflicting values, draconian city by-laws, a mendacious neighborhood gang bent on havoc, and a self-absorbed fitness guru whose presence shines an unwanted light on their quiet Michigan neighborhood.

Medalist Winner “Humor,” New Apple EBook Award 2016
Winner Best Humor, 2016 Summer Indie Book Award

Shell Game


Carlos the Wonder Cat lives free, traveling from house to house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. Known by everyone, his idyllic existence is threatened when a snarky letter from Animal Control threatens to punish kitty owners who fail to keep their pets indoors. The $5,000 fine / loss of kitty to THE MAN is draconian and mean, but before Team Carlos can take steps, he is kidnapped by a feline fetishist sex cult obsessed with the films of eccentric Pilsen Güdderammerüng. Stakes are high. Even if Carlos escapes their clutches, can he ever go home?
5 Star Reader’s Favorite 2017

About the Author

Toronto born author A.B. Funkhauser is a funeral director, classic car nut and wildlife enthusiast living in Ontario, Canada. Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us, not we it.

A devotee of the gonzo style pioneered by the late Hunter S. Thompson, Funkhauser attempts to shine a light on difficult subjects by aid of humorous storytelling. “In gonzo, characters operate without filters, which means they say and do the kinds of things we cannot in an ordered society. Results are often comic but, hopefully, instructive.”

Her most recent release, Shell Game, is a psycho-social cat dramedy with death and laughs that takes aim at a pastoral community with a lot to hide. “With so much of the world currently up for
debate, I thought it would be useful to question—again—the motives and machinations championed by the morally flexible and then let the cat decide what it all means.”


Find Her
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/A.B.-Funkhauser/e/B00WMRK4Q4 Website: https://abfunkhauser.com/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamfunkhauser Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abfunkhauser/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/funkhausera/ Publisher: http://www.solsticepublishing.com

Friday, June 15, 2018

Guest Blogger: Lucy Andrews



https://www.amazon.com/dp/162526674X



Please tell us about your latest book? What can we expect from you in the future?
Crater’s Edge is my debut novel. It’s Science Fiction and set in 2235, on a distant planet called Taidor which Earth is in the process of colonising. My main character, Kalen Trinneer, is an engineer who is sent to Area 20 to sort out problems in the deep mines of the site. Machines have been behaving oddly and the miners have been getting sick and injured. Kalen shares his work with a Duplicate, who lives in an alternate time zone. The story unfolds as Kalen tries to find answers to the problems at Area 20 against the back drop of a society with rigorous segregation between time zones. Kalen’s search takes him on a journey where he finds danger, love and betrayal. I’ve tried to keep the story full of surprises with twists and turns all of the way to the end when Kalen finally discovers the truth. I loved writing it and am now writing a sequel.


How do we find out about you and your books? https://www.amazon.com/dp/162526674X https://www.facebook.com/LucyAndrewsAuthor https://twitter.com/LAndrewsWrites


Why did you decide to write Science Fiction?
I decided to write the sort of book that I enjoy reading. With SciFi I could create my own world, create an exciting adventure story and deal with issues that society will face in the future. I wanted to take my readers to places outside of their normal every day experience.


How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
My characters in Crater’s Edge are purely fictional. I think you have to have a certain degree of life experience to create believable characters and situations.


When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first MS?
I’ve always felt that I was a writer, but had to put off my literary aspirations because I worked full time. Over the years the feeling grew until eventually I couldn’t put off writing a novel any longer.


Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
I don’t have a set schedule. Sometimes I become so immersed that I write for hours without noticing the time.


Where do your ideas come from?
My imagination and sometimes, vivid dreams.


What kind of research do you do?
Although Crater’s Edge is SciFi, I did check various technical or scientific aspects so that the story would appear credible.


Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
I like to read books that take me out of contemporary society, so I also enjoy reading historical novels. A few years ago I visited a place with such an amazing history that I’ve had a nagging desire ever since to write a novel based on it.


What do you think of critique groups in general?
I’m wary of them so I haven’t used them. I think misplaced or too much criticism can easily destroy a new author’s confidence. I don’t think it’s a good idea to have too many people criticising the same book. What one reader enjoys another hates. Everyone has a different viewpoint. I would rather have two or three people I trust look over the finished MS.


What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I like to go out for a long walk in the countryside followed by a good lunch in a country inn. If it’s raining I enjoy staying in with a good book.


Please tell us about yourself?
I live on the south coast of England and spent most of my professional life working as a lawyer in London. After deciding on a career change, I studied psychology and did research. I’ve now given up the day job to focus on writing. I love history and for many years, I took part in English civil war re-enactments as a musketeer. Now, I usually go out walking in the countryside at weekends. I also have extreme wanderlust and travel whenever I can.


Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
Michael Crichton is my favorite author, but The Tommyknockers by Stephen King is my favorite book.

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
Philip K Dick, Hugh Howey, Michael Crichton, Conn Iggulden, Stephen King, Ken Follett, Iain M Banks. I’ve read everything by Philip K Dick.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Believe in yourself and never give up.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Guest Blogger: Adam Zorzi




What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?

Curiosity. People and their every day actions are fascinating. I observe an interaction, see others react, and think why did that happen? Why those people? At that time time? In that place? What one thing might have changed the entire scenario? I might write both a factual and fanciful version for later use in a story.


Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)

I was born in Venice, Italy and moved to New York with my family at a young age. I was educated here in both architecture and law. Long walks in every part of the city are a favorite activity. I also love to travel, attend films and opera, and spend time with my friends. I run, swim, and ski, but am an avid armchair tennis fan. I can easily watch a match between Federer and Nadal that may last five hours.


Please tell us about your latest book.

After the publication of my holiday novel Auld Acquaintances, I've written short stories. Two were recently published - Low Country Boil and An Unexpected Gift - both as part of Solstice anthologies and stand alones.

What can we expect from you in the future?

A summer beach read. I love reading them and wanted to write one. I want to capture the lightness of a breezy read, but tell a good romantic story. It's not set in Nantucket so I think that will be a change for beach book fans. I always have works in progress, including a medical romance series.

What kind of research do you do?

Thorough. As a reader, I find it frustrating to read a book set in a place or has a character playing a sport when it's clear the author has no idea about either. I strive to be accurate and enjoy researching locations and characters' backgrounds and occupations. I once wrote about a family of long-distance sailors. I don't know anything about the sport and ended up reading several memoirs as well as technical manuals and watching competitive races on YouTube. What do you think of critique groups in general?

Mine is fantastic. It's diverse with authors of multiple genres. That hasn't mattered. They provide so much in terms of plot points, grammar, and character motivations. They're not afraid to say, "This is an info dump. Delete it." It's small so we each get to have our work critiqued at least once a month. I was fortunate to find a great group the first time. We each really want the others to succeed.

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?

My first published book Blind Spot was a joy to write and the lovers—beautiful scheming Bella and smart loving Daniel—remain dear. However, I enjoy all my lovers when I'm writing. If I don't believe in a couple, I can't expect readers to make that leap.


What is your writing routine?

The story is blocked out in my head before I type a word. I write straight through and then revise. I don't print manuscripts, but I do read them thoroughly before revising. Of course, there's always a rogue character who creates a plot or subplot I hadn't pre-determined and that makes the book better.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?

Write. If you're passionate about writing, you can't really stop yourself from doing so. Submit what you write when it's ready. Beware of contests that charge an entry fee. If you're going to spend money for writing practice and advice, take legitimate classes or workshops. Be open to fair criticism.


How do we find out about you and your books?

My website is adamzorzi.com. I'm on the Solstice Publishing website and amazon's Author Central. I'm on social media—Facebook (AdamZorzi), InstaGram (adamzorziauthor), and Twitter (@AdamZorzi). Twitter is what I use most because I enjoy interacting with readers, authors, and interesting people.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Guest blogger: David W. Thompson





Please tell us about your latest book.
"His Father's Blood" is the second book in the Legends of the Family Dyer series. It follows Moll Dyer's descendant John Dyer as he confronts the demon that's plagued his family for generations. It has historical significance (as did Sister Witch (Book 1)), ghostly spirits, shapeshifters, shamans as well as a romantic element. There's a strong social conscience woven in that the series is known for.

What can we expect from you in the future?
At least one more in the Dyer series. Book 3 is in rough draft form and I've become temporarily sidetracked by a post apocalyptic thriller introducing a new vigilante hero.

How do we find out about you and your books?

Why did you decide to write dark fiction novels?
It seemed natural--as it's what I read and watch in movies. I think it helps folks to see their lives aren't as dark as they thought. Nothing gets our blood flowing like a shot of raw fear/horror. It reminds us we are alive!

How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
A lot- but not always actual experiences. I often look at things that have happened to me (or were done to me) and question what might have happened if this had really turned bad. As to personality, I believe we all have elements of dark and light within us. Who we are is determined by which side of ourselves we allow to rule...but the other side will still slip out occasionally.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
Moll Dyer is a historical figure, but her story is one of myth and legend. After over 300 years, her tale morphed into a well defined oral tradition that is especially prevalent in my part of the world. Hers was a tragic life, spun of bigotry and fear. It is a legend that has pulled at my heart strings for as long as I can remember. I felt it was time she saw some justice, even if posthumously. After I wrote and rewrote Sister Witch, I submitted it to a few publishers. I received rejections, but one was nice enough to suggest changes. I incorporated the changes--mostly with the intro--but then I essentially shelved it, put it on hold... My mom came to me in a dream about a year later and told me it was time to resubmit. I sent it to 3 publishers and all three came back with either a contract offer or a request for the full manuscript.
 
Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
About a year with a book like Sister Witch that involved a lot of historical research. Perhaps 6 months for stories that are primarily my fantasy.

Do you have a set schedule for writing or do you just go with the flow?
Life is so complicated. I often write for hours a day (or all day) for a week and then step away for a few days-- especially when polishing my first draft.

What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions? 
It depends on the day. LOL I'm rather single-minded when engaged in a project. If they didn't interrupt when I'm on a roll I might not eat for a few days.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
Kayaking (flat water rivers), hiking, family gatherings...I'm also a wood carver and wine maker. 

What truly motivates you in general? In your writing?
The cathartic feeling that only comes from creation.

Where do your ideas come from?
Personal experiences, snippets of overheard conversation. The answer to the question "But what if?" that I always ask myself.

Do you feel humor is important in dark fiction  and why?
In every genre, a humorous touch is often used to lighten the mood or to relax the reader prior to unveiling the "monster-under-the-bed."

What kind of research do you do?
A lot, some say too much! I like to know the setting pretty well prior to any writing. That place's history and people require research. if I am writing about a different time period, I like to know the slang used-at least those terms that would be understandable by a modern reader. Language explains a lot about a culture's views and values.

Would you like to write a different genre than you do now, or sub-genre?
That's why I define what I write as dark fiction. It encompasses many genres. Everything is improved with a bit of shadow! My WIC is Sci-Fi though and will be a new limb of the tree for me.

What does your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend think of your writing?
She enjoys it very much (or so she tells me!).

Do you ever ask him/her for advice?
All the time- especially for a female perspective on actions and dialog.

Please tell us about yourself (family, hobbies, education, etc.)
I am the second son and fourth child in a family of 5 siblings. We are blessed to all live in the same county in Southern Maryland. I wish the same could be said for my children and grands! We have three most excellent kids. Two live here with 7 of my 12 grandchildren. One is a Navy wife and we see her and her wonderful family all too seldom. I went to the University of Maryland, University College for a long time! My degree was earned while serving with the US Army in Georgia, Germany and finally back home in Maryland.

Fill in the blank favorites - 
Dessert. Cheesecake 
City- Loveville, Md! 
Season. Fall 
Type of hero. Superhero- Batman. Regular hero- a father
Type of heroine. Strong, capable, never fawning. Independent but able to accept help when necessary


Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book? 
Too many, I love to read! Thoreau, Tolkien, Vonnegut, Poe, Camus and the list goes on...

What do you think of critique groups in general? 
So far my critique group has been limited to my beta readers. In other phases of my life, I've seen too much negativism associated with such groups.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully alive and healthy

How long have you been writing - have you always wanted to be a writer?
I think my first story was Dick and Jane fan fiction! I have always written and now find myself in a position where I have the time and energy to devote to longer tales.

How many books have you written, how many have been published?
Written 5. I have a third about to be published "His Father's Blood.. that follows "Sister Witch." "Julianna's Choice" is a paranormal romance published under the pseudonym Davina Guy.

After you've written your book and it's been published, do you ever buy it and/or read it?
Both, nothing like the feeling of having your book in your hands!

Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
Moll Dyer has been a part of my life (and fantasy life) forever. I suspect she and her story will remain my favorites for some time to come.

What book for you has been the easiest to write? The hardest? The most fun?
Hardest- His Father's Blood
Easiest/Most fun- Julianna's Choice
Most rewarding - Sister Witch


Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting? What are the elements of a great romance for you?
Characters- definitely. You have to have a certain character type with characteristics that can make the story happen. The setting influences and helps create the character, but for me, the story evolves around the character.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
The rough draft is the easiest, allowing the story to flow from my imaginings to the document. Editing is the worst. Ripping and slashing away at some of your favorite scenes that no longer make sense or aren't necessary to move the story along.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
Only short term. I've hit roadblocks in my story line. I've just stepped away...a little distance allows my subconscious (what some call their muse, but I consider my character's voice) to straighten me out. 

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
As a admitted introvert, it allows a freedom of expression that I cannot experience any other way. 

If you weren't writing, what would you be doing?
Wood carving, my other creative pursuit

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
 
Keep at it- reading, writing and polishing. Don't be afraid to bare chunks of your soul! Ignore naysayers.  

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Guest Blogger: Raymond Chilensky





1-Please tell us about your latest book.
‘The Pandora Principle” Is the third book in the FIRE Team Alpha series. FIRE Team Alpha is an elite, multi-national military unit of genetically enhanced soldiers operating in geopolitically fractured future. In the Pandora Principle, the team must protect a corrupt politician who supports legislation that would strip the civil rights of the genetically enhanced, including the members of FIRE Team Alpha, from a group of super-human terrorists.

2-How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
Probably more than I intend. The FIRE Team Alpha Series has a lot of my political and philosophical views in it. But, that is sort of unavoidable since the background of the story is based on a vision of future geopolitics extrapolated from my interpretation of historical patterns.

3-When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I started submitting my first manuscript in 2016 when I was 48 years old, and short stories a few years before that. I’d been writing stories for most of my life and showing them only to family and friends. But, one day I said to myself: “You’ve had the idea for FIRE Team Alpha bouncing around in your head since high school. Sit down and write the D@#* book!” So I did.

4-Generally, how long does it take you to write a book?
Once I actually start typing the manuscript, I generally finish it in about four months. But the research for a book could take few moths itself. For instance, the research for “Seventh: Blessed Warriors Book One” took about two months of pouring over Biblical, rabbinic, and Gnostic, lore as well other esoteric material. Admittedly, I got so interested in the research material that I got sidetracked and could have started the manuscript sooner. LOL.

5-What about your family, do they know not to bother you when you are writing - or are there constant interruptions?
They don’t mean to be a distraction, but they are. Not being writers themselves, they don’t get how hard it is to regain focus and concentration once it’s lost when writing. So I generally don’t start writing until after everyone is in bed, and write into the wee hours of the morning.

6-Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. I read a lot about emerging technology, current events, and history and I get a lot of inspiration from them. I usually have more ideas than I can develop, so I write them down and decide which one to actually put serious work into.

7-What kind of research do you do?
My research is fairly extensive. I concentrate on finding details that will add authenticity to my stories. For Pandora Principle, I learned as much as possible about VIP protection tactics. For my current work in progress: “Swords: Blessed Warriors Book Two” I delved into the Wiccan religion and Sumerian mythology.

8-Do you have a favorite author? Favorite book?
My all time favorite author is the great Robert Heinlein (hallowed be his name): one of the giants of science fiction. A single favorite book out of the hundreds, possibly thousands of books I’ve read in my life would be impossible to pick. Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” made a big impact on me, and so did Taylor Caldwell’s “The Captains and the Kings”. And so did Heinlein’s “For us: the Living.”

9-What do you think of critique groups in general?
My local library only recently formed a critique group and I love to attend the meetings. Real world, face-to-face groups are very useful. Online critique groups seem to attract people who just want to tear other people down and not be criticized in return. There is a vetting effect when you have expend the effort to get up, go out of the house, and present your work for others to scrutinize. There is little effort or value in typing a few snide remarks on a message board.

10-Among your own books, have you a favorite book? Favorite hero or heroine?
My favorite of five books I’ve had published is still my first “The Fate of Nations: FIRE Team Alpha: Book One.” The character who became my favorite was a bit of a surprise. General Jeremiah Hicks is the surrogate father and mentor to the series’ main character: Douglas Carter. My own father died when I was just three years old. So when I’m writing the father son moments between Hicks and Carter it gives me a sense of what it would be like to sit on the porch, smoke a cigar, and have heart-to-heart with my dad.