Archive for the ‘Thriller’ Tag

Interview with Ryan Hill   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Ryan Hill. Welcome to the blog, Ryan. Tell us something about yourself.

Ryan Hill Author PicI’m 21 years old, live in West Newbury, MA, and am originally from Greenwich, CT.  I attend the college of UMASS Amherst, and I’m studying to be an English major.  I’m also writing my second novel, but it’s taking a whole lot longer than I expected.

 

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I knew I wanted to be a writer in sixth grade.  I had to write a four-page mystery for my English class but instead wrote a 25-page scifi.  Ever since then, I have been writing fiction.

 

My teachers hated when I would do that. Tell us about your writing process.

For my first novel, I had a daily quota of writing I needed to hit.  My book ended up being a hell of a lot longer than it should have been, but I did complete it in a matter of months.  My goal was to just sit down and write everyday without any care toward how long it would become.  I started writing thinking I would never reach a full length novel’s word count.  I was very wrong.

My second novel has been much slower for me.  I don’t have a daily quota, and I keep restarting the book trying to get it to sound just right.  The good news is, I have been making steady progress, and it is getting longer by the day, but it’s taking me years where my first novel took me months.

 

I always go back to revisit the beginning on rewrite. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Ryan Hill Author Pic 2My favourite genre to read is horror, and my favourite genre to write is horror.

 

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about writing a good novel, and I’m struggling to produce one.

 

What is something you cannot live without?

I can’t live without my family.  The house feels so empty if one of them is away.

 

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

I am full-time student, but when I’m not studying, I work out at the gym and watch a lot of movies. I am a huge fan of film and hope to take some screenwriting courses this spring.

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

Ryan Hill Barking Madness ebook coverBarking Madness is the only book I’ve completed thus far, and it did change the way I view myself.  Whenever I think I can’t do something, I think back to my writing that novel.  That accomplishment is still my greatest.

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Movies.  I want to write fiction that makes others feel how movies have made me feel.

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I do minimal research.  Fact checking is the biggest.  I write about things I already know about.

 

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

Well, my first and only novel right now, Barking Madness, is really childish.  I wrote it when I was 18, and it’s about 18 years old.  The language and descriptions match what you would expect of an 18-year-old narrator but because of this, there’s never any rational adult thinking taking place.

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

No.  I’ll write anywhere.  I do like my room, though.

 

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

I do like the whole man-becoming-monster thing.  Something about a good man or woman becoming horribly evil gets me going.  I tend to like those characters more than the others when I’m watching them on the television or reading about them in a book.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

I’m more of a plot-driven writer because I like the whole show-don’t-tell formula of writing.  Put people in a terrible situation and see who rises to the occasion.  I always think that’s amusing to watch or write about.

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I write from an outline because it helps keep me on track with where the plot is going.  I also like having the ending set in stone before I start writing anything.  I like knowing where the characters and story will end up.

 

What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I prefer to write in first person because it’s so much easier to write from a character’s narrow viewpoint when describing a situation or object.  When writing from third person, I find it hard to seemingly move on from situation to situation or object to object.

 

Do you head-hop?

I am writing my second novel in third person, so there is no head-hopping, but my first novel, which is in first person, has no head-hopping either.

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

 

I will bring a great television system, a ton of movies, and a computer.  I will watch those movies and write a book during my stay, nothing more.

 

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

No it wasn’t.  I write for the fun of it and for the readers’ entertainment.  If the readers aren’t entertained, then they should stop reading my book.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I just want them to have a good time, that’s all.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Nobody would publish my book, and I really wanted to hold it.

 

 

There are people that believe traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

No, because there are hundreds of thousands of books published each year.  In order to find the good ones, it helps if they have been represented by a publishing company.  Usually self-publishing comes with connotation that the books are not as good as the ones that are published traditionally.

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

All the money you make is your own.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Positive publicity.  Almost everyone I have spoken with about my book treats it more officially because it is published.  Before I got it published, all I had was a manuscript that most people thought unworthy of reading.

 

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Get it published traditionally and more recognition will come with it, or make sure it’s real damn good and all the reviewers like it.  Hopefully, word of mouth will spread.

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

I bought my book cover online from The Cover Collection. They were great to work with and had a lot of covers to pick from.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Self-published authors can definitely produce as high-quality books as traditionally published authors.  Getting your book recognized without traditional publishing is the hard part.  Less reviewers are willing to read your book because it hasn’t been backed by a publishing house.

 

Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

No. I reach out to people on facebook through groups and on twitter as well.

 

 

 

Interview with Wolf DeVoon   2 comments

Today’s interview is with Wolf DeVoon, who I met through the radio program Patriot’s Lament, where the topic was not his fiction, but his writings on the constitution and libertarian thinking. Tell us something about yourself. 

 

Wolf Devoon Author PicI started in a small Rust Belt village, got out as soon as I could, went to the nearest big city. Not very good at paying bills. Married four times.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote and produced a class play in 3rd grade. Wanting to become a writer was never a goal as such. I got beaten into it, more or less, when I realized that I wasn’t going to make it as a film director. I wrote screenplays in the 1980s, some of them work-for-hire, others on spec, worked on and off as a film editor, freelance film & TV director, kept at it doggedly until the mid-90s. Then one day I found myself in a cubicle at Disney, spending Mickey’s money to transfer other people’s movies to home video, and it was over. They say when a great director dies, he becomes a cameraman. I became a writer instead, started a novel.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

I start with a character in a difficult situation, a vague idea of where it’s going, but it seems to unfold in unexpected ways. I wrote an essay about it, spoke of it as a temple with its own mad logic of dramatic necessity – and I’m incapable of doing anything else when I write, until it’s finished, writing every day for months.

 

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

 

I admire Scott Fitzgerald, read him and marvel, but Chandler and Hammett shaped how I see the world — a lone wolf who survives by the skin of his teeth, because he knows what makes people tick. For fun, I re-read Robert Louis Stevenson. I write a genre that I call “bang-ow, with sex scenes.” Not hardboiled pulp, although a lot of people die. The foreground is always an adult romance.

 

 

What are you passionate about?

 

Wolf VALOR COVER 600px (1)That’s a tough question. When I started as a teenage filmmaker, I loved the smell of raw stock. I got lucky in Hollywood, had a brilliant mentor who taught me how to direct actors, and there’s a special sort of exaltation in an editing room, to make the screen come alive. There was a sign in the Australian Film Academy that said: When the shooting stops, the filmmaking begins. That’s how I build scenes in a novel. Words became my raw stock and action and sound.

 

I love that metafor. What is something you cannot live without?

 

Truthfully? I haven’t been lovingly touched in years. It’s killing me.

 

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

 

Promote my books, read financial news, do physical work. I spent a year clearing land and supervising construction of a house. Took a long time to clean up, do finish carpentry. At the moment I’m staring at a blank future, nowhere to go and nothing to do, except write.

 

 

Ooo, the infamous blinking cursor. Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

 

My latest was a real breakthrough. Previous books took every ounce of my energy. ‘A Portrait of Valor’ was easy to write, but I went through a dozen boxes of tissues, cried my eyes out in triumph and tender admiration for Chris and Peachy.

 

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

 

Life on life’s terms. That’s the short answer. When seconds count, the police are doing something else, unable to save life or stop a bad guy.

 

 

So true! What sort of research do you do for your novels?

 

‘Mars Shall Thunder’ required a lot of technical research, architectural design, utility engineering, maps, etc. ‘A Portrait of Valor’ needed place-name and spelling verification. I asked an FBI pal to read the draft of a chapter for authenticity, and she suggested certain weapons that a professional killer would carry.

 

 

So it varies. If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

 

There are better writers.

 

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

 

Desk, keyboard, ashtray, coffee pot, music, a place to lay down. Alone. It’s always been that way from the beginning. There had to be a room no one else enters. ‘A Portrait of Valor’ was written in a small tin barn. Years ago, one of my first projects was written in a tack room, 6V lantern on a hook over a manual typewriter.

 

 

 

Sounds atmospheric. Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

 

The answer is slightly embarrassing. The goal of my work is to show that freedom matters, that people have to act, come hell or high water, win lose or draw.

 

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

 

Ray Chandler gave me permission to forget about plot (although I like intrigue, action, seemingly hopeless predicaments). Believability is a matter of style.

 

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

 

I try to plan, always need to see where it’s going, yet two-thirds is discovery. The business of writing is forcing characters to discover what matters, and it’s usually not what anyone expects. None of my people remain unchanged. It was drilled into me by critic Bill Kerr (How Not To Write A Play). Show the transformation on stage. There is no drama unless we see someone transformed. Very difficult to predict that in advance. It has to be discovered as the characters move and grow.

 

 

Absolutely. What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

 

I’ve settled on first-person for a series with Chris and Peachy.

 

 

Do you head-hop?

 

Yes – and got complaints from editors I pitched. When Chris goes to prison, I jump to Peachy first-person (“Mrs. Blount’s Chapter”) because she has all the interesting obstacles and decisions to make.

 

In previous stories, I’ve used third-person, first-person, head-hopping, at times a sort of blurt heat / image / mind fire, to render great passion. Worse: commentary on the human condition, to say: Look at this, see what it means.

 

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

 

Laptop, solar charger, tools. Tender Is The Night, The Fountainhead.

 

 

Talk about your books individually.

 

FIRST FEATURE (2007)

autobiography, subtitled ‘A Rake’s Progress in Downtown Gomorrah’

my first, perhaps best literary work, written 1988, revised 2004

 

LAISSEZ FAIRE LAW (2007)

a collection of essays, evolution of my thought on liberty and justice

In prison, I vowed to do something about government. It took 25 years.

 

THE GOOD WALK ALONE (2007)

16-chapter serial fiction written for Laissez Faire City Times

main character is a female cop, homicide investigator, warrior

 

MARS SHALL THUNDER (2008)

first draft 1998, rewritten and tightened 2002

Harry and Laura destroy a colonial paradise

 

THE CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT IN GALT’S GULCH (2014)

compares utopian fiction and real-world experience

 

AN EGGSHELL ARMED WITH SLEDGEHAMMERS (2015)

https://www.amazon.com/Eggshell-Armed-Sledgehammers-Wolf-DeVoon/dp/1532984243

collection of essays, satire, anecdotes, and dream fiction

 

ROCK AND ROLL REST HOME (2016)

anthology of silly stories

 

A PORTRAIT OF VALOR (2016)

http://www.lulu.com/shop/wolf-devoon/a-portrait-of-valor/paperback/product-23015202.html

detective novel

 

RUBE (to be published posthumously)

memoirs

 

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

 

Hot water seeks its own level. It’s possible to find each other, mate for life, unquestionably worthy of each other, destined to love, price no object.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

 

That they lost awareness of author, text, typography – immersed in story.

 

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

 

No choice.

 

 

If you have experience with both traditional and indie publishing, compare the two.

 

In 1990 I co-authored a reference book that sold well, 6,000 hardcover and 4,000 paperbacks, with foreign rights revenue and a Simon & Schuster offer, quite a lot of publicity, book signings, good reviews in library journals, radio interviews.

 

Self-publishing is no money, no publicity, no sales.

 

 

There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

 

It works for some authors, especially celebrities, fantasy/horror, thrillers.

 

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

 

None.

 

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

 

Distribution, chain bookstore sales, radio and TV chat shows, bestseller lists

 

 

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

 

I can’t and don’t. A few people know my work.

Get It on Amazon   Leave a comment

The Beyond Experience by [Reid Jr, Michael]Available on Amazon #IndieBookBlast

Release Today   Leave a comment

Release worldwide on December 11th, both paper and kindle format. The kindle price will be $0.99, and free if a subscriber to KindleUnlimited. The paperback version is $12.00US.
The Beyond Experience by [Reid Jr, Michael]
Michael Reid, Jr.’s website, http://www.michaelreidjr.com has the first two chapters, as well as information about the author.

Dr. Lewis had always found a way to hide his deepest secrets: the abuse as a child, the loss of his fiancé, the reasons why he rejected the lucrative offer from Harvard. But, when Kyle, his lab assistant, convinces him to push the limits of the drugs he’d spent a decade perfecting, his lies begin to unravel.

Kyle’s emotional events during treatment forced him to believe it was an event on another plane of life, a spiritual experience at its highest echelon. Thousands of people all over the world were experiencing similar events to Kyle’s, claiming they’d been to heaven. However, Dr. Lewis disagreed, and spent countless hours searching for a neural pathway within the brain itself as the source of the augmented reality.

More secrets, lies, and love drive the two close friends apart, beginning a cascade of events that point Dr. Lewis toward entering The Beyond Experience himself. He fought the treatment for nearly two decades, convinced his terrifying past would confront him. What he experiences becomes far more world shattering than he’d ever imagined possible, but will finally give him the answer to why his fiancé, Lily, had spoken her haunting final words: “forgive me.”

Get it on Amazon

Announcing   Leave a comment

Release worldwide on December 11th, both paper and kindle format. The kindle price will be $0.99, and free if a subscriber to KindleUnlimited. The paperback version is $12.00US.
Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 11.18.56 PM.png
Michael Reid, Jr.’s website, http://www.michaelreidjr.com has the first two chapters, as well as information about the author.
Dr. Lewis had always found a way to hide his deepest secrets: the abuse as a child, the loss of his fiancé, the reasons why he rejected the lucrative offer from Harvard. But, when Kyle, his lab assistant, convinces him to push the limits of the drugs he’d spent a decade perfecting, his lies begin to unravel.

Kyle’s emotional events during treatment forced him to believe it was an event on another plane of life, a spiritual experience at its highest echelon. Thousands of people all over the world were experiencing similar events to Kyle’s, claiming they’d been to heaven. However, Dr. Lewis disagreed, and spent countless hours searching for a neural pathway within the brain itself as the source of the augmented reality.

More secrets, lies, and love drive the two close friends apart, beginning a cascade of events that point Dr. Lewis toward entering The Beyond Experience himself. He fought the treatment for nearly two decades, convinced his terrifying past would confront him. What he experiences becomes far more world shattering than he’d ever imagined possible, but will finally give him the answer to why his fiancé, Lily, had spoken her haunting final words: “forgive me.”

World Wide Release   Leave a comment

Release worldwide on December 11th, both paper and kindle format. The kindle price will be $0.99, and free if a subscriber to KindleUnlimited. The paperback version is $12.00US.
The Beyond Experience by [Reid Jr, Michael]
Michael Reid, Jr.’s website, http://www.michaelreidjr.com has the first two chapters, as well as information about the author.

Dr. Lewis had always found a way to hide his deepest secrets: the abuse as a child, the loss of his fiancé, the reasons why he rejected the lucrative offer from Harvard. But, when Kyle, his lab assistant, convinces him to push the limits of the drugs he’d spent a decade perfecting, his lies begin to unravel.

Kyle’s emotional events during treatment forced him to believe it was an event on another plane of life, a spiritual experience at its highest echelon. Thousands of people all over the world were experiencing similar events to Kyle’s, claiming they’d been to heaven. However, Dr. Lewis disagreed, and spent countless hours searching for a neural pathway within the brain itself as the source of the augmented reality.

More secrets, lies, and love drive the two close friends apart, beginning a cascade of events that point Dr. Lewis toward entering The Beyond Experience himself. He fought the treatment for nearly two decades, convinced his terrifying past would confront him. What he experiences becomes far more world shattering than he’d ever imagined possible, but will finally give him the answer to why his fiancé, Lily, had spoken her haunting final words: “forgive me.”

Interview with M. Eugene Smith   Leave a comment

My interview this week is with M. Eugene Smith, author of The American Mandarin. I know Michael as “Utah” over at the libertarian blog Rio Norte Line, so I’m not really surprised to discover that he is a published author of novels of political intrigue and espionage. Tell us something about yourself. 

Displaying MES8.jpgThanks for the opportunity to chat, Lela. I’m certainly not a writer by trade, I’m trained as a mechanical engineer and I also hold degrees in finance and economics as well as a MBA. My entire career has been about making things – essentially manufacturing companies. My business career is equally divided into aerospace/defense, automotive and oil and gas. I am currently the Chief Operating Officer for a subsea technology company serving the military, scientific and research and oil and gas markets. We do everything from submarine rescue vehicles to subsea communication networks.

A little bit about me – I grew up in rural Mississippi, I have one younger brother. I have been married to my lovely and talented wife Debbie for 34 years, we have three adult children (who all are productive members of society – they are almost off the Smith Household payroll!) and two large black Labrador retrievers. I have offices in Houston, Texas and Vancouver, British Columbia but we make our home in Park City, Utah, a little ski town nestled in the Wasatch Mountains of northern Utah.

Love Utah! And Labs! We have a yellow now, but our favorite was a black. Great dogs! So, the nickname makes sense now.

The nickname of “Utah” sort of stuck after I was the president of a business in Utah and my username at work was utahprez – eventually it was shortened to Utah – which is a little strange because I was always tagged as “Mississippi” in college (after my home state and the character James Cann played in the John Wayne movie, El Dorado) – I guess I have a thing for state names!

American Mandarin is your first published novel, but you have a history as a blogger and ( … ??? you can fill in this blank on your writing history … What’s the first writing you did and how old were you, what got you into blogging, ….)

I’ve been blogging for about 15 years, mostly political stuff but a little satire and humor stuffed in once in a while. I sort of lost enthusiasm for the format as politics runs in cycles and I found myself writing the same things over and over, just using different words…that’s when, a few years ago, I decided to write a novel.

Yeah, I have had a similar experience.

Even with that sort of heavy industry career background, I have always had a love of literature and anything that has a good story. I found my passion for writing and storytelling in high school when I was fortunate to have met one of the greatest influences of my life, my senior English teacher (she was also one of my best friend’s mom), Mary Brassfield. She taught me the power of a broad vocabulary and how written words could conjure up all sorts of ideas and places in the mind – even if you have never physically been there or will ever be able to go, you can be there in your own imagination! That this could happen was a transformative experience for me.

I’ve had the greatest opportunities to travel thanks to my career. We have lived all over the lower 48 and I have spent a significant amount of time in China and the Far East, India and Europe and we actually had the honor of living abroad in Scotland for almost three years. I have so many great experiences and have seen so many different cultures and geographies that I felt compelled to capture them in my books.

I’ve found such a positive release and sense of freedom in writing and I hope that comes through in my books.

What are you passionate about?

America – I hope that doesn’t sound too preachy – but I have traveled all over the world, circumnavigating it at least two dozen times and I kiss the ground every time I land on American soil. There is no place on earth like it. The precedence of my allegiance is the same as that of our great fighting men, God, country and family. I have a great respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line for their fellow citizens back home – both on the battlefield and in the covert operations arena.

I’m also an avid shooter and outdoorsman, big college football fan and love all outdoor sports.

Tell us about the Rio Norte Line.

My blog is a collection of characters with varying viewpoints – as contributors, we have an actress, a Marine, a Texas lawyer, an employee of the Florida correctional system (a prison guard) and little ole me. It was inspired by Ayn Rand’s book, Atlas Shrugged. The current site was born on January 18, 2011 and is written from a classical liberal/conservative/libertarian viewpoint.

The Rio Norte Line was the key productive asset for the Taggart Transcontinental Railway and had fallen into disrepair. The protagonist, Dagny Taggart, sought to repair the line, realizing that the foundation must be solid for any enterprise to be successful. Her efforts to save this key asset were frustrated from many fronts ranging from personal to political but eventually she found a way to do it. In the long term, the “looters” milked the line for short term gain, and when faced with disaster, instead of addressing the foundations, sought to plaster over it with political solutions including restrictions of others, expropriation of their revenues and political favoritism.

The Rio Norte Line seems an apt allegory for today’s America.

So, tell me about your philosophy on how it is reflected in the Rio Norte Line.

The American Mandarin by [Smith, M. Eugene]I think I am more of a classical liberal/minarchist than a libertarian – the blog leans to the libertarian side by the sheer weight of the contributors being true Constitutialists but we generally have a softer edge than most libertarians. We all are committed Christians and truly believe that one of the keys to America’s greatness is its roots in Judeo-Christian tradition. And note that a classical liberal is not the “liberal” we speak of in America – it is just the opposite. I’m probably closer to a Jeffersonian Whig than any contemporary political party, a student of philosophers like John Locke, Charles Montesquieu, Frédéric Bastiat and modern thinkers like Ayn Rand and economists like Milton Friedman.

My motto is the epitaph that it written on the stone under which Robert the Bruce’s heart is buried: “A noble hart may have nane ease, gif freedom failye” (A noble heart cannot rest if freedom fails.)

 

Tell us about The American Mandarin. (Was it inspired by the Boston Bombing, or was that just circumstance?).

I’m going to sort of cheat here and recite the synopsis from Amazon

A wife is killed and a husband critically wounded in the Boston Marathon bombing – it was an act of terrorism – but was it also an assassination attempt?

This tragedy initiates a chain of events that tie past to future and forces into the open revelations of a life lived in secret. The story goes back to 1989 when, in partnership with rogue elements in the Chinese government, a young American businessman was kidnapped by the largest and most ambitious Triad in China, the Sun Ye On. The Chinese government wants him for his DNA – but the head of the SYO Triad wants him for a slightly different reason. One man’s unique genetic makeup holds the key to advanced weapons, assassination tools and genetic poisons.

The American Mandarin is the first book in the thirty year story of Michael Scott and his family. It is the story of domestic and international political intrigue, espionage, genetic manipulation, the science of epigenetics (genetic memory) and how Michael, his wife Catherine (a federal prosecutor) and their unsuspecting family gets caught in the middle of a generational battle between two superpowers and their proxies.

I wanted to use my experiences in China as a background for a story and they seemed to be a villain that not many were thinking about. In the American Mandarin, I sow the seeds for how the Triad gangs in China may have helped Middle Eastern radical Islamists and set the stage for 9/11 and the eventual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and Michael Scott is right in the middle of all of it!

My first book was inspired by two things, one of which was the Boston Bombing – the other was the the death of Vince Flynn, the author of the Mitch Rapp series of books. I had been plugging along with a really rough manuscript and lacked enough commitment to finish it. I was shocked when Flynn passed at the young age of 47. His death reminded me that one should never delay doing something they cared about. When Flynn passed away in June of 2013, I got really engaged in my writing. I had just finished reading Flynn’s last book, “American Assassin” and The American Mandarin sort of became a personal mission at that point.

When will the second book come out?

I have two books coming out soon. The first is the second book in the Michael Scott series – a follow up on “The American Mandarin” – called “What Lies Beneath”. This follows the exploits of Michael Scott as he continues his clandestine work for the special anti-terror group that was created after his earlier exploits in China in the 1980’s.

The second is a murder mystery tentatively titled “The Peddler” set in rural Mississippi in the late 1940’s and involves a family who gets involved in solving a series of murders and disappearances after suspicion is cast on one of their own family members. I plan to finish this one for publication in late fall/early winter this year.

Links, websites, cover images, author pic.

www.therionorteline.com

www.americanmandarin.com

Find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/American-Mandarin-M-Eugene-Smith-ebook/dp/B00EDTJOUG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424487205&sr=8-1&keywords=the+american+mandarin

Life As We Knew It #btiwob   Leave a comment

Front Cover LAWKI no windowLife As We Knew It

(Book 1 of Transformation Project)

Chaos changes everything!

Shane Delaney, a burned-out mercenary with a troubled past, returns home to small-town Kansas to heal his scars and quiet his demons, not planning to stay long enough for the townsfolk to reject who he has become.
He never expected the town to need his deadlier skills.

When a terrorist attack on distant cities abruptly transforms life as they knew it, the people of Emmaus must forge their own disaster plan to survive.

What would you do if the world as you know it ended today?

The people of Emmaus will find out.

#btiwob, #followfriday, #SFRTG

Interview with Michael Reid, Jr.   1 comment

 

Today’s interview is with Michael Reid Jr. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

mreid-author-picA native of the midwest, spending most of my life in the Chicagoland area, venturing into Saint Louis, Missouri for graduate school. I received my doctorate in physical therapy from Washington University and practice in a sports rehabilitation setting in the northern suburbs.  I am married to a woman who impresses me every day, and father to a son who is growing too fast.

 

Unfortunately, they do that!

Previously, I worked for the government for 4 years, where I had a lot of conversations with military personnel. I still get to work with service members, as well as first responders on a regular basis as a physical therapist.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

mreid-w-sonI remember writing as a youth in grade school. It was difficult for me to finish a story, because a new idea, or plot twist would always enter my mind and I’d have to revise.  I forgot about writing until college, where I took some elective courses in creative writing, spurring the desire once more.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

It’s fairly simple really. I get an idea in my mind, and start to develop it. Over the coming weeks it doesn’t leave me alone. I continue to stew over it (mainly because now I’m obsessed with it) and when I finally feel it’s developed enough, I write a rough outline. The outline consists of maybe 20-30 plot points. From there, I write and connect the dots, letting the characters guide the story, and try to keep my own emotions out of it.

 

What are you passionate about?

Family. Everything I do is for my family. Hobbies include writing, furniture building, and exercising. In that order.

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

mreid-debt-of-fear-mosbrookEverything I put on paper has a transformative effect. I say that because I do the research, I talk to people, I learn their stories. I think writing is markedly easier when you understand the subject matter. It forces me to learn about new things and I’m grateful for that because I love to learn. New knowledge leads to new ways of looking at the world, even if it’s just because now you are capable of seeing through someone else’s eyes.

 

Absolutely. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Inspiration is everywhere. From personal tragedy to a joking brainstorm session with friends. I was actually inspired at church once for my current novel, and regrettably, I couldn’t focus on the sermon because my mind did what it does, and thought too much.

 

I’ve been there. What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I prefer to talk to people who know better than I do. You can read all day, but a simple conversation with someone who lives it on the day to day is worth hours of reading. Plus, I find there is too much worthless hearsay on the internet these days which may lead to inaccurate information.

 

If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I would say read some of the reviews online. I think it’s difficult to describe your own style, and impossible to critique yourself. People have described my writing as “vivid, feels like watching a movie but you are reading; i loved the character development; fast read; beautiful imagery; “

 
Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

mreid-familyI believe in both. I think that the characters sometimes thrive on the plot and vice versa. I think a lot of times the character’s true self is revealed through a plot line which allows them to explore themselves. That’s what makes a good book in my opinion; you can’t have one without the other.

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

A basic outline. Then discovery from there. I don’t like being tied down by a detailed outline. Sometimes the characters need to be allowed to free think.

 

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

First, I love this question because it really makes me think. I’d appreciate this opportunity. In this hypothetical scenario, I’m going to take liberties and say my son is also a seventeen-year-old young man. I would bring him. No books, no electronics, a couple camelbaks and a variety of clothes; warm and cold weather. We would each have a sidearm, a knife, and various other survival gear.

We would spend the entire month exploring the wilderness and disconnect with the digital and electronic world. I would show him the beauty of nature, forcing us both to reevaluate what’s important. It would be a great opportunity to show humility, that we aren’t as important an individual as the media would dictate. Seeing how large the Alaskan wilderness is, let alone how large the world is, and knowing we are spinning in space that’s infinitely larger than anything we can possibly imagine, will allow us both to examine how fragile life is.

 

Very good! Sounds like my husband and our son, who is currently 17. Talk about your books individually.

mreiddebt-of-fear-promo-2Debt of Fear-

A terrorism thriller currently available on Amazon in paperback and kindle, and it part of Kindle unlimited program.

This fast-paced thriller will pull you into the story with vivid descriptions. Introducing an ex-recon marine named Logan Falcone, you’ll experience the emotions of war and terror first hand as he tries to hunt down a terrorist cell in America. Each heart-stopping moment forces him to face his deepest fear; losing another person he loves.

Logan Falcone was finally in control, insulated from the world around him. A terrorist attack in Paris prompted a phone call that changed everything. He had finally stopped reliving the events in Iraq but was being asked to make himself vulnerable again. A second attack, this time in Chicago, starts to open a deceitful door into the terrorist cell. Logan uses his old connections, a group of recon marines, and as much assistance as Samantha can give without compromising her job with the FBI. Leads fall through their fingers and it appears there’s a leak in the government. In the end, it comes down to Logan’s intuitive training and ability to read people. Will Logan be able to tap into who he used to be? Or will the thought of another potential loss dictate his actions, causing even more attacks and American deaths?

 

WORKS IN PROGRESS

Height of Fear-

Second chapter in the Logan Falcone Series.

 

The Beyond Experience– At Beta reader and editing phase.

 

A research physician named Ethan Lewis discovers a radical cure for anxiety and depression which sweeps the globe. The treatment is described as heaven by everyone who enters the experience. However, with the help of his assistant Kyle, they find the cure is capable of much more. In secret they push the envelope but Dr. Ethan Lewis decides to shut down the experimenting when Kyle discovers something terrible in Ethan’s past. In the end, the loss of a loved one forces Ethan to enter the experience himself.  He comes face to face with his biggest mistake and is presented with the undeniability of the afterlife.

 

One Soldier’s Kingdom

Work in progress- A historical Fiction novel

A book set in Post WW2 Chicago. Nicholas Ricci, a returning POW,  falls in love with Bella, an illegitimate daughter of a mob boss. He goes to Chicago to follow her and is met by Louie DeLuca, the boss of the family. He tells Nicky he will grant his blessing on the relationship if he helps him by performing a task. NIcki succeeds, but is left barely alive.

As time passes, Nicki becomes more involved with the crime family but is often forced to relive his days at the POW camp. The flashbacks become intense and his charismatic personality becomes more dark and power hungry. He craves the idea of being the boss, but both Bella and Louie DeLuca stand in the way.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

Emotion. Whether something in the plot causes you to reflect on a memory, or you are so emotionally invested in a character that you cry, bleed, scream, laugh with them. That’s the point.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Rejection. I hadn’t found an agent, and historically I’m not very patient. I decided that three months of waiting and hearing a lot of the same feedback, I should just have a go at it myself. Since doing so, I feel like it was the right decision for me. I have talked to a couple agents, as well as publishers since, and found it to be a very “dollars over everything” sort of feel. I think there is limitless freedom in self-publishing, however, you are on your own which is scary. I’m on the fence about indie versus traditional at the moment. I like the freedom, but would certainly like to reach a wider audience.

 

That’s what I hear from just about every indie I interview … love the freedom, would like a wider audience. What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

The freedom to make every choice along the way.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Guidance in terms of which choices would be better. There is literally an infinite number of decisions that are ultimately being made at each step of the way. From internal design, font choice, how to lay out the chapter, the cover art, promotions, who do I sell through etc etc. Publishers also likely have a wider reach, and if you are published traditionally, there is also a sense that your work may be better….maybe.

 
Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Yes. Take constructive criticism, allow others to read your work and find individuals who aren’t afraid to tell you something sucks. That’s an enormous advantage. You cannot have a bunch of “yes-men” around you. Pay for quality, cover art is what draws people in, so don’t skimp on it, and don’t settle. Also, when it comes to every aspect of the book layout, design, content, listen to the professionals you hire. They are likely reading and looking at way more than you ever will.

 

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

Yes and no. My most recent work tentatively called The Beyond Experience, deals with a lot of Christian themes, but I wouldn’t say I always write with that in mind. The reason I do place religious views/themes in books is because it’s what I believe.

 

Exactly. It’s who we are. What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

Difficulty knowing how far to go with the themes, and not push secular readers away. I think it’s easy to turn off a non-christian. As soon as you reveal the Christian or God centric perspective, they are sometimes turned off and the wonderful message may not get to them. No matter how good the writing.

 

Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

It’s difficult. You try to walk a thin line, but you absolutely have to stay true to a character. Just because you are writing as a character, doesn’t mean those are your beliefs.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

It is possible. A good story is a good story. You need to develop the characters, the plot, and the storyline needs to be good as well. Just like any other topic.

 

Where to readers find you and your books?

 

Website: <www.michaelreidjr.com>

Instagram: authormichaelreidjr

Twitter: michaelreidjr1

Facebook: Michael Reid Jr

Interview with Luana Ehrlich   4 comments

Today’s interview is with suspense thriller writer Luana Ehrlich. Welcome to the blog, Luana. Let me start with asking you to tell us a little bit about yourself.

Luana Ehrlich web 2I grew up as a preacher’s kid, and, although it may surprise some people, it was actually my dad who gave me my first spy novel when I was eleven years old. After that, I was hooked on the thriller/suspense/mystery genre forever. I’m also a news fanatic, and I follow events around the world on a daily basis, particularly the Middle East.

I married a minister, and we’ve lived in several states in the South and Midwest and have served as missionaries in Costa Rica and Venezuela. For the past two decades, we’ve lived in Norman, Oklahoma, where my husband has been the senior minister at a Baptist church.

For the past several years, I’ve been writing for Baptist Press, a national news service for Baptists,  where I’ve written stories about the experiences of newly converted Christians. And, in a similar fashion, when we lived in Indiana, I wrote a weekly column for The Indiana Baptist, which told the stories of ordinary people who became followers of Christ and was entitled, “A Story To Tell.”  I belong to several organizations for writers, including the American Christian Fiction Writers.

I am blessed to be the mother of a beautiful daughter and grandmother of two outstanding grandsons, who live in the Norman area.

 

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

As soon as I learned to read and began to devour books, I started to dream of becoming a writer. I even decided I would write under another name, and I chose the name Pam Black, because I thought mine was too difficult for people to remember. Now, I love my slightly unconventional name, but I did include Pam Black as a minor character in one of my novels.

 

Could you give us the highlights of your professional writing career including how you got your first writing break?

My first writing break came almost thirty years ago, when I was asked to write a weekly column in a denominational newspaper, The Indiana Baptist. Following that, I was approached about writing for Baptist Press. Once my husband retired, I began writing the Titus Ray Thrillers series.

 

How has being a published novelist differed from your expectations of the profession?

The biggest surprise to being a published novelist is the obligation I feel I owe to my readers to keep on writing. From book signings to emails, my readers keep urging me to hurry up and write the next book in the series. I never expected to hear this or feel such a responsibility to quicken the pace of my writing in order to please my readers.

 

What advice or tips do you have for writers who are just getting started?

The best advice I can give to anyone wanting to become a published author is to become disciplined in your writing. Set aside a specific time each day, or several hours during the week, and begin to write. You’ll never become an author until you decide to make writing a priority in your life. Secondly, I believe the best writers are also the best readers. The more you read, the better you’ll write.

 

That’s excellent advice. What inspired you to write this series?

I was inspired to write the first book in the series, One Night in Tehran, after I heard about the persecution of Christians in Iran about five years ago. Because I’ve always been an avid reader of mysteries and thrillers, I knew my first book would be in this genre. However, when I heard about the Iranian Christians, I began asking several questions, which eventually became the plot line of the book. I wondered what would happen if a veteran CIA intelligence operative in Tehran encountered a group of Iranian Christians and became a believer. How would his conversion affect his career? How would a man trained to lie and deceive others be able to follow the teachings of Christ in the real world?

 

Oh, you and I think in the same bent! What is the one thing you love about your main character, Titus Ray?

If I had to pick out one thing I love most about Titus, it would have to be his desire to understand his newfound faith. Because of his career, he’s having to figure this out on his own. He doesn’t have a pastor, best friend, or close family member to call on for answers. Gradually, he learns to rely on the Bible and pray. I also love how his quest to know God plays out when he’s confronted with a killer or another operative’s vulnerabilities. His efforts to share his faith are comical at times and heart-wrenching at other times.

 

Tell us about the books in this series.

One Night in Tehran introduces veteran CIA intelligence officer, Titus Ray, who, after being hidden away in Tehran for three months by a group of Iranian Christians, returns to the States determined to explore the life of faith he saw exhibited by these dedicated believers.

Back in the States and forced to go on medical leave, Titus learns he’s been targeted by Hezbollah assassin, Ahmed Al-Amin. Now, while trying to figure out what it means to be a follower of Christ, he must decide if the Iranian couple he meets in Norman, Oklahoma has ties to the assassin, and if Nikki Saxon, a local detective, can be trusted with his secrets. You can view the Book Trailer here.

 

Two Days in Caracas, the second book in the Titus Ray Thriller series, follows Titus as he travels from Costa Rica to Caracas in an effort to stop Ahmed Al-Amin from assassinating a high-profile government official. Along the way, a family crisis jeopardizes his mission, and an Agency employee threatens to destroy his career. As the danger mounts, he’s forced to partner with an untested operative to complete the mission and bring Ahmed to justice. You can view the Book Trailer here.

 

Three Weeks in Washington will be published in mid-June 2016. This third book in the series has Titus racing across two continents in an attempt to prevent a chemical weapons attack on Washington, D.C. Then, in a strange twist of events, he jeopardizes his own career at the Agency by exposing an Iranian deep-cover operative, who has close ties to the Washington elite.

 

What is the message you wanted to get across in this series?

 If there’s an underlying message in the series, it’s that God is always at work in the lives of unbelievers to bring them to faith in Christ. Titus is a career intelligence officer, dedicated to carrying out deceptive, treacherous, sometimes violent, operations against both individuals and governments. He was raised in a dysfunctional family with no spiritual upbringing. Yet, while hiding out from Iran’s secret police, he’s confronted with the truth of the gospel.

The message is simply that a conversion experience often happens to the most improbable people in the most unlikely of circumstances.

In addition, contained in each of the books is the reality all believers must face—how to live out the Christian faith. Titus is forced to deal with what it means to be a follower of Christ in the world in which he operates. The first book, One Night in Tehran,  primarily deals with his attempts to pray, but he also buys a Bible and attends church for the first time. Then, in Two Days in Caracas, Titus is thrust into several situations where he’s faced with the need to offer forgiveness for past sins. These are gut-wrenching episodes, and he’s not always successful in these attempts.

 

Which makes the character much more human. Why did you choose to write clean/Christian fiction as opposed to the guaranteed “seller-type” novels?

My Christian faith permeates who I am from every perspective. While I’ve always been a prolific reader in the secular fiction market, when I decided to put pen to paper (or sit down with my laptop), I realized I couldn’t write a secular, or even just a “clean” story. My main character, Titus Ray, is a CIA intelligence officer, who is brought to faith in Christ by a group of Iranian Christians. Having worked with new believers all my adult life, I decided to write about the difficulties faced by an adult who comes to faith in Christ later in life. I wanted to show if a man whose whole life is built on deception and violence can learn to live a life of faith while being pursued by an assassin and dealing with Jihadists terrorists, then anyone can do so.

 

It’s hard to keep our Christian faith closeted. Have you had negative feedback on what you write? That is, has anyone or any reviewer criticized your books because they didn’t contain the type of language and scenes many readers are looking for?

I’ve had exactly the opposite reaction about my books not containing profanity and erotica. My first book, which was published over a year ago, has over 350 reviews on Amazon, and the majority of these reviews contain references to the reader being grateful to find a thriller that didn’t use profanity or contain sensuality. “I appreciate not reading curse words or strong sexual content,” writes one reviewer. Another says, “I am so thankful that I don’t have to be on guard for the crud and still be a good story.”
Is purely Christian fiction “preaching to the choir”, or does it have a chance of impacting fringe audiences?

While Christian fiction preaches to the choir—an aspect which shouldn’t be minimized—it does have a chance to impact the unbeliever. However, this is true only to the extent the Christian reader is willing to use fiction as a witnessing tool. My thrillers contain the message of the gospel in a subtle thread running throughout the plotline, and, through the testimonies of my Christian readers, I’ve come to believe giving away a Christian fiction book is a non-threatening means of sharing Christ to unbelieving friends and relatives.

 

Is there a difference between clean and Christian fiction, or can the terms be used synonymously?

Although the lines are blurred these days, I believe there’s a difference between clean fiction and Christian fiction.

What sets apart Christian fiction from clean fiction is that Christian fiction is primarily written from a Biblical worldview and one or more of the characters presents a belief system based on Scripture. In addition, there’s usually at least one character in the story who is a professing Christian, and, at some point in the story, this character will talk about his/her beliefs.

A clean fiction story, on the other hand, may be morally uplifting, but there’s seldom a reference to the Bible or the Christian faith, and, whether or not the characters are professing Christians or not makes little difference in the overall message of the book.

That being said, here’s what both clean and Christian fiction do have in common:  As a rule, these types of stories don’t contain profanity or erotica. While there might be violence in either one, the hostility is not portrayed in a graphic or gratuitous way.

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

 My first inclination is to say I would sit in that cabin and write for as many hours a day as I could keep my eyes open. Since I write thrillers, a better answer might be I would explore the area to see how I could use it as a backdrop for an upcoming book. I see a lot of possibilities in that because Titus Ray, my protagonist, is an introvert, so he’d love to be alone for a month. Trouble is never far from him, though, so even in a remote cabin in the woods, somehow, the terrorists would find him. If I was stranded anywhere, I’d want my laptop, internet access, and my Bible. With those items and plenty of food, including coffee, I hope. I would be content.

 

Always coffee! What influenced your decision to self-publish?

After submitting my first book to several Christian agents and continuing to receive good feedback, but no offers because of being a debut author and writing in the Christian thriller market, self-publishing seemed to be the best option. A couple of agents suggested this route also.

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

By far, the greatest advantage of self-publishing is the control it gives you. I decide the pricing, choose the cover, decide how to market the book, write the blurbs, etc. The only deadlines are the ones I impose on myself. Now, I would have a difficult decision to make if contacted by publisher.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

As a self-publisher, I have to make all the decisions, thus missing out on communicating with editors who would partner with me to make those choices. Also, getting self-published books in bookstores remains very difficult, and traditionally published authors never have to worry about that aspect of publishing.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

There’s no doubt self-published authors are able to produce books as high-quality as the traditionally published authors, as long as the self-published author is willing to hire a professional editor and book cover designer. The best way to go about doing that is to do tons of research and talk to other self-published authors. Joining Facebook groups of self-published authors is a good first step.

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

A: I wouldn’t say I’m specifically writing for a Christian audience. While my thrillers do have a faith element as a continual thread running throughout the book, they are primarily espionage fiction. However, I do market my books under the Christian category and I do this primarily because there are so few Christian thrillers out there.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

The special challenge of being a Christian writer is that many readers perceive authors of Christian fiction as being mediocre writers or the stories they write to be so saturated with Scripture it would be like reading the Bible.

 

I think even Christians have that perception at times, it part because some Christian writers are guilty. But not all of us or even most of us. Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

As a Christian who’s “in the world, but not of it,” I’m uncomfortable reading erotica, profanity, and gratuitous violence, so those are not elements in my books.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

I’ve never encountered this attitude. If anything, it’s been the opposite. Someone once told me if I would have my protagonist cuss and drink a little, it would make for a more realistic story.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I feel it’s possible to do both, and I believe the reviews I’ve received since writing the first two books in the series seem to bear this out. I set out to write a good story. Along the way, I was able to include the gospel, because the protagonist, Titus Ray, is a new Christian and he’s exploring what his commitment to faith means.

 

You actually made me curious to read the first book in your series, so I think you’re doing what you set out to do. Where can readers purchase your books?

 

My books are available in three formats: Print, Kindle, and Audible from Amazon. Also, brick and mortar bookstores will order them, if they’re not available on their shelves.

 

Here are the Amazon links:  One Night in Tehran: http://www.amazon.com/One-Night-Tehran-Titus-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00MKK5HEM  and Two Days in Caracas: http://www.amazon.com/Two-Days-Caracas-Titus-Thriller-ebook/dp/B00ZPQYHIK

 

Where can readers find you online?

 

Here are the links to my website and social media accounts:

 

Personal Website:   http://www.LuanaEhrlich.com

Book Website: http://TitusRayThrillers.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/LuanaEhrlichAuthor

Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/luanaehrlich

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/LuanaEhrlich

YouTube:   https://youtu.be/558MD5S-dsg

YouTube: https://youtu.be/hOCv6EZXapo

Devotional Blog: http://www.hisglorymyjoy.wordpress.com

Quotes Blog: http://www.blessingboxblogger.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/luanasbooks

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/117406243187132893304/posts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/Luanasbooks/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/luana-ehrlich/b3/391/8a5

About Me.: https://about.me/luana.ehrlich

 

 

 

 

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