“The Summoner” with Fantasy Author Randy Massey

Welcome, Randy Massey!

This interview is rather interesting. Randy Massey is an author with a style of writing that really encapsulates what it means to write fantasy. His new book is the first part of a series. It’s called “The Summoner.” Read this interview and then go over and check out the new book. I think you will find yourself pre-ordering a copy. You can’t help but love the honest answers Randy gives.

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Q) Thank you for taking part in this interview, Randy. Can I start by asking what inspires you?
I would have to say God, family, life.
Q) How do you find “inspiration” and where does it live?
Inspiration is all around us. Whether in high joy or deep sorrow it is there for those who have eyes to see!
Q) When did you first consider yourself to be a writer?
It started soon after I read The Hobbit at age 10.
Q) How does a cover present itself? Where do those ideas come from?
Since most judge a book by its cover it needs to be functional in capturing the eyes of the beholders. As for the ideas for this kind of cover they should grow out of the imagination of the author and his/her story.
Q) What is the greatest writing aide a writer can have?
Deep commitment and determination, a never give up attitude.
Q) How did you find your writing style?
That developed over time as I read a wide variety of books. I always found myself drawn back to the world of fantasy. As to “style” I consider myself a planner more than a pantser.

“Inspiration is all around us. Whether in high joy or deep sorrow it is there for those who have eyes to see!”

Q) Can you define success, Randy? How do you feel about success?
Success is really a state of mind, being willing to accept whatever life gives you. Don’t’ like what you do or where you are? Then you are responsible to make changes!
Q) Many writers refer to a “writers heaven.” Let me ask you this, Randy. What is a “writers” heaven?
For me it would be a career as an author without having to work a “regular” job! After that, a movie or two from my writings would be on top of the list!

“Commitment and determination, a never give up attitude.”

Q) How often have you read another writers book and said “I can do better than that” to yourself?
(Laughs) Probably more often than I would admit!
Q) Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Stick to it, because the going will get tough!
Q) What is your writing routine? How do you discipline yourself to keep at it?
Most of my writing comes in spurts. Sometimes it’s a daily thing, other times a week or more will go by before I pound the keys again!
Q) How do you, personally, begin a novel?
Formulate a plan, conceptualize the story, develop main and minor characters, put a schematic on paper, draw a map (if needed), lay out chapter thoughts and outlines, then begin writing.
Q) Why is it a crime to use a cliché in a novel? We all use clichés in talking with people, so why the big no-no when writing?
Readers see them all the time. They need something new, refreshing. Often they just get old and stale “cliché’s”.
Q) How do you know when a chapter is “just” right?
For me, it should end in such a way that the reader is mad at you cause he/she can’t just stop there! They have to read into the next chapter to find out what happens next!
Q) Do you feel supported as a writer?
I personally have found that most authors are selfish and self-serving (me included). So, no, not a whole lot of true support given, at least not from very many of the authors I have met online.
Q) Do you think it’s important to be expressive when writing dialogue?
Yes. I try to write in such a way that the words draw the reader in to the conversation !
Q) How do you think your new book will be received by readers?
As every writer does: well-loved and looking for more from the author!

You can pre-order your copy of the first part of “The Legends of Arth” today. If you love Lord of the Rings you will love…

The Summoner

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A Reckless Interview With Steamy, Sexy Author Yveta Germano…

I backed off as soon as I saw his flashing eyes. Those weren’t the mesmerizing blue eyes I could previously get lost in. These were the eyes of a man so angry, he could kill me just by looking at me.
“I told myself a hundred times I would never touch you. But you’re so fucked up in the head, you leave me no option.” His voice was hoarse and furious; it was the only thing I could concentrate on.
He threw me over his shoulder, and before I could protest and call him another name, he took me to my bedroom, shut the door and pinned me against it. He quickly pulled both of my arms behind my back and kept me immobilized with his one hand. I was still angry, and I jerked my head from side to side. He clasped my face with his other hand and pressed my cheeks in, mangling my lips outward. He was still fuming and was about to say something but stopped himself when I let out a faint cry. He let go of my face and breathed out a few times.
“You want me to stop?” he whispered and, for a short moment, I thought I should say ‘yes.‘ I shook my head ‘no‘ instead.

Check out the interview here!

 

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Blog Tour #1: Meet The Authors of Raven’s Tears — Michael & Alesia Matson

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The world’s first 21st century book! with embedded links to maps, articles, and behind the scenes, inside information on the great City of Fernwall, the former Kingdom of Cascadia, and the larger world in which Raven & Iris live.

This is “Raven’s Tears“

This interview is with a brand new writing duo who have taken fantasy and turned it into their own art and expression. This isn’t just a work of fiction. This is a whole new world. Check out their first interview here

Author Megan Elizabeth Bares All For A New Blog Tour

Megan Elizabeth is one of the most exciting authors to appear on the book scene in some time. Her first book, “Sinners Craving: League of the Fallen,” was picked up by Satalyte Publishing earlier this year, and since its release in July, it has been moving quickly up the scales as one of the most interesting fantasy novels of the year.

Megan, herself, is driven to succeed with the kind of determination rarely seen in the world today. She lives in New York City and certainly has a ‘New York State of Mind’ when it comes to success. With “Sinners Craving” climbing the bestseller listings, she has nothing to worry about. Several major publishers are interested in her new novel slated for release in 2015.

megan elizabeth

What was the hardest part of writing “Sinners Craving?”

The hardest part about writing a book like “Sinner’s Craving” is handling multiple plot lines and making sure they all tie together. Since this book is part of a series, as a writer you need to plot in advance allowing for certain scenes to play out even though they’re not significant until books that come later on. It’s a way to keep readers interested and to have a bit of fun with the characters.

What did you enjoy most about writing “Sinners Craving?”

When I started writing “Sinner’s Craving,” it was a way to take readers into my world; but as I continued writing, I got lost in the scenes and characters. Writing takes me out of everyday life and puts me in the world of magic and imagination, where I would prefer to spend most of my days. That is what I loved most about writing “Sinner’s Craving.” I left the stress of the real world behind and could just focus on the story.

Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.

Well, I can say that you won’t need a dictionary to read “Sinner’s Craving.” My vocabulary is pretty straight forward. I do slip in a few fun terms like slhore which is the word slut and whore combined. But the context of it is pretty funny and well explained. I find that when I am reading a book, I hate it when I come across words that I’m not sure of. It slows down the pacing, and I get stuck on that one word. So I try not to do that in my writing.

Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.

I find that my combination of Fallen Angels and Greek Gods has yet to be done in the paranormal/urban fantasy world, which is what makes “Sinner’s Craving” so unique in those respective genres

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book?

I find that when I say that I use Fallen Angels, people automatically think that there is some form of religion in my books, which is so not the case. They’re warriors who happen to have wings; they are flawed in many different ways. There is a classic touch of good verse evil, but this is just an action-packed Urban Fantasy that was written to entertain.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

Well, there are two things. First, they assume that when I say I write urban fantasy or paranormal that it has to be about Vampires or Shifters. In reality, urban fantasy uses so many more species then just Vamps or Shifters, which I love. The second is that many people say that urban fantasy is a dying genre, let me be clear. Not only do I write urban fantasy, but I am a huge fan as well, and I personally can tell you that the fan base for this genre will never go away. We are voracious readers and are always looking for more.

What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

I think that people get caught up in the magical elements of my genre, which can be amazing. What most fail to realize is that the romance in these stories is utterly compelling. It all you desire to see in different ways, from the animalistic to the lightest touch—it is all right there.

What inspires you?

For me, inspiration comes in many different forms. From my will to strive to do better, to show my family and son that dreams can come true if you work for it. It also comes in many different mundane things, like a funny conversation with a friend or a good book that inspires you to try to write a different genre. People watching or even imagining wonderful things for themselves can turn into an amazing novel.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

My life has had many unexpected twists and turns. Not all good, but always a learning experience. I find that had I not gone through some tough times that I wouldn’t be inspired to write or be able to write the emotion that comes through my books.

Who are some of your favourite authors you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

My favourite author of all time is Kresley Cole. She is essentially responsible for my desire to write. While I love other authors like JR Ward (The Warden), Sherrlyn Kenyon, and Gena Showalter, it is Kresley Cole who I truly admire. Her world building is amazing, and she uses different species in her books, which are fascinating as she moulds them to her stories. I find that her talent inspires me to write better and strive for more as a story teller.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Learning to write is an on-going process. As you continue, you are constantly evolving as a writer, improving and finding different ways to make your writing more interesting. The most useful tool I found in learning how to write is actually reading. Funny as that many sound, reading great authors give you the opportunity to see how they break down their stories, describe scenes and give a flawless delivery. As a writer, you are choosing to put yourself out in the public and allow them into your world. Some people will love it and some will hate it. The most destructive thing you can do for your writing is only hear the negative comments. Use constructive criticism to make you a better writer, but anything else needs to roll off your shoulders. That, of course, is easier said than done.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

This is a tricky question. I am a write-whenever-I-can-and-as-much-as-I-can writer. While I’d love to say that all I do is write, it wouldn’t be the truth. I am a multitasking monster and continue to juggle many different things. I believe that if I didn’t have so much on my plate, I would get so much more accomplished. But at the moment, I’m taking it one day at a time, and someday all I’ll do is write.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Let’s see… I’ve been a mortgage broker, a receptionist, a hotel manager, a front desk agent, food and beverage manager, sales manager, waitress and, most recently, a pre-school teacher. I’m not in the habit of jumping from job to job; I’ve just been working since I was fifteen, so you can imagine the list of professions that one can go through from teenager to college graduate. In truth, it has impacted my writing. In one of my books, my heroine starts out a waitress. It’s one thing to write a fictional character; it’s quite another to understand the ins and outs of what they do and how they themselves would think about it.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

If you would like to get to know my book “Sinner’s Craving,” you can find it on Goodreads, Amazon and the Barnes & Noble website. You can also find info about my characters and upcoming books on my website at http://www.meganelizabethauthor.com. I hope you stop by and explore.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

At first, I was one of those purists who believed that nothing could compare to how a book felt in your hands. Then, after stacks and stacks of books began to overwhelm my house, I received my first e-reader as a gift and hint to de-clutter. I love being able to download all the books I want and not have to take a trip to the store. Believe me, I used to be at the store multiple times a week buying multiple books, so I can see how ebooks are taking over through sheer convenience.

I think that every author has their own view of how they would like their books to be published. Both self-publishing and traditional publishing have their perks and downfalls. If you self-publish, there is no one telling you “no, your book is not good enough.” It is also a way for authors to take total control of their work and run their careers the way they see fit, which I must admit is very appealing. The downfall of self-pub is there is also a lot of garbage coming out as well, which is leading readers to hang tight to the traditional publishing world. Again, while with traditional publishing there is a certain amount of notoriety and validation for your work, it is a very tough nut to crack and actually get into. I myself am a traditional publishing kind of writer. I want my work to be edited again and again, to be truly polished by professionals. That way I am confident that I am putting out the best work I feel I can do.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

Well, I think that ebooks will continue to grow as the way that people get their reading fix. As far as whether or not self-publishing will take over or traditional publishing will continue to reign, I honestly don’t know. I think I’m hoping for co-existence.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

Writing and publishing a book is a very long, slow process, which is a serious test in patience—not my strongest virtue. I am an instant gratification kind of girl. However, first, obviously, I completed the novel, had it edited, then edited two more times. After that, I started on the long, tedious process of submitting it to publishing houses. It was a matter of playing the waiting game. Many houses take an average of six to eight weeks to get back to an author. The best way to get your name to the top of the list is to attend pitch sessions at a writing conference.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Never before has another author mixed Fallen Angels and Greek Mythology in a way that works for the story. In my books, you will find it totally works and is completely entertaining.

How do you find or make time to write?

Admittedly, it is difficult to find all the time I want to write. I find that I do most of my writing late at night when the house is quiet, and I can concentrate on the task at hand.

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

My writing process is as follows: plot, plot and plot some more. Then I start writing, and my beautiful outline and plot go right out the window, and I write the story as it flows intuitively out of me. Many times when I’m outlining, I haven’t gotten into my characters fully; but by the time I start writing, the characters have changed the story on their own, and it transforms into something that I utterly love.

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

To promote my work I have done interviews such as this one, appeared on radio and podcasts. It helps to be able to work with someone like Nick Wale, my PR guru. He is the one who tells me all the different ways to promote, like Goodreads, Amazon reviews and banner advertisements across blogger’s websites. I’m also on social media, more dominantly FaceBook, but I also have Twitter and Instagram. I find that it’s so very important to promote your work. No one is going to buy a book they have no knowledge of. And the best investment you can make is in yourself.

 

 

Megan Elizabeth puts sexy back into fantasy and combines love and evil to create Matteaus…

Get your copy today

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Red, Blue and You! Political Commentator Tom Ufert Kicks Off A New Blog Tour

American’s are the King of the Idea. Fail or succeed an American will follow an idea till it’s conclusion and then, depending on the outcome, modify the idea and make it even stronger. When it comes to ingenuity American’s top the list of the greatest ground-to-the-top achievers in the world. Look at the moguls, the ideas, the corporations, the booms and the busts. It’s a giant game of Monopoly and nothing is more of a game than the way the political scene works. In this new interview Thomas Ufert, Tom to his friends, explains why he wrote a book called “Political Craps” and why he believes, like I do, that even with the political struggles currently going on within the country– there’s no better place in the world to be than in the U.S.A.

POLITICAL

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

I would have to say the hardest task was keeping up with the rapidly changing nature of the specific issues that Political Craps addresses. In many ways this fact perfectly illustrates the ongoing frustration most citizens have with politics today—they can’t keep up with the rapid pace of change. Compounding that frustration is the deluge of conflicting information literally drowning them to the point of overwhelming apathy. While writing the manuscript and attempting to follow a carefully crafted outline, I found myself scrambling to re-research topics that seemed to transform on a daily basis. In fact, there were some articles and reports that had to be reviewed and inserted into the final draft within days of the finished product. In the end I was forced to set a firm deadline after which no new material would be included. Otherwise, I’d still be writing the book!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

After three decades of being politically involved, it was a distinct pleasure to utilize my past experience as a primer for helping others sort through all the “crap” that so often clouds the reality of politics. For most people, trying to sift through all the smoke and mirrors is a tedious and often disillusioning process. Even after scratching the minutest surface of the world of politics, most people become so disgusted that they lose faith in the noble ideals of our democracy and wind up convinced that their trust in the whole system could never be restored. Furthermore, that loss of faith results in an apathetic conclusion that as citizens their individual vote is meaningless. Writing Political Craps re-instilled my profound belief in two intrinsic values: One, the pen is mightier than the sword and two, individuals can make a difference. For me personally, and I pray that the book inspires this attitude, failure to hold these beliefs inviolate means being an American is a naive act of hopeless futility. THAT IS SOMETHING I CAN NEVER ACCEPT!

Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.

I cannot deny that there are some “25 cent words” within the text. I make no apology for using them and in fact, wrote in the manuscript the phrase (go look it up) anticipating a common unfamiliarity with the vocabulary. My intention was not to insult anyone or act intellectually superior. On the contrary, my goal was to educate my readers by forcing them to actually look up the definition so they would broaden their minds and become familiar with terms politically commonplace. In the end, information is power. Leaders at times will talk above people’s heads to confuse them and put themselves on pedestals of self-importance. Only when people are educated can they tell the difference between fact and BS! My attitude is that everyone should strive for self-improvement for the day we stop learning is the day we die. For specific political terms or acronyms associated with government institutions I have included a glossary in the back of the book. Some of the “25 cent word” examples include:
– Obfuscate – “render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.”
– Inclinations – “a person’s natural tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way; a disposition or propensity.”

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? If so, discuss them.

I’m sure that some of the groups or individuals I refer to may seem unfamiliar or underrepresented for the average person who is not politically informed or motivated. That’s a given. Today’s 30 second sound byte world tends to utilize or publicize the most commonly recognizable figures so as to meet their primary demographic audience’s limited attention span. Risking pissing people off, I’m going to say it—we’ve become lazy and adamantly comfortable with being mediocre. Getting Informed Getting Involved (#GIGI) takes work and requires a modicum (yes, go look it up!) of effort! Nothing worth having comes easy. Therefore, I went to great lengths in Political Craps to seek out a multitude of atypical (okay, go look it up too if you have to) resources and differing opinions so that a balanced and unpartisan perspective could be provided. For example the book makes use of several references from groups like OpenSecrets.org, PublicCitizen.org, and PublicCampaign.org because these organizations are independently non-partisan that take transparency and public information standards seriously. Political Craps was intentionally derived totally from the internet to emphasize that all of this information is available for public consumption if people would just get off their butts and go find it.

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.

Yeah, I think so. People immediately assume that as a political activist I have a partisan agenda to advance. WRONG! Having worked on both sides of the aisle for each political party as well as having been both a Democrat and Republican myself, I assert pros and cons for each of them. Furthermore, I have no biased hesitation about holding each of them accountable as should all Americans! Perhaps another misconception is that my book is written only for those select few who are interested in politics. WRONG AGAIN! I intentionally wrote Political Craps to reach those who are not traditionally interested in politics…hence the title. Every page is meant to enlighten and inspire average Americans who are not blessed with my former insider insight. The book is primarily intended to crack the door to what is really going on behind the veneer of American politics.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

Politics only affects those that are involved in it. WRONG! Politics affects everyone from children dependent on state insurance plans, to students relying on teachers and schools to provide them with a good education, to working adults trying to earn enough to make ends meet, to all citizens seeking service and protection from their local police and fire departments, to every American wanting protection from terrorism or Ebola. Your elected representatives—local, state and federal—all make the laws and regulations that directly impact your lives. Failure to be active participants, or at the bare minimum even vote on Election Day, means that people are blindly trusting public servants in power to do what’s best for you without holding them accountable. Talk about blind stupidity! The 113th Congress is a prime example of what happens when the people don’t demand politicians do what they’re hired for—“the do nothing congress!”

What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

Not every book on politics is boring and filled with useless information. As many of the 5 Star reviews on Political Craps testify, this book is a great read and actually entertaining. I’ll let them speak for themselves…

– “Great Writing, Great Premise AND Kept Me Awake!”
– “This is a great book.”
– “This book should be in the top ten to preview, listen, read, and issue as a summer reading assignment in all families.”
– “’Political Craps’ by Tom Ufert is one of the most interesting political tomes of modern times.”
– “Being naive in political jargon has completely baffled me, but Mr. Ufert’s book expresses his thoughts and views very clearly to the average layman.”

What inspires you?

Service to a greater good is what inspires me. Naturally I’m moved by uplifting music, art and literature. However, stories of people overcoming great challenges, not wallowing in self-pity, and giving back to improve the world around them display the nobility of man and go a long way to dispelling the sometimes overpowering darkness of human character. As a species we are capable of such beauty, creativity and accomplishment. Yet we are also the harbingers of grotesque evil, destruction and barbarity. This dichotomy of the human soul is a constant tug of war and when even a small shred of light is ignited to sear through the darkness it is a crescendo of magnificence that deserves recognition. In this country the ability of one person to make a difference and pursue a life of purpose knows no bounds…THAT’S WHAT INSPIRES ME.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

LOTS OF HELP! There are so many people who have really helped shape my life and along with plenty of prayer/self-reflection I’ve managed to make it this far. Probably not what most people would expect to hear, but plenty of mistakes along the way have helped me learn and find the right path. Life is an ever twisting turning journey but I can honestly say mine has been truly blessed. After an endless barrage of adversities, including three life changing disabilities, I’m still hear and “rolling” strong. Music and humour serve to make life bearable. I was struck by recently deceased icon Joan Rivers’ quotation “If you can laugh at it, you can live with it!” Laughing in the face of tribulation helps one keep a positive attitude. Having friends and loved ones who sincerely believe in you girds one for the inevitable struggles against doubt and hopelessness. I thank God that the village of people in my life is diverse, colourful, solid and showers me with unconditional love.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Harper Lee, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Frost, Jack London, J.D. Salinger, Voltaire, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shakespeare, Dr. Martin Luther King, John Grisham, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Grisham, James Patterson, and Patricia Cornwell are the names that first come to mind. Each in their own way has left lasting impressions whether it be through their style, subject matter, use of language or simple inspiration from their words. I’m deeply grateful for the breadth of knowledge imparted to me from my educators over the years that have instilled a love for the written word and its intrinsic power. That diversity has greatly influenced not only my literary skills but my prowess as a confident public speaker.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful notion I gained from writing was the God given talent to reach the heart and souls of others through the written word. I’m most fortuitous that today’s expansive technology driven world has offered greater opportunities for aspiring writers like myself to soar and become reputable literary figures. I’ll grant you it’s not been easy or even profitable. Yet it has granted me a meaningful outlet to continue making a difference at a time in my life when physical challenges have limited my ability to be on the front lines of political or social change. There is no doubt that, like so many professions today, I’ve had to deal with profiteering scoundrels and two-faced sycophants that will offer you seemingly genuine praise to your face while plotting behind your back to rob you blind or assassinate your character. Furthermore, the rapidly changing publishing industry is pockmarked with deceptive practices or tactics that demand diligent research and an almost cold wariness so as to protect your talents and reputation. In many ways, becoming a full time writer has taught me so much about the law, business, marketing, merchandising, and human psychology.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I would have to say that I’m a full-time writer part of the time and a full-time public relations marketer the rest of the time. My physical challenges frequently cause the need to have breaks from a regular occupational routine. This has prevented me from working a regular 9-5 job for a number of years. Though this situation is financially straining it does seem to be quite conducive to my new found writing endeavors. I can work at my own pace and set my own hours. While this is beneficial to my particular approach to writing, the marketing and promotional requirements of a contemporary writing career are quite another matter entirely. In fact, like so many fellow writers I’ve communicated with, the PR aspect of writing tends to interfere with a regular writing regimen. It has taken quite some time for me to discover that blogging, my new weekly radio program and numerous other side ventures like these interview questions can offer a beneficial honing of one’s writing skills. Nonetheless, if one could afford a full-time literary agent to handle the mundane chores of marketing and media relations producing more than one book a year might be possible. I am blessed however, to have a dedicated support group of creative professionals as represented in both my marketing and publishing teams that ease my workload.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

For most of my adult life I’ve held positions that dealt directly with the public in various fields and capacities. All through college I worked as a “car hop” for a high end dry cleaner; then served as an assistant food and beverage manager for an airport hotel. In 1992 the development of my physical challenges forced me into several customer service positions within the insurance, pharmaceutical and home security industries. All of these helped me acquire a unique appreciation for handling problems for the general public, inter-personal communications, and a multitude of corporate organizational skills that required multi-tasking, community affairs, event planning, employee relations and even management responsibilities. In addition my extracurricular activities with political campaigning, charity fundraising and service on three different 501(c)3 boards of directors required creative writing for grants, volunteer drives and media relations. It is fair to say that all combined these occupational experiences have served me well to provide a well-rounded resume that has assisted my present writing vocation.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

My suggestion would be to peruse my numerous political essays on Amazon.com, website blog posts at http://www.tomufert.com or follow my social media outreach on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube and WordPress. In the last three years I’ve been fortunate to acquire a sizeable social media footprint. Interested parties need only go to their preferred search engine and type in Tom Ufert and they’ll find a vast assortment of information on what I’m all about.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

To be perfectly honest, I’m really “old school” preferring the tactile satisfaction of holding, feeling and smelling a print version of books. However, practically speaking we live an electronic technology world where a growing majority of people want the easy access of Ebooks. They provide a convenience in space saving, are ecologically responsible, and an almost immediate gratification of purchase, collection and discard. As for alternative vs. conventional publishing, transparency requires my confessed bias towards alternative—that has been my only successful means of publishing from the start. The rather heady and arguably discriminatory “old boys club” approach of conventional publishing has traditionally frowned upon those writers who either couldn’t afford their stilted methodologies or chose rather to buck the system. One only has to take a brief look at the present economic trends to see how rapidly conventional publishing seems to be antiquated in the face of modern internet technology. In fact there’s not a single major publishing corporation that hasn’t seen the future and started their own alternative subsidiary.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

Regrettably it’s all electronic. I guess that’s just the lamentations of someone from a passing generation that values beyond measure a “real book.” Yes, I still remember the old days of pencils and erasers, hand held dictionaries, typewriters and the thrill when white out was invented! Who knows, maybe someday my book collection may actually be worth some coin…we do still use coins don’t we? LOL!
What process did you go through to get your book published?

Though I was thoroughly impressed with the editing process of my original publisher and the proposed marketing approach within the industry, their nickel and dime fee structure for literally every promotional service was disillusioning. Therefore, I spent months reviewing new prospects. I read articles/customer reviews and expert evaluations as well as spoke personally with sales representatives from several major firms. In the end, recommendations from respected fellow authors were the key factors that brought me to Titan Inkorp. What impressed me the most was the fact that the company was founded by an author who approached publishing from the writer’s perspective. Their fee structure was reasonably affordable, person to person customer service was stressed and they worked diligently on extensive creative marketing. Their personal touch was deeply reassuring and created confidence that the company was directly invested in my book’s success. The manuscript went through three different editors and was approved. Skype conference calls with staff members on three continents successfully drafted marketing protocols involving ad banners, social media posts, proper key word assignment and strategic categorization convinced me I had found the right fit. I’ve been completely satisfied ever since.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

As I’ve said before, this deeply researched book was written for the average person who is relatively ignorant of the inner workings of the political process. It’s been described as “an excellent primer” for the politically disengaged. Additionally, its tonal theme is inspirational hopefully stirring a renewed sense of civic patriotism. Unlike many books on politics, Political Craps is completely non-partisan and holds everyone accountable—candidates, elected officials, bureaucrats, both political parties, all three branches of government, lobbyists, special interest groups AND the voters. Finally, to dispel the typical excuses of ignorance and apathy this book was totally researched from public information off the internet.

How do you find or make time to write?

On my office wall above my copier in plain sight is an hour by hour daily work schedule. In all honesty it’s far from etched in stone, but it is a visible reminder of daily tasks. Writing requires some semblance of organization and determination. I don’t know about others, but for me writing requires secluding myself “in the zone.” With three dogs, two cats, a life partner, daily home health aide and sometimes a roommate this is no easy task. I have my headphones with playlists of music to block out the distractions. There’s a bold DO NOT DIISTURB sign on my office door…when it’s closed people know to leave me alone. I’ll shut off the phone and ignore FB chat. I have to set strict guidelines for myself and others when I’m seriously writing because even the slightest interruption can break my train of thought. Sometimes when I’m disturbed it can take a few hours to clear my head before picking up where I left off. It may sound harsh, but it’s what works for me and to do my craft justice it is a necessity.

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

Now that’s an interesting question. After thinking about it I’d have to say I write from a triple combination…logic, intuition and experience. Since my predominant literary area is non-fiction, experience plays a major role in crafting my manuscripts. I use logic to try and convey the premises of my books’ themes in the hope that I strike a cord and reach my readers. Intuition has its part to play as well. My primary goal of inspiring readers by touching their hearts and souls and at times hoping to instil action on their part requires intuition about what grabs people and moves them to becoming invested in my vision. Non-fiction is, in my opinion, a tougher genre field because the subject matter is generally not a literary classification that is considered “entertaining” leisure reading. The writer really has to leap out and literally pull prospective readers in and give them a reason for wanting to read the book. Therefore, logic serves to give people a reason for picking up the book in the first place. Intuition serves to understand what moves readers in that direction. Finally, experience convinces them that you actually know what you’re writing about and the purchase of your book isn’t a waste of their time and money.

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

Man, how much time do we have? If there is one major unexpected lesson I’ve learned from becoming a writer it is the “light bulb” realization that just because I think my book is the best thing since the Bible (LOL) and will instantly catapult me onto the NY Times Best Seller’s List…HA, HA, HA! WRONG! I’ve found the most consistent piece of advice I have given to other aspiring writers is this—if you think writing your book was tough, just wait…now you have to market and promote it. In comparison, writing is the easy part! Promoting is a non-stop full-time job that requires determination, persistence, patience, and intestinal fortitude…a cold beer and a nearby bottle of aspirin doesn’t hurt to ease the incessant frustration! Promoting my works has taken me places on the internet and in social media I never knew existed simply as a point of necessity. Writers beware! You have to have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, WordPress, Book Daily, GoodReads, and there are many more I’m sure. I’ve had to create a local, national and international list for media contacts, book fairs, competitions and retail outlets both private and corporate. There are libraries, book clubs, schools at every level of education and let’s not forget the endless number of blog sites and ipod radio broadcasts. Then you have to remember to set up, maintain and regularly post from Facebook author’s pages, book landing pages and of course your own website! If you want to really stand out one must consider video trailers, audio books, and even YouTube or Instagram video segments. You have to constantly review and update keywords, tags, hashtags and SEO settings. I’ve not even mentioned licensing, merchandising, or all the legalistic requirements associated with branding and a logo. WELCOME TO THE EASY LIFE OF BEING A MODERATELY SUCCESSFUL WRITER! I don’t say all of this to be discouraging, but to be fully transparent and emphasize that finding time to write is a real challenge. My advice…gather a core group of 4-5 variably talented supporters into a marketing team to help…BEST THING I EVER DID and I thank God for them every day!

What is your role in the writing community?

The jury is still out on that one. I try to be supportive and informative with fellow writers. I’m always open to offer advice from my experiences and share any/all beneficial shortcuts or assistive materials that might help others avoid pitfalls. Time permitting and schedule allowances determine my active participation in the over 300 FB groups, over 100 Google communities, and various other literary sites that I’m associated with. Sincere efforts are made to support the endless FB events I’m invited to, re-tweet groups I’m in and respond to every request for page likes.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I enjoy courtroom dramas, espionage/political thrillers, murder mysteries and books on current events. It goes without saying that my free time for reading has seriously diminished in recent years. I do try to keep up with political affairs and international relations through regular digital subscriptions to key periodicals.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’ve already started the initial outline and projected research tasks for a sequel to Political Craps that focuses on politics after the midterms leading up to the 2016 presidential race. I hope to release it sometime in early Spring of 2015. In the coming weeks a three booklet set of political essays will be released in audio/digital/print versions, the print version of Adversity Builds Character 2nd Edition is tentatively planned for release by year’s end and the audio version of Political Craps is in production as we speak.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Future book ideas include a sequel to my autobiographical first book, a unique type of travelogue/diary about my year in Australia, a socio-philosophical book for young people utilizing “teckie” terms that have a relatability they can grasp, and a possible book on international relations for “dummies.”

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“The Guardian of Secrets” Author Jana Petken… Unzipped!

jana petken pic

Jana Petken is author of two highly-rated historical fiction novels. “The Guardian of Secrets” was her first release and sold very well on the market. Her new book “Mercy Carver” looks set to repeat that success. Enjoy this interview with a top-of-the-line author…

Kirkus Review “The Guardian of Secrets

A dark debut novel about a woman’s escape from a life of abuse and her ensuing struggle.

By all appearances, Celia Dobbs has everything a young Englishwoman in 1912 could want. She’s newly married to Joseph Dobbs, a handsome man with whom she’s besotted, and is the daughter of Peter Merrill, a wealthy man whose ownership of a vast farm ensures that Celia and Joseph will live well.

But all is not as it seems: Joseph soon shows his true colours as a violent drunk with gambling debts, and he proves to be a severely abusive husband, flinging expletives and punches as swiftly as he once cast promises of love. His dark side takes on added horror when Celia learns that he’s responsible for the murder of her father.

With the help of her aunt Marie, Celia and her newborn son escape from Kent to Spain, and Marie promises that she will see justice served while Celia’s away. Once in Spain, Celia meets a man named Ernesto and begins the next chapter of her life.

After Joseph’s trial ends with a guilty verdict and order of execution, Marie decides to give Celia the dignity of being a widow instead of a divorcee, by destroying the divorce papers that would have freed Celia from her marriage.

Back in Spain, the novel details Celia’s recovery and her children’s developing lives, and they become key players in a tense, fast-paced story.

The writing is often captivating, with a consistently engaging tone throughout, although the violent scenes are somewhat graphic and disturbing. Celia’s growth as a character truly sets this novel apart as more than a simple drama: It’s also a commentary on how strong a woman can become when facing adversity.

A suspenseful, compelling historical novel.

An Interview With Jana Petken

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

How a poverty stricken woman from London was going to get to Virginia in the year, 1860. In this book, the plot had to be tailor made to the main character’s destiny and this led me down a very slippery road, at times.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I really enjoyed Mercy Carver’s adventurous spirit and her precarious fight to survive. I also loved her journey from one continent to another because that enabled me to bring in some interesting characters and put, Mercy, in a world she knew nothing about.

Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Can you define some of those.

The vocabulary was challenging in this book because a poor area in the south of London used many different words to the Aristocracy and wealthy living at the other side of the bridges. The Virginians in the story spoke with Southern accents and a different speech formation. Mercy Carver really highlighted a clash of different societies in mid 19th century.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book?

The entire concept of the book is based around slavery and highlights not only the American slave trade, up to the Civil War in 1861, but also the problem of human trafficking in England, involving white women. The present world is suffering a plague of slavery, which is still legal in a few countries. These men, women, and children abducted, tricked, and forced into what we call: Modern Day Slavery, are victims of crimes against humanity, and all those involved in its supply and demand chain are a stain on society.

Are there misconceptions that people have about your book? If so, explain.

Hmm, interesting question. The comments from readers have been very useful, with most readers saying that they found some of Mercy’s experiences, quite shocking and unexpected. This is a historical fiction/romance novel, but like, The Guardian of Secrets, it is also gritty and filled with a dark realism. I think my readers are beginning to realise that anything can happen in my stories.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

Many readers may think Historical fiction is a genre where imagination plays the biggest role – Not so. Historical novels require just as much research as story, and the further back in time one goes to look for a story the harder it becomes to develop a realistic backdrop for the characters.

What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

I would love readers to know that the historical genre is probably the most time consuming subject to write. For instance, I have had a plots in my head that I’ve had to abandon because historical facts work against them. Respect for history must come before the story otherwise you end up with a flimsy tale.

What inspires you?

It’s simple. The passion I feel when developing a story and characters. Having said that, there are days when inspiration has flown out the window. If I stare at the computer for more than 15 minutes without writing a word, I usually give up, and invite my dog out for a coffee!

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

I suppose that hard work, bad luck, good luck, and sheer determination led me to this point. If anyone reads my biography, they’ll see that I’ve been on some very diverse paths in life. I believe we map our own destiny, even when we don’t realise that the hand of fate is guiding us. I wanted to write when I was a child but life got in the way. When I wrote my first book, The Guardian of Secrets, the timing was perfect and came about after a major twist of fate.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

Ken Follett is a great author. I thought his, Pillars of the Earth, was superb. My favourite authors are those, who brought me a great story to read. I still think Margaret Mitchell was a great talent, as was Catherine Cookson. I like to read books that have been recommended. Word of mouth is a powerful thing.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Patience! Researching, learning how to format everything from dialogue to paragraphs. I am learning the art of writing every day.
The most destructive element when writing is one that authors often bring on themselves. It is called, self doubt. To write means, being bold, and putting what you create down on paper, regardless of apprehension or fear.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I am a full-time writer. This is a luxury and I appreciate, very much, being able to write at any time of the day or night without restrictions.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I am ex military, bodyguard, security advisor, tour guide, and cabin crew for BA, Worldwide fleet. I think all my careers had an impact on my writing. All these jobs stirred my imagination. The most useful job, as far as developing writing skills are concerned, was my job as a tour guide in foreign countries. There was a great deal of studying involved. As a guide, it was my job to inform travellers about geography, history, and population, and at the same time, make the information entertaining.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

Libraries are wonderful places. I hope they long continue. The internet is accessible to most people but I still believe that printed reference books and historical documents are more comprehensive and fun to work with. The American Civil War is widely documented, as is mid 19th century London.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I am a strong believer in print books. I worry that they are in decline. Everyone I speak to agrees, yet most people have ebook readers in some form or another. I dread to think of a day in the future, where printed books are antiquities. The world has been given amazing stories, penned by unforgettable traditionally published authors, but an unknown self published author can and does come along, from time to time, with an equally fantastic book. Unfortunately, self published books have a much harder hill to climb when trying to get their stories to a wider audience. I hope that book shops, blinded by tradition, start opening their doors to talent and not just to major publishing companies.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

I believe the entire industry, from top to bottom, is in a state of flux. The future of writing may involve millions of authors releasing short novellas, in order to sell multiple kindles on Amazon. The quality of writing will suffer and readers will lose trust in all self published books. This is my personal opinion and I am not speaking for anyone else. I believe that it is the duty of the book industry to make sure that good quality books are released into the public domain. There has to be gatekeepers, whether they belong to a traditionally published house or an online site, open to independent publishers.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

A very long process involving a publishing house that provides quality packages, from book covers, editing, formatting, and marketing. I am not the brightest bean in the tin when it comes to computers, so I handed the entire publishing process over to experts in their fields.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

The Guardian of Secrets stands out because it’s such a large tome. It’s an epic story, and there are not that many of those around. I would like to think that The Mercy Carver Series has something, just that little bit different. I have to say though, that most authors will tell you that their book is unique.

How do you find or make time to write?

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
I go on pure gut feelings and instinct. Many actors delve into their characters’ minds. I believe many authors do too. If I write about a character, I become that character. Sometimes people defy logic, display flaws in their personalities, do wrong, hate, love. Logic plays no part when it comes to the heart and soul of a person, whether fictitious or real.

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

Being self published means doing everything for yourself. No one will ever buy a book if they have never heard of it. I find self promotion the most difficult part of being an author. I want to write and tell stories, not cruise social media pages for hours, hoping that the world will spot my promotional ads.

What is your role in the writing community?

I am active on a couple of author forums and groups, which are informative and helpful, but again, I would rather talk to readers and write. Some forums can become like a big black hole. You go on there and never come off. Next thing you know, the day has ended and not a word of your novel has been written.

What do you like to read in your free time?

I have to be honest here. I enjoy reading when in a park or at the beach, but when I am at home, I prefer to watch documentaries, world news programmes, and I am a movie lover.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I am almost finished with Blood Moon, the second part of the Mercy Carver Series. It is fast paced with a lot of action. Mercy will go out with a bang!

What do your plans for future projects include?

I have begun researching my next, stand alone, historical offering and it will probably be the most challenging project, to date. It will be a real shocker!
the guardian of secrets cover

Get your copy of “The Guardian of Secrets” today!

World’s Apart With Author Andrea Baker

Nightmare’s are just dreams aren’t they?

They can’t hurt you, not really…

Leah’s can.

They’re trying to tell her the truth, and won’t stop until she understands.

Nineteen year old Leah struggles to cope with normal life after the recent loss of her mother.

Her heart-broken father decides to uproot them to Little Virginia for a fresh start, so they can bury the past behind them.

At once Leah is captivated by the castle ruins near her new doorstep, and whilst exploring she comes across a mysterious stranger.

Recurring nightmares long thought dead reawaken, and new strains appear in her relationship with her father.

But as Leah attempts to piece together the connection between them, she will find herself thrown into dark and dangerous worlds beyond her wildest dreams…

 

Andrea Baker has written stories and poems all her life, although most of them no longer exist. After graduating from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in Economics and Marketing, she convinced herself to stop making these stories up, believing it to be something a “grown-up” should not do.

Since then she has spent most of her career working on major programmes within the public sector. Of all the ideas that continued to occur to her, Worlds Apart has been the most insistent, refusing to go away.

This interview is the second part of a new blog tour featuring Andrea. You can find the first book in the “World’s Apart” series here.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

The hardest part of writing this book was knowing where to stop in the story. It is part of a series, and it was a struggle to know when to stop Book One, having given readers enough of a story to feel that something has happened, without giving too much away about what happens next.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Finally allowing myself to write it, and let my imagination run free. For many years I’d stopped myself dwelling on my ideas, and imagining what happened in those stories, so finally allowing myself to focus on this story, and let it run, was liberating.

Are there vocabulary words or concepts in your book that may be new to readers? Define some of those.

There are a few. Although not science fiction, there is the concept of multiple realities. There are three worlds, all duplicates of one another. Earth is one of the three. The Savant (Vi, Sansi and Gelaf) are the ancient ones, the original beings sent to oversee the world that was created and keep evil at bay. Seraph are the guardians that work on behalf of the Savant on the worlds that are created. They take the place of people who are taken too soon, so occupy that body for the duration of the Guardianship. They age slowly, but naturally, and in most circumstances simply become friends with the person they are responsible for, with the individual never knowing the truth. Shear Seraph are pure, created initially from relationships that occurred between humans and the Savant, something that is now forbidden. Shear bloodlines must be kept pure and therefore it is forbidden for them to have relationships with other non-Shear Seraph or humans. Harbingers are evil creatures, terrifyingly fast and vicious, and are the agents of Nilameth, the first woman to spurn and disobey the rules of the worlds.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre that isn’t so?

There is a tendency to think that paranormal is all about Vampires, Werewolves and Magic, which just isn’t true. Paranormal is essentially edge of reality, so the world you are writing lives and breathes with “normal” earth rules alongside it.

What is the most important thing that people DON’T know about your subject/genre, that they need to know?

There is a misconception that fantasy is easy to write – after all, everything is made up. If anything, the reverse is true. What we create as authors of fantasy has to be believable and work; consistency and timelines are essential. So, we have to decide whether gravity exists, how beings can travel dimensions, what the lands, languages and inhabitants are like before we can begin with the story itself.

What inspires you?

This is going to sound so corny, but my family. Not just my daughter and husband, although they do their fair share, but my parents, sister, aunts, uncles, and my late grandparents. They have all experienced so much, both the good and the heartbreak, the way they have fought and struggled through what life has thrown at them while maintaining a close, loving family. They are my daily inspiration.

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

Hard work, determination, and the love and support of people around me. The world is full of people that think they are owed something out of life – that just doesn’t happen. You have to make your own opportunities and work at it every single day.

Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?

My favourite authors are quite varied, there’s the classics, such as Shakespeare (I think I’m still the only person in my groups of friends that enjoys reading him), Arthur Conan Doyle, the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, etc. Then there is the authors who influenced me and my choices of books as a child – C S Lewis, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Enid Blyton – their stories captured my heart and imagination, and I’d spend hours playing with the characters when much younger, and making up more stories in my head. Lately one of my favourite authors has been Nora Roberts. She introduced me to paranormal fiction, so I guess you could say she is to blame!

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

The most useful thing any writer can do is read, read, and squeeze more reading in. Don’t limit yourself to a single genre either, because by reading a huge variety of books you get to understand good characterisation, poor scene setting and so on, and subconsciously it will influence and improve your own work. The most destructive thing I have tried to do in my writing is correct grammatical and spelling errors as I go along. I have to let the creative side of my mind run free, and type what comes, otherwise the story dries up.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part time writer. I work full time and have a family, so writing comes third on my list I’m afraid. That means it can be difficult – sometimes I’m just so exhausted either physically or mentally, that I cannot write for days.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

I’m a part qualified accountant and have worked and qualified as a programme and change manager, I’ve also had a Saturday job in a store that no longer exists, and worked as a passenger services assistant at Birmingham International Airport when on vacation from University. I now run my own business offering consultation, service delivery and problem solving to other organisations. I guess I’d say that they have influenced my work in terms of exposure to many different types of personality and character, including behaviour traits, and knowing the people that I really just don’t like. Those all find their way into my characters somewhere along the line.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

Firstly, try to visit Kenilworth – the castle, town, Leah’s home and the Abbey are all real, so you can explore them for yourselves and see if they meet the descriptions I’ve created in your mind. If you can’t do it in person, look on the Internet, on the English Heritage site, and you will find the castle there.

You can also contact me directly through my website (www.AndreaBakerAuthor.com) or on facebook if you have questions. I love to hear from readers and people interested in the series.

How do you feel about ebooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I have mixed feelings to be honest. Anything that encourages people to read is fantastic, and I personally possess both a tablet with reading software and an ereader, and find them invaluable when travelling. But, nothing compares to the feel and smell of a new book, and I will always for that reason buy my favourite authors, or books I’ve discovered online, in physical format too.

In terms of publishing, the industry has become a bit of a school playground really, with bully-boy antics between some of the larger players, and scam and con artists moving into the micro-publishing market. I’ve fallen victim to some of this myself, and it makes me mad to be honest, as these people are generally the middle men between the source of the product (the author) and the buyer (the reader). I find it really annoying that the “big boys” tie bookshops into only selling what they print, so as a reader, what I can find in my local bookshop is being dictated to me, and in some cases the bookshop can’t, or won’t, even order an item off the prescribed list in for me. This is one of the reasons (other than convenience and cost) that I believe that the online market has boomed. However, because of poor editing and quality, the ebook market has a bad image, especially if a book is self published.

What do you think is the future of reading/writing?

The whole industry reminds me a little of what happened in the music industry a decade or so ago – people claimed it would die, and that downloads would be the death of successful music – but the industry had to change, and now is as strong as ever. Personally I think the publishing industry should stop trying to strong arm each other into doing what one company thinks, and allow the world to adapt and change. The end result will be better for readers and authors alike, with more choice, and more affordable products for the reader, recognition for the author, and the industry will then still be profitable for the business. Once the bully boy tactics have stopped, and people realise that change is here to stay and adapt their practices to suit the new way of working, then things will improve again. I can’t see a time when people no longer wish to read, even with the immediacy of visuals or gaming, but I do worry that the author is being forgotten in the equation.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

Like most authors, I have my fair share of rejection letters in my files, but I was fortunate in winning a competition to be published. There used to be an online community where authors could publish their first chapters, and the community could read and give constructive criticism. Each month the publisher that ran the site would select a number of the first chapters uploaded each month, and at the end of the month put them up for a vote. The winner would get a contract.

My novel was finished in 2011, and submitted, finally being published on my sister’s birthday (a complete coincidence) in October 2012.
That story sounds like a dream come true, but unfortunately the publisher was one of the many independents that have sprung up over the last few years. Unbeknown to me at the time of signing the contract, the lack of communication, accusations of theft against authors, and subsequent failure to pay any royalties were just a few of the experiences we had, and at the point I signed they had over 80 authors on their books, so were by no means a small house. They have now gone into liquidation, still without paying many of their authors, so my experience was, to say the least, bittersweet.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

To quote a reviewer, “I’ve never come across a story with these unique beings and events”. Being set in a real town, with real locations, but with a storyline and characters that have not been seen before makes it ideal for anyone that loves fantasy and paranormal, but wants something a little different to dragons, elves, witches, werewolves and vampires!

How do you find or make time to write?

It’s a discipline, which sometimes I don’t have the willpower to stick to! I try to write something at least twice a week – I’d love to say daily but at the moment that just isn’t feasible. Having said that, I do record voice notes for myself using my smartphone, so if a song on the radio, or something that is said in the office triggers an idea, I can record it and use it in the future.

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.

Intuition is my master – I write in a very visual way. The ideas are often stimulated by music, so I will try to record the track that gave me that idea. As I start to piece together the ideas, I create a playlist of those tracks, and listen to it while writing. My ideas come to me in images, and it is almost as though I am watching a film in my mind as it unfolds, and the biggest difficulty I have then is keeping up with the images in my mind! I’m not saying it is the perfect formula, but for me it works so well that I can put myself straight back into a scene simply by moving to a specific track in the playlist. Having said that, there has been the odd occasion when it has backfired on me when people happen to have a specific track as their chosen phone ring…

What are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

I try to maintain a presence both in terms of my webpage, facebook pages (I have a profile as an author and pages for my books), twitter and through my blog, however keeping those active is quite hard when I already have so little time to write. Just recently I engaged a company to manage the promoting side of things for me, as my biggest difficulty was finding the right contacts. Novel Ideas, and Nick himself, have been a godsend for me in terms of putting me in touch with radio interviews, blog tours, interviews, etc., and given me a platform within which I can work and concentrate my efforts.

What is your role in the writing community?

I am a learner, and an active member of a small community called The Alliance of Worldbuilders. We originally came together through the Harper Collins website, Authonomy, which brings authors together to discuss and promote work. As a group of fantasy authors we bonded, and became friends as well as fellow authors, to such an extent that at one stage we almost broke their servers with the size of our threads! We now use other methods of keeping in touch, and we are fortunate in that many of us have now been published in one way or another. The support, advice and friendship from people who understand the “I woke up with an idea at 4am and wrote 5 thousand words before leaving for work” mentality, has been invaluable. I really don’t think I would have got this far without them. We suffered a tragic loss at the start of the year, when one of our members died very unexpectedly, and the grief we all felt, despite being in different corners of the world, was almost tangible. It brought us even closer together, and we are shortly going to publish an anthology in memory of those we have lost, and hope to release one annually to raise funds for charity.

There are those out there that think they are better than others because they’ve been published. My point of view is different, I have been fortunate, but still have a lot to learn. If I can help others on their own journey then I’m happy to talk and offer my own experience for their reflection, but I’m no expert.

What do you like to read in your free time?

Anything and everything depending upon my mood. As I’ve already said, my tastes are wide ranging and somewhat eclectic, but you’ll rarely find me without a book on the go, whether it is physical, or audio so I can listen to it in the car or gym, or on my phone or tablet.

What projects are you working on at the present?

Book Two of Worlds Apart is well under way, and I have the remainder of the story planned as well. They are my current work in progress items.

What do your plans for future projects include?

I would love to write crime, and I have an idea mapped out that may develop fully in that way in the future, but before that I have another book to write. It is based upon the childhood of my late grandfather, and will be named after him, who grew up in inner city Birmingham just before and during the war, including being evacuated to a place not far from where I used to live. It is hard to write, however, as I still miss him very much.
I am also working on a journal that has very personal meaning to me, regarding something that I experienced a few years ago, that changed my life for many reasons. Over a period of seven years, I had seven operations, and a diagnosis of malignant melanoma, as well as a pre-cancerous condition, that left me in a state of constant panic and fear that I wouldn’t live to see my daughter grow up – the dedication to my daughter and family in the front of Leah was written during that time. Then, on 2nd November 2012, I was called to see a different surgeon for a complete review of my case. At that appointment I was told that it was all false – none of the operations had been necessary, and the diagnoses were incorrect, the whole thing was a pack of lies and money-making racket. The journal has become important in terms of working through the fear, anger, despair and hatred of those lost years and the doctor I trusted. Whether I will ever be brave enough to put it forward for publication will be another matter, but writing is the only way I know of dealing with it and getting it out of my system before it is the cause of something else.

“LEAH” IS NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON

 

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G. Michael Vasey Unveils Writing “The Last Observer”

G. Michael Vasey is one of those unique writers you come across on a hot summer day. I have marvelled at this interview, and I’ve wondered what I can really say about it. I like this writer—a lot—and I can’t wait for you to like him, too! His book The Last Observer is a bit of everything, and that is the best way to describe this interview. It’s a bit of everything!

G. Michael Vasey is currently touring radio stations. Catch his breathtaking interview with “The X Zone” today.
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Who do you have in mind when you write?

Me. I write about my interests and things that I am passionate about. I trust that the end product is something of interest to others and that I have something unique to offer – my perspective and one that is entertaining and different.

How do you find “inspiration” and where does it live?

Inspiration often comes to me in a semi-meditative state. So listening to music of the right type can start the juices flowing, or sometimes I listen to meditation music on Youtube as I write. It seems to relax me and open a channel to the creative part of me. Other books can also give inspiration too, so when I am reading something it will trigger a series of questions or thoughts and an inner dialogue. I don’t find finding inspiration difficult to be honest. If you look around and pay attention to what is around you, how can you not be inspired? For example, until recently, I lived in Prague. Most people tramp to work, head down, worrying about the day ahead or wishing themselves miles away. As I walked through Prague to work, I looked up – at the glorious architecture and beauty, history and sheer wow of the city I lived in…. that inspires me.

Have you always aspired to be a writer?

No, but writing has always been a key part of what I do for a living, and I have always enjoyed writing. Being an author sort of sprung up on me when I realized what a body of work I had had published as articles, newsletters, book chapters and so on. Once I got comfortable with the idea, I thought – why not give it a proper go?

Tell me about how you became a writer. What was the first step for you?

Having to write so as a part of my job. I must have written well over 500 articles in newsletters and magazines professionally along with 100 white papers and reams of blog articles. So, it is something I do continually. The step you ask about is probably when I first sat down with the objective of writing a book, and I did that because I was told to in meditation…

Do you have a distinctive “voice” as a writer?

I don’t know to be honest, but in poetry I do try to play with words in certain evocative ways.

Do you think anyone can learn to be an effective writer, or is it an unnamed spiritual gift?

I think anyone who really wants to write can learn, but very few writers are true masters. That is a gift that you are born with.

Is there a book you’ve written that you’re most proud of?

No, as I tend to keep looking forward as opposed to backwards. That’s not to say there isn’t a book I am fond of. My novel, The Last Observer, though certainly not perfect, is my favourite book to date; and my last book of poetry – Moon Whispers – I think is my strongest effort yet. I pick the novel because it has the potential to appeal to a broader group of readers, I think.

On average, how long does it take for you to write your ideas down before you start writing a book?

I don’t follow this approach usually. I plan it in my head and then, after it’s going, I start to write down subplots and themes I wish to develop. In the end though, the books have a surprising talent for writing themselves and surprising even me. I suppose it’s because I write in a meditative state usually and it’s as if it’s not me doing the writing anyway.

What would you say is the “defining” factor in your writing? What makes it yours?

Ah, good question! I think it’s my passion for trying to understand the nature of reality and my practise of magic. You see, I think magic (or if you prefer, metaphysics) has already described the Universe, and science is gradually catching up. What fascinates me is how we create our own reality or our own perspective on reality and how imagination and will can make magic. This provides for a never-ending smorgasbord of ideas, plots, endings and concepts to play with.

How do you guard your time to do what’s most important?

I am a multi-tasker and am always engaged in fifteen things at once. I move my focus from one thing to another and that constant variety keeps me engaged and busy.

What are some of the more common distractions you struggle with, and what ways have you found to overcome them?

There are times when I simply do not want to write. So I don’t.

What kind of review do you take to heart?

Oh, I hate bad reviews and take them ever so personally. It seems to me that there are a few people out there that simply get a kick out of writing deeply negative reviews – like trolls on a discussion board. I can’t help being hurt by deeply negative criticism. On the other hand, we only get better through criticism. It is how that criticism is delivered that makes the difference between something we gain from or something we are hurt by.

How do you decide what your next book will be about?

Well, I decide probably in a moment of massive interest in something or an idea, but then I end up writing something else entirely! For example, on my bio it says I am writing a book about the Fool in magic. It’s a great idea, and I have written a few pages, but I keep finding other things to write about, and I make no progress at all on that idea. I keep it in the bio to remind me that I must/should/will write that book.

Was there a link between your childhood and your vocation as a writer?

Yes – imagination. I had and still do have a very well-developed imagination to the point I can really be where I imagine I am. It is this imagination that runs riot and is the creative seed within me.

As a writer, however, you have the opportunity to self-reflect, to revisit experiences. How does that feel?

Sometimes good but not always….often, the worst of life’s experiences are actually the best – at least for writing.
What motivates you to tackle the issues others may avoid, such as nature and spirituality?
I have been interested in such things since I was knee high to a grasshopper as I wrote in my first book – Inner Journeys. Back when I was 12, I was attending meetings of the church for psychical research and reading Blavatsky… So, I am well-grounded in this stuff and a practising magician to boot. As a result, I guess I see the world a bit differently and want to share the idea that the world looks like you want it to.

When you start a new book, do you know how a book will end as you’re writing it? Or does its direction unfold during the writing, research and/or creative process?

The Last Observer wrote itself, I swear. The ending surprised me and still does.

How do you see your role in impacting and influencing society?

I only hope that I can make people think a bit, wake up and look around and see that not everything is how they were taught. If they do that, then I have already succeeded.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to do?

Writing is so integral to everything I do, and it’s not possible to answer this question.

What are the things a writer “must not” do?

You know, I don’t like rules. Why should a writer not do anything? I do feel sometimes that we are constrained by success, but real art is breaking all the rules and having the product mean something. This is why I love poetry – there are NO rules. I hear some people criticising Indie writers as if the only people who should write are Shakespeare and his ilk; but this is literary snobbishness, isn’t it? Everyone should be able to write if they so choose, and if they break rules of grammar but people love their stuff, then great….

What are some pieces of advice that you would give someone on writing well?

I would never tell someone how to write – I think people should write as they wish, and some will deem it to be good and some bad.

Young writers often make foolish mistakes. What is a mistake to avoid?

Answering a bad review… don’t do it. Ever. I did and I learned.

What obstacles and opportunities do you see for writers in the years ahead?

The whole industry is in flux with eBooks, Amazon and so on. Trying to keep up with how to market what you write, how to make money, how to find an audience, whether to self-publish or not? It’s knowing how things will fall out that could present either an obstacle or opportunity.
Could you talk about one work of creative art that has powerfully impacted you as a person?
Yes – a CD by Blackfield called Blackfield II. The music on that CD inspires me to write, and it feeds my creative juices. Every single poem in Moon Whispers was written listening to that CD. In fact, music often is the work of creative art that sends me….

What relationship do you see between imagination and creativity, and the real world?

Imagination and creativity are intertwined like lovers – one needs the other, and together they make beautiful music.

For a writer, it is easy to become an elitist. Have you ever (or do you still) struggle with pride as an author?

Not really – I do what I do and lots of people do the same so there is nothing special about me. But let’s see how I behave if I ever have a real best seller, shall we?

With all your success, how do you stay humble?

Age. I am that sort of age where nothing much impresses me anymore, least of all myself.

Have you ever considered writing fiction full time?

I would love to… will you get me a contract?

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Explore your imagination with “The Last Observer“…

Princess Fumi Hancock Explains Why It Is Important To Be “Of Sentimental Value”

Princess Fumi Hancock. An award-winning movie-maker. Bestselling author. Screenwriter. Doctor. Talented in a multitude of ways and driven to succeed… But what is her secret? Let’s find out!

1. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a short tagline:

Of Sentimental Value

“One Event Can Change Your Life Forever!”

2. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Few weeks ago, we received a dove foundation seal for the accompany movie, of Sentimental Value the Movie

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The novel however, I would recommend to 18+ and up. In addition, readers who enjoy mystery and romantic suspense.
Why should they read the book? Wow! Great question. Simply stated: It not only promises to entertain and inform but will absolutely inspire, motive, empower and encourage our readers that no matter what their circumstances, no matter what their culture, tradition, creed, ONE EVENT CAN CHANGE THEIR LIVES FOREVER!… They can make it regardless of what their surroundings may dictate… It reminds them of their self worth, their value, and that they were created for such a time as this … to impact their world regardless of what they may have gone through. Through the lead character SIBERIA TONKA, my readers will be inspired to reach for the stars… never allow any set back to be their set up for failure but a stepping stone to their success.

3. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

As someone who have endured abuse, a failed marriage and watched people around me succumb to major depression and suicide ideation and even found myself contemplating that at some point in my life several years ago after a failed marriage at a very young age; I began picking up the shattered pieces of my life with my then 3½ and 1 ½ year old sons as hard as it was. In those dark moments, I began asking hard questions why I survived! I looked around and heard stories of those who could not handle life and gave in to their sorrows. After fessing up to my parents, they reminded me of my worth… of the values they had instilled in me growing up as an Africa Princess in Africa… they showed me through unconditional love and acceptance that I was valuable and that no human being had a right to make me insignificant. As I healed, I then started wondering what if those who had taken their lives had people who would remind them of who they were? What if they did not allow themselves to be stripped of their value? Bam! I REMEMBER LOOKING IN THE MIRROR, SAYING TO MYSELF “YOU ARE OF SENTIMENTAL VALUE”. That phrase took me through some rough patches and behind my secret mantra. Hence, the title of the book and a screenplay which was originally written before 2000! Little did I know the impact it will have and its relevance now in 2014 when it has now been made into a feature film. I am so happy to announce that the movie and myself have won some awards:= such as the African heritage Leadership Awards and the following:

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4. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

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Readers who are familiar with my work know by now that I love things unique… I have a thing for “eyes” and intense images that draw readers into the story without even racking the book open yet. I believe my books have followed this trend and will continue to do so. What better way to continue this tradition by finding an award winning cover artist who indulges all of my fantasies. She is no other than the owner of http://phatpuppyart.com/ She continues to do an incredible job at interpreting my “head fantasies” and brig them to live as she has done for several Award winning authors.

5. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

I know many may expect me to shout out the female lead character, Siberia Tonka. Since the release of the book and the two screenings we have had with the movie, I believe I have a change of mind… Argh! “JESSICA” the nosy Hispanic neighbour has really grown on me. While it was my original intent to have her bring comic relief to the story, I didn’t realize how funny she was until we were at the private screening in Los Angeles, CA and I began hearing people laugh out loud with everything Jessica did. She is one of those characters you hate to have close to you, yet need in your life to bring a clearer perspective to hardships around us. Jessica’s character was not only a friend even when Siberia was not lovable, but we are able to see some flaws others may have around us and her dynamics with Siberia shows us the importance of friendship, especially when chaos is running rampage in our lives. Though crazy with few crazy “thinking”, she is also inspirational and a welcome friend to Siberia. More importantly, she says things most people will dread saying out loud ad does not apologize for them. I won’t spoil it for you… will have you read the book instead. Better yet, the trailer can give you some clues into who Jessica is: http://www.ofsentimentalvaluemovie.com / http://www.ofsentimentalvaluenovel.com

6. How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

“Jessica”~ Awgh! The attributes which make her funny are the same ones, which make her sometimes less appealing. She is a nosy neighbour who thinks because she lives next to you, she has a say in everything you do! While that attitude may be cute most times, there are certainly times, which it is not welcomed. Such is the case at the mailbox when she jumps Siberia to butt into her business. Find out what happened there… clues can be found on the trailer.

7. If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be? Why?

Writers are often known to beat down on themselves and are known to be hard on themselves where their writing is concerned. With every writing, I do my very best to portray what my message is as clearly as possible. I may not always get it right at all times but I try. Having said that and knowing that my personality is that of a “type A”, if given a chance could stay on just one line for hours attempting to fix it; I promised myself I will never go back rethinking things. Rather, I will always resolve in my heart that with each novel, I have given my very best. I understand that not everyone will like what I have written and not every novel will catch fire or readers’ interest right away. Nevertheless, I must move forward and be even better with the next novel. It is certainly my hope that Of Sentimental Value will catch fire alongside the movie! It is indeed my labor of love to my readers. And I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say about it.

8. Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Fun fact eih? Making the novel into a movie and being on my very first set was the most fun part of it all. If I knew what I know now, I would have had a hidden camera rolling throughout the whole days of shoot. It will have certainly been the most rated and highly viewed reality show that ever hit the airwaves. Can you imagine waking up to a call one day and it was your producer on the other end, telling you that one of the crew-members high jacked the main camera for shoot! Her reason, she suddenly did not like the director and wanted another director! Today, the whole experience seemed funny but back there it was certainly not and was incredibly unbelievable!
9. What other books are similar to your own? What makes them alike?
Here is what I discovered on amazon.com; people who purchases and/or viewed my book also viewed the following: Dark Child (The Awakening) by Adina West, Bad Blood (A Vampire Thriller) by J.R. Rain, the Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan. What they may have in common you asked? Well, in Of Sentimental Value, there is a mystery woman who ricks havoc into the lives of people. This character brings the air of mystery and suspense into the book. The mentioned books range from mystery to thriller.

10. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I design most of my clothes and purses I carry to my outings. This is something I hope to one day expand one as I continue to meet with people who want to have some of my collections. I call them the Sassy Jewel Collection. Here is my look-book for your eyes only:

 

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Her Majesty’s Collection

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The Splice of Life Collection

Can’t a gal dream?

11. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Easy…

http://www.ofsentimentalvaluenovel.com

http://www.ofsentimentalvaluemovie.com

You can also check me out on my TV Talk Show, the Princess in Suburbia Lifestyle
http://www.princessinsuburbia.com which is rapidly garnering more viewings. We are currently at over 2.4 million and growing!

My Official Website: http://www.worldoffumihancock.com

12. What can we expect from you in the future?

My brain is just now settling down as we are in the phase of distribution for the movie. An corky idea is brewing in my head right now for another novel and a movie…more romantic suspense with a splice of comedy. Get ready… This will happen in an exotic place… you all know how I love my exotic places like Africa. But before I get into that, I will be releasing the sequel to the bestselling Young Adult Fantasy, The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell. I can’t wait.. It’s been long coming! The Sorcerer’s Purgatory is next in line.

13. What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Spread the word… and the message: “I Am… Of Sentimental Value! One Event Can Change Your Life Forever!” Share the trailer… purchase the e-book as well as the softcopies… Encourage others to do the same. Start book-clubs / private “girlfriend empowering” parties on its behalf both virtual and on-ground. Oh, yes tag and like it on amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Fumi-Hancock/e/B009BHBI6S/

Trailer: http://youtu.be/6Nfpf3S_aGE

Like Us on Our Social Media:
http://www.twitter.com/fumihancock
http://www.facebook.com/ofsentimentalvalue
http://www.facebook.com/fumihancockgrimmlyn

Tools they can use to make it go viral:

Enjoy the reviews and events surrounding the official book launch and movie private screening:

Beverly Hills, CA and Nashville, TN – You can share these links with friends and family.

fumi pic 11Hollywood Meets Royalty in Nashville TN

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Few of the cast and family members at the event

 

Sold Out Events:

Beverly Hills, CA: http://youtu.be/D4HlAjuwJEE

Nashville, TN: http://youtu.be/s0LlaKZyI7Y

Video Reviews:

THANK YOU….

14. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

Simply stated! Write! Write! Write! And keep writing! Be disciplined! Be focused and never give up. The teacher will appear when the student is ready. Other steps will come into clarity as you first step –out.

15. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

It’s been a pleasure finally getting to do what I love…writing. This has been a journey of over 30 years. Years of discouragement with many times dropping my pen and promising I would never write again… years of few telling me it is a rat race and I would never be discovered! So after years of pity party, I got up and told myself the only think I would loose is just the piece of paper and the ink I needed. If I didn’t make money off if my writing, I knew I would still be writing. Now, I not only get to write novels but also screenplays, which are being made into movies! Persistence, resilience, focus, determination and dedication….all tools of the trade. I thank all of my readers, bloggers, reviewers who continue to help push my book into a bestseller category. I know with your help, we can make the message of hope restored embedded in this story reach the universe. Just like one of my reviewers said, everyone needs this message… That you are Of Sentimental Value… This novel is a reminder and my characters are the messengers. More importantly, I want to let my readers know that whenever they pick up any of my books or items from my store, they are helping save a life in Africa through my US based 501©3 non profit organization: http://www.adassafoundation.org Join me in providing quality education and healthcare to women and children in developing countries.

16. And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Excerpt:

“Come, come Si-be-ria. Yes, that’s right, come to me now!”
Her resounding evil laughter increases with the anticipation of doom lurking in the murky night. Suddenly, her phantomlike image is swallowed by the dusk. Just when I am about to breathe a sigh of relief, Yemoji’s face reappears! Only this time, her limpid brown eyes begin to blink rapidly; morphing into a grayish set of eyes in distress, with the different, yet familiar, face of Naiya, you know her by now… that’s right, my older sister! How could this be, thinking out loud? But then again, stranger things have been known to happen in my village. Before I could figure out if it was really my sister’s face, the alarming tick-tock sound began yet again, the disconcerting image of Naiya abruptly disappearing. I am now left in the pitch black!

Pick up your copy now and let’s make this a movement:

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Princess (Dr.) Fumi S. Hancock
Bestselling Author, African Oscar & Indiefest Award Winning Filmmaker, Transformation Interventionist & a Philanthropist providing quality education & healthcare in developing countries (Africa).

“Security Through Absurdity” Revealed By Author Rachael L. McIntosh

This interview is the third of a three part blog tour with Rachael L. McIntosh. Her new book, “Security Through Absurdity,” is currently available on Amazon, and there’s no book more worthy of your Kindle. Read this interview and then try out the book… You will be not be able to put it down.

Rachael, let me ask you this. How do you conceive your plot ideas?

I’ve lived through a lot of the stuff I write about. And I don’t understand a lot of the things that I’ve lived through. I guess I just make stuff up to try and understand some of the world around me. See BOOK ONE: LITTLE YELLOW STICKIES for a taste of what I lived through during the lead up to the Iraq War and 9/11.

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

No. I’ve never tried to write before. This SECURITY THROUGH ABSURDITY trilogy just came pouring out of me. When I submitted it to the publishers, they told me that I’d have to do three things. #1. Break it down into a trilogy because I had submitted the equivalent of 4.8 novels. # 2. Use a pen name. #3 Take out a life insurance policy. I have done everything but use a pen name. My family and friends have heard my accounts of these things in real life from me so I thought, “What’s the point? It’s listed as FICTION anyway.”

How long did it take you to publish your first book after you started trying?

About two years from sitting down at the keyboard to seeing the first book in the series for sale on Amazon.

What do you think makes your book “Security Through Absurdity” unique, and how does it fit into the everyday lives of readers?

The fact that the publishers and I couldn’t come up with what genre this book falls into other than FICTION should tip people off that it defies classification and is unique. Corporate Crime or even Political Thriller would sort of work, but it doesn’t really fit in with the pre-scripted story line of these genres. It’s really a fictionalized whistleblower thing. But the characters don’t know they are whistleblowing, and it lacks the typically outraged, angry tone. It’s up to the reader to grab onto some of the info being presented, so it doesn’t even fit that whistleblower genre, either. It’s just FICTION. James Perloff, author of non-fiction Shadows of Power, has said that it’s “Working Girl meets The Net, but the issues are too real world to ignore.”

I guess that’s how it fits into the everyday life of the reader because it is so real life. It is the story of an everyday life where truth is stranger than fiction, and the character just adapts. This adaptation contributes to her foibles. It makes the reader say, “Gee I wouldn’t do that…would I?”

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

Deaths and near misses. Working for a corporation that was diametrically opposed to my nature. Illness. Falling in love. Having children. War. And, of course, money. Add that to my involvement in national politics, well, all of these things impacted my perception of the world and caused me to focus on things that I probably would not have bothered with years ago.

What should readers know about the world of politics? What really goes on?

The way I came into it was via a lot of feel good rally-like stuff. But then slowly I got acclimatized to the fact that there were rules you had to learn, or at least be aware of, like Roberts Rules of Order. Tedious tasks had to be performed like collecting signatures and keeping track of government deadlines and paperwork and accounting, and therefore, minions were needed. It soon became a lot like a “real” job. With the same kind of “office politics” vibe but more political (imagine that!). That back door deals are made and that people who you thought were on your same team are not. And it becomes apparent that a lot of people enjoy politics for the power trip and confrontation aspect (think: Debate Team captain from a private school). There is a lot of “I’m more important than you” and hierarchy; and it’s just silly, especially when you discover that both teams are ultimately working for the same interests. That despite the gift wrapping of a political slogan being bantered like a battle cry, it all comes down to money, and the ultimate monied interests don’t worry about what colors the teams are waving around. They really don’t. They control both teams anyway. An individual voting has very little consequence on what will ultimately happen. I now look at voting as voluntarily participating in a market research study.

What are the major themes of your work?

Top Major Themes
#1 Human foibles
#2 Miscommunication
#3 Hope as misdirection
#4 Don’t hate the player, hate the game

Security Through Absurdity” has connections with 9/11. Can you explain what that connection is?

Chapters 12, 13, and 14 relay via my fiction pretty much exactly what was going on inside the office I worked at on 9/11. I have taken these chapters and published them as a tiny booklet called 28 Pages, making reference to the 28 pages George W. Bush withheld from the”Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”

I hope people will read these three chapters from Security Through Absurdity, think about them, and feel free to pass the information on to someone else. 28 pages will be FREE on Amazon starting on 9/11/14.

Do you truly believe 9/11 changed America, and how did it change America?

Yes. USA PATRIOT ACT, the core of which was written by now Vice President Joe Biden, was crafted well before 9/11, right before the Oklahoma City bombing took place and was supported by the Reagan and Bush Administrations.

USA PATRIOT ACT got passed with the quickness after 9/11 and blew America and its civil liberties, as everyone had understood them, out of the water.

Then the Department of Homeland Security was created and that opened the door for the full-on militarization of the police, the TSA and their body checks at airports and bomb sniffing dogs on trains, “If you see something, say something” campaigns lifted right out of Orwell and history, and of course the NSA and their eavesdropping and obsessive data collection on citizens. It’s been over a decade now, and the population seems to have reached a point where people think this is normal. It’s not.
When you think of America pre-9/11, what comes to mind?
My dad flying really close to the World Trade Center with me and my sister in his Beechcraft Bonanza. Going to the airport to see the jets and other cool planes. You could just walk right up to the planes on the tarmac without much trouble. That was back when people sort of trusted other people. They really didn’t talk about politics or religion in polite company and CNN was really a new thing. Bombing and hijacking occurred someplace else and would never happen here. Everyone felt safe and, as a nation, fairly well off.

And post-9/11?

Well obviously the scene at the airport has changed. The scene in general has changed to include a hypersensitivity to danger. Yet currently, people seem to feed themselves with inputs of fear on a regular basis via video feeds from all over the world. I mean, I have a friend who walks in the city with a Geiger counter on him. People feel very OK with cameras on them at all times and of course people talk politics and religion like it’s going out of style now. People are obviously scared as is evidenced in newly developed and articulated prejudices. This, to me, is one of the saddest of developments of our post 9/11 America.

What will the next instalment of “Security Through Absurdity” be about? How will the story progress?

Book Two: Bubbles Will Pop is where everything bad happens to the character. It starts off with this quote:

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.
Cynthia Occelli

And that quote lets you know that there is a transformation occurring in the main character. Even though some of those bad thing are absolutely based in my real life experience, this is where the story gets even more fictionalized, especially with the character of Ethan. He’s out of his mind. This is all in preparation for the dramatic conclusion of Book Three: The Big Show, which is also based squarely on a lot of reality in the political arena.

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The Truth is Out There… Get Your Copy Today