Thursday, August 21, 2014

Guest Blogger: Jack Strandburg

Welcome Jack Strandburg to my blog today.

Please tell us about your latest book.
I am currently working on a mystery titled A Head in the Game. It was originally written in the 1990’s but I’m rewriting from scratch due to all I have learned from writing over the years and have come up with more interesting characters and plot points.

When did you first think about writing and what prompted you to submit your first ms?
I started writing when I was a teenager. My first book, Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid (Solstice Publishing) was originally written as nothing more than practice and fun. Over time as I continued writing I thought, why not take a shot at becoming a published author? Eventually I realized it was something I wanted all along.

What is your writing routine once you start a book?
I am continually working on approaches to minimize the time from idea to completion. Now my approach is to outline and attempt to answer all questions regarding character, background, timelines, and events contributing to the final version.

What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
I like to play golf, watch TV (although lately I look at movies and TV shows as fodder for story ideas), listen to music and exercise (walking and going to local gym).

Where do your ideas come from?
Other books, movies, TV shows, driving down the street and noticing a character or setting.

What kind of research do you do?
I used to over-research but have learned it is wiser to know what I need to research before embarking on that task.

Fill in the blank favorites - Dessert. City. Season. Type of hero.
Dessert – Ice cream
Season – Fall
Type of hero – Martial Artist with his/her own brand of justice

Who are some of your other favorite authors to read?
Harlan Coben, Robert B. Parker, Dean Koontz.

Which comes first, the story, the characters or the setting?
I need story (events and plot) because although characters and setting are integral, something must happen to have a story.

What is the hardest part of writing/the easiest for you?
Getting started is the hardest part. The easiest (and most fun) is the revision stage.

Have you experienced writer's block---> If so, how did you work through it?
I never had writer’s block and don’t acknowledge its existence – there is always something to write, even if it isn’t related to my current project.

What is the most rewarding thing about being a writer?
Reading through my own work and actually loving it.

Are there any words of encouragement for unpublished writers?
Keep writing – never quit – keep experimenting and follow your dream.

Blurb for Hustle Henry And The Cue Ball Kid
Clarence Flannery was luckier than most men his age to discover his life’s ambition, particularly in the unpredictable years just following the Civil War. Born with an unmatched skill to play pool, he left his home in Kansas when he turned twenty-six and traveled throughout the Southwestern United States to make his mark as a legendary pool hustler, with every intention of amassing a fortune in the process.
Clarence needed help for both support and protection, and recruited James Skinner as his partner, along with nine other highly-skilled pool players to assist him in his quest.
Wanting to be included in the same sentence as Attila the Hun and Alexander the Great, Clarence changed his name to Hustle Henry, Skinner became the Cue-Ball Kid, and the eleven men would go down in history as The Hole-in-the-Table-Bunch, known far and wide for hustling wannabe pool sharks out of their life savings.

All goes to plan and life has a rosy and profitable outlook, but Henry and his men want more than what pool halls and saloons offer, so they decide to challenge the more affluent clientele on a riverboat.

Initially, the venture proves profitable, but the millionaire tycoon and owner of the fleet of riverboats, takes exception, and intends to bring down the Bunch and thrust Henry and The Kid into a life of destitution.

Taking along the Kid’s girlfriend, Penelope Henderson, the Kid and Henry flee to South America – where there will be a final showdown…

Hustle Henry and the Cue-Ball Kid is a fiction work of Western humor with an interesting and amusing cast of characters.

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