Current author interviews

I am pleased to resume a feature of this blog, interviewing other writers. Today my guest is Janet Collins who has written A Shadow of Fear and agreed to answer some questions.

1. There is a lot of disagreement about the effect eBooks are having on brick and mortar booksellers. Do you think eBooks have reached their climax or do you believe they still have room to expand in the market?
I think e-books will continue to expand for a while, but that doesn’t mean print books will disappear. And, due to changes in technology, today’s e-books may not be readable in the future.

2. How important are your reading habits to your writing habits?
My reading habits are very important to my writing habits. Since I write books for kids I usually read about half a dozen Middle Grade and Young Adult books every week. I also write non-fiction for adults, so I read articles and books on related topics, too.

3. What is your target audience? What aspect of your writing do you feel targets that audience?
My children’s books are for kids, but most people who purchase that kind of book are adults. Parents, grandparents, and teachers are my target audience. For my Christian books obviously the purchasers are Christian. Many of my books deal with Special Needs, so people involved with those are also a niche market.

4. How much time/effort do you give to social media as a means of self-promotion?
Way too much time. I probably spend between one and two hours a day online doing social networking. I have about 1300 Facebook “Friends” and 1000 Linked-In connections. I also blog twice a week and share my posts on Facebook. I’m also on Twitter, Google + and Pinterest, but don’t use those as often.

5. Online caf├ęs or writers groups (aside from social networking). Do you belong to any and if so, do they help or hinder your writing?
I’m in several groups for Christian Writers and they have helped me grow as a writer. I once joined an online critique group, but that wasn’t well moderated so it was terrible. The administrator just wanted critiques of her own work and never commented on anyone else’s, and one member argued with every suggestion anyone made about his work. I didn’t stay with that group very long.

6. What advice would you give to new/unpublished authors?
Read in the genre you want to write, join a critique group with at least some published members, attend writers’ conferences, keep writing, keep improving, and remember you’re not really a writer unless you get rejections.

7. Have you ever wanted to give up? What stopped you?
I had registered for a writer’s conference and felt like I was wasting my money because I’d never succeed as a writer. Then I got a letter in the mail (this was years ago) from the editor of a magazine that had published one of my stories years earlier, asking permission to publish it again. That convinced me I was truly called to be a writer.

8. What do you do when you're not writing?
As I mentioned, I read a lot. I also attend meetings of various groups, go to church, walk my dog, chat with friends, cook, shop, and do the usual chores. I almost never watch T.V.

9. Can you tell us three interesting things about you that you’re sure we don’t already know?
a: I once performed with the Joffrey Ballet even though I don’t know how to dance.
b.: As a student working in a library I got so good at mending books they let me mend a Gutenberg Bible.
c: I’m fluent in American Sign Language and once had a conversation with Koko the gorilla who learned Sign Language.

10. Define a great book.
A great book carries me away to another life or world and makes me care so much about the characters that I can’t put it down until I find out what happens to them.

11. What is the hardest or most frustrating aspect of writing? Ideas, getting started, writer’s block, re-writing?

None of the above. By far the hardest thing is marketing.

Jan's links are
her website
her blog

One of my favorite characters from the four volumes (so far) of Don Martinez' Phantom Squadron was Cyrus, the mage.  He has written a guest blog for all fans:

My Life as a Black Ops Wizard
By Cyrus Salem (

First off, let me sincerely thank Mr. Tjoa for this opportunity today. A little while back, he had the pleasure of interviewing Don A. Martinez, the poor transcriber who got pulled into our problems when he became friends with my former teammates Ariel and Cole Sharpe. I’m sure he enjoyed his chance to get away from his life of frightened exile in Canada, or at least it looked like it.

Now it’s my turn, from my position here in the New Empire, to give you my perspective. But first, let me tell you a little bit about myself. (A very little bit, as there’s much about my life I’d prefer to keep private.)

I was born … well, I was born. A long, long, long time ago, I was born. You could say that I have some extraordinary parents, to go with an extraordinary birthplace. As a matter of fact, my birthplace is now accessible through a door on my property, so I get to see my mother on a regular basis, a luxury I’m unaccustomed to in my long existence.

As long as I’ve been around, I’ve had something different about me that set me apart from everyone else. It goes by many names … magic, power, sorcery … but it’s all supernatural in nature, which is the most important part to us right now. Over my extended time, I’ve learned to harness this power, and use it for the aid of all mankind. I’ve served many people, many rulers and governments. My power has been constant throughout this time, though it causes me trouble from time to time.

One of those troubles is my problematic body.

I should probably explain; it’s an accepted truth of existence that any kind of great power comes at a cost. You have to give something up in order to use said great power. For some people it’s minor; for instance, my friends in the Sharpe family have had to sacrifice smaller things like personal relationships. Other times it can be drastic, such as Ariel Sharpe who was stripped of her humanity for her power. On a personal level, my daughter Michika (my wife’s idea for her name, not mine, I assure you) has magic power she can access, but she has to use a talisman and give it blood when she wants to use the power.

Then you get to my situation. I take a great physical cost for my power. When I was a younger man, I was well over six feet tall, admired by commoner and aristocrat women alike for my appearance and my physical prowess. Today, I’m lucky if my eyes reach my wife’s navel. Using my powers for so long has cost me height, and continues to cost me the same. The power’s undiminished, but my body’s definitely smaller than it was … as a matter of fact, I think the last time I saw the world from this height I was seven years old.

I’d been shiftless for a long time before coming to the United States, but I found my place in the military forces. I started out in the Army, pacing the trenches, moved into the Marine Corps for a stretch, and finally wound up in the Navy, as a direct agent for the CIA within the service. When I first met Ken Sharpe … the latest of a long line of Guardsmen I’d known for a while … he was suspicious of me and unwilling to let me help him, but over time we had a camaraderie grow between us, one which helped me to relate to his son Cole after Ken’s death.

Of all the events of my time in Black Ops … all the fights, conflicts, death, demons, and the like … the ones that stand out in my mind are the times I spent with Kitty Lazarus, a teammate who wound up becoming my current wife. She was a tiger, both in character and in body, when I first met her. My first time laying eyes on her, she was ripping out a demon’s jugular vein. Quite a way to start a relationship, believe me.

It was our combat experiences which led us to friendship, and later love. She was one of the first women to become a SEAL, and part of her animosity with me and Ken at the start was us taking her away from that. I think she’ll agree, though, that the adventures we went on … and realistically are still going on, even today … were worth the sacrifice. I’ll admit, I’ve had many, many girlfriends and many, many wives over my existence, but Kitty is one of the only ones I’ve ever been able to relate to on this level. I think she fell for me because I related to her, related to that combative side of her, and respected her as a soldier and a strategist.

(Okay, Kitty, you can put down the rifle, I love you.)

So that brings us to today, years removed from our Black Ops experience, shepherding our daughter and her friends through this terrifying period in history where our own government wants to kill us. Although we prefer to stay behind the scenes, keeping out of the way when the firefights start, we’re still here and willing to fight. I daresay that this conflict may find its way right to our front door soon … when it does, we’ll be ready, this I can assure you.

We’re going to rise from this conflict one way or another. When we do, it will be glorious.

Cyrus Salem, his wife Kitty, his daughter Michika, and family friend William White Bear post from their hiding place on Tumblr at the Hidden-In-Plain-Sight Ranch ( Follow the most recent exploits of their ally Alanna Sharpe in Infernal Eighteen, available in paperback and e-book formats at

Don Martinez has just published the fourth of a five volume series; Don, what inspired you to write about all the different types of paranormal or supernatural powers in your series?  (The X-men?)

The origins of Phantom Squadron are a little on the complicated side. The situation that immediately preceded the work's inception was 9/11, I pondered what would have made someone commit such an evil, atrocious act, and thought about how it would affect the world if it were a demonic source that did the deed. The characters, though, they were not inspired so much from Western influences as from Eastern, in particular an anime series from the mid-90's titled The Slayers (and its subsequent seasons, Slayers NEXT  and Slayers TRY), which used the team of fantasy archetypes, primarily for the purposes of high adventure comedy. While most of the Slayers characters are mages, I figured that to keep this grounded in reality, you'd have to limit how much magic you use, so I wound up with only one mage, and filled out the rest with other staples of fantasy role-playing, fantasy novels, and comics.

I am intrigued also by your use of different points of view--found journals, etc.--in the books; was this a result of your studies in the art of writing?

Partly. One thing I wanted to do with these books is keep them firmly within the realm of reality. To do that, the characters not only have to be written like they're real, they have to feel that way for the reader. I felt that the best way to do this would be to get inside the characters' heads, and in the case of most of the series, so far into their heads that you're reading their words. Giving a realistic point of view ... someone who's emotionally damaged and winds up with all of this power, or an overwhelmed teenage girl suddenly thrust into events beyond her reasoning ... in my opinion makes the reader more able to relate to the character on a human level. 

The New Empire sounds very dystopian to me, cultish as well as reminiscent of the reaction of the "normal" people to the mutants--would you care to elaborate on your intention with this aspect of your stories?

They do seem a bit cultish, don't they? The New Empire is primarily my means of commenting on the current atmosphere in American politics without coming right out and saying "the voters are sheep." It's not just one side or the other, either, both sides have been guilty of falling into the cult of personality, or the strict dogma of partisan politics, which the New Empire takes to the extreme. The Regents are not that far departed from the average empty incumbent politician, if you think about it in these terms: they say the right things, they make the electorate extremely comfortable (to the point of flattery), and once they're in power they do whatever they please with slim to no checks, since removing them from their office is getting more and more difficult as more measures are taken to protect incumbents in elections.

To continue this thought, I found that many aspects of the New Empire policies and actions reminded me specifically of the post-apocalyptic portrayals of the Left Behind series--how do you perceive the Christian teachings regarding the End Times?

Wow, that's a loaded question right there. Considering I used the Book of Revelation as part of an outline for one of my books, that's saying something. In my opinion, I think there's a lot of extremist talk when it comes to the End Times out there. There's some who honestly believe it, and God bless them, they can have their beliefs and live their lives, but there's others who take it too far and try to push their views on everyone else. Then there's the worst ones, the ones who use those teachings to their own profit, the kind of people I commented on when I brought Alastair Abaster into the series. To put it in a nutshell, I think the way folks have been taught about the End Times has been colored by too many agendas, and the reality can't be known until it happens.

Some people find reading novels with more than one or two points of view disturbing because, it is said, the different POVs reflect different levels of "reality."  Thus, if one of the POVs is that of some one who found a manuscript/journal that narrates the action of the novel and the finder comments on what is found in the journal. this might be distracting as a "second narrator"--do you feel that this consideration has any merit?

Only if the narrator in question is a pathological liar, or has some kind of reason for wanting to obscure the truth. If it's done carefully, a second POV can round out some of the holes that are present in any single narrator's story. If it's done sloppily, however, it starts looking like contradiction, and then the reader doesn't know who to believe. 

Which of your characters did you find most difficult to create and incorporate into your story?

From the start of writing about the Insurgency, I wanted Alanna to find a lover on the path. I wasn't sure exactly how she was going to do it, though, because of how focused she was going to be on her parents ... with that kind of thing on your mind, who's got time for dating, right? So I guess then the character I had the hardest time with was William White Bear, mainly because I wasn't sure what his role would be (for a while he was the bassist in a rock band), or how a relationship would develop between him and Alanna. Eventually, when the idea of the Refuge came to me, I found that William had a means of getting into contact with Alanna, and by giving them a shared past incident, it would be a means to grow a relationship realistically.

One of my favorite characters, I'll confess, is Gabe, (and not only because he is always drinking coffee); how did you conceive of him for the series?

Gabe Francis (and his predecessor Frank Gabriel) was always intended to be my mysterious advisor, the one who knows more than he can reveal only because you need to find out the truth for yourself, otherwise what's the point? I also wanted him to be intentionally vague on exactly what his supernatural nature was ... there's clues and hints to it, but he never directly fights, and most times he's playing his pawns into the position he wants them in to accomplish his goals. I also like these kinds of characters, mainly because they're the most powerful by virtue of their knowledge.

Did you always have in mind the incorporation of Dante and a similar vision of Hell in your series or, if not, when did this occur to you?  

Incorporating the Inferno into the series was an eleventh-hour decision. I mainly knew that there had to be some way for Alanna to rescue her father that was going to be extremely difficult, force her to separate from her support system, and ultimately change her. When I started thinking in terms of souls, that's when the inspiration came to look to Dante ... what worse quest could there be than to traverse through Hell to rescue a wrongly-damned soul? 

Thank you for the hours of pleasure reading your four volumes.  Will there be just one or more to come? 

Yes, there's only one book left to come in the series. By that time, it'll have played out as far as it possibly can, and I think my characters deserve some peace after the wringer I've put them through. I've already got the final book written, and it's going to wrap things up quite nicely on a story level, on a legendary level, and on a personal level for Alanna and her allies.

December 27, 2012

My guest today is A. M. Hargrove, author of , some would call it fantasy sci-fi, but which she calls YA paranormal romance.  Tell us Ms. Hargrove how you got started as an author:

I started writing because the company I worked for was bought out by another larger one.  My position was eliminated so I decided to take that opportunity and use it to make a career change. I’d always wanted to write so I set my mind on doing exactly that.  Three years later, here I am and I must say it was the best decision I ever made.

What have you written so to date?

So far, I’ve written five books.  "The Guardians of Vesturon" include: Survival, Resurrection, Determinant and Beginnings, which is a novella.  I’ve also written Dark Waltz which is in a separate spin-off series. My books don’t really fall into any particular genre.  They are a blend of genres.  When I wrote my first book, Survival, I wanted something in the paranormal genre that would appeal to my daughter.  Unfortunately I had a huge problem.  She hated vampires, werewolves or zombies.  So I decided to merge sci-fi and paranormal. I based the novel, which I had intended all along to be a series, on a family and each subsequent book would be about another family member.  They would be from a distant planet, but they would have supernatural powers and be sort of mystical. The sci-fi parts of the book are not highly technical but I use it mainly for really cool gadgets and tech things. In fact, I wish I had some of those inventions in my own home now!  The "Guardians of Vesturon," my first series is YA/new adult and my most recent release, Dark Waltz (which is part of another series) is in the adult genre.

What inspired you to write in this particular genre?

The inspiration behind this series was really my daughter and her hatred of all things paranormal.  She was getting discouraged about the choices of books available for her age group because everything seemed to centers around vampires and such and as I said above, she hates that whole aspect. She ended up liking this whole story, so I consider that I have hit my goal.  

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I don’t really have any words of wisdom for writers because I still consider myself so new at all of this.  I didn’t publish Survival until November of 2011 so I have tons to learn.  But I would suggest getting connected with other authors through Goodreads and Twitter.  I’ve actually made lots of amazing friends through these two places.  And then I’d suggest joining some groups on Goodreads and connecting with bloggers.  They are an unbelievable groups of readers that can help Indie Authors. 

Have you any advise on how to market one's writing?

Marketing...I wish I could offer insight here but I’m still trying to crack that nut.  My background is sales and marketing--and this is the one area in the whole self-publishing thing that has driven me crazy.  I can’t seem to put my finger on what works and what doesn’t.  The only thing I know that seems to help is to do Book Tours through bloggers.  There are a bunch of them out there and you can connect with them through Goodreads.  Again, going back to what I said above, bloggers are an amazing group of people.  They work really hard and love what they do. They read for pleasure and write about what they read. The funny thing about all of this is I really didn’t even know about that part of this business until after I published Survival.  I admire them so much because it takes so much effort to write good reviews and to keep up with their blogs. 

The other marketing tip is to tweet.  But you have to walk a fine line there.  You can’t just go out and constantly tweet about your books because it will drive tweeps crazy.  You have to limit the number to one or two a day.  The best thing you can do is to tweet for other authors. Helping them out will in turn help you out. I don’t do a whole lot on Facebook because I find that I end up spending way too much time there when I need to be writing instead.

Thank you; tell us how to find you and your books:

My Blog:

My Website:

Amazon...The Guardians of Vesturon

Amazon... Dark Waltz

Barnes & Noble...The Guardians of Vesturon

Barnes & Noble... Dark Waltz




December 18, 2012

Today, my guest is Loukia Borrell, born in Toledo Ohio of Cypriot parents.  Tell us, Loukia, how did you come to the decision to be a writer?

I have always written. My diaries date back to 1977, when I was 14, and I have kept a diary ever since. They are a way for me to express myself, to sort through challenging times, life events and to get perspective. The journals also afford me insight into the changes I have gone through, what mattered to me then, people who played pivotal roles in my life, and what matters to me now. It was apparent to me early, by the time I went to middle school, that math and science were not my subjects. I struggled there, but did well in English. I was interested in reading and writing, so when I got to college, I joined the school's student newspaper staff. I worked my way through various jobs and was named editor my senior year. After graduation, I was a journalist for newspapers and magazines for about 20 years. Being an author is completely different than writing for weekly or monthly publications. I didn't really have an idea that I would be an author until several years ago, when I began "Raping Aphrodite."  

Tell us about your book, "Raping Aphrodite."  

"Raping Aphrodite" is my first novel. It has two story lines. The first story line is about a woman named Tash Colgate, whose life begins to unravel after she agrees to exhibit items from Cyprus in her art gallery. Along with her husband, Tash begins to research Cyprus and both of them have unsettling feelings about the island. Her husband uncovers the truth: His wife isn't who she thinks she is and has ties to Cyprus neither of them knew about, ties her parents had hoped to bury. The second story line takes place in 1974, when Cyprus was invaded and divided by Turkey. An American escapes a hostage situation and begins walking to get help for the others in her group. At the end of the novel, both story lines come together.

What inspired you to write the book?

I wrote this book because my parents are both from Cyprus. They came to America in 1952, long before the invasion, but many of their family members were still there when the invasion happened and became refugees. My maternal grandparents disappeared and were never seen again. I was 11 the summer of 1974 and aware of what happened, but didn't have the discipline to sit down and write about it. That level of maturity didn't happen until decades later, after I saw things in life and began to understand the concept of loss and change, the passing of time. I also have encountered a fair number of people who don't know anything about Cyprus, where it is located or even that it is a divided country. I am full-blooded Cypriot and, aside from my parents, the only member of my immediate family who can say that. Over the decades my parents have been in the United States, Cyprus has become more distant, a weakening that began when they sailed here and had children born outside of their native land. My children will not know the language and customs as well as I do, and so on with their children, until Cyprus fades away. I felt I had to tell the story, even in a fictional novel, so they would know what happened that summer. There are still hundreds of Greek-Cypriots listed as missing and about 200,000 people became refugees, pushed into the bottom half of the island or driven to other countries to find their way. It is important to share that information.

In addition to everything I just said, my oldest daughter really pulled the trigger. A few years ago, she had to do an English assignment where she had to place a fictional character into a real, historical setting. It could be the Civil War, World War I, whatever. She chose the invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and as I helped her gather information, I thought, I should give this a try. That was in 2009. A year later, I had 70,000 words. I also was inspired by a former editor, Robert Endicott, who wrote "Contract on the President," about 12 years ago. I worked for Bob when I was just starting out in newspapers, in the late 1980s, and learned a lot from him. He taught me about perseverance and doing what you are meant to do. He was a former broadcast who got into print journalism, retired and then wrote his book. He even based some of his characters on people who had worked for him and I was one of them. I was elated to have made it into the book. He showed me it is never too late to do something different with your life, to begin a new chapter, so to speak. I think that is true for all of us. 

What words of wisdom do you have for other writers?

Tell your story. If you think you have something to say, don't let agents or publishing houses tell you different. They don't know you. Write the book. Don't put your mind on writing a bestseller. Just write. It doesn't have to be even a modest success. You shouldn't be writing with sales in mind. You should be writing because you have a need to write. Don't be afraid to go forward, alone, as an independent author. Once you write it, no one can take that experience away from you and you never know where your work with lead you.   

What are your insights on marketing efforts?

If you are an independent, you have to do it alone. Some of the things I have done is to look for local opportunities to do book signings, either at independent book stores, local art galleries or small shops. Donate a copy of your book to your local library. Join Goodreads and other book/reading sites. Tap into social media. Contact online bloggers who do interviews. Tell everyone you have written a book. Indie authors have to speak up and word of mouth is still the best form of advertising. If you are an independent author, you have to just assume people have no idea you wrote a book. It is your responsibility to tell them.
What are the links to your author page or social networks?

Barnes & Noble/ Nook 

December 10, 2012

My guest today is Carol Cassada, author of "romance meets soap opera" novels.  Carol, tell us a bit about yourself:

I am a writer from Virginia and I have written and published four books. My first book was traditionally published, but my other three were done through self-publishing. I mostly write for the romance genre, although down the road I would like to write for other genres and try my hand at script writing. Aside from writing, I also have several work at home jobs including website tester and virtual assistant.

Tell us a bit about your writing:

All my books are part of the romance genre:  Going Home Again was traditionally published, while the three volumes of Westmore were self-published. The Westmore series is what I describe as a romance novel meets soap opera.

In Going Home Again, Rachel Mitchell thought she had it all--a career as a fashion photographer, an apartment in New York City and a lawyer boyfriend. When her mother dies, Rachel goes home to be with her younger sisters and grandmother. The solemn event brings her back into contact with old boyfriend Cole. On her return to the big city, Rachel begins to question her life, and what can really make her happy. Will she find that true love and happiness can only be found when one is Going Home Again?

The Westmore series(Westmore, Westmore: Broken Ties, and Westmore: The Aftermath)  are set in a small New England town and follow the lives of three families: The Greens, the Braxtons, and the Reynolds. 
The Greens: 
* Widowed matriarch Charlotte never thought she could find love again after the death of her husband Michael, until handsome Detective Bryant comes to her rescue. 
* Youngest son Peter returns home from college with his new girlfriend, who's ten years older than him, and is a problem for Mama Charlotte. 
* Scott and Alicia are singing siblings who are on their way to the top, until tragedy strikes one night. 
The Braxtons: 
* Andrew Braxton is a ruthless and powerful businessman who runs his household the same way he runs his company, with an iron fist. Upon learning his son Wayne plans on abandoning the family company, he determines to do everything to stop him from leaving. 
The Reynolds: 
* After her divorce, Laura Reynolds and her daughter Megan move back home with her father, where she plans to start life anew.  Little does she know that it is not easy to escape your past. 

Westmore: Broken Ties focuses on relationships.  Some bonds are unbreakable, while others crumble under pressure.  Relationships and family bonds are tested. Plus, a deep dark secret threatens to destroy one family.  Whose relationship will survive? And whose will come to an end?

In Westmore: The Aftermath, a car crash leaves Alicia fighting for survival as her family comes together in her time of need. Meanwhile, Andrew and Elizabeth team up to protect their son and conceal his role in the accident.  Will The Greens suffer the death of another loved one? Will The Braxtons put aside their hostility and stick together during the crisis? Plus, what other drama awaits the families, find out in Westmore: The Aftermath.

Where have you found inspiration for you to write?  

Soap operas are one of the main sources of inspiration for my books, especially the Westmore series. I wanted to have a book where there are multiple characters along with lots of drama and romance, something unique for readers to enjoy.

What do you think about being an Indie author?

I love being an indie author, mainly because I decide all the aspect of my books. From the size of the book, it’s cover, and the blurb. To have creative control over your books is one of the good things about being an indie author.

Do you have any advise for new authors?

I’d tell new authors to do their research on the publishing industry, which is something I wish I had done when I started my writing career. I don’t think many new writers understand just how tough the business is. Getting published is hard, but afterwards there’s so much work that an author has to do to promote their books.

So what do you advise by way of marketing?

I promote my books every way I can. I have my own website, facebook page, and twitter. Just about everyday I promote my books. I also contact review blogs and I’ve scored a couple of reviews along with interviews and guest posts.

O.K. give us a few links to learn more about you and your books--where should we go to purchase them?

December 3, 2012

Our guest author today is Thomas Wilson--tell us a bit about yourself:

I live in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri, specifically in Independence which is the home town of U.S. President Harry S. Truman.  I live there with my beautiful wife who my two small boys believe is Wonder Woman.  I have a 21 year old daughter from a previous marriage and two small boys with Wonder Woman.  I enjoy riding my motorcycle, reading, and spending time with my family.  The new found passion of my mid-life is writing action adventure novels.

Sounds like a fruitful mid-life crisis, tell us more:

Whisper is the first in a series of Wiley Randolph novels.    
It is about a Navy ship sent out to test a device to make their ship invisible.  An unexpected side effect lands them and their ship 200 years into the past.  Fighting against a 200 year old Frigate, a Japanese Zero, and a wolf pack of German U-boats they try to find their way back home in the correct time period.

No Rules Of Engagement is the beginning of another series--Alexander Hawk novels.   It is about a race of aliens who are completely pacifist and who run into another group of aliens they cannot communicate with which are entirely militaristic.  The peaceful aliens enlist the help of Earth to send a force to save their planet when faced with the decision of staying and dying or trying to run to safety with their entire civilization.  Going back in time the Army of children from Earth should be at the right age to fight by the time the get there.  They also the hope that one of eleven specially chosen children will rise to be the next great military leader to lead their Army into battle.

Right now the sequels to both are written and at the Editors, hopefully to be E-published later this year.

What inspired you to write?

I never grew up dreaming of being a writer.  English was always one of my worst subjects which I thought excluded me from any career in which writing is a prerequisite.  Through my thirties I became an avid reader of almost anything and by my late thirties I kept thinking I should write a book.  The ladies of my book club encouraged me to bring in stuff I had written so they could read and edit it.  That was the start of something which transformed my life.  Soon afterward I became a writer and by January 2011 I E-published my first book “Whisper.”  My inspiration is my own crazy vivid imagination.  I sit down and write the story I would love to read that nobody has written yet.

Any words of wisdom for other (budding) writers?

If your passion is to write, you will write whether anybody reads or buys it.  I don’t write to please anybody but myself.  The more you do the better you will become.  Many authors I have researched say that until you have published your first 1 million words, you are just spinning your wheels.  When I first read that I thought it sounded crazy.  After writing four novels, two of which are published, I totally see the wisdom of their words.

When you are writing and you get the same feeling that you get when you are reading a great story, you are on the right track.  As we grow, learn and mature as authors we learn all the little subtle things that makes the difference between writing, good writing, and what it takes to be a great writer.

It takes time to be discovered, for the word to spread, and people to find about your books.  Very few authors come out the gates with a bestselling book.  Many of the truly great authors became great long after the author had passed on.  So only time will tell what a great author you may become.  Keep writing, keep improving, honing your skills and give it time.

What do you advise about marketing your books?

I virtually have none as I cannot afford professional marketing.  Would it help to pay for advertising?  Yes!  Would it help to be able to afford the best editing services available?  Yes!  Would it help to be able to afford professional cover art for my books?  Yes!

I have a day job to pay my bills and provide a modest living for my family.  I can’t afford editing, art work or advertising right now.  Self publishing, E-book publishing, gives authors the means to get their work out there into the reading world without going through the Gate keepers of Traditional Publishing.  I don’t have an agent, never written a Query letter, and don’t technically have a publisher.  It is do-it-yourself publishing.  But for the first time in history anybody can write a book and put it out there.

Books I still contend are one area where the product is still sold by word of mouth.  When I am looking for a good book I don’t browse web-sites, magazines, television, radio or whatever.  I ask my reading friends what they are reading, or I read book reviews in the paper or on-line.  If you want to sell more books, write better and more books.  Period.  Simple.

Inexpensive things you can do to create a virtual footprint to get noticed is to jump on the social media bandwagon and make connections with other people.  Facebook, Google +, Twitter and the like.  You can start and write a Blog.  I use my Blog Posts as warm-ups before I begin writing for the day.  No Blog post for a given day generally means I am in the middle of a particularly juicy good section of the current book I am writing or I am literally taking the day off to spend with the family.

The following are links for those who might like to check me out further, stalk me, or stay abreast of upcoming books, giveaways, or special promotional sales on my books.

November 26, 2012

I have started a new page as the existing page for Interviews seem to have gotten more funky by the week.  For the time being, the reasons why remains unknown and I shall continue with this new page until it too gets funky.

My guest today is John Hennessy:

Hello, my name is John Hennessy, and I have been reading sci-fi/fantasy
since I was young with the dream of writing stories for the Silver
Screen. In high school, my focus turned toward more literary quality than
motion pictures. I started writing my first book, "Life Descending" as a
Junior in high school and used what I had written for my Senior Exiting Project. After
I graduated from Western Washington, with my mostly complete manuscript, I
had Sara Stamey, the editing/publishing instructor at Western edit my
book. At the end of October of 2011 I released it. Since then I have
written the sequel and another book entitled At the End in another series.

Would you describe your writing for us please:

My debut novel is Life Descending (The Cry of Havoc, Book 1), an epic
fantasy saga about a man who lived on our planet but through unfortunate
accidents and with mystical powers ends up on another planet with new
memories. The story unfolds with Tom journeying across a complex and
war-torn world on his way home to retirement and his family. He soon
learns his life isn't all he thinks it is. My second book, At the End (The
Road to Extinction, Book 1), is set in the future on a post-apocalyptic
Earth, where billions have vanished without a trace over the course of a
few days, leaving a group of friends to figure out the mystery behind
humanity's disappearance while trying to survive in a new world with new

What thoughts or advice would you offer other writers?

Just like being a writer who was picked up by publishing company, it's all a game of chance whether your story is gold or not. It's also not about if you have one book out, but if you have ten books out, which makes it all the more difficult as an indie author, unless you're in the small percentage of those who get lucky right from the start. But if you look at
all the indie authors and the thousands upon thousands of books out there, those chances are slim, so I would just keep on writing. It might take ten years and it might be never, but if you're having a good time creating new stories, well that's what I think it's all about. At the End made it to #4
on Amazon's top 100 Children's Science Fiction, but has since dropped off, so you also have to not get too excited when things start going well
because they might not last all too long. Also, don't get hung up on
reviews, because many people have already formed their opinion
before they have even started reading. Here's an example: I have one
review of Amazon for At the End that says I needed to do research on
Earth's population since we're only at 7 billion, but in the book's
description I have it that 12 billion go missing on one day, 13 more on
the second, and 13 on the third day. The person obviously didn't read the
book, and even better, not even the whole book description, as it says the
year is 2048 (not 2012) and the birth control industry has been shut down
(mysterious?), causing a huge population boom, bordering on 39 billion.
Funny, right? My point is, and I think this is critical for every indie
author, don't become obsessed with reviews.

What advice do you have for marketing a book?

I did a lot of marketing when I first released Life Descending, but it
was all a bust, even though I received some amazing reviews from review
companies (one even said Life Descending was as good as Game of Thrones.)
So now all I do is give away copies of my books from time to time, on
GoodReads and on LibraryThing.  Many sources say the best
marketing is your next book, so that's what I'm doing. I'm trying to write
like a madman, hoping to keep sales up and my name out there.

Thanks, John, for your time!

At the End
Life Descending

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